Cow-calf producers needed for benchmark survey

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More than 1,500 western Canadian cow-calf producers are needed for a management survey that will help guide provincial extension and research activities for the beef cattle industry.

“What we’re hoping to do is get farmers to fill out the survey and tell us what they did last year,” said Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

The survey, which will be available before the end of October, will look at common management measurements, including calf birth and mortality rates, vaccinations, weaning, and culls. Once the data is compiled, producers will have a chance to compare their results with the provincial average.

“What we’ll do with these surveys is give them the information back and say, ‘OK, this is how you ranked against your peers provincially, and here’s some suggestions on what you might want to look at to improve,’” said Yaremcio.

“We’ll tell him if you’ve got an 85 per cent calving rate and the industry average is 90 per cent, there’s an opportunity for improvement.”

The data will also be compared to baselines established in 1988 and 1998.

“What we’re trying to do is see how the management techniques have changed by producers over the last 15 years.”

The survey can be completed online through the Western Beef Development Centre, Alberta Beef Producers, and provincial Agriculture Ministry websites. Hard-copy surveys will be available at government extension offices and industry meetings this winter.

About the author

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Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair is a Red Deer-based reporter with a post-secondary education in professional writing and nearly 10 years of experience in corporate communications, policy development, and journalism. She's spent half of her career telling stories about an industry she loves for an audience she admires--the farmers who work every day to build a better agriculture industry in Alberta.

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