While the pandemic has buffeted most parts of the economy, Canada’s farming and agricultural business sector has shown great resilience. With a long history of operating challenges - from foul weather to rocky commodity prices - Canadian farmers and processors have learned to adapt, alongside partners they trust to deliver flexible solutions whenever the weathervane spins.
Identification of predictive blood biomarkers related to sheep parasitic infections via metabolomics
The Alberta Lamb Producers has recently supported a successful project application titled “Identification of predictive blood biomarkers related to sheep parasitic infections via metabolomics” by Dr. Seyed Ali Goldansaz. This research will investigate blood components that could be used for detecting subclinical parasitic infection in sheep. The project is managed by Olds College, and is a collaboration between University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, Ontario Sheep Farmers and ALP.
Parasitic infections are production-limiting diseases that adversely affect sheep through reduced weight gain, lower immunity and increased susceptibility to miscarriage at pre-clinical stages. Parasitic infection in its clinical stages is also very detrimental to the animal. Conventional management practices are predominantly passive and involve blind treatment of animals with anthelmintic drugs, not considering the type of parasite or the infection load. Aggressive use of drugs has created resistant parasites and decreased the efficacy of anthelmintics. Current diagnosis methods are based on direct measurement of the infection after clinical symptoms. This is not ideal as most animals maintain the infection at the subclinical level, typically associated with significant reduction in animal performance. The production losses at the subclinical stage and the expense of diagnosis and treatment at the clinical stage both contribute to increased cost of production. An alternative method to detect parasitic infection in individual animals prior to manifestation of clinical signs can provide faster and less expensive outcomes. The current project is measuring parasite-induced changes at pre-clinical stages of the infection in sheep blood to identify components (biomarkers) that are representative of the infection as a novel screening method. These blood biomarkers can be translated into a handheld device for real-time, pen-side prediction of parasitic infection using a few drops of blood.
This project has already started and is expected to run till 2023, with a possibility of extension depending on the initial results. It is great to know that up to seven people including at least one graduate student will be trained to work with sheep as part of this project. There is plan to publish multiple progress reports through the ALP’s newsletter, and plan two producer events to educate on effective methods of parasite management in Alberta sheep flocks. Many thanks to RDAR for supporting the sheep industry by investing in this project.
Now Open for Applications!
Growing Opportunities – Wage subsidy program for student placements
Agriculture-focused Student Work Placement program is available now!
CAHRC has partnered to deliver a Government of Canada funded Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) to match post-secondary students with Work Integrated Learning placements in the agriculture field.
By hiring students, employers benefit from new perspectives and ideas and qualify for a subsidy of up to $7500 or 75% of wages. In addition, the expanded pool of candidates pulling from outside of traditional agriculture fields will draw in underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous students, disabled students, and newcomers to Canada, encouraging them to look towards careers in our exciting industry.
Visit www.cahrc-ccrha.ca/agritalent to find out more.
AFIN is excited to be announcing the new and improved farmingtheweb.ca site!!
Available to list for FREE, for producers by producers. Have a look and start posting your items on the farmers marketplace today.
Project title: Investigating the efficacy of sheep respiratory vaccines in pre-weaned and weaned lambs
The Alberta Lamb Producers recently received $150,000 in funding from RDAR to evaluate the efficacy of a UK sheep respiratory vaccine from Merck called Ovipast Plus, and to evaluate an experimental sheep respiratory vaccine from VIDO, which was built a few years ago with ALMA funding and support of others in the sheep industry, including ALP and OSF. Lead researchers for this vaccine study are Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed from Alberta, Dr. Cathy Bauman from Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), and Dr. Jose Perez-Casal from VIDO.
The RDAR funding is matched with industry funding from Alberta Lamb Producers (ALP), Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF), Merck Animal Health, and the North American Lamb Corporation (NALC).
The research will evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccines in ewes in boosting colostral immunity to reduce preweaning mortality and in weaned lambs to reduce post-weaning mortality. Additional outcomes that will be measured include growth performance and carcass quality. The research requires large numbers of ewes and feeder lambs with the ability to follow the animals through slaughter; therefore, the research will be conducted at the NALC ewe barns and feedlot in Iron Springs, Alberta and the feeder lambs will be followed through at slaughter at Canada Lamb Processors in Innisfail, Alberta.
This research will also provide training of a Master’s student in epidemiology at OVC. The research will start this fall and hopefully be completed by December 2022. Results will be communicated to sheep producers.
We thank RDAR for supporting this important industry applied vaccine research and stayed tuned for more project updates to come!
ALP is pleased to announce that our application to access funding from the Canada Summer Job Grant in 2021 to hire 1 (one) summer worker has been approved!
ALP has hired Isabel Reves, a local Airdrie resident who just recently graduated from High School, with Honors to fulfill our summer intern position of Administrative Coordinator. She is passionate about animals, the environment, and plans on going to University to become a biologist. Isabel is enthusiastic to start working for producers, while providing administrative support to the Alberta Lamb Producers’ team.
Isabel will be starting with ALP on Monday, June 28th and working up until the week of August 23, 2021.
As part of our support to the upcoming ALP plebiscite, Marketing Council has asked us to ensure producer contact information is up-to-date, including e-mail addresses. Part of Isabel's role with us over the summer, is to update our producer database with current and up to date producer information (mailing address, phone number, and as abovementioned, email addresses for important e-communications and the ability to vote electronically in the upcoming plebiscite). All eligible Alberta Lamb Producer will be receiving a phone call from her over the next 9 weeks to review and/or update the information we currently have on file.
Please help us in welcoming Isabel to the ALP team!
Thank you to those who registered for the Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M.ovi) Awareness Webinar on June 14th, a partnership webinar between Alberta Goat Association, Alberta Lamb Producers, and Alberta Farm Animal Care. They were unfortunately not able to record the webinar, but we are able to share PDFs of the presentations (see attached).
‘The estimated market price for a 120 lb. Alberta market lamb trended above the 5-year average for most of 2020,’ says Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
In the last quarter of 2020, October to December, the Alberta market lamb price increased 18%. In the first part of 2021, the estimated price for a 120 lb. market lamb averaged $280 per head ($2.33 per lb.), 14% higher than in 2020 and 25% higher than the 5-year average.
AFAC hosted a Small Ruminant Humane Transportation webinar featuring CFIA, that focused on the amendments to the humane trabsportation regulations. AFAC has shared the webinar summary along with a Q & A document for Producers to have access to. Please find both documents below.
ALP has made some changes to the way that eligible producers can submit Proposed Resolutions that are discussed and voted on by eligible producers at our Annual General meeting. Effective today and moving forward into 2021, eligible Producers will be able to submit proposed resolutions year-round for board consideration, with a cutoff date for submission being a few weeks prior to the AGM.
By providing eligible producers the opportunity to submit year-round submission, it allows the board and staff to research and provide information to the proposed resolution(s) in advance of the AGM, to help make the discussion more effective at the AGM before the voting period begins.
To submit a resolution for discussion at the 2021 AGM, please complete our resolution form and submit to the ALP office.
ALP Resolution forms must be returned to Alberta Lamb Producers by September 15, 2021 to be considered eligible. Proposed resolutions will not be accepted past this deadline or from the floor at the AGM.