Bull Selection: Breeding programs that suit operational goals

Editor’s note: The following is part one of a four-part series that will help you to evaluate different breeding programs, which bulls are optimal for your herd, and how much they’re worth.

There are a range of different beef operations in Canada, and there is no one breeding program that is optimal for all operations. Breeding programs will be determined by operational goals and the management practices that fit those goals.

Here are some examples.

A producer that sells weaned calves at auction may choose a crossbreed program with high calving ease and a focus on performance gained from hybrid vigour; or they may prefer the uniformity of a purebred program with reputation premiums.

A producer that retains heifers and is looking for maternal replacements may be focused on maximizing the performance through inbreeding and outcrossing within a single breed; or they may develop FI crosses with higher reproductive performance and longevity.

These choices may be limited by the number of breeding fields available or the number a producer is willing to manage. There are a variety of breeding programs available, and effective sire selection requires an understanding of the characteristics of the available genetics as well as your own operation. Continue reading

Tues. February 27th: Check-off Town Hall being held online

Each time you sell cattle in Canada, you pay a national check-off. If you want a better understanding about where your national check-off dollars are spent and the increase from $1/head to $2.50/head, join the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency’s online town hall on Tuesday, February 27th.

Note: if you registered for all upcoming BCRC webinars, you have not been registered for this webinar, because it is hosted by the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency, not the BCRC, so you need to click the link below to register for this webinar separately.  

We encourage beef producers from across the country to join this town hall webinar and ask questions live. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5080677593959345410


There will be two sessions on Tuesday, February 27th to accommodate producers across Canada:

  • 3:00pm – 4:30pm MST (2pm PST; 4pm CST; 5pm EST; 6pm AST)
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm MST (5pm PST; 7pm CST; 8pm EST; 9pm AST)

Continue reading

Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off Town Hall Webinar: February 27, 2018

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by the Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency 

The Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency will be hosting an online town hall event for producers, to talk about the Canadian Beef Check-Off, and how it is collected, remitted and invested, and concrete examples of the return on investment for Canadian producers. There will also be information on the check-off increase, from the initial concept to roll out to the projected timeline for the increase across Canada.

We encourage producers from across the country to join the webinar and ask questions live.


There will be two sessions on Tuesday, February 27th to accommodate producers across Canada:

  • 3:00pm – 4:30pm MST (2pm PST; 4pm CST; 5pm EST; 6pm AST)
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm MST (5pm PST; 7pm CST; 8pm EST; 9pm AST)

How to Register:

Sign up for one of the two sessions here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5080677593959345410

Featuring: Continue reading

A Canadian perspective on the red meat allergy

This guest post is written by Shaun Dergousoff, PhD, a research scientist at AAFC Lethbridge focused on tick populations and arthropod vectors of livestock disease.

Several recent news articles have reported a connection between tick bites and allergies to red meat products in the United States. This is often framed as an emerging and alarming public health issue, but should it be a concern for the Canadian public and the beef industry?

The “red meat allergy” was first identified in Australia with several hundred cases diagnosed since 1985, and was recognized in thousands of people in the southeastern United States over the last couple decades. This allergy also occurs in fewer people from several other countries around the world. Based on reported cases, it appears that allergy to red meat is about as common as allergy to peanuts, occurring in only 0.1% of the American population.  Those who are affected can have very serious and even life-threatening anaphylactic reactions after eating red meat products.

The source of the red meat allergy was a mystery until Continue reading

Attention researchers: SCAIDF call for proposals

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA) has opened a call for proposals through the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Industry Development Fund (SCAIDF). The deadline to provide research applications and any supporting documents is 5:00 pm CST on Friday, May 19th, 2017. 

More information on the SCA’s call for research proposals, including research priorities and application documents, can be found on their website: http://www.saskbeef.com/research.html.

For more information contact:

Marianne Possberg, MSc
Beef Production Specialist
Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association
Phone: 306-585-2333

Calf Prices and Retained Ownership

This guest post is written by Brian Perillat, Canfax Manager/Senior Analyst. Visit www.canfax.ca to subscribe to regular analysis of markets and trends.

As the fall run is starting, producers are having to re-adjust their price expectations when marketing calves.  Marketing decisions were relatively straight forward the last couple years for producers when they were selling calves at record high profit levels.  Given the major price correction, producers are taking a harder look at different marketing/feeding options for this year’s calf crop.  At the beginning of October, 550 lb steers are about $100/cwt lower than a year ago, and $85/cwt lower than 2014.  On the other hand, they are about $25/cwt higher than 2013.

alberta 500 600lb steer price cwt 2000 to 2016

Disappointing prices and a general abundance of feed has producers considering retained ownership.  After such a major price correction, this may seem reasonable to explore, but it is important understand what the market signals are, understand the risk involved, and have a strategy to manage risk.

It is also important to Continue reading

New National Check-Off study shows increased benefits to Canadian cattle producers

August 18, 2016 – The Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (the Agency), in partnership with Canfax Research Services is pleased to release a study evaluating the economic benefits from the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off.

The study, prepared by Dr. James Rude and Dr. Ellen Goddard, is an update on the 2010 Cranfield Study which had reported results ahead of the 2010 merge of the Beef Information Centre, Canadian Beef Export Federation and the National Check-Off Agency.

The new study reports that on average from 2011/12 to 2013/14, every check-off dollar invested in national research and marketing activities resulted in a benefit cost ratio of 14:1 or $14 of benefit for Canadian cattle producers. This is up from the $9 average between 2005 and 2008. In addition, the average benefit Continue reading

Be on the Lookout for Ergot

This guest post written by Sherri Roberts, Regional Crops Specialist – Weyburn, SK. To learn more about ergot, see the links below.

Three things are needed in order for a disease to occur:

  • a susceptible host,
  • a disease causing organism and
  • the right environment.

Saskatchewan fall rye varieties are all rated as moderately susceptible to ergot. While rye is the principal host; barley, wheat, triticale, oats and numerous species of cultivated and wild grasses are also susceptible.

The ergot causing fungal organism, Claviceps purpurea, has the ability to Continue reading

The Gatepost: Agency Update

The Gatepost is written and distributed by the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency. Below is a copy of the fourth issue. To receive future issues of The Gatepost, subscribe here. See past issues here.  


Agency Update

The Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency (the Agency) was established to provide funding for market development, promotion and research of beef and beef products in Canada.

In 2014/15 the total national check-off dollars collected was approximately $7,664,602. Of this total, each province allocates a portion to Canada Beef, BCRC and in some cases to provincial activities related to research and marketing that have national benefit.

The collection of national check-off started in 1999 and in the last 17 years, a lot has changed in the beef industry. When factoring in annual inflation only, the purchasing power of the national levy has been reduced from $1.00 to $0.73.

Recently, the National Beef Strategy has been developed as a path to a dynamic and profitable Canadian cattle and beef industry.  To accomplish this there are four defined pillars and strategic goals within the strategy over the next five years:

  1. Beef Demand: to enhance beef demand and increase carcass cutout values by 15%.
  2. Competitiveness: to reduce production cost disadvantages compared to the industry’s main competitors by 7%.
  3. Productivity: to increase production efficiency by 15% by focusing on genetic selection, research and development, technology development and adoption and enhanced information flow.
  4. Connectivity: address industry synergies, connections with the consumer, and the public, government and industry partners by addressing industry issues.

To achieve these goals Continue reading

Retained ownership

This guest post written by Brian Perillat, Canfax Manager/Senior Analyst, originally appeared in the September 25, 2015 issue of the Canfax Weekly Market Outlook and Analysis (available to Canfax subscribers). It is reprinted with permission.

As we head into the fall run, producers are looking at different marketing scenarios for their calves. While many producers have already taken advantage of high prices by selling calves for forward delivery, a significant portion of the 2015 calf crop will be marketed over the next two months. While calf prices remain well above a year ago, they have been under pressure for most of September.

The reality has been that highly profitable feedlots and a lower Canadian dollar had propped up local calf prices while the US cash market and futures market have been projecting lower cattle prices for the past few months. While calf prices seasonally drop into October and November, retaining ownership decisions should not be about trying to recover losses or hoping for better prices, but deciding whether it is projected to be profitable to feed your calves versus selling them.

Retained ownership decisions need to be based on current calf prices, cost of gain, and Continue reading