“Nobody could have predicted a cooler-than-normal summer.”
– BRENT ACHTEMICHUK, DFM
Acool summer this year provided Manitoba dairy farmers with an unexpected boost in milk production – a little too much, in fact.
Manitoba exceeded its provincial quota for the 2008-09 dairy year, resulting in an overproduction penalty.
On a 12-month rolling basis ending July 31, 2009, the province ended up at 101.23 per cent of quota and had to pay a penalty of $640,804, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba reported recently.
As late as March, DFM expected to end the year with below-normal production and implemented a five per cent cover-off (temporary quota increase) for April 1 to July 31 to make up the anticipated shortfall.
Milk output normally falls during the summer because cows eat less in hot weather and consequently produce less milk.
But the summer heat never came. The milk flow continued strong, despite DFM’s efforts to control it, and overquota production resulted.
“Nobody could have predicted a cooler-than-normal summer,” said Brent Achtemichuk, DFM general manager.
DFM removed the cover-off for June and July and implemented a one per cent daily quota decrease effective August 1, the start of the new dairy year. The board also limited producers’ use of quota credits from September to November and reduced the usual fall cover-off to three per cent from five per cent.
As a result, milk production is now coming back into line, Achtemichuk said.
This year’s overproduction was a switch for Manitoba milk producers, who have struggled for the last two years to meet their overall annual quota utilization.
Manitoba fell below its quota target in 2006-07 and met it at the last minute in 2007-08. Humid weather and poor-quality feed in 2006-07 caused production during the summer to drop more than usual, forcing DFM to play catch-up for much of the following year with cover-offs.
Manitoba dairy farmers produced a record 319,767,475 litres of milk in 2008-09, a 1.6 per cent increase from 2007-08. Butterfat production was 12,252,048 kg, up one per cent.
Final year-end statistics will be released at DFM’s annual round of fall district meetings Oct. 7 to 15. [email protected]