Latest articles


Old school nutrition works after calving

It doesn't have to cost a lot to maintain proper body condition

Already, I know a few producers have had a couple of sleepless nights checking cows at calving. Most have told me all has gone well, because their cows came through the winter in good shape and were well-prepared for this year’s calving season. Moving forward, they now feed their calved-out beef cows diets which contain […] Read more


Controlling hairy heel warts in dairy cattle

A clean barn is part of preventative measures

Since the new year, I have travelled to many dairy farms across Western Canada and conducted a personal survey about lameness in dairy cattle. At each visit, I asked producers “What was their biggest cause of hoof problems?” Almost unanimously, their answer was “hairy heel warts!” This is no surprise, since multiple surveys conducted over […] Read more



Dairy Corner: How to optimize dry matter intake

Assess what’s happening at the feed bunk, supply proper ration

There is only one way I know to supply the essential nutrients to high-producing cows to yield large volumes of milk, milk-fat, milk-protein and solids — assure dairy cows optimize dry matter intake of good feed is at its best. As a dairy nutritionist, I am so convinced each bite of lactation diet counts that […] Read more


Trace minerals directly affect unborn calves

If the cow isn’t getting sufficient minerals calf development and strength suffers

Within the next few months, there will be a lot of newborn calves on the ground. Fair- to good-quality forage is quite plentiful this year and grain is a reasonable price, so most of the cow herds I have seen across Western Canada this winter are in good body condition for calving. But one area […] Read more



Poor corn residue may need supplement

The wet fall can reduce feed quality of corn residue, create mould

In the last few years, many beef producers have taken advantage of corn residue as part of their cow herd’s overwintering feeding program. It’s a low-cost feed and for the most part, because early-gestating cows are allowed months of grazing without much trouble. Unfortunately, this wet fall has presented many challenges in feeding lower-quality corn […] Read more


Pre-weaned calves need extra water

Dairy Corner: Satisfying thirst also promotes good dry calf starter intake

Feeding milk replacer or whole milk does not provide enough water for growing pre-weaned dairy calves. Young calves have a natural requirement for water which is often higher and separate than what is provided by most milk-based feeding programs. By providing all the water needed, calves adapt to dry calf starter quicker, grow faster and […] Read more



Dairy Corner: Don’t overdo palm fat in dairy cattle rations

Palm fat can help increase milk fat, but more isn’t necessarily better

There has been an explosive use of palm fat in many dairy diets. This growth has been fuelled by the numerous incentive days issued by milk marketing boards to increase milk fat production in lactating dairy cows. On the plus side, I see a profitable milk fat increase on many farms because some bypass palm […] Read more


beef on a winter pasture

Important to maintain proper BCS

Cattleman's Corner: Cows looking good going into winter still need to be fed

Warm temperatures and lots of rain right into fall regenerated pastures producing plenty of nutritious grasses for cattle. Many gestating cows are going into the winter, healthy and in decent shape. By feeding them well-balanced overwintering diets, we can continue this momentum, so these beef cows can get through a typical cold winter and be […] Read more



corn silage chopping

Right and wrong fermentation

Dairy Corner: If silage moisture is too high going in, it can affect feed quality and palatability

This autumn, I have seen a variety of corn fields being chopped into silage for dairy cattle. While some of this corn was dried enough to make some good quality corn silage, I was surprised when I saw some producers literarily harvested green chop. After all, they were faced with another rain shower, which forced […] Read more


Preconditioning calves still pays this fall

Pencil out the costs and consider other marketing benefits as well

The weaned calf market reached a peak in the fall of 2014. Since then, mixed with lots of volatility, the value of weaned calves this fall is roughly half that nearly two years ago. Many cow-calf producers who sell weaned calves to feedlots are asking if preconditioning calves is really worth it. Yes, I believe […] Read more