3 considerations to maintain good rumen health

6fp1727To optimize productivity and prevent sickness, management of rumen health is important on operations from cow-calf through to feedlot. The rumen is full of a diverse group of bacteria that break down fibre and help with digestion. To maintain rumen health, the bacterial population needs to be diverse and able to effectively break down feed.

When pH levels in the rumen drop too far, fibre digestion decreases, nutrient absorption is reduced, and the lining of the rumen is damaged. Acidosis also leaves cattle more susceptible to disease.

The number one key to maintaining a healthy microbial population is to ensure a constant dry matter and nutrient supply to the rumen, but of course this is easier said than done. Cattle inevitably vary their dietary intake when they are calving, being transported, are sick or hunkered down in storms.

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Canadian beef industry works to sustainably increase production with renewed research targets

December 1, 2016

Canada has an opportunity to play a leading role in meeting rising global food production needs responsibly through investments in agriculture research across a variety of disciplines. Today the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and the national Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) released a strategy to achieve high priority beef research objectives that support increasing productivity while remaining environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The new Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy will support the industry’s ability to manage challenges and sustainably supply demand. This strategy builds upon the success of the 2012-2018 National Beef Research Strategy. The new strategy’s research objectives are to be captured by 2023.

“With a growing global population that desires beef, research and innovation is critical to Continue reading

Attention researchers: LOI deadline six weeks away

CORRECTION: This blog post was mistakenly published with the headline “less than two weeks away”. Be assured that the LOI deadline is indeed January 13, 2017. Apologies for the confusion!

In preparation for the third Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster, the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) announced in mid-November that they invite researchers to submit letters of intent (LOIs).

Researchers should refer to the BCRC’s priority research outcomes before deciding to submit a LOI.

LOIs must be must be submitted no later than January 13, 2017 at 11:59 PM MT in electronic format using the BCRC’s Letter of Intent form. Researchers will be notified by February 15, 2017 if they have been invited to submit a full proposal.  Continue reading

Tips to improve calf health this calving season

We know that disease causing agents are present in beef cattle herds, even when the most careful biosecurity procedures are followed. In general, basic management of calves and calving groups will play a greater role in whether or not calves get sick than the presence or absence of most disease causing pathogens.

During a webinar hosted by the BCRC in 2015, Dr. Claire Windeyer, veterinarian, professor and researcher at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, discussed management during the calving season that can lead to healthier and more productive calves. During the webinar, she provided numerous tips on how to manage both cows and calves to reduce disease incidence and increase calf survival rate.

Here are three highlights from that webinar, followed by the full recording: Continue reading

Reminder: swath and bale grazing strategies webinar tomorrow

Don’t forget to register for our webinar on swath and bale grazing strategies. By registering you can watch it live tomorrow or view the recording later at your convenience. Remember, this webinar will be held at 7:00 EST

Door Prize! Producers that attend this webinar will be entered to win a copy of Cool Forages: Advanced management of temperate forages ($60 value).


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Non-O157 STEC

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

CCM_NOV16There are between 50,000 and 100,000 different serotypes (strains) of E. coli. Most are harmless, some may be beneficial, but some produce a very dangerous Shiga toxin. Shiga toxigenic E. coli (STEC) can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain in people. E. coli O157:H7 is the most well-known STEC, but it is not the only one.

All STEC’s carry at least one stx gene coding for the Shiga toxin, an eae gene coding for a protein that helps E. coli attach to the intestinal surface, and a wzx gene that codes for an “O” antigen. All three of those genes must be present in the E. coli cell for it to be a STEC.

Food safety risks due to E. coli O157:H7 are well known, and the beef industry has made great progress in controlling it. Non-O157 STEC infections are rarer, but in 2011 Continue reading

Attention Researchers: BCRC Opens Call for Letters of Intent

In preparation for the third Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster, the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is now inviting researchers to submit letters of intent.

What is the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster?

The BCRC developed the first and second Beef Cattle Industry Science Clusters under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward Strategy.

The first Cluster was a four year initiative (April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2013). Industry and government funding commitments through the first Cluster totaled $10.5 million directed to 32 research projects. The research activities involved 51 lead researchers at seven federal sites and five universities in six provinces, in addition to Continue reading

Results of the Beef Research Priority Survey

How Your Input is Influencing Future Research

Earlier this year the BCRC developed an online Beef Research Priority Survey. The Survey asked participants to rate the importance of research issues listed in the 2012 National Beef Research Strategy.

We were very pleased to receive over 500 responses.

Over half of the respondents were producers. Most were cow-calf producers (49%), with smaller numbers of seedstock breeders (5%) and feedlot operators (4%). Other responses came from veterinarians, researchers, abattoir staff, government staff and industry staff.

Every province was represented. More producer responses came from western (85%) than central and eastern Canada (15%). Nearly half of the responses were from producers 40 years of age or younger. This indicates that the producers who responded to the survey are more likely those looking forward to a long future in the beef industry.

We sifted through all of the responses in detail with greater focus on the responses provided by producers, as well as veterinarians’ responses where appropriate (e.g. animal health, welfare and antimicrobial issues). We paid special attention to issues that were identified as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important by at least 75% of producers and vets, as well as issues that were rarely rated as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important. We also compared responses between eastern and western Canada for issues where geography may be expected to play an important role (e.g. forage and feed grain issues).

Here’s what you told us… Continue reading