Eleven Ways to Avoid Feed Waste this Winter


Top layer spoiled silage in a bunk. Photo credit: Les Halliday

Harvesting, storing and delivering a beef herd’s winter rations are the largest expense for most operations. Even small improvements in a winter feed system can result in significant feed cost savings.

Whether a winter feed system uses a silage bunk or pit, baled forage, or swath grazing, significant feed waste losses can happen. Spoilage, mould, trampling, and weather are just a few examples of how losses can occur.

In addition to the expense of the feed lost, cow-calf operations can experience significant reproductive losses from spoiled or low-quality feed such as cows failing to rebreed the following breeding season and poor calf performance. Continue reading

Reproductive Failure in the Beef Herd: Causes, Effects and When to Intervene – Webinar December 2nd



Reproductive failure can pose a significant threat for cow-calf operations, particularly when an issue affects a large portion of the cow herd such as early pregnancy loss. This panel of veterinarians will share case studies of reproductive wrecks on beef operations and how these operations overcame and solved the problem.


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When
Wednesday, December 2nd 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

Continue reading

Do Cattle Bacteria Contribute to Antibiotic Resistance in Human Medicine?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

E. coli live in the digestive tracts of warm-blooded animals and birds. Most are harmless, some are beneficial, and some (like E. coli O157:H7) can be very dangerous. E. coli are also involved in antibiotic resistance.

“Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing” (or ESBL) E. coli are a major concern in human medicine. These bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics used in both human and veterinary medicine. Ordinary E. coli can cause urinary tract or bloodstream infections in people. They’re usually quite easy to treat with antibiotics. But if ESBL E. coli are responsible, the infection can’t be easily treated with antibiotics, and the illness can be much worse or even fatal.

E. coli rarely causes disease in feedlot cattle. But ESBL E. coli are still a concern, because antibiotic resistance genes are often located on “mobile genetic elements” that bacteria can trade with each other, even with completely unrelated bacteria. So antibiotic resistant BRD bacteria like Mannheimia, Pasteurella or Histophilus can spread their antibiotic resistance genes to each other, or possibly to E. coli. That’s like a border collie developing horns after a day of herding Herefords. Continue reading

Setting Goals and Adding Diversity is key for Intercropping

There is a lot of buzz in beef and forage production systems around the concepts of sustainability and soil health and the numerous different production practices that can support those ideas. Innovative producers are seeking ways to work within their landbase to become more efficient and improve their soils, whatever that may mean to them on their farms. Intercropping is one strategy that may help them achieve their goals.

What is intercropping? Is it different from planting cover crops, interseeding, or relay crops? How does intercropping fit in for beef and forage systems?

The lines are blurry but the goals are clear

Manitoba producer Alan MacKenzie considers intercropping to be two crops that are grown at the same time to be harvested together. The Nesbitt area cow-calf producer has been an organic farmer for twenty years and has used intercropping on-and-off as a tool on his mixed farm for the past decade. “I would say the main benefit is just trying to get some diversity and anytime we can get some legume in the mix for the nitrogen, that’s good,” MacKenzie explains. Continue reading

What Has the BCRC Been Up To Lately?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

This column usually features research projects funded by the BCRC. This month is a bit higher level view of some of the BCRC’s other activities. Canada’s cattle and beef producers pay the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off that supports the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canada Beef’s domestic and international marketing activities, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s Public and Stakeholder Engagement initiative. Provincial beef producer groups decide how the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off dollars from their province are allocated among these three main groups.

When the BCRC was established in 2001, about one nickel from each Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off dollar was allocated to research. That left the BCRC with a large mandate – to support forage, cattle and beef research and technology development across Canada – but a smaller research budget than some provincial beef groups. These constraints meant the BCRC had to be selective, focused, and strategic. The BCRC selected research projects that provided very direct benefits to primary producers, either through reduced production costs or potentially increased revenues. “Public good” research (e.g. animal welfare or environmental research) was left to governments to fund. The BCRC focused on funding research, but left extension to the provincial governments. The BCRC was strategic; knowing that a small industry investment could attract much larger government investments, the BCRC was careful to avoid fully-funding projects. This allowed scarce producer dollars to be spread over more research projects. The BCRC also oversaw the Quality Starts Here program, as it evolved into Verified Beef Production and now VBP+. Continue reading

Calm and Calculated: What Key Financial Tools Can Help You Achieve Success on Your Farm? Webinar November 18th



Are your farm financials stressing you out? Join this webinar to learn more about the information needed to help make financial decisions, having a good relationship with your creditor, and what to do if you’re turned down for financing.

Register for our upcoming webinar to hear from two subject matter experts as they provide information from regions across the country and answer your questions about farm financial tools.

Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Wednesday, November 18th 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

Continue reading

Attn Researchers – OAFRI Launches Targeted Call for Proposals

The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) has opened its 2020-21 Call for Research Proposals.

OAFRI offers funding for research that stimulates innovation to support the growth and competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector, promotes food safety and strengthens rural communities.

Priorities for the 2020-21 application year are:

  • food safety
  • plant health and protection
  • sustainable production systems

Public and private sector applicants from Ontario with capacity to perform quality research in the program priority areas are invited to apply.

The submission deadline is 2 p.m. on January 8, 2021.

For more details, visit the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) webpage: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-agri-food-research-initiative

When seeking funding, researchers are encouraged to refer to the priorities and target research outcomes in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy. Continue reading