Larger carcasses ring alarm for beef industry

Some in the sector argue the increasing size of beef animals results in oversized steaks that consumers may not want

HOUSTON, Texas — The growing size of beef carcasses is a conundrum. Producers get paid by the pound and there is little penalty for heavier carcasses that end up as larger cuts of beef that consumers may reject. The 2016 U.S. beef quality audit examined 3.7 million carcasses and reported 39 percent were more than […] Read more

Ractopamine ban prompts further research

The ban, particularly in China, prompts researchers to look for proof that the product is safe for use in food animals

HOUSTON, Texas — There is considerable interest in doing business with China, but there are barriers that some meat traders find difficult to hurdle. The Chinese do not allow the use of growth promoting hormones and beta agonists, so research is under way to prove they are safe for use in food animals. “When you […] Read more

Farmers urged to show good soil practices

Cereals Canada president says sector might want to consider codes of practice similar to those in the livestock industry

Farmers must show they are more than tillers of the land and are responsible caretakers preserving soil health for future generations, said the president of Cereals Canada. “We need to be able to actively demonstrate that we have been taking action and we need to actively demonstrate the benefits of our sustainable practices. If we […] Read more


The hog inventory is also down one percent, the first decrease in six years.  |  File photo

Cattle data shows little movement in Canada

Statistics Canada reports 11.5 million cattle, down 1.1 percent from last year; fewer breeding stock were retained

Canadian livestock numbers remain in a holding pattern with little or no growth. Statistics Canada reported 11.5 million cattle, down 1.1 percent from last year. Less breeding stock was retained with more heifers and cows going for slaughter. “We slaughtered and exported a lot of cows, so we knew we were going to be down,” […] Read more

It is important to know what key traits exist and the relationship between negative and positive traits when making changes to a cow herd. |  Mike Sturk photo

Genomic selection finds its stride

Research is ongoing to find new traits and figure out genetic correlations to make the best breeding choice

Picking the best herd sire or selecting replacement heifers is getting easier for producers using genomically enhanced expected progeny differences. The predictions of valuable traits like carcass merit, longevity and calving ease may not be 100 percent accurate but new computing power is making the job easier. DNA is the basis of inheritance and genes […] Read more


Research into stocking rates is trying to determine the best level of grazing intensity.  |  File photo

Research lauded for beef improvements

Research investments to improve cattle production have made the industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly. “We know that our investment in research that have focused on productivity and efficiency at the farm level has contributed to lower emissions,” said Brenna Grant, research lead at Canfax. Comparing 1981 to 2011, more has been done with less. […] Read more

Most of Alberta’s water supply is generated in the mountains, so forest fires’ effects on hydrology are significant.  |  File photo

Forest fires hurt prairie water flow and quality

In an average year, Alberta combats about 1,500 wildfires but most are small and cause few problems to the landscape. However three-tenths of one percent of Alberta wildfires account for 98 percent of the total area burned and cause considerable and lasting damage to watersheds. The nature of these mega fires seemed to change around […] Read more

A University of Regina scientist says it’s not that our summers are getting warmer; it’s that our winters aren’t as cold. | File photo

Prairies definitely getting warmer: researcher

When grandparents reminisce about walking uphill to school, through deep snow in bitterly cold winters, their memories may not be blurred by time. Winters were colder in the past, says climate researcher David Sauchyn of the University of Regina. January 2019 marked the 409th consecutive month where world temperatures were above the 20th century average. […] Read more


Musician Kent Nixon turns steaks during the Feed a Farmer celebrity cook-off held in Calgary to celebrate national agriculture day. Four teams were asked to use beef, pulses and dairy to create a made-in-Alberta meal that was judged by local farmers and ranchers.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Agriculture for Life focuses on promoting local ingredients

The organization marked the country’s recent Agriculture Day with a Feed a Farmer celebrity cook-off in Calgary

Letitia Chrapchynski feels like she is getting back to her roots when she cooks with Alberta-grown ingredients. “I take it for granted when I select food and I don’t realize it is part of our everyday living and our roots,” she said. An award-winning chef who has worked at top restaurants in Calgary and Montreal, […] Read more

The greater the bale density, secured by high strength plastic, the greater the opportunity there is for high quality silage.  |  File photo

Denser the better when it comes to wrapping forage

Denser bales with greater total acid production stay cooler during the fermentation process, further contributing to reduced spoilage

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Research on forage quality and storage has shown the denser the bale, the better. “The moral of the story is you want to have as dense a bale as possible. That is going to help improve your overall bunk life, as well as increasing the forage quality,” said forage researcher Jessica […] Read more