August 16, 2022


New cattle breed could reduce China's dependence on importing beef cattle



Chinese scientists have independently bred a new cattle variety, named the Huaxi Cattle, which could help break China's reliance on importing beef cattle for breeding purposes, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) said last week.


The new variety was approved by the National Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources Committee in December. The research team led by CAAS's Institute of Animal Sciences bred the new variety in the Wulagai area of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. This achieve was 43 years in the making, according to China Daily.


Last year, China imported 2.3 million tonnes of beef, accounting for a quarter of national consumption.


"The beef industry in China began late and domestically developed cattle varieties and the quality of the beef produced do not meet consumer demands," Liu Xianwu, vice-president of the academy, said during a summit on scientific innovation in livestock and poultry.


Seventy percent of the cattle used for breeding are imported, hindering the sustainable development of the national industry, he said.


By 2025, 400 Huaxi bulls should be available for breeding each year, which will cover 70% of beef breed stock in the country.


Li Junya, the research team's chief scientist, said that the new variety compares favorably at the global level. "Adult bulls weigh up to 900kg and adult cows over 550kg," Li said. "The slaughter rate is 62.39% while the net meat rate is 53.95%."


Since 1978, the Huaxi cattle variety has undergone improved hybridisation, the introduction of new genetic traits and selective breeding before becoming a specialised variety with a consistent body shape, outstanding production and stable genetic performance that it has become today, Li added.


To date, there are 41 Huaxi cattle farms nationwide in Inner Mongolia and provinces like Henan and Hubei, which involve 60 breeding enterprises.


At present, breeding of the fifth generation of Huaxi cattle has begun and the variety's core breeding population will gradually expand over the next five to 10 years, Li said.


"By 2027, China is expected to independently control the core genetic resources of its beef cattle stock, ensuring supply security," he commented.


To work toward this goal, a list was recently released of 276 agricultural breeding enterprises.


The main tasks laid out for the seven beef cattle breeders on the list include enhancing innovation in breeding and catching up with more advanced cattle breeders in terms of production.


Leading breeders are expected to improve the performance of independently bred varieties and accelerate the industrialisation of the sector to gradually increase its market share, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a circular.

- China Daily

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