GFM Network News


Keep a close watch for these issues when calving

Beef 911: Recognizing the signs of trouble and acting quickly can be a true lifesaver

This column is my attempt to summarize the many ways we can hopefully maximize calf survivability and productivity starting at calving time. Each of you will have different management styles, strategies, and numbers — but if there are one or two new things, techniques, or observations you can learn from, the read will have been

There are a host of factors to take into account if you’re thinking of changing your calving season, but the main question to answer is: What works best for you?

The right time for calving depends on your farm — and you

While many producers are calving earlier, some have gone the other way

Calving season looks different on every operation — there is no one right method or time of year to calve a cow herd. While more producers in Western Canada have moved to later calving, some have gone the other way. Here are the experiences of three ranching families. Late-summer/fall calving Taralea Simpson has been calving


Getting ready ahead of time can help ensure a successful calving season.

Prepare for spring calving

A few simple steps can set your operation up for success

Planning and preparing for the calving season can help not only minimize calf losses but also improve calves’ performance, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock specialists. The nutrition status of the calving herd is one issue to consider in preparing for the upcoming spring calving season. “Although this should be an earlier concern,

Colin Palmer uses his PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera system to monitor calving pens. The camera system is a step up from his first forays into fixed-view cameras and allows him to read ear tags from up to 140 feet away.

Producer’s key to calving is only a click away with camera system

Calving cameras promise to de-stress the most stressful weeks for livestock producers


Colin Palmer no longer fits the image of the sleep-deprived, anxiety-ridden beef producer when calving starts — despite having more than double the cattle he did a decade ago. Instead, he is losing fewer calves, spending less money on gas and steps off his farm near Saskatoon more lightly in spring, since he can pull

Spotty cellphone connection and internet service might be an issue for producers wanting to stream video via a calf surveillance system.

Cow cams may fall short without tall towers

Failure to connect: Like anything involving video transfer, calving cameras will need good internet and cell service to transmit an image of the calving pen off the farm

Cow cams may promise peace of mind but, like most things connected to data agriculture, they also bring up the perennial challenges with rural internet. Rural internet is an obstacle for the farmers wanting to adopt cow cams, Colin Palmer (a producer and speaker on cattle surveillance systems) admits. He has reaped the benefit of


Many pastures had a hard start to the season, and veterinarians warn that open rates might soar as a result.

Poor pastures cast a long shadow, despite recent storms

The province has gotten rain, but poor nutrition could affect the next calving season

Veterinarians warn that the dry start to the season may come back to roost when producers start pregnancy checking this fall. Why it matters: Poor winter rations followed by poor pastures may mean a hard calving season next year. Dr. Carl Reesink, of the Fisher Veterinary Clinic in Fisher Branch, says he is worried about

This winter’s snowfall and bone-chilling temperatures have created difficult calving conditions.

Winter calving requires diligence

There are risks to both winter calving outdoors and indoor births

Winter calving can lead to health risks for the newborns, North Dakota State University Extension livestock specialists caution. This winter’s heavy snowfall and dangerous wind chills have created calving conditions that are difficult to manage and put the ears, feet and life of newborn calves at risk. However, calving indoors also has its drawbacks. “When

Serious consequences can result from not providing pregnant cows with enough protein during the winter.

Protein key for pregnant cows

Keep your cows in their best shape with proper feed

Underfeeding protein to stock cows through their winter gestation has serious consequences, a North Dakota State University Extension livestock expert warns. “If insufficient protein and nitrogen are provided and degraded in the rumen, forage digestion will be reduced and the cow may not meet caloric needs and lose weight,” says John Dhuyvetter, Extension livestock systems


When cows are making milk for calves, their own nutritional needs are higher too.

Feed the cow, feed the calf

Ensuring that cows receive adequate nutrition after calving is critical

The most crucial time for your cows to be fed right is right after calving. “The first 60 to 90 days post-calving is the most nutritionally demanding period in the production cycle of a cow and arguably one of the most important in achieving production goals,” says Janna Kincheloe, the North Dakota State University Extension

Improper cervical dilation at calving demands quick action

Beef 911: This is one of the hardest situations that comes during calving and recognizing the problem is the first step

One of the hardest calving dilemmas you face as producers, or we face as veterinarians, is improper cervical dilation. When going through the stages of labour before expulsion of the fetus, the cervix relaxes, softens, and opens up (essentially as wide as the vagina) to allow the fetus to enter the vaginal vault. When this