GFM Network News


There are several key indicators of pasture productivity that should be tracked, says Manitoba producer Ryan Boyd.

If you’re aiming for pasture perfection, you need a scorecard

Getting maximum production is an elusive target but good records help a lot, says producer

Reading Time: 3 minutes Is your pasture above- or below-average? And if you don’t keep accurate records over time, how do you know? The first step is knowing what your land is capable of producing so you can set a proper grazing rate, says Ryan Boyd. That was driven home for the Manitoba producer when he was awarded a […] Read more

If you plan to test the soil in your forage stand, make sure to get the correct test.

Don’t miss out by neglecting nutrient needs of forages

Nitrogen levels are usually the limiting factor but there are several issues to consider

Reading Time: 5 minutes When you think annual crops, you also think about the fertilizer needs for that crop. But the nutrient needs of the 26-million-plus acres of forages are not often thought of. “Not fertilizing forage stands is often a missed opportunity,” said Ross McKenzie, a former Alberta Agriculture soil and crop researcher. By the end of the […] Read more


Applying the principles of low-stress handling requires an eye for detail. 


Little things can help improve flow of cattle

There are some easy fixes that make a difference, says long-time vet

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no ‘silver bullet’ system that will have cattle flowing perfectly, eliminate welfare issues, and guarantee a positive experience for the handler. But there are some easy ways to make them better, says Dr. Roy Lewis, who has seen, and worked in, a lot of systems. Here’s his list of tips. Give ’em space “The […] Read more



It’s not just the cattle that are happier with the new handling system at Short Grass Ranches, their handlers are too. “Nobody is miserable and grumpy at the end of the day,” says Craig Lehr.

Before you can go with the flow, you need to get the flow going

A new handling system has proven to be like night and day on Short Grass Ranches

Reading Time: 4 minutes Low stress and good flow are what all producers want when putting cattle through a handling system. Oftentimes though, cattle balk at something or just don’t flow as smoothly as they should. That’s the situation Craig Lehr found himself in, even though he had a “very well-built” one-piece, S-alley livestock-handling system with a crowding tub […] Read more

Pasture management is a mix of art and science, but having “some hard numbers on what your pastures are capable of” is a big help, says Tara Mulhern Davidson.

Carrying capacity: You gotta know if it can hold ’em

Overgrazing can really hurt productivity, so it pays to know how many cows you can put on a pasture

Reading Time: 3 minutes Struggling with finding the right amount of cattle to graze on a pasture or not sure how many cattle a new rented pasture will hold? The Beef Cattle Research Council now has a calculator to help you with that. There are four basic principles of range management: Balancing forage supply and demand; managing for uniform […] Read more


Encouraging producers to select forages that will be the most productive on their land was the top priority for a new forage selection tool.

Selecting the right forage mix has never been easier

New forage selection tool builds on extensive research and puts it all in an easy-to-use package

Reading Time: 3 minutes Trying to decide what forage to seed in a newly broken field? The Forage U Pick selector takes the guesswork out of it. Forage U Pick is not a new tool. Twelve years ago, the Saskatchewan Forage Council developed a Dryland Forage Selection Tool. It was well used by producers in that province, provincial ministries, […] Read more

Colin Rice visited several operations before selecting mats for his feedlot near Lacombe.

Cattle mats help prevent slips and injuries when processing

Mats are a simple and relatively inexpensive way to improve traction and reduce slips, says Lacombe feedlot operator

Reading Time: 2 minutes Slips, trips, and falls in cattle can be common occurrences when putting animals through handling systems. For Lacombe-area farmer Colin Rice, preventing these occurrences when they built their feedlot was on their to-do list. Rice, who operates Rice Farms Ltd. with his cousin, decided to start a feedlot when they took over the farm three […] Read more


Calves that are transported properly will quickly get onto feed and water even when they’ve been hauled from Alberta to his feedlot in Ontario, says cattle buyer Ken Schaus.

New rest-break rule a challenge for eastern buyers

But reviewing the rules is a good thing because cattle transport is being scrutinized, says veteran cattle buyer

Reading Time: 2 minutes New transportation regulations that cut maximum time cattle can be confined in a transport trailer could have a major impact on buyers such as Ken Schaus. The 48-hour limit is being cut to 36 hours under the new rules (although there’s a two-year transition period which started Feb. 20 when the regulations came into effect). […] Read more

Cattle buyer Ken Schaus insists that 30 square bales — never any less — be used to bed a trailer so calves have good footing and stay dry.

Attention to the details pays dividends when transporting cattle

It’s a long haul from Alberta to Ontario, but cattle arrive in good shape when things are done right

Reading Time: 5 minutes Producers don’t often think about what happens to their cattle after they leave the farm, and the cheque is in the bank. But with more public focus — and new rules — on how animals are transported, it’s worthwhile to have a better understanding of what happens (or doesn’t) after your cattle are loaded on […] Read more