Cow comfort webinars : Online transfer of best practices appreciated by farmers

FromUnknown-1 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

 

New Research Chair in Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle at McGill University

MacCampusProject

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:

  1. Cow comfort and management
  2. Cow longevity
  3. 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

 

The Barn – A Source of Comfort!

The Barn – A Source of Comfort!

A series of 3 webinars presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada
in partnership with Valacta.

These webinars will present information on: 

  • Why and how to evaluate comfort in the barn?
  • How can I improve comfort in my barn?
  • Are the surface and the space of the stalls comfortable?
  • Comfort… Does it have an impact on profitability?

English Webinar Dates:  February 24, March 31 & April 6

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST

Register now at www.dairyknowledge.ca

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.

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:

https://www.dairyresearch.ca/pdf/3-Animal%20Based%20Protocols-Dairy%20Research%20Cluster-eng.pdf

http://www.hoofhealth.ca/Section6/Index6.html

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: www.dairyresearch.ca

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.

 

 

 

It’s Time to Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research!

  • Have you had your say in setting Canadian Dairy Research priorities for the future?
  • Do you have a question or an on-farm issue that you want solved by dairy research?
  • It’s time to Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research online at DairyResearch.ca.

The Dairy Research Cluster is seeking dairy farmers’ input on the future of dairy research priorities in its online survey titled, Have Your Say in Canadian Dairy Research. The survey will be open to the end of 2015. 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.

What some farmers are saying now…

« We don’t have near enough research being done on growing our markets. » Dairy farmer, Ontario.

I want « Digital dermatitis treatment protocols, Johne’s test extension cooperation between provinces. » Dairy farmer, Alberta

« I want more research on eco-efficient production of energy on dairy farms » Dairy farmer, Quebec.

« How can hoof trimmers that collect and evaluate lameness correlate/interface their data into Dairy Comp for useful and easy to manage results for dairy producers/veterinarians/nutritionists. These results would not only help get a more complete picture of a complex devastating disease but establish some action plans for solving a serious animal welfare issue. The industry needs a team approach for lameness conditions. » Dairy farmer, Ontario.

Do you agree? Do you have other ideas? Have your say now:

On the web: www.dairyresearch.ca
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.

Video on dairy cattle care awarded by the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation

Video on dairy cattle care awarded by the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation

A video commissioned by the Dairy Research Cluster and produced by the University of Guelph’s SPARK program (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) won a bronze in the Electronic Media Category (Jack McPherson Award) by the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation.

The video was produced by the University of Guelph team, which includes, SPARK student Alaina Osborne and researchers Dr. Derek Haley and Clemence Nash. Scoring knee, hock and neck injuries is based on the research financed in the Cluster to develop an animal care comfort tool for farmers.

Access the comfort tool.

Continue reading “Video on dairy cattle care awarded by the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation”

Top Honours for Canadian Dairy Scientists

Top Honours for Canadian Dairy Scientists

Congratulations to Canadian Dairy scientists, Drs. Anne-Marie de Passillé (University of British Columbia) and Ian Doohoo (Mastitis Network, University of PEI) for their inauguration as Honorary PhDs of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Helsinki on June 5, 2015 in Helsinki, Finland. The ceremony is a three-day event (declared as one of the finest in the Academic world…). The President of the Republic of Finland was also among the ten individuals receiving their Honoray PhD. What follows is the write up on each one provided by the University of Helsinki:

Adjunct Professor Anne Marie de Passillé

Anne Marie de Passillé is an internationally esteemed researcher focusing on the behaviour of production animals. She has retired from the position of senior researcher at Agri-Food Canada but continues her research work as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia.

In 1995, Dr. de Passillé, and her husband working in the same field, started collaborating with the researchers of the then new field of science in Finland, the study of animal welfare and behaviour. It is largely due to her that the faculty’s researchers on the subject are today very well connected internationally and active in the scientific community. The teaching, guidance and research collaboration of the faculty with Anne Marie de Passillé has enabled the development of a once minor field of study into one of international renown.

Professor Ian Dohoo

Ian Dohoo is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada. He is a leading researcher in veterinary epidemiology who publishes actively. He is one of the pioneers in the creation of computer-based follow-up methods used in animal health research.

Prof. Dohoo has meritoriously taught the fundamentals of epidemiology to several generations of veterinarians. His courses, e.g. the yearly NOVA courses of the Nordic countries, have formed the basis for the epidemiological and statistical know-how of many Finnish researchers, and still continue to do so for the greater part of the doctoral students of the faculty. Furthermore, he has authored course books for veterinary epidemiology. Prof. Dohoo is an exceptionally motivating and good teacher who has been able to inspire his students. He has received several prizes for teaching and research as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Guelph and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.