National Dairy Study NAHMAS North or Herding Cats?

By Dr. David Kelton, University of Guelph
Dairy Research Cluster (2013-2018) Principal Investigator: A national dairy cattle health and management benchmarking study.

A team led by Dr. David Kelton at the University of Guelph will undertake a national health and herd management study of dairy cattle on dairy farms across Canada. The study will be similar to the National Animal Health Monitoring Study (NAHMS) conducted every seven years in the United States, and will have parts that are identical in focus and methodology to the upcoming US dairy study. This Canadian study, the first of its kind, will produce nationally relevant prevalence estimates of important diseases of dairy cattle, identify regional/provincial differences in the density of these diseases, measure the economic impact of these diseases, detail management practices on these farms that 2 will help to identify important causes of these diseases, provide accurate descriptive information that can be used to compare Canadian dairy herds to those in the USA and elsewhere in the world, and produce health and productivity benchmarks against which progress made by many of the Dairy Research Cluster 2 funded activities could be measured.

Project summary link.

Innovate3: Dairy Research Symposium 2016 – February 5, 2016

Innovate3: Dairy Research Symposium 2016 – February 5, 2016

Registration is now open for the Dairy Research Cluster Symposium on February 5th, 2016 at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Ontario. Called, Innovate3: PROmoting PROgress to the PROfit of the Canadian Dairy Industry, experts from across the country will share the latest research developments in dairy production, genetics and genomics, and human nutrition and health research.

A copy of the agenda and registration information can be found at

The conference is bilingual with simultaneous interpretation available during the conference. There is no cost to register.

The one-day event will be accessible for the first time live via webcast and presented on site in association with Farm Management Canada.

For more information, please feel free to contact Shelley Crabtree:

Lameness: assessment and management

Lameness: assessment and management

By Laura Solano,
DVM, PhD Candidate,
University of Calgary

Lameness is one of the most important welfare, health, and productivity problems in intensive dairy farming worldwide. It is important for dairy farmers to realize it causes pain, and therefore reduces cow longevity, milk production and reproductive performance, all of which contribute to substantial financial losses. To properly assess and prevent lameness, it is essential that producers understand factors contributing to this detrimental condition.

Research groups from 3 Canadian provinces performed a national study to determine baseline measures related to lameness. In total, 5,637 cows housed in 141 freestall dairies were scored for lameness. Other data was collected on individual cows (hock lesions, claw length, body condition score, parity, days in milk, and milk production), management practices (floor and stall cleaning routine, bedding routine, and footbath practices), and facility design (stall dimensions, stall base and bedding type, width of feed alley, flooring type, and slipperiness), as aspects that can affect lameness.

The overall prevalence of lameness averaged 21% (range, 0 to 69%), whereas the Canadian Dairy Code of Practice recommends lameness prevalence should remain well below 10%. In our study, lameness prevalence was higher in barns with very slippery flooring; however, it was clearly lower in barns that used sand or dirt as a stall base, or in barns with stall bedding at least 2 cm deep (regardless of stall base). Individual factors also had an important role, as lameness was more likely in cows with increased parity, poor body condition, injured hocks, or overgrown claws.

In conclusion, to reduce lameness on Canadian dairy farms, it is important to improve management of multiparous, thin and injured cows. In addition, efforts should be made to ensure that floors are not slippery and stalls are well bedded and comfortable.

For lameness assessment tools and resources, visit:

Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research and a Chance to Win a Prize!

Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research and a Chance to Win a Prize!

Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research online now at www.dairyresearch until December 31st 2015 and participating farmers will have a chance to win a free entry to a dairy research and transfer conference nearest them. The survey takes a few minutes to complete. All questions submitted by dairy farmers, scientists and dairy stakeholders will be compiled and categorized for Dairy Farmers of Canada to help set dairy research priorities for the future.

Questions submitted by dairy farmers that fall under subject areas that are currently being researched will be sent to our network of scientific experts for an answer. These answers will be shared with farmers using our communications and knowledge transfer tools and networks.

Have your say now and help lead the course for future dairy innovation:

On the web:

By Mobile: Text 76000 and in the message box, write the word Innovation. The link to the survey page will be sent to you on your mobile phone.