GFM Network News


There is a long list of measures you must take in order to have a truly closed herd, including no fenceline contact.

Why closed cattle herds are like unicorns

It takes extraordinary measures to truly have a closed herd, and that’s why vaccinations are needed

(Note: This article has been edited and condensed.) A surprising proportion of producers believe they run a closed herd. The 2017 Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey found that of approximately 25 per cent of respondents who did not vaccinate their cows and heifers against reproductive diseases such as IBR and BVD, over half said their reason was because […] Read more

Feedlot operator Stuart Thiessen would like to grow his operation, but that won’t happen until the market encourages cow-calf producers to increase their herd numbers.

Why isn’t Alberta’s cattle herd in growth mode?

History says this should have been a boom year — but cattle numbers are actually falling

This should have been a golden year for cattle producers — but it wasn’t just the weather that didn’t co-operate. Viewed through a high-level, macro-economic lens, the national herd should have seen a significant jump in numbers as the cattle cycle — that big wheel that takes a decade or so to make one turn […] Read more



Southern Plains drought slows U.S. cattle herd growth

Chicago | Reuters — Encroaching drought in the U.S. southern Plains contributed to the smallest rise in the nation’s cattle population in three years, analysts said after the government’s semi-annual cattle inventory report on Wednesday. Insufficient moisture in parts of Texas and Oklahoma, along with areas of persistent dryness in the northern Plains, hurt winter […] Read more


Canada books bigger beef cattle herd

New estimates from Statistics Canada show the country’s cattle producers hanging onto more breeding stock and holding more calves as of July 1 compared to the same date last year. StatsCan’s livestock estimates as of July 1, released Thursday, showed 13.2 million cattle on Canadian farms as of July 1, up 1.3 per cent from […] Read more

Cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in January dip from last year

Chicago | Reuters — The number of cattle moved into U.S. feedlots in January slipped one per cent from last year, according to a government report on Friday, nearly matching average industry forecasts. Feedlots were cautious about buying calves, or feeder, cattle while struggling to recoup 14 straight months of lost profits, partly blamed on […] Read more


The drought and resulting feed shortage saw a big sell-off of breeding stock — and they’ll be expensive to replace.


Building the herd: The downside of strong cattle prices

Cattle prices are expected to remain strong into 2016, but what does that mean 
for replacement cattle next year?


Next year could see continued strong or even stronger cattle prices — and that’s a double-edged sword for producers who’ve reduced their herds this year and plan to buy replacements in 2016. Producers in prescribed drought regions who have reduced their breeding stock by at least 15 per cent can tap into the Federal Livestock […] Read more

U.S. cattle herd expands

Exports are down for Canadian cows, says provincial livestock market analyst Jason Wood. “On the export front, year-to-date feeders are down one per cent, slaughter fed cattle are down 49.5 per cent, and slaughter cows are down 28 per cent to the U.S.,” said Wood. “We’re still seeing a strong pull for feeders to the […] Read more


Cattle leader says it’s time to rebuild the herd

ABP chair Greg Bowie says there is plenty of opportunity in the beef business, 
and wants to see the next generation seize it


Good times have finally returned to the beef sector, and now is the time to focus on bringing in the next generation, says the chair of Alberta Beef Producers. The entire industry has gotten greyer during the difficult decade following the discovery of BSE, said Greg Bowie. “Not only is the average producer in the […] Read more

Clay and Jesse Williams will be keeping back some bred heifers this year so they can begin to expand their herd.

Province’s decimated cow herd may be on the mend

BSE, low beef prices, and then high feed costs have decimated Alberta’s cow herd, 
but a turnaround is coming into view

Canadian cattle producers are receiving strong price signals to begin expanding their herds — but will that be enough to reverse the decline in the national herd? Canfax’s research manager Brenna Grant thinks so, but not until next year. “We are anticipating these prices that we’re currently seeing to stabilize, but the price signal for […] Read more