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The Manitoba Dairy Industry consists of approximately 330 producers with an average farm size of 100 cows. Raw milk shipments from dairy farms exceeds 315 million litres annually. All milk produced in Manitoba is processed within the province by four fluid and seven industrial plants.
Quality genetics are fundamental to efficient milk production. The dairy industry has invested heavily in selection programs to consistently improve the yield of dairy cow breeds. Central to a nationwide herd improvement program has been the collection of numerous herd records from individual cows which, alongside trait classification, has produced herds with very high genetic merit. Canadian genetics are sought after worldwide not only for the high production traits but also for the feed conversion efficiency.
Feed is one of the largest operational costs on the average dairy. Dairy feeding programs have direct effects on production and growth as well as farm efficiency. Dairy rations are often complex as the nutritional requirements of the cow have to be balanced effectively against cost of purchased feed and additives while simultaneously keeping wastage to a minimum.
Dairy production requires many management strategies to ensure the production of high quality milk. Managing environment, herd structure and daily farm routine are crucial in sustaining production.
Health management programs which address disease prevention and control are essential for dairy production. On farm investments in this area will improve the welfare of the animal and in addition, increase the profitability of the dairy operation.