GFM Network News


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

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


Many farms across Western Canada will likely be dealing with a certain amount of mouldy feed that can be fed in small amounts if blended off with better quality feed.

Vitti: Options for including mouldy feed in rations

Know what you have and blend it off with the good stuff


This year, not many people harvested and stored good-quality hay on the northern Prairies. A cool spring and droughty summer capped by a couple of feet of autumn snow forced many producers to harvest thousands of mouldy hay bales. For many, this is their only forage supply to overwinter beef cows. Fortunately, we can set […] 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


dairy cattle eating hay

Know your lactating dairy diet costs

Look to find a balance between very expensive and very cheap rations

Occasionally, I talk to dairy producers about the financial aspects of operating a barn, aside from dairy nutrition. All producers wish to reduce their lactating feed costs. One producer I know wants to switch to a notorious cheap protein supplement, while another wants to hire a private dairy consultant and tender out all dairy feed […] Read more



Pay attention to post-weaning programs for dairy cattle

Pay attention to post-weaning programs for dairy cattle

You want replacement heifers to grow at an optimum rate, but not too fast or too slow

Almost every time I visit a dairy barn, I make a point of looking at post-weaned replacement heifers as well. Raising young dairy heifers can be one of the greatest challenges even on the best-run dairies. I believe implementing a good post-weaning heifer program makes good sense and contributes to their future success as high-milk-producing dairy […] Read more

Push up a diet of stable DMI for optimum milk production

Push up a diet of stable DMI for optimum milk production

Before making any substantial changes, be particularly aware of the natural laws of general feed consumption

For years, getting lactating dairy cows to eat as much dry matter intake (DMI) as possible has been a common goal among dairy specialists aimed at getting cows to produce more milk. Some of these specialists took note of the more extensive university and extension dairy trials, which report that maximum feed intake is still […] Read more