News – Page 2

Paul Larmer to Retire As Ceo; Matt Mccready Named as Successor

Semex, an industry leader in global genetic solutions, announced today that Paul Larmer will step down from his position as Chief Executive Officer as part of Semex’s succession plan, effective December 31, 2023, continuing in an advisory role through May 31, 2024. Semex’s Board of Directors has appointed Matt McCready, current Chief Commercial Officer, to succeed Larmer as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2024.

“As difficult as it is to say goodbye to a career that I have loved, to a company that we have grown into a global leader, and especially to my Semex family, I know this is the right decision at the right time,” says Larmer. “I am excited about what is next, spending more time with my family, and what the future holds for Semex and its people. I know that the best days for Semex are ahead!”

“For nearly 40 years and in every role, Paul has been a passionate advocate for the global genetics industry,” said Semex Board of Directors President Phil MacLean. “As Semex’s CEO for the past 17 years, Paul demonstrated his powerful ability to bring people together, build consensus, and accelerate change, while never losing sight of our people and clients. Since becoming our CEO Paul has significantly grown our global footprint, driven record revenues year after year, and provided substantial returns to our partner owners. While leading this growth, Paul has set the stage and capacity for Semex’s next phase of growth and profitability. On behalf of the Board and our partner owners, we are grateful to Paul and his family.”

MacLean continued, “Knowing Paul’s intentions, our Board of Directors has been engaged in ongoing succession planning and today’s announcement enables a smooth transition of the CEO role. Matt is an exceptional leader, and the Board and I believe he is the right person to guide Semex through its next chapter. Since joining Semex, Matt’s strategic focus, passion for agriculture, and commitment to our people and clients uniquely suited him for the role. We’re confident Semex, its partners, staff, and our clients will continue to flourish and grow under Matt’s leadership.”

McCready joined Semex in September 2018 as an International Sales Manager, first leading Semex’s Asian business. He was promoted to Vice President of International Sales in 2020 and in 2022 became the Chief Commercial Officer, leading a new division merging all client-facing business sectors into one team. Before joining Semex, Matt was Director of Business Development, Hybrid Turkeys at Hendrix Genetics, leading their global marketing and working closely with global sales directors and regional managers. Previous to that, Matt held several positions at PepsiCo Canada.

A graduate of the University of Guelph with a bachelor of commerce and agriculture business, Matt hails from an agricultural background in Ontario.

McCready commented on his appointment, “I am honored to serve as Semex’s next CEO. Steeped in history and having pioneered the bovine genetics industry, Semex continues to deliver the solutions the global industry needs for long-term sustainability and profitability. I look forward to working closely with Paul during this transition, as well as our Board of Directors and our global team on behalf of our clients and shareholders for years to come.” 

How does dairy cow temperament affect milk production?

Milk production is a critical component of the dairy industry, and farmers constantly strive to maximize yields to meet consumer demand. While factors like genetics, nutrition, and herd management are well-known determinants of milk production, another often-overlooked aspect is the temperament of dairy cows. A cow’s temperament can have a significant impact on its overall health, stress levels, and, consequently, milk production. This article explores the connection between dairy cow temperament and milk production and highlights the importance of understanding and managing cow behavior in modern dairy farming.

Understanding Dairy Cow Temperament

Dairy cow temperament refers to an individual cow’s behavioral and emotional disposition. Just like humans, cows exhibit a range of temperamental traits, and these traits can vary from one animal to another. Common traits used to assess cow temperament include docility, aggression, fearfulness, and sociability. While these traits are partly influenced by genetics, they can also be shaped by environmental factors and the way cows are handled and managed.

The Impact of Temperament on Milk Production

  1. Stress Levels: One of the most significant ways in which cow temperament affects milk production is through stress levels. Cows that are more easily stressed tend to produce less milk. High-stress levels trigger the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can suppress milk production. Stress can result from various factors, including aggressive interactions with other cows, noisy environments, or uncomfortable living conditions. Therefore, cows with calmer temperaments are often better milk producers.
  1. Feeding Habits: Dairy cow temperament can also influence feeding habits. Nervous or aggressive cows may struggle to access food in a group setting, leading to uneven nutrient intake. This can negatively impact milk production and overall cow health. Docile cows, on the other hand, are more likely to eat calmly and consistently, which is crucial for optimizing milk production.
  1. Reproductive Performance: A cow’s temperament can extend its influence to reproductive performance. Highly stressed or anxious cows may experience disruptions in their estrous cycles, leading to delayed or missed pregnancies. This can result in extended dry periods and reduced overall milk production.

Managing Dairy Cow Temperament for Improved Milk Production

To maximize milk production and overall herd health, it’s essential for dairy farmers to manage and improve cow temperament. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Select for Calm Temperament: When choosing replacement heifers or sires for breeding, consider selecting animals with calm temperaments. This can be done by evaluating the temperament of their parents and ancestors.
  1. Proper Handling and Training: Gentle and consistent handling from birth can help develop calm and sociable cows. Avoid aggressive handling or practices that can lead to fearfulness in young calves.
  1. Comfortable Living Conditions: Provide cows with comfortable and clean living conditions. Adequate shelter, space, and ventilation can reduce stress and promote a calmer temperament.
  1. Minimize Stressors: Identify and minimize stressors in the environment. This includes reducing noise, preventing overcrowding, and ensuring access to fresh water and food.
  1. Monitor Behavior: Regularly observe cow behavior and intervene when necessary. Early detection of issues like bullying or illness can prevent prolonged stress and decreased milk production.

Dairy cow temperament plays a vital but often underestimated role in milk production. A cow’s disposition can impact stress levels, feeding habits, reproductive performance, and overall well-being. By understanding and managing cow behavior, dairy farmers can optimize milk production, improve herd health, and ultimately increase the profitability of their operations. It is essential for the dairy industry to recognize the significance of cow temperament and incorporate temperament management strategies into their farming practices for sustainable and efficient milk production.

Low milk prices cut into dairy farmer profits.

Milk prices remain 5-10p/litre below current cost-of-production projections, putting dairy producers at risk of incurring significant losses.

Most milk purchasers kept farmgate prices low in September and October, however some processors slashed even more.

Despite the low costs, supply remains plentiful, and milk deliveries are up somewhat over the same time last year.
Milk pricing at the farm level

  • Arla has reaffirmed a manufactured litre price stay of 35.12p/litre in September, and an organic price of 40.79p/litre.
  • Dairy producers who supply Muller directly will continue to get 37p per liquid litre until October.
  • In October, First Milk will maintain its manufacturing litre price of 36.85p.
  • Based on a regular manufacturing litre, Barbers Cheesemakers has reduced their October milk price by 1.65p/litre to 36.14p/litre.
  • According to industry sources, Saputo Dairy and South Caernarfon Creameries have also announced small cutbacks.

Daily milk deliveries in the United Kingdom averaged 32.1 million litres for the week ending August 26, up 0.5% from the same week previous year.

Demand remained weak, and prices for butter, skimmed milk powder, and mild cheddar fell in the UK wholesale markets in August.

Meanwhile, in August, the actual milk price equivalent (Ampe) market indicator decreased to 28.6p/litre, the lowest level in three years.

However, the recent weekly Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction on September 5 showed some early indications of increasing demand.

Following four consecutive price drops, the GDT price index climbed by 2.7% to average $2,888/t (£2,300/t).

According to Chris Walkland, a dairy expert, the increase in the GDT was an encouraging indication, but not enough to reverse market sentiment.

“I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet in terms of price cuts.” “The market has to pick up significantly for that risk to disappear,” he added.

Mr Walkland anticipates more of the same in the next month or two, given there is plenty of stock available. Longer term, he believes the market will be impacted by levels of demand from traders making purchases in the run-up to Christmas in the fourth quarter.

Arla Foods amba board director and farmer Arthur Fearnall said, “Inflation is finally softening, albeit slowly, and as a result retail sales are picking up.”

“Global commodity markets have turned negative this summer, but European markets have been more stable.” The prognosis is positive. However, commodities market changes have created considerable uncertainty.”
Farmers at Sainsbury’s face a price increase.

Farmers who are members of Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group will get an extra 1p/litre on top of the cost-of-production price from October 1.

Farmers that satisfy the standards may additionally get an additional 1p/litre sustainability incentive.

Farmers in the association have gotten 2.45p/litre more on average than the rest of the market since its start.

“The dairy farming industry is becoming increasingly challenging,” said Gavin Hodgson, director of agriculture, aquaculture, and horticulture at Sainsbury’s, “and we recognize the responsibility we have as a retailer to support farmers, as well as the need for continuous investment in this sector.”

The figures

  • 32.1 million litres Average daily milk delivery in the United Kingdom (w/e August 26)
  • 28.6p/litre In August, the actual milk price equivalent (Ampe) was 2.7%. On September 5, there will be an increase in the Global Dairy Trade auction.

New Zealand declares victory over Canada in dairy trade battle.

New Zealand has won a trade fight with Canada over the refusal of Kiwi dairy goods to enter the North American nation.

Both countries are signatories to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade agreement between a group of countries that also includes Australia and Mexico and to which the United Kingdom has committed.

New Zealand initiated the matter, basically charging Canada of protectionism, in May of last year. A CPTPP tribunal heard the case and upheld New Zealand’s complaint.

It found that Canada’s dairy quota administration is incompatible with its CPTPP obligations, and that as a result, New Zealand exporters were unable to fully utilize Canada’s 16 dairy tariff rate quotas because Canada was granting priority access to its own domestic dairy processors.

New Zealand asserted Canada devised a sophisticated mechanism that diverted allocations away from Canadian importers who were likely to utilize the quota to purchase New Zealand products. Instead, domestic dairy processors purchased the quota.

Damien O’Connor, New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth, applauded the decision.

“Canada was not living up to its CPTPP commitments by effectively blocking access for our dairy industry to expand its exports,” he added. That will have to alter immediately.

“This is a major victory for New Zealand and our exporters.” In the last three years, our dairy sector has lost an estimated NZ$120 million ($70.7 million) in income from the Canadian market.

He went on to say, “Today’s ruling will give exporters confidence and certainty that the mechanisms in place will ensure they receive the market access that all members agreed to.”

In reaction, David Wiens, president of The Dairy Farmers of Canada, said, “Dairy Farmers of Canada is disappointed with the dispute panel’s ruling.”

In response, he has urged the Canadian government to conduct a “thorough review” of New Zealand’s dairy-support policies to “ensure that they are consistent with its international trade obligations.”

This is New Zealand’s first disagreement with a CPTPP partner, and its position was backed by the majority of the other pact members.

The CPTPP went into effect in 2018. Jennifer Hillman, a former commissioner of the US International Trade Commission, Colleen Swords, a former Canadian diplomat, and Petros Mavroidis, an international trade expert, co-chaired the dispute panel in this case.

New data sensor solution uses AI-technology to alert cow health events and enables cow localization.

Managing a dairy herd just got easier with the aid of DeLaval Plus Behavior Analysis – the latest farm management tool which uses data sensors to record each animal’s behavior, analyzes each cow’s data using artificial intelligence (AI) and helps dairy producers identify sick cows and cows in heat.

The new system from DeLaval, a global leader in the dairy industry, can also track cows’ localization in the barn every second of every day, making it easier to find cows that need attention. Daily updates and real-time information delivered to farmers’ smartphones help them manage their to-do lists more efficiently and effectively.

DeLaval Plus Behaviour Analysis 1.png

“By responding to a cow quickly and with the right action, producers can drive the performance of their farm by increasing cow productivity and welfare,” said Joaquín Azocar, Solution Manager, DeLaval Farm Management Systems. “Producers with DeLaval Plus Behavior Analysis in their farm management toolbox have total visibility and oversight of their cows.”

The system works with new DeLaval BioSensor ear tags, which automatically communicate with nodes installed throughout the barn. The data is shared with DeLaval DeepBlue, an artificial intelligence-based software which analyzes the information using  sophisticated models of cow behavior. The system provides state-of-the-art heat detection, rumination and eating behavior calculations and returns this information to farmers in the form of actionable intelligence so they can make better, faster and more accurate decisions.

The Riddells, who milk 90 cows in Ontario, Canada, installed DeLaval Plus Behavior Analysis to help them take better care of their herd. “If the cow is not feeling well, the graph on the computer will tell us before we can see it,” said Jaclyn Riddell. Her husband, Travis, also noted that the AI-component takes herd management to the next level. “It’s looking behind the scenes and can find things quicker than we can,” he said.

As many farms struggle to find and retain skilled people, DeLaval Plus Behavior Analysis promotes a better work experience for farmers and their staff by taking the guesswork out of the equation. The tool, which is available with or without cow localization, can suit multiple barn layouts and reporting requirements.

Statement – Dairy Farmers of Canada’s President offered the following statement on the CPTPP panel decision

David Wiens, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), today offered the following statement regarding the report of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Dispute Settlement Panel:

Dairy Farmers of Canada is disappointed with the dispute panel’s ruling (pools) which found that two of the six elements challenged by New Zealand were inconsistent with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Nonetheless, the panel found that 4 of New Zealand’s claims were unfounded.

We now call on the federal government to do a thorough review of the measures the government of New Zealand has put in place to support its dairy sector to ensure that they are consistent with its international trade obligations.


Dairy Farmers of Canada is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canadian dairy producers. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the dairy sector in our country. It also seeks to maintain policies that promote the sustainability of Canadian dairy production and promote dairy products and their health benefits. Dairy farmers have set a goal of net-zero emissions from farm-level dairy production by 2050.

SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada

EU confirms Nitrates limitations, dairy farmers cut cows.

Ireland’s existing exemption is set to expire on January 1, 2026, and the derogation level will be reduced to 220kg/ha in some regions on January 1, 2024, owing to insufficient improvement in water quality.

Dairy farmers risk a large reduction in cow numbers as government discussions with the EU to retain existing stocking rate standards seem to be failing.

It comes as proposed curbs to Ireland’s Nitrates derogation, which allows farmers to keep more livestock on their property, are poised to be implemented owing to decreasing water quality in recent years.

Thousands of dairy farmers who use the exemption will be obliged to seek access to additional land or reduce their cow numbers in order to comply with the requirements, according to the judgment.

Approximately 7,000 farmers benefit from the exemption, and the Department believes that approximately 3,000 farmers weigh between 220kg and 250kg and will therefore be impacted by the 220kg limit.

The IFA estimates that the loss to the rural economy would be €236 million, but the effect on the damaged family farms will be even more catastrophic.

However, environmental organizations have long pushed for the abolition of the exception owing to worsening water quality in our rivers, lakes, and estuaries, with the EPA blaming agriculture as the primary cause.

However, there is “no prospect” of reopening the present Commission decision granting Ireland an exception from the normal Nitrates Directive requirements, according to EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkeviius.

Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, stated in a statement today that he met with the EU Commissioner this week to address the issue.

“The Commissioner stated unequivocally that Ireland is one of only three remaining member states with a derogation, and that there is no prospect of revisiting the current decision.”

Referring to the meeting, Minister McConalogue stated that he made a strong case to Commissioner Sinkevicius for the continuation of Ireland’s 250kg/ha derogation until the next review, citing Ireland’s unique grass-based agricultural system, the measures farmers had already taken to improve water quality, and the need for more time to see the results of these measures in our water quality indicators.

“Some very minor adjustments to the current mapping based on scientific parameters may be possible, but these are unlikely to affect the vast majority of derogation farmers.” Over the following several weeks, my Department will investigate this and consult with the Agriculture Water Quality Stakeholders Working Group.

“It is critical that derogation farmers, with the assistance of their advisors, make the necessary arrangements to manage their holdings within the derogation limits that will apply on January 1 of next year.” To aid with this work, my Department will be sending N and P Statements to farmers soon.

“In the meantime, we must continue to do everything possible to improve water quality in order to make a credible case for the derogation’s renewal in 2026.”

The EU’s Nitrates Directive allows for the use of up to 170kg of organic nitrogen per hectare. In some cases, the Directive permits for a time-limited exception from these restrictions.

Currently, Ireland’s exemption allows for up to 250kg per hectare on ‘derogation’ farms. These are more intensively stocked farms that use a variety of extra measures beyond conventional criteria to limit the risk to water quality. They vary in size from small to bigger farms throughout the nation.

Ireland’s existing exemption is set to expire on January 1, 2026, and the derogation level will be reduced to 220 kg/ha in some regions on January 1, 2024, owing to insufficient improvement in water quality.

The Minister stated that his Department will continue to support farmers as we continue on the journey to reduce nutrient loss to water through measures such as the €60 million investment in an initiative Water European Innovation Project (EIP) specifically to support farmers and the Targeted Agricultural Measures (TAMS) Scheme.

Teagasc and the private advisory service will also continue to play an important role in assisting farmers via the advice they offer, he added.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange, milk futures up, while cash dairy divided

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, milk futures were up, while cash dairy markets were divided. September Class III milk was $0.07 higher at $18.58 a gallon. October saw a $0.26 increase to $19.21. November saw a $0.27 increase to $18.98. December was $0.16 higher at $18.73. Contracts from January through July varied from unchanged in April, May, and July to thirteen cents higher in February.

Dry whey fell $0.01 to $0.31. Two sales of $0.31 and $0.3175 were reported. The cheese market is calm, with forty-pound blocks remaining constant at $1.9625. There were no sales registered. Cheese barrels remained constant at $1.8675 for the second trading day in a row. There were no sales registered. Butter was trading at $2.73, up $0.01. Sixteen transactions were made, with prices ranging from $2.73 to $2.76. Nonfat dried milk increased by $0.01 to $1.10. There were fifteen transactions, ranging from $1.0975 to $1.11.

Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of DGN at World Dairy Expo

The Dairy Girl Network (DGN), an organization supporting all women in dairy by enhancing lives and creating opportunities, is excited to celebrate their 10th anniversary during World Dairy Expo and hopes you will join them at any or all three of their events.

Throughout the week of Expo, DGN will offer the Family Lounge. The Family Lounge is a space where families with small children may rest and recharge during the hustle and bustle of World Dairy Expo. This lounge is located in the Madison Room on the second floor of Exhibition Hall of the Alliant Energy Center. This space offers comfortable seating, a changing station, toys and snacks to help families with little ones recharge. A comfortable area for nursing mothers is also available. The Family Lounge will be open all-day Tuesday, October 3 through Friday, October 6 during World Dairy Expo.

On Wednesday, October 4th, DGN will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary during the annual Connect Networking event. The Connect event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Capitol Square Ballroom at the Sheraton Madison Hotel, right across the street from the World Dairy Expo grounds. This event is a short walk from the grounds with ample parking available at the Sheraton. Connect sessions offer a welcoming environment for great conversation and opportunity to build connections among dairywomen. The cost of the event is $30.00 and includes grazing stations, beverages and DGN swag. Advance registration is appreciated for this Dairy Girl Network event, but not required. Walk-ins are welcome. Those interested can visit to learn more and register. DGN asks that those who plan to attend pre-register by September 30 to secure their spot and swag.

To wrap up the week, DGN is co-hosting a Tanbark Talk with NMPF National Young Cooperators (YC) Program on Friday, October 6 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Tanbark (Arena Building). Join DGN and the YC Program for a panel discussion exploring the leadership challenges women encounter as they navigate careers in the dairy industry and prepare for future success. This event is free to all wanting to attend. After the panel discussion, there will be networking time. 

The Dairy Girl Network is supported by Sustaining sponsor: Dairy Management, Inc. Catalyst sponsors: Alltech, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, Diamond V, The National FARM Program, Farm Credit Systems (AgCountry Farm Credit Services, American AgCredit, Compeer Financial, Farm Credit Services of America, GreenStone Farm Credit Services), Land O’ Lakes, Merck Animal Health, and Michael Best. Connection sponsor: Lallemand. Event sponsors for World Dairy Expo: ABS Global, BouMatic, LF Bioenergy, Lely and Zinpro. Learn more about the organization and sponsorship opportunities at  

Dairy Girl Network connects all women of the dairy industry, encouraging ideas and camaraderie in an effort to achieve personal and professional development. Designed as a welcoming network of passionate women involved in dairy, relationships will grow through shared experience, support and inspiration.

Panel decides in Canada’s favor on New Zealand dairy complaint

According to Trade Minister Mary Ng, Canada has won a trade dispute lawsuit against New Zealand, which claimed Ottawa was unjustly limiting access to the domestic market for dairy goods.

New Zealand has requested that a dispute panel be established under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade agreement, to handle Auckland’s complaint.

“Canada is very pleased with the outcome of the panel’s report, which represents a clear victory,” Ng said in a statement.

New Zealand and the United States have often protested that Canada is failing to satisfy its duties under multiple trade treaties to open its market to foreign manufacturers.

They claim that, although Canada committed to provide foreign corporations some dairy market access via a system of tariff-rate quotas, it was in reality unfairly assigning some of them to local enterprises.

“The panel has made a significant finding by recognizing Canada’s sole discretion to set tariff-rate quota allocations policies,” Ng added.

She also restated Canada’s commitment to defending the national supply management system, which protects dairy producers via output caps and hefty import tariffs.

Dairy exports account for one-quarter of New Zealand’s total export earnings.

A new analysis highlights dairy’s tremendous economic influence in New Zealand.

A new assessment on the dairy sector in New Zealand emphasizes its critical relevance to the national economy as an export earner and employment provider.

According to the research, Solid Foundations – Dairy’s Economic Contribution to New Zealand, the industry is NZ’s biggest products producing sector, accounting for $11.3 billion (3.2%) of GDP in the year to March 2023.

Dairy farming generates $8 billion (2.2% of GDP) while dairy processing adds $3.4 billion (0.9%).

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and DairyNZ collaborated on the paper.

According to DCANZ executive director Kimberly Crewther, the analysis reveals that the dairy sector’s long-term prospects are strong and that it will continue to contribute considerably to the New Zealand economy.

“For the year to April 2023, dairy generated nearly $26 billion in export revenue, accounting for roughly one in every four export dollars earned by New Zealand,” Crewther added.

“The value of dairy exports has increased by 45% over the last five years, helping to support the national economy during the pandemic.”

According to Mark Storey, DairyNZ’s director of economics, the dispersion of farms around the nation helps dairy to sustain regional economies by preserving some local expenditure even when milk prices fall.

“Export earnings from dairy translate into well-paying jobs in the sector and allow for the purchase of goods and services from other sectors.”

“The recent drop in milk prices will inevitably have an impact, with farmers limiting non-essential expenditure and limiting short-term purchases where possible.” This research, however, demonstrates that the industry absorbs some of the consequences on dairy producers’ income.

“Despite lower milk prices, dairy farmers will continue to hire workers and purchase farm supplies.”

The sector is also a major employment in many areas.

Dairy occupations account for one in every three in Waimate, one in every four in South Taranaki, one in every four and a half in Westland, one in every five in Southland, and one in every six in Matamata-Piako.

“It’s difficult to imagine some of these rural economies without dairy.” “They’d look very different,” said John Ballingall of Sense Partners, the report’s author.

Mori Agribusiness, which owns around $4.9 billion in assets in the dairy industry, was also recognized in the study.

According to Statistics New Zealand, Mori authorities’ enterprises exported $207 million in milk powder, butter, and cheese in 2021.

This is a 35.3% increase over 2020. Farms run by Mori-owned firms accounted for 3% of total cropland. The average farm size was 569ha, which was 3.8 times greater than the NZ farm average of 148ha.

Mori-owned farms accounted for 1.4% of the dairy herd, with 87,900 head of cattle, 72,100 of which were milking cows and heifers.

As of March 2023, the dairy industry employed 54,787 people, with 38,462 working on farms and 16,325 working in processing.

Mor made up 16.5% of dairy agricultural workers and self-employed people, up from 12.7% in 2015. Mori’s workforce has grown from 3693 in 2015 to 4040 in 2021.

According to the research, the value of dairy exports has increased by 45% ($7.9 billion) in the five years to April 2023, and currently exceeds $25.7 billion. Exports of products and services account for more than one-quarter of New Zealand’s foreign currency revenues.

It is by far New Zealand’s greatest products exporter, accounting for 35% of total goods exports. Individual dairy products outnumber several other export categories.

WMP continues to be the industry’s biggest dairy product export, accounting for 31.6% of total dairy exports by value, followed by butter and dairy spreads (17.7%), protein goods (13.2%), and cheese (11.1%).

Butter, AMF, and dairy spreads alone amount for more than horticulture ($3.8bn) and wine exports ($2.8bn) combined.

NZ exports dairy products to over 140 countries and is less concentrated in large markets than is usually assumed, with 54.1% of dairy industry exports going to China, Indonesia, Australia, the United States, and Japan.

By far the lowest concentration among NZ’s top ten export industries.

Tariffs continue to restrain most of the global dairy market: 57% of global dairy consumption occurs behind tariff barriers larger than 20%, and 87% of dairy consumption occurs behind a barrier of 10% or more.

While New Zealand’s bilateral and regional trade agreements have been very advantageous, they nevertheless impose a variety of taxes on dairy exports. Tariffs paid on dairy exports to New Zealand’s top 20 markets are expected to be roughly $1.5 billion, according to the research.

Furthermore, the paper predicts that non-tariff measures cost New Zealand dairy exports $7.8 billion.

Despite FTAs, New Zealand’s dairy exporters continue to pay billions in tariffs and other charges.

According to a recent research on recent Zealand dairy export profits, the industry produced over NZ$26 billion/US$15.29 billion in export income in the 12 months to April 2023. This indicates that dairy exports accounted for one-fourth of all export revenues.

The survey, commissioned by trade groups DairyNZ and the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and conducted by Sense Partners, also revealed that the value of dairy exports increased by 45% in the past five years.

The sector has also served as a’shock absorber’ for local communities that have seen milk prices decline. Export revenues, according to DairyNZ’s director of economics Mark Storey, ‘translate into well-paying employment in the industry and allow the purchase of products and services from other industries’. Fonterra reduced its farmgate milk price prediction in August to between NZ$6 and NZ$7.50 per kgMS, down from the revised range of NZ$6.25-NZ$7.75 per kgMS issued two weeks earlier. CLAL reports that the monthly average milk price in July 2023 was down 32.45% year on year, standing at NZ$51.30/US$30.17 per 100kg exclusive of VAT.

“There will inevitably be an impact from the recent drop in milk price,” Storey said, “with farmers limiting non-essential expenditure and short-term purchases where possible.” This research, however, demonstrates that the industry absorbs some of the consequences on dairy producers’ income. Despite reduced milk prices, dairy producers will continue to recruit workers and buy farm supplies.”

According to the research, dairy farmers spent about NZ$8 billion/US$4.71 billion on goods and services in the year to March 2023, while processors spent NZ$19.6 billion/US11.53 billion in the same time. According to Storey, the industry produces NZ$3.6 billion/US$2.12 billion in earnings each year and employs 55,000 people both on and off farms, making it a “significant employer” in the community. “For example, in Waimate, one in every three jobs is in the dairy industry, and wages account for 52% of total wages paid.” Dairy also employs more than 20% of people in both South Taranaki and Westland areas, and pays more than 40% of total earnings in both districts.” According to the survey, jobs in dairy account for more than one in ten across eight more districts and pay higher incomes than similar industries.

Individual dairy goods such as whole milk powder, skim milk powder, butter and dairy spreads, protein products, and cheese are all multibillion-dollar exports, but there has been a noticeable movement in recent years toward exporting more dairy protein products and less whole milk powder. “The analysis highlights that New Zealand dairy exporters continue to change their market offerings in response to demand,” said DCANZ executive director Kimberly Crewther. “The proportion of whole milk powder has decreased from 36.9% in 2019 to 31.6% in the year to April 2023, while dairy protein products have increased to 13.2% of the product mix, up from 8.6% in 2019.”

According to Crewther, trade obstacles remain, emphasizing the need of free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the UK-New Zealand agreement, which eliminates tariffs on a variety of Kiwi products such as yogurt, liquid milk, and baby formula in May 2023. Tariffs on dairy proteins including lactose, whey, and milk powder will be eliminated on January 1, 2026.

“According to Sense Partners, New Zealand dairy exports continue to incur more than NZ$1.5 billion/US$0.88 billion in tariffs and NZ$7.8 billion/US$4.6 billion in non-tariff measures costs.” “86.7% of global dairy consumption is still subject to trade tariffs of 10% or higher,” added Crewther.

“This highlights the critical importance of New Zealand continuing to invest in efforts to remove trade barriers, including those that remain in some free trade agreement partner markets for dairy.” Fewer trade obstacles would imply more export prospects for New Zealand dairy producers and a better capacity to handle market volatility.”

July milk supply and dairy product output fell, according to the USDA.

According to the USDA, dairy product output fell in July due to lower milk availability.

Total cheese output was approximately 1.2 billion pounds, a 1% decrease from the previous year and month. Italian cheese output was down 1.5 percent year on year and slightly higher in June, while American cheese production was up marginally year on year and month on month.

Butter output totalled 157 million pounds, up 3.5% from the previous year but down more than 3% from the previous month.

Nonfat dry milk fell approximately 19% from 2022 to 2024, whereas skim milk powder grew by more than 2%. Dry whey production increased by more than 3% year on year, but lactose output decreased by about 3%.

Milk futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fall

Milk futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell on Tuesday due to a stronger currency and little trading activity after the holiday.

September Class III milk is down seven cents to $18.54 a gallon. October is down four cents to $18.88. November is two cents higher at $18.61. The December contract is 11 cents higher at $18.55. Contracts for January through March are flat to three cents lower.

Dry whey increased $0.0150 to $0.32. From $0.31 to $0.32, three sales were made.

Blocks remain constant at $1.95.

Barrels are $0.0025 lower at $1.8675.

Butter increased by $0.05 to $2.71. There were 19 sales ranging from $2.70 to $2.71.

Nonfat dry milk has dropped $0.0175 to $1.0575. At $1.0750, five deals were executed.

The Global Dairy Trade index in New Zealand rose 2.7 percent on Tuesday, the most since the beginning of May. Whole milk powder gained the most, increasing by 5.3 percent, followed by anhydrous milk fat, which increased by 2.7 percent. Sales of buttermilk powder were down 6.5 percent.

Once again, DMC payments will be arriving in mailboxes; this is the amount to anticipate.

This calendar year, Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) payments have been triggered owing to a period of low milk revenue. Another wave of DDMC payments is likely to arrive in producers’ mailboxes shortly.

The July DMC margin of $3.52 per cwt. triggers Tier I indemnity payments across all coverage levels, from the catastrophic price floor of $4 per cwt. to the highest coverage level of $9.50 per cwt. At the highest coverage level of $9.50, the top payout is $5.98 per cwt.

According to Erick Metzger, general manager of National All Jerseys, milk covered at $9.50/cwt. will receive more than $4,461 in indemnity payments for each million pounds enrolled. Year-to-date payouts have reached almost $21,242 per 1 million pounds insured at the highest level.

According to Phil Plourd, president of Insights, farmers can also use risk management systems such as Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP).

“These are also times when we are reminded that risk management necessitates vigilance and diligence.” I doubt many people expected margins to be this low in 2023. “However, here we are,” he adds.

The DMC program was established by the 2018 farm bill to provide farmers with protection when the gap between the all-milk price and the average feed price falls below the producer-selected margin trigger.

However, the milk revenue margin seems to be improving in the August DMC figures, which will be released at the end of September. The DMC decision tool predicts an August margin of $5.66 per cwt as of the closing of futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Aug. 31.

According to Jim Mulhern, CEO of NMPF, DMC’s catastrophic coverage level is at the top of his team’s farm bill wish list.

“The basic DMC’s catastrophic coverage level includes up to 5 million pounds of annual protection, which is equivalent to a 200 to 220 cow herd.” “We’re looking at DMC’s tier 2 adjustments—anything above basic—because those markets collapsing would be more akin to a truly ‘catastrophic’ event,” Mulhern explains.

Feed efficiency in dairy sire selection

Paying greater attention to feed efficiency indices while choosing sires for dairy herds would assist compensate for today’s growing feed prices.

With this in mind, dairy producers are being asked to investigate all possibilities to help reduce these high expenses, and a more focused and effective use of genetics is a fantastic instrument for doing so.

Two Holstein cows with the same productivity level may consume quite different amounts of grain.

According to one study, the more efficient cow ingested 861 kilos less dry matter than the other cow, resulting in a 12% decrease in feed expenditures.

What exactly is a feed efficiency index?

Dairy producers may employ sires that breed cows as better feed converters by choosing genotypes with a high index for feed efficiency.

This means cows produce more milk and meat on less feed while maintaining high health, reproductive performance, and a long productive life.

This contributes to the company’s profitability and long-term viability.

The feed efficiency index measures how efficiently a cow converts grain into milk. While some cows are adept at this, others use excessive amounts of feed for upkeep and are inefficient in terms of feed utilization.

The creation of a credible index for feed efficiency requires direct and precise measurements of each cow’s feed intake in a large number of nursing cows under the predicted performance circumstances.

Cows bred by bulls with a high feed efficiency index use fewer feed resources because they transform feed more effectively and need less energy for upkeep.

This implies that resources are being utilized more effectively, and dairy producers are able to produce more milk and meat with less inputs, lowering the environmental impact.
Cows bred from bulls with a high feed efficiency index use fewer feed resources because they transform feed more effectively and need less energy for upkeep. Image provided

Cows bred from bulls with a high feed efficiency index use fewer feed resources because they transform feed more effectively and need less energy for upkeep. Image provided

Decoding feed efficiency indices: five crucial questions for making educated decisions

When examining feed efficiency indices, a farmer should ask his or her genetics representative five simple questions.

Is data acquired from commercial herds with varying production methods and management levels collected without interfering with cows’ natural behavior and daily farm routines?

Because herds have diverse production techniques and management levels, data should be gathered from a variety of farms to provide a more trustworthy index.

Is the feed intake data recorded on lactating cows?

Some genetic firms provide data gathered from heifers. Pryce et al. (2014) discovered a genetic association of 0.67 between heifer and first lactation cow efficiency. This suggests that heifer efficiency accounts for just 45 percent of the variance in cow efficiency. This makes the usefulness of registering heifers to forecast cow efficiency exceedingly wasteful.

Is feed intake monitored during the lactation and throughout the lifespan of the cow?

The physiology and productivity of a cow alter drastically throughout lactations. Feeding needs and performance vary depending on the stage of lactation. As a result, data from all periods of the cow’s life should be obtained.

Does the index allow for breeding for improved feed efficiency while minimizing the effect on productivity, health, and fertility?

Breeding merely to conserve feed is insufficient since output levels must be maintained to ensure farm profitability. Farmers must be cautious while breeding for more feed efficient cows and avoid favoring animals that exhaust their body reserves for milk output.

Does the feed efficiency index take metabolic efficiency into account?

Metabolic efficiency is an important component of feed efficiency since it assesses how efficiently the cow converts feed energy in her body. This is energy that is utilized to promote milk production, for example.

Advantages of the Feed Efficiency Index

Because more feed efficient cows emit less methane, breeding for increased feed efficiency helps lessen the environmental effect of the dairy and beef sectors.

It is critical to limit the environmental effect of each dairy farm. And if the farmer can do this by making relatively easy changes in the genetics used in the herd in order to minimize the quantity of feed that cows consume and waste generated while maintaining the required production level, this results in more efficient farming.

Jan Lassen, MSc., PhD, Senior Research Manager at VikingGenetics, a Nordic genetics firm owned by cattle breeders in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, encourages farmers to examine the significance of the Saved Feed Index, which is part of the Nordic Total Merit index.

“Improving efficiency through breeding is a win-win situation.” “We increase production by selecting the most efficient animals,” Mr Lassen said.

“There are no negative effects on health, reproduction, or longevity.”

The Saved Feed Index is based on information from the Cattle Feed Intake technology (CFIT), a cutting-edge technology that uses three-dimensional cameras and artificial intelligence to recognize cows, evaluate their weight, and quantify how much they consume.

CFIT delivers real-time data for each cow’s feed intake recorded in the cow’s natural surroundings year round, backed by more than nine years of research and development.

1,300,000+ lactating cow daily intake records
12,000 or more cows with CFIT data 1,000,000 or more feed visits per day

By including the Saved Feed Index into the breeding aim, dairy producers get a valuable tool for optimizing their operations and meeting the criteria for sustainable food production.


National Dairy Council’s Reputation Growing Through Emerging Leaders

National Dairy Council (NDC) is in rare territory as a century-old organization that has created an enduring reputation with consumers and across the health and wellness community.

We have farmers to thank who in 1915 had a vision of investing in research to identify dairy’s health and wellness benefits and educate the public about them. Thus, NDC was founded, and my talented colleagues and I are proud to be part of the legacy and journey to carry forward the mission those farmers created.

One of the best aspects of NDC’s rich history is that other reputable health and wellness organizations recognize the science-based approach to our work and our team’s strong credentials as scientists and health professionals. This has helped foster relationships and collaborations with leading health authorities such as the Mayo Clinic, National Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and others.

In fact, we like to say NDC’s reputational gains come through other people’s voices.

Building relationships with these respected entities creates powerful third-party endorsements for all that dairy delivers nutritionally but also that the farmers who make these foods available do so with the utmost integrity and respect for their land and animals.

NDC continues to identify ways we can protect and grow dairy’s reputation and here are some examples of how we are doing that, particularly with emerging leaders in the health and wellness community.

Endowed Early Career Researcher Award – NDC established the first Endowed Early Career Researcher award with the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) this year. The award was presented at ASN’s annual conference in July and displays our commitment to supporting research and the next generation of scientists discovering more of dairy’s health and wellness benefits. Our inaugural winner, Dr. Arashdeep Singh, is the type of young researcher who embodies the qualities and vision we want to celebrate and be aligned with. Dr. Singh’s studies have shown that increasing whey protein intake can help in weight management and improved metabolic health. He also has explored the potential benefits of lactoferrin and lactalbumin – two components of whey – and how they may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that could help prevent and manage obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. His work has significant implications for public health and the dairy industry.

NextGen Scientist program – Also this year, NDC launched the NextGen Scientist program, a professional mentorship opportunity with rising academic leaders, scientists and health professionals. We have 11 young experts from highly regarded universities as well as historically black colleges. Each member is teaching and reaching undergraduate and graduate students and therefore is having an immediate impact. That is crucial as these leaders are considered trustworthy with younger consumers, yet they may not have a full understanding of dairy’s nutrition portfolio and how it is produced. Over the program’s three years, members are participating in immersive dairy experiences, skill-building activities

and growing their leadership voice. Their meetings with us include visits to the heart of our industry: dairy farms.

Contributing to nutrition guidance – Another important aspect of our work is one we have been doing for some time: participating in the public process of the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). While the current version won’t be announced until 2025, the process of gathering input from respected sources is underway. Public entities are invited to participate in submitting written comments and providing oral testimony. I am excited to represent NDC and provide oral testimony for the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee meeting in mid-September. NDC’s role is to provide fact-based information as we cannot influence government policy. We have been submitting written comments throughout the 2025-2030 process, but this is the first meeting of this cycle where participants provide recorded video testimony to representatives of the departments of agriculture and health and human services.

Participants are allowed a 2-minute window to provide comments, which is pretty brief when you consider all that dairy delivers! My insights focused on these science-based points of interest:

· The health benefits of dairy are backed by decades of peer-reviewed science supporting its role in health promotion and reducing risk of diet-related diseases.

· Emerging research indicates the unique dairy food matrix may help explain the mechanistic link between eating dairy (at a variety of fat levels) and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

· Milk and dairy foods are among the least expensive dietary sources of calcium, vitamin D and potassium – three of the four nutrients of public health concern.

Dairy farmers’ commitment to investing in research, education and partnerships with credible health organizations that launched NDC’s leadership in 1915 continues today. The talented team at NDC, in collaboration with the health experts from state and regional organizations, innovate in new ways to make an impact in improving public health through a one-plan, one-team nationwide approach.

And that’s a system built to stand the test of time.

To learn more about your national dairy checkoff, visit or to reach us directly, send an email to

Rabobank’s Dairy Top 20 has been shaken up due to record-breaking profits.

According to Rabobank’s annual Global Dairy Top 20 report, which highlights revenue performance of the world’s dairy sector leaders, just five businesses retained their place from the previous year, suggesting a rearrangement throughout the whole list. Lactalis maintained its lead, but Dairy Farmers of America moved up to second, pushing Nestlé to third. Position changes in the ranking were impacted by a higher US dollar. The aggregate turnover of the Top 20 corporations increased by 7.4% in US dollar terms, after a 9.3% increase the previous year. For these 20 market leaders, merger and acquisition activity was virtually on par with the previous year. The second half of 2022 had a slump, which lasted into the first part of 2023.

Due to elevated dairy commodity costs, 2022 will see a record-high turnover.

EU dairy product prices rose to record annual average highs, fueled by a second wave of war-induced inflation. Milk powder costs were also raised in Oceania and the United States. Simultaneously, lower-than-expected milk production increases in the key exporting areas, along with solid domestic demand, led to an overall tight dairy market with limited exportable surpluses throughout most of 2022.

Overall, year-on-year average price increases in butter, cheese, milk powders, and other dairy goods lay the way for double-digit local currency turnover growth in 2022.

Higher revenues are offset by a rising cost base and historically high milk costs.

“In the end, most turnover gains were absorbed by exploding costs, leaving little left on the companies’ bottom lines,” says Richard Scheper, Rabobank’s dairy analyst. “Many dairy companies paid record-high average farmgate milk prices to offset large farm input costs.” Rising energy prices and the availability of natural gas, particularly in Europe, were the most pressing problems for energy-intensive dairy processing at the plant gate. Other costs, such as shipping, packaging materials, and labor, will also rise in 2022.

A stronger US dollar affected ranking position alterations.

According to Scheper, “for non-US-based dairy companies, turnover gains in local currencies were partly or even entirely offset by the stronger US dollar, giving rise to position changes across the board and contributing to the entry of Ireland-based Glanbia.” Glanbia’s revenues are mostly drawn from sales in the United States, and the business recently stated that it would begin reporting in US dollars rather than euros in the near future.

The Canadian dollar also gained ground against a variety of other currencies, notably the euro. This allowed Canada-based Saputo (10th) to maintain its place in the top ten, while moving Agropur up one spot to 15th. Both firms have significant sales volumes in the United States, providing them a competitive edge over the other 11 companies on the list that report in euros.

FX developments in 2022 were especially unfavorable for dairy companies reporting in New Zealand dollars, renminbi, and yen, causing New Zealand’s Fonterra to drop three spots, China’s Yili and Mengniu to lose turnover gains in US dollar terms, and Japan-based Meiji, a long-standing Top 20 company, to drop out of the list.

Less activity and smaller transactions in mergers and acquisitions

With approximately 25 acquisitions, merger and acquisition activity in 2022 was virtually on pace with the previous year. However, 1H 2023 activity declined in terms of both the quantity and amount of agreements disclosed, with around eight announced vs approximately 12 announced in the first six months of 2022.

In July, farm revenue continued to fall.

Farmers earned less money in July than in June.

According to the USDA, the farmer price index decreased 2.1% in July, with reductions in maize, hay, milk, and broilers more than balancing out increases in soybeans, pigs, lettuce, and strawberries.

The dairy index for July 2023 was down 2.8% from June and 32% from July 2022, with an all milk price of $17.40 per hundredweight, a $.50 decrease from the previous month and a $8.10 decrease from the previous year.

Higher movements in feeder cattle, concentrates, LP gas, and diesel offset reduced costs for feed grains, hay and forages, complete feeds, and nitrogen, resulting in a 0.1% increase in the index of prices paid.

The USDA’s index of prices received fell 7% year on year, showing losses sustained by certain producers, while the index of prices paid remained steady, indicating lowering inflation in portions of the business.

You can’t turn off dairy cow stress

Stressors resource center helps shed light on its complexities

How do you save energy? That’s easy. Turn off the lights. Unfortunately, when it comes to dairy cow stress, it’s not that simple. You can’t turn off stress that easily.

Stress is caused by stressors. We recognize more than 30 different stressors that can affect the health and performance of a dairy cow. However, if you read through dairy-related articles, you may realize that the industry tends to focus only on a small handful of stressors and address each of them individually. Your reality at the farm level is that stressors interact with each other and compound, negatively impacting cow health, performance, reproduction and longevity.

Dairy cow stress is complicated. Knowing how stressors work and how they affect your cows will help you reduce their negative impact on your herd — and improve your revenue.

The concept of stress and strain

Domesticated food animals are prey species. When they perceive a threat, their instinct is to avoid a predatory attack. Things are different under modern farming conditions since cows have very little risk of being eaten by a predator. Today, a perceived threat (stressor) comes from different sources and often leads to metabolic strain. As a result, your cows will make a physiological or behavioral change to maintain balance.

A key step is to understand that each cow handles these changes differently. During the Jefo RumiNation Podcast Impacts of Stress and Strain on Reproductive Health (Series 3, Episode 6), Dr. Matt Lucy, professor at the University of Missouri, said it’s important to know the difference between stress and strain. “All cows are stressed, but the strain is how the cow responds to that stress. For example, we have a lot of cows in a herd that make 100 pounds of milk per day. The stress is the production. However, the strain is how she responds to that. We want our cows to have very little strain.”

According to Dr. Lucy, the amount of strain determines the impact stress will have on production and fertility. Genetics can help as it allows a producer to select for a more resilient cow. “We want cows that can handle these stresses,” says Dr. Lucy. “Once we have the right kind of cows, then, as a producer, you have to manage the remaining strain. You cannot fix everything with genetics — you have to be a top producer and manage the remaining strains like heat stress, nutrition, bunk space and so forth.”

The key is to identify the stressors that are having the biggest impact on you, your cows and your team, and then incorporate solutions to reduce the strain they cause.

Know stress, no stress

You know the old adage: Knowledge is power. Knowing more about stress helps eliminate the effects of stress. Jefo Nutrition has outlined five key stress categories and identified solutions to help keep cows comfortable, healthy and productive:

· Weather

· Feed Intake Issues

· Standard Operating Procedures

· Stage of Production

· Herd health

1) Weather

As temperatures climb, we hear a lot about heat stress. A dairy cow experiences stress when her heat load is greater than her capacity to remove the heat. She often will adapt by modifying her metabolism to reduce heat production.

To minimize the impact of heat stress on your herd, a whole-farm approach is essential. The goal is to maintain good health, feed intake and production levels. That approach is even more critical when the Temperature-Humidity Index (THI) reaches 68 or higher.

Producers should rely on heat abatement strategies, such as the use of fans, misters and shade. Make sure these tools are well maintained and effective – this is an area that is sometimes overlooked but needs to be well established. In addition, it’s important to increase clean water supplies and avoid overcrowding as much as possible. Other points to consider:

· deliver feed during the coolest time of the day

· increase nutrient density of the ration in anticipation of lower dry matter intake

· feed high-quality forages

· increase feeding frequency to avoid heating of the ration

During heat stress, it’s also important to adopt key precision nutrients. B vitamins are essential to supporting efficient glucose and protein production, and research shows that a blend of protected B vitamins can help cows cope with heat stress. By supplementing during known stress periods, we can overcome many of the negative outcomes of strain, which in turn will help drive your farm profitability.

Don’t forget dry cows in the heat. It’s estimated that heat-stressed dry cows account for more than $800 million in milk loss annually in the United States. Conversely, taking steps to cool dry cows was shown to add to farm profits. Studies show that supplementing a blend of protected B vitamins (choline, folic acid, B12 and riboflavin) before and after calving reduced subclinical ketosis, and lowered incidence of retained placenta and metritis. Another reason to focus on dry cows is to help the calf she is carrying. Research shows that calves born from cows who experienced heat stress in late pregnancy will have lower birth weight, reduced immunity and less milk in their first lactation.

Heat isn’t the only “weather” stressor you need to worry about. Other weather-related stressors include extreme cold, humidity, excessive rain and snow, changes in daylight, and other adverse weather events. Take home message: Any weather event that impacts dry matter intake, impacts cow performance.

2) Feed Intake Issues

During the RumiNation Podcast Impacts of Stressors on Physiology and Health of Dairy Cows (Season 3, Episode 4), Dr. Trevor DeVries, University of Guelph, said cows can suffer from nutritional stress. This can be physiological, such as how her body literally reacts to a change in diet. Or it can be perceptual as the cow simply views a diet change as different and may stop eating. Or it could be behavioral due to competition for bunk space, changing a cow’s eating time and the number of meals, which in turn will negatively impact rumen health, diet absorption and digestibility. Anything that negatively impacts intake then has a trickle-down effect on energy balance, production and overall cow health.

At this year’s American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting, two research reports were presented about DMI and nutritional stressors. Faith Reyes and her University of Wisconsin colleagues presented research related to stocking density and how more competition at the bunk lowered intake. She concluded the following: “As stocking density increased, cows appeared to modulate their bunk visits and eating rates to adjust for greater competition and less opportunity to gain feed bunk access.”

In the second report, Francesca Mazza presented a poster on feed hygiene. The report reviewed bacteria, yeasts and molds commonly found in various feed types on farms across the United States. When ingested in high amounts, these organisms can cause negative health issues, plus lead to reduced feed intake and decreased milk production. Mazza and her colleagues surveyed 8,942 feed samples collected from farms across 35 states. The results showed that spoilage organisms and potential pathogens were more prevalent in the TMR than in the individual fermented feed components of the diet. This survey highlights the importance of proper feed management practices and reducing feed contamination as a potential stressor.

Dr. Lucy concurs. He says there is no substitution for good, quality nutrition. Dr. Lucy recommends consistency. “In a perfect world, cows get the same TMR at the same time delivered by the same person using the same tractor.” He adds that this type of balance acts like a suit of armor for cows and helps them manage the strain from potential stressors.

3) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Day-to-day activities can affect cows. Your daily or weekly routine procedures may seem harmless but can add up in excessive time for cows away from feed, too much time standing out of their stalls, and negative social interacts. All of which can cause issues. Having SOPs in place can help maximize efficiency and reduce stress.

Here’s a short list of potential management-related stressors:

· human-animal interactions

· stocking density

· group changes

· bunk space

· housing issues

· herd health checks

· social stress

Dr. DeVries says social stress can have a negative impact and come from a variety of places. “Cows are social animals, and they like to be in social environments,” explains Dr. DeVries, “but there are aspects of a social environment that may have a negative effect on cows and can actually be stressful. For example, overcrowding at the feed bunk or in the parlor’s holding pen.”

Dr. DeVries also mentioned the challenges of mixed-parity groups and how mixing young animals in with older animals can cause stress, especially in the younger cows.

When it comes to reducing management-related stress, attention to cow comfort is also critical. The rule of thumb: A comfortable cow is a cash cow.

Key factors to help ensure cow comfort include:

· adequate feed and resting space

· protection from the elements

· access to high-quality feed and water

· training employees on proper animal interactions

In particular regarding this last point, cows should not fear their handlers. A fearful cow is a stressed and less productive cow. Dr. DeVries said acute stressors, such as poor handling, can have a direct impact on cow physiology and her productivity. “A clear example of that is bad handling of cows in the milking

parlor,” says Dr. DeVries. “A stress like that can cause a cortisol spike in cows which may lead to a block or reduction in oxytocin release which may limit milk let down.”

There’s a new tool called farm synchronization that can help eliminate stress and maximize feed efficiency. During the RumiNation Podcast Increase Milk Production with Farm Synchronization (Season 2, Episodes 6 and 7), David Greene of Greene Ag Solutions and Barton, Kiefer and Associates Consulting Group, discussed how this approach can help improve milk production and labor management. According to Greene, farm synchronization marries the three main management centers: 1) feeding operation, 2) milking operation and 3) herd management. “The goal is to synchronize the milking schedule and the feeding schedule with the activities of the herd management team, whether it’s breeding or herd health checks. If we can get these three areas working together, we can maximize feed efficiency,” Greene says.

According to Greene, the goal is to feed cows about two hours ahead of their time in the parlor. This promotes more frequent smaller meals, which means extra intake, more efficiency and a healthier, more productive cow. If each department can communicate and work together, Greene said producers can see an increase of 2-3 pounds of milk for the same or less feed intake. “Every movement on the farm needs to be centered around maximizing the efficiency of milk production,” adds Greene.

4) Stage of Production

Having a calf can be one of the most metabolically stressful and challenging times for a cow. It’s critical to provide a quiet, clean and comfortable maternity pen, plus reduce environmental and social stresses.

In addition, Dr. Lucy explains that stress is a big factor in getting cows pregnant. “Traditionally, we always thought about the effects of stress on ovarian function. Whether or not the cow had started cycling and come into heat. But more recently, we’re trying to understand specifically how stress affects uterine function and the preparation of the uterus for that pregnancy.”

According to Dr. Lucy, it’s important for producers to understand that reproduction starts in the dry cow pen. “Avoid the long-term drag on cows and take care of them in the transition pen.”

We know that stressors can negatively impact fertility, so it’s important to direct resources toward prevention and early detection. There are tools available to help monitor how cows are reacting to stress. For example, excessive weight loss in early lactation can be monitored via body condition scoring (BCS) and by new technology such as body weight camera imaging. Why is monitoring weight loss in early lactation important? A reduction in BCS in the first 30 days in milk can lead to decreased fertility and loss of conception. Find time to monitor weight loss in early lactation and use the data to make improvements.

5) Herd Health

Exposing a cow to unnecessary stress can increase susceptibility to diseases. Manage, prevent and treat early, said University of Manitoba animal science professor Dr. Meagan King during the RumiNation Podcast Precision Technology to Monitor and Predict Animal Health (Season 3, Episode 5). From subclinical ketosis to moderate lameness and mastitis, she recommends jumping on any problem early.

Dr. King’s research has been looking at the impact of stressors on production, whether it is from lameness, overcrowding or feed delivery. She recommends using precision technology, such as rumination or activity tracking information, to look at behavior, help identify problems promptly and make better management and nutritional decisions to treat the problem.

Research also shows that supplying essential nutrients in a form that guarantees the right level is absorbed can help support a cow’s health and metabolic well-being. For example, supplementing biotin has been

proven to improve hoof health, while protected choline and B vitamins have been used to reduce clinical and subclinical ketosis.

Learn how stressors affect your cows

While there is no off switch for cow stress, shedding light on its complexities can help you manage stressors more easily.

Jefo Solutions are designed to help producers cope with everyday stressors and keep cows healthy and productive. Learn more at, our educational resource center for research, articles, podcasts and more.

Founded in 1982, Jefo is a family-owned company that aims to improve animal health and increase human longevity by feeding growing populations with better protein sources. With its Life, made easier commitment in mind, Jefo uses a practical approach to share its results based on complex scientific research and testing methods, while implementing different solutions via its programs for the different life stages of production animals: Jefo Care – Health & Prevention, Jefo Peak – Performance & Production, and Jefo Cycle – Reproduction. For further information, please visit:

Climate in Canada’s prairies is ideal for raising cattle.

Despite the harsh agricultural circumstances in Alberta’s prairie state, dairy cows like the dry and chilly temperature.

In Canada, there are around 1.4 million dairy cows and 9,700 herds. The majority are situated in eastern Canada, with just a few dairy producers in the prairie provinces. There are around 500 dairy producers in Alberta, the final plains province before the huge Rocky Mountains. The average size of a herd in Canada is just approximately 100 cows. However, there are herds of 400 dairy cows in Alberta.

The dairy cows seem to flourish in Alberta’s dry and frigid environment, where summer lasts just four months and the temperature difference between summer and winter ranges from 35°C to -40°C. The province’s dairy herds produce between 10,000 and 12,000 kg of milk per cow per year on average.

Holstein cows grazing in a flat grassland

We went to one of these milk producers, which had 410 Holstein cows. The property is located approximately an hour north of Calgary on the relatively flat prairie. The farm is operated by Arie and Anita Van den Broek, who are in their 60s, and their five children, Meike, Lieke, Gijs, Teun, and Geertje.

The family immigrated from the Netherlands in 2000 and purchased the property in Olds. It was formerly a cow farm where beef cattle were bred and plants were grown. Arie and his family converted the enterprise to organic milk production a few years after the acquisition, and they acquired a certificate for this in 2009. They began with a herd of 50 cows and have now expanded to 410 cows.

“The reason we left the Netherlands was the increasingly restrictive conditions for running milk production – far too many restrictive retail rules from the EU made running a farm in the Netherlands more and more difficult.” That is why, like many other Dutch milk producers, we decided to try our luck in Canada. And we haven’t looked back since coming here,” Arie explains.

The farm comprises an additional 1,000-hectare plot of land where spring barley, peas, maize, ryegrass, and lucerne for silage are farmed in a three-year crop cycle. On the farm, all plant products are utilized to feed the cow herd. A third of the feed must be organically cultivated, according to the standards.
Son Teun van den Broek tells about the dairy farm in Canada in the cow barn. Son Teun van den Broek tells about the dairy farm in Canada in the cow barn.
Cattle bedding

The straw from the barley is utilized for bedding in the stable buildings, and the cow beds in the resting barn are covered with gravel. This implies that it is usually always dry here. Fertiliser is driven out from the farm just outside the stables twice a year, and the fertiliser demand in the fields is assessed using a computer twice a year.

“We use precision agriculture on the farm in the form of digital technologies to collect and analyze data about field conditions.” This offers us an idea of how much fertilizer the crops need, allowing us to optimize fertiliser distribution in the field, which benefits both us and the environment,” adds Teun.

He goes on to say that fertilizer, seed, and plant protection are all rated. “We use the data from the previous year’s treatments and the yield maps to determine whether we distributed our fertilizer and plant protection correctly.” We must follow specific standards as an organic farm since we have a license. “We are a member of Alberta Milk, which advises us and sets the rules for our production,” Teun explains.

Milking takes done three times a day on the farm. Milking takes done in the farm’s milking carousel, which can accommodate 28 cows at a time, and it takes 4 hours to milk all of the cows. Last year, the herd produced slightly over 4.7 million litres of milk, equal to an average of just under 11,000 kg milk per cow per year.

Payment is made per litre of milk.

“At the moment, we get approximately 1 Canadian dollar (US$0.74) per litre of milk from the dairy, and when it comes to organic milk, the price is approximately 20 cents higher per litre/kg milk,” Teun says, adding that cows are typically weaned after 6-8 calvings, with the highest yielding cows able to be weaned later.

Weaner cows are sold to a local butcher for about €1,020,00 each slaughter cow. Mastitis is uncommon in the herd because to the cold winter temperature and generally dry barns. The daily cell count is roughly 170,000, with a high of 400,000. In terms of breeding, the farm works with researchers at Olds Technical University, which is just around 20 kilometers away.

In addition to the roughly 1,200 hectares dedicated to plant breeding, the farm contains around 450 hectares of pasture on which all cows and calves over the age of 8 months graze during the summer. Milking robots are used by 16% of Canada’s milk producers, while the remainder utilize milking carousels. 45% of the milk produced is consumed by humans, while the remainder is processed into over 500 different products.

Approximately 30% of dairies in the milk business are cooperatives. The dairy industry aims to have zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Teun is in charge of field management, while Geertje is in charge of milking. In addition, there are 20 personnel, 8 of them are full-time, to oversee the field and herd. Mexico accounts for half of the workforce. “The employees from Mexico are a good and stable workforce who are knowledgeable about agriculture, which is why we hired them,” Arie explains.

Farm for visitors

“We like discussing our production. People outside of agriculture, in our view, know much too little about agriculture. That’s why we formed the East Olds Dairy Farmers organization, which is made up of numerous dairy farmers,” Arie explains.

“The goal was to invite people from the local community to come to our farms and have breakfast while we talked about where the milk comes from, how we care for our animals, and how we look after our neighbors,” he continues. Our philosophy is to open the farm gate and welcome visitors. The Southern Alberta Holstein Club and Alberta Milk helped us hold the inaugural breakfast in 2013, and 348 individuals attended. Since then, we’ve refined the idea, and each year, over 1,000 people visit the six farms engaged in the initiative for breakfast.”

Fonterra announces proposal to save $1 billion in expenses to ‘under pressure’ farmers.

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell has written to farmer-shareholders outlining a strategy to slash $1 billion from the dairy cooperative’s expenditures over the next seven years.

The letter, which was posted on the NZX sharemarket, does not specify how many positions would be lost, but Hurrell said that the “focus on efficiencies will have implications for staff numbers.”

Fonterra has dropped its milk price prediction numerous times in recent weeks, putting many of its farmer-shareholders under pressure, and Hurrell said this made the balance of the year “even more challenging.”

“I acknowledge that the pace and magnitude of these recent price changes has been unsettling,” Hurrell said in a report on the global dairy market and initiatives to lower costs to enhance farmer profits.

“We have been developing plans since late last year with the goal of reducing costs across the co-op by about $1 billion over the next seven years to 2030,” Hurrell said.

“We intend to achieve this goal through a variety of projects that will streamline how we operate, and it will help offset higher inflation expectations.”

“These projects include operational efficiencies, cash cost reductions across the business, and business process digitization.”

“We plan to front-load as much of this activity as possible over the next few years.”

Hurrell said that Fonterra will use new efficiency measurements that farmers could use to assess how well the company was functioning.

He discussed Fonterra’s problems and expectations in China, the world’s biggest dairy market.

“Right now, we’re hearing a lot about the China market, as a drop in demand from China for imported whole milk powder has been one of the key drivers of falling prices.”

“High raw milk prices have fueled strong domestic milk supply growth in China over the last few years.” More recently, China’s lengthy Covid-19 blockade has lowered consumer demand for fresh milk products, which has yet to rebound to previously predicted levels.”

As a result, Chinese processors were forced to spray dry their excess milk, resulting in significant in-market supplies of whole milk powder.

However, there were signs of a rebalancing of China’s domestic milk output, he noted.

Hurrell believes that when supply from Chinese milk producers falls, demand for New Zealand milk will begin to rise in calendar year 2024.

This aligns with the removal of residual duties on New Zealand dairy goods as part of the NZ-China Free Trade Agreement, he added.

He said that Fonterra’s Greater China business was doing well.

“China is still the world’s top market for dairy imports, and we believe imports will remain an important part of the product mix for the foreseeable future.”

Fonterra now expects to collect less milk in the coming months, with its estimated milk collections for the 2023/24 season reduced from 1480 million kilogrammes of milk solids to 1465 million kilogrammes of milk solids.

“Wet weather has impacted pasture cover and quality, and while we could see some improvement in these conditions as we head into Spring, we expect inflationary pressures and the Farmgate Milk Price outlook to continue to impact milk production levels,” he added.

Fonterra dropped its milk price prediction for the second time in a fortnight in mid-August, after a drop in global dairy prices.

On August 18, the co-operative said that it expects to pay farmers between $6 to $7.50 per kgMS this season, a decrease from the revised $6.25 to $7.75 per kgMS range released a week earlier.

Farmers are paid $6.75 per kgMS, a decrease from the prior expectation of $7 per kgMS, the opening forecast of $8 per kgMS in May, and the $8.20 per kgMS estimate for last season.

For the 2018/19 season, it is expected to be the lowest payout since $6.35 per kgMS.

National Mastitis Council Selects 8 Scholars

Winners conduct research in the United States, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Chile


The National Mastitis Council (NMC) named Michelle Buckley, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Andrew Sommer, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.; Tana Jo Almand, University of California, Davis, Calif.; Mary Jane Drake, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, Pa.; Alessandro Bellato, University of Torino, Grugliasco, Piedmont, Italy; Desiree Corvera Kløve Lassen, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark; Lien Creytens, Ghent University, East Flanders, Belgium; and Brandon Alfredo Gonzalez-Cordova, University of Concepcion, Chillan, Region de Nuble, Chile; as its 2024 Scholars. The graduate students won an expense-paid trip to attend the 63rd NMC Annual Meeting, scheduled for Jan. 29-Feb. 1, in Dallas. This program strives to support the development of future udder health, milking management and milk quality specialists. Buckley, a veterinarian, focuses on improving antimicrobial stewardship and milk quality in dairy goats. Her research project includes pharmacokinetic studies and evaluations of milk and tissue residues of dry cow products. Buckley also evaluates treatment efficacy and development of antimicrobial resistance. The final phase of her research is to develop resources for dairy goat producers to translate research into meaningful, actionable items, which producers can implement to improve milk quality and antimicrobial stewardship. One resource is a podcast: “Baas and Bleats.” She is also developing a website focused on improving dairy goat milk quality. A microbiologist, Sommer’s research seeks to understand the role of biting Stomoxys calcitrans (stable fly) in the transmission and persistence of mastitis-causing bacteria. Flies have long been implicated as potential vectors of bovine mastitis-causing bacteria due to their close association with raw manure and soiled bedding, which sustain large fly populations and serve as a reservoir for opportunistic bacterial pathogens. His research uses sequencing and traditional microbiological techniques to characterize biting fly-associated microbial communities and to determine the associated incidence of mastitis pathogen carriage. Raised on a livestock operation, Almand’s research focuses on surveying and assessing the implementation of different dry-off protocols in California dairies and their impact on subsequent lactation incidence of mastitis, somatic count cells, culling and productive and reproductive performance. Furthermore, she plans to study the impact of selective dry cow therapy on antimicrobial resistance. Almand managed a milk quality lab in California’s Central Valley. Her responsibilities included managing lab technicians, reading and reporting milk culture results, performing sanitation audits, investigating contagious mastitis outbreaks and developing preventative protocols.


 Prior to becoming a veterinarian, Drake earned a PhD in virology while studying how viruses co-opt cellular proteins and pathways to enter cells. She translated that interest into a better understanding of pathogen-host interactions at the organismal and population level. Drake is fascinated by the interaction of bacterial organisms, the udder and the cow’s immune system. During her food animal residency, she has performed milk quality assessments for several herds, developed protocols to control mastitis and routinely evaluated records to monitor milk quality parameters. With a bachelor’s degree in livestock sciences and master’s degree in veterinary medicine and epidemiology, Bellato is pursuing a doctorate in veterinary sciences for animal health and food safety, along with a residency from the European College of Veterinary Medicine. Bellato’s research focuses on agents of bovine intramammary infection (IMI) in Italy’s mountain areas. For the most part, this area – the Apennine Mountains – is mainly abandoned and underutilized. In a small area of the Apennines, dairy farming is thriving – due to the production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, which is a major factor for the area’s economic viability. Lassen’s research in Denmark carries a three-prong approach – characterize bacterial agents of mastitis to increase the understanding of what bacterial species are most often involved with mastitis, understand their virulence factors and study bacterial agents’ tolerance toward antibiotics. Given the importance of prudent antibiotic use, Lassen is using MALDI-TOF MS (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry) and whole-genome sequencing to generate genotypic profiling. The genetic analyses focus on subtyping and the distribution of genes involved with virulence and antibiotic resistance. Creytens grew up with an interest in animals – particularly the milking process. She became a veterinarian and spent four years working in a veterinary practice. Creytens discovered the importance of making her clients aware of using antibiotics more responsibly. As a graduate student, she is investigating the outcomes of implementing selective treatment of non-severe clinical mastitis via an “on-practice culture” approach. The research team is training veterinarians in conducting rapid tests for bacteriological culture in their “on-practice” lab and in giving advice to dairy producers regarding substantiated use of antibiotics. A farm boy and veterinarian, Gonzalez-Cordova is working on a milk quality research project focused on evaluating the removal of biofilms in milking equipment on dairy farms. From this experience, the research team learned that biofilms in milking equipment can lead to milk contamination, degradation of milk components and pose a risk of pathogen exposure to susceptible cows. Thus, they found that preventing and removing biofilms is essential to improve milk quality, minimize microbial contamination and reduce intramammary infections on dairy farms. Biofilm control will improve herd health, milk safety and human health. National Mastitis Council is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world. For more information, go to:

Investing in Feed Efficiency Can Reduce Cattle Emissions

As the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change, the agricultural sector faces increasing scrutiny for its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock, particularly cattle, are a significant source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas that has a much greater warming potential than carbon dioxide over a shorter time frame. However, there is a promising solution that not only reduces emissions but also improves the sustainability and profitability of the cattle industry: investing in feed efficiency.

The Emissions Challenge

Cattle are responsible for a substantial share of global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily due to enteric fermentation, the digestive process that produces methane in their stomachs. This methane is then released into the atmosphere when cattle burp. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), enteric fermentation accounts for nearly 40% of global methane emissions. To combat climate change effectively, it is crucial to find ways to reduce these emissions while still meeting the growing global demand for meat and dairy products.

Feed Efficiency as a Solution

Feed efficiency refers to the ability of cattle to convert the feed they consume into body weight. Cattle that are more feed-efficient require fewer resources to produce the same amount of meat or milk, which has several benefits:

  1. Reduced Methane Emissions: Feed-efficient cattle produce less methane per unit of meat or milk. This reduction in methane emissions directly contributes to mitigating climate change.
  2. Lower Feed Requirements: By improving feed efficiency, cattle can produce the same amount of meat or milk while consuming less feed. This not only reduces the environmental impact but also lowers production costs for farmers.
  3. Increased Profitability: Farmers can realize significant financial benefits by investing in feed efficiency. Reduced feed costs and improved production efficiency lead to higher profit margins.
  4. Sustainable Agriculture: Embracing feed efficiency aligns with the principles of sustainable agriculture, ensuring that the cattle industry remains viable in the face of environmental challenges.

Investment Opportunities

Investing in feed efficiency involves several strategies and technologies:

  1. Genetic Selection: Breeding programs can be used to select for cattle with superior feed efficiency traits. Over time, this can lead to herds that are more environmentally friendly and economically efficient.
  2. Nutritional Management: Optimizing the diet of cattle to improve their digestive efficiency can significantly reduce methane emissions.
  3. Monitoring and Data Analytics: Implementing technology to track cattle performance and feed efficiency can help farmers make data-driven decisions to enhance their operations.
  4. Methane Reduction Technologies: Researchers are developing innovative solutions, such as feed additives and dietary supplements, that can reduce methane emissions from cattle.


Investing in feed efficiency is a win-win solution for the cattle industry and the environment. By reducing methane emissions from cattle, it contributes to global efforts to combat climate change while simultaneously improving the profitability and sustainability of the livestock sector. Governments, agricultural organizations, and farmers should collaborate to promote and adopt feed efficiency strategies, ensuring a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future for cattle production. This investment is not just in the cattle industry; it’s an investment in the health of our planet.

Progress of the Dairy Farm Report

Selected Financial and Production Factors

The objective of the Dairy Farm Business Summary & Analysis Program (DFBS) is to help farm managers improve the financial management of their dairy farm through appropriate use of historical farm data and the application of modern farm business analysis techniques. This information can also be used to track changes within the business, establish goals that will enable the business to better meet its objectives, compare the performance of the farm to other dairy producers, and establish a basis for financial projection and planned changes within the business. This is the final Progress of the Dairy Farm Report for the 2022 business year and represents the 67th year a summary of New York dairy financial and business performance has been published by Cornell.

Over 150 farms across New York participated in the DFBS for 2022.  This report summarizes data for 133 conventional dairy farms that completed the summary for 2022 in which dairy is their main enterprise, with 85% or more of the farm revenue generated from milk sales, dairy cattle, and dairy calf sales.  The Progress of the Dairy Farm Report provides averages of selected financial and production measures for 129 New York State Dairy Farms (pages 2‐4) that participated in the program for both 2021 and 2022 that had submitted records by June 28th, 2023.  The business chart on page 5 reports the data summarizing all 133 farms for 2022.  The report is also broken down into four herd size categories to provide additional comparison reports by herd size.

1. Farms with Less Than 500 Cows Pages 6‐9

2. Farms with 500 Cows to 999 Cows Pages 10‐13

3. Farms with 1,000 Cows to 1,499 Cows

4. Farms with 1,500 and Greater Pages 14‐17 Pages 18‐21

To utilize these reports, begin by comparing how your farm changed from 2021 to 2022 to the change in the average of all farms report. Then, determine which herd size group most closely represents your farm and compare your financial and production parameters and change to the averages of that group. This benchmarking tool can be helpful for farm owners and managers to find areas of opportunity and strengths within their businesses. If you are a DFBS participant, you can work with your extension educator to look at these comparisons for all farms and your farm business.  For definitions of the different terms in the following tables, please refer to E.B. 2023‐07, “Glossary of Terms Associated with the DFBS”. This publication and other information for farms interested in participating can be found at:‐dairy/our‐expertise/business/dfbs

These benchmarks and comparisons are provided for comparison purposes only and represent the performance of those farms participating in the Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program in New York State. These numbers do not represent the average for all dairy farms across New York and are from farms that are generally considered above average dairy farms in New York. No analysis or interpretation of these benchmarks and ratios is provided.

The authors would like to thank the farms that continue to volunteer to participate in this project, the extension educators that work with farms utilizing the DFBS as part of their educational programs, and the financial consultants that work with farms participating in the DFBS.

Read The Full Report

When milk prices are down, where can you make sacrifices?

The dairy industry is no stranger to price fluctuations, and when milk prices take a nosedive, dairy farmers and producers are faced with tough decisions. In such challenging times, it becomes crucial to identify areas where sacrifices can be made to weather the storm without compromising the overall quality and sustainability of the operation. This article explores some strategies and considerations for navigating low milk prices in the dairy industry.

  1. Cost Management

    One of the first areas to scrutinize when milk prices are down is your cost structure. Analyze your expenses meticulously and identify areas where cost-saving measures can be implemented without affecting the health and well-being of your herd or the quality of your dairy products. Some potential cost-saving strategies include:

    • Feed Efficiency: Review your feed program and explore ways to improve feed efficiency. This might involve adjusting the composition of the feed, sourcing more cost-effective ingredients, or optimizing feeding practices.
    • Labor Costs: Evaluate your labor costs and consider options such as cross-training employees to handle multiple tasks or adjusting work schedules to maximize efficiency.
    • Energy and Utilities: Look for ways to reduce energy consumption on the farm, whether through better insulation, energy-efficient equipment, or alternative energy sources like solar power.
  2. Herd Management

    Your cows are the heart of your dairy operation, and their health and productivity are paramount. While you may need to make some adjustments during tough times, ensure that you maintain high standards of care and management. Consider the following:

    • Healthcare: Continue to invest in the health and well-being of your herd. Cutting corners on healthcare can lead to long-term issues and decreased milk production.
    • Breeding and Genetics: Evaluate your breeding program to ensure you are producing cows that are well-suited to your operation. High-quality genetics can pay dividends in terms of milk production and longevity.
  3. Product Diversification

    When milk prices are low, consider diversifying your product offerings. Explore options such as producing artisan cheeses, yogurt, or other dairy products that can fetch higher prices in the market. While this may require additional equipment and marketing efforts, it can provide a valuable income stream.

  4. Market Analysis and Contracts

    Stay informed about market trends and pricing. Consider entering into contracts or agreements with processors or cooperatives that provide price stability or incentives during periods of low milk prices.

  5. Financial Planning

    Maintaining a robust financial plan is crucial during volatile periods. Build up cash reserves during times of prosperity to help cushion the impact of low milk prices. Additionally, consider working with financial advisors who specialize in the agricultural sector to navigate challenging financial situations.

  6. Sustainable Practices

    Embrace sustainability practices that can reduce operating costs and improve your farm’s resilience in the long run. Implementing eco-friendly measures like nutrient management plans and waste reduction can lead to cost savings and a more environmentally responsible operation.

When milk prices are down, dairy farmers face tough choices, but it’s essential to approach these challenges strategically. By carefully managing costs, prioritizing the health and well-being of your herd, diversifying products, staying informed about market trends, and maintaining financial resilience, you can navigate periods of low milk prices while positioning your dairy operation for long-term success. Adaptability and a commitment to sustainable practices will be key to enduring the cyclical nature of the dairy industry.

China’s dairy production is on the rise, but consumer demand is outpacing supply.

China is on track to become the world’s third-largest producer of cow milk this year. Despite its high worldwide milk production rating, the nation remains the top dairy importer owing to its vast population, which continues to increase per capita dairy consumption, according to Rabobank.

China is on track to become the world’s third-largest producer of cow milk this year. Despite its high worldwide milk production rating, the nation remains the top dairy importer owing to its vast population, which continues to increase per capita dairy consumption, according to Rabobank.

Domestic per capita consumption has a great possibility to develop further, since it is now just one-third of the worldwide average, according to those experts.

According to Rabobank, China’s milk supply will increase from 41.5 million metric tons in 2023 to 47.4 million metric tons liquid milk equivalent (LME) in 2032, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5% by volume.

Annual demand in the nation is predicted to climb 2.4% on average between 2023 and 2032, with dairy consumption reaching 62.2 million metric tons LME by 2032, according to the report.

“China will continue to play an important role in the global dairy industry, with the import deficit expected to widen further.” Imports are expected to reach 15 million metric tons LME by 2032, according to Michelle Huang, a dairy analyst at Rabobank.

According to a recent Dutch bank dairy analysis, China’s self-sufficiency rate ranges between 70% and 80% and is unlikely to improve much, implying that domestic dairy output will not meet increasing demand in the long term.

“The most important swing factors influencing domestic supply will be production costs, land, water, heifers, and capital availability, and future government policy.”

“On the demand side, downside risks include weaker income growth, slower economic growth, and sluggish consumer demand,” Huang said.
Production that is highly focused ​

China’s milk production is extremely concentrated, with the majority of it located in the country’s north. The dairy agricultural belt includes areas like as Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang.

The country’s milk sector has grown as a result of a change in food security awareness caused by China’s recent geopolitical difficulties. The country’s ministry of agriculture and rural affairs (MARA) enacted a five-year strategy for the domestic dairy industry in February 2022, outlining major measures that the government would support, such as the development of large-scale modern dairy farms.

The share of the Chinese dairy herd on farms with more than 1,000 head climbed from 24 to 44% between 2015 and 2020. Dairy farms with more than 1,000 head are predicted to increase and dominate the Chinese dairy landscape by 2025, accounting for 56% of the country’s herd.

MARA is also working to develop domestic breeding and genetics skills, to help dairy farming’s digital revolution, and to stimulate vertical integration of the dairy value chain.
Forage availability ​

Another important goal mentioned by the agriculture ministry is to enhance the availability of high-quality fodder.

“In China, dairy cows are typically fed one of three types of rations: forage grass/alfalfa, concentrated feed, and supplementary feed.” According to the Rabobank analysis, “alfalfa plays a critical role in increasing milk yield and protein content, and China’s dairy farms rely on imported alfalfa from the United States.”

According to dairy industry experts, the government has created multiple high-yielding alfalfa farms in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Ningxia provinces to minimize dependence on imported alfalfa and boost local supplies.

How the Dairy Farmers Can Brace Itself for the AgTech Revolution

The agriculture industry is in the midst of a technological revolution, and dairy farming is no exception. Advancements in agricultural technology, often referred to as agtech, are transforming the way dairy farmers manage their operations. From automated milking systems to data analytics, these innovations offer opportunities for increased efficiency, improved sustainability, and enhanced profitability. However, for dairy farmers to fully benefit from the agtech revolution, they must proactively prepare and adapt to these changes.

  1. Embrace Data-Driven Decision Making
    One of the fundamental aspects of the agtech revolution in dairy farming is the collection and analysis of data. Dairy farmers can install sensors in barns, on cows, and in equipment to gather information about everything from milk production to cow health. By harnessing this data, farmers can make informed decisions that lead to better outcomes.
    Implementing a farm management software system that integrates data from various sources can provide a holistic view of the operation. This allows farmers to monitor cow behavior, track feed consumption, optimize breeding cycles, and identify potential health issues in real-time. The insights gained from data analytics can enhance operational efficiency and maximize milk production.
  1. Invest in Automation
    Automation is another key component of the agtech revolution in dairy farming. Automated milking systems, robotic feeders, and even autonomous tractors can reduce labor costs and improve efficiency. These technologies allow for round-the-clock monitoring and management of the herd and dairy facilities.
    By automating routine tasks, dairy farmers can free up their time to focus on more strategic aspects of their business, such as herd health management, genetics, and market trends. Additionally, automation can help ensure consistency in tasks like milking and feeding, which can lead to higher milk quality and better overall herd health.
  1. Explore Precision Agriculture
    Precision agriculture techniques, commonly associated with crop farming, are increasingly relevant to dairy farming as well. This involves the use of GPS technology, sensors, and data analytics to optimize resource allocation and minimize waste. For dairy farmers, precision agriculture can help with pasture management, nutrient management, and even manure disposal.
    By accurately mapping pastures and monitoring soil conditions, farmers can make data-driven decisions about when and where to graze their cattle. This can reduce overgrazing, improve soil health, and ultimately increase the sustainability of the operation. Precision agriculture can also aid in managing manure more efficiently, minimizing its environmental impact.
  1. Stay Informed and Collaborate
    The agtech landscape is continually evolving, with new innovations and technologies emerging regularly. Dairy farmers must stay informed about these developments and be open to adopting new tools and practices. Attending industry conferences, joining agtech-focused organizations, and networking with other farmers can provide valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration.
    Collaboration is especially important in the agtech space, as it can lead to shared resources, knowledge exchange, and access to cutting-edge technologies. Working with agritech companies, universities, and research institutions can help dairy farmers stay at the forefront of technological advancements.
  2. Address Connectivity and Cybersecurity
    As dairy farms become more connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and data-sharing platforms, it’s crucial to prioritize cybersecurity. Protecting sensitive farm data and ensuring the integrity of automated systems is paramount. Dairy farmers should invest in cybersecurity measures and stay vigilant against potential threats.
    Additionally, reliable internet connectivity is essential for the successful implementation of agtech solutions. Farmers in remote areas may need to explore options for improving their internet infrastructure to fully leverage the benefits of these technologies.

The agtech revolution presents dairy farmers with exciting opportunities to enhance their operations, increase productivity, and promote sustainability. By embracing data-driven decision making, investing in automation, exploring precision agriculture techniques, staying informed, collaborating with others in the industry, and addressing connectivity and cybersecurity concerns, dairy farmers can prepare themselves for the future of farming. Adapting to these technological advancements can not only improve the bottom line but also contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of dairy operations.

Heat Takes a Terrible Toll on Milk Yields

The T.C. Jacoby Weekly Market Report Week Ending August 25, 2023

U.S. milk output turned negative in July, as the heat took a terrible toll on milk yields. The milk production map and the July weather maps look nearly identical. The August weather map – and presumably the milk production map – will look much different. 

U.S. milk output turned negative in July, as the heat took a terrible toll on milk yields. Milk output totaled 19.08 billion pounds last month, down 0.5% from July 2022. The milk production map and the July weather maps look nearly identical. Simply put, milk output was down hardest where it was hottest. The August weather map – and presumably the milk production map – will look much different. Tropical Storm Hilary brought unusually mild temperatures to the West Coast, but the Upper Midwest is scorching. Through much of the summer, dairy producers in the heartland reported only modest declines in milk yields relative to the spring peak. But the bulk tanks are not as full today.

Dairy producers cashed a paltry milk check and some surprisingly large beef checks in July, and they culled hard. But the dairy herd barely budged. USDA estimates the dairy herd shrank by only 3,000 head in July. But the agency cut another 5,000 head from its estimate of the June milkcow head count, bringing the May-to-June decline to a steep 21,000 head. There were 9.4 million cows in U.S. milk parlors last month, 13,000 fewer than there were a year ago. A steeper setback in cow numbers is likely in August. Setting aside slaughter volumes in 1986 during the cow-kill program, dairy slaughter volumes have been record high for this time of year in four of the last seven weeks.

Both cheese and butter stocks tightened in July, which helps to explain the strong showing for both commodities in the spot markets last month. Butter inventories dropped 20.4 million pounds from June to July, an unusually steep decline. There were 347.5 million pounds of butter in cold storage warehouses last month. That’s 5% more than the very small volumes reported a year ago but considerably less than the mountain of butter in storage in July 2021.


In recent years, cheese stocks have typically grown from June to July, so this year’s 21.75-million-pound setback surprised. Cheese inventories tipped the scales at 1.489 billion pounds last month. That’s a lot of cheese, to be sure, but it’s 2.2% less than last year. The month-tomonth decline suggests that export deals booked earlier in the year helped keep product moving this summer. But today, with prices much higher, there are likely few buyers willing to return U.S. cheese exporters’ calls. After topping $2 last week, CME spot Cheddar blocks retreated, falling 8.25ȼ to a still lofty $1.945 per pound. Barrels slipped 0.75ȼ to $1.80. Butter also fell back from the recent highs, dropping 3ȼ to $2.67.

As always, the milk powder market took its cues from abroad. Whole milk powder (WMP) prices lost a little more ground at Tuesday’s Global Dairy Trade Pulse auction, and U.S. nonfat dry milk (NDM) values faded early in the week. Then after European and Kiwi skim milk powder (SMP) futures strengthened, CME spot NDM bounced back. It closed the week at $1.105, on par with last Friday.

The milk powder trade is desperately searching for any sign that Chinese WMP imports are set to improve. If you squint, the data looked a little less troubling than they once did. Chinese WMP imports topped year-ago volumes in May, June, and July. On its own, the monthly figures seem encouraging, with July WMP imports up 22.5% from a year ago. But a wider view paints a different picture. China is simply not importing WMP at the pace required to make up for this year’s very slow start. Chinese WMP imports are down 40.3% from last year to the lowest January through June total since 2016. Chinese imports of other dairy products look much better, with year-to-date imports of cheese, SMP, and whey at their second-highest totals on record, behind 2021.


Whey prices finally firmed this week. Spot whey climbed a penny to 28ȼ, their best showing in more than two months. USDA’s Dairy Market News explains, “Limited milk availability for cheese processing, along with recently firming high protein blend markets have created a slightly bullish safety net for a market that has been struggling to gain traction for the better part of the calendar year.”

Spot market action did not imply big gains for the dairy markets this week. But heat in the cheese states and a friendly Cold Storage report propelled Class III futures sharply higher. The September contract climbed 45ȼ to $18.94 per cwt. October Class III jumped 66ȼ to $18.65. The Class IV markets were less exuberant. September Class IV fell 35ȼ to $18.90, and deferred contracts lost a little ground as well.


The Corn Belt heat wave and the ProFarmer crop tour gave the grain trade a lot to chew on this week. After taking corn and soybean samples in seven states, the tour pegged the national average corn yield at 172 bushels per acre, below USDA’s August estimate of 175.1 bushels but comfortably near the market consensus. ProFarmer assessed the soybean yield at 49.7 bushels per acre, also below USDA’s August figure at 50.9 but slightly above last year’s tour average at 49.5.

The trade assumes that the soaring temperatures will not help either row crop, but, judging by the calendar, the impact will be much more severe for soybeans than for corn. With that in mind, November soybeans surged 34.5ȼ this week to $13.8775 per bushel and December soybean meal jumped $26 to $415 per ton. December corn futures bounced around but ultimately finished at $4.88, a nickel lower than last Friday.

Original Report At:

Are You Ready for World Dairy Expo 2023?

The countdown for the 56th World Dairy Expo is on as there is only one month until the global dairy industry meets once again in Madison, Wisconsin. Do you have everything you need to have a memorable and enjoyable experience?

The first step is buying your digital admission passes for this year’s event before arriving at the Alliant Energy Center. Those who purchase their admission passes before October 3, when admission starts being charged, will be able to take advantage of discount pricing for purchasing in advance. Those who wait to purchase admission from October 3 through 6 will face increased prices.

Admission is required Tuesday, October 3 through Friday, October 6 for anyone 12 years old and older and includes free parking and access to all events at WDE unless noted otherwise in the schedule. Daily and season admission passes purchased before October 3 are $15 and $40, respectively, and can be purchased online by visiting Expo’s website, or through Expo’s free mobile event app.

Download the app to purchase your admission passes and your ticket will be conveniently located within the app. Make sure to use the same email address as your email for your WDE mobile event app account when purchasing to take advantage of this new feature. While you’re in the app, take advantage of all the fan-favorite features to plan your time at Expo, such as custom itinerary-building, interactive maps, and more.

World Dairy Expo 2023 will have a staggered schedule, starting with the Youth Fitting and Showmanship Contests on Saturday, September 30. National Judging Contests take place on Sunday morning, followed by the International Junior Holstein Show on Sunday afternoon to kick off the world-class dairy cattle show. Education seminars and the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show begin on Tuesday, October 3, when admission begins being charged. To find a detailed and up-to-date daily schedule, visit

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. The global dairy industry will return to Madison, Wis. for the 56th event, October 1-6, 2023, when the world’s largest dairy-focused trade show, dairy and forage seminars, a world-class dairy cattle show and more will be on display. Download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, visit or follow WDE on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram or YouTube for more information.

Dairy producers in Cork lose over €500 million as milk prices collapse.

Milk price decreases have cost Irish dairy producers over 38% of their earnings in the last year.

Surprising new numbers have shown the magnitude of the financial crisis confronting dairy farmers throughout Cork as a result of continued milk price decreases, with over half a billion Euro wiped off their profits this year.

The data produced by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers organization (ICMSA) so sobering that organization president Pat McCormack calls them a “disaster for the rural economy.”

Dairygold was the latest processor to cut its July quoted milk price by 2 cents per pound to 36 cents per pound, with a spokeswoman claiming that “global milk markets continue to weaken due to pressure on demand in key markets, with no sign of near-term correction.”

To put the magnitude of recent milk price cuts into perspective, Dairygold paid its milk suppliers 55.5c/pl in June of last year.

This reflects a year-on-year decrease of little more than 35%.

According to the ICMSA, the persistent drop in milk prices has cost dairy farmers throughout the nation €2 billion in earnings, with Cork suffering the brunt of this.

According to their projections, milk income in Cork will equal €1,269,394.000 in 2022. According to the ICMSA, the income number for 2023 is now €777,865,000, a €491,529,000 or 38.7% decrease.

The ICMSA conducted a comprehensive examination of each of the 26 counties to determine the decrease in dairy farmer income over the previous two years.

The results reveal that milk values have dropped dramatically, with about €2 billion less estimated to be paid to dairy producers in 2023 compared to 2022.

ICMSA president Pat McCormack described this as “an astounding amount to lose” and predicted that it would have a “very serious impact” not only on dairy farmers but also on the wider rural economy this year and in 2024 as farmers tightened their purse strings and made drastic cuts to their spending.

“We all know that farmers spend in their communities, and many local services and businesses rely on them.” It is unsurprising to see dairy farmers’ spending power diminish considerably, as observed by companies in rural towns that offer products and services to dairy farmers and the larger dairy sector,” Mr McCormack said.

“From concrete to shed suppliers, to milking equipment to farm machinery, reports are coming back that dairy farmers have stopped buying and investing, and only the very basics are being purchased, and this is going to have a dramatic impact on the local economy,” he continued.

According to Mr. McCormack, with a dairy outlet multiplier of two, the overall loss to the Irish rural economy in 2023 may be as high as €4 billion.

“At the county level, we see Cork losing nearly half a billion in direct revenues, while Tipperary will lose nearly a quarter of a billion in direct revenues.” “With so many indirect jobs reliant on the dairy sector, the multiplier effect can bite even harder in these counties,” Mr McCormack said.

Given the current weather and pricing circumstances, the ICMSA research utilized an average total milk price of 59cpl for 2033 and a projected average price of 37cpl for 2023, with output predicted to reduce by 2% year on year.

“This means that nearly 38% of dairy revenues have been wiped away in the last year, and this analysis does not include the very severe cost elements facing dairy farmers, implying that dairy farm incomes will be severely impacted in 2023,” Mr McCormack added.

“While fertiliser prices have fallen slightly, most fertiliser was purchased at inflated prices earlier in the year or last year, and unfortunately, electricity and feed remain stubbornly high,” he said.

Mr McCormack urged Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue to organize a meeting of the Dairy Forum so that a “clear strategy” could be put in place to kick-start an urgent recovery in milk prices.

“This is required not only by the farmers who produce the milk on a daily basis, but also by the larger rural businesses that rely on it for revenue,” Mr McCormack added.

On Thursday, both milk futures on the CME and cash dairy prices climbed.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, milk futures and cash dairy markets were up on Thursday, with the exception of cheese and nonfat dry milk.

September Class III milk was $0.02 higher at $18.89 a gallon. October saw a $0.15 increase to $19.10. November was $0.24 higher at $18.78. December was $0.13 higher at $18.65. Contracts from January to July were six cents higher in February and thirteen cents higher in July.

Dry whey was $0.02 higher at $0.3050. One transaction was recorded at $0.30.

The price of forty-pound cheese bricks remained constant at $1.9925. There were no sales registered.

The price of cheese barrels stayed steady at $1.86. There were no sales registered.

Butter was trading at $2.6450, up $0.0250. Fourteen transactions were made, with prices ranging from $2.6450 to $2.67.

Nonfat dried milk fell $0.02 to $1.0725. There were four transactions, with prices ranging from $1.07 to $1.0850.

Federal Milk Marketing Order Hearing Gets Started

How would you report on the first mile of a 26-mile marathon where the race results will not be known until months after the race is finished? That is where we are with the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearing that started this week in Carmel, Indiana. There was a bit of conflict at the beginning of the hearing on Wednesday as a couple of organizations, whose submitted proposals were not accepted for inclusion into this hearing, formally objected to USDA’s exclusion of their proposals. Those objections were noted and entered into the record by the Administrative Law Judge who is presiding over the hearing. USDA asked for a number of days to prepare an official response to the objections and so it goes.


The first hearing topic is Milk Composition. The National Milk Producers Federation and National All Jersey witnesses were able to submit their proposals and justifications and were subject to cross-examination. One of the areas of questioning concerns the ability of fluid milk handlers to recover the value of higher components in the skim milk portion of fluid milk. The proposed delay of the implementation of higher standard components and how often those components would be adjusted in the future was also raised in testimony and cross-examination. There is now a widely used dairy crop insurance product which uses the FMMO formulas as part of their process. The Dairy Revenue Protection program allows milk price coverages to be purchased for time periods in excess of 15 months into the future. Changes to the formulas, which are implemented in a timeframe shorter than that, could cause indemnities to be incurred due to regulatory changes as opposed to market or other changes (e.g., weather/pandemic). These are all concerns USDA will have to consider as they analyze the proposals and the testimony that is gathered through this hearing process. The Federal Order hearing process is long, but thorough, and I would argue fair. Any interested party can testify, and anyone is free to cross-examine witnesses as long as they are physically in the room. A FMMO hearing is not entertainment, but that does not mean it is not interesting or important. The one exception to the in-person rule is that USDA has provided a special opportunity for actual dairy farmers to testify virtually. You can learn how to participate here. This hearing is expected to continue until early October, so there is a lot of road yet to travel.

View the hearing or, you may listen only, via cellular phone or landlineTo view the webinar:

Dairy Checkoff Publishes 2022 Annual Report

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the planning and management organization that oversees the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy farmers and importers, has posted its 2022 annual report at

The report provides checkoff funders and other members of the dairy community an audited financial report and highlights from 2022 focused on strategies and programs including:

· Accelerating incremental dairy sales growth

· Building trust in dairy, dairy foods and dairy farming with youth and other important consumer audiences

· Positioning dairy in a global food system

“Farmers and importers seek transparency in their checkoff strategies and the 2022 annual report is a great way to deliver on those expectations,” said Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and DMI chair. “Our checkoff team works daily to fulfill its goal of building sales and trust of dairy, and this report offers a comprehensive overview of how the plan is delivering results.”

The checkoff’s 2023 program budget summary and audited financial statements also are available at Previous checkoff annual reports can be found at

Those interested in learning more about the checkoff can listen to the “Your Dairy Checkoff Podcast,” subscribe to the Dairy Checkoff Newsletter or visit the Dairy Checkoff Facebook Page and

Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI) is funded by America’s nearly 28,000 dairy farmers, as well as dairy importers. Created to help increase sales and demand for dairy products, DMI and its related organizations work to increase demand for dairy through research, education and innovation, and to maintain confidence in dairy foods, farms and businesses. DMI manages National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Association, and founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

NOVUS to Share Top Dairy Herd Best Practices at World Dairy Expo

Experts from Novus International will share their insights into top-performing dairy herds at the World Dairy Expo, October 1-6, in Madison, Wisconsin. 

NOVUS will host two Knowledge Nook sessions during the world’s largest dairy show. 


Mark Moran, executive regional ruminant sales manager for NOVUS, says these two talks are designed to help dairy farmers optimize performance and support profitability through intelligent nutrition, which is a combination of experience, insightful perspectives, and smarter solutions.  


“NOVUS has been working directly with dairy farmers since 1996. We’ve developed deep historical knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that different farms can experience. We’ve also learned a lot about the small things farmers can do to address those issues and meet their goals,” he says. 


Top Producing Dairy Herds, October 4 

Karen Luchterhand, Ph.D., C.O.W.S.® Program service lead, grew up on a dairy farm and began working with neighboring dairies as a teenager. She understands how competitive dairy farms can be. What better way to get above the competition than to know what top-performing herds are doing? 


“Dairy farmers are a competitive group. They want to be the best of the best. They want to know how their herds stack up to the competition,” says Luchterhand. “My presentation gives them a glimpse into dairies in the Northeast and Midwest that are getting the most from their cows.” 


In her presentation, Luchterhand will show assessment data from NOVUS’ C.O.W.S.® Program collected over the last five years. The program, which has been supporting farms in North America since 2011, uses on-site assessments to help farmers unlock production bottlenecks and optimize the health and well-being of their cows. The qualitative and quantitative information collected from these dairy farms showcases key management changes that can make a big difference. Some options may be little to no cost to implement but some suggestions come with a considerable financial investment. Luchterhand says that shouldn’t deter people from understanding their options. 


“What the data tells us and the recommendations we make according to the data has to be individualized to specific farms,” she says. “Because there are so many factors that go into dairy farming, there isn’t one plan that will work for everyone. We have to consider the farm’s challenges and opportunities and how much the dairy producer can or is willing to invest.” 


Luchterhand will present What Are Our Top Producing Herds Doing? at 2:30 p.m. on October 4 in the atrium of the Exhibition Hall. 


Reduce Risk and Manage Your Milk Components, October 5 

NOVUS Ruminant Technical Manager Hannah Tucker, Ph.D., will present the topic Reduce Your Risk: Successfully Manage Your Milk Components when Changing Forage Sources, which provides management tips that farmers and nutritionists should consider every year around harvest time.  


“Butterfat is a valuable milk component. Farmers rely on the ration cows eat to make butterfat, but we can’t maximize butterfat production if the forages aren’t as they should be,” Tucker says. 


During her presentation, Tucker will recommend certain steps farms take when moving from last year’s forage to that of the new harvest. She warns that if the switch isn’t done correctly, the impact can have a negative effect on everything from dry matter intake to component production to overall milk yield.  


Tucker says nutritionists also have a valuable role to play in the silage shift. Their collaboration with dairy producers to maximize the production of both the milk and the forage is necessary to achieve farm goals. 


Dr. Tucker’s presentation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on October 5 in the atrium of the Exhibition Hall. 


Attendees can visit the NOVUS booth, #4317-4319 at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall during the Expo, to speak with the experts and learn about the intelligent nutrition solutions that can help them get more from their cows.  


For more information about NOVUS at the Expo, visit   

World Dairy Expo serves as a forum for dairy producers, companies, organizations, and other dairy enthusiasts to come together to compete, and to exchange ideas, knowledge, technology, and commerce. For more information, visit  

Career Connections’ Third Year at WDE Brings More Opportunities

As it returns to World Dairy Expo for its third year this fall, Career Connections continues to connect students and young professionals with job and internship opportunities in the dairy industry. An onsite networking event on Friday, October 6 at 9:30 a.m. in Mendota 4 of the Exhibition Hall, is a part of the program as well as an online job board.

In addition to connecting job and internship seekers with hiring companies and farms, World Dairy Expo is providing free professional headshots in conjunction with Career Connections. Anastasia Gerbitz, of Cornerbrook Communications will be taking photos for all participants and other attendees looking to update their current headshot during the onsite networking event.

“We’re excited to build upon this program and create more opportunities for youth and young adults that help them stand out among the rest as they search for jobs or internships in the dairy industry,” says Cassi Miller, Attendee Programs Manager. “World Dairy Expo is an optimal time and location to connect these young professionals with hiring companies and farms as the global dairy industry meets in Madison.”

Career Connections is a free resource and event for all involved – from job seekers to dairy farms and companies. Trade Show participants and sponsors of Expo, in addition to dairy farms spanning the globe, can participate in this event by applying at Job and internship seekers who want to take advantage of this unique opportunity at Expo can visit the same website to view a current list of participating companies and potential opportunities, in addition to registering for the in-person event.

Furious dairy producers depart due to UK pricing constraint and growing expenses.

‘It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.” That was the devastating confession of a British dairy farmer after selling his herd of cows, thereby ending a nearly 200-year-old family company.

What prompted this tragic decision? Within a few months, his milk price had dropped by 14p per litre, despite continuing high expenses for energy, animal feed, and fertilizers. “I’m not sure why anyone would want to continue,” he remarked.

The milk producer, who wishes to remain anonymous, related his experience to Sussex farmer David Exwood, who published the remarks on Twitter. His predicament is far from unusual. Dairy farmers and other food producers have been dealing with spiraling expenses since the commencement of conflict in Ukraine last February, which drove up energy expenditures, influencing the cost of fertilizer, which requires gas for manufacture.

Financial strains were increased further by last summer’s drought, which forced farmers to purchase extra animal feed due to a shortage of grass.

Due to milk shortages caused by the epidemic, wholesale prices reached all-time highs by late 2022, culminating at 51.6p per litre last December. Farmers could now breathe a sigh of relief since their bills had been met. But the reprieve was brief.

According to official data, the average farm-gate price for milk has been falling in recent months, falling to 37.6p per litre in May. This marked an almost 5% loss in a month, and a nearly 8% dip from the same month a year before.

Paul Rowbottom, a farmer who also sells animal feed, says he sees the effects of financial stress on the farms he visits in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Cheshire every day. “Trying to get money into the country is a nightmare,” he continues. “They can’t afford to pay their bills.” He claims that the dairy farmers and other food producers he serves are facing the most difficult circumstances he has faced in his 30 years in the business: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people so irritated as now.”

Recent drops in milk prices have been ascribed in part to the “spring flush,” when cows naturally produce more milk when they are let out into fields, resulting in an overstock. However, dairy producers plainly believe that when milk processors and merchants cut the price paid for their product, they suffer financially.

Cheaper milk, as well as reduced costs for butter and bread, have lately been touted by supermarkets as they compete for price-conscious clients amid the cost of living crisis and a period of persistently high food inflation. A four-pint bottle currently costs £1.45 at supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which is approximately 20p less than the price in early April and the lowest price since before the epidemic.

Food makers are also warning that a sustained flight of dairy farmers might jeopardize the UK’s existing liquid milk self-sufficiency. According to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), over 5% of them quit the sector last year.
Andrew Hall, a farmer from Warwickshire, stands on a lush field, surrounded by cows.
Andrew Hall, a farmer in Warwickshire, claims that his children are unwilling to take over the family company. Photograph: provided

Following the price drop, the Dorset Dairy Company has become one of the latest farms to decide to sell off its milking cows. Dan Miller, the company’s operations manager, is the third generation in his family to manage a herd at Stalbridge. He now expects to sell their 180 cows in September, after which the firm will purchase milk from other sources to continue producing yoghurt, butter, and cream.

Miller claims he took the choice because to milk price instability, where the “happy days” of wholesale highs in late 2022 spurred many dairy producers to expand, just as consumers cut back on spending. People’s milk habits are also evolving, whether it’s a reduction in conventional cups of tea or morning cereal or the emergence of dairy-free alternatives.

Miller argues that the sector has been slow to adjust, with small suppliers being particularly susceptible. “With milk, you can’t easily turn off the taps,” Miller explains. “Many people said, ‘Let’s improve, grow, and produce more milk.'” We should have exercised greater caution.

“This is an epic cycle, and I don’t see it getting better quickly enough,” he said, explaining why he is selling his herd. “We don’t know how long this is going to last.”

Farmers throughout the nation are wondering how long they can survive in the face of mounting financial constraints and persistent labor shortages. In a recent study, over three-fifths of dairy farmers affiliated with Arla, the UK’s biggest dairy cooperative, expressed concern about labor shortages, stating it was more difficult to hire workers than in 2019.

Andrew Hall, a cattle and dairy farmer from Alveston in Warwickshire, has also had similar experience. The eldest two of his four children have already graduated from university and have opted not to take over the farm, while employees “my age and older are saying ‘I’m sick of this,'” he adds.
A hand clutching a plastic container with a pint of milk.
To cater to consumers suffering from the cost of living crisis, supermarkets have reduced the price of milk. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA

“I’m finding it difficult financially and mentally, and obviously labor is a huge issue,” he adds, adding that he’s getting 15p less per litre than he did in February. “The majority of dairy farmers work seven days a week, but this is 2023, not 1983 or 1973.” And we’ve been left behind in terms of pay.”

The 56-year-old will also miss his one week of vacation this year since his “relief milking” assistance is recuperating from a car accident. “I can’t find anybody else to milk,” he explains.

Hall has cut the quantity of grain supplied to his cows and is scaling down output to stay under his budget, glad that there is more grass available than last summer. “You never hear of farmers striking,” he observes. “But we have been taken advantage of for far too long.”

A big number of dairy cows are coming to market at Kivells, an agricultural and animal auction company, due to succession issues. Mark Davis, an auctioneer in Exeter, anticipates selling 1,500 dairy cows during the next month. “We are seeing a lot of sales come forward,” he adds. “The milk price and finances are bound to have an effect.”

Davis, who also works part-time on his brother’s family dairy farm, says the next generation’s unwillingness to take over family enterprises is also a factor. “The upcoming sales are generally due to retirement; a couple have been ill; in one, the farmer died and the family did not want to take it on.”
Michael Oakes on his Worcestershire farm. He’s standing in an indoor shed with livestock rows on each side.
Michael Oakes, who farms in Worcestershire, expects that a new regulation would make the supply chain more equitable. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Some farmers are hoping that the government would implement new laws in the coming months, bringing greater stability to the dairy supply chain. According to the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), the dairy code is designed to “ensure supply contracts in the dairy sector are fair and transparent, with farmers being paid a fair price for their produce.”

The laws are intended to enable farmers to contest processors’ pricing and to prevent contract modifications from being forced on producers without their approval, while also making it easier for them to express their concerns.

Michael Oakes, a dairy farmer in Worcestershire, is optimistic that the measures, which are due to become law in the fall, would “remove some unfair practice from the supply chain.” He feels that the present scenario, in which farmers often only learn out what they will be paid for next month’s milk a few days in advance, is unsustainable.

Oakes, who also serves as head of the NFU’s dairy board, expects that the restrictions would “create a new relationship with processors, getting rid of the ‘us and them’.” We rely on one another, but it’s never seemed like a real collaboration.”

For the time being, dairy farmers like Hall are dedicated to staying in farming, although admitting that he sometimes fantasizes about a life without caring for a dairy herd. “I could rent out farm buildings for storage and live a simpler and better lifestyle.”

Minnesota Dairy Community Crowns 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Emma Kuball, 19, was crowned the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way by the Minnesota Dairy Community on Aug. 23 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) – A young woman from Waterville was crowned the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

Emma Kuball, 19, will serve as the official Goodwill Ambassador for over 1,800 Minnesota dairy farm families.

The crowning ceremony took place on Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Kuball, representing Rice County, competed against ten other Dairy Princesses from across Minnesota.

Emma Kuball was crowned the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way by the Minnesota Dairy community...
Emma Kuball was crowned the 70th Princess Kay of the Milky Way by the Minnesota Dairy community Aug. 23 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.(Matt Addington/Midwest Dairy)

Her first official duty as Princess Kay will be to sit in a rotating cooler during the first two days of the state fair and have her likeness sculpted in a 90 lb. block of butter.

Source: KTTC

Dairy producers are “caught in the crossfire” as financial demands mount.

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) has warned that the difference between farmgate milk and retail pricing will continue to widen, and that high input costs would put major burden on the industry.

According to government data, the average UK gate price for milk in June was 36.48 pence per litre (ppl), a 16% decrease from the previous month. Meanwhile, the present cost of production is expected to be between 40ppl and 45ppl, rendering many dairy farms unsustainable.

According to RABDF chairman Di Wastenage, producers are caught in the crossfire, with no respite expected in the short to medium term.

“Our dairy farmers are facing enormous financial pressures,” she said. “They are caught in the crossfire, with farm gate milk prices remaining low while farm input costs remain stubbornly high, and high retail prices also have an impact on consumer demand.”

Mrs. Wastenage went on to say that UK processors are also dealing with increased energy and labor expenses, which are reflected in the pricing. Furthermore, she noted that the increased retail price of some dairy goods, such as cheese, is due to producers employing higher-cost milk earlier this year.

In terms of the next six months, she believes global markets provide little hope for UK dairy producers.

“The decline in Chinese demand for whole milk powder (WMP) and Fonterra’s forward forecasting indicate that this is going to be a difficult year.” “Unfortunately, for many people, this may be financially unsustainable,” she cautioned.

“The UK requires a dairy industry that operates efficiently and profitably from the farmgate to the supermarket shelf for all sectors along the supply chain.” Mrs Wastenage said, “We must ensure that this occurs and that the value is shared by all parties.”

Dairy Checkoff Publishes 2022 Annual Report

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the planning and management organization that oversees the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy farmers and importers, has posted its 2022 annual report at


The report provides checkoff funders and other members of the dairy community an audited financial report and highlights from 2022 focused on strategies and programs including:

  • Accelerating incremental dairy sales growth
  • Building trust in dairy, dairy foods and dairy farming with youth and other important consumer audiences
  • Positioning dairy in a global food system

“Farmers and importers seek transparency in their checkoff strategies and the 2022 annual report is a great way to deliver on those expectations,” said Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and DMI chair. “Our checkoff team works daily to fulfill its goal of building sales and trust of dairy, and this report offers a comprehensive overview of how the plan is delivering results.”

The checkoff’s 2023 program budget summary and audited financial statements also are available Previous checkoff annual reports can be found at

Those interested in learning more about the checkoff can listen to the “Your Dairy Checkoff Podcast,” subscribe to theDairy Checkoff Newsletter or visit the Dairy Checkoff Facebook Page and

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