GFM Network News


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


Dr. Nora Paulovich draws water from the dugout into a solar powered Kelln waterer on her family’s ranch. Freezing around the inlet has been a concern.

Winter water systems for cattle

Keeping livestock water ice-free can be a challenge during colder months. In some pastures water availability is also an issue. Dr. Nora Paulovich with the North Peace Applied Research Association (NPARA) in northern Alberta says her family ranch uses a system that brings water from a dugout into an insulated trough nearby. It uses a […] Read more

Low-stress weaning for calves

A less stressful weaning process makes for healthier calves

Weaning time has traditionally been traumatic for calves, mama cows and ranchers, but it doesn’t need to be. “There are better ways to wean calves, says Bart Lardner, a beef and forage research scientist at the University of Saskatchewan. “Abrupt weaning is the most stressful, for both the cow and calf. The question has been […] Read more


Extending fall and winter grazing

Crop residues are probably the most under­utilized source of winter grazing, says extension specialist

Extending the grazing season for cattle can help reduce production costs and there are various ways to increase forage production/utilization to ensure adequate fall grazing that can often be extended into winter. Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture in Weyburn, Sask., says there are four sources of forage. “These are native prairie, […] Read more