Feed Grains & Feed Efficiency

The profitability and health of the finishing sector relies in large part on the production of high quality and yielding feed grains, and animals that are highly efficient in converting feed mass into increased body mass.  Research in this area provides identification and validation of economical methods of identifying seedstock with improved feed efficiency and the development of new feeds and alternative feeding strategies.

Further research is needed to improve feed efficiency through animal breeding, improve feed supply and utilization, and improve management of manure nutrients.

Cow Efficiency
Distillers' Grains

Distillers’ grains are a by-product from the process of grain-based ethanol production and can be used as an economical commodity in feeding cattle. As long as bioethanol production continues at current levels, the feedlot industry in Canada will feed distillers’ grains in order to produce beef as efficiently as our trading partners. Most distillers’ grains in North America come from corn with some from sorghum and wheat. Corn distillers’ grains are sold produced in Eastern Canada and the U.S. Wheat distillers’ grains, or a mixture of wheat and corn, are produced in Western Canada. Read More...

Genetic Improvements in Feed Efficiency

Improving the feed efficiency of a herd can mean big savings for producers. A 5% improvement in feed efficiency could have an economic effect four times greater than a 5% improvement in average daily gain (ADG). Since feed costs represent greater than two thirds of total production costs in a beef operation, reducing them can have huge advantages to your bottom line.  This information isn’t only for the feedlot and backgrounding operation.  It is especially true for the cow-calf producer because over 70% of those feed costs are going towards just maintaining the cows over the majority of the year. Read More...


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

It’s important for beef producers to understand the threat represented by mycotoxins and to adopt appropriate prevention measures. By minimizing risk producers can safeguard the health of their animals and ensure productivity is not derailed. Everyone doing their part can reduce the risk for Canada’s beef industry as a whole, helping to uphold high standards of quality, safety, animal care and animal health.

This page 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.


Optimizing Feedlot Feed Efficiency

The expenses of purchasing a calf and the feed needed to finish it are the two largest variable costs facing the cattle feeding sector. Using less feed to finish a calf would substantially improve profitability in beef production, and may diminish environmental implications. Feed costs are high due to poor growing conditions in major grain producing countries, because of the use of feed grains in ethanol production, and because of increasing competition of land for crop production versus urban development. Read More...

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