Research Reports

Research Reports are designed to report applied aspects of research from the UBC’s Dairy Education and Research Centre recently published in refereed international scientific journals. Reports are two pages in length and are published three to five times per year.

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Dairy calves are motivated to be with another calf

Dairy calves are motivated to be with another calf

Dairy calves are often reared individually early in their life, contrary to natural conditions, where calves have access to a richer social environment. A large body of research suggests that housing dairy calves in pairs or groups early in life is important for the development of their social and cognitive skills.

Brushes for dairy heifers

Brushes for dairy heifers

Brushes, both automated and fixed, are becoming common on dairy farms, providing cows the opportunity to express natural grooming behaviours.

Dairy cattle welfare in tie stalls vs. less restrictive housing

Dairy cattle welfare in tie stalls vs. less restrictive housing

Cows kept in ‘tie stalls’ are tethered in individual stalls. This is the most prominent form of housing for Canadian dairy cattle (74% of farms in Canada use tie stalls), especially in Quebec and Ontario.

A free stall reimagined

A free stall reimagined

Open space is an important feature of a lying environment to dairy cattle, as this allows them to more easily lie down and stand up, and to adopt different lying postures. However, more open lying areas make it more difficult to control where cows defecate and urinate.

Improvements in lameness detection

Improvements in lameness detection

Lameness is one of the greatest challenges facing the dairy industry – approximately 25% of the dairy cows in Canada are lame. It is important that new cases of lameness are promptly identified, as treatment of chronically lame animals is often unsuccessful.

When to assist calving and how it impacts metritis

When to assist calving and how it impacts metritis

Around the time of calving (birthing), dairy cows are susceptible to calving difficulties and illness such as uterine infections. About 75% of diseases in dairy cows typically occur within the first three weeks postpartum.

Painful memories: Using the memory of disbudding to identify less painful methods

Painful memories: Using the memory of disbudding to identify less painful methods

In a series of recent studies at the University of British Columbia’s Dairy Education and Research Centre (Agassiz, BC), we assessed the impact of this ‘post-operative’ pain by measuring the calves’ memory of this experience.

Perspectives of Western Canadian dairy farmers on the future of farming

Perspectives of Western Canadian dairy farmers on the future of farming

In a recent study we set out to better understand farmers’ perspectives on standards of animal care on Canadian dairy farms, with a focus on the role of policies such as those related to proAction.

Helping cows with reduced estrous expression achieve greater fertility

Helping cows with reduced estrous expression achieve greater fertility

Infertility of lactating dairy cows represents a major challenge for dairy production. In order for proficient outputs, modern dairies using year-round calving are required to have well-functioning reproductive programs that enable sufficient replacement rates, optimal milk yields and a consistent income all year long.

The individual matters: Personality traits in dairy cattle

The individual matters: Personality traits in dairy cattle

In a series of studies, we investigated the expression of different personality traits in dairy calves and their consistency until adulthood, and how these personality traits affect how dairy calves feed, grow, interact with others, and respond to stressful management practices.