Cattle nutrition researcher hailed with national honour

A national award has officially put the “outstanding” label on the work and career of one of Canada’s leading researchers and experts on beef cattle nutrition.

Dr. John McKinnon, the Saskatchewan Beef Industry research chair at the University of Saskatchewan and a regular contributor to Canadian Cattlemen, was presented last week with the inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation.

To be given each year by the Beef Cattle Research Council on behalf of industry stakeholders, the award is meant to recognize academics who are “actively involved in strong research programs aligned with industry priorities, continually engage with industry stakeholders, and demonstrate their passion and long-term commitment through leadership, teamwork, and mentorship.”

McKinnon was presented with the award last week in Saskatoon during the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference.

McKinnon, the council said in a release, “has made phenomenal contributions to advancements in the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry through his long-term passion and dedication to progressive science, and exceptional collaboration, leadership and communication with industry.”

McKinnon’s research focuses on nutritional and environmental factors influencing growth and carcass quality in feeder cattle and the nutrition of the breeding herd.

His research program, for example, has examined the use of wet distiller’s byproducts for feedlot cattle; nutritional evaluation of grain screenings for growing cattle; use of real-time ultrasound for predicting carcass quality of breeding and finishing cattle; the impact of the environment on performance of cattle in Western Canada; and the use of high-lipid feeds for growing and finishing.

The council also hailed McKinnon as a sought-after speaker and effective communicator not only in technical scientific forums but in communicating research findings in a practical and applicable manner to producers and industry.

McKinnon has also worked to develop the university’s Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit, the council noted, describing the infrastructure as “a tremendous asset in maintaining the competitiveness of the Canadian beef industry.”

“The value of Dr. McKinnon’s work on the Canadian beef industry is remarkable,” said council chair Tim Oleksyn, a cow-calf producer from Shellbrook, Sask.

“He is dedicated to keeping a practical focus in his research initiatives and has always maintained the need for real-world application within the beef cattle industry.”

Nominations are now being accepted until May 1 for the 2016 award, which is to be presented at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August.

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