GFM Network News


A mild winter is great for access to feed, but make sure you have enough quality snow for a water source.

Strategies for year-round grazing

With careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round

Winter feeding is the biggest input cost when raising cattle, so many producers try to minimize the number of days they have to feed hay. In some situations, with careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round, especially in mild climates. Even in northern climates with cold weather and snow, year-round grazing can […] Read more

Protein kick needed for mature, dry forages

Nutrition: Supplementation will be important this year in many parts of the Prairies

In the fall and winter, most native forages and tame pastures are low in protein (unless fall rains have stimulated new growth), yet many stockmen try to extend grazing as long as possible through winter because winter feeding is the most expensive part of raising cattle. Depending on the protein source, adding a protein supplement […] Read more


Preg-checking identifies fertile cows early but culling early doesn’t always pay.

Does preg-checking cows pay?

Perfection is not possible in the cattle business, but excellence can be achieved

It’s a “forever” debate. On one side of the scrum are the naysayers who claim preg-checking is sacrilege foisted on the industry by unscrupulous, profiteering veterinarians. They maintain that open cows in the spring are worth more, can be wintered profitably, they manage what calf crop is on the ground just fine, and that veterinary […] Read more

Dr. Nora Paulovich draws water from the dugout into a solar powered Kelln waterer on her family’s ranch. Freezing around the inlet has been a concern.

Winter water systems for cattle

Keeping livestock water ice-free can be a challenge during colder months. In some pastures water availability is also an issue. Dr. Nora Paulovich with the North Peace Applied Research Association (NPARA) in northern Alberta says her family ranch uses a system that brings water from a dugout into an insulated trough nearby. It uses a […] Read more


Low-stress weaning for calves

A less stressful weaning process makes for healthier calves

Weaning time has traditionally been traumatic for calves, mama cows and ranchers, but it doesn’t need to be. “There are better ways to wean calves, says Bart Lardner, a beef and forage research scientist at the University of Saskatchewan. “Abrupt weaning is the most stressful, for both the cow and calf. The question has been […] Read more

Canadian and U.S. calf preconditioning trends

Conventional preconditioning programs generally include at minimum — castration, dehorning, vaccination against clostridial and bacterial diseases, parasite control, weaning for a period of 30-plus days, and acclimation to feedstuffs, bunks and water bowls prior to sale. The term itself is not narrowly defined and can mean different things to different people including a combination of […] Read more


Extending fall and winter grazing

Crop residues are probably the most under­utilized source of winter grazing, says extension specialist

Extending the grazing season for cattle can help reduce production costs and there are various ways to increase forage production/utilization to ensure adequate fall grazing that can often be extended into winter. Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture in Weyburn, Sask., says there are four sources of forage. “These are native prairie, […] Read more

Testing forage generally requires a minimum of 10 to 15 samples to get an accurate representation.

Testing forage even more necessary in a dry year

With many parts of the country having endured a dry season, knowing feed nutrient levels is crucial

A startling amount of beef producers run the risk of nutrient deficiencies in their herd by not testing their forage sources. Analyzing forage sources to better plan for feeding and supplementation is even more crucial in a dry year to ensure cattle receive the nutrients they require as the colder months and calving season approach. […] Read more


Sometimes there are no answers to troubling questions

Animal Health with Dr. Ron Clarke

Life is unpredictable. The hinterland between known and unknown is often blurred. Despite our techno-ability to scrutinize things at a molecular level, the ability to provide answers to troubling questions is sometimes beyond reach. Take, for example, the year-long investigation into TB discovered in an Alberta cow shipped to the U.S. for slaughter. The discovery […] Read more

Crop rejuvenation from livestock is highly important to building healthy soil.

A monoculture is ugly!

Grazing with Steve Kenyon

Yes, I said it. I know, this goes against every fibre in your body. It goes against everything you learned in college. It goes against what your agrologist tells you. It goes against what your neighbours say and it definitely goes against what your salesman tells you. If that offends you, I am sorry but […] Read more