Ontario Agriculture

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Annual Mike Wilson Swine Research day provides updates and networking opportunities

Traceability and predicting future research areas were two of the topics on the agenda at the recent Mike Wilson Swine Research Day at the University of Guelph.

The annual Swine Research Day provides updates on current research as well as networking opportunities with faculty, grad students, industry representatives and keynote speakers. Wilson was a faculty member in OVC’s Population Medicine department from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.

The research day provides an opportunity to share information, but it is also a valuable opportunity to connect with others in the industry, said Dr. Robert Friendship, Population Medicine, who organized the annual event.

The day’s first keynote speaker, Tim Nelson, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, outlined LRIC’s role in determining research priorities, as well as some perspectives on determining what kind of research will be needed in the future.

“To predict correctly, we have to pay attention to everyone who is trying to shape the outcome,” he said, including industry, researchers, the processing industry, retailers and consumers. 

From the mid to late 20th century, production was the driving force in research, he added. Genetics, disease management and nutrition were the things that drove production.

Now consumers are looking for more variety, nutritional attributes, added value, and paying close attention to environmental and welfare concerns, he added.

Keynote speaker Dr. Dan Hurnik, University of Prince Edward Island, outlined gains in pig movement and traceability. “Traceability gives consumers trust in the production system,” he said, and allows the industry “to do much better problem-solving and mitigation of risk areas.” Movement data can be used to build predictive models to help mitigate the spread of disease, he added.

Additional presentations included research surrounding swine influenza, anemia in weaned piglets, and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, as well as more than a dozen poster presentations from masters and PhD students.

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