The Trough

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USask cattle feed innovations good for the planet and our pockets

December 12, 2023
By Lindsay Herman

With winter upon them, Canadian beef and cattle producers are facing a familiar challenge: keeping their herds fed outside of grazing season. The reality of cold-climate cattle production relies heavily on the storage and use of feed crops, such as hay and other cereal grains. As Dr. Gabriel Ribeiro (PhD), assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources notes, climate change has caused drier growing seasons that make these traditional feed sources less available and more costly.

“In the last few years, the price of feed has skyrocketed. The price of grain was the highest we’ve ever seen. This really puts producers in a situation where many of them are questioning whether they will stay in business,” said Ribeiro.

These increased production costs have also impacted the price of meat and dairy products in Saskatchewan supermarkets.

In response, Ribeiro is leading a study with USask’s Drs. Gregory Penner (PhD) and Bart Lardner (PhD) to explore how the application of alkali treatments to agricultural byproducts such as straw, in addition to oilseed screenings supplementation, can provide more affordable and sustainable alternatives to traditional feeds.


With funding from the Government of Saskatchewan’s 2023 Agriculture Development Fund, this multi-year project will engage a large team of USask researchers and industry partners to innovate towards more reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly cattle feed options. | READ MORE

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