Using ultrasound on cattle to identify carcass characteristics is helping beef farmers maximize their profitability.
A project led by Beef Improvement Opportunities (BIO) has shown that ultrasound technology can accurately predict specific carcass characteristics, such as weight, back fat and marbling, which directly affect how much a producer is paid for an animal.
Continue reading Ultrasound helps beef farmers make better marketing decisions
RFID tags are placed in an animal's ear
Many modern-day pet owners microchip their four-legged companions.
This is to help identify them should they become lost, injured or otherwise harmed in some way.
Farmers are doing a similar thing with their beef cattle.
They’re using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to keep track of their animals as they move from farm to farm at various points in their lives.
These tags, which are placed in the ear, store information about each animal, such as its farm of origin, age and identification numbers, to help farmers and processors maintain and promote food safety and traceability. Continue reading Keeping tabs on where the cows are
Here’s the third in a series of guest posts I’ve been writing for the Canadian Beef Blog.
Last month, I described some of the different cattle breeds and how to tell the difference between a dairy cow (one that gives milk) and a beef cow (one that is raised for meat).
Now we’re going to take a quick look at how and where cattle are raised and what they eat.
Beef cows and calves typically live outside on pasture in the spring, summer and fall months – which is why it’s not uncommon to see cows grazing in fields if you find yourself out enjoying the Canadian countryside. Continue reading As cows live and eat
Here’s another guest blog I wrote for Canadian Beef Blog recently:
A cow is a cow is a cow, right? Not exactly.
Yes, they’re all the same type of animal but there are many different breeds. For example, even though they’re both dogs, there aren’t a lot of similarities between a small white Bichon Frise and a large German Sheppard! The same principles apply to cattle.
To complicate things further, did you know that different breeds are used for different things on the farm? Continue reading Cows of many colours
For anyone writing or blogging about farming, here’s a great resource for you.
One of my biggest struggles is always trying to find current, accurate and available photos to go along with articles or blog posts.
The Ontario agriculture photo library has a wide array of available photos depicting many of the different aspects of farming in our province. Continue reading Fabulous farming fotos
I’m in beautiful Banff today, giving a presentation to hog farmers and pork industry representatives on social media and how we can use it in agriculture.
It’s a bit of an event for me, for a number of reasons. First of all, I always like talking about social media and helping people gain an understanding of the different tools that are out there and what, with a little skill and practice, we can achieve by using them. Continue reading Banff, pork and social media
In Western Canada, student enrolment at various agricultural colleges is on the rise. And an increasing percentage of students flocking to programs in animal, food, life and environmental sciences are coming from urban areas, which spokespeople at these institutions attribute at least partly to the growing public interest in agriculture and food.
Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College hasn’t yet released its enrolment numbers for this year so I don’t know if this is purely a western phenomenon. I’m intrigued by it, however, especially in the face of a commonly used agricultural statistic — the average age of Canadian farmers. Statistics Canada tells us it’s approximately 52 years of age, which elicits hand-wringing and worry from some corners about agriculture’s future.
Yes, it’s a high number, but at the end of the day, it’s just that — a number. On its own, it does little to tell the real story of what’s going on in food and farming. So who is the farmer of the future? Continue reading Dispelling dispair about the future of food and farming