Milk Producer Late Summer 2023

Page 18

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

THE VOICE OF ONTARIO DAIRY PRODUCERS LATE SUMMER 2023 FIXING THE TANGLED WEB OF RURAL INTERNET Plus, cow exercise areas and managing heat stress Pg 30 40063866 Publications Mail Sales Agreement No FARM MANAGEMENT ISSUE
On-farm tips to manage everything from risk to finances to people
Peace of mind with traceability It’s important to trace a disease event so we can stop an outbreak like mad cow and foot-and-mouth before it becomes a really major issue. ” For Larenwood Farms, traceability is important to build public trust and ensure that our industry can thrive by providing protection, prosperity, and peace of mind. What does traceability mean to you? Chris McLaren, Larenwood Farms Milking 120 cows in Drumbo, Ontario “ DairyTrace.ca • 1-866-55-TRACE (1-866-558-7223) • info@DairyTrace.ca Meet dairy producers across Canada in our video series as they share why and how they implement traceability on their farm.

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Chris McCullough, Jeanine Moyer, Dianne Priamo, Robert Price, Lilian Schaer, Elsa Vasseur

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CON TENTS Late Summer 2023 | Vol. 99 No. 4
22
ON THE COVER FARM MANAGEMENT 14 Valuing Digestate 16 Plastics Alternatives 19 Rural Internet 28 Dreams Come True 30 Heat Stress 32 Cattle Exercise 34 Navel Health 36 Targeted Genetic Selection PROFILE 12 Sabrina Van Schyndel DEPARTMENTS 4 Board Editorial 6 The Explainer – Farm Management 8 DFO Policy Updates 10 Your Dollars at Work: Scholarships 40 Ad Index 42 Back40 19
While farm management may look different for everyone, a written plan is essential for making critical decisions. A robust plan covering finances, production, people, transition and risk, minimizes the impact of stressors.

RISK MANAGEMENT

When my wife and I started farming, we had nothing.

We had immigrated from the Netherlands three years earlier and at the time, our motto regarding risk management was that if things went wrong and we lost everything, it wasn’t so bad. We had nothing to lose, other than our pride. During the early days of milking eight cows, our long-term goal was to milk in a freestall. As the farm grew, and with more to lose, our approach toward risk changed.

Dairy farming is a very capital-intensive industry. With today’s rising interest rates, it’s more important than ever to understand the purpose and consequences of major investments.

No two farms are managed the same way. For each producer and farm, the appetite for risk depends on each individual situation and each producer’s personality. Producers

approach this in diverse ways that suit their individual needs. Many factors come into play, including family situations, priorities, long-term goals and financial constraints. Risk is managed in a way that makes sense for each farm and business.

As a DFO board, the need to manage risk is the same, although the approach is different. We manage toward a common goal of what is best for the dairy industry, while mitigating the risk for dairy producers in Ontario. We know producers are affected by each decision DFO’s board makes whether they are short or long-term strategic goals, setting policy or doing damage control. That is why the board consults with staff at all levels throughout the decision-making process, as well as experts from outside of DFO, if necessary, to ensure we have the knowledge to make the best decision we can.

Setting clear goals and executing them in the best possible way, with help from industry partners, will help you achieve your objectives on your farm, with the level of risk you can manage.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 4 MNP.ca/onag It’s more than your livelihood, it’s your life. You deserve an advisor who really gets what’s on the line. Jordan Bowles, CPA, CGA 226.775.3033 | jordan.bowles@mnp.ca
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BOARD EDITORIAL
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Finance

• Understand your financial position and projections

• Maintain and analyze financial records: income statements, balance sheet, cash flow summary, budgets

• Identify debt management strategies

FARM MANAGEMENT

BUSINESS PLAN BASICS

Building a resilient and prosperous farm starts with a plan.

A robust farm business management plan provides an overview of the farm operation and accounts for every aspect that affects profitability, growth and resiliency. Producers who invest in a solid business plan are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges.

A business plan can be a roadmap for making informed decisions, as well as achieving goals. Build these basics into a farm management plan for success.

Production

• Monitor and understand your cost of production

• Calculate current capacity and investments required for growth

• Evaluate economies of scale

• Identify opportunities to increase efficiencies

FARM BUSINESS MANAGEMENT PLANNING

People

• Identify management structure and labour requirements

• Establish employee onboarding and training procedures

• Consider family dynamics and working relationships

• Develop an employee retention strategy

Transition

• Plan for the future of your farm

• Identify tax planning strategies

• Draft a will and estate plan that includes succession

Marketing (on-farm processing)

• Determine your competitive advantage

• Recognise customers and marketing opportunities

• Manage customer and industry relationships

Risk Management

• Analyze and assess farm business risks

• Consider risks beyond your control including economy, consumer, environment

• Adopt tools such as forward contracting, pre-paying inputs, etc.

• Develop action plans to prepare for various situations

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 6 THE EXPLAINER: FARM MANAGEMENT
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DFO POLICY UPDATES

TAKING OWNERSHIP

DAIRY FARMERS OF ONTARIO (DFO) would like to remind producers to ensure licence ownership information is always kept up-todate as per the following policy:

Section A, General Regulations and Policies

#14 Ownership Information

(a) Complete, accurate and up-to-date information on ownership of dairy business enterprises is required by DFO to enable it to administer its quota policies in a fair and equitable manner.

(d) All producers must specifically agree to consent to cooperate with DFO for DFO to obtain full information on the producer, ownership of the business enterprise if not an individual, the producer’s operations, the producer’s business associates, the producer’s creditors or any corporation, partnership or other business entity involved in the marketing of milk in which the producer has an interest.

All producers received letters last fall detailing the ownership information DFO has on file for each licence. Please ensure the information is reflective of current ownership or contact

your Field Services Representative (FSR) to complete the appropriate forms or if you have any questions. If the information is correct, no action is required.

DFO POLICY BOOK UPDATES

Quota Policy Book

Shared Facilities - Renovations of Current Facilities

DFO’s board has updated the shared facilities policy related to renovations, for instances where some of the herd will continue to be milked during the renovations.

Raw Milk Quality Program Policy

Reminder: Graduated Inspection Schedule policy took effect June 1

At the April 2023 board meeting, the board made changes to the Graduated Inspection Schedule (GIS) policy.

The purpose of the GIS is to ensure farms that do not meet Grade A standards are inspected more often. Producers must consistently demonstrate they can maintain Grade A standards before returning to the regular inspection cycle. Conditional Grade A farms have been removed

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 8 POLICY CORNER
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from the GIS. As a result, only farms classified as Non-Grade A and Unsanitary Non- Grade A with be entered into the GIS.

The policy has been updated as follows: Farms that receive a classification of Unsanitary Non -Grade A or Non-Grade A will be inspected according to a GIS.

Under the GIS, farms are inspected at intervals shorter than every 12 months as determined by the farm’s initial classification, as follows:

• Non-Grade A – approximately every six months;

• Unsanitary Non-Grade A – approximately every three months.

Farm inspection fees apply to inspections performed under the GIS or ordered by the Director.

Please contact your Field Service Representative for further information about the GIS.

Updated policy books are posted on the industry website, under Programs & Policies in the left navigation.

P5 MESSAGE

Changes in SNF Tier 2 Payment Policy

Since 2021, the price paid for SNF with a SNF/BF ratio between the market ratio (2.0) and the maximum ratio (2.20 - SNF in tier 2) has been paid at the monthly class 4a SNF price.

As part of the 2022-2023 annual assessment of the payment policy parameters, an analysis of revenue distribution per kilogram in tier 1 and tier 2 components revealed a discrepancy between the current tier 2 price and actual market compensation for surplus SNF.

As a result, the P5 Boards have approved the following change in the price paid for SNF in tier 2, effective August 1, 2023:

• Protein: 70 percent of the 4a price

• Lactose and other solids: 70 percent of $0.90/kg, equal to $0.63/kg

SNF below the 2.00 SNF/BF market ratio will continue to be paid at withinquota rates, as per the payment policy. The reduction in payment for SNF in tier 2 will allow the payment for tier 1 butterfat and protein to be increased, in accordance with the application of the payment policy.

The P5 quota committee will continue to evaluate the payment policy annually and update its parameters as necessary.

9 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA • LATE SUMMER 2023 • S ILO- K I NG S ILO- K I NG® Forage & Grain Treatment NEIL WIDEMAN (519) 577-6893 (800) 435-9560 AGRIKING.COM/CANADA 16 DIFFERENT ENZYMES TO PREDIGEST FIBRE MULTIPLE STRAINS OF LACTIC ACID BACTERIA USES ANTIOXIDANTS TO LIMIT RESPIRATION IMPROVE CELL WALL DIGESTIBILITY REDUCES pH FOR A MORE STABLE ENSILING PROCESS

DFO SELECTS 2023 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

DAIRY FARMERS OF ONTARIO (DFO) proudly sponsors an annual scholarship program, which offers $3,000 scholarships to high school students entering a post-secondary degree or diploma program in agriculture. DFO is pleased to announce the recipients of the scholarships for 2023.

YOUR DOLLARS AT WORK
Avery Bakker from Oxford county, BSc Animal Biology, University of Guelph GraceAnn Kroondijk from Brant county, BSc Agriculture, University of Guelph Alison Eyre from Leeds county, BSc Agriculture, University of Guelph Gwenyth McKay from Perth county, Biomedical Science, University of Guelph Kaitlin Smith from Middlesex, Associate Diploma in Agriculture, Ridgetown College
• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 10
Aaron Morton from Peterborough county, BSc Agriculture, University of Guelph

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PARTNERSHIPS KEY FOR THE FUTURE OF LARGE ANIMAL VETERINARY SCIENCE

SABRINA VAN SCHYNDEL DIDN’T GROW UP ON A FARM, but rural living influenced her career trajectory from the time she was a little girl.

“From a young age, I was involved in 4-H and owned, showed and cared for animals I kept at nearby farms,” Van Schyndel says. “I was super fortunate to have neighbours and friends in the farming community who put up with my insistence to spend every spare minute helping with chores and working with livestock. My first real job was milking on a dairy farm and I have worked in the dairy industry ever since.”

That persistence would lead her to the University of Guelph, first for a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences, followed by a master of science in epidemiology at the Ontario Veterinary College.

Her master’s research, supervised by Dr. Stephen LeBlanc, included a controlled trial of an immune stimulant to help prevent disease in peripartum dairy cows. The study involved 1,600 cows from six herds – two in Ontario and four in Quebec. She sampled up to 100 cows each week over the course of a year. The study was published in the Journal of Dairy Science with Van Schyndel as its first author. She later analyzed the data from that trial to produce a second paper on the physiology and mechanism of action of the product in her clinical trial, which was published in PLOS ONE. After graduate school, she worked with dairy farmers as a robotic milking adviser for dairy equipment company, GEA.

Van Schyndel began her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) studies in 2020. The program is competitive, accepting just 120 students each year, only five of whom are graduate students.

“I was motivated and determined to get in and I had no doubt the time I spent completing my masters and working for GEA North America would make me a better practitioner,” she says.

Now, as a new graduate, Van Schyndel is practicing as a bovine veterinarian with Kirkton Veterinary Services in Kirkton, Ont. She was also recently awarded the 2023 Nandi Scholarship from the Theriogenology Foundation for her accomplishments and promise in bovine reproductive medicine.

“Sabrina is going into veterinary practice at a large clinic that includes a leading advanced embryo transfer and IVF practice in this part of Canada,” LeBlanc says. “She will surely move quickly and successfully into this area of the practice, putting her years of experience and learning into clinical application.”

Van Schyndel has big plans for the future. “In the next 10 years, I want to help bridge the communication gap between producers, farm workers, nutritionists, animal scientists and equipment specialists in the farming community as we work together using precision technology to positively impact animal health management,” she says. “Veterinarians are a crucial member in this alliance of experts.”

LeBlanc speaks highly of his former student and sees her making an impact as a large animal veterinarian.

“Sabrina has the skills, energy, intellectual curiosity and engagement to be an outstanding veterinarian who will contribute to the application and improvement of bovine theriogenology. Her commitment to food animal producers and their animals will advance food supply veterinary medicine and animal welfare.”

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 12 PROFILE
Katie Duncan is Communications Specialist for Dairy at Guelph and Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). Sabrina Van Schyndel believes vets are a crucial member in a producer's alliance of experts.
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NUTRIENT-RICH DIGESTATE IS A VALUABLE ON-FARM RESOURCE

BIOGAS AND RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS (RNG) ARE THE PRIMARY FOCUS OF ANAEROBIC DIGESTION, but digestate is another valuable output that should not be overlooked.

Digestate is the residual material leftover after organic matter – such as manure or food waste – and is processed through digestion. Composed of both liquid and solid portions, it’s a nutrient-rich product that contains virtually all the macro and micronutrients found in the original material before it went into the digester.

For farmers, digestate can be a sustainable resource that can help reduce input costs, improve soil health and build a circular economy.

Rob McKinlay, who operates Harcolm Farms with his family near Woodstock, Ont., installed North America’s first small, farm-scale anaerobic digester in 2017. The 20 kilowatt (kW) mini digester system is fed only on-farm material from the 85-cow dairy, including manure and small amounts of corn silage.

In addition to generating electricity to offset the farm’s needs and fulfil MicroFIT and Net Meter contracts (to sell excess energy produced back to the grid), his system produces digestate, which he separates for different uses.

“We chose to install a bedding system so when the digestate comes out of the digester, it goes through a screw press to separate the solids, which we then use for bedding the cattle,” he explains. The system is automated, meaning a cart of digestate-

based bedding is delivered to the freestall barn daily.

After the separation process, McKinlay stores the liquid digestate in his manure pit and uses it as an organic fertilizer to spread on crops.

“We spread it on cover crops, try to get multiple applications through the growing

season and have been able to offset quite a bit of commercial fertilizer by doing that,” he says, noting the nutrients in digestate, such as ammonium (NH4), are more readily available to the crop compared with dairy manure.

Digestate can also be used as a soil amendment because it has characteristics similar to compost. It supplies the soil with

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 14
ON-FARM PROGRAMS
The nutrients in digestate are more readily available to the crop compared with dairy manure.
Harcolm Farms, near Woodstock, Ont., installed North America’s first farm-scale anaerobic digester in 2017.

organic matter and many slow-release macro and micronutrients that will benefit the land for multiple years.

All the best management practices (BMPs) for managing crop nutrients still apply, McKinlay says. Like manure or other fertilizer, it’s important to know the characteristics of your digestate and soil before application. Farmers should collect representative samples for laboratory analysis and follow the “4Rs” of nutrient stewardship: right rate, right place, right time and right method.

Rebecca Hannam is an agricultural communications professional who grew up in a grain farming family near Guelph, Ont. She has a degree in agricultural business from the University of Guelph. Communications in agriculture is a passion.

NEW MANAGEMENT GUIDE AVAILABLE

The Canadian Biogas Association recently released the first-ever Canadian Digestate Management Guide. The guide summarizes BMPs for farmers to use digestate as a fertilizer or soil amendment.

“We worked directly with stakeholders and subject matter experts to develop this guide,” says Jennifer Green, Executive Director, Canadian Biogas Association. “It’s a very practical guide that’s focused on maximizing the benefits of the safe use of digestate products.”

The full guide is available by request at www.biogasassociation.ca.

Two complimentary brochures, Digestate 101 and Best Management Practices for Digestate, are available at www. farmingbiogas.ca.

15 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA • LATE SUMMER 2023 •

DAIRY FARMERS SUPPORT RESEARCH INTO AG PLASTICS ALTERNATIVES

AS CANADA CONTINUES DOWN THE PATH OF PHASING OUT SINGLEUSE PLASTIC, agriculture must find replacements for everything from bale wrap and silage bags to semen straws and more.

A research team at the University of Guelph, led by Dr. Erica Pensini, is working on finding those alternatives, with funding from Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

Agricultural plastics often contain contaminants that make them harder to recycle, but even if they didn’t, plastics recycling overall isn’t as effective as it could be. Only nine per cent of Canada’s annual plastic waste production is recycled, with the rest going into landfill, waste-to-energy facilities or into the environment, noted Pensini during a recent webinar hosted by Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC).

Pensini and her team have been exploring different options, starting with a versatile and simple-to-work-with corn protein called Zein. Tested as a spray-on film, it dried rapidly and although it prevented erosion and run-off in the lab, it was less successful in the field. That’s because its tortilla chiplike flavour is also extremely appealing to rodents.

Adding linseed or tung oil kept the rodents away but also created a rigid bioplastic that can be mixed with natural fibres to make plant pots. It wasn’t flexible enough, however, so researchers mixed it with cutin, a component found in tomato and grape skins. Although this created a waterrepellent coating – with the added benefit of repurposing a food processing waste product – the product was hard to make and

didn’t meet the level of stretchiness needed for applications like bale wrap.

This led Pensini’s team to consider using vegetable oils, such as linseed or soybean oil, as the base for a spray-on film but on-farm tests with hay revealed the liquid penetrated the layers and farmer feedback showed interest in a prefabricated film instead of a spray-on product. The resulting modification, although bendy enough for mulch or silage wrap, still wasn’t stretchy enough to be a suitable substitute for conventional bale wrap.

“So, we mixed epoxidized soybean oil, used citric acid as a hardener, added oleic acid to make it stretchier, and cured it in an oven,” Pensini says. “It’s the best one we have so far in performance. It is flexible and stretchy, but it would need to be fabricated in a dedicated facility.”

As a next step, the team will be introducing

fibres from crop byproducts in an effort to both upcycle agricultural waste products and make them into useful solutions for agricultural applications and lower the cost of alternative plastics. They’ll also be experimenting with other fatty acids to see if they can be used in place of citric or oleic acids to further enhance the new material’s properties.

According to Pensini, the need to find commercial partners is also important, but conventional plastics will either need to start being phased out or become more expensive before bio-based alternatives will come into widespread production and use.

Watch the webinar at: https:// livestockresearch.ca/white_papers.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 16
ON-FARM PROGRAMS
Lilian Schaer is a writer with Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC).

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Thanks For Caring

There’s something special about this industry. Canadian cattle producers and their veterinarians genuinely care for their cattle. That’s why we started research in Alberta to make a product that would provide long lasting, effective pain control for cattle at an affordable price.

As a result of your commitment to the animals in your care, we’ve eased the pain for hundreds of thousands of cattle. Thanks to you and your veterinarian for all your efforts in making the Canadian cattle industry a leader in animal care. And thanks for doing the right thing.

For more information about the longest lasting pain control available in a single dose, contact your local veterinarian* .

Solvet researches, develops and manufactures products to meet the needs of Canadian producers from their headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.

* Data available on request. Solvet is a subsidiary of Alberta Veterinary Laboratories Ltd. I Care For Cattle logo is a trademark of Solvet.

CONNECTING TO THE FUTURE

Gaps still exist in Ontario’s rural and northern web infrastructure

IT’S FRUSTRATING.

Rob Goodwill signs into Zoom to lead a meeting. Then his internet connection buffers and kicks him out.

Unstable connections annoy everybody but it’s doubly annoying for Goodwill, Chair of Gay Lea Foods, to be kicked out of his own meetings.

A producer in Owen Sound, he has broadband service, “but it’s terrible,” he says. His farm sits on a corner lot, and the fibre optic line runs right past his property, yet the service provider won’t cross the road to connect his farm.

Goodwell understands well the problems rural Ontarians face with getting serviceable internet. “There are worse than us. Some people really struggle.”

He’s right. The Northern Ontario Broadband Report 2023 , a recent study of Internet connectivity in Ontario’s north, describes vast Internet deserts across Ontario. “[O]f the 285 communities within the federally defined region of northern Ontario,” reads the report prepared by Blue Sky Net, a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting technological adoption in Ontario’s north, “74 have at least 50 per cent of households with access to 50/10Mbps broadband speeds.”

The problem with getting internet to rural areas is directly related to Ontario’s size. All the hills and trees and lakes that make Ontario beautiful make network connectivity difficult. It’s hard to run a cable line through the Canadian Shield.

“Farming is one of the most challenging careers we’re fighting to keep in the north and we should be doing everything we can to meet the needs of the farmer.”

BEAUTY AND BROADBAND

Government wants to fix the problem. Together, the federal and provincial governments are spending billions of dollars to connect the north with fibre solutions, with Ontario already having committed $4 billion to deliver high speed connections by 2025. (The federal government hopes to have better internet in Ontario’s north by 2030).

Susan Church, Executive Director of Blue Sky Net, applauds the effort but says a “one-sizefits-all” solution – in this case, high-speed broadband for everybody – will cost more time and money than a “creative approach” that includes more towers, more line-of-sight connections and other quicker fixes that might only cost $400 million.

“This is why we’re trying to impress upon government funding program folks that this really is not just an issue of economics in terms of how much something costs. It’s a global need for Canada to be able to compete,” she says. “Farming is one of the most challenging careers we’re fighting to keep in the north and we should be doing

19 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA • LATE SUMMER 2023 •
FARM MANAGEMENT
91-100% 41-50% 71-80% 21-30% 81-90% 31-40% 61-70% 11-20% 51-60% 0-10% Community Broadband Access Levels

everything we can to meet the needs of the farmer.”

GO LOCAL?

Aaron Ruetz, a producer in Mildmay, Ont., used to have a local internet service provider that worked fairly well. When his wife, Megan, switched to a work-fromhome office job, they discovered the local internet connection couldn’t handle the bandwidth. They switched to Starlink, which is owned by Elon Musk, but at a cost that is “pretty well double” what they used to pay for internet. Megan complains about Starlink’s poor customer service and Aaron regrets having to desert the little guy. “I like supporting local, but when local can’t provide it, I have to deal with a bigger company,” he says.

Until local services improve, rural and northern Ontarians will be left with

few options. The prospect could stall development and harm farms.

“Technology right now is found in all areas of our homes and all areas of our business and the farm is no different,” says Church. She says realtors around North Bay report clients regularly ask about internet speeds before they ask about the safety of the drinking water. And despite the fact Ontario’s north already faces a critical shortage of veterinarians and doctors, when the same people discover the north and rural areas don’t have the internet capacity they need, they abandon their plans to live outside major centres.

“I think it would be so much easier for younger generations to want to carry on family farms if they felt they could keep it up from a technology point of view,” says Church. “I do believe that’s another reason you’re seeing generational farms ending.”

BY THE NUMBERS

59.5%

Rural and remote communities with highspeed internet access

41%

Percentage of 187 communities with a population under 1,000 with households that can access a standard rate of 50/10Mbps

Source: Northern Ontario Broadband Report 2023, Blue Sky Net

“We have been using Udder ComfortTM at least 15 years. We really appreciate this natural product for our heifers prefreshening and our fresh cows. We start when they’re upclose, and we see it really soften up the udder, so the cow is more comfortable, which in turn helps with her milk letdown,” say Neil and Margaret Comfort, milking 65 registered Holsteins at their 4th generation Brookturn Holsteins, St. Ann’s, Ontario.

“The blue coloring is a bonus to remind us to give that cow extra attention. We notice a quality advantage, giving Udder Comfort credit for helping our farm earn several quality awards. It pays to be proactive,” they explain. “Udder Comfort is our go-to for quality, comfort, peace of mind.”

Scan QR or go to link to read more about Brookturn https://wp.me/pb1wH7-k8

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 20
BROOKTURN HOLSTEINS, The Comfort Family of St. Ann’s, Niagara County, Ontario: Neil and Margaret and son David (Shauna) and daughters Laura (Ryan) and Amanda (Brandon) Milking 65 Registered Holsteins, 12,000 kg M, 120,000 SCC, BCA 237 to 240, 11 EX, 36 VG
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TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Farm management planning can help build a solid future

KEVIN FORBES DESCRIBES HIS FARM MANAGEMENT STYLE AS A LAID-BACK APPROACH that focuses on creating the right environment for his cows, employees and family to succeed.

The Sarnia, Ont., dairy producer and former banker says it all comes down to planning and making the right decisions for the future of the farm.

“I look at the big picture, assessing what our farm needs to succeed today and for future growth,” explains Forbes who owns Forbesvue Farms, a third-generation dairy farm where he milks more than 200 cows in a double 16 parallel parlour and crops 1,300 acres. The details of his farm management plan can be found in his laser-focused approach to managing cash flow, strategies to minimize the impact of rising interest rates and employment retention.

Ken McEwan, research professor at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus and financial literacy module instructor for the school’s Foundations in Agricultural Management online course, says while farm management may look different for everyone, a written plan is essential for making critical decisions. “Every aspect of a farm is held tight by a solid plan that defines a farm’s vision, strategy and ultimately the

future and prosperity of the farm,” explains McEwan, noting a robust plan also helps farms establish roles and responsibilities, support benchmarking, and minimize the impact of stressors outside of their control.

NUMBER-CRUNCHING

The basics of farm management consist of finances and economic principles. McEwan believes understanding the financial health of a farm can help dairy producers

confidently make decisions. Basic financial tools, such as balance sheets, cash flow statements, cost of production and budgets are necessary, but so is taking the time to analyze the information and comprehend what it means for the farm. Forbes says cash flow is the most important financial tool he uses, factoring it into every situation facing his business. “Keeping a strong cash flow has helped us manage through everything, from evaluating expansion opportunities to navigating increasingly tougher economic

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 22
FARM MANAGEMENT: COVER STORY
Melissa and Kevin Forbes farm in Sarnia, Ont., with their daughter, Vivian.

situations as interest rates continue to rise,” he says.

Financial planning and detailed record keeping can assist in understanding the implications of managing and taking on debt, the impact of asset purchases, and identifying economies of scale, inefficiencies and direct tax planning strategies.

Mark Sterk says cost of production drives his farm financial planning and he makes it a daily practice to keep tabs on the economics. Sterk is an Embro, Ont., dairy producer, owner of Sterkview Dairy Ltd. and manager of the original family dairy farm, Sterkholm Farms. “You need to stay on top of cost of production to know how everything impacts your business – from labour to feed costs, to pregnancy rates and milk production,” explains Sterk.

Knowing the farm’s financial position can also help build a strong relationship with lenders and secure credit for future opportunities. McEwan says keeping on top of finances can also help set benchmarks to record and compare progress and evaluate new opportunities, such as whether to buy extra land, build an extra feed bunk or upgrade milking equipment. “Today’s farm business is impacted by every aspect of a farm business management plan,” he says.

PRIORITIZE PEOPLE

Sterk’s approach to farm management starts in the barn. “The most important factor in the success of a dairy farm is making sure cows get pregnant,” he explains. “I’m no expert, but I have employees and I milk cows, and without

pregnant cows, you won’t have milk. That’s why cows guide every farm management decision, including labour, cow comfort and quality feed.”

Managing a unique farm business structure, Sterk owns two separate dairy farms within 10 kilometres of each other. He calls his approach, “common calving,” where he milks cows at both farms, while managing heifers and calving at one location. This arrangement has resulted in labour efficiencies and faster growth opportunities. His approach to hiring and retaining staff is opportunity oriented. “Everyone has an equal opportunity to learn, try a job they are interested in and enhance their skills,” explains Sterk, who says there’s always a spot on his farm for someone eager to learn. “If someone is interested in working, I’ll hire

them, because we’re always looking for people who are passionate and willing to learn.”

Miking 650 cows between both farms, Sterk employs seven full-time staff, comprising a mix of local and foreign labour. He’s built a reputation for hiring and training young employees who have applied what they learned and then built thriving farms of their own. Despite success with local employees, Sterk has come to rely on foreign labour over the past four years to provide consistency. He has outsourced the paperwork required to hire foreign labour to a licensed immigration consultant and is pleased with the results. He currently employs three staff members from Guatemala and one from the Philippines. Sterk provides accommodations for his foreign staff and says their upbeat morale adds to the positive work environment.

Sourcing foreign workers to fill labour requirements and employment

23 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA • LATE SUMMER 2023 •
“I look at the big picture, assessing what our farm needs to succeed today and for future growth.” — Kevin Forbes, Forbesvue Farms
Mark and Veronica Sterk believe farm management starts in the barn where the cows guide every decision, including labour, cow comfort and quality feed.

MANAGING

ASSET – YOUR PEOPLE

Today’s labour market is challenging, making hiring and retention strategies more important than ever. The basics are still important – competitive compensation, work-life balance and employee benefits – but when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, farm employers need to step up their game.

“In order to attract, select and retain the right people, you need to be able to understand, predict and influence how your employees behave,” says Sara Mann, a professor of leadership and management at the University of Guelph and Foundations in Agricultural Management instructor. “This is not an easy task and requires a great deal of reflection to understand your own strengths and to understand how your employees are feeling and what motivates them.”

Mann says there are four categories of leadership: a directive leader (who tells people what to do directly without seeking feedback), a participative leader (who encourages employees to participate in decision-making and asks for feedback and input), an achievement-orientated leader (who motivates employees by setting goals), and an encouraging/

supportive leader (who motivates employees by providing feedback, encouragement and support).

“An effective leader will use each of these types of styles at different times with different people. Being aware of which style to use and when is the biggest strength of any leader.”

Adding leadership training to a farm management plan can benefit the entire business. “Spend the time to invest in learning about the best way to lead and manage employees,” says Mann, who recommends using a variety of resources to learn about different approaches. She suggests starting with the AgHR toolkit (hrtoolkit.cahrc-ccrha.ca) available from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council and offers resources with templates and videos to increase the validity and reliability of the human resources practices on-farm.

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opportunities on dairy farms is a growing trend. According to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC), nearly 500 Canadian dairy farms employed foreign workers in 2017. While the dairy industry offers stable, year-round employment, finding workers with the skills and experience required is challenging. A 2017 CAHRC commodity dashboard projects Canadian dairy farmers will face a labour gap of more than 450 employees this year, and more than 1,000 by 2029.

“People are your most valuable asset,” says Forbes, whose hiring and retention strategy encompasses prioritizing work-life balance, consistent and simple routines, setting clear expectations, defining

RESOURCES

Canadian Association of Farm Advisors

www.cafanet.ca

University of Guelph Foundations in Agricultural Management

www.guelphagriculturalmanagement.com

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council https://cahrc-ccrha.ca

Farm Management Canada https://fmc-gac.com

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs http://omafra.gov.on.ca

25 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA • LATE SUMMER 2023 •
Left: Mathieu Lipari, Program Manager, Farm Management Canada.
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Right: Ken McEwan, research professor, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus.

tasks and documenting standard operating procedures. Forbes employs three full-time and four part-time staff, including three of his children. “Cows and people thrive on consistency, and we’ve learned that’s how we can excel,” explains Forbes who says he’s fortunate to have low employee turnover and credits his close proximity to Lambton College as a resource pool for new employees. His most effective hiring tool is to tour prospective employees around the farm as part of the interview process. “You can tell a lot about a person by how they interact with animals, the questions they ask and their level of engagement as you walk around.”

MANAGING RISK

Resiliency and managing risk round out another essential element of a farm business management plan. Sterk believes opportunities and risk go hand-in-hand on the farm, saying, “the trick is not to confuse the two. Whether you know it or not, as farmers we take risks every day; it’s just something we get used to.”

Farm Management Canada has developed an intuitive risk management assessment tool, AgriShield, to help farmers identify business risks and take action to minimize and manage them. A whole-farm risk assessment, AgriShield is an online tool that covers six key farm management areas, including people, finances, markets, business strategy, business environment and production.

“An assessment can help you determine how well prepared your farm is to face risks, such as personal injury, environmental contamination or cash flow challenges,” explains Mathieu Lipari, Program Manager with Farm Management Canada. “Farmers are often surprised by what they learn. That’s why AgriShield takes risk management planning a step further by providing an action planning tool, resources and training to help Canadian farmers prepare for whatever they may face.”

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A farm business risk management plan is necessary for reducing risks and identifying new opportunities. Building a plan and taking a proactive approach, rather than an “it won’t happen to me” attitude can be the difference between a struggling and successful farm, especially in the face of unexpected adversity. A solid plan can also uncover increased efficiencies, cost savings, support transition plans and make it easier to take advantage of opportunities, such as purchasing a neighbouring farm or hiring an extra employee.

Fairly risk-adverse, Forbes admits what keeps him up at night are external factors he can’t control. “I’m constantly questioning my decisions, asking myself if the decisions I make today will be the right ones 20 years from now,” he says. Currently, the financial economy has Forbes second-guessing decisions as he navigates rising interest rates and makes financial and debt management decisions that will affect the future cash flow and financial resiliency of his farm.

Understanding your farm’s financial health can make managing current economic challenges, such as interest rate hikes, inflation and rising input costs, easier. “You can mitigate economic risks out of your control by understanding your debt service level, debt

repayment options, carefully managing cash flow and prolonging asset purchases,” advises McEwan.

Forward contracting grains and locking in inputs and feed prices are other strategies Forbes takes to manage his cost of production and protect his farm from unknown economic challenges.

“Having a risk management plan has been shown to not only increase profits, but also help reduce stress and support greater peace of mind,” points out Lipari, who also recommends farmers consult farm business advisers for risk analysis and management support. “Farmers don’t have to be the best at everything on the farm. Engaging professionals can help you manage your business and keep on top of trends or expected challenges, while reducing pressure and workload.”

The hardest part of building a farm business management plan is getting started. The good news is, there are plenty of resources for producers and many of them are available conveniently available online.

“One of the most unique parts about agriculture is the importance of long-term relationships,” says McEwan. “We support each other and want everyone to succeed. Building a farm management plan, asking your peers about their plans and benchmarking numbers, and working with an advisory team of professionals, can easily make the plan come together. Just think of how rewarding a solid plan will be for the future of your farm.”

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“Having a risk management plan has been shown to not only increase profits, but also help reduce stress and support greater peace of mind.”
— Mathieu Lipari, Farm Management Canada

DREAMS COME TRUE

Young Danish farmer buys own dairy farm

FOR YOUNG DANISH FARMER, JESPER TOFT BITSCH, technology has meant running his own dairy farm is now a dream come true.

Embarking on a career in dairy farming in Canada is commonly achieved by young farmers when they inherit or take over running the family farm.

It’s the same story in many countries around the world, but it’s also a tough scenario for those who want to run their own farm and haven’t got a family legacy to inherit. A number of hurdles can arise, including finding the finances to buy or rent the dairy farm and animals, and depending on the country, the milk quota.

Globally, dairy farms are desperate for skilled labour, which is in short supply, while technology companies try to fill the gap with the latest advancements in robots and software.

Sometimes, older generations are slow to grab hold of technology and put off making any big investments if they have no clear succession plan in place.

Enter Toft Bitsch, a determined 31-year-old farmer who desperately wanted to own his own dairy farm. After spending a few years managing other dairy farms, he experienced a breakthrough.

He had trained as a farmer at the Agroskolen and Bygholm Agricultural School in 2012 and accepted a job as the feeding manager on a farm with 500 cows the following year. From there, he was feeding manager at another farm with 340 cows while working to become a qualified agricultural economist.

By 2018, his aspirations of running his own farm fell into place when a 150-hectare farm came up for sale.

“That was the start of my journey being my own boss as a dairy farmer,” says Toft Bitsch. “Armed with a detailed business plan, I was able to secure enough funding to purchase the farm and start to change things around on the original dairy system.”

One of the biggest changes he made was converting the farm to organic status to garner higher milk prices.

Toft Bitsch started off with 160 cows and in 2020 built a new barn to accommodate more animals. Since then, he has increased the number of cows to 220, yielding 12,200 kilograms per cow. The barn also has space for dry cows and calving pens.

The new barn was built almost perpendicular to the original, which today houses the younger cows. Three Lely Astronaut A5 milking robots – two in the old barn and one in the new – each milk 65 cows.

“I am budgeting for 60 milking cows per robot, but they can easily handle 65, so we have slightly increased the number of cows,” says Toft Bitsch.

The new barn cost 3.2 million Danish Krone ($630,000 CDN) to build and contains 112 cubicles plus a section for calving pens and sick bays.

“All the cubicles are bedded with sand as we find it keeps the beds much drier,” says Toft Bitsch. “I was very familiar with using sand on the other farms I worked on; therefore it was an easy decision to use it on my farm as well.”

The composition of the feed for the cows is quite important as the young farmer strives to use only locally grown protein, cutting down the emissions associated with shipping soybeans.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 28 WORLD DAIRY
Toft Bitsch strives for less than 17 per cent protein in his ration, a level Danish producers voluntarily agreed to three years ago with the goal of reducing overall ammonia emissions.
Toft Bitsch started off with 160 cows and in 2020 built a new barn to accommodate more animals.

“We do not use soybeans as they are usually imported from overseas and it is not always clear if they are grown in a sustainable way.

“Our milk is also supplied to the dairy company, Thiese, which some years ago decided that their producers should stop using soybeans in feed.

“Instead, we use locally grown grass, field beans, canola, and lupine in our rations. They do not fit in very well in a crop rotation for milk producers who grow a lot of clover grass and maize, but it is easily grown by neighbours and is therefore not transported over long distances.”

Both organic and conventional milk producers are now phasing out soybeans as Danish dairy processors no longer accept milk from cows fed GMO soybeans and non-GMO soybeans are expensive.

Toft Bitsch also strives for less than 17 per cent protein in his ration, a level Danish producers voluntarily agreed to three years ago with the goal of reducing overall ammonia emissions.

“The agreement was put in place to prevent [government] regulation,” he adds.

“We all have our responsibilities to try and reduce GHG emissions but as a young farmer, I feel more open to suggestions in how to do so. Advances in technology and management decisions are there to help us so we should embrace them.”

FARM PROFILE

Farm Name: Sdr. Troelstrup

Location: Aulum, Denmark

Number of Cows: 220

Farm Size: 150 hectares

Rented Land: Additional 25 hectares

Average Yield: 12,700 kgs per cow, per year

TMR Protein: Grass, field beans, canola, lupine

TMR Protein Level: Below 17 per cent

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Jesper Toft Bitsch, 31, sources his protein locally.

Using fans to increase airflow in the barn can help cows manage heat stress. Photo Credit: Farm & Food Care Photograph Library

MANAGING HEAT STRESS

CANADA’S SUMMER FORECAST IS EXPECTED TO BE COOLER THAN RECENT YEARS; however, in May, many parts of Ontario were gripped by an unexpected heat wave.

It was a good reminder to farms to have a plan to manage heat stress for dairy cows, which respond to heat stress negatively. The effects are mostly lower milk yield and dry matter intake, but the impact of heat stress can have a lasting effect on a cow’s reproductive performance even after the summer is over.

The 2009 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle included a chart showing a temperature-humidity index (THI) combining the effects of ambient temperature and relative humidity into an index describing their overall effect on cow performance. The THI chart showed cows do not experience heat stress when THI is below a value of 72.

More recently, many experts have recommended lowering the threshold to 68. A new study by University of Guelph researchers gathered Canadian weather data from NASA’s weather database, compared it with Canadian weather station data and then examined those data in combination with production data from Canadian cows from 2010 to 2019. The study used more than 20 million test day records from more than one million individual cows from 8,500 herds, grouping the results into five regions in Canada.

TIPS TO MANAGE HEAT STRESS

• Increase airflow, using misters and soakers when appropriate.

• Assess air quality and airflow at cow level.

• Ensure unlimited drinking water is available.

• Monitor cattle for behavioural changes, such as increased standing time, panting and drinking more water.

• Provide fresh feed.

• Discuss summer ration adjustments with your nutritionist.

The study demonstrated milk yield, fat yield and protein yield had different and distinct THI thresholds, making it easy to identify when negative effects were observed. A negative effect was seen for milk yield at THI values of 64 to 68 in Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and the Prairies. A negative effect was observed at 61 in British Columbia, with the negative impact on milk yield even stronger at a THI of 72 to 76. For milk protein yields, the negative effects of heat and humidity were seen at THI values of 58 to 62 and worse effects at 72 to 73 were seen in all five Canadian regions. More surprising was that the threshold for reducing milk fat yield happened at THI values of only 54 to 55 and at only 49 in B.C.

Using national data and weather data sets meant information about individual conditions in barns, such as housing, cooling management or any feeding adjustments, were not accounted for in this study. However, results suggest the negative impacts of heat stress for these three production traits may begin to happen at lower temperature-relative humidity combinations than previously thought.

Reference: Rockett, P.L., I. L. Campos, C.F. Baes, D. Tulpan, F. Miglior and F.S. Schenkel. 2023. Phenotypic analysis of heat stress in Holsteins using test-day production records and NASA POWER meteorological data. J. Dairy Sci. 106:1142-1158.

With this in mind, farmers should consider managing to prevent heat stress earlier; alleviating it is important for good production and particularly for milk fat and protein yields.

Tom Wright is Dairy Cattle Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 30 RUMINATIONS
Study authors suggested cows in B.C. could be more susceptible to heat stress due to their overall milder climate.

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CAN ACCESS TO AN EXERCISE AREA IMPROVE CATTLE WELFARE?

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IS HIGHLY VALUED BY SOCIETY as one of the most important living conditions for farm animals.

For producers in tiestall systems, moving toward housing that provides cows with more freedom to move is neither easy nor quick. Providing an exercise area for cattle is a simple and affordable solution that allows for more movement and improved dairy cattle welfare. Research conducted at McGill University, funded by Dairy Farmers of Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership AgriScience Program, and Novalait, Lactanet and NSERC, has begun to highlight the benefits associated with this practice.

Dr. Elsa Vasseur and her research team are exploring the effects of exercise in dairy cattle. They conducted a comprehensive review of six studies that enrolled 141 tiestall-housed Holsteins. These studies

took place over the summer, winter and fall, from 2019 to 2021, to evaluate the effect of access to an exercise area that allows cows to move freely, compared with tiestall cows with no exercise access. They also evaluated cow behaviour and number of steps taken per day.

BENEFITS

Cows provided with access to an exercise area took an average of 300 more steps per day (50 per cent more steps) than those in a tiestall. In the exercise area, cows spent about one-third of their time engaging in locomotor activities, such as exploration and social behaviour; however, most of the cows’ time was spent idly. Cows are typically highly motivated to perform natural behaviours, such as walking and exploring, when granted the opportunity. Access to an available exercise area leads to enrichment and improvement in the quality of expression of natural behaviours.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Additional considerations for improving the experience of cows in an exercise area include:

Type of access

An outdoor exercise area led to 20 per cent (167 steps) more steps per day than an indoor exercise area.

Space allowance

Cows took 16 per cent (146 steps) more steps per day in a large area (80 m²) than a small area (20 m²).

Duration of outing

Spending two hours in the exercise area compared with one hour led to an increase of nine per cent (84 steps) steps per day.

FURTHER REFINEMENTS OF THE EXERCISE AREA

Although allowing cows to have access to an exercise area led to improvements in their welfare, cows spent two-thirds of their time in the exercise area being idle. There are likely some additional considerations to further improve the cows’ experience, such as providing different types of enrichment and/or resources for shelter and to encourage curiosity. These components could be added to stimulate and renew the animals’ interest in these exercise areas and encourage more movement.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 32 1 (519) 527-2470 | sunnorth.com AIR MOVEMENT | CURTAINS | PANELS | EXHAUST VENTILATION & COOLING SOLUTIONS
APPLIED SCIENCE

TAKE-HOME MESSAGES

One hour of daily exercise impacts locomotion for movement-restricted dairy cows and allows them to engage in natural behaviours. Providing access to an exercise area for one hour doubled the number of daily steps, with the type of access, the amount of space provided, and the duration of the outing impacting the number of steps taken. Cows also spent the bulk of their time idle in the exercise area, highlighting that additional resources could provide a more enriching experience for cows, further enhancing the benefits of exercise area access on cow activity and welfare.

Agricultural Communications and Epidemiological Research (ACER) Consulting is located in Guelph, Ont.; Marjorie Cellier is Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Animal Science, McGill University; Elsa Vasseur is Associate Professor and co-holder of the Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence WELL-E, McGill University.

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Access to an exercise area leads to enrichment and improvement in the quality of expression of natural behaviours in cows.

NAVEL HEALTH

UMBILICAL (OR NAVEL) INFECTIONS CAN BE A COSTLY AND COMMON DISEASE IN YOUNG CALVES. Recent studies in both Canada and the United States have found 19 to 27 per cent of calves can be affected with an enlarged or abnormal umbilicus.

Umbilical infections can cause short- and long-term consequences for heifer calves, as well as increased costs for treatment related to labour and drug expenses. Navel infections have also been associated with an increased risk of umbilical hernias, other calf diseases, and mortality, along with reduced growth rates and decreased survival in the herd. For male dairy calves, the consequences are similar, where calves arriving at a veal facility with an umbilical infection being much more likely to die and have a reduced weight. Treatment costs and production losses are

estimated at approximately $40 per calf with an umbilical infection.

Several studies have shown that despite a high prevalence of umbilical infections, very few are treated, suggesting there could be underdiagnosis of this condition. To identify umbilical infections, it is necessary to feel the umbilicus to evaluate its size, and the presence of pain, heat or discharge. Specifically, if the umbilicus is more than 1.3 centimetres in diameter or hot, painful (calf flinches when it is touched), and there’s pus or foul-smelling discharge, the calf has an umbilical infection. Work with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate treatment to address this condition.

It is also important to note that in updated transport regulations, calves leaving the farm must have a dry and healed umbilicus. Any calf with an unhealed, enlarged or infected navel cannot be transported.

To prevent navel infections, focus on minimizing contact between the umbilical cord and bacteria. At calving, the umbilical cord is most susceptible to bacterial contamination so ensuring the calving area is as clean as possible and free of manure is critical. In addition, the area calves are moved to after they are born should be clean, dry and free of manure.

Beyond ensuring excellent colostrum management and cleanliness in the calving and housing area, navel dipping with iodine or chlorhexidine is often a preventative measure for umbilical infections. There is variable evidence to document the benefit of this practice. More work is needed to confirm whether this is useful. Ensuring a clean environment with excellent colostrum management is best practice.

Brought to you by Veal Farmers of Ontario, Calf Care delivers the latest information and innovative ideas to help continuously improve the care of all dairy calves. Find out more at calfcare.ca.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 34 CALF CARE
Recent studies in both Canada and the United States have found 19 to 27 per cent of calves can be affected with an enlarged or abnormal umbilicus.
Calves must have a dry and healed umbilical cord to be transported.

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MONITORING GENETICS CAN IMPROVE PRODUCTION AND FERTILITY

Targeted genetic selection could reduce the negative effects of inbreeding

UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH RESEARCHERS have found that reducing a herd’s genetic diversity could hamper milk production and fertility in dairy cattle.

Ontario dairy farmers select for desired traits in their breeding decisions. Strong selection for a small number of elite sires helps to transmit valued traits but could reduce genetic diversity. If pedigrees have animals that are too closely related, inbreeding depression can result, leading to lower health and fertility of offspring.

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 36
DAIRY RESEARCH

“We wanted to understand the pattern of genetic diversity loss to determine whether measures should be implemented to improve animal health and efficiency,” says former PhD student, Dr. Bayode Makanjuola, who worked on the research project with professor Christine Baes, Department of Animal Biosciences at the Ontario Agricultural College. The DairyGen Council of Lactanet and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada funded the research.

The researchers estimated the effective population size of the current Holstein and Jersey populations to assess genetic diversity loss in Canadian dairy cattle. Their results suggested increasing rates of inbreeding, with more recent inbreeding having some detrimental effects on production and fertility traits. They also found, at present, the economic gains achieved through selection pressure still outweigh any negative effects of inbreeding.

The researchers then analyzed regions of the cow genome that indicate the level of genetic relatedness between individuals, known as runs of homozygosity (ROH), to investigate their effects on production and fertility traits in dairy cattle.

They were able to identify unique ROH regions with negative impacts on both production and fertility traits on nearly all 30 chromosomes (DNA structures containing the animal’s genetic material).

MICHAEL’S

Provides

Researchers identified runs of homozygousity on the cow genome that were associated with negative effects on production and fertility.

37 WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA • LATE SUMMER 2023 • Product guide 2022 Silage Management Silage Covers Vapour Barrier Silage accessories Twine & Netting 5% EARLY ORDER DISCOUNT UNTIL MARCH 4TH 5259 Hwy 8, Mitchell, ON (519) 393-8290 www.zuidervaartagri.com Visit our website for a dealer near you Megaplast Power Low OTR oxygen barrier • Filled Pea Stone Bags • VH Megastretch 7-layer bale wrap • VH Net Wrap 2,600, 3,000 & 3,600 m/roll SUPPLYING ALL SILAGE NEEDS SIDEWALL TIRES 16 MAX PACK Silage compaction roller
MAX PACK has been specially designed to increase forage compaction to pack silage tighter, increasing storage capacity and silage quality Adjust the weight of MAX PACK by filling the drum with water
The
a raking action to help level the silage
4 in. high fins help press in silage tight, while solid drum packs
shift models available Pack better along walls
shift the MAX PACK 3 ft left or right for
safety in
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wheels standard on outside of frame to prevent
to walls and machine Model Side Shift Width Empty weight Filled weight MP 250 SS YES 8 ft 3600 lbs 6750 lbs MP 300 SS YES10 ft 4250 lbs8250 lbs MP 350 SS YES11.5 ft 4625 lbs9250 lbs MP 300NO 10 ft 4250 lbs8250 lbs MP 350NO 11.5 ft4400 lbs 9025 lbs MP 400 NO 13 ft 4750 lbs10000 lbs ExtraWeights56lbseach Equipment Zuidervaart Agri-Import Ltd 519-393-8290 MAX PACK SILAGE COMPACTION ROLLERS Available in 8, 10, 11.5, 13ft widths Michael Stabling Developments mpyfferoen@gmail.com www.sgate.ca 519-794-3933
The
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is high above bunker
Bump
damage
STABLING DEVELOPMENTS INC. Manufacturer of all types of milking parlor frames • Parabone • Herringbone • Parallel • Rapid Exit • Tandem style • Also custom orders • Self lock head gates • Pro free stalls • Slant stalls and gates • Calf pens • Tie stalls • Tip tanks High performance, low maintenance stabling solutions that will benefit you and your livestock each and every day.
The researchers estimated the effective population size of the current Holstein and Jersey populations to assess genetic diversity loss in Canadian dairy cattle.

By taking measures to prevent the mating of cattle with these unfavourable gene regions, farmers can reduce further adverse effects of inbreeding depression.

“Our results suggest the need to implement measures to control the rate of inbreeding, which will help maintain genetic diversity,” says Makanjuola.

The researchers believe identifying animals possessing these unfavourable gene regions and minimizing their mating will reduce the frequency of these ROH regions in future generations. More research is needed to validate and zero in on these regions, but this promises to more precisely optimize genetic selection and gain while reducing the effects of inbreeding.

“By refining these identified ROH regions, selection programs could be implemented that would prevent further adverse effects of inbreeding depression,” says Makanjuola.

WHERE THE GLOBAL DAIRY INDUSTRY MEETS

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 38 Scan to purchase your tickets to WDE! WORLD DAIRY EXPO® | OCT. 1-6, 2023 | MADISON, WI, USA Purchase your tickets online before you arrive in Madison using our digital ticket platform! Tickets can be printed at home, downloaded and scanned at the gate directly from your phone or shared with others in your group via text or email. Expo highly encourages you to purchase your digital tickets before October to take advantage of the discount pricing for advanced ticket purchases! Admission will be required October 3 - 6. OCTOBER 1 - 6 DAIRY CATTLE SHOW 2,400 Cattle Onsite 1,600 Exhibitors/Breeders Seven Major Dairy Breeds Onsite Cattle Sales OCTOBER 3 - 6 TRADE SHOW 700 Participating Companies New Product Launches Online Listings & Maps Commerce & Networking OCTOBER 3 - 6 EDUCATION Virtual Farm Tours Expo Seminars Expo en Español Dairy Forage Seminars Knowledge Nook Sessions OCTOBER 3 - 6 INTERNATIONAL AMENITIES Translators Private Lounge Space U.S. Department of Commerce Trade Event Partnership Program (TEPP) Participant
Dianne Priamo and Vanessa Virgo are undergraduate student research writers in the SPARK program at the University of Guelph.
“Our results suggest the need to implement measures to control the rate of inbreeding, which will help maintain genetic diversity.”
—Dr. Bayode Makanjuola

GEA Liquid Manure Spreaders are continuously renowned for their performance, reliability, and durability. The effective design and high-level fabrication of this equipment as well as the service/support provided by our knowledgeable dealer network make GEA spreaders

the preferred choice over any brands on the market. Put the GEA Liquid Manure Spreader to the test and you will see that the reputation is not overrated.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Mountain View Electric Ltd.

Enderby — 250 838-6455

Pacific Dairy Centre Ltd.

Chilliwack — 604 852-9020

ALBERTA

Dairy Lane Systems

Leduc — 780 986-5600

Nobleford – 587-335-9742

Lethbridge Dairy Mart Ltd.

Lethbridge — 888 329-6202

SASKATCHEWAN

Dairy Lane Systems

Warman — 306 242-5850

Emerald Park — 306 721-6844

MANITOBA / NW ONTARIO

Penner Farm Services Ltd.

Blumenort — 204 326-3781

Thunder Bay ON – 800 461-9333

Tytech

Grande Pointe — 204 770-4898

ONTARIO

Claire Snoddon Farm Machinery

Sunderland — 705 357-3579

Conestogo Agri Systems Inc.

Drayton — 519 638-3022

1 800 461-3022

County Automation

Ameliasburg — 613 962-7474

Dairy Lane Systems

Komoka — 519 666-1404

Contact your local GEA dealer to learn more about GEA ProManure equipment

Keith Siemon Farm Systems Ltd.

Walton — 519 345-2734

Lamers Silos Ltd.

Ingersoll — 519 485-4578

Lawrence’s Dairy Supply Inc.

Moose Creek — 613 538-2559

McCann Farm Automation Ltd.

Seeley’s Bay — 613 382-7411

Brockville — 613 926-2220

McLaren Systems

Cobden — 613 646-2062

Melbourne Farm Automation

Melbourne — 519 289-5256

Aylmer — 519 773-2740

Watford — 519-876-2420

Silver-Tech Systems Inc.

Dunnville — 905 981-2350

ATLANTIC PROVINCES

Atlantic Dairy Tech.

Charlottetown, PE — 902 368-1719

Mactaquac Farm Equip. Ltd.

Mactaquac, NB — 506 363-2340

Sheehy Enterprises Ltd.

Shubenacadie, NS — 902 758-2002

Sussex Farm Supplies

Sussex, NB — 506 433-1699

Often imitated, but never equalled.
• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 40 AD INDEX next issue Animal Nutrition Agri Plastics 25 Boumatic .......................................................................43 Canada's Outdoor Farm Show ............................. 5 Carlotte Farms 36 Cdn. Realty ..................................................................... 8 DFC ...................................................................................41 EastGen .........................................................................44 Elanco 31 GEA Dairy Robots .....................................................12 GEA Liquid Manure Spreader ............................ 39 Grober Nutrition .........................................................21 Jake's Welding 29 JemBrook Welding 26 Jeni Mobile Wash ...................................................... 26 Lactanet .......................................................................... 2 Lactanet - DairyTrace 17 Mapleview Agri ..........................................................35 McFeeters Wood Shavings Inc. ......................... 24 Michael's Stabling ....................................................... 7 Milk Taxi Canada 33 MNP .................................................................................. 4 New Life Mills ............................................................... 9 Oxford Cattle Company 40 Scotiabank .................................................................... 11 Silo King .......................................................................... 9 Solvet 18 Solvet ................................................................................. 7 SunNorth....................................................................... 32 Udder Comfort ...........................................................20 ValMetal 15 World Dairy Expo ......................................................38 Zuidervaart................................................................... 37 ▶ Oxford Cattle Company is working with genetic companies to select sires for use in our guaranteed calf buy back program. ▶ Honest transparent program with premiums for heavier calves, paid promptly via direct deposit. ▶We are now pleased to announce that we interested in buying your Holstein Bull Calves and can include them in your regular pick up. We will take calves that are over 92 lbs and 10 days old. The price will be negotiated on a weekly basis ▶ Presently serving Southwestern Ontario region and Ottawa region with interest in expanding. ▶ For a Calf Pick Up Request text (519) 788-1399 by 1:00 pm Mondays Oxf Ord Cattle COmpany wants yOur Beef / dairy CrOss Calves For more information - Contact Cliff, office@oxfordcattlecompany.com

DFC IN ACTION

BILL C-282

BillC-282, aprivatemember'sbillsponsoredby theBloc Quebecois, wouldamendthe ForeignAffairs, TradeandDevelopmentActtoensurethatsupply managementisnolongeronthetableinfuturetradedeal negotiations.OnJune21,itwasadoptedintheHouse ofCommonsbyavoteof262-51,receivingsupportfrom allpartiesandeverypartyleader. Itwillnowbereferred totheSenate, wheretheBillwillgothroughasimilar legislativeprocessthisfallwhenParliamentresumes.

WORLD MILK DAY

OnJune 1, DairyFarmersofCanada (DFC) anddairyfarmers acrossthecountrycelebratedWorldMilkDay.Thisyear, weworkedtogethertoshowcase"howdairyisreducing itsenvironmentalfootprint, whilealsoprovidingnutritious foodsandlivelihoods."ManyMPPs, MLAsandlocalmembers ofgovernmentacrossthepoliticalspectrumjoinedus inraisingaglasstoyourhardwork.

interactionsandpanels; emphasizehowlocalfarming createsnationalstability;positionitasamodern,innovative, andsustainablesystemthatsupportsCanadiansinrural andurbanareas;raiseawarenessoftheSMSasnational, crediblesourcesofinformationontheindustry;andhighlight howsupplymanagementcontributestosustainabledairy, poultryandeggfarming.

DFCwaswellrepresentedbyitsVice-ChairDavidWiens andboardmemberKorbWhale,whobothparticipated inthe'AsktheExperts' sessions. Thefirstsession, "Future-proofing Canada's agricultural sector,"focused onshowinghowSM5 farmersaremeetinggrowingdemand forqualityfood productsoflocalproduction. Thissession discussedsustainablefarmingpracticesandpartnerships thatstrengthenCanada'sfoodsystem.Thesecondsession, "Therippleeffectoffoodproduction,"touchedonhowrural andurbancentrescontributetoathrivingCanadianfood system,astrongeconomyandongoinginnovationandhow municipalitiescanstrengthenourdomesticfoodsovereignty.

Thankyoutothedairyfarmerswhoparticipated intheonlineevent-youshowedtheworldwhatmakes theCanadiandairyindustryoneworthdefending!

FEDERATION OF CANADIAN MUNICIPALITIES

InMay, DFCjoineditsfellowsupplymanagedsectors attheFederationofCanadianMunicipalitiesAnnual ConferenceandTradeShow.Theeventbroughtelected officialsandmunicipalstafffromacrossthecountrytogether underthetheme"Localaction, nationalresults."

Weaimedtomaintainandincreasesupportforsupply managementamongmunicipalleadersthroughdelegate

CONGRATULATIONS PETER GOULD

CongratulationstoPeterGould,formergeneral managerofDairyFarmersofOntario,onhis inductionintotheOntarioAgriculturalHallofFame.

Throughouthis40-yearcareer,Peterhasbeen atirelessadvocatefortheinterestsofdairyfarmers, advisingontrade, supportingchangeinmilk productionstandards,andleadingadairyorganization.

Dairy Farmers ofCanada salutesPeterforthis achievementrecognizingallhehasdone forourindustry.

Without a doubt, producers have managerial skills and an entrepreneurial spirit, which drive them to excel. Like anyone running their own business, producers must be a Jack or Jill of all trades, juggling the care of their animals, operation and maintenance of machinery, managing finances, mastering social media, and more. The complexity of running a successful dairy farm with all its moving parts is not to be underestimated. A sound farm management plan, recordkeeping and expert advice will help ensure things run smoothly.

“These days, farmers need all the help they can get to stay on top of tax laws, other legal and financial matters and in general to make the most of their resources,” says this Milk Producer article from July 1985, advocating the help of professionals in providing the expertise producers need to make sound management decisions.

“Don’t be embarrassed to ask for advice.”

• LATE SUMMER 2023 • WWW.MILKPRODUCER.CA 42
BACK40: A LOOK BACK IN MILK PRODUCER MAGAZINE HISTORY
completely was reflected then in the original design and continues today. The HiFlo Evolution pulsator embodies the efficient simplicity and rugged reliability that Lawrence Bouma engineered into his first BouMatic pulsator in 1939. The HiFlo Evolution will become the heartbeat of your dairy as it has become the heartbeat of BouMatic. Request more information at BouMatic.com/HiFlo. It is in the best interest for the life of your dairy. For the life of your dairy ™ Optimum Agri Belle Vallee 705-647-5040 Penner Farm Services Blumenort 800-461-9333 204-326-3781 Dundas Agri-Systems Brinston 613-652-4844 Ron’s Bearings Equipment Sales Lindsay 705-878-4515 Dortman Bros. Strathroy-Salford-Dunnville 800-265-3435 Partner Ag Services Tara 519-934-2343 877-349-3276 Contact Your BouMatic Dealer Today! A simply superior parallel stall that goes beyond rugged to set the industry standard. This legendary parallel stall offers best-in-class cow comfort and cow flow. • Improve profitability – Excellent cow traffic and safety resulting in higher milk production • Cow comfort – Stalls enhanced with shoulder bumpers for her well-being • Saves time – Easier and quicker parlor cleanup with no sequence gates to work around Xcalibur ™ 90LX SIMPLY SUPERIOR PARALLEL STALL www.boumatic.com G entl y ,Q etely ™ Contact Your BouMatic Dealer Today!

EastGen has lots of high fertility sires that will help you combat the effects of summer heat. This list of above average fertility sires boasts an average 61 Semen Fertility, +3407 GLPI, Milk over +1100 kg, with high deviations, and exceptional Conformation at +10.

Make EastGen your #1 Choice for Fertility!

A2A2 www . eastgen.ca GLPI Pro$ Conf. Proven Pine-Tree-I PURSUIT 3644 3438 7 Westcoast ALCOVE 3642 2891 8 Boldi V GYMNAST 3536 2905 6 Progenesis KNOWHOW 3463 2658 11 Melarry FUEL 3333 2165 10 Stantons ADORABLE 3281 1935 9 Westcoast RANDALL 3208 2284 9 Oh-River-Syc CRUSHABULL 2809 410 14 Genomax Westcoast LUGNUT 3704 3276 9 Cookiecutter LARSON 3608 2961 8 Stantons TIMECHANGE 3577 2829 9 Claynook MAYFAIR 3486 2642 11 Drumdale ALLDAY-P 3478 2767 8 Dudoc SPEEDUP-P 3440 2682 8 Cherryhill ACTIONMAN 3281 1439 15 Fradon ARMADA 3191 1467 14 Kings-Ransom CORONA 3133 1419 13 GLPI Pro$ Conf. Short Supply Sires Higherransom ANGLE 3701 3251 8 Claynook MATCHLESS 3489 2599 11 Comestar LEMAGIC 3126 1414 12
Your Choice for Outstanding FertilityBulls GPA 23*APR • GEBV 23*APR Genomax®
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