GFM Network News


“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

Shwaluk is a firm believer in raising quiet cattle.

Manitoba cow-calf producer seeks to do things differently

Earlier birth dates, quiet cattle, roadside advertising are all part of the plan

When it comes to a well-travelled path, Robert Shwaluk likes to veer off. The Shoal Lake, Man. cow-calf producer goes his own way to discover new ideas and new ways to get things done. “I’m always looking out for the new,” he says. “I’ll do things differently.” Shwaluk, 65, began in the cow-calf business in […] Read more


A one-foot space at the bottom of the windbreak keeps snow and ice from piling up.

Whither the wind: How to decide on windbreaks

Find out what your options are for protecting your herd from wind and snow this winter

Find out what your options are for protecting your herd from wind and snow this winter

If beef producers want to have healthy, productive herds, making sure they’re protected from the wind is crucial, says Jenifer Heyden. “We want the cattle to be able to maintain condition on cold, windy days,” says the livestock and feed extension specialist with the Government of Saskatchewan. While beef cattle are tough, and can handle […] Read more

Separating heifers from mature cows reduces competition at the bunk and allows producers to formulate a diet specific to the needs of growing heifers.

Nutrition 101 for replacement heifers

Six tips to create a nutrition plan to give replacement heifers the best start possible in your herd

Setting clear benchmarks is an ideal place to begin when creating your heifer development program. This is where Kristin Thompson, ruminant nutritionist for New Life Mills, begins when she works with cow-calf producers to develop nutrition programs for replacement females. Monitoring your heifers’ growth begins with knowing how much they need to gain by the […] Read more


Vaccines are an important part of a preventative herd health program, but they aren’t a silver bullet.

An(other) ounce of prevention

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

My first fire drill in Grade 1 was absolute chaos, screaming and panic as we all circled the teacher, who was likely wondering how our parents had managed to keep us alive this long. By Grade 3, we yawned and strolled to the nearest door. Fire drills teach kids what to do when there’s no […] Read more

Cow-calf producers can also ease stress by practicing low-stress animal handling.

Tips for weaning calves

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

Canadian Cattlemen reader Christine Pike of Waseca, Sask., wrote to us to share her strategy for reducing weaning stress. We’ve outlined her method with her permission. Pike makes a “calf door” by creating a small opening into a pen with a rail across the top that is a couple of inches higher than the tallest […] 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

Whiskey Creek Ranch runs 150 head of Simmental/Angus cows, which calve out in March.

Rotating pastures to reduce scours in calves

Whiskey Creek Ranch uses ’tried-and-true’ pasture-rotation system that sees calving in February and March

Solid herd management practices mitigate the threat of a scours outbreak. While rotating calves through pastures is less common than some of the more obvious measures taken, those who do use it swear by its effectiveness. One such cow-calf operation is Whiskey Creek Ranch, owned by Clay and Jesse Williams. Jesse is a past Cattlemen’s […] Read more


Low-stress weaning for calves

A less stressful weaning process makes for healthier calves

Weaning time has traditionally been traumatic for calves, mama cows and ranchers, but it doesn’t need to be. “There are better ways to wean calves, says Bart Lardner, a beef and forage research scientist at the University of Saskatchewan. “Abrupt weaning is the most stressful, for both the cow and calf. The question has been […] Read more

Most of the attention for antibiotic use in the beef industry is focused on the feedlot sector, but antibiotic use at the cow-calf level is also important.

Antibiotic use on Canadian cow-calf operations

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Antibiotic use records are important for producers who want to track the effectiveness of the antibiotics they use. Industry groups need antibiotic use data to refute misleading claims about our production practices. Even restaurant chains and meat companies marketing “antibiotic-free” beef need records to keep treated animals out of their “never-ever” supply stream. When it […] Read more