Can barley remain king of the feedlot?
July 26, 2004: You bet it can, say researchers in Western Canada, who are examining barley's value as a primary feed source for the region's cattle industry.
A common perception has been that corn is hands down a superior feedgrain to barley and, with competitive pricing, a major threat to barley's status as king of the Canadian feedlot. But while corn is widely recognized as having higher energy content, there's more to the corn vs. barley debate than meets the eye, says Dr. Darryl Gibb, a ruminant nutritionist at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge Research Centre. Closer inspection reveals barley closely compares to corn in feed value, and presents a strong case to remain the feed of choice for Canadian feedlot cattle.
"Although there is more energy in corn than barley, it needs to be steam flaked or fermented to capitalize on this higher energy level," says Gibb, who along with colleague Dr. Tim McAllister has examined the question closely. "Until our feedlots are willing to do this, we would be a little skeptical of anyone who tries to convince us that corn is a superior feedgrain to barley."
More on barley vs. corn is available in the Western Grains Research Magazine.
'Rumen escape vehicle' boosts feed efficiency
July 26, 2004: Researchers have developed a new yeast-based cellular cloak - known as a "rumen escape vehicle" - that can help protect valuable proteins as they travel through the rumen, shielding them from microflora such as bacteria, protozoa and fungi. The vehicle is expected to support increased feed efficiency and reduced manure volume.
"The bypass process we developed encapsulates a protein within a microbial cell," explains Dr. Brent Selinger, University of Lethbridge. "By putting the microbial cell wall between the protein and the external environment, we're protecting it from micro-organism activity in the rumen. Using this process, valuable proteins could be better captured by the animal."
Upon leaving the rumen, the yeast cell breaks open and releases the protein directly to the small intestine, where it provides the most value to the animal. "The cells that make it through the rumen break down and release their contents once inside the small intestine," says Selinger. The research opens the door to testing the system with a number of other bioactive proteins, enzymes, hormones and even vaccines.
More on Selinger's project is available on the Canada Alberta Beef Industry Development Web site.
Silencing whooping cough
July 26, 2004: Livestock disease research is making it easier to silence whooping cough in newborn humans.>
Scientists at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) in Saskatoon are using their experience with livestock diseases to target a new vaccine against whooping cough in newborn humans.
"One of the greatest times of susceptibility to infection, for both animals and humans, is the neonatal stage of development," says Dr. Andy Potter, VIDO Associate Director (Research). "The neonate encounters hundreds of pathogens for the first time, its immune system is not yet fully developed and traditional vaccination at this stage is often ineffective. A successful vaccine system for this stage would open broad potential for neonatal vaccination against many diseases in many species."
More information on VIDO research is available on the VIDO Web site.
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