A number of resources are available online with the purpose of transferring research knowledge to farmers in practical terms and in a way that is easily accessible from a desktop or mobile phone.
Knowledge transfer activities are being developed nationally and provincially through DFC and its member organizations. In an effort to share resources and information, the Canadian Dairy Research Portal at www.dairyresearch.ca has a Producer Resources section that is being populated with information from dairy farm organizations, including provincial initiatives that could serve to help farmers from coast to coast.
Provincial Research Transfer Tools: DFC provincial member organizations can submit or post their research transfer tools to share with other farmers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your information.
Environment: The new DairyFarmsPlus.ca dairy farm production sustainability assessment tool is open to all dairy farmers now. Give it a try and see how your farm compares to the provincial or national benchmarks for dairy sustainability.
Take a tour around the site and send us your feedback at email@example.com.
From February 23 to April 6 2016, Dairy Farmers of Canada and Valacta presented a series of 3 webinars on the cow comfort in the barn. The webinars were delivered in english and french to dairy farmers from across the country. A total of 6 presentations were given and 288 dairy farmers took part in the live webinars to hear from experts Steve Adam (Valacta), Dr. Trevor DeVries (U of Guelph) and Julie Baillargeon (Valacta) discuss on-farm issues and solutions.
The recorded webinars and associated documents can be viewed on dairyknowledge.ca. We observed that 2,641 people have been visiting the pages to get information on the topic. We’ve also observed that people from 26 countries visited the site to see the documents and recordings online. Animal comfort is taken to heart by ALL dairy farmers!
The webinars had the objectives of inciting dairy farmers to adopt best practices for the comfort of their animals, developed on the basis of research supported in the Dairy Research Cluster. The statistics and feedback received demonstrated that farmers appreciated the webinars and that the dynamic format and approach used to transfer knowledge in these webinars will be replicated in the future.
To view the recordings or access the cow comfort guide, visit www.dairyknowledge.ca
Last February 4, 2016, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced a government investment of an additional $1.75 million in four new projects in the Dairy Research Cluster. The total Dairy Research Cluster funding is now valued at $20.5 million with 27 projects underway to the end of December 2017.
New project in sustainable milk production:
- Increasing the energy of Canadian forages fed to high producing dairy cows, led by scientist, Dr. Annie Claessens of AAFC Quebec. Project Summary
New projects in human nutrition and health:
- Nutritional synergy between dairy products and other food nutrients, led by scientist, Dr. Michel Britten, AAFC Saint-Hyacinthe. Project Summary
- Concentration of biogenic amines in different Canadian cheeses and effect of salt concentration on the type of biogenic amines produced in cheeses, led by scientist, Daniel St-Gelais, AAFC Saint-Hyacinthe. Project Summary
- Milk and dairy products, outstanding sources of vitamin B12 : a farm to fork approach led by scientist , Dr. Christian Girard, AAFC Sherbrooke. Project Summary
Dairy Farmers of Canada is pleased to provide financial support in partnership with Novalait, Valacta, University of McGill and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for a new Industry Research Chair in Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle. The total partner investment in this research is over $1.6 million for five years.The research program will be led by NSERC Chairholder, Dr. Elsa Vasseur, McGill University.
The research falls under three major themes:
- Cow comfort and management
- Cow longevity
- Environment and Society
Under the cow comfort and management theme, research will address tie-stall systems (given their current prominence) and examine solutions for the transition to free-stall systems, for dairy farmers who wish to examine that option, all from the point of view of animal comfort and management. Each area will also be assessed in terms of potential economic benefits.
The cow longevity theme will assess the economic impact of risk factors for cow longevity related to management, housing, cow comfort and health, on the lifetime profit at the individual and herd level, and build decision-support tools to improve overall farm management, profit, and cow welfare and longevity, specifically by investigating i) Lifetime Profitability; ii) Rearing of Animals; and iii) Early Detection Indicators of Longevity.
The aim of the research carried out in the Environment and Society theme is to begin to understand, anticipate and prevent potential conflicts and solutions that would benefit both cow welfare and longevity (e.g., key practices and management systems identified in Research Themes 1 and 2), but that could counterbalance the overall sustainability of the farm and the farming system, by negatively affecting environmental impact and social acceptability.
In an interview with a journalist for the McGill Reporter, Vasseur explained the outcomes of the research chair program stating, “Economically speaking, having a cow in the herd longer makes sense. The trick is to present dairy producers with hard evidence that animal welfare is profitable because to this point it is still a hypothesis. A cow that is more comfortable is a more productive cow that stays longer in the herd – but we have to prove it. That is the work of this study, and we intend to put more numbers into it as proof.”
Dr. Elsa Vasseur – BIO