Hsin-Chu Branch was originated in 1962 as the third demonstration farm of Mountainous Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Bureau, Agriculture and Forest Department, Taiwan Province. In 1965, the demonstration farm was belonged to Yang-mei Branch, Taiwan Livestock Research Institute (TLRI). In 1977, the Yang-mei Branch moved from Yang-mei, Taoyuan to Shiang-san, Hsin-chu, and renamed as Hsin-chu Branch, Taiwan Livestock Research Institute. With the plan to streamline the business of Taiwan Provincial Government, Livestock Research Institute were under the Council of Agriculture (COA), Executive Yuan. In 2000, Hsin-chu Branch determined to move to present location, Si-hoo, Miao-li. In 2001, 104 hectares hillside land was expropriated and would develop as grassland for dairy cattle. From 2001 to 2006, after completing the application of land development permission, soil and water conservation planning, environmental impact assessment and many miscellaneous projects, such as the treatment of dangerous slope, land-cutting and filling, drainage works, and access roads, there were only 21 hectares of hillside land completed to develop as grassland and building construction. In 2007, starting to plan the main office building construction, and pasture grass conservation, environmental monitoring, as well as purchasing irrigation equipment for forage area, agricultural machine and equipment, livestock storage and transportation equipment. In 2009, completing all the building construction such as livestock wastewater treatment facilities, composting manure facilities, dairy research office buildings, dormitories, pasture grass conservation, environmental monitoring, and road construction. All Branch was moved from Hsian-san, Hsin-chu to present location, Si-hoo, Miao-li at the end of the year. Yet, Hsin-chu Branch, LRI was still used. In 2012, on the plane of Government restructure, the Branch will consolidated Chung-hwa Station to be North Branch, LRI.
Since 1962, The Branch has engaged in the development of the dairy industry, not only keeping a experimental dairy herd for the genetic improvement, but also was involved in research and extension in the area of dairy breeding, feeding and nutrient, management, reproduction milk quality and forage production and to disseminate the knowledge of dairy research results from LRI to dairy farm.
- To conduct research relevant to increasing milk yield and high quality of milk for the efficient dairy farming in Taiwan and to disseminate the knowledge of dairy research results from LRI to dairy farm.
- To establish individual cow's performance database through DHI program for genetic evaluation such as estimating genetic parameters and genetic merits of individual animals, developing procedures for identifying superior animals.
- To establish well-equipped milk laboratory certificated by TAF for analyzing milk constitute and using the milk composition results to monitor cows’ health to prolong the animals’ production life especially in metabolic disorder in DHI dairy cows - detection of ketosis.
- To develop feeding strategies to meet nutrient requirement and balance, and improvements of feeding strategy in dairy cattle associated with high quality milk and emphasizing its efficiency and practical aspect on production system and on upgrading the reproductive efficiency of dairy cattle.
- To improve the utilization and quality of forage through harvest and storage methods as well as modifications and tissue culture. mainly for pasture development, maintenance and management, forage tissue culture study and forage harvest modulation.
- To develop practices for disease prevention through quick diagnosis method and using herb medicine.
- Dairy cow type classification and corrective mating: Judging 15 type traits with Linear Score system to evaluate strength and weak of type trait and suggesting bull semen for type corrective mating.
- Dairy herd precision management: Application of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) Technology in dairy herd for electronic management.
- Dairy cow's performance testing: Collecting individual dairy cows milk yield and reproduction performance data to record each cows performance.
- Genetic evaluation of dairy cows: Using individual dairy cows performance data and pedigree with BLUE procedure to evaluate Genetic parameter.
- Milk production traceability: Milk component and quality control from farm to table.
- Frozen semen preparation and Artificial Insemination: Selection of Elite Bull and collecting and preparing high quality frozen semen for mating dairy cow.
- Feeding and management Practices for milking cows: TMR formulation, Feeding Practices and Relief of heat stress for high production dairy cows, application of CMT and quartz crystal microbalance sensor for rapid determination of cow milk microorganisms.
Local Industry Introduction
The dairy farming in Taiwan started to develop with the government's strong support in 1957. Since then, dairy farming has undergone several major crises. Especially in 1965 with the lifting of the import restriction on milk powder, the opening up of domestic market to beef imports in 1975, breaking out Foot and Mouth Disease in 1997, and Taiwan becoming membership of WTO in 2000. Yet, the adverse environmental factors in Taiwan such as high temperatures and limited agricultural land availability for grass and grain planting as well as insufficient skilled manpower have together resulted in relatively high cost in milk production.
According to the yearend statistics of 2015, dairy farms in Taiwan have reached a total number of 547, raising 111,543 cows, or 204 cows per farm, of which milk cow totaled 61,859, with the overall milk yield of 375,499 metric tons. This represents a self-sufficiency rate of 24.18% and an annual milk yield per cow of 6,070 kg. The industry's total output of the year 2000 amounted to NT$7.62 billion. Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) programs has been implemented since 1977 to enhance dairy farmers' operation efficiency, to improve the cow’s performance and to ensure raw milk quality. There are 160 dairy herds and 16,100 cows enrolled on DHI. Farmers are encouraged to conduct milk sampling by their own. Most of dairy farms have been using TMR to feed dairy cows. All dairy cows are mated by the imported frozen semen for milk yield improvement. Some farms have using ICT techno ledge for herd precision management. Due to relatively high production costs, resulting in an insufficient domestic fluid milk supply. Three key domestic processors – Wei-chuan, Uni President, and Kuan-Chuan - account for 80 percent of fluid milk production, but there are 19 milk processing plants in total. Raw milk price was determined by the reference prices which was set on the fat percentages and solid nonfat percentage (SNF%) as well as the number of somatic cells and live bacteria. The COA also has been actively promoting the domestic fresh milk seal on the packaging to boost consumers' confidence in fresh raw milk. Milk processing plants are eligible to apply for the COA fresh milk seals for use on product packaging. The COA reviews each application and strictly controls the number of authorized seals issued based on the volume of raw milk that these processing plants purchase from local dairy farms.