GFM Network News


Ergot can be found on a number of “grass” species and not just rye. The fungal disease can develop on timothy grass as well as most cereal grains.

Watch closely for ergot-infected feeds

Several grasses and some grain crops can be susceptible


Last spring, auction mart chat turned a problem with ergot in grasses. The conversation pointed towards lame cattle resulting from feeding timothy straw. My curiosity piqued because a high percentage of cattle producers have been feeding everything from timothy straw to pea straw, to canola straw and bakery waste for the last few years, so […] Read more

What was once a thin patch of grass rebounded nicely after pastured
poultry added nutrients to the soil.

Natural ways to improve soil quality

Cover crops may be more practical than molasses and milk

For many years there has been growing public concern that food is declining in nutrition. Dr. Arden Anderson, a favourite researcher, has studied the correlation between soil health and feed nutrition. His research has shown that the nutrient content of foods today compared to half a century ago ranges from 15 to 75 per cent […] Read more


Some odds and ends and a few new pieces came together to build this pasture watering system.

A pasture-watering system that won’t break the bank

The practice of never throwing anything away helps with small projects

In our area of the Interlake in Manitoba, the summer of 2018 was dry but many livestock producers had a surplus of feed left over from 2017. This year was worse. Sloughs were drying for the first time in recent memory. In the Shoal Lake area producers had to repair fence lines across sloughs for […] Read more

Mentors (and work) help with successful tillage project

Where there’s a will there’s a way

Our farm has always done the impossible. Most of the time, the motivation of being told we cannot do something is all that’s needed. Added to that is a whole lot of faith that it needs to be done. This spring my daughter and I presented my son with a need. We needed a sizeable patch of soil turned black. Apparently, […] Read more


Breed frame size may influence twins

Multiple births are common among sheep and goats, but what about beef cattle?

Twins in beef cattle have always intrigued me. Then a Speckle Park producer from New Zealand combined two of my favourite things into triplet heifers — splashy colour and multiple births. Statistically, the odds of bovine triplets are 105,000 to one, with the odds of having same-sex triplets around 700,000 to one. Our experience with small ruminants raised the […] Read more

Supplement in the lick tank appeals 
to cattle.

Compensating for a livestock vitamin shortage

One option for ensuring animals have adequate supplies

Last spring with the worldwide vitamins A, D and E shortage, our management practices had to change. The choice was either find a way to feed more or find injectable somewhere. This winter due to widespread feed shortages many producers are already wondering how to boost nutrition in the feeds they do have this winter. […] Read more


Observations seem to support the lore that rain will follow a hoarfrost.

Following some old-time weather predictors

Does a foggy fall really forecast heavy snows ahead?

Over the last few years we have started to pay a lot more attention to weather lore. In the old days these nuggets of wisdom were all the farmers had to prepare for Prairie winters. Last winter we started recording little things on the calendar to test how dependable they were and we’re surprised at […] Read more

This refractor can be used to measure colostrum quality.

Using meters to measure feed quality

Fairly simple tools are available to evaluate colostrum and milk

This calving season arrived in the midst of a worldwide vitamin A, D and E shortage. The quality of colostrum depends greatly on maternal nutrition. The health and viability of the young depends on the quality of the colostrum. So how can farmers test the quality of their calf colostrum/milk at home? There is a […] Read more


Discovering the value of registration

You never know who may come knocking if they can trace genetics

Life has a way of making people revisit decisions. About five years ago the decision was made to keep up with registry memberships so our herd name didn’t get lost but we also considered that maybe it wasn’t worth the cost registering our youngsters. There were a lot of reasons to question — one being […] Read more

Sweeter forage grasses may benefit milk production

Different classes of livestock can make better use of forage mix

Spring is the time of rebirth. This year our livestock is not scheduled for babies till late spring so we have more time than usual to study, read, and plan our 2018 pasture season. While reading over garden catalogues my mind keeps turning to old ideas of turnip grazing, mangels (large beet) or potato choppers. […] Read more