Latest articles


More questions on mineral nutrition

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference. As with similar events held across the country, the objective was to transfer current research and technology to beef producers. One of the most interesting aspects of this conference was a bear-pit session hosted by the Beef Cattle Research Council which focused […] Read more


The makings of a perfect storm

Nutrition with John McKinnon

The winter of 2016-17 is shaping up to be a challenge for cow-calf operators across Canada. While much of October and November were relatively stress free in terms of winter’s wrath, as we moved into the new year, extreme cold and snow has gripped much of the country. Coupled with hay shortages in Eastern Canada […] Read more



Vitamin E and selenium — the odd couple!

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Mineral nutrition is a recurring theme in this column, attesting to the importance of this class of nutrients in the diets of cattle. I have not, however, paid as much attention to vitamins, which, when deficient, can be as limiting to performance and health as many minerals. With this article I would like to specifically […] Read more


Concerns with feeding off-grade grain

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

In the September issue of Cattlemen, the title of my column was “Another crazy year for growing hay.” In that column I looked at some of the trials and tribulations that hay producers faced this past summer. Looking at this year’s harvest, you can’t blame grain producers for thinking that a similar dark cloud hangs […] Read more



cattle in a feedlot

The latest on the nutrient requirements for beef cattle

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

Recently, I attended the Western Nutrition Conference in Saskatoon. At this conference there were a number of excellent presentations, one of which was particularly relevant to all beef nutritionists and their clients. That was by Dr. Karen Beauchemin of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who presented an update on the Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle (NRBC) […] Read more


cows at a mineral feeding trough

Understanding your protein supplement

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

In my last column, I wrote about what a crazy year it has been for growing and harvesting hay. The variability in this year’s hay crop will force many producers to purchase supplemental feed in order to meet the nutrient requirements of their cattle this winter. Last month we looked at alternate feed sources that […] Read more



cows eating pellets- Glen Nicoll

Another crazy year for growing hay!

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

Looking back at the spring/summer of 2016, the year was fairly typical in that there was a great deal of variation in growing conditions across the country. Much of Western Canada was blessed with significant moisture that resulted in great growing conditions for pasture, hay and silage crops. However, ill-timed rains forced many producers to […] Read more


Some thoughts on China’s beef business

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

Recently I had the opportunity to visit China and spend some time with beef and dairy producers in this vast and truly interesting country. As this article goes to press in midsummer, I thought it would be interesting to provide you with a few insights into beef production in this part of the world. This […] Read more



Is ‘I am not eating there anymore!’ the best response?

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

Early May was an interesting time, particularly with respect to the pride of the Canadian Beef Industry. I am referring to industry reaction to the announcement by the Earls Restaurant chain to not source Canadian beef for its menu, but rather to look to American beef raised under the banner of “Certified Humane.” Predictably, this […] Read more


Chasing carcass quality not as easy as it looks

Nutrition with John McKinnon, beef cattle nutritionist

This is an interesting time of year when one looks at feedlot placements. Most of last year’s yearlings are gone, with fall-placed calves well into their feeding program. As well, many lots have tried to keep pens full by bringing in short yearlings that were backgrounded over the winter or in some cases by feeding […] Read more