Trace minerals directly affect unborn calves

If the cow isn’t getting sufficient minerals calf development and strength suffers

Within the next few months, there will be a lot of newborn calves on the ground. Fair- to good-quality forage is quite plentiful this year and grain is a reasonable price, so most of the cow herds I have seen across Western Canada this winter are in good body condition for calving. But one area […] Read more


Gruesome, but sometimes necessary

Animal Health: When there’s no other options, a dead calf needs to dismembered for removal

Fetotomy is a veterinarian’s fancy word for cutting up a dead calf within the cow during the birthing. While it sounds gruesome the process still has a valuable place in a competent veterinarian’s bag of tricks. The object is to reduce trauma or minimize damage to the cow. The calf at this point is a […] Read more



Understanding feeder cattle risk

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: You don’t want to be using marketing tools to lock in a loss

The feeder cattle market has experienced extreme volatility over the past three years. For this reason, I’ve been writing on managing financial risk for feeder cattle and particularly for backgrounding operations and cow calf producers. In the first column, I discussed the mechanics of hedging, explained historical basis levels and using these basis levels to […] Read more


Short-term gains, long-term pains

The market still needs to discourage beef production — and that hurts

Fed and feeder cattle prices have been percolating higher recently as the markets adjust to lower-than-expected first-quarter beef production. Alberta fed cattle prices have been hovering in the range of $162 to $165, which is approximately $25 above break-even pen closeout values. Healthy feedlot margins allowed feedlots to bid up feeder cattle prices. Larger-frame steers […] Read more



The learning value of fixing a tractor

There’s no point looking at the negative — STAY POSITIVE

Our family has managed to almost bring another production cycle to a successful close. There are a few things we have learned and a few that we are still learning. One of them is how to start a tractor. Our tractor is reassembled but not moving. Thankfully there are very kind diesel mechanics in this […] Read more


A look at engine heater options

Winter Maintenance: Different types of heaters, different types of installation

I have used five types of engine heaters over the years: magnetic oil pan heaters, stick-on heaters, lower radiator hose heaters, heater hose engine heaters, and engine block heaters. For those of us that operate trucks and equipment every day during cold weather I recommend keeping a good magnetic oil pan heater in a place […] Read more



Preparedness checklist for calving season

Animal Health: Start with clean facilities and equipment and have all supplies in stock

As with any work area on the farm, having the proper equipment, keeping it maintained, disinfected and the area properly stocked with pharmaceuticals, will help insure a successful calving season. The one critical and often-forgotten component is biosecurity. With many cows and their mothers moving through the calving area at a stressful time it is […] Read more


Winter grazing begins before Dec. 1

Don't assume winter grazing won’t work ‘here’ — look at the options

I confess, I am a winter grazier. I love grazing cows in the wintertime. I like reducing my labour and cutting my costs. I like free time for spending with kids or writing Grainews articles. Truth be told, I even like riding saddle horses in the cold, as a lot of our terrain is not […] Read more



Poor corn residue may need supplement

The wet fall can reduce feed quality of corn residue, create mould

In the last few years, many beef producers have taken advantage of corn residue as part of their cow herd’s overwintering feeding program. It’s a low-cost feed and for the most part, because early-gestating cows are allowed months of grazing without much trouble. Unfortunately, this wet fall has presented many challenges in feeding lower-quality corn […] Read more


Anderson recognized for a lifetime of contributions

Lifetime rancher and longtime writer remembered

Family, friends, neighbours and livestock industry colleagues from across Western Canada gathered in Glentworth, Saskatchewan on December 10 to remember the life and times of Boyd Anderson, a respected rancher and leader in the Saskatchewan and Canadian beef cattle industries, who passed away Dec. 1, 2016 in Moose Jaw at age 96. Anderson, who had […] Read more