On Saturday, November 26th, the University of Guelph along with BFO and OMAFRA hosted producers for a research update and other interactive learning opportunities. We are thankful to the 82 people who joined us and hope that everyone learned something new.
Firstly, Havie Carter the current Beef Cattle Specialist from OMAFRA filled everyone in on what her and her summer student got up to this year. They had looked into some bunk management practices and how automatic feed pushers could be a useful tool for some operations.
We then heard from other researchers about their projects:
Dr. Kimberley Schneider from the Department of Plant Agriculture shared her work on soil organic carbon and how rotational grazing could contribute to a more stable soil carbon.
Next we heard from Dr. Katie Wood's students, M.Sc. candidate Amber Zupan and PhD. candidate Melissa Williams, about uNDF inclusion in feedlot production. Zupan had done a study where she fed both high and lot uNDF feed to feedlot steers and Williams performed a meta-analysis on the already existing data on uNDF and fibre inclusion in feedlot diets. Some of their findings indicate that uNDF is an important factor in feedlot diets.
Our last update was from Dante Teixeira Valente Junior, a visiting student from Brazil in Dr. Marcio Duarte's lab. He is working on developing a system that can take pictures of a live animal and tell you about its carcass characteristics. He is also working on another system that allows consumers to take a picture of a steak and then provides consumers with more information on grading and quality of the meat they are looking to buy.
Dr. Jessica Gordon chaired the veterinary update station where she discussed the importance of foot health and gave us some tips on warning signs to look out for. She also showed producers some tricks to help with calving difficulties. Everyone went home with some new information and ideas.
Our last learning station before the research station tour was in the Meat Lab on campus. Here Dr. Mario Duarte taught us how meat is graded and yield is calculated.
Meat Lab staff Judy and Gino then led us through the various cuts of beef that make up a side of the animal.
After this jam-packed morning everyone headed to the Ontario Beef Research Station and toured the Precision Feed Facility, Feedlot, and Cow-Calf Barn.
Dr. Marcio Duarte spoke about the feedlot and his ongoing vitamin A project with M.Sc. candidate Sarah Dean.
Dr. Katie Wood spoke about the Insentec Feeders. They are very helpful for our data collection as they tell us who is eating, when, and how much. All very useful things to know for both behaviour and nutrition studies.
Lastly, Dr. Wood showed the research lab in the facility. This lab allows for time sensitive sample processing as there is equipment here to perform analysis of samples instead of taking them back to campus. There are also drying ovens for feed, fecal, pasture, etc samples to begin their processing.
Tysson Amidon, the Technical Foreman for the research station gave us a tour of the Feed Center and shared with us how much the feeding efficiency has improved since this upgrade was made to the station.
This was the end of the tour for most of our participants, but BFO did take their Ontario Beef Youth Alliance on an additional farm tour. The group headed to Gilbrea Farm managed by Bob Wilson and his daughter Katie. Their goal is to provide the best breeding stock to their customers by using technologies such as feed efficiency testing, ultrasound, genomics, breed comparisons, embryo transplants, and artificial insemination. They also stay mindful of the environmental impact of their farm and work together to stay up to date on the latest research. It was a very interesting and inspiring tour!
A big thank you goes out to the organizing committee, BFO, OMAFRA, the Meat Lab staff, OBRC staff and Tysson Amidon for making this day happen.