Thursday, November 16, 2017

Milk regulations passed

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission has amended a number of milk-industry regulations.

Milk quality standards and testing protocols, which are enforced on behalf of the government by Dairy Farmers of Ontario, are amended to merge with counterparts in
Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The amendments include:

•Changing the method for calculating when bacterial content, somatic cell count and abnormal freezing point will result in a penalty and

•Instituting a warning, rather than a penalty, for the first freezing-point problem in a 12 month period.

Animal Care and Welfare regulations have been adopted, at the request of Dairy Farmers of Ontario, so care and handling can be checked as part of the on-farm inspection program. Proposed requirements include:

•A prohibition on tail docking unless it is medically necessary as determined by a veterinarian;

•Requirements related to the location and disposal of dead farm animals;
•Requirements that cattle must be:

- stabled or milked in premises that are designed in a manner that does not cause injury or lameness;

- provided a ration, including water, that maintains health and vigour;

- identified for traceability and herd management purposes; and

- provided with hoof care to ensure hooves are maintained in good condition.

The proposed amendments would allow DFO's Director of Regulatory Compliance to require a producer to obtain a written assessment from a veterinarian regarding animal care and welfare and to follow the recommendations from that veterinarian.

The dairy board asked for, and got, a number of other changes to Regulation 761 including:

•Setting out milk cooling requirements for second and subsequent millings;

•Rejection of milk by bulk tank milk graders where milk cannot be properly graded by sight and smell;

•Removing the requirement that time temperature recorders display the time and date during power interruptions; and,

•Clarifying that milk is marketed once transfer to the tank-truck has started.

Amendments to sections related to cow milk will result in a number of consequential amendments related to goat milk. 

“The amendments would be consistent with current industry norms, and provide standards for bacteria, SCC and abnormal freezing point for goat milk,” the commission says.

 “The amendments regarding the rejection of milk where it cannot be properly graded, blend temperatures and clarifying when milk is considered marketed will also apply to the goat sector to ensure consistent parameters and outcomes for both species.”

Hog board gets weaner licence approval

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission has approved a pork board regulation authorizing it to collect a levy of 20 cents per weaner pig.

It also confirms authority to collect 95 cents per market hog.

The board will not be collecting the weaner levy for pigs that are sold and moved out of the province.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Research spending is shrinking

The federal and provincial governments have cut their research funding, according to the annual report from the federal agriculture department.

Federal spending declined from $404.5 million in fiscal 2015-16 to $387.7 million in fiscal 2016=17
Provincial spending on research and innovation declined from $195.2 to $169.6 million.

Measured as a percentage of the value of farming, the declines are even greater and extend over a long period of time.

What's more worrisome is that the cuts to basic research have been even greater, meaning that Canada is highly unlikely to have a competitive advantage in the coming decades.

The trend to reduce trade barriers makes this even more worrisome for future generations of Canadian farmers.

Government subsidies are also on the decline, both in dollars and percentages of farm income.

However, even with the delines, government spending on subsidies and services amounted to $15.4 billion last year, which is 24.2 per cent of gross domestic production from agriculture.

Subsidies declined throughout most of the 1990s, but increased from 1998-99 to a peak in 2003-4, mainly because of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy which cut off all beef exports.

They have been steadily declining since that peak.

Exports are becoming more important as a percentage of agriculture income. The U.S. is still the biggest customer accounting for 53 per cent, but it is also Canada’s biggest supplier, accounting for 59.6 per cent of agriculture and food imports.

China is surging as a customer and last year bought more than $6 billion worth, about $4 billion of that oilseeds and oilseed products.

There are now 190 companies involved in industrial bioproducts, employing 5,618 workers and marketing $4.27 billion worth of products, of which biofuels total $2.72 billion. Forestry is included in those figures.

Canadian agriculture and food had $111.9 billion in gross domestic product last year, which is 6.7 per cent of the Canadian total, and employed 2.3 million workers, which is 12.5 per cent of the Canadian total.

The full 127-page report is available on request from the federal agriculture department. It has many graphs, but few charts that provide detailed multi-year statistics.

It provides broad overviews, but no commodity-by-commodity numbers with multi-year comparisons.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chicken market continues to expand

Canadian chicken markets continue to expand, according to the current monthly report from the national chicken marketing agency.

The year-to-date fresh chicken supply for September 2017 was 1,027 million kilograms, 2.3 per cent more than a year ago.

Canadian production increased by 3.9 per cent to 33.5 million kilograms, imports were down by 7.5 per cent to 10.6 million kilograms and exports were steady.

Allocations allow producers to increase marketings by 6.75 per cent in the current quota period, by 7.76 per cent for the period that runs to the end of the year and by 4.8 per cent for the quota period that ends March 17.

Wholesale prices ran 10.5 per cent higher than a year ago this September and retail prices for boneless, skinless chicken breasts in Ontario rose by 10.9 per cent.

Ginseng growers harvest an Ontario subsidy

The province is giving the Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association $420,000 to promote and increase the visibility and demand for Canadian ginseng in current and emerging markets, such as those in Asia.

The ginseng growers plan to develop a social media and marketing campaign that includes increasing awareness of the innovative uses for Canadian ginseng in products such as soups, teas and cosmetics. It will also support their promotions at trade shows in key Asian markets.

Ginseng is one of Canada's largest field-grown horticultural export crops with sales of more than 2.63 million kilograms annually at a value exceeding $239 million last year.

It is one of Ontario’s most profitable crops.

Demand for Canadian ginseng is on the rise throughout Asia, with growing interest in India and Japan.

The Ontario Ginseng Growers Association represents more than 140 growers who are North America’s leading growers. Ontario is now the only province growing ginseng after British Columbia was hit by disease.