In the latest episode of the Beef Research School series, Bruce Holmquist talks about the role genetics play in the quality of beef carcasses. He explains the value of genetically enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs), what to be cautious of when selecting seedstock for carcass quality traits, and how Canadian beef quality can be further enhanced in the future with feedback through the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) and ongoing genomics research. Continue reading
This Country Called Agriculture, a television show focused on agribusiness topics in Canada, recently aired an episode focused on trends in consumer perceptions about beef. Host Rob Eirich interviewed BCRC’s Science Director Dr. Reynold Bergen on a number of issues related to the production and food safety of Canadian beef.
The first of four segments responds to common perceptions about the food safety and nutrition of beef, and begins a discussion about antibiotic use in cattle. Continue reading
In the latest episode of the Beef Research School, Ryder Lee with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) gives us a run down of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle. Ryder explains:
- how science, practically and societal expectations were considered
- important changes in requirements, including pain management when castrating or dehorning older animals
- how cattle producers are responding to the new Code
- CCA’s plans to expand the Verified Beef ProductionTM program to include animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship Continue reading
How best to dispose of dead cattle is an important question. Some methods are better than others at controlling the spread of disease and preventing contamination of air or ground water. After the advent of BSE in Canada, disposal through traditional channels such as rendering has become more expensive, and in some cases less available.
This episode of the Beef Research School features Dr. Kim Stanford, a researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. The pros and cons of various alternatives for disposal of cattle mortalities are explained to help you decide which method might work best on your operation. Dr. Stanford also explains how to start composting dead cattle any time of year. Continue reading
Rangeland, or range, can perform a number of valuable functions for both the livestock industry as well the general public. Rangeland is defined as land that supports indigenous or introduced vegetation that is either grazed or has the potential to be grazed and is managed as a natural ecosystem. By evaluating its health, cattle producers can manage their grazing lands for optimal, sustainable forage production.
The benefits of maintaining healthy rangeland for livestock producers include:
- Lower feed costs
- Renewable and reliable source of forage production
- Stability of forage production during drought
- Greater flexibility and efficiency for alternate grazing seasons (fall or winter)
- Lower maintenance costs like weed control
- Does not require the input of inorganic fertilizers and other soil amedments and additives
- Reduced concern for noxious weeds
If animals’ mineral needs are not met, the results are costly, including decreased performance, disease resistance and reproduction. Mineral requirements for cattle depend on their weight, age, and expected performance (maintenance vs. weight gain vs. pregnancy) and mineral supplementation needs also depend on the feed, water and soil chemistry around the herd.
The two latest episodes of the Beef Research School feature Dr. John McKinnon, Beef Industry Research Chair and professor and researcher of cattle nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. In part one, Dr. McKinnon explains the symptoms of mineral deficiency, how to choose a mineral feeding program that suits your herd, the economic advantage of investing in supplements, and tips for preventing over or under-consumption. Continue reading
Vaccinating your herd is like buying insurance. Just like choosing an insurance policy, the set of vaccines you select should be based on your level of risk. A vaccination program based on your herd’s risk level will minimize disease and optimize production, while keeping the cost of preventative health at a reasonable level. Continue reading
Today the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is celebrating one year since the launch of BeefResearch.ca!
We are thrilled to report that over the past year, traffic to the website has continually increased, new subscribers regularly sign up for the blog, and communities of beef research enthusiast are growing on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Cattle producers are demonstrating that they are eager to educate themselves about research and innovation.
Since launching the website, we’ve posted 71 blog articles and numerous research topic overviews, technical fact sheets, videos and more. Here’s what our website audience has been most interested in, based on the highest number of views:
Top 5 Blog Posts Continue reading
Although we hope that every cows and heifer will come home from pasture bred, we learn to expect a few to be open. But if you notice cows cycling again a few months after the bull is turned out, you find far more open cows than normal when preg-checking, or calves are born months later than expected, there’s clearly a problem. You might be dealing with bovine venereal diseases like trichmoniasis (trich, pronounced “trick”) or vibriosis (vibrio, and also known as Campylobacteriosis). Continue reading
Riparian zones (the area between land and a river or stream) are important to maintain because of the many services they provide. Keeping the riparian zones in your rangeland healthy can reward you with increased forage production, reduced flood damage, and a reliable water source for your livestock, among other benefits.
In the previous episode of the Beef Research School, we covered riparian assessment – how to determine if you’ve got a healthy green zone. In this episode Ken Lewis, conservation coordinator with Red Deer County, describes the top strategies to improve and maintain riparian health. He also offers some ideas on where producers can find financial support for the costs associated with making changes like adding riparian fencing and off-site watering systems.