This year’s prices for finished cattle stayed $10 above the lows of 2016 and 2017.  |  File photo

Fed cattle markets continue downward slide

Prices dropped 15 percent from the highest point in January to the low in summer, but it’s not as bad as most years


Feedlot and cow-calf margins are slipping downward as the beef market heads toward the end of the year. From the highest point in January to the low in summer, fed cattle prices dropped 15 percent, said Canfax analyst Dallas Rodger at the Alberta Beef Producers annual meeting in Calgary held Dec. 3-5. “In the last […] Read more

Most genetic work in forages has been done with alfalfa, pictured here, and sainfoin.  |  File photo

Economics guide forage genetic research

Researchers want to develop better forages that have more biomass, stress tolerance and altered leaf lipid content

The earliest form of genetic modification started thousands of years ago when ancient farmers experimented with selection of wild plants to make them better to eat. “When you see a new trait it is because a genetic change has occurred,” said Stacy Singer, a biotechnologist and microbiologist at Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge. Selection of the […] Read more

Average annual hay yields in Saskatchewan have decreased from about 3.5 tonnes per acre to 2.5 tonnes per acre in the past 30 years, while tame and seeded pastures in Alberta and Saskatchewan decreased by about one million acres between 2011-16.  |  File photo

Declining hay yields challenge herd growth

Researcher says producers not using enough fertilizer on hayfields and pastures, partly due to higher nutrient prices

Compared to corn and wheat, alfalfa yields have not made much progress over the years, says an Agriculture Canada researcher. There has been a long-term hay yield decline from Quebec to British Columbia. During a 30-year period average annual hay yields in Saskatchewan decreased from about of 3.5 tonnes per acre to 2.5 tonnes per […] Read more


Alberta Beef Producers warns that future budgets will be smaller because of a shortfall in funding. Above, a rancher feeds the herd near High River, Alta.  |  Mike Sturk photo

Check-off vote disappoints leaders

Heads of Alberta’s two main beef groups wish mandatory levy was approved, but call new relationships a silver lining

The leaders of Alberta’s two largest beef organizations have decided it is time to build positive relationships for the betterment of the industry. A decision on whether to keep a $2 checkoff refundable upon request was narrowly approved in a producer vote this fall. Of the more than 18,000 eligible producers who had six weeks […] Read more

Successful forage stand depends on proper seeding, quality seed

Proper seeding with quality seeds sets up a forage stand for the long term. It is a good idea to use certified seed for better results, said agronomist Earl Creech of Utah State University. Certified seed provides assurances of good quality seed with genetic purity, no weeds and highly viable, he said at the recent […] Read more


Sustainable projects require more beef

Buyers who want to source sustainably raised beef have trouble finding enough supply to meet their needs

When it comes to sustainability, McDonald’s might ask, where is the beef? Companies like McDonald’s need millions of pounds of sustainably sourced beef but supplies are limited, said Calgary-area rancher Cherie Copithorne-Barnes. She is past-chair of the Canadian Round Table for Sustainable Beef. “There is a lineup of these retailers and food-service companies that would […] Read more

Adding forages to rotations can help build soil fertility

Forages used in crop rotations provide multiple benefits for soil health and fertility. Long-term studies in North Dakota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta showed wheat yields were 50 percent higher in land previously cropped to alfalfa for three years, said Nova Scotia-based agronomist Bill Thomas. Other crops also flourished. “Corn crops planted following legumes require less […] Read more

Some producers favour a made-in-Canada hog price formula, but economists are hesitant to endorse the idea.  |  File photo

Search continues for better hog pricing

An analyst predicts that ‘the Armageddon’ is coming if the Canadian industry doesn’t find a way to solve market crisis


Canadian hog pricing has been widely debated for the last five years with no agreement in sight. The dilemma of under-used packing plants, producers leaving the business and market volatility were discussed at the recent Alberta Pork annual meeting in Calgary. While some producers favour a made-in-Canada price formula, economists were hesitant to endorse the […] Read more


Alberta Beef Producers said the plebiscite was close but “within the parameters of being a decisive vote.”  |  Mike Sturk photo

Alta. beef checkoff stays refundable

Alberta Beef Producers says changes may be needed to continue to effectively run the organization with lower revenue

Of 1,874 votes cast, 51.3 percent of Alberta beef producers have voted to keep a refundable checkoff. The province-wide plebiscite, in which approximately 18,000 producers were eligible to vote, also saw 48.5 percent vote to make the checkoff non-refundable, while 0.2 percent were spoiled ballots. Preliminary results were announced Dec. 3 at the Alberta Beef […] Read more

The national Speckle Park sale at Canadian Western Agribition grossed $337,200 on 34 lots. Genetic packages were sold across Canada and to buyers from Australia, Wales and Oklahoma.   |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Speckle Park gains foothold in Australia

A breed association is starting to gain traction with membership increasing to 300 from 120 in the last year


REGINA — When Greg Ebbeck saw Speckle Park cattle at the Calgary Stampede more than 10 years ago, he decided they would be a good fit for his operation in Australia. Attracted to the carcass results where the cattle consistently achieve high grades in the Canadian system, he and others started to import embryos to […] Read more