Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


Guelph researcher receives 2018 Poultry Welfare Award
Tina Widowski, professor in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, has been recognized by the Poultry Science Association with its 2018 Poultry Welfare Research Award. Her research focuses on how housing and management practices can affect the behaviour and welfare of animals.

Aquaculture innovator honoured with lifetime achievement award
University of Guelph's Rich Moccia has been recognized for more than 40 years of advocating for the Canadian aquaculture sector as the 2018 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aquaculture Association of Canada. Moccia's extensive contributions to the sector include research, teaching, industry development and extension outreach.

  Making News

Canada tops global report card for welfare and disease control
The World Organization for Animal Health recently published its assessment of Canada's veterinary standards, focusing on animal welfare and disease control. Canada scored tops marks overall, meeting the highest standards in 35 of 45 areas.

Food companies form global welfare coalition
Seven multinational food companies have set up the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare to advance standards in the food supply chain and accelerate the development of higher welfare standards. The participants include Unilever, Nestle, Aramark, Compass and Sodexo.

New U.S. National Institute for Microbial Resistance
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is leading a new national institute to address the growing global health concern of microbial resistance. An estimated two million people are sickened from bacteria resistant to antibiotics every year in the U.S. The initiative also includes Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Iowa.

  LRIC Update
Calls for Letters of Intent for Pork Research Currently Open Until October 25th.

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

Any questions can be directed to

Coming events 

Oct 2 - 6, 2018:  World Dairy Expo, Madison WI,
Oct 10 - 11, 2018: Alberta Livestock Expo, Lethbridge AB,

Oct 22 - 24, 2018: Pork 101, Iowa State University,

Oct 23 - 27, 2018:  IUFoST 19 th World Congress of Food Science and Technology, Mumbai, India,

Oct 30, 2018
: Managing the gut for health and productivity, LRIC and Arrell Food Institute, Guelph ON, 

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

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

Nov 8 - 11, 2018: Dairy Sheep Association of North America symposium, Kansas City MO

Nov 13, 2018: Atlantic Poultry Conference, Wolfville NS, 

Nov 13 - 16, 2018: Euro Tier 2018, Hannover, Germany,

Nov 21, 2018: PIC Eastern Regional Poultry Conference, St Isidore ON,

Nov 27, 2018: Healthy Calf Conference, Stratford ON,

Nov 29, 2018:  Healthy Calf Conference, Maxville ON,

Dec 4, 2018: Group sow housing and management seminar, Stratford ON, 

Dec 5, 2018: Poultry Industry Council Producer Updates, Belleville ON,

Dec 12, 2018:  Poultry Industry Council Producer Updates, Brodhagen ON,

Jan 8 - 10, 2019: Banff Pork Seminar, Banff AB,

Feb 6, 2019: Poultry Industry Council Producer Updates, Jordan ON,

Feb 12 - 14, 2019: International Production and Processing Expo, Atlanta GA,

Feb 19 - 22, 2019:  17th International Exhibition of Equipment & Technologies for Livestock Farming, Dairy and Meat Production, Moscow, Russia,

Feb 20, 2019:
Poultry Industry Council Producer Updates, Mount Brydges ON,

Feb 20 - 22, 2019: Alberta Beef Industry Conference, Red Deer AB,

Feb 26, 2019: Poultry Industry Council Producer Updates, Mount Forest ON, 

Apr 3 - 4, 2019: Canadian Dairy XPO, Stratford ON, 

Apr 4 - 5, 2019: National Poultry Show, London ON,

Jun 19 - 20, 2019 : Ontario Pork Congress, Stratford ON, 

Oct 5 - 9, 2019: Anuga, Cologne, Germany,

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

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Research and Innovation Driving Livestock Sector Success
Research Snapshots 

Environment: Nearly 30% of farms making environmental improvements
A new global assessment of farms in five countries found nearly one third of farms have adopted more environmental practices while maintaining productivity. The researchers estimate nearly one tenth of the world's farmland is under some form of new sustainable practices to improve productivity, biodiversity and ecosystem services, while also lowering farm costs.

Smart Farming: Harmonizing data networks for greater sustainability
Large-scale data collection is used among many sectors of the Canadian agricultural system to help predict and control field pest pressures and animal health. Researchers are now recommending synthesizing big data into one interconnected agricultural data system that could, among other benefits, prove the sustainability of Canadian agriculture.

Poultry: Researchers closer to new IBV vaccine
UK researchers are getting much closer to creating an efficient and cost-effective vaccine to combat infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) - an extremely challenging poultry disease around the globe. By identifying the exact genetic code, researchers are now able to grow a non-virulent strain of IBV in cell culture, rather than current vaccines that are created in hen eggs.

Poultry: New software developed from industry perspective
PoultryPlan is a new cloud-based software suite to help the poultry industry put data to better use and lead to cost savings. The system covers the entire poultry meat or egg chain and integrates data to benchmark and analyze performance. The software also includes an early warning system to detect problems.

Poultry: NestBorn hatches chicks in poultry barns
A Belgian/Dutch hatchery group has launched a concept to hatch chicks inside poultry barns, providing the new chicks direct access to food and water, and eliminating the stress of transportation. NestBorn places 18-day incubated eggs on a thick litter bed in poultry barns - and is looking to bring the idea to poultry farms without the need for a large investment or management changes.

Swine: Adding humic acids to diet improves performance
German researchers have found that weaner pigs consuming feed containing humic acid eat more feed and have a higher daily growth rate, compared to a control group. Humic acids are organic compounds and an important component of humus - the major organic fraction of soil, peat and coal - and are known for their anti-inflammatory and immunity effects.

Swine: Understanding intestinal injury repair
North Carolina State University researchers have found that the intestinal mucosal environment of juvenile pigs can stimulate repair of intestinal injury in newborn piglets. Their work is the first step in understanding what happens at a cellular level in young patients - species including humans - with ischemic intestinal injuries. Their next step is looking at how epithelial cells learn to repair these injuries.

Beef: Using nutrigenomics to improve performance
Nutrigenomics - the effect of nutrition on the expression of genes - is being used to improve the long-term health and productivity of animals. The ability to evaluate the effect of nutrition on the expression of every gene is a powerful tool, and nutrigenomics could lead to customizing feeding program to improve immune function and production parameters, and even modify meat quality.
  Full Article

Beef: Intestines of newborn calves contain bacteria
Finnish researchers have found a DNA from a variety of bacterial species in the intestine of newborn calves, counter to previous assumptions that intestines were a sterile environment. The findings indicate that bacteria from the dam may be significant in the development of intestinal immune system in newborns.

Dairy: Rumen is heart of feed efficiency
As the first main organ of the cow digestive tract, the rumen harbours a microflora population responsible for nutrient digestion and distribution to the host organs and tissue. And while dairy farmers historically fed diets with a protein level beyond cow requirements - to counteract cows' naturally poor use of proteins - feedstuffs should be chosen for their digestibility and nutrient bioavailability.         

Dairy: Superbugs frequently jump between humans and animals
University of Helsinki researchers recently found cows to be a source of resistant Staphylococcus strain of bacteria causing infections in humans. Their observations emphasize the importance of detailed epidemiological monitoring and developing strategies to minimize the risk of new strains transferring into the human population and helping slow down the spread of resistance to antibiotics.

Dairy: Comparing lameness assessment on cull cows
According to Danish researchers, the assessment of a cull cow's fitness for transport to the slaughterhouse depends on who is doing the assessing. The study used video tapes to evaluate the extent of agreement between farmers, livestock drivers and veterinarians on the level of lameness for cull cows - with agreement among the group considered moderate.

Veal: Ultrasound detects lung lesions earlier
New ultrasound technology at the University of Guelph is being used for earlier detection of lung problems in dairy calves, especially when there are no visible signs of disease. The new on-farm technique uses thoracic ultrasonography to prevent pneumonia or other respiratory ailments that can lead to lower milk production if untreated.

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

How long should I chew on this?
Lactating dairy cows spend up to 16 hours a chewing, according to a recent review of cud chewing activity. The review unravels the factors that impact the eating and ruminating behaviour of dairy cows including the characteristics of the diet, feeing management, cow variability and health.