National Centre for Livestock and the Environment (NCLE)

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
What the facility does

Research on long term sustainability of integrated livestock and crop production systems

Areas of expertise

The National Centre for Livestock and the Environment’s (NCLE) research mandate is to further the economic and environmental sustainability of integrated livestock and crop production through multidisciplinary whole-systems-based research. To achieve systems level solutions in integrated livestock production, collaborative research teams come together to investigate multiple issues within a single project.

Within this “whole system” framework, NCLE researchers investigate farm productivity and viability, environmental stewardship, food quality and safety and efficient energy and water use.

Research areas:

  • Animal care - health, welfare, production, management, nutrition
  • Manure and by-products - manure handling, storage, processing, value-added projects
  • Land, air and water - crop management, greenhouse gases, nutrient management, soil ecology, etc.
  • Systems modelling involves modelling agriculture production systems
  • Agriculture and society - human health, human perceptions, economics, agriculture policy
Research services

Facilities and equipment can be used in collaborative or contract research on a fee-for-use basis. The database and sample archive is available for collaborative investigations.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Manufacturing and processing

Specialized facility 



National Centre for Livestock and the Environment

Crop and livestock production facilities/equipment and laboratory infrastructure

Enables investigations of whole integrated agricultural systems, including interactions within/across system components

Swine Research Facility (130 sow farrow-to-finish unit)


Electronic feeders for individual sow feed-intake, slatted concrete floors, mix of group and pen housing; viewing windows via attached Public Outreach Centre

Designed for commercial scale investigations on animal housing/environment and behaviour, productivity and wellbeing 

Cattle/Forage Research Facilities


Small-scale drylot pens equipped with electronic individual feed-intake monitoring feeding stations

For detailed individual animal monitoring and measurements; comparisons with extensive (pasture-based) management systems

Manure and Agricultural By-Products Storage, Handling and Processing Facility

Centrifugal separator, composting equipment, portable automated greenhouse-gas sampling equipment

For bio by-products processing and treatment to add value and create innovative new products from these waste streams

Manure Storage and Handling Facilities

Solid- and liquid-manure storage, handling and field application equipment; large-capacity weigh scale

For whole systems investigations that include role of manure in mitigation of nutrients, greenhouse gases, pathogens, etc

Feed Processing Research Facility


Mixing based on one-tonne vertical mixer, hammer and roller mills, with space for pilot-scale processing technologies

Capacity for small-batch diet formulation

Trace Gas Manitoba (TGAS MAN) Greenhouse Gas Field Emission Site

Western Canada’s only continuous field-scale greenhouse gases measurement site. Includes weather environment monitoring equipment.

Continuous N2O, CH4, CO2 flux, air temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar flux, wind speed, soil temperature to 100 cm, soil moisture

Long-Term Manure and Crop Management Field Laboratory

17 hectare long-term field laboratory site established in 2007 consists of 2 crop rotations, 6 manure treatments, with select treatment plots split in 2015 to accommodate additional fertility treatments

Designed for drop-in studies within the existing study design. Includes access to soil, manure and plant sample archive.

NCLE Long-Term Sample and Data Archive

>10,000 catalogued and archived samples (2008-2017): plant tissue and soil (dried and ground), manure (fresh frozen -80˚C, freeze dried), DNA (fresh frozen -80˚C)

Database of >50,000 sample analysis values (2007-2017): seed and biomass yield; plant tissue, soil and manure nutrients, select soil physical and chemical properties

Long-term data bank allows for collaboration and data-sharing opportunities. Includes analyses data and stored samples.

Olfactometry Laboratory

A multi-station olfactometer

For use by trained human assessors as well as for training of new assessors.

Gut Microbiome and Large Animal Biosecure Laboratories

Advanced microbiome research facility includes Level II containment infrastructures and large animal rooms

For microbiome research on farm animals. Can also run preclinical trials using animals as a model for human diseases.

  • Manitoba Egg Farmers

  • Dairy Farmers of Manitoba

  • Manitoba Pork Council

  • Swine Innovation Porc

  • Canadian Poultry Research Council

  • Manitoba Beef Producers

  • Beef Cattle Research Council

  • Canola Council of Canada

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

  • Canadian Agricultural Partnership

  • Ag Action Manitoba

  • MITACS Manitoba



University of Manitoba ResearchLIFE, 2011, page 25