Category Archives: livestock

Trent research identifies gene variant responsible for scrapie susceptibility in Ontario dairy goats

Young Ontario goats - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough ON, 12 July 2016 – Live goats can now be tested for scrapie susceptibility and resistance thanks to newly completed genetic research by Dr. Bradley White, a biology professor at Trent University.

Scrapie is a slow-moving but fatal degenerative central nervous system disease in sheep and goats that is related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer.

Currently, testing for the scrapie disease in goats is only possible on dead animals and no treatment or vaccine is available. The disease can be spread by positive animals that don’t show any symptoms of the disease, and all goats on farms where scrapie is found are destroyed. Continue reading

Asian eggplant: one of Ontario’s newest local foods

Asian and Indian eggplant - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – Chinese long and Indian round eggplant are one of Ontario’s newest locally grown vegetable crops, thanks to ongoing research at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland).

Watch the video.

Some quantities of field-grown Canadian Asian eggplant are already available at retail stores in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, but researchers at Vineland are also working on developing year-round greenhouse production of the veggies.

Vineland’s World Crops program started in 2008 with a series of projects to evaluate different vegetable crops popular with new Canadians from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Okra and eggplant were ultimately selected as the two most promising crops based on potential volumes and growing ability in Ontario. Continue reading

A community for clean water

Farmers, rural residents work together to reduce phosphorous levels

stream and waterer - web
By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Tobermory – A community group in the Bruce Peninsula knows poop just doesn’t run downhill, it flows downstream too.

That’s why local farmers have been working alongside the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association (BPBA) to provide new watering systems for cattle on pastures, removing the animals from drinking and walking in waterways.

With the goal to improve water quality for themselves and their neighbours downstream, the BPBA’s Six Streams Initiative focuses on addressing three sources of water pollution in their area – cattle drinking in waterways, soil erosion, and under-performing septic systems. Continue reading

Locally produced algae cleans waste water, feeds livestock

Noble 2 - courtesy Trent University - web

Dr. Andressa Lacerda

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Local researchers have developed several strains of algae that can clean waste water as well as serve as a potential livestock superfood.

Nobletech Inc.’s Noble Purification division is currently piloting its algae-based clean water technology, and Noble Biotech has developed sustainable animal feed that is high in protein and omega fatty acids. The company is part of the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster.

“Our core technology for both of these applications is the algae product itself,” explains Dr. Andressa Lacerda, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Trent’s environmental and life sciences program. “We’re algae farmers, and we grow algae with different purposes.” Continue reading

Underlying heart problems could be causing pig deaths during transport

Pig truck

Pig transport truck – courtesy of Farm & Food Care photo library

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

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Guelph – New research funded through the Ontario Farm Innovation Program (OFIP) is suggesting that heart failure due to enlarged hearts may be a key reason why some pigs die on farm or during transport.

In-transit losses – pigs that die while being transported – tend to be higher during the summer months when temperatures are warmer, leading to a commonly accepted school of thought that attributes heat-related stress as a leading contributor to the mortalities.

“Now we know there is a lot more to this story and although it is still a relatively unusual condition – only about 0.06 per cent of all pigs shipped to market – we should do something about it,” explained Tony Van Dreumel, an independent veterinary pathologist and consultant who worked on the project together with University of Guelph PhD candidate Kathy Zurbrigg. Continue reading