Registration open for the 2018-19 BCRC webinars



This year’s BCRC webinar topics include an update on the upcoming changes to antibiotic use, grazing management, animal transport, and other practical, science-based information for Canadian beef producers.

Register now: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pqUKMh7_TwGUDR4AKw9z7w



Unlike past years, you can now register for as many (or all!) of the webinars you’re interested in at once. After you click the link above, be sure to scroll down to see and selectfor all eight (8).

See topics and descriptions below.

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Attn Institutions: BCRC Call for Proposals for Research Chairs

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) invites proposals from leading research institutions for the establishment of Research Chairs. The deadline is October 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM MT.

Currently, a shortage of scientific experts and research capacity in some areas of beef, cattle and forage research are hindering the ability to conduct priority research that supports improvements in productivity and demand and responds to emerging issues. To fill these gaps, the BCRC is exploring options to establish Research Chairs in key areas with investment of Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funding in partnership with other funders.

To procure the strongest opportunities for capacity development and encourage matching investments, Research Chair concepts will be considered through an open call for proposals. The BCRC welcomes proposals that work towards the achievement of its three core research objectives: Continue reading

Specified Risk Material (SRM) Disposal

The term specified risk material (SRM) refers to parts of cattle that could potentially contain the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent (prion) in an infected animal.  The transferrable BSE agent in BSE-infected cattle has been found to concentrate in specific tissues that are part of the central nervous and lymphatic systems, such as the skull, brain, spinal cord, nerves, and tonsils.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

defines SRM as: “The skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older; and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.”

The CFIA indicates that the carcasses of condemned cattle and cattle deadstock (of any age) that contain SRM must be treated as SRM. Even inedible material mixed with SRM, such as floor waste or recovered solids from waste water, must also be treated as SRM. More information on the CFIA definition of SRM can be found online here.

BSE is not a ‘contagious disease’. It is transmitted through the consumption of animal by-products or feed contaminated with BSE prions. Since the BSE prions have not been shown to accumulate in muscle or milk, animal products that do not contain SRM do not transmit the disease.

Safely managing BSE – and the cattle tissues designated as SRM where BSE-causing prions concentrate – is an important goal for consumers, cattle producers and the Canadian beef industry. 

Click to continue reading about SRM Disposal including safe disposal options and regulations producers need to know.

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Economics of Raising or Buying Heifers for Beef Cow Replacement

Cow-Calf Cost of Production

  1. Winter feed = 37% of total costs
  2. Pasture = 24% of total costs
  3. Herd replacement = 10% of total costs

The cost of herd replacement accounts for about 10% of total cow-calf cost of production (based on the 2013-17 average). It is the third largest cost component for a cow-calf operation, following winter feed (37%) and pasture (24%). Because replacement heifers represent a major cost for cow-calf producers, choosing a herd replacement strategy has important implications on cow-calf profitability. While many producers raise replacement heifers on farm, buying replacement heifers could cost less depending on the production cost of the operation and current market situations.

Costs of Raising Replacement Heifers

The main costs of developing a replacement heifer include winter feed, opportunity cost of the heifer, and breeding costs. These are all impacted by reproductive efficiency.

Winter feed costs. Hay and barley prices are both higher in 2018 due to dry conditions and reduced supplies, increasing the cost of raising replacement heifers. In June 2018, Alberta hay price at $130/ton was 13% higher than last year, and Lethbridge barley was $245/tonne in July, up 23% from last year. Winter feeding costs in Alberta for 2018-19 are projected to be 9% higher than last year, on a per cow basis. Continue reading

Beef Quality Audit

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.



Canada’s fourth Beef Quality Audit was completed in March 2018, following previous audits in 1995, 1998 and 2010/11. The carcass audit measured the incidence and economic costs of avoidable defects in Canadian slaughter cattle and beef and identified opportunities to avoid these losses.

What they did: Mark Klassen, Joyce van Donkersgoed and a team of technicians visited slaughter plants across Canada in the fall of 2016 and winter and spring of 2017. Thousands of cattle and carcasses were examined for a wide variety of possible defects. This column focuses on the most common and costly defects, specifically tag, carcass weight, excess fat and liver abscesses. Continue reading

Attn Researchers and Extension Agents: Deadline for BCRC LOIs is 2 weeks away

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) announced in June that we invite letters of intent (LOIs) for research projects as well as LOIs for technology transfer and production economics projects. The application deadline for these separate but concurrent calls is August 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM MT.

Note: settings within the LOI forms have recently been improved. To ensure you use the latest versions, you may need to clear the cache memory on your computer before clicking the links to the forms below.  



Researchers should refer to the BCRC’s priority research outcomes before deciding to submit a LOI. Continue reading

Dr. Eugene Janzen receives 2018 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation

NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release
August 15, 2018


L-R: Andrea Brocklebank (BCRC Executive Director), Ryan Beierbach (BCRC Chair and producer near Whitewood, SK), Eugene Janzen (award recipient), Bob Lowe (Bear Trap Feeders near Nanton AB), Reynold Bergen (BCRC Science Director)

London, ON – A leader in beef cattle production and medicine has been awarded the 2018 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation. Dr. Eugene Janzen was honored tonight at the 2018 Canadian Beef Industry Conference, held in London, Ontario.

Dr. Janzen is currently a professor and researcher at the University of Calgary College of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM). He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in 1972. His most recent research interests include effective pain control in beef cattle, toe-tip necrosis syndrome in feedlot animals, and livestock welfare during transport.

As a veterinarian and scientist, Dr. Janzen has made substantial Continue reading

It can pay exponentially to have a precision rancher mindset

How three 5% changes increase profit by more than 300%



A “precision rancher” is someone who, recognizing that agriculture operates on small margins, utilizes every technology, production practice and management technique that is appropriate for their climate, soil zone and production system in order to maximize their profits.

Producers make dozens of decisions every season to support the reproduction and productivity of their cow herd and the quality and yield of their forages, knowing that there are trade-offs with many choices. Incremental changes have great potential, both positively and negatively, to impact the bottom line. Monitoring and managing productivity, price and input costs can significantly increase competitiveness by helping ensure that valuable, incremental opportunities are not ignored.

The 5% Rule: Productivity, Price and Costs

In terms of net income, economists have found that the difference between the top 25% of agricultural operations and the average operation is typically small, as little as 5% on inputs, production or price. If you change input costs, productivity and price each by 5%, it makes a tremendous impact on the bottom line. Continue reading

Announcing the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program 2018-2019 participants

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to announce the participants in the 2018-19 Beef Researcher Mentorship program. Following an open application process, four researchers have been selected. Each has been paired with notable leaders in the Canadian beef industry and given a travel budget for the coming year, which will provide valuable opportunities for greater engagement with Canada’s beef industry. Continue reading