Canadian dairy scientists awarded for research excellence!

In recent weeks, eight Canadian dairy scientists were recognized domestically and internationally for their contributions to dairy science in the areas of animal nutrition, food safety, animal care and welfare and animal health.

Dairy Farmers of Canada congratulates these dairy researchers for their achievements in dairy science and their contributions to innovating in Canadian dairy. All researchers are currently carrying out research on behalf of the dairy sector in projects co-financed by DFC or member organizations.

Drs. Trevor DeVries, Filippo Miglior, Kees Plaizier and Michael Steele received awards from the Canadian Society of Animal Science (CSAS) ; and, Drs. Hélène Lapierre, Xin Zhao and Micheal Steele received awards from the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) at the Joint Annual meeting held in Salt Lake City, Utah last week. Drs. Marina von Keyserlingk and Dan Weary received the first Ruminant Well-Being Award from the World Buiatracs Association (sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health) in early July.

What follows is a short description of the awards received and the researchers’ current work in the Canadian dairy industry.




Dr. Filippo Miglior, chief of research and strategic development, Canadian Dairy Network – Award in Technical Innovation in Enhancing Production of Safe Affordable Food 

Dr. Filippo Miglior is a world renowned dairy cattle geneticist working in the areas of genetic evaluation and improvement. He is responsible for the management of research projects for dairy cattle genetic improvement financed by the CDN and the lead on strategic planning and research priorities for the organization. He is the lead investigator in two major dairy genetics and genomics projects in the Dairy Research Cluster and a co-investigator in two others. He is also co-leading a $10.3 million dollar project funded by partners, including CDN and Genome Canada, to increase dairy cattle feed efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from dairy cattle.



Dr. Trevor DeVries, Associate Professor, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph – Animal Industries Award, Extension and Public Service 

Dr. DeVries has made considerable contributions to the Canadian dairy industry through his research and extension work on the effects of feeding management and housing on behaviour in dairy cattle. He was a technical lead, contributor and advisor in the development of the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s proAction animal care program and has been a member of its technical committee. Recently, Trevor delivered extension information on dairy cattle care and comfort through a webinar series for Canadian dairy farmers developed by DFC and Valacta. The webinar series provides important information on the evaluation of cow comfort, comfortable surfaces and comfortable spaces based on the latest research financed by farmers in the Dairy Research Cluster. To view the recorded webinars delivered by Trevor and transfer expert Julie Baillargeon (Valacta), visit



Dr. Michael Steele, Assistant Professor, Department of agriculture, food and nutritional science, University of Alberta –  Young Scientist Award (CSAS) and the Lallemand Animal Nutrition Award for Scientific Excellence in Dairy Nutrition (ADSA) 

Dr. Michael Steele’s area of investigation is to understand how early-life nutrition and management programs can imprint the calf’s biological outcomes later in life ; uncover and evaluate feeding schemes and bioactive nutrients that display the properties necessary to improve gut health in dairy calves ; and, characterize the ruminal and intestinal adaptations during the transition to high energy diets in early lactation using feeding schemes based commonly fed commercial dairy rations.

His lab holds a keen interest in the implementation of novel feeding schemes with innovative feeding systems, such as automated calf feeders and automated milking systems.



Dr. Kees Plaizier, Professor
 and Associate Dept Head, 
Director of Ruminant Research Unit at the University of Manitoba – Award for Excellence in Nutrition and Meat Sciences 

Dr. Kees Plaizier has made important contributions to the Manitoban and Canadian dairy sector. His research include: the impact of sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) on health and production of dairy cows ; environment sustainability of Dairy Farms ; dry cow management ; yeast culture products ; diagnosis of subacute ruminal acidosis and, evaluation of ruminant feeds. One of his research projects carried out for Manitoba dairy farmers provided critical information to develop best management practices to optimize the use of phosphorus in the diet of their cows.




Dr. Hélène Lapierre, Research Scientist, AAFC, Shrebrooke, Quebec – American Feed Industry Association Award 

The award is given to an individual who made an important contribution to research of dairy cattle nutrition. Dr. Lapierre is leading a major research project under the Dairy Research Cluster, the outcomes of which aim to better balance feed rations for dairy cows, and reduce protein in the ration while maintaining cow health. The recommendations that will result in balancing feed rations can potentially increase an average farms’ revenues by about $0.15 per cow per day, or almost $4,000 per year, through savings on feed costs for the cows. Reducing the proportion of protein in dairy cow rations from an average of 18.1% to a realistic 16.5%, will allow Canada to cut its nitrogen emissions by 17,000 tonnes a year and save $77.5 million annually.

Dairy Farmers of Canada is a proud investor in her research. For a summary of her work, click on the link that follows to read the article entitled, New approach to feeding cows benefits both farmers and the environment.



Dr. Xin Zhao, Professor of animal physiology, McGill University – West Agro Inc. Award 

The West Agro Inc. award was given to Dr. Zhao in recognition of his outstanding research of milk quality as affected by control of mastitis, management of milking, and practices in production of milk.

Dr. Zhao is the successful recipient of research grants provided by DFC and the Canadian Dairy Network to investigate the genetics of bovine milk cholesterol content and to investigate the interaction between pathogens and hosts in mastitis. He and his team are interested in understanding how the microbial virulence strategies affect the nature and magnitude of the host response and how the resulting immune response influences the course of infection.

Canadian Dairy Science Students Share Knowledge at ADSA meeting


Congratulations to all the Canadian dairy science students that took part in the American Dairy Science Association meetings last week in Salt Lake City! More than 20 students had posters at the event to present their findings and share knowledge with more than two thousand dairy scientists and dairy stakeholders from around the world.

DID YOU KNOW…DFC investments in dairy production and human nutrition and health research support training for 130 students across Canada!


Marina von Keyserlingk and Dan Weary of the University of British Columbia win first Ruminant Well-being Award, World Buiatrics Congress 2016


Drs. von Keyserlingk and Weary, University of British Columbia, Canada, won the first Ruminant Well-being Award presented in early July at the World Buiatrics Congress in Ireland. The award provides the €15,000 and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health.

Dan and Nina are two of the three co-chairholders of the NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Dairy Cattle Welfare co-sponsored by DFC and dairy sector partners for the past 15 years. For more information on their areas of research and contributions to the Canadian dairy sector, visit



Leave a Reply