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Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association  Research Priorities 2023

The SCA also makes investments in research, development and promotion of the beef cattle industry in Saskatchewan. The Board of Directors, works to ensure that producer check-off money is spent responsibly on effective projects that enhance the competitiveness of all production sectors of the Saskatchewan beef cattle industry. The SCA adheres to and follows The Cattle Development Plan Regulations, The Agri-Food Act, 2004 and its regulations, and all applicable board orders.

The next research proposal intake deadline is  April 17, 2023 through the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund


If you have any questions, please contact Marianne Possberg at

Priority will be given to research projects with the potential to:

a) Improve the producer's efficiency.

b) Lower the cost of production and to ensure a sustainable and profitable beef industry. 

c) Projects designed to improve the adoption of technology. 

d) Enhance government programs, or to develop industry programs are also encouraged.

Further economic research priorities are noted within other research areas below.

Economic Stability

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) Understand the costs and benefits of a more traceable system, also given that improved traceability might come with more benchmarking abilities.


d) 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.

e) Conduct an evidence-based risk-assessment of the effectiveness of alternative production practices (e.g. preconditioning, methods of reducing stress in weaned calves)


f) Assess demonstration projects, noting practices and programs which deliver information the most efficiently.


g) Investigate various insurance programs for beef producers to maintain profitability.


a) Provide research that leads to farm-level application of genomic approaches that allow producers to pursue and measure progress towards multiple simultaneous (and possibly competing) phenotypes


b) Investigate and supply tools to enable breeders to move faster towards breeding goals.


c) Improve upon markers available to note fleshing ability.


d) Identify genes with functional roles in microbiological and physiological processes that affect feed intake and efficiency in feedlot and cow-calf production.

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 research, including Histophilus somni.


c) Assess the value of re-investing in vaccine development, with a specific focus on pathogens such as, Mycoplasma spp, liver abscesses, foot rot, and digital dermatitis.


d) Investigate and develop simple, cost-effective alternative vaccine delivery methods to improve vaccination rates.

e) Develop rapid, accurate, cost-effective diagnostic tools to detect disease before symptoms become apparent.

f) Evaluate the cost-effectiveness and ease of application of pain control products and strategies for avoiding or mitigating acute and chronic pain.

g) Develop cost-effective non-antimicrobial products to prevent, treat and control disease.


h) Identify or develop management or treatment options that lead to improved control of internal and external parasites.

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 long-term efficient and cost-effective solutions to treat water not otherwise suitable for cattle to drink.


e) Determine benefits of the forage by-products of newer, economically feasible, crops in Saskatchewan


f) Develop cost-effective nutritional and other management strategies to effectively reduce the need for antimicrobials to control liver abscesses.


g) Develop a better understanding of the respiratory and gut microbiomes, their establishment and development in the neonate, and their relation to immunity and disease


h) Develop cost-effective non-antimicrobial feed products to prevent, treat and control disease.

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 factors impacting the rate and extent of carbon sequestration in tame and native pastures within ecosystems and soils in Saskatchewan.


c) Quantify the impacts of native and tame pasture management on water use, cycles and watersheds across Western Canada.

d) Reduction of the amount of single use plastics, or suitable recycling programs for single use plastics, especially net wrap. Ideal potential uses include fence posts and other agricultural uses.

Forage and By-products

a) Develop new annual and perennial grass and legume varieties with improved stand longevity, quality, yield, salinity tolerance, and adaptability (e.g. flood and drought resistance) through traditional and/or advanced plant breeding techniques

b) 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.

c) 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.

d) Identify and develop methods to control noxious weeds throughout the province, including but not limited to leafy spurge, burdock, absinthe, and scentless chamomile. 

e) Determine economic benefits of cover cropping and intercropping throughout different regions of Saskatchewan.

f) 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.

g) Develop and/or expand feed and forage qualities within common crops in western Canada.

h)  Develop new feed grain varieties with improved feed grain energy yield per acre, N and water use efficiency.

i) Identify, evaluate and calculate the cost effectiveness of alternative / by-product energy feeds, considering impacts on animal performance, health, product quality, and nutrient management.

j) Develop feeding strategies to optimize animal performance, nutritional value and cost of gain (e.g. ideal forage inclusion rates, grain processing/blending, high moisture corn, wheat, etc.).

k) Find or develop forages with greater environmental resilience, including drought, heat stress, salinity, early/late frost, etc.

l) Quantify the link between forage type and its genetic quality/quantity.

m) Qualify satellite or drone imagery to measure forage biomass and its characteristics for management and insurance purposes.

n) Note feed quality to weight conversion, in a herd of cattle on pasture.

Technology and Engineering

a) Develop methods to more easily distribute water to cattle in remote areas

b) Create management plans or products that would ease transitions for cattle into newer areas such as feedlots and backgrounding areas.

c) Create technology that would cost-effectively improve poor water quality to livestock.

d) Develop methods to easily track the Body Condition Score and/or the ratio between cow to calf weight, in order to target best feeding conditions for both.

e) Develop and process methods to quickly assess feed quality on farms or at local extension branches.

f) Develop a durable, reliable cattle tracing system and vaccination system for in-field and rough conditions.

g) Create a program that can help easily compare, in real time, how your herd compares with the health and statistics of herds in previous years, or of neighbouring herds

h) Track the number of times a cow has been bred throughout the breeding season, and by which bull.

i) Create an easy to use or passive scale for a cattle herd to easily track their weight and health.

j) Develop a tool that will monitor an individual animal performance and health in comparison to the rest of the herd.

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