Networks Make The Dream Work

This is Part Two of a three-part series (see Part One and Part Three in the coming weeks).

Editor’s note: this article is also available in French. Download the translated version here. 

As the industry has been rocked by COVID-19, volatile market prices and uncertainty have occurred. There is an opportunity for producers to examine what they can control – their cost of production. During the boom years when prices are high it is easy for costs to get out of hand. You may be considering changes to your operation but are not sure where you will get the biggest bang for your buck.

The Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network (CDN COP Network) will develop benchmarks for specific production systems and ecoregions across the country. Scenarios will be developed for what future farms could look like utilizing the 5% Rule to identify where incremental improvements could be made around productivity, input costs, and output prices. Each production system will have its own set of opportunities, limitations, and areas where greater focus may be beneficial. Consider cattle operations with different production systems:

  • A beef operation in the east is considering raising dairy-beef but is uncertain about the costs and management changes needed to succeed.
  • A small, land-locked operation may be utilizing multiple income streams from multiple different commodities to manage risk. The focus is on using each acre in different ways throughout the year to generate revenue.
  • A large, specialized operation may be focused on economies of scale in purchases and sales and efficiencies in labour productivity.

When looking at competitiveness and profitability, each region needs to evaluate the limitations and opportunities unique to them. Is land, labour, or capital the limitation? Will the biggest impact for the operation come from reducing input costs, or improving productivity, or increasing price? Continue reading

Meet the Council: Implementing Management Practices that Pay Off

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is made up of producer members from across Canada, representing and appointed by each of the provincial beef organizations that allocate part of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off to research. The number of members from each province is proportional to the amount of provincial allocation to research.

The following is part two in a series to introduce you to this group of innovative thinkers that set BCRC’s direction by sharing practices, strategies, or technologies that they have integrated into their own operations.

Conditions and circumstances across the country may vary but these three beef producers have found value in adjusting common management practices to work successfully on their operation.

Utilizing Different Calving Seasons

Fred Lozeman – Alberta

Fred and his family own and operate a mixed farm near Claresholm, Alberta at the base of the Porcupine Hills. Along with a spring and fall calving herd they operate a feedlot, finishing their own calves, as well as around 1,500 head of purchased cattle. They also grow most of the feed required for the feedlot and cow-calf operation. Continue reading

Why a Cost of Production Network?

This is Part One of a three-part series (watch for Part Two and Part Three in the coming weeks).

Editor’s note: this article is also available in French. Download the translated version here. 

Canada is the sixth largest beef exporter in the world. Live cattle to the United States are also a substantial business. Cost of production and price competitiveness are key aspects to any major exporting commodity, along with regulatory environment and available resources. The beef industry must be profitable and competitive to secure land, labour, and capital otherwise those investments will go into other commodities that provide a greater return on investment.

The Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network (CDN COP Network) has been developed collaboratively with provincial coordinators and funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council. Industry has taken a lead role in coordinating the Network working with local expertise in each province. This information will support cow-calf producers as they evaluate how to evolve with new technologies and enhance competitiveness in an international marketplace. Continue reading

The BCRC invites Proposals Related to Proof of concept research and clinical trials

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) invites proposals related to proof of concept research and clinical trials. The application deadline for this call is October 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM MT.

With increased investment in research through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off, the BCRC has committed to provide research funding in two key areas that have previously had limited funding:

  1. Proof of Concept – proposals to help inform whether a concept is worth pursuing as a larger, more defined funding request
  2. Clinical Trials – proposals to validate practices or technologies that have been discovered through research projects and/or to facilitate the adaptation of technologies utilized in other sectors, commodities, or countries

The BCRC has committed funding to short-term projects in these two areas, with a maximum of $50,000 per project regardless of duration. Project duration should not exceed six months to one year unless a clear rationale can be provided demonstrating the need for a longer time frame. Continue reading

New Resource: Financial Record Keeping Level 2

Editor’s Note: release of the Level 2 Financial record keeping module adds to the previously released content focused on Animal Health & Performance, Forage & Grasslands, and Genetics. Stay tuned for Level 3 Record Keeping modules to be available in the coming weeks.

In agriculture there are many areas of risk and uncertainty. Sectors with tight margins, such as the beef sector, can greatly benefit from having a better understanding of their operation’s finances. Understanding where the strengths and weaknesses occur is one way to reduce the stress that comes with uncertainty and provide financial resiliency to help your operation adapt to challenges. Continue reading

Announcing The Beef Researcher Mentorship Program 2020-2021 Participants

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to announce the participants in the 2020-21 Beef Researcher Mentorship program. Following an open application process, six researchers from across Canada have been selected. Each has been paired with notable leaders in the Canadian beef industry and given a travel budget for the next 18 months, which will provide valuable opportunities for greater engagement with Canada’s beef industry.

Mentee: Dr. Alexander Koiter

Mentors: Kristine Tapley and Larry Wegner Continue reading

Dr. Karen Beauchemin Receives 2020 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation

NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release
August 12, 2020


L-R: Dr. Francois Eudes, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Lethbridge); Dr. Karen Beauchemin, Award Recipient; Dr. Tim McAllister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Lethbridge).

A leader in ruminant nutrition and the environmental sustainability of beef production has been awarded the 2020 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation. Dr. Karen Beauchemin was honoured today during the 2020 Canadian Beef Industry Conference, which was held virtually this year.

Dr. Beauchemin is a Principal Research Scientist of Ruminant Nutrition at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, and Utah State University. Dr. Beauchemin’s work focuses on developing nutritional knowledge and technologies for the beef and dairy industries to improve the efficiency of production and reduce environmental impact. She received her Master of Science with a Major in Agriculture from Université Laval with distinction in 1982 followed by a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition with distinction from the University of Guelph in 1988. Continue reading

Attention Institutions: BCRC Call for Proposals for Research Chairs

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) invites proposals from leading research institutions for the establishment of Research Chairs. The deadline is October 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM MT.

Currently, a shortage of scientific experts and research capacity in some areas of beef, cattle and forage research are hindering the ability to conduct priority research that supports improvements in productivity and demand and responds to emerging issues. To fill these gaps, the BCRC is exploring options to establish Research Chairs in key areas with investment of Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funding in partnership with other funders.

To procure the strongest opportunities for capacity development and encourage matching investments, Research Chair concepts will be considered through an open call for proposals.  The BCRC welcomes proposals that work towards the achievement of its three core research objectives:

  • To enhance industry competitiveness and reduce production costs, priority outcomes are to enhance feed and forage production, increase feed efficiency, and decrease the impact of animal health issues and production limiting diseases.
  • To improve beef demand and quality, priority outcomes are to reduce food safety incidences, define quality and yield benchmarks supporting the Canadian Beef Advantage, and improve beef quality through primary production improvements and the development and application of technologies to optimize cut-out values and beef demand.
  • To improve public confidence in Canadian beef, outcomes are to improve food safety, strengthen the surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance, develop effective antimicrobial alternatives, ensure animal care, demonstrate the safety and efficacy of new production technologies, improve environmental sustainability and measure the beef industry’s environmental benefits.

Continue reading

Attention Researchers And Extension Agents: Deadline For BCRC LOIs Is 2 Weeks Away



The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) invite letters of intent (LOIs) for research projects as well as for technology transfer and production economics projects. The application deadline for these separate but concurrent calls is August 7, 2020 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 calls are made possible by the recent increase in the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off in most provinces, along with funds provided and administered by ABP. Producer check-off funds allocated to approved projects will need to be leveraged by other industry or government cash contributions. Match leverage funding does not have to be confirmed at the time an LOI is submitted but must be in place prior to BCRC contracting an approved project.

Target outcomes have been clearly defined for both calls through extensive consultation with research teams and industry stakeholders to identify critical needs and key areas where the BCRC and ABP can have the greatest impact. Please refer to the target outcomes listed within the Call for Letters of Intent documents linked below before deciding whether to submit an LOI.

All call-related information can also be found at www.beefresearch.ca on the Forms and Downloads page.

Continue reading

Bov-Innovation will Come to You this August in a New Online Format

Like everyone this year, the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and its industry counterparts have had to adjust their planned events. The BCRC is pleased to make their Bov-Innovation 2020 sessions available to even more producers and industry stakeholders with a free, virtual series open to anyone who registers for the Canadian Beef Industry Virtual Conference.  The conference is co-hosted by partners including the BCRC, Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC), the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), and the National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA). The door is open for this online event which will take place on August 11-13, 2020.  Links to recorded sessions will also be available to registrants to watch later at their convenience.

As part of the conference, Bov-Innovation will take place on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 and will include a virtual tour, a live question and answer segment, demonstrations, and more. Bov-Innovation is designed for producers with sessions focused on practical ideas, tips, and practices that are supported by science. There are two sessions this year, a Virtual Silvopasture Tour and a segment on Acing Your Next Feed Test: Continue reading