China imports dairy cows as demand for milk continues

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More dairy cows will be shipped to China in 2012 as the country is attempting to boost milk production and establish larger dairy operations.

The Economic Times reports China plans to double its national milk production to 64 million tons by 2020. The higher production will come from dairies with 100 cows or more. About 75 percent of China’s current milk production is from dairies with four cows or less.

Cows have not been imported from North America or Europe since 2006 due to mad cow disease but the USDA reports China imported bull semen worth $4.74 million from the U.S. in 2010, an increase from $2.7 million in 2009. Instead, most of the cows are imported from New Zealand, Austria and Uruguay. China imported 100,000 cows in 2011.

Officials hope larger dairies will lead to safer milk products. Consumption rates in the country decreased in 2008 when toxic melamine-tainted milks and baby formulas  left six infants dead and thousands more sick. More recently, a batch of milk from China’s largest dairy producer contained high levels of carcinogens. Business Insider reported over 40 percent of China’s dairy companies had their licenses revoked in 2011.

The country wants to produce more dairy goods to improve the population’s nutrition. Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, has encouraged students to drink a glass of milk every day. The government encourages the consumption of milk and yogurt even as many Chinese are lactose intolerant.



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