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31st Annual

Rawes Ranches Ltd.

View our ad on page 59


FEBRUARY 18TH, 2014 at the ranch, Strome, AB



Scott and Calla Blair, Drake, Sask.


Publications Mail Agreement Number 40069240


Moderate Gains For Heifers Get Green Light 16 Undernourished Bull Calves Don’t Catch Up 32

Canadian Hereford Association • 5160 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6V1 • 1-888-836-7242 •

Established 1938 ISSN 1196-8923 CATTLEMEN EDITORIAL Editor: Gren Winslow 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 0H1 (204) 944-5753 Fax (204) 944-5416 E-mail:


 B R E E D I NG

Field Editor: Debbie Furber Box 1168, Tisdale, SK S0E 1T0 (306) 873-4360 Fax (306) 873-4360 E-mail: ADVERTISING SALES Deborah Wilson RR 1, Lousana, AB T0M 1K0 (403) 325-1695 Fax (403) 944-5562 E-mail: Crystal McPeak (403) 646-6211 / (403) 360-3210 E-mail: HEAD OFFICE 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 0H1 (204) 944-5765 Fax (204) 944-5562 Advertising Services Co-ordinator: Arlene Bomback (204) 944-5765 Fax (204) 944-5562 E-mail: Publisher: Lynda Tityk E-mail: Associate Publisher/Editorial Director: John Morriss E-mail: Production Director: Shawna Gibson E-mail: Circulation Manager: Heather Anderson E-mail:

The Blair family


President: Bob Willcox Glacier FarmMedia Email:

Quality in: Quality out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Moderate gains for heifers get green light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Cattlemen and Canadian Cattlemen are Trade Marks of Farm Business Communications.

Solid-state digester shows promise . . . .20

Cattlemen is published monthly by Farm Business Communications. Head office: Winnipeg, Manitoba. Printed by Transcontinental LGMC. Cattlemen is printed with linseed oil-based inks.

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FEATURES Keeping it simple with F1s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

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Advocacy on the front lines. . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Milk goats and beef fit together . . . . . . . . 28

Quality in: Quality out 12

Undernourished bull calves can’t make up lost ground . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Silvers gain new friends.

Bale grazing — more than one way to skin a cat . . . . . . . . 38


Verified Beef Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 It takes a neighbourhood to grow beef. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

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The editors and journalists who write, contribute and provide opinions to Canadian Cattlemen and Farm Business Communications attempt to provide accurate and useful opinions, information and analysis. However, the editors, journalists, Canadian Cattlemen and Farm Business Communications, cannot and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this publication and the editors as well as Canadian Cattlemen and Farm Business Communications assume no responsibility for any actions or decisions taken by any reader for this publication based on any and all information provided.

It takes a neighbourhood to grow beef 42

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You can’t tend 800 cows on your own.

To our February survey winner, David Smith, Preeceville, Sask. This month’s survey is on page 65. Cover Photo: Supplied by the Blair family

Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Our History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Nutrition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Holistic Ranching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Vet Advice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Research on the Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Prime Cuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 CCA Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Straight from the Hip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 News Roundup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Purely Purebred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Market Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 The Markets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Sales and Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 C AT T L E M E N · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4



By Gren Winslow

getting together


he final report of the so-called straw man strategy was released at the end of December. There weren’t many surprises as many of the basic recommendations were debated in a Calgary hotel room in November. With the report released the three men who got this ball rolling a year ago, Alberta producers Dave Andrews and John Kolk with AdFarm founder Kim McConnell, have stepped to the sidelines to await the industry’s reaction to their work. They started this quest in 2012 in the belief that the entire beef chain from producers to retailers had to be involved in creating a strategic plan if we had any hope of turning the Canadian Beef Advantage brand into a product of choice at home and abroad. They spent much of last year surveying and nudging industry leaders to work with them to build a national plan that would include every sector of the beef chain. One measure of their impact was reflected in who joined them on the straw man national steering committee; Ken Clark of Overwaitea Food Group, Dennis Laycraft of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), Rob Meijer of Canada Beef Inc. (CBI), Willie van Solkema of JBS Canada and Bryan Walton of the National Cattle Feeders Association (NCFA). Other industry leaders worked on committees to develop the planks of this national plan. One of those planks is for the industry to speak with one voice. The question, of course, is who will supply that voice. The straw man says it should be a voluntary Council of Beef Leaders made up of 12 senior people; two each from the CCA, CBI, NCFA and the Canada Beef Breeds Council, plus one each from our two major packers, a regional packer/processor, and an independent chairman. When they tried that idea out at the Calgary gathering of industry leaders about 95 per cent of the room favoured having one voice but only 60 per cent supported this unofficial council. I suspect everyone was just being polite. In early December cattle industry leaders from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada Beef Inc., the National Cattle Feeders Association, Canada Beef Breeds Council, Beef Cattle Research Council and several provincial associations gathered for their own national strategic planning session to work on their own long-range national beef plan. In time, I’m told, packers, processors and retailers will eventually be drawn into their process. So if the straw man team’s first goal was to get everyone talking about setting a new direction for the industry it looks like they can consider themselves a success. Indeed many of the ideas being looked at by the producers probably fit quite nicely with the straw man plan.


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One is to grow the funding for industry marketing, promotion and research through Canada Beef Inc. That’s one cattle producers are examining as well. Straw man recommends raising the $1-per-head national checkoff. But that is easier said than done, even in times of record high prices. When they polled the Calgary crowd 29 per cent liked $1, 23 per cent said $2 and 35 per cent wanted more than $2. Some of the largest feedlots in the country were in the room but still this was probably not the best gathering to gain a producer consensus on national checkoffs. Another suggestion was a national checkoff on packers, as they have in Australia, and increase the new levy on imported beef. The packer levy went over big at the Calgary meeting but opinions would probably vary with a different audience. Also, packers and exporters already cost share some marketing programs with Canada Beef.

We might end up with a national plan for the beef industry but it’s not clear who will be driving it

Another recommendation, one that likely will find favour with producers, is the need for a centralized data bank that everyone can make use of, but with rules to protect confidential information. The straw man recommends the CCA’s BIXS2 if it can get the bugs ironed out by this spring. It is closer to reality than any other system out there and is already tied into the larger packers. Straw man estimates it would need data from two million calves per year to create a serviceable database for the entire food chain. Currently BIXS2 is a long way from that total. In fact, it would probably have to be mandatory to come anywhere near it. In Calgary only seven per cent of the people in the room could swallow a mandatory system. At an earlier Ontario meeting eight of 10 supported mandatory use of an industry-wide computer system. At this point it appears that we might end up with a national plan for the beef industry but it is still unclear what it will contain and who will be driving it. The straw man group should be thanked for getting this ball rolling. Now it remains to be seen how far it will go. For more details go to c

MARCH 10, 2014 1:00 PM AT THE RANCH 36 Charolais Bulls

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NewsMakers After 14 years at the University of Guelph, beef geneticist Dr. Steve Miller has taken a position as senior scientist with AgResearch in New Zealand where he will continue working in the Dr. Steve Miller area of animal genetics and genomics. He will continue to work closely with colleagues in Canada as an adjunct faculty member at the universities of Guelph and Alberta and co-leader on the Canadian Cattle Genome project. Dr. Paul Stothard, associate professor of bioinformatics and genomics at the University of Alberta becomes the resident co-leader of the cattle genomics project. Dr. Paul Stothard He has been a member of the project since its inception in 2011. Stothard has a PhD in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Alberta, where his research group now uses bioinformatics and genomics to study relationships between DNA and livestock traits. Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar has been named Canada’s new chief veterinary officer, replacing Dr. Ian Alexander. Kochhar, a veterinarian, has worked for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency since 2002, initially as a senior animal biotechnology

policy specialist and later executive director of western area operations. Prior to joining CFIA, he was an assistant professor in the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph with research interests in animal biotechnology. Twenty-eight-year-old Chelsea  Cunningham from Sundre, Alta. was recently honoured for her part in the rescue of a twoyear-old girl who accidentally fell into a septic tank in  Maricopa,  Arizona. Chelsea Cunningham Two men jumped into the pit, located the girl and passed her up to Cunningham who performed CPR on the child until she started breathing. The three were presented with Life-Saving Awards by the local sheriff in early January. Brad  Fournier,  a  former beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture and one of the first people to jump to the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency in 2009 has now moved on Brad Fournier to become vice-president, agriculture of Northlands in Edmonton, the home of the CFR and International Farmfair. Christy Goldhawk, a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary faculty of vet-

erinary medical sciences and Faustin Joy Kochi of Kerala, India, a PhD candidate in ruminant nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan won two of the 11 coveted International Stockmen’s Educational Foundation (ISEF) Travel Fellowships presented to up-and-coming researchers to attend the International Livestock Congress in Denver last month. Charlie Scranton of Stratford, P.E.I., who was widely remembered in his home province as the announcer of the Prince Edward  Island Easter Beef Show and Sale, died in December. Charlie Scranton He was remembered as a recognized Hereford breeder who was elected to the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1981 and president of the Canadian Hereford Association in 1983. The Hereford show at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto was named in his honour in 1989. In 2006 he was nominated to become a member of the Order of Canada. The  Boehringer  Ingelheim WCABP Veterinarian of the Year is Dr. Pete Knight from Red Deer, Alta. He operated a mixed animal practice in Vermilion for 10 years until he Dr. Pete Knight joined Norden Labs as a technical veterinarian in 1986. Through a number of mergers and acquisitions he has filled this same role since then, serving clients of Smithkline Beecham, Pfizer Animal Health and finally Zoetis. The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association recently completed an update of its website at In addition to information for producers and consumers the site contains an event calendar and the SCA Twitter feed. Alicia Sopatyk is the new regional livestock specialist in Tisdale, Sask., replacing Kim Mclean. She has an agriculture degree majoring in animal science and agri-business. c


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 our histo ry

Pauline and Brenda


Canadian Cattlemen June 1947 ince the turn of the century, Canadian Hereford breeders have been plagued with the fact that not all their pedigrees were eligible for transfer to the American records if imported into that country. This situation has had an adverse effect on the expansion of the breed in Canada because of the uncertainty created, particularly amongst those contemplating new herd. Fully aware of these conditions, members have passed resolutions, formed committees and held meetings with representatives of the American Hereford Association with the hope of establishing uniform rules for registration in both countries, but in spite of all these efforts the powers in the American association maintained the “status quo.”

The difficulties developed from two Hereford cows that over the past few decades have become notoriously famous. Pauline-647was a cow bred in England, imported to Canada and registered in Vol. 1 of the Canadian Herd Book as of parents registered in Vol. 13 of the English Herd Book. Unfortunately the date of birth of Pauline is not shown in Vol. 1 of our Herd Book Brenda-1657- was born a twin of a male, the property of a United States breeder. She was considered a freemartin and was not registered within the required time limit. Because of these two technical omissions the descendants of the two cows while registerable in Canada could not be registered in the United States. Years of uncertainty and anxiety are now over, however. At the February meeting of the board of the American Hereford Asso-

ciation it was moved and unanimously carried that Pauline-647- and Brenda-1657- be accepted for registration in the American Hereford Record as recorded in the Canadian Hereford Herd Book, provided the Canadian Hereford Association is willing to bring the registration of these two cows up to date and pay for such registrations at the rate of $100 per entry. The Canadian Hereford Association has accepted the offer and the registration difficulties with the descendants of Pauline and Brenda will soon be a matter of history. Credit should be recorded to those individuals within both the Canadian and American associations who displayed vision and exercised patience in the solution of the problem. To them other Hereford breeders are in debt. c

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By Debbie Furber



cott and Calla Blair are proud of the family’s roots with the Simmental breed and equally proud of the reputation first-cross (F1) SimmentalRed Angus program they’ve developed to carry their fourth-generation farm near Drake, Sask., into its second century. Some things haven’t changed since his great-grandfather started out with a typical 160-acre homestead growing grain with a couple of horses for field work and a milk cow or two in the barnyard menagerie. You’ll still find crops, horses and cattle on the Blairswest Land and Cattle operation of today, only in much larger proportions with 6,000 acres of cropland and 300 cows. The herd began to take on a European look in 1970 when Scott’s parents, Dale and Janet, were among the first to import Simmental cattle. That was the start of an era when larger Continental breeds of all kinds made their mark on the Canadian cattle industry. The Blairs liked the size and milking ability of the Simmental cows and the growthy calves. Showing the Simmentals became part and parcel of farm and family life, but the industry was starting to change by the mid1990s. The commercial market was looking for more uniformity in the general cow herd with a move to more moderate-type


C AT T L E M E N · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

cows and calves with a mix of Continental and British genetics. Scott and Calla were by then managing the cattle operation and on course to take over the farm. Cattle would definitely remain part of Blairswest’s future. Scott says he has always liked caring for cattle more than grain farming. Calla grew up on a mixed farm raising cattle, rodeo stock and horses for the family’s PMU operation near McLean, Sask., but says she likes the cattle business, and the people involved in it. Adding a commercial side to their farm seemed to be a better fit than putting all of their effort into purebreds alone, Calla explains. Growth of their grain operation on top of keeping up with the purebred business was putting a squeeze on their time and labour. They also saw marketing opportunities in the sheer size of the commercial beef industry considering the increasing interest in crossbred females and the market potential of the feeder steers and heifers. By the early 1990s they were breeding part of the Simmental herd to Red Angus bulls and testing the market by taking their F1 cattle on the road to commercial shows and sales at Western Canadian Agribition in Regina and the Saskatoon Fall Fair. Scott says it was something of an unusual move for a seedstock producer back then,

“We are critical when it comes to selecting heifers because we want a high-quality, uniform product.” SCOTT AND CALLA BLAIR DRAKE, SASK.


but there are many more F1s on the market today because they have proven to be great cows. Many of their commercial customers keep crossbreeding simple by buying in F1 replacements and using a third breed as a terminal sire to get an extra boost of hybrid vigour and weaning weight in their threeway-cross calves. They have seen the weight advantage in the calves from their F1 females bred back Simmental and can attest to the health and longevity often attributed to crossbred females. After weaning all heifer calves are turned out on stockpiled grass and wintered on hay. Oats are fed to target 1.5 pounds of gain per day. “We are critical when it comes to selecting heifers because we want a high-quality, uniform product,” Scott says. They consider weight, conformation traits such as udder, feet, legs, and the dam’s track record for the first cut in the spring. The breeding season is 60 days and the second cut takes mainly open heifers at preg. checking in late September. After weaning in October, the feeder calves are backgrounded on the farm and sold or shipped to a custom feeder just before calving. The cows swath graze and later graze standing corn up until calving. They have a nice setup for winter calving, so they’ve kept to that schedule, starting with the heifers February 10. A new remote camera system in the barn and the family’s hired man of 30 years helps them keep an eye on things. Their purebred Simmental herd has remained around 200 cows to produce the F1s for their bred heifer market. The rest are Red Angus percentage females bred up from the F1s they’ve kept through the years. They buy Red Angus bulls from reputable breeders to save running a second purebred herd. A colour-coded dangle tag system works well for quick identification of breed composition. They routinely sell out of their F1 bred heifers and it’s not unusual to have a waiting list. “The deal is we don’t sell any off the farm before Agribition. We want to take the best ones out and let them sell themselves,” Calla explains. Consistency is the key when putting together groups of cattle for a show, she adds. The ribbons and banners they’ve won along the way add up, but the real win is the customers they’ve gained through the years showing their Simmental-Red Angus cattle. If they were to pick the year to remember, it might be 2011, when they took home three grand champion titles from Agribi-

Blairs.Ag Cattle Co. of Lanigan show cattle at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, followed by a summer on the road with 4-H and junior cattle events, including a trip to Olds, Alta., for the Summer Synergy and Calgary Stampede. The black cattle at Blairswest are part of his interest in the club calf (clubby) industry, which is geared toward producing quality prospect steer and heifer calves for junior exhibitors who participate in 4-H and youth shows. “We will have to ramp up to bring the boys in,” Calla says. That will come with time, though they’ve already been looking at expanding to meet the demand for the F1s and possibly breaking into new markets. Between the hectic fall schedule and calving in February, January is really the only time they could take a holiday if they wanted to. For now, cattle shows, hockey games and rodeos remain their family holiday destinations. They are proud that the boys have developed a strong work ethic but for the most part Calla says there’s enough flexibility to work around the other important things in life, and, as they’d say, that’s pretty sweet! c

tion (bred heifers, feeder steers, and open replacement heifers) and were honoured by the Saskatchewan Simmental Association as commercial breeder of the year. Shows and word of mouth are the extent of their advertising and the F1 bred heifers that don’t go the show route are sold off the farm to buyers across the Prairies and Eastern Canada. They are looking at hosting their own bred heifer sale in the future with a couple of other ranchers who raise F1 females. A fifth generation

Their plan for the future focuses on management rather than herd size or farm size. “The goal is to keep it simple to get the work done and manage it well,” Calla says. The future also looks like it will include a fifth generation because the older boys, Cameron and Nolan, have expressed interest in farming and still help out with the cattle and grain operations when they aren’t tied up with post-secondary pursuits, rodeo or junior hockey. Maguire in Grade 10, is already an old hand at grooming and showing at commercial shows. Last year started off with helping

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 marketi ng

By Debbie Furber

quality in: quality out 17 Ranch has turned to silver cattle in a big way


uality isn’t just part of Marty Armstrong’s business strategy, it’s everything. It’s what 17 Ranch has been all about since he established the backgrounding and grasser operation near his hometown of Eastend, Sask., in 2001. 17 Ranch flips as many at 4,500 head a year, adding approximately 500 pounds between buying in feeder steers starting in mid-October and selling them as shortkeeps coming off grass in September. Quality starts with having an eye for the kind of cattle that will turn a profit and being willing to pay a few-cents premium to get large groups of top-cut 500-weight steers from pre-sort sales and ranches. “Structure and health are first and foremost, but not all of the steers in the top cut are top-cut quality. Maybe 10 per cent or so don’t meet the mark for structure (frame size, muscle structure, joint health) or performance,” Armstrong says. “I give them time to settle in and sort for quality at the second round of implanting. Usually three or four liner loads of medium types are replaced with steers that fit with the rest of the cattle.” He feeds a forage-based background-


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ing ration of hay, silage, and greenfeed, or any combination thereof, depending on what the growing season brings his way. Last year, it brought more than two feet of rainfall, which culminated in record silage yields. In an average year, some 3,500 stockers eat their way through 5,000 tons of silage and 6,000 bales before turnout. “I don’t push them through the winter — a little green going to pasture is OK. If they get too fleshy, they’ll lose pounds fast when they go out on grass,” Armstrong explains. “The whole idea is to keep inputs low and weight gains high. Year after year, I get the best performance from crossbred cattle and tame grass and clean water.” The tame pastures include alfalfa, crested wheat grass and smooth brome grass. Cicer milkvetch is also proving to be a good forage for this area of southwestern Saskatchewan, about an hour from the U.S. border. The final sort happens at turnout, when the steers are grouped into uniform lots to be sold off grass, which can be anywhere from 250 to 700 steers in each pasture group. Load-out facilities at strategic locations reduce stress and shrink at sale

time, versus having to round up cattle off pasture, truck them back to the yard and load them out again. Armstrong considers sturdy four-strand barbwire fences and efficient handling facilities well worth the investment. By incorporating Dr. Temple Grandin’s design for low-stress cattle-handling facilities into his operation, the cattle free-flow on their own from the crowding tub, down the curved alley to either the loading ramps or the hydraulic squeeze for processing. The cattle- and people-friendly design makes it possible for one person at the hydraulic controls to work cattle on his own and make short work of quietly loading a liner. Of all the technological advances the beef industry has seen throughout the decade, the widespread acceptance of Internet cattle auctions has had the greatest influence on his business, both buying and selling cattle. He always sells through DLMS and looks there to buy cattle as well. The advantage he sees is the ability to quickly move big volumes of cattle. Internet sales make everybody available, so the cattle get broad exposure and go to buyers that he would never


have expected. He appreciates the competitive bidding, which goes back to the auction market system and true price discovery. When Armstrong started 17 Ranch, most of the cattle he purchased came from Western Canada and were sold to buyers in Western Canada, with the former Lakeside lot at Brooks being one of his major customers. The past couple of years have seen the buyer base shift eastward, with 60 per cent of the steers snapped up by Ontario feedlots last fall. “Ontario sets the bar high and they want them big. They need framey cattle that finish out at 1,600-plus pounds,” he says. Armstrong has become an advocate for silver cattle since testing the prospects with three liner loads purchased in fall 2010. They outstripped the blacks in the same pen in every aspect from health, to overall performance, to the marketplace, where they garnered an eight cent premium. Silvers are modern-day smokies — the very same Angus-Charolais calves that the market used to discount. “These were the kind of cattle that buyers bought cheapest and made the most money on. I saw it so many times in the auction market,” says Armstrong, who got a crash course in real-world cattle marketing with six years’ experience working behind the scenes sourcing and sorting cattle for the Nilsson Brothers’ Vermilion market. “When you see that many cattle day after day, sometimes 24-7, 365 days a year, you get so you can sort the good from the bad in a hurry,” he says. “When you work with good people you learn a lot and it sticks with you.” Armstrong went for silver again in 2011 and saw the same results. Other than liking the way they grow, get big quickly, and continue to look good on grass, he noticed once again that the silvers didn’t need as much treating for health problems as other types of straight and crossbred calves. That’s was his experience last year as well, with marketing getting off to a great start August 16 on DLMS. The first set of 400 silvers averaging 990 pounds topped that day’s sale and were picked up by JGL of Moose Jaw, Sask., for a feedlot near Hensell, Ont. Armstrong says the use of white bulls on black cows is becoming more popular. “In my opinion a good chunk of today’s Charolais bulls are underrated as much as a strong percentage of black bulls are overrated,” he says. “There are a lot of good black bulls out there, then there are the kind that produce short, dumpy, gutty calves with no frame and no structure. When you put the two breeds together, they compliment each other and you get results.”

That’s what he is expecting from the 600 first-calf Angus heifers purchased last year and exposed to Charolais bulls to start calving this June. The expansion will produce silvers for the grasser operation and spread the risk between two enterprises. Aside from staying true to his commitment to quality cattle, Armstrong credits his success to many quality people he has come to know through his long association

with Nilsson Bros., his steady employee of eight years, Dylan Arnal, and his dad, Bob Armstrong, who is just a phone call away and always available to help. A dozen years into his own business and several industry setbacks later, he still sees lots of potential in the cattle industry for himself and his children as long as the rain keeps falling, the grass keeps growing and quality calves keep coming his way. He can be reached at 306-295-7473. c

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Crossbreeding Specialists



“At Rowledge Farms we manage a 350 head charolais cow herd. Our family has used charolais bulls since 1962. The white and tan heifers have been bred Salers since 2003 with outstanding results.Calving these heifers has been a pleasure with minimal intervention and the weaning weights on their calves are excellent.We also retain some Salers cross replacement heifers; they have super udders,great fertility and awesome maternal traits. Salers bulls have been a great boost to our program.” Murray Rowledge

Sereda Stock Farm Wayne Sereda Big Valley, AB (403) 876-2241


Git Salers Gerry Isley Langdon AB (403) 888-2577 Spring Coulee Salers Reg Baldwin Carstairs, AB (403)337-2975 PW Stock Farm Peter Watkins Calgary, AB (403) 650-8362



“Clifton Ranch runs 400 cows in the southern interior of BC where the mountains are very steep and the terrain is very rough.Salers and Salers cross cattle have the hooves and structural soundness that make them very adaptable to this type of range.We have found them to be trouble free low maintenance cattle that maintain body condition and raise an outstanding calf every year. The bulls travel well and cover a lot of cows.” Wade Clifton

Co-Alta Salers John Nikkel Coaldale AB (403) 345-4963


Elderberry Farm Purebred Salers Robert and Vivian Stieb Parkside SK (306) 747-3302 Grundke Family Salers Werner and Deb Grundke Alberta Beach AB (780) 924-2464 Harbrad Salers Farm Brad Dunn Ogema SK (306)459-7612 Sweetland Super Six Salers Ken and Wendy Sweetland Lundar MB (204) 762-5512 AGW Salers Gar Williams Borden SK (306) 997-4909 Cleopatra Salers Vern & Sonya Effa Springside SK (306) 782-5636

Quebec Salers Association Jacob Morin (819) 470-8844

Sky West Salers Ray Depalme Red Deer AB (403) 347-1526

Windbec Salers McGee Family Richmond QC (819) 826-2918

All Wright Farms Dave Wright Carberry MB (204) 761-4296


COW/CALF OPERATION - LEASK, SK “I find my Salers and Salers cross cows to be so trouble free and easy calving,easy keeping and really good quiet mothers.The calves sell well, I ve even had the buyers call back after the sale day looking for more. I’ll keep using Salers bulls; when you don’t have any trouble, why change.” Marvin Betker

Canadian Salers Association (403) 264-5850 •


By Debbie Furber



study at the Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC) near Lanigan, Sask., shows that pregnancy rates for heifers bred at 55 per cent of their mature body weight were on par with heifers bred at a more traditional 60 to 65 per cent of their mature body weight. This pattern held true in all three years of the study whether the heifers were raised in a conventional drylot or a bale-grazed pasture. The 60 to 65 per cent target is largely based on U.S. research in the 1960s however most of the studies done since 2004 have concluded heifers can be raised with more modest gains and still breed on time. All of that work was done on heifers wintered on cornstalks and winter grass through their first calving season. The WBDC was the first to explore whether heifers could successfully be grown out with moderate gains on winter pastures in Western Canada. The study ran for three years to be sure the lighter weights did not jeopardize the heifers’ future fertility. “A heifer development program is all about trying to grow a replacement heifer to breed between 14 and 15 months of age and deliver her first calf by two years of age. The real question is how they perform going forward as two- and three-year olds and retention in the herd,” says WBDC research scientist Dr. Bart Lardner. The WBDC study involved 174 Angus-type heifers weighing 554 to 565 pounds at weaning. They were assigned to one of four groups and managed to reach 55 per cent of mature body weight (moderate gain) at breeding or 62 per cent of mature weight (high gain) in either a drylot pen or a bale-grazing system.


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All four groups received good alfalfa-grass hay bales containing 60 per cent total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 10 per cent crude protein (CP) fed free choice along with a processed barley grain (85% TDN;12.5% CP). The heifers were weighed frequently to monitor performance and adjust the diet through the winter and right up to June 2 when they were moved to the breeding pasture. From then until they were preg-checked in October the heifers were managed as a single group on mixed alfalfa-smooth brome grass-crested-wheat grass pasture. The pregnant heifers were then grazed on swathed barley (69.3% TDN;10.8% CP) from November to March. From calving through May, they were fed in pens on freechoice grass-legume hay and five pounds of range pellets per head per day. All winter and calving diets were designed to meet NRC recommended protein and energy requirements for pregnant beef heifers of this type. At turnout the first year, the moderate-gain group averaged 787 pounds with an average body condition score of 2.6 on a scale of one to five, where one is emaciated and five grossly fat. The high-gain group averaged 875 pounds with a 2.8 body condition score. “What we saw during the summer on good-quality pasture was that the highgain heifers gained 1.5 pounds a day, which was similar to their gain during winter. The moderate-gain heifers gained 1.1 pounds a day during development and put on more than two pounds a day during summer, which can be attributed to compensatory gain on pasture,” says Lardner. A word of caution: the winter diet of a moderate-gain program must provide ade-

quate nutrition so the heifers are in good body condition by breeding season. The heifers were exposed to bulls for 63 days. Pregnancy diagnosis showed no statistical difference with 84 to 88 per cent settled for the moderate-gain groups and 85 to 90 per cent for the high-gain group. Calculations using the projected calf birth date and a 279-day gestation put the percentage of heifers pregnant after 45 days at 98 and 95 per cent for the moderate- and high-gain heifers, respectively. Pregnancy rates were similar: 95 per cent in year two and 94 per cent in year three for the moderate gainers: 95 to 96 per cent in year two and 93 per cent in year three for high gainers. Finally, the proportion of heifers exposed to bulls as yearlings that were still in the herd as pregnant three-year-olds was similar for both. Following the heifers and their calves through the first and second calving revealed no differences in calf birth weights and weaning weights. Feed costs for post-weaning development were approximately $60 per head less for the moderate-gain groups because they ate less than the high-gain group. The big question for these modest-weight heifers was could they reach puberty by breeding season since the age at which a heifer reaches puberty is largely determined by her weight. In this study there was no difference in reproductive performance. In short, moderate-weight heifers do get pregnant. Go to to find his presentation and the heifer development study fact sheet when it becomes available. c


Selecting successful heifers People often think of puberty as a gradual change, but in heifers Dr. Colin Palmer, a theriogenologist with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says it’s more like a point in time when estrus and ovulation occur together. Puberty generally occurs when a heifer reaches 45 to 55 per cent of her mature body weight, so large-framed heifers must weigh more than smallframed heifers if they are to reach puberty by a certain date. Heifers of breeds found in Canada typically reach puberty at 10 to 12 months of age, but it can be as early as six months, and as late as 15. Crossbred heifers generally reach puberty sooner than straight-breds because of heterosis. One of the simplest ways to predict potential fertility in heifers is to check the sire’s scrotal circumference (SC). A bull with a larger SC will produce daughters that reach puberty sooner and have greater lifetime fertility than a bull with a small SC. Since SC is highly heritable (69 per cent), Palmer says selecting heifers based on sire SC can turn your herd around in a hurry, or set it back just as quickly if you pick the wrong bulls. Based on his own experience, using expected progeny differences (EPDs) for fertility when selecting sires does improve overall reproductive performance. The stayability EPD predicts the likelihood a bull’s daughters will stay in the herd until at least six years of age. So a bull with a stayability EPD of +20, is likely to produce 28 per cent more daughters that remain productive in your herd past six years of age than a bull with a stayability EPD of -8. The heifer pregnancy rate EPD is a way to compare the odds of a bull’s daughters becoming pregnant and calving as two-year-olds. Daughters of a bull with a +13 heifer pregnancy rate EPD have a five per cent greater chance of becoming pregnant and calving as two-yearolds than daughters of a bull with a heifer pregnancy rate EPD of +8. As with all EPDs, these ratings predict average performance of a sire’s offspring, not individual animal performance. Breed-specific EPDs are only useful for comparing bulls of the same breed.


Heifer Strain The Beefbooster light, small-framed heifer bull is designed specifically for breeding to yearling heifers. You’ll benefit from reducing the cost of labour needed to assist calving heifers, and avoiding the loss associated with delayed re-breeding and lower conception following difficult births. Calf and heifer survival rates are also increased. Blending Different Breeds Beefbooster’s five different strains of seedstock are a blend of many different breeds. Each strain is bred to improve desired characteristics in offspring. The three maternal strains emphasize characteristics desirable in a herd, while the specialized heifer strain and terminal strain feature characteristics desirable within the beef value chain. More Accuracy Beefbooster uses DNA to increase accuracy of the expected breeding values. We strive to reach the same accuracy that the dairy industry has on yearling bulls. Early Booking Program Don’t miss the January 15, 2014 deadline for early booking discounts. Details at

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13-12-05 1:43 PM

 Nutriti o n

By John McKinnon

Supplementing Vitamins A, D and E to Beef Cattle


itamins like minerals are essential nutrients for cattle. As a group, they are involved in all aspects of the animal’s metabolism including growth, reproduction and health. There are two general classes of vitamins. These include the water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The water-soluble ones include the B vitamins and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. As indicated, all are essential, however, with beef cattle we generally concern ourselves only with fat-soluble vitamins. In most situations rumen bacteria supply the animal with an adequate source of B vitamins as well as vitamin K. While there are some exceptions to this statement (i.e. the role of thiamine in treatment and prevention of polio in cattle), this article will focus on the fat-soluble vitamins. In terms of function, vitamin A is important for vision, reproduction and immune function, while vitamin D plays a critical role in calcium and phosphorus metabolism and bone growth. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that interacts with selenium to provide protection to cells and tissues and is involved with immune function. As their group name implies, they are soluble in fat and are stored by the body in adipose tissue and the liver. This is important, as it means that these vitamins do not need to be supplied daily to the animal. This contrasts with water-soluble vitamins where a daily supply (from the rumen microbes or the diet) is required. Common  questions  regarding  supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins focus on the need, timing and method of supplementation. To help address these questions, let’s first look at why we need to supplement. It is obvious from the partial list of metabolic functions given above, that these vitamins are critical to the normal functioning of an animal. We also need to recognize that the level of vitamin A and E in common feed sources varies widely with time of the year, as well as the type and form of the feed. Generally speaking, fresh pasture and harvested green, leafy forages have relatively high levels of vitamin A and E. However, drought, extensive storage and/or processing can result in marked reductions in concentration. Cereal grains are poor sources of vitamin A. With respect to vitamin D, while forages are an important source of a precursor for this vitamin, cattle are able to synthesize vitamin D if exposed to adequate sunlight. The result of this variation in forage vitamin content is that the need to supplement varies seasonally. Cattle grazing fresh green pasture in the spring and summer


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generally do not require supplementation. Further, since the body stores these vitamins, they typically have a twoto three-month supply when coming off pasture. However, during the winter, when cattle are fed conserved forages and daylight is short, the need for supplementation increases for all three vitamins, particularly as calving approaches. Vitamin requirements are given as international units (IU) per kilogram (kg) of feed dry matter (DM). For example, according to the National Research Council (NRC 2000 update), vitamin A and D requirements for growing cattle are 2,200 and 270 IU per kg of DM, respectively. Respective values for pregnant and lactating cows are 2,800 and 3,900 IU per kg of DM. Values for vitamin E are not as clear. NRC (2000 update) recommends between 15 and 60 IU per kg of DM for growing calves and up to 100 IU per day of added vitamin E to finishing diets. Higher levels of vitamin E (i.e. 100 IU per kg DM) in receiving rations may help to improve immune function in stressed calves. With respect to method of supplementation, there are two basic approaches. A two- to three-month supply of A, D and/or E can be injected intramuscularly as per label/veterinary instructions. While this is a tried-andtrue method of supplementation, it is generally not recommended as intramuscular injections result in carcass tissue damage. The preferred method is via the feed typically as part of a mineral program or through a specific vitamin supplement. To illustrate the former, consider a pregnant beef cow consuming 12 kilograms of DM. This cow requires approximately 33,000 IU of vitamin A and 3,300 IU of vitamin D, daily. Consider that the commercial mineral available to this cow contains 450,000 and 45,000 IU of vitamin A and D per kg, respectively. At a consumption rate of 75 grams (2-1/2 ounces), the cow receives 33,750 IU of vitamin A and 3,300 IU of vitamin D daily, matching her requirement. As with calves, the vitamin E requirement for breeding cows is not well defined, but has been suggested to range from 200 to 300 IU per kg for pregnant cows (Source Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development). To achieve an intake of 200 IU per day, the mineral fed to this cow would need to contain approximately 2,700 IU of vitamin E per kg. The bottom line is that calving season is approaching and now is the time to review your feeding program. As with mineral feeding, adequate vitamin nutrition is key to a successful calving and rebreeding season. c

John McKinnon is a beef cattle nutritionist at the University of Saskatchewan

 Holistic R a nc hi ng

By Don Campbell



here is a lot of misinformation about the beneficial or detrimental effects cattle may have on land. This is unfortunate. Various groups often have serious disagreements depending on whether they see cattle as beneficial or detrimental to the land. Often both groups are sincere and in fact, both may be correct in their viewpoints. Often people are so busy defending their view that they don’t take the time to seriously listen and reflect on what may be correct. I think cattle can be either beneficial or detrimental to the land. The key is in the management of the cattle. Cattle managed in a continuous grazing situation are detrimental to the land. Cattle managed in a planned grazing situation are beneficial. Arguing over whether cattle are beneficial or detrimental will produce no positive results. Realizing that the management of the cattle can change the results can result in understanding, harmony and positive change. Most groups want healthy land. Realizing that, we can now move on to how we manage our cattle to achieve the results we desire. Planned grazing mimics how a large herd of bison may have grazed years ago. We want to have a short graze period, a high stock density and full recovery of the plants before they are grazed a second time. We also monitor growing conditions and adjust our recovery period based on our monitoring. The graze period is defined as the amount of time cattle are allowed to stay in a pasture at one time. Overgrazing is a function of time. To enjoy the positive impacts that cattle can have on the land we must stop overgrazing. This requires a short graze period. As a general rule the shorter the better. For practical purposes a graze period of three to five days may be a good place to start. The stock density is the number of head per acre at a given time. The higher the stock density the better the results. The stock density is affected by the graze period. As you shorten the graze period you increase the stock density. The recovery period is the number of days that the plants have to regrow before they are grazed a second time. Full recovery of the plants is essential. In most areas a recovery period of 60 to 90 days is likely required. My experience has been that the results tend to improve as

you move closer to the 90-day range. In dry, slow-growing areas grazing only once in the growing season may be the best choice. Monitoring plant regrowth is essential to planned grazing. In fact this is one of the major differences between planned grazing and so many other types. We don’t make a plan and blindly follow it. We make a plan and adjust it to current growing conditions by increasing or decreasing the recovery period. The result is full recovery under all growing conditions. Let’s look at an example. The first question might be, how many pastures are required to do a proper job of grazing? The answer is, I don’t know. However, if you select a graze period and a recovery period we can determine how many pastures you will need. The formula is: recovery period / graze period + 1 = pastures required. 75 / 5 + 1 = 16 pastures. 75 / 3 + 1 = 26 pastures. Both of these are correct for a 75-day recovery period using different grazing periods. Now let’s look at how our monitoring can be used to adjust our recovery period. We will look at years with excellent, average and poor growing conditions. By monitoring we are able to adjust our graze period. The result is full recovery of the plants despite the different growing conditions. recovery period Conditions

Graze period

Recovery period










Planned grazing is a powerful tool to improve our land and our bottom line. We are all well aware of the rising price of land. Buying the neighbour’s quarter isn’t the easy option it once was. Improving production on the land we have is more profitable and sustainable than buying more. I invite you to consider improving your grazing management. I think you will be pleased with the results. Happy trails. c Don Campbell ranches with his family at Meadow Lake, Sask., and teaches Holistic Management courses. He can be reached at 306-236-6088 or

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 researc h

By Debbie Furber

Solid-State Digester Shows Promise


f not for the small flare stack nearby, one would never suspect that the nondescript metal building at the Western Beef Development Centre housed cutting-edge energy research. This is the site of a one-of-a-kind research prototype designed to extract biogas released during anaerobic decomposition of organic waste in solid form. The solid-state anaerobic digester is one of several projects initiated by PAMI’s Applied Bioenergy Centre, headquartered nearby at Humboldt, Sask. It is one of two solid-state digesters known to be in operation in North America and one of a handful in use around the world. The process differs from current biogas technology whereby solid waste materials first have to be mixed with water into a liquefied state so that the liquid can be pumped and metered during the biogas extraction process, explains project manager Dr. Joy Agnew. The feedstock during the developmental phase has been feedlot manure layered with straw. As the system is perfected, other agricultural waste will be tried, such as cull potatoes, packing plant waste and deadstock. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is considering certifying biogas processing as a way to destroy specified risk material on a case-by-case basis. All of the action in the solid-state system happens inside airtight compartments called reactors. Passive heating systems built into each reactor promote growth of microorganisms that naturally occur in organic material under anaerobic conditions at temperatures of 35 C to 50 C. The micro-organisms are active for 30 to 80 days depending on the material and other conditions. They’ve found that 38 C is sufficient and that the process can be jump-started by inoculating a fresh batch with micro-organisms retrieved from a batch that’s just come out of the digester. Peak gas production varies, but generally occurs around day 15 and tapers off though to completion on day 40. The gas released from anaerobic digestion of organic material is largely methane and carbon dioxide with trace amounts of other gases. Methane, the gas that can readily be converted to energy, comprises half the biogas released from feedlot manure.


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Workers seal up a reactor filled with straw and feedlot manure to start a new batch.

Biogas from some feedstocks can be as much as 75 per cent methane. Composting, on the other hand, is an aerobic process that releases mostly carbon dioxide, Agnew explains. Not only is it difficult to recover carbon dioxide from a composting system, but the chemistry to convert carbon dioxide into energy is still far from feasible for commercial applications. For the time being, flaring converts the methane to carbon dioxide and water vapour. At a later stage of the research, the biogas will be further processed to create electricity and heat, or upgraded to natural gas to be pumped back into the grid. In a commercial-scale operation, the biogas would be used for heating and powering the plant itself, the farm or commercial buildings, and homes. Any excess electricity could be sold to the provincial grid. The pilot facility’s two reactors each hold 10 tonnes of the manure-straw mix and the system is now producing 50 cubic metres of biogas (25 cubic metres of methane) per wet tonne of feedstock. Putting this into perspective, Agnew says energy from biogas released from continuous operation of the pilot facility would power and heat an average Saskatchewan home for a year. On a larger scale, a 40,000head feedlot, such as the co-operating Pound-Maker lot next door to Western


Beef, produces around 162,000 tonnes of manure a year. Processing it through a solid-state digester would yield four million cubic metres of methane, which could be converted into 110,000 gigajoules (GJ) of energy — enough to power nearly 2,000 Saskatchewan homes. Valued at $5 per GJ, the biogas captured would be worth over half a million dollars. Solid-state digestion may also offer a way for producers to salvage some value from deadstock. Instead of incurring losses of five to nine cents a pound for deadstock disposal on top of the loss of the animal, they could realize a benefit of approximately $22 from the 4.4 GJ of energy retrieved from a 1,200-pound carcass. Since the project got underway in 2007, the focus has been on the design and functioning of the reactors and tweaking conditions to optimize gas production, which is now about twice as much as a year ago and on par with production from the bench-scale system that serves as the model for the pilot plant and continuing research. Agnew attributes the initial difference to variables such as compaction of the feedstock in the large reactors that either prevented effective microbe action or locked the gas in the bottom layer. The controls, alarms, and metering sysContinued on page 22








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Feb 25th , 2014

Balog Auction • Lethbridge, AB • 1:00 PM Lunch 11:30 AM • Sale day phone: (403) 320-1980


AGA 26R WHAM HAMMER 87W C02933144

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ULRICH HEREFORD RANCH INC Box 843, Claresholm, Alberta T0L 0T0 From Claresholm: 8 mi (12.8 km)E, 4 mi (6.4 km) N & 1/4 mile E

Peter Ulrich cell (403) 625-1036 fax: (403) 625-2399 Hans Ulrich (403) 625-2237

r es ea rc h

 his prototype is T designed for research not commercial use Dr. Joy Agnew project manager

Continued from page 20

tems housed in portable trailers nearby are standard equipment used in the gas industry. Agnew notes that the prototype isn’t intended for scale-up. It was designed with research in mind to explore how to optimize gas production and provide recommendations for a commercial facility. Ultimately, it is hoped that a manufacturer will help design a full-scale version and build solid-state digesters for commercial use. A basic feasibility study comparing the cost of building a solid-state digester to that of a liquid digester to handle manure from a 40,000-head feedlot indicated that a solidstate system could be built for $5 million to $10 million versus $40 million to $50 million for a liquid system. Digestate adds value

Just as valuable, and potentially of more value than the energy created from solidstate digestion of manure, is the digestate, or what’s left over after the micro-organisms have done their work. Agnew says solid-state digestion doesn’t reduce feedstock volume by much. It’s about capturing and creating value from natural gases that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere or earth over time when raw manure is spread on the land or pushed up and left to degrade on its own. Digestate can be spread as fertilizer, however, composting could add value to it by further destroying pathogens and weed seeds and reducing the volume. If composted digestate could be bagged for the retail market where soil products currently sell for around $1 a pound, the digestate from a 40,000-head feedlot would be worth $6 million! Preliminary work with digestate shows that it has a more uniform consistency, less odour and is easier to apply than raw feedlot manure. Some nitrogen is lost as ammonia and nitrogen gas during digestion, but the total loss is less than the nitrogen lost from stock-


C at t l e m e n · f e b r ua ry 2 0 1 4

piled raw manure. The concentrations of other macronutrients (phosphorus, potassium and sulphur) are not affected and actually benefit from the process because they and the nitrogen are converted into more stable, plant-available forms. Work to date has led to the use of biochar rather than large amounts of straw as the carbon source to obtain the proper carbonto-nitrogen ratio for efficient composting. The biochar comes from a torrefaction project underway at the Applied Bioenergy Centre, where they heat biomass to very high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. Biochar can be used instead of coal to generate electricity and, like ash, as a soil amendment to improve porosity and reduce bulk density of soil, Agnew explains. There is nothing but carbon in biochar, so combining it with digestate creates a nutrient-rich product that also improves soil quality. Intrigued with the initial findings on the potential of digestate as a manure-management alternative, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) applied for and recently received funding from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program through the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan to advance this line of the research. SSGA general manager Chad MacPherson says the association is pleased to partner on this project because members see the great potential for environmental and economic benefits for beef producers. Minimizing the potential for nutrient leaching and gaseous losses when manure is stored and spread adds an environmental benefit that goes hand in hand with economic benefits when those nutrients can be efficiently captured and cost effectively recycled for production on the farm, says MacPherson. Other potential advantages such as its low odour, handling characteristics, and potential to minimize pathogens and weed seeds in land-applied manure are also important to beef producers. For more information go to or contact Agnew at 1-800-567-7264. c

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cattlement reg issue CGA_Layout 1 12/9/13 9:07 PM Page 1

EYOT Valley Ranch

Davidson Gelbvieh & Lonesome Dove Ranch

Lynne & Larry Fecho 780-718-5477 Millet, AB

Vernon & Eileen Davidson 306-625-3755 Tara & Ross Davidson & Family Keriness Cattle Company Ltd. 306-625-3513 Kert Ness - 403-860-4634 Joe Ness - 403-852-7332 Airdrie, AB Gelbvieh Stock Exchange Sale Group Don Okell - 403-793-4549 V&V Farms Vern & Vivienne Pancoast Gary or Nolan Pahl - 403-977-2057 403-548-6678 Redcliff, AB Wade Watson - 403-528-7456

Man-Sask Gelbvieh Assoc.

Prairie Gelbvieh Alliance Sale Group Kirk Hurlburt - 306-222-8210 Wayne Selin - 306-793-4568

Fir River Livestock

Roger & Kim Sayer 403-875-8418 Carstairs, AB

Twin Bridge Farms Ltd.

Ron, Carol, Ross, Gail, Owen & Aaron Birch Ron & Carol 403-792-2123 Aaron 403-485-5518 Lomond, AB

Royal Western Gelbvieh

Rodney & Tanya Hollman 403-588-8620 Innisfail, AB

Maple Grove Gelbvieh

Stone Gate Farm

Lee & Neal Wirgau 204-278-3255 Narcisse, MB

Nelson Gelbvieh

Dan & Marilyn Nielsen Adam Nielsen -403-887-4971 Sylvan Lake, AB

Darrell & Leila Hickman 780-581-0077 Vermilion, AB

Dave Hrebeniuk - 306-865-6603 Darcy, Renee, Colt & Kenzie Hrebeniuk - 306-865-7859 Hudson Bay, SK

O'Faelan Farms Inc.

c/o Lee Wirgau - 204-278-3255 Narcisse, MB

Foursquare Gelbvieh

Duane Nelson - 403-331-9086 Glenwood, AB

Dayspring Cattle

Eastern Canadian Gelbvieh Assoc. Gelbvieh Association of c/o Laurie Hurst Alberta/BC Durham, ON

Ron Whalen - 902-651-2006 Your Maritime source for superior Purebred & Balancer Gelbvieh genetics


c/o Merv Tuplin - 780-450-1280 Edmonton, AB

Skyline Way NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 6V1 CANADIAN GELBVIEH 5160Ph: 403.250.8640 â&#x20AC;˘ Fax: 403.291.5624 Email: â&#x20AC;˘ ASSOCIATION

 promot i o n

By Debbie Furber

Advocacy on the front lines  a not h e r v i ew

Sherri Grant has been explaining beef farming to schoolchildren for the past 20 years.


s Canada Beef Inc. and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association prepare to introduce a new online Beef Advocacy Canada training program in 2014, we thought we’d gather some tips on an old hand at telling beef ’s story to the younger generation. Sherri Grant has been managing the beef side of the Agri-ed Showcase at Canadian Western Agribition for 20-plus years now. The showcase hosts an array of interactive displays and activities organized by several agricultural organizations. The beef section is a longstanding initiative of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association funded entirely by the producers’ provincial checkoff. Over the years Grant has seen the showcase move from a small tent to a major display at the CWA’s Family Ag Pavilion that hosts 6,000 students and teachers from Regina and Regina rural school districts and hundreds more who visit the pavilion with their families each November. The exhibit also moves around to Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Swift Current during the year. “Most messaging we provide is to school students, so we make sure that it links to the curriculum in some way,” says Grant.“It hasn’t changed a lot through the years other than to get more focused. We always talk about how cattle graze land that otherwise can’t be used to produce food and that the reason they can do this is because of their ruminant system of


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

A two-way conversation

digestion that is able to convert grass to highquality protein we can use. “We have to realize that livestock people use different terminology than the general public, so you need to make sure people understand what you mean.” As an example, when they found the ruminant digestion system seemed like a foreign concept to many students, and many teachers, they started layering the information throughout the showcase so the kids would hear about ruminants at the sheep demonstration and the byproduct demonstration. That was five years ago. “Now they get the difference,” says Grant. The term bred heifer created some confusion this winter until Grant realized that the students were interpreting it as “bread” heifer and couldn’t understand how you can get bread from a cow. In this crowd, even “heifer” requires an explanation. That raises a good point for advocates, says Grant. Take the time to really understand what a person is asking you. One woman surprised Grant by confiding she is considering a change in her diet because she’d heard that cattle are force fed. Grant told the woman she had never seen cattle being forced to eat in all her years of ranching at Val Marie or her many visits to ranches and feedlots, Continued on page 26

Two members of the Canadian Cattlemen Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Council took some time in November to lend a hand explaining the beef industry to fairgoers at Agribition’s Agri-ed Showcase. Both are participants in the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program. Daniel Muir from Nova Scotia is presently the environmental stewardship program co-ordinator with Prince Edward Island agriculture and forestry and Brodie Haugan from Alberta is a farm management analyst with MNP who is hoping to work his way into the industry as a primary producer. Both had some past experience interacting with the public on behalf of the industry — Muir at Toronto’s Royal Agriculture Winter Fair and Haugan at The Cattle Trail exhibit during the Calgary Stampede. Muir found the children asked basic questions, such as what animals eats and where they live while the parents asked about how animals are handled and transported along with specific production questions. “It is always an educational experience when conveying messages to the public,” says Muir. While there are many misconceptions about beef production his experience tells him these can be clarified in one-on-one conversations. Nor is it a one-way conversation, says Haugan. “When you participate in an event such as this, it allows you to relate to the consumer’s understanding of the beef industry and it clearly illustrates how removed society is from primary agriculture. “I often find myself overthinking these issues when discussing the current state of the beef industry with my peers. Events such as this allow producers to take a step back and rethink the major issues that need to be addressed and acted upon.”


Our professional sales management team takes pride in representing commercial and purebred cattleman who aren’t able to make it to every sale. Our services are “no cost to the purchaser and we are represented at over 45 bull and female sales. We will market over 4,000 Simmental, Angus, Charolais, Limousin & Hereford bulls and females and we are very familiar with the breeding programs that are represented behind them. Feel free to contact our staff at any time and we will work with you to find the ideal herd sire for your operation.

Wednesday, March 5 :: Saskatoon, SK

24th Sunny Valley Bull & Female Sale Friday, February 7 :: Rimbey, AB

Genetic Edge Bull Sale

Friday, February 14 :: Carstairs, AB

25th Mader Ranch Bull & Female Sale Saturday, February 15 :: Grenfell, SK

Thursday, March 6 :: Olds, AB

11th Westway & Deeg Annual Bull Sale Thursday, March 6 :: Moosomin, SK

In Pursuit of Perfection Bull Sale Friday, March 7 :: Rumsey, AB

Double Bar D Best of Both Worlds Sale

17th Richmond Grass Country Bull Sale

Monday, February 17 :: Amaranth, MB

Saturday, March 8 :: Lloydminster, SK

Thursday, February 20 :: Lloydminster, SK

Saturday, March 8 :: Saskatoon, SK

Kopp Farms Bull & Female Sale 9th Annual Robb Hoegl Bull Sale

Saturday, February 22 :: Spruce Grove, AB

Lewis Farms 29th Annual Bull Sale Monday, February 24 :: Turtle Lake, ND

Rust Mountain View Ranch Sale

Monday, February 24 :: Shellbrook, SK

12th Muirhead Cattle Co. Bull Sale Wednesday, February 26 :: Saskatoon, SK

Erixon Simmentals Bull & Female Sale Wednesday, February 26 :: Camrose, AB

Next Generation Bull Sale Cattleman’s Bull Event

Monday, March 10 :: Olds, AB

5th Harvie Ranching Bull Sale Monday, March 10 :: Rimbey, AB

13th Diamond C Bull & Female Sale Tuesday, March 11 :: Lloydminster, SK

Saturday, March 1 :: Carievale, SK Monday, March 3 :: Radville, SK

Brooking Angus Ranch Bull & Female Sale Tuesday, March 4 :: Bowden, AB

Belvin Angus Bull Sale

Scott Bohrson 403.370.3010

Geoff Anderson 306.731.7921

Tuesday, March 25 :: High River, AB

18th U2 Ranch Bull & Female Sale Thursday, March 27 :: Alameda, SK

Wheatland 10th Annual Bull Sale Saturday, March 29 :: Saskatoon, SK

6th Annual Impact Bull & Female Sale Monday, March 31 :: Cochrane, AB

Hamilton Farms 19th Bull & Female Sale Tuesday, April 1 :: Sedley, SK

Wednesday, April 2 :: Wood Mountain, SK

Thursday, March 13 :: Olds, AB

Thursday, March 13 :: Stettler, AB

20th McMillen Ranching Production Sale

Tuesday, March 25 :: Fairview, AB

Ring Creek Bull & Female Sale

Wednesday, March 12 :: Moose Jaw, SK

South-Sask Simmental Bull & Female Sale

Thursday, February 27 :: Balcarres, SK Friday, February 28 :: Moose Jaw, SK

Saturday, March 22 :: Moose Jaw, SK

Stockman’s Select Angus & Hereford Sale

Pursuit of Excellence Angus Bull Sale

Rocky Mountain Simmental Bull Sale

Labatte Simmentals 34th Bull & Female Sale

Thursday, March 20 :: Forestburg, AB

Get-A-Grip Bull and Female Sale

Kuntz-Stoughton-McIntosh-SAJ Bull Sale

19th Annual Herd Master Bull Sale

10th Pheasantdale Bull & Female Sale

Wednesday, March 19 :: Dundurn, SK

19th Wilbar Tools of the Trade Sale

Bar E-L Angus Sale

Friday, March 14 :: Saskatoon, SK

Peak Dot Ranch Spring Sale Saturday, April 5 :: Sangudo, AB

Towaw Cattle Co. & Guest 35th Bull Sale Thursday, April 10 :: Wawota, SK

T Bar K Ranch Annual Bull Sale Thursday, April 10 :: Ceylon, SK

13th Anchor B/B Bar/Carpenter Sale

South View Ranch Bull Sale

Saturday, March 15 :: Erskine, AB

Saturday, April 12 :: Fir Mountain, SK

29th LLB Spring Spectacular Sale Monday, March 17 :: Lloydminster, SK

39th Six Mile Ranch Bull Sale

Monday, April 14 :: Lloydminster, SK

10th Butts, Gutt & Nutts Simmental Sale

19th Annual Justamere Bull Sale

Monday, March 17 :: Olds, AB

Tuesday, April 26 :: Swift Current, SK

Remitall Farms Bull & Select Female Sale

Colton Hamilton 403.507.5416

Martin Bohrson 306.220.7901

Wiwa Creek Bull Sale

Darryl Snider 780.385.5561

Brad Buchanan 519.400.0668


Continued from page 24

and asked her to describe how it could be done. The women had to admit she didn’t know and left willing to reconsider her view on a diet change. “It’s important to try to leave your defensiveness at home and not outright say a person is wrong,” Grant says. “Speak from your experience, provide factual information and let the person know where they can find accurate resources.” Those resources should include some reliable Internet websites as Grant discovered when she had a student ask her a question for which there was no definitive answer. The student said, “That’s OK, I’ll Google it,” which she found unnerving because there’s no telling what kinds of material will come up in a helter-skelter Google search. Not surprisingly she has come to appreciate the efforts of teachers with a basic understanding of agriculture. “(They) are more aware of where to find accurate information and much better equipped to help students find resources that will give

Even the word heifer needs some explanation with this crowd.

them the whole picture about where food comes from.” The biggest challenge with school groups is engaging the children in a discussion. Grant usually starts at the landscape display by asking the children what they see. It’s a good way to gauge their level of understanding about

the farm scene and avoid boring them with information they already know, or losing their attention by jumping in over their heads. She’s still surprised by how many children are unaware that beef and dairy cows only produce milk after they calve and that only the mother feeds the calf. c

Join us early to view the bulls and for pre-sale lunch at 12:30 PM

26PrimeCLimousin A T T LClub-Cattlemen E M E N · small-outlines.indd F E B R U A R Y1

2014 14/01/2014 1:50:36 PM

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By Melanie Epp



ow-calf producer Brian Pelleboer and his wife, Joan, were hit hard by BSE, taking a financial hit that amounted to a quartermillion dollars. It took them five years to recover. The point is, though, that they did recover. Beef farming, it would seem, is about resilience. It’s about bouncing back, and making the most of everything you’ve got. The Pelleboers knew if they were to have a viable, profit-generating business, something needed to change. What their farm needed was a little diversification and something Brian likes to call “a complementary system.” DIVERSIFYING THE FARM

It happened by accident really. He certainly didn’t mean to go into dairy goats. It just sort of happened. After a neighbour said that he was getting out of the industry, the next thing Pelleboer knew, he had bought the neighbour’s herd. “When I first bought the goat herd, I didn’t tell anybody because I thought myself I was a little bit crazy,” he says. “I knew it could be done and I wanted to do it, but I was almost afraid to tell anybody what I was doing because I thought they’d think I was a fool.” As it turns out, Pelleboer was on to something. The dairy goat industry is both stable


C AT T L E M E N · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

and profitable — a trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing either. In fact, according to Statistics Canada (2011), the sector has grown 300 per cent in the past five years. It’s the perfect combination of high demand and low competition. LABOUR INTENSIVE, BUT WORTH IT

The Pelleboers milk 250 commercial dairy goats, making their operation medium size. Milk is used for a wide variety of products, including chevre, feta and yogurt. Most of the Pelleboers’ milk, though, goes to Woolwich Dairy Inc. in Orangeville. The operation is quite labour intensive. Dairy goats are seasonal breeders, but processors want milk year round. Meeting those demands can be challenging. “It’s seven days a week… a definite commitment,” says Pelleboer. “But it’s worth it.” As one of the 113 members of the Ontario Dairy Goat Cooperative, Pelleboer says that he, along with the others, is responsible for marketing and transportation. It’s a challenge they accept readily. “We sell our milk through a co-operative,” he continues. “And we market our milk directly to the processor. We have our own trucks, and we truck it all, so we’re basically the brokers of our own milk, which is quite unique if you look at the cattle business.”


Success isn’t about finding something that “sorta” works and sticking with it, says Brian. It’s about fine tuning your system until you find something that really works. It’s about seeking balance and maximizing dollars. “I’ve been doing cattle for 25 to 30 years,” says Pelleboer. “I’ve done just about everything that could be done. There’s not that much new in the cattle industry.” The dairy goat industry, by contrast, is young, he says. “There’s so much potential out there for growth in almost every area. Feed, genetics, marketing — everything is basically untapped.” The Pelleboers are still raising 100 head of cattle. In fact, Brian says the cattle are an integral part of the system. The cows and goats complement one another, he says, particularly when it comes to feed. The Pelleboers’ goats and cows eat the same diet — haylage and corn silage. Most dairy goat farmers operate differently, though, feeding their goats a mixture of pelleted rations and straw that they buy in. “They have to get the big milk yields out of their goats to pay the feed bills,” he says. “For me, when I get my milk cheque, I don’t have a lot of feed bills.” With goats, says Pelleboer, the more dry matter they take in, the more milk they produce. But goats are particular about what they eat. They prefer fresh feed, rejecting


anything that’s slightly spoiled. The cows, on the other hand, will eat most anything you put in front of them. To keep the goats eating, Pelleboer puts 10-20 per cent more feed in front of them than they can actually eat. On a dairy goat-only operation, that excess food would go to waste, but on his farm the cattle eat the leftovers. “Contrary to what people think goats are really fussy about what they eat. Although, they’d probably eat the clothes off the line if they got out, but that’s just because they’re curious,” he laughs. “Because I have the cows, the feed is fresher in the bunk silo,” says Pelleboer, “The cows take a large volume of feed.

They both get fed out of the same bunker, so if I can feed out of that storage facility quicker, it keeps the feed fresher and therefore, the best part goes to the goats. The little bit of spoilage goes to the cattle, so nothing’s wasted.” It’s not just feed, though. It’s equipment, too. Aside from the equipment needed for the milking parlour, most everything on the farm is used for both sides of their operation. “You make what you have work, and you try to get the most out of everything you have,” says Pelleboer. “It wasn’t a big plan or scheme of mine that I had all figured out from Day 1 before I started. It just happened. You ask yourself, ‘How can I do this better?’ and

you start thinking about your whole operation. You think, well, hey, I can do this and I can do that. It works out good for my cows, and it works out good for my goats, and works out good for my equipment. “My whole farm is a team player,” he continues. “I’m just kinda in the middle orchestrating it all.” Perhaps the best thing about the Pelleboers’ farm, though, is that it is now viable. “If one of my kids comes home and decides that they want to farm, there’s a profitable entity here that they can go to the bank with. The cattle…” he pauses. “I don’t think they can. When I’m done here, because of the goats, someone can actually make it work.” c

C at t l e m e n · f e b r ua ry 2 0 1 4


 vet aDv i c e

Seeking Credibility


wo recent events jumped agriculture’s role in the antimicrobial resistance merry-go-round into high gear. First was the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Final Guidance 213 (December 2013) that established a three-year time frame to end the use of medically important antibiotics as growth promotants. There were also new rules on veterinary oversight related to antibiotic use in feed and water. According to the FDA, the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs for production purposes is not justified. Indications like “increased rate of gain” or “improved feed efficiency” will no longer be supported in the approval process when claims involve medically important drugs. Final Guidance 213 clearly outlines parameters for veterinary oversight in the use of antimicrobial new animal drugs. Carefully worded statements by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) do nothing to allay public confusion about how very complex this issue is, how it will impact the livestock industry’s approach to disease control, and ultimately the position these organizations might impose on trading partners — particularly Canada — who may or may not be in synch with what is happening. To fill the void, research must address therapeutic options and allow everyone to understand how resistance is developed and transmitted among animals, humans and other living organisms. Organizations like the Pew Charitable Trust continue to harangue agriculture by maintaining that over 70 per cent of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for food animals, and that most are used in feed and water without supervision of a veterinarian. Also in the background is a recent study in Denmark about the transmissibility of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA) between animals and people. It was supposedly to end the argument about whether giving antibiotics to livestock endangers human life. U.S. scientists sharply criticized the study’s results, claiming the trial is seriously flawed. The impact of FDA’s intent to enforce judicial use of antibiotics, as they define it, will put a great deal of pressure on Canada to comply. Future availability of commonly used antimicrobials may disappear as pharmaceutical companies withhold investment to provide additional data on safety and efficacy, especially in the case of older products. Pressure will increase on Canadian authorities to review and enforce loopholes in regulations that presently allow own-use importation of drugs and the unacceptable practice of importing raw antimicrobials as chemicals that are ultimately used by producers. A key component of FDA’s plan is to require producers to source only drugs available through prescription from a licensed veterinarian instead of products previously sold over the counter — something producers on both sides of the border find intrusive and unnecessary. The use of antimicrobials for preventing disease will also come under scrutiny. For example, a U.S. veterinarian today may determine that weaned beef calves arriving at a feedlot after a lengthy ride in bad weather are at risk to develop bacterial respiratory infection and choose to treat them with an antimicrobial approved for disease prevention. The FDA, under this final guidance, would not consider this practice “judicious use” if the drugs are administered to apparently healthy ani-


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

mals in the absence of information about the risk of a specific disease. The concept puts a new twist on the wide-scale use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials to prevent respiratory disease, both here and in the U.S. The second significant event in the antimicrobial resistance scrum was a white paper titled “Bridging the Gap between Animal Health and Human Health” published by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) following its Kansas City symposium last November. Points made by antibiotic use and resistance experts included: • The science behind the emergence transfer of antibiotic resistance is highly complex and open to interpretation. • The complex relationship between animal health, human health and environmental health is driven by two premises: 1. Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally with or without the use of antimicrobials; 2. Any time an antibiotic enters the environment, a potential of it contributing to resistance exists. • Significant efforts are being led by the public health community to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and reduce hospital-acquired infections; agriculture needs to change as well. • Food animal production should enforce current regulations and address any antibiotic misuse or be prepared for an unfavourable outcome. • Antibiotic resistance can be transferred from animals to humans and from humans to animals. • Antimicrobial resistance is not isolated to food-production animals and humans, but affects companion animals as well. • Antibiotic resistance is an international issue requiring a global One Health approach. • Evaluating antimicrobial resistance involves balancing risks while recognizing the importance of maintaining an efficacious arsenal of human antibiotics. • New tools that address food animal infectious diseases must be developed, whether in the field of prevention or new molecules for therapeutics. • Although foodborne illnesses are down 29 per cent in the last decade, media hits on foodborne illness have increased 150 per cent during the same time frame. • No antibiotic is guaranteed to kill 100 per cent of the pathogens causing an illness. • The great majority of antibiotic classes used in human and animal health has very little overlap. • Research studies and results are often viewed and interpreted differently by individuals and often influenced by values and beliefs. • Change will happen. Animal agriculture must be at the table or change will be drastic and by statute and will not be deliberative. Dr. Guy Loneragan, professor food safety and public health, Texas Tech University summed it up the best, “ If you think you understand antimicrobial resistance, it hasn’t been explained properly to you.” c Dr. Ron Clarke prepares this column on behalf of the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners. Suggestions for future articles can be sent to Canadian Cattlemen ( or WCABP (

Symens Land & Cattle 2nd Annual

Featuring 38 Black & Red Angus 12 Limousin Pedigreed

1:00 pm Tuesday

February18 2014 At the Ranch

With Guest Consignment from

Claresholm, AB

Directions from Clraresholm: 3 miles north on Hwy #2 to Twnshp Rd 132, east 1.5 mi. to County Rd., north 1.25ml.

Symens Land & Cattle- Jim & Laura Symens & Family Box 3209, Claresholm, Alberta, T0L 0T0 Phone: 403-524-4729 Cell: 604-880-7515 Email:

Abacus Angus - Megan Bond - Dan Hitchner Box 45011, High River, Alberta, T1V 1P7 Phone: 403-333-2626

Visitors Always Welcom!

Auctioneer: Don Raffan 250-558-6789 Sale Staff: VJV Livestock - Stavely, AB 403-549-2120

 researc h

By Debbie Furber

Undernourished bull calves can’t make up lost ground


bull’s fate as a potential herd sire is determined in large part by genetics, but its nutritional status during calfhood determines whether it will realize its full genetic potential. Nutrition at this early age, defined as the first 30 weeks of life, is often taken for granted because beef calves are usually happily nursing and nibbling grass during this period. That being the case, most research on bull development has been geared toward the post-weaning period, says Dr. John Kastelic, professor of cattle reproductive health and theriogenology with the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine. He and bovine theriogenologist Dr. Albert Barth, now retired from the University of Saskatchewan, supervised a study by PhD candidate Leonardo Brito, who investigated how nutrition during a bull’s first year and a half affects metabolic hormones and sexual development.

Beef bull calves were weaned at six weeks of age and fed diets containing either 70, 100 or 130 per cent of the recommended energy and protein requirements. All rations supplied adequate minerals and vitamins. “Those fed the 130 per cent diet during the first 25 weeks reached puberty one month earlier and had 20 to 30 per cent larger testes and more sperm than those fed the 70 per cent diet,” Kastelic says. “Interestingly, bull calves that received the 70 per cent diet for the first 25 weeks, couldn’t make up the deficit even if fed the 130 per cent diet for the second 25-week period.” In short, the study detected profound differences in hormonal secretions associated with sexual development that explained the difference. The higher plane of nutrition increased or sustained production of important hormones and improved func-

Dr. John Kastelic

 R eproduct i o n

What to expect from a bull’s BSE (breeding soundness evaluation) The ultimate goal of a bull development program is to raise physically sound bulls that meet or exceed minimum predictors of fertility established by the Society for Theriogenology. Bull breeding soundness evaluations (BBSE) can determine whether bulls meet the standards and help to sort future sires with good potential to achieve high pregnancy rates in a short interval from those with poor potential and undesirable heritable traits. What they won’t do is guarantee or rank fertility, says Dr. John Kastelic, a researcher in cattle reproductive health at the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine. Nor does a routine BBSE evaluate libido, that is, a bull’s ability to identify cows in heat and his desire to breed, which makes it imperative to observe bulls to be sure they are identifying, mounting and breeding cows in estrus. “The overall effect is to improve genetics for fertility and reproductive performance within the herd or breed,” he explains.


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

BBSEs look at overall reproductive development including testicular size and health, abnormalities of the scrotum, penis and seminal vesicles, the number of sperm with normal shape (morphology) and the percentage of sperm able to move (motility). Scrotal circumference (SC) is an important measurement because it’s highly correlated with testes weight (95 per cent), age at puberty (85 per cent), sperm output in young bulls (75 per cent) and semen quality (68 per cent). Furthermore, daughters of bulls with large SCs will reach puberty earlier than heifers from bulls with smaller scrotal measurements. Some of the most common abnormalities include small testes, warts on the penis, and seminal vesiculitis (infection involving internal glands). Physical attributes and conformation are evaluated because they are indicators of a bull’s overall ability to move and to mount a cow. This part of the evaluation takes in heritable defects,

such as corkscrew claws and angularity of the hind legs, along with acquired foot problems like laminitis (founder) and interdigital fibroma (corns). General health of the joints, eyes, mouth, teeth and body condition are also considered. The end result is a grade of sorts. Satisfactory means the bull met all minimum requirements for reproductive development, physical soundness and health. Unsatisfactory indicates that he failed to meet the minimum requirements in one or more categories, has a health or structural problem, and is unlikely to improve. The decision may be deferred if a bull doesn’t meet the minimum requirement in at least one category, but has a good chance of overcoming the shortfall in the near future. The usual requirements are 70 per cent normal sperm (including no more than 20 per cent head defects) and 30 per cent motile sperm. The bare minimum SC standards are: 30 centimetres (cm) at 15 months; 31 cm at 15 to 18 months; 32 cm at 18 to 21 months; 33 cm at 21 to 24 months; and 34 cm over 24 months. Kastelic notes that higher standards are in use, especially for certain breeds.


tioning of two endocrine glands in the brain, whereas, the deficient diet had the opposite effect in every respect. Overfeeding bull calves for the first eight to 30 weeks and then easing off to the 100 per cent diet from weeks 30 through 74 (the peripubertal period) didn’t result in overly fat bulls. These bull calves and those fed the 100 per cent diet for the entire period had similar average body weights by the end of the 74 weeks, even though the average body weight of the group started on the 130 per cent diet was significantly higher from 26 to 58 weeks of age than that of the group consistently fed the 100 per cent diet. “Back in the day, producers aimed for post-weaning gains of more than three pounds a day with the notion that if a bull wasn’t fat or didn’t have a high growth rate, then he was thought to be a poor-doer,” Kastelic says. It is now known that overfeeding bulls after weaning on high-energy diets to achieve high rates of gain comes at the expense of reproductive health (reduced semen quality, fewer sperm), abnormal foot and bone growth (laminitis, lameness), and digestive disorders (rumenitis, liver abscesses).

One study of BBSEs done on more than 1,000 bulls showed that 63 per cent were rated satisfactory, 29 per cent were deferred and eight per cent were unsatisfactory. By far, the most common reason for the unsatisfactory or deferred result was sperm morphology. This was the case for 52 per cent of the bulls that didn’t meet the satisfactory grade, followed by failure to meet the minimum SC standard (12.5 per cent) and failure to pass the physical evaluation (9.5 per cent). A combination of SC and morphology was the reason 11 per cent of the time. Motility on its own was seldom the reason for failure, however, the failure percentage climbed by four percentage points when poor motility was combined with poor morphology. Semen quality characteristics that have been shown to improve for four months after puberty, thereby moving a deferred decision into the satisfactory category, are sperm concentration, percentage of sperm with normal structure and progressively motile sperm. In a group of 254 bulls (various breeds ranging in age from 12 to 15 months) only 40 per cent of the 12-month-old

Since boosting diet energy and protein above the recommended level for the first 30 weeks of life benefits sexual development without having these types of harmful side-effects, Kastelic recommends creep feeding bull calves with a ration that provides both energy and protein starting when the oldest bulls are about a month of age. Target an average daily gain on the high side of 2.5 pounds through to weaning, then a moderate growth rate of less than three pounds a day after weaning. He reminds producers that it’s always important to ensure the cows have been properly vaccinated and well fed during pregnancy and that the calves receive adequate colostrum, ideally at least five per cent of the calf ’s weight within five hours of birth. Researchers are now digging even deeper, into how nutrition in utero affects calf development, Kastelic adds. For example, recent studies have shown negative effects on reproduction potential of heifer calves born to undernourished dams. After birth, the calf ’s body tries to conserve energy, which appears to predispose it to metabolic imbalances. c

bulls were rated satisfactory on semen quality. The percentage increased to 55 per cent for 13-month bulls, 56 per cent for 14-month bulls and 73 per cent for 15-month bulls. “This highlights the challenge of having yearling bulls deemed acceptable on a BBSE and the importance of early nutrition,” Kastelic says. Another study of 200-day-old bulls of 13 beef breeds found that a calf with an SC greater than 23 cm had a 95 per cent probability of reaching 34 cm by a year of age, whereas, there was only a 54 per cent chance of meeting that mark if the SC was less than 23 cm at 200 days of age. The general recommendation, therefore, is to assess SC at weaning and castrate bulls with very small measurements because they have limited prospects of becoming future sires. So, here again we see the importance of calfhood nutrition. True, SC is highly heritable (69 per cent), but without adequate nutrition during the first 30 weeks of life, a bull calf is unable to realize its genetic potential for testicular development and sperm production.

C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4


 researc h o n t h e r eco r d

By Reynold Bergen



o one wants to throw up in zero gravity, so space programs take great care to avoid food poisoning among astronauts. Irradiation has been used to pasteurize astronauts’ food since 1966. In fact, irradiation has been the most studied of all food-processing technologies over the past 60 years. Irradiation improves food safety by fatally damaging bacterial DNA. This stops the growth and reproduction of the bacteria that can cause food to spoil or people to become sick. Irradiation is also approved as a food safety treatment in over 50 countries back here on earth. For example, France, Belgium and the Netherlands use irradiation to combat foodborne pathogens in frogs’ legs, seafood, and poultry. The U.S. has approved irradiation of meat. Canada has approved irradiation for spices, seasonings, flour, onions and seed potatoes, but not meat or poultry. Irradiation is safe for human food use at doses more than eight times higher than those approved for meat in the U.S. Irradiation does not cause the meat to become radioactive, and has less of an effect on food nutrients than cooking does, but irradiation can have undesirable effects on flavour or colour under some conditions. Dr. Rick Holley at the University of Manitoba recently published two papers from research funded under Canada’s Beef Science Cluster. One paper (Meat Science 96:413-418) examined whether a low dose (one kGy) of non-radioactive, ionizing electron-beam irradiation can eliminate verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) and salmonella from beef trim. VTEC, also known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC, are E. coli that can cause illness in humans. E. coli O157:H7 is one of about 200 serotypes of VTEC. More than a third of VTEC-related illnesses in humans are also caused by non-O157 serotypes such as the “top 6” E. coli O26, O45, O103, O113, O111, O121 and O145. Salmonella is relatively uncommon in beef, but is more irradiation resistant than E. coli because salmonella is better at repairing DNA damaged by irradiation. The second paper (Journal of Food Science 78:920925) examined whether e-beam irradiation of beef trim affects the colour, aroma, texture, juiciness or flavour of beef patties. What They Did: Over 30 different VTEC (including E. coli O157:H7 and the “top 6” non-O157 VTECs), and six different salmonella serovars were screened for resistance to the one-kGy e-beam. Twelve of these bacteria were then pooled in four groups to test for survivors on beef. Fresh muscle pieces (outside flat, inside round, brisket, and sirloin) were separately inoculated with either 1,000 bacteria/gram or 10 million/g of each of the four bacte-


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

rial mixtures. These numbers are up to a million times higher than would normally be found in beef. The inoculated beef was exposed to a one-kGy e-beam. Surviving bacteria were recovered and counted during storage at 4 C for up to five days. Inoculated muscle pieces were also pre-treated with five per cent lactic acid before being frozen and exposed to the e-beam. For sensory tests, the same types of fresh muscle pieces (but not inoculated with bacteria) were treated with the one-kGy e-beam. Fresh ground beef patties (10, 20 or 30 per cent fat) were separately formulated with zero, 10, 20, 50 or 100 per cent lean beef treated with the onekGy e-beam, cooked and evaluated by a similar panel for colour, aroma, texture, juiciness and flavour. What They Learned: In spite of the artificially high level of experimental contamination, treating fresh beef with the one-kGy e-beam eliminated more than 99.99 per cent of the VTEC E. coli and 99 per cent of the salmonella. The e-beam had less effect on salmonella when used on frozen beef, but this could be overcome if the beef was dipped in five per cent lactic acid before freezing. The trained panel observed no effects of irradiation on the colour, aroma, texture, juiciness or flavour of beef patties, even when they were made entirely with beef that had been e-beam treated. What It Means: Irradiation was highly effective even in beef that was experimentally contaminated with up to a million times more bacteria than would be found in retail beef. Under normal processing conditions, a onekGy e-beam would be expected to eliminate the hazard represented by all types of VTEC E. coli. Low-dose (one-kGy) e-beam treatment can effectively control E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 VTEC E. coli and salmonella in fresh beef trim. The e-beam did not significantly affect any sensory attributes of the beef patties, regardless of how much irradiated beef they contained. Low-dose e-beam treatment of beef trim to formulate ground beef appears to be a viable pathogen mitigation process that does not affect product quality. Visit for more information about Beef Cattle Research Council activities funded through the National Checkoff. The Beef Research Cluster is funded by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to advance research and technology transfer supporting the Canadian beef industry’s vision to be recognized as a preferred supplier of healthy, high-quality beef, cattle and genetics. c Reynold Bergen is the science director of the Beef Cattle Research Council.



SATURDAY MARCH 1, 2014 AT OUR BULL YARDS Dinner at 11:00 am • Sale at 1:00pm CST

Presale Viewing All Day Friday Feb 28, 2014

From Cadillac, Sk - 6 miles South, 8 miles East, ½ mile North From Ponteix, Sk & Highway 13 Intersection – 6 miles South, 3 miles West, ½ mile North

SELLING 100+ Stout, Semen Tested, Easy Fleshing Purebred Bulls both Red and Black

Performance Tested, Off Both Proven Herd Sires and Brand NEW Bloodlines sale video at our web sites or NEW view thetobull bid online please register 2 days prior to the sale Call us anytime for further information

Davidson Gelbvieh

Lonesome Dove Ranch

Vernon & Eileen Davidson

Ross & Tara Davidson & Family

Box 681, Ponteix, Sk S0N 1Z0 Ph 306 625 3755 | Cell 306 625 7863 Cell 306 625 7864 Fax 306 625 3524

Box 147, Ponteix, Sk S0N 1Z0 Ph 306 625 3513 | Fax 306 625 3782 Cell 306 625 7045 | 306 625 7345

Visitors Always Welcome!

 grazing

By Steve Kenyon

Bale Grazing:

More than one way to skin a cat


started bale grazing many years ago more out of necessity than anything else. I had to feed my cattle but I worked long hours, six days a week. There was not a lot of time to be feeding cattle and I dislike feeding in the dark. Over the years I have adapted and experimented with quite a few different methods of bale grazing. Even though I do not work out anymore, I still like to keep my labour to a minimum. It just makes sense. The key to bale grazing is in reducing yardage costs associated with the act of feeding. Yardage is the labour and equipment costs, which does not include the cost of the feed. There might also be a transportation cost included in the hay cost. An example of this might be that your hay costs you 90 cents/head/day, your transportation cost was 15 cents/head/day and your yardage 50 cents/head/day for a total cost of $1.55/head/day.  The price of your feed is set by market value in your area. You might be good at negotiating the price for hay or have good contacts that are close by, but in general, you don’t control the price of your feed. Even if you make your own, it is still the same cost as any other hay of the same quality. (Maybe it cost you more or less to produce but the market sets the selling price.) Arbitrage is also a factor in your hay price. It is the equalization of a commodity from one market to another due to transPlan A

portation cost. This might cause your hay costs to rise if there is a shortage in another farming area. Last spring the hay in my area was jumping due to a shortage of feed three provinces away in Ontario. Trucks were hauling hay from Alberta out to Ontario and we could not find hay to buy. So I have limited control on the cost of my hay and transportation to deliver that hay. The only thing I have left that I can control is yardage, which I find funny because I have always been taught that yardage is a fixed cost and that my feed and transportation costs are variable. In fact, I can control my yardage costs. Don’t let anyone tell you they are fixed. I can get my yardage costs down to less than 10 cents/head/day with bale grazing. I have seen farms with yardage costs above $2/head/day. Each year is different and I tend to adjust on the fly quite a bit. Some people talk about having a plan B. My manager and I used to joke about being on plan G or maybe on to plan W. With custom grazing, custom swath grazing or custom feeding, it is easy to have a different scenario every year. Each winter I might have a different number of animals, a different method of feeding or even a different type or class of livestock. Is it dormant-season grazing, swath grazing or bale grazing? Is it cows or yearlings or horses? I might know well in advance in order for me to set things up just right or I might not know until later into the winter and have to go to plan Q. 

Basically I am down to three main methods of bale grazing. The first one is Plan A. I have plenty of notice and the hay is bought and delivered in the fall. I have the hay delivered right out to the pasture. I then spread the bales out across the field in checkerboard fashion. Once the bales are placed in the fall, the long, boring, tedious job of removing the twine or net wrapping begins. The bales are set, twine removed, now we simply play leapfrog with a couple of electric fences all winter. It gets a little tougher in winter to keep the fence hot enough. I do have five tips to keeping your electric fence hot in the winter, but that’s a different article. I have had my yardage cost under 10 cents/head/day with plan A. Plan B, if you have the opportunity, can be very economical as well. With plan B I did not get enough notice to set up the bale grazing in advance for one reason or another. There is already snow on the ground and the twines are probably already frozen to the bale. In this method of bale grazing I am buying hay off of a nearby neighbour. I have negotiated the delivery into the purchase price so the hay supplier is also delivering the hay to me. Because of my summer grazing management, I already have a number of grazing paddocks set up in my fields. I now get my hay supplier to deliver one load to each paddock. In this scenario I will have him place the bales on end so that I can remove the twine easier. Once I remove all the twine, I simply graze one pad-

Plan B

Plan C


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

Friday, March 7

Rumsey, AB

SELLING:75 Bulls, 25 yearlings and 50 grass born twos; Limousin, LimFlex & Angus 50 Limousin & LimFlex Females; Open heifers, Bred Heifers and Cow Calf Pairs


dock at a time. I usually have the supplier deliver once a month at his convenience. As long as I don’t run out, he can deliver whenever he gets a free day. If you noticed, I never touched a bale with a piece of equipment in this scenario. Yet, I paid the same delivery charge that I would have by hiring a semi to deliver the hay. I have had my yardage below 5 cents/head/day with this method. I may run into an issue with delivery if the snow gets too deep. I also cannot always find hay close by from a producer with the ability to deliver in the snow. I have had this method turn out to be more economical at times, but I still do not like pulling twine off frozen bales. Plan C is a last resort when I get offered animals to custom feed last minute or maybe

I have pasture cattle arrive early in the spring. When the snow is too deep to get out into the fields, I need to hire a snowplow to get the hay in and maybe to plow a path out into the paddocks I will feed in. I only have a bale truck so I am limited to the depth of snow I can get through. I want the hay close to the feeding pastures. I might place the hay in a paddock right near a gate into a couple of other paddocks. I then simply feed hay to the animals with two differences from traditional feeding. First I always feed in the pasture on a new spot to spread the manure and residue around. Second, I set out a week or more worth of feed at a time. I might use two or three different paddocks and then graze each paddock separately. The downside to this method is it


involves more equipment and frozen twine. Yardage costs go up so my margin decreases. This is still much more economical than feeding every day in a corral with the added bonus of having no manure to haul later. In the end, it is the yardage cost that I can control. As a custom operator, this is where I make my profit. Even if you own your own animals and make your own hay, the economics are still the same. You still have labour and equipment costs. The key to bale grazing is to lower your yardage. The lower your yardage, the better your margin. Best wishes! c Steve Kenyon runs Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd. in Busby, Alta., www., 780-307-6500, email

SRD 143Z

Friday, March 7



at the Ranch, Rumsey, AB

SELLING: 75 Bulls, 25 yearlings and 50 grass born twos; Limousin, LimFlex & Angus 50 Limousin & LimFlex Females; Open heifers, Bred Heifers and Cow Calf Pairs

Friday, March 7 SRD 88Z

SRD 175Z


at the Ranch, SRD 95Z AB Rumsey, SRD 143Z


SRD 132Z

SELLING:75CallBulforls, Videos! 25 yearlingsJim:and403-368-2103 50 grass born twos;| Cell Limousi403-323-8433 n, LimFlex & Angus 50 ousin & LimFlex Females; Open heifers, Bred Heifers and Cow Calf Pairs SRD 175Z

Call for Videos!


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Jim: 403-368-2103 | Cell 403-323-8433

C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4


 p r i m e c uts


from Reputation Breeders

A year of change

February 28 • MAPLE LEAF FRENCH CHAROLAIS BULL SALE, Lakedell Ag Centre, Westerose, AB March 3 • PALMER CHAROLAIS & NIELSON LAND & CATTLE CO. BULL SALE, at Palmer Charolais, Bladworth, SK March 11 • MCTAVISH AND GUESTS CHAROLAIS & RED ANGUS BULL SALE, at the farm, Moosomin, SK


March15 • PLEASANT DAWN CHAROLAIS BULL SALE, Heartland Livestock, Virden, MB March 20 • DIAMOND W CHAROLAIS & ANGUS BULL SALE, Valley Livestock Sales, Minitonas, MB March 22 • WILGENBUSCH CHAROLAIS NORTH OF THE 53RD BULL SALE, at the CSS Charolais Ranch, Paynton, SK March 25 • STEPPLER FARMS CHAROLAIS BULL SALE, at the farm, Miami, MB March 26 • HTA CHAROLAIS & GUESTS BULL SALE, at the Beautiful Plains Ag Complex, Neepawa, MB March 27 • ELDER CHAROLAIS BULL SALE, at the farm, Coronach, SK March 29 • GILLILAND BROS. CHAROLAIS BULL SALE, at the farm, Carievale, SK April 1 • CEDARLEA CHAROLAIS & WINDY WILLOW ANGUS BULL SALE, at the Windy Willows farm, Hodgeville, SK April 3 • HUNTER CHAROLAIS BULL SALE, at the farm, Roblin, MB April 7 • WILGENBUSCH CHAROLAIS NORTH OF THE 49TH BULL SALE, at the farm, Halbrite, SK April 9 • MUTRIE FARMS/BAR H CHAROLAIS/ HAWKIN SHORTHORNS BULL SALE, Candiac Auction Market, Candiac, SK April 19 • CORNERSTONE CHAROLAIS & RED ANGUS BULL SALE, Whitewood Auction Market, Whitewood, SK

For more information contact: 124 Shannon Road Regina, SK S4S 5B1 Tel: 306-584-7937 Helge’s cell: 306-536-4261 Candace’s cell: 306-536-3374 Catalogues available online a month prior to sale at 40

By Steve Kay

C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

he year is only a month old and it already looks like one of significant change. Modest beef herd expansion in the U.S. might be underway. The battle over country-of-origin labelling (COOL) might be coming to an end. U.S. cattle and wholesale beef prices will break new records again this year. All these actions are positive for Canadian beef producers, as the U.S. markets will drive Canadian cattle prices more than in recent years. By the time you read this, USDA will have issued its annual cattle inventory report. It was likely to show that the national beef cow herd declined again in 2013 but that cow-calf producers intend to hold back up to 180,000 more heifers than last year for herd rebuilding. Remember though that any number signals an intention only. Last year’s report said producers intended to retain 100,000 more heifers. But they ended up selling them by mid-year. Producers face a similar choice this year, whether to carry that heifer for 18 months or give in to record-high prices and sell her. Should net heifer retention (i.e., more heifers kept than sold) occur this year, the supply of heifers into feedlots will decline. This will likely force feeder cattle prices even higher, as long as corn prices remain in the $4-$4.50-per-bushel range and cattle feeders feel able to pay more. Feeding margins turned positive last fall after 18 months of heavy losses. But cattle feeders also paid record-high prices for replacements last fall. So losses are projected to begin again this May. How much of a damper this is on feeder cattle prices on both sides of the border will depend on feedlots’ determination to own cattle and how high live cattle prices go. That U.S. cattle feeders will have to pay more for feeder cattle seems clear from the shrinking supply. Another key figure in the inventory report was the size of the 2013 calf crop. It was expected to be down two per cent or nearly 700,000 head, reflecting the decline in beef cow numbers in 2012. Beef cow numbers declined slightly in 2013 so the U.S. calf crop in 2014 will be even smaller. Record high cattle prices and the impact of COOL will likely attract more Canadian feeder cattle south this year, offsetting a reduction in exports of slaughter steers and heifers. 2013 saw 315,628 feeder cattle come south, up 234 per cent or 180,788 head on 2012. A total of 343,620 fed cattle came south, which was down 16.8 per cent or 69,754 head on 2012. More feeder cattle and fewer fed cattle were coming south last fall even before Tyson Foods announced it would accept Canadian cattle fed in the U.S. but not cattle finished in Canada. Canadian producers will also be able to take advantage of what will be a red-hot market for cull cows. U.S. commercial cow slaughter in 2013 totalled 6.258 million head but might total only 5.363 million head in 2014. This is assuming that the same number of Canadian cull cows or slightly more come south this year than last year. 2013 Canadian cow imports totalled 306,080 head, up 51 per cent or 103,316 from 2013. As for COOL, more U.S. lawmakers realize a legislative fix is the best way to end the COOL dispute and avoid retaliatory tariffs. But nothing had emerged via a new Farm Bill as I wrote this in mid-January. One can only hope that by now, there is a proposal in place to amend COOL in a way that will satisfy Canada and Mexico. Otherwise, the COOL dispute will drag on for another year. c

A North American view of the meat industry. Steve Kay is publisher and editor of Cattle Buyers Weekly.


a new generation of vbp New environmental stewardship, biosecurity and animal care modules to be added Canadian beef producers are taking a new step to sustainability in their industry. With more customers asking for more assurances of sustainable production practices, the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program is growing. It will anchor a new generation of beef production. Ag Canada Growing Forward 2 AgriMarketing funds will help add three new VBP modules — environmental stewardship, biosecurity and animal care. This suite of modules established on a common platform will help meet marketplace and societal expectations. Canadian beef producers understand the importance of producing food in a sustainable manner. They’ve helped Canada build a reputation for wholesomeness, says Terry Grajczyk, national manager for VBP. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association continues to look at ways producers can secure further recognition and reward for credible production practices. “A national suite of VBP modules will provide proof of practices and help differentiate Canadian beef,” says Grajczyk. “It will promote acceptable beef production practices and demonstrate Canada’s beef industry commitment to responsible production. That will help define Canada’s beef story with positive benefits that can match or exceed competing countries.” Industry drives development

Producers will no doubt have questions about what all of this means for them and their industry, says Grajczyk.

be staggered. As with the current VBP, it will be designed nationally but implemented provincially by industry. Building on success

VBP is looking to add options with on-farm practicality in the forefront.

These new developments will occur in a way that ensures the founding principles of VBP are protected and enhanced, she says. That includes being practical, voluntary, credible and designed to fit an ISO-based management system. Each of the three new modules will be developed following a specific framework and development approach. Those steps include: • Risk analysis with stakeholders and producers. • Communication with key stakeholders. • Finalization of producer-oriented chapters for each module. • Producer education materials and support. • Third-party conformance assessment option via on-farm pilots. • Full implementation plan for approval by CCA and provincial members. Finally, implementation of modules will

Identifying practical, industry sanctioned practices to manage production factors at the farm level is important. Some markets are identifying elements such as animal care and environmental stewardship as important to customers. Biosecurity is important to maintain the health of each individual herd and ultimately, for the industry as a whole. “This project will incorporate a risk assessment approach to identify key practices, education and awareness tools,” says Grajczyk. “Existing materials such as the national biosecurity standard, environmental farm plans and other materials will be used wherever appropriate.” Other sectors following suit

The beef industry is not alone in making these changes, says Grajczyk. Other livestock sectors are already taking similar steps to address societal expectations. This will assist the beef industry to also do this in a feasible, staged approach. “We work with the dairy sector because we both raise cattle to produce food. And we participate in various national and international developments to ensure we are on track. Thanks to federal government support, we can work with partners to provide options for the industry,” she says.


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REV-XS Canadian Cattlemen QSHere.indd 1

13-07-24 14:49


By Debbie Furber



s a former high school athletic director, Myron Pearman knows how far enthusiasm and motivation can take a person. He knows, too, that there have to be a few wins along the way to keep spirits riding high. Wins aren’t always measured by numbers on a scoreboard or trophies in a showcase; they can be personal achievements, sometimes big, sometimes small, oftentimes life changing. Like many beef producers, Pearman’s accomplishments are weighted heavily on the personal-achievement side. Drive and determination keep him in the game, not simply waiting for wins on the numbers side, but strategizing for them. “2012 should have been the home run. It was good, but it should have been better,” Pearman says.“This time it was drought in the U.S. and high feed-grain prices and the calves sold for $200 a head less than anticipated. I was so, so disappointed. At what point does all of the enthusiasm and motivation turn to frustration? Now is the time to make money.” Like many, he clearly remembers the long balls racked up against the industry — drought, BSE, early frost, high feed grain prices, a world financial crisis, high fuel prices, the labour crunch — one by one, year after year during the past decade. That string of events, coupled with his brother and partner leaving for work in the oilfields, led to 2007, when he rented the former Pohl Farms Feedlot, a 3,000-head facility just north of Ponoka, Alta.


C AT T L E M E N · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

Fall calf prices had dipped to discouraging lows in the midst of the world recession, so the plan was to value add by finishing the calves, he explains. All of the 2008 calf crop was retained to go to grass and finish out along with the 2009 calves. Finishing calves turned out to be easier said than done, and easier done than making a profit on 80-cent fats that year. He found a workable balance in backgrounding the calves, generally through to February or March, when he phones several buyers to get price quotes and markets them directly from the farm. All of the heifers are retained, with the better heifers selected for the breeding program and the smaller ones marketed off grass in October. The yearly rental agreement includes Pohl’s half section of cropland to grow a barley-oat combo for silage, so between having the feed supply close by and the family’s residence in Ponoka, it made sense to winter the cows at the feedlot, too. The owner, Ken Pohl and his wife, Verna, now run The Hitching Pohl, a busy harness repair and tack shop, on the farm. Pohl says his dad always had a few beef cattle and a bit of a dairy as part of the small mixed farm, but it wasn’t until after he took over that the farm got into cattle in a big way during the ’60s because of the opportunity to add value to barley by finishing cattle. He ran at full capacity of 6,000 head for many years and devised

handling systems in the processing barn that Pearman finds efficient to this day. Only two of the seven feedlots in a radius around the east-west strip of grid north of Ponoka remain in operation as feedlots. Pearman says we head west through fertile cropland that gives way to rolling tame pastures toward his home ranch, Monte Vista Farms, near Rimbey. Census numbers show the area was at one time home to more cow-calf operations than anywhere else in the province, the major north-south Highway 2 corridor running by the town, key players like VJV Auction, and prolific feed production were some advantages that influenced development of what was once the feedlot alley of Alberta’s Parkland belt. Pearman bought the half-section mixed farm from his parents in 1979, starting with 10 commercial cows purchased from a neighbour and added a custom silage business in 1982 that now covers approximately 7,000 acres a year. The herd grew to upwards of 300 cows during his 25-year teaching career and he and his brother had upped it to 1,100 cows by 2009. Today’s numbers stand at 800 cows running on some 35 quarters of rented pasture. Pearman doesn’t hesitate to talk about further downsizing to 500, mainly due to labour and time challenges. He suffered a major loss three years ago, when his longtime friend and mechanic passed away. His brother still helps some when


he’s home from the oilfields, while his nephew and daughter have become an integral part of the calving team once college lets out. He contracts a cowboy with a horse and trailer to help from calving through fall roundup and a feed man for the winter months. Calving season gets underway with trucking the cows from the feedlot out to the Rimbey ranch in March ahead of the April 15 start, which he is considering pushing to the end of April to lessen the risk of having to deal with spring storms. The calving meadow has access to outdoor pens leading to a small barn with a maternity pen and space for a few bedded pens — nothing fancy, but well organized for the purpose it serves, he says. “I start at 4 a.m. with a level one inspection to get the lay of the land and have a plan ready for 8 a.m. when the calving crew shows up. We’ll have a coffee, debriefing and decide on priorities for the day,” he explains, adding that effective communication is pivotal. He tries to delegate responsibility, then stay out of the way to let people do their work. Each person takes responsibility for a group of cows and calls on the others when help is needed. “It’s a hectic pace from sunup to sundown, so whatever happens during the short nighttime hours happens,” Pearman says. “It does get onerous as time goes on, so I watch the people and try to give them a little time away.” The breeding herd and calves are vaccinated with the Express 5 program and the calves receive an additional eight-way vaccine before turnout in June. The farthest start to grazing season is a pasture 60 miles away from the yard. Having his own liner lets him move the pairs to pasture about 40 at a time at his own pace. This year, there were three pasture groups of approximately 265 pairs each and the replacement heifer group. He appreciates his good-doing older cows and doesn’t cull too hard, but tries to keep the herd young by retaining 150 to 175 heifers each year depending on overall market prospects. Any cows that haven’t calved by mid-July are preg.-checked and the opens go down the road. Pearman says intensifying the grazing rotation to encourage uniform forage utilization on large blocks of pasture has done wonders for conception rates because the bulls are in close proximity to all of the cows all the time. Some of the moves are as short as 24 hours when the grass is at peak production. He has been using Limousin bulls for

the past seven years, with all bulls coming out of a joint venture in 50 purebred cows with his neighbours, Neil and Sherry Christianson of Diamond C Limousins, who run another 150 purebreds themselves. Pearman works the summer grazing rotation so that by mid-October the herds end up on three quarters of pasture adjoining the home yard. The strategy behind renting this piece was to save it for fall grazing because a lot of the area is too rough to hay or silage. It’s enough pasture to hold them while he works

at moving pairs back to the feedlot for weaning and wintering. Just as the old proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” It could be said that it takes a neighbourhood to raise beef. “This is my neighbourhood and these are well-established families so it’s important to me to treat people right and help out in times of need,” Pearman says. “Honesty and integrity are as important as paying fair rent and wages to grow beef as economically as reasonable for consumers.” c

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 CCA repo rts

By Martin Unrau

issues for 2014


he severe winter weather across most of the country forced many producers to find innovative ways to dig out themselves and their equipment in order to tend to their livestock. Abnormally cold weather, extreme wind chill, snow accumulations and in some parts, ice and power outages, certainly posed a challenge but producers understand their responsibility to care for their livestock no matter the conditions. Hopefully the brunt of the severe weather is behind us for good now with calving season fast approaching. Most producers are naturally inclined to innovate on the farm for a variety of reasons but always with the main goal of being a sustainable beef cattle operation. In order to run a viable operation the industry needs to be sustainable as well. These days there is a lot of focus on sustainability within the industry which is attracting a lot of attention from the media. There, sustainability is a buzzword with broad meanings depending on how and where it is used. At the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), work is underway to define the term ‘sustainability’ as it applies to the beef cattle industry in Canada and globally. For the CCA, sustainability is comprised of the pillars: social, economic and environmental sustainability. This is the approach advanced by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), an effort spearheaded by the CCA to facilitate a national dialogue to advance continuous improvement in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain. Work to define the term continues also at the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, of which CCA is a member. In recognition of the role industry stakeholders and value chain partners can play in industry sustainability in Canada, the CCA will be presenting a new award during a special event at the CCA annual general meeting (AGM) in Ottawa, which will take place from March 4-7. The CCA created this new award as a way to publicly recognize and show appreciation for industry stakeholders and value chain members for their outstanding commitment to the sustainability of Canada’s beef industry through innovation. The CCA is confident that this new award will become an annual event, given that innovation and sustainability are central to the success of the beef cattle industry. Watch for more information from the CCA on this award and details on the program itself in the coming months. The CCA AGM is always a busy time. A lot of association work is accomplished at the event, in addition


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to lobbying efforts and networking activities with ministers, members of parliament, senators and other key influencers in Ottawa. This AGM will be a bit bittersweet for me as it will mark the end of my two-year term as president. I am extremely proud of the landmark accomplishments achieved by the CCA during my term. I will of course remain involved with the organization as pastpresident for the term, and look forward to seeing some important files through that the CCA has quite rightly devoted vast resources to. U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labelling (mCOOL) is at the top of my list. Efforts to have mandatory countryof-origin labelling (mCOOL) legislation repealed in the U.S. Farm Bill in early January were to no avail. As I write this, there was some thought that progress could be made at the end of January at the Farm Bill conference. CCA officials attended the State and Agriculture Rural Leaders’ meeting in Oklahoma in early January, and urged participants to make the most of the timing and contact their federal counterparts on the COOL issue. Similar advocacy efforts were expended at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in San Antonio, Texas, and the National Western Stock Show in Denver, also held in January. The CCA is also preparing for the next round of Canada’s COOL challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO) — an oral hearing in Geneva, Switzerland in February 2014. The Compliance Panel hearing the challenge will be composed of the same panellists who originally ruled COOL violates the U.S.’s WTO obligations. The oral hearing follows written briefings that took place through the fall of 2013. We’ll continue to work to advance our efforts with Japan through the Trans-Pacific Partnership or an Economic Partnership Agreement, with the Government of Canada to achieve a free trade agreement with Korea, and other efforts designed to improve the sustainability of Canada’s beef cattle industry so producers can continue to do what they do best: raise the best beef in the world. The CCA has a committed staff that care about the beef industry and that shows up in the work we get done every day. In my view, it is vitally important to have a committed staff and producers with skin in the game involved in the industry direction setting as they have the knowledge, insight and practical experience to fully grasp the potential ramifications of decisions that may be suggested in the pursuit of industry sustainability. The CCA continues to work on a draft five-year strategy that identifies key elements that will address industry needs moving forward. c

Martin Unrau is president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association


Sunday, February 23, 2014 • 1:30 P.M. • At the Farm, Glenevis, AB Offering: 46 6 1 12

Guest consignors

Yearlings Two year olds Herd bull Simmental Yearlings

Triangle Stock Farm Vance, Michelle, Cheyenne and Colbey Klepper Stony Plain, AB


Johnson Charolais Herb, Brenda, Stephen and Joel Johnson Barrhead, AB


KCH Charolais Ken & Kerri Hinsburg, Oliver, B.C.











David & Kristina Prokuda

Box 275, Glenevis, AB T0E 0X0


T: 780.665.3450 • C: 780.932.1654 E: Bull videos will be online at

Contact us for a catalogue or view the catalogue online at

 straigh t f ro m t h e h i p

By Brenda Schoepp

Something that I said


t this moment — the 211 journalists sitting in jails around the world have an unknown fate. Over half are languishing in Turkey and the balance in China and Iran. Last year, 52 were killed and of the 130 still missing, there is an expectation that they have been abducted — some of those by Syrians. These are rivetting statistics when we think we enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of the press. What we do not know is the extent of our trading partner’s human rights violations and the long-term impact ignoring these violations might have. Today, there is more budget allotted to social stability maintenance in China than there is to defence. The government has chosen to continue to rule the lives of the people and impose harsh restrictions when it comes to freedom of expression, freedom of association and religion and of course freedom of the press. They outright reject international and domestic scrutiny of their human rights record. In Canada, there is a feeling that we just can’t do without trade to China and our lentil, wheat and corn industries heavily depend on trade with Turkey. But trade is a two-way street and Canadians digest a lot of food product from China and other countries including the U.S. Although China attempted to crack down on illegal food additives, pork continues to glow in the dark and fish are fed birth control pills. There is no controlling agency, or equivalent to the CFIA leaving food safety and quality up to the state-run police. More than 448,000 food processors, many of which are tucked away on back streets and rural roads, make the task of enforcement huge. When a crisis occurs the Chinese really punish. Two executives were executed when 300,000 babies were sickened and seven died because manufactured baby milk product contained melamine. But that is not the end of the story. The father of a sick child who spoke up about the after-effects, including the kidney failure of his child, was promptly jailed 2.5 years for inciting social disorder. When you are jailed in China the sentence also often carries a loss of political rights for life and the confiscation of property. In reading the Chinese news, in doing research on the Internet and in speaking out on my views of China, I have already violated several laws and this could be punishable by a life sentence. Just talking to a reporter about food poisoning, food safety or health issues related to food will land you very quickly in jail, where there is no chance of parole or early release. If all truths were known, Chinese manufacturers have been charged with using an altering glaze on pork so it tastes and smells like beef, adding ink and paraffin to noo-


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dles to make them appear a higher-end product, recycling cooking oil from open sewers and making soy sauce from hair clippings. Tested food products from the shelf contained pesticides, paint, bleach and industrial salt. But all truths are not known and although we tend to think we can ignore these facts about food safety, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, they are closer to home than we think. In Canada, federal information commissioner Suzanne Legault is formally investigating what opponents argue is a government silencing science by controlling federal scientists and pulling them back from media interviews that do not have ministerial consent. Scientists, says the claim, do not get a chance to tell Canadians what they need to know and the media is crying obstruction. As for our largest trading partner, the United States, the proposed act to amend the Agriculture and Markets Law, makes it clear that in addition to the tampering with a farm animal, including injection of an unauthorized substance or the release of or the unauthorized feeding of an animal, Homeland Security has justified that tampering includes video, audio or photography without the farm owners consent. This is in response to undercover videos that reveal abuse. Our “ancient contract” with food animals as Dr. Temple Grandin calls it, is that we respect them and provide appropriate care. This is the business we are in and by shutting out investigators and reporters, the public may see us as having something to hide. I am concerned that there is more damage when consumers don’t know. Greg Peterson, popular farm parody singer has been quoted as saying, “If consumers aren’t thinking about where their food comes from it ends up hurting the farmer because we lack respect from the general public.” The politics of food and the dependency on trade may have clouded our long-term vision. We can impose restrictions on those nations that suffocate the press and violate human rights — and it is every nation’s responsibility to ensure safety for the press. What we cannot do is regulate truth in North America or we will implode on our collective ignorance. Our consumers have the right to know what they eat, where it came from and how the people and animals were treated. I stand fearless in the face of truth knowing the world may be a better, safer place because of something that I said. c Brenda Schoepp is a Nuffield Scholar who travels extensively exploring agriculture and meeting the people, who feed, clothe and educate our world. A motivating speaker and mentor she works with young entrepreneurs across Canada and is the founder of Women in Search of Excellence. She can be contacted through her website All rights reserved. Brenda Schoepp 2014


NewsRoundup health

Hypothermia in newborn calves

Given the weather of recent weeks hypothermia in newborn calves is a pretty legitimate concern, especially at this time of year. Tracey Renelt of South Dakota State University says the mortality in U.S. beef herds from birth to weaning ranges from three to seven per cent. The majority of these deaths occur within the first 24 hours and the leading causes are dystocia (difficult births) and hypothermia. There are two types of hypothermia: exposure (gradual) and immersion (acute). Exposure hypothermia is the steady loss of body heat in a cold environment through respiration, evaporation, and lack of adequate hair coat, body flesh, or lack of protection. Immersion hypothermia is caused by


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the rapid loss of body heat due to a wet, saturated hair coat in a cold environment. It often occurs after a birth because the calf is saturated with uterine fluids. It also takes young calves born on deep snow and wet ground, or those unfortunate enough to fall into a creek or fall prey to a combination of heavy rain and chilling winds. Mild hypothermia in beef calves occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below normal, approximately 38 C for beef calves. Severe hypothermia hits below 34 C. At that point vital organs grow cold. Below 30 C, signs of life are difficult to detect and even live calves are easily mistaken for dead. The use of the thermometer is necessary to determine the degree of hypothermia. Sometimes calves that do not appear to be hypothermic have a temperature below normal when checked. This can happen in

calves after a difficult birth if they suffered a lack of oxygen during delivery. These hypoxic calves are slow to dry off and nurse, opening the door to hypothermia. Rubbing the calf vigorously with clean, dry towels or calf blankets can dry it off and get its core temperature returning closer to normal. Placing the calf by a heater in the house or the floor of a pickup, submersion in a warm bath or a warming box are all methods that successfully restored hypothermic calves. Feeding warm colostrum as soon as possible speeds recovery and increases the probability of full recovery. Once the calf has regained a normal body temperature it needs to be returned to its normal environment. Early treatment is important. Severely hypothermic calves can be saved. However, they often are set back from the experi-


ence and their immune system may be compromised. Thus, these calves should be watched more closely as further health complications may arise.


RFID tagging best done in warm weather — PAMI

Research at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) into why radio frequency ID (RFID) tags sometimes just won’t stay put found cold temperatures have a “profound effect” on tag strength. RFID tags certified by the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) have been tested for retention under cold temperatures, readability and their ability to withstand tampering. However,  a research team working with PAMI decided to use an engineering approach (pictured above) to test the mechanical strength of six types of RFID tags while following best practices for application such as using compatible fronts and backs and the correct applicator for each tag. In measuring the force needed to break the tags apart, the team found the different tag types all met CCIA’s basic requirements for tag strength. However, temperature was shown to have a profound effect on the tags in terms of strength and tag retention. PAMI’s testers brought both the tag and the applicator down to -30 C, then inserted the tag and brought it back to ambient temperatures before testing its strength. “We found that if the tags were inserted cold, they were much weaker than those inserted at room temperature,” says Joy Agnew, PAMI’s project manager for ag research services at Humboldt, Sask. The tags were also more difficult to insert when cold, and broke apart “far more easily, even when back at room temperature.”

The lesson learned, PAMI says is that it’s best to avoid tagging animals in extremely cold temperatures. If the job can’t be avoided, both the tag applicator and the tags themselves should be kept warm while you are working the cattle. Paul Laronde, a member of the CCIA technical advisory committee, says all tags approved by the agency were subjected to cold down to -35 C in laboratory conditions, equivalent to the severe environmental conditions faced by beef

cattle across Canada. That also exceeds known standards for all other jurisdictions that operate animal identification programs. New testing standards will include additional environmental testing of tags, including accelerated aging of tag plastics and resistance to ultraviolet light degradation. A new national tag testing framework has reached the final stages of developContinued on page 50

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Treat them with ZACTRAN .

Ask your veterinarian why ZACTRAN is ideal for cattle in your feedlot.

1. Giguère S, Huang R, Malinski TJ, Dorr PM, Tessman RK & Somerville BA. Disposition of gamithromycin in plasma, pulmonary epithelial lining fluid, bronchoalveolar cells, and lung tissue in cattle. Am. J. Vet. Res. 72(3): 326-330 (2011). 2. Based on label claims. ZACTRAN ® is a registered trademark of Merial Limited. © 2014 Merial Canada Inc. All rights reserved. ZACT-13-7558-JAD-E

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ales Management:


Rob Holowaychuk 80.916.2628

Mark Holowaychuk 03.896.4990



News Roundup

believes beef cattle genomics hold huge promise for producers. He says this potential starts with predicting the genetic merit *Profitable Pastures* of a newborn calf as if it already has calves of its own and extends across the value chain all the way to consumers. Continued from page 49 Beef ’s fatty acid profile and tenderness are two examples of traits that are ment where tag manufacturers must assess important to grocers the cost of meeting to new standards for and consumers, yet A Grazing Management School RFID tags. impossible to measure Topics include: • Pasture Calculations Laronde says CCIA follows the Interin live animals. We • Grazing Management national Committee of Animal Recording already know there are • Pasture Rejuvenation • Weed Control (ICAR) standard for approving tags and tag many good fats in beef • Cell Designs/Water Systems manufacturers. and beef’s fatty acid • Swath Grazing/Bale Grazing Southern Alberta Institute of Technolprofile is influenced ogy (SAIT) has received funding to build by  an  animal’s  diet. Location: Westlock, AB and certify an ICAR-approved tag testing Genetics, however, can Dr. John Crowley When: April 12th & 13th, 2014 facility in Alberta to test new ear tags for lead to cumulative and permanent changes Or ask us about setting up a school in your area. CCIA and other livestock identification to this profile, Crowley explains. programs. Researchers are now attempting to do Check out our website for details just that. They had to start from scratch by about funding availible! breeding profiling 1,300 crossbred steers, since no To register please contact: Update on the one has so far looked at the genetics of fatty Canadian Cattle Genomic Project acids. They found inheritance is 40 per cent Steve Kenyon in fat tissue and 50 per cent in lean tissue. Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd. Dr. John Crowley, a geneticist with LiveThe next phase is to use genomics to detect (780) 307-2275 stock Gentec at the University of Alberta which genes are involved. Beef tenderness can be enhanced after slaughter, but this is an extra cost. How much better would it be to breed tenderness into the animal’s genetic makeup. Scientists at the University of Guelph identified two genes that affect beef tenderness as measured by shear force. When present they have an effect equivalent to at least seven days of hang time. That would shorten the time a carcass TALS hasRto Small and butchers MENprocessors US SIM PLhang. s R PLUS SIMMENTALS R PLUS SIMMENTALS lanc & Son ss LeB sayRothe ability to move 2L7beef one day earlier S4A evan, SK Est 6 147 x Bo Ross LeBlanc & Sons 031 Ross LeBlanc & Sons would n 306.634.8 big savings for them and rliprovide R PLUS SIMMENTALS Box 1476Ma Estevan, SK S4A 2L7 Box 1476 Estevan, SK S4A 2L7 306.421.2470 Cell 1.1824 several in the Guelph areaMarlin are currently testRoss LeBlanc & Sons 306.42 Marlin 306.634.8031 306.634.8031 Ross 909 Box 1476 Estevan, SK S4A 2L7 1.9 .42 306 Cell 306.421.2470 Cell 306.421.2470 Jasontechnology. ing this Marlin 306.634.8031 Ross 306.421.1824 Ross 306.421.1824 Cell 306.421.2470 From 20 to 30 per cent of the306.421.9909 variation Jason 306.421.9909 Jason Ross 306.421.1824 in tenderness can be explained by genetics, Jason na 306.421.9909 gement: Sales Ma depending on the combination of genes presOBI Sales Management: Sales Management: R PLUS SIMMENTALS Rob Holowaychuk ent. So far, the genetic predictions for tenderOBI 780.916.2628OBI Sales Management: Ross LeBlanc & Sons aychuk ness are approximately 60 per cent accurate, Mark Holow RobEstevan, Holowaychuk Box 1476 SK S4A 2L7 403.896.4990Rob Holowaychuk OBI 780.916.2628 780.916.2628 which in research terms refers to the correlaR PLUS SIMMENTALS Marlin 306.634.8031 Rob Holowaychuk Holowaychuk Mark Holowaychuk Cell Mark 306.421.2470 780.916.2628 tion between genotype and phenotype. R PLUS SIMMENTALS Ross LeBlanc & Sons 403.896.4990 Ross 403.896.4990 306.421.1824 Mark Holowaychuk Box 1476 Estevan, SK S4A 2L7 One trait for which the accuracy of the 403.896.4990 Ross LeBlanc & Sons Jason 306.421.9909 Box 1476306.634.8031 Estevan, SK S4A 2L7 Marlin correlation is proving hard to crack is feed Cell Marlin 306.421.2470 306.634.8031 efficiency, particularly in crossbred animals. Cell 306.421.2470 Ross 306.421.1824 “Lots of animals are phenotypically feed Ross 306.421.1824 Jason 306.421.9909 efficient,” Crowley says, “but things get a Jason 306.421.9909 little complicated when we look at their Sales Management: genotypes. So there is work to be done on Sales Management: OBI better defining the phenotype.” OBI Rob Holowaychuk To that end the Canadian cattle genome 780.916.2628 Rob Holowaychuk project began scrutinizing how measure780.916.2628 Mark Holowaychuk able phenotypic factors such as activity 403.896.4990 Mark Holowaychuk Presents:



C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4


level, feeding habit, body composition and feed digestibility affect feed efficiency. As of November the prediction accuracy for feed efficiency within breeds was approximately 35 per cent with some animals up to 50 per cent. For crossbreds it was 15 per cent, not much better than with pedigree information alone. One issue was the low number of phenotypes collected for the crossbred population. Heterosis, recombination of genes, and genetic linkages also complicate the picture with crossbreds. Two months later, due to additional data collected through the genome project and improved statistical modelling, Crowley was able to report prediction accuracy in crossbreds creeping above 40 per cent. Identifying and correlating genetic markers for dry-matter intake (DMI) is progressing nicely in a major study with dairy cattle in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Scientists have determined DMI is 34 per cent heritable and now want to know if animals rank the same in both high- and low-input systems. Some of this work may be applicable to beef cattle. “Compared to beef cattle, we have it easy with dairy because dairy cattle around the world are very uniform in type. Beef is a different story and way more challenging because of the variation among and within breeds and lots of crossbreds. To get past that, we have to increase the densities of genotyping, that is, how many bits of information along the genome we look at,” Crowley explains. Continued on page 52


Guest Consignor Saddleridge Charolais

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Red Simmental

Black Simmental

Rainalta Simmentals & Charolais Bill Swenson 403.362.0854

Bow Slope Shipping Association Brooks, AB

Selling: Yearling, Two Year Old Simmental & Charolais Bulls

Brian Bouchard Sales Manager 403.813.7999


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News Roundup Continued from page 51

That said, the three-year Canadian cattle genome project made a lot of progress in 2013. The most immediate result of this work will be more cost-effective, relevant marker panels and the bolstering of genetically enhanced expected progeny differences by the addition of 1,000 genotypes per participating breed in the next six months or so.


CAB growing in Canada

Record growth for the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand in Canada points to one marketing opportunity not hampered by trade issues with the U.S. CAB has been sold in Canada for more than 30 years, but sales started trending higher 14 years ago with the first production in licensed Alberta plants, and tripled in the past 10 years. In 2013 CAB sales set a seventh consecutive record at 865 million pounds. The Canadian net total of 42 million pounds, is almost 40 per cent of CAB’s international market, and represents the ninth consecutive annual increase.





For Sale Top Quality High Performance Bulls

Home: 403-578-2220 Cell: 403-740-9576 • Castor, AB 52

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Medicine Hat, AB


Balog Cow Palace – Lethbridge Monday, March 10, 2014 – 1:00 PM * 400 Fancy Red Angus Cows * 110 - 2nd Calvers (Coming with 2nd Calf) 90 - 3rd Calvers 200 - 4th - 5th - 6th Calvers Plus 10 - 2 - 4 Year Old High Quality Red Angus Herd Bulls Cows are Bred to High Quality Red Angus Bulls Bulls In June 28/13 For 60 Days! Cows are on Full Herd Health Program with Pre-breeding vaccinations - Express 5 and Full Mineral & Vitamin program Home Raised - One Iron Females All Solid Red Females Except for 3 White Face Pasiciel’s have been in the Red Angus business for 18 Years This will be one of the Best sets of Fancy - Home Raised quality Females to sell in many years in Western Canada!

Balog Auction Services Inc. Lethbridge, AB 403-320-1980 or Toll Free: 1-877-320-1988 For Pictures & More info


“I attribute a lot of that to strong retail growth,” said Emily DePompei, the brand’s assistant director of international marketing. Licensed retail volume grew by 25 per cent while food-service volume increased by 11 per cent. The April 2012 signing of a licensee partnership with Real Canadian Superstore and its 100 stores nationwide played a large part in CAB’s 2013 sales growth. CAB sales were up by more than 10 per cent in the last fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. Last year marked the first time since 2005 that Canadians bought more Canadian-produced CAB beef than U.S. product. Nearly 10,000 more Canadian Angus-type cattle qualified for the brand in fiscal 2013, an increase of 26 per cent on the year. Still, that accounts for only about half of sales, as some 21 million pounds must come in from the U.S. to meet demand. If all of that production came from Canada, it would take another 100,000 Angus cattle. CAB acceptance rates (the share of evaluated black-hided cattle that qualify) have increased over the years and accelerated in the past five years to near 20 per cent. DePompei says increased supplies from Canadian producers fits with the drive among processors to sell more of each branded carcass under the premium label. “We tend to do a good job selling the middle meat items in Canada,” she said, “but we need more end meat and especially grind sales to help pull more product from each carcass into a CAB box.” Continued on page 54



FOR SALE at our Ranch near Altario, AB







SPRUCE VIEW ANGUS Yearling Black Angus Bull Sale

Stout bulls with extra thickness, depth and hip.

70 BULLS ON OFFER! Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at the Ranch, Killam, AB, 1 PM (4kms S of Killam on HWY 36) Herd Sires and Dams on site Be our guest for lunch prior to sale, Spruce View Hospitality after.

YTIME TO STOP IN AN LLS VIEW BU Call for more Information:

Wayne Grant: 780-385-2216 • Dallas Grant: 780-385-1443 Killam, AB

Shane Castle 306-741-7481

Preview catalogue and video at

C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4



Four Points Sheraton Edmonton South

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 • Meet the Experts (open to post-secondary students only). • AFAC Annual General Meeting • Welcome Reception • Cultivating Connections - Social Media and Agriculture. Speakers: Jackie Northey, Sarah Wray

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • Animal Health & Welfare - The Next Evolution, Speaker: Tim Blackwell • Activists are Taking a Multi-Faceted Approach You Should Too, Speaker: Kay Johnson-Smith • Consumers and Animal Welfare: What They Think, What They Know and Why It Matters, Speaker: Michael von Massow • Lunch and Awards Presentation

News Roundup Continued from page 53

As sales grow, so does every aspect of the business from the end product to premiums in cattle sales to packers. The number of licensed CAB retail and food-service partners increased by more than 15 per cent to 1,524 by year’s end. In the first two months after the 2014 fiscal year began in October, CAB sales posted a 6.8 per cent increase above the same period last year. “We’re producing a lot more of our CAB in Canada,” DePompei said. “The big growth in 2013 is on track to continue in every sector of the country’s beef industry.”


BCBeefNet goes online

• Lunch address. Speaker: Ben Wooley (Sunterra) • A New Way of Learning for a New Generation of Farmers. Speaker: Jackie Northey • Industry Innovation Showcase. Presenters: CL Ranch, Sangudo Meats, Egg Farmers of Alberta, ESF Sow Barns



C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

The British Columbia Association of Abattoirs (BCAA) launched its online store BCBeefNet for chefs in January. This is just the latest link in a value chain being put together by the provincial industry to sell local B.C. beef to B.C. consumers. The B.C. Association of Cattle Feeders added its link to the chain last year by partnering with the abattoirs to launch the B.C. Beef Quality


Information System (BCBQIS) and underpin its Certified B.C. Beef brand. Now that partnership is ready to take the brand online to restaurant chefs, and ultimately retail stores and direct to consumers. The brand assures chefs and consumers they are buying locally raised B.C. beef that meets a special set of quality standards. The B.C standards are similar to the federal grading rules with an additional fat-colour class to accommodate grass-fed beef and slightly higher backfat requirements. Plant employees are being schooled in sorting carcasses by a team headed up by carcass quality consultant Owen Marshall of Lumby, B.C. Feedlots and ranchers get into the supply chain through the BCBQIS. Marshall and BCBQIS developer, Jarrod Goddard of Net Shift Media in Kamloops tested the program last summer with four abattoirs. It’s a web-based system that abattoirs use to track and match orders from their clients and the animals that make up their inventory. The carcass data that the abattoirs feed into the system is tied to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) tag number and becomes available to the ranchers or feedlots that supply the cattle. The abattoirs upload the owner, animal ID, delivery dates, cutting instructions, carcass quality numbers and shipping instructions. It is essentially a provincial version of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS). Plans call for the BCBQIS to be integrated with BIXS by year-end. As such it provides improved traceability for carcasses and streamlines record collections for abattoirs. Continued on page 56

WELSH BLACK Bulls for Sale • 30th Consecutive Year Testing Bulls • 21 Select Bulls On Test Chosen From Over 250 Brood Cows • 10 Different Sires • 100% Polled or Scurred Bulls • 84 lbs. Average Birth Weight

Immediate Sales Available

Females for sale at all times. For test stats and sale information contact:



Randy Scott Hanna, AB (403) 854-2135

Arlin & Anita Strohschein Trochu, AB (403) 442-4372

Bull Test is at Thorlakson Feedyards 5 miles east of Airdrie, AB on Hwy # 567

9th Annual Family Day Sale February 17, 2014

1:00 p.m. at the farm at Athabasca, AB – Lunch at 11:30 a.m.


At Ole Farms we have grown to where we will be breeding over 2000 cows next year. With this growth we have learned that in order to be pro�itable a cow must feed herself on forages for as many days as possible with a minimum of mechanical intervention. She must calve by herself because dif�icult calving eats at pro�its and is not tolerated. Cows must be able to hold condition and rebreed without being pampered. Cows must be deep, thick and easy �leshing, with solid feet and udders. We raise our purebred Angus bulls with these qualities in mind. Our sale bulls are 21 months of age. They are moderate, forage developed and ready to make your operation more pro�itable.



“Sharing in the Excitement of Agriculture”

Sale Managed by:

Kelly & Anna Olson: 780-675-4664 – Kelly Cell: 780-689-7822 Travis: 780-689-8324 – Graham: 780-675-0112

C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4


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Value of dry matter saved - treatment cost = dollars saved INTERNATIONAL STOCK FOOD


News Roundup Continued from page 55

Meat inspection is provided by the B.C. meat inspection service of the Ministry of Agriculture that already oversees sanitary and animal inspections at provincially licensed plants. An iPad version of the software is now available and Goddard and Marshall are currently training abattoir staff around the province in its use. In a province with one smaller federally inspected beef plant BCBeefNet is seen as the best bet to extend the sale of local beef within the province. After selecting a producer and abattoir, chefs and retailers place their order on a carcass basis. Chefs then enter their cutting specs and the system calculates the cost per serving for each cut. For retailers, the primal price per pound is calculated. BCBeefNet should be available to chefs province-wide by mid-February. The grocer component will go live shortly thereafter. The final phase will be to develop a virtual central marketplace as a way for chefs to sell back cuts from the carcass that arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t of use to them as they are selecting their cutting instructions. The central marketplace will sell those products into markets with demand for them. A phone app â&#x20AC;&#x201D; B.C. Meats for B.C. Markets â&#x20AC;&#x201D; should be available by spring to help consumers locate producers, grocers and restaurants that sell certified B.C. beef as well as B.C. pork, lamb, bison and poultry.

Producers participating in the BCBeefNET must be licensed with the Certified B.C. Beef program, and provide ranch profiles to showcase their operations and the attributes of their beef. Retailers and food service establishments must sign licensing agreements with the B.C. cattle feeders association to use the program logo and merchandising materials. For more information visit


Native forage species go under the microscope

What are the best combinations of native and introduced forage species for enhancing forage production on the Canadian Prairies? Researchers at AAFCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Semiarid Prairie Agriculture Research Centre (SPARC) are looking to answer that question. Led by Dr. Mike Schellenberg, a range and forage plant ecologist, the team aims to find ways to use perennial forage plants that have a proven track record in surviving the extremes of the Prairie climate. The project is funded through the recently announced beef science cluster that has the goal of helping cattle producers raise more beef with fewer resources. It continues the selection work that was done with funding from the first beef cluster. Another Eastern Canada study led by Yousef Papadopoulos at AAFC Nappan is focused on evaluating which tame forages work best in different regions. In an effort to increase forage and grassland productivity by 33 per cent Dr. Schellenbergâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team is seeking to increase yields and nutritional quality of perennial forage species through plant breeding, as well as improve pasture, forage and grazing management techniques.

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The project builds on previous species selection work and will evaluate a number of native and tame species combinations to identify ones with improved seed yield and forage value. A number of the species under investigation was developed by AAFC’s breeding program — nodding brome, blue bunch wheatgrass, western wheat grass, side oats gramma, little blue stem, purple prairie clover and white prairie clover. Several species that have never been examined before, including ascending milkvetch, slender milkvetch and American vetch, will also be examined. In addition to the native species, introduced species such as hybrid brome and alfalfa will be selected for improved drought and production characteristics.





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Benefits of native species

Many of the species studied in this project were initially of interest as reclamation species, and are only now being examined as a forage. This makes sense since native grass species are already suited to the environment and their plant populations have great genetic variability that allows some plants in a population to survive even under extreme conditions. Native species can be as good as, if not better than, introduced species for biomass production and nutritional quality.  The perennial forage species, along with a few others from greenhouse trials, will then be assessed at several locations throughout the Prairie region. The researchers will also examine the benefits of purple prairie clover in optimizing herd health in grazing trials with yearling steers. c

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C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4



By Deb Wilson


Suggestions are always welcome. My phone number is 403-325-1695 Email: deb.wilson@

Year letter for 2014 is B n  Saskatchewan Beef Expo 2014 has been established in support of Prairieland Park’s mandate to promote Youth in Agriculture. The first annual event will take place on April 5-6, 2014 at Prairieland Park Ag Centre in Saskatoon. This new event will consist of a cattle-fitting clinic presented by Kirk Stierwalt and seminar presentations by Merk Animal Health, Masterfeeds and Novartis Animal Health, and a team grooming competition on the Saturday. The youth show on the Sunday will feature market steer and heifer classes judged by Kirk Stierwalt. The intention is to guide youth in cattle presentation and offer some knowledge on the care and feeding of beef animals. Entry forms can be found at n The Manitoba Young Simmental Association is proud to be hosting the 2014 National YCSA Classic in conjunction with the Canadian Simmental Association annual meeting in July. Watch for details of this and other upcoming events by visiting the Young Canadian Simmental Association page on Facebook. The schedule of 2014 provincial YCSA youth classics is:  • Saskatchewan, July 30 to Aug. 2 — Prince Albert, Sask. • Maritimes, Aug. 21-22 — Truro, N.S. • Alberta, July 17-20 — Lacombe, Alta.  • Quebec, July 4-6 — Brome, Que. n  The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada’s federal funding agency for university-based research, hosted a Residual Feed Intake Producer Day Thursday, January 23 at the Alumni Centre, Olds College in Alberta. The Canadian Hereford Association was heavily involved with this RFI study and we look forward to hearing more about the results of the trials. n  Attention  young  Limousin  enthusiasts planning to attend the 2014 Canadian Junior Limousin Association conference


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

Grand opening of the new Canadian Angus office.

n  Belated congratulations to the Canadian Angus Association (CAA) on the opening of its first member-owned national headquarters, Angus Central, just north of Calgary. The Canadian Angus Foundation launched three new fundraising initiatives during the official opening. Angus Roots includes an iron tree with leaves engraved with donors’ names. The Hall of Honour and The Breeders’ Choice feature silhouettes of people and animals to recognize highly respected breed builders or loved ones. More than $14,000 was raised during the official opening. A number of past presidents joined CEO Rob Smith, current president Kevin Blair, the board of directors and staff for the ribbon cutting to open the new headquarters. July 24-26 in Saskatoon. Those who want to participate in the show but are without an animal need not stay home. The organizers have a group of heifers that youngsters can borrow in order to participate in the festivities. Contact conference chair Eric Boon, the CLA director in charge of the juniors. He can be reached at 306.280.8795 or by email n  Cattlemen’s Young Leaders — Cuyler Huffman of William’s Lake, B.C. Ranching  is  Cuyler’s passion. It is something he has always done and wants to continue to do. He and his father Grant Huffman run a 1,100-head cow-calf operation in Riske Creek which is made up of the historical Cotton Ranch where Grant and Sharon Huffman reside and Deer Park Ranch, where Cuyler together with his wife Jenny and three young children live. In addition to Cuyler’s involvement in Riske Creek Ranching he also has a diploma in  livestock  production from Olds College in Alberta. He is also the newly elected president of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s  Association. His involvement as a leader in the CYL program  will  give

him the knowledge and inspiration to take a chance on the future of ranching. Cuyler’s mentor is Doug Wray of Irricana, Alta. Doug and his wife, Linda, operate the 100-year-old family ranch at Irricana, Alta. Converted from a mixed farm in 1998, they currently run 300 cows, retain the calves through to slaughter and raise their own replacements.  Productive forages are key to their profitability and beef cattle are used to harvest and add value. They employ  strategies Cuyler Huffman to graze year round such as stockpiled native range, bale grazing, swath grazing and fall triticale. Bales are fed when necessary to supplement the diet or stretch grazing days. Calving is on grass starting May 1, with pairs rotating through primarily meadow brome/alfalfa pastures. Weaned calves winter on swaths and go to a custom feedlot off grass. A feeding/marketing alliance gives them data through to the carcass which is connected back to the cow. Doug has been an advocate for forage research and extension, particularly


related to grazing. He has been on the board, and chair of Foothills Forage and Grazing Association, currently sits on the board of the Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN) and is the chair of the newly formed Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association (CFGA). He represents the CFGA on the national Beef Value Chain Round Table. Doug appreciates the energy and passion of young people committed to agriculture. He volunteered in the 4-H movement for 30 years and looks forward to contributing to CYL. — Shelby Froland of Hughenden, Alta. Shelby Froland graduated from the University of Alberta with her B.Sc. degree in agriculture, majoring in animal science at the end of April 2013 and is looking for a career in the agriculture industry. She is especially interested in a job focusing on agriculture education having enjoyed being Shelby Froland a part of the Heifer in Your Tank program at the U of A and the Classroom Agriculture Program. Having grown up on a 400-cow-calf commercial  beef  operation near Hughenden, Alta., and participating in the Amisk 4-H Beef  Club  for  nine years she has developed a keen interest and passion for the beef industry. In addition, she was the vice-president of the U of A 4-H Club and president of the U of A multi-species judging club and also won a variety of scholarships in regards to academics and leadership. Ultimately, Shelby hopes to expand on her knowledge and skills within the industry for a few years before returning to the family farm. She looks forward to becoming a CYL mentee and utilizing mentor knowledge and resources in order to make the family farm more efficient and profitable. In addition, Shelby hopes her mentor will help her to more successfully tell the producer story and continue to educate beef consumers. Shelby’s mentor is Scott Dickson, CA, director of livestock services and vicepresident of Hutterite Services for MNP. A recognized authority on agricultural issues, Scott advises on a wide range of government agriculture programs, acts as an advocate for producers and assists with various business issues including succession, estate and tax planning. Drawing on more than 25 years of

experience working with Hutterite colonies in Manitoba and then Alberta, Scott delivers a broad range of services to some of MNP’s more than 300 colony clients. As director of livestock services, he plays a lead role in delivering key services to approximately half of MNP’s 15,000 agriculture clients in the beef, dairy, swine and poultry industries. Scott’s clients benefit from knowledge gained through MNP’s involvement in a

number of cost-of-production surveys in Western Canada and in extensive profitability consulting especially with respect to various trade dispute issues. Scott also uses MNP’s proprietary TransitionSMART process to help producers develop a succession plan and address their personal situation. Scott earned his chartered accountant (CA) designation in 1988. Continued on page 60

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Continued from page 59

— Noa Mullin of Feversham, Ont. Noa is the seventh generation to farm the area around Feversham, Ont. where he was raised on a beef and hay operation.  Growing  up Noa was involved in Jr. Beef Club, 4-H and went on to lead the local Jr. Farmers Club as well as other community  initiatives. He continues to be involved in coaching minor baseball, leadNoa Mullin ing a new Jr. Beef Club as well as being involved in his local church. Noa was backgrounding cattle with his brother when BSE hit in 2003. Discouraged by  the financial losses  he left the industry and  told himself  he wouldn’t  be  back. After attending college and working in various industries he finally returned to his roots  in  agriculture and now  works for Deer Lake Farms while also maintaining an interest in the family hay business. Noa  is  passionate about international missions work, the business side of agriculture, people and politics. He is excited to be part of the CYL program and looking forward to getting involved in the beef industry at the national and international level.

n  Clayton and Corinne Gibson of Six Mile Red Angus Ltd. in Fir Mountain, Sask., exhibited the Grand Champion Red Angus Bull at the National Western Stock Show in Denver with Six Mile Taurus 519A, a junior bull calf.  Six Mile Red Angus Ltd. also received premier breeder honours as a result of their and other breeders’ success with Six Mile genetics throughout the show. Mike McDonald of Windy Hill Livestock in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, received premier exhibitor, calculated from the exhibitor’s successful placement in individual classes. Noa is married to Shawnna and has three wonderful kids. Noa’s mentor is Marty Seymour, CEO of Canadian Western Agribition, Canada’s largest livestock show. Marty is an acting board member at Red Coat Cattle feeders. His professional career has spanned all three Prairie provinces where he specialized in animal health and nutrition in the

n  Congratulations to Shawn Airey of Rivers who was re-elected president of the Manitoba Charolais Association during the group’s annual meeting held in Brandon in January. Also on the executive are first vice-president, Andre Steppler, Miami; second vice-president, Hans Myhre, Dauphin; secretary-treasurer Rae Trimble-Olson, Portage la Prairie.

food animal business. Marty lives in White City, Sask., with his wife and two children. n At the July 26, 2014 annual meeting of the Canadian Limousin Association(CLA), the board of directors has announced it will organize an open dialogue of the membership to discuss whether the breed should adopt a gradual implementation of parentage verification for all future registered Limousin animals. It sounds like a discussion that many Limousin breeders will be interested in joining. c STAMPEDE

2014 Manitoba Charolais Assoc. board of directors, front row (l-r): Vonda Hopcraft, Wawanesa; Andre Steppler, Miami (first vice-president); Shawn Airey, Rivers (president); Hans Myhre, Dauphin (second vice-president); Rae Trimble-Olson, Portage la Prairie (secretary treasurer). Back row (l-r): Ian Milliken, Reston; Jeff Cavers, La Riviere; Ernie Bayduza, Dauphin; Jim Olson, Portage la Prairie; Michael Hunter, Roblin; Kevin Stebeleski, Oakburn; Trent Hatch, Oak Lake. Missing Rob Gilliland, Virden and Campbell Forsyth, Eriksdale.


C at t l e m e n · f e b r ua ry 2 0 1 4

By Gerry Palen

“I just got through yesterday, now I have to face today.”

Changing Weather is Changing Farming. Better Get Ready. The growing season of 2013 was one for the record books. We had it all: too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot. Although variability in the weather cannot be changed, we can learn to better manage under these conditions. Conservation of water and soil is vital to your success in all kinds of weather. The 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will present new ideas on all these topics and more. Be there June 22-25, 2014, for innovative solutions for challenges facing today’s agriculture. Weatherproofing agriculture is one of three major themes for the conference, along with Growing More with Less and Sharing Innovation Success Stories.

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 market ta l k

By Gerald Klassen

Barley Price Outlook


ash barley values in the Lethbridge area have been hovering at $155/mt delivered in January. The barley market has been functioning to encourage demand as the market adjusts to the larger barley and wheat crops in Western Canada. Offshore movement has been limited due to tight fobbing capacity on the West Coast and rail delays have also contributed to the slower export program. Given the larger wheat crop, we’ve also seen lower-quality milling wheat move into feed channels as the elevator system is virtually plugged. Farmers who want to clean up piles of wheat in temporary storage are being forced to move wheat into the domestic feed market. Feedlot margins have been in positive territory given the lower feed grain prices and feedlot managers have been anxious to book their forward requirements and lock in the margin structure. Lower feed grain prices have also caused feeder cattle values to move to historical highs. I’ve had many inquiries from farmers and cattle producers regarding the price outlook for feed barley for the remainder of the crop year so I thought this would be a good time to review the fundamentals and look at the possible price scenario moving forward. Statistics Canada estimated the barley crop at 10.2 million mt, which is up two million mt from last year and very similar to the 10-year average production of 10.3 million mt. The average Canadian yield was a whopping 71.7 bushels per acre, compared to 54.1 bushels per acre in 2012 and also sharply higher than the 10-year average of 57.5 bushels per acre. The market definitely has some work to do in order to move these larger supplies. Looking at the demand scenario, I’m projecting Canadian barley exports at 1.5 million mt which includes feed and malt barley. However, this may be optimistic. Total barley crop year to date exports from August 1 to January 5 were only 463,000 mt, which compares to 707,000 mt for the same period in 2012-13. Given the current situation on the West Coast and world barley situation, it will be hard to reach the 1.5-million-mt projection. At this time, Australia and Argentine barley is more competitive on the world market and major importers such as Saudi Arabia have their nearby requirements covered. Secondly, fobbing capacity is basically booked up on the West Coast until summer so additional sales will be hard to materialize. Domestic demand is expected to be about the same as last year resulting in a 2013-14 carry-out near 3.1 million mt, which is one million mt above the 10-year average and up from the tight fundamental scenario last year when the carry-out was only 1.3 million mt. The 2013 all-Canadian wheat crop was record large at 37.5 million mt, up from 27.2 million mt in 2012. It is inevitable that the commercial elevator system will have a difficult time moving this large crop, even running at full capacity. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier wheat will aggressively move into feed channels for the remainder of the crop year as farmers liquidate stocks prior to new


C at t l e m e n · F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4

Supply and disposition of Canadian barley (’000 tonnes) StatsCan 10/11

StatsCan 11/12

StatsCan 12/13

10-year average

Estimated Estimated 13/14 14/15

Acres seeded







Acres harvested







Yield (bu./ac.)







Opening stocks Aug. 1










































Human food/industrial/1




























1/includes barley processed domestically and then exported as malt

crop. Currently, feed wheat is trading at the same price as barley in Lethbridge, displacing some barley demand. Looking forward at 2014-15, Canadian barley acres are expected to be slightly lower next year due to lower returns per acre compared to other crops. The market will not be as sensitive to weather and overall growing conditions due to the large carry-out from 2013-14. I’m using a yield forecast of 60 bushels per acre, which is slightly higher than the 10-year average. Production is expected to drop to 8.4 million mt in 2014 but notice that overall supplies will be very similar to 2013-14 at 11.5 million mt. Therefore, the market will once again function to encourage offshore movement. I’m expecting barley prices to remain under pressure for the remainder of the 2013-14 crop year due to the large supplies overhanging the market and limited offshore movement. The caveat longer term is the U.S. corn situation. Without going into detail, the USDA slightly tightened the fundamentals for the 2013-14 crop year and most analysts are expecting a year-over-year decline in U.S. corn acres. The corn market will be sensitive to growing conditions during the summer IF we see a sharper-than-expected decline in U.S. corn-seeded area. However, this is something to watch longer term but remember the world is coming off record corn production from 2013. c Gerald Klassen analyses markets in Winnipeg and also maintains an interest in the family feedlot in southern Alberta. He can be reached at

 Market Su mma ry

By Debbie McMillin

TheMarkets Fed Cattle

Feeder Cattle

Fed-cattle sales soared higher into 2014 on tight supplies, good beef demand and a lower dollar with cash sales climbing $7.50/cwt to $131 at the end of December and $138.51 by mid-January. That’s $23.25/cwt better than January 2013. While these prices are exciting they still didn’t match the $140 posted in U.S. markets. Basis levels remain stubbornly wide, at -19.24/cwt in mid-January versus a historical average closer to -9. The January 1, 2014 Alberta and Saskatchewan cattle-on-feed report was up three per cent with 990,333 head in the larger lots despite a 25 per cent drop in December placements at 80,066 head. That is the smallest December placements since they started putting out this report 13 years ago. Part of it can be explained by feeder exports over the past month. Fed slaughter in 2013 was down three per cent from 2012, at 2,124,623 head. The first two weeks of 2014 produced a mixed picture with steer slaughter off by two per cent and heifer slaughter up a full 23 per cent over last year at 23,059 head. Fedcattle exports were down 17 per cent in 2013 at 346,620 head.

Feeder cattle prices also exploded out of the gate in 2014 fuelled by falling feed grain prices, a weaker dollar and positive fed-cattle margins. Buyers aggressively pushed prices for 550-lb. feeder steers up $18.71 from year end to $186/cwt, a historical high, and $31.25 better than the same week in 2013. Heavy feeders broke more records with 850-lb. steers trading to an average $156.50/ cwt, more than $25 over the first week of 2013. The 850-lb. feeder basis is still wide at -27.98/cwt compared to -11.60 last year. Although concerns still remain over COOL, the wide basis and lower Canadian dollar continue to attract U.S. buyers and additional competition to this market. Feeder exports in 2013 were 134 per cent of 2012 at 315,628 head. The bred-cattle market in Alberta has been slow, lagging behind many areas in North America. Many cow dispersal sales took place at the end of 2013, reinforcing the belief that more people are leaving the cattle business than want to, or are able to finance their way into the industry. Bred cows in Western Canada traded in a range of $900$1,700/head through the fourth quarter of 2013 and bred heifers from $900 to $2,050/

head, which were undervalued compared to sales throughout North America.

Non-Fed Cattle Firm U.S. demand for cows and bulls and light local volumes led to higher prices in the first couple weeks of 2014. D1,2 cow prices strengthened to the point of almost beating the high for last year — $85.75/cwt — averaging $82.30/cwt by mid-January, an increase of $9.63/cwt over the previous four weeks and $10.63 over last year. As you might expect, domestic cow slaughter was down six per cent through the first two weeks of 2014. No export data was available at press time for 2014 however looking back to 2013 cow exports rose by 50 per cent over 2012 with 306,080 cows moving to U.S. plants. Grinding and trim beef demand and a shrinking Canadian dollar combined with a shrinking number of cattle also pushed bull prices higher. Butcher bulls rose by $9/cwt in the first two weeks of the year to post an average $88.10 at mid-January. Bull exports for 2013 were also up 47 per cent over 2012. c Debbie McMillin is a market analyst who ranches at Hanna, Alta.

More markets 

 DE B’S OUTLOOK Fed-Cattle Outlook Basis continues to be the largest negative factor in the local market with the uncertainty over country-of-origin labelling (COOL). Another concern is future consumer spending as recordhigh fed prices are being passed on to the retail level. It will be important to monitor any resistance or shift to competing proteins. All other factors in this market are very bullish. At this time most sellers remain current and have considerable leverage. Fed-cattle prices will remain strong based on strong demand, a Canadian dollar that is currently at its lowest point since 2009 and tight supplies of ready fed cattle. Seasonally fed-cattle prices tend to

climb through the first quarter as BBQ season approaches. It will be interesting to see where this momentum carries the Canadian cash market. Feeder Cattle Volumes of feeder cattle will likely start to pick up and the higher prices may start to attract some fall-bought calves back through the auction ring. A small overall Canadian herd and good demand for calves are both positives. To this we can add a weak Canadian dollar trading 10 cents below last year by mid-January, continuing pressure on feed grain prices that has barley $2.55/bu. less than last year. A lower cost of gain, strong deferred live cattle futures, and weak dollar create

hedging opportunities for feedlots looking to manage risk on current feeder purchases. Look for this strong feeder market to continue riding a wave of positive optimism. Non-Fed Cattle Seasonal trends suggest continuing strength in this market, pushed on by the still strong demand for ground beef and swelling fed-cattle prices. The dollar will also attract U.S. buyers looking to offset shrinking U.S. supplies. Look for a continuing strong market though the first quarter with premiums on grain-fed cows or any others coming out of this harsh winter in good condition.

C a t t l e m e n · f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 4 63


Break-even Prices on A-Grade Steers

Market Prices










110 100 155 145

Steer Calves (500-600 lb.)


140 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec




Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


D1,2 Cows

85 75





105 95 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Canfax weighted average price on A-Grade steers

Break-even price for steers on date sold

2014 2013

2014 2013

January 2014 prices* Alberta Yearling steers (850 lb.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $146.20/cwt Barley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.98/bu. Barley silage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49.75/ton Cost of gain (feed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61.48/cwt Cost of gain (all costs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89.84/cwt Fed steers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129.34/cwt Break-even (June 2014) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124.06/cwt Ontario Yearling steers (850 lb.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $154.16/cwt Corn silage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35.76/ton Grain corn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.22/bu. Cost of gain (feed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66.89/cwt Cost of gain (all costs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92.46/cwt Fed steers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131.66/cwt Break-even (July 2014) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128.63/cwt *Mid-month to mid-month prices Breakevens East: end wt 1,450, 183 days West end wt 1,325 lb., 125 days


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



2014 2013

2014 2013

Ontario prices based on a 50/50 east/west mix

Market Summary (to January 4) 2014


Total Canadian federally inspected slaughter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,137. . . . . . . . . . . . 37,528 Average steer carcass weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 874 lb.. . . . . . . . . . . . 876 lb. Total U.S. slaughter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 860,000. . . . . . . . . 1,062,000

Trade Summary Exports 2013 2012 Fed cattle to U.S. (to December 28). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346,620.. . . . . . . . . . . 416,374 Feeder cattle and calves to U.S. (to December 28) . . . . . . . . . . 315,628.. . . . . . . . . . 134,840 Dressed beef to U.S. (to November). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403.90 mil.lbs.. . . . . 414.72 mil.lbs Total dressed beef (to November) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 568.57 mil.lbs.. . . . . 561.26 mil.lbs 2013 IMPORTS 2012 Slaughter cattle from U.S. (to November) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 *Dressed beef from U.S. (to November) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336.60 mil.lbs. . . . . 336.40 mil.lbs *Dressed beef from Australia (to November) . . . . . . . . . . . 35.13 mil.lbs. . . . . . . 29.22 mil.lbs *Dressed beef from New Zealand (to November) . . . . . . . 31.88 mil.lbs. . . . . . .43.86 mil.lbs *Dressed beef from Uruguay (to November) . . . . . . . . . . . 27.31 mil.lbs. . . . . . . 22.95 mil.lbs Canadian Grades (to January 11, 2014) % of A grades +59% 54-58% AAA 24.0 22.0 AA 28.1 9.3 A 1.3 0.1 Prime 0.2 0.4 Total 31.8 53.6 EAST WEST

Total graded 20,214 65,634

Yield â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 53% Total 10.7 56.7 1.8 39.2 0.0 1.4 0.8 1.4 13.3 Total A grade 98.7%

Total ungraded 709 0

% carcass basis 78.2% 87.0% Only federally inspected plants


C at t l e m e n ¡ F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 4


Sales&Events Events February

19-20 Beef Farmers of Ontario Annual General Meeting, International Plaza Hotel, Toronto, Ont. 19-21 Alberta Beef Industry Conference, Sheraton Hotel, Red Deer, Alta. 26-28 Ag Expo, Exhibition Park, Lethbridge, Alta.


11-13 Ottawa Valley Farm Show, Capital Exhibition Centre, Ottawa, Ont. 26-27 Alberta Farm Animal Care — 2014 Livestock Care Conference, Four Points Sheraton-South, Edmonton, Alta. 28-29 New Brunswick Spring Beef Conference, Crowne Plaza, Moncton, N.B., 29-31 Farm and Ranch Show, Expo Centre, Edmonton, Alta.

April 5-6

S askatchewan Beef Expo, Prairieland Park, Saskatoon, Sask.,

28-29 Advancing Women — Women in Ag Conference — Life Skills for Leadership, Deerfoot Inn and Casino, Calgary, Alta.,


Sales February 12


18-20 Canada’s Farm Progress Show, Evraz Place, Regina, Sask. 18-21 Beef Improvement Federation Symposium, Cornhusker Marriot, Lincoln, Nebraska 22-26 World Congress on Conservation Agriculture, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Man.

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I nternational Livestock Congress 2014, Deerfoot Inn, Calgary, Alta. 24-26 Canadian Junior Limousin Conference, Saskatoon, Sask. 25-27 2014 Canadian Simmental Association AGM, Elkhorn Resort, Riding Mountain National Park, Man. 25-27 YCSA National Classic, Elkhorn Resort, Riding Mountain National Park, Man. 26 Canadian Limousin Annual General Meeting, Saskatoon, Sask.

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 oung Guns and Guests 1st Annual Bull Y Sale, Equine Centre, Wainwright, Alta. 25th Annual Mader Ranches Bull Power Sale, Mader Ranches, Carstairs, Alta. Bonchuk Farms Bull Sale, Heartland Livestock, Virden, Man. Ole Farms 9th Annual Family Day Sale, at the farm, Athabasca, Alta. Kopp Farms Simmentals 10th and Final Bull and Female Sale, at the farm, Amaranth, Man. Rawes Ranches Charolais Bull Sale — 125 Bulls, at the ranch, Strome, Alta. Anderson Family Herefords, Balog Cow Palace, Lethbridge, Alta. Symens Land and Cattle Bull Sale with Abacus Angus, at the ranch, Claresholm, Alta. Chapman Bull Sale — Red and Black Angus, Stettler Auction Mart, Stettler, Alta. Continued on page 66

Answer our survey — and have a go at winning one of our caps

We have a goal to be the best beef cattle magazine in the business. But we need your help. If you could just fill in this survey and return it to me, you would be helping us set the future editorial direction for Canadian Cattlemen. All you have to do is tell me what you like about the magazine, and what you

We’d appreciate it if you could tell us a little about yourself. It makes it easier for us to keep your main interests in focus  I’m ranching or farming Enterprise Total beef cattle Yearlings on feed/pasture Registered cows Fed cattle (sold yearly) Commercial cows Horses Calves on feed/pasture Other livestock

# of head

 I no longer take an active part in farming If not an owner/operator of a farm, are you:

 In agribusiness (bank, elevator, ag supplies, etc.)  Other (please specify) ____________________ My approximate age is:  a) Under 35  b) 36 to 44  d) 55 to 64  e) 65 or over

 c) 45 to 54

don’t like. There’s also some space for you to tell us what you would like to see in future issues. ClIp And enClose your mAIlIng lABel. each month, we will draw one name from all the surveys sent in and send that person a Cattlemen cap. It could be you!

What do you think of: On a scale of 1 to 5, how do you and your family like these features? 5 – I always watch for it; let’s see more of it 4 – I regularly read it and like it 3 – I usually read it 2 – There are things I’d rather read 1 – I don’t want it; get rid of it Regular Columns 5 4 3

Regular Columns News Roundup Purely Purebred The Markets






Market Talk Sales and Events

2 1 Nutrition Comment Research Special features 5 4 3 2 1 Newsmakers Letters Calving Issue (Jan.) CCA Reports Custom Feedlot Guide (Sep.) Prime Cuts Stock Buyers’ Guide (Aug.) Straight From The Hip Animal Health Special (Sep.) Holistic Ranching Beef Watch (May & Nov.) What would you like to see? __________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ How much time do you and your family spend reading 1666 Dublin Avenue Canadian Cattlemen?  Under 2 hours  Over 2 hours Winnipeg, Man. R3H 0H1

C a t t l e m e n · f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 4 65

sa les&events Continued from page 65

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25 25 27

 ewis Farms Bull Sales, at the farm, L Spruce Grove, Alta. Beck Farms and McCoy Cattle Co. 5th Annual Bull Sale, Optimum Genetics, Regina, Sask. 2nd Annual Simmental Bull Summit, Beechinor Bros., High Country Cattle Services, Double R Farms, Beechinor Sale Barn, Bentley, Alta. Rainalta Bull Sale, Bow Slope Shipping, Brooks, Alta. Ulrich Hereford Ranch 8th Annual Bull Sale, Balog Auction, Lethbridge, Alta. Stewart Cattle Co. and Guests Bull Sale, 40 Black Angus Bulls, 12 PB Black Angus


March 1

1 2 3 4 6


Abacus Angus Advanced Agri Direct Airdrie Trailer Sales Alberta Cattle Breeders Assoc. Alberta Farm Animal Council Arlin Strohschein Beefbooster Bohrson Marketing Services Balog Auction Services Inc. By Livestock Canadian Angus Assoc. Canadian Charolais Assoc. Canadian Gelbvieh Assoc. Canadian Hereford Assoc. Canadian Limousin Assoc. Canadian Shorthorn Assoc. Canadian Simmental Assoc. Case-IH Chapman Cattle Company Davidson Gelbvieh Direct Livestock Marketing Godfrey Ranch Greener Pastures Harvie Ranching Hi-Hog Farm & Ranch Equipment International Stock Foods John Deere Ag Marketing Center Lakeland Group/Northstar Lloydminster Exhibition Assoc. Mel Stewart Holdings Merck Animal Health Merial Murphy Ranch North American Lincoln Red Angus Ole Farms Plain Jans Prime Limousin Club Pro-Char Charolais R Plus Simmentals Rainalta Simmentals Rawes Ranch Richmond Ranch Salers Assoc. of Canada Saskatoon Gelbvieh Bull & Female Sale Spruceview Angus Summit 3 Sale The Cattle Range Triple S Red Angus Tru-Test Inc. Ulrich Hereford Ranch


Page 31 13 57 47 54 55 17 25 52 40 56 OBC 22, 23 IFC 34, 35 29 7 9 8 37 52 52 50 5 56 56 IBC 18 a-p 33 56 41 11, 49 53 56 55 56 26 45 50 51 59 39 14, 15 48 53 54 6 51 57 21

C at t l e m e n · f e b r ua ry 2 0 1 4

heifers, 10 Simm X Angus bulls, Beautiful Plains Ag Society, Neepawa, Man. Early Sunset Ranch Bull Sale, at the ranch, Edam, Sask.

7 7 9 10 10 12 14 15 15 15 17

 avidson Gelbvieh and Lonesome Dove D Ranch 25th Anniversary Bull Sale, Bull Yards, Ponteix, Sask. High Country 40th Bull Sale, Horse Pavilion, Pincher Creek, Alta. R Plus Simmental 14th Annual Bull Sale, Estevan, Sask. Pride of the Prairies Bull Sale, Lloyd Ag Exhibition, Lloydminster, Sask. Belvin Angus Bull Sale, at the farm, Innisfail, Alta. In Pursuit of Perfection Bull Sale — Spring Creek Simmentals, at the farm, Moosomin, Sask. Richmond Ranch 17th Annual Grass Country Limousin Bull Sale, at the ranch, Rumsey, Alta., Sparrow Farms Bull Sale, at the farm, Vanscoy, Sask. Black Pearl Bull and Female Sale, Edwards Livestock Centre, Tisdale, Sask. Harvie Ranching Bull Sale — Polled Hereford, Charolais, Simmental, at the ranch, Olds, Alta. 13th Annual Diamond C Ranch Bull Sale, at the ranch, Ponoka, Alta. Built Right Bull Sale, Provost Livestock Exchange, Provost, Alta. Reese Cattle Company Charolais Bull Sale, Innisfail Auction Mart, Innisfail, Alta. 28th Annual LLB Angus Bull and Female Sale, at the farm, Erskine, Alta. Sandan Charolais Bull Sale, at the farm, Erskine, Alta. Prime Limousin Club Bull Sale, Westlock Ag Barn, Westlock, Alta. Remitall Farms Bull Sale, at the farm, Olds, Alta.

Letters Antibiotic surprise

Almost everyone these days uncritically accepts that the solution to antibioticresistant disease is to use fewer antibiotics. What about using more antibiotics? More varieties that is. When doctors found penicillin was losing its efficacy as our first line of defence against bacterial infections, the medical community didn’t throw up its hands and use less. New antibiotics were developed!   No… not stronger antibiotics. New varieties were developed that kept us ahead of the bacteria that ail us, humans and animals alike, to the point where doctors and veterinarians now have well in

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 lades Angus Bull Sale, VJV Foothills, B Stavely, Alta. Spruceview Angus Bull Sale, at the ranch, Killam, Alta. Triple S Red Angus 41st Annual Bull Sale, Highwood Auction (SALE), High River, Alta. Pugh Farms Spring Bull Sale, Dryland Cattle Trading Corp., Veteran, Alta. Bar 3R Limousin 19th Annual Bull Sale, Crossroads Centre, Oyen, Alta. Braun Ranch & Bar CR Angus — Ranch Ready Bull Sale, Heartland Livestock, Swift Current, Sask. Maple Lake Stock Farms — Kick Off to Spring Bull Sale, Grande Clairiere Hall, Hartney, Man. Highway 16 4th Annual Ranch Raised Multi-Breed Bull Sale, Ag Barn, Mayerthorpe, Alta. Prairie Grass Red Angus, Red Rock Angus and Beiseker Red Angus 24th Annual Bull Sale, Thorlackson Feedyard, Airdrie, Alta.

April 2

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 eak Dot Ranch Bull and Female Sale, P at the ranch, Wood Mountain, Sask. Rivercrest-Valleymere 11th Annual Spady Bull Sale, at Rivercrest Ranch, Alliance, Alta. Moose Creek Red Angus 20th Yearling Bull Sale, at the farm, Kisbey, Sask. Shortgrass Angus Bull and Female Sale, at the ranch, Aneroid, Sask. WRAZ Red Angus, Cornerstone More Bang for Your Buck Bull Sale, Whitewood Auction Mart, Whitewood, Sask. c

 Event listings are a free service to industry.  Sale listings are for our advertisers. Your contact is Deborah Wilson at 403-325-1695 or

excess of 100 antibiotics to rely upon in fighting infection. But now, thanks to overregulation resulting from tax-funded lobbying by antiantibiotic, naturopathic, homeopathic, sustainability and organic activists, pharmaceutical companies have largely abandoned the development of new antibiotics. It’s much simpler and more profitable to focus instead on treating phony ailments like attention-deficit disorder, obesity and erectile dysfunction. There will always be those who believe we must go backwards so as to move forward. But we never stood still before. Why start now? Let’s keep moving forward on antibiotics. Mischa Popoff is an adviser for the Frontier Centre and The Heartland Institute in Greenville, Texas.

We just couldn’t leave well enough alone. 6M SERIES TRACTORS - IT WASN’T EASY IMPROVING PERFECT.

Item/model may not be exactly as shown.

If you owned a John Deere 6030 or 7030 Series Tractor, you know why they were so popular. Some owners even called them “perfect.” But we just couldn’t leave well enough alone—not with the ever-changing demands of today’s agriculture. We engineered the 6M Series Tractors in response to those demands. Six models are offered from 105 to 170 horsepower.* ReƟned John Deere PowerTech™ engines offer more performance from every drop of diesel. (And yes, diesel is the only fuel you need.) We increased the hydraulic performance up to 45 percent. Hitch capacity went up. Loader cycle times went down. There are now a variety of transmission choices for fast loader work, and fast transport. And optional, PowerFill™ Brakes give you better stopping with less effort. See what else we did to make great tractors even better. Visit your John Deere dealer to learn more. *Manufacturer’s estimate of power (ISO) per 97/68/ED.

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