GFM Network News


Don’t delay planning your winter feed supply

Nutrition with John McKinnon

This past winter was challenging, particularly for those of you who experienced drought in 2018. Feed supplies were extremely tight and compounded by unseasonably cold weather in February and March. As a result, many producers had to scramble to get sufficient feed to carry their cattle through the winter. While it is too early to […] Read more

Electric fencing can be an effective way to give pastures or cells a break between grazing.

Management key when evaluating forage production

What should you consider when evaluating the performance of grazing systems and forage production? According to Sean McGrath, management is the factor least often measured in the forage industry, but doing so can keep you accountable for your management decisions and positively impact performance. McGrath, who ranches with his family at Vermilion, Alta., discussed this […] Read more


Round bales can be stored under tarps to keep out moisture and reduce rot.

Managing forage in a dry year

Planning for drought needs to occur before drought arrives

Drought is normal in Western Canada and it is not going to go away. We just don’t know when the next drought will be, or how long it will last. “Drought affects two basic parts of the rancher’s business,” says Dr. Art Bailey, range science professor emeritus at the University of Alberta. “On the demand […] Read more



“We did not see any interaction between cattle RFI ranking and diet quality.” Dr. Hushton Block, Ag Canada, Lacombe, Alta.

Balancing your nutrients will pay off

Research looked at improving the economic and feed efficiency for beef cattle

Dr. Hushton Block, beef cattle nutritionist previously at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Bran­don Research Centre and now currently at Lacombe, is interested in finding ways of improving the economic and feed efficiency for beef cattle. One idea Block looked at deals with how beef cattle with better (lower) residual feed intake (RFI) react with […] Read more

Tom Kilcer recommends triticale as a cover crop with high feed value, and says to manage it as a feed crop, not just a cover, using seed treatment and good seed.

Don’t call it ‘cover,’ call it ‘feed’

How sacrificing some silage yield can gain another six to 10 tons of forage per acre

Tom Kilcer says farmers are missing an opportunity to create greater value from cover crops by using them in a carefully planned winter forage system. He’s promoting a system that gives up some yield in corn silage planted after the winter forage in order to gain overall total yield over a whole growing season.  Kilcer, […] Read more


Mike Schellenberg and Alan Iwaasa are evaluating the impact of polycrop mixtures on grazing capacity and soil health in the semi-arid prairie.

Seeking plants with polyculture potential

Choose your species wisely to avoid unintended results

When producers discuss the benefits of growing annual polycultures, also known as multi-species mixes or crop cocktails, the talk often revolves around soil-health and environmental improvements, often­­­times taking forage production for granted. Of course, production does occur, but yield and feed quality may be disappointing if the species chosen target soil problems rather than forage […] Read more

In the study, the cows were fed barley silage, barley grain, barley straw and hay in confinement, or swath grazed on triticale (seen here) or corn for 120 days.

Another look at the costs and benefits of swath grazing

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Well-managed swath grazing has well-known economic benefits for producers. But research results from a study funded by the Beef Science Cluster showed that it can have environmental benefits as well. Dr. Vern Baron and coworkers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lacombe Research Station recently published Swath grazing triticale and corn compared to barley and a […] Read more



Cereals North America: Shift to La Nina may hurt yields

Winnipeg | CNS Canada –– El Nino weather patterns are typically beneficial to North American grain yields, but cut into the production prospects of key Eastern Hemisphere demand markets, according to presenters at this week’s Cereals North America conference. However, an expected shift toward La Nina conditions by late 2016 could see North American grain yields […] Read more