Over the last three years, Newfoundland and Labrador has aimed to expand the availability of local breeding stock through a demonstration project.
Most beef consumed in Newfoundland and Labrador comes from other Canadian provinces, with approximately 13.8 million kilograms imported in 2018. In comparison, Newfoundland and Labrador beef producers reported sales of approximately 100,000 kilograms, accounting for less than one per cent of consumption.
In an effort to boost local beef production, Fisheries and Land Resources staff members are working with farmers to evaluate the impact of superior purebred and cross-bred cattle traits on meat production and quality. Since 2016, eligible beef producers have been able to apply for five Hereford cattle under the Beef Cattle Enhancement Demonstration Project, run by the province’s Fisheries and Land Resources department. Since then, 25 calves have been born from the project, and two bulls sold as breeding stock to East Coast producers.
“The Beef Cattle Enhancement Program has been a wonderful opportunity for Spring Meadow Farm to access a variety of cattle strains and to collect information on different breeds that best suit this province,” said Tim Young in a press release. Spring Meadow Farm is one of three participating operations. Young said he’s gained a better understanding of best practices through the program, which will help as the farm increases its level of production.
The Beef Cattle Enhancement Project is one of several in the province that aims to boost agricultural production based on research with a local focus. Another project is assessing high-quality forages to address the high costs of imported feeds. Several other projects focus on fruit and vegetable variety trials and transplanting vegetables.