Guelph, Ont. – A new $25-million Livestock Research and Innovation Centre (LRIC) – Dairy Facility at Elora, which was announced in 2012, is a state-of-the-art centre at the University of Guelph that has finally opened.
The university says its researchers will use it to study livestock production, health and welfare in innovative ways. Research is set to begin this fall.
The centre involves the University of Guelph, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO).
The multidisciplinary centre will bring together scientists, students and stakeholders from Ontario and beyond to study environmental, social and economic issues for the dairy industry.
Teams will study everything from genetics, nutrition and quality improvement to animal welfare, food safety, and animal and human health.
Training and education will address the needs of the Ontario and Canadian dairy sectors.
The Ontario government, through ARIO, committed $20 million to the project, and DFO and industry partners provided $5 million, including a $3-million contribution from the federal government.
U of G will operate the facility under its partnership with OMAFRA.
Highlights of the new facility include:
- A maternity wing and nursery with sophisticated lighting and ventilation controls will allow calves to be fed individually or through a robotic feeder.
- High-tech sensors for studying feeding behaviour will help researchers learn about dairy cow behaviour, nutrition and welfare, and improve cattle feeding.
- A custom-designed metabolic research wing will allow researchers to study and monitor individual animals.
- A robotic milker will use an identification system to recognize individual animals and help ensure product quality by recording information such as milk yields and by rejecting subpar milk.