GFM Network News


Prairie hay shortage on horizon

MarketsFarm — While rain across the Prairies has eased concerns of an all-out drought, worries of a hay shortage going into winter haven’t ceased. Darren Chapman, a Virden, Man. producer and chair of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA), explained that regrowth following the first cut of hay has been strong. First-cut hay crops […] Read more

Hay in the swath in northwestern Saskatchewan.

Feed Watch: July 8, 2019

A dry spring has robbed many Prairie producers of first cut hay yields and lowered carrying capacity on pastures. Still, rain improved pasture conditions in many areas and some producers are cutting poor hay fields to encourage regrowth for a second cut. Overall hay growth and pasture looks better in Alberta than Saskatchewan and Manitoba. […] Read more


Pasture conditions in Bruce County, Ontario, are excellent. Photo: Tom Cunningham

Feed Watch: July 1, 2019

A look at forage, pasture and feed conditions across the Prairies and Ontario

While dry weather has dominated the Prairies until recently, Ontario producers have received too much rain and not enough sunshine. “We’re trying to get some hay off,” said cow-calf producer Tom Cunningham as it rained outside on the Friday before the July long weekend. Cunningham farms north of Wiarton, Ontario, in Bruce County. Cunningham estimated […] Read more

Using an invasive weed to help fill the feed gap

When feed is in short supply, producers may want to harvest kochia.

For Prairie cattle producers looking for alternative feed sources this year, one possibility may be kochia. Kochia is an invasive weed, often seen growing on marginal land or tumbling across the Prairies. It’s a prolific seed producer, growing in saline soil and in arid or semi-arid conditions. A recent news release from Agriculture and Agri-Food […] Read more


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


Making good hay

If you follow the principles of making hay, you can also grow good pasture

If you follow the principles of making hay, you can also grow good pasture

My wife and I recently attended the Alberta Organic Conference in Fort Saskatchewan. It was a fantastic event and she made a great comment to me on the way home. We attend a lot of events like this and we are constantly reminded about the principles of regenerative agriculture. It’s “the normal” in our circle. […] Read more

Bale grazing. ‘What a waste of feed!’ NO

Grazing with Steve Kenyon

I still receive this comment quite often when I speak about bale grazing. Our industry is hung up on being efficient. We don’t want to waste anything. I know we have all been trained to target 97 per cent efficiency in everything we do. But I would rather be effective. Most of our efficiencies come from looking at […] Read more


'If you are going to have problems, it will usually be when you first introduce cattle to that forage, so you need to know the nitrate levels and manage accordingly.'

Be prepared for nitrate problems in forages

High nitrite levels in cattle can literally see them 'starving for oxygen'

Nitrate levels in forages can sometimes be a problem for cattle. Depending on growing conditions, certain plants may accumulate too much nitrate to be safely fed to cattle unless those high-nitrate feeds can be diluted by mixing with other forages. Colby Elford, livestock and feed extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture, Moose Jaw, Sask., says it […] Read more