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Trevor DeVries

Position/Title: Professor and Canada Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Behaviour and Welfare
Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 54081
Office: ANNU 237

Personal site link
Google scholar site link

Meet Trevor ( 60 second OAC video )

While growing up in British Columbia, Trevor often visited his uncle’s dairy farm, sparking a lifelong interest in dairy cows. His interest in animal science continued as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, where he had the opportunity to participate in dairy cow research. That led to an interest in nutritional management, animal welfare and behaviour, which he studied during his graduate program at UBC. Trevor then completed a one-year postdoctoral position with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Lethbridge Research Centre. In 2007, he began his academic position at the University of Guelph’s Kemptville Campus, where he worked for eight years before coming to U of G’s main campus in 2015. He is now a Canada Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Behaviour and Welfare.   

Academic History

  • B.Sc. (Honours) in Agriculture, University of British Columbia (2001)
  • Ph.D. in Animal Science, University of British Columbia (2006)

Affiliations and Partnerships

  • American Dairy Science Association
  • Canadian Society of Animal Science
  • National Mastitis Council
  • International Society for Applied Ethology

Awards and Honours

  • Canadian Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service, Canadian Society of Animal Science (2016)
  • Lallemand Animal Nutrition Award, American Dairy Science Association (2014)
  • Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award, American Dairy Science Association (2013)

Research Impact

Trevor enjoys sharing his applied research with students and the dairy industry. He often presents his findings at local, national and international dairy conferences. His research focuses on identifying factors that influence the development of dairy cattle behaviour patterns and the physiological consequences of those behaviours. Through his research Trevor aims to develop best practices for nutrition, housing and management that promote healthy behavioural patterns in dairy cattle and are conducive to good health, production and welfare. Finding solutions that improve livestock health and welfare are win-win, not only benefiting the animals but also helping farmers stay profitable.

Current Research Projects

Feeding behaviour of mature dairy cows

Trevor is studying how nutrition and nutritional management influence dairy cow feeding behaviour, health and production. Learning how these elements interact can lead to better nutritional programs, housing and management strategies that enhance animal health and welfare. Dietary composition and feed ingredients, including forages, vary considerably on dairy farms across the country, so each one needs a nutritional program tailored to its herd and production goals. Trevor is particularly interested in how dairy cows transition both at calving and at the end of their lactation, and how dietary management around those times influences cow eating behaviour and resultant health and production.

Measures of behaviour to identify health status and future productivity

Automated tools can help identify behaviours that indicate illness or risk of illness in dairy cows. These devices can monitor eating behaviour, rumination, and standing and lying. Behavioural changes may be an early warning sign of illness before clinical symptoms appear, which can lead to earlier intervention and better health outcomes. At a herd level, dairy cow behaviours can demonstrate the effects of nutrition, housing and management. Trevor is also interested in the behavioural development of calves, and the impact of feeding and housing practices. Learning positive behavioural patterns early in life is important for the calf’s future health, growth and development.

Automated milking systems

One of the fastest growing technologies in the dairy industry is robotic (automated) milking. Trevor is studying how nutrition and housing affect the success of automated milking systems and their effect on production, health and welfare. Optimizing nutrient delivery in dairy cows can help meet industry demand and increase production without over-supplementing their feed. Automated milking systems allow dairy cows to choose when and how often they want to be milked, which may increase production and help reduce stress. These systems also record data that farmers can use to improve management efficiency.

Watch the 60 Second Snapshot video, to learn more about Trevor's research. 

Graduate Student Information

Some of Trevor’s students are working in the dairy industry, feed companies and advisory roles, while others are researchers and instructors at colleges and universities. Trevor enjoys working with students who are highly engaged in their research and motivated to learn. He believes giving students the tools they need to become independent thinkers will help them succeed in their future endeavours, whether they decide to pursue further education or work in industry or research-related fields.

Featured Publications

  • King, M. T. M., S. J. Leblanc, E. A. Pajor, and T. J. DeVries. 2017. Cow-level associations of lameness, behavior, and milk yield of cows milked in automated systems. J. Dairy Sci. 100:4818-4828.
  • Deelen, S. M., K. E. Leslie, and M. A. Steele. , E. C. Eckert, H. E. Brown, and T. J. DeVries. 2016. Validation of a calf-side β-hydroxybutyrate test and its utility for estimation of starter intake in dairy calves around weaning. J. Dairy Sci. 99: 7624-7633.
  • Kaufman, E. I., S. J. Leblanc, B. W. McBride, T. F. Duffield, and T. J. DeVries. 2016. Association of rumination time with subclinical ketosis in transition dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 99:5604-5618.
  • King, M. T. M., R. E. Crossley, and T. J. DeVries. 2016. Impact of timing of feed delivery on the behavior and productivity of dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 99:1471-1482
  • Miller-Cushon, E. K., and T. J. DeVries. 2016. Effect of social housing on the development of feeding behavior and social feeding preferences of dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci. 99:1406-1417.

For a full listing of Trevor's publications, please visit his Google Scholar page here.