GFM Network News


Comment: Keep your pencil sharp

“The most important tool on the farm is the pencil.” That was the best farming advice Mike Buis ever received, and it came from his grandfather. Buis recently conducted a virtual tour of his family’s Chatham, Ont., beef farm for the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation. Coincidentally, a day or two before the Buis Beef tour, […] Read more

Canola regrowth blooming in Manitoba’s Interlake in late September. Beware high nitrates and other issues when grazing canola regrowth and consider using an electric fence to control intake.

Timing key when managing high-nitrate feeds

News Roundup from the October 2021 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

You’ve tested your feed and you’ve got some high-nitrate crop in the field or the feedyard. What exactly are the risks to your cattle and what can you do to manage them?  High nitrate levels can affect reproduction, and this time of year is especially risky for herds calving in May or June, says Barry […] Read more


Dry pastures can mean vitamin A deficiencies in both cows and calves this fall.

Beware vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the cow herd during drought

News Roundup from the September 27, 2021 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

As ranchers pull cattle from parched pastures this fall, veterinarians and livestock nutritionists advise watching for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  “This year we’re going to be seeing a lot of guys feeding some alternative feeds, maybe a little bit more straw in their rations, so it’ll be important to balance off those important macro minerals […] Read more



Closing a gate after crossing a pasture in August 2021.

Cows and Wildlife

It’s World Habitat Day today, and that made me think about an observation I’ve been ruminating on for several months. When I’m not at my desk, I’m often outside, and in the warmer months, I spend a lot of time riding my horse down backroads and through bush trails. I live in the Parkland-Boreal transition zone of northwestern […] Read more

This past year has been a tough one. First a pandemic, then drought. Make sure you seek help if stress is weighing you down.

Comment: Getting through a crisis

Recently I was chatting with a few ranchers over supper after a beef cattle tour about potential long-term effects of this drought. We discussed how it might affect businesses linked to the beef sector (truckers, processors, etc.), and whether it would eat into the “infrastructure” that supports our industry and our rural communities. We weren’t […] Read more


Boosting forage quality through ammoniation

Boosting forage quality through ammoniation

Anhydrous ammonia can improve poor-quality forage, but it comes with challenges and safety risks.

Ranchers and beef farmers who have sourced straw for their cows may now be looking for ways to boost the ration quality. Ammoniation is one option, but it’s not easily done.  Applying anhydrous ammonia is a “tried-and-true technique” for improving poor-quality forages, says Dr. John McKinnon, speaking during a Beef Research Council of Canada webinar on […] Read more



A Tale of Two Ministries: The provincial auditor weighs in on slaughterhouse inspections

A Tale of Two Ministries: The provincial auditor weighs in on slaughterhouse inspections

If you haven’t done so already, please read my earlier blog post outlining Sask’s provincial meat inspection system before reading this one. When Merle Friesen first built his slaughter plant, it was inspected by Sask Health. While he emphasizes that he is only speaking from his personal experience, the Sask Health inspection he describes is not nearly as rigorous as Sask Ag’s […] Read more

Comment: BSE purgatory flanked by drought

Comment: BSE purgatory flanked by drought

After 18 years, we are crawling out of BSE purgatory, having been deemed “negligible risk” by the World Health Organization (OIE). Unfortunately, drought has bookended the BSE period for many beef farmers and ranchers. For me, the onset of BSE has always been linked to the drought of 2001 and 2002. The second year of […] Read more