GFM Network News

Make sure cows have a good body condition score and aim for a 60-day breeding and calving season.

A short 60-day breeding season leads to profit

Produces a more uniform batch of calves and higher weaning weights

The calving season is well underway on the Prairies, with some cow-calf operations calving with snow on the ground, while others plan to calve on pasture. Regardless of the starting date, the length of the calving season is directly related to the length of the previous breeding season. Research shows moving toward a desirable 60-day […] Read more

Improved conception rates tell the story

Good-quality mineral mix got this herd back on track

The four principal trace elements essential to successful beef cow reproduction, are copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. All too often, they are either deficient in forage or bound by compounds also found in forage, which makes them biologically unavailable to cattle. I instruct beef producers to plan the best mineral-(and vitamin-) feeding program to their […] Read more

Females still need high level of proper nutrition after calving.

Proper nutrition needed before and after calving

An example of a good feeding plan based on common sense and economy

Most people have done a good job in feeding their gestating cows this winter in order to maintain good body condition for calving. Yet hard work doesn’t stop once the last calf is born. Rather, good nutrition should continue for months afterward, so fresh cows can produce lots of milk for their growing calves and […] Read more

Suggestions for balanced winter rations for beef cattle

Use available feedstuffs to their best advantage

Good-quality forage for beef cows is in short supply this winter and the price of grain is still relatively expensive across Western Canada. The good news is well-balanced rations still can be put together for late-gestation beef cows to prepare them for a good calving season. This is a good reminder I received recently, when […] Read more

In either block or loose form, getting salt out on pasture is important and should be easy.

Feeding salt to beef cattle is easy

From either blocks or in loose form, a beef animal now needs about 50 grams per day

What could be easier than throwing a salt block off the back of a truck for each group of grazing cattle in a cow herd? Or filling a part of a mineral compartment with loose salt? Then coming back in a week or so and putting out salt in one of these ways, again? It […] Read more

Provide first-calf heifers with nutrition and TLC

But first-calf heifer rations need not be fancy

I was talking to a retired beef producer who owned a purebred Charolais herd back in the 1970s. He reminisced on how winter-hardy the breed was compared to more traditional breeds of the time and how the cows calve out huge white calves. Eventually, he got rid of these cows and replaced them with easier-calving […] Read more

Consider weaning calves early this fall

Creep feeding gives calves a chance to grow, takes pressure off cows

Recently, I was at drought ground zero in southern Saskatchewan and passed a group of about 50 blonde and whiteface cows and calves grazing dried-out pasture. The thin condition of the cows caught my attention and their calves looked gaunt and on the small side. My immediate reaction was this cow-calf herd was a good […] Read more

Even though calves born in later spring might weigh less at weaning, there are several advantages to be considered by switching to a mid-May calving season.

Late spring calving can pack a profit

There are management issues, but also several pluses by waiting ’til mid-May calving

I remember not too long ago, cow-calf operators in Western Canada calved most cows by mid-March. This century-old tradition allowed cows to nurse their calves and put heavy weaning-weight over the course of the summer and then calves were sold to feedlots by the end of October. This doesn’t seem to be the sole case […] Read more