Position/Title: MSc (Thesis) Student
Phone: (705) 720-0085
Office: ANNU 016B
My name is Michaela Chalmers and I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in dairy cattle nutrition under the direction of Dr. John Cant. My passion for agriculture and production animals was established at a young age. I consider myself privileged to have grown up on my family’s purebred Angus cow/calf operation. Over the course of my life I have had many opportunities to foster my love of the agri-food industry. Through these opportunities I have come to realize that I am destined to work in agriculture, particularly with cattle. Throughout my undergraduate degree I became captivated by animal nutrition and developed a strong interest in research. Upon graduation in the spring of 2018 I began my Master’s degree.
My thesis project focuses on combating milk fat depression in dairy cattle. Milk fat depression is a well understood, well documented phenomenon whereby diets high in concentrate (starch) and/or unsaturated oils cause a decrease in milk fat production by dairy cattle. Research carried out by Dr. Cant and others has shown that administration of certain amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) excluding histidine, one of the many amino acids, can increase milk fat production. My research aims to determine if administration of amino acid profiles lacking histidine to dairy cattle experiencing milk fat depression can combat the observed decrease in milk fat production. To do this cows will be assigned to six abomasal infusion treatments based on 1) saline as a control, 2) concentrate in the form of glucose to stimulate an insulin response, and 3) unsaturated oils in the form of a mixture of conjugated linoleic acid isomers. Each of these three infusions will be administered with and without an amino acid profile lacking histidine.
Based on the results of my research commercially available amino acid supplements may become a way for dairy producers to combat milk fat depression within their herds. Combating milk fat depression is important to dairy farmers from an economic standpoint as they are paid partially based on the milk fat content of their product. My research is in its very early stages and no results have been obtained to date. Please stay tuned for updates as my research progresses.
- Honors BSc majoring in Animal Biology and minoring in Business Economics
Scholarships and Awards
- University of Guelph/OMAFRA HQP Scholarship recipient 2018/2019