Monthly Archives: January 2016

2016 Heifer Consignment Sale

Dear Breeders,

The Maritime Beef Testing Society is very pleased to announce that we will, once again, be holding a heifer consignment sale at our annual Breeding Stock Sale on April 2, 2016. Last year’s sale was a great success and we are hoping to build on that this year. We hope to expand the sale to include approximately 30 high quality heifers. Below is a historical summary of our heifer sale.

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
# of Heifers 14 0 21 0 18 23 15 28 6
High Price $1,050 $0 $1,275 $0 $1,675 $1,725 $1,425 $1,900 $2,800
Average Price $809 $0 $1,047 $0 $1,350 $1,392 $1,193 $1,489 $2,558

This will be a quality event! Bluntly put this will not be a place for common quality heifers, heifers must be offered by March 4, 2016. Rather than a sale commission, a flat fee of $100.00 will be charged per animal sold. Heifers selected will be delivered to the Test Station approximately 1 week prior to the sale date to allow them to calm down, adapt, rest, fill out and allow for early viewing by prospective buyers.

Heifers delivered will be weighed on arrival and must be at least 900 pounds or they will not be accepted, no exceptions! At this time they will be tagged with their lot number sale order will be as they come out of the pen going to the sale ring.

Due to the early sale time pregnancy confirmation will likely be difficult but if confirmed by ultrasound that would be an advantage (this to be done by consignor prior to delivery). An AI breeding date or an observed natural breeding date will be announced but heifer will sell as expose. Heifers exposed but with no observed breeding date will be sold considered open and possibly bred. Exposure bull must be identified.

Hopefully with the upturn in the beef industry there will be herd rebuilding and startups in the future. It is our goal that this sale will provide a needed service to purebred and commercial breeders both buyers and sellers and that the Maritime Beef Testing Society continues it’s long tradition as a major player in the development and improvement of the beef industry in Atlantic Canada. If interested contact Ken Thompson at 902-661-2855 or Brian Trueman at 902-667-1137 for more information.

Brian Trueman

2016 MBTS Heifer Consignment Intent Form [PDF]

2016 MBTS Heifer Consignment Entry Form [PDF]

Optimal Pasture Grasses

Agriculture Canada researchers sow seeds for optimal beef cattle eats
Scientists say they looked at 54 types of pastures and came up with the top 5 grass mixes
By Elizabeth McMillan, CBC News Posted: Jan 13, 2016 6:20 AM AT Last Updated: Jan 13, 2016 6:20 AM AT

A group of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers say they’ve come up with new blends of grass that could offer richer pastures for beef cattle.

Scientists spent the past five years studying how different types of fields affect livestock at the Nappan Experimental Farm in Amherst, N.S.

They measured how much cattle grew and how much back fat they developed, compared to what they ate. After looking at 54 different mixtures of grazing grass, they identified five top performers.

John Duynisveld, a beef research biologist, said the work showed different types of pastures can have a big influence on livestock and even extend how much of the year cattle are able to feed outside.

“It can have an affect on how the animals grow and how quickly they’ll grow and develop,” he said. “It gives us a pasture that is more resilient to changes in weather … that will have some species [of grass] that will always be growing at different times of the year.”

Reducing production costs
Over a period of several months, the researchers used ultrasound machines to measure how much weight each cow put on. Duynisveld said the goal was to have about three millimetres of back fat on the cattle.

Researcher Yousef Papadopoulos, who specializes in plant breeding, said they compared the growth numbers to the energy and protein in the pastures.

The winning grass combinations include some alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, timothy and orchardgrass.
He said the ultimate goal is to offer farmers a pasture that will allow them to keep their cattle grass-fed, and avoid the additional expense of sending cattle to a feedlot before slaughter.

He said keeping cattle in fields for longer can save farmers money in the long run. “Any producer who is willing to reduce their production cost … the data we have will help them do that,” he said.

Quality, not just quantity
There’s a science to creating the best pasture recipe, one that requires grass and legumes. Papadopoulos looked at what types worked best.

“Growing grass alone, getting a lot of tonnage per acre is important, but what’s also important is getting good quality,” said Papadopoulos.

On Saturday, Duynisveld and Papadopoulos presented the new mixtures to farmers at an open house in Amherst. About 50 people took part, with some farmers video-conferencing in from other parts of the Maritimes.

Duynisveld said farmers often plant “recommended varieties” designed to produce hay, but which are not as good for grazing.

“They’ve been selected for a hay type of system where they’re harvested two or three times a year and they don’t have the pressure of animals grazing on them,” he said.

Duynisveld and Papadopoulos said while they studied beef cattle, the grass combinations can also apply to sheep and dairy cattle.

The researchers said they are still analyzing the results from 2015 and plan to publish the research this year.

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