GFM Network News


Ed Snook, owner of Snook Ranch.

A.I. has fit with commercial herds

Effective means to tap into the best genetics

Artificial Insemination (A.I.) is an efficient and quick method to improve the genetics of a cow herd, and it’s becoming more popular with commercial cattle producers as training/certification programs become available. A.I. has opened the door for commercial cattlemen to breed to the very best bulls in the industry, allowing them to use the large […] Read more

Once the wet well is in place, construct an insulated pad around the wet well pedestal that will not only keep the area from getting muddy, but will prevent hoof action from driving frost down in winter.

Proper installation of Frostfree Nosepumps

Proper insulation and keeping components below frost line ensure trouble free operation

Many livestock producers have found Frostfree Nosepumps can provide a reliable off-grid water supply for horses and cattle. But, as cold-climate installers of the pumps have discovered, it is important not to cut corners during setup. There are four major components of successful installation. An installer must establish a geothermal wet well that has a static water level below […] Read more


Most classes of livestock — beef, dairy, horses — can operate Frost Free Nose Pumps, and with a slight modification can even supply water to young calves.

Several fits for frost-free nose pumps

Nose power is all that’s needed for these off-site water systems

Across North America operators from equine centers to commercial cattle operations are discovering the merits of Frostfree Nosepumps as a viable and reliable all-season option to deliver water to all classes and age of livestock. These systems utilize geothermal heat from the ground to operate without freezing, and the manual piston pump is operated by […] Read more

If a squeeze isn’t bolted to a cement floor, use large bolts to anchor it to posts around the chute.

Maintain facilities for improved workflow

The job gets done and it’s safer for both workers and livestock

Because the facilities and equipment around here are all showing some age, I have had to make an effort to go through them a bit ahead of working cows and calves in order to find, repair, or replace items that have worn out or been damaged, and we still have a few surprises. Cattle chute […] Read more


After a bit of trial and error we discovered a simple and inexpensive way to modify these feeders to prevent the heifers from climbing in.

Modify bale feeders for yearlings

Simple, relatively low-cost solutions to keep young stock out of the feeders

We have used large rectangular and round hay bale feeders for several years to feed replacement heifers and bull calves We prefer the flex feeders because they will accommodate a large rectangular bale or round bale, and, if not allowed to freeze to the ground, permit the calves to push and collapse the feeders to […] Read more

Build your own bale-spear loader head

Working in the shop even with repurposed materials can result in a long-lasting bale mover


Much like the transitions other ranchers and farmers have experienced over the past 50-plus years, our evolution with hay handling here in rural Idaho has been a transition from loose hay, to small square bales, and now large round and square bales. Each transition was made with an attempt to increase efficiency and reduce waste […] Read more


This heavy styrofoam cooler has been modified with holders for two needle guns.

Cooler heads prevail to protect vaccines

Vaccines stored in conditions that are too cold or too warm can be compromised

Whether you are vaccinating cattle now or later this winter, it’s important to protect most products from freezing to preserve their quality and effectiveness. By exposing the vaccines to freezing temperatures we were compromising the level of immunity we were trying to give the cows. Here at Whittington Creek in northern Idaho, we’ve been down […] Read more

On gates used regularly, fall may be a good time to set new posts in a brace that properly supports the gate. Set posts in quick-dry cement for added stability.

Items to include on winterizing checklist

Be ahead of the game rather than fixing waterlines and broken posts when its -30 C

We are heading into another busy season in the cattle business: feeding, calving, and much more. This is a time to put the finishing touches on readying the facilities and equipment for the demands of the winter ahead. When preparing to tackle all of the things that need to be inspected, repaired, and restocked, I […] Read more


Properly notched rails make a solid and attractive fence.

Tips for notching rail fences

Create a few simple tools from materials you have on hand

We have built a lot of fence on the ranch over the years for cattle, horses, and yes, even a few to keep the deer out of the yard or garden. Lodgepole rails are readily available in this part of the country, and at most fence supply outlets, and many of us utilize them alone […] Read more

Forage specialist Glenn Shewmaker demonstrates how to collect and place handfuls of hay samples in the tube. Pack the samples in tight and then insert the moisture sensor into the tube at different depths to get a field reading of hay moisture.

Simple tool improves hay moisture test

With a compacted sample and an electronic tester, a more accurate moisture reading can be made in the field

Packaging quality alfalfa hay can be a challenge. The hay industry is constantly pursuing new technologies to help the hay producer grow and package consistently high-quality forage. Machinery design has advanced in order to handle the hay as delicately as possible to minimize leaf loss. But, even with these advances, the proper moisture level is […] Read more