June 19, 2013
Sino-Canadian study opens up opportunities for Canadian canola in China
A year-long joint Sino-Canadian study released to key decision-makers in China on June 14 proves that the use of Canadian canola (rapeseed) meal in cattle feed in Chinese dairies can significantly increase milk production.
In a market where demand for milk is skyrocketing and milk quality is a concern for both dairies and consumers alike, the study marks a turning point in the development of China's dairy industry. It also opens up potential opportunities for Canadian canola meal in China. It is estimated that if the entire Chinese dairy industry included Canadian canola meal, milk production in China would increase by about seven million litres a day.
The study, coordinated by the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) with funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, was conducted by leading Chinese academics, in cooperation with China's largest dairy companies. The results were revealed at a Beijing event, which minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Gerry Ritz, Canola Council president Patti Miller, Chinese dairy executives, officials of China's Ministry of Agriculture attended.
"We are delighted with the success of this joint research project with China," said Miller. "Canola meal has now proven its value as a feed product in Chinese dairies, opening the door for China's milk industry to enhance quality and increase production without significantly increasing cost."
Dr Li Shengli and Dr Wang Ruojun of the China Agricultural University conducted the research at dairy farms operated by China's five largest milk producers. The study proved that when used in dry rations, Canadian canola meal can increase daily milk production by 0.6 kg/cow, a substantial increase (one kilogram of milk is roughly equivalent to one litre).
The past 30 years' research in various countries with Canadian canola meal has shown a cumulative average increase in milk production of one litre/cow per day, with which the most recent study in China is consistent.
"This study does more than just demonstrate a link between canola feed and the quantity of milk produced," noted Dr Wang. "It makes clear that canola provides an answer to the challenge that has vexed Chinese dairies for years: how to raise both the quality and quantity of milk produced without raising cost disproportionately. Our research shows that use of canola is not only effective, it is also economical for Chinese dairy farmers."
Canola is Canada's top agricultural export to China. In 2012, Canadian sales of canola seed, oil and meal to China was worth CAD3.1 billion (US$3.04 billion), which represents more than 50% of Canadian agri-food exports to China.
Canola is Canada's most valuable crop, generating over CAD15.4 billion (US$15.08 billion) in economic activity each year. The CCC is a full value chain organisation representing the entire canola industry, including growers, seed developers, crushers and exporters.