GFM Network News


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


Distal mid-piece defect, often caused by stress, heat or genetics.

Factors that affect bull fertility

Everything from winter shelter to genetics can affect a bull’s fertility

Some bulls are more fertile than others, due to genetics, scrotal size or structure. But poor management can also reduce a bull’s fertility. Since the average bull is expected to breed 25 to 30 cows in a natural breeding situation, his fertility is very important. Dr. John P. Kastelic, professor of cattle reproductive health at […] Read more

Linking mental health and animal welfare

As a veterinary social worker, Erin Wasson sees the effects of mental health struggles on people and their animals

Erin Wasson’s social work career started out fairly conventionally, as she worked with children, youth, the elderly and people with disabilities. But a decision to upgrade her education led her to a new field, working with people who care for animals. While completing a graduate degree, Wasson met the deans from the Western College of […] Read more


Colostrum from the dam, or another cow from the same herd, is the best option for a calf.

The importance of getting quality colostrum

While colostrum from the dam is best, there are other options for emergencies

The cow’s first milk is vital to the newborn calf’s survival. Calves that obtain adequate colostrum soon after birth stay healthier than calves that are slow to suckle or don’t get enough. “I have been working with many critical-care newborns and this is why I am interested in colostrum,” says Dr. Lisa Gamsjaeger. Gamsjaeger is […] Read more

Wian Prinsloo and Lydia Carpenter 
raise poultry, lamb, pork and beef 
near Belmont, Man.

Following the farming dream

Lydia Carpenter and Wian Prinsloo are earning a living by selling meat directly to a growing customer base

For as long as he can remember, Wian Prinsloo has wanted to farm and graze livestock. “I started with chickens in the city, while we were still in South Africa. When we left Pretoria to come to Canada, I was 15 years old and had 300 layer hens, supplying eggs to a school, and an […] Read more


Ernie and Irma on their 50th wedding anniversary.

A lifetime with purebred cattle

Ernie Esau built a successful career by breeding the cattle commercial producers wanted and valuing honesty

Ernie Esau’s outstanding career in the purebred industry started with two Shorthorn heifers in 1952. Esau, who was inducted earlier this year into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame for his contribution to the beef industry, operated Ernmore Farms in Elm Creek, Man. He and his wife Irma were married in 1955 and he began […] Read more

Testing for trichomoniasis.

Keeping trichomoniasis out of cattle herds

Prevention and early detection are vital to managing this disease

Trichomoniasis is a disease that can sneak into a herd without any obvious signs. This sexually transmitted disease is caused by protozoa that inhabit the cow’s reproductive tract and the bull’s sheath. It doesn’t affect a bull’s fertility rate, but a bull can spread the disease to many cows during breeding. An infected cow can […] Read more


Bart Lardner, Janelle Smith and John McKinnon are conducting the backgrounding study.

The economics of raising ‘natural’ beef

Researchers are comparing conventional and other backgrounding systems and crunching the numbers

How much of a premium do producers need to cover the extra cost of backgrounding cattle without growth-enhancing technologies and can they offset some of that cost or improve carcass quality with other strategies? Researchers are currently studying those very questions in a 2.5-year backgrounding study. The backgrounding project is one of many feeding research […] Read more

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