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

Different approaches/same goal for winter management of heifers

Recognizing replacement and first calf heifers need extra management, producers take different paths to get to the same destination.

Beef producers like Darren Bevans in Alberta, Tyler Fulton in Manitoba and Murray Shaw in southwest Ontario know that replacement and first calf heifers need some extra attention, especially heading into and over winter — the heifers are not only pregnant and about to produce calves, but these young females are still growing themselves.

The “extra attention” doesn’t require over the top management, but just paying attention to feed and weather conditions to ensure heifers maintain a proper body condition to meet the nutritional requirements of the unborn calf as well as to support their own body growth.

In their respective operations, with extended fall and winter grazing programs, Bevans and Fulton manage heifers separate from their main cowherds so that Continue reading

Refining corn grazing recommendations: Webinar October 12

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm

Thinking about turning your cattle out on corn? Want to be sure you are up to date with the latest corn grazing recommendations? Join us to learn more about this extended grazing practice with advice on maintaining good profitability and animal performance.

When
Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 pm MT

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB and SK
  • 8:00pm in MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Interested but aren’t available that evening?
Register anyway! This webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording and additional learning resources. By attending the live event, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too.

Register now Continue reading

Registration open for 2017-18 BCRC webinars

This year’s BCRC webinar topics include winter feeding, results of the latest National Beef Quality Audit, managing forages and other production practices.

View and register for our upcoming webinars below. To register for all of them at once, register for any one of them and select the option to be automatically registered for all remaining 2017-18 beef webinars.

We recommend registering for all webinars that you’re interested in regardless of whether you can attend during the date/time listed. By registering, you’ll receive reminders to attend the live event plus receive a link that allows you to watch the recording at any time. It’s no problem if you register and miss the live event, however joining live is recommended as it gives you the opportunity to interact and ask questions.

BCRC webinars are available and free of charge thanks to guest speakers who volunteer their time and expertise to support advancements in the Canadian beef industry, and through the Knowledge Dissemination and Technology Transfer project funded by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster.

Recordings of all of our past webinars can be found on our webinars page.

2017-18 BCRC Webinars:

Refining corn grazing recommendations – October 12, 2017, 7:00pm MT
Speaker: Bart Lardner, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the Western Beef Development Centre 

Thinking about turning your cattle out on corn? Want to be sure you are up to date with the latest corn grazing recommendations? Join us to Continue reading

Take in the BCRC Presentation August 17th in Calgary

beef extension presentationEvery time a beef producer in Canada markets an animal, he or she invests in research – through a portion of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off. Those producer dollars help fund scientific studies and innovative developments that are advancing Canadian beef production and impacting farms and ranches across the country.

What does that mean …for you, your herd and your industry?

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is excited to invite you to an upcoming presentation to get a clearer picture of beef research in Canada.

Join us Thursday, August 17 at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Alberta. The BCRC presentation will be held in the Palomino Room A-C from 1:30 – 4:30pm.

You’ll hear recent examples of progress made, discuss the objectives to be tackled next, meet the individuals leading the way, and take home new ideas to help keep your operation ahead of the herd. Top researchers will be in attendance to discuss Continue reading

Making Dollars out of Sense

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

14_cwcv_IMG_2758_cAside from price insurance (in provinces where it is available), cow-calf producers can’t do much to control the price they receive for their calves, so managing input costs is often the biggest opportunity to improve profitability. The Western Beef Development Center has found that annual production costs differ by at least $100 per cow between the 25% lowest cost producers and the average producer. A 2015 Quebec report found a $79 per cow per year difference between a group of cow-calf operations with the highest margin and the average. In PEI, annual cost of production between the 10% highest and lowest cost operations differed by $660 per cow.

During BSE, drastic times called for drastic measures, and input costs were often cut as much as possible. But this may not be the best strategy for today’s more normal conditions. If it’s not done carefully, reducing inputs can harm profitability.

Feed is responsible for the biggest costs, including land, fuel, seed, and fertilizer to establish, grow, manage and graze or harvest pasture or winter feed. Investments to increase forage and feed yield and/or quality, through Continue reading

Stepping up to Wheat-Based Finishing Diets

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

08_fdl_IMG_5573Grain-based diets improve feed efficiency, but increase the risk of rumen acidosis. Rumen acidosis occurs when rumen pH drops below 5.6 for more than 3 consecutive hours. Severe or chronic acidosis is an animal welfare concern due to rumen damage, liver abscesses, lameness, and an economic cost due to compromised feed conversion and growth performance. Consequently, feedlot operators manage their feed bunks and feeding programs very carefully, particularly as cattle transition from forage-based backgrounding to grain-based finishing diets. The risk of acidosis is influenced by grain type (wheat being a higher risk than corn, with barley being intermediate), the extent of grain processing, feeding frequency and bunk management. Group size and pen density are also factors, so research trials using individually fed animals may produce Continue reading

Deciding What Research and Innovation to Fund

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

picThis column usually features Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) projects supported by Canada’s national check-off, mainly through Canada’s Beef Science Cluster. The current Beef Cluster involves the BCRC, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Beef Producers, the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, Manitoba Beef Producers, Beef Farmers of Ontario, the Quebec Beef Producers Federation, DuPont Pioneer, the Grey Wooded Forage Association, and provincial government funds from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. By pooling resources and coordinating funding decisions, funders can avoid duplication and increase the odds that more good projects will go ahead. The Beef Cluster allows Canada’s beef industry to support much more and better research than we could in the past with limited national check-off dollars alone. The BCRC is now deciding which new projects to fund through the next Beef Cluster (2018-2023), so this month I explain how the BCRC decides what research to fund.

The first step is Continue reading

Barley Variety and Silage Quality

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

packing sileageBarley silage is the main roughage fed in Western Canadian feedlots, but few barley breeders try to improve its feed quality. Most breeders focus on improved grain yields, malting characteristics and better disease and lodging resistance, and pay little attention to feed quality traits like protein, starch, or neutral detergent fiber (NDF) content and digestibility (NDFD).

NDF is a measure of “structural carbohydrates”, the parts of the plant that hold it up. Cattle digest NDF slowly, so NDF contributes to gut fill and can limit feed intake, growth and efficiency. In a Beef Cluster funded study published earlier this year, Dr. John McKinnon and colleagues compared 80 silage samples collected from farms from across Saskatchewan and Alberta, that had been produced from seven different barley varieties (Nair et al., Can. J. Anim. Sci. 96:598-608). In an upcoming paper, they compared three of the two-row varieties that had produced silage with similar protein, starch and NDF levels, but different NDFD, and their effects on feedlot performance and carcass traits. Continue reading

Canadian beef industry works to sustainably increase production with renewed research targets

NEWS RELEASE
December 1, 2016

Click to open the Overview of the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy

Click to open an overview of the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy 2018-2023

Canada has an opportunity to play a leading role in meeting rising global food production needs responsibly through investments in agriculture research across a variety of disciplines. Today the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and the national Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) released a strategy to achieve high priority beef research objectives that support increasing productivity while remaining environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The new Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy will support the industry’s ability to manage challenges and sustainably supply demand. This strategy builds upon the success of the 2012-2018 National Beef Research Strategy. The new strategy’s research objectives are to be captured by 2023.

“With a growing global population that desires beef, research and innovation is critical to Continue reading