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