GFM Network News


Mary and Roelof van Benthem, dairy farmers from central Alberta are regional Outstanding Young Farmer finalists for 2020.

Alberta kicks off Outstanding Young Farmers year

Just when I thought I knew everything about agriculture

A bright young dairy farming couple from central Alberta is kicking off the 2020 awards year for Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers. Roelof and Mary van Benthem of Spruceview, about 30 km west of Innisfail, were selected in February as Alberta’s regional nominees for the national awards. They are the first of seven regional nominees from […] 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


Many dairy producers wonder how to save on feed costs without sacrificing milk and milkfat production.

A cost-effective diet for dairy cows

Dairy Corner: Feed and yardage costs add up, but production is optimized

Most dairy producers want to feed cost-effective diets to their high milk- (milkfat) producing cows. That’s a tall order, which is most often achieved by obtaining the best lactation diets, first as a formula on paper and blended into a TMR, then put in front of the cows. Finally, it’s up to them to eat […] Read more

New technology for feeding calves on pastures, whether you have a few or a lot.

New ideas for feeding and housing calves

Designs and technology showcased in Germany

Giving young calves the best start in life will reward farmers in the long run, as healthier animals thrive much better. With a growing consumer focus on animal welfare, farmers are being urged to ensure calves destined for both beef and dairy herds have the best comfort in life. This was a key message delivered […] Read more


Dairy cows can often develop a uterine infection after calving.

Dirty conditions can lead to uterine infections

Barn cleanliness as well as nutrition can be among the contributors

Many dairy cows come down with a uterine infection after calving. Some are slight but some are more serious. While there are host of factors which cause them, some reasons such as a dirty calving area are obvious, other reasons such as persistent metabolic problems are not so clear. Fortunately, a good spring-cleaning and improvements […] Read more

Discovering the value of registration

You never know who may come knocking if they can trace genetics

Life has a way of making people revisit decisions. About five years ago the decision was made to keep up with registry memberships so our herd name didn’t get lost but we also considered that maybe it wasn’t worth the cost registering our youngsters. There were a lot of reasons to question — one being […] Read more


Proper rations can help prevent (and correct) deficiencies which can lead to milk fever.

Key tips to reduce milk fever cases

Incidence of the calcium deficiency can be sporadic, but hurt when they hit


Clinical milk fever is a particular insidious metabolic disease in freshened dairy cows. I have witnessed on some dairies, it’s not a significant problem, while next-door neighbours are plagued with downer cows one calving after another. In other dairies, milk fever doesn’t show up for months and then it shows up with a vengeance. From […] Read more

Provide first-calf heifers with nutrition and TLC

But first-calf heifer rations need not be fancy

I was talking to a retired beef producer who owned a purebred Charolais herd back in the 1970s. He reminisced on how winter-hardy the breed was compared to more traditional breeds of the time and how the cows calve out huge white calves. Eventually, he got rid of these cows and replaced them with easier-calving […] Read more


Lee Hart’s brother Mark, in front of the original Hart family dairy farm.

They sure don’t milk cows like they used to

Hart Attacks: The original Hart dairy farm was nothing like the high-tech operations running today

I know I am the crop and livestock expert for Grainews (NOT) — fact is I’m just old, and no expert on anything — but every time I write a story about a dairy farming operation today, I can’t help but recall some childhood memories, growing up on an Eastern Ontario dairy farm. This past […] Read more

Gary and Marie Baars and their children built their diversified dairy operation from scratch.

Canada’s OYF: Nominees from British Columbia

Gary and Marie Baars started with a dream, 
then realized it through hard work

Wanted: Energetic, inexperienced couple to work long days with few days off and no assurance of success. Interested? If not, you’re not alone, and you’re definitely not Gary and Marie Baars. The 2017 Outstanding Young Farmer Award winners from Chilliwack, B.C. didn’t let long odds and a shortage of experience hold them back, and now […] Read more