Any Canadian beef producers who have been sitting by the
computer waiting for this day — it is here: The Canadian Cattleman’s
Association Beef Information Exchange System (BIXS) is launched, it is out
there, it is up and running, it is ready for use. Go to http://bixs.cattle.ca
to see it all.
BIXS, which has been in development for nearly 30 years
(okay that is a slight exaggeration, it is more like three years) is what might
be described as a two-way highway up and down the beef production chain that
can provide beef producers, cattle feeders and packers with information on the
feeding and grading performance of individual cattle. And it isn’t just
nice-to-know stuff, it is information that might help improve farm
Even though I am not a beef producer myself, I see it as a
great free, voluntary and confidential resource of particular value to
producers but also a valuable tool for feeders and packers.
By registering some basic information about your beef herd
on BIXS, a producer can get information back on how those individual cattle fed
and how they graded at the packing plant. That is an excellent report card on
how the breeding program is working on the farm.
Going the other direction on this information exchange
highway, feeders and packers can also get information back to producers about
the type of cattle they are looking for. As BIXS explains:
“Let’s say a BIXS member feedlot, buyer or packer is
looking for Angus-cross cattle born no earlier than March 2nd that have been
vaccinated with a specific product or products with a weaning weight within a
specified weight range
“The BIXS member feedlot, buyer or packer must
provide this query or search parameter to the BIXS Program Administrator along
with their complete contact information. The Program Administrator analyzes the
database according to the query parameters.
“BIXS cow-calf participant members with cattle in
their inventory matching the query specs are then supplied the contact
information of that BIXS member feedlot, buyer or packer. It is then the sole
discretion of the BIXS cow-calf member participant to contact the searcher.
(And this is all done confidentially until any two parties agree to connect.)
“Those launching a query of the BIXS database (the feeder,
buyer or packer) will not have access to contact information of any cow-calf
producer nor will the query participant, the searcher, be informed of the
outcome of the program administrator’s analyses of the database regarding the
query parameters. In this way BIXS maintains producer confidentiality yet
empowers the system to act as a business tool for users.”
I remember doing stories over the years where beef producers
would form clubs where they thought it was great to get some carcass data back
on a few head through the Blue Tag Program. BIXS brings the opportunity of this
production information to the masses and it is free. The system still has to
grow and mature, but it is launched.
Getting this program going has been a real labor of love for
BIXS national coordinator Larry Thomas. He left the
cushy world of being
associate editor of Canadian Cattleman’s Magazine to take on the task of
developing and co-ordinating BIXS, which I am sure at times was a lot like
herding chickens. (He didn’t say that, I did.) It has been a challenge but the
program is now up and running.
As a long time friend of Larry’s, I remember him once as a
robust, young man with a full head of black curly hair. As the attached picture
shows working on BIXS has taken it’s toll. He needs a lot of quiet time these
days, but I believe he is allowed visitors on weekends.
Check out BIXS and make more money.
Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in
Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]