Susan Markus, beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture, is collaborating with the first livestock research class at Lakeland College on a project on feed efficiency in cattle.

The gap between genomics theory and real-life cattle production

Genotyping works well in the purebred world, but not so much in a commercial herd

Lakeland College’s student-managed farm’s research project brings together visual appraisal, phenotypic data from a residual feed intake test, and genomics to measure a herd of 50 heifers. “We wanted to take in visual and phenotypic data, and because we have so many tools with genomics, we wanted to add that as a third level to […] Read more


Students on Lakeland College’s livestock research team say the program is teaching them skills that can be put to use on the farm and off.

College pioneers first livestock research student-managed farm

Managing a research herd is a different ball of wax, and students and instructors say it teaches many new skills

Sixteen students are getting a taste of applied research as part of Lakeland College’s first student-managed farm livestock research team. The second-year students, all enrolled in animal science technology, are managing a herd of 50 cattle involved in research trials. “They have to manage the herd for profitability, but we also have a commercial (cattle) […] Read more



Because of rain or snow, crops in Alberta have suffered downgrades this year. On John Wozniak’s 2,500-acre farm near St. Paul, more than 1,500 acres of cereals remain unharvested — including this wheat field hit by snow in the third week of October.

‘Modernize’ grain grading, says Alberta Wheat

farm group says farmers would make more if Canadian grain Commission changes grading for sprouting and fusarium damage

Alberta Wheat wants the Canadian Grain Commission to “modernize” its grading system, saying it doesn’t align with market demands of international buyers. “It all comes down to wanting more objective measurements for quality standards,” said Kevin Auch, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission. “We’ve got some pretty good grading standards — don’t get me wrong […] Read more


Coaldale vet Steve Hendrick outlined the causes of pregnancy loss and ways to reduce those losses during a recent Beef Cattle Research Council webinar.

Understanding reasons for pregnancy loss can help prevent it

About two to three per cent of cows will experience pregnancy loss but that number can be reduced

Cattle pregnancy loss occurs for many reasons. Knowing about it can help you manage it and reduce it. “Pregnancy loss occurs throughout all stages of gestation — it’s sort of a natural selection,” veterinarian Steve Hendrick of Coaldale Veterinary Services said during a recent Beef Cattle Research Council webinar. “There are lots of genetic and […] Read more



cow and newborn calf

Simple strategies can help reduce pregnancy loss in cattle

Feed testing, good nutrition, exercise, 
low-stress handling, and biosecurity are 
all beneficial for pregnant cows

The best way to reduce pregnancy losses in pregnant cows is to take a multi-pronged approach. First, it pays to test both feed and water. “It is surprising how much variability in our forages occurs year to year and season to season,” veterinarian Steve Hendrick said during a recent Beef Cattle Research Council webinar. “It […] Read more


There are too many gaps in Canada’s traceability system, provincial expert Rick Frederickson said at the recent Traceability Symposium.

A full and robust traceability system still years away

Alberta is one of the few provinces with mandatory premises identification, but some livestock owners still aren’t registered

A national traceability system covering the entire country would pay major benefits — but it currently has far too many gaps, says a senior traceability official. “The creation of a system has to be national in scope,” said Rick Frederickson, director of animal welfare and national traceability initiatives with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We need […] Read more



Traceability is about more than food safety — it’s a way to establish a new relationship with consumers, food expert Sylvain Charlebois told attendees at the recent Traceability Symposium.

New era of traceability needs to involve the consumer

A system created to deal with food safety issues should also be a ‘conduit’ connecting consumers and farmers

One of Canada’s best-known food experts says that while farmers and the ag sector are trying hard to connect with consumers, they’re not pulling it off. And they’ll need to do better because customer engagement is critical in the new “era of supply chain transparency,” Sylvain Charlebois told the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency’s inaugural Traceability […] Read more


Improving rail service and encouraging expansion at the Port of Prince Rupert is critical to improving Western Canada’s future prospects as a grain exporter, says AGT Foods CEO Murad Al-Katib.

Prince Rupert needs to be part of rail transport revamp

Expanding the northern B.C. port should be a key part of $10.1-billion plan to improve transportation

The Port of Prince Rupert should be a major beneficiary of Ottawa’s $10.1-billion pledge to revamp transportation routes to international markets, says one of the world’s biggest pulse exporters. “Prince Rupert is a major opportunity — when we look at Pacific gateway access, we need a balanced approach between Vancouver and the Port of Prince […] Read more



Livestock producers need to accept — and respond to — consumers’ animal welfare concerns, says Lesley Mitchell, international head of policy with World Animal Protection.

Consumer concerns about meat are no fad

Animal welfare expert says livestock producers need to both 
‘raise the bar’ and speak up about improvements they’re making

Global concerns about animal welfare are having an impact on meat purchasing, and the food industry needs to adapt to this new reality. “For the vast majority, price, taste and convenience have been key — but one of the issues that goes across the board now is transparency,” said Lesley Mitchell, international head of policy […] Read more


Dairy farmer Jordan Schuurman explains the energy-efficient changes he and his parents made to their dairy operation during a government press conference held at his family’s farm.

Province ups funding for energy efficiency projects on farms

Farm groups welcome additional funding but say ‘work 
still needs to be done’ to reduce impact of carbon tax

After installing about 100 solar panels on their dairy barn, the Schuurman family has reduced their energy bill by 60 per cent. And they plan to drive it lower still. “My personal conviction is that I want to be sustainable long term — I believe in climate change, and I have an opportunity to change,” […] Read more