April 9, 1937 (18th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)


I wish to say a few words in explanation of some points which our British Columbia dairymen would like me to bring to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture; I refer to the matter of improving the quality of our commercial cow. The cow that occupies a position in a dairy has to pay her way, and to be good enough to do that she must produce sufficient milk beyond her maintenance ration to give the farmer a reasonable profit. This dairying business is a 365-day job. Cows must be attended to twice a day during the whole year, and unless the cow is of such a nature that she will produce a profit for the dairyman, then of course she is no use to him. I do not know anything more hopeless than attempting to dairy- with cattle of poor quality. There is a way of finding out which is a good cow and which is a poor one; it is a matter of testing, a practice which has been followed since the end of last century in Denmark and many other countries in Europe, and on this American continent to a considerable extent; in fact to-day cows from the cow testing associations of Denmark amount to over 38 per cent of the dairy cows of that country, with the result that they have vastly increased their product of butter-fat per cow.
The dairyman having a herd of that kind, where cow testing is under way and is followed in the dairy, is enabled in the first place to improve his whole dairy by the elimination of the poor cows. He is enabled to select those cows that are sufficient producers to merit being placed in the breeding list so that he can produce more animals. Having reached that point, how is that man to carry on the gradual improvement of his herd? The only way to do it is by the introduction of good blood which will have to be selected from one of the pure bred herds in this country, and I think in Canada only a small number of our pure bred registered herd are under continual test. In Denmark it has been found necessary, so that these farmers can select proper sires to improve their herds,

to maintain their pure bred herds under test for the whole year; and it is strongly urged by dairymen in our country that this practice be seriously studied with a view of introducing it in Canada. They also desire to see the cow testing associations, which are now under the provincial government, taken hold of by the federal government either by controlling them completely or in such a way as to stimulate them and make them render better service to the herds of the country.
They also insist: (1) that all breeders
selling registered stock should maintain their entire herds perpetually on record; (2) they say that the slackness of qualifications demanded for the record of performance bulls is very marked and that some better method should be devised in this particular connection; (3) in the same way the slackness of qualification demanded for the record of bulls of advanced registration should be stressed; (4) it is felt by some of our prominent breeders that the sellers of registered stock should afford ample proof of the quality of their stock; (5) another matter that is strongly stressed is that owing to the great value of cow testing of our commercial dairy herds this should be made a national undertaking for the improvement of the average cow of the country, and should be supported by continued propaganda and efficient regulation.

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