Category: Dairy

Real Talk, Real Action: Raw Milk is Not Worth the Risk

Some of you reading this have likely either consumed unpasteurized milk, or know someone who has, and been perfectly fine for the experience. Ditto for University of Guelph food scientist Prof. Art Hill, a leading authority on milk safety. Some 50 years ago on the family dairy farm on Manitoulin Island, he drank unpasteurized milk… Read more »

Ruminating with RealAg — Ep. 3: The Cow/Calf Bond, Orphan Calves & the Dangers of Bottle Fed Bulls

As evolution should dictate, there are substantial benefits to social behaviour in animals, provided that behaviour increases their fitness (or likelihood to reproduce). We see unique social behaviour in many species, including ourselves and our bovine counterparts. In cattle, social behaviours range from grooming to bonding, and witnessed accounts of cows protecting their young and… Read more »

NIR Workshop Offers Beef Producers Another Way to Improve Feed Efficiency

Feedlot operators are constantly running through a cycle of market highs and lows. When cattle prices are down and feed prices are up, cutting feed costs and improving feed efficiency are top of the list for producers. It was out of one of those particularly tough times in 2011 that the industry began to look… Read more »

Balance and a Good News Story: Made-in-Manitoba Milk

If agriculture is going to work towards providing quality food for informed consumers, we can’t be throwing each production system under the bus. Conventional agriculture needs to respect organic production as a valid production system (and a valid consumer choice), and organic producers need to stop vilifying conventional production and using misleading and down-right false… Read more »

Conference Board of Canada Cries Over Supply-Managed Milk

In the last week, discussions surrounding supply management in the Canadian dairy sector have lit up again, thanks largely to the Conference Board of Canada’s recent report entitled “Reforming Dairy Supply Management: The Case for Growth.” In it, the Conference Board, a not-for-profit research organization, argues for a three-point reform and, ultimately, the demise of… Read more »

The Path CETA Plans to Walk and How You can Prepare for Its Arrival

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture hosted the 2014 Agriculture Trade Summit in Saskatoon in early February. It was there that I met Jennifer Higginson, deputy director of the trade negotiations division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Higginson’s presentation dealt largely with the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), citing an eventual elimination of over 95%… Read more »

Innovation in Parlours — A Call for Dairy Farmer Participation

I ventured out to the University of Saskatchewan for a nice change of pace this week, meeting up with Eric Micheels, assistant professor, and Eduardo Pina, graduate student. Pina had just returned from a trip to Mexico, where he was interviewing dairy farmers for his masters project (and made it back to Canada just in… Read more »

Look, Think, Act: Milk Production Longevity Starts with Barn Design & Cow Health

Could something as simple as a gate be driving down the average number of lactations per cow in your herd? Some would say, yes. Ontario field editor Bernard Tobin was on hand at this year’s Canadian Dairy Xpo at Stratford, Ont., and sat down to talk barn design, herd health and more with Joep Driessen, of… Read more »

Keep RFID Tags Warm to Increase Retention

Research out of the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) suggests that radio frequency identification (RFID) tags inserted into an animal’s ear cold not only require more strength to install, they are also much weaker than those installed at room temperature. These findings will no doubt be a warm message on a cold day to producers… Read more »

Feeding Cattle in the USA (Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus Parody) – Derek Klingenberg

In the battle for agriculture song parody supremacy, Derek Klingenberg has released his newest track. This time it is a spoof on the Miley Cyrus’s hit Party in the USA. This new parody transforms the song into one about feeding cattle.  I betcha Miley did not have this version in mind when she wrote the… Read more »

John Scott: Understanding the Perspective of Food Retailers

The business of food retailing is undergoing significant changes.  There is significant consolidation happening, new entrants like Whole Foods, the growth of WalMart and all of this is happening while the consumer market is not growing overall. Just like farming technology is allowing food retailers to lower costs and gain more insight into its operations… Read more »

Would Your Livestock Operation Survive an Under Cover Video?

Activists (some would say anarchists) seem to be routinely using the method of releasing shocking undercover videos that attempt to create the perception that all producers are using horrible practices. Whether it be the W5 Poultry video, Ohio Hog Farm Video or any other, this undercover scenario is something that not many producers would be… Read more »

Mitigating the Risk of Bloat in Fall-Grazed Alfalfa

If you’ve been wary when fall-grazing alfalfa because of the risk of nitrate poisoning, you’ve been right to be careful, but for all the wrong reasons. Because alfalfa is a perennial legume, nitrogen is fixed and stored in the nodules of its root system and doesn’t actually accumulate in the tissues (something that can be… Read more »

Johne’s Disease Management in Dairy Herds: An Animated White Board Tutorial

It’s an unfortunate truth, but most dairy farmers are likely to come across a a few tough to explain instances of cows that aren’t do well. A cow that’s dropping in weight and production, but eating well may be a head-scratcher of a case until the vet arrives and confirms that the cow is suffering… Read more »

Beef Research School: Dealing with Deadstock — Your Options, Plus Tips for Effective Composting

If you’ve got livestock, eventually you’ve got deadstock, too. Disposing of that deadstock can be a source of disease transmission or environmental contamination if not done properly, so it’s very important that ranchers and feedlot owners have a plan in place to deal with deadstock. There are several options available, all with pros and cons,… Read more »