Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


Food safety expert wins U of G innovation award
Professor Mansel Griffiths received the 2018 Innovation of the Year Award for his pioneering work using probiotics to reduce the spread of harmful bacteria and enhance the health and welfare of livestock. Griffiths' biopeptide technology also has the potential to improve human health. He's the founding director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph.

OAC names researcher of the year
Professor Flavio Schenkel was recognized for his outstanding research accomplishments with the Ontario Agricultural College's Distinguished Researcher Award. Schenkel is with the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph and has been instrumental in using leading edge natural genomic evaluations in dairy cattle in Canada.

DFO and Gay Lea share 2018 Paul Mistele Memorial Award
In recognition of their ongoing commitment to assist families and local communities across Ontario, Dairy Farmers of Ontario and Gay Lea Food Co-operative Ltd. were awarded the 2018 Paul Mistele Memorial Award. The annual award is given out by the Ontario Association of Food Banks, in honour of the late farm leader, to agricultural partners with a demonstrated commitment to end hunger in Ontario.
  Full Article

  Making News

Comparing global food production to nutritional needs
New research suggests the global agricultural system is not set to meet the nutritional needs of the current population - overproducing grains, fats and sugars and underproducing fruits, vegetables and protein. Correcting the imbalance for a more nutritionally balanced diet - while saving land and reducing greenhouse gas emissions - would require greater fruit and vegetable production and more plant-based protein.
Canadian Meat Science Association scholarship deadline
February 22 is the deadline for graduate and undergraduate students to apply for the 2019 Canadian Meat Science Association scholarships. Four scholarships are awarded annually to promote quality education and development of meat science research in Canada.

  LRIC Update

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

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Coming events 

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

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

Dec 6, 2018: Agricultural Adaptation Council annual meeting, Guelph, ON

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

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

Jan 10 - 12, 2019: Beef Industry Convention, London, ON,

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 - 21, 2019:  Beef Farmers of Ontario annual general meeting, Toronto, ON,

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

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

Mar 4 - 6, 2019: Progressive Dairy Operators' Triennial Dairy Symosium, Toronto, ON

Mar 26, 2019: London Swine Conference, London, ON,

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

Apr 3 - 4, 2019: National Poultry Show, London, ON,

May 27 - 29, 2018: 
Animal Nutrition Association of Canada annual meeting and convention, Banff, AB,

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 Snapshots 

Alternative protein: More Canadians reducing meat consumption
A new study at Dalhousie University found more and more Canadians are considering reducing the amount of meat-based protein they consume. The study looked at Canadian's attitudes towards plant-based protein alternatives. More than 6.4 million Canadians are limiting the amount of meat they eat.

Alternative protein: Breaking down lab-grown meat
A UC Davis animal scientist evaluates the debate around animal cells grown in cell culture for food and traditional animal production looking at energy, land and nutrient use.

Poultry: Assessing the welfare of laying hens in cages
Danish researchers evaluated the welfare implications of laying hens in cages as part of a new study. They assessed on-farm keel bone, feet, plumage and skin damage on 13 farms with 8-10 hens per cage, and found the condition of plumage and the keel bone deteriorated as the birds age.

Poultry: Neuron discovery linked to stress response
Scientists at the University of Arkansas have identified a new structure of neurons in the poultry brain that may be the starting point for some stress response signals. A better understanding of the stress response pathways could uncover ways to alleviate physiological stressors that would improve poultry welfare, health and may enhance meat quality.

Poultry: Innovative project provides fresh eggs to northern communities
A collaborative test project in Northern Canada is combining greenhouse vegetable production with a laying hen flock to bring fresh eggs to consumers in northern communities. PoultryPonics has created a space for laying hens with a hydroponic vegetable dome situated on top. Heat from the chickens ventilates into the dome, and chickens are fed some of the produce. Waste from both systems is composted through a bioreactor to become fertilizer. 

Swine: Investigating the health benefits of soy-derived feed
Research at the University of Illinois is investigating the use of health-promoting bioactive compounds in swine feed that could make animals more resilient to disease. The use of soybean meal may have been quietly promoting growth and health in pigs without being recognized for this benefit. Researchers are now looking at isolating the effects of soy-derived isoflavones on pigs infected with the PRRS virus.

Swine: US research confirms presence of Seneca Virus A
New research by the feed safety team at Kansas State University has shown that Seneca Virus A (SVA) - which is also a surrogate for foot and mouth disease - is in U.S. swine feed mills. The team's research validates standardized dust swabbing techniques as a way to detect SVA.
  Full Article

Beef: Cargill develops robotic cattle driver
In an industry first, Cargill has developed robots that move cattle from pens to the harvest area, operated by employees on a catwalk above the pen. The robotic cattle drivers will reduce stress to the animals by minimizing their interaction with people and reduce safety risks for people working in cattle processing plants.
  Full Article

Beef: Evaluating antibiotic use in Canadian feedlots
More than 85% of antibiotics given to feedlot cattle in Canada are not used to treat bacterial infections in humans. These findings are from a survey done by Alberta veterinarians who analyzed antibiotic use from than 2.6 million cattle in 36 feedlots between November 2008 and October 2012. Roughly 15% of antibiotics used were medically important antibiotics and related to those used in human medicine.

Beef: How big is beef's environmental footprint?
The USDA Agricultural Research Service, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the University of Arkansas joined forces over the past several years to study the environmental impact of beef. They gathered survey data from all segments of cattle production to determine how much responsibility the beef cattle industry holds for greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.

Dairy: Agropur launches dairy accelerator
Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur is launching the first dairy accelerator of its kind in North America. Five dairy food startups have been selected from Canada and the US as the first cohorts for the accelerator that is designed to bring the most exciting dairy innovations to market.

Dairy: Measuring the dairy water footprint
A collaborative team of researchers measured water use on Ontario dairy farms to determine the water footprint for dairy production and identify practical and economical options to reduce water use for more sustainable operations.

Sheep: Investigating dystocia in Australia
Neonatal lamb loss in one of the top five conditions compromising sheep profitability in Australia. A new four-year study is underway to understand why lambs don't survive or why ewes fail to raise their lambs. The project team is looking at the causes of dystocia - prolonged lambing - using sensor monitors on ewes and blood testing to identify biomarkers that relate to difficult lambing.

Aquaculture: Boosting omega-3s in farmed salmon
Norwegian scientists are working on a fish feed made from genetically-engineered camelina plants to boost low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in farmed salmon. They've transferred genes from omega-3 producing algae so the plant can produce higher amounts of heart-healthy omega-3s.

Aquaculture: Natural selection for heat tolerance in rainbow trout         
Researchers at the University of British Columbia studied three strains of rainbow trout - two from Canada and one from California. Individual adult fish from all strains have varying heat and oxygen tolerance levels, leading the researchers to conclude that natural selection may help determine which rainbow trout species are able to survive worldwide global warming.

Veal: Immunoglobulins effective against
A recent German trial assessed the use of egg powder to treat diarrhea in young calves. Feeding immunoglobulins from eggs appears to be another tool to offer support for calves challenged by various forms of diarrhea, and supports the calf's start in life. Diarrhea is the main cause of calf loss in the first two weeks of life.

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

Thats pretty far out, plants
Swiss plant biologists have found a way to nurture plant growth on the moon or other planets where nutrients are scarce and gravity is weak. It's a plant hormone that supports a symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots, and could encourage plants to grow even under the challenging conditions found out in space.

The Camel Milk Cure?
Researchers in the United Arab Emirates have discovered that camel whey protein shows potential anti-cancer activity against human liver cancer cells.