GFM Network News


Kenyon: Beware the metabolic welfare state

Be prepared to commit when moving from grass-fed toward grain-fed

Grass-fed vs. grain-fed is a never-ending debate in the cattle industry and I have heard many different arguments on both sides. I will try to stay neutral in this article because I think that the natural biology of the rumen has a lot to say about the topic. As you know, I try to follow […] Read more

There are a number of steps producers can take to ensure that cattle maintain relatively high levels of feed intake while on high-grain rations.

Feed bunk management key to a sound feeding program

Nutrition with John McKinnon

In my last two columns, we have looked at issues with starting cattle on feed, as well as providing insight into the design of backgrounding and finishing programs. In this column, the focus will be on management of the feeding program, particularly feed bunk management. At its most basic level, feed bunk management is the […] Read more


Pea straw has higher protein levels than oat, barley or triticale straw.

What to consider when choosing alternate cattle feed sources

Anything from pea straw to cull potatoes can help producers plug the feed gap

With a hay shortage looming across much of the Prairies, many cattle producers will need to look further afield for feed. There are numerous options for alternate feeds, such as salvaging hail-damaged or stressed crops. Nitrate toxicity is a concern if the crop was highly fertilized with nitrogen, but Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist […] Read more



Once a calf has been weaned, providing a low-cost, balanced ration that supplies the required nutrients for the desired rate of gain is key to success.

The nature and design of backgrounding rations

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Over the past number of years, I have had the opportunity to work with several operations whose business plans focus on backgrounding weaned calves. These programs generally fall into one of two categories. The first involves feeding calves weighing 550 to 650 pounds over the winter and marketing them in the spring at weights ranging […] Read more

Protein kick needed for mature, dry forages

Nutrition: Supplementation will be important this year in many parts of the Prairies

In the fall and winter, most native forages and tame pastures are low in protein (unless fall rains have stimulated new growth), yet many stockmen try to extend grazing as long as possible through winter because winter feeding is the most expensive part of raising cattle. Depending on the protein source, adding a protein supplement […] Read more


“We did not see any interaction between cattle RFI ranking and diet quality.” Dr. Hushton Block, Ag Canada, Lacombe, Alta.

Balancing your nutrients will pay off

Research looked at improving the economic and feed efficiency for beef cattle

Dr. Hushton Block, beef cattle nutritionist previously at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Bran­don Research Centre and now currently at Lacombe, is interested in finding ways of improving the economic and feed efficiency for beef cattle. One idea Block looked at deals with how beef cattle with better (lower) residual feed intake (RFI) react with […] 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


Pastures have seen very limited growth due to lack of rain and hot weather.

Livestock producers allowed to cut hay, graze on Manitoba Crown lands

Areas will be temporarily open to assist producers impacted by dry conditions

Livestock producers will temporarily be allowed to cut hay and allow animals to graze on Crown land not normally designated for agricultural use due to dry conditions across parts of the province, Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced today. “Pastures and forage crops in parts of Manitoba have been greatly affected by low levels of […] Read more

Pasture, hay resources for Manitoba livestock producers

Pastures and forage crops on the Prairies are in poor shape from lack of rain

Manitoba Agriculture is reminding agricultural producers affected by dry conditions of the programs and services available to livestock producers to manage forage shortages. To date, low levels of precipitation and soil moisture have affected the growth of pastures and forage crops in parts of Manitoba. Manitoba Agriculture provides a number of tools and resources for […] Read more