Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

Dairy

Cows

The dairy industry has 39 registered producers and is the largest category of agricultural products in the province. Dairy farmers produced over 48.5 million litres of milk in 2006 valued at $37.8 million. There are 5,600 cows in the province with the average herd size at 144. Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador was established in 1983 and is responsible for managing the production and marketing of milk in the province. Production per cow opens new window and the average herd size is steadily increasing while the number of registered producers is decreasing. Newfoundland dairy farmers were in a net export position of fluid milk in 1998 and production continues to grow.

There is a lot of opportunity for the dairy industry in this province. The industry is approximately 85% self-sufficient in forage relative to fluid milk production. The production of grain, alternative forage species, cereal silage and adoption of crop management systems can improve feed self sufficiency. There may be a limited opportunity for milk produced from goats and sheep. In this province, fresh milk consumption per person 65.6L, which is approximately 75% of the national average per capita. The School Milk Program has generated increases in consumption by school children from just under 100,000 litres to over 1,000,000 litres annually. Continued growth is anticipated. There are also opportunities in secondary processing of cheese opens new window, butter opens new window, yogurt opens new window, ice cream opens new window, and fresh cream opens new window.

Challenges in the Industry

  • Net exporter of fluid milk opens new window in 2003.
  • Very high start-up costs for quota, land, cows, barns and equipment.
  • Requires an in-depth knowledge of dairy management, animal husbandry, forage production, harvesting and storage with a good handle on the operation and maintenance of various types of equipment.
  • A raw land base of a suitable size to feed your milking herd as well as your replacements is scarce requiring new entrants to consider purchasing an expensive established operation.
  • Though our farmers are becoming more familiar with growing corn and other grains, we still have to produce milk based upon higher feed costs due to imported grains.
  • Many farms have become surrounded by spreading communities which may be reluctant to permit farm expansion on these sites. This may hinder a new owner from increasing in size to increase the profit margin.

Related Information

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