Jason Shelton, global technology application director for Cargill's animal nutrition business, spoke to FeedNavigator about the goals of the new center:
“We aimed to build this TAC not only as a high quality research farm, but also a place where we can mimic real life customer conditions. For instance, for dairy it has all the standard parlor equipment of a new dairy in China.
It will include PhDs for both pork and dairy as well as experienced farm managers who can make sure the farm is run efficiently and effectively.”
The new Hebei TAC has 120 lactating dairy cows and 280 sows.
Cargill's animal nutrition business has more than 30 feed plants in the country. “We are not new to China. In addition to this TAC, we also have an aqua-focused TAC in Southern China which opened in 2012,” said Shelton.
He said the main focus of Chinese dairy producers, in particular, is milk quality and safety. “Second is an overall increase in milk yield. As demand for milk and milk products like yogurt continue to increase, customers need to be able to produce more milk per cow.”
Lowering diet costs one goal of R&D complex
Shelton said the TAC will concentrate on developing technology applications to improve animal performance, lower diet costs, reduce nitrogen and phosphorus excretion, and enhance animal health.
“Performance will be improved by taking knowledge from our global network – two global innovation centers and 11 other TACs - and applying that expertise to China's production system to find the best possible solutions for the local market,” he said.
In terms of achieving lower diet costs for the Chinese markets, Shelton said there are multiple ways but the main one is to better utilize local ingredients combined with deeper insight into the local swine and dairy markets. “This will be a big part of the program,” said Shelton.
Such insights, he said, will also inform Cargill’s objective of lowering N and P excretion: “The application of our knowledge of enzymes as well as better understanding of animal requirements in a local setting will allow us to better unlock nutrients so that more is used by the animal and less is excreted to the environment.”
Its goal around animal health also involves leveraging knowledge from global operations and customizing it to suit diet formulations for the Chinese market. “Applying this technology at a real life local farm - at the TAC - helps ensure that what we create relates to local situations,” said Shelton.