A new research facility southeast of Saskatoon is designed to be the largest and most comprehensive centre for work on cattle and forage in Canada, according to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).
The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) near Clavet, Sask., held its grand opening Tuesday, bringing together research previously conducted in separate, independent facilities.
“It’s going help to make our producers … more profitable and that just sets us up to be more competitive with the rest of the world,” said Ituna rancher Aaron Ivey, who also served as the co-chair of a committee behind the centre.
Research will encompass all aspects of raising livestock on the Prairies from choosing the proper feed to understanding biology of full-grown cattle.
Academics, producers and scientists will collaborate through the LFCE to solve industry issues.
“As challenges come about, we have the research capacities to be able to overcome those challenges and be able to maintain the competitiveness of the industry,” Ivey said.
Situated on 27 quarters of land in two locations, the LFCE has a 1500-head feedlot. To understand reproductive impacts, it also has 300 breeding cows.
Facilities include a 24-stall metabolism barn, a cattle handling area equipped with a hydraulic chute system, 44 pens in the feedlot and an environmental monitoring unit.
A research farm at another location southeast of Saskatoon includes 165 breeding cows, along with horses, bison and deer for studying.
Students attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the College of Engineering will use the centre.
The U of S has given $11 million to the LFCE, along with $10 million resulting from a federal-provincial cost-sharing program.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be satisfying the customer’s needs and I think that’s important to recognize as well,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said.
A&W gave $5 million, Western Economic Diversification Canada provided $4.5 million, while the Saskatchewan Cattleman’s Association gave $1 million, in addition to small contributions from various groups.