This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the October 23, 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Getting weaned calves on feed can be a challenge. This is often attributed to the change from a forage-based diet to unfamiliar feedlot rations and feed bunks, distress from recent weaning, illness, etc. To compensate for this, some feeders use a relatively high-energy receiving diet, the rationale being that if they’re not going to eat much, each mouthful better pack a nutritional punch. But part of the challenge these calves face may be complications from feed deprivation during marketing and transportation. Recent research led by the University of Saskatchewan’s Greg Penner suggests that the rations fed both before and after feed restriction affect how well cattle cope with and recover from these challenges (J. Anim. Sci. 91:4730-4738 and 91:4739-4749).
What they did: This study used Continue reading
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 to Manitoba is helping Western Canadian cattle producers do just that.
By participating in the second Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey, producers can choose to receive a complementary report that allows them to compare their own operation with benchmarks (average numbers from a region).
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 a producer is unable to answer can be left blank.
To thank you for the time you take to complete the survey, you will receive up to $50 in gift cards, in addition to the complementary report.
The complementary report will help producers see the aspects of their operation that they’re doing exceptionally well in, and the areas that have the greatest room for improvement. For example, the report will show a producer whether the conception rates of his cows in 2016 was higher or lower than nearby herds and herds of a similar size. That way, he or she will know whether to work with their veterinarian, nutritionist and/or regional extension specialist to have fewer of their cows come home from pasture open, or if other production goals are a higher priority for them to focus on to improve their productivity and profitability.
This survey is being conducted for a number of reasons: to Continue reading
The Maritime Beef Council in cooperation with the Provincial Beef Associations and Perennia are conducting the Atlantic Cow-Calf Survey.
The purpose of the overall study project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, and disease rates on Maritime cow-calf farms and determine how well Maritime 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 provinces.
The survey is maximum 79 questions in length and should take approximately 40 minutes to complete. The last day to participate in this survey is December 31, 2017.
Complete the survey online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2017-ATL-cow-calf or request a paper copy by calling 1-902-969-1632. Continue reading
More than most livestock, beef cattle production takes place in the natural environment.
Those who live in rural areas and spend most of their time outdoors considering Mother Nature and managing their livestock and land as best they can understand that it’s common sense to protect the health of the land and water for themselves and their neighbours.
When enjoying peaceful moments watching cattle and wildlife on pasture, smelling rain or seeing plants change throughout the seasons, it’s difficult to understand why some people think that Canadian beef production is damaging the environment.
As a beef producer, what do you need to know about the environmental footprint of Canadian beef production? Continue reading
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Averages are useful statistics, but sometimes averages can be misleading. As the University of Saskatchewan’s late Iain Christison said, “the average human has one breast and one testicle”. Canada’s rainfall may be close to average this year – but much of the country is experiencing severe drought, and most of the rest is soaked. Either way, low yields, unharvestable or spoiled forage mean that winter feed supplies will be below average in many places, and nutritional value likely won’t be average, either.
For instance, drought-stricken pastures and forage crops have lower levels of carotene, which cattle need to produce vitamin A. A recent paper from Cheryl Waldner and Fabienne Uehlinger of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (Can. J. Anim. Sci. 97:65-82) looked at 150 beef cow-calf herds in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Calves born the spring following a drought had a much higher risk of vitamin A deficiency, and calves with severe vitamin A deficiency were nearly three times more likely to die than those with higher levels. Continue reading
Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm
For producers that breed cows in large pastures with multiple bulls, it’s often assumed that all of the bulls will sire roughly the same number of calves. Research shows a surprising variation in the number of calves sired by each bull. Learn more by joining this webinar on how DNA parentage testing may help determine sire value on your operation.
Thursday, November 16 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.
Find and register for more BCRC webinars here. Continue reading
Because cows maintained with an ideal layer of fat cover will have higher reproductive efficiency, they positively impact an operation’s economics. Sorting and feeding groups based on body condition helps avoid over-feeding cows in adequate condition, particularly when only part of the herd needs extra feed.
As the cattle and feed grain markets change, the economic implications of maintaining the right body condition of cows also change. When calf prices move higher, the economic benefit of maintaining the right body condition score (BCS) is larger. Meanwhile, when feed costs are high, the cost of adding condition to cows will be higher. Continue reading
Recognizing replacement and first calf heifers need extra management, producers take different paths to get to the same destination.
Beef producers like Darren Bevans in Alberta, Tyler Fulton in Manitoba and Murray Shaw in southwest Ontario know that replacement and first calf heifers need some extra attention, especially heading into and over winter — the heifers are not only pregnant and about to produce calves, but these young females are still growing themselves.
The “extra attention” doesn’t require over the top management, but just paying attention to feed and weather conditions to ensure heifers maintain a proper body condition to meet the nutritional requirements of the unborn calf as well as to support their own body growth.
In their respective operations, with extended fall and winter grazing programs, Bevans and Fulton manage heifers separate from their main cowherds so that Continue reading
Editor’s note: The following article is by Bryan Thiessen, Chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council. Bryan manages Namaka Farms near Strathmore, Alberta and represents 11 more council members who farm and ranch across Canada.
Bryan Thiessen, Chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council and manager of Namaka Farms near Strathmore, AB.
As cattle producers, you and I have been helping to fund Canadian beef research since 2002 by paying check-off every time we sell an animal. The work that’s been done with that money has benefited the industry as a whole and at the individual farm level because of the information and innovations that come as a result. Now we’re being asked to contribute more of our dollars.
To explain why, I need to back up and give you some background. Continue reading