GFM Network News



This Montana beef producers aims to find a balance between heifer age and growth as they are managed toward puberty. They need size, but he doesn’t want them fat.

Tips on growing replacement heifers

Keep them growing with a good plane of nutrition, but don’t get them fat

Developing a set of good heifers is the goal of everyone raising their own replacements. Success depends on many factors, including age at puberty, herd health, a proper vaccination program, parasite control and nutrition. Fertility and age at puberty are heritable but also influenced by nutrition. Heifers need optimal nutrition for growth and development, including […] Read more


Veterinarian recommends having a good supply of good quality disinfectants and cleaning products on hand at calving.

Your calving season checklist — be prepared

Don’t wait till the last minute to start searching for equipment

Before calving starts, you want everything you might need on hand, and have all facilities and equipment functional and ready for use. A few calves may arrive early, so don’t wait till the last minute to get machinery or other equipment out of the calving barn or maternity pen if that’s where you stored or […] Read more

Beef cattle need to be kept in 2.5 to 3 body condition score range heading into calving season.

Proper rations for winter cattle feeding and calving

Cows need to maintain body condition and feed a fetus

There are several kilometres of Highway 59 in southern Manitoba which provide a snapshot of winter-feeding programs. Despite several feet of snow in the winter, I often see many cow herds being overwintered along this stretch of road, since in each one of the adjoining yards are rows of hay bales that I can see […] Read more


If you don’t have the numbers to make a truck load lot, it may be worthwhile to team up with another producer.

Numbers matter when marketing cattle

Genetics may not matter as much as larger, more consistent lots

The definition of marketing for some cow-calf producers could be “rounding up the calves, loading them into trailers and sending them to the local auction market.” While this method will put a cheque in the bank account, it’s not likely the optimum definition to tie the financial proficiency of an operation to. Advertise herd genetics […] 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


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

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