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Fresh milk shortage linked to cattle feed supply problems

A shortage of fresh, blue-carton milk has hit supermarket shelves (Photograph by Gareth Finighan)

Bermuda has been hit by a shortage of fresh milk because of low production by dairy cows sparked by a shortage of imported cattle feed.

Dunkley’s Dairy said yields of fresh milk – which the company collects from farms before it is pasteurised and packed – had dropped because farmers have had problems getting feed from the US.

The poorer diet meant cows have produced less milk.

Stephen Dunkley, the general manager of Dunkley’s, confirmed there was a shortage of fresh milk, which is sold in distinctive blue cartons.

He said: “Production of local milk had dropped off recently because there have been issues with feed and getting feed on to the island.

“As is well noted, all over the world there have been supply chain issues and this has created tremendous issues for most people bringing products to Bermuda.”

Mr Dunkley added: “All importers, I imagine, are finding there are issues getting products that we order from overseas. There are issues with trucking so it can be difficult getting shipments on time.

“This is happening all over the US. To add to it there are problems getting products because demand is higher than supply.

“On a positive note, we believe issues have now been alleviated, supply is slowly increasing again and we expect to be back to normal winter production soon.

“We thank people for their understanding.”

All other Dunkley’s milk products, which are made from powdered milk, have not been affected.

Paul Almeida, owner of the Green Land Dairy Farm in Smith’s, said that production from his herd was down and that a lack of cattle feed was a factor.

But he added that his cows had been put out to pasture to supplement their diet.

Mr Almeida said: “Production has been affected by the pandemic and the supply chain, but the cows are not starving – they’re looking good.”

He added that milk yields dropped in the summer because of the heat, but production was on the up with the onset of winter.

Mr Almeida said: “They don’t like the weather in the summer time.

“It’s too hot for them and they become stressed, which affects milk production.

“But now we’re back into winter, it’s picking back up again.”

Vernon Hassell, the vice president of purchasing and procurement of the MarketPlace chain of grocery stores, said supply chain challenges meant that some items were not available – while the price of others was increasing.

He said: “We are experiencing product shortages, however we work hard to find alternative products and suppliers so that our customers do not go without.

“We are regularly monitoring inventory levels of all our suppliers to ensure we keep our shelves filled. Our aim is to maintain our commitment to serve our community and provide products to our customers at competitive prices.”

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Published November 26, 2021 at 7:58 am (Updated November 26, 2021 at 7:58 am)

Fresh milk shortage linked to cattle feed supply problems

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