ActiveAgriculture & Agri-food

Leveraging Genomics to Achieve Dairy Net Zero

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Christine Baes (University of Guelph), Filippo Miglior (Lactanet), Rachel Gervais (Université Laval), & Paul Stothard (University of Alberta)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada - Climate-smart agriculture and food systems- interdisciplinary challenge teams
PROJECT START DATE October 1, 2023
PROJECT END DATE September 30, 2027

The Canadian dairy industry has committed to a Dairy Net-Zero Pledge by 2050, with a 30% reduction milestone by 2030.  This project seeks to implement a multifaceted approach to lowering dairy industry emissions inventory by an ambitious 55%. To achieve this, the goal of this project is to deliver a roadmap for greenhouse gas (GHG) management in ruminant species through integrating cutting-edge knowledge and datasets from the fields of genetics and nutrition. The team will develop tools to quantify the impact around GHG mitigation strategies (genetics, nutrition), quantify the economic and environmental benefits of reducing GHG through breeding and nutritional strategies, consolidate GHG emissions data (including beef), and improve genomic evaluations for GHG emissions in dairy cows. Ultimately, they will develop a mitigation toolbox, a pipeline to make emission calculations more accessible and adaptable to each farm and provide policy makers and inventory specialists with a robust estimate of GHG production for Canadian dairy animals. The outcomes of this project will allow producers to monitor their emissions, reduce animal wastage, improve animal welfare, and decrease methane emissions due to enhanced industry efficiency. Industry protocols and methods established through this project may be translated to transform the cattle  industry to reduce emissions.

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