GFM Network News


Allowing May/June calves to run with their mothers until mid-winter (February and March) is considered a more natural weaning cycle.

Wintering calves with their mothers

Most cows and calves will naturally wean themselves by February

Many beef producers are calving later in the year (April, May or June) rather than early, to be more in tune with nature. They have green grass at calving and less need for harvested forage when the cow’s nutritional needs peak during lactation. Along with later calving comes the necessity for later weaning. Some choose […] 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


In this line of work, offspring are welcome on the job site.

A job interview for a cow

It is important to find out who is working for whom

I have heard the statement “My cows need to work for me.” This leads to the somewhat logical question of “If a cow works for me, what should a job interview look like?” and further what answers I should hope to hear. Knowing that cow depreciation and cow herd maintenance are the two biggest costs […] Read more

There is no simple test to be able to identify what causes scours in calves.

Causes of calf scours can be difficult to identify

There is no simple test to be able to identify what causes scours in calves

Scours is the most common illness and cause of death in young calves. Some years are worse than others for scours outbreaks, and there are many causes including certain kinds of bacteria, viruses or protozoa. Whether calves get sick depends on many factors including exposure (contact with pathogens, either by coming in contact with a […] Read more



Cows need their space at calving — even just a few minutes alone so they can properly bond with the calf.

There is a reason pregnant cows prefer to isolate

Being alone at calving is natural, and improves bonding

The act of a pregnant cow seeking isolation and birthing a calf without interruption to establish a strong and healthy bond is never guaranteed. It can be a fragile chain of events in need of support. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Beef Systems extension educator Aaron Berger sees the process as complex. “Weather conditions, the environment the […] Read more


There are a number of tools and apps available to make herd management easier for even the most technologically challenged.

Use records to make better herd management decisions

Record-keeping can help identify areas of strength and weakness

When farmers and ranchers discuss herd management over coffee at the local diner, there is often a glazed look on many of the faces as they nod robotically in agreement with the speaker. “Herd management” has become a fancy all-encompassing term that by its sheer size can suck the air from any room. Every producer […] Read more

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

In southern Alberta, Simmental based steers weighing 510 pounds were quoted at $230 in mid-November while black heifers were valued at $195. It’s looking like feast-or-famine beef production in early 2020.

Calf prices will be sideways into 2020

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Both the U.S. and Canada produced smaller calf crops in 2019

Alberta packers were paying $142 to $144 on a live basis in mid-November, relatively unchanged from last month’s average price. While Alberta prices have traded in a sideways range, fed cattle values south of the border have been percolating higher. In Nebraska, fed cattle were trading in the range of $114 to $116, up from […] Read more