The development of conventional beef industry, i.e. cow-calf model, has been limited due to the high cost of production. Currently, as much as 94% of beef demand is met by imported products from USA and Australia according to the official statistical data in 2012. Of the local beef, dairy beef shares at least 80 to 85 percent of market while the rest are beef from classical beef cattle and water buffalos. The number of water buffalos is decreasing drastically to less than 2,000 during recent years. The utilization of agro-byproducts such as brewer’s grains, soybean hull etc. has reduced the cost of feeding and has made the production of dairy beef remain profitable. However, the use of frozen semen with sexed spermatozoa in the past few years has reduced the birth of dairy male, hence reduced the available source of dairy beef. Though the market share is small, the local beef is getting more and more preferable to the local consumers due to the free of Ractopamine residue. The certification of traceability for the product of local beef has been established in recent years.
Many of beef breeds including tropical breeds like Brahman, Sindhi, and Kankrej, and temperate breeds such as Santa Gertrudis, Charolais, Gelbvieh and Simmental have been introduced to Taiwan for crossbreeding of native cattle for draft or beef purpose during the last decades. Nowadays, there are nearly no purebred of beef cattle in Taiwan except the small population of 300 conserved Taiwan Yellow Cattle in Hengchun Branch of Livestock Research Institute (LRI), Council of Agriculture (COA). This indigenous animal now registered officially as a new breed of cattle is characterized by its tasty flavor of beef and remarkable carcass traits. In accordance with the certification of traceability, the stud stock of Taiwan Yellow Cattle has been transferred to the private sector, Hong-Jine Beef Company, for commercial production of distinctive beef products. In addition to the continuous conservation of indigenous animal resources, by both in situ and ex situ, the expansion of population by releasing the animals to private sectors and the crossbreeding with superior beef breeds to upgrade the quality of beef will be the major tasks in near future.
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