GFM Network News


Different options for feeding cattle

Considering alternative feeds? The Beef Cattle Research Council has a web page that looks at a number of feeds other than hay, other forages and grains. “There are many alternative feeds that can supplement and even improve the diet,” the web page states. These range from crop residues, chaff, oat hulls, and screenings to DDGs, […] Read more

Producer Patrick Kunz won’t be including much hay in his ration this winter.

Feed skyrockets in many areas — but there are options out there

Hay is uneconomical in some areas, forcing producers to either cull or find alternative feed sources

Record-setting temperatures in mid-August have added pressure to an already desperate situation for cattle producers across Alberta. “There are some people who are going to be really short on feed and pasture,” Alberta Beef Producers executive director Rich Smith said in mid-August. “Some people are in a really tough situation. The heat last week was […] Read more


Feed testing now can pay big dividends over the winter. 

Feed testing now can save you money

Testing is especially important this year as supplies are tight and quality down in many areas of the province

Doing feed tests now, at the start of the feeding season, will allow producers to develop a strategy to ensure all categories of cattle in the herd are fed to their production goals and extra costs are avoided. “Livestock feed supplies are going to be tight in some areas of Alberta, while in other areas, […] Read more

Good-quality hay feed could be hard to find this winter as much of it was harvested wet and not properly cured.

Make the most of cheap feed grain this winter

Producers stand to make an additional $130 a head on their calves by supplementing their hay with barley this winter

There’s good news, bad news, and even worse news for cattle producers this winter. The good news is that there’s plenty of cheap feed grains in the market right now — but producers will need those savings to offset poor-quality feed (the bad news) and part of the sharp drop in calf prices (the even […] Read more


Toxins could be present in ensiled corn

Watch for the presence of mycotoxins when feeding ensiled corn. When the toxins T-2, HT-2 and DON (vomitoxin) are present, cattle will reduce the amount of feed they eat, said provincial veterinary toxicologist Joe Kendall. “However, if you ensile the standing crop with the mycotoxins present, you are mixing good and contaminated feed together so […] Read more

Pricey hay is making alternatives more attractive, 
but the diets must be balanced.

Straw and chaff are a good — but incomplete — diet

Provincial forage specialist Barry Yaremcio offers guidelines for mineral supplementation

Turning cows out onto stubble fields is a good feed choice, but there are some things to consider, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. Cattle “pick and choose” what they want when grazing stubble, slough hay, or mature hay growing along the fences and headlands, said Barry Yaremcio. Straw, chaff, and overmature grass hays […] Read more


Dealing with a lack of calcium in pregnant cows

Beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio does the math on providing this mineral 
to pregnant cows

When feeding cereal silage, greenfeed or swath grazing to pregnant cows, there can be a concern with a lack of calcium and magnesium. An added product can often be the solution. “In this situation, an added product should have more calcium than phosphorus,” said Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist, with the Ag-Info Centre in […] Read more

Take ‘a little extra look’ at residual feed intake number

Beef research scientist says feed efficiency is a trait that 
can be measured and can lead to significant herd improvement


Improving the feed efficiency of a beef cattle herd can mean big savings for producers. One way to achieve this goal is to select breeding bulls that are naturally feed efficient, since 80 to 90 per cent of the genetic improvement in a herd comes through the sires. “With this being bull-buying season, I think […] Read more


Myth busted: Properly processed feed wheat won’t cause digestive upset

Researchers in Lethbridge swapped wheat for barley in a cattle ration 
without any negative effects — but the wheat must be properly processed

Shrinking barley acres have cattle producers on the hunt for a low-cost feed option. And feed wheat could be the answer — as long as the wheat is processed properly. “There was a feeling out there that you probably couldn’t feed more than 50 per cent wheat in the diet because wheat is quite rapidly […] Read more

Research found that feeding corn DDG or fat-supplemented wheat DDG reduced the amount of methane produced in the animal’s rumen.

The environmental pros and cons of feeding dried distillers grains

Cattle fed DDGs produce less methane and more nitrogen, Lethbridge Research Station scientists have found

In beef production, finding a balance between feed costs and environmental health takes continuous navigation. Feed is one of the highest on-farm costs and when the price of barley, corn and wheat rises, producers often turn to using dried distillers grains (DDGs) in their rations. While this ethanol co-product lowers methane production in cattle by […] Read more