Latest articles


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


Vitti: Options for including mouldy feed in rations

Know what you have and blend it off with the good stuff

This year, not many people harvested and stored good-quality hay on the northern Prairies. A cool spring and droughty summer capped by a couple of feet of autumn snow forced many producers to harvest thousands of mouldy hay bales. For many, this is their only forage supply to overwinter beef cows. Fortunately, we can set […] Read more



Pregnant cows need their protein

Molasses lick-tubs can help maintain cow condition and keep fetuses growing

I was recently driving west through the southern Prairies and saw a beef cow herd grazing late-autumn straw-coloured pasture. I suspected the calves were probably just weaned, which simply puts these dams at their lowest dietary requirements. I believe that these particular cows were getting plenty to eat, but they were probably not getting enough […] Read more




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