GFM Network News


A reddish tinge on the hide of a black Angus animal could mean a couple things. It could indicate a mineral deficiency or could be just too much sun.

Don’t buy into myths about mineral/vitamin requirements

Fall and early winter are not the time to cut back on supplements

Autumn is a good time for producers to determine the best type of cattle mineral and how they will provide it to their early-gestation beef cows. In doing so, they should avoid five common myths when they consider outside advice. Producers can effectively meet important mineral and vitamin requirements of their cow herd now and […] Read more

A magnesium deficiency can lead to health problems when cattle move into lush new grass growth.

Get magnesium levels up before cattle turnout

Mineral deficiency can lead to sudden and fatal grass tetany

It wasn’t unusual that many producers fed a lot of straw and screenings to their beef cows this winter. That’s because their last year’s hay or grain crop was so poor. Some told me that spring couldn’t come soon enough when green grass starts to sprout on pasture. As a beef nutritionist, I warned them: […] 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

Regardless of growing condition, all grasses begin to decline in quality this time of year. A proper vitamin and mineral program helps to meet nutrient requirements.

Fall is no time to slack off on a livestock mineral program

Plenty of hidden benefits for overall herd health and reproduction

Since April, I’ve had the privilege to criss-cross the Prairies to witness the opposite effects of drought and continuous rainstorms upon hundreds of square miles of pasture. In some areas, the pastures were brown, short and by themselves didn’t produce enough feed to support cattle, while other regions were green, lush and had lots of […] Read more


This old textbook photo of a Venezuelan cow chewing a bone is an example of what cattle should not be doing to meet vitamin and mineral requirements.

Don’t force cattle to eat bones for phosphorus

It’s an important nutrient for overall animal health and reproduction

A long time ago in university, I came across a faded photograph in our animal science book (Animal Nutrition, Maynard et al, 1979) that showed a poor Venezuelan cow chewing on a bone. Its caption read that she suffered from phosphorus deficiency. I thought at the time that this poor animal was so skinny and […] Read more

Once she calves, this cow's dietary needs will change.

Old school nutrition works after calving

It doesn't have to cost a lot to maintain proper body condition

Already, I know a few producers have had a couple of sleepless nights checking cows at calving. Most have told me all has gone well, because their cows came through the winter in good shape and were well-prepared for this year’s calving season. Moving forward, they now feed their calved-out beef cows diets which contain […] Read more


Wet fall conditions can lead to 
mouldy corn cobs and residue in
the field which can be harmful 
to grazing cattle.

Poor corn residue may need supplement

The wet fall can reduce feed quality of corn residue, create mould

In the last few years, many beef producers have taken advantage of corn residue as part of their cow herd’s overwintering feeding program. It’s a low-cost feed and for the most part, because early-gestating cows are allowed months of grazing without much trouble. Unfortunately, this wet fall has presented many challenges in feeding lower-quality corn […] Read more

Once a case of grass tetany presents itself, you will often have multiple cases quickly appear.

Magnesium key to prevent grass tetany

Animal Health: Chances are that if one animal goes down, others are soon to follow

Over the last few years several herds in our area have been affected with grass tetany. These herds will often have multiples cases in short order. Once clinical signs occur and cattle go down chances of recovery are very poor so treatment-wise they are a true emergency. Early in the course of the disease treatment […] Read more


With 1.3 million acres of soybeans in Manitoba it has not only become an important cash crop, but it can also be processed as an excellent protein source helping dairy cattle produce more milk.

The Dairy Corner: Soybeans have excellent fit in dairy diets

Sometimes more expensive, but they can put more milk in the tank

I am fortunate to travel across wide stretches of Manitoba and have observed the explosive growth of soybean acres over the last decade. From 2005, only about 100,000 acres were planted and this acreage has steadily increased to about 1.3 million acres, today. Recently, I asked many dairy/soybean producers, why they grew this crop. Most […] Read more

Money to be made in creep feeding calves

At least pencil it out for your farm — you could be leaving $85 per head on the table

As a beef nutritionist, I have advocated creep feeding spring calves for years. That’s because as feeder cattle prices have steadily risen, there was a real profit due to creep feeding as well as some decent side-benefits. I haven’t changed my position for 2015 and advise each cow-calf operator to calculate their own situation and […] Read more