The relationship between agriculture and food is a natural one—at least for producers, who nurture it daily. But the agri-food connection is increasingly becoming a “eureka moment” for the public, too. People are waking up to the realization that agriculture precedes food, and that what they see on their plate comes from complex agri-food systems.
Showcasing the success of Partnership programs and research
To support the demand for goat products, University of Guelph researchers are involved in an intensive, three-year, Ontario-wide herd health and management study.
Prof. Cathy Bauman, Department of Population Medicine, and a team of researchers have surveyed or visited almost 60 goat farmers over the past 18 months to investigate mortalities and management practices among their herds.
The researchers are also wrapping up a project to conduct autopsies on all goat kids under four months of age that died on about half of the farms.
Feed costs represent about 70 per cent of cattle producers’ total expenses. Cattle are under the microscope for contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
And breeding could address both matters.
That’s what one University of Guelph researcher is doing, with help from the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. Using genomics, she’s identifying cattle that naturally use their feed more efficiently.
The following is excerpted from an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs news release. Read the entire release here: Ontario Supporting New Innovative Bioproduct Development.
The Ontario government is working to protect the environment by investing in agri-food research to develop eco-friendly innovations such as bioproducts and waste reduction and recycling technologies.
The Government of Ontario has announced a $1.8-million investment in University of Guelph agri-food research to help find ways to enhance soil health and water quality.
The following is excerpted from an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs news release. Read the entire release here: Ontario to Improve Crop Production by Fighting Plant Diseases.
Could switchgrass be an alternative to hay for dairy cattle to decrease competition between humans and cattle for land use and improve soil health?
That’s what University of Guelph researcher Abigail Carpenter from the department of animal biosciences wants to know.
A growing calf is a hungry calf, but feeding calves to appetite by hand is prohibitive from a labour point of view. Each calf would need to be fed roughly 10 times daily.
At the same time, there’s a growing emphasis on mimicking natural settings and accommodating animals’ natural behaviour on the farm. Consumers want products from animals that are humanely managed, so a balance must be reached between animals having quality life and economic and efficient production systems.
To maximize efficiency, profitability and sustainability, dairy producers need to find a solution to embryonic losses during pregnancy.
Professor Eduardo Ribeiro from the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph is researching causes of pregnancy losses in cattle to develop strategies that will ultimately improve pregnancy survival and reproductive efficiency in dairy herds. Ribeiro hopes to develop practical applications to help producers by focusing on biological problems of cattle at the cellular level.
Canadian scientists conducting a groundbreaking 3,000-dairy cattle study are developing genetic tools to improve feed efficiency and decrease methane emissions.