GFM Network News


Shifting from winter to spring calving has improved health and survival.

Timing cattle breeding for improved calf survival

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

I once spent a summer working for canola breeders. Some used traditional selection, while others were experimenting with transgenics. One traditionalist was known to say “sticking a new gene into a plant and expecting it to grow better is like throwing a new gear into a watch and expecting it to keep better time. It’ll […] Read more

Canada’s beef industry has worked long and hard to help get an integrated on-farm surveillance program for antimicrobial resistance underway in the feedlot sector.

On-farm antimicrobial surveillance moves a step closer

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

As long as cattle continue to get sick, cattle producers will need anti­microb­ials to help them recover. At the same time, it’s common to hear activists, regulators, consumers and/or retailers call for livestock producers to stop using antimicrobials altogether, reduce anti­microbial use, or demonstrate that antimicrobials are being used responsibly. Solid, reliable data demonstrating our […] Read more


Intestinal lesions caused by Johne's disease.

Johne’s disease: Cheap to buy, costly to live with

“Biosecurity” often conjures up images of poultry or hog operations with truckers-report-at-the-gate signs, shower-in-and-out rules and workers dressed in hazmat suits. The point of biosecurity practices is obviously to reduce the risk that disease-causing microbes will enter or spread within high-health status herds or flocks. It is much harder to implement high levels of bio­security […] Read more

As you may have already noticed, foragebeef.ca has now become beefresearch.ca.

Bergen: ForageBeef.ca gets a facelift

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Canada’s National Beef Strategy has four goals that our industry aims to achieve by 2020. For the past year this column has explained how research is contributing to a 15 per cent increase in carcass cut-out value (the beef demand pillar), a 15 per cent improvement in production efficiency (productivity), and a seven per cent […] Read more


Upcoming sainfoin varieties have improved persistence and yield when grown and grazed in mixed stands with alfalfa.

Persistence pays when it comes to forage breeding

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Forage legumes provide high yields, protein and good animal performance while improving soil fertility by fixing nitrogen from the air. Alfalfa is the highest yielding and most widely used legume but can cause bloat. Legumes like cicer milkvetch, sainfoin and birdsfoot trefoil do not cause bloat. As little as 25 per cent sainfoin in a […] Read more

Research showed that more complex forage mixtures are likely better able to cope with weather variations than monocultures.

Exceptional forages for marginal lands

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Tame forages often outperform native species in head-to-head comparisons under optimal growing conditions. This may not be the case on marginal land, with its tougher environments, poorer soil, rougher topography, harsher climates and precipitation extremes. Beef production is expected to rely more and more on marginal land, at least while returns from cash crops exceed […] Read more


Producers are expected to seek guidance from their veterinarian on the optimum method and timing of castration.

What we’ve learned about castration in beef cattle

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

When Canada’s 2013 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle was being developed, some participants felt it should require pain control for castration at all ages, like the dairy code. The producers and researchers on the beef code committee were confident that pain control was beneficial for feedlot bulls and dairy […] Read more

Narrowing in on Johne’s Disease

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Johne’s disease is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, or MAP) that was discovered in 1895 by a heavily bearded, bespectacled bacteriologist from Dresden named Heinrich Albert Johne. When a cow develops persistent, watery, smelly hosepipe diarrhea, and progressively loses weight and body condition, even though her appetite is normal and she isn’t running […] Read more


New Year’s resolution: Get better beef grades

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Youthful carcasses from feedlot-finished cattle are graded for yield (amount of meat in the carcass) and quality (marbling score). Federal grading began during the Second World War to ensure quality standards during wartime price controls. Canada’s last major beef grading change occurred in the early 1990s, when Canada added quality grades to the grading system. […] Read more

Over a two-year period, a research team collected samples from feedlots, agricultural soils, wetlands, streams, municipal sewage, packing plants, retail meats and human patients.

Does antibiotic resistance move through the environment?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Recent columns have talked about antibiotic use in Canadian cow-calf and feedlot operations. Contrary to common misperceptions, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are very unlikely to transfer from cattle to beef, evade food safety interventions in the processing plant, survive cooking, and cause an antibiotic-resistant infection in a person. But can antibiotic-resistant bacteria be transmitted from cattle, through […] Read more