GFM Network News


Plenty of new life on the Eppich farm - mom Heather, with son Joseph and brand new baby James John Eppich, born in late February.

New baby boy joins the family

With calves also arriving, it’s a hectic time in the Eppich household

The temperatures were fairly mild at the beginning of February. Gregory and John were able to haul the last of the straw bales home from Landis. It worked out well because by this time we had pretty much fed all of the slough bales and the bales that were not quite dry when they were […] Read more

Allowing May/June calves to run with their mothers until mid-winter (February and March) is considered a more natural weaning cycle.

Wintering calves with their mothers

Most cows and calves will naturally wean themselves by February

Many beef producers are calving later in the year (April, May or June) rather than early, to be more in tune with nature. They have green grass at calving and less need for harvested forage when the cow’s nutritional needs peak during lactation. Along with later calving comes the necessity for later weaning. Some choose […] 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

Most of the time cows handle calving just fine on their own, but producers should also be watching and ready in case something does go wrong.

No single measure ensures successful calving season — Part 2

Animal Health with Roy Lewis: Looking after the details will pay dividends later

I wish the more experienced producers could share with others the little things they do and watch for when checking cattle at calving time. Watch for problem signs such as bloody discharge from the vagina, or meconium (first feces) in the water bag, indicating the calf is stressed and needs to be extracted. Some producers […] Read more


Despite cold temperatures this newborn calf is up and nursing.

Calving season improved after a sad start

Eppich News: Extra attention was needed to get cattle through a cold February

February was cold! Temperatures were frigid and the wind was terrible. On Feb. 17 we bedded our corrals and sorted off our heifers to keep them up front where we could keep an eye on them. It was a good thing but for a different reason than we had in mind. On Feb.19 we doctored […] Read more

Doug Wray has the main herd calving on pasture. Once he has some calves on the ground — three or four days or 
a week’s worth — he moves those cow-calf pairs out of the main herd and onto to fresh pasture.

Keep cow-calf pairs moving at calving

Separating newborns from older calves reduces scours risk

Editor’s Note: This is part of a feature blog article produced by the Beef Cattle Research Council on the value of developing a calving system that separates newborn cow-calf pairs from older calves to reduce the risk of disease spread. The concept is known as the Sandhill Calving system although there are variations on the theme. Doug Wray believes […] 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

Setting up shelters with portable corral panels (temporary maternity pens) makes for a simple yet effective way to keep track of first-calf heifers when calving on pasture.

Bring calving pens to the pasture

It’s a good idea to give heifers lots of space when calving

Editor’s Note: What works for beef producers? The Beef Cattle Research Council has asked a few Canadian beef producers about changes, production practices or new technology they’ve made or use that make a difference in their day-to-day management. Good ideas can range from improving pasture watering systems and regularly testing winter feeds, to reducing costs […] Read more


Dairy cows can often develop a uterine infection after calving.

Dirty conditions can lead to uterine infections

Barn cleanliness as well as nutrition can be among the contributors

Many dairy cows come down with a uterine infection after calving. Some are slight but some are more serious. While there are host of factors which cause them, some reasons such as a dirty calving area are obvious, other reasons such as persistent metabolic problems are not so clear. Fortunately, a good spring-cleaning and improvements […] Read more

Heather Eppich and son Joseph check on one of the spring calves.

Is it spring yet?

Cold and wind creates challenges during March-to-May calving season

You never know what the weather is going to do. Gregory and I had decided that from mid-March to the beginning of May would be the best time for calving season. We didn’t want to calve during the coldest part of the winter with the green grass months away, but we also didn’t want to […] Read more