CHESTERVILLE — It will take just a little more time before the rollout of time temperature recorders gets under way on the province’s dairy farms, according to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
Spokesman Bill Mitchell told The AgriNews that DFO’s installation schedule has been pushed back again, as the organization continues to gather feedback from 25 test sites. "The general schedule is generally one month late," Mitchell confirmed.
The mass installation of time temperature recorders (TTRs) at farms participating in the bulk-purchase program had been slated to begin June 1.
DFO is offering TTRs made by Dutch manufacturer Meko, after selecting the firm’s low bid for thousands of the units last year. DairyCheq of Drayton will handle the installations, under a regional rollout scheme established by lottery last year.
Ensuring every dairy farm has a TTR is one of the signature requirements of the HACCP-inspired Canadian Quality Milk Program.
Farms actually have until January 1, 2007, to comply with the requirement. However, the DFO program provides incentives for dairy operators to come aboard earlier, by offering a lower unit price as well as government grants.
Mitchell said the federal government has recently added some money to the pot. Each unit will receive up to $750 in federal funding, on top of $400 already announced by the province. Because the number of applications to the federal program isn’t known, Mitchell estimated the total available cash per unit at $1,000.
This will help offset the cost of the Meko TTRs, which are being offered at $1,897 and $2,257 (includes conductivity meter).
TTRs automatically alert farmers when their milk is inadequately chilled at the bulk tank. In 2003, DFO rejected 944 milk shipments from farmers, representing $1.7 million worth of lost milk. The total includes the few farmers who end up with spoiled milk every year, after forgetting to switch on their bulk tanks.
In Eastern Ontario, participating farms in the counties of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington will be first to receive TTRs, under the DFO program.
They are followed in chronological order by Renfrew-Lanark; Dundas; Stormont; Northumberland; Russell; Prescott; Glengarry; Carleton-Grenville; Hastings-Prince Edward, and Leeds. The installers are expected to take at least a couple of months in one region before moving on to the next.
The Canadian Quality Milk Program also requires each farm to document and submit standard operating procedures to the DFO by January 1, 2007.
Three-thousand of the province’s 5,400 dairy farmers took advantage of a grant program last year and have already sent in their SOPs documentation, according to Mitchell.
Forty-eight hundred of the province’s 5,400 dairy producers have taken the livestock medicine course mandated under the national program, he said.
According to earlier reports, farmers were to have had their paperwork in place by May 1 in order to buy drugs for their cattle. However, two dealers who spoke to The AgriNews in late May were unaware of any changes in policy and said they were still selling medicines to farmers without proof of participation in the course.
Ontario dairy farms will also have to meet potable water standards starting in 2007, under a fourth key plank in the national program. DFO has offered on-farm water tests, allowing farmers to know in advance if they will require water treatment equipment to meet the new standard.