*Upcoming Webinar* Don’t Roll the Dice with Johne’s Disease – Use Our New Johne’s Risk-Reward Calculator March 16th



The economic cost of Johne’s disease can be significant due to reduced weaning weights, later breeding, and losing or culling cows before they have recouped their production costs. Testing is challenging but can be a tactic to prevent these losses. This webinar will review our new online interactive tool to inform producers and veterinarians on Johne’s disease testing options in cow-calf herds.

Register for our upcoming webinar on March 16th and hear from two veterinarians, both of which are also cow-calf producers in Saskatchewan. The speakers will provide insight and answer your questions about Johne’s disease in cow-calf herds and highlight the BCRC’s new Johne’s testing risk-reward calculator.

When is the Webinar? Wednesday, March 16th at 7:00pm MT

  • 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, NFLD, and PEI

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Tightening the Calving Season: How to Increase Profitability Through Calving Distribution *New Video*

Calving distribution is the percentage of calves born in each 21-day cycle throughout the calving season. Each time a cow is not bred during a 21-day heat cycle, it can cost up to 39 lbs of weaning weight (assuming an average daily gain on calves of 1.85 lbs/day).

The benefits of a shortened calving season are numerous:

  • Having more calves born in the first 21 days of the calving season allows producers to market larger, more uniform groups of calves and increase their profit potential.
  • It increases cow longevity.
  • Heifers that were born earlier have greater pregnancy rates, remain in the herd longer and produce one more calf in their lifetime compared to those that calve in later periods.
  • Herd vaccinations are easier to time.
  • Increased uniformity allows easier comparison between calves.

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Rebuilding with Homegrown Heifers Versus Purchasing Breeding Stock

This is a guest post by Huiting Huang, Research Analyst at Canfax Research Services.
beef producer on horseback checking cattle in lot
Severe drought, high feed costs and limited feed availability in 2021 forced many producers to liquidate a portion of their cow herd. One of the consequences of a smaller herd is the higher cost per cow as overheads are spread over fewer animals. Therefore, when feed is available and pasture quality and quality allow, rebuilding the herd is desired in order to efficiently utilize available resources (such as land, labour, facilities and machinery) and to minimize equity loss.

With various drought conditions across the country, producers are likely to have different plans and timelines for herd rebuilding. Some might be planning to rebuild in 2022 if the drought abates, but those who are in a prolonged drought may need more time for pastures to recover.

Recovering from drought is a challenging period and requires strategic decision-making with considerations of the trade-offs of different rebuilding options from the economic, animal performance and land productivity perspectives.

To better understand the different rebuilding options, Canfax Research Services conducted an analysis focusing on the potential economic trade-offs of rebuilding with homegrown heifers or purchased breeding stock. Continue reading

Cut Costs Carefully

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Beef producers managing cows and calves in winter

Research that’s underway now won’t solve this year’s drought, but it should help us deal with the next one. By the same token, research done during the big drought of the early 2000s provides some valuable lessons about managing the cow herd in today’s drought.

Dr. Cheryl Waldner of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon led a large beef cow productivity study from the start of the 2001 breeding season through weaning in 2002. This corresponded to the widespread drought that impacted much of Western North America and inspired the original Hay West program.

What They Did:

They examined factors affecting the productivity of over 30,000 beef cows in more than 200 well-managed herds across Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Peace Region of British Columbia. Participating producers individually identified each cow and calf, recorded all calf births, maintained an active veterinary-client-patient relationship, had good animal handling facilities, pregnancy tested all breeding females, had a veterinarian evaluate all herd bulls, had an established spring or summer breeding season (i.e., not calve year-round), and worked with the research team to collect the needed samples and data.

What They Learned:

Drought had significant impacts, even in these well-managed herds. Continue reading

Bull Power – How to Calculate the True Value of a Herd Sire *New Video*

Bull selection is a key decision for cow-calf producers that will have implications for both short- and long-term profitability. A bull represents half of your herd’s genetics and will sire calves to be marketed or represent the future of your breeding herd.

With bull prices trending higher year after year, producers want to ensure that their investment is adding value to their operation in the right places while still working within a budget. Many bull traits have different impacts on your bottom line.

Before buying a bull, it’s important for producers to identify their breeding management goals so they can select a bull that will help accomplish them. It is important to evaluate how much a bull is worth to your farm or ranch, and identify a price to pay in which you will ideally break even during the lifetime of that sire.

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