Welcome to CBBC's E Newsletter!
September, 2014 
Dear Members and Associates:

Welcome to the initial edition of the CBBC E Newsletter!   Our vision is that this will be circulated monthly with news updates and articles that are relevant to the Canadian purebred cattle sector.  We hope that you will find the information pertinent and relevant.  We welcome your suggestions and comments! .

President's Message:

Welcome to the first edition of the CBBC E Newsletter!!!  It is timely that this reaches everyone as we return to more routine activities and events after the wonderful summer months. Michael Latimer and I have been actively engaged in CBBC activities to promote the Canadian purebred cattle industry which include the following:


We attended ICAR meetings and workshops and contributed to conversations regarding the current state of cattle recordings in North America;  In June, we  attended Beef Improvement Federation Board of Directors Meeting and various workshops.   The CCA Semi Annual Meetings were held in August and we presented to the Foreign Trade Committee and attended other meetings including Value Creation Committee; As part of the National Beef Strategy Plan, we participated in consultative process and are members of the Beef Advisory Committee 


These events have definitely broadened our scope of awareness as to the status of issues being addressed by various groups within the cattle industry both domestically and abroad.  It has been our pleasure to represent CBBC and to bring the voice of the purebred sector forward.


Respectfully submitted:  David Bolduc 


Update from Director of Scientific and Industry Advancement


August was a big month for conferences with Livestock Gentec at the University of Alberta holding their annual conference and the World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP) was held in Vancouver. CBBC representative Dr. John Crowley attended and presented at both and got a chance to visit with some major international players in the genetics field as well as plenty of Canadian producers and breed representatives to discuss direction of genetic improvement in the Canadian populations.


The Gentec conference in Edmonton brought together producers and researchers in the same room (and on the second day the same field) with the main aim of showcasing research to those that will be employing it, the producer. National and international speakers informed a captive audience over the 3 days with the second day being a field trip to the University of Alberta Kinsella ranch to honour Dr. Roy Berg. Among others, topics that were spoken about by our invited speakers included the value and role of genomics in breeding and management, improving the disconnect of the value chain for the overall betterment of Canadian beef production and cattle breeding, the role a purebreds and crossbreds in an overall production system, a BIXS 2.0 update and Dr. Peter Fennessy from New Zealand speaking about the FACE of Agriculture, Farmers, Animals, Consumers and Environment contributing to a profitable industry. Gentec CEO, Graham Plastow closed the conference by inviting all attendees under 35 (half the group!) onto the stage for a photo opp. This really brought home the message that the future of the industry is in the hands of this group of leaders of tomorrow. He ended the conference by reminding delegates that "agriculture really is the most exciting place to be today" and that we all play a role in defining the future.


WCGALP is a conference that is held once every 4 years and so attracts the best of the best in the field of breeding and genetics. ~1500 strong delegates attended the conference and the state of the art of animal genetics was show cased with the major topics including methodologies to incorporate genomics into genetic evaluations, genetics of feed efficiency (the subject of Crowley's talk), utilising sequence data and the future of genomics in a genetic improvement framework. On the topic of feed efficiency, Dr. Donagh Berry from Ireland ended his talk with the nike adage, just do it! He was referring to the research that has gone into selecting for feed efficiency over the last 20-30 years and yet no one has really adopted it because some are still fearful of underlying negative correlations. The research has turned up nothing solid in the way of undesired effects and in a balanced breeding programme where production, fertility and health are still selected for, feed efficiency can be selected for and improved. On the topic of utilising sequence data in breeding programmes, the sheer amount of data to contend with is leading genetic evaluations to a functional type approach where researchers are taking more cognizance of causative and functional mutations. The conference itself was 6 days and was well supported by the international research community. Boat trips, a night at the Vancouver aquarium and the final gala dinner kept the delegates entertained. WCGALP 2018 will be held in Auckland, New Zealand.






What's New



Purebred Breed Feature of the Month:  Angus

The Canadian Angus Association (CAA) is Canada's largest beef breed, representing nearly 3,000 members. Angus account for more than half of Canada's purebred beef cattle registrations and have an estimated 65% influence in the commercial beef cattle herd.


The CAA has fostered a relationship with the University of Alberta that will allow CAA to partake in their feed efficiency research at Kinsella Research Ranch. Established in 1960, the ranch is a 12,000-acre beef cattle breeding facility located 150 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. It houses 650 cattle that support bovine genomic research. The ranch specializes in researching feed efficiency by raising calves that are genetically predisposed to have high merit for residual feed efficiency (RFI), and then measuring those calves' feed efficiency using Grow Safe. The Angus herd at Kinsella consists of 220 registered Angus cows. This year, CAA facilitated access to semen from relevant bulls from their herdbook for mating these cows.


In recent weeks the CAA has released their Fall 2014 genetic evaluation results for both Red and Black Canadian Angus. These EPDs are calculated by amalgamating performance data from Canadian Angus cattle with either American Angus Cattle, or American Red Angus and Simmental cattle and then comparing, within contemporary groups, the individual performance of calves against calves in the same environment. CAA is working on an extensive project to deliver selection tools for female longevity and feed efficiency. This year's EPDs were blended with any Zoetis 50K genomic data that was available to increase the accuracy of these EPDs, especially for younger animals with no progeny proofs.


Another valuable tool available to Angus breeders is the Mating Predictor accessible through the Canadian Angus Association online animal inquiry system. This tool has been enhanced to calculate potential inbreeding levels for the progeny of specified matings. The Mating Predictor allows members to access the expected parental average EPDs for different matings. The tool now includes an indicator for the degree of inbreeding between the proposed dam and sire.


September 16 marks the official start of the fall sale run for Angus in Canada. That's the date of the first of the 175 Canadian Angus Rancher Endorsed sales taking place at 61 participating auction marts across Canada.


For more information about the Canadian Angus Association, visit www.cdnangus.ca..


Canadian Beef Breeds Council and Farm Credit Canada have finalized an extension of a Partnership Agreement for an additional three year term.  Canadian Beef Breeds Council wishes to acknowledge the generous support provided by Farm Credit Canada.

Feature Article

Beef, or cattle? Selling into the beef value chain.  With record-high prices for all classes of cattle and soaring grocery store beef prices, cattle producers got a boost of optimism in 2014. But it's still no time to be complacent. To maximize profitability, beef industry players - from cow-calf producers to packers - need to know and understand what their direct customers are looking for, according to Brian Perillat, manager and senior analyst at Canfax, the market analysis division of Canadian Cattlemen's Association. 

"Disconnect along the beef value chain has always been a struggle for our sector, but this also presents a huge opportunity to improve information flow in order to better satisfy consumer preferences," Perillat says.Value drivers change To begin with, it's essential to understand the price of beef at the wholesale and retail levels is strongly related to Canadian fed cattle prices. 
"The quarterly change in cattle prices in Canada tends to lead changes in consumer beef prices. When cattle prices increase, beef prices increase and vice versa," writes market analyst Kevin Grier, in a recent report. Grier notes cattle prices are more volatile than consumer prices, partly because grocers have more control over their own retail pricing than packers or cattle feeders do over cattle prices.The impact of record beef prices, and the fact that beef is becoming more expensive relative to other meats, is a source of concern for Grier. Retailers are finding it more difficult to feature beef as a sale item and how consumers respond to higher beef prices will have a big impact on the sector.

According to Perillat, however, widespread media attention of tight beef supplies and associated high 
prices has helped prepare retailers and consumers for higher beef prices. He recommends cattle producers watch beef wholesale (cutout) prices as an indicator of beef demand."The AA and AAA cutout value is the weighted average value of all components of a carcass at a wholesale price; it tells us what the packer is selling beef for. Cutout prices are more responsive to the marketplace than retail prices, which can be inconsistent due to retail features," he says. Perillat also sees changing consumer preferences affecting Canadian beef and cattle prices. "In the past, loins drove fed cattle prices, but today fewer people are cooking roasts. Recession and changing lifestyles have led to increased demand for ground beef - it's easy to prepare, consistent in quality and one of the cheaper beef items on grocery store shelves." Canada has typically imported large volumes of 
ground beef from non-NAFTA countries, but increasing beef demand from other nations, like 
China, means global beef supplies are disappearing faster than ever. Feedlots mitigate price risk
Cattle feeders and packers have also been feeling the effects of tight supply."Dwindling cattle numbers make it increasingly important for packers to secure a steady supply of 
fed cattle to consistently meet the demands of their retail and food service customers," Perillat says.
"And several years of negative margins in the feedlot sector have also led to more sophisticated feedlot management."As a result, forward contracts have become an appealing way for both packers and feedlots to mitigate risk. According to Canfax data, Alberta's largest packers forward contracted 48 per cent of their supply in 2013 - a 21 per cent increase over 2012. The logistical challenges posed by country of origin labelling have also led to more forward contracting by U.S. packers procuring Canadian fed cattle.Forward contracts mean fixed prices, so feedlots selling contract cattle will focus on gain and feed conversion to maximize profit. But despite the recent popularity of forward contracts, carcass quality is still important.
Carcass grading focuses on two components: meat quality, such as marbling, and red meat yield (also called yield grade). The ideal carcass will achieve "Prime" and "Yield Grade 1.""An understanding of the Canadian beef grading system is crucial for all cattle producers," Perillat 

Approximately one-quarter of finished cattle are sold to packers on a grid (formula) system, offering

set prices based on the quality grade and yield grade of each carcass. Top-grading animals are usually in short supply during spring and summer -coinciding with peak grilling season - thus

Canadian packers pay higher grid premiums in these months. Some branded beef programs also pay more for superior product. Grid premiums of up to $30 a head are paid for Certified Angus Beef� qualifying carcasses in Canada, according to that brand. "To maximize these marketing opportunities, you have to know how your animals will grade," Perillat advises. Further down the value chain, cow-calf producers need to anticipate and respond to consumer demand.


"Think about how you'll market next year's calf crop when bulls are turned out in the spring. Will

heifers be sold as replacement stock? Will calves be marketed as antibiotic-free, implant-free or

grass-fed? What prices are projected for when those calves will be sold? And what will it cost to raise those calves?" Perillat suggests cow-calf producers talk to cattle brokers, feedlots and auctions to learn what attributes are valued. If you can meet a buyer's specific criteria, you may be able to earn a premium. Calves that can be marketed as natural have typically brought $5 to $10 a hundredweight more than average, he says. Age-verified and preconditioned animals also tend to earn market premiums of $3.58 a hundredweight and $6.93 a hundredweight, respectively, according to a 2013 study of two Alberta auction markets. To maximize profitability, Perillat recommends cattle producers focus on two areas of their business. "Know your cattle - how they perform in the feedlot and on the rail - to make sure you don't undersell them. Then understand your costs of production and determine what price you need for your animals."



This article is reprinted by permission of the author and Farm Credit Canada. It was originally published in the July/August  2014 issue of FCC's magazine, AgriSuccess. For subscription information about AgriSuccess, see https://www.fcc-fac.ca/agrisuccess



History of Cattle Breeding in Canada


The following is the first in a series of articles based on content shared by David Trus, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which provides some historical perspective on the Canadian cattle herd!

Livestock Records Centralized

Toward the end of the nineteenth Century, Canada's trade in purebred livestock was becoming well established and in order to assist it, the Department took steps to have the Canadian herd and stud books properly recognized in other countries. In 1900 an Act was passed to provide for the incorporation under federal charter of the various breed record associations. Then in 1905 an amendment to the Act Respecting the Incorporation of Live Stock Records permitted the bringing together of the Canadian National Livestock records in a central office, under financial assistance from the Department. A provision of the amended Act required that not more than one association for each distinct breed of horses, cattle, sheep, and swine could be incorporated under federal charter. A new policy adopted by the Livestock Branch in 1913 was designed to encourage the breeding of better livestock through the use of purebred sires. The Branch undertook the purchase of superior sires and loaned them to associations of farmers, particularly in newly settled areas. 

(To be continued) 


Upcoming Domestic Events

Upcoming Domestic/

International Events 

  • CBBC Animal Health and Welfare Committee Meeting, September 15-      ABP Boardroom- Calgary AB
  • Canada Beef Forum- September 18-19, Toronto ON
  • CLGA AGM- September 22, Alliston ON
  • Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef AGM, September 24-25, Kelowna BC
  • Canadian Animal Health Coalition Board meeting- September 30, Toronto ON
  • Beef Value Chain Round Table- October 1-2, Calgary AB (Delta Airport)
  • Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame ceremony- October 3, Edmonton AB
  • IGAC Meetings, Calgary  October 8-9 
  • CBBC International Market Development Committee Meeting, October 21- Calgary AB
  • CanFax Fall Forum- November 18-19, Calgary AB
  • Market Access Secretariat Meeting- November 19, Ottawa ON
  • Alberta Beef Producers AGM-December 1-3, Calgary AB

  • BIF Board Meeting- October 15-16, Kansas City MO
  • Farmfair International- November 2-9, Edmonton AB
  • Royal Winter Fair- November 7-16, Toronto ON
  • Canadian Western Agribition- November 24-29, Regina SK
  • National Western Stock Show-Denver-  Jan 10-15/15
  • Fort Worth Stock Show-Forth Worh -     Jan 16-Feb 7/15
  • Canadian Bull Congress - Camrose       Jan 23-24/15
  • NCBA Annual Convention-San Antonio-Feb 4-7/15
  • AgroFarm - Moscow Feb 3-5/15
  • Houston LivesrockShow - Houston -      Mar 3-22/15

Contact Information:


Michael Latimer, Executive Director  Email:  mlatimer@canadianbeefbreeds.com


Dr. John Crowley, Director of Scientific and Industry Advancement

Email:  jcrowley@canadianbeefbreeds.com


Doris Rempel, Executive Assistant  Email:  info@candianbeefbreeds.com


Canadian Beef Breeds Council   
165, 6815 8 Street NE,
Calgary, Alberta  T2E 7H7

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