Latest articles


Don’t semen test bulls too young

Animal Health: What are these droplets in young bulls really telling you about semen quality?

Many commercial producers and purebred seed stock cattlemen often start to question the appearance of lots of droplets appearing on the semen evaluation forms of young bulls. It can lead to frustration when bulls have to be retested. These droplets collectively are probably the most numerous defects we as veterinarians see when performing breeding soundness […] Read more


Getting ready for sale day

Cattle are important, but don’t overlook facilities and sale barn

As the snow begins to melt, giving way to mud and green grass, livestock seed stock producers make preparations for their upcoming annual production sales. They have made the long lists of items necessary to prepare for a successful production sale and they are checking them twice: writing newsletters and personal letters to previous customers […] Read more



Dealing with birthing complications

Congenital abnormalities can impede calving process

Occasionally a difficult calving is caused by abnormality in the fetus. David Steffen, a diagnostic pathologist at the University of Nebraska, says that whenever you’re checking a cow or heifer that’s not making progress in labour, keep in mind the possibility of congenital abnormality. Some congenital defects in the calf may hinder the birth progress […] Read more


Luing cattle – an efficient maternal breed

A newer British breed that performs well on lower-quality forage

Iain Aitken is passionate about his Luing (pronounced ‘Ling’) cattle and their outstanding traits that make cattle-raising easy. He and his wife Rowena have 200 head of this Scottish breed on their farm near Belmont in southwestern Manitoba. “I came to Canada from Scotland in 2000,” says Aitken. “I grew up with Galloways, then my […] Read more



Understanding risk for feeder cattle: Pt. 3

The Markets: Don’t buy unless the basis is favourable for a profit

This is the third article in the ‘Understanding risk for feeder cattle’ series. I started by explaining the feeder cattle futures market and basic theory of hedging. The second column focused on average basis levels and using these basis levels to forecast an expected selling price. I analyzed the risk and reward of backgrounding 550-pound […] Read more


General movement toward higher production

Market Update: Feeder cattle prices may not get much better than they are right now

Fed cattle prices were hovering in the range of $158 to $160 in mid-February, slightly lower than month-ago levels. The markets are relatively strong and I’m expecting the yearly highs to occur over the next month. First-quarter beef production is coming in marginally lower than anticipated, but supplies are building. The recent cattle-on-feed report and […] Read more



Cows and ducks work well together

Producer applies his rotational grazing system to conservation pastures

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Rapid City, Manitoba area cattle producer Gerald Bos are working collaboratively on a project that’s a win-win situation for both by benefitting nesting waterfowl and Bos’s beef herd. The project revolves around ‘The Smith purchase’ — a half section of land that DUC bought in 1994, which happens to be […] Read more


Dairy Corner: How to optimize dry matter intake

Assess what’s happening at the feed bunk, supply proper ration

There is only one way I know to supply the essential nutrients to high-producing cows to yield large volumes of milk, milk-fat, milk-protein and solids — assure dairy cows optimize dry matter intake of good feed is at its best. As a dairy nutritionist, I am so convinced each bite of lactation diet counts that […] Read more



Don’t overuse antibiotics in livestock

Cattle sometimes heal themselves, but get veterinary advice

Ranchers often wonder which antibiotics they should have on hand for calving. They like to be prepared, in case a calf becomes ill, a cow needs treatment after a difficult birth, or develops mastitis or some other infection. Dr. David Smith of Mississippi State University says cattlemen probably need to use fewer antibiotics than they […] Read more


Keeping soil biology ticking

Pasture Management: Grazing setbacks happen, but find opportunities to get back on track

Normal weather” at 4 Clover Ranch near Rocky Mountain House, Alta. has been illusive for a couple of years at least and it has created some grazing challenges at the expense of pasture performance. Our planned grazing system, where we look at the health of the grass on an ongoing basis, has responded well over […] Read more