GFM Network News


Most of the time cows handle calving just fine on their own, but producers should also be watching and ready in case something does go wrong.

No single measure ensures successful calving season — Part 2

Animal Health with Roy Lewis: Looking after the details will pay dividends later

I wish the more experienced producers could share with others the little things they do and watch for when checking cattle at calving time. Watch for problem signs such as bloody discharge from the vagina, or meconium (first feces) in the water bag, indicating the calf is stressed and needs to be extracted. Some producers […] Read more

It is important cows and calves be monitored closely or given the space to ensure they get mothered up correctly and the calf get’s sucking.

Pairing up is critical at calving — Part 1

Animal Health with Roy Lewis: Looking after the details will pay dividends later

Calving time (winter and spring) will soon be upon us, bringing the excitement of seeing what the next calf crop will be like. Several good practice tips emerge from my experience working with many great cow-calf managers over the years I hope some of these ideas will lead you to save more, and more productive, […] Read more


This diagram put together by Doug Colwell a research scientist at the Lethbridge Research Centre, shows the zones on an animal were lice are most likely to concentrate and be visible. Colwell is internationally recognized for his studies on the interactions between insect parasites and their animal hosts.

Late fall better for lice and parasite control in cattle

Animal Health with Roy Lewis: A two-pronged approach to deal with internal and external pests

There has been lots of talk and questions from producers and large-animal veterinarians regarding the strategy needed for more effective lice and internal parasite control. I the last couple of years there has been a large increase in the incidence of lice in Western Canada. Producers are searching to find ways to control lice that […] Read more

It’s unfortunate but not uncommon for older “banded” calves to succumb to tetanus.

Tips on managing clostridial disease in cattle

Animal Health: Proper timing of proper vaccines can prevent a costly wreck

There’s a great need for routine vaccinations to prevent the multiple ways cattle can get clostridial diseases such as scours, blackleg and tetanus. They’re relatively cheap and cost-effective. Here are some tips and comments. Vaccines offer good protection as long as one recognizes the need to booster-vaccinate. A single vaccination with most clostridial vaccines does […] Read more


Checking bulls after breeding season can help determine if they just need rest or perhaps should be culled.

Putting bulls through a post-season checklist

Find the ones you want to keep, and help them to recover

Planning and good observations are necessary when pulling bulls. They may give us a clue as to how the breeding season went. Because bulls are stressed during breeding season and have lost lots of weight, they are in a way a sentinel animal for disease and both external and internal parasites. Bulls are now going […] Read more

There are now many products used to reduce pain and they have been adopted by cattlemen wholeheartedly.

Beef industry is meeting new challenges

Animal Health: New technology and regulations help producers do a better job

The beef producer has always been resilient and the last few years have seen many new challenges. Under the guidance of the Canadian Cattleman’s Association and Alberta Beef Producers the cattle industry has responded to these issues very well. The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle, which has been out […] Read more


Pushing cattle at processing can be stressful on them and hard on facilities.

How to reduce stress when processing cattle

Human behaviour has a big impact on livestock behaviour

Reducing stress can help improve health, animal welfare and production of our cattle. They do better when their heart rates, respiratory rates and cortisol levels are lower. Stress during processing, transporting, loading, unloading and any other interaction can all be reduced. A lot has been written and described on stress-free cattle handling. I would encourage producers to check out videos on the Merck […] Read more

Improved design of handling equipment benefits all aspects of processing cattle.

Improved design applied to cattle handling equipment

Animal Health: Easier on cattle and people and the job gets done faster

For three weeks in December 2018, I filled in at a former practice. There were a few really positive things and improvements in many of the farms I visited previously. Most are progressive operators so improvements are always being made. These improve animal welfare and make it easier on the people involved — including me, […] Read more


As producers begin to market certified hormone-free cattle to EU and other markets, a better system is needed to provide the certification.

Suggestions for streamlining cattle exports

Technicians could handle some of the tests and paperwork now done by vets

Progress generally makes things easier and more efficient but this has not been the case with CFIA veterinary accreditation and the processes for testing and getting approval to export cattle. As a result, many veterinarians — especially those approaching retirement — are letting their CFIA accreditation expire. I now hear of a real shortage of […] Read more

With reduced grass growth early in the season, cattle explore and can get into things.

Lots to consider as cattle head to pasture

Provide important treatments before they go, monitor herd health while they are away

There are many things to think about at pasture turnout time. Once they’re gone to grass, cattle are not always accessible, easy to find or treat so planning is necessary before turnout. One has to think about what things cattle will be exposed to on pasture and which age groups are most susceptible. Depending on […] Read more