Developing improved native and tame forage varieties for western Canada

A reliable and productive forage base is critically important to maintaining a sustainable and competitive beef industry in Canada.  Cattle producers need access to high yielding, high quality, and well adapted forage varieties to improve the economics of production, which is becoming increasingly challenging as high grain prices continually force forage onto marginal land.

Research currently underway, Continue reading

Better Tests for Trich and Vibrio

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

Trichomoniasis (trich, or “trick”) and bovine genital campylobacteriosis (vibrio) are venereal diseases that cause early embryonic death, repeat breeding, large numbers of open cows at the end of the breeding season, an extended calving season, and enormous economic losses. The microbes that cause trich and vibrio live in the reproductive tracts of infected cattle, but don’t enter the tissues or the bloodstream. Cows and heifers can clear these infections but bulls generally can’t, because the microbes live in the folds of the foreskin. These diseases are difficult to treat, because Continue reading

Innovation and competitiveness at the House Agriculture Committee

This is a guest post by Ryder Lee, Manager of Federal and Provincial Relations at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

On April 28 Andrea Brocklebank, Executive Director of the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in Ottawa. The committee of Members of Parliament have dedicated a series of hearings to examining the issue of innovation and competitiveness in the Canadian agriculture and food sector.

Over the course of several weeks the committee will hear from many witnesses representing different parts of Canadian agriculture. These witnesses Continue reading

Measured changes in the quality of Canadian beef: NBQA video

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This old saying about the need for accurate and ongoing measurements to know whether things are getting better or worse never stops being relevant to those who work toward improvement.

Let’s look at beef production through that lens. As a cattle producer, the more aware you are of what’s already working well, which aspects of your operation

can be improved, and how much each of those improvements can cost or benefit you, the better you’re able to keep your operation profitable in the long-run. Your management practices can also help or harm those who buy your feeder or fat cattle.

We know that not every animal coming through the packer’s doors is ideal. Some animals will have horns that need to be cut off, or extra mud on the hide that slows down the processing line. Some carcasses will Continue reading