GFM Network News


Cows grazing winter wheat and fall rye in September 2018.

Adding winter cereal crops to the annual forage mix

Dr. Vern Baron makes the case for winter cereals as cow chow

Spring barley and oats are typical annual forage choices for many beef producers, but winter cereals can add forage flexibility to beef cattle diets. Dr. Vern S. Baron has worked with forage crops since the 1980s — with a master’s and PhD in corn production and physiology. Much of that time has been with Agriculture […] Read more

Rye ready for chopping at milky head stage.

Hybrid fall rye offers high yield, flexibility to beef producers

This relatively new forage can be grown for grazing, silage or grain, and can fit into double-cropping systems

Hybrid fall rye is one of the newer forage options available today, and can be a good fit to producers looking for a high-yielding feed with flexibility. Herman Wehrle, director of commercialization and market development at FP Genetics, says his job is to bring new crops to the marketplace. “After five years of commercialization, we […] Read more


Bootsman uses a quad to roll and unroll aircraft cable for electric fence.

Working with farming neighbours to graze crop residue

Here’s how a cow-calf producer is extending the grazing season by working with local farmers

Fall and winter grazing can help a beef producer reduce winter feed costs, and some cattlemen are finding value in creating co-operative relationships with neighbouring farmers to graze crop residues. Joey Bootsman has a cow-calf operation near Rapid City, northwest of Brandon, Man., and for several years has made arrangements with farming neighbours to graze […] Read more

Cold weather also poses a challenge to newborn calves, but with good cow nutrition, shelter and disease management, they’re better prepared to survive those conditions.  


Preventing weak calf syndrome

Factors ranging from cow nutrition to weather to disease can cause this often complex condition

Weak calf syndrome is a general condition rather than a specific disease, and can be caused by several different factors, sometimes multiple factors at the same time. The newborn calf is weak, unable or slow to rise, stand or nurse. These calves often die within three days of birth. They are sometimes called “dummy calves” […] Read more


In 1973, three Speckle Park steers took second at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The Glasman family of Manitoba bought the steers from the Lamonts, expertly fitted them and entered them in the Royal. Left to right: Gayle Glasman, Vern Croy, Bob Switzer and Larry Glasman.

New book details Speckle Park breed’s beginnings

A Saskatchewan producer has drawn on extensive documents and photos to tell the story of the breed’s founding

Christine Pike, a Saskatchewan farm owner and cattlewoman, has published a book about the Speckle Park breed’s beginnings and the contributions of the late Mary Lindsay, who created the Lindsay Lineback. The Speckle Park is one of very few cattle breeds developed in Canada. “My sister Eileen bought a Lindsay Lineback cow from Mary Lindsay, […] Read more

Edgar Smith and his brothers run Red Angus and Red Angus-cross cattle on their operation at Courtenay, B.C.

B.C. producer narrows in on what customers want in beef

Health, environment and animal welfare top priorities for Edgar Smith’s customers on Vancouver Island and in the lower mainland

Edgar Smith and his brothers Phillip and Doug have a unique cattle operation, raising beef from start to finish and selling direct to customers. “Our family has been in the beef business since the 1940s on Vancouver Island, and the operation has evolved and changed over the decades. In the 1940s and 1950s we were […] Read more


Brett McRae and his wife Chantel on the farm in southwestern Manitoba.

Mentorship program leads Manitoba producer to regenerative ag

After participating in the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program, Brett McRae rejigged his mixed farm to abide by the five principles of soil health

Brett McRae is a fifth-generation rancher in southwest Manitoba, near Brandon, but not the fifth generation on the same ranch. “I was born and raised here and my parents are still actively farming. I farm next to them; we farm separately but share equipment, labour, facilities and ideas. It’s the best of both worlds; we […] Read more

Todd Hermanson’s Wire Shark mounts on a skid steer to ease the job of pulling and rolling wire.

Removing old wire fences

Custom fencers share their tips for cleaning up old fencelines more efficiently and with less risk of injury

When an old wire fence has deteriorated and needs to be replaced, removing the old posts and wires can be time-consuming. Then there’s the task of hauling them off and disposing of them. Custom fencers have the goods on removing those fences with less hassle, whether you’ve got a wire-winder or are rolling by hand. […] Read more


Graham Graff and Karin Naslund of Legacy Family Business Advisors.

Minimizing family conflict on the farm

Focusing on communication, problem-solving and scheduling meetings are important steps in managing conflict

Business deals and family relationships are like oil and water. Under most conditions they don’t mix very well, and age-old wisdom is to keep them separate. Usually this is good advice, not because family members are poor risks as business partners, but because of additional challenges involved in complex relationships. But family farms don’t have […] Read more

Some implants are made for use in feedlots, while others are more suitable for pastured cattle.

Proper use of implants for calves

Using the right implant at the right time can fatten the bottom line, but producers must consider everything from the market to production stage before picking an implant

Some cow-calf producers implant calves they plan to sell, and most feedlots use implants to boost growth and feed efficiency. But using them effectively requires knowledge of how implants work, how to implant correctly and potential carcass effects. There are several types of implants containing different hormones. These include three naturally occurring hormones (estradiol, progesterone […] Read more