Raising heifers is expensive and one area where farmers can cut costs.

Ways to live with narrower dairy profit margins

The gradual implementation of trade deals is expected to squeeze growth on dairy farmers as expenses increase

Dairy producers haven’t yet felt the implications of recent trade deals, but they will soon. “These deals have really not affected [the dairy producers] at all,” says Jack Rodenburg, with DairyLogix. But, he says producers will feel the impact this year and then the market will be affected, especially from 2020 to 2025. Rodenburg spoke […] Read more

Bethany Desphande is the co-founder and CEO of SomaDetect.

Canadian company chosen for global agriculture business accelerator

SomaDetect will be part of the Pearse Lyons Accelerator’s latest group

A glance at the startups that form part of the latest cohort at a global ag tech accelerator, paints a vivid picture of where the future of farming is going. Sensors, blockchain, cell-cultured meat, biotechnology and artificial intelligence feature among the 2019 cohort of the Pearse Lyons Accelerator — and it also includes a homegrown […] Read more

Martin Pronk and his cows in their pack barn.

Getting the grass-fed dairy details right

Harriston-area dairy farmer focuses on pasture and grass forages and feeds no grain

Martin Pronk showed a slide of a cow that had been milking for over 700 days, and suggested to an audience at the recent Guelph Organic Conference that his lack of concern about either getting that cow pregnant or sent away for slaughter is what sets him apart from most fellow dairy farmers. But in […] Read more

The dairy producer panel on genomics at the Grey-Bruce Dairy Day: Gary Markus, Markhill Farms Ltd., Wayne Wagler, Claynook Farms Ltd., Phil Armstrong, Armstrong Manor Farm, Lynsay Beavers, industry liaison co-ordinator, Canadian Dairy Network.

Genomic best practices from committed testers

Have a plan say dairy farmers who use genomics to determine which heifers to keep

If dairy producers want to use genomics to improve their herds, they should have a plan, develop goals for their operation, and stick to them, according to Gary Markus of Markhill Holsteins. “Jump in with both feet, use the data, and don’t dabble,” he said during a producer panel on Dairy Day at the recent […] Read more

Neil McCutcheon of BDO LLP talks about how milk production is the most important factor for farm profitability.

Optimizing dairy farm returns

The dairy farmer’s mantra: How do I get more milk out of my cows?

Milk production, more than any other factor, drives profitability on a dairy farm, according to Neil McCutcheon. He spoke during Dairy Day at the recent Grey-Bruce Farmers’ Week. Milk production matters more than whether you have a free stall or tie-stall operation and it matters more than even the size of the operation. Why it […] Read more


The body condition scoring camera is placed above the cow usually on an exit gate.

Cameras provide base for dairy automation and monitoring

Dairy Focus: Companies are using the cameras to measure everything from feed intake to body condition

Cameras are helping attach milking machines to teats, monitor body condition score, heats and feed consumption on dairy farms, making it one of the base technologies of the dairy data revolution. Why it matters: Farmers need technology that can reliably work over many repetitions and in tough conditions. Cameras that see in three dimensions have […] Read more

CanWest DHI will soon be uploading information directly from farms that have milking systems that collect it, instead of sending milk testers to every farm.

Dairy services partnership not yet finalized

The new name for the partnership has not yet been released and groups ask for patience

Board members and staff from Can West DHI, Canadian Dairy Network and Valacta continue to work toward finalizing their new partnership and collective new name and service delivery model. CanWest DHI Board Chair Ed Friesen told farmers at the CanWest DHI annual meeting to have patience. “Managing the process and doing things right is more […] Read more

A pair of calves try out the solid feed in the group housing barn at Bolton Manor Holsteins, operated by the Jackson family near Thamesford.

Choosing calf housing options

Dairy Focus: There are strengths to both individual and group housing facilities for calves

Individual housing in hutches remains “the gold seal for health,” said a dairy farmer who recently switched to group housing for calves. But he insists the health drawbacks are manageable, and made the switch anyway for other reasons. “Labour savings? Big plus. Animal welfare? Big plus,” declared Oxford County’s Thomas Jackson, who moved his calves […] Read more


Dale, left, and Aaron Smith, like most Canadian dairy farmers significantly increased their milk production from 2011 to 2016.

Getting more milk per cow nets environmental bonus

A study shows that increasing productivity on dairy farms decreases their environmental impact

Dale and Aaron Smith started focusing on improved herd health and feeding efficiency to boost milk production on their Mt. Hope, Ontario dairy farm — and they succeeded. Milk production increased 15 per cent, from 34 litres to 40 litres per cow per day from 2011 to 2016. What they didn’t expect to find was […] Read more

Gene editing will allow for improvements within breeds that are now done by introducing crossbreeding.

Looking ahead to dairy farming in 50 years

Genetic advancement, whole herd DNA management and new farm collaborations could be coming

Specialization, attention to the whole-farm biome, and moving genetic advancements away from individual animals toward the herd as a whole — these are some of the transformations in the dairy industry envisioned by the keynote speaker at the recent Dairy At Guelph Research and Innovation Day. Veterinarian Dr. Jack H. Britt, professor emeritus in reproductive […] Read more