Transporting cattle safely. Webinar November 29

Transporting cattle is the part of the beef production system that is most visible to

the public. Research to understand current realities and determine best practices for transporting cattle is ongoing. Join this webinar to learn what that research has found, as well as practical tips that you can use for successful transport outcomes.



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

Bovine Respiratory Disease from the Farm to the Feedlot

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

Weed seeds and invasive species may be present even in well-managed pastures and rangelands, but it is hard for them to germinate, establish and spread in healthy, competitive forage stands. Stresses like severe drought, overgrazing, heavy traffic or excavation can weaken forage stands and create opportunities for unwanted plants to take root.



Researchers are now studying whether similar principles may apply to animal health and disease processes. For example, calves that were perfectly healthy on the farm can face a serious risk of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in the feedlot after experiencing the stresses of weaning, commingling, transportation and ration changes. Dr. Trevor Alexander of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Station and collaborators from the University of Calgary are studying bacterial populations (the microbiota) in the respiratory tract of feedlot cattle. They published the results of a small study supported by the Beef Research Cluster earlier this year (The nasopharyngeal microbiota of beef cattle before and after transport to a feedlot; BMC Microbiology 17:70).

What they did: Little is known about what the “normal” respiratory microbiota looks like in cattle, let alone how it changes in response to any given stress. Because exposing calves to multiple stresses at the same time may have produced large, complex, difficult to interpret changes in the microbiota, this team focused on the effects of simply moving cattle from the home farm into the feedlot. They used 14 Angus x Hereford heifer calves (640 lbs) from Continue reading

Winter Cow Transport Assessed

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


BergenMay
A 2007 transportation benchmarking study led by Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Station surveyed over 9,000 loads and close to half a million cattle trucked to, from and within Alberta over an 18 month period. That study reported that over 99.9% cattle arrived in their destination with no serious problems.

But transport was more risky for some cattle than for others. Cull cows were 3.5 times more likely to have trouble during transport than weaned calves, 5.5 times more likely than fat cattle, and 8.5 times more likely than yearlings. The risk of death also increased greatly in cattle transported at temperatures below -15oC. Finding ways to improve winter transport outcomes is important for the cows as well as industry reputation.

Dr. Schwartzkopf-Genswein and co-workers did a follow-up project evaluating how Continue reading

Improving Calf Transportation

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Calf Transport Cattlemens article

In 2007, Alberta Beef Producers funded a transportation benchmarking study led by Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Station. The research team surveyed over 9,000 loads and close to half a million cattle commercially transported to, from and within Alberta over an 18 month period. That study was completed in 2009 and published in 2012 (e.g. J. Anim. Sci. 90: 10: 3606-3617). They reported that 99.98% of short haul (4 hours or less) and over 99.95% of long haul (4 hours or more) cattle arrived in their destination with no serious problems (e.g. lame, downer or dead). So on the whole, Canada’s cattle transportation sector is doing a very good job.

However, the study also found that some cattle were more likely to have problems than others. Continue reading

The skinny on market cows



This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted with permission.

The odds that an animal will suffer, be injured or die go up drastically whenever a thin, old, weak cow is loaded, transported, unloaded, marketed, held for a week (or longer) at an auction mart while loads are assembled, then reloaded, transported again, and unloaded at a packer. So do the odds that someone will capture that disaster on their smartphone. In a world where nothing can be hidden, we’d better have nothing to hide. Continue reading

Cattle transport discussed in Beef Research School video

The second video in the Beef Research School video series is now available on www.BeefResearchSchool.com

This video discusses the welfare of cattle in transport trailers, which is an important issue for Canadians.  In fact, livestock transport is one of the most common issues raised in letters to the federal Minister of Agriculture.  Unfounded public concerns can lead to calls for tighter regulation, reduced hours in transit and/or increased frequency and length of feed, water and rest stops. Continue reading

Shipping Cull Cows: Responsible Welfare Considerations

This is a guest post written by Karin Schmid, Beef Production Specialist with the Alberta Beef Producers, in collaboration with Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director.

With cows and calves coming off pasture in the coming weeks, some of these cows will likely be going to market.  Producers are reminded to be very cautious when facing a temptation to market thin, weak, lame, or sick cows that are unfit for transport.

Some auction markets will refuse to accept cows that are unlikely to sell, and some sales yards and packing plants will bill producers who deliver cattle that are condemned.  Moreover, producers, cattle buyers and transporters have an ethical and legal obligation to ensure the well being of the cattle under their care. Continue reading

It Happened Again: Internet Video of Mistreatment of Cows

This is a guest post written by the CCA’s Ryder Lee, in collaboration with Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director.

California processor Central Valley Meat Co. is the subject of a recent Internet animal cruelty video released by anti-meat organization, ‘Compassion over Killing.’ The video captured instances of inhumane handling practices that are not condoned by the beef and cattle industry or the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suspended operations at the company pending investigation of the animal welfare issues cited in the video.  The plant reopened after federal officials approved corrective action plans to improve the treatment of animals. As a result of the video, major customers, including McDonald’s Corp., cancelled or suspended contracts with the company. Continue reading