Latest articles


Managing the carbon crop

The objective is to return more carbon to the soil than is released

One of the best parts of writing for Grainews is the people who contact me to question/disagree or express some interest in an aspect of a story I have written. I confess I have sometimes written pieces just to engage healthy discussion. I have always had an interest in the “global warming” debate and have […] Read more


Protecting calves through vaccination

Best to consult with veterinarian on what’s right for your farm

Newborn calves gain temporary (passive) immunity from disease when they ingest colostrum, since this “first milk” contains antibodies. After a few weeks or months this temporary protection diminishes, so calves must build their own immunities. Vaccinating at the proper time can help protect them until weaning age. Vaccinating them too soon, however, may not stimulate […] Read more



Pain management in cattle

Several products are effective, but pay attention to timing


There’s no doubt that some routine procedures such as castration are painful for cattle. Fortunately, researchers are figuring out how producers can mitigate pain with products on the market today. Dr. Eugene Janzen of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has been studying pain mitigation in beef cattle for several years. He says […] Read more


Old school nutrition works after calving

It doesn't have to cost a lot to maintain proper body condition

Already, I know a few producers have had a couple of sleepless nights checking cows at calving. Most have told me all has gone well, because their cows came through the winter in good shape and were well-prepared for this year’s calving season. Moving forward, they now feed their calved-out beef cows diets which contain […] Read more



Horses in their stable

Horse foot care — keep it simple

Horse Care: Each animal is different, try to maintain a natural lifestyle

No foot, no horse” is the old saying. A horse is only as sound as its feet. Care and management of feet will depend on the individual horse, its conformation and hoof structure, environment (including climate), and use. Whether or not the horse needs to be shod will also hinge on these factors. A shod […] Read more


The profit potential of selective grazing

High stocking density, short-duration grazing helps put carbon back into the soil

No matter where he speaks in the world, Ian Mitchell-Innes carries a message to beef producers about achieving optimal animal performance, reducing costs, and ultimately becoming more profitable. Animals instinctively know where they can get the highest level of energy — from the top third of the plant, Mitchell-Innes, a South African rancher, told producers […] Read more



Are you a (soil) health nut?

Any treatments applied above ground will eventually affect what happens below your feet

I was eternally blessed to enter the University of Saskatchewan while Les Henry was still teaching at a time when we were “forced” to take at least an introductory soil science course. I learned a lot in that introductory course; mostly about how much I didn’t know (and how much Dr. Henry did). But more […] Read more


Understanding feeder cattle options

The Markets: Using a “put” option to avoid margin calls


In the previous three columns on feeder cattle marketing (found in the ‘On our network’ column on the right-hand side of this page), I’ve discussed hedging feeder cattle production using the feeder cattle futures market. Many producers hesitate to use a futures market because of the cash flow requirements. When you sell a futures contract, there […] Read more



Watch out for ergot in grains

Another wet growing and harvest season in 2016 is increasing the level of toxins in some feeds

Ergot is a fungus that can grow on certain grasses and grain plants when moisture conditions are just right. Ergot becomes a problem mainly after a wet season, rarely during dry conditions. The fungus replaces seed in the seed head with a dark-brown/black mass and produces toxic alkaloids. One or more of the kernels in […] Read more