In the U.S., 22,000 meat-packing workers have been infected or exposed to the virus, and 132 have died, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International union. | Getty Images

American packers slow to vaccinate

CHICAGO, Ill. (Reuters) — COVID-19 vaccines are making their way into the arms of American meat and agriculture workers, but companies and union officials say progress needs to be faster after coronavirus outbreaks idled slaughterhouses and sickened thousands of workers. Vaccinating food workers could help prevent further production disruptions that sent meat prices soaring in […] Read more

Processors and retailers had a profitable year but consumers paid more and feedlots lost millions. | File photo

Feedlots, consumers paid beef price

Consumers paid more for beef, processors and retailers increased their profits and feedlot owners lost millions in 2020 because of COVID-19. A paper published through the University of Calgary Simpson Centre, written by project co-ordinator Karen Spencer, indicates feedlots lost an estimated $379 million in gross revenues for 2020 compared to the previous year, reducing […] Read more

Veterinary students need to be encouraged to enter large animal practice when they graduate. | File photo

Large animal veterinarian shortage starts with students

The shortage of large animal veterinarians in Western Canada is an age-old problem that seems to be improving with time. First, we have to look at the number of seats available for veterinary students in general. There is a rumour that seats for Alberta students went up with the addition of 20 seats at Alberta’s […] Read more

Lee Smith, a rancher from the Consort, Alta., area, devised the trademarked invention as a way to provide water to livestock throughout the winter without the need to constantly chop holes in the ice or make daily visits to remote pastures. | Screencap via

Water Box inventor wins innovation award

Lee Smith, inventor of The Water Box cattle watering system, is recipient of the award of distinction for innovation from the Alberta Farm Animal Care Council. The rancher from the Consort, Alta., area devised the trademarked invention as a way to provide water to livestock throughout the winter without the need to constantly chop holes […] Read more

According to documents from the working group, the model insures an entire farming enterprise for a margin decline from revenue fluctuations, expense changes, or a combination of the two. | File photo

Whole Farm Income Insurance program gains traction

Support for an alternative program to AgriStability continues to gain momentum. Canadian agricultural ministers are continuing to consider replacing AgriStability with a margin-based income protection program as soon as 2023. Complaints of AgriStability being costly and ineffective, particularly on the Prairies, prompted governments in those jurisdictions to explore other options. Talks to reform AgriStability, thus […] Read more

Processing capacity for the Canadian meat industry, including beef, is under federal review. Bill De Paoli feeds cattle at the DePaoli ranch west of Cayley, Alta. |  Mike Sturk photo

Report expected soon on meat processing

A draft report on Canadian meat processing capacity was to be considered March 23 by the federal standing committee on agriculture and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is hopeful it will include several requests made during presentations earlier this month. Among them is creation of a red meat development fund, a request that has been on […] Read more

Wild pigs could be an uncontrollable factor if ever infected with African swine fever. | File photo

Canada, U.S. agree on plan if ASF infects wild pigs

Wild pigs are a worry in Canada and the United States for reasons beyond the damage they do to farms, pasture land and ecosystems. They could be an uncontrollable factor if ever infected with African swine fever. Though the fatal swine illness has not yet arrived in North America, it devastated China’s hog population and […] Read more

Canada has led the way in bison conservation, but the domestic herd remains at less than two percent of its historic population today. | File photo

Project aims to boost bison’s genetic diversity

U of S researchers will develop tools so that they can detect bison that have been hybridized between Plains and Wood

The world’s first bison genome biobank is being developed at the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence. The university was recently awarded $6.76 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to help revive the bison population and strengthen the cattle industry. It’s part of a Canada-led effort to conserve bison and other […] Read more

While the obvious cause of death or illness in a flock or herd may be apparent, it is good to ask, is that all that is going on? | File photo

Consider upstream factors when investigating disease

The other day, I presented a case of a deceased wolf to the veterinary students’ pathology rounds. This is a weekly event at the University of Calgary where veterinary pathologists take turns showing and discussing interesting cases to create a less formal learning experience for the students in the program. Like many things this year, […] Read more

There is no room for straw in a post-calving ration, when a lactating cow’s protein and energy requirements are 25 percent greater than pre-calving. | File photo

Test forage to protect cow health

Producers advised to ask for a wet chemistry test on forage samples rather than near infrared reflectance spectroscopy

Low snowfall and relatively dry winter conditions are raising concerns about spring pasture conditions. Ensuring proper nutrition for cows after calving could be more of a challenge than usual. Livestock nutritionist Barry Yaremcio of Yaremcio Ag Consulting said there is a good quantity of hay available in most areas to get producers through to spring […] Read more