Hello Everyone, we hope you had a great summer, it was really good and productive for us too! Elise, Elsa and Santiago presented our work in different seminars and meetings, as you have seen in previous posts and also during this time we started some of our research projects.
Regarding cow comfort, Jessica St John's project (MSc. Student) started July 25th, 2016. She is researching different tie-rail heights and forward positions that follow the natural neck line of cows in tie-stall. The cows ease of movement, health, production, and cleanliness will be measured and used to evaluate the effect each different tie-rail position has on overall dairy cow welfare. New technologies and methods of scoring will be used to evaluate how the cows are using their stalls while provided with different rail placements. The overall objective is to discover the best tie-rail positions to recommend to dairy producers.
Detail of different tie-rails positions at the barn (Photo Jessica St John).
Elise Shepley (PhD Student) has begun her first experiment which seeks to look at the effects of housing cows in a loosed pen vs. tie-stall during the dry period on dairy cow ease of movement. New and exciting 3-D kinematic technology will be implemented to look at the progression of various parameters of locomotion, looking at gait and other aspects related to movement, to see if providing more opportunity of movement during this important period in the cow’s life can improve overall ease of movement. Furthermore, this study hopes to provide preliminary data on other potential benefits to cow welfare and production values at calving and as the cow transitions into her new lactation. This study seeks to provide useful insight an applicable method for providing a period of exercise to dairy cows in a tie-stall setting.
Dry cows loose pen (Photo Elsa Vasseur)
Kinematic walking corridor (Photo Elsa Vasseur)
Finally, about the cow longevity aspect of the IRC, a start-up meeting was held at the premises of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Université de Montréal in St-Hyacinthe (August, 29th). The objective was to discuss the agenda of an INNOV'ACTION pilot project that aims to test the effectiveness of a decision-making tool designed to help herd managers and stakeholders (vets, advisors) in the process of analyzing herd and cow longevity and profitability. Thank you very much to Simon Dufour and Denis Haine for their hospitality and enthusiasm, we expect the best results and benefits from this common project!