Staying in the Race

Published on: 19:43PM Sep 26, 2014

Europe, Mexico, South America, China – they’re all taking the necessary steps to be leading global milk suppliers. And they’ll be here at World Dairy Expo this week looking for more ideas and solutions.

While the U.S. continues its record pace of milk production – 206 billion pounds projected for 2014 – the rest of world also is gearing up to supply a broad range of dairy products to a vastly expanding global population. A few examples:

• New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra and a leading Chinese infant food manufacturer, Beingmate, announced in August they intend to form a global partnership that will help meet China’s growing demand for infant formula. In fact, Fonterra has invested more than $1.8 billion to grow its overall processing capacity since 2011.

• Scotland, a small nation with world-class food success, has "launched "Ambition 2025," a strategy that aims to produce more than 3.5 billion pounds of milk a year by 2025. That’s a 50% increase from its current output. Scotland also hopes to boost its dairy exports by at least 5% every year for the next decade.

• Ireland, just off the western coast of the Irish Sea from Scotland, also plans to increase milk output 50% in five years, specializing in infant formula and other value-added products. They’ll do it, too, because they can use pasture now used to graze unprofitable beef cattle to run more dairy cows, more fully utilizing milking parlors that often sit idle 21 or more hours per day.

• Nestlé Mexico announced plans earlier this month to invest 700 million pesos (about $53 million) over the next six years to increase milk production in our neighbor to the south. Nestlé followed that announcement with another, this time publicizing a two-year partnership to improve the productivity and lives of smallholder dairy farmers in East Africa through technology and innovation.

• Colombia is making a huge push to develop its dairy industry, with a focus on exports to the United States, Proexport Colombia announced Sept. 22. The country is the fourth-largest dairy producer in Latin America, and three of its top food manufacturers are dairy-based, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Colombia’s producers are seeking to take advantage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

To boost milk output to ever-higher levels, the world’s dairy farmers are using the latest research, technology and marketing strategies to get ahead. Certainly, U.S. dairy farmers aren’t the only ones employing robotic milking, rotary parlors, and wind and solar energy in the quest to deliver the milk while remaining efficient, low-cost producers. You’ll find those in Scotland and the European Union, China, Latin America, South America and elsewhere. The race to be a leading milk supplier is taking place – and those who want to succeed are implementing the necessary measures.

That’s why World Dairy Expo is so vital to staying in the race. New dairy technology, machinery, products, services – they’re all here this week in Madison, Wis. And along with them – and perhaps most importantly – is the brain trust that understands how all these things work and how you can make them work for you.

More than 850 exhibiting companies will be here at the Alliant Energy Center, unveiling their latest technologies, products and services. Just click on Expo’s "Innovations Unveiled" website to see the astounding diversity that will appear here this week.

To be sure, dairy producers and industry partners from 90 countries will be here as well. They’ll attend the world-class cattle competition. They’ll sit in on the Expo SeminarsVirtual Farm Tours and Dairy Forage Seminars, where they can interact with industry experts and top producers to exchange management ideas. International attendees will also participate in the annual International Dairy Short Course, a three-day dairy management course that presents the latest research and technology in dairy genetics, nutrition, cow comfort and milk quality.

These are your milk-producing competitors, who know they’ll find ideas and solutions at World Dairy Expo. Even if you can’t make it here this week, follow our coverage Look for our daily e-newsletters arriving in your email. We’ll be doing our best to report on the latest and most important developments aimed at keeping you front and center of the world’s dairy race.