Bov-Innovation set for August 15th in London, ON

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is proud to co-host Bov-Innovation, an interactive, producer-oriented session that will take place during this summer’s Canadian Beef Industry Conference. The conference, in its third year, will be held in London, Ontario, at the London Convention Centre from August 14-16, 2018. The Canadian Beef Industry Conference is co-hosted annually by the BCRC, Canada Beef, Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC), and The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

Bov-Innovation is designed to engage both cow-calf and feedlot beef producers. Sessions are fast-paced yet full of tips, ideas, and concepts that producers can adopt on their farms immediately. Presenters include researchers who will explore the science behind best practices as well as industry leaders who will explain how they incorporate concepts to benefit cattle and ultimately the profitability on their beef operations. Topics are carefully chosen based on producer opinions and this year, two sessions will be offered:

  • Cross-Canada Cattle: Best transport practices” will include information from Derek Haley, PhD of the University of Guelph. Dr. Haley leads a research program on animal welfare and behaviour, and is currently exploring long-distance cattle transport. Feedlot operator Steve Eby from Kincardine, Ontario, will share his experience with shipping and receiving cattle, and will provide his insight for successful transport outcomes.
  • The Grass is Always Greener: Pasture infrastructure and management” will be moderated by Barry Potter, with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Barry has a special interest in beef production in northern Ontario and will facilitate presentations from beef producers Jason Desrochers and Tim Lehrbass, who are each farming in diverse regions of Ontario. Desrochers operates a cow-calf and backgrounding farm near Val Gagne in northern Ontario, and will explain how their farm overcomes land use challenges and converts marginal land into forage. Lehrbass farms in southern Ontario, near Alvinston, and will share grazing management strategies from his operation, which was recently recognized for excellence in forage management.

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Have You Rotated Your Breeds Lately?

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

Before becoming a politician and long before becoming a noted Western Canadian historian, Grant McEwan was an animal science professor at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1938, he and A.M. Shaw published “An Experiment in Beef Production in Western Canada” (Scientific Agriculture XIX:177-198), summarizing one of Canada’s first crossbreeding projects. Straightbred 2-year old Angus, Shorthorn, Galloway and Hereford cows (40 each) were pastured year-round on the Matador community pasture in southwestern Saskatchewan and bred to Angus (1930), Hereford (1931), Shorthorn (1932) and Galloway bulls (1933). As a result, each calf crop had 25% straightbred and 75% F1 crossbred calves. The calves were finished for slaughter at the university feedlot in Saskatoon. Crossbred calves averaged 3% higher Continue reading

Maintaining momentum during the breeding season

Reproductive wrecks can happen all at once or slowly over several years. With breeding season just around the corner, producers should be considering ways to maximize conception rates in their cow herds. Using fertile bulls is one part of the equation, but what about the reproductive management of cows? What are some strategies producers can use this season to make sure their cows are reaching their breeding potential?

John Campbell, DVM, from the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, shared his insight on boosting calf crop percentage and achieving reproductive goals during a BCRC webinar. Continue reading

Eight beef producers share their recent changes

Canadian beef producers appear to be keeping up with the often heard axiom “the only constant in life is change”. With that in mind, these eight beef producers from across the country talk about recent changes they’ve made or are making in their farming operations.

Some of the changes are management related, others are operational, some involve getting a broader perspective of expert advice, and another was about how to make a job simpler when you’re wearing your mitts.

They are fairly easy to moderate, sometimes major changes – even a series of relatively small tweaks — these producers are making in management and production practices that either improve their management skills, increase forage or beef production efficiency, or just increase their knowledge to ultimately help them achieve the bottom line goals — save time or money, reduce costs, increase returns, improve profitability.

TREVOR WELCH
GLASSVILLE, NB
Rotational grazing and forage stand improvements

Photo submitted by Trevor Welch

Trevor Welch has been developing a rotational grazing system on his western New Brunswick family farm over the past three years. Season long grazing was fairly successful with a small herd of beef cattle, but as he plans to expand the herd, he’s looking to increase the carrying capacity on a limited land base.

“We own most of our pasture land, and also rent some land as well,” says Welch, who is the fourth generation on the five generation farm — his son Taylor is interested in farming and his dad, Fred, is also still involved. As with most parts of Atlantic Canada a 40-acre pasture can produce enough forage to support a 30-cow beef herd for the season. “But with season-long grazing there were always some areas that would be underutilized and other areas that were overgrazed,” he says. The Welch’s run a herd of purebred and commercial Black Angus cattle. Continue reading

Attention researchers: OMAFRA call for research proposals

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs New Directions Research Program has opened a call for proposals in the area of:

  • Innovation for Ontario’s Agricultural Systems and Soils to Reduce Phosphorus Loss
  • Sustainable Livestock Production Using Precision Technologies to Support Compliance and Assurance Systems
  • Disruptive Technologies

Letters of Intent are due Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. EST. More information is available at:
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/new_directions/ndresearchprogram.html 

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

Are Cattle Drinking Canada Dry?

We often see headlines about how human lifestyle and dietary choices (particularly beef consumption) can impact environmental sustainability. These headlines are often about greenhouse gases, but water use has become a part of this conversation as well. Vilifying headlines and simple, partial arguments are interesting and emotional; that sells papers and gets clicks. Complex, science-based facts about the positive impacts cattle have on the environment and the need for both crops and cattle across the country’s diverse landscape are less exciting, but here they are:

Beef cattle use water

Make no mistake – it does take more water to produce a pound of uncooked, boneless beef (over 1,800 gallons/6814 liters) than to produce a pound of dry peas (178 gallons/674 liters), dry beans (488 gallons/1847 liters) or dry lentils (577 gallons/2184 liters), or any other protein crop, but this is only one of many pieces of information to consider. The pastures and feed crops that beef cattle eat account for nearly all (99%) of the water used in beef production.

Does that mean that the land used to raise cattle should be converted to crop production? Not necessarily. There are many reasons why not all land is suitable for cultivated agriculture and why raising beef plays an important role in sustainably feeding the population. Continue reading

Reminder: 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 http://www.beefresearch.ca/about/award.cfm

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This Will Make Your Skin Crawl

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

Cattle won’t be the only creatures enjoying fresh pasture this spring; so will the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the American dog tick, which can transmit anaplasmosis and other bloodborne diseases. Anaplasmosis was removed from the Federally Reportable Disease list in 2014, so the government is no longer responsible for dealing with anaplasmosis outbreaks or compensating producers with affected herds. Understanding where these ticks are and what influences their population will help develop proactive strategies to avoid the spread of tickborne disease.

Ticks have a three-stage life cycle. Tick larvae emerge from the egg and feed once on blood from small mammals (mice, voles, squirrels, etc.). The engorged larvae then molt into nymphs that also feed once on small mammals. The engorged nymphs molt into adults that feed on larger animals, including dogs, sheep, deer, and cattle. If the adult ticks cannot find a host, they may overwinter under plant material on the ground and re-emerge in spring. Adult ticks begin Continue reading

Attention researchers: A3GP call for research proposals

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Department (AAF) have partnered with Genome Alberta to announce the launch of the Alberta Applied Agricultural Genomics Program (A3GP). This funding competition aims to support the advancement of genomics-enabled research to address challenges and opportunities important to Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food sectors. The A3GP will provide funding for genomics-based research projects up to $250,000 over a period of 2 years.

More information is available at: http://genomealberta.ca/funding/new-alberta-applied-agricultural-genomics-program.aspx

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

How quickly do water systems pay for themselves? New calculator available

Allowing cattle access to clean water can improve herd health, as well as  increase weight gain and backfat. A 2005 study reported that calves whose dams drank from water troughs gained on average 0.09 lbs per day more than calves whose dams had direct access to the dugout. Because water and forage intake are closely related, as cows drink more water they also spend more time eating and therefore produce more milk for their calves. Calves with access to clean pumped water were on average 18 lbs heavier at weaning time. A separate study in 2002 found that calves, with dams drinking clean water, gained 9% more weight than calves Continue reading