GFM Network News


When roping calves during processing, ropers should be experienced and consistent.

Tapping into animal behaviour while processing calves

Cattle handlers must be willing to learn from experience and the knowledge of others

With calving season coming to a close for many producers, it is time to plan an efficient and safe branding and processing day for the calves. It is important that cows and calves are handled calmly and with as little stress as possible to reduce negative impacts on their health and productivity, plus make the […] Read more

A fair rental rate balances renter and landlord interests, while maintaining the health of the grass and allowing efficient use.

Negotiating a workable pasture rental agreement

A variety of factors can make pasture rental rates difficult to calculate

There are many considerations when renting or leasing pasture for cattle. What is the fair and proper way to decide on a payment method? Should there be other considerations such as a drought clause included in case of a dry year? What about fencing and insurance costs? Who should be responsible for the care and […] Read more


Subcutaneous lumps can be more visible and last longer than localized reactions from intramuscular injections. But in most cases they’re not very painful.

Be prepared for vaccination reactions in cattle

Vaccines can sometimes hyper-stimulate the immune system

Occasionally cattle react to vaccine. An allergic reaction can be mild and local, with swelling at the injection site. But if the animal goes into anaphylactic shock, it can be serious and even fatal. Vaccines contain antigens that are foreign to the body. The goal is for the body to recognize them as foreign and […] Read more

Randy, Sandra and Luke Radau stroll through the bale yard.

Sustainable practices reap rewards for longtime Hereford breeders

Coulee Crest Farm takes pragmatic, down-to-earth approach when making improvements to its operation

Sustainability has always been a guiding principle for the Radau family at Coulee Crest Farm. “It’s something that we’ve always practiced before we even knew what the word meant, just to ensure the long-term viability of our operation and the environment and the profitability of farming on this land,” said Randy Radau, who farms near […] Read more


Castration can be one of the most stressful and painful experiences for livestock.

Castration tips and pain control

Better to castrate bull calves at a younger age, otherwise growth can be affected

There are numerous reasons for bull calf castration beyond reducing sexual activity and reproduction. Bulls are naturally aggressive and so castration becomes necessary for the herd’s welfare and the protection of those that work with them. Bulls exhibit a lower-quality, inconsistent, tougher, less marbled carcass than steers. They also deliver a much larger number of […] Read more

Round bales can be stored under tarps to keep out moisture and reduce rot.

Managing forage in a dry year

Planning for drought needs to occur before drought arrives

Drought is normal in Western Canada and it is not going to go away. We just don’t know when the next drought will be, or how long it will last. “Drought affects two basic parts of the rancher’s business,” says Dr. Art Bailey, range science professor emeritus at the University of Alberta. “On the demand […] Read more


For a farm business to be repeatable, it needs to be both economic and financially stable.

Is your farm repeatable?

From the Ground Up with Steve Kenyon

Here is a typical family farm operation: Mom and Dad have been farming for years and are looking at turning the operation over to the next generation. The farm is paid for and now they would like to retire and sell that to the next generation. We all know there are plenty of human resource […] Read more

“Trying to produce crops that are not suited to your soils leads to low yields, high production costs and a higher land requirement to meet production goals.

Yield and quality pillars of forage production

Grow well-adapted varieties and match your forages to soil and climate conditions

When it comes to cost of production and efficiency, Bill Thomas considers yield and quality to be the two pillars of forage production. In order to keep these pillars standing strong, careful planning is the key to creating an effective forage production program. Thomas, retired director of Perennia’s field services division, delivered his recommendations at […] Read more


By deferring grazing until later in the year, producers can use cattle to reseed sainfoin stands.


Tips for managing sainfoin in your forage stand

Keeping sainfoin populations high beyond five years is a challenge

Sometimes what’s old is new again. That certainly holds true for sainfoin as forage breeders release new varieties designed for today’s beef and forage operations. Sainfoin is a non-bloating legume native to Europe and western Asia. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) released varieties such as Melrose and Nova in the 1970s and ’80s. But these […] Read more

A teaspoon of productive soil generally contains anywhere from 100 million to one billion bacteria, says Dr. Elaine Ingham, microbiologist and founder of Soil Food Web Inc.

Building healthy soil for forages

Research group targets five basic principles to improve soil health

Feed the soil and everything gets better, says Brian Harper, Manitoba beef producer and 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) winner. Harper’s focus has moved from the livestock, down to the plants and now to the soil and the below-ground activity. “I have realized the cattle are just a tool.” Many ranchers are starting to acknowledge […] Read more