GFM Network News


Calving date shifting in Ontario

The onset of calving season often depends on the individual operation, says an Ontario cow-calf producer

The vast majority of Ontario producers calve their cows either in the barn or very close to it early in the year, but the current trend is toward later calving dates on grass, according to Craig McLaughlin, a Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) board director and cow-calf producer in Renfrew County. A survey conducted in […] Read more

Softer steel cables fence off the trough and stretch without snapping.

Hopper-bottomed calf feeder cuts labour

A relatively simple system replaced hauling feed with five-gallon buckets on this ranch

Hauling five-gallon buckets to feed the weanlings was a regular chore for the Bowie family, until a fire gave them a chance to do something different. Originally the Bowie family, who ranch in the Great Sandhills of southwestern Sask­atchewan, used an old wooden-wheeled grain wagon to hold feed for the calves. They filled their pails […] 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

Cow-calf producers can also ease stress by practicing low-stress animal handling.

Tips for weaning calves

Animal Care: News Roundup from the September 30, 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Canadian Cattlemen reader Christine Pike of Waseca, Sask., wrote to us to share her strategy for reducing weaning stress. We’ve outlined her method with her permission. Pike makes a “calf door” by creating a small opening into a pen with a rail across the top that is a couple of inches higher than the tallest […] Read more


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