GFM Network News


It takes time and management, 
but young orphaned calves can be bottle fed until they are ready to eat grass and hay on their own.

Getting orphaned calves adopted

If no foster mother is available, proper feed is vital

Many ranchers have raised calves on bottles (a twin, a heifer’s calf that isn’t accepted by its mother, or a calf whose mother died) and it’s very easy with a newborn or young calf. The main thing is to make sure the calf had colostrum within the first hours (from its own mother or another […] Read more

Allowing May/June calves to run with their mothers until mid-winter (February and March) is considered a more natural weaning cycle.

Wintering calves with their mothers

Most cows and calves will naturally wean themselves by February

Many beef producers are calving later in the year (April, May or June) rather than early, to be more in tune with nature. They have green grass at calving and less need for harvested forage when the cow’s nutritional needs peak during lactation. Along with later calving comes the necessity for later weaning. Some choose […] 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

It is important cows and calves be monitored closely or given the space to ensure they get mothered up correctly and the calf get’s sucking.

Pairing up is critical at calving — Part 1

Animal Health with Roy Lewis: Looking after the details will pay dividends later

Calving time (winter and spring) will soon be upon us, bringing the excitement of seeing what the next calf crop will be like. Several good practice tips emerge from my experience working with many great cow-calf managers over the years I hope some of these ideas will lead you to save more, and more productive, […] Read more


Newborn dairy calves need proper clean and dry shelters and proper feed to get them off to the best start.

Dairy calves need proper feed and winter housing

Whether in a straw house or plastic hutch, keep them clean, keep them fed

Whenever I see dairy calves raised outside in the winter, it often reminds me of a producer I met several years ago. At the time, he told me that years before, he raised pre-weaned dairy calves in the most dismal ways. He used to house about 15 outside in several lean-tos, which were a sheet […] Read more



Some myths and facts about EPDs

It’s only a genetic prediction, but still a useful tool

One of the main areas that I have worked on in my consulting business is genetic selection and the development and use of genetic evaluation technologies. In the more than 20 years I have been working in the field, it is interesting many of the same myths and challenges continue to appear, all during a […] Read more

It is important that this south Saskatchewan cow and all bred females that may be out on dry grass or crop residue in late fall, be supplied with proper nutrients to keep their unborn calves healthy and growing.

Cow ration will have long-term impact in calf

?Feed the grow?ing unborn calf??, and ?meet the cow’??s w?inter requirements

In fall I visit several different cow herds going into winter. One of the first herds I saw this year was a 300 Angus-Simmental cows grazing drought-stricken pasture. I understood from the producer that his herd was nearly four months pregnant and the calves were going to be weaned about a month earlier than in […] Read more


Keep cattle in proper condition and also provide a good mineral supplement.

Simple facts of why body condition is important

Get cattle in good condition before winter, and if they are there, keep them there

Areas of Western Canada have endured very dry conditions this summer, which has reduced forage availability and quality on pasture or range. Plants went dormant much earlier than normal. The lack of good quality feed will have many implications for cow-calf producers trying to wean a good-size calf and maintain high levels of reproductive performance […] Read more

Minerals now benefit next breeding season

It’s too late to fix mineral deficiencies when bulls are turned out with cows

Despite recent rain/snows, prolonged dry conditions this summer have left a wake of poor grazing pastures across the Prairies. High-fibre (aka low-energy) and low-protein grass has been the norm as well as a very poor mineral profile. A well-balanced autumn/winter mineral (and vitamin) program is necessary for gestating beef cows and replacement heifers in order […] Read more