GFM Network News


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


Is there really any need to brand cattle anymore?

Beef 911: The reasons for branding have largely disappeared and when necessary, pain treatment should be used

I hope everyone will seriously question if we need to brand — and if we do, how best to do it. I have heard several veterinarians and animal welfare scientists discuss if branding in its original form is even needed today. Lots has changed from the days of the wide-open range where cattle were mixed

Every year offers different stressors for cattle. Vaccination at least reduces the severity when calves get sick.


More progress needed on livestock vaccination report card

Beef 911: The latest in-depth survey of the cow herd shows higher rates of vaccination, but gaps remain

A recent article on the results of a very in-depth survey of cow-calf herds across Western Canada notes there has been decent improvement in vaccination usage since surveys done in the early 2000s. But it pinpoints gaps in vaccine coverage that could be improved. There are things to be learned by every producer and veterinary