Station News

2016 Heifer Consignment Sale

Lot 1- 8 bred heifers from S&S Dixon Farm. Vaccinated with Cattlemaster and Ultrabac, will be preg checked prior to sale.

Lot 2- 8 bred heifers from Orchard Hill Farm. Vaccinated with Bova-Sheild Gold FP and Vision 8, bred to Angus, will be preg checked prior to sale.

Lot 3- 4 open heifers from Othberg Limousin, registered purebred and fully vaccinated.

Lot 4- 6 bred and 1 open commercial Angus heifers from E. Rose Macdonald, vaccinated with Bova-Sheild and Ultrabac.

Lot 5- 1 open commercial heifer from Barbara Higgins-Larkin, Red Angus/Simmental, vaccinated.

Lot 6- 2 bred commercial heifers from Menno Reimer

Lot 7- 2 open Simmental heifers from Wade Murray, vaccinated with Bova-Shield Gold OneShot.

Lot 8- 3 commercial open heifers from Marvin Peters, fully vaccinated.

Lot 9- 1 open heifer, registered purebred Simmental from Jo-Dreen Farm, fully vaccinated

Lot 10- 2 open Charolais heifers from Ken Langille

Lot 11- 2 open commercial heifers from Andy Carter

Guy LeBlanc Retirement Party

Guy Leblanc is retiring from the Department of Agriculture after 35 years of dedicated service.

A roast beef dinner will be held to celebrate with colleagues, friends and family at:
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 20
66 Magnolia Avenue, Sussex, NB
Thursday, March 31st
Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm – Dinner at 6:30 pm

RSVP on or before March 25th
Advance Tickets Only – $25 per person

For tickets and more information,
Please contact Joanne or Jennifer
At the Sussex DAAF Office – (506) 432-2150

How much can I afford to pay for a bull?


A popular question this time of year is “How much can I afford to pay for a bull.” My go-to answer is usually… “How much revenue loss would you have from a pasture full of open cows?” After all, we often de-value the role of the bull. We forget that he is a crucial part of the equation to making our product.

Now, the question is a good one to ask. Especially after watching calf prices climb seemingly all of 2014 and the prices paid for bred heifers at year-end, it is only logical to wonder what a good bull will cost this spring.

Old rules of thumb are good to reflect on. For instance, “2 times the value of a fat steer” or “4 to 5 times the value of a feeder calf” are both common measures used by old timers to determine the value of a bull. So, I tested these figures with historical prices from the Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale and prices paid for feeders and fats from National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). As it turns out, using values from 1996 to 2014 (last 19 years) the average bull price was 4 times the value of a feeder calf and 2.1 times the value of a fat steer. Looks like those old rules of thumb work pretty well.

To read the entire article, please visit the Cattle Network [new window]

Improve Health and Vigor of Newborn Calves

We know that disease causing agents are present in beef cattle herds, even if the most careful biosecurity procedures are observed. In general, basic management of calves and calving groups will play a greater role in whether or not calves get sick than the presence or absence of most disease causing pathogens.

In a webinar hosted by the BCRC last winter, Dr. Claire Windeyer, veterinarian, professor and researcher at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, discussed management during the calving season for healthier and more productive calves. During the webinar, she provided numerous tips on how to manage both cows and calves to reduce disease incidences and increase calf survival rate.

To view the entire video, visit the BCRC Website [New Window]

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.

Fee Payments to Maritime Beef Testing Society

The Test station continues to be the only multi-breed testing facility in Canada which performs this high level of genetic evaluation of bulls. The amount of information collected and analysis provided by using the GrowSafe System is second-to-none in the country. This was evident at the Breeding Stock sale held in April as record prices for bulls and heifers were realized across all breeds.

As you are aware, the last number of years have been challenging and we have made changes to the program and some fees. The Management Committee of the Maritime Beef Testing Society continues to evaluate and make changes to ensure the financial viability and long-term future of the facility.

At a recent Board Meeting, we have adopted the following policies to ensure that the Test Station has sufficient operating cash to carry-out the test procedures.

Bull entries will only be accepted by breeders who do not have an outstanding balance with the Maritime Beef Test Station.

All producers who enter a bull must be a member of the Maritime Beef Testing Society, the fee is $25 (28.75 with HST)

All entrance fees must be paid by the time the bull arrives at the Test Station. The Yardage Fee is $150 ($172.50 with HST) and $50 for Entrance Health Treatment. The total entry fee per bull $222.50.

A late payment fee of $100 per bull will be charged for entrance payments not received by November 30, 2015.

A payment of $150 per bull is due by February 1, 2016. This deposit will be counted towards your final billing.

Bulls of owners with outstanding account balances will not be eligible fo the 2016 Breeding Stock Sale.

Nova Scotia Programs Announced

The Nova Scotia Cattle Producers are pleased to announce that we will be offering two industry programs in 2015-16. The first is the continuation of the Safe Handling of Cattle Program and the second is the Elite Sire Program.

The objective of the Safe Handling of Cattle Program is to provide support to cattle producers for the purchase of neck extending headgates, cattle squeezes and crowding tubs. The use of this equipment has been proven to reduce the stress levels of animals and well as increase the safety of the handlers. Up to 40% of the purchase cost will be provided for this equipment.

The objective of the Elite Sire Program is to provide support to cattle producers for the purchase of genetically superior animals which are physically and structurally sound as well as have EPDs above breed average. Incentives will be provided for breeders to have their bulls genetically evaluated. Up to 30% of the purchase price to a maximum of $700 per bull plus $100 bonuses are available for bulls which have a superior ADG Index, three EPDs above breed average for production and/or carcass traits and have a negative residual feed intake (RFI). Bulls who participate in a genetic evaluation program are eligible for $200.

No producer will receive more than the $4,000.00 as a combined program maximum

For complete guidelines, please see the application form which has been included with this newsletter on the yellow piece of paper. Please complete the application and must be received in the NSCP office no later than October 23, 2015.

All claims for eligible expenses must be submitted to the NSCP office no later than February 29, 2016. For more information, please visit

Record September Feeder Sale Prices

Top Single >500lbs – Char steer weighing 520lbs @ $3.00, owned by Donald J MacLellan, bought by Larry Weatherby’s Farm.

Top Group >500lbs–2 Char steers weighing 513lbs ave @ $3.375, owned by Joseph Doiron, bought by John Houley and Son.

Next feeder sale is October 17, 2015. Check or call 902-893-9603 for up to date information.

Please click here for the complete ASL September 12, 2015 Feeder Sale Report [PDF]

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