B.C. dairy industry
Credit: Pexels

Before the 2021 BC Dairy Industry Conference scheduled for this week was postponed due to the recent flooding, we milked the opportunity to take a local look at all things udder

Want to help B.C. dairy farms that were devastated by the recent floods? You can donate to this fundraiser organized on behalf of the BC Dairy Association.

Dairy is the province’s No. 1 agricultural product by value, generating 18% of all farm income in 2019

There were 82,500 milking dairy cows on 469 farms in B.C. that year

840+ million litres of milk produced

$683.1 million in raw-milk value

$1.47 billion in sales of finished dairy products

Average number of cows per farm: 140

Average daily milk production per cow: 26 litres

It takes about 1 week for a cow to learn how to milk itself with the Lely A5 Astronaut robotic milking system sold by Agassiz-based West Coast Robotics

READ MORE:  In a bid to keep a vital B.C. industry growing, Young Agrarians matches would-be farmers with vacant land

B.C. had 9.1% of the allowable national milk production quota in 2019/20

3rd-largest share in Canada after Quebec (36.8%) and Ontario (31.9%)

B.C. milk production by region:

77% – Fraser Valley
13% – Okanagan
6% – Vancouver Island
5.2%  – Other

Numbers do not total 100 due to rounding

B.C.’s 25 artisan cheesemakers produce 96 individual types of cheese, including Chabichou, Amsterdammer, Island Bries, Tipsy Jill and Goatgonzola

The province yielded 14,225 tonnes of specialty cheese last year, up 43% from 2019

Canadian retail sales of butter surged 12.4% in 2020, partly driven by lockdown-restricted people taking up baking

12 HydroGreen “vertical pasture” modules from local CubicFarm Systems Corp. can grow enough dairy cow feed rations to replace 500 acres of farmland

READ MORE: The next Uber or Tesla? Pitt Meadows’ CubicFarms has a field of dreams

Requires 90% less water than pasture-grown feed

$330,000,000 – annual losses that Dairy Farmers of Canada estimates the industry will face in reduced market share after the new Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement came into force last year

Sources: BC Investment Agriculture Foundation, Statistics Canada, BC Farm Industry Review Board, Government of B.C., Agassiz Harrison Observer, West Coast Robotics, Agriculture Canada, WineBC, the Western Producer, CubicFarm Systems, Dairy Farmers of Canada