Tips to make the most of your vaccine protocol

Vaccines can seem costly, and it’s not easy to see how or to
economic loss from BVD example
what extent they pay off. But cost-of-production analyses show that low-cost/profitable operations don’t cut corners when it comes to herd health. For example, the cost of a whole herd vaccination program for bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus in a 150 head cow herd (includes 157 breeding stock and 150 calves) is estimated at $8.20 per cow (assuming $4 per vaccine dose). If that herd wasn’t vaccinated and ended up with a persistently infected (PI) calf and 5% decreased conception due to BVD, they would suffer a loss of $45 per cow across the herd.

Kathy Larson, Economist at the Western Beef Development Centre, crunched those numbers for us during a recent BCRC webinar, illustrating that effective vaccination protocols developed for your herd with your veterinarian pay off.

Following her demonstration of the economics of vaccination, Dr. Nathan Erickson, Veterinarian at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine reminded producers that vaccines don’t eliminate disease completely but are able to significantly reduce the number of animals that get sick. Essentially, vaccines control disease, not prevent it.

Vaccines won’t be cost effective if they aren’t handled, stored, and administered properly.

Here are some of Dr. Erickson’s tips to help you make the most of your vaccine program

  1. Don’t store vaccines in the door of the frid
    vaccine storage fridge
    (41:40)Vaccines are very temperature sensitive, especially modified live vaccines. When the door opens, items stored in the door fluctuate in temperature. The best place in the fridge to keep vaccines is on the middle shelves.

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Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) Launches New National Website

News Release
March 28, 2017

vbp logo and text
Today the Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program officially launches their new website, a single-stop comprehensive resource for all matters related to VBP+. Located at, the new website offering reflects the progression of VBP+ towards national program management and delivery.

The website houses a wealth of information for consumers and retailers and is a great resource for Canadian beef cattle producers. Information on topics such as VBP+ on-line training, the 5 easy steps for getting on the program, as well as detailed information on VBP+ modules for animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship are all easily accessed through simplified navigation on the website.

The ‘Producer Resources’ section houses a gold mine of downloads, articles, links, and videos for those wanting to get onto VBP+ or those beef operations already on the program wanting more information.

Enriched features of the website include Continue reading

More questions on mineral nutrition

This article written by Dr. John McKinnon, University of Saskatchewan beef cattle nutrition researcher and professor, originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

beef cattle mineral
Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference. As with similar events held across the country, the objective was to transfer current research and technology to beef producers. One of the most interesting aspects of this conference was a bear-pit session hosted by the Beef Cattle Research Council which focused on reproductive rates in spring calving cows. This session addressed the question: “Were producers who had moved to later calving experiencing a drop in their pregnancy rates?” What really got my attention was when the discussion turned to trace minerals. While I was not surprised to hear that trace mineral deficiency is associated with open cows, I was surprised about the wide range of questions and to some extent the confusion that producers had with respect to trace mineral nutrition. Questions included: Continue reading

Stepping up to Wheat-Based Finishing Diets

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

Grain-based diets improve feed efficiency, but increase the risk of rumen acidosis. Rumen acidosis occurs when rumen pH drops below 5.6 for more than 3 consecutive hours. Severe or chronic acidosis is an animal welfare concern due to rumen damage, liver abscesses, lameness, and an economic cost due to compromised feed conversion and growth performance. Consequently, feedlot operators manage their feed bunks and feeding programs very carefully, particularly as cattle transition from forage-based backgrounding to grain-based finishing diets. The risk of acidosis is influenced by grain type (wheat being a higher risk than corn, with barley being intermediate), the extent of grain processing, feeding frequency and bunk management. Group size and pen density are also factors, so research trials using individually fed animals may produce Continue reading

Managing native forages: Webinar April 6

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

Join this webinar to learn about strategies to help establish and maintain native forages for high yields and animal performance.

Thursday April 6,  7:00 pm MDT

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

Door Prize!
Producers that attend this webinar will be entered to win a copy of Cool Forages:
Cool Forages
Advanced management of temperate forages
($60 value).

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. Continue reading

Don’t miss these upcoming beef events and deadlines

Organizations across the country are continually hosting events to give you an inside look at important research and offer practical advice on how to implement new technologies, improve productivity, prevent a wreck or save costs. These events are also a good opportunity to discuss how our industry is facing opportunities and challenges, and meet leading experts and other progressive cattlemen. Registration for many events are little or no cost to producers.

Visit our Events Calendar often to

  • view upcoming field days, seminars, conferences and other events in your area,
  • find out about online webinars to listen in on a live presentation right from your computer or phone,
  • be reminded of nomination, survey or application deadlines, and
  • discover related career opportunities in the beef and forage sectors.

Take a look at what’s happening in the next few months:

Events on the calendar are colour-coded by geography:

  • BC: blue
  • AB: yellow
  • SK: green
  • MB: orange
  • ON: purple
  • Maritimes: red
  • Online: white with blue text


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Attention researchers: ADF Call for Letters of Intent

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI’s) for research funding under the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). 

Letters of intent will be accepted until April 13, 2017.  

The Agriculture Development Fund uses an online application system located at: and is best experienced using a modern browser (such as Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox).

If you require help at any time, please contact their Database Administrator at:
Phone: (306) 787-5929
Fax: (306) 787-2654