GFM Network News



Dealing with diphtheria in calves

Several treatment options to get animals breathing again

Upper respiratory problems in cattle include diphtheria — the common name for infection/inflammation of the vocal folds of the larynx (voice box) at the back of the throat. Infection in this area is called necrotic laryngitis. Swelling from the inflammation can restrict the airway and make breathing difficult. In acute cases, the calf may die […] Read more


Some scrap steel pieces around the yard were welded together to create a sturdy extension for a gate post.

When a gate post is too short

Those odds and ends around the yard can be put to good use

Once upon a time in our barnyard, we had a gate that wouldn’t stay on its hinges because the gate post was too short to support it. It was hung on a good solid railroad tie, but the railroad tie was set too deep in the ground for that particular gate. The post wasn’t tall […] Read more

It takes time and management, 
but young orphaned calves can be bottle fed until they are ready to eat grass and hay on their own.

Getting orphaned calves adopted

If no foster mother is available, proper feed is vital

Many ranchers have raised calves on bottles (a twin, a heifer’s calf that isn’t accepted by its mother, or a calf whose mother died) and it’s very easy with a newborn or young calf. The main thing is to make sure the calf had colostrum within the first hours (from its own mother or another […] Read more


Allowing May/June calves to run with their mothers until mid-winter (February and March) is considered a more natural weaning cycle.

Wintering calves with their mothers

Most cows and calves will naturally wean themselves by February

Many beef producers are calving later in the year (April, May or June) rather than early, to be more in tune with nature. They have green grass at calving and less need for harvested forage when the cow’s nutritional needs peak during lactation. Along with later calving comes the necessity for later weaning. Some choose […] Read more

There is no simple test to be able to identify what causes scours in calves.

Causes of calf scours can be difficult to identify

There is no simple test to be able to identify what causes scours in calves

Scours is the most common illness and cause of death in young calves. Some years are worse than others for scours outbreaks, and there are many causes including certain kinds of bacteria, viruses or protozoa. Whether calves get sick depends on many factors including exposure (contact with pathogens, either by coming in contact with a […] Read more


Family relationships can be tested

Everyone needs to understand what is really important

Multi-generation farm families have a bigger challenge than most businesses, and sadly, the rate of failure is often high. Family relationships are never easy, but always worth working at. It’s doubly hard when sharing a life’s work and making room for multiple personalities and differences of opinion on how things should be done. The very […] Read more

If a particular animal has a severe reaction and recovers, be careful when giving that vaccine next season. Reactions tend to be worse the second time around and the animal may die.

Be alert to negative reactions when vaccinating livestock

Be prepared for the unexpected

An allergic reaction to vaccination can be mild and local (temporary swelling at the injection site) or fatal if the animal goes into anaphylactic shock. Janice Berg, director, veterinary affairs with Merck Animal Health in Kirkland, Quebec, says clostridial vaccines commonly produce local reactions. A large reaction can make the neck sore for a few […] Read more


Collecting a swab for Trich test.

Trich test — make sure bulls are clean

It’s an important tool for avoiding reproductive problems

Trichomoniasis is a reproductive disease which results in early pregnancy loss and open cows at the end of the year. The first thing a producer might notice is cows returning to heat when they should be pregnant. This sexually transmitted disease is caused by protozoa that live in the reproductive tract of cows and sheath […] Read more

From a single idea for a mineral mix, Hoffman’s as expanded to an 18-item product line.

Hoffman products tailored for horses

A family business grew out of a search for improved horse health and performance

A southern Alberta ranch family’s search more than 20 years ago for a better mineral mix for their own horses led to the development of Hoffman Horse Products, which are now known by horse owners across North America. Lorne and Marian Hoffman have had horses all their lives on their ranch near Stavely, about 90 […] Read more