GFM Network News


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

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

Don’t pass on ionophores when backgrounding calves

Management: News Roundup from the Oct. 22 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Travis Peardon, a livestock and feed specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture in Outlook, is urging producers looking to background calves this fall to add ionophores to their rations. “Ionophores provide protection against coccidiosis, improve feed efficiency and stabilize the rumen environment by reducing the incidence of bloat. The three ionophores approved for use in Canadian feedlots […] Read more


Developing faster, cheaper diagnostic tests for calves

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Last month’s column discussed how antibiotics are used in western Canadian cow-calf operations. Respiratory diseases are a common reason for antibiotic treatment in cows, bulls, and calves and diarrhea is a common reason for antibiotic treatment in young calves. Because both respiratory and intestinal infections can involve many different microbes, having a better understanding of […] Read more

Most of the attention for antibiotic use in the beef industry is focused on the feedlot sector, but antibiotic use at the cow-calf level is also important.

Antibiotic use on Canadian cow-calf operations

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Antibiotic use records are important for producers who want to track the effectiveness of the antibiotics they use. Industry groups need antibiotic use data to refute misleading claims about our production practices. Even restaurant chains and meat companies marketing “antibiotic-free” beef need records to keep treated animals out of their “never-ever” supply stream. When it […] Read more


The driving factor behind creep feeding calves is to increase weight gains while on pasture.

Creep feeding – What side of the debate are you on?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Creep feeding is a management practice where nursing calves are fed supplemental feed while on pasture. Its economic benefits have been hotly debated by those in industry and academia alike. Those in favour point to the increased value of heavier calves at weaning, the potential sparing of summer forage supplies, and the health benefits associated […] Read more

A 60-day breeding season is an ideal goal to shoot for.

Keep your cattle breeding season short

Breeding: News Roundup from the June 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

It is my experience that there is no single best calving season for all operations. Each is unique in terms of labour, facilities, feedstuffs, and ultimately, the selection should be determined by the likelihood of achieving the highest conception rates and calf crop percentage weaned with your available resources. Regardless of when you calve, there is […] Read more


Preventing reproductive wrecks in cow-calf operations

Breeding: There are four important management practices to improve reproductive efficiency

Reproduction remains one of the most important factors affecting the success of cow-calf operations. The Beef Cattle Research Council’s (BCRC) recent webinar on Preventing Reproductive Wrecks served as an important reminder that the reproductive capacity of beef herds remains paramount to economic prosperity in cow-calf herds. In the words of Dr. Dan Posey, Texas A […] Read more

To creep feed or not?

Feeding: News Roundup from the March 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Creep feeding is the practice of providing a highly digestible supplemental feed source to beef calves. Implementation of a creep-feeding strategy allows for increased pre-weaning weights, improved cow body condition score and increased pasture availability by reducing average forage consumption per calf. A successful creep-feeding program also requires access to clean, fresh water at all […] Read more