In newly released research, scientists from The Roslin Institute have prevented the avian influenza virus from replicating in lab-grown chicken cells, suggesting that it may one day be possible to produce chickens that are resistant to the disease. The study was funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council with additional funding from Cobb-Vantress.The Roslin Institute — a world-leading center for animal science research — conducted the study last year and the results were published in eLife this week.To inhibit the avian influenza virus from replicating, the research team used gene-editing techniques to delete a section of chicken DNA inside lab-grown cells. Researchers targeted a specific molecule inside chicken cells called ANP32A, which the influenza virus takes over to help replicate itself. After removing the section of DNA responsible for producing ANP32A, the virus was no longer able to grow inside cells with the genetic change.Researchers at The Roslin Institute, in collaboration with experts from Cambridge University, previously produced chickens that did not transmit avian influenza to other chickens following infection using genetic modification techniques. This new approach is unique because it does not involve introducing new genetic material into the bird’s DNA.“This is an important advance that suggests we may be able to use gene-editing techniques to produce chickens that are resistant to avian influenza,” said Helen Sang, professor at The Roslin Institute. “We haven’t produced any birds yet and we need to check if the DNA change has any other effects on the bird cells before we can take this next step.”Avian influenza is a global threat to poultry production, accounting for the loss of millions of chickens when an outbreak occurs. Severe strains have the potential to kill entire flocks and, in rare instances, certain strains of the virus can infect people, causing serious illness. Efforts to control the spread of the disease are urgently needed.“Avian influenza resistance in broiler production is of global significance,” said Rachel Hawken, senior director of genomics and quantitative genetics at Cobb-Vantress. “This research is an important step toward that goal. It’s exciting for Cobb to be a part of exploring new technologies that could be used to advance poultry breeding in the future.”Genomic research is nothing new for Cobb, which has invested in the field for many years to select superior breeding stock using individual DNA information (not DNA alterations) and individual performance measures to calculate a measure of genetic merit. The company also participates in the investigation of many new technologies as they become available to improve their ability to produce healthy, high-performing breeding stock.“Genomics has allowed us to incorporate new programs into our research, opening new unexplored opportunities to improve our broilers for the future markets,” said Hawken. “We’re committed to serving our customers using innovative research and technology to make protein healthy and affordable to everyone.”To read the full study in eLife, visit elifesciences.org/articles/45066.
Disinfection of contaminated poultry houses following an outbreak of avian influenza is difficult and expensive. Recently, heat has been used to decontaminate facilities instead of chemical disinfectants. Researchers at the University of Delaware, led by Dr. Eric Benson, have completed a research project in which they studied the effectiveness of heat treatment under field conditions. They found that heat can be a very effective method for decontamination but has practical limitations during cold weather. As little as four inches of litter can allow viruses and bacteria to survive heat treatment when treatment is done in a commercial facility during winter.Click here to read the research summary.
Poultry Health Management School hosted its 18th year of classes on May 13-17, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. Designed as in intensive training course for on-farm poultry owners and their employees, the school teaches necropsy skills, current industry practice lectures, and applicable case studies in the areas of nutrition, housing/management, disease/diagnostics, and vaccines/medications. The 2019 theme was nutrition and the school hosted more than 200 attendees.PHMS is organized into two schools: Turkey/Broiler Health Management School and the Layer Health Management School. Since Iowa is the number one egg producing state, the PHMS steering committee decided to accommodate for increased attendance by holding two layer classes this year.“Iowa State University was pleased to host the 2019 PHMS,” said Dr. Yuko Sato, Iowa State University faculty and the 2019 PHMS host, in a press release. “This school is a tremendous opportunity for attendees to improve necropsy skills in labs taught by veterinarians, share on-farm challenges with like-minded attendees, and learn from allied industry and academic experts in poultry nutrition.”Allied industry and academic professionals donate their time and poultry expertise to further PHMS’s educational goals. In 18 years, PHMS has educated more than 2,000 attendees and reaches attendees across the country and internationally.The Poultry Health Management School executive team is comprised of six poultry academic and industry professionals: Yuko Sato, Iowa State University (2019 host); Rob Porter, University of Minnesota; R. “Mick” Fulton, Michigan State University; Darrin Karcher, Purdue University; Teresa Morishita, Western University of Health Sciences; and Ralph Stonerock, Lapama’a Farms. The school is managed by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.The 2020 schools will be hosted at the University of Minnesota, May 18-21.
Two Canadian research teams, one from the University of Guelph (U of G) and the other from the Universtiy of Montreal (U of M) conducted studies to evaluate the value of recommended biosecurity measures and sanitation procedures in the poultry industry.
While some cereals may be the breakfast of champions, a UBC professor suggests people with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) should be reaching for something else.Associate Professor Jonathan Little, who teaches in UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, published a study this week demonstrating that a high-fat, low-carb breakfast can help those with T2D control blood sugar levels throughout the day.“The large blood sugar spike that follows breakfast is due to the combination of pronounced insulin resistance in the morning in people with T2D and because typical Western breakfast foods—cereal, oatmeal, toast and fruit—are high in carbohydrates,” says Little.Breakfast, he says, is consistently the 'problem' meal that leads to the largest blood sugar spikes for people with T2D. His research shows that eating a low-carb and high-fat meal first thing in the morning is a simple way to prevent this large spike, improve glycemic control throughout the day, and perhaps also reduce other diabetes complications.Study participants with well-controlled T2D completed two experimental feeding days. On one day they ate an omelette for breakfast, and on another day, they ate oatmeal and some fruit. An identical lunch and dinner were provided on both days. A continuous glucose monitor—a small device that attaches to your abdomen and measures glucose every five minutes—was used to measure blood sugar spikes across the entire day. Participants also reported ratings of hunger, fullness and a desire to eat something sweet or savoury.Little’s study determined that consuming a very low-carbohydrate high-fat breakfast completely prevented the blood sugar spike after breakfast and this had enough of an effect to lower overall glucose exposure and improve the stability of glucose readings for the next 24 hours.“We expected that limiting carbohydrates to less than 10 per cent at breakfast would help prevent the spike after this meal,” he says. “But we were a bit surprised that this had enough of an effect and that the overall glucose control and stability were improved. We know that large swings in blood sugar are damaging to our blood vessels, eyes and kidneys. The inclusion of a very low-carb high-fat breakfast meal in T2D patients may be a practical and easy way to target the large morning glucose spike and reduce associated complications.”He does note that there was no difference in blood sugar levels in both groups later in the day, suggesting that the effect for reducing overall post-meal glucose spikes can be attributed to the breakfast responses -- with no evidence that a low-carb breakfast worsened glucose responses to lunch or dinner.“The results of our study suggest potential benefits of altering macronutrient distribution throughout the day so that carbohydrates are restricted at breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner rather than consuming an even distribution and moderate amount of carbohydrates throughout the day.”As another interesting aspect of the research, participants noted that pre-meal hunger and their cravings for sweet foods later in the day tended to be lower if they ate the low-carb breakfast. Little suggests this change in diet might be a healthy step for anybody, even those who are not living with diabetes.Little’s study was published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award.
Water quality has never been more important. The elixir of life, as water is known, gives farmers an early warning system for disease, and a delivery mechanism for medication and vaccines. Water is of such importance in any life that John F. Kennedy once said, “Anyone who can solve the water problems is worthy of two Nobel prizes- one for peace and one for science.”
Global animal health and nutrition company Alltech has launched a new poultry feed additive it says aids in optimizing gut form and function.Called Viligen, the company says it contains a range of new, scientifically-backed ingredients to support gastrointestinal tissue growth and activity.It blends fatty acids, prebiotics and essential trace elements, which Alltech’s researchers say combine to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut and support natural defenses.“This product supports growth, intestinal integrity and the bird’s own natural immune defenses,” said Dr. Kayla Price, Canadian poultry technical manager at Alltech.“We believe that this product may help poultry producers in Canada knowing that better intestinal health leads to improved performance.”Viligen is a part of the Alltech Gut Health Management program as well as the Alltech Antibiotic-Free and Alltech Antibiotic Reduction programs.
There’s a new poultry ration ingredient available on the Canadian market. Insect meal from defatted black soldier fly larvae is high in protein and low in fat, making it a potentially attractive alternative to soy in poultry diets.
Chickens perform best when the barn has a certain temperature range. When temperatures get higher, the birds can experience heat stress, thus leading to fewer eggs or compromised growth. Luckily, there are some nutritional strategies a farmer can implement.The damaging effects of heat stress on broilers and laying hens are reduced growth rates, decreased egg production and poor meat and egg quality. The burden exerted on the profitability of poultry farming will grow worldwide in the future as genetic selection for fast growth increases sensitivity to heat stress.In addition, poultry markets of warm regions are forecasted to grow in the following decades. Strategies to alleviate the detrimental effects of heat stress on the productivity of poultry are, therefore, sound and should be based on several complementary approaches. Such approaches include housing conditions, management practices and nutritional strategies. This review focuses on the latter. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
How can new science-based knowledge and innovation help Canada’s feed industry build a successful future? What impact will a major regulatory overhaul have on the sector? How will feed industry participants transition to impending new rules which tighten judicious use of an-timicrobials?These are just a few of the many pressing questions facing Canada’s feed industry, as the countdown continues toward the 2nd annual Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada (ANCC), May 2 to 3 in Edmonton, Alta.Organizers for Canada’s leading national conference on animal nutrition are preparing to launch a robust technical program featuring top international experts who will discuss the latest developments including cutting-edge nutritional strategies for improving per-formance, profitability and sustainability in the emerging new landscape.Science of success“The conference offers something for everyone involved in the feed industry, with strong sci-ence-based sessions covering the latest knowledge and innovations across all major livestock sectors,” says Theunis Wessels of Nutrition Partners and Poultry Partners, industry co-chair of the ANCC Organizing Committee. “There is still time to register and we encourage those inter-ested to do so right away. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in learning and discussion around key developments that will drive the success of our industry.”The ANCC is open to anyone with an interest in feed innovation and is hosted by the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC), the national trade association for Canada’s feed indus-try. ANAC members manufacture over 90 per cent of Canada’s commercial feed.New innovations for changing times“The industry has entered an important time of evolution,” says Rob Patterson of Canadian Bio-Systems Inc., ANCC program chair and member of the Leadership Group of the ANAC Nutrition Committee. “Science-driven innovations are forging the pathway to the future and many of the key advancements will be showcased in the 2018 ANCC program.”The ANCC program includes a pre-conference symposium featuring “A new look at specialized nutrition technologies,” an opening plenary session covering hot topics and issues in feed nutri-tion, focused sessions on both monogastric and ruminant topics as well as a closing plenary presentation which will include a presentation on the implications of carbon-smart agriculture. Day one will feature an announcement of the winner of this year’s ANAC scholarship as well as an evening reception where participants can enjoy food, drinks and networking around a sup-plier showcase and graduate student poster competition. On day two following the main agen-da, ANAC will host a special session on Canadian regulatory updates.Bringing the feed industry together“The ANCC is about bringing people together across our industry, to share and learn together and also to find opportunities to work together to move our industry forward,” says nutritionist and ANAC Board member Andy Humphreys of Versus Animal Nutrition. “We encourage anyone involved in the feed industry to participate and we look forward to seeing you there.”Full program details and registration information are all available at www.animalnutritionconference.ca. Learn about ANAC at www.anacan.org.
With the use of antibiotics for growth and performance promotion phased out in Canadian poultry production, boosting support for overall health is critical. Indeed, overall health is closely related to gut health in chickens and turkeys – the better the gut health, the better the chances of avoiding necrotic enteritis and other diseases that can lead to poor performance and mortality.
May 12, 2017, London, Ont. - Researchers are delving deeper into the nesting motivations of birds and finding them as finicky about nesting as humans are about their comfort.They are also finding more research needs to be done.Michelle Hunniford, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, is researching the nesting behaviour of laying hens.She has found that new ways of evaluating nesting behaviour are needed.She told a session at the London Poultry Show that settling behavior, the process hens go through to find and get themselves comfortable to lay an egg, along with egg location should drive cage design evaluation. The speed that a hen gets to that comfort level is correlated to how much pecking it does to establish its space and how long it occupies nesting space.The University of Guelph re-searchers observed hens through their waking period — lights came on at 5 a.m. — and recorded their behaviour.They then created graphs that showed a “settled” laying hen moved through its settling phases in more defined periods compared to an “unsettled” layer hen.In most enhanced systems, the layers have a nesting area, with flooring and a scratch area.Hunniford and her colleagues looked at what nests would motivate hens to settle in the desired nesting areas.They found it was difficult to predict which hens would lay where and some hens preferred one system while others chose another.As a result, one of Hunniford’s recommendations include that providing two smaller nests is more important that providing one large, fully furnished nest. READ MORE
Truss plate corrosion can be an issue in barns - but it doesn’t have to be. The life span of truss plates, hangers, screws and nails in the truss system depends on the materials used, barn design and maintenance.
Bedding is being examined as an increasingly important factor in poultry health, and can affect a producer’s bottom line through how much labour is involved in spreading it and how well it cleans up.Jillian Jasper, self-proclaimed “head of the herd” at ABC (Animal Bedding Company) in Woodstock Ont., is a firm believer that producers should be taking a much closer look at their bedding choices. “We are told over and over by producers of poultry and every other livestock species that outside of a vet making bedding suggestions in times of health crises, [that they] are never approached to talk bedding,” she notes. “We believe that our products outperform straw, shavings, drywall, peat moss, sand and everything else on the market in terms of animal health and positive environmental inputs. When cull rates with our poultry clients consistently come back with zeroes for respiratory and zeroes for pad/leg health issues, it confirms our complete belief in what we offer.” ABC provides bedding for poultry, cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and exotic animals. It was founded in 2013. Ray Batchelor, a retired Chrysler engineer, got all of the equipment and manufacturing processes up and running. Jeffrey Moore, a chartered professional accountant, runs the overall organization. Jasper takes the lead with sales, marketing and education, using skills gained earlier in her career in animal health pharmaceuticals. She says that during her years of representing other products, she was always searching for her own proprietary product to bring to market. About 15 years ago while showing her horses in Ohio, she came across bedding that appeared to be made from chopped-up cereal boxes. It never left her mind. “After years of research into adhesives, dyes, components of cardboard, other materials, packaging, and so on, I developed a cardboard product that seems simple,” she says, “but it is brought to its greatest potential through addressing the growing consciousness in the ag sector of better animal husbandry and environmental stewardship.” HOOF-PRINT is one of the company’s five products. It manufactured by chopping up virgin corrugated cardboard, extracting the dust and compressing the product into 35-pound bales. It is free of salmonella, toxins, labels, tapes or inks, with what Jasper calls “an overwhelming absorption capacity.” After use, it turns into black, composted material in six to nine weeks. TRACK-PRINT is a mineral bedding which is widely used in all species. It balances pH, absorbs moisture, is non-caustic, acts as a natural insecticide and reduces ammonia. It works similarly to diatomaceous earth, killing insects by scraping at their shells when they crawl through it but Jasper says it is better because it does not lose stability when exposed to moisture. She says it is very effective for darkling beetle control in poultry barns. Bedding for each species required its own dedicated focus. “Eighty per cent of our market is poultry,” Jasper notes. “Initially, it was twenty per cent, but this changed rapidly as we educated and gained exposure in the poultry segment. Our products are very conducive to the biosecurity and general sensitivity of the poultry segment.” ABC distributes across Canada, and will currently ship to the U.S. if Canadian customers have operations there. “Holland is a big potential market for us,” Jasper adds. “We have both a dairy and poultry contingent in Holland…they are very innovative. They love our stuff. And all of those Holland connections come through our existing users.” TrialsBoth HOOF-PRINT and TRACK-PRINT are being trialed at many operations in southern Ontario.Hybrid Turkeys recently trialed HOOF-PRINT as part of its continuous overall company focus on innovation and improvement, especially in this case, the potentially improved environmental conditions due to the ‘dust free’ nature of this bedding. The trial lasted 15 weeks (from 5 weeks to 20 weeks of age) and the following were evaluated: curability, absorption, ammonia levels, dust levels and overall acceptability/comfort of the birds. Overall, Hybrid Turkeys is pleased with the results of the trial but feels further testing is required at different ages and at different stages of production (e.g. rearing phase and lay/production phase). The company also wishes to find out more about the biosecurity processes for the manufacturing of this type of bedding.University of Guelph doctoral candidate (pathobiology) Ryan Snyder is currently studying the effect of bedding and other factors on coccidiosis survival at several area farms. He will have results in years to come.Peter Greydanus who raises broiler breeders for Maple Leaf at Greyda Plains Poultry in Petrolia has used TRACK-PRINT since last October. “It’s controlling the flies and it’s a bit cheaper and less dusty than diatomaceous earth,” he says. “I like it. I think Jillian’s on the right track with it, it’s non-chemical. You have to re-apply after manure builds up and I’m curious to see how it works on darkling beetles.”Greydanus has used HOOF-PRINT bedding in one pullet cycle so far. “I used it combined with straw and it was a rough cycle for coccidiosis because it was too dry,” he says. “Whether it was the product or my management, you’d have to add moisture I think. There’s a lot less dust with it than straw or shavings. I think it would be the same cost as shavings and fewer bags to handle.” In October however, Greydanus was very happy with the performance of HOOF-PRINT in a breeder barn cycle. He plans to definitely use it in the breeder barn going forward instead of straw, at least for winter flocks because it dries “very nicely.”
The swell of demand from North America’s largest food companies for cage-free eggs is a stunning example of why public trust in our country’s food system matters. The huge number of cage-free commitments from food makers, retailers and restaurants in Canada and the U.S. stems from how these companies perceive overall consumer opinions on hen housing – the fact that consumers do not trust that farmers know best with regard to housing systems that provides the best life for hens. While these North American food companies (see sidebar) are no doubt being influenced by cage-free commitments already made by their subsidiaries or peers in Australia, the UK and the EU, their promises to only source cage-free eggs in these other parts of the world are again based on consumer perception, largely influenced by animal activist groups. The united cage-free front of North American food makers, restaurants and retailers suggests that cage-free housing is inevitable in both Canada and the U.S. There are simply no major egg buyers who want anything else. “This is a done issue in the U.S.,” says Josh Balk, senior director for food policy at the Humane Society of the United States. “I can’t see the Canadian scenario being any different.” However, whether egg farmers in either country will be able to meet the deadlines is far from certain. Eggs Farmers of Canada (EFC) has currently committed to reaching 50 per cent cage-free production within eight years (2024), 85 per cent within 15 years and to have all hens “in enriched housing, free-run, aviary or free-range by 2036, assuming the current market conditions prevail.” This does not line up with North American food industry timelines of sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2025 or sooner. For example, Retail Council of Canada members such as Loblaw and Wal-Mart have committed to 2025, and David Wilkes, Retail Council senior vice-president of government relations and grocery division, says they “will continue to work with producers and processors to transition to this housing environment.” Burnbrae, sole egg supplier of McDonald’s Canada, is switching all its production for that customer to cage-free to meet the restaurant chain’s 2025 deadline. In the U.S., Rose Acre Farms and Rembrandt Farms, the country’s second and third largest egg producers, are already converting to cage-free barns. A&W Canada currently stands alone among North American food industry companies in its support of enriched housing. The fast food company says it “has worked very hard to have our eggs come from hens that live in enriched cages,” and that it “will continue to serve eggs from enriched housing while we work towards better cage-free housing.” The chain recognizes that Canadians want their eggs to come from hens housed outside of cages, but adds that “there are currently no viable commercial cage-free housing options that meet our strict standards.” To that end, in March 2016 A&W announced it wants to work with Canadian charity Farm & Food Care to bring egg industry partners, retail and food service from across Canada together with the U.S. Center for Food Integrity’s Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply to discuss all issues impacting sustainable eggs (including food safety, environment, hen health, worker health and safety and food affordability), and determine areas that the Canadian egg sector feels funding would be best spent. A&W has offered a grant of $100,000 to further this research. For it’s part, EFC recognizes research that shows each production system comes with trade-offs. We asked EFC about the fact that for any Canadian egg farm to convert to enriched cages and keep the same production level, new barn(s) will likely have to be constructed because the same number of birds cannot be housed in enriched cages in a given barn as were housed in battery cages. Does EFC see this as a particular challenge for Canadian egg farmers in terms of costs and the land required? “There are many factors a farmer needs to consider when evaluating the realities of transitioning an operation,” EFC states. “What’s important to keep in mind is that every farm is different (e.g. size, location, etc.) and until farmers start working through the implications of their transition—carefully considering his/her requirements—any estimation of cost is speculative.” While EFC is currently looking into the financial implications of various alternative housing systems, we asked also if cage-free barns are less expensive than enriched cages, taking into account the possible requirement for new barn(s). “The decision to retool an existing barn or build a new barn is an important component of each farm’s individual transition plan,” EFC states. “Shifting to a new production system with different space requirements can impact the overall size of the flock. Typically, alternative housing systems have a larger building footprint and do not contain as many birds and conventional housing systems.” Cost is a concern for the United Egg Producers, which represents those producing almost 90 per cent of American eggs, and for the National Association of Egg Farmers (NAEF), which represents about one per cent of U.S. production. NAEF is against mandated cage-free production for other reasons as well, including increased egg prices, increased mortality due to cannibalism and other factors, increased pecking injuries, higher risk of contamination due to prolonged exposure of eggs to litter and manure in nest boxes or on the barn floor, high dust levels and ergonomic challenges in egg collection. Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) released the draft version of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Layers for public comment in June. The draft does not promote any type of housing over any other, but does include new recommendations for roomier cages. In the end however, any attempt to convince the North American foodservice industry of the merits of any other type of housing except free-run/cage-free may be a lost cause. Marion Gross, senior supply chain management vice president at McDonald’s USA, may have summed it up best in her statement in January 2016 in the Chicago Tribune: “Enriched [housing] doesn’t mean anything to our customers, but they know what cage-free means.”
North Carolina State University (NCSU) is the only remaining venue in North America at which comparative testing of egg laying stocks takes place. At one time in the mid 1960s, there were more than twenty locations in the U.S. and Canada where Random Sample Laying Tests were conducted. Instead of abandoning testing altogether, NCSU chose to superimpose a variety of management systems, cage sizes and configurations on top of the strain comparisons. In the 39th test, stocks were exposed to the following: conventional cages, enrichable cages, enriched colony housing, cage-free and range. A total of 20 strains from six different breeding companies were included. Of the 20 strains, 14 have wide commercial distribution in the southeast U.S., while the other six are either experimental or have limited or no distribution. With respect to Canadian distribution, most of the stocks available here are included in the test. Day-old chicks were supplied either by breeders or commercial distributor hatcheries. Conventional cage resultsTwo cage densities were used: 69 sq. in. (445 cm2) and 120 sq. in. (774 cm2). The higher density (445 cm2) approximates to commercial practice, although space allowances are progressively increasing. Summaries of the data were prepared from 119 to 483 days of age. The flocks were then moulted and data was again summarized at 763 days of age. Only the first cycle (to 483 days) data are reviewed here. Comparing the cage densities showed that in white-egg hens housed at 774 cm2/hen, feed intake was higher by 10 g/bird/day, eggs per hen housed was higher by 7 eggs/hen and mortality lower by 0.86%. Comparing the strains is complex. Table 1 shows some key data for all 12 white-egg strains tested. Feed intake varied from 96 to 110 g/hen/d. This is, of course reflected in the feed cost data. The strain with the lowest feed intake (Hy-Line CV26) also had comparatively low egg production and egg weight, and thus low value of eggs minus feed. However, the strain with the next lowest feed intake (Shaver White) had much higher egg production, modestly higher egg weight, and very favourable value of eggs minus feed. With two exceptions, the numbers of eggs per hen housed were quite uniform. Statistical analysis showed that most of the strain differences were not significant. Those with production >317 eggs/hen housed were significantly different from those with production <300. Mortality data are not shown, but mortality was low, averaging 3.9%, and no significant strain differences were observed. Egg weight was also quite uniform. The average of 60.1 g/egg leads to size categories of approximately 63% extra large, 22% large and 8% medium. For each 1.0 g increase in average egg weight, approximately 5% of the large size move to extra large. In the test situation, extra large eggs were priced approximately three cents per dozen more than large. In most Canadian situations, this premium does not exist. However, when egg weight falls 1.0 g below average, the number of medium size eggs increases two to three per cent, which causes a significant financial penalty. Turning to the nine brown-egg strains, the first thing to note is the difference in performance between the two cage densities. Brown-egg hens given more space (774 cm2 versus 445 cm2) consumed 11 g more feed/d, and laid 16 more eggs/hen housed. Mortality was 2.5% less in the larger space, although this difference was not statistically significant. The data, when combined, showed an extra $1.00 in egg value minus feed cost for the higher space allowance. For the white-egg strains, the difference was only $0.28. The brown-egg strains feed consumption varied from 103 to 110 g/hen/d, and hen-housed production from 304 to 314 eggs. Few of these differences were statistically significant. With one exception, the values for egg income minus feed cost were also quite uniform. One is impressed by the relatively small differences between the white and brown-egg strains in these comparisons. Feed intake was actually lower among the brown-egg strains; egg numbers and egg weight were only marginally lower. Traditionally, one would expect higher feed intake and egg size for the brown strains. Alternative housingEnrichable cages (EC) are 66 cm x 61 cm with 9 birds/cage (447cm2/hen). The cages are belt cleaned. Enriched colony housing (ECS) is the same style of cage but 244 cm wide and includes a nesting area and a scratching area of 1.85 m2 each, plus two perches each 123 cm long. Two bird densities were compared in this system: 36 hens/cage (447 cm2 each) and 18 hens/cage (897 cm2 each). Cage-free housing consists of a combination of slat floor and litter, with nest boxes and perches. Each pen is 7.4 m2 and holds 60 hens in the adult phase (8.1 birds/m2). Birds in this system were grown in the same pens used for the laying phase. The range system, used for only three strains, consists of pens 3.7 m x 2.0 m holding 60 hens. They have access to 334 m2 of grass pasture. The pasture is divided in two and rotated every four weeks. Not all strains were exposed to all of these environments. For example, only two brown-egg strains and one white-egg strain were tested on range. All except two strains experienced the enrichable cages and the enriched colony system. This makes it hard to compare both the strains and the environmental systems, but we can draw a few conditional conclusions. All birds were moulted during the test, which lasted until 623 days of age. Comparing environmental systemsTen white egg strains were exposed to both EC and ECS systems. The most striking difference between these was with respect to laying house mortality. When hens were housed at 69 sq. in./hen, the ECS system showed 23% laying house mortality compared with 16% for the hens in smaller cages, but the same space allowance. While both values are extremely high for contemporary laying flocks, the larger colonies were clearly at a disadvantage. Mortality for the same strains in conventional cages in a different building was 4.3%. Brown-egg strains compared in the same conditions showed overall lower mortality and no differences between ECS and EC. Among the white-egg strains, only Hy-Line W36 had relatively low mortality (6.0% and 7.4% in the EC and ECS systems respectively.) Comparing the white egg strains in the ECS system at two different densities (447 cm2 versus 897 cm2) showed a definite benefit to the lower density. Mortality was only 9.9% versus 23%. Brown egg strains also benefited from the more generous space allowance, although to a lesser extent: 7.1% mortality versus 10.9%. Seven white egg strains housed in the cage-free system showed mortality of 14.3%; eight brown egg strains had 15.6%. On free range, the one white egg strain tested had 13.3% mortality, while two brown egg strains averaged 3.75%. While there were some strain differences in mortality within management systems, the general conclusion must be that large colonies and higher densities are associated with higher mortality. This is not a new discovery but one that is not encouraging for those producers planning on meeting the demand for cage-free or even furnished cage management systems. Feed intake and egg production were also affected by management system, as shown in Table 4. In general, birds in larger colonies tended to consume more feed. This may be because of perceived increased competition in the larger colonies. Feed consumption was also higher in the cage-free and free range systems. As to egg production data, there were no real trends and the figures for the brown strains kept at 447 cm2 do not appear to be consistent with the other data. Because of the fact that not all strains were tested in all environments, it is not possible to make realistic comparisons between them. Presented in Table 5 are the highest ranked “Egg value minus feed cost” data for each of the environmental systems. Most notable among these data are the low values for the free-range flocks. These reflect relatively low egg production and high feed cost. As in conventional cages, the greater space allowance in the enriched cages resulted in higher values for egg income minus feed cost. Whether this would offset the higher cost associated with the extra space is doubtful. All told, these data from the North Carolina Laying Test are of interest but this is limited by the very high mortality experienced in all but the conventional cage systems. Causes of mortality are not reported. As noted above, higher mortality is frequently associated with large colonies and with non-cage systems. This runs counter to the popular belief among consumers that bird welfare is improved in such systems. Until the systems can be improved, or consumers become more accepting of small colonies or conventional cages (unlikely in this writer’s opinion) industry will be faced with higher costs while producing eggs to meet the demand for cage-free eggs. For those interested in the complete data from the test, they are available online at https://poultry.ces.ncsu.edu/layer-performance/
Canadian companies plan to serve up chicken, beef burgers and mouse-meat cat treats in the coming years, all without the need to slaughter a single animal.Entrepreneurs see an opportunity where there's been a dearth of lab-grown meat startups that proliferated in the U.S.Cellular agriculture takes cells from animals and grows them to create milk, eggs, meat or other products. Proponents argue the method is kinder to animals and the environment.''There was an opportunity here in Canada, just because the field is still so undefined, to really create a presence here and to try to drive it forward,'' said Lejjy Gafour, co-founder of Edmonton-based Future Fields.Gafour started the company in 2017 with his friend of more than a dozen years, Matt Anderson-Baron, who holds a PhD in cell biology.They're working on creating two products: a serum that feeds the cells to help them grow, and chicken meat.Gafour estimates – conservatively – that the chicken is five to seven years away from being ready for public consumption, while the serum will be finished sooner.Future Fields wants to stock Canadian grocery shelves first, unlike many companies that eye the U.S. market for their debut. Gafour adds the caveat that the plan depends on how regulations unfold in both countries, as well as the company's relationships with American partners and other companies.Appleton Meats in Vancouver wants to create a beef burger without cows.Sid Deen started the company at the end of 2017 and it's conducting a lot of primary research that will lead to product development.''We are looking at the cell types, the ability to grow them, to expand them and to get viable meat out of it,'' said Deen, who serves as CEO.Appleton is testing different prototypes and anticipates its product will be selling within three to five years – though, depending on how the research pans out, it could be something other than a burger.He would like to see the product sold domestically, but isn't opposed to stocking U.S. stores.''I think it would be nice to have a Canadian company do this in Canada and provide it to a domestic market,'' he said.Companies aren't just focusing feeding humans.Two Torontonians started Because Animals, which is working to develop pet food using cellular agriculture, in 2016. Though it's based in Delaware, the company conducts a lot of its research in Canada, CEO Shannon Falconer said.Because Animals recently announced its first prototype for a cat treat made of field mouse meat produced using cellular agriculture.''Now we have to work on scale,'' said Falconer, as well as going through regulatory challenges in order to start selling the product, which makes it difficult to predict when it will appear on store shelves.Because Animals will debut a cultured protein dog treat, that uses nutritional yeast rather than animal cells, this May and a cultured protein dog kibble in the fourth quarter.Those products will likely launch in the U.S. first, Falconer said. That and the company's decision to headquarter in the U.S. is partly due to the country being the largest pet food market, she said, though the company is working toward selling its pet food in Canada too.It can be more difficult to find investors as a Canadian company, said Gafour, as venture capitalist money tends to be concentrated in America. There also seem to be more investors with a lot of experience in the bio-technology industry in the U.S., he said.Deen thinks people tend to underestimate the value of Canadian entrepreneurship and many companies turn to the U.S. because they believe there's more infrastructure there.Both Future Fields and Appleton are privately funded, with Future Fields looking for institutional and partner investors, and Appleton planning to start a funding round in a year or so.While Canada may not be as flashy as its southern neighbour, said Deen, the country does provide a lot of support.And, at least for Gafour, the lack of population density and other companies doing similar work in the country isn't necessarily a bad thing.''Absence of things is both an opportunity and a risk,'' he said, adding it may be easier to acclimatize a smaller population to the notion of eating lab-grown meat.''We definitely have the talent here to be able to create an industry such as this and to also own it.''
Currently, European Commission (EC) directives on the protection of chickens kept for meat and egg production allow beak trimming. However, some countries, like Austria, The Netherlands, Germany and most of Scandinavia, have banned the controversial practice outright. Others, like the United Kingdom, are working towards a ban, but not without debate. Across the continent, opinions and perspectives vary.
The PeckStone has been sold in many countries around the world since 2013.
A group of Toronto scientists will soon attempt to develop a less-expensive way to grow lab-made meat after securing a grant from an American non-profit aiming to boost advances in cultured protein.Cellular agriculture has been touted as the future of food thanks to its smaller environmental footprint and consideration for animal welfare, but until recently much of the research has been done south of the border.Cultured food uses cell cultures to grow animal products like beef, eggs or milk in a laboratory without the need for livestock. Some companies have already made these kinds of products, but it's an expensive undertaking and no such items are readily available on store shelves yet.''This is our, my first foray into this kind of research,'' said Peter Stogios, a senior research associate at the University of Toronto and lead researcher on the winning project.He's trying to overcome what he sees as one of the biggest hurdles for the whole industry of cultured meat – an expensive component to what he likens to a broth needed to grow meat in a lab.The broth is composed of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and growth factors that are essential to sustain tissue culture. Those growth factors are very expensive, he said.''Can we create those protein molecules, those growth factors better, cheaper and actually make them more potent?'' he said.The four-person team will cast a wide net to look at growth factors from other species, like birds and fish, and attempt to mix those with cow cells. They hope to start the initial phase immediately and wrap it up within six months.If they discover an exotic growth factor or multiple that works really well, he said, the team will enter into an engineering phase where it will try to make them more potent. The second phase could take a year and a half.The Good Food Institute in Washington, D.C., awarded the team US$250,000 over two years to pursue the project in an announcement made earlier this month. It's one of 14 projects to receive the inaugural grant for plant-based and cell-based meat research and development, and the only cell-based project winner from Canada.The GFI was particularly excited with Stogios's proposal because it addresses the industry's cost issue and isn't just looking at lab-grown beef, but also possibilities for other proteins, like chicken, said Erin Rees Clayton, the scientific foundations liaison.Whatever advances Stogios and his team make will be published and widely available, hopefully eliminating repetitive research and development at cell-based meat companies, she said.''If Peter is able to create these, they'll be relevant to many different companies and they won't have to spend the time and resources to create those growth factors,'' she said.Neither she nor Stogios are aware of any other academic research in a similar vein, though it's possible a company in the industry is privately conducting similar research.Stogios said the current research is in the early stages, but depending on what he discovers, the third stage would be to enter into industrial agreements with companies to scale up.''I think it would be amazing,'' he said.Stogios, who admits he's new to the lab-grown meat field, isn't aware of much other research in the area being conducted in Canada.''We face this in everything in innovation in Canada,'' he said. ''Nobody has the answer to it.''He speculates there's a lack of venture capital funding to launch and then grow startups in Canada.New Harvest, a non-profit U.S. research organization that funds cellular agriculture research, was established in 2004 and was once headquartered in Toronto.''The relative lack of interest from consumers and researchers (and ultimately, donors) in Canada is one of the reasons why New Harvest moved its office from Toronto to New York City in 2015,'' said the organization's then communications director Erin Kim in an email in 2017.At the time, she said Canada was ''lagging well behind the U.S.,'' but considered it understandable due to the massive difference in the countries' population sizes. New Harvest declined to comment prior to publication on whether the situation has changed since.Some Canadian startups in this space have emerged. Vancouver-based Appleton Meats is working ''to engineer the perfect beef patty,'' according to its website, while Edmonton-based Future Fields is also working on cellular agriculture products.Rees Clayton said the innovation is no longer confined to the U.S. She's starting to see much more global interest in cellular agriculture.''Certainly we're seeing interest from Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs on both the plant-based side and cell-based meat side.''
As the Canadian poultry industry continually improves bird welfare, it’s incorporating new research and technologies into transport and handling.
It’s long been standard industry practice to remove the tip of a bird’s beak in an effort to minimize the severity of cannibalism in poultry flocks. For at least the last decade, many Canadian hatcheries have primarily been using an infrared beak treatment. While research has been conducted on the impacts on adult hens, there has been little focus on how it affects young pullets.
During the course of the past six decades, the poultry industry has achieved a remarkable increase in production efficiency, largely driven through intensive breeding programs. However, this is in part at the expense of a decrease in reproductive performance and altered immune function. Consequently, a major challenge for the poultry industry is in controlling disease outbreaks caused by infectious agents.
As it did for most livestock species, substantial genetic improvement in turkeys started in the 21st century. In the 1960s, hybridization of turkey varieties began, followed by the development of pedigree programs for large white turkeys in the 1970s.
Five genes that affect sociality-related behaviour in chickens have been identified by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden.Several of the genes have been previously linked to nervous system function or behaviour. The new study, which is published in Genetics, is the first that assigns these genes a role in sociality.Sociality and social behaviour covers a wide range of behaviours. Dogs seeking human contact and honeybees using complex waggle dances to exchange information on where to find good food sources are two examples from the animal world. But what actually governs social behaviour?“By identifying the genes responsible for the variation in such sociality we can understand how sociality is formed and how social behaviour is controlled at a genetic level. Why some people or animals are more gregarious by nature and others more independent is just one such example,” says Dominic Wright, senior lecturer at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), who has led the study.To assess this, the researchers used a cross between wild and domestic chickens. The AVIAN research group at Linköping University is one of the few groups in the world with a breeding population of Red Junglefowl, the wild ancestor of the domestic fowl.For 8,000 years, humans have selected the individuals that have desirable traits and bred them, a process known as domestication. As a result, today’s domestic fowl and the original wild fowl differ strongly in their social behaviour. For example, Red Junglefowl typically take longer to approach other birds, but spend more time with them when they do.By crossing the domestic and the wild fowl for several generations, the researchers obtained chickens that exhibited a large range of social behaviour.The researchers measured sociality by placing chickens in a novel environment (a large box) and observing how likely they were to seek contact with other chickens. A more social chicken approaches the others more rapidly and spends less time exploring the new surroundings. The same behaviour is also displayed by more anxious chickens.The investigators also measured gene expression in one of several regions in the brain involved in the regulation of social behaviour, the hypothalamus. By correlating behaviour, gene expression and genetic variants, the researchers identified five genes that seem to control aspects of this behaviour.“Although these genes had been implicated with behaviour or nervous system function previously, this is the first time they have been shown to control sociality also. We also found that several of the genes affect both sociality and anxiety in the chickens,” says Dominic Wright.The research was supported by grants from the Carl Trygger Stiftelse, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) and the European Research Council.
The red junglefowl was first domesticated about 7,000 years ago. This small, colourful bird is the wild ancestor of our domestic chickens. While they are both omnivores, both dust bathe and both have males that like to cock-a-doodle-doo, when it comes to meat and egg production our modern commercial bird bears little resemblance.
June 15, 2017, Austin TX - Global Animal Partnership (GAP), creator of North America’s most comprehensive farm animal welfare standards, has provided a grant-in-aid of research to the University of Guelph, Ontario for a two-year research project that will determine and evaluate the parameters necessary for assessing the animal welfare needs of different genetic strains of chicken breeds.In 2016, GAP announced its intention to replace 100 percent of chicken breeds that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024 with breeds meeting specified welfare outcomes within its 5-Step®Rating Program. The Guelph research project will help determine which genetic strains are best suited for commercial production under the new standards GAP is creating. GAP will provide public updates throughout the duration of the project.University of Guelph researchers Dr. Tina Widowski and Dr. Stephanie Torrey are leading the project. They will begin by running pilot studies over the summer, and the formal research study is due to begin this fall (Fall 2017), and will take approximately two years to complete (Fall 2019). All results will be published upon completion of the study.“The research team is excited about the scale and scope of this research grant,” said Dr. Widowski. “GAP’s commitment to developing a scientific and robust methodology for assessing chicken breeds will allow us to explore in a comprehensive way, a large number of factors important to both the bird and producers.”Dr. Widowski, a researcher and faculty member in the Department of Animal Biosciences, is the University Chair in Animal Welfare and director of the internationally recognized Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), which has a reputation of hosting the largest animal welfare graduate program in North America. She is also the research chair of Poultry Welfare for the Egg Farmers of Canada.Dr. Torrey is a senior research scientist in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare, with an expertise in applied animal welfare. Her team of graduate and undergraduate students focuses on fundamental and applied research with broiler and broiler breeder chickens and turkeys.Currently, fast-growing chicken breeds resulting in poor welfare outcomes represent 98 percent of all commercially available chicken meat in North America. Modern chickens have been genetically selected for their fast, efficient growth and higher yield of breast meat. However, this has had detrimental impacts on the welfare of broiler chickens, including immune and musculoskeletal problems, resulting in limitations to the birds’ ability to express natural behaviors like perching, flying, and even walking.This study will help create a way to objectively evaluate different genetic strains using a comprehensive list of parameters related to behavior, growth, health and production with the end goal of improving chicken welfare and specifically address the many issues resulting from fast-growing breeds.More than 600 chicken farms currently use the GAP standard, affecting the lives of 277 million chickens annually and making it the most significant higher welfare farm animal standard in the country. Retailers, foodservice companies and restaurants have committed to adopting GAP’s new chicken standard and moving away from breeds of chickens that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024, including Whole Foods Market, Compass Group, Quiznos, and Boston Market.The Global Animal Partnership is a global leader in farm animal welfare that has established a comprehensive step-by-step program for raising animals that requires audits of every single farm. GAP makes it easy for consumers to find meat products that reflect their values. A nonprofit founded in 2008, GAP brings together farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers, and animal advocates with the common goal of improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. So far, the 5-Step program includes more than 3,200 farms and ranches that range from Step 1 to Step 5+ and now raise more than 290 million animals annually.
April 4, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – The popular University of Alberta (U of A) Heritage Chicken program is here once again, offering small flock enthusiasts the chance to order heritage chicks until April 19. “Heritage chicks are vaccinated and hatched at the U of A’s Poultry Research Centre,” says Jesse Hunter, program coordinator. “This year, we’re offering Plymouth barred rock, brown leghorn, random bred broiler 1978, light Sussex and Rhode Island red chicks. We hatch a certain number of each breed every year, so check the website to order your favorite breed before they're gone.” Heritage chicks must be pre-ordered on the Heritage Chicken website, and will be available for pick-up at local Peavey Marts across Alberta. Up to 20 day-old chicks cost $8 each, 21-100 are $6, and 101-500 are $4. As part of the program, two small flock workshops are being held, April 12 in Spruce Grove and April 13 in Red Deer, and run from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Food and refreshments will be provided. “The workshops are an opportunity to learn about biosecurity, housing, nutrition, disease identification, behaviour, anatomy, and more,” says Hunter. “To register for one of the workshops, go to Eventbrite.” Register for Spruce Grove Register for Red Deer The Heritage Chicken program was established in 2013 to conserve multiple heritage chicken breeds housed at the University of Alberta Poultry Research Centre. The program gives people the opportunity to adopt a chicken and receive a dozen farm fresh heritage eggs every two weeks. All proceeds from the sales are donated back to the Poultry Research Centre to maintain the heritage chickens.
Food production is an important contributor to climate change, accounting for about a quarter of carbon emissions globally.
What came first, the chicken or the lettuce?Iowa State University researchers are conducting experiments to determine what advantages may arise from integrating chickens into vegetable production systems. The researchers must balance a range of concerns, including environmental sustainability, costs and food and animal safety. But Ajay Nair, an associate professor of horticulture and a vegetable production specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach, said finding ways to integrate vegetable and animal production may lead to greater efficiency and healthier soils.The experiments, currently in their second year, take place at the ISU Horticulture Research Station just north of Ames. The researchers are testing what happens when a flock of broiler chickens lives on a vegetable field for part of the year. The chickens forage on the plant matter left behind after the vegetables are harvested and fertilize the soil with manure. This integrated approach could reduce off-farm inputs and also provide producers with sustainable crop rotation options.The researchers are testing three different systems on a half acre of land at the research farm. The first system involves a vegetable crop – one of several varieties of lettuce or broccoli – early in the growing season, followed by the chickens, which are then followed by a cover crop later in the year. The second system involves the vegetable crop, followed by two months of a cover crop, with the chickens foraging on the land later in the year. The third system is vegetables followed by cover crops, with no chickens.The experiment involves roughly 40 chickens, which live in four mobile coops that the researchers move every day. Moving the coops around ensures the chickens have access to fresh forage and keeps their manure from concentrating any particular part of the field. An electric fence surrounds the field to keep out predators.Moriah Bilenky, a graduate assistant in horticulture, checks on the chickens every morning to make sure they have food and water. She also weighs them periodically to collect data on how efficiently they convert food into body mass. The researchers designed the trial to uphold animal health, and Bilenky said she keeps a detailed log on how foraging in the fields impacts the birds’ health and performance.Nair said the researchers are looking at several facets associated with sustainability. Nitrogen and phosphorous deposited in the soil from the chicken manure could alleviate some of the need for fertilizer application, while working cover crops into the system can prevent the loss of nutrients into waterways. Economics must also factor into the research, he said.“We might come up with results that really help the soil, but if the system is not economically stable, I doubt growers will be willing to adopt it because it has to work for their bottom line as well,” he said.The trials also adhere to food safety regulations. For instance, all vegetables are harvested before the chickens are introduced to the fields, ensuring none of the produce is contaminated. The researchers consulted food safety and animal science experts at Iowa State while designing their experiments, and the work undergoes regular IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) inspection and documentation, he said.The trials remain ongoing, so the researchers aren’t drawing any conclusions yet about the success of their integrated system. The project is currently supported through a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant. Nair said he’s seeking additional funding to investigate the animal health and integrated pest management aspects of this research.So why did the chicken cross the road? It’s too early to tell, but maybe so it could get into the lettuce and pepper fields.
Auburn University's College of Agriculture, in conjunction with other schools around the nation, will conduct a study to ensure that poultry litter does not pollute surface waters with excessive amounts of phosphorous.The three-year study is being performed to combat the 1.8 million tons of waste produced annually in Alabama from its $15 billion poultry industry.Phosphorous-rich poultry litter is a big concern in Alabama and other states where the litter is used to fertilize fields. If the nutrient leaks into waterways, it can cause toxic algae blooms which can lead to deficient oxygen levels and destruction of life in the water.The study will look at the Sand Mountain region of North Alabama and a row-crop field in Wisconsin, two large agro-ecosystems that are currently having issues with managing their phosphorous levels. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
December 18, 2017, Tucker, Ga. – Researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., have developed a practical solar heater for poultry houses.The low-cost solar collector is made from perforated pond liner and heated by the sun.Air coming into the poultry house is warmed as it passes through the solar collector, supplementing heat provided by propane heaters, thus reducing the potential propane usage.“We tested it in a turkey brooder room and got a maximum temperature rise of 25.4°C,” explains research lead Dr. Sanjay Shah, “though the average was 8.1°C.”The study shows that solar heaters are both economically and technically feasible for use in poultry houses, the researchers conclude.The initiative was funded by USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation and is part of the association’s comprehensive research program.For the complete report on the study, click here.
August 16, 2017, Mumbai, India – The rapid growth of factory farming in Asia for livestock and seafood poses enormous environmental and forced labor risks, in addition to threats to public safety and health, according to a report by an investor network. Half of Asia's aquaculture production is from factory farms, said the report published this week by Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR), referring to the major, industrial operations that raise large numbers of animals for food. "Asia's meat, seafood and dairy industries face a range of badly managed sustainability risks – from emissions to epidemics, fraud to food safety, and abuse of labor," said Jeremy Coller, founder of FAIRR. "It is clear that significant environmental and social risks are building up."READ MORE
July 28, 2017, Qingdao, China – Experts from agricultural colleges and research institutions throughout China joined together to discuss agricultural and environmental challenges, including how to reduce waste and making farming operations more sustainable, at a recent Alltech China Research Alliance meeting, held in Qingdao.Alltech China has built long-term cooperative research relationships with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises.“The Alltech China Research Alliance is focused on building toward a green agriculture future in China,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. “The roadmap to this future requires practical solutions, which will be developed through advanced scientific research and technology and the powerful partnership of these leading agricultural minds.”Defa Li, professor at China Agricultural University and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Kangsen Mai, professor at Ocean University of China and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, along with more than 30 other professors from agricultural colleges and research institutions, attended and spoke at the meeting, sharing the results of their latest research.“This meeting of the alliance explored how to reduce antibiotic residues in food, how to effectively use limited resources in the midst of population explosion, and how to reduce water and soil pollution,” said Karl Dawson, vice president and chief scientific officer at Alltech.A new mycotoxin detection methodThe Institute of Agriculture Quality Standards and Testing Technology for Agro-Products of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IQSTAP) has established a method for the simultaneous detection of 21 mycotoxins, or their metabolite residues, in the plasma of animals. These include toxins such as aflatoxin B1. This testing is expected to become the agricultural industry standard for the detection of mycotoxins in China.Recently, Alltech and IQSTAP published an article entitled "Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Simultaneous Determination of 21 Kinds of Mycotoxins or Their Metabolites in Animal Plasma." Dr. Ruiguo Wang of IQSTAP, who introduced the study, says that it established a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method that simultaneously detects animal plasma aflatoxin B1 and 21 other kinds of mycotoxins or their metabolite residue.Existing mycotoxin detection methods have very complex sample treatment operations, and high detection costs make it generally difficult to do a variety of simultaneous determinations of mycotoxins. The QuEChERS method (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) is a fast, sample pre-treatment technology developed for agricultural products. It uses the interaction between adsorbent filler and the impurities in the matrix to adsorb impurities to achieve purification.In this study, 21 samples of mycotoxins and their metabolites in animal plasma were developed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) based on the QuEChERS principle. The method is simple, rapid, low-cost and accurate. It can be used for combined mycotoxin animal exposure assessment and mycotoxin toxicokinetic study. Wang said this method has been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China for review and is expected to pass as a fungal detector by agriculture industry standards.Functional ingredients for better pork qualityAnother breakthrough came from collaboration between Alltech and Jiangnan University to improve food safety and quality. A Jiangnan University research project showed that the addition of rapeseed selenium in the diet can improve the quality of pork, increasing its water-holding capacity and tenderness. An article published based on Alltech and Jiangnan University’s study confirmed that the additions of flaxseed oil and sesame selenium to the diet can improve pork quality, reducing drip loss by 58–74 percent. The organic selenium diets increased muscular selenium content up to 54 percent. Flaxseed oil and selenium can be used to alter the fatty acid structure of pork, increase omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the proportion of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids in meat, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in consumers.Minerals matter: How trace minerals can impact pollutionImproper sewage treatment and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to heavy pollution of water, soil and air, and some small-scale farms have been closed because of this pollution."This will require improved feed conversion, which will reduce damage to the environment without affecting the performance of the animal," said Li.Inorganic trace minerals in feeds have contributed to this environmental pollution. Due to their low absorption rates, 80–90 percent of inorganic zinc and copper will generally be excreted by the animal, contaminating water and soil.Organic trace minerals, however, are absorbed more readily. Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology™ is a groundbreaking approach to organic trace mineral nutrition. It features products such as Bioplex®, which includes copper, iron, zinc and manganese, and Sel-Plex®, which includes selenium. Compared to conventional inorganic minerals, these formulations are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal and are thus able to meet the higher nutrient needs of modern livestock for rapid growth, maximum reproductive performance and animal health. Additionally, because they are absorbed more readily, less is excreted into the environment.Some Chinese feed companies are already using Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology. In addition to aiding in animal performance and health, many customers have noted it improves the smell of pig farms.
Most of us are probably guilty of eating some raw cookie dough or licking the spoon when making a cake without much thought about the food safety implications.
A new study provides further understanding into the tides of public opinion around Canadian food, how it's grown, and the relationship consumers want with farmers and those that process their food.Public Opinion: a study of Canadian conversations online about food and farming led by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), uncovered how food, farming and a handful of hot button issues capture national interest in millions of natural conversations online. The issues Canadians are most engaged with include climate change and the links to food production, organic foods, and discussions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)."This groundbreaking work captured and quantified actual discussion and real sentiment of over 254,900 Canadians talking about food and how it's grown," stated Crystal Mackay, CCFI President. "This kind of research is integral to truly addressing consumer demands and questions in an open and authentic manner."Key conversations Canadians were discussing online over the two-year period included: 8 million people were discussing cannabis 2.5 million climate change as it relates to food production 2.1 million genetically modified foods (GMOs) 2 million organic food and farming Surprisingly, for the most part, millennials and baby boomers were found to be similarly aligned in their views on food issues based on their online conversations. This is not the case in CCFI's more traditional quantitative research. The study also identified opportunities for players in the Canadian food system to join the millions of conversations online around key topics such as cost of food and climate change.The topics covered farm practices and food production in general, and specifically GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. As found in previous CCFI research, Canadians most commonly associated farmers with all the key topics studied; more so than any other food system stakeholders.The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) study measured the discussions related to food and farming of 254,900 Canadians for 24 months on social media, from January 2017 to January 2019. The study assessed many social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit using a proprietary artificial intelligence tool to analyze public social media, with no personalized data attached to the findings.View the more detailed report findings on this study and other CCFI studies related to Canadians' opinions on food and farming in French or English at www.foodintegrity.ca.
If you relied on Canadian media and politicians alone, you might think topics like the economy and health care were what Canadians cared about most. You would be wrong. Canadians’ top priority is much more fundamental than that – before they can worry about hospital wait times or the cost to heat their homes this winter, they first and foremost need healthy, affordable food to eat and feed their families.
More than half the food produced in Canada is wasted and the average kitchen tosses out hundreds of dollars worth of edibles every year, says a study researchers are calling the first of its kind.
Sometimes trends are not worth the hype. I’m sure we all have at least one picture lying around with an outfit we thought was classic but is now horribly outdated.
December 13, 2017 - According to new research, eating whole eggs versus an egg-white-only meal does a better job of stimulating muscle-protein synthesis after resistance training.
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