Dairying in Manitoba has been a popular attraction in past years to farmers moving from Western Europe. The total number of dairy farms is still in decline with almost half of units milking 100 cows or less. Provincial average quota size is 104kgs of BF/day which relates to an equivalent of 991,123 litres/annum at the 3.83% butter- fat average. Some of the larger units are milking in excess of 600 cows.

Raw milk is paid for on a multiple component pricing system with Manitoba producers receiving on average close to 76.5 cents per litre net of shipped in quota milk, dependant on component analysis (provincial averages – 3.98% Butterfat; 3.37% Protein; & 5.72% total solids). Milk quality criteria are IBC (individual bacteria count) which must not exceed 121,000, and SCC (somatic cell count) which must not exceed 400,000. Any producer who ships contaminated milk will be held liable for the cost of the complete truck load.

A newly calved cow or heifer in Manitoba currently sells for between $2,000 & $2,500, with the Holstein being the most popular breed in Canada, together with a few herds of Jersey, Ayrshire, and Brown Swiss.

Water is a key necessity of any livestock enterprise and needs to be checked out carefully and not taken for granted. The quality of this ground water may also vary from area to area. With cost of production being around 70%, this leaves a pretty attractive margin for the producer, but as in any country, management plays a very large part in the profitability of any farm enterprise. Most dairy farms are sold as turnkey operations inclusive of quota, with additional quota available for purchase monthly through the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (Milk Board) for those wishing to expand their enterprise.

The January 2016 Quota Exchange price was $27,700 per kg of daily butterfat quota.