GFM Network News


The economists are right

Knowing your cost of production really does make a difference

As I write this article we are amid coronavirus and a limit-down cattle market for several days in a row. For the record, I am not admitting the economists were right about this event. But as I am redoing our yearly plan, reassessing our risk strategies and adjusting costs on the fly, I have to […] Read more

All these yearling Simmental bulls look pretty good. How do you know which will work the best for your beef operation?

Contractors can help to fill the bull roster

Experts have the contacts and understand the terminology

It’s a tried-and-true saying: “Plan for a healthy calf per every reproducing-age female each year.” But that strategy may at times demand that to get all females covered at breeding season, it becomes necessary to purchase bull power. For some cow-calf producers this can be a time- and energy-consuming task for which they are ill-prepared, […] Read more


Canada is currently contending with a burdensome beef supply.

Higher beef production weighs on cattle complex

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Consumers will have to eat more beef to compensate

In my previous article, we mentioned that the cattle market was in a transition phase. Market-ready supplies of fed cattle during April were relatively tight while beef demand was moving through a seasonal high. The fed and feeder cattle markets softened during May as beef production grew. North American beef demand is considered inelastic so […] Read more

Make sure cows have a good body condition score and aim for a 60-day breeding and calving season.

A short 60-day breeding season leads to profit

Produces a more uniform batch of calves and higher weaning weights

The calving season is well underway on the Prairies, with some cow-calf operations calving with snow on the ground, while others plan to calve on pasture. Regardless of the starting date, the length of the calving season is directly related to the length of the previous breeding season. Research shows moving toward a desirable 60-day […] Read more


Improved conception rates tell the story

Good-quality mineral mix got this herd back on track

The four principal trace elements essential to successful beef cow reproduction, are copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. All too often, they are either deficient in forage or bound by compounds also found in forage, which makes them biologically unavailable to cattle. I instruct beef producers to plan the best mineral-(and vitamin-) feeding program to their […] Read more

Canadian prices divorce from U.S. fundamentals

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Alberta feeding margins are in the red by $200 per head for feedlots selling in the spot market

There was unusual price behaviour in western fed and feeder markets during the first weeks of February. Earlier in January, Alberta fed cattle prices reached a high of $166 on live basis for March delivery. By mid-February, Alberta packers were only bidding $150 on a live basis for March 1-15 delivery. At the same time, […] Read more


Understanding feeder cattle price structure

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Comparing prices for custom feeders and a finishing feedlot

The feeder cattle futures have traded in a narrow range since early November but we’ve seen severe swings in the western Canadian feeder cattle basis. This has made it difficult for the cow-calf operator and backgrounding operator to project a forward price for summer and fall. I’ve also received inquiries in regards to the price […] 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


Both Canada and U.S. calf crop numbers are estimated higher from last year.

Calf production numbers increase forecast

Market Update: Producers need to be ready with risk management plans

Alberta fed cattle prices have come under pressure over the past month. Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $147 to $149 during the second week of November, down $4 to $6 from a month earlier. Weakness in the fed cattle market has spilled over into the feeder complex. Western Canadian yearling […] Read more

Time to buy cattle price insurance

Market Update: Cow-calf producers should sell their feeders with the lofty futures and historically strong basis

Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $151 to $153 on a live basis in mid-October, up approximately $10 from a month earlier. While Alberta prices have been percolating higher, fed cattle values in Kansas have hovered around US$111 on a live basis over the past four weeks. Market-ready supplies of fed […] Read more