GFM Network News


A guide to selecting the perfect heifer bull

Here are some tips for finding the right heifer bull for your operation, herd, and budget

Whether home raised or purchased, open replacement heifer candidates are one of your biggest investments on the ranch. Heifers experiencing dystocia or a difficult calving are less likely to mother up and breed back and more likely to wean lighter calves. Assisted calves are more likely to become sick or die before weaning. Proper heifer […] Read more

Attention to detail is key in a synchronization program

Beef 911: There are three main synchronization programs that 
produce good results if you closely follow the protocols

Several factors must be considered when deciding what synchronization program to use in your cattle herd. Do you have the time to heat detect or do you want timed breeding? Cost is a consideration, as timed artificial insemination programs require more financial commitment and more passes through the chute. We will explore three main synchronization […] 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



Newfoundland seeks beef cattle breeder

The Newfoundland and Labrador government’s plan to build up cattle breeding within the province is advancing a step as the province seeks a farmer to mind a small Hereford herd. The province on Tuesday put out a call for proposals from farmers to take on a five-year contract handling a herd of five breeding cows […] Read more

Don’t let freemartins become a management headache in your herd

Beef 911: Some will reproduce normally and are well worth keeping, but others need to be culled

With better nutrition and management and a higher incidence of twins in the Charolais, Simmental, and Holstein breeds, some larger herds can have up to a 10 per cent twinning rate. With the odds of 50 per cent of the twins being mixed sexes, it is no wonder freemartins are not an uncommon occurrence. Remember […] Read more


At Rocky Mountain Holsteins, farm manager Ron Churchill uses genomics to develop 
elite dairy breeding stock.

The perfect cow: Two different approaches to getting the best genetics

At CL Ranch, it’s all about breeding for observable traits, 
but genomics is the foundation for Rocky Mountain Holsteins

You won’t find a single Angus cow in Cherie Copithorne-Barnes’ herd. But then again, you won’t find any other specific breeds either. “One of the philosophies that we have here at CL Ranch is we’re not breed specific — we’re trait specific,” said Copithorne-Barnes, CEO of the 23,000-acre ranch near Calgary. “We are synthetic cross-breeders, […] Read more

There are now genetic markers for traits such as feed efficiency, fertility, meat quality, and temperament.

Genomics proving its worth for purebred cattle

Genomically enhanced selection is catching on with purebred producers, but crossbreds pose more of a challenge

Purebred cattle have a leg up on their crossbred cousins — at least as far as genomics is concerned. “The purebred industries are the ones that are really using genomically enhanced selection indexes,” said Dawn Trautman, technology translator at Livestock Gentec. “In the purebred industry, you can get validated markers a lot faster because you’re […] Read more


There are several steps producers can take in spring to maximize artificial insemination pregnancy rates.

Maximize pregnancy rates when artificially inseminating livestock

There are several steps producers can take to improve AI success

Artificial insemination (AI) offers cattle producers the opportunity to use semen from high-accuracy, genetically superior sires at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a herd bull with similar genetics. “In addition, using estrus synchronization and AI can increase the number of calves born earlier in the calving season and increase weaning weights of calves,” […] Read more

The last thing you want to see in a prized bull

Beef 911: Injuries that prevent a bull from breeding can be 
successfully treated, and about 50 per cent of cases will heal


Numerous times during the breeding season, calls come in to veterinary clinics in regards to swellings along the sheath of bulls. In many instances, a favourable outcome is highly attainable. And with today’s bull prices this may be good news. The location of the swelling says a lot about its cause. Generally if the penis […] Read more