GFM Network News


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

Six ways to keep your cattle wormer working

Resistance among internal parasites to broad-spectrum cattle wormers is emerging in Canada and experience in other countries leaves no reason to believe the problem won’t worsen. On the brighter side, producers here still have a fighting chance to retain the efficacy of available cattle wormers by combining parasite control strategies, says epidemiologist Dr. Fabienne Uehlinger[...]
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Meconium staining of newborn calves is a red flag

This spring think of meconium as an early warning sign of many things

As a veterinarian over the past 35 years I’ve been called many times to assist with difficult calvings or malpresentations that resulted in meconium (first manure) stained calves. The jury is still out on what causes this and what we should do about it. Veterinarians have many opinions on this topic, as it is a[...]
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Knowing when to act to help ensure a successful birth is crucial if problems occur during calving.

Improper cervical dilation at calving

Recognizing when it's happening is your first step

One of the hardest calving dilemmas you or your veterinarian face, is improper cervical dilation. Before expulsion of the fetus the cervix normally relaxes, softens and opens up essentially as wide as the vagina to allow the fetus to enter the vaginal vault. When this does not happen normally, or is delayed, the health of[...]
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The makings of a perfect storm

Nutrition with John McKinnon

The winter of 2016-17 is shaping up to be a challenge for cow-calf operators across Canada. While much of October and November were relatively stress free in terms of winter’s wrath, as we moved into the new year, extreme cold and snow has gripped much of the country. Coupled with hay shortages in Eastern Canada[...]
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Six risk factors for BRD in feeder calves

There are many factors to consider to minimize BRD (bovine respiratory disease) when bringing in feeder calves. Knowing the history of the calves at weaning time, distance transported, vaccination and health history, as well as upcoming weather conditions will help you determine the level of risk. In bringing in calves, or for that matter feeding[...]
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