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2017-140: Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey II: Understanding Practices and Profitability

Researcher: Kathy Larson

Funded: $5,750

Benchmarking, or comparing your farm to another similar farm, has been shown to improve performance. A survey to gather common practices hopes to inform not only extension staff so that they can direct their efforts, but also help the SCA direct their funding and your levy appropriately. 


This survey is an update of the 2014 Western Canada Cow-Calf Productivity Survey. Some 261 cow-calf producers were asked 58 questions about their cattle operations and management and marketing practices. The survey applied to their 2017 calf crop, starting with breeding in the summer of 2016 and ending with weaning. A total of 261 surveys were completed – representing 34,479 breeding females — that’s about 1% of the beef herd in Western Canada as
reported by Statistic Canada in January 2018. 

While this survey was open to all cow-calf producers across Western Canada, the majority of respondents were from Alberta (41%) followed by Saskatchewan (28%), Manitoba (25%) and British Columbia (7%). The results of this survey have been available to be compared to other similar surveys in different parts of Canada. It has been used to establish industry benchmarks for production indicators and management practices, to establish industry trends, and to guide research and extension efforts moving forward. 

See the full research results here:

For more information, please see:

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