Better water = bigger calves: Raise your beef IQ


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A water source that is safe, palatable, and readily available is essential for animal survival, but there is also clear evidence that the accessibility of water impacts the productivity of cattle.

Dugouts are a common water source for range cattle in western Canada. When dugout water is pumped into troughs, pre-weaned calves gain more weight.

In a study done at the Western Beef Development Centre, cow-calf pairs were provided either direct access to a dugout or access to troughs of untreated water pumped from the same dugout.  Calves with cows that drank from the troughs gained on average 0.09 lbs per day more than calves with cows that only had direct access to the dugout. Pumping water resulted in an extra 18 lbs of weaning weight per calf during the trial. Continue reading

Attention researchers: SCAIDF call for proposals


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The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA) has opened a call for proposals through the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Industry Development Fund (SCAIDF). The deadline to provide research applications and any supporting documents is 5:00 pm CST on Friday, May 19th, 2017. 

More information on the SCA’s call for research proposals, including research priorities and application documents, can be found on their website: http://www.saskbeef.com/research.html.

For more information contact:

Marianne Possberg, MSc
Beef Production Specialist
Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association
production@saskbeef.com
Phone: 306-585-2333

Questioning the beef industry’s water use

April 22nd is Earth Day. Earth Day is recognized globally by people from all walks of life as a way to foster environmental respect and celebrate conservation.


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Cattle producers across Canada chose to make their living as stewards of the land and certainly appreciate and depend on a healthy environment.  Earth Day is an excellent time for all of us in the industry to celebrate environmental achievements, and cultivate discussion about further advancement.

Let’s ask questions, seek answers and talk about how we can make continual improvements related to greenhouse gas and manure management, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, nutrient cycling and more.

Water conservation is a hot topic. As concerns rise about depletion of water resources both locally and globally, livestock production and other agriculture sectors are often criticized for water use.

What can the Canadian beef industry do to conserve water?

First we need to Continue reading

Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey


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Ontario cow-calf producers, do you wonder how your operation compares with others in your region or province on matters like conception rate and weaning weight?

The Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey is being conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Beef Farmers of Ontario, and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Questions in this survey have been adapted and will be comparable to answers from the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey conducted in 2014, allowing comparison from east to west.

The purpose of the overall project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, and disease rates on Ontario cow-calf farms and determine how well Ontario producers compete in a global economy. This survey will obtain basic information on production practices, management choices, disease rates, and rate of technology adaptation in the province.

The findings of the survey will be Continue reading

Water Fight

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.


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Imagine a scene from an old spaghetti western, where two ranches are battling for control over the only waterhole around. The hired guns squint at each other from behind the sagebrush, waiting for the chance to unleash a hail of bullets at their foe, until the Texas Rangers ride in to restore peace.

Just replace ranches with “delegates”, hired guns with “scientists”, sagebrush with “laptops”, bullets with “research papers”, and Texas Ranger with “Canadians”, and a very similar scenario recently took place at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Livestock Environment Assessment and Performance (LEAP) partnership meetings in Rome. But the dispute was over water, and the stakes are very high for the beef industry. Continue reading

Less complaining. More Gaining.


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Calves that are fence-line weaned vocalize 50% less, walk less, and have higher weight gains in the first 10 weeks post weaning compared to conventionally weaned calves1. A practicing veterinarian from southeastern Saskatchewan that uses fence-line weaning with his own cattle reports that calves weaned using low-stress practices have a treatment rate of only 5-10%, instead of the 25-30% he sees in abruptly weaned calves.

Fence-line weaning requires a strong enough fence to keep calves and cows apart so page wire, 4-6 strands of barbed wire, or 2-3 strands of electric fencing (if calves are familiar with electric fence) is recommended. Another option is to use a set of corals on pasture, locking cows in and leaving the calves in the familiar environment. Fence-line weaning should last a minimum of 3-4 days.

Learn more about low-stress weaning techniques at http://www.beefresearch.ca/research-topic.cfm/weaning-65

Continue reading

AgriClear Announces Collaboration with Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+)

New relationship will promote VBP+ Canadian cattle via web-based platform


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April 5, 2017 (CALGARY) – AgriClear, North America’s premier online transaction and payment platform for cattle buyers and sellers, today announced it is entering into a collaborative marketing agreement with Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+), a national, industry-led program providing verification of Canadian beef production practices at the farm, ranch and feedlot.

Formerly Verified Beef Production or VBP, VBP+ is delivered nationally under the umbrella of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Validating production practices for animal care, biosecurity, the environment and food safety at the primary production level enables registered VBP+ operations to publicly demonstrate their commitment to responsible stewardship of both cattle and resources. Under the terms of this agreement, AgriClear will include VBP+ registered users on its online platform and VBP+ will promote the AgriClear livestock platform and settlement services to beef cattle producers across Canada. AgriClear and VBP+ have also agreed to work together on marketing initiatives.

“This new agreement connects us to Continue reading

Second Annual Canadian Beef Industry Conference Opens Registration

Join CBIC Aug 15-17th with early bird pricing starting at $450


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Canada’s beef cattle industry will be ‘Sharing Common Ground’ at the second annual Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC). This one-of-a-kind industry event will be held August 15 – 17, 2017 at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta with registration opening April 3rd.

The CBIC is the first of its kind in Canada to bring together participants from across all regions and sectors of the national value chain. The conference is hosted as a joint collaboration by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

Registration is now open at www.canadianbeefindustryconference.com. Early bird registration is available for $450 plus GST until June 15, after which registration will be $550 plus GST.

“This year we are Continue reading

Are those girls in good shape? Raise your beef IQ


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The productivity, and by association profitability, of a beef cow largely depends on the amount of fat that she carries. Cows with a body condition score of 3.0 have higher pregnancy rates, heavier and healthier calves, and re-breed sooner than cows with lower body condition scores. They also typically have fewer calving difficulties and increased milk production compared to cows with high body condition scores.

Cows in ideal condition are not only more likely to get bred, they’ll rebreed up to 30 days sooner than thin cows, which means more calves on the ground in the first 21 day cycle. This can add up to 42 extra pounds of weaning weight to these earlier born calves.

Eyeballing body condition is often not accurate, so hands-on scoring is recommended.  Feel for fat cover at the short ribs, spine, hooks and pins and either side of the tail head.

By scoring cows around the calving season, you’ll be able to identify animals with a BCS lower than 3.0 and work to get their condition back up before breeding. Scoring when it’s convenient throughout the year will help you identify which animals are maintaining, gaining or losing condition (despite their deceptive hair coat!) and manage them accordingly.

To calculate the difference between the value of weaned calf crops from cows maintained at different body condition scores, visit:  http://www.beefresearch.ca/research/body-condition-scoring.cfm

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