GFM Network News

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

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Klassen: Yearling prices stay sluggish, calves hold value

Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling prices were steady to $4 lower; calves and grass cattle were relatively unchanged. Early in the week, the mood was quite depressing; yearlings were under pressure with feedlot buyers on the sidelines. By Friday, the market appeared to be well established. Backgrounding operators have been active sellers over […] Read more

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Klassen: Feeder market lacks buying interest

Market gives in to pressure from Chicago futures

Compared to last week, western Canadian feeder cattle markets traded $5-$8 lower on average, with yearlings dropping as much as $10-$12 in certain areas. It appears buyers are incorporating a risk discount due to uncertainty in beef demand longer-term. Rising unemployment levels, sluggish consumer confidence and a sharp drop in disposable income are all factors […] Read more

(WPohlDesign/iStock/Getty Images)

Klassen: Challenging weather influencing feeder market

Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling prices were relatively unchanged; calves appeared to trade $3 lower to as much as $5 higher. Weather conditions have played a larger role in the price structure this fall. Major finishing feedlots continue to focus on preconditioned calves and have left the unweaned or unvaccinated feeders to the […] Read more

McNabb family at processing.

Producers discuss value of good records

Herd Management: Which to cull, when to market, 
just some of questions answered

This is part one of three Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) articles on the value of keeping records for commercial beef herds. Parts two and three are available on the blog at There is also a good sidebar report on new record-keeping software and iPhone App (the Herdly App) available from the Canadian Cattleman’s […] Read more

cattle in a feedlot

Market message: Time to cut beef production

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: The market will bounce back temporarily, but producers should consider liquidating cows

Western Canadian cattle prices have been quite volatile over the past month. Alberta fed cattle prices climbed higher for seven weeks in a row from late November through the first week of January. Alberta packer bids rose from $147 to highs of $167 during this time. The finished market appeared to divorce from the live […] Read more

Today’s cash cattle market is deceiving

Today’s cash cattle market is deceiving

Market Update: It will be a different market in late 2018 compared to late 2017

It’s that time of year when most feedlot and backgrounding operations are running near full capacity and the focus turns to marketing. The live and feeder cattle futures had been quite volatile over the past month when this was written in late December, which can make cattle producers quite nervous. While the futures market has […] Read more