Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 04, 2013 15:05 ET

Harper Government Helps Beef-up Cattle Genetics

HILLSBURGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 4, 2013) - Ontario's beef and cattle producers will be able to better seize the enormous potential offered by genomics with the support of the Government of Canada. Parliamentary Secretary, Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced today an investment of more than $1 million in science and innovation that will help beef producers develop a strong genetic base for their livestock to help build an efficient and competitive industry for the future.

"The livestock industry drives jobs and growth for Canadians, and a big part of our on-going success in keeping Canada's beef sector ahead of the pack is our continued investment in research and innovation," said PS Lemieux. "This project will allow Canada's beef producers to gain better access to genomics tools for breeding and selection that can help them lower their costs of production and raise healthier, disease-resistant animals."

An investment of up to $827,050 will help BIO, a producer cooperative, conduct three leading-edge research projects to increase producers' understanding and use of genetic evaluations, improve genetic selection in beef and sheep using modern economic indicators in order to evaluate and predict market trends, and study genetic traits to identify markers that can be used to improve carcass value and quality.

"Genomics is the turbocharger to genetic improvement programs in the beef industry and this CAAP funding allowed BIO to help producers build the all-important reference data base, while also giving back information right away on two of the most important traits in beef production; feed efficiency and tenderness," said BIO Vice President Dave Milliner. "I used the results on my young bull calves to determine which ones should be culled before I invest in evaluating their growth performance. This saved me $250.00 per culled animal and ensures that I have the best breeding stock possible to sell."

A second research investment of up to $264,110 will help the Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA) improve feed efficiency for beef cattle based on a comprehensive analysis of their liver function. The results of this research could also help determine the relationship between feed efficiency and other important performance parameters such as cow fertility and weight.

"With feed being such a major expenditure on beef operations, improvements in this area can have a significant impact on the economic viability of the sector," said OCA Research Committee Chair Mike Buis. "The potential to identify and breed cattle with improved efficiencies will not only have important economic benefits but will also work to reduce the environmental footprint of the beef industry through the utilization of more efficient animals."

This investment is being made through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014) program that helps the agricultural sector seize new opportunities and respond to emerging challenges.

Innovation programming will continue to be important as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) works to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. The new Growing Forward 2 policy framework, which came into effect on April 1, 2013, will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. In addition to a comprehensive suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development.

For more information about the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, please visit the Program website,

Information about the Agricultural Adaptation Council is available at

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz

    Betty-Jo Almond
    Customer Service Manager
    519.767.2665 Ext 316

    LeaAnne Wuermli
    Communications Manager
    Ontario Cattlemen's Association
    519.824.0334 Ext 230