Feed testing explained in Beef Research School video

A new video is now available on www.BeefResearchSchool.com

Feed testing is a fundamental tool to assist cow-calf producers, backgrounding operations and feedlots develop sound feeding programs. By knowing the nutritional qualities of feeds, producers are better able to achieve desired production targets and save on supplemental feed costs. Feed testing is especially important to accurately determine the feed quality of forages, because visual appraisal of colour, plant species and leaf content, and knowledge of cutting time, can be misleading and should not be relied upon to determine feed quality. 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

Tips for Successful Extended Grazing to Reduce Winter Feeding Costs

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

Extended grazing systems have a number of benefits.  By extending grazing into the winter months, costs related to traditional winter feeding and the labour it requires can be significantly reduced. For example, research indicates that swath grazing can reduce total daily feeding cost per cow by 41 to 48%. This is based on a 78% reduction in yardage costs and a 25% reduction in feed costs.  Extended grazing can also have environmental benefits, such as residue and manure management.

However, extended grazing in our Canadian winters requires some added planning and management.  Replacement heifers, young cows and mature animals all have different nutritional requirements due to their age and physiology.  These differences are fairly easy to manage in a confined feeding system; however, managing the different classes of cattle during winter grazing requires more care. Continue reading

Researching Healthy Fats in Beef: CLA and Omega-3

Consumers have shown considerable interest in “healthy fats” and “bad fats” in recent years. The potential health attributes of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids have led to considerable media focus, marketing opportunities and consumer confusion.

Stores now place omega-3 labels on fish, yogurt, eggs and bagels.  Beef contains both omega-3’s and CLA’s, but you will not find these labels on beef products because Continue reading

Western Canadian Beef and Forage Research Stakeholder Consultation

Representatives from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Andrea Brocklebank (Research Manager) and Dr. Reynold Bergen (Science Director), recently attended a Research Stakeholder Consultation hosted by the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association in Regina. The November 22 meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and prioritize Western Canada’s beef and forage research issues. More than twenty other participants representing Alberta Beef Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers, Saskatchewan Forage Council, the Saskatchewan Forage Network, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada also attended the meeting.

It quickly became clear that forage research was a shared concern for all of the groups in attendance, so the conversation quickly focused on the shortage of forage research expertise. The lack of forage breeders is particularly acute. Continue reading