Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


Canadian swine sector receives new cluster funding
Federal Minister MacAuley recently announced an investment of up to $12.7 million for the Swine Research and Development Cluster - the first announcement of the new Canadian Agricultural Partnership AgriScience Clusters, launched in April 2018. The funding was awarded to Swine Innovation Porc - a non-profit corporation that facilitates research in the Canadian swine sector.

Ontario Independent Meat Processors names new executive director
Franco Naccarato takes over the top role at the Ontario Independent Meat Processors, following the retirement of Lori Nicol after 33 years with the organization. Naccarato spent 20 years in the food industry, and most recently was program manager with the Greenbelt Fund. He has a wealth of knowledge on local food systems and is well known as a connector in local food circles.
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  Making News

New genomic funding competition open
Genome Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are investing approximately $46 million in new research applications that support the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of the Canadian agricultural industry. The 2018 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition is seeking genomics solutions for agriculture, agri-food, fisheries and aquaculture.

Letter of intent deadline approaches for new beef projects
The Beef Cattle Research Council is inviting letters of intent for research projects, plus technology transfer and production economics projects. Funding for the new projects is made possible by recent increases in the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off in most provinces, and letters of intent are due by August 31, 2018.
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Iowa State hosts new swine genomics centre of excellence
A $2.5 million grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) will fund a swine genomics centre of excellence at Iowa State University. The centre's research will focus on helping pork producers use genetics more efficiently to predict the traits in their herds, and is part of a larger initiative by USDA's National Institutes of Food and Agriculture that includes genomic research in cattle and chickens at other universities.
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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 

Jul 17 - 19, 2018: Ag in Motion, Langham SK,

Jul 23, 2018: Poultry Science Association AGM, San Antonio TX,

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

Sep 5, 2018: PIC Golf Tournament, Baden 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,

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

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

Nov 2 - 11, 2018: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto ON,

Apr 3 - 4, 2019: National Poultry Show, London ON,
Details Soon

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Research Snapshots 

Smart farming: Artificial intelligence monitors hog production
Chinese hog operations are beginning to use a smart brain with artificial intelligence (AI) technology to monitor their animals in real time. Using visual and voice recognition, the "ET Agricultural Brain" manages herd health, monitors growth indicators and optimizes the pig's environment. It's estimated the new system could increase sow productivity by three more piglets per year and reduce mortality rates by 3%.

Smart farming: Dutch company brings "Intelligent Dairy Farmer's Assistant" to U.S.
After several years of testing in Europe, a Dutch company is bringing its new technology to U.S. dairy herds. By marrying two technologies - motion sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) - farmers can monitor dairy cow health and productivity. The Intelligent Dairy Farmer's Assistant (IDA) uses a motion-sensing device on a cow's neck to transit her movements to a program driven by AI - which is then used to predict if a cow is less productive, ready to breed or has other changes in behaviour.

Smart farming: The latest in wearable technology
The advent of artificial intelligence in livestock production has created a new line of wearable technology to monitor animal movement and activities. The latest devices include virtual fencing collars, activity trackers for sheep and geo-locater ear tags.

Feed: Exploring seaweed as sustainable feed additive
A team of scientists in Alb
erta and B.C. has discovered how red seaweed is broken down and metabolized in the human gut, and are now turning their attention to the opportunities for the "crop" to be incorporated into livestock feed. Seaweed is a sustainable feedstock that's rich in micronutrients and easy to digest. It grows rapidly and doesn't require arable land or fresh water to grow.

Poultry : The race for the first egg sexing technology
Five companies in four countries are all close to
commercializing new technology that will sex eggs before they hatch. Germany, Israel, Canada and the Netherlands are all developing technology that would replace the need to sex hatched chicks - saving labour and improving animal welfare concerns by identifying male chicks before they ever hatch.

Poultry: European companies win welfare awards
Several European companies won top honours at recent poultry welfare awards. The Compassion in Farming awards included Best Marketing Award to Dutch company Kipster for the first carbon neutral egg, Best Innovation Award to Germany's SELEEGT for its work to address male chick culling, Good Egg Award to TGIF for its commitment to source cage-free eggs only for its UK restaurants by 2023, and a Good Chicken Award for Danone for its commitment to improve broiler welfare through its entire European value chain.

Swine: Researchers link zinc to improved fertility
University of Missouri researchers have discovered that zinc plays a vital role in fertility in male pigs - as well as other species, including humans. Knowing that zinc promotes fertility has implications for improving in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination in livestock, as well as human infertility diagnostics and therapies.

Swine: Producing PRRS-resistant pigs
Scottish scientists have produced pigs that can resist one of the world's most costly animal diseases - Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) - by changing their genetic code. When tested with the virus, the gene-edited pigs avoided infection and had no other impact on their health or wellbeing.
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Swine: New risk-free model to study FMD
The University of Leeds had a novel method to safely study how the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus replicates - a highly infectious disease that occurs around the world. The new technique - that includes replacing a protein the virus uses to move with a safe, fluorescent protein - allows researchers to effectively study how it replicates without the risk of working with an infectious virus.

Beef: New feed additive reduces methane production
A new feed additive that inhibits methane production is part of a large-scale study in Alberta. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers in Lethbridge are looking for ways to reduce the levels of methane gas produced when beef cattle digest feed. An experimental compound that's not yet available in Canada is showing promise for reducing methane production by 30-50%, while also boosting feed efficiency.

Dairy: Research cluster address top producer concerns
Nearly 700 Canadian dairy farmers were surveyed to identify their top 10 management and disease priorities, as part of the National Dairy Study led by the University of Guelph. The Dairy Research Cluster team has now compiled resources for farmers to use to address the 10 issues.

Dairy: Flavoured feed improves intake and performance
Cows have a large number of taste buds, and they rely on smell and taste to evaluate their feed. Adding feed flavours has been an effective way to improve the smell and taste of animal feed, and in turn improve intake and performance. When feed is made more palatable by adding flavours, it is easier to digest and results in greater feed efficiency.

Veal: Assessing the effectiveness of probiotic strains
Researchers from Uruguay studying probiotic bacteria have discovered promising strains that are able to colonize and persist in the gastrointestinal tract of young calves for up to 10 days. An important feature in the design of probiotics for calves is the ability of the probiotic bacteria to withstand the acidic conditions in the stomach and small intestine. This study has shown that in vitro screening is an effective way to assess potential probiotic activity.

Aquaculture: Climate change brings potential for fish disputes
A new study by UBC researchers shows how climate change is driving fish species towards the poles and could lead to international disputes over fisheries resources. The international study analyzed 892 fish stocks around the world and found that more 70 countries could see new fish stocks in their waters in the next decades. They also found the world's system for allocating fish stocks is outpaced by how fish species are moving in response to climate change.
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Whatever next?!? A look at the weird and wacky

Don't kill the cock roach - feed it your food waste
A Chinese farmer has a clean and efficient way to deal with food waste in his area - he feeds 15 tonnes of food waste a day to his hungry herd of 300 million cock roaches. The insects apparently aren't picky - eating any soft, hard, sour, sweet, bitter or spicy kitchen scraps. And he's looking to expand his farm operation to process 200 tonnes of food waste a day with his non-polluting alternative to addressing mounds of food waste.

Ok Google, is this meat still good?
Scientists have developed a, well, more scientific way of checking if meat is still safe to consumer, replacing the unreliable sniff test. They have developed a gas sensor that is capable of detecting compounds that make decomposing meat smell bad...and they can relay the information to a nearby smartphone.
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