GFM Network News


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



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