GFM Network News


Producers who pay attention to teat and udder conformation rarely encounter a cow with mastitis.

Now is a good time to check udders of cows and bred heifers

Paying attention to teat and udder conformation greatly reduces the odds of having a cow with mastitis

Before calving is a good time for scrutinizing the udders of cows and bred heifers. Occasionally chronic infected quarters (probably emanating from the year previous) are highly visible as large swollen quarters compared to the other three. They will often flare up a few weeks before calving as the colostrum is being formed. Usually the […] Read more

Inducing cows is always a risk-and-reward scenario

Many factors need to be considered and no two cases are exactly alike

There comes a time in cow-calf production to induce cows to calve for a number of reasons. This may be because there is an abnormal pregnancy, the cow has a life-threatening condition, the pregnancy has gone on too long leading to health issues or other reasons. All require careful thought and examination as every case […] 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


Calf hutches provide many benefits for your herd

Beef 911: You will be amazed how many calves make use of these 
shelters and be pleased with the many benefits


Calf hutches are utilized by many producers at calving season and for very good reason. They are especially imperative if calving early in inclement weather and with the increasing size of our herds, young calves need to get away from the stress of crowding. Even summer-calving herds will make use of hutches for shade and […] Read more

Improper cervical dilation at calving demands quick action

Beef 911: This is one of the hardest situations that comes during calving and recognizing the problem is the first step

One of the hardest calving dilemmas you face as producers, or we face as veterinarians, is improper cervical dilation. When going through the stages of labour before expulsion of the fetus, the cervix relaxes, softens, and opens up (essentially as wide as the vagina) to allow the fetus to enter the vaginal vault. When this […] 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

Calving problems are becoming rare, but be prepared to act

Beef 911: The first key step is to note when the birth process starts and investigate if too much time passes

Numerous articles have been written over the years on how and when to intervene at calving, how to recognize malpresentations, and what to do about them. Producers now see fewer and fewer calving-related problems as our breeding has improved and we select for easy-calving heifers with larger pelvises and moderate birth weight bulls. Ensuring cattle […] Read more


New cattle herd for Lakeland College

Lakeland College has developed a new livestock research team, which will manage Lakeland’s livestock research projects, as well as a new herd of 50 cattle for research projects and demonstrations. “Since we already demonstrate a purebred beef herd and an intensively managed beef herd, we thought it was a good opportunity to run a group […] Read more

When the need arises, fetotomy is the best solution

The goal is always to protect the cow from further trauma 
and hopefully give her many more productive years

Fetotomy — a veterinarian’s fancy word for cutting up a dead calf within the cow during the birthing process — still has a valuable place in a competent veterinarian’s bag of tricks. The whole object with a fetotomy is to minimize trauma or damage to the cow. The calf at this point is a lost […] Read more