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Research review: Dairy Farmers of Canada’s 2020 dairy research highlights

Published on 03 October 2021

Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) 2020 Dairy Research Highlights is now available for download on Dairy Farmers of Canada’s website in the Dairy Research section.

The publication contains relevant information on DFC’s investments in dairy production and human nutrition and health research, its research funding partners, a list of research projects in progress, as well as some of the main outcomes resulting from research and knowledge translation and transfer activities (KTT) in 2020.



Dairy Farmers of Canada

Excerpts from the 2020 report:

Investments in research

  • In 2020, DFC invested $1.7 million in dairy production and human nutrition and health research, which was boosted to $9 million by leveraging its investments through grant programs and partnerships. DFC and 30 partners support scientific research to drive innovation in the Canadian dairy sector.

  • 39 research projects are in progress at 35 institutions including research centres and universities across Canada.

  • 124 scientists and 113 graduate students and post-docs are conducting studies in dairy production and human nutrition and health.

  • 3,023 dairy farmers from coast to coast are investing their time as part of several research projects to help drive innovation in the Canadian dairy sector.

  • More than 200 communications and KTT products in both languages were developed and disseminated to targeted user audiences.

10 key outcomes from DFC investments in research and KTT

Dairy farm efficiency and sustainability

  • In April 2021, Lactanet Canada was the first organization to introduce Feed Efficiency genetic evaluations for the Holstein breed in Canada and among the first globally to provide Feed Efficiency evaluations.

  • Three fact sheets were developed and distributed to over 5,000 Canadian dairy farmers. The content promotes best practices to mitigate greenhouse gases through livestock, manure and crop management for better farm sustainability.

  • Preliminary research results suggest that a slag filter (iron with a gravel pit) can be a low-cost, highly effective method for collecting and treating nutrient-rich runoff from bunker silos.

Animal health and welfare

  • Increasing evidence is being published on the opportunity for dairy cattle movement suggesting that increased dairy cow mobility benefits the animal’s health, behaviour and welfare.

  • A fact sheet was developed to support farmers’ decision-making when drying off cull dairy cattle at high production and emergency situations.

  • Recent key findings from the Chair in Dairy Cattle Welfare included recommendations and practices for feeding and housing calves, helping heifers adapt to new situations like housing, transition cow health and care, outdoor access for dairy cattle, comfort for cows when calving and the effectiveness of benchmarking reports to help farmers improve calf management.

Milk composition, quality and safety


  • Preliminary research results have shown that an increasing number of farmers are adopting best management practices for selective dry cow therapy and selective treatment of clinical mastitis, which has the potential to reduce antibiotic use and resistance.

  • New resources and tools like fact sheets, reports and services have been developed to assist farmers, in consultation with their veterinarians, to apply protocols for the adoption of selective dry cow therapy.

Milk products and their components in human nutrition and health

  • Research results from a randomized controlled trial found that dairy products consumed as part of a weight management and exercise program for overweight/obese adolescent females had favourable effects on their body composition.

  • DFC’s dietitians organized and delivered webinars to health professionals and produced two fact sheets that were distributed to 8,296 health professionals, teachers and sector stakeholders to reinforce the importance of the role of dairy products in Canadians’ diets.  end mark

Canadian Dairy Research: For a profitable, innovative and sustainable sector
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) invests in research to stimulate productivity, sustainability and profitability on farms and to improve knowledge on milk and dairy products’ health benefits. DFC finances research initiatives that benefit all dairy farmers across Canada and works in collaboration with its members and other sectorial partners to address farmers’ priorities set in the dairy research and knowledge translation, and transfer national strategies. Visit Dairy Research of Canada for more information.