The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council announced this week their support of an Industrial Research Chair in Infectious Diseases in Dairy Cattle led by Dr. Herman Barkema of the University of Calgary. Dairy Farmers of Canada is a proud investor in this research over the next five years, providing $50,000/year annually to the total $1.8 million industry/government partnership.
“We know that Johne’s disease and mastitis have significant impacts on dairy cattle farm productivity. They are two of the most economically important diseases affecting the industry,” says Herman Barkema, the new research chair. “Through our research, we will improve the control of these infectious diseases and reduce the limiting effects they have on the productivity of the Canadian dairy industry. Improved management of mastitis and Johne’s disease would be a significant step forward for the industry.”
Dr. Barkema, a professor in epidemiology of infectious diseases with the Department of Production Animal Health and jointly appointed in the Department of Community Health Services of the Cumming School of Medicine is well-known to the industry for his extensive work in the areas of Johne’s and Mastitis.
The outcomes of the research will result in numerous benefits to dairy farmers as work will proceed to develop treatment strategies and prevention methods to fight economically crippling diseases like Mastitis and Johne’s on farms. The economic losses due to mastitis exceed $400 million a year in Canada and there is an estimated $90 million loss annually as a result of Johne’s.
The five year research award is funded jointly by NSERC and partner organizations: Alberta Milk, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Westgen, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, CanWest DHI, BC Dairy Association and the Canadian Dairy Network.