GFM Network News


Beef 911: A close examination of the Breeding Soundness Evaluation form

Evaluating a bull isn’t straightforward and there are a number of factors to consider

In talking with astute, diligent and thorough cattlemen, it’s come to my attention that a close examination of the Breeding Soundness Evaluation form is clearly warranted. All conscientious breeders will make them available before a sale or for sure at the point of delivery. Specific things on the form may be more applicable depending on

Beef 911: Intestinal problems can come out of the blue

Some calves seem to be flourishing but they are suddenly struck down

Every spring, the sudden deaths of apparently healthy calves frustrate good managers. This article will shed some light on the cause of these internal conditions and help producers realize some things are simply beyond their control. We see one to two per cent perforating ulcers every spring on many well-managed farms. These are ulcers on


Make sure your puller is well cleaned and disinfected so infectious organisms are not transmitted between calvings.

Beef 911: A vet’s guide to the proper use of calf pullers

The goal is to deliver a lively calf, not just one that’s alive, and have the cow in good shape to rebreed

Although calf pullers are not used today near as much as past years they still have an important place in the calving barn if used properly. To me, every cow-calf producer, and some feedlot owners, need one — especially if they are often alone when calving. By using common guidelines when pulling, a calf puller

Beef 911: Equipment for the calving barn

When calving season hits, there is no time to go shopping — so here’s a checklist of what you need

As with any work area on the farm, having the proper equipment, keeping it maintained and disinfected, and stocking the area with the right pharmaceuticals will help ensure a successful calving season. The one critical component is with biosecurity. With many cows and their mothers moving through the calving area at a stressful time, it

Beef 911: Cattlemen can ensure biosecurity on the ranch

Maintaining a few simple precautions can minimize the risk of disease outbreaks

Biosecurity refers to protecting the health of our livestock by preventing disease transmission. The extreme happened many years ago now regarding the spread of foot-and-mouth through Britain. A more likely example would be the spread of scours from farm to farm or from pen to pen within the farm itself. This article will try and


A cow should be checked by your veterinarian any time there is extreme weight loss for no apparent reason.

Beef 911: Kidney disease in cattle more common than realized

If symptoms are noticed early enough, treatment can be effective

Early recognition and treatment of kidney disease in cattle can often have a favourable prognosis. The capacity of the kidneys is great so often we may not see any specific clinical signs until two-thirds of the total kidneys’ capacity are damaged. There are many causes of toxic damage to the kidneys but this article will

Many modern farms use a lot of large equipment such as silage choppers and feed wagons that can be the source of metal.

Beef 911: ‘Hardware disease’ is a common problem in cow herds

Good pasture sanitation is important, and rumen magnets are a good investment

Vets call it traumatic reticuloperitonitis, but it’s better known as “hardware disease,” a term referring to a medical condition caused when an object penetrates through the reticulum, or second stomach causing infection in the abdomen. If a sharp object goes through the diaphragm, the cow can die of heart failure. Hardware disease drains production of

When replacing batteries, ensure the old one is kept out of reach of livestock.

Beef 911: Lead poisoning in cattle continues to be toxic problem

Vehicle batteries have been responsible for several cases this year

Even with ever-increasing education, lead poisoning is still the No. 1 toxic cause of death we see as veterinarians in cattle-producing areas, especially on calves. This article will review the disease, the common sources of lead for cattle, and the circumstances where they occur. Hopefully, this will result in fewer deaths from lead exposure, which


Beef 911: Hyperthermia (overheating) in farm animals

Calving during hot weather with no shade is a recipe for trouble

Every year during the first few hot days of summer we hear media warnings about leaving pets unattended in closed vehicles, where temperatures can rise to over 50 C. We often don’t realize how susceptible livestock are to the same condition. Many a farmer or veterinarian has been fooled by symptoms resembling a toxemia or

Beef 911: Preventing bloat when pasturing alfalfa

Producers can take steps to reduce the risk through management and preventive products

Pasturing alfalfa can improve gains, but bloat is always a worry. Thankfully advancements in technology, along with pasture management, can make this a viable option. Several principles can go a long ways to preventing unnecessary deaths when turning cattle out into leguminous pastures. Cattle should initially be turned out in the heat of the day.