GFM Network News



When it comes to castration, the smaller and younger the calf the better, especially if he’s still nursing.

We need to do better when it comes to castration

Beef 911: Doing it early and properly brings benefits to the producers, 
addresses animal welfare concerns, and prevents problems later on

We now have many tools at our disposal when it comes to castration of calves in the beef and dairy sectors of our industry. When used together in skilled hands, newer techniques at castration along with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) will ensure welfare issues are addressed. Much has changed in the feedlot industry. Cattle are not […] Read more


The revised Beef Code of Practice a win for everyone

Beef 911: Everyone involved in the cattle industry should keep a copy handy and consult it frequently

There has been a lot written about the revised Beef Code of Practice, which was released in 2013 and was the first revision since 1991. It is most definitely worth a read, whether you are a beef producer, transporter, marketer, nutritionist, veterinarian, or are involved with the cattle industry in any way. At 56 pages, […] Read more

Factors which can contribute to bullers

Beef 911: Close observation and working with your vet on a 
customized plan is key to dealing with this problem


Bullers are, fortunately, a rare, sporadic occurrence in western Canadian feedlots and backgrounding operations. When dealing with cases of steers mounting other steers, one must bear in mind the economic loss to the entire pen when frequent riding occurs. Because the incidence is so sporadic (one to six per cent in U.S. feedlots), no hard […] Read more


Pain control for cattle the new normal

The beef code of practice recommends pain control medication for procedures such as dehorning and castrating

Times are changing, and both growing social pressure and knowledge about animal welfare is making pain control part of the equation in cattle production. “Society expects it of us, and it’s part of that social licence to operate,” said John Campbell, a veterinarian and head of large-animal clinical sciences at the Western College of Veterinary […] Read more

Now’s the time to make a list on improving calf processing

Beef 911: There are always ways to improve and it’s worthwhile reviewing how things went this year


Since the traditional time for getting calves ready for grass is close to over, it is good to review your protocols, methods, and any issues you had this year and introduce ways to improve next year. There are two main ways ranchers process calves. The first is the traditional way we call ‘branding,’ where calves […] Read more


Pork producers will soon be required to use pain medication for some everyday surgical procedures when handling swine.

Pork producers will soon need to use pain medication in routine swine procedures

Pork producers will need to use pain medications for procedures 
such as castration and tail docking starting in July 2016

Change is coming, but it won’t be huge change nor difficult for pork producers to adopt. Effective July 1, 2016, producers will have to use pain mitigation medication when performing procedures like castration and tail docking. “There are a number of these elective husbandry procedures in the code, and these are painful procedures for pigs, […] Read more

Hot branding causes more acute pain, but freeze branding can only be done on dark-coloured cattle and is more difficult to do properly.

Beef website offers insights and tips on pain mitigation

Cattle’s experience with pain is not fully understood, but research on minimizing pain is steadily advancing

The Beef Cattle Research Council has updated the pain mitigation section of its website. The following is an edited version of that page, which also contains videos and links to further articles. Consumer pressure to avoid painful practices on cattle when possible — and to reduce pain when castration, dehorning, or branding are necessary — […] Read more