Management during calving season for healthier, more productive calves and cows: Webinar on Dec. 18

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page:

With calf prices as high as they are, cow-calf producers are motivated as ever to know what more they can do to get through calving season with as many live, healthy calves as possible, and healthy cows that rebreed early. Research offers evidence-based clues and tips for best practices during calving season. A survey of Alberta cow-calf producers in 2013 discovered how management during calving season relates to death loss and illness rates of calves. Join this webinar for advice that can help producers across the country make more informed choices during Continue reading

Young researchers encouraged to compete for CYL spot

The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program, a national youth initiative by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), provides outstanding mentorship opportunities to young beef cattle enthusiasts. The program is geared toward those aged 18-35 interested in developing their industry leadership skills or career potential within the Canadian beef cattle industry.

L-R Kajal Devani (mentor) and Rae-Leigh Pederzolli (mentee)

L-R: Kajal Devani (CYL mentor) and Rae-Leigh Pederzolli (CYL mentee)

Of 50 applicants, 16 participants were selected for the 2014/15 CYL program, including Rae-Leigh Pederzolli. Rae-Leigh is a Master’s student at the University of Saskatchewan studying nutrient permeability throughout the ruminant gastrointestinal tract and the impact of external factors such as feed restriction and feed additives on the barrier function in mature animals. This research is led by Dr. Greg Penner and is funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster.

The CYL program paired Rae-Leigh with Kajal Devani, Director of Breed Development at the Canadian Angus Association. The BCRC is proud to sponsor Rae-Leigh’s participation in the CYL program to support engagement of researchers with Continue reading

Practical and effective food safety procedures for beef packing plants

Recent work has shown that E. coli can essentially be eliminated from dressed carcasses in commercial packing plants. Carcass chilling processes can be operated to supplement or largely substitute for decontaminating treatments. Machinery and personal equipment can be cleaned and used in ways that prevent such equipment from contaminating meat during carcass breaking. As a result, food safety issues with beef may arise if known best practices and treatments and practices necessary to produce cuts and trimmings free of pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella are incompletely or inappropriately implemented.

Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is working to identify which Continue reading

Canada’s Beef Industry Supports Forage Research

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

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A competitive cow-calf sector requires an adequate supply of forage. Increasing forage quality and yield allows more cow-calf pairs to be maintained per acre of forage, or reduces the number of forage acres needed to maintain the same number of cow-calf pairs.

Better yields come from the development of better varieties and production practices. Statistics Canada data indicate that canola yields have increased by 13.5 bushels per acre since 1980, while tame hay yields have dropped by more than half a ton per acre over the same time frame. This is partly related to Continue reading

Studying cattle’s feed efficiency throughout the finishing period

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Feed efficiency and cost of gain strongly impact feedlot profitability. Feed efficiency is thought to decline with advancing days on feed, though factors contributing to this are unclear. Understanding changes in feed efficiency over the course of the finishing period may identify opportunities to further improve feedlot production efficiencies.

Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is working to improve Continue reading

Cow-calf producers’ opportunity to compare their production levels

Cow-calf producers, do you wonder how your operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size range on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? A joint effort representing the cow-calf industry from BC to Manitoba is helping Western Canadian cattle producers do just that.

By participating in the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey, producers can choose to receive a complementary report that allows them to compare their own operation with benchmarks (average numbers from a region).

The survey takes about 35-45 minutes to complete and asks questions related to the 2014 calf crop, as well as typical management practices. Many of the questions are the quick check-box style. Any question a producer is unable to answer can be left blank.

The complementary report will help producers see the aspects of their operation that they’re doing exceptionally well in, and the areas that have the greatest room for improvement. For example, the report will show a producer whether the conception rates of his cows in 2013 was higher or lower than nearby herds and herds of a similar size. That way, he’ll know whether he should work with his veterinarian, nutritionist and/or regional extension specialist to have fewer of his cows come home from pasture open, or if other production goals are a higher priority for him to focus on to improve his productivity and profitability.

The findings of the survey will Continue reading