GFM Network News



A clean source of drinking water is even more valuable in dry years. If you’re relying on dugouts, sulphates and blue-green algae 
are two serious threats.

Less rain equals more danger for cattle on your ranch

Polioencephalomalacia, fog fever, blue-green algae, and vitamin A deficiency. Those are just four potential health threats to cattle when conditions are extremely dry. “The biggest problem we have on the Prairies is water that is high in sulphates,” said Dr. John Campbell, professor in the department large animal clinical sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. […] Read more


This graphic shows how to properly select samples for feed testing 
for bales. But once the results come back, you still have to put them to good use.

You’ve got your feed results — now what?

Two new feed testing tools can identify potential issues and compare the value of different feeds

Two new online tools for measuring feed quality are now available. The tools (developed by the Alberta Beef, Forage and Grazing Centre) can help flag potential nutritional problems, and identify the comparative economic value of different feeds based on their quality. Feed testing can prevent ‘sneaky production problems ‘ (such as poor gains or reduced […] Read more



Plants that don't get enough moisture are usually stunted and set seed early.

Don’t let those drought-stressed forages go to seed

You won’t get a lot of hay from that first cut but it gives you a chance of getting a second one

Determining the right time to cut a hay stand could mean the difference between harvesting a second cut or the stand becoming dormant, says a provincial forage and beef specialist. “A lack of sufficient moisture stresses plants, and that is certainly apparent this spring,” said Karin Lindquist. “Plants that do not get enough moisture are […] Read more

It’s shaping up to be another very tough year for pastures and hay production.

Double whammy: Second dry year hits forages hard

With pastures suffering and hay supplies tight and expensive, fallback strategies are needed

It’s already a tough situation for forages, and fears are mounting that it will get worse. “We went into the winter in very dry conditions. We have had some rains as of late, but with perennial forage crops, their production is pre-set from the year before,” said Ed Shaw, president and chief executive officer of […] Read more


Moving cattle is “a piece of cake” once they get used to a rotational grazing system, 
says rancher Morrie Goetjen.

Rancher finds success after realizing he had things backwards

Morrie Goetjen spent years focusing on his cattle, but he now says it’s healthier soil that is the key

What do a policeman and cattle producer have in common? Probably not much, unless you are Morrie Goetjen. The Calgary-area producer has been farming full time since the mid-’80s but since retirement has been able to really focus on his cattle operation. Goetjen has land both northwest of Calgary and northeast of Cremona. The two […] Read more

Feeding low-quality forage can cause all sorts of issues so it pays to have it tested, say experts.

Put your forage to the test – and money in your bank account

High-quality forage will save the cost of supplementing, and avoid costly calf losses

Letting cattle ‘pick and choose’ what they want to eat is no substitute for feed testing. The quality of forage needs to be matched to the animal’s needs — and those nutrition requirements are going to change throughout the year. And that’s why you should test your forages, say experts and groups such as the […] Read more


Forage stands are often terminated using tillage, but producers using this approach should pay close attention to conserving spring moisture.

Converting hay land to crops in spring is challenging

Fertility, soil moisture, herbicide applications, and a substantial seeding delay must all be considered

Producers should consider a number of factors before deciding to terminate hay land to seed an annual crop. “Traditionally, forage stands have been terminated in the fall by using one of three approaches — tillage only, herbicide application combined with tillage, and herbicide application followed by direct seeding into sod,” said provincial crop specialist Mark […] Read more

The average provincial hay price in January was $153 per ton or just over 7.6 cents per lb. based on a 50 per cent alfalfa mix.

Fed steer prices seen improving towards spring

The average Canadian beef cut-out value has strengthened about 10 per cent since the start of the year

A number of factors have been affecting recent fed steer and hay markets. Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, has an update. Wood says that the Canfax reported price for Alberta fed, or slaughter, steers averaged just over $151 per cwt for the week ending February 8, 2019. That price […] Read more