A family-run dairy farm in Qualicum Beach has claimed the title of Best Milk Quality on Vancouver Island.
Happy Cow Dairy, located on Hilliers Road South, was recently given the award during an Island Milk Producers annual general meeting in Nanaimo.
“The methods of determining Grade A milk quality are well established, and are based on the somatic cell count and the bacteria count testing done by the Ministry of Agriculture laboratory in Abbotsford,” said Matt Lee, owner of Island Dairy Services. “Every load of milk picked up at every farm in Canada is sampled and tested to ensure it is of high quality and completely free of antibiotics also. Generally a lower somatic cell count indicates better animal health, while a low bacteria plate count indicates excellent equipment sanitation and cleanliness.”
Lee said the milk test results are recorded and averaged out throughout the year for all 37 dairy farms on Vancouver Island that ship milk. The top five farms with the best milk quality results on Vancouver Island are rewarded for their efforts.
“Kyle and Jennifer Durrance from Happy Cow Dairy in Qualicum Beach won first place this year with counts more than three times lower than the provincial average,” Lee said.
The Durrance’s purchased the 166-acre farm in August 2015. Today, they milk 65 cows, of the 150 on the farm, and Jennifer said apart from one part-time employee, Kyle does the majority of the farm work himself.
“We’re averaging 3,800 litres (of milk) every two days,” Jennifer said. “Our milk goes to the Dairyland plant in Courtenay and BoMe Cheese (in Coombs) uses exclusively our milk.”
Jennifer said their milk gets picked up for testing every two days.
“Kyle strove to get this, that’s what he wanted was to have the best quality milk,” she said.
The four other Vancouver Island dairy farms with the best milk quality were:
2. Willswikk Holsteins Ltd. in Mill Bay
3. Viewfield Farms Ltd. in Courtenay
4. Wikksview Farm Ltd. in Cobble Hill
5. JTL Cattle Company Ltd./Roemer Farms Ltd. in Mill Bay