Bov-Innovation is happening in Calgary, AB on August 14



The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to announce their Bov-Innovation 2019 series which will take place on August 14, 2019 as part of the Canadian Beef Industry Conference . The conference is a collaborative effort, co-hosted by the BCRC, Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC), the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), and the National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA). This year the event takes place on August 13-15, 2019 at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta.

Bov-Innovation features producer-focused sessions designed to highlight practical ideas that are rooted in research. Speakers will share their perspectives along with tried-and-true tips that beef farmers can implement immediately. This year the two sessions, Alternatives to Antimicrobials and Dealing with Drought, fit well with the overall conference theme of “Securing our Future.”

  • Since 2018, beef producers in Canada require a veterinary prescription to treat cattle with medically important antibiotics. Bov-Innovation 1.0 Alternatives to Antibiotics is a timely take on practices producers can adopt that may prevent the need for antimicrobials. While not every illness or infection can be avoided, Steve Hendrick, DVM, a Coaldale, AB veterinarian, will explain some preventative methods farmers can adopt. Producer Stephen Hughes will share some of the benefits he has found with reduced antibiotic use. He will also describe strategies he uses on his Longview, AB ranch to minimize his use for veterinary drugs.
  • Drought has affected many regions of Canada in recent years. Finding enough forage to meet the nutritional needs of a beef herd can be challenging and expensive in dry times. In Bov-Innovation 2.0 Dealing with Drought, John McKinnon, PhD, and Alberta producer Graeme Finn will provide their insight on making things work in less than ideal conditions. McKinnon, an Emeritus Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, will highlight balancing rations, using creative feed sources, and preventing nutritional nightmares that can happen in drought. Finn, who operates Southern Cross Livestock, has firsthand experience dealing with severe drought. He will offer practical suggestions for planning ahead for grazing and forage management, including maintaining healthy pastures better able to withstand low precipitation.

“Bov-Innovation has proven popular with conference attendees because it combines a research perspective with real life situations that producers are challenged with,” says Ryan Beierbach, Chair of the BCRC. “I really encourage producers and audience members to join Bov-Innovation, to ask questions, and really consider new strategies that will help them proactively manage their farms in the future,” said Beierbach.

Conference goers will have two opportunities to participate in the Bov-Innovation sessions at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference on Wednesday, August 14. Both topics will be covered from 10:15am to 12:00pm, and again later that day from 2:45pm-5:30pm.

Information and resources from previous Bov-Innovation sessions held in 2016, 2017, and 2018 can be found online at http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/bovinnovation.cfm .

Beef industry stakeholders and producers are also invited to attend the BCRC Open House on Thursday, August 15 starting at 1:15pm. Examples of research, innovations, and science-based tools will be featured as well as objectives for current and future research priorities. Conference registration is not necessary to attend the open house.

Registration for the Canadian Beef Industry Conference is now open. Producers are encouraged to register before June 15 to take advantage of a reduced rate and secure their spot at the beef event of the year. Full conference information, including registration details, accommodations, speakers, and agenda, can be found at www.canadianbeefindustryconference.com .

Bov-Innovation is possible because of funding through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off and the Beef Science Cluster, and partnerships with other stakeholders dedicated to advancing the goals in the National Beef Strategy.

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Drought management strategies

Editor’s note: Due to dry conditions in many parts of the country, we’ve pulled this article from our archives. It was originally posted in July 2015.



For timely timely information on weather and climate relevant to the agricultural sector in Canada, visit Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Drought Watch webpage

Whether in the form of pasture, stored forage, or supplements, feed is the largest variable input cost in cow-calf operations. A big challenge is to feed the cow in a way that meets her current and future nutritional requirements for maintenance, lactation, maintaining a successful pregnancy, giving birth and getting rebred within 80-85 days of calving as cost effectively as possible. This challenge is obviously much greater during drought, when feed is scarce and expensive.

Aside from moisture, one thing that will help keep you and your cows from experiencing a wreck this summer is knowledge. We’ve pulled together a good list of resources that can help you and your herd get through the drought.

So pour yourself a coffee or an iced tea, and delve into the links below. After a few hours of reading, you’ll likely have a few new plans to keep your cows and grass in good shape, and to keep from shelling out more money for feed or vet bills than need be this year and down the road.

Let us know if the information you’re seeking isn’t here, or if we’re missing some valuable information you’ve found elsewhere so that we can add those links to this list. Continue reading

Abnormal weather doesn’t grow average forage

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.



Averages are useful statistics, but sometimes averages can be misleading. As the University of Saskatchewan’s late Iain Christison said, “the average human has one breast and one testicle”. Canada’s rainfall may be close to average this year – but much of the country is experiencing severe drought, and most of the rest is soaked. Either way, low yields, unharvestable or spoiled forage mean that winter feed supplies will be below average in many places, and nutritional value likely won’t be average, either.

For instance, drought-stricken pastures and forage crops have lower levels of carotene, which cattle need to produce vitamin A. A recent paper from Cheryl Waldner and Fabienne Uehlinger of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (Can. J. Anim. Sci. 97:65-82) looked at 150 beef cow-calf herds in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Calves born the spring following a drought had a much higher risk of vitamin A deficiency, and calves with severe vitamin A deficiency were nearly three times more likely to die than those with higher levels. Continue reading

Drought Management Strategies

Due to the current drought conditions in several parts of the country, we’ve pulled this article from our archives. It was originally posted in July 2015.

For timely timely information on weather and climate relevant to the agricultural sector in Canada, visit Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Drought Watch webpage



Whether in the form of pasture, stored forage, or supplements, feed is the largest variable input cost in cow-calf operations. A big challenge is to feed the cow in a way that meets her current and future nutritional requirements for maintenance, lactation, maintaining a successful pregnancy, giving birth and getting rebred within 80-85 days of calving as cost effectively as possible. This challenge is obviously much greater during drought, when feed is scarce and expensive.

Aside from moisture, one thing that will help keep you and your cows from experiencing a wreck this summer is knowledge. We’ve pulled together a good list of resources that can help you and your herd get through the drought.

So pour yourself a coffee or an iced tea, and delve into the links below. After a few hours of reading, you’ll likely have a few new plans to keep your cows and grass in good shape, and to keep from shelling out more money for feed or vet bills than need be this year and down the road.

Let us know if the information you’re seeking isn’t here, or if we’re missing some valuable information you’ve found elsewhere so that we can add those links to Continue reading