Behind the scenes with M.Sc. candidate Katie Kroeze

Research Roundup Winter 2023

Tell us about your background and what brought you to the University of Guelph! 

I grew up in a little suburb in Waterloo not knowing a huge amount about agriculture aside from my visiting my great uncle’s dairy operation in Lindsay. I always knew I had an interest in working with animals, and until I started my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, I hadn’t really considered fields outside of veterinary medicine. As I learned about other careers working with animals, I found that research was what made me the most excited! In 2020 I started working in Dr. Katie Wood’s beef nutrition and physiology lab which led me to work for OMAFRA in 2021 as a Beef Cattle Research Assistant under Megan Van Schaik. From there I worked with Dr. Wood again and she took me on as a master's student in 2022! I am grateful for all the opportunities that Guelph has had for me to explore agriculture and really enjoy the research I am doing. 


What is your research focusing on, can you give us a summary? 

My research focuses on methane mitigation. Methane is produced in the rumen of cattle through a process called methanogenesis. This process can be altered by things such as the animal’s diet and this is where my research focus is. For my project, I first measured my heifers’ methane emissions and ranked them as either high or low methane emitters based on grams of methane per kg of dry matter intake. Then half the cattle were kept on the same diet while the other half ate that diet with an addition of canola oil at 6% dry matter intake. I am still working on analyzing the results!


What is the end goal of your research, do you think canola oil should be supplemented to beef heifers?  

The goal of my research is to reduce methane emissions and I do believe that canola oil can help do this. However, I understand that many producers do not know their animals' emissions so splitting the herds into high and low emitting groups to try and save some money as canola oil can be expensive isn’t realistic for many people. I do think that this brings up a research opportunity for low-cost emission tracking. I really think getting greenhouse gas tracking technology into the hands of producers would change the game! 


What is your goal after completing this degree? 

Another degree! I have plans with my advisor, Dr. Katie Wood, to continue working on methane mitigation on pasture for my PhD project. After this, I hope to find a career that supports KTT efforts and allows me the opportunity to still perform some research. There is so much research out there that isn’t accessible to the public due to jargon and I want to make sure that producers, consumers, and other industry professionals can use the research being performed.  


What are your funding sources for this project? 

My project was funded through Food From Thought, and I am very grateful for their support! 


Is there anyone else working with you on this project? 

A huge thank you to the OBRC staff for their support as without them no one could run the projects that we are doing out there! I’ve had help from some lab mates on sample collection days so a big thank you to them as well.  


Katie received first place in the poster presentation category at the second annual Animal Biosciences Symposium earlier this December!




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