Latest articles


They’ll drink to that — cows and calves do better with cleaner water

Study finds cattle drink more from troughs, and that results in more milk and faster-gaining calves

Pumping dugout water into troughs can boost weight gain in calves. In a study done at the Western Beef Development Centre, cow-calf pairs were provided with either direct access to a dugout or access to troughs of untreated water pumped from the same dugout. Calves with cows that drank from the troughs gained an additional […] Read more


Green grass and newborn calves a perfect match, says longtime grazer

The list of pluses is long, says Jim Bauer, including easier calving, reduced feed requirements, and calves that outgain their winter-born cousins

Assisting a cow with her calf is much nicer when the weather is pleasant — and matching calving season with the onset of green grass makes you more money, too. “When you can line up that reproductive cycle with the grass production cycle, that’s huge,” said Jim Bauer, an Acme-area rancher and former manager of […] Read more



What’s good for calves is good for your pocketbook

The benefits of low-stress weaning are clear — higher weight gains 
and a big drop in treatments

Calves that are fenceline weaned vocalize 50 per cent less, walk less, and have higher weight gains in the first 10 weeks post-weaning compared to conventionally weaned calves. Fenceline weaning is nearly as effective as two-stage weaning at reducing signs of stress. With this method, cows and calves are separated by a fence but can […] Read more


Spend a little now and make money later

Reduced death loss, fewer open cows, and reduced shedding 
are major benefits from a proper vaccination program

The adage goes, ‘It takes money to make money.’ It is no different in the beef industry. “Low-cost producers do not cut corners on pasture, bulls, and herd health,” said beef economist Kathy Larson of the Western Beef Development Centre. “Spending less on these items often leads to reduced herd productivity and thereby raises your […] Read more



Top tips for vaccinating

Storage, the injection route, and when you administer a vaccine 
are all key, says 
Dr. Nathan Erickson

Time it right A vaccine needs to match the immune response of the cattle to the vaccine and the period of greatest risk. “So for BVD, the risk period is the first three months of gestation, while IBR, lepto, and vibrio, they tend to be a little bit later in gestation — around four months,” […] Read more


Calving problems are becoming rare, but be prepared to act

Beef 911: The first key step is to note when the birth process starts and investigate if too much time passes

Numerous articles have been written over the years on how and when to intervene at calving, how to recognize malpresentations, and what to do about them. Producers now see fewer and fewer calving-related problems as our breeding has improved and we select for easy-calving heifers with larger pelvises and moderate birth weight bulls. Ensuring cattle […] Read more



Make sure calves get the colostrum they need

University of Calgary animal health professor offers her tips on how to assess a situation and when to intervene

Many beef calves are not getting enough colostrum at birth, and the fallout can be drastic and last a lifetime. That’s why it’s important that calves consume some colostrum within the first four hours of life, said Claire Windeyer, assistant professor of production animal health at the University of Calgary. The probability that a calf […] Read more


Managing scours so they don’t manage you

Scours, the most common disease in calves, can quickly 
put you behind the financial 8-ball

Scours can put you in a financial hole in a hurry. “For every percentage of the herd that you lose, the rest of the herd has to pick up the slack,” said Claire Windeyer, assistant professor in production animal health at the University of Calgary. Producers who had relatively low calf mortality, around five per […] Read more



Have a game plan before calving season gets underway

The risk factors that can sicken young calves are numerous but some can be mitigated, says veterinarian

The upcoming calving season will be a time of risk for disease on cow-calf operations. Pathogens that cause disease in young calves are present in all herds, so careful management is necessary to prevent them from getting sick. “Cow-calf producers most often deal with scours, septicemia, respiratory disease, and joint or navel ill,” said Dr. […] Read more


Here’s how to assess the risk when bringing in calves

Beef 911: Mingling animals, transport times, light weights, and even 
weather can be factors that increase the risk of BRD

There are many factors to consider when bringing in calves to feed in order to minimize BRD (bovine respiratory disease), which is still the No. 1 cause of morbidity and often mortality in our feedlots. Knowing the history of the calves regarding weaning time, distance transported, vaccination, and health history — as well as upcoming […] Read more