Updates From the World of Livestock & Poultry Research


New University of Guelph and OMAFRA partnership announced

The Ontario government has entered a new agreement with the University of Guelph to support the continued growth and competitiveness of the province's agri-food sector. The new 10-year agreement builds on a collaborative partnership of more than 100 years. 

New manager at Alma Aquaculture Research Station

Marcia Chaisson will be the new manager of the University of Guelph's aquaculture research station in Alma starting March 1. She is currently with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and has also worked with AquaBounty Canada and the Centre for Aquaculture Technologies Canada. She takes over from outgoing manager Michael Burke, who has held the position for close to 30 years. 

International Microbiome Centre opens at University of Calgary

A unique, world-class research facility - the International Microbiome Centre (IMC) - will mobilize ground breaking research into the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Part of the University of Calgary's Infections, Inflammation and Chronic Diseases in the Changing Environment research strategy, IMC will create personalized therapies by investigating the trillions of bacteria in the human body that make up the microbiome.
Full Article

Two University of Alberta researchers receive innovation awards

Animal behaviouralist Clover Bench and food engineer Feral Temelli have been honoured with Innovation Awards from TEC Edmonton, the commercialization agent of the University of Alberta. The awards honour researchers whose work is helping transfer innovation from the lab to the world.  
Full Article

PEI research station updates complete

With $6.8 million in state-of-the-art upgrades, the Harrington Research Farm on PEI has strengthened its investment in science and innovation with additional lab facilities, a new spectrometer to improve soil health studies and an expanded greenhouse.
Full Article

Guelph achieves Ocean Wise status

The University of Guelph's aquaculture station at Alma, ON has received certification from the Ocean Wise program - a made-in-Canada initiative dedicated to sustainable seafood production in aquaculture operations and from the wild.
Full Article

  Making News

Nominate a Farm & Food Care Champion

Nominations are open for the annual Food & Farming Champion Award presented by Farm and Food Care Ontario. Do you know an individual, organization or business making a difference in promoting the Ontario agriculture industry and engaging with consumers? Nominations are due March 21, 2018 to Farm and Food Care Ontario, and application information is  available here

Meat science students eligible for travel award

The Canadian Meat Science Association has a special travel award to provide up to $2,000 towards a student's attendance at the International Congress of Meat Science & Technology (ICoMST). The application deadline is March 21, 2018. The award is jointly funded by the Canadian Meat Science Association and the Associate Members of the Canadian Meat Council, and application information is available here

  LRIC Update
Calls for Poultry Proposals Currently Open

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

Note: Poultry Letters of Intents are accepted on-line year-round.  A response on a letter of intent can normally be expected within 6 - 8 weeks from submission.

Any questions can be directed to

Calls for Swine Proposals Currently Open

Ontario Pork has opened a call for Letters of Intent (LOI) for swine research projects that focus on the Ontario swine industry.  Highest priority and consideration will be given to research proposals and projects that address issues and questions that are specific to the Ontario pork industry or that will specifically provide benefits or improve the competitiveness of Ontario producers.

Register by clicking here  to access the application and funding and priority documents.

Any questions can be directed to
Coming events 

Mar 7, 2018: Veal Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting, Tavistock ON,

Mar 8, 2018: Composted Bedding Pack Workshop, Richmond ON, 

Mar 15, 2018: Cultured 'Meat' Protein - Disruptor, Opportunity or Threat? Information and Learning Session, Guelph ON,

Mar 19, 2018:  Chicken Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting, Mississauga ON, 

Mar 20 - 21, 2018: Ontario Pork Annual General Meeting & Banquet, Guelph ON,

Mar 21, 2018: Ontario Goat Annual General Meeting, Woodstock ON,

Mar 27 - 28, 2018: London Swine Conference, London ON,

Mar 27 - 28, 2018: Egg Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting, Niagara Falls ON,

Apr 4 - 5, 2018: National Poultry Show, London ON, 
Apr 11, 2018:   Farm & Food Care Ontario Annual Conference , Milton ON,
Apr 12, 2018: Poultry Industry Council Ag Lenders' Day, Guelph ON, 

May 2, 2018: Poultry Industry Council Research Day
Details to Come

June 28, 2018: LRIC Annual General Meeting, Guelph ON
Details to Come

Oct 15 - 19, 2018: World Dairy Summit, Daejon South Korea

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Research Snapshots 

Environment and climate change: Large consumer study compares impact of plant and animal diets
Diets high in fruits and vegetables are better for the planet than diets high in animal products, according to a new study on more than 34,000 consumers. The study is the first of its kind to evaluate the environmental impact of food choices and farm production systems.

New/alternative proteins: Regulating the cultured meat industry
The North American Meat Institute is questioning how cultured or lab-made meat - such as those featured at the recent 2018 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia - will be regulated in the future, including labeling and inspection practices.

New/alternative proteins: U.S. beef industry focused on fake meat
The U.S. Cattlemen's Association has petitioned the USDA for labeling requirements that would exclude products that are not from animals from using the definition of "beef" and "meat".

New/alternative proteins: New insect breeding partnership
Animal genetics company Hendrix Genetics and insect producer Protix are working together on a new insect breeding program to improve the potential of insects as an efficient protein converter. Using black soldier flies, the collaboration will look at the use of insects as a source of high quality nutrition for animal feed and human food.

New/alternative proteins: Friendly salmon feeds on insects
Insect producer Protix, along with researchers in Norway, have developed "Friendly Salmon" - the first ever full-grown salmon raised on insect-based proteins. Hailed as a major step in aquaculture sustainability, the project will accelerate the move from feeding fish meal, which places a heavy burden on marine ecosystems.

Poultry: Disease resistant DNA identified in chickens
Dutch researchers and Hendrix Genetics have identified the region of DNA in a chicken that explains a large difference in possible disease resistance between birds. The finding will allow breeding companies to select animals with higher general disease resistance, resulting in lower antibiotic use and higher animal welfare.

Swine: Crate size doesn't change piglet performance
A Kansas State University study looked at the effect of increasing the size of the farrowing crate for nursing piglets on litter performance and survivability. The study, conducted at a commercial barn in Minnesota, found that lactation crate size did not influence pig performance, litter size or pre-weaning mortality. 

Swine: Natural growth promoter for piglets
U.S. researchers are studying a natural supplement as an alternative to antibiotics to promote pig health and growth. L-glutamine is an amino acid that's produced naturally in humans, swine and other species, and is showing promise as a growth promoter in piglets.
Full Article

Beef: Genomics help improve meat quality and feed efficiency
A Genome Alberta project is applying genomics to improve meat quality and feed efficiency in beef cattle. The researchers are using functional variants - variants that affect genetic traits and are found in beef cattle, mice and humans - in a multi-species approach as they look for sites on the beef genome that contribute to certain characteristics including the presence of disease, animal size and feed efficiency.

Beef: Gene-editing can change an animal's sex
Researchers at the University of California, Davis are aiming to use the gene-editing tool CRISPR to create a bull that will father only male offspring. Gene-editing technology has already been used in farm animals to create pigs immune to viruses and sheep whose wool grows longer. The new project, dubbed Boys Only, would be valuable to beef ranchers to select males that grow bigger and faster.

Beef: New technique developed to isolate stem cells
For the first time in 35 years, U.S. researchers have successfully isolated embryonic stem cells in cows. The ability to produce stem cells from large livestock species like cattle is important for genetic testing, genome engineering and studying human disease. The cells may also offer a better model for human stem cell therapies.

Dairy: Plant-based alternatives pose serious threat to milk industry
Dairy industry leaders gathered recently to discuss the outlook and challenges for the U.S. dairy industry. Funding milk like a brand is one way the industry could push back against the rise in plant-based dairy alternatives, making fluid milk a relevant part of the consumer's day through transparent messaging and sharing milk's nutritional value.

Dairy: Calves and humans shares common traits on outlook
A new study at the University of British Columbia has found that dairy calves are inherently optimistic or pessimistic, just like humans. Researchers also assessed fearfulness in calves through standard personality tests, and found fearfulness and pessimism are closely related. The findings highlight the importance of recognizing these individual personality differences among animals to ensure they are treated well.
Full Article 

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

Can't you see it in my face?

Cargill Animal Nutrition is looking to use facial recognition technology to improve productivity in dairy and beef cows. The company has invested in software that analyzes facial/body ID, lameness, livestock activity and feed intake. Video images identify animals based on facial recognition and hide patterns, tracking data on food and water intake, heat detection and behaviour patterns to alert farmers if there is a problem.