PUBLISHED BY MANITOBA BEEF PRODUCERS
Laura Plett, of Sawmill Creek Livestock near Stead, enjoys some family time with son Dustin between filming segments on her property for the upcoming Season 32 of Great Tastes of Manitoba. (Photo credit: Donalee Jones)
Canada achieves BSE negligible risk status It took 18 years, but Canada has finally been declared BSE-free. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has recognized Canada as a country with negligible risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), giving it the most preferred status under the OIE’s system for evaluating BSE risk. The announcement in May removes the final trade barrier against Canadian beef exports. Negligible risk status means importing countries no longer have any grounds for restricting beef from Canada because of BSE.
That means good news for both traders who export beef and ranchers who produce it, industry officials say. “The difference will be the ability to access markets that we otherwise weren’t able to because we didn’t have that status,” said Tyler Fulton, Manitoba Beef Producers president. Bob Lowe, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) president, said some Asian countries still limit Canadian beef imports to cattle under 30 months of age, citing BSE concerns. Now they no longer have reason to do so. “Assuming that the world is based on science-based trade, there’s no reason to have those restrictions anymore,” said
Lowe. The industry has asked Ottawa to encourage Canada’s trading partners to recognize the OIE’s ruling and accept Canadian beef without restrictions, he said. In a May 27 statement, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the government will do so. “Canada will inform those trading partners of Canada’s BSE negligible risk status and will undertake immediate work to support expanded global market access for Canada’s high-quality cattle, beef and beef products,” Bibeau said. It has been a long and difficult journey for Canadian beef producers since that black day in May 2003 when a case of BSE
was detected in an Alberta cow and international borders immediately slammed shut to Canadian beef exports. Since 50 per cent of beef in Canada is exported, producers suddenly found themselves with collapsed market prices and animals they could not sell because the market could not absorb them. The result was cataclysmic for the industry. CCA estimates direct economic losses between 2003 and 2006 alone ranged between $4.9 billion and $5.5 billion. Some 26,000 beef producers left the industry between 2006 and 2011. More than 2.2 million acres of pasture lands were converted to crops, creating a major negative environmental and ecological impact. Page 2
Reliable summer water
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BY RON FRIESEN
CATTLE COUNTRY July 2021
Short and long-term water concerns The last few weeks have sure been varied and concerning in terms of the weather conditions. The lack of moisture and wind have been the major items causing challenges. We were very happy to see some decent rainfall in the first part of June to help with growing conditions which may or may not have been due my son begging for puddles to jump in. However, drought conditions are still a major concern in the cattle sector right now. Surface water sources and dugouts are still low, along with wells, and producers are determining ways to address the situation. We were pleased that the provincial and federal governments responded to our concerns by opening the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)-funded Ag Action BMP 503: Managing Livestock Access to Riparian Areas. This is a helpful step to address some of the water availability challenges on a long-term basis. MBP is still in discussions with the provincial government on what can be done for the immediate shortterm water availability challenges. We have also requested that the federal government consider moving swiftly
important role in mitigating the impacts. Various efforts are being done in the beef sector to be a champion in the space. This involves conversations regarding carbon credits for producers, as well as encouraging continued adoption of best management practices that provide many ecological goods and services. Governmental and public support of these practices will have many societal benefits as well. As we move into the summer months, we continue to work on the Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project. Project lead Ray Bittner has been working hard to secure materials necessary to roll out various Risk Management Practices (RMPs) for producers to test. He has begun making calls to interested producers to determine what RMPs will be tested on each individual farm. If you are interested in the project or would like to be involved, please visit our website at www.mbbeef.ca or call 204-768-0010 for details. Wishing you all a safe and happy summer, and hope we get more moisture throughout the season. My son will sure be hoping for more puddles. Carson
General Manager’s Column to determine if the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision will be available for those producers who are making tough management decisions and selling off a portion of their herd due to the effects of the drought conditions in recent years. Short and long-term feed availability is another concern MBP has raised with government, especially as some producers were again forced to feed cattle longer than expected due to poor pasture conditions. And, concerns linger about what pastures and forages will produce this year after the poor start. To me the last number of years of variable weather demonstrates the impacts of climate change on the normal production patterns. This is why we continue to focus on this issue as an industry, as beef plays such an
MBP talking to governments re: drought It’s a challenge writing an article about Manitoba’s beef industry a month before it hits post office boxes, but I suspect much of Manitoba is well into haying operations and I am hopeful that yields are exceeding early expectations. As I write this in mid-June, we are receiving a droughtbreaking rain that appears widespread across most of the southern part of the province. While it would be premature to say that the exceptionally dry conditions are behind us for the 2021 growing season, the situation is much improved from conditions seen as recently as early June. However, the rains
will not fully address much of the hardship producers are experiencing in ensuring water for cattle out on pasture. A lot more rain will be needed to address the moisture deficit, both surface water and groundwater. At our place in Birtle in western Manitoba, we were forced to pull one of our herds off a pasture early as the dugout had dried up due to a lack of any spring runoff. This type of scenario was playing out across almost all of the Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) districts this spring. MBP approached the provincial government with several requests that would help address the province-
April 1, 2021. Applications are being accepted until September 1. For more information see: https://www.gov.mb.ca/ agriculture/environm e nt / e nv i ron m e nt a l f ar m - pl an / assu r anc e bmp.html . The dry spring conditions will have a lasting impact on this year’s growing season, with some native pastures not coming out of dormancy until the rains of midJune. This effectively cut out what is normally the most productive period of many of these grasses. Other tame pastures were seeing varieties like Russian Wild Ryegrass and Smooth Brome head out at a fraction of their typical height, indicating that they had already experienced most of their vegetative growth until fall. Producers will need to get creative and plan ahead for their future grazing/ feed requirements. The current agricultural policy framework, the CAP is nearing the end of its term, with both the provincial and federal governments looking for feedback on developing the next framework. The agreement has impacts on important areas like Business Risk Management,
TYLER FULTON President's Column
wide situation, including help for producers to develop water sources. Within a few weeks, the province, along with the federal government responded by opening their Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) funded Ag Action BMP 503: Managing Livestock Access to Riparian Areas. This is a 50:50 cost shared program with a funding cap of $10,000 per application that helps cover some of the costs associated with projects
like digging new dugouts, wells, or installing permanent pipelines. While this will not address all producers’ needs, the program will be helpful, and will build added resilience to these types of conditions in the future. MBP thanks both governments for making this program available and will continue to engage with them about the drought impacts and strategies to help affected producers. Access to the program is retroactive to
BSE risk status change Page 1 Although the industry has never fully recovered, it now has the opportunity to gradually claw its way back by rebuilding cow herds, which have not expanded in 20 years, said Lowe. “Hopefully, we can start seeing an increase in profitability and an increase in the cow herd,” he said. “The world wants our beef. We constantly have countries asking us for more beef. We’ve got the market for more. We’re just not producing it.” Lowe said packers have reason to offer higher prices for cattle now that the requirement to remove specified risk materials (SRMs) from carcasses is much less. SRMs include skulls, brains and nerves attached to the spinal DISTRICT 1
R.M. of Albert, Cameron, Whitewater, Edward, Brenda, Winchester, Morton
R.M. of Riverside, Strathcona, Argyle, Lorne, Turtle Mountain, Roblin, Louise, Pembina
cord, which theoretically could contain the BSE agent. Lowe said packers currently have to remove over 60 kg of SRMs from carcasses and incur extra costs. There will be efforts toward the alignment of packing house requirements with international recommendations. “The higher prices will come through the fact that we no longer have these restrictions,” Lowe said. Despite BSE’s devastating impact on the cattle industry, there are still some success stories. Fulton said he got married in 2004, the year after BSE hit. His parents gave him and his wife some heifers as a wedding gift. Those animals were the start of the successful intergenerational transfer of the family cattle operation to the newlyweds.
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
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
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
Unit 220, 530 Century Street Winnipeg, MB R3H 0Y4
PH - (204) 772-4542 FX - (204) 774-3264 email@example.com www.mbbeef.ca
GENERAL MANAGER Carson Callum
POLICY ANALYST Maureen Cousins
research, environmental assurance and organizational support. MBP has already provided some feedback and weighed in on what has worked and where there is room for improvement. It can be tedious work, but we are fortunate to have some of the best staff in the business that ensures our voices are heard. We also encourage producers to provide feedback during the public consultations about what does or does not work in terms of the various programs. Lastly, I want to acknowledge all of the heartwarming outreach and support that I have seen on social media over these last few months. The drought caused an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety to build up in all of us, and there were so many farmers and ranchers that were willing to reach out and share their tough decisions. These open conversations allowed us all to reflect on our own situations and helped us through those stressful times. We all know that beef farmers and ranchers are tough and resilient, but its great to see that they are compassionate too.
OFFICE ASSISTANT Michelle Manson
LIVESTOCK PREDATION PREVENTION PROJECT COORDINATOR Ray Bittner
CATTLE COUNTRY EDITOR David Hultin
July 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
Step-by-step evacuation guide for producers COMPILED BY MANITOBA AGRICULTURE AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (MB ARD) Be prepared to evacuate cattle Beef producers are used to dealing with weather-related emergencies like floods, tornadoes or three-day blizzards, and fires that can accompany dry conditions such as those that have occurred across southern Manitoba this spring. That’s why it’s important for producers to be prepared in case they need to evacuate their livestock. So, how do producers prepare for different weatherrelated emergencies before they happen? The number one thing is to do some pre-planning and have an emergency plan ready to execute if the need arises. Taking the time to do this will prevent a whole lot of headaches and scrambling when something happens. The emergency plan should also include an evacuation plan for people and livestock. In the event of an emergency, contact your local rural municipality (RM) office. The RM will confirm whether a local state of emergency has been declared. The RM and Province will work together to determine when to evacuate an area. Producers should have an emergency plan in place outlining how they will evacuate their livestock. If they are unable to arrange transportation or a temporary location to house them, they should speak to their RM during the planning stage. It is also important for producers to establish connections within their community and others, as help can come from many areas. Producers can communicate with their local MARD office to determine what financial assistance may be available. Plan Ahead 1) Acquire a premise ID through the Manitoba Premises Identification Program. 2) Create an emergency plan in advance! a. Speak to your local RM about their emergency plans to help guide your operation’s emergency plan. b. Have a map of your property including the location of barns, buildings, corrals, pastures and gates (preferably knowing the legal land description to the properties also) – this will allow emergency responders to more efficiently help you. c. Try to have permanent, visible identification on your livestock – consider temporary identification
such as marking crayon or paint if any do not have permanent identification. d. Identify a few possible temporary locations to house your livestock if evacuation is necessary. If you are having difficulties finding a temporary location, speak to your RM. If possible, try not to mix your livestock with other herds, to prevent potential disease transmission. e. Plan to have access to adequate feed, water and shelter at the temporary location. f. Establish a route from your farm to the temporary location, with alternate routes that account for possible road blockages. g. Make a plan for the logistics of rounding up and loading your livestock. Have a plan for acquiring portable panels and a chute system if you do not possess any. h. Have access to transportation, with back-up options if your first choices are unavailable. Take into consideration environmental factors that may affect livestock like overheating and plan accordingly (e.g. transport before the heat of the day and avoid overcrowding the trailer). i. Make a written document containing emergency phone numbers for: RM office, Manitoba Agriculture office, livestock transportation companies, veterinarians, feed companies, family members, neighbours. j. Have easy access to your own important personal information, including: premise ID, legal documents, farm insurance policy, livestock inventory records (including their identification). k. Make a livestock emergency kit – include medical supplies (anti-inflammatories, electrolytes, antibiotics, means of humane euthanasia), ropes, halters, other tools like fence cutters. l. Speak to your veterinarian to discuss methods of minimizing stress during an evacuation and ensure that your her d health protocols are up to date, which minimizes the potential for disease secondary to stress. During and after the evacuation: 1) Speak to your local RM to establish the current level of emergency (how close is the threat, is the RM in a local state of emergency, what are their current recommendations, etc.).
Canadian Agriculture Conference emphasizes important role of livestock CHRISTINE RAWLUK
National Centre for Livestock and the Environment
Missed the March NCLE conference? Watch recordings of the themed panel presentations or training sessions whenever and wherever it suits your needs – all are available on the conference website. Sharing ideas and insights for improvement was the focus of the virtual Sustainability of Canadian Agriculture Conference co-hosted by the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, March 1-3, 2021. Each day of the conference featured a theme that was explored by panels made up of researchers, producers, and ag industry specialists that fielded questions from the online audience. The program attracted over 175 researchers, students,
producers, government, commodity organizations and industry representatives each day of the 3-day conference. Together they shared their ideas and experiences about how to improve the sustainability of agriculture in the Prairies and elsewhere in Canada. The conference focused on three themes: the benefit of livestock to improve soil health, changes in climate and how agriculture is responding, and deciphering the impact of the carbon economy on ag producers. More specifically, livestock-related presentations included use of cover crops and integrated crop-livestock systems to reach shortand long-term soil health goals, taking the role of livestock in organic agriculture systems to the next level, and management practices used by Manitoba cattle produc-
ers to obtain soil health and other benefits, while improving their bottom line. Changing climate presentations looked at recent weather patterns as a pathway to building a roadmap for climate adaptation, plus climate’s influence on crop water demand and insect pest population shifts. The carbon topic explored potential on-farm strategies to store carbon, company-based approaches to succeed in the carbon economy, and where the carbon road might lead and why to take it. Recordings of the 15-min panel presentations and workshops are available on the conference website, along with speaker bios. Online training sessions In addition to the panel sessions, two workshops provided training on two popular decisionmaking tools developed
by Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. GHG emissions model – Curious about how management decisions on your farm impact greenhouse gas emissions? Watch this training video on the AAFC Holos model and try it out! Training involves instructor-led Page 11
2) Keep detailed records of your expenses and receipts to ensure the ability to receive compensation if financial assistance is provided. Who do I contact? It can be confusing to figure out which provincial or local authority to contact in the event of an emergency, so here are a few guidelines: Municipal Office – contact for: Information about local states of emergency, preparing for natural disasters such as what to do to protect your property, information about emergency evacuation orders, where to go, help with evacuating, local road closures and detours, drainage, ditches and dikes, local burning restrictions, applications for the Disaster Financial Assistance program. Manitoba Conservation and Climate Wildfire Service – contact for: Municipal burning restrictions, drinking water issues, daily fire reports including maps of current fires and danger areas, fire travel restrictions, information and resources about protecting against wildfires, extreme heat and severe weather, evacuating livestock and disposal of deadstock. Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development – contact for: Information about caring for livestock during an evacuation, Manitoba Hay Listing Service for producers requiring forage. Emergency Measures Organization – contact for: Information on the Disaster Financial Assistance program, emergency preparedness resources, flood forecasts and daily flood l evels, h ighway c losures, p reparing f or flooding and evacuation, flood liaison offices. Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation – contact local offices for: Information about crop and forage insurance options and claims. Health-Links-Info Santé or your local Regional Health Authority for: Human health issues caused by a natural disaster or evacuation. Manitoba Farm and Rural Support Services – contact for: Assistance with stress and mental health issues related to natural disasters or evacuation. Their toll free number is 1-866-367-3276 and their website is https://supportline. ca/. Klinic Community Health also has resources available. See https://klinic.mb.ca/crisis-support/.
Keystone Livestock SERVICES
Lois McRae & Joyce Gordon RR 1 Box 57 Br andon, Manitoba R7A 5Y1 h: 204-728-3058 c: 204-573-5192 f: 204-727-7744 mar macfar firstname.lastname@example.org
specializing in livestock insurance for over 45 years
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CATTLE COUNTRY July 2021
Be prepared for weather-related emergencies BY ANGELA LOVELL In the event of a weather-related or other emergency on the farm, an emergency plan will help everyone stay calm and know exactly what to do, because an emergency won’t always happen when the farm owner or manager is there to provide guidance or instructions. That means that everyone should be involved in the planning process. Typically, we think of things like fire, flood, or medical situations as emergencies, but on the farm, it could as easily be an accident, such as a chemical spill or somebody getting trapped in or under equipment. Getting everyone together in a group to talk about all possible emergency situations will likely be helpful to identify most that could arise, what each person will need to do in each case, and what supplies or equipment need to be on hand at all times. A farm emergency plan should always include a map showing the location of emergency equipment, as well as the current location of livestock and stored grain in the event that an evacuation or move is necessary. Emergency telephone numbers should not only be included in the emergency plan, (along with a list of anyone trained in first aid on the operation), but posted next to telephones and entered into cell phone contacts. Directions should be included to farmstead, fields and pastures to give to emergency responders, and family members and workers should all have assigned responsibilities and procedures in case of emergency, and be well trained in them. Even if emergency equipment is available, for example a fire extinguisher, everyone needs to know where it is and also how to use it before it’s needed in an emergency situation. That same basic training extends to day-to-day things that someone who doesn’t often do a particular task may not know, like for example, how to turn off a tractor or raise a loader if someone is stuck underneath it. Risk of fire prevalent across Manitoba Wildfires and forest fires can pose a threat to farms and ranches, as seen with the events of this spring, Producers can look to their local fire department for advice as they plan what to do if a wildfire threatens their operation. Municipal firefighters are more than willing to help farm owners and other rural residents through the fire planning process and will often host fire awareness days at the local firehall that are a good starting point right within the community. Weather emergencies teach valuable lessons Beef producer Trevor Atchison says once you go through an emergency situation it definitely changes the way you think and approach things. Atchison, a former Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) director from Pipestone,
has had several bad weather events on his farm but the worst, and the one that prompted him to do some things differently, was a three-day blizzard that began April 30, 2011. The storm started out as a heavy rain event and unexpectedly turned into a roaring blizzard that dumped two feet of snow and packed biting 90 km/h winds. Atchison had already begun calving and the cows were out at pasture in an area where it turned out, even with portable shelters that he had brought there to try and prepare, didn’t have enough shelter. He exceeded his usual annual calf death losses in that three-day storm. Now Atchison has changed his system and makes sure he has the cows out in a pasture with lots of natural shelter in the early part of the calving season, and also takes additional portable shelters out there ahead of time. Atchison says going through any emergency situation is certainly a learning experience that helps producers be better prepared in the future, and he urges others not to dismiss the weather forecast. “I know some people say the forecast is never right, but with these large weather systems there is usually at least three to five days warning ahead of time, even if they don’t know the exact track of the storm,” he says. “That gives a few days to try and get prepared.” He also says producers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. “When in that situation, reach out to others. Sometimes people don’t do that and they maybe could have had more help during the preparations or the emergency to get through it,” he says. Use risk management tools There aren’t too many weather-related disasters that Tom Teichroeb (past MBP President) hasn’t faced on his Langruth ranch. He’s dealt with two major floods in 2011 and 2014 that meant he had to evacuate his cattle, intermittent wildfires and a snowstorm that knocked out power for 10 days. He’s also learned a few things, including the importance of being portable, so his feed is now located at three sites that are all accessible from a main road, and he’s strategically sunk wells across his property to ensure he always has access to water, even in a drought year like this one. He’s also learned that you can’t prepare for everything, so his advice is to plan for the things you can control and employ business risk management tools for the things you can’t. “No matter how much you prepare for all the other things, you have to also manage your financial risk,” he says. “In 2018 and 2019, we put up close to 700 acres of feed and there was nothing on those acres, so having crop insur-
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ance and forage insurance was a huge part of our recovery. There are different risk management tools that producers can use whether they grow their own feed or not.” SAFE Work Manitoba and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association both provide free workbooks and templates that producers can download and customize to help them develop an emergency plan for their own operation (see links in resources below). How to prepare for weather emergencies Weather can cause all kinds of potential emergencies on the farm, whether it’s fires from super dry conditions like those Manitoba experienced this spring, or the opposite; flooding from incessant rains and high moisture levels in years past. Then there are the storms that blow up in winter and summer, and the different challenges they can present. Below are some considerations for producers facing different weather-related emergencies as they develop a plan to cope with these situations, although responses will differ depending on the type of weather scenario. The Manitoba Beef Producers website also provides more details and links to resources about emergency planning and what to do in various emergency scenarios. Wildfires • Manitoba’s wildfire evacuation guidelines note that livestock owners should: • Have an evacuation plan for livestock that could be threatened by fire. (See step-by-step evacuation guide for beef producers). • Obtain insurance coverage for all farm resources at risk from fire, including crops and livestock. • Maintain fuel-reduced areas to which they can move livestock during a fire. • Use a plowed or heavily grazed field with a minimum of grass or stubble to temporarily hold cattle, preferably with shade and water available, located away from forested areas. • Use concrete or metal buildings located away from forested areas or vegetation as another livestock shelter option. • As a last resort, if unable to move livestock to a safe area, cut fences and turn animals loose, as long as there is no danger to people or traffic. Flood • Have a flood plan in place and ensure you are prepared (see step-by-step evacuation guide for beef producers). The flood plan should include a strategy to protect livestock, barns and stored feed. Producers can work with their local municipality’s emergency coordinator to develop a plan. Have elevation surveys done on barns and vital buildings to decide if they should be diked if necessary. • If livestock are out on pasture, ensure they have access to shelter, feed and water on high ground. If cattle have been moved to higher ground and will remain there during the flood, ensure they have adequate feed, bedding, veterinary supplies, medicines and equipment available at that location in case roads become blocked. Temporary corrals and handling facilities may also be needed if animals need to be treated, especially if cows are calving. • Purchase a backup generator to use in barns or temporary facilities in the event of a power outage and ensure generators are in good working order. • If you need to move cattle in spring, it may be necessary to contact Motor Carrier Permits and Development in Winnipeg to apply for a special spring-road restriction permit to allow you to transport livestock out of flood-affected areas. • In the event of livestock mortalities during a flood, don’t try to remove dead livestock from flood waters. Wait until the water has gone down and it is safe to do so. If possible, secure the carcass in one place to prevent the potential spread of disease, scavenging and water contamination. Contact a local environment officer. • There are several options to dispose of dead livestock including composting, on-site burial, at authorized waste disposal grounds and burning, but each method has specific requirements producers must follow. Producers can contact Manitoba Conservation and Climate offices or check its website for more information on disposal of dead livestock. Page 5
July 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
Cost-shared funding for water source development June 8, 2021 Province of Manitoba News Release
The governments of Canada and Manitoba are advising that livestock producers who have been affected by dry conditions on pasture in Manitoba can apply for funding to support water source development under Ag Action Manitoba. “Safe and reliable water sources are critical for livestock producers during dry conditions,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. “Through this cost-shared program, livestock producers can access funding to protect valuable ground water sources and adopt sustainable management practices. With the emerging risks posed by climate change, these farmer support programs are more important than ever.” “Our summer has been dry, and we recognize that many of our producers may require additional assistance to secure a safe and reliable water supply for their livestock,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “Properly functioning and adequately protected ground and surface water sources are essential to ensuring the health of livestock and ground water sources.” Funding is provided through the Managing Livestock Access to Riparian Areas beneficial management practice (BMP) under Ag Action Manitoba – Assurance. Eligible items include: Page 4 Severe weather/blizzards/ storms/tornadoes • Monitor local radio or television stations for severe weather warnings and advice. • Keep a battery-powered or wind-up radio in case of power outages. • Stock up on heating fuel and readyto-eat food, as well as battery-powered or wind-up flashlights and radios - and extra batteries. • Stock up on emergency supplies for people and livestock. • If a severe storm is forecast, secure everything that might be blown around or torn loose - indoors and outdoors - such as garbage cans and lawn furniture. • Trim dead branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house or farm buildings during a storm. • If possible, move livestock to sheltered areas, or, if they can’t be moved provide temporary shelter and ensure they have access to food and water in the event they can’t be reached until the storm is over. Water supplies should be checked for freezing. How does Disaster Financial Assistance work? If the Manitoba Government declares a natural disaster such as a flood, wildfire or other severe weather event eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA), producers may be able to access financial support to support some uninsurable losses to basic and essential property. Producers should ensure that they keep detailed records of expenses related to the disaster, and document changes to their
• water source development – constructing new or rehabilitating existing wells or dugouts; • solar, wind or grid-powered alternative watering systems; • permanent fencing to restrict livestock access to surface water and dugouts; and • permanent pipeline development. Ag Action Manitoba – Assurance: Beneficial Management Practices provides targeted incentive programs to agricultural producers and select industry service providers to advance the adoption of BMPs. These practices reduce identified environmental risks, improve agro-ecosystem resilience, build public trust and improve environmental sustainability of farm operations in Manitoba. “Having access to stable water supplies is integral to cattle production in our province and water availability is certainly a key concern right now,” said Tyler Fulton, president, Manitoba Beef Producers. “Making this program available will help provide some producers with tools to better manage their water situation in the near term and on a longer-term basis. We thank the federal and provincial governments for opening up this program and look forward to continued engagement with them about the effects of the drought conditions and how to mitigate that.” Any projects for water source development occurring after April 1 are eligible. Projects will need to be as-
operation, damage to property and other losses, including taking photos or videos. To be eligible for DFA farms must have yearly gross revenues of between $10,000 and $2 million and employ no more than 20 full time workers. It cannot be a hobby farm; it must be an owner-operated business. DFA may cover things such as fencing, staged and stored crop and some field erosion. It may also help cover the cost of clean-up, repairs and temporary relocation of livestock. Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) has an agricultural claim eligibility fact sheet (see link in resources) detailing what is and is not eligible for compensation and answering questions about the DFA program. What to do In any natural disaster, the following steps are recommended by EMO for home and farm owners, and will be essential if they seek financial assistance in the event if declared eligible for Financial Disaster Assistance (DFA) by the Province. • Take every possible action to reduce the impact of damage to your property. Following the disaster, reduce impacts as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. EMO has a Recover from Disaster page on its website (link in resources) with information and links about re-entry and cleaning up from a disaster. • Photograph all damaged property and items and any repairs you make. • Contact your insurance provider to find out what costs are covered under your insurance policy and request written confirmation. • Notify your local municipality
sessed prior to approval, and may require additional components (e.g. fencing of the dugout, alternative watering systems, etc.) in order to meet the BMP criteria. Applications are now being accepted and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until Sept. 1. Applications can include retroactive expenses incurred as of April 1. Upon project completion, applicants must submit proof of a valid Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) with their claim (see www.ManitobaEFP.ca for more info). “As we head into the hot summer season and with low precipitation amounts received over winter and spring, there is increasing concern around dry conditions and water quality and availability for livestock producers in Manitoba," said Larry Wegner, chair, Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA). “MFGA sees this as a proactive and appreciated step by the governments of Canada and Manitoba for livestock producers who have been affected by dry conditions on pasture in Manitoba to apply for funding to support water source development under Ag Action Manitoba retroactive to April 1, 2021.” Producers can contact their local Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development office, ca ll th e department toll-free at 1-84-GROW-MB-AG (1-844769-6224) for more information on any of these programs and services, or go to www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture under Quick Links.
that you have been impacted by a disaster. • Keep track of all of your disaster-related activities and expenses, before, during and after the event, including labour, equipment, and materials. • Keep all receipts, invoices and any other documents, as well as proof of payment, for disaster related expenses to support a DFA claim.
Photo for If the event is declaStock red eligible DFA, producers have 90 days to submit an application by mail or online. RESOURCES: Disaster Financial Assistance – Agricultural Claim Eligibility Factsheet https://www.gov.mb.ca/emo/pdfs/ dfafs_agricultural_claim_eligibility.pdf Recover From Disasters https://www.gov.mb.ca/emo/ recover/home/index.html
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RESOURCES FOR EMERGENCY PLANNING Fire Smart Your Farm https://firecomm.gov.mb.ca/docs/fire_smart_brochure_march2014.pdf SAFE Work Manitoba – Farm Safety and Health Emergency Planning Kits http://www.ecolog.com/daily_images/1002957109-1002962408.pdf Canadian Agricultural Safety Association Emergency Preparedness Plan template https://www.casa-acsa.ca/wp-content/uploads/ EmergencyPreparednessPlan.pdf Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization – Prepare for emergency and disasters https://www.gov.mb.ca/emo/prepare/home/prepare.html
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CATTLE COUNTRY July 2021
Will lab-grown meat ever be a viable alternative to livestock protein sources? BY ANGELA LOVELL Annual global protein production is currently around 75 to 78 million tonnes and 36 per cent of that total comes from livestock, nine per cent from seafood, and 55 per cent from plant-based sources. With worldwide demand for protein projected to grow to around 200 million tonnes by 2050, there is potential for all types of protein production systems from livestock, plants and cultured, lab-grown meat. But when it comes to cultured meat production, there are still a number of challenges to overcome to produce it on a scale, and at a price point, that can compete with either animal-based meat or plant-based alternatives. It wasn’t until the 1990s, with the work around stem cells and developments in medicine, that any significant research took place into cultured meat. “There has been exponential development around stem cells and regenerative medicine in terms of the potential of that for things like tissue grafts and organ replacements,” said Tim McAllister, a researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, in a recent webinar. “A majority of the research investment is still taking place in the medical community.” In 2013, Mark Post in the Netherlands developed an in-vitro hamburger, the first ever cellular meat product. Since that time, there have not been any commercial cultured meat products brought to market apart from a chicken nugget product in Singapore. That’s largely because culturing meat is a technical, complex and expensive process. That first cultured hamburger cost $325,000 to produce largely because of the medical grade materials needed to provide the growth media. Companies currently investing in cultured meat development claim they have brought the price down to around $12/lb., still not a price that is competitive with beef or even plant-based meat alternatives. “The industry definitely sees the cost as a major obstacle,” McAllister said. How is cultured meat produced? The production of cultured meat does not get rid of the animal, so it’s not a suitable food source for vegans or vegetarians. Cultured meat still relies on animals to produce the muscle cells which are extracted and processed to develop myogenic satellite cells that are grown in a bioreactor in the presence of oxygen. “It’s an aerobic process, not a fermentation process, so they have to continuously pump oxygen into the system for those cells to divide and multiply,” McAllister said. “The cells are mixed with a nutrient broth within the bioreactor in order to proliferate the cells that fuse together to form myotubes, which can then be assembled into muscle fibers.” One of the key ingredients in the nutrient broth is fetal bovine serum which contains a lot of the nutrients, hormones and other co-factors that are required to promote the growth of the cells. The problem is that serum
costs around $1,800 a litre and is one of the reasons it’s so expensive to produce cultured meat. Once the muscle fibers are assembled, they can be ground into meat, but there is a reason why the first cultured meat products likely to hit grocery stores shelves will be things like meatballs, hamburgers or sausages, and not steaks or roasts. Intact muscle such as that which produces a steak is much more difficult to produce than the muscle fibres, which lack the structure and integrity of intact muscle. “Producing a steak or a roast is beyond the ability to do with current technology,” McAllister said, adding that while some companies are working on developing these products there are many limitations to the process. Intact muscle contains connective tissues and tendons that attach to the bone, and it’s the stretching and movement of the muscle itself that builds and develops it. “When you work out in the gym you are breaking and splitting muscle fibres when you are lifting weights, that is how you build the muscle,” McAllister says. “Muscle is not static in terms of its composition and traits, it evolves over time depending on how much it is worked, what the age of the animal is, what the diet of the animal is, all those factors can influence the quality of the muscle that you end up getting.” Synthesizing the connective tissues is not currently possible in cultured meat production, and other limiting factors to producing muscle meat are the lack of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nutrients to muscles in animals, or fat deposits. “Fat deposition is an important part of the picture because one of the key grading factors of the meat we produce in livestock is the marbling, and in order to produce that inter-muscular fat, animals sequester fatty acids to produce fat that is deposited as the extra-muscular fat we see our various meat cuts,” McAllister says. That said, there are a lot of different companies investing in cultured meat, with the biggest investment – around $181 million – in cultured beef and poultry. That still pales in comparison to the $16 billion being spent annually to develop plant-based meat products, so cultured meat has some catching up to do. Big claims about the benefits of cultured meat While the cultured meat industry is still in its infancy, it’s making some big claims about the benefits of cultured meat over livestock production systems, including its reduced carbon footprint. However, that depends on how you look at the production systems, McAllister said. The global warming potential with meat production is usually associated with emissions produced, and the main greenhouse gases associated with beef production are methane and nitrous oxide (N₂O). With cultured meat, the GHG emissions would be primarily in the form of carbon dioxide (CO₂) due to the fossil fuels that would be needed to provide energy for the production system. Research comparing different beef and cultured meat production systems have found that certain cultured meat systems had higher global warming potential than beef systems when considered over a 1,000-year period. “Because CO₂ persists in the atmosphere for so long, up to 1,000 years, it has a much greater impact on the warming potential as compared to methane, which only stays in the atmosphere for nine to 12 years, McAllister said. “As meat consumption goes up, the emissions associated with global warming increase in those systems, and go down as meat consumption declines, but the cultured system stays high because of that CO₂ in the atmosphere, and its contribution to the
warming potential.” Emission models also invariably fail to recognize the carbon sequestration and storage provided by grassland ecosystems. “If you model where you convert a cropping based system into a perennial forage-based system, the beef cattle production system becomes a net sink for carbon,” McAllister says. “You would not see that in a cultured meat production system.” In beef cattle production systems excess nutrients such as N and P in manure or urine, if properly managed to meet crop requirements, need not end up in waterways or the environment. But McAllister said there is still a lot of work to do to figure out what will happen to the nutrients in the waste stream created by cultured meat production facilities. “No cellular system is 100 per cent efficient in terms of nutrient utilization and [cultured meat] cells will produce end products as a result of their metabolism,” he said. “That media will be spent over time and need to be refurbished and it remains to be seen what happens to that spent media. If it could be purified and the nutrients extracted and re-used that could lead to increased cost, or could it represent a waste stream that could potentially lead to eutrophication? Those are things that need to be worked out with cultured meat production.” Other purported benefits of cultured meats include ethical considerations. As there is no nervous system in cultured meat there is no ability for the meat cells to sense pain. There is also an argument that suggests it will help prevent antibiotic resistance, something that McAllister is not sure holds water. “In these large factories contamination through bacteria, fungi or even viruses could be a major concern,” McAllister said. In livestock production, infections and disease caused by these contaminants are treated with antimicrobial products, but producers have to follow stringent standards and regulations regarding the use of these products, including complying with specific withdrawal times, doses and using only products approved for specific species of livestock. Agencies like Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that approve these products and regulate their use are primarily concerned with ensuring no residues end up in food products for human consumption, and that’s why using antimicrobials for cultured meat would be a non-starter, said McAllister. “It would not be approved,” He said. “We are not going to see that with regard to cultured meats because there is no withdrawal time; it would directly interact with the tissue that would be harvested and used as the protein source.” There are a number of other disadvantages with cultured meat, added McAllister, such as a lack of nutrients such as B12 or iron, which might be difficult to add because of the production process and there are also questions about their bioavailability in the resulting fortified meat product. As well, where would other products derived from livestock production, such as wool, leather, cosmetics and pharmaceutical ingredients come from? How would we address the reduction in rural communities if large-scale factories now produced our meat, and if livestock disappeared from the land what would happen to the grasslands and the valuable ecological services they provide? Then there is the final hurdle of consumer acceptance, and while the cultured meat industry is hoping that some of its arguments may help persuade consumers to buy its products in the future, that remains to be seen. “You can’t tell until you put it on the shelf,” McAllister said. “If you look at the plant-based meat alternatives, the original [consumer] surveys would suggest consumption should be much higher than it is right now, so ultimately the consumer is the boss. They make that decision when they reach into the meat counter and select whichever protein source they want, and they are prepared to pay for it at the till. That’s not always the same as what they say when they answer a survey, so ultimately that’s the final test when it comes to consumer acceptance.”
July 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
Test stock water & reduce worry BY: BEEF CATTLE RESEARCH COUNCIL When stock water appears abundant and water quality has been consistent in previous years, it’s easy to focus on other things but don’t overlook water testing. Poor quality stock water can lead to reproductive inefficiency, poor gains, disease and in extreme circumstances, death. Even when water supplies appear abundant, stock water may contain high levels of sodium, sulphates or other compounds that lead to toxicity. Water quality can be especially variable in surface water sources, such as dugouts, ponds or dams, and weather doesn’t necessarily need to be hot and dry to warrant regular testing. Precipitation levels in the previous years, groundwater recharge, runoff conditions, evaporation levels and adjacent land use can all impact water quality in both the short- and long-term. It’s also important to monitor well water conditions. Quality in well water can change quickly, even if wells have had suitable water in the past.
Photo credit: Tamara Carter
Take the Test In a Bov-Innovation video presentation featured during the 2020 Canadian Beef Industry Conference, producer Carla Hicks of DC Land and Cattle near Mortlach, Saskatchewan, shared her perspective on why water testing is essential on their farm. “It’s something we’ve always kind of paid attention to,” says Hicks, who adds that they live in an area where they’ve experienced water quality issues and now they regularly test dugouts. Hicks says they typically test water about once a month in the summer time, and a couple times throughout the winter on their winter water sources as well. Hicks says they will move cattle to a different pasture to alternate water, or even haul water if quality
deteriorates. “We’re kind of limited into the water sources we have available so it’s kind of really just making sure we don’t have a surprise issue and that we can always come up with something if we have a water problem,” she explains. Hicks describes a time when their cattle herd experienced problems drinking out of a dugout with elevated sulphate levels. “We ended up with cows coming down with polio and we also had some issues with nursing calves so that was really a light bulb moment for us,” she says. “The year that we had the really bad water, we were aware of what was happening because of the water testing we were doing, so we were able to implement extra supplementation,” Hicks says. She adds that while breeding was delayed that year, their cows were still bred because they were able to intervene in time and prevent a total disaster, thanks to regular water testing. Catherine Lang with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, explains how to collect and perform a water sample: To obtain a water sample, collect water in a clean, 1 litre container. It can be a designated sample container or even a glass jar or pop bottle that has been thoroughly cleaned. Collect a sample that is representative of what the cattle are actually drinking. This may mean reaching in two to three feet or even using a retractable stick to safely get a sample. Water samples are typically assessed for electrical conductivity which helps measure total dissolved solids (TDS) which provides an indication of sodium and sulphates. Stock Water and Stockmanship Every cattle farm is different. Some herds drink out of troughs their entire lives while other cattle are reared on the range, learning to walk a mile or more to water once a day out of a dugout or dam. When you move cattle to a new field, it is important to “settle” cattle on the best water source in the field. It may take extra time and effort to herd cattle to their water source, but producers can’t assume cattle will find stock water on their own. This is especially im-
portant in large fields with multiple water sources that may include smaller potholes that can dry up as the weeks go by. Thirsty cattle can become confused and refuse to leave the only water source that is familiar to them, even if it has dried up and there is better water elsewhere in the field. Cattle can become stuck or bogged in the mud, making retrieval difficult and time consuming. Cows can also get muddy udders, causing nursing problems. Stock Water Tips • Implement a water system, such as a solar- or wind-powered pump, to help extend the length of a dwindling stock water source as well as improve water quality and increase animal gains. • Work with your local agricultural extension office to obtain accurate test results, as well as learn about potential water development or testing rebates. • Test water prior to moving cattle to a new pasture. Even if there is an abundance of water present, don’t assume the water is good quality. • If cow-calf pairs are expected to drink water out of troughs, ensure that calves are able to reach the trough as well. • If cattle are watering solely on a water system or pipeline with no access to a back-up water source in case of failure, ensure those cattle are monitored daily especially during the summer heat. • Blue-green algae (i.e. cyanobacteria) can also cause toxicity. Monitor for an “oily” sheen, or something resembling spilled paint on the dugout surface, or “grass clippings” in the water. Both are signs of cyanobacteria which can cause toxicity. This Beef Cattle Research Council blog post originally appeared May 19, 2021 on the www.BeefResearch.ca website.
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CATTLE COUNTRY July 2021
StockTalk Q&A Feature Brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Marnie McCracken ............. The Pas ...................... 204-620-1545 ............................. Marnie.McCracken@gov.mb.ca
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Question: I planted some barley for greenfeed, and I am wondering about the ideal stage of maturity for harvest. I have both cows and backgrounders that I keep over the winter. Answer: In the past, the general recommendation has been to harvest barley at the soft dough stage to optimize both feed quality and yield. This recommendation, for the most part, is based on balancing yield and the water-soluble carbohydrate levels needed for making cereal silage, not dry feed¹. A more recent study done by the University of Saskatchewan suggests that delaying harvest of dry barley greenfeed until the hard dough stage maximizes dry matter yield without negatively effecting Dry Matter Intake (DMI) or digestibility². Barley crops harvested at the milk or early dough stage typically have higher crude protein levels than crops harvested at the hard dough stage³. If the crop is harvested at the hard dough stage, the total yield will be higher but the crude
protein content of the feed will be lower. If your feed supply is short because of slow pasture growth or below average hay yields, this harvest strategy can increase the forage yield produced per acre. Before deciding what stage to cut your greenfeed crop at, you need to determine your forage quality and quantity needs. If you are targeting a higher protein content in the forage and are willing to sacrifice potential yield, then harvesting at the late milk or soft dough stage will better meet your requirements. If your feed supplies are tight and you want to maximize your dry matter yields, then delaying harvest to the hard dough stage will better suit your operation’s needs. Annual crops typically accumulate more nitrates than perennial crops, especially if they have received high levels of nitrogen fertilizer or if any stress such as hail, drought, frost or spray drift disrupts the growth of the plant. The stage of maturity also affects nitrate levels. Early cut annual forage crops commonly contain higher
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Juanita Kopp ......................... Beausejour ................ 204-825-4302 ............................. Juanita.Kopp@gov.mb.ca nitrate levels than crops cut closer to maturity. If nitrate levels are high enough, animals can suffer from nitrite poisoning, so it is important to test your crop before feeding it to your livestock. To determine the nitrate levels in the feed, you will have to send a representative sample to a feed lab. There are multiple factors you need to consider when deciding what stage is best to harvest greenfeed for your operation. One of the factors that is out of our control is the weather. In many cases, the weather can interrupt some of our best made plans and forage crops cannot be harvested at the stage we want. Although this is not ideal, if you feed test the forage to determine the quality, it can still be effectively used in your cow or backgrounder ration when supplemented properly. An option to consider is putting the greenfeed up as yellowfeed where the annual crop is sprayed with glyphosate and left standing to dry down. Many be-
lieve this will dry down the crop faster, but in fact, the dry down time can range from 12 to 30 days and will depend on the weather. However, the crop is standing as it dries, so it undergoes less weathering, resulting in lower losses as if it were drying in the swath and subject to additional losses if it is rained on. As the plants will keep growing for a few days after spraying until the herbicide takes effect, the crop should be sprayed five days earlier than when it would normally be cut for greenfeed. The rate of glyphosate used varies from one to 1.5 litres per acre with the higher rate required when conditions are wetter. Using a swather instead of a haybine to cut the crop is recommended to minimize losses from shattering of heads and leaf loss. There are some precautions you should take if you choose to cut your greenfeed crop at a later stage of maturity. There is the potential for grain loss in the field because of shelling and the possibility that feeding more ma-
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ture cereal forages could cause acidosis. It’s a good idea to exercise care in feeding management, so it is not recommended to put out more than a couple of days of this type of feed at a time. Regardless of the stage you decide to harvest your barley crop at, your winter mineral supplementation program will be important. Cereal crops are typically low in calcium and magnesium and high in phosphorus and potassium. If the majority of your winter ration will be made up of barley greenfeed, you will need to ensure you maintain a two to one calcium to phosphorus ratio, by proving a two to one or three to one calcium to phosphorus mineral. High potassium levels in the diet decreases magnesium absorption and can cause tetany in lactating beef cows, if sufficient magnesium levels are not supplemented in the diet. Barley and other annual crops are a good option for extending your winter forage supplies, but they need to be feed tested and used as part of a properly balanced ration. It is important to discuss your winter feeding plan with a Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Livestock Specialist or beef cattle nutritionist to determine how best to use the greenfeed as part of your winter feeding plan.
References ¹ Rosser, C.L., P. Górka, A.D. Beattie, H.C. Block, J.J. McKinnon, H.A. Lardner, , and G.B. Penner. 2013. Effect of maturity at harvest on yield, chemical composition and in situ degradability of annual cereals used for swath grazing. J. Anim. Sci. 91:3815 -3826. ² Rosser, C.L., A.D. Beattie, H.C. Block, J.J. McKinnon, H.A. Lardner, P. Górka, and G.B. Penner. 2016. Effect of maturity at harvest for whole-crop barley and oat on dry matter intake, sorting, and digestibility when fed to beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 94:697-708. 3 Beef Cattle Research Council - Stored Forages 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 Country 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 140 years of agronomy experience. We are here to help make your cattle operation successful. Contact us today.
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July 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY
Watching the weather and markets, too RICK WRIGHT The Bottom Line It is the first week of June, and both cattle producers and grain farmers are watching The Weather Network for signs of rain in the forecast for Manitoba and the rest of western Canada. Dry weather conditions are causing a high level of concern for the cattle producers in Manitoba. Producers have used up surplus feed supplies, and the pastures are far from being ready to receive cow-calf pairs and yearlings. Producers have been culling deeper into the herds with cull cow and bull deliveries to the auctions higher in volumes than the normal seasonal sale numbers. Several producers have started to sell off cow-calf pairs, with demand for the good pairs at $1,800 to $2,200. A few cow-calf operators have reluctantly delivered their replacement heifers to the market due to the dry weather. Demand has topped for feeder cattle pricing, as there are no prospective buyers for breeding heifers at this time. Prices for the cull cows have been stronger than expected ranging from the low 90-cent mark to $1.00 per pound. Once
again, the local packers have been strong supporters of auctions, with the live weight prices much higher than the rail grade prices offered by all four major cow processors. If the weather remains the same, we can expect larger than normal deliveries over the summer. Fed cattle prices in the west have jumped over 20 cents per pound dressed over the past month. At this time, prices are nearly $2.80 dressed delivered to Alberta. The market is being driven by strong export demand. Prices may have a little more lift in them, but we are just about finished with the fed yearlings, and we will see more fed calves coming to market. The packers have had the luxury of a large supply of long fed cattle for the past 16 months; these long fed cattle produce more “triple A” carcasses which bring top dollar on the retail market. With a high cost of feeding the cattle on the finishing ration, cattle feeders will start to market the cattle earlier with fewer days on feed, producing lighter weights and lower grades. Fed calves don’t marble as well as long fed yearlings. Over the last year, disruptions in the processing plants, set-aside programs and marketing delays created a continuous supply of high quality long fed beef; this was a bonus for the packers. In the first week of June, packers were bidding two to three weeks out and taking delivery in timely fashion. Some analysts
are predicting that there could even be a shortage of market ready cattle in Ontario during the months of June and July, which would firm up prices in Western Canada. The Ontario packers are paying about 15 to 20 cents per pound less than the western orders, but that could change in a hurry. Last year, western packers in May and June hesitated to bid on fed calves, as there were still lots of fed yearlings available. Manitoba producers started selling into Ontario; if Ontario comes looking again and are willing to pay the price, some cattle could move that way. The dry weather could spell hardship for cow-calf producers this fall. If the silage crops produce less than average yields, the cost of backgrounding will have to increase. Last fall most backgrounders charged between 80 and 90 cents per pound gain on a 2.5-pound per day gain. Using the feed costs on today’s prices, it would mean that those same backgrounders would have to charge over $1.00 per pound plus yardage. The cost of finishing a steer on $7 barley and $9 corn would range between $1.30 and $1.40 in Alberta, while Manitoba feedlots are quoting $1.40 to $1.50 per pound. If the grain prices don’t soften between now and September, calf producers can expect to see a major price adjustment in this fall’s calf market. Some producers will wean and feed their calves, trying to buy
time into a stronger marketing opportunity, but many will be forced to sell for cash flow due to lack of feed. It is beginning to look like those producers who took the calf insurance earlier in the spring made the right move. If the cost of feeding the calves at the feedlots continues at today’s new contract rates, the feeders and investors could be very cautious when buying this fall. One other factor to watch for this fall is the importing of American feeder cattle. If the Canadian dollar remains strong and the cattle markets in the northern USA remain at today’s levels, there will be a lot of calves imported into Canada. Already this spring there were western American calves coming into Alberta and calves from the mid-western USA coming into Ontario and Quebec. And guess what? R-CALF never mentions American calves coming north when promoting “Country of Origin Labelling”. Despite the doom and gloom, we are only a few inches of timely rain away from everything turning around. I surely hope that by the time this edition of Cattle Country reaches your mailbox, the rain has come, many have had their second COVID-19 vaccination, and things get back to normal. Here is hoping for rain. Stay safe my friends. Rick
We love summer because it’s grilling season! BY: TAMARA SARKISIAN, RD Get ready for the best burger of the summer that you can make right in the comfort of your own home. Making your own beef burger is so simple and so tasty, especially served on a warm brioche bun with all your favourite toppings. Some of our favourite traditional toppings include
pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo but we’re also a huge fan of avocados, sauteed mushrooms & onions and goat cheese. The best part of making your own burgers at home is that options for toppings are endless, if you can manage to hold it together! We used ground sirloin to make our beef
burgers for the best minimum of 160 degrees taste and tenderness. F (71 degrees C). Check out our recipe When grilling burgers, you want to make sure below for these tasty beef your grill is very hot burgers accompanied by for the perfect sear on a fabulous homemade the outside. To achieve coleslaw! the perfect doneness on the inside, the key is to Photo credit: Tamara Sarkisian avoid overcooking your beef. Test the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into centre of each patty to ensure patties are cooked to a
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Servings: 6 beef patties | Prep time: 25 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 35 min Ingredients:
Burger -650 g ground sirloin -1/2 medium onion, diced finely -3 cloves garlic, crushed -1 egg -1/2 tsp salt -1/2 tsp pepper -1 tsp oregano -1/2 tsp paprika -1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Burgers 1) Preheat barbecue to 550 degrees 2) In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onions, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well with clean hands. 3) Portion out meat into 6 medium size balls and form a patty with your hands or use a flat plate to press down patties. 4) Grill patties for 5 min on each side (depending on thickness of patties) and serve with brioche buns and toppings of your choice.
Coleslaw -3 cups shredded cabbage -2 cups shredded carrots (2 carrots) -3 tbsp olive oil -1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar -1 clove of garlic, crushed -1/2 tbsp grainy dijon mustard -1/2 lemon -1/2 tsp salt -1/4 tsp ground pepper
Coleslaw 1) In a large bowl, add shredded cabbage and carrots. 2) In a separate small bowl, whisk olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper. 3) Drizzle dressing over salad and mix. Option to add red onions and fresh herbs to slaw.
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10 CATTLE COUNTRY July 2021
Manitoba launches Agri-Plastics Stewardship program (Province of Manitoba News Release) Manitoba will become the second Canadian jurisdiction with a provincially regulated agricultural plastics stewardship program and the first to include multiple designated materials, Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard and Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced May 26. “We are pleased to announce that Cleanfarms Inc. has estab-
lished another important stewardship program to take responsibility for recycling products and materials produced by its industry members,” said Guillemard. “This program will contribute to the recycling of plastic waste, which is a priority for all Canadian jurisdictions.” Cleanfarms Inc. will operate the stewardship program on behalf of the agricultural industry and manage the collection and recycling of agricultural plastics. Manitoba
producers will be able to drop off used grain bags and plastic baler twine at designated collection sites throughout the province without paying user fees at the points of collection. Cleanfarms will arrange for pickup, transportation and recycling of these materials from the collection sites. “The agricultural sector understands the importance of respecting the environment as well as any industry and we expect this program will make a significant dif-
ference,” said Pedersen. “Reducing the amount of plastic destined for our landfills is critical and we are confident that producers will support this effort.” Cleanfarms aims to capitalize on industry enthusiasm to launch the program that, like other stewardship programs, will be industry funded at no cost to the province, the ministers said. Like many other stewardship programs in Manitoba, this initiative will be supported through environ-
mental handling fees included in the sale prices of program materials. Earlier this year, the Manitoba Sharps Collection Program was launched by the Health Products Stewardship Association. It allows Manitobans to dispose safely of items such as lancets used to prick skin for diabetes testing, needles and autoinjection devices such as EpiPens through the free distribution of specially designed sharps containers at pharmacies. These
new programs build on the strong foundation of Manitoba’s commitment to recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility program, Guillemard noted, adding that Manitoba remains one of the leading Canadian jurisdictions with 12 producer responsibility programs covering items such as household hazardous waste, electronics, pharmaceuticals and tires. For information re: Cleanfarms visit https://cleanfarms.ca/.
Federal consultations launched on the next agricultural policy framework, producers can provide input (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada News Release) On June 3rd, the
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude
Bibeau, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture
The Board of Directors of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation is pleased to announce the appointment of
Stephen Carlyle, MSc to the position of
Chief Executive Officer Effective September 3, 2021 Stephen joined the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) in 2009 as Program Development Manager and moved to Chief Operating Officer in 2019. Previously, Stephen worked as the East Interlake Conservation District Manager. He will lead an organization that has recently assumed new responsibilities, a new corporate structure, and now has annual revenues over $15.0 million to support wildlife habitat conservation. Stephen will replace Tim Sopuck, Chief Executive Officer since 2009. He has guided the organization through significant growth and evolution as well as 200,000 acres of conservation lands protected and enhanced over the last 12 years. MHHC was established as a Crown Corporation in 1986 to conserve, restore and enhance wildlife and fish habitat in Manitoba. Its habitat conservation projects, developed cooperatively with farmers and other landowners, now total over 400,000 acres. MHHC also recently became beneficiary for three endowments - the Conservation, GROW and Wetlands GROW Trusts established at The Winnipeg Foundation by the Province of Manitoba and totaling $204.0 million. Annual Trust revenues go to granting programs that transfer $9-$10.0 million annually to Manitoba-based conservation groups for land, water and wildlife conservation projects that will ultimately improve the well-being of all Manitobans. On February 1, 2021, MHHC transitioned out of government and is now established as a private, not-for-profit charity (registered charitable #1267 9468 RR001).
M A N I TOB A
and Agri-Food, Neil Ellis, launched the federal consultation process for the Next Agricultural Policy Framework. They shared Canada’s vision for a sustainable future for the agriculture and agri-food sector in a virtual event with stakeholders. The Framework is a wide-ranging federalprov i n c i a l - te r r itor i a l agreement that will replace the current fiveyear, $3 billion Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which expires on March 31, 2023. The Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector is a powerhouse of the Canadian economy, spurring job creation and prosperity across the country. The agriculture and agri-food system generates over $139 bil-
lion of our gross domestic product and, when combined with seafood, nearly $74 billion of our exports, while employing more Canadians than any other manufacturing industry in the country. The current Canadian Agricultural Partnership provides key financial support for agriculture programs and services that are tailored to meet regional needs. This includes a number of federal programs, as well as programs that are cost-shared between the federal and provincial/ territorial governments on a 60:40 basis. The consultations launched today will help shape the direction of the Next Agricultural Policy Framework by gathering the experience and ideas from stakeholders. The
Government of Canada is committed to collaborating with its provincial and territorial partners, Canadians, and all stakeholders – including agricultural producers and processors, women in agriculture, youth, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, and small and emerging sub-sectors – to seek feedback and help develop the next Framework. Consultations begin this month and will continue through the spring of 2022. For updates on the consultations, summaries of the feedback received, and opportunities to contribute to the discussion, please visit the Next Agricultural Policy Framework throughout 2021 and 2022.
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July 2021 CATTLE COUNTRY 11
Management during drought BY: DR. TANYA ANDERSON, DVM
The Vet Corner
This month’s topic is unfortunately about something old news but one that is worsening in magnitude - the low moisture levels and drought conditions. I would like to briefly review some key animal management considerations and health issues that often develop during prolonged dry weather. Successful grazing management may mean short-term drylotting prior to pasture turnout, rotational grazing or relocation to greener pastures. This often means that cattle will be more crowded such that the risk of disease is increased. Movement to different locations within the province or beyond creates stress and also exposure to potential pathogens for which they have no prior immunity, particularly if herds are comingled. A solid herd vaccination and health program is very important during any weather stress. While our winter was unseasonably mild and resulted in an unexpected feed carryover, mineral and vitamin deficiencies developed as a result of poor pasture conditions last grazing season. Dust and hot dry windy conditions are hard on mucous membranes. Eyes and the lining of the upper airways need to filter out the dust which causes both mechanical irritation as well as serving as a carrier of disease-causing agents. Pinkeye and both viral (especially BRSV) and bacterial pneumonias become more common. Short grass
means grazing closer to the ground and an increased risk for coccidiosis and endoparasitism (worms), both of which cause further weakening of the immune system. Review your whole herd vaccination program with your veterinarian, especially if you are needing to move cattle elsewhere or are dramatically changing your management program. The merits of pinkeye vaccination, coccidiosis prevention programs and fly and parasite control on pasture should be reviewed during drought conditions. If you are needing to relocate your herd, review biosecurity risks and mitigation tools with your veterinarian to avoid future disease or abortion wrecks. Carefully monitor your pasture/feed situation particularly as the cow nutritional needs peak. The first 60 to 90 days postcalving is the most nutritionally demanding period in the production cycle of a cow. If grass quality/quantity drops during that time, the cow will enter a negative energy balance and will prioritize her nursing calf and herself over cycling and rebreeding. Failure to adequately manage pasture during the breeding season will mean poorer conception rates, irregardless of the body condition of the cow. This will be a bigger concern for the later calving herds. If your pasture has poisonous plants such as water hemlock, beware of ingestion. Utilize the services of an agronomist to identify risk areas. Sudden deaths should be necropsied. Another management strategy that is often reserved for extreme circumstances
Research (cont.) Page 3 demonstrations of how to enter input into the model and process results. The free software is available on the conference site for download. Holos is a useful tool to test possible ways of reducing emissions from individual farms. Tool for monitoring crop growth – Crop Metrics is a Canada-wide interactive online mapping tool that shows what to expect for crop yield at the start of the growing season and the environmental factors that help explain the yield forecasts for a number of crops. The training session video guides users through the features and applications of this tool. National student video competition features two students supported by Manitoba Beef Producers Grad students from across Canada – and one from Uruguay – took part in the conference video competition, pitching their sustainability-focused research and its potential to benefit farmers and agriculture. Their challenge: to connect viewers to their research and convey its importance in a fun and engaging way in under three minutes. Four entries showcased sustainability approaches to beef production systems, including two students supported by Manitoba Beef Producers and the Mitacs program: In Patrick Le Heiget’s winning video “System impacts resulting from the integration of dual-purpose perennial grain crops in modern agricultural production on the prairies”, he describes his research as part of a larger study led by UofM animal scientist Emma McGeough and plant scientist Doug Cattani. Patrick’s research focuses on management practices to improve the yield and
productivity of this novel crop. Along with both above and below-ground environmental benefits, this research will inform the economic potential of intermediate wheatgrass to provide a cash grain crop for human consumption as well as cattle feed in the same year. Watch the video for more information about this promising crop. Sydney Fortier’s video includes results from her research examining the environmental impacts of beef cattle raised with and without productivity enhancing technologies, or PETs. Sydney’s research compared greenhouse gas emissions from steers with or without PETs under different feeding strategies from weaning to finishing as part of a larger project led by UofM animal scientist Kim Ominski and Tim McAllister at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Watch the video to learn more about her findings. Producers play key role in knowledge-sharing events involving the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment An important element contributing to the success of the Sustainability Conference was the role of Manitoba producers who shared their experiences and insights over three days of themed sessions as speakers and conference participants. Producers Jill and Clarice Martens explained how cattle, field crops and by-products complement each other as part of an integrated system on their farm. Manure nutrients feed the crops and crop screenings provide a valuable protein source for cattle. Melissa Atchison, District 6 director for Manitoba Beef Producers and VBP+ Provincial Coordinator, described their grazing management and winter
may be to depopulate or destock through the sale of mature cows and early weaning. Last fall was the time to start but cow prices remain stronger so identify potential culls if grass conditions worsen. Pregnancy test earlier this season. Ultrasonography allows pregnancy detection as early as 35-40 days post-breeding. Cull open cows as well as those with poor conformation (bad teats, udders, eyes, feet and legs), bad attitudes, increased age and those underperforming. Individual cow records will come in handy this year to help you make critical management decisions. Remember that calves can be weaned as early as 45 days of age but their ration must be well managed with high quality feed - no slacking on protein, energy, vitamins and minerals in the ration or health problems will develop and growth potential will not be realized. Creep-feeding will also help ease the transition to a feedlot ration. If you have the feedlot space, the feed and nutrition knowledge, consider retaining the calves to capitalize on the rapid gains and try to generate enough money to pay for the cow costs. Consider early weaning calves off heifers, older cows dropping in body condition and those cows that were identified at calving or last season as culls. Weight loss below BCS of 3/5 means that additional feeding is required to prepare the cow for calving and rebreeding. Don’t let that happen - it is expensive to “catch up cows”, especially her the colder winter months. Offer grain or quality hay on pasture if cow condition
is starting to slide. Have feed testing done this fall. If forage plants show signs of drought stress, nitrate levels may be high. The ensiling fermentation process will reduce those levels so baleage/silage should be considered. Expect deficiency of Vitamins A and E - plan to supplement in the feed or by injection in the fall. Ensure that your calcium-phosphorus rations are adequate and tailored to your ration. Sudden ration changes for cows in late gestation and post-calving are less tolerated. This imbalance compounded by energy malnutrition will result in downer cattle. Regularly monitor your water. Dugout levels are at record lows and availability of water is already a concern considering our recent heat wave. Evaporation of water can exacerbate these factors and create issues with increased bacteria, algae, or concentrated TDS levels which can impact cattle health, weight gain and immune function. Monitor the market and ship during peak prices. Research your options for pasture and feed management. Work with a nutritionist to develop alternative rations using least cost ingredients and network with local grain producers. Don’t shortcut on your herd vaccinations nor your mineral and vitamin programs. Hoping for the best isn’t a drought management plan. Know your options so that you aren’t cornered into making costly management decisions and can avoid an animal welfare disaster.
Meet our new researcher: Meagan King recently joined the Department of Animal Science as an assistant professor in animal welfare and physiology. She completed her graduate studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Meagan’s background is in animal health, welfare, and behaviour, as well as environmental biology. Recently, she began studying farmer well-being and how it is related to farm management and animal health. She is currently working with Dr. Kate Sherren from Dalhousie University to understand connections between grazing management and the quality of life and well-being of ranchers. She also plans to research the experiences of ranchers and farmers with various wildlife species to help identify proactive and integrated management strategies that are effective and practical. CONFERENCE RESOURCES NCLE conference website: umanitoba.ca/agricultural-food-sciences/sustainability-canadian-agriculture-2021 Training video on the AAFC Holos model: youtu.be/ddYkoSAt1iY?t=12 Tool for monitoring crop growth training video: youtu.be/RVZFvAgSFXY Grad students conference video competition: umanitoba.ca/agricultural-foodsciences/sustainability-canadian-agriculture-2021/graduate-student-videocompetition Patrick Le Heiget’s video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cjjrhz2H4K4 Sydney Fortier’s video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvnerN7ylns Dr. Temple Grandin session: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qejgkbvJ1DI feeding strategies to promote soil health - a cornerstone of the Poplarview Stock Farm philosophy. Also in March, NCLE hosted a special online live session with renowned animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin. During the 90-minute virtual presentation, many producers took advantage of the opportunity to pose questions and dialogue with Dr. Grandin, a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals. View the entire session on the UofM’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences YouTube page. In April, NCLE Director Kim Ominski gave an invited presentation at the Grazing Livestock: Building Sustainable Protein Supply Chains Independent Dialogue Series held by the Canadian Cattlemen’s
Association and Nature Conservancy of Canada that explored the vital role of grazing livestock in Canada. Drawing on her research in this area, Kim discussed the impact of consumer choices on environmental sustainability. The Dialogue Series brought together over 100 stakeholders made up of roughly 30% livestock producers as well as academics, federal and provincial policy makers, environmental NGOs and supply chain representatives to share their insights and reflect on grazing livestock’s role in sustainable food systems. Outcomes from this series were submitted as part of an Official Dialogue Feedback to the United Nations in advance of the 2021 Food Systems Summit to be held July 2021.
12 CATTLE COUNTRY July 2021
Brookdale Farm summer solar water system with panel stand, submersible pump, battery bank and pressure tank. (Photo Credit: Mary Jane-Orr)
Working toward reliable summer water BY: DR. MARY-JANE ORR
MBFI General Manager
Ongoing dry conditions limiting recharge of ground and surface water supplies is further straining pasture options for summer grazing across the province. On June 8, 2021, Ag Action Manitoba funding to support water source development was announced to assist in addressing dry conditions on pasture. Applications are open until September 1, 2021 for a 50:50 cost share of eligible expenses up to $10,000 of funding per application. Eligible expenses broadly include water source development (wells & dugouts), alternative watering system equipment (solar, wind, or grid equipment), permanent fencing to restrict surface water livestock access, and permanent pipeline development. Producers are encouraged to check the Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development webpage for further details under the Ag Action Quick Links menu. Matching operation water requirements (e.g. herd size, distance to move water, grazing management, power and water source) with the water system capacity is key for the longevity and feasibility of the installation. The options and planning details can be overwhelming, and there are no one-size fits all systems when it comes to installing or upgrading a water system for the spring to fall grazing season. As a reference for producers planning water upgrades, a full overview on livestock water sources and considerations is discussed in Beef Cattle Research Council “Water Systems for Beef Cattle” and return on investment discussed in “Water Systems Calculator” (www.beefresearch.ca/blog/tag/water). At Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives a variety of water systems are utilized across the Johnson Farm, First Street pasture, and Brookdale Farm station. The Johnson Farm and First Street pasture located on the north-east perimeter of Brandon currently have access to ground water through two well installations. The wells were established with direct power to service both winter water lines as well as shallow buried and surface water lines to provide summer water to all grazing paddocks. Integrating summer water pipelines with quick
connect spigots at all pasture sites has significantly increased our flexibility to manage all the grazing land available. Reliable ground water to support livestock needs has not been feasible to date at the Brookdale Farm located 11 miles north of Brandon. The site utilizes surface catchment of snow melt and precipitation in the dugout and wetlands, with municipal water as an emergency water supply in the summer. Winter water is supported by municipal water supply with a variety of winter waterers in place to showcase management options. The primary summer water source is a slough in the NE quarter that runs a solar powered pump with a pressurized above ground pipeline that provides water to all paddocks across the north half of the section. MBFI has worked with Sundog Solar (www.sundogsolarwind. com) based out of Alberta and with Kelln Solar (www. kellnsolar.com) based out of Saskatchewan in designing and maintaining our solar watering systems. The system works well, and we continue to learn how to optimize the
RED ANGUS | BLACK ANGUS | SIMMENTAL
Blair & Lois McRae & Family Brandon, Manitoba 204-728-3058 | Blair: 204-729-5439 | Lois: 204-573-5192
water supply through the sizing of the water troughs and regular maintenance. At the Brookdale Farm, direct livestock access to wetlands that consistently hold water and the dugout is restricted by fencing the areas off. Stopping livestock from walking into surface water maintains the riparian areas, prevents entrapment in mud, and maintains available water quality by preventing fouling by manure and urine. Declining surface water quality is an additional concern in dry conditions. While livestock can be maintained on lower quality water sources to a point their overall health and productivity are negatively impacted. Producers are encouraged to regularly test water sources for significant hazards such as elevated nitrates, sulphates, salinity, and algae. MBFI welcomes any questions on the systems we have in place and can arrange site visits within the current provincial health guidelines. Contact us at 431255-0011 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.