• 0

Breeding Beef Cattle for Respiratory Disease Resistance

Category : Beef

Identifying cattle with superior immune function would permit breeding of animals with improved disease resistance – an approach that has been successful in dairy cows and is now also being applied to beef cattle.

Full Article


  • 0

New Guelph Beef Researcher Focusing on Feed & Nutrition

Category : Beef

Joining the University of Guelph faculty as an assistant professor focused on beef cattle research was a bit of a dream come true for Katie Wood.

Full Article


  • 0

A Research Barn Cost How Much?

Category : Pork , Uncategorized

There are differences in the reasons and the needs between a commercial barn and a research facility.  Read the article and learn why.

Cost differences between research and commercial barns


  • 0

Group Housing for Weaning Sows?

LRIC Research spotlight
How weaning sows directly into group housing affects their performance

By Lilian Schaer for Livestock Research Innovation Corporation

Social stress from mixing sows can negatively affect their production and welfare. Housing sows in stalls from weaning until five weeks after breeding is a common strategy to manage the animals during the sensitive period around breeding and conception and prevent aggression.

However, as pressure to reduce stall use increases, it is important to identify alternative options. That was the impetus behind a research project looking at weaning sows directly into group housing, led by Dr. Yolande Seddon of the University of Saskatchewan, Jennifer Brown of the Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Minnesota’s Yuzhi Li.

The goal was to compare the effects of three mixing strategies on sow performance in the free access stall group sow housing system:

  • early mixing (sows mixed directly at weaning)
  • pre-socialization (sows mixed for two days at weaning, then stall housed until five weeks after breeding before being mixed again)
  • late mixing (sows only mixed into groups at five weeks after breeding)

Overall, results showed that mixing aggression occurred at low levels and all mixing strategies in the study had similar aggression levels. Early mixed sows had similar or better production performance than pre-socialized or late mixed sows, meaning that mixing sows at weaning doesn’t have a negative impact on the animals if managed properly. Pre-socialization exposed sows to mixing aggression twice and did not result in production benefits.

According to Seddon, it’s important to note that the results can only be considered for the free access system at present and may not hold true if the feeding system creates a level of competition between sows, such as floor feeding or a heavily stocked electronic sow feeder. As well, while this trial showed no effects on sow lameness, pens housing sows during mixing should have good quality flooring to reduce injury.

John Van Engelen of Thedford has been weaning his sows together into a pre-mix pen for a year now. After four days in the pen they are moved into stalls for breeding. After another four days they are moved back into the pre-mix pen for another four or five days before entering the large group pen that house his dry sows.

“I’ve been doing this for over a year now and the aggression between sows has dropped by 90 per cent,” said Van Engelen.

A future renovation to expand his farrow to finish operation will incorporate freedom stalls engineered to allow for breeding in the pre-mix pen.

Key takeaways for producers from the study include:

  • Group housing sows at weaning is a viable option under good management conditions e.g. no competition at feeding and the ability to ensure individual feed portions for sows.
  • Sows weaned directly into groups indicated no negative production impacts and showed improved conception rates fewer still born piglets.

This research was supported by the National Pork Board with specific program funding for the Prairie Swine Centre provided by Sask Pork, Alberta Pork, Manitoba Pork Council, Ontario Pork and the Saskatchewan Agricultural and Food Development Fund.

-30-

497 words

This article is provided by Livestock Research Innovation Corporation as part of LRIC’s ongoing efforts to monitor and report on Canadian livestock research developments and outcomes.


  • 0

Creating a more sustainable fish feed

Category : Aquaculture

Ryerson University researchers are using genomics to try to make fish feed more sustainable. A genetically engineered variety of camelina, an oilseed plant with naturally high omega-3 levels, is being tested to see if it could match the omega-3 levels that fish meal and fish oil provide and that aquaculture species require in their diets.

Full Article


  • 0

Seaweed cuts cow burp methane

Category : Dairy

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has identified a strain of seaweed that can reduce the methane emissions of cattle burps by more than 99 per cent if added to cattle feed in small amounts.

Asparagopsis taxiformis, which grows in the tropical coastal waters of Queensland, Australia, appears to almost totally disrupt the action of gut enzymes that produce methane, keeping feed energy in the animal instead of being released into the atmosphere.

Full Article


  • 0

Getting to know robo-mom

Category : Dairy

University of Guelph researchers are studying the design features of automated feeding stalls. That’s to see whether a calf’s learning process for using automated feeders can be accelerated. The goal of the project is to encourage equipment manufacturers to consider the animal’s needs when designing feeders alongside the practicality of their designs.

Full Article (page 36 October 2016 Milk Producer magazine)


  • 0

How one bull introduced a lethal gene into the Holstein breed

Category : Dairy

One of the most prolific bulls in the history of the Holstein breed also happened to carry a gene that has ultimately been responsible for an estimated half million spontaneous calf abortions worldwide. Researchers at University of California-Davis have now identified the responsible mutation, allowing farms to test for an avoid it. Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief’s chromosomes account for almost 14 per cent of the genome in the current U.S. Holstein population.

Full Article


  • 0

Study confirms benefits of using beef genetics in dairy beef supply chain

Category : Dairy

A New Zealand study has confirmed that dairy farmers could produce high value calves with minimal calving difficulties using proven beef genetics. With the beef industry increasingly depending on dairy calves, there’s a need for better genetics for meat production to improve product quality.

Full Article


  • 0

High pressure processing can extend shelf life of beef

Category : Beef

 A study led by Dr. Haihong Wang of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has discovered that high pressure processing of beef can significantly extend shelf life without affecting meat quality, sensory attributes or the nutritional value of marinated beef steaks. Thanks to study data, the technology has now gained regulatory approval from Health Canada.

Full Article


Upcoming Events

  1. International Plowing Match and Rural Expo

    September 18 @ 8:30 AM - September 22 @ 5:00 PM
  2. Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

    September 19 - September 20
  3. Dairy Cattle Improvement Industry Forum and Canadian Dairy Network annual meeting

    September 19 @ 8:30 AM - September 20 @ 12:00 PM
  4. World Dairy Expo

    October 2 @ 9:00 AM - October 6 @ 4:00 PM