GFM Network News


The proper forage fibre is an important factor in minimizing effects of acidosis.

Signs of acidosis aren’t always clear

Dairy Corner: Correcting fibre in the diet can get milk production back on track

In my experience, only a handful of producers fail to notice the few cases of mild sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) which pop up on occasion. In most barn walks that I have conducted, producers accept SARA as routine, yet know it can adversely affect cows’ health, reproduction and milk/milkfat yield. In some of these cases, […] Read more

A reddish tinge on the hide of a black Angus animal could mean a couple things. It could indicate a mineral deficiency or could be just too much sun.

Don’t buy into myths about mineral/vitamin requirements

Fall and early winter are not the time to cut back on supplements

Autumn is a good time for producers to determine the best type of cattle mineral and how they will provide it to their early-gestation beef cows. In doing so, they should avoid five common myths when they consider outside advice. Producers can effectively meet important mineral and vitamin requirements of their cow herd now and […] Read more


Promoting “licking action” of dairy cows, significantly increases saliva production helping to reduce the risk of subclinical acidosis.

Dog days of summer can still produce heat stress in dairy cattle

It’s important to keep the dairy herd cool and eating

On a recent early August morning, I let our dog Luna outside to do her business which amounts to chasing red squirrels and barking to wake up the neighbours. By 10:00 a.m., the temperature was already 30 C in Winnipeg. I noticed that Luna became lethargic, lying on the deck and panting profusely. Within a […] Read more

Once breeding season is over, bulls need to be on decent grass with proper minerals so they can rebuild body condition for next year.

Bulls need to rebuild after breeding season

A proper feed and mineral program prepares them for next year

By midsummer, most producers pull their bulls from the spring cow herd, mainly to maintain a desirable 60-day breeding season and to avoid any temporary sterility caused by heat stress. As a beef nutritionist, I advocate that bulls be treated with lots of attention during the post-breeding season. They should be put on a good […] Read more


A robot is one way to keep feed in front of cows.

‘Push-ups’ in the dairy barn are good exercise

Make sure there is enough feed in the bunk at all times

As a dairy nutritionist, I believe that good dry matter intake of a well-balanced dairy diet means everything for good milk production. More nutritious feed consumed by healthy lactating cows means they produce more milk. It also has been proven that higher dry matter intake, as well as less feed refusal, can be simply achieved […] Read more

Even though pastures often start out in good condition, creep feed can have a fit as grass quality begins to decline later in the season.

Five benefits of creep feeding calves

Always an ROI, some years better than others

Over the years, I have discovered that there are three types of beef producers who are creep feeding spring calves. 1. Those who don’t creep feed. 2. Those who sometimes creep feed if it makes economic sense, and 3. Producers who routinely creap feed as a matter of course. Although, I have heard almost-convincing arguments […] Read more


A magnesium deficiency can lead to health problems when cattle move into lush new grass growth.

Get magnesium levels up before cattle turnout

Mineral deficiency can lead to sudden and fatal grass tetany

It wasn’t unusual that many producers fed a lot of straw and screenings to their beef cows this winter. That’s because their last year’s hay or grain crop was so poor. Some told me that spring couldn’t come soon enough when green grass starts to sprout on pasture. As a beef nutritionist, I warned them: […] Read more

It is important calves get colostrum, properly fed, within the first 24 hours of life.

High-quality colostrum is magic for newborn calves

There’s a 24-hour window to get antibodies into the gut

The most critical aspect of promoting newborn calf health and reducing morbidity/mortality is to feed sufficient amounts of high-quality colostrum to each calf shortly after it is born. Once colostrum is fed, it becomes a matter of allowing its specialized antibodies to do their job. They do this by establishing temporary immune protection until the […] Read more


A proper ration started before calving and carried on until breeding will help cows deliver a healthy calf, and also improve their reproductive performance for the coming breeding season.

Keep nutrition going through to breeding season

Proper ration needed from last trimester through to green grass

Maintaining good nutrition in beef cows after calving largely involves continuing with the well-balanced diets that were fed to them as late-gestation cows. Years of beef research demonstrate that cows that calve out in optimum body condition score of between five and six, compared to thin fresh cows, have a greater chance of an easier […] Read more

There are several factors to consider to figure out why dairy cattle can be up and down on dry matter intake.

Reducing variability of dry matter intake for dairy cows

Dairy Corner: Several factors, including particle size, can affect how dairy cows eat

Optimizing dry matter intake (DMI) of a well-balanced dairy cow diet should be one of the mission statements of every dairy producer. It is the key to providing enough essential nutrients that support good milk production (and its components) in feed that cows can reasonably consume every day. Unfortunately, daily DMI among a lactating cow […] Read more