Livestock (incl. Milk & Honey)

家畜 (乳 & 蜂蜜)


In China, pork is king, with the country accounting for approximately 1/2 of global pork consumption (as of 2011). From 2005 to 2010, consumption of pork increased by 8%, but consumption fell from 2007 to 2008 due to an outbreak of blue ear pig disease. Although pork is the most popular meat in China, chicken consumption has increased due to a variety of reasons which include health concerns about pork products, higher incomes, and more frequent dining out by urban Chinese. Despite poultry’s gain, pork consumption will likely remain high due to government support programs, including purchasing pork for reserves and occasionally subsidizing pork purchases for low-income consumers.


Livestock (# of Heads)

  • #1 in Chickens, Pigs, Ducks, Sheep, Geese & Guinea Fowls, Rabbits, Asses (e.g. Donkeys)
  • #2 in Goats, Horses, Mules, Pigeons
  • #3 in Buffaloes,
  • #4 in Cattle
  • #15 in Camels

Meat (Metric Tons)

  • #1 in Pork, Duck Meat, Goat Meat, Geese & Guinea Fowl Meat, Horse Meat, Rabbit Meat
  • #2 in Chicken Meat
  • #3 in Cattle Meat (e.g. Beef)
  • #4 in Buffalo Meat
  • #10 in Camel Meat

Dairy & Other Byproducts (Metric Tons)

  • #1 in Chicken Eggs, Honey, Sheep Milk
  • #3 in Cow Milk

In 2011, China had 4.6 billion chickens or approximately 23% of the global supply. Chinese ducks totaled 859 million or 63% of global supply, and hogs totaled 468 million or 49% of the world’s supply of pigs. Cattle and buffaloes amounted to 103 million (7% of global supply), goats totaled 142 million (16% of global supply), and sheep totaled 139 million (13% of global supply).

During the same year, Chinese pork production totaled 50.5 million MTs or 47% of global pork output, 12 million MTs of chicken meat (14% of global output), 6.4 million MTs of cattle/buffalo meat (10% of global output), 3.9 million MTs of mutton, and 2.9 million MTs of duck meat (68% of global output). Cow milk production totaled 36.5 million MTs (6% of global production), sheep milk 1.5 million MTs (17% of global output), chicken eggs totaled 28 million MTs (~37% of global output), and honey totaled 431,157 MTs (~27% of global output).


In general, China’s pork supply is centered along the middle-and-low valleys of the Yangtze River, beef in central and northeast China, sheep in the northwest prairie as well as central and southwest China, and poultry in the developed eastern coastal regions.

  • Cattle/Buffaloes: #1 Sichuan & Henan Provinces, #2 Yunnan Province, #3 Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
  • Beef: #1 is Henan Province, #2 is Shandong Province, #3 is Hebei Province
  • Cow Milk: #1 is Inner Mongolia Region, #2 is Heilongjiang Province, #3 is Hebei Province

China’s cattle and buffalo population is spread out along the southern and northern sections of the country. In 2011, Sichuan province had 9.6 million heads of cattle/buffalo (10% of China’s total supply) and Henan province recorded 9.5 million heads. Yunnan province counted 7.4 million head, while Inner Mongolia recorded 6.3 million heads of cattle/buffaloes.

Beef production is primarily located near urban centers in central and eastern China. During the same year, Henan province produced 820,000 MTs of beef (13% of China’s output), Shandong province produced 662,300 MTs, and Hebei province produced 544,609 MTs of beef. Cow milk production takes place in northern China, with Inner Mongolia region producing 9 million MTs (25% of China’s output) and Heilongjiang producing 5.4 million MTs in 2011.

China Cattle Bovine Population by Province

China Milk Production by Province

  • Pigs: #1 is Sichuan Province, #2 is Henan Province, #3 is Hunan Province
  • Pork: #1 is Sichuan Province, #2 is Henan Province, #3 is Hunan Province
  • Sheep: #1 is Inner Mongolia Region, #2 is Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, #3 is Gansu Province
  • Mutton: #1 is Inner Mongolia Region, #2 is Xinjiang Region, #3 is Shandong Province
  • Wool: #1 is Inner Mongolia Region (Fine/Semi-Fine Wool, Goat Wool, and Cashmere)
  • Goats: #1 Henan Province and Inner Mongolia Region, #2 is Shandong Province, #3 is Sichuan Province

China’s pig population and pork production mainly lies along Yangtze River. In 2011, Sichuan province had 51 million pigs (11% of China’s supply) and produced 4.8 million MTs of pork (10% of China’s output). Henan province had 45.6 million pigs and produced 4 million MTs of pork, while Hunan province had 41.5 million heads and also produced 4 million MTs of pork.

In 2011, China’s northern Inner Mongolia region had 35.6 million sheep (26% of China’s total supply) and produced 872,300 MTs of mutton (22% of China’s output). The region also produced the most fine wool, semi-wool, goat wool and cashmere. Xinjian region was second with 25.2 million sheep and 464,359 MTs of mutton produced. During the same year, Henan province had 17.8 million goats (13% of China’s total supply) and Inner Mongolia region had 17 million goats.

China Pig Sheep Goat Population by Province

China Wool Production by Province

  • Chicken Eggs: #1 is Shandong Province, #2 is Henan Province, #3 is Hebei Province
  • Honey: #1 is Henan Province, #2 is Zhejiang Province, #3 is Sichuan Province

China’s chicken egg production centers are largely located in the eastern and northern parts of the country. In 2011, Shandong province produced 4 million MTs of eggs or 14% of China’s total output. Henan province was second with 3.9 million MTs, followed by Hebei and Liaoning provinces at 3.3 million MTs and 2.7 million MTs, respectively.

In 2011, Henan province produced 99,652 MTs of honey or 23% of China’s total output. Zhejiang province was second and produced 78,345 MTs, and was followed by Sichuan province which produced 43,344 MTs.

China Egg Production by Province

China Honey Production by Province


Cattle/Buffaloes and Beef

  • 1996: 110.3 million heads and 3.5 million MTs of beef
  • 2011: 103.6 million heads and 6.4 million MTs of beef

China’s cattle and buffalo population has been slowly declining since 2000. From 2000 to 2011, the population has decreased an average of 2% annually. Conversely, Chinese beef production has increased an average of 2% during the same period. However, from 2010 to 2011, beef production recorded its first notable decline since 2001.

China Cattle Bovine Beef Production

Pigs and Pork

  • 1996: 362.8 million pigs and 31.5 million MTs of pork
  • 2011: 467.6 million pigs and 50.5 million MTs of pork

China’s pig population saw a significant increase over the 2007 to 2008 period, jumping from 439 million to 462 million heads. Since 2008, its population has stagnated, peaking in 2009 at 469 million heads and decreasing to 467 million head in 2011. From 2000 to 2011, pork production saw progressive growth with the exception of 2007 when output dropped 8% from the previous year. From 2008 to 2010, increased an average of 6% per year, but declined slightly (0.4%) in 2011.

China Pig Pork Hog Production

Sheep and Mutton

  • 1996: 114.1 million sheep and 1.8 million MTs of mutton
  • 2011: 139.6 million sheep and 3.9 million MTs of mutton

From 1996 to 2011, China’s sheep population saw a peak of 152 million heads in 2004. The following years saw a major decline, with sheep population bottoming out at 128 million heads in 2008. From 2009 to 2011, the number of sheep has increased an average of 3% annually. Mutton (meat of an adult sheep) production has been relatively stagnant at approximately 3.9 million MTs since 2008.

China Sheep Mutton Production

Chicken and Chicken Meat

  • 1996: 3.4 billion heads and 6.1 million MTs of chicken meat
  • 2011: 4.6 billion chickens and 12 million MTs of chicken meat

China’s chicken population has been on an upward trajectory since 1996, but with noteworthy population decreases in 1998, 2003 and 2007. In 2011, the number of chickens, as well as chicken mean, reached historical peaks. However, the pace of chicken population and meat production increases has slowed. From 2008 to 2010, the chicken population grew an average of 3% annually, while meat production grew an average of 4% annually. From 2010 to 2011, these percentages dropped to 0.4% and 1%, respectively.

China Chicken Poultry Meat Production

Ducks and Duck Meat

  • 1996: 567.8 million ducks and 1.2 million MTs of duck meat
  • 2011: 859.7 million ducks and 2.9 million MTs of duck meat

Similar to chickens, China’s duck population has been on an upward trajectory since 1996, but with population declines in 1998, 2003 and 2007. From 2008 to 2010, the number of ducks rose an average of 7%, while duck meat output increased an average of 8%. From 2010 to 2011, these percentages tampered off to 3% and 1%, respectively.

China Duck Meat Production

Cow Milk

  • 1996: 6.2 million MTs
  • 2011: 36.5 million MTs

Chicken Eggs

  • 1996: 19.6 million MTs
  • 2011: 28.1 million MTs


  • 1996: 183,000 MTs
  • 2011: 431,157 MTs

From 1998 to 2007, Chinese milk (cow) production increased rapidly, with output rising on average 20% annually during that period.  From 2008 to 2011, milk production rose on average only 1% per year, plateauing at roughly 35 million to 36 million MTs. Chinese egg (chicken) production has shown modest growth, increasing on average 2% annually from 2000 to 2011. Honey production has remained stable at or above 400,000 MTs since 2008.

China Egg Milk Honey Production

Additional Reading

  • “A Survey of Cattle Production in China” Qiu Huai, Ju Zhiyong and Chang Zhijie, FAO Corporate Document Repository; Accessed Feb 2013


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