Behind the scenes with Ph.D. candidate Titouan Chapelain

Research Roundup Spring 2023

Feedlot steer

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

I am an international student coming from France and I just started my PhD under Mike Steele. I grew up surrounded by beef cattle (Limousines cows to be precise) but I am currently focused on the dairy-beef industry for my PhD. I met Dr. Steele during my MSc thesis in Europe, and he convinced me to come to Guelph to work in his lab!

What do you think dairy-beef brings to the industry and how does your project contribute to this?

Currently, we have on one side a decline of the national beef herd threatening the supply of the feedlot industry, and on the other side an increasing use of beef semen in the dairy industry resulting in the production of crossbred dairy calves, which could help address this potential shortfall in feedlot. The health and welfare of crossbred dairy calves remains problematic and poses a reputational issue for animal agriculture. This also contributes to apprehensions of feedlot producers, who may deal with increased morbidity and poorer performances, and therefore face the economic burden of treatments for these calves, compared to purebred beef calves. Hopefully, our research projects will bring valuable outcomes to the industry.

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

My PhD is based on a NSERC Alliance grant aiming to explore how early-life nutrition and management of purebred and crossbred dairy-beef calves can improve their growth, health and welfare from birth to feedlot and the economic return for both dairy and beef producers.

Is there anything else about your research that you would like to share?

Dairy-Beef is a growing market and it’s only the beginning of the research, so stay tuned!

Who are your funding sources for this project?

We are very grateful to all our funding sources: NSERC Alliance (DFO, BFO, VFO, Alberta Milk, BC Dairy Association, Trouw Nutrition and Semex), BCRC, and OMAFRA.

Is there anyone else working with you on this project?

Yes of course, several undergraduate and graduate students will be working on this Dairy-Beef research project from Dr. Steele’s Lab and other awesome collaborations are expected!

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