Bison are usually only processed once a year so remote methods are needed to treat them. Dewormers can be added in feed, minerals or water, and antimicrobials can be added into minerals or, in last resort cases, given by a dart gun.  |  File photo

Bison health concerns have pretty short list

Lots of comparisons can be made between raising bison and cattle. Some things are easier, some things are harder. But every year, I hear of new issues in the bison herds, involving animal deaths, loss of productivity or reproductive failures. One very good thing about the bison industry is it is a close-knit group of […] Read more

Pour-on endectocides were previously about 100 percent effective on internal parasites but recent evidence indicates this has fallen to about 50 percent.  |  File photo

Parasite prevention vital as dewormer efficiency fades

In the past, most pour-on products were primarily targeted at lice but for about the past eight years, the efficacy of pour-on dewormers on internal parasites has diminished. This means that after a fall treatment, the internal parasites emerge in spring, excreting lots of worm eggs. This then carries onto the pasture season and pastures […] Read more

Traditional brandings, where large groups gather and calves are processed fast, will need to be scaled down considerably during the pandemic. This branding day took place May 14 at the Spring Hill Cattle Co. near Nanton, Alta.  | Mike Sturk photo

Major changes needed to process calves amid COVID-19

Spring processing is here, when larger groups of cattle producers sometimes gather to process the calves. This year, major changes are needed. I think some changes will become the new normal in the cattle industry and some will benefit us in other ways. Livestock producers are among the most knowledgeable when it comes to biosecurity […] Read more


Cows need about 20 percent more calcium before calving and about 40 percent more after calving. Low calcium levels could make them prone to prolapse of the uterus after calving. | Wendy Dudley photo

Calcium most obvious option for pregnant downer cows

Many cows that go down close to calving are low in calcium or phosphorus, or both, and magnesium can play a role as well. When colostrum is being formed, there is a large draw of calcium into the udder and this becomes the main cause of the deficiency. To compound the problem, some cows don’t […] Read more

The procedure must be properly done, keeping in mind biosecurity and that important pledge from the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. | File photo

Proper tubing of young calves should be top priority

Tubing a young calf with colostrum, colostrum substitute, electrolytes or for other reasons can be common on cow-calf operations. The procedure must be properly done, keeping in mind biosecurity and that important pledge from the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. This article will outline proper procedures for tubing as well as some treatment parameters […] Read more


Monitoring and testing cattle can cost money, but it can also provide key information on when to initiate a procedure, drug, antibiotic or staff training.  |  Mike Sturk photo

Herd health monitoring can have beneficial results for producers

In beef cattle production, there are essential practices we must do to treat animals, and other practices that vary from region to region, pen to pen, or year to year. On some procedures, monitoring must be consistent to enable the producer and the herd veterinarian to set out specific points as to when to initiate […] Read more

Vaccines and parasiticides are most effective in livestock when used at the proper time. 
| File photo

Vaccination timing is important but sometimes needs fine-tuning

Vaccines and parasiticides are most effective in livestock when used at the proper time. Fine-tuning the most appropriate and cost-effective times to apply will achieve the optimum results. Over the years, we have sometimes got away with the cookbook-type approach, which means cattle always get treated with a vaccination, are dewormed and de-liced before entering […] Read more

Stress can bring on diseases caused by H. somni, which is why the stress of weaning and then commingling and transportation to auction markets or even directly to the feedlots seems to bring it on.
 | File photo

Stress can open the door for Histophilus somni bacteria

The disease organism known as Histophilus somni can cause many illnesses in feedlot cattle. This bacteria has been linked to pneumonia, arthritis, ITEME (infectious thrombo-embolic-meningo-encephalitis), as well as septicemia and heart failure. Stress can bring on diseases caused by H. somni, which is why the stress of weaning and then commingling and transportation to auction […] Read more


Radio frequency identification tags should be located one-quarter of the way out from the head and in the middle so that the male back end is behind the ear and the thick radio frequency part is in the inside of the ear.  |  Roy Lewis photo

Improvements have been made in ear tag retention

The national cattle identification system has been around for slightly less than 20 years. Developers have gone through lots of growing pains and are starting to fine-tune the system. Producers are deriving more benefits from using the farm management systems linked to readers and scales, which are based on the ability to read the RFID […] Read more

A lot of work has gone into the new transportation regulations.
 | File photo

Livestock transportation has seen major improvements

A lot of work has gone into the new transportation regulations. For cattle and bison, previous regulations were working well. Long trailer hauls to packing plants or feedlots in Canada and the United States recorded a success rates of more than 99.9 percent. It’s possible to improve, but a lot of the culture around loading […] Read more