Beef Cattle Research Council

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Although artificial insemination (AI) of cattle has been possible for 60 years, this technology has not been used widely in the Canadian beef industry.  Genetic evaluation of beef bulls has improved considerably in recent years, making bull selection more objective and reliable.  Sexed semen, expected progeny differences (EPDs) and the ability to select for specific traits identified through DNA markers are also now available, increasing the need for and use of AI. Considering the costs of natural service and lost genetic opportunities, AI can be profitable, even in commercial cattle. Read More...

Economic Analysis
  • Does Canadian beef demand respond to food safety recalls and food quality improvements? (September 2013)
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  • Economic Impacts of Livestock Production in Canada - A Regional Multiplier Analysis (September 2012)
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  • Impact of Beef Quality on Canadian Beef Demand
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Fed Cattle Basis

Basis levels are an important tool which indicate the mood of the feeder and fed cattle markets. Cattlemen can use basis levels, as an indication of local supply and demand conditions, to provide market signals to sell cattle early or hold longer. In Canada, two different basis calculations are used, cash-to-cash and cash-to-futures. Read More...

  • Determinants of the Canadian-U.S. Basis for Cash Fed Cattle and Impacts from Government Regulations
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  • Market and Regulatory Factors Affecting the Canadian – U.S. Fed Cattle Basis
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  • Factors Affecting the Fed Cattle Basis
    by Alberta Beef Producers
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Genomics studies the structure, function, evolution and mapping of DNA and genomes. It deals with the complete set of genes and genetic material found in a cell or organism.

Genomic technologies draw both producer interest and research investment in the beef industry. Seedstock selection is one common application, but genomics has found widespread adoption in forage and feed grain breeding, diagnostic tests, vaccine development, source attribution for food safety recalls and other uses.


Knowledge and Technology Transfer
Market Power

Market power is the ability of a buyer or seller to influence the price of their purchases by exercising control over its demand, supply, or both.  For example, the exercise of market power includes actions where a packer is able to raise its own profitability while reducing feedlots’ profitability. Read More...

Pregnancy Detection

Pregnancy detection (preg-checking) has been used in the beef industry for more than 60 years. There are many reasons for producers to preg-check including to evaluate herd and bull fertility, to help monitor herd reproductive health, to determine approximate calving dates, and to help determine how best to sort cows into management groups.

Preg-checking also gives producers the opportunity to save the cost of overwintering non-pregnant (open) cows. Heat detection alone may not be enough to determine pregnancy as some cattle continue to show signs of ‘false heat’ after they have been bred. 

Specified Risk Material (SRM) Disposal

The term specified risk material (SRM) refers to parts of cattle that could potentially contain the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent (prion) in an infected animal. The transferrable BSE agent in BSE-infected cattle has been found to concentrate in specific tissues that are part of the central nervous and lymphatic systems, such as the skull, brain, spinal cord, nerves, and tonsils. Read More...

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