Developing herbivore livestock (cattle, sheep and goat, etc.) has become a major strategic decision of China’s development of modern animal husbandry. In recent years, with the rapid development of China’s meat sheep and goat industry, its main characteristics and development trends were as follows: sheep and goat farms (households) decreased, but the total number of their slaughter increased, raising the average of raising scale; farms (households) significantly increased the size of their herd and the proportion of slaughter increased significantly; there were significant differences of large-scale level at both the regional and provincial levels.
In order to promote industrial development of modern agriculture in China in 1997, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance began to build a “national modern agriculture industrial technology system” (China Agricultural Research System, CARS), and in 1998 implementation of this system began. Six years later the following landmarks were achieved:
- First in the country undertake a comprehensive research of the organizations, local agricultural authorities, farmers and processing enterprises, cooperatives, field sales and market research, in order to better understand the sheep and goat industry in recent years, and create a comprehensive analysis of the development trends and constraint factors, to further increase the Chinese sheep and goat industry development foundation.
- Actively promote the large-scale standardization of sheep and goat, and encouraged the sheep industry to promote this transformation and upgrading. For domestic existence of traditional, decentralized, less extensive feeding and forage management, a problem that seriously hampered the healthy and sustainable development of the sheep industry. The development and promotion of key technologies, which greatly promoted the standardization of sheep and goat, organized, large-scale farming and ecological farming. Developed a series of standards in sheep breeding, disease prevention and control, feed nutrition, product processing and industrial economic aspects for the development of Chinese meat sheep and goat breeding industry to provide effective technical support.
- Breeding of new sheep and goat meat varieties (lines) to support local breeding. The use of modern technology for integrated applications, especially in estrus synchronization, laparoscopic insemination, molecular breeding, embryo transfer and somatic cell cloning modern biotechnology, and shorten generation intervals to achieve an integrated two-year tertiary study and solve the problem of low breeding sheep.
- In terms of disease prevention and control, understand Chinese sheep and goat disease prevalence and create a sheep rearing business model based on biological safety theory, study and formulate comprehensive disease prevention and control technical specifications and a series of supporting systems to ensure effective prevention and control of diseases.
- Product processing, processing technology, the establishment of technical specifications and processing factors, evaluation criteria for grading sheep and goat carcass, and lamb storage to maintain quality.
- Environmental and economic aspects of industrialization to optimize the design and promotion of research on different types of pens, agricultural areas and the use of relevant parameters, and achieved a number of national utility model patents, published monographs, and other technological achievements. Greatly improved the level of research on China’s sheep industry to promote the development and improvement of Chinese sheep and national policies.
Special thanks to Xu Gangyi, IGA Board member, for sending us this article.