GFM Network News


The South East Research Farm’s trial on soybeans and flowery silage corn after frost.

Forage intercropping trials show promise in Western Canada

Research is underway to fully understand the best practices for incorporating forage mixtures in this cropping method

The practice of intercropping is receiving more attention on the Prairies, and research centres are exploring the possibilities for forage options. The potential benefits are promising, researchers say, but more work is needed to provide producers with accurate information on how best to apply this method. “I think it’s really interesting that there’s some combinations […] Read more

Cereal crops are high in starch which allows them to ferment easily. Almost any crop can be harvested for silage, however, as long as it is harvested at 60 to 70 per cent moisture.

Silage packs a punch when harvested carefully

Protect your investment with these tips on everything from harvest timing to inoculants

For some producers, silage is a mainstay, but for others who may be new to the process, there is a learning curve. Regardless of experience, there are several variables producers must consider when ensiling a crop. Gains or losses can occur during seeding and feeding silage. However, management during harvest may be pivotal to promote […] Read more


The Macnabs use a range of annual crops, plus pastures and forages, to feed their cattle.

Young cattle producers managing risk on the ranch

Whether it’s growing feed or selling cattle, Trent Macnab likes to spread out risk

For Trent Macnab, diversity in the winter feeding program has been a way to reduce risk and help build soil nutrients. The regime includes standing corn, straight barley for swath grazing, a cocktail crop mix for swath grazing and bale grazing. It also allows them to have a rotation on their fields, “which cattlemen typically […] Read more

Regions eligible for livestock tax deferrals released

Policy: News Roundup from the August 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Drought in Western Canada and Quebec prompted the federal government to release an initial list of regions eligible for livestock tax deferrals in late July. The livestock tax deferral provision allows livestock producers in prescribed drought, flood or excess moisture regions to defer a portion of their 2019 sale proceeds of breeding livestock until 2020 […] Read more


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