Many new approaches to old issues in cattle health are improving outcomes for producers. A smokey haze hangs over these animals grazing some dry pastures near Turtleford, Sask., last week.  |  Robyn Wheat photo

Beef industry improvements provide steady benefits

Major changes have occurred in the production of beef in our country over the last few years. Many could benefit a cattle operation. Some are pharmaceutical in nature. Others are advances in equipment, services and reduced stress cattle handling. It is promising to see advances that will improve both profitability and beef quality. Pharmaceutical companies […] Read more

To keep diseases off your farm and to prevent them from spreading, simple biosecurity practices may greatly help. | File photo

Cow-calf operations can improve biosecurity practices

COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed. We have all learned great lessons and it will be interesting to see what biosecurity measures stand the test of time. From masks used in some situations, to workers and patrons protected in restaurants by plexiglass, these are all good measures for any communicable diseases. Recently, a research article has […] Read more

The international designation will allow Canadian beef exporters access to more foreign markets. | File photo

Negligible risk status will have big impact on beef sector

Congratulations are in order for the effort and dedication of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association in finally achieving negligible risk status for BSE. The international designation will allow Canadian beef exporters access to more foreign markets. Canadian beef access to many foreign markets has been restricted since 2003 when BSE […] Read more


In the life of a breeding bull, penile problems can develop. Because of the value of the bull, medical or surgical treatment is often called for, and prognosis is often reasonable. | File photo

Most penile problems found in bulls can be corrected

Today, most large-scale producers have breeding soundness exams carried out on their breeding bulls yearly. Almost every purebred 12- to 15-month-old bull calf will have a breeding soundness exam performed by a veterinarian. The consistency of this exam is very good in the profession. The ReliaBull scrotal circumference tape has made scrotal circumference measurements accurate […] Read more

Bull pens must be big enough to allow bulls to escape from one another. | File photo

Introduce bulls properly to protect health and welfare

Nothing frustrates me more than when big bulls are unnecessarily injured. This happens a lot when bulls are introduced or reintroduced to one another. It also happens when bulls are transported together in trailers. Bull pens must be big enough to allow bulls to escape from one another. Every time we move bulls, whether for […] Read more


Irons should be made from flat bar, at least 3/8 inch thick and about 1 1/2 inches wide, and then slightly bevelled on the face to no less than 1/4 inch wide. This will allow the iron to carry some heat from the fire to the hide without too much cooling. | Photo courtesy Suzanne Rose

If branding is deemed necessary, it must be done right

Branding remains necessary in many modern cattle operations because it is still the only permanent form of cattle identification. We must make the effort to do it well. In this column, we will look at hot iron branding. A good brand should be legible from quite a distance. In Alberta, Livestock Identification Services carries out […] Read more

Veterinary students need to be encouraged to enter large animal practice when they graduate. | File photo

Large animal veterinarian shortage starts with students

The shortage of large animal veterinarians in Western Canada is an age-old problem that seems to be improving with time. First, we have to look at the number of seats available for veterinary students in general. There is a rumour that seats for Alberta students went up with the addition of 20 seats at Alberta’s […] Read more

Bulls have an easier time of it with the new generation of semen collectors. | File photo

A new age arrives in breeding soundness evaluations

This article should have some good information for everyone: those thinking of evaluating for the first time, the seasoned veterinarian who has been doing it for many years for his clients and the new graduate veterinarian just getting into the process. Pulling out infertile bulls and finding bulls with other problems is now common practice […] Read more


Purebred bulls that are bought at sales held months before breeding season will likely need to be rechecked.  |  File photo

Earlier bull sales can complicate semen evaluations

Purebred bull sales in all breeds appear to be happening earlier and earlier in the year, some even occurring in December. This is months before many cattle producers plan to use them in their breeding programs. It can create difficulties for veterinarians to get these bulls’ semen evaluated ahead of time. Both sellers and buyers […] Read more

Good disinfectants are necessary for every farm and ranch. | File photo

Biosecurity farm practices are often just common sense

With the arrival of calving season, now is the time to talk about biosecurity. Just like we have learned principles to prevent the spread and contraction of COVID-19 between humans, similar principles apply to most infectious diseases in livestock production. The diseases vary between species, but many principles remain the same. Cleaning and disinfection in […] Read more