Latest articles


Cattle market absorbing larger supplies

Market Update: Beef consumption increasing after early-spring snowstorms

Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $263 to $265 per hundredweight on a dressed basis in late April while live sales were reported from $157 to $169. The market appears to have stabilized after a softer tone earlier in spring. Analysts are expecting second-quarter beef production to come in sharply higher […] Read more


Proper bedding keeps calves warm and dry

Straw and windbreaks can help get calves through poor spring weather

This spring has been less than ideal for calving. In west-central Saskatchewan we’ve had record cold temperatures with wind and snow, and the wet weather is just around the corner. Calves born in these conditions often show the effects with frozen ears and feet — that’s if you can keep them alive in the first […] Read more



Looking at the feed grain component

Risk Management Part 5: More feeder cattle equals more feedlot placements, equals larger beef production

With this final article for the series on risk management for cow-calf producers, I note the previous columns discussed a specific aspect of the cash and futures market relationships. Producers are aware of when basis and futures levels are favourable and can use this information for buying price insurance or placing hedges on the feeder […] Read more


Nip risk of grass tetany in the bud

Provide a tablespoon or two daily of magnesium mineral supplement before turnout

Every spring, I think about the possibilities of grass tetany in the cow herds going out to graze in on lush prairie grass. While nobody wants to find a fresh cow that died under mysterious circumstances, there is no need to panic. Fortunately, most threats of fatal grass tetany can be reduced by providing beef […] Read more



Cold weather or not, fencing continued

Rancher's Diary: Extra attention including tube feeding couldn’t save premature calf

February 22 A week ago it snowed and was windy and cold. Jim finished packing his truck and drove to California where he has a couple of months worth of work fixing fences and remodelling some buildings for a friend. We moved the yearling bulls from the orchard to the little back pen, and created […] Read more


The bulls and the bees

The purchase of a heifer bull stirs excitement for next season

Sometimes opportunities come up and you just have to jump on them. We have been hauling our cows to pasture in a two-horse trailer, just waiting for an opportunity to purchase a bigger one. Then a friend showed Gregory an ad. The used trailer was in rough shape but the price was good, so Gregory loaded […] Read more



Some myths and facts about EPDs

It’s only a genetic prediction, but still a useful tool

One of the main areas that I have worked on in my consulting business is genetic selection and the development and use of genetic evaluation technologies. In the more than 20 years I have been working in the field, it is interesting many of the same myths and challenges continue to appear, all during a […] Read more


Ease new cattle into the herd

Give cows time and space to sort out pecking order

Cows can be very aggressive, especially when establishing a pecking order, so you need to watch how new and especially pregnant animals are integrated into an established herd. Two cows fighting can result in a cow losing the calf because of the direct hits to the belly by the other cow’s head; a cow slipping […] Read more



Can you afford to select cows for longevity?

Keeping old cows isn’t improving performance of the beef herd

One of the biggest costs on a cow-calf operation is cow herd depreciation. For most of us, even if we are not aware of it, cow depreciation is our second-highest expense after cow herd maintenance. It is a problem often ignored because cull cows generate cash flow, but having cows drop out of the cow […] Read more


calf

Calf market will feel the pinch come fall

Market Update: It will take time to work burdensome beef supplies through the U.S. system

Alberta fed cattle prices have traded in the range of $162 to $166 throughout February and March, but the market is poised to grind lower during the second quarter due to the large year-over-year increase in second-quarter beef production. Fed cattle are poised for a $15 to $20 drop over the next couple of months […] Read more