Be on the Lookout for Ergot

This guest post written by Sherri Roberts, Regional Crops Specialist – Weyburn, SK. To learn more about ergot, see the links below.

Three things are needed in order for a disease to occur:

  • a susceptible host,
  • a disease causing organism and
  • the right environment.

Saskatchewan fall rye varieties are all rated as moderately susceptible to ergot. While rye is the principal host; barley, wheat, triticale, oats and numerous species of cultivated and wild grasses are also susceptible.

The ergot causing fungal organism, Claviceps purpurea, has the ability to Continue reading

Bov-Innovation: Putting Theory into Practice

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

bovinnovationThere is no shortage of beef industry conferences, workshops and meetings for Canadian beef producers to attend throughout the year. These have included the Canfax forum, the Canada Beef forum, Cattlemen’s Young Leaders forums, industry golf tournaments, tours, national, provincial and breed association meetings, the International Livestock Congress, and many more. Although they are valuable events, it is hard for producers to attend every event they might wish to. It can also be frustrating when similar speakers or themes get addressed at several different meetings, and busy producers take extra time away from their operations to hear the same presentations multiple times. The last thing anyone needs is to make time for yet another industry event.

Continue reading

Verified Beef Production Plus Program officially launched

NEWS RELEASEScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.38.04 PM
June 15, 2016

Calgary, AB – After months of hearing about the benefits of the Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program, producers can now see for themselves how validating their sustainable production practices provides opportunity to proactively share their stories with consumers and beef retailers.

Officially launched today, the new, national VBP+ program includes Continue reading

Tips for increasing sugar content in forages

Cattle that consume forages with higher sugar content have higher rates of gain, improved performance and better rumen health.

In a past BCRC webinar, Gilles Bélanger, PhD, a Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Robert Berthiaume, PhD, a dairy production expert in forage systems at Valacta, offered the following tips for producers to increase the sugar content in their forages:

Cut forages in late afternoon
Picture1As the day progresses, the plant increases in sugar content and is at its highest levels between 11 and 13 hours after sunrise (late afternoon). This benefit is maintained after cutting. Although swathing reduces the sugar content, it will remain higher in forages that were cut in late afternoon as compared to those cut in the morning. Learn more from the webinar recording: 9:05 -19:56.)

Choose forage species with naturally higher sugar concentrations
In addition to management Continue reading

Bov-Innovation workshop to provide beef producers with a unique extension experience

News Release
June 1, 2016

Calgary, AB – The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to help power a new extension event for producers, titled Bov-Innovation. Bov-Innovation will be held as part of the inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference, which will take place from August 9-11, 2016 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, Alberta.

“The BCRC has a great track record of sharing meaningful science-based information to Canada’s beef producers online and in print, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to partner on this in-person session,” explained Tim Oleksyn, a cow-calf producer based out of Shellbrook, SK and the Chair of BCRC. “Bov-Innovation will bring leading research and expertise to producers in a unique format that encourages producer participation,” Oleksyn added.

Canadian Beef Industry ConferenceBov-Innovation will feature innovative and emerging production practices that feedlot and cow-calf operators may want to consider implementing in their operations. The session format itself will be engaging and unlike mainstream producer events, with experts delivering information in a fast-paced lightning-round style. The audience will be able to Continue reading

The Gatepost: Agency Update

The Gatepost is written and distributed by the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency. Below is a copy of the fourth issue. To receive future issues of The Gatepost, subscribe here. See past issues here.  


Agency Update

The Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (the Agency) was established to provide funding for market development, promotion and research of beef and beef products in Canada.

In 2014/15 the total national check-off dollars collected was approximately $7,664,602. Of this total, each province allocates a portion to Canada Beef, BCRC and in some cases to provincial activities related to research and marketing that have national benefit.

The collection of national check-off started in 1999 and in the last 17 years, a lot has changed in the beef industry. When factoring in annual inflation only, the purchasing power of the national levy has been reduced from $1.00 to $0.73.

Recently, the National Beef Strategy has been developed as a path to a dynamic and profitable Canadian cattle and beef industry.  To accomplish this there are four defined pillars and strategic goals within the strategy over the next five years:

  1. Beef Demand: to enhance beef demand and increase carcass cutout values by 15%.
  2. Competitiveness: to reduce production cost disadvantages compared to the industry’s main competitors by 7%.
  3. Productivity: to increase production efficiency by 15% by focusing on genetic selection, research and development, technology development and adoption and enhanced information flow.
  4. Connectivity: address industry synergies, connections with the consumer, and the public, government and industry partners by addressing industry issues.

To achieve these goals Continue reading

Attention researchers: OMAFRA Food Safety Research Program accepting LOIs

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has announced the 2016-17 OMAFRA Food Safety Research Program Call for Letters of Intent. Submission deadline: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. EST

For more details, visit the OMAFRA Food Safety Research program webpage:


One week left to make an impact on the future of beef research

Thank you for your interest! The survey is now closed.

As someone who follows the BCRC Blog, you’re almost guaranteed to be what we call a ‘Canadian beef industry stakeholder’, meaning you

  • own or manage beef cattle,
  • conduct research on beef, cattle or forages,
  • are a large animal veterinarian,
  • own or work for an abattoir/beef processor,
  • are a government employee in a beef-related role,
  • work or volunteer for an organization that actively supports the beef industry, or
  • have another valuable role that supports and relies on Canadian beef production.

You hold a stake in the beef industry, so the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and the Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) rely on your input on research issues.

Please consider answering our 15-20 minute questionnaire by May 31st.

Your feedback will inform the next five-year National Beef Research Strategy and impact the long term competitiveness of the Canadian beef industry.

Begin beef research priorities survey

Continue reading

Winter Cow Transport Assessed

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

BergenMayA 2007 transportation benchmarking study led by Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Station surveyed over 9,000 loads and close to half a million cattle trucked to, from and within Alberta over an 18 month period. That study reported that over 99.9% cattle arrived in their destination with no serious problems.

But transport was more risky for some cattle than for others. Cull cows were 3.5 times more likely to have trouble during transport than weaned calves, 5.5 times more likely than fat cattle, and 8.5 times more likely than yearlings. The risk of death also increased greatly in cattle transported at temperatures below -15oC. Finding ways to improve winter transport outcomes is important for the cows as well as industry reputation.

Dr. Schwartzkopf-Genswein and co-workers did a follow-up project evaluating how Continue reading

Introducing ‘The Gatepost’, a new e-newsletter from the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off Agency

The Gatepost is written and distributed by the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency. Below is a copy of the first issue. To receive future issues of The Gatepost, subscribe here. 


Welcome to The Gatepost!

The Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (the Agency), which is responsible for the management of the National Check-Off, is happy to bring a new look and feel to the former Branding Iron weekly updates and semi-annual print newsletter.
Continue reading