GFM Network News


Bootsman uses a quad to roll and unroll aircraft cable for electric fence.

Working with farming neighbours to graze crop residue

Here’s how a cow-calf producer is extending the grazing season by working with local farmers

Fall and winter grazing can help a beef producer reduce winter feed costs, and some cattlemen are finding value in creating co-operative relationships with neighbouring farmers to graze crop residues. Joey Bootsman has a cow-calf operation near Rapid City, northwest of Brandon, Man., and for several years has made arrangements with farming neighbours to graze […] Read more

Cold weather also poses a challenge to newborn calves, but with good cow nutrition, shelter and disease management, they’re better prepared to survive those conditions.  


Preventing weak calf syndrome

Factors ranging from cow nutrition to weather to disease can cause this often complex condition

Weak calf syndrome is a general condition rather than a specific disease, and can be caused by several different factors, sometimes multiple factors at the same time. The newborn calf is weak, unable or slow to rise, stand or nurse. These calves often die within three days of birth. They are sometimes called “dummy calves” […] 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

Shwaluk is a firm believer in raising quiet cattle.

Manitoba cow-calf producer seeks to do things differently

Earlier birth dates, quiet cattle, roadside advertising are all part of the plan

When it comes to a well-travelled path, Robert Shwaluk likes to veer off. The Shoal Lake, Man. cow-calf producer goes his own way to discover new ideas and new ways to get things done. “I’m always looking out for the new,” he says. “I’ll do things differently.” Shwaluk, 65, began in the cow-calf business in […] Read more


Klassen: Lighter calves end year on positive tone

Compared to last week, Western Canadian feeder cattle prices were $2 lower to $3 higher depending on the region. Many auction markets were in holiday mode last week and thinner volumes made the market harder to define. Generally speaking, the market was supported by stronger deferred live cattle futures and a slightly weaker Canadian dollar; […] Read more



The staff at Bow Valley Genetics.

New opportunities to apply embryo transfer

Embryo transfer may start to grow in commercial herds, in conjunction with other genetic selection tools

When you think of bovine embryo transfer, it’s likely you view it as a technique geared toward the seedstock industry. This advanced reproductive technology is a well-established tool for purebred breeders, and now some embryo transfer practitioners are seeing opportunities for its growth in commercial breeding programs. “Embryo transfer or IVF is not a technology […] Read more

Some implants are made for use in feedlots, while others are more suitable for pastured cattle.

Proper use of implants for calves

Using the right implant at the right time can fatten the bottom line, but producers must consider everything from the market to production stage before picking an implant

Some cow-calf producers implant calves they plan to sell, and most feedlots use implants to boost growth and feed efficiency. But using them effectively requires knowledge of how implants work, how to implant correctly and potential carcass effects. There are several types of implants containing different hormones. These include three naturally occurring hormones (estradiol, progesterone […] Read more


WLPIP calf price insurance deadline extended

Three-week extension includes nine purchasing days

Cattle producers in the western provinces will get extra decision-making time this year on the calf price insurance available through Western Livestock Price Insurance (WLPIP). The Prairies’ Crown ag insurance corporations announced Thursday that the deadline to buy WLPIP calf price insurance for 2020 has been extended to June 18. The new deadline, reset from […] Read more

Once a calf is lying flat and has a very weak or absent suckle reflex, it needs IV fluid.

Scours in calves

Scours is a common illness in young calves. Understand the causes and effects of this disease to treat and prevent it

Scours can be caused by certain kinds of bacteria, viruses or protozoa, but other factors come into play as well. “It’s often the interaction between the immune system, the environment and the pathogen load. The old saying is that the solution to pollution is dilution (or) minimizing the pathogen load,” says Dr. Paul Hardes, a […] Read more