By Dr. Ma Chong, Vice-General Manager & Director of the Diagnostic and Nutrition laboratory.
Beijing Sunlon Livestock Development Co. Ltd,
Lvhe dairy farming branch – Beijing, China
Dairy farming has developed very fast in the last years in China. Many factors can influence the milk production of dairy cows, such as genetics, management, nutrition, improved technology, etc.
At SanYuan we managed to reach the highest milk production level in China in the last decade. The purpose of this article is to report our experience. Which were the main factors for this great achievement?
Beijing SanYuan Lvhe dairy farming Co. (since December 2013 our company’s name changed to Beijing Sunlon Livestock Development Co. Ltd, Lvhe dairy farming branch) was up to 2010 one of the largest dairy farming companies in China.
The company presently has a total of 24,000 milking cows in 36 farms around Beijing. The largest farm has 1200 milking cows while the smallest has close to 500. The average milk yield/cow/year has improved in a sharp way since 2001 (see Chart 1). Large efforts were invested in order to achieve such impressive result…and we clearly know that we have still a way to go for increasing our milk production. Many factors have influenced for achieving such very positive results, but one of the most important factors has been the close cooperation between SanYuan and Israeli experts.
Appropriate management is, obviously, one of the main factors influencing the herd’s performance once you have a good genetic basis.
Since year 2001 SanYuan has had a close cooperation with the Israel technology in dairy farming. It should be noted that Israel has the highest production level in the world and its national herd has already overpassed 11,500 Kg/cow/year.
An old farm was re-built and started using equipment and a management system from Israel. This farm was set in order to demonstrate that the Israeli technology is able to perform well also in the particular Chinese conditions. Three experts (Lior Yaron, Daniel Hojman, and Meori Rosen) have worked together with SanYuan and helped us to improve our dairy farm management. All the new knowledge and techniques were later implemented in all the farms of our company.
A decisive tool for improving the management has been the installation and use of the Afimilk management system in SanYuan farms. This system allows the managers to get important data regarding milk production, fertility events and records all the health events for every cow. This is a very important tool for analyzing the performance of the herd and for correcting the problems that were detected. The heifers and cows are grouped based on their age or lactations, and different rations are formulated for each group, using the TMR (total mixed ration) feeding technique. The analysis of the collected data has been critical for improving the herd health level and milk quality.
Based on such cooperation with the Israeli approach for high milk production, the milk yield increased from 20 Kg/cow/day up to 30 Kg/cow/day in 2011. Some of our farms are producing now at an average of more than 35 Kg/cow/day.
Nutrition is a very important factor which influences the milk production level. We feed the animals in our farms with the best quality of food that we can. We keep control of the feed quality by analysis at the laboratory and we have managed to build our own data bank for feeds nutritional values. This knowledge enables us to formulate the rations in a more accurate way.
Without doubt, the milk production level that is achieved in dairy farms is affected by many factors. When such factors are controlled and proper management and nutritional techniques are applied, no doubt that high milk production levels can be obtained.