GFM Network News


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

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