1) Economic Sustainability
Priority will be given to research projects with the potential to improve the producer's efficiency, lower the cost of production and to ensure a sustainable beef industry. Projects designed to improve the adoption of technology, enhance government programs, or develop industry programs are also encouraged. Further economic research priorities are noted within other research areas below.
a) Understand proper incentivization of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies
b) Note methods of market volatility protection, especially understanding mixed farms vs grain farms using government business risk management programs
c) Provide a numerical ranking of the financial costs per tonne of carbon equivalent mitigation techniques
d) Understand the costs and benefits of a more traceable system, also given that improved traceability might come with more benchmarking abilities.
e) Understand the potential effect of Chronic Wasting Disease on cattle & the cattle industry
f) Complete a gap analysis of, and note barriers to the implementation of better vaccinating strategies and changing management practices to note preconditioning, reduced stress, etc.
a) Provide knowledge needed to improve breeding strategies
b) Investigate and supply tools to enable breeders to move faster towards breeding goals
c) Determine breed characteristics for better control of animal diseases
d) Improve upon markers available to note fleshing ability
e) Investigate and develop cross breed trait selection ability for milk production, which also takes into account fertility and calving ability
f) Investigate better tools, diagnostics, and programs for commercial cattle breeders.
3) Animal Health
a) Develop and promote cost-effective vaccination and management strategies that can be widely adopted throughout the beef production system to improve health, reproductive and performance outcomes
b) Re-invest in vaccine development, with a specific focus on pathogens such as Mycoplasma spp, liver abscesses, foot rot, and digital dermatitis
c) Investigate and develop simple, cost-effective alternative vaccine delivery methods to improve vaccination rates.
d) Develop rapid, accurate, cost-effective diagnostic tools to detect disease before symptoms become apparent.
e) Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of pain control products and strategies for avoiding or mitigating acute and chronic pain.
f) Develop cost-effective non-antimicrobial products to prevent, treat and control disease.
g) Identify or develop management or treatment options that lead to improved control of internal and external parasites
h) Develop a durable, reliable cattle tracing system and vaccination system for in-field and rough conditions.
4) Animal Nutrition and Management
a) Identify cost-effective agronomic strategies to increase feed grain energy yield per acre
b) Develop new feed grain varieties with improved feed grain energy yield per acre, nitrogen and water use efficiency
c) Identify, evaluate and calculate the cost-effectiveness of alternative / by-product energy feeds, considering impacts on animal performance, health, product quality, and nutrient management
d) Identify early signs of problems as a result of ergot and mycotoxins
e) Develop cost-effective mitigation strategies for ergot and mycotoxins in pellets, hay, and grain for cow-calf and feedlot cattle.
f) Note the interaction of mycotoxins and fusarium in blends, as well as how they interact with sulfates and nitrates in water.
g) Improve upon rapid mycotoxin test results (non-DON)
h) Identify long-term efficient and cost-effective solutions to treat water not otherwise suitable for cattle to drink.
5) Environmental Stewardship
a) Investigate the role of forage management in maintaining a healthy environment, as it pertains to wildlife, soil health, economic viability, and animal condition.
b) Quantify nitrogen and phosphorus excretion rates in grazing animals & manure applications, and phosphorus runoff and leaching impacts on water quality / eutrophication
c) Quantify factors impacting the rate and extent of carbon sequestration in tame and native pastures within ecosystems and soils in Saskatchewan.
6) Forage and By-products
a) Expand communication and technology transfer programs which target producers
b) Develop new annual and perennial grass and legume varieties with improved stand longevity, quality, yield, and adaptability (e.g. flood and drought resistance) through traditional and/or advanced plant breeding techniques
c) Quantify varietal and species differences in the ability of grasses, legumes and annual forages to maintain nutritional quality throughout the grazing season and in extended stockpiled or swath grazing systems to help inform producers’ seed selection decisions
d) Investigate and refine regionally-appropriate methods of combining native, tame (annual and perennial) species and extended winter grazing practices to lengthen the grazing season and reduce winter feeding costs, while meeting animal requirements.
e) Investigate methods to better utilize forages and forage by-products.
f) Identify and develop methods to control noxious weeds throughout the province, including but not limited to leafy spurge, burdock, absinthe, and scentless chamomile.
g) Determine economic benefits of cover cropping and intercropping throughout different regions of Saskatchewan
h) Identify or develop improved grazing and range management strategies that optimize forage and beef production from native range, tame perennial pastures, and/or annual/perennial mixtures; along with agronomic and economic benefits.