Latest articles


Cattle can make a pretty good ‘weatherman’

Penchecker's Diary: Don’t be afraid to believe some folklore, intangibles or observations

In this day and age we hear so much about fake news and conspiracy theories, from politics to business and even religion. They have become a part of our everyday life. And depending on what type of person we are, we often logically dismiss almost everything we hear as preposterous. I sometimes wonder if we […] Read more


cow and calf on pasture

Cattle market looking strong in many respects

Market Update: Not a great fall to be thinking of backgrounding calves

In early August, Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $244 to $247 on a dressed basis while live-basis prices were quoted in the range of $145 to $146. The market has traded in a sideways range throughout the summer and it appears that the seasonal lows may be in place. Beef demand is coming in higher than anticipated with the […] Read more



A.I. has fit with commercial herds

Effective means to tap into the best genetics

Artificial Insemination (A.I.) is an efficient and quick method to improve the genetics of a cow herd, and it’s becoming more popular with commercial cattle producers as training/certification programs become available. A.I. has opened the door for commercial cattlemen to breed to the very best bulls in the industry, allowing them to use the large […] Read more


Replenish vital fluid loss in dairy calves

Dairy Corner: Not only disease, but even heat stress can quickly take its toll

It might be a scouring sick dairy calf or an otherwise healthy one suffering from stress, but death can be minutes away if either calf loses more than 10 per cent of its bodyweight in fluids (water and electrolytes). Fortunately, we can save many of these dairy calves by recognizing the symptoms of dehydration and […] Read more



Be watchful for animals overheating

Animal Health: Do your best to prevent it, and be prepared to provide relief on hot days

Every year during the first few hot days of summer we hear many warnings regarding leaving pets or even children unattended in vehicles as the temperature inside closed vehicles on warm days can rise to more than 50 C. We often don’t realize how susceptible livestock are to the same condition. Many farmers and veterinarians […] Read more


A feed strategy to help compensate for poor pastures

It’s a hot dry summer out there in many places — any grass just isn’t doing it

Western Canada is having one of the hottest and driest summers in 30 years. It might not be the widespread drought of the past, but this year’s pastures are either simply nonexistent or filled with nutritionally hollow grass. As a result, cattle performance is likely to be compromised now and in months ahead with a […] Read more



Breeding season begins

With moisture to help the grass, cows and bulls head out to pasture

May turned out to be a warm month. We were lucky enough to get several rainstorms toward the end of May and beginning of June — very happy to get the much-needed moisture. On May 12 our last Bannerlane heifer calved. There was only one foot presented so we put her in the maternity pen […] Read more


Implement a good pinkeye control program

Understand how it is spread to keep cattle healthy

I’m hearing about more cases of pinkeye in cows and in their calves than in the last few years. A few milder winters might have had something to do with it — not enough overwintering face flies (that spread the disease) were killed off. Each cow or calf infected with untreated painful pinkeye (caused by […] Read more



Make sure livestock have water

Situation can get serious quickly if a pump fails, or a water hole dries up

Water is the most essential nutrient of life and even though most areas have more than enough water this year, it’s always worth talking about the risk of water deprivation. Insufficient and poor-quality water can reduce weight gain and depending on the water source, there can be other issues such as foot rot and potential […] Read more


Yearlings gain on tighter supplies

Market Update: Feedlots counting on lower feed costs this fall

In late June, Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $243 to $245/hundredweight on a dressed basis and $143 to $145 on a live basis. The fed cattle market has dropped about $12 over the past month and will likely continue to grind lower into July and August. The U.S. and Canadian […] Read more