Missouri Dairy Business Update  
Volume 7, Number 9
September 2007

Border Opens Nov. 19th for Canadian heifers

The USDA plans to open the border to the import of Canadian dairy heifers on Nov 19th.

  • Before the ban on Canadian heifer imports, about 70,000 heifers per year were imported.
  • USDA estimates that 47,000 head could be imported annually when the ban is lifted.

USDA's new release can be found at

With the current high heifer prices, many Missouri dairymen are wondering if imported dairy heifers might help ease prices somewhat. It appears that won't happen for two reasons:

  • Springer dairy heifers are priced about the same in Canada as in the U.S.
  • Unlike previous years, the Canadian $ is worth the same as the U.S. $, not less.

We contacted the Ontario Ministry of Food & Rural Affairs to see if websites listing Canadian dairy heifer prices were available. Their representative responded that there were not any websites, but he did provide this market information: "Based on my current understanding of dairy prices, the price of heifers that are recently fresh or heifers about to freshen is about the same in Ontario and Pennsylvania. Ontario prices have risen over the past few months as a result of strong demand for milk in Ontario at the moment. High demand is currently projected through at least November.  It appears that the Ontario price of recently bred and open dairy heifers is currently about 2/3 of the price in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The dairy export business was strong pre-BSE, in large part due to the difference in the exchange rate. At border closure, the dollar was about 74 cents US. As I write this, the Canadian $ is reported at 99.93 to the US $. At that time we primarily exporting first or second lactation heifers that were either recently fresh or about to freshen."

To give you an idea of where the dairy heifers are in Canada, the following figure from Statistics Canada, demonstrates the dairy heifer inventory on Jan. 1, 2007 for all provinces.

Canada dairy heifer inventory


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