GFM Network News


For you to understand livestock nutrition, it’s important to have a firm grasp on basic math concepts as they relate to cattle feeding.

Math 101 for beef producers

Nutrition with John McKinnon

When I discuss various aspects of nutrition with producers, I often sense confusion when it comes to “as fed” versus “dry matter” (DM) conversions. Such conversions have a profound effect on our ability to predict feed intake and on our understanding of ration nutrient concentration, feed costs and on cost of gain calculations. If one […] Read more



How well do you mix your cattle feed?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

When it comes to putting quality feed in front of cattle, there are about as many ways to accomplish this task as there are cattle operations. In most finishing operations, we see total mixed rations (TMR) delivered via mixer wagons, while in cow-calf operations we see everything from pail-feeding grain and ad libitum bale feeding […] 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


University of Alberta researchers have flagged 19 genes that may play a role in feed efficiency. 


Cattle researchers map feed-efficiency genes

Research: News Roundup from the November 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

After sifting through thousands of genes, researchers have flagged a handful of genes that seem to be related to feed efficiency in cattle. Hui-Zeng Sun, a post-doctoral student at the University of Alberta, used functional genomics and computational statistics to better understand feed efficiency, writes Justin Dupuis on the U of A’s research blog, folio. […] Read more

The right mineral supplementation program can improve colostrum and calf immunity, according to a study on the University of Florida’s cow herds.

Research suggests trace mineral source matters

New research shows that organic trace mineral supplementation has benefits over its inorganic counterparts

When it comes to mineral supplementation for beef females, new research suggests that the source matters. Studies from the University of Florida show that organic trace mineral supplementation for cows has benefits compared to inorganic trace minerals in areas such as increased pregnancy rates, weaning weight and calf immunity. Dr. Matt Hersom is an associate […] Read more


Some thoughts on cattle feeding program design

Nutrition with John McKinnon

In my last column, I discussed some of the issues cattle feeders — particularly those new to feeding — face when starting calves on feed. The basic message was that with feed intake, these animals need to get off to a fast start to minimize issues associated with weaning stress and the various disease challenges […] Read more

Lee Carpenter answers questions about his mixed farming operation, during the Saskaskatchewan Forage Council’s pasture tour near Hanley, Sask.

Saskatchewan producers reap benefits of silage crops

After a dry year, these Hanley-area producers are banking on silage to help winter the herd

Moisture levels through spring and summer were plentiful in some areas of Western Canada, but in south-central Saskatchewan, Mother Nature was stingy with the rain when it was needed the most. That put even more emphasis on potential yields and benefits of silage crops for two Hanley-area operations. Perry Dyck is owner and president of […] Read more


Study shows cattle temperament affects feedlot performance

Calmer animals perform better in the feedlot and have higher carcass quality and value than their more excitable counterparts

Differences in beef cattle temperament could significantly affect value from the feedlot to the plate, according to a Texas A&M University study. These findings, published in the Journal of Animal Science, show that heifers with calmer temperaments have better feedlot performance and, as a result, higher carcass quality and value than those with more excitable […] Read more

Hay is likely to be expensive in many areas this year due to weather.

Penciling out economics of winter cattle feeding

Feeding: News Roundup from the September 30, 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Drought took its toll on many hay fields, while others were so wet that producers struggled to get a dry bale. For many beef producers on both ends of the spectrum, the result is high-cost feed. Ted Nibourg, a farm business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Food, outlined some of the economic factors producers […] Read more