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.
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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

Calves must be nutritionally healthy and old enough for preconditioning to be most effective.  |  File photo

Preconditioning, BVD vaccines are ideal in perfect world

There are different sectors of the cattle industry with different needs and objectives. By raising points on what certain management practices are ideal, perhaps we can collectively work toward those practices. It’s not easy but if better outcomes can be achieved for all, so much the better. We know preconditioning, which includes preimmunization and on-farm […] 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

This external parasite releases a neurotoxin through its mouthparts that can paralyze livestock. 
In certain areas of the country it can be a major health problem in cattle. | File photo

Tick paralysis increasing in cattle

Ticks are being found in increasing frequency in our food-producing animals and domestic pets. They cause concerns because some species carry transmissible diseases that can affect humans, such as Lyme disease. Others cause blood-loss irritation and others cause paralysis. The most commonly found tick on cattle in Western Canada is the Rocky Mountain wood tick […] Read more

Making improvements to chutes and corrals is one of the ways that cattle producers can make their operations more efficient and economical.  |  File photo

Ways to save time and labour in cow-calf operations

Time and labour are often in short supply at cow-calf operations, but there are ways producers can save both, while also saving a bit of money. Drones should be used on most larger operations for checking cattle, checking fences, checking watering troughs, finding lost cattle and identifying sick ones. Drones are quick and the images […] Read more


Producers and veterinarians may need to change how they routinely treat cattle for lice.  |  Jeannette Greaves photo

Lice increase in prevalence across Western Canada

For the second winter in a row pharmaceutical companies are hearing lots of complaints about scratching cattle and hair loss. This means that producers and veterinarians may need to change how they routinely treat for lice. First, a positive diagnosis is important. We may handle biting lice, sucking lice and chorioptic mange differently and many […] Read more

Nervous cows are less likely to reinitiate uterine contractions.  |  File photo

Lack of contractions in calving cows has various causes

There have been several instances during my career when an unexplained delay in calving has resulted in stillborn or weak calves because the calving process was too long. I would guess that most producers have run into this problem at one time or another. Although not much research has been done on the subject and […] Read more