Dairy Farming, Not Just About Milk You Buy in Store!

The side of dairy farming people may or may not know about. Milk production in Canada is a very important industry for our economy. However, it’s not just about milking cows and making cheese. Each time I speak about it people are amazed by how much more there is to dairy farming.

There is actually a whole business side to dairy farming. Can anyone guess the value of the highest cow ever bought at an auction? After researching myself, the highest I found was 1.2 million dollars. Why would anyone ever pay 1.2 million dollars for a cow? I can tell you right now it is not just because she gives a lot of milk.

I grew up on a dairy farm. Kellcrest Farms ltd., a small family farm just outside of Howick QC.  At the time, I never thought twice about where our income was coming from. Yes most of it was from selling our milk, but there was a lot that came from the other side of farming.


Genetics, also the reason why someone would pay 1.2 million dollars for a cow. They invested in the pedigree. They knew they would be able to get their money back in selling embryos, selling the female offspring’s for reproduction, and selling the male offspring’s to companies like SEMEX for them to withdraw semen and then sell it all over the world.

I was able to witness this side of dairy farming first hand. I was fortunate to have grown up on one of the most known Ayrshire farms in the world. Winner of the Master Breeder award in 1986, 1996, and 2006. You can only win this award every 10 years. Along with uncountable milk production awards, cow show trophies, in 2009, Ayrshire Canada started a cow of the year award. It was the voted on by the Ayrshire farmers of Canada. One of our own won this award. Since Canada has the highest genetics for Ayrshire’s in the whole world. You can imagine how much of an honor this was.

Kellcrest Farms ltd

Because of all these accomplishments, we were not just selling milk. We were selling embryos all over the world to countries like Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Columbia and many other countries. Ayrshire farmers all over the world were buying our embryos to try and improve their farms with genetics from our farm. We have sold many bulls to companies like SEMEX so they could sell semen from our bulls and sell that all over the world as well.

Every dairy farmer who is involved in the genetics side must understand the science behind improving their farm generation after generation. Every dairy farmer has the opportunity to improve their herd by matching the right bull with the right cow. This is one point my family was good at. They were able to pick the right bull to improve a certain bloodline and turn it into a winner.

Anyone can witness the other side of faming if you choose to. There are many Agricultural fairs during the year in pretty much every area of Quebec. I have been to many of these growing up and have always been happy to answer questions people had. You can also see all the hard work farmers do to advertise their cattle. They are not just there to try and win 1st place. They are there to sell their own genetics to other farmers. They are there to profit from the other side of farming.

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