GFM Network News


A rapid change from dry forage to higher-moisture, lush growth can increase risk of bovine fog fever.

Sudden change in diet may cause bovine fog fever

Caution recommended when changing forage diets in cattle

The summer of 2021 has been very challenging for ranchers and livestock. With severe drought throughout the region, we have experienced the challenges of a reduced amount of forage for grazing and forages harvested for winter feed. “While the recent rains have improved some pasture and late-season grazing conditions, winter feed inventories still remain a

In general, research indicates that soybean forage should not make up more than 50 per cent of the total diet.

Drought-stressed soybeans offer forage options

Don’t wait too long to make the decision as feed quality is declining daily

Although many areas across the region have received much-needed moisture recently, the ongoing drought and lack of forage options for beef producers is still a concern. “One potential forage source is drought-stressed soybeans that can be grazed or harvested for hay or silage,” says Janna Block, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension livestock systems specialist at


“Price and quality of alternative forages will play a key role in determining whether they can be used in a given production situation.” – Zac Carlson, NDSU.

Going non-traditional on forage

Tips and considerations for putting up atypical sources of livestock feed

Many producers are seeking alternative, possibly non-traditional, sources of forage such as cattails, flax, kochia, millet varieties and soybeans in light of continued drought. “With limited forage on the market and high prices, it may be a better option to evaluate local hay options,” North Dakota State University Extension beef cattle specialist Zac Carlson said.

While it is important to be aware of risks associated with feeding canola forage, it may provide an alternate forage for drought-stricken livestock producers.

Drought-stressed canola possible forage for livestock

It can work as an emergency source, but some risks need to be managed

Drought stress has resulted in poor canola stands that are unable to be harvested. Poor canola stands may provide an alternate forage option. “Livestock producers facing forage shortages may be able to feed their cows canola, provided they take certain precautions,” says Miranda Meehan, North Dakota State University Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist. “While canola makes palatable feed, it may

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can produce toxins that are harmful to livestock, wildlife and people.

Algae blooms can endanger livestock

Hot weather can promote blooms which can produce harmful toxins

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can produce toxins that are harmful to livestock, wildlife and people. The growth of this bacteria is aided by high temperatures. “The hot, dry conditions we are experiencing are perfect for the production of cyanobacteria,” says Miranda Meehan, North Dakota State University Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist. Given the current conditions, producers and the public should


Summer pneumonia can affect calves as early as three to four weeks old to three to five months of age.

Summer pneumonia in calves a concern

The younger animals are susceptible as the ‘passive immunity’ from their mother’s colostrum begins to fade

Dead or sick calves are a scenario that is reported every year in a number of beef herds in the northern Plains. “A list of all possible causes for this case can be very confusing to producers,” says Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. “However, depressed, feverish calves with

Producers need to think about how to manage during a drought to keep the most productive and valuable cows in the herd.

Keep your cow herd productive during drought

Recent precipitation might help, but the region remains in a dry cycle so far this season

Much of the northern plains has been in a long-term drought trend for the past several years, and already the season has been off to a dry start. While producers are familiar with drought, being prepared to develop or modify management plans in anticipation of the many challenges ahead is critical. With breeding season approaching,

Manure being spread at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center.

Troublesome weeds spread through manure

Weed seeds pass unharmed through the digestive tracts of animals such as cattle and sheep

Using some kinds of manure as fertilizer can lead to the spread of noxious and troublesome weeds. “It is a known fact that weed seeds pass unharmed through the digestive tracts of ruminant animals (cattle, sheep),” says Mary Keena, livestock environmental management specialist based at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center. “This means that whatever weed seeds


Rye, seeded as a cover crop into corn.

Rye most often-grown cover crop

A new extension publication addresses questions about rye as a cover crop

Cover crops are becoming increasingly important as a component of sustainable agriculture production. “Properly managed cover crops can reduce soil losses from wind and water erosion, reduce nitrogen losses, utilize excessive soil moisture, promote biodiversity, suppress weeds, improve soil structure and improve trafficability of fields,” says Hans Kandel, North Dakota State University Extension agronomist. In temperate regions of

Starting to plan now can help make the most of pastures in the spring.

Now is the time to plan for 2021 grazing season

Pastures stressed by drought or overgrazing this fall more than likely will experience a delay in grazing readiness in spring

The region has received several seasons of drier-than-average weather. While some locations did get some relief this year, the effect on pastures is lingering. Ranchers here in North Dakota have reported up to 60 per cent reductions in forage production on pasture, range and hay land due to the drought in 2020, according to North