GFM Network News


Curled leaves on corn plants due to drought cause it look a bit like the spears of a pineapple crop, resulting in what some call pineapple corn.

Balance “pineapple” corn silage into dairy diets

Corn with rolled leaves should definitely be tested for nitrates

I never noticed a “pineapple” cornfield until I ‘ve seen several of them in Manitoba this summer. As I have done, dairy producers should take them in stride as part of our ongoing drought.  A pineapple cornfield is simply what happens to a corn plant after months of severe drought. (It is a term used […] Read more

An inflamed udder affected by edema quite often will correct itself, but not always.

Udder edema puts dairy cows under pressure

Dairy Corner: If a chronic problem, a change in ration formulation may be needed

Udder edema is the swelling and visible accumulation of fluid in a cow’s udder at calving, or it may appear a couple of weeks ahead of time in the close-up pen. Fortunately, most distressed cows do not need any producer or vet intervention. That’s because most of these cases disappear on their own, usually after […] Read more


dairy cows eating TMR

Dairy Corner: Forage fibre the big driver in milk fat production

Put your TMR to the test to determine if it's the proper particle size


Maintaining good milk production with adequate milk fat is always the main source of good revenue on most dairy farms. Regardless of the actual feed ingredient formulation, it must work in tandem with the natural body functions of healthy cows. This is something we should keep in mind when reformulating current rations if restrictions are […] Read more



Feeding milk replacer can be part of a well-balanced calf-feeding program.

Prevent abomasal bloat in young dairy calves

Several factors related to feeding may cause the disorder

Once the dairy calf hits the straw of the maternal pen, it is removed from its mother and shuttled away to an individual pen or hutch where abomasal bloat is often waiting. Although not fully understood by dairy veterinarians and specialists, the relatively high incidence of abomasal bloat in young dairy calves can be significantly […] Read more

The proper forage fibre is an important factor in minimizing effects of acidosis.

Signs of acidosis aren’t always clear

Dairy Corner: Correcting fibre in the diet can get milk production back on track

In my experience, only a handful of producers fail to notice the few cases of mild sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) which pop up on occasion. In most barn walks that I have conducted, producers accept SARA as routine, yet know it can adversely affect cows’ health, reproduction and milk/milkfat yield. In some of these cases, […] Read more


Calves in outdoor hutches will need extra feed, particularly during the coldest days of winter.

Hutch-housed calves need extra milk replacer in winter

There is a limit to how much cold that calves can handle

Despite the trend to build heated barns to raise young stock, there are still lots of outside hutches and cold barns to feed pre-weaned dairy calves. Many of these calves are raised solely on commercial milk replacer. As a dairy nutritionist, I review many of these milk replacer-feeding programs and make the necessary changes to […] Read more

Many dairy producers wonder how to save on feed costs without sacrificing milk and milkfat production.

A cost-effective diet for dairy cows

Dairy Corner: Feed and yardage costs add up, but production is optimized

Most dairy producers want to feed cost-effective diets to their high milk- (milkfat) producing cows. That’s a tall order, which is most often achieved by obtaining the best lactation diets, first as a formula on paper and blended into a TMR, then put in front of the cows. Finally, it’s up to them to eat […] Read more


Newborn dairy calves need proper clean and dry shelters and proper feed to get them off to the best start.

Dairy calves need proper feed and winter housing

Whether in a straw house or plastic hutch, keep them clean, keep them fed

Whenever I see dairy calves raised outside in the winter, it often reminds me of a producer I met several years ago. At the time, he told me that years before, he raised pre-weaned dairy calves in the most dismal ways. He used to house about 15 outside in several lean-tos, which were a sheet […] Read more

Electrolyte products can help calves get through stress periods by maintaining fluid balance, stimulating appetite, and maintaining immune function.

Replenish vital fluid loss in dairy calves

Dairy Corner: Not only disease, but even heat stress can quickly take its toll

It might be a scouring sick dairy calf or an otherwise healthy one suffering from stress, but death can be minutes away if either calf loses more than 10 per cent of its bodyweight in fluids (water and electrolytes). Fortunately, we can save many of these dairy calves by recognizing the symptoms of dehydration and […] Read more