Latest articles



cows eating pellets- Glen Nicoll

McKinnon: The math behind animal nutrition lingo

When I visit with producers about their feeding program, I often get questions on “nutrition lingo.” Examples include questions on the meaning of a mineral or protein supplement tag or how much supplement do you need to feed to achieve an ionophore concentration of 22 or 33 ppm? Such confusion is understandable, particularly when you […] Read more



What happened to the vitamin supply?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Many of you are likely aware that the feed industry is facing a critical shortage of vitamins A and E. This shortage is the result of a fire in October at a processing plant in Germany owned by BASF, one of the global leaders in the provision of vitamins for humans and livestock. The damaged […] Read more




Yikes ­— another crazy winter!

Nutrition with John McKinnon

The winter of 2017-18 is shaping up to be full of unexpected challenges, particularly for those wintering cows in Western Canada. Drought, as well as recent wildfires, have caused many producers to scramble for a forage supply. As well, “old man winter” in all his wisdom has arrived early, with November temperatures in the minus […] Read more


Forage quality from the perspective of 1-billion bacterial cells

Nutrition with John McKinnon

It is a time of year when feedlot operators and cow-calf producers are implementing their winter feeding programs. Forage, whether it is fed as hay, stockpiled forage (i.e. barley swaths or standing corn) or silage will play a big role in the vast majority of these operations. For feedlot operations, good-quality hay is often used […] Read more



Strive for consistency when feeding cattle

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Striving for consistency may not sound like the most exciting goal, but when it comes to feeding cattle, it should be one of our golden rules! Consistency is essential if we want to keep cattle on an even keel and prevent wild swings in intake. This includes consistency in when we feed; how we load, […] Read more


cattle herd

“If You Talk the Talk, You Gotta Walk the Walk”

Nutrition with John McKinnon

My August column focused on alternatives to current growth promoting technology. My general conclusion was that while there are alternatives on the market, they fail to achieve the same beneficial production responses as seen with implants, ionophores and prudent use of antibiotics. While I applaud and encourage continued research into new/alternative technology to promote production […] Read more



calves and cattle in a feedlot

There is no silver bullet!

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Recently I was invited by the University of Calgary to give a presentation at their annual beef conference on alternatives to growth promotants. The presentation was part of a larger program that addressed alternative beef production strategies that could be used to access niche markets or used in the future if federal regulatory agencies place […] Read more


The silage pit has no secrets

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Last month I wrote about the importance of variety when it comes to seeding barley for silage. When writing that article, I got thinking about the principles of making good-quality silage, particularly in relation to feed quality. What really brought this connection home to me however, was my experiences this past winter where I had […] Read more