GFM Network News



WLPIP calf price insurance deadline extended

Three-week extension includes nine purchasing days

Cattle producers in the western provinces will get extra decision-making time this year on the calf price insurance available through Western Livestock Price Insurance (WLPIP). The Prairies’ Crown ag insurance corporations announced Thursday that the deadline to buy WLPIP calf price insurance for 2020 has been extended to June 18. The new deadline, reset from […] Read more


It is important calves get colostrum, properly fed, within the first 24 hours of life.

High-quality colostrum is magic for newborn calves

There’s a 24-hour window to get antibodies into the gut

The most critical aspect of promoting newborn calf health and reducing morbidity/mortality is to feed sufficient amounts of high-quality colostrum to each calf shortly after it is born. Once colostrum is fed, it becomes a matter of allowing its specialized antibodies to do their job. They do this by establishing temporary immune protection until the […] Read more

Dealing with diphtheria in calves

Several treatment options to get animals breathing again

Upper respiratory problems in cattle include diphtheria — the common name for infection/inflammation of the vocal folds of the larynx (voice box) at the back of the throat. Infection in this area is called necrotic laryngitis. Swelling from the inflammation can restrict the airway and make breathing difficult. In acute cases, the calf may die […] Read more


The economists are right

Knowing your cost of production really does make a difference

As I write this article we are amid coronavirus and a limit-down cattle market for several days in a row. For the record, I am not admitting the economists were right about this event. But as I am redoing our yearly plan, reassessing our risk strategies and adjusting costs on the fly, I have to […] Read more

The cost of pregnancy and depreciation of an animal are two costs people often don’t value enough, says one Montana cattle producer.

Breeding strategies might break the accepted mould

Think about what you're trying to achieve and the best way to get there

A change in direction for a cow-calf producer’s operation is sometimes required for a wide range of reasons from market shifts to personal finances. To modify breeding strategies or reproductive timelines and tactics, several decisions need to be made. Billy Whitehurst, owner and operator of Makale Livestock in Whitehall, Montana, has been in the cattle […] Read more


A proper ration started before calving and carried on until breeding will help cows deliver a healthy calf, and also improve their reproductive performance for the coming breeding season.

Keep nutrition going through to breeding season

Proper ration needed from last trimester through to green grass

Maintaining good nutrition in beef cows after calving largely involves continuing with the well-balanced diets that were fed to them as late-gestation cows. Years of beef research demonstrate that cows that calve out in optimum body condition score of between five and six, compared to thin fresh cows, have a greater chance of an easier […] Read more

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