December 2017

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As part of the 2017 One Genome One Health Conference, Livestock Gentec welcomed back for the third time perennial favourite William Torres of Cattleland Feedyards.
In his role as Cattle Manager for Cattleland Feedyards and Co-Manager of the company’s Integrated Beef Research Station, William talked of the challenges of operating a commercial feedlot, bull test centre, and research operation. Although each unit focuses on a different application, each contributes to the goal of developing and applying science to improve the quality of the beef delivered to its clients and the overall industry.

View the video of his presentation above, or check out the summary and some extra Gentec insight here.

Gentec/Delta in the media

Envigour HX (TM) continues to make headlines
  • Canadian Cattlemen gives EnVigour HX(TM) (Delta's hybrid vigour/parentage tool) the full treatment in its October issue (page 10) and online.
  • The Western Producer's December edition features an article on collaborator and Gentec conference speaker Doug Wray's use of HerdTrax and Envigour HX (TM) to improve his herd. Read the article here.
In other news...
  • The Western Producer's December edition also featured an article quoting Gentec associated researcher John Crowley on the benefits of using genetics in commercial herds.
  • Big Data, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's report on the future of agriculture and natural resources, gives Gentec CEO Graham Plastow a nod on page 27 in the context of his research on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.
  • The Western Producer provides an oblique reference to Gentec in its October issue, with regard to our collaboration with Ireland on selecting for feed-efficient animals. Sinead Waters, the interviewee, hits the nail on the head when she says, "If Canada wants to be successful in this whole area, it is about processors, researchers and the breed societies and government agencies getting together with one central database."

Path to New Zealand

Now that New Zealand has shifted gears from mutton/lamb to sheep's milk, the demand for information from that country is growing. Read here how Canadian interest in Ali Goldansaz's research is taking him there.

New Certified Sustainable Beef Framework will benefit producers and consumers

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) launched the much-anticipated Certified Sustainable Beef Framework at its 2017 Annual Meeting in Edmonton on December 7. The Framework provides the tool to certify farms, ranches and processing facilities against sustainability standards, allowing consumers to buy beef from trusted sources. The Framework is the first of its kind in the world. Find out more here.

CRISPR gene-editing technology: What effect on Canadian agriculture?

CRISPR…promises revolutions in medicine and genetic therapy, but also has the potential for big -- but currently underreported -- effects in agriculture. One change that Ralph Pierce identifies in a detailed report in Country Guide: a much wider set of potential applications. Before CRISPR, transgenic traits were primarily limited to "global crops like corn, soybean and canola", due to high development and regulation costs. Pierce cites CropLife Canada executive director in plant biotechnology, Ian Affleck, who says these development limitations no longer apply, and that "CRISPR is simply a more precise method to do what breeders have always worked to accomplish: add genes, remove genes, or modify existing genes". CRISPR promises to be faster, more precise, and therefore much cheaper and more lucrative than previous technologies.
From Re$earch Money, Innovation this week, Wed, Nov 1.

Grazed and confused

Are grazing ruminants the cause of (most of) our planetary woes or a route to environmental/climatic salvation—or somewhere in between?. Should we eat meat and other animal products? Or not? If we do, is beef bad and chicken better? Or the other way round? Is grassfed good for the planet or bad? These are some of the questions that Grazed and Confused attempts to answer. This quite lengthy report is the work of the Food Climate Research Network in collaboration with several universities and organizations.

Inter-species licking (yes, as bizarre as it sounds)

In a recent post, The Atlantic recently provided photos and anecdotal evidence of deer licking cats and foxes, racoons licking deer. This drew plenty of comments on the cute factor--but one interviewee noted that it's a really good way to transmit disease! Read more here.

Who is meatless meat really for?

Last month, we brought you an article on the sustainability and accessibility of meatless meat. This month, we bring you the different kinds of animal-free meats and seafood products that might be on our plates soon--and why the companies creating them think we might want to buy erzatz instead of the real thing.


January 8. Smart Agri-Food Supercluster engagement session (bio-economy). Ottawa, ON. Contact 613 580-2424 x 22570
January 9-11. Banff Pork Seminar. Banff, AB
January 11. Forage Seed Information Session. Saskatoon, SK
January 16. Smart Agri-Food Supercluster engagement session (connectivity). Ottawa, ON. Contact 613 580-2424 x 22570
January 20. FarmSmart 2018. Guelph, ON
January 21-23. Alberta Beef Industry Conference. Red Deer, AB
January 23. Cow-Calfenomics Seminar. Vermilion, AB
January 23. Preventing reproductive wrecks. BCBC webinar
January 24. Cow-Calfenomics Seminar. Westlock, AB
January 24-25. SK Beef Industry Conference. Saskatoon, SK
January 24-26. Current Issues in Canadian Agri-Food Policy. Ottawa, ON
January 25. Cow-Calfenomics Seminar. Stettler, AB
January 26-27. Canadian Bull Congress. Camrose, AB
February 6-8. 20th Western Canada Feedlot Management School. Regina, SK
February 7. Canada’s Beef Quality Audit: What have we learned. BCRC webinar
February 8. Ranching Opportunities. Olds, AB
February 9-11. SK Ranch Management Forum. Moose Jaw, SK
February 20. Soil health for growing forages. BCRC webinar

The lighter side: Go tip a cow

Another urban myth that refuses to die, the art/skill of cow-tipping can take many shapes. See here.
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