GFM Network News


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

Sweet clover is easy to recognize by its yellow or white flowers.

Sweet clover hay can be toxic

Testing can tell you if mould-related toxins are in your bales

Sweet clover can provide good nutrition to cattle because it is high in protein and energy when not mature. However, sweet clover can become toxic to cattle if fed as hay, North Dakota State University Extension livestock systems specialist Karl Hoppe cautions. Sweet clover is a biennial legume that lives for two years. It is


Pinkeye, or keratoconjunctivitis, is an infectious disease in 
cattle that costs producers money in several ways.

Pinkeye in cattle can be costly

Producers should take a holistic approach that begins with preventing its spread

Pinkeye, or keratoconjunctivitis, is an infectious disease of cattle that costs producers money in several ways. “These include increased labour, cost of antibiotics, decreased weaning weights and decreased price paid at market for animals with scarred eyes,” says Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. One study shows that calves affected with pinkeye

Pregnancy testing cows early provides a number of benefits.

Consider pregnancy testing beef cattle early

More information can lead to better — and more profitable — management decisions

The breeding season for spring-calving cow herds could run from March through late summer or early fall, depending on the desired time of calving and length of the breeding season. “Regardless of the length of the breeding season, reproductive efficiency is a critical factor in maintaining a profitable ranch operation,” says Janna Block, Extension livestock

With the arrival of spring turnout, it’s a good time to consider your herd health program.

Practise cattle and people health management at turnout time

Now is a good time to evaluate vaccination and herd health management protocols

Spring turnout to the pasture is a good time for producers to review their cow-calf health management plans, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock experts. They note that a number of factors can impact cow-calf health, including slow grass growth and moisture conditions that may delay grazing readiness and result in prolonged feeding.


A nursing cow needs to have enough nutritional value to share the wealth with her calf.

Make sure rations are adequate for lactating cows

The first 60 to 90 days post-calving are the most nutritionally demanding period in the production cycle, and the expectations for a cow at this time are many

Calving season is in full swing, and the first 60 to 90 days post-calving are the most nutritionally demanding period in the production cycle, according to two North Dakota State University animal scientists. “The expectations for a cow at this time are many,” says Janna Block, livestock systems specialist at the Hettinger Research Extension Center.

Have some supplies gathered ahead of time if you think you may be affected by flooding.

Be prepared for flooding this year

Planning is a vital part of fighting the flood water

“Knowing what to do will help keep you and your family from panicking and having to make last-minute decisions,” says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer and flooding expert, when referring to the threat of flooding. NDSU Extension has several resources to help you prepare for a flood. Visit the NDSU Extension’s