One week remaining: attention BC, AB, SK and MB cow-calf producers

Do you wonder how your cow-calf operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size range on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? A joint effort representing the cow-calf industry from BC, AB, SK and MB is helping Western Canadian cattle producers do just that.

The deadline to participate is February 28, 2018.

By participating in the second Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey, you can choose to receive a complementary report that allows you to compare your own operation with benchmarks (average numbers from a region).

To thank you for completing the survey, which will provide very valuable and needed information to guide research and extension, you will receive up to $50 in gift cards, in addition to the complementary report.

The survey takes about 45-60 minutes to complete and asks questions related to the 2016 breeding season all the way through to weaning of 2017 calf crop, as well as typical management practices. Many of the questions are the quick check-box style. Any question you are unable to answer can be left blank.

Every cow-calf producer in BC, AB, SK and MB is encouraged to complete the survey. All of the information collected will remain confidential. Information cannot be linked to individual operations as data will be aggregated into averages and benchmarks.

The complementary report will Continue reading

Pasture Blends

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

Most forage seed companies offer a pasture blend. Some customize their blend to the customer’s situation, but others use a least-cost formulation to produce a more attractively priced blend. Ideally, the blend should contain grasses and legumes that grow well together, are well-adapted to the environment and soil type they will be seeded in, will tolerate grazing, and produce good animal performance. Seed companies often don’t have all the information they need to formulate these ideal blends. As one example, forage breeding plots are typically far too small to graze, so forage yield is evaluated using a plot harvester. This means that forage varieties are being selected for their ability to produce and recover from mechanical harvesting rather than grazing. Forage improvement programs that integrate the breeding, agronomics, and grazing management research programs to gather the data needed to develop effective pasture blends take a long time and are very costly.

To help address this issue, Continue reading

Good records help guide efficient production and profitability say producers

Editor’s note: The following is the second in a two part series. See part one about the value of benchmarking and record keeping for all cattle operations. 

Keeping proper and useful beef herd production records is essential if you believe in the adage “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Records don’t have to be overly complicated, but do need to be thorough, say producers who rely on them for a lot of their management decisions.

Setting up a record keeping system properly will take a bit of time, but once the format is established keeping records current really isn’t that onerous — updating records is something that can even be done in front of the computer while having an early morning coffee, or taking a few minutes here and there during the month as new information comes along. Continue reading

Making farm decisions easier

Keep good records and refer to benchmarks to help successfully manage your cattle business

Editor’s note: The following is the first in a two part series on the value of record keeping and benchmarking. In part two, you’ll hear from producers on how and why they keep detailed records.

Keeping records and doing comparisons takes time and effort, and most of us prefer to be outside getting things done than being inside doing paperwork. Your time is limited so you want to be sure added paperwork has advantages and helps you focus on maintaining or improving the important things outside. Keeping detailed records and benchmarking does.

Producers who use benchmarking have higher production with an average of 60 more lbs of calf weaned per cow exposed (Manglai, 2016). That’s worth $9,600 for every 100 cows (based on 550 lb calf at the long-term average price of $160/cwt).

Producers who use benchmarking have higher production with an average of 60 more lbs of calf weaned per cow exposed (Manglai, 2016). Assuming a herd with 100 exposed cows, this is the equivalent to an additional 6,000 lbs weaned for the herd (+11%) valued at $13,200 per year in a high price environment (550 lb calf at $220/cwt), and $9,600 at long-term average prices ($160/cwt).

It has been noted by economists that a major challenge facing North American cow-calf producers is the development, understanding, and use of their own farm production cost and returns information. It is critical for producers to keep records and use their ‘own farm facts’ in making knowledgeable business management decisions. Continue reading

Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off Town Hall Webinar: February 27, 2018

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency 

The Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency will be hosting an online town hall event for producers, to talk about the Canadian Beef Check-Off, and how it is collected, remitted and invested, and concrete examples of the return on investment for Canadian producers. There will also be information on the check-off increase, from the initial concept to roll out to the projected timeline for the increase across Canada.

We encourage producers from across the country to join the webinar and ask questions live.

When:

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)

How to Register:

Sign up for one of the two sessions here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5080677593959345410

Featuring: Continue reading

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

If you haven’t done so already, the first few months of 2018 would be an excellent time to develop a relationship with a beef veterinarian.

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

The key point is, starting Dec. 1, 2018, all livestock producers 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 Continue reading

Growing forages for soil health: Webinar February 20

Producers are keen to promote soil health in their farmlands, but defining what that means and how to achieve it is not always easy. Join this webinar to learn more about what soil health means, the role of soil organic matter in advancing soil health, and the importance of perennial forage systems in improving health.

When
Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 pm MT

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB
  • 8:00pm in SK and 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 event, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too.

Register now

Find and register for more BCRC webinars here.

Continue reading

Canada’s Beef Quality Audit: What have we learned? Webinar February 14

The latest beef quality audit not only gives insight into the meat products consumers choose at the grocery store, it also reveals the quality of beef carcasses being processed at Canadian packers. Join this webinar to learn the latest National Beef Quality Audit results, and what beef producers can do to prevent costly carcass defects.

When
Wednesday, February 14 at 7:00 pm MT

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

Continue reading