Latest articles


A newborn black angus calf with it's mother

Research backs value of implanting calves

Improved weights in the range of 20 to 30 pounds per head

Cattle folks know that in a perfect world calves should be castrated as soon as possible after ingesting a bellyful of colostrum, as this reduces stress and limits the sickness caused when this procedure is completed later in life. Desired results also include reduced aggression, lowered sexual activity, controlled reproduction, producer safety, higher-quality carcass grades, […] Read more


Don’t get sentimental picking replacement cattle

Keep the best of your own, or look to buy quality heifers

Often in late fall and early winter, many producers face the task of adding replacement heifers to their cow herd, both from their own weaned heifer crop and potentially from other breeders. This routine process often yields mediocre and mixed results, so the question might be: “What can be done to take some of the […] Read more



These aren’t your daddy’s cow herds

No more kick ’em out and forget ’em for progressive producers

Long before the time when the grass comes in thick and green and the summer winds start to blow, progressive cattlemen begin to prepare their cow-calf herds for the grazing and breeding seasons ahead. The days of rounding up the herd just before you send them to pasture, slapping on a few ear tags, chasing […] Read more


Cattle can make a pretty good ‘weatherman’

Penchecker's Diary: Don’t be afraid to believe some folklore, intangibles or observations

In this day and age we hear so much about fake news and conspiracy theories, from politics to business and even religion. They have become a part of our everyday life. And depending on what type of person we are, we often logically dismiss almost everything we hear as preposterous. I sometimes wonder if we […] Read more



calf eating grass

Spring is welcome, but it brings its own issues for calves

Pen Checker Diary: Nicer weather comes with a whole parcel of animal health risks

Those of us in the agricultural field find ourselves continually affected by our Canadian weather. A constant of this weather is that it is continually changing, and when the bitter cold temperatures of winter begin to ease and the spring sun appears in its brilliance, Old Sonny and I tend to feel pretty good about […] 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




Stiff, sore and hurtin’ — I can relate

A foundered steer is troublesome, but elicits some extra sympathy

During my morning pen-checking rounds I came across a yearling red and white steer with a bad case of foot rot. Now there is nothing unusual about that, being that I find many cattle with this problem every day. The difference in this case, was that this particular steer was badly foundered to start with. […] Read more