GFM Network News


The Ruzickas run their own herd of Red Poll-cross cattle and also custom graze for other producers.

Alberta cattle producers turn to holistic management

Mounting debt and a holistic management course pushed Don and Marie Ruzicka to rethink the way they run their operation

Don and Marie Ruzicka had been farming for over a decade when circumstances shifted, nudging them on a new course. Although Don Ruzicka had grown up on a mixed farm, after university he spent several years working in the timber industry, with no intention of coming back to the farm. But things changed and eventually […] Read more

Wear at the tip of the toe, separation along the white line and an abscess could be signs of toe-tip necrosis.

Toe-tip necrosis in cattle

Don’t overlook this disease when diagnosing lameness in the feedlot

Several things can cause foot soreness in cattle, including foot rot, puncture wounds, sole bruises, abscesses and white line disease. But one of the most serious is infection of the inner parts of the foot, resulting from toe-tip necrosis. Dr. Murray Jelinski of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan started […] Read more


Amanda Douglas’s father, Darin, experienced a tough harvest a few years ago. Weather is one of many stressors for producers.

Tips for recognizing and managing stress, anxiety and depression

Many farmers tend to work harder when faced with problems rather than reaching out for support

Agriculture is a stressful occupation, with mental health impacts that tend to exceed those of the average population. Dr. Greg Gibson, a registered clinical psychologist who practices in rural Manitoba, says the number of farmers and ranchers affected by depression, anxiety and stress is often under-reported, partly because of the attached stigma. Gibson cites a […] Read more

The Fewings family raises commercial cattle and grows grains and oilseed crops in southwestern Manitoba.

Young beef producer makes time for learning

Manitoba producer carves out time 
for mentorship program between 
family, farm and off-farm job

Tyler Fewings is a busy man, juggling family, work and farm responsibilities. He also juggles time zones half the year, after Saskatchewan and Manitoba fall out of sync in the spring. For the last year he’s also had another ball in the air, as he’s focused on improving his financial and business management skills. Fewings […] Read more


Mogulones crucifer root weevil on houndstongue. This root weevil has been highly successful in 
controlling houndstongue in British Columbia.

Using insects to control invasive weeds on pasture

Houndstongue biocontrol project in B.C. has been highly successful

Once invasive plants reach a point of domination, elimination is generally not feasible. Land managers sometimes turn to biologic control, a last resort for reducing a widespread weed’s populations to below an economic or environmental damage threshold. Eradicating the weed may be impossible, but biocontrol agents may reduce it to manageable levels. Since 1951, 82 […] Read more

Brian Chrisp places feed along an electric fence, running the wire over the feeder and on both sides.  Photo: Supplied by Brian Chrisp

Portable fencing tips for rotational grazing of cattle

“No matter how many fence posts you have and how many rolls of poly wire, it won’t work if you’re not thinking ahead,” says Tim Hoven

Many stockmen who graze rotationally create permanent paddocks with traditional fencing or electric hard wire, such as high tensile wire. They then divide those paddocks with portable fencing such as poly wire. A portable fence can be moved every few days, daily, or even several times daily to strip graze or mob graze. There are […] Read more


A pasture after three years of intensive grazing management, with higher stock density and longer rest periods.

Restoring depleted soils with cattle

Adding grazing back into the equation increases soil organic matter, doubles forage production

Michael Thiele’s mission today is to acquaint more farmers and ranchers with a holistic view of agriculture. Thiele grew up on a farm west of Dauphin, Man., just north of Riding Mountain National Park. His father had a small grain farm and a few cows. “We were busy trying to farm and make a living […] Read more

Wild oats (yellow) invade the area the sprayer missed during the establishment year. The green is the nurse crops of oat.

Seeding tips for perennial forages

Managing plant residue from the previous year is important

Traditional annuals and cocktail cover crop mixtures can make great forage for cattle on a temporary basis, but over the long haul a good stand of perennial pasture may be the best choice, according to Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture at Weyburn. As a resource for producers who want to […] Read more


Subcutaneous lumps can be more visible and last longer than localized reactions from intramuscular injections. But in most cases they’re not very painful.

Be prepared for vaccination reactions in cattle

Vaccines can sometimes hyper-stimulate the immune system

Occasionally cattle react to vaccine. An allergic reaction can be mild and local, with swelling at the injection site. But if the animal goes into anaphylactic shock, it can be serious and even fatal. Vaccines contain antigens that are foreign to the body. The goal is for the body to recognize them as foreign and […] Read more