Good records help guide efficient production and profitability say producers

Editor’s note: The following is the second in a two part series. See part one about the value of benchmarking and record keeping for all cattle operations. 

Keeping proper and useful beef herd production records is essential if you believe in the adage “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Records don’t have to be overly complicated, but do need to be thorough, say producers who rely on them for a lot of their management decisions.

Setting up a record keeping system properly will take a bit of time, but once the format is established keeping records current really isn’t that onerous — updating records is something that can even be done in front of the computer while having an early morning coffee, or taking a few minutes here and there during the month as new information comes along. Continue reading

Are your bulls actually siring calves? Webinar November 16

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

For producers that breed cows in large pastures with multiple bulls, it’s often assumed that all of the bulls will sire roughly the same number of calves. Research shows a surprising variation in the number of calves sired by each bull. Learn more by joining this webinar on how DNA parentage testing may help determine sire value on your operation.

When
Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 pm MT

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB
  • 8:00pm in SK and 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

Find and register for more BCRC webinars here. Continue reading

Producing more with less for the world market: Raise your beef IQ

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As the Earth’s population increases and middle income classes rise in several developing regions, so does the demand for high quality protein.  In 2015, 1.22 million tonnes (carcass weight) of Canadian beef was produced for the world. That number rose to approximately 1.3 million tonnes in 2016, and is forecast to grow.

With ongoing research and adoption of new technologies, Canadian beef producers can sustainably increase production and help meet the global demand.

A recent study found that Continue reading

Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey

ontario cow-calf production surveyOntario cow-calf producers, do you wonder how your operation compares with others in your region or province on matters like conception rate and weaning weight?

The Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey is being conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Beef Farmers of Ontario, and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Questions in this survey have been adapted and will be comparable to answers from the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey conducted in 2014, allowing comparison from east to west.

The purpose of the overall project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, and disease rates on Ontario cow-calf farms and determine how well Ontario 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 province.

The findings of the survey will be 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

Announcing the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program 2016-17 participants

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to announce the participants in the 2016-17 Beef Researcher Mentorship program. Following an open application process, four researchers have been selected. Each has been paired with notable leaders in the Canadian beef industry and given a travel budget for the coming year, which will provide valuable opportunities for greater engagement with Canada’s beef industry.

Mentee: Dr. Getahun Legesse Gizaw
Mentors: Charlie Christie and Brenna Grant 

GLGizawGetahun Legesse, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the University of Manitoba. He is currently working on a collaborative project that aims to define the environmental footprint of Canadian beef. This involves collecting and analyzing of beef industry data to assess how the environmental impact of the beef industry has changed over the past thirty years. Earlier, he worked in the area of alternative forage-based systems for environmentally-sound and profitable production of beef in Canada.

Getahun received his Ph.D. in Animal Science (Livestock Production Systems analysis) from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. His doctoral project examined the productive, reproductive and economic performance of small ruminants in two production systems and identified possible options for improvement.

Through the mentorship program, Getahun hopes to Continue reading

The economics of pregnancy testing: Webinar September 15th

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

Join this free webinar to better understand the economics of choosing to pregnancy check and whether it is more profitable for your operation to cull cows in the fall or spring.

When
Pain control in beef calves. Photo supplied by Tamara Carter
Thursday, September 15 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 

Watching on a tablet or mobile device?

If you plan to join the webinar using  Continue reading

Genomics

Genomics studies the structure, function, evolution and mapping of DNA and genomes. It deals with the complete set of genes and genetic material found in a cell or organism.

Genomic technologies draw both producer interest and research investment in the beef industry. Seedstock selection is one common application, but genomics has found widespread adoption in forage and feed grain breeding, diagnostic tests, vaccine development, source attribution for food safety recalls and other uses.

cattle_hair_dna_sample_3DNA is the genetic code that determines how an organism grows, what it looks like, and how it performs in a specific environment. Found in all living things, DNA gets passed from one generation to the next, allowing these organisms to maintain or improve their ability to survive and thrive.

DNA is a long chain, with each link of the chain containing a pair of four small molecules, known as base pairs. These molecules are abbreviated by the letters A, T, G, and C. This long chain is then coiled tightly into chomosomes. All cells in an organism contain a complete copy of that organism’s full genetic code.

Each cell has specialized machinery that reads the DNA code three letters at a time. These three-letter codes instruct the cellular machinery to start reading at a specific point. From that point, the base pairs code for specific amino acids, then finally a three-letter code instructs the cellular machinery to stop reading.

Click to continue reading about the use of genomic tests in beef cattle, including cautions… 

 

 

Continue reading

Bov-Innovation: Putting Theory into Practice

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

bovinnovationThere is no shortage of beef industry conferences, workshops and meetings for Canadian beef producers to attend throughout the year. These have included the Canfax forum, the Canada Beef forum, Cattlemen’s Young Leaders forums, industry golf tournaments, tours, national, provincial and breed association meetings, the International Livestock Congress, and many more. Although they are valuable events, it is hard for producers to attend every event they might wish to. It can also be frustrating when similar speakers or themes get addressed at several different meetings, and busy producers take extra time away from their operations to hear the same presentations multiple times. The last thing anyone needs is to make time for yet another industry event.

Continue reading

Call for Proposals: Beef Production Economics (2017-2018)

Canfax Research Services (CRS) invites proposals for Beef Production Economics. The deadline is June 24, 2016 at 11:59 PM MT.

CRS is partnering with the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) whose mandate is to establish research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and manage national check-off funds allocated to research.

The BCRC developed the second Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Growing Forward II Strategy.  The Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster was a Continue reading