GUELPH — Net farm income for Ontario dairy farmers bucked a trend by not declining for the first time in six years, but it is still at its second-lowest point in eight years, says a new report from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and the Canadian Dairy Commission.
Every year, Ontario Dairy Farm Accounting Project takes a snapshot of the value of Ontario dairy farms. Researchers studied 70 farms in 2017 and found net farm income, or profit, was $128,230. That is up from $90,114 in 2016, but is dwarfed by 2012 when net farm income was $178,601.
According to the research, total farm expenses didn’t change from 2016 to 2017 (both years had total farm expenses of $635,741), but the net farm income rose thanks to an increase in total farm revenue, all due to milk sales, as livestock sales, crop sales and other farm income all declined.
The report broke down the farms into three categories: The top 15 dairy farms (total average assets of $10.88 million with total liabilities of $3.31 million and milking on average 123 cows); the middle 40 farms (total average assets of $7.14 million and total liabilities of $1.89 million with 81 cows) and the bottom 15 farms (average total assets of $3.85 million and total liabilities of $790,428 with 43 cows).
The report shows that the 2016 net farm income for the smallest 15 farms was a negative $8,298, meaning they lost money. The middle 40 farms saw a positive net farm income of $121,989 and the top 15 averaged $258,554.