Category Archives: health

Canadian mobile device offers instant dairy cow health check

results-webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Queensville, Ontario – “A dairy farmer, an engineer and an accountant walk into a barn…”

That’s the setup for Dairy Quality Inc., a Queensville, Ontario-based company that prides itself on creating high tech solutions to meet dairy farming challenges. The company’s latest product is an innovative new device that gives dairy farmers instant updates on a cow’s health and milk quality.

With the RT10 device and Dairy SCC app, farmers use a mobile fluorescent microscope connected to a smart phone to test milk samples from individual cows. The device works with an iPhone app to provide real-time readings of specific health indicators, including somatic cell count (SCC), which is the most important indication of dairy cow health.

“Currently, dairy farmers across North America receive a monthly report from Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) that indicates SCC data,” says Chris Gans, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dairy Quality Inc. “Our product doesn’t replace that service, but a lot can happen on a dairy farm in 30 days. Dairy SCC offers farmers the ability to have more immediate information relating to the health of each individual cow.” Continue reading

A gut full of health

Emma Allen Vercoe Close-Up_University of Guelph_Photographer Martin Schwalbe_DSCF0262 - webBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – The key to better health is through our gut. At least that’s what Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, has concluded from her research on the human gut microbiota ecosystem.

It’s a big term but simply put, microbiota is a collection of microbes found within the gut. And those microbes are important, because they’re strongly linked to the overall health of a human or animal.

Dr. Allen-Vercoe’s latest research is applying what she’s learned about the human gut microbiota to pigs to enhance the gut system and improve the overall health of the animal. Because just like humans, better health means less disease and less antibiotic use.

“Our goal is to reduce the use of antibiotics in pigs,” says Dr. Allen-Vercoe. “If we can naturally improve an animal’s health by colonizing its gut with healthy microbes, the animal’s overall health will improve and reduce the need for antibiotic treatments.” Continue reading

Soy research fights food poisoning

Suresh Neethirajan - webBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph ON 19 July 2016 – The latest use for soy could fight food poisoning. University of Guelph researchers are using soy extracts – isoflavones and peptides – to prevent the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses.

Extracting natural agents from soy could benefit the food industry by replacing synthetic additives currently used to protect foods. The extracts have been found to combat common microbes and reduce bacterial contamination in food.

“It’s an ideal solution,” says Suresh Neethirajan, University of Guelph engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory. “Soy is a safe, common food that’s been consumed for thousands of years and now we can use it to make the food we eat safer by preventing harmful bacterial growth.” Continue reading

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

The business of farming insects

cricket condos - web
By Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough, 5 July 2016 – Brothers Darren, Ryan and Dr. Jarrod Goldin credit much of their success in life to a mantra instilled in them by entrepreneurial parents.

Growing up in South Africa, they were told to “follow your dreams as crazy as they may be”.

That advice has served them well: today, the three brothers run Entomo Farms, an insect business north east of Toronto.

Darren and Ryan had begun with an earlier business supplying insects as reptile food. Jarrod had always hoped to work alongside his brothers and after watching an applicant on the show Shark Tank promote a cricket-based energy bar, they began contemplating producing insect protein for human consumption. Continue reading