Research at the Arkell Swine Research Facility

The following is a list of current projects at the Arkell Swine Research Facility. Note that some projects may remain unlisted if they are protected intellectual property.

If you have any questions about ongoing research at the research station please email researchstation.info@uoguelph.ca.

Update regarding COVID-19

The Alliance is committed to ensuring the health and safety of staff, animals, researchers and the community. We are following guidance set out by the University of Guelph’s Office of Research with respect to biosecurity and research activities during COVID-19. Please keep in mind the status of projects may change as the response to this pandemic evolves.

Current research studies

Click to see a summary of each project.

Research summary
Objective To determine the effects of the maternal microbiome on piglet microbiome, growth performance and health. 
Benefit to Agri-food This research will protect piglets from disease by contributing to the future development of synthetic microbial communities as an alternative to antibiotics. In turn, this could reduce production losses, antibiotic use and drug resistance, and improve piglets’ ability to use nutrients from their food.
Research summary
Objective To investigate potential ingredients (prebiotics and feed enzymes) as an alternative to dietary antibiotic supplementation using growth performance, changes in intestinal structure and function, and gut microbiota activity as evaluation markers.  
Benefit to Agri-food

Results will provide information about whether prebiotics and feed enzymes could be used in pig production as an alternative to antibiotics, potentially leading to commercial development of feed supplements.

Research summary
Objective

To determine whether feeding programs that aim to restrict young female pig growth from 90 days of age until puberty affect milk production.

Benefit to Agri-food

Rapid growth of young animals is associated with increased incidence of lameness or muscular skeletal problems. This project will provide insight into how feeding programs designed to slow growth of replacement gilts affect mammary development and subsequent milk production.

Research summary
Objective To 1) determine whether gut damage from a simple diet is associated with streptococcus suis (i.e., a bacterial infection) in nursery pigs; 2) determine whether changes in nursery pig diets can reduce gut inflammation and prevent streptococcal meningitis; and 3) determine the impact of providing amino acids in pig diets with differing protein and fibre content on streptococcus suis infection.
Benefit to Agri-food This project will provide a better understanding of the effects of nursery diet ingredients combined with amino acids on streptococcus suis infection in pigs, ultimately leading to healthier animals and reduced antibiotic use.
Research summary
Objective To 1) determine the ability of pigs to digest protein from different insect sources; 2) evaluate the effects of insect products on E. coli infection and gut health; 3) evaluate insect protein in weanling pig diets on growth performance; and 4) conduct a cost-benefit analysis and examine the environmental impact of including insect proteins in weanling pig diets.
Benefit to Agri-food This study will investigate how the inclusion of insect products into the diets of newly weaned pigs affects pig growth performance. This study will also determine whether including insect products is economically possible for farmers.
Research summary
Objective

To determine the effects of liquid vs. pellet feed for weaning piglets on: 1) maternal and piglet body weight change and feed intake during lactation; and 2) pig growth performance, feed intake, gut development and immune system health after weaning when fed simple or complex post-weaning diets, and to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of feeding weaning piglets vs. changing diet complexity after weaning.

Benefit to Agri-food This project aims to address the post-weaning growth lag in piglets by providing information about pre- and post-weaning nutrition strategies. Results could reduce reliance on in-feed antimicrobials and expensive post-weaning diets.