BIXS launches to cow-calf producers nationwide

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), in partnership with the Canadian Beef Breeds Council, is pleased to announce the official launch of the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) to cow-calf producers nationwide. The launch follows a successful phased-in process that ensured BIXS would be open to cow-calf producers in time for the 2011 fall calf run.

“This nationwide launch marks the successful conclusion of more than two years of effort to advance a concept developed by the CCA into the BIXS program”, said CCA President Travis Toews. BIXS is an individual animal and carcass data information exchange system developed by the CCA with funding provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Agriculture Flexibility Fund. AAFC Minister Gerry Ritz officially announced the funding contribution at the CCA annual meeting in March 2011.

“BIXS is the result of the CCA recognizing how an improved flow of information between producers and packers can enhance industry competitiveness,” Toews said. “In time, producers will benefit by understanding what production enhancing decisions they can make to better meet market demands and packers will be able to source product that meets their specifications.”

Through BIXS, cow-calf producers can use the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) tag’s individual animal ID to record herd health management protocols, vaccination records and the like, and later, extract detailed carcass information. This type of information will help producers refine production methods to produce cattle with specific attributes that the market demands.

Judy Madden, a cow-calf producer from Dawson Creek, B.C., said BIXS will give her a more complete picture of how her animals measure up by providing data on her weaned calves, information she can add to the individual animal records already kept on birth, weaning and sale weights.

“What we’re missing is information on how those calves feed out and how they slaughter. If we have that information to put with the rest of our information, then we could see what work we need to do on our breeding program,” Madden said.

Also involved in the testing of BIXS, Madden said input from producers such as herself in the development phase ensured ease of use for any producer who wishes to participate in the program. Producers without readily available Internet access can have their information entered into the system by a third party, she added.

BIXS is a voluntary program. To participate in the program, cow-calf producers must keep records of their animals’ CCIA tag numbers and birthdates -- either a calving start date or an actual birthdate – even if the cattle are sold. This information is required at the cow-calf level of BIXS in order to participate and, in turn, get carcass data later on as the cattle move through the system. Optional information, including vaccines and herd health protocols, along with a range of other information, can also be entered.

Cow-calf producers can visit http://bixs.cattle.ca. To get started, click on the BIXS Login and Registration box on the main page. On that main page producers will also find the guide to registering onto BIXS, which provides full instructions.