The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence brings together under one roof all aspects of beef cattle research into one entity, providing researchers, faculty, students, industry and producers with a broad-based platform for research, teaching and outreach activities. The centre is also home to world-class bison research that focuses on reproduction, vaccine development and disease control, and nutrition.

We are here to answer industry questions. This is where producers will find science-based answers that address animal welfare, environmental sustainability and increased profitability. Scientists will address real-life problems under controlled settings by exploring environmental engineering, soil and plant science, animal science, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics.

The LFCE supports research, teaching and outreach related to:

  • Cow-calf production, 
  • Beef cattle production, 
  • Forage breeding and production,
  • Grazing and pasture management, and
  • Bison reproduction, herd management, disease control and nutrition.

A wide range of people from the University of Saskatchewan and other LFCE partner organizations rely on the centre's resources, including:

  • USask researchers and their national/international collaborators,
  • USask faculty members and instructors,
  • Undergraduate and graduate students, and
  • Livestock and forage producers.

Our Vision

The University of Saskatchewan Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence is a collaborative initiative, integrating resources for livestock and forage research and development to efficiently and effectively implement internationally recognized education, research and extension.

We aim to be a global leader in innovation, promoting increased profitability and sustainability for the livestock and forage industries.

Our Goals

Science-based answers to consumers' questions
Consumers have questions about how western Canadian livestock producers raise animals. At the LFCE, researchers investigate different aspects of livestock production and “test drive” new options to enhance animal welfare, animal health, product quality and food safety on Canada’s farms.

Cost-effective herd management
As input costs increase, livestock producers must adopt the most efficient methods of managing their herds. But what methods make the most sense when you consider economics as well as other factors? Because the operation of the LFCE reflects every stage of the cattle production chain, scientists can analyze the pros and cons of adopting a single cost-saving measure — or a combination of several tactics — in a real-world setting.

A smaller environmental hoof print
The LFCE provides USask environmental researchers with a unique opportunity — the chance to study the impact of intensive livestock operations on a “greenfield” site over five years of development and production. Nothing like this has been done in Canada. Based on these results, the research team will develop “best practices” — identifying what makes the best site for a feedlot and what modifications are necessary to minimize the impact on soil and water resources.

Practical teaching
Students have access to the newest technologies, advanced handling facilities and a large number of animals — cow-calf pairs and feeder cattle — all located close to Saskatoon.

Research synergy
By bringing scientists and producers together, the LFCE allows the research community to be more responsive to the needs of the livestock and forage sectors. We expect more research collaborations with scientists from around the world.

Linking people to knowledge
Using the centre's facilities, agricultural, environment and veterinary researchers connect with producers and industry representatives. Students, researchers, clients, producers and trainees also benefit from hands-on demonstrations and training at the LFCE.

Our Partners

The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence is a partnership among the University of Saskatchewan, the federal and Saskatchewan governments, and the forage and livestock sectors. All partners are represented on the Strategic Advisory Board, which is chaired by a representative from industry. The centre is an independent unit at the university with the director reporting to the deans of two colleges: the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

The centre holds a corporate membership with Canadian Western Agribition. It is also a member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

Chair

  • Duane Thompson, producer

Industry representatives

  • Neil Block, producer
  • Tamara Carter, producer
  • Robert Johnson, producer
  • Lance Leachman, producer

Government representatives

  • Grant Zalinko, executive director, Livestock Branch, Sask. Ministry of Agriculture
  • Kevin France, executive director, Regional Services Branch, Sask. Ministry of Agriculture
  • Abdul Jalil, assistant deputy minister, Western Economic Diversification, Government of Canada

University representatives

  • Dr. Suzanne Kresta (PhD), dean, College of Engineering, USask
  • Dr. Irena Creed (PhD), associate vice-president, Research, USask

National representative

  • Andrea Brocklebank, executive director, Beef Cattle Research Council

International representative

  • Dr. Daniel Thomson, chair, Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
    Iowa State University

The $38-million USask Livestock and Forage of Centre of Excellence has received:

  • $11 million from the University of Saskatchewan,
  • $10 million from the federal-provincial cost-shared program Growing Forward 2,
  • $5 million from A&W,
  • $4.47 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada,
  • $1 million from Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association,
  • $250,000 from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.,
  • $250,000 from Merck Animal Health,
  • $100,000 from Farm Credit Canada,
  • $100,000 from Canadian Western Agribition, and
  • contributions from several other organizations, corporations and individuals, as well as gifts-in-kind.

Our History

In 2014, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture consulted with leaders in the livestock and forage industries and those at the University of Saskatchewan on the future of research and training in the province in support of industry and the provincial economy. The Livestock and Forage Steering Committee was struck with the mandate to review research, training and outreach capacity of the livestock and forage facilities within the province.

Previously, livestock and forage research in Saskatchewan had been conducted in separate facilities, operating independently and geographically dispersed:

  • Western Beef Development Centre was located at the USask-owned Termuende Ranch, near Lanigan, Sask., but funded mainly by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. It was operated by the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) from 2005 to 2018. Click here to read more about Termuende's history. We continue to use the Termuende land for summer pasture.
  • The USask Beef Cattle Research Unit was located on land along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River and within the limits of the City of Saskatoon. Built in the 1950s and owned by the university, the university needed to relocate the aging feedlot. It was decommissioned during the spring and summer of 2018.
  • The Goodale Farm, located southeast of Saskatoon and owned by the university, was primarily serving the needs of researchers and students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. It was in need of upgrades. 

The first animals arrived at the feedlot of the new Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit in July 2018 and the first research trial began in August 2018.

The first calves were born at the new Forage Cow-Calf Research and Teaching Unit in the spring of 2020.

We celebrated our grand opening on Oct. 9, 2018, with representatives from the federal and provincial governments, the university and a variety of industry groups. Read more.

The Livestock and Forage Steering Committee, a group of diverse individuals representing industry, government and university, was struck by Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan's former Minister of Agriculture, in 2014.

This group met 30 times over a four-year period with the last time being a joint meeting with the Strategic Advisory Board on July 10, 2018. The committee’s purpose was to provide insight into the vision and governance structure for the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence as well as to promote the centre and raise funds for the capital build.

The committee was dissolved by Minister Stewart in August 2018. For some of the members, their work is not donethree of the individuals were appointed to the inaugural Strategic Advisory Board.

We thank these individuals for their efforts in laying a firm foundation for the LFCE:

Committee co-chairs

  • Aaron Ivey, chair, Saskatchewan Forage Network
  • Dr. Ernie Barber (PhD), special consultant to the provost, USask

Committee members

  • Andrea Brocklebank, executive director, Beef Cattle Research Council
  • Janice Bruynooghe, coordinator, Saskatchewan Forage Network
  • Dr. Mary Buhr (PhD), dean, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, USask
  • Dr. Doug Freeman, dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, USask
  • William Greuel, assistant deputy minister, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
  • Abdul Jalil, assistant deputy minister, Western Economic Diversification, Government of Canada
  • Ryder Lee, chief executive officer, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association
  • Chad MacPherson, executive director, Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association
  • Murray McGillivray, cattleman and adviser
  • Tim Oleksyn, chair, Western Beef Development Centre/Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute
  • Michael Spratt, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association
  • Dr. Elisabeth Snead, associate dean of research, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, USask
  • Dr. Bob Tyler (PhD), associate dean of research, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, USask