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Dairy research cluster gets C$16.5M

Dairy research cluster gets C$16.5M

Studies will “stimulate productivity, sustainability and profitability”


By Jonathan Martin
Staff Writer

The third phase of a multi-faceted research cluster examining ways to improve the Canadian dairy sector is now ready to launch.

Yesterday, the feds announced an C$11.4 million investment in the project.

The government funds, provided through the federal AgriScience Program, make up the bulk of the cluster’s C$16.5-million budget. Dairy Farmers of Canada provided C$2.8 million, Lactanet invested C$1 million, Novalait Inc. gave C$736,300, and Dairy Farmers of Ontario contributed C$75,700 from Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

Dairy Research Cluster Three aims to “stimulate productivity, sustainability and profitability” on Canadian dairy farms, a document  by the research groups says. The research builds on the first and second phases, which ran from 2010 to 2018.

"The research we're doing has an impact, not only on the farm level, but on non-producer Canadians too," Davied Wiens, vice-president of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), told "Our work has has been integrated into DFC's ProAction program, improved our understanding of humans' cardiometabolic health and is helping keep Canada at the forefront of quality dairy production."

The new research will focus on three “themes.”

Research into dairy farm efficiency and sustainability will include:

  • Understanding the effects of cutting-edge genomic technologies on breeding strategies for optimum genetic progress in Canadian dairy cattle
  • Accelerating genetic gain for novel traits in Canadian Holstein cows
  • Optimizing health and production of cows milked in robotic systems
  • Reducing the water footprint of milk production in current and future climates
  • Increasing the production and use of alfalfa forages in Canada
  • Identifying best management practices for high-quality silage production

The scientists will look into cow health and welfare by:

  • Developing novel strategies and tools to prevent and treat mastitis and reduce the need for antimicrobials
  • Unravelling the genetic susceptibility to Johne’s disease
  • Extending cow longevity on dairy farms by improving calf management practices in the first year of life
  • Providing opportunities for movement to dairy cows by redefining indoor and outdoor spaces and best management practices

Finally, the researchers will improve milk quality by:

  • Developing an on-farm surveillance system and a research platform for antimicrobial use and resistance to optimize antimicrobial stewardship practices
  • Understanding the contribution of milk’s composition and microflora during ripening of cheeses
  • Studying the occurrence and effects of microbial biofilms on milk quality from farm to cheese vats

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