Not all cows need help giving birth, but when it’s required, the proper equipment is vital.  |  File photo

Producers need extra equipment for calving season

A good mechanic requires specific tools for specific jobs, just as cattle producers need specialized equipment to help during calving. Producers should also practice with the equipment, keep it maintained, cleaned, disinfected and readily accessible. It could save a calf or make deliveries easier and less deleterious to the cow. Experienced cattle producers know the […] Read more

Guidelines on humane euthanasia also apply to beef producers. |  File photo

New bison code of practice good info for beef producers

Animal welfare is the underlying theme of Canada’s livestock codes of practice, and the recent bison update is no exception. It is a must read for bison producers and those contemplating getting into the business, but cattle producers would also benefit from reading it. The committee that developed the code comprised individuals involved in the […] Read more

Freeze branding is a viable option on cattle with darker hides. | Getty photo

Freeze branding: a veterinarian’s view

Years ago, I wrote an article on the negatives of hot-iron branding and got more letters to the editor than I have since. Please read this one and see if this makes sense to the cattle industry. More and more, especially in purebred herds, you see cows and bulls with freeze brands. These may be […] Read more


A close examination of an animal’s feet and legs is required to determine the correct treatment.  |  File photo

Diagnosing cattle lameness and choosing treatment

There are many different causes of lameness in both the cow-calf and finishing sectors of the cattle industry. Making the correct diagnosis or recognizing specific clinical entities will alter treatments that are given. Remember, lameness is the symptom caused by pain. We need to find the cause of that pain. Pain control may be justified […] Read more

Cattle processing, hide colour, temperature play role in FCS

A few years ago, cattle in an American feedlot went down during transport to a packing plant and others developed severe lameness. This condition was eventually labelled fatigue cattle syndrome and became a significant animal welfare issue because of the appearance of severely lame, non-ambulatory cattle. Beta agonists were initially blamed, but numerous studies have […] Read more


Becky Bezugley, who was a veterinary student at the University of Calgary in 2015 when this photo was taken but has since become a veterinarian, treats a umbilical abscess.  |  Roy Lewis photo

Determine cause of swelling to dictate treatment required

Cattle can become afflicted with large swellings both as individual animals or on a herd basis. Diagnosing, treatment and prevention are key factors producers and veterinarians must consider. Before proceeding, causes other than abscesses must be ruled out. Abscesses take time to develop so a sudden swelling may indicate another cause. When that happens, a […] Read more

Clostridial vaccines are almost 100 percent effective, but a booster shot is essential.  |  File photo

The facts and fallacies of clostridial disease

In spite of good protection contained in vaccines for most clostridial diseases such as blackleg, tetanus and redwater, incidences are on the rise. Whether we raise cattle, sheep, goats or other livestock such as bison or elk, all are susceptible to various disease forms of the clostridial organism. As a quick review, clostridial organisms are […] Read more

Hutches come in a variety of sizes, providing calves with a dry, warm environment.
|  File photo

Calf hutches, creep areas help prevent disease

Many producers use calf hutches during calving season and for very good reason. They are especially important if calving early in inclement weather. As well, the increasing size of our herds means young calves need to get away from the crowded stress. Even producers who calve their herds in the summer will find it beneficial […] Read more


Video cameras, drones improve monitoring cattle health

Cattle monitoring technology is making great advancements with high resolution video and drones. I’ve been able to observe the use of advanced cameras in the last year at two operations I deal with during the calving season. I have also witnessed demonstrations and heard a few presentations on drones for checking and monitoring cattle. Video […] Read more

Ways to improve breeding efficiency, save money

There are many ways producers can improve breeding efficiencies and lower their costs. Sharing bulls with like-minded producers is one cost-saving option. Another is using synchronization programs with artificial insemination. Dairy producers already use sexed semen, which may become more available in the beef industry down the road. In the past dairy operators needed to […] Read more