Some Ontario milk not being picked up as market shifts

Closure of restaurants and food service due to COVID-19 has challenged processors

dairy farm milk tank
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Hundreds of Ontario dairy farmers won’t have their milk picked up and potentially into the future because of gluts of milk at processors due to market changes from COVID-19.

Dairy Farmers of Ontario let its farmers know on March 31 that some will have to dump their milk due to huge changes in the milk market and many were called April 1 to let them know that their milk wouldn’t be picked up.


Why it matters: The dairy sector is the largest financially in Ontario and its health has significant impact on rural communities.


Farmers who have to dump milk will be paid for the milk and all farmers are to continue to produce milk. Drivers will continue to visit farms to test the milk.

There was a significant increase in milk demand as consumers stockpiled milk during the first week of the COVID-19 directive to isolate in Canada.

Dairy Farmers of Ontario added an incentive day and Alberta milk increased deliveries to processors when there was a significant jump in demand in that province.

Grocery stores have continued to limit the purchase of dairy products like bagged milk and cream, while the market has changed with the decrease in consumption from restaurants and food service. Most restaurants and food service have shut down during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ontario farmers aren’t the only ones dumping milk, with dairy farmers from places like Georgia and Pennsylvania also reporting dumping milk due to market changes.


With files from Alexis Kielen

About the author


John Greig

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig



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