The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, recently reported that it has received funding to move forward on a $25 million Livestock and Forage Center of Excellence (LFCE). Components of the center are expected to be in operation by 2018.
The center’s development is the result of nearly a decade of discussions, two years of intensive planning and several strategic partnerships between the provincial and federal governments, the university’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and numerous producer groups representing all aspects of the forage and cattle industries, according to the university.
“We’re building on our research strengths — absolutely. But we’re going to catapult them to a whole other level,” said Mary Buhr, dean of the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bioresources.
The center aims to connect agricultural, environment and veterinary researchers with producers and industry. Students, researchers, clients, producers and trainees will benefit from the hands-on demonstration and training facilities in the LFCE, according to the university.
LFCE will consist of facilities at two locations southeast of Saskatoon: the Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit (about 1,760 acres near Clavet) and the Forage and Cow-calf Research and Teaching Unit (located on existing 2,367-acre University of Saskatchewan research farm near Floral).
The Floral facility will accommodate a breeding herd of up to 500 cows and will also serve as an experimental station for forage crop production studies, according to the university. Specifically, researchers will be able to look at conditions before and after cattle move on the land since 700 acres of the site has never been used for intensive livestock handling, the university further noted.
Other topics of research will include soil and water monitoring, range land management, pasturing work, reproduction, nutrition and metabolism research, cow-calf management and rearing, animal health and welfare as well as economic and policy work.
Funding comes from the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments,, the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. Further funds are to come from industry partnerships, research grants and sponsorships, according to the university. The university will also provide existing and new land for the center’s units.