China says breakthrough in domestic beef production

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) have made a major breakthrough in developing a new breed of cattle that has a faster growth rate and a higher feed-to-meat conversion, state media People’s Daily reported this week. 

The new breed named Huaxi Cattle was developed by the Beijing Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, a subsidiary of CAAS. It has been certified as a new type of specialized beef cattle, and will be suitable for most pastures across China. 

More than 60 companies have started cultivating this new breed. 

The paper highlighted that the growth rate of Huaxi Cattle will match the international standard in the next five to ten years. 

“A major breakthrough has been made in China’s beef production,” said People’s Daily, adding that the patent of Huaxi Cattle is wholly owned by Chinese institutes. 

This development could be critical for China’s rising demand for premium meat such as beef and lamb. 

The country’s cattle herd expanded substantially since 2018 to meet bigger demand. The herd size totalled 98.2 million heads in 2021, the highest level on record, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. 

Beef imports in China also jumped to a new high of 2.34 million tons last year. 

Cattle slaughtering volume and beef output in China has been increasing continuously in the past decade, from 41.9 million heads in 2013 to more than 47 million heads in 2021.