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Keepers &Culls

After being talked about a few times in these pages over the past couple of years, the Canadian Cattlemen s Association Beef Information Exchange System (BIXS) is launched and you can go to the web at http://bixs.cattle.ca for details.

BIXS, which has been in development for about 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 profitability.

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 as well as 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 2 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 formed beef clubs where the objective was 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.

COW-CALF ECONOMICS

Jerry Klassen in his column this month mentions some Pfizer Gold calves in the 585-pound range that sold for $1.61, and I was speaking with John Calpas in Lethbridge who ran into a Pincher Creek producer who sold some 400-pound calves for $2.10, so it is obvious there is nothing but money in the beef business this year.

But just in case those were just blips on the scale, there is a series of real-life cow-calf economics workshops coming up in Alberta in late November and early December.

Organized through ARECA in conjunction with Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Financial Services Corporation, ALMA, Farm Credit Canada and the Alberta government, the six day-long workshops will be held in Camrose, Nov. 28; Olds, Nov. 29; Taber, Nov. 30; Grande Prairie, Dec. 5; Westlock, Dec. 6; and Bonnyville, Dec. 7.

Market outlooks will be presented at each workshop. There will be a presentation on what calves are really worth from the cattle feeding perspective, a look at pasture management, insurance programs, yardage costs, and cow-calf economics software.

Cost is $25. To register or for more information call 780-416-6046.

YEAR-ROUND GRAZING

Steve Kenyon has a reminder about the Year Round Grazing Systems School coming up in Westlock, Alta, Nov. 25-27. It is an agricultural business management school focused on the business of ranching. It is based on a grazing system for both summer and dormant seasons but is highly focused on the management side of your ranch.

The school looks into how to use a gross margin analysis and a cash flow. Steve says grazing is only a production practice, to make a living at ranching, you need to be good at business. This school gives you some information to help your production component, but also gives you tools in human resources, economics and finances.

The course includes a cell-design workshop to help with fence planning and in developing a grazing plan. It is a jam packed three days of learning and fun. Included at this school will be a tour of a winter grazing set up. Dormant season grazing and bale grazing.

For $800, two members of your farm can attend the school. As a promotion, he also gives a $100 reduction to your tuition for every farm unit you bring with you to the school. For more information visit greenerpasturesranching.com or email [email protected] or phone (780) 307 2275.

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CONTACT US

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Contact Cattleman s Corner with comments, ideas or suggestions for and on stories by mail, email, phone or fax. Phone Lee Hart At 403-592-1964

Fax To 403-288-3162

Email [email protected]

Write to Cattleman s Corner, 6615 Silverview Rd. N.W., Calgary, Alta. T3B 3L5

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

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

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