GFM Network News


Low-stress weaning for calves

A less stressful weaning process makes for healthier calves

Weaning time has traditionally been traumatic for calves, mama cows and ranchers, but it doesn’t need to be. “There are better ways to wean calves, says Bart Lardner, a beef and forage research scientist at the University of Saskatchewan. “Abrupt weaning is the most stressful, for both the cow and calf. The question has been […] Read more

Canadian and U.S. calf preconditioning trends

Conventional preconditioning programs generally include at minimum — castration, dehorning, vaccination against clostridial and bacterial diseases, parasite control, weaning for a period of 30-plus days, and acclimation to feedstuffs, bunks and water bowls prior to sale. The term itself is not narrowly defined and can mean different things to different people including a combination of […] Read more


The driving factor behind creep feeding calves is to increase weight gains while on pasture.

Creep feeding – What side of the debate are you on?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

Creep feeding is a management practice where nursing calves are fed supplemental feed while on pasture. Its economic benefits have been hotly debated by those in industry and academia alike. Those in favour point to the increased value of heavier calves at weaning, the potential sparing of summer forage supplies, and the health benefits associated […] Read more

Even the best cow could use a little help to maximize the potential of her bull calf by weaning.

Supplementing young bull calves before weaning pays off

Testes development, fertility greatly impacted by being well-fed

Young bulls need to be fed adequately for proper growth and development, and future fertility, but we are still learning about the best way to feed them, according to John Kastelic, a professor of theriogenology and head of the department of production animal health, in the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine. “In beef […] Read more


To creep feed or not?

Feeding: News Roundup from the March 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Creep feeding is the practice of providing a highly digestible supplemental feed source to beef calves. Implementation of a creep-feeding strategy allows for increased pre-weaning weights, improved cow body condition score and increased pasture availability by reducing average forage consumption per calf. A successful creep-feeding program also requires access to clean, fresh water at all […] Read more

Fuelling up cows for cold weather and calving

Health: A cow's body condition is closely linked to calving success

It takes a North American prairie cold snap, those first two to three weeks of real winter when outside temperatures plummet where Fahrenheit and Centigrade meet below zero, for beef specialists to dust off and publish articles on managing cows through cold — the -40 C kind. They all make valid points; gentle reminders for […] Read more


Well-supported benchmarks make the best targets

Management: News Roundup from the December 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Friendly, conversational chit-chat rules at cattle gatherings. Conversation guides us, particularly when someone casually notes the ranch had just marketed a 91 per cent calf crop with an average weight of 568 pounds for 192-day-old steer calves. Silence prevailed until the neighbour asked, “Are you sure?” “Yep,” the rancher replied, “but I was just average. […] Read more

Bart Lardner.

Get cows and heifers ready for winter now

No matter your feeding system, have your breeding 
animals in good condition before the snow flies

If cows and heifers aren’t there already, there is a short window to get them into a proper body condition for winter. If you have skinny or poor condition cows heading into winter, that December to March period is probably one of the toughest and most expensive times to try to get them back into […] 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

This veterinarian  keeps light oil handy on cold days for sticky catches and levers and a heater on the side of the hydraulic tank to keep the oil warm.

Some dos and don’ts when treating cattle in cold weather

A few simple tips to make you better prepared to attend your cattle this winter

Inclement weather creates challenges when processing cattle, whether preg-checking, vaccinating or weaning in the fall, or giving cows pre-calving vaccinations, or delousing treatments in midwinter. Dr. Eric Laporte of Nagel and Company Veterinary Services, Cow-Calf Health Management Solutions in Crossfield, Alta., says one of the main challenges in cold weather is keeping your vaccines from […] Read more