The video also discusses the industry’s environmental footprint
By Diego Flammini
Members of Ontario’s beef community shared some of their production practices and their environmental impacts in a recent Beef Research Council video.
From manure and nutrition management to rotational grazing, beef producers are at the forefront of creating a more sustainable industry.
“We want producers to understand that environmental footprints are important,” Dr. Katie Wood, an assistant professor in the University of Guelph’s animal biosciences department, told Farms.com today. “Some of the research we’re doing, paired with some of the things producers already do, can help to minimize the environmental footprint of beef production.”
The video is also meant to remind producers that a number of simple, on-farm changes can help lessen their environmental footprint, says Steve Eby, a beef producer from Kincardine, Ont.
"There are a number of cost-effective ways farmers can manage and improve their environmental footprint," he told Farms.com today. "Most of the livestock operations here in Ontario are livestock plus a crop component. As livestock producers, manure is a byproduct of the animals.
"Applying that manure appropriately and matching the application to the crop that's being grown can be a very effective way to match the nutrients that will be taken out by that crop so they're not lost through run-off."
And with the Canadian federal government ready to implement a tax in provinces that don’t already have either a cap and trade or carbon tax system in place, it’s important for the beef industry to understand that it’s part of the solution.
Between 1981 and 2011, Canadian beef producers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent and raise the same amount of beef on 25 per cent less land, Dr. Tim McAllister, principle research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, said in the video.
And that’s a key piece of information for farmers to have on hand, says Dr. Wood.
“Often when the beef industry is targeted, (people) are using much older data against (farmers),” she said. “A lot of the technology and improvements in the industry prove that those (negative) points aren’t necessarily true anymore.”