Latest articles


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




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