This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the August 2021 issue ofCanadian Cattlemenmagazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
In February’s column I encouraged you to fill out our online beef research survey to help the Beef Cattle Research Council and other industry and government funders develop a clear set of priorities to guide our funding decisions over the next five years. Thanks for responding – we had nearly twice as many responses this time as we got five years ago. The more responses we get, the more confidence we have in the feedback that comes in. Here are some of the highlights of what you told us.
What We Did:
The survey was open between January 5 and March 5, 2021. It asked you to rate a variety of research issues as Extremely, Very, Moderately, Slightly or Not Important in the areas of feed efficiency and utilization, forage and grassland productivity, environmental sustainability, animal health and welfare, beef quality and food safety. We also asked how often producers used different communication channels for production information and how influential they were in their decision making.
A total of 878 Canadians responded to the survey. This article focuses on the responses provided by the 65 seedstock, 497 cow-calf and 33 feedlot producers, as well as the 39 veterinarians (for the animal health and welfare section) and 26 non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives (for the environmental sustainability section). We paid particular attention to issues that were rated as Extremely or Very Important by 75% or more of respondents, as well as issues that were rated as Slightly or Not Important by 25% or more of respondents.
What We Learned:
Feed efficiency and utilization: Cow-calf and seedstock respondents prioritized differences in wintering costs between efficient and inefficient cows, while feedlot operators prioritized the impacts of feed quality and feedlot management practices on feed efficiency. Not surprisingly, feedlot operators rated barley and corn yields more highly than cow-calf or seedstock producers.
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the February 2021 issue ofCanadian Cattlemenmagazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
This column usually tells you about a research project that the Beef Cattle Research
Council (BCRC) has supported using Canadian Beef Cattle Check- Off funds paid by
producers like yourself. Sometimes you may ask yourself “why on earth did they fund
that?” ,“why don’t they do research on this?” or “do they ask producers what they
need?” Well, read on. Here’s your chance to tell us what you need.
The 13 cattle producers from across Canada who sit on the council aren’t the only ones
who decide how checkoff research funds are allocated. You fund us, so we’re asking you what you want Canada’s forage, cattle and beef researchers to work on over the next five years.
It’s easy to provide a general answer to this question — most of us would likely identify
long-term profitability, environmental sustainability, and public and consumer
confidence as important challenges facing Canada’s beef industry. But what are the
specific long-term profitability, environmental sustainability, and public and consumer
confidence challenges you face? It depends on who you are, where you are and what
sector of the industry you operate in. Continue reading →
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.
Industry data provided by production surveys can serve as a benchmark for production performance across the country. Historical production surveys include the Alberta Cow-Calf Audit (1986-88, 1997-1998) and “Reproductive Efficiency and Calf survival in Ontario Beef Cow-calf Herds” (1983). Sixteen years later, the survey was revived, revised and expanded into the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey (WCCCS, 2014). In the last two production years, additional surveys have occurred across Canada (Western Canada, Ontario, Northern Quebec, Atlantic). These have provided an overall picture of current production and management practices on beef cow-calf operations in each region of the country for the first time. The objective of these surveys were multi-faceted.
Do you wonder how your cow-calf operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size range on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? A joint effort representing the cow-calf industry from BC, AB, SK and MB is helping Western Canadian cattle producers do just that.
The deadline to participate is February 28, 2018.
By participating in the second Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey, you can choose to receive a complementary report that allows you to compare your own operation with benchmarks (average numbers from a region).
To thank you for completing the survey, which will provide very valuable and needed information to guide research and extension, you will receive up to $50 in gift cards, in addition to the complementary report.
The survey takes about 45-60 minutes to complete and asks questions related to the 2016 breeding season all the way through to weaning of 2017 calf crop, as well as typical management practices. Many of the questions are the quick check-box style. Any question you are unable to answer can be left blank.
Every cow-calf producer in BC, AB, SK and MB is encouraged to complete the survey. All of the information collected will remain confidential. Information cannot be linked to individual operations as data will be aggregated into averages and benchmarks.
Do you wonder how your cow-calf operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size range on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? A joint effort representing the cow-calf industry from BC to Manitoba is helping Western Canadian cattle producers do just that.
By participating in the second Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey, producers can choose to receive a complementary report that allows them to compare their own operation with benchmarks (average numbers from a region).
The survey takes about 45-60 minutes to complete and asks questions related to the 2016 breeding season all the way through to weaning of 2017 calf crop, as well as typical management practices. Many of the questions are the quick check-box style. Any question a producer is unable to answer can be left blank.
To thank you for the time you take to complete the survey, you will receive up to $50 in gift cards, in addition to the complementary report.
The complementary report will help producers see the aspects of their operation that they’re doing exceptionally well in, and the areas that have the greatest room for improvement. For example, the report will show a producer whether the conception rates of his cows in 2016 was higher or lower than nearby herds and herds of a similar size. That way, he or she will know whether to work with their veterinarian, nutritionist and/or regional extension specialist to have fewer of their cows come home from pasture open, or if other production goals are a higher priority for them to focus on to improve their productivity and profitability.
The Maritime Beef Council in cooperation with the Provincial Beef Associations and Perennia are conducting the Atlantic Cow-Calf Survey.
The purpose of the overall study project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, and disease rates on Maritime cow-calf farms and determine how well Maritime producers compete in a global economy. This survey will obtain basic information on production practices, management choices, disease rates, and rate of technology adaptation in the provinces.
The survey is maximum 79 questions in length and should take approximately 40 minutes to complete. The last day to participate in this survey is December 31, 2017.
Ontario cow-calf producers, if you have not yet filled out the Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey, you now have until May 31st.
The survey is 76 questions in length and should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. If at any time, you do not wish to answer a question you may leave it unanswered. If you don’t have an exact date or number for any of the questions asked, a best-estimate will suffice.
Every Ontario cow-calf producer is encouraged to complete the survey.
The purpose of the overall project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, disease rates and rate of technology adaptation on Ontario cow-calf farms and determine how well Ontario producers compete in Continue reading →
Ontario cow-calf producers, do you wonder how your operation compares with others in your region or province on matters like conception rate and weaning weight?
The Ontario Cow-Calf Production Survey is being conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Beef Farmers of Ontario, and the Beef Cattle Research Council. Questions in this survey have been adapted and will be comparable to answers from the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey conducted in 2014, allowing comparison from east to west.
The purpose of the overall project is to gain a better understanding of the management practices, economics, and disease rates on Ontario cow-calf farms and determine how well Ontario producers compete in a global economy. This survey will obtain basic information on production practices, management choices, disease rates, and rate of technology adaptation in the province.
Earlier this year the BCRC developed an online Beef Research Priority Survey. The Survey asked participants to rate the importance of research issues listed in the 2012 National Beef Research Strategy.
We were very pleased to receive over 500 responses.
Over half of the respondents were producers. Most were cow-calf producers (49%), with smaller numbers of seedstock breeders (5%) and feedlot operators (4%). Other responses came from veterinarians, researchers, abattoir staff, government staff and industry staff.
Every province was represented. More producer responses came from western (85%) than central and eastern Canada (15%). Nearly half of the responses were from producers 40 years of age or younger. This indicates that the producers who responded to the survey are more likely those looking forward to a long future in the beef industry.
We sifted through all of the responses in detail with greater focus on the responses provided by producers, as well as veterinarians’ responses where appropriate (e.g. animal health, welfare and antimicrobial issues). We paid special attention to issues that were identified as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important by at least 75% of producers and vets, as well as issues that were rarely rated as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important. We also compared responses between eastern and western Canada for issues where geography may be expected to play an important role (e.g. forage and feed grain issues).