Category Archives: dairy farming

Dairy cow embryos hold promise for improving human in vitro success

Pavneesh Madan

By Jane Robinson

Guelph – Pavneesh Madan was just about eight years old when he first peered at an embryo under a microscope. That first glimpse began his lifelong focus on fertilized eggs, and particularly the field of early embryonic mortality in dairy cattle.

Madan is an associate professor, veterinarian and researcher at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and for the past several years he’s been working on ways to identify healthy and unhealthy dairy embryos before they are used in embryo transfer.

“Early embryonic mortality costs dairy farmers a lot of money,” says Madan.

He cites a United Nations survey that put global losses at $1.8 trillion annually for embryonic mortality in beef and dairy cattle around the world.

“Maybe we can prevent some of these losses by understanding how the embryo develops, how to recognize a healthy or unhealthy embryo in the first few days of development, and then being able to choose only the good ones,” he says. Continue reading

Electronic “logbook” could nip animal disease outbreaks in the bud

barn-with-sign-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – A local company has developed an electronic logbook system that can help the livestock industry quickly and easily track movement on and off farms – information that is absolutely critical for preventing or minimizing costly disease outbreaks.

Currently, a paper-based visitor register is the global standard for keeping track of who entered or left a farm property at what time and where they’d been previously.

A manual system is slow and leaves room for error, however, neither of which is helpful during a disease emergency, especially in the early days when spread can still be prevented or contained. Continue reading

Canadian mobile device offers instant dairy cow health check

results-webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Queensville, Ontario – “A dairy farmer, an engineer and an accountant walk into a barn…”

That’s the setup for Dairy Quality Inc., a Queensville, Ontario-based company that prides itself on creating high tech solutions to meet dairy farming challenges. The company’s latest product is an innovative new device that gives dairy farmers instant updates on a cow’s health and milk quality.

With the RT10 device and Dairy SCC app, farmers use a mobile fluorescent microscope connected to a smart phone to test milk samples from individual cows. The device works with an iPhone app to provide real-time readings of specific health indicators, including somatic cell count (SCC), which is the most important indication of dairy cow health.

“Currently, dairy farmers across North America receive a monthly report from Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) that indicates SCC data,” says Chris Gans, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dairy Quality Inc. “Our product doesn’t replace that service, but a lot can happen on a dairy farm in 30 days. Dairy SCC offers farmers the ability to have more immediate information relating to the health of each individual cow.” Continue reading

Trent research identifies gene variant responsible for scrapie susceptibility in Ontario dairy goats

Young Ontario goats - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough ON, 12 July 2016 – Live goats can now be tested for scrapie susceptibility and resistance thanks to newly completed genetic research by Dr. Bradley White, a biology professor at Trent University.

Scrapie is a slow-moving but fatal degenerative central nervous system disease in sheep and goats that is related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer.

Currently, testing for the scrapie disease in goats is only possible on dead animals and no treatment or vaccine is available. The disease can be spread by positive animals that don’t show any symptoms of the disease, and all goats on farms where scrapie is found are destroyed. Continue reading

Locally produced algae cleans waste water, feeds livestock

Noble 2 - courtesy Trent University - web

Dr. Andressa Lacerda

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Local researchers have developed several strains of algae that can clean waste water as well as serve as a potential livestock superfood.

Nobletech Inc.’s Noble Purification division is currently piloting its algae-based clean water technology, and Noble Biotech has developed sustainable animal feed that is high in protein and omega fatty acids. The company is part of the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster.

“Our core technology for both of these applications is the algae product itself,” explains Dr. Andressa Lacerda, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Trent’s environmental and life sciences program. “We’re algae farmers, and we grow algae with different purposes.” Continue reading