Past Projects

Development of a respiratory vaccine for sheep (R15-1)

Applicant: University of Saskatchewan
Timeline: April 2015 to March 2018

  • to identify the causative infectious agents of acute septicaemia and pneumonia deaths in Canadian feeder lambs
  • to develop protective vaccines against these infectious agents to reduce morbidity and mortality losses

Article: Early research promising for new sheep respiratory vaccine

Sheep industry life cycle analysis (GF2 0510)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: August 2016 to October 2017

Access the final report for this project here. A summary of the project findings is available here.

  • conduct a streamlined life cycle assessment (LCA) of sheep production in Ontario to quantify its environmental impact and determine a baseline
  • identify priority areas for footrprint reduction
  • Assess potential reduction or incrase of different scenarios (i.e. production intensification, indoor housing, etc.)

 

Grading pilot project (GF2 0573)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: April 2017 to October 2017

  • Create an objective lamb conformation benchmark which industry performance can be monitored and measured going forward;
  • Prove that low cost and significant benefits are achievable through the grading of lamb;
  • Establish a robust system for feeding market signals back to producers and OSF, with information on which they can base flock and business management decisions;
  • Produce an indicative retail grading grid and pricing formula that can be promoted to industry, which individual processors could modify to suit specific target markets;
  • Quantify the finanical implications incurred by the processor and producers when lambs fall outside of parameters established during the project.

Executive summary - Exploratory Ontario lamb grading study

Captive bolt euthanasia training courses for sheep and goat producers (GF2 0441)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: August 2016 to October 2017

  • provided producers with information on how to make the decision to euthanize a sheep/goat
  • acceptable and unacceptable methods of euthanasia
  • additional requirements when using a captive bolt (secondary steps)
  • how to safely use a captive bolt
  • how to properly maintain a captive bolt pistol
  • opportunity to practice on sheep and/or goat heads (visualize external landmarks specific to the species, bolt penetration within the skull)
  • producers developed flock/herd specific euthanasia action plan
Piloting sheep flock health clubs (GF2 0470)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: October 2016 to October 2017

  • pilot the concept of sheep flock health clubs across Ontario
  • aim to prove the benefits of sheep flock health clubs to strengthen the sheep producer-veterinarian relationship and its impact on farm productivity and profitability
  • veterinary faciliated discussion groups provide producers with access to cost-effective veterinary advice, produce a steady income for veterinarians via monthly club subscriptions, and create further opportunities for veterinarians to work on sheep farms
  • sheep flock health clubs aim to provide knowledge transfer regarding health and productivity of Ontario sheep farms
  • sheep flock health clubs aim to improve sheep health by improving disease prevention, recognition and appropriate treatement of common diseases, and provide strong relationship with a veterinarian when new or emerging diseases occur
  • productivity will improve by better tracking, analysis, and benchmarking of important productivity data on each farm - and participating in facilitated group discussion on how to improve

Articles:
Piloting sheep flock health clubs in Ontario

Sheep flock health club pilot project a success

Nutritional value and integration of hybrid willow and poplar as fodder for sheep (R15-4)

Applicant: Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
Timeline: May 215 to March 2017

  • determine growth and yield of hybrid poplar/willow and native tree growth with and without livestock integration
  • determine preferences of sheep fodder varieties/tree species
  • determine body condition score and weight changes when sheep are provided a high fodder diet
  • investigate practical applications of fodder crops as alternative feed (windrows, alleys)
  • determine economic attractiveness of perennial fodder as alternative feed of sheep through cost benefit analysis

Article:
Nutritional value and integration of hybrid willow and poplar as fodder for sheep

Price predictability tool (GF2 0180)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: June 2015 to March 2017

You can access the tool developed here.

  • to build a web-based price predictability tool that can be used to forecast lamb prices
  • resource will provide decision-making information in light of significant increases in price volatility and will act as a market risk mitigation tool

Article:
Price predictability tool available for sheep prices

Growth strategy

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: February 2016 to February 2017

  • to develop a comprehensive picture of the econoic and financial health of the sheep, lamb, and wool industry in Ontario, including the development of metrics and data collection to conduct the required analysis to strategically allocate resources to maximize industry growth and profitability

Article:
EweGROW: developing a road map to increase the competitiveness of the Ontario sheep industry

Development of sheep welfare videos (GF2 0352)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: September 2015 to December 2016

You can view the videos by visiting Ontario Sheep Farmers YouTube channel.

  • to produce a series of innovative consumer-facing videos on animal welfare regarding the Ontario sheep industry
  • These five minute videos are designed to cover animal care and handling procedures and provide consumers with information on how sheep in the province are cared for, and will be aligned with the national Code of Practice for sheep
Maedi-Visna in sheep and potential interaction with Mycobacterium avium spp. Paratuberculosis (MAP) (OFIP 0007)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: September 2013 to September 2015

  • investigate the prevalence of Maedi Visna Virus (MVV) and MAP co-infection in Ontario sheep flocks
  • investigate how MVV and MAP infection and co-infection alters the host immune response
Report:

Immune responses to Maedi-Visna infection
Articles:
Understanding Maedi-Visna
Identifying infection, improving flock health and increasing profits

Seasonal anestrous ewes bred to a novel estrus synchronization protocol for timed AI (R122-3)

Applicant: David Barret, Dalhousie University, Truro, NS
Timeline: January 2013 to December 2015

  • to examine a novel synchronization breeding protocol for sheep
  • test the efficacy of the synchronization protocol for timed AI

Articles:

Pregnancy and lambing rates in seasonally anestrous ewes
Update on pregnancy and lambing rates

Development of Master Shepherd Program (GF2 0011)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: November 2013 to October 2015

  • Develop a master shepherd education program for commercially-minded lamb producers wishing to expand their production and business management skill base
  • include the development of the education material and delivery of a pilot program

Articles:
Ontario Master Shepherd's Course update (June 2014)
You're not too late (September 2014)
The Master Shepherd's Course continues (March 2015)
The Master Shepherd's Course 2014: my perspective
Increasing productivity of triplet lambs: paper and article

Preliminary investigation into ewe feed efficiency (OFIP 0063)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: October 2013 to August 2015

  • to give sheep farmers information on feed use and efficiency of ewe of varying mature body size
  • sheep farmers need to know what impact breeding for small, medium or large frame ewes has on overall farm feed use and efficiency

Read the final report for this project here.

Alternative feeds (GF2 0410)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: August 2014 to July 2015

  • to compare intake, growth performance, feed use efficiency, carcass measurements, and meat quality analysis of lambs fed corn cob meal versus traditional feeds

Article:
Feeding options for market lambs

Effect of targeted selective deworming at lambing on Haemonchus burdens on Ontario sheep farms with anthelmintic resistance (R12-1) 

Applicant: Andrew Peregrine, University of Guelph
Timeline: May 2012 to April 2015

  • to determine the efficacy of closantel against invermectin and fenbendazole-resistant Haemonchus in sheep
  • to determine if selective treatment of ewes at lambing with closantel has the same impact on farm parasite burdens as whole flock treatment with closantel at that time

Article:
Evaluating a novel dewormer and strategies to help control drug-resistant Haemonchus in sheep

Understanding ethnic market opportunities for veal, goat, lamb and rabbit (GF2 0088)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: January 2014 to January 2015

  • to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with various consumer segments
  • insight into market penetration of meat products and assess future potential of targeted ethnic communities
  • insight into shopping patterns, consumption behaviour, factors impacting meal selection and price sensitivities related to product attributes

Article:
New Canadians prefer the taste of Ontario meats

OSMA benchmarking project (AMI 042)

Applicant: Ontario Sheep Farmers
Timeline: September 2011 to January 2013

  • To continue to collect data for a third year
  • to produce an economics workbook for annual lambing; an accelerated lambing workbook was previously produced.

Results:
Five key performance indicators were found as a result of this project. You can access the full report here.

  1. A flock large enough to capture efficiencies of scale and selected for ewes that have multiple lambs and the ability to raise them is key to profitability.
  2. Pasture systems and total flock feed use from pasture is important for profitability in Ontario sheep flocks.
  3. Lambing frequency and timing are crucial. Cost control appropriate to system is integral to profitability.
  4. Use of genetic and performance data for replacement selection.
  5. Use of time on higher level management tasks versus hands on farming tasks. 

Presentations: