Determining optimal forage species mixtures

Forages are a major feed component for the cow-calf and backgrounding sectors of the beef industry. Appropriately managed pasture with a significant legume component is inherently one of the most sustainable feed sources. Because forage species have different yield potential and nutritional quality, the mixtures of forage species in pastures can influence the productivity of the grazing cattle.

AAFC Nappan Research Farm (Photo credit: Tracy Sakatch, BCRC)

Cattle grazing at the AAFC Nappan Research Farm, one of the sites involved in this research.


L-R: Dr. Yousef Papadopoulos and John Duynisveld, lead researchers of this study.

Work funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is working to identify forage species mixtures that provide the best opportunity to enhance beef productivity both on pasture and with stored forages.  This research will Continue reading

A New Look at Acidosis

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

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Some rumen microbes prefer to break down fiber, while others thrive on sugars and starches. This allows cattle and other ruminants to take advantage of a wide variety of different feeds. If the feed contains a lot of poorly digestible fiber, the fiber digesting microbes will predominate. This allows ruminants to survive in Canada’s long, cold winters. Other rumen microbes dominate when plants are growing rapidly in spring and contain a lot of sugar and easily digestible fiber. These more digestible feeds provide energy and protein to the animal more quickly, and deliver the nutrients needed to allow them to produce milk, recover body condition, grow, and rebreed quickly and efficiently during Canada’s relatively short growing season.

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Creating a forage industry chair to maintain research expertise

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Cow-calf producers in Western Canada have widely adopted extended fall and/winter grazing practices using both annual and perennial forages. However, competition with high value annual crops has resulted in higher land prices and decreased land base for forage production in many beef producing areas. Therefore, having expertise in integration of land, plant and animal management is critical to increasing the productivity of both the forage land base and cow herd.

Work funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is supporting the establishment of a permanent Western Canada Forage Industry Chair at the University of Manitoba. The project will also provide leadership and technology transfer for Continue reading

Beef Researcher Mentorship Program launches

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August 5, 2014

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to announce the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program, a new initiative that will facilitate greater engagement of upcoming and new applied researchers with Canada’s beef industry.

Currently in the pilot phase, the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program intends to provide researchers with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the needs of the beef industry in a practical and meaningful way. Continue reading