GFM Network News


What’s in a name? Quite a lot for young female cows

‘Second-calf heifer’ doesn’t sit right with some, but the important thing is recognizing they’re different from mature cows

Cattle producers, there seems to be some disagreement as to what a female is called after she delivers her first calf and is pregnant with her second. Is she a cow? Is she still a heifer? Is she something else? What do you call her? A Twitter poll with 144 respondents revealed that 39 per […] 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


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

Feeding cows that won’t give you a calf next spring can sometimes make you money — but it all depends on your costs and what happens 
to prices over the winter.

Will feeding open cows cost — or make — you money this winter?

Use an online calculator and pencil in your numbers before deciding 
to preg check this fall, says beef economist

Preg checking your cattle is important — but it’s hard to know if you should cull open ones now or feed them through the winter. Beef economist Kathy Larson of the Western Beef Development Centre doesn’t always recommend feeding open cows. “It’s a costly venture, particularly when we have tight feed supplies,” she said. “In […] Read more


Want more of these and better ways to feed them? Beef Cattle Research Council webinars can help.

Expert advice on tap in beef webinar series

There are seven online learning events in this winter’s lineup from the Beef Cattle Research Council

Up your pregnancy rates, reduce forage diseases, and find out which bulls aren’t doing their job. Those are three of the topics in this winter’s webinar series put on by the Beef Cattle Research Council. The council is urging producers to register for the entire series as registrants will receive reminders as well as a […] Read more

Breeding better cattle, feeding them more efficiently, and an in-depth look at replacement heifers are the focus of this year’s Bov-Innovation.

Producers pick the topics for popular Bov-Innovation event

The event is designed to be quick paced and full of practical advice you can put to use on your ranch right away

Genomics, feed analysis, and a look at replacement heifers are on the menu for this year’s Bov-Innovation at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Calgary in August. Bov-Innovation is focused on sharing practical tools, innovations, and ideas that feedlots and cow-calf producers can readily implement on their operations. Speakers include scientists and industry experts alongside […] Read more


They’ll drink to that — cows and calves do better with cleaner water

Study finds cattle drink more from troughs, and that results in more milk and faster-gaining calves

Pumping dugout water into troughs can boost weight gain in calves. In a study done at the Western Beef Development Centre, cow-calf pairs were provided with either direct access to a dugout or access to troughs of untreated water pumped from the same dugout. Calves with cows that drank from the troughs gained an additional […] 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


Students on Lakeland College’s livestock research team say the program is teaching them skills that can be put to use on the farm and off.

College pioneers first livestock research student-managed farm

Managing a research herd is a different ball of wax, and students and instructors say it teaches many new skills

Sixteen students are getting a taste of applied research as part of Lakeland College’s first student-managed farm livestock research team. The second-year students, all enrolled in animal science technology, are managing a herd of 50 cattle involved in research trials. “They have to manage the herd for profitability, but we also have a commercial (cattle) […] Read more

Numerous studies have found there are no health risks from using hormones as growth promotants in cattle, 
says Reynold Bergen of the Beef Cattle Research Council.

Concerns about hormones in beef fuelled by myths, says expert

Reynold Bergen says producers need to use facts to contest ‘myths’ about hormones used in cattle production

Fears about hormones in beef production are completely unwarranted, says the science director of the Beef Cattle Research Council. “There are no health risks associated with growth promotants, but producers spend a lot of time answering the public’s questions to explain the facts and dispel some of the myths,” Reynold Bergen said during a recent […] Read more