GFM Network News


Research is looking for ways for livestock producers to get the best bang for the vaccine buck.

Beef 911: Our thinking about vaccinations is evolving for the better

Reading Time: 4 minutes We want to get the best bang for our vaccine buck, and research is looking for ways to do that This article will focus on some recent work on vaccination by Dr. Nathan Erickson and others at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. They basically had different calf groups vaccinated with different respiratory virus products […] Read more

“Please listen to your veterinary health providers and use the vaccinations, parasite control and other preventative measures they recommend to give your herd immunity.” – Roy Lewis.

Don’t be fooled into thinking a ‘closed herd’ is an excuse for inaction

Transmission can occur from wildlife, via spores or breeding bulls, so be proactive

Reading Time: 3 minutes In my travels, on calls or when talking to other veterinarian’s producers, I still hear some hide behind the proverbial ‘I don’t do that because I have a closed herd.’ It is an absolute misconception that because a herd is ‘closed,’ it is protected. That is a very broad statement and may apply to a […] Read more


Cattle can get stuck or go down when being processed

Cattle can get stuck or go down when being processed

Watch for balking and think prevention when it comes to alleyways and chutes

Reading Time: 3 minutes Large cows or bulls can get stuck or go down in a chute or an alleyway system, and that can cause losses or welfare issues. I have trained myself to really watch when cattle balk at certain points of a handling system as there is often a very good reason for this, and one that […] Read more

Not getting enough colostrum may lead to the first case of the three main calfhood diseases.

Focusing on the big three calf conditions will pay dividends

Scours, pneumonia or navel infections are commonplace but their incidence can be reduced

Reading Time: 3 minutes Most experienced cattlemen will have had an increased incidence in one of the three main calf diseases we see on ranches across Western Canada. These can be smouldering problems and occur year after year. I have spent many a time over my career discussing treatment of scours, pneumonia or navel infection (and then, ideally, working […] Read more


Keep a close watch for these issues when calving

Keep a close watch for these issues when calving

Recognizing the signs of trouble and acting quickly can be a true lifesaver

Reading Time: 3 minutes With spring approaching, I am going to attempt to summarize the many ways we can collectively (and hopefully) maximize calf survivability and productivity starting at calving time. Each of you will have different management styles, strategies, and numbers — but if there are one or two new things, techniques, or observations you can learn from, […] Read more

What to do when the expiry date has passed

Beef 911: While there are some grey areas, products have an expiry date for a good reason

Reading Time: 3 minutes We as veterinarians and you as producers run into many questions in our careers regarding whether we can or cannot use expired medications in cattle production. Veterinary clinics cannot sell product that has been expired, so if you see that a product has expired, simply take it back as a mistake has been made. In […] Read more


Individual animal treatments are often worth pursuing

Individual animal treatments are often worth pursuing

Beef 911: We focus on the herd, but it’s often worth it to treat problems specific to one animal

Reading Time: 3 minutes We focus on herd medicine, herd reproduction, production, biosecurity, animal welfare and marketing — and these, without a doubt, have a big impact on profitability as well as consumer acceptance. However, in cattle production there are still the individual cases which require our attention and can have favourable outcomes. Early detection and treatment increase our […] Read more

As the Boy Scout motto says, ‘Be Prepared,’ and that couldn’t be more true when processing cattle.

When it comes to equipment, it’s best to be like a Boy Scout

Beef 911: ‘Be prepared’— maintain equipment and having a backup plan


Reading Time: 3 minutes We all spend lots of time in animal health using equipment to administer vaccines, giving implants, weighing cattle, handling cattle, and administering pain control. In the veterinary world, we use surgical instruments, semen ejaculators, ultrasounds for diagnosis of reproductive things to internal problems and other equipment ranging from tubing devices to esophageal feeders to calf […] Read more


When vaccines are manufactured, they are checked for efficacy to determine if the manufacturing process has been successful.

The vaccine supply is more fragile than you might think

Beef 911: Supplies can run short for many reasons, so you need to be prepared for that possibility

Reading Time: 3 minutes A lot of disease prevention and maintaining productivity relies on vaccination, and we often don’t realize how much we rely on these vaccines until there is a shortage. With there only being a few large pharmaceutical companies, there may be few alternatives to turn to. With regulatory control being very strict and changes slow to […] Read more

COVID-19 has revealed how vulnerable the food supply chain can be. It is a shame when we have some of the best beef in the world and can’t get access to enough of it.

New slaughter regulations are a step forward

Beef 911: Changes to allow video ante-mortem inspection and on-farm slaughter make good sense

Reading Time: 3 minutes All through the year accidents can happen and the need for emergency slaughter can arise. Broken legs during breeding season, fighting, very rarely during transport or downer cattle make access to emergency slaughter imperative. Recently announced changes will allow a mobile butcher to video the animal and that can be used by an inspector for […] Read more