China's grassland livestock farming systems: Strategies and tactics for improvement

David Kemp, Guodong Han, David Michalk, Zhibiao Nan, Jianping Wu, Zhu Xu

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

The challenge facing herders and the Chinese Government is how to rehabilitate the vast areas of degraded grasslands across northern and western China without causing a decline in household incomes. The research results presented in these proceedings have shown that the initial step required of reducing stocking rates will maintain or increase net household incomes from livestock. Additionally, changing enterprises from mutton to fine wool, introducing better nutrition, using warm sheds, changing breeding management etc. can all be implemented within existing structures and would further improve incomes. Demonstration farms are needed, however, to enable local herders to understand and then effectively implement these initial changes. A core issue is to improve the efficiencies in livestock production to enhance the quality of products marketed. Better quality products will attract the price premiums that are developing, reinforcing win'win outcomes. Training to assist herders to move from survival to production thinking will be important. Subsequently, attention can then be paid to resolving better grassland management strategies to enable the more desirable species to recover. In some areas government payments may be needed to reduce stocking rates below financial optima for grassland rehabilitation. The rates of change in grassland condition are slow, and current grazing bans are arguably too short and without adequate follow-on practices to achieve the outcomes desired. The range of options that can be readily implemented is discussed as are needs for future research and development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopment of sustainable livestock systems on grasslands in north-western China
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a workshop held at the combined International Grassland Congress and International Rangeland Conference, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, 28 June 2008
EditorsD.R. Kemp, D.L. Michalk
Place of PublicationCanberra, ACT
PublisherAustralian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Pages177-189
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781921615456
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventXXI International Grassland Congress and VIII International Rangeland Congress - Hohhot, China, Hohhot, China
Duration: 28 Jun 200828 Jun 2008

Conference

ConferenceXXI International Grassland Congress and VIII International Rangeland Congress
CountryChina
CityHohhot
Period28/06/0828/06/08

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  • Cite this

    Kemp, D., Han, G., Michalk, D., Nan, Z., Wu, J., & Xu, Z. (2011). China's grassland livestock farming systems: Strategies and tactics for improvement. In D. R. Kemp, & D. L. Michalk (Eds.), Development of sustainable livestock systems on grasslands in north-western China: Proceedings of a workshop held at the combined International Grassland Congress and International Rangeland Conference, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, 28 June 2008 (pp. 177-189). Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).