Bov-Innovation, unique extension sessions for beef producers, set for August 16

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is once again pleased to help power a unique event this summer. Bov-Innovation is scheduled to take place during the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, August 15-17, 2017 at the BMO Conference Centre on Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta.

beef extension presentationBov-Innovation is focused on sharing practical tools, innovations, and ideas that feedlot and cow-calf producers can readily implement on their operations. Speakers include scientists and industry experts alongside producers who have adopted technologies and methods. This year the audience can participate in three different Bov-Innovation sessions:

  • Genomics: Putting theory into practice for commercial cattle producers” with Matt Spangler, PhD, Extension Beef Genetics Specialist from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who will explain how producers can leverage genomic technology on their cattle operations.
  • Feed For Thought: Using feed analysis to balance rations and manage for mycotoxins” with a producer alongside John McKinnon, PhD, Beef Industry Chair from the University of Saskatchewan. This session will cover mycotoxins, nutritional requirements, and incorporating lab results to fine tune animal production parameters.
  • Dollars, Sense, and Fertility: Economic and reproductive factors of replacement heifer development,” presented by Kathy Larson, Western Beef Development Centre, and John Campbell, DVM, Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

These topics Continue reading

Making Dollars out of Sense

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

14_cwcv_IMG_2758_cAside from price insurance (in provinces where it is available), cow-calf producers can’t do much to control the price they receive for their calves, so managing input costs is often the biggest opportunity to improve profitability. The Western Beef Development Center has found that annual production costs differ by at least $100 per cow between the 25% lowest cost producers and the average producer. A 2015 Quebec report found a $79 per cow per year difference between a group of cow-calf operations with the highest margin and the average. In PEI, annual cost of production between the 10% highest and lowest cost operations differed by $660 per cow.

During BSE, drastic times called for drastic measures, and input costs were often cut as much as possible. But this may not be the best strategy for today’s more normal conditions. If it’s not done carefully, reducing inputs can harm profitability.

Feed is responsible for the biggest costs, including land, fuel, seed, and fertilizer to establish, grow, manage and graze or harvest pasture or winter feed. Investments to increase forage and feed yield and/or quality, through Continue reading

Ontario cow-calf survey deadline extended

ontario cow-calf production surveyOntario cow-calf producers, if you have not yet filled out the Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey, you now have until May 31st.

The survey is 76 questions in length and should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. If at any time, you do not wish to answer a question you may leave it unanswered. If you don’t have an exact date or number for any of the questions asked, a best-estimate will suffice.

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY ONLY ONCE, ONLINE OR VIA MAIL.

Every Ontario cow-calf producer is encouraged to complete the survey.

The purpose of the overall project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, disease rates and rate of technology adaptation on Ontario cow-calf farms and determine how well Ontario producers compete in Continue reading

Producing more with less for the world market: Raise your beef IQ

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As the Earth’s population increases and middle income classes rise in several developing regions, so does the demand for high quality protein.  In 2015, 1.22 million tonnes (carcass weight) of Canadian beef was produced for the world. That number rose to approximately 1.3 million tonnes in 2016, and is forecast to grow.

With ongoing research and adoption of new technologies, Canadian beef producers can sustainably increase production and help meet the global demand.

A recent study found that Continue reading

Copper deficiency takes heavy toll

Water testing can help prevent a wreck in reproductive performance

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Garret Hill, Duval, SK. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association.

Garret Hill couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Cattle had plenty of grass, clean water, a standard mineral mix in front of them, they appeared to be in good condition, yet conception rates among cows and heifers on his family’s central Saskatchewan ranch were declining.

This problem came to a head about six years ago. Their area around Duval, about an hour north of Regina, had experienced a succession of particularly wet growing seasons. There was plenty of grass and a relatively deep (150 foot) well on the farm supplied water to the herd as needed during the year.

“We didn’t know what was wrong,” says Hill, who along with brother Greg and other family members today run about a 1,000 head cow-calf operation. “But at that time we had about one-third of the cow herd open and it seemed to be increasing by about five per cent per year.  The problem was getting worse.” Continue reading