Top Dairy Industry News Stories from June 16th to 22nd 2018

Feature Article

Top News Stories

Don’t let supply management myths spoil the milk

The way Canadian dairy farmers are portrayed in the NAFTA debate might lead you to believe they drive Porsches to the milking barns. Farmers who own quota in our food system, where dairy along with poultry fall under supply management, are often portrayed as a lobby group rather than people we rely on for food security.

In fact, opposition to supply management in Canada is based on misrepresentation. If we want a food system that is efficient, sustainable and promotes health, then we should protect supply management vehemently and even expand it to other foods. That means confronting the myths about this system that are bandied about like fact.

Supply management works by ensuring farmers don’t produce more milk (or eggs or poultry) than we need. The marketing boards for these foods tell farmers how much they can produce – their quota – and then calculate the sale price by considering the cost of production. This is broadly known as demand-supply co-ordination. Neither the federal nor the provincial governments are directly involved – aside from passing laws and maintaining protective taxes that allow supply management to work. The system isn’t perfect – for one, it doesn’t always consider how to produce the healthiest foods – but it’s not what critics say it is.

Myth 1: Supply management stands in the way of a free market. Compare the way milk is produced in the United States to in Canada. Here, supply management ensures farmers’ costs of production are covered by the price they get for what they produce. This means Canadian taxpayers do not subsidize these farmers. However, in the United States, taxpayer dollars subsidize American dairy for irrigation, nutrition and feed as well as through government loan programs. They need this state support because the market price usually doesn’t cover their costs of production. They also need it because, unlike in Canada where supply is matched to demand, American farmers often produce more milk than they can use. This leads to the destructive boom-and-bust cycles so typical of farming. Now they want to sell us their excess and put an end to Canadian supply management.

Myth 2: Supply management only makes some farmers rich. We have supply management in Canada because farmers and governments recognized that it was hard for farmers to make a living in the marketplace. There’s a paradox that makes food different from other commodities: A really lean season means similarly lean income while a bumper crop floods the market and lowers the price, leading to more lean income. Farmers who own quota in a supply management system typically fare better than farmers who don’t. Also, the price guaranteed by supply management provides Canadians with a price-stable, high-quality source of dairy. Milk prices don’t suddenly spike. Moreover, the system has enabled Canadian farmers to have smaller herds than American farmers where herds are as large as 100,000 cattle. Slowing the growth of big dairy farms has left rural communities with more small farms, which in turn contributes to the richness of rural life that even city people experience when they head to the country.

Myth 3: Canadians will benefit if we scrap supply management. A recent study found that Canadians pay less on average than Americans and Australians for dairy and our prices are less volatile. But price isn’t the only consideration when it comes to food. Food, and the way it is produced, determines how healthy we are. And the way food is produced on the farm and then processed has an impact on the environment. Not to mention that farms are part of the social fabric of this country – when farms go out of business because of boom-and-bust cycles, social and community health is negatively affected.

So rather than back away from supply management, Canada should consider how demand-supply co-ordination can be improved by making sustainability and health explicit goals in this system and in national food policy. Such an approach ensures resources are used efficiently, reduces the distance food travels and lessens food waste. These are all good things.

But demand supply co-ordination isn’t popular in a food system run primarily by private interests. And it’s especially not popular with the Trump administration looking for a market for the excess milk flowing from its skewed dairy supports.

Seeing the benefit in supply management asks us to confront our biases and step away from the drumbeat of globalization that makes it seem like supply management stands in the way of progress. If we want a healthy and sustainable food policy, the government needs to protect it for our sake.

Source: The Globe and Mail

House Passes Farm Bill 213-211

The House narrowly approved an $867 billion farm bill with controversial provisions that could stop millions from receiving food stamps and toughen work requirements for program participants.

The House’s 213-211 vote means the legislation will go to conference with the Senate version of the bill. This marked the second attempt by the House to pass the farm bill after it failed to approve the legislation last month, due to an immigration squabble among Republicans.

There are nutritional program cuts in the House farm bill that could face problems in conference with the Senate version. The Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill passed out of the panel June 13 and didn’t include major changes in food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“This bill does nothing to actually strengthen agriculture programs or help farmers caught in the president’s trade war,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, in a release. “I hope the bipartisan process in the Senate leads to a better bill that strengthens our farm safety net and anti-hunger programs so this attack on our most vulnerable never reaches the president’s desk.”

But the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture hailed at passage of the 2018 farm bill.

“Today’s vote was about keeping faith with the men and women of rural America and about the enduring promise of the dignity of a day’s work,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said in a statement. “It was about providing certainty to farmers and ranchers who have been struggling under the weight of a five-year recession and about providing our neighbors in need with more than just a hand out, but a hand up.”

The House farm bill includes cuts of more than $20 billion in SNAP benefits over 10 years. The legislation also contains provisions that could see more than 2 million low-income Americans lose their benefits or experience declines in financial assistance. Critics of the legislation also contend the legislation could result in nearly 265,000 children losing access to free school meals.

Total benefits paid out last year by SNAP exceeded $63 billion, and went to more than 42 million participants.

The House’s farm bill — formally known as the so-called Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 — includes new work requirements for SNAP participants that tighten existing rules. The White House also has been pushing for tougher work requirements for public assistance programs that target low-income Americans, including food stamps and public housing assistance.

“They’re trying to find ways to cut back on people who have access to SNAP, and frankly they’re trying to do it by putting in new work requirements” said Steve Taylor, senior vice president and counsel for public policy with United Way Worldwide, a global nonprofit based in Virginia. “United Way agrees in the value and dignity of work. We want people to be able to be able to work and pull themselves out of even needing services and needing things like food stamps.”

Taylor said there was United Way staff from all around the country on Capitol Hill on Thursday ahead of the farm bill vote in the House.

“What we found was there were a lot of congressional offices voting on this bill that didn’t know that SNAP already has work requirements,” he said. “So I think there may be some misunderstanding about exactly what the requirements are in SNAP, which is unfortunate when you’re vote on a bill that is just creating obstacles for needy people.”

However, some Republican members of Congress applauded the SNAP changes in the bill.

“I am especially supportive of the reforms made to SNAP, which require able-bodied individuals aged 18-59 to participate in employment training or work a minimum of 20 hours a week,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., in a statement. “By refocusing reforms on work requirement, those who depend on SNAP, like the elderly and disabled, still have access to the support they need, but significant steps are taken to ensure that Americans are entering the workforce and no longer dependent on federal government assistance.”

The farm bill also contains changes that have angered environmentalists who claim the new rules would undermine clean water rules and exempt pesticide pollution.

The farm bill covers everything from farm subsidies and food stamps to trade and rural development policy. Farmer assistance includes commodity payment programs, as well as subsidized crop insurance. The bill is usually renewed every five years, and the current version is set to expire Sept. 30.

“Passage of a long-term Farm Bill allows farmers and ranchers to plan ahead and make decisions to improve their business,” said Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., in a release. He represents a congressional district in California’s Central Valley, a region known for its extensive agriculture production.

“Passage of the House farm bill today is a big win for America’s farmers and ranchers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “Our grassroots Farm Bureau members clearly made their voices heard. By approving the 2018 Farm Bill today, members of the House recognized the serious economic challenges facing farmers and ranchers across the country.”

Duvall said the farm organization will now turn its attention to the Senate version of the farm bill and work with Senate Agriculture Committee leaders. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated he wants to get the farm bill through the upper chamber before the July Fourth recess.

“The Senate bill also addresses the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing today,” said Duvall. “We will also continue to focus our attention on other areas important to farmers, such as finding a solution for the very serious ag labor shortage, increasing market opportunities through trade and cutting the burdens of regulations that have piled up during previous administrations.”

The Sierra Club issued a press release after the farm bill’s passage slamming what it called “a package that weakens the SNAP anti-hunger program and includes provisions undermining bedrock environmental safeguards for clean water, wildfire and forests.”

Specifically, environmentalists say farm bill includes rollbacks on the Clean Water Act requirements as it relates to pesticides by easing rules on permits. They also called out provisions in the legislation that would speed up logging and mining in forests.

How Canada’s controversial dairy supply management system works

Canada’s dairy sector is the target of blistering verbal and Twitter attacks from U.S. President Donald Trump who complains tariffs, as high as 314 per cent, are unfair

Source: Calgary Herald

Are You Hiring the Right People at Your Dairy?

Well, if you answered “no” to that question then maybe you need to review – or create – job descriptions that you have for key positions. Job descriptions provide the foundation for building strong human resource management practices into the day-to-day management of a dairy farm business.

One of the key purposes of a well written job description is to serve as a guide for hiring decisions. Consider this: a manager has recently left your dairy for another position. This particular manager had exceptional performance and his or her replacement needs to be equally skilled and perform just as well. Where do you start the hiring process? What tasks did that manager complete? What organizational knowledge just walked out the door, creating a hole in your organization? How can you begin to replace the knowledge, skills, and abilities in that manager? The answer starts with a well-developed job description.

Potential workers are constantly comparing among organizations when looking for employment. Dairies that have no job descriptions or ones that are poorly written are at a disadvantage when workers are looking at that dairy for employment. A good job description can help to recruit the best people for the position by providing clarity about what is required for the job and what day-to-day tasks are expected to be completed. A good job description shows potential new hires (as well as seasoned employees) where they “fit” within the dairy. If the dairy chooses to advertise for workers or use a service to help locate new employees, the job description provides the launching point for beginning the search.

Job descriptions need not be cumbersome, but rather can be rather easy to develop and customize for your dairy farm business. Penn State offers an online tool (Penn State Online Job Description Generator) that is based on research with focus groups of dairy farm owners and employees to determine what key tasks were performed for different levels of positions in dairy businesses. The focus groups provided a broad array of tasks for specific levels of positions from front line workers like milkers and feeders, to middle managers, and even owners and senior managers. The simple to use, drop-down menus allow you to choose tasks. Additional information may be added in order to create a “custom fit” rather than a “cookie cutter” approach to developing job descriptions for your dairy.

The process of creating job descriptions starts by reviewing the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for each position. Five key parts to a typical job description include:

  1. Job title. The job title should accurately and simply describe the job. For example, milker or milking technician, parlor manager or herd manager.
  2. Summary. This is a concise definition of the job’s major responsibilities, including where and when it is performed. You might use the summary when advertising for the position.
  3. Qualifications. A description of any experience, training, or education that is necessary to perform the job. Also, any physical characteristics essential to performing the job, such as the ability to lift and carry a certain weight. Be sure to avoid statements that might be discriminatory on grounds of race, gender, age, or national origin. Be aware that there are some jobs young people are not legally allowed to do.
  4. Duties or Tasks. This is the list of all activities that the person will perform. The number of different duties depends on how specialized workers’ roles are on the farm. Most employers add at the end of the list “other duties as assigned by supervisor” as a way of including those activities that are not routine.
  5. Work relationships. All workers need to know where they fit in the organization. The work relationship section should clearly define who the worker’s supervisor is and how the worker’s position relates to other positions. Be sure that each position only has one supervisor.

Other optional items that may be included as part of the job description include:

  1. Compensation and Benefits. Include in this section all compensation that is offered. An hourly wage range, insurance, vacation, sick leave, and so on should be clearly stated. Housing, use of farm products such as milk or meat, use of equipment, and so forth are all legitimate forms of compensation and should be given a fair market value. You should also specify how much these non-monetary benefits may be used so that there is less chance of conflict later.
  2. Work schedule. Define work hours as much as possible. Define overtime policy if one applies. If work hours vary with the seasons, make that clear in the description.

Once good job descriptions are developed, it is much easier to review and modify them as the needs of the dairy change over time. In addition to their usefulness in the hiring process, job descriptions are useful tools in training new employees and evaluating the performance of existing employees. Job descriptions provide the foundation for building strong human resource management practices into the day-to-day management of a dairy farm business.

Imagine musicians in an orchestra trying to find their roles and play the correct notes without a written piece of music to guide them. Like the sheet music, the written job description helps workers to see where they fit in the organization, and like the sheet music the written job description helps workers to learn how to perform tasks correctly. If your dairy is running a little “off key,” try developing good job descriptions as part of a tune up this year!


Tillamook Creamery’s New Visitor Center Is a Monument to Dairy

A new visitor center has opened at the Tillamook Creamery.

Let them eat cheese — and ice cream, yogurt, butter and probably sour cream. The new Tillamook Creamery opened to the public on Wednesday.

The renovated visitor center — at about 42,800 square feet — was designed by the Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig and offers an abundance of new features.

A larger dining area has more indoor seating and a spacious outdoor patio. There is an expanded ice cream counter and new coffee and yogurt bars. A revamped menu has grilled-cheese sandwiches, wood-fire pizzas and Pacific Northwest wine and beer.

The monument to dairy has been under construction for the past year and a half. The farmer-owned cooperative typically draws about 1.3 million visitors a year.

“This new visitor’s center will serve as a greeting card not just for Tillamook but the entire state of Oregon,” Gov. Kate Brown said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. “Tillamook Creamery is proudly and uniquely Oregon. (It) has grown to be one of the most renowned dairy companies.”

Brown, who confessed her two favorite foods are cheese and ice cream, spoke of the dairy industry’s impact on the state. The governor gave accolades to Bruce Cardin’s 1997 sixth-grade class for helping make milk Oregon’s state beverage.

Eight-year-old Juliana McCoy traded in a day at camp for a visit to the grand opening with her mom that included a picture with Brown. Her visit was sweetened with one of Tillamook’s famous ice cream cones, and in the visitor center’s Farm Room, she tried to beat the average 21 seconds it takes a professional to prep a cow for milking.

“It was worth it,” McCoy declared.

With $778 million in gross revenues last year, the Tillamook County Creamery Association is the largest co-op in Oregon, employing nearly 900 people. Its approximately 90 farm families — mostly from the Tillamook area — own the cooperative and provide the milk for the cheese, ice cream, yogurt and other products.

“This is our modern day commitment to growth and giving back,” said Patrick Criteser, the president and CEO of the creamery association. “We can all agree the end result far exceed expectations.”


Dairy prices continued to fall Thursday in Chicago

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Thursday, dairy prices continued to fall. Class Three June milk was down $.06 at  $15.26. July was down $.14 at $14.86. August was down $.07 to $15.49.  September was down $.02 to $16.07. The milk futures from October through next May ranged from ten cents lower to one cent higher.

Grade AA Butter was up $.0025 at $2.29 per pound.  No sales were recorded. Barrels were up $.0175 at $1.31 per pound.  Thirty-four carloads sold from $1.2825 to $1.3275. There were also 22 carloads sold Wednesday.  Forty-pound blocks were down $.01 to $1.4950 per pound.  Three carloads sold from $1.4950 to $1.5050.  Nonfat dry milk was up $.0025 at $.77 per pound. Eight carloads sold from $.76 to $.77. Dry whey was unchanged at $.39 cents per pound.  No sales were recorded.

Australian dairy industry calls for skilled visa reform amid labour shortages

The Australian dairy farmers’ peak body says the industry is in crisis and visa reform could be the answer.

The peak body for Australia’s dairy farmers is calling on the government to overhaul its skilled migrant visa program to help solve a labour crisis in the industry.

Australian Dairy Farmers says the industry is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in employee turnover.

President Terry Richardson said: “we don’t have that succession [of families] like we did in the past, we’re relying more on labour outside”.

Mr Richardson said farmers were left in the lurch when the government abolished the 457 visa system earlier this year.

“We have farmers that have opportunity to grow their business but because of labour shortages they’re unable to do so.”

Some dairy farm workers are now eligible for a Temporary Skills Shortage visa but Australian Dairy Farmers is asking the government to provide longer visas and pathways to permanent residency.

“We’ve had people from Europe … the Philippines … some from Korea, so there’s a wide variety of countries from which we source those people,” Mr Richardson said.  

But the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) insists the government should focus on training local workers.

Andrea Maksimovic of the ACTU said: “we need to look at what kind of skill shortages we have and what kind of training and education programs we can use to complement them”.

While sixth-generation farmer John Fairley of Country Valley dairy farm near Sydney said underlying issues need to be addressed, to make farming a viable career choice for young workers. 

“[There’s] just not enough money around to be able to get those debt levels down,” he said.

“I’m sure some of the kids would look at that and go, ‘no way, I’m out of here’.”


Source: SBS News

CowManager introduces Fertility Insights and sets next steps towards big data platform

CowManager, the leading cow monitoring company, announces the introduction of Fertility Insights and sets next steps towards a big data platform. Its new data integration capabilities accelerate cow fertility insights and have been designed to collect, manage and process the enormous amount of data being created 24/7 about a cow’s fertility status.

With the average herd size increasing, producers are facing more and more challenges in detecting cows in heat and finding sick cows. Accurate information about cow health is essential to success in dairy farming. CowManager monitors the cows’ condition with great precision, to enable producers to give their cows the attention they need. To be able to provide producers with the most accurate information about a cow’s fertility status, CowManager has created a smart algorithm, which continuously combines fertility data from CowManager and various management systems that are available worldwide. The data from CowManager’s ear sensors are combined with cow events and alert intervals into a new set of alerts in the CowManager system named, Fertility Insights. 

The data is synced continuously and can be configured specifically for every business. Combining cow data gives clear answers about the fertility status of a cow; is she cycling or cystic? What is her heat interval? Was the insemination successful? Is she still pregnant or has she aborted? Is her uterus clean after calving? All this data can be downloaded in reports, which are easy to use for reproductive management and vet checks. A quick overview of all cow data enables producers to make faster and more balanced decisions. It will support producers in selecting for insemination, minimize pregnancy checks and stress, and save management time.

The pie chart in figure 1 is based on lactating cows only. The combination of heat detection with Fertility Insights provides producers a total overview of their herd’s repro status. For example, the 14% fertility issues are being picked up and based on a couple of Fertility Insight statuses. It shows that CowManager basically detects every cow’s fertility status; even when a cow is not coming in heat or when she aborted.

Koen van Meurs, Head of Research & Development at CowManager, explains: “CowManager is continuously developing ways to improve the support systems for producers that enables them to make better business decisions. We listen to the wishes of the modern producers who need innovative solutions and insights to overcome the challenges they are faced with. In our 8-weeks update cycle we deploy as many requests as possible. Fertility Insights has been available since our last global update in June. Customers already using the fertility module now also have access to Fertility Insights. With Fertility Insights CowManager supports producers in a very practical way, day by day.” 

Cost of Raising Dairy Replacements

The cost of raising dairy replacement calves is a significant cost on Wisconsin dairy farms in the
production of milk. Calculating the costs associated with raising dairy calves is an essential part
of dairy business management. To augment individual dairy calf cost of production analysis, the
dairy industry also requires a set of benchmark costs whereby individual business costs and labor
and management efficiencies can be compared.

In 2017 UW-Extension Dairy Team conducted an on-farm survey on the cost  and labor efficiency of raising dairy replacements individually or through an automated group feeding system.  Highlights of the findings include:

  • Operations using automated feeders had higher liquid feeding costs than individual
    systems due to their ability to easily feed higher milk amounts. Use of pasteurized whole
    milk reduced costs when feeding higher milk volumes even when partially using salable
  • Labor costs were lower for farms using automated feeding systems than individual
    systems and compensated for the higher milk feeding amounts. Unpaid labor costs were
    higher for individual fed operations with these operations generally being smaller and
    having less hired labor.
  • Management costs were similar between operation types emphasizing the importance of
    calf management in either system.
  • Housing costs were higher for those using automated feeding due to newer, larger
    facilities. This difference may normalize as depreciation will occur as facilities age.
    Operations with the highest housing cost also had the highest total allocated costs.
    Planning for sufficient but not excessive facility space save costs of raising calves. Use
    of a renovated facility also may be an option for certain operations.
  • Variation exists for labor and housing costs for farms using automated feeding systems;
    therefore, suggesting different strategies to manage calves and improve employee comfort.



New blood test reveals susceptibility to costly disease in dairy cows

Oregon State University researchers have developed a blood test to identify dairy cows that are susceptible to bovine clinical mastitis.

The interdisciplinary research team published its findings in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Bovine clinical mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udder, is the most prevalent and costly disease in the dairy industry. Diagnosed shortly after calving, the disease strikes about 16.5 percent of U.S. dairy cows in the first 30 days of lactation. Clinical mastitis costs the dairy industry millions of dollars of lost milk income and loss of cows due to the disease.

The OSU test can assist with prevention and early treatment intervention against clinical mastitis, thereby improving cow health and welfare, said study lead author Gerd Bobe, an animal scientist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Linus Pauling Institute.

The researchers identified biomarkers in the cows’ blood that could indicate which of them are at increased risk of a specific disease, Bobe said.

“After giving birth, all cows are highly vulnerable to serious infectious and metabolic diseases,” he said. “Long before they acquire the disease these cows have a metabolic profile that indicates they are at an increased risk of disease.”

In nearly all cases, bovine clinical mastitis develops when the cow’s immune system isn’t able to defend against exposure of pathogenic bacteria at the end of its teat. Most of the time, the cow’s symptoms are mild–they are producing milk lacking normal consistency, for example flakes or clots, and the milk must be discarded. In serious cases, the cow may also have a fever and won’t eat.

The OSU test makes it possible for a dairy farmer to use this test to determine which of their cows are at risk for the infection before it occurs, Bobe said. To prevent the disease, they could feed those cows nutritional supplements that could boost their immune systems.

The study cohort consisted of 161 healthy pregnant Holstein cows from a 1,000-head dairy farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Blood samples were collected weekly during the last three weeks before calving and at calving. After calving, the researchers selected blood samples of eight cows that were diagnosed with clinical mastitis but no other diseases after calving and compared them with nine cows that remained healthy after calving.

The researchers used a form of advanced analytical chemistry, known as ultra-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry, to analyze the blood samples for lipids and other circulating metabolites.

“At some point before calving the cows got infected,” Bobe said. “This method allows us to determine when those cows were infected and needed to be treated.”


52 More New York Dairy Farmers Without Contracts

According to CBS New York, 52 farmers in New York are being released by Marcus Dairy, a fluid milk processor in Danbury, Conn. Dozens of those producers will be out of business by the end of the month when their contracts expire on June 30.

“We’re scrambling to find another creamery to take us on and buy our milk wholesale,” said Alice Diehl. Adam Diehl is generation number five to run the milking operation with his wife, Alice. Their daughter, Michaela, hopes to be generation six.

“It’s in their bloodstream, it’s part of their DNA to be farmers” said Alice Diehl. “It’s what they do, it’s what they love to do.”

Family matriarch Alice Diehl says the twice daily milking ritual is weeks away from a reckoning.

Farmer Tom Bose is the local supervisor who is working to help the six Sullivan farmers.

“Probably the most difficult time I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Bose. “Mentally, physically, emotionally, horrible.”

Global forces are hitting local farms, everything from increased production in China, to Walmart bottling its own milk in Indiana. Tastes are changing too. The average American drinks 37% less milk today than in 1970.

On their Facebook page, the Diehl family is encouraging their neighbors and friends to contact their local legislators. Many of the farmers who were dropped by Marcus are small farms and would like to see some kind of supply management system put in place in the U.S. They say the Margin Protection Program has done nothing but put more money into the National Treasury.

Dairy farmer sees 54 cows die overnight

A dairy farmer has told of the “worst night of his career” after more than 50 dairy cows died in a suspected water contamination case.

Tom Rawson, co-founder of the Evolution Farming dairy and agri-consultancy business, has posted devastating news on social media that 54 cows died at his Leicester farm.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Rawson said: “After the worse night in my 20 years of dairy farming, daylight has broken on 54 dead cows at our Leicester site.

“Originally thought to be bloat, it is now believed external water source contamination is the likely cause. A long and emotional night for all the farm team, their families, ourselves and the vet Henry.”

Mr Rawson went on to thank his team and firefighters from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, who worked to save 30 cows.

“Thanks to the quick thinking of our amazing team of people, 30 cows that were down were saved. Also thanks to the fire brigade who were called when it became clear it was a water issue to get water to the cows to flush their systems.”

He added: “I guess now the clear-up operation begins, plus the investigations will start. It will be a long day…”

Pioneering farmer

A former Farmers Weekly Farmer Focus writer, Mr Rawson is a co-director of Evolution Farming, an organisation strongly focused on milk from forage and low-cost block-calving systems. 

Currently managing about 2,400 cows across six sites, Evolution Farming recently added the Leicester dairy, which has opened its doors to farmers and the public, becoming an AhHDB Monitor Farm and taking part in Open Farm Sunday.

Mr Rawson still oversees the management of his home farm near Dewsbury, Yorkshire, as well as the Leicester site and one Lincolnshire farm. 


Source: Farmers Weekly

Canadian dairy Saputo urges end to pricing system opposed by U.S.

Saputo Inc, one of Canada’s largest dairies, supports ending a domestic milk ingredient pricing system that has angered the United States, Chief Executive Lino Saputo Jr. said on Monday, showing a rare crack in solidarity among processors and the country’s sheltered dairy farmers.

The Class 7 pricing agreement, struck in 2016 between Canadian dairy processors including Saputo and farmers, allowed processors to pay lower prices for domestic milk ingredients used to make cheese and yogurt, and to export the rest.

“They want their cake and they want to eat it too,” Saputo Jr. said in an interview, referring to farmers. “Which doesn’t make sense. You can’t hold onto your milk supply-managed system and have a class of milk competing with world markets at the same time.”

Saputo Jr.’s remarks came after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Friday he did not see how the countries could go forward in trade talks without an end to Class 7.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), the sector’s main lobby group, said the industry still speaks with one voice.

“Although (Saputo’s) comments took us by surprise, perhaps they are the product of confusion around the notion of flexibility suggested by the federal government,” said DFC Chief Executive Jacques Lefebvre, referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments to a U.S. television network this month about talks on dairy.

Dairy Processors Association of Canada, of which Saputo is a member, said Class 7 was an effort to “modernize” the system, and its support has not changed.

“We view efforts to expand the dairy sector’s contributions to the Canadian economy as positive,” DPAC Chief Executive Mathieu Frigon said in a statement.

Canada matches dairy production to domestic consumption, yielding less than 10 percent of the market to imports through tariff-free quotas. Above those quotas, imported dairy faces high tariffs.

Class 7 was struck to create a domestic market for Canadian milk ingredients, after cheaper U.S. volumes that were not subject to high tariffs flooded into Canada. Those U.S. shipments dried up after Class 7 took effect, riling farmers and processors in Wisconsin and New York state.

Saputo Jr. said his company felt forced to support Class 7 through its association. He said he is speaking out now because scrapping Class 7 would be “logical,” and less damaging than surrendering additional tariff-free volumes to the United States, similar to what Canada did in trade deals with the European Union and Asia-Pacific nations.

“The system is broken,” Saputo Jr. said, adding that it would not surprise him to face a farmer backlash. “The problem is everyone is putting their heads in the sand and no one really wants to find solutions until they’re forced. We’re in a position today when we can control our own destiny.”

Saputo shares finished 1 Canadian cent lower in Toronto at C$43.74.


Source: Reuters

Cheeky Drive-By Robbery From Milk Delivery Truck

A milk snatcher is caught red-handed stealing from a delivery wagon in a cheeky drive-by robbery.

He struck when a Renault Megane pulled up alongside the truck in a slow line of traffic heading into a city centre.

 A passenger in the Renault Megan casually leans out in a line of slow-moving traffic in Birmingham to start the cheeky robbery

A passenger in the Renault Megan casually leans out in a line of slow-moving traffic in Birmingham to start the cheeky robbery

A motorist in a car behind films on his phone as a passenger – wearing a smart blue business shirt – calmly leans out and grabs a plastic container of six milk cartons before the Megane carries on.

The milk truck driver who had been delivering supplies to a 24-hour convenience store on the main Hagley Road into Birmingham at 5.20am was around the other side of the truck and unaware of the theft.

The driver who recorded the incident said: ‘It all happened so slowly and calmly.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

 The milk truck driver who had been delivering supplies to a 24-hour convenience store on the main Hagley Road into Birmingham was on the other side of the truck and unaware of the theft

The milk truck driver who had been delivering supplies to a 24-hour convenience store on the main Hagley Road into Birmingham was on the other side of the truck and unaware of the theft

 The passenger who was wearing a smart blue business shirt - calmly leans out and grabs a plastic container of six milk cartons before the driver carries on

The passenger who was wearing a smart blue business shirt – calmly leans out and grabs a plastic container of six milk cartons before the driver carries on

 The driver who recorded the incident said it was as if the milk snatchers had gone fishing and were 'trying to hook a fish'

The driver who recorded the incident said it was as if the milk snatchers had gone fishing and were ‘trying to hook a fish’


How to out-Trump Trump in dairy negotiations

It is time to out-disrupt the disrupter and be more Trumpian than Donald Trump.

The U.S. President has been complaining about high tariffs on dairy products and the inaccessibility of Canada’s market for U.S. dairy producers. Our opening position should be to propose a fully competitive market without any tariff and government regulations (i.e. remove supply management in Canada). This may seem like an impractical starting point, but this position would change the underlying narratives within the United States and, more importantly, among Mr. Trump’s supporters. Here’s why:

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The global dairy industry is highly regulated. In almost all cases, these regulations evolved long before global trade liberalization, which started with the Uruguay round of trade negotiations in the late 1980s. Regulations are mainly driven by unique supply and demand relationships, rather than by the desire to protect domestic markets. In the dairy industry, supply takes a long time to respond to changes in demand. If left to market forces, milk markets tended to fluctuate between gluts or shortages. As a result, governments across the world have been using regulations to steady the supply of milk for consumers. Both Canadian and U.S. dairy markets are highly regulated – albeit using very different tools.

In Canada, we use supply management, while the United States uses an administered price set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs). FMMOs set the price of fluid milk after considering regional cost differences. The entire FMMO system can also be thought of as a type of cartel. By establishing the relationship between minimum prices across regions, the FMMO system creates a certain distribution of producer benefits across regions. These administered regional pricing differences help the United States maintain viable dairy farming across the country. To manage excess demand or supply in the U.S. market, the government also intervenes through subsidized production insurance and purchases of dairy products. Canada, under supply management, regulates both prices and the volumes to be produced.

Now, if we insist on removing all government regulations as a bargaining position, then certainly Canadian dairy farmers will be adversely affected – but so too would U.S. dairy farmers. Milk production in the United States would move from high-cost states to low-cost states in the south and west of the country. Wisconsin dairy farmers certainly do not like tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed at Canada’s border, but they would hate the idea of losing the protection of FMMOs.

Globally, the U.S. dairy sector is not as competitive as the Trump administration would have us believe. Currently, both countries allow for dairy product imports up to predetermined amounts under low-tariff quotas (TRQs). Anything above the quota limits faces prohibitive tariffs. As such, both economies have significant trade barriers to foreign dairy products. So, a proposal to abolish tariffs will hurt both sides and change the political support among dairy farmers for the U.S. proposal. In fact, if we add the remaining Group of Seven countries, European Union dairy farmers will be the key beneficiaries under dairy trade liberalization. Reciprocity in tariffs and removal of trade barriers may not be as beneficial as Mr. Trump thinks − and, in many cases, will adversely affect the President’s voter base.

It is possible that a counter argument from the U.S. side would be that Canada should dismantle its supply-management system and adopt the U.S.’s seemingly market-driven administered-pricing system. But we can also suggest the U.S. dairy sector will do better with a supply-managed system. Given current hardships and gluts in the market, it is likely Wisconsin dairy farmers, for example, would overwhelmingly support such a move.

It is difficult to predict exactly where we will end up, but being aggressive with our initial negotiating position will challenge the current Trump narrative that the U.S. dairy industry is an open and competitive sector. In his view, allies such as Canada take advantage of this openness and dump products to hurt U.S. dairy farmers. And at the same time, we put up trade barriers to deny access to our market. Most U.S. farmers almost certainly prefer more government regulation going beyond FMMOs. On the other hand, our highly inefficient supply-management system needs to change, otherwise the dairy sector will always be the weakest link in our future trade negotiations.

If both sides can harmonize regulations then we can in fact create an environment for what Mr. Trump trumpets as “fair trade”. On both sides of the border, dairy sectors need optimum regulations, and not complete and unconditional dismantling of regulations.


CME Milk Futures Resume Downward Trend Wednesday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, milk futures dropped again, after a one-day break from sliding prices.  Class Three June milk was unchanged at  $15.32. July was down $.12 at $15.00. August was down $.06 to $15.56.  September was down $.03 to $16.09. The milk futures from October through next May ranged from one two cents lower to two cents higher.

Grade AA Butter was down $.0225 at $2.2875 per pound.  One carload sold at that price. Barrels were down $.0325 at $1.2925 per pound.  Twenty-Two carloads sold from $1.2875 to $1.33. Forty-pound blocks were down $.0625 to $1.5050 per pound.  One carload sold at that price. Nonfat dry milk was up $.0150 at $.7675 per pound. Nine carloads sold from $.7550 to $.7675. Dry whey was down $.0050 at $.39 cents per pound.  No sales were recorded.

Reducing age at first calving can save thousands

Reducing the age of first calving from 26 to 24 months can potentially save dairy farmers £300 per heifer.

Speaking at the final meeting of AHDB’s Calf to Calving initiative in Aberdeen FCG dairy consultant Andy Dodd explained that AHDB-funded research conducted by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) had found the average cost of rearing a heifer went up significantly the longer it took them to calve for the first time.

Dodd explains: “At 24 months the cost is approximately £1,500 to rear a heifer, but that rises to £1,800 if they calve at 26 months, and can be over £3000 if they don’t have their first calf until 32 months.

“There are also many other benefits to calving younger, the cow’s lifespan is longer, they need less calving assistance throughout their lives and they supply substantially more milk over their lifetime.”

The RVC statistics show that heifers which calf at two years give on average 25,000 litres of milk throughout their first five years, while those calving two months later give just 20,400 litres.

The figures also show that longevity is increased; heifers calving at 24 months have a 62% chance of still being alive at five years old while those which calf at 26 months only have a 41% chance of surviving past their fifth year.

At the meeting at Glasgoforest Farm, Dodd recommended a number of ways of reaching the two year target including robust protocols which ensure calves are always cared for consistently no matter who is in charge, setting targets and monitoring your progress, as well as regular weighing to guide feed management.

One of the most important tenets of managing age at first calving is understanding mature herd weight as heifers should be 85% of that weight post calving.

“Once you know the mature herd weight you are aiming for you can set targets across the 24 months,” Dodd says. “For example heifers need to be 50% of their mature weight at 12 months, and 55-60% of their mature weight at 14 months.

“The good thing about understanding your targets and monitoring progress is you can always make changes along the way. If you find at 12 months old they are significantly over or under weight there’s no need to panic, just readjust your management, whether by feeding more or less, or changing your feed completely, you can get them back on track.”

Calf to Calving farms are part of AHDB’s wider Farm Excellence Platform, which inspires industry to improve performance and succeed through farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange.


Source: POST

Select Sires Inc. Introduces Summer Interns

Select Sires Inc. is pleased to welcome 13 interns to their summer internship program. Thomas Allen, Saul Boysel, Sydney Good, Matthew Hall, MaryKate Harrod, Lauren Hendel, Kennedy Horn, Sarah Lehner, Max McCoy, Samantha Oftedahl, Jacob Rigsby, Matthew Snyder and Meghann Winters will be spending their summer interning at North America’s largest A.I. organization.

“Both practical work experience within the agricultural industry and networking are extremely important to help college students prepare for full-time employment beyond graduation,” says David Thorbahn, Select Sires president and C.E.O. “That’s why Select Sires offers hands-on internship opportunities to work with trained professionals each year. This program helps to expand knowledge of the industry, while allowing interns to contribute to the day-to-day operation of the Select Sires federation.”

Thomas Allen, Matthew Hall, Kennedy Horn and Sarah Lehner are serving as livestock technicians this summer. Allen, hailing from Urbana, Ohio, currently attends Miami University. Hall of Powell, Ohio, currently attends The Ohio State University. Horn, of Plain City, Ohio, currently attends Wilmington College, where she studies animal science with a minor in biology. Lehner of Delaware, Ohio, is currently an animal sciences student at The Ohio State University.

Returning interns who are serving as livestock technicians this summer are Saul Boysel, Sydney Good and Jacob Rigsby. Boysel, of Zanesfield, Ohio, is set to earn his degree in agriculture business from Wilmington College in 2019. Good, a native of Marysville, Ohio, currently attends Columbus State Community College with plans to transfer to The Ohio State University to major in animal sciences. Rigsby, of Marysville, Ohio, currently attends Heidelberg University. During their internship, livestock technicians will assist with semen collection, livestock care, barn upkeep and assist the veterinarians when needed.

MaryKate Harrod of Flat Rock, Indiana, joins Select Sires as the semen processing and research intern. She attends Purdue University and will earn her animal sciences degree in May 2019. Harrod will assist with evaluation and initial processing of semen within the laboratory, in addition to various projects involving processing and cryopreservation. She will also complete an independent project focused on extender artifacts and their impact on flow cytometry.

Lauren Hendel of Caledonia, Minnesota, returns to Select Sires this summer, where she will serve as the dairy sire marketing intern. She is set to graduate from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in May 2019. There, she studies animal science – dairy production and agricultural and food business management. Lauren will assist with facilitating all dairy cattle photography in North America, organizing and conducting dairy cattle tours, among other responsibilities within the marketing department.

Max McCoy, a native of Ravenswood, West Virginia, joins Select Sires as the veterinary intern. McCoy graduated from West Virginia University in 2016 with a degree in animal and nutritional science. He will be entering his third year as a student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. This summer, McCoy will assist with daily veterinary duties to provide for the health and welfare of livestock in order to collect quality semen product.

Samantha Oftedahl joins the Select Sires team in Westby, Wisconsin this summer as the laboratory intern. Oftedahl hails from Westby, Wisconsin and currently attends the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, where she will earn her agribusiness degree in 2019. This summer, Oftedahl will assist with daily operations of the lab, initial processing of semen, data entry and extending product life.

Matthew Snyder of Plain City, Ohio, joins Select Sires as the business analysis intern. He currently attends Miami University where he studies mathematics and statistics. Snyder will become familiarized with the organizational structure of Select Sires and its federated cooperatives while learning how each department contributes to Select Sires’ brand promise, Your Success, Our Passion. Snyder will gain working knowledge as he rotates through each department at Select Sires.

Meghann Winters, from Old Washington, Ohio, is serving as Select Sires’ corporate communications intern. She is currently a student at The Ohio State University, where she will earn her degree in agricultural communication with a minor in agribusiness in 2019. This summer, she will design the 2019 breeding calendar and promote Select Sires as a member of the communications department.


Dairy Forage Seminars Part of World Dairy Expo

The 2018 Dairy Forage Seminars, held in conjunction with the World Forage Analysis Superbowl at World Dairy Expo, will once again provide further educational opportunities this year.

Led by professors, researchers, producers and industry representatives, the seminars will feature various topics related to forage production, harvest, storage and feeding.

The Dairy Forage seminar schedule includes:

** October 3: Strategies to Reduce Feed Costs on the Dairy – Mike Hutjens, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

** October 3: Dairy Nutrition Research Update – Ken Kalscheur, Geoff Zanton and Mary Beth Hall, Research Dairy Scientists, USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center

** October 4: On-farm Feed and Forage Management for a 44,000-Pound Herd – Tom Kestell, Ever-Green-View Farms; and Steve Woodford, Nutrition Professionals, Inc.

** October 4: Corn Silage for Dairy: Past, Present and a Look to the Future – Randy Shaver, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

** October 5: New Insights on Alfalfa-Grass Mixtures for Dairy – Jerry Cherney, Professor, Cornell University

** October 5: Corn Silage Mycotoxins – Phil Cardoso, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois

** October 6: Seeing the Total Financial Picture of the Dairy Puzzle, of Which Forage is One of the Pieces – Gary Sipiorski, Dairy Development Manager, Vita Plus, Inc.

In addition to the Dairy Forage Seminars, the World Forage Analysis Superbowl is once again seeking entries for the ever-growing forage competition with more than $22,000 in cash prizes to be awarded. Producers wishing to enter corn silage samples must have entries submitted by July 1.

All other category entries must be received by Aug. 30. For more information about entering the World Forage Analysis Superbowl, visit

Australian dairy processors on the lookout for suppliers

A new era of milk competition is upon us according to a dairy industry analyst, and northern Victoria continues to be a hot spot as processors pull out all the stops to attract suppliers.

Driven by the purchase of Murray Goulburn Co-operative by Canadian processing giant Saputo, and factory expansions by Fonterra, Australian Consolidated Milk and Freedom Foods, Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey said suppliers needed milk more than ever.

The fall of the co-operative had opened up a new period in the industry with more supplier shifts and less loyalty, Mr Harvey said.

‘‘Farmers were very loyal to the co-op and are not as loyal to any other type of processors,’’ he said.

‘‘The theme is a lack of milk supply in the system, there’s a lot of stainless steel not being used.’’

With Saputo racing to make up the inherited shortfall in milk supply — its current processing levels have one billion litres of additional capacity — the competition for supply is leading to industry changes.

‘‘You’re already seeing a lot of the price announcements coming out,’’ Mr Harvey said.

‘‘Now, they may not be where they finish and might not be that attractive, but … they’re going earlier to market and offering longer-term contracts all because they’re trying to secure milk supply.

‘‘You’ve got a whole heap of companies that in the past wouldn’t have gone to market until Murray Goulburn … now everyone is waiting for Saputo because they’re the biggest player yet to go to market.’’

The assault has been taken to all corners of the region, with processors including Saputo and Bulla taking out full-page newspaper advertisements in an attempt to draw new suppliers into the fold.

For Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey, this year’s supply battle is certainly more public than in previous years.

‘‘Previously it’s probably been more one-on-one, driving down a driveway,’’ Mr Hoey said.

‘‘(But) farmers are looking for a sustainable milk price going forward … There’s always been movement (between suppliers) but that’s probably grown in the past two years and some people have made it very clear they’ll be looking elsewhere.’’

While there were hopes the competition would lead to increased farm gate milk prices, Mr Harvey said costs such as fodder and water continued to climb, impacting the gains that would result from an increased milk price.

The milk battle comes as a group of 20 northern Victoria dairy farmers have so far secured 100million litres of milk supply with the intention of taking the collective milk pool to processors and bargaining for a higher milk price.

UDV president Adam Jenkins said ultimately, dairy farmers needed early and transparent opening prices to budget for the year ahead.

‘‘Farmers are desperate for certainty and it is simply unacceptable, especially considering the challenging conditions of the past two seasons, for processors to stall or misrepresent their opening price announcements,’’ Mr Jenkins s


Source: Country News

Canadian dairy Saputo criticizes supply management system, siding with U.S. in ongoing dispute

Saputo Inc, one of Canada’s largest dairies, supports ending a domestic milk ingredient pricing system that has angered the United States, Chief Executive Lino Saputo Jr. said on Monday, showing a rare crack in solidarity among processors and the country’s sheltered dairy farmers.

The Class 7 pricing agreement, struck in 2016 between Canadian dairy processors including Saputo and farmers, allowed processors to pay lower prices for domestic milk ingredients used to make cheese and yogurt, and to export the rest.

“They want their cake and they want to eat it too,” Saputo Jr. said in an interview, referring to farmers. “Which doesn’t make sense. You can’t hold onto your milk supply-managed system and have a class of milk competing with world markets at the same time.”

Saputo Jr.’s remarks came after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Friday he did not see how the countries could go forward in trade talks without an end to Class 7.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), the sector’s main lobby group, said the industry still speaks with one voice.

“Although (Saputo’s) comments took us by surprise, perhaps they are the product of confusion around the notion of flexibility suggested by the federal government,” said DFC Chief Executive Jacques Lefebvre, referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments to a U.S. television network this month about talks on dairy.


Dairy Processors Association of Canada, of which Saputo is a member, said Class 7 was an effort to “modernize” the system, and its support has not changed.

“We view efforts to expand the dairy sector’s contributions to the Canadian economy as positive,” DPAC Chief Executive Mathieu Frigon said in a statement.

Canada matches dairy production to domestic consumption, yielding less than 10 percent of the market to imports through tariff-free quotas. Above those quotas, imported dairy faces high tariffs.

Class 7 was struck to create a domestic market for Canadian milk ingredients, after cheaper U.S. volumes that were not subject to high tariffs flooded into Canada. Those U.S. shipments dried up after Class 7 took effect, riling farmers and processors in Wisconsin and New York state.

Saputo Jr. said his company felt forced to support Class 7 through its association. He said he is speaking out now because scrapping Class 7 would be “logical,” and less damaging than surrendering additional tariff-free volumes to the United States, similar to what Canada did in trade deals with the European Union and Asia-Pacific nations.

“The system is broken,” Saputo Jr. said, adding that it would not surprise him to face a farmer backlash. “The problem is everyone is putting their heads in the sand and no one really wants to find solutions until they’re forced. We’re in a position today when we can control our own destiny.”

Saputo shares finished 1 Canadian cent lower in Toronto at C$43.74.


Trudeau Has Billions of Reasons to Dig In Against Trump on Dairy

Justin Trudeau’s defense of Canadian dairy tariffs isn’t just about farmers and politics — it’s about debt, too.

The prime minister squared off with Donald Trump this month over Canada’s “supply management” system, which sets quotas for dairy, eggs and poultry and charges high tariffs above that threshold. Despite a U.S. surplus on dairy trade with Canada, the president wants to blow apart the Canadian system.

Trudeau is digging in for a variety of reasons, including the financial fallout. Canada’s protected dairy system caps production to avoid oversupply and maintain stable prices for farmers. Permits to sell within supply management’s cap, known as quota, have grown in value and are now worth C$35 billion ($26 billion), with about C$30 billion in dairy specifically. Farmers use quota as collateral, and total farm debt across Canada amounts to C$102 billion — nearly one-third of it lent through a federal agency.

If Trudeau bowed to calls for supply management to be dismantled, he’d be eroding a key asset in a sector to which his government is a key lender.

“It’d be catastrophic because we’ve gone through and assessed and included that value in our business plans and business operations,” said Ralph Dietrich, chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, an industry group in Canada’s most populous province. “The increased value is because of the desire to be involved in a system that works.”

It’s unclear precisely how much debt is secured by the value of Canadian dairy quota. Farm Credit Canada, a lender owned by the federal government, oversees C$31 billion in loans, as of its last annual report. Of that, C$5.7 billion is in dairy loans. The agency declined an interview request, but said in a statement most dairy loans are secured by a combination of quota and other assets, and just over 1 percent are secured by quota value alone.

Chartered banks also hold about C$38 billion in total farm debt while credit unions hold another C$15 billion, according to Statistics Canada. The agency doesn’t break out dairy debt loads specifically.

Trump, meanwhile, isn’t the only person who has called for an end to the system.

“The value of quota now completely distorts the ability to be productive,” Martha Hall Findlay, president of the Canada West Foundation think tank and a former lawmaker, said in a BNN Bloomberg interview last week. “We should do what we need to do in moving away from supply management with compensation, transition — nobody wants to harm anybody.”

Canada’s biggest cheesemaker also says Trump’s criticism of certain parts of Canada’s dairy system has merit. “I understand the frustration of the U.S. side and quite frankly I think they have every reason to be upset,” Saputo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lino Saputo Jr. said Monday in a phone interview.

Nafta and TPP

Amid intensifying trade tensions with China, Trump continues to lash out against Canadian dairy tariffs. The U.S. is pressing to abolish supply management altogether in North American Free Trade Agreement talks, which Trudeau’s government expects will continue through summer. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the U.S. doesn’t want to “do away” with the system, but would like “more access.” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will update lawmakers on Canada’s position in the talks Tuesday afternoon in Ottawa.

When Canada signed the Trans Pacific Partnership, it gave up a sliver of its market — 3.3 percent on dairy, and other concessions — and washed it down with C$4.3 billion in announced funding for farmers, including C$1.5 billion to support quota value.

Supply management can be lucrative. While the average net worth of a Canadian farm is C$2.8 million, the average poultry and dairy farms are worth C$5.8 million and C$3.8 million respectively, according to Statistics Canada. To be sure, these types of farms also carry more than double the dollar value of liabilities of an average farm in Canada. Still, the expense-to-receipt ratio for dairy operators is 0.77, the most favorable among farming businesses; for all other types of farms, the average is 0.86.

There were 10,525 dairy farms in Canada in 2016, representing 5.4 percent of all farms. Recent farm income data from Statistics Canada show dairy products make up around twice that proportion when it comes to sales — cash receipts from dairy products were C$6.6 billion in 2017, or 10.7 percent of total farm cash receipts.

‘Stupid Policies’

Other countries have included transition funding for farmers to move away from similar systems, according to Jack Mintz, a fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy who calls supply management “completely nonsensical” and urges Trudeau to get rid of it.

“It’s of course uncomfortable when you make policy changes, which is why I feel it’s very important to avoid stupid policies in the first place,” Mintz said. Some farmers had to borrow money to buy quota, he said. “That’s why you end up doing something like having transition” funding.

Lyle Vanclief, who served as Canada’s agriculture minister from 1997 to 2003, said neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations pressed to abolish supply management, though countries like New Zealand criticized it and it was always a thorn in trade talks.

“I certainly had some spirited debates and discussion at the WTO,” he said. Trump and others don’t understand supply management, he said. “What’s Trump prepared to give up in order to get it? Nothing, nothing. So I think our government has to stand up.”


Wolfe Family and Ovaltop Farms win McKown Master Breeder Award

The philosophy at Ovaltop has always been to breed a top herd of registered Holsteins while improving each generation by pursuing exceptional type, outstanding production, and enhanced genetic potential. The Wolfe family has surely accomplished those goals.

Ovaltop Holsteins of Richfield Springs, N.Y., has been selected by the Klussendorf Association as the tenth recipient of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award. This award recognizes a well-managed breeder and herd that has been successful at showing and judging dairy cattle. Winners exemplify all qualities of the Klussendorf Award, including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship. The Wolfe family will be formally recognized at the 52nd World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

The Wolfe Family has been recognized as Premier Breeder and Exhibitor at the New York State Fair, New York Spring Red and White Show, New York International Spring Holstein Show, and Pennsyvania All-American Red and White Shows Shown (L to R) are: Doug, Mike, Howard, and Ginny.

Howard, Ginny, Doug, and Mike Wolfe have developed Ovaltop Holsteins into the highly recognized herd it is today. Ovaltop Holsteins’ prefix dates to 1929 and has bred 170 Excellent cows. They have bred four Excellent 94-point cows, 13 Excellent 93-point cows, 23 Excellent 92- point cows, 43 Excellent 91-point cows, 87 Excellent 90-point cows, along with 427 cows scored at Very Good. In addition, they have developed 25 other Excellent cows that were purchased from other herds.

The Wolfe family was originally from New Jersey but relocated to Richfield Springs, N.Y., in 1977 where they milk 90 cows. The herd is 100 percent registered Holsteins and they farm 500 acres of land. The Ovaltop herd is a 28-time Progressive Breeder of Registry (PBR) herd, which is currently the longest winning streak in the state of New York. The Wolfe’s lactation average on the 90-cow herd is 26,519 pounds of milk and they have a Breed Age Average (BAA) of 110.3. BAA, of course, compares all herds on confirmation and their 110.3 rating ranks in the top 100 herds in the entire United States.

One of their favorite cows that just finished its career is Ovaltop Chesapeake Nikita-ET (4E-93). She is part of a multigenerational homebred Excellent group that started with Lemax Valiant Nada (3E-94-DOM) and was one of Mike Wolfe’s best show cows.

The Wolfes also bredone Gold Medal (GM) Sire, 8 Gold Medal Dams (GMD), and 11 Dam of Merits (DOM). Never afraid to add foundation genetics to their herd, Ovaltop has integrated members of the most prestigious cow families of the breed. Cow families include C Glenridge Citation Roxy (EX-97-GMD), Cherown SY Delilah (EX-96), C Alanvale Inspiration Tina (EX-95 GMD-DOM), KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET (EX-96-DOM), and many others.

Howard and Ginny have also been honored by the New York State Holstein Association along with the national association for their dedication and commitment to the Holstein industry. They were the 2000 New York State Active Master Breeders, New York Holstein Association’s highest honor. Ginny was named “Friend of New York Holstein” in 2011.

Many times, the family has been honored with Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor on the local and regional level, New York State Fair, New York Spring Red and White Show, New York International Spring Holstein Show, Pennsyvania All-American Red and White Shows, and other prestigious shows, along with numerous All-New York and Junior All-New York awards.

Several Ovaltop bred animals have also been nominated for All-American honors. The Ovaltop show team also takes pride in their multiple herdsmanship awards at shows. Their display is always attractive, neat, and appealing to visitors.

The entire family has been active in the local Otsego-Herkimer-Montgomery (O-H-M) Holstein Club and all its activities. Mike and Monica Wolfe, representing the next generation, have four children, the oldest of which are very involved in the local Holstein Club and 4-H. They enjoy showing and cows as much as the rest of the family.

Mike’s brother, Doug, currently serves on the Show Committee for the New York Holstein Association, which he chaired for several years, and Ginny is chairperson of the Publications Committee. Ovaltop is a longtime, monthly advertiser in the New York Holstein News. Both Doug and Mike are accomplished judges and have officiated at shows throughout New York and the Northeast.

The entire Wolfe family is passionate about agriculture and breeding an outstanding herd of registered Holsteins. Their dedication to their farm, their local and state Holstein associations, and their community have earned them the honor of being named the 2018 McKown Master Breeder.

Past winners of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award include: Wendon Holsteins, Innisfail, Alberta, Canada, 2017; Ferme Jacobs Inc., Cap-Santé, Quebec, 2016; Walk-Era, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., 2015; Pond View Farm, Danville, Vt., 2014; Quality Holsteins, Vaughan, Ontario, 2013; New Windsor Farm, New Windsor, Md., 2012; Moondale, Monona, Iowa, 2011; Snider Homestead, New Enterprise, Pa., 2010; and Windy Knoll View, Mercersburg, Pa., 2009.

The Robert “Whitey” McKown Memorial Breeder Award was made possible by the family and friends of the 1997 Honorary Klussendorf honoree after his passing in 2009. Whitey joined the Holstein World staff in 1956 and became widely respected as he traveled nationally and internationally, reporting on shows, sales, meetings, and other Holstein events. The 1987 National Dairy Shrine president also developed MooKown Holsteins at Belleville, N.Y. Whitey had great admiration for the farmer breeder.

The Klussendorf Memorial Association, considered by many as the Hall of Fame for Dairy Cattle Exhibitors, began in 1937 in memory of Arthur B. Klussendorf, considered the outstanding dairy cattle showman of his time. Each year, the Klussendorf Association votes to add a new dairy cattle exhibitor to its rolls with lifetime membership for their cumulative works including ability, character, endeavor, and sportsmanship.

Fire causes more than $250,000 in damage at Vanderstappen Farms

A fire Tuesday morning caused $250,000 in damage at Vanderstappen Farms in Hebron.

On the Vanderstappen farm, 4:30 a.m. is chore time.

When David Vanderstappen woke up at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, he left behind his wife, Katie – who is pregnant with twins – and walked up a dirt hill toward the barn to milk the cows, but something was wrong.

David returned to the house in a hurry, his wife said.

“Call 911,” he said. “The barn’s on fire.”

Firefighters were dispatched at
4:52 a.m. to Vanderstappen Farms in the 12000 block of Hebron Road, Spring Grove Fire Chief Rich Tobiasz said. When crews arrived, they found the farm’s old barn engulfed in flames – an incident that caused more than $250,000 in damage.

The farm is in a rural area, and crews could not find any hydrants, forcing the department to bring a tanker truck full of water. Firefighters used a bulldozer and crawler with backhoe to pull apart the main structure to put out hot spots and smoldering straw, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Protection District officials said.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but authorities said the blaze is not suspicious.

Cattle trailers joined fire trucks on the property to take the farm’s cows to the Kooistra Dairy Farm in Woodstock. None of the 93 cows were harmed, and no people were injured, but the barn was a total loss, officials said.

“It’s just awful,” Katie Vanderstappen said, watching crews knock down the charred barn remains. Due with twins in August, she snacked on an apple. “It’s just awful.”

As crews worked to control and extinguish the fire, Jim Vanderstappen shifted between tears and shock.

“I cried already, but I’m still crying on the inside,” he said. “It’s been a lot of work. I remember building this.”

His father opened the farm on Hebron Road in 1942. Jim Vanderstappen was 9 when he moved to the farm. He helped build the barn that crumbled into debris and ash Tuesday morning.

He sold the farm to his son, David, in March 2016. It was important to keep the farm in the family. Farm life is good for kids when they’re growing up, he said.

“I didn’t want his kids to live in the subdivision and miss it,” Jim Vanderstappen said.

He said insurance should help the family rebuild the barn.

“I’ve got to find a bright spot somewhere,” Jim Vanderstappen said.

In the meantime, cattle will live on the dairy farms of friends. David Vanderstappen spent the morning milking his cows at the Kooistra Dairy Farm while his family watched the flames smolder. The Northwest Herald could not reach him for comment Tuesday.

The cows are milked twice a day, with a 12-hour break between sessions. Catastrophes do not cancel dairy production, said David’s sister, Kelly Vanderstappen.

“Those cows gotta get milked,” she said.


NZ produces record milk volumes

New Zealand milk processors collected record levels of milk in the last two months of the 2017/18 season as favourable weather boosted pasture growth, helping make up for trying conditions during the spring and early summer.

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand data shows the country’s milk processors collected 88,812,000 kilograms of milk solids in May, up 5.7 percent from May last year and setting a new record for the month. That follows a record collection of 148,177,000 kg/MS in April, and means production for the full season to the end of May was down 0.6 percent from the previous year.

“The 2017/18 season will be remembered by many dairy farmers for the trying conditions they were dealt during the spring and early summer,” AgriHQ chief analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note. “Milk production was hampered during the spring by extremely wet conditions which restricted pasture growth. This was followed by an early summer drought. However, extremely favourable conditions for pasture production prevailed in the later part of the season. This resulted in additional milk in the vat during the later months of the season.”

The total milk collection for the 2017/18 season of 1,839 million kg/MS is 2.7 percent behind the 2014/15 season when New Zealand’s milk intake peaked at 1,890 million kg/MS, AgriHQ said.

Dairy products are New Zealand’s largest export commodity.


Two New 19th Generation Excellent Cows for Midway Dairy

Congratulations to Midway Dairy, Cloverdale, Oregon on their two new 19th generation Excellent cows. ROYLANE-KH 5G RITA-ET VVVEE EX-90 EX-91-MS @3-05 owned by Midway Dairy and Rasberry Futures, Cloverdale, OR Rita will be shown at next week’s Oregon State Show as a Senior Three Year Old. ROYLANE-KH TANGO RASS-ET VVVEE EX-90 EX-92-MS @3-08 owned by Rasberry Futures. Both are daughters of GOLDEN-ROSE RASBERRY-ET EX-91


DAIRY IS SCARY: 60 Billboards Launched In LA As Part Of Major Vegan Campaign

One of the billboards in Los Angeles (Photo: In Defense of Animals)

A vegan charity has launched a major anti-milk campaign across Los Angeles – putting up 60 billboards across the city in a bid to educate people about the cruelty of the dairy industry.

In Defense of Animals teamed up with vegan YouTuber Erin Janus, who is best known for her viral video ‘Dairy is Scary’ for the initiative.

According to the  charity: “In both English and Spanish, the billboards invite onlookers to watch Erin’s video exposing common dairy industry practices of forcibly impregnating cows, stealing their babies, and turning them into veal and hamburgers long before their 25-year natural lifespan.”

Dairy month

June is National Dairy Month across the US – an industry initiative aimed at promoting cow’s milk-based products. In Defense of Animals said: “Since 1937, the dairy industry has…used [the scheme] as a marketing tool to promote the consumption of dairy products. But consumers are getting wiser, and thanks to recent studies by the Harvard School of Public Health and many others, we now know that dairy is not necessary or even beneficial to our health.”

The billboards want to battle this pro-milk message by sharing Erin Janus’ video, which calls on viewers to take a 21-day dairy-free challenge and try some of the plant-based milks available.

“In our fight for animal welfare, the environment, and our own personal health; making the decision to go dairy-free is one of the most impactful steps that we as individuals can take,” says the charity.


Dairy exit set to increase as Australian farmers continue to lose confidence

Dairy farmers are looking at walking away from their farms, as the dairy crisis starts to impact according to a national confidence survey of dairy farmers.

The annual national farmer survey of 800 farmers from around Australia, looked at farmer confidence, which showed that less than half of farmers surveyed remained confident about the industry’s future.

This figure has fallen from 75 per cent four years ago, and has been declining over the past three years.

The confidence of farmers has not been recorded this low since 2013 when it was at 43 per cent, which was at a time when farm gate returns were low, and there was challenging seasonal conditions as well as a high Australian dollar.

The trends were recorded across all dairy regions, however Victorian dairy farmers are the least positive.

Over a quarter of respondents in Western Victoria and South Australia are looking a leaving the industry, with 16 to 19 percent of farmers in these regions already in the winding down phase.

Pressure on small farms

Smaller farms of fewer than 150 cows were those most likely to be winding down.

The survey found that larger farms with over 500 cows were more optimistic about the future and were more likely to stay.

Most farmers were looking at increasing their herd size, with 37 per cent of farmers considering that option.

Farmers were more optimistic about their own operation, than the broader dairy industry.

Uncertain about prices

John Droppert, senior analyst with Dairy Australia said overall, farmers were happier with their own businesses but less so about the industry.

“This is a reflection of uncertainty around the structural changes and that will take some time to settle,” he said.

The report also found that dairy farmers were feeling uncertain about the prices they received from processors with 18 per cent of farmers having switched milk processors that they supply.

There was another 14 per cent of milk suppliers who were also looking to change who they supply their milk to.


However, a greater number of famers did report making a profit last financial year — 60 per cent of respondents, with 67 per cent of farmers expecting to make a profit this financial year.

The report delivered an optimistic market outlook for milk prices, with global demand shifting to Australian produced dairy products.

While this outlook is for more promising prices for milk, farmers are faced with increasing costs as the dry conditions have forced farmers to buy fodder as they have been faced with more challenging seasonal conditions.

Mr Droppert said hay, grain and irrigation water prices were all eroding margins and “presented significant headwinds for the season ahead, particularly in those parts where dry conditions persist.”

Saputo opening price announced

Meanwhile Canadian dairy company Saputo, who earlier this year took over dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn announced their opening price for the 2018/19 season.

They have opened at $5.75 per kilogram milk solids for its southern milk regions of Victoria and Tasmania and 49.6 cents per litre for their suppliers in the NSW Sydney market region.

In its announcement to its suppliers, Saputo said that this opening price was responsible and allowed room for upward movements if improved market conditions area realised throughout the year.

The company has not released it final milk price for the 2017/2018 season, which they say is dependent on external factors that could impact returns.

This announcement only leaves Fonterra and Bega Cheese to announce their opening price for the upcoming season.


Maine Offers Loans to Help Dairy Farms

Maine is launching a new loan program to help dairy farms be viable in the state.

The state agricultural and financial agencies are hosting an informational meeting in Augusta for dairy farms on Thursday.

The new Dairy Improvement Fund will provide revolving loans to fund capital improvements to Maine dairy farms. The program will help farmers who are commercially producing cow milk or cow milk products.

The maximum loan amount is $25,000, and loans can be taken out at a one percent fixed interest rate for a term of up 30 years. Loans can fund up to 90 percent of projects costing $100,000 or less, and up to 75 percent of projects costing over $100,000.

Borrowers much inject at least 25 percent private funds into projects over $100,000.

Source: U.S. News

Milk Futures Stop Slide Cash Dairy Prices Lower Tuesday in Chicago

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Tuesday, cash dairy prices fell and most milk futures stopped their downward slide.

Class Three June milk was down $.01 to $15.32. July was down $.07 at $15.12.  August was up $.06 to $15.62. September was up $.09 to $16.12. The milk futures from October through next May ranged from one cent lower to five cents higher.

Grade AA Butter was down $.0125 at $2.31 per pound.  Six carloads sold from $2.3075 to $2.32. Barrels were down $.07 at $1.3250 per pound.  Ten carloads sold from $1.33 to $1.38.  Forty-pound blocks were down $.0275 to $1.5675 per pound.  No sales were recorded. Nonfat dry milk was down $$.0075 at $.7525 per pound. One carload sold at that price. Dry whey was down $.0050 at $.3950 cents per pound.  No sales were recorded.

Cutting Height in Hay Fields: How Low Can You Go?

As you head to the field this year, it’s important to pay attention to cutting height in your hay crop. One of our goals as farmers is to maximize our yield; however, cutting a hay crop too low can lead to several negative issues. The introduction of the disk-type mowers (discbines) allows for cutting very close to the ground. I’ve seen many fields that have been “scalped” right to ground level. This differs considerably from the older sickle bar mowers (haybines), whose technology required some level of stubble height remain. Stand longevity can be compromised when the crop is cut too low. As a general rule, alfalfa can be cut closer to the ground than our grass hay crops. We need to think about where energy reserves are stored in the crop. For alfalfa, carbohydrates are stored below ground in the taproot. Our grass hay crops store their energy above ground in the stem base or tillers. Frequent mowing at a close height will continue to deplete these energy reserves, resulting in stand longevity issues.

The second consequence for mowing too close to the ground is increased ash content of the forage. All forage has a natural ash content of approximately 6%. However, mowing too closely with disk mowers can add soil to the crop, and increase the ash content by as much as 10-12% (18% ash content in total analysis). If we all had table-top smooth fields, it would also be much easier to make a closer cut across all fields. However, things such as groundhog holes and the unevenness of fields can add to increased ash content of our harvested forage.

So, the million dollar question is how low can you go? The best answer is…it depends! The first question I always ask is – is it a solid stand or a mixed stand? If you have grasses involved, you must keep cutting height higher than a pure stand of legume, if you want to keep the grass in the stand. Keep in mind these are minimum recommendations; it’s okay to mow higher than the numbers below. Here are my minimum cutting height recommendations:

Alfalfa or Clover

  • 2” minimum. Some literature shows a cutting height of 1” will not reduce stand longevity, but remember the increased ash content issue. Also, keep in mind that frequent cutting at early maturity will continue to deplete carbohydrate reserves. One cutting of alfalfa should be allowed to reach the bloom stage each year.

Cool Season Grasses (Orchardgrass, Timothy)

  • 4”during the establishment year
  • 3” minimum during production years. This is where we see most of our stand longevity issues. Frequent cutting of cool season grasses at a low height will continue to deplete energy reserves.

Mixed stands

  • You must manage for the predominant species. Do you have a grass stand with some alfalfa, or an alfalfa stand with some grass?
  • Alfalfa with some grass: 2.5” minimum
  • Grass with some alfalfa: 3” minimum (if you want to keep the grass stand!)

Source: Penn State Extension

Canada’s Biggest Cheesemaker Says Trump Has a Point on Dairy Policy

Canada’s largest dairy processor is voicing an opinion that’s probably unpopular with the nation’s farmers: Donald Trump has a point.

Canada should consider eliminating its Class 7 milk policy in order to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., Saputo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lino Saputo Jr. said.

The policy was rolled out last year and makes it cheaper for Canadian processors to buy domestic supplies of ultra-filtered milk, a concentrated ingredient used to boost protein content in cheese and yogurt. It has also effectively blocked U.S. dairy imports while creating an “incredible imbalance” on world markets, Saputo said.

“I understand the frustration of the U.S. side and quite frankly I think they have every reason to be upset,” he said Monday in a telephone interview from Montreal. “In the Nafta negotiations, the elimination of Class 7 would go a long way in trying to get the dairy file closed.”

Saputo’s comments come just one week after the U.S. President took aim at Canada’s supply-managed dairy system. As Trump departed the Group of Seven summit, he skewered Canada’s dairy tariffs, which run as high as 270 percent on some products, labeling them unfair to U.S. farmers. Dairy has emerged as one of the biggest areas of dispute as trade tensions between the two nations escalate. Canada has vowed to defend its supply-managed dairy system, which isn’t covered by the current Nafta agreement, during the negotiations.

The uncertainty caused by the trade negotiations has made it difficult for Saputo Inc. to decide where to deploy capital, Saputo said. While the company isn’t petitioning for Canada to dismantle its supply-managed dairy system, which controls output by matching with demand through quotas and tariffs, the country wants to “have its cake and eat it, too” with the Class 7 policy, he said. The system has shut out imports from the U.S. and created more milk solids in an industry that’s already dealing with a glut, he said.

“There has to be some give,” Saputo said. “The Canadian dairy farmers and the Canadian dairy industry cannot put their head in the ground thinking we’ll come out of this unchanged.”



K&L OH Monica (Argonaut-Josuper) Tops German Selection sale at €25,000

K&L OH Monica was the topseller at the German Selection Sale last Saturday. This +2800 GTPI Rubi Agronaut daughter hail from the Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror VG-86 family and sold for € 25.000,- to Masterrind. The number 2 of the sale is PrismaGen Kir Royal-Red, a +162 GRZG Pace-Red daughter from the Wilder Kanu 111 RDC VG-88 family, and the number 3 is CCC-Hu Emilio Clairi. Clairi scores +4.23 PTAT (preliminary), hails from the Regancrest-PR Barbie EX-92 family and is the current #2 PTAT in Europe!


Lot Name Price Buyer
Lot 10 K&L OH Monica € 25.000,- Masterrind
Lot 49 PrismaGen Kir Royal-Red € 20.000,- Twente Investments
Lot 118 CCC-Hu Emilio Clairi € 12.500,- Colonia Cows
Lot 72 PH Alisa P € 7.500,- Heinrich Gewers
Lot 65 Batouwe Ailisha Salva Red € 6.800,- BWN Holsteins & GenHotel
Lot 1 Wilder Dafne Lucky PP Red € 6.800,- Heinz Meier


Professor blames full-fat trend for dairy trade spat

What started the trade spat between the U.S. and Canada over dairy?

Blame consumer demand for higher fat products.

Marin Bozic, assistant professor in the department of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, explains that as nutrition science has pointed out some positives of full-fat products, demand for lower-fat products has fallen while demand for things like butter has increased, both in the U.S. and in Canada. That led to Canada relaxing its supply management and creating a new milk classification to meet the domestic demand for butterfat, which in turn led to a surplus of skim milk powder that Canada began exporting.

Canadian tariffs on certain milk products had been in place for years and were in no way a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Bozic explains. He says the Canadian measures to keep their dairy industry a “fortress” were not a big deal until they started to enter the export market. Since the U.S. dairy industry had become largely an export market, that led to market disruptions for U.S. producers.

Basically, Bozic explains, Canada was trying to “sit in two chairs” by both protecting higher prices in its domestic market and making money in the export market.

“That becomes a huge problem for us,” Bozic says.

He finds the Trump administration’s negotiating tactics over NAFTA intriguing, calling them “shrewd.” The president’s willingness to withdraw from the decades-old agreement brings other industries and other complications into the matter, which may make Canada more willing to consider change in its dairy industry, he says.

Negotiating changes to dairy along with other trade discussions is where Bozic sees a solution to the problem. What he cautions against, though, is the idea that Canada should be forced to get rid of supply management.

The United States, Bozic explains, had a “great run in dairy exports” from 2005-14. During that time, the European Union was under supply management and couldn’t “dump their surpluses on the world market.”

In 1996, 3.6 percent of U.S. production of total milk solids was exported, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says the value of U.S. dairy product exports more than quadrupled from 2004-14, and the United States became the world’s third-largest dairy product exporter, behind New Zealand and the European Union.

Then, on April 1, 2015, the European Union abolished the milk quotas that had been in place since 1984. That allowed European dairy producers to produce more milk and for European countries to put more into exports.

“Our competition is more fierce” now, Bozic says.

While the percentage of U.S. production sold into export markets fell slightly after the European Union change, 14.7 percent of U.S. production of total milk solids — 4 billion pounds — was exported in 2017. The value of the exports, however, fell off after the European quotas went away.

If Canada were to get rid of its supply management program, some dairies in that country likely would go out of business that otherwise would not have, Bozic expects. However, others would expand and new dairies may start up. The cold conditions there generally are good for cows to flourish.

“We could see a lot more cows in Canada,” he says.

That’s why Bozic doesn’t see pushing Canada to get rid of its supply management program as the answer to the problems of the U.S. dairy industry.

“When we publicly request for them to remove supply management, I think we should be careful what we wish for,” he says.


A Canadian-made artificial intelligence-powered system set to maximize a farmer’s profitability

Dairy cows are shown in a barn on a farm in Eastern Ontario on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Get ready for the “internet of cows.” Generations of farmers have relied on knowledge and family expertise to grow food, but the sector is set for a surge of disruption at the hands of made-in-Canada artificial intelligence-powered systems.

AI is now helping farmers across the country to increase yields, save costs and minimize environmental damage. Instead of spreading fertilizer across acres of fields or spraying entire orchards with herbicides, they can now target their efforts for maximum effect.

SomaDetect Inc. of Fredericton, New Brunswick, is preparing to deliver commercial systems this fall that will test milk and use AI to provide insights to maximize a farmer’s profitability, dairy farmers monitor their herds through the “internet of cows.”

Sensors installed at each milking stall identify each cow, test their milk and quickly provide farmers metrics such as protein and fat counts, indicators of disease, hormones that manage reproduction and antibiotic residuals.

“We are in a fourth revolution in agriculture and AI is absolutely critical,” said co-founder Bethany Deshpande.

However, Deshpande said the use of the technology is at an early stage where farmers are just starting to understand its power and the potential difference it can make on their operations.

“A lot of farmers have been demanding better technology, demanding better products for a long time and I think AI is huge part of how they’re going to get that.”

Montreal-based Motorleaf Inc. has developed a system that acquires data from indoor growing operations and applies artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to identify growing patterns in the greenhouse, which can then be used to predict the size of future harvests.

It’s like giving farmers a virtual assistant, said co-founder and CEO Alastair Monk, who formed the company two years ago with Ramen Dutta, an agricultural engineer.

“All of those ingredients are going to get mixed up into soup and out the other end comes an algorithm specifically for that greenhouse … so they can make smarter decisions instead of rolling the dice and risking what happens after they make those decisions.”

Yield forecasts are crucial for growers because they indicate how much produce will be available for pre-sold contracts.

Traditional counting methods can be off by 20 to 30 per cent because farmers estimate the yield for the entire crop after counting samples of vegetables, leaves and flowers in a small area.

SunSelect, a California greenhouse customer that cultivates tomatoes, is one customer that abandoned manual predictions after Motorleaf’s algorithms doubled the accuracy of its weekly yield projection, resulting in significant savings for the grower, Motorleaf said.

Systems incorporating machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, are able to make millions of calculations to detect patterns imperceptible by humans that are required for precision planting, autonomous vehicles and robotics, says Graham Taylor, associate professor of engineering at the University of Guelph and faculty member at Toronto’s Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

AI researchers are largely focused on applications for deep-pocketed businesses and tech firms, but its use in agriculture is attracting global interest because of the pressing need to feed a growing global population amid increasing water shortages and a changing climate.

“Everybody’s interested in AI right now and agriculture is a major concern for us as humanity,” he said.

“When faced with these sorts of really scary potential problems that’s going to make (the adoption of AI in agriculture) move a little quicker,” Taylor said in an interview.

A combination of drones and AI technology have helped to alleviate stress on California pistachio and almond crops by watering only where it’s needed, said David MacMillan, CEO of Toronto-based Deveron UAS, that is building one of North America’s largest network of drones.

“In a place like California where your water costs are over $1,000 an acre, there’s all these different value propositions,” he said.

The technology can also be used in Ontario corn fields to target the use of fertilizers to areas that require extra help, saving farmers money.

Canada is well-positioned to be a leader in the field because it has disproportionate strength in artificial intelligence that is supported by government, Taylor believes.

The federal government has earmarked $950 million in funding on technology “superclusters” designed to encourage academia and businesses to work together on strategies to boost fast-growing sectors.

The five selected superclusters include an agriculture group based in the Prairies that will work to make the country a leading source of plant proteins.

The technology carries a potential downside, however: the systems could eventually replace farm jobs such as manual picking and weeding, Taylor said.

Robots can milk cows, pick apples and weed cabbage patches. Yet farming jobs that require physical activity or the operation of machinery in unpredictable environments are moderately threatened by automation, according a McKinsey report.

“Things like weeding, those tasks might be replaced,” Taylor said.

“But I don’t think you’re going to see completely automated farm facilities in the near future.”


Source: CTV News

Libramont Holstein 2019 releases participating countries

Libramont Holstein 2019 is releasing the count of participating countries in the Holstein European Championship that will take place on 12 and 13 April 2019. As of today, 16 countries have officially confirmed their participation in the event, amounting to 169 cows (123 Holstein and 46 Red Holstein) and 32 young breeders.

Below you can find the detailed list of participating countries as of June 18th, 2018.
So many countries are very enthusiastic with a great interest in promoting the Holstein breed. We know that this event is huge for the each European breeders and waited by the Holstein people worldwide.

Further comments regarding that table:
The participants are very similar as Colmar. For the first time in many years, Ireland will participate with 8 cows. The Belgium, as the host country will participate with 20 cows.

Denmark could maybe participate but they are waiting for more information regarding their local sanitary rules. We are expected a confirmation before the end of the summer.

For the first time, Latvia participate in the European Showmanship. Other countries will maybe join us for the European showmanship. We nevertheless remain cautious about the final number of participants certainly because of the sanitary matter. The final number of participating countries will be known very closer to the event.

To download a copy of this information click HERE. 

Saputo Dairy Australia calling for more suppliers

Milk processor Saputo Dairy Australia has raised the call for more suppliers just six weeks after officially taking over Murray Goulburn Co-operative.

The Canadian processor bought Murray Goulburn for $1.31billion after suppliers overwhelmingly voted in favour of selling the co-operative in April.

In an advertisement to the region, Saputo touted its credentials as the ‘‘largest dairy processor’’ in Australia, including being the owner of the country’s oldest dairy processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, as well as the newly-acquired Murray Goulburn.

‘‘We believe the combination of these two iconic dairy companies is a positive development for all our farmer suppliers and unites some of Australia’s best loved brands,’’ the ad reads.

‘‘As a supplier of Saputo Dairy Australia you can expect our commitment to pay competitive prices for milk, a dedicated team who understand the dairy industry and integrity in every aspect of our business relationship with you.’’

At the time of the sale to Saputo, MG chief executive officer Ari Mervis said current suppliers could expect terms ‘‘no less favourable’’ than their current situation until July 2023.

Saputo has previously committed to pay a competitive milk price that is no less than the greater price of the offer to Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, which was already owned by Saputo, or the final weighted average of the farm gate milk price published by the two largest processors in the relevant region.


Source: Country News

Missing 3-year-old Lost in Missouri Cornfield Found with Her Dog Who Stays By Her Side Whole Time

A mother from Butler County, Missouri is thrilled her daughter is safe after she went missing near their home in Qulin, Mo. around 8 p.m. Thursday night.

It took police and volunteers almost 12 hours to find three-year-old Remy Elliott and her pet Yorkshire Terrier, Fat Heath, in the rows of a cornfield Friday morning.

“I feel a lot better, especially since we know she is okay. She is back to her normal self now,” said Timber Merritt, Remy’s mom.

The mother of three says the entire experience of searching for her lost daughter was stressful from the very beginning.

“I looked for her by myself thinking maybe she was just in the woods or somewhere where I just couldn’t see her,” Merritt said. “And I was calling for her and calling for her, and when she wasn’t calling back I realized I don’t think I’m going to find her on my own.”

That is when Merritt started calling friends, family, and local law enforcement to form a search party, which grew beyond the family’s expectations.

“It went from five people to about 75 to 100 people out here by the time we were done,” Merritt said.

A search and rescue team, volunteers from nearby communities, even a few helicopters spread out over a cornfield surrounding the house to actively search the area.

John Copp, a family friend, was one of the first people to start helping Thursday night.

“It was stressful and emotional,” he said. “We were all just walking back and forth from one end to the other just yelling her name. All the flashlights started dying and the sheriff’s office decided to call if for the night.”

As morning broke the search continued around 6 a.m. and other volunteers like Makayla Hardcastle joined the group to walk the rows of corn.

“The corn feels like razor blades cutting you, especially for a child,” Hardcastle said. “And you don’t hear well in the corn either, so when somebody is yelling your name you can hear them but you don’t know where it is coming from.”

Merritt’s brother, Quinlin, drove all the way from western Kentucky to help, and was the one who found Remy and her dog about half a mile away from the house lying down on some broken corn stalks.

“They said that she was asleep when he picked her up,” Ms. Merritt said. “She was definitely exhausted, hot, really sweaty and it took a while to drink anything. She said she wasn’t scared because Fat Heath was there. If he wasn’t I think she would’ve been terrified.”

After being checked out at the Black River Medical Center in Poplar Bluff visit the young girl is back to her normal self, and has some itch cream to treat her mosquito bites.

“I’ve never seen that many mosquito bites. We are going to give her a bath and keep putting medicine on it.”

Merritt has a few plans for how to prevent any of their children from getting lost in the cornfield off County Road 243 again.

“Hopefully put a fence around the yard, or keep her inside,” the mom said with a laugh.

Parrott said officials believe she wandered off on Thursday night when she went missing around 8 p.m.

About 50 people and two helicopters were searching in the field on County Rd. 243.


Milk Futures Sharply Down Cash Prices Mixed in Chicago Monday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Monday, cash dairy prices were mixed and milk futures were sharply down again. Class Three June milk was down $.04 to $15.33. July was down $.24 at $15.19.  August was down $.36 to $15.56. September was down $.36 to $16.03. The milk futures from October through next May ranged from nineteen to twenty-six cents lower.

Grade AA Butter was down $.03 at $2.3225 per pound.  No sales were recorded. Barrels were down $.0550 at $1.3950 per pound.  Eight carloads sold from $1.3975 to $1.42.  Forty-pound blocks were unchanged at $1.5950 per pound.  No sales were recorded. Nonfat dry milk was down $$.0275 at $.76 per pound. One carload sold at $.7650. Dry whey was down $.01 at $.40 cents per pound.  No sales were recorded.

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