That’s gotta hurt

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Marketing executives for grocery and restaurant chains track consumer perceptions and attitudes towards issues like livestock production practices, animal welfare and pain control. These surveys sometimes lead to initiatives that impose specific production standards on suppliers so the company can distinguish itself and showcase its products.

From the other side, animal welfare researchers study how beef cattle respond to painful procedures like castration, dehorning and branding, and the benefit of providing pain medication. This knowledge is central to updating the science-based Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.

But what about the producer, who’s responsible for day to day animal care, and who pays for the added costs of any production requirement that is ultimately imposed by law, industry standard, or marketing programs? A better understanding of what motivates (or discourages) producers when it comes to animal care is critical, if new pain control practices are to be adopted.

An upcoming Continue reading

Making forage mixtures work for you: Webinar February 15

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

ge mixtures are a great way to optimize energy:protein with forage yield and animal gain. Join this webinar to learn which forages may work well together on your pastures, and how to improve pastures that are under-performing.

15_ag_scan_hayfield 1

Wednesday February 15,  7:00 pm EST

  • 4:00pm in BC
  • 5:00pm in AB
  • 6:00pm in SK and MB
  • 7:00pm in ON and QC
  • 8:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Interested but aren’t available that evening?
Register anyway! This webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording and additional learning resources. By attending the live event, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too.

Find and register for more BCRC webinars here, including:

  • Managing Internal parasites – March 28, 2017
  • Managing native forages – April 6, 2017

Watching on a tablet or mobile device?
If you plan to join the webinar using your tablet or mobile device, you will need to Continue reading

Producers, which innovations do you most want to learn about?

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is looking for input on which topics to choose when planning presentations and workshops for Canadian beef producers. Please consider completing our short survey.

It takes about 10 minutes.

Your feedback will help determine which topics will be presented during Bov-Innovation at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August 2017.

What is Bov-Innovation? Bov-Innovation is an extension event for producers held as part of the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC). Bov-Innovation features innovative, underutilized or emerging production practices that feedlot and cow-calf operators may want to consider implementing in their operations. The sessions are engaging and interactive. Participants are able discuss the recommendations with presenters and fellow producers, and take home additional resources.

The CBIC is a joint collaboration of the BCRC, Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The inaugural CBIC was held in 2016.

CBIC 2017 will be held August 15-17 at Continue reading

Barley Variety and Silage Quality

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

packing sileage
Barley silage is the main roughage fed in Western Canadian feedlots, but few barley breeders try to improve its feed quality. Most breeders focus on improved grain yields, malting characteristics and better disease and lodging resistance, and pay little attention to feed quality traits like protein, starch, or neutral detergent fiber (NDF) content and digestibility (NDFD).

NDF is a measure of “structural carbohydrates”, the parts of the plant that hold it up. Cattle digest NDF slowly, so NDF contributes to gut fill and can limit feed intake, growth and efficiency. In a Beef Cluster funded study published earlier this year, Dr. John McKinnon and colleagues compared 80 silage samples collected from farms from across Saskatchewan and Alberta, that had been produced from seven different barley varieties (Nair et al., Can. J. Anim. Sci. 96:598-608). In an upcoming paper, they compared three of the two-row varieties that had produced silage with similar protein, starch and NDF levels, but different NDFD, and their effects on feedlot performance and carcass traits. Continue reading

BCRC progress and activities in 2016

This annual report highlights the BCRC’s main successes and core activities in 2016. To download a printer-friendly PDF version, click here:

On average nationally, the BCRC receives approximately 18% of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off, and plays a key role in leveraging additional funding for beef cattle research. Recognizing this, the Council works to ensure the highest return on investment possible for industry contributions to research through ongoing consultation with other provincial and national funding organizations.

Investments in beef research have several benefits, including an improved ability to meet increasing global food demand and supporting responsible production efficiencies and profitability of Canadian beef cattle producers. Advancements in the industry also positively impact the nation’s economy.

Canada’s Beef Cattle Industry Science Clusters

The first Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster directed $10.5 million to 32 research projects between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2013.  Joint industry and government commitments to the second Cluster (April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2018) totaled Continue reading