A Year in Review: Outcomes of Your Investments in Canadian Beef Research and Extension

 

Where exactly are my Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off funds allocated to research going? How have the circumstances of the past year impacted beef research and extension? What has the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) been up to lately? Answers to these questions and more can be found in the BCRC’s new report.  
BCRC 2020-2021 Year in Review Report
The 
2020-2021 Year in Review provides a visual representation of the BCRC Results Report, which is submitted annually to the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off Agency. The new report offers a reader-friendly snapshot of the fiscal year’s activities and results 

“So much has happened during the past year – from the COVID-19 pandemic to the drought that impacted cattle producers across much of the country,” said BCRC Executive Director Andrea Brocklebank.  “While there has been much uncertainty in the industry in 2020-2021, Canada’s beef producers remain tenacious, researchers have proven to be innovative and the Beef Cattle Research Council is resolute to move forward as a leader in beef research and extension.”  

The 2020-2021 Year in Review spotlights a few of the key research and extension projects that were funded during the past year. There were 23 research and extension projects reporting activities between April 2020 and March 2021 through the current Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster, as well as 25 priority research projects. While most results will be presented upon completion, the new report features a few of the preliminary findings.  Continue reading

Is This a Good Investment?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in a September 2021 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) projects featured in this column are funded by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off. When the checkoff increased a few years ago, the BCRC’s budget rose from around 15 cents to 67 cents per head marketed. This allowed us to start some new research programs. Now that we’re a few years in I can update you on how they’re going.

One is our “Proof of Concept” program. Research is complicated and costly, so we have independent scientists review each research proposal to make sure it is scientifically sound and likely to achieve its goal before investing your dollars into it. Sometimes the reviewers say, “This is an interesting project, but it’s really costly, and it all hinges on an untested idea. It’d be better if they had some preliminary evidence that this new idea is worth pursuing, before funding a costly, full-scale project.”

In 2018 the BCRC started funding Proof of Concept projects to gather these preliminary results and help decide whether these new ideas are worth scaling up into full-scale research trials. Here’s what two of the first Proof of Concept projects told us.
intercropping corn and high-protein forages for better beef cattle nutrition
Exploring corn intercropping strategies to increase protein and profitability of beef cattle grazing:
Corn’s high yields and energy content make it a popular wintering grazing crop for some Western Canadian producers. However, it’s low protein content may make it unsuitable for younger, growing cattle. Seeding corn together with high protein forages may be a way around this challenge.

Continue reading

News Release: Canadian Beef Producers Make $2.9 Million Investment in Research and Technology Transfer

Calgary, AB – More than $2.9 million dollars will be invested by beef producers into new research and technology transfer projects in 2021 through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off.  Proposals for twenty-nine more projects have been approved for funding by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) to advance Canada’s beef sector.

Matt Bowman, BCRC Chair and a producer from Thornloe, Ontario, said the new projects add to the Council’s portfolio of research investments.

“We are supporting more work focused on achieving specific priority outcomes in the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy related to animal health and welfare, feed production and utilization, food safety and environmental stewardship,” said Bowman. “For example, new studies to quantify soil carbon sequestration through different grazing and intercropping systems, and others looking into causes and prevention of issues like scours and itchy cattle.”

BCRC Vice-Chair Craig Lehr, a producer from Medicine Hat, Alberta, said knowledge translation and technology transfer is also a priority for the Council.

“As provincial governments continue to cut valuable extension services, we do what we can to help fill the gaps,” he said. “The BCRC doesn’t have the capacity to provide the needed one-on-one consultation for beef producers, but we can support or lead projects that make meaningful science-based information freely available on beefresearch.ca in numerous formats that are helpful in making informed decisions.”

Newly funded technology transfer projects include an expansion of the Forage U-Pick tool to include Eastern Canada, and creation of additional resources on beefresearch.ca applicable to producers in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Another project will collaborate with practicing veterinarians across Canada to develop decision making tools for their beef clients that help improve herd health and profitability. There is no cost to subscribe to be notified by email of new research results or seasonal, science-based production information and decision-making tools.

The recent increase in Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off in most provinces enabled annual competitive calls for proposals for research and technology transfer projects to address critically underfunded priorities. The increase also resulted in the launch of a new BCRC program that funds short-term proof of concept and validation trials. Researchers are required to procure matching funds that leverage BCRC funding on a 1:2 or higher basis. Industry investment through check-off sends a clear message to governments about priorities and helps to procure investment by governments to multiply the impacts of producer dollars.

The BCRC is Canada’s industry-led funding agency for beef, cattle and forage research. It is funded through a portion of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off as well as government and industry funding and is directed by a committee of beef producers from across the country. This announcement adds to the 86 projects co-funded by the BCRC that are currently underway at 30 Canadian institutions.

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For further information, contact:

Tracy Herbert

Extension and Communications Director

Beef Cattle Research Council

C: 306-850-5026 | herbertt@beefresearch.ca