The Technology Access Centre (TAC) for Livestock Production at Olds College, Olds, Alta., has moved from a funding announcement little more than a year ago to a full-fledged service under the umbrella of the college’s applied research arm, the Centre for Innovation.
TAC was established with a National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant under the council’s College and Community Innovation Program with the aim of connecting researchers and industry to help guide research and to take discoveries from the labs to commercial applications in the working world.
As Canada’s only TAC for Livestock Production, the Olds College TAC programs and services are available to producers and industry across the country.
“Our goal is to support research and development for the beef and sheep industries,” says Olds College TAC manager Shannon Argent. “We’re here to help producers, researchers, and small- to medium-agriculture enterprises gain access to applied-research experts and testing facilities to improve, test, and validate new technology and products.”
TAC has a strong focus on extension activities to put new technologies into producers’ hands. This involves traditional activities including webinars, hands-on training and seminars at the college, as well as new types of programming such as the project to offer grants and consultations for producers on the use of Delta Genomics’ new EnVigour HX test for parentage and breed composition analyses.
Integrating students with TAC projects gives them an opportunity to learn about and work with new technologies.
The TAC team has access to Olds College’s established livestock and beef facilities and labs to support an array of applied research services. One example is the ongoing residual-feed-intake testing with GrowSafe Systems feeders. The Canadian Hereford Association has bulls from Alberta and British Columbia on test and bulls from individual producers are scheduled to be tested this winter.
TAC is also working on feed and new hardware projects that address production efficiency, animal health and welfare issues, and environmental sustainability.
The Olds College TAC for Livestock Production joins TACs for dairy cattle, organic production and honey production as the only agriculture-related TACs. The grant of $325,000 per year for five years to support core operations is renewable after five successful years.