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Top research stories of 2016 and what’s to come in 2017

Published on 30 December 2016

1. DFC announced a new research body and national strategy for dairy research

DFC created a new governance body in 2016 called the Canadian Dairy Research Council (CDRC).



The CDRC will guide the development, implementation and delivery of research activities for dairy production, and human nutrition and health research nationally.

In July, the CDRC completed DFC’s National Dairy Research Strategy to better coordinate dairy farmers’ research investments at the national and provincial levels.

The strategy has four themes: Dairy farm efficiency and sustainability, animal health and welfare, milk composition quality and safety, and milk products and components in human nutrition and health. To see a copy of the strategy, visit Canadian Dairy Research Portal.

2. New vaccine to help dairy cows

A new vaccine developed by professor François Malouin and his team at the Université de Sherbrooke’s Department of Biology and the Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network will offer a previously unexplored approach to controlling the proliferation of udder infections which are caused by the very virulent Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.


A license agreement with the multinational Bayer was confirmed. Watch the video about this discovery on YouTube at Bovine Mastitis.

3. $1.75 million invested in new projects in the Dairy Research Cluster

In February, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced a government investment of an additional $1.75 million in four new projects (one in forages and sustainable dairy production, three in human nutrition and health) in the cluster.

Total funding is now valued at $20.5 million with 27 projects underway to the end of December 2017. The project summaries are available Canadian Dairy Research Portal - Project Summaries.

4. Milk products and heart health: Dairy may have protective effect

Research highlights:


  • Despite containing saturated fat, milk products appear to have a protective effect on cardiovascular health.

  • High-fat milk products seem to be as beneficial as low-fat milk products.

  • Fermented milk products, including yogurt and cheese, have a protective cardiovascular effect.

  • A number of specific milk components have been associated with an improvement in cardiovascular disease risk factors, but dairy foods, as a whole, may be just as important.

  • Increased efforts improve cow comfort.

New research chair in the Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle

DFC and partners Novalait, Valacta, the University of McGill and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council announced a new industry research chair in the Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle. The total partner investment in this research is over $1.6 million for five years.

The research program will be led by NSERC Chairholder Dr. Elsa Vasseur of McGill University, and the areas of work fall under three major themes: cow comfort and management, cow longevity, and environment and society.

Cow comfort – Online transfer of best practices

From Feb. 23 to April 6, 2016, DFC and Valacta presented a series of three webinars on cow comfort in the barn. The webinars were delivered in English and French to dairy farmers from across the country.

A total of six presentations were given, and close to 300 dairy farmers heard from experts about the adoption of best practices for animal comfort, on-farm issues and solutions.

The recorded webinars and associated documents including a cow comfort guide can be viewed Dairy Research Cluster. The pages and supporting documents have been viewed almost 10,000 times.

Looking ahead to 2017 ...

DFC launched its call for proposals for the Dairy Research Cluster 3 (2018-2023) last fall. Over the course of 2017, proposals that meet farmers’ priorities and outcomes will be received, evaluated and selected on the basis of scientific merit.

DFC and its partners Novalait and the Canadian Dairy Network will submit a proposed package for funding to AAFC when the new Growing Forward 3 program is announced.

All 27 activities under Cluster 2 will wrap up in December 2017. Consequently, progress and results will be reported on throughout the year, and knowledge translation and transfer activities increased to ensure farmers receive the most up-to-date results in a timely, effective way.

Throughout 2017, DFC, working in collaboration with its provincial partners, will be developing a strategy for research knowledge translation and transfer. Stay tuned for updates and developments by following us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, the DairyResearchBlog or visit Canadian Dairy Research Portal.

All the best to our readers for a prosperous and productive 2017.  end mark

Dairy Research for a Healthy World
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s farmers.

DFC works to support sustainable dairy production; facilitate solutions to provincial/national challenges; provide credible research of dairy products on a national basis; and create innovative ways to grow the market.