Tagging charges ‘totally bureaucratic and totally unfair’

So says one livestock executive about the penalties levied on producers who inadvertently market untagged cattle. Moreover, he says, the technology isn’t there yet to match the regulations


The equipment and technology that regulations rely upon for mandatory tagging of cattle, sheep and bison in Canada is not “a permanent and infallible system,” according to a recent decision of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal, which reviews appeals to administrative monetary penalties laid by inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

BIXS a first step in fixing a broken industry

The new Beef InfoXchange System will share information on carcass yield and quality grade among all members of the value chain, helping to identify the animals in demand


Wellington County beef producer Bob Wilson is excited about the possibilities offered by the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS), launched in September.

“The beef industry is seriously broken and it has been for some time,” Wilson says.

He laments that there’s no connection between the meat that consumers want and the cattle that are raised on beef farms across Canada.

Wilson and his family calve out 60 beef cows on a diversified operation in Erin Township.

Beef: Question marks hang over the new, mandatory cattle tagging system

With the start date less than 18 months away, concerns remain about the accuracy in reading the tags and who will bear the costs


With the target date for a mandatory cattle identification system at sales barns using radio frequency tags less than 18 months away, a lot of questions remain unanswered.

The chair of a research committee charged with studying systems to make this work in auction markets says that the accuracy in reading the tags varies widely, depending on the sales yards, the group of cattle and the day, affecting speed of commerce at the yards. The overall costs to sales barns, and ultimately to producers, is up in the air.

Beef: Cover crops and off-season grazing pays off for Van Mar Farms

Mike Buis’ use of year-round field cover and grazing is lowering his feed costs and earning him recognition for his extensive conservation practices


Grazing animals on a field planted with winter cover crops can have numerous benefits, as Mike Buis, the owner of Van Mar Farms of Kent County, has discovered.

The farm, located on fertile cash-cropping land, is a leader in off-season grazing in Ontario. According to Jack Kyle, grazing specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), there is no one else he knows in Ontario grazing to the same extent.

Beef: Different grading systems and higher slaughtering costs hurt Canadian exports

It’s not just the higher Canadian dollar that is taking a toll on beef exports to the United States. The CFIA will have to re-examine the rules, say industry reps, to level the playing field


Trade in beef with the United States has changed and it isn’t likely to improve unless there are strategic changes, says Ontario Cattlemen’s Association director Doug Kaufman of Woodstock.

”The beef business . . . is built on a 65-to-70 cent dollar,” he says. “There are a lot of problems. The Canadian dollar is the biggest one. You can’t do much about that one.”

But there are other issues as well.

Beef: Beef producers’ claims rejected in the wake of All County’s collapse

With the Livestock Financial Protection Board rejecting 15 of 16 claims for compensation, some producers are asking for a more liberal interpretation of the rules


Last year, several Ontario beef producers learned the hard way that they must follow the rules if they want the security of a provincial financial protection program. But do these rules need to be changed to provide coverage for new beef marketing ventures?

Producers stung by the 2009 failure of All County Feed and Grain Ltd. are raising the question after the Ontario Beef Financial Protection Program refused their claims for compensation.

Beef: Good nutrition for pregnant cows gives their offspring an edge

Research and practical experience show that protein or mineral supplements for late gestating cows can add substantially to weight gain for their young


The nutrition pregnant cows get during late gestation can affect their offspring’s future production, even having an impact on the fat deposition in finishing steers that determines their quality grade, according to a new University of Nebraska study.

Beef: Quebec ups the ante on its beef stabilization program

Quebec is raising the bar for minimum calf weight to meet its revenue stabilization program, ands the effects may spill across the border to
Ontario producers


Quebec has changed how it pays out on its Assurance-stabilization des revenues agricoles (ASRA) program. And that is likely to change how some Ontario beef producers, like Earlton’s Allan Aitchison, do business.

Aitchison has been buying Quebec cattle in the 400- to 500-pound range in the fall, feeding them over the winter on homegrown hay and corn silage and selling them to cattle feeders in the winter and spring at the Keady Livestock Market near Tara in Bruce County.

Beef: Heat measurement – a key to feed efficiency in cattle

Infrared technology may be able to help detect which animals are giving off more heat in the rumen, an indicator of poor feed efficiency


A link has been established between feed efficiency and the heat emitted by cattle after they eat, says University of Guelph animal scientist and geneticist Steve Miller.

Cattle that produce more heat – and methane – require more feed to get to market finish.

Now a study by University of Guelph animal science graduate student Yuri Montanholi shows a correlation between feed efficiency and the heat that is dissipated from cattle’s cheeks and feet after they eat.

Beef: Alberta moves to bring in voluntary price insurance program

The program will use ‘puts’ and ‘calls’ to allow producers to lock in a minimum return for cattle they are feeding


Beef producers can buy futures protection against fluctuations in cattle prices and in currency, but locking in the basis – the difference between prices in Canada and the United States – is a different story, for now at least.