GFM Network News


Distal mid-piece defect, often caused by stress, heat or genetics.

Factors that affect bull fertility

Everything from winter shelter to genetics can affect a bull’s fertility

Some bulls are more fertile than others, due to genetics, scrotal size or structure. But poor management can also reduce a bull’s fertility. Since the average bull is expected to breed 25 to 30 cows in a natural breeding situation, his fertility is very important. Dr. John P. Kastelic, professor of cattle reproductive health at […] Read more

A dairy herd in rural Quebec. Dairy producers are increasingly using beef semen to boost their operations’ profitability.

Growing use of beef semen in dairy herds noted

Breeding: News Roundup from the October 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Dairy producers are using beef semen to breed more cows in their herds, saving sexed semen for only the top-producing cows, writes Stew Slater in Farmtario. Slater cites data from the Canadian Dairy Network that shows the breeding of dairy cows to Holstein bulls is at a low, which clearly indicates a shift to using […] Read more


If you can select for low-maintenance cows, your profitability will go up.

Genetic Modifications Observed in cattle

From the Ground Up with Steve Kenyon

I am not an expert on cattle genetics. Not even close. I believe that in today’s livestock genetics, there is just as much variability within a breed as there is between breeds. We have diluted our genetics far too much with most breeds and most species. But I would like to share with you a […] Read more

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


Bulls will establish a pecking order when brought together, and breeding season brings out aggression.

Getting bulls ready for the breeding season

Take steps to make sure bulls stay healthy in the off season as well

Before breeding season starts, herd sire considerations should be front and center. Assess the condition of the bull battery well before the bulls are released into the cow and heifer herds. A good place to start is a breeding soundness exam which is a uniform method of determining a bull’s likelihood of establishing pregnancy in […] Read more

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


Higher feed costs are expected to have an impact on all types of winter feeding systems.

Don’t let high winter feed costs stall reproductive momentum

Management: News Roundup from the October 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Across Canada dry conditions are contributing to a poor hay crop and uncertain feed grain production. Consequently, winter feed costs for cows are moving higher. Planning now for winter feeding provides an opportunity to utilize available feed resources most efficiently. Pregnancy-checking and assessing body condition of cows can help you make the best use of […] Read more

A.I. has made it easier for commercial cattlemen to breed to the very best bulls the industry has to offer.

A.I. has fit with commercial cattle herds

Effective means to tap into the best genetics

Artificial Insemination (A.I.) is an efficient and quick method to improve the genetics of a cow herd, and it’s becoming more popular with commercial cattle producers as training/certification programs become available. A.I. has opened the door for commercial cattlemen to breed to the very best bulls in the industry, allowing them to use the large […] Read more


Have you rotated your breeds lately?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Before becoming a politician and long before becoming a noted western Canadian historian, Grant McEwan was an animal science professor at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1938, he and A.M. Shaw published “An Experiment in Beef Production in Western Canada” (Scientific Agriculture XIX:177-198), summarizing one of Canada’s first crossbreeding projects. Straightbred two-year-old Angus, Shorthorn, Galloway […] 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