GFM Network News


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

Dairy Corner: Vitamin A expensive, but necessary

Although the price has shot up, it is important to keep the nutrient in dairy rations

Prices of vitamin A (along with vitamins D and E) have increased to 10 times their former costs from just a few months ago. This skyrocketing price is due to a recent fire at a new manufacturing facility in Germany as well as several vitamin ADE plants that are down for maintenance in China. Together, these events have caused a worldwide shortage […] Read more


Feeding yeast is a good investment

These single-cell organisms can hit on many cylinders to help optimize milk performance

For many years, I have formulated dairy diets with yeast for both dry and lactating dairy cows. It has been my professional intention to promote good dairy nutrition, or solve a particular problem that limits good dairy performance. On occasion, I have seen direct benefits within a couple of days by adding yeast, while other […] Read more

Getting faraway dry cows prepared

Ration should be about 80 per cent of the lactation nutrient package

As a dairy nutritionist I’ve noticed a new trend among dairy farmers in the last few years in feeding and management of their dry cows. The line between a faraway dry cow and close-up dry cow has faded and producers are feeding much more nutrient-packed rations to them than we used to. I am not […] Read more


Proper rations can help prevent (and correct) deficiencies which can lead to milk fever.

Key tips to reduce milk fever cases

Incidence of the calcium deficiency can be sporadic, but hurt when they hit


Clinical milk fever is a particular insidious metabolic disease in freshened dairy cows. I have witnessed on some dairies, it’s not a significant problem, while next-door neighbours are plagued with downer cows one calving after another. In other dairies, milk fever doesn’t show up for months and then it shows up with a vengeance. From […] Read more

Know your lactating dairy diet costs

Look to find a balance between very expensive and very cheap rations

Occasionally, I talk to dairy producers about the financial aspects of operating a barn, aside from dairy nutrition. All producers wish to reduce their lactating feed costs. One producer I know wants to switch to a notorious cheap protein supplement, while another wants to hire a private dairy consultant and tender out all dairy feed […] Read more