News – Page 2

Wisconsin Holstein Association seeks Director of Marketing and Membership

The Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA) is seeking dairy professional to fill the role of Director of Marketing and Membership. This role will be responsible for maintaining the current membership database as well as leading the development of member recruitment and retention programs. Additional duties include developing and executing a social media plan to promote WHA and its members, and coordinating all fundraising and sponsorship programs.

Major Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Maintain and update membership database to ensure accurate information is entered in a timely matter and compile necessary membership reports as needed.
  • Compile membership packets and work with the Executive Director to identify and develop membership recruitment and retention collateral materials (including membership directory).
  • Develop and execute social media marketing plan with the goal of creating a stronger brand for the Wisconsin Holstein Association and its members.
  • Coordinate annual sponsorship drive, including maintain current sponsor relationships and identify potential new sponsors.
  • Assist in event planning of conventions, shows, meetings, all of which may involve travel and attendance at after-hours functions to assist the staff for set-up and tear down at events.
  • Identify guest speakers, arrange for appearances, and assist with exhibits to build awareness and enhance the brand of Wisconsin Holsteins.
  • Work with Executive Show Committee to coordinate sponsorship efforts to include maintaining current sponsor relationships and assist in recruiting new sponsors. Will also include coordinating all vendor and sponsor booth space on the Alliant Energy Center grounds.
  • Lead the Wisconsin Holstein Royalty program and serve as a mentor for the youth involved.
  • Travel and attendance at events, some after hours, will be required in order to promote the Association and build strong relationships with members and partners.
  • Provide excellent customer service to members by answering questions, filling requests and mailing necessary materials in a timely manner.
  • Establish strong working relationship with WHA committees to ensure the committee and board of directors’ directives are followed. Take notes at meetings and submit post-meeting minutes to committee members, board and archives.

The Director of Marketing and Membership should have a strong work ethic with a positive attitude and must have the ability to work with a diverse group of people while managing WHA membership and fundraising duties in addition to social media. The ideal candidate should also have three to five years of communications or customer service experience. Dairy industry experience is preferred.

A full job description can be found here.

Submit resume, cover letter and two letters of reference by September 1, 2022  to Laura Wackershauser, 902 8th Ave., Baraboo, WI 53913 or via email to Questions can also be directed to Laura, 800-223-4269 ext. 1.

Expert Tips for Raising Successful Calves – Post-Calving Care

To follow up on the 8 tips for excellent calf care from dry-off to calving, here are 13 practices to keep in mind for post-calving calf care.

Colostrum management

Colostrum management should be the most important element to consider when evaluating a breeding program. The biggest challenge in raising calves is preventing and treating disease. Disease can be significantly minimized by a good colostrum management protocol.

During the first few weeks of life, the calf is completely dependent on the immunity it received from colostrum.

1- Time

Administer within the first 3 hours of life. The period of awakening of the first ones following the birth helps the voluntarism for the feeding.

2- Innocuousness

Have less than 100,000 cfu of total bacteria/ml and less than 10,000 cfu of total coliforms/ml.

3- Quality

Test at over 22% Brix

4- Quantity

Reaching at least 10% of the calf’s weight

5- Storage

Colostrum over 22% Brix can be frozen, carefully identify the date of harvest, the cow’s identification, and the Brix level. Frozen colostrum can be stored for up to 6 months. If placed in the refrigerator, it can be kept for a maximum of 3 days.

6- Follow-up

Record the quantity, quality and timing of colostrum given to the calf and disease episodes (age of calf, type of disease, etc.)

Food and equipment

7- Cleaning and disinfecting

Ensure all equipment associated with calving, calf feeding, etc. is clean between uses.

8- Teats

Do not cut the opening to allow milk to flow more quickly as this can cause calves to inhale milk and can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

9- Transition milk

Transitional milk is the milk that does not go into the reservoir after calving, but which is not the first milking, i.e., colostrum. Feed the transition milk for at least 3 days after birth.

10- Growth monitoring

Tracking weights is the proven method to evaluate the success of your breeding program. At weaning, you want to have at least doubled the birth weight, 55% of the mature cow weight at breeding and at calving, 82-85% of the mature cow weight.


11- Bedding

Make sure there is an adequate amount of bedding. A nesting score of 3 is recommended (above the legs when the calf is lying down).

12- Ventilation

Calves need a well-ventilated, draft-free home. We aim for 4 air changes per hour in winter, 15 air changes in spring and fall and 40 air changes in summer.

13- Cold weather support

It can be beneficial to use heat lamps and coats as they are very useful during the winter months when the temperature drops.

Source: Lactanet

DFA, Bel Brands USA announce milk cooling pilot results

The program resulted in greenhouse gas emissions reduction

Bel Brands USA and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) recently announced the results of their sustainable milk cooling pilot program, launched last year. 

Last year, Bel Brands and DFA partnered to support the adoption of energy-efficient and cost-effective on-farm milk cooling methods. This included new natural well water and forced air barn cooling systems installed on a DFA-member dairy farm in Iowa that supplies milk to Bel Brands.

Over the 12 months, the use of these cooling methods resulted in a 6% reduction in electricity used on the dairy, while milk production increased 4%. Moreover, the addition of new sand bedding on the dairy also enabled farmers to spend less time on their tractors. This led to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), as CO2e were reduced by 58 tons during this time. These findings are important to informing future best standards for dairy farming, especially during seasonal spikes in energy use.

“At Bel Brands, we have been improving our practices in an effort to be a better steward of the environment and a positive force in the communities we serve,” said Jean Michel Dos Remedios, sourcing and supplier development senior director, Bel Brands USA. “Our work with Dairy Farmers of America is the latest example of our commitment.”

The first year of the program showed that the use of energy efficient methods, like natural well water systems and barn cooling methods, are important for reducing GHG on dairy farms while also increasing milk production.

To build on the success of this program, Bel and DFA plan to extend their partnership to a new program intent on supporting the next generation of US dairy farmers. Under the new pilot, Bel will supply a small DFA-member dairy farm in South Dakota with equipment normally thought only to be useful on a larger dairy. The purpose being to test the viability of the equipment on smaller dairy farms to promote cost-effective and sustainable practices that can be replicated on other US dairy farms in the future.

“Sustainability has been important to our farm families long before it was a buzzword, as taking care of their animals and the land is their future and livelihood,” says Hansel New, director of sustainability programs at DFA. “Partners, like Bel Brands, are helping bring technologies to our farms to help reduce their environmental footprint and climate impact.”


College Aggies Online developing the next generation of agriculture advocates

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition is returning this year on September 12. Now in its 14th year, the program is open to undergraduate, graduate students, collegiate clubs and classes who will learn how to engage about food and agriculture online and in their communities over the course of the nine-week program. Last year students were awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships.

CAO helps participants become confident and effective communicators for agriculture. The continued success of the program would not have been possible without the support of platinum sponsor Dairy Management Inc. (DMI). “It’s crucial to the dairy industry and our farmers that we help foster and develop the next generation’s communications skills so they can become effective ‘ag-vocates,’” said Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital innovations. “College Aggies Online is an effective tool to help students understand how to successfully communicate online with their peers who are disconnected from the farm. The dairy checkoff is proud to support this worthy program.”

The program consists of an individual and club division. The individual competition is a completely virtual experience with students receiving guidance from industry experts and farmer mentors on how to write blog posts, create viral social media posts, design eye-catching infographics and so much more. During the first week, students will be coached by Jessica Peters, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and social media influencer, on how to engage about dairy online. They will also be encouraged to complete a video challenge using tips and tricks from Emily Shaw, known online as Dairy Girl Fitness.

The club competition provides both in-person and virtual engagement opportunities for collegiate clubs and classes to connect with peers about agriculture. The “Undeniably Dairy” challenge sponsored by DMI is one of several challenges available for participating groups to choose from to earn points toward scholarship awards. In the “Undeniably Dairy” challenge, groups are encouraged to partner with local dairy farmers and checkoffs to share the nutritional benefits of dairy and how its produced with students on campus who may not be familiar with agriculture. Additional examples of club challenges include a farm tour, hosting an “Ask a Farmer” panel, bringing agriculture to a local K-12 class, and collaborating with the campus dining community.

Students interested in becoming confident and effective communicators for agriculture are invited to sign up at

The CAO program would not be possible without the generous support of our 2022 sponsors. In addition to Dairy Management Inc., this year’s sponsors include: National Pork Industry Foundation, Bayer, Institute for Feed Education and Research, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Ohio Poultry Association, Culvers Franchising System, National Chicken Council and Pennsylvania Beef Council. To become a sponsor of this year’s program, see our sponsorship opportunities and contact Casey Kinler, director, membership and marketing, at

Saputo Announces Capital Investments and Optimization Initiatives as Part of Its Global Strategic Plan

Saputo Inc. (SAPIF) (we, Saputo or the Company) (TSX: SAP) announces today capital investments and consolidation initiatives intended to further streamline its manufacturing footprint in its USA Sector. This announcement marks the continuation of the Company’s network optimization program that plays an integral role in its Global Strategic Plan designed to enhance operations and accelerate organic growth across its platforms.

The Company plans to invest CDN$45 million to convert its long-standing mozzarella cheese manufacturing facility in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, to a goat cheese manufacturing plant to increase capacity, expand our position in growing specialty cheese categories, and improve productivity. In line with the Company’s strategy to modernize its mozzarella operations, current cheese manufacturing from this facility will be transferred to other existing Saputo facilities in the USA Sector, increasing capacity utilization, improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs. Complementing these network optimization activities, Saputo plans to close its existing goat cheese manufacturing facility in Belmont, Wisconsin. Approximately 200 impacted employees from this facility will be provided with financial support including severance. These initiatives will begin in the second quarter of fiscal 2023 and are expected to take up to 18 months to implement.

“The latest series of investments and consolidation activities will strengthen the competitiveness and long-term performance of our cheese operations in our USA Sector, while increasing efficiency and productivity,” said Lino A. Saputo, Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The initiatives we are announcing today will allow us to enhance our manufacturing footprint and drive organic growth. We have been increasingly focused on accelerating our Global Strategic Plan initiatives, identifying new opportunities to streamline the operating model and further improve our cost structure.”

The capital investments and consolidation initiatives outlined above are expected to result in annual savings and benefits gradually, beginning in fiscal 2024, and reaching approximately CDN$9 million (CDN$6 million after taxes) by fiscal 2025. Costs related with the capital investments and consolidation initiatives outlined above will be approximately CDN$15 million after taxes, which include a non-cash fixed assets write-down of approximately CDN$10 million after taxes. These costs will start to be recorded in the second quarter of fiscal 2023.

About Saputo

Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a wide array of dairy products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products, and dairy ingredients. Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada, and the top dairy processor in Australia and Argentina. In the USA, Saputo ranks among the top three cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products. In the United Kingdom, Saputo is the largest manufacturer of branded cheese and a top manufacturer of dairy spreads. In addition to its dairy portfolio, Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a range of dairy alternative cheeses and beverages. Saputo products are sold in several countries under market-leading brands, as well as private label brands. Saputo Inc. is a publicly traded company and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “SAP”. Follow Saputo’s activities at or via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


This news release contains statements which are forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements with respect to planned capital investments, consolidation initiatives, the anticipated cost savings and benefits resulting from such capital investments and consolidation initiatives, the expected timing of capital investments, savings, benefits and related costs, the expected impact of consolidation activities on our employees, as well as our ambitions and strategic plans including our ability to achieve our ambitions and goals, and statements other than historical facts. The words “may”, “could”, “should”, “will”, “would”, “believe”, “plan”, or “expect”, or the negative of these terms or variations of them, the use of conditional or future tense or words and expressions of similar nature, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws.

By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to a number of inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those stated, implied, or projected in such forward-looking statements. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statements will materialize, and we warn readers that these forward- looking statements are not statements of historical fact or guarantees of future performance in any way. Assumptions, expectations, and estimates made in the preparation of forward-looking statements and risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations are discussed in our materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities from time to time, including the “Risks and Uncertainties” section of the Management’s Discussion and Analysis dated June 9, 2022, available on SEDAR under Saputo’s profile at, and also include the following: our ability to deploy capital expenditure projects and implement consolidation initiatives as planned, the availability of all technology necessary to achieve the anticipated cost savings and benefits and our ability to implement it as planned, the performance of our technology, our ability to achieve productivity and efficiency gains resulting from capital investments and consolidation initiatives, the availability and cost of labour, construction materials, equipment, energy and other inputs, the effects of inflation and foreign exchange rates on such costs, and our ability to face ongoing economic uncertainty.

Forward-looking statements are based on Management’s current estimates, expectations and assumptions.

Management believes that these estimates, expectations, and assumptions are reasonable as of the date hereof, and are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, and other uncertainties and contingencies regarding future events, and are accordingly subject to changes after such date. Forward-looking statements are intended to provide shareholders with information regarding Saputo, including our assessment of future financial plans, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Undue importance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, and the information contained in such forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as of any other date.

All forward-looking statements included herein speak only as of the date hereof or as of the specific date of such forward-looking statements. Except as required under applicable securities legislation, Saputo does not undertake to update or revise forward-looking statements, whether written or verbal, that may be made from time to time by itself or on our behalf, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. All forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.

Launch of Global Dairy Trade (GDT) Pulse Auctions

CRA International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAI), a worldwide leader in providing economic, financial, and management consulting services, today announced that Global Dairy Trade Pulse Auctions will be launched with the first GDT Pulse Auction (PA‑001) scheduled for August 9, 2022.

CRA has been working with its client GlobalDairyTrade Holdings Limited to offer GDT Pulse Auctions to complement the twice-monthly GDT Trading Events that CRA has managed since 2008. CRA will manage the GDT Pulse Auctions and the initial Pulse Auctions are considered to be a pilot program occurring on alternate weeks between GDT Trading Events, which occur on the first and third Tuesday of each month. By design, GDT Pulse Auctions will offer more frequent price discovery for the dairy industry to complement the price discovery provided by GDT Trading Events.

The initial GDT Pulse Auctions will offer one dairy product specification to bid on: Fonterra Whole Milk Powder, Regular, Contract Period 2. This will ensure a short auction duration of 15 to 30 minutes, providing a convenient option for bidders. GDT Trading Events will continue to be the large volume, high liquidity auctions that the dairy industry watches, while GDT Pulse intends to provide interim price discovery for core commodity products between the GDT Trading Events auctions.

After the pilot period for GDT Pulse Auctions, the merit of GDT Pulse and the future potential for more frequent price discovery will be assessed. If the pilot is deemed successful, it is envisaged that GDT will invest in platform upgrades to enable scalability of the service offering and the potential for daily auctions. Other sellers will be invited to offer products at this time.

As with GDT Trading Events, CRA will manage GDT Pulse Auctions using CRA’s latest trading platform, Trading System for Efficient Markets (TSEM™). CRA’s TSEM is highly scalable for a variety of bidding mechanisms and enables clients to customize the UX/UI to optimize the experience of bidders and other market participants. CRA’s trading platforms have been used for hundreds of auctions and other competitive bidding mechanisms in a wide range of industries.

Additional information about Global Dairy Trade can be found at the GDT Information Website at

About CRA International, Inc. and its Auctions & Competitive Bidding Practice

CRA is a global consulting firm specializing in litigation, regulatory, financial, and management consulting. CRA advises clients on economic and financial matters pertaining to litigation and regulatory proceedings, and guides corporations through critical business strategy and performance-related issues. Since 1965, clients have engaged CRA for its unique combination of functional expertise and industry knowledge, and for its objective solutions to complex problems. Headquartered in Boston, CRA has offices throughout the world. Detailed information about Charles River Associates, a registered trade name of CRA International, Inc., is available at Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. CRA’s Auctions & Competitive Bidding Practice offers businesses, governments, bidders, and other market participants extensive experience in auction and market design, implementation, monitoring, and participation. More information about CRA’s Auctions & Competitive Bidding Practice is available at

Melarry Fuel the Breeds Newest EX-97 Sire

𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗘𝗫-𝟵𝟳 𝗦𝗶𝗿𝗲! 0200HO10845 Melarry Fuel achieved elite status this week scoring a max score of EX-97! One of Semex’s most popular proven sires, he is extremely unique not just for his transmitting ability but for his own physical breakdown. Fuel is regarded as one of the best in the breed for dairy strength, and he shows this characteristic himself. Congratulations to the breeders, Melarry Farms of Rice, Minnesota for breeding this exceptional individual!

Future of New York farming is at risk

Governor Hochul recently announced the start of a statewide listening tour at farms across the state. The focus of the tour will supposedly examine the climate, workforce and economic challenges that farmers face every day.

While those issues are undoubtedly problematic for New York’s agriculture sector, there’s another issue that must be confronted: the overtime threshold on New York’s farms.

It’s very likely that issue will come up during the governor’s listening tour but there’s no doubt that reducing the threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours per week will threaten the future of farming in New York. In addition to hours of testimony from farmers, farm workers during last year’s virtual hearings, a November 2021 report from Cornell University details the troublesome consequences.

Two-thirds of the dairy farms interviewed by Cornell researchers indicated they would move out of milk production. One out of every 4 fruit or vegetable farms will relocate their business outside of the state. Additionally, 70-percent of H-2A workers said they would consider going to another state without capped hours if the state institutes a 40-hour OT threshold.

NY farm labor wage board to vote on final overtime recommendation in September

The three-member Farm Laborers Wage Board will meet in September and issue a final recommendation on whether the overtime threshold should be …

For the sake of family farms, farm workers and hungry families here in New York, we hope that Governor Hochul will realize that a lower OT threshold will do far more harm than good.

We also encourage the governor and the Commissioner of Labor to hold off on a decision until the United State Department of Agriculture releases its 2022 Census of Agriculture. That report, due in 2024, provides important data that would help the governor and her administration make a more informed decision on this critical issue. Unfortunately, the last USDA Census from 2019 found that New York lost more than 2,000 farms from 2012 through 2017.

We wholeheartedly agree with Governor Hochul – agriculture is a major economic driver for our state. Family farms are also important to the vitality of our communities. Imagine county fairs without the incredible offerings of local farms. Imagine a fall season in Upstate New York without corn mazes, fresh apple cider and pumpkins from your favorite local farms. Imagine a trip to the Finger Lakes without many of the world-class wineries that produce award-winning wines. This cannot be the type of reimaging that the governor has in mind.

Make no mistake – the future of farming is at risk right now. Sky-high inflation, labor shortages, supply chain issues and the impending Wage Board report all pose a serious threat to this essential sector. We hope that Governor Hochul and her administration listens carefully and takes action to help – not hurt – the very farms that feed New York’s economy and its people.

Source: Auburn Pub

A Sale to Remember: How a community broke a world record and hearts at the same time

Hudson Duttlinger’s pig won Reserve Grand Champion Breeding Gilt at the show. The pig sold for $102,000, which is $340 per pound according to Pork Business. This purchase was not unmotivated though. Hudson’s mom had been battling colon cancer and the community wanted to do something to help out.

Since that auction night, the donations have continued to roll in and the final sale price of the pig is going to be more than $120,000, making it a world record for a crossbred gilt.

Source: RFDtv

Sustainability Is the Future, and Dairy Is Key Part of the Solution

As a dairy farmer whose family business has been milking cows for 53 years, here’s what I think: The dairy cow is the most efficient animal on Earth today.

It can be a central source of energy for the human body, and it could be a net exporter of energy for society — with the right policies in place. California cows can be sustainability solutions.

Dairy farmers for generations have dealt with changing weather patterns and moisture challenges, and it’s made us proactive. Research shows that producing a gallon of milk in 2017 required 30% less water, 21% less land, had a 19% smaller carbon footprint, and produced 20% less manure than in 2007.

Farmers are always working to identify new, innovative ways to conserve resources, reduce waste and work efficiently. The current buzzword is “climate-smart” agriculture. But climate-smart is just smart because it encourages efficiency, and what’s more efficient is more sustainable. It means asking new questions: What are the most drought-resistant crops we can plant? How do we move water across the farm? What’s the shortest path to get cows from one place to another? The answers to all these questions make a farm more efficient as well as sustainable.


About those cows. In 2009, the U.S. dairy industry launched the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program to encourage best practices across the industry, from how to best care for cows to safeguarding the environment and developing a high-quality workforce. FARM’s Environmental Stewardship initiative represents organizations that cover 80 percent of all milk produced in the United States. It provides a comprehensive estimate of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use on dairy farms, helping us know what we need to do better, and how to get better.

The industry has also launched the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative, a partnership of the American dairy community that seeks a greenhouse-gas-neutral industry by 2050, if not sooner. But while big initiatives and evolving farming practices add up to a lot, truly game-changing progress beyond what’s already been done will require policy solutions.


Remember what I said about the cow being an alternative energy source? Dairy farmers see great value in adopting technology that turns emissions from manure into renewable fuels to diversify farm income as well as reduce odors and emissions. But significant financial challenges persist in this area, from high up-front costs to the lack of a stable market for on-farm energy production.

Incentives for farmers to finance digesters and nutrient recovery systems for manure would help dairy farms thrive financially while boosting renewable energy supplies.

Another way to aid dairy sustainability is through allowing and encouraging the adoption of additives to animal feed that greatly reduce a cow’s “enteric emissions” — a fancy way of saying burping — that can contribute up to one-third of a dairy farm’s greenhouse gases. New additives such as plant extracts, fats, oils, and other byproducts can significantly improve digestibility and reduce methane emissions by 30% or more.

Right now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process for these additives follows the same cumbersome process it uses for antibiotics and hormones, even though feed additives move solely through the animal’s digestive tract. This slows down progress, and dairy farmers support legislation to change FDA’s stance while encouraging farmers to use these additives.


Sustainability is dairy’s future, and dairy farmers are serious about it. We have to be — our families and businesses depend on it. American dairies have the lowest greenhouse-gas footprint per gallon of milk in the world; but our competition is positioning their way of farming and their products as more sustainable. Supporting farmer stewardship can help build a better future for everyone.

Dairy farmers have always known the good that cows can do. We’re making progress and hoping to see more for human diets and energy needs, and for a strong California industry for generations to come.

This story was originally published by the Fresno Bee on June 1. Click here for the post and visit for more information.

After Horizon’s departure, Vermont dairy farmers officially switch to Organic Valley

In the rolling hills of central Vermont on Wednesday, a tanker truck rolled backward into the driveway of the Rooney family’s organic dairy farm. Standing nearby, a group of farmers, state officials and staffers for Vermont’s federal delegates applauded. 

Last summer, Horizon notified its 28 organic dairy farmers in Vermont and 89 in the Northeast that it would pull out of the region. With a glut of milk on the national market and loopholes in the organic program that have put small family farms at a disadvantage, the situation looked bleak for many of the Vermont farmers affected by the company’s decision. 

“A year ago, we found out we didn’t have a place to ship our milk,” Selina Rooney, who runs the farm with her parents, told the crowd. “We were really worried about it. Things looked pretty dire.” 

On Wednesday, after the driver sucked milk from the Rooneys’ barn into the truck through a large hose, the product was sent off to Organic Valley’s processing facility, rather than that of Horizon, which is now owned by the global food corporation Danone. 

In March, Organic Valley announced it would take on many of the farmers dropped by Horizon and Maple Hill, which cut off another 46 farmers in New York, and on Wednesday, the group celebrated the beginning of those contracts.

“Today is a big day,” said Travis Forgues, executive vice president of membership for Organic Valley, who said the company has taken on 51 additional farms amid the exits of the two other distributors. 

Eight of the farmers affected by Horizon’s departure in Vermont have left the business, according to Laura Ginsburg, who attended the event on Wednesday. One farmer is still shipping to Horizon and considering next steps, and the others are shipping to new producers, including Organic Valley and Stonyfield

The Rooneys had been sending their milk to Horizon as long as they’d been farming — even when the company was called the Organic Cow, before it was purchased by larger and larger corporations.

The Rooney family, including Charlie and David Rooney, their daughter Selina, and her daughter, Clara, pose for a photo in front of the tanker truck that would soon haul their milk to Organic Valley’s processing facility. Photo by Emma Cotton/VTDigger

David Rooney said Horizon’s departure wasn’t a shock to him. He had spoken with a representative at Horizon who advised him against building a bigger barn, and he saw the writing on the wall. 

“I knew something big was up,” he said. 

Anson Tebbetts, the secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, thanked Organic Valley on Wednesday, and also said the state has a long way to go to ensure Vermont’s farms can be confident that their businesses will remain viable. 

“Farming is always gritty, it’s always challenging, and it will continue to be challenging,” Tebbetts said. “But this is a day that we just need to embrace and celebrate and congratulate all of those along the way who have helped. 

A number of leaders in the region’s agricultural sector, along with politicians, including U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have questioned whether Horizon left the region in favor of large farms in other parts of the country that don’t adhere to the spirit of the National Organic Program. 

Representatives from Horizon deny that claim, saying instead that they picked up small farmers closer to their processing facility in New York. They have cited challenges specific to New England, such as finding milk haulers to make the overnight drive from the small farms located on mountainous back roads in New England. The Rooney farm, for example, is located in a hilly area on a road called “Mud City Loop.”

Greg Bisson, the driver who picked up milk from the Rooney farm on Wednesday, said he’s driving seven days a week, picking up milk from 76 farms located in a large region that stretches from the Connecticut River Valley to the Canadian border. He runs nine trucks and has 12 employees at his business, called GK Bisson Trucking, but he needs at least three more drivers, he said. 

Forgues said Organic Valley, which is a farmer-owned cooperative, made a decision that may not be best for the company’s bottom line, given the glut of organic milk on the market — but it aligns with the company’s mission. 

For now, the company is hoping to strengthen partnerships with networks that are working to show consumers why they should pay a premium for organic milk produced by small, local farmers. 

“Long term, I have no doubt we’ll continue to do this,” he said, but there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done.

The Rooneys’ dairy cows inspect event attendees and members of the local media. Photo by Emma Cotton/VTDigger

US dairy sales see double digit growth in June

Dairy department sales climbed by double digits in supermarkets across the country in June 2022.

Supermarket News says dairy category sales totaled just under $5.1 billion for the month, 16 percent higher year-over-year.

The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association says in its June marketplace update that unit sales did drop 2.4 percent from last year. The IDDBA report says the consistency of the weekly sales levels, all at least $1.2 billion, is encouraging because it means demand is holding strong especially compared to pre-COVID levels. The biggest sales took place in the week leading up to Father’s day, with total sales of $1.3 billion. “Milk was easily the biggest seller in June at $1.3 billion,” the report says. “The next-biggest sellers were natural cheese and eggs, which moved ahead of yogurt with because of high inflation.”

The average price per unit for eggs increased to $4.10, over 51 percent higher than in June 2021.


Fonterra may pull back milk forecast after global dairy prices weaken

Prices for dairy products have slid at the last four global dairy auctions.

  • GDT price index fell 5%
  • Whole milk powder index slid 6.1%
  • Fonterra may pull back milk price forecast

Dairy prices fell for a fourth consecutive global auction, which may prompt Fonterra to pull back its milk price forecast for farmers.

The Global Dairy Trade price index fell 5% to 1163, the lowest level since February 2021. It follows a 5% decline at the previous fortnightly auction.

Dairy prices have slid from record levels in March this year, as disruption from Covid-19 lockdowns in China, an economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the Russia-Ukraine conflict weigh on demand and buyers baulk at higher prices in an environment of high inflation and constrained consumer spending.

“Bidders weren’t willing to chase prices higher,” said NZX dairy insights manager Stuart Davison. “This result could see Fonterra updating their milk price forecast for the current season, considering the scale of the price slide over the last two auctions.”

Still, Davison said the auction drew good participation from all regions, and described demand as “limp” rather than “completely dead”.

“This trend is likely a result of the current outlook of the wider economy for some buyers, with uncertainty of the future still front and centre for most, creating an unwillingness to be burdened with heavier than required pipelines of product at this point in time,” he said.

Fonterra factors in fat and protein levels in milk when buying it off farmers.

The whole milk powder price index fell 6.1%, with the average price dropping to US$3544 (NZ$5661) a tonne. Whole milk powder has the most impact on what farmers are paid.

Among the other price indices, skim milk powder dropped 5.3%, butter slid 6.1%, buttermilk powder fell 9.2%, anhydrous milk fat shed 1.4% and cheddar slipped 0.7%.

Global dairy prices set the price Fonterra and other processors pay farmers for their milk.

In June, the co-operative lifted its forecast farmgate milk price for the current season to between $8.75 and $10.25 per kilogram of milk solids. The $9.50 per kgMS mid-point, which farmers are paid off, would set a new record.


Know Your Feed Margin Better to Take Advantage of It

The Lactanet Robot Feed Margin: Findings and Feeding Strategies workshops evaluated participants’ feeding costs from December 2021 to January 2022 for robotic milking operations. In the 12 months leading up to the winter 2022 workshops, there were significant price fluctuation, resulting in a slight overall increase in total costs. Let’s compare the evolution of feed prices for participants in the spring 2021 robot workshops to those who participated in the fall 2021 and winter 2022 robot margin workshops. 

Changes in Food Prices

Grains, minerals, high-fat food prices were increasing. Generally, soybean meal and other protein bases were decreasing. If the proportion of farms that closed a price for soybean meal is higher this year than last, this may have played a factor in keeping the overall price lower.  Robotic feed prices, which are heavily influenced by grain prices, also increased but to a lesser extent. 


Types of Feed  Price ($/ton) 
(January to March 2021) 
Cost ($/hl) 

(January to March 2021) 

Price ($/tonne) 

(November 2021 to February 2022) 

Cost ($/hl) 

(November 2021 to February 2022) 

Grains (dry maize, wet maize, barley, wheat, etc.)  256  2.47  317  2.68 
Robot pellet  487  5.82  491  5.98 
Protein (commercial supplements, by-products, soybean meal, urea)    5.84    5.58 
Soybean meal  652  2.65  596  2.25 
Starter supplement (glycerol feed, chromium, sugar, etc.)  1,393  0.69  1487  0.64 
Fat (all types of fat)  1,849  1.29  2573  1.47 
Mineral + bases (soda, salt, limestone, antitoxins, etc.)    1.85    2.13 

Less Milk but More Components

A combination of lower production in 2022 and an increase in overall milk components resulted in little change in kilograms of fat of protein per cow compared to spring 2021. There was also a higher increase in the fat test than in production across the country. 

However, the price increase in several concentrates (grain, feed, mineral, etc.) has resulted in costs per hectolitre, per kg of fat and per cow, increasing compared to 2021. Therefore, overall margins have decreased slightly. It should also be noted that these are not necessarily the same farms catalogued from one year to the next. 


  Number of farms  Milk production (l/cow/day)  Fat (kg/ cow/day)  Protein (kg/cow/day)  Fat (kg/hl)  Protein (kg/hl) 
Average 2020-21  106  34.1  1.43  1.12  4.19  3.27 
Average 2021-22  69  33.5  1.42  1.10  4.24  3.29 
  Cost of concentrates ($/hl)  Concentrate margin ($/hl)  Cost of concentrates ($/kg fat)  Concentrate margin ($/kg fat)  Cost of concentrates ($/cow)  Concentrate margin ($/cow) 
Average 2020-21  15.33  62.31  3.66  14.87  5.28  21.41 
Average 2021-22  15.95  62.09  3.77  14.65  5.38  20.91 

Fortunately, the price of milk was adjusted upwards in February 2022, and this allowed a larger margin to be restored. Thus, for the month of June 2022, down slightly compared to May, the average concentrate cost for robotic farms was $3.89/kg fat and the margin on concentrate cost was $17.01/kg fat.  

A Second Good Year for Closing a Price for Soybean Meal

Lactanet has a new tool that allows to follow the cost changes to the main concentrates in recent months1. Here is the graph for soybean meal (Quebec data), which is a bit unusual. Each dot represents the price paid by a farm for the soybean meal included in their ration when doing a margin analysis on concentrate costs. We see the average (dark blue line and standard deviation in grey) with a scatter plot below and a scatter plot well above the average price. The farms with a lower price have closed a price for soybean meal in the fall of 2021 while the others paid the price of the day. The average price at the end of June 2022 was $675/ton. 


Free or Guided Robot Traffic

This year, we have combined the type of robot traffic with technico-economical findings. Given the amount of data, we should be careful not to jump to conclusions and judge this as a trend. On average, farms with guided robot traffic serve less feed at the robot and have a higher fat test result. Farms with free traffic have a slight advantage in terms of margin per kg of fat. But guided-traffic farms produce more kg of fat per cow, and therefore need fewer cows to produce the same quota. This will generate savings on variable costs such as feed and replacement needs. In the end, it cannot be said that one type of traffic outranks the other, so the important thing is to optimize the system that YOU have. 


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By Gervais Bisson, agr.
A graduate in agronomy from Université Laval, Gervais has over 22 years of experience in dairy cattle feeding before joining our team. As an expert in dairy production – milking robots, he actively contributes as a consultant and author to the advancement of the dairy production industry.
By Catherine Cross agr.
By Simon Jetté-Nantel Ph. D.


Type of traffic  No. of farms  Kg of feed at the robot  Total conc. at the robot (kg)  Milk Prod (kg/cow 


Kg fat/ 


Fat test (kg/hl)  Conc. cost 


Conc. margin ($/hl)  Conc. cost 

($/kg fat) 

Conc. margin ($/kg fat)  Cost conc.  

($ / 


Margin on conc. ($/cow) 
Free traffic  56  4.12  4.84  33.5  1.41  4.23  16.03  61.90  3.80  14.67  5.39  20.83 
Guided traffic  13  3.90  4.39  33.8  1.46  4.31  15.63  62.91  3.63  14.60  5.33  21.29 

Many thanks to all the producers who have participated in the robot workshops over the last two seasons. We hope you harvest quality forage, as this is always the best way to reduce feed costs. 

1 At the time this article was written, this tool is only available to advisors in certain provinces.

Source: Lactanet

How to Cope with a Challenging Fall Season?

Without rubbing salt in the wound, we all know that the fall is a difficult time for a farm’s cash flow: field crops draw a lot of money from April to October, while milk deliveries are often at their lowest in late summer. In the current environment, with input price inflation and rising interest rates, the fall of 2022 looks particularly challenging.

The Key: Being Proactive

So if we can’t avoid the storm, let’s at least try to minimize the damage. Most solutions take a few months to deliver their full benefits. The time to implement them is now, so where do we start?

Are there things we do out of habit that need to be reviewed?

Breeding Replacement Subjects

A lot has been invested in animal comfort and genetic choices are also focused on cow longevity. However, milk recording statistics for 2021 show a culling rate and a percentage of cows in their third lactation or higher similar to 15 years ago. Have we forgotten to adjust the number of animals kept for breeding accordingly? Wouldn’t this be an excellent place to reduce monthly cash outflows without having a significant impact on the farm’s income?

The example of the Hundred-Cow Farm Inc.:

The farm’s culling rate and percentage of cows in third lactation and above are identical to the provincial average for 2021. However, the owners have improved their breeding program and now have an average age at first calving of 24.5 months. This allows them to maintain a heifer:cow ratio of 0.74 (74 heifers in inventory for every 100 cows in production).  They are therefore quite satisfied with their results.

However, they are much more concerned about the loan renewal scheduled for the end of the summer. Could we get some margin from the heifer barn?

A quick analysis with their Lactanet advisor reveals an underutilized potential: the current growth of the heifers would allow them to be bred 1.5 months earlier than before. With the health of the herd, the cows could easily average an extra half-lactation. The cull rate currently at 34% would be reduced to 28%. This would allow for fewer heifers to be raised to replace the herd. With these two elements, the ratio of heifers to cows in the herd would drop to 0.58.  But would that really leave more money in the farm’s bank account in the current price environment? The following graph answers that question:

1 Sales of culled cows and calves minus purchases of feed, veterinary fees, insemination, bedding, and registrations

According to this chart, the proposed changes would increase cash flow from $0.15/kg of fat to $0.26/kg.  So even without reducing salaries, building costs and feed costs, there would be a positive impact on the bank account.

Rome Was Not Built in a Day

The small steps method is far from spectacular, but it is the best way to move in the right direction. Their advisor simply suggests two actions they can take now:

  1. Keep an average of 2.3 females born per month instead of the current 3. Adjust the breeding strategy accordingly.  Ultrasound scans can help to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  2. Breed all heifers as soon as they reach the required weight (55% of mature weight).

The impact on cash flow will be negligible at first: 1 more calf sold, lower registration fees, less milk replacer, fewer vaccines, etc. But after a few months, the number of heifers in other groups will also decrease: less starter feed, fewer supplements, fewer breedings, etc.  

Thus, from an insignificant amount of money for the first month, in less than a year we are improving the farm’s liquidity by about $600/month.  The following year, we will also be able to adjust the forage acreage according to the new heifer inventory and the freed-up hectares can be transferred to field crops.

Small steps now can lead to large and positive outcomes further down the road— do not be afraid to consider making changes now with the longer term in mind. Your future self will thank you!

Source: Lactanet

Sun Genomics and NZMP Expand Partnership to Uncover Added Health Benefits

Building on a Successful Pilot Study, the Two Companies are Further Validating the Link Between Gut Health and Happiness

Sun Genomics, creator of Floré, the world’s only fully customized precision probiotic, and NZMP, the ingredient-solutions brand by global dairy company Fonterra, announced today an expansion of their existing partnership aimed at better understanding the various health benefits of probiotics. With an ongoing goal to conduct in-depth consumer research, Sun Genomics and NZMP are launching the second phase of a joint clinical trial known as “Project Happy.”

Beginning September 1, 2022, the six-week trial is designed to further validate findings from the brands’ first consumer pilot study, which tested NZMP’s LactoB HN001™ strain with 52 Floré customers to determine if there were any significant improvements in mental wellness and happiness. After 60 days of consuming a probiotic formulation and rating their psychological well-being on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, participants’ mean happiness score increased. The difference between the data was statistically significant, showing that participants felt happier after taking the probiotics.

Aiming to gather additional data on the link between gut health and happiness, Sun Genomics and NZMP are launching a larger follow-up study with 120 participants.

“We are proud to work on developing the next generation of probiotics, all while discovering new functionalities and health benefits,” said Neal Gidvani, chief operating officer of Sun Genomics. “By uncovering powerful responses to novel probiotic strains, such as a boost in happiness levels, we are adding significant value to our current approach. Ultimately, this allows us to grow our consumer offering and help more people than ever before.”

With existing research linking gastrointestinal health to improved mood, the intent of this study is to further prove the hypothesis that gut health can have a tangible impact on a person’s overall happiness. Additionally, it aims to confirm that the benefits of probiotics can be seen outside of clinical settings and withstand the rigors of normal lifestyles.

“After analyzing the results of our first pilot study, we knew that it would be beneficial to expand our relationship with Sun Genomics and build upon that success,” said Chris Ireland, U.S. Probiotics business manager of the Active Lifestyle division at NZMP. “Since nothing of this scale has ever been done before, we are looking forward to sharing our findings with researchers and consumers alike.”

Happiness is an increasingly important topic for many. In the 2022 World Happiness Report, the United States ranked behind 15 other countries, despite its relatively high overall standard of living.

To collect additional information on consumers’ stress levels, moods and probiotics usage, NZMP recently surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. adults through CARAVAN. Of the 37% of respondents who reported having stress and mood issues, 18% said that they currently take probiotics to help with this and 65% said that they would consider it.

The relationship between Sun Genomics and NZMP began in 2018, when NZMP was impressed by Sun Genomics’ customizable approach to health via personalized probiotics. For more information on Floré, visit

About Sun Genomics
Sun Genomics, headquartered in San Diego, California, is a leader in gut health testing. Founded in 2016, the company specializes in made-to-order probiotics based on an individual’s gut microflora. Using a patented methodology based on the extraction of DNA in stool, this approach ensures that customers receive a fully personalized probiotic that can be received as a monthly subscription.

About NZMP
NZMP is the business-to-business dairy ingredients brand of Fonterra. Trusted globally, NZMP ingredients are sold in more than 130 countries and can be found at the heart of some of the world’s most famous food and nutrition brands. NZMP has one of the broadest ranges of ingredients in the dairy industry, providing hundreds of solutions to meet the needs of customers every day. Backed by Fonterra’s New Zealand grass-fed farming heritage and expertise, world-class processing and leading quality standards, NZMP ingredients deliver real market advantage, trusted for their high performance and exceptional quality. Learn more at

About Fonterra USA
Fonterra USA is part of the global dairy nutrition giant based in Auckland, New Zealand. Owned by 10,000 farmers, Fonterra is the world’s leading dairy exporter– providing high-quality dairy solutions with differentiated, innovative ingredients. Headquartered in Chicago, they are the regional home of NZMP, Anchor Dairy US consumer brands and Anchor Dairy Food professionals. With roots firmly planted in New Zealand’s rich land, Fonterra stands for leaving things better than how they found them, and is committed to environmental sustainability, healthy communities and high-quality nutrition. Learn more at

Top Dairy Industry News Stories from July 30th to August 5th 2022

Top Stories:

Dairy product sales grow by double-digits

Boosted in part by inflation, dollar sales in the dairy department climbed by double digits in June.

Dairy category sales totaled just under $5.1 billion for the month, up 16.3% year over year, the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) reported in its June marketplace update, based on IRI Total U.S. Integrated Fresh data from the multi-outlet retail channel. Unit sales, however, declined 2.4% from a year ago.

“The four June weeks generated a little over $5 billion in dairy sales, an increase of 16.3% year on year,” Jessica Ives, professional development coordinator at IDDBA, stated in the report. “The consistency of the weekly sales levels, all at least $1.2 billion, is encouraging, as it means demand is holding strong — certainly when compared to pre-pandemic levels. The biggest week was the week leading up to Father’s Day, with weekly sales of $1.3 billion.”

By dollar sales, the top 10 gainers among dairy products in June were eggs (+49.9% year over year); butter/margarine (+20.9%); cream cheese (+18%); sour cream (+17.2%); milk (+14.3%); cream/creamers (+13.7%); whipped toppings (+12.6%); cottage cheese (+11.3%); and natural cheese, yogurt and processed cheese all at +11%. The only down segments by dollars were dairy alternative cheese (-6%) and cheese snack kits (-3.2%).

“Milk was easily the biggest seller in June 2022, at $1.3 billion. The next-biggest sellers were natural cheese and eggs,” Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics LLC, wrote in the IDDBA report. “Eggs moved over yogurt with very high inflation. Due to supply chain challenges and avian influenza, the average price per unit for eggs has increased to $4.10, which is 51.5% more than it was in June 2021.”

Price hikes hoisted dairy dollar sales in June. The average price per unit came in at $3.43 for the month, up 19.2% from a year earlier. That marked an uptick from price-per-unit increases of 12.7% in the 2022 first quarter and 17.1% in the second quarter — and remained well above the 2.7% average gain for 2021.

“On a per unit basis, deli inflation was right around the total average price increase seen across total food and beverages. Bakery — covering both in-aisle and perimeter baked goods — and dairy inflation were above average in June 2022 versus year ago,” Roerink observed.

The food-at-home Consumer Price Index (CPI) for June surged by 12.2% year over year, vaulting the 11.9% gain in May and marking the largest 12-month increase since the period through April 1979, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

All six major grocery store food group indices rose over the 12-month span through June, with five of the six up more than 10%, BLS reported. The index for dairy and related products climbed 13.5% (unadjusted), exceeded only by other food-at-home (+14.4%) and cereals and bakery products (+13.8%).

Three of the four dairy subsegments saw double-digit inflation growth in the year through June, led by milk at 16.4% (17.1% for fresh whole milk), other dairy and related products at 15.9%, and ice cream and related products at 12.5%. Cheese and related product prices rose 9.7% year over year.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, dairy and related product pricing was up 1.7% month over month for June, reflecting upticks of 0.8% for milk (0.1% for fresh whole milk), 1% for cheese and related products, 4% for ice cream and related products, and 1.9% for other dairy and related products.


Dairy Cares of Wisconsin Surpasses $2 million Milestone

Non-profit organization, Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, has raised $450,000 on behalf of the Children’s Wisconsin health system during this year’s campaign.   This year’s recently concluded campaign combined “virtual” fundraising components developed during the pandemic concurrently with Dairy Cares’ traditional in-person Garden Party. “In essence, we ran two campaigns,” Ostrom said, adding, “Regardless of whether they gave via their smart phone, laptop or in person, our donors’ generosity continues to surprise and inspire us.”

Not only does that figure represent the single-best year ever in Dairy Care’s 12-year fundraising history, but it also brought the organization’s lifetime total over the $2 million milestone — it now stands at $2.3 million, to be precise.

“Our organizing committee, volunteers, sponsors and donors are all united by the mission and vision of Children’s,” said Jim Ostrom, Dairy Cares committee chairman. “Year after year, their hard-work and generosity expand the pediatric care options for families facing unimaginable medical challenges.”

Since 2010, Dairy Cares has united dairy industry professionals, other agricultural leaders, affiliated industries, and like-minded individuals who support the groundbreaking medical advancements and efforts of Children’s.

Individuals interested in supporting Children’s Wisconsin can still pitch in if they have a smart phone.

  • Text DAIRY22 to 76278
  • Select the “Donate” option
  • Select or enter the donation/payment amount
  • Complete the user profile when the system prompts

“The continued support of Dairy Cares ensures providers at Children’s Wisconsin are trained to give kids across the state the very best care,” said Meg Brzyski Nelson, president, Children’s Wisconsin Foundation. “We are so grateful for the generosity of the committee and their engaged community at this year’s event – what an amazing accomplishment raising over $450,000 for the kids and families of Wisconsin!”

About Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Children’s Wisconsin is the region’s only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The hospital, with locations in Milwaukee and Neenah, Wisconsin, is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. It is ranked in eight specialty areas in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospitals report.

Children’s provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, community health services, foster and adoption services, child and family counseling, child advocacy services and family resource centers. In 2020, Children’s invested more than $135 million in the community to improve the health status of children through medical care, advocacy, education and pediatric medical research. Children’s achieves its mission in part through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations and is proud to be a member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The future of organic dairy farming in Vermont

Some organic dairy farms in Vermont have a new home after getting dropped by milk producer Horizon.

Of the 28 farms in Vermont dropped by Horizon, 11 are selling to Organic Valley, Stonyfield picked up seven, eight decided to stop operating and one is switching to conventional nonorganic farming and one is still determining its course of action.

Many farms got new equipment thanks to federal and state funding or technical assistance. However, more will need to be done to ensure long-term success.

Agency of Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts says he’s looking at regional consumers too.

“Now we just have to step forward and continue to support them, consumers out there if they can continue to support dairy, purchase as much dairy as they can, that all helps,” said Tebbetts.

Selina Rooney’s family was one of the dairy farmers dropped by Horizon Organic. She says with the termination of her contract came fear and questions.

“We were pretty depressed when we found out, we were in shock and in disbelief, nothing like that has ever happened around here,” Rooney said.

She was involved in the dairy task force strategizing on how to save impacted organic dairy farms. Her efforts on the task force came to a head on Wednesday

Travis Forgues with Organic Valley called it a big day for family farmers. They will be taking 5,000 lbs. of dairy from the Rooneys alone, every other day.

“It’s been a long time since Organic Valley has been in a position to help families, join the truck,” said Forgues

Milk is once again flowing out of the Rooney farm but state officials say there is still an uphill battle ahead, even with this celebration.

“Farmers have generally made the decision to either cease operations or go with Organic Valley or Stonyfield,” said Laura Ginsburg with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

Ginsburg said for the farm that has yet to decide its course of action since Horizon Organic cut ties, it has until February 2023 before its contract with Horizon ends.

“We are offering a number of grants for these farms to continue in that transition process to meet the needs and goals of Organic Valley,” said Ginsburg.

Those grants include, in part, new equipment, such as bulk tank recorders for temperature regulation, hot water heaters or technical assistance.

Despite the immediate help, long-term success means farm viability, even in the face of high grain prices, fuel prices or environmental sustainability changes.

That means investment in on-farm infrastructure, more equipment upgrades and sustainable dairy packaging.

The Rooney farm has evidence of upgrades, from new stalls to more movement space built in for calves. They are hoping consumers step up and buy products. But for now, they are just relieved the trucks will keep rolling.

“It’s not just a job for us, it’s our way of life and to think about that ending was really hard but when Organic Valley stepped up and said we will take you on it was just this sense of how we can keep going,” said Rooney.


120-cow farmer making more time for family & improving efficiency

Ronan Donnelly strives to produce milk in “an efficient, environmental and co welfare-friendly” farming system.

After completing the National Certificate in Agriculture at CAFRE Enniskillen Campus, Co. Fermanagh, he returned home to the family dairy farm, at Ballykeel, on the outskirts of Sixmilecross.

Over recent years, the dairy herd size has grown from 70 cows to its current 124 Holstein Friesians.

Cow-welfare friendly system

Farm development work has focused on improving cow accommodation, handling, and milking facilities.

This has been “positively reflected” in the key performance indicators of milk from forage, milk yield/cow and concentrate feed efficiency.

Last year, the herd’s benchmarking performance showed an average of 7,588 litres of milk per cow with a protein content of 3.30% and a butterfat content of 4.16%.

Concentrate usage was 2,807 kg/cow with 1,351 litres of milk produced from forage, the data shows.

Cow management

Due to land type (primarily heavy clay), high rainfall (59 inches in 2021), and limited land available for grazing around the dairy, Ronan has opted for block autumn/winter calving, which “eases” cow management.

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Furthermore, with cows calving during the closed slurry spreading period and a quieter time for field work, Ronan can focus on the dairy herd and manage labour.

The other advantage Ronan sees with block calving is having one batch of replacement heifer calves to manage.


Ronan has been a member of a Dairy Business Development Group (BDG) – which Jane Sayers, local CAFRE dairying adviser, oversees in the Sixmilecross area for the last five years.

Through attending meetings and visiting other farmers, Ronan has gained a greater knowledge of practices and technologies.

As a result, he said he has been able to adopt on his home farm to help him improve efficiencies and develop his own farm business.

Grazing infrastructure

One such result is the development of an “excellent” grazing infrastructure to maximise the utilisation of grazed grass.

Since early April, an 84-strong group of low-yielding cows have been at grass during the day, housed at night and fed a total mixed ration of 25 kg silage fresh-weight and 5 kg blend. Cows are now on their third grazing rotation.

He reports that graze outs have been “good”. However, some stem is appearing, and as a result, he has to top these paddocks.

The dairy farmer will spread 1 bag of 27%N/acre after cows graze each paddock. A smaller group (40 cows) of higher-yielding cows are housed full-time.

According to data for the farm, the current average milk yield is 28 litres/cow/day.

This year, grass has been difficult to manage, and supplies were “tight” in May. He cited cold nights, poor grass growth and having silage ground closed up as the primary reasons for this.

However, he has extended the grazing rotation and allowed a grass wedge/surplus to build up.

He has achieved this by incorporating silage aftermaths into the grazing platform and removing some cows from the herd (drying off).

Providing weather, grass and ground conditions are “good”, he hopes to keep cows out on grass during the day until early November.

Inclement weather conditions resulted in a day for first-cut silage harvesting until late May. Ground for second cut silage has received 2,500 gallons/acre (28 m3/ha) of slurry and 2 bags/acre of 24.0.13.

Labour efficiency

Improving labour efficiency on-farm is a long-term goal of Ronan’s. To pay the way for this, he has adopted labour-saving technologies.

To date, these have included a cow heat detection system and a heifer synchronisation breeding programme.

He says that such technologies have enabled him to have more time to spend with his wife and young family and improve milk production efficiency.


Dairy Girl Network Opens Award Nominations for Women in Dairy

Dairy Girl Network (DGN) announces the opening of nominations for the DGN Leading Impact award sponsored by Beck’s and the DGN Forward Under 40 (+4) award sponsored by Compeer Financial. Online nominations are now open and due September 15, 2022. Award winners will be honored at the Forward TogetHER National Conference from November 1 -3, 2022 in Prior Lake, Minn.

The DGN Forward Under 40 (+4) award, sponsored by Compeer Financial, recognizes four passionate dairywomen working to better the dairy industry today. New this year, the DGN Leading Impact award, sponsored by Beck’s, will honor a distinguished dairywoman with involvement and leadership achievements positively impacting the dairy industry.

Nominees for both awards can be a dairy farmer, industry representative, educator and/or have multiple dairy-related roles. The ideal candidate will have contributed success towards dairy farming, is a leader within the agricultural industry and their community and be paving the way for future generations.

“Dairywomen are always moving the arrow forward for success in the dairy industry,” said DGN President and Founder, Laura Daniels, “DGN’s awards are milestone achievements honoring women in dairy who are positively influencing dairy farming into the future.”

The DGN Forward Under 40 award is presented biennially at the Forward TogetHER National Conference. For 2022 only, women aged 44 and under are eligible to be nominated for the DGN Forward Under 40 (+4) award, sponsored by Compeer Financial. Because the 2020 Forward TogetHER National Conference was held virtually, award recipients were not honored. Therefore, the award criteria is temporally modified to Forward Under 40 (+4), opening the door for women who may have missed the opportunity in 2020.

Applications will be judged by an outside panel made of anonymous industry professionals and dairy farmers. Winners will be notified in October. The nominee must be able to attend the Forward TogetHER National Conference from November 1 – 3, 2022 in Prior Lake, Minn. More information about the awards and nomination forms are available on Nominations will close on Thursday, September 15, 2022, at midnight CST. Anyone can nominate a deserving dairywoman for recognition of her achievements. Self-nominations will not be accepted. All nominees should be an official member of the Dairy Girl Network. If they receive DGN emails, they are a member. If not a member, or if they need to register – It is quick, easy and free at

Dairy Girl Network partners with organizations valuing personal and professional development for dairywomen. DGN national partners supporting all women in dairy by enhancing lives and creating opportunities are Undeniably Dairy, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, Diamond V, The National Dairy FARM Program, Farm Credit Services of America, Land O’ Lakes, Merck Animal Health, Michael Best and Zoetis. Event sponsorships for the Forward TogetHER National Conference are available. If your company is interested in sponsoring to help the event be even more of a success, contact Visit to view an event agenda and register for Forward TogetHER.

New Zealand labour shortages creating headaches

The dairy, meat processing sectors are short workers

New Zealand video game developer PikPok found a solution to prolonged difficulty in finding experienced workers: Colombia.

The company, which is behind such mobile game apps as Clusterduck and Into the Dead, bought a studio in Medellin, Colombia, in February, increasing its staff of 180 by 35, reported Reuters.

“It’s incredibly difficult to get to people with experience,” said Mario Wynands, managing director of PikPok. “By acquiring the studio in Colombia, that’s given us the opportunity to recruit talent from Latin America and scale up that way.”

Other industries do not have that solution. Businesses from farms to retirement villages and hotels are scrambling to find workers – and competitively pushing up wages as they do, increasing the central bank’s challenge in fighting inflation.

In many cases, activity is simply disrupted by a lack of people – exacerbated by suspension of immigration in the pandemic and, now, the slowness of its revival.

The unemployment rate was just 3.3% in the second quarter. Wages in the quarter were 3.4% higher than a year earlier, rising at the fastest rate in 14 years.

The aged-care sector had only 78% of the 5,000 registered nurses it needed, said Rhonda Sheriff, co-owner of Chatswood Retirement Village and clinical advisor to the NZ Aged Care Association. As a result, there are aged-care beds throughout the country that cannot be used, she said.

Her solution is higher pay. The government should pay nurses in aged care as much as it paid those in public hospitals, she said.

The meat processing sector has been raising concerns about labour shortages for months. According to the Meat Industry Association, the sector has 23,000 staff but needs 25,000.

At peak times, not all carcasses could be processed on time, and plants could not run at capacity, it said.

Willie Wiese, general manager manufacturing at red meat co-operative Alliance, said this year his staff had gone to help in processing plants because of the shortages.

New Zealand’s nursing and agricultural industries have long relied on immigrant labour, the supply of which dried up when the country closed its border during the pandemic.

In 2021, the government said it was simplifying immigration, but it also made changes that raised barriers to low-wage migrants. The immigration minister at the time said this was to help transition the country to a higher-wage, higher-skill economy.

Borders were reopened partially in February and fully this week, but New Zealanders are also leaving for other countries, especially Australia. Wynands and Sheriff both said they were losing staff to overseas employers offering higher pay.

Economists do not expect to see net immigration until next year, because recruiting foreign workers, getting visas for them and moving them into the country takes time.

That leaves challenges for now. Dairy farmer Richard McIntyre, the spokesman for farming lobby group Federated Farmers, said his industry had been short staffed for a year. Farmers had to work longer hours, and some jobs, such as pasture management, were being missed.

“The real difficulty is if I attract someone on to my farm, there are only so many people and I’m really just taking a staffer off someone else and that creates a problem for them,” he said.

“There’s just this fundamental shortage of people.”

Source: Reuters

Scientists Use Novel Dairy Drones to Help Improve Cows Grazing

Irish dairy farmers could soon be using hi-tech ‘dairy drone’ imagery and a form of artificial intelligence to help them decide which fields to let their cows graze.

Researchers at Teagasc, UCD and DCU, funded by the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre based in Teagasc, Moorepark, Co Cork, are currently testing the accuracy of physical and lab-based observations of grass growth against new image-analysing, machine-learning models based on photos captured by drones and static cameras.

The aim is to produce predictive data of the yield and composition of grass growth on pastures. This innovation is designed to help farmers determine the best time and which areas to allow their cows feed, which can improve dairy production and promote the well-being of cattle.

To date, the predictive models based on a simple photograph are resulting in 95% accuracy rates when compared to physical observations.

Deirdre Hennessy, VistaMilk Funded Investigator and Senior Teagasc Research Officer, said that grass and pasture management is vitally important for the success of Ireland’s €5bn dairy industry.

Providing farmers with information easily and quickly

Ms Hennessy said: “It’s not as simple as letting the cows out to eat where and when they want. Farmers are constantly walking their fields monitoring grass growth, paying particular attention to its yield, composition, and its grazing suitability. They must determine when there are adequate quantities available to feed their animals while making sure they avoid having too much grass, leading to waste and poor quality or potentially under grazing”.

“This is very labour intensive and time-consuming, and the research that VistaMilk is funding is designed to provide them with that information more easily and quickly”, Ms Hennessy continued.

Farmers who use PastureBase Ireland are already reducing the need to purchase supplemental food to feed their cattle, improving the cows’ wellbeing. It is estimated that every tonne of extra grass grazed is worth in the region of €172 to a farm, which adds up to a substantial amount of money over the course of approximately 300 days of grazing each year.

“Image-analysing, machine-learning algorithms will work with pictures captured by drones – and even satellites in the future. The potential of what we can do in will only be limited by our imaginations. We can theoretically look at sending out drone swarms that will return their information to a base in a matter of minutes, giving farmers in a whole county the results that will allow them to make better business decisions while farming more sustainably”, said Ms Hennessy.

“I personally think that would be some achievement and a sight to see, if and when it becomes viable. For now, we will continue to prove that our drone captured imaging algorithms work and will leave the scaling up to the next generation of researchers that are following closely behind.”

Irish dairy some of the best in the world

The quality of Irish dairy is, in large part, due to the fact that Irish cows are grass-fed. Currently 5,000 Irish farmers are using a grassland management app called PastureBase Ireland to input their physical observations of grass growth and get results by the time they are finished walking their land. However, there are many factors that can skew the outcomes, including, for example, the subjectivity of observations made by different people.

Ms Hennessy added: “Knowledge of how your grass is growing and what else is in your paddock, such as clover, can make a huge difference to a farm’s profitability and sustainability. The imaging analysis work that is ongoing in VistaMilk and with our partners will make the process more accurate and automated, thereby making it easier for the farmer to make timely and correct decisions on how to manage their fields.”

The improved understanding of the mix of grasses and other plants like white and red clover are reducing the requirement for artificial fertilisers and improving quality of winter silage. All the while resulting in increasing milk yields and quality of the dairy manufactured in Ireland worth an estimated €5bn to the economy.

Ms Hennessy concluded: “The ultimate goal is to create an app that uses a combination of physical observations, weather predictive models and automated grass imaging that will save time and money for the farmers. While we are not there quite yet the future is just around the corner.”


Texas dairy producers see high prices, high input costs

Texas dairy producers pushed into third place nationally at the beginning of 2022 and have experienced historically high prices and input costs, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Jennifer Spencer, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension dairy specialist, Stephenville, said prices are good for producers and demand continues to be high for milk and milk products from cheese to ice cream, while fluid milk consumption continues to decline.

Spencer predicted last year that Texas would move past Idaho and into the No. 3 milk production spot nationally as more processing facilities opened. Two cheese processing plants – Abilene and Amarillo – broke ground last summer and will increase the capacity for producers in the Texas Plains, where 80% of the state’s milk is produced.

But even without the added processing capacity, Texas milk producers increased the number of dairy cows by 20,000 head, which helped Texas surpass Idaho in milk production between January and April. Texas dairies produced 1.4 billion pounds of milk compared to 1.39 billion pounds produced in Idaho.

Texas slipped back to fourth as higher temperatures set in, according to the Texas Association of Dairymen.

Spencer said milk production in June 2022 increased 6.9% compared to June 2021. Texas milk production totaled 15.6 billion pounds in 2021, up 5% from 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Total cash receipts were around $2.83 billion for the Texas dairy industry.

“Idaho has been struggling with drought and heat as well, but we have extreme heat, humidity and limited water availability to contend with,” she said. “But where most states are shrinking or maintaining production, Texas is consistently increasing milk production, demonstrating how dairy is a thriving agricultural industry in the state.”

Prices high, but costs up as well

Historically good prices are welcome news to dairy producers as the industry recovers from pandemic restrictions that impacted consumption of products from carton milk for schools to butter and cheese used in restaurants.

Prices per hundredweight have ranged between $23 and $25 between January and April, and a USDA report priced milk at $25.13 per hundredweight for August and a peak of $25.87 in June and July.

Pre-pandemic prices were around $19 per hundredweight, but prices averaged around $15 per hundredweight in 2020. The price per hundredweight was around $17 in June 2021.

Milk prices typically rise during the summer months, as higher temperatures impact output, and demand for ice cream and other summertime favorites increases, Spencer said.

But despite the good prices, Spencer said dairy producers have also faced much higher input costs. Feed, fuel and fertilizer prices have driven the break-even price per hundredweight of milk higher as well.

“That break-even price is operation-specific – where they are, what they feed and the size of the dairy – but input costs have pushed that price too close for some,” she said.

Spencer said dairy industry trends continue to show the number of dairies is declining as the dairy size and overall production continues to rise.

Demand for milk and the range of dairy-based products from protein powder, cheese and ice cream continues to rise despite fluid milk demand being down 2.4% from this time in 2021.

Export demands continue to be strong as well.

“Texas has been doing extremely well among the top 24 dairy producing states, and I expect that trend to continue,” she said. “We’ve been in a back-and-forth battle for third place, but with the production increases we’ve experienced and the processing facilities coming, dairy production in Texas is looking strong.”

–Adam Russell
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

Milk Futures Drop Below $20 in Chicago Thursday

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures continued to fall and cash dairy prices were all steady to lower Thursday. Class III milk’s trend lower continued Thursday. August fell 27 cents to $19.88/cwt. September milk crashed 48 cents to $19.42/cwt. Class IV milk futures settled lower too.

Thursday’s CME spot dairy product auction was steady to lower on the day.  Dry whey was unchanged at $0.42.  No sales were recorded. Cheese blocks were down $0.0850 closing at $1.7650.  No sales were recorded. Cheese Barrels were down $0.0425 at $1.7475.  Five sales were recorded from $1.7475 to $1.76. Butter went down $0.01 closing at $3.05.  Four sales were made from $3.04 to $3.0725. Nonfat dry milk was down $0.02 at $1.5775. One sale was recorded at that price.

Palmyra Farm Awarded the 2022 McKown Master Breeder Award

Cow families have always remained at the heart of Ralph Shank Jr. and Mary Shank Creek’s successful breeding program. Along with Shank’s wife Terrie and Creek’s husband Mike, they own and operate Palmyra Farm in Hagerstown, Maryland, in addition to their children and grandchildren who are the fourth and fifth generations on the family farm.

The siblings’ dedication to the Ayrshire breed and its future has been nearly immeasurable. In honor of their hard work and success, they have been selected by the Klussendorf Association as this year’s recipients of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award. This prestigious award honors exemplary breeders who have been successful at showing and judging dairy cattle. Winners embody qualities associated with the Klussendorf Award, including character, ability, endeavor, and sportsmanship. This award will be formally presented to Shank and Creek during the International Ayrshire Show on Wednesday, October 5 at World Dairy Expo.

The long list of Palmyra bulls placed into A.I. displays their dedication and strong breeding philosophy, totaling 81 Ayrshires and 16 Holsteins. Palmyra Tri-Star Burdette is a high production and type bull with over 6,500 daughters in 1,600 herds and has been a key player in the progress of the Ayrshire breed. To round out his accomplishments, Burdette was the Premier Sire at World Dairy Expo for seven consecutive years from 2013 to 2019 and has sired national champions in seven countries.

Excellent cows pair well with proven sires, which is why nearly 200 Palmyra cows have been listed on the Ayrshire Elite Cow Performance Index (CPI) list, including 42 in a single round. Additionally, 10 of their cows have ranked first. Palmyra Berkely P Ruth-ET (EX-94) is a former top CPI leader and a two-time Grand Champion at World Dairy Expo. She went on to become the Total Performance winner at Expo in 2018 and a three-time unanimous All-American. Her daughter was named Intermediate Champion and Reserve Grand Champion of the International Ayrshire Show at World Dairy Expo in 2021. Ruth’s full brother, Palmyra Berkely Reagan-ET, has been the most heavily sampled Ayrshire young sire in the U.S. with over 20,000 units of semen sold. He is following closely in Burdette’s footsteps, receiving his first Premier Sire banner in 2021.

Palmyra Farm’s emphasis on breeding for production is evident, having over 150 cows with lifetime production totals of 100,000 pounds of milk or more, at least 40 with over 150,000 pounds of milk, and five others with over 200,000 pounds of milk. Palmyra is a progressive Ayrshire herd, being the first to utilize embryo transfer in the country. Further, they have showcased their genetics internationally by exporting embryos to 10 foreign countries.

To match their success with breeding productive cows, this duo has also found success in the showring. Shank and Creek have been Premier Breeder 11 times, Premier Exhibitor nine times, and have shown Grand Champion cows three times at the International Ayrshire Show at World Dairy Expo. They have won Premier Breeder and Exhibitor banners numerous times at the All-American Dairy Show and Maryland State Fair. To date, they have earned 158 All-American Ayrshire nominations and achieved 49 All-American designations. Among these nominations are seven consecutive generations of Palmyra’s Ginger family. In 2011, they were recognized with the Ayrshire Master Breeder Award. Further, they have received multiple Ayrshire French production trophies and a Constructive Breeder Award.

As important as excellent breeding is to this family, they also have a passion for supporting their community, the dairy industry, breed organizations, and agriculture youth programs. Over the years, they have hosted 19 student interns from 10 universities. They strive to connect with the community by hosting many tours and visitors to their farm every year, along with many classification workshops and dairy judging practices. To add to their portfolio of endeavors, they launched Palmyra Farm Cheese in 2009, which produces unique Cheddar cheeses from their Ayrshire cows.

Shank and Creek have held several leadership roles and titles. Shank previously served the Maryland Ayrshire Association as a president and director. He was also chair of the National Ayrshire Youth Committee and chaired the 1998 National Ayrshire Convention along with his wife.

While Shank stays closer to the day-to-day aspects of the farm, Creek is a global ambassador for the Ayrshire breed. She has served on the U.S. Ayrshire Breeder’s Association Board of Directors, was the World Ayrshire Federation President from 2012 to 2016, and is a past president of National Dairy Shrine. She has judged shows locally and internationally, and in 2015, she judged the International Ayrshire Show at WDE. In 2012, she was recognized as World Dairy Expo’s “Dairy Woman of the Year”. To round out their success, they were presented the National Dairy Shrine’s Outstanding Breeders Award in 2019.

Shank and Creek are a humble team. They have forged their way to the top of elite Ayrshire genetics, and no job or task along the way has been too small or insignificant. No matter their accomplishments in the showring or on classification days, they never forget to support those around them and to ensure the whole breed is making progress. Their dedication to the Ayrshire breed and dairy industry is admirable and has now earned them and Palmyra Farm the title of the 2022 McKown Master Breeder Award winners.


Past winners of the Robert “Whitey” McKown Master Breeder Award include: Cutting Edge Brown Swiss, Copake, N.Y., 2021; Woodsmansee Holsteins, Preston, Conn., 2019; Ovaltop Holsteins, Richfield Springs, N.Y., 2018; Wendon Holsteins, Innisfail, Alberta, 2017; Ferme Jacobs Inc., Cap-Santé, Quebec, 2016; Walk-Era, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., 2015; Pond View Farm, Danville, Vt., 2014; Quality Holsteins, Vaughan, Ontario, 2013; Windsor Manor Farms, New Windsor, Md., 2012; Moondale, Monona, Iowa, 2011; Snider Homestead, New Enterprise, Pa., 2010; and Windy Knoll View, Mercersburg, Pa., 2009. No award was given in the pandemic year of 2020.

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

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


Leaving school at 16 to become a full-time dairy farmer

Stewart Gracey is a third-generation farmer based on the family, which was initially established as a pig and potato enterprise.

In the 1970s, Stewart’s grandfather, Bobby, converted the farm to a dairy enterprise. Stewart, alongside his father, Lindsay, operate the dairy farm.

Mountview Dairy Farm comprises 185-acres of grassland, set overlooking the Mourne mountains in Northern Ireland.

The herd consists of 120 dairy cows, supplying milk to the local Lakeland Dairies.

“Initially, we milked Friesian cows, which began to breed with Holstein bulls. This gave us stronger cows which milked well and had greater longevity,” Stewart explains to That’s Farming.

Mountview Dairy continued to use Holstein bloodlines until they reached a point whereby all animals were pure-bred Holsteins.

However, they shortly realised that they were harder to manage and did not prove to be strong or long-lasting.

“Three years ago, we decided it was time for us to try something new. Since then, we began cross-breeding with Fleckvieh. The first batch of our Fleckvieh-cross heifers are due to calf this autumn. We are looking forward to seeing the outcome.”

Calving season

The herd operates a mainly autumn-calving enterprise, with a few later cows calving through to March.

“Our breeding season begins on December 1st each year, with now almost exclusively Fleckvieh or Holstein bulls. We do not utilise sexed semen.”

“Calving season commences in September, with the majority of calving taking place from September to November. For our enterprise, this is the preferred time for calving as the new mothers can stay indoors all winter.”

“This allows us to provide the females calving down with constant, high-quality feed which they would not be receiving outdoors due to our ever-changing weather conditions.”

“When we are selecting animals for breeding, strong, long-lasting, not too tall or too broad, are the main traits we seek in our cows.”

Moreover, they retain bull calves on-farm until they are between two/three weeks of age.

They sell the majority of bull calves to returning customers and take remaining calves to the local sales yard.

“Our heifer calves are retained as replacements, and we aim to calve these females at 22 to 24 months.”

“We established 33 single calf pens for the newborn calves, and at two to three weeks, the heifers are then grouped into larger pens,” Stewart tells That’s Farming.


Milk figures

Mountview Dairy farm established milk figures from last year’s benchmarking report, which has seen obvious fluctuations from the previous year.

“Our average milk yield last year was 8,500 litres per cow, which is 360 litres less than our previous year’s report.”

“However, we have fed 411kg less of meal per cow, at a feed rate of 0.29kg/litre, which equates to a total of 2,400kg of meal fed for 2021.”

“Our milk from forage is a sum of 3,070 litres, which is 550 litres more than the previous year’s report.”

Furthermore, the dairy enterprise has achieved a butterfat figure of 3.96% and protein of 3.23%, respectively.

Grassland management

On this farm, grassland management is of “serious” importance. In turn, soil quality is monitored by soil sampling every winter,.

The fields are used for grazing by a local sheep farmer in the winter period. The sheep eat the old grass, so the cows can reap the benefits of the fresh grass in the spring.”

“When summer commences, we mow the grass ahead of the cows being let into each field, which we find leaves the field much cleaner. The cows eat all of the pre-cut grass, so we do not have to top the fields afterwards, which leaves grass laying in the field.”

“We mow two cuts of silage, with the first cut being harvested in May, followed by the second cut in mid-July. The silage goes into pits, with a small portion of silage going into round bales.”



At present, they use a Fullwood 12-point swing over parlour. We milk twice daily, commencing at 6am and 4.30pm, with each milking lasting for approximately two hours.

Their housing units consist of an 80-cubicle shed, a 72-cubicle shed, and smaller sheds for calving and rearing calves in pens.

During summer of 2021, they built a new slurry tank for extra slurry storage as we previously had to hold slurry in a neighbour’s tank to store all.

Mountview Dairy Farm plan to build a shed on top of the tank next year, which will have space for an additional 50 cubicles and some calving pens.

Recently, the dairy farm introduced a Holm & Laue milk taxi, which was purchased in 2020.

This piece of technology has the capacity to hold 150 litres of milk. The milk taxi has a water heater which is set on a timer to be at the right temperature when needed to make powdered milk for calves.

The technology dispenses the correct amount for each calf. Stewart believes this equipment has made feeding much easier, and also reduces the requirement for manual labour in the calf shed.

The Gracey family are members of a Business Development Group (BDG), which consists of approximately a dozen dairy farmers who meet at the end of each month to discuss differing farming techniques and ideas.


Unseen challenges  

“My biggest challenge to date was keeping the farm going on my own last winter. My dad had a bad fall down into the new slurry tank before the slats were put on top.”

“He broke his leg badly and was out of action from the end of October until well into the new year. The whole family had to help out during this time.”

In turn, Stewart expresses his frustration at the excelling price of fertiliser, which has hit many farmers across the nation.

“We have sown the same amount of fertiliser as normal this year to keep the grass growing, so although the price has rocketed, we are not prepared to use less. We depend on milk prices to stay up to pay for it.”

“The thing I like most about dairy farming is spending lots of time outside. I enjoy working with animals and watching the next generation of heifers coming on each year.”

“My short terms plans are to get the new shed built on top of the tank. Moreover, my long-term plans involve increasing the herd to around 140-head and shortening the calving season to have calving commencing in September and finishing in the new year.”


Stewart left school at the young age of 16-years-old and has been working full-time as a dairy farmer since.

“I can say that I really cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. Although it is a lot of hard work and very long hours, it is rewarding.”

“I married my wife, Hannah, seven years ago, and we now have a house on the farm where we live with our two children, Bobby, aged 3, and Leah, aged 1.”

“Bobby is following in my footsteps with his love for being out on the farm, and Leah gets very excited when she sees a tractor.”

He concludes, “I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the farm”.


Holstein Canada Announces Travel Surcharge to Each Classification Visit

Due to the current economic environment, The Board of Directors of Holstein Canada approved a travel surcharge of $30 to each classification visit. This will be effective August 8th, 2022. As a national member organization, it is important to be fair and equitable across the country.

The travel surcharge is a temporary measure to address the high increase in national fuel costs and other travel related expenses since the beginning of this year. It will show as a separate line item on your invoice. The Association will continue to revisit the surcharge relative to the national cost of fuel and other travel costs.


Provided by Holstein Canada

Impact of rising interest rates on dairy farms

As we now know, the policy rate has already increased by 2.25% since the beginning of the year and there will likely be further increases by the end of the year. Some economists are anticipating a total increase of 3% before the end of 2022.

The Impact on Dairy Farmers Will Be Significant

Most dairy farms have a debt load that ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 per kilogram of quota held, and much of this debt is short-term. Therefore, increasing interest rates will affect debt payments and the cash flow needs of producers over the next 12 months.

The impact on payments will depend on the debt ratio, but also on the terms of the debt. The longer the amortization period, the greater the impact. Therefore, payments on interest-only loans or on amortizations of 20 years or more will be most affected.

How do I know where I stand?

The graph below shows the effects of an increase in interest rates from 2% and 3%, for debt with terms ranging from 10 to 20 years. For example, for a farm with a $20,000/kg of quota debt with a 10-year term, a 2% increase in the interest rate translates into an additional cost of $225/kg/year, while a 3% increase in the interest rate with a 20-year term translates into an increase of $380/kg/year.

For a 100-cow farm with 113 kg of quota, this means between $25,425 and $42,940 in additional payments per year, or between $2,000 and $3,500 per month.

Any solutions?

In a context of input price inflation (feed, fuel, fertilizer, labour, etc.), a seasonal drop in production to come, and a possible drop in the price of milk on international markets, autumn could be very difficult financially for many farms. A Lactanet advisor is someone who can offer valuable insight in this regard.

In addition to minimizing farm expenses, some other financial solutions are available to you: the first thing to do is to budget and monitor your cash flow to better understand the extent of the situation and to manage it. Secondly, creditors may have solutions to offer, whether it is a debt restructuring or a capital payment forbearance. The availability of these solutions often depends on the farm’s financial situation and the creditors’ confidence in its management. Therefore, maintaining good, open communication with creditors can be beneficial and even necessary.

Despite input price inflation, rising interest rates and seasonal production variations, the few moments you spend talking with your creditor will help reduce your fall season stress.  The changes you put in place to reduce your expenses will also help reduce the anticipated negative impact.

Source: Lactanet

Reducing farm expenses: optimizing forage production and use

With the price of concentrates on the rise, many producers are looking for solutions to minimize the impact on their feed margin and expenses. One solution is to optimize the use and quality of forages in order to get the most milk for each kilo of concentrate served. In order not to impact milk production, forages must be of better quality to maintain nutrient levels and support cow productivity while decreasing the amount of concentrate fed.

The value of better forages

To monetize the impact of forage quality on the cost of concentrates, the graph below shows the cost of concentrates per kg of fat produced according to the cutting stage of a mixed grass silage with a predominance of grasses—this graph is rendered for a cow of average production (35 litres – 4.0% fat).

Cost of concentrates per kg of fat produced according to maturity (35 kg/cow at 4% fat)

According to 2021 Lactanet data, an average silage contains about 33% ADF. At this stage, it would cost almost $3.20 in concentrates/kg of fat produced assuming a balanced ration containing soybeans at $750/t, corn at $420/t, and minerals.

By mowing earlier to target an earlier maturity stage, concentrate costs for the same cow could be reduced to about $2.70/kg of fat produced.

What if I’m past it?

In 2022, at the time of writing, rain is holding up first-cut mowing in many areas. This situation is not ideal and cannot be controlled.  Fortunately, there is hope for the second and third cuts, which could help to catch up with the quality of the forages. In addition, the abundance of forage in the first cut ensures a good supply, which can allow an aim for quality rather than quantity for future cuts. 

And the overall use of forages?

The more productive your cows are, the more monitoring the quality of the forages becomes a profitable strategy. One possible strategy is therefore, when possible, to incorporate a greater quantity of younger forages in the first feeding group than in the second group, if you follow two-group feeding. This allows to maximize the use of young forages by fresh cows and thus to decrease the overall feeding cost with the same inventory of forages.

Source: Lactanet

Canterbury farmer reaps rewards of investment in dairy genetics

As a growing number of dairy farmers turn to DNA testing to improve their herds, Canterbury’s Julie Bradshaw​ is already reaping the rewards of her investment.

Cow numbers have come under pressure in recent years as a result of tighter regulations and a cultural shift by farmers towards being environmentally sustainable.

As a result, more farmers are using genetics and DNA testing to breed better cows, rather than build bigger herds.

Bradshaw was an early adopter of the technology and has already made significant improvements to her herd.

It now sits in the top 5% of Canterbury herds for production worth (an estimate of a cow’s lifetime milk production ability) and breeding worth (the index used to rank cows and bulls on their expected ability to breed profitable, efficient offspring).

LIC has played an important role in New Zealand Dairy farming since 1909, generating more profitable dairy cows to drive the dairy industry forward.

On a national level, the herd is just outside the top 5% and Bradshaw said the numbers proved her investment in genetics had helped ensure she had the best cows.

Next mating season, four of her cows will be mated to bulls specifically selected by livestock genetics company LIC as part of its breeding programme.

The cows were chosen based on their DNA profiles, with LIC looking at their mothers and analysing their production during the selection process.

The bulls will be selected for genetic traits which will complement the cows’, with the aim being to improve the overall genetic profile of the herd.

“Once they have calved, if it is a bull calf then they will genetically test it to determine if it meets the criteria for LIC’s breeding programme,” the Fernside farmer said.

“DNA testing the calves shows which genes it has inherited from its parents, and then they can analyse how well it will perform in the future.”

In the 20 years since Bradshaw first became interested in genetics, technology has become far more precise, and the improvements are providing economic benefits, she said.

“DNA testing is a vital part of our farming operation now, and I am glad we started when we did because it has enabled us to have the best herd we can, which is based on science and facts.

“With possible reductions in animal numbers in the future, you want to be as accurate as possible. We have all our DNA data for the herd, and it really is the best it has ever been.”

While farmers did their best to record accurate calving data, the stress of the calving period meant records were never perfect, Bradshaw said.

“If you are relying on your own calving records, they are generally only about 65% to 70 % accurate compared to DNA testing.

“If you use your own records, you are keeping animals that you think are going to be great, when you haven’t got the animal you think you have in terms of its value to the herd.”

DNA testing could eliminate those mistakes and help farmers avoid spending time and money on a calf that wasn’t going to be a good producer when it joined the milking herd.


Climate change proposals putting American food supply at risk, says dairy farmer

A fourth-generation dairy farmer fears that possible climate initiatives could threaten independent farmers and their ability to provide for the U.S. food supply.

Several nations have imposed regulations on the agriculture industry, such as limits on nitrogen emissions, which have sparked backlash from farmers in those countries. The Biden administration, too, has indicated that it aims to push changes on the industry to tackle climate change.

“Americans are feeding into this lie that climate change is because of agriculture and climate change is not going to get better until farmers and ranchers do better,” Stephanie Nash, a fourth-generation dairy farmer, told Fox News.placeholder

In 2020 the EPA estimated that at 11% of the U.S.’s total greenhouse gas emissions came from the agriculture sector, compared to 27% from transportation, 25% from energy, and 24% from industry.

President Biden, in his first congressional address, floated paying farmers to grow cover crops, which are planted to cover the soil rather than for harvesting, to reduce carbon dioxide and improve soil health. It also encouraged the Department of Agriculture to use farm aid funding to incentivize carbon emission reduction on farms.

Most recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a new ESG proposal in March which would require companies to report the environmental impact of its practices. If enacted, American farmers and ranchers would be left vulnerable as major food-production corporations could look toward buying small farms or importing animal products to preserve their ESG rating

Nash fears the effort to implement green policies across the globe will continue to kill off an already struggling farming industry that’s faced with skyrocketing costs for labor, fuel, seed and fertilizer. She said institutions like the World Economic Forum are “scaring us” with its prediction that by 2050 the global population will demand 70% more food than is consumed today and advocates for an overhaul of food production to meet that supply.

Nash Farms is a fourth generation dairy farm located in Tennessee

Nash Farms is a fourth generation dairy farm located in Tennessee (Fox News )

“Well, if you continue to kill off our food supply and our American farmers, yeah, we’re not going to have enough food,” she said. placeholder

The Inflation Reduction Act introduced last week would spend $369 billion on various climate change initiatives. The bill claims it would reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030, primarily through investing in renewable energy production and practices. 

The Dutch government announced its plan to reduce nitrogen emissions by 50% in June, causing a major backlash among the nation’s farmers. To meet its goal, the plan requires a 30% reduction in the number of Dutch livestock, whose manure produces nitrogen oxide, forcing many farms out of business.

Farmers gather with their vehicles next to a Germany/Netherlands border sign to protest climate initiatives (Photo by VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images) 

Farmers gather with their vehicles next to a Germany/Netherlands border sign to protest climate initiatives (Photo by VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)  (VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Similarly, the Canadian government proposed a 30% cut to nitrogen emissions from fertilizer by 2030 as part of a plan to get to net zero in the next three decades, sparking backlash from farmers. And New Zealand proposed a plan to tax farmers for the emissions from their livestock’s farts and burps. 

Nash, who said her family moved their century-old dairy farm from California to Tennessee in 2015 due to the Golden State’s restrictive agriculture policies limiting water usage, fears the U.S. will follow suit in implementing restrictive policies on livestock farmers already struggling to stay afloat amid increasing production costs and existing regulatory restrictions.

She said the push by corporations and wealthy individuals like Bill Gates to shift away from animal products toward plant-based food is rooted in misinformation and ulterior motives. 


Dutch farmers line up tractors for a national day of protest to demand more respect for their profession. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)

Dutch farmers line up tractors for a national day of protest to demand more respect for their profession. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)

“They can say it’s for the future, and they want to feed Americans, but honestly, they’re putting chemically grown food into our bodies,” she said. Imitation meats like Beyond Meat contain synthetic preservatives and Red #3 food dye which was banned by the FDA for use in cosmetics in 1990, according to the Center for Consumer Freedom. 

Looking ahead, Nash said to look out for the 2025 Farm Bill, legislation passed roughly once every five years, which she fears will be used to give the EPA more access to and control over independent farmers.

“There’s not a backbone in Washington, D.C. and there’s not enough family farmers and ranchers in office to protect us around the United States,” she said. 


Ohio dairy farmer at State Fair says economic rebound slow to start

Got milk? How about cheese? If so, chances are it started its way to your kitchen from one of Ohio’s 2,200 dairy farms.

According to Mechanicsburg farmer Mark Hoewischer, Ohio’s dairy industry is struggling back from the effects of a volatile market and two years of a pandemic.

“The question you ask yourself every day now is, ‘Should I retire or should I keep going,” said Hoewischer, who is attending this week’s Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

His dairy herd is a little larger thanks to a well-attended birth this week in the Dairy Barn at the State Fair.

Ohio has more than 263,000 dairy cows producing 650 million gallons of milk a year. However, prices fluctuate dramatically, and demand from restaurants and schools plunged drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s hard,” Hoewischer said. “I’ve done it for 51 years. It was hard. My cows are my 401K, and overnight, my 401K was cut in half.”

And coming out of the pandemic, he was hit hard by inflation.

“A year ago last March, I filled my diesel fuel tank for my tractors — $1,500,” Hoewischer said. “Filled it this March — $3,200. Filled it about three weeks ago — $5,400. I don’t get any more out of it. I will burn it just as fast.”

Nearly every dairy farm in Ohio is family-owned. Hoewischer said he has 10 grandchildren, but he can’t expect them to try to raise a family on the income dairy farmers earn now.

During the economic downturn, he stopped taking a salary.

“I paid myself to do this,” Hoewischer said. “Most people wouldn’t do that, but dairy farmers will do it.”

Ohio is 11th in the nation in milk production, but first in the production of Swiss cheese. Hoewischer said prices right now are at a good spot, but that costs are up.


Dairy Farmers Help Get Milk and Meals to Kids During Summer Months

When school is out for the summer, millions of children lose access to school meals that include dairy, leaving them at the risk of going hungry. Dairy farmers in the American Dairy Association North East region recognize this problem and are doing their part to ensure kids can receive nutritious food when school is out.

The Summer Food Service Program was established by USDA and ADA North East joins forces with local community groups to support the program and to secure dairy’s place as part of healthy meals.

“Ensuring children aren’t missing meals during the summer months is a priority for dairy farmers, and therefore a priority for dairy checkoff,” said ADA North East CEO John Chrisman. “We fully support the Summer Meals program to help fill this nutritional gap in our local communities.”

Meals are free to children 18 years and under and include milk and other nutritious foods like fruit and vegetables and more. Feeding sites are located across the region’s low-income areas.

Dairy farmers Caleb and Alice Crothers from Long Green Farms, Rising Sun, Md., took a Holstein calf to downtown Baltimore to kick off the city’s Summer Meals program that provides milk and meals to students when school is out. 

“As a dairy farmer, I care deeply about providing high quality, nutritious dairy products to our community,” said Alice Crothers. “It was great to connect with these students who rely on school meals during the school year and in the summer about where their food comes from, and to have our daughters share about our farm and animals.”

Dairy farmer Lisa Mesch of JLM Dairy, Collins, N.Y., and daughter Erie County Dairy Ambassador Jocelyn Mesch, along with Erie County Associate Ambassador Payge Murray, took a Holstein calf to downtown Buffalo to kick off the city’s Summer Meals program. They were joined by Buffalo Bills player and dairy advocate Isaiah McKenzie as part of ADA North East’s partnership with Fuel Up to Play 60.

Many families are not aware that meals are still available when school is out and may need to spend up to $300 a month to feed children during the summer months. To find a Summer Meals site, families can text “SUMMER MEALS” to 97779.

In response, ADA North East has also established a geo-targeted social media campaign to promote Summer Meals. It helps families find nearby sites in their neighborhoods through digital ads on ADA North East’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages. Ads have been launched in English in 20 cities in our region, in addition to Spanish versions in Baltimore, New York City and Philadelphia, and several New Jersey cities.  

Of the 20 million students across the nation who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, less than five million participated in the Summer Food Service Program last year, leaving 15 million children unserved.

“We’re doing our part to make sure kids and families have access to milk and meals, so no one has to go hungry,” added Chrisman.


Milk Markets Take Beating in Chicago While Butter Shines Through

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk futures and cash dairy prices were mostly lower Wednesday, with butter being the exception.  Class III prices saw August falter 34 cents and September 50 cents, respectively.  Q4 2022 ranged from 35-39 cents lower.  Outside of January losing 21 cents of value, most 2023 months were slightly lower to 40 cents higher.  Class IV was off around 15-20 cents in 2022.  

In spot trade dry whey was down $0.02 at $0.42.  One sale was made at $0.4250. Cheese blocks were down $0.0375 closing at $1.85.  No sales were recorded. Cheese Barrels were down $0.0950 at $1.79.  Three sales were recorded from $1.79 to $1.80. Butter went up $0.0275 closing at $3.06.  Six sales were made from $3.0525 to $3.06. Nonfat dry milk was down $0.0225 at $1.5925. One sale was recorded at that price.

DeLaval Flow-Responsive™ Milking sets new standard for milking efficiency

DeLaval, a global leader in dairy innovation, introduced Flow-Responsive™ Milking, a new technology that adapts the applied vacuum to the milk flow profile of each cow, reduces milking times by up to 10% and supports good udder health and animal welfare.

DeLaval developed the first successful vacuum-operated milking machine in 1917. With the launch of Flow-Responsive Milking, DeLaval has created a new standard for precise and efficient milking.

“The vacuum level is normally set to compromise between the risk of over-milking when milk flow is lower, and under-milking when the cow has more milk available than the compromised vacuum level can extract,” said Dr. Carl Oskar Paulrud, Dairy Development Director at DeLaval. “With the traditional one vacuum level system, the speed of the milking process is limited by the vacuum and stimulation settings of the system, rather than the cow’s genetics or available milk.”

Improved farm efficiency and udder health

“The ability to adjust vacuum levels means that Flow-Responsive Milking can speed up milking and give clear benefits for udder and teat health,” said Steve Shea, Solution Manager, Milk Harvesting at DeLaval. “This can truly improve the efficiency on farms. Over 40 million milkings have been performed with flow-adjusted vacuum and the unit-on time has been reduced by up to 20 seconds per milking.”

MVP Dairy, LLC of Celina, Ohio added Flow-Responsive Milking to its DeLaval rotary more than a year ago as a reference farm for the new technology. Brock Peters, General Manager at MVP Dairy, says the flow-adjusted vacuum has increased flow rates in their herd of 3,850 cows by around 5% and decreased forced detaches by a third.

“Flow-Responsive Milking has helped us milk out our cows more effectively and efficiently,” said Peters.

Recent studies also confirm the advantages of the Flow-Responsive Milking approach.

“A milk-flow-controlled vacuum, being an increased vacuum during peak milk flow, results in a higher milk flow and therefore shorter milking duration, thus supporting good udder health,” wrote Dr. Doug Reinemann, University of Madison-Wisconsin, in a 2021 study published by the Journal of Dairy Science.

DeLaval Flow-Responsive Milking with flow-adjusted vacuum is available for rotaries and parlors with DeLaval Delpro™. New sensors and regulator valves, plus special software, allow them to respond to the actual milk flow of each cow and adjust the level of the vacuum accordingly. The vacuum monitoring and notifications are presented in the new DeLaval Alerts application, allowing milking systems equipped with Flow-Responsive Milking to be monitored remotely.

For more information, including scientific proof, visit

Global Dairy Trade auction drops 5% again

Milk powder prices fell at the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction by more than expected on stronger supplies. Tuesday’s weighted average did a repeat of the last event, dropping 5.0%, the fourth decline in a row.

The whole milk powder index fell 6.1pc and the skim milk powder index was down 5.3pc. Anhydrous milk fat prices were down by 1.4pc, but butter prices were down by 6.1pc at this auction.

Prices have now declined significantly since the peak back in the March/April period, with whole milk powder (WMP) prices down over 20pc in US Dollar terms.

StoneX Dairy Group says the GDT 80% butterfat butter price equates to $2.2987 per pound U.S., down 14.8 cents from the last event, and compares to CME butter, which closed Tuesday at a pricy $3.0325.

In a note on the auction, New Zealand bank ASB said the GDT WMP price has fallen from a peak of $4,757 to $3,544 in the latest event – a 22pc decline.

“In earlier reports we have emphasised that we are in the middle of (southern hemisphere) winter and have not panicked about the recent run of soft prices.

“Prices eased over winter last season as well and then moved higher given the extremely tight global milk supply. And we continue to think global dairy demand is likely to remain relatively inelastic, and keep prices well supported,” it said.

ASB also highlighted that it believes global dairy supply will remain ‘extremely’ constrained.

Nonetheless, it said there were no signs of supply concern at the latest auction and in the longer dated contract prices for powders – prices were down for all contract periods for both whole and skim milk powders.

“We continue to see future supply and demand dynamics supporting higher dairy prices, but clearly buyers were not willing to pay up to secure product over the key months of the NZ season at this latest auction,” it said.

Lawsuit accuses Dairy Farmers of America of creating ‘monopsony’ in the Northeast

A New York state dairy farm is leading a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Vermont against Dairy Farmers of America — the country’s largest dairy cooperative — arguing the organization has violated antitrust law and artificially lowered the price of raw milk. 

The lawsuit, filed July 29, claims Dairy Farmers of America has created a “monopsony,” which is defined as a market in which many sellers have only a single buyer, across the dairy industry in Vermont and 10 other states in the northeastern U.S. 

At issue, it says, is an “inherent conflict of interest” between two related segments of the cooperative’s business. 

Dairy Farmers of America is tasked with ensuring its members get the highest possible price for their milk, per the lawsuit. But farmers must sell their milk to processors, who use it to make other products, to make money. And the defendant argues that Dairy Farmers of America’s milk processing operations benefit from lower milk prices. 

As a result, S.R.J.F., Inc. of Stamford, New York — the lead defendant — alleges it, and the more than 3,000 other milk producers in the cooperative’s Northeast region, operate in a highly consolidated market that has led them to make less money than they otherwise would with greater market competition. 

“DFA structured its business to thrive in a low-price, high-supply raw milk environment  — exactly the kind of environment that benefits its processor holdings, at the expense of its member farmers’ milk checks,” the lawsuit says. 

In a statement, Kristen Coady, Dairy Farmers of America’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, called the allegations in the lawsuit “baseless,” saying the company has made strategic investments since its founding that benefit all of its members. 

“Any claim that a farmer-owned, farmer-governed cooperative is motivated to self-inflict damage on its member-owners is preposterous, irrational and blatantly inaccurate,” Coady said. 

The lawsuit claims Dairy Farmers of America’s holdings have become so extensive over the past six years that it has become difficult, if not impossible, for many independent farms or dairy cooperatives to be successful without joining Dairy Farmers of America’s network. 

The Kansas City-based cooperative has come to control as much as 60% of the Grade A milk market in the Northeast in that time, the lawsuit says. Nearly all milk produced in the U.S. is Grade A, meaning it is certified by the federal government for use in liquid products. Court documents also point to one estimate from June of this year that the cooperative controls 85% of the region’s fluid milk processing capacity. 

As such, the lawsuit estimates there are at least 7,000 possible defendants for the class-action lawsuit: anyone who has sold non-organic, Grade A milk since May 10, 2016, in the cooperative’s northeast region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and most of Pennsylvania. 

The lawsuit also points to multiple past acquisitions and mergers involving Dairy Farmers of America — including its merger with the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery in 2019 — as evidence of the organization’s efforts to eliminate competition at the expense of smaller entities in the region. 

Members of the 100-year-old cooperative in Franklin County voted overwhelmingly to become part of Dairy Farmers of America, though the lawsuit says some members saw little choice because the St. Albans organization was staring down bankruptcy. 

The defendants cited the St. Albans merger as a reason why they filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Vermont. 

“Like the arsonist taking credit for putting out the fire, DFA has sought to spin its actions as saving or stabilizing the Northeast Dairy Market it was hellbent on bleeding to death,” the lawsuit said. 

The lawsuit stretches back to May 10, 2016, because that’s one day after claims were last released in a previous lawsuit— Allen v. Dairy Farmers of America — in which the cooperative settled for $50 million, some of which went to dairy farmers in Vermont, according to court documents. 

That class-action case, filed in 2009, alleged Dairy Farmers of America had conspired to become the sole seller of Grade A milk in the Northeast. The cooperative, according to the lawsuit, was not member-focused and forced small farmers to join in order to avoid market pressures that would put them out of business.

Dairy Farmers of America has also been involved in multiple previous lawsuits, according to the July 29 complaint. 

The most recent case seeks damages for Northeast dairy farmers “to the maximum extent allowed” under the federal government’s 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, which, it alleges, Dairy Farmers of America has violated in multiple ways. 

It also notes that while Dairy Farmers of America has gained market share in recent years, the number of dairy farms has decreased and output on remaining farms has gone up. 

It cites data from Vermont showing a 37% decline in the total number of operating dairy farms in the 10 years preceding 2020, but a 30% increase in herd size per remaining farm. In 2020, about 40 dairy farms closed in the state, the lawsuit says. 

The Burlington-based attorneys representing the defendants could not be reached for comment Tuesday.


Bulls and Bears Square Off and Fight for Control

The T.C. Jacoby Weekly Market Report Week Ending July 29, 2022

The bulls and bears squared off in Chicago this week, and the dairy markets lurched this way and that as the two sides fought for control.

The bulls and bears squared off in Chicago this week, and the dairy markets lurched this way and that as the two sides fought for control. Class III futures moved higher on Monday and Tuesday, helped by last Friday’s Cold Storage report, which reassured the trade that cheese demand remained healthy through mid-year. But on Wednesday and Thursday, the bears won the upper hand, fueled by news that the U.S. economy contracted in the first half of the year, and that the Federal Reserve hoped to tamp down inflation by raising interest rates yet again. That stoked fears about consumers’ propensity to spend on dairy products going forward. The trade is likely to remain anxious about demand until the economy is on surer footing. But it seems that prices have fallen back far enough for now. When the closing bell rang, the bulls came out on top, and Class III markets bounced back today. August Class III climbed 18ȼ to $20.41 per cwt. and the September contract jumped back over the $20 mark. It closed today at $20.31, up 42ȼ from last Friday. Deferred contracts also finished higher. Fourth-quarter contracts added 30ȼ, on average, and Q1 2023 futures leapt 37ȼ. Nearby Class IV futures posted similar gains, while deferred futures made a smaller advance. August Class IV closed at $24.81.

There is still plenty of fresh product to be had, and the spot markets took another step back. CME spot Cheddar blocks slipped 3ȼ to $1.88 per pound, and barrels fell 3.25ȼ to $1.8875. Those mark the lowest spot cheese values since early February. Spot nonfat dry milk (NDM) scored a new low for the year at $1.64, down 4.5ȼ since last Friday. Whey powder dropped a penny to 44.5ȼ, its lowest value since late 2020, when many Americans were at home making sourdough in their sweatpants, rather than pumping iron and pounding protein shakes at the gym. In contrast to its feeble peers, spot butter looked strong. It jumped 8.25ȼ to $2.99, toward the high end of its well-defined trading range.

All year, pricey cream and a lack of carry in butter futures has discouraged processors from churning butter and storing it for use later in the year. Now that fall baking season looms large, butter buyers are scrambling for product. And processors aren’t likely to step up churn rates anytime soon. It’s hot, which means that ice cream makers are running hard, and cows are struggling to make as much milk – let alone cream – as they did in the spring. Cream multiples in the Midwest soared to the highest levels since the weeks leading up to Christmas.

It’s hot in Europe too, which is surely weighing on milk yields. Milk collections in the EU-27 and the United Kingdom dropped 1.6% below year-ago levels in May, tied with April for the worst European deficit since 2016, when the government paid producers to pull back. Anecdotal reports suggest that output was not down quite so hard in June, but the July heat wave pushed production southward once again. Aside from a brief respite in February, European milk output has been negative since September. Given ever tighter environmental regulations, it’s likely to stay in the red for a while.

Throughout 2021 and into this year, European dairy processors prioritized cheese production, allowing them to grow cheese output even as milk production faltered. But EU cheese output fell below year-ago levels in March, and it has remained in the doldrums. Europe is now making less of every category of dairy product, leading to a smaller exportable surplus. If global dairy demand stumbles, a decline in European dairy exports could soften the blow.

The recent selloff in U.S. dairy markets and the setbacks in Europe mean the U.S. is well positioned to keep sending healthy volumes abroad. Meanwhile, there is no sign that U.S. milk or dairy product supplies are likely to become burdensome. Scorching temperatures are keeping output in check in the short term. In the long run, high feed costs, low heifer supplies, processing capacity limitations, and supply management programs will likely cap growth in U.S. milk production. Dairy cow slaughter volumes have been running light since April, but they perked up recently, a hint that producers may be less willing to keep their barns crowded for $20 milk than they were for $24. Milk and dairy product prices likely overreached this summer, but they seem to have found an equilibrium at values that acknowledge tighter global supplies without throttling demand.

Feed futures whipsawed back and forth this week as they assessed the impact of the weather. For corn, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. July rains really helped the crop in the Eastern Corn Belt, but in the South and the Plains, it’s painfully dry. In most areas, the crop will have enough moisture to get through what remains of the crucial pollination season, but yields are likely to average a little below normal. For beans, August weather determines crop yields, and the forecast is hot and dry. That propelled November bean futures up to $14.685 per bushel, up $1.5275 this week. Soybean meal was even stronger. The September contract jumped $11 to $442.40 per ton. December corn futures rallied all the way to $6.365 per bushel today, but when news broke that the Russians and Ukrainians have reached a deal to export grain through the Black Sea, they retreated. They settled at $6.20, still up 56ȼ from last Friday.
Source: Jacoby

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