Latest articles



cows eating pellets- Glen Nicoll

McKinnon: The math behind animal nutrition lingo

When I visit with producers about their feeding program, I often get questions on “nutrition lingo.” Examples include questions on the meaning of a mineral or protein supplement tag or how much supplement do you need to feed to achieve an ionophore concentration of 22 or 33 ppm? Such confusion is understandable, particularly when you […] Read more



What happened to the vitamin supply?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Many of you are likely aware that the feed industry is facing a critical shortage of vitamins A and E. This shortage is the result of a fire in October at a processing plant in Germany owned by BASF, one of the global leaders in the provision of vitamins for humans and livestock. The damaged […] Read more


Yikes ­— another crazy winter!

Nutrition with John McKinnon

The winter of 2017-18 is shaping up to be full of unexpected challenges, particularly for those wintering cows in Western Canada. Drought, as well as recent wildfires, have caused many producers to scramble for a forage supply. As well, “old man winter” in all his wisdom has arrived early, with November temperatures in the minus […] Read more



Forage quality from the perspective of 1-billion bacterial cells

Nutrition with John McKinnon

It is a time of year when feedlot operators and cow-calf producers are implementing their winter feeding programs. Forage, whether it is fed as hay, stockpiled forage (i.e. barley swaths or standing corn) or silage will play a big role in the vast majority of these operations. For feedlot operations, good-quality hay is often used […] Read more


Yo-Yo diet strategies

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Getting weaned calves on feed can be a challenge. This is often attributed to the change from a forage-based diet to unfamiliar feedlot rations and feed bunks, distress from recent weaning, illness, etc. To compensate for this, some feeders use a relatively high-energy receiving diet, the rationale being that if they’re not going to eat […] Read more



Abnormal weather doesn’t grow average forage

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Averages are useful statistics, but sometimes averages can be misleading. As the University of Saskatchewan’s late Iain Christison said, “the average human has one breast and one testicle.” Canada’s rainfall may be close to average this year — but much of the country is experiencing severe drought, and most of the rest is soaked. Either […] Read more


Wintering heifers at Fenton Hereford Ranch

Irma, Alta. operation develops approach that sees cattle thrive during the cold

Al Fenton of Fenton Herefords at Irma, Alta., has raised thousands of replacement heifers and has a pretty good idea about how to feed and grow them into cows. “We use fenceline weaning, which is low stress. We wean in a 10-acre area with cows on one side and calves on the other. It’s a […] Read more



Winter management for replacement heifers

Create a development plan that works for you

Good management of heifers, especially during winter, can make a big difference in their success as cows. Dr. Bart Lardner, research scientist with the Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC) and adjunct professor in the department of animal and poultry science at the University of Saskatchewan says the traditional recommendation, for the past 40 years, has […] Read more


cattle herd

“If You Talk the Talk, You Gotta Walk the Walk”

Nutrition with John McKinnon

My August column focused on alternatives to current growth promoting technology. My general conclusion was that while there are alternatives on the market, they fail to achieve the same beneficial production responses as seen with implants, ionophores and prudent use of antibiotics. While I applaud and encourage continued research into new/alternative technology to promote production […] Read more