GFM Network News


This Google Earth image taken on August 23, 2015, shows the location of the three sloughs referenced in Table 1, as well as the fourth slough (dugout), referenced in Table 2.

Les Henry: Is your slough water safe for cattle?

If you’re looking to sloughs for water, screen them with an EC meter to be safe 


As the drought drags in many parts of the Prairies, there is great concern about crops. Many areas started the season with little subsoil moisture reserve and most areas have had too little rain. In some cases it is almost none — at my Dundurn farm, the total rainfall for the year to date as […] Read more

During a heat wave a dugout can dry up and endanger your herd.

Make sure livestock have water

Situation can get serious quickly if a pump fails, or a water hole dries up

Water is the most essential nutrient of life and even though most areas have more than enough water this year, it’s always worth talking about the risk of water deprivation. Insufficient and poor-quality water can reduce weight gain and depending on the water source, there can be other issues such as foot rot and potential […] Read more


Prairie drought conditions improve

CNS Canada — While drought conditions in Western Canada have improved following late-season snowfall, it isn’t a completely rosy picture just yet. “We have seen significant departures from normal in terms of precipitation (on the Prairies over) a long period. The winter hasn’t been above average (for precipitation) so there hasn’t been a whole lot […] Read more



Drought brings its own package of health risks for livestock

Pests, toxic plants and disease can all thrive under dry conditions

With the current lack of runoff moisture and few spring rains across much of Western Canada, certain disease conditions may become more prevalent. It will pay to be extra vigilant this year when checking your herds. We commonly see more blackleg and all the other clostridial diseases in dry conditions. With shorter grass, cattle and […] Read more

As long as livestock have plenty of clean, fresh snow research shows that should be sufficient to meet winter watering needs. Pregnant cows, however, should have access to fresh flowing water as they get closer to calv- ing. Moisture in silage also helps to meet livestock water requirements in winter.

Snow can be an excellent water source for cattle

Eating snow is a learned behaviour which may take a few days for livestock to adjust

For eons, wild animals in Canada especially the large herbivores have relied on snow as their primary water source through the winter. It has been shown that some wild species like reindeer actually prefer snow if given a choice. Canadian ruminants, especially pregnant beef and bison cows and heifers, can do well eating snow. On […] Read more


Skating on thin ice

Farm Safety

Recently an Alberta cattle producer had a run in with ice that she’ll likely never forget. It was late November and a balmy 3 C. She was moving bales with a tractor when about 15 of her cattle spied an open gate, raced through it towards a dugout on the farm, and proceeded to fall […] Read more

Surviving a cold-water emergency

In our last article, we reviewed the risks associated with frozen water bodies such as dugouts on the farm. Now we look at what to do if someone falls through the ice. To begin, unless you are trapped in your vehicle or can’t swim, hypothermia is your worst enemy. Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body […] Read more