Lactanet and Semex have developed the world’s first official genetic evaluation program to assist dairy producers in selecting animals that will contribute to reduced dairy cattle methane emissions without affecting production levels. This innovation received an international award from the International Dairy Federation.
Calgary, Edmonton, Alberta – December 20, 2023 – The International Dairy Federation recognized Lactanet and Semex for their ground-breaking work to identify the traits in dairy cows which control an animal’s production of methane, a by-product of their digestive processes.
Methane Efficiency Evaluation, which became available to dairy farmers across Canada earlier this year, resulted from 10 years of research and development, co-led by researchers at the Universities of Guelph, Alberta, British Columbia and Laval. Genome Alberta and RDAR have proudly supported this work, with RDAR investing in a series of dairy GHG reduction research projects.
RDAR’s investment in these projects is valued at over $1.725M, including $725,000 from the new Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership (Sustainable CAP). Genome Alberta’s investments through Genome Canada is valued at $7.632M and when funding from other partners are included, the total investment amounts to approximately $23 million.
The research program’s outcomes will help dairy producers better predict individual animal methane emissions. During the development stage, this project partnered with agricultural producers, who tested the methane reduction system on-farm and verified emission reductions within their own breeding programs.
JP Brouwer, Dairy Farmer and RDAR Director, participated directly in this project.
“Proving these methods on-farm helped the project achieve its objectives while ensuring the results were feasible and provided direct benefits. I’m pleased that this emissions reduction has a tangible and positive economic benefit too,” says Mr. Brower. “As a Director, I am proud that RDAR is making investments like this to create real impact to farmers across Alberta.”
The Dairy Farmers of Canada have made an ambitious commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Genomics innovations, enabled through new investments like Genome Canada’s Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems initiative, will continue to help farmers achieve this target by applying research and new technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving carbon sinks in our food system.
“Alberta Milk is proud to see one of our partners, Lactanet, recognized for efforts in research that will have such a significant impact on our sustainability work and our herd quality,” says Stuart Boeve, Chair of Alberta Milk. “Being able to genetically select animals that can contribute to reducing methane emissions is already impressive, and the fact that this research shows we can do it without impacting production levels is really exciting to dairy producers. Supporting innovation and research that contributes to our Net Zero 2050 goal while also improving our industry is something Alberta Milk is proud to do through RDAR.”
About Genome Alberta
Genome Alberta is working towards a better future through genomics innovation. Our mission is to promote and support genomics solutions to create value and investment opportunities through excellent science, technology and application development, collaborations, and partnerships. We work on priority areas in health, agriculture, environment & energy, and forestry, driving growth across sectors while helping to develop Alberta’s next generation of talented innovators.
RDAR’s mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven
agriculture research to power the profitability, productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. A not-for-profit corporation, RDAR’s funding comes from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
Semex develops and delivers innovative genetic solutions. Semex is owned by three well-established Canadian A.I. organizations – WestGen, EastGen and CIAQ. Started by farmers and still owned by farmers, Semex is the fastest-growing company in today’s genetic solution market.
Lactanet is a farmer-run organization serving Canadian dairy producers from coast to coast. We provide Canadian dairy farmers with the tools necessary to help them succeed, overcome challenges and sustain global leadership for the future. Our team comprises 450 people dedicated to providing products and services to more than 8,000 dairy farms across Canada.
About the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership
Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) is a five-year, $3.5-billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 percent federally and 40 percent provincially/territorially for programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
Learn More about Genomic Dairy Projects
Previous investments into increasing feed efficiency and industry breeding practices leading to the methane efficiency evaluations:
- Increasing feed efficiency and reducing methane emissions through genomics: A new promising goal for the Canadian dairy industry
- Integrating genomic approaches to improve dairy cattle resilience: A comprehensive goal to enhance Canadian dairy industry sustainability
New investments into achieving net zero goals for the dairy industry: