GFM Network News


The Central Grasslands Roadmap aims to focus the efforts of organizations trying to conserve what remains of North America’s grasslands.

A wider vision for grassland conservation

A new collaborative effort across North America is focusing efforts to protect the fast-disappearing Prairie ecosystem

For many who call the Canadian Prairies home, it would be impossible to imagine springtime without the cheerful song of the western meadowlark. That distinct, flute-like call, along with the other songs of grassland birds returning north, is a defining part of this landscape. [AUDIO CLIP: Tammy VerCauteren, executive director of the U.S.-based Bird Conservancy […] Read more

Jointed goat grass can hybridize with wheat.

Healthy range key to preventing new invasive plants

Range agrologists urge producers to watch for changes on the landscape and be mindful of how invasive species spread

If your grasslands are in good health, you’re already on your way to preventing an infestation of an invasive grass species. Without proper range management, grasslands in poor condition will be less resistant to an unwanted species establishing, says Sheryl Wurtz, invasive plant specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. In […] Read more


Percentage of average precipitation in Western Canada for the 90 days ending April 5, 2021. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada map)

Manitoba forage, grassland growers burned by drought

MarketsFarm — An ongoing lack of precipitation, which is showing no signs of letting up in the coming months according to weather forecasts, is already causing problems for Manitoba’s forage and grasslands. Growers in the province have had to deal with three straight years with lower-than-normal precipitation. In 2019, multiple rural municipalities in Manitoba’s Parkland […] Read more

Before settlement in the B.C. interior, fires were a normal part of keeping grass from building up in the forest understory.

Fighting forest fires with cattle

Targeted grazing keeps the risk down around British Columbia interior communities

There’s a new group of firefighters in British Columbia, but not the usual two-legged kind. They’re cattle and they’re just doing what they do naturally — grazing — but under the watchful eye of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. It’s leading a project to use a management tool called “targeted grazing” to reduce the intensity of […] Read more


Rachel Carey with bred cows in a pen at the LFCE.

USask researchers study feeding corn and corn residue to beef cattle

The research focuses on how cattle fare while grazing on corn residue, as well as track other cattle fed harvested corn.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are exploring new ways to extend the winter grazing season by using what’s left after farmers harvest corn, while simultaneously studying cattle fed the harvested corn. Grazing pregnant cows in fields during the winter is not new in Western Canada, but no research has been conducted on how well […] Read more

Storm clouds over Missouri Coteau.

Weston Family Foundation donates nearly $25 million to prairie conservation efforts

The five-year project will affect nearly four million acres of native prairie, making it one of the largest prairie grasslands conservation efforts in Canadian history.

The Weston Family Foundation has injected nearly $25 million into grassland conservation efforts in Canada, giving a major boost to five organizations protecting prairie ecosystems.  Canada’s native prairie ecosystem is home to hundreds of species of wildlife, including everything from northern leopard frogs to swift foxes, while simultaneously supporting beef herds and other livestock. Grasslands also sequester carbon, giving them a potential role […] Read more


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

(Dave Bedard photo)

Manitoba to open more Crown lands to haying, grazing

Province now taking requests for permits

Manitoba livestock producers up against dry conditions can now apply for temporary passes to get onto Crown land not normally designated for grazing or haying. The province announced Friday it will make such lands available this year for agricultural use “under certain circumstances.” Permits and land uses will be handled through the Agricultural Crown Lands […] Read more


Craig Lehr is one of five Alberta reps on the Beef Cattle Research Council. The organization is profiling the innovative practices of its council members, including Lehr’s operation near Medicine Hat.

Double cropping and low-stress handling pay dividends

Short Grass Ranches benefits from grazing a second feed crop and a new low-stress handling system

The Beef Cattle Research Council has launched a new series looking at the innovative practices and strategies of producers who are members of the council. (There are 14 council members representing provincial beef organizations.) Here is an excerpt from the first instalment of the series, which can be found in the blog section of beefresearch.ca. […] Read more

While cost likely limits the market for self-propelled balers, they do push computerization, Adam Verner says.

Balers evolving to make silage and run non-stop

Given the short haying windows, Adam Verner sees growth potential for wet hay and silage balers. But manufacturers still face challenges around speed, bale density and cost

The earliest round balers were amazing but frustrating machines. During forage season, I would exhibit a semi-permanent crick in the neck combined with a disturbing vocabulary of profanities. Constant fear of a plugged pickup, a twisted belt or a roller bearing displaying the telltale signs of smoke before the fire plagued my working days. These […] Read more