Details of 26 new research projects funded by Canada’s Beef Science Cluster

The first Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster proved to be a very successful step towards improving the coordination of beef research funding in Canada while generating meaningful, applicable results. The Cluster enabled industry to successfully encourage the development of effective teams of researchers spanning multiple Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and non-AAFC institutions across Canada.

In addition to strengthening research results and reducing duplication, this collaboration trained new research expertise to ensure that key research areas were maintained and strengthened. It also allowed improved technology transfer and knowledge dissemination efforts aimed at the successful development and adoption of key research results by Canada’s beef industry.

The second Cluster builds on the success of the first. Joint industry and government commitments to the second Beef Science Cluster total $20 million, including $14 million in funding from AAFC and $5 million in funding from the research allocation of the National Check-off and provincial beef industry groups, in addition to investments by provincial governments. Funding has been directed to 26 research projects that will be completed by March 31, 2018.

Details on all of the second Cluster projects now available

We are pleased to announce more details on each of the second Cluster research projects. You can find a fact sheet on each of the projects now by navigating under the ‘Research’ tab, or download them all here: [PDF | 1.8 MB] Continue reading

Cost of Production First Steps: Production Indicators

This is a guest post written by Kathy Larson, MSc, PAg, Beef Economist with the Western Beef Development Centre.

Last month’s announcement of the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) is welcome news. This spring, cow-calf producers will have the opportunity to lock in prices for their 2014 calves. When deciding which level of coverage to take, it would be useful to know what price a producer needs to break-even. The break-even price on weaned calves is also known as the cow-calf unit cost of production. Continue reading

Beam Me Up

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission.

No one wants to throw up in zero gravity, so space programs take great care to avoid food poisoning among astronauts. Irradiation has been used to pasteurize astronauts’ food since 1966. In fact, irradiation has been the most studied of all food-processing technologies over the past 60 years. Irradiation improves food safety by fatally damaging bacterial DNA. This stops the growth and reproduction of the bacteria that can cause food to spoil or people to become sick.

Irradiation is also approved as a food safety treatment in over 50 countries back here on earth. For example, France, Belgium and the Netherlands use irradiation to combat food-borne pathogens in frogs’ legs, seafood, and poultry. The U.S. has approved irradiation of meat. Canada has approved irradiation for spices, seasonings, flour, onions and seed potatoes, but not meat or poultry. Irradiation is safe for human food use at doses more than eight times higher than those approved for meat in the U.S. Irradiation does not cause the meat to become radioactive, and has less of an effect on food nutrients than cooking does, but irradiation can have undesirable effects on flavour or colour under some conditions. Continue reading

Boosting the calf crop percentage in your beef herd: Webinar on Feb. 25


Updated February 28, 2014: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on the Webinars page:

Reproduction is the basis of profitability in the cow-calf sector.  Of course the closer a producer can get to having 100% of their cows deliver healthy, uniform calves that thrive through to weaning, the better their bottom line.  Register for this free webinar to hear from industry experts on how those reproductive goals can be achieved. You’ll also hear how ongoing investments in research have improved reproductive efficiency in Canada’s beef herd, and what issues still need to be tackled. Continue reading

Is it OK to use snow as the only water source for cattle?

The Beef Cattle Research Council has funded a number of extended grazing research projects over the years. This puts us in contact with Canada’s leading forage, grazing, cattle nutrition, health and welfare experts, and helps us to answer the winter grazing management questions that inevitably pop up at this time of year.

Here’s a recent question from a producer in Quebec: “I’m reading all I can about bale grazing. Many times, ranchers tell me they don’t give water to cattle and there’s no problem with that. Do you agree? Is it possible to winter cattle only with snow with no negative effects?” Continue reading

Results of 2009-13 research funded by the BCRC

In 2009, the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) joined forces with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to fund a group of projects aimed at meeting the Canadian beef industry’s research priorities. This Growing Forward initiative was called the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster.

With additional support from provincial funds in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, a total of $10.5 million was directed to 32 select research projects across Canada. These research initiatives involved 51 lead researchers at seven federal sites and five universities in six provinces, in addition to several provincial government institutions and industry facilities. Those research projects were completed by March 31, 2013.

The BCRC is very pleased to report on the results of the Cluster.  The inaugural report Continue reading