Do cows prefer to be on pasture?

Pasture has been found to be beneficial to dairy cow health and welfare; however, studies into cow preference for pasture suggest that dairy cows do not always choose pasture over their indoor housing option. This leads to the question: what influences a dairy cow’s preference for the outdoors?A study by our research team found that previous experience with the outdoors may increase a cow’s preference for pasture. The study found dairy cows with previous year-long experience with the outdoors were found to go to and remain at pasture when offered the choice between pasture and a free-stall barn when compared to studies in which cows had little or no previous exposure to pasture.

Direct link to the full article published by Les Producteurs de lait du Qu√©bec  

Qu'est-ce que la Chaire de recherche industrielle sur la vie durable des bovins laitiers?

Technology and its Use in the Livestock Research Field

On Saturday (June 17) Research Chair Dr. Elsa Vasseur was invited to take part in the weekly radio show hosted by Matthieu Dugal “La Sphere” on Radio-Canada. She talked about the abundance of technology in dairy farms and how in research this technology has allowed us to gather thousands of data sets. 
The focus now is to try to develop new technology to help us decipher what all of this data means in a meaningful way so that we can use this information to improve and track dairy cow health and welfare.

You can listen to the full interview here  or read the article based on the interview here 

(NOTE: Interview and article are in French)

Do our Canadian Dairy Cows Seek Shade in the Summer? And What Does Access to Shade Affect?

Organic dairy herds are required to provide pasture to their cows in the summer. But our Canadian summers mild enough for the cows to be comfortable outside? 
A recent article by our research team found that although the Canadian summer does not seem to affect production parameters of the cows, during the days of severe heat, the cows will adjust their behaviours to use more of the shade or spend more time by the water in order to help prevent potential heat stress.

Direct link to the full article or the scientific article

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