GFM Network News


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


“The day a calf is born is going to be the highest- risk day of its entire life.” – Dr. Claire Windeyer.

Video offers ‘911’ techniques for a newborn calf that’s not breathing

Use a recovery position or some water from a squirt bottle, but never hang a calf on a gate

Reading Time: 2 minutes A new video from the Beef Cattle Research Council demonstrates some simple ways to revive a calf that hasn’t taken a breath after having endured a tough labour. “The day a calf is born is going to be the highest-risk day of its entire life,” Dr. Claire Windeyer says in the video. “So it’s important that […] Read more

Having a pregnancy rate above 90 per cent isn’t necessarily a sign that things are going well, says veterinarian Blake Balog.

Timing is (almost) everything when it comes to reproductive success

Pay attention to the length of your breeding season, calving distribution, and postpartum interval

Reading Time: 3 minutes Tackling reproductive failure in a beef herd starts with understanding what reproductive success looks like — and for most Alberta cattle operations, the usual measure of success doesn’t tell the whole story. “A lot of people might think, great, I got greater than 90 per cent (pregnancy rate), that might mean success,” said veterinarian Dr. […] 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

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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


pregnant cow

Inducing cows is always a risk-and-reward scenario

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Timely tips for calving season

Reading Time: < 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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


Reading Time: 4 minutes 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