Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.
China is building a 100,000 cow dairy unit to supply Russian market. In the UK pasture farmer sells his raw milk locally and makes profit with just 10 cows. What a mad, mad, world!
This is a bleak picture of the future of agriculture if there ever was one. Big just gets bigger in the dreams of industrial agriculture and with China establishing a major dairy industry, it will be hard for anything else to compete. In a move that one commentator has termed “agricultural geo-politics”, the Russians have partnered with the Chinese to build a 100,000-cow dairy unit to produce milk and cheese for the Russian market. Russia has banned imports of milk and cheese from Europe because of economic sanctions imposed by the European Union over its involvement in the war in Ukraine. Russia used to import some 25% of Europe’s cheese production alone, but Mansel Raymond, chairman of Milk Working Party Copa-Cogeca, which works for European milk producers, fears that Europe has now lost the Russian dairy market altogether.
The 100,000 cows will be housed indoors and the animal welfare and environmental implications of this are disturbing. The development will build on the 40,000-cow unit that China has already erected; the video below of that site shows a sea of vast blue sheds as far as the eye can see. Will China’s new facility be the Armageddon of European milk production?
We hope not. Animals should not be kept like this and it simply is not necessary. We have a farmer on BigBarn with 3 jersey cows grazing on permanent pasture. He milks them once a day and sells the raw milk to the lucky people of Harpenden in Hertfordshire. As demand grows he plans to increase the herd to 10 cows where he will make a healthy profit and start employing local people.
Where would you like to get you milk from the mega dairy or the local farmer?