Economic and reproductive factors of replacement heifer development – Webinar October 3rd

Join this webinar to discuss dollars, sense, and fertility – economic and reproductive management considerations for successful replacement heifer development. Learn about recommended practices, biological hurdles, and money matters that will aid you in your own heifer development strategies.

 

Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Wednesday, October 3 at 7:00 pm MT

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB and SK
  • 8:00pm in MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI

Interested but aren’t available that evening?
Register anyway! This webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording and additional learning resources. By attending the live broadcast, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too. Continue reading

JGL Livestock Offers Dedicated VBP+ Buying Days

Order buying firm JGL Livestock is setting aside two days this fall to feature dedicated cattle buying sessions for cattle from Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) Registered cow-calf operations. This represents the first time cattle procurement or sales outlets have focused marketing efforts on VBP+ cattle.

JGL will offer two weigh days for cattle from VBP+ Registered operations – October 17, 2018 and November 14, 2018 at their buying station in Moose Jaw, Sask. If the cattle are shipped to and fed at VBP+ Registered feedlots JGL will guarantee the cattle are ultimately harvested at the High River Cargill plant. In turn, those cattle could be eligible for the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration (CBSA) pilot project. Continue reading

Antibiotic Use on Canadian Cow-Calf Operations

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

Antibiotic use records are important for producers who want to track the effectiveness of the antibiotics they use. Industry groups need antibiotic use data to refute misleading claims about our production practices. Even restaurant chains and meat companies marketing “antibiotic-free” beef need records to keep treated animals out of their “never-ever” supply stream. When it comes to antibiotic use in the beef industry, most of the attention is focused on the feedlot sector. That’s because most of the antibiotic use occurs there, and because large feedlots work closely with specialized veterinarians and have developed sophisticated software to support animal health protocols and recording of animal health treatments. But antibiotic use at the cow-calf level is also important. For example, calves may not respond as well to antibiotics at the feedlot if they have been exposed to a related antibiotic before leaving home.

The most recent reports on antibiotic use in cow-calf operations in Eastern Canada (Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 72:109) and Western Canada (Preventive Veterinary Medicine 90:55) are nearly 10 years old. The Western Canadian Cow-Calf Surveillance Network (WCCCSN) initiative supported under the 2013-18 Beef Science Cluster provided an opportunity to gather updated information regarding antibiotic use on cow-calf operations.

What they did: Dr. Cheryl Waldner and co-workers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine surveyed 100 cow-calf operations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba about Continue reading

5 tips for grazing corn this fall and winter

Corn grazing is becoming more popular across Canada because producers can grow more biomass on less land. If you are planning on grazing corn this winter, here are 5 tips to help you make the most of the corn grazing season:

Ease cattle into grazing corn
If this is the first time you are grazing corn, it may take some time for cattle to realize what they are supposed to do with the tall stalks. It is a good idea to slowly transition cattle from summer pasture to fall corn grazing. Regardless of how familiar they are with grazing, the rumen also takes some time to adapt to the new feed source. One way to do this is to provide access to only a couple days’ worth of feed and also supply cattle with an alternative feed source such as a bale of hay to help them through the transition period.

Limit cows to 3-4 days of feed
Inevitably when cattle are turned out, they will eat the best (more palatable) parts of the plant first, which is the cob. If cows Continue reading

This December you’ll need a prescription to buy virtually any livestock antibiotic

Editors note: This post was originally published February 1, 2018. A French version of the 2-page handout has been added and minor revisions to the article below have been made to reflect current information.

If you haven’t done so already, develop a relationship with a beef veterinarian.

Starting December 1, 2018, Health Canada is introducing a couple of important changes affecting the way animal antibiotic products can be accessed by producers across Canada. And having an established Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) will be an important part of a smooth transition. (see sidebar below)

Click image to download a two page handout on the changes to how antibiotics can be purchased. Handout includes a list of cattle products that will need a prescription as of December 1, 2018. (version française)

The key point is, starting Dec. 1, 2018, all livestock producers in Canada will need a prescription from a licenced veterinarian, before they can buy a medically important antibiotic (MIA) for therapeutic use in livestock production. This applies to all beef cattle sectors using antibiotics — cow-calf operators, feedlots and feedmills (and really all sectors of animal agriculture including beef, dairy, hogs, sheep, horses, fish and even bees). The new policy doesn’t just apply to injectable products, but also includes some boluses and calf scour treatments, and Component and Compudose implants. At the same time, the new policy does not apply to certain antimicrobials such as the ionophores, which are not considered to be medically important in managing disease in humans. Continue reading

Don’t let high winter feed costs stall your herd’s reproductive momentum

Across Canada dry conditions are contributing to a poor hay crop and uncertain feed grain production. Consequently, winter feed costs for cows are moving higher. Planning now for winter feeding provides an opportunity to utilize available feed resources most efficiently. Pregnancy-checking and assessing body condition of cows can help you make the best use of available feed to maintain your herd’s reproductive momentum.

Reproductive Momentum

Reproductive efficiency is a key aspect to cow-calf profitability. Higher reproductive efficiency means fewer cows are maintained to produce the same amount of beef. Conversely, low reproductive efficiency increases the number of replacement heifers needed to maintain or expand the herd and subsequently increases the per unit cost of raising replacement heifers.

Establishing and maintaining breeding momentum is important. Once a cow is bred in the first part of the breeding season, she has a greater likelihood of staying bred early in the years to follow. Cows that are bred early will birth calves that have greater potential to gain, resulting in a uniform calf crop and improved profitability. For example, a calf born in the first cycle compared to one born twenty-one days later will have the potential to gain an extra 52.5 lb (i.e. 2.5lb/day) more than its later counterpart. This can result in additional revenue of Continue reading

Registration open for the 2018-19 BCRC webinars

This year’s BCRC webinar topics include an update on the upcoming changes to antibiotic use, grazing management, animal transport, and other practical, science-based information for Canadian beef producers.

Register now: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pqUKMh7_TwGUDR4AKw9z7w

Unlike past years, you can now register for as many (or all!) of the webinars you’re interested in at once. After you click the link above, be sure to scroll down to see and selectfor all eight (8).

See topics and descriptions below.

Continue reading

Attn Institutions: BCRC Call for Proposals for Research Chairs

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) invites proposals from leading research institutions for the establishment of Research Chairs. The deadline is October 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM MT.

Currently, a shortage of scientific experts and research capacity in some areas of beef, cattle and forage research are hindering the ability to conduct priority research that supports improvements in productivity and demand and responds to emerging issues. To fill these gaps, the BCRC is exploring options to establish Research Chairs in key areas with investment of Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funding in partnership with other funders.

To procure the strongest opportunities for capacity development and encourage matching investments, Research Chair concepts will be considered through an open call for proposals. The BCRC welcomes proposals that work towards the achievement of its three core research objectives: Continue reading

Specified Risk Material (SRM) Disposal

The term specified risk material (SRM) refers to parts of cattle that could potentially contain the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent (prion) in an infected animal.  The transferrable BSE agent in BSE-infected cattle has been found to concentrate in specific tissues that are part of the central nervous and lymphatic systems, such as the skull, brain, spinal cord, nerves, and tonsils.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) defines SRM as: “The skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older; and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.”

The CFIA indicates that the carcasses of condemned cattle and cattle deadstock (of any age) that contain SRM must be treated as SRM. Even inedible material mixed with SRM, such as floor waste or recovered solids from waste water, must also be treated as SRM. More information on the CFIA definition of SRM can be found online here.

BSE is not a ‘contagious disease’. It is transmitted through the consumption of animal by-products or feed contaminated with BSE prions. Since the BSE prions have not been shown to accumulate in muscle or milk, animal products that do not contain SRM do not transmit the disease.

Safely managing BSE – and the cattle tissues designated as SRM where BSE-causing prions concentrate – is an important goal for consumers, cattle producers and the Canadian beef industry. 

Click to continue reading about SRM Disposal including safe disposal options and regulations producers need to know.

Continue reading

Economics of Raising or Buying Heifers for Beef Cow Replacement

Cow-Calf Cost of Production

  1. Winter feed = 37% of total costs
  2. Pasture = 24% of total costs
  3. Herd replacement = 10% of total costs

The cost of herd replacement accounts for about 10% of total cow-calf cost of production (based on the 2013-17 average). It is the third largest cost component for a cow-calf operation, following winter feed (37%) and pasture (24%). Because replacement heifers represent a major cost for cow-calf producers, choosing a herd replacement strategy has important implications on cow-calf profitability. While many producers raise replacement heifers on farm, buying replacement heifers could cost less depending on the production cost of the operation and current market situations.

Costs of Raising Replacement Heifers

The main costs of developing a replacement heifer include winter feed, opportunity cost of the heifer, and breeding costs. These are all impacted by reproductive efficiency.

Winter feed costs. Hay and barley prices are both higher in 2018 due to dry conditions and reduced supplies, increasing the cost of raising replacement heifers. In June 2018, Alberta hay price at $130/ton was 13% higher than last year, and Lethbridge barley was $245/tonne in July, up 23% from last year. Winter feeding costs in Alberta for 2018-19 are projected to be 9% higher than last year, on a per cow basis. Continue reading