GFM Network News


Hay prices skyrocket as Prairie drought continues

MarketsFarm — Hay prices have continued to skyrocket across the Prairies as conditions remain dry enough that many hay growers won’t produce a first cut this spring. “We’ve had a tough start here,” said Darren Chapman, chair of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association. “We had a cold, dry spring with frost, so first cut […] Read more

Sommerfeld has modified an 855 New Holland round baler to lift hay swaths and speed drying.

Tips for baling in high-moisture situations

Forages: News Roundup from the May 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

In the last issue, we outlined Ryan Sommerfeld’s methods for deciding when to cut hay to minimize rain damage. Sommerfeld is a cattle producer based near Medstead, Sask. Now we turn to Sommerfeld’s methods for cutting, raking and baling. Sommerfeld prefers cutting with a 13.5-foot discbine, which allows him to cut at about six miles […] 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

“Trying to produce crops that are not suited to your soils leads to low yields, high production costs and a higher land requirement to meet production goals.

Yield and quality pillars of forage production

Grow well-adapted varieties and match your forages to soil and climate conditions

When it comes to cost of production and efficiency, Bill Thomas considers yield and quality to be the two pillars of forage production. In order to keep these pillars standing strong, careful planning is the key to creating an effective forage production program. Thomas, retired director of Perennia’s field services division, delivered his recommendations at […] Read more


By deferring grazing until later in the year, producers can use cattle to reseed sainfoin stands.


Tips for managing sainfoin in your forage stand

Keeping sainfoin populations high beyond five years is a challenge

Sometimes what’s old is new again. That certainly holds true for sainfoin as forage breeders release new varieties designed for today’s beef and forage operations. Sainfoin is a non-bloating legume native to Europe and western Asia. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) released varieties such as Melrose and Nova in the 1970s and ’80s. But these […] Read more

Kirkella Community Pasture receives conservation trust funding

MFGA and RM of Wallace-Woodworth partnership among conservation projects announced by Province

Partners of the Kirkella Community Pasture Association’s Grassland Habitat Enhancement Project received great news from the Province of Manitoba’s new Conservation Trust after their project received $100,000 for a two-year pasture improvement project on the community-owned pasture. Kirkella Community Pasture was among more than 40 projects and $2.2 Million that Premier Brian Pallister and Sustainable […] Read more


A teaspoon of productive soil generally contains anywhere from 100 million to one billion bacteria, says Dr. Elaine Ingham, microbiologist and founder of Soil Food Web Inc.

Building healthy soil for forages

Research group targets five basic principles to improve soil health

Feed the soil and everything gets better, says Brian Harper, Manitoba beef producer and 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) winner. Harper’s focus has moved from the livestock, down to the plants and now to the soil and the below-ground activity. “I have realized the cattle are just a tool.” Many ranchers are starting to acknowledge […] Read more

Manitoba alfalfa growers wanted for sampling program

Forages: News Roundup from the April 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The Manitoba and Forage Grasslands Association (MFGA) is looking for alfalfa growers to submit alfalfa samples in May and June as part of its Green Gold program. Hay fields must be fairly new, mostly alfalfa and in good condition. Producers must sample fields every Monday and Wednesday, and courier the alfalfa to Central Testing Laboratory. […] Read more



Hay in the swath in northwestern Saskatchewan.


A systems approach to cutting hay

Forages: News Roundup from the April 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Deciding when to cut hay often comes down to a gut feeling. “And lots of times, that can get you into trouble,” said Ryan Sommerfeld of RPS Gelbvieh, based near Medstead, Sask. Sommerfeld outlined his simple methods for cutting and baling hay at a regional agricultural update in Turtleford, Sask., in early March. Sommerfeld avoids […] Read more