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National Centre Allows Study of Long-Term Impacts of Agricultural Practices
Dr. Karin Wittenberg - University of Manitoba

Farmscape for May 6, 2010   (Episode 3420)

The acting dean of the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences says the establishment of National Centre for Livestock and the Environment has allowed researchers to examine the long-term impacts of agricultural practices.

The National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, located at the University of Manitoba's Glenlea Research Station, engages in multidisciplinary research partnerships and conducts applied and basic science research as well as social science research.

Dr. Karin Wittenberg, the acting dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says the establishment of NCLE has allowed researchers to study the whole farm ecosystem.

Clip-Dr. Karin Wittenberg-University of Manitoba:
We're able to take a look at the net benefit of production practices.

People in Manitoba in particular are very concerned about water quality and nutrients entering into the water causing a deterioration of quality.

We're able to look at nutrients coming into a farm ecosystem that has animals and how efficiently they're used and how we can maybe improve on their utilization.

The same holds true for looking at organisms that may be pathogenic to animals and humans, zoonotic organisms, organisms that may not be pathogenic to animals but may be pathogenic to humans, to be able to study how they move in the environment and how our management practices influence both their movement and survival is important if we want to enhance our food safety programs.

So the National Centre gives us the infrastructure to look at things from a whole farm, farm ecosystem perspective.

It also allows us to look at things over time.

Dr. Wittenberg says, while short-term studies provide a snapshot, when we talk about ecosystems we're talking about long-term responses to practices.

She says if we want sustainable practices we need to be able to study the long term and the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment allows us to do that.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council

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