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

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


The Ference family runs a 4,000-head cow herd, plus a feedlot and a large farm.

Creativity and efficiency pay for young producers

Being named Canada’s OYF was overwhelming “because there’s such a high calibre of people there”

Creativity and efficiency have served Craig and Jinel Ference well on their family farm. These qualities also distinguished the couple when they were named one of two national winners of the 2018 Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) program. “Being nominated to be part of the program was a real honour, and then as we went […] Read more

Blood in the feces is one symptom in a calf with coccidiosis.

Coccidiosis affecting young calves in North Dakota

Coccidiosis may produce symptoms in calves three weeks to one year old, but it can infect all age groups

North Dakota cattle producers have been losing young calves to coccidiosis this spring, according to Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease that affects several animal species. In cattle, it may produce clinical symptoms in animals 3 weeks to 1 year old, but it can […] Read more


A calving ease EPD is a better measure than only looking at a potential heifer bull’s head, neck or shoulders, says Travis Olson.

Calving ease top priority when selecting heifer bulls

Calving ease EPD more important than assessing a bull visually, says Alberta producer

When it’s time to choose a heifer bull, expected progeny difference for calving ease tops one beef producer’s list. The birth weight expected progeny difference (EPD) is accurate but it’s simply an average, says Travis Olson of Ole Farms at Athabasca, Alta. For example, two bulls could have an average birth weight EPD of 75 […] Read more

Crypto is a major culprit in scours in calves.

Developing a better diagnostic for cryptosporidiosis

Research: News Roundup from the March 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

University of Arizona researchers are developing better diagnostic tools for cryptosporidiosis. Cryptosporidiosis, or crypto, is caused by a microscopic parasite. It’s a major culprit in scours in calves. It’s also a zoonotic and can cause serious infections in humans as well as other animals. Because the parasite can spread quickly and cause dangerous infections, early […] Read more


Swelling and yellow pus is visible in the vocal cords.

Dealing with diphtheria in calves

Animal Health: The condition is serious enough that swelling can restrict breathing to the point of suffocation

Diphtheria is an upper respiratory problem in cattle characterized by an infection or inflammation of the vocal folds. It can be serious if swelling restricts the airway and makes breathing difficult. Dr. Steve Hendrick of Coaldale Veterinary Clinic at Coaldale, Alta., sees quite a few cases of diphtheria in cow-calf operations and in feedlots. “It’s […] Read more

Setting up heifers for success in their first breeding season is crucial to earning back the investment in those animals.

Establishing reproductive momentum in replacement heifers

Make sure you take steps to get the most of your investment

Developing replacement females is an investment that can take years to earn back, making it essential to set them up early for reproductive success. Kathy Larson, research economist at the University of Saskatchewan, discussed the financial considerations of developing replacement females in a Beef Cattle Research Council webinar, including whether to purchase heifers or retain […] Read more


Researchers found that exit and flight speed from chutes are reliable indicators of temperament. Heifers generally score higher in exit speeds.

Behaviour temperament scoring in replacement heifers

Different scoring systems have included chute, gait, exit and flight speed

Due to consumers’ perpetual concerns regarding animal welfare, producers are displaying a renewed interest in the study of temperament behaviour in beef cattle. Producers are also searching for legitimate technology and data to keep them on the cutting edge in their operational and financial decisions. They face more and more studies out of universities and […] Read more

Environment plays a big part in the potential for an animal to express its genetics, says PJ Budler.

EPDs only one part of the genetic selection formula

EPDs most valuable when used with best practices

It’s not everyday you visit a 7,000-head beef operation in Kenya, but that’s not the only reason the experience was memorable for PJ Budler. When he visited this herd of Boran cattle, a breed native to Kenya, for a consulting project, their quality left him amazed. “You could hardly find an animal that didn’t have […] Read more