It is one of a kind for Canada.
The University of Saskatchewan Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) will be used by three different colleges.
Veterinary, Agriculture and even some Engineering students and faculty will conduct research at the $38 million LFCE, located southeast of Saskatoon.
“We’ve brought together three colleges that in the past worked completely independently of each other in terms of their research,” says Professor John McKinnon, Beef Industry Research Chair. “Today, we will see a much more integrated approached.”
Aaron Ivey is a cattle producer from Ituna and co-chair of the LFCE steering committee.
“We have the opportunity for the students to come out and get engaged on a functioning research ranch. They are not just learning about things in a classroom.”
The LFCE will operate three units on 27 quarters of land in two locations. (15 quarters south of Clavet and 12 quarters near Floral)
- The Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Union, south of Clavet, which includes a 1,500 head capacity feedlot and intensive environmental monitoring. The first animals arrived in July and later this fall, the feedlot will be near capacity.
- The Forage and Cow-Calf Research and Teaching Unit, south of Clavet, which includes 300 breeding cows.
- The Goodale Research Farm, southeast of Saskatoon near Floral, which includes 165 breeding cows as well as horses, bison and deer for research. The Goodale farm will be upgraded next year.
In addition to research, the LFCE will host field days, demonstrations and seminar to introduce new techniques and technologies to producers.
The LFCE is a partnership between the two levels of government, cattle producers, the forage sector and the University of Saskatchewan. Several private donations have also been made including $5 million from A&W and $1 million from the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association.
More details can be found in the University of Saskatchewan backgrounder below:
Current status with the LFCE opening
The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence is a partnership among the U of S, the federal and Saskatchewan governments, and the forage and livestock sectors. All partners are represented on the Strategic Advisory Board chaired by a representative from industry. The centre is an independent unit at the university with the director reporting to the deans of two colleges: the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Director: Kris Ringwall, a beef cattle specialist and director of North Dakota State University’s Dickinson Extension Centre, has been appointed the centre’s new director. He begins work on Nov. 1 and will succeed Kathy Larson, who has been the interim director since February.
The U of S owns 15 quarters of land south of Clavet and another 12 quarters of land near Floral.
• Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit: The first animals arrived in July 2018 and the first research trial began in August. By the fall of 2018, the feedlot will be near its 1,500-head capacity. The U of S Beef Cattle Research Unit located in Saskatoon has been closed.
o Several laboratories and sample preparation areas, equipped with a walk-in fridge, a walk-in freezer, and industrial drying ovens and sample grinders are located at this unit. They will be available for students and faculty conducting research at both Clavet-area facilities.
o A metabolism barn has 24 stalls with waterbeds, individual feeding troughs and water bowls to allow for individual data collection, and equipment to collect each animal’s waste separately. Video cameras have been installed in the ceiling, allowing researchers to study animal behavior. The animals will also have access to outdoor exercise pens.
o The cattle handling area has a long chute system that enables researchers to sort all the cattle from one pen at the same time. An hydraulically operated chute system and sorting gates, coupled with a digital scale head, allow for precision animal handling and data collection. All the data of the animals weighed, including any treatments, are captured and easily transferred to researchers via USB. The area includes bleachers for students and producers during educational and extension activities.
o The feedlot includes 44 large pens for up to 15 animals each and another four pens large enough for 200 animals–similar in size to actual feedlots. The larger pens are also equipped with a state-of-the-art GrowSafe Beef watering system that will weigh an animal and record when it is drinking. Feed intake will also be measured individually through GrowSafe feeding bunks.
o Environmental monitoring: The unit has been constructed on greenfield land that has been used for crops and not for grazing animals, allowing for intensive environmental monitoring to assess the impacts of livestock production on soil and water.
• Forage and Cow-Calf Research and Teaching Unit: The animals (300 breeding females, 18 herdsires) from the Western Beef Development Centre will be moved in the fall of 2019. In the meantime, a research study involving about 130 backgrounders (seven- to 10-month-old steers) begins this fall comparing barley silage with triticale silage as a backgrounder diet.
o Calving barn with 10 stalls
o Cattle handling area with hydraulic alley and handling chute
o 5 x 60 head cattle pens
o 12 x 20 head research pens
• Goodale Research Farm will remain at its present location near Floral, but will be upgraded, with construction to begin in May 2019.
The $38-million U of S Livestock and Forage of Centre of Excellence has received:
• $11 million from the University of Saskatchewan,
• $10 million from the federal-provincial cost-shared program Growing Forward 2,
• $5 million from A&W,
• $4.47 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada,
• $1 million from Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association,
• $250,000 from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.
• $100,000 from Farm Credit Canada, and
• contributions from several other organizations, corporations and individuals, as well as gifts-in-kind.