Latest articles


Fall is no time to slack off on a livestock mineral program

Plenty of hidden benefits for overall herd health and reproduction

Since April, I’ve had the privilege to criss-cross the Prairies to witness the opposite effects of drought and continuous rainstorms upon hundreds of square miles of pasture. In some areas, the pastures were brown, short and by themselves didn’t produce enough feed to support cattle, while other regions were green, lush and had lots of […] Read more


Don’t force cattle to eat bones for phosphorus

It’s an important nutrient for overall animal health and reproduction

A long time ago in university, I came across a faded photograph in our animal science book (Animal Nutrition, Maynard et al, 1979) that showed a poor Venezuelan cow chewing on a bone. Its caption read that she suffered from phosphorus deficiency. I thought at the time that this poor animal was so skinny and […] Read more




Creep feeding spring calves pays dividends

This program pencils out to a $23 per head net premium in 2019

It’s always heartwarming to see the twitch of a spring calf’s tail as it nurses its mum. As this calf approaches three months of age, the brood cow’s milk production decreases, only supplying about half of the calf’s nutrient requirements. The rest must be delivered by sprouting pastures. But that could spell trouble to calf […] Read more



Harden up cattle hooves to avoid foot rot

A proper mineral mix will help hooves withstand injury and infection

After the snow melts, it’s not unusual to hear a lot of stories about footrot on pasture, which may not ease if we continue into a wet summer. Hooves of cattle standing on wet ground or in puddles become soft and pliable, which makes them susceptible to infection. Immediate antibiotic action is effective footrot control, […] Read more


A cost-effective diet for dairy cows

Dairy Corner: Feed and yardage costs add up, but production is optimized

Most dairy producers want to feed cost-effective diets to their high milk- (milkfat) producing cows. That’s a tall order, which is most often achieved by obtaining the best lactation diets, first as a formula on paper and blended into a TMR, then put in front of the cows. Finally, it’s up to them to eat […] Read more



A short 60-day breeding season leads to profit

Produces a more uniform batch of calves and higher weaning weights

The calving season is well underway on the Prairies, with some cow-calf operations calving with snow on the ground, while others plan to calve on pasture. Regardless of the starting date, the length of the calving season is directly related to the length of the previous breeding season. Research shows moving toward a desirable 60-day […] Read more


Proper feed intake keeps dairy cows milking

Dairy Corner: Good management avoids negative energy balance

A good dry matter intake or DMI plan is really a foundation of building optimum energy intake by early-lactation dairy cows. This energy drives good milk yield (and milk fat) at peak production and over the rest of their lactation. Unfortunately, there is a natural lag time between peak milk production and subsequent peak DMI […] Read more



Improved conception rates tell the story

Good-quality mineral mix got this herd back on track

The four principal trace elements essential to successful beef cow reproduction, are copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. All too often, they are either deficient in forage or bound by compounds also found in forage, which makes them biologically unavailable to cattle. I instruct beef producers to plan the best mineral-(and vitamin-) feeding program to their […] Read more


Proper nutrition needed before and after calving

An example of a good feeding plan based on common sense and economy

Most people have done a good job in feeding their gestating cows this winter in order to maintain good body condition for calving. Yet hard work doesn’t stop once the last calf is born. Rather, good nutrition should continue for months afterward, so fresh cows can produce lots of milk for their growing calves and […] Read more