GFM Network News


Cattle sector knows about learning and adapting

Beef 911: Infectious disease is a constant risk on ranches and feedlots, and we know how to reduce the threat

The COVID-19 outbreak gives us time to reflect on how we do things with our livestock. Cattle producers are in the unique situation in the sense we all know about infectious disease — and mitigating risk. From now on, it won’t be as hard to explain to people how we don’t want visitors, especially around

Care should be taken when administering products with a balling gun or other oral administration techniques.

Technique matters when administering oral products

Beef 911: There are several things to be aware of when using balling guns and oral technique

The use of balling guns or administration of other oral products is increasing in the cattle business, including for NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In the old days, a few antibiotics such as long-acting sulfa drugs were given as oral tablets or there were big aspirin pills. These are both actually still available today but seldom


Small changes to your livestock care program can make a big difference

Beef 911: A better vaccination program, storing vaccines properly, pain control, and lowering stress are big wins

I was thinking, if there were several points that could make a big difference in today’s modern cattle production, what would those be? Here are some that I hope resonate with producers. There are still holes in many producers’ vaccination programs and one of the most critical is getting IBR and BVD protection into our

Now is a good time to check udders of cows and bred heifers

Beef 911: Paying attention to teat and udder conformation greatly reduces the odds of having a cow with mastitis

Before calving is a good time for scrutinizing the udders of cows and bred heifers. Occasionally chronic infected quarters (probably emanating from the year previous) are highly visible as large swollen quarters compared to the other three. They will often flare up a few weeks before calving as the colostrum is being formed. Usually the

Inducing cows is a risk-and-reward scenario

Beef 911: Many factors need to be considered and no two cases are exactly alike

There comes a time in cow-calf production to induce cows to calve for a number of reasons. This may be because there is an abnormal pregnancy, the cow has a life-threatening condition, the pregnancy has gone on too long leading to health issues or other reasons. All require careful thought and examination as every case


Quick treatment of sick animals is often critical

Beef 911: Sometimes a wait-and-see approach works but often a rapid response is needed to prevent losses

Veterinary medicine, like human medicine, is very complex and difficult to master. Outcomes can rely on a quick, accurate diagnosis and followed up by a timely treatment. If we have made the right diagnosis, detected it early enough and treated with the appropriate product, then the odds of a successful prognosis will go up considerably.

Veterinarians are needed more than ever due to more preventive programs, regulatory and record-keeping requirements, and food safety and animal welfare protocols.

How to address the shortage of large-animal veterinarians

Beef 911: More spots in veterinary schools and more support for new grads would go a long way

After talking with large-animal veterinarians, observing the number of ads for large-animal veterinarians, and taking part in a job fair at the University of Calgary’s vet school, it’s clear that there is getting to be a real shortage of veterinarians wanting to do either mixed- or large-animal practice in Western Canada. But strategies are starting

Plant-based proteins are fine. It is just humorous that they want it to taste like beef and even be in a patty like a beef burger. – Roy Lewis.

Beyond Meat? More like Beneath Beef in my view

Beef 911: Plant-based burgers may come close in some aspects but it remains a highly processed food

Well cattle and beef producers, this is solely marketing for marketing’s sake. With the organic, vegetarian, raised without added antibiotics or hormones movements we are seeing, I suppose a plant-based protein product was probably inevitable. What we as beef producers need to do is keep telling our story — and what we do to raise


Tapeworms, seen here under a microscope, can cause both animal and human health concerns.

Be vigilant when it comes to tapeworms

Beef 911: Even if you don’t have livestock, pets can be infected and pose a risk to their owners

Over the years, it seems like different species of tapeworms are increasing in frequency, with the risk of production losses also increasing. It also appears the risk of contacting a potentially very serious human disease is also increasing. (I will briefly cover this disease, echinococcus, at the end of this article.) We see different tapeworm

Depending on the type of parasitic larvae, clinical signs can include coughing and slight diarrhea or weight loss.

Got poor weight gain in cattle? Check for parasites

Beef 911: Even seemingly healthy cattle might do better after deworming

This season has really turned around in Western Canada in terms of moisture. This has seen the pastures shoot up, humidity run up and should lead to optimal survival of internal parasite larvae. If turnout to pasture occurred at normal times, maximum picking up of larvae has or is occurring so internal levels will be