2018 Dairy Research Symposium: Transferring Results For Action

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On February 9th, 2018 over 100 dairy producers, stakeholders, processers, sector partners, and researchers from across Canada took part in Dairy Farmer of Canada’s (DFC) Dairy Research Symposium at the Château Laurier in Ottawa. The theme of the event was Transferring Results for Action, and showcased some of the results of scientific research from the three priority areas targeted in the Dairy Research Cluster 2:  human nutrition and health, genetics and genomics, and sustainable milk production.

All presentations and resources can be found online at: DairyResearch.ca.

Key Takeaways from the session on Milk Products: The Total Package:

  • Dairy and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes: In the PROMISE study, the majority of dairy-specific fatty acids that we are studying show a beneficial impact on insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion in high risk individuals (Dr. Anthony Hanley, University of Toronto).
  • Dairy foods may account for many positive outcomes associated with its consumption, including improved glucose metabolism and appetite suppression. The consumption of dairy between meals as preferred snacks and at meals with carbohydrate should be encouraged as a means of addressing the public health costs of obesity and diabetes (Dr. Harvey Anderson, University of Toronto).
  • A First Canadian trial provides evidence that milk and milk products are important factors in achievement of bone health during adolescence, especially in females (Dr. Hope Weiler, McGill University).
  • Growing evidence suggests the beneficial impact of milk products on Metabolic syndrome (Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of at least three of the five following medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Metabolic syndrome is associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes), and cardiometabolic disorders. Dairy intake of Canadians has been lower than recommendations in most age groups since 2004 (based on national survey data) and promotion strategies should be specific, targeting age groups with lower intake and emphasizing role of dairy in health (Dr. Hassan Vatanparast, University of Saskatchewan).
  • Data from epidemiological and clinical studies indicates that consumption of dairy products, in various forms, is either beneficial or neutral with respect to the association with cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes and has no apparent harmful effects on cardiometabolic risk factors (Jean-Phillippe Drouin-Chartier, Université Laval).

Key takeaways from the session Genetics and Genomics – Tools for Dairy Business Improvement:

  • Genomic selection is paying big dividends for the Canadian dairy farmer – more efficient selection for all traits and selection for new traits will affect cost of production at the farm level (health, fertility, cow longevity).
  • In future, improvements will be made using genetics to impact product quality, among others.

Interactive Workshops: 

Three interactive workshops with Canadian experts provided results and resources to improve farm practices with mastitis prevention strategies, better cow comfort and calf care and addressing challenges in transitioning to automatic milking systems (AMS).  Stay tuned to the dairyresearchblog.ca for upcoming posts concerning the outcomes of the workshops and more resources!

Key takeaways from the session on New Science for Dairy Sustainability: 

AAFC scientists presented on water conservation practices on dairy farms, improved genetics and management practices to increase the energy in forages and upcoming changes to protein content in the National Research Council’s (NRC) recommended dairy ration.

  • In-barn water use is 4-7 L per L of milk produced.
  • Conservation practices include recycling all plate-cooler water, improving cleaning protocols and ensuring cow comfort in summer (reduce heat stress); reducing nutrient losses (leaching, runoff, washwater) and energy use also reduces the water footprint.
  • Small changes matter to the dairy sector as a whole – if all farms reduced their in-barn use of water by 1%, 500,000,000 litres of water could be conserved!
  • Increasing the production and utilization of alfalfa-based mixtures is a sustainable strategy to improve on-farm profitability and to reduce the environmental footprint of the Canadian dairy industry.
  • Improved estimations of supply and requirements of proteins and amino acids = better ration formulation that will lead to: increased net farm income and decreased dairy environmental footprint.

More articles on the results generated by the Dairy Research Cluster 2 will be published in the coming months on the DairyResearchBlog.ca to keep transferring knowledge from results for action!