GFM Network News


Lupine.

Beware of toxic plants in pastures

There are many toxic plants in Western Canada cattle producers need to steer clear of

Different regions have different problem plants, and to make it even more confusing these same plants are only toxic if eaten in certain amounts or in certain stages of growth, while others are toxic at all times. Rachel Turnquist, a forage extension specialist in Saskatchewan, says there are many toxic plants in Western Canada. You […] Read more

Brian Harper (left) got down to ground level as a recent grazing workshop toured the high-stock-density grazing experiment on his land north of Brandon, Man.

Put the land first… and everything else will follow

Rotational grazing setup uses 16, eight-acre paddocks that cattle move through on four-day intervals

When Brian Harper first witnessed high stock density or “mob” grazing, his reaction was “there is no way I am moving cattle two to three times a day.” Yet the beneficial impact on the land from this approach ultimately convinced Harper that it could fit into their operation. He had already seen an improvement when […] Read more


A mild winter is great for access to feed, but make sure you have enough quality snow for a water source.

Strategies for year-round grazing

With careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round

Winter feeding is the biggest input cost when raising cattle, so many producers try to minimize the number of days they have to feed hay. In some situations, with careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round, especially in mild climates. Even in northern climates with cold weather and snow, year-round grazing can […] Read more

The study tracks the performance of pregnant beef cows swath grazing a polycrop mixture versus straight barley.


Polycrop grazing goes under the microscope

Research: News Roundup from the November 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Those wondering about polycrop potential to sequester carbon, improve soil health and benefit animal performance will have some answers by the fall of 2019 thanks to research underway at the University of Saskatchewan. Jacqueline Toews, a graduate student in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, is halfway through a two-year study comparing the costs and […] Read more


Winterfat is an excellent protein source for grazing cattle as it maintains its leaves late into the fall and early winter.

The Matador Community Pasture: A unique educational experience

Nutrition with John McKinnon

One of the privileges of a faculty position at a Canadian university is the interaction one has with undergraduate students. In my case, I co-teach a class where we take students on a seven-day tour of livestock operations across Western Canada. We cover everything from hogs to dairy, bison, chickens, meat and milk processing, and […] Read more

Protein kick needed for mature, dry forages

Nutrition: Supplementation will be important this year in many parts of the Prairies

In the fall and winter, most native forages and tame pastures are low in protein (unless fall rains have stimulated new growth), yet many stockmen try to extend grazing as long as possible through winter because winter feeding is the most expensive part of raising cattle. Depending on the protein source, adding a protein supplement […] Read more


Extending fall and winter grazing

Crop residues are probably the most under­utilized source of winter grazing, says extension specialist

Extending the grazing season for cattle can help reduce production costs and there are various ways to increase forage production/utilization to ensure adequate fall grazing that can often be extended into winter. Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture in Weyburn, Sask., says there are four sources of forage. “These are native prairie, […] Read more

The new Livestock Centre of Excellence at Clavet, just 20 minutes outside of Saskatoon, is also more convenient for researchers and students.

New name and facilities for Western Beef Development Centre

A new facility at the University of Saskatchewan includes both cow-calf and forage research

There are changes afoot at the Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC) including a new name, additional locations and increased research, teaching and outreach capacity. On April 1, 2018, the Western Beef Development Centre, a division of the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI), rolled into the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).WBDC […] Read more


Pastures of any sort as well as annual crops can harbour conditions that lead to fog fever.

Know the signs of fog fever

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Fog fever is not an uncommon condition in adult beef cattle this time of year. It is often sudden in onset and can be a cause of sudden death affecting a significant number of mature cows. It has nothing to do with “fog,” it is linked to nutrition not infection, and body temperature in affected […] Read more

Red velvet mites are one of a whole host of predator insects that protect our crops and cattle, if we protect them.

Let’s talk about sex

Grazing with Steve Kenyon

Our agriculture industry is based on reproduction. Livestock need to reproduce and plants need to reproduce. It’s what we do. It’s pretty simple, right? In livestock production, we spend a great deal of time and money on genetics. Which bull to buy, which heifers to keep, and which cows to cull. (The same is true for all […] Read more