Latest articles


cattle in a feedlot

Price opportunity for calves and yearlings

Market Update: Strong consumer demand is using up beef supplies

The market outlook for fed and feeder cattle is looking brighter compared to a month ago. Beef demand is coming in larger than anticipated due to the corporate and personal tax cuts south of the border. Recent U.S. data shows that restaurant spending was up nearly 10 per cent over year-ago levels during the summer […] Read more


Cattle producers eyeing feed grain prices

Market Update: Feeding expected to get more expensive — something has to give

Feedlot operators have had a very strenuous spring and summer. Margins have been hovering in negative territory while feed barley prices have been percolating higher. Feeder cattle prices are actually higher than year-ago levels despite the strong feed grain prices and a year-over-year increase in the U.S. calf crop. The Canadian dollar has been trading […] 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



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


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



Water and shade reduce impact of heat stress on cattle

Too much heat along with pests can affect breeding success

I am no stranger to the effects of summer heat stress in cattle. Back when I was working on my master’s thesis at the University of Manitoba (the effect of molybdenum on copper status in beef cattle nutrition, 1983), I had 35 Shorthorn/Angus crossbred yearlings on full feed. During that particular summer, after July 1 […] Read more


Patience is key for easy cattle handling

Stay calm, stay quiet and let cattle think it through for themselves

Cattle are smart and adaptable, learning from their mothers and the environment around them. They respond to good handling by becoming easy to manage. Mishandled, they react with suspicion or fear when they see people, and can become “wild” and difficult to handle. Many ranchers are learning the value of low-stress handling and how easy […] Read more



Feeder red ink will affect fall calf market

Market Update: Consumer spending to slow while beef production increases

Alberta fed cattle prices were hovering in the range of $153 to $155 in mid-May as the market moved through a period of seasonal strong demand. U.S. cattle-on-feed inventories continue to run five to seven per cent above year-ago levels. Larger market-ready supplies have caused the U.S. weekly slaughter pace during May to average about […] Read more


Is it spring yet?

Cold and wind creates challenges during March-to-May calving season

You never know what the weather is going to do. Gregory and I had decided that from mid-March to the beginning of May would be the best time for calving season. We didn’t want to calve during the coldest part of the winter with the green grass months away, but we also didn’t want to […] Read more