Only about 20 per cent of cow-calf producers are using Category 1 antimicrobials on their animals in a given year, a new study shows.

Producers careful with antimicrobials, survey finds

Only 20 per cent of those surveyed ever used antimicrobials 
important in human medicine, but some resistance was found

Cow-calf producers are being careful with antimicrobials — and that’s a good news story the industry needs to share with consumers, says one of the researchers of a groundbreaking study of cattle production on the Prairies. The cattle health network, which has been tracking production practices of more than 100 cow-calf producers since 2012, found […] Read more


Verifier Gord Stephenson, contracted by Where Food Comes From, hosted a panel featuring (from left) Stephen Hughes of Chinook Ranch (Longview), Anne Wasko of Bar 4 Bar Land and Cattle (Eastend, Sask.) and Les Wall of KCL Cattle (Coaldale).

Ranchers give thumbs up to sustainability pilot

Producers who participated in McDonald’s “verified sustainable” pilot showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the project and the lessons learned. “It felt like they (McDonald’s) were going to the grassroots where the other competitors were not,” said Les Wall, feedlot operator and owner of KCL Cattle Company near Coaldale. “I felt like the other […] Read more



Emily Murray, general manager of the Cargill burger patty plant in Spruce Grove, and Andrew Brazier, director of the worldwide supply chain with McDonald’s Corporation, both presented the results of McDonald’s global pilot project.

‘Sustainable’ beef pilot a success, but job isn’t done yet

McDonald’s pilot is complete, but now the Canadian beef industry has to create and implement its own standards

After being the first to source and track “verified sustainable” beef for McDonald’s, the Canadian cattle industry has a new challenge — create its own standards that all of its buyers can use. The wrap-up event drew more than 300 ranchers and industry players to celebrate the accomplishment — a sharp contrast to the quiet, […] Read more


Rare is not a good idea, especially given the discovery by Alberta researchers of new strains of E. coli that can withstand very high temperatures.

Alberta scientists discover new heat-resistant strains of E. coli

The new strains found by U of A scientists can survive the 
temperature recommended by Health Canada for proper cooking

You might need to cook your meat at a higher temperature next time you fire up the barbecue. Scientists from the University of Alberta have found a new heat-resistant E. coli that can survive at 71 C — the level of heat advised by Health Canada for proper cooking. “We discovered that some strains of […] Read more



Grasshoppers thrive in hot, dry conditions and are expected to be a problem in some areas of the province this year.

Keep watch because pests got an early start

The mild winter and warm start to spring have given pests an ideal start

Here’s the bad news: The dry, hot start to spring means more insect pests this year. And even the bit of rain received during the May long weekend won’t make a difference. “Insects respond to the heat and it’s been hot — their life cycles are all moved forward and the crops are not thriving under […] Read more


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Provincial farmers’ markets off to a busy start

Farmers' markets throughout the province are already seeing high customer traffic

Farmers’ markets are off to a promising start. “Early reports I’ve had from different markets out there say that there is a lot of customer traffic early in the season, which is good considering the economy,” said Eileen Kotowich, farmers’ market specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Early in the year, you’re never sure how […] Read more



There are several things you can do to boost canola yields and each one can add a few bushels an acre, says Clint Jurke, agronomy director of Canola Council of Canada.

Think big — as in ‘52 bushels of canola per acre’ big

Is a 50 per cent jump in canola yields by 2025 possible? 
The Canola Council of Canada says, ‘You bet’

Stay slow and steady, fertilize appropriately, and cut down on your harvest losses. These and other strategies can increase your canola yields, and help the Canola Council of Canada achieve its ambitious target of an average of 52 bushels per acre by 2025. “It’s not an easy target,” said Clint Jurke, the canola council’s agronomy […] Read more


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Researchers join forces to dig deep into state of Prairie cow herd

The five-year project has researchers collecting hard data on topics 
such as antibiotic use, trace minerals, and Johne’s disease


Cattle in Western Canada tend to be deficient in copper, have a low incidence of Johne’s disease, and cow-calf producers don’t use antibiotics excessively. Those are three of the findings from the cattle health network, a five-year project begun in 2012, and based on the National Animal Health Monitoring System in the U.S. “This year […] Read more



Farmer walking toward combine.

Farm safety consultations get mixed reviews

AgCoalition is hopeful, safety expert is pleased, but at least one farm group says the entire process is another ‘slap in the face’

Take your pick: The Alberta government’s approach to consultations on workplace safety regulations are a “sham,” possibly OK, or just what’s needed. The provincial government has set up six working groups — each with 12 members plus an independent chair — to develop workplace safety rules on farms and ranches. Of the 78 members, 23 […] Read more


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Coexistence plan for GM alfalfa won’t eliminate risk

Expert says stopping the spread of the glyphosate-tolerant trait is virtually impossible, but levels can be kept ‘very, very low’

The recently released “coexistence plan” for genetically modified alfalfa in Western Canada doesn’t offer any guarantees that conventional and organic crops won’t be contaminated, says an expert on gene transfer. “It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve,” said Rene Van Acker, a professor of plant science at the University of Guelph. “If it’s […] Read more