Exploring Data Collection at Ontario’s Livestock Research Centres

This blog post marks the beginning of a series exploring the invaluable data collected at livestock research centres owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by the University of Guelph through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. These centres are instrumental in advancing agricultural knowledge and practice, boasting remarkable infrastructure for research data collection.


The Alliance itself is a visionary initiative that brings together industry experts, researchers, and farmers, uniting their efforts to collaboratively collect crucial data that drives ground-breaking solutions for the future of food production. Operating through state-of-the-art research centres across Ontario, researchers can leverage cutting-edge technology to gather and analyze data, thereby addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting the agricultural industry today.


Ontario Dairy Research Centre (Elora)

The Ontario Dairy Research Centre, located in Elora, is the cornerstone for dairy-related research in Ontario. This facility is not only dedicated to pioneering solutions and innovations within the dairy industry but also boasts an impressive research capacity and flexibility. Researchers at this centre collect and analyze research data across various domains, including livestock health and welfare, genetics and genomics, livestock and human nutrition, management and technology, and product development. What sets this centre apart is its commitment to utilizing automated data collection methods, further enhancing its research capabilities, and making it a standout hub for advancing dairy-related research and driving innovation in the dairy industry.


Ontario Beef Research Centre (Elora and New Liskeard)

The Ontario Beef Research Centre operates in two locations, Elora and New Liskeard, where it conducts cutting-edge research with a strong focus on data collection. Their work has significantly improved livestock growth, efficiency, meat quality, and overall herd health. Research encompasses vital areas such as livestock health, nutrition, genetics, management, reproduction, and behavior. This commitment to comprehensive data collection plays a pivotal role in driving advancements and ensuring the continued success and sustainability of beef production.


Ontario Swine Research Centre (Elora)

The Ontario Swine Research Centre, located in Elora, represents an exciting development in swine-related research, as it has recently replaced the Arkell Swine Research Centre with a state-of-the-art facility. With a unique focus on swine health, welfare, nutrition, husbandry and breeding, this new centre builds upon the legacy of its predecessor. Researchers at this cutting-edge facility continues to employ innovative techniques and resources to address the challenges and opportunities within the swine industry, distinguishing it as a vital hub for advancing swine research and development.


Ontario Sheep Research Centre (Ponsonby)

The Ontario Sheep Research Centre, located in Ponsonby, stands out for its exceptional Specific Pathogen Free status, and it boasts as one of the highest-levels of pathogen-free sheep flocks in North America. Operating as a closed system, the facility strictly controls livestock movements, ensuring that once a sheep departs, it cannot return, thus safeguarding its superior health status. Researchers at the Ontario Sheep Research Centre routinely gather valuable data to drive advancements in sheep farming and health. This dual focus on maintaining top-tier flock health and contributing to the body of sheep-related research makes the centre a uniquely invaluable resource for the industry.


Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre (Alma)

The Ontario Aquaculture Research Centre, located in Alma, specializes in research areas critical to Ontario’s aquaculture sector, with a strong emphasis on comprehensive research data collection. These areas include breeding, genetics, culture methodology, fish health, nutrition, and waste management. The centre offers essential resources such as quarantine facilities for controlled importation of fish species, supporting pilot testing, scale-up research, and industry training. The quarantine unit’s successful introduction of new fish species to the Ontario aquaculture industry demonstrates its pivotal role in advancing aquaculture practices and data-driven innovations.


Ontario Poultry Research Centre (Arkell)

The Ontario Poultry Research Centre, located in Arkell, serves as a hub for comprehensive poultry-related research, with a strong emphasis on research data collection. This vibrant research environment encompasses a wide range of critical domains, including genetics, nutrition, reproduction, behavior, and housing for various poultry categories such as broilers, broiler breeders, pullets, laying hens, and turkeys. The centre’s active research initiatives not only address current industry challenges but also prioritize the collection and analysis of research data. This commitment to data-driven research plays a pivotal role in advancing poultry production methods, welfare, and sustainability, ensuring that the poultry industry remains at the forefront of innovation.


These research centres represent a true connection between research and innovation, so stay tuned as we delve deeper into their remarkable contributions to livestock and agri-food research.


Written by Lucas Alcantara