GFM Network News


Producers are expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration.

What we’ve learned about castration in beef cattle

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

When Canada’s 2013 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle was being developed, some participants felt it should require pain control for castration at all ages, like the dairy code. The producers and researchers on the beef code committee were confident that pain control was beneficial for feedlot bulls and dairy […] Read more

Narrowing in on Johne’s Disease

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Johne’s disease is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, or MAP) that was discovered in 1895 by a heavily bearded, bespectacled bacteriologist from Dresden named Heinrich Albert Johne. When a cow develops persistent, watery, smelly hosepipe diarrhea, and progressively loses weight and body condition, even though her appetite is normal and she isn’t running […] Read more


New Year’s resolution: Get better beef grades

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Youthful carcasses from feedlot-finished cattle are graded for yield (amount of meat in the carcass) and quality (marbling score). Federal grading began during the Second World War to ensure quality standards during wartime price controls. Canada’s last major beef grading change occurred in the early 1990s, when Canada added quality grades to the grading system. […] Read more

Over a two-year period, a research team collected samples from feedlots, agricultural soils, wetlands, streams, municipal sewage, packing plants, retail meats and human patients.

Does antibiotic resistance move through the environment?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Recent columns have talked about antibiotic use in Canadian cow-calf and feedlot operations. Contrary to common misperceptions, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are very unlikely to transfer from cattle to beef, evade food safety interventions in the processing plant, survive cooking, and cause an antibiotic-resistant infection in a person. But can antibiotic-resistant bacteria be transmitted from cattle, through […] Read more


cooking technique

Your burgers are still done at 71

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Maintaining consumer confidence is crucial to our industry. Consumer confidence in the safety of Canadian beef was briefly shaken by the 2012 XL Foods E. coli outbreak that infected at least 18 people and resulted in the recall of 1,800 tonnes of beef, a $4 million legal settlement and the sale of the packing plant […] Read more

Antibiotic use in Canadian feedlots

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

September’s column summarized a Beef Cluster project that evaluated antibiotic use in western Canadian cow-calf operations. Nearly all cow-calf farms used antibiotics, but very few animals were treated, and most of the antibiotics used were not related to the antibiotics most commonly used in humans. But when it comes to antibiotic use in the beef […] Read more


Developing faster, cheaper diagnostic tests for calves

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Last month’s column discussed how antibiotics are used in western Canadian cow-calf operations. Respiratory diseases are a common reason for antibiotic treatment in cows, bulls, and calves and diarrhea is a common reason for antibiotic treatment in young calves. Because both respiratory and intestinal infections can involve many different microbes, having a better understanding of […] Read more

Most of the attention for antibiotic use in the beef industry is focused on the feedlot sector, but antibiotic use at the cow-calf level is also important.

Antibiotic use on Canadian cow-calf operations

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Antibiotic use records are important for producers who want to track the effectiveness of the antibiotics they use. Industry groups need antibiotic use data to refute misleading claims about our production practices. Even restaurant chains and meat companies marketing “antibiotic-free” beef need records to keep treated animals out of their “never-ever” supply stream. When it […] Read more


The recent Beef Quality Audit saw thousands of cattle and carcasses examined for a wide variety of possible defects.

What we learned from the Canada Beef Quality Audit

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Canada’s fourth Beef Quality Audit was completed in March 2018, following previous audits in 1995, 1998 and 2010-11. The carcass audit measured the incidence and economic costs of avoidable defects in Canadian slaughter cattle and beef and identified opportunities to avoid these losses. What they did: Mark Klassen, Joyce van Donkersgoed and a team of […] Read more

Mark your calendars. The Canadian Beef Industry Conference, Aug. 14-16, will soon be here.

This column is brought to you by your national check-off

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

The third annual Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC) takes place in London, Ont., on August 14-16. The CBIC is co-hosted by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Canada Beef, Canadian Beef Breeds Council, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The CBIC’s Bov-Innovation session is a popular, interactive, fast-paced workshop full of tips, ideas, and concepts […] Read more