GFM Network News


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

Don’t wait until the third trimester to improve 
condition and nutrition status of the cow.

Don’t delay on proper mineral feeding program

Important for the new calf as well as the next breeding season

The entire nine months of a beef cow’s pregnancy can be broken up into three stages; early, mid- and last trimester of gestation. During these first two stages, her unborn calf doesn’t require a lot of nutrients, so it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the cow. However, this all changes in the last […] Read more


Dairy cows need a proper “dry” period with good nutrition in order for their body’s to recover before the next lactation.

Faraway dry cow program provides important break

High-producing cows need time to recover before next lactation period

As a young dairy nutritionist years ago, university research taught me that once a lactation cycle is completed, the dairy cow should be dried off, dry-treated and put onto a 60-day dry cow feeding program — an initial faraway stage of 40 days, and followed by a 20/21-day close-up stage. As a result many metabolic […] Read more

Midwinter inventory for swath grazing

Swath-grazing cattle without shelter often require 40-50 per cent more dietary energy

Barley swath-grazing has become a viable alternative and practical means of feeding a low-cost forage to overwintering pregnant beef cows. Since nutrient supplementation may be required later on as they approach calving, producers should take a midwinter look at the feed value of swaths to ensure all nutrient requirements are always met. It is well […] Read more


Calves in outdoor hutches will need extra feed, particularly during the coldest days of winter.

Hutch-housed calves need extra milk replacer in winter

There is a limit to how much cold that calves can handle

Despite the trend to build heated barns to raise young stock, there are still lots of outside hutches and cold barns to feed pre-weaned dairy calves. Many of these calves are raised solely on commercial milk replacer. As a dairy nutritionist, I review many of these milk replacer-feeding programs and make the necessary changes to […] Read more

Grazing corn is not an exact science

Grazed standing corn will need supplements

A great feed source, but added protein may be needed as winter progresses

Putting beef cows out to tramp through the snow to graze standing corn has become more popular in the last few years. It’s relatively low-cost forage which can make up a sizeable portion of a pregnant cow’s overwinter diet because whole corn plants (with ears) can provide a significant amount of dietary energy and protein. […] Read more