Attention researchers: SCAIDF and ABP call for research proposals

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Industry Development Fund (SCAIDF) and Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) have partnered on a call for proposals related to animal health and welfare, as well as forage and grassland productivity.

Their deadline is April 20, 2018. More information is available at

A separate call was issued earlier this month from SK ADF. More information on the SK ADF call can be found here:

How Castration Method and Age Affect Pain in Young Calves

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle requires that castration be performed by an experienced person who uses proper, clean, well-maintained equipment and accepted techniques. A producer is expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration, as well as the availability and advisability of pain control drugs for castrating beef cattle. Calves must be castrated as young as practically possible, and pain control is required when castrating bulls older than six months of age.

The requirement to use pain control in older calves was based on research demonstrating its effectiveness in feedlot bulls. A lot of information was also available regarding the use of pain drugs in baby dairy calves, but the beef producers and researchers on the Code committee felt that the vast differences in genetics, herd dynamics and familiarity with people meant that nursing beef calves may respond differently to castration than individually-housed dairy calves that had been weaned at birth. A research project funded by the Beef Science Cluster is helping to determine when pain control is beneficial in beef calves. As a first step, students working with Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein (AAFC Lethbridge) and Ed Pajor (University of Calgary) examined how Continue reading

Planting corn this spring for your cattle to graze later? Here are 10 corn planting tips

It will soon be time to start thinking about next year’s winter feed. If you plan to graze your cows on corn next fall or winter, consider these recommendations on planting corn for grazing purposes from Breeanna Kelln, a PhD student at the Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC) who also ranches near Duval, SK, and Dr. Bart Lardner, Senior Research Scientist at the WBDC:

1. First time? Start small
Corn is a high input crop. It requires more time and inputs at the beginning of the growing season than cereals used for grazing. Kelln says there is a learning curve for both the producer and the cattle, especially for cattle who have never been exposed to extended grazing. Lardner recommends Continue reading

Costs of siring calves: artificial insemination compared to natural service

As the breeding season approaches, some producers will consider using artificial insemination (AI) and estrous synchronization in their breeding herd; others will not because of the extra time, labour and management required in an AI program, the perceived costs of implementing AI, or they are unaware of the potential advantages of AI.

In this article, we will review economic analysis that compares the costs and benefits of fixed-time AI and natural service and discuss how recent changes in breeding bull and butcher bull prices affect the cost of breeding programs. We will also look at a recent study that addresses the question of how many clean-up bulls are needed in a fixed-time AI program.

Economic Benefits and Hurdles of Using Fixed-Time AI

Compared to natural service, an obvious potential advantage of fixed time AI is to have more calves born in the first 21 days of the calving season, which allows producers to market larger, more uniform groups of calves. Some studies have shown as much as a 10 to 17 day calf age advantage and 20 to 44 lbs more per calf at weaning as a result of estrous synchronization (Johnson and Chenoweth). Despite the extra costs of an AI program , fixed-time AI is estimated to have a net benefit of $11,110 for a 40-cow herd compared to natural service because of improved conception and wean rates, as well as heavier weaning weights (Lardner et al., 2015). Continue reading

Attention researchers: SK ADF Call for Letters of Intent

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI’s) for research funding under the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). 

Their deadline is April 16, 2018. More information is available at

When requesting funding, researchers are encouraged to refer to the priorities and target research outcomes in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy.

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Industry Development Fund (SCAIDF) will issue a separate call for proposals in the coming weeks.

Intranasal vaccines are timely and effective

As he follows a proper vaccination program for his cow-herd, Ryan Beierbach also makes sure calves on his southeast Saskatchewan ranch are afforded the same protection. And for the past three years that program has also included early-season treatment with a nasal vaccine, followed later with coverage with injectable products.

It’s all about providing the best protection for calves against common diseases from the get-go, says Beierbach, who ranches near Whitewood, just west of the Manitoba border.

He administers a three-way intranasal vaccine to pasture-born calves at anywhere from two weeks to two-and-a-half months of age. As the herd is processed after May-June calving, usually in early July, all calves also receive an eight-way injectable clostridial vaccine, including tetanus. And then at fall weaning, they also are vaccinated against IBR and BVD. Beierbach believes in covering the bases.

“From the research I’ve seen, the nasal vaccines do a better job of providing immunity to the calf early on,” says Beierbach. “And from my observations, I believe I am seeing improved health in my calves.” Continue reading

Nominate an outstanding researcher by May 1

awardThe Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation is presented by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) each year to recognize a researcher or scientist whose work has contributed to advancements in the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry.

Nominations are welcome from all stakeholders of the Canadian beef industry and will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of beef producers, industry experts and retired beef-related researchers located across the country.

Nominations will be kept on file and re-considered for up to two additional years. In such cases, the nominator will be contacted each year and given the opportunity to revise the nomination.

To be eligible, nominees must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants actively involved in research of benefit to the Canadian beef industry within the past 5 years. Benefit to the industry must be evident in a strong research program aligned with industry priorities, a demonstrated passion and long-term commitment through leadership, teamwork, and mentorship, involvement in ongoing education and training (where applicable), and active engagement with industry stakeholders.

Nominations for the 2018 award will be accepted until May 1, 2018.

The 2018 award will be presented at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August.

Past recipients of the Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation are:

Learn more and find the nomination form at

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The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council, list the website address,, and let us know you chose to share the article by emailing us at

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact us directly or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.

Don’t miss these upcoming beef events and deadlines

Organizations across the country are continually hosting events to give you an inside look at important research and offer practical advice on how to implement new technologies, improve productivity, prevent a wreck or save costs. These events are also a good opportunity to discuss how our industry is facing opportunities and challenges, and meet leading experts and other progressive cattle producers. Registration for many events are little or no cost to producers.

Visit our Events Calendar often to

  • view upcoming field days, seminars, conferences and other events in your area,
  • find out about online webinars to listen in on a live presentation right from your computer or phone,
  • be reminded of nomination, survey or application deadlines, and
  • discover related career opportunities in the beef and forage sectors.

Take a look at what’s happening in the next few months:

Continue reading

Applications open for the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program

Applications for the 2018-19 term of the BCRC Beef Researcher Mentorship Program are now being accepted.  The deadline to apply is May 1, 2018.

2017-18 mentorship program participants with BCRC staff and mentor Graeme Finne.

Three researchers were selected to participate in the program this past year. Each was paired with two mentors – an innovative producer and another industry expert – for a one year term (ending July 31, 2018). Each of the researchers have reported very successful and valuable experiences through the opportunities provided, including:
  • Establishing partnerships with industry and other researchers to further their research programs
  • Meeting several producers and industry leaders with whom they ask questions and have meaningful discussions about cattle production, beef quality and safety, and the Canadian beef value chain
  • Attending industry events and touring farms and ranches to better understand the impacts, practicalities and economics of adopting research results

The BCRC is excited to continue the program and invite applications from upcoming and new applied researchers in Canada whose studies are of value to the beef industry, such as cattle health and welfare, beef quality, food safety, genetics, feed efficiency, or forages. A new group of participants will begin their mentorships on August 1st.

The Beef Researcher Mentorship Program launched in August 2014 to facilitate greater engagement of upcoming and new applied researchers with Canada’s beef industry.

Learn more about the program and download an application form at:

Click here to subscribe to the BCRC Blog and receive email notifications when new content is posted.

The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council, list the website address,, and let us know you chose to share the article by emailing us at

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact us directly or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.

Continue reading

Tues. February 27th: Check-off Town Hall being held online

Each time you sell cattle in Canada, you pay a national check-off. If you want a better understanding about where your national check-off dollars are spent and the increase from $1/head to $2.50/head, join the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency’s online town hall on Tuesday, February 27th.

Note: if you registered for all upcoming BCRC webinars, you have not been registered for this webinar, because it is hosted by the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency, not the BCRC, so you need to click the link below to register for this webinar separately.  

We encourage beef producers from across the country to join this town hall webinar and ask questions live. Register here:


There will be two sessions on Tuesday, February 27th to accommodate producers across Canada:

  • 3:00pm – 4:30pm MST (2pm PST; 4pm CST; 5pm EST; 6pm AST)
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm MST (5pm PST; 7pm CST; 8pm EST; 9pm AST)

Continue reading