GFM Network News


The proper forage fibre is an important factor in minimizing effects of acidosis.

Signs of acidosis aren’t always clear

Dairy Corner: Correcting fibre in the diet can get milk production back on track

In my experience, only a handful of producers fail to notice the few cases of mild sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) which pop up on occasion. In most barn walks that I have conducted, producers accept SARA as routine, yet know it can adversely affect cows’ health, reproduction and milk/milkfat yield. In some of these cases, […] Read more

Promoting “licking action” of dairy cows, significantly increases saliva production helping to reduce the risk of subclinical acidosis.

Dog days of summer can still produce heat stress in dairy cattle

It’s important to keep the dairy herd cool and eating

On a recent early August morning, I let our dog Luna outside to do her business which amounts to chasing red squirrels and barking to wake up the neighbours. By 10:00 a.m., the temperature was already 30 C in Winnipeg. I noticed that Luna became lethargic, lying on the deck and panting profusely. Within a […] Read more


A robot is one way to keep feed in front of cows.

‘Push-ups’ in the dairy barn are good exercise

Make sure there is enough feed in the bunk at all times

As a dairy nutritionist, I believe that good dry matter intake of a well-balanced dairy diet means everything for good milk production. More nutritious feed consumed by healthy lactating cows means they produce more milk. It also has been proven that higher dry matter intake, as well as less feed refusal, can be simply achieved […] Read more

COVID-19 aid ‘falls short,’ farm groups warn

Aid package includes AgriRecovery for cattle, hog sectors

Ottawa — Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying more money will be provided if needed, the agriculture sector continues to criticize Ottawa’s $252 million in COVID-19-related financial aid offered to producers and processors. “If we have to add more, we will,” said Trudeau, after announcing new funding and programming. The federal government is offering an […] Read more


Beef Farmers of Ontario ask for curb on cull sales

BFO concerned over processing 'backlogs'

Updated, April 15 — Ontario’s cattle producer organization is asking members to consider delaying sales of cull cows until market conditions “normalize.” Beef Farmers of Ontario’s board on Thursday published a memo to beef and dairy cattle producers, asking them to help “prevent a further surge in cull cows in the market” — especially of […] Read more

There are several factors to consider to figure out why dairy cattle can be up and down on dry matter intake.

Reducing variability of dry matter intake for dairy cows

Dairy Corner: Several factors, including particle size, can affect how dairy cows eat

Optimizing dry matter intake (DMI) of a well-balanced dairy cow diet should be one of the mission statements of every dairy producer. It is the key to providing enough essential nutrients that support good milk production (and its components) in feed that cows can reasonably consume every day. Unfortunately, daily DMI among a lactating cow […] Read more


Dairy sector shuts down most visits from off-farm providers

In agriculture, dairy farms are among those most called-on by outside services

New additions to Gerrit Herrema’s dairy barn have made it easier for his family to abide by recent directions to avoid contact with milk truck drivers to reduce COVID-19’s spread. “We have boot washes and other biosecurity measures in the barn. We need to take these measures in order to minimize the damage,” said Herrema, […] Read more

Dairy cows need a proper “dry” period with good nutrition in order for their body’s to recover before the next lactation.

Faraway dry cow program provides important break

High-producing cows need time to recover before next lactation period

As a young dairy nutritionist years ago, university research taught me that once a lactation cycle is completed, the dairy cow should be dried off, dry-treated and put onto a 60-day dry cow feeding program — an initial faraway stage of 40 days, and followed by a 20/21-day close-up stage. As a result many metabolic […] 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

Calves in outdoor hutches will need extra feed, particularly during the coldest days of winter.

Hutch-housed calves need extra milk replacer in winter

There is a limit to how much cold that calves can handle

Despite the trend to build heated barns to raise young stock, there are still lots of outside hutches and cold barns to feed pre-weaned dairy calves. Many of these calves are raised solely on commercial milk replacer. As a dairy nutritionist, I review many of these milk replacer-feeding programs and make the necessary changes to […] Read more