Latest articles


cattle feeding

Musings on how much cattle eat and drink

Charlie Gracey looks at grain and water usage in cattle

Conventional wisdom holds that beef cattle are wasteful users of grain and in direct competition with humans for finite supplies of food grains and water. Thus the large acreages devoted to feed grains might better be deployed in the production of crops directly consumable by humans. This observation may appear logical on the surface but, […] Read more


We need more heifers

Viewpoint of a past CCA president

Canada’s national cow herd has contracted over 20 per cent since it peaked at five million head in 2005. If the national cow herd remains under four million cows, or contracts further, the industry risks losing infrastructure, processing capacity, more feedlots, and cattle-related services such as auction markets, trucking companies and even local dealers of […] Read more



Early treatment vital to fight septicemia in young calves

Animal Health: Management is your best bet at preventing infection

Newborn and young calves are often vulnerable to systemic infection if they fail to obtain adequate passive transfer of temporary immunity from the dam’s antibodies in the colostrum. Systemic infection results when bacteria or their toxins overwhelm the body’s defenses and spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. According to Claire Windeyer, an assistant professor […] Read more


Meconium staining of newborn calves is a red flag

This spring think of meconium as an early warning sign of many things

As a veterinarian over the past 35 years I’ve been called many times to assist with difficult calvings or malpresentations that resulted in meconium (first manure) stained calves. The jury is still out on what causes this and what we should do about it. Veterinarians have many opinions on this topic, as it is a […] Read more



Keep Q fever in mind this calving season

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Q fever is a potential zoonosis every stock person should keep in mind through calving, lambing and kidding season. The disease, Q fever, and the organism, Coxiella burnetii, when present represent a serious threat to human health. Every gram of afterbirth or fluid from an infected animal contains millions of infectious particles and only a […] Read more


Black Aberdeen Angus cow at pasture in England

Genetic improvement lays the foundation

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay: from the February 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Ask any winemaker how he or she produces a great drinking experience and all reply “It starts in the vineyard.” The same is true of the beef industry. A great beef eating experience starts on the ranch or farm. And just like constantly improving the quality of the grape, it should include upgrading the genetic […] Read more



Improper cervical dilation at calving

Recognizing when it's happening is your first step

One of the hardest calving dilemmas you or your veterinarian face, is improper cervical dilation. Before expulsion of the fetus the cervix normally relaxes, softens and opens up essentially as wide as the vagina to allow the fetus to enter the vaginal vault. When this does not happen normally, or is delayed, the health of […] Read more


cattleman on a horse

A sampler of ranchers’ views on 2017

As might be expected, their plans range from expansion to standing pat and retirement

Rebuilding and expanding herds, or staying about the same — that seems to be what western Canadian ranchers have in mind as they head into 2017. Despite a sharp downturn in the cattle markets in 2016, only one member of this Ranchers’ Panel was talking about downsizing, with retirement in mind. The 2016 fall market […] Read more



Pre-breeding vaccinations for cows and bulls

Health with Heather Smith Thomas

Some diseases affect reproduction, interfering with the cow’s ability to carry a calf to term. It’s best to try to prevent these diseases by making sure cows and bulls have adequate immunity before breeding season. These vaccinations will vary, depending on specific risks in a certain herd, and timing will vary, depending on the calving/breeding […] Read more


Which bull sired that calf?

Parentage testing in multi-sire pastures goes under the microscope

Collecting DNA samples for parentage testing from bulls and the resulting calves from multi-sire breeding pastures is the only way to find out each bull’s value to your operation. A bull might come with a great package of traits you want to see passed to your calves, but the bull’s value is questionable if the […] Read more