GFM Network News


Where does short-season corn fit?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Statistics Canada reports that Western Canada’s silage corn acreage has grown significantly in recent years. Nearly 30 per cent of seeded corn silage acres aren’t harvested, suggesting it’s likely being used for grazing. The potential for a 50 per cent higher yield compared to barley may offset corn’s 30 per cent higher input costs, but […] Read more

Silage corn acres on the Prairies is on the rise.

Warm season crops and cool climates

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

According to Statistics Canada, silage corn acreage was 26 per cent higher in 2015-19 than in 2010-14. Most of this increase occurred in the Prairies. Achieving corn’s potential will depend on whether plant breeders can successfully adapt this warm-season plant to Canada’s cooler climate. Plants contain two kinds of carbohydrates. Non-structural carbohydrates are starches and […] Read more


Can we reduce castration pain in week-old calves?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Calving season is upon some of you and just around the corner for many more. Half of those calves will be castrated. Research has shown that it’s best to castrate calves at the youngest practical age to minimize pain and speed recovery. The 2019 Adoption Rates of Recommended Practices by Cow-Calf Operators in Canada study […] Read more

A small plot of forage barley on display at Ag in Motion near Saskatoon.

Barley yields come up the backstretch

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Like cattle performance, crop yields reflect the interplay between genetics, management practices and environmental conditions. Statistics Canada reports show that barley yields weren’t keeping up with other feed crops for decades. Barley yields increased 0.39 bushels/acre/year between 1980 and 2009, slower than either wheat (0.44) or corn (1.66). But since 2010, Canada’s barley yields have […] Read more


The latest research into cattle transport looked at the effects of rest stop duration on calves.

The latest research on cattle transport and rest stops

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Note: This column was written and went to print before the federal government announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would allow a two-year transition period for the new livestock transportation regulations, as they apply to cattle.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will start phasing in its enforcement of Canada’s revised livestock transportation regulations on […] Read more

Researchers see evidence that the environment can have a physical impact on genes that can be passed on to later generations.

Nature vs. Nurture in animal performance

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Nothing is ever as simple as we think it is or wish it was. We’ve known for centuries that an animal’s performance, health, behaviour and other traits depend on a combination of their genetics and their environment. The genetics are inherited from their parents. Environmental influences are not inherited. Environments might be similar across generations […] Read more


Feed efficiency and beef quality

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Cattle breeders are often cautioned to avoid selecting too heavily for a single trait. Avoiding extremes is the obvious reason; selecting for small frame size in the 1950s accidentally resulted in a dwarfism problem in a few breeds. Another reason is that a lot of traits are genetically correlated, meaning that selecting for one trait […] Read more

Spinning straw into gold

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

The rumen allows cattle to digest fibre that chickens, pigs and humans can’t, and produce high-quality beef protein from feed and land that otherwise wouldn’t produce food. Understanding the rumen better is the key to improving feed efficiency and improving cattle’s ability to convert fibre to protein. There’s as much energy in straw as grain — […] 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

Canada’s beef industry has worked long and hard to help get an integrated on-farm surveillance program for antimicrobial resistance underway in the feedlot sector.

On-farm antimicrobial surveillance moves a step closer

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

As long as cattle continue to get sick, cattle producers will need anti­microb­ials to help them recover. At the same time, it’s common to hear activists, regulators, consumers and/or retailers call for livestock producers to stop using antimicrobials altogether, reduce anti­microbial use, or demonstrate that antimicrobials are being used responsibly. Solid, reliable data demonstrating our […] Read more