GFM Network News


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

Have you rotated your breeds lately?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Before becoming a politician and long before becoming a noted western Canadian historian, Grant McEwan was an animal science professor at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1938, he and A.M. Shaw published “An Experiment in Beef Production in Western Canada” (Scientific Agriculture XIX:177-198), summarizing one of Canada’s first crossbreeding projects. Straightbred two-year-old Angus, Shorthorn, Galloway […] Read more


Understanding where ticks such as this Rocky Mountain wood tick are and what influences their population will help develop strategies to avoid spreading of tickborne diseases.

A story to make your skin crawl

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Cattle won’t be the only creatures enjoying fresh pasture this spring; so will the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the American dog tick, which can transmit anaplasmosis and other bloodborne diseases. Anaplasmosis was removed from the federally reportable disease list in 2014, so the government is no longer responsible for dealing with anaplasmosis outbreaks or […] Read more

How castration method and age affect pain in young calves

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle requires that castration be performed by an experienced person who uses proper, clean, well-maintained equipment and accepted techniques. A producer is expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration, as well as the availability and advisability […] Read more


Pasture blends

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Most forage seed companies offer a pasture blend. Some customize their blend to the customer’s situation, but others use a least-cost formulation to produce a more attractively priced blend. Ideally, the blend should contain grasses and legumes that grow well together, are well adapted to the environment and soil type they will be seeded in, […] Read more

Beef’s shrinking water footprint

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

In 2016 I received 10 letters like this: “Dear Dr. Bergen… My name is Emma. I am in 6th grade at Rime Street Elementary. My class found out on vegsource.com that it takes 2,500 litres of water to produce one kilogram of beef. Another site said 25,000 litres… all these different answers are confusing. My […] Read more


It’s not necessarily that forage quality is in decline, but that other crops are advancing faster.

Maintaining momentum in forages

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Canada’s pasture and rangelands have drier, colder, and shorter growing seasons than many other beef-producing areas in the world. The forage varieties that perform best in Canada are generally the ones that have been bred, selected and developed to germinate, grow, survive and thrive here. Forage varieties developed in foreign countries are sometimes marketed in […] Read more

Scientists at AAFC’s Lethbridge Research Centre have been studying whether feeding nitrate can reduce methane production without risking nitrate poisoning.

Can feeding nitrate improve efficiency and reduce methane?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

The rumen allows cattle to make highly nutritious beef out of things that humans can’t even digest. Rumen microbes have digestive enzymes that mammals don’t. This allows rumen microbes to break down complex feeds into very simple molecules, and reassemble those molecules into volatile fatty acids that the animal can absorb and use as an […] Read more