Across China: Plateau farming fieldwork bears fruits for students, herders

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 07, 2024
Adjust font size:

LANZHOU, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Riding a motorcycle, Zhao Zhiwei, 30, skillfully drove some 30 yaks back to the shed, where his classmate Cao Ze was waiting to hang a feeding bag onto each yak's horns.

After appeasing a yak by touching its head, Cao grabbed the horns tight, leaned his upper body to push down the cattle, and quickly put on the bag. Inside the bag, forage made of straw, wheat bran, and bean pulp was to provide nutrition that the cattle need.

"It takes skills to catch a yak smoothly. I learned them from local herders," said Cao, 26.

Being doctoral candidates at Lanzhou University's College of Ecology in northwest China's Gansu Province, Zhao and Cao are stationed in Maqu County at an average altitude of over 3,700 meters, conducting research and providing technology services to local herders.

A total of 18 young researchers and postgraduate students led by their professor, Long Ruijun, have carried out fieldwork on ranges, herding bases, and agricultural enterprises on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Through field investigations, experimental research and technical training, they have aimed to bring more benefits to the animal husbandry industry while balancing ecological protection and improving the livelihoods of local herders.

The young team has overcome unimaginable difficulties to conduct research on the plateau. For Zhao, the hardest part was purchasing yaks and sheep for the research.

"For the purpose of research, we only accepted yaks weighing 145 kg to 155 kg. So we had to choose ideal cattle door to door," Zhao said, adding that sometimes they walked into the wetland barefoot, carrying a huge weigh scale, only to reach the herders' homes.

The team converted a vacant 40-year-old cottage with three rooms into their dormitory and "lab." In the house, Dong Youhan, 25, weighed grass samples with her classmate.

Dong said they fed the yaks in the morning, cut grass in the afternoon, and then conducted vegetation research, with the plateau constantly providing research subjects.

Despite hardships during the dull days of endless research, they also find joy.

"We really enjoy breathing the fresh air, strolling and lying idly on the grassland," said the second-grade postgraduate.

Their professor, Long, said that doing fieldwork in areas with harsh conditions would not only help young people with their studies but also cultivate their spirit of hard work and contribute to society.

According to Tenzin Gurmey, head of a local breeding base, the optimized forage and breeding techniques taught by the team have lowered the herding cost while maintaining meat quality and promoted the high-quality and sustainable development of the animal husbandry industry.

"I hope the scientific technologies that we are working on will someday be further promoted to the plateau area in Asia and even the alpine areas in the world," Cao said. Enditem

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from