Protection
In 2014/2015 an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (AI) struck British Columbia. A total of 13 poultry farms were affected and approximately 240,000 birds died or were destroyed to control the outbreak.

In addition, the disease was detected in the U.S. where more than 48 million birds were lost and the outbreak was estimated to have cost US$3.3 billion and resulted in shortages and price increases for certain poultry products.

Wild waterfowl are known to be the reservoir for AI, and although wild bird AI surveillance programs were already in place in Canada and the U.S., it was limited to collecting and testing individual wild birds.

To improve the surveillance to include environmental monitoring, in 2015 the BC Ministry of Agriculture, BC Centre for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory, and University of British Columbia joined forces to develop a new approach - a genomics-based test that identifies and characterizes AI viruses (AIV) in wetland sediments.

This work, funded in part by Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) and led by Drs. Chelsea Himsworth, Jane Pritchard, William Hsiao, Natalie Prystajecky, and Agatha Jassem, successfully demonstrated that this novel approach worked, as AIV was detected in a significant proportion of sediment samples, compared to less than one percent rate of detection in the current Canadian national wild bird AI surveillance program.

Additionally, the outbreak virus was found in wetlands throughout the Fraser Valley, information that could have been used to mitigate the outbreak had this technology been available.

To further evaluate this novel surveillance approach, a new project, Genomic Analysis of Wetland Sediment as a Tool for Avian Influenza Surveillance and Prevention, represents a combined investment of over $2.5 million from funders and delivery partners including Genome BC, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and the Sustainable Poultry Farming Group.

This phase follows on from previous work and is looking at what steps are required to move the technology from a successful proof-of-concept initiative to implementation. This includes scientific validation of technology, as well as its incorporation into Provincial and National Wild Waterfowl AI Surveillance Programs. It is anticipated that this innovative approach will be adopted nationally and internationally for surveillance of AI and/or other diseases associated with wildlife.

"This investment allows Dr. Himsworth and the team to refine and validate the AI sediment surveillance with genomics technologies, methodology and field approach," says Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, chief scientific officer and vice president, sectors, at Genome BC. "Most importantly it allows for the identification of the optimal combination of AI surveillance techniques for maximum efficiency and efficacy."
Published in Health
With farms, woods, wildlife and fresh air, rural residents cherish the charm and beauty of the countryside. Many people move from cities seeking peace and a pristine environment in the country.

Most people understand that a rural community includes farmers and that farming is a business. Ontario’s agriculture and food sector employs 760,000 people and contributes more than $35 billion to the province’s economy every year.

This means that certain activities take place according to a production schedule; and some affect residents living close to farms. In almost all cases, farmers and their rural neighbours get along well together. However, there are some exceptions.

For the year of 2015- 2016 the ministry received 107 complaints related to farm practices. Of these, 45 (40 per cent) were about odour, while the others were mainly about noise (26 per cent), flies (19 per cent) and municipal by-laws (nine per cent).

Odour complaints are generally related to:
  • Farmers spreading manure on fields
  • Fans ventilating livestock barns
  • Manure piles
  • Mushroom farms
To manage conflict about farm practices, the Ontario government enacted the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA).

This act establishes the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) to determine “normal farm practices”. When a person complains about odour or other nuisance from a particular farming practice, the board has the authority to hear the case and decide whether the practice is a “normal farm practice”. If it is, the farmer is protected from any legal action regarding that practice.

When people make complaints about farm practices, a regional agricultural engineer or environmental specialist from OMAFRA’s Environmental Management Branch works with all parties involved to resolve the conflict.

The board requires that any complaint go through this conflict resolution process before it comes to a hearing.

Each year, through the conflict resolution process, OMAFRA staff have resolved the vast majority of complaints. In 2015-16, only twelve of the 107 cases resulted in hearings before the board. Of these, only two were odour cases involving multiple nuisances such as noise, dust and flies. Thus, while odours remain the biggest cause of complaints about farm practices, OMAFRA staff working through the conflict resolution process has proved very effective in dealing with them.
Published in Consumer Issues
USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., in which a researcher showed how infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) can spread from vaccinated flocks.

Dr. Maricarmen Garcia, at the University of Georgia, recently completed a research project that studied how well a recombinant ILT vaccine protected broilers when various doses of the vaccine were used.

She found that all dosage levels used protected against the clinical signs of the disease, but none of the dosage levels prevented the broilers from shedding the ILT challenge virus to other broilers. This study reinforces the observation that biosecurity is very important to control spread of ILT from vaccinated flocks.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website, www.uspoultry.org.
Published in Health
Bayer is pleased to announce it has partnered with The Do More Agriculture Foundation – a not-for-profit organization focused on raising awareness and promoting mental well-being for farmers in Canada.

As part of the partnership, Bayer's Crop Science division has contributed $20,000 to the Foundation to support its mission of providing support and resources to farmers seeking mental health assistance.

The need to support Canadian farmers' mental well-being has never been greater. According to a study from the University of Guelph, more than a third of Canadian producers are experiencing depression and over half experience anxiety. However, the stigma associated with mental health issues remains a significant barrier for those that need help.

Forty per cent of Canadian producers reported they would feel uneasy about seeing professional help due to what other people may think.

"We believe that through this partnership we can help increase awareness of mental health issues and break the stigma that currently exists in the agriculture industry," said Al Driver, Bayer Crop Science Canada's president and CEO. "We see first-hand the challenges that farmers face and encourage them to access these resources to manage their well-being."

The Do More Ag Foundation are champions for the mental well-being of Canadian producers and are focused on changing the culture of agriculture to one where producers are encouraged, supported and empowered to take care of themselves. This will be achieved by creating awareness, building community and supporting research.

"We are so appreciative to Bayer for supporting Do More Ag and Canadian producers. The support from Bayer will allow The Do More Agriculture Foundation to move forward with larger initiatives that will be able to support more producers across Canada," said Kim Keller, co-founder of the Foundation. "This will create more awareness around mental health and build more capacity within communities across Canada to be able to support community members who may be facing mental health challenges."

With support from Bayer, Do More Ag will continue the conversation about mental well-being in an accessible way for producers, while breaking the stigma associated with mental health. It will encourage producers to talk about mental health within their operations, families and communities, with the hope of changing the culture in agriculture to one where all producers feel encouraged and supported to take care of their mental well-being.

For more information about The Do More Agriculture Foundation, please visit www.domore.ag.
Published in Companies
A new genetic link to the immune system in laying hens has been discovered that could result in laying hens being born resistant to many diseases.

Pioneering research of the full genome of over 1,600 layers has revealed a genetic link to natural antibodies (called: NAbs).

This research that was undertaken by Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Hendrix Genetics. It has huge potential to impact productivity, biosecurity, and sustainability. | READ MORE
Published in News
Live vaccines contain naturally occurring mild pathotype or attenuated (weakened) viruses, bacteria or coccidia and are designed to elicit local and systemic immunity in birds. They are suitable for mass administration by water or spray.
Published in Ask the Vet
The H3N2 canine influenza virus was detected in dogs in Ontario this past December. Some producers might be wondering if the outbreak poses a threat to poultry. While the strain is of avian origin, experts Canadian Poultry consulted say the chances of it being transmitted to poultry now that it has switched to a canine-adapted virus are small. Thus, they consider any related disease threat to the poultry industry in Canada to be very low.
Published in Barn Management
3M Food Safety recently announced its new 3M Molecular Detection Assay 2 – Campylobacter with 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth, providing more efficient testing for a key pathogen associated with poultry production.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the U.S. 3M’s new assay and simplified enrichment broth helps customers safeguard against this pathogen while increasing laboratory productivity.

The testing process is significantly faster than alternatives like PCR, immunoassay and culture methods, and having a streamlined protocol for Campylobacter and Salmonella means the system is able to perform up to 96 tests of multiple types in one 60-minute run.

“We are providing the poultry industry with a complete solution that is simplified to achieve fast, highly accurate results,” said Christopher Somero, 3M food safety marketing manager for new products. “While this product was developed to give our customers an easier workflow, an additional benefit is increased protection of their products and brands from the threat of this pathogen.”

Unlike traditional Campylobacter enrichment protocols that can take 11 or more steps, the 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth requires only five steps. This frees up poultry testing labs to keep their focus on what matters most.

The 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth eliminates the need for expensive microaerophilic incubation, supplements, blood, organic solvents or autoclaving the broth, only requiring the addition of sterile water.

The award-winning 3M Molecular Detection System platform is used by food processors, universities, governments and contract testing laboratories in more than 40 countries. It is powered by a combination of advanced technologies—isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection—to provide a pathogen testing solution that is fast, accurate, easy to use and affordable.

The new assay for Campylobacter joins, and can be run concurrently with, molecular tests already offered by 3M for Salmonella, E. coli O157 (including H7), Cronobacter, Listeria and Listeria monocytogenes.

For more information, visit: www.3m.com/foodsafety/poultrytesting

Published in New Technology
Antibiotic resistance is real. In Canada and around the world, fewer antimicrobials remain effective in controlling infection as more microbes become resistant in both human and veterinary medicine.
Published in Ask the Vet
When it comes to disease diagnostics, time is of the essence. And yet there is currently no commercial, on-farm detection technique for poultry diseases like avian influenza (AI).
Published in Health
There are some types of E. coli (known as avian pathogenic E. coli [APEC]) that can cause serious or fatal colibacillosis infection in chickens. Many factors predispose birds to the infections.
Published in Layers
Researchers at The Pirbright Institute have created a new method of genetically modifying the Marek’s disease vaccine so that it is able to protect against another destructive poultry virus called infectious bursal disease (IBD), and potentially others such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease. This approach could lead to a reduction in the number of vaccines that need to be administered to each bird.

For the first time, Pirbright scientists have been able to use a gene editing system called CRISPR/cas9 to add a gene of the IBD virus into a current Marek’s disease vaccine virus. The added genetic material protects poultry against IBD in addition to the protection already offered by the Marek’s disease vaccine, meaning that bird owners would only need to use one vaccine instead of two. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
Poor skeletal health in commercial laying hens was first documented as a production issue in the 1950s. It became an animal welfare concern in the 1980s, when scientists first documented a high prevalence of bone fractures after handling hens at end of lay.
Published in Layers
“There are some diseases that we can live with, but not Avian Influenza. It is a great danger for our livelihoods and our industries,” said Dr. Travis Schaal, GGP/GP and technical manager for Hy-Line International, during the Defend the Flock: Biosecurity Basics for Poultry & Egg Producers program, held at the 2018 International Production & Processing Expo.

Schaal discussed his company’s view on biosecurity, which encompasses four areas: conceptual, structural, operational and cultural. He emphasized the National Poultry Improvement Plan’s 14 points to enforce biosecurity and expressed the importance of farmers committing to these robust standards.

He summarized by stating that culture takes time and repetition; rules must be complied top down in order to have bottom up involvement; rules must be practical and effective, not complicated; and to educate at every opportunity.

Dr. Ben Wileman, director of global technical services for Select Genetics, observed that a big challenge for turkey biosecurity involved people travelling globally on vacations, mission trips or family visits. He remarked that these trips may have an impact on farm animals because pathogens are carried from one place to another.

Wileman posed the question, “How do you balance independence with not negatively affecting billions of dollars of trade?” He answered by stating that you need to balance trade with national biosecurity through veterinary inspections, CODEX, OIE and USDA AMS, among other organizations.

“Human nature is to take easy routes, which is why biosecurity needs to be fairly simple for people to do,” Wileman remarked. He pointed out that turkeys live longer than breeders and therefore have more risk, especially during their peak growth. Wileman highlighted 14 biosecurity points that every farm should take into consideration, including biosecurity responsibility, training, perimeter buffer areas, and auditing, among others.
Published in Barn Management
Virtually all poultry become exposed to the coccidial parasite, which often causes the important disease coccidiosis, noted by mortality and enteritis. Often, the enteritis can trigger another important disease, necrotic enteritis.
Published in Ask the Vet
August 29, 2017, U.S. - Chlorinated chicken– or chlorine-washed chicken – simply means that chicken was rinsed with chlorinated water; chlorine is not present in the meat. Just as chlorine helps make drinking water safe, it can help remove potentially harmful bacteria from raw chicken.

Numerous studies and research have confirmed that the use of chlorinated water to chill and clean chicken is safe and effective. Chlorine-washed chicken does not pose any human health concerns and it is not present in the final product.

Hypochlorus (i.e. chlorine) is a common disinfectant used in water treatment and food processing worldwide. Although it is proven safe, a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from chlorinated water in their chilling systems and rinses, opting for alternatives.

The National Chicken Council would estimate that chlorine is used in chilling systems and rinses in about 20-25 per cent of processing plants in the U.S., as a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from its use. Most of the chlorine that is used in the industry is used for cleaning and sanitizing processing equipment.

All chicken produced in the U.S. is closely monitored and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). READ MORE
Published in Processing
August 18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia – The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.

The announcement was made following the first meeting between Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

"The AgriRecovery response will help B.C. ranchers and farmers recover from their losses, and return to their land and their livelihoods. Our governments are working with producers, local officials and stakeholders, and the results and spirit of resilience is collective and clear, we will work together to respond to this emergency until the job is done," Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture said. 

Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires.

The types of costs under consideration include:
  • Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety.
  • Feed, shelter and transportation costs.
  • Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire.
"Our Government stands with producers in British Columbia who are facing challenges and hardships because of these wildfires. Together, with our provincial counterparts, we will work closely with affected producers to assess the full scope of their needs and help them get back in business as quickly as possible," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.
Published in Farm Business
August 17, 2017, Guelph Ont. – Catching crews on poultry farms have made do for years when they needed an extra step loading full crates from the barn onto transport trucks. Using the tools at hand, they improvised and turned empty crates on end to get where they needed to be.

But there are two big problems with this practice – the obvious health and safety risks of standing on a slippery, uneven surface, and the damage done to the crate when used as a makeshift step.

The Poultry Service Association – that represents the vast majority of poultry-catching and live-haul poultry business in Ontario – set out to design, build and test a better way.

With no commercially made loading steps available, the association engineered, fabricated and tested a lightweight, portable and safe poultry-loading step for the Ontario industry.

Developing a new, safe, loading step was approached as a sector initiative involving the main commercial poultry-catching companies in Ontario. This collaboration made it a much more economical and unified way to arrive at a solution that all companies could access.

Driving the need for a new safe step was two-fold – reducing slips and falls by crew, and reducing damage done to crates. It’s tough to calculate improved health and safety in dollars and cents. The savings in reduced crate damage is easier to estimate.

At $85 per crate, and an estimated 30 per cent discard rate of damaged crates, the annual savings to the industry with the new safe step is estimated at more than $2.5 million.

The new safe portable step is now in use by 85 per cent of commercial poultry-catchers in Ontario, and the industry is noticing the difference. Trucking companies have seen a reduction in crate damage and appreciate the safety aspect of the new loading platforms.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
Published in Bird Management
August 14, 2017, U.S. - The company has implemented the U.S. meat industry’s most extensive third-party remote video auditing (RVA) system, is fielding what is believed to be the world’s largest team of animal well-being specialists and is introducing a pilot project for controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) at two of its poultry facilities this year.

“Ensuring the well-being of the animals in our care is a core part of our broader sustainability journey and these initiatives are the latest examples of our leadership in this important area,” said Justin Whitmore, chief sustainability officer for Tyson Foods. “We’re also piloting other potential innovations as we become the world’s most sustainable producer of protein.”

“Animal welfare is part science, part compassion, and it requires management commitment to learning, training and constant monitoring,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a member of Tyson Foods’ Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel.

To help monitor live bird handling, the company has rolled out the industry’s largest third-party RVA program in the U.S., covering 33 poultry plants.

The company is using Arrowsight, a leading provider of remote video auditing technology and data analytics services, which has extensive animal welfare monitoring experience.

Video from cameras in Tyson Foods’ chicken plants is analyzed by trained off-site auditors and data feedback is provided daily, weekly and monthly to plant management to deliver excellence in animal welfare practices.

Tyson Foods also is launching an innovative RVA pilot project to assess on-farm catching of birds for transport to processing facilities. Video will be audited and analyzed by Arrowsight for adherence to humane treatment of animals, allowing immediate follow-up if any concerns are identified.

In addition to video monitoring, Tyson Foods is also the first in the industry to employ animal well-being specialists across all its beef, pork and poultry operations. The company has trained and deployed nearly 60 dedicated fulltime animal well-being specialists. This includes at least one at every processing facility that handles live animals, to work collaboratively with our Office of Animal Well-Being and our plants to ensure best-in-class training and 2 practices.

Half of the specialists are also involved in supporting animal well-being on the poultry farms that supply the company. The specialists have experience in either processing plant or live chicken operations and will have continual training. They have participated in animal welfare webinars and a week-long summit. They are also taking a certification course through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO).

Tyson Foods also will launch two pilot projects within the next year to test a process called controlled atmosphere stunning. Support of the use of gas as a more humane way to render the bird unconscious before processing has increased over the past several years among scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare advocates, since it eliminates the handling of conscious birds.

The company will evaluate the results of the pilot program to determine if CAS is a reasonable alternative to the existing method before it makes decisions about deploying it at other facilities. Tyson Foods is also piloting research into chicken house lighting and enrichments for the birds (e.g. perches). In addition, the company continues to work with its poultry breeding suppliers on the important relationship between breeding and bird health. It has also conducted work on enhanced poultry nutrition and ventilation.
Published in New Technology
July 12, 2017 - Biosecurity needs to be approached as a comprehensive process, not as a series of segregated actions, according to Jean Sander, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian for Zoetis.

For example, people about to enter a poultry house will put on their boots, coveralls, hair nets, but then remember they need a piece of equipment that’s in another house. They quickly retrieve it and bring it into another building without cleaning it first.

That’s a breach of biosecurity, Sander told Poultry Health Today.

The intent is to try and do the right thing, but too often biosecurity isn’t viewed holistically, continued the veterinarian, who primarily works with layer producers. READ MORE 
Published in Barn Management
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