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MARCH 2021

da Ma te rke on ts pa ge

PLANNING FOR FUTURE FARMERS Being patient and doing research are critical to a smooth transition on the farm Publications Mail Sales Agreement No. 40063866

26


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Vol. 97 No. 3

CONTENTS

PUBLISHED BY DAIRY FARMERS OF ONTARIO 6780 Campobello Rd., Mississauga, Ont., L5N 2L8 EDITOR Jennifer Nevans jennifer.nevans@milk.org ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Pat Logan pat.logan@milk.org 519-788-1559

Editorial Editor’s column

4

Board column

4

OFA op-ed

6

CONTRIBUTOR Allison Williams allison.williams@milk.org

Dairy Research Co-ordinated by Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s communications division, Sharon Laidlaw, Manager, Corporate Communications. Subscription rates: $26.88 for one year, $49.28 for two years and $67.20 for three years in Canada (includes HST), $36 per year in the U.S., $36 per year overseas. Single copy: $2.50. Make cheques payable to Dairy Farmers of Ontario. Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No.40063866. Return postage guaranteed. Circulation: 9,500. ISSN 0030-3038. Printed in Canada. SUBSCRIPTIONS IN ONTARIO Change of address notices should be sent to: MILK PRODUCER 6780 Campobello Road, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 2L8 Phone: (905) 821-8970 Fax: (905) 821-3160 Email: milkproducer@milk.org MAILING ADDRESS CHANGES FROM OTHER PROVINCES Contact your respective provincial marketing board directly.

Dairy News

LRIC

42

Saskatchewan investment

44

Ruminations 45 8

Applied Science

48

What Can’t Milk Do?

10

U of G Research

50

DFC policy conference

12

Producer Profile

18

New N Noted

Adopt-a-Cow

20

Featured products

Dairy Education Program

Markets Market demand

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52

28

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and/or managing editor and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of Dairy Farmers of Ontario. Publication of advertisements does not constitute endorsement or approval by Milk Producer or Dairy Farmers of Ontario of products or services advertised.

Milk Producer welcomes letters to the editor about magazine content. Websites: www.milkproducer.ca www.milk.org Facebook: /OntarioDairy Twitter: @OntarioDairy Instagram: @ontariodairy

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Farm Management Timing Matters

32

Managing hypocalcemia

34

Farm Finance

36

Farm Safety

38

Calf Care Corner

40

Cover photo courtesy of Caitlin MacLeod MILKPRODUCER | MARCH 2021

3


EDITORIAL

[ LOBBYING KEY ISSUES TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT By Jennifer Nevans

EDITOR

L

ast month, dairy producers across Canada participated in the industry’s federal lobby day. While the annual event looked a little different this year, the key mandate remained the same. Federal lobby day is an important event for the Canadian dairy industry because it gives producers a chance to meet with elected officials and lobby key issues that have a direct impact on you. Industry staff work throughout the year to lobby these issues to government, but these messages are much more powerful when they come directly from producers themselves. This includes lobbying for full and fair compensation for concessions made on Canadian dairy as a result of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). “Our government has now made an under-

taking to protect supply management, as well as not give away any market share in future generations,” Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau promised the industry. In November, the government announced the long-awaited compensation for market access concessions granted in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The industry now remains steadfast on lobbying the government to deliver on promised compensation for the effects of CUSMA. By 2024, combined access granted under CETA, CPTPP, CUSMA and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will replace 18 per cent of domestic milk production. Industry leaders continue to drive this message home to government officials as a reminder of how these trade agreements affect more than 10,000 hardworking Canadian dairy farmers who are responsible for contributing $16 billion toward to the country’s gross domestic product every year. Industry staff are also continuing to hold the government to its word when it comes to not

granting additional market access in future trade agreements, and continue to urge the government to ensure the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency have the tools they need to enforce regulations and production standards at the border. Other lobbying efforts include supporting the grocery code of conduct to strengthen the country’s food supply chain, as well as supporting regulations that restrict the use of dairy terms on plant-based products. It’s all in an effort to protect Canada’s supply management—a system that former U.S. Governor Howard Dean says every country should adopt. “We essentially subsidize dairy illegally, and supply management is what we should be doing,” Dean says. “I think it’s time (the U.S.) tries something significantly different. We have an example north of the border, which shows (supply management) works.” These comments, along with other key industry issues, were addressed during Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) virtual annual policy conference in February. DFC staff provided full coverage of the conference, which you can read more about, starting on page 12.

DOWN ON THE FARM, LIFE CARRIES ON By Steve Runnalls

DFO 2ND VICE-CHAIR

I

t’s now been a year since COVID-19 put a stop to the world as we knew it. The last time producers and Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s (DFO) board were able to meet as a group was the 2020 spring policy conference. The virus meant big changes for everyone, including the end of face-to-face meetings and the closure of restaurants and businesses. Wearing a face mask in public became the new norm, and the world as we knew it may never be the same. As 2020 brought changes to the world, it also brought a lot of changes to Claybrook Holsteins. As shutdowns were enforced, life on the farm carried on. My family was able to fol4

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

low through with years of planning to complete the construction of a new freestall dairy barn. As the board pivoted to virtual meetings, I spent less time travelling and more time with my family. I also had extra time to focus on the construction of our new barn. COVID-19 slowed the pace of life, enabling me to participate in various outdoor activities. Living in northern Ontario, naturally I’m an avid outdoorsman and enjoy hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. While out on the trails, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people—particularly families—enjoying the outdoors. As social distancing guidelines have refocused family activities and traditions, families have also shifted their shopping habits. Now more than ever, they value healthy, wholesome, local foods—particularly dairy. We, as an industry, have seen an unprecedented increase in retail dairy product sales, specifically fluid milk, butter and cheese, as

families are preparing more meals at home. In a time of uncertainty, it’s encouraging to see consumers placing higher value on dairy products to nourish their families while bringing them together at the dinner table. As 2021 brings light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines being administered, I remain hopeful everyone finds a healthy, balanced, slower pace of life while continuing to value and support local foods and businesses. The use of technology will enable us to remain connected and work efficiently so we are able to spend quality time with our families— exploring the outdoors, enjoying meals together and making memories. As a dairy producer, I’m thankful for how our supply managed system has served us and all Canadians through the pandemic so far. I’m hopeful retail growth continues across all dairy products and has a lasting positive effect on dairy consumption and our dairy industry. WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA


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EDITORIAL

OFA REMINDS FARMERS OF THE TOLL MENTAL HEALTH CAN HAVE ON LIVESTOCK By Mark Reusser

CONTRIBUTOR

T

he quote “You can’t pour from an empty cup” may resonate with farmers who are currently dealing with mental health struggles. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) understands how the pressure of keeping up with everyday responsibilities, along with the stressors of navigating a pandemic, can become taxing and overwhelming. Mental heath issues are like a scale, ranging from mild to severe. We must carefully balance our mental state. If the weight dips too far, it becomes too much to handle, and the ability for a person to properly take care of themselves is lost. Once someone is unable to care for their own personal well-being, they have little to give to others. As farmers, we not only have families to take care of, but many of us have livestock to care for, too. Oftentimes, when mental illness begins to take a toll on us, it creates a ripple effect that impacts many of our roles and responsibilities. Once the disease becomes crippling, a farmer may lose his or her motivation to get up in the morning, complete everyday tasks and neglect his or her livestock as a result. However, we cannot place blame on these individuals. Mental illness is a struggle, and just like a physical ailment, it impacts our day-today lives and abilities. During COVID-19, the reduced human interaction and increase in stress and pressure to maintain the farm business has resulted in an influx of mental health crises within the farming community. Through conversations with people in the agriculture community over the past year, it’s evident men6

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

tal illness has also been associated with animal welfare cases. The inability to care for the health and welfare of livestock can be the unfortunate result of someone suffering with mental health issues. We care deeply about the health and well-being of our animals. Each day, we dedicate countless hours to ensure they’re well-fed, healthy and living in clean environments. As a livestock producer, it has always been in my best interest to raise healthy, nurtured and well cared for livestock. The reality is our animals are our livelihoods. Not only do we care for these animals, but they are the key to maintaining a profitable farm business. As livestock farmers, we care about the health, safety, welfare and comfort of our animals and follow established national codes of practice for their care and handling. Although research on this topic is still ongoing, studies show animal welfare can be directly linked to human welfare. To put it simply, many of us lose the ability to care for another living being after we’ve lost the ability to care for ourselves. Signs of mental health struggles that could result in animal welfare issues include a farmer’s inability to maintain the cleanliness of their barn, less frequent trips to care for their livestock or sudden changes in the condition of their barn. If you notice any of these signs among your friends or neighbours, please reach out and check in on them. As the conversation about mental health continues to evolve, we recognize many farmers have become more perceptive at recognizing the signs of struggle and more open to taking preventative measures. However, even those who appear to be functioning normally need to be checked on, supported and made to feel like

they matter. Mental illness can be crippling and the best way to get through it is together. The Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) Advisory Committee, which was established by the Ontario government and includes OFA vice-president Drew Spoelstra, recognizes the link between mental health and caring for animals. OFA will continue to ensure mental health and the connection to onfarm livestock management is a priority for the committee. Enforcement through PAWS on animal welfare issues can assist a farmer dealing with a mental health crisis. Enforcement officers are well-equipped and properly trained to handle issues of mental health and animal welfare. They have the skills to assess the situation and determine the best course of action for livestock. As individuals, we have a responsibility to report suspected animal welfare issues. However, please remember to remain compassionate in times of crisis. Our farmers are proud of the care they provide their animals. In a mental health crisis, it’s the unintentional acts and inabilities to care for others that can affect livestock. As a community, it’s important to proceed with care and compassion to help our neighbours when they’re in need of our support. If you or someone you know is in distress and needs help, there are people and resources available. Please reach out for 24-7 support by calling the ConnexOntario mental health line at 1-866-531-2600, or use their online chat function. For additional resources, visit connexontario.ca or ofa.on.ca/mental-health. Mark Reusser is vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

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DAIRY NEWS

[

ONTARIO DAIRY EDUCATORS RETURN TO CLASSROOMS VIRTUALLY By Jennifer Nevans

EDITOR

F

or long-time dairy educator Sue Wideman, watching her students discover something new about dairy farming is one of the best parts of her job. “I love how the kids’ faces light up when they see the inflatable balloon Holstein I bring to their classroom, the funny faces they make when they smell corn silage and the never-ending questions they have for me,” she says. Like many other dairy educators across Ontario, COVID-19 restrictions meant she would not be able to return to the classroom and see those faces for a while, and it meant Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s (DFO) Dairy Education Program would have to quickly pivot. “It was challenging, but the crisis pushed us to expedite the development of digital education modules, including the digital Learn-

TORONTO DAIRY EDUCATOR Emma Van Buskirk presenting to students in Toronto, Ont.

PEEL DAIRY EDUCATOR Brianne Crites wraps up a virtual presentation to a class at Ray Underhill Public School in Mississauga, Ont., as the students wave goodbye to her. 8

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

ing Management System and Dairycraft.ca,” says Audrie Bouwmeester, DFO’s manager of school programs. Now, the dairy education team is excited to be back in the classroom virtually. To date, dairy educators have conducted more than 82 virtual presentations since the beginning of the year. The announcement comes as good news for educators like Wideman. For the last 14 years, Wideman has been interacting with students face to face, conducting around 400 presentations a year at schools throughout York Region. When the pandemic forced the world to embrace virtual meetings, the idea of going virtual was hard for Wideman to grasp. “How was I going to gauge the students’ reaction to what I was teaching when they are just tiny squares on my computer screen?” she says. But demand for dairy educators to return to classrooms was overwhelming. She says teach-

ers reached out requesting virtual presentations—in one school alone, she had 15 requests for presentations. Just like many who are new to virtual meetings, technology was Wideman’s biggest concern. “I know exactly how to transition from one activity to another in person, but what happens if I can’t get the movie to play when I go to share it virtually?” Wideman says. “I practised in front of my computer for more hours than I care to share.” One of the biggest lessons she learned during the pandemic came from one of her eight-yearold students. “While doing a virtual presentation, I mentioned to the teacher I couldn’t see all the students,” she says. “One student named Luke proceeded to talk me through the steps I needed to follow in order to see all the students— teaching this old dog a new trick.” Continued on page 10 W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


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DAIRY NEWS

Ontario dairy educators return to classrooms virtually, cont’d from page 8 More than 20 virtual presentations later and Wideman is pleased to have experienced very little issues with technology. She says she’s had a great experience presenting virtually, and the positive feedback from teachers and students has been heartwarming. “I look forward to the day when I can go into the classroom again and engage the students in person, but for now, I will happily teach them about the dairy industry from the comfort of my kitchen table,” she says. To assist educators in conducting virtual presentations, DFO is providing resources to allow them to continue offering curriculum-based presentations for teachers and students. Educators have access to a new Growing Up Dairy initiative, which launched in January. The program allows students to follow the growth and development of a newborn dairy calf without leaving their classroom. For schools that are registered, educators will send biweekly emails with updates on the calf, as

ONTARIO DAIRY EDUCATOR Dawn Stewart engaging students during a virtual presentation in Toronto, Ont.

well as information on topics related to dairy farming, such as harvesting, vet visits, structures of the farm and more. Educators can also collect and answer students’ questions and provide extension activities for the teacher. All the information provided connects to specific curriculum expectations and subject ar-

eas, such as language, math, health and science. “The ability to provide virtual presentations is very exciting and will help us modernize our longstanding program and continue to offer curriculum-based dairy education for teachers and students, regardless of whether they can physically be in the classroom,” Bouwmeester says.

DFO LAUNCHES WHAT CAN’T MILK DO? WINTER CAMPAIGN

D

airy Farmers of Ontario’s (DFO) marketing division has launched its recent campaign, which aims to help consumers realize milk has much more nutritional value than they might think. By highlighting individual nutrients in milk and their benefits in engaging and relatable ways, the integrated campaign inspires Ontarians to recognize milk’s nutritional value and ask themselves, “What Can’t Milk Do?” In 2019, DFO launched its “What Can’t Milk Do?” platform to reposition milk as contemporary and relevant for today’s consumer, highlighting the endless versatility of dairy milk while celebrating its incredible nature and challenging common misconceptions. By fall 2020, the milk campaign messaging evolved to dive deeper into the compelling benefits of milk’s 15 essential nutrients. Now, the winter campaign, which launched in mid-February and will run until April 25, refocuses on expanding milk’s nutritional value by creatFollow DFO on social media

@ontariodairy

10

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

ing fresh and impactful marketing assets that reach Ontarians in relevant ways. This past year, consumer research identified nutrition as one of the key interests brought on by the pandemic. This played a role in the continued evolution of the “What Can’t Milk Do?” platform. DFO filmed a new TV spot with dynamic and engaging visuals to focus on milk’s 15 essential nutrients and playfully show how their benefits affect consumers’ day-to-day lives. Through broadcast integration, DFO has also collaborated with nutrition experts to expand on the benefits of milk’s nutrients through the science of nutrition. The campaign targets millennial moms and includes new ads on TV, digital video, social media and Spotify. Other channels will expand on milk’s nutritional value, including an updated campaign landing page, influencer content and informative broadcast segments on morning shows featuring credentialed dairy advocates. Like many other industries, COVID-19 has changed the way DFO’s marketing team works, specifically on TV film production and marketing content creation. It has required DFO to find creative ways to solve the challenges social distancing and lockdown bring. This campaign marks a new

frontier because DFO filmed an entire TV commercial remotely, via Zoom. Since staff couldn’t visit locations in person, the team filmed in a COVID-safe studio location and used state-of-the-art LED immersion technology to create the seamless backgrounds seen in the commercial. To view the latest “What Can’t Milk Do?” commercial, search for “Dairy Farmers of Ontario - 15 essential nutrients” on YouTube.

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DAIRY NEWS Editor’s note: Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) held its first virtual annual policy conference on Feb. 10 and 11, 2021. DFC filed these reports.

DAIRY FARMERS DISCUSS SECTOR’S FUTURE AT DFC’S ANNUAL POLICY CONFERENCE By Dairy Farmers of Canada

CONTRIBUTOR

A

round 500 dairy farmers from across Canada participated in Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) 2021 virtual annual dairy policy conference in February. The conference featured industry experts and former politicians from both sides of the border, discussing top issues and opportunities for the Canadian dairy sector. The industry is facing several headwinds, including market access concessions in recent trade agreements, tariff rate quota challenges from the United States, rising interest in plantbased alternatives and the increased emphasis from consumers and government on sustainability, to name a few. Pierre Lampron, DFC’s president, says the sector has a strong foundation to work from as an industry with a good track record on issues,

PIERRE LAMPRON, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s president, giving his address at the organization’s policy conference.

such as animal care, sustainability and innovation, powered by the thousands of Canadians who make their livelihoods from dairy farming.

SUPPLY MANAGEMENT IS ‘WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING,’ SAYS FORMER U.S. GOVERNOR

H

oward Dean, former Governor of Vermont, Democratic presidential candidate and Democratic National Committee chair, offered his unique perspective on the Canada-U.S. trade relations. In a virtual fireside chat with Lefebvre, Dean notes the many benefits of supply management. Hailing from a dairy state that neighbours Quebec, Dean is keenly familiar with the different approaches in dairy policy between Canada and the U.S. He endorses Canada’s supply management system and suggests the U.S. would benefit from adopting a variation of this system. “We essentially subsidize dairy illegally, and supply management is what we should be doing,” Dean says, adding the U.S. relies too heavily on exports and favours large corporations over family-run businesses. He says the collapse of small dairy farms in his state is an example of the U.S. system’s failures that demands considerable dairy subsidies. He also recognizes supply management’s inherent fo-

12

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

FORMER U.S. GOVERNOR Howard Dean speaking at DFC’s policy conference.

cus on sustainability and innovation, which align with U.S. President Joe Biden’s green agenda. “If you keep doing the same thing, you are going to get the same result,” he says. “I think it’s time we try something significantly different. We have an example north of the border, which shows (supply management) works.” Dean says his country’s overreliance on exports was a source of tension in recent trade negotiations. However, Dean is optimistic about the future of Canada-U.S. relations. “What we really need is a relationship where we respect each other, and I think Biden will show that respect.”

“We have a good story to tell and we need to do a better job telling it, but that is not enough,” he says. “This is not the time to retrench. For the long-term future of the sector, we need to work together and speak with a common voice. We must seize the opportunity to establish our own destiny or someone else will define it for us.” Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted opportunities for growth in the market, viable sustainability options and the importance of innovation to fuel COVID-19 recovery. A range of experts and thought leaders also provided their advice on trade relations. The event concluded with a strategic planning session led by Jacques Lefebvre, DFC’s chief executive officer, allowing farmers to weigh in on a several issues—from setting objectives and timelines on initiatives contributing to climate change to diversifying revenue streams. Insights from the session are key to DFC’s annual strategic planning process.

MARKET OUTLOOK SHOWS MODEST GROWTH

M

axime Collette, DFC’s senior analyst of market intelligence, says despite decreases in fluid milk consumption in previous years, consumption increased last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, total butterfat consumption decreased due to closures in the hotel, restaurant and institution (HRI) sector, where it is used heavily in the form of cream products. Changes in the Canadian population also affected consumption patterns. A reduction in non-permanent residents and new immigrants, as well as an increase in total deaths, were all factors that complicated the COVID-related fluctuations in demand. Nevertheless, Canada’s supply management system insulated the sector from much of the volatility seen internationally. Looking forward, Collette predicted modest production growth in 2021 as a result of trade deals and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including slow population growth and limited activity in the HRI sector. W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


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DAIRY NEWS

LIBERALS RENEW COMMITMENT TO FULL AND FAIR COMPENSATION FOR CUSMA

I

n a pre-recorded greeting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commends farmers for their dedication and resiliency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He also pledges his ongoing support for supply management and reiterates his government’s commitment to compensation for the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne share the government’s dairy policy, including: • Efforts to support the industry through the pandemic; • Plan to invest $350 million to help Canadian farmers build on their strong environmental

sustainability legacy; • Commitment to compensate dairy farmers for the effects of CUSMA. “We will come back to farmers to complete compensation related to (CUSMA). This is a priority for myself and our government,” Bibeau says. “Our government has now made an undertaking to protect supply management, as well as not give away any market share in future negotiations.”

OPPOSITION REACTIONS Conservative leader Erin O’Toole expresses frustration over the Liberal government’s treatment of farming families, noting it supported COVID-19 relief packages but held back on compensation for concessions made during recent trade agreements.

“I think you’ve made enough concessions,” O’Toole says. “Dairy producers are not just a bargaining chip—they are fundamental parts of the agricultural sector in Canada and our economy.” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and O’Toole say the pandemic has been difficult for dairy farmers and commend their work in the face of adversity. They also remind delegates their parties backed measures to support the industry. “If we don’t have a vibrant, strong sector for agriculture that supports dairy farmers, all of us will be worse off,” Singh says. Bloc Québecois leader Yves-François Blanchet acknowledges the pandemic-related difficulties and offers dairy farmers the unfailing support of the Bloc Québécois.

DFC SHARES UPCOMING MARKETING INITIATIVES

P FORMER PRIME MINISTER Stephen Harper participated in a fireside chat at Dairy Farmers of Canada’s policy conference.

FIRESIDE CHAT WITH STEPHEN HARPER

F

ormer prime minister Stephen Harper talks about a variety of issues—from geopolitics, to trade and dairy, including his government’s position during the negotiation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one that originally included the U.S. He notes at the time, the government felt the only other major trade agreements left were with China and India, and neither were threats to Canadian dairy. At the time, he says the government acknowledged that above the access granted under the World Trade Organization, supply management would be vulnerable if access reached more than eight per cent, and could not sustain if access reached 10 per cent. Regarding the new U.S. administration, Harper says dairy farmers should not expect a significant strategy shift toward the Canadian dairy industry—at best, exchanges will be more collegial. 14

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

amela Nalewajek, DFC’s vice-president of marketing, provided an update on its marketing strategy, including recent campaigns and future initiatives. DFC’s audience research helped the organization better understand various consumer segments and armed it with valuable insights. This work revealed the importance of ensuring the sector’s values align with its consumers’, reinforcing the need to speak to millennial and Generation Z audiences in authentic ways. She describes recent pandemic-related consumption trends, including the growing interest in Canadian-sourced products and the shift toward cooking more at home. She also notes the pandemic impacted perceptions of the notion of well-being. These are all insights DFC is leveraging in its campaigns. Providing a preview of future marketing endeavours, she says DFC will continue to discuss myths and misconceptions in its advertising, especially in areas of sustainability and animal care. The Blue Cow logo is an essential tool in that regard. Now featured on almost 8,300 products from more than 500 brands, the logo is increasingly recognized among consumers as a symbol of trust in Canadian dairy farmers. DFC will continue to leverage the logo in its advertising and through innovative partnerships with leading Canadian processors, retailers and restaurant chains.

LACTALIS BRINGS BLUE COW LOGO TO ASTRO AND STONYFIELD YOGURTS Nalewajek announced Lactalis Canada will begin featuring the Blue Cow logo on Astro and Stonyfield yogurt products later this year. As one of the nation’s leading dairy processors, Lactalis first adopted the Blue Cow logo in 2018 and has since committed to rolling it out on hundreds of milk, cream and cheese products. DFC is incredibly excited at the Blue Cow logo program’s growth and will continue to form partnerships in the coming year. WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA


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DAIRY NEWS

TIM HORTONS EXECUTIVE EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF CO-OPERATION, OPENNESS TO CHANGE

I

n a keynote presentation, Duncan Fulton, chief corporate officer of Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Tim Hortons, offers lessons from the company’s pandemic response and progress on the brand’s growth since its acquisition by RBI in 2014. He encourages stakeholders to “embrace change before you have to,” citing Tim Hortons’ efforts to match evolving consumer demands and government regulation. Highlighting Tim Hortons’ new mobile app, its move toward more sustainable packaging and improved transparency in ingredients, he says these are examples of how Tim Hortons is adapting to changing demands. “A big part of brand resiliency is always trying to push the brand to be on the edge of what’s next,

with a careful balance of what works,” Fulton says. “It’s important we make the right decisions today that will make sense one to five years from now— not necessarily two months from now.” For Tim Hortons, this means investing in ingredients with a higher ethical perception, reusable

PANEL DISCUSSES AFFORDABILITY, BENEFITS OF GREEN ENERGY

ADOPTING BOLD MEASURE ON SUSTAINABILITY

S

ustainability has been a key area of focus for DFC and the dairy industry, says Annie AcMoody, DFC’s senior director of policy, trade and sustainability, who led a panel discussion on sustainability and innovation at the farm level. In September 2021, proAction’s new environment module will be fully implemented. However, feedback from farmers reveals a willingness to go further, provided it is economically viable. “It has to be practical and cost-effective, and it also has to show a redemption of the environmental impact of the dairy industry,” AcMoody says. “Easing society’s problem with eco-anxiety shouldn’t come at the expense of our viability.” The panel included Jennifer Green, executive director of the Canadian Biogas Association, and Henry Oosterhoff, a Canadian dairy farmer who installed solar panels on his dairy farm more than 10 years ago. The two shared their expertise on sustainable energy options and the practicality of implementing them at the farm level. Green says while the adoption of biogas requires the implementation of new maintenance processes and operating procedures, there are many benefits from the environmental and business perspectives. Some of the benefits include reduced input costs and added revenue to farm operations, mitigation of risks due to market shifts and security for the next generation.

16

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

DUNCAN FULTON, right, is the chief corporate officer of Restaurant Brands International.

L

efebvre closed the conference by leading a strategic planning session where dairy farmers were invited to offer their input on a variety of issues. Overall, dairy farmers recognize the need and express an openness toward taking bolder steps to improve the industry’s environmental sustainability and communicating these objectives with the public. When asked about what concrete goals the industry should set on sustainability, 69 per cent of farmers say the Canadian industry should set sustainability targets that meet or surpass those set by Dairy Farmers of America and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and render the industry carbon neutral by 2050. Dairy farmers also discussed efforts to reduce or offset greenhouse gasses to meet this target. About 73 per cent of farmers polled say it would be feasible for their farm to plant eight or more trees per year to absorb emissions, and 93 per cent say they would be very or somewhat likely to participate in a government program to adopt or build alternative sources of energy on their farm to reduce emissions. Dairy farmers also recognize the need to support innovation, with more than 78 per cent indicating they would invest in research and development to support the greater use of milk

packaging and improved product quality, even as sales plummeted during the pandemic. Fulton emphasizes the importance of co-operation while solving industry-wide challenges. “There’s no point in having us all figure out the same problem three different ways. Let’s get at it together.”

and milk products in food that offered returns or dividends on investments. The session is an important part of DFC’s annual strategic planning process since it gives dairy farmers an opportunity to provide feedback directly to the organization and their peers. As such, DFC will incorporate the insights gleaned from the session into its future planning.

LEADERS DISCUSS SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES Following DFC’s policy conference, Lampron, Lefebvre and David Wiens, DFC’s vice-president, met with Trudeau and Bibeau to discuss the government’s emerging clean tech agenda and how dairy farmers can participate in these efforts with the support of federal funding programs. Lampron says the industry is committed to taking action on sustainability issues and suggests a collaborative approach to implementing new measures, rather than a regulatory approach. The dairy sector has a strong legacy of implementing practices to improve sustainability and has adopted a culture of continuous progress on environmental issues. DFC’s leaders will continue to work with the government to find ways to leverage federal funding to support sustainability initiatives for dairy producers. WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA


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DAIRY NEWS

A DAIRY FARMER, A CAMERA AND MILLIONS OF INFORMED VIEWERS By Owen Roberts

CONTRIBUTOR

D

airy farmers get excited at the prospect of seeing a new milking parlour in action, but do consumers care? Saskatchewan dairy farmer Jan Kielstra thinks so—and he has the numbers to prove it. Kielstra, 21, has amassed millions of views on his high-energy, accessible YouTube channel, SaskDutchKid. It’s dedicated to showing Canadian dairy production from A-Z. And that means everything—from the gritty side of farming, such as manure hauling and spreading, to an inside look at milking techniques. In fact, a 12:34 video called Milking Cows in Brand New Parlour has been viewed 2.7 million times since he posted it a year ago. Kielstra himself is baffled at the response to what seems like an ordinary topic. “I have no idea why that video was so popular, but it showed people have a lot of interest in seeing what goes on inside a dairy farm,” he says. Kielstra, a natural talent, was inspired to start SaskDutchKid after watching numerous farmers

in the United States on YouTube presenting videos of their operations. “I thought there should be something Canadian out there,” he says. “We needed to get our own public relations going.” Outfitted with a highly resilient GoPro camera that’s survived being run over by a manure wagon, Kielstra launched SaskDutchKid in August 2019. The moniker is a tribute to his province, his age and his proud Dutch roots—he’s a third-generation Dutch-Canadian farmer, and often speaks Dutch with his parents, Arjen and Anneke, who started the farm in 1996 with 42 cows. The farm grew at a steady pace until the Kielstras decided to expand and build a new freestall operation and milking parlour, tripling their production. It was a huge undertaking, but the results are spectacular, as seen in SaskDutchKid’s 120 videos. It’s more than shiny equipment images he offers his 138,000 subscribers, though. Recent video titles include When Things Go Wrong, Days Get Long, Fall Corral Clean-up and This Heifer Needed Help Calving, showing many hands-on aspects of real dairy farming. His followers, such as Erwin Bateman, appreciate the homegrown content. “Cows need farm-

JAN KIELSTRA, 21, has amassed millions of views on his highenergy YouTube channel called SaskDutchKid.

ers and people need cows,” he says. “Nice to watch modern farming here in (Saskatchewan) rather than somewhere south of the border.” SaskDutchKid videos look like they were shot by a team of professionals. But that’s not the case: Kielstra does it all solo, having learned his craft from watching instructional YouTube videos. He downloads GoPro camera footage onto his MacBook Pro, then using Final Cut Pro editing software, he spends about 2.5 hours assembling each video, adding graphics and additional audio. That’s a lot of time in a busy dairy farmer’s day. But besides finding it fun, Kielstra says it’s worth his while financially—YouTube pays to post advertising on popular channels like SaskDutchKid. And since launching the channel, he’s never had a problem with anti-livestock activists targeting the farm because of his video activity. Still, countering misinformation remains a motivation. “Farm videos are important for helping people understand what’s really happening in agriculture,” he says. “I invite other producers to consider giving them a try. Videos can be shot and edited on a phone. They don’t have to be too technical, and based on my experience, a lot of people watch them.” 18

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA


All calcium boluses are not created equal

Calcium Bolus Fistula Study

1

0 MINUTES

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CAL-BOOST™ 201 g

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CAL-BOOST™ 0g

RUMILIFE 24® 255 g*

90 minutes after administering Cal-Boost, all that remains in the rumen is its protective coating * Weight includes rumen fluid absorbed by the bolus 1 - Data on file

Solvet continues to conduct ongoing research in Canada. For our latest research findings, please contact your veterinarian. * Weight includes rumen fluid absorbed by the bolus. 1-Data is available on file. 2-Dairy Research and Extension Consortium of Alberta, October 2020. Solvet is a subsidiary of Alberta Veterinary Laboratories Ltd.

Solvet.ca


DAIRY NEWS

NO FARM VISITS? NO PROBLEM WITH ADOPT A COW By Owen Roberts

CONTRIBUTOR

F

or teachers, field trips to the farm are one of many learning activities that have been nixed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost overnight, important lessons—as well as the sights, smells and sounds that make visits to modern dairy operations so memorable for students—were dashed. This turn of events has educators, such as Stratford kindergarten teacher Melissa Pearce, thinking outside the box, determined to avoid reverting to ho-hum science lessons for her 22 remote-learning students and trying to find new ways to help them learn. Last summer, through an online education forum, Pearce learned of an increasingly popular program in the United States called Adopt a Cow. It’s designed to promote the classroom’s connection to dairy farmers by having students virtually witness a calf ’s growth throughout the academic year. Pearce explained the program to her dairy farming friend Heather Peters, who, along

DAIRY FARMER Heather Peters teamed up with Stratford kindergarten teacher Melissa Pearce to create an Adopt a Cow program. Photo courtesy of Heather Peters

with her husband, Dennis, runs Athlone Farms, a 150-head Jersey and Holstein dairy farm near Tavistock, Ont. The Peters host the local 4-H dairy club to which Pearce’s daughter Courtney and Peters’ daughter Hailey both belong. “Adopt a Cow pushes all the right buttons,” Peters says. “Kids love calves, and dairy farmers need to foster connections outside of agriculture. In a year with much uncertainty and likely no field trips, it seemed like a great opportunity to engage students in a new way.” Pearce and Peters went to work creating a Canadian Adopt a Cow program. Pearce’s goal was to find a dozen teachers to take part. She contacted a handful of primary teachers she knows, explaining the vision for the proposed program. In fall 2020, teachers who registered for Adopt a Cow received a photo of a newborn calf with details, such as her name, birthdate, where she lives and how the farmer takes care of her. That would be become the class’s calf. Continued on page 22

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CANADA’S OUTDOOR FARM SHOW BRINGS SIX DIGITAL EVENTS TO PRODUCERS IN 2021 Producers can register for the free digital events at outdoorfarmshow.com

MORE THAN

MILK REPLACER

W

hile the traditional September timing of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is still many months away, organizers of the farm show are launching early access to information for producers without waiting to see how the pandemic plays out. “There is still so much uncertainty in 2021, and while we are all missing in-person farm shows, we wanted to give producers something certain they could count on: timely information throughout the year,” says Lynda Tityk, executive vice-president of Glacier FarmMedia, the parent company of the show. “The constantly evolving COVID-19 environment makes planning difficult, but our team felt we could contribute in a concrete way now.” Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show recently launched a year-long digital offering, which includes six themed digital events throughout 2021. The first themed digital event on planting took place on March 10. Presenters talked about maximizing profitability through small changes, shared practical equipment tips and explored new developments in autonomous ag equipment. Farmers can attend these digital offerings by registering for the Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show digital pass. Attendees only need to register once to get year-long access to online content and connections. Registration is free for farmers to participate. An added feature this year is a virtual coffee shop that provides an informal setting for farmers, speakers and industry representatives to gather at small virtual tables on digital event days to catch up and ask each other questions through video chat. It’s a way to replicate the in-person connections of the show—not just once this year, but many times this year—until in-person gatherings are allowed. For more information, visit outdoorfarmshow.com.

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DAIRY NEWS

No farm visits? No problem with Adopt a Cow, cont’d from page 20 Then every couple of months, a new photo will be sent documenting her growth and other changes. In the spring, schools can arrange a video chat between the students, the farmer and the calf. Throughout the year, students can write letters to their adopted calf at the host farm and ask questions about her to promote discussion. Peters’ role was to identify dairy farmers in the county who would agree to participate. After an initial Facebook and Twitter post, she followed up with an email appeal to 15 dairy producers. “My friend Melissa teaches kindergarten in the county,” she wrote. “Here, we think we are all rural and most kids know where their food comes from, but unfortunately, Melissa’s experience tells her otherwise.” The response from teachers and producers was overwhelming. Pearce quickly attracted a full slate of primary teachers from Stratford, as well as St. Marys, Simcoe, Strathroy

we are

and Oakville, Ont. As for Peters, within minutes of seeing her social media posts, three farmers immediately stepped forward to participate. That trend continued and just two days later, she had all the farmers she needed—from all over the province—willing to share their dairy farms online. “Producers jumped in and volunteered even though they didn’t have all the details about what they were volunteering for,” Peters says. “They really wanted to take part.” Today, Peters, one of the participating producers, is paired with Pearce’s kindergarten class. They’ve adopted one of Athlone’s Holsteins named Camel, and each week, the students pepper Peters with a plethora of questions: Do cows eat apples? Does Camel wear a coat? What does she do all day? “In just two months, we reached more than 350 kids and their families, teachers and their colleagues,” Peters says. “It is truly amazing how fast (the program) has grown, and the enthusiasm is contagious. The farmers participating have jumped in with both feet and made this experience much more than we had hoped.”

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he Canadian Dairy XPO is returning this year with its first-ever virtual trade show event. Dairy producers and industry guests are invited to attend the event to see the latest in innovation and equipment, network with their peers and learn about key topics from expert speakers. This year’s virtual trade show will take place from April 7 to 8, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. More than 300 exhibitors will be featured during the event, offering a fully interactive free trade show with video and live chat opportunities. The event will include a virtual robotic barn tour, 4-H dairy club fundraising, a virtual dairy classroom featuring two celebrity speakers, Joep Driessen from CowSignals and Dr. Jan Pol from Nat Geo Wild’s The Incredible Dr. Pol, and more. For more information or to register, visit dairyxpo.ca.

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MARKETS

[

MARKET PROJECTIONS SHOW CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM FOR 2020-21 DAIRY YEAR By Jennifer Nevans

EDITOR

T

he latest projections from the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) indicate market growth in the dairy sector remains positive despite concessions made in recent trade deals, as well as impacts from the second wave of COVID-19. In fact, the Canadian dairy industry continued to grow by 0.49 per cent in the 2020 calendar year. It’s a steep decline compared with the 3.9 per cent growth in 2019, but it’s still positive news for the dairy industry given the challenges it faced last year. “This has certainly been an unprecedented year, but we could have ended the calendar year in a much worse position,” says Patrice Dubé, Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s (DFO) chief eco-

nomics and policy development officer. He says while the industry was under pressure at the beginning of the first wave, there were no significant additional negative impacts during the second wave. In addition, actual imports coming into the country have been less than the level granted and anticipated under the various trade agreements in 2020, which has helped the market absorb the impacts of COVID-19 and allowed the sector to still experience some growth. Preliminary P5 demand net of imports is projected to grow by around one per cent in 2021. This is assuming 60 to 75 per cent of the dairy product imports granted under the trade agreements will actually be imported into the country during the 2020-21 dairy year. “The CDC forecasted higher imports for October, November and December 2020, but not all of these imports have arrived,” Dubé says,

adding if the situation remains the same, it will leave more room for Canadian producers to fill demand during the remainder of the dairy year. Total national butterfat requirements for December 2020 reached 1.16 million kilograms per day—a 1.97 per cent increase from November 2020. Meanwhile, total P10 milk production in December 2020 reached 1.1 million kg per day—a 1.35 per cent increase from November 2020. National dairy product sales at the retail level remain strong for most dairy products. For the four weeks ending Jan. 30, 2021, sales for fluid milk, fluid cream, yogurt, ice cream, cheese and butter increased by 5.6, 15.6, 0.6, 16.9, 12.8 and 28.4 per cent, respectively, compared with the same four-week period the year before. Total butter stocks in January 2021 reached 25,500 tonnes and are forecasted to reach 35,000 tonnes by July 2021 if impacts from COVID-19

Are you ready for winter? Dairy Farmers of Ontario is reminding producers to clear their laneways of ice and snow. Why is this important? • creates a safe environment for milk transporters; • ensures timely milk pickup; • reduces DFO’s winter transportation costs; • mandated through DFO’s Farm Yards and Lanes Policy.

Yards and laneways that bulk tank milk graders travel on must be cleared of snow and clearly marked with poles and reflecting markers. Ice buildup should be salted and-or sanded. 26

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

laneway2020.indd 1

WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 2020-10-29 1:26:42 PM


Ontario

$24,000

Quebec New Brunswick Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island

$24,000 $24,000

DFO administration DFO research CanWest DHI Transportation Market expansion

$0.625 $0.050 $0.060 $2.790 $1.400

$0.625 $0.050 $0.060 $2.790 $1.400

$80

Total deductions Average total net

$4.925 $77.332

$4.925 -$4.925

380.68 1.60

$75 $82.26 Jan 2021

Dec 2020

Nov 2020

Oct 2020

Sept 2020

Aug 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

Feb 2020

$70

*These figures are based on Ontario’s average composition for January 2021 of 4.21 kg butterfat, 3.25 kg protein and 5.95 kg other solids, rounded to the nearest cent.

WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA

19,826.97 379.59 677.00 1.60 Exchange cancelled No clearing price established

303.17

ONTARIO MONTHLY PRODUCER AVERAGE GROSS BLEND PRICE $85

A total 3,340 producers sold milk to DFO in January compared with 3,386 a year earlier.

P5 AND WESTERN MILK POOL BLEND PRICES* The graph below shows the 12-month blend price for the P5 provinces and Western Milk Pool (WMP).

82 *There is a three-month lag reporting these figures. 80

P5 blend price WMP blend price

76 74

WMP $79.12

Dec 2020

Nov 2020

Oct 2020

Aug 2020

Sept 2020

July 2020

May 2020

70

June 2020

72 Apr 2020

Blend price in $/hL

78

Mar 2020

Source: USDA

303.30

76.45 165.71

**Quota cap price of $24,000 in effect in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Overquota

The January 2021 Class III Price, US$16.04 per hundredweight, is equivalent to C$46.66 per hectolitre. This equivalent is based on the exchange rate US$1 = C$1.28154, the exchange rate when the USDA announced the Class III Price. The Class III Price is in $ US per hundredweight at 3.5 per cent butterfat. One hundredweight equals 0.44 hectolitres. Canadian Class 5a and Class 5b prices track U.S. prices set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

20,732.18

AMOUNT PURCHASED/ kg 118.81

*Newfoundland does not operate a monthly quota exchange. Quota is traded between producers.

Within quota

U.S. CLASS PRICES

AMOUNT FOR SALE/kg

429.30 124.81 No clearing price established 2,215.09 76.45 333.83 509.60

$36,500 $35,000

Apr 2020

For January 2021

AMOUNT WANTED/kg

$46,752.50

Alberta Saskatchewan British Columbia Manitoba

Feb 2020

ONTARIO DEDUCTIONS, PER HL

PRICE/kg

Mar 2020

Producers are reminded to register for the Dairy Direct Payment Program (DDPP). A letter with instructions on how to register by phone or online was mailed to producers in January. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021. If producers did not receive their letter or if they have any questions or issues, they can contact the CDC, which is distributing the payment, at info.direct.p@cdc-ccl.gc.ca, 1-877-246-4682 or 613773-2600 (TTY).

PROVINCE

Jan 2020

REMINDER: REGISTER FOR DAIRY DIRECT PAYMENT PROGRAM

MONTHLY QUOTA PRICES ($/kg) FEBRUARY PRICES

remain the same. Total cheese stocks in January 2021 reached 103,000 tonnes. “If the economic impacts of COVID-19 does improve more rapidly than expected in the first part of 2021, then we will need to issue production signals in order to be able to reach the 35,000-tonne target for the end of the dairy year in July 2021,” Dubé says. “Time will only tell and the situation is still extremely volatile.”

P5 $76.90

MILKPRODUCER | MARCH 2021

27


COVER STORY

NON-FAMILY SUCCESS PLANNING Being patient and doing research are critical to a smooth transition By Treena Hein

CONTRIBUTOR

I

t’s an increasingly common scenario in Canadian farming—what happens when none of the children want to take over the farm? In some instances, a farmer may have no children. In other cases, a niece, nephew or grandchild might want to take over the farm, but some provincial regulations—at least in the past—can make that impossible to accomplish in a financially-feasible manner. Darren Kish, a dairy farmer in Abbotsford, B.C., was in this position. About 15 years ago, he decided he wanted to pursue succession with his long-term farm manager, Derrick Epp. At that point, only a spouse or a child were exempt from capital gains tax ramifications and other aspects of a quota transfer. Kish’s grandparents and parents had been dairy farmers but sold their cows and quota in the 1970s. When Kish graduated from high school, he grew hay and raised Holstein heifers and beef cattle alongside his parents. In 1986, a couple he knew purchased quota at an older farm about 40 minutes away from him. Three years later, when the couple wanted to get out of dairy farming, Kish entered into an agreement to buy some of the cows, run the dairy and eventually buy the quota. In those days in B.C., producers had to keep quota for 15 years before they could sell it. “In October 1990, I built a parlour at my family farm and moved the cows there,” Kish explains. “In 2003, I was able to get the quota transferred to my name.” By 2005, because many B.C. dairy farmers were swapping and leasing quota, the B.C.

Milk Marketing Board (BCMMB) brought in rules, which would have made transferring quota in that manner impossible. Around that time, Epp started working on the farm, and Kish had known the Epp family for a while. “I knew Derrick’s grandfather Jake,” Kish says. “Derrick had been working as a milker for another fellow before he moved away. Derrick heard I might like a bit of help. He started doing some hay here and then milking. He later did most of the milking and other tasks.” When Kish looked forward to his future, he realized he wanted to give Epp the same opportunity to get into dairy farming that he had as a youth. “I brought it up first,” he recalls. “I knew Derrick had the interest and we got along well. I suggested that down the line, we could do a deal where he buys a stake and eventually would buy me out.” Epp was quite excited and agreed, but it wouldn’t be as easy as either of them hoped.

MAKING THEIR MOVE

Epp continued to grow his management skills on the farm—both with the dairy and the cropping—and by 2011, Kish asked his lawyer to transfer some of farm corporation shares to Epp, making him a shareholder. “We should have checked (with BCMMB) because there was a rule that a sale of shares is deemed a sale of quota,” Kish says. “I wrote a letter of apology (to BCMMB, and) they applied an assessment fee, which amounted to two kilograms of quota. At the time, B.C. had the highest-priced quota in Canada—$42,000/kg. So, it was an $84,000 hit, and with legal and accounting fees, about $100,000.” Continued on page 30 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA


SION EXPERT ADVICE

I

FROM LEFT are Darren Kish, a dairy farmer in Abbotsford B.C., and his long-term farm manager, Derrick Epp.

t can be a source of grief for farmers when none of their children, nieces, nephews or other family members are interested in taking over the farm, but well-known farm business succession expert Elaine Froese tells those in this position there is light at the end of the tunnel. If they are patient and open-minded, Froese believes they will find a successor they are happy with. Froese hopes at this point, farmers in the position of handling non-family succession understand they don’t have to simply sell the farm—they can do succession in stages and remain actively farming for a long time to come. “There are many ways of organizing the succession. You will need to do assessments of yourself,” she says. “Know your own values, and carefully think about whether you want to be a co-manager, how much involvement you want to have at various points in the future and whether you’d like to walk away at a certain age.” In selecting non-family successors, Froese recommends a long process where both parties get to know each other, engage in assessments and share results, forming a mentor-mentee relationship where the farmer can get a clear sense of the potential successor’s work ethic. They should create an operating agreement during this probationary period that can be discussed and adjusted before the two parties make the decision to enter into an official business relationship. “Discover everyone’s skill sets and always practise total transparency,” she adds. “Turn to a succession expert, lawyers, accountants or other farmers for help.” “We have to remember not everyone wants to carry on the family farm or business legacy,” Froese says. “Where is it written that because we share DNA with our children, they will have the desire to continue to operate the family farm? If you don’t have a younger family member who is passionate, find a passionate person or couple from outside.” She says producers need to be open and not judge the outcome—they will find the successor they want and need. “In one recent instance I know of from the Canadian Prairies, the dairy farmer noticed how passionate his 15-year-old farm worker was about dairy farming,” she says. “That young man became the farm’s successor. The person you’re looking for may be under your nose or you may need to do some searching, but you will find the right person or couple.”


COVER STORY STORY COVER

DERRICK EPP, his wife, Colleen, and their children will soon be living on Kish Farms in Abbotsford, B.C.

Non-family succession planning, cont’d from page 28 Kish and Epp then looked at other options to transition the farm ownership. A sale of the farm as a going concern wouldn’t work because it would have to include land, and Kish didn’t want to sell any land. Epp says they also looked at buying land and moving the farm, but it was too costly. “Darren spent a lot of time calling different people and saying the situation needed to change,” he says. “He wasn’t going to give up.”

PROVINCIAL CHANGES

Meanwhile in 2016, Ben Janzen became the current BCMMB chair. Before that, he served on the board for 16 years. Kish recalls Janzen as being sympathetic to their situation. By October 2019, BCMMB had broadened the exemption for quota transfer to include non-related long-term farm employees. “There were a number of requests from large and small dairy farms to do this, where an employee had been working in a senior position on the farm for years and the farmer doesn’t have a family member who wants to take over,” Janzen explains. “We definitely see this as a positive step for the industry. It allows for non-family succession with all applications needing to meet all requirements and gain BCMMB approval, which is a normal business practice.” Janzen says it also prevents industry consolidation and reduces a barrier to entry into dairy farming for young people. “There’s a good likelihood when a dairy farm is sold in B.C., particularly in the Fraser Valley where demand for land is so high, the farm is converted to some other type of farming or some other use entirely,” he says. Epp now has a 20 per cent stake in the farm. “I’m working off a loan from Darren for this,” he says. “We aren’t sure at this point about how we will finish the transition, but we continue to discuss it.” In terms of advice for those in a non-family farm succession, Kish recommends working closely with a lawyer and tax accountant. He

also recommends working with a succession planning expert, especially for bigger farms. Epp echoes those thoughts. “You want to make sure things are done legally and there won’t be any tax implications or issues in the future,” he says. “There’s a lot at stake, and it needs to be done right for both parties.” In terms of other advice for non-family farm succession, Epp advises having ongoing and excellent communication. Both parties need to be aware of what they want and what they are hoping for, and they need to make the other party aware. He says it doesn’t work if someone is unhappy or feels they’re not being heard.

REFLECTIONS ON THE JOURNEY

“I think the (succession) process has been easier for us than it is for some because we’re not family,” Epp says. “We also respect each other and how the other person works.” Kish says Epp is being rewarded for his hard work. “He’s got a stake, and he’s protected. I think for both of us, it’s been stressful. We’ve both had sleepless nights, but it’s been worth it.” Epp says dairy farming is something he always wanted to do, and it feels good to be at this point. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says. “My wife, Colleen, and our kids really enjoy helping.” Both Epp and Kish are also pleased Epp, Colleen and their children will soon be living on the farm. “He’s been renovating a building into a home and it’ll be very nice for him not to have to commute,” Kish says. “He’s doing a good job with the cows and crops, and I get to enjoy going on trips. It’s really a win-win.”

Treena Hein is a freelance journalist and contributing writer.


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EXPLORING BETTER METHODS TO AVOID COMPACTION THAN SPREADING MANURE IN THE WINTER By Lilian Schaer

CONTRIBUTOR

S

oil compaction is gaining traction as an issue of concern for farmers focusing on soil health. Compaction can reduce the soil’s water absorption capacity, as well as hinder root penetration, crop emergence and plant nutrient and water uptake—all of which ultimately impact yield. It can also increase the risk of soil erosion. Heavy field equipment is one of the leading causes of soil compaction, particularly in wet field conditions. The extent of compaction depends on the size and weight of the equipment, the moisture level of the soil and the type of soil—but the wetter the conditions, the more damage will occur. To avoid risking wet conditions or dealing with that seasonal time crunch, some farmers have gotten into the habit of spreading manure on frozen or snow-covered ground during the winter. The ground is harder when frozen, so the argument goes that this reduces the potential for soil compaction by heavy manure spreaders or liquid tankers. But that isn’t the case, says Ian McDonald, crop innovation specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “The issue is whether that ground is really frozen and to what depth—can it bear that weight?” he asks. “How deep is the frost versus the weight of the equipment? What’s the frequency of passes and the time of day?” The cost of compaction hasn’t been calculated in Ontario, but data gathered by Dr. Scott Shearer from Ohio State University has been used to estimate the cost of compaction at six bushels per acre yield difference from wheel traffic in soils with normal moisture, and 27 bushels per acre from wheel traffic wet soils. There are also other negatives to winter application. Frozen soil can’t absorb nutrients and they can’t be incorporated, so winter rains and thawing events will quickly wash that manure into nearby watercourses. That means not only does the soil not benefit from that manure application, but it’s also harming water quality. Finally, roads can often be icy and farm equipment tires aren’t the best in cold weather, creat32

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

THIS PHOTO shows compaction-causing ruts on a field. Photo courtesy of Farm & Food Care, Timing Matters

ing possible safety issues. Walter Grose is the president of Husky Farm Equipment Ltd. He believes if farmers put a dollar value on the cost of soil compaction, they’d change their thinking about winter spreading. “Farmers growing vegetables are aware of compaction and can see yield differences in the same crop year—and they can net more money if they can reduce compaction,” he says. Drag hoses, tire inflation or deflation systems, wider spread patterns for manure application equipment, smaller spreaders or even bigger and-or better tires are all better solutions for reducing compaction than winter spreading. That’s been the experience of Tony Roelofsen from Pit King Ltd. in Wellington County, Ont. He’s noticed adopting premium increased flex (IF) tires on tractors and inflation or deflation systems on tankers can help minimize soil compaction for his clients. As an additional benefit, these tools have also reduced his overall fuel consumption. However, regardless of the available technology, farmers still need to pay attention to management. “Even with improved equipment, soil conditions are different each year, so good management of headlands is always required to minimize compaction,” he says. Another option is creating an additional application window during late summer or early fall by adding another crop, such as wheat, to the rotation.

Compaction risk is lowest when manure is applied after the July wheat harvest, notes OMAFRA field crop sustainability specialist Christine Brown, and farmers can add cover crops that will help keep the ground covered and minimize erosion, as well as add additional diversity and soil health benefits. It also offers the opportunity to spread workload and equipment costs over the entire growing season compared with a few short weeks in spring and fall when weather can be challenging. And there are demonstrated yield increases in the subsequent corn and soybean crops. “Many producers do not consider wheat to be an economical crop in the rotation, but if the economics of crop production were not just based on the highest yield, but rather on the economics, including long-term soil health, across the whole rotation, it would escalate the value of wheat in the rotation,” she says. More information about manure stewardship and long-term nutrient management options is available at https://www.farmfoodcareon.org/ timing-matters/.

This article is provided by Farm & Food Care Ontario as part of the Timing Matters project. It was funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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FARM MANAGEMENT

HYPOCALCEMIA: WHO IS AT RISK, WHAT IS THE IMPACT AND HOW IS IT TREATED? By Dave Renaud and Steven Roche

CONTRIBUTORS

M

ilk fever, caused by low levels of calcium in the blood, is one of the conditions that can be a real pain. Having to give intravenous calcium and manage down cows can be one of the most challenging parts of a dairy farmer’s job. Fortunately, studies have shown the number of cows affected by milk fever, or clinical hypocalcemia, has been declining over the past few decades, with 2.5 per cent of cows being affected in the first 72 hours after calving. Yet, a recent concerning finding is the high level of subclinical hypocalcemia found on farm. When cows do not show signs of milk fever but have low levels of calcium in their blood, they are experiencing subclinical hypocalcemia. About 25 per cent of cows in their first lactation and 50 per cent of cows in their second or greater lactation may be affected.

WHY DOES IT OCCUR? Calcium is an essential mineral involved in several tissues and physiologic processes, including muscle contraction. In late gestation, cows typically have the calcium they need since it is primarily used for maintaining body tissues and developing calf skeleton at this stage. However, at the beginning of lactation, the cow’s body experiences a huge demand for calcium, particularly because colostrum is very high in calcium. In fact, cows’ demands 34

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

for calcium change from about 10 grams per day for late fetal growth to 30 to 50 g/d in early lactation, which leads to the demand for calcium exceeding the ability of the cows’ body to absorb calcium from bone or their diet. This imbalance is the major reason why producers see very high levels of subclinical hypocalcemia.

WHO IS AT RISK? It is clear the higher the lactation the cows are in, the greater the risk. Those in first lactation have the lowest rate of subclinical and clinical hypocalcemia. Breed also plays a role, with Jerseys being more likely to experience hypocalcemia compared with Holsteins. Some studies have also found cows that have lameness may be at higher risk of hypocalcemia. This is probably a result of lame cows having additional feed intake issues since they are less likely to go to the feed bunk as frequently as non-lame cows.

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES? There are many consequences that occur because of hypocalcemia, but they differ depending on whether a cow is clinically or subclinically affected. Clinical hypocalcemia is a gateway disorder, meaning it is a risk factor for many transition diseases, including dystocia, uterine prolapse, retained placenta, metritis, displaced abomasum, ketosis and mastitis. A clinical case of milk fever also reduces milk production and increases the likelihood of being culled.

Subclinical hypocalcemia can result in significant consequences as well. Cows with subclinical hypocalcemia at two to four days in milk have a greater risk of metritis and a displaced abomasum. In addition, second lactation or greater cows with subclinical hypocalcemia at four days in milk have been shown to have decreased milk production. Some of these consequences could occur due to reduced immune function. Specifically, cows with hypocalcemia will have reduced neutrophil function, a type of white blood cell that is critical in controlling inflammation and responding to infectious disease. This immunosuppression is one of the reasons hypocalcemia is associated with retained placenta, metritis and mastitis.

TREATMENT TO MINIMIZE IMPACT For clinical hypocalcemia, treatment depends on what signs the cows are exhibiting. Early signs of clinical hypocalcemia, or Stage 1, include wobbliness or ataxia, weight-shifting, dull appearance, cold extremities and reduced rumen contractions but the cow will still be standing. Stage 1 hypocalcemia is best treated with oral calcium. Intravenous calcium is not recommended in cases when cows are standing since it can lead to complications that can increase the risk of death, but more commonly, causes a large spike in calcium followed by a significant rebound drop in calcium. Continued on page 36 W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


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Hypocalcemia: Who is at risk, what is the impact and how is it treated?, cont’d from page 34 This is due to cows excreting a higher amount of calcium and not absorbing as much from bone. All this is to say, if a cow is standing and showing early signs of hypocalcemia, intravenous calcium should not be given and oral supplements are the preferred treatment. For cows in Stages 2 or 3 of hypocalcemia, where cows are down, intravenous calcium is needed as soon as possible since irreversible muscle damage can occur quickly. The most

Dave Renaud is an associate consultant with ACER Consulting Ltd. and a veterinary epidemiologist in the department of population medicine at the University of Guelph.

Steven Roche is the director and principal consultant at ACER Consulting.

appropriate dose is to provide one bottle intravenously. Providing two or more bottles of intravenous calcium is not warranted since it will increase the risk of relapse of hypocalcemia and death. Treating subclinical hypocalcemia is a little trickier because veterinarians are currently not able to identify cows in a practical manner, such as a cow side blood test. Therefore, prevention is the best practice.

TAKE AWAY MESSAGES Although the number of cows with clinical hypocalcemia is declining, it’s still a significant issue for the cow and the operation overall. Hypocalcemia causes significant consequences, including increased frequency of transition disease, a higher risk of culling and reduced milk production. To minimize the effects of clinical hypocalcemia, treatment needs to be provided immediately. However, for subclinical hypocalcemia, there are no tests to allow veterinarians to identify and treat this yet.

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ccording to farm financial experts, addressing questions around farm purchase involves creativity in saving, investment and loan management strategies.

FOCUS ON SEGMENTS, NOT THE WHOLE Purchasing the farm is less daunting when done in increments, says BDO Canada’s Coralee Foster. As an accountant and partner based in southwestern Ontario, she believes smaller transactions—with or without a loan—let the incoming generation slowly invest in farm assets while letting the outgoing generation feel more comfortable. “Maybe they’re in a position to buy the next piece of equipment—it might not be the whole parcel,” Foster says. An estate freeze—where the value and tax liability of appreciating assets is frozen, usually to transfer future growth to someone else—is one option, she adds. It’s designed to retire equity over time. Colin Sabourin, financial planner and investment adviser with Winnipeg’s Harbourfront Wealth Management, agrees. “(With this option), any future growth goes to you. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of paying as slowly or as fast as you want.”

DEBT STRATEGIES Sabourin says debt is almost always a reality for those buying a farm. He says the most significant asset many farmers possess for repaying debt is their time, which itself can be leveraged. “You can borrow from mom and dad and work that loan off by putting in hours on the farm,” he says.

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PEOPLE PLAN WELL NOW HE FARM LATER Foster says it’s common for the outgoing generation to provide some financing, which can bring tax advantages if repayment is spread out. Producers may need to do more than just service debt, Foster adds. “Leave room for a poor crop year or a piece of equipment that needs to be replaced unexpectedly. Find the balance.”

TFSA IS NEVER A BAD IDEA If producers do have money to invest, Sabourin says a tax-free savings account (TFSA) is a nobrainer. Assets in a TFSA can include other forms of investment than a savings account, such as stocks and mutual funds for more aggressive saving strategies. “If you’re saving, you should be doing it through a TFSA,” Sabourin says. He generally recommends people saving for land make

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The Engels focus on balanced cows from consistent families, wide from muzzle to pins, efficient and lasting in freestalls with good udders and high components. “We like to be proactive. It’s good for cows and milk quality. We want fresh, crisp, perfect udders by 10 days to 3 weeks fresh. Udder Comfort is the only product to deliver. It gets udders all the way ready, fast.” https://wp.me/pb1wH7-e6

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FARM MANAGEMENT

THREE STEPS TO STAYING ON YOUR FEET By Workplace Safety & Prevention Services

CONTRIBUTOR

W

hen it comes to slips, trips and falls, the numbers speak for themselves: • 80 workers in Ontario are injured every day because of a fall;

• 17,000 lost-time injuries due to falls occur in the workplace each year; • About 20 people die every year on average in Ontario because of workplace falls. Falls from height have the most severe outcome. This could involve a grain bin where harnesses are not used, or falling from grain or hay wagons, ladders, lofts in barns or openings for moving items to lower levels.

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• 80 workers in Ontario are injured every day because of a fall; • 17,000 lost-time injuries due to falls occur in the workplace each year; • About 20 people die every year on average in Ontario because of workplace falls.

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Falls from the same level may not be as catastrophic but account for two-thirds of all fall injuries. These include injuries due to leaked oil on the shop floor, loose cords or hoses, or uneven or slippery surfaces. “The springtime can be particularly tricky,” says Sheila James, a health and safety consultant with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS). “It just takes one surprise earlymorning temperature drop to turn a parking lot into an ice rink. Winter boots are like winter tires. Worn out tread offers no traction. Check them each season and replace them if need be.” Incorporating the “Stop, Think, Act” approach to workplace safety is one way farmers can protect themselves. For example, when mounting a tractor: • Stop – Evaluate the situation and ask what could go wrong; • Think – Could the steps be slippery because of mud or ice? Are the steps damaged? • Act – Make sure to maintain three points of contact. This also goes for dismounting the tractor. It’s remarkable how many claims are made due to people thinking they can just hop off the vehicle. If farmers land on uneven ground, they may suffer sprains. Farmers should pivot and face the tractor as they descend, maintaining three points of contact the whole time. Taking these three steps can be the difference between walking up the stairs after a good day at work or rolling into the hospital with an injury. For more information, refer to WSPS’ fact sheet on preventing falls at https://wsps. news/2TBuNXo.

This article was prepared by Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS). For more information, visit www.wsps.ca or contact WSPS at customercare@wsps.ca.

NEIL WIDEMAN

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31


FARM MANAGEMENT

THORACIC ULTRASOUND Using thoracic ultrasound to help detect respiratory disease in dairy calves By Dave Renaud

CONTRIBUTOR

U

ltrasound has long been an imaging technique used on dairy farms by veterinarians to determine the pregnancy status of an animal. However, this technology is now emerging as a diagnostic and monitoring tool used to help detect respiratory disease in dairy calves.

WHY USE THORACIC ULTRASOUND? Thoracic ultrasound is the most accurate tool available to diagnose respiratory disease in calves. It involves taking an ultrasound probe and running it between the ribs of an animal to identify areas of consolidation in the lung, which are areas where air is not readily passing through. Lung consolidation occurs when there is an infection in the lung that causes white blood cells, dead cells and debris to fill the small airways in the lung, preventing air from passing through. Lung consolidation is one of the first changes to the lungs when disease is present. Calves with lung consolidation often do not show any clinical signs of disease. Thoracic ultrasound is a tool that helps indicate where disease is occurring and provides an idea of when producers can intervene.

HOW OFTEN IS LUNG CONSOLIDATION FOUND?

Calf Care Corner delivers the latest information and ideas to help you improve the way calves are raised on your farm. If you have any comments or questions about Calf Care Corner, send an email to info@calfcare.ca. Follow Calf Care Corner on Facebook and Twitter @CalfCareCorner, and sign up for monthly e-blasts at www.calfcare.ca.

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MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

Several recent studies have shown how common lung consolidation really is. An Ontario study that assessed calves weekly with ultrasound in the preweaning period found 57 per cent of calves had an area of lung consolidation. Comparatively, in Ohio, 73 per cent of calves had lung consolidation when assessed on a weekly basis in the preweaning period. These studies also identified several consequences of having lung consolidation. Specifically, calves with lung consolidation had a 120-gram per day reduction in growth, an increased risk of being removed from the herd prior to first calving, a lower conception rate at first insemination as a heifer, a reduced risk of becoming pregnant and a 525-kilogram reduction in first lactation milk production. Cumulatively, it’s estimated to cost about $400 per calf with lung consolidation. Combining the high rate of lung consolidation with the significant consequences and long-term economic impact means preventing respiratory disease in calves should be high priority for producers.

WHEN AND HOW SHOULD THORACIC ULTRASOUND BE USED? In a research setting, lung ultrasound can be used on a weekly basis. However, on-farm use needs to be a bit more pragmatic. By using ultrasound strategically with the herd veterinarian, producers can better understand how to prevent respiratory disease. Ultrasound can help determine how effectively producers and their calf management team are identifying respiratory disease based on clinical symptoms, such as coughing, where calves are evaluated at the start of treatment to determine the severity of lung consolidation. It could also be used to determine the impact of treatments provided for respiratory disease, where calves are evaluated for lung consolidation seven days after treatment to ensure resolution. Finally, it can be used to evaluate calf barn performance and the farm’s prevention program for respiratory disease, where calves are assessed at set times, such

as weaning, to evaluate trends over time.

HOW CAN LUNG CONSOLIDATION BE PREVENTED? There are four critical areas to consider when aiming to prevent respiratory disease: 1. Colostrum management – Calves with failed transfer of passive immunity are 1.75 times more likely to have respiratory disease; 2. Milk nutrition – Feeding at least eight litres of milk or milk replacer each day in the preweaning period has been shown to reduce respiratory disease; 3. Housing – One of the most critical areas is ensuring calves are housed in a well-ventilated area where air is being delivered without a draft. In addition, providing enough bedding for calves to nest in can help prevent respiratory disease in the winter; 4. Vaccination – The use of intranasal vaccines in the preweaning period has been found to reduce lung consolidation.

TAKE-HOME MESSAGES Thoracic lung ultrasound is a validated method to detect respiratory disease early after its onset. Veterinarians can use lung ultrasound on the farm to better understand how effectively the calf management team is treating, diagnosing and preventing respiratory disease. Finally, lung consolidation can be prevented through excellent colostrum management, feeding a high plane of nutrition, ensuring the calf barn is well ventilated and strategically using intranasal vaccines. Producers should work with their veterinarian to determine how lung ultrasound could work on their farm. This project was funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year federalprovincial-territorial initiative. Dave Renaud is an associate consultant with ACER Consulting Ltd. and a veterinary epidemiologist in the department of population medicine at the University of Guelph.

W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


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DAIRY RESEARCH DAIRY RESEARCH

[

A BETTER FUTURE TOGETHER How LRIC works for its members By Lillian Schaer CONTRIBUTOR

T

he livestock industry plays a key role in the prosperity of the agriculture sector, as well as the broader provincial economy. As the world becomes more complex and intertwined, there’s a growing focus on the need for collaboration to address emerging issues in the sector through research and innovation. Nearly a decade ago, leaders from Ontario’s livestock sector came together with government to form the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) to help create and advance that collaborative approach to research and innovation.

Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) has always had a very strong commitment to research and recently reconfirmed its commitment to LRIC and collaborative research and innovation in the Ontario livestock sector. “We contribute to the continuous improvement of Ontario livestock’s research and innovation sys-

NEW COMMITTEE TO ADD INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES TO ONTARIO LIVESTOCK RESEARCH

A

n international group of experts is bringing global research knowledge and networks to Ontario’s livestock industry. Livestock Research Innovation Corporation’s (LRIC) International Research Advisory Committee will advise the organization on issues, practices and developments across Canada and around the world related to the livestock industry value chain. The eight-member committee is chaired by Jim White, a consultant and former animal health industry executive who is also a director on LRIC’s board. It will focus on how Ontario can adapt global approaches to livestock research and innovation and how LRIC can be most effective in its role as a knowledge broker, as well as identify topics of interest for more in-depth expert study. “LRIC’s mandate is to drive innovation in the Ontario livestock industry, and part of our leadership role on behalf of the sector is to continuously seek new ways to improve research and innovation to drive competitiveness and prosperity,” says Oliver Haan, LRIC’s chair. “There are many things we can learn from other livestock industries around the world and adapt to our needs in Ontario to help ensure our research investments are as effective and impactful as possible.” In addition to White, committee members include: • Stanford Blade, dean of the faculty of agricultural, life and environmental sciences at the University of Alberta; • Paul Dick, president of Paul Dick & Associates in Guelph, Ont.; • Stephen Miller, deputy director at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit in Australia; • Brian Lindsay, director of the Dairy Sustainability Framework in the United Kingdom; • Roberto Soares, corporate coccidiosis vaccine range manager at Ceva Sante Animale in Guelph, Ont.; • Jean Szkotnicki, former president of the Canadian Animal Health Institute and LRIC board member in Guelph, Ont.; • Oliver Haan, LRIC chair in Guelph, Ont. “We look forward to working with our diverse international committee and mining their expertise and insights for the benefit of Ontario’s livestock industry,” says Mike McMorris, chief executive officer of LRIC. 42

MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

tems—the funding, facilities, people and processes related to knowledge creation and the adoption of change along the supply chain,” says Mike McMorris, chief executive officer of LRIC. “And we appreciate the vision of organizations, such as DFO, our partners in this process.” LRIC is a member service organization. One key activity is helping members with setting research priorities, managing and providing support for calls for proposals, selecting projects, reporting requirements and developing an annual document of cross-sectoral research priorities. LRIC also reviews significant national and international reports of interest to livestock agriculture and provides summary highlights to its members. LRIC constantly monitors global developments to identify longer-term challenges and opportunities for the sector. The organization is primarily focused on driving improvement. This means ensuring industry needs drive government research priorities, creating opportunities for collaboration and cross-sector research and promoting more widespread adoption of research outcomes by the livestock industry. Its other core responsibility is providing a strategic focus when it comes to research and innovation in the Ontario livestock sector. “We identify and raise awareness of emerging issues that are affecting the industry or could do so down the road,” McMorris says. “We also work to understand and involve the entire supply chain from production to consumers—we’re all interlinked and dependent on each other.” To bring an international perspective to LRIC’s work, the organization recently launched its International Research Advisory Committee. Chaired by consultant and former animal health industry executive Jim White, the committee will advise the organization on issues, practices and developments across Canada and around the world related to the livestock industry value chain. Continued on page 44 W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


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DAIRY RESEARCH

USASK LIVESTOCK RESEARCH RECEIVES INVESTMENT TO ADVANCE INDUSTRY

S

askatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) will provide more than $6.5 million to support livestock research efforts at the University of Saskatchewan (USask). “This investment helps ensure producers directly connect with the work being done at the university, and also allows new projects to move forward and influence the success of livestock operations,” says Karen Chad, vice-president of research at USask. “Agriculture is one of our signature areas, and we know advances in research and technology form a foundation for economic growth in this vitally important sector in Saskatchewan.” The ADF program is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year $388-million investment by the federal and provincial governments in strategic initiatives for the sector in Saskatchewan. A total of almost $7.6 million from ADF was announced in January for 26 agriculture projects in Saskatchewan and across the country, supplemented by an additional $323,000 from industry partners. “We are thankful for the ongoing support from ADF,” says Dr. Volker Gerdts, director at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). “Infectious diseases continue

to threaten animal health and production. This funding helps ensure our cutting-edge research and development benefits producers.”

FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: • Connecting and communicating with producers ($1.58 million): VIDO will aim to improve animal health and production through enhanced scientific communication, knowledge exchange and vaccine development. This ongoing project will help ensure solutions are developed and communicated to benefit Saskatchewan producers and protect animals from infectious diseases; • Improving forage crops ($332,000): Genetic improvements in bromegrass, an essential forage crop for cattle, have been low due to the genome’s complexity and the lack of efficient analysis tools. Led by plant molecular geneticist Andrew Sharpe, director of genomics and bioinformatics at the Global Institute for Food Security, this project will produce a catalogue of genetic variation for bromegrass, along with predictive models for the breeding process. The resulting information will have a direct impact on the ability of breeders to select the most nutritious varieties of bromegrass that produce

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MARCH 2021 | MILKPRODUCER

the largest yield; • Detecting respiratory viruses ($212,000): Cheryl Waldner, professor of veterinary medicine and research chair at USask, will explore how DNA sequencing can be used to better detect respiratory viruses in feedlot calves. This study will enhance animal health while reducing risk and minimizing economic losses for beef producers. New diagnostic tools for respiratory viruses will inform how to control disease and evaluate the effectiveness of on-farm vaccination programs; • Easing pain in cattle castration ($150,000): Diego Moya, assistant professor of veterinary medicine at Western College, will assess the efficacy of a novel mechanism for delivering pain control during castration of calves. Using a combination of behavioural and physiological traits indicative of pain and discomfort, this research will help develop and promote a strategy that can be widely adopted by the beef industry to improve the health and welfare of castrated calves. Industry funding for USask projects of $258,000 is provided by a wide range of organizations and agencies, including Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers, SaskMilk, Alberta Milk and Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission. For more information on the Agriculture Development Fund, visit https://bit.ly/37n9UoZ.

A better future together: How LRIC works for its members, cont’d from page 42 All key elements of the livestock innovation system will be examined—funding, priorities, effective program management, commercialization and extension. According to McMorris, it’s also important to look for insight and learning opportunities among the issues of the day to better prepare the sector for tomorrow, with COVID-19 serving as the most recent example. The dairy sector was hit with supply chain turbulence early on in the pandemic, and LRIC worked with Dairy at Guelph to host a webinar last fall on lessons learned. “A typical final act of health emergencies is amnesia, where we forget all that we just learned,” he says. “We need to remember and W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


realize the best way to know the future is to create it.” Last year, LRIC launched a new mentorship program to build bridges between new University of Guelph research faculty and the livestock sector. An initial cohort of nine participants from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CPES) are taking part in a mixture of webinar-style and farm visit-based learning. “Having a close working relationship between faculty and industry is key. Knowing industry issues, having the connections and speaking the industry language are foundational in being successful in their work, and ultimately, benefits industry,” McMorris says. Key to making it all work is a forward-facing focus and positive, proactive and professional approach to leadership, coupled with insightful communication. McMorris says LRIC’s vision is to serve as a centralized hub for livestock research, innovation, networking and mentorship—and to be a trusted intermediary between industry, government and academia to advance the needs of the sector. This article is provided by Livestock Research Innovation Corporation as part of its ongoing efforts to drive innovation in the livestock sector. For more information about LRIC, visit www.livestockresearch.ca.

IMPROVING COLOSTRUM ABSORPTION IN CALVES By Marlene Paibomesai

CONTRIBUTOR

C

olostrum is important for passive immunity, neonate nutritional needs and calf development. Colostrum is a source of immune factors, fatty acids and protein that the calf needs early in life. Colostrum components are absorbed by the small intestine to effectively protect and provide nutrition to the neonate calf. Circulating IgG and other immune factors, such as lactoferrin or leukocytes, play an important role in neutralizing pathogens, which protects the calf from disease. The window of absorption is close to birth with gut closure occurring about 12 to 24 hours after birth.

WHAT IMPACTS PASSIVE IMMUNITY TRANSFER? • Colostrum quality – Concentration of 50 grams per litre of IgG; • Timing of colostrum delivery – First feeding within the first hour and no more than six hours for the second feeding; • Cleanliness of the colostrum – Bacterial count should be under 100,000 colony forming units per millilitre; • Quantity of colostrum – At least 200 g of

IgG or four L in the first meal, followed by two L by eight hours; • Slow transition to milk or milk replacer – Mix colostrum and milk over three days. There are ways to assess colostrum standard operating procedures (SOPs) by assessing the calf ’s serum total proteins (STP). STP measures the total protein concentration in circulation in the blood stream. This measurement can be used to estimate the absorption of IgG into the calf. IgG makes up a large portion of the proteins in colostrum and it is a large, but not the only, contributor to passive immunity. The threshold used to determine passive immunity in a calf is ≥10 g of IgG/L and correlates with a STP of ≥5.2 g per decalitre in circulation. Calves that have less than 10 g of IgG/L (5.2g/dL STP) have an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. If a calf fails to reach this threshold, it is considered a failure of passive immunity transfer. A recent cross-sectional study of 444 Holstein calves in Ontario showed 24 per cent of calves had failure of passive immunity transfer, indicating there’s room for improvement on colostrum management programs in Ontario (Renaud et al., 2020). There are some calf-side tests on the market to determine IgG concentration, but there is little research on their accuracy under field conditions. Continued on page 46

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DAIRY RESEARCH

Improving colostrum absorption in calves, cont’d from page 45 Brix refractometers (optical and digital) can be used to determine total solids and relative IgG concentration in colostrum. Refractometers can also be used to determine how well the calf absorbed colostrum by assessing STP. It’s important to note refractometers used for STP have a different scale than the Brix refractometer, so be sure to check the refractometer used for STP is intended for that use. Serum is the clear yellowish liquid left after blood clotting. Serum can be isolated from a blood sample by centrifuging or by leaving a blood sample for 24 hours. Once the serum has separated, researchers, veterinarians or producers can take a small drop and apply it to the well of the digital refractometer or the lens of the optical refractometer, as shown in Figure 1.

STP DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLOSTRUM REPLACER AND DAM’S COLOSTRUM

Figure 1: Examples of a digital (A) and optical (B) refractometer with samples being applied to the sample well and lens.

Research by Lopez, et al. 2020, evaluated colostrum programs on-farm by testing STP of calves. In this study, researchers aimed to validate the accuracy of digital refractometry to evaluate absorption of colostrum components by the calf when fed the dam’s colostrum (n=927 calves) or a colostrum replacer (n= 1,258 calves). Researchers used preexisting data that had pre-colostrum blood samples to confirm the calf had not suckled, and post-colostrum blood

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samples at 24 to 48 hours after calving to determine STP and IgG concentration. Blood samples were spun by centrifuge to separate the serum. Calves fed the dam’s colostrum had a STP of 5.8 g/dL and 22.81 g of IgG/L. Serum IgG strongly correlated (81 per cent) with STP measurements. Of the calves that were sampled, 4.2 per cent of calves had failure of passive immunity transfer. These results suggest STP by digital refractometry is a good measure to determine calves with failure of passive immunity transfer and those that had successful passive transfer. In contrast, STP was not accurate enough to determine failure of passive transfer of calves fed colostrum replacer. STP of calves fed colostrum replacer was 5.15 g/dL and 12.78 g/L of IgG in circulation. The failure of passive transfer of calves fed colostrum replacer was 27.26 per cent. Lopez et al., 2020, suggest the STP threshold should be lower than 5.2g/dL. The difference in STP is due to differences in protein content between colostrum replacer and the dam’s colostrum. The suggested threshold was 4.9g/dL. Even with the lower STP threshold, the accuracy is still poor, and researchers suggested producers who feed colostrum replacer only use STP to determine trends in the herd or evaluate IgG directly using another method. This is an area of continued research.

A recent cross-sectional study of 4

showed 24 per cent of calves had

transfer, indicating there’s room for

management programs in Ontario. W W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


Monitoring passive immunity transfer in the herd gives an indication of whether there are improvements needed in colostrum management protocols or if protocols are not being followed. Once gut closure has occurred by 24 hours, it is not possible to increase IgG concentration in circulation in the bloodstream of the calf. The calf will be reliant on low pathogen load and low stress in the environment. There has been some research in feeding colostrum after the first day of life and the benefits to the calves. It may improve gut health but will not increase IgG circulation.

NEW THRESHOLDS TO EVALUATE PASSIVE TRANSFER Routinely assessing colostrum SOPs by STP to determine successful passive transfer is recommended. Testing STP or IgG in circulation will help determine whether the timing, cleanliness and quantities of colostrum are meeting the needs of the calf. Recent research in the United States uses four categories to determine poor to excellent absorption of IgG by the calf based on data from the U.S. National Animal Health Monitoring Systems, shown in Table 1 (Lombard et al., 2020). The categories allow for producers to evaluate their colostrum management program on the entire herd instead of individual calves. This allows dairy producers to increase the number of calves in the good and excellent categories, which is associated with decreased mortality and morbidity. Recent work shows 24 per cent of calves still experience failure of passive immunity transfer, which puts them at risk of disease early in life. This shows there is room for improvement in colostrum SOPs and consistency. Testing colostrum quality will ensure adequate colostrum is delivered to every calf. Refractometers are useful tools to evaluate colostrum quality and STP, which are critical to lowering the rates of failure of passive immunity transfer.

Table 1: Four categories of calf serum IgG (g/L) (adopted from Lombard et al., 2020) Category Excellent

Serum IgG (g/L) Serum total protein (g/dL)

Serum Brix %

% of calves

≥25.0

≥6.2

≥9.4

>40%

Good

18.0-24.9

5.8-6.1

8.9-9.3

30%

Fair

10.0-17.9

5.1-5.7

8.1-8.8

20%

Poor

<10.0

<5.1

<8.1

<10%

Evaluating colostrum absorption in calves fed the dam’s colostrum is to assess STP by refractometry, aiming for ≥5.2 g/dL, which correlates to ≥10 g/L of IgG. Refractometers are not as accurate when assessing colostrum replacer absorption and should only be used to determine trends in the herd. Ensure the refractometer producers use to determine STP is designed for STP. The different scales could cause confusion when assessing STP. Assessing herd level colostrum management using the four categories in Table 1 will allow for overall improvement and ongoing assessment of colostrum management.

References: Renaud et al. (2020) J. Dairy Sci. 103:8369-8377. Lopez et al. (2020) J Dairy Sci.104:2032-2039. Lombard et al. (2020) J Dairy Sci. 103:7611-7624. Marlene Paibomesai is a dairy specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

This article is prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs livestock technology specialists to provide information producers can use on their farm.

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TRACKING ANTIMICROBIAL USE AND R TO IMPROVE STEWARDSHIP, ANIMAL HE By Shelley Crabtree CONTRIBUTOR

T

he increase in antimicrobial resistance in dairy cattle could have adverse effects on animal health and welfare, impacting the profitability of dairy farms. About 48 per cent of antibiotics prescribed for a dairy

farm are to treat mastitis infections in cattle. While most mastitis pathogens are low in antimicrobial resistance, choosing and using other antimicrobials to treat dairy cattle can result in the transfer of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria other than mastitis pathogens. Researchers are developing a surveillance program to measure antimicrobial use (AMU) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on Cana-

PROJECT OVERVIEW Principal investigators: Javier Sanchez and Luke Heider (University of Prince Edward Island) Co-investigators: David Leger (Public Health Agency of Canada), J Trenton McClure, Greg Keefe (University of Prince Edward Island), Simon Dufour (Université de Montréal), Herman Barkema (University of Calgary), David Kelton (University of Guelph), Christopher Luby (University of Saskatchewan) and Kapil Tahlan (Memorial University of Newfoundland) Collaborators: Marie Archambault, David Francoz, André Ravel, Jean-Phillipe Roy (Université de Montréal), Jeroen De Buck (University of Calgary), Scott McEwen, Jan Sargeant, Scott Weese (University of Guelph), Cheryl Waldner (University of Saskatchewan) and Richard Reid Smith (Public Health Agency of Canada) Period: 2018-23 Partners: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada Total budget: $1,582,087

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dian dairy farms, as well as investigating the effectiveness of antimicrobial stewardship protocols and programs. Led by researchers Javier Sanchez and Luke Heider from the University of Prince Edward Island, along with collaborators from across Canada, the team is collecting data and information to help support farmers’ efforts in applying effective antimicrobial stewardship practices. The team has developed a platform to collect data and monitor AMU and AMR, which is called the Canadian Dairy Network of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Resistance (CaDNetASR). The network is designed to conform with the Federal Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use in Canada, as well as proAction’s food safety and biosecurity modules. Data is being collected on about 150 dairy farms in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island annually. “The network has been very active since the funding of the project, and even under COVID-19, we are completing the second year of data collection,” Sanchez says. “We’re focused on two major activities in the network. The first is the harmonization of veterinary clinic dispensing records to quantify the use of the antimicrobials in each of the participating farms.” He says this is being conducted with the active participation of veterinary clinics representing the study farms. The second activity is the development of intervention strategies to assess their impact on mastitis, cow health and animal welfare. “In addition, we are finalizing the data management system that will allow the generation of reports to send back to producers with their antimicrobial usage and antimicrobial resistance profiles compared with the other study farms,” he says. To provide antimicrobial use data estimates, treatment records logged as part of proAction’s food safety and biosecurity modules and the retrieval of receptacles placed on farms for depositing empty drug bottles and containers are being used. To measure antimicrobial resistance on dairy farms, fecal, environmental and bulk tank milk samples are beW W W.MILK PRODUCER.CA


RESISTANCE EALTH

SEVEN FACTS ABOUT ANTIBIOTIC USE AND ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE IN THE CANADIAN DAIRY SECTOR

ing taken and analyzed. The information will serve as a base for the development and testing of evidence-based and effective tools for farmers and their veterinarians, such as standard operating procedures (SOPs). “CaDNetASR has also developed a repository of bacterial isolates that, along with the other data being generated, will allow for future analysis and studies on AMU and AMR on Canadian dairy farms,” Heider says. The project outcomes will support farmers in continuing to use antimicrobials responsibly, apply efficient antimicrobial stewardship practices and assure the continued health and welfare of dairy animals and the safety of food for consumers. The project summary can be accessed at DairyResearch.ca in the Research Funding Programs section.

1. Under proAction, milk is produced according to strict provincial and federal regulations and high standards regarding antibiotic use to treat sick animals. proAction milk quality and food safety standards are among the highest in the world.

References: Adapted from: Bauman CA et al. Canadian National Dairy Study: Herd-level milk quality. J Dairy Sci. 2018 Mar;101(3):2679-2691. World Health Organization, Antibiotic Resistance – How it Spreads, www.who.int/drugresistance Oliver SP et al. Impact of antibiotic use in adult dairy cows on antimicrobial resistance of veterinary and human pathogens. Foodborne Pathog Dis; 2016; 8(3):337–55. 3. Call DR et al. Antimicrobial resistance in beef and dairy cattle production. Anim Health Res Rev. 2008; 9(2):159–67. Bengtsson B et al. Antimicrobial susceptibility of udder pathogens from cases of acute clinical mastitis in dairy cows. Vet Microbiol. 2009; 136(1– 2):142–9. Cameron M et al. Antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of environmental streptococci recovered from bovine milk samples in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Front Vet Sci. 2016; 3(79).

7. Prevention is key in the selection and use of antimicrobials in dairy, but the pressures to select and use antimicrobials to treat animals more rapidly for better health can result in the emergence and transfer of bacteria that are resistant.

Shelley Crabtree is the communications and knowledge transfer specialist for the Dairy Research Cluster.

2. Dairy farmers use antibiotics to treat sick animals if necessary and as directed on the prescribed medication label and directives given by the herd’s veterinarian. 3. Canadian milk is free of antibiotics. Cows treated with antibiotics for a medical reason are clearly identified, and the milk is discarded. The milk does not reenter the system until the mandatory withdrawal time has been met to ensure the medication is out of the animal’s system. 4. All milk is tested for antibiotic residues at the time it is picked up from a farm and again when it reaches the processing plant to guarantee it is antibiotic-free. 5. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause. 6. Antimicrobial resistance development in major pathogenic bacteria found in dairy cows does not yet appear to be a major problem in North America. Most antibiotic treatments are to treat mastitis, and the levels of antimicrobial resistance remain low in mastitis pathogens.

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DAIRY RESEARCH

ESTIMATING VARIATION IN DAILY ENERGY FLOWS WITH AUTOMATED DATA COLLECTION By Kendra Hall

CONTRIBUTOR

R

esearchers at the University of Guelph’s Centre for Nutrition Modelling (CNM) have been investigating the efficacy of integrating technologies that automatically collect data to better understand energy flows in dairy cattle. The dairy industry has a growing interest in technologies that automatically milk, feed and record data on individual cows. Technology creates an opportunity to target precise nutritional interventions to individual cows in real time to optimize production and health. By measuring performance data on individual cows, producers can easily see changes in real time that indicate oncoming illness, allowing for rapid intervention. One major area of concern for dairy producers is the loss associated with health in early lactation. During early lactation, cows have increased energy demands on their body to produce milk. However, their dietary intake is insufficient during this period to meet the increased demands. This leads to a negative energy balance (NEB), leaving cows vulnerable to disease and decreased production, which can be costly. Energy balance (EB) is hard to calculate since the exact values of energy input and output are hard to measure. However, new technologies focused on individualized management can potentially be used to determine a more accurate real-time estimate of EB, allowing early intervention to help avoid added costs due to health complications and decreased production. Researchers used automated systems, each estimating different parts of the nutritive EB in dairy cows, and evaluated variation associated with integrating three systems. EB was estimated using data from Insentec feeders, the DeLaval rotary parlour, DeLaval walk-over scale and 3D imaging camera, and a GreenFeed emission monitoring system (GEM). These automated systems were used to record daily dry matter intake (DMI), milk yield, body weight, body condition score, re-

spiratory CO2, O2 and CH4 exchanges of 29 Holstein cows (between 22 to 472 DMI) for 29 days at the Livestock Research and Innovation Centre – Dairy Facility in Elora, Ont. Diet and milk energy flows were estimated according to National Research Council Canada (NRC) (2001). Heat production was estimated from respiratory gas exchange. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) estimated variation in observations due to fixed effects of cow and day. Heat production averaged at 35.7 ± 3.8 megacalories per day and was the least variable measure of energy. Root mean square errors due to cow and day, respectively, were 39.2 and 18.7 per cent of the mean for heat production. When all measures were compared on average, the variation within cows was less than between cows, emphasizing the importance of recording and monitoring individual cows when estimating EB. Respiratory gas exchange using the GEM can account for individual variation and provide real-time HP measurements, which can be used to calculate accurate estimates of EB. Cows were voluntarily using the GEM on average four times per day, with an average duration of 6.23 minutes. Hopefully, the voluntary use will allow recorded gas exchange technology to be more easily integrated on-farm. Additionally, the equations given by NRC seem to overestimate energy balance compared with real-time HP measurements. Remote, automated data collection may assist in the goal of precision feeding and improving the overall health and production of dairy cows. The automated technology investigated in this study, mainly respiratory gas exchange, demonstrates the ability to calculate real-time EB and individual variation between cows. This could be used to minimize the incidences of NEB that occur during early lactation. Further, these results indicate integrating multiple automated technologies on-farm could allow producers to monitor individual cows easily and adjust management in real time. The results described in this article are based on research funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and Food from Thought, and performed by PhD student Patty Kedzierski, under the supervision of Dr. John Cant, professor at the University of Guelph. For more information on this project, contact Kedzierski at pkedzier@uoguelph.ca. For more information on the Centre for Nutrition Modelling, visit www.cnm.uoguelph.ca. References: Bell, A.W. 1995. Regulation of organic nutrient metabolism during transition from late pregnancy to early lactation. J. Anim. Sci. 73:2804–2819. Ingvartsen, K.L. 2006. Feeding- and management-related diseases in the transition cow: Physiological adaptations around calving and strategies to reduce feeding-related diseases. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 126:175–213. Thorup, V.M., M.G.G. Chagunda, A. Fischer, M.R. Weisbjerg, and N.C. Friggens. 2018. Robustness and sensitivity of a blueprint for on-farm estimation of dairy cow energy balance. J. Dairy Sci. 101:6002–6018. NRC. 2001. Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle. 7th rev. ed. Natl. Acad. Sci., Washington, D.C. Kedzierski, P. M. (2020) Estimating daily energy flows in freestall-housed dairy cattle with automated data collection [Master’s thesis]. University of Guelph. Kendra Hall

is the communications co-ordinator for the Centre for Nutrition Modelling at the University of Guelph.

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NATURAL ALTERNATIVE FOR SCOUR TREATMENT & PREVENTION

IMPROVING PREGNANCY SUCCESS IN HEIFERS By Jennifer Shea

CONTRIBUTOR

N

ovaVive Inc., an animal health immunobiology company, has announced an abstract, which was presented at the 2021 International Embryo Technology Society (IETS) Virtual Conference in January, is now available online in the Journal of Reproduction, Fertility and Development. The abstract summarizes a research study evaluating the use of mycobacterium cell wall fraction (MCWF) in heifer embryo transfer recipients. The research was led by Dr. J. Manuel Palomino, reproductive specialist at Boviteq Inc. The objective of Dr. Palomino’s research was to determine the effect of MCWF on pregnancy success in heifer recipients. Synchronized Holstein heifers were divided to be treated either with a single IM injection of Amplimune on the day of heat (MCWF group, n=292) or with no Amplimune (control group, n=296). Frozen in vitro produced

embryos were transferred seven to eight days later. Researchers found pregnancy per embryo transfer (P/ET) at day 60 was higher (P<0.05) in the Amplimune group compared with the control group (58 per cent versus 48 per cent, respectively). In addition, they found 78 per cent of all synchronized heifers in the Amplimune group (versus 59 per cent in the control group) were suitable to receive an embryo at the day of transfer and received an embryo. As a result, pregnancy per synchronized recipient at day 60 was greatly improved in the Amplimune group, with 131 of 292 heifers pregnant (45 per cent) compared with the control group, with 83 of 296 heifers pregnant (28 per cent). Researchers concluded treatment with MCWF at the day of heat increased the number of recipients used for embryo transfer and improved the P/ET at day 60. They also noted MCWF treatment greatly increased the number of recipients receiving embryos and, therefore, was a much more efficient approach to having a recipient heifer pregnant at day 60.

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NEW N NOTED

CANADIAN FORAGE AND GRASSLAND ASSOCIATION UPDATE By Canadian Forage & Grassland Association

CONTRIBUTOR

T

his is an exciting time for the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA). There are several projects on the go, as well as workshops planned for the weeks ahead. If you're looking for more professional development, the recordings of all presentations from the 2020 CFGA conference are also available through their online store.

PROJECT UPDATES Rounding the corner on the CFGA Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) project, CFGA continues to work with provincial partners to complete project questionnaires and plan and deliver project summary webinars in the provinces. A follow-up project, leveraging the successes of the AGGP project, is in the works, and details will come. This is not a one-and-done project, as exhibited in the recent announcement of federal carbon offset system protocols being considered for Canadian agriculture. CFGA continues to work on Environment and Climate Change Canada-funded work to build tools and training events that will support habitat stewardship and biodiversity enhancements across Canada. Tool development continued throughout the fall and winter, and workshops are now taking place in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Two new exciting funding packages have been awarded to CFGA that will advance its understanding of how and why alfalfa yield and quality varies between years and over landscapes. Initial planning work with field advisers is ongoing and the association looks forward

to bringing updates on this innovative project through the winter and into spring as it works toward the 2021 CFGA conference.

PROFITABLE PASTURES 2021 The CFGA was excited to participate in the Ontario Forage Council’s (OFC) Profitable Pastures 2021. OFC offered four free webinars from March 9 to 12, with CFGA’s executive director Cedric MacLeod speaking on March 12 about carbon markets for forage farmers.

CFGA 2020 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS AVAILABLE Access to the CFGA 11th annual conference proceedings is still available for $150 plus taxes and fees for one-month access or $300 plus taxes and fees. Topics included forage fertility, weed control, harvesting, data management and storage. If you would like access to presentation recordings, panel discussions and question and answers, as well as the chat logs captured during these sessions, you can purchase access at http://canadianfga.com/2020/. To receive updates from CFGA, visit www.canadianfga.ca/cfga-newsletter-sign-up.

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