Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


Ontario Pork names annual award winners

Clare Schlegel and Dr. Robert Friendship were recently honoured with industry awards from Ontario Pork. Schlegel - a long-time board member at Ontario Pork - received the Carl Block Award for outstanding leadership in animal health. Friendship - who has taught swine health at the University of Guelph for 40 years - was recognized with the 2019 Industry Achievement Award.

New scholarship honours Donald Shaver
The Egg Farmers of Ontario have announced a new annual scholarship for University of Guelph graduate students doing research on sustainable poultry production. The Dr. Donald Shaver Graduate Scholarship is named in honour of the late Shaver who built an international poultry business that included the U.S., France and the United Kingdom.

LRIC Update

Join us June 18th and hear; Claire Gleason from Virginia Tech. on "A Critical Evaluation of the EAT-Lancet Reference Diet" and Amanda Radke, writer for US Beef Magazine on "Grazing for Planet Health - Why Ruminants Are Critical for the Environment".


CEO Tim Nelson is leaving LRIC in September in pursuit of new opportunities.  The search for the next CEO has begun.

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

Any questions can be directed to

Coming Events

May 29, 2019: Poultry Industry Council, Human Resources Day, Guelph, ON

June 3 - 4, 2019: Canadian Meat Council Annual Meeting and Conference, Niagara Falls, ON

June 17 - 19, 2019: Ontario Small Ruminant Veterinary Conference, Guelph, ON,

June 18, 2019: LRIC Annual Meeting, Campbellville, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  Research and Innovation Driving Livestock Sector Success

Research Snapshots 

Animal health: A review of automated temperature detection devices
New technologies are emerging that automate temperature detection in animals as a way to monitor animal health and potential heat stress. Measuring animal temperature can identify animals with  elevated body temperature due to illness, injury, heat stress, toxin exposure or other health-related issues.  Automated temperature detection devices also collect data that could be associated with trait phenotypes and be indicators for selecting more disease or heat tolerant cattle.

Environment and climate change: New cleaner, cheaper process to produce ammonia

Researchers at the University of Toyko have discovered a new process for making ammonia that is cleaner, easier and cheaper than the current methods used to produce the colourless gas used in products like fertilizer. The new Samarium-Water Ammonia Production (SWAP) method uses readily available lab equipment, recycled chemicals and minimal energy to efficiently produce ammonia.
Feed: Better grass yields with plasma treated manure
An Irish study is testing a process that treats manure or biogas digestate with plasma gas before applying to fields. The treatment process improves the agronomic and environmental characteristics of manure and is showing positive results for improving grass yields because it reduces ammonia emissions and makes nitrogen more available for direct plant uptake.
Poultry: Variations in chicken genes could help fight viruses
UK researchers have found variations in the genes of chicken antiviral proteins that could have an impact on the bird's ability to fight viral infections. The study is the first of its kind that is looking at natural genetic variations of antiviral proteins across breeds - information that could be useful for commercial poultry breeding.
Poultry: Lessons on transitioning to no antibiotics ever
Transitioning from conventional poultry production to a no antibiotics ever (NAE) system requires careful planning and management changes at every level of production. Successful NAE production begins with a sound vaccination program for breeder pullets, involves hatchery improvements and detailed broiler management to prevent necrotic enteritis - one of the toughest challenges in NAE systems.
Swine: The challenge of developing a Strep suis vaccine
Although there are many groups around the globe working on vaccines for  Strep suis - it's a very challenging task to develop an effective vaccine for this infection.  Strep suis - a gram-positive bacteria that's common in the pork sector worldwide - colonizes in the throat, respiratory tract and gut of the pig.
Swine: Using beeps for better biosecurity
A new Canadian study looks at how technology used for biosecurity in hospitals could boost compliance levels on swine and poultry farms. The researchers used an RFID tag system in a pig barn similar to those used to monitor healthcare worker visits to hand-washing stations. The tags were installed on farm worker shoes and boots - beeping when biosecurity protocols were not being followed.
Beef: Controlling crypto with better diagnostics
University of Arizona researchers are developing better diagnostic tools for cryptosporidiosis (crypto) - a microscopic parasite that spreads quickly, is the major culprit in calf scours and is zoonotic. Early diagnosis is key to keeping crypto under control, and researchers have developed a panel of monoclonal antibodies that are useful for detecting crypto. The discovery opens the opportunity for a highly sensitive, quick diagnostic test for the parasite.
Beef: A new way to calculate the value of a bull
A new bull valuation calculator has been developed that estimates a breakeven bull price. The idea is to provide a general idea of how much a bull is worth based on key farm parameters that include individual performance, the environment (i.e. pasture productivity), management (cow-to-bull ratio) and markets (calf price).
Dairy: Newborn calves benefit from extra water
New US research shows that giving calves water right from the start can have a positive impact on milk intake and growth. After studying 30 newborn Holstein heifer calves, the researchers concluded that providing drinking water immediately after birth could improve calf growth and development pre- and post-weaning. These findings may result from stimulated rumen development and increased nutrient availability because water, unlike milk, can enter the rumen and become part of its development.
Dairy: Looking at live yeast to address heat stress
Heat stress is a growing concern for the dairy industry, and live yeast may have an impact on the immune system in cows during hot summer months. A new study looked at the benefits of a yeast supplement on the immune function and insulin sensitivity in transition cows during heat stressed summer months. The results suggest there may be an immunomodulatory effect of yeast supplementation in transition cows.
Aquaculture: Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Whatever Next?!? 

Something to chew on
We know we're not supposed to chew with our mouths open...but did you know that what we chew is changing the way we talk? Swiss linguists have studied the impact of chewing softer foods - more processed meats and grain, and less wild game and tough plants - and the impact on jaw structure. They found that eating softer foods preserves a slight overbite, making it easier to pronounce certain sounds. You could say that modern agriculture has changed our diets and our languages worldwide.
Barks like a dog in the sky
The latest drone technology offers a unique new way to herd animals from the sky. The NZ-based drone includes a two-way speaker system that lets the operator direct dogs to herd animals, or emit a barking sound to work stock animals from the sky or coordinate the work with a team of dogs on the ground.