Current reports are indicating that farmers in China are opting to slaughter their dairy cows as a result of soaring demand for protein products.

As a result of the devastating effect of African swine fever (ASF) on pig production in China, the world’s biggest meat consumer is turning to other types of locally produced and imported protein, according to an article published recently on Bloomberg.

The director of global operations at HighGround Dairy in Chicago, Alyssa Badger, has said that the situation could lead to Ireland further increasing its beef exports to the country.

Badger outlined that China’s farmers may be starting to slaughter their own dairy cows for beef noting that the country’s fluid milk and cream imports reached a record high in April.

With the lower availability of pork and rising chicken prices, culling domestic cows seems sensible.

According to the publication, hefty beef shipments from Australia signal that people in China are already switching away from pork to cattle meat.

Chinese beef imports have surged, with the world’s largest pork market buying 128,920t in April - 75% more than a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the price of beef has also risen, with one kilogram of meat costing 60.23 yuan - 6% higher than in August when China reported its first outbreak of the hog disease, according to Bloomberg.

As a result of the increasing cost of beef, people have been shifting to other protein-rich foods such as chicken and eggs.

Concluding, the publication noted how the trend is materialising. It noted that Wens Foodstuffs Group, the biggest pork breeder, has recently agreed to buy a majority stake in a local chicken producer on expectations that demand will expand due to poultry’s relatively lower cost.