In recent years, domestic beef consumption has rapidly increased in China in the wake of increasing incomes, accompanied by increased beef imports. Under these circumstances, the strengthening of domestic beef production is urgently needed, and the expansion of fattening and breeding management has become an important issue. In the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, one of China’s leading beef producing areas, beef cattle breeding management has been currently enhanced. Moreover, securing the stable feed base is an urgent issue for pastoral management in Inner Mongolia. This is because the use of natural grassland is strictly restricted by the implementation of ecological environment protection policy. Nomadic and grazing-based traditional breeding has been converted to “house feeding”, and the resulting changes in breeding practices and animals fed have increased management costs such as building costs and purchased feed costs. Since the local conditions and ecological environment differ depending on different areas, naturally regional differences exist in effects of grassland use restriction. However, little research has been conducted to analyze beef cattle breeding management in Inner Mongolia, focusing on regional characteristics, through an individual management hearing survey. Therefore, this study is intended to examine the present situations and challenges of beef cattle breeding management in Chifeng city, Inner Mongolia, with focus on regional differences between the agro-pastoral and the pastoral areas.
The main findings from the comparative analysis of the data collected from the farm management survey conducted for 16 farms in the agro-pastoral village and 17 farms in the pastoral village are as follows. First, in the breeding management of the agro-pastoral village, concentrated feed is predominant, while in the pastoral village, coarse feed comprising meadow grass is mainly used. Under the ecological protection policy, the agro-pastoral village has strengthened corn production on arable land, while the pastoral village has attempted to maintain and expand its forage base by shifting the shipping time of calves to the beginning of the grazing period. Note that in the agro-pastoral village, increased corn production has generated surplus, and its sale is currently one of important revenue sources. Second, although there is a marked difference in breeding management of the agro-pastoral village and the pastoral village, no statistically significant difference exists between the two villages in the number of cattle fed, gross revenue, management cost and net revenue. Third, the comparison of profitability of the two villages according to the size (number of cattle fed) class reveal that in the agro-pastoral village medium-sized farms have more advantage in net revenue because of the sale of surplus corn, while in the pastoral village large farms are superior with the abundant roughage feed base. However, due to the lack of sufficient self-supplied feed, the dependency on purchased feed is greater for the large farms than for the small and medium farms in both villages.