MAIDSTONE The plan for New World Dairy Inc. becoming a more self-sufficient operation by growing more of its own forage crop is running up against obstacles.
Brent Chaffey, owner-operator, said on Thursday that his farm has been rejected for yet another proposal to increase the amount of forage production for the local dairy industry in Maidstone in Bay St. George South.
The proposal was for approximately 291 hectares of land near the Robinsons Pasture Road, which had been submitted to the provincial government for an environmental assessment.
The location was about five kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway and had it been approved, land clearing was scheduled to begin on or before April 1, 2013.
The increased forage production would eliminate the need to import the plant material used for food for grazing livestock from outside the province.
Although the minister’s decision was said to be due on Oct. 19, Chaffey said this one has been rejected and a number of others have been rejected too.
“We (farmers) keep applying for crown land lots to grow forage crop but the Department of Forestry and/or Kruger Inc. go up against these applications. It’s difficult to gain access to crown land that has any forest management program. If it has such a program, then I won’t be successful as my crown land application is rejected,” he said.
Due to this, almost all the crown land in western Newfoundland is unavailable to farming.
With the largest dairy farm in the province and one of the largest in Canada, Chaffey said he wants to find the most suitable land and larger lots are better than others.
But the Department of Forestry and the private pulp and paper company are not the only two that he’s running into obstacles with as he said the Department of Transportation and Works is also causing him headaches.
He said he applied in other areas where there are no existing roads but where he was willing to put them in from the Trans-Canada Highway. He said the Department of Transportation cited the areas where these roads would meet with the Trans-Canada Highway as unsafe.
Chaffey said several of these proposed locations are right next to where there are existing roads off the Trans-Canada Highway leading to Bell Aliant transmission towers.
“Why is it safe for workers with that company to pull off or on the highway and unsafe for our workers to do so. I can’t get access to the land at these locations and don’t know why. It seems like a double standard to me,” he said.
Chaffey said only five per cent of the applications for crown land put forward by farmers get approved and he believes that’s unnecessary.
With 1,250 head of dairy cattle and 900 replacement stock baby calves up to two years old before they become a mature dairy cow, a lot of feed is required.
Chaffey explained the biggest component of the cows’ diet is forage crops, but that’s supplemented with all sorts of grains, which have more nutrients. He said the farm is better off buying the grains from elsewhere, as it’s cheaper to truck those in.
He said just like people, cows have a balanced diet they need to follow to keep healthy and produce good milk.
“Its not like throwing the cows a bale of hay and just letting them go to it. It’s has to be a balanced diet each and every day,” Chaffey said.
New World Dairy Inc. ships out about 32,000 litres of milk a day from the farm and it’s directed to wherever it’s needed.
Requests were put in to the Department of Transportation and Works and the Department of Forestry for reaction to Chaffey’s comments; however, no reply was received up to Friday aftenoon.