GFM Network News


There are a number of steps producers can take to ensure that cattle maintain relatively high levels of feed intake while on high-grain rations.

Feed bunk management key to a sound feeding program

Nutrition with John McKinnon

In my last two columns, we have looked at issues with starting cattle on feed, as well as providing insight into the design of backgrounding and finishing programs. In this column, the focus will be on management of the feeding program, particularly feed bunk management. At its most basic level, feed bunk management is the […] Read more

Some thoughts on cattle feeding program design

Nutrition with John McKinnon

In my last column, I discussed some of the issues cattle feeders — particularly those new to feeding — face when starting calves on feed. The basic message was that with feed intake, these animals need to get off to a fast start to minimize issues associated with weaning stress and the various disease challenges […] Read more


Tips for starting calves on feed

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Retained ownership is a marketing strategy that is used to manage market risk. As opposed to selling weaned calves into a potentially depressed market, retaining ownership and selling at a later stage of production (i.e. as short or long yearlings, or even finished animals) offers the possibility to sell into a more favourable market, as […] Read more

Producers should score cattle at least twice a year, once in the fall coming off pasture and at calving.

McKinnon: Interested in feeding your cattle more efficiently this winter?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

As we move into fall, one of your “to-do” tasks will be to book a herd health visit with your veterinarian. This will include administering any needed vaccinations, structural soundness evaluations as well as pregnancy checking bred cows and heifers. One management tool that may not be included is body condition scoring. If this is […] Read more


McKinnon: It’s silage season again

For many readers, as this article comes to press, silage season is either just starting or about to start. Putting up high-quality silage is both an art and a science. With this article I will review some of the key aspects of silage fermentation management that relate to putting up high-quality silage. Before we focus […] Read more

How does corn compare with other feed grains when it comes to cattle nutrition?

McKinnon: Feed grain options expanding for cattle

Nutrition with John McKinnon

One of the questions I get from beef producers relates to the relative feeding value of the various feed grains. Typically this question has focused on barley, wheat and oat grain. However, increasingly producers are asking how corn grain compares as both an energy and protein source. While to some this may seem like a […] Read more


Don’t delay planning your winter feed supply

Nutrition with John McKinnon

This past winter was challenging, particularly for those of you who experienced drought in 2018. Feed supplies were extremely tight and compounded by unseasonably cold weather in February and March. As a result, many producers had to scramble to get sufficient feed to carry their cattle through the winter. While it is too early to […] Read more

Once a calf has been weaned, providing a low-cost, balanced ration that supplies the required nutrients for the desired rate of gain is key to success.

The nature and design of backgrounding rations

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Over the past number of years, I have had the opportunity to work with several operations whose business plans focus on backgrounding weaned calves. These programs generally fall into one of two categories. The first involves feeding calves weighing 550 to 650 pounds over the winter and marketing them in the spring at weights ranging […] Read more


Managing a mineral program for cattle

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Last month I wrote on the importance of a mineral feeding program and focused on some of the more common questions producers have on this topic. As we move through calving and into the breeding season, ensuring that your cattle have access to the right minerals is only one part of a successful mineral feeding […] Read more