GFM Network News


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 60-day breeding season is an ideal goal to shoot for.

Keep your cattle breeding season short

Breeding: News Roundup from the June 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

It is my experience that there is no single best calving season for all operations. Each is unique in terms of labour, facilities, feedstuffs, and ultimately, the selection should be determined by the likelihood of achieving the highest conception rates and calf crop percentage weaned with your available resources. Regardless of when you calve, there is […] 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


Treat individual cows to raise the reproductive rate

Ensure good uterine health to help prepare cows for re-breeding

As herds get bigger and electronic ID tags get used more for record-keeping, more attention can be given to individual cow medicine. We can learn lots from our colleagues in dairy production about looking after individual cows. Health and fertility go hand in hand. If by paying attention and potentially treating cows with everything from […] Read more

The economics of preg-checking

Research: News Roundup from the October 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The major economic benefit of preg-checking is the money saved by not wintering open cows. However, it has been noted that preg-checking is not always worthwhile, as the increased revenue due to higher prices for cows in the spring and the additional weights put on in the winter could more than offset winter feeding costs. […] Read more


Making dollars out of sense

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Aside from price insurance (in provinces where it is available), cow-calf producers can’t do much to control the price they receive for their calves, so managing input costs is often the biggest opportunity to improve profitability. The Western Beef Development Centre has found that annual production costs differ by at least $100 per cow between […] Read more

An industry in crisis

Is there a way back? Cow-calf producers hold the key

A cattle-feeding industry that by year-end will have lost an estimated billion dollars since August 2015 plus a cow-calf sector that has lost more than one million cows and over 20,000 producers in the past decade strongly suggests an industry in crisis. Cattle feeders might be excused if they are not quite as optimistic about […] Read more


MPs hear about GMO technology in the beef industry

News Roundup from the October 24, 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Last month, the chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council — feedlot operator Brian Thiessen — and executive director Andrea Brocklebank spoke to the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee studying genetically modified animals for human consumption. While noting that GMO technology has had very limited practical application in beef cattle to date, Brocklebank said that may change […] Read more

Has cattle industry productivity improved in recent years?

Charlie Gracey looks at the claim that we're producing more beef with fewer cows

For several years now I have been tracking industry productivity or output. Productivity improvement is important for any industry, and its just as important that producers should know whether progress is being made, at what rate, and in what manner. This brief discussion explores some of these factors. Recent claims that the cattle industry is […] Read more