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Emily Conlin

Position/Title: M.Sc. by thesis
Office: ANNU 043

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In 2019 I completed my B.Sc. (Agriculture) in Animal Science at the University of Guelph. During my undergrad I had the opportunity to work as a summer research assistant in Dr. Wood’s Beef Nutrition lab. Here I developed a strong understanding of the type of research her lab was doing, and with my love for animal agriculture stemming from an upbringing on a beef farm, I knew I wanted to be involved in this area of research. In the fall of 2019, I began my master’s degree by thesis with Dr. Wood as my advisor. 

Reducing methane emissions from beef cattle production systems continues to be a pressing matter within the industry, with several research efforts geared towards investigating potential mitigation strategies. My research focuses on investigating a potential feed additive known as Biochar to reduce methane emissions from beef cattle. Biochar is an activated charcoal typically produced by burning organic matter from forestry wastes under low oxygen and high temperature conditions to produce a charcoal-like product. 

Over the past year and with the help of my amazing lab mates (LaurenMelissaKortneyVanessa) I conducted two experiments at the Ontario Beef Research Centre to evaluate the impact of Biochar supplementation to beef cows. Both experiments were approximately 4 months in length and involved feeding biochar every day to evaluate the impact of biochar supplementation on cow performance (i.e., body weight and body condition score), changes to the rumen microbiome, methane emissions, and changes to manure nutrient composition. 

These projects wrapped up this past November and now I am in the middle of analyzing the data and putting it all together! If the results from these projects are positive, Biochar may represent a potential inexpensive feed additive to aid cattle producers in reducing methane emissions. After completing my master’s degree, I hope to pursue a career in the beef industry and also remain involved in my family’s beef and poultry operation near London, Ontario.