GFM Network News


The preconditioning study includes 250 calves raised at W.A. Ranches and fully preconditioned, along with another 250 purchased, conventionally weaned calves.

Study delves deeper into preconditioning calves

Researchers are exploring disease prevention, economics and performance benefits on feeder calves

Though the practice of preconditioning calves is relatively well known, not everyone agrees on the definition of the term. Confusion over what preconditioning entails may be partly to blame for reports of inconsistent returns on investment, says one researcher. “To me, it’s way more than just optimizing a vaccination protocol,” says Dr. Karin Orsel, veterinary […] Read more

Rosie is an Ayrshire-cross milk cow, the kind of cow you could milk anywhere if you offered a handful of oats.

This cow’s coming apart: Photosensitivity linked to dry conditions

Veterinary Case Study: A dry summer likely encouraged Rosie the milk cow to graze plants she’d normally avoid, and the results were nearly disastrous

Kirby’s ranch incorporated a section of short grass prairie and bush southeast of Regina. Kirby’s family lived comfortably on what 30 commercial cows, two sows, a milk cow, 20 chickens and a full-time job at the lumberyard provided. Kirby could have been a stand-up comedian because he had more one-liners than most could imagine and […] Read more


Farmer or rancher sitting on pickup tailgate, in a field, using a Smart Phone with his cattle in the background. Horizontal image would be good for agriculture use.

Leveraging data in beef production

New mobile app development, networks of smart farms highlight the potential to use data tools in agriculture

A new research project aims to help beef producers better interpret the production data they’re already collecting to make informed management decisions. Currently in its first stages of development, the Arm-Chair Rancher mobile application, a collaboration between Livestock Gentec and David Wishart, professor of biology at the University of Alberta, will analyze data on production […] Read more



Producers can feed test standing crops by grabbing 20 to 25 samples, says Bart Lardner.

Beware of high nitrate levels in drought-stressed forages 

Feed tests the ideal starting point when managing forages with nitrate accumulation

Feed testing is your first priority when it comes to dealing with high nitrate levels in drought-stressed forages.  Bart Lardner, professor of animal and poultry science at the University of Saskatchewan, says that nitrate accumulation can be more of an issue with annual forages during a dry, hot summer, and it’s important to know exactly […] Read more

Sweet clover is grown extensively for forage, but mould can create an anticoagulant in hay or silage.

Beware sweet clover poisoning during calving

As one producer discovered, sweet clover poisoning can trigger widespread hemorrhaging, especially during calving season

Pilgrim Winslow’s life had mainly been in the fast lane of oil exploration, successful businesses and high-level finance. He retired early and bought a half-section farm east of Regina. Winslow had built a small barn, a set of corrals and spent his days looking after 16 two-year-old Hereford heifers, bred to calve near the end […] Read more


Ryan Boyd and his daughter Piper during a farm media tour in the fall of 2018.

Nuffield Canada scholarship expands horizons for Manitoba producer

Ryan Boyd shares how he’s applying the insights from his international travel on his family’s cow-calf operation

A mindset of continual improvement led Ryan Boyd on an international adventure with benefits for his family’s farm upon returning home. Boyd runs South Glanton Farms at Forrest, Man., with his wife, Sarah, and his parents, Jim and Joanne. He is passionate about implementing the principles of regenerative agriculture and the soil health movement, including […] Read more

Rachel Carey with bred cows in a pen at the LFCE.

USask researchers study feeding corn and corn residue to beef cattle

The research focuses on how cattle fare while grazing on corn residue, as well as track other cattle fed harvested corn.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are exploring new ways to extend the winter grazing season by using what’s left after farmers harvest corn, while simultaneously studying cattle fed the harvested corn. Grazing pregnant cows in fields during the winter is not new in Western Canada, but no research has been conducted on how well […] Read more


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