GFM Network News


Pastures aren’t this lush this year in many parts of the province but there are many positives in Alberta’s cow-calf sector right now.

Despite some stresses, ‘cautious’ optimism for cow-calf sector

Strong demand and prices are good news, but feed costs and tariffs are troubling

Alberta cattle producers have a few reasons to be optimistic as they head into the fall. “We’re still on the profitable side for the cow-calf guy,” said Charlie Christie, chair of Alberta Beef Producers. “I’m hearing some optimism on the market side. Whether that will translate into good calf prices in the fall remains to […] 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

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


Taking care of business

First sessions begin Nov. 14

The theme of this year’s Cow-Calfenomics sessions is enhancing farm business decisions in the cow-calf sector. Topics this year will include the market situation and outlook from Anne Wasko, use of risk management tools, business structures for new entrants, production enterprise analysis, Agriprofit$, a guide to agricultural credit, and the value of having a mentor. […] Read more

Six ways to keep your cattle wormer working

Resistance among internal parasites to broad-spectrum cattle wormers is emerging in Canada and experience in other countries leaves no reason to believe the problem won’t worsen. On the brighter side, producers here still have a fighting chance to retain the efficacy of available cattle wormers by combining parasite control strategies, says epidemiologist Dr. Fabienne Uehlinger[...]
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Six risk factors for BRD in feeder calves

There are many factors to consider to minimize BRD (bovine respiratory disease) when bringing in feeder calves. Knowing the history of the calves at weaning time, distance transported, vaccination and health history, as well as upcoming weather conditions will help you determine the level of risk. In bringing in calves, or for that matter feeding[...]
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Ultrasound is Blake Balog’s preferred method of preg checking. Knowing if a cow is open or not allows you to custom tailor both your feeding and marketing programs.

Are there healthier calves and higher profits in your future?

Preg checking, pain mitigation, and preconditioning all 
open avenues to better and more profitable performance


The cows have come home from summer pasture and the fall run is well underway. So how was your year? If you’re not happy and want better performance and more profits next year, here are three top tips from two experts. Precision feeding and targeted marketing Just 60 per cent of producers pregnancy check their[...]
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An Indiana cattle producer made four times as much money from owning his preconditioned calves for two months than on owning his cows for a year, said Dr. Mark Hilton, with Elanco Animal Health.

Show me the money: The lowdown on preconditioning

Preconditioned calves are healthier, grow faster, and grade higher — 
but can cow-calf producers make money on the practice?


Can you make money preconditioning feeder calves? The answer depends on whom you talk to. Attendees at a University of Calgary conference last month were told about an Indiana producer who pocketed an extra $80 per calf by preconditioning his animals. “The producer realized that the more days he preconditioned those calves, the more money[...]
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Jake Meyer and family

When cattle (prices) fly

Five to Remember: The year began with producers wondering if ‘fantastic’ prices 
could last — they did a lot more than that

At the start of the year, the big question in the cattle sector was, ‘Can prices stay this high all year?’ “The market right now is fantastic,” Herb Lock of Farm$ense Marketing said back in February. “Cow-calf producers right now are in their second world, floating around in the sky compared to other years.” Lock[...]
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Thinking of expanding your cattle herd? Here’s a to-do checklist

Successful expansions depend on assessing risk, knowing how per-unit 
costs will change, and having a marketing plan

When it comes to deciding on expanding a cattle herd, or taking over an existing one, there are a few critical checkpoints to be considered. “In recent months there has been a lot of talk about the potential for beef herd expansion due to the historically high beef and cattle prices the industry is experiencing,”[...]
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New season of Cow-Calfenomics

Total of six seminars start Nov. 25 in Medicine Hat, conclude in Vermilion

Cow-Calfenomics is back and this year’s seminar theme is Seizing Opportunities in the Alberta Cow-Calf Sector. Topics include opportunities and threats in herd expansion; linking pasture systems to optimize performances and profitability; cost of bred heifers; managing prosperity; human resources strategies; and innovative business models. The first round of seminars will be held in November[...]
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