2018 Highlights and Deliverables

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. Our mandate is to

  • determine and communicate the Canadian beef cattle industry’s research and development priorities, and
  • administer the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds that have been assigned by producers to research

The BCRC’s research priorities focus on

  • improving competitiveness in the production of Canadian beef cattle,
  • supporting science-based policy, regulation and trade,
  • supporting science-based public education and advocacy,
  • supporting the Canadian Beef Advantage, and
  • accelerating the adoption of beneficial innovations by the Canadian beef industry.

The BCRC invites and funds projects and initiatives that have the greatest potential to benefit the sustainability and competitiveness of Canada’s beef industry. The BCRC is led by a committee of beef producers who proportionally represent each province’s research allocation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off.

2018 has been a transition year for the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) in terms of both funding and program administration. An increase in the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off from $1 to $2.50 per head in most provinces and revised allocations to research has grown the BCRC’s research budget from approximately 15 cents to Continue reading

Top 10 blog posts of 2018

This past year we published 80 blog posts that offered production tips and decision tools, provided a science-based perspective on issues in the media, highlighted new beef, cattle and forage research projects and results, and announced other exciting initiatives. Of those, these were the top 10 most popular:




10) 5 tips for grazing corn this fall and winter
Being sure to feed test, easing cattle into corn grazing by providing only a couple of days access to feed plus a hay bale, and making sure proper shelter is provided can make a big difference in how cattle perform while grazing corn.http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/5-tips-for-grazing-corn-this-fall-and-winter/




9) Are cattle drinking Canada dry?
We often see headlines about how human lifestyle and dietary choices (particularly beef consumption) can impact environmental sustainability. They often vilify beef and don’t tell the whole story. This article provided a more in-depth look at cattle’s role.http://www.beefresearch.ca/blog/are-cattle-drinking-canada-dry/ Continue reading

Does Antibiotic Resistance Move Through the Environment?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.


Recent columns have talked about antibiotic use in Canadian cow-calf and feedlot operations. Contrary to common misconceptions, antibiotic resistant bacteria are very unlikely to transfer from cattle to beef, evade food safety interventions in the processing plant, survive cooking, and cause an antibiotic resistant infection in a person. But can antibiotic resistant bacteria be transmitted from cattle, through feedlot manure and runoff, across soil, through wetlands, streams and rivers, and reach humans through the environment?

A Beef Science Cluster study led by Dr. Rahat Zaheer and Tim McAllister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (with collaborators from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the University of Calgary’s faculties of medicine and veterinary medicine, University of Guelph, Alberta Agriculture and Feedlot Health Management Services) examined this question.

What they did: This research focused on bacteria called enterococci that can cause infections in humans (e.g. urinary tract, liver and bile duct, heart, surgery wound, and bloodstream infections). Most enterococcal infections can be effectively treated with macrolide antibiotics. This is important because macrolides (products like Draxxin, Zuprevo, Micotil, Tylan, Zactran, etc.) are commonly used in both beef production and human medicine.

Over a two-year period, this team collected samples from feedlots (pen floor fecal samples, collection ponds, stockpiled and composted manure), agricultural soils, wetlands, streams, municipal sewage, packing plants, retail meats and human patients. Advanced lab testing was used to identify the specific types of enterococci and antibiotic resistance patterns in the samples from each location.

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Results of recent Cow-Calf Production Surveys across Canada



Industry data provided by production surveys can serve as a benchmark for production performance across the country. Historical production surveys include the Alberta Cow-Calf Audit (1986-88, 1997-1998) and “Reproductive Efficiency and Calf survival in Ontario Beef Cow-calf Herds” (1983). Sixteen years later, the survey was revived, revised and expanded into the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey (WCCCS, 2014). In the last two production years, additional surveys have occurred across Canada (Western Canada, Ontario, Northern Quebec, Atlantic). These have provided an overall picture of current production and management practices on beef cow-calf operations in each region of the country for the first time. The objective of these surveys were multi-faceted.

Canadian Cow-Calf Surveys



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Mycotoxins

A new webpage on BeefResearch.ca provides an overview of what mycotoxins are, the threat they represent for Canadian beef production and how to implement best practices to protect beef cattle.

Mycotoxins are often hidden hazards – a group of harmful toxins produced by certain types of fungi including mould that are only detectable with lab testing. They can create a variety of problems for beef cattle including reduced health and productivity.

The source of mycotoxins are fungi, including mould, that can be present in green pastures, cereal swaths, standing corn for winter grazing, cured and ensiled grass, cereal forages, crop co-products (straw, distillers grains, grain screenings, oilseed meals) and commercial feeds. Continue reading

How much do Canadian consumers enjoy their home-cooked steaks? New video

To understand the satisfaction of Canadian beef consumers, a Retail Beef Satisfaction Benchmark was completed as part of the 2014-18 National Beef Quality Audit.

Goals of the retail beef study were to determine:

  1. the importance of tenderness, juiciness and flavour
  2. consumer satisfaction levels with Canadian beef steaks
  3. the tenderness of Canadian beef steaks

Consumer satisfaction with retail beef in Canada was assessed using four cuts of steak (boneless cross rib, top sirloin, inside round, or strip loin) from 75 stores across Canada. A total of 1200 randomly selected consumers were provided with one cut of steak, instructed to prepare it at home and to provide a score out of ten for juiciness, flavour, tenderness and overall rating. Consumers were screened to ensure they had some experience in preparing beef products and had consumed beef in the past year. The same retailers also provided 680 steaks which were tested for tenderness using a technique called the Warner-Bratzler method at Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) laboratory in Lacombe, AB.

The consumer satisfaction assessment revealed that 79% of the test consumers gave an overall score of 7/10 or higher. Of the 1,200 consumers, 288 gave their steak a perfect rating (10/10). When the rest of the consumers were asked, “Why wasn’t it perfect?”, approximately 12% of study consumers felt their cooking methods were solely or partially responsible. The consumers’ main concern (46%) was with the texture (tenderness and juiciness) of their steak. Flavour and fat content were least often noted as a concern (9% and 6% respectively). Continue reading

Using nasal vaccines effectively. Webinar December 11

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


Photos courtesy of VIDO

Nasal vaccines are gaining popularity among beef producers but questions often arise about how to use them effectively. What is the best way and the best time to give them? Should you provide a booster? If so, with what? Join this webinar to learn the answers to these questions and more.



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

When
Thursday, November 29 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

Continue reading

The hand is better than the eye when it comes to cattle condition



Reproduction is the single most important factor in the productivity of a cow-calf operation. Body condition (amount of fat cover) is a key factor in reproductive success. New research from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that a body condition score (BCS) of 3.0 is the ideal fat cover for beef cows for several reasons, including:

  • very high pregnancy rates
  • very high percentage will show estrus 30 days after calving
  • high calf weaning weights
  • low abortion and stillbirth rates
  • low risk of severe dystocia

Body condition scoring is a low cost, hands-on method to determine the condition of cattle. This easy hands-on method is much more accurate than just looking at the animals. Continue reading