Cow-calf producers needed for new study

Cow-calf producers needed for new study
Feb 27, 2019

Project will help provide Canadian farmers with benchmark data and disease information

By Kaitlynn Anderson

Canadian researchers are on the hunt for more southeastern Ontario beef producers to participate in a new project: the Canadian Cow-Calf Surveillance Network.

The network aims to “provide benchmarking productivity information and estimate the prevalence of production-limiting diseases within Canada,” the project website states. Participants will also discuss such matters as animal welfare and antimicrobial use.

The project, which will run for the next four years, will help experts “gather useful information about the issues and diseases important to the cow-calf industry,” Sharlene April, the project coordinator of the Canadian Cow-Calf Surveillance Network, told yesterday.

Throughout the project, participating producers will complete a series of annual surveys. Each year, these farmers will fill out one management-themed survey, which could cover such topics as antimicrobial use and resistance, biosecurity and nutrition. Participants will also complete two smaller surveys on productivity topics, including calving and breeding/weaning.

In addition, the team hopes to collect blood and/or fecal samples from a portion of producers’ herds in the fall of 2019 and again in 2021, April said. Researchers will visit these farms to test these animals “during a time when they are normally handled, such as during pregnancy testing.”

The network will keep all responses confidential.

“All results that are shared are based on summarized data only,” April said.

Since participation is voluntary, producers may withdraw from the study at any time, she said.

In order to participate in the study, April said, producers must:

  • have at least 40 breeding animals in their herds
  • expect to maintain their cow-calf operation for the next four years
  • maintain calving records and have individual IDs for their animals
  • conduct routine pregnancy checks on their animals
  • have access to Internet and email

Farmers will reap multiple benefits from their involvement in the project.

“Participating producers will receive a small honorarium for completing the annual surveys,” April said. “They will also receive updates on information generated from the network.”

The team hopes to recruit the final producers before the end of the calving season, April said.

For more information, producers can reach out to April by email at or by phone at 306-966-7870. They can also visit the project website.

SteveOehlenschlager/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo


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