Reminder: Mentorship program applications due May 1st!

Applications for the 2019-20 term of the BCRC Beef Researcher Mentorship Program are now being accepted.  The deadline to apply is May 1, 2019.

Four researchers were selected to participate in the program this past year. Each was paired with two mentors – an innovative producer and another industry expert – for a one year term (ending July 31, 2019). Each of the researchers have reported very successful and valuable experiences through the opportunities provided, including:

    • Establishing partnerships with industry and other researchers to further their research programs
    • Meeting several producers and industry leaders with whom they ask questions and have meaningful discussions about cattle production, beef quality and safety, and the Canadian beef value chain
    • Attending industry events and touring farms and ranches to better understand the impacts, practicalities and economics of adopting research results

The BCRC is excited to continue the program and invite applications from upcoming and new applied researchers in Canada whose studies are of value to the beef industry, such as cattle health and welfare, beef quality, food safety, genetics, feed efficiency, or forages. A new group of participants will begin their mentorships on August 1st.

The Beef Researcher Mentorship Program launched in August 2014 to facilitate greater engagement of upcoming and new applied researchers with Canada’s beef industry.

Learn more about the program and **download an application form at: http://www.beefresearch.ca/about/mentorship-program.cfm**

Continue reading

Exceptional Forages for Marginal Lands

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.


Side Oats Gramma photo courtesy of Agriculture Agri-Food Canada

Tame forages often outperform native species in head-to-head comparisons under optimal growing conditions. This may not be the case on “marginal land,” with its tougher environments, poorer soil, rougher topography, harsher climates, and precipitation extremes. Beef production is expected to rely more and more on marginal land, at least while returns from cash crops exceed those from cow-calf production.

Beef Cluster research led by Mike Schellenberg (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Swift Current), Eric Lamb (University of Saskatchewan) and a team of graduate students has been examining Western Canadian native plants since 2009. Some results from this study were published in 2018 (“Mixtures of native perennial forage species produce higher yields than monocultures in a long-term study”; Canadian Journal of Plant Science 98:633-647).

Continue reading

Cover Crops Webinar March 26


Photo courtesy of Agriculture Agri-Food Canda

Cover crops can have many benefits including improving soil health and prolonging the grazing season. Join this webinar to learn about some of the best practices for growing cover crops.



Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Tuesday, March 26 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 broadcast, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too.

Duration
Approximately 1 hour.

Jillian Bainard
, Ph.D., is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Swift Current Research and Development Centre (SCRDC). As a Forage Ecophysiologist, Jillian’s research involves studying forage crops and the interface between plants and their environment. She works with forage breeders, ecologists, and animal scientists to develop forages that are beneficial nutritionally, environmentally, and economically. Jillian completed her PhD in Botany at the University of Guelph in 2011, followed by a postdoc at SCRDC where she studied the use of annual forage polycultures.

 

Cost
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 Technology Transfer project funded by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster.

What is a webinar?

Webinars are just like attending a workshop or conference, but from the comfort of your own home or office. We bring the presentation right to you. They’re easy to join and participate in. A reliable, high-speed internet connection is required.

All you need to do is register beforehand, and about 5-10 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin, click the link you were provided when you registered. Then turn up your computer speakers or call the phone number provided. That’s it! Sit back and enjoy.

As a participant, you can anonymously answer polls and surveys, and will have the opportunity to ask questions near the end of the webinar.

You can find more beef research-related webinars hosted by other organizations on our events calendar.

Don’t have high-speed internet? Consider calling a neighbor that does and watch the webinar together, or call your regional ag office to ask whether arranging a group viewing is possible.

Visit our Webinars page to find other upcoming BCRC webinars and the recordings of our past sessions.



Click here to subscribe to the BCRC Blog and receive email notifications when new content is posted.

The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council, list the website address, www.BeefResearch.ca, and let us know you chose to share the article by emailing us at info@beefresearch.ca.

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact us directly or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.

Feeling Better About Castration

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

When Canada’s 2013 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle was being developed, some participants felt it should require pain control for castration at all ages, like the dairy code. The producers and researchers on the beef Code committee were confident that pain control was beneficial for feedlot bulls and dairy calves but were concerned that there was no research showing whether nursing beef calves and individually-housed dairy calves respond to castration or pain relief the same way.

In the end, the 2013 beef Code required that castration be performed by an experienced person using proper, clean, well-maintained equipment and accepted techniques. Producers are expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration, as well as the availability and advisability of pain control drugs for castrating beef cattle. Calves must be castrated as young as practically possible, and pain control is required when castrating bulls older than six months of age. Continue reading

Attention researchers: SK Ministry of Agriculture is now accepting Letters of Intent

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI’s) for research funding under the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

The Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) was created to fund research to help farmers and ranchers become successful. The core of ADF provides funding for basic and applied agriculture research projects in crops, livestock, forages, processing, soils, environment, horticulture, and alternative crops. It provides project funding of nearly $14 million per year on a competitive basis to researchers in public and private research and development organizations, selected on the basis of their research’s potential to create growth opportunities or enhance the competitiveness of the provincial agriculture industry.

Letters of Intent will be accepted until April 15, 2019.

The Agriculture Development Fund is an online application system. This system is located at: https://arb.gov.sk.ca/ and is best experienced using a modern browser (such as Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox).

More information on the Agriculture Development Fund. 

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

Click here to subscribe to the BCRC Blog and receive email notifications when new content is posted.

The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council, list the website address, www.BeefResearch.ca, and let us know you chose to share the article by emailing us at info@beefresearch.ca.

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact us directly or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.

What’s in your water? Water quality and the economics of pump systems Webinar March 14

Testing your water sources to ensure it is good quality and free of toxins can help to prevent animal health issues or even death. This webinar will discuss when you should be testing your water, how to do it, what to test for, and what limits are acceptable. We will also talk economics of pumped water systems, running numbers to see how quickly infrastructure to pump water from a dugout will pay for itself.



Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Thursday, March 14 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 broadcast, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too.

Duration
Approximately 1 hour.

Leah Clark is the Livestock Specialist at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Leah has a M.Sc. in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan, with a major in animal science and a minor in rangeland resources. Her M.Sc. thesis in animal nutrition focuses on wheat-based dried distillers’ grain as a protein and energy source for beef stocker calves in extensive grazing programs. She maintains an active interest in water quality and ruminant nutrition. 



Brenna Grant is the Manager at Canfax Research Services. Brenna monitors data from national statistics; oversees the development of new economic models to make annual outlooks and evaluate the impact of management decisions on cost of production.

Cost
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 Technology Transfer project funded by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster.

What is a webinar?

Webinars are just like attending a workshop or conference, but from the comfort of your own home or office. We bring the presentation right to you. They’re easy to join and participate in. A reliable, high-speed internet connection is required.

All you need to do is register beforehand, and about 5-10 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to begin, click the link you were provided when you registered. Then turn up your computer speakers or call the phone number provided. That’s it! Sit back and enjoy.

As a participant, you can anonymously answer polls and surveys, and will have the opportunity to ask questions near the end of the webinar.

You can find more beef research-related webinars hosted by other organizations on our events calendar.

Don’t have high-speed internet? Consider calling a neighbor that does and watch the webinar together, or call your regional ag office to ask whether arranging a group viewing is possible.

Visit our Webinars page to find other upcoming BCRC webinars and the recordings of our past sessions.



Click here to subscribe to the BCRC Blog and receive email notifications when new content is posted.

The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council, list the website address, www.BeefResearch.ca, and let us know you chose to share the article by emailing us at info@beefresearch.ca.

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact us directly or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.

Bull Selection: Using Economically Relevant Traits

Editor’s note: The following is part three 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. (See part one and part two).

Sire selection often encompass a variety of factors such as how well a bull fits into the breeding objectives of your operation, breed, conformation, pedigree, birthweight, and price. Recent surveys from western Canada in 2014 and 2017, Ontario in 2015/16, northern Ontario and Quebec in 2015/16, and Atlantic Canada in 2016/17 production years asked respondents to rank their top bull selection criteria.  There wasn’t a lot of variation between regions with breed, conformation, pedigree, birth weight, individual performance, expected progeny differences (EPDs), and temperament all being highly ranked by survey participants.   

Some of the criteria, like breed, may influence sire selection due to the desire to capture heterosis or breed complementarity effects.  Conformation is important for longevity and ensuring the bull gets the job done during the breeding season.  Having a bull with a desirable temperament makes everyone’s lives easier, especially if there are children or older individuals involved in the operation.  Individual performance and birth weight may give some indication of how the bull’s progeny may perform, but a better indicator in this area is actually the bull’s EPDs. Response to selection using EPDs is 7-9 times more effective than selecting based on individual animal performance7.

The question is, how well do these various selection criteria translate into profit? Continue reading

Bull Selection: What are you looking for?

Editor’s note: The following is part two 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. (See part one).

Bull selection is one of the most important decisions for cow-calf producers, with implications for short- and long-term profitability of the operation. The choice of bull can be immediately seen in the subsequent calf crop.

If the operation retains heifers and/or bulls, the genetics in the selected bull will be passed down to subsequent generations. Introducing new genetics is a permanent change to the herd, compared to the temporary nature of supplements or management practices. As such, bull selection can be seen as a long-term investment into the operation.

Research in the area of beef cattle genetics has been growing significantly. There are opportunities to improve profitability through sire selection. However, with a multitude of traits, breed differences, operational goals, and management practices, bull selection is a complex decision. Continue reading