Projects targeting swine health will be supported by the new research funding. Photo: Christina Weese.

Over $1.55 million pegged for livestock research

Faculty and other researchers based at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have received more than $1.55 million in funding for livestock-related research through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

The new research dollars were part of a $6.3-million funding announcement that was made on Jan. 24 by Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart. The new funding will support a total of 24 livestock- and forage-related research projects.

“Our government strongly supports research projects that help further innovation in Saskatchewan’s world-class agriculture and agri-food sector and create well-paying paying jobs for the Canadian middle class,” MacAulay said.

“Investing in research and innovation helps ensure that Saskatchewan remain a competitive and world-class agricultural research hub,” Stewart added. “Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers benefit from the knowledge and tools developed by this research.”

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission, SaskMilk and the Saskatchewan Forage Development Commission also provided a total of $186,500 in additional research funding.

The following list includes projects that will be conducted by researchers who hold faculty positions at the WCVM or are based at Prairie Diagnostic Services — the provincial veterinary laboratory:

  • Leveraging the teat microbiome of resilient dairy cows as a source of new antibiotics to treat mastitis. Researcher: Dr. Tony Ruzzini, assistant professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology. Funding: $85,330.
  • Developing new vaccine strategies for infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (pink‐eye). Researcher: Dr. Philip Griebel, associate member, Department of Veterinary Microbiology. Funding: $171,000.
  • Role of Mannheimia haemolytica in Mycoplasma bovis pneumonia. Researcher: Dr. José Perez-Casal, adjunct professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology. Funding: $346,700.
  • Application of nanopore DNA sequencing in rapid diagnosis of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) — a pilot project. Researcher: Dr. Kazal Ghosh, Prairie Diagnostic Services. Funding: $72,500.
  • Development of a swine dysentery vaccine. Researcher: Dr. John Harding, professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Funding: $250,000.
  • Identifying new vaccine targets against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). Researcher: Dr. Volker Gerdts, professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology. Funding: $188,000.
  • Control and characterization of alpha H1N2 influenza A virus in pigs. Researcher: Dr. Susan Detmer, associate professor, Department of Veterinary Pathology. Funding: $150,000.
  • Intrauterine immunization of sows at time of artificial insemination: confirmation of efficacy. Researcher: Dr. Heather Wilson, adjunct professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology. Funding: $120,000.
  • Prevalence and antimicrobial resistance profile of Salmonella serovars isolated from poultry environment in Saskatchewan. Researcher: Dr. Anatoliy Trokhymchuk, Prairie Diagnostic Services. Funding: $138,500.
  • Enzyme supplements to enhance performance of bison fed for meat. Researcher: Dr. Murray Woodbury, associate professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Funding: $30,000.
ADF research aims to increase productivity and address issues relevant to Saskatchewan agriculture.  Through ADF, farmers and ranchers benefit from research in areas such as new forage varieties, improved livestock feeding systems and management of animal diseases.

The federal and provincial governments are also committing $2 million over two years through the ADF to support operations and ongoing research at the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).

“The LFCE links together all aspects of the livestock value chain to improve production here at home, across the country and abroad,” said Dr. Mary Buhr, dean of the U of S College of Agriculture and Bioresources and member of the LFCE steering committee member. 

“Investment from government allows the LFCE to strive toward its goal of being a leader in developing research, people, tools and techniques for healthy, sustainable and competitive growth in the livestock and forage industries of Saskatchewan and Canada.”

ADF funding is part of the $26.8 million that the Government of Saskatchewan committed to agriculture research in the 2017-18 provincial budget. Funding is provided under the federal-provincial-territorial initiative, Growing Forward 2.

In July 2017, federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture reached agreement in principle on the key elements of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3-billion investment that will replace Growing Forward 2. The new program is set to launch on April 1.

Click here to read the original Government of Saskatchewan news release.
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