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OSC Subproject G: Dairy

Benchmarking the organic dairy production system

The dairy sector is one of the best established value chains in organic agriculture, often beginning with farmer cooperatives and ending with a product catering to the taste of consumers.

The dairy sector is also a leading component of the organic livestock community, with an opportunity to demonstrate premium animal health and welfare conditions that are consistent with the philosophy of organic agriculture (e.g. outdoor access, restrictions on grain feeding, restrictions on anthelmentics, and promotion of high standards in housing).

As a leading example of livestock husbandry, the dairy sector can become an identifiable benchmark for milk production systems in all of Canada. The continued evolution of Canadian milk production is necessary to maintain a competitive position with the import of international processed milk products, and pressure to allow imports of fluid milk.

This project will increase the profitability and competitiveness of Canadian milk producers by establishing farming system benchmarks for organic and conventional farms in eastern Canada. Scientists will evaluate herd health and welfare and related management practices in addition to milk quality attributes such  as fatty acids and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid).

The activity that makes up this subproject is:

  • Activity G.1: Assessment of health, welfare and milk composition on organic and conventional dairy farms