This is an example of polycropping with a mixture of cereals, legumes and brassicas. This crop was growing in late fall at Graeme Finn’s ranch west of Calgary.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Forage operations eye cover crops

Integrating cover crops into forage operations is becoming a popular strategy to improve soil and offer a diverse diet to livestock. Growing multiple crops together is also known as polycropping, polycultures and cocktail mixtures. Jillian Bainard, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada at Swift Current, Sask., said producers believe benefits include enhanced weed control, better […] Read more

The conservation trust, which among other things is being used to make pasture improvements, was announced in last year’s Manitoba budget.  |  File photo

Conservation trust funds pasture project

Pasture health improvements are in store for the Kirkella Community Pasture near Virden, Man., using recently announced conservation trust funding. The $100,000 allocated through the new provincial conservation trust will be used to enhance grassland habitat in various ways. “The first step, I guess, is we’re going to have a pasture assessment done and we’re […] Read more

Maximum total dissolved solid levels in water are 4,000 to 5,000 milligrams per litre for cows and calves. Levels above that will likely affect productivity.  |  File photo

Quality water important for cattle on pasture

Risks to cattle increase as sulfate concentrations in water rises.


A quality water supply is a key component of pasture health where cows and calves are expected to thrive during the grazing season. Water intake affects feed intake, nutrient absorption, weight gain, milk production, fertility and temperature regulation in cattle, and cows need nine to 21 gallons of good water per day, depending on lactation […] Read more


Alberta’s native prairie parkland is an endangered ecosystem that ranchers such as Sean McGrath want to protect. This is his ranch in mid-April.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Ranch focuses on protecting native grassland

Everything is done to preserve the operation’s grasslands, but the approach must be practical and economically feasible

VERMILION, Alta. — Sean McGrath considers himself a guardian of the most endangered ecosystem in the world. “For prairie parkland, there is almost none left, probably about one percent. It is more endangered than the rainforest,” he said. The majority of his land base is owned and leased native grassland, so he manages it like […] Read more

Maintaining trucks and trailers to prevent potential accidents is a key aspect of transporting livestock.  |  File photo

Truck is key piece in transport puzzle

NEW ORLEANS, La. — The public is casting its eyes on how livestock are moved and one of the key aspects is maintaining trucks and trailers to prevent potential accidents. It is stressful for livestock when the trailer breaks down at the side of the road and too often first responders do not know what […] Read more


Genetics play a role in meat tenderness, but animal handling practices and carcass treatment are more important.  | File photo

Keeping cattle calm can improve beef quality

Watching flight zone and balance points helps hold animals in right frame of mind and moving in the right direction


NEW ORLEANS, La. — Learning how to move cattle with little fuss can be an enjoyable experience that doesn’t cost money. Beef quality and stockmanship go together because calm animals can be more profitable, said Curt Pate, who runs livestock-handling clinics across North America. “It will require an investment in time and thought and reflection,” […] Read more

The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency has a long-term study on ear tag retention that looks at a variety of environments.
 | File photo

Cattle industry focuses on keeping tags in ears

A long-term study finds that ear tags fall out largely because the stud on the backing falls apart quicker than it should

When Canadian cattle producers complain about traceability, their biggest gripe is lost ear tags. The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency has a long-term study on ear tag retention that looks at a variety of environments. Manufacturers and the agency have heard the complaints and both are exploring the problem and ways to keep the tags in, […] Read more

Emergency livestock handling equipment trailers, administered by the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association, are equipped with gear that can help producers cope with incidents such as cattle liner rollovers, barn collapses, fires, floods and stuck animals.  |  AFAC photo

Alta. emergency trailers helpful during disasters

Alberta producers seeking help in livestock emergencies are able to access specialized trailers equipped with first responders and tools to resolve situations. The emergency livestock handling equipment trailers, administered by the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association (AFAC), can help producers in incidents such as cattle liner rollovers, barn collapses, fires, floods and with stuck animals. […] Read more


It is important for producers to understand the pros and cons of killed and modified live vaccines.  |  File photo

Cattle’s vaccination history important

Producers are advised to talk with a veterinarian once a year about vaccination programs to get the best results

RED DEER — There are different kinds of vaccines on the market and it is important that producers know what their cattle have received in the past. “It is really important to know the history of animals and what they have had in their lives when you are vaccinating mature animals,” said veterinarian Craig Dorin […] Read more

Cattle infected with parasites spend less time grazing and more time idling in the pasture, leading to lower weight gains compared to animals treated to eliminate parasites. | File photo

Cattle with parasites graze less efficiently

Research has found that treating cattle for worms can potentially improve their productivity in the pasture

Cattle infected with parasites spend less time grazing and more time idling in the pasture, leading to lower weight gains compared to animals treated to eliminate parasites. Though the study led by Andrew Forbes was published in Veterinary Parasitology in 2004, its findings emphasize the benefits of parasite treatment in cattle to potentially improve productivity. […] Read more