GFM Network News


For you to understand livestock nutrition, it’s important to have a firm grasp on basic math concepts as they relate to cattle feeding.

Math 101 for beef producers

Nutrition with John McKinnon

When I discuss various aspects of nutrition with producers, I often sense confusion when it comes to “as fed” versus “dry matter” (DM) conversions. Such conversions have a profound effect on our ability to predict feed intake and on our understanding of ration nutrient concentration, feed costs and on cost of gain calculations. If one […] Read more



How well do you mix your cattle feed?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

When it comes to putting quality feed in front of cattle, there are about as many ways to accomplish this task as there are cattle operations. In most finishing operations, we see total mixed rations (TMR) delivered via mixer wagons, while in cow-calf operations we see everything from pail-feeding grain and ad libitum bale feeding […] Read more

How can you ensure your cows get an adequate supply of fat-soluble vitamins, particularly during late pregnancy and early lactation?

Vitamins to consider when cattle feeding

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to discuss winter feeding programs with numerous cow-calf producers across the country. One positive trend that I have noticed from these discussions is the widespread acceptance of mineral feeding. However, when it comes to vitamins, there seems to be confusion or in some cases skepticism about the […] Read more


Some thoughts on cattle feeding program design

Nutrition with John McKinnon

In my last column, I discussed some of the issues cattle feeders — particularly those new to feeding — face when starting calves on feed. The basic message was that with feed intake, these animals need to get off to a fast start to minimize issues associated with weaning stress and the various disease challenges […] Read more

Tips for starting calves on feed

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Retained ownership is a marketing strategy that is used to manage market risk. As opposed to selling weaned calves into a potentially depressed market, retaining ownership and selling at a later stage of production (i.e. as short or long yearlings, or even finished animals) offers the possibility to sell into a more favourable market, as […] Read more


Producers should score cattle at least twice a year, once in the fall coming off pasture and at calving.

McKinnon: Interested in feeding your cattle more efficiently this winter?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

As we move into fall, one of your “to-do” tasks will be to book a herd health visit with your veterinarian. This will include administering any needed vaccinations, structural soundness evaluations as well as pregnancy checking bred cows and heifers. One management tool that may not be included is body condition scoring. If this is […] Read more

McKinnon: It’s silage season again

For many readers, as this article comes to press, silage season is either just starting or about to start. Putting up high-quality silage is both an art and a science. With this article I will review some of the key aspects of silage fermentation management that relate to putting up high-quality silage. Before we focus […] Read more


DuPont said considering sale of nutrition, biosciences unit

Reuters — Specialty chemicals maker DuPont is considering a sale of its nutrition and biosciences unit, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The unit, which supplies everything from soy-based food ingredients to tablet binders, could be worth at least US$20 billion as a standalone entity, Bloomberg said. DuPont declined to comment […] Read more

How does corn compare with other feed grains when it comes to cattle nutrition?

McKinnon: Feed grain options expanding for cattle

Nutrition with John McKinnon

One of the questions I get from beef producers relates to the relative feeding value of the various feed grains. Typically this question has focused on barley, wheat and oat grain. However, increasingly producers are asking how corn grain compares as both an energy and protein source. While to some this may seem like a […] Read more