Forgoing antibiotics comes with a cost

Hog producers told they can expect higher piglet mortality and costs of production if they move to an antibiotics-free system

BANFF, Alta. — Hog producers who plan to convert to a raised-without-antibiotics production model can expect higher piglet mortality, higher costs of production and market premiums that will level off as more operations convert. Given those factors, conversion might not seem overly attractive, but a push for meat from animals raised without antibiotics is increasing, […] Read more


Bright prospects for pork, if NAFTA proceeds

BANFF, Alta. — New hog processing plants in the United States are bullish for the Canadian pork industry, says agricultural consultant Larry Martin. Figures he provided at the Banff Pork Seminar Jan. 11 show this is the fifth year of hog herd expansion in the U.S., which now has 73 million hogs and indicates pork […] Read more


Antibiotic regulations tighten, but drugs will still be available

BANFF, Alta. — Pork producers have questions about access to antibiotics as rules change in Canada aimed at mitigating the effects of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Swine veterinarian Dr. Egan Brockhoff said he fields many queries, but he assured producers at the Banff Pork Seminar Jan. 11 that antibiotics will continue to be available for swine […] Read more



Pain relief mayhelp after calving

Cows and calves might benefit from pain relievers after calving, and consultation with a veterinarian can guide cow-calf producers to the best options for their cattle. Though there are no drugs registered in Canada that are specifically labelled for pain related to calving, there are several generally labelled for pain relief, said Dr. Claire Windeyer, […] Read more


Beef calf twins need special care

The birth of twins in beef cattle herds is seldom cause for celebration. Though it does mean an extra calf to sell in the future, the extra labour involved in birthing and likely fostering the extra calf onto another cow can overshadow potential benefit. Karin Lindquist, forage and beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture, said she’s […] Read more



Hog farmers can expect lots of innovation

BANFF, Alta. — There’s plenty of innovation going on in the hog industry, says Lee Whittington, whether its in development or already available. There are geofences, sensors that constantly monitor transport trailer conditions, methods of making crude petroleum from pig manure and air scrubbers so efficient that hog barns could be located right in towns […] Read more


When the headline is you: how to handle the media

Consultant tells producers that talking to reporters can be hard, but ignoring a story can be dangerous

Consultant tells producers that talking to reporters can be hard, but ignoring a story can be dangerous

BANFF, Alta. — The sympathy for Sunterra Farms operations vice-president Ben Woolley was almost palpable in the room filled with more than 700 people with an interest in hog production. He volunteered for a mock interview Jan. 10 as former journalist and public relations specialist Jeff Ansell spoke about media and how to handle interviews. […] Read more


VIDEO: Parks receive failing grade in education

The former superintendent of Banff National Park says national, provincial and municipal parks protect nature to some extent but generally fail in the more important goal of educating and connecting people with the natural world around them. A park boundary is not a halo, said Kevin Van Tighem. “We’re doing parks wrong in many cases. […] Read more



Quarter horse enthusiasts win legacy award

TABER, Alta. — Ed Sparks’ voice warms as he holds photos of some special quarter horses. He and his wife, Pat, have been breeding, raising and training horses since 1965, and as Ed cradles the photographs, it’s obvious that horses are a lifetime love. Others in the quarter horse realm know it. Ed and Pat […] Read more


Lethbridge may get large pot greenhouse

A Calgary company plans to build an 180,0000 sq. foot greenhouse in Lethbridge to produce marijuana for recreational use. Fifty First Parallel plans to eventually produce 12,600 kilograms of cannabis annually once its three-phase development plan is complete by 2020. The firm has bought five acres of land in Lethbridge’s new industrial park. It expects […] Read more