Top 10 blog posts of 2017

This past year we published 70 blog posts that offered production tips and decision tools, provided a science-based perspective on issues in the media, highlighted new beef, cattle and forage research projects and results, and announced other exciting initiatives. Of those, these were the top 10 most popular:

10) The Canadian beef industry’s water footprint is shrinking

New research funded by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster found that producing 1 kg of Canadian beef in 2011 used 17% less water than it did in 1981. Continued improvements in production practices and advancements in technologies improves productivity and efficiency while reducing environmental footprint.

http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/the-canadian-beef-industrys-water-footprint-is-shrinking/

9) Based on 2017 calf prices, how much did last summer’s cows in ideal condition earn? Continue reading

Preventing reproductive wrecks: Webinar January 23

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm

Even small changes in the open rates of cows can have a major economic impact. Join this webinar for tips to increase and maintain high pregnancy rates with information on everything from mineral intake to disease management.

This webinar will begin with a brief presentation about the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB).

When
Tuesday, January 23 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.

Watching on a tablet or mobile device?
If you plan to join the webinar using your tablet or mobile device, you will need to  Continue reading

Attention researchers: Manitoba Agriculture funding available

Manitoba Agriculture has announced that the application and terms and conditions for the Research and Innovation stream of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) are now available on their website.

DESCRIPTION: Grant funding for industry-led projects that contribute to the development of agricultural knowledge and skills and improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Manitoba’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-product sectors.

Projects can fall under one of two streams of funding:

  • basic and applied research and development
  • strategic investments that build capacity in agricultural research

APPLICATION DEADLINE: The first full proposal and application deadline for 2018/19 fiscal year is Monday, January 8, 2018.

For more information and to apply, visit their website: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/innovation-and-research/priorities/index.html

Maintaining Momentum

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

Canada’s pasture and rangelands have drier, colder, and shorter growing seasons than many other beef producing areas in the world. The forage varieties that perform best in Canada are generally the ones that have been bred, selected and developed to germinate, grow, survive and thrive here. Forage varieties developed in foreign countries are sometimes marketed in Canada, but they weren’t developed under our climate and may not perform as well as home-grown varieties.

A total of 144 new perennial forage cultivars (grasses and legumes) were developed in Canada and registered between 1932 and 2017. Although private or not-for-profit companies often sell these seeds, these companies rarely did the actual breeding and development work. Nearly all (98%) of these 144 cultivars were developed by public (government and university) breeding programs. It is critically important that universities and governments continue these breeding programs, because when a program stops it takes years to rebuild its momentum.

Here are a few examples. Continue reading

The Canadian beef industry’s water footprint is shrinking

In 2016, the Beef Cattle Research Council’s (BCRC’s) Science Director received 10 letters like this:

“Dear Dr. Bergen…. My name is Emma. I am in 6th grade at Rime Street Elementary. My class found out on vegsource.com that it takes 2,500 liters of water to produce one kilogram of beef. Another site said 25,000 liters…. all these different answers are confusing. My social teacher also showed us a video named Cowspiracy, but it didn’t help. Do you have a dependable answer?”

Eleven-year-olds aren’t the only ones asking these questions. So are consumers, retailers, and others. When the facts aren’t available, exaggerated opinions often fill the gap. A quick google search provides more answers with less consistency. Numbers vary from 100,000 liters/kg (BioScience 47:97-106), 43,000 liters/kg (BioScience 54:909-918); 25,000 liters/kg (Cowspiracy), 16,975 liters/kg (waterfootprint.org) to 15,000 litres/kg (The Economist). A Canadian research team is providing the facts to help us answer these questions, and to help us know how to do better. Continue reading

New research shows shrinking “water footprint” of Canadian beef production

NEWS RELEASE
December 14, 2017

Canada’s beef industry has dramatically reduced its water footprint over the past several decades, and that trend is expected to continue, a new study has found.

The amount of water required to produce one kilogram of Canadian beef has decreased by 17% from 1981 to 2011, due largely to enhanced efficiency in how feed crops for beef cattle are produced, as well as enhanced efficiency in raising beef cattle and producing more beef per animal.

These results are from the most comprehensive and sophisticated study ever done assessing the water footprint of Canadian beef production, conducted by researchers at the University of Manitoba and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge. It involved extensive data integration, modelling, and assessment of numerous factors associated with the water footprint of Canadian beef over a 30-year period, using the data-rich principal census years of 1981 and 2011 as the reference. Continue reading