Trends in consumer perceptions about beef

This Country Called Agriculture, a television show focused on agribusiness topics in Canada, recently aired an episode focused on trends in consumer perceptions about beef.  Host Rob Eirich interviewed BCRC’s Science Director Dr. Reynold Bergen on a number of issues related to the production and food safety of Canadian beef.

The first of four segments responds to common perceptions about the food safety and nutrition of beef, and begins a discussion about antibiotic use in cattle. Continue reading

Drought tolerant forage mixtures

Because native species may increase carbon sequestration, improve wildlife habitat, lower agronomic inputs, and extend the grazing season, there is a growing interest in the use of native perennial species for seeded rangeland and reclamation following disturbance.

Diverse forage swards composed of native species have the potential to be as productive as tame monocultures in a greater range of environmental conditions. Unfortunately the information for the right combination of species is very limited.

Continue reading

Bigger Is Not Always Better: Finding the Right Sized Cow

This is a guest post written by Karin Schmid, Beef Production Specialist with the Alberta Beef Producers.

Marketing cows because they are open, calved late, or their conformation is breaking down are easy decisions.  Marketing cows or retaining heifers based on productive efficiency definitely requires more thought.

Biological efficiency is not always the same as economic efficiency.  In a cattle production system, efficiency is often a combination of those two measures.  How we optimize efficiency will depend on: Continue reading

Beef Research School video: Beef Care Code essentials in 10 minutes

In the latest episode of the Beef Research School, Ryder Lee with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) gives us a run down of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.  Ryder explains:

  • how science, practically and societal expectations were considered
  • important changes in requirements, including pain management when castrating or dehorning older animals
  • how cattle producers are responding to the new Code
  • CCA’s plans to expand the Verified Beef ProductionTM program to include animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship Continue reading

Canada’s veterinary drug approval process

Health Canada’s Veterinary Drug Directorate1 puts all veterinary products (e.g. antimicrobials, growth promotants, feed additives, etc.) through a rigorous approval process before they are licensed and sold for use in beef cattle in Canada. In fact, drugs used for beef cattle go through the same process as drugs used for human health, with a few additional steps. Here’s a layman’s summary of this process. Continue reading

More Than One Way to Skin a Cow

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

This time last year, Canada’s beef industry was coping with the Lakeside-XL beef recall. That event focused attention on the safety of Canadian beef, and the practices that the beef packing industry uses to manage food safety risks.

Since the late 1990’s, North America’s beef processors have used Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plans (also called HACCP, and pronounced “hassip”) to improve food safety. A HACCP plan identifies food safety hazards, identifies the steps that can adequately control those hazards, actively monitors the controls that are implemented, outlines how to fix problems that arise, develops ways to verify that these management practices are working, and keeps records to document that these steps are being done right. Not all packing plants are designed and built from the same blueprint, so each plant has unique challenges. Continue reading

How to dispose of cattle mortalities: new video

How best to dispose of dead cattle is an important question. Some methods are better than others at controlling the spread of disease and preventing contamination of air or ground water.  After the advent of BSE in Canada, disposal through traditional channels such as rendering has become more expensive, and in some cases less available.

This episode of the Beef Research School features Dr. Kim Stanford, a researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. The pros and cons of various alternatives for disposal of cattle mortalities are explained to help you decide which method might work best on your operation.  Dr. Stanford also explains how to start composting dead cattle any time of year. Continue reading

Denmark shows impact of banning growth promoting antimicrobial use in cattle

Antimicrobial resistance has become a highly charged issue.  Headlines appear in the news on a regular basis suggesting that antibiotics are becoming less effective in humans and farmers are to blame.

Some concerns have been raised that antimicrobial use in livestock leads to antimicrobial resistance and that some of the products used in food animals are closely related to antimicrobials that are important in human health. It’s also been questioned whether Continue reading

Find important events and deadlines

Organizations across the country are continually hosting events to give you an inside look at important research and offer practical advice on how to implement new technologies, improve productivity, prevent a wreck or save costs.  These events are also a good opportunity to discuss how our industry is facing opportunities and challenges, and meet leading experts and other progressive cattlemen. Registration for many events are for little or no cost to producers.

Visit our Events Calendar often to

  • view upcoming field days, seminars and conferences in your area,
  • be reminded of nomination, survey or application deadlines,
  • discover related career opportunities in the beef and forage sectors, and
  • find out about online webinars where you can listen in on a live presentation right from your computer or phone.

Continue reading