Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


New federal money to expand livestock genetics exports

The Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA) received a $3 million investment from the federal government to help build bigger export market opportunities for Canada's sought-after livestock genetics, especially in new and emerging markets like China. The announcement was made at the recent Royal Agricultural Winter Fair - a global showcase of Canadian livestock breeds.

  Making News

Innovation awards focus on global food system

University of Guelph's Arrell Food Institute is calling for nominations for its new Arrell Global Food Innovations Awards. Two $125,000 prizes will be awarded annually to individuals or a team - one award will recognize increased scientific understanding of food production, distribution and nutrition, the other will focus on contributions made to food security and community-based nutrition.
Coming events 

Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2017: Dairy Sheep Symposium, Orford QC, 

Dec 13, 2017: OABA Energy Management Workshop, Guelph ON,

Jan 3 - 4, 2018: Southwest Agricultural Conference, Ridgetown ON,

Jan 3 - 9, 2018: Grey-Bruce Farmers' Week, Elmwood ON,

Jan 9 - 11, 2018: Dairy Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting, Toronto ON

Jan 20, 2018: Farm Smart & Beef Symposium, Guelph ON, 

Jan 21 - 24, 2018: Dairy Forum 2018, Palm Desert CA,

Jan 25, 2018: Eastern Regional Poultry Conference, St. Isidore ON,

Jan 30 - 31, 2018: Precision Agriculture Conference, London ON,

Jan 30 - Feb 1, 2018: International Production & Processing Expo, Atlanta GA,

Feb 9, 2018: Dairy Research Symposium, Ottawa ON,

Feb 13 - 14, 2018: Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association Annual General Meeting, London ON,

Feb 21 - 22, 2018: Beef Farmers of Ontario Annual Meeting, Toronto ON,

Feb 27 - 28, 2018: Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario Annual Conference, London ON,

Mar 7, 2018: Veal Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting, Tavistock ON,
Details to Come

Mar 20 - 21, 2018: Ontario Pork Annual General Meeting & Banquet, Guelph ON,

Mar 21, 2018: Ontario Goat Annual General Meeting, Woodstock ON,
Details to Come

Apr 4 - 5, 2018: Canadian Poultry Expo, London ON, 

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

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Research Snapshots 

Feed: Improving the vitamin E content in maize
A new genome study led by Cornell University researchers has discovered a gene in maize that controls the vitamin E content in the plant. The findings could lead to an improved nutritional profile of maize. 

Feed: More fuel for the food/feed debate
New FAO study indicates that livestock primarily consume foods not fit for human consumption and meat production requires less cereals than generally reported

Poultry: Vaccine failed to prevent kinky back
North Carolina State University researchers working with an experimental vaccine for kinky back found the vaccine was unable to protect broilers from the bacterial disease that targets the spinal column causing paralysis. The vaccine induced the production of antibodies in hens, but failed to protect their broiler progeny from the disease.

Poultry: Breeding a healthier bird
Researchers have identified roosters with naturally stronger immune systems that could be selected to breed a healthier, more robust flock. The roosters possess two chemicals that mobilize the bird's innate immune response, according to researchers at the Agricultural Research Service in Texas. 

Poultry: Can cranberries keep chicks alive?
An Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researcher is looking at cranberries as an antibiotics alternative during the first few weeks of broiler chicks' lives. Cranberry is a known booster of the human immune system and could have benefits for poultry too, especially for young birds who are particularly susceptible to infection. Research has shown that  adding 40 milligrams of cranberry juice powder per kilogram of feed could lower early chick mortality by as much as 50 per cent. 

Swine: Medium chain fatty acids boost feed efficiency, growth
Kansas State University researchers have found that medium chain fatty acids can improve feed efficiency and growth in pigs. These same medium chain fatty acids were previously found to protect pigs against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. With the new discovery, a single feed additive could both lower disease transmission as well as improve animal performance. Kansas State researchers are now testing the medium chain fatty acids against other viruses, bacteria and pathogens as well.

Swine: Antimicrobial use down in Ontario hog farms
There's been an 18% drop in antimicrobial use over a two-year period by Ontario hog farmers participating in a voluntary benchmarking project, as part of a Poultry Industry Council study. The study involved 700,000 Ontario finisher pigs from more than 30 farms, and included tracking the use of Class 1 antimicrobials that are most important for human use.

Beef: New test screens for liver fluke
As resistance to existing liver fluke treatments increases, University of Liverpool researchers have developed a new way to screen herds for this common infection that leads to significant production losses. The new fecal test for dairy and beef cattle screens the herd to identify targeted treatment options as required. Researchers are also working on a pen-side test that producers and vets would be able to use in the future for quicker results.
Full Article

Beef: New carbon footprinting method identifies green cattle
UK researchers have developed a way to determine the environmental impact of individual cattle before calculating the overall burden of the farm. The new method brings an ability to identify "green" cattle that produce lower greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of liveweight gain and hold the promise for more sustainable farming. 

Beef: Birth to burger verification part of new Cargill pilot
A year-long sustainability pilot project will help Cargill create the infrastructure needed to implement supply chain standards that adhere to the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. The project is designed to provide Cargill's customers and consumers with an increased level of trust in the beef they purchase and eat.

Dairy: Activity monitors provide accurate heat detection option
New Canadian research found that automated heat detection was as effective as hormone-based synchronization programs, based on field trials with Ontario and British Columbia dairy herds. Automated activity detectors (neck collars or leg pedometers) were also effective at predicting which cows would have better fertility. 

Dairy: Water buffalo genome mapped
University of Adelaide researchers led a global team that has successfully sequenced the DNA of the water buffalo, opening opportunities for breeding and conservation efforts for the globally-important milk, meat and work animal.

Dairy: Assessing cow comfort in freestall operations 
Making cow comfort changes in freestall operations increases time spent lying down and decreases lameness compared to farms that don't make improvements, according to findings of a University of Calgary cow comfort risk assessment project. The research considered freestall improvements that included increased bedding quality, adding geomattresses and grooving crossover alleys.
Full Article 

Sheep: Sheep and humans share facial recognition abilities
Scientists have discovered that sheep can recognize human faces as well as humans and monkeys. The complex mechanism the brain uses to store and remember facial features makes facial recognition an excellent tool for studying neurodegenerative disease, and the University of Cambridge findings make sheep a very good model for neurological research.

Aquaculture: New model helps fisheries manage demand and supply 
New University of Guelph research has developed a model to balance the growing consumer demand for fish without overharvesting natural fish stock. The model is based on the premise that it's as profitable for fisherman to have high catches and low prices, as it is to have high prices and lower catches, and encourages
fisheries to reduce short-term harvests so they can realize higher long-term yields that don't sacrifice economic returns.  

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

Be safe and be seen if you're a grassland cow out at night in China
A local police bureau in North China's Inner Mongolia region is providing area herdsmen with reflective ankle bracelets for their grassland cattle in an attempt to prevent night time collisions with cars. An estimated 78% of all traffic accidents between cows and cars occur at night. Since the trial began, nighttime traffic accidents involving livestock have reduced by 50%.

Discarded corn leaves create colourful veneer
The first Future Food Design Award was won by a French-born, Mexican artist who creates colourful veneer from the discarded leaves of corn. The artist developed the new material that's used for finishing walls, vases and furniture to represent the natural, colourful variations of local corn species, and provide Mexican farmers with a new market opportunity and a way to reduce waste.

Wrap it up, bacteria-free
McMaster University scientists are working on a new antibacterial food wrap that contains bacteria-eating viruses called bacteriophages that specifically target bad bacteria. They've created a way to successfully imbed the phages in butcher paper and keep them alive. Results have shown the paper was still able to control harmful bacteria like Lysteria monocytogenes up to three months later.