Thinking of expanding? How does milking 39,000 cows sound?
Chinese dairy farms are expanding at an incredible rate, particularly the larger scale businesses, according to Mat Waggins, of UK Northern Dairy Equipment company.
After spending two weeks on Chinese dairy farms recently, he said: “Two years ago, large-scale farms in China were on average 5,000 cows. The expansion has been massive and these farms are now mainly 10,000 cows.”
One site Mat visited last week was milking 39,000 cows across 8 x 100 rotaries. “The company aims to be the biggest producer of milk in the world. The company that own this farm currently is milking 260,000 cows across 30 different farms. It has an additional six farms in planning and hope to be milking 300,000 cows by 2015.
“All the processing is done on the farm. They make the claim that the milk is in the bottle two hours after the cow is milked. Most of these massive farms are bottling milk and some are starting to manufacture cheese. The on-site processing is only done on the biggest farms.”
The 39,000-cow farm has 560 staff on site, who live on site all the time. Specially-built apartment blocks house the staff, which are akin to a Primer Inn as we would know it. The staff might only be getting US$200-300 a month, but they see it as a massive opportunity and a good standard of living.
“What struck me was how well these farms are run. The Chinese plan to be just as good as the Americans, when it comes to large-scale production of milk. And, these farms are only getting bigger and bigger.” He said companies are seeing orders coming in for massive parlours every day. “These farms buy a lot of feed in. Interesting a lot of forage comes from the US. 40Ft containers full of hay are imported from the US on a huge scale to supply the demand.”
Milk price is upwards of 70c/L in China at the moment and this is what is driving the incredible investment, he said.
The heat can be really incredible at times with 100% humidity and all the barns are ventilated with mist and fans throughout. However, Mat said that they can still have some issues with heat stress, but they certainly have made massive progress in recent years.
The Northern Dairy Equipment specialise in providing a solutions for the dairy farms in terms of quality milk and ensuring that the cow herd is healthy. It maintains an ever growing customer base that includes some of the most progressive dairy farms in the UK as well as across Europe, United States, Canada, China, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Japan. The dairy farm herd size ranges from 50 cows to 20,000 cows.