GFM Network News


Newborn calves are born with virtually no immunity of their own.

Tips for getting calves up and going

Great calving season advice from the Beef Cattle Research Council

Calving is a natural process. Most cows give birth to a healthy calf and everything goes as planned. However, there are times when things go wrong. Perhaps there is a malpresentation, such as a backwards arrival, or the calf’s foot is back. In some cases, calves may not take their first breath after a difficult […] Read more

It is important to make sure newborn calf is “accepted” and gets proper feed of colostrum.

Tips for a healthy calving season

Animal Health with Roy Lewis: All players should share ideas of what works and what doesn’t

Spring calving season is close upon us and every year after the fact, there are always some things we would do differently. Calving is a humbling experience, even for veterans. I am sure you all have some words of wisdom to share, and I am all ears. We can all learn from each other, and […] Read more


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

cow and calf

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