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Dairy cows decline on Okinawa as prices rise dramatically

Date Posted: 2008-05-09

The price of feed for dairy cattle is soaring, and the Okinawa Prefecture Dairy Farming Association says the number of cows still producing milk has dropped nearly 40% from only 17 years ago.
Dairy cows require air conditioning to produce in Okinawa’s hot climate, says Association Chairman Shigeo Shinzato, and that’s costing farmers money. So is the cost of forage, which must all be imported to feed the cows.
The Stockbreeding Section at Okinawa Prefecture is now considering actions to support dairy farmers, whose income has been strangled by the higher costs. It notes forage feed now costs ¥61,800 per ton, up from¥43,350 less than two years ago. Okinawa now has 5,283 dairy cattle being raised on Okinawa, down from 9,232 in 1990.
Shinzato says there needs to be dairy reforms addressed both to production and systems. The Dairy Farming Association says Okinawans aren’t drinking milk like they used to. The average person is drinking only 26.4 liters in a year, down from 15 liters in a month less than a decade ago.

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