Livestock Innovation
Brought to you by LRIC
May 15, 2020
Innovation Insights
Mike McMorris, LRIC CEO

The ultimate question

Anyone with children knows that the question of youth is “Why?”.  For generations, parents on family trips have heard that question from the back seat, over and over! Sadly, we tend to lose our zeal for the question as we get older. 

Our last edition of this newsletter generated several comments from readers. All but one was complimentary. We always appreciate your feedback and suggestions. The one comment questioning why we included a particular article generated some good discussion among those of us who pull this newsletter together. It made us go back to basics: why do we prepare this newsletter?

The goal of Livestock Innovation is to inform readers and to stimulate ideas and action within and across sectors of the Ontario livestock industry. Better research and more innovation were founding principles of LRIC. 

A core function of LRIC is to keep an eye to the future, something that is difficult for our member organizations to do as they deal with the urgent issue(s) of today. This is why the newsletter is designed with sections dealing with sectors, cross sector and on the horizon.

We also want to expose readers to a variety of perspectives, not all of which will be popular. It is important to know what is being said about your business to best plan ahead. When there are widely differing perspectives, we will strive to present a balanced view.

We look forward to your continued feedback on and suggestions for this newsletter and please do feel free to ask us “Why?”.
Open calls for Letters of Intent
The following calls for research Letters of Intent are currently open:

Sheep, closes June 1, 2020 - details at

Poultry, closes June 16, 2020 - details at
Poultry: Chickens prefer eating insect larvae meal
Researchers in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Sao Paolo have found that meal worm is a promising ingredient for poultry diets. This could be a promising alternative to current protein sources being used in poultry rations, like soy meal.
Swine: Study highlights two effective controls for African Swine Fever
Culling and fast removal of carcasses are critical to eradicating African Swine Fever in swine herds. That's the conclusion of scientists in Scotland and Spain who worked on mathematical models to understand the different ways the virus can be spread.

Beef: Calculating the cost benefit of using vaccines in beef cattle
Vaccination is a proven tool for disease prevention, but research shows many cattle in Canada are not vaccinated against common, yet often costly diseases. Beef Cattle Research Council has developed two vaccination cost-benefit calculators, one for Bovine Viral Diarrhea and one for Bovine Respiratory Disease, for producers to evaluate potential savings for their herds.

Dairy: The handheld mastitis test that could save producers millions
University of Alberta researchers are developing an accurate, pen-side test that they say can predict which cows are susceptible to mastitis. This could reduce antibiotic use on-farm and results in cost-savings for farmers.

Veal: Calves benefit from longer colostrum feeding
Multiple feedings of colostrum in the first few hours of life can enhance gut development in calves and boost their long-term productivity. Colostrum helps in the passive transfer of immunoglobulins that can help establish a healthy gut and microbiota.

Sheep: Breeding "low methane" sheep
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics has launched a "methane research breeding value" that will help ram breeders select low methane-producing animals. Farmers can measure their animals' methane emissions with Portable Accumulation Chambers that are available to travel to individual farms in New Zealand.

Aquaculture: Aquaculture accelerator looking for start-ups
Hatch, the world's first aquaculture accelerator, is looking for start-ups with sustainable solutions for the aquaculture sector to join its next global cohort. Participants will join a 15 week program with access to a global mentor network as well as funding to help advance their innovation. Deadline: June 12.

Feed: Why now is a great time to invest in alternative feed ingredients
With the sophistication and quality of alternative proteins increasing, they could become become both economically viable as well as contribute to greater environmental sustainability. A U.S. company, for example, has developed technology that turns sawdust and wood chips into nutrient dense feed suitable for livestock.

Health: Disease control & prevention in people, livestock and wildlife
Only relatively few veterinarians, epidemiologists and public health specialists globally focus on the interface of wildlife and domestic animal species. But it's an area becoming increasingly important for environmental conservation, biosecurity, livestock production, and animal and human health.

Alternative proteins: Insect producers want essential activity status
In a sign of the growing importance of insect protein in global feed and food supply chains, the umbrella association of the European insect production sector is asking insect production to be declared an essential activity.

On the horizon
Human health: It's time to invest in a more resilient food system
The pandemic has exposed long simmering, stark weaknesses in our agrifood supply chains. Now is the time to boosting funding for innovation and investment in technologies that will strengthen the resilience of our food systems, says venture capital firm AgFunder.

Sustainability: 25 farming practices that could reduce CO2 emissions
A new report by global consulting firm McKinsey has identified 25 farming practices that could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4.6 gigatons of carbon by 2050. Top recommended practices are zero-emission farm equipment, variable rate fertilization, dry direct seeding and low- or no-till.

Thanks for reading. We'd love to hear your feedback about LRIC - both about what we're doing and what you think we should be doing! Please contact us at with any questions or comments.