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

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

Attention researchers: Ag Action Manitoba Program funding available

The Ag Action Manitoba Program provides grant funding for researcher and 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.

The deadline to apply is August 31, 2018. Applicants do not need to reside in Manitoba, as long as the activities related to the application occur in Manitoba or have a positive outcome for Manitoba.

More information can be found on the Manitoba Agriculture website.

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

Reminder: The Beef Cattle Research Council is currently inviting letters of intent (LOIs) for research projects as well as LOIs for technology transfer and production economics projects. The application deadline for the BCRC’s calls for LOIs is August 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM MT.

Continue reading

Hormone Hearsay

When it comes to the use of hormones in beef cattle, sometimes there are more questions than answers. Reynold Bergen, PhD, with the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), breaks down why hormones are used and how they work in a recent BCRC webinar.

He tackles the question that is at the top of everyone’s mind – is the use of hormone implants safe?  (Spoiler alert — yes!).

Although there has been sound scientific research to back up the decades-old practice of using hormonal growth implants, one can find many headlines to falsely suggest otherwise. It’s important to take a critical look at the source of such information. Is it credible? Do the studies reflect the science, real world conditions or practices? Who are the authors of the article and who performed the study? Continue reading

Attn Researchers and Extension Agents: BCRC Opens Two Calls for Letters of Intent

The Beef Cattle Research Council invites 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.

The purpose of these two targeted calls is to achieve objectives in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy and the National Beef Strategy. These new calls for research and technology transfer LOIs, expected to occur annually, are made possible by the recent increase in the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off in most provinces.

Approved projects, funded by Canadian cattle producers through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off, will be required to Continue reading

Attention researchers: Genome Canada and AAFC funding

Genome Canada in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has recently launched the 2018 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomics Solutions for Agriculture, Agri-Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture (2018 LSARP).

This funding competition aims to support projects that will use genomics to advance the sustainability, productive capacity, and competitive position of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food & fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and thereby strengthen Canada’s economy and the wellbeing of Canadians. There is approximately $30 million available through Genome Canada, and up to $16 million from AAFC. Successful projects can receive up to $4 million from Genome Canada, and $3 million from AAFC over a maximum of four years, with a 1:1 co-funding ratio to Genome Canada’s contribution.

More information about the Request for Applications can be found on Genome Alberta’s website.

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

This Column is Brought to you by Your National Check-Off

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

The third annual Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC) takes place in London, Ontario on August 14-16. The CBIC is co-hosted by the BCRC, Canada Beef, Canadian Beef Breeds Council, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The CBIC’s Bov-Innovation session is a popular, interactive, fast-paced, workshop full of tips, ideas, and concepts that cow-calf and feedlot producers can take home and adopt on their farms. Bov-Innovation pairs an expert explaining the science behind best practices with a leading producer explaining how they have adopted these practices to benefit their cattle and their profitability. This year’s topics were carefully chosen based on producer suggestions: Continue reading

Bov-Innovation set for August 15th in London, ON

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is proud to co-host Bov-Innovation, an interactive, producer-oriented session that will take place during this summer’s Canadian Beef Industry Conference. The conference, in its third year, will be held in London, Ontario, at the London Convention Centre from August 14-16, 2018. The Canadian Beef Industry Conference is co-hosted annually by the BCRC, Canada Beef, Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC), and The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

Bov-Innovation is designed to engage both cow-calf and feedlot beef producers. Sessions are fast-paced yet full of tips, ideas, and concepts that producers can adopt on their farms immediately. Presenters include researchers who will explore the science behind best practices as well as industry leaders who will explain how they incorporate concepts to benefit cattle and ultimately the profitability on their beef operations. Topics are carefully chosen based on producer opinions and this year, two sessions will be offered:

  • Cross-Canada Cattle: Best transport practices” will include information from Derek Haley, PhD of the University of Guelph. Dr. Haley leads a research program on animal welfare and behaviour, and is currently exploring long-distance cattle transport. Feedlot operator Steve Eby from Kincardine, Ontario, will share his experience with shipping and receiving cattle, and will provide his insight for successful transport outcomes.
  • The Grass is Always Greener: Pasture infrastructure and management” will be moderated by Barry Potter, with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Barry has a special interest in beef production in northern Ontario and will facilitate presentations from beef producers Jason Desrochers and Tim Lehrbass, who are each farming in diverse regions of Ontario. Desrochers operates a cow-calf and backgrounding farm near Val Gagne in northern Ontario, and will explain how their farm overcomes land use challenges and converts marginal land into forage. Lehrbass farms in southern Ontario, near Alvinston, and will share grazing management strategies from his operation, which was recently recognized for excellence in forage management.

Continue reading

Reminder: Nominate an outstanding researcher by May 1

awardThe Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation is presented by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) each year to recognize a researcher or scientist whose work has contributed to advancements in the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry.

Nominations are welcome from all stakeholders of the Canadian beef industry and will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of beef producers, industry experts and retired beef-related researchers located across the country.

Nominations will be kept on file and re-considered for up to two additional years. In such cases, the nominator will be contacted each year and given the opportunity to revise the nomination.

To be eligible, nominees must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants actively involved in research of benefit to the Canadian beef industry within the past 5 years. Benefit to the industry must be evident in a strong research program aligned with industry priorities, a demonstrated passion and long-term commitment through leadership, teamwork, and mentorship, involvement in ongoing education and training (where applicable), and active engagement with industry stakeholders.

Nominations for the 2018 award will be accepted until May 1, 2018.

The 2018 award will be presented at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August.

Past recipients of the Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation are:

Learn more and find the nomination form at http://www.beefresearch.ca/about/award.cfm

Continue reading

Costs of siring calves: artificial insemination compared to natural service

As the breeding season approaches, some producers will consider using artificial insemination (AI) and estrous synchronization in their breeding herd; others will not because of the extra time, labour and management required in an AI program, the perceived costs of implementing AI, or they are unaware of the potential advantages of AI.

In this article, we will review economic analysis that compares the costs and benefits of fixed-time AI and natural service and discuss how recent changes in breeding bull and butcher bull prices affect the cost of breeding programs. We will also look at a recent study that addresses the question of how many clean-up bulls are needed in a fixed-time AI program.

Economic Benefits and Hurdles of Using Fixed-Time AI

Compared to natural service, an obvious potential advantage of fixed time AI is to have more calves born in the first 21 days of the calving season, which allows producers to market larger, more uniform groups of calves. Some studies have shown as much as a 10 to 17 day calf age advantage and 20 to 44 lbs more per calf at weaning as a result of estrous synchronization (Johnson and Chenoweth). Despite the extra costs of an AI program , fixed-time AI is estimated to have a net benefit of $11,110 for a 40-cow herd compared to natural service because of improved conception and wean rates, as well as heavier weaning weights (Lardner et al., 2015). Continue reading