Manitoba milk heads west

Manitoba is shipping 75,000 litres of milk to Saskatchewan for processing every day.

It’s a good problem to have, said David Wiens, chair of Dairy Farmers of Manitoba.

“The point is we’re able to produce the milk as is required for our markets,” he said.

“And we hope that processing will come along as well and that there’s going to be some catch-up.”

The challenge began last year when Saputo closed its facility in Winkler, Man., he said.

“Since then, the Canadian requirements for milk has gone up and producers have been able to respond to it,” said Wiens.

“The forages and feeds that were produced last year were of decent quality, which also helps with production.”

Wiens said 950,000 litres of milk are produced every day in the province.

“Nevertheless, it’s extremely critical that all the milk, to the last litre, finds a home,” said Wiens.

The Manitoba milk is being delivered to Saskatoon for processing, displacing some Saskatchewan milk.

An official with SaskMilk contacted by The Western Producer was familiar with milk moving further west.

“There’s Saskatchewan milk that’s being moved into Alberta and there’s some Alberta milk that’s being moved into Abbotsford (B.C),” he said.

“There’s this cascading that’s already happening.”

Under the supply management system, transportation costs are shared by all producers in the western milk pool.

“Manitoba is 17 percent of the western milk pool, so we would be covering that cost,” said Wiens.

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