GFM Network News


It takes time and management, 
but young orphaned calves can be bottle fed until they are ready to eat grass and hay on their own.

Getting orphaned calves adopted

If no foster mother is available, proper feed is vital

Many ranchers have raised calves on bottles (a twin, a heifer’s calf that isn’t accepted by its mother, or a calf whose mother died) and it’s very easy with a newborn or young calf. The main thing is to make sure the calf had colostrum within the first hours (from its own mother or another […] 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

Brightly coloured dog collars are useful to Rob Somerville in locating calves that needed treatment or extra attention.

Good producer ideas improve cattle management

You never know how sporting goods store supplies can benefit beef production

How can colourful dog collars and game cameras help to improve beef production and management? The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), is always interested in hearing from producers about how often simple ideas not only reduce the workload but ultimately produce more pounds of beef. From a BCRC blog posting last fall, here a few […] Read more


Consumer spending has been a major pillar of the U.S. economy, contributing to among other things, stronger beef demand.

Demand continues for U.S. beef

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: American consumers have more disposable income

As of mid-December, Alberta fed cattle were trading in the range of $152 to $155, up approximately $10 to $12 from a month earlier. The February and April live cattle futures continued to trade near contract highs due to the uncertainty in beef production during the first quarter of 2020. It appears that beef production […] 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


Late fall pasture may fill cows up but are they getting enough protein?

Pregnant cows need their protein

Molasses lick-tubs can help maintain cow condition and keep fetuses growing

I was recently driving west through the southern Prairies and saw a beef cow herd grazing late-autumn straw-coloured pasture. I suspected the calves were probably just weaned, which simply puts these dams at their lowest dietary requirements. I believe that these particular cows were getting plenty to eat, but they were probably not getting enough […] Read more

While yearling prices have been very strong, calf prices are trading $10 to $15 lower than a year ago.

Calf prices below year-ago levels

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Seek price protection if you're backgrounding calves this winter

Western Canadian feedlot margins have hovered in negative territory throughout the summer and early fall. In late September, Alberta packers were buying fed cattle on a dressed basis in the range of $231 to $232; live bids were quoted from $136 to $139. Recent prices are about $15 to $20 below break-even pen closeout values. […] Read more