BCRC Funds Proof of Concept and Technology Transfer Projects to Propel Canadian Beef Industry Forward
Six proof of concept (POC) research projects and 13 knowledge technology transfer (KTT) activities received funding from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) through the 2023 annual calls. These initiatives are expected to deliver key insights to progress the industry and empower beef producers with knowledge.
Craig Lehr, BCRC chair and an Alberta beef producer with a backgrounding feedlot and cow-calf operation, values the importance of POC projects in advancing the Canadian beef industry.
“We are able to use a relatively small portion of Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off dollars to fund one-year projects that explore ideas, technologies and practices from other countries, industries or sectors that could add value to our beef industry,” says Lehr. “These small investments tell us right away if an idea is promising or not, which means researchers can leverage the work done to receive more funding elsewhere, or we can get out of something that isn’t working without a huge financial cost.”
An example of a recent POC project was led by Dr. Roopesh Syamaladevi at the University of Alberta who recognized the large opportunity chemical-free sanitizers have to reduce E. coli and biofilm contamination in beef processing plants. The initial POC investment showed promising results and led to a full-scale research project funded through the Beef Science Cluster IV.
All projects funded by the BCRC address the priorities laid out in the Five-Year Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy.
Through a new pilot initiative, the BCRC opened a call for proposals in 2023 to support regional extension activities with preference given to new and innovative engagement ideas.
“Research matters, but it means nothing unless it reaches the people who can actually use it,” says Ron Stevenson, BCRC vice chair and Ontario cow-calf producer. “It is an important initiative to get science off the shelf and into the hands of Canadian producers.”
KTT activities funded through the pilot began in fall 2023 and will wrap up in summer 2024. The inaugural Beef Day @ Dal hosted by the Maritime Beef Council is one example.
The full-day event included research summaries from local universities, a live carcass ultrasound demonstration and the first screening in Eastern Canada of the short documentary “Reduce, Reuse, Ruminate”.
Projects funded under the 2023 POC call include:
- Faster, cheaper, more accurate detection of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Project lead: Dr. Kim Stanford, University of Lethbridge
- Learning from the past: What can the genome of beef feedlot environments tell us about antimicrobial resistance? Project lead: Dr. Anthony Ruzzini, University of Saskatchewan
- Refining and improving Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) testing. Project lead: Dr. Yangyun Huang, University of Saskatchewan
- A better vaccine for bovine TB. Project lead: Dr. Jeffery Chen, University of Saskatchewan
- Identifying the rumen bacteria that improve beef production and carcass quality. Project lead: Dr. Anthony Ruzzini, University of Saskatchewan
- Not the usual suspects – understanding the bacterial populations of septic arthritis cases in feedlot cattle. Project lead: Dr. Andrew Cameron, University of Regina
Activities funded by the 2023 KTT funding pilot include:
- Livestock Water Management Series. Project lead: Alyssa Krawchuck, Lakeland Agricultural Research Association
- Part one: Water and Livestock Health, January 31, 2024 – Register Now
- Summer Water Systems Field Tour, August 1, 2024
- Feeding and managing cattle through drought (nutrition, feed testing, water quality, vaccine use, disease prevention). February 1, 2024, in Elrose, SK. Project lead: Dr. Charlotte Williams, Hooves and Paws Vet Services
- Designer Cows for Your Ranch – Extension Event. March 1-2, 2024, in Olds, AB. Project lead: Tatyana Irodenko, Grey Wooded Forage Association – Get Tickets
- Ladies Cow Boss Clinic. March 6, 2024, in Special Area 2, AB. Project lead: Jesse Williams, Special Areas Board – Register Now
- Who Darted? A Seminar on Remote Drug Delivery Best Practices. Project lead: Dr. Elizabeth Homerosky, Veterinary Agri-Health Services. Event time TBA.
- Peer Groups – A Pilot. Project Lead: Kathy Larson, University of Saskatchewan
- Improving Nutrition and Grassland Management Through the Education of Future Beef Cattle Veterinarians. Project lead: Dr. Tommy Ware, Veterinary Agri-Health Services
- Making Science Accessible: Turning 10+ years of calf health and welfare research into producer-friendly videos. Project lead: Dr. Claire Windeyer, University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
- CowBytes Training and Nutrition Workshops. Project lead: Pamela Iwachysko, Manitoba Agriculture, held multiple dates in November 2023.
- CARA Cattlemen and Grazing Club Events. Held November 28, 2023, in Oyen, AB. Project lead: Karin Roen, Chinook Applied Research Association
- Extensive wintering management workshop including non-traditional feeds. Held December 5, 2023, in Weyburn, SK. Project lead: McKenzie Paget, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
- Beef Day @ Dal. Held November 25, 2023, in Bible Hill, NS. Project lead: Amy Higgins, Maritime Beef Council
- Ranchers University. Held December 1, 2023, in Moosomin, SK. Project lead: Alexis DeCorby, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
The BCRC is Canada’s national industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. The BCRC’s mandate is to determine research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and to administer Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds allocated to research. A division of the Canadian Cattle Association, the BCRC is directed by a committee of 15 beef producers from across the country. The BCRC is funded in part through a portion of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off which is then leveraged with government and industry partner funding.
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