GFM Network News


Manitoba alfalfa growers wanted for sampling program

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

If you’re feeding alfalfa hay, you may actually have to restrict intake to prevent your cows from becoming over-conditioned.

‘As fed’ or ‘dry matter’ — does it matter?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

When I visit with beef producers about their feeding program, I often sense confusion when I talk feed dry matter (DM) values or express intakes on a DM basis. Most producers, when they think of their feeding program, think “as fed” and have difficulty converting to DM. Getting this conversion correct, however, is critical to […] Read more


A mild winter is great for access to feed, but make sure you have enough quality snow for a water source.

Strategies for year-round grazing

With careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round

Winter feeding is the biggest input cost when raising cattle, so many producers try to minimize the number of days they have to feed hay. In some situations, with careful forage management, cattle can harvest their own feed year-round, especially in mild climates. Even in northern climates with cold weather and snow, year-round grazing can […] Read more

Extending fall and winter grazing

Extending fall and winter grazing

Crop residues are probably the most under­utilized source of winter grazing, says extension specialist

Extending the grazing season for cattle can help reduce production costs and there are various ways to increase forage production/utilization to ensure adequate fall grazing that can often be extended into winter. Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Ministry of Agriculture in Weyburn, Sask., says there are four sources of forage. “These are native prairie, […] Read more


Ensuring legumes aren't seeded too deep is an absolutely critical step in establishing a high-legume pasture.

Making the case for forage legumes

Alberta producers offer the wisdom of their experience from seeding high-legume pastures

If you’re fearful that seeding pasture with legumes will be a waste of time and money, several Alberta producers have some tips for you. A new video from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry features producers offering their advice — some of it hard earned — on topics such as seedbed preparation, nutrients, and weed control. Having […] Read more

You have many options when aiming to meet the protein needs of cattle.

What goes around, comes around with protein: Part 2

Nutrition with John McKinnon

In my April column I focused on the principles of protein nutrition in beef cattle with an emphasis on rumen degradable and undegradable protein and on meeting the metabolizable protein needs of the animal. The reason that I focused on this topic was my experiences this past winter with producers who were having difficulty meeting […] Read more


Researcher Yousef Papadopoulos co-leads a team that is identifying cultivars capable of maintaining 30 per cent legume stands under managed grazing.

Forages targeted in Atlantic Canada

The Maritime beef industry is largely comprised of cow-calf operations that produce replacement heifers and market feeder calves. The Atlantic Beef Products plant in Albany, P.E.I., is the only federally inspected plant within the Atlantic region. With the projected growth of ABP, the plant will be anticipating an increased requirement of 10,000 additional feeders per […] Read more

A well-known promoter of high-quality forages, Dan Undersander is retiring this summer.

Dan Undersander’s thoughts on forages

Extension agronomist offers his tips on growing high-quality forages

Dan Undersander, a forage extension agronomist from the University of Wisconsin, is one of North America’s best known promoters of high-quality forages. I have known and worked with Undersander for many years and sometimes we would be on the same program. As he will be retiring this summer, I wanted to record some of his […] Read more


In his long career Shabtai Bittman has studied forage production right across Canada.

An ecological approach to forage research

Top AAFC research scientist shares his thoughts on growing forages

Dr. Shabtai Bittman, one of Canada’s top sustainable cropping systems research scientists at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre in Agassiz, B.C., says growing forages for hay and pasture is very different than growing grain crops. “With forages, we are dealing with perennial crops that are subject to encroachment from other grasses and from weeds, […] Read more

Alberta studies showed 25-57 more grazing days and 31-92 per cent more profit from grass-legume stands versus grass alone.

A plug for grass-legume mixes for grazing

An ideal pasture depends on the goals of the producer

Research over the years in various regions has looked at the potential and advantages of grass-legume mixtures for pasture. A diversified pasture stand allows for different plants to thrive in different conditions, adding drought resistance. Legumes have a deep tap root and can penetrate deeper into the soil profile where there’s more moisture. Pastures with […] Read more