The objective of this paper was to evaluate changes in management practices of beef cattle from 2005 to 2011. Large nationwide surveys of husbandry practices in the beef industry were conducted to represent management practices used in 2005 and 2011 across Canadian Ecoregions. The two surveys attempted to similarly represent operation types (cow-calf, backgrounding, and finishing) and size. Several statistically significant changes in management practices from 2005 to 2011 were observed: in non-feedlot operations, these included more operations with >50% legume in perennial forage, less N fertilization applied to forages, increased winter grazing of cows, and higher quality feed used as a supplement to grazing. In feedlots, there were more shelter structures, less feeding of grain and more of high-legume forages, and more frequent removal of manure. Several practices remained constant in the two surveys including use of covers for storing hay, frequency of harvesting forage, time of barn and feedlot cleanout, manure storage and practices relating to manure incorporation into soil. The large increase in use of winter grazing on the Prairies as well as in eastern Canada documented here is an important change in the industry that has both economic and environmental implications.
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Vol. 96 • No. 2