Economic and environmental impacts associated with removal of performance-enhancing technologies in the Canadian beef cattle industry

Project Code: ENV.15.17
Completed: In Progress. Results expected in March 2023.

Project Title:

Economic and environmental impacts associated with removal of productivity- enhancing technologies in the Canadian beef cattle industry

Researchers:

Tim McAllister, Ph.D. and Kim Ominski, Ph.D. tim.mcallister@agr.gc.ca

Tim McAllister, Ph.D. (Agriculture Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge); Kim Ominski, Ph.D. (University of Manitoba); Karen Beauchemin Ph.D., Roland Kroebel Ph.D. and Shannan Little (Agriculture Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge); Getahun Legesse Gizaw Ph.D., (Manitoba Agriculture) Emma McGeough Ph.D., Karin Wittenberg Ph.D., Jared Carlberg Ph.D. (UManitoba); John McKinnon Ph.D. (University of Saskatchewan); Robin White Ph.D. (Virginia Tech); Mark Klassen (Canadian Cattlemen's Association)

Background:

The benefits of performance enhancing technologies (PETs) like implants, beta-agonists and ionophores on weaning weight, growth rate and feed efficiency are well-established. Research funded under the second Beef Science Cluster suggests that growth promotants contributed to the improved resource use efficiency and environmental impact we have seen over the past 30 years.

However, perceived health concerns among consumers are leading retailers and foodservice companies to promote “free-from” beef products. Commercially relevant data is needed to accurately assess the benefits (potential domestic and international market access) and costs (increased environmental footprint, production and product segregation costs) of removing performance enhancing technologies from Canadian beef production.

Objectives:

To examine productivity, environmental sustainability, and economic viability including cost of segregation associated with removal of productivity-enhancing technology from the Canadian beef cattle industry. Researchers will also examine current and future market demand (retail and export) for beef raised without PETs.

What They Will Do:

The research team will use published and current Canadian research and commercial data (30,000 feedlot records) to estimate nationally relevant production cost, productivity and carcass value impacts of removing production enhancing technologies. Results from the National Beef Quality Audit retail meat case study and consumer purchasing data from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec will be used to assess actual consumer behavior with respect to price, quality and production claims.

Implications:

This project will provide in-depth analyses to understand whether market premiums associated with domestic and international beef market opportunities for beef raised without performance enhancing technologies the environmental and economic drawbacks of removing these performance enhancing technologies.

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