What’s been done and what’s next? An update from our Executive Director, Andrea Brocklebank

We are pleased to provide our annual report in two formats to highlight some of our deliverables and challenges in 2020. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with feedback at info@beefresearch.ca.

Who is the BCRC?

Video guide:

0:38-1:32 – Who we are
1:33-5:40 – How we were impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
5:41-11:46 – What we are funding
7:25 – Example: Cattle transport and rest stops research (Learn more here.)
9:20 – Example: Nutritional value of beef compared to other protein sources research (Learn more here.)
10:36 – Example: Environmental sustainability of beef production (Learn more here.)
11:47- 19:58 – How we deliver research results to you
15:32 – Example: A tool for producers to help evaluate feed test results (Try it here.)
17:37 – Example: Carry capacity calculator (Try it here.)
18:37 – Example: Forage U-Pick interactive tool (Try it here.)
19:59-22:56 – Our priorities in 2021

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. Its mandate is to determine research and development priorities for the Canadian beef cattle industry and to administer the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds allocated to research. The BCRC is led by a 14-member Council, comprised of 13 producers and one member at large, who proportionally represent each province’s research allocation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off.

The BCRC is completing its third year of a ten-year plan presented with the increase in Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off in 2018/19. The allocation of check-off funding to beef research increased to be in line with the National Strategy recommendations – acknowledging historic under funding of research and the need to address many significant priorities.

BCRC continues to operate within a 10-year plan in an effort to manage multi-year research funding contracts (3 to 10 years in length). This plan is built on the assumption that provincial allocations of the national check-off to research will remain unchanged moving forward. Continue reading

Have 15 Minutes? Make an Impact on the Future of Beef Research



As someone who follows the BCRC Blog, you’re almost guaranteed to be what we call a ‘Canadian beef industry stakeholder’, meaning you

  • own or manage beef cattle,
  • conduct research on beef, cattle or forages,
  • are a large animal veterinarian,
  • own or work for an abattoir/beef processor,
  • are a government employee in a beef-related role,
  • work or volunteer for an organization that actively supports the beef industry, or
  • have another valuable role that supports and relies on Canadian beef production.

You hold a stake in the industry, so the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) relies on your input on research and extension issues.

When you answer these 16 questions by March 5th, you will inform the next five-year Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy and impact the long-term competitiveness of the Canadian beef industry.


Continue reading

What Has the BCRC Been Up To Lately?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

This column usually features research projects funded by the BCRC. This month is a bit higher level view of some of the BCRC’s other activities. Canada’s cattle and beef producers pay the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off that supports the Beef Cattle Research Council, Canada Beef’s domestic and international marketing activities, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s Public and Stakeholder Engagement initiative. Provincial beef producer groups decide how the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off dollars from their province are allocated among these three main groups.

When the BCRC was established in 2001, about one nickel from each Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off dollar was allocated to research. That left the BCRC with a large mandate – to support forage, cattle and beef research and technology development across Canada – but a smaller research budget than some provincial beef groups. These constraints meant the BCRC had to be selective, focused, and strategic. The BCRC selected research projects that provided very direct benefits to primary producers, either through reduced production costs or potentially increased revenues. “Public good” research (e.g. animal welfare or environmental research) was left to governments to fund. The BCRC focused on funding research, but left extension to the provincial governments. The BCRC was strategic; knowing that a small industry investment could attract much larger government investments, the BCRC was careful to avoid fully-funding projects. This allowed scarce producer dollars to be spread over more research projects. The BCRC also oversaw the Quality Starts Here program, as it evolved into Verified Beef Production and now VBP+. Continue reading

Calm and Calculated: What Key Financial Tools Can Help You Achieve Success on Your Farm? Webinar November 18th



Are your farm financials stressing you out? Join this webinar to learn more about the information needed to help make financial decisions, having a good relationship with your creditor, and what to do if you’re turned down for financing.

Register for our upcoming webinar to hear from two subject matter experts as they provide information from regions across the country and answer your questions about farm financial tools.

Registering on your smartphone? After you click ‘I am not a robot’, scroll up until you find the task to complete.

When
Wednesday, November 18th at 7:00 pm 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 and PEI

Continue reading

Attn Researchers – OAFRI Launches Targeted Call for Proposals

The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) has opened its 2020-21 Call for Research Proposals.

OAFRI offers funding for research that stimulates innovation to support the growth and competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector, promotes food safety and strengthens rural communities.

Priorities for the 2020-21 application year are:

  • food safety
  • plant health and protection
  • sustainable production systems

Public and private sector applicants from Ontario with capacity to perform quality research in the program priority areas are invited to apply.

The submission deadline is 2 p.m. on January 8, 2021.

For more details, visit the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) webpage: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-agri-food-research-initiative

When seeking funding, researchers are encouraged to refer to the priorities and target research outcomes in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy. Continue reading

Attn Researchers – RDAR Launches Targeted Call for Proposals

Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) has announced its inaugural research call.

The submission deadline is November 19, 2020. Final funding decisions are expected in mid-December 2020.

The objective of the call for proposals is to increase the level of research in the targeted areas and to accelerate outcomes advancing profitability, competitiveness, sustainability and food safety of agricultural products in Alberta. Continue reading

A New Approach to Cost of Production Benchmarking

This is Part Three of a three-part series (see Part One and Part Two).

Editor’s note: this article is also available in French. Download the translated version here. 

When getting a clear financial picture for your operation, basic record keeping often isn’t enough. That’s why it’s essential to know your cost of production.

While many aspects of the industry are uncertain, thankfully there is the opportunity to examine what can be, for the most part, controlled – your cost of production.  As a producer, the ability to measure and manage those components of your operation that are within your control is a powerful tool. Why not take advantage of that tool by signing up to participate in an upcoming focus group?

The Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network (CDN COP Network) will develop benchmarks for specific production systems and ecoregions across the country. Scenarios will be developed for what future farms could look like utilizing the 5% Rule to identify where incremental improvements could be made around productivity, input costs, and output prices. Each production system will have its own set of limitations and opportunities where greater focus may be beneficial. Continue reading

Networks Make The Dream Work

This is Part Two of a three-part series (see Part One and Part Three).

Editor’s note: this article is also available in French. Download the translated version here. 

As the industry has been rocked by COVID-19, volatile market prices and uncertainty have occurred. There is an opportunity for producers to examine what they can control – their cost of production. During the boom years when prices are high it is easy for costs to get out of hand. You may be considering changes to your operation but are not sure where you will get the biggest bang for your buck.

The Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network (CDN COP Network) will develop benchmarks for specific production systems and ecoregions across the country. Scenarios will be developed for what future farms could look like utilizing the 5% Rule to identify where incremental improvements could be made around productivity, input costs, and output prices. Each production system will have its own set of opportunities, limitations, and areas where greater focus may be beneficial. Consider cattle operations with different production systems:

  • A beef operation in the east is considering raising dairy-beef but is uncertain about the costs and management changes needed to succeed.
  • A small, land-locked operation may be utilizing multiple income streams from multiple different commodities to manage risk. The focus is on using each acre in different ways throughout the year to generate revenue.
  • A large, specialized operation may be focused on economies of scale in purchases and sales and efficiencies in labour productivity.

When looking at competitiveness and profitability, each region needs to evaluate the limitations and opportunities unique to them. Is land, labour, or capital the limitation? Will the biggest impact for the operation come from reducing input costs, or improving productivity, or increasing price? Continue reading

Meet the Council: Implementing Management Practices that Pay Off

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is made up of producer members from across Canada, representing and appointed by each of the provincial beef organizations that allocate part of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off to research. The number of members from each province is proportional to the amount of provincial allocation to research.

The following is part two in a series to introduce you to this group of innovative thinkers that set BCRC’s direction by sharing practices, strategies, or technologies that they have integrated into their own operations. Read part one of this series.

Conditions and circumstances across the country may vary but these three beef producers have found value in adjusting common management practices to work successfully on their operation.

Utilizing Different Calving Seasons

Fred Lozeman – Alberta

Fred and his family own and operate a mixed farm near Claresholm, Alberta at the base of the Porcupine Hills. Along with a spring and fall calving herd they operate a feedlot, finishing their own calves, as well as around 1,500 head of purchased cattle. They also grow most of the feed required for the feedlot and cow-calf operation. Continue reading