GFM Network News


It is important calves get colostrum, properly fed, within the first 24 hours of life.

High-quality colostrum is magic for newborn calves

There’s a 24-hour window to get antibodies into the gut

The most critical aspect of promoting newborn calf health and reducing morbidity/mortality is to feed sufficient amounts of high-quality colostrum to each calf shortly after it is born. Once colostrum is fed, it becomes a matter of allowing its specialized antibodies to do their job. They do this by establishing temporary immune protection until the […] Read more



It is important cows and calves be monitored closely or given the space to ensure they get mothered up correctly and the calf get’s sucking.

Pairing up is critical at calving — Part 1

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

Calving time (winter and spring) will soon be upon us, bringing the excitement of seeing what the next calf crop will be like. Several good practice tips emerge from my experience working with many great cow-calf managers over the years I hope some of these ideas will lead you to save more, and more productive, […] Read more

This refractor can be used to measure colostrum quality.

Using meters to measure feed quality

Fairly simple tools are available to evaluate colostrum and milk

This calving season arrived in the midst of a worldwide vitamin A, D and E shortage. The quality of colostrum depends greatly on maternal nutrition. The health and viability of the young depends on the quality of the colostrum. So how can farmers test the quality of their calf colostrum/milk at home? There is a […] Read more


About eight per cent of most common beef breeds will produce twins, and it is also quite common among bison. Economics show there is value in making the extra effort to save the extra calf.

Problems and benefits of twin calves

Animal Health: It is worth the extra management effort to save both calves

In my practice I often hear producers complaining about twins, mainly because often the focus is on the problems they can present. However, research done on a twinner population over the last 10 years in the U.S. found there to be a definite economic benefit with twins. So it is important to look at both […] Read more

Keep cattle in proper condition and also provide a good mineral supplement.

Simple facts of why body condition is important

Get cattle in good condition before winter, and if they are there, keep them there

Areas of Western Canada have endured very dry conditions this summer, which has reduced forage availability and quality on pasture or range. Plants went dormant much earlier than normal. The lack of good quality feed will have many implications for cow-calf producers trying to wean a good-size calf and maintain high levels of reproductive performance […] Read more


Minerals now benefit next breeding season

It’s too late to fix mineral deficiencies when bulls are turned out with cows

Despite recent rain/snows, prolonged dry conditions this summer have left a wake of poor grazing pastures across the Prairies. High-fibre (aka low-energy) and low-protein grass has been the norm as well as a very poor mineral profile. A well-balanced autumn/winter mineral (and vitamin) program is necessary for gestating beef cows and replacement heifers in order […] Read more

Hard to beat the value of good colostrum

Calf Management: Watch for blood infections such as septicemia

Calves sometimes develop systemic infection in which bacteria or their toxins get into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Some types of toxin-forming bacteria (usually gaining entrance to the body via the GI tract, after damaging the gut lining and slipping through it) cause rapid death. The calf goes into shock when internal organs […] Read more


If producers see scours early in very young calves, they may need to vaccinate the cow so she can give the calf immediate protection.

Protecting calves through vaccination

Best to consult with veterinarian on what’s right for your farm

Newborn calves gain temporary (passive) immunity from disease when they ingest colostrum, since this “first milk” contains antibodies. After a few weeks or months this temporary protection diminishes, so calves must build their own immunities. Vaccinating at the proper time can help protect them until weaning age. Vaccinating them too soon, however, may not stimulate […] Read more

Not all minerals are created equal. Buy a proper blend for the third trimester period.

Trace minerals directly affect unborn calves

If the cow isn’t getting sufficient minerals calf development and strength suffers

Within the next few months, there will be a lot of newborn calves on the ground. Fair- to good-quality forage is quite plentiful this year and grain is a reasonable price, so most of the cow herds I have seen across Western Canada this winter are in good body condition for calving. But one area […] Read more