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Wes Chase and Dr. Marcia Chiasson standing behind a filled aquaculture tank. Chase is holding a net and Chiasson is holding a fishing net with a pole with multiple fish inside. An icon banner at the bottom that says, Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research, 2020-21 Agri-Food Yearbook.

New collaborative streams for aquaculture research

For more than two decades, the Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre in Alma, Ont., has been a vital resource for research conducted by faculty at the University of Guelph and by experts in the Ontario aquaculture industry. Today, the centre supports the province’s rainbow trout aquaculture industry with new studies, and it’s seeking ways to diversify Ontario’s fish offerings so consumers have more variety.

“We are actively looking for new collaborations and new research ideas,” says manager Dr. Marcia Chiasson. “We’re open for business.”

A customer scanning a food item at an automated check-out, an icon banner at the bottom that says Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research, 2020/21 Agri-Food Yearbook

Say hello to more automated shopping

Technological advancements in shopping systems, particularly automated shopping, have shown value during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Simon Somogyi, a professor in the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, has looked at consumer behaviour patterns in grocery stores and how technological advancements can limit contact between shoppers. 

Fighting antibiotic resistance in Ontario dairy cattle

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine for both humans and animals. But their widespread overuse has contributed to the development of “superbugs” that are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatments.

Four brown beef cows standing in a barn looking at the camera with an icon banner at the bottom that says Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research 2020-21 Agri-Food Yearbook

A new approach to preventing and controlling pneumonia in beef cattle

Conventional wisdom suggests that the best way to prevent pneumonia in beef cattle is to boost the animal’s immune response — the capacity to recognize and defend against bacteria, viruses and harmful substances — during the transition period when calves are placed together in feedlots.

New research program directors, Dr. Alfons Weersink, Professor, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Dr. Trevor DeVries, Professor, Department of Animal Biosciences

Welcoming new research program directors

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Trevor DeVries and Dr. Alfons Weersink as new Research Program Directors (RPDs) for the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph.

Two farmers in an empty field pushing equipment for tilling the soil, with an icon banner at the bottom that says Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research 2020-21 Agri-Food Yearbook

Farmer-led research programs highlight on-farm innovation

Field trials on the farm follow applied research projects once they leave the lab bench. Field trials are a great way to gather on-farm perspectives, and the province-wide network of research centres owned by the Government of Ontario through its agency, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, is home to many innovative field studies.

A complementary approach is for producers to take the lead in developing research questions and conducting projects on their own farms, working in cooperation with a support organization.

Researchers Aim to Improve Rural Representation in COVID-19 Policies

Dr. Leith Deacon, professor in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, conducted a large quantitative survey aimed to provide data to policy makers on how rural populations in Canada are underrepresented in COVID-19 emergency management policies. Thanks to Alliance funding, Deacon will be expanding his project to at least six additional rural counties in Ontario.

A map of northern Ontario with coloured dots and a legend representing the data set, with an icon banner at the bottom that says Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research 2020-21 Agri-Food Yearbook

Digital mapping offers a sharp view of Ontario soil

Soil mapping provides farmers and policy makers with detailed information on the condition and characteristics of land. Traditional soil mapping, in which a surveyor collects soil samples and maps their locations, was an important first step toward better soil conservation and environmental sustainability. However, it doesn’t provide the kind of broad picture now possible through digital soil mapping based on greater computational power and availability of environmental data.

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