In order for the New Zealand Dairy Event (NZDE) to meet the restrictions for the government’s red traffic light COVID-19 protection framework, something had to give.
That turned out to be sacrificial exhibitors, who volunteered to withdraw from the event so that others could continue. One of them was the NZDE co-chair Johanna Wood.
The restrictions include that they can be no more than 100 exhibitors on the grounds and no more than six people in any aisle. There are 15 aisles of cows and 330-head of cattle to care for within that.
Johanna’s Northbrook Milking Shorthorn team included 13 head, six youth competitors and three adults. It wasn’t the most popular decision with her family, but Johanna felt it was the right thing to do.
“I think because of my position it’s about modelling an example,” Johanna said. “It just seemed that we could make a difference and we only live 15 minutes away from the show so we could easily get home. For the exhibitors who have travelled distances, that conversation is a little more challenging.
“Although, they did tell me this was the most organised they had been.”
Their team included Anja and Karl Wood, Catriona Trubshaw along with keen youth exhibitors, Ruby Trubshaw, Nikki Baker, Hayley Baker, Logan Baker, Fergus Lough, and Charlie Lough.
Johanna’s husband, David, will steward and Anja will be helping with results.
Other notable exhibitors who have also withdrawn include the Soffe family (Taranaki) the Moore family (Pahiatua), and the Harker family (Waikato).

NZ Dairy Event – Livestream

New Zealand’s online selling platform, bidr®, will livestream the New Zealand Dairy Event’s (NZDE) judging from Wednesday.
bidr® – which is already hosting the Summer Sensation Sale at the NZDE online – was approached to take its involvement a step further once the government’s red traffic light COVID-19 protection framework swung into full effect – limiting exhibitor numbers on-ground to 100 (plus event staff).
Spectators who had planned to come to the show were left with an empty diary.
Enter bidr®’s National Sales and Operations Manager Caitlin Rockela. She said it was a call to arms her team found easy to answer.
“I suppose like any event that’s on this week, the plans have had to change,” Caitlin said.
“We were going to be supporting the sale on Wednesday night anyway, and it was really not a lot of extra effort for us to be here and support the judging so that everyone who can’t come can enjoy it from their homes,” Caitlin said.
bidr®’s have set up a page on its website at, dedicated to the NZDE live action ringside. Anyone who wants to watch can simply click on the link. A wireless microphone will help carry the judges’ comments to the masses.
“It’s important for us to be agile and to be able to respond really quickly when things like this happen,” Caitlin said. “Otherwise what’s the point of having an online platform if it’s not useable in these situations?
“We are really happy to help the industry out.
“Anyone that goes into our website can find the page, and it will take you straight to the livestream. You don’t have to register – as you usually do for a sale – to be able to be able to watch the show.”
bidr® is a PGG Wrightson subsidiary, which has been operating as a separate virtual saleyard business since 2019. Business is doubling year-on-year with natural attrition, in addition to the increasing appreciation for online mediums as Covid continues to hamper events.
“You’d never say Covid is a good thing, but I guess a silver lining for any online business is that there has probably been some benefit if people can transition to online during this time,” Caitlin said.
“We are also a powerful marketing platform, and I think people are really seeing the value of that now,” Caitlin said.
All sales on bidr® are backed by the listing agent and transacted through agency trading accounts. More than 10 agencies use bidr®, and it is regularly livestreaming sales from five North Island saleyards, in addition to feature sales throughout the country.
“It’s definitely an exciting space to be in, and our team is growing fast,” Caitlin said.
bidr®’s lower North Island Territory Manager Aimee Flynn will be ringside operating the camera tomorrow.
If you are considering a sale, contact bidr® on 0800 TO BIDR (0800 86 2437) or contact your local livestock representative.
PLEASE NOTE: The Summer Sensation Sale from 6pm Wednesday night will be livestreamed through bidr®. Caitlin said anyone who wants to watch or bid on the sale will need to log in and register (as usual for sales).
8.30am – Futurity classes – calves and yearlings
9.30am – Youth Show – calves and yearlings
11am – Breed calves and yearlings
Midday – Lunch
12.30pm – All Breeds – calves and yearlings
3pm – Youth Show – young handlers
5pm – Evening BBQ – free to sponsors and exhibitors
6pm – Summer Sensation Sale
Click here to see judging livestreamed from 8.30am…/livestream-of-nzde-judging-showing

Canadian Dairy Giant Saputo Eyes Possible Takeover of A2 Milk

Rumours that the embattled specialty dairy company A2 Milk is being eyed as a possible takeover target is being credited with driving its shareprice more than 7 percent higher.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 29:  The new milk product known as A2 the "original milk" containing the deta casein A1 which has been strongly linked to heart disease and Type 1 diadetes amongst other illnesses.

A2 has been struggling in the face of disrupted sales channels, excess stock and a slide in sales of infant formula in China. Photo: Getty Images

The Australian newspaper has linked A2 Milk to the Canadian dairy giant Saputo, which is reported to be close to making a big acquisition.

A2 has been [ touted as a possible takeover target over the past year as it struggled to restore its earnings, profits and share price in the face of disrupted sales channels, excess stock and a slide in sales of infant formula in the key Chinese market.

A2 declined comment on the speculation.

Meanwhile, two other New Zealand companies are reportedly involved in sizeable takeover action.

The Australian FInancial Review has reported that Christchurch infrastructure builder Fulton Hogan is set to buy a 50 percent stake in New South Wales road contractor Stabilised Pavements of Australia (SPA).

The paper said that Fulton Hogan’s Australian management told staff on Friday of the pending deal, which it said would be done in the “near future”.

SPA builds, repairs, and maintains pavements, and would retain its structure and branding, but its more than 200 staff would join Fulton Hogan.

Fulton Hogan has more than 7800 staff, with revenue approaching $5 billion, and operates on both sides of the Tasman as well as Fiji.

And, The Australian newspaper has also reported that British private equity firm Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) is to buy New Zealand cancer treatment company Canopy Healthcare Group for more than $300 million.

Canopy Healthcare Group, owned by Waterman Private Capital, had been rumoured to be up for sale since October last year.

It is New Zealand’s largest private medical oncology and radiology provider, with five private oncology clinics in the North Island; TRG Imaging, which runs 18 diagnostic clinics; and Auckland Breast Centre.

The healthcare group has about $25m in annual earnings.

All companies have been approached for comment.


‘Pay farmers more!’ Farmer in North East hit by 40p per litre loss as milk shortage grows

A DAIRY farmer has warned of a milk shortage threat in the UK as he explained how his business needs 40p a litre to make a profit.

British farmer discusses loss of milk profits in industry

Michael Howie, the owner of Morwick Farm in Northumberland, said his farm needs supermarkets to invest in the cost of milk per litre in order to continue production. An agricultural expert noted that farmers need to be paid more. Morrisons has introduced a “sniff test” to make their milk products go further to prevent waste



A black Holstein one owner didn’t want to bring to the New Zealand Dairy Event (NZDE) – and a Jersey who could have easily been eating grass at home – were named Junior All Breeds Champion and Reserve respectively at Feilding today.
The Holstein, Larkspur Lauthority Whip, started the day settling into Reserve Champion in the Youth Show under South Taranaki judge Kylee Perrett. She was exhibited by Lara Honeyfield in the Youth Show on behalf of her owners, Ron and Amy Baker, of Fusion Genetics, at Kairanga.
In the Holstein open show Whip first won the Junior Yearling Heifer class, followed by Junior Champion Holstein before going on to snaffle All Breeds Junior Champion after the scores were collated from the five interbreed judges which included Kylee (Youth Show), Ryan Lett (Waikato, Combined Breeds) Bernie Cox (Mid-Canterbury, Holstein), Craig Robertson (Canterbury, Jersey) and Roger Hutchings (Northland, Ayrshire).
Ron Baker candidly admitted that there had been some robust discussions about whether Whip deserved her place in the team.
“We weren’t expecting her to get up, even though I’ve always liked the heifer,” Ron said.
“I haven’t liked her,” Amy chimed in.
“Amy has been a bit on the bench about her,” Ron countered.
“I’m not on the bench – I’m on the other side of the fence,” Amy insisted.
Regardless, Whip already had runs on the board. Last year, she was second in the Junior Calf class in the Holstein show and the L’Authority x Diamondback x Windbrook has some other telling credentials. Her granddam is the top-producing Holstein in the couple’s 160-cow (year-round) herd, with a completed 305-day lactation of 1114kg MS [14,761 litres].
The pair say they enjoy the rivalry of choosing the show team and every year one of them has the final say. Up for grabs is a year’s bragging rights when they get it right.
“I’m feeling pretty good about that right now,” Ron said.
“I suppose he would, because he doesn’t usually win,” Amy laughed.
“It’s still pretty exciting, and Lara Honeyfield did a lovely job on the halter,” said Ron as he claimed the final say.
Down at the Ferdon Genetics’ team there was also banter about the Reserve Champion Jersey – Ferdon Ribbon Eliza – owned by Frenchman Clement Illand.
The 26-year-old Normandy-born native has been in New Zealand for two-and-a-half years. He bought the heifer from Ferdon Genetics, who were a guest consigner in Waipiri Holsteins “A Taste of Waipiri” sale in June 2021. Ferdon Genetics includes Warren and Michelle Ferguson, and their son, Corey. They milk 220 cows on 92ha at Otorohanga, in the heart of New Zealand’s Waikato. They offered to continue to house and manage Eliza for Clement.
Clement is well-travelled with runs on the board after working at Golden Oaks Farm in Chicago, in the United States. During his time in the US, he was also part of MAST International, which brings young internationals to the US on a J-1 visa to train for 3-18 months in greenhouses, farms, research labs, and wineries, where they learn new skills, improve their English, and experience American life. He also had the chance to to study for a semester at the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.
Because Warren had been chosen to judge the Jersey show at International Dairy Week (IDW) in Australia, the family had deliberately limited its entries for the NZDE. The only heifers it included were in the sale.
However, when the New Zealand and Australian border was once again closed by Covid-19, Warren was forced to withdraw from his IDW judging assignment. With an extra set of experienced hands in the mix, Corey started to look at the heifers and suggested perhaps Eliza should join the team.
Warren joked they had had to drop one of their own entries to make room for her.
“It was a good drop, I think,” Clement smiled with a cheeky shrug of his shoulders. “It could have been worse, she could have been last, and have done nothing.”
Everyone chuckled, knowing the win was good news for Ferdon’s campaign.
Eliza is sired by Black Ribbon, whose name was inspired by the two Jerseys in his pedigree who remain the only exponents of their breed to win the coveted black Supreme Ribbon at NZDE. Black Ribbon is by a homebred son of Ferdon Comerica Viyella, who was Grand Champion Jersey at the NZDE for five successive years – winning Supreme in 2012, 2015 and 2016. Black Ribbon’s dam is Ferdon Blackstone Rose, who was Supreme Champion at the NZDE in 2018. Eliza’s dam, Ferdon N Lights Eve, comes from a family which has also contributed a number of Royal Champion titles to Ferdon’s trophy cabinets.
As Clement happily settled back into his dinner – sponsored by NZDE – after sharing his thoughts, and when he was asked if there was anything else he’d add, he smiled and said: “Bon Appétit.”
For today’s full results, please visit
bidr® will livestream the event from the first class. Simply click here to watch the show in real time:…/livestream-of-nzde-judging-showing
8.15am – Youth Show – 2 & 3 year-old in-milk classes followed immediately by Breed and All Breeds 2 & 3 year-old in-milk classes.
Noon – Lunch
1pm – Breed and All Breeds 4 year-old and over in-milk classes
3.30pm – Wilbur Trophy Competition: Each breed can enter a team of four
4pm – Breed Champions
5pm – National Anthem and Supreme Champion

U.S., Canada both claim dairy victory

Both Canadian and U.S. officials claimed victory in the first-ever trade dispute adjudicated under terms of the two-year-old Canada U.S. Mexico trade agreement (CUSMA) over U.S. complaints about Canadian dairy import practices under the new deal.

Both claims cite ruling details but how can both be true? On the one hand, the three-person panel’s findings, released Jan. 4, agree with a U.S. complaint about Canada’s method for managing new import access for U.S. dairy products.

Canada’s system has relied on Canadian processors to import American dairy products. That method doesn’t work, however, for American trade negotiators.

Neither does it work for the appeal tribunal headed by Uruguayan diplomat Elbio Rosselli and two international lawyers, Julie Bédard and Mark C. Hansen.

On the other hand, the panel’s 50-page decision leaves it basically to Canadian officials to find another method for assigning import quota to solve the Americans’ problem.

Even so, the panelists also confirmed that Canada has significant discretion in methods for allocating import access of farm products under its long-standing supply management system.

Such murkiness should become clearer by Feb. 5. That’s the panel’s deadline for Canadian officials either to sort it out with the Americans or face possible U.S. retaliation.

A Jan. 4 statement by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says the U.S. “has prevailed” in the first-ever dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Also on Jan. 4, a joint statement from Canada’s Minister of International Trade Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau expressed pleasure with CUSMA panel findings “which ruled overwhelmingly in favour of Canada and its dairy industry.” The ruling confirms that Canada can manage dairy imports “in a manner that supports Canada’s supply management system,” the Ng-Bibeau statement said.

You will have noticed by now that the U.S. and Canadian governments refer differently to this trade agreement negotiated at the insistence of Donald Trump under his former presidential administration. In Canada, it’s CUSMA; in the U.S. it’s USMCA.

In Mexico, the title of the agreement which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is Tratado entre Mexico, Los Estados Unidos y Canada, T-Mec for short. Mexico was not part of the dairy dispute.

However, the panel did receive a written submission from the Ottawa-based International Cheese Council of Canada (ICCC) which is a departure from litigation under NAFTA with participation only by government signatories.

The panel’s written decision made no reference to cheese council submissions. However, published analysis by Calgary-based law firm, Bennett-Jones, says third-party involvement is a significant change in trade practice from NAFTA days.

Bennett-Jones lawyers also identified the dairy case as proof that procedures under CUSMA provide a “reliable and efficient means of resolving disputes.” We’ll see about that more precisely as the Feb. 5 deadline rolls around.

Canada’s reliance on processors to import U.S. dairy products skews toward lower-value  products such as powder, concentrates and large-block cheeses. That tends to support processing activity in Canada, the Bennett-Jones opinion letter says.

A statement from the International Cheese Council, a 45-year-old organization of Canadian importers seeking new U.S. business under CUSMA, estimates the existing processor imports system shorted allowable market access by about 32 per cent during its second year in operation.

What’s at stake here is additional sales of U.S. dairy products in Canada that some estimates put in the value range of $200 million annually. A report on the website estimates U.S. dairy exports to Canada for the first 10 months of 2021 at $478 million, up $56 million since the new treaty took effect.


King backs legislation on dairy pricing for farmers

These hearings would re-evaluate how the price of Class I (or fluid) milk is calculated and pave the way for changes to better support the dairy industry. Class I, or fluid milk, is milk that is sold directly to consumers for drinking and typically drives the highest prices for dairy farmers.

“Maine’s dairy farmers are critical parts of communities across our state, driving our economy and creating nutritious, high-quality products,”​ said Senator King.

“However, an unnecessarily complicated pricing formula, changes included in the 2018 Farm Bill, and the effects of an unprecedented pandemic have resulted in the loss of significant revenues for these farms over the last two years. It’s clear that we need to reevaluate how we price milk, and dairy farmers deserve a seat at the table in that discussion – which is why I’m cosponsoring the Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act. I’m hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will advance through Congress and ensure our dairy farmers are being fairly compensated for their work.”

“The Maine Dairy Industry Association would like to thank Senator King for his support of the Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act,”​ said Heath Miller, treasurer of the Dairy Farmer Industry Association.

“Our industry has seen a considerable change in the way milk is utilized, this act will allow industry stakeholders to have a voice in bringing the Federal Milk Marketing Order in line with these changes.”

The Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act, which is also cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to initiate the process of holding Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearings within six months.

The hearings would provide an opportunity for producers, who understand the dynamics of milk pricing first-hand, to weigh in on the proposals and create a system that better reflects the work, costs, and needs of producers.

Last year, Senator King co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to combat the practice of labeling non-dairy products using dairy names, and introduced a resolution recognizing June 2021 as “National Dairy Month.” In May 2021, he joined his colleagues in sending a letter to USDA urging additional COVID-19 relief to dairy farmers.

Recently, Senator King joined the Maine Delegation in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide federal support to the 14 Maine organic dairy farms who were notified that their contracts will not be renewed by Horizon Organic.


NZ dairy labour shortage spurs change to class exception scheme

The sector is short an estimated 4,000-6,000 workers

According to Dairy New Zealand, applications are now open for dairy farmers to recruit much-needed international workers, including farm assistants and herd managers, under changes to a class exception scheme.

This follows months of DairyNZ advocacy requesting changes to the 2021 class border exception process which resulted in the Government announcing in December that more dairy farm assistants would be allowed across the border to meet strong demand on farms.

In June 2021, the Government provided provisional approval for 200 international dairy workers to apply to enter New Zealand under a class exception scheme. This included a limit of 50 farm assistants, with the remaining positions to be filled by herd manager and assistant managers.

“We know many farmers are having difficulty finding Kiwis to fill dairy positions, and the demand for farm assistants is particularly strong,” said DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

“We have been pushing hard for the Government to recognise the need for changes to the quota to allow for greater flexibility and more farm assistants to enter New Zealand,” he said.

The Government said in December it will remove restrictions on the number of farm assistants that are part of the quota of 200 workers, and allow the quota to be made up of any mix of farm assistants, herd managers and assistant managers.

While the changes are positive, Mackle said DairyNZ is continuing to strongly advocate for another 1500 international dairy workers to be allowed into the country this year to help fill a critical shortage of dairy staff – estimated at between 4,000 and 6,000 workers.

“Border closures and an unemployment rate at 3.4 percent are creating ongoing stress for dairy farmers,” said Mackie. “Without the right number of people on farm, it puts animal welfare at risk, constrains the sector’s ability to make environmental progress, and places a greater burden on increasingly stretched teams, with staff often having to work extraordinary hours.

“While we acknowledge the situation is uncertain, there is no point having the class exception if people can’t actually then get into the country due to border restrictions,” he added. “We have put a number of suggestions to Government for how we could manage the health risk and the labour needs. We are exploring on-farm isolation with MPI as an option. Farms are already away from communities, and farmers are used to maintaining good hygiene standards.”

DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and Dairy Women’s Network also made a request in November 2021 for a further 1,500 international workers to be allowed to enter New Zealand in 2022. Mackle says that the workforce shortage is a critical issue for the dairy sector.

Alongside work to recruit international workers, DairyNZ has a range of initiatives underway to attract Kiwis into dairy, including GoDairy. A new campaign will also soon be launched to give Kiwis a better understanding of what it means to be a dairy farmer.

DairyNZ is also leading the development of a Dairy Workforce Resilience Plan which will involve farmers, dairy companies, sector groups and the Government in creating an evidence-based roadmap to put the sector on a sustainable path to recruit and retain people.

Salaries for people working on dairy farms have increased significantly over the past two years, and many roles offer accommodation on site.

“There are many different job opportunities in dairy and it can offer a rewarding career path,” Mackle concluded. 


Port Of LA Teams Up With Dairy Industry To Address Supply Chain Disruptions

The Port of Los Angeles announced the launch of a Dairy Exports Working Group to identify and address supply chain disruptions affecting dairy exports from the U.S.

The group will include the port, the International Dairy Foods Association and container shipping company CMA CGM. 

“American dairy exporters have been hard hit by supply chain challenges and trade policy that have made it difficult to get their goods to global markets,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. 

“I’m pleased to collaborate with our dairy industry partners and the CMA CGM Group to launch this working group and find solutions that will benefit not only the dairy industry but all American exporters. We look forward to others joining this important initiative.”

The group will explore how to aggregate and streamline U.S. dairy exports, work to increase rail availability in the inland areas of the United States to reach exporters, determine the viability of implementing a “fast lane” concept for vessels that depart full or have less empty cargo containers. 

“U.S. dairy exports reached a near-record $6.4 billion in 2020 and continued to set a blazing pace in 2021 due to surging global demand, but the U.S. dairy industry could be exporting much more to destinations around the world if there was more reliability and predictability in the supply chain,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods


“Our IDFA members are pleased to collaborate with the Port of Los Angeles and CMA CGM in this Dairy Exports Working Group on potential market-based solutions to clearing bottlenecks at our West Coast ports and land and rail systems. This type of collaboration is essential to avoid significant future disruptions to the U.S. dairy supply chain that will result if exports continue to languish.”

Port officials said that supply chain disruptions in the U.S. are costing millions of dollars for the dairy industry and damaging their credibility abroad. Dairy exporters are sending their products by air more than ever before, which sometimes costs 20 times more than by boat.


Sell-Offs Continue Tuesday in Chicago

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, milk futures continued a major sell-off Tuesday following USDA reports and mostly negative cash markets. January Class III milk was down two cents at $20.28. February 54 cents lower at $19.91. March down 75 cents at $20.81. April 45 cents lower at $20.98. May through July five to 20 cents lower.

In spot trade Blocks down $0.0350 at $1.76. Two sales were made at $1.76 and $1.7675. Barrels down $0.07 at $1.7050. One trade was made at that price. Butter down $0.1475 at $2.70. Two sales were made at $2.70 and $2.7275. Nonfat dry milk down $0.01 at $1.825. Two trades were made at $1.8025 and $1.8050. Dry whey up $0.02 at $0.82. Two sales were made at $0.8150 and $0.82.


Going Swimmingly – What surviving the floods looks like

A free-stall barn has helped a Mid Canterbury family re-angle its dairy business and sustain production through some of the worst flooding their region had been exposed to in 200 years.

When the Stewart family first invested in their imposing 140m x 75m barn back in 2013, the subsequently falling milk price turned it into a bold move that raised some eyebrows.

However, with some resilient thinking, this family – anchored by David and Maree Stewart – weathered the challenge by switching up the business and including some bright minds with different thinking to make it work. The barn has now become a central part of the family’s ability to harness premium winter milk contracts, as they move towards 70% autumn-calving pattern on their 550-cow herd.

It also helped them traverse the region’s flood disaster late in May, which has forever buried 14.5ha of their farm under riverbed rubble.

This is the first season that David and Maree’s sons TJ and Mark, together with his wife Stacey, have taken over leasing the operation.

Barwell Farm is sandwiched between the north and south banks of the Ashburton River, making the Greenstreet neighbourhood one of the worst-affected areas. The flood’s calling card also included deep layers of silt, trees and stones on another 20ha of the pastures around the dairy, which will take time to bring back into full production. In all, 50ha was impacted and 15km of fencing was wiped out.

The late, cold spring compounded feed shortages for many, and ravaged other winter-milk production across the region.

Production up 3.3%

Yet, Barwell Farm’s production is up 3.3% YTD, with the operation managing to stay within its pre-flood feed budget. Because they could use the barn, damaged pasture has had time to recover, meaning the pasture that needs more work hasn’t hurt production by being out of a grazing rotation.

The autumn calvers that went through the flood are still on target to produce more than 650kg MS (milk solids) per cow in 280 days. Their winter contract was 600kg MS per day.

Stacey said, “We sat at 700kg MS per day all winter. I think this is the best the cows have looked this winter compared to previous years.”

The numbers support Stacey’s observation. Usually, they would be averaging around 1.8kg MS/cow/day at this time of year, however, at the time of writing, they were averaging 2.3kg MS on 550-cow herd (with 320 autumn calvers).

Brothers Mark (left) and TJ Stewart flank Mark’s wife, Stacey, in the barn that has allowed them to remain on track with their production this season despite the crippling floods which forever buried 14.5ha of their Mid Canterbury farm under riverbed rubble in May 2021.

Not all beer and skittles

Barwell Farm didn’t lose any stock, but they were scrambling, and the milking herd spent 20 hours standing in the dairy yard without feed, water or milking after their owners were evacuated. David and Maree’s home was flood damaged leading to their evacuation, with photos of the family’s 10-year-old fox terrier, Max, making national news as he was loaded to leave.

Before they were evacuated, the Stewarts rescued their dry cows – who were up to their hocks in water by the time the family reached them. They then walked the animals to Glenalla and Snowfed Farms, owned by the Gilbert family, which gave the Stewarts free grazing for 180 head.

Local farmer Duncan Barr, who has a lot of experience in disaster planning and working with government agencies, visited and helped the family rationalise their shock and devise a plan. Angela Cushnie, from Federated Farmers, was also active in the conversations.

The Stewarts, who will have to climb over some $150,000 to $200,000 in flood-damage costs, said community support was critical in the aftermath, and the continuing solidarity remains a high point in the horrifying experience.

An example of the devastation which is too final to ever be pulled back into production.


Sustaining the business

Sustaining the family business and production has landed in the ballpark of MilkMaP’s Senior Farm Business Consultant, Cameron Burton.

Having helped balance cow nutrition with profitability for the last three years, Cameron has now helped them work through post-flood feed budgets, strategies to sustain production, submitting insurance claims, and righting the cows’ ship in general. His work has allowed the Stewarts to sustain cashflow.

The farm swings between a total and partial mixed ration; whether livestock are fully pasture-fed depends on the time of the year and the weather.

Cameron said, “There was naturally a bit of stress around the environmental impacts at the time and there were suggestions from some to go to once-a-day milking. We quickly decided that wasn’t going to be the way forward.

“During the floods we talked about how to bring the cows back onto their milking ration from having only straw available for 24 hours, and we were happy to see a rapid increase in production over the 10 days post-flood with no metabolic issues or acidosis. We did have some somatic cell count issues, which we expected with a high-production herd that had fresh and peak-flow cows who had missed a few milkings. But they’ve got through that now.”

The Stewart family’s Fox Terrier, Max, was introduced to the nation as he was loaded into the evacuation rescue vehicles at the height of the flood. He is pictured with David Stewart. Photo: Adam Burns, Ashburton Guardian.

Barn allows options

TJ said they have been pushed and tested as they work to bring the pastures back into line, but the way the cows had coped had been incredible. With Synlait paying up to $13kg MS (for winter milk) the Lead with Pride producers are relieved that they have kept their production on-track. TJ said the barn had been pulling its weight for several years, but really came into its own this season.

“The carryover and autumn-calving cows are usually in the barn from late April to early May for one feed a day and overnight,” he said. “They are then in the barn 24/7 from late May to mid to late September. By late October, we would usually shut it down until the next autumn calving – unless the season was dry in late summer.

“What the barn does is give us options to sustain production and maintain cow comfort,” he said. “It’s been a great add-on to the farm, and we wouldn’t farm without it now.”

TJ said Cameron’s role has been to help them to feed more efficiently for the business. They are driving the bottom line from per-cow production on the system 5 feeding. For the past two years, it has included a formal lead feed to prepare cows for calving, which has made an impact on fresh cow performance.

“With Cameron’s advice, we bought in the raw materials and we just followed his recipe to make up the lead feed ourselves,” TJ said. “We had the mixer wagon, so we decided to use it. It was a bit more work, but the cows are milking better because of it, without question. I’d kind of done something like it before, but never as robustly as we’ve done in the last two years.”

Stacey said she’s also noticed the response in the cows.

“The cows have slick coats, they calved in really well and transitioned right,” she said. “This spring calving we had the least milk fever we’ve ever had. We calved 320 in the autumn and 270 in August and September. In the autumn, we had eight to 10 downer cows. In the spring, we got to the middle of September before we had any issues.”

The flood’s calling card not only wiped out 14.5ha of the farm, it also left deep layers of silt, trees and stones on another 20ha of the pastures around the dairy, which will take time to bring back into full production. In all, 15km of fencing was wiped out, and yet Barwell Farm’s production is up 3.3% YTD. The operation has also managed to stay within its pre-flood feed budget. Using the barn has given damaged pasture time to recover, without hurting production.

End-game re-imagining

Cameron said refining the business has positioned the family to make the most of its natural advantages.

“I think the big game-changers come down a few things: probably largely around how they have set up their business by including the winter milk and reducing feed costs, and including a better diet formulation to increase per cow production. It has added to the overall economics of the farm.

“We now make the most of the mixer wagon and the ability to feed different diets to each group. They worked really hard this spring when we formulated the Do-It-Yourself DCAD [dietary cation anion difference] lead feed mix.

“There is no doubt that having the barn on-farm has meant that they can continue their winter milk contract and spring calving with very little impact on their production, which ultimately controls their profitability.

“They have invested in some great infrastructure in the last few years – barns and centre pivots – and we have spent a season setting up and making some changes, which will really pay off this season. They are now in a very exciting position.”

The family has also been able to easily complete their flood-insurance claims with Cameron’s support.

“I was able to model the impact of the loss of land and infrastructure, which quantified the additional feed we could expect to buy or claim,” Cameron said. “I also formulated a ration which could replace the maize that was water damaged with the feeds that we had available at the time.

“Because obviously, maize is only harvested in the autumn, and we were well into June when we needed to make the changes because of the floods.”

Making the most of the farm’s advantages combined with its barn has now become a central part of the family’s ability to harness premium winter milk contracts, as they move towards 70% autumn-calving pattern on their 550-cow herd.


‘Can still be our year’

Stacey said the final wash-up has proven to them how much resilience they have, and they remain optimistic about the industry.

“This year when we took over the farm was supposed to be ‘our year’,” Stacey said. “Then the floods came, and we instead started to think, ‘Maybe next year will be our year’.

“But, no. Actually, we are now back to thinking this year can still be our year.”

Source: MilkMap

Dairy cow falls out of truck on South Carolina interstate

Traffic was backed up after a female dairy cow fell off a transfer truck in Spartanburg County.

The incident happened near the I-26/US 176 interchange.

South Carolina Highway Patrol said the cow fell out of the trailer and the trailer kept going.

Troopers said the cow was not hit and had some road rash. They are hoping to locate the animal’s owner.

According to highway patrol, a local veterinarian happened to be driving by and helped get the cow to a clinic.



China publishes new guidelines around gene-edited crops

Bolstering food security and reducing reliance on overseas breeding is the goal

China has published trial rules for the approval of gene-edited plants, paving the way for faster improvements to crops as it seeks to bolster its food security, reported Reuters.

Gene editing – or altering the genes of a plant to change or improve its performance – is viewed by some scientists as less risky than genetically-modifying them, which involves transferring a foreign gene.

The new guidelines, published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs late Monday, come amid a raft of measures aimed at overhauling China’s seed industry, seen as a weak link in efforts to ensure it can feed the world’s biggest population.

Beijing has also recently passed new regulations that set out a clear path for approval for genetically modified (GM)crops.

But while it has deliberated for years whether to allow planting of GM crops to feed its people and livestock, it is ahead of some nations in outlining clear and relatively fast procedures for gene-edited crops.

“Given the strong investment of the Chinese government in genome editing, we expect the release of a relatively open policy in the coming years,” Rabobank wrote in a December report.

China’s research institutes have already published more research on market-oriented gene-edited crops than any other country, it added.

The technology’s precision makes it faster than conventional breeding or genetic modification, and also lowers the cost.

Regulation is also less cumbersome in some countries, such as the United States, although the European Union is still reviewing how to regulate the technology.

“This really opens the door for plant breeding. It’s an infinite opportunity to improve crops more precisely and much more efficiently,” said Han Gengchen, chairman of seed company Origin Agritech.

The draft rules stipulate that once gene-edited plants have completed pilot trials, a production certificate can be applied for, skipping the lengthy field trials required for the approval of a GM plant.

That means it could take only a year or two to get approval for a gene-edited plant, said Han, compared with around six years for GM ones.

It is not clear how many companies or institutes are ready to apply for approval of edited products.

Chinese researchers have used gene-editing to create lettuce seeds rich in vitamin C and herbicide-resistant rice, according to a Global Times report.

China’s leadership said in late 2020 the country needed to use science and technology for an urgent “turnaround” of its seed industry, which has long struggled with overcapacity and little innovation.

China imports a significant share of its vegetable seeds and wants to reduce its reliance on overseas breeding.

Source: Reuters


Solidarity has been the unexpected upside of the New Zealand Dairy Event’s decision to push on with the show, despite the New Zealand government’s decision to plunge the country into Red (within the traffic light COVID-19 protection framework).
As exhibitors adjusted to their new reality on the eve of the first day of judging at Manfield Park in Feilding, organisers said they were pleased they had decided to run with the show and not close it down.
Chief Cattle Steward Jamie Cunninghame said when the government announcement came through, roughly one third of the exhibitors were either on-ground, or on the way.
“It was important to think of those people,” he said. “Everyone is craving a show. I think it’s great that we’ve managed to get everyone here. Probably one of the great things is that it is going to go ahead – yes, with some restrictions – but nonetheless we have families here and we can show.”
Committee member Selwyn Donald from Arran Ayrshires, said the restrictions including having no more than 100 exhibitors on the grounds, which had challenged team staffing levels. There are 15 aisles of cows and 330-head of cattle to care for within that.
“At any given time there can be no more than six people in an aisle,” Selwyn said.
“People can be outside washing or milking, but that six-person rule within the aisle did make everyone think about it a little bit. However, we’ve seen exhibitors banding together, sharing duties on the aisles, including nightshift, and they are making it work.
“We’re a huge team working hard to get this show off the ground and I’m really proud of the exhibitors. We’re all in it together and everyone understands. There’s been no negative feedback.”
Jamie added, “We’ve had 12 months out from showing and now we’re back into it. There are good vibes in the sheds. They just want to get out there and go for it.”
Tuesday starts with the youth portion of the programme.
10am – Breed Judging Competition.
2pm – Youth Challenge.
4.30pm – NZ Dairy Breeds Federation WWS All Breeds Junior Judging Competition.
6pm – Event opening.

DairyNZ kicks off new campaign to attract more Kiwis to dairy

A young female farmer with a love of rural New Zealand is helping to launch DairyNZ’s latest campaign, which aims to give Kiwis a better understanding of what it means to be a dairy farmer.

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Mackle says DairyNZ’s Join us campaign is part of a wider project – Here for the Long Game – aiming to help communities understand what drives dairy farmers, and how they are working to provide a better future for their farms, the land, their families, their communities, and New Zealand.

“Dairy farmers are a core part of the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of communities throughout New Zealand, and our wider ‘Here For the Long Game’ is a platform for dairy farmers to share with other Kiwis who they are and what they do in a way that’s open and fun,” he says.

“Welcoming and supporting new farming talent is vital to the sector’s long game, so we’re excited to launch a new campaign encouraging young Kiwis to get into the dairy sector,” he adds.

The Join Us campaign looks into daily life on a farm – from working with machinery and technology, to caring for animals and the land.

“It’s about showing young Kiwis that, for those keen to get stuck in, dairying offers a truly rewarding career and lifestyle. By joining us, you’re not only securing your own future, but becoming part of creating a better one for all New Zealanders.”

The Join Us campaign is fronted by Eastern Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Shannon Munro, who has been dairy farming for about 10 years.

With her husband and three children, Munro says they opted to move away from urban city life to provide a different upbringing for her young family.

Her husband Steve was a builder and after the birth of their first son, she says they agreed that a city lifestyle wasn’t what they wanted for their family.

They moved from Te Puke to Ngakuru, a rural community in Rotorua Lakes, where Steve found a job as a farm assistant. With her son in tow, Shannon helped with calving and rearing the calves.

Over the next decade as their family expanded, they progressed into farm manager and 2IC roles, and then into contract milking, moving around the country as opportunities came up, including farming in Canterbury and the Waikato.

“We are now about 30 minutes from Whakatāne and are in our first year leasing a 66 ha dairy block, which was previously leased by Steve’s parents. We bought their 170 herd as they purchased a dairy farm.”

Shannon says their three kids, aged between 3 and 11, love being on the farm, riding motorbikes and being hands on. They especially enjoy making huts in the bush and staying at the family’s glamping spot next to the creek.

“The kids can enjoy a lot of freedom on the farm. At the same time, they have lots to keep them busy and they’re learning life skills they may not have otherwise learned in the city,” she says.

The family is planning to stay on their farm for the next few years, but ultimately want to own their own small farm.

Shannon says that as a young, Māori woman she is proud to be presenting a different face to dairy farming and to be associated with the campaign to show people what dairy farming has to offer as a career.

“Dairy farming offers really great opportunities and a great lifestyle. There are lots of opportunities for people to progress quickly and it’s very rewarding.”

Source: Fuseworks Media

Dairy levy creates opportunities in Australia

“There are things that we can’t do effectively individually that we can do collectively’ – that’s the message Western Australian farmer Peter Evans would like fellow dairy farmers to consider in the lead-up to Dairy Poll 2022.

Mr Evans said he had been supporting an increase to the dairy service levy at the March poll in order to ensure continued investment in the industry’s future by Dairy Australia, for the collective benefit of all farmers.

Dairy farmers could do so much more together than individually, he said.

“For instance, I can run little experiments on my farm to answer questions I might have, but I still need the whole of industry to invest in bodies such as DairyBio and DataGene,” he said.

“That sort of research has got to be done on a whole-of-industry basis; we just cannot do it individually.

“There is no point in me running down to my local supermarket, trying to promote healthy bones – no one is going to listen to me, but if this is done on a collective basis, by professional people in an organised way, then we have far more hope of getting the message through (to consumers).

“There is also no point in me making animal welfare arguments on my own, but if we as an industry can demonstrate what we are doing animal welfare-wise, it is far more likely that it will be accepted.

“Which is why I say there are things that we can’t do effectively individually that we can do collectively.”

Mr Evans, who describes himself as a “future-focused person”, farms at Jindong with son Grant, milking 850 cows in a split-calving herd on 488 hectares.

A lifelong dairy farmer, Mr Evans is a passionate dairy industry advocate, having been Western Dairy chairman from 2005 to 2007 and from 2019 to 2021, WAFarmers Dairy Section president from 2007 to 2012 and Australian Dairy Farmers vice-chair from 2011-2012.

He is urging all levy payers to vote in the poll, encouraging them to take a long-term view when considering the future level of the levy.

“I will be voting in the 2022 dairy poll because I see the need to invest in the future of the dairy industry, particularly in terms of productivity, industry protection and promotion,” Mr Evans said.

“The important part is the investment in the future, and that is not a short-term thing – it’s for the medium and long-term.”

Mr Evans encourages levy payers to consider the levy not as a cost to their business, but as an investment in the industry.

“A lot of farmers see the levy as an expense rather than as an investment in the future, so if you are in the mood to cut expenses, then the levy is an expense you might like to cut,” he said.

“But it truly is an investment, and you need to think a bit more deeply about it than just seeing it as an expense.

“You need to ask yourself: ‘What does the levy do that I couldn’t do by myself?’.

“When you think about it, it’s really not very much money for research, development and extension, plus industry protection.”

In an upcoming information memorandum on the poll, which will be sent to all levy payers, Dairy Australia sets out the four key areas for investment going forward – labour, regional services, climate and policy.

The document details how Dairy Australia will deliver in all of these areas under each of the poll options (no increase, 15 per cent increase, 20pc increase, 25pc increase).

Mr Evans said it was clear these areas were of high relevance and concern to dairy farmers, and deserved detailed consideration by farmers.

“These priorities came out of the development of the Australian Dairy Plan, so those four areas are very much the result of grassroots farmer input,” he said.

“Regardless of the levy level, DA is committed to spending some money on those four things plus their existing commitments; so if there is no increase in levy, the money that is spent on this existing commitment is going to be somewhat crimped.

“In terms of the level of levy increase, the higher it is then the more money that will go into those four key areas.”

Mr Evans has a particular interest in seeing improvement in employment and career pathways in dairy.

“From an industry perspective, it would be nice if we could get the pressure off farmers,” he said.

“The constant time commitments are difficult for many – there are many challenges around resourcing labour, particularly managerial level labour onfarm.”

According to Mr Evans, it does not matter what stage someone was in their dairy farming journey, it was important to participate in the poll.

He said the outcome of the poll would have implications on the industry well into the future, which could have a major effect on farmers, their families and their businesses, and levy payers should reflect on this.

“If there is no increase, for example, if the status quo option prevails – people probably won’t notice much change next year necessarily, but they will notice in five years’ time and 10 years,” Mr Evans said.

He encouraged levy payers to read the information memorandum and other information, attend poll-related events and ask questions.

“Become informed, think about your future and vote for what you believe is best for the industry,” Mr Evans said.


Milk Markets Lower in Chicago to Start the Week

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures started the week mostly lower ahead of USDA’s monthly reports and as cash markets trended lower. January Class III milk was a penny higher at $20.30. February nine cents lower at $20.45. March down 20 cents at $21.55. April a dime lower at $21.43. May through July one to 14 cents lower.

In spot trade Blocks down $0.0125 at $1.7950. One sale was made at $1.8250. Barrels down $0.0375 at $1.7750. Three trades were made from $1.7750 to $1.8175. Butter down $0.0875 at $2.8475. Nonfat dry milk down $0.0025 at $1.8125. Two trades were made at $1.8125 and $1.8150. Dry whey unchanged at $0.80.


DeLaval’s Evanza cluster boosts teat health and cuts mastitis

Changing liners is a time consuming and less than glamourous task. But Milking Equipment Association (MEA) chairman John Baines says changing liners regularly – and on time – is crucial to cow health.

“The liner and its action within the milking machine is the most important part of the milking process,” he says. “The massage effect created by the liner opening and closing is essential for effective milking and teat health.”

The liner is an elastomer, which means it is able to stretch and return to its original shape many times. But the elastic qualities of its rubber or silicone start to wear during the many thousands of cycles the liner is expected to perform.

The wear of liners is caused by the action it is expected to repeat, but also by exposure to milk fat and cleaning solutions.

“Exposure to milk means the material of the liner will start to absorb fat and minerals, such as calcium. And teat disinfectants, particularly those containing peracetic acid, will cause the liners to deteriorate more quickly.”

Mr Baines adds that, over time, the ability of the liner to correctly apply massage pressure to the teat reduces: “So life expectancies are around 2500 hours for rubber and 7500 for silicone. Farmers should avoid trying to achieve more,” he stresses.

Whether left unchanged for economic or operational reasons, the liner will begin to harden, stretch, and lose its elasticity. This can lead to a reduction in milking efficiency but, more worryingly, can harm the teat and adversely affect udder health.

“It is inaccurate to use the term ‘teat-end damage’,” says Mr Baines. “It is not really damage. It’s hyperkeratosis – a hardening of the skin leading to callouses forming. This affects the teat orifice and can lead to increased somatic cell counts and greater incidence of mastitis.”

David Hyslop farms in partnership with his father and brother near Lockerbie, and has seen milking times, SCCs and mastitis rates reduce since switching to a cluster with a different liner design. He has also seen peak flow increase from 3.8 litres to 4.2 litres, and average flow rate increase from 2.8 litres to 3.2 litres per cow.

DeLaval’s Evanza cluster features technology that increases milk flow and reduces the frequency cartridges need to be changed.

mastitis rates have fallen from 17 cases per 100 cows to 13 – based on just five cases during the past month – since switching to the new clusters in the autumn of 2020

mastitis rates have fallen from 17 cases per 100 cows to 13 – based on just five cases during the past month – since switching to the new clusters in the autumn of 2020

“We change the cartridges every 5000 milkings – our old liners would last half that time. And it used to take us up to three hours to change the liners, now it only takes just 20 minutes,” says Mr Hyslop.

The 410 strong herd is milked through a 20:40 DeLaval swing-over parlour. “It takes us 3.5 hours to milk, plus 30 minutes to set up and wash down,” he adds.

He has been keen to stick with his parlour and has seen significant operational improvements by changing clusters. “We have worked with Mathers Dairy for several years and they suggested the Evanza as a way for us to reduce cluster/liner slippage, calm the cows and improve efficiency at milking. We are milking 410 cows in the time it used to take to milk 385, and we are seeing more milk in the tank.”

Herd average somatic cell count has also dropped to between 90,000 cells/ml and 100,000 cells/ml, from 150,000 cells/ml. This, combined with the reduction in cases of mastitis, demonstrates the new clusters have improved cow and udder health.

“We switched to using these clusters in autumn 2020 and mastitis rates have fallen from 17 cases per 100 cows to 13 – based on just five cases during the past month,” says Mr Hyslop. The cows are also more content and less fidgety during milking, resulting in easier milkings for the staff.

“Previously, clusters would frequently slip off, let in air, upset the cows and make milking more complicated than it needed to be. This new design is easier to use, and the cows are also performing better.” He is therefore keen to move the Evanza clusters to a new parlour in the future.

But Mr Baines urges caution. “Every manufacturer is different and while certain parts may physically fit a machine, there’s no guarantee the part will perform its role in the milking process perfectly.

“This is particularly important with clusters and liners, because it is vital that vacuum and pulsation characteristics are correct for the specific liner,” he explains.

Pulsation settings are often similar between different manufacturers equipment, but rarely the same. “Producers should seek advice from a Parlour Safe-trained technician, who will fully understand the settings needed if retrofitting clusters to an existing milking parlour. Vacuum levels and pulsation rates should both be checked carefully and monitored to ensure the most appropriate level of pulsation.

“The physical properties of the liner will dictate the most appropriate vacuum and pulsation settings required to provide optimum massage for the teat,” adds Mr Baines.

Staying within the tolerances of liners can improve cow health and yield. It’s false economy to seek a longer life due to the inconvenience or cost of changing liners. “New technology has made an unenviable task significantly easier, but the principle of maintenance for all parlour equipment should be upheld to safeguard cow health and maximise milk yield,” he concludes.


B.C. disasters, extreme weather underscore need for climate-resilient agriculture

Farmers and community members help to rescue stranded cattle from a farm after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides in Abbotsford, B.C., November 16, 2021.
Farmers and community members help to rescue stranded cattle from a farm after rainstorms caused flooding and landslides in Abbotsford, B.C., November 16, 2021. Photo by Jesse Winter/Reuters

Wildfires, sweltering heat and extensive flooding in British Columbia last yea r have underscored the importance of strengthening the agricultural sector’s resilience to the effects of climate change and extreme weather, experts say.

“We should be building the infrastructure for the next 30 years, starting yesterday,” said Sean Smukler, chair of agriculture and environment at the University of British Columbia.

B.C. is “ahead of the curve” in Canada, he said, pointing to the government-funded Climate & Agriculture Initiative launched in 2013. It has developed eight regional adaptation plans along with climate-related resources for the sector, while supporting research at the farm level.

Still, the province’s adaptation efforts have been incremental when they should be urgent, said Smukler, who’s also the principal investigator at the university’s Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Lab.

He said funding is needed to match the scale of the challenge.

“We have to get going now or else we’re just going to be in a reactionary mode constantly, and reactionary mode is going to be so costly, much more costly than if we were being proactive and planning out a viable future,” he said.

A wildfire destroyed the village of Lytton, B.C. on June 30, 2021.
A wildfire destroyed the village of Lytton, B.C. on June 30, 2021. Photo by 2 Rivers Remix Society /PNG

The second half of 2021 in B.C. offers a snapshot of potential costs.

Severe drought and destructive wildfires last summer prompted the B.C. and federal governments to allocate $20 million to help farmers and ranchers recover, while a summer heat dome scorched berry crops in the same prime agricultural area in the Fraser Valley that was devastated by floodwaters in November.

Dozens of blueberry and raspberry producers were affected, about 4,000 tonnes of stored and unharvested field vegetables were lost and an estimated 628,000 chickens, 420 cattle and 12,000 hogs died, provincial officials said at the time.

B.C. has so far provided $3.7 million in emergency funding to help farmers secure hay and forage for their animals along with $2.7 million to help dairy, poultry and pork producers avoid added expenses of feed delivery.

The province is working with the federal government to develop a “comprehensive financial support package” for farmers affected by flooding, with an announcement expected in the coming weeks, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

Such extreme events are not the only threats to agriculture, said Emily MacNair, director of the Climate & Agriculture Initiative.

The province has yet to confront the challenge of ensuring there’s enough water for food production over the longer or even the nearer term, she said in an interview.

The agricultural sector is one group of water users among many as communities across B.C. grow, she said, and droughts are worsening with climate change.

It’s going to get drier, so it’s logical to consider how to store excess water from spring freshets or heavy precipitation in the fall and winter, MacNair said.

B.C. is home to a high proportion of small, family-owned farms that produce a wide range of products, she noted.

Such diversity offers opportunities, she said, since smaller farms may be more nimble in experimenting with new methods or technologies to support resiliency, but they may also have limited financial capacity, time and other resources required to implement costly solutions.

Building a more climate-resilient agricultural sector also requires addressing broader issues in landscape management that affect agricultural operations, in addition to adaptation efforts at the farm level, MacNair said.

Logging and wildfires, for example, have affected the landscape’s ability to store and regulate water, said Andrew Bennett, an irrigation designer who owns a small farm in Rossland, B.C., and works with the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors.

The forest canopy provides shade, slows the springtime melt, and healthy trees prevent soils from eroding; rain and melting snow run more quickly off burned or logged slopes, leaving little water left come summertime, Bennett explained.

“We need to have mountain slopes that are treed, with deep soils, to hold water so it trickles out all season long.”

Smoke billows from a wildfire near Osoyoos, B.C., on July 19, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media.
Smoke billows from a wildfire near Osoyoos, B.C., on July 19, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. Photo by TWITTER @DylanGaleas via REUTERS

Soil is key to managing water, said Bennett, who works with his local municipality and wildfire prevention groups to divert wood waste that’s usually burned or taken to the dump into soil to boost its organic content, a process called hugelkultur.

Logs break down much slower than chipped wood, keeping carbon stored for longer and acting as a sponge to increase the soil’s capacity to store water, he said.

Much of Bennett’s work with the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors involves helping farmers improve the quality and capacity of their soils to increase yields and strengthen resilience as the climate changes, he said.

The group also works with farmers to improve their irrigation systems and use water more effectively, but Bennett said they need more support.

Some are holding down other jobs just to pay for the farm itself, he added.


World Dairy Expo 2022 Judges Span Globe

World Dairy Expo® is pleased to announce the eight individuals selected to serve as associate judges of Expo’s 2022 Dairy Cattle Show. Nominated by the official judge and approved by a committee of Expo exhibitors, these individuals bring a global perspective to this world-renowned event. World Dairy Expo returns to Madison, Wisconsin, October 2 – 7, with the Dairy Cattle Show held in the Coliseum, October 3 – 7.

The complete slate of individuals who will serve as judges at World Dairy Expo 2022 and the dates of the respective show are as follows:

International Ayrshire Show: Wednesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 6
Official: Chad Ryan, Fond du Lac, Wis.
Associate: Mandy Bue, Freedom, Wis. 

International Brown Swiss Show: Tuesday, October 4 and Wednesday, October 5
Official: Gerrit DeBruin, Lake Mills, Wis.
Associate: Hayden Hauschildt, Ellsworth, Wis. 

International Guernsey Show: Tuesday, October 4
Official: Phillip Topp, Botkins, Ohio
Associate: Tim Abbott, Enosburg, Vt. 

International Holstein Show: Thursday, October 6 and Friday, October 7
Official: Pierre Boulet, Montmagny, Quebec, Canada
Associate: Richard Landry, Ste-Brigitte-des-Saults, Quebec, Canada 

International Junior Holstein Show: Monday, October 3
Official: Pat Conroy, Angola, Ind.
Associate: Callum McKinven, Canton de Hatley, Quebec, Canada 

International Jersey Show: Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4
Official: Keith Topp, Botkins, Ohio
Associate: Ryan Krohlow, Poynette, Wis. 

International Milking Shorthorn Show: Monday, October 3
Official: Joe Sparrow, Worthville, Ky.
Associate: Matt Fry, Chestertown, Md. 

International Red & White Show: Wednesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 6
Official: Pat Lundy, Granville, N.Y.
Associate: Gary Jones, Gorey, Country Wexford, Ireland 

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The dairy industry will return to Madison, Wisconsin for the 55th event, October 2 – 7, 2022, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube for more information.  

Holstein Quebec Congress Modifies Schedule

The Board of Directors of Holstein Quebec met on January 19 and decided to modify the schedule of the Holstein Quebec Congress in order to respect the measures put in place by the Quebec government. Consequently, the AGM will be presented as planned on February 17, 2022 virtually via the Zoom platform to all members. As for the other activities of the Congress, they will be postponed to April 6 and 7 and will take place at the Hôtel Chéribourg located in Orford.

New Schedule
February 17, 2022
Holstein Quebec Annual General Meeting
Zoom platform

April 6, 2022
6:00pm … opening cocktail
7:00pm … Recognition evening, presented by John Deere Canada

April 7, 2022
9:00am to 4:00pm … Farm tour, presented by Vetoquinol Club
5:00pm  to 7:00pm … hosted at Ciaq and announcement of favorite cow
7:00pm … Banquet des Maîtres-éleveurs, presented by Desjardins and Traction Plus

CoBank predicts dairy margins will improve in 2022

CoBank is predicting that milk supplies in the U.S. and around the world will tighten in 2022 as dairy farmers reduce herd sizes in response to declining margins.

According to Tanner Ehmke, lead industry analyst at CoBank, European and New Zealand milk production, in particular, will continue to face headwinds, with stricter environmental regulations discouraging any growth in cow numbers.

“With the global economy widely expected to continue its recovery from COVID-19 and global consumers adding more protein to their diets, demand for dairy products around the world will continue to grow, particularly in high-growth regions like Southeast Asia,” Ehmke says. “However, the U.S. Phase 1 trade deal with China is set to expire at year-end, and China could steer its purchases toward our main export competitors — New Zealand and the European Union.”

Rising labor costs

Ehmke says high costs for labor, construction and freight will limit upside margin potential and dampen milk production growth. Faced with tightness in farm labor, U.S. dairy producers increasingly will be evaluating robotics and automation on the farm.

“The potential for continuing drought in the Western U.S., made more likely by the current La Niña conditions, will tighten feed availability for producers in the West — an additional incentive for dairies in the region to relocate further inland, specifically to the Midwest and Plains states,” he notes.

For dairy processors, increasing milk costs, inflation driving up operating costs and reduced labor availability will mean some processors get squeezed, particularly those manufacturing commodity dairy products. According to Ehmke, the significant expansion of capacity in cheese production in the past year — with more capacity coming on line in 2022 — will reduce milk supplies available for other categories, particularly for Class II (ice cream and yogurt) and Class IV (butter and powder) users.

“Port congestion and a shortage of available outbound containers will remain as headwinds for U.S. dairy exporters for much of 2022,” he says. “Ongoing logistical snarls, resulting in higher detention and demurrage costs and declining market share in Asian markets, will pressure U.S. dairy companies. International customers are already switching dairy purchases to Europe and New Zealand origin — a trend that is likely to accelerate in 2022.”

A continuation of the strengthening dollar could also hinder U.S. dairy exports in 2022. However, domestic consumption of dairy products will be more resilient as consumer demand increases both at and away from home, Ehmke says.

“Consumers armed with ample savings accounts and improved job prospects from a growing U.S. economy will drive further increases in dairy consumption in 2022,” he explains. “The cross-current of resilient domestic and global demand for dairy products with the slowing growth in milk supplies should give additional upward lift to milk prices in 2022. Combined with softer feed costs following big corn and soybean harvests, producer margins will finally improve.”

The economy is predicted to continue to grow in 2022. But inflation is driving up gasoline prices, home heating fuel prices, and the cost of food and other consumer goods, and will reduce consumer spending power. Barring any setback to restaurants, in-person learning in schools and colleges, and attendance at public events, increased cheese sales should boost overall milk sales.

Labor shortages are prevalent, Ehmke says, and a lack of truck drivers and milk plant operators is creating challenges across the supply chain. “At the ports, congestion is interrupting dairy exports and causing a buildup of inventories,” he adds.

Even as challenges abound, according to USDA, demand for U.S. dairy products for both domestic as well as international buyers remains robust. Class I demand has subsided from last fall when schools opened, boosting the need for fluid milk; however, demand for fluid milk remains significantly elevated above 2020. The growth in milk production for 2022, according to USDA, may be just 1.2% over 2021.


US dairy market and policy overview

The marked changes in US dairy markets and policy during the late 20th and early 21st centuries are discussed.

Correlation analysis suggests current US dairy policy provides less protection against declines in net return for the smallest dairy farms. This finding prompts a policy equity issue: “Should dairy policy be fair across herd sizes?” If it is decided that this issue is worth addressing, a per cow payment for a policy specified, limited number of cows is a potential policy option.

Brief History of US Dairy Policy:

The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 designated milk and its products as basic commodities (National Agricultural Law Center, 2021). Marketing agreements were instituted in a number of fluid milk areas that raised producer prices by controlling the volume and timing of milk sales. Support prices were imposed for milk during World War II and retained after the war.

Prices were supported by government purchases of butter, cheese, and nonfat dry milk. Payments for producing milk started in 1999 when ad hoc Market Loss Assistance Payments were authorized for milk and other farm commodities in response to a sizable decline in commodity prices associated with a global financial crisis. Ad hoc payments were also authorized in 2000 and 2001. The 2002 farm bill continued payments by authorizing monthly deficiency payments if the Class I milk price in Boston was less than $16.94 per 100 pounds (cwt.).

The 2014 farm bill replaced both this milk deficiency payment program and the price support program with a Dairy Margin Protection Program. It made payments when the margin difference between US average all milk price received by farms and cost of feeds was less than a specified value. Feeds were corn, soybean meal, and alfalfa. The 2018 farm bill renamed the program, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC). The basic formula was retained but many payment parameters as well as calculations used in the formula were modified.

Milk Price and Return Variability:

Milk prices have been much more variable (+162%) during the 23 years with dairy payments than during the preceding 23 years (see Figure 1). This widely noted increase reflected federal policy decisions to first lower, then eliminate milk support prices that had kept milk prices higher than market clearing levels. Price variability is measured as (standard deviation of percent change in average annual price per cwt. of milk paid to US farms).

A similar increase in volatility (+155%) occurred in net return above total cost as reported by USDA (US Department of Agriculture) (see Figure 2). Net return volatility is measured as (standard deviation of annual change in net return above total cost in $/cwt. of milk). Milk cost and return data were first reported for 1980. The increase in variability of milk price and net return was one reason US dairy policy changed from a price support to a milk price-feed cost margin program.

Milk Production:

US production of milk has grown on average 18% faster per year since 1998, the period of dairy policy payments (see Figure 3). One reason is that the elimination of price supports increased competitiveness of US dairy exports. When measured on a skim solid basis, US commercial dairy exports increased from a 5% share of total use at the turn of the century to 22% currently. The increase is less dramatic but still notable when measured on a fat basis: 1% to 5%. Growth differs because world demand is relatively stronger for milk solid products, such as skim milk powder and lactose, while US demand is relatively stronger for milk fat products, such as cheese and butter.

Variability of US milk production also declined (-38%). Years in which production declined from the prior year dropped a dramatic -71% (see Figure 3). Since 1998, US milk production declined only in 2001 (-1.2%) and 2009 (-0.4%). The last decline is 12 years ago and counting.

Herd Size:

US farms producing milk declined from 333,620 in the 1978 Census of Agriculture (see Data Note 1) to 54,599 in the 2017 Census of Agriculture, an 84% decline. As with most of US farming, surviving producers have gotten larger on average. Share of dairy cows on the largest 1.3% of US dairy farms increased from 10.8% to 31.7% between the 1978 and 2017Censuses (see Figure 4). These farms had 200+ cows in 1978 but 2000+ cows in 2017. The increase in share of cows on the largest dairy farms roughly matches the decline in share of cows on the smallest 50% of dairy farms (see Figure 5). It is not possible to create the same exact share of dairy farms across agricultural censuses because each census reports data for only certain herd sizes.

Using data from the 1997 Census of Agriculture as a midpoint observation reveals that the transfer of cows from roughly the smallest 50% to largest 1% of dairy farms has been continuous since 1978. A likely reason for the consistent shift is economy of size in producing milk. Total cost per cwt. declines sharply as herd size increases (see Figure 6). The largest dairy herds produce milk at less than half the total cost of the smallest dairy herds ($40.06/cwt vs. $18.02/cwt.). Primary driver of economies of size is nonfeed cost. For example, relative to the smallest herd, cost advantage of the largest herd is 71% for nonfeed ($7.57 vs. $26.25/cwt.) vs. 24% for feed ($10.45/cwt. vs. $13.80/cwt.).

Policy across Herd Size:

Current US dairy policy makes payments when the milk price-feed cost margin is below a specified value. Policy effectiveness across herd sizes thus depends on the correlation of changes in milk-feed margin across herd sizes. This effectiveness is explored by computing the correlation for (net return above feed cost reported by USDA for all herd sizes) with (net return above feed cost for a given herd size). All correlations are very high. Smallest is 0.96 for 1-49 cow herds (see Figure 7 and Data Note 2). Perfect correlation is 1.0. The high correlations likely reflect in part relatively similar feed rations, which in turn results in relatively similar feed cost per cwt. across herd size (see Figure 6).

However, feed is not the only cost. Moreover, non-feed cost vary notably by herd size (see Figure 6). Efficacy of a program based on the milk–feed margin thus depends on how closely correlated are (changes in milk–feed margin) with (changes in net return above total cost). This effectiveness is examined by calculating the correlation between (year-to-year changes in net return above feed cost for all herd sizes) and (year-to-year change in net return above total cost for each herd size).

Dairy herds with less than 50 cows have a notably smaller correlation of 0.79. Correlation is 0.95 for herds of 50-100 cows and exceeds 0.98 for all larger herds. The differences in correlations are more important than they may appear. The reason is that the share of year-to-year change in net return above total cost for a given herd size that is explained by year-to-year change in net return above feed cost for all herd sizes is the square of the correlation. This value varies from 63% (0.79 times 2) for herds of less than 50 cows to 90% for 55-99 cow herds to 97% for all larger herd sizes. Compared with herds of more than 100 cows, changes in the milk-feed margin explain substantially less of the changes in net return above total cost for dairy herds with 1-49 cows. Thus, a milk-feed margin program provides the smallest dairy farms as a group with less protection against declines in net return.

Summary Observations

Since the US began transitioning to a milk payment program from a milk price support program in the late 1990s, variability of milk price and net return has increased notably.

Analysis in this article suggests a program that bases dairy policy payments on the milk price-feed cost margin, such as the current DMC program, provides the most protection against decline in milk profitability for the largest dairy farms. Protection is notably less for dairy farms with less than 50 cows, with some slippage for dairy farms with 50-99 cows.

This finding prompts a policy equity issue: “Should dairy policy be fair across herd sizes?”

If policy deliberations conclude that this fairness issue should be addressed, a per cow payment for a policy specified, limited number of cows per dairy operation is a potential policy option.

This policy option is in essence a policy addendum to DMC to mitigate an equity issue created by DMC without changing DMC.

It could be implemented by basing the per cow payment on the decline in net return not covered by the change in DMC’s milk-feed margin for dairy operations with less than a given number of cows.

Payment could be restricted to herds with less than the given number of cows. However, such limits are usually difficult to effectively implement because farms rearrange their operation to qualify for payments. A per cow payment up to the given number of cows could thus be made to all dairy operations. Small dairy farms would however receive the greatest benefit since a larger share of their cows receive a payment.


India’s farm exports expected to touch record $50 billion

In FY21, India had exported farm products worth $41.25 billion, up 17% from $35.16 billion in 2019-20.

Export of rice is likely to touch $9.5 billion in value terms, accounting for about half of the global rice export market, the officials said, adding that non-Basmati rice shipments are likely to clock $5.8 billion.

“We expect farm exports to reach the highest and record $50 billion this year,” said one of the officials.

In the April to November 2021 period, export of agricultural products, including marine and plantation, amounted to $31.05 billion, up from $25.2 billion in the year-ago period.

Export of marine products is likely to touch a record $8 billion, while that of coffee could grow 45% and cereals 66%. Overseas shipment of meat, dairy and poultry products could rise 10% this fiscal, the official said.

“In spite of the disruptions caused by Covid-19, agriculture exports did well in 2020-21. The upward trend has continued during the current year,” the official said.

In the first eight months of the fiscal, India’s wheat exports rose by about 421%, sugar exports grew by 62% and that of other cereals increased by 79%.

‘Top class’ Limerick dairy farm goes on the market for €2m

The closet thing to a “turnkey” dairy farm is Breska in Clarina.

The 148 acres of top quality land, ideally laid out, has been brought to the market by GVM in recent days. It includes a 14 unit milking parlour and extensive buildings.

Instead of turning the key in the door, you just press the button on the milking machine and off you go.

Tom Crosse, GVM Group Property Director, said: “It is the best dairy farm to come on the market for years in Limerick. This holding is renowned locally as a top class dairy farm.”

Land in itself doesn’t come up too often but it’s very rare a dairy farm of this significance is put up for sale.

“It is an ideal opportunity to acquire a self contained and very sustainable ‘ready to go’ dairy unit situated just 15 minutes drive south of Limerick city in a very affluent locality made up of sizable agricultural holdings and very good quality ‘one off’ housing,” said Mr Crosse.

The highly respected current owners are retiring from farming and understood to be moving to Kerry. It’s quite possible the new owners could be moving in the opposite direction.

“They will be coming from far and wide for this,” said Mr Crosse.

Also included is a two storey four bedroom farmhouse. For sale by private treaty, Mr Crosse is guiding at €2m for the 148 acre dairy farm in Breska, Clarina.


Canada: No conclusive link between palm byproducts and butter firmness

Consumers spread #buttergate anecdotes online last year

Early last year, butter and its consistency became a hot topic in Canada as consumers began questioning why it seemed to be firmer at room temperature than it once was. Dubbing it #buttergate, some suggested that the cause of its firmness was diet, and in particular, the addition of palm oil products.

There was no evidence to back this claim, however, which is why the Dairy Farmers of Canada put together an Expert Working Group to further evaluate the issue. The group includes dairy researchers and industry experts, as well as members of a consumer organisation.

On Friday, the working group released its report, saying there’s no clear evidence to suggest that butter is firmer at room temperature than it once was. The report also said there is no clear link between palm oil byproducts used in feed rations and butter attributes.

“After a careful review of the existing scientific literature and undertaking new testing and consultations with various industry and academic experts, we cannot conclude that any perceived increase in the hardness of butter be solely attributed to the use of palm-derived feed supplements,” said Daniel Lefebvre, Chair of the Expert Working Group.

“There is a variety of factors that influence the fatty acid profile of milk which is only one of the factors that can affect butter consistency,” he continued. “We have also concluded there are gaps in the body of knowledge that should be addressed, and we offered a series of recommendations to better understand issues related to the properties of butter while also ensuring that industry is better equipped to meet consumer expectations.”

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) supports the working group’s findings and said it plans to conduct further research to address the remaining questions outlined in the report.

“I have asked Dr. Lefebvre to continue to work with the industry experts in an advisory capacity to help support the design of such future research,” said DFC president Pierre Lampron.


Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company sees 14.7% decline in profits

Subsidy reductions, imported feed costs and inflation cited as causes

Saudi Arabia’s Almarai, the Gulf’s largest dairy company, reported on Sunday a 14.7% drop in fourth quarter profit, citing subsidy reductions, imported-feed costs and inflation for farm and dairy commodities, reported Reuters.

Almarai made a net profit of 286.5 million riyals ($76.38 million) for the three months through 31 December, down from 335.9 million riyals in the same period a year earlier ($1 = 3.7509 riyals).

The company said it was hurt by the lack of subsidies for corn and soy last year. Results were also affected by alfalfa feed consumption moving to a 100%-import basis. General cost rises for farm and dairy commodities also hit its margins, mostly in the second half of the year, Almarai said.

Source: Reuters

2021 All-American Guernsey Winners Announced

The American Guernsey Association has released the winners for their 2021 All-American competition. You can find the results on their website HERE! Congratulations to all the winners and the Guernsey Association for a great contest!

Dairy calves use brushes for more than combing their hair

New research in the Journal of Dairy Science examines young cows’ use of brushes.

Dairy cows have a natural drive to groom themselves and to scratch those hard-to-reach itches on their bodies. When given the opportunity, dairy cattle use mechanical brushes daily at every stage of their lives. A new study in the Journal of Dairy Science, published by Elsevier, conducted by researchers from the Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, is the first to characterize the use of stationary brushes among weaned dairy heifers.

Cows with no access to brushes tend to rub their heads and bodies against pen walls and the edges of water troughs, risking injury. Additionally, young cattle appear to be motivated to manipulate objects with their mouths. Past studies have found that young cattle that had access to stationary brushes or hanging hemp ropes, which they could manipulate orally, showed reduced levels of abnormal, non-nutritive and potentially harmful oral behaviors, such as tongue rolling and sucking on wire mesh pen walls and other pen hardware.

Providing access to brushes in their housing environment is thus a welfare issue for cattle. However, weaned dairy heifers are often housed in simple environments with few appropriate outlets for grooming or oral manipulation and other natural behaviors. Rotating brushes allow cattle to groom hard-to-reach areas of the body, but stationary brushes may be more economical and offer opportunities for other behaviors, such as oral manipulation.

Lead investigator Marina von Keyserlingk, PhD, noted that, “Although providing brushes for dairy cattle is becoming more common, providing objects for oral manipulation has been underexplored. This appears to be an important behavior for young cattle.”

Therefore, this study examined not only grooming, but also oral behaviors focused on the brushes, as well as exploring heifers’ preferences for type and placement of brushes.

In phase 1 of the study, four rectangular scrub brushes were attached to the fence surrounding an experimental group pen housing four heifers at a time. This phase also investigated whether the heifers preferred softer or stiffer bristles, vertical or horizontal orientation of the brushes, or any particular location of the brushes within the pen.

In phase 2 of the experiment, the heifers were moved to freestalls either with a scrub brush mounted horizontally to the front stall rail or with no brushes. After five days, brushes were added to the stalls that formerly had not had any to examine any effects after this period of deprivation. Both phases of the experiment used video cameras mounted in the pen or stalls for recording and observation of behaviors.

The research team found that heifers began using the brushes almost immediately, even though they had never been exposed to brushes before. In the first phase, brushes were used primarily for grooming (approximately 60% of brush use), mainly of the head, but the heifers displayed a large amount of oral brush manipulation as well (approximately 40%).

After a peak on the first day in the pen, brush use was steady throughout this stage, and all heifers in the pen at any time used each brush at least once. In phase 2, the majority (approximately 75%) of brush use was oral manipulation. The heifers initially deprived of brushes during this phase showed more brush use after they were added back into the stalls (about three times more than the heifers who had access to brushes all along), in a rebound effect.

Oral manipulation of brushes in all stages of the experiment remained consistent over time, reinforcing the team’s view that this is an important behavior for young cattle. Additionally, the lack of differences in use of brushes with different bristle stiffness and horizontal versus vertical orientation suggests that the type of brushes provided may be less important than whether they are provided at all.

“In our study, the patterns of brush use across days suggest that stationary brushes are functionally relevant to the natural behavior of heifers and hold their interest over time, important characteristics for relevant environmental enrichments,” said Prof. von Keyserlingk. “Given recent evidence indicating that adult cows are highly motivated to access brushes, depriving cattle of such resources could have negative effects on their welfare.”


Top Dairy Industry News Stories from January 15th to 21st 2022

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Top News Stories:

Fourth and fifth generations at Canon Dairy not afraid to try new things

Just in the last decade, the Canons — Mark and Marie, the fourth generation on the West Middlesex, Pennsylvania farm, and their son and daughter, Trent and Josie — have added a creamery, solar panels and robotic milkers, and continue to try new things and keep equipment updated. They say those types of decisions have helped them stick around through tough times for the dairy industry.

“We’ve always had a good herd of cows,” said Mark Canon. Marie agreed, but added that comes from good management and staying up-to-date on the farm.

“We stay current … When you keep it current, I think it’s more attractive to the generation coming up,” she said.


After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 2014, Trent worked off the farm for about three years in agronomy and soil sampling. He got frustrated with some of the farmers he worked with who didn’t want to try new things. And he found himself comparing what other farms were doing to his own family farm.

“I got a family farm at home … nobody else is trying anything; I’m going to go try something,” he said. Now, he leads the farm’s crop operation.

Josie decided to come back to the farm after serving as the 2016-2017 Mercer County Dairy Princess.

“It just got me thinking about the industry,” she said. “You just meet a whole bunch of farmers.”

At that point, dairy was also going through a rough time. She wanted to help make sure her family farm had a future.

The farm used to bottle milk back in the 1930s and 1940s, and Mark was interested in doing something like that again. Josie enjoyed making cheese and liked the idea of starting a creamery. So, she went back to school at a local community college, after taking a year off, and got a degree in business management to learn enough to get started.

A farmer stands in a room next to a robotic milker.
Mark Canon shows off the robotic milkers at Canon Dairy, in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, Jan. 11. (Sarah Donaldson photo)


The generational transition has been going smoothly so far. The time off the farm gave Trent a lot to bring back with him. He saw farms using all sorts of systems, across multiple counties.

“I brought some new ideas back, and dad … he was very open to implementing them,” Trent said. He’s also been able to continue learning from Mark, especially on the dairy side — Trent considers himself more of a “field work guy” than a “cow guy.”

Marie also thinks it helps that their children didn’t feel like they had to come home. Marie and Mark have five children, and so far, two of them have decided to come back to the family business.

They regularly have family dinners and meetings, not just with Trent and Josie, but with their spouses as well. That way, everyone affected knows what’s going on with the farm. That open communication, including talking about everything from money to possible changes on the farm, has been a big help, Josie said.

“We already had a good family dynamic,” she added.

Mark and Marie credit that dynamic and smooth transition partly to seeing a healthy farm transition modeled by Mark’s parents. Mark’s dad started to step back from the farm when Mark was 40. By the time he was 45, he and his dad still had a partnership, but Mark owned the larger percentage of the farm and was the one mostly running it. The more sweat equity he put into the farm, the more ownership he earned.

“When you sit down at any farm gathering, and if you listen very closely for very long, you hear ‘Grandma still keeps the books’ … or ‘Grandpa won’t let us change anything in the barn,’” Marie said. “I married into a family that that was all handled openly, beautifully, from the beginning.”

A holstein cow looks through a fence.
A cow at Canon Dairy, in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, Jan. 11. (Sarah Donaldson photo)


The dairy, which milks about 115 cows and raises forages and other crops to help feed the cattle, recently received a FARM Excellence Award in environmental stewardship, from The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management program.

The Canons have used cover crops and no till for a long time, but have more recently added in multiple species of cover crops and rye crimping, which involves letting rye grow in the spring and rolling it down to plant corn into, instead of mowing it. Rye crimping helps control weeds and saves them time and money on herbicides.

“The conservation practices are just a matter of taking care of the land better, saving money,” Mark said.

They also use solar panels on the roof of the barn to supply much of the farm’s energy. The solar panels have been a good fit for the Canons because their energy needs are the greatest in the summer, when they have to run fans to keep the cows comfortable, which is also when the panels are producing the most energy. Trent has taken the lead on a lot of the farm’s conservation practices.

“I want the ground to be more profitable for the next generation, and the next generation should learn from that and make it more profitable for their next generation,” Trent said. “The only way to keep farming is to have sustainable land, and profitable land.”

While many of the family’s conservation practices are connected to the grain and cattle, they also extend to the creamery. Energy from the solar panels also powers the creamery, and the Canons reuse glass bottles and recycle water used for heating and cooling milk to water the cows.

“There’s always things we can do to be more efficient,” Josie said.


The farm’s next steps are growing the creamery and adding more acres for crops, Mark said. Currently, most of the farm’s milk goes to a cheese plant in Wilmington. Eventually, the Canons plan to use about 25% of the milk in the creamery.

“We just want to make sure that if there’s ever a downswing again, we’ve got an outlet for our milk,” Josie said. “And just that we have a more secure future.”

Canon Dairy already raises all of its own forages, and some of the grain for its cattle feed, but Trent wants to grow 100% of the farm’s grain within the next decade or so. They’re planning to add some grain storage on the farm. They also want to keep minimizing the amount of herbicides, fertilizer and other inputs they need to buy by using practices like cover crops.

“If you’re going to be successful as a young farmer, you’ve got to have an open mind and always be learning something new. If you’re close-minded, you’re never going to go anywhere,” Trent said.

Canadian farm cash receipts break records in 2021

Rising input costs could hinder profits in 2022

Canadian cattle and dairy producers have had a tough year last year. Drought in the West caused massive crop failure, floods in British Columbia caused significant stress, input costs continue to rise, and the effects of COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc on markets. Yet, it was still a good year for Canadian farmers, said Farm Credit Canada (FCC) principal economist Sébastien Pouliot. 

Pouliot expects farm cash receipts to continue to grow in 2022, although at a more moderate pace. While farm cash receipts may continue to grow, he warns that this does not necessarily mean farm profits will increase. Rising input costs could considerably shrink profit margins, he said. 

The second half of 2021 saw rising cattle prices, said the FCC analyst. “However, the drought in the Prairies parched pastures, making access to low-cost feeds increasingly difficult,” wrote Pouliot. “As a result, some cattle farmers downsized their operations.”

Despite rising input costs, Pouliot said market signals suggest strong cattle prices in 2022. 

“We forecast the number of fed cattle marketed in 2022 to decline, and because of the high feed costs, we expect fed cattle will be marketed at lower weights, causing volume by weight to decline,” wrote Pouliot. “Nevertheless, given higher prices, total cattle receipts should grow.”

Dairy receipts also continue to grow, and while demand for dairy products grew in 2021, the pace of growth was below expectations, said FCC. Dairy receipts are expected to grow by 3.7% in 2022, though. This is, in part, due to Canadian Dairy Commission’s increase of the support price for butter, which comes into effect on 1 February. The increase was in response to rising costs for feed and energy, reported Pouliot who estimates the farm gate milk price will increase to CAD$6.31/hl.

“Accordingly, we forecast the dairy farm price to increase by 8.5%,” he said. “Projections for farm output growth are limited to a 0.4% gain.”


Dairy payout forecast jumps to record high but farmers remain cautious

Waikato dairy farmers aren’t counting on splashing a lot more cash about, despite a new forecast tipping a record payout of $9.10 per kilogram of milksolids for the 2021-22 season.

“It’s not the bonanza you would think just because it’s the highest number,” said Andrew Reymer, the dairy chair of Waikato Federated Farmers, who runs a dairy operation at Ohaupo.

In its latest Commodities Weekly newsletter, ASB Bank predicted tighter global supply internationally, coupled with dry domestic conditions impacting production here, would help push prices to the record $9.10/kg, excluding dividend, compared to Fonterra’s earlier forecast of $8.40 to $9.

“The underlying global dairy demand and supply balance should keep prices supported over the remainder of the season,” ASB said.

A payout at $9.10, compared to last season’s $7.54, could add an extra $156,000 excluding dividends to the gross income of an “average” Waikato farm producing around 100,000 kg of milksolids.

“It’s a good price, don’t get me wrong,” said Reymer but suggested that, due to cost increases eroding margins, a new record payout at $9.10 would be relatively poorer than the previous record of $8.40 in 2013.

Because of those cost increases “it needs to be $9.40 to $9.50 to be comparable” with 2013, with increases, including fertiliser, wages, mechanical costs, electricity, fuel and compliance-related matters, said Reymer.

“The margin is basically the same. Everything’s still tight out there.”

He said inputs had gone up “phenomenonally”, adding production costs of $1-$2 per kilogram of milksolids in the past few years.

“Every bill that comes in has gone up.”

One brighter spot was that it was anecdotally predicted that current conditions, dry over December and January, would get wetter earlier in February and March, Reymer said. No one was talking up potential for a big drought this summer in Waikato.

NIWA’s predictions for Waikato from January to March, released earlier this month, indicated an 80 per cent chance of temperature being above normal. “Periods of high pressure will likely cause extended dry spells.”

Rainfall totals, however, had a 40 per cent chance of being normal and a 35 per cent chance of being below normal, NIWA said.

A 26-year-old dairy farmer, Hayden van de Poel, who runs a 132 effective hectare operation with 490 cows at Ngahinapouri, said dryer weather since new year had caught some young farmers off guard.

“We’ve had to put in supplements [to feed stock] earlier at a higher level than what they anticipated,” said van de Poel, the nephew of former Federated Farmers president Jim van de Poel.

The quality of pasture in many parts was poor with grass cover down, which created potential problems for producing enough to take significant advantage of the potential extra payout, he said.

But he felt that, given his access to feed supplements, he wasn’t doing too bad.

“So far it’s business as usual for me.”

But, given cost pressures and production constraints, there may not be the same net profit as in earlier years. He expected things to be much the same as last year in net profit terms.

“There’s certainly been a price increase of a lot of the commodities we need to make things work,” van de Poel said, with fuel and feed being the two main items costing him more.


Global milk supplies set to remain tight

The outlook for milk production remains subdued despite strong farm gate prices, reported Patty Clayton, Lead Analyst for Dairy at the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. 

Latest forecasts for 2022 suggest 0.6% annual growth in milk supplies, equivalent to an additional 1.8bn litres of milk. This follows a low growth year in 2021, with estimated* milk production up by 0.9% for the year, wrote Clayton.

Although milk prices are currently strong, high input costs, labour shortages and increasing greening requirements are pushing profits downwards. Clayton said there’s no relief in sight in terms of inflation, at least for the first half of the year, leaving little incentive for farmers to push for higher milk yields. 

If the weather is favourable come spring, supplies could rise slighting, but overall, Clayton said the outlook for feed, fertiliser and energy costs remains bullish. Labour challenges, shipping delays and environmental requirements will also play a role in determining supply, she added. 

“The limited increase in milk supplies will continue to support current price levels, with some potential for further increases as demand continues to recover to its pre-pandemic levels,” she said. “There are, however, some risks of softer demand from further Covid outbreaks or reduced purchasing as buyers use up some of the security stocks held in response to delivery delays.”


Roller Coaster Day in Chicago at the CME

It was another roller-coaster day on the milk futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. January Class III milk was two cents higher at $20.25. February 45 cents lower at $20.86. March down 63 cents at $21.69. April down 47 cents at $21.47. May through July 30 to 44 cents lower.

Mixed results on the spot market. Dry whey up $0.02 at $0.80. One sale was made at that price. Blocks unchanged at $1.8450  Barrels down $0.0875 at $1.8175. Butter up $0.0175 at $2.90. Two trades were made at $2.8975. Nonfat dry milk down $0.04 at $1.81. One trade was made at $1.8150. The USDA says December’s dairy cow slaughter was 267,800 head, 22,500 more than in November, but 5,700 less than December 2020. The preliminary total for the 2021 dairy cow slaughter was 3.106 million head, 429,000 above the 2020 total.

Plan for a successful year on the dairy farm

We have turned the page to a new year. While 2022 has begun, we are still dealing with many of the same challenges that have been with us longer than we care to remember. It is my hope this article will provide you with management recommendations to help your dairy be successful this year.


Availability and cost of inputs, especially chemicals, fertilizer and parts, continues to be a concern in agriculture. A recent Ohio State University Extension Precision U webinar included a panel of industry experts discussing parts and technology amid the supply chain issues impacting the agricultural industry.

While it is impossible to say when issues will ease, each panelist agreed that patience and proactive planning (including back-up plans) is critical.

Arrange time to talk with input suppliers. Discuss your anticipated needs and their thoughts on price and availability of crop inputs. Think about plans B, C and D if your first plans do not materialize.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to assess parts you will need for planting and harvesting equipment. Don’t assume the parts you need will be sitting on the shelf. Inspect equipment and get your name on the list for parts that are presently not in stock.

Fertilizer availability and pricing continues to receive much attention. Having recent soil tests is critical to making fertilizer application decisions. What fields are high in nutrients and could get by with limited fertilizer applications this year? Which fields can you not afford to not apply fertilizer?

While you may decide to reduce the amount of fertilizer you apply, it’s not recommended you skimp on lime applications where needed. Lime is critical to maintaining soil pH and allowing plants to utilize nutrients most efficiently.

Milk pricing

In the December 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, milk prices for 2022 were projected.

Price forecasts for 2022 are provided in the table. Keep in mind these are projections and many factors can influence price.

Dairy Excel Chart

Financial Planning

Can you be profitable with the projected milk prices? It’s difficult to answer this question without first knowing your cost of production.

One way to determine your cost of production is to enroll in the OSU Extension Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking Program. This program utilizes beginning and ending balance sheets, and input forms to determine production costs. In addition to a whole farm analysis, the program can also evaluate the financial performance of individual enterprises.

To view the most recent dairy analysis of enrolled farms, contact your OSU extension educator, or visit

The FINPACK program at the University of Minnesota is another great resource for financial management information. FINBIN is part of the FINPACK program and provides comprehensive financial and production benchmarks from hundreds of dairy farms. Additional information is available here at


The 2022 crop will likely be the most expensive ever planted. To assist in planning, OSU Extension has released 2022 Enterprise Budgets. These are available at or by contacting your local extension office.

The table summarizes expected total costs for corn, corn silage, alfalfa hay, and alfalfa haylage, based on assumed yields. Keep in mind, your costs may vary.


Attention to detail, pushing the pencil, and developing plans (with alternatives) will be important in 2022.

I encourage you to meet regularly with your extension educator, lender, input suppliers and other trusted advisors. Talk to these professionals, read, and attend educational programs to get answers to your questions to make well-informed decisions.


International Dairy Week (IDW) 2022 – National Holstein Show

Judge:Murray Sowter

Champion Cow – Sponsored by Semex and Holstein Australia
CHAMPION – View Fort Dictator Dottie, B, J, M & N Templeton
RESERVE – Avonlea Rival Ruth, Gorbro Holsteins
HON MENT – Coomboona Pety Satin, B, J, M & N Templeton

Champion RED and WHITE Cow – Sponsored by Semex
CHAMPION – Robley Park Dback Shakira, G & K Wilson
RESERVE – Cairnsdale Absolute Red Delight, Menzies Farm & View Fort Holsteins
HON MENT – Bluechip EV Shesawesome Apple, B & J Gavenlock
Genomic Merit Award Senior section Sponsored by Neogen.: Glomar Hotline Sarah 6200
 Holstein Best Udder Sponsored by Australian Dairy Farmer: View Fort Dictator Dottie, B, J, M & N Templeton – Sire: Dictator
Senior Red and White Holstein Best Udder Sponsored by Australian Dairy Farmer: Cairnsdale Absolute Red, Menzies Farms and View Fort – Sire: Absolute Red

Intermediate Champion Sponsored by Semex and Total Livestock Genetics
CHAMPION – Eclipse Altitude J Princess – Red, Robsvue & Busybrook
RESERVE – Byrne Lea Octane Buttersnap, Rowlands Park – Sire: High Octane
HON MENT: Avonlea Tatoo Dixie, J & C Gardiner – Sire: Tatoo

Red & White Intermediate Champion Sponsored Semex and Total Livestock Genetics
CHAMPION – Eclipse Altitude J Princess – Red, Robsvue & Busybrook
RESERVE – Gorbro Unstopabull Admire – Gorbro Holsteins
HON MENT: Lightning Ridge Cmd Dback Barbara, J Jennings & B, E & R Thomas

Class 14A  Red & White Intermediate Best Udder. Sponsored by The Australian Dairy Farmer: Eclipse Altitude J Princess – Red, Robsvue & Busybrook – Sire: Altitude Red

JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER- Sponsored by Holstein Australia: Lightning Ridge Thunderstorm Nico, Bleijendaal & Nikora/ Busybrook Holsteins- Sire: Thurnderstom
RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER – Sponsored by Eagle Direct: Windy Vale Warrior Rose, Windy Vale Holsteins- Sire: Warrior
HONOURABLE MENTION – Sponsored by Eagle Direct: Quality Ridge Radio Plum, Quality Ridge- Sire: Radio

JUNIOR CHAMPION RED & WHITE HEIFER- Sponsored by Holstein Australia: Rusty Red Avalanche Georgia-Red, Judson & Claudia Jennings- Sire: Avalanche
RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION RED & WHITE HEIFER – Sponsored by Eagle Direct: Mario Park Unstopabull, Murray & Jane Polson- Sire: Unstopabull
HONOURABLE MENTION RED & WHITE – Sponsored by Eagle Direct: Cherrylock Applesauce-Red, R & S Goode- Sire: Unstopabull
Junior Champion Genomic Merit Award- Sponsored by Neogen: Vala Sidekick Champage-Imp-Et, Vala Holsteins- Sire: Sidekick
Class 1 – Winter Calf Born on or after 01/07/2021
Sponsored by Maxcare
1st- Eastview Admiral Bonnie, Eastview Holsteins- Sire: Admiral
2nd- Mario Park Chief Alicia, Lowman and Wilson- Sire: Chief
3rd- Eastview BB Admiral Cherry, F & A Robinson/ L & G Sieben- Sire: Admiral
4th- Vala Luster Angel, Vala Holsteins- Sire: Luster
5th- Elm Banks Moovin Lulu, Elm Bank Holsteins- Sire:Moovin
Red & White
1st- Eastview Red Diamond Bonnie-ET, Hawthorn Glen Holsteins- Sire: Diamondback
2nd- Vala Tickle Me Softly-Imp-Et-Red, Vala Holsteins- Sire: Luxor-Red
Class 2 – All Australian Heifer – Graham Simpson Memorial – To be under 12 months on show day
Sponsored by Holstein Australia
1st- Quality Ridge Radio Plum, Quality Ridge- Sire: Radio
2nd- Vala Red-Eye Lusting, Vala Holsteins- Sire: Red-Eye
3rd- Eastview Admiral Bonnie, Eastview Holsteins Sire: Admiral
4th- Mario Park Chief Alicia, Lowman and Wilson- Sire: Chief
5th- Urramy Lodge Radio Emily, Taylor Family- Sire: Radio
Class 3 – Autumn Calf Born 01/04/2021 To 30/06/2021
Sponsored by ADFC
1st- Eclipse Perennial C Princess, Richard Hull- Sire: Perennial
2nd- Belrue Moovin Judy, Belrue Farms- Sire: Moovin
3rd- Eclipse Moovin O9 Princess – ET, Richard Hull- Sire: Moovin
4th- Brindabella KingDoc Midge, Brindabella- Sire: Kingdoc
5th- Kit Mirand Crystal-Po, K Davidson- Sire: Mirand
Class 4  – Summer Calf Born 01/01/2021 To 31/03/2021
Sponsored by Neogen
1st- Lightning Ridge Thunderstorm Nico, Bleijendaal & Nikora/ Busybrook Holsteins- Sire: Thurnderstom
2nd- Quality Ridge Radio Plum, Quality Ridge- Sire: Radio
3rd- Vala Redeye Lusting-Imp-Et-Pc-Rc, Vala Holsteins- Sire: Red-eye
4th- Mario Park Solomon Alicia-Red, Murray & Jane Polson- Sire: Solomon
5th- Brindabella Kingdom D Tamie, Brindabella- Sire: Kingdoc
Class 5 – Spring Yearling Born 01/10/20 To 31/12/20
Sponsored by City of Greater Shepparton
1st- Winwood Mirand Gucci, Bleijendaal & Nikora- Sire: Mirand
2nd- Belrue Moovin Lynley, Belrue Farms- Sire: Moovin
3rd- Rusty Red Avalanche Georgia-Red, Judson & Claudia Jennings- Sire: Avalanche
4th- Belrue Moovin Alley, Belrue Farms- Sire: Moovin
5th- Melinger Tattoo Heidi, Amy Stringer & Melissa Brewer Sire: Tattoo
Red Holstein Show
1st- Rusty Red Avalanche Georgia-Red, Judson & Claudia Jennings- Sire: Avalanche
2nd- Cherrylock Apple Crumble Red, Junnash Holsteins- Sire: Warrior
Class 6 – Winter Yearling Born 01/07/20 To 30/09/20
Sponsored by ABS Australia
1st- Windy Vale Warrior Rose, Windy Vale Holsteins- Sire: Warrior
2nd- Crookslea Ns Sidekick Ruby Rose, Crookslea- Sire: Sidekick
3rd- Avonlea Performance Ruth, JH & CJ Gardiner- Sire: Performace
4th- Brindabella Undenied Dottie, Brindabella- Sire: Undenied
5th- Rockwella Farm Pemberton Buttercup, Rockwella Farm Holsteins- Sire: Pemberton
IDW 2022 National Red Holstein Show
1st- Mario Park Unstopabull, Murray & Jane Polson- Sire: Unstopabull
2nd- Cherrylock Applesauce-Red, R & S Goode- Sire: Unstopabull
Class 7 – Autumn Yearling Dry Born 01/04/20 To 30/06/20
Sponsored by Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd
1st- Rockstar Avalanche Paige, Cherrylock Cattle Co. & M&J Polson- Sire: Avalanche
2nd- Rusty Red Cant Stop Apple Red, Hawthorn Glen Holsteins- Sire: Unstopabull
3rd- Avonlea Undenied Butter 2nd, JH & CJ Gardiner- Sire: Undenied
4th- Lightning Ridge Fd Thunder Lotto Et, Hightop Holsteins- Sire: Thunderstorm
5th- Belrue Thunderstorm Imelia, Belrue Farms- Sire: Thunderstorm
Red Holstein Show
1st- Rusty Red Cant Stop Apple Red, Hawthorn Glen Holsteins- Sire: Unstopabull
Class 8 – Summer Yearling Dry Born 01/01/20 To 31/03/20
Sponsored by Central Steel Build
1st- Cherrylock Backkick Chassity-ET, Maddy Foot- Sire: Sidekick
2nd- Mario Park Crushabull Fanny, Murray and Jane Polson- Sire: Crushabull
3rd- Vala Sidekick Champage-Imp-Et, Vala Holsteins- Sire: Sidekick
Class 9 – Senior Winter Yearling Dry Born 01/07/19 To 31/12/19
Sponsored by DeLaval
1st- Cairnhill Tatoo Polly, Hightop Holsteins- Sire: Tatoo
2nd- Avonlea Crushabull Missy-ET, JH & CJ Gardiner- Sire: Crushabull
Class 10 –  Junior Two in milk born 1/7/19 to 30/6/20
Sponsored by Easy Dairy
1st – Eclipse Altitude J Princess – Red, Robsvue & Busybrook – Sire: Altitude Red
2nd – Avonlea Tatoo Dixie, J & C Gardiner – Sire: Tatoo (Best Udder)
3rd – Whyndell Pharo Niarre, R & J Easterbrook – Sire: Pharo
4th – Lightning Ridge Cmd Tatoo Bambo, Justin Staley – Sire: Tatoo
5th – Avonlea Capital Trixie, Jim Strong & Linsand – Sire: Capital Gain
National Red Holstein Show
1st- Eclipse Altitude J Princess – Red, Robsvue & Busybrook – Sire: Altitude Red
2nd – Gorbro Unstopabull Admire – Red, Gorbro Holsteins – Sire: Unstopabull
Class 11  – Senior Two in milk born 1/1/19 to 30/6/19
Sponsored by Ruakura
1st – Eclipse 1st Antzy, Westmuir Holsteins – Sire: 1st Grade (Best Udder)
2nd – Rockstar Pg Undenied Cassy, Jannash Holsteins – Sire: Undenied
3rd – Avonlea Crushabull Rosina, Gorbro Holsteins – Sire: Crushabull
4th – Westmuir Chief Frostbite, Bleijendaal & Nikora – Sire: Chief
5th – Rockstar Pg Undenied Carla, Parrabel Genetics – Sire: Undenied
Class 12 – Junior Three in milk born 1/7/18 to 31/12/18
Sponsored by Yarroweyah Engineering
1st – Strongbark Ms Doorman Voltage, Jim Strong & Linsand Farms – Sire: Doorman (Best Udder)
2nd – Quality Ridge 1stgrade Willa, Quality Ridge, Attaview & Amelia Park – Sire: 1stgrade
3rd – View Fort Roble Sadie, B, J, M & N Templeton – AltaRoble
4th – Elmar Rambo Jessica 4222, Elmar Holsteins, L Heath & M Flemming – Sire: Rambo
5th – Avonlea Val Mistress, Gorbro Holsteins – Doorman
IDW 2022 National Red Holstein Show
1st – Vala Diamondback Carmel ET, Vala Holsteins – Diamondback
Class 13  Senior Three in Milk born 1/1/18 to 30/6/18
Sponsored by Elders
1st – Byrne Lea Octane Buttersnap, Rowlands Park – Sire: High Octane
2nd – Murribrook Unix Candace, Tandara – Sire: Unix
3rd – Instyle Doc Amy, B, E & R Thomas – Sire: Kingdoc
4th – Lightning Ridge Cmd Dback Barbara, J Jennings & B, E & R Thomas – Sire: Diamondback
5th – Glomar Quantam Lucky 6281, Glomar Holsteins – Sire: Quantum
National Red Holstein Show
1st – Lightning Ridge Cmd Dback Barbara, J Jennings & B, E & R Thomas – Sire: Diamondback
Class 15 Four Years in milk born 1/1/17 to 31/12/17 Sponsored by World Wide Sires
1st – Avonlea Capital Roxy, Eloora Pastoral Co – Sire: Capital Gain
2nd – Glomar Hotline Sarah 6200, Glomar Holsteins – Sire: Hotline (Best Udder)
3rd – Murribrook Diamond Chloe, L & L Calder – Sire: Diamondback
4th – Rowley Park Dback Shakira, G & K Wilson – Sire: Diamondback
5th – Murribrook Diamond Vetta, TR Investments – Sire: Diamondback
IDW 2022 National Red Holstein Show
1st – Rowley Park Dback Shakira, G & K Wilson – Sire: Diamondback
Class 16  Five Years in milk born 1/7/16 to 30/6/17 Sponsored by Agrigene
1st – Avonlea Rival Ruth, Gorbro Holsteins – Sire: Archrival
2nd – Benlargo Elijah Ding, Benlargo Holsteins – Sire: Elijah (Best Udder)
3rd – Eagle Ridge Corvette A Pollyanna, Windyview Holsteins – Sire: Corvette
4th – Warramont Diamondback Fondue, Crookslea – Sire: Diamondback
5th – Lightning Ridge Beemer Camilla, Busybrook Holsteins – Sire: Beemer
IDW 2022 National Red Holstein Show
1st – Cairnsdale Absolute Red, Menzies Farms and View Fort – Sire: Absolute Red
2nd – Bluechip EV Shesaawesome Apple, B & J Gavenlock – Sire: Awesome Red
Class 17 Six Years in milk born 1/7/15 to 30/6/16 Sponsored by Provico
1st – Coomboona Pety Satin, B, J, M & N Templeton – Sire: Pety (Best Udder)
2nd – Arrowlea Atwood Candy, Smethurst Park and Maxmount – Sire: Atwood
3rd – Avonlea Goldwyn Cinnamon 2, B, J, M & N Templeton – Sire: Goldwyn
4th – Bluechip TT Golddust Frosty, Sunvale Holsteins – Sire: Golddust
5th – Pooley Bridge Seaver Spottie 14, B, J, M & N Templeton – Sire: Seaver
IDW 2022 National Red Holstein Show
1st – Kearla Absolute Supra Red, Windyview Holsteins – Sire: Absolute Red
Class 18  Seven Years and over in milk born prior to 1/7/15 Sponsored by STG Australia
1st – View Fort Dictator Dottie, B, J, M & N Templeton – Sire: Dictator
2nd – Fairvale AJ Spot, Winsdale Holsteins – Sire: Fairvale Atwood Joy
3rd – Glomar McCutchen Annecy, Glomar Holsteins – Sire: McCutchen
4th – Smallridge Shadow Rainbow, Brindabella & Jessop – Sire: Shadow
5th – Avonlea Stanleycup Carol, B, E & R Thomas – Sire: Stanleycup
IDW 2022 National Red Holstein Show
1st – Hawava Burst Jodie, Gorbro Holsteins – Sire: Redburst
Pen of 3 females Sponsored by Tatura Milk: 1st Templeton Family

Global milk supplies set to remain tight – AHDB

The outlook for milk production remains subdued despite strong farm gate prices, reported Patty Clayton, Lead Analyst for Dairy at the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. 

Latest forecasts for 2022 suggest 0.6% annual growth in milk supplies, equivalent to an additional 1.8bn litres of milk. This follows a low growth year in 2021, with estimated* milk production up by 0.9% for the year, wrote Clayton.

Although milk prices are currently strong, high input costs, labour shortages and increasing greening requirements are pushing profits downwards. Clayton said there’s no relief in sight in terms of inflation, at least for the first half of the year, leaving little incentive for farmers to push for higher milk yields. 

If the weather is favourable come spring, supplies could rise slighting, but overall, Clayton said the outlook for feed, fertiliser and energy costs remains bullish. Labour challenges, shipping delays and environmental requirements will also play a role in determining supply, she added. 

“The limited increase in milk supplies will continue to support current price levels, with some potential for further increases as demand continues to recover to its pre-pandemic levels,” she said. “There are, however, some risks of softer demand from further Covid outbreaks or reduced purchasing as buyers use up some of the security stocks held in response to delivery delays.”


Lactanet’s 2022 Insight to Support Dairy Producers

Leaders from Lactanet Canada recently released their 2021 Annual Report and 2022 Business Plan reflecting insight and support for dairy producers in the year ahead. Presentations took place at the virtual Lactanet Ontario Annual General Meeting (AGM), held in conjunction with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) AGM. From communication and connection to transformation and evolution, insightful discussions focused on accomplishments and plans that support a prosperous and sustainable Canadian dairy industry.

“Connecting with dairy farmers, partnering with our industry and enhancing our governance will make our industry better and stronger,” mentioned Barbara Paquet, Lactanet Board Chair. “We were so pleased with participation in the first year of our on-line Resolutions process as we received 28 Resolutions and over 1,100 on-line votes. This platform facilitates connection and communication with dairy farmers across the country and I encourage producers to get involved in the next round of Resolution activity in the spring.”

With partnerships being a priority for Lactanet, Paquet highlighted two new industry collaborations in 2021. “Delivering on-farm proAction validation services for Dairy Farmers of Ontario expands a service of which Lactanet has been supporting in Quebec for more than a decade. Lactanet also relocated the Edmonton lab to the Alberta Milk office and it is now the most modern ISO accredited milk lab in North America.”

Lactanet’s Chief Executive Officer, Neil Petreny, recapped the developments of Lactanet’s herd management and genetic tools released in 2021. On the list were the new dynamic client portal called Mysite, Feed Efficiency Genetic Evaluations, eDHI, and several sustainability initiatives. “We will continue to offer a broad range of proven product and service options for all profit models and milking systems,” says Petreny. “As we build on advanced solutions to show dairy farmers what’s possible, four initiatives that will be introduced in the year ahead include the A2 Probability Report, Genomic testing for non-herdbook animals, methane evaluations and rewriting the Rules of Publication to reflect today’s realities with the integration of sensor data.”

From providing genetic/genomic evaluation services and DairyTrace, to raw milk payment and quality lab services for 60% of the country, Lactanet continues to demonstrate that it is more than milk recording. “We are at the table in many capacities,” mentions Petreny, “as the largest supplier in the country for herd management software, as a global leader to improve farm animal production, and to offer support for sustainability and enhance the livelihood of Canadian dairy producers.”

For additional details, view the following:

About Lactanet Canada
Lactanet is the leading dairy herd improvement organization responsible for milk recording, genetic evaluations, knowledge transfer and dairy cattle traceability. As a farmer-run organization serving 8,000+ Canadian dairy producers, Lactanet provides the dairy industry with products and services to help manage their dairy operation for maximum efficiency and profitability.

Dairy Business Association Honors Jerry Meissner as Advocate of the Year

Keep your priorities straight, take care of those around you, never take anything too seriously and love like crazy.

Josh Meissner and his family will cherish those lessons from his late father, Jerry, who was honored Wednesday night as a champion for the dairy community.

It was a bittersweet moment as the Meissner family accepted the Dairy Business Association’s Advocate of the Year award on behalf of Jerry, who passed away last month due to an illness. Jerry was made aware of the award before his passing.

“We’ve learned so many things from Dad and he’s shaped our lives in so many ways,” Josh Meissner told an audience that filled a banquet hall at the Monona Terrace during DBA’s Dairy Strong conference.

Jerry, who farmed in Clark County, was a founding member and past president of DBA and helped create a sister organization, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

“People have always had great respect for Jerry,” Tim Trotter, chief executive officer of DBA, said. “He was a tireless leader and a center of influence in the dairy world.”

Jerry’s parents started the family farm in the late 1940s. In 1965, after a fire, the family built an 80-stall barn and milking parlor, which was one of the first in Wisconsin. Over several decades, they purchased crop acreage and taught their children the value of owning land.

“Working alongside multiple generations became one of the greatest blessings of his life,” said Bob Hagenow of Vita Plus, who presented the award. “However, his work extended far beyond the end of the farm’s driveway. Jerry served the community tirelessly, holding leadership positions in dairy, agriculture and beyond.”

With the support of his parents, Jerry worked his way into the family farm with his brothers. Each generation continues to be willing to let the next generation step up to the plate, make decisions and run the farm when the time comes, something Josh appreciates about his dad.

“I am so very thankful for the work and love that Dad and our family have poured into this business, which will allow generation four to have all the opportunities I did,” he said.

Today, Josh Meissner runs Norm-E-Lane just as his father taught him. Milk production happens based on the farm’s mission statement, which is to produce milk through passionate people, sustainable farming and exceptional animal care. The farm milks 2,500 Holstein cows and raises another 2,000 cows and heifers while also operating 5,000 acres of cropland used for animal feed.

“With Dad gone from our world, things will certainly be different,” Meissner said. “There will be pain, emptiness and some big shoes to fill, within our family and our business. But along with his loss comes memories, appreciation for what he and Mom have built, and a legacy that can only be built upon.”

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