GFM Network News


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



A calving ease EPD is a better measure than only looking at a potential heifer bull’s head, neck or shoulders, says Travis Olson.

Calving ease top priority when selecting heifer bulls

Calving ease EPD more important than assessing a bull visually, says Alberta producer

When it’s time to choose a heifer bull, expected progeny difference for calving ease tops one beef producer’s list. The birth weight expected progeny difference (EPD) is accurate but it’s simply an average, says Travis Olson of Ole Farms at Athabasca, Alta. For example, two bulls could have an average birth weight EPD of 75 […] Read more

Swelling and yellow pus is visible in the vocal cords.

Dealing with diphtheria in calves

Animal Health: The condition is serious enough that swelling can restrict breathing to the point of suffocation

Diphtheria is an upper respiratory problem in cattle characterized by an infection or inflammation of the vocal folds. It can be serious if swelling restricts the airway and makes breathing difficult. Dr. Steve Hendrick of Coaldale Veterinary Clinic at Coaldale, Alta., sees quite a few cases of diphtheria in cow-calf operations and in feedlots. “It’s […] Read more


Winter feed requirements will vary depending on whether the bulls are weanlings, yearlings or mature bulls.

Winter nutrition for bulls

When feeding bulls, the main thing is to assess your goals for those animals, says Dr. Bart Lardner

The bull supplies half the genetics for a calf crop so producers will want to make sure bulls are fertile, healthy and sound, and in good body condition through winter. Young bulls are still growing, so they need adequate energy and protein to support growth as well as maintenance and body condition, and body heat […] Read more

Temperature, wind chill and time spent in cold conditions all contribute to frostbite.

Dealing with frostbite in calves

Animal Health: Warm air is usually better than warm water for treating a hypothermic calf

Calves born in cold weather may suffer adverse effects, including frostbite, especially if they are unable to get up and nurse before they chill. Dr. Andy Acton of Deep South Animal Clinic at Ogema, Sask., says there are two problems when dealing with cold weather. “One is hypothermia, and the other is frostbite, and they […] Read more


The Nerbas family poses for a family portrait. Left to right: Amber, Hailey, Arron, Emerson, Gene, Cynthia, Shane, Kane, Cash and Sacha.

Nerbas Brothers zero in on efficiency

Angus operation aims for smaller-framed, grass-efficient cattle

Efficiency is a word Arron Nerbas of Nerbas Brothers Angus, near Shellmouth, Man., uses often when describing his family’s moderate-framed Angus cattle and their forage-based farming operation. Originally his dad and uncle farmed together, and that’s where their ranch name came from. “My dad, Gene, is still involved with our ranch and my mom, Cynthia, […] Read more

Lupine.

Beware of toxic plants in pastures

There are many toxic plants in Western Canada cattle producers need to steer clear of

Different regions have different problem plants, and to make it even more confusing these same plants are only toxic if eaten in certain amounts or in certain stages of growth, while others are toxic at all times. Rachel Turnquist, a forage extension specialist in Saskatchewan, says there are many toxic plants in Western Canada. You […] Read more


A mild winter is great for access to feed, but make sure you have enough quality snow for a water source.

Strategies for year-round grazing

With careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round

Winter feeding is the biggest input cost when raising cattle, so many producers try to minimize the number of days they have to feed hay. In some situations, with careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round, especially in mild climates. Even in northern climates with cold weather and snow, year-round grazing can […] Read more

Protein kick needed for mature, dry forages

Nutrition: Supplementation will be important this year in many parts of the Prairies

In the fall and winter, most native forages and tame pastures are low in protein (unless fall rains have stimulated new growth), yet many stockmen try to extend grazing as long as possible through winter because winter feeding is the most expensive part of raising cattle. Depending on the protein source, adding a protein supplement […] Read more