Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Benefits of On-Farm Research

Research shouldn't be restricted to a lab or research facility. Anybody can ask the question "Why?"

On-farm research is all about asking questions that relate to your farm and seeking answers that are meaningful to you. It's about using your genetics, your environment, your health status, your management style, your feed and inputs, to find solutions to real life challenges or issues.

On-farm research is a process that has benefits beyond the findings of a particular trial. Conducting your own on-farm trials will sharpen your observational skills, improve your ability to assess the applicability of advice or new ideas, increase your ability to think "outside the box",  and give you confidence to make changes on your farm.

At Perennia, specialists in various commodities actively work with producers to help design trials  that are cost effective and practical, to find meaningful results. Specialists can provide useful background information, serve as a resource throughout the project, assist in compiling the data, and produce a straightforward report that you can use yourself and share with other farms.

The following links to "Questions from the Farm" will give you some great examples of how real life farm questions were answered by on-farm research. If you have a question that might be answered by an on-farm trial, and want assistance getting it set up, feel free to call me!

    Is there a therapeutic role for kelp meal on an AD positive mink farm? 
    Creating the optimal potting mix 
    Where are the soil nutrients after fall incorporated manure?

Friday, August 9, 2013

National Farm Level Mink Biosecurity Standard

The National Farm Level Mink Biosecurity Standard was developed over the past 2 years through a collaborative approach between CMBA, ALC, NAFA and CFIA with input from academia, AAFC and various industry and commodity groups.

This voluntary Standard establishes guidelines for various management activities that can affect animal health such as water and feed quality, bedding, sanitation practices, quarantine practices, pest control, employee training, fencing, farm access and more. The resulting Standard, Producer's Guide and Pocket Guide are tremendous tools for helping mink producers develop or enhance on-farm biosecurity protocols for their individual operations.

Copies of the Standard, Producer's Guide, and Pocket Guide were sent to individual mink producers across Canada. If you didn't receive one, additional copies are available  from CMBA or from CFIA.

For assistance developing or improving your farm's biosecurity plans, feel free to contact me.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Mink Feed Odours

Feeding mink is a tremendous way to recycle food processing wastes otherwise destined for the land fill or compost facility. Because mink are carnivores, 80-85% of their diets is composed of the unsalable by-products from fish and poultry processing, slaughter plants, cheese and egg processing, etc. In NS, hundreds of thousands of pounds of this waste is recycled by farmed mink every year to produce a much sought after commodity.

Fresh mink feed is only 35-40 % dry matter. Under certain conditions, the odours emanating from the feed can be pungent. A recent study by Perennia staff working with a NS mink rancher and a local feed kitchen, attempted to identify the odour active compounds in mink feed and various feed additives to help prevent or reduce odours from being produced.

The following link will give you the results of the study: Volatile Organic Compound release from Mink feed

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NFAAC Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Mink now available

The new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Mink is now available. The 2013 edition, developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) replaces the 1988 version, developed and published by Agriculture Canada.

These Codes of Practice are national developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. Codes promote sound management and welfare practices for housing, care, transportation and other animal husbandry practices. ( NFAAC, 2013)
Ranchers are encouraged to familiarize themselves and their employees with the updated codes. For more information, contact:   

Canada Mink Breeders Association
65 Skyway Ave Suite B, Rexdale, ON M9W 6C7 CANADA
Telephone: 416-675-9400
Fax: 416-675-9401
Email: cmba@ica.net

For information on the Code of Practice development process contact:
National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)
Website: www.nfacc.ca


Biosecurity Resources

With increased pressure on mink ranches in preventing the spread of Aleutian Disease, biosecurity is becoming a hot topic. However, biosecurity is just as important in preventing infection and spread of other infections agents, not just the AD virus.  
Two excellent resources are available on-line for mink ranchers and other livestock owners.
Biosecurity Nova Scotia provides an overview of biosecurity principles as well as Standard Operating Protocols (SOP’s) to help implement an effective program on your farm
The  Virtual Farm   demonstrates an effective program in words, pictures and videos.

For more information, contact Perennia to chat with a specialist.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mink Waste Management Newsletter

The first edition of the Mink Waste Management Newsletter is an attempt to keep all interested parties up to date with progress being made to tackle various waste management issues in the mink industry in Nova Scotia.

You can check it out at: Mink Newsletter

Friday, March 15, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mink Manure: Compost and the AD virus

One of the burning questions about the AD virus has been whether or not composting can effectively inactivate the virus. Attached are links to 3 more AD articles, this time focussing specifically on composting and the temperatures required to inactivate this persistent virus.




Monday, February 18, 2013

Biosecurity Workshop for Mink Industry Service Providers

On Feb. 28, 2013, Perennia is presenting a workshop on Biosecurity to the  companies and individuals who provide supplies and services to the mink industry in Nova Scotia. Anyone who goes farm to farm to work with mink ranchers is invited to attend. See the attached invitation for more information:


More AD fact sheets

Links to two more interesting AD research fact sheets from Dr. Hossain Farid, Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University:

Monday, February 11, 2013

AD Research Program in Nova Scotia

The Aleutian Disease Research Program in Nova Scotia was established to find solutions to the issues associated with Aleutian Disease. The program’s goal is to improve health and welfare of mink and reduce production costs by protecting animals against the AD virus. The research board and management team are dedicated to developing scientific tools and technologies for the detection and control of ADV that will be practical and doable by the industry. Because the research is genetic in nature, it will take place over a period of years.
The AD Research Center facility became operational in 2009 and several useful tools/technologies have come from the research already. Over the next few weeks, I will be adding Fact Sheets written by the lead research scientist on the project, Dr. Hossain Farid, Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University.  

Links to the first two are here. Stay tuned for more.