Canadian scientists conducting a groundbreaking 3,000-dairy cattle study are developing genetic tools to improve feed efficiency and decrease methane emissions.
Milk can do more than build strong bones—it could potentially reduce the risk of disease in humans, with help from new technology developed at the University of Guelph.
High Immune Response (HIR) technology, developed by professor Bonnie Mallard, is a management and breeding tool created for producers to identify cows with inherently superior immunity and disease resistance.
Iodine is an essential nutrient for humans and animals, such as dairy cattle, but it can be toxic in high concentrations. University of Guelph (U of G) researchers have identified groundwater as the key source of iodine in cow’s milk from certain regions in Canada, and are exploring methods to decrease it.
A recent Dairy Farmers of Canada study found about five per cent of farms across the country produced milk that exceeded the margin of acceptable iodine levels.
Pregnant cows often experience two simultaneous phenomena that are neither good for them nor their soon-to-be-born calves – they reduce their feed intake right before calving, and simultaneously, they may experience chronic, low-grade, body-wide inflammation.
How does one affect the other, and which one comes first? Researchers at the U of G are investigating that, and trying to prevent metabolic inflammation that may contribute to health problems.
Veterinary drugs and pesticides detection in food tested at the U of G Agriculture and Food Lab (AFL) has been improved through a new method that increases the number of detectable compounds in samples, while simultaneously using a more environmentally friendly compound to reduce the impact of volatile emissions.
Tools such as the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) program play a big role in developing future leaders who aim to participate fully in research innovation. The program provides industry access, educational opportunities and funding to students with promise in research excellence.
The labour-intensive task of harvesting and pruning has become a challenge for greenhouse vegetable growers, making up to 30 per cent of their overall costs.
Can robots help?
Prof. Medhat Moussa, School of Engineering, thinks so. He’s developing a robot system he hopes will be able to harvest, package and de-leaf greenhouse crops without assistance from humans. A prototype is currently being put to the test by harvesting tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers—Ontario’s main greenhouse crops—in Leamington greenhouses.
As food production becomes more complex, research results – and the dissemination of results to end-users – becomes even more important. Aiding in the dissemination of swine research results is one role of the Ontario Swine Research Network (OSRN).
A huge $15.5-million facelift is underway at the Elora Research Station, with the construction of a new cow-calf research centre, a facility owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by the University of Guelph under the OMAFRA-U of G Agreement. A separate project will repurpose 200 acres of land to create pasture at the station and almost double the capacity for livestock on site.
University of Guelph researchers at the Simcoe Research Station are field testing enhanced common wine-quality grape rootstocks in preparation for winter to determine if even more viticulture development can take place across Ontario.