GFM Network News


There is a long list of measures you must take in order to have a truly closed herd, including no fenceline contact.

Why closed cattle herds are like unicorns

It takes extraordinary measures to truly have a closed herd, and that’s why vaccinations are needed

(Note: This article has been edited and condensed.) A surprising proportion of producers believe they run a closed herd. The 2017 Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey found that of approximately 25 per cent of respondents who did not vaccinate their cows and heifers against reproductive diseases such as IBR and BVD, over half said their reason was because […] Read more

Most producers in Western Canada are vaccinating their herds, but those who don’t are leaving their cattle vulnerable to common diseases.

Calculating the bottom line on not vaccinating cows

Not vaccinating herds comes with a cost — these two calculators put a number on potential losses

(This article has been edited for length. The full version can be found in the BCRC Blog section at beefresearch.ca.) Vaccination is a proven tool for disease prevention, but in Western Canada, one in 10 producers surveyed are not vaccinating their cows for infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVD). As well, […] Read more


The big brown bat is one of several species found in Alberta. Although the incidence of rabies in bats is low in the province, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association strongly recommends people have their pets vaccinated.

Rabies case in farm cat prompts vaccination warning

Two people were recently bit by a farm cat that likely contracted rabies from a bat

A rabid farm cat that bit its owner and another person has prompted the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association to warn pet owners to vaccinate against rabies. The association said the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian received notification of the positive rabies test on Nov. 13. “This nine-year-old, indoor-outdoor cat was born and lived on a […] Read more

Vaccines made simple(r) — basics you need to know

Here are some tips to cut through the confusion and help 
you decide on the best protocol for your ranch

We have all been there — it’s the day before preg check, you need to get your vaccine order in, and you just can’t seem to remember what you gave the girls last year. Was it the one in the turquoise box? The white box? It was the yellow box, that’s it! You put a […] Read more


Get as much health information as you can when buying cattle

Beef 911: Producers are doing a good job of caring for their cattle but often 
this information is not passed on to buyers

When purchasing or selling livestock, their health status — preventive shots given, deworming, and other relevant information — can be determined by a few simple questions. But these questions are seldom asked in cattle transactions these days. With cattle being of higher value, and often traversing long distances through different geographic areas, this information is […] 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


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


Nose-to-nose contact is a primary means for transmission of 
respiratory diseases between horses.

Biosecurity practices for horses

Horse Health: Infectious organisms are effective ‘hitchhikers’ so 
avoid sharing water buckets and equipment at shows

Biosecurity measures do not need to be complicated or expensive undertakings to be effective. In fact the simplest of practices can make the most difference. Infectious and contagious diseases are not random events, rather the disease requires a chain of events to manifest — like the perfect storm. The viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal pathogens […] Read more

Anthrax strikes two cattle operations near Fort Vermilion

If an animal dies suddenly on your property, 
do not move it and call a veterinarian for a diagnosis

Anthrax has surfaced in Alberta, killing about 10 cattle on two separate operations in the Fort Vermilion area. This follows the death of two bison that died in North Battleford, Sask. and producers are being warned to be on the lookout for anthrax, due to the hot, dry conditions. The disease is not new to […] Read more