Updates in genetic tools for farmers: Pro$ and Lifetime Profit Index

April 2019 will see the release of an enhanced Pro$ formula, which will allow for selection for optimal daughter profitability in today’s market conditions. In addition, Lifetime Profit Index (LPI) updates will include the addition of trait weightings to better reflect market demands, as well as new traits to reflect breed association goals. In general, national indexes are updated every few years as market conditions or breed goals evolve.

Pro$ was introduced in August 2015 as a selection tool to maximize genetic response for daughter lifetime profitability and has been quickly embraced by farmers and dairy organizations. The Canadian Dairy Network updated Pro$ and the LPI given significant changes in milk pricing and expenses over the past few years, the accumulation of more data, as well as the opportunity to add new traits and expenses unavailable in 2015.

Pro $ updates will better reflect milk component pricing changes, which favour fat production more since Pro$ was introduced in 2015. Overhead costs and feed costs have also seen significant change. Other improvements to Pro$ include the modification of expenses to reflect cow differences in terms of reproduction and maintenance costs, and the addition of four more years of cow profit data.

All economic values used in cow profitability calculations from 2014 and 2019 are seen in Figure 1 and can be useful when assessing where the major updates to Pro$ originate.

Pro$LPIEnhanupdatesENG1-1

The Holstein LPI has been updated to shift the fat to protein ratio to reflect current component pricing and market demand, and by adding two new traits to the durability component of the formula: rump and hoof health.

For a copy of the full article, including LPI / Pro$ comparisons, click here: https://www.cdn.ca/document.php?id=516

Celebrate Earth Day by taking stock of your farm’s sustainability performance

For this year’s celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, try the online tool called Dairy Farms + to track your farm’s sustainability and efficiency.

The tool, which is available to all Canadian dairy farmers that have a farm ID issued by your provincial dairy organization, can:

  • Help you calculate your farm’s environmental footprint;
  • Compare it to other dairy farms in your province;
  • Identify your farm’s strengths; and,
  • Flag the areas where you can act to meet your sustainability goals and improve farm efficiency.

Watch the following webinar on how to use the DairyFarms + tool and prepare your plan of action to keep contributing to a sustainable dairy future.

 

Protein and body weight

{The following is an excerpt of an article available on Dairy Farmers of Canada’s website. To read the full article, visit dairynutrition.ca.}

By: G. Harvey Anderson, PhD, Professor, Nutritional Sciences and Physiology; Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

image006

The role of protein in regulating energy and maintaining healthy body weight is still unclear. But evidence is mounting that the source of protein is very important in this equation.

Research Highlights

  • A growing body of evidence supports a role for dairy products in the regulation of body weight.
  • Calcium supplements do not appear to confer the same benefit as dairy calcium, suggesting that other components in milk may be a factor.
  • Proteins in milk, including casein and whey, improve satiety, regulate food intake and promote the maintenance of lean muscle mass.
  • Peptides and other bioactive components in milk products appear to have additional benefits including modulation of blood pressure, inflammation and blood glucose levels.

More than 20 reasons to visit DairyResearch.ca now

Twenty-four new research summaries are available on DairyResearch.ca! A majority of the Dairy Research Cluster 2 projects concluded in 2018 (24 out of 27) and summaries were published for each project, including the objectives, outcomes, links to knowledge translation and transfer documents and the benefits of the research to the Canadian dairy sector.

You can access and download each summary report here: Dairy Research Cluster 2 Project Summaries and Results. We invite you to share the results from Canadian dairy farmers’ investments in driving innovation through Canadian dairy research with your sector colleagues.

Project Summary Dairy Cluster 2 - Water footprint assessment and optimization for Canadian dairy farms_blog

Dairy Research Success Stories on YouTube

A video describing some of the success stories from the Dairy Research Cluster 2 (2013-2018) is now available on the Dairy Research Cluster Channel on YouTube. The 4-minute segment is a compilation of the research highlights and results extracted from projects supported by investment partners Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Dairy Network and the Canadian Dairy Commission. Feel free to share this video in your social media networks to show how Canadian dairy farmers are driving innovation in dairy!

 

LCA of Milk Production Update

The Canadian Milk Production Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) Update conducted by Groupe AGECO and released in January 2019 assesses several environmental issues in milk production, including carbon footprint, water consumption, and land use. Its findings indicate that the Canadian dairy sector has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world!

The LCA update characterizes the environmental performance of Canadian milk production in 2016 and compares it with data from 2011. In 2012, the first Lifecycle Assessment of Milk Production was conducted and published under the Dairy Research Cluster (2010-2013) and integrated into a comprehensive online tool called Dairy Farms + under the Dairy Research Cluster 2 (2013-2018). Dairy Farms + is available to every Canadian dairy farmer for environmental self-assessment and benchmarking at DairyFarmsPlus.ca.

Informed by science, the LCA update results demonstrate that Canadian dairy farmers adopt practices that benefit the environment. Practices like more crop rotations, improved manure management, reduced tillage and precision agriculture techniques, as well as increased milk production per cow, show continuous improvements in these environmental profiles.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

  • Milk produced in Canada has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. A litre produced in Canada emits 0.94 kg CO2 eq, which is about 1/3 the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to the global average. 
  • Carbon footprint, water consumption, and land use associated with milk production have decreased by 7%, 6%, and 11%, respectively, in the past five years.
  • As a result of improvements in animal nutrition, genetics, and housing, milk production per cow increased by 13% since 2011.
  • In 2016, Canadian milk production was responsible for generating only 1.3% of Canada’s total GHG emissions.

 

PLC-Info-ANG-F-17-12-2018

More and More Evidence of Dairy’s Role in Prevention of Chronic Diseases

shutterstock_255113662The scientific evidence supporting the role of milk products in the prevention of chronic diseases continues to accumulate.

A list of the science-based articles available on DairyNutrition.ca includes information on Milk Products and Cardiovascular Diseases, Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, and more.Additionally, recent studies on dairy product consumption and Cardiovascular health and the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes report that:

  • Higher dairy intake is associated with a lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease. A study published in The Lancet in September 2018 led by Canadian researchers  involved 136,384 participants from 18 countries aged 35-70 years who were followed for a median of 9.1 years. Researchers found that consumption of >2 servings/d of whole-fat dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese) was associated with a 25% reduced risk of mortality and a 32% reduced risk of major cardiovascular disease (compared to intake of < 0.5 servings/d).

  • Consumption of dairy fat may confer protective effects against type 2 diabetes. A 2018 meta-analysis provides the strongest evidence to date for the association of certain fatty acids with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study examined the association of type 2 diabetes with certain fatty acids (as measured in the blood and fat tissue), which are considered objective measures that reflect dairy fat intake.  The different fatty acids were associated with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes from 19-45%.

For additional information on other topics, visit DairyNutrition.ca.

New science on the dairy water footprint

image003Dr. Andrew VanderZaag, a scientist from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and his collaborators from the University of Guelph, OMAFRA, the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, and Wilfrid Laurier University, measured water use on farms in Ontario to calculate a water footprint for dairy production and identify practical and economical options to reduce water use for sustainability. The project was part of farmers’ investments targeting sustainable dairy farming in the Dairy Research Cluster 2 (2013-2018).

A water footprint for dairy is a new way of measuring the amount of water used per litre of milk produced. It’s used to benchmark performance in sustainability and help farmers measure the impacts of their actions to improve water conservation and preservation.

Conserving water not only helps improve farm sustainability, it benefits a dairy farm operation by:

  • Saving electricity through less pumping water and heating water for cleaning;
  • Reducing costs for treating water – depending on water quality, this can be a big factor; and,
  • Lowering fuel costs – reducing water in manure storage means less to transport from the storage to the field for application.

Water use

VanderZaag’s team measured water use in different dairy farms (tie-stall, freestall and robotic milking) in Ontario. They found that for milking system cleaning, the average daily water use was:

  • ~75 litres/day/cow [i]for an automatic milk system
  • ~30 litres/day/cow for a tie-stall parlour
  • ~21 litres/day/cow for a free-stall parlour

They also observed that:

  • Robotic milking systems use more water per cow than parlours and tie‐stall milking systems;
  • Drinking water consumption is highly correlated with the maximum air temperature – therefore minimizing heat stress to animals can reduce the water footprint of milk by reducing water demand and increasing milk production;
  • Water leaks around the farm can lead to significant water losses;
  • Water loss can be minimized at drinking fountains by preventing overflow due to faulty float control and poorly levelled tanks;
  • Reusing water can help reduce water consumption, for example, plate‐cooler water can be fully recuperated;
  • In a case study of two farms (one free-stall and one tie-stall), the water footprint was calculated as a range of 4 to 7 litres of water per litre of milk produced.

Water and nutrient losses

VanderZaag and his collaborators measured water and nutrient losses for several years at experimental sites near Ottawa using sophisticated instruments to measure water loss into the air, through tile drains, milkhouse effluent and treatment, and the timing of manure application. They used models based on the measurements to evaluate farm management scenarios for their effect on the water footprint and options to reduce it.

The researchers found that:

  • On a whole‐farm basis, over 99% of all water loss from dairy farming is from crops and pastures, with the remaining loss from cattle intake;
  • Spring application of manure reduces nitrogen leaching compared to fall application;
  • Split applications between planting and side‐dress can further increase nitrogen-efficiency if the application rate is matched to crop requirements;
  • Spring applications (before planting, or split before and after emergence) were beneficial at all nitrogen application rates;
  • Increasing alfalfa in rotation led to less polluted water and nitrate leaching, and less nitrogen-leached per unit of nitrogen‐yield, but overall yield slightly declined.

How to conserve and preserve water – NEW Fact sheets available!

Two new fact sheets produced by Dairy Farmers of Canada in consultation with Dr. VanderZaag are now available for information on efficient water use under the proAction program and help farmers in their efforts for continued sustainability improvements. You can download the fact sheets here: DairyResearch.ca.

 

“If all dairy operations in Canada reduced in-barn water consumption by 1%, about 500 million litres of water would be saved annually,” said Dr. VanderZaag.

Takeaways

  1. Plate-cooler water can be recovered and reused (watch the video of dairy farmer Robin Flewwelling explain his set up for plate-cooler water collection and reuse);image002

  2. Cleaning protocols can be optimized especially with robotic systems to conserve water;

  3. Keeping cows cool in the summer can save water – reducing heat stress is beneficial for the animals and reduces water consumption;

  4. Water loss at drinking fountains can be minimized by preventing overflow due to faulty float control and poorly levelled tanks.

[i]* Standard automatic milking system are not normally set with water conservation as a primary objective (e.g. number of wash cycles, teat prep, flushing, floor and hoof wash).

 

Gut Health: A Journey Inside

DAI05-032-Symposium2018_Email_Header_EN_(v00.01)

The following are highlights from the 2018 Symposium on Nutrition and Health brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada

Renowned experts at the 2018 Symposium shed light on several hot topics related to gut health, including:

  • how the gut microbiota affects overall health
  • when and how to apply the FODMAP* diet
  • how yogurt can benefit cardiometabolic health
  • strategies to manage lactose intolerance

*FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are found naturally in a wide range of foods – fructans including fructooligosaccharides (FOS) (artichoke, garlic, onions, wheat, rye), galactooligosaccharides (GOS) (pulses), lactose (in milk), fructose in excess of glucose (pears, apples and honey), and sugar polyols (stone fruits, some vegetables and artificial sweeteners). Source: www.dairynutrition.ca

Dr. Karen Madsen presented on the gut microbiome and its role in health. Humans have coevolved with a vast array of microorganisms that profoundly influence all facets of our health and wellbeing. Dysbiosis, an altered balance of gut microbiota, is implicated in a wide range of health conditions, including: inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. We now know that diet clearly impacts the makeup of our gut microbiome and dietary changes can substantially alter microbial composition and metabolism.

Please read full summary or watch the webcast of this presentation here.

Dr. Jane Muir, one of the developers of the FODMAP diet, highlighted how RDs can apply this diet in practice, ensuring patients follow a 3-step approach and do not restrict important food groups. For example, the initial low FODMAP phase of the diet should only last 2-6 weeks, and this should be followed by a re-introduction phase to identify individual sensitivities and find a good balance between symptom control and expansion of the diet. It is important to re-introduce foods to improve variety, nutritional adequacy, and social inclusion and because some FODMAPs are prebiotics.1

Please read full summary or watch the webcast of this presentation here.

Dr. André Marrette outlined the evidence related to yogurt and cardiometabolic health. Strong consistent evidence from multiple meta-analyses shows an inverse association between yogurt consumption and type 2 diabetes risk.Studies also suggest that yogurt consumption is likely to contribute to the maintenance of a healthy weight.Bioactive peptides released during fermentation may explain some of the beneficial effects of yogurt consumption on cardiometabolic health via their role on the gut microbiota.

Please read full summary or watch the webcast of this presentation here.

Dr. Susan Barr presented data on the prevalence of Lactose Intolerance in Canada and strategies for its management. Lactose intolerance, whether real or perceived, is a potential health concern for many Canadians. Approximately 16-21 % of adults in Canada perceive themselves to be lactose intolerant.4,5 This can lead to the avoidance of milk products, which can in turn make it harder to meet requirements for calcium and other key nutrients (even with consumption of alternative beverages and supplements). Health authorities advise those who are lactose intolerant to not exclude milk products from their diet. Health professionals can work closely with clients to ensure dairy products are not needlessly avoided using a number of practical strategies to manage lactose intolerance.

Please read full summary or watch the webcast of this presentation here.

You can read the full summaries of the presentations or watch the webcast.

REFERENCES

  1. Tuck C and Barrett J. Re-challenging FODMAPs: the low FODMAP diet phase 2. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2017;32:11-15.
  2. Drouin-Charier JP et al. Systematic review of the association between dairy product consumption and risk of cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes. Adv Nutr2016;7:1026-1040.
  3. Fernandez MA et al.Yogurt and cardiometabolic diseases: a critical review of potential mechanisms. Adv Nutr2017;8:812-829.
  4. Barr SI. Perceived lactose intolerance in adult Canadians: a national survey. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2013;38:830-835.
  5. Dairy Farmers of Canada Nutrition Tracking. 2018.

 

Dairy Farmers’ TOP 10 Dairy Cattle Disease and Management Concerns Addressed

Author: Meagan King, University of Guelph

As part of the National Dairy Study’s Needs Assessment (Phase 1), close to 700 dairy farmers completed a survey asking them to identify their top management and disease priorities. The five-year research project was led by Dr. David Kelton at the University of Guelph and his collaborators under the Dairy Research Cluster 2.

The survey resulted in the following priorities identified by Canadian dairy farmers:

Top Management Issues

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Reproductive health
  3. Costs of disease
  4. Cow deaths/longevity
  5. Udder health

Top Disease Issues

  1. Lameness
  2. mastitis
  3. Calf diarrhea
  4. Abortions
  5. Respiratory disease

The Dairy Research Cluster team has compiled resources linked to the top issues in the following interactive poster. Scroll over each priority to discover a pop up window containing sources of information on each issue and how to address it.