GFM Network News


Loose-cornstalk residue left in the field for grazing cattle has a different nutritional value than cornstalk bales.

Cornstalk bales can have a fit in beef diets

It’s not amazing feed, but with proper testing it can work in winter rations

A few years ago I was visiting a small cow-calf operation and as I approached the house I noticed that there were rows of snow-covered round bales that literarily looked like baled alligators. The producer told me he baled left-over cornstalks within days of harvesting grain corn, and said that it took a couple of […] Read more

Feeding milk replacer can be part of a well-balanced calf-feeding program.

Prevent abomasal bloat in young dairy calves

Several factors related to feeding may cause the disorder

Once the dairy calf hits the straw of the maternal pen, it is removed from its mother and shuttled away to an individual pen or hutch where abomasal bloat is often waiting. Although not fully understood by dairy veterinarians and specialists, the relatively high incidence of abomasal bloat in young dairy calves can be significantly […] Read more


It is important to figure out the economics of backgrounding 
calves for your operation.

Backgrounding calves is an option

Important to look at the economics to make sure

Recently, I asked a local beef producer of a 200-head cow herd what she planned to do with her spring calves after they were weaned. She said that in late October, her son brings all cows and calves home from pasture, weans them, retains two dozen replacement heifers and trucks the rest to a feedlot […] Read more

Don’t underestimate the value of provide cattle with good quality water.

Do you know what’s swimming in your livestock water?

Good clean water is the most important nutrient

A university professor once told our beef science class that many things that aren’t fish are swimming in most beef cows’ drinking water. As an undergraduate, I envisioned snails and frogs being sucked up by thirsty cows, but soon realized that he was talking about the many undesirable things not visible to the naked eye. […] Read more


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