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

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

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

Yo-Yo Diet Strategies

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

Attention Western cow-calf producers: opportunity to compare production levels

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

Attention Atlantic cow-calf producers

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

New video: What beef producers need to know about environmental footprint

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

The BCRC is asking for more money from cattle producers. Here’s why.

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

Bovine Respiratory Disease from the Farm to the Feedlot

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

Weed seeds and invasive species may be present even in well-managed pastures and rangelands, but it is hard for them to germinate, establish and spread in healthy, competitive forage stands. Stresses like severe drought, overgrazing, heavy traffic or excavation can weaken forage stands and create opportunities for unwanted plants to take root.

Researchers are now studying whether similar principles may apply to animal health and disease processes. For example, calves that were perfectly healthy on the farm can face a serious risk of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in the feedlot after experiencing the stresses of weaning, commingling, transportation and ration changes. Dr. Trevor Alexander of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Station and collaborators from the University of Calgary are studying bacterial populations (the microbiota) in the respiratory tract of feedlot cattle. They published the results of a small study supported by the Beef Research Cluster earlier this year (The nasopharyngeal microbiota of beef cattle before and after transport to a feedlot; BMC Microbiology 17:70).

What they did: Little is known about what the “normal” respiratory microbiota looks like in cattle, let alone how it changes in response to any given stress. Because exposing calves to multiple stresses at the same time may have produced large, complex, difficult to interpret changes in the microbiota, this team focused on the effects of simply moving cattle from the home farm into the feedlot. They used 14 Angus x Hereford heifer calves (640 lbs) from Continue reading