GFM Network News


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

cow and newborn calf

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: < 1 minute 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

cow and calf

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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


cow and newborn calf

Calving problems are decreasing

Vets aren’t called out during calving as often as they used to be, 
but producers need to know when to call for backup


Reading Time: 4 minutes With genetic selection of lower birth weights and easy calving bulls, calving problems due to fetal oversize are becoming rarer and rarer. But there are still common problems, which are worth reviewing to help producers recognize and assist these deliveries to save more calves as calving season is upon us. Fetal malpresentations today are the […] Read more

calf and mother cow in barn stall

Tips for winter calving

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta Beef Producers is reminding producers of good practices for winter calving. Shelter from the wind is the most important step, said beef production specialist Karin Schmid. “Bedding is also super important. If you have a good bedding pack it can really help keep the calf’s temperature up, and that way they’ll nurse faster and […] Read more


Calf management survey links long calving season and calf mortality

Calf management survey links long calving season and calf mortality

A recent calf management study has shown links between increased calf mortality risk and the length of the calving season, timing of calving, and colostrum intake

Reading Time: 3 minutes Beef cattle producers with long calving seasons could see an increased risk of calf mortality, according to a recent study from the University of Calgary. “We looked at the correlation between the length of the calving season and mortality, and for every extra day, the mortality between a week of age and weaning went up […] Read more

Cow an calf in a barn stall.

A full breech birth is a dangerous situation

Beef 911: Cows with a history of twins more likely to have a full breech birth

Reading Time: 3 minutes In the true breech, the calf presented tail first with both back legs pointing forward under the body of the calf. A lot of producers refer to a straight backwards calf as a breech, but that is a misnomer. The true full breech has both back legs forwards so the first thing you feel when […] Read more