GFM Network News


Your calving area should be clean, dry and close to shelter.

Getting ready for calving

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than look backwards and regret. — Mark Twain When preparing for the spring season, there are several things to keep in mind. Avoid surprises about the bull battery. Track the start and end of calving season. It should match the start and end of a controlled breeding season. […] Read more

A 2019 report highlighted a few tweaks to common calving management practices that could significantly improve calf survival from difficult births.

Get ’em out, get ’em up, get ’em fed, write ’em down…Rawhide!

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

It’s called calving difficulty for a reason. They’re difficult to deliver, it’s difficult for the calf to survive, it’s difficult to watch it die, and it’s difficult to lose the $1,250 the calf could have sold for in the fall. The Beef Cattle Research Council’s 2019 Adoption Rates of Recommended Practices by Cow-Calf Operators in […] 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

“You have to do what works for you. Every operation has a unique set of circumstances.” – Dr. Klea-Ann Wasilow, Maple Creek Veterinary Services.

A tale of two calving systems

Confined and pasture methods each have risks and benefits

For beef producers, calving season can be both stressful and enjoyable. Witnessing new life can be refreshing, but calving time is the most critical period in the cow-calf production cycle. Whether or not calving season is a success will set the tone for an operations’ entire year or longer, having an impact on animal health, […] Read more


Twelve hours is the golden window for getting colostrum into a newborn calf.

The ins and outs of stomach tubing calves

New calves in distress or having trouble nursing can still get their first colostrum by tubing, giving them a better shot at good health

Finding a newborn calf too weak to stand or in distress is all too common. Without intervention, calves in this condition will likely die. It doesn’t have to end that way according to Dr. Melissa Wallace of Livestock Veterinary Services, Picture Butte, Alta. Vulnerable calves can receive their first colostrum by tubing, essentially jump-starting health […] Read more

When to calve?

From the Ground Up with Steve Kenyon

Seeing as though I am calving out a custom herd of cows right now, that seems like a good topic for this month. I know there are lots of different points of view on the best time to calve. It is not for me to say who is right and who is wrong because every […] Read more


By restraining the cow, the substitute calf can nurse without being kicked, stimulating milk let-down.

Tips for grafting a calf

There’s more than one way to encourage cow-calf bonding, but hormones and smell are key

When a cow loses a newborn calf, many stockmen will graft an orphan or twin onto the cow. Sometimes it’s prudent to graft an old cow’s calf onto a younger cow that has lost a calf, so that the old cow can be fattened and sold. But what’s the best way to get a cow […] Read more

Don’t forget everyday practices such as providing clean, dry bedding during calving season.

Reducing disease in newborn calves

Calving: News Roundup from the February 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Extra vigilance before and during the calving season can pay off when it comes to producing healthy calves. “Newborn calf mortality can have a significant impact on calf crop percentage and ultimately your herd economics,” said Dr. Steve Hendrick, veterinarian with the Coaldale Veterinary Clinic in Coaldale, Alta. Hendrick spoke about reducing disease in newborn […] Read more


Calving date shifting in Ontario

The onset of calving season often depends on the individual operation, says an Ontario cow-calf producer

The vast majority of Ontario producers calve their cows either in the barn or very close to it early in the year, but the current trend is toward later calving dates on grass, according to Craig McLaughlin, a Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) board director and cow-calf producer in Renfrew County. A survey conducted in […] Read more

NSAIDs should be used for major procedures such as C-sections at the time of delivery or at the beginning of surgery.

Pain medication at calving and in the feedlot

Pain control is simply the right thing to do in some situations

Pain medication may come with adjunct treatment such as antibiotics but sometimes this is unnecessary. When veterinarians prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain, they may choose based on label claim, past experience in the field, price per treatment or per 100 lbs., duration of activity, ease of administration, advice of associates or slaughter withdrawal. […] Read more