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New transportation regulations are coming into force on February 20 but will focus on compliance through education and awareness. (Photo credit:

Producers get temporary reprieve from new transport regulations Manitoba cattle producers are relieved the federal government will not actively enforce its new livestock transport regulations for the next two years, but worry what will happen once they are fully implemented. Producers fear shorter maximum hours for transporting animals, which the new rules require, will seriously affect cattle shipments to Eastern Canada and undermine animal welfare. “It’s going to be a huge, huge disruption for us,” said Rick Wright, Manitoba Livestock Marketing Association administrator. “There’s no science behind what they’re doing here and it’s going to disrupt things big time.” The beef industry will use the extra time to conduct scientific research into whether shorter hauling times and longer rest stops actually benefit cattle. So far, that seems uncertain, said Dr. Reynold Bergen of the Beef Cattle Research Council in Calgary. “The science we have available is suggesting that there’s not a whole huge benefit to rest stops,” Bergen said. The amendments to federal regulations, announced last year, decrease the allowable time between stops while lengthening required rest periods for transported livestock. Cattle must now spend no more than 36 hours on a trailer before stopping for feed, water and rest. The old rules allowed for 48 hours, with additional flex time if the load was within four hours of its destination, making the absolute maximum time 52 hours. The previous mandatory layover time at rest stops

was five hours. It is now eight hours. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says the reason for the changes centres around animal welfare. “The amended regulations contain outcome-based requirements to ensure that animals are not likely to suffer (from exhaustion, dehydration, weather or other conditions), be injured or die,” an agency spokesperson told Cattle Country in an e-mail. “The CFIA has the discretion to appropriately enforce these outcome-based requirements to prevent and act on animal welfare situations.” The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the two-year enforcement delay in December after producers and the industry expressed widespread concern about the effect of the new requirements on animals and their business. It’s the new 36-hour rule that concerns Manitoba producers most. An estimated 60 per cent of live cattle leaving Manitoba travel east, most of them headed to feedlots in Ontario and Quebec. There is a rest stop at Thunder Bay, Ontario where cattle can be unloaded, fed, watered and rested. But livestock dealers say that of the 160,000 cattle that went through Thunder Bay in 2018, fewer than 60,000 stopped there. The rest rolled through because the old 48-hour rule didn’t require them to stop. Now most will have to stop to unload, feed, water and reload, all of which stresses animals, Wright said. Even worse, the Thunder Bay station isn’t large enough to accommodate the additional surge in cattle, said Wright. “We can’t cram all the cattle into Thunder Bay at the

peak times that they’re going to go. At peak times, Thunder Bay’s full now, even before the new rules,” he said. “It’s going to be a bottleneck. If you don’t book your spot in, there’s going to be no room in the hotel when you get there. It’s as simple as that.” Wright predicted Eastern buyers will also bid lower for cattle because delays cost money. The rules are expected to have limited effect on shipments going west. Most can cross the Prairies within the required time limits. CFIA says the new regulations will still come into force February 20, 2020 as previously planned. But the agency will focus on compliance through education and awareness during a two-year transition period. CFIA has formed two working groups, one for beef and the other for dairy and veal, to “interpret and clarify any guidance needed on the regulations, identify issues and discuss possible solutions,” the spokesperson said. The two-year pause affects only cattle, not pigs, poultry or other livestock. Tom Teichroeb, Manitoba Beef Producers president, called the delay “really positive” and hoped CFIA will consider scientific evidence about how long-distance transportation really does affect cattle. “Let’s revisit this before we disrupt commerce in the industry.” The old regulations on humane transport of animals were last changed in 1977. In 2013, CFIA issued a preproposal about revamping the rules. The agency initially suggested 28 continuous hours as the maximum time on the truck but the industry called the idea impractical. Page 4 

President's Column

The benefits of soil carbon

U of M advances MBP priorities

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Page 7

Page 9




CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

It has been a pleasure to serve TOM TEICHROEB President's Column

Another year is in the rear view mirror. More sunlight with each new day has restored my optimism and spring doesn’t seem that far away. Before we rush into spring, it is important to exhale and recharge. Some producers are still baling corn stovers and other feed stuffs that didn’t get harvested. It is also a time for winter sporting activities or a much needed getaway for those who are so inclined. I am thrilled to stay local, spend time with family and friends, do chores and start planning for a new year. With each new year comes a new calving season. I am pleased to say mine doesn’t start until late April but for many people the time is now. Long days and night shifts are necessary for those who calve in the winter months. There is also the excitement of bull sale season and after looking through 50 catalogues each year, I’m reminded that I’m still paying last year’s bills. Planning those dreaded end-of-year purchases which leave bank accounts bare for the new year can seem daunting. Seed, fertilizer and other inputs for 2020 are just some examples. Rent and lease agreements need to be negotiated and depending on the arrangement, payments may need to be made. There also seems to be a never-ending necessity to upgrade equipment and infrastructure. It is a vicious cycle on an annual basis but planning is crucial for continued success. Aside from planning for the coming year, it will soon be time for Manitoba Beef Producers’ (MBP) 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year’s AGM will be held on February 6-7 at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre in Brandon. On behalf of MBP, I would like to extend an invitation to all livestock producers, the livestock sector and industry, and government officials to attend. It is always important to have the Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, The Honourable Blaine Pederson and his staff from the department attend and support the MBP AGM. I will suggest that in light of an extremely challenging past year for the livestock industry, the Minister’s support and ongoing commitment will be sincerely appreciated. When reflecting on 2019, it is difficult to imagine a more challenging year. The most obvious challenge was the drought which has spanned over two years. Sourcing feed, often at outrageous prices, proved to be very frustrating. Overwhelming circumstances forced some producers to reduce their herd size or to liquidate entirely. The snowstorm in late fall was most unwelcome and harvest has continued into late December and beyond. However, the combination of 12 inches of rain and heavy wet snow did replenish dugouts and will help improve moisture conditions for 2020. These very chalRED ANGUS | BLACK ANGUS | SIMMENTAL

Blair & Lois McRae & Family Brandon, Manitoba 204-728-3058 | Blair: 204-729-5439 | Lois: 204-573-5192

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R.M. of Albert, Cameron, Whitewater, Edward, Brenda, Winchester, Morton



R.M. of Riverside, Strathcona, Argyle, Lorne, Turtle Mountain, Roblin, Louise, Pembina

MBP President Tom Teichroeb being interviewed at the Manitoba Legislature. (Photo credit: MBP)

lenging circumstances will likely impact the Manitoba herd size yet again. There was a herd reduction in 2018 and there is a further decrease anticipated for 2019. Some aspects of the new agricultural Crown lands regulations that were announced following the provincial election were not well received by many producers. Hopefully ongoing dialogue between MBP and government will have a more positive outcome and address concerns arising in areas such as: the need for a longer transition period to the new rental rate formula; how lease hold improvements will be valued; the future of unit transfers; recognition of ecosystem services provided by lease holders; and, the need for informed access, among others. Former Agriculture Minister Eichler announced on October 11 that producers will be given the first right of renewal for existing leases on Crown lands. Another public consultation process on the regulation will be initiated around this change. MBP will participate in this process and we are strongly encouraging all lease holders to provide their input as well. Nonetheless, not all is bad news. MBP continues to work on and advance a number of initiatives and advocacy pieces. As most of you are aware, the predation file has been ongoing for a number of years. There has been some progress and MBP looks forward to a pilot program focused on addressing this challenge that will hopefully be launched in 2020. The construction of the proposed Lake Manitoba Outlet Channel remains a key priority for MBP. There will be continued efforts by MBP to advocate on behalf of beef producers and the industry for the completion of this critical commitment to flood protection, funding for which was announced by both the federal and provincial governments in 2018. MBP hosted its first ever youth retreat in January for producers between the ages of 18 to 39. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase Manitoba’s young producers. Key topics included succession planning, tax and financial issues, land acquisition, as well as managing the business and the human resources side of the operation. Business Risk Management (BRM) tools continue to be another focus area for MBP. Although the Select



R.M. of Elton, North Cypress, North Norfolk, Cornwallis, Oakland, South Cypress, Victoria, South Norfolk



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





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



R.M. of Harrison, Clanwilliam, Rosedale, Glenella, Saskatchewan, Odanah, Minto, Langford, Lansdowne, Westbourne, LGD Park


R.M. of Siglunes, Grahamdale, Eriksdale, Coldwell, St. Laurent


R.M. of Lawrence, Ochre River, Ste. Rose, McCreary, Alonsa

Hay Program and Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) seem to respond well, there is still a lot to be desired with respect to some of the other BRM programming. This is especially true for the livestock industry. I am certain that through advocacy as well as the provincial and federal BRM review process, the livestock industry will achieve improved BRM programming. A new year also brings changes to MBP’s board of directors. Five new directors were chosen at various district meetings and will join the board of directors once they are ratified at the AGM in February. I would like to thank each of the new directors who will take on this new challenge. It is important to have fresh perspectives and renewed enthusiasm and I’m convinced the new directors will help advance the excellent work that MBP is already delivering. I would also like to thank our outgoing directors for their years of service to the board and to the producers in their respective districts. MBP will also elect a new President at the AGM. After serving six years as a director, with a year and a half as president, this will be my final submission. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve as a director and president. I will start by thanking all directors, past and present, for their hard work and commitment to the MBP organization. I would also like to thank all of you, the producers, who support and provide policy direction for MBP and ensure its continued success. I will once again recognize MBP staff for their ongoing efforts. They work tirelessly for MBP and it is their work that brings continued success and credibility to MBP as an organization. Finally, I will thank my family for the sacrifices they made which have allowed me to be director with MBP as well as the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). Representing both MBP and CCA was only possible because of their exceptional contributions to our family as well as our business. More specifically, I am indebted to my wife, Michelle, who has made this opportunity to represent MBP and CCA possible. Thank you once again. Kind regards, Tom




R.M. of Shell River, Shellmouth,Hillsburg, Boulton, Grandview, Gilbert Plains, Ethelbert, Mossey River, Dauphin, LGD Park

MANITOBA BEEF PRODUCERS Unit 220, 530 Century Street Winnipeg, MB R3H 0Y4

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POLICY ANALYST Maureen Cousins


R.M. of Minitonas, Swan River, Mountain, The Pas



Deb Walger




Trinda Jocelyn

February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY


Hon. Sarah Guillemard, MLA for Fort Richmond, and Minister of Conservation and Climate, welcomed board and staff members from Manitoba Beef Producers to her office on January 8. Pictured from left to right: Mike Duguid, MBP Director for District 10, Maureen Cousins, MBP Policy Analyst, Hon. Sarah Guillemard, Peter Penner, MBP Director for District 3, and Carson Callum, MBP General Manager.

Public trust more important than ever I hope you were able to find time to relax with your family and friends over the holiday season, as we closed out another decade. In 2019, MBP was very busy with many files, such as production year conditions, predation, and regulatory changes. MBP will continue its efforts related to these key matters in 2020. With it being a new decade, I hold a new sense of optimism for our industry, and that we will determine strategies to move it forward in a positive way. A couple of short term wins in my mind would be changes to the new agricultural Crown lands (ACL) regulations and mitigation for predation. Various other issues will be top of mind throughout the year, such as business risk management tools and 2020 production conditions. However, one area that MBP and the overall beef industry will be focused on is public trust. Public trust in our industry is more important than ever. Many negative opinions around beef production has led to a poor light being shone on the industry, which can have an impact across the whole value chain. It can impact what consumers are willing to buy from a protein standpoint. It can also impact regulations being developed on

a provincial and federal scale. The new transport regulations are a prime example of this impact. As we move forward, a key priority of MBP will be developing strategies that share the positive messages of our great industry with the general public. We will leverage some of the information developed from our national counterpart, CCA, but also use some of our provincial collateral as well. For those of you that attended our district meetings in 2019, we unveiled videos that demonstrate beef ’s importance for habitats of endangered birds, and that it is ethically raised. These videos are easy to share on social media and with the mainstream urban media as well as being valuable assets at public events such as the Red River Ex and Ag in the City. To improve the industry’s public trust, we need to consider the demographic that would have the greatest longterm benefit. Currently, there is a great deal of misinformation being shared with school age children, as it relates to agriculture as a whole. These young minds are in the prime stage of learning, and we need to ensure they are getting accurate information regarding beef cattle production in Canada. This is why MBP will


General Manager’s Column

continue to support and build upon efforts being done by groups like Agriculture in the Classroom. They are working to get accurate information in to the school system, for a wide range of age groups, to allow students to hear how food is made from the source. Agriculture in the Classroom also puts efforts towards getting this information in the hands of the teachers, so they can incorporate into their learning plans. Ensuring the

next generation has both sides to the story will be extremely important, as they will one day be making the food purchasing decisions for themselves. MBP looks forward to building on these efforts. As we enter the new year, I feel a great deal of optimism for the industry. I am optimistic we can strengthen our relationship with government, to secure regulations that positively impact the industry. I am optimistic current pro-

grams/tools can be improved to help producers in poor production conditions, or from pressures such as predation. I am also optimistic that there will be a more positive public perception on the connection between beef and the environment. The last two years in particular have been a challenge for producers, especially in Manitoba. However, producers are very resilient and we will continue to work together as an industry to determine ways to meet the current challenges and positively impact the future of the Manitoba beef herd. I look forward to working on behalf of producers across the province. Our 41st AGM is set to take place February 6-7

in Brandon. If you haven’t registered, please do so at The theme is “Where Beef Fits in an Evolving Marketplace.” I hope you can make it out, as it is great way to engage with fellow producers, provide input to the efforts of MBP moving forward, and garner a bit of that optimism I referenced throughout my article. Cheers to a new year and a new decade. Carson


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CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

Beef part of a well-rounded meal BY ELISABETH HARMS The New Year is upon us and, for many it is an opportunity to start fresh. Many of us might make resolutions to inspire change in our lives. Many people like to make food- and exercise-related resolutions, which help them start the year off right. The holiday season is a time when we tend to over indulge, so it feels good to have something that will help us get back into a routine in the new year. Some give up alcohol for the month of January, and there is a new trend where some give up meat to do “Veganuary.” Apart from these trends, I believe there are many ways to help reset your mind and body, which will help to set you up for success in the new year. One of these ways is to come up with fresh meal ideas different from traditional holiday fare. When it comes to making fresh and healthy meals, Canadian beef can play a very tasty role. Because we tend to over indulge during the holidays, thinking about portion control can be a big help when meal planning. You can also think about other healthy ingredients to incorporate into your meal that can com-

plement the beef. Adding seared flank steak to a salad or noodle stir-fry, or mixing ground beef with fresh veggies and rice to stuff a pepper or fill a lettuce cup are great ideas for a healthy, wellrounded meal that provides a variety of nutrients without feeling too heavy. If you are active in the new year, including Canadian beef in your diet also helps ensure you will have enough nutrients and energy for your workout. The protein from beef helps your body build muscle when you aren’t working out. Nutrients like iron, selenium and vitamins B6 and B12 help your body metabolize energy and improve blood flow. All these things will help you perform while you are active. After the holiday season, we also like to cut back a bit and spend more time cooking and eating at home. Ground beef is a healthy and costeffective way to incorporate nutrients into our meals. Cooked ground beef complements everything from chilis and soups to sauces and stews, all of which are already full of healthy and fresh ingredients. To help with meal planning, you can also cook a couple of pounds of ground beef and freeze them pre-portioned, so they are easy to grab

when you need to make a quick meal. These are just a few meal ideas to help you start your new year off right. Eating well is important at any time of year, and there are many more ideas

that include Canadian beef at both and There are also quite a few ideas that might help you reinvent any leftovers you may have in your freezer.

Research key to informed regulations 2019 announced February 2020 as the implementation date. The new rules do not contain the previous four-hour flex period. Vanderploeg said there’s no point in appealing for it now. “The regulations as published in Gazette 2 are what they are. There’s no opportunity any more to get that put in.” Animal welfare groups and oth-


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ers have long argued that keeping cattle on a truck for 48 straight hours is inhumane. They point to Europe and the United States, where maximum times are eight and 28 hours respectively. But Vanderploeg said it’s misleading to compare Canada with the EU and the U.S. Those two have denser populations, with packing plants and feeding operations closer together. Vanderploeg said the best comparison is Australia, with its large land mass, sparse population and long distances between major centres, where the maximum travel time is 48 hours, the same as Canada used to have.

“You’ve got to be careful when you’re making those types of comparisons. You’ve got to make sure you’re comparing an apple to an apple.” Vanderploeg said the new rule might actually harm animals instead of benefiting them because of the extra stress and risk of injury involved. “Let’s understand that it’s the loading and unloading of cattle that carries the highest risk to animal welfare and we’re now going to be doing more of that.” More frequent unloading and co-mingling of cattle could also increase the risk of transferring diseases, such as shipping fever, Vanderploeg said.

He said people who favour shorter transport times mean well but their feelings may not always agree with the facts. “There’s a recognition out there that the public at large are concerned about these sorts of things but they don’t always understand very well how it works. A lot of public opinion can be misinformed opinion.” Bergen, the BCRC’s science director, said research doesn’t support the idea that cattle suffer during transport. He said Alberta Beef Producers conducted a benchmarking study in 2008-10 on the effect of long-distance transport on cattle leav-


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 Page 1 “It was simply undoable, given how cattle move around Canada,” said Casey Vanderploeg, National Cattle Feeders Association vice-president. CFIA extended the allowable time to 36 hours in 2014 when it published the new regulations in Canada Gazette 2 for public comment. After receiving many submissions, CFIA in early

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ing the province. It found that 99.95 per cent of cattle going on trips longer than four hours came off the truck in good condition and with no ill effects. “We need to look at the facts,” said Bergen. “When we’ve got the science available and it’s saying there’s actually no real benefit but there are potentially some real risks associated with loading and unloading, then we need to think about it a little differently.” A current study, headed by Agriculture and Agri-Food scientists and partly funded by BCRC, plans to develop sciencebased recommendations for duration and management of rest stops during long-distance transit. Results are expected in March 2022. Bergen said he hopes the CFIA will be open to considering the new research, which may prove the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “As an analogy, if my kids’ report cards were averaging 99.95 per cent across all their classes, I’d be a little reluctant to insist on major changes to their work and study habits. Big changes to their studying habits may be more likely to lower their grades rather than improve them. In the same way, regulation changes that alter current transport practices may be more likely to lower overall transport outcomes than improve them.”

February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY


Beef demand looks promising in 2020 RICK WRIGHT The Bottom Line When I look into the crystal ball for 2020 I am pleasantly surprised to predict that 2020 has a lot of potential to be a better year for the cattle industry than 2019. There are a number of fundamentals that are pointing to better demand for both live cattle and beef products. On the south side of the border, the cowherd has stopped expanding. Combined with poor weather conditions and lower calf prices, Ameri-

thought is not as cut and dried as we would like to think; keep in mind that beef production on both sides of the border has increased substantially despite the reduction in the number of beef cows in inventory. In Canada, beef production has increased by 30% since 2015. Better genetics, more efficient feeding programs, and harvesting techniques have resulted in way more pounds of saleable beef from each producing fe-

in Ontario who purchase a lot of Manitoba calves. At times during the year, the domestic fed cattle price was running 20 to 30 cents per pound lower on the rail than western Canada. With the closure of the Ryding Regency plant, some feeders were forced to market their finished cattle in Alberta just to get rid of them. The forecast looks like demand for the Canadian-fed cattle should be good for the first six months of 2020. Once the USMC (NAFTA) agreement is signed, there will be more stability in the North American arena. The Americans seemed to have reached agreements with both China and Japan on

Cautious optimism for the market as the calendar turns to 2020. (Photo credit: MBP)

can cow/calf operators culled 7% more cows, making 2019 the largest beef cow slaughter since 2013. They also placed more heifer calves on feed this fall with heifers averaging 39% of the cattle on feed inventory in the USA. Analysts suggest that any time the number of heifers in the feed yards surpass 35% to 36%, there will be a decrease in the national cowherd. In Canada, the beef cowherd numbers have been shrinking and are currently at the lowest level in 30 years. In Canada, we killed 7% more cows in 2019 than the previous year. Once again this fall there were limited numbers of bred heifers on offer, producers have been culling at higher rates due to a forage feed shortage, and there were more heifer calves marketed this fall. Simple math suggests that with the decrease in the number of cattle there should be a shortage! That

male. Demand for beef looks promising for 2020. Canada’s exports were very good in 2019, posting a 20% increase. The USA remained Canada’s largest customer for beef products, with increases to Japan. The beef business suffered collateral damage during the political dispute with China. Indications are that China is willing to start importing Canadian proteins in 2020. The African Swine Flu has decimated the Chinese pork industry, resulting in an immediate need to import more proteins. At the end of 2019, US packers increased their demand for Canadian-fed cattle. Large shipments from Alberta into Washington State, and from Ontario south, opened much needed pen space and gave cattle feeders a little more negotiating leverage with the Canadian packers. This was especially important for the feedlots

reducing tariffs, which in turn will make their beef products more competitive with other countries that export to those countries. The Americans are predicting a decrease of 6% in their own beef imports from Australia, New Zealand and South America. Demand for beef trim from China has shifted exports from those countries away from the USA. This should help improve the cull cow market in 2020 on both sides of the border. Over the past year, Canada was a major importer of American feeder

cattle. These were mostly Holstein steers coming into Saskatchewan and Alberta, with some beef cattle coming into Alberta and Ontario. In 2019 imports of feeder cattle from the USA were higher than our exports. Feeder cattle exports for 2019 were down nearly 60% from the previous year. With pen space tight in Canada, these imports certainly had some negative effect on the Canadian feeder cattle prices. It looks like the flow of Holstein steers into Canada will slow up in 2020 creating more space for Canadian calves. Lower prices for feeders in the USA in 2019 decreased the demand for Canadian feeder cattle. Exports to the USA will finish the year at approximately 185,000 head, down from the 4-year average of 239,900 head and a far cry from the peak in 2014 of 429,000 head. The value of the Canadian dollar plays an important factor in the cattle markets. Experts are predicting the dollar to float around 77 cents (US) for 2020. If the dollar were to strengthen to 80 cents, it would be detrimental to trade with the USA. A weaker dollar in the low 70s would make a huge difference in the north/ south trade. There is a shortage of hay for the cowherds, and to a lesser degree, silage for backgrounding is not of as good quality as desired. The cost of finishing a steer has dropped due the amount of feed barley and wheat available. Backgrounding based on 2.25 pounds per day is costing between 85 and 95 cents depending on at what location you are feeding. The cost of finishing a steer in Western Canada is around $1.00 per pound. With the poor fall weather conditions, there was a major delay in the placement of feeder cattle this fall. This will translate into a shortage of 800 pound plus cattle in January and February. Fed cattle futures look very strong

Canada's exports were very good in 2019, posting a 20% increase. The USA remained Canada's largest customer for beef products, with increases to Japan until the end of June in 2020. Feedlots with pen space should be very aggressive to purchase cattle that will hit that marketing window. Those backgrounders who got their inventory purchased in September and early October could see a good return on their investment. The strong prices in the first half of 2020 will encourage feeders to stay current with their marketing to avoid the predicted surplus for fed cattle in the third quarter of the year. The demand for grass-type cattle will be very strong in the first half of 2020. Grassing operations made good money last year. Many did not purchase as many calves

in the fall due to the weather conditions and the poor pen conditions. There were more lightweight cattle sold in the fall, and the feeling is that there could be a shortage of grass calves this spring. The supply and demand ratio could result in very strong demand during the first half of 2020. US analysts are predicting calves to be 13 cents Canadian higher this fall than last year. We desperately need a good crop in Canada with adequate pasture and forage crops. We can’t control the weather, but 2020 is starting to look like a good year for the Canadian cattle industry. Until next time, Rick

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CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

StockTalk Q&A Feature brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Livestock Extension Specialists Shawn Cabak.............Portage la Prairie.....204-239-3353 Ray Bittner.................Ashern.......................204-768-0010 Elizabeth Nernberg...Roblin.........................204-247-0087 Kathleen Walsh.........Swan River................204-734-3417 Jane Thornton...........Souris.........................204-483-2153 Tim Clarke...................Gladstone..................204-768-0534 Pam Iwanchysko.......Dauphin.....................204-648-3965 Q. The pregnancy rate in my cow herd was the lowest it’s ever been this past breeding season. I need to ensure the highest pregnancy rate possible for the 2021 calving season. Do you have any advice? Answer. Pregnancy rate is a complicated issue. In difficult years, it can be affected by a variety of deficiencies, and every herd can be different. Here is a list of possible issues and related solutions: Cow nutrition through the winter of 2019-2020 has been a challenge for many herds. This is because of the short supply of hay and forage products due to dry conditions in early 2019. Feeds like straw, corn stover, dry grass and bullrushes, if they are fed with energy and protein supplements, can carry cows through ges-

tation. However, they won’t work well as a pre-breeding ration. Pre-breeding rations need be on a rising plane of nutrition. This allows the cow to milk, heal her reproductive tract and return to estrous. Positive energy balance is critical to resume ovulation. The natural breeding season for ruminants often relies on bountiful green grass to provide this positive energy balance. However, herds that start breeding between May 15 and the end of June often do not have enough time on good grass to achieve a positive energy balance. As such, energy supplementation needs to come from either highquality hay or mediumquality forages, with added grain products. Pre-breeding rations should provide 62 per cent

Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) and 11 per cent Crude Protein* to achieve normal return to estrous and successful conception (NRC Beef 2000). Thin cows may require higher levels of energy and protein to be ready for rebreeding. Producers who use straw and rough mature hay for breeding cow diets also need to consider that these feeds can be deficient in nutrients that are important for conception. Special supplementation may be required, to either increase mineral concentration or balance minerals. However, this may hinder the absorption of other minerals. Vitamin A is also an important nutrient for beef reproduction. Straw products and very mature hay contain lower concentrations of vitamin A than immature forages. The table above shows that the levels of nutrients in alfalfa hay are superior to those in straw products, So if your rations contain significant amounts of straw or mature residue, we recommend you consult with a livestock nutritionist. If your herd’s breeding season starts well after

Cattleman’s Connection Bull & Female Sale Friday, March 6, 2020 at 1:00 PM Brandon, MB

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Corn Stover*

Barley Straw

Oat Straw

Alfalfa Hay

Timothy Hay








Phosphorous %







Copper mg/kg







Manganese mg/kg







Zinc mg/kg







Adapted from Cowbytes 5.31: *Corn Stover MRC Beef 9th edition

pasture release, it can cause conception issues if the pasture is deficient. While the intent of a mid-summer breeding system is to work in harmony with the environment, it can occasionally work against successful conception. Normally, a cow will flourish once it is introduced to pasture, because energy, protein and vitamin levels are high with immature grass and legumes. However, if pasture is lacking because of previous year sward damage, the nutrition provided might not keep up with the needs for milking and reproductive tract renewal. Producers need to consider that June pasture in Manitoba will normally be very high in digestible nutrients, protein and vitamin as measured in per cent. However, the total number of pounds that can be consumed by the cow may still not meet lactating and conception needs. To compound the problem, cows may not consume free choice salt and mineral adequately, due to mineral palatability, location of the feeder, or salt availability in the water source or saline area grasses. If your cows are consuming stored feed, they generally consume free choice mineral on a more stable basis. If your pasture in 2020 is substandard, con-

sider supplementing a grain product mixed with mineral (and salt) for 30 days before breeding. While this isn’t usually necessary, you might need to supplement the cow to bring her up to a positive energy balance to assure conception success. This can also introduce calves to eating concentrates early. Bulls are 50 per cent of the conception process. However, because of the breeding ratio of male to female, the bull group only eats one-twenty-fifth of the feed in preparation for breeding season. As such, preparation for the bulls breeding season should include a good quality ration through the winter and spring, holding the body condition without over-fattening. If you have a ration and management that was successful in the past, with good hay, grain and mineral, it is worth the same effort prior to the 2020 breeding season. Straw bedding is important and needs to be maintained to insulate the bull from the snow and ground, no matter how high the cost of straw. A breeding soundness exam, performed by a veterinarian, is also a good insurance policy and should be performed well in advance of the breeding season. If the exam is done early enough, new bulls can

still be purchased. Finally, before the breeding season, the bull should be introduced to an environment similar to the one he will be breeding in. For example, if the bull will be breeding in a wide open, fresh grass pasture, he should be introduced to the same conditions beforehand. That way, his digestive system should already be adjusted to fresh grass. The bull will also benefit by having room to walk and exercise, rather than being limited to a small pen and fed dry hay until the first day of breeding. The fewer adjustments the bull needs to make prior to breeding for the greater his ability to travel and achieve conception on a larger group of females. We want to hear from you! For the next issue of Cattle Country, a Manitoba Agriculture livestock specialist will answer a selected question. Send your questions to Ray.Bittner@gov. The StockTalk Q&A Feature for Cattle Country is brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development. Our forage and livestock team, who have a combined 230 years of agronomy experience, are here to help make your cattle operation successful. Contact us today.


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Producers explain the benefits of building soil carbon BY ANGELA LOVELL It’s well known that native grasslands provide important ecosystem services, as well as tangible economic benefits for livestock producers through improvements in water infiltration and storage capacity, and the build up of soil organic carbon that enhances soil health. The three Prairie provinces originally had more than 60 million hectares of native grasslands, of which only around 11 million hectares remain today. In addition, there are around three million hectares of tame pastures in the region. The ecological goods and services that these grasslands provide include water purification and storage, carbon and greenhouse gas storage, pollination, forage production and biodiversity and habitat. Grazing has a positive effect on soil carbon Globally, the effect of grazing on soil carbon can be hard to predict because there are many different grazing systems, vegetation types and environmental conditions. But a benchmarking study at more than 100 sites in Alberta completed in 2018 showed that grazing increased soil carbon concentrations by 12 per cent, especially in the top 15 cm of soil. Those carbon increases were most apparent in grasslands with favourable rainfall. In addition, plant diversity increased with long-term grazing, paralleling increases in soil C. These changes in plant composition, coupled with grazing enhanced decomposition of surface litter, could explain how livestock impact the incorporation of plant mass into soil and build C stores.

Do different grazing systems affect soil carbon? Another ongoing Alberta study is comparing adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) rotational grazing with conventional grazing at 24 sites across the three prairie provinces to determine the effect on pasture production, soil microbes, carbon and greenhouse gases. Early results suggest that soils associated with AMP grazing may have a lower greenhouse gas footprint. Producer experiences with soil carbon At the recent Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon, organised by the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association, a panel of beef producers shared their experiences with AMP or similar intensive planned grazing systems and the benefits to their operations of building soil carbon. Larry Wegner’s interest in carbon sequestration wasn’t an environmental decision, it was an economic one. After a serious drought hit in 2005, Wegner was having trouble growing enough grass to feed his cattle. “The grass was going dormant in mid July and we couldn’t figure out how to make it better, but we didn’t want it to happen again,” says Wegner, who custom grazes 200 cow/calf pairs on 800 acres near Virden. He remembered one of his college instructors telling him that adding organic matter to the soil could correct most soil issues, so Wegner decided the most inexpensive way to try and improve his soil was to leave more grass on top. He started leaving more armour (residue) behind after grazing to maintain soil cover to reduce soil temperature and began a simple twice-over ro-

tation on five quarters from fall 2005 to 2007 allowing lots of rest time between grazing for the grass to rejuvenate. “When we started doing this, if the neighbours beside us could run 15 to 20 pairs on a quarter section they were happy and we were doing the same, but we weren’t happy,” says Wegner. “We are now running 150 pairs on the bulk of the land for five months and we have our own herd out grazing by April 1 on stockpiled forage.” By spring 2008, Wegner had adopted a full holistic planned grazing system, moving cattle in sync with available resources. “As the grass grows faster, we move the cattle two to three times up to five times a day,” says Wegner. In 2019, the dry conditions meant Wegner had slower grass growth, so the cattle moved once a day to every three days. “The key is being adoptive to the conditions of the time,” he adds. Monitoring the progress Wegner soil tested the first year to give him a baseline and has seen improvements in soil health and forage production every year since. It’s particularly noticeable in dry years like this past summer. “The grass was still productive all season and stayed green and lush even though on the neighbours, if you walked on it, you could hear the

grass crunch,” he says. Although Wegner started out with the aim of capturing and storing more water on his land, the sequestered carbon that comes along with his regenerative system is a by-product that is providing him additional, tangible economic benefits. “Putting the carbon in the soil is a benefit and it’s a way of marking how much good we’ve done,” he says. Wegner is involved in soil carbon testing on his land with the University of Alberta, which is monitoring organic matter (soil carbon) and its effect on soil health parameters such as water infiltration. “The water infiltration on one of the monitoring sites is now at 7½ inches in an hour whereas on the other side of the fence it’s doing 1¼ inches in an hour,” says Wegner. “We can handle any rain that comes and we don’t have water running off. We have springs popping again we didn’t have before; the water is cycling.” Since 2004, the organic matter has doubled from three to six per cent on some of his less productive land. Carbon as a risk management tool Ryan Canart grazes yearlings on his farm near Elkhorn, and is also Manager of the Upper Assiniboine Page 10 

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Examining the benefits of Standard Operating Procedures on the farm DR. TANYA ANDERSON, DVM Almost all producers are now aware of the need for a VCPR (Vet Client Patient Relationship) to get prescription medications (specifically antibiotics). This article is going to discuss another aspect (and benefit) of the VCPR - the development of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). SOPs are written, stepby-step instructions that describe how to perform a task. From the cow/calf producer’s standpoint, a useful SOP would be one that outlines how to detect a sick animal, assess its symptoms and then choose an effective treatment based upon that assessment. Treatments could then be done at the time that the animal is first found and at the producer’s convenience, leading to a more suc-

cessful outcome due to few delays. This written document can be provided by your veterinarian upon annual renewal of your VCPR. It is developed in consultation with each producer such that it is realistic under the conditions for which it needs to be implemented. Develop a comfortable working relationship with your veterinarian and be honest in what animal health issues you struggle with, your goals for your operation and what you and your staff or family members are capable of doing. SOPs are not just for big farms - the same concepts apply to smaller farms and help improve efficiency and decrease unnecessary or incorrect medication usage. Protocols should be written

for easily recognizable, commonly occurring conditions on the farm. Every protocol should clearly describe the condition being treated, the approved drug for treatment including the drug name, dosages, frequency, route of administration, and withdrawal times. I like to include pictures and sometimes have video available for training purposes. Additionally, protocols should clearly advise what to do when things don’t go as expected—i.e., failure to respond, relapses after treatment, or symptoms not matching any approved protocol. Once you have implemented Standard Operating Procedures on your farm, you should be reviewing them with your veterinarian on at least an annual basis and more frequently if needed. The three most basic

components of treating any disease are the criteria for making the decision to treat, the treatment regimen and then the criteria for determining the success or failure of that treatment. A review of the SOP helps us learn if the protocol is effective. Are animals being detected soon enough? Is the treatment working and, if not, what additional concerns or issues are arising? Just as antibiotic and feed prescriptions have expiries, standard operating procedures also become outdated. Sometimes the disease itself changes Histophilus somni was originally called ITEME because it initially caused neurological signs in feedlot cattle but is now well recognized as causing disease in a number of organ systems including the lungs, bone, joint, mammary gland, geni-

tals, heart, and eye. Obviously the symptoms for diagnosis would change. Drug sensitivity patterns also change with time such that different drugs or different doses, drug combinations and lengths of treatment become the new “standard of care”. New designer drugs have been developed and new uses for “older” drugs have been discovered, often through research and development using large scale trials. Sometimes protocols need to be changed due to changing regulations on how drugs can be used. For example, several feed grade antimicrobials were removed from the market following the implementation of the new antimicrobial usage regulations. Other medications have faced issues at manufacture, creating backorders and triggering changes

in protocols based on the need for an effective alternative. Reviewing records of the diagnosis and antibiotic use allows the early detection of trends in disease incidence and thus triggers a review to improve management to minimize losses and improve animal health through preventative measures like vaccination and biosecurity. It may be deemed necessary to do further testing - blood work, necropsies, nutrition consults, etc. to gather more data. Veterinary oversight allows continuous monitoring and identification of potential improvements to the animal care plan. Oversight is an integral component for validation of the VCPR and provides accountability, ultimately resulting in increased consumer confidence.


ATTENTION PRODUCERS Amaglen Limousin 204-246-2576 / 204-823-2286 View bulls & Females for sale online at www. Campbell Land & Cattle 204-776-2322 Email: Bulls & Females for sale by Private Treaty on the farm Cherway Limousin 204-736-2878 View Bulls & females for sale online Diamond T Limousin 204-838-2019 / 204-851-0809 (Cell) Email: 2yr old & yearling bulls for sale by Private Treaty on the farm Hockridge Farms 204-648-6333 Brad/ 204-648-5222 Glen Bulls for sale on farm.

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February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY


Your priorities, our research: University of Manitoba advances Manitoba Beef Producers’ priorities BY CHRISTINE RAWLUK

National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, University of Manitoba

Manitoba Beef Producers’ research priorities span economics and profitability, nutrition and feed efficiency and environmental sustainability to achieve the combined goals of increased profitability, reduced environmental impact, and improved public perceptions of the beef industry. Researchers with the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Livestock and the Environment work at developing whole-farm approaches that improve the environmental sustainability of livestock agriculture while improving farm-level profitability. Through our research we develop and test made-at-home strategies, using science-based data collected under Manitoba production conditions. Industry support of our research is critical to obtain matching funding. Research funding and inkind contributions from Manitoba Beef Producers are used to multiply your investment three- to tenfold, increasing the value of your check-off dollars. Our research by animal, plant and soil scientists and economists is providing the science-backed information that Manitoba beef producers and the Canadian beef industry can draw on when engaging with a public that is very much interested in how their food is grown and raised. Here is a look at our current research. Economics And Profitability Manitoba beef industry profile. Graduate student Sydney Fortier is working with Manitoba Beef Producers and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development’s policy branch to provide an updated overview of the current status of the

beef industry in Manitoba in terms of production practices and economics. This industry profile information will be used for providing strategic direction to Manitoba’s beef industry. Sydney is supervised by economist Derek Brewin and animal scientist Kim Ominski. Nutrition And Feed Efficiency The grasslands/forages-beef production systems research program seeks to improve the quality of forages and grasslands, identify promising new forage varieties, and evaluate new extended grazing and alternative feeding strategy options that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. Research outcomes will provide opportunities for the beef industry to increase their competitiveness while enhancing the resilience and diversity of cattle feeding systems. Intercropping corn with high quality forages for extended grazing. Animal scientist Emma McGeough and plant scientist Yvonne Lawley completed preliminary research funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council demonstrating the promise of intercropping corn with high quality forages for extended grazing options that provide higher energy and protein. They, along with other collaborators, intend to continue this work comparing corn intercropped with a variety of annual forages to increase protein content. New forage variety perennial forage grain for both food and feed. Emma McGeough and plant scientist Doug Cattani are the first to evaluate the perennial grain intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) as a dual-purpose crop to provide both a cash food grain crop and high quality forage regrowth for grazing cattle into the late fall and early winter. Demand for IWG as a food grain is growing, in part because of

environmental attributes associated with perennials such as carbon storage. Agronomic research in Canada has shown IWG to be highly adaptable to the prairies, being able to withstand cold, drought and excess moisture. Their project includes both field research and a cattle grazing trial for a whole-system assessment encompassing agronomic and cattle performance, grain and forage quality, environmental sustainability and ecosystem services. As well, Derek Brewin will assess the economic potential of the combined crop-livestock system. Research by soil scientist Francis Zvomuya builds a soil health component into the grazing study. This NSERC Strategic project is in partnership with Manitoba Beef Producers, Ducks Unlimited, Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, as well as research collaborators at the University of Saskatchewan, AAFC and the Kansas Land Institute, with additional funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Environmental Sustainability Our research approach is whole-systems based, looking at the big

picture at high resolution from multiple angles, drawing on the diverse expertise of our research teams. With this approach we are quantifying the true impact of beef production – both Canada-wide and regionally – on the environment, and identifying effective mitigation strategies that can improve the sector’s overall environmental footprint at the national, regional and farm levels. Improved resilience and adaptation coupled with environmental benefits. The goal of Marcos Cordeiro’s sustainable food systems modeling program is to develop decision management tools targeting strategies for environmental sustainability and climate change resilience. Working with soil scientists David Lobb and Don Flaten, his early research will examine the potential for nutrient loading from beef production systems to waterways and adaptation strategies for overcoming environment-related challenges such as flooding and drought. Combining management strategies to reduce whole farm greenhouse gas emissions for cow-calf producers. Research led by Kim Ominski and soil scientist Mario Tenuta will determine if com-

bining multiple feeding and manure management strategies proven effective on their own can result in greater emissions reductions of both methane and nitrous oxide – the two most important GHG in agriculture – when used together, compared with using them on their own. Funding for this research is provided by AAFC’s Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program. Accounting for overlooked environmental benefits of cattle on the landscape – biodiversity and carbon storage. Life cycle assessments (LCA) are commonly used to assess the environmental impacts of food products, yet this method places a disproportionate emphasis on greenhouse gas emissions. As such, available LCA models overlook benefits of beef production on biodiversity and carbon storage. Research led by Kim Ominski, Marcos Cordeiro and AAFC researchers Tim McAllister and Roland Kroebel aims to develop LCA modeling tools that properly account for soil carbon and biodiversity - plants, animals, insects and birds - within cattle grazing and pasture systems, so that future assessments of beef production across Canada are wholesystems based. Their work

Happy New Year to all cattle producers across Manitoba! With calving upon us order your Angus ID tags by contacting CCIA: or 1-877-909-2333 For upcoming bull sales please visit: As always, follow up on MB Angus updates, events, and news by visiting: or by following us on Facebook at Manitoba Angus.

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will also assess soil carbon stock impacts when pasture land is converted to other agricultural and non-agricultural land uses. This research is supported by the Beef Cattle Research Council and Mitacs Canada. Christine Rawluk is the research development and communications facilitator with NCLE and the Faculty, specializing in livestock production systems. The U of M Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences beef production systems research team includes Kim Ominski, Emma McGeough, Argenis Rodas-Gonzalez, Marcos Cordeiro, Kateryn Rochon, Claudia Narvaez, Doug Cattani, Yvonne Lawley, Francis Zvomuya, Mario Tenuta, Don Flaten and Derek Brewin. Working with research partners across Canada, the University of Manitoba forage-beef production systems research team with the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment is conducting research here in Manitoba aimed at improving profitability, environmental sustainability and providing sciencebacked information that can be used to address the public’s perception of the beef industry.

10 CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

Building resilience with soil carbon  Page 7 River Conservation District, and he says his biggest motivation is also the risk management of drought protection by building carbon in his soils. “That’s going to help me ride out floods, drought, disease and pest risks on farm,” he says. “The only way I can control the quality and quantity of forage I can produce on the farm is by trying to use the livestock as a tool to build organic matter in soil, which will be reflected at the surface as grass.” Canart began to rotationally graze in 2001, but experimented with intensive AMP grazing in 2017, rotating the cattle through different paddocks several times a day and doubling the rest period on the pastures. “I have become very comfortable with portable fence, very high stock density rotational grazing,” says Canart. “I’m still seeing the benefits even through a dry summer like this one; the grass yields were good.” He also emphasizes that moving cattle isn’t as onerous as a lot of people believe. “I used to take weeks to train cattle to move on a rotational

grazing basis, but with a new approach, within a day I can train 500 head to respect a single wire and move them into a small area knowing that they’re not going to run out,” he says. “There is a lot of time invested in moving a fence and water compared to continuous grazing systems and I understand some people don’t want to make that commitment, but I have found it gives me the opportunity to observe the pasture and animals much more. I tested the opportunities of being able to drought proof my land, and I think that’s all worth it, at least in my system.” Building resilience with soil carbon Jonathan Bouw sums up his efforts to build soil carbon in one word; ‘resilience.’ “I live east of Winnipeg and we usually have excess moisture because we have very heavy clay soils with poor infiltration, so that’s usually our problem,” says Bouw. “The last three years, we’ve had an unprecedented drought, but where we’ve bale grazed, the grass was lush and thick, so the carbon that has gone into the soil from the bale grazing has really given that soil

resilience. It’s a measurable, quantifiable thing just being able to graze cattle where people who manage differently aren’t able to graze cattle.” He began implementing regenerative agriculture practices like planned grazing, moving animals every one to two days and incorporating a 60-day minimum rest period between grazing periods, and bale grazing on his ranch near Anola around 12 years ago, and he and his family took a holistic management course in 2014. Jonathan and his wife Eileen, together with his brother Stefan and wife Kendra, and parents Marilyn and Herman custom graze around 600 cattle on 1700 acres and have their own 200-cow purebred Angus herd, selling 50 bulls a year and supplying grassfed beef to restaurants and private customers. Bouw says he has increased carrying capacity on land that has been bale grazed by up to six times and it especially shows in extremely dry years like 2019. “For us, there’s really good financial incentives,” says Bouw. “Bale grazing saves us money because we don’t start a tractor or a manure spreader all

winter for those cattle, they are out there and leaving the nutrients on the soil. It saves us a lot of time and money. We’re busy all summer moving cattle but we manage more intensely and we get a lot more out of our land because of that in terms of more cattle per acre than if we did continuous, setstock grazing, so there’s financial benefits for sure. Land is not cheap, and we figure we can essentially gain acres of production without expending capital just by managing our forage and grazing production more intensely.”” The farm used to produce organic grain, but in recent years the family has moved heavier into beef production and has planted everything to perennial forages. “Even when we were doing organic grain production, our goal was to reduce our risks by not having to purchase inputs, so planned grazing is another effort to reduce our risks and invest in our soil so that sunlight and rain are the only inputs. Moving away from the NPK paradigm to the regenerative and carbon farming mode is a natural progression for us and the resilience is what it boils down to.”

Soil carbon dynamics The University of Alberta’s rangeland ecology and management specialist, Edward Bork explained how carbon dynamics work in grasslands recently at the Manitoba Forage & Grasslands Association's, Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon. Agro-ecosystems remove CO₂ via plant growth (photosynthesis), Bork said, and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. In temperate regions, like western Canada, short bursts of carbon uptake in a three to six month growing season are balanced against gradual C loss due to respiration from plant decay throughout the year. Carbon uptake increases with practices such as fertilization, seeding of legumes and irrigation, but these all require energy inputs as well. Grasslands currently cover around 15 per cent of the world’s land surface and store 10 to 30 per cent of the global organic carbon. Temperate, (cool-season) grasslands, such as those in western Canada, contain more than 300 gigatons (Gt) of carbon, three percent of which is in plants, and 97 percent of which is in soils. Why have grasslands and their underlying soil accumulated so much carbon? Perennial grasslands have high root to shoot ratios, which means the majority of their biomass is below ground, which leads to high soil organic matter (SOM) accumulation. As most of the resulting C is stored below ground it is less prone to disturbances like fire, making it more stable in the long term. What changes soil carbon? A number of activities can change soil carbon in grasslands, including erosion from wind and water, as well as cultivation, which globally leads to the loss of around 30 to 55 per cent of soil carbon. The ‘furnace effect – which is warm soil temperatures combined with oxygenated soil – can greatly increase microbial activity that hastens the decay of plant residue and increases soil C loss through respiration. The lowest levels of soil carbon are in annual cropping systems because annual plants do not generate as much below ground biomass as perennial plants. One study in southwest Alberta in an area with moderate moisture availability showed a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in soil C in as little as six years after conversion of a native grassland to annual cropland. In a drier, more arid environment, the loss was 30 to 40 per cent after five to six years after conversion. While tame forages are more effective than cropland at building soil C, they do not have the same proportion of root mass as native grasslands, and thus lead to less SOM and C storage. What’s the value of lost carbon in converted grasslands? Using a value of $30 per tonne of CO₂ equivalent, Bork estimated that in Alberta, the value of lost C from past grassland conversion to cropland varies from approximately $8.4 billion to $22.6 billion depending on the region. Other indicators of soil health also decline following cultivation of grasslands, including reduced water availability and soil porosity, as well as diminished soil aggregation.

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February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY 11

Grazing Management as a tool for Pasture Rejuvenation MARY-JANE ORR

General Manager, Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives, Inc.

Maximizing forage productivity per grazed acre is a significant driver in overall farm profitability, a strong theme at the 2019 Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing (WCCSHG). It was a theme also echoed in a survey of over 300 beef producers across 14 Manitoba Beef Producers' District meetings, with 63% indicating pasture and or hay land rejuvenation as a top interest area for on farm trials. As we look forward to 2020 after an extremely challenging year, it is an ideal time to look at the topic of pasture rejuvenation identifying common topics, resources available to producers, and highlight ongoing studies at Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives (MBFI). Following an engaging and inspiring conference or workshop it is important to take time to reflect on how to use ideas and aha moments to apply them to your farming operation. Understanding the root causes of poor pasture performance and where to start making improvements can be an overwhelming undertaking. The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) resource page provides an excellent overview of pasture rejuvenation with research findings illustrating outcomes observed in Western Canada. The Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA) research webpage is a rich resource for fact sheets, guides, and the recently released Manitoba Rangeland and Pasture Health Initiative ( Ongoing field demonstrations at MBFI continue to build data and provide hands on learning opportunities to advance adoption of beneficial grazing practices. In getting started, quality of the pasture in question needs to be assessed and long-term goals set. Where are there gaps in your production system? What are the limitations (e.g. moisture, salinity, soil type)? Do you need higher yields to support more grazing days, increase the legume content, or decrease undesirable

plant species? A common thread highlighted by Dr. Dwayne Beck, Dr. Allen Williams, and Dr. Llewllyn Manske at the WCCSHG was to keep the historical landscape ecosystems and subsequently their limitations in mind when setting goals for pasture productivity. Regular monitoring and documentation of pasture and livestock performance builds a benchmark for estimating the potential productivity. It is important to note that native rangeland should be preserved without the introduction of tame species and managed according to ecological principles. Investing in pasture improvement without addressing grazing management leads to lost economic potential. The BCRC resources page recommends evaluating the grazing system with respect to timing, over utilization, and rest period duration. Continuous grazing poses a serious challenge for maintaining productive forage stands with a high proportion of desirable legume plant species. At MBFI Brookdale farm in the Planned Grazing Demonstration, led by Pam Iwanchysko (MB Agriculture), the continuous grazing livestock repeatedly go back to preferred plant areas. A constant state of regrowth from repeated bites to the same plants leads to decreased plant vigour, due to sugars being diverted from growing roots and new tillers, leading to overall lower pasture productivity and the encroachment of undesirable plants. In contrast, the intensive one to two acre planned rotational grazing with rest periods targeted to be between 60 and 90 days has shown an increase in grazing days and maintenance of desirable forage species. In some cases, installing the water and fencing infrastructure for rotational grazing is not feasible. At the First Street Pasture, Jane Thornton (MB Agriculture) is evaluating tools to achieve increased grazing distribution by moving mineral placement and over seeding small areas to legumes. Several varied and in some cases contrasting strategies using grazing as

a tool to improve pasture performance were presented at the WCCSHG. Gabe Brown, a household name when it comes to regenerative agriculture, uses perennial pasture in combination with annual crops in his farm’s grazing plan. Pasture paddocks are sized for daily moves and to ensure adequate recovery Gabe plans for 12 to 14 months rest before that same area is grazed again. Grazing diverse cover crops creates a window for stockpiling perennial forage to be grazed late fall into winter or early spring. Dr. Williams, a pioneer in developing adaptive grazing protocols, and a partner with Gabe in the Understanding AG regenerative agricultural consulting company, spoke to the need for integrating a diversity of forage species (e.g. grasses, legumes, forbs, and woody species) along with variable grazing disturbance patterns as key elements to steadily improving productivity and soil health. Williams recommends not moving through pasture rotations in the same order every year, but rather for a given paddock each time it is grazed changing stocking density (expressed at lbs live weight per acre), the time of year, changing rest periods, and grazing to different heights while taking no more than 30% to 50% of the available forage in a single grazing event.

The Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services provides free, confidential telephone and online counselling to farmers, rural and northern Manitobans. Our counsellors are here to listen and to help you work through any issue you may be struggling with: farm, family, financial and other. Call 1-866-367-3276 or chat with us online at

Another option in grazing management of perennial pastures was presented by Dr. Llewellyn Manske, North Dakota State University, in the twiceover rotation grazing system (https:// Dr. Manske’s system centers on managing forage vegetative reproduction by targeting grazing to plant stage to promote tillering for increased productivity and to capture peak forage quality per acre when it is available. Building a system that takes advantage of forages with differing seasonality creates opportunity for extended grazing. Dr. Manske raised caution to grazing stockpiled cool season grasses due to the primary tillers already in place to resume growth in the spring will negatively impact plant vigor if damaged. Dr. Williams also drove home the best tool in a grazier’s toolkit is the power of observation, noting that constant observation leads to keen intuition in developing and adapting grazing plans. The Manitoba Range and Pasture Health Workbook (MFGA) along with the Rejuvenation of Tame Forages (Saskatchewan Agriculture) are excellent guides to honing field observations and providing context to determining management decision thresholds for your operation.

12 CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

Hay Disaster Benefit activated, Crown land sales changes and more By Maureen Cousins

for economic or recreational purposes would see shorter wait times and quicker response times from the province Policy Analyst, Manitoba Beef Producers on routine real estate transactions.” The proposed changes would delegate more authorApproximately 1,500 insured forage producers are expected to receive in excess of $5 million in payouts after the ity to ministers to make land sales decisions. Currently, all Hay Disaster Benefit (HDB) was triggered as a result of the sales above $25,000 require cabinet approval (along with one statute of $500). Under the new structure: 2019 forage shortfall in Manitoba. • a department minister could sell Crown land and The announcement was made January 10 by Agriproperty valued up to $200,000, culture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Marie-Claude • the minister of finance could authorize sales beBibeau and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Developtween $200,000 and $1 million, and ment Minister Blaine Pedersen. • cabinet approval would be required on sales valued “The Hay Disaster Benefit (HDB) is a complimentary at $1 million and over. feature of the AgriInsurance program that compensates in“This will reduce the number of transactions that resured forage producers for the increased cost of hay and transportation when there is a severe provincial forage quire cabinet approval and speed up the process for land shortfall,” said Pedersen. “All producers who are enrolled sales,” said Helwer. “Safeguards would be in place to enin the Select Hay Insurance and Basic Hay Insurance pro- sure all land sales are open and transparent, and free of inside influence.” grams are automatically enrolled in the HDB.” As well, according to the bill’s explanatory note, This payment is triggered when at least 20 per cent of • persons employed in specified branches or offices of producers with Select Hay or Basic Hay Insurance harvest departments that are involved in the administration less than 50 per cent of their long-term average hay yield. or disposition of Crown lands must obtain ministeFor 2019, producers will receive an additional $40 for each rial authorization in order to acquire an interest in tonne below their Select Hay or Basic Hay Insurance covCrown land; erage. All insured hay types (alfalfa, alfalfa grass mixtures, • ministers and senior public servants must obtain grasses, sweet clover and coarse hay) are eligible. Cabinet authorization before acquiring an interest This is the second time the HDB has triggered since in Crown land; and changes were made to Manitoba forage insurance offerings • regulation-making powers under the Act are clariin 2014. It was first activated in relation to the 2018 producfied, including those concerning the establishment tion year and benefits totalling $3.2 million were paid to and operation of snowmobile trails on Crown lands. 708 eligible producers. • The province now has an interactive online mapThere is no cost to producers as the premiums are cost ping tool where people can find information on shared 60-40 by the federal and provincial governments land sales or acquisitions. See: the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. sure/Disclosure.aspx For more information on forage insurance, contact a To review Bill 13 go to: MASC office or visit forages.html . The deadline to sign-up for 2020 forage in- bills/42-2/b013e.php Ag Crown Lands update surance is March 31. At the time this edition of Cattle Country was going Legislation to streamline Crown land sales On December 3, the Manitoba government intro- to print (mid-January) there was still no word as to when duced Bill 13 – The Crown Lands Disposition Act (Various the regulatory change required to allow for the first right of renewal for existing agricultural Crown land (ACL) legacy Acts Amended). “The Crown Land Dispositions Act will make the over- leases will be made public for stakeholder feedback. Folall process of land dispositions more efficient, effective and lowing pushback from MBP and stakeholders the province transparent,” said Central Services Minister Reg Helwer. announced October 11 that it is pursuing further amend“Manitobans who want to purchase surplus Crown land ment to the regulation to enable successive renewals for legacy leases, provided that leaseholders remain eligible.



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MBP will provide feedback on this regulatory change when the public consultation process is initiated and strongly encourages ACL lease holders to provide their input as well. MBP has long advocated for the first right of renewal for eligible leaseholders. Access and predictability are essential to long-term planning related to livestock operations. By having long-term leases producers will have the confidence to invest and improve lands, and to grow their herds. Short-term leases do not provide financial institutions with the security they seek to make capital available, nor does it encourage investments in improvements to the ACL. 2019 Fall Conditions Report Manitoba Infrastructure’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre released the 2019 Fall Conditions Report in mid-December, a report that looks at factors such as the current state of soil moisture at the time of freeze-up, base flows in rivers and water levels on lakes prior to the spring run-off. This information is used by the provincial government, along with other data to begin assessing the potential risk of spring flooding. The report found that base flows on most rivers were above normal to well-above normal for that time of the year, and that soil moisture levels before freeze-up were above normal to well-above normal for most of Manitoba’s river watersheds, with the exception of northern basins. The report noted “The Assiniboine River is predicted to remain at near-normal to slightly-above-normal flows until the spring run-off. The Red River is expected to remain at above-normal flows and levels prior to the spring run-off. Flows on the Waterhen, Fairford and Dauphin rivers will remain near normal to slightly above normal. Lake Manitoba is expected to remain near 811.5 feet throughout the winter. Lake Winnipegosis will remain near 830.6 ft. throughout the winter. Lake St. Martin is expected to reach near 799.2 ft. before the spring run-off.” A variety of factors determine the spring run-off potential and flood risk, such as future weather conditions (winter and spring precipitation levels), as well as melt conditions. Manitoba’s first official spring flood outlook is expected at the end of February. The 2019 Fall Conditions Report is available at: fall_conditions_report.pdf



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February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY 13

Cleanfarms to Research Options to Manage Agricultural Plastic Waste A first-of-its-kind national scale research project that will provide critical information to help agricultural plastic producers and Canadian farmers boost their ability to recycle agricultural plastic waste is starting. The two-part research project will be led by Canadian agricultural waste expert, Cleanfarms. It is a national, non-profit, industry stewardship organization established in 2010 to help Canadian farmers recycle or properly dispose of waste agricultural plastic and other waste materials that have to be managed on farms at end of life. Cleanfarms will first quantify the types and volumes of onfarm plastic wastes and then identify facilities that can manage or recycle these waste streams, in order to create a more circular economy for agricultural plastics. “Farmers are looking for options to manage the plastics they use on the farm in environmentally sustainable ways,� says Cleanfarms General Manager Barry Friesen. “The work we’ll be doing will help advance our understanding of what is out there, drive onthe-ground solutions to help manage these plastics, increase recycling rates, and improve our ability to incorporate higher levels of recycled content in plastics products.� By combining industry research, on-farm visits and interviews with farm operation experts and potential plastics endmarket buyers, this project will provide accurate and updated data, which is key to improving end-of-life management of agricultural plastics, and

increasing the quantities of agricultural plastics that are ultimately recycled and brought back into the economy. Additional details about this project will be available online at www. throughout January 2020. One of Cleanfarms’ first priorities will be recruiting farmers to participate in on-farm visits. These visits will help researchers develop a better understanding of usage patterns that impact how well plastics are recycled at end of life. This project will support the Canadian comprehensive federal agenda to address plastic waste and pollution and increase our knowledge and evidence base about plastic waste. It will encourage innovative action along the lifecycle of agriculture plastics in order to support Canada’s goal of zero plastic waste. This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada. For more information: Kim Timmer 877-622-4460 ext. 2229 About Cleanfarms Cleanfarms, Canada’s leading agricultural stewardship organization, is Photo credit: Maureen Cousins best known for its recycling program for empty, commercial pesticide and fertilizer containers and for its unwanted pes-HOG ticides and animal health medications HIFARM & RANCH collection program, both of which are EQUIPMENT Ltd TH D available across the country. Cleanfarms E OU AN TSTANDING B R also operates Saskatchewan’s regulated grain bag recycling program. Learn more at


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14 CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

2020 Annual General Meeting Location: Victoria Inn Hotel & Cconvention Centre, 3550 Victoria Avenue, Brandon, MB R7B 2R4 Theme: Where Beef Fits in an Evolving Marketplace Day One − Thursday, February 6, 2020 9:00 Registration Begins and Trade Show Opens 10:00 – 12:00 Industry Knowledge Sessions 10:00 – 11:00 Topic One: Canadian beef ’s place in the global marketplace • Michael Young, Canada Beef 11:00 −12:00 Topic Two: Research and technology to advance the beef industry • Dr. Kim Ominski, University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences • Dr. Reynold Bergen, Beef Cattle Research Council 12:00 – 12:55 Lunch for registered AGM delegates 12:00 – 1:30 Young producer luncheon and forum (*targeted at producers under 39) Topic: Succession planning • Presenter: Stacey Stott, CPA, CA, Partner and Business Advisor, MNP MBP’s Annual General Meeting Convenes 12:40 Screening of MBP videos and Guardians of the Grassland video 1:05 – 1:10 MBP General Manager Carson Callum calls meeting to order 1:10 – 1:40 National Beef Strategy Overview – Brenna Grant, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association 1:45 – 2:30 • Business Portion of the Annual General Meeting • Approval of Agenda • Adoption of Standing Rules for Resolutions Session


* Agenda subject to change

• Approval of Minutes from 2019 40th AGM • Report from the President • Report from the General Manager • Report from the Finance Chair • Review of MBP’s audited financial statement • Appointment of MBP auditor for the upcoming fiscal year • Introduction and ratification of MBP Directors 2:30 – 3:00 Resolutions debate – part one 3:00– 3:30 Coffee Break 3:30 – 5:00 Resolutions debate – part two 5:30 Cocktail Hour 6:30 • MBP President’s Banquet • Opening Remarks from the MBP President • Greetings from the Hon. Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development • Dinner and dessert • Presentation of Manitoba’s Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) • Recognition of retiring or non-returning MBP directors 8:30 Entertainment – Comedian Dan Verville Day Two – Friday, February 7, 2020 8:00 – 8:30 Coffee service, trade show opens 8:30 – 9:55 Panel Discussion: How does beef stack up in a competitive protein marketplace? • Maurice Bouvier, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development • Mark Ludwick, Regional Manager, CHOP Steakhouse • Tentative: processing sector representative 9:55 – 10:20 Coffee Break 10:20 – 10:50 Topic: Addressing misconceptions about the Canadian beef industry • Amie Peck, Manager, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Public Engagement and Issues Management Program 10:50 – 11:50 Reports from National Beef Organizations • Beef Cattle Research Council – Reynold Bergen • Canfax market update – Brenna Grant 11:50 MBP President’s Closing Remarks A live Verified Beef Production Plus Program workshop will be held at the conclusion of the MBP AGM. All interested producers are welcome to attend. To register for the AGM visit

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 On the Ranch, Russell, Manitoba Black and Red Simmental, Angus and Simm-Angus Bulls


Coming Two Year Old Bulls & Bred Females 204-773-6800 Congratulations to

2020 bull sales

A.O. Henuset Ambassador Recipients Schweitzer Simmentals -Decker, MB Pembina Triangle Association Commerical Breeder of the Year Allan Lindal & Family - Fisher Branch, MB Box 274, Austin, MB R0H 0C0 Keystone Simmental Association President: Tracy Wilcox 204-713-0029 Commerical Breeder of the Year Secretary: Laurelly Beswitherick 204-637-2046 Robbie & Cody Milliken - Reston, MB Feb. 17th Feb. 19th Mar. 4th Mar. 5th Mar. 9th Mar. 10th Mar. 11th Mar. 13th Mar. 14th Mar. 15th Mar. 16th Mar. 17th Mar. 18th Mar. 20th Mar. 21th Mar. 23th Mar. 24th Apr. 13th

Rendezvous Farms 16th Annual Simmental Bull & Female Sale, Ste. Rose du Lac, MB M&J Farms Simmental & Angus 2 year Bull & Female Sale, Russell, MB Maple Lake Stock Farms Kick off to Spring Bull Sale, Hartney, MB JP Cattle Co./Stewart Cattle Co. Annual Simmental & Angus Bull Sale, Mcauley, MB Canadian Central Bull & Female Simmental Sale, Winnipeg, MB Bonchuk Farms Annual Bull Sale, Virden, MB Mar Mac Farms Bull & Commercial Female Sale, Brandon, MB Rainbow River Simmentals 3rd Annual Bull & Female Sale, Fisher Branch, MB Ranchers Select Simmental Bull Sale, Neepawa, MB Rebels of the West Simmental Bull Sale, Virden, MB Transcon’s Winnipeg Simmental Bull Sale, Winnipeg, MB Prairie Partners Bull & Female Sale, Killarney, MB Transcon’s Premium Beef Simmental Bull Sale, Neepawa, MB High Bluff Stock Farms Charolais & Simmental Bull Sale, Inglis, MB Oakview/Perkin/Triple R Simmental Bull Sale, Brandon, MB Transcon’s Cattle Country Bull Sale, Neepawa, MB WLB Livestock 16th Annual Simmentl Bull Sale, Douglas, MB Cattle Capital Bull Sale, Ste. Rose du Lac, MB

Sale Managed By: T Bar C Cattle Co. Ltd. Chris: 306.220.5006

Miles & Bonnie Glasman Matthew & Leanne Glasman Jared & Chelsey Glasman find us on: Home: 204.773.3209 Home: 204.773.3279 Matt’s Cell: 204.773.6055 Miles’ Cell: 204.773.6275 Jared’s Cell: 204.796.0999

February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY 15

Next-gen producers dive into farm succession planning BY DAVID HULTIN

MBP Communications

Thirty-five young and new beef producers recently got to learn about the unique challenges and opportunities of entering and growing beef operations. The two-day Young Producers Retreat organized by Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) at the Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc. farm north of Brandon featured sessions with Peter Manness from MNP and Dave Pratt from Ranch Management Consultants along with MBP President Tom Teichroeb. The workshop kicked off with Manness, a Business Advisor in MNP’s Farm Management Consulting group in Brandon, noting that as the asset base on farm operations continues to increase, so too does the value of equity to be transferred between generations. Dividing farm and personal assets between family members - the idea of fair versus equal – is difficult so he offered practical suggestions to help make decisions and keep the farm transition on track. Pratt is a sought-after authority on sustainable ranching in North America and spoke both days about the many complex layers involved with being a part of a family owned and operated business, including how to get everyone on the same page and working together without stepping on one another’s toes.

Tyler Fewings, from Pierson, MB., took part in the retreat because he is trying to dedicate time to learning more about business management. “I’m not faced with any immediate challenges but just trying to make sure I am implementing some improvements to ensure sustainability. When I saw Dave Pratt was coming, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to get an introduction into the ranching for profit program. I had seen Dave in a workshop years ago and have since followed Ranching for Profit with interest. They have a ton of great information. He was definitely the drawing card,” remarked A social evening of dinner and axe throwing encouraged participants to network and Fewings. gain valuable industry insights from one another. During his presentation, Teichroeb explained that the idea for the youth believed this type of opportunity to con- decisions that we all too often fall into retreat came from former MBP board nect and learn would be very valuable,” the habit of simply doing it how we’ve always done it,” she said. “The MBP Youth president Ben Fox and members of the said Teichroeb. Event organizer Melissa Atchison Retreat was an excellent opportunity board of directors. He envisioned holding an event to bring young beef produc- who is the incoming MBP Director for to challenge paradigms and give young ers together in a group learning environ- District 6 in the Westman area, was producers the tools to make informed ment, allowing them to network with pleased with the first-ever event and the decisions about farm succession and marketing in order to make their busitheir peers and to glean knowledge by quality of information that was shared. “Young producers have an excel- nesses more profitable and sustainable.” connecting with expert resources in arManitoba Beef Producers thanks the eas such as business or production man- lent grasp on production and animal husbandry but we are often left with following sponsors for helping to make agement. “Young producers face some unique very little understanding of how to run this event possible: Canadian Agriculchallenges not faced by more established a sustainable business. It can be down tural Partnership (CAP), Committed producers, including high start-up costs, right intimidating when we are faced Ag Supply, Heartland Livestock Services securing financing, gaining access to with business and marketing decisions (Brandon), Alert Agri Distributors, MNP, land, and raising young families, all of that impact human relations, succession Masterfeeds – An Alltech Company, Farm which make them vulnerable to changes and profitability on the family farm. We Credit Canada, and Manitoba Beef & in global markets and prices, and Fox are often unprepared in the face of these Forage Initiatives Inc.

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February 6-7, 2020 | Victoria Inn, Brandon, MB • REGISTER AT WWW.MBBEEF.CA OR CALL 1-800-772-0458.




• Must be purchased by January 7, 2020 at 4 p.m.


• Package includes admission to all MBP meetings, lunch on February 6, coffee breaks, 1 FREE Banquet ticket (value: $60). • Non-refundable.



ADDRESS: ____________________________________________ CITY/TOWN: __________________________________________ POSTAL CODE: ________________________________________ FAX: _________________________________________________ EMAIL: ______________________________________________

GENERAL REGISTRATION $100 PER PERSON - AFTER JAN. 7 Package includes admission to all MBP meetings, lunch on February 6, coffee breaks, 1 FREE Banquet ticket (value: $60). • Non-refundable.

PERSON 2 (IF REQUIRED): q GENERAL $100 q MEETING ONLY (NO BANQUET) $50 q YOUNG PRODUCER *Complimentary with mentor’s registration NAME: _______________________________________________

NEW! YOUNG PRODUCER MENTORSHIP OFFER • MBP members are encouraged to mentor and register a young producer (ages 18 to 39).

ADDRESS: ____________________________________________ CITY/TOWN: __________________________________________ POSTAL CODE: ________________________________________

• The young producer receives a complimentary registration with a mentor’s registration.

PHONE: ______________________________________________

• Package includes admission to all MBP meetings, lunch on February 6, coffee breaks, 1 FREE Banquet ticket (value: $60).

EMAIL: ______________________________________________

MAKE CHEQUE PAYABLE TO: Manitoba Beef Producers 220 - 530 Century Street Winnipeg, MB R3H 0Y4 PHONE: 1-800-772-0458 FAX: 204-774-3264

RESERVE A ROOM: Call the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre toll free: 1-800-852-2710


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16 CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

Three disruptors to watch in 2020, say FCC economists (FCC News Release) Climate change, protectionism and automation – three forces Bloomberg identifies as major disruptors to the global economic outlook – also appear among the most significant trends to watch in the Canadian agri-food supply chain for 2020, according to Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) economics team. These trends have the potential to not only disrupt the global economy, but they could also have a significant impact in shaping Canada’s agriculture and food industry outlook, said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief agricultural economist. “We call them disruptors for the simple fact that these trends could significantly change the way Canadian farm operations, agri-businesses and food processors do business at home and around the world,” Gervais said. “The test is how they will adapt to take advantage of the opportunities or mitigate the challenges that come with each of these trends.” Gervais said the disruptors come with the potential to promote or inhibit growth in Canada’s agriculture and food industry. Changing weather patterns impact production and demand According to Canada’s 2019 Climate Change Report, Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Increases in both annual and seasonal mean temperatures may extend growing seasons with additional hotter days. However, the potential for warmer weather also increases potential for more rain during seeding and harvest, which makes controlling disease and pests more challenging. It also brings a higher likelihood of extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts. “As we’ve witnessed in recent years, weather disruptions can lead to production losses across major agricul-

ture producing regions, and this has serious and rippling repercussions for Canadian agriculture and food sectors,” Gervais said. Unstable growing conditions worldwide also raise the importance of food security. Individual nations may increase their efforts to stockpile, leading to more intense price competition for available crops. This could benefit Canada’s agriculture exports, according to Gervais. Trade agreements: protection against protectionism Protectionism contributes to market volatility, which has an overall detrimental impact on the world economy. This would appear to be especially true for Canada, which was the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture commodities in 2018 behind the United States, Brazil, the Netherlands and China. However, Canada has done extremely well in establishing strong trade relations in a number of key markets, thanks to a long-held focus on getting trade agreements in place, according to Gervais. And while more market access issues could arise in 2020, it’s just as possible that market disruptions could create new opportunities for Canadian producers and exporters. “Our trade agreements help buffer Canada from some of the negative impact that growing protectionism is having on the world economy,” he said. “When tariffs are imposed or borders close for any number of reasons, having a broader range of export markets allows Canadian exports to be re-allocated, rather than simply reduced.” Bottom line, protectionism in an evolving and uncertain international trade environment shouldn’t have a significant impact on Canada’s long-term export growth potential. The main reason, according to Gervais, is that food demand has grown both domestically and globally and is expected to continue in 2020. The animal protein


Pictured at 9 yrs of age, Still going at 13 yrs old - 12 Sons sell!

Our 13 Annual Sale!

sectors could even see growth accelerate based on the evolution of African Swine Fever in China and the rest of the world. Automation and innovation fuel future success Despite global economic turmoil, the outlook for Canadian agriculture and food in 2020 remains positive due to ongoing investments in technology and innovation. These investments enable Canada to produce a wide range of commodities and processed foods, which helps the country maintain its competitive position in the world export market, according to Gervais. Advances made possible due to automation in both agriculture production and food processing reduce costs. In processing, automation helps solve the long-term challenge of labour shortages, especially for skilled manufacturing labour. In agriculture, Canadian producers are adopting various technologies that help reduce costs and increase efficiencies, while managing highly variable growing conditions. With interest rates expected to remain low, the environment for continued investments in innovation and technology looks positive, Gervais said. “Canadian farm operations have been a bit more cautious about making new investments, given the recent decline in net income,” he said. “But they also know that market conditions will eventually improve and that innovation is a long-term investment that eventually pays off.” By sharing agriculture economic knowledge and forecasts, FCC provides solid insights and expertise to help those in the business of agriculture achieve their goals. For more information and insights on the top three disruptors for 2020, visit the FCC Ag Economics blog post at FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $36 billion. Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and its role in feeding an ever-growing world. We provide flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and agri-food industry. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, our profits are reinvested back into the agriculture and food industry we serve and the communities where our customers and employees live and work while providing an appropriate return to our shareholder. Visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on Twitter.


55 Black & Red Angus

Rugged 2-Yr Old Bulls

30 Black Angus Bred Heifers Selling: March 14, 2020-Ashern MB Moderate - Maternal - Easy Calving - Easy Fleshing

Come to the Ashern Auction Mart to hear STEVE KENYON at our Pre-Sale Meeting, Friday, March 13th @ 7 pm.  twitter: @ediecreekangus

Jonathan Bouw: Stefan Bouw: 204-471-4696 204-232-1620 BREEDING BULLS for GRASS FARMERS




February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY 17

Buying Power: Bull Selection to Improve Your Bottom Line BY THE BEEF CATTLE RESEARCH COUNCIL If it hasn’t happened already, soon your mailboxes and inboxes will be filling up with catalogues for this year’s bull sales. How can you identify which bull is going to work best for your operation? Purchasing the best bull for your operation’s needs starts with good record keeping to identify your operation’s strengths and weaknesses. From there you can work to narrow down your search based on your breeding system, genetic goals and budget. The following tips can help guide you in the process of purchasing your next herd sire. It’s not one size fits all when it comes to bull buying Breeding programs will be determined by operational goals and the management practices that fit those goals. A farm that auctions their calves at weaning may choose a crossbreeding program with high performance, while a farm that direct markets their beef may prefer the uniformity of a single breed. There are many different types of bulls available, and effective sire selection requires an understanding of the available genetics as well as your own operation. Aiming for complementar-

ity of the bull’s genetics to your current cow herd and fit with your operational goals will contribute to increased revenue and reduced costs. Each breed of cattle has distinct traits that allow them to excel in different geographical or managerial environments. Depending on the goals of the operation, a sire can be chosen that has the potential to make positive changes for your operation in the areas you’ve identified for improvement. The following article provides more information on the types of breeding systems that may work for your operation. http://www.beefresearch. ca/blog/bull-selectionbreeding-programs-thatsuit-operational-goals/ Consider both the short-term gain and the long-term investment Bull selection is one of the most important decisions for cow-calf producers, with implications for short- and long-term profitability of the operation. The choice of bull can be immediately seen in the subsequent calf crop. If the operation retains heifers and/or bulls, the genetics in the selected bull will be passed down to subsequent generations. Introducing new genetics is a permanent change to the herd, compared to the temporary

nature of supplements or management practices. As such, bull selection can be seen as a long-term investment into the operation. Research in the area of beef cattle genetics has been growing significantly. There are opportunities to improve profitability through sire selection. However, with a multitude of traits, breed differences, operational goals, and management practices, bull selection is a complex decision. To assist with making bull selection decisions, consistent record keeping will help identify areas of strength and weakness in the herd and guide you towards the type of genetic change you want to see. Over time your records will help monitor whether your changes have made the desired impacts. Once operational goals and breeding programs have been determined a producer can focus in on specific Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) to guide their bull selection. This article looks at how EPDs can be used to improve the traits you require for your operation. http:// bull-selection-what-areyou-looking-for/ Narrow down your search Given the plethora of EPDs available, trying to sort through ten or twenty

individual EPDs that may not have relevance to your particular operation can easily lead to information overload, many breed association provide selection indexes that combine multiple traits with relevant weightings in order to combine several traits of interest into one number. By focusing on Economically Relevant Traits (ERTs), you can eliminate those bits of information that will not directly impact your operation’s profitability. Economically relevant traits are those that are directly associated with a source of revenue, or a cost. Not all EPDs represent ERTs – instead they use a related (or indicator) trait to estimate the ERT. One of the best examples is birth weight. Decreasing a bull’s birth weight by 5 lbs does not have any associated income or costs but is often used as a bull buying criteria in an effort to reduce calving problems. The actual ERT in this case is calving ease, as an increase in calving problems will reduce calf survival (fewer calves to sell), incurs higher labour costs (pulling calves, or more time spent monitoring), and delays cow rebreeding (younger and lighter calves to sell next year). Birth weight is an indicator trait, and although related to calv-


ing ease, birthweight only explains 36-64% of genetic variation between animals in calving ease. This article provides more information about ERTs and how you can narrow your selection focus to the EPDs that matter most for your breeding goals. Tips on getting your money’s worth Identifying a fair price during sire selection contributes to higher efficiency in operational economics. To estimate breakeven bull price, a bull valuation calculator has been developed. The purpose is to provide a general idea of how much a bull is worth based on key farm parameters. The value a bull provides depends on his individual performance, the environment (.g., pasture productivity), management (cow:bull ratio) and markets (calf price). For example, large framed bulls require more feed, leading to a higher maintenance cost, but that may be offset by heavier calves at sale time.

A bull’s value is delivered through the calves sired over a lifetime, the long-term genetic change of the herd, and salvage value at the end of a productive life. The value provided depends on: • cost factors (i.e., bull maintenance cost and death loss),; • performance factors (i.e., years of service, the expected cow to bull ratio, expected weaning rate, expected weight of feeders, and proportion of the calf value attributed to the bull); and • price factors (i.e., expected price of feeders and salvage value). Learn more about the bull valuation calculator and to try your own numbers visit the following blog post http://www. This article is courtesy of the Beef Cattle Research Council. For more information about their work visit their website at .

HAMCO CATTLE CO. al u 22nd Ann

Angus Bull Sale

Saturday, March 21, 2020 At the farm , South of Glenboro, MB

1:00 p.m.

Your source for Elite Angus Genetics! Selling 50 Red & 50 Black Angus Yearling Bulls Selling 25 Red & 15 Black Angus 2 Year old Bulls

üMany are AI sired üBulls semen tested üBulls on home performance test - data available üDeveloped on a high forage TMR ration üSelected from a 530 purebred cow herd üFree board until April 15 üOnline Bidding with DLMS

f f u l B h Hig

Please join us for lunch 12:00 p.m. on Sale Day


For more information or catalogues view us on line at or contact us

The Jackson Family Carman: 1-204-773-6448 Erin: 1-204-821-4110

The Hamiltons

Glen & Carleen (204) 827-2358 Larissa & Kyle (204) 526-0705 Cell

Dr. David & Shelley (204) 822-3054 (204) 325-3635 Cell

18 CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020

Beef and Forage Week 2020 Manitoba Beef Producers participated in Beef and Forage Week at locations around southern Manitoba between January 13-17. Carson Callum, MBP General Manager, remarked: “It was a great way to interact with producers around the province and share information about our activities. The week also provided a lot of valuable information including governmen-

tal initiatives along with market information.” Packed with informative and innovative topics geared towards helping Manitoba beef producer’s best manage their cattle operations, Beef and Forage Week is a joint effort between Manitoba Beef Producers, Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development. photos courtesy of Carson Callum

& guest Stewart Cattle

Simment al & Angus Bull & Female Sale

Thurs., Feb 1

March 5, 2020

glenn & Barry lowes eric & Melissa Pateman

Mcauley, MB glen: 204-851-5669 Barry: 204-851-0342 eric: 306-434-8567

Brent & dale Stewart Kelsey & Tyler Thompson Russell, MB 204-773-2356 Cell: 204-773-6392

Sale Managed By T Bar C Cattle Co. Ltd. | Chris Poley: 306-220-5006 Shane Michelson: 403-363-9973 Ben Wright: 519-374-3335

Watch & Bid online


Thurs., Feb 8

Butcher Sale

9:00 am;

Bred Cow Sale

1:00 pm

Feeder Sale

9:00 am

Butcher Sale

9:00 am

Tues Feb 4

Regular Sale

Thurs Feb 6

Bred Cow Sale

Tues Feb 11

Presort Sale Bred Cow Sale Regular sale in the afternoon

9:30am 1:00 pm

Tues Feb 18

Regular Sale


Tues Tues.,Feb Feb 25 27

Presort Sale Presort Sale Regular Sale in the afternoon

9:30am 9:30 am

Regular Sale


Tues., Feb 13 Thurs., Feb 15 Tues., Feb 20

Thurs., Feb 22 Fri., Mar 2

Tues Mar 3


on the Farm mCauley, manitoba

Tues., Feb 6

2020 Winter Sale Schedule 2018 Winter Sale Schedule

SeLLing L SiMMenTa S LL u B S u & ang eRCiaL M M o C S PLu RS BRed Heife

C o.

Tues., Mar 6

Presort Sale

Butcher Sale Feeder Sale

Butcher Sale

Cattleman’s Connection Bull Sale Feeder Sale

9:00am 9:30 am

11:00am 9:00 am

9:00 am 9:00 am

1:00 pm 9:00 am

Fri MarMar 6 13 Cattlemen’s Connection Bull Sale 1:00pm Tues., Presort Sale 9:30 am Tues Mar Thurs., Mar10 15 Presort Bred Sale Cow Sale Regular Sale in the afternoon Tues., Mar 20 Feeder Sale Tues Tues.,Mar Mar 17 27 Regular FeederSale Sale Tues Mar 24 Regular Sale

9:30am 1:00 pm 9:00 am

9:00am 9:00 am 9:00am

ALL PRESORT SALES WILL BEinBROADCAST LIVEcow ON THE Presorts MUST be booked advance. Bred salesINTERNET. must be Presorts MUST be booked in advance. Bred cow sales must pre-booked and in by NOON on Wednesday prior. be pre-booked and in bypapers NOON on Wednesday prior. Age verification must be dropped offAge withverification cattle. papers must be dropped off with cattle.

View the catalogue online at

Heartland Livestock Services

February 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY 19

SAFETY ALERT Dealing with a lengthy winter power outage The impacts of the October storm are still vivid memories for many Manitoba Hydro customers. Blizzards, ice storms and heavy snow can cause power outages from a few hours to several days. Even fog and a heavy frost can suddenly affect power lines. Are you prepared for an extended winter power failure? Manitoba Hydro experience in responding to a crisis has taught us the more prepared we are, the less severe the consequences. The same can be said for you and your family – the better you plan ahead, the better you’ll cope when trouble hits. The most crucial part of any emergency plan is first acknowledging that things can go sideways with little notice no matter where you live in Manitoba. The next step is talking about it with your family and preparing an emergency plan for your home. Draw a floor plan of your home, showing the locations of exits, where to shut off natural gas, power and water, and where to find the fire extinguisher and how to use it. Also, plan how to meet and contact one another if you’re not all at home. You should also put together an emergency kit. Everyone should know where it’s kept and what it contains. Emergency Kit A kit doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but rather items you likely already have that can be easily found during an emergency. It should include: • Candles and matches. • Flashlights with fresh batteries. • A wind-up or battery powered clock. • A portable battery operated radio to keep you informed on the status of a power outage. • A supply of non-perishable food that doesn’t need cooking like crackers, cereal, trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars, peanut butter and canned food like fruit and tuna – don’t forget a manual can opener or multipurpose tool. • Potable water – at least four litres of bottled water per person, per day. • Hand sanitizer. • Extra blankets or sleeping bags. • Cellular phone and car charger as well as an extra power bank. Remember, you need dry chargers and batteries, so have plastic zippered bags in your kit to keep them protected. • First aid kit. You can buy a first aid kit at most drugstores or make your own containing basic items. • Extra pet food, if required. For more tips on how to prepare for a power outage, visit

January/February 2020

Available in accessible formats upon request.

MB General Manager Carson Callum

Safety. It’s in your hands.

Discover Ag in the City Now in its 16th year Discover Agriculture in the City (DAITC) is an urban awareness event held at The Forks in March that attracts a significant audience in person and online. Industry stakeholders, including Manitoba Beef Producers, the federal government (Agriculture and Agri Food Canada), as well as The Forks Market and Province of Manitoba as supporting participants, gather together for a fun-filled and informative day to show the general urban public the importance of agriculture, the value it has to our economy and the benefits it has in our daily lives. This year’s event takes places on Saturday, March 14 between 10am and 4pm inside The Forks Market (south aisle).

w w w. m a r m a c f a r m s . n e t



Simmental, Red & Black Angus er

On Off









Blair, Lois McRae & Family | Brandon, Manitoba 204-728-3058 | Blair: 204-729-5439 | Lois: 204-573-5192

Consignors: McRae Land & Livestock and Angus Valley Farm


20 CATTLE COUNTRY February 2020 Photo courtesy of Staden Farms

Photo courtesy of Canadian Sheep Federation

GET TO KNOW US BETTER Photo courtesy of Connie Seutter

CCIA is the responsible administrator for beef and dairy cattle, bison, sheep and pending regulation cervids and goats in Canada (with exception of Quebec where CCIA only administers bison and goats.)



KNOW | CLTS DATABASE Login to your CLTS account via your home computer or MOBO app; input your premises ID number and update your account information.

Prepare for proposed regulatory amendments now, to save time later. Get to know the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS), learn how by using the CLTS Resource Centre. Take a look at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s TRACE newsletters for information on the proposed amendments at

LEARN | CLTS RESOURCE CENTRE An online information and learning source on how to use the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS).

USE | TRACEABILITY TECHNOLOGY Download the CLTS MOBO phone app from your favorite app store and put the CLTS database in your hand.

To learn more about how we are working towards traceability together,

visit | 1-877-909-2333

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