GFM Network News


Animal welfare research is becoming about the emotional state of the animal rather than its health, Dr. Ed Pajor says. (John Greig photo)

Greig: Animal welfare research focusing more on emotional states

Animal welfare research is moving beyond identifying what keeps an animal healthy, to focus more on their state of being and their happiness. For years, farmers have justified the way they manage and house animals based on objective measures of their health: disease prevalence, growth rates and feed consumption. Consumer research, however, shows that’s not […] Read more

If it is happening in research, it is happening here in Alberta

The list of research centres is long and varied — and all of them 
are part of our competitive advantage


Reading Time: 3 minutes Alberta is a hive of exciting and interesting research activity that is a benefit to agriculture and society. From bees to bovines, we employ world-class scientists who work with enthusiastic producer groups. Livestock (under the federal definition) includes bees, and the National Bee Diagnostic Centre is in Alberta, a partnership between the Grande Prairie Regional […] Read more


Unfarmed areas could offer yield boost

Unfarmed areas could offer yield boost

Reading Time: < 1 minute Does unfarmed land next to your fields boost yields? A new University of Calgary study aims to see if fields next to grassed areas, fencelines, wetlands, tree lines, and similar adjacent areas have higher yields. Studies in the U.S., U.K., Northern Europe, and Australia have found that, like shelterbelts, unfarmed areas give a yield boost. […] Read more

Critics contend the Calgary Stampede and other rodeos are inherently cruel, but researchers have found animals to be relaxed in pens and as they enter the chutes.

Stampede is a champion of animal welfare, says researcher

The Calgary rodeo is a leader in giving access to researchers, 
and they haven’t found high levels of animal stress or abuse

Reading Time: 3 minutes Animal activists are quick to denounce the Calgary Stampede for animal cruelty. But it turns out very little research has been done on animal welfare at rodeo events. “As a scientist, I can say that there is no data on rodeo and how animals are being treated. That’s where some of the research we’ve been […] Read more


Make sure calves get the colostrum they need

Make sure calves get the colostrum they need

University of Calgary animal health professor offers her tips on how to assess a situation and when to intervene

Reading Time: 2 minutes Many beef calves are not getting enough colostrum at birth, and the fallout can be drastic and last a lifetime. That’s why it’s important that calves consume some colostrum within the first four hours of life, said Claire Windeyer, assistant professor of production animal health at the University of Calgary. The probability that a calf […] Read more

Scours can cause a ‘wreck’ in a herd if not dealt with properly, says animal health expert Claire Windeyer.

Managing scours so they don’t manage you

Scours, the most common disease in calves, can quickly 
put you behind the financial 8-ball

Reading Time: 2 minutes Scours can put you in a financial hole in a hurry. “For every percentage of the herd that you lose, the rest of the herd has to pick up the slack,” said Claire Windeyer, assistant professor in production animal health at the University of Calgary. Producers who had relatively low calf mortality, around five per […] Read more


Ensuring a calf gets enough colostrum and has dry bedding can lessen the chance it will become sick.

Have a game plan before calving season gets underway

The risk factors that can sicken young calves are numerous but some can be mitigated, says veterinarian

Reading Time: 2 minutes The upcoming calving season will be a time of risk for disease on cow-calf operations. Pathogens that cause disease in young calves are present in all herds, so careful management is necessary to prevent them from getting sick. “Cow-calf producers most often deal with scours, septicemia, respiratory disease, and joint or navel ill,” said Dr. […] Read more

Many of the cattle now under quarantine would have been sold this fall. Now cash-strapped ranchers must feed them at a time 
when cattle prices are moving downward.

Quarantine comes with a ‘devastating’ cost

There are roughly 10,000 cattle under quarantine, and every animal can cost as much as $3 a day in feed and yardage

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ranches under quarantine in southeastern Alberta could be collectively losing $15,000 to $30,000 per day feeding and caring for the roughly 10,000 cattle they can neither move nor sell. And much of that money may never be recovered, which is prompting calls for a new approach to compensating producers whose herds are being investigated for […] Read more


cattle herd

When it comes to bovine TB, a closed herd is a safer herd

Bovine tuberculosis usually isn’t discovered until 
an animal reaches the packing plant

Reading Time: 2 minutes Initial symptoms for bovine tuberculosis can be “quite vague” and hard to spot. “The general symptoms for an animal infected are depression, lethargy, and chronic weight loss,” said Dr. Cody Creelman, who works at Veterinary Agri-Health Services in Airdrie. “You may or may not see a fever, and as it progresses and gets quite severe, […] Read more

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?


Reading Time: 5 minutes 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 […] Read more