Latest Posts

Stay up to date with the latest news, updates and information from the Beef Cattle Research Council.

Feed Testing Explained in Beef Research School Video

A new video is now available on

Feed testing is a fundamental tool to assist cow-calf producers, backgrounding operations and feedlots develop sound feeding programs. By knowing the nutritional qualities of feeds, producers are better able to achieve desired production targets and save on supplemental feed costs. Feed testing is especially important to accurately determine the feed quality of forages, because visual appraisal of colour, plant species and leaf content, and knowledge of cutting time, can be misleading and should not be relied upon to determine feed quality.

The video features Dr. John McKinnon, the Beef Industry Research Chair who teaches and conducts research focused on cattle nutrition and carcass quality at the University of Saskatchewan.  He speaks about the value of knowing the energy, fibre, protein and nutrient levels in feed, as well as meeting the nutritional requirements of bred heifers and cows throughout the winter.  Dr. Darryl Gibb, a cattle nutritionist, speaks about the cost of feed testing, how to take a sample and how to interpret the results.

See the video here.

This episode is part of a beef research series that will produce 30 videos through to Summer 2013. Past episodes discussed research on cattle transport and the value of research in Canada’s beef cattle industry.

Learn more about feed testing and rations

Video: Importance of Feed Testing and How to Obtain a Proper Sample – Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Feed Testing and Ration Balancing – Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan Inc.
Includes a list of feed analysis laboratories in Western Canada.

Nutrient Testing – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Includes a list of feed analysis laboratories in Ontario.

Laboratory Services – Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture

Soil, Feed and Water Chemistry Testing Laboratory – Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry

Feed Quality, Testing & Analysis for Beef Cattle –

Distillers’ Grains –
An outline of the benefits and concerns of including the ethanol production by-product in cattle feed rations.

Have you had your feed tested this winter? –
An article by Dr. John McKinnon.

The sharing or reprinting of BCRC Blog articles is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council and list the website address,

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.  Contact us directly at or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.  Stay connected by following us on Twitter @BeefResearch, liking us on Facebook, and subscribing to our YouTube Channel.


Ron WilsonDecember 22, 2012

Notwithstanding whatever technical content and linkages are provided in this article, as a beef producer of over 35 years I am embarassed by the banner picture across the top of the page. Hopefully these horribly skinny animals (steers?) with huge antlers are NOT Canadian cattle. Is the intent to provide the "Animal Rights" people with evidence that we do not care for our cattle? If you want my help in selecting an apparopriate picture of healthy, meaty beef animals I will make myself available.


Leave a CommentReply



adminJanuary 2, 2013

Hi Ron,

Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your concern and taking the time to share it with us.

We try to ensure that photos on the website reflect the Canadian cattle industry overall, with representation of various breeds, regional differences, production profiles, etc., and portray the industry in an accurate and positive light. We gather high quality photos from multiple sources, including Canada Beef Inc., provincial cattle organizations and welcome contributions from individuals.

The photo you identified will be replaced with one featuring polled commercial cattle.

Feedback on website content and blog articles is always welcome and encouraged as we strive to deliver valuable information to Canadian beef producers and other stakeholders to advance the industry.

Tracy Sakatch, Beef Extension Coordinator and Website Manager


Leave a CommentReply


Leave a CommentReply