GFM Network News

Dr. Brett Terhaar from Frontier Veterinary Services in Winterset, IA using ultra sound equipment for prep checking cattle.

The pros and cons of different preg-check options for cows

Herd size and speed of test can point to the best technique

Pregnancy testing methods include palpation, ultrasound and blood tests. Dr. Don Driedger of Driedger Veterinary Services in Lloydminster, Alta., does a lot of pregnancy testing in his area, and uses both palpation and ultrasound. “The main reason most producers preg-check is to decrease the number of cows that are just freeloading through winter,” says Driedger. […] Read more

Drought stressed grain crops like this barley may not be worth combining, but they can be used as livestock feed. It is always important to have feed tested to determine its nutrient value.

Salvaged crops can fit into beef rations

Canola hay can make good feed, but a feed analysis is a must

With what appears to be a dry spring shaping up, it never hurts for beef producers to be prepared in case forage production is in short supply any year. In drought years it’s often hard to locate an adequate forage supply for cattle. Sometimes producers use alternative feeds, which might include drought-stressed or salvaged crops. […] Read more

Erin and Paul Kernaleguen have found that a change in forage production practices on their Saskatchewan farm has helped to reduce costs and benefit dairy production.

Dairy farmers see multiple benefits from forage blends

Input costs have been reduced and more acres returned to crop production

Dairy farmers Paul and Erin Kernaleguen near Birch Hills, Sask. say they’re convinced about the value of regenerative farming practices in growing forage crops for their cattle. They farm with Paul’s parents, Jos and Brenda Kernaleugen. “We were a conventional operation until 2012 when we started looking at doing things differently,” Paul says. “Our average […] Read more

This Montana beef producers aims to find a balance between heifer age and growth as they are managed toward puberty. They need size, but he doesn’t want them fat.

Tips on growing replacement heifers

Keep them growing with a good plane of nutrition, but don’t get them fat

Developing a set of good heifers is the goal of everyone raising their own replacements. Success depends on many factors, including age at puberty, herd health, a proper vaccination program, parasite control and nutrition. Fertility and age at puberty are heritable but also influenced by nutrition. Heifers need optimal nutrition for growth and development, including […] Read more

Veterinarian Susie Lutz works to dilate the vagina of this heifer in preparation of pulling the calf.

Tips on when and how to check cows during calving

Don’t hesitate to check progress — it’s better to intervene a bit early than too late

Most cows and heifers progress normally through three stages of labour (early labour, active labour with abdominal straining and expulsion of the placenta after delivery of the calf.) Uterine contractions in early labour get the calf aimed toward the birth canal, the cervix dilates and the calf starts through. The water sac and then the […] Read more

Matt and Angela Kumlin move their cow-calf pairs to pasture.

Ranchers apply new practices summer and winter

High-intensity grazing along with swath grazing boosts overall production, plus how to construct a 3-D fence

Matt and Angela Kumlin, a young farm couple near Cochrane, Alta., are making major changes to their forage management and winter feeding programs, and they’re seeing beneficial results. They have cattle of their own and take in yearlings for custom grazing in the summer, utilizing different forages in their pasture mix. “Most of our grassland […] Read more

As a farmer, Cynthia Beck knows first hand about mental health issues, and she is also working as a health care provider to help others who may be going through a tough time.

Connecting rural communities to mental health

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help

People in rural communities with limited access to mental health care can use the phone as the first step to reach a crisis intervention program, says Cynthia Beck, a farmer and university student completing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She plans to finish graduate school and become a registered clinical psychologist working in rural […] Read more

Veterinarian recommends having a good supply of good quality disinfectants and cleaning products on hand at calving.

Your calving season checklist — be prepared

Don’t wait till the last minute to start searching for equipment

Before calving starts, you want everything you might need on hand, and have all facilities and equipment functional and ready for use. A few calves may arrive early, so don’t wait till the last minute to get machinery or other equipment out of the calving barn or maternity pen if that’s where you stored or […] Read more

Jerry Baerg out checking cattle as graze on chaff piles — all part of keeping nutrients on the field.

Cattle important to regenerative ag program

Producer finds that cattle and crops can complement each other

Jerry Baerg farms grain and cattle in central Alberta near Linden. He grew up on the family farm and worked with his dad, then worked off farm for a while. On his return, he bought into the farm and began farming full time. While attending a soil health/grazing conference five years ago, he began thinking […] Read more

Anderson cattle graze in early winter an area of the stockpiled annual forage blend that wasn’t cut for swath grazing.

Improving pastures through regenerative agriculture

A low-input strategy is paying off for this central Alberta producer

Brendon Anderson took over the family farm near Rimbey in central Alberta a few years back and is now focused on regenerative agriculture to improve soils and forage production. Ultimately he would like to get to a system of year-round grazing, but that may not be possible in some winters that deliver nearly four feet […] Read more