Just a bad patch? Or is the cattle sector in denial?

Charlie Gracey says an ambitious plan to revitalize the beef sector 
isn’t working, but Dave Solverson says give it time

The cattle industry needs to stop patting itself on the back and face an uncomfortable truth — its grand plan to create a bright new future isn’t yielding results. That’s the view of Charlie Gracey, one of Canada’s most renowned experts on the beef industry. And all you have to do is look at the […] Read more


Parasites could be costing you big bucks without you even realizing it

Infected cattle often look healthy, but their daily gain might be 
up to half a pound lower than it should be

Little is known about the impact of parasites on Canadian cattle production. But one thing is sure — resistance to the medication used to treat these parasites is growing. “There’s a lack of local information and a lack of information on parasites in Canada. That’s a problem,” John Gilleard, professor of parasitology in the University […] Read more



New verified beef program makes a timely debut

Revamped VBP program means producers can document their 
animal care, biosecurity, and environmental practices

The newly launched Verified Beef Production Plus program is taking Canada one step closer in its quest towards verified sustainable beef, says one of its designers. “This is just from my perspective, but we have always had early adopters — the people who believe in it — but there have never been clear market signals,” […] Read more


Study digs deep into state of cow herd

Five-year project generating hard data on topics such as antibiotic use, trace minerals, and Johne’s disease

Cattle in Western Canada tend to be deficient in copper, have a low incidence of Johne’s disease, and cow-calf producers don’t use antibiotics excessively. Those are three of the findings from the cattle health network, a five-year project begun in 2012, and based on the National Animal Health Monitoring System in the U.S. “This year […] Read more



‘Sustainable’ beef pilot a success — but the job isn’t done yet

McDonald’s pilot is complete but now the Canadian beef industry 
has to create and implement its own standards

After being the first to source and track “verified sustainable” beef for McDonald’s, the Canadian cattle industry has a new challenge — create its own standards that all of its buyers can use. The wrap-up event drew more than 300 ranchers and industry players to celebrate the accomplishment — a sharp contrast to the quiet, […] Read more


Industry enthusiastic about McDonalds’ approach

Fast food chain worked with producers

Producers who participated in McDonald’s “verified sustainable” pilot are enthusiastic about the project and the lessons learned. “It felt like they (McDonald’s) were going to the grassroots where the other competitors were not,” said Les Wall, feedlot operator and owner of KCL Cattle Company near Coaldale, Alta. “I felt like the other competitors were doing […] Read more



Earls’ reversal wins battle, not war

One of Canada’s highest-profile food and agriculture commentators says the beef industry shouldn’t be celebrating victory over getting Earls to roll back its humane beef certification decision. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of marketing studies at the University of Guelph who frequently writes about food consumers and how they interact with the agriculture and food industry, […] Read more


meat display in grocery store

Beef data lets you follow the money

A study of carcass data shows cattle from an elite breeding program 
were worth more than $200 a head than the average calf

The data shows someone is making more money on the calves produced by superior bulls in the beef value chain, but it isn’t always the producer. McDonald’s Canada, Beefbooster, and BIXSco — the company now running the Beef InfoXchange System — recently collaborated with Livestock Gentec to analyze two million records of carcass data. The […] Read more



Make hay while the sun shines, says producer panel

It’s good times in the cattle business, but there are things that need to get done before the next downturn

Good times don’t last forever, so use them wisely. That, in a nutshell, is the advice of four Alberta cattle producers who were asked for their thoughts on the current state of the sector and what lies ahead. A decade of misery following the BSE crisis in 2003 has been followed by record-high prices, and […] Read more


cattle eating hay

New pain control medication for livestock hits the market

Calgary-based company creates affordable medication for horses and cattle 
just in time for new code-of-practice rules

A Calgary-based company has created a pain control drug that could be a game changer for the North American cattle and horse industries. Oral Meloxicam, a tasteless liquid that can be administered orally or added to feed, is the first pain control medication developed for livestock in North America. “The most common procedure we can […] Read more