High-tech livestock research centre opens

University of Guelph opens Livestock Research and Innovation Centre in EloraUniversity of Guelph researchers will study livestock production, health and welfare using leading-edge technology with the opening of the $25-million, state-of-the-art Livestock Research and Innovation Centre (LRIC) — Dairy Facility at Elora.

This multidisciplinary facility will bring together scientists, students and stakeholders from Ontario and beyond to study environmental, social and economic issues for the dairy industry, including genetics, nutrition and quality improvement to animal welfare, food safety, and animal and human health.

Highlights of the LRIC include:

  • A maternity wing and nursery with sophisticated lighting and ventilation controls that allow calves to be fed individually or through a robotic feeder.
  • High-tech sensors for studying feeding behaviour to help researchers learn about dairy cow behaviour, nutrition and welfare, and improve cattle feeding.
  • A custom-designed metabolic research wing for researchers to study and monitor individual animals.
  • A robotic milker that uses an identification system to recognize individual animals, and helps ensure product quality by recording information such as milk yields and by rejecting subpar milk.

The facility involves U of G, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and Dairy Farmers of Ontario.