The Beef Cattle Research Council released its five-year research and extension strategy this week.
The strategy is a framework for coordinating beef research priorities, funding and technology transfer initiatives at a national level. It’s meant to guide funding from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and other Canadian beef research funding agencies, while also encouraging collaboration and coordination among funding agencies. BCRC's strategy also ties into the National Beef Strategy, which set 10-year industry goals in areas ranging from beef quality and food safety to animal health and welfare.
“Science and technology transfer are critical to achieve the Canadian beef industry’s long-term goals, as well as to guide policy and communicate on issues of shared importance with the public, consumers and governments,” said Matt Bowman, BCRC chair and Ontario beef producer, in a fact-sheet released by the BCRC.
The recently released strategy focuses on research and extension outcomes in several areas, including forage and grassland productivity; feed efficiency and utilization; environmental sustainability; animal health, welfare and antimicrobial resistance; beef quality; and food safety.
Each outcome has several specific research and extension priorities. For example, one outcome is to have 92 per cent of cows wean a calf each year through cost-effective improvements. Research priorities under that outcome include everything from refining nutrition and other related management strategies to assessing water quality’s effects on reproductive performance, health and calf growth. Two extension priorities under this outcome include encouraging record keeping so producers can compare their operations to industry benchmarks and promoting the benefits of crossbreeding.
The BCRC led the development of the Five-Year Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy, gathering input through several online workshops, an online survey and direct stakeholder consultation. The strategy “was developed for and by a broad range of producers, researchers, extension specialists, government, funding agencies and other industry stakeholders,” a BCRC release notes.