The University of Saskatchewan has announced a five-year partnership and $250,000 contribution from pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. that will support advancements in innovation and leadership at the university's Livestock & Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).
The partnership will support cow/calf research and critical data collection to improve animal safety and animal handling techniques at the newly named Boehringer Ingelheim Cattle Handling & Teaching Unit, the university said. The company will also provide LFCE with technical expertise related to research protocol review and research modernization in the areas of pain management, animal well-being and disease prevention.
“We are grateful for Boehringer Ingelheim’s investment in the innovative work of this unique-in-Canada collaborative research and training centre,” University of Saskatchewan vice president research Karen Chad said. “It’s a sign of how important this new multidisciplinary center is to the entire livestock production chain and, ultimately, to the end consumer as we work with our many partners to advance sustainable cattle production through research.”
The Boehringer Ingelheim Cattle Handling & Teaching Unit is part of LFCE’s Forage & Cow/Calf Research & Teaching Unit located south of Clavet, Sask., and plays a pivotal role in cow/calf research and education, LFCE director Kris Ringwall said.
“All research is tied to data,” Ringwall said. “Every year, data on hundreds of cows and calves will be collected using the equipment in this multipurpose unit. That data will then be used to improve cow/calf operations in Saskatchewan and beyond.”
The cattle handling area is equipped with a hydraulic alley and handling chute designed to minimize the need for people to move the cattle through the chute, the announcement said.
This improves safety for the animals as well as for the researchers, students and animal technicians, Ringwall said, noting that university students will also learn proper animal handling techniques through observation and hands-on experience.
Every animal at the cow/calf unit will, at one point, be evaluated using this equipment. This system will allow for weighing, examination, sample collection, vaccinations and treatments. In addition, if a bull, cow or calf is sick, it will be moved into this area so a University of Saskatchewan veterinarian can examine the animal.
The $38 million LFCE, which officially opened last fall, is a partnership among the University of Saskatchewan, the livestock and forage industries and the governments of Saskatchewan and Canada.
“We are proud to support the Livestock & Forage Centre of Excellence and what it represents for the future of agriculture,” Boehringer Ingelheim Canada executive director of animal health Susan Blair said. "Through the development of future leaders and advancements in research into animal welfare and disease prevention, the LFCE will help meet the needs of Canadian producers and consumers while also benefitting the global agriculture industry.”
LFCE encompasses all aspects of beef cattle research into one entity, providing researchers, faculty, students, industry and producers with a broad-based platform for research, teaching and extension activities. It brings together three distinct research units that link together the livestock and production chain: the Forage & Cow/Calf Research & Teaching Unit, the Beef Cattle Research & Teaching Unit near Clavet and the Goodale Farm located southeast of Saskatoon, Sask.
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