As blowing snow continues to make driving difficult across large parts of the province, dairy farmers are doing their best to keep driveways clear to make sure their milk hits the road and doesn’t go down the drain.
Milk plants send trucks to the 220 dairy farms in Nova Scotia every second day, according to Brian Cameron, general manager of the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia.
When they can’t get through, because of weather conditions, it is a serious situation. Monday wasn’t too bad, he said in an email, and only two producers scheduled for pickup were held over until morning.
But the situation Tuesday is “worse,” he said.
Missed pickups can mean a farm has more milk than it can store, and that can lead to tremendous waste.
“We open the bottom of the tank and let it run down the drain. That’s all you can do,” said Arlene MacGregor, whose family runs a dairy farm with 300 milking cows in Pictou County.
About 20,000 litres of milk produced on the farm must be transported to processing plants every second day, she said.
‘It was in our favour’
The worst-case scenario happened to Prince Edward Island dairy farmers during the harsh winter of 2015, she said. At one point, up to 90 centimetres of snow fell and farms were forced to dump thousands of litres when milk tankers were prevented from getting through.
Her family farm was fortunate this time around, MacGregor said.
“You have a 50-50 chance. It happened that the milk truck came yesterday morning before the storm started. For once, it was in our favour,” she said.
“The milk truck does not come today. By the time it comes tomorrow, we should be all cleaned out — hopefully.”