GFM Network News


The fall run is tough on calves but we can do better

The health problems seen in the feedlot don’t come out of the blue and 
careful handling should start at the home ranch

With the fall run underway, cattlemen and women are faced again with the challenge of morbidity and mortality in calves. By the time calves land in the feed yard, they have often been handled and transported several times. How they fight off disease during that extraordinarily stressful period is related to their age and weight. […] Read more

Preconditioning is good for the entire cattle industry

Beef 911: There are a multitude of benefits but producers need to be compensated for the extra work and risk

Older producers may remember a preconditioning program implemented by the provincial Agriculture Department in the 1980s. There were criteria for procedures and shots, while veterinarians certified that procedures such as dehorning and castrating were done properly and correct pre-immunization shots were given properly. Two categories of calves (either pre-immunized or pre-immunized and weaned a specific […] Read more


Parvovirus cases recently reported in Alberta

The virus can be fatal for dogs and the provincial vet association says vaccination is crucial

Several cases of parvovirus have recently been reported in Alberta. The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association strongly encourages anyone with questions about parvovirus or suspect their pet may have parvovirus to seek the immediate advice of a registered veterinarian. Parvovirus is a hardy, highly contagious, often deadly virus that’s spread through the feces of infected dogs. […] Read more

Colostrum is the best ‘drug’ that a producer can use, says Roy Lewis.

The facts about the dangers of antibiotic resistance

Beef 911: The cattle industry is doing a good job to prevent resistance and 
we are improving those efforts


There has been volumes written on antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance in the last several years. This article will highlight some of the key points on how well the cattle industry is doing so far and predict what changes veterinarians may make in their recommendations going forward. For those of you who crave more detailed information, there are […] Read more


You can still get good protection by vaccinating very young calves

Beef 911: The label may say it’s not approved for young calves, 
but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work


There has been a lot of trial work over the years regarding vaccinations of our calves and when would be the most ideal time. Immunologists would debate this but as situations on farms changed and herds got larger, trends changed. Producers no longer boostered vaccines at four to six weeks apart as was often recommended. […] Read more

Vaccines can have a major payback, as much as fivefold for the BVD vaccine, says beef economist Kathy Larson.

Spend a little now and make money later

Reduced death loss, fewer open cows, and reduced shedding 
are major benefits from a proper vaccination program

The adage goes, ‘It takes money to make money.’ It is no different in the beef industry. “Low-cost producers do not cut corners on pasture, bulls, and herd health,” said beef economist Kathy Larson of the Western Beef Development Centre. “Spending less on these items often leads to reduced herd productivity and thereby raises your […] Read more


Top tips for vaccinating

Storage, the injection route, and when you administer a vaccine 
are all key, says 
Dr. Nathan Erickson

Time it right A vaccine needs to match the immune response of the cattle to the vaccine and the period of greatest risk. “So for BVD, the risk period is the first three months of gestation, while IBR, lepto, and vibrio, they tend to be a little bit later in gestation — around four months,” […] Read more

Here’s how to assess the risk when bringing in calves

Beef 911: Mingling animals, transport times, light weights, and even 
weather can be factors that increase the risk of BRD

There are many factors to consider when bringing in calves to feed in order to minimize BRD (bovine respiratory disease), which is still the No. 1 cause of morbidity and often mortality in our feedlots. Knowing the history of the calves regarding weaning time, distance transported, vaccination, and health history — as well as upcoming […] Read more


The Wild Horses of Alberta Society is in the first year of a five-year pilot project to use a contraceptive 
vaccine to control the province’s population of wild horses, which numbers around 850.

WHOAS reining in wild horse numbers

Olds charity is using dart guns to administer a contraceptive 
vaccine that greatly reduces a mare’s chance of getting pregnant

An Alberta group is trying to rein in the province’s wild horse population and forever end a controversial cull of the feral horses. The Wild Horses of Alberta Society (WHOAS) has just completed the first year of a five-year pilot contraception and field monitoring program, a first of its kind in Canada. The provincial government […] Read more

The criteria for selecting the right antibiotic

Beef 911: There are a lot of factors at play and all of them need to be 
considered in every case where antibiotics are an option

Although a few very effective antibiotics have been removed from the marketplace over the years, the choice has never been greater. The challenge is there are so many factors hinging on the outcome, so deciding which antibiotic to use — or if one is necessary at all — can be a very difficult decision. Also […] Read more