From Sustainability Report 2019
Specially Appointed Professor, Research Faculty of Agriculture
Born in Kyoto. 1975: Graduated from the Department of Animal Science, School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University; 1977: Completed the Master-degree Program, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University; 1986: Doctor of Agriculture (Hokkaido University); 1977: Assistant Professor,
Rakuno Gakuen University; 1983: Assistant Professor, School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University; 1988: Associate Professor, School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University; 2002: Professor, Research Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University; 2014: Retired, Specially Appointed Professor, Professor Emeritus, Hokkaido University.
His books: Shitteokitai Nyugyu no Kodogaku (lit. Behavioristics of Milk Cows You Should Know, 2005), Tochishigen wo Saidaigenniikasu, Dai 4-sho, Junkangatarakuno wo Kositetorimodosu“ Junkangatarakuno heno Apurochi” (lit. Making the Most Use of Land Resources, Chapter 4. This is How Circular Dairy Farming is Recovered “Approach to Circular Dairy Farming” 2010). Responsible for arrangement and commentary for the Second Farm, which is opened to the public.
● Research on the utilization of grass that humans cannot eat
At Sapporo Agricultural College, they considered how to utilize grass that humans cannot use directly and researched under the concept of agriculture centered on livestock farming facilities. So, their research focused on livestock production based on grass and how to milk. However, Japanese dairy and livestock farming drastically changed in the 1970s. Concentrated feed imported from the United States, so-called grain, boosted the milk yield per cow. The milk yield, which had been 6,000 kg per 300 days at most, jumped to 10,000 kg. In those days, Hokkaido University produced 5,000 to 6,000 kg of milk and raised about 50 cows. People repeatedly said,“ It’s not modern dairy farming.” For a while now, we have focused on grazing during summer, both in terms of experimental work and feeding management. However, just letting cows loose doesn’t mean they feed on grass. The nutritional value of plants varies depending on the growth stage, so it is necessary to maintain grass at heights of 7 to 15 cm. This requires us to let cows graze rather than us mowing the grass. You need skill to let 30 cows loose in a specific area and maintain sufficient grass at such heights. Based on ample experience of 30 years, today’s young Hokkaido University researchers do it well.
● Hokudai Marche sells milk produced through grazing
After we started grazing, our idea about the milk yield changed. We had pursued the amount per cow, but we thought,“ Milk is an agricultural product, so it may be better to increase the milk yield per hectare.” We worked based on this idea for 10 years and produced 10 tons of milk per hectare on the farm of Hokkaid o U niversity. This figure is among the world’s top level. I think they could not produce 7 tons per hectare even in Tokachi and Konsen at that time. It is difficult to achieve a high yield per hectare because of deductions for concentrated feed. Cows at pasture are often seen in commercials. In Japan, however, concentrated feed accounts for approximately 45% of the total feed used, and grass accounts for roughly 55%. Only Hokkaido University and some diligent farmers feed 100% grass at this time. This is something we should be proud of. We sell milk at Hokudai Marche to appeal to consumers who seek milk prod uced using 100% grass. Some people may disapprove of this, but I want people to know that there is a space where cows are put to grass in the center of Sapporo and that Hokkaido University utilizes the space for research and education.
● Significance of having green spaces and cows on campus
To raise milk cows on grass, one hectare of grassland per cow is necessary. A grassland area of 10
hectares is essential to raise 10 cows. Hokkaido University once raised 70 to 80 milk cows but now
raises roughly 30 cows. The reason behind the decrease in cows is the construction of new buildings
in line with the development of the university in quality and quantity. The grass is just an open space from the perspective of people in other fields. This is a big problem.“ There is an open space. We want to build a structure there.” I have often heard such a request over the last 40 years. Some people may doubt the necessity of a farm on campus. However, the advantage of having this much grass and cows on campus as experimental facility is immeasurable. I want to maintain the farm at any cost. In New York and London, people have voiced a theory that large cities should have various spaces, including farming spaces.The city has a campus at its center, where there are grazing cattle, orchards and rice paddies. I personally think that is good.