GFM Network News


Edgar Smith and his brothers run Red Angus and Red Angus-cross cattle on their operation at Courtenay, B.C.

B.C. producer narrows in on what customers want in beef

Health, environment and animal welfare top priorities for Edgar Smith’s customers on Vancouver Island and in the lower mainland

Edgar Smith and his brothers Phillip and Doug have a unique cattle operation, raising beef from start to finish and selling direct to customers. “Our family has been in the beef business since the 1940s on Vancouver Island, and the operation has evolved and changed over the decades. In the 1940s and 1950s we were […] Read more

Brett McRae and his wife Chantel on the farm in southwestern Manitoba.

Mentorship program leads Manitoba producer to regenerative ag

After participating in the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program, Brett McRae rejigged his mixed farm to abide by the five principles of soil health

Brett McRae is a fifth-generation rancher in southwest Manitoba, near Brandon, but not the fifth generation on the same ranch. “I was born and raised here and my parents are still actively farming. I farm next to them; we farm separately but share equipment, labour, facilities and ideas. It’s the best of both worlds; we […] Read more


Todd Hermanson’s Wire Shark mounts on a skid steer to ease the job of pulling and rolling wire.

Removing old wire fences

Custom fencers share their tips for cleaning up old fencelines more efficiently and with less risk of injury

When an old wire fence has deteriorated and needs to be replaced, removing the old posts and wires can be time-consuming. Then there’s the task of hauling them off and disposing of them. Custom fencers have the goods on removing those fences with less hassle, whether you’ve got a wire-winder or are rolling by hand. […] Read more

Graham Graff and Karin Naslund of Legacy Family Business Advisors.

Minimizing family conflict on the farm

Focusing on communication, problem-solving and scheduling meetings are important steps in managing conflict

Business deals and family relationships are like oil and water. Under most conditions they don’t mix very well, and age-old wisdom is to keep them separate. Usually this is good advice, not because family members are poor risks as business partners, but because of additional challenges involved in complex relationships. But family farms don’t have […] Read more


Some implants are made for use in feedlots, while others are more suitable for pastured cattle.

Proper use of implants for calves

Using the right implant at the right time can fatten the bottom line, but producers must consider everything from the market to production stage before picking an implant

Some cow-calf producers implant calves they plan to sell, and most feedlots use implants to boost growth and feed efficiency. But using them effectively requires knowledge of how implants work, how to implant correctly and potential carcass effects. There are several types of implants containing different hormones. These include three naturally occurring hormones (estradiol, progesterone […] Read more

A case of acute BVD in a calf. BVD can cause symptoms ranging from nasal discharge to birth defects, as well as diarrhea.  Photo: Supplied by Dr. John Campbell

BVD still a threat to Canadian cattle herds

Even closed herds can be at risk for BVD, making vaccination key to preventing this disease

Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) can affect cattle in many ways, causing abortion, birth defects, stillborn calves, immune deficiencies in persistently infected animals, and other acute or chronic illness. BVD is also an indirect cause of many other diseases because it has adverse effects on the immune system. An estimate a few years ago suggested that […] Read more


The Lasser family’s ranch is near Chetwynd, in northeastern B.C.

Raising cattle at the gateway to Peace Country

Charlie Lasser has been farming since the 1940s, but he’s still trying new things to improve his feeding program and marketing strategy

Charlie Lasser has been farming since he was 15, and he’s learned a few things over the decades. Today he ranches in Chetwynd, in the Peace region of B.C., but he started out in Powell River, on the coast, where his parents had a small acreage and a few milk cows. In 1940, the family […] Read more

There are many ways to improve marketing tactics, says Brian Perillat, manager and senior analyst at Canfax.

Marketing game plan crucial in uncertain times

Here’s how to craft marketing tactics to manage risk and fatten your profit margin

Beef producers face many uncertainties, from weather to market fluctuations. Profit margins are thin or even negative. All that risk and uncertainty can make it difficult to develop a good marketing plan or know when to tweak marketing strategies. But unexpected events are one reason producers need a good plan, says Anne Wasko, a market […] Read more


Once a calf is lying flat and has a very weak or absent suckle reflex, it needs IV fluid.

Scours in calves

Scours is a common illness in young calves. Understand the causes and effects of this disease to treat and prevent it

Scours can be caused by certain kinds of bacteria, viruses or protozoa, but other factors come into play as well. “It’s often the interaction between the immune system, the environment and the pathogen load. The old saying is that the solution to pollution is dilution (or) minimizing the pathogen load,” says Dr. Paul Hardes, a […] Read more

By restraining the cow, the substitute calf can nurse without being kicked, stimulating milk let-down.

Tips for grafting a calf

There’s more than one way to encourage cow-calf bonding, but hormones and smell are key

When a cow loses a newborn calf, many stockmen will graft an orphan or twin onto the cow. Sometimes it’s prudent to graft an old cow’s calf onto a younger cow that has lost a calf, so that the old cow can be fattened and sold. But what’s the best way to get a cow […] Read more