Ranchers are advised against renting pasture on a per acre basis because it can result in over-grazing.  |  File photo

Bigger cows can skew pasture rates

Today’s commercial cows are about 1,300 lb. on average, which is heavier than what’s used in rental rate calculators

When calculating pasture rates based on animal unit months, producers should consider that most cows are heavier than the 1,000 pounds used in AUM calculations. Ted Nibourg, farm management specialist with Alberta Agriculture, said that today’s commercial cows are about 1,300 lb. on average and some are even larger. That must be taken into account […] Read more

“Most successful producers really begin their management at the pasture level,” said Hugh Aljoe, a pasture and range consultant with the Noble Research Institute.
 | File photo

Cattle success begins with pasture health

Watching what happens on the land can help producers make decisions such as carrying capacity and stocking rates

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — If cows are the factory and calves are the product, then the pasture is the foundation for the factory. “Most successful producers really begin their management at the pasture level,” said Hugh Aljoe, a pasture and range consultant with the Noble Research Institute. Minding what happens on the land aids decisions […] Read more

RanchWorx initiated its aerator design work 47 years ago in Florida palm and Texas mesquite because those were the two toughest pasture invasive woody environments. |  RanchWorx/David Benjamin photo

Steel blades rejuvenate pastures chemical-free

Some cattle producers treat grazing land like just so much dirt, assuming nature looks after management. The pasture responds accordingly. “People take grazing land and hay land for granted. They’re scared to put money into it. It’s usually a hot topic when cattlemen get together,” said RanchWorx agronomist David Benjamin. “Rotational grazing and mob grazing […] Read more


Animals could have been saved in many fatal barn fires if a fire plan had been developed and practised. Because most barns have metal siding, and electrical malfunction is the major cause of barn fires, there is always the risk of electrocution when touching the siding. | John Whelan photo

Sound the alarm on barn fires

More than 740,000 Canadian livestock died in barn fires from 2015-19; there were 65 fatal fires a year on average

The terrified bellowing of burning cattle. The devil’s high-pitched scream of panicky pigs on fire. The frantic neighing of burning horses. These are sounds of animals trapped inside a burning barn. The sounds never go away for those firefighters and farmers who have heard the haunting howls of livestock dying in a burning barn. For […] Read more

You don’t hear many stories about burning barns being saved

Barn fires are often difficult to fight because of 
the long distances between farms and firefighters, and a limited supply of water on farms

There were 327 reported barn fires in Canada from 2015-19. Exact cause was determined in only one-third of them. Some are still under investigation. In many barn fires, evidence is lost in the blaze because of intense heat. Unfortunately, it often takes too long for rural firefighters to arrive on the scene. By the time […] Read more


A barn fire in Agassiz, B.C.  |  Shane MacKichan photo

Steps can be taken to protect barns

Are your barns safe from the trauma a fire would bring? To reduce these tragedies, Humane Society International/Canada is calling on governments to legislate better safety criteria for confined animals. There are things an individual farmer can do to be in compliance with proposed safety standards, said Riana Topan, farm animal welfare specialist for the […] Read more

Implants are applied to the ear because that part of the animal is not part of the food system. | File photo

Calf implants show multiple benefits

Research shows suckling calves given one implant can gain an extra 20 lb. by the time they are weaned

RED DEER — The improved weight gain and feed efficiency among beef cattle receiving growth promoting hormones has been well-studied since these products were approved in the 1950s. Implanting calves could be an added advantage for cow-calf operators, said veterinarian John McKinnon of Zoetis and former beef industry chair at the University of Saskatchewan. Field […] Read more

Calves that receive adequate colostrum within the first two hours of life are given the best start.  |  File photo

Success in beef starts with calves

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Calf health is the number one priority for success on a beef operation. The top third of producers invest the most in genetics, nutrition and animal health. They do not cut back on feed because they do not want calves to lose weight, said veterinarian Joe Gillespie of Boehringer Ingelheim. On […] Read more


University of Alberta research has confirmed that elk and cattle are in closer proximity during winter and attracted to feed stores, salt and mineral blocks.  |  Mike Sturk photo

Winter riskiest time for elk disease transmission

Diseases that can spread between livestock and wildlife include anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and worms

Wildlife can spread disease to cattle and a recently completed study on southern Alberta elk has shed light on the issue. University of Alberta researchers studied the movement of radio-collared elk and correlated it with the locations of cattle herds grazed by 16 cattle ranchers in the province’s southwestern region. They concluded that the risk […] Read more

Good relationship with veterinarian can pay off

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association has formalized five points for a veterinary client patient relationship:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Scott Hand manages JX Cattle Ranch in Texas and has learned the value of having a good veterinarian. The ranch has about 500 commercial cows, which need treatments, pregnancy checks and other services. His vet, Keelan Lewis, offers producer education sessions to share information on emerging diseases, vaccines that might be […] Read more