Your Reading List

The beef industry wants cattle producers to be more efficient

cattle eating hay in a feedlot

A new project across the Canadian beef industry has set as one of its goals to help producers increase overall beef production efficiency by 15 per cent over the next five years.

The recently announced National Beef Strategy is a collaborative effort among key sectors of the livestock industry. It actually has a number of goals, but for the cow-calf sector the objective is to get more pounds of beef on the ground without directly having to add more cow numbers to your herd.

Herd expansion may be a consequence, but the main emphasis of the strategy is to support research and technology that will help improve livestock genetics in the Canadian beef herd, as well as help develop more productive pasture and forage crops, improve the feeding efficiency of feed grains, and improve overall animal health and welfare.

Martin Unrau
Former CCA president Martin Unrau is a co-chair of the National Beef Strategy.

Along with improving beef animal genetics and feed sources, the next big step is to get more producers using it. Research doesn’t do much good if no one uses it, so the emphasis will be on using a number of tools to increase the number of producers adopting the new technology.

Increasing production efficiency is just one of four goals targeted by the National Beef Strategy. Another goal is also to increase domestic and world market demand for Canadian beef by 15 per cent. And the Strategy hopes to work on a number of fronts to reduce cost disadvantages carried by the Canadian beef industry by seven per cent. To this end, the strategy hopes to foster a supportive regulatory environment, the project also hopes to improve access to competitively priced inputs, enhance research capacity, and develop an industry that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.

The whole package has some pretty lofty goals.

Organizations participating in the National Beef Strategy include representatives of all provincial beef producer organizations across the country, the Beef Cattle Research Council, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council, Canada Beef, National Cattle Feeders Association and the Canadian Cattleman’s Association (CCA).

A recent news releases says “the National Beef Strategy proposes a united path forward to meeting these challenges and opportunities with a goal to benefit all sectors of the beef industry. Martin Unrau and Trevor Atchison, co-chairs of the National Beef Strategic Planning Group and members of the Canadian Beef Advisors, a group of experienced beef sector professionals leading the implementation of the National Beef Strategy, believe the beef industry needs to adapt and evolve to stay relevant. The strategy is the way to move the industry forward, together.”

“The need for industry to push itself is now,” says Unrau, a rancher from MacGregor, Manitoba and past president of the CCA. “The National Beef Strategy will build on and strengthen the foundational pieces of existing work that have enabled the beef industry to grow to date but in a manner which will be more responsive to current and future needs. This will enable chronic issues, like infrastructure and capacity, to be addressed more holistically, and lead to programming to help grow beef demand and bridge to where industry wants to be in the future.”

For more details on the strategy visit the project website at

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



Stories from our other publications