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Max, enjoying a ride in the ATV alongside his family, the Greaves from the Deerwood, MB. area, spot checks cows at different pastures earlier this summer. Photo credit: Jeannette Greaves

MBP district meetings go virtual When Manitoba cattle producers attend their annual fall district meetings this year, they won’t have to drive somewhere to do it. Instead, they’ll do it at home sitting in front of a computer, tablet or Smartphone. Or they can listen in by telephone. Manitoba Beef Producers will use a virtual platform to make presentations, go over audited financial statements, conduct elections, discuss activities and suggest resolutions. The content will be the same as always, only the delivery will be different. The reason? COVID-19, of

course. Like other organizations everywhere, the pandemic is forcing MBP to practise social distancing while keeping members informed about their association. Producers are being asked to register in advance for these meetings to ensure there’s a quorum and people are qualified to vote in director elections. A district meeting requires a minimum of 10 qualified members for a quorum. Dianne Riding, MBP’s president, said the new format was chosen because of the uncertainty about holding face-

to-face meetings, especially if a second wave of COVID infections occurs and public gatherings have to be curtailed. “We were thinking by the time October and November came around, we might be in a very difficult position to actually be able to host any number of people,” Riding said. “I’m really hoping people will give it a try and embrace it.” Virtual elections for directors are slated for odd numbered districts this year. Several districts require new directors to be elected, including Riding’s own District 9 because she is termed out after

serving three two-year terms on the board. Riding described the past year as “a tad difficult but interesting” after COVID-19 seriously disrupted the beef industry, causing a near price collapse and resulting in a large backlog of finished animals still to be processed. “It’s impacting everyone and it’s definitely giving a hit to the cattle industry in general,” said Carson Callum, MBP general manager. There are also other issues affecting the industry up for discussion at the meetings, said Callum. A big one is AgriStability,

General Manager's Column

President's Colum

Market Report

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which is under fire for being complicated, time consuming and generally inadequate to meet producers’ needs. Locally, Manitoba producers are concerned about recent regulatory changes to the province’s Agricultural Crown Lands Leasing Program, which they feel disadvantage them. That’s all the more reason for producers to sign up for their virtual meetings so they can discuss issues and decide how to deal with them, Callum said. “We’re really encouraging folks to register so they can get all the right info they need to take part.” POSTMASTER: PLEASE RETURN UNDELIVERABLE COPIES TO: MBP, UNIT 220, 530 CENTURY STREET, WINNIPEG, MB R3H 0Y4 CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS MAIL PRODUCT SALES AGREEMENT NUMBER 40005187 POSTAGE PAID IN WINNIPEG.




Recapping a busy summer and looking ahead to a fall filled with virtual district meetings CARSON CALLUM

General Manager’s Column Greetings members and industry stakeholders. I hope you are all enjoying a safe and happy harvest. It has been a busy number of months for all, trying to adjust to the new normal we find ourselves in. I thought this would be a great opportunity to touch on a number of important things happening in the industry right now. Over the summer, the Hon. Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, held some grassroots meetings with producers to gather feedback to take to the table of the Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture meeting this fall. We were encouraged to hear of the turnout by many beef producers at these events. In August, the province also held an online consultation – Engaging Manitoba’s Agriculture Industry – where commodity groups, producers and others could submit comments on several topics prior to these FPT meetings. MBP was pleased to submit


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comments on topics such as Business Risk Management (BRM), resiliency, innovation and technology, and market opportunities. One area of particular importance is BRM programs. This pandemic has really shown the need for BRM programs that are simpler, more predictable, bankable and more equitable overall. The beef industry continues to advance the need for improvements to programs such as AgriStability, one which has proven particularly ineffective for cattle producers in its current form. One of the changes being sought involves removing the reference margin limit (RML) under AgriStability as a way to address the equity gap for the beef industry versus other commodities. Modeling work undertaken on behalf of Canada’s beef industry shows that the RML unfairly limits many cow-calf producers reference margin under the program. The research found that intensive livestock (such as feedlots) require a smaller revenue drop to trigger AgriStability (3% to 7% range) when compared to cow-calf producers (25% to 40% range). This makes the program less valuable, especially for producers with lower costs, such as cow-calf producers who generally have lower eligible labour costs and who produce their own feed as oppose to buying it, i.e. fewer allowable expenses. MBP, our provincial counterparts, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the National Cattle Feeders Association continue to bring BRM-related challenges to the attention of federal and provincial governments, seeking to have them addressed. A big focus of the sector is ensuring public trust around the beef industry. MBP, in collaboration with others in the sector, works on many initiatives that get a positive message about beef production out to the general public, through social media and other important communication mediums. We are very excited to be updating our website to improve its ease of use for both producers and consumers. An important message we want the public to understand is the importance of beef production for protecting grassland habitats, which is reflected in the Guardians of the Grasslands short film produced by the Public Stakeholder Engagement (PSE) group with the CCA in conjunction with other key stakeholders. As well, Species at Risk on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) projects involving producers show the importance of cattle production in protecting habitat for endangered grassland species. PSE is an important component of our industry,

particularly in these challenging times due to COVID-19. They launched a special COVID-19 campaign titled Feeding the Future to raise awareness of the pandemic’s impact on the beef industry. One element of this featured personal stories from young producers on the impacts of COVID-19 to their operations and included participants from the Young Cattlemen’s Council. Another featured partner organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and Birds Studies Canada talking about the potential threat to native grasslands if beef producers are not able to keep their operations economically viable. These kinds of resources, as well as those produced by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, will be great for MBP and others to leverage to effectively get important messages out to the general public. I continue to believe this, as well as agricultural education overall, will be a top priority for our industry. Many other files continue to be top of mind at MBP, such as changes to the Agricultural Crown Lands (ACL) Leasing Program. We continue to advance our positions


AROUND THE BEEF INDUSTRY. with the province related to the ACL changes, such as the importance of the right of first renewal, continuation of unit transfers, and the need for a longer transition period for the rental rate increase (five years), in hopes of getting amendments to the regulations to benefit producers. We also are moving forward with our Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project to test various mitigation strategies on farm, and further understand wildlife/ livestock interactions with the aim of reducing negative outcomes. As I mentioned in my September column, due to pandemic-related challenges, we made the decision to move our fall district meetings to a virtual platform along with our AGM in February 2021. There is more information about our plans in this edition of the newspaper. Updates and registration info will also be available on our social media accounts and website. I invite you to join in the conversations. Thank you for your continued support of MBP. Stay safe and happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! Carson

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

Ph: 1-800-772-0458 PH - (204) 772-4542 FX - (204) 774-3264


POLICY ANALYST Maureen Cousins


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



Deb Walger




Trinda Jocelyn



Update on some recent advocacy work I hope you’ve had a productive few weeks on the harvest front, and in getting prepared for the fall and winter that lay ahead. As you will see in Ron Friesen’s story in this edition, due to the COVID-19 situation MBP has made the difficult decision to move to virtual fall district meetings, and a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February. The health and safety of all our district meeting and AGM attendees and their communities are a key priorities for MBP, so we, like many other organizations, are going virtual. This year director elections are required in districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 and the election process will take place during the virtual meetings for those districts. If you would like to let your name stand for director, or, if you know of someone who would be a good addition to MBP’s board of directors, please contact me and I will ensure that MBP’s Nominations Committee brings your name forward to your district meeting. Nominations for oddnumbered districts remain open until those respective meetings. I, along with Gord Adams (District

1) and Peter Penner (District 3) have reached our respective term limits so new directors will need to be elected in these districts. As well, Robert Metner, District 11 director has indicated he will not be seeking reelection after serving four years with the board, so a new director is required in that district too. For all other districts – 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 – MBP is holding three virtual town hall information meetings. Attendees at all 10 virtual meetings will be given updates on MBP’s finances and its audited financial statement, its activities on behalf of the sector throughout the year, and producers can suggest ideas for possible resolutions for debate at the Annual General Meeting. You must pre-register for these virtual meetings. Visit and look for the meeting registration information on the front page of the website and get registered as soon as possible. If you need more information, call 1-800-772-0458 or email More details about the AGM will be posted in the weeks ahead. We very much look forward to connecting

DIANNE RIDING President's Column

with you virtually! In other news, the Manitoba government has agreed to provide $32 million over the next five years as part of the interprovincial funding agreement for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), a commitment that will provide 15 Manitoba students with a position in the program each year. Concerns were raised a couple of years ago that the government might reduce the number of seats it was funding at WCVM and MBP advocated for the continued funding of the 15 seats. The need to train Manitobans to become vets, particularly related to large animal husbandry cannot be understated. Having access to vets is integral to our farms and ranches and we are very appreciative of the services they provide. MBP thanks the provincial government for its decision to continue funding the 15 seats. Many cattle operations have been the victims of crime, be it theft, vandalism or damages caused by people trespass-

ing on private property. It is a concern that MBP, along with many other rural stakeholders has raised with the Manitoba government. Recently the province announced it wants to hear from Manitobans about possible measures to combat certain crimes. According to a government news release, “the province is considering whether to adopt legislation from other provinces to improve Manitoba’s trespass and occupiers’ liability laws and discourage stolen metal sales. This could include amendments to The Petty Trespass Act, to ensure the law is easier to enforce and to prevent confrontations between landowners and trespassers, and to The Occupiers Liability Act to ensure a landowner’s legal responsibility for injury is fair and reasonable when someone is on their property without permission. The province will also consider amendments to The Animal Diseases Act to support food safety on Manitoba farms. Manitobans are invited to provide feedback

on potential legislation that would enhance biosecurity and reduce hazards at food production premises with livestock or other animals.” MBP will be providing input, and we strongly encourage all of our members to consider doing the same. If you or someone you know has been affected by crime, or you have concerns about the biosecurity implications of people coming onto your property without permission, you have until October 31 to complete the public engagement questionnaire at https:// Make sure your voice is heard on this important issue affecting our rural communities. Water – either too much or too little of it – has again been a problem this year. The Manitoba government has announced it is providing Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) for three damaging high water/weather-related events this year. This is for damages caused by excess rain events that hit two areas of Manitoba in early June and then again at the end of June into early July, causing flooding issues. People who were affected by these events may be eligible for some DFA as-

sistance if other insurance programs did not cover their losses. The deadline to apply for the assistance is December 10. For details see index.html, email dfa@ or call 1-888267-8298. Still on the water front, MBP recently provided comments to the provincial government’s Expert Advisory Council regarding the engagement document Manitoba Water Management Strategy: Seeking Perspectives. How water is managed in Manitoba has a major impact on the province’s beef industry, affecting not only its economic prosperity but also that of the larger economy. In recent years significant and repeated water-related challenges, including flooding and excess moisture conditions, as well as droughts have severely taxed some cattle producers’ ability to continue in the industry. MBP will continue to provide feedback to governments on water-related issues and management strategies given their effects on our industry. In closing, MBP looks forward to connecting with you soon via our virtual district meetings. Take care!

COVID-19 from the packers’ perspective BY ANGELA LOVELL While COVID-19 has touched the entire beef industry, processors have felt its impact acutely. Large packing plants closed temporarily during the early stage of the pandemic due to cases among workers, and smaller plants across the country have struggled to try and implement procedures and protocols to keep their workers healthy and reassure consumers that their product is safe. At the recent online Canadian Beef Industry Conference, packers discussed how COVID-19 has affected their businesses to date, what they have learned and how they are preparing for a post-COVID future. Atlantic Beef Inc at Albany, Prince Edward Island is the only federally inspected beef plant in Atlantic Canada. It employs around 160 people and normally processes around 750 head a week. The plant had to quickly adapt to the changing COVID-19 situation and learn from what other businesses were doing. “We kept an eye on the news and looked for anything we could learn from the hardships that other plants were going through,” says Atlantic Beef president, Russ Mallard. “We worked closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Meat Council and Canada Beef to ensure we were following regulations closely and sharing best practices where possible.” Cargill had tough decisions to make, not least to temporarily close its facilities at High River, Alberta and Les Aliments Cargill plant in Chambly, Quebec during the spring, when COVID-19 cases were rising fast. “COVID-19 has reinforced our strengths and values, which have guided us in the decisions we made” says Jarrod Gillig, North America business operations and supply chain leader for Cargill. “When we think about what we did to keep our employees safe – we obviously encountered some challenges, but learned a lot going through it.”

Finding creative solutions One of the biggest challenges facing all businesses at that time was the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks. “In hindsight, maybe we could have had more PPE around us, but we had no prior requirement for some things that were required to react to the pandemic,” says Mallard. “I am not sure we could have done anything much different given the fact that it hit so hard and fast.” Cargill, like many other businesses, had to find creative solutions to adapt the work environment and make sure everyone stayed safe. As an example, early in the pandemic, they were unable to find the appropriate thermometers to check the temperature of people coming to and from work. As a temporary solution, one of the company’s young engineers suggested adapting the infrared technology Cargill uses to evaluate its equipment to sense people’s temperatures until the thermometers still in use today could be acquired. Cargill also saw changes in its customers as the food service industry began to shut down, while the retail side increased demand, creating production issues. “Our lines are established on a percentage of retail and a percentage of food service, so that’s something we can continue to at look going forward, is how we get more flexible in that area,” says Gillig. “To make sure we kept protein, and beef specifically, in front of our customers, we all had to flex through the process.” An essential service With a lot of fear and uncertainty among their staff, packers provided tools and information to keep their workforce safe, but also remind them of the important role they had as essential workers in a crisis situation, says Mallard. “The ramifications to the industry, community, economy and the public would be severe if our plant closed, just like it was in Western Canada when beef started to back up into the marketplace,” says Mallard. “We wanted people

to understand that we wanted them to stay safe, and that they have duties as an essential services worker. I think we were successful and the steps we took gave them confidence that we were working in a safe environment, and in order to keep it safe, everybody had to do their part.” COVID-19 has brought challenges for some and opportunities for others, but will it provide a catalyst for permanent changes in the Canadian beef industry going forward? Gillig says Cargill will be looking at more automation and ways to better utilize data within their facilities to respond quickly to changing situations and customer demands. “From an automation standpoint, we have done a lot with our distribution centres, and ergonomically we are looking at opportunities, for example where jobs are lifting 50 pounds, is there an exoskeleton we can utilize to help augment that?” says Gillig. “Those are the type of things we are exploring, and from a safety standpoint, the mitigation that we’ve put in place for COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, we are looking at locker rooms and other ancillary areas to make sure they are set up for even greater social distancing.” COVID-19 has amplified trends in the food industry that were already gaining momentum before the pandemic. A trend that is growing fast is consumers demanding to know where their food comes from, and whether it was raised safely, sustainably and in line with their personal values. That’s good news for beef, which has a great story to tell in those terms. But everyone needs to keep telling their part of that story, from producers to packers to retailers to chefs. “It’s important we tell our story; that we harvest humanely, and take care of the animals to give them the best experience they can have right up to the very last second, that the beef we buy is raised responsibly,” says Mallard. “When people sit down to enjoy beef, they need to know it’s not just beef on a plate, it’s beef with a story.”



Manitoba government announces disaster financial assistance programs (September 11, Province of Manitoba News Release) The Manitoba government will provide disaster financial assistance (DFA) for three high water/weather-related events that hit the province earlier this year, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced. “High water issues started in the spring and the response focused on the Red River Valley,” said Schuler. “Excessive rain events hit two areas of the province in early June and then again at the end of June into early July, creating overland flooding issues. We are able to provide disaster financial assistance programs for all three.” The provincial Hydrologic Forecast Centre identified a potential high water situation in the Red River Valley for spring 2020, during the event both the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion were activated. Provincial operations focused on the Red River Valley ring dike communities and included pumping, completing partial ring dike closures and ramping of roads for continued community access. The southeast area of the province received heavy rains from June 6 to 10, with some areas recording almost 200 millimetres of rain within three days. Overland flooding was reported in the rural municipalities (RM) of De Salaberry, Piney, Reynolds, La Broquerie and Stuartburn, as well as the Municipality of Emerson-Franklin. Another heavy rain event occurred June 28 to July 5 in western and southern Manitoba, impacting the communities of Minnedosa, Rapid City and Riv-

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ers as the rain-swollen Little Saskatchewan River made its way to the Assiniboine River. The heavy precipitation was a one-in-1,000-year rain event resulting in the province losing confidence in the provincial dam near Rivers. Recommendations were shared with municipalities to evacuate a limited number of properties as a precaution. The Portage Diversion was activated from July 2 to 9, to limit water flow in the lower Assiniboine River. Heavy precipitation in the upstream watershed of the Whitemud River caused a significant rise in levels along the river, exceeding 2011 levels. Ten municipalities declared a state of local emergency and 20 municipalities were impacted by heavy rain. “Manitobans are always encouraged to check their insurance policies first, then consider a DFA program application,” said Schuler. “The DFA program should

be used as a last resort.” DFA programs provide provincial assistance for certain disaster-related losses when a widespread natural disaster strikes and creates an unreasonable financial burden. Assistance is generally provided for recovery needs of local governments, occupied private residential properties, farms, small business and some not-for-profit organizations. “We are pleased to be able to offer these programs even at a time when COVID-19 is consuming an enormous amount of provincial resources,” said Schuler. “Preliminary estimates show at least two of the programs will be substantial enough for potential costsharing with the federal government through the federal disaster financial assistance arrangements.” The DFA application deadline for local authorities and those in the private sector is Dec. 10.

TESA applications due to MBP by December 4 Manitoba Beef Producers is accepting applications for Manitoba’s Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) until Friday, December 4, 2020. Since 1996, the Canadian Cattlemen Association’s (CCA) TESA has recognized producers who go above and beyond standard industry conservation practices, setting positive examples for other cattle producers and the general public. At the provincial level, the winning operation receives recognition for its outstanding contributions, which in MBP’s case occurs in conjunction with its annual general meeting in February. All provincial award recipients then move forward to compete at the national level. The national TESA recipient is announced in conjunction with the Canadian Beef Industry Confer-

ence and CCA Semi-Annual Meeting in August. Each TESA nominee exemplifies significant innovation and attention to a wide range of environmental stewardship aspects of their farm operation. Such innovations extend beneficially to areas far beyond their land, including water, wildlife and air. All beef cattle operations in

Canada may apply. Producers can either be nominated by an individual or organization, or apply themselves. Nominees and applicants compete for one of the provincial awards based on their province of residence. For more information and to access the application go to http : / / w w w. c att l e . c a / s u s t a i n ability/the-environmentalstewardship-award/, or contact MBP for a copy. The form, along with all supporting documentation (such as letters of support, photos and/ or videos), is to be submitted to Manitoba Beef Producers c/o 220530 Century Street, Winnipeg, MB R3H 0Y4 by December 4, 2020. The application is to be emailed to . If you have questions, please contact the MBP office at 1-800-772-0458.

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StockTalk Q&A Feature brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Livestock Extension Branch

Ammoniating forages improves feed quality TIM CLARKE

Livestock Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development

Producers faced with the problem of storing damp hay, or who want to improve the feed value of low quality forages, should consider ammoniation. Ammonia (NH3), which contains nitrogen, increases the crude protein content of feed. It improves the feed value by breaking down the poorly digested fibre of mature forages. Ammonia also acts as a preservative, allowing producers to safely harvest forages at higher moisture levels as bacteria and mold is destroyed during the ammoniation process. Factors affecting the response to ammoniation The percentage of moisture in the roughage, the time of ammoniation, the temperature and the amount of anhydrous ammonia applied are all key factors affecting forage response to the ammoniation process. Anhydrous ammonia binds to water molecules in the roughage. A minimum level of 12 per cent moisture is essential. Knowing the moisture level in the forage is important to determine the amount of NH3 to be added. When using ammonia to improve the protein content of low quality forages, it should be added at three to five per cent of the dry matter weight. When ammonia is to be applied as a preservative for high-moisture forage, the level can be decreased to two per cent of the dry weight. Temperature determines the speed at which the reaction between ammonia and the feedstuff occurs, as well as the extent of improved digestibility. Higher temperatures result in faster reactions and a greater increase in digestibility. When the temperature drops, the length of time required to complete the reaction goes up and the increase in digestibility is reduced. The percentage of improvement in crude protein depends on the amount of anhydrous ammonia applied to the

forage. Results from Manitoba Agriculture projects show increases in crude protein content ranging from 85 to

125 per cent, following ammoniation at three per cent of forage dry matter. Increases in digestibility, measured as total digestible nutrients (TDN), also occur when roughage is ammoniated. Applying ammonia provides these advantages: • increased forage digestibility (TDN) by 10 to 30 per cent • increased forage intake by 10 to 20 per cent • increased crude protein content • prevention of spoilage for high moisture forages Consider the following when choosing a location for ammoniating: • Provide shelter to reduce wind damage to the plastic and weathering of the ammoniated forage. • Locate the stack away from existing buildings. The combination of air and NH3 under certain conditions, can be very explosive. • Stack big round bales in a three or six bale pyramid. • Six or eight mil black, polyethylene plastic is recommended for cover-

ing. During stacking, check the dimensions of the stack to ensure that the plastic will cover the stack properly with adequate overlap. • The covered stack must be as secure and airtight as possible. • People should stand away from the stack during the ammoniation process to prevent possible contact with escaping ammonia gas. Keep in mind these points when feeding ammoniated forages to livestock: • It’s a good idea to uncover stacks three to four days before feeding to allow excess ammonia to escape. • Producer experience indicates that the palatability of ammoniated forages is excellent. • Ammoniated forage is a source of non-protein nitrogen (NPN). Avoid feeding it with other feedstuffs containing NPN. • Ammoniated forages should only be used in well-balanced rations as determined by feed analysis. • The cost of ammoniation, including anhydrous and plastic, will range from $30 to $40 per ton (1.5 to two cents per pound). Ammoniation is a viable option to consider, especially when the cost of forage is high, as it has been for the last two years. Manitoba Agriculture and

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Manitoba Beef Producers is your organization – attend your virtual district meeting Chat with MBP representatives and fellow beef producers to discuss issues affecting your district and industry. MBP has been closely monitoring the developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of all district meeting attendees and the communities they represent are MBP’s highest priorities. Therefore, the MBP Board of Directors has made the decision to organize virtual meetings for beef producers. All meetings begin at 6:30pm. By registering you will be able to connect to the meeting through your smartphone, tablet, laptop/desktop computer, or by using a phone to listen in. Visit to register online, call 1-800-772-0458 or email

Resource Development will be conducting ammoniation trials with several types of forages this fall and will have results to share. Manitoba Agriculture is holding a forage ammoniation workshop on October 1 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Bruce Sneezby’s farm, ½ mile north of corner of #16 & #50 highways. Social distancing must be observed at this event. Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact the Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development office in Portage la Prairie at 204239-3352 or by email at shawn.




District 1

Gord Adams*

November 4

District 3

Peter Penner*

October 20

District 5

Steven Manns

October 22

District 7

Tyler Fulton

November 2

District 9

Dianne Riding*

October 21

District 11

Robert Metner**

October 27

District 13

Mary Pazuik

November 3

Virtual Town Hall


October 19

Virtual Town Hall


October 29

Virtual Town Hall


November 5

*Director retiring **Not seeking re-election Elections to be held in odd-numbered districts.

For all other districts – 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 – MBP will be holding three virtual town hall information meetings where interested producers will be provided with the same updates as those producers in the odd-numbered districts.



Calf prices may be better than predicted RICK WRIGHT The Bottom Line In the last edition of The Bottom Line I predicted that despite all the talk of buying discipline and restraint from the feedlot sector this fall, those same buyers would throw caution to the wind when the cattle started to show up for sale. I thought that it would take until at least halfway through the fall before they would revert back to their old habits, but much to my surprise they came out swinging on the few calves that were available in September. If that trend continues, the calf prices could be better than earlier predicted. Two trends that support an active calf market are profitability and weather. On the topic of profitability it is no secret that the fed cattle being sold on the current cash market are still losing money. This trend on the fed cattle will continue until the end of the first quarter of 2021. Between the backlog of fed cattle and the delay in putting replacement cattle on feed, the experts predict that there will be a surplus supply of fed cattle to cover the demand during that time period. The backgrounding feedlots lost a ton of money from February to September 2020. For many of those operators, the school of thought is that if we don’t have inventory to sell when the market turns around, we have no chance of recovering any of our losses on the previous inventory turns. Grass yearling

prices compared to last year are considerably lower, but in most cases they are turning a profit. Buyers have used some of the discipline and restraint that we predicted on the grass yearlings because these cattle are short term and most will be harvested in the first quarter of 2021. The wet-nosed calves are a longer-term investment Cattle feeders are always optimistic; if they make a dollar they invest it all back in. Recent reports from the USA suggest that they have reduced their surplus of cattle on feed for over 150 days from a million head down to 500,000. The majority of this reduction has not come from increased kills, but rather from smaller numbers put on feed during the spring and summer months. Those cattle were still in the system but not confined in major feedlots on a finishing ration. The August on feed report from the USA gave a glance into the near future. That report showed over 2% more cattle on finishing rations. This is the largest on feed inventory in the past 15 years. Placements in July 2020 were over 11% higher than 2019, and 6% more than the majority of experts had predicted. This caused the futures to drop for over a week and put downward pressure on the cash market for feeder cattle. Combine the heavier carcass weights in the USA and the extra volume of cattle to be put on feed this fall, and you have the extra supply of beef for the beginning of next year. In Canada, the estimated backlog of market ready cattle has been reduced to fewer than 100,000 head. This is almost a mirror image of the USA trend with one exception - Canadian carcass weights are now very close to last year’s average, which

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could suggest that we are more current in our marketing than our neighbours to the south. Some of the surplus was the extra 100,000 cattle that were on feed in Canada in the first quarter. These cattle are going to be harvested in the near future allowing Canada to possibly clear up the backlog sooner than in the USA. The backlog numbers were reduced in the north by the reduction of feeder cattle put on feed in the second quarter of this year. The August 1st, the Alberta/Saskatchewan on feed report showed 105% cattle on feed, with a whopping 123% feeder cattle placements in July. August placements will be high as well due to the large number of backgrounded cattle and grass yearlings placed on finishing rations during that time. The second trend to consider is weather. The summer/fall of 2020 has been a pretty good year in the majority of the farming areas. Crops got timely rains and harvest was early with good conditions, which translated into good yields and above average quality. Hay crops were better than last year and straw was easy to find and get baled in timely fashion. Farmers are on schedule with fall work, pastures in most areas are holding on, pens are getting cleaned and repaired. This fall has been a treat compared to last year. Despite some regional differences, the cost of feeding calves will be lower than last year. Both corn and barley prices, along with bedding will be lower this year, reducing the cost of gain. Pens are ready to receive the cattle and most of the backgrounders are ready for calves now, six weeks ahead of last year. Last year wet and cold weather, along with poor pen conditions resulted in lots of sick

calves at the feedlots. This year is looking much better. The long-term predictions for the cattle industry look good. Canada will have to continue to maintain and increase their exports, but the opportunities are there. In closing I would like to address the COVID-19 protocols for this fall. The provincial government regulates the auction markets and buying stations. They are considered an essential service, which allows them to continue to offer public auction of your livestock. However, to be able to stay in business and serve you they must adhere to the provincial, and in some cases,t municipal regulations. So far since spring we have seen restrictions on the number of persons in the ring, public denied entry to the markets, and most recently in the Prairie Mountain Health District, the requirement that those attending the auction wear masks. These regulations can change on a moment’s notice. The Manitoba Livestock Marketing Association asks that you make yourself aware of the regulations in the area or at the market that you wish to attend and respect the required protocols. Your personal opinion on COVID-19 matters not, as the markets are required to operate within the provincial guidelines. Your patience and support will be appreciated as the markets and buyers attempt conduct commerce as close to normal as the regulations will allow. As always, maybe even more importantly this year, will be talking to you marketing representative prior to delivering livestock or attending a sale. Until next time, Rick


The livestock marketing sector is recognized as an essential service, and the members of the MLMA have been allowed to operate and stay open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the cattle producers and livestock feeding industry. The auctions and buying stations are regulated by federal, provincial and municipal regulations and guidelines including those related to the COVID-19 protocols. To remain open, to keep customers and staff safe, and provide you with a place to market your cattle, the auctions and buying stations have been required to limit the number of persons at the auction, restrict the public from attending the sales, and in some areas, require those attending to wear masks while at the sales. Markets have marked seating areas to maintain social distancing and have restricted public access to many areas of the facilities. The protocols can change very quickly and may vary from health district to health district. MLMA members do not make the rules but are required to follow them! MLMA members are committed to doing what is required to remain open and provide you with the service that you have come to expect. We urge all cattle producers, industry partners and livestock haulers to respect the regulations that the markets and buying stations are required to follow this fall. Some MLMA members may do more than the minimum requirements to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. Your support and patience will be appreciated by those committed to keeping our industry viable and sustainable during this difficult time. Your cooperation will help our members maintain their essential service designation. The members of MLMA provide True Price Discovery with competitive bidding through a number of marketing platforms. They are bonded and licensed and follow the prompt payment guidelines. Contact the member of your choice for more information on marketing your cattle this fall.



Why a cost of production network? Canada is the sixth largest beef exporter in the world. Live cattle to the United States are also a substantial business. Cost of production and price competitiveness are key aspects to any major exporting commodity, along with regulatory environment and available resources. The beef industry must be profitable and competitive to secure land, labour, and capital otherwise those investments will go into other commodities that provide a greater return on investment. The Canadian CowCalf Cost of Production Network (CDN COP Network) has been developed collaboratively with provincial coordinators and funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council. Industry has taken a lead role in coordinating the Network working with local expertise in each province. This information will support cow-calf producers as they evaluate how to evolve with new technologies and enhance competitiveness in an international marketplace. The four reasons for creating the CDN COP Network are: 1. Benchmarks created for specific ecoregions and production systems 2. National coverage and standardized methodology 3. Reduced response burden 4. Learning in community

Benchmarks Created for Specific Ecoregions and Production Systems Producers use cost of production data to benchmark and evaluate their own farm’s performance over time, but also to benchmark against a provincial average to determine competitiveness and resilience. However, provincial averages mean that data from an operation in one region of a province with less than 100 days of winter feeding and an operation located in an area with over 150 days of winter feeding are aggregated together into a single benchmark. These “benchmarks” do not make sense to producers and discourage participation in these programs and the concept of benchmarking. Grouping farms together based upon production practices rather than using provincial boundaries will allow producers to self-select benchmark farms that they can identify with through a set of management practices that best fit their operation’s situation. National Coverage and Standardized Methodology There has been limited cost of production data available to cow-calf producers outside of Alberta for several years. Historically each province has had their own system for collecting and calculating cost of production. Differences in methodology has


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meant results could not be compared, or if they were, it was done with caveats that methodology differed. Over the last 20 years, investment by provinces has declined from annual onfarm collection to surveys every five years, or no collection at all in some areas. With the CDN COP Network, there will be cost of production benchmarking data from coast to coast for the first time, all utilizing a standardized methodology that allows for international comparisons in agri benchmark, an international cost of production network with coverage in 34 countries representing 80% of global beef production. Reducing Response Burden Producer data will be collected every five years with prices indexed annually. This means that historical data will be available right away for analysis and research projects. Data collection through the CDN COP Network provides the basis for the different types of production

systems in each region; while provincial averages will be used for the appropriate sale weeks and weights for each animal type annually. In addition, duplication will be minimized as this cost of production information is used in research projects, reducing the need for additional data collection from producers. Specifically, the CDN COP Network data will provide the basis for the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef ’s updated economic assessment in 2021-2023. This project will connect cow-calf economics with practices that reduce

greenhouse gas emissions on-farm to find win-win solutions. Learning in Community Producers are able to learn from each other and share ideas on how to implement different practices once they complete their participation in a focus group. The goal of the Network is not just to provide benchmarks, but also to encourage innovation and pass on knowledge to a new generation of producers entering the industry and learn from other producers. This is an opportunity to be a part of a producer network committed to Production System A

Production System B

Calving start date

January 15

April 15

Calving season length

63 days

90 days

Weaning dates

October 15-30

November 1-15

Retained ownership

Replacements only

Pre-condition calves before sale

% of Land base used for cash crops



Days of fall grazing (e.g. swath-grazing, crop residue, corn grazing)



Winter feeding location


Extensive (in-field)

First day of winter feeding

October 25

December 30

Days supplemented (e.g. hay) while on pasture, feed brought in.



Days on full feed (unable to graze)



Table 1. Example of Different Production Systems

Feeder Sales Canadian Angus RFID Indicator Program BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Livestock Producers Co-Op (Kamloops) 250-573-3939 | October 13; November 3 Okanagon Falls Stockyards 250-497-5416 | October 19; November 2 Vanderhoof Auction Market Ltd. 250-567-4333 | October 16 Williams Lake Stockyards 250-398-7174 | October 14 VJV Dawson Creek Auction 250-782-3766 | October 16, 27


learning about the benefits and costs of adopting different practices, and improving together. Scenarios will be developed for what future farms could look like utilizing the 5% Rule to identify where incremental improvements could be made around productivity, input costs, and output prices. How to Participate? Go to COPNetwork.aspx and fill out the Producer Sign-up Survey. This article originally appeared in the September 10, 2020 blog at and is reprinted with permission.

Balog Auction Services Inc. 403-320-1980 | October 20, 27; November 3 Bow Slope Shipping Association 403-362-5521| Contact for sale dates Calgary Stockyards Ltd. (Strathmore) 403-934-3344 | October 10, 24; November 7 Dryland Cattle Trading Corp. (Veteran) 403-575-3772 | November 2 Innisfail Auction Mart 403-227-3166 | October 5, 19; November 2, 16; December 7 Medicine Hat Feeding Company 403-526-2707 | October 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 31; November 2, 4, 6, 9 North Central Livestock Exchange Inc. (Clyde) 780-348-5893 | October 27 (Vermilion) 780-853-5372 | November 7 Olds Auction Mart 403-556-3655 | October 9, 23 Perlich Bros. Auction Market Ltd. 403-329-3101 | October 10, 14, 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14 Provost Livestock Exchange 780-753-2218 | October 26; November 9 Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange (Fort Macleod) 403-553-3315 August 7 (Chain Lakes); September 11 (Lethbridge Lodge); October 15, 17, 22 Foothills Auctioneers Inc. (Stavely) 403-549-2120 | October 5, 13, 19, 26; November 2, 9, 16, 23 Stettler Auction Mart (1990) Ltd. 403-742-2368 | October 2 (silver), 20 30; November 6, 17

Market your 2020 Angus tagged calves at these Angus feature sales at participating auction markets. These auction markets are recognized supporters and sellers of cattle identified as Angus through the Canadian Angus RFID indicator.

TEAM Electronic Sale 403-234-7429 | October 9, 23; November 6, 20; December 4 Thorsby Stockyards Inc. 780-789-3915| October 22; November 19 Viking Auction Market 780-336-2209 |October 6; November 3; December 1 VJV Auctions | 780-336-2209 Beaverlodge 780-354-2423| October 15 Ponoka 403-783-5561 | October 21 Rimbey 403-843-2439 | October 20 Triple J VJV Westlock 780-349-3153 | October 22 DLMS 780-991-3025


Alameda Auction Market 306-489-2221 | Contact for sale dates Assiniboia Livestock Auction 306-642-5358 | October 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14, 21 Cowtown Livestock Exchange Inc. (Maple Creek) 306-662-2648 | October 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31; November 3, 5, Heartland Livestock Services Moose Jaw 306-692-2385 | October 15, 27; November 10 Swift Current 306-773-3174 October 17, 24; November 7, 14, 21, 28 Yorkton 306-783-9437 | November 4, 11; December 2 Kelvington Stock Yards 306-327-8325 | Contact for sale dates Mankota Stockmen’s Weigh Co. 306-478-2229 | October 16, 23, 30 Northern Livestock Sales Lloydminster 306-825-8831 | November 2, 16 Meadow Lake 306-236-3411 | October 31; November 4 Prince Albert 306-763-8463 | October 26; November 9 Saskatoon Livestock Sales Ltd. 306-382-8088 | November 13 Shaunavon Livestock Sales (88) Ltd. 306-297-2457 | Contact for sale dates Spiritwood Stockyards 306-883-2168 | October 14, 28; November 11, 25 Weyburn Livestock Exchange 306-842-4574 | October 19; November 2, 16

Whitewood Livestock Sales 306-735-2822 | October 13, 27; November 3, 17; December 1


Interlake Cattlemen’s Co-Op Assn Ltd. (Ashern) 204-768-2360 | October 28 Gladstone Auction Mart 204-385-2537 | March 9, 2021 Grunthal Livestock Auction 204-434-6519 | October 13 Heartland Livestock Brandon 204-727-1431 | October 13; November 3 Virden 204-748-2809 | October 14, 28; November 18 Killarney Auction Mart Ltd. 204-523-8477 | October 12 Pipestone Livestock Sales 204-854-2262 | October 16, 30; November 6, 20 Ste. Rose Auction Mart Ltd. 204-447-2266 | November 12 Winnipeg Livestock Sales 204-694-8328| October 9, 30; November 20


Brussels Livestock 519-887-6461 | November 6 Ontario Stockyards Inc. (Cookstown) 705-458-4000 | October 8 Ottawa Livestock Exchange (Greely) 613-821-2634 | September 24; November 9 Kawartha Lakes Community Sale Barn Inc. 705-439-4444 | September 30; October 7, 14, 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18, 25; December 2, 9 Keady Livestock Market (Blue Water) 519-934-2339| October 29 Ontario Livestock Exchange Ltd. (Waterloo) 519-884-2082 |October 14; November 18


Contact the Feeder Calf Sales Agency 450-697-0540


Atlantic Stockyards Ltd. 902-893-9603 | Contact for sale dates

To order Canadian Angus RFID indicators, please order directly from CCIA at or call 1-877-909-2333.



2020 research & demonstration roundup BY: DR. MARY-JANE ORR

MBFI General Manager

The Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives (MBFI) 2020 summer field season in a pandemic was a steep learning curve for project leads, full time staff, and summer students. MBFI is grateful for the opportunity to be working with a fantastic team of collaborators and staff willing to go the extra mile in safety protocols and creative work arounds to get the job done for beef & forage research and demonstration. Studies underway this year at MBFI are distinguished into three types of projects, Tier I and II in on-farm demonstration and Tier III in academic research. All three Tiers complement each other in documenting benefits to producers and have a critical role in advancing the industry. Demonstration projects are created to showcase beneficial management practices, new tools or technologies, innovative grazing or cropping practices, and economics of practices. Studies may collect information on the types of plants present, forage yield and quality, soil properties, weight gain on livestock, days of grazing, labour and associated cash costs. Tier I demonstration is designed as case studies to display and document how a practice performs at MBFI. Similar to trying something out on your own farm these projects do not have treatment replication or built in comparison to a control. Findings will be based on measurements specific to the site and conditions of MBFI farm stations. Ongoing Tier I studies include: Improving marginal pasture through rotational and mob grazing, originally led by Jane Thornton (Manitoba Agriculture Resource Development; MB ARD) and currently led following Jane’s retirement by Mae Elsinger (Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, AAFC) in collaboration with MBFI staff. The project documents livestock performance, change in forage growth under rotational and mob grazing, evaluates influence of mineral placement in grazing patterns, and measures the establishment of legumes by broadcast seeding and hoof impact. Extensive winter grazing, led by Shawn Cabak (MB ARD) documents the livestock performance, productivity and cost of production of extending fall and winter grazing through stockpiled forage, swath grazing, standing corn grazing, and bale grazing. Strategic beef cattle herd development, led by MBFI details the implementation MBFI’s crossbreeding herd plan using genetic tools such as EnVigour HX breed compo-

sition and leptin testing. Tier II demonstration is designed with randomized treatment replication and or a control treatment to assess if the practice(s) perform better than a comparison under the conditions at MBFI. Ongoing Tier II studies include: Understanding and manipulating leafy spurge populations with cattle grazing and biological control, led by Mae Elsinger (AAFC) measures the impact of grazing and beetle biocontrol on the density of leafy spurge in a marginal pasture. Planned grazing, led by Pam Iwanchysko (MB ARD)

poly-crop into a marginal pasture using either chemical or grazing suppression of the forage stand, and evaluates the perennial forage re-establishment following harvest. Intercropping corn in an extensive beef cattle winter grazing system, led by MBFI comparing corn forage and between row cover crop productivity and quality in 30-inch and 60-inch row spacing. Effect of bale placement and binding material on grazing residue, led by MBFI measures residue wastage through winter bale grazing comparing side vs end placed bales and twine vs sisal twine binding. Fertilization comparison to increase rangeland health and yield, led by MBFI comparing standard fertility and Albrecht soil test fertility recommendations and forage productivity on a marginal pasture. The Tier III research is designed and carried out by university or federal researchers to the standard of respective study areas. Ongoing Tier III studies include: Soil health assessment for enhanced productivity and resilience for cattle grazing systems in Manitoba grasslands, Terrence McGonigle (Brandon University). Keep Grazing – Exploring cattle grazing as a riparian management tool, Alex Koiter (Brandon University). Assessment of spatial variability of agricultural and riparian soil GHG fluxes in regards of carbon and nitrogen losses, Alex Koiter (Brandon University). Long term impact of annual forage polycultures and fertility management on soil health and functioning, Luke Bainard (AAFC). Assessing the impact of grazing annual forage cover crops in an integrated crop-livestock system, Jillian BainSummer student Emily Pearson setting up grazing cages. ard (AAFC). evaluates livestock performance, differences in forage yield Impacts of cattle grazing on the proliferation of foxand quality, number of grazing days, and changes in plant tail barley in wet meadow rangelands, Rafael Otfinowski community composition between rotational and continu- (University of Winnipeg). ous grazing. Response of rangeland ecosystems to extreme Soil carbon monitoring to detect changes due to drought, Rafael Otfinowski (University of Winnipeg). grazing management, led by Mathew Wiens (MB ARD) Developing an efficient and reliable method of cenmeasures the change in soil carbon in the planned grazing susing ground squirrels, Susan Lingle (University of Windemonstration. nipeg) Using novel seed mix to rejuvenate tame pastures Strategic supplementation to improve beef cattle and create pollinator habitat, led by Kim Wolfe (MB performance in grazing systems, Kim Ominski (UniverARD) evaluates establishing a pollinator seed blend into sity of Manitoba). standing marginal pasture by chemical compared to grazThe majority of demonstration studies overviewed in ing suppression, and broadcast seeding with mob grazing this roundup will be wrapping up in the fall of 2021, trigcompared to no-till seeding. ging a new proposal intake in November 2021. For more Pasture cropping establishment comparison, led information check out MBFI’s newly revised Research & by MBFI compares no-till Demonstration webpage at or email seeding a winter annual

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Verified Beef Production Plus Workshops are being delivered by webinar during the evening • Webinars take place in the evenings so producers aren’t taken away from their daily chores. • The interactive webinars are delivered using web based video conferencing software. • Participants can interact during the presentations, hear the presenters, and ask questions or make comments in real time. • Also available via app for iOS and Android.

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Chinese curry/stir-fry beef recipe BY ELISABETH HARMS With new fall routines in full swing, having an arsenal of quick, healthy and nutritious recipes at your disposal can make a big difference when time is short. This recipe for Chinese Curry Stir fry is perfect to add to that collection of healthy recipes you use when you need to get dinner ready quickly. I really like this recipe because it is a bit of a hybrid of two different styles of dishes, and each of these dishes lends its best qualities to this stir fry. As evident from the name of the dish, a curry and a stir fry lend their best parts to make up this recipe. For me, the best part of a curry is the sauciness and flavour, and the best part of a stir fry is how easy it is to throw together. A couple of ingredients included in this recipe are going to help you achieve the best possible result. To get the right flavour, you’ll need to add curry powder, which will give you the colour characteristic of a curry. At the end of cooking, you can add either chicken stock or water to get the right amount of sauce. The recipe calls for one cup, but if you like a lot of sauce in your dish, feel free to increase this to a cup and a half.

For this recipe, I have chosen to use sirloin steak here because of its natural tenderness and because it doesn’t need to be marinated for a long time. After about 15 minutes, this cut of meat will be ready to cook. If you can’t find sirloin, you can always substitute it for flank steak. If you do use a flank steak, make sure to marinate the meat for at least half an hour. Cooking the meat quickly over high heat and adding a flavourful sauce before the stock is one of the best parts of a stir fry. After adding stock to create your sauce, you will want to add a simple mixture of corn starch and water. This will ensure your sauce reaches your desired consistency. Making sure the corn starch and water is thoroughly mixed will also ensure a smooth sauce without lumps. It’s also a great trick to thicken any sauce quickly. Many different southeast Asian cultures have their own take on a curry, inspired by fresh and local ingredients. Whether you have tried an Indian curry or a Thai curry, I hope you’ll give this Chinese curry stir fry a try. Tune in to Great Tastes of Manitoba on October 31 for more meal ideas or visit for lots of great recipes.

Chinese Curry/Stir-fry Beef (serves 4) 1 lb sirloin, thinly sliced against the grain 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp cooking sherry or water or stock 1 tsp sugar Combine ingredients and set aside until you are ready to cook. Slice: 1 yellow or red bell pepper 1 medium onion

Combine and set aside: 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce 1 ½ tsp soy sauce ½ tsp Chinese five spice powder 1 ½ tbsp curry powder ¼ tsp chilli powder

Mince: 3-4 garlic cloves 1 ½” piece of ginger

Measure: 1 cup water or stock (add ½ cup more if you like it really saucy) Combine: 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp water 1. Heat large frying pan or wok over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp canola oil. 2. Add garlic/ginger/onion and stir fry about 5 minutes. You want the onion to start to soften without turning brown. Add the pepper and stir-fry 2 minutes more. 3. Add the meat and cook until it has browned, and you don’t see any juices seeping through the slices. This will take about 7-10 minutes. 4. Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir so it coats the meat and vegetables evenly. It will thicken slightly as you stir it. 5. Add your stock/water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the cornstarch/water mixture. Continue to boil about 5 minutes more, or until you reach your desired consistency. Serve over steamed rice.

ear DID YOU Res Fertility is 5X more important than KNOW? growth rate when it comes to profit. ch shows

of the calf crop born in In 2020 Edie Creek Angus had 80% the first 30 days. the 1st cycle and 90% were born in EDIE CREEK BIG TIME 848C

Photo by Elisabeth Harms


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10 CATTLE COUNTRY October 2020

Soil health under a dual-purpose perennial forage grain system BY CHRISTINE RAWLUK

National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, University of Manitoba

We are currently in the middle of the International Decade of Soils, which runs from 2015 until 2024, and with the passage of time, the role of soils in sustaining our food systems remains as critical as ever. Once a year on December 5th, World Soil Day aims to remind us all of the importance of soil health and it is a popular topic for the agricultural community and consumers alike. Research plays an important role in evaluating farm management practices that benefit soil health, which is an important contributor to the overall sustainability of food production. At the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Livestock and the Environment one such research project aims to identify integrated crop/livestock management practices using perennial grains that nurture healthy soils so they continue to yield high quality food crops and grasslands. Perennial grains a fit for cattle producers? Perennial grains such as intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) offer diversity to traditional forage/ cropping systems by providing grain for human consumption plus high quality forage regrowth for late season grazing from the same land area within a single growing season. Demand for

IWG grain – marketed as Kernza – is expected to continue to grow as food companies, big and small, look to develop food products which enhance environmental attributes. This project looks at the soil health benefits associated with incorporating IWG as a dual-use (within the same growing season) grain and forage crop in cattle production. This soil health research is one component of a larger study led by animal scientist Emma McGeough and plant scientist Doug Cattani to determine potential agronomic, animal production, economic and environmental benefits of IWGbased grazing strategies for late fall/early winter. Soil scientist Francis Zvomuya and graduate student Nikisha Muhandiram, working with Tim Crews of The Land Institute in Kansas, are conducting the soil health component of the project. The team will examine the changes in soil health under IWG in a pure stand, with or without nitrogen fertilizer post-establishment, or in a mixed stand (50:50) with a legume (Alsike clover), compared with a perennial mix of tall fescue/ alfalfa/ cicer milk vetch over a 3-year period. Major goals are to fill knowledge gaps, improve our understanding of the impacts of fall/ winter grazing of perennial grains on soil health, and to provide science-based information for the use of this novel, dual-purpose crop for the beef industry.

What is soil health and how do you measure it? The health of an agricultural soil is related to its biological, chemical and physical properties, which in turn are affected by factors such as crop and grazing land management, climate and the environment and even the conditions under which the soil formed. Soil properties such as organic matter content, texture, structure, bulk density, nutrients, pH, and salinity change in response to these conditions. In this study, properties that are sensi- Healthy soils benefit crop and pasture production. tive to changes in manageThe University of Maniment over the short term nutrients to the crop, and es in soil health withwill be measured owing to the ability of water to move out the need for annual toba research team includes Emma McGeough, Doug the 3-yr project duration. into and be stored within measurements. Because of the short Cattani, Francis Zvomuya, These include soil carbon, the soil for use by the crop duration of the study only Kim Ominski, and Derek nitrogen and phosphorus will be evaluated. soil properties that are ex- Brewin. Also part of the What will this soil health (total, mineralizable and pected to change over a research team are Roland research tell us? plant-available forms), As part of her mas- short time span will be in- Kröbel, Aaron Glenn and soil pH, salinity level, and physical properties like ter’s program, Nikisha’s soil cluded in the final models. Mae Elsinger (Agriculture bulk density and soil pore health research will explore The models will provide and Agri-Food Canada), Bill space which are related the relationships between insights into the effects Biligetu (University of Sasto soil compaction, aera- key soil properties and soil of IWG management op- katchewan) and Tim Crews tion, water infiltration and function under the various tions on soil functions or (The Lands Institute, KanIWG-based systems being “health” in the short term. sas). hydraulic conductivity. This project is jointly Healthy soils also per- tested. Data measured at This information will imform important functions the start of the experiment prove understanding of funded by Manitoba Beef to benefit the ecosystems will be used to develop the role of IWG as a novel Producers, NSERC, and Ag they support which can be models that can be im- dual-purpose, multi-year Action Manitoba program, linked to long-term sus- plemented by industry to crop as part of a robust funded under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. tainability. These functions predict long-term chang- grazing system. include increased carbon sequestration, increased water holding capacity, reNikisha Muhandiram is a Masters student in the duced soil erosion, reduced Department of Soil Science at the University of greenhouse emissions, Manitoba, under the supervision of Dr. Francis Zvomuya. Nikisha is originally from Sri Lanka, a and enhanced resilience to country blessed with high agro-biodiversity, which natural and anthropogenic inspired her to explore more about sustainable disturbances. For this study, management practices in crop production. In her IWG grain and forage yield, thesis research, she aims to assess the ability of accumulation of soil organsoil properties to predict changes in soil functions ic matter and soil carbon seunder different perennial forage grain systems. questration, capacity of the soil to capture and supply

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October 2020 CATTLE COUNTRY 11

Importance of vaccine programs BY DR. TANYA ANDERSON, DVM The most recent published (2019) Western Canadian Cow Calf Surveillance Study results indicated that 97 percent of cow/calf producers reported vaccinating their cow herd with at least one vaccine. This is a large improvement from results from the same study in 2002 that reported only 45 percent of herds being vaccinated. Of note, these are herds that regularly work with a veterinarian. Vaccine use in herds lacking a veterinary client patient relationship is much lower. The uptake of vaccination in calves is poorer than that in cows. According to the same study, not all producers vaccinate for Clostridial diseases and 15% do not give respiratory vaccines to calves before weaning. Cow herd vaccination is done primarily for the prevention of reproductive diseases but some of those same viruses (BVD, IBR namely) cause pneumonia in young

stock. Carryover of colostral antibody to calves helps provide protection for them within the first few months of life. Calves are the most at risk group in the herd for developing illness. They have immature immune systems and rely on colostral antibody transfer from their dams at birth. A solid cow herd vaccination and nutrition program will ensure that this transfer is the best it can be. But colostral immunity begins to wane by as early as two months depending on the disease organism and calves will then become more susceptible to disease unless their immune systems are again boosted through the use of vaccines. Calves are also high risk for developing disease due to herd dynamics and modern large scale management practices. Crowding and stress during processing, weaning and shipping causes immunosuppression. Mixing of cattle from various sources at sale time through auction barns or when sorted


for placement in the feedlot also increases the risk of disease transmission. Vaccination of calves prior to leaving the farm and going to the feedlot is crucial to ensure lowered sickness rates post-weaning. Think about how many of you have gotten sick when your children first went to school and brought home all the “community� bugs. News Feed from FoodPrint - “The rise of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a public health crisis, and routine antibiotic misuse in industrial agriculture is part of the problem.� While there is a push back against industrial agriculture, defined as a farm that has >1000 head, the reality is that improved efficiency and maintenance of lower food costs requires specialized agricultural operations. However, it is imperative that we reduce our dependence on antibiotics from both an economic and regulatory standpoint. 80% of the antibiotic use in the world had been in food-producing animals with the vast majority of that for non-therapeutic uses such as growth enhancement and improved feed efficiency. That has since been banned but what many producers do not realize, there is also a push by some groups for the ban of medically important antibiotics for treatment of disease in livestock. Do any of these names ring a bell - Excenel, Excede, Baytril, A180, Draxxin, Zuprevo, Zactran, Micotil? Vaccines help eliminate or reduce the vulnerability to disease and the need

for antibiotics. Herd immunity through vaccination helps protect each individual animal by reducing exposure and propagation of disease causing organisms. Every cow and every calf on every farm needs to be vaccinated. Prevention of reproductive health problems in your cowherd protects your investment while prevention of respiratory disease in calves helps both you as well as those that you hope will buy your calves in the fall. The exact vaccine product and timing is a matter to discuss with your herd veterinarian. Every cow should be vaccinated with a 4-way viral vaccine and a Clostridial while calves get the same as well as vaccines to prevent bacterial pneumonia. The need for additional vaccines such as those for the prevention of footrot, pinkeye and scours can be tailored to each herd as required. I term this the “bare-bones� vaccination program for beef cattle. Choosing not to vaccinate because you don’t have health issues on your farm may be a valid comment but if you are want to sell your calves or are considering entering the bred cow/heifer market, no vaccinations equates to poor management and flags your operation as high risk for both disease and even antibiotic resistance. Some in the industry feel that the time will soon come where tracebacks to the herd of origin by cattle feeders will happen. Don’t be the producer who becomes known for cattle with high sickness and death losses in the feedlot.

Manitoba Beef Producers is pleased to make available six $500 scholarships annually for MBP members or their children attending a university, college, other post-secondary institution or pursuing trades training. Preference will be given to those students pursuing a field of study related to agriculture or to those acquiring a skilled trade that would be beneficial to the rural economy.






Completed applications and supporting documents must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. Friday, November 6th, 2020. A selection committee will review the submissions. Winners will be notified by December 11, 2020.


2020 SaleSale Schedule 2018Fall Winter Schedule


Thurs., Feb 1

Find the application online at Butcher Sale 9:00 am; Bred Cow Sale 1:00 pm

Tues., Feb 6

Feeder Sale

9:00 am

Thurs., Feb 8

Butcher Sale

9:00 am

DLMS Sales every Thursday @ 11:00 am

at Thurs., Feb 15 Butcher Sale Tues., Feb 13

Presort Sale


9:30 am 9:00 am

1:00 pm

Tues., Sale| Reg sale Afternoon Tues OctFeb 6 20 PresortFeeder Calf Sale Thurs., Feb 22 Butcher Sale Tues Oct 13 Presort Calf Sale | Angus Influence Tues., Feb 27 Presort Sale Tues Oct 20 Presort Calf Sale | Reg sale Afternoon Fri., Mar 2 Cattleman’s Connection Bull Sale Tues OctMar 27 6 PresortFeeder Calf Sale Tues., Sale| Charolais Influence

9:00 am 930am 9:00 am 930am 9:30 am 930am 1:00 pm 930am 9:00 am

Tues., Mar Sale Tues Nov 3 13 PresortPresort Calf Sale | Angus Influence

9:30 am 930am

Thurs., Mar 15 Bred Cow Sale Tues Nov 10 Presort Calf Sale | Hereford Influence Tues., Mar 20 Feeder Sale Tues Nov 17 Presort Calf Sale | Reg sale Afternoon Tues., Mar 27 Feeder Sale Tues Nov 24 Presort Calf Sale | Reg sale Afternoon

1:00 pm 930am 9:00 am 930am 9:00 am 930am

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

Heartland Livestock Services

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12 CATTLE COUNTRY October 2020



Photo by Rob McDowall, Church Ranch


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