Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research

We've Moved! 
LRIC is now at 490 York Road, Building A Suite 204, Guelph ON N1E 6V1


New antibiotic research facility for poultry
A $150,000 donation from Cargill will help the University of Arkansas open a new research facility in August 2018 to investigate antibiotic alternatives for the poultry industry. The Cargill Poultry Research Center - staffed by researchers and nutritionists from the University's agriculture division - will evaluate current products and develop novel and promising probiotics.

Prairie Swine Centre names new CEO
Dr. Murray Pettitt has been appointed the new CEO of the Prairie Swine Centre, effectively July 1, 2018. Dr. Pettitt takes over the position from Lee Whittington who is retiring after 26 years. Dr. Pettitt has been part of the swine research community for 21 years, including 10 years at the Prairie Swine Centre, and was most recently at the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan.

New chicken hatchery opens in Woodstock
Thames River Hatchery is a new state-of-the-art, large scale, independent chicken hatchery set to open in Ontario this spring. The $15 million project is a joint venture between Sargent Farms and Boire & Freres with a capacity to produce 20 million chicks per year and create about 30 jobs. 
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Farm & Food Care elect new chair and vice chair
Christine Schoonderwoerd is the new chair of Farm & Food Care Ontario, nominated by Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. Dave McEachren is the new vice chair of the organization and was nominated by Grain Farmers of Ontario.
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  Making News

New Genomics Strategy for Ontario
After significant consultation with the sector Ontario Genomics has launched its strategy for genomic research in Ontario. The "Genomics for Agriculture & Agri-Food, Ontario's Strategic Opportunity"  speaks to Ontario Genomics commitment to agriculture in Ontario - including the livestock sector. The strategy can be found here
For more info: Contact: Elaine Corbett, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Business Development & Research at Ontario Genomics  T. 416-673-6569

OMAFRA announces New Direction Research Program
A new funding program to support new knowledge and technologies to help the competitiveness of Ontario's agri-food sector and rural communities is accepting applications. The New Direction Research Program, from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), is funding research that simulates growth and competitiveness in Ontario's agri-food and agri-business sectors, and strengthens rural communities. Letters of intent are due May 30, 2018.
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  LRIC Update
Calls for Poultry Proposals Currently Open

Details on open calls for research proposals are available online. Log into LRIC's research management system by clicking here

Note: Poultry Letters of Intents are accepted on-line year-round.  A response on a letter of intent can normally be expected within 6 - 8 weeks from submission.

Any questions can be directed to

Coming events 

May 16, 2018: University of Guelph Swine Research Day, Guelph ON,

May 29-31, 2018: Canadian Meat Council Annual Conference, Montreal QC   

June 19-21, 2018:  International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare and the UCVM Beef Cattle Conference, Calgary AB,

June 20-21, 2018:  Ontario P ork Congress, Stratford ON,

June 20-22, 2018: Milk Quality Meeting - Solutions to Emerging Milk Quality Issues, Guelph ON,
June 28, 2018: LRIC Annual General Meeting, Guelph ON,

Aug 14-16, 2018: Canadian Beef Industry Conference, London ON, 

Sep 11-13, 2018: Canada's Outdoor Farm Show , Woodstock ON,

Sep 18-22, 2018: International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, Pain Court ON,

Nov 1-2, 2018: Ontario Sheep Convention, Alliston ON,

Oct 15 - 19, 2018: World Dairy Summit, Daejon South Korea

Quick Links to Our Partners, Friends & Members


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Research and Innovation Driving Livestock Sector Success
Research Snapshots 

Alternative and cultured proteins: France bans food terms
French parliament recently approved a ban on the use of terminology from animal products to market foods not made of animals. Terms like vegan bacon and vegetarian sausage are on the list of products that apparently confuse shoppers. Non-compliance with the new law comes with hefty fines.

Poultry: Research will boost vaccine production
New funding by the Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund will support scientists at The Pirbright Institute who are working on boosting vaccine yields by up to 10 fold. The researchers were the first to describe a set of immune proteins in chickens that prevent viruses from multiplying in cells.

Poultry: Breeding healthier hens
A Dutch researcher has discovered it is possible to breed for the level of natural antibodies in laying hens - a predictor of disease resistance. The work is important considering the number of countries worldwide where antibiotics may not be used as a preventative measure to combat disease, and the demand for laying hens with higher natural disease resistance is increasing.

Poultry: Exploring algae as an antibiotic alternative
French researchers have looked at the potential of algae to boost the immune systems of animals and reduce antibiotic use in livestock farming. A substance in the cell wall of algae called sulphated polysaccharides is known to have anticoagulant, antimicrobial, antitumoral and immunomodulatory properties. A new research partnership between a biorefinery and France's top agricultural research organization is exploring the potential of isolated algal extracts that are rich in sulphated polysaccharides.

Swine: Hog high rises popping up in China
A Chinese pig company is building multi-storey pig housing to keep pathogens out and offer new cost savings. The new housing is constructed with seven to nine floors and houses only specific pathogen free (SPF) animals. The company sites animal health and labour efficiency as the leading reasons behind the towers.

Swine: Creating efficiencies in data
With an increasing demand for documentation on farms, data systems created independently for disease surveillance and traceability are starting to converge to create more efficiencies and higher value information for the hog sector.

Beef: Genetics influence gut bacteria
US and Australian researchers have discovered that differences in animal genetics influence the response of gut bacteria and produce markedly different responses to nutritional challenges. The collaborative study suggests that great genetics can lead to great gut bug communication - with greater productivity and other animal welfare benefits.

Sheep: Facial recognition indicates cognitive abilities
New research from the University of Cambridge shows that sheep can be trained to recognize human faces from a photograph. The study is part of a series of tests to monitor the cognitive abilities of sheep. Their large brain size and longevity mean sheep are a good model for studying neurodegenerative disorders in humans including Huntington's disease.
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Dairy: Robotic milker data provides early detection
University of Guelph researchers tracking data from robotic milking systems to monitor cattle health found illness indicators showed up days and even weeks before animals were diagnosed. Their study tracked the behaviours and productivity of more than 600 cows using sensors in the robot and collars on the cows. Data showed cows did less cud-chewing, yielded less milk and were less active as early indicators of illnesses including lameness, mastitis and twisted stomach.

Whatever next?!? A look at the weird and wacky

Don't make me touch my food
As a generation, millennials are apparently more afraid of touching raw meat with an estimated 37% of young cooks preferring not to handle it for fear of food poisoning. In response, British retailer Sainsbury is introducing no-touch packaging for its chicken pieces. The non-biodegradable packaging allows users to tear off the top and pour the contents into a pan.

Whose blood have you been drinking?
Danish researchers have discovered a new DNA method to screen blood meal and fecal samples of the vampire bat to determine which animals they have fed on blood from. The bats prefer to feed on cows and pigs, and bring the risk of transmitting pathogens including rabies.

One million steps to market
A farm in China has step counters on the legs of their free-range chickens to be sure they walk at least one million steps before going to market. According to the farm, walking tightens the chicken's muscles for a tastier meat.
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