GFM Network News


Beef checkoff dollars fund 29 projects

Beef checkoff dollars fund 29 projects

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Beef Cattle Research Council has awarded $2.9 million to 29 projects in the latest round of funding paid for by checkoff dollars. Priority areas are animal health and welfare, feed production and utilization, food safety and environmental stewardship. Knowledge transfer is also a priority, said vice-chair Craig Lehr, a cow-calf producer and feedlot operator […] Read more

Lameness can have several causes and determining the right one is key to treating it.

The cause of lameness in cattle isn’t always straightforward

One of every two dozen animals are diagnosed with lameness, but you can lower that number

Reading Time: 3 minutes Not all lameness is caused by foot rot so getting a proper diagnosis is the key to determining the appropriate treatment and management. Lameness can affect any type of cattle including feedlot animals, breeding bulls, range cows, or animals confined to a corral. It limits an animal’s interest in eating, drinking, or breeding, resulting in […] Read more


There are a host of factors to take into account if you’re thinking of changing your calving season, but the main question to answer is: What works best for you?

The right time for calving depends on your farm — and you

While many producers are calving earlier, some have gone the other way

Reading Time: 4 minutes Calving season looks different on every operation — there is no one right method or time of year to calve a cow herd. While more producers in Western Canada have moved to later calving, some have gone the other way. Here are the experiences of three ranching families. Late summer/fall calving Taralea Simpson has been […] Read more

Zero in on a specific goal when intercropping so you can measure progress over time, and “learn from the failures,” says researcher Yvonne Lawley.

Intercropping can be a win win for mixed operations

The practice comes with a learning curve, but can increase grazing options while boosting soil health

Reading Time: 3 minutes There is a lot of buzz in beef and forage production systems around the concepts of sustainability and soil health, and the numerous different production practices that can support those ideas. Intercropping is one strategy that can improve efficiency and soil health. Manitoba producer Alan Mac­Kenzie considers intercropping to be two crops that are grown […] Read more


Whether you spread out bales or group them in ‘pods,’ don’t worry about the residue left behind — it isn’t wasted.

Bale grazing is having its moment in the (winter) sun

Here are some things to bear in mind when using bales to extend the grazing season

Reading Time: 2 minutes Many producers have taken steps to extend their grazing period, and bale grazing is proving to be a popular choice. Bales can be purchased or grown on farm and placed strategically in cells or ‘bale pods.’ In some cases, cattle feed on bales directly where they are dropped from the baler, but in most situations, bales […] Read more

Cattle ranchers paired up with researchers in mentorship program

Cattle ranchers paired up with researchers in mentorship program

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Lethbridge scientist named outstanding cattle researcher

Karen Beauchemin is a leading global authority on ruminant nutrition

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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