GFM Network News


Cattle ranchers paired up with researchers in mentorship program

Pair of Lethbridge scientists matched with cow-calf producers from Alberta

Two AgCanada researchers in Lethbridge — a soil microbial ecologist and an expert in greenhouse gas emissions — are among the six scientists selected for a mentorship program put on by the Beef Cattle Research Council. The program pairs the researchers with innovative cattle producers and industry professionals — many from Alberta — for a one-year […] Read more

Karen Beauchemin poses with her award and socially-distanced AAFC colleagues Francois Eudes (left) and Tim McAllister in Lethbridge.

Lethbridge scientist named outstanding cattle researcher

Karen Beauchemin is a leading global authority on ruminant nutrition

A leader in ruminant nutrition and environmental sustainability of beef production has been awarded the 2020 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation. Karen Beauchemin is a principal research scientist of ruminant nutrition at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge station as well as an adjunct professor at the universities of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and […] Read more


There are many attributes of healthy soils — and many definitions of what healthy soil is. But producers can cut through the confusion by keeping in mind five principles.

Everyone wants healthy soil… even if they can’t define it

Different farms have different needs, but all fall under the five principles for improving soil health

Soil health has been defined as “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, maintain the quality of air and water environments, and promote plant, animal, and human health.” The challenge with this poetic definition is that, while it does describe the functional abilities […] Read more

Craig Lehr is one of five Alberta reps on the Beef Cattle Research Council. The organization is profiling the innovative practices of its council members, including Lehr’s operation near Medicine Hat.

Double cropping and low-stress handling pay dividends

Short Grass Ranches benefits from grazing a second feed crop and a new low-stress handling system

Editor’s note: The Beef Cattle Research Council has launched a new series looking at the innovative practices and strategies of producers who are members of the council. (There are 14 council members representing provincial beef organizations.) Here is an excerpt from the first instalment of the series, which can be found in the blog section […] Read more


Cattle graze forage stockpiled from the previous growing season at Nerbas Brothers Angus.

Using hooves instead of harrows to rejuvenate pastures

Cow-calf operation that relies solely on forages uses cattle and stockpiled feed to reseed tired pastures

As forage stands age, plant species composition shifts and production declines over time. There are many different methods of rejuvenating or renovating forage stands and strategies vary in intensity, effectiveness, and cost. Breaking old stands and reseeding forages, while effective, is among the most expensive rejuvenation methods. So more producers are opting to improve their older tame […] Read more



Livestock research gets even more complicated during pandemic

Cattle groups have tips for conducting on-farm research — two pages’ worth

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Beef Cattle Research Council, and Canadian Beef Breeds Council has put together a two-page list of guidelines to follow if research is being conducted on your ranch or feedlot. Topping that list is: “Consider postponing on-farm research activities that require more than one person or interaction with farm operators whenever possible […] Read more

Left to their own devices, these girls and guys will pick the best and leave the worst, and then overgraze — two things you don’t want to happen.

Pasture care in four words: Balance, distribute, rest and litter

There are many different grazing systems but they all adhere to these four management principles

At first glance, grazing a pasture may appear as simple as placing cattle in a fenced area with a water source. However, practising effective grazing management is an art and a science. Pasture conditions and types vary widely from native grassland to tame forage, with stands comprised of many diverse plants or perhaps just a […] Read more


Most producers in Western Canada are vaccinating their herds, but those who don’t are leaving their cattle vulnerable to common diseases.

Calculating the bottom line on not vaccinating cows

Not vaccinating herds comes with a cost — these two calculators put a number on potential losses

(This article has been edited for length. The full version can be found in the BCRC Blog section at beefresearch.ca.) Vaccination is a proven tool for disease prevention, but in Western Canada, one in 10 producers surveyed are not vaccinating their cows for infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVD). As well, […] Read more

Properly trained feedlot workers will minimize handling stress and check to see new arrivals are finding the feed and water.

The basics for handling freshly weaned calves at feedlots

Rest and getting them on feed and water are simple things but they take planning and management

Stress can have a big impact on calves and if not managed properly, freshly weaned calves heading to a feed yard can be very susceptible to pneumonia and other illnesses. While herd health veterinarians and feedlot production specialists can each have slightly different approaches to getting new feeders ramped up to the intended full-feed ration, […] Read more