Dairy farmers keep proudly innovating in dairy and investing in research that will help to improve practices on farms across the country. Recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz announced an $8 million investment in the Organic Science Cluster (2013-2018), adding its investment to multiple industry partners’ contributions of $2.7 million. Dairy Farmers of Canada is a proud partner in this new Organic Cluster with an investment of $185,000 over five years in four projects.
The Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at the University of Dalhousie will be administering the Cluster and oversee the implementation of 37 projects at 36 research institutions across Canada, including universities, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research stations, and others.
The dairy projects include :
- The development of sustainable alternative sources of bedding for dairy cows
Principal Investigator: Renée Bergeron, University of Guelph, Alfred Campus
General objective: The study aims to investigate the use of switchgrass in two forms (deep-bedded chopped switchgrass or “switchgrass-lime” mattress) as sustainable, alternative bedding sources for dairy cows that also enhance cow welfare.
- Effect of exercise and stall modifications on cow comfort and performance in tie-stall farms
Principal Investigator: Elsa Vasseur, University of Guelph, Alfred Campus
General objective: The present study aims to investigate, on 20 commercial tie-stall farms in Ontario and Quebec, how modifications of stall configuration may improve cow comfort and productivity, and whether cows provided with exercise will respond differently to stall improvements.
- Evaluating alternative therapies for the treatment of clinical mastitis on organic dairies
Principal Investigators: David Francoz and Simon Dufour (Université de Montréal)
General objective: The general objective of the study is to identify, evaluate, and promulgate an alternative multi-pronged approach for the treatment of clinical mastitis (CM) in dairy cows. This research objective would directly answer the need for the development of an alternative approach for mastitis treatment on organic dairies, which was identified as an important priority at the 2012 Canadian Organic Science Conference.
4. Bioactive products from plants and control of internal and external parasites in large ruminants
Principal Investigator: Dr. Simon Lachance, University of Guelph – Campus d’Alfred
General objective: Develop new methods and products for the control of external and internal parasites with the use of natural repellents and bioactive components from plants.
The project summaries can be found at: http://www.dal.ca/faculty/agriculture/oacc/en-home/organic-science-cluster/OSCII/theme-d.html