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Feed Watch: August 5, 2019

Many parts of the Prairies were hammered by drought this year, and poor hay yields are reflecting that lack of rain. Saskatchewan producers have given up hope for a second cut, but regrowth has raised expectations for a second cut in some parts of Manitoba. Meanwhile, parts of Alberta and Ontario have seen too much of a good thing, as excess rain has delayed haying.

For producers sourcing hay, the Sask Forage Council has a comprehensive list of places to buy and sell hay.

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August 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen
Pea straw has higher protein levels than oat, barley or triticale straw.

Alberta
The latest crop report notes that rain has hampered haying in a swath stretching from the northeast to the northwest, along with areas in the central and foothills region. That rain is also endangering the second cut. Things are still dry in the south. Strong winds in the central region have blown away hay swaths, leaving nothing to bale. And the Peace encompasses both very dry and wet conditions.

In the south, producers have nearly wrapped the first cut on dryland and irrigated acres. Dryland yields are estimated to be one ton per acre, and irrigated is estimated to be 2.1 tons per acre. Producers have cut 18 per cent of second cut hay, and estimate yield to be 1.7 tons per acre.

Producers in central Alberta have finished 42 per cent of the first cut dryland, and are pegging yields at 1.3 ton per acre. They’ve wrapped 45 per cent of irrigated hay, and are estimating 2.4 ton per acre yields.

In the northeast, producers have finished 18 per cent of the first cut, and estimated yield at 1.6 ton per acre. Only 24 per cent of hay is rated as good to excellent quality. Meanwhile, producers in the northwest have completed 15 per cent of the first cut and are pegging yields at 1.6 ton per acres.
Producers in the Peace have finished 37 per cent of the first cut, and are estimating yields at 1.3 ton per acre.

Saskatchewan 
Provincially 39 per cent of the hay crop was baled or silaged and another 27 per cent cut as of the latest crop report. Hay quality rated three per cent excellent, 52 per cent good, 34 per cent fair and 11 per cent poor. Hay yields are well below normal and hay will be short in many areas, with no second cut in all regions for most producers. Producers are now sourcing feed.

In the southeast, 47 per cent of the hay has been baled or silaged and another 25 per cent is cut. Hay yields are generally below average.

In the southwest, producers have baled or silaged 46 per cent of the crop and cut another 27 per cent. Hay quality rated as 16 per cent excellent, 47 per cent good, 32 per cent fair and five per cent poor. Hay yields are below average.

Thirty-three per cent of the hay has been baled or silaged in the southeast, and producers have cut another 31 per cent. Hay quality rates as 57 per cent good, 20 per cent fair and 23 per cent poor. Hay yields are well below average.

Producers in west-central Sask have baled or silaged 37 per cent of the hay, and cut another 29 per cent. Hay quality rates as 33 per cent good, 50 per cent fair and 17 per cent poor. Hay yields are significantly below average.

In the northeast, producers have baled or silaged 47 per cent of the hay and cut another 36 per cent. Hay quality is rated as six per cent excellent, 59 per cent good, 29 per cent fair and six per cent poor. Many producers have indicated that hay yields are below average as swaths are below normal in size.

Meanwhile, in the northwest, producers have baled or silaged 21 per cent of the hay and cut another 21 per cent. Rain has slowed haying and reduced the quality of the hay sitting in swaths. Hay quality is rated as 50 per cent good and 50 per cent fair. Hay yields are below average.

Manitoba 

Hay and forage yields are well below average in Manitoba, and producers are keeping an eye on grasshoppers in all regions, according to the latest crop report.

In the southwest, producers have finished the first cut, and yields are well below average. Quality is good. Producers who took an early first cut have a good second cut coming, with yields looking to be average. Producers are cutting cereal silage, with yields generally average or better. Pastures that were overgrazed are not recovering, and some producers will be feeding on pasture soon.

Producers in the northwest will be cutting silage crops in the next couple of weeks. Hay yields are average around The Pas, below average around Roblin and Swan River, and about 33 per cent of average in the rest of the region. Some native hay stands weren’t worth cutting. Grasshoppers are terrible around Dauphin.

In central Manitoba, grasshoppers are chewing up hay, pasture and crops. Producers have mostly wrapped the first cut, and yields are 25 to 50 per cent of normal. Some tame hay fields are yielding as little as a half round bale per acre. Hay yields are below average but better than expected in the south. The second cut is growing in areas that had enough rain. Areas that didn’t see significant rain are not regrowing.

In eastern Manitoba, producers have been wrapping up the first cut, with yields 50 to 60 per cent of normal. Some reported yields 25 per cent of normal. Younger alfalfa stands are yielding 50 to 75 per cent of normal, and grass hay was 25 to 60 per cent of normal. Dairy farmers are finishing second cut and reporting yields 80 per cent of normal. Average hay yields for first cut were 1.0 tonne/acre for alfalfa, 0.75 tonne/acre for grass/alfalfa hay, 0.5 tonne/acre for other tame hay and a 0.25 tonne/ acre for wild hay. Second cut alfalfa is yielding 1.25 tonnes/acre.

In the Interlake, hay yields are coming in at 30 to 60 per cent of normal. Producers are cutting everything possible given the lack of stockpiled forage and poor yields. New and fertilizer stands are yielding better. Rains have brought hope for a better second cut. Producers are cutting every possible, and forage availability is a big concern in the area.

Ontario
The July Forage Report notes that potato leafhoppers are at threshold in the Niagara region. In the southwest, much of the region received below-average rainfall in July, with the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, Brant, Haldimand and Hamilton receiving average or better precipitation.

In central and eastern Ontario, potato leafhoppers are at or above threshold across the region. Most of the region received 40 to 60 per cent of average rainfall over July. Parts of Ottawa, Lanark and Leeds and Grenville received under 40 per cent. An area in the southern parts of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington and Leeds and Grenville saw 60 to 85 per cent of normal. Regrowth may be slower than expected.

In the northeast, the eastern end of Manitoulin Island had average rainfall for July, as did the western part of Sudbury District and the eastern part of Algoma. Central Algoma, the eastern parts of Sudbury District and Nipissing had 60 to 85 per cent average rainfall last month, while Cochrane, Temiskaming and Parry Sound had 40 to 60 per cent average rainfall. The western part of Manitoulin Island are drier. Armyworm has been found above threshold in Temiskaming District.

In the northwest, Kenora and Rainy River Districts received 115 to 200 per cent of average rainfall in July. Thunder Bay District had average or below-average rainfall. Wet conditions have delayed first cut in Kenora District. Regrowth from first cut in Rainy River is strong. Pasture growth across the region is good. Armyworm has been found above threshold in Rainy River District.

Do you have a current photo illustrating the pasture or feed situation in your area that you’d like to share? Send it to [email protected] (subject line: Feed Watch) or tweet it to @LtoG. Be sure to share your name, location and some information about the situation in your region.

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