GFM Network News


It takes about four weeks for a new calf to build its immunity to scour-causing pathogens, so it makes sense to keep it away from contaminated ground.

A simple system to fit the scourge of scours

Losses, treatment costs, and reduced performance can be a $4,000 hit in a 100-head beef herd

Editor’s note: This article from the Beef Cattle Research Council posted last fall offers what could be money-saving advice for producers heading into spring calving. The following is a condensed version. The full article ‘How fresh pens and pastures prevent calf losses’ can be found at www.beefresearch.ca. Doug Wray believes in keeping newborn calves separated […] Read more

Timely tips for calving season

A new Beef Cattle Research Council blog has a number of tips for having more healthy calves. The tips from Dr. Claire Windeyer of the University of Calgary faculty of veterinary medicine program include how to resuscitate calves, putting them into a recovery position, assessing a suckle reflex, and identifying health issues such as scours […] Read more


With hay and silage in limited supply, or too expensive, feeding a straw-grain ration to pregnant cows may be a viable alternative for some.

Doing the math on a straw-grain ration for pregnant cows

You need to ensure the mothers-to-be are getting what they need

Feeding a straw-grain ration to pregnant cows is a viable option, but you’ve got to do the math. The first step is to test the quality of the feed, but determining what type of supplements or mineral product must also be done, said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “It is often a point […] Read more

Pastures aren’t this lush this year in many parts of the province but there are many positives in Alberta’s cow-calf sector right now.

Despite some stresses, ‘cautious’ optimism for cow-calf sector

Strong demand and prices are good news, but feed costs and tariffs are troubling

Alberta cattle producers have a few reasons to be optimistic as they head into the fall. “We’re still on the profitable side for the cow-calf guy,” said Charlie Christie, chair of Alberta Beef Producers. “I’m hearing some optimism on the market side. Whether that will translate into good calf prices in the fall remains to […] Read more


The evidence is as clear as pumped water — more palatable water makes a big difference for cows and their calves.

They’ll drink to that — clean water boosts weight gain

Providing pumped water can boost weaning weights by 18 pounds and reduce health issues

Giving cattle access to clean water can improve herd health and increase weight gain and backfat. A 2005 study reported that calves whose dams drank from water troughs gained on average 0.09 pound per day more than those with access to a dugout. Because water and forage intake are closely related, as cows drink more […] Read more

There are additional costs to using AI, but having larger, more uniform groups of calves and a longer lifespan for cows can greatly improve 
the bottom line.

Is artificial insemination better than natural service?

Artificial insemination can put more money in your pockets, but there are several factors to consider

This article has been edited and condensed. For the full article, including price and financial details as well as additional resources, go to the blog on the Beef Cattle Research Council website). As the breeding season approaches, some producers will use artificial insemination (AI) and estrous synchronization in their breeding herd. But others won’t because […] Read more


Data from the Western Canadian Cow-Calf survey provides valuable insights into lowering open rates in your herd.

Don’t risk a wreck in your cow’s reproduction this spring

Breeding timing makes a difference in open rates and so do vaccinations and copper deficiency

If you want to make sure that you get calves on the ground, pay attention to body score, when you calve, and vaccinations. That was the message from Cheryl Waldner, a professor in large-animal clinical sciences at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. “You need to get the cattle cycling […] Read more

Make sure your calves get off to a proper start

Beef 911: Calves need adequate amounts of high-quality colostrum after birth and substitutes are a good option

There have been many articles written over the years on the value of calves receiving adequate amounts of good-quality colostrum. Also over the years, colostrum substitutes have come into greater and greater usage. Several things have led to this change. Colostrum substitutes have become higher quality and are more convenient than using frozen colostrum. As […] Read more


Producers wanted for cow-calf survey

Do you wonder how your cow-calf operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? Producers who participate in the second Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey will receive a complementary report that allows them to compare their own operation with benchmarks. The survey takes about 45 […] Read more

Cattle traceability to pay off in Cargill pilot

UPDATED, Nov. 2 — A pilot program running through one of Canada’s biggest beef packing plants aims to test systems that can show consumers the exact path of their beef from ranch to restaurant — and reward cattle producers for their trouble. Cargill on Wednesday announced a new year-long Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot, with […] Read more