One of the provincially-funded studies at the WCVM will test the efficacy of a vaccine for enzootic abortion of ewes (EAE).

Saskatchewan funds livestock research

Ten research teams from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have received more than $950,000 in funding from Saskatchewan Agriculture for livestock-related research projects.

The WCVM research grants are part of a $4.18-million funding announcement that was made by Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle of Stewart and Kelly Block, MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, on January 22. Nearly $1.4 million of the provincial funding is directed to livestock and forage research projects at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

The WCVM-based studies focus on various animal health issues such as swine dysentery, vibriosis in beef herds, Mycoplasma bovis in beef cattle, EAE (enzootic abortion) vaccine efficacy in sheep flocks, reovirus infections in broiler chickens and Treponema spp in feedlot beef and dairy cattle. Here is the complete list of research studies:
    • An evaluation of hair cortisol as an objective method for evaluating long-term stress and pain in beef cattle ($91,000)
    • A double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial to test the efficacy of an EAE vaccine in endemically affect sheep flocks ($15,200)
    • Defining attributes of an animal health outbreak informatics management system and comparing disease investigation methodologies ($19,800)
    • Controlling yolk sac infections and reovirus infections to improve chick quality in the broiler chicken industry in Saskatchewan ($230,000)
    • Managing vibriosis in Saskatchewan beef herds ($90,000)
    • Assessing Mycoplasma bovis strains for genotype differences and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles ($88,000)
    • Protecting the Saskatchewan swine industry from economic hardship associated with emergent swine dysentery ($59,667)
    • Novel nano-molecules to reduce antimicrobial use to reduce gut bacterial burden ($79,000)
    • Understanding the effects of ergot-contaminated feed in Saskatchewan beef cow-calf operations ($97,100)
    • Identifying strains of Treponema spp obtained from feedlot and dairy cattle as potential vaccine candidates ($188,050).

In addition to the WCVM and U of S, the province allocated research grants to researchers at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), Western Beef Development Centre, Prairie Swine Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers Development Commission.

The newly-funded agricultural projects will help to develop new vaccines, improve yield and marbling in beef cattle, develop new, sustainable forage legumes, and to improve fertility and reproductive efficiency in livestock. Researchers will also investigate the effect of ergot-contaminated feed on cow-calf operations and develop feed for optimum performance in livestock.

"Our government is committed to supporting agriculture research," Stewart said. "The funding provided through the Agriculture Development Fund results in innovations that lead to increased productivity and profitability for our producers."

Support for ADF projects is provided under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. A complete list of funded projects is available at www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/ADF.
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