The cost-benefit of using vaccines: bovine respiratory disease



Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is one of the costliest health issues facing the beef industry today. While a lot of research on BRD has been focused at the feedlot stage, the disease is also the most common cause of death for nursing calves older than three weeks.  BRD can impact any producer, including those who retain ownership of their calves to background, feed, or finish cattle.

Research by USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center that tracked the annual incidence of BRD in pre-weaned calves over a 20-year period found that the annual incidence varied from a low of 3% to a high of 24% with an overall annual average of 11%. On average, the mortality rate of calves suffering from pre-weaning BRD was 13%.

Several large studies have linked BRD to seasonal peaks. Nebraska researchers collected several years of data on 110,000 calves and found two seasonal peaks in the incidence of BRD. One peak occurs from birth through around 20 days of age, and another takes place when calves reach 70 to 100 days of age. Other studies have shown a similar pattern. The most common age group reported as having BRD were calves between one to 4 months of age.

Once calves are affected by BRD, there are both immediate and long-lasting effects on performance. Studies have shown that calves challenged by BRD could weigh up to 36 pounds less at weaning than their healthy herd mates (Wittum and Perino, 1995). Continue reading

Unintended Consequences

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

I once spent a summer working for canola breeders. Some used traditional selection, while others were experimenting with transgenics. One traditionalist was known to say “sticking a new gene into a plant and expecting it to grow better is like throwing a new gear into a watch and expecting it to keep better time. It’ll probably get worse”. This article isn’t about canola or genetics, but it is about time and unintended consequences. Specifically, it’s about the timing of the breeding and calving seasons.

Canada’s cow-calf sector has moved towards fewer, larger beef cow herds. Calving later, on pasture has been a widely adopted strategy allowing producers to expand their cow herds without a proportional increase in equipment, labor, and facilities. When John Basarab led Alberta’s Cow-Calf Audits in the late 1980’s and late 90’s, breeding often started in May and calving started in late February. In contrast, 70% of the producers responding to the 2017 Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey started breeding in June or July to calve in March or April.

Continue reading

Does your feed pass the test? Making sense of feed test results: Webinar October 30



Do you ever look at a feed analysis report and think “huh?” Unsure of how to collect and send away feed samples for testing? Want to be sure you’re using feed wisely so your cattle perform as expected without wasting valuable feed? This webinar is for you.



Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Wednesday, October 30th 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

National Beef Strategy sees global opportunities ahead and meets industry challenges head on for 2020-24



News Release

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Beef Advisors are pleased to release the 2020-24 National Beef Strategy. The strategy is designed to take advantage of the opportunities facing the industry while simultaneously addressing the challenges.

The development of the 2020-24 National Strategy has been a dynamic collaborative process engaging all industry sectors and national and provincial organizations. The Canadian Beef Advisors and provincial cattle associations believe a united industry is a stronger industry, and that a stronger industry benefits all those working in it today and into the future.

Substantial progress was made under the 2015-19 strategy and the intention is to continue building on the strengths of existing industry organizations. “The National Beef Strategy has provided real value for Canadian beef producers; it acts as a roadmap for the groups as they work together. We have set our industry up for success, now we just need to follow through.” said David Haywood-Farmer, Past Chair of the Beef Advisors. Continue reading

The Cost Benefit of Using Vaccines: BVD



Vaccination is a proven tool for disease prevention. Vaccination recommendations vary by region and by farm as the environment, production, and management practices can increase or decrease the amount of risk cattle are exposed to. Disease exposure occurs in numerous places including community pastures, fenceline contact with neighbouring cattle, auction markets, and breeding cattle, such as bulls, purchased from other herds. However, vaccinating breeding females for reproductive disease and calves for respiratory disease are recommended practices across Canada. A vaccination program should be developed in consultation with a veterinarian who can determine which ones are necessary for your area.

In western Canada, one in ten producers surveyed are not vaccinating their cows for infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVD) (Waldner et al., 2019) and more than a quarter of producers do not vaccinate cows for other reproductive diseases (Beef Cattle Research Council, 2019). One third of Ontario producers do not vaccinate their cows for BVD and far fewer vaccinate for other reproductive diseases. In Atlantic Canada, 27% of producers reported not administering general vaccinations. This leaves herds vulnerable. Continue reading

Registration Open for the 2019/2020 BCRC Webinar Series


Webinars for beef producers
This year’s webinar series will cover a range of topics from feed testing to external parasites and other practical, science-based information for Canadian beef producers.

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GuHDnU5NTU2EU2-uzDtp0Q 

You can register for as many (or all!) of the webinars you’re interested in at once. After you click the link above, be sure to scroll down to see and select for all eight (8).

See topics and descriptions below.

Continue reading

Replacement heifers – Money, management, and momentum


Photo submitted by Brian Trueman

Do you raise your own heifers? Or do you prefer to purchase your replacements? Regardless of your choice, developing heifers costs money and requires careful management.

Ideally, replacement heifers will go on to become long-term producers in the herd sothoughtful selection is critical. “Each producer has different resources and goals when they make the decision of whether they want to buy or retain heifers,” said Kathy Larson, a University of Saskatchewan economist. “Part of that decision needs to involve cost of production,” she advised during a recent BCRC webinar.

Continue reading

On-Farm Antimicrobial Surveillance Moves a Step Closer

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

As long as cattle continue to get sick, cattle producers will need antimicrobials to help them recover. At the same time, it’s common to hear activists, regulators, consumers and/or retailers call for livestock producers to stop using antimicrobials altogether, reduce antimicrobial use, or demonstrate that antimicrobials are being used responsibly. Solid, reliable data demonstrating our industry’s antimicrobial use (AMU) practices and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) prevalence on an ongoing basis are key to maintaining consumer and public confidence in Canadian beef production practices.

The Public Health Agency of Canada monitors antimicrobial resistance in healthy beef cattle, pigs and poultry arriving at abattoirs as well as retail meat through the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS). CIPARS has also had on-farm programs to collect antimicrobial use (AMU) and resistance (AMR) data for poultry and grower-finisher swine for several years. Continue reading

Government of Saskatchewan 2019 Strategic Research Initiative call for proposals

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture invites collaborative, multi-disciplinary,
cross-institutional Saskatchewan-based teams to develop and submit integrated research proposals that will contribute to the production, management and sustainability of Saskatchewan’s beef industry, pasture and rangeland resources under the diverse
environmental conditions across Saskatchewan.

The goal of the 2019 Strategic Research Initiative is to gather and synthesize knowledge from complementary areas – such as forage breeding, forage management, grazing and livestock management, environmental sustainability and agricultural economics – to develop and refine production advice to improve the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of Saskatchewan’s forage/beef sector.

Completed applications are due by October 15, 2019.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with Jeff Braidek throughout the development of their proposal. We anticipate that early discussions will help to ensure a strong alignment between the proposed projects and the goals of the program.

Applications must be completed and submitted through the Agriculture Research Branch on-line application system.

To access the application web pages please either Login or create an account (Register) on the following website: https://arb.gov.sk.ca/. Once logged in, please select the Special Projects tab where you will find the Strategic Research Initiative application. Once an application has been created, it can be edited and submitted under this same tab. Should you require any assistance during the application process, please contact Mackenzie Hladun, Database Coordinator with the Ag Research Branch, at Mackenzie.hladun@gov.sk.ca (306-787-5929).

When seeking funding, researchers are encouraged to refer to the priorities and target research outcomes in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy.

How to get new feedlot calves settled and gaining quickly; advice from producers, veterinarians and feedlot consultants

Getting calves settled, keeping them healthy and getting them gaining involves serious management that considers many variables. A successful program to keep these calves healthy and growing should involve co-operative consultation between the feeder, herd health veterinarian and the livestock nutritionist. Stress on calves is the number one offender and the degree of stress can vary widely between calves and loads of calves. If not managed properly, freshly weaned calves heading to a feed yard can be very susceptible to pneumonia and other illnesses.

While herd health veterinarians and feedlot production specialists can each have slightly different approaches to getting new feeders ramped up to the intended full-feed ration, all have a common starting point — get calves unloaded into a receiving pen, don’t over crowd them, make sure they have access to good quality grass hay, are drinking water, the lot is well bedded, and the cattle get a few hours of rest before processing.

It sounds like a simple enough plan when introducing newly weaned calves to the feed yard. But, to successfully get calves eating and gaining, ideally from day one, takes both planning and management. Continue reading