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Chinese advisors drop the patent leather shoes

Milk Quality Advisor Peter Uttrup from SEGES enjoys great respect and generates interest from Chinese farmers with his practical and constructive approach to guidance on milk production.
Peter Uttrup (left), milk quality advisor at SEGES, has success with putting on his work gear, when he is guiding farmers in China, where local advisors often wear suits on farm visits.
Peter Uttrup (left), milk quality advisor at SEGES, has success with putting on his work gear, when he is guiding farmers in China, where local advisors often wear suits on farm visits.
Photo: SEGES P/S

Peter Uttrup, milk quality advisor at SEGES, bought 68 pairs of rubber boots.

- The boots were for the Chinese advisors that I work with in China in connection with SEGES’ collaboration with Arla. Our goal is to improve milk quality. But many of the Chinese advisors are from wealthy families, whose parents have bought a place for them at the university. They have little practical knowledge of agriculture and their farm visits are usually done in suits, patent leather shoes and stilettos, says Peter Uttrup.

That is why Peter Uttrup bought the rubber boots, and why he is working to create a more practical and constructive dialogue between the advisor and the farmer.

- The Chinese farmers are tired of control visits, because it is all about control and answering questions such as “Have you cleaned the milk tank on the inside? Yes!” and “Did you use detergent? Yes”.

The result is often some shiny milk tanks that are filthy on the inside. Partly because no one has explained to the farmer why cleaning and hygiene is important, and partly because the advisers do not check and demonstrate how it is done.  
Milk Quality Advisor, Peter Uttrup

Simple tools

Peter Uttrup is well aware that he cannot reform China’s milk production. But less can easily make a difference.

- Animal welfare for example. In China, where clean water is scarce, you can get far by advising a farmer to give his calves boiled water. I did this, and on a visit three days later the same place, I saw that he had set up a small cooking place in the house and heard him say: “It was not bad. The calves have less diarrhoea”. A little can do a lot. If I can increase the level in China by a little, create some attitude changes and help spark some ideas, I am satisfied, says Peter Uttrup.

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