The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, visited Spring Meadow Farm in Springdale today for an update on the department’s Beef Cattle Enhancement Demonstration Project. Since 2016, the department has been working with experienced beef cattle farmers to expand the availability of superior, local breeding stock to reduce the need to acquire more costly purebred beef cattle from outside the province.
Eligible farmers had the opportunity to apply for herds of five Hereford cattle under the project. Purebred beef calves were placed at Spruce Grove Enterprises in Daniel’s Harbour, Larch Grove Farm in Cormack, and Spring Meadow Farm in Springdale. To date, there have been three calving cycles at Spruce Grove, two at Larch Grove Farm, and one at Spring Meadow Farm, with a total of 25 calves born since the project began. Two bulls born at Larch Grove Farm have been sold as breeding stock to east coast farmers.
Fisheries and Land Resources staff are working with farmers to evaluate the impact of superior purebred and cross-bred cattle traits on meat production and quality. Most beef consumed in Newfoundland and Labrador comes from other Canadian provinces, with approximately 13.8 million kilograms imported in 2018. In comparison, Newfoundland and Labrador beef producers reported sales of approximately 100,000 kilograms, accounting for less than one per cent of consumption.
The Beef Cattle Enhancement Demonstration Project supports the Way Forward commitment to doubling food self-sufficiency and generating employment throughout the province. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca.
For other examples of ongoing agriculture research, please see the backgrounder below.
“Less than one per cent of the beef consumed in Newfoundland and Labrador is actually produced here but the ingenuity and hard work of our agriculture producers proves we are capable of much more than that. The Beef Cattle Enhancement Project is demonstrating our potential to produce local, superior beef stock that will increase food self-sufficiency and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of food we import to the province, and I look forward to seeing the results of this important research.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
“The Beef Cattle Enhancement Program has been a wonderful opportunity for Spring Meadow Farm to access a variety of cattle strains and to collect information on different breeds that best suit this province. The program has contributed to my understanding of best practices and will definitely have a positive impact as we endeavor to expand our current level of production. I am pleased to be involved in this program and I expect interesting results when our new calves are born early in 2020.”
Spring Meadow Farm
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The Way Forward on Agriculture
Fisheries and Land Resources
Spring Meadow Farm
Information on Ongoing Agriculture Research in Newfoundland and Labrador
The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources’ Provincial Agriculture Research and Development Program is working with industry and Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, to conduct relevant, locally focused and science-based research to increase agricultural production in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Research areas include:
Beef Cattle Enhancement Demonstration Project
In Cormack, purebred Herefords – with traits including hardiness, rapid growth, ease of handling and docile nature – have been bred with Simmentals, a breed known for rapid growth and fewer days required to reach marketable size. Hereford and Simmental-crossed calves are expected by March 2020, and a production assessment on this cross will be conducted and compared to Hereford and Holstein beef crosses. In Daniel’s Harbour and Springdale, purebred Hereford calves are being evaluated against Hereford/Holstein crosses, as well as Hereford/Angus crosses, with new calves expected in March 2020. Six steers will be harvested this fall and winter, and a full production assessment and evaluation will be conducted.
Apple Varietal Trial
Assessing the most promising apple varieties, with a goal to make the best suited varieties available to interested growers.
Wine Grape Varietal Trail
Determining yield and sugar content of wine grapes. Varietal selections have been made and planted at the Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Development in Wooddale as parent stock for future propagation for interested growers.
Cranberry Varietal Trial
Continuing to investigate new cranberry varieties to ensure the industry remains competitive and profitable.
New Half-high Blueberry Cultivar Trials
Assessing half high blueberry cultivar hybrid crosses developed using native plants crossed with non-native, commercially available plants. Best suited cultivars will be propagated and limited quantities made available to interested growers.
New Lingonberry (partridgeberry) Cultivar Trials
Assessing lingonberry hybrid crosses developed using native plants crossed with non-native (European) commercially available plants. Best suited cultivars will be made available in limited quantities to interested growers.
Asparagus Varietal Trial
Investigating the adaptability of asparagus cultivars to Newfoundland and Labrador’s growing conditions.
Vegetable Transplant Technology Demonstration
Demonstrating transplant equipment in the field to aid producers with best management practices for the production of vegetables from transplants.
Livestock Feed Program
Assessing high-quality forage crops to address the high costs of imported feeds for livestock production in the province
Grain and Oil Seeds Program
Research into increasing yields and decreasing the cost of production through seeding and fertilizer rate trials of wheat for livestock, malting barley for the beverage industry, canola cultivation, and milling wheat cultivation for the bakery industry.