The body condition scoring camera is placed above the cow usually on an exit gate.

Cameras provide base for dairy automation and monitoring

Dairy Focus: Companies are using the cameras to measure everything from feed intake to body condition

Cameras are helping attach milking machines to teats, monitor body condition score, heats and feed consumption on dairy farms, making it one of the base technologies of the dairy data revolution. Why it matters: Farmers need technology that can reliably work over many repetitions and in tough conditions. Cameras that see in three dimensions have […] 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

CanWest DHI will soon be uploading information directly from farms that have milking systems that collect it, instead of sending milk testers to every farm.

Dairy services partnership not yet finalized

The new name for the partnership has not yet been released and groups ask for patience

Board members and staff from Can West DHI, Canadian Dairy Network and Valacta continue to work toward finalizing their new partnership and collective new name and service delivery model. CanWest DHI Board Chair Ed Friesen told farmers at the CanWest DHI annual meeting to have patience. “Managing the process and doing things right is more […] 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

Graham Lloyd is general manager of Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

Processor investments should continue to grow Ontario milk market

The fluid milk market situation has prompted calls for better forecasting of quota allocation

Dairy Farmers of Ontario expects the demand for milk in the province to continue to grow, even with potentially significant new volumes of imports from trade deals. But unlike last year, there were no bold predictions of what that increase in demand means for quota levels. At last year’s annual general meeting, DFO board chair […] Read more

Dale, left, and Aaron Smith, like most Canadian dairy farmers significantly increased their milk production from 2011 to 2016.

Getting more milk per cow nets environmental bonus

A study shows that increasing productivity on dairy farms decreases their environmental impact

Dale and Aaron Smith started focusing on improved herd health and feeding efficiency to boost milk production on their Mt. Hope, Ontario dairy farm — and they succeeded. Milk production increased 15 per cent, from 34 litres to 40 litres per cow per day from 2011 to 2016. What they didn’t expect to find was […] Read more

Farmers have improved their environmental performance — now they have to get out there and tell their story.

How to tell the sustainability story

Professor says production efficiency increases are legitimate argument

Increases in farm production efficiency continue to reduce the environment impact per unit of production. However, such messages are often technical. How well do they resonate with consumers looking at agriculture as an environmental villain? Why it matters: Farmers are trying several ways of telling their story about environmental impact. The bottom line is that […] Read more

Dairy farmers should eventually be able to learn about the potential feed efficiency of their animals through a genomic test.

Dairy genomic project closer to feed efficiency number

The Canadian portion of the project hopes to gain more funding to complete its work

The Efficient Dairy Genome Project (EDGP) is looking for another year of funding so it can complete its work and create breeding indices for feed efficiency for Canadian dairy farmers. The project recently held an international symposium in Guelph to check in with the co-ordinated research around the world being done on dairy feed efficiency. […] Read more

Gene editing will allow for improvements within breeds that are now done by introducing crossbreeding.

Looking ahead to dairy farming in 50 years

Genetic advancement, whole herd DNA management and new farm collaborations could be coming

Specialization, attention to the whole-farm biome, and moving genetic advancements away from individual animals toward the herd as a whole — these are some of the transformations in the dairy industry envisioned by the keynote speaker at the recent Dairy At Guelph Research and Innovation Day. Veterinarian Dr. Jack H. Britt, professor emeritus in reproductive […] Read more

Beyond the practical education of 4-H programs, the soft skills they teach are also of value.

Editorial: The value of 4-H

My youngest was this summer the first of my children to participate in a 4-H livestock club. It was a good experience that showed me that the most valuable lessons of 4-H continue to be taught and experienced. 4-H has changed significantly since I spent my teenage years in the Howick Dairy Calf Club in […] Read more