Consumers are hungry to know more about food, studies indicate, but excessive information on food labels is often ignored.

Communicating the complexity of livestock farming

Farmers do have consumers’ trust on their side

The dairy industry should find simple ways to convey the complex messages of how it deals with animal welfare, food safety and environmental stewardship. If it doesn’t, it runs the risk that consumers will get their information from other sources, including advocacy organizations, which can sometimes question farmer credibility. Why it matters: With international trade […] Read more

OSPCA to step away from livestock inspection and enforcement on March 31

Organization’s decision hastens timing for legislative rewrite for animal cruelty enforcement

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) says it will stop cease enforcing animal cruelty regulations for farm animals as of March 31. That’s shorter than the three months after March 31 that the OSPCA has offered to continue enforce legislation for pets. Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services […] Read more

Studies show that total mixed rations on dairy farms can vary significantly batch to batch.

Aim for consistency in mixed dairy cow rations

Avoiding variations in feed timing and TMR make-up means happier cows

Feeding dairy cows too little protein can be a problem if total mixed rations (TMR) are inconsistent batch-over-batch. That was one of the findings from a 2014 study of eastern Ontario farms, highlighted by University of Guelph Animal Biosciences Professor Trevor DeVries during a recent dairy farmer information session hosted by Wallenstein Feed and Supply. […] Read more

A rye crop is roller crimped before organic soybean planting.

Riding the learning curve on organic no-till

Farmers are pushing the boundaries of roller-crimping winter rye and direct seeding soybeans behind

Planting soybeans into a just-terminated cover crop of winter rye is gaining popularity among Ontario’s organic community, as farmers strive to introduce minimum-till strategies into their rotations. No-till planting has so far not become common in any other crops under organic production — in which farmers typically rely upon tillage instead of chemical inputs to […] Read more

Martin Pronk and his cows in their pack barn.

Getting the grass-fed dairy details right

Harriston-area dairy farmer focuses on pasture and grass forages and feeds no grain

Martin Pronk showed a slide of a cow that had been milking for over 700 days, and suggested to an audience at the recent Guelph Organic Conference that his lack of concern about either getting that cow pregnant or sent away for slaughter is what sets him apart from most fellow dairy farmers. But in […] Read more

Dairy farmers have been concerned about the continued expansion of the dairy market with the signing of three trade deals which all gave up access to Canada’s dairy market.

Easing concern about CUSMA dairy concessions

Al Mussell sees potential for some Canadian ingredients to continue crossing border

Once the dust has settled on the ratifications of the Canada-United States-Mexico trade agreement (CUSMA), access to U.S. markets for certain Canadian dairy ingredients could meet or even exceed what previously existed. At least that was the assertion made by Al Mussell, research lead at Guelph-based Agri-Food Economic Systems, during a recent dairy producer information […] Read more

Planting into conditions that mean quick germination and emergence is important for organic soybeans, which are planted without conventional seed treatments.

Demand strong for organic soybeans

New trials aim to find soybeans that will succeed better under organic farming conditions

A four-year, multi-location study aims to find organic soybean varieties suited for Ontario and Manitoba. The study, funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), will help find varieties better to grow under organic conditions. “There is still strong demand,” said Rob Wallbridge, organic specialist with Thompsons Limited. Wallbridge was joined by a number of fellow […] Read more

Dairy robots have been a driver in the growth of data available to farmers, although more sensors are arriving on parlour milking systems too.

More work needed to put dairy data gathering to good use, say researchers

Dairy Focus: University of Guelph researchers say cow health events can be predicted with data

The proliferation of artificial intelligence in today’s dairy barns should eventually lead to the ability to predict a daily disease probability for lactating animals, says University of Guelph researcher Meagan King. However, one of her University of Guelph compatriots Stephen Leblanc noted that “we’re not there yet.” King, a post-doctorate animal biosciences researcher and Leblanc, […] Read more

A pair of calves try out the solid feed in the group housing barn at Bolton Manor Holsteins, operated by the Jackson family near Thamesford.

Choosing calf housing options

Dairy Focus: There are strengths to both individual and group housing facilities for calves

Individual housing in hutches remains “the gold seal for health,” said a dairy farmer who recently switched to group housing for calves. But he insists the health drawbacks are manageable, and made the switch anyway for other reasons. “Labour savings? Big plus. Animal welfare? Big plus,” declared Oxford County’s Thomas Jackson, who moved his calves […] Read more

An online survey has been created for public input in preparation for a future update to animal welfare legislation.

Researcher seeks input on animal inspection alternatives

A recent court ruling mandated changes to animal inspection in Ontario in a year

A recognized expert in animal cruelty policy would welcome consideration of laws in other jurisdictions if and when Ontario updates its own legislation. But Dr. Kendra Coulter also wants to ensure the public has its say and she has launched an online survey she hopes will facilitate that input. Coulter is chair of Labour Studies […] Read more