GFM Network News


Properly trained feedlot workers will minimize handling stress and check to see new arrivals are finding the feed and water.

The basics for handling freshly weaned calves at feedlots

Rest and getting them on feed and water are simple things but they take planning and management

Stress can have a big impact on calves and if not managed properly, freshly weaned calves heading to a feed yard can be very susceptible to pneumonia and other illnesses. While herd health veterinarians and feedlot production specialists can each have slightly different approaches to getting new feeders ramped up to the intended full-feed ration, […] Read more

A thin cow will need an extra 1,400 pounds of hay just to stay warm over the winter.

There are extra challenges in wintering cows this year

Early weaning, supplement feed, and feeding vitamins earlier should be considered

With feed quality and quantity “all over the map this year,” producers face challenges weaning calves and maintaining cows, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. “If calves were not provided with creep feed over the summer, weaning weights will be lower than in most years — as much as 150 pounds per animal,” said […] Read more


Reproduction is the biggest loss to the cow-calf operator, so timely pregnancy diagnosis by your veterinarian will save considerable dollars in feed.

When feed is in short supply, it’s time for extra culling

Beef 911: Downsizing the herd will be profitable if you have good records and good reasons for culling

With the shortage of feed across Western Canada, this may be a good year to downsize by extra culling. The question of what the next wave of culls should be goes beyond reproduction — the fall is also an ideal time to consider culling problem cows. The yearly cost to maintain those cows is at […] Read more

A study employing DNA testing found a wide variation in the siring ability of bulls.

Who’s your daddy?

A study that used DNA testing to determine the siring success of individual bulls produced some surprises

DNA testing can help you know which bulls are siring calves and make better management decisions. “There was a lot more variation in what bulls were actually doing and which bulls were siring calves than we thought going into this,” Stacey Domolewski said during a recent Beef Cattle Research Council webinar. As part of a […] Read more


Producers wanted for cow-calf survey

Do you wonder how your cow-calf operation compares with others in your region, province or herd size on matters like conception rate and weaning weight? Producers who participate in the second Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey will receive a complementary report that allows them to compare their own operation with benchmarks. The survey takes about 45 […] Read more

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


Sending a replacement or first-calf heifer into winter in poor condition will cost you later on as pregnancy rates, calf weaning weights, 
and successful pregnancies will be lower.

First-calf heifers need some extra love

Keep a close eye on the conditions of these young females, that require more energy 
and nutrients than mature cows

Replacement and first-calf heifers need extra management, but producers can take different paths to get to the same destination. Beef producers like Alberta’s Darren Bevans, Tyler Fulton in Manitoba, and Murray Shaw in Ontario know replacement and first-calf heifers need some extra attention heading into winter, but that doesn’t mean over-the-top management. Bevans and Fulton […] 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


Weaning is a traumatic event for calves and when it happens abruptly, they are more likely to be sick later on.

What’s good for calves is good for your pocketbook

The benefits of low-stress weaning are clear — higher weight gains 
and a big drop in treatments

Calves that are fenceline weaned vocalize 50 per cent less, walk less, and have higher weight gains in the first 10 weeks post-weaning compared to conventionally weaned calves. Fenceline weaning is nearly as effective as two-stage weaning at reducing signs of stress. With this method, cows and calves are separated by a fence but can […] Read more

An ounce of prevention is worth 100 pounds

Beef 911: Calves that get sick early in life struggle to catch up with their herdmates 
and are prone to getting ill again


Over the years, many of the effective treatments for bacterial scours and some for pneumonia in newborn calves have been taken away from us. You all remember products such as synergistin, gentomycin and baytril which have either been discontinued or prescribing them is highly frowned on for a number of reasons I won’t get into […] Read more