Leveraging Genomics to Achieve Dairy Net-Zero


Agriculture & Food


The Canadian dairy industry supported $7.5 billion in total net farm cash receipts and $16.8 billion in dairy products in 2021, contributing $35 billion to the national GDP. At the same time, dairy accounts for around 1.2-1.4 per cent of total emissions—primarily via methane and nitrous oxide (36 per cent of all livestock emissions). The industry has committed to a Dairy Net-Zero Pledge by 2050. The project goal is to integrate cutting-edge knowledge in genomics and nutrition to deliver a mitigation roadmap for greenhouse gas (GHG) management in dairy production. This includes a comprehensive farm toolbox which will be used to quantify emissions and apply nutritional and genetic strategies to reduce GHG, as well as to inform policy. The roadmap will allow a 55 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from Canadian dairy (30-40 per cent from nutrition and 30 per cent from genomic strategies) at an estimated value of $338 million, with additional potential reduction in beef. A further $100 million in annual net savings is expected through correlated genetic gain in production efficiency and enhanced animal welfare. The shared roadmap for dairy production will inform and align producers, industry stakeholders and policymakers.