2015 Fall Advocate

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ADVOCATE The official publication of the Ontario Simmental Association

Cover Picture Taken by Taika von Königslöw Marywood Simmentals Palmerston On

Published show results, sale results, events, announcements, etc. will only be listed in the Advocate if delivered to the graphic designer in writing or email. Simmental related photographs you wish to share are also encouraged.


If you have a cover shot for the advocate please send it to memberservices.osa@gmail.com

B&W 1⁄2 Page $110 B&W Full Page $175 Color Full Page $300 Color Inside Covers $325 Color Back Cover $375 Yearly Card Ad $75

From the Editor YEARLY CONTRACTS The Advocate is the official publication of the Ontario Simmental Association. The emphasis of the magazine is to keep Ontario Simmental breeders informed about past and up-coming events; provide a resource for marketing and advertising; and, to support Simmental youth programs. We also highlight local and international news items that impact cow-calf operators and the beef industries as a whole. Areas of interest include: animal health; beef trade and market issues; the latest research initiatives; and, consumer attitudes toward beef.

Receive 10% discount on regular rates with exception to the card ads. YEARLY CONTRACTS Consists of 2 issues *Must be a paid OSA member to advertise 1 year | Membership (HST incl.) $38 or $33 before Jan 31st 3 year | Membership (HST incl.) $97 or $92 before Jan 31st *Prices may change according to printing costs.

ADVERTISING & COPY DEADLINES For more Information Josh Wooddisse Ontario Simmental Member Services Manager www.ontariosimmentalassociation.com

All advertising, copy, and photographs must be submitted by the following dates SPRING ISSUE | DUE: Jan 21st FALL ISSUE | DUE: June 22st

OSA Advocate


OSA Board of Directors 2014 - 2015 Tina Hiddink

Billy Elmhirst

Dennis Elliott




T 613-399-3239

C 705-761-0896

T 519-345-2785




Dave Milliner

Carla Nolan

Brad Turpin



East Central Director

C 519-375-0122

T 905-607-2204

T 613-848-4208




Dan O’Brien

Grace Oesch

Brittany Barkley




C 613-761-2403

T 519-656-2199

613 537-2441




John Pearson Director 905-349-3415 j.kpearson@sympatico.ca

OSA Staff Debbie Elliott Treasurer T 519-345-2785 dje@djfarmscattle.com

Josh Wooddisse Member Services Manager C 519 362-5373 memberservices.osa@gmail.com

Ontario Simmental Association c/o D.J. Elliott, Acctg & Fnl Mgnt 7062 Line 26, RR2 Staffa, ON N0K 1Y0 Tel: (519) 345-2785 Fax: (519) 345-2799

OSA Advocate


Upcoming Events & Sales July 30 - August 2, 2015

October 24

Canadian Simmental Association Annual Conference & YCSA National Classic Lindsay, ON

Saltwater Classic Sale Nappan, NS

August 1 Friends of the Canadian Simmental Foundation Action Lindsay, ON

November 15, 2015 Central Invitational Simmental Sale Woodville, ON

November 6 - 15, 2015 September 24th - 27th 2015 Carp Fair Carp, ON

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Toronto, ON

November 23- 28, 2015 September 12, 2015 Ontario Autumn Simmental Classic Sale Maple Hill Auctions, Hanover, ON

Canadian Western Agribition Regina, SK

November 28, 2015 September 25 - 27 Maritime YCSA Classic Windsor, NS

Marywood Classic Bull & Female Sale Listowel, ON

December 7 - 13, 2015 October 1-4, 2015 River Point Cattle Co. Internet Sale Glencoe, ON

IRCC Christmas Internet Sale Indian River, ON

October 2 & 3, 2015 Bar 5 Farms Extravaganza Fall Production Sale Markdale, ON

October 9 - 11 Canadian National Simmental Show - Expo Boeuf Victoriaville, PQ

October 16-18, 2015 Endless Possibilities Online Sale Little Britain, ON

October 17 , 2015 Ottawa Valley Simmental Club Harvest Sale Metcalfe, ON

OSA Advocate


President’s Message – Tina Hiddink 2015 will be a summer that we, Canadians, will remember in years to come. Drought, raging fires, higher rain volumes including flooding. In Ontario we have been challenged as well, with early dry spring weather, followed by late spring frost in many counties and then unseasonal rain during haying time. Lets forget all that! Come join us in Lindsay, Ontario from July 30th to August 2, 2015 for the 2015 CSA Convention (AGM) together with the National YCS Show. We want to thank all the sponsors for the CSA and YCS programs. Without your support we would not have been able to provide the planned events for the CSA Convention and National YCS Show. We are excited about hosting these events at the “new” Lindsay Exhibition fair grounds. Planning is near completion and we welcome all Simmental breeders to join us in Lindsay, Ontario. We have planned some special events, including a dinner boat cruise, with Stoney Lake Cruises, on the historic Trent -Severn Waterway. The Kawartha Region that has more than 50 lakes, rivers and waterways, with the world’s highest liftlock. Plans are also near completion for the National YCS Show that has been coordinated by Carla Schmitt, CSA-YCS. Current registration indicate there are 90 YCS members registered and approximately 140 head of Simmental cattle. This will be an event to remember! Lindsay is located in the historic Kawartha Lakes Region that is a year-round outdoor playground and a great getaway. Discover what the area has to offer by searching their website: www.explorekawarthalakes.com I want to also thank the Ontario Simmental Association Board of Directors and the staff of the Canadian Simmental Association during the planning of this event. Special thanks to Josh Wooddisse, Members Services for completing our new Ontario Herd Directory and being helpful to the Board and assisting with the “leg work” for this event. Again, on behalf of the OSA Board of Directors I wish to invite you to the CSA Convention and National YCS Show.

Tina Hiddink

OSA Advocate


Ontario Simmental Association 2015 Annual General Meeting Report March 7, 2015 at 1:00PM Best Western, Peterborough, Ontario Tina Hiddink, 2014 OSA President, chaired the 2015 AGM meeting. The AGM was well attended by the Ontario membership and Ontario YCS. The 2015 Royal Judge selection: occurred with three nominees; Lee McMillen from Saskatchewan, Tyler Libke from Saskatchewan, Dr. Scott Schaake from Kansas. The membership voted for Tyler Libke from Saskatchewan. The 2015 CSA – Conference (AGM) and the National YCS Show are planned for July 30th to August 2nd, 2015 to be held at the Lindsay Exhibition fair grounds in Lindsay, Ontario. Dan O’Brien, Chair Sponsorship Committee provided a projected budget and the request for sponsorship re the CSA Convention and National YCS Show. Tina Hiddink as co-chair of the planning committee provided a brief outline of planned events at the CSA Convention. Report from John Pearson, Chair of the 2014 National Simmental Show at the RAWF. There were over 120 head of cattle shown and judged by Kyle Lewis from Spruce Grove Alberta. Thank you to all the exhibitors, volunteers and banner sponsors that made this show a success. Also thank you to Dan Munro for taking on the task of organizing the open show banners and Dan O’Brien for the Futurity banners. There were 3 director positions open for election: 2 for a 3-year term and 1 for a 2-year term. Tina Hiddink and Dave Milliner’s three year terms were over. Dan Munro had resigned, after one year due to personal obligations. The election results for the new OSA directors were; David Milliner and Brittany Barkley for a 3-year term and Tina Hiddink for a 2-year term. Reports were provided from the Ontario zones and the Ontario Simm-Belles. Bruce Holmquist, CSA General Manager provided a CSA update. Update with regards to the ongoing Simmental genomics project and updated EPDs. The new 2015 Directors held a brief Board meeting after the OSA-AGM. Tina Hiddink was elected President and Dave Milliner as Vice-President for 2015. A roast beef dinner was catered at the Best Western attended by the Ontario Charlois members and the Ontario Simmental/Ontario YCS members. The evening concluded in an auction of donated items, raising monies for the three associations. We thank Brad Denure for volunteering as auctioneer. Tina Hiddink

2015 elected OSA board OSA Advocate


When is the last time you did a Body Condition Scoring on your cows? Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is a valuable management tool for estimating the amount of energy reserves (body fat) an animal is carrying. Body condition can be used to adjust feeding programs throughout the year to optimize efficient use of available feed, to maintain herd fertility (i.e. the likelihood of cows cycling, and breeding on time), health, longevity and indirectly, to maintain calf weaning weights. In a sense, BCS adds scientific calibration to the experienced eye of the cattleman. BCS, as a hands-on determination, even though it is somewhat subjective, is more accurate than visual appraisal alone. Even the experienced eye will have trouble picking more than the extremes of very thin or very fat in a herd with a mixture of body types. Through discerning and managing the in-between scores of the majority of the cowherd the good cattleperson can troubleshoot problems and improve feed costs while maintaining productivity. Over-conditioning, or fatness can lead to metabolic problems and infections and is more likely to have difficulty calving. Under-conditioning, or thinness can frequently lower production and often do not show heat or conceive until they start to regain and maintain body weight. The Scottish Body Condition Scoring System, which is widely used in Canada, describes five scores (1 through 5) but allows for half scores e.g. BCS 2.5. It can be learned with a little training and careful observation. Half points are most often given if the rib score is different than the rump by more than one point. The tools are cheap and readily available: the evaluator’s sight and touch. BCS as a Management Tool Ideally the herd should be body condition scored at weaning, at calving and 30 days before breeding. Each cow should be scored and records kept from year to year. In a large herd, scoring a percentage of cows might be sufficient. For optimum efficiency of winter-feeding and rebreeding following calving, mature cows should go into winter with a minimum BCS of 3.0 and not drop below BCS 2.5 at calving or during the breeding season. First and second calf heifers should not drop below 3.0 at calving and during the breeding season. Nutritional management strategies which focus on maintaining these BCS levels result in lower winter feed costs, faster post calving return to oestrus, higher percentage of calves born early in calving season and higher weaning weights. One-half BCS represents about 100 lbs of body weight in a mature cow, which would weigh 1100 lbs at BCS 2.5. Based on 150+ days winter-feeding to calving, an 1100 lb cow with BCS 2.5 at weaning needs about 22 to 24 lbs of hay per day to maintain body condition through to calving. If she weighed 1200 lbs with BCS 3.0, she can get by with 18 to 20 lbs of hay, lose 0.5 lbs per day and still calve with BCS 2.5. If she weighed 1000 lbs with BCS 2.0 she would need about 30 to 32 lbs of hay to reach BCS 2.5 at calving as she needs more feed to keep warm and to gain weight. If cows are not gaining condition late in the fall, consider creep feeding the calves and weaning early. Feed first and second calf heifers and thin cows separately from the main herd and remember that some of the herd may not maintain or gain condition even with adequate feed so be prepared to adjust groupings during winter. Flushing only works if a cow can gain enough condition to reach BCS 2.5 by breeding time. If she calves with BCS 2.0 and you want to breed her in 60 to 90 days, she needs to gain 1.5lbs daily plus feed her calf, so adjust the ration accordingly (about 10 extra pounds of barley). However, if she is a good milker, with the extra feed she may produce more milk than the calf can use, which creates problems in itself. How to Estimate BCS Body fat content is estimated by thumb pressure on the end of the short ribs over the loin area between the hip bone (hook) and the last rib. There is no muscle at the end of the short ribs so any padding on the ribs is fat cover.

Figure 1:BCS is estimated by thumb pressure on the ends of the short ribs. OSA Advocate


BCS 1 – Severely emaciated •Individual short ribs are sharp to the touch as are virtually all skeletal structures. •There is no fat around the tailhead; hip bones, tailhead and ribsare visually prominent. BCS 2 – Moderately thin •Individual short ribs can be identified but feel rounded not sharp. •Some fat cover is visible around the tailhead and over the hipbones; individual ribs are no longer obvious. BCS 3 – Optimum •Ends of short ribs can only be felt with firm pressure. •Fat on either side of the tailhead can easily be felt. BCS 4 – Moderately fleshy •Short ribs cannot be felt even with firm pressure. •Soft rounds of fat are visible around the tailhead; folds of fat are beginning to develop over ribs and thighs. BCS 5 – Very fat •Short ribs are completely covered in fat and bone structure is no longer evident. •Tailhead and hip bones are buried in fat; folds of fat are evident over ribs and thighs. In Conclusion Use of body condition scoring (BSC) is one more technique that will allow fine tuning the nutrition program and improve managements decisions. Target scores help to determine what condition to aim for during the different stages. Preventing production losses as well as preventing disease and reproductive losses by ensuring proper body condition will be worth the time it takes to master this technique.

This was adapted from the farm animal council of Saskatchewan inc, publication “body condition scoring”, www.facs.sk.ca.

OSA Advocate


Summer Show Results Jr Beef Expo London, ON March 21st & 22nd, 2015 Champion Simmental Heifer Colin Pearson showing Academy Hill Bubbles 6B Sire - BMR EXPLORER Reserve Champion Simmental Heifer Owen Elmhirst showing IRCC Bombshell 418B Sire - MR HOC BROKER Colin Pearson – Academy Hill Bubbles

Youth Forum 2015 Simmental Division Markham April 25-26, 2015 Champion Simmental Heifer Owen Elmhirst showing IRCC Bombshell 418B Sire - MR HOC BROKER Owen Elmhirst – IRCC Bombshell 418B

Reserve Champion Simmental Heifer Colin Pearson showing Academy Hill Bubbles 6B Sire - BMR EXPLORER

Western Ontario 4-H Beef Invitational Listowel, ON July 4-5, 2015 Champion Heifer Candace Colvin showing RHF Miss Red Combo Broker Sire - MR HOC BROKER Candace Colvin - RHF Miss Red Combo Broker

The Ontario Simmental Association sponsored the Champion and Res Showperson and the winners were; Champion – Jessica Lasby Reserve Champion – Abbey Gibbson

OSA Advocate


Jessica Lasby & Abbey Gibbson

Simmental Innovations Conference Lindsay, Ontario Friday July 31, 2015 10:00 am

Bruce Holmquist - CSA General Manager Welcome and Introductions

10:10 am

Dr. John Crowley – Geneticist - University of Alberta, Research Associate - Livestock Gentec, and Director of Scientific & Industry Advancement with the Canadian Beef Breeds Council

➢ Simmental Innovations Update 10:40 am

Coffee Break

10:50 am

Dr. Katie Wood – Dept. of Animal & Poultry Science University of Saskatchewan

➢ Epigenetics and Fetal Programming in the Beef Industry - What you feed your pregnant cows matters more than you may think 11:15 am

Dr. John Crowley

➢ Genetic Improvement in other Countries - The Irish Cattle Breeders Federation model 12 noon


12:45 pm

Dr. Wade Shafer – EVP - American Simmental Association

➢ Genetic Evaluation In Cowboy Language 1:30 pm

2:00 pm

Scott Matthews – Cargill Ltd.

The Role that Seed-stock Producers play in Beef Production

Genomics in the harvest sector, now & in the future.

Dr. Wade Shafer

➢ International Genetic Solutions - What is it? 2:30 pm


2:45 pm

Dr. Stephen Miller – Geneticist - AgResearch, New Zealand

➢ What has DNA research done for other sectors? 3:30 pm

Genomic Question and Answer Panel Dr. Wade Shafer, Dr. Katie Wood, Mr. Scott Matthews

4:00 pm OSA Advocate

Closing Comments 9

Thank you to all the sponsors of the CSA Convention including the YCSA National Show & CSA events! Title Sponsors: 

New Holland

Canadian Simmental Association

Ontario Simmental Association

Simmental Country

Young Canadian Simmental Association

Diamond Sponsor: 

Maxwell Land & Livestock

Platinum Sponsor: 

Bar 5


East Central Ontario Simmental Association

Ontario Young Canadian Simmental Association

RK Animal Supplies

Gold Sponsors: 

Anchor D Ranch Simmentals

Ottawa Valley Seed Growers

Beef Farmers of Ontario

Ottawa Valley Young Canadian Simmental

Black River Simmentals

Ottawa Valley Simmental Club

Ferme Gagnon Inc

Peterborough County Cattlemen's Association


River Point Cattle Company

Kawartha Lakes Agri- Services

Sully's Farm

M & J Farms

TD Canada Trust

Nolara Farms

V5 Simmentals

Ontario Simm-Bells

OSA Advocate


Thank you to all the sponsors of the CSA Convention including the YCSA National Show & CSA events! Silver Sponsors: 

Barlee Simmentals

Maple Key Farm

Carew's Simmentals

Mar Mac Farms

Carl & Laurie Wright

Marywood Breeders Group

Cedar Creek Simmentals

McCormack Family Ranch

Destiny Simmentals

McIntosh Ranch

Donovandale Farms

Navan Fair

Dr. Everett & Marylon Hall

Robson Acres

Dr. Victoria Crane & Mike Thomas

Spruce Grove Cattle Company

Elm Tree Farms

Starfra Feeds & Shur Gain

Farm Credit Canada

Triple Rose Simmentals

Farmstead Gallery

Victoria Cattlemen's Association

Foley Simmentals

Western Producer

Fullblood Simmental Fleckvieh Federation

Whitewater Livestock

Hi-Tech Farms

Wild Oak Farms

Indian River Cattle Company

Xcel Livestock

Kenpal Farm Products Inc.

Kingfield Farms

Bronze Sponsors: 

Anne & Harold Cheslock

Sullivan Simmentals

Gravandale Simmentals

Tom Henderson Custom Meat Cutting

New Life Mills

Norwood Family Farm

O'Brien Farms

Rick-Sha Farms

OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate


What is epigenetics and fetal programming? By Katie Wood, PhD In classical genetics, we understand that the phenotype of an animal is a result of the animal’s genetic code and the environment it is exposed to. Recent research suggests that phenotype is much more complex, and that the interaction between the environment and genetic code may play a larger role than was historically thought. In the last decade, evaluating cattle genomics has led to newer understanding on how the environment interacts with the genetics of the animal. The field of nutrigenomics in particular has uncovered various other ways by which different nutrients and feeding programs can directly alter expression of an animal’s genes. This field of study brings a level of scientific truth to the phrase “You are what you eat.” But what if these effects were permanent and could be passed down to the offspring? What if that phrase really should read: “You are what your mother ate” or “You are what your grandmother ate”? Every cell in the body has the same copy of DNA, but that does not mean that the way each cell reads and uses the genetic code in the same way. These differences in how each cell uses and expresses the genetic code is essentially how a cell knows it is a liver cell and not a muscle cell. However, even within common cell types (e.g. muscle cells or fat cells) the pattern of gene expression can be altered in response to environmental stressors like nutrition, toxins or heat and cold stress. The collective way in which a cell uses these modifications to adjust expression of certain genes is referred to as its epigenome. The field of epigenetics is a relatively new field of study. The word “epi-“originates from the Greek for “above or beyond” and the term epigenetics literally translates into “above genetics”. Rather than investigate changes in the DNA sequence, epigenetics focus on how the genes are regulated and if the changes are permanent and are heritable from one generation to the next. Although the underlying mechanisms are not understood, there are two major mechanisms that are thought to play a major roll in regulating these differences. With methylation, small chemicals called methyl groups attach to areas of DNA and this methylation of DNA acts like a traffic light, ultimately slowing down or stopping how quickly the genetic code for a gene can be read.

OSA Advocate


Additionally small proteins known as histones, which act as spools in which DNA is tightly wrapped around and packed into the cell may also play a role. How tightly or loosely DNA is wrapped around these “spools” may influence how strongly or weakly different genes are expressed. Where the methylation of DNA acts more like an on/off switch, the histone modifications may act more like a dimmer switch, increasing or decreasing gene expression rather than turning genes fully on or off. Stimuli from the environment may affect the methylation of these genes in particular. These changes may be permanent and passed on from generation to generation. This helps to explain why what your mom ate, or didn’t eat, may affect you and your children. In the beef industry understanding how our management and nutritional regimes can influence the epigenome has potential to give producers another tool. For example, it may be possible to manage animals in order to optimize expression of genes that are desirable in different production systems (raising replacements vs. feedlot cattle, for example). Simplistically, most responses have been observed by applying a nutritional treatment (usually either nutrient restriction or over feeding) to the dam at various stages of gestation. For a developing embryo, different body systems are given priority for development and different systems develop at different times: early gestation is key for development of the placenta and development of the fetal organs, in mid –gestation development of the muscle fibres, where as in late gestation secondary development muscle and development of fat cells occurs. Although this field of study is relatively new, researchers are reporting some promising results. One study from the University of Wyoming investigated how these interactions influence carcass quality. They looked at the performance and carcass characteristics of steers that were born from dams grazing native range (low plane of nutrition) or an improved pasture (high plane of nutrition) during mid-late gestation. The steers born from cows grazing the higher plane of nutrition pasture had increased weaning weights, and during the feedlot finishing period had improved average daily gain, backfat thickness and live weight and hot carcass weight. Upon closer investigation these steers also had more fat cells within muscle than steers that were born from dams grazing a lower plane of nutrition during mid-to-late gestation. This phase in gestation may be a key time period where a high plane of nutrition may help increase the number of fat cells in the developing calf, which in turn may have lasting implications for improved carcass quality later in life. There may also be implications for reproductive success. Work by Dr. Rick Funston from the University of Nebraska looked at how providing a protein supplement to pregnant cows in their third trimester grazing dormant range or corn residue and then switched to a common diet after calving influenced heifer development. Heifers that were born from cows that received supplementation on range had increased weaning weight, decreased age at puberty and had 90% pregnancy vs. 80% pregnancy rate for heifers born from non-supplemented cows. continues on next page OSA Advocate


The “thrifty phenotype” hypothesis or sometimes known as the Barker Hypothesis, who coined the phrase in the 1990’s, is another aspect of epigenetics programming that may have some significant implications for the beef industry. The hypothesis originates in humans where children born from mothers who experienced malnourishment during gestation, had increased risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. By exposing the developing fetus to a nutrient poor environment in the womb, the baby is born expecting to survive in a nutrient poor environment. However, when nutrition is not limiting, the baby more efficiently utilized those nutrients and stores additional energy reserves as fat. For the beef industry this method may have implications to improve feed utilization and finishing time in the feedlot. However, it is not yet clear at this time the level of dietary restriction is needed to see this response in cattle, nor when the optimum time to implement a restriction protocol during gestation may be. Caution is also needed with this approach as if feed restriction is too severe there may be negative consequences to cow productivity, such as poor milk production and decreased reproductive success after calving.

The available research has shown that how we manage our beef cattle may alter how and genes are expressed. Continued research examining developmental programming will lead to a better understanding of the complex interactions between the environment, the maternal influence, and the animal’s own genetic code. Applications of this greater understanding may lead to re-evaluation of feeding programs and the development of multi-generational nutritional programming systems. Although the field of epigenetics is newly emerging and many of the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood, it has the potential to change the way in which we understand how genes are controlled and may provide new opportunities to improve animal growth and feed efficiency. By Katie Wood, PhD

OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate


Become an OSA Member The OSA • Puts on the Royal Winter Fair Show, supports the youth shows. • Promotes the Simmental breed by Ads (Simmental Country, Ontario Beef, Ontario Feeders) • Attends the Ontario Beef, Ontario Feeders AGM & trade shows • Any 4H member showing a Simmental receives a Simmental gift for completing the club Benefits of being a OSA Member • Receive the Advocate • Your Farm will be put in the OSA Directory that will be put out next year for the CSA AGM *1 year | OSA Membership (HST incl.) $38 or $33 before Jan 31st *3 year | OSA Membership (HST incl.) $97 or $92 before Jan 31st For more Information Josh Wooddisse - Ontario Simmental Member Services Manager www.ontariosimmentalassociation.com or memberservices.osa@gmail.com

OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate


OSA Advocate