Home > Features > Ji Qiumei: a female Tibetan scientist focuses on yak research for 20 years

Ji Qiumei: a female Tibetan scientist focuses on yak research for 20 years

Publish Time: 2017-08-14 Author: Tian Ruolin From: Kangba TV

Tibet Autonomous Region is one of the five main pasturing areas and the yak is the material basis for Tibetan people to live. Yaksin Tibet can influence local economy and people's living standards. 

Ji Qiumei 

Born in pasturing areas of Tibet’s Damxung County, Ji Qiumei has developed profound affection to yaks since she was little and the affection drives her all the way to study the yak. 

For over 20 years, Ji Qiumei stayed on the plateau for yak research and earned 2010 Chinese Young Female Scientists Award. She has grown distinct thoughts and opinions on Tibet’s yak industry out of years of study and field research. 

Ji Qiumei insists that the ways of yak development should be hinged on local conditions.  

After three batch of experiments, Ji Qiumei and her team drew a conclusion that yaks’ fattening should not be done in cold season (from December to next April), since there is no green grass during that time and the cost is high.  

Ji Qiumei said, Cold season, the original yaksfattening time,should be substituted by off season (from April to September).” In cold season, the priorities for the yaks are safety wintering, survival and keeping fat. 

Short-term fattening can be done from April to September and the slaughtering time can be advanced to September from October for areas with good feeding conditions. 

Though the prices of fodder grass in off season” are high, prices of yak meat in this period are also higher. 

According to Ji Qiumei, For pure pasturing areas with no forage but good natural fodder grass, fattening via intensive pasturing is advocated, namely keeping the yaks in a fenced pasture all day long. This method can be adopted by cooperatives, collectivesof even two herding households.  

After pasturing for 24 hours, lick bricks with microelements can be supplied to the livestock for a balanced nutrition. If the fodder grass is not enough, some grain feeds should be added.  

This mode is moneymaking and feasible. Besides bricks with microelements, herdsmen also add salt to yaks’ feeding stuff. 

Ji Qiumei said, There is a gap between yak demand and yield, 80 percent of which can be fixed via real-time slaughtering. 

The traditional slaughtering time is mid-to-late October, which can be advanced to late September and early October when the fatness is the best. Another reason is that the grass turns yellow in early October when yaks lose weight sharply.  

Thats why the slaughtering time is selected. The quality of the yak meat is the best as well as the weight. Generally, mature cattle may lose 5kg weight from October to November. In addition, slaughtering time a month ahead can ease the grass pressure. 

Ji Qiumei contended that, “Economic benefit is the premise to popularize a scientific technology.” Via embryo transfer technology, Ji Qiumei and her team cultivate yak species of good properties, which is the major breakthrough and achievement of Tibet’s yak researchers. 

At present, embryo transfer technology is only applied in yak species’ conservation and breeding. Three factors account for this situation. 

Firstly, the high cost. Secondly, the immature technology and low survival rate (about 30 percent to 40 percent). Thirdly, the large number of yaks. Except for yak species conservation and breeding, this technology is inefficient in a way.  


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