GFM Network News


Former federal and provincial community pastures operated for decades in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, many of them on ecologically sensitive lands. These pastures held habitat for wildlife and provided grazing allocations to area farmers. Starting in 2013, the pastures transitioned to patron operation.

Pastures hold on to ecological benefits through transition

Pasture managers and patrons are working with conservation groups to preserve these islands of Prairie habitat

The following is the final in a three-part series exploring how community pastures shifted from government to producer operation. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration’s (PFRA) community pasture program began in the 1930s as a quest to stop drifting soil and provide stable grazing for the […] Read more

When the government pulled out of community pastures, operations became the responsibility of board members and patron volunteers.

Community pasture patrons adapt to new business models

The following is the second in a three-part series exploring how different community pastures shifted from government to producer operation, and the ongoing effects of that shift. Years after government decided to turn over community pasture management to patrons, board members and staff are still finding new approaches to managing and improving operations while ensuring […] Read more


In 2012, the federal government announced they would be ceasing operations on former PFRA federal community pastures. Three years later, Saskatchewan announced they were pulling out of provincial pasture programs as well.

Community pasture patrons and staff persevere through tough transitions

When the federal and Saskatchewan governments wound down their community pasture programs, pasture employees and patrons faced a lot of uncertainty and stress, but they’ve adapted

Updated May 31, 2021. The following is the first in a three-part series of articles exploring how different community pastures shifted from government to producer operation, and the ongoing effects of that shift. Future articles will focus on environmental and financial implications. It’s been years since governments got out of community pastures. But the effects […] Read more

“You have to do what works for you. Every operation has a unique set of circumstances.” – Dr. Klea-Ann Wasilow, Maple Creek Veterinary Services.

A tale of two calving systems

Confined and pasture methods each have risks and benefits

For beef producers, calving season can be both stressful and enjoyable. Witnessing new life can be refreshing, but calving time is the most critical period in the cow-calf production cycle. Whether or not calving season is a success will set the tone for an operations’ entire year or longer, having an impact on animal health, […] Read more


Hereford calves eating corn from a feed bunk. Introducing calves to a feed ration while they’re still on the cow helps ease weaning stress.

Backgrounding basics – easing the transition from weaning to feeding

Backgrounding calves can add value, but does come with more risk. Learn how to manage those risks and shepherd calves through the post-weaning phase

Adding weight to calves through backgrounding can be an effective way to increase the worth of both lower-value cattle and feeds. However, beef producers have to do their homework to make sure cattle transition successfully from weaning to feeding. “If you have a good source of cheap feed, you can put a lot of pounds […] Read more

Terryn Drieling of Faith Family & Beef uses her feedyard and cow-calf experience to engage in conversations about ranch life and producing beef.

Connecting farms, facts and feelings through storytelling

Two producers share tips for engaging an audience through video and social media platforms

Many beef producers spend their days doing chores, caring for cattle, and managing feed and pastures. Lately, farmers are being encouraged to add one more thing to their list — engage the public through storytelling. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook feature thousands of farm accounts, many of which post production facts […] Read more


Dung beetles break down manure on grasslands and convert it into plant nutrients. They also facilitate water infiltration and soil aeration.

Dung beetles may be small but they play a big role on pastures

These beetles turn manure into nutrients, improving the soil, increasing water infiltration and cutting pest fly populations

On pasture ecosystems, the spotlight is often on grass and cattle, yet a well-functioning grassland may depend, at least in part, on behind-the-scenes work performed by dung beetles. With a skillset that includes converting manure into nutrients, improving soil aeration, minimizing pest flies and increasing water infiltration, dung beetles can help beef producers set the […] Read more

Cereal crops are high in starch which allows them to ferment easily. Almost any crop can be harvested for silage, however, as long as it is harvested at 60 to 70 per cent moisture.

Silage packs a punch when harvested carefully

Protect your investment with these tips on everything from harvest timing to inoculants

For some producers, silage is a mainstay, but for others who may be new to the process, there is a learning curve. Regardless of experience, there are several variables producers must consider when ensiling a crop. Gains or losses can occur during seeding and feeding silage. However, management during harvest may be pivotal to promote […] Read more


The Hoimyrs input data directly into their Numbers spreadsheet on their iPad when working cattle.

Managing data on the ranch

Maintaining cattle records can pay off at the farm level and beyond

For some beef producers, maintaining accurate cattle records is a time-consuming chore, but for others it is the tool they depend on to run a productive and profitable operation. The method and complexity of cattle records is as varied as the farm operators who use the information. But ag economist Manglai Ma’s graduate research found […] Read more

Hughes works to minimize stress during weaning by vaccinating calves and introducing them to pellets before splitting them from their dams.

Tips for reducing antibiotic use on the ranch

Producers and veterinarians adapt to new rules around livestock antibiotic use

Beef producers used to be able to pick up antibiotics at their favourite farm supply store or local small town co-op, but things changed on December 1, 2018. Since then, Health Canada has mandated that all medically important livestock antibiotics require a veterinary prescription. While producers and veterinarians alike have dealt with some challenges that […] Read more