GFM Network News


These animals will weigh less at the end of their journey. But how much weight they lose will depend on how they were treated.

You need to think about shrink long before the transport truck arrives

Training your cattle to stay calm and properly preparing them for the stress of transport pays big dividends

Practising low-stress handling techniques has its benefits — it may actually help reduce shrink during transportation. “It’s about how we set animals up to interact with humans — any time you interact with them you’re training them how to respond and what to expect from humans,” said Christy Goldhawk who did her doctorate work on […] Read more

The lowdown on how buyers calculate shrink

‘Pencil shrink’ is actually designed to make the system fair and no buyer wants to see excessive shrink


What is shrink? And how is it calculated? “Actual shrink can be made up of two components,” said Sheldon Wilcox, manager at Direct Livestock Marketing in Edmonton. “One is gut fill (sometimes called excretory shrink) — which is the feed and water the animal consumes. The second one is tissue shrink.” Read more: Think about […] Read more


Equipment salesman Jack Nester offered up some straight talk on 
S-alleys at a recent facility design workshop.

Pressure and cattle positioning promote flow in handling systems

These simple changes to cattle-handling facilities can improve flow and reduce stress in the animals

If you want to build a cattle-handling facility with good flow, you’ve got to get back “to the very basics” of cattle handling. “If you don’t understand the cattle to start with, you can’t ever build a facility that’s going to be 100 per cent foolproof,” said Jack Nester of Nester Livestock Equipment. Good flow […] Read more

Bison need to walk over this automatic platform scale in order to get to food and water.

U of A students take the stress out of stepping on the scale — for bison, that is

University of Alberta students hoping to reduce handling stress in bison 
through a remote weighing system using automatic platform scales

Stepping on a scale doesn’t have to be stressful — for your bison, at least. “Just like in people, when bison step on a scale, sometimes they have quite a harsh stress response,” said Josh Perryman, a University of Alberta student who spoke at the Wildrose Bison Convention earlier this month. Bison are notoriously flighty […] Read more


A bright-red colour is key to grading high and avoiding a steep discount.

Study on dark cutters aimed at boosting the bottom line

The goal is to figure out which animals are most prone to this costly condition and how to better manage them

In the quest for ever-improving beef quality, scientists are taking a new look at an age-old challenge: dark cutters. Those are the animals that get the B4 grade and discount, and exhibit the unsightly darker-red colour and associated toughness in the meat, along with reduced shelf life. Dark cutting shows up more often during the […] Read more