Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


New president for Beef Grading Agency

Marty Carpenter is the new president of the Canadian Beef Grading Agency. He's been involved in the beef grading system for the past 25 years working with Alberta Beef Producers, Beef Information Centre and Alberta Beef Producers. Carpenter takes over from acting president Dennis Laycraft.

CFIA invests in U of G's Biodiversity Institute

The "birthplace of DNA barcoding" is getting a $320,000 boost. That's the value of a new investment the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is making to the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph. The funding will support collaborative research projects using U of G DNA barcoding technology to help protect Canadian plants and livestock from destructive insect pests

Making news

More jobs await new U of G grads

There are four jobs for every graduate of the University of Guelph's Ontario Agricultural College, according to a new employment study. The research was commissioned by OAC and surveyed 123 agri-food employers in Ontario. Five years ago, a similar study found there were three jobs for every OAC graduate.

Coming events 

Oct 26 - 27, 2017: Ontario Sheep Convention,

Oct 26, 2107:   Poultry Industry Council annual general meeting, Guelph ON

Oct 30, 2017: Livestock Day with Dr. Temple Grandin, Elmwood ON, 

Nov 3 - 12, 2017 :   Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto ON

Nov 8, 2017: Poultry Innovations Conference, London ON

Nov 14 - 17, 2017 : Canadian Forage & Grassland Association Conference, Guelph ON, 
Nov 29, 2017:
Eastern Regional Poultry Conference, St. Isidore ON

Quick Links to Our Partners, Friends & Members


Research and Innovation Driving Livestock Sector Success
Research Snapshots 

Feed: Dust could verify pathogen presence in mills

The Swine Health Information Center and Kansas State University are looking at the possibility of using samples of dust from feed mills to validate a process for monitoring swine pathogens in mills. The research is aimed at addressing the concern that imported feed was responsible for introducing the virus that causes Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea into the U.S.

Poultry: Imaging used to inspect individual carcass quality

New imaging technology in European poultry processing plants is reading carcass weight and quality to provide additional data that can be used to impact bird health and farm management. High-resolution cameras measure and record individual birds, and can quickly detect visual defects such as skin tears, broken wings, blisters or bruising. 

Poultry: Designing safer, cage-free housing 

With a growing consumer demand for cage-free eggs, researchers at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are looking at housing options to help farmers convert to non-caged systems that are safe and comfortable. The research also supports United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports stating that within 10 years, many large institutionalized buyers of eggs will only do business with cage-free production facilities. 

Swine: New hog feed lowers boar taint levels

A Belgian animal nutrition company has launched a novel new hog feed that has significantly reduced levels of boar taint in five recent trials. When Taintstop was fed to hogs in the two to three weeks leading up to slaughter, carcasses had significantly lowered skatole levels. The product also lowered androstenone level, but not significantly. Taintstop is currently marketed to hog farmers in Belgium, France and Denmark.
Swine: How much is PRRS costing your farm?

A team of Swiss and UK researchers have come up with a formula to calculate the cost for an individual pig farm when it is infected by Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). The scientist developed an epidemiological and economic model to determine the costs of the disease.
Swine: Breeding for a happier pig

A Michigan State University researcher is leading a team developing methods to breed pigs that are less aggressive with improved overall well-being. Cutting-edge video technology is making it easier for the researchers to monitor large numbers of pigs and identify those exhibiting less aggression.  

Beef: DNA biosensor fighting food fraud

A new biosensor can detect the adulteration of beef in just one hour. The new DNA technology, developed by a university in Madrid, is being used to counter the growing problem of food fraud that has seen horse meat mixed with beef.  
Full Article

Beef: Calculating the water footprint of beef cattle

There's more than one way to calculate the amount of water beef cattle production uses. A recent review of research, led by the Manitoba Department of Agriculture's National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, found many methods for assessing water use that have benefits and limitations. Finding an appropriate way to assess use involves capturing key water inputs and product inputs, as well as potential water impacts of the production system and land, without being too complicated or too simplistic.
Full Article

Dairy: New research is Improving viability of in vitro embryos

Researchers in Brazil have successfully found the key to improving the success of in vitro production of bovine embryos. The discovery will improve the viability of embryos that are subject to freezing and thawing. Brazil is responsible for about 67 per cent of global production bovine in vitro embryo production.    

Dairy: Building a bigger gene pool for Holsteins

Penn State researchers are helping reintroduce valuable genetic variance to the Holstein breed. Intense breeding pressure has reduced the genetic diversity of the breed that can result in greater susceptibility to disease and vulnerability to environmental changes. 

Dairy: Higher fat ice cream not always tastier

A team of Penn State food scientists has found consumers can't generally distinguish fat levels in ice cream when the levels are changed within a certain range. Participants could not distinguish a two per cent difference in fat levels of vanilla ice cream, when the total fat content was between six and 12 per cent. 

Dairy: Hot chilies could boost dairy cow's immune system

Scientists at Penn State are studying the use of phytonutrients such as capsicum oleoresin (a chili extract) and essential oils -- used to boost and support the immune systems of humans - to gauge the health response in cows. Their work is related to the fact that more than 50 per cent of cows will experience metabolic and infectious diseases in the transition period following calving. 

Sheep: Updated Flystrike app now available

Widespread rain and warm spring weather has created perfect conditions for flystrike in Western Australian. Sheep producers can now access the free, updated Flystrike Assist app that includes all commercially available preventative flystrike products and helps manage withholding periods.
Full Article

Sheep: New ear tags gather pedigree data 

Australia has developed the first maternal pedigree collection ear tag system for sheep and cattle farmers. The proximity-sensing tags are removable and run on a small battery using low energy radio technology to automate the collection of pedigree data from free-range livestock. The tags sync data from ewes and their lambs (or cows to calves) to consolidate maternal pedigree info.

Aquaculture: Climate change impacting freshwater populations

Increasing water temperatures and alkalinity are already impacting populations of freshwater fish in Canada. A new research project in BC is designed to provide genomic tools to identify the genes that help some populations of rainbow and steelhead trout be resilient to the effects of climate change.
Full Article

Aquaculture: Chicken gland calming farmed fish

A natural anti-inflammatory found in a chicken gland may have an important role in reducing stress and accelerating growth in farmed fish, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

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

This little piggy went to organ donation
Xenotransplantation may be closer than you think. Scientists have made a significant breakthrough towards the possibility of using genetically engineered pigs to provide organs for humans when they created piglets free of 25 retroviruses that are generally present in pigs but thought to cause harm to humans.

Soft cheese. Small skull.

Researchers at UC Davis studied the human skulls of 25 different groups around the world to see how diet might have change the shape and size of our bones...and to see if soft cheeses have really changed the shape of our heads.