species: bovine

Automated Dairy Farming Gathers Momentum

Automated Dairy Farming Gathers Momentum

The Dairy Science Unit at The University of Sydney has been developing future dairy concepts and practices for over 10 years. Along with collaborators and partners in industry, the focus has moved from sustainable farming practices to the development of large herd, automated milking systems in pasture based settings, and increasingly expanded automation of dairy farming theme. This is a trend that is emerging in agriculture on a global scale, and dairy stands to benefit enormously from this revolution. Read More...

Lactoferrin and Milk Fat Globule Membrane Improve Gut and Brain Development in Piglets

Lactoferrin and Milk Fat Globule Membrane Improve Gut and Brain Development in Piglets

Infants develop rapidly in the first six months after birth, and breastfeeding has been shown to improve various aspects of this early development. Researchers have made efforts to figure out which components of human milk contribute to these beneficial effects. A pair of recent studies find that adding prebiotics and two compounds typically enriched in human milk to piglets’ diets can improve their gut and brain development. Read More...

Medicating the Elderly with Night Milk

Medicating the Elderly with Night Milk

Elderly people often have trouble sleeping. For those afflicted, it’s more than mere annoyance: insomnia in old age is associated with a range of health difficulties. What’s worse, many medications that are commonly prescribed to elderly people only add to the problem—including beta blockers, which treat hypertension. This is because they lower the levels of a hormone called melatonin. Yet, melatonin levels can be increased by consuming foodstuffs that are rich in them. One key source is milk collected from cows in the middle of the night. Read More...

Ancient Aurochs Genome Contains the DNA Blueprint for Modern Cattle

Ancient Aurochs Genome Contains the DNA Blueprint for Modern Cattle

A preserved specimen of aurochs bone was discovered deep beneath the Derbyshire Dales in the UK in the 1990s. Aurochs are an ancient cattle breed domesticated around 10,000 years ago somewhere around modern day Iran. In Europe, the last of these animals were still found on a Polish royal reserve as recently as the 17th century. Park et al., have now extracted enough DNA from the ancient bone specimen to sequence the aurochs genome. When they compared the aurochs sequence to the DNA of cattle breeds we know and use in domestic agriculture today, they found a surprisingly high level in common with British and Irish cattle. Read More...

How Probiotic Bacteria Protect Against Allergy to Cow’s Milk

How Probiotic Bacteria Protect Against Allergy to Cow’s Milk

Whether it’s to nuts, cow’s milk, eggs, or some other food, food allergies have become increasingly common in recent decades. Allergy to cow’s milk is especially common, affecting up to 3% of children worldwide. There have been many recent efforts to treat cow’s milk allergy, and probiotics have looked particularly promising. Recent studies have shown that feeding infants formula supplemented with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) results in higher rates of tolerance to cow’s milk compared to infants fed unsupplemented formula. Read More...

Making Sense of Dairy Biosystems

Making Sense of Dairy Biosystems

We live in an information-rich world. Each of us is capable of downloading gigabytes of data on our mobile or desktop devices each day. The upswing in data generation is also true of dairy science, which has moved into the big data realm. My students can create more data in an afternoon than I created in an entire PhD project when I was a student. Needless to say, capturing and analyzing this data is both challenging and rewarding. Since genomic data became more accessible, a number of approaches have been developed to bring the data together in useful ways. Gradually these approaches have become more sophisticated and insightful. A recent study by Widmann et al. provides a great example of how integrating different sources of large-scale genomic data can shed light on how dairy cows convert their feed into milk. Read More...

Predicting Performance in Dairy Cows of the Future

Predicting Performance in Dairy Cows of the Future

Selective breeding of dairy cows is a major part of modern dairy farming. Farmers can select the bulls that they want to use to produce animals for their herd. One bull may sire thousands of daughter cows via highly developed systems for artificial insemination. The availability of lots of stored semen from bulls that have been shown to produce cows with excellent production and health traits has been a backbone of improving efficiency and production in dairy farms for several decades. There has been a continuous effort to build on the methods and procedures that contribute to selective breeding, most recently with the advent of genomic tools. Read More...

The Fat Controllers: Dairy Cattle Genetics and Milk Fat Composition

The Fat Controllers: Dairy Cattle Genetics and Milk Fat Composition

The mixture of fats in milk fat varies a lot between dairy cow breeds, different farms, and even individual cows. Depending on what the cows eat and how long they have been milking, the percentage of fat in the milk will fluctuate. Furthermore, we also know that there is a very strong genetic influence on the quantity of milk fat [2]. The Dutch, and more recently, the Danish dairy scientists, decided to dissect the milk fat into individual components, and measure the impact of the cow’s genetic makeup on each component. Read More...

Towards Individualized Genomes for Dairy Cows

Towards Individualized Genomes for Dairy Cows

International cooperation between scientists has really taken off in genomic sciences, and now, in a program that has grown out of dairy genetic research, one thousand bulls are set to be immortalized by having their DNA sequenced. The so-called 1000 Bulls Genome Project is an international collaboration between scientists in Europe, USA, and Australia. The project began in 2010, when scientists were looking for a way to share the huge cost of sequencing many entire genomes. The result was the 1000 Bulls Genome Project, which spreads the costs and shares the resources to help geneticists apply their collective knowledge of cattle to improve the productivity of cattle herds. Read More...

A Case for Vitamin B12 “Smuggling”

A Case for Vitamin B12 "Smuggling"

Memory loss, depression, numbness, seizures—those are some of the potentially irreversible symptoms suffered by people lacking vitamin B12. A recent study suggests that a protein found in cow's milk stimulates vitamin B12 uptake via an alternate route. This protein might be used as a natural source to treat vitamin B12 malabsorption. Read More...