GFM Network News



The bacteria that causes leptospirosis may be spread by being excreted in an animal’s urine and can spread in water sources from wildlife.

Leptospirosis in cattle is difficult to study

Animal Health: Often affects beef reproduction and can reduce milk production

We struggle in veterinary practice in Western Canada to make sense of the leptospirosis disease complex, as it can be hard to substantially diagnose. Leptospirosis is caused by spirochete bacteria that infect lots of different animal species but only certain serovars (variations within bacteria) are really pathogenic to cattle. Pomona and Hardjo are two variations […] Read more


Beef cattle need to be kept in 2.5 to 3 body condition score range heading into calving season.

Proper rations for winter cattle feeding and calving

Cows need to maintain body condition and feed a fetus

There are several kilometres of Highway 59 in southern Manitoba which provide a snapshot of winter-feeding programs. Despite several feet of snow in the winter, I often see many cow herds being overwintered along this stretch of road, since in each one of the adjoining yards are rows of hay bales that I can see […] Read more

Ahead of calving season make sure cattle have an available supply of vitamin A.

Serious consequences for cows with a vitamin A deficiency

Treat with an injection, or top up the vitamin/mineral mix

Early winter is the best time for many beef producers to switch their cow herds to a specialized “winter” vitamin-mineral premix. Gestating cows need more dietary vitamin A as they move throughout the winter and onto the last few months before calving. In this way, nobody gets caught short on providing such an essential nutrient […] Read more


Klassen: Lighter calves end year on positive tone

Compared to last week, Western Canadian feeder cattle prices were $2 lower to $3 higher depending on the region. Many auction markets were in holiday mode last week and thinner volumes made the market harder to define. Generally speaking, the market was supported by stronger deferred live cattle futures and a slightly weaker Canadian dollar; […] Read more



A backgrounding target is something that is constantly moving, depending on the owner’s long-term plan.

Backgrounding options and considerations

Penchecker Diary: What's the risk level? What’s the end game?

The term ‘backgrounding,’ while often used in the cattle-feeding industry, provokes a certain level of misunderstanding from farm to farm. Many feedlots and cow-calf producers have zeroed in on its true meaning, while others may practise an imprecise version. Candace Wenzel DVM at Roblin Vet Services in Manitoba says that at times it’s an unfocused […] Read more

It is important to figure out the economics of backgrounding 
calves for your operation.

Backgrounding calves is an option

Important to look at the economics to make sure

Recently, I asked a local beef producer of a 200-head cow herd what she planned to do with her spring calves after they were weaned. She said that in late October, her son brings all cows and calves home from pasture, weans them, retains two dozen replacement heifers and trucks the rest to a feedlot […] Read more



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