Ariane France

M.Sc. (Thesis) student
Email: 
afrance@uoguelph.ca

I am currently an M. Sc. thesis student in Dairy Health and Welfare under the supervision of Dr. Trevor DeVries. I completed three years of my undergraduate degree at McGill University https://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/ in Animal Science, before transferring to the University of Guelph and obtaining my B. Sc. Agr. Honors with a major in Animal Science. I am a certified agrologist with the Ordre des Agronomes du Québec https://oaq.qc.ca/. My passion for agriculture and dairy cattle evolved from growing up on a hobby farm, participating in 4-H and from working in the dairy industry. This, paired with my desire to learn and gain more knowledge led me to pursuing graduate studies in Dr. DeVries' lab. 

My research is primarily focused on dairy cattle health, looking at the incidence of mastitis in cows milked with automatic milking systems (AMS). With the rise in popularity of AMS in Canada, the need for research regarding which management practices can help mitigate mastitis in AMS herds is becoming more important. Mastitis is a prevalent disease on Canadian dairy farms, being both a concern for dairy cattle welfare and a cause of substantial economical losses for producers. In addition, the need to reduce the quantity of prophylactic antimicrobials as dry cow therapy is more important than ever, with the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Since one of the critical periods in a cow's lactation for preventing new intramammary infections, or to help cure existing ones, is the dry period, this period has become the object of my research project. 620 cows from five dairy farms in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec are enrolled in this project. We randomly allocate the cows to four different treatments in the weeks prior to dry-off, with different milking frequencies and feed allocations, to see the effect on their milk yield, robot visits and udder health. Quarter-milk samples will be taken every two weeks for one month before dry-off and one months after the subsequent calving, in order to measure somatic cell count, milk components and the bacteria content of the milk. The milk will be cultured in order to identify the bacterial colonies, if present, which will also help us understand what forms of mastitis are most recurrent around dry-off. This project should also help us understand which management practices are most recommended for herds being milked by AMS in Canada. 

In my free time, I like to spend time working on the farm, cooking, riding horses, showing cows or running. I would like to work in the dairy industry once I complete my studies, always staying close to my four-legged friends and being a proud advocate for dairy and agriculture.