Latest articles

Feeder cattle basis analysis

Finishing at least some of your own calves is a diversification measure

In my previous article, I provided a brief overview of last year’s series of articles on price risk management for feeder cattle. In this column I will continue the discussion and also answer some of the main questions producers had last year. Cow-calf producers are becoming more familiar with the basis level for their local […] Read more

Proper diets take a bite out of wind chill

When temperatures dip, it’s time to torque up the ration

Beef cow diets developed at the beginning of winter when temperatures were mild are not adequate to meet their energy requirements when new year’s winds blow. That’s because pregnant beef cows need extra calories in order to keep warm, rather than burning up fat reserves needed for the upcoming calving season. Therefore, if it is […] Read more

More on feeder cattle risk management

Market Update: Looking a little deeper into messages from the market

In the winter of 2017 I wrote a series of articles about price risk management for feeder cattle. I discussed hedging feeder cattle on the CME feeder cattle futures and also conducted a risk analysis on the basis for feeder cattle prices in Manitoba. Read more: Understanding feeder cattle risk: Pt. 1 Read more: Understanding feeder cattle […] Read more

Dealing with contracted or lax leg tendons in calves

Animal Health: In many cases, time and a bit of physiotherapy will fix the condition

It is not uncommon during calving season for producers to end up with calves with contracted tendons (knuckling over) or the complete opposite — cases of lax tendons whereby the back of the fetlock is touching the ground. Although it is difficult to prevent these abnormalities, fortunately they only occur sporadically. Even so it is […] Read more

cattle herd

Flight zones can teach some lessons

Cattle behaviour may not be all that much different than how humans handle life

There are many things I have learned over the years about what makes a good pen checker in the feedlot. In my opinion, one of the most important is learning about the flight zones of cattle. Earlier in my career, I believed it was something you either understood or didn’t. There was no middle ground […] Read more

Johnson Livestock — A true family business

Saskatchewan Angus operation is run by young couple, four daughters and his parents

Every bull and nearly every cow bought from Johnson Livestock is delivered in person to the customer. The personalized service is part of a two-pronged approach at this purebred Angus operation — old-fashioned customer service coupled with new-school dedication to keeping a finger on the pulse of the market. “We truly care about our cattle […] Read more

Important tips for pulling a calf

Have chains properly positioned; be gentle with the calf puller

Some calves are injured at birth by improper pulling methods, says Cody Creelman, a veterinarian with Veterinary Agri-Health Services (VAHS) in Airdrie, Alta. Most ranchers know when preparing to pull they should use a double half-hitch when placing chains on the calf’s legs. The correct setup should also include one loop mid-cannon and the other […] Read more

Be prepared to resuscitate calves

Animal Health: Depending on the birthing difficulty, time may be running out to get a calf breathing

There have been many ways discussed among both dairy and beef producers regarding the best way to stimulate a weak calf that doesn’t want to breathe. With calving season just around the corner, certainly for many purebred producers, this is a good time to share techniques and get the calving area supplied. My experience has […] Read more

U.S. tax cuts will increase beef demand

Market Influences: Consumers will have more disposable income, leading to more spending

I’ve received many inquiries over the past couple of months regarding the potential effects of U.S. corporate and personal tax cuts on beef demand. I know most producers focus on cattle inventory numbers and cattle-on-feed reports, but old-time cattle producers often remind me that focusing on demand is the secret to long-term success in the […] Read more

Complex issue of water and beef

Looking at the question of much water is used to produce beef from pasture to packer

How much water does it take to produce a pound of beef? That may not be the most urgent question on the mind of beef producers, but for some schoolkids in Surrey, B.C. it was an important question to have answered for a class project. And when multiple letters asking the same question recently landed […] Read more