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Alta. dairy farmers wanted for cost study

Alta. dairy farmers wanted for cost study

Producers can get a free detailed report on their dairy enterprise

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is looking for dairy producers to volunteer to participate in a free study beginning in January.

The annual Dairy Cost Study provides farmers with an economic analysis of their dairy enterprise.

“We’re always looking to help our farmers,” Pauline Van Biert, a production research analyst in Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s economics and competitiveness branch, told Farms.com. “We want them to be sustainable and profitable.”

Farmers are encouraged to provide monthly livestock, labour, feed and expense information.

Once the data collection and analysis is complete, participating farmers will receive an individualized report.

The document includes production costs and returns as an annual total, per cow, per hecolitre and per kilogram of butterfat basis, and tables and charts giving a quick snapshot of the farm’s cost breakdown.

In addition, producers will receive an aggregated report comparing their farm to others in the study, and comparisons to provincial benchmarks.

These reports can be helpful tools for farmers, Van Biert said.

“The detailed reports help them better understand their farms and help start conversations with members of their farm management team,” she said. “These reports can help identify areas of improvement within the dairy enterprise.”

Van Biert has been conducting the Dairy Cost Study for 23 years.

The biggest cost contributor for dairy farmers is usually feed, and that trend is likely to continue, she said.

“Feed alone can be about 40 per cent of a producer’s cost,” she said. “I expect for those who feed cows a high barley content, the costs to go up.”

Over the last five years, technology has changed the dairy landscape too, she added.

“The introduction of robots, feed pushers and technology, and keeping up with being able to milk cows with less labour is big,” she said.


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