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Arla Foods extends cooperation to dairy farming in China

Better milk quality, more efficient use of resources, higher yield per cows and improved employee and animal welfare is the positive cooperation result between Arla Foods with Mengniu.

© Snorri Sidgurdsson

Alignment with SDGs


Snorri Sigurdsson Arla Foods • Denmark


The China-Denmark Milk Technology Cooperation Centre (CDMTCC) was founded in 2012 by Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy and Arla Foods. The centre promotes cooperation between the Chinese and Danish dairy industries in order to lift the quality and quantity of Chinese milk production to European standards with the purpose of strengthening food safety and local supply. The centre also acts as a platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing between companies, authorities, organisations, and scientific institutions on dairy related issues. Since its inception, the centre has initiated over 40 different projects and activities to support the improvement of milk quality, production and animal welfare. In doing so the centre is helping dairy farmers to increase their income while, at the same time, increasing the local sourcing of feed, which is beneficial for the environment.

As Snorri Sigurdsson, Head of China-Denmark Milk Technology Cooperation Centre, sums up: “Sharing knowledge among the dairy sector can help improve milk quality, biosecurity and animal health, as well as lower antibiotic use, and decrease the CO2 footprint.”

Moving the wheel

The main focus has been training sessions in which experts from Denmark have supported, taught and trained Chinese dairy farmers in topics including standard operating practices, feeding, animal welfare, hoof trimming, milking, milk quality, resource efficiency, and medicine use. Specialized seminars for farmers, farm workers and service employees have also been hosted, in addition to expert meetings with attendees from both Denmark and China. Furthermore, the centre publishes different educational guidelines, handbooks and training materials, making broader literature about dairy farming available in China.

© Snorri Sidgurdsson
© Snorri Sidgurdsson

Sharing knowledge among the dairy sector can help improve milk quality, biosecurity and animal health, as well as lower antibiotic use, and decrease the CO2 footprint.

History of success

Since 2012 the Chinese dairy farming industry has gone through tremendous changes from small scale farming to modernized dairy production. Today, some farms even achieve 40 kg/cow/day while reducing their production costs. Last year, annual milk production in China increased to its level ever and was achieved with less or the same CO2 emissions as in previous years. 

Since 2012, the CDMTCC has worked with over 700 Chinese dairy farmers, who have a combined milk pool of 4.5 billion kg, to support them to produce milk more efficiently and at a higher quality. A direct consequence of this work is that it helps to improve the Chinese consumers’ perception of milk as a good and safe source of nutrition.

© Snorri Sidgurdsson

Looking ahead

“The unique cooperation between Arla Foods and Mengniu is showing that greater professionalism and better education is influencing the dairy farming industry in the right way and demonstrating that dairy farming not only has a strong future, but also contributes to increased living standards in China,” explains Snorri.

As well as the continued quest for quality, lowering the environmental impact of Chinese milk production and improving animal welfare, the coming years will see a focus on efficiencies. As Snorri explains: “Milk production in China is one of the most costly in the world so we’ll be working with farmers on techniques to reduce costs, drawing on concentrate experiences from our European farmer owners.”

Further information

about the last 2 years activities can be found on the China – Denmark milk technology cooperation centre