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

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 look back at past recessions can provide some long-term guidance for cow-calf operators.

Cattle market absorbs recessionary factors

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Experience shows it will take months for the market to recover

North America and the world economy in general will move into contraction phase during 2020. Negative economic data is starting to come out for the first couple of months of the year. Early estimates have Canadian and U.S. GDP contracting by two to four per cent in the first quarter and as much as eight […] Read more


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