Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research

New federal funding for Guelph research chairs

Three University of Guelph professors will share $2.4 million from the federal government to fund two new Canada Research Chairs and renew an existing chair. The new funding will support Emma Allen-Vercoe in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Christine Baes in the Department of Animal Biosciences and Amy Greer with the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College
Guelph prof wins dairy physiology award

Stephen LeBlanc, a professor in population medicine at the University of Guelph, is the 2019 recipient of the Zoetis Physiology Award. The award recognizes outstanding research in dairy cattle physiology and is presented by the American Dairy Science Association and Zoetis.   Full Article

Journal of Dairy Science announces 2019 Club 100 members

Eight dairy researchers are joining the Journal of Dairy Science's Club 100 in 2019 - individuals who have authored or coauthored 100 or more papers in the journal. The recipients include University of Guelph's David Kelton, Stephen LeBlanc, Trevor DeVries and Todd Duffield. Full Article

Two U of M alumni to join Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame

Dr. Cynthia Grant and JoAnne Buth - graduates of the University of Manitoba's Agriculture and Food Science program - will be inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame later this year for their lifetime contributions to the agricultural industry.
Full Article
Making News
New biomedical centre for University of Missouri
The Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Centre received an $8.6 million grant and its work will focus on human health but will likely also see applications for livestock and agriculture.    Details Here
Germplasm collection reaches milestone

The Agricultural Research Service's National Animal Germplasm Collection recently received its one millionth sample - semen from a duroc boar. It's the largest collection of its kind in the world of semen and embryos to ensure continued genetic diversity for breeders.
The European Layer Training Initiative is looking for participants

The European layer training initiative 
is a newly formed consortium with the aim to aid and inform the North American industry as it transitions to cage-free systems The  program would cover all traveling costs plus a per diem for food and other expenses to Europe and involves visiting non-cage laying hen flocks.   Details Here
LRIC Update
Ontario Pork Letter of Intent for Research Proposals opens July 29th

Testing potential improvements to swine industry practices is the overarching objective.  All research projects that align will be considered, including, but not limited to, swine health, swine welfare, swine nutrition, swine husbandry, swine reproduction, barn design and management, employee health and safety, meat quality and safety, marketing and consumer trends and environmental and economic sustainability.  Details Here 

Coming Events
Aug 13 - 15, 2019:  Canadian Beef Industry Conference, Calgary AB,

Sept 4th, 2019: PIC's Fundraiser Golf Tournament, Baden, ON

Sept 10 - 12, 2019 : Canada's Outdoor Farm Show, Woodstock ON,

Sept 17 - 21, 2019: International Plowing Match, Verner, ON

Sept 23, 2019: Science in the Pub, 
Guelph, ON

Oct 5 - 9, 2019: Anuga 2019 - Taste the Future, Cologne, Germany,

Oct 7- 9, 2019: PAACO, Guelph, ON

Oct 8 - 11, 2019: Process Expo, Chicago, IL,

Oct 24, 2019: Poultry Industry Council AGM, Guelph, ON

Oct 24 - 25, 2019: Ontario Sheep Farmers, AGM and Conference, Allison, ON,

Nov 1 - 10: Royal Winter Fair, Toronto ON,
Details Here

Nov 17 - 19, 2019 : Ontario Federation of Agriculture Annual Meeting, Hamilton ON,

Nov 21-22, 2019 : Poultry Industry Council Innovations Conference, London ON, 

Nov 27, 2019:  Eastern Ontario Poultry Conference, St Isidore, ON

March31 - April 1, 2020: 20th London Poultry Show, London ON

April 8-9, 2020 - National Poultry Show, 
London ON   
Details Here


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Research Snapshots 

Alternative protein: How to sell Labriculture
Cultured meat that's mass produced directly from animal cells could change the world or falter, depending on consumer acceptance. UK researchers warn that positioning cultured meat as a high-tech innovation may be the least effective way to gain consumer support.   Full Article

Environment and climate crisis: Unlocking phosphorus in soil organic matter

New research from Cornell University may help farmers eventually reduce the amount of artificial fertilizer applied to fields. Their work may explain how iron in the soil can unlock naturally occurring phosphorus bound in organic matter, decreasing reliance on mined phosphorus.   Full Article

Environment and climate crisis: Global team looks at recycling phosphorus

U.S. researchers are leading an international effort to map the global flow of phosphorus to find ways to recapture and recycle the vital nutrient. Much of the phosphorus is absorbed by crops, then eaten and excreted as waste by animals and people. The team has found there are significant opportunities for recycling phosphorus.   Full Article

Feed: New plant gene could improve crop yield

U.S. and French researchers discovered a new plant gene - so-called phloem unloading modulator - that helps control the movement of nutrients through plants. The gene could be modified to increase crop yields, offering an environmentally friendly way to boost crop production and reduce fertilizer use.  

Poultry: Breeding can reduce feather pecking

Dutch researchers found that laying hen mortality rates from feather pecking can be reduced through breeding. Feather pecking can have a big impact on economics and welfare in commercial poultry operations, and the study looked at the possibility of solving mortality through genetic selection.

Poultry: New data-collecting technology

Sensor technology is offering new ways for the poultry sector to measure, calculate and analyze data. Data-collecting tools from companies like ChickenBoy and Fancom are improving the rate that farmers can detect disease and improve overall health and welfare. Full Article

Poultry: Towards a life worth living

Surveys show that approximately 70% of survey respondents in the UK, US and Australia are concerned about animal welfare, and this issue increasingly impacts purchasing decisions. A Food Animal Initiative veterinary consultant recently made the case for phasing out all confinement systems in laying hen production to ensure birds had a life worth living that provides behavioural opportunities as a necessity, not a luxury.   Full Article

Swine: Gilts from small litters become more productive sows

A North Carolina State researcher says farmers need to select gilts based on factors determined before they are born. Birthweight and the size of litter the gilt is from have a significant impact on their success as sows - and gilts born as part of small litters are much more likely to develop into productive sows.   Full Article

Swine: Looking at antivirals to help control ASF

With no effective vaccines available for African swine fever (ASF), researchers are looking at developing the first antiviral drug to act against ASF. Antivirals drugs are used in human medicine to treat diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis C - and could provide an effective tool to lower the risk of ASF once pigs have been infected to prevent the spread of the disease.   Full Article

Swine: Testing the hygienic status of enrichment materials

Pork producers are increasingly using enrichment materials to improve welfare standards and calm abnormal behaviour in pigs. German researchers examined 21 different pig enrichment materials for potential bacterial contamination. Most of the organic material tested would not present a hygiene risk to pigs or people, but mycobacteria levels in peat samples suggest it should not be used as an enrichment material.   Full Article

Beef: Flawed methane study still attracting attention

A University of California researcher continues to refute a 2006 study entitled Livestock's Long Shadow that erroneously claimed the livestock industry causes 18% of the world's greenhouse gases. The study claimed animals produce more emissions than transportation but was debunked after publication when it was discovered the study took into account the animal's entire life cycle but only considered tailpipe emissions from vehicles.   Full Article

Beef: Seaweed in demand for livestock feed

Seaweed is one of the most versatile and naturally occurring sources of vitamins and minerals for people and livestock, including a good source of amino acids, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Feeding seaweed to cattle increases overall health and growth rates, and preliminary research also shows a small amount of marine algae in cattle feed can reduce methane emissions from cattle gut microbes by up to 99%.   Full Article

Dairy: Social skills in calves improve cow's lifetime welfare

A U.S. scientist says young dairy calves that live together develop better social skills and may eventually produce more milk as a cow. Dairy cows must adapt to changing environments - moving among social groups, different housing and entering the milking parlor. The better cows are able to cope depends on how they interact socially with other cows. More adaptable cows are less stressed and fearful and should lead to more milk production.   Full Article

Dairy: Holstein lineage resembles endangered species

The more than nine million dairy cows in the U.S. can be linked back to two bulls and about 50 females, according to work done by researchers at Penn State University. They found more than 99% of males could be traced back to two bulls born in the 1960s - providing just two Y chromosomes for all the male Holsteins in the country. If Holsteins were wild animals, that would amount to critically endangered species status.

Dairy: Microbiome dictates productivity and emissions

An international team of researchers found a core microbiome in the cow's rumen. They tested DNA in 1,000 cattle from several European countries and found some of the microbes play a major role in determining how much methane is produced and how much milk. They are now looking into manipulating the cow rumen biota to see if it's possible to make changes to reduce methane production.   Full Article

Sheep: Raw soybeans help reduce feed costs

Brazilian researchers found adding raw soybeans to the sheep diet increases milk yield with no detrimental effect on milk production efficiency, milk components and lamb performance. Raw soybeans are usually priced lower than soybean meal and are an important strategy for reducing feed costs. 

Aquaculture: Machine learning to improve fish farming

With more fish species farmed in controlled conditions, Dutch researchers are working on methods to select fish automatically, quickly and accurately as more knowledge is needed on breeding conditions, animal health and quality. The use of vision techniques means more variables can be measure in a shorter time, with software being more objective than a human observer.
Full Article

Whatever Next?!? 

French cows develop a taste for vino
Some farmers in southern France are getting a jumpstart on enjoying a glass of wine with their beef...they are feeding wine to their cows. One farmer fed a mixture of leftover grapes, barley and hay, and then added about two litres of wine into the diet of three of his beef cattle. Apparently, the resulting beef was lean, marbled and tasty.

A team of European researchers have reconstructed the breeding history of wheat - examining the genetic diversity of wheat varieties to discover which cereals where cultivated by ancestors. Their findings tell the story of how wheat varieties changed with world events, including war.