The overall goal of the ministry investments in livestock research projects and programs is to enhance the long-term competitiveness and resilience of Saskatchewan's livestock sector. Saskatchewan livestock industry is an important part of Saskatchewan's agriculture industry contributing about $2.26 billion in farm cash receipts in 2018. The government is committed to investing in research that benefits livestock producers.
In the livestock sector, science and innovation contributes to the economy through the application of biotechnology in new animal feed and vaccine development, increased production, and value-added opportunities. In order to create an environment for growth in the livestock sector, the government invests through the Agriculture Development Program (ADF) to create technologies, knowledge and tools and in scientific capacity through the Strategic Research Program (SRP).
Strong research supports an effective evidence based regulatory framework to enable economic growth and safeguard public health, welfare and resiliency our production system.
The Ministry of Agriculture has three SRP chairs that work towards improving the livestock industry. The chairs work with other researchers and livestock producers to develop new knowledge and technologies. This supports a stronger beef value chain and a resilient livestock sector that will continue to contribute significantly to the provincial economy.
The three SRP Chairs in the Livestock Development theme are:
Forage Crop Breeding – Dr. Bill Biligetu – Program Framework
- To develop and release improved high-yielding and high-quality forage crop cultivars which will reduce the cost of production for producers, thus increasing economic returns.
- Genetic improvement of the more important perennial forage crops seeded in Saskatchewan, including alfalfa, meadow bromegrass, hybrid bromegrass, crested wheatgrass and other priority species to be identified through stakeholder consultation.
Feed Research and Development – Dr. Peiqiang Yu– Program Framework
- To identify unique characteristics in Saskatchewan feedstocks and to develop associated feeding technologies and processes that increase feeding efficiencies to create new commercializable products. These outputs will be designed to meet the needs of Saskatchewan's livestock and value added sectors.
- Conduct research that will develop and/or assist to develop Saskatchewan-based feed products and evaluate new feed ingredients.
- Conduct research that will assist the development of cost competitive feeds.
- Conduct research to improve feed quality and market value of existing feeds.
Cow-Calf and Forage Systems – Dr. Bart Lardner - Program Framework
- Develop and encourage adoption of research technologies from Saskatchewan and worldwide that optimize productivity, intensification and efficiency of the cow-calf pair ultimately increasing the economic return to producers.
- To carry out research in animal management practices that will ensure producers take advantage of opportunities that optimize the productivity, intensification and efficiency and increased economic returns of the cow-calf production operations. Undertake integrated, systems based research that contributes to highly efficient, profitable and environmentally sustainable cow-calf production (including the backgrounding of weaned calves). This research will include:
- Breeding management practices;
- Calving management practices;
- Weaning management practices; and
- Feeding management practices, and associated water quality issues, with a focus on grazing systems and forage/grass management.
- Conduct research aimed at developing management packages that will reduce production costs for beef producers through winter and/or summer feeding programs.
- Conduct research evaluating forage varieties and their suitability under different grazing systems.
- Investigate the applicability of DNA marker assisted selection tools and expected progeny differences (EPDs) in beef cow selection programs.
- Conduct research that will reduce the environmental impact of cow-calf production.