GFM Network News


Kenyon: Beware the metabolic welfare state

Be prepared to commit when moving from grass-fed toward grain-fed

Grass-fed vs. grain-fed is a never-ending debate in the cattle industry and I have heard many different arguments on both sides. I will try to stay neutral in this article because I think that the natural biology of the rumen has a lot to say about the topic. As you know, I try to follow […] 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


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

“We did not see any interaction between cattle RFI ranking and diet quality.” Dr. Hushton Block, Ag Canada, Lacombe, Alta.

Balancing your nutrients will pay off

Research looked at improving the economic and feed efficiency for beef cattle

Dr. Hushton Block, beef cattle nutritionist previously at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Bran­don Research Centre and now currently at Lacombe, is interested in finding ways of improving the economic and feed efficiency for beef cattle. One idea Block looked at deals with how beef cattle with better (lower) residual feed intake (RFI) react with […] Read more


'If you are going to have problems, it will usually be when you first introduce cattle to that forage, so you need to know the nitrate levels and manage accordingly.'

Be prepared for nitrate problems in forages

High nitrite levels in cattle can literally see them 'starving for oxygen'

Nitrate levels in forages can sometimes be a problem for cattle. Depending on growing conditions, certain plants may accumulate too much nitrate to be safely fed to cattle unless those high-nitrate feeds can be diluted by mixing with other forages. Colby Elford, livestock and feed extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture, Moose Jaw, Sask., says it […] Read more

Scientists at AAFC’s Lethbridge Research Centre have been studying whether feeding nitrate can reduce methane production without risking nitrate poisoning.

Can feeding nitrate improve efficiency and reduce methane?

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

The rumen allows cattle to make highly nutritious beef out of things that humans can’t even digest. Rumen microbes have digestive enzymes that mammals don’t. This allows rumen microbes to break down complex feeds into very simple molecules, and reassemble those molecules into volatile fatty acids that the animal can absorb and use as an […] 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

Strive for consistency when feeding cattle

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Striving for consistency may not sound like the most exciting goal, but when it comes to feeding cattle, it should be one of our golden rules! Consistency is essential if we want to keep cattle on an even keel and prevent wild swings in intake. This includes consistency in when we feed; how we load, […] 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

Stretching your hay supply with straw

Feed: News Roundup from the October 23, 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Travis Peardon, the regional livestock specialist in Outlook, Sask., says few producers were reporting an abundance of hay this year, so he presumes many will be stretching what they do have with straw to get their cows through the winter. That being the case, Peardon recently prepared a short primer on straw-bolstered rations for producers […] Read more