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JUNE/JULY 2013 $3.00






Steve Eby, Kincardine, Ont.

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one of nature’s beauties!

Sending your cows to grass is one of the most rewarding times of year for Canadian beef producers. Enjoy your summer! Canadian Angus Association

See you at Showdown July 25-27 in Armstrong, BC! Late entries are due June 20. Visit showdown.htm for more information.

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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:



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, Elnora, AB T0M 1K0 (403) 325-1695 Fax (403) 944-5562 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: President: Bob Willcox Glacier Media Agricultural Information Group Email:

The Eby family relies on pasture and hay rather than silage-based feedlot rations. PHOTO: OCA



FEATURES Spring seeding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Contents of Cattlemen are copyrighted and may be reproduced only when written permission is obtained from the editor and proper credit is given to Cattlemen.

The Haukaas Bale Cart… changing the way bales are moved . . . . . .11

Cattlemen and Canadian Cattlemen are Trade Marks of Farm Business Communications. Cattlemen is published monthly (with the exception of July and 2 issues in January and October) by Farm Business Communications. Head office: Winnipeg, Manitoba. Printed by Transcontinental LGMC. Cattlemen is printed with linseed oil-based inks.

A feedlot with a forage foundation . . . . . 12

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Coyote control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

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Benchmarking Canadian beef quality. . . 16

Benchmarking 16 Canadian beef quality Improvements in the past decade.

How fat and heavy do they need to be? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

DEPARTMENTS Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Newsmakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6


Nutrition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26


Our commitment to your privacy: At Farm Business Communications we have a firm commitment to protecting your privacy and security as our customer. Farm Business Communications will only collect personal information if it is required for the proper functioning of our business. As part of our commitment to enhance customer service, we may share this personal information with other strategic business partners. For more information regarding our Customer Information Privacy Policy, write to: Information Protection Officer, Farm Business Communications, 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 0H1. Occasionally we make our list of subscribers available to other reputable firms whose products and services might be of interest to you. If you would prefer not to receive such offers, please contact us at the address in the preceding paragraph, or call 1-800-665-1362.

Celebrating 100 years with 4-H Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Verified Beef Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Circulation inquiries: Call toll-free 1-800-665-1362 or email: U.S. subscribers call 1-204-944-5766

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.

Mature cereal forage is better than you might think . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Holistic Ranching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Vet Advice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Coyote control An asset or a problem?



Research on the Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 CCA Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Straight from the Hip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Prime Cuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 News Roundup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

To our May survey winner, Sheila Hillmer of Del Bonita, Alta. This month’s survey is on page 40.

Purely Purebred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Cover Photo: Our photo is supplied by the Eby family

Sales and Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

The Markets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Market Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

C A T T L E M E N · J U N E / J U LY 2 0 1 3



By Gren Winslow

irradiation is the next step Is Ottawa serious about its safe food policy?


ver the next two years the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will be adding regulatory teeth to the government’s new Safe Food for Canadians Act passed last November. It came as no surprise that the government chose to begin with the fight against E. coli 0157:H7 in federal beef plants. The fiasco at the XL Foods plant in Brooks was a crippling blow to the Canadian beef business and a serious black eye to the people who regulate the industry. We can only hope this reboot will be a good first step to ensuring that it never happens again. Plants have until July 2 to adjust to the new regulations although the larger plants are probably already compliant with the new testing protocols that deal primarily with trim and grinding cuts that go into hamburger products. It may take a little more time for federally registered plants that produce mechanically tenderized cuts such as roasts and steaks to get set up to meet the new requirement to label these as tenderized products and include instructions on how to cook the meat to a safe temperature. As a followup Health Canada is planning to bring in mandatory retail labelling requirements on tenderized meat products to make sure this information, including the cooking instructions, is passed along to consumers. Right now it’s a voluntary practice. The new regulations spell out in greater detail the preventive measures and testing requirements that beef must be subjected to as it moves through the system. Plants that make beef trim, ground beef and patties will have to conduct additional testing and develop protocols outlining how they will review and respond to trends that develop in their testing for E. coli 0157:H7. The regs also spell out clearly that plants must provide production and distribution information requested by CFIA by a specific deadline and in a usable format. That is something that became a real bone of contention between CFIA and people at XL. CFIA is also promising to increase the number and frequency of its own tests in plants that produce beef trim, especially from April to October when the incidence of 0157:H7 is higher. This is in addition to the normal testing done by the plant. When CFIA finds a positive sample the plant will be required to do followup testing to verify the effectiveness of their controls. All of this is fine as far as it goes. Extra testing and tighter regulation improves the odds that a plant won’t ship out a load contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7, but it’s far from a sure thing. The E. coli bacteria is too elusive for that. You can order 60 random samples yielding 325 grams of material from each lot, which can be up to


C a t t l e m e n · J u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

4,500 kilograms of beef, and still miss the bit harbouring the bad bacteria. To go the next step we need Health Canada to accept the latest application by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CAA) to allow irradiation of beef in Canada. The fact that the industry is still seeking approval for a technique that is already approved in the U.S. and has been researched to death borders on silly. The CCA first applied for irradiation on ground beef in 1998 and after it was intensively tested and shown to be safe and effective at reducing harmful organisms it received a favourable recommendation from Health Canada in 2000. After that it went back on the shelf in some bureaucrat’s office and never made it to the final approval stage.

 ou can order 60 random Y samples from each lot, which can be up to 4,500 kilograms of beef, and still miss the bit harbouring the bad bacteria

This time around should be different. Irradiation is approved for meat in the U.S. at doses up to seven kilo Gray (kGy) and has been proven safe for up to 60 kGy. A recent study paid for by cattle producers and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster tested an electronbeam dose of one kGy on fresh beef trim inoculated with a mixture of 0157:H7 and other non-0157 E. coli and several servovars of salmonella. Even that low dose killed 99.99 per cent of the E. coli and 99 per cent of the salmonella. It was less effective on salmonella in frozen beef but that was overcome by dipping the beef in five per cent lactic acid before freezing. Better yet the irradiation had no significant effect on colour, aroma, texture, juiciness and flavour of the beef. This time the CCA’s bid has the support of not only the Canadian Meat Council but also the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC). A 2012 Angus Reid survey for the CAC found 66 per cent of consumers would support having irradiated beef available in stores — about the same percentage that were concerned about bacterial contamination in hamburger. If Ottawa is serious about its safe food policy it needs to add irradiation to the beef industry’s tool box. c

Your hay supply is running low. You’ve got the first cutting down under a darkening sky. Be ready with Case IH RB4 series round balers. Wide pickups, shot-peened tines, in-cab controls, and a simple net wrap system deliver reliable performance season after season. Ground-level access ensures routine maintenance and adjustments are quick and easy. Choose from a range of models and sizes that are ready to bale up everything from hay to waterway grass to cornstalks. To learn more see your Case IH dealer or visit us at

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NewsMakers The government is predicting cattle producers in Quebec and Eastern Canada will see a drop in their deadstock costs with the opening last month of a biomass boiler plant at the Sanimax rendering facility in Levis near Quebec City. Ottawa put up half the $15.5 million needed to build the plant in the form of a repayable loan to the company. The plant can incinerate 10,350 tonnes of processed SRM annually while reducing the plant’s CO2 emissions by 22,000 tonnes. A federal government release states tipping fees paid to abattoirs for the disposal of SRM have gone down by $22.50 per tonne, while the cost of picking up deadstock has decreased from $90 to $40 per head. Meanwhile federal slaughter numbers continue to fall in Quebec and the Maritime provinces following the closure

Letters Ivermectin has minimal effect on dung beetle numbers

This letter is in response to an article in the April 2013 issue of Canadian Cattlemen, Do We Need to Worm Livestock at Turnout by Dr. Roy Lewis. We would like to provide some clarification to the comment in the article “avermectin products do a good job on lice in the fall and remove some of the internal worms.” IVOMEC (one of several avermectin products) has one of the broadest ranges of coverage for internal parasites of any dewormer on the market (as per the product label) as well as against external parasites such as lice. I cannot speak to all of the different avermectin products on the market, but Merial has provided trial data to Health Canada to get these broad label claims for IVOMEC. It is mentioned in the article that ivermectin is excreted in the manure following treatment and that it kills the dung beetle. While it is true that a significant amount of ivermectin and its metabolites are passed in the manure after treatment, the levels pres-


C a t t l e m e n · J u n e / J u ly 2 0 1 3

of the Levinoff-Colbex beef plant. Quebec/ Atlantic cattle slaughter has plunged 75 per cent since mid-May last year. Cow slaughter in the same regions is down 93 per cent. Alberta cattle veterinarian Dr. Pat Burrage has been elected as  president  of  the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency. He represents the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association on the agency’s  19-member industry-led  board. Dr. Pat Burrage Ron Versteeg of Dairy Farmers of Canada is vice-chair and Canadian Bison Association representative Terry Kremeniuk was ent are not toxic to the mature egg-laying dung beetle. There are toxic effects on the larval (immature) stages of dung beetles in the manure pat, but this is relatively short lived and does not persist beyond two to four weeks. Although there are short-term changes seen, over the longer term the effects on the dung beetle population are minimal. There have been numerous studies done over the years to assess the impact of ivermectin residues on the breakdown of the fecal pat. There have been no consistent results showing a negative impact on the rate of dung degradation in the natural pasture situation. Other factors such as weather, moisture conditions, type of forage, and stocking density all have a significant effect on how quickly the dung pat breaks down, with variations from year to year. Animals also play a large role in the breakdown of the pat as they trample them when walking. Dr. Kevin Floate, a researcher at the Lethbridge Research Centre, concludes in a review article (Endectocide use in cattle and fecal residues: environmental effects in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 2006; 70: 1-10): “Within an industry context, the current pattern of endectocide use in Canada is unlikely to pose a significant widespread threat to pasture environments. Most treatments

re-elected as finance and audit committee chair. Mark Elford of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and Livestock Markets Association of Canada representative Rick Wright fill out the executive as directors at large. Shannon Benner has been named as the chief executive officer of 4-H Canada. She was appointed in April just in time to take part in the 100th anniversary celebrations for 4-H in Canada marked by a centennial gala on May 30 in Winnipeg.   Art Cochrane of Onanole, Man., was presented with the 2013 Kenny Ivester Memorial Award at the mid-winter meeting of the Continued on page 8

are applied in autumn to cattle entering feedlots. Residues degrade during winter months before being further diluted via incorporation into cropland, where they appear to degrade readily, according to available study results.” http://www.ncbi. pdf/cjvr70pg001.pdf As well, it would be remiss of me not to point out that Dr. Lewis and myself are both veterinarians working for pharmaceutical companies with specific products that are mentioned in the article and in this letter. I am a technical services veterinarian for Merial Canada Inc. (IVOMEC). It is my understanding that Dr. Roy Lewis is associated with a pharmaceutical company (SAFE-GUARD). For the future, I would suggest that you request from your authors to disclose their business relationship, whether an employee of a company or association with a veterinary clinic, for the benefit of your readers. As stated by Dr. Lewis, if your readers have any questions with regards to a parasite control program for their herd or farm, the best person to consult is their own veterinarian, as they know their situation the best and can tailor a program to fit their individual needs. Tim Nickel DVM Merial Canada Inc. (IVOMEC)

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n ews m a k e rs Continued from page 6

National High School Rodeo Association in Fort Worth, Texas for his long service and dedication to the sport. Cochrane has been involved with youth rodeo since he helped organize a high school rodeo association in Manitoba in 1995. Dr. Duncan Hockley is the new director of the Veterinary  Medical  Centre (VMC) at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. After graduation, Hockley spent five years as a veterinarian and Dr. Duncan Hockley co-owner of a mixed animal clinic in southern Saskatchewan before he moved into the animal health field. Prior to heading the VMC he was the director of global veterinary services at Bioniche Life Sciences in Belleville, Ont. Scott Campbell of Killarney Auction Sales has won the Manitoba/Saskatchewan auctioneering championship held in Whitewood, Sask., in late April. Tyler Slawinski

who sells at the Gladstone and Ashern yards came in second, and Ryan Hulbert of Prince Albert, Sask. came in third. Campbell now competes at the national competition this month at the Calgary Public Stockyards in Strathmore, Alta., in conjunction with the Livestock Markets Association of Canada annual meeting. Dr. Pritpal Malhi has joined the anatomic pathology team at the Prairie Diagnostic Services lab in Saskatoon. He spent three years with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Lethbridge before taking a residency in veterinary pathology at Kansas State University. He was certified in anatomic pathology in 2012. Annemarie Pedersen, the stakeholder communications manager at Canada Beef Inc. has been appointed director of industry relations. Dr. John Kastelic of the University of Calgary has been selected to receive the Merck Veterinary Award for 2013 at the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association awards ceremony next month in Victoria. The award

was instituted by Merck Animal Health to further enhance progress in large-animal science. Kastelic has devoted most of his professional career to fundamental and applied research in bovine theriogenology. For 22 years he worked at the Agriculture Canada Lethbridge Research Centre where he was widely recognized as a world expert in scrotal/testicular thermoregulation in bulls. He has written widely on breeding soundness evaluation and the effects of nutrition on puberty and reproductive potential in the bull, and he published 145 peer-reviewed manuscripts, with over 40 of those published in the last five years. In 2012, he was appointed a professor at the University of Calgary, faculty of veterinary medicine. Two months later he became the head of the Department of Production Animal Health. Dr. Lysa Porth has been appointed to fill the inaugural Guy Carpenter Professorship in Agriculture Risk Management and Insurance recently established in the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Porth was previously an assistant professor of statistics and actuarial science at the University of Waterloo. c

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What’s better than sitting down with a coffee and the latest edition of Cattlemen? How about getting the latest ag & livestock news on your smartphone with Cattlemen Mobile. Visit today to download the app or text “cc” to 393939 to be sent the link. Standard text messaging rates apply. Part of the


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2013-14 Marketing Plan Summary Our Objectives

Critical Success Factors

1. To have Canadian beef recognized for its premium quality, safety and value in priority markets

• Commercially viable access for all eligible Canadian beef and veal processing plants to key export markets

2. Utilize priority markets to drive incremental value

• Consistent availability of supply

3. To enhance Canadian beef brand loyalty

• Elimination of non-tariff trade barriers in key export markets

4. To preserve/maintain consumer confidence in the Canadian beef industry

Key Performance Measures

5. Align industry stakeholders to foster collaborative, sustainable Canadian beef solutions

Canada Beef received recommendations from beef industry leaders regarding performance measures. These include the use of both long and short term results indicators including:

Strategic Marketing Priorities

• Canadian versus US Cutout Value • Market Share of Domestic Market • Retail Demand Index • Wholesale Demand Index • International Demand Index • Consumer Confidence in Canadian Beef • Increased Commitment to the Canadian Beef Brand by Targeted Customers • Foreign Buyer Perception of Canadian Beef versus Global Competitors • Domestic Buyer Awareness and Understanding of CanadianBeef Advantage Attributes • Return on Stakeholder Investment for Marketing Efforts

1. Stakeholder Connectivity: Take a leadership position in a collaborative effort to enhance the industry’s ability to respond to challenges, communicate a consistent Canadian beef brand message and transparently measure and communicate the benefits delivered through National Check-off investment in Canada Beef Inc. 2. Brand Differentiation: Ongoing development and communication of a differentiated brand position for Canadian beef, leveraging the unique attributes of the Canadian Beef Advantage (CBA). 3. Market Segmentation and Development: Targeting markets and segments that represent opportunities for incremental value and return on marketing investment. 4. Product and Industry Image: Enhance perceptions of Canadian beef from a product and industry perspective.


A Dynamic Canadian Beef Advantage Delivering Recognized Value


Creating Innovative, Collaborative and Sustainable Canadian Beef Solutions

Connect, Consult, Communicate and Collaborate


By Steve Kenyon


pring is here and it is high time to get some seeding done around Greener Pastures. I am a bit different than most ranchers as I do not have much in the way of equipment. How does one seed a crop without a tractor? I have a quad-mounted spreader that I spread legumes out onto my pastures with each spring. I have also seeded legumes through the cow in the mineral. Either way, if I have a pasture that I think could use a little nitrogen, or they are generally in poor shape, I want to add in some legume to give them a natural boost. Sorry, but if the air I breath is 78 per cent nitrogen, why would I ever buy any? Common sense tells me to get it for free. Nitrogen comes from the air. We need legumes and soil organisms to get it and we need the cattle to recycle it. I believe that there is more economic loss in agriculture today from the fear of bloat, than we would ever get from bloat. The real loss is because we are so scared of losing a few cows to bloat, that we will spend 20 years paying for nitrogen that we could have been getting for free all along. Manage for bloat, it’s what good managers do, and I guess if you have some losses, well at least those ‘bloat-sensitive’ genetics are no longer in your herd! The problem with our industry is that we have no patience. We have been trained to need the quick fix.


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Establishing legumes in your pastures takes some time and management but they are a long-term solution to the problem, not a quick fix. The issue I have with the quick fix is that it has to be done every year. If you address the problem, the symptom goes away. Frost seeding has been my most effective way of seeding. I like to spread the legumes in the spring after the snow is gone but when we still have some nights that are below freezing. The warming up of the frozen ground in the morning actually helps get the seed the soil contact it needs. If you missed the frost seeding, as I sometimes do, it’s not a big deal. Just get the seeds out there anyway. If the rains come right you should still get a decent catch. We were seeding about 300 acres a day this way. It is not that accurate but it is cheap and easy and most years quite effective. I have had some years when it is very dry that the seeds just don’t catch with broadcasting. Frost seeding seems to be more reliable. If you did not get a chance to spread the legumes, then seeding through the cow can still get you going. I have added legume seed to the mineral in the past with fairly good success, if you are thinking long term. If there is a bush area that you cannot get to with a spreader, then mineral seeding is a good option. It might not seem like you are getting a good catch but in the long term, it is working.

“What should I seed?” is the most asked question I get. If you are going to seed, should you not seed something that is native to your environment? What I seed will not necessarily work in your environment. I like to ask what is the “weed” in your lawn? Where I live, we get clover that invades our lawns and most people spend a fortune trying to get rid of it. So what is my advice to me on what legume to seed in my pastures? Clovers. I was in Ontario awhile back and I saw a yellow “weed” growing in the lawns out there. Birdsfoot trefoil is a legume and grows wild there. What do you have native to your area? Use that. I actually use a mixture of clovers in my mix, roughly a third of each white clover, red clover and sweet clover to seed on my established pastures. The white clover is a lower-producing, longer-lived legume compared to the red clover that is higher producing but shorter lived. These two are seeded as forage and nitrogen-fixing plants. Sweet clover on the other hand has another purpose. It is a very coarse plant that is not that palatable. However, it has a very strong root system that can penetrate six to eight feet into the soil. It is a biannual that sometimes needs a drought year to get it to germinate. It is a pioneer species and if you have ever heard my weed talk you will know that pioneer species are very strong plants and can heal the land. My sweet clover is actually seeded as a soil amendment, not so much as a forage. I have actually seen sweet clover germinate five years after it was seeded. It is particularly helpful to the land after a drought year. As a bonus, it also fixes nitrogen. I’m sorry that my seeding methods don’t need any fancy equipment. They are not new and they are not worth bragging to the neighbour about, but I do find them to be cost effective and easy to do. If that sounds more like your idea of a seeding season, give it a try. I think in the long run you will be better off. I better get the spreader on. Have a great season. c Steve Kenyon runs Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd. in Busby, Alta.,, 780-307-6500, email

 equipme n t

By Debbie Furber

The HAUKAAS BALE CART changing the way bales are moved


ome saline fields best suited to forages and frustration pushed Greg Haukaas and his father Duane of Mortlach, Sask., to design a more efficient bale mover that can gather, carry and group bales for stacking or loading onto a semi-trailer. It accumulates round bales in groups of 10, five on each side of the mainframe. When unloaded, the chambers leave the bales in two rows with enough space between for a semi with a trailer to drive between them for loading and still have enough clearance to pull out loaded. The tractor operator works from the side of the row loading two bales at a time on the trailer tube style. The top row is loaded in the same manner. In this way 30 bales can be loaded on a 53-foot trailer in a little over 11 minutes. Up to four miles the bale cart can be as efficient at moving bales as loading them on and off a trailer. After that, the advantage goes to the trailer unit, depending on the length and what’s pulling it. The Haukaas Bale Cart comes road ready with safety lights and chains. The fully raised chambers ride on the mainframe in an over-centre position auto locked for double security. The unit weighs 10,000 pounds and is carried on four flotation highway implement tires with 5,500-pound load ratings on walking axles. It is rugged enough to move bales over rough fields or roads but needs at least 100 horsepower to safely pull when loaded. For field travel, both chambers are lowered to 14 inches above the ground. As the driver approaches a bale, the chamber on that side is lowered to the ground so it slides over the bale then the chamber is raised to the 14-inch position until they come to the next bale. A mechanical height indicator on the front of the frame simplifies the job for novice operators. The chambers are factory set to handle 64to 72-inch-diameter bales weighing up to 1,800 pounds. The lower rail of the chamber can be adjusted for 48- to 62-inch bales. Two hydraulic cylinders on each side control the height of the chambers. Flotation springs let the chambers float free from

This cart gathers 10 bales at a time for transporting. 

the hydraulics when fully lowered putting less stress on the lower rails so the chambers follow the contour of the land. The design was patented in 2001 and the first bale cart for sale, then marketed as the Quick Pick Bale Mover, rolled off the line in 2006. The 2013 model is the first to boast the new name, Haukaas Bale Cart, and has all greaseless poly-lube Teflon bushings at high-wear stress points and greaseless Nylaton ES bushings at remaining wear points for no-grease maintenance with the exception of the wheel hubs. A kit is available to upgrade older models.

second cut will row bale groups off the field and then pull the cart between the rows to reload the groups for feeding. The bales can be dropped one at a time on the go when the rear gate on the bale chamber is opened. It’s safe to cut the strings beforehand once the chamber is fully raised and locked. Until this year, sales to Western Canada and the U.S. were handled from the plant at Mortlach but they have since started to establish a dealer network in Western Canada. They also have representatives in Russia and Ukraine.

Bale-handling suggestions

A rotating double-bale grapple, introduced last fall, is designed for making the most efficient use of space in the stackyard. Bales are grabbed in twos and rotated to place them on their flat ends one on top of the other and then a single row of bales is placed two at a time on the round side to cap off the row, mushroom style. Pyramid and mushroom stacks have their weak spots as far as shedding water is concerned, however, mushroom stacking takes up the least space, and eliminates the problem of wild game climbing the stack, or twine and net wrap freezing to the ground. A standard double grapple will be added this summer to their lineup. For more information, contact Haukaas Manufacturing at 306-355-2718, or visit c

With experience they have found the most efficient way to clear off a field is to place the bales in groups across the centre of the field. That shortens the travel time for the bale cart operator compared to taking each load to the headland because the bale cart works half the field at a time. In their own trials they removed 320 bales from a field in six hours, which works out to 53 bales per man-hour. Sorting poor-quality or weedy bales out of the main groups is accomplished by dropping the culls in separate groups, then going back later to make full loads to move them off the field. Customers who bale graze and want a

New for 2013

C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3


 feeding

By Debbie Furber



ime flies and the Canadian beef industry has seen some significant changes since Steve Eby took over the family farm near Kincardine, Ont., nearly two decades ago, yet the combination of a beef feedlot with a grazing component and a bit of cash cropping on the side continues to be a solid combination for this family farm. Given the price of farmland, which has reached upwards of $8,000 an acre in this fertile region along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, Eby looks at future growth potential from the standpoint of producing more from his present land base rather than physically expanding. His strategy for the grazing side of the operation includes intensifying the rotation to optimize pasture production, renewing old pastures using new forage varieties with improved yield potential, and taking advantage of new tools to utilize forages more efficiently. On the feedlot side, they are considering updating some of the buildings to facilitate growth without increasing the land base. He and his dad got their first taste of rotational grazing back in the early 1980s when electric fencing became a viable option. At


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that time, one of their farms had a 75-acre pasture and subdividing it to rotate the cattle through several paddocks allowed them to increase the carrying capacity by 20 to 30 per cent. The University of Guelph had done some research they were able to adopt, but other than that, he’d say they’ve learned from the school of hard knocks. Today, he and his dad operate their own businesses but share the workload and some equipment. His brother also grasses a few yearlings as part of the enterprise. Currently on his own farm, each paddock is about four acres and he manages grazing to take half of the forage and leave half. The cattle may be moved as often as every 12 hours early in the season, and once a day later in May and early June. His first choice for managing peak forage growth during that period is to increase stocking density and pull the calves off when moisture declines and temperatures rise in the later part of summer. The second option is haying when forage growth gets too far ahead of grazing. “It’s all in the plan, but I don’t know what the plan will be each year until I’m almost there,” Eby says.

His mainstay for pasture and hay production is a blend of 50 per cent alfalfa with reed canary grass, perennial ryegrass and orchardgrass. Over the past 15 years or so, the alfalfa content has dwindled to near zero while native Kentucky bluegrass has filled in. There’s nothing wrong with the feed quality of Kentucky bluegrass, he says, it’s just not highly productive because it goes dormant in hot weather, creating a slump in forage production around the middle of July. Alfalfa continues to grow through the summer heat waves. He likes birdsfoot trefoil as a forage legume, though it’s more of a summerfall crop and persists for only three or four years. A convenient aspect of birdsfoot trefoil and clovers is that they can be frost seeded in early spring by broadcasting two to four pounds per acre onto an existing pasture and letting the freeze-thaw action pull the seed into the ground. Frost seeding isn’t recommended for alfalfa, so the old pastures will have to be reseeded to get a high percentage of alfalfa back into the stands. He is thinking about upping the alfalfa Continued on page 14


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The Eby family relies on pasture and hay rather than silage-based feedlot rations. Continued from page 12

in the mix to about 80 per cent now that Alfasure is back on the market. Having some grass content is important because of the variable soil types prone to challenges where grasses persist and outperform alfalfa, he explains. Last year’s come-and-go spring did a lot of damage to the legume base and even set back some of the orchardgrass, which is usually very winter hardy. The forages came to life under temperatures that reached 28 C in mid-March, only to be knocked back by hard April frosts. A handful of 40 C days with high humidity during the summer took a toll on the alfalfa, too. Though his farm isn’t in the worst of the drought area, yields were about half of the usual 4.0 to 4.5 tonnes of dry hay per acre, given reasonable growing conditions to get two cuts a season. They were OK for hay, but still fed straw for the first time. That’s not only the first time since he purchased the feedlot in 1994, but the first time since his dad started feeding and grassing cattle back in the early 1970s. Straw isn’t typically used in feedlot rations in this part of the country because their hay crops are usually so abundant. “We have removed 250 acres of hay and pasture during the past few years, partly to rejuvenate them in time, but also to increase crop production,” Eby says. They grow winter wheat and soybeans as cash crops and he purchases grain for the feedlot. Their corn-based rations include wet corn distillers grain from a local ethanol plant, dry-shelled corn and wheat, but may include corn screenings. The roughage component is now hay rather than silage because of stressful years when it was too wet to take the corn as silage and it had to be salvaged for grain at the end of the season


Photo: OCA

by a neighbour who had tracks on the combine. It’s not unusual for the area to receive lots of precipitation in the fall, whereas, he can always count on the weather to cooperate for haying earlier in the summer. Eby says there’s a major trend in his area toward plowing down pasture to grow grain — mainly corn, wheat and soybeans. Tile drainage and new crop varieties suited to the Grey/Bruce climate have helped make crop production more of a sure thing in the region over the past decade. “It is encouraging to see the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Beef Cattle Research Council adopt forages as an opportunity because forages are the basis of beef production,” says Eby, who represents the feedlot sector on the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association board of directors. “From a research standpoint we want to see the pushes in the right place. Canada is a big country with differing climates, so we want to remind our governments and institutions that research needs to be across the country.” Feedlot management

When Eby’s cattle aren’t out grazing, they are housed in pens under cover because of the wet conditions. His area can get up to 30 inches a year as rain and snow falling on ground that rarely freezes solid for any length of time. His newest building is a Cover-All type, with  natural  ventilation  controlled  by opening and closing the curtained side opposite the feed bunk side. It has a concrete floor for the bedding pack as do the older wood-frame buildings. One building showing some age and targeted for eventual replacement is an older-style slatted floor barn with a pit below to catch the manure. For the most part he buys 500- to

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600-weight calves in the fall and/or 600- to 700-pound stockers early in the year. Fall-purchased calves receive a grower ration to take them up to about 800 pounds by early May when they go to grass. He’ll pull them in mid-July at about 1,000 pounds to finish in the feedlot by December-January. The second option is to background them up to about 1,000 pounds by March and then put them on a finishing ration to be ready for the August market. The calves purchased in the new year go to grass in May and stay out until September, depending on pasture conditions. They can be sold off pasture or go into the feedlot to market in February-March. “This spreads out the buying and selling patterns,” Eby explains. “It’s also how the pastures tie into the feedlot because we’re not forced to sell at certain times of the year.” Last year, he marketed 1,400 fats, he and his dad sold 300 yearlings off grass, and his brother sold another 100 yearlings off grass. Eby’s feedlot is certified under the Ontario Corn-Fed Beef program, which he says has really taken off again in the last two years and gives him a nice marketing option. The program requires cattle to be finished on an 80 per cent corn-based ration to provide nutritional consistency and meat quality consistency right through to the consumer. His order buyer sources easy-finishing types of cattle from the local markets throughout Bruce County and the Prairies. They’re usually one-third to half British bred, but experience has taught him that a good calf is never a wrong colour. Half Red Angus-half Charolais crosses perform well and are easy to finish. He’s had success with three-quarter Charolais-Angus calves as well, the trick being to get them on to the finishing ration at 900 to 1,000 pounds because of the larger frame size. This way, they’ll be around 1,500 pounds going out, whereas, waiting until they get upwards of 1,100 pounds to start the finishing ration puts them into the 1,600- to 1,700-pound range as fats. Straight Angus cattle going on to the finishing ration at a similar weight will finish out around 1,400. Eby who prefers to work with known genetics and strings with solid health programs that work into his feedlot health program has been sharing information with select cow-calf producers whose cattle suit his operation. He doesn’t buy directly from ranches, but lets them know what sales his buyer will be attending and finds out when and where they will be selling their calves. It seems to work well for both parties. c

 marketi ng

By Mark Klassen

Benchmarking Canadian Beef Quality Nearly everything has gotten better in the past decade


he ultimate goal of the Canadian beef industry is 100 per cent consumer satisfaction with the products we produce. It has been said that you can’t manage what you don't measure and for this reason the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has conducted National Beef Quality Audits (NBQA) in 1998-99, 2001 and most recently from 2009 to 2011. We compared carcass quality at major meat-processing facilities over that time and in the last two audits tracked consumer satisfaction with Canadian beef steaks sold at retail grocery stores. The results of the latest audit were released this spring. Consumer  satisfaction  data  was  collected in Calgary, Toronto, London and Montreal where more than 1,000 people were randomly selected at shopping malls to try some steaks at home and record their impressions. Boneless cross rib, top sirloin, inside round and strip loin steaks were tested to gain reactions to different portions of the carcass. A professional interviewer contacted each consumer after they ate their steak and asked them to rate it for tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall satisfaction on a scale of one to 10. Samples of the same types of steaks taken from the same stores were also subjected to laboratory tests for tenderness and shelf life. Key Retail Results

When the scores for all the steaks were combined, consumer satisfaction with tenderness, juiciness and flavour were higher in 2010-11 than in 2001 with the overall satisfaction level rising from 73 per cent in 2001 to 80 per cent today. Laboratory measurements backed up the consumer comments as every type of steak was found to be significantly more tender than the steaks in 2001. Sheer forced tests conducted at the AAFC Lacombe Research Centre found the percentage of steaks that required only a standard amount of force to cut them rose from 89 to 99 per cent for strip loins, 70 to 87 per cent for top sirloin, 52 to 61 per cent for inside round and 65 to 76 per cent between 2001 and 2011. This improvement is more likely due to the increased use of interventions such as


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Quality grades have trended higher while yield grades have moved lower in recent years.


Table 1: Percentage of Canadian Consumers Satisfied with Eating Quality Attributes Attribute
















Overall Rating




*A satisfied consumer in this study is defined as one who gave a rating of 7/10 or higher for the attribute being evaluated.


mechanical tenderization and enhanced aging protocols as well as the cumulative impact of enhanced practices throughout the supply chain than to any changes to consumer behaviour when it comes to selecting optimal cooking methods. Shelf life as measured by microbiological testing also appears to have improved over the past decade. Although this component was not tested in the 2001 NBQA, it is possible to benchmark the 2011 findings against other data collected from that time. The conclusion is the level of spoilage bacteria on retail beef in Canada today is 10 per cent (or less) of what it was around 2001. This means that in addition to offering enhanced eating quality, Canadian retail steaks now likely have a longer shelf life in a consumer’s refrigerator. Key Carcass Results

The five Canadian slaughter plants that participated in the 2011 NBQA slaughter more than 75 per cent of cattle processed in Canada. Each plant was visited in the fall of 2010, and again during the winter and spring of 2011 to capture seasonal trends in carcass quality. Cattle were assessed on the slaughter floor for brands, horns, and a variety of carcass quality defects. Grading results were also evaluated. On the slaughter floor the NBQA identified several areas where progress has been made. The number of cattle with brands has been reduced by more than half since the last audit. While branding is a very useful means of identifying ownership, growing animal welfare concerns and the impact of brands on hide values suggest this reduction is a positive factor for the industry. There has also been a significant reduction in the amount of bruising on fed cattle. This is due in part to the significant reduction in the number of horned cattle moving through the supply chain today. More than 85 per cent of the fed and non-fed cattle moving through the five plants in the latest audit were polled or without horns. The one area that is still marked for improvement is the level of liver abscesses moving through the plants. It was significantly higher in 2010-11 than in 1998-99. Analysis of Canadian grading results over time showed a trend towards higher carcass quality grade and larger rib-eye areas, while the average yield grade has tended to decrease over time. Some have suggested improvements in quality grade may come at the expense of lean meat yield and result in less efficiency in the Canadian cattle

 Qua l i ty g r a d e p e rc e n tag e o f Ca na d i a n Catt le





60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2002










 Y i e l d c lass p e rc e n tag e o f Ca na d i a n Cat t le




70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2002





production system and more overfinished cattle. A potential increase in dark cutting beef carcasses was also noted. The estimated cost of all types of quality defects observed in the 2010-11 audit was found to be $61.80 per head slaughtered for a total cost to the Canadian industry of $197.2 million. While the length of time since the previous audit has made comparisons difficult, it appears the cost of defects has decreased since the 1998-99 estimate of $82.62/head and $273.7 million. Conclusion

The results of the most recent National Beef Quality Audit indicates that over time the






Canadian industry has made measurable progress in regards to consumer satisfaction with eating quality, tenderness, retail shelf life and reducing the cost of quality defects. These findings are a testament to the efforts of the many individuals who contribute to the quality of Canadian beef across the supply chain. The National Beef Quality Audit is supported by the Canadian Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster, through funding provided by the Beef Cattle Research Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. c Mark Klassen is director of technical services for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

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 predato rs

By Debbie Furber

COYOTE CONTROL A resident coyote family can be a real asset or a huge problem depending on their taste in prey

The wily coyote moniker is justified with these quiet predators. PHOTO: Perry Reavley


o doubt sheep and cattle producers whose stock has become regular fare for coyotes believe in the old adage that the only good coyote is a dead coyote, but not all coyotes kill livestock. And those that don’t are by far your best line of defence to keep the killer types at bay, says Perry Reavley, owner-operator of Critter Gitter Wildlife Control Services at Regina Beach, Sask., and one of the predator control specialists contracted by the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation to limit livestock predation and assist with investigating claims. “Coyotes are very territorial with one family per territory. If you haven’t had kills, removing the dominant male makes way for another to move in. If the new one has an appetite for veal or mutton, then you will have a problem on your hands,” Reavley explains. Typically, a coyote with a taste for calves will wait up to 100 yards away from a cow in labour and get to the calf as it leaves the birth canal. Sometimes the cow can be lost as well if damage to the hind end is severe. When the natural food supply is scarce, coyotes will target older calves and even yearlings. “In spring, the hunting coyote will always be the dominant male and the goal of the frequent killings is to get food to the female with pups because she won’t leave the pups until they have learned to hunt and are able to survive on their own.” Even then, the


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youngsters won’t stray too far from their parents’ territory and may return to form a hunting pack for the winter. Coyotes prefer to hunt alone or with one or two others, but will pack up if it helps to obtain food, by running down larger prey, when conditions make it tough to provide for themselves. Forty years of hunting and trapping experience has led Reavley to believe that if a pair of coyotes is responsible for the killings at calving time, it won’t be a mating pair. Last year alone, not one of the 517 coyotes he removed was a nursing female. One female taken in August showed signs of having had pups earlier that year. None of the females removed throughout the summer had pups, indicating that not all females have pups every year. He’s also observed coyotes making contact with their siblings and offspring from previous litters. The dominant male will call in a family member from another territory to help with hunting when necessary. When two coyotes are killing calves and the dominant male is removed, it will only be a matter of a few days before another will arrive to assist with providing food for the family. Many times he has seen the alpha female call in siblings to provide for her and the pups after the dominant male has been removed. A dominant male’s territory will vary in size depending on the food supply. He and the female are likely to stay year round

if food is plentiful. If the dominant male leaves for the winter, he may return in spring. Should another male have claimed the territory, then the confrontation is on to determine which one will stay. Reavley says coyotes can live up to 15 years in captivity, but those in the wild don’t have it so easy and may live only half as long. Even at that, a coyote that doesn’t bother livestock and stays in a territory around your operation can offer many years of protection for your herd. Conversely, losses will quickly add up if it’s one that prefers to take the easy path preying on young calves and teaching its pups to do the same. Coyotes’ natural food sources are chiefly deer, rodents and rabbits, but they will eat anything plant or animal, alive or dead, which leads to Reavley’s second control tip — bury, compost or burn dead animals. An open deadstock pile is an invitation for supper and will put coyotes and other predators a step closer to wanting to kill livestock. Moving the calving area won’t stop the predation if the cattle remain in the killing coyote’s territory. A coyote family with a taste for livestock isn’t beyond sneaking into the edge of another coyote’s territory to steal a meal then leave the area and return every week or so. Likewise, moving the calving grounds to open spaces away from bush won’t be effective because coyotes are native to the open plains, where they are skilled hunters with keen senses of sight, hearing and smell. One control measure that often differentiates producers who experience predation problems from those who don’t is the presence of guardian dogs. Excellent guardian dogs are definitely worth their weight in gold, Reavley says, but most of his clients have guard dogs and will attest that anything less than excellent is not good enough when it comes to predator control. Large dogs that are house pets can discourage coyotes from stalking the farmyard, which is an important consideration for families with young children. “Coyotes typically avoid people, but a coyote desperate for a meal is capable of some extreme behaviour,” Reavley says. “Personally, I would not Continued on page 20

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p r e dato rs Continued from page 18

feel comfortable if my small children were playing outside with a coyote present. Shouting and waving your arms would lessen the chance of an attack, but may not prevent it. Make sure your small pets, pet food and garbage aren’t left outside because all would entice a coyote to come in for a snack.” SIGNS OF A COYOTE KILL

Identifying a coyote kill is straightforward if the carcass can be found before other scavengers scatter the remains. A coyote eats its prey at the site of the kill, starting with the internal organs, and regurgitates the food for the pups and female, Reavley explains. Normally, there won’t be signs of the carcass being dragged away. Coyotes are efficient, quiet killers, going straight for the throat of small calves causing death by suffocation, which can be confirmed by the presence of foam in the trachea. Teeth marks and damage in the throat area are other sure signs. Toward the end of August when the pups begin hunting with the parents, the wounds will be more widespread and more of the carcass will have been eaten. The herd usually remains calm because there is very little chasing or commotion when coyotes kill young stock, and they take animals one at a time. When coyotes target large animals, they tend to select one away from the herd or near an obstacle such as a fenceline or water that makes it difficult to escape. A pack is usually involved and they attack at the hind end, so there will be more chasing and blood spilling than seen with a young animal. In contrast, wolf and dog attacks are always messy and noisy, causing the herd to become highly agitated. There will likely be several injured animals, with damaged tails and hind ends evident from wolf attacks, and parts of dead animals and blood will be scattered all over the place. Dog attacks are often more for sport than for food, with body parts mutilated, but not eaten, he adds. Cougar attacks on sheep and horses are becoming more common. These predators are stealthy, skilled killers that jump onto the back biting into the top of the neck to paralyze their prey. Other telltale signs are a path of disruption caused by the cougar dragging the animal to a safe place to eat it and the fact it doesn’t eat the fur. Bleeding and bruising are general signs that an animal was killed by a predator and lived for a short time after the attack. There won’t be large amounts of blood in combi-


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nation with bruising on the carcass when an animal dies from natural causes or a disease and is subsequently scavenged. Reavley says the reputation of the wily coyote isn’t unfounded. They are generally nocturnal predators, often taking young stock at dawn or dusk as the adults wander away from the group to eat or graze, but they will attack any time of day once they clue into the routine. On one sheep operation, the kills were as regular as clockwork every day between noon and 4 p.m. Reavley soon discovered

Perry Reavley

that’s when the guardian dogs would be resting in the shade. At another place, the coyote waited patiently 500 feet from the doorstep every morning because he had learned that there was a good half-hour to make a kill between the time the producer returned from chores and when the dogs would eventually follow the sheep out to pasture. The producer thought the dogs were with the flock the whole time, but Reavley’s game cameras proved otherwise. REMOVING PROBLEM PREDATORS

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture has published an extensive fact sheet on how to call, hunt and trap coyotes, wolves and cougars, however, it takes time and practice for novices to become successful. “Mistakes will quickly educate coyotes to avoid snares, traps and calling, making them that much more difficult to remove,” Reavley says. Additionally, inexperienced hunters can end up in dangerous situations and there is always the risk of killing nontarget animals, including farm dogs. Reavley uses modern technology and equipment for humane removal methods and puts extra time and effort into targeting the problem predators. Game cameras are

used extensively to identify, track and pattern problem animals. The use of electronic callers or mouth calls of certain prey animals or pups in distress will often bring the target predator into shooting range. His preference for trapping is foot-hold traps in dirt hole sets placed in strategic locations that predators frequent. The traps have shock springs and offset, laminated jaws to minimize damage to the foot. He also uses trap drags that allow the caught animal to get to a covered area where it will usually remain calmer and struggle less than if staked out in the open. When there are farm dogs around, Reavley switches to foot snares because they cause very little damage to the leg and foot, though they aren’t as strong as foot-hold traps and are more difficult to hide. Properly set neck snares can be effective, but offer no chance of a live release of non-target animals. Finding the den to remove the female and pups is a practice that takes time. When successful, it can dramatically reduce and even stop livestock predation because the lone male has only himself to feed and won’t be teaching his young to prey on livestock. Some people theorize that coyotes are encroaching on urban areas because they have learned that there are safe zones where people won’t take a pop at them. It’s not for lack of food or habitat because coyotes have proven through time that they can readily adapt to all types of terrain across North America. “For the past 100 years, people have been trapping and shooting coyotes, and yet there are more coyotes now than ever before,” Reavley says. The reason bounty programs of the past haven’t reduced the coyote population in the long term is because when coyote numbers are low, the natural food supply increases, leading to a healthier coyote population that produces larger and more viable pups that have a better chance of rearing young of their own. Coyotes that don’t kill livestock and pets are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and can be an asset to a farm, not only by keeping livestock-killing coyotes out of the area, but by keeping rodent and deer populations in check. Reavley  offers  control  solutions  for all  types  of  wildlife  problems  in  farm, municipal,  commercial  and  residential settings from large predators, birds and beaver, to small nuisances like raccoons and squirrels that can cause a lot of property damage. For more information, visit www., or call 306-729-4223. c

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 researc h

By Debbie Furber

Mature cereal forage is better than you might think You might have your yield with an acceptable loss in feed value


he recommended stages of maturity for cutting annual cereals for whole-crop forage are based on what’s good for silage. We just always assumed if it works for silage it must work for greenfeed and swath grazing too. Researcher Greg Penner isn’t so sure now, based on some research he’s been involved with at the University of Saskatchewan. In a nutshell they’ve found waiting to cut cereal forage until a later stage of maturity may improve digestible dry-matter (DM) yield without negatively affecting intake, thereby improving animal gains per acre and reducing the cost of feed. “Crops for silage require certain levels of carbohydrates and high moisture content to pack and ferment properly and digestibility increases during storage, but none of those apply when the crop is taken as dry whole-plant forage for greenfeed or swath grazing,” says Penner, an assistant professor of ruminant nutrition with the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. “We  know  that  whole-plant  yield increases as growing degree days increase, so we are giving up potential yield by cutting the crop before it matures. We know, too, from Dr. Vern Baron’s work in the early 1990s, that organic matter digestibility when measured in vitro (in a test tube) doesn’t change with maturity.” Penner and his associates set out to determine whether the maturity levels recommended for silage — early dough for barley, late milk for oats, soft dough for wheat and two weeks after heading for millet — make sense for greenfeed bales or swath grazing. Small plot trials using CDC Cowboy barley, CDC Weaver oats, an experimental forage wheat line (07FOR21), and red proso millet were grown in 2011 and cut at four stages of maturity: head elongation, late milk/early dough, hard dough, and mature. The highest DM yield was from mature crops and chemical analyses revealed more feed quality advantages than drawbacks as the crops advanced in maturity. Organic matter increased as a percentage of DM as did non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFC), which takes in all of the starch and sugars. Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and phos-


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phorus content decreased. The decline in phosphorus would have helped bring it more in balance with calcium, had calcium not decreased as well. Decreases in calcium and crude protein (CP) were the chief disadvantages to letting these crops mature before cutting them. The trend was similar for all crops except the wheat where they noted an increase in NDF as time went on. Penner uses the barley findings to illustrate the effect of advancing maturity on feed quality.

“We saw the reduction in NDF as the crop matured, so more starch was available…” Dr. Greg Penner

Dry matter content jumped from 14 per cent at head emergence, to 23.5 per cent at the early-dough stage and almost doubled again, reaching 55 per cent by maturity. From heading to maturity, the organic matter rose from 89 per cent to 93 per cent, the NFC climbed from 8.7 per cent to 36 per cent, and NDF fell from 59.5 per cent to 45.7 per cent. Phosphorus content dropped by half from 0.43 to 0.26 per cent, as calcium content fell from 0.52 to 0.30 per cent. Crude protein as a percentage of DM declined steadily from 18.5 per cent at heading to 14.1 per cent at early dough and 9.4

at hard dough, however, when measured as total CP yield, the level remained steady as maturity advanced. Metabolism study

Feed tests are useful but the ultimate measure of a feed’s quality is animal performance. The Weaver oat crop seeded May 17 was cut at late milk (July 12), hard dough (August 13) and full grain (August 28). Again, DM yield at late milk was lower than at the hard-dough and full-maturity stages, measured at 211, 472 and 417 tonnes per hectare, respectively. The nutritional composition of the oats changed significantly from the late-milk stage to the hard-dough stage, but very little after that. Comparing late-milk oats to mature oats, as a percentage of DM, NDF decreased from 60.8 to 54.3 per cent; crude fat increased from 2.6 to 3.7 per cent; NFC increased from 19.6 to 25.5 per cent; and crude protein decreased from 8.2 to 7.7 per cent. Ash (the non-digestible portion) started at 9.5 per cent, dipped to 9.1 per cent at hard dough and increased again to 9.8 per cent at maturity. “We saw the reduction in NDF as the crop matures, so more starch was available, but we didn’t know if it was really available to the cows,” Penner says. Cows were fed balanced rations containing 60 per cent oat forage cut at the three different stages of maturity. A concentrate of alfalfa pellets, barley grain and canola meal fed separately and a vitamin-mineral mix rounded out the ration. The positive for Penner was that they got more yield as the oats matured with no loss of intake. The cattle didn’t eat any more or less of the oats at any stage of maturity. They also found out that the starch in the later-cut forages is digestible. Cows fed hard-dough and mature oat forage had a lower rumen pH than the cows fed latemilk forage. True, low rumen pH can lead to digestive upsets, however, it was considered a positive in this study because it indicated that the starch was available and rumen pH didn’t drop to a level that would make it a health concern. This year Penner and his associates plan to confirm their findings. c

Cattle photo courtesy of Canada Beef Inc.


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 Youth

By Debbie Furber



he McConnell 4-H Beef Club has a special reason to celebrate in this the 100th year of 4-H in Canada. Records verifying the club’s existence in 1922 as the McConnell Boys and Girls Club have been accepted by 4-H Canada, making it the longeststanding active 4-H club in the country. In tandem with 4-H Canada’s 100th anniversary annual meeting and gala on May 28-30 in Winnipeg, a cairn recognizing both historical occasions was unveiled, June 1, near the old McConnell railway station, now a museum in Hamiota, Man. Club leader Kevin Hyndman says word had it that the club was among the oldest in Canada, but it was a former club member, Kim McConnell of Okotoks, Alta., who got the ball rolling by digging into the origin of the club and commissioning construction of the cairn. McConnell, the founder and former CEO of the marketing and communications firm, AdFarm is a member of the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame and also serves on the Canadian 4-H Foundation board of trustees. It was his mother Ruth McConnell of Hamiota with help from past 4-H members and the Hamiota Heritage Art Centre who uncovered the document that secured the club’s claim, a school attendance record from 1922 showing the children who were absent on account of attending Boys and Girls Club activities. Another pioneer club and the oldest consecutively running club in Alberta is the Lethbridge-Coaldale 4-H Beef Club established in 1923 as the Junior Farmer Beef Calf Club. It has been all about beef for 90 years. 4-H in Canada started with the Boys and Girls Club movement. The Manitoba Department  of  Agriculture  partnered with the University of Manitoba extension department to introduce the program in 1913, with the club at Roland being the first of eight established that year. Roland is now home to the Roland 4-H Museum, which holds more than 220 4-H artifacts from across Canada and the U.S. According to the museum’s website, the department gave each member a dozen eggs from a good breed of laying hen to set under a hen that spring, along with seed for fodder


corn and seed potatoes. A fall fair held at the Roland rink offered a total of 72 cash prizes ranging from $5 for first place down to 25 cents for 12th in two age divisions for poultry, corn and potato competitions. The Canadian Council for Boys’ and Girls’  work  was  established  in  1931. Though talk was ongoing regarding adopting the 4-H name and program in keeping with the 4-H movement in the U.S., it didn’t happen until 1952 when the 4-H Council of Canada was officially approved by the Secretary of State in Ottawa.

A cairn placed in Hamiota, Man., recognizes the local McConnell 4-H beef club as the oldest in Canada McConnell says the 4-H program itself is foolproof and attributes its long-standing success to the countless club leaders across the country whom bring it to life. Agnes Bridge of Hamiota says her dad, Gordon Killoh, led the club in 1922, then had some successes with members of the swine club advancing to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, before it evolved to become a beef club as he was a Shorthorn judge. She was a member in the 1950s and recalls the

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annual trials and tribulations of teaching her new project calf to lead. Margaret Boyd, also of Hamiota, compiled the history of the McConnell club for its 50th anniversary. She says Gordon stayed on as leader until about 1950 and then Norman Brown, Jack Wright and Bruce Patterson each led the club for three to five years before her husband, Jack, who had been helping with projects since 1963, officially became leader in 1965. She assisted for many years until joining him as an official leader in 1980, after their two children had finished their 4-H years. “We liked the kids and enjoyed the work. It was a family affair for everyone and was fortunate to have wonderful parent cooperation and good government support in that era,” she says. She recalls being strict about members completing a scrapbook each year in addition to the required record book. This gave them an excellent record of club activities and their involvement for future reference for schooling, scholarships and jobs. Public speaking was a must and even though members found it trying at first, many went on to compete beyond the club level in both public speaking and demonstrations. The Boyds retired in 1994, making way for the next leaders, Allan Preston, Myrna Schweitzer, John Thompson and Kevin Hyndman who says today it’s a team effort between himself, Thompson and Carla Slimmon as leaders who keep activities rolling with help from the members’ parents. Today, the club meets once a month. As part of the South Parkland 4-H Region, members have lots of opportunities to participate in special activities and tours. 4-H today isn’t just for rural kids and projects aren’t limited to agriculture. The youth development aspects extend beyond acquiring knowledge and skills to leadership, citizenship and personal development. Though light-horse, beef and sheep projects remain the most popular, the possibilities are pretty much as broad as the imagination. Pets, auto mechanics, veterinary, snowmobiles, body works, pet therapy, foods, babysitting, woodwork, life skills, computers/ technology, and a broad range of arts are just some of the projects mentioned on the pro-

vincial 4-H websites, alongside provincial, national and international opportunities to earn scholarships and participate in conferences, camps, exchanges and special events. 4-H Canada, with support from numerous sponsors, has several special projects underway for its centennial, says 4-H Canada special projects officer Tammy Oswick-Kearney. The theme for the 100th anniversary year is “Food for Thought” to reflect on the importance of food production, youth leadership and community service. A highlight will be the first “Feeding a Hungry Planet” Global 4-H Youth Ag Summit slated for Calgary, August 19-25, with 120 young leaders from around the globe invited to discuss agriculturally sustainable solutions to the global need for safe, nutritious food. It is hoped the summit will become an annual event, possibly with countries taking turns as host. If you missed the gala in Winnipeg, there’s still lots of time to plan and add your club’s events, past and upcoming, to the living-history map on the website. Organizers encourage people to upload documents, photos and videos from yesteryear as well.


The McConnell club that traces its beginnings back to 1922 is still operating today.

The 4-H Canada national food drive in partnership with Food Banks Canada was launched last May and 4-H clubs across the country have been busy collecting food for their local food banks. Clubs are also taking up the “Do More with Less Recipe Challenge” this year by purchasing ingredients for a recipe of their choice keeping nutrition and budget in mind. The recipes and photos of the baskets of ingredients to be donated to a local food bank were compiled into a cook-

book to be donated to food banks for sale to the general public as a fundraiser. The $100 for 100 Years Legacy Fund campaign has a goal of raising $100,000 to go toward improving and expanding 4-H opportunities across Canada and introducing 4-H to a new generation, or you can simply donate to the $10 for 10 mobile campaign by texting GROW to 45678. Keep posted on the latest news as the centennial year unfolds at c

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 Nutriti o n

By John McKinnon

Feed Efficiency and the Environment: Are they Connected?


n my last column written from New Zealand, I focused on that country’s efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that stem from its ruminant production sector. If your memory is like mine, you may need to be reminded that cattle contribute to greenhouse gas emissions directly from enteric release of methane (i.e. produced in the rumen and released via belching) and indirectly through the release of nitrous oxide from manure (i.e. by the activity of soil bacteria). In both New Zealand and Canada, a lot of effort has been put into research and industry extension efforts to reduce this negative impact on the environment. Now, if we break this issue down to its basics, greenhouse gas production by cattle revolves around feed consumption and manure/urine production. All things being equal, the more feed consumed, the more methane produced and released from the rumen and the more manure produced. It thus stands to reason that if as an industry we can reduce feed inputs we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time save on feed costs. Seems simple, however, reducing feed inputs is easier said than done! As we have discussed in the past, feed consumed by an animal is used for maintenance (keeping the animal alive) and productive purposes (growth, pregnancy, milk production). Cutting back on feed consumed has the potential to negatively impact performance including reduced gains in the feedlot or poor milk production and/or reproduction in mature cows. Obviously, situations we would rather avoid! One solution to this issue is to select for cattle that are more efficient at how they use feed energy for maintenance and productive purposes. In other words, selecting herd replacements on the basis of feed efficiency. This topic has received a great deal of attention recently and in particular the concept of residual feed intake (RFI) has been promoted as a tool that allows beef producers to select for cattle that consume less feed than predicted for their maintenance needs and production level. Any of you involved in finishing cattle know the importance of the feed conversion ratio (FCR or pounds of dry matter consumed divided by pounds of gain per unit of time). It is well known that improving the FCR puts more money in a feedlot operator’s pocket than just about any other management tool. In fact, much of our management in the feedlot including selection of cattle type, feeding program, bunk management, ionophore and growth promotant programs are all aimed at minimizing this ratio. However, as a selection tool for the breeding herd, the FCR has several issues. First it is typically been measured on a pen basis and thus has limited value as a selection tool for breeding animals. Secondly, if you read the literature on this subject, it is evident that if one were to select for cattle that were more efficient using


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the FCR you would indirectly select for cattle that have a larger mature size and have higher maintenance and feed requirements. Residual feed intake avoids this issue by accounting for an animal’s energy needs for maintenance and a given level of production (i.e. growth rate) and looks at the difference between what the animal actually consumes and its expected consumption based on its size and growth rate. Animals with a positive RFI value eat more than expected and are thus less efficient and those that eat less than expected are more efficient. The concept of RFI goes back a number of years, but only with the advent of modern feed bunk technology that allows for individual animal intake measurement has it started to become a reality for beef producers.

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

If we can reduce feed inputs we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time save on feed costs Much of the research in Canada on RFI has been carried out by Dr. John Basarab of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and his colleagues at Agriculture and AgriFood Canada and the University of Alberta. Their work has been highlighted in several recent articles in Cattleman magazine and I will not go into detail here. However, from a greenhouse gas perspective, I do want to focus on a couple of points arising from the research. First RFI is moderately heritable, so it is possible to develop a selection program for this trait. Secondly, the research indicates that it is positively associated with lower maintenance requirements and feed consumption (i.e. low RFI cattle will consume less feed). However, unlike the FCR, it is independent of growth rate and thus selection for RFI will not translate to increase size in the cow herd. Finally, RFI is positively correlated with the traditional FCR. Adding all these attributes together translates to more efficient cattle production and the opportunity to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Like any new technology there are still unanswered questions regarding RFI. However, it is clear that as the research progresses and the technology becomes widely available, RFI will offer the opportunity to move the industry forward from both an efficiency and environmental perspective. It is technology and research worth watching, particularly if we are serious about these issues and how they are interconnected. c

 manage m e n t

By Dr. Susan Markus

How fat and heavy do they need to be?


ne thing a cattle feeder knows is that the longer you feed them, the heavier and fatter they get. But feeding cattle after they reach an optimum fat level is a waste of both feed and money. Unfortunately, market signals, weather and other factors out of the control of the cattle feeder affect days on feed, so we are not always able to market cattle at that optimum weight. That can be costly. For every kilogram (kg) of intramuscular marbling fat laid down an additional 10 kg of subcutaneous, intermuscular and body cavity fat is deposited elsewhere on the body that has little cash value and ultimately has to be trimmed off. Our Canadian grading system, in combination with our pricing signals, rewards higher marbling and discounts carcasses without it. So the cattle feeder has to feed to optimize the quality grades (AAA, AA) yet not overfeed to avoid discounts for overfat Yield Grade 3s. In fact, there appears to be an overemphasis on marbling in commodity beef, which is only important in 12-14 per cent of the steaks from some larger cuts; whereas 50 per cent of the cuts in a carcass are sold as ground beef where marbling isn’t so important. What we know about fat is that we do need a minimum outer layer of intermuscular fat to protect the carcass as it cools and ages after slaughter and marbling fat to contribute to the flavour and juiciness of the meat. Consumers want leaner, tender, nutritionally healthier beef which is most easily harvested from younger cattle (under 12-14 months of age) because they generally have lower levels of saturated fats and a decreased influence of the connective tissue and muscle fibre related to toughness in cooked beef. But feeding cattle isn’t just about the carcass weight and quality. It’s really about the cost of getting it there. The longer cattle are on feed, the heavier they get and the more fat they put down along with a drop in feed conversion as they consume more feed per unit of body weight. So you have to ask yourself when is it the right time to feed animals for AAA quality grades and when is it not? Table 1 is from a U.S. study that breaks

Table 1. Estimated lost opportunity per individual steer and heifer slaughtered in the U.S. Cause

Estimated Loss (US $)

Estimated Loss (%)

Waste (fat and muscle-to-bone ratio)



Taste (marbling and age)



Management (bruising and dark cutters)



Weight (too light or heavy)



Total loss/animal


(Adapted from Savell, 2001) Table 2. Optimal early types

Extra 21d

Optimal late types

Extra 21d

In Weight on feed (lbs.)





ADG (lbs./d)





Days on finishing ration





Slaughter weight (lbs.)





Cost of gain ($/lb.)





Cost of fat gain ($/lb.)





Cost of lean gain ($/lb.)





Feed:Gain (lbs.) Carcass grade and quality Carcass weight (lbs.)













Carcass Price $/lb.





Carcass Value $ total





Carcass value/day on feed $/d





(Prices used for carcass value $1.86 May 2013 price for AAA; 0.12 discount for YG3 from YG1; $1.83/lb. for AA; 0.06 discount for Y3 from Y2 and for Y2 from Y1.)

feeding losses into four categories: waste (excessive fat and incorrect bone to muscle ratio), taste (insufficient marbling, age and gender including castrates and calves), management (pathology such as livers and other infections, bruises as well as dark cutters) and, finally, weight (underor overweight specifications). Basically, 80 per cent of the losses are directly under the control of our nutritional management and genetic choices. Master’s student Nilusha Welegedara at the University of Alberta recently looked at the data from slaughter steers of different Beefbooster composite breed types and found the proportion of feed energy required to produce fat increased from 60 per cent at about 10 months of age to more than 76 per cent at 15 months of age while

the proportion of feed energy required to produce muscle decreased from just under 40 per cent at 10 months of age to 23 per cent at 15 months. The proportions of muscle, fat and bone significantly differed with age and breed type and the proportion of fat increased as muscle decreased. Thus, the ratio of energy used for fat to muscle deposition increases as animals age. Her conclusion: Beefbooster composite types need to be harvested at different ages to avoid excessively fat carcasses. She used the Beefbooster breeds with the foundation breed of M1 being Angus, M2 Hereford, M3 small strains, M4 Limousin and Gelbvieh and TX Charolais. Her data suggests Angus, Hereford and small breed types Continued on page 29

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 m4 80 70


60 50


40 30 20 10 0 274


Harvesting age days


Continued from page 27

be harvested at 14 months, Limousin and Gelbvieh under 15 ½ months and Charolais types over 15 ½ months to optimize fat levels. Feed early-finishing cattle too long and your costs go up to produce mostly fat while the later-finishing cattle continue to gain a larger proportion of muscle. That raises the question, what makes a better return, higher-yielding or higher-quality grade cattle? Heavier cattle produce more desirable AAA/Choice grade carcasses but also more Yield Grade 3s. So as fed cattle get heavier, the discount for quality grade declines but the discount for yield grade increases. At lighter weights, the reverse is true, more AA/Select less desirable carcasses and more Yield Grade 1 and 2 desirable carcasses. Cattle feeders have to weigh these trade-offs as they determine a near-optimal marketing weight. Seasonality is also a consideration for carcass discounts. At times, such as April and May last year, there is hardly any difference between AA and AAA prices. Management also has a bearing on the final outcome. Many factors such as previous nutrition, implant programs, level of intake and energy derived from the diet, limits in daily protein and fat synthesis and daily energy retained can alter estimates of the finished weight of individual animals. Let’s compare what it costs to put on these weight gains to reach the desired slaughter weight and what the market paid you for doing it. The assumption is early-maturing breeds weigh less than latematuring breed types at the same age and

399 Prop_Fat




both gain weight less efficiently as they age. We can argue about the fine points of the finishing ration and feeder phase, but my point here is to show that scientific data exists that proves live weight gains become more costly when the animal is at that point in its growth that it puts down mostly fat compared to lean meat yield. Table 2 shows that almost 90 per cent of extra cost of gain for feeding early-maturing animals the extra 21 days is spent to produce fat. In the late-maturing cattle the fat fraction accounts for 67 per cent of the added cost of gain over the optimum weight. This is fat that is trimmed after slaughter. Days-on-feed is the other big cost factor. Naturally carcasses produced over fewer days bring a greater return: 15 per cent more in this example for carcasses slaughtered at the optimum weight. The factors that most affect profitability in the feedlot are carcass weight, total live weight gain, average daily gain and feed efficiency or residual feed intake. Regardless of breed type, the good performing cattle in terms of ADG, feed efficiency and conformation (rib-eye area) are the preferred types when feed prices are high. Thus, the most profitable steers are characterized by maximum carcass weight, without discounts, that grade AAA at Yield Grades 1 or 2, and a high rate of gain and feed efficiency in the feedlot. When you keep certain cattle on feed too long you get those carcass discounts and compromise the ADG for the extra weight and that doesn’t always return you the most money. c Dr. Susan Markus is a beef research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

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 Holistic R a nc hi ng

By Don Campbell



riting a will is not urgent but is vitally important. That is why it is easy to delay writing one until some day in the future. Is this a wise decision? We all know that we will die. None of us know when. If we delay we may be too late. Having an up-to-date will has many benefits: providing for our spouse, providing a guardian for our children (depending on age), managing our tax, ensuring our business will carry on, preventing strife in our families and confidence that the fruits of our life’s labour will be divided according to our wishes. When there is no will your estate will be divided according to a plan set out by the government. I seriously doubt that any of us would choose that, but when we procrastinate we may choose it by default. It’s like spending a day rounding up cattle then leaving the corral gate open. Many of us find it difficult to think or talk about death especially our own. My first experience of wills was in 1956. I was 12. My mother had $1,000 in the bank in her own account. I have no idea where the money came from but I suspect it likely came from her father’s estate. That was the year we experienced a spring, summer and a fall flood so my dad wanted mother to give him the $1,000 to help out at the ranch. Mom was a believer in having a will. The money was to be given. The conditions were that Dad would write a will. Dad was not big on wills but he wanted the money. The end result was that Dad wrote a will (I leave everything to my loving wife) and Mom gave him the money. Dad was not big on wills but later in his life he wrote a very good will. When he died his estate was easy to settle. He gave most of his estate away while he was still alive. There was no conflict, hard feelings or hurt when it was time to settle his estate. His wishes were clear and easy to follow. We can now fast-forward to 1968 for my next experience. I was in love with a beautiful young girl (she is now my loving wife of 42, almost 43 years). I had a small estate, a new car, a small amount of cash and a nice little house owned free and clear. If anything happened to me I wanted all my possessions to go to the love of my life. We were engaged. My first will left everything to my fiancée Bev. It was worded in such a way that it applied when she was my fiancée and applied to Bev as my wife once we were married. We have made several wills over the years as our life and family changed. We always had guardians for our children and a process to divide our estate according to our wishes. This has given us great peace of mind.

Reasons to Write a Will

1. I was recently involved in a discussion about a friend who had terminal cancer. Various people were expressing their sorrows etc. One of my friends made the comment: “life is terminal.” Knowing this fact, is there any valid reason not to be prepared?


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2. Death always comes unexpectedly. People die at all ages. We can’t predict tomorrow for any living soul (Gene Autry). 3. If you were diagnosed with a terminal disease and given six months to live would you write a will? If your answer is no I suggest that you read no further. If your answer is yes continue to read and make an action plan. 4. Peace of mind. You will know that your wishes regarding your estate, providing for your spouse and naming guardians for your children will be carried out. Some of you are single. Would you like your estate to be divided according to your wishes or according to a formula from the government? 5. The cost is relatively small considering the benefits. 6. Writing a will means you will need to have an in-depth discussion with your spouse about the important things in life. This may be a difficult discussion at the time but the long-term result will be a better understanding of your spouse. This has the potential to strengthen your marriage. 7. Having a will can prevent family squabbles and strife. This will be more and more important as your children grow up and leave home. It has been my experience that most of the hurt families go through is not because of what is in the will but the fact that people didn’t know what was in the will. When you write your will communicate it to your children. 8. There is no connection between having a will and dying. 9. Each one of us must die. Reflecting on your reasons for living and what you are trying to accomplish with your life may help you live a more balanced, full, rewarding life. 10. When you were born you were crying, people around you were smiling and happy. Live your life so that when you die you are smiling and those around you are crying. 11. If you want to write a will make a plan now. Start your discussion now. Set a definite date for being ready to see a lawyer. Set a definite date to see a lawyer. Make it happen. Reasons for not Writing a Will

1. I am fearful to talk about death. 2. I don’t care about my spouse or children once I am dead. 3. A will costs too much. 4. I am too busy. 5. Some other reason. There will never be a good time to write a will. Writing a will requires self-discipline. Writing a will requires doing things that are important but not urgent. The ability to do this is a sign of maturity. I invite you to consider this important topic. Having a good will can be a great benefit. Not having a will can be a great disaster. What will you choose? Happy trails. c Don Campbell ranches with his family at Meadow Lake, Sask. He can be reached at 306-236-6088.


The Peck Family, Peck Farms Grafton, ON




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 vet aDv i c e



ire selection accounts for more than 85 per cent of the improvement in herd performance. High reproductive efficiency is economically five to 10 times as important as rate of gain or carcass quality, making breeding capacity — defined by libido, physical soundness and semen quality — foremost in bull selection. The beginning

“Bull testing” entered the vocabulary of the cattle industry around1949. The science went chute-side in 1955 with the introduction of the electroejaculator. In 1956 the Colorado Method of breeding soundness evaluation was published, detailing a numerical scoring system for sperm quality that was used until 1976. In 1957, scrotal circumference, testicular mass and sperm output were linked. Reproductive specialists like Cates (WCVM) strongly promoted using scrotal circumference as a major component of breeding soundness evaluation and it became a feature of all major breeding soundness evaluation protocols developed through the 1970s. The science of evaluating breeding soundness continues to evolve. Changes in semen quality criteria have constantly shifted, scoring methods continue to be adjusted, and the correlation of age, scrotal circumference and breeding potential is under constant review. Things like sex drive in routine bull evaluations and some mating problems cannot be detected by chute-side physical examinations and can only be evaluated in the breeding field. A major impetus behind the need for adjustment in the way bulls are evaluated was the transition commercial and seed stock producers made from two-year-old to yearling bulls and the entry of European genetics into North American herds. As use of yearling bulls became commonplace, so did the awareness that the first semen many young bulls produce is of poor quality. It takes three to four months from the onset of sperm production until a young bull reaches maturity and is able to produce quality semen. As well, testicles continue to grow beyond the age bulls are often sold, complicating breeding soundness evalua-


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tion of bulls offered for sale prior to their first breeding season. In general about 45, 75 and 95 per cent of bulls are mature at 12, 14, and 16 months of age, respectively. Records of scrotal measurement by practitioners in Western Canada between 1983 and 2013 indicate a steady trend towards bulls having larger scrotal circumferences, which shifted the “minimum” target and, ultimately, classification of bulls into satisfactory, questionable and unsatisfactory categories. Veterinarians in consultation with breed organizations have debated classification of sexually immature yearlings. Some suggest that very young bulls receive only a physical examination and scrotal circumference measurement with decisions on breeding potential “deferred.” Search continues

Recent adjustments to the protocol on breeding soundness evaluation produced by the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners (WCABP) were based on two 2011 studies conducted by Dr. Al Barth, Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). The first study was an opinion survey of the WCABP membership on the issue of testing immature yearling bulls; the second study updated the WCABP data bank on bull scrotal circumference. Opinions varied among 141 bovine practitioners surveyed in Western Canada: • Seventy-eight per cent suggested the breeding soundness examination protocol presently in use needed to be revisited. • Sixty-seven per cent agreed the present classification of satisfactory, questionable, unsatisfactory and decision deferred should be retained. • Sixty-five per cent acknowledged that the age of yearling bulls at the time of evaluation is a factor and that, based on age (in months), some bulls receive a complete breeding soundness examination, while others only a physical exam and scrotal circumference measurement. • Breeding soundness examination forms should state that exams under a certain age are inaccurate. After this survey the WCABP committee recommended adding the following statement after the category of Decision Deferred:

“About 45, 60 and 75 per cent are expected to pass at 12, 13 and 14 months of age, respectively. Testing bulls under 12 months of age is not recommended.” The pressure to pass questionable yearling bulls offered for sale would be reduced, plus help guide producer expectations about young bulls. Data used in making adjustments to information for producers on scrotal circumference minimums were generated through observation of approximately 11,000 bulls — the majority from Western Canada, and 2,600 bulls from Quebec. Most were one and two years of age. Birth dates were known. Useful data were obtained for 13 beef breeds. Regardless of breed, scrotal circumference in young bulls increased at the rate of about 0.062 cm/day between 10 and 11 months of age; 0.049 cm/day between 11 and 12 months, 0.040 cm/day from 12 to 13 months, 0.08 cm/ day from 13 to 14 months, then about 0.015 cm/day up to 15 months of age. At 12 months of age, scrotal circumference could increase by as much as 1.2 cm in one month. By 15 months, the rate of change slows considerably. Selection pressure over two decades has significantly increased average scrotal circumference in common beef breeds. Guidelines within the WCABP breeding soundness evaluation protocol reflect these changes. Scrotal circumference averages corrected to 365 days in yearlings and those for two-yearold bulls seem straightforward. A separate category for 15-month-old bulls — taking into account reduction in testicular growth rate between 14 and 15 months of age — is tenable. Recommendations on suggested “minimums” based on elimination of bulls in the bottom 10 per cent of each category, however, opened the door for debate within some breed organizations. The sweet spot of breeding soundness, especially in yearling bulls, will continue to change. It may never reach a steady state as selection pressure continually moves the yardstick. 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 (gren@ or WCABP (

 researc h o n t h e r eco r d

By Reynold Bergen

Canada’s Beef Carcass Quality Audit :

Bruising and Injection Sites


he Canadian Cattlemen’s Association carried out its first carcass quality audit in 1995. The defects identified in that audit became the focus of the CCA’s Quality Starts Here program. Dr. Joyce van Donkersgoed went on to teach Canada’s cattle producers how they could improve carcass value through better cattle handling and facilities, moving injection sites from the hindquarters to the shoulder, and using products that could be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) rather than intramuscularly (in the muscle) whenever possible. A followup audit was carried out in 1999 to measure the progress made in response to the Quality Starts Here program. Plans to repeat the audit were postponed as a result of BSE, but Canada’s third beef quality audit was completed recently. This column is focused on surface injection site lesions and bruises in fed cattle. Visible surface injection site lesions and bruises are trimmed from the carcass and discarded. This costs producers because it reduces carcass pay weight, and costs packers because surrounding cuts are often damaged. The cost to the packer partly depends on where the injection site lesion or bruise is located. Stew beef discarded from the shoulder is less costly than beef trimmed from the sirloin. If the injection site lesion or bruise is in a high-value cut, some of the beef surrounding the trimmed area may also be sold as lower-value ground beef, rather than sold as a steak or roast with a piece missing. Properly trimmed injection site lesions may still impact consumer satisfaction, because tissue damage from the injection can cause the untrimmed beef surrounding the injection site to become tougher. What they did: The CCA’s Mark Klassen and a team of technicians visited five packing plants that account for more than 75 per cent of Canada’s beef kill. Each plant was visited on two to three consecutive days in the fall of 2010, winter and spring of 2011. Close to 28,000 fed-cattle carcasses were evaluated for surface injection site lesions and bruises on the processing floor. Surface injection sites and bruises were counted and classified as minor (approximately 0.66 lbs. trimmed), major (1.5 lbs.), or critical (more than 3.2 lbs.). The location of surface injection site lesions and bruises was also recorded. What they learned: Surface injection site lesions were uncommon, small, and concentrated in the shoulder. The proportion of fed cattle with surface injection site lesions in the 201011 audit (0.6 per cent) was similar to the 1999 audit (0.4 per cent), and lower than the 1995 audit (1.4 per cent). The 2010-11 audit found that nearly all (97 per cent) of the injection sites were in the shoulder, and no

cal injection site lesions were found. The location and severity of injection sites were not measured in 1999 audit, but the most recent results are better than the 1995 audit (86 per cent in the shoulder, and eight per cent critical). The most recent U.S. Beef Quality Audit did not report surface injection site lesion results. Bruises were less common and less severe than in the past. Only 34 per cent of Canadian fed cattle were bruised in 2010-11, compared to 49 per cent in 1999. The 2010 audit also found that fewer cattle had one bruise (25 per cent in 2010-11 vs. 29 per cent in 1999) two (seven per cent vs. 14 per cent), three (1.4 per cent vs. five per cent) or four or more bruises (0.3 per cent vs. two per cent). The proportion of minor (72 per cent in 2010-11 vs. 70 per cent in 1999), major (24 per cent vs. 27 per cent) and critical (four per cent vs. three per cent) bruises also showed slight improvements. The proportion of bruises in the loin increased since the last audit (34 per cent in 2010-11 vs. 27 per cent in 1999), didn’t change in the brisket and chuck (29.1 in 2010-11 vs. 29.1 per cent in 1999) or the round (14 per cent vs. 11 per cent), and there were proportionally fewer bruises in the rib (23 per cent vs. 33 per cent). The 2011 U.S. Quality Audit reported slightly lower levels of bruising. What it means: Continued improvements in the incidence, location and severity of injection site lesions indicates that Canada’s cattle producers have continued the practices first recommended in the Quality Starts Here program, and continued in the current Verified Beef Production Program. A note of caution is needed here. Most injection site lesions are actually found deep in the muscle, and can only be found and evaluated when carcasses are fabricated into retail cuts. This was not done in Canada’s 2010-11 Beef Quality Audit, but will likely be done next time. The drop in bruising is encouraging, and likely reflects increased use of polled genetics, improved facility design, cattle transportation and handling practices. This is another example of how good business practices can improve animal welfare. Watch videos and read more about Canada’s Beef Quality Audit at 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 for the Beef Cattle Research Council. A portion of the national checkoff is directed to the BCRC to fund research and development activities to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Canada’s beef industry.

C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3


 CCA repo rts

By Martin Unrau

ten years with bse


he Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is busy with many important files on the go at any given time. May was an interesting, albeit intensely hectic month, in that several traderelated files of significant importance to Canada’s beef cattle producers were coming to a head. Around the same time, the 10-year anniversary of the first case of domestic bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada slipped by in the background largely unnoticed by anyone. Although media interest in the 10-year anniversary was high, industry long ago turned the corner on BSE which reflects our confidence in the effectiveness of the control measures Canada has in place to eradicate the disease from the Canadian herd. The enhanced feed ban and testing programs are doing their job and Canada is now in the homestretch for the next two years in terms of being able to demonstrate to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that BSE is indeed eradicated from the Canadian herd. We still need to ensure our surveillance is at the appropriate level to measure the effectiveness of the controls. Canada is also a world leader in traceability which enables the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to swiftly trace back an animal to its herd of origin in the event of a livestock disease outbreak. Market  access  has  grown  exponentially  in  the last decade, with new markets and expanded access announcements the new norm, thanks to the efforts of International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Gerry Ritz. Today, just two of the CCA’s top 10 trade issues are BSE related and they are primarily due to countries ignoring the international science-based guidelines. The current size of the Canadian herd and cattle markets are a function of recent conditions of extreme weather that have impacted on inputs like feed, and nothing to do with events of a decade ago. About the only thing that is the same now as it was a decade ago is continued consumer support for nutritious, high-quality Canadian beef and I thank consumers for that on behalf of the folks who run Canada’s 68,500 beef farms and feedlots. The CCA stepped up its advocacy efforts around country-of-origin labelling (COOL) with key industry allies in the U.S. ahead of the May 23 deadline for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule on COOL. The Government of Canada has made it clear that retaliatory action is a potential outcome should the USDA fail to comply with its WTO obligations by eliminating the necessity for U.S. feedlots and meat processors to practise segregation.


C a t t l e m e n · J u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

As I write this column, the CCA continued to fine tune strategic next steps to deal with a number of potential scenarios that the USDA could take on May 23. The CCA’s position remains that the only outcome that would bring the U.S. into compliance with the WTO is to amend the COOL legislation to allow either a single mandatory label for all meat produced in the U.S. or to allow for voluntary labelling. Until this outcome is achieved, the CCA will continue to work with its allies in the U.S. and with the Government of Canada to pursue retaliatory or compensation options through the WTO. The CCA is working with the federal government in terms of retaliation and identifying what would potentially be on that list. Discussions on the CETA front continued also, with CCA representatives returning to Brussels in May to take part in the latest negotiations. Most of these discussions have centred on non-agricultural issues, and so beef and pork will indeed be dealt with last. Earlier in the month, some media suggested a specific number had been set, but that’s not the case. The CCA appreciates that the western provinces and the Government of Canada are holding firm that there has to be a satisfactory outcome for beef and pork in order for a deal to be accepted. Japan remained a subject of interest, with CCA representatives going to Peru for the latest round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Discussions with Japan are also underway through the JapanCanada Economic Partnership Agreement. Japan is Canada’s fifth-largest trading partner and an important political partner. The CCA strongly encourages a Japan-Canada EPA which provides full tariff-free access for Canadian beef. Early-stage  work  is underway on the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB). The CRSB aims to facilitate a national dialogue to advance continuous improvement in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain. Through leadership, science, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration, continuous improvement of sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain will be achieved and recognized. Sustainability will no doubt be on the mind of many producers in the coming months. Feed prices remain stubbornly high due to persistent weather problems in the U.S. which have now also impacted spring seeding there. In Canada, challenges from the recent harsh winter and late spring, plus lingering challenges from the flooding in Manitoba, continue to stymie producers’ efforts to move their operations forward. If they haven’t already done so, producers should review their business risk management options. c

Martin Unrau is president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association



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 straigh t f ro m t h e h i p

By Brenda Schoepp



was visiting with the executive team at Hassad Food in Doha, Qatar. We were openly discussing trade, food trends and food security. The highlevel discussion brought clarity for me as to our position on the global trade front. To paint the picture for you I will refer to a comment made in that meeting. One of my associates asked why Hassad was so open with information. The response, “Because we have 38 generations of trade and you have five.” Enough said; it was clear that the countries at the table, with me from Canada, were considered amateurs! While it is true that we are young at the trade table that should not stop us from being dynamic on the domestic front. It was this domestic front that I was asked to comment on recently in Toronto. The question: What are our challenges facing the domestic beef industry? First, I believe that our comfort with the status quo will continue to hinder industry growth. Let us look at marketing as an example. Are there still families to buy family packs, large steaks and pay huge prices for beef? With nearly 65 per cent of Canadian households containing one or two persons, the presentation of beef may have to change. That would mean challenging what we have done for the last 100 years. Canadian grocers say that online shopping, more frequent shopping trips with smaller orders and local stores are the trend. Ron Lemaire, president of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, reminds us that Asians represent the growth in our domestic population and they prefer to eat at home. This will push vegetables to the centre of the plate, a position once held by meat. As consumers continue to snack, what is it that we are offering them today? Perhaps even more challenging is accepting that there is room for all beef farmers and that the proverbial cookie cutter is broken. There is room for grass fed, halal, small orders and small farms. In accepting this as a reality, we then take responsibility as an industry to encourage and support all the colourful possibilities within it without scoffing at those who chose to be different. Remember the day when producers who did not use growth promotants or sold privately were ridiculed? Where is the research heading now? Risk is a relevant discussion and most certainly you don’t need to remind a cattle feeder looking at a closeout of this. But risk management goes far beyond the pen and it is in the field, on the truck, in the trade and on the shelf. Perhaps one of the greatest disservices to our younger farmer is our failure as an industry to drive risk management training so that men and women had those business tools before nearly losing their investment. Managing risk is part of a systems approach to agricultural business and vital link in the value chain. The greatest tragedy in the beef industry is the lack of


C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

value transfer. Although the cattle feeder has been very fair in sharing profits with the cow-calf producer, the situation today is out of balance. Profits from the box (where the packer makes a buck) and at the shelf (where the retailer taps in) or at the point of export have not been transferred to the cow-calf operator. A few short weeks ago we watched as boxed beef hit a historical high while the fed-cattle price flatlined and feeder cattle softened during what should have been a normal seasonal high. The lack of value transfer has been the impetus for the massive sell-off in the Canadian beef cattle herd. Going back to the status quo, it is my opinion the cowcalf producer has been used to build initiatives without the opportunity of choice in the outcome or the correct information for the decision. As an example, the carrot for cattle identification was that information would flow from the packer to the producer through the tag. In reality, Canadian intellectual property, which is what identification is, stays with the current owner of the inventory. Therefore to bait the producer with this promise is misleading and simply not true. At no time was there an obligation or legal avenue by the owner of the end product to transfer information. The information about that animal was protected under law as it is today. Any type of information transfer is by agreement and will include a fee. The primary producer should be selling the identification along with the calf. To get this right, we needed to look into the future and break the paradigm that the cowcalf producer is the least valuable in the chain. It is unfortunate that producers have not been empowered and given the tools to ensure true economic benefit from the identification of the animal and that the promised value return for export improvement has not materialized. There are many attributes of the beef industry that are attractive and economically rewarding but we do need to see it for what it is. We are entrenched in status quo and we lack the ability to manage risk, our response time is slow as the gestation period is long, beef is expensive to feed and house, has a lower conversion rate and lacks the multiple births of competing meats. Differentiation of product will be vital as we move forward and away from the Americanization of the Canadian beef industry. This requires a strong domestic strategy and a supporting policy that empowers and rewards our producers — which in turn strengthens our trade position at the table. 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 2013


Get the most from pasture and range weed control Protect your business, your land and your industry

Smart, Effective, Safe

If you could look back and describe range and pasture weed control efforts this year, those would be good things to aim for. Cattle producers have some significantly improved products for weed and brush control on range and pasture. Under the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program, producers are responsible for managing all products of this nature to avoid contamination of feed, water or anything that directly affects animals. Think stewardship

The math for using these pasture weed control products is straightforward, says Candice Manshreck of Dow AgroSciences, the company that has taken the lead with products for this market. “Weeds and brush take moisture, sunlight and nutrients and if you remove that competition the result is like a fertilizer boost for grass.” The big advantage of the main products being used is the sustained control over two, three or even four years. Each comes with specific tips to maximize effectiveness, and producers should make sure they understand product label information. Producers receive a stewardship fact sheet outlining all of the key precautions, says Manshreck. While these products do not have a lot of restrictions, like any crop protection product, they are best treated with respect.

allow three days grazing on an untreated field to clear the animal’s system. Because they offer long-acting control, the active ingredient will remain in the soil surface. Newly seeded grass can be affected. Grasses can be seeded up to 10 months following an application, but legume re-establishment may be affected for up to five years. Handling and storage

Leafy spurge

Watch trees, like shelterbelts or desirable trees in pasture. “With Restore II and Reclaim you can spray right up to the tree drip line. With Grazon and Tordon 22K stay back 1.5 times the height of the tree,” she says. Understand the restrictions around water bodies. Water flowing off your land is considered public and needs a minimum of a 30-m buffer (some provinces require more). There are no grazing restrictions for beef cattle. “I usually advise people to pull cattle off the pasture when you spray, but as soon as the product dries they can go back on,” says Manshreck. “Withdraw animals three days prior to slaughter.” There are some restrictions on cutting and removing forage from treated areas. As well the active ingredient will remain in the manure, so if cattle are moved from a pasture treated with these products to a legume,

Keep things simple when handling and storing these products, says Manshreck. Mix up only what you need. If you get rained out, the mixed product will last in the tank for a few days, but it may break down in sunlight, so throw a tarp over your sprayer. If you do have concentrate product left over, store it in a container with a lid to contain spills. Sprayers can be cleaned with water. Triple rinse jugs and dispose of according to industry standards. If there are questions related to products, the Dow toll-free number is 1-800-667-3852. Producer responsibilities

VBP requires that products are used according to label recommendations and that records such as date, product used and location are kept. If potential cattle exposure of any product occurs an expert should be contacted for recommended procedures or actions. Actions taken should be recorded.


Every Ralgro implant has the potential to add up to 23 extra pounds* to a suckling calf.

The profitable weigh. *Data on file. **Rate of return may vary depending on market conditions. ® Registered trademark of Schering-Plough Animal Health Corporation. Used under license. Merck Animal Health, operating in Canada as Intervet Canada Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. MERCK is a trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. Copyright © 2011 Intervet International B.V., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. All rights reserved.

 prime cuts

By Steve Kay

firing up the grill


hether it’s T-bones, rib-eyes or strips, Americans love to grill steaks. So do Canadians. But a cold, wet spring in many parts of North America delayed the full onset of the grilling season this year. But by the time you read this, the season should be in full swing on both sides of the border. The result should be strong wholesale beef and fed cattle prices. In fact, some U.S. analysts have forecast that U.S. cattle prices might hit new record highs between $132 and $134 per cwt. The wholesale price of Choice and Select beef cuts have already put in new all-time daily highs, surpassing those set in October 2003. The 2003 highs however, were an aberration, caused by the effects of Canada’s first BSE case. The loss of Canadian cattle and beef forced U.S. fed-beef processors to harvest more cattle in the summer, which left them with a temporary shortage in October. The Choice cut-out in mid-October surpassed $200 per cwt for two days. But it had crashed below $170 by the end of the month. Any such price retreat won’t occur this year because the market is in the middle of its best demand period of the year in the U.S. and Canada. May and June are the two strongest beef demand months of the year. The delay in grilling due to the weather might have created pent-up demand for beef that might make June sales better than normal. Beef demand in the U.S. in the second quarter normally improves six per cent from the first quarter. With first-quarter demand weaker than normal due to the weather, it might improve by more than this percentage. The industry designates May as Beef Month and again mounted numerous beef checkoff-funded promotions. Retailers rolled out their most aggressive beef features in two years. The U.S. economy is slowly improving, unemployment levels are declining and gasoline fuel costs are lower than earlier in the year. All these factors suggested Americans would buy a lot of beef in May and June. The demand side of the market isn’t all rosy. Demand at food service and the export level remains weak. Restaurant traffic is flat and consumers aren’t spending as much when they eat out. Beef exports are up in value but down in volume from last year. The first quarter saw volume down four per cent to 256,587 metric tons but up five per cent in value at $1.3 billion, says the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The best-performing markets for the U.S. were Canada and Japan. Exports to Japan got an excellent bounce from aggressive promotional campaigns designed to capitalize on the recently expanded market access, says USMEF. March volume was nearly 80 per cent higher


C a t t l e m e n · J u n e / J u ly 2 0 1 3

than a year ago and value was up 62 per cent. This pushed first-quarter exports to Japan 30 per cent higher in both volume and value. Japan ranks second in export value to Canada, where exports posted an outstanding first quarter, says USMEF. Export volume to Canada increased 20 per cent from 2012’s first quarter to 44,305 mt while value was up 32 per cent to $284.2 million. This made Canada the leading volume and value destination for U.S. beef, says USMEF.

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

Canada is the leading volume and value destination for U.S. beef, says USMEF This affirmation of the U.S.’s most important beef export market makes the dispute over country-oforigin labelling all the more tragic. The U.S. had by May 23 to bring COOL into compliance with its World Trade Organization obligations. To do this, USDA was expected to publish a final rule containing its proposed changes to current COOL regulations. This though isn’t expected to satisfy the WTO and certainly not Canada nor Mexico. Retaliation follows, at likely considerable cost to the U.S. c Cattle Buyers Weekly covers the North American meat and livestock industry. For subscription information, contact Steve Kay at P.O. Box 2533, Petaluma, Calif. 94953, or at 707-765-1725, or go to


NewsRoundup Profile

Stampede OH Ranch has calves on the ground

The first calving season at the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch near Longview, Alta., went off without a hitch under the watchful eyes of ranch manager, Ken Pigeon, his wife, Deb, and ranch hand Rob Lippert. Not even spells of ornery spring weather could dampen their enthusiasm as more than 200 calves hit the ground to start a new chapter in the ranch’s 130-year history, says Pigeon, who now calls the famed ranch his home. He was hired as manager last December, after former owner Bill Siebens made an unprecedented donation of nearly half the OH Ranch land base, the yardsite and the OH brand to the Calgary Stampede Foundation on the occasion of the Calgary Stampede’s 100th anniversary. Siebens, a well-known entrepreneur in the oil industry and owner of the neighbouring Tongue Creek Ranch, purchased the OH Ranch from the late Daryl Seaman’s family in 2011. In gifting the southern 8,000 acres of the ranch, valued at more than $11 million, Siebens said he chose the Calgary Stampede organization because of its mission to preserve and promote western

heritage values and he felt confident that in its hands the OH Ranch would become an important link to Alberta’s past where future generations from all walks of life would have the opportunity to see a working ranch and enjoy the natural beauty of the Alberta foothills. All of the donated land is protected from future commercial, industrial and recreational development through conservation programs previously arranged by the Seaman family. Approximately 3,500 deeded acres are under conservation easements with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), while the remaining 4,500 acres on a grazing lease were designated as heritage rangeland by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD). The first order of business was to get cows back on the range after a year’s hiatus during the transition, Pigeon explains. The arrival of the foundation herd shortly before the start of calving in mid-March addresses the first of the stampede’s three guiding principles — to preserve the western authenticity of the working OH Ranch. The  ranch-raised  cows  were  purchased from two reputable ranches in the Longview area: the 118 Black Angus cows from the Bateman family herd and the 100 Red Angus cows from the Hughes family’s

Chinook Ranch. They were calved out in “steer flats,” a sheltered area just west of the buildings and paired out in groups to a larger area nearby as the calves reached about two weeks of age and then on to a larger pasture farther out. As for the ideal herd size, Pigeon says that remains to be seen. With a young, strong herd and the 2013 heifer calves already spoken for, there’s no urgency to start retaining replacement heifers. The challenge now is to get the land base and grazing pattern figured out, he explains. He brings nearly 25 years of ranching experience in Alberta to the organization, while Lippert’s knowledge of the ranch as a former OH employee has been a great benefit. Pigeon expects it will take at least a couple of years to get a good handle on carryContinued on page 40



*Year-Round Grazing Systems* A Business Management School Topics include: • Human Resources • Economics and Finance • Pasture Calculations • Grazing Management • Pasture Rejuvenation • Weed Control • Cell Designs/Water Systems • Swath Grazing/Bale Grazing

Location: Westlock, AB

When: Nov. 5th, 6th & 7th, 2013

Or ask us about setting up a school in your area. Can you Graze 365 days a year? We provide a 3-day course that will take you right into the design and planning of a year-round grazing system. The course tuition is $800/Farm Unit, which allows two members from your farm business to attend. This course is well worth the investment.

Also be sure to attend:

“The Greener Pastures Walk” (aka ... Hayride)

July 4th, 2013 – Busby, AB To register please contact:

Steve Kenyon

Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd.

(780) 307-2275

Calgary Stampede OH Ranch manager Ken Pigeon and wife Deb. Photo: Jessie Pigeon C a t t l e m e n · J u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3


New Roundup Continued from page 39

ing capacity, taking into account the grazing restrictions that limit animal units and times of the year on heritage rangeland pastures. Reintroducing cows to the ranch not only retains its cultural and historic links to the west, but helps to fulfil the second guiding principle — to preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment — because grazing animals are part of the natural cycle that maintains healthy, productive rangeland. Pigeon explains the need to develop a sustainable grazing plan that will balance those goals with the need to extend the grazing season for as long as possible because the ranch purchases all of its winter feed supply. Evaluating the water supply, improving some of the existing fences, and starting to incorporate some electric fencing for rotational grazing to better sustain the grass are on this summer’s to-do list.

Pigeon has been working closely with people from the NCC and ASRD as well as an ad hoc committee of ranchers who have provided valuable input into the management plan. The final guiding principle — to engage rural and urban people in new and meaningful ways — will be addressed in time as ranch life settles into a routine. The stampede is assessing the functions of a working ranch to determine how they could mesh with its vision of the OH Ranch being a place where volunteers, partners, employees and communities connect to gain an understanding of historical ties to agriculture and its importance. As former managers of the Bar U Ranch, a nearby Parks Canada historic site, the Pigeons are experienced communicators and understand the need to build urbanrural connections as the population continues to shift toward urban lifestyles. For now, Pigeon has been posting blogs with photos on the Calgary Stampede’s network and plans to continue to share happenings at the OH Ranch two or three times each quarter to explain some of the ins and outs of everyday life through the

seasons on a working ranch. Follow it at


Change-up in commercial show for Agribition

Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) has put a new name and a new slant on its longstanding commercial cattle show. This year’s Stock Exchange (former commercial cattle barn) will feature a new display alley called “The Yards” where commercial and purebred ranches will be able to market their commercial programs by showcasing any class of animals, explains CWA president Reed Andrew. The Yards isn’t a competition. All cattle in The Yards are on display but not eligible to compete in the commercial or purebred events, he adds. This is a place to display one, a few, or several of the same or various types of cattle, including genetics for which there are no classes in the commercial or purebred events, such as mature herd sires, donor cows, hybrid bulls and commercial pairs. The Yards will be open for business Thursday, November 14 through Saturday,

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

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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

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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

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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


November 16. Bookings are being taken on a first-come-first-serve basis to rent the limited number of 20x20 foot pens in an area of the Stock Exchange with added lighting and heaters. A reminder — for 2013 CWA has moved up a notch on the calendar, running from Monday, November 11 to Saturday, November 16 to make way for Grey Cup festivities in Regina the following week. Voting on the people’s choice award will liven up Bull Pen Alley on Friday evening during the Cattlemen’s Mixer. The bull show will remain a dry-brush event, but the option to clip has been added this year. The bulls will show on Saturday morning instead of Friday with the rest of the commercial show. The commercial sale will get underway as usual on Saturday at noon. Classes for the bred heifer and open replacement heifer show and sale stay the same with pens of five and 10, however, the feeder heifer class has been discontinued. The feeder steer division will still include pens of five, 10 and 20, but will be an open show without the weight split at 700 pounds. Andrew, who was elected president during the CWA’s annual meeting in April, runs a mixed grain a beef farm north of Regina. He has been a volunteer for 35 years and during his seven years on the board and another five years as an executive member, served as commercial cattle chair, beef chair, trade show chair and was instrumental in introducing the grain expo in 2012. The Andrew family’s ties to CWA go back to the very first year of the show in 1970, when his dad, the late Barry Andrew, was one of the founding members who showed purebred cattle. Reed showed in purebred classes until 1985 and the commercial show since then with help from his dad and his children in recent years. Reed is the only second-generation president of this event with his election coming 32 years after his dad who served as the organization’s fifth president. In another proud moment Reed announced the fulfilment of his father’s wish to continue his legacy of support by leaving $25,000 to establish the CWA Barry Andrew Family Scholarship to provide $1,500 each year to a student enrolled in a second or subsequent year of an agriculturerelated post-secondary institution who participated in CWA as an exhibitor in any livestock class or the trade show. The application deadline is October 1.


Hunt is on for alternative growth-promoting products

Groundbreaking research in Alberta may open a pathway to finding alternatives to antimicrobial growth-promoting products (AGPs) in livestock diets, possibly within the next four years. For better than 60 years livestock producers have successfully used low-doses antibiotics to promote growth and feed efficiency, yet until now researchers haven’t been able to determine how the drugs do it. This is largely why alternative growth-promoting products haven’t achieved much success to date, according to Dr. Doug Inglis, a research scientist at Agriculture Canada’s Lethbridge Research Centre. Inglis, along with Dr. Richard Uwiera at the University of Alberta and Dr. John Kastelic at the University of Calgary, have been taking what they call a biorationale-based approach to determine how antibiotics affect intestinal bacteria (microbiota), the intestine itself, and the whole body. It is no easy task since the microbiota in cattle consist of 1,000 or more species of bacteria and more than 100 trillion bacterial cells. This isn’t specific to cattle, Inglis adds — all mammals, including humans, have 10 times more bacteria in their intestine than cells

in the whole body and 100 times more bacterial genes than mammalian genes. Surprisingly, while a lot is known about the rumen, Inglis says very little effort has gone into studying the intestine in cattle. “Our  research  so  far  indicates  that  AGPs  don’t  function  solely  as  antimicrobial agents and they have effects that extend beyond the intestine to the whole animal,” says Inglis. “We have some pretty exciting data that indicate how AGPs work, but we still have to do the science to identify specific biomarkers, or the ways in which AGPs function. This is a critical step in developing effective non-antimicrobial agents that mimic the action of AGPs.” The team was recently awarded a two-year grant from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, starting April 1 of this year to identify the biomarkers. In the meantime, the researchers are looking for partners to carry the project through the final two-year phase. This will involve using sophisticated animal models and measures they have already developed to expedite development of alternative products, evaluate their efficacy in feedlot cattle, and transfer the technology to producers. Though their focus is on ruminants, Inglis says their findings should also extend to pigs and poultry. The impetus for this research of course is to provide the industry with a viable alternative in the face of growing concerns about antibiotic resistance caused by prolonged feeding of antibiotics at low doses. Despite lacking positive proof that bacteria resistant to the drugs used in beef rations transfer from cattle to humans and that growth-promoting antibiotics used in cattle are of little Continued on page 42

Executive Director/Manager The Canadian Hereford Association is currently seeking a self-motivated, proven professional to assume a critical role as Executive Director/Manager. Reporting directly to a Board of Directors, you will have overall responsibility for effectively promoting the business interests of the Association, as well as ensuring the general administration and efficient operation of the Association, including financial management, public relations, government and beef industry affairs and membership services. The successful applicant will be responsible for supervising all publications prepared by the Association including the Canadian Hereford Digest and will be expected to manage and maintain CHA property including lease arrangements. The Association office is located in Calgary, Alberta.

To succeed in this top visibility position: • A post-secondary education in an agricultural related field and/or a business degree would be an asset • Knowledge of the purebred cattle industry on a national and international level is essential • A minimum of 3 years experience as a director or supervisor of an agricultural organization or department • Demonstrated leadership, problem solving and decision making skills • Effective writing, presentation, event planning, budgeting and interpersonal skills

The Canadian Hereford Association offers a competitive salary and benefits package in addition to opportunities for personal and professional achievement. Qualified applicants are invited to e-mail their cover letter & resumes in confidence to: Closing Date: July 15, 2013 or until the position is filled.

C a t t l e m e n · J u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3




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importance to human health, pressure continues to increase in political circles around this issue. More Efficient Means More Hereford The European Union has already taken the precautionary approach and banned the use of AGPs, a decision that has negatively affected the economics of livestock production in that part of the world, Inglis says. More worrisome is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent release of a guidance document for use of AGPs that mayAMeventually For alfalfa silage,12/6/07 corn 11:09 Cdn_Shorthorn_Assn Page 1lead to a ban in the U.S., forcing Canada to take similar action to silage and baled hay retain access to the American market. Dry granular or ready-to-use liquid Ionophores, such as Monensin, are not Value of dry matter saved grouped with AGPs and would not be - treatment cost = dollars saved deregulated because they are not linked INTERNATIONAL STOCK FOOD to antimicrobial resistance nor used in 1-877-473-2474 human  medicine.  They are  carboxylic polyether antibiotics, which act directly on the ruminal micro-organisms by disrupting the ion concentration in gram-positive bacteria and protozoa that decrease digesAVAILABLE BACHELORETTES tive efficiency. Other growth-enhancing technologies At 39, 5’6 138 lbs I such as growth implants and beta-adrenerhave my life in order, I have great girlfriends, gic agonists approved by Health Canada’s a nice home, my Veterinary Drug Directorate for use in cattle wonderful canine companion, and I am to promote growth and improve feed effivery successful at ciency are not antibiotics. According to the what I do. Money is Beef Cattle Research Council document, no concern for me, I am heathly in great “Optimizing Feedlot  Efficiency” (online

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shape, look good in blue jeans, I’ve been told I have a nice booty, but I have a personality & brains too. I love sports, I enjoy being out on the water on a summers day, with the sun shinning. I love chilling at bar with great food, watching a game too. Love motors sports & motor cycles, I was previous a model for a major beer company, but now that I am older & wiser all that stuff is only fun once in while I am looking for my soulmate. I like to cook, I enjoy dancing & yes I do attend church. I give back to my community & believe love conquers all. Mirander Lambert is a lady I admire.

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at, growth implants enhance the calf ’s natural reproductive hormones to encourage protein deposition and discourage fat deposition. Betaadrenergic agonists are used at the end of the feeding period to redirect nutrients so that more growth occurs in the muscle tissue than in internal organs.


What’s a forage network?

The Saskatchewan Forage Network (SFN) is taking shape under the leadership of the Saskatchewan Forage Council (SFC) with some seed money from the industry-run Saskatchewan Beef Industry Development Fund, and a $148,000 grant from the federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program. And it has a purpose: to develop a long-term model for a co-ordinated approach to advancing forage research capacity in the province. “The challenge now is to figure out exactly what is needed and identify the gaps and resources needed to fill them,” says SFN co-ordinator  Janice Bruynooghe of Spring Creek Land and Cattle Consulting  at  Outlook, Sask. “We have to keep Janice Bruynooghe in mind that it has to be realistic, feasible and long term. It’s not about creating an organization with layers of bureaucracy. We are going through times of change and the network has to have the ability to be flexible to react to industry needs. The worst thing I can think of is to

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build something new and exciting and have it fall apart after a few years.” “It is gaining traction because everyone can see the value of working together,” s ay s S F C e xe c u tive director Leanne Thompson of Ceylon, Sask. Both Bruynooghe and Thompson agree the joint effort put in by stakeholders to calLeanne Thompson culate the value of the province’s forage industry in 2010 set the stage for the collaborative approach they are using to develop the SFN. The study estimated the total yearly value of forage to the province at $2 billion to $3 billion and identified a lack of research and development funding as a major hurdle in growing the industry. Aaron Ivey, chair of the SFN steering committee, says the network is needed because the forage industry is so fractured most of the production is recorded in other industries. “I believe this will benefit all areas of primary agriculture involved in forages and be of great benefit to the research community in giving them a direct link to the industry,” says Ivey. He is convinced the SFN will be able to focus increased attention on the need to train more plant breeders and fund more research so forages can be competitive with other crops. At the same time, Bruynooghe explains, SFN industry partners, including the SFC, will continue to represent the specific interests of their memberships by lobbying govSTAMPEDE

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“C’mon Elmo, put your foot in it!”

ernments, promoting and marketing their products and finding funds for research in other areas besides forages when that’s the best option for them. “The SFN is by no means a lobby group,” she says. “The network has no other vested interest or any authority for that matter because it won’t be a legal entity. It is solely committed to a single message,” (building the forage industry). “All of the industry partners have more on their plate than they can handle resource-wise and budget-wise,” says Thompson. “The greatest benefit of working together as a network is in having someone dedicating time keeping forage research at the forefront, rather than individual organizations trying to find time to work on this specific issue.” The goals identified by the network steering committee are to develop a strategy to build forage research capacity; develop communication strategies with participating organizations to maintain a research priority list; become a clearing house for forage research, technology transfer and research funding sources; promote the benefits of partners working together to develop the

forage industry, and develop a strategy for ongoing funding and maintenance of SFN. This network is focused on Saskatchewan, but there have been informal discussions with interested parties in other provinces regarding a regional or Canadian approach. One of the forage industry’s greatest challenges through the years has been the number of diverse sectors that have a stake in forage production. That diversity is reflected in the SFN steering committee: Aaron Ivey (Saskatchewan Forage Council), vice-chair Ryan Sommerfeld (SFC and Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association), Jack Ford (SaskMilk), Andrew Lindsay-Hawkins (Saskatchewan Leafcutters Assoc.), David Maxwell/ Ray McVicar (Sask. Forage Seed Development Commission), Chet Neufeld (Native Plant Society of Sask.), and Michael Spratt (Sask. Cattlemen’s Assoc.). Bruynooghe says the network can turn this perceived weakness into a strength by bringing everyone to the table to gain a better understanding of the related industries and give the industry a collective voice. She can be reached at 306-867-8126, or c

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By Deb Wilson



f you haven’t already done so, make sure you pull hair samples on your herd sires prior to turning them out.

n  Thanks to Brian Good for calling to identify the folks in the May photo (above) — Judge Bob Smith, Mickey Collins and his daughter Debbie. James Schellenberger also emailed me with a comment on last month’s photo. “Your picture this week brought back memories. This picture is of Debbie Collins winning the reserve Grand Champion steer at the Multi Club 4-H show in Edmonton in 1966 (that is what it looks like on the calf — 1966). I remember her winning this. She was a member of the Spruce Grove 4-H Beef Club for many years. Her father Mickey is in the middle and I don’t know who the judge is in the picture. There were about six to eight clubs that would compete on the first day of Klondike Days on the Edmonton Exhibition Grounds and each club champion and

Reserve would compete for the regional winners. There were mostly Herefords and Angus competing in those years. Mickey was a great guy and he ran Flying Red Wheel Ranch for many years — now this land is a major golf course just on the western edge of Edmonton. I also am sending some more info on Mickey as he deserves it. Thanks for the monthly pictures. James…” So folks, I am out of pictures, all of you who either promised or threatened to send me pictures, please do! I will be in the doghouse if we don’t keep this going, as I get so many comments on how people enjoy this part of the column. I did find an interesting article that I would like to share with everyone. I was recently at a friend’s home and her husband has some old Family Herald and Country Guide magazines from 50+ years ago. I found this article and had to share it with you. The following is an excerpt from a column written by L.T. Chapman about the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, in the Dec. 21, 1967 issue of Family Herald magazine. “According to a historical sketch prepared by general manager W.P. Watson, the first Royal was held November 22 to 29, 1922. Entries totalled 17,000 including 1,850 horses, 2,800 head of cattle, 900 sheep, 700 swine and 9,100 poultry, and came from every province in Canada and nine states in the U.S.” How times have changed. The work involved to transport the livestock to the

n Here is the latest Oldtimers Photo. Can you identify any of the individuals in the photo?


C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

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

show, house them and manage the show must have been incredible. Livestock shows have a long history in Canada, and have played a significant part in the success of the livestock export business in Canada. This fall take a day to attend one of the very successful shows, admire the livestock and attend events that have evolved through this long history. Without exhibitors and attendees we will lose this valuable tool to promote agriculture and our livestock. This country has a terrific agricultural history that we need to maintain and be proud of. n  I received a phone call from Lee Wilson, Bashaw, Alta., a few weeks ago. He was telling me that Miller Wilson Angus won a show they didn’t even know they were in. One of their cows — DMM Miss Essence 61W (Grand Champion at 2012 CWA) won the “Angus Miss World 2012” title on the website. An Argentinian bull won the “Angus Champion of the World 2012” title on the same site. So I did a little research and discovered a Canadian Polled Hereford female won the “Hereford Miss World 2012” title on the site. The female, WLB 36N Beth ET 452S, is owned by Cayley Brown of Princeton, B.C. and bred by WLB Livestock of Douglas, Man. This cow was also the 2012 World Hereford Conference Grand Champion Polled Female. The concept of the site is that four individual judges from four countries as well as the voting results from the Facebook pages affiliated with these sites choose the winners. The 2012 competition consisted of 92 champions from 42 countries. Volume two of the competition will take place in December of 2013. The objectives of this initiative include creating awareness, trade and goodwill between countries. There are those who will scoff and ask how can you judge from a picture, but Lee tells me it has generated a lot of interest in their program worldwide. Personally I congratulate our Canadian breeders on their wins in an international “Show Ring.” n  The Canadian Beef Breeds Council is currently recruiting for the position of


executive  vice-president.  The  primary responsibility of the position is to ensure the direction, co-ordination, administration and development of the structure, people and systems of the CBBC according to established policies, procedures and guidelines as set out by the governing bodies, and the mission, philosophy and vision of the board of directors and its stakeholders. This job requires a visionary leader, capable of seizing and synthesizing the issues and the opportunities of the Canadian purebred beef cattle industry at every level of the beef value chain, from producer and breed associations to national and international markets. For details go to or email n  This year, Farmfair International celebrates its 40th anniversary as a top business destination for the global livestock industry November 3-10. Over 15 beef breeds are represented, with a range of shows and sales held throughout the week featuring purebred and commercial livestock, including one of the largest prizes for purebred cattle shows in the world with over

$130,000 in prizes for the Supreme Show of Champions. Its Inbound Buyer Program, co-ordinates with Canadian breeders and genetics companies to reinburse the travel costs for qualified international buyers up to $1,500. There’s never been a better year to attend Farmfair International than 2013. For the first time because of the Grey Cup celebrations Canadian Western Agribition in Regina is being held immediately afterwards, November 11-16. n  The Canadian Junior Hereford Association will be hosting its national junior show, “Bonanza” from July 30 to August 3 in Brandon. It is the longest-running junior association and the largest junior breed show in Canada covering all breeds and anyone can participate. There are competitions for individual and team judging, team marketing, art, literature, photos as well as the cattle show. For details go to and click on Juniors. In conjunction with the CJHA Bonanza, the Canadian Hereford Association will be hosting its annual general meeting Friday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Brandon’s Key-

stone Centre. Key speakers at the annual meeting will include Dr. John Basarab and Sean McGrath. Basarab is one of the project leaders for the current CHA Residual Feed Intake Trial and will be providing details on the first two trials conducted over this past winter and spring. McGrath, the contract breed improvement co-ordinator for the CHA, will be discussing genetic trends of the Hereford breed within the Pan American cattle evaluation and a trait analysis of Canadian Herefords. n  The deadline for the 2013 Grant Moffat herd builder award is September 1. This competition is open to all Manitoba youth under 21 who are interested in cattle. Grant was an active Charolais breeder, photographer, newsletter editor, youth supporter, and agricultural journalist from Forrest, Man., who went missing August 18, 2006. The money raised to help find him was later turned into this memorial fund to help Manitoba youth get a start in the purebred beef industry. Winners must purchase a Continued on page 46

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Continued from page 45

registered heifer calf (breed of your choice) at a Manitoba purebred cattle auction by December 31. Details are available at www. n  Over 5,000 spectators are expected to attend the World Plowing Championship July 19–20, 2013, hosted on the Olds College agriculture campus. The championship features competitions in conventional and reversible plowing classes on both stubble and grass plots. This internationally recognized event will certainly be a highlight of the school’s centennial year and shine a great light on Olds College. n  Canadian Angus Association (CAA) president Gary Latimer and CEO Rob Smith were scheduled to head back to Eastern Europe and Central Asia in May as part of a federal government trade mission to Russia and Kazakhstan headed up by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. While in Kazakhstan Latimer was to accompany Alberta Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson on a concurrent provincial trade mission to neighbouring Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has engaged the government of Alberta to import live cattle and help it shore up its domestic production capacity similar to the recent activity in Russia and Kazakhstan. CAA past president David Bolduc also joined the federal and Alberta missions as president of the Canadian Beef Breeds Council. The CAA was hopeful that the influence of the ministers will result in some relaxation of the recent protocols that have made exporting a real challenge, particularly to the Republic of Kazakhstan. n  Representatives from the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program, along with the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and industry partners, were on hand in Regina as Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced Growing Forward 2 funding for a youth mentorship and leadership development program in that province. Modelled after the CCA’s youth mentorship CYL program, Saskatchewan’s new Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program is the first of its kind at the provincial level. Stewart also announced $5,000 in sponsorship for the CYL Fall Forum to be held at the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina.


C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

Back row(l to r): Rob Bos, Eamonn McGuinty, Lucas Meyer, Jeremy Fallis. Front row (l to r): Melissa Parkinson, Jill Brown, Emily Den Haan, Laura Nanne, Elizabeth Stubbs.

n  As I had reported last month, a team of University of Guelph students won second place and the admiration of their competitors at a North American agricultural marketing contest in Kansas City, Missouri. I now have more details. The nine students in agricultural business, science and marketing courses at the U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College, finished just two points behind the University of Minnesota, and were voted “most favourite team” by the 29 other teams. The U of G and University of Saskatchewan were the only Canadian schools to field teams at the event. These competitions involve putting together a full marketing plan for innovative agricultural products. “We research the market and competitive analysis, create a marketing plan with events and advertisements, complete the financial breakdown of what it will cost the company with all expenses included, and finally create a monitoring and measuring section,” explains Emily Den Haan, president of the Guelph NAMA student chapter. The last time the Guelph team reached the final in 2007 it placed third. The team trained twice a week this year and sought comment from local agricultural marketing professionals. “Having professionals and sponsors watch and critique it helped us to think on our feet during the question-and-answer period, and made us feel confident in our product and marketing plan throughout the three presentations,” said Den Haan, a fourthyear student. “We are thankful for all the

Canadian Agri-Marketing Association did for us; their support is the backbone to our chapter and its success.” The Alberta chapter of the Canadian Agrimarketing Association is actively looking for post-secondary students or faculty members interested in forming a student chapter in Alberta. Contact either Matt Dertinger — or myself — Joining Den Haan on the Most Favourite Team were Lucas Meyer, Rob Bos, Jill Brown, Jeremy Fallis, Eamonn McGuinty, Laura Nanne, Melissa Parkinson and Elizabeth Stubbs. n  The Cattle Trail, at Calgary Stampede, took a first-place award at the International Fairs and Exhibition (IAFE) competition. n  Construction is underway on the new national  Canadian  Angus  Association headquarters! Drilling began when the ground finally thawed. Be sure to follow the developments on social media and watch for communications in Purely Purebred and from the Angus office to stay up to date with the latest developments. n  The Ontario Angus Association will host the breed’s national convention in Guelph. They are especially excited about the program for Rancher Endorsed Day on Friday, June 7 and the second annual Building the Legacy Sale in support of the Canadian Angus Foundation and Angus youth. c

 Market Su mma ry

By Debbie McMillin

TheMarkets Fed Cattle A much anticipated move in the fed-cattle market finally arrived after our last report. Rising beef sales brought on by better weather left packers looking to secure some inventory. In the past four weeks the fed-cattle cash market moved up $6.71/ cwt to an average $119.41 at mid-May, which is $7.82/cwt over 2012 and $15.72/ cwt above 2011. The cash-to-cash basis moved back into a more historically normal mid-May range of -8.03/cwt and the cash-to-futures basis went to -1.26/cwt, a $14/cwt improvement over last month. That is the tightest cash-to-futures basis we have seen since spring of 2011. Cattle-on-feed in Alberta and Saskatchewan on May 1 totalled 885,294 head, down five per cent from a year ago. April placements at 134,769 head climbed well above last year’s total. The largest group was the feeders over 800

lbs. as feeders placed backgrounded cattle into finishing lots. Fed-cattle exports continued to slide in the face of a tightening basis and improving prices at home but still remained three per cent over last year at 152,559 head by the end of April. To the first week of May steer slaughter was down one per cent at 429,023 head with an average carcass weighing 61 lbs. more than a year ago. Heifer slaughter was considerably smaller, down 18 per cent to 288,984 head and the average heifer carcass weight is just two pounds larger than last year.

still $20/cwt below last year. Heavier feeders generally start to see some improvement in May. This year 850 feeders traded for an average $123.38/cwt at the middle of the month, up slightly from the month earlier but $7.32 behind last year. Basis  levels  remain  seasonally  wide, -13.77/cwt  on  850-lb.  feeders,  which encourage exports. To the end of April a total of 127,777 head of Canadian feeder cattle was shipped to the U.S., 81 per cent more than the same four months in 2012.

Feeder Cattle

Slaughter cow numbers continue to be large in the U.S. as producers face high forage costs and disappointing spring pasture conditions in many areas. Locally more than the seasonal number of slaughter cows have been coming to market in recent weeks as wet, cold weather caused high mortality rates in newborn calves. A high of $79.79/cwt for D1,2 cows was posted in mid-April. Since then prices slipped to $77.44/cwt before rallying up to $78.86 at mid-May. Domestic cows slaughter has swelled in recent weeks however, the number of cows killed to date in 2013 is 165,862 head, down eight cent on the year. Bull slaughter has been larger in recent weeks as producers look to breeding season and make final decisions on breeding programs. Fortunately after falling back butcher bull prices rallied slightly to a mid-May average of $89.05/cwt. Bull slaughter in Canada is down eight per cent from a year ago at 1,077 head. The increased supply of cull cows in the U.S. has slowed cow export numbers over the past few weeks however, non-fed exports since the start of 2013 are still running 23 per cent higher on the cows and 60 per cent on the butcher bulls. c

The long-awaited bounce in the fed market put some stability behind the feeder trade as well. Lighter 550-lb. steers that had slipped into the upper $140s climbed back into a more familiar trading range posting an average $151.30 by mid-May which is

 DE B’S OUTLOOK Fed Cattle By mid-May retail beef prices were at record highs with two of the larger beef movement holidays, Memorial Day and Father’s Day, still ahead, which should keep the pipeline moving in the near term. Higher-grading cattle will continue to bring premiums as more calves enter the mix. Seasonally, a down-trending market is in the cards as we move into the sluggish months of summer when consumers tend to buy lower-priced cuts and the volumes of market-ready cattle increase. Feeder Cattle Near-term prices of grass-type cattle should stabilize with some improvement on quality cattle as buyers look to fill summer pastures. Heavier 850-lb. feeders generally see prices pick up towards the end of May heading towards strength in the summer months however, the gains may be limited

this year. Looking further out, market volatility will hinge on weather affecting this year’s corn and barley crops as well as feedlot profitability. Both factors will have a large impact on feeder markets in late summer and early fall. Non-Fed Cattle Seasonal demand for grinding and trim products is strong through the late spring and summer months. Exports may continue to be smaller as the U.S. has additional cows in the market now but the seasonal tightening of local supplies should relieve any price pressure. Look for a steady market on cows in early summer before the seasonal volumes start to pick up. One positive with these additional cows showing up in the U.S. is that there should be fewer left to come to market in late summer if the weather takes a turn for the worse. This may help sustain a strong cow market into the summer months.

Non-Fed Cattle

Debbie McMillin is a market analyst who ranches at Hanna, Alta.

More markets 

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Break-even Prices on A-Grade Steers 140




Steer Calves (500-600 lb.)

180 170





100 90

Market Prices

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



145 135


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

2013 2012

2013 2012

May 2013 prices* Alberta Yearling steers (850 lb.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $122.91/cwt Barley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.33/bu. Barley silage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79.13/ton Cost of gain (feed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84.69/cwt Cost of gain (all costs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108.65/cwt Fed steers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117.80/cwt Break-even (September 2013) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117.80/cwt Ontario Yearling steers (850 lb.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $26.39/cwt Corn silage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52.64/ton Grain corn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.33/bu. Cost of gain (feed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95.79/cwt Cost of gain (all costs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120.76/cwt Fed steers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116.57/cwt Break-even (Novemer 2013) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124.06/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



2013 2012

2013 2012

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

Market Summary (to May 4) 2013


Total Canadian federally inspected slaughter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 884,946. . . . . . . . . . . 967,769 Average steer carcass weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 887 lb.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 881 lb. Total U.S. slaughter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,343,000. . . . . . . . 11,574,000

Trade Summary Exports 2013 2012 Fed cattle to U.S. (to Apr. 27). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152,559.. . . . . . . . . . . .148,116 Feeder cattle and calves to U.S. (to Apr. 27) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121,777.. . . . . . . . . . . . 67,314 Dressed beef to U.S. (to Mar.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106.49 mil.lbs.. . . . . 138.28 mil.lbs Total dressed beef (to Mar.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142.56 mil.lbs.. . . . . . 181.17 mil.lbs 2013 IMPORTS 2012 Slaughter cattle from U.S. (to Mar.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 *Dressed beef from U.S. (to Mar.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92.65 mil.lbs. . . . . . . 75.66 mil.lbs *Dressed beef from Australia (to Mar.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.00 mil.lbs. . . . . . . . 6.98 mil.lbs *Dressed beef from New Zealand (to Mar.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.00 mil.lbs. . . . . . . 19.33 mil.lbs *Dressed beef from Uruguay (to Mar.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.82 mil.lbs. . . . . . . . .7.67 mil.lbs Canadian Grades (to May 11, 2013) % of A grades +59% 54-58% AAA 22.1 24.2 AA 23.9 8.1 A 1.3 0.1 Prime 0.2 0.7 Total 33.1 47.5 EAST WEST

Total graded 209,820 717,024

Yield – 53% Total 14.2 60.5 2.4 34.4 0.0 1.4 1.1 2.0 17.7 Total A grade 98.3%

Total ungraded 11,535 76

% carcass basis 78.4% 85.5% Only federally inspected plants


C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

 market ta l k

By Gerald Klassen



he USDA released its forecasts for 2013 crop and beef production on May 10 and there are many implications for the feeder and fed-cattle markets. Over the past year, producers have anticipated lower beef production but this hasn’t actually materialized into sustained price strength for feeders and fed cattle. However, it is important that producers realize the fundamental projections for grains and beef moving forward in order to implement a longterm marketing plan and risk management strategy. I find that many producers that email or phone me don’t have an idea how the markets are expected to develop over the next eight to 12 months. When the USDA releases its first forecasts for the 2013 crop and 2014 beef production, this provides a starting point and the markets digest the report and adjust to the appropriate changes from this point moving forward. In this article, I will discuss the USDA report and implications for the longer-term price structure for grains and cattle. Last summer’s drought in the Midwest resulted in feed grain prices moving to historical highs. Corn ending stocks will drop to historical lows at the end of the 2012-13 crop year. For 2013-14, U.S. corn production has potential to be 14.1 billion bushels, compared to 11.9 billion last year which will cause the U.S. corn carry-out to surge over 2.0 billion bushels. Looking at past history, when the U.S. corn carry-out reaches this level, corn prices have potential to trade in the range of $3 to $4 per bushel. The USDA was using an average yield of 158 bushels per acre given the later seeding period. In 2012, the average corn yield was 123.4 bushels per acre so the market will be extremely sensitive to weather during the growing season, especially during pollination in late July. In addition to the larger U.S. corn crop, world corn production has potential to be 965 million mt, which compares to the 2012 crop of 857 million mt and the seven-year average of 790 million mt. The U.S. export program for 2013-14 will have to price accordingly to move stocks offshore and we will likely see increased imports into Western Canada for both corn and DDGS. This will have a major effect on barley prices even if the barley crop turns out smaller than anticipated. The current fundamental projection for world coarse grains is currently advising finishing feedlots to NOT book a significant amount of their feed grain requirements for the fall period because the market will come under significant pressure during harvest. The USDA also provided its first projection for 2014 beef production and modified their quarterly forecasts for 2013. There were minor increases to 2013 third- and fourth-quarter beef production but notice for 2014, beef

u.s. quarterly beef production (million pounds)





Estimated 2013

Estimated 2104































production is expected to be down one billion pounds in comparison to 2013. The USDA price forecast for fed steers in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2013 ranged from $127/cwt to $137/cwt while values in the first quarter of 2014 are expected to range from $127 to $137/cwt. Keep in mind during the first quarter of 2013, fed-steer prices averaged $125.52/cwt. In conclusion, the feed grain complex will function to encourage demand during the 2013-14 crop year. Lower beef production in 2014 will cause fed-cattle prices to also move higher. Given the lower available beef supplies, exports will be down and the wholesale beef market should move higher to ration demand in the domestic market. Feeder cattle prices are expected to move back up to historical highs during the winter of 2013-14 due to strong fed-cattle prices and lower feed grain values. This is the current perspective of the industry. Weather during the summer will be a main factor influencing the feed grains but at this stage, normal conditions are expected. c Gerald Klassen analyzes markets in Winnipeg and also maintains an interest in the family feedlot in southern Alberta. He can be reached at  Wo r l d Co r n P ro duct i o n ( m i l l i o n m t ) Source: USDA 1,000

965 880

900 792

800 700





857 789


600 500 400 300

2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12

7-year 2012/13 2013/14 average

C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3



Sales&Events EVENTS June 4-6

 anadian Animal Health Institute C Annual Meeting, Bromont, Que. 6-9 Livestock Markets Association of Canada Convention & Auctioneer Competition, Calgary Public Stockyards, Deerfoot Inn and Casino, Calgary, Alta. 7-9 Lakeland College-Vermilion, 2013 Alumni Homecoming & Rose Ball – 100th Anniversary, Lakeland College, Vermilion, Alta. 780-853-8628, 9-11 Saskatchewan Stock Growers 100th Convention & Annual General Meeting, Heritage Inn, Moose Jaw, Sask. 10-12 Alberta Beef Producers Semi-Annual Meetings, Four Points by Sheraton, Edmonton, Alta. 12-15 45th Annual BIF Symposium, Renaissance Hotel, Oklahoma City, Okla. 15 Alberta Limousin Association Summer Field Day & Breeder Tour, Glenreagh Hall, Barrhead, Alta. 17-18 ALMA’s Future Fare, Sheraton Hotel, Red Deer, Alta. 18 Beef Symposium — beef from farm-tofork: a producer’s perspective, Banff Park Lodge, Banff, Alta., jas-files/speakerbios3-19-13.pdf 19-21 Farm Progress Show, Evraz Place, Regina, Sask. 20-21 UCVM Beef Cattle Conference 2013, Coast Plaza Hotel, Calgary, Alta. 22 Saskatchewan Limousin Association, Community Hall, Manitou Beach, Sask. 25 Western Beef Development Center Annual Field Day, Termuende Research Ranch, Lanigan, Sask. 25-26 T Bar C Invitational Golf Tournament, Dakota Dunes, Saskatoon, Sask.

Auctioneer Championship, Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alta. 15-18 Beef Innovations 2013, Sheraton Cavalier, Calgary, Alta., 17 Canadian Simmental Association Annual General Meeting, Sheraton Cavalier, Calgary, Alta. 18 YCSA National Classic, Okotoks, Alta. 25-27 Canadian Junior Angus Assoc. Showdown, 14th Annual National Canadian Junior Angus Show, Armstrong, B.C. 27 Davidson Gelbvieh and Lonesome Dove Ranch Customer Appreciation, Open House and Private Treaty Heifer Sale, at the ranch, Ponteix, Sask.

10 13

14 17


 anadian Limousin Association, C Neepawa, Man. Gelbvieh Assoc. of Alta. and B.C. Field Day, Royal Western Gelbvieh, Innisfail, Alta. Alberta Angus Association AGM and Hall of Fame Gala and Awards, Bashaw Ag Society, Bashaw, Alta. All Breeds Junior Show, Bashaw Ag Society, Bashaw, Alta. Calgary Police Rodeo Assoc. 31st Annual Rodeo, Airdrie Rodeo Grounds, Airdrie, Alta. Cattlewomen for the Cure Golf,


By Gerry Palen

July 5-14 C  algary Stampede, Stampede Grounds, Calgary, Alta. 8-12 Summer Synergy, Olds Ag Society, Olds, Alta., 10 International Livestock Congress 2013, Deerfoot Inn, Calgary, Alta. 10 Ontario Forage Expo, Bruce County, Ont. 11-13 25th Annual International Livestock,


C a t t l e m e n · j u n e / j u ly 2 0 1 3

September 10-12 Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, Canada’s Outdoor Park, Woodstock, Ont. 18-20 Canada Beef Annual Forum, Sheraton Cavalier, Calgary, Alta.

October 4-6

 lds Fall Classic, Olds Ag Society, Olds, O Alta., 22-23 Livestock Gentec 4th Annual Conference, Coast Plaza Hotel, Edmonton, Alta.,

November 6

August 3

Tournament, Cotton Coulee Golf Course, Medicine Hat, Alta.

“Do you know how “lame’ you look, mister?””


 anadian Gelbvieh Association AGM , C Northlands, Edmonton, Alta. National Gelbvieh Show, Farmfair International, Edmonton, Alta.

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

 A DV E RT I S E R I NDEX Page 15 Beef Cattle Research Council Buhler Manufacturing IBC Canada Beef 9 Canada’s Farm Progess Show 21 Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show 31 Canadian Angus Assoc. IFC Canadian Charolais Assoc. OBC 42 Canadian Gelbvieh Assoc. 41, 42 Canadian Hereford Assoc. 42 Canadian Limousin Assoc. Canadian Shorthorn Assoc. 42 Canadian Simmental Assoc. 42 Canadian Welsh Black Society 42 Case-IH 5 Ford Motor Company Canada 7 Greener Pastures 39 International Livestock Congress 23 International Stock Foods 42 Lakeland Group/Northstar 10 a-p Matchmaker Select 42 Merck Animal Health 37 New Holland 13, 28, 29 42 Plain Jans Red Brand Fence 43 Salers Assoc. of Canada 42 Tru-Test Inc. 45 Vermeer Corporation 19

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