Chair on the Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle

Dr. Elsa Vasseur of McGill University has held the Chair on the Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle at McGill University for over a year. Novalait has produced a new video providing an overview of the work underway on behalf of Canada’s dairy farmers! Click on the link to watch it now: Dr. Elsa Vasseur – Chair, Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle.


Chair Investment:  The total partner investment in this research is over $1.6 million for five years  and includes investments from the the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Novalait, McGill University, Dairy Farmers of Canada and Valacta.

Research Themes

The research falls under three major themes. The Cow Comfort and Management theme will address tie-stall systems (given their current prominence) and examine solutions for the transition to freestall systems, for dairy farmers who wish to examine that option, from the point of view of animal comfort, management and 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 Environment and Society theme aims 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.


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