Dairy service providers are starting to return to farms.
Most on-farm services, including animal classification, animal welfare assessment and milk testing had been suspended due to COVID-19.
Why it matters: Independent management information helps farmers make animal and farm business decisions.
Lactanet, which provides on-farm milk volume and content testing, started going back onto farms as of May 19.
As of that date, Lactanet staff were conducting no contact visits to barns, with no sample collection service in Ontario and Nova Scotia. That means they can enter barns, as long as no other farm workers are around to manage owner-sampled and robot sampled collection.
All the rest of the provinces, other than Newfoundland, where there continued to be limited farm visits, were at the level of testing being available, with strict wearing of personal protective equipment by Lactanet staff.
Holstein Canada staff are starting to return to farms as of June 1.
The national organization provides animal classification services across breeds, along with animal welfare assessments for the national proAction quality assurance program. It has a step-by-step plan and decision tree created before a classifier arrives on a farm.
It includes scheduling visits a week in advance, and then a phone call to determine whether the farmer is comfortable with a visit from a classifier, and then if anyone at the farm has had symptoms of, or been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. If so, then personal protective equipment will need to be used.
Physical distancing will be in effect, in all visits, with a request that no handshakes or bodily contact occur. No more than one or two members of the operation should be present during the classification or assessment.
The classifier will take other steps, including avoiding entry through the milkhouse if possible and avoiding paper to hand contact. Reports will be sent via email.