GFM Network News


dairy cows eating TMR

Dairy Corner: Forage fibre the big driver in milk fat production

Put your TMR to the test to determine if it's the proper particle size


Maintaining good milk production with adequate milk fat is always the main source of good revenue on most dairy farms. Regardless of the actual feed ingredient formulation, it must work in tandem with the natural body functions of healthy cows. This is something we should keep in mind when reformulating current rations if restrictions are […] Read more

It doesn’t have to be a fancy ration, but proper nutrition for cows and heifers after they calve will have multiple benefits down the road.

Invest in a good feeding program after calving

It benefits in rebreeding and also fall-calf weaning weights

I give nursing beef cow diets a passing grade when they support beef cows to produce lots of milk for their newborn calves and promote growth in postpartum replacement heifers. These diets must also retain their precious body condition (BCS of 2.5 -3.0, on a 5-point scale) so females can get rebred and conceive within […] Read more


Feeding milk replacer can be part of a well-balanced calf-feeding program.

Prevent abomasal bloat in young dairy calves

Several factors related to feeding may cause the disorder

Once the dairy calf hits the straw of the maternal pen, it is removed from its mother and shuttled away to an individual pen or hutch where abomasal bloat is often waiting. Although not fully understood by dairy veterinarians and specialists, the relatively high incidence of abomasal bloat in young dairy calves can be significantly […] 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


This is an actual picture of hairy heel warts taken by a dairy producer.

Controlling hairy heel warts in dairy cattle

A clean barn is part of preventative measures

Since the new year, I have travelled to many dairy farms across Western Canada and conducted a personal survey about lameness in dairy cattle. At each visit, I asked producers “What was their biggest cause of hoof problems?” Almost unanimously, their answer was “hairy heel warts!” This is no surprise, since multiple surveys conducted over […] Read more

More whole milk is needed to meet the basic water requirement of pre-weaned calves.

Pre-weaned calves need extra water

Dairy Corner: Satisfying thirst also promotes good dry calf starter intake

Feeding milk replacer or whole milk does not provide enough water for growing pre-weaned dairy calves. Young calves have a natural requirement for water which is often higher and separate than what is provided by most milk-based feeding programs. By providing all the water needed, calves adapt to dry calf starter quicker, grow faster and […] Read more


finished animals-Glen Nicoll
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Untreated pinkeye can be costly

Reduced weight gain on calves means fewer marketable pounds

It’s a funny thing about walking among beef cattle — I tend to catch things that I wouldn’t otherwise see by staring at them from a truck. Take spotting cattle with pinkeye for instance. The other week, I was walking along with the feedlot manager after the feedbunk was filled. Most of the beef finishers […] Read more