Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Poultry production worldwide has tripled in the past 20 years with the global chicken flock estimated to be 22.7 billion birds. It's predicted that expansion, particularly in Africa and Asia, will continue for the next 30 years.
In Canada, the poultry and egg market generated $4.2B in 2018, as well as nearly $60M in exports to 15 countries in 2019. While the demand for Canadian poultry products will continue to grow, the industry still faces devastating flock loss due to infection by pathological agents resulting in reduced welfare of birds, production losses, increased mortality, and increase contamination of poultry products for human consumption.
The primary cause of flock loss in Alberta's poultry industry is mortality from enteric infection, resulting in a global economic loss of $6.5B CAD annually.
What benefits can Alberta producers expect from this research?
An effective, inexpensive vaccine is needed to reduce economic loss to the poultry industry. This research will develop a plant-derived multicomponent vaccine against coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis, two primary poultry diseases.
There is currently a lack of inexpensive, effective vaccines for coccidiosis and nectrotic enteritis given the poultry industry's increasing restrictions on anti-coccidial drug and antibiotic use.
This project will provide poultry producers an inexpensive vaccine product for small or mass vaccination programs; will improve meat quality for consumers at a reduced cost, free of antibiotics; will decrease the prevalence of poultry diseases; will provide the opportunity for this technology to be applied to other poultry diseases; and will provide an opportunity for sustainable systems to benefit the Alberta cropping sector.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Research results will be shared with partners and producers through meetings, discussions, reports, and publications.