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Research of Interest to Saskatchewan Dairy Producers Soybean oil
Department of Animal and Poultry Science University of Saskatchewan Research of Interest to Saskatchewan Dairy Producers The University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Development Fund held a workshop on September 11 and 12, 2002, to review animal research direction and priorities. The following information was provided as background for Dairy Industry participants. In addition, a Greenbrae Dairy Herd report should be available by April, 2003. Dairy Research Infra-Structure The dairy unit is operated as part of the University Farm which is managed through the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, with B.Laarveld as Department Head, having overall responsibility. Maintenance of equipment, building repair, cropping programs and overall supervision of the farm staff is by Doug Bradley, farm manager. Ewald Lammerding is the dairy herds person responsible for daily operation of the dairy unit. Marlene Fehr is responsible for supervision of research projects and for monitoring herd performance and providing technical support for the dairy herd. David Christensen is the faculty member responsible for general management of the dairy herd and coordination of research and technical use of the dairy herd. Andrew Van Kessel will assume responsibility for the dairy herd and research coordination July 1, 2003. Shakeel Akhtar is supervisor of the nutrition laboratories. Neil Webb is the laboratory technician most closely associated with dairy projects. Murray Feist is a SAFRR nutrition specialist who maintains a close linkage with researchers. The following is a general outline of research projects that are either underway, recently completed or just being initiated. Feed and Nutrition Research Much of this research is supported by Agriculture Development Fund projects, the ADF Strategic Program or industry. Crops Livestock Interface. This project is managed by B. Laarveld, B. Harvey, R. Holm and is under the supervision of D.A. Christensen. There are over 20 participants in this project from the University of Saskatchewan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other organizations on campus and in Saskatchewan. This project includes analysis of 450 feeds in each of two years using analyses that will predict energy values of feeds and are used in modeling of animal performance. V. J. Racz and J. J. McKinnon are directing the modeling portion of this work. Several graduate students are just starting this work and a summer student, Shawn Senko, is using information from this project for a 6-credit unit undergraduate thesis. A database program is being developed with the support of V.J. Racz and several others. The database is compatible with one being developed by the Miner Institute and also with Cornell University. One of the outcomes of the Crops Livestock Interface project is identification of two barley cultivars (Harrington and Valier) with markedly different starch fermentation characteristics. H. Classen and Murray Drew are involved in evaluating these cultivars for other species such as poultry and it has been found that Valier supports superior growth and feed conversion compared to other barley varieties. Other barley cultivars selected for evaluation by B. Rossnagel, Crop Development Centre, are being investigated using standard laboratory techniques, as well as the use of electron microscopy and the infrared beam line of the Madison Wisconsin Synchrotron. Julie-Ann Meier is carrying out M.Sc. research on rumen fermentation characteristics of barley cultivars. Comparison of barley, alfalfa and pea silages. Stephanie Wielgosz measured digestibility and rumen fermentation characteristics of these silages fed alone or with concentrates as part of her M.Sc. program. Arif Mustafa carried out a dairy production trial. Evaluation of high oil sunflower seed. The effect of roasted and raw sunflower seeds on milk fatty acid composition, milk yield and feed utilization in dairy cows is being conducted by Amanda Kroeker as part of her M.Sc. research. Evaluation of flax products. Several studies have been conducted on the effect of raw or roasted flax on milk yield and composition in lactating cows. Initially this work was supervised by Arif Mustafa and more recently by Henry Soita. The effect of fatty acids on the immune system of the transition cow. Andrew Van Kessel is coordinating a study on the effects of flax, sunflower and soybean oil on the immune system of the dairy cow before and after calving. Research on extruded flax and canola products has been conducted to determine effects on milk yield and composition in dairy cows. This work has been conducted in cooperation with several Saskatchewan companies and international marketing of this project products has been led by V.J. Racz. Development and evaluation of Super Oat grain. A project has been conducted in cooperation with Brian Rossnagel, Crop Development Centre and several Saskatchewan industry representatives on producing a low lignin, high oil oat that could be useful for dairy and for other classes of animals. Evaluation of oat forage cultivars. Although barley silage contains more protein than the corn silage, it usually contains less net energy than the corn silage. Barley silage is susceptible to a number of plant diseases and an alternative or superior forage would be desirable. A number of oat varieties have been evaluated and one low lignin cultivar appears to be equal to Rosser barley. This research is being carried out by Saman Abeysekara (a Commonwealth Scholar) as an M.Sc. project. Dr. Zhang, a Visiting Professor from Harbin Agricultural University also contributed to this project. Oat hulls and barley starch granule structure. The chemical characteristics of oat hulls, barley starch granules and other feeds are being evaluated by Peiqiang Yu (NSERC PDF Fellowship), in cooperation with John McKinnon, David Christensen and Colleen Christensen. The use of ferulic acid esterase on release of glucose and other sugars from oat hulls was the first step in this research. Related work with poultry is being conducted by H. Classen and M. Drew. Evaluation of unheated canola meal. Several other research groups at the University of Saskatchewan are conducting work on the improvement of amino acid availability in canola meal. Canola meal has been produced with a range of heat conditions and these are being evaluated in dairy production trials with Leland Fuhr as the summer student/M.Sc. candidate assisting with this work. New methods for evaluating oat and other forages. This research will be conducted with Tracey Heck as the M.Sc. student involved. She is also a coordinator for the Crops Livestock Interface project. Fatty acid composition of meat and milk. Two projects are being carried out, one in cooperation with Murray Woodbury, WCVM, V.J. Racz and Murray Feist; the other with J.J. McKinnon. The effect of various fatty acid sources on milk composition as well as the carcass fatty acid composition of cattle and bison is being investigated. Tyler Turner is the graduate student involved in bison evaluation. Intestinal tract microbiology. Feeds and ration ingredients are known to alter the types and numbers of bacteria found in the small intestine. In the near future it is likely the antibiotics will be further restricted for use in food producing animals. It is therefore important to develop new strategies for controlling microbial growth in the digestive tract. Andrew Van Kessel and Murray Drew are developing methods to examine the effects of various type ration ingredients on gut microbes and strategies for inhibiting pathogens. This work applies to dairy cattle as a necrotic enteritis gut condition may arise from the use of high levels of barley in dairy rations. Evaluation of alfalfa quality in the field. This is a project supported by SaskWater with Korvin Olfert, a SaskWater employee, carrying out the work as an M.Sc. student under the supervision of Less Boarson and David Christensen. This work is using plant height and stage of maturity to estimate nutritional characteristics and composition of irrigated alfalfa. A project to evaluate wet and dried wheat distillers grain (or a wheat-corn mix) is just being initiated. This will form part of an undergraduate thesis by Greg Penner. Genetic Research The role of the leptin gene on milk composition and cow body condition. This work is being led by Andrew Van Kessel and Fiona Buchanan, with support from the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council. An effect on milk yield of one of the leptin alleles has been found. Staph mastitis resistance. Several years ago Sheila Schmutz identified a combination of genes that were found to results in a lower incidence of staph mastitis in dairy cows. Ghrelin gene. This gene is involved in regulation of feed intake in animals and as yet has not been investigated in dairy cattle. A project is just now being initiated by Bernard Laarveld to evaluate its significance in dairy cattle. Related Research Projects Some aspects of the dairy research has a link to other projects. For example the evaluation of barley cultivars is linked to projects being conducted by Hank Classen and Murray Drew. The valuation of flax for dairy cattle is linked to a project in which dehulled flax is being used as a fatty acid source for salmonoid fish. The Feed Resource Center (V.J. Racz) and the Aquaculture unit are facilitating this project. This project is under the supervision of Murray Drew. Debby Thiessen is a Ph.D. candidate conducting much of the work. Various vaccine studies on calves and mature animals are being carried out by faculty members in the Western College of Vetenary Medicine or in VIDO. A number of projects are being developed that will make use of the Canadian Light Source (Synchrotron) to study nutritional characteristics of feedstuffs. The ones dealing with ruminants will be led by J.J. McKinnon and P. Yu. Other projects involving poultry and swine will also be developed. The hard x-ray beam line at the University of Chicago was used by Colleen Christensen to determine the oxidation state (and availability) of selenium in feeds and mineral supplements. The Saskatoon Synchrotron will not be available until 2004, but synchrotrons in Brookhaven, New York and Madison Wisconsin and Chicago are being used now to initiate projects.
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