GFM Network News


Lupine.

Beware of toxic plants in pastures

There are many toxic plants in Western Canada cattle producers need to steer clear of

Different regions have different problem plants, and to make it even more confusing these same plants are only toxic if eaten in certain amounts or in certain stages of growth, while others are toxic at all times. Rachel Turnquist, a forage extension specialist in Saskatchewan, says there are many toxic plants in Western Canada. You […] Read more

A mild winter is great for access to feed, but make sure you have enough quality snow for a water source.

Strategies for year-round grazing

With careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round

Winter feeding is the biggest input cost when raising cattle, so many producers try to minimize the number of days they have to feed hay. In some situations, with careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round, especially in mild climates. Even in northern climates with cold weather and snow, year-round grazing can […] Read more


Protein kick needed for mature, dry forages

Nutrition: Supplementation will be important this year in many parts of the Prairies

In the fall and winter, most native forages and tame pastures are low in protein (unless fall rains have stimulated new growth), yet many stockmen try to extend grazing as long as possible through winter because winter feeding is the most expensive part of raising cattle. Depending on the protein source, adding a protein supplement […] Read more

Dr. Nora Paulovich draws water from the dugout into a solar powered Kelln waterer on her family’s ranch. Freezing around the inlet has been a concern.

Winter water systems for cattle

Keeping livestock water ice-free can be a challenge during colder months. In some pastures water availability is also an issue. Dr. Nora Paulovich with the North Peace Applied Research Association (NPARA) in northern Alberta says her family ranch uses a system that brings water from a dugout into an insulated trough nearby. It uses a […] Read more


Low-stress weaning for calves

A less stressful weaning process makes for healthier calves

Weaning time has traditionally been traumatic for calves, mama cows and ranchers, but it doesn’t need to be. “There are better ways to wean calves, says Bart Lardner, a beef and forage research scientist at the University of Saskatchewan. “Abrupt weaning is the most stressful, for both the cow and calf. The question has been […] Read more

Extending fall and winter grazing

Crop residues are probably the most under­utilized source of winter grazing, says extension specialist

Extending the grazing season for cattle can help reduce production costs and there are various ways to increase forage production/utilization to ensure adequate fall grazing that can often be extended into winter. Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture in Weyburn, Sask., says there are four sources of forage. “These are native prairie, […] Read more



Brian and Connie Chrisp with their grandchildren.

Make them pay their own way

That sort of sums up Brian Chrisp’s view on rearing purebred cattle

When Brian Chrisp went to college with plans of becoming a veterinarian, he didn’t think he would ever want to come back to the family farm near Vermilion, Alta. But life intervened. “While I was in college I switched course and got an ag economics degree at the University of Alberta. As graduation neared, I […] Read more


'If you are going to have problems, it will usually be when you first introduce cattle to that forage, so you need to know the nitrate levels and manage accordingly.'

Be prepared for nitrate problems in forages

High nitrite levels in cattle can literally see them 'starving for oxygen'

Nitrate levels in forages can sometimes be a problem for cattle. Depending on growing conditions, certain plants may accumulate too much nitrate to be safely fed to cattle unless those high-nitrate feeds can be diluted by mixing with other forages. Colby Elford, livestock and feed extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture, Moose Jaw, Sask., says it […] Read more

When should they go?

Make the best decision you can for the time

We all want to sell our cattle at the best times and in ways to make the most money, but just when is that. The short answer is, it depends. “Breeding can be easily scheduled — as a day on the calendar when you turn the bulls out with the cows,” says Joe Stookey, a […] Read more