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Silage harvesting addressed by dairy industry

By Zhao Yimeng | | Updated: 2022-05-17 21:53
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The harvesting of unripe green wheat for silage was due to corn silage shortages at a few cow breeding farms in North China's Plain area, an official with the dairy industry said on Tuesday. The harvesting had raised some concerns among the public.

Chen Shaohu, deputy secretary general of the Dairy Association of China, said after severe autumn floods last year, storage of corn silage was insufficient, so a few cow breeders had to plant or buy wheat silage for emergency use.

"Most of the breeding farms rotated crops to plant wheat on the land designated for supporting forage use. Some farms bought unripe wheat planted nearby, but not at a large scale. The actual purchasing price wasn't as high as online speculation indicated," Chen said.

Videos circulated on social media showing green wheat fields being destroyed. Some explained in the videos the wheat was harvested ahead of schedule and sold at a higher price to breeding enterprises as wheat silage.

Chen said the breeding farms in question have stopped purchasing unripe wheat, which is typically harvested in early June for producing staple food.

Given silage shortages faced by some farms, the association is connecting breeding farms with forage enterprises to strengthen provision.

"The shortage of silage for large-scale dairy farms in the area is about 400,000 metric tons, which is not large and can be resolved through deployment," Chen said.

Corn silage accounted for more than 90 percent of the silage used in cow farms, and the rest is ryegrass and barley. "This kind of emergency use of wheat silage happened in previous years and the amount was also small," he said.

"However, considering high public concerns over ensuring national food security, the association has issued a proposal to the entire industry to stop using wheat as silage," he added.

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