Lameness is the dairy industry’s leading and most visible animal welfare concern. It’s also among the top three health challenges, along with mastitis and reproductive problems. Veterinarian Dr. Laura Solano, dairy cattle extension specialist at Calgary, Alberta-based Farm Animal Care Associates, says that despite the negative impacts to lameness, studies show that 15 to 30… Read More

Milking with single-box automated milking systems (AMS) has revolutionized the way dairy producers manage their herds. Current estimates indicate that 10 percent of the Canadian dairy herd are now milked by automated systems, and it’s growing. Globally, nearly 30,000 farms employ robots, according to a 2014 survey. Much of the conversation around dairy robots focus… Read More

Lameness can have a significant impact on a dairy cow’s health, longevity, and productivity. Are dairy farmers doing a better job preventing lameness on their farms than they have in the past? What risk factors can producers better manage to reduce lameness on their farms? Those are questions University of Calgary graduate student Michelle van… Read More

Reproduction performance on Canadian dairy farms is getting better but there’s still room for improvement. That’s the message Mark Cason, EastGen Genetics reproductive solutions manager, shared with producers attending the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar at Red Deer, Alta., earlier this month. Carson’s insights are based on analysis of CanWest DHI herds greater than 150 cows from… Read More

When are dairy cows in the black? In financial terms, cows typically hit profitability in their second lactation, but too many cows don’t make it to the break-even point, says University of Calgary graduate student Jesse Schuster. Last week at the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar (WCDS) at Red Deer, Alberta, Schuster shared findings from a study of CanWest DHI… Read More

It’s a dairy-themed day today on RealAg, as Kelvin hosts a “best-of” show highlighting interviews on robotics, labour, milk marketing, sustainability and public perception of animal care and more from the World Dairy Expo, Canadian Dairy XPO and Western Canadian Dairy Seminar. Guests include Marina von Keyserlingk of UBC, J.W. Schroeder of NDSU, Francisco Rodriguez of… Read More

The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) officially launched their sustainability initiative this week in Ottawa. The initiative, called proAction, includes national standards for milk quality, food safety, animal care, traceability, biosecurity and the environment. It’s a way to showcase what the industry’s strengths, while also encouraging constant progress and improvement. “As dairy farmers, we are… Read More

Flax could have an important role in improving reproductive performance in dairy cattle. Research studies looking at including flax oil in dairy rations in Alberta, BC and Oregon showed “mixed results, but in all three studies we found reductions in pregnancy losses,” explains Divakar Ambrose in the interview below. Ambrose, a dairy research scientist with… Read More

What makes a dairy farm sustainable? The definition of sustainability would suggest the future of Canadian dairy farms would rest heavily on environmental, economic and social factors. Farms need to respect the environment, make money and also reflect the aspirations of consumers and their growing awareness of animal welfare. In an era of increasing scrutiny… Read More

The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency is generally known for its work funding research and market development in the beef and pork industries, but the organization also has a vested interest in dairy. Whether its forage production, animal welfare or meat prices, dairy has more in common with other livestock industries than most recognize, says ALMA… Read More

Cows aren’t the only creatures that need to be trained to use a dairy robot. The value a dairy farm gets out of an automated system depends on all the people involved knowing how to utilize the machine’s capabilities. “That robot is doing nothing more than milking your cows,” explains Ben Smink of Lely North America… Read More

The 20 million acres of canola that blooms yellow every summer is a pride of the prairies. So what does that have to do with dairy? Canola and soybeans duke it out in the oil market, but also the meal market. At the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, I searched out some answers on this canola versus soybean… Read More

There are some jobs on the farm (and at home for that matter, but we won’t get into that now) that are worthwhile, important jobs, but really leave you feeling like the time could be better spent somewhere else. Those jobs are exactly the niche jobs robotics were designed to fill. In years past, the… Read More