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New cattle breed to curb China's dependence on imports

By WANG XIAODONG | | Updated: 2021-01-27 20:20
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China is poised to end its reliance on imports for genetic resources for beef production after a five-year effort to cultivate a new domestic breed, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said on Tuesday.

The new breed, named Huaxi cattle for the time being, is a cross breed of highly productive Simmental, a large breed of cattle of Swiss origin, and indigenous Chinese cattle species, the academy said.

The breed, under cultivation, is expected to pass inspections before the end of next year, the academy said.

Li Junya, deputy head of CAAS's Institute of Animal Sciences, said the breeding of the Huaxi cattle started in 1978, and about 20,000 are being raised in breeding farms across China, he said.

"Based on existing studies, the breed's meat productivity is higher than most other cattle breeds in the world," Li said.

China relies on imports for the majority of its beef cattle germ plasm — reproductive materials such as embryos and frozen semen — it needs to produce beef every year. Although China's cattle genetic resources are abundant, its cattle do not grow as fast or produce as much meat as their foreign counterparts, including Simmental.

It is expected that Huaxi cattle will be promoted extensively domestically following their certification next year. The breed is expected to account for more than half the number of beef cattle raised in China by 2025, according to Li.

While trying to develop more productive beef breeds, scientists at the Institute of Animal Sciences will continue to breed and promote indigenous cattle with meritorious characteristics, such as boasting better flavor, to meet the increasing consumption demand from the public, he said.

Meanwhile, international cooperation and exchanges will continue to play an important role in improving domestic research and development of superior animal breeds, Li said.

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