If it hasn’t happened already, soon your mailboxes and inboxes will be filling up with catalogues for this year’s bull sales. How can you identify which bull is going to work best for your operation? Purchasing the best bull for your operation’s needs starts with good record keeping to identify your operation’s strengths and weaknesses. From there you can work to narrow down your search based on your breeding system, genetic goals and budget. The following tips can help guide you in the process of purchasing your next herd sire.
It’s not one size fits all when it comes to bull buying.
Breeding programs will be determined by operational goals and the management practices that fit those goals. A farm that auctions their calves at weaning may choose a crossbreeding program with high performance, while a farm that direct markets their beef may prefer the uniformity of a single breed.
There are many different types of bulls available, and effective sire selection requires an understanding of the available genetics as well as your own operation. Aiming for complementarity of the bull’s genetics to your current cow herd and fit with your operational goals will contribute to increased revenue and reduced costs. Continue reading →
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 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 was a transition year for the 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 approximately 75 cents per head, allowing for continued advancements and expanded programming in 2019. More information on the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off can be found at www.cdnbeefcheckoff.ca/. Continue reading →
This past year we published 78 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) Three Producers Share Ideas That Improve Efficiency
Beef producers across the country are always looking to improve management and production practices that not only benefit cattle, but also reduce their workload, and help to save time and money. This article highlights 3 producers and a recent change they have made to improve efficiency on their operations those changes include improved calf identification measures, installing remote cameras to monitor watering systems, and adopting quiet livestock handling practices in a flexible year-round grazing system.
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the December 2019 issue ofCanadian Cattlemenmagazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Nothing is ever as simple as we think it is or wish it was.
We’ve known for centuries that an animal’s performance, health, behavior and other traits depend on a combination of their genetics and their environment. The genetics are inherited from their parents. Environmental influences are not inherited. Environments might be similar across generations but they’re rarely identical. Even on the same operation, older cows may have spent their early winters eating stored forage in corrals or barns, while younger cows may have been wintered on swaths with less shelter. Weather, growing conditions, nutritional quality of pasture, harvested feeds and supplements and many other factors also vary from year to year, so offspring don’t inherit their parent’s environment.
But it might not be that simple. Researchers are finding evidence that the environment can physically impact genes in ways that can be passed to second, third or even later generations. This is one example of a larger phenomenon called epigenetics. A 2002 study that looked at diet, diabetes and cardiovascular (heart) disease in northern Sweden over 105 years (doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200859) found that when men were raised during periods of famine (due to war or crop failures), their offspring and grandchildren were more likely to die of heart disease. When crops were good, armies weren’t marauding and food was abundant, their grandchildren were more likely to develop diabetes. Continue reading →
Lifelong health in a beef animal can start with early interventions to improve newborn calf health and prevent calf death. Ellen Crane, BCRC Extension Coordinator, will also demonstrate how to use the new BCRC website search tool, helping you find the information you’re looking for faster.
Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.
Adaptive grazing herd management applies to grazing practices that are developed with careful consideration to the specific conditions that exist on individual farms and ranches. When it comes to adaptive grazing management, it’s all about using the resources you have available and incorporating different techniques depending on where you live, says rancher and consultant Sean McGrath. McGrath spoke about the value of being flexible but also the importance of making a plan and measuring success, during a BCRC webinar last winter.
Managing the movement of cattle through pastures or paddocks will help producers achieve energy efficiency. “Plants are solar panels and to make them efficient, we need to make sure there are solar panels there to start with,” McGrath said. He pointed out that it is much cheaper for cattle to graze than it is to manually feed them and understanding the key principles of grazing management is vital for adaptive management (skip ahead to 15:05).
Producers should manage herd movement to prevent overgrazing, which is defined as a plant being grazed before it has recovered from the previous grazing event. “We would never cut a hay field on the first of June and come back and hay it on June 10. A pasture is no different,” McGrath reasoned.
Beef producers across the country are always looking to improve management and production practices that not only benefit cattle, but also reduce their workload, and help to save time and money.
It may involve improved calf identification measures, installing remote cameras to monitor watering systems, or adopting quiet livestock handling practices in a flexible year-round grazing system. They all help to improve beef production efficiency.
Here are some measures three beef producers say has benefited their operations:
Editor’s note: Relevant and up-to-date information that had been available on Foragebeef.ca is gradually being added to BeefResearch.ca. (More information). The New Forage Establishment page, which is previewed below, is one example. Further webpages will be added or updated on BeefResearch.ca to include the valuable content from Foragebeef.ca, ensuring that information remains freely available online. Completion is expected by Spring 2020.
Begin planning at least 18 months prior to seeding forages to effectively control weeds and manage fertility
Forage establishment is a long-term investment requiring careful planning, preparation, species selection and management to ensure success. Proper establishment of the forage stand plays a vital role in stand productivity and longevity. Begin planning at least 18 months prior to seeding forages to effectively control weeds and manage fertility.
Selecting the Right Forage
Land managers must carefully consider the long-term needs and goals for the forage stand and how it will function within their operation to select the appropriate species. Planning is key. Start at least 18 months prior to seeding to allow time for proper species selection, weed control, seedbed preparation, soil tests and pre-seeding fertilization. Perennial stands will usually be in production for many years, so treat it like a long-term investment. Environmental factors, intended use and stand life will impact forage species selection. Consider the land type, forage needs and utilization for the stand. Continue reading →