Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Calf scours is one of the major causes of neonatal deaths and a major contributor of the therapeutic and preventative use of antimicrobials in the cattle industry. With the federal regulations to control in-feed antimicrobials use in livestock and growing consumer awareness of antimicrobial resistance, the industry must adopt sustainable alternatives to increase host resilience to early life enteric infections in calves. Prebiotics and probiotics are in the forefront of the potential alternatives of antimicrobials, yet there are no effective products available, currently.
This study hypothesizes that supplementation of bovine-derived probiotics or prebiotics to creating a gut environment favouring the colonization of bifidobacteria in neonatal calves can improve host resilience to viral infection. Researchers will investigate the efficacy of a commercial resistant starch product and bovine-derived bifidobacteria during Rotavirus infection in neonatal calves that experienced a failure of passive transfer of immunity due to limited colostrum feeding.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
This research aims to evaluate approaches to adopt prebiotic products that have been successfully used in humans and monogastric livestock animals to improve health. Identifying an effective early life interventions will benefit the dairy industry significantly and such a product can be applied to the beef industry as well.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Findings will be presented at various conferences and events, including the ADSA or ASAS-CSAS Annual conference, Western Dairy Nutrition Conference, Alberta Milk and Alberta Beef Producers Annual meetings. Results will also be showcased to stakeholders annually through Livestock Gentec. 2-3 research papers will be published in scientific journals, and newsletters and articles will also be shared in various newsletters and on industry websites.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.