PUBLISHED BY MANITOBA BEEF PRODUCERS
PHOTO CREDIT: JONATHAN ROFFEL
At the conclusion of the virtual 42nd AGM, several of the new and returning faces on the MBP Board of Directors posed for a photo. See story on page 4 of this issue.
Rethinking methane Many livestock producers have suffered unfair blame when it comes to their environmental footprint, but Dr. Frank Mitloehner of UC Davis is determined to change that. At the Manitoba Beef Producers Annual General Meeting in February, Mitloehner explained how he, and other researchers, are changing the narrative on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the beef and dairy sector, to one where producers are viewed as an asset in the fight against global warming, rather than a liability. The narrative begins with dispelling the myths and highlighting the facts around methane production from cattle. Methane is very different from CO₂ The fact is that cattle production does produce GHG emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂), nitrous oxide (N₂O) and methane (CH₄), but it’s important to understand that these gases operate very differently in the atmosphere. CO₂ and N₂O both persist for a long time in the atmosphere (up to 1,000 years), but methane is destroyed by a process called hydroxyl oxidization within 12 years. To relate the importance of this for cattle production, it’s necessary to understand the Biogenic Carbon cycle by which methane from livestock is produced and destroyed. The Biogenic Carbon cycle (see link at end of article) begins with photosynthesis, where plants convert sunlight, water and carbon from the atmosphere into carbohydrates, such as cellulose or starch. A bovine eats this material, digests it through a process called enteric fermentation, and expels methane in its waste products. Carbon in the meth-
ane is converted, through hydroxyl oxidation, back into CO₂ which goes back into the atmosphere, but that carbon is recycled carbon, identical to the carbon that was in the atmosphere in the form of CO₂ that the original plants photosynthesized to begin the cycle. “As long as herd sizes are stable, the amount of methane produced by your cattle, and the amount of methane destroyed by hydroxyl oxidation will be in balance,” Mitloehner said. “Constant cattle herds do not add additional carbon or methane to the atmosphere, and they do not cause additional warming to our climate.” Carbon derived from fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) is different because it’s a one-way process, said Mitloehner. “Fossil fuels were formed from decayed plant material that fossilized and accumulated in the ground over a very long period of time,” he said. “Over the last 70 years, we have extracted about half of that ancient carbon, and burned it in our cars, planes, trains, ships, power plants and so on. We put that carbon into the atmosphere mainly in the form of CO₂ and why we see CO₂ levels rising year after year, is because it’s not a short time cycle, but a very long, one-way street of fossil carbon from the ground into the atmosphere.” Why animal agriculture gets a bad rap The reason why animal agriculture has been vilified in terms of the impacts of methane on the climate has largely been due to a matrix called the GWP100, used for the past 30 years to calculate global warming potential of different GHGs. Generally, using this formula, methane (and N₂O) emissions are converted into CO₂e (equivalents) and, in the case of methane, is multiplied by a factor of 28. So, a ranch producing 100 tonnes of methane, is producing 2,800 tonnes of CO₂e.
This system is wrong, Mitloehner said, because it does not take into account that methane is both produced and destroyed, and is not cumulative in the atmosphere over a long period of time as CO₂ and N₂O are. Scientists have developed a new matrix, called the GWP* (see link at end of article) that does account for this difference, and gives a more accurate picture of methane’s climate impact. Scientists compared three scenarios, increasing methane by 35 per cent over 30 years, maintaining the same amount of methane emissions over 30 years, and decreasing methane emissions by 35 per cent over 30 years, using both the GWP100 and GWP*. The GWP100 predicts strong increases in CO₂e, translating into increased global warming, with all three scenarios, while the GWP* predicts that increasing methane by 35 per cent would indeed increase warming, but maintaining a stable level of methane would result in a slight decrease (around 10 per cent) in warming, and a reduction of 35 per cent of methane emissions would result in cooling. Applied in the context of animal agriculture, the key message is that stable herds or flocks will not add to global warming, and that, in fact, if methane emissions from livestock production can be decreased, it will help to reduce global warming. So, it Page 2 POSTMASTER: PLEASE RETURN UNDELIVERABLE COPIES TO: MBP, UNIT 220, 530 CENTURY STREET, WINNIPEG, MB R3H 0Y4 CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS MAIL PRODUCT SALES AGREEMENT NUMBER 40005187 POSTAGE PAID IN WINNIPEG.
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CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
MBP's AGM covered a lot of ground Well, if we were looking for the bright side of not being able to hold an in-person Annual General Meeting, it would be that we were able to conduct the virtual meeting during an extreme cold snap. Though I would have rather seen AGM attendees in person in Brandon, not having to fight the -45 weather was a positive. I want to greatly thank all producers, their families, industry and government reps, and many others for attending the virtual event. I know this was a major format change, but I greatly appreciate you working with us as we try to adjust to pandemic-related restrictions. Here’s hoping the extreme cold didn’t lead to too many frozen water lines while you took in the event. From my perceptive, our 42nd AGM was major success. We were able to hold the usual business portion, and take in three great speakers: Ray Bittner, Laura Plett, and Dr. Frank Mitloehner. Thank you to the Hon. Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development and Wab Kinew, Leader of the Official Opposition in Manitoba for bringing greetings to the event as well. Throughout the event, we only had a few technical hiccups, so I am very pleased with that, as internet strength can vary, even at our office in Winnipeg. I’m hoping it came across well for others throughout the province. During the business portion, MBP’s membership adopted proposed amendments to the administration bylaw that will formally allow MBP to hold virtual meetings when required. This is particularly important in the current pandemic environment. Thank you to the membership for moving forward with these amendments, as it’s important to have it covered off in our by-law. We hope to be back to
our consumers, to shine a positive light on the industry for once. One thing that occurred at both MBP AGMs in which I have been involved so far is a bittersweet feeling. We usually have directors retiring or moving on from the board, which can be a sad feeling. I get to work very closely with a great group of people, and it can be hard to see them move on. I want to thank outgoing president and District 9 director Dianne Riding and outgoing directors Gord Adams (District 1), Peter Penner (District 3) and Robert Metner (District 11) for being such outstanding team members, and I know they will keep in touch. Though it’s bittersweet to see directors move on from the board, I am extremely excited to begin working with the new board and getting to know our new directors: Alfred Epp, District 1; Andre Steppler, District 3; Trevor Sund, District 9 and Arvid Nottveit, District 11. I am also very encouraged by the elected Executive Committee: Tyler Fulton, President; Melissa Atchison, Vice-President; Matthew Atkinson, 2nd Vice-President; Mark Good, Treasurer; and Mike Duguid, Secretary. We are in very good shape to continue to advance the Manitoba cattle industry, and the beef sector as a whole. Before I close, I just want to thank the team here in the office for everything they did to prepare and deliver this virtual AGM. It was a learning curve for all of us, but without their hard work, it wouldn’t have gone off as well as it did. Thanks team! Have a great day all, and stay warm in the remaining winter days. Carson Callum
General Manager’s Column in-person meetings in the future. During the resolutions debate, the membership passed two suggested resolutions. The first relates to Livestock Price Insurance, calling on to MBP to advocate for the continuation and improvements of the program, including making available to producers nationally. The second relates to how improvements will be valued and transferred on Agricultural Crown Land (ACL) leases. Recent changes to the ACL program around how improvements are valued require adjustments to be more workable for affected producers. MBP will continue to focus on these files, among others, moving forward. All three speakers were really informative. Ray provided a great update on the predation pilot project on which MBP and the Livestock Predation Protection Working Group are working. Laura did an excellent job touching on the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program, and its continued importance. Frank finished off the event with a phenomenal presentation on the misconceptions around greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock’s positive role in curbing climate change. I really hope others found it as thought provoking as I did. It’s clear that a focus of MBP moving forward will be helping get this message out to
Reducing methane in livestock production Page 1 appears that beef production can be an important part of the climate solution. Beef production part of the climate solution “The Paris Climate Agreement is all about keeping global warming under one-and-a-half degrees,” said Mitloehner. “In most of the developed world we see that livestock herds are staying pretty stable and producing constant amounts of methane. If we have a constant CO₂ source and a constant methane source, the constant CO₂ source still leads to increased amounts of warming because it’s cumulative, but a constant methane source leads to no additional warming. And when you decrease the methane to net zero, you have an instantaneous decrease in warming.” The same is not true of CO₂, which, if emissions were reduced to net zero (an unrealistic goal given that would basically require no burning of fossil fuels at all), CO₂ emissions would plateau, but DISTRICT 1
R.M. of Albert, Cameron, Whitewater, Edward, Brenda, Winchester, Morton
R.M. of Riverside, Strathcona, Argyle, Lorne, Turtle Mountain, Roblin, Louise, Pembina
global warming would continue to increase for a long time because of the massive amounts already in the atmosphere, that have already been accumulated due to the burning of fossil fuels over the past 120 years. “Methane is not a super pollutant like CO₂,” Mitloehner said. “Methane is a super opportunity because if we, in animal agriculture, manage to reduce it, that has an instantaneous cooling effect, and that makes you a potential solution provider to overall climate issues.” Reducing methane in livestock production Is it possible to reduce methane emissions on livestock operations? Its’s already being done, said Mitloehner, giving examples from California, where there are substantial financial incentives available for livestock producers, including beef and dairy operations, to help reduce methane emissions by 40 per cent, by 2030. These Low Carbon Fuel Standard Credits more
than offset the investment required to implement technology like anerobic digesters, lagoon covers and feed additives that all help reduce methane and other GHG emissions. A very successful practice, that has been widely adopted by California’s dairy industry, is covering open lagoons, and converting the captured biogas into renewal natural gas (RNG), a carbon negative fuel source, that is used to fuel semi-trucks. (See link at the end for information). This one practice has already reduced methane emissions from the dairy sector by 25 per cent. Research into feed additives has also identified five that work to reduce methane emissions anywhere from 10 to 50 per cent. One is already commercially available, and the others should be within the next four years. Making animal agriculture more efficient is also going to be key, added Mitloehner, to meet the challenge of feeding 9.5
R.M. of Elton, North Cypress, North Norfolk, Cornwallis, Oakland, South Cypress, Victoria, South Norfolk
MELISSA ATCHISON VICE-PRESIDENT
R.M. of Wallace, Woodworth, Daly, Pipestone, Sifton, Whitehead, Glenwood
billion people by 2050, as populations, especially in southeast Asia and Africa continue to increase exponentially. These are also areas of the world where livestock production is less efficient, and produces higher GHG emissions compared to the developed world. “The developing part of the world currently produce between 70 to 80 per cent of all GHG from the livestock sector globally,” said Mitloehner. “So, there are areas where there is significant room to grow to lower the environmental footprint of livestock through things like improved reproduction and genetics, better veterinary care, and more energy dense diets.” A model for GHG reduction Mitloehner sees what is being done in California as a model for North America and internationally, because it works. “There is no other form of GHG reduction or carbon sequestration that is as cost effective as reduc-
R.M. of Woodlands, Rockwood, St. Andrews, Rosser, St. Francis Xavier, Springfield, Tache, Whitemouth, Lac du Bonnet, Brokenhead, St. Clements, LGD of Alexander, Pinawa
MIKE DUGUID SECRETARY
R.M. of Bifrost, Gimli, Fisher, Armstrong
R.M. of Portage la Prairie, Cartier, Grey, MacDonald, Dufferin, Thompson, Roland, Morris, Stanley, Rhineland, Montcalm
R.M. of Russell, Silver Creek, Rossburn, Ellice, Birtle, Shoal Lake, Strathclair, Archie, Miniota, Hamiota, Blanshard
R.M. of Richot, Ste. Anne, Hanover, De Salaberry, La Broquerie, Franklin, Stuartburn, Piney, LGD Reynolds
TYLER FULTON PRESIDENT
MATTHEW ATKINSON 2ND VICE-PRESIDENT
R.M. of Harrison, Clanwilliam, Rosedale, Glenella, Saskatchewan, Odanah, Minto, Langford, Lansdowne, Westbourne, LGD Park
R.M. of Siglunes, Grahamdale, Eriksdale, Coldwell, St. Laurent
MARK GOOD TREASURER
R.M. of Lawrence, Ochre River, Ste. Rose, McCreary, Alonsa
tions through animal agriculture, and in the years to come we will be viewed not as a liability in the climate arena, but as an asset,” he said. “Beef and dairy do produce GHG, but if you can manage to reduce them, you can be part of the solution. What I told you today is something you have probably never heard before, but you will hear it again because I and my colleagues are working to ensure the narrative gets set right. And all of you can help with that.” Farmers must tell their story, especially when they have compelling facts and science to support that what they are doing on their farms and ranches is playing an important role in climate mitigation. “Your strongest weapon, as a farmer is your authenticity, and consumers eating beef in Manitoba and Canada have a high respect for you,” he said. “You know more than anyone else how to produce beef, and you should
R.M. of Shell River, Shellmouth,Hillsburg, Boulton, Grandview, Gilbert Plains, Ethelbert, Mossey River, Dauphin, LGD Park
R.M. of Minitonas, Swan River, Mountain, The Pas
MANITOBA BEEF PRODUCERS
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GENERAL MANAGER Carson Callum
POLICY ANALYST Maureen Cousins
be proud of what you do. If someone attacks you, don’t operate on that level, just tell your stories, what you do, how you do it, and that you have a legacy you are proud of. On that level you can engage any kind of discussion.” Additional links: Explanation of the Biogenic Carbon Cycle and cattle https://clear.ucdavis. edu/explainers/biogeniccarbon-cycle-and-cattle Article: Agriculture’s Contribution to Climate Change and Role in Mitigation Is Distinct From Predominantly Fossil CO2-Emitting Sectors https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ fsufs.2020.518039/full UC Davis White Paper that Re-Examines Methane’s Role in Climate Change, and How the California Dairy Can Achieve Climate Neutrality https://clear.ucdavis. edu/news/methane-cowsand-climate-change-california-dairys-path-climate-neutrality
OFFICE ASSISTANT Vacant
LIVESTOCK PREDATION PREVENTION PROJECT COORDINATOR Ray Bittner
CATTLE COUNTRY EDITOR David Hultin
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
Beef industry climate change discussion I am humbled that my fellow Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) directors have entrusted me with the role of association president for the upcoming year. It is an honour to serve in this position, one that my father David also held a number of years ago with the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association. I look forward to working alongside the incoming MBP board and Executive as we tackle a range of issues and opportunities affecting our industry. This includes getting to know our new directors: Alfred Epp, District 1; Andre Steppler, District 3; Trevor Sund, District 9 and Arvid Nottveit, District 11. Welcome aboard! I would also like to give a special note of thanks to outgoing president and District 9 director Dianne Riding and outgoing directors Gord Adams (District 1), Peter Penner (District 3) and Robert Metner (District 11) for being such welcoming and supportive individuals after I joined the board and started learning the ropes. It was greatly appreciated by me and I look forward to staying in touch with them. Thank you as well to all the producers, government and industry reps, researchers and others who took part in our virtual Annual Gen-
eral Meeting on February 11 and who made it a success. This included the Hon. Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development; Wab Kinew, Leader of the Official Opposition in Manitoba; and our guest speakers – Ray Bittner, Laura Plett and Dr. Frank Mitloehner. For those who don’t know me, I’d like to give you a bit of an introduction. Along with my wife, Dorelle, and our kids Evan and Mae, we own and operate Tyton Farm Ltd, a 600 head cow/calf/ backgrounding operation south of Birtle. The farm was started by my grandparents Vic and Marion Fulton and was passed down to my parents, David and Verna, who are still active on the farm. Our farm operates on about 5,500 acres in prairie pothole country, which consists of both native and tame pasture, hay and annual crops for winter feed production. We grow approximately 300 acres of corn for silage and winter grazing and utilize another 200 acres of cereal crop mixes for late season grazing and feed grain production for the backgrounding ration. The cow herd calves in April/May and has influence from Angus, Gelbvieh and Simmental breeds. During the graz-
TYLER FULTON President's Column
ing season, the cows are split into four herds and moved through about 100 different paddocks, usually about twice per year. Calves are either marketed in the fall or early spring, but a portion are kept as grassers and sold as yearlings or bred heifers. The operation is VBP+ Verified and the calves are also raised following EU certification protocols and typically marketed on internet-based sales. I have spent most of my off-farm career in the field of livestock price risk management after I received a degree in Agribusiness from the University of Manitoba. I am passionate about improving the tools and programs available for cattle producers to manage risk on their operations and look forward to advocating on your behalf to improve Livestock Price Insurance, crop and forage insurance offerings and AgriStability. For example, MBP provides input to the provincial government and Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation about insurance offerings and ways they could be enhanced to
make them more responsive to the needs of cattle producers. Just recently MASC announced some program changes for the coming year that should be beneficial. They include offering individual productivity indexing for silage corn. And, the transportation allowance within the Forage Insurance dollar value and Hay Disaster Benefit for the Forage Insurance program will increase. The transportation allowance was updated to $16 from $8 per tonne for Select and Basic Hay, and to $24 from $20 per tonne for the Hay Disaster Benefit. This should be more reflective of how costs have risen since this tool was first introduced. While the decision to participate in business risk management programs like these is up to individual producers, I encourage people to look at the various tools to see if there are options that would help reduce risk on your farm or ranch. As we head into another year that is potentially shaping up to be too dry again, it doesn’t hurt to look at what’s available to offer some protection if our pasture, forage and
crop yields are affected by a drought or other perils. Looking ahead, I believe the one of biggest issues that we face as an industry is climate change and the common perception that beef production contributes to the problem. The beef industry has been cast a villain in this issue, but we know that Canada’s beef herd is actually a hero, with the potential of not only mitigating our carbon emissions but capturing carbon dioxide to be part of the climate change solution. With the new Biden administration in the United States focusing on climate change and our own governments enacting new laws to address this threat, we need to be part of the conversation and to have our industry’s insights heard during the policy development process so that our farms and ranches are not harmed and can actually benefit as part of a real, long term solution. Manitoba Beef Producers can lead in this issue by engaging with policy makers to develop real, tangible programs that will be a win/win for mitigating carbon emissions and securing better profitability for our farms and ranches. We need to continue to communicate to the public our important environ-
mental role on the landscape and find ways to amplify this message so that we will help secure the long-term future of raising cattle in Manitoba. Another area of critical importance to the beef and cattle industry is the ability to access markets, both domestic and international. In the US, incoming Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has indicated he is open to reintroducing country of origin labelling (COOL) laws if they comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) standards. Canada’s cattle industry will be keeping a close eye on this, as it had successfully argued at the WTO that the previous iteration of COOL put cattle and pig producers in both Canada and Mexico at a disadvantage. Canada retains its retaliatory rights under that WTO COOL ruling, and is watching to see how this evolves. These are just two of the many important issues affecting our sector and on which MBP and other industry associations at both the provincial and national level are working. I look forward to working on these and other matters in the weeks ahead and appreciate your ideas and insights. Best wishes for a safe and successful calving season in the months ahead.
During our virtual 42nd AGM, we asked delegates to send us a selfie as they took in the meeting. Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo!
CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Manitoba Beef Producers' virtual 42 AGM a success nd
The virtual format was certainly new, but Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) was still able to deliver key components of its traditional meeting at its 42nd Annual General Meeting on February 11. “If you’d told us a year ago that we’d have to be moving to a virtual platform to hold our 42nd AGM, I don’t think a lot of people would have believed it,” explained MBP General Manager Carson Callum. “However, MBP, just like every other organization and individual has had to adapt, and I’m pleased we were able to successfully provide our delegates with the usual elements of our
AGM, including updates on MBP’s operations, the resolutions debate and guest speakers.” At the AGM, MBP’s Executive for 2021-22 was introduced as follows: President Tyler Fulton, Vice-President Melissa Atchison, 2nd Vice-President Matthew Atkinson, Treasurer Mark Good, and Secretary Mike Duguid. The membership ratified the incoming 2021-22 board of directors, which includes: Alfred Epp, District 1; Nancy Howatt, District 2, Andre Steppler, District 3; Kevin Duddridge, District 4; Steven Manns, District 5; Melissa Atchison, District 6; Tyler Fulton, District 7; Mat-
At the AGM, MBP’s Executive for 202122 was introduced as follows: President Tyler Fulton, Vice-President Melissa Atchison, 2nd Vice-President Matthew Atkinson, Treasurer Mark Good, and Secretary Mike Duguid. thew Atkinson, District 8; Trevor Sund, District 9; Mike Duguid, District 10; Arvid Nottveit, District 11; Mark Good, District 12; Mary Paziuk, District 13; and, Jim Buchanan, District 14.
Two resolutions were debated and carried, one related to the livestock price insurance program and another related to the process for valuing improvements made to agricultural Crown lands. As well, a series of amendments to the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association’s (operating as Manitoba Beef Producers) administration by-law were voted upon by the delegates and carried, primarily dealing with the types of methods which can be used to hold MBP district meetings, its AGM or special meetings, as well as the processes for notifying members of said meetings. More details on both these matters are found in this edition of Cattle Country. Greetings were brought by the Hon. Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, and Wab Kinew, Leader of
the Official Opposition in Manitoba. There were three guest speakers. Ray Bittner, project lead for the Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project gave an update on this three-year initiative which is designed to improve prevention and mitigation strategies in order to reduce livestock losses caused by wild predators. Laura Plett of Stead discussed her participation in the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Program, including her work with Martin Unrau, her program mentor. And, keynote speaker Dr. Frank Mitloehner (the GHG Guru) of the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis in California touched on efforts to help the global community understand the environmental and human health impacts of livestock, so people can make informed
decisions about the foods they eat and while reducing environmental impacts. See Angela Lovell’s article on his talk in this edition of Cattle Country. Four retiring directors were recognized for their time with MBP: Gord Adams, District 1; Peter Penner, District 3; Dianne Riding, District 9 and Robert Metner, District 11. MBP is very appreciative of their combined 23 years of service to the board of directors on behalf of Manitoba’s beef industry. “Normally we would be able to formally recognize our retiring directors and their contributions during the banquet program at the AGM, so the plan is to do that at our next in person annual meeting,” said Callum. “We also look forward to working with our four new directors and the rest of the board to help advance issues and opportunities in our sector.” Manitoba Beef Producers thanks the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Ag Action Manitoba Program for its support of the 42nd Annual General Meeting. MBP will be holding some informational webinars in the weeks ahead, so watch MBP’s website, e-newsletter and social media channels for information about these.
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March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
42nd MBP AGM: Results of resolutions debate and discussion of proposed administration by-law amendments The traditional resolutions debate, as well as a review of proposed changes to the administration by-law of the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association (operating as Manitoba Beef Producers) were considered at the 42nd MBP Annual General Meeting on February 11. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the format of MBP’s fall 2020 district meetings was changed to virtual meetings. As such, MBP’s board of directors agreed to accept in writing proposed resolutions for consideration for debate at the virtual AGM. Late resolutions had to be submitted in writing no later than 8:30 a.m., Friday, February 5, 2021 so they could be reviewed by MBP’s AGM/ Nominations/Resolutions Committee and deemed in order for debate. Two such resolutions were brought forward for consideration, deemed to be in order and were debated, voted upon and carried by the membership as presented. The two resolutions were as follows: Value of Livestock Price Insurance Program L1: Whereas access to effective Business Risk Management (BRM) programs is crucial, particularly as factors such as extreme weather and significant market volatility
continue to affect Canadian agriculture; and Whereas the Livestock Price Insurance program (LPI) (previously known as the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program) is an important risk mitigation tool that provides significant value to Manitoba’s cattle industry; and Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic caused market volatility which led to additional livestock price insurance premium cost burdens for cattle producers, and the sector had requested premium costsharing by governments to help address this challenge; and Whereas certain aspects of BRM programs such as livestock price insurance – including program design, spending or availability – can create inequitable coverage levels amongst agriculture sectors and across regions in Canada; and Whereas there are producers in eastern Canada who are seeking access to livestock price insurance as a risk mitigation tool. Be it resolved to recommend that Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) advocate for the federal and provincial government to cost share the premiums for producers enrolling in the Livestock Price Insurance program; and, Be it further resolved
that MBP advocate with governments to work toward making livestock price insurance a national program offering; and Be it further resolved that MBP advocate with governments to no longer make livestock price insurance a program that is dependent on renewal under each successive agricultural policy framework, but rather to make it a permanent business risk management program for Canadian cattle producers. District 8 Outcome: Carried Process for Valuing Improvements to Agricultural Crown Lands L2. Whereas the Government of Manitoba has made a series of changes to the Agricultural Crown Lands (ACL) Leasing Program (including the legislative, regulatory and policy framework) which will impact ACL lease and permit holders for years to come; and Whereas one of the major changes affects the way lease hold improvements will be dealt with, moving from a system whereby the value of the improvements was previously determined by the provincial government, to a process whereby “The transfer of any value related to privately-owned
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improvements on an ACL parcel are to be negotiated with the outgoing leaseholder within 30 days of the auction.”; and Whereas if there is a disagreement between the outgoing and incoming lessee or permit holder over the value of the improvements, the only recourse for the outgoing lease or permit holder is to remove any removable improvements, or to pursue resolution of the matter as per The Arbitration Act; and Whereas the removal of the improvements may not be practical, and the pursuit of arbitration could be a costly and time consuming process for the outgoing lessee or permit holder, resulting in length delays in arriving at payment for the improvements. Be it resolved to recommend that MBP continue its advocacy efforts with the Government of Manitoba to allow for an independent, third-party assessment to be undertaken
of the agricultural Crown land (ACL) improvements (including an assessment of the physical infrastructure) prior to the lease or permit going to auction so that both outgoing and incoming lessee and permit holders know the dollar value of the improvements at the time of the auction. Be it resolved to recommend that Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) continue its advocacy efforts with the Government of Manitoba to ensure that any system for valuing agricultural Crown land improvements is a fair, balanced and transparent process so that the likelihood for lengthy and potentially costly disputes and the need for arbitration is eliminated. District 12 Outcome: Carried Administration By-Law Amendments As well, the MBP board of directors took forward to the membership for consideration a series of proposed amendments
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to the Association’s administration by-law. The purpose of the proposed amendments was to affirm the types of processes which can be used to hold the association’s district meetings, the annual general meeting or special meetings, as well as the processes for notifying members of said meetings. In particular, the amendments recognize that there are a variety of means by which meetings can be conducted, i.e. telephonic, electronic or another type of communication facility. The proposed amendments were reviewed by the membership, voted upon, approved as presented and are now in effect. MBP thanks the membership for their participation in both the resolutions debate and the review of the proposed bylaw amendments. If you wish to receive a copy of the administration by-law amendments, please contact the MBP office.
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CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project Update BY RAY BITTNER, Project Lead
“What predator attacked my livestock?” Figuring out how to stop wildlife predation of livestock is dependent on accurately diagnosing which predator attacked your livestock and caused the mortality. While it seems simple to blame the coyote or bear that is spotted running away from the carcass, it may not be that simple, and it may also be a mistake! If undisturbed, a livestock mortality on pasture in Manitoba will always end up being consumed by wildlife and will be recycled back into the natural environment. As a natural process, the consumption of a carcass by predators is the disease and pathogen cleanup that nature intended. However, in the process of multiple predators visiting the site, it can also get confusing as to which one initially took down the cow, calf, lamb, or ewe. If you are going to enact a predation reduction program on your farm it is best to know what predator caused the problem, and which predator is merely the clean-up act after the main performance. With this in mind we want to share with you a resource that you can use to start your evaluation process early before any more evidence disappears with scavenging. We found a very good guide to help determine the initial attacker called the “Ranchers Guide to Predator Attacks on Livestock” published by the Government of Alberta in 2018. This is a 30 page, illustrated guide of what to look for, explanations of how bite marks match different predators, and discuss the various behaviors of the predators to help narrow down the actual perpetrator. This resource is available online by typing in the search: “Ranchers Guide to Predator Attacks Alberta” If you would prefer a printed copy contact the Manitoba Beef Producers’ office to request one. In the future watch for information about the Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot
HAMCO CATTLE CO. al u 23rd Ann
Project and resources related to mitigating the risk of predation on MBP’s website. It is important to note that if you have predator losses, you can access the expertise of Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) staff through the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for Livestock Predation to evaluate the carcass for evidence of which predator initially attacked the livestock. The program sends out trained investigators to determine the cause of loss, and will compensate for eligible livestock killed or injured from predatory attacks by bears, cougars, wolves, foxes or coyotes. Producers who see the mortality first have the best opportunity to see the wounds so learning predators’ trademark techniques can be the best way to work on the predator problem. But once you have confirmed your suspicions what do you do next? Producers are well advised to contact their local conservation officer to discuss the issues and how to approach the situation. In Manitoba producers have a legislated right to remove certain wildlife in defense of property. Manitoba conservation officers will issue removal permits for most predators once predation losses have be confirmed. Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project Survey Update MBP is very pleased that more than 550 producers returned the survey asking them to talk about their experiences with interactions between livestock and wildlife! We are tabulating the survey information and trying to characterize the predation situation and hope to work with respondents with significant losses in the coming months. We would also like to congratulate Dave and Julia Jones of Virden who won the grand prize of a Pit Boss Stainless Steel BBQ grill. Thank you to all the cattle and sheep producers who filled out the survey. If you have ideas around risk mitigation practices that could potentially help reduce losses or want to participate in the pilot project, you can contact me at 204-768-0010 or via email@example.com
Angus Bull Sale
Saturday, March 20, 2021 At the farm , South of Glenboro, MB
Your source for Elite Angus Genetics! Selling 45 Red & 45 Black Angus Yearling Bulls Selling 25 Red & 25 Black Angus 2 Year old Bulls
üMany are AI sired üBulls semen tested üBulls on home performance test - data available üDeveloped on a high forage TMR ration üSelected from a 550 purebred cow herd üFree board until April 15 üOnline Bidding with DLMS Bull Videos will be available on line
For more information or catalogues view us on line at hamcocattleco.com or contact us
Glen & Carleen (204) 827-2358 Larissa & Kyle (204) 526-0705 Cell firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. David & Shelley (204) 822-3054 (204) 325-3635 Cell Embryo@mymts.net
In the coming months MBP will be working with producers to introduce predation risk mitigation projects to try to demonstrate ways to limit predator interactions with livestock. As we test and evaluate these practices, we will bring you this information in future editions of Cattle Country and other livestock publications.
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
How census data helps Canada's farmers The 2021 Census of Agriculture is coming in May 2021 With the pandemic continuing to influence how we shop and prepare meals for our families, national agriculture and sustainable local food supplies are top of mind for many of us. That’s why it is important for our farmers to have access to critical information required to make informed decisions about their operations to help feed Canadians and to continue to be competitive and strong trading partners. Statistics Canada’s Census of Agriculture is an important tool that helps farmers see emerging trends in agricultural technologies and practices. Its results allow the industry and the public to get a snapshot of the state of agriculture in Canada, and the importance of this sector. The census is the only source of community-level data that ensures that the unique perspectives of farmers, farm communities and agricultural operations are included when making decisions that affect them and their livelihood. The data are essential to defend the interests of farmers and the agriculture industry in trade disputes and to ensure market access. They provide fact-based evidence to inform government decisions regarding financial support programs for Canadian farmers. They also help to measure the impacts of disease outbreaks and climate change (such as fires, floods, droughts and storms). The 2021 version of the census is almost here, and there are a few things Canadian farm operators should know. In early May, all Canadian farmers will receive an invitation letter with easy-to-follow instructions on how to complete the questionnaire online. To best support farmers at this busy time of year and to help reduce their reporting burden, concrete steps have been taken to make the 2021 questionnaire quicker and easier for them to respond. This means that only questions relevant to each operator’s farm will be asked when filling out the census questionnaire online. It also means that selected questions may be replaced using high-quality alternative data sources when available. Find more information on the census website: https://census.gc.ca/index-eng.htm Background information In May 2021, Canadian farm operators will have
the opportunity to take part in a national dialogue by completing the Census of Agriculture questionnaire. The Census of Agriculture is a source of community-level data on agriculture. By drawing on these data, decision makers will act in the interest of farm operators, farm communities and agricultural sectors across Canada. Farm organizations are heavy users of census data and draw on this information to formulate policy recommendations, produce communications and outreach activities, and conduct market research. Measuring an evolving industry over time After every census, Statistics Canada consults with farm operators, agricultural industry members and data users to assess their data needs. In the fall of 2017, Statistics Canada conducted a national consultation, and received 132 comments and suggestions from diverse groups, including federal government departments and agencies, provincial government ministries, farming organizations, academics, farm service companies, and consulting firms to help improve the 2021 Census of Agriculture. Statistics Canada is grateful to the agricultural industry for its ongoing feedback and support. While important adjustments were made to census content based on these consultations, most of the questions in the 2021 Census are identical to those used in 2016. This continuity is important for tracking longterm trends in the industry and meeting the ongoing needs of users and stakeholders. What’s new for the 2021 Census of Agriculture? Census online: Faster, Easier and Streamlined
Canadian farm operators will receive a letter in May 2021 with instructions on how to complete the census questionnaire online quickly and easily. The online questionnaire will be efficient for farm operators in a number of ways. It will automatically add totals and will only ask the questions that apply specifically to the operator’s farm. This will reduce Statistics Canada’s need to call farm operators to clarify their answers. Lastly, high-quality alternative sources of data will be used wherever possible to reduce response burden. Getting ready In the coming months, the Census of Agriculture Program will organize different activities and events with the farming community. This includes a media campaign that explains what’s new in the upcoming census and why the census is important. In accordance with the Statistics Act, farm operators are required to participate in the Census of Agriculture. By the same law, Statistics Canada is required to protect the information provided in Census of Agriculture questionnaires. Privacy is a fundamental component of the census. It is our duty by law. At the beginning of May, complete your questionnaire and tell your story as part of Canada›s farming community! The content of the 2021 Census of Agriculture http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2020/202007-18/html/order-decret-eng.html was published in the Canada Gazette on July 18th, 2020. For more information, please visit https://census. gc.ca/index-eng.htm
HELP PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT
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Enroll today in Livestock Price Insurance. Visit www.lpi.ca or call 1-844-782-5747.
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LPI Winter 2020-21 BW Ad Cattle Country 1/3 page 6.39’’ wide x 7..75’’ deep (Vertical) Issue date: March 2021 (dist: February 26)
CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Manitoba AgriInsurance coverage highest on record On average, AgriInsurance premium rates are lower than 2020 due to adding a low-loss year (2019) and removing a higherloss year (1994) from the 25-year average base rate calculation. (Province of Manitoba News Release) As the 2021 AgriInsurance contract will soon be released to Manitoba farmers, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood Marie-Claude Bi-
beau and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced February 11 that coverage is expected to be the highest on record while premium
rates are moderately lower than last year. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for farmers, on top of the normal challenges they face from weather and market fluctuations,” said Bibeau. “While farmers continue to step up to keep quality Canadian food on our kitchen tables, they need the support and stability that a solid set of BRM programs can provide. The record AgriInsurance coverage announced today is one of the ways we are helping farmers with incomes losses.” The ministers released details indicating that 2021 dollar values are mostly higher than 2020 dollar values for grain, oilseeds, and specialty crops. Total insurance coverage will reach an all-time high of $3.128 billion.
Hunter CHarolais 10th annual Bull sale
On average, AgriInsurance premium rates are lower than 2020 due to adding a low-loss year (2019) and removing a higher-loss year (1994) from the 25-year average base rate calculation. AgriInsurance is a risk management program administered by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC). Insurance is offered for over 80 different annual crops and forages during establishment and production. “AgriInsurance allows our producers to proactively manage their risk, and provide them with stability,” said Pedersen. “These enhancements to AgriInsurance are made in response to our industry, and producer’s needs.” Other program enhancements for 2021 include: • Many crops will experience an increase in probable yield for 2021. The probable yields for all crops are based on a 10-year average and trended for improve-
ments in technology and agronomic advances. For 2021, data from 2010 to 2019 is used in the calculation. The year dropped (2009) was an average year for most crops; the year added (2019), produced above-average yields for most crops. • Individual productivity indexing for silage corn. • Transportation allowance within the Forage Insurance dollar value and Hay Disaster Benefit for the Forage Insurance program will increase. The transportation allowance was updated to $16 from $8 per tonne for Select and Basic Hay, and to $24 from $20 per tonne for the Hay Disaster Benefit. • The seeding dates for full coverage and reduced coverage have been expanded for winter wheat and fall rye. Manitoba has a high level of AgriInsurance participation with nearly 90 per cent of annual crop acres enrolled and more than 7,800 farms registered in the pro-
gram. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriInsurance premiums for most programs are shared 40 per cent by participating producers, 36 per cent by the Government of Canada and 24 per cent by the Manitoba government. Administrative expenses are paid 60 per cent by Canada and 40 per cent by Manitoba. The total governments’ share of AgriInsurance premium for 2021-22 is expected to be $130 million. The Hail Insurance program, administered by MASC outside the scope of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, will also see increased coverage levels for 2021. Maximum hail dollar coverage is increasing to $300/acre from $250/ acre based on expected gross revenue for most crops. The 2021 premium rates are the same as or lower than 2020 rates for most risk areas and expected coverage will increase to $1.1 billion from $985 million.
Thursday april 1st, 2021 1:30 pm • At the FArm, roblin, mb
7 Yearling Hereford Bulls & 50 Charolais Bulls
• Complete Performance Data Available • Bulls can be viewed anytime • FREE DELIVERY in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
• Online bidding available on DLMS.ca • Contact us for more information or a catalogue
Catalogue and videos will be available at www.huntercharolais.com
Hunter Charolais Box 569, Roblin, MB R0L 1P0 Doug & Marianne Hunter 204-937-2531 C 204-937-7737 Jimmy Hunter 204-937-0219 Michael & Candace Hunter 204-247-0301 @HunterCharolais • firstname.lastname@example.org
A Charolais family operation for over 30 years
Helge By 306.536.4261 Jon Wright 306.807.8424 email@example.com www.bylivestock.com
MHHC pays landowners to conserve wildlife habitat on private lands. For more information call Tom Moran (204) 305-0276 or visit www.mhhc.mb.ca
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
Kirkella Community Pasture Watered, Scrubbed and Ready to Shine as Nature-Based Jewel Virden, MB (FEB 9, 2021) –The 3,280 acre Kirkella Community Pasture is ready to shine brightly as a naturebased jewel following a series of pasture-enhancement actions – including a major scrubbing of woody pasture species that can be the bane of healthy, productive pastures and drought relief via three major dugout installations – through funding provided by The Conservation Trust, a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan Initiative delivered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. Sitting prominently near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border just north of the Trans-Canada Highway, the Kirkella Community Pasture project was one of the first announced by the Conservation Trust in 2018. The project was led by the Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth and Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association (MFGA), who partnered to match the generous project funding with in-kind work necessary to make the $200,000 project a reality. “The Kirkella Community Pasture is a municipally-owned tract of land that has been managed for decades and includes grassland, wetland and woodland habitats,” said Garth Mitch-
ell, Wallace-Woodworth’s Chief Administrative Officer. “Thanks to The Conservation Trust, we saw a great opportunity to undertake improvements to the pasture for the purpose of enhancing grazing opportunities as well as the environmental benefits that result from more effective grazing and landscape management practices. We feel very positive about the end results.” The Kirkella Community Pasture project erected fencing to benefit the pasture health for cattle grazing and biodiversity, and installed three dugouts for better water quality and access for cattle. A major undertaking of the project was an extensive mowing program to control woody species which will result in improved grassland utilization for grazing for many years in to the future. MFGA had also provided the project with a pasture review report by experts in rangeland health and from the local Assiniboine West Watershed District who walked the pasture and suggested actions and recommendations around pasture enhancements. According to Alistair Hagan, Kirkella Community Pasture manager, the project was discussed at length within the Kirkella Pasture Patrons committee be-
Livestock price insurance enhancements As a result of industry feedback, producers will now have additional time to make policy purchases and claim settlements on all Livestock Price Insurance (LPI) programs. Going forward, purchase hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are available from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. MT. Settlement hours on Mondays are now offered from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. MT. Pro-
ducers can visit lpi.ca during these extended hours to conduct their LPI business. In addition, the LPI – Calf program has permanently extended its deadline to purchase insurance into June and is now offering settlements in January and February. Purchase dates in 2021 are now available until June 10, 2021 and expiry dates will be available until
fore settling on the course of action. “We wanted to improve the environmental benefits to the habitat within this unique property surrounded largely by grain land and also improve our grazing management to provide better results for our patrons,” says Hagan. “In short, we were looking for the best and longest lasting pasture benefits that would also be preparing for future possible drought cycles with the hopes of holding our current grazing numbers. Grazing land is constantly harder to find in our area and we are trying to do the best job we can to create the best financial returns for our cattle owners.” Hagan says the focus on water management of the pasture was the key driver behind three strategically-placed dugouts, each with more than one million gallon capacity. “This was the first and most important step to better managing the grass,” says Hagan. “The dugouts are extremely low maintenance, low risk water sources that also provide great water sources for the local wildlife. Once the dugouts were established and full it allowed us to build additional cross fences to better graze and rest the native prairie.” Hagan says the dugouts were followed up with the massive mowing process to set back the shrubbery and open up large amounts of previously non grazed acres. The addition of dugouts and the new cross fences coupled with the ability to rotate the steers all in one large mob will help hold the regrowth of shrubs by creating new grazing pres-
February 21, 2022. This change will fulfill a risk management gap that was experienced by producers and provide producers who calve in late spring, summer or fall with additional opportunities to participate in the program that better suits their operational needs. To register a claim or purchase a policy, producers can contact their provincial LPI office.
sure in these before unused acres. “This whole project we feel will not only help the local habitat but also our cattle owners as well,” says Hagan. “This is the balance we all walk together with an improved local environment and better financial returns to the ag industry.” From MFGA’s project perspective, that is exactly the harmony and balance that Larry Wegner, MFGA chair, wants to hear. “These kinds of projects are a strong fit with MFGA’s mission and vision and we are grateful to the Conservation Trust and the Government of Manitoba for developing a project funding mechanism that gives groups like MFGA the opportunity to work on, partner with other groups and enhance our natural areas, especially grasslands and pastures that producers and ranchers steward every single day via livestock and grazing rotations,” says Wegner, who also farms near the Virden-area. “With the expertise of our producer-led board, we are able to identify and align with the business aspects around the pasture decisions. We know the Kirkella Community Pasture enhancements will be great for conservation and we also fully understand the economic side of the enhancements will be valued and necessary too.” For more information: Garth Mitchell, CAO, WallaceWoodworth, 204.748.1239, g.mitchell@ wallace-woodworth.com Duncan Morrison, MFGA Executive Director, MFGA, 204.770.3548, Duncan@mfga.net
Offers for Sale by Private Treaty 40 Yearling Black Angus Bulls and 10 2 yr. old Bulls
Sires Represented: *Bar-E-L Candidate 10C *BM Archer 29D *Young Dale Absolute 3D *BJ Harvestor Bar-E-L Candidate
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The WALKERS Miniota, MB Call Bill at 204-567-3782
QUALITY ANGUS since 1958
10 CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Develop a transition plan to meet your specific needs 2021 is well underway and for many farm families the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to get started on a transition plan (also referred to as a succession plan). There is no shortage of information and resources on transition planning, including information about what transition planning is and well established “do’s and don’ts”. With the number of resources available, the amount of information can be overwhelming, and many farm families do not feel comfortable with where their transition plan is at. A common point of confusion can be the difference between transition planning and estate planning. There is often uncertainty about what a transition plan actually looks like and what should be included in it. There is no “one size fits all” solution. A plan can, and should, be tailored to meet your family’s unique situation. What is the difference between transition planning and estate planning? Transition planning and estate planning are separate planning activities but complement each other when completed. Estate planning deals specifically with wills and legal documents, tax management strategies, investment/ savings, insurance, estate distribution and contingencies. An estate plan is needed whether the next generation is interested in farming or not; whereas a transition is only needed if the next generation plans on farming. What does a transition plan look like? A transition plan is a living document that helps guide decisions around ownership, leadership, management, business structure, tax strategies and con-
tingency plans. Most transition plans are made up of several independent but related documents. While a plan can be electronic or hard copy, a common format is a binder organized into separate tabs for different documents that can be easily referenced, removed or updated as circumstances change. There are several steps involved in developing a plan. These steps can take anywhere from several months to several years to complete. The length of time it takes is directly dependent on the family and the needs and size of the business. What are the approaches that can be used in transition planning? There are four different transition planning approaches that a farm family can use. It is up to a farm family to determine which of the approaches best fits their specific needs. Option 1 – Comprehensive Approach This is the most detailed and all-inclusive approach. Multiple planning activities are typically used in this approach. Identifying individual and family perspectives (goals, vision, values) recognizing family dynamics (personalities/behaviours audit, communication, conflict), financial performance, compensation plan, roles and responsibilities and legal structures are all included in a comprehensive approach. Most families will take a year or more to work through all the planning activities. Option 2 – Estate Planning Approach Families use this approach when there may not be a next generation wanting to return to the farm business. For families in this situation, the most important
topics to consider are related to the estate plan. Families following this approach typically work through the topics in six months or less. Option 3 – Ownership Transfer and Tax Strategy Approach This approach is helpful when the farm family has a good understanding of how they will manage through their transition. What’s important is an understanding of the different ownership transfer options that are available and their related advantages and disadvantages. They will also need to apply the most appropriate and advantageous tax minimization strategy. Families following this approach could work through the topics in six months or less, but the implementation of the plan can take several years. Option 4 – User-Defined Approach Farm families may find that none of the approaches outlined above meet their needs. A user-defined approach is where the transition planning process is tailored to meet specific needs. Farm families will often select pieces from the Comprehensive Approach that they want to include in their planning process. A transition plan is a living document. The document can be changed, and it does not need to be perfect. Getting started can be the most challenging part. Initiate the conversation with your family, choose the approach that you think will work best and get the ball rolling! Scott Kemp is a farm management consultant with Backswath Management. He can be reached at scott. firstname.lastname@example.org
Proudly supporting junior members and 4-H youth across the province!
Manitoba Shorthorn Association Upcoming sale March 27, 2021 at Manitoba Bull Test Station www.mbbeef.ca
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY 11
StockTalk Q&A Feature
brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Livestock Extension Branch
Livestock Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development
Preparing for Spring
Spring is perhaps the most anticipated season on the farm. Newborn calves romping around, days getting longer and a bit more intensity in the sun. It can definitely have an invigorating effect. Spring is also a time for planning on the farm – planning for success. With the weather of the past two growing seasons throwing curves and just plain being a big challenge, mitigating risk should be of prime concern. Securing grazing days for summer, fall, and possibly winter, as well as stored feeds for next winter should be top-of-mind when planning now. Improving the production on your own farm not only helps to secure your own feed supply (and close to where you need it), but generally improves the productivity of your soils for the long term. Improving pasture productivity by introducing legumes can have a very LONG lasting increase in the productivity of your pasture sward by having an unlimited free nitrogen supply. Also, legumes are higher in protein than grasses and therefore, provide more pounds of milk and beef per acre. Other ways of improving pasture weight gains include: 1. Cross fencing to provide plants rest for recovery. This can have increases in pasture productivity by 50 to 250 per cent.
Controlling unpalatable vegetation. This could include weeds and/or woody vegetation. 3. Improving drinking water quality for the livestock. This could be done by fencing off dugouts and pumping water into a trough, or through the use of pasture pipelines. Growing more forage in our own pastures enables us to keep more livestock close to home so we can keep a closer eye on our herd health, including bringing out salt and mineral and checking out water supply and quality. Other ways to mitigate risk include: 1. Renovate hayfields every three to six years. Older hay fields do not yield as well, nor have the quality of newer stands. Therefore, there is an opportunity cost of not renovating. We also miss out on the free nitrogen our hayfield legumes take from the atmosphere. 2. Grow some annuals for feed. Annuals are about twice as water
use- efficient as perennial plants. Corn and millet are warm season crops that tolerate drought well. Oats, peas and barley are good choices as well. Talk to neighbours and local landowners about potential straw available to bale come fall, or hay to buy standing. Also know your costs of production and make them an offer. Consider forage (hay or pasture) or crop (annual) insurance (deadline for sign up March 31). The farmer pays only 40 per cent of the premiums. You can pick and choose which crops you want to insure (if at all), and the level of coverage. Familiarize yourself with YOUR responsibilities if you insure. It can make a big difference in the long run. Consider using the Livestock Price Insurance (LPI) to put a floor price on your calves or young stock. By signing up, you will receive their offerings, which will help you to understand the trends within the livestock market, regardless of whether you purchase a contract.
Start thinking about a fly control program to improve weight gains and reduce the transmission of pinkeye. Check out the new minerals available for fly control. Contact any one of your provincial Livestock & Forage Specialists for info on the items talked about in this article.
We want to hear from you For the next issue of Cattle Country, a Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development forage or livestock specialist will answer a selected question. Send your questions to Tim. Clarke@gov.mb.ca The StockTalk Q&A Feature for Cattle Coun-
try is brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development. We encourage you to email your questions to our department’s forage and livestock team, who have a combined 125 years of agronomy experience. We are here to help make your cattle operation successful. Contact us today.
Cicer milkvetch (green) versus alfalfa (brown) after an October frost in a tame pasture in Interlake 2017.
CALVING EQUIPMENT Calving Enclosure/Maternity Pen
RED ANGUS | BLACK ANGUS | SIMMENTAL
Blair & Lois McRae & Family Brandon, Manitoba 204-728-3058 | Blair: 204-729-5439 | Lois: 204-573-5192
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BULL SALE - MARCH 10, 2021 - AT THE FARM
You grow the crops and raise the livestock, and together we care for the next patient. To learn more or donate, contact: Daryl Braun, STARS Foundation, MB E: email@example.com P: 204-833-4635
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12 CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Volatility expected to dominate the cattle market once again this year As fast as I write these articles, the market changes once again. It is now the first week in February, and much to everyone’s surprise the cattle market is moving against the fundamentals and showing strength, despite higher feed costs. Everyone is trying to figure out what is driving the market and the opinions vary as much as the weather. Fed cattle prices have been inching up, and the futures are gaining a little ground, encouraging feedlots to put on a few more pounds hoping for better bids. Demand for beef jumped in January with cut out prices moving sharply higher. The increase was so strong that consumers started to push back, indicating that beef cutouts may have reached their peak. Feedlots in Canada are getting more current, and the COVID-19-caused backlog is almost behind us. Canadian packers harvested 15% more fed cattle in January compared to last January, which was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. Carcass weights were also higher, with the weekly high at 47 pounds higher than the same week last year. Canadian packers processed 20% more beef this January. Packers failed to pass on much of the increased wholesale prices to the cattle feeders in January. Cull cow prices increased slightly, but demand was limited as packers continued to focus on the fed cattle kill, which was more profitable than processing cows. Grain prices on the cash market remain very aggressive, but cattle feeders concerns about where supplies will come from are not as worrisome as before the start of the year. With higher costs of gain at the feedlot, we can expect to see the carcass weights start to decline once the fed cattle market finds its peak for the second and third quarters. The higher feeding costs should bring the cattle to market sooner. By pulling the fed cattle to market sooner on the calendar, there could well be a gap in the fed cattle supplies by the end of the year. This would set the table for a very aggressive yearling market in the fall. Right now, the grass market is 15 to 20 cents higher than last year on the steers, and the heifers are 10 cents higher.
RICK WRIGHT The Bottom Line You can still background grass cattle at 85 to 90 cents per pound gain on silage compared to $1.20 per pound on the finishing ration. So far, there has been very little demand for breeding style heifers at the auctions. Some producers are keeping back more heifers to breed because they don’t like the price spread between the steers and heifers. Many of the brokers believe there are fewer cattle in the country for sale this spring than originally thought. Fall deliveries were lower than previous years, and many thought, with the extra feed this year, the missing cattle were being held over. This would be one of the main reasons for the sharp demand for the grass cattle.
of a strong cash yearling market for fall. If we get the crops in with timely rains, the potential for stronger prices are there! The demand for the heavy cattle over 750 pounds has strengthened, but not nearly as much as the lighter grass cattle. For the first time in probably three months, there is open pen space in many of the western feedlots. The price slide between the 800 to 900 pound cattle versus the 900 pound plus cattle has narrowed. Most of the heavier feeder cattle are going west. Poor fed-cattle prices and a backlog of market-ready cattle have all but taken the eastern feedlots off the market in the first six weeks of 2021. There have been a few loads going east each week, but the western calves have not been an easy sell this spring. Some eastern feeders who backgrounded in the west last fall are delaying delivery of their cattle because there is not room at the home feedlots. The USDA livestock inventory report showed a declining cowherd in the USA. Adjustments to the 2019 inventory showed about a half a million less calves in each of the past two years in the USA. Canadian analysts are predicting a similar trend in Canada and should have new data by the end of March. Heifer kill is increasing which indicates that the trend could continue in the south. The biggest unknown will be the weather; projected drought conditions for much of the western United States and many parts of western Canada could push cattle off the pastures and to market sooner that usual. Cow cull has the potential to be higher and calves could come to market at lighter weights. Volatility will dominate the cattle market once again this year. We can expect the commodity markets to react daily to news and reports about weather, COVID-19, vaccines, and demand for food supplies, with ever shifting prices. The favourable fundamental is the supply. Both sides of the border are predicting smaller available supplies of cattle over the next two to three years, and that spells good news for cow calf producers who choose to stay in the business.
The favourable fundamental is the supply. Both sides of the border are predicting smaller available supplies of cattle over the next two to three years, and that spells good news for cow calf producers who choose to stay in the business. Another reason for optimism was that in early February, there were some forward contracts for yearlings sold by auction in Alberta. The results were much higher than what most brokers thought would be available this far away from delivery. 1025-pound heifers sold for late August/early September for over $1.72 per pound. Steers at 1025 were selling for around $1.85 per pound. These cattle are off pasture not confinement. It was surprising that with the high cost of grain and this year’s crop not in the ground, that there was as strong of demand as there was. This signalled the possibility
PRAIRIE Bull Sale DISTINCTION TUESDAY, MARCH 30TH, 2021 1:00PM DST • Beautiful Plains Ag Complex, Neepawa, MB Offering 19
TwoYear Old & 13 Yearling Charolais Bulls • White, Tan, Red Something for everyone
Quality offering from 3 Manitoba Breeders Sale broadcast live at By Livestock Online at www.bylivestock.com Sale Manager: 306-584-7937 Helge By 306-536-4261 Jon Wright 306-807-8424 firstname.lastname@example.org View the catalogue, videos and bid online at www.bylivestock.com
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY 13
Nutrition and its relationship to disease is a constant area of struggle DR. TANYA ANDERSON, DVM
The Vet Corner
A common management recommendation is to use processing at pregnancy testing or for scour vaccination to separate the bottom 4-5% (usually older cows or three year olds that did not do well during lactation) to feed separate from the rest of the cow herd to improve their body condition scores for the upcoming season. Studies have shown that this will improve colostrum quality, neonatal calf health and fertility. But…are today’s problems the outputs of yesterday’s solutions? As mature size, weight and milk production have increased in the last 30 years across all breeds, so have maintenance requirements and certain health issues like hoof pathologies. While this is fixable with nutrition, the long term has to include matching the cow to the available resources. Why do we spend time working with the bottom end of our herds? Are the bottom 4-5% of cows that fail to maintain their body condition worth keeping? It may be plausible if the cow has a really good reason for being thin - raised twins, heavy milker, sickness. But how many of those cows are under-
conditioned each year? Do you want to keep replacements off those animals? Do you want to purchase bulls with those same genetics? I don’t doubt that purebred breeders are not lying in that their genetics work for their program and their region but my question is if their program works for their bull buying clientele’s management? Should any cattle, irregardless of their “genetic merit” be earmarked for culling should they fall behind in production parameters under standard management? Challenging times like drought or high feed costs make these decisions easier to make - economics rapidly dictate that a downsizing of the herd is required and culling decisions are somewhat easy - age, body condition, feet and udder scores, temperament. Why is this so counterintuitive during the “good years”? Identifying and segregating underperformers reduces the input costs for the whole herd and identifies cows likely to fail before they do and thus improves their market value. But, by successfully retaining these misfits, you retain their influence generationally
and they and their progeny continue to negatively influence the whole herd resources. Is this “solution” a contributor to tomorrow’s problems? A thorough statistical analysis will show that there is a herd within every herd that beats average performance and will do so with fewer resources. How do we manage to have this herd in the future without adding complexity and input cost? Failure selects for improvement but we have become conditioned to not allow failure. Note that we often choose the bottom end of our herd based on body condition scoring. But let’s look at body condition scoring (BCS) using the 5-point system from a different angle. In cows with scores of 3 and above, we see mostly changes in fat. However, as a cow goes from 2.5 to 0.5, she has very little subcutaneous fat and the change in visual scores is mostly muscle loss. As there are more calories in a pound of fat than a pound of muscle, thin cows lose or gain condition more rapidly than fat cows. Remember that BCS is just an indication of fat, nothing else. So…while it is a good measuring stick for energy intake, one cannot assess protein, mineral or vitamin adequacy with a body score.
HERDSIRE ISSUE 2021
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Cows in good body condition can be and are often nutritionally deficient. In this area, herds that appear well-fed on a corn-based ration can and do have health disasters - milk fever, calf scours, failures to rebreed. Corn is great to over condition based on BCS but is short on protein and unbalanced from a trace mineral and vitamin standpoint. You need both adequate energy and protein levels for top performance. Be sure that the third trimester ration is adequately balanced to provide the additional protein and vitamins/minerals needed to develop colostral immunoglobulins, support rapid growth of the fetus and enhance neonatal health and improve breed back percentage on cows. If you have cows that are in good body condition and yet continue to have health issues despite a good vaccination program, review your nutrition - a protein deficiency is likely especially if you are feeding low quality forage with a corn-based ration. Check out the RFV (relative feed value) calculators on the BCRC website and learn how economical “expensive” alfalfa hay usually is as a protein and energy supplement or explore whether or not NPN (e.g. - urea) or other protein supplements have a place in your feeding program.
Before your busy seeding season begins:
Drive your route along roadways, field access points and approaches ahead of time to identify any power lines or poles that may pose a risk. If possible, choose a different route to avoid electrical hazards. CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021 Measure the height and width of your farm equipment. Is it over 4.8 metres or 15’ 9” high? If so, you must take out a Farm Equipment Move Permit from Manitoba Hydro.
Apply for an annual Farm Equipment Move Permit this winter:
Application forms are available online at Farm equipment move clearance permit (hydro.mb.ca), or by calling 1-888-624-9376. The permit is free of charge and valid from the date it is Hindsight is 2020 issued until December 31.– A Lesson in Farm Safety
Hindsight is 2020 – A Lesson in Farm Safety 2020 was a year for the history books in more ways than one. It was also a year with an
your 2020 was aWhen year forapplying the historyfor books in permit, more waysyou thanmust one. Itprovide: is free of charge and valid from the date it is issued until December 31. alarming increase in farm equipment contacts with overhead power lines and utility poles. was also a year with an alarming increase in farm equipment contacts Nearly of these contacts occurred operating cultivators air applying seeders. Hitting apermit, you must provide: •power Ahalf description of the equipment including height,and width, and legal owner; When for your with overhead lines and utility poles. Nearlywhile half of these type, pole with equipment or pulling a power family member, or your contacts occurred whileyour operating cultivators and air down seeders. Hittingline a puts you, your • A description of the equipment including type, height, width, •equipment A planned route identified on aputs municipal oralso hand-drawn map with road, pole with your pulling down ainjury poweror line you, your landowner employee at or risk for serious death by electrocution. It can result in owner; a widespread and legal family member, or your employee at risk for serious injury or death by powerhighway outage affecting your farm operation, your neighbours, costly repairs to the electrical numbers, field access points and approaches clearly marked. • A planned route identified on a municipal landowner or electrocution.system, It can also a widespread power outage affecting andresult yourinequipment. Prevent devastating accidents on your farm by preparing hand-drawn mapnow withfor road, highway numbers, field access your farm operation, your neighbours, costly repairs to the electrical Once the form is submitted, a Manitoba Hydro representative will work with you to review a safe farming season ahead. points and approaches clearly marked. system, and your equipment. Prevent devastating accidents on your the route and confirm if the route is safe and allows for adequate clearance. If need be, an farm by preparing now for a safe farming season ahead. Once the form is submitted, a Manitoba Hydro representative Before yourroute busy may seeding season begins: alternate be suggested, or lines may be upgraded if they don’t meet our minimum will work with you to review the route and confirm if the route is Before your busy seeding season begins: safe and allows for adequate standard. Drive your route along roadways, field access points and approaches ahead of time to identifyclearance. If need be, an alternate Drive your route along roadways, field access points and approaches may beroute suggested, power any lines or poles maythat pose a pose risk. Ifa risk. possible, chooseroute a different to avoidor lines may be upgraded if they don’t ahead of timeany to identify power lines that or poles may If meet our minimum standard. Did you know that without a permit, or failure to follow its terms, you’re liable for the cost of electrical hazards. possible, choose a different route to avoid electrical hazards. you know thatyour without a permit, or failure to follow its repairing damage to the electrical system that may result Did while operating equipment? Measure Measure the heightthe andheight width of your farmof equipment. Is equipment. it over 4.8 Is it overterms, and width your farm 4.8 metres 15’ 9”for high? you’reorliable the cost of repairing damage to the metres or 15’ 9”The high? If so, you must takeisout a Farmrings Equipment electrical system that may resultDon’t while learn operating your equipment? phrase 20/20 true when it from comes to safeHydro. farming practices. If so, you must hindsight take out a Farm Equipment MoveMove Permit Manitoba Permit from Manitoba Hydro. a lesson in electrical safety the hard way – plan to preventThe accidents and applyisfor yourrings Farm phrase hindsight 20/20 true when it comes to Apply for an annual Farm Equipment Permit this winter: Apply for an annual FarmMove Equipment Move Permit this winter: safe farming practices. Don’t learn a lesson in electrical safety Equipment Move Permit today. the hard way – plan to prevent accidents and apply for your Farm Application forms are available online at Farm equipment move Application forms are available online at Farm equipment move clearance permit (hydro.mb.ca), Equipment Move Permit today. clearance permit (hydro.mb.ca), or by calling 1-888-624-9376. The permit
or by calling 1-888-624-9376. The permit is free of charge and valid from the date it is January/February 2021 issued until December 31. 2021 Available in accessibleJANUARY/FEBRUARY formats upon request. AVAILABLE IN ACCESSIBLE FORMATS UPON REQUEST When applying for your permit, you must provide: •
A description of the equipment including type, height, width, and legal owner;
A planned route identified on a municipal landowner or hand-drawn map with road, highway numbers, field access points and approaches clearly marked.
Safety. It’s in your hands.
Once the form is submitted, a Manitoba Hydro representative will work with you to review the route and confirm if the route is safe and allows for adequate clearance. If need be, an alternate route may be suggested, or lines may be upgraded if they don’t meet our minimum standard.
Did you know that without a permit, or failure to follow its terms, you’re liable for the cost of repairing damage to the electrical system that may result while operating your equipment?
The phrase hindsight is 20/20 rings true when it comes to safe farming practices. Don’t learn a lesson in electrical safety the hard way – plan to prevent accidents and apply for your Farm THE NATURAL GENETIC ADVANTAGE FROM BIRTH TO PLATE Equipment Move Permit today.
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Safety. It’s in your hands. ATTENTION PRODUCERS Amaglen Limousin 204-246-2576 / 204-823-2286 View bulls & Females for sale online at www.amaglenlimousin.ca Campbell Land & Cattle 204-776-2322 Email: email@example.com Bulls & Females available private treaty on farm and Douglas Bull Test March 27 Cherway Limousin 204-736-2878 View Bulls & females for sale online www.cherwaylimousin.ca Circle Dot Ranch Wyane Yule: 204-383-5390 Yearling Limousin and Limo x Angus bulls for sale on farm. Selected from 45 years of breeding. Visitors Welcome.
Diamond T Limousin 204-838-2019 204-851-0809 (Cell) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2yr old & yearling bulls for sale by Private Treaty on the farm Hockridge Farms Brad: 204-648-6333 Glen: 204-648-5222 www.hockridgefarms.ca Bulls for sale on farm.
Park Performance Limousin Rick: 701 340-2517 Breeding stock available private treaty on farm. Calves for sale fall 2021 Triple R Limousin Art: 204-856-3440 / 204-685-2628 Email: email@example.com 50 2yr old & yearling bulls available on farm. Limousin plus Angus and Limo x Angus.
Year after year, we buy Limousin bulls because they give us great calves that we get a premium for. Raising superior calves is why we farm.” Craig and Lorna Marr Silver Ridge, MB
Gull Lake, SK
L&S Limousin Acres 204-838-2198 Bulls sell March 27 at Douglas Bull Test Maplehurst Farms Bob : 204-274-2490 Bulls for sale on farm & at Douglas Bull Test Station
250 Head Cow/Calf 2013 MB COMMERCIAL BREEDER OF THE YEAR
We use quiet Limousin bulls for the big beefy calves with great hair and hip. They have been our terminal cross for over 20 years and the calves are vigorous at birth, do well in the feedlot, and have great carcass yield. Gord Kozroski
Marketing Limousin influence calves this fall? List them on our website and contact the CLA for marketing assistance!
500 Head Black Cow Herd 2013 SK COMMERCIAL BREEDER OF THE YEAR
CANADIAN LIMOUSIN ~ ASSOCIATION ~ #13, 4101-19 STREET NE
Find us on Facebook
Manitoba -Limousin -Association
Using Limousin bulls on our black cows gave us calving ease and a cross breeding advantage. Our ranch was able to sell market topping 1000 pound grass yearlings in late July. Connor Brothers Hannah, AB
700 Head Cow Herd
CALGARY, AB T2E 7C4 PHONE 1. 403.253.7309 TOLL-FREE 1.866.886.1605 FAX 1.403.253.1704 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WEB www.limousin.com
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY 15
The winter annual advantage BY: DR. MARY-JANE ORR
MBFI General Manager
Integrating annual forages into grazing plans is an opportunity to increase overall grazing days while resting perennial pastures as they transition into dormancy in the fall and start early growth in the spring. Transitioning from winter feed to spring grazing can often never come soon enough and winter annuals may fill the niche to give pasture stands a critical two-to-three-week window to establish for the growing season. At Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives (MBFI) we have incorporated the use of winter annuals in our crop and grazing rotations as well as highlighted their use in on-farm demonstration projects. The flexibility to quickly adapt grazing plans makes winter annuals an attractive tool for beef producers. Winter annuals like fall rye and winter triticale can be seeded from late June to July for fall grazing or relay seeded following harvest in August to early September to establish for the following spring. Overwintering and early spring growth mitigates the risk of weather delays in establishing a spring seeded annual forage and provides options depending on the needs of the operation. Fall rye can be used as an early cover crop and terminated prior to seeding. It can also grow for an early graze and left to regrow to be harvested for silage or for grain. Winter annuals work well in monoculture stands and in complimentary intercrop mixtures to diversify the cropping rotation. Having an actively growing crop into and out of winter maximizes the growing season building soil while preventing wind and water erosion. The fibrous root systems are efficient at reaching soil moisture and nutrients, requiring fewer fertilizer inputs compared to annual cereals. In dry spring conditions, fall rye as a cover crop may need to be terminated earlier
to maintain moisture for following crop establishment. Potential nitrate toxicity in all annual forages is an important consideration and feed testing forages is recommended. In addition to evaluating cropping and grazing practices in on-farm research and demonstration, MBFI works to incorporate different strategies into our farm operation to improve the soil health of our farm stations and increase our productivity. At the Johnson Farm in June 2019 MBFI no-till intercropped Maverick barley with Hazlet fall rye and cut for green feed when the barley was at the soft dough stage. We made smaller bales approximately 48-inch diameter and left them where they dropped from the baler in the field. Following the recommendation of MBFI staff member Clayton Robins, the smaller bales were used to increase the residue coverage when grazed and leaving them where they dropped saved labour as well. Baling the green feed rather than leaving in swaths provided more area for the rye to regrow without being smothered by the swath row. Starting at the end of September 2019, the fall rye regrowth along with the barley green feed bales were strip grazed by our replacement heifers and then by the cow-calf pairs coming off summer grazing. The 16.5 acres seeded provided 46 days of grazing for 138 Animal Units. The following spring the rye grew in well as an early season cover crop providing good weed suppression and was terminated with 1 L of Roundup a day in advance of no-till seeding Haymaker oats into the standing rye. This scenario worked well for providing additional grazing and building the soil at Johnson Farm by having a green field growing snow to snow. In the spring of 2020, MBFI looked to intercropping again to tackle a challenging field at Johnson Farm. We had 73 acres that failed to establish following an attempt to rejuvenate a peren-
nial pasture in 2019. The sandy loam soil at Johnson farm is unforgiving in low moisture years and the field was taken over with high weed pressure later in the season of 2019. Spring 2020 the first flush of weeds was terminated with ¾ L of Roundup and Haymaker oats with winter triticale were no-till intercropped into the field. The Haymaker oats performed well for the site putting up just over 3 bales per acre (average 1350 lbs per bale) of green feed at the soft dough stage. The winter triticale outcompeted the weeds and grew back well going into the fall and was not grazed due to all livestock being moved to the Brookdale Farm for project commitments. We are looking forward to the overwinter survival of the winter triticale for potential spring grazing and improved field condition for the 2021 season. In early September 2020, MBFI was excited to collaborate with FP Genetics to trial hybrid fall rye KWS Bono in comparison to conventional Danko fall rye at the Brookdale Farm. Hybrid fall rye has more aggressive rooting and tillers have higher capacity for grain
yield, contributing to an average of 30% grain yield increase compared to conventional rye varieties. The monoculture stands were seeded in the first week of September to reach the target of three leaves and one-to-two tillers going into winter. Evaluating applications of hybrid fall rye for forage production in Canada is in the early stages over the last three years, with promising results showing a 20% yield advantage in silage production. The premium seed cost is anticipated to deter its application for solely grazing. However, the higher performance and aggressive tillering is promising for the dual purpose of an early graze and subsequent silage or grain harvest. This coming spring, MBFI will evaluate the overwinter survival of both fall rye varieties, take yield estimates and forage quality prior to a spring graze and at harvest timing for silage. For more information regarding MBFI farm operations and onfarm demonstrations we can be reached at email@example.com and 204-761-3300.
Intercropped barley green feed with fall rye regrowth. Photo credit: MBFI
Pleasant Dawn Charolais 19th Annual Bull Sale
Saturday, March 20, 2021 • 2:00 PM DST At the Farm, Oak Lake, MB 60 YeArLing POLLed BuLLs
Internet bidding available at www.bylivestock.com Catalogue and videos are online at www.pleasantdawn.com
Pleasant Dawn Charolais Trent & Ashley Hatch | Oak Lake, MB 204-855-3078 | 204-721-3078 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sale Manager Helge By 306-536-4261 Jon Wright 306-807-8424
16 CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Grass fed beef helps grasslands thrive BY WAYNE HILDEBRAND “There’s no excuse not to try grass-fed beef,” says the recently mailed A&W coupon book. Why would A&W move to serving customers only grass-fed beef? “It is all about feeling good about the food you eat,” says the coupon book. Okay, but what is so special about grass-fed beef? It’s simple says A&W, “cattle graze on pasture and the grazing helps the grasslands thrive.” Gerond Davidson is a fifth-generation Davidson to continually farm and raise cattle at Springbank Farm near Neepawa, Manitoba. “Today the term ‘grass-fed’ beef is being used as a marketing term that is gaining popularity with restaurants wanting to connect the beef they sell with a healthy environment,” says Gerond. “Grass-fed suggests a different management of the cattle, as compared to other approaches like a ‘conventional’ approach (open pasture), ‘grain fed’ (feedlot approach), or ‘grass finished’ (no grain) approach. The term ‘grassfed’ is somewhat ambiguous because at some point all cattle are ‘grass-fed’ on summer pasture.” “In the ‘grass-fed’ world a more holistic approach is often taken with pasture management. This includes rotational grazing, multi-paddock
grazing, or mob grazing. Basically, they all mean the same thing. You move cattle through small paddocks and intensively graze, allowing grass in the ungrazed paddocks to regrow during rest periods. We have been raising cattle in a holistic way for almost twenty-five years now,” says Gerond. “Keeping pasture grass and forage plants in a continuous state of vegetative growth means they absorb more carbon from the atmosphere,” Gerond relays. “This has the added benefit of increasing our soil organic matter, therefore increasing the soil water holding capacity, as well as sequestering carbon. We were early adopters of riparian management on our creeks and adjacent grasslands because we did not want cattle to be a potential threat to water quality. In 2006 I partnered with Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation through a Conservation Agreement to protect the riparian area, grasslands and wildlife habitat in one of my pastures along Boggy Creek upstream of Neepawa.” “I got the A&W coupon book in my mailbox and was encouraged by the fact that A&W sees value in the link between beef production and a healthy landscape,” says Tim So-
puck, the CEO of Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC). “MHHC has long recognized the important contribution of cattle producers and their pasturelands that support healthy watersheds and the protection of wildlife habitat. We will continue to work with cattle producers to conserve pasturelands and improving grass quality by offering incentive programs like our new Keep Grazing Project. I am also thrilled that all my urban neighbors are getting the message that pasturelands are important. Manitoba beef producers are important players in addressing issues such as climate change, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water purification, native prairie protection and habitat for birds, wildlife, and species at risk.” A&W says, “its all about feeling good about the food you eat.” But are there any nutritional differences between a ‘grassfed’ beef burger and a ‘grain-fed’ burger? Studies have shown grass-fed beef contains less fat. It can also contain up to five times as much omega-3 (lowers risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis) and about twice as much conjugated linoleic acid (an antioxidant, reduces heart health risks) as grain-fed beef. “I would say ‘grass-
fed’ beef marketing is gaining popularity with restaurants,” says Gerond. “It relays a positive message to consumers about food production, and it gets the word out that beef is good.” Bottom line, A&W supports beef produced on grazed grasslands that provides environmental benefits to society. I am glad that A&W is relaying this message.” says Gerond. “I feel good about the beef we raise, and I hope consumers feel good about the beef they eat,” Gerond says. My hope is there will be enough cattle producers left in the future so cattle can continue to graze on pastures which will help our grasslands thrive and support a healthy environment.” (Wayne Hildebrand is a retired Agrologist with 35 years experience in land and water management)
Gerond Davidson and family checking cattle. Photo submitted by Wayne Hildebrand
Seventh generation Davidson helping to keep an eye on the cattle. Photo submitted by Wayne Hildebrand
57th Annual Manitoba Test Station Bull and Female sale
Manitoba Livestock Cash Advance Inc.
March 27th, 2021 Starting a 1:00pm Sharp • 107 bulls and 33 heifers on test • 8 breeds available – Angus (Black and Red), Charolais, Gelbveih, Limousin, Maine – Anjou, Saler, Simmental, Shorthorn • Ranch Horse Sale to Follow • One Stop shop for top quality bull power and select replacement females. • Longest running development center in Canada • Internet bidding provided by DLMS • Catalog and video links of offering can be viewed early March on www.buyagro.com • Rare opportunity to select genetics from 40 different consignors across Saskastchewan, Manitoba and Ontario that brings the best stock they have to be performance tested and developed together! • Performance data, Cup ultrasound data and EPD’s available • All bulls and females will have passed a bredding soundness evaluation prior to the sale. No deffered bulls sold here! • All animals have tested BVD Negative • Animals are grown out on a developer ration to optimize gains to promote longevity and soundness
| www.manitobabulltest.com | Manitoba Bull Test Station | 204-763-4696 DIRECTIONS: 17 miles east of Brandon on Highway #1 and a half mile south on Highway #351
MANAGER Cody Nolan | 204-573-4006
• Note overall limit on advances increased from $400,000 to $1,000,000 LOAN ADVANCES ON SOME SELECT GRAINS CASH ADVANCE FORMS AVAILABLE ONLINE: www.manitobalivestock.com MLCA offers Advances on Breeding Stock animals slated for market ( call MLCA) for specifics of which animals and provinces are eligible.
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY 17
Up your sandwich game with a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (Courtesy Canada Beef) This recipe is a quick way to pull together a hot balanced meal. Serve with some cut up veggies on the side and water. Once the cheese has melted, enjoy this scrumptious sandwich right away or pack and take on the go. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal! YIELDS 4 Servings Default (4 Servings) PREP TIME 15 mins COOK TIME 10 mins TOTAL TIME 25 mins ¼ tsp (1 mL) each garlic powder, salt and pepper 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil, divided 1 lb (500 g) fast fry beef round steaks (inside round) 1 medium white onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced 2 cups (500 mL) sliced button mushrooms ½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 1 whole-wheat French baguette 1 clove of garlic, cut in half 1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese Position the oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat
the oven’s broiler. In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place fast fry steaks in a single layer on a plate and pierce all over both sides with a fork to tenderize the beef. Season beef with half of the salt and pepper mixture. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) canola oil over medium-high. Cook beef for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a clean plate. In the same skillet, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions for 2 minutes, stir in mushrooms, peppers and the remaining salt and pepper mixture and cook for another minute stirring often. Cut baguette into 4 equal size pieces. Slice horizontally and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet open sides facing up. Rub each baguette with garlic. Place baking sheet in the oven under the broiler to toast the bread, about 1 minute. Remove from the oven; set the four baguette “tops” off to the side for later use. Layer the remaining four baguette slices on the baking sheet evenly with steak (slice the steak into smaller strips if needed), mushroom mixture and mozzarella cheese. Broil for another minute or until cheese is melted. Take out of the oven and top with the other half of the baguette. Enjoy right away or wrap in parchment to pack for lunch! Cooking Tip Piercing a tough cut of beef, such as an inside round, with a fork helps to tenderize it. You can also tenderize meat by using a meat mallet, slicing it thinly, Photo credit: Canada Beef cooking it low and slow or by using a marinade.
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18 CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
Protecting your investment: bull management Dr. Colin Palmer is the Associate Director of the University of Saskatchewan, Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He and his family also own and operate their own herd of Red Angus cattle near Dundurn, Saskatchewan. Dr. Palmer is a theriogenologist (specialist in animal reproduction) practicing in western Canada for many years, but also has strong roots in eastern Canada.
“No producer wants to buy a fat bull but just try to sell him a skinny one.” The investment in a herd sire is often a large purchase for any cow-calf operation. To ensure this investment will remain in the herd, breeding bulls must be properly maintained during and between breeding seasons. Whether you are a commercial cattle producer looking to purchase a new herd sire or are a purebred operator who is
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developing bulls for sale, over-feeding is one of the biggest issues when it comes to young bull management, says Dr. Colin Palmer. Pushing young bulls for large daily gains can lead to issues such as joint effusion (swelling), laminitis, acidosis, inflammation of the seminal vesicles, and over conditioning or simply becoming too fat. Overly conditioning bulls can have a direct impact on their performance as a herd sire. Fat deposits in the neck of the scrotum (top photo) can harm the cooling mechanism of the testes which can impair temperature regulation (both warm and cool). Dr. Palmer says this can lead to a reduction in testosterone and potential loss of sperm production in the testes. Palmer says poor performance can also be a result of underfeeding bulls, particularly in mature bulls. “A balanced diet including salt and minerals is important for preparing mature bulls for the next breeding season. Feed testing is vital to ensure the proper nutrition is being met.” Palmer also suggests considering the use of feed additives such as Rumensin. Breeding Soundness Evaluation Dr. Palmer says any bull that is not fertile at the beginning of the breeding season, regardless of the cause, is a liability for the cow-calf producer. Dr. Palmer also notes that although a bull may fail a Breeding Soundess Evaluation (BSE), this does not necessarily mean the bull
will never pass the test in the future. Stressors such as lameness, sudden temperature changes, and illness can negatively impact a bull’s ability to pass the BSE. He suggests testing bulls that failed the BSE initially to re-test a few to several week later depending upon the types of sperm defects present. Bulls that are believed to be capable of passing the BSE in the near future may be given a “decision deferred” or “questionable” classifications. Decision deferred is preferred for young bulls that are intended for a bull sale but just need more time to mature. Some causes of poor fertility may be genetic or due to a severe injury to the reproductive organs. Unfortunately, in many cases these occurrences may result in very long lasting or permanent poor fertility and these bulls are classified as unsatisfactory. Poor semen quality of course is only part of the picture – a satisfactory bull must also be able to mount and complete service. Dr. Palmer says producers may want to consider buying the ‘full meal deal’ when it comes to purchasing bull insur-
Manitoba Beef Producers thanks the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Ag Action Manitoba Program for its support of the 42nd Annual General Meeting.
ance, which includes the full fertility coverage. Bull Housing, Health and Biosecurity Bull housing and effective shelter are also important. Dr. Palmer says adequate bedding is necessary to prevent frostbite on the testes which can negatively impact a BSE. He also suggests that easing bulls together into a new environment at the same time is helpful when establishing social dominance. Moving all the bulls to a new space ensures the surroundings are new to each of the bulls and you are not introducing a new guy to an already established group. Dr. Palmer advocates treating bulls with the same herd health program as the cow herd. Bulls can often be overlooked when it comes to vaccinations, but it is critical that their vaccines for Clostridial diseases (Blackleg), bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and other bovine respiratory viruses are up to date. Bulls persistently infected (PI) with BVDV not only can spread disease within the herd, but it can negatively impact their fertility as well. Purchasing bulls from herds with sound vaccination
programs is critical. Sharing bulls with neighbouring herds or even in a community pasture system can create a biosecurity concern. Discuss with your veterinarian about herd health risks and consider taking additional precautions, including vaccinating your herd for reproductive diseases, requiring any external bulls be tested for trichomoniasis, ensuring parasite control protocols are in place, and a mitigation plan is in place for diseases such as Johne’s Disease. There are a lot of factors that go into purchasing herd bulls. Careful selection, feed and nutrition, protection from the elements, and mitigating biosecurity risks are just a few things to remember when sourcing and maintaining bulls. Proper management of herd sires is key to ensuring longevity and a producer being able to use a bull for multiple breeding seasons, maximizing the return on their initial investment of the bull purchase. This blog article originally appeared on February 18, 2021 on the Beef Cattle Research Council website www.BeefResearch.ca.
March 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY 19
FORAGE BASED BLACK ANGUS BULLS & REPLACEMENT FEMALES
SAFETY ALERT Stay on track for safety With more than 10,000 km of groomed trails, beautiful scenery and friendly people, our province is a great place to enjoy by snowmobile. Before heading out, listen to the weather forecast, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be home. It’s also important to remember these rules to help you return home safely:
www.nerbasbrosangus.com • Keep your speed down so you have time to see and react to any obstacles in your path— that includes guy wires attached to hydro poles. Sometimes guy wires 204-773-6800 can be to see if they’re buried under the snow or if their reflective markers A calf poses for the camera on ahard frosty morning. Photo credit: Sara Schubert - Lone Country Ranch, Lonesand, MB. have been damaged or removed. Darkness, fog or snow can decrease visibility and can increase the danger of hitting guy wires or fences; drive according to weather conditions. • Stay off rivers and lakes that are not part of the groomed trail system, and always SAFETY ALERT
proceed with caution. Avoid waterways near generating stations or hydro dams as fluctuating water levels and currents can cause unstable ice conditions.
• Don’t drink alcohol and drive. Even a couple of alcoholic drinks can impair your
Stay on track fortosafety perception and ability operate your snowmobile safely.
StayWith onmoreyour track for safety than 10,000 km of but groomed friendly people, • Keep sled maintained; pack atrails, repairbeautiful kit with scenery items likeand a spare belt, spark ourplugs, province is aand great place to enjoy snowmobile. Before out, listen to tools, a tow rope – just by in case. A first aid kit, a heading cell phone and supplies the such weather tell someone where you are going and and food whencan youhelp expect as a forecast, knife, compass, matches, flashlight, whistle, you to in be an home. It’s also important to remember these rulessnowmobile to help you return home safely: With more than 10,000 km of groomed trails, beautiful scenery safely. emergency.
and friendly people, our province is a great place to enjoy by • Keep your sled maintained; but pack a repair kit with items Keep your speed down so haveclothing time to see and react to any obstacles in your snowmobile.•Before heading listen to the weather forecast, tell Dress for out, the elements by you wearing suited snowmobiling and a helmet like ato spare belt, spark plugs, tools, and a tow rope – just in case. someone where path— you are going when youguy to be home. thatand includes attached to hydro poles. guy wires A first kit,Sometimes a back, cell phone and supplies such as a knife, compass, every time you go out expect forwires a ride. Reflective decals onaidyour arms, and helmet It’s also important to remember these rules to help you return home matches, flashlight, whistle, and food can help can be hard tomore see ifvisible they’re snow or if their reflective markers you in an emergency. will make you inburied dark orunder foggythe conditions. safely: Dress fordecrease the elements by wearing clothing suited to have been removed. fog or •snow can visibility • Keep your speed downdamaged so you haveor time to see andDarkness, react snowmobiling and a helmet every time you go out for a ride. • and Stay on thethat trailincludes or areas snowmobiling is allowed. Power lines along to any obstacles in your path— guy wireswhere attached to guy wires can increase theindanger of hitting or fences; to helmet will make you more Reflective decalsdrive on youraccording back, arms, and hydro poles. Sometimes guy wires can be hard to see ifprivately-owned they’re buried right-of-ways are built on property and not intended for use by visible in dark or foggy conditions. conditions. under the snow weather or if their reflective markers have been damaged snowmobile or ATV enthusiasts. Private property and unmarked can have • Stay on the trailterrain or in areas where snowmobiling is allowed. or removed. Darkness, fog or snow can decrease visibility and can • Stay off rivers and lakes that are not part of the groomed trail system, and always Power lines along right-of-ways are built on privately-owned property unexpected and deadly hazards. Do not trespass, remove or damage fences, and increase the danger of hitting guy wires or fences; drive according to and not intended for use by snowmobile or weather conditions. proceed with caution. Avoid waterways near generating stations or hydro dams ATV as enthusiasts. Private respect signs posted by landowners. property and unmarked terrain can have unexpected and deadly • Stay off fluctuating rivers and lakeswater that are not part of the groomedcan cause hazards. levels and currents unstable Do ice not conditions. trespass, remove or damage fences, and respect theproceed greatwith outdoors thiswaterways winter but riding – particularly in the trail system, Enjoy and always caution. Avoid near use care when signs posted by landowners. generating stations or of hydro dams as fluctuating water Even levels and •vicinity Don’t drink alcohol and drive. a couple of alcoholic drinks can impair your hydro facilities. Enjoy the great outdoors this winter but use care when riding – currents can cause unstable ice conditions. perception and ability to operate your snowmobile safely. particularly in the vicinity of hydro facilities. • Don’t drink alcohol and drive. Even couple of alcoholic For more information onasnowmobile safety, visit hydro.mb.ca. For more information on snowmobile safety, visit hydro.mb.ca. drinks can • impair youryour perception and ability to but operate your Keep sled maintained; pack a repair kit with items like a spare belt, spark
plugs, tools, and a tow rope – just in case. A first aid kit, a cell phone and supplies January/February 2021 such as a knife, compass, matches, flashlight, whistle, and food can help you in an Available in accessible formats upon request. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 emergency. AVAILABLE IN ACCESSIBLE FORMATS UPON REQUEST
• Dress for the elements by wearing clothing suited to snowmobiling and a helmet every time you go out for a ride. Reflective decals on your back, arms, and helmet will make you more visible in dark or foggy conditions.
Safety. It’s in your hands.
• Stay on the trail or in areas where snowmobiling is allowed. Power lines along right-of-ways are built on privately-owned property and not intended for use by snowmobile or ATV enthusiasts. Private property and unmarked terrain can have unexpected and deadly hazards. Do notwww.mbbeef.ca trespass, remove or damage fences, and respect signs posted by landowners.
20 CATTLE COUNTRY March 2021
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