Top 10 BCRC blog posts of 2015

This past year we published 68 blog posts that offered production tips, science-based perspectives on issues in the media, highlighted new beef, cattle and forage research projects and results, and announced other exciting initiatives. Of those, these were the top 10 most popular:

10. New resources added to help cow-calf producers increase profits

A new feed cost calculator was added to give producers the ability to compare the costs of increasing the body condition of thin cattle using different feed sources. Three fact sheets were also added, which explain reproductive issues with over- and under-conditioned cows, developing a winter feeding program for under-conditioned cows and how to maintain condition year-round for maximum profitability.

Follow the link to see the fact sheets and to calculate costs with the feed sources available on your own operation.


9. Celebrate beef industry’s continual environmental improvements on Earth Day Continue reading

Performance Improving Product Approvals

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Last month’s column summarized a North Dakota State University research project where young female pigs were fed burgers made from tofu or beef from naturally-raised or implanted cattle to see whether they reached puberty sooner. They didn’t. That is no surprise, because researchers, pharmaceutical companies and government regulators invest a lot of time, effort and expense in assessing the risks that any new animal health product may pose to human health before it is approved for use. Dr. Sang-Hee Jeong described the risk assessment process in a 2010 article “Risk Assessment of Growth Hormones and Antimicrobial Residues in Meat” (Toxicol. Res. 26:301-313).

The first step is to determine efficacy (effectiveness). In other words, a new growth promotant must be able to improve growth rate, efficiency or carcass composition before it will be approved for that purpose. But these products Continue reading

New video: What beef producers need to know about pain control and prevention

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Injuries, ailments and surgery hurt. On days you slam your hand in a gate, wake up with a knee that’s more sore than usual, or are admitted to a hospital for an operation, anti-inflammatory painkillers (analgesics) and drugs that block all nerve sensation (anesthetics) are things to be grateful for.  Pain is expected in life, but the ability to avoid or diminish it at times not only makes our days more pleasant, pain mitigation helps to keep us productive and able to look after ourselves.

Common sense and scientific evidence tells us that the same goes for cattle.

There’s no doubt that cattle experience pain but as a prey species, they have evolved to hide the signs. Researching pain and pain-control in stoic animals is difficult but scientific knowledge is building.  At the same time, consumers’ understanding and expectations of animal welfare have changed. Pain control drugs are now available for cattle and on the occasions they’re needed, those products have both costs and benefits to producers.

So as a beef producer, what do you need to know about the science, Beef Code requirements, incentives, and practical options for preventing and controlling pain in your animals?

Watch this short video, then visit and talk to your veterinarian. The webpage includes information on the pain control products licensed and available for beef cattle in Canada, as well as Continue reading

Measuring and mitigating pain during castration

Public concern regarding the pain associated with castration, dehorning and branding of beef cattle is increasing. Past research has focused on individually housed dairy calves, or feedlot cattle. There is a lack of information regarding the influence of age and pain medication on preweaning beef calves in a herd environment.

Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is evaluating the relative impacts of age, technique, and pain medication when preweaning beef calves are castrated at the same time as branding or as a separate procedure.  This work will Continue reading

Beef production in a changing climate

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As nations come together to discuss climate change and prioritize objectives to lower global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, meat consumption and livestock production are rightfully considered. All food production has environmental impacts. Unfortunately, concerns around the potential negative environmental impacts of beef often overshadow the beneficial impacts of the beef industry.

It is true that beef have a larger environmental footprint than chickens or swine. Cattle are bigger than chickens and pigs, so it takes more feed to grow them. Cattle are fed grains which require cropping systems that need tilling, fertilization and irrigation in some areas. However, Continue reading

Hormone use in beef cattle: facts, fears, fantasies: Webinar December 16

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

A quick Google search of “hormones in beef cattle” brings up numerous articles with many different fears, fantasies and opinions.

Join this free webinar to hear some of the facts on hormone use, and how we as beef producers can use this information to dispel myths.


Wednesday December 16th at 7pm MST

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB
  • 8:00pm in SK and MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Continue reading

Inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference set for August 9-11, 2016

December 1, 2015

Calgary, AB – Canada’s beef cattle industry has joined forces to create a one-of-a-kind industry experience for participants from across all regions and sectors of the national value chain: the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC).

The first beef industry event of its kind in Canada, the CBIC will be held August 9 – 11, 2016 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, Alberta. The CBIC is a joint collaboration by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

“This is the first event of Continue reading