Holstein Canada to Benchmark Canadian Dairy Herds

September 2nd, 2016

DFC and Holstein Canada have officialised a deal making Holstein Canada the qualified independent party to conduct Cattle Assessments on Canadian dairy farms and benchmark herds over a two-year period (October 2016 – September 2018). Holstein Canada will be starting this October in British Columbia, and will then continue as their normal animal classification schedule unfolds in other provinces.

This assessment is part of the animal care module of proAction, the on-farm quality assurance program that fosters excellent farm practices and a culture of continuous improvement. Canadian dairy farmers have a great sustainability story to tell. To tell it with credibility, it is increasingly important to measure and demonstrate our world-class standards in producing high quality milk and meat in a sustainable way, in line with Canadian values. This is why the proAction initiative documents credible metrics and independently validates each farm to prove to customers that farmers do things right.

More about the Animal Care requirements

Cattle assessments are not part of the validation visit. In 2017, farmers will need a valid Cattle Assessment on file at the time of their validation, which means assessments need to be done before the validation. The new Animal Care and Traceability requirements will be formally added to the existing Food Safety (CQM) validation in September 2017. Training is ongoing until then.

The Cattle Assessment will be done on a random sample of animals in the herd and includes evaluation of body condition, injuries (hock, knee and neck) and lameness. For precise information on how these are scored, consult the Animal Care Workbook & Manual.

Like farmers already do for food safety, they will need to maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and records – including the independent assessment, as well as demonstrate they implement various best management practices that enhance animal well-being and comfort.

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