GFM Network News


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


Wear at the tip of the toe, separation along the white line and an abscess could be signs of toe-tip necrosis.

Toe-tip necrosis in cattle

Don’t overlook this disease when diagnosing lameness in the feedlot

Several things can cause foot soreness in cattle, including foot rot, puncture wounds, sole bruises, abscesses and white line disease. But one of the most serious is infection of the inner parts of the foot, resulting from toe-tip necrosis. Dr. Murray Jelinski of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan started […] Read more

Amanda Douglas’s father, Darin, experienced a tough harvest a few years ago. Weather is one of many stressors for producers.

Tips for recognizing and managing stress, anxiety and depression

Many farmers tend to work harder when faced with problems rather than reaching out for support

Agriculture is a stressful occupation, with mental health impacts that tend to exceed those of the average population. Dr. Greg Gibson, a registered clinical psychologist who practices in rural Manitoba, says the number of farmers and ranchers affected by depression, anxiety and stress is often under-reported, partly because of the attached stigma. Gibson cites a […] Read more


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