The former state farm is about a four-hour drive from Guizhou province’s capital Guiyang, and is now an state-owned enterprise. It is being set up as a model farm, but has a long way to go to get to Dushan’s level.
Part of the problem is a lack of capital.
Cost of development is quite high and the staff are still learning.
No drill or roller is available so the fertiliser and seed is put on by hand over cultivated ground at a high seeding rate. Spraying and broadcasting seed by hand has been quite successful.
A little bit of investment by the Government into new machinery and new technology would result in a substantial lift in production. It would also mean a drop in the labour employed, which is a sensitive issue.
The Guizhou Government is keen to disinvest, not invest, so until it makes a profit or gets outside investment the machinery will have to wait.
The visit to Fang Ma Peng coincided with a tour of the farm by the agriculture commissioner of grassland, Lui Jianwen. We lunched with him which meant another banquet and more Maotai (see December issue ).
Lui was impressed by the 667ha farm but is a keen supporter of Chinese-style Rogernomics. He would like to see private ownership.
The farm manager is Mei Hou Hua and his “team”. There are 12 working staff and 60 non-working and retired staff on the farm.
They are running 100 cattle and 3000 goats, which include the Guizhou black goat, a meat breed, and 300 Boer goats.
When Boer goats were introduced from other provinces they brought disease. Two years ago the abortion rate was 62%. So the Fang Ma Peng board decided to build its own goat herd with stock recording.
The nucleus herd of 400 goats were starting to kid when Country-Wide visited. Kidding is three times in two years, spring and autumn (used to be winter, with poor results). The best kidding is about 300% a year, or 180% a pregnancy. The best of the private farmers is hitting 162% out of a herd of 45 goats.
Goats are getting sore feet from the stones in the track and scald is a problem. The staff were rubbing alcohol on the feet so Tim suggested they use a footbath with zinc and/or copper.
Cattle are good for maintaining pasture quality and control grass grub with their hooves.
The sheep-goat yards designed by Tim have a dipping machine which jets from stationary points.
Fang Ma Peng's beef cattle.