Note: THE HERD LETTER FOR 2016 IS ‘D’
Since our last instalment of Purely Purebred, the Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) board has presented its Jim Lewthwaite Memorial Award to Brian Rossnagel and its Chris Sutter Award posthumously to Neil Jahnke. The Jim Lewthwaite Memorial Award recognizes those committed individuals who do an outstanding job of promoting the CWA internationally as a showcase for Canadian livestock genetics and agriculture technology. The Chris Sutter Award, previously named the CWA builder award, recognizes individuals or companies that contribute to the development of CWA.
Plant breeder Brian Rossnagel of Saskatoon volunteered at the CWA for 18 years, starting with his involvement with the Grain Show and later became the CWA president.
Neil Jahnke of Gouldtown, Sask. served as vice-president of the CWA, as well as a founding member of Canada Beef Export Federation, and president of the Saskatchewan Livestock Association, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.
Three 4-H Ontario members who won their classes in the National Junior Beef Heifer Show at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto in November will represent Canada at the prestigious Young Show Stars beef competition in the United Kingdom in March. The three are: Bailey McConnell from Kincardine, Champion Senior Showperson; Alexa Avelar from East Garafraxa, Reserve Champion Senior Showperson and Megan Foubert from Kemptville, Reserve Champion Intermediate Showperson.
The Young Show Stars competition from March 23-24, 2016 involves youth ages 14-24 from across the United Kingdom. Scoring is done on a team basis in several categories, including stock judging, cattle and sponsorship displays, cattle fitting and preparation, teamwork and knowledge, public speaking, cattle parading and ring etiquette. The winning U.K. team will travel to Canada in November to participate in The Royal’s National Junior Beef Heifer Show, along with more than 300 4-H Beef Club members from across Canada.
Team Canada 2016 is sponsored by The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Tullamore Angus Farms, Flightpath Shorthorns, Beef Farmers of Ontario and Peel Mutual Insurance Company.
According to the latest issue of the Canadian Hereford Digest the fourth year of the Canadian Hereford Association’s residual feed intake (RFI) research is off to a great start with 180 bulls currently finishing up the 105-day fall trial and another 160 or so registered for the spring trial starting this month. The goal is to identify the range of RFI values within the Hereford breed in developing Canada’s first RFI EPD. The Alberta Livestock and Meat Association is covering the cost of HD genotyping for both trials. So far, they’ve analyzed 1,200 bulls.
Feed intake is measured daily using GrowSafe feeders and live weights taken on entry and every two weeks on test to calculate average daily gain, average daily dry matter intake (DMI) and RFI, the amount of observed DMI, less predicted DMI. The lower the better.
Genetic evaluation for feed efficiency was then performed. After edits, 1,050 observations of RFI remained. A pedigree consisting of 5,654 accounted for relationships between animals. Data was additionally corrected for age on test, age of dam and contemporary (test) group, then EPDs were generated and published. The heritability of RFI was deemed to be 0.36. All tested animals were genotyped.
Genomically enhanced EPDs will be available in early 2016.
In December the Canadian Hereford Association (CHA) board removed the $15 subsidy on embryo calf DNA testing so ET calves will now be charged the regular fee of $40 for parentage and abnormality tests. As well the CHA increased the THE enrolment fees to $6 per cow to cover the cost of stepped-up EPD evaluations. In 2016 the association will run six EPD evaluations to provide newly calculated EPDs for breeders to market cattle, and provide a quicker turnaround on getting genomic evaluated EPDs on cattle.
Congratulations go out to Jaelayne Wilson, daughter of Lee and Dawn Wilson of Miller Wilson Angus, Bashaw, Alta., and Loren Jacobs on their marriage over the Christmas season. The question on everybody’s mind is whether Loren will change his last name to Wilson. We will keep you updated!
HTA Charolais of Rivers was voted the Manitoba Charolais Breeder of the Year at the recent annual meeting of the Manitoba Charolais Association. Kris and Louise Kristjanson of Ochre River were named Manitoba Charolais Commercial Producers of the Year.
On a sad note the beef community lost a pioneer in the AI industry in early January. Albert Harrison of Southwest Genetics, Shaunavon, Sask., known to his friends as Ab was recognized far and wide in purebred and commercial circles alike. Albert started his career with ABS in the early ’70s teaching cattlemen how to AI and select bulls. This was a change from the industry norm at the time, where the AI technician came out to the farm to AI the cow.
Part of Albert’s job description was promoting the latest bull lineup at Agribition in the ABS booth. He and the rest of the crew took that job to heart, starting at 5 a.m. by handing out coffee and doughnuts to exhibitors who were looking for the tractor and cart that was generally being driven by Albert. With the switch to controlled breeding program and more cattlemen breeding their own animals Albert joined Genex and was instrumental in setting up many large-scale breeding programs in Western Canada. I had the privilege of working with Albert for a good many years. He will be missed!
The Keith Gilmore Foundation (KGF) recently recognized the benefits from a couple of generous gifts to their scholarship fund. Bar Pipe Hereford Ranch donated the “Pick of the 2015 Heifer Calves” in support of the foundation during the 2015 Southern Alberta Hereford Tour last fall. Jim Sutton purchased the “Pick” for $12,500 with the proceeds from the donation directed to the “Future of the Breed” scholarship program administered through the KGF.
The other major contribution was an offer by Blairs.Ag to buy a pick of the herd flush from their herd during the Hereford Agribition sale. Dennis and Andrea Babiuk of Brosseau, Alta., purchased the lot for $7,500.
The Keith Gilmore Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1987, dedicated to supporting youth in agriculture and beef industry research. Eight scholarships totalling $21,500 were presented to young achievers in the agricultural community in 2015.
Cattlemen’s Young Leaders 2015
Breeanna Kelln, Duval, Sask.
Mentor: Ben Thorlakson, Carstairs, Alta.
Breeanna grew up on a mixed farm near Duval, Sask. She and her husband, Greg Hill, along with son Emmett, continue to live near Duval and own a commercial cow-calf and backgrounding operation. Breeanna attended the University of Saskatchewan, where she obtained bachelor and master of science degrees in animal science. Her M.Sc. research was done at the Western Beef Development Center with Dr. Bart Lardner and focused on extensive winter feeding systems for beef cattle. Breeanna has a passion for the plant/animal/soil interface, extensive winter grazing and loves talking with primary producers about their operations. Since graduating, Breeanna has worked in many areas of agriculture including business development and agronomy. Breeanna is employed with DuPont Pioneer as their livestock information manager for Western Canada. Through the CYL program, Breeanna hopes to gain insight and knowledge from leaders in the industry. Her main objectives are to gain understanding with respect to global marketing, international trade and policy.
Brendan Zettler, Teeswater, Ont.
Mentor: Robert Bielak, Toronto, Ont.
Brendan was born and raised on a family farm outside Teeswater in Bruce County. The family farm has always been a mixed operation but one constant has always been beef cattle. As soon as he was able, Brendan joined his first 4-H beef club and his passion for cattle and agriculture has been growing ever since. After high school he attended Ridgetown College to obtain an associate diploma of agriculture, which then led to completing his bachelor of science, honours agriculture from the University of Guelph. Currently Brendan works in the grain industry for Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. as a sales agronomist and helps on the family farm where they raise beef stockers, sheep and chickens. Brendan also raises his own stockers and has a partnership with his brother and sister where they cash crop in the Teeswater area.
Brett Hassard, Medicine Hat, Alta.
Mentor: Mike Pollard
Brett was raised on his family’s commercial cow-calf ranch south of Medicine Hat, Alta. In 2014, he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a bachelor of science in agriculture majoring in animal science. He is currently the feedlot health supervisor at South Island Farms, a 6,000-head backgrounding and finishing yard south of Bow Island, Alta. He has also remained involved with the family ranch, going home to help out whenever possible. The management and future of his family’s ranch is something that is very important to Brett and he would like to one day take over operations along with his younger brother. Brett is planning to use his CYL experience to learn more about international and domestic livestock marketing and policy as well as succession planning.