Dairy: New entrant assistance program in the works for dairy

With such programs already in place in Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI, Ontario is looking to shape a similar plan to help unattached individuals get into the industry

by Don Stoneman

Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) is contemplating a new entrant assistance program for dairy farmers. But at this point the shape of it is very much up in the air, and there is no guess as to when it might start.

DFO chair Bruce Saunders says harmonization of quota polices across the P5 – Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island – is in the works and a new entrants program would be part of that harmonization.

Dairy: Organic milk goes into surplus – for now

With one major purchaser, Sunopta calling a halt and some new producers coming on stream, there is now a surplus of organic milk. But that could change if Sunopta starts buying again


After almost eight years of organic milk demand outpacing supply, there now appears to be a surplus and that has implications for Ontario’s organic dairy farmers.

Two policies encourage organic milk production in Ontario. Producers get six additional production credit days, and the milk they sell brings them a premium of 23 per cent over the gross blend price for milk.

Dairy: Wanted: a more flexible pricing system for industrial milk

Dairy officials are looking for ways to reconcile support prices with anticipated world trade proposals, while still taking account of the production costs of the most efficient operators


Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) agrees with its federal counterpart and the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) that the way industrial milk is priced must change.

Each December, the CDC announces the new butter and skim milk powder support prices, which are then implemented on Feb. 1. To set prices, the CDC consults with farmers, processors, retailers, restaurateurs and the Consumers’ Association of Canada. Industrial milk returns for farmers are based on those support prices and are set by provincial milk boards.

Dairy: Sheep’s milk brings high prices and – for now – good profits

Some regulatory exemptions and a growing market make sheep dairying attractive, but it’s still a seven-day-a-week business and prone to market fluctuations


Third generation sheep farmer Keith Todd was a student at Guelph 10 years ago when word about milking sheep first got around. Someone asked Todd if he was going to try his hand at it.

“I said ‘no bloody way,’” the 32-year-old recalls as he looks over his double-32 parlour, where four cheerful Amish teenagers are putting milkers on sheep on a late Saturday afternoon in February.

Dairy: The pros and cons of late forage harvesting

Some farmers believe that it is advantageous to do their first cuts of hay as late as June 10. But dairy nutritionists and operators aiming to maximize production are not so sure


Bill French used to cut his first hay on the first day of June at the latest. Now, he leaves the flail harvester in the shed for another week.

He says that cutting later pays off in terms of fewer vet bills for sick cows and the elimination of sore feet. And he says that his milk test comes out better. On three tests in December, his butterfat test was 4.69, 4.62 and 4.5 per cent. His protein tests were 3.55, 3.57 and 3.54 on 30 cows.

Dairy: Cold-water washing – a way to cut your energy bill?

The Clarks of Woodville believe so after testing a cold-water washing product from Ireland and Dairy Farmers of Ontario are watching closely.


An average Ontario dairy farm pays $1,850 a year to heat water to clean up after milking 69 cows, according to figures published by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). That amounts to about $27 a milking cow, and three quarters of it heats water to maintain the bulk bank and the milking machines. Is there a way to reduce that cost?