GFM Network News


Robbie Hale of Maverick Livestock stands in the family’s cocktail crop near Hines Creek, Alta.

Lessons learned growing cocktail crops

Despite an adverse start, cocktail crops have become a regular part of the Hale family’s crop rotation over the last six years

It is a long, long way from Dallas, Texas to Hines Creek, Alta. But the distance did not deter Curt Hale’s grandfather and father from making the move to Alberta’s Peace Country. The Hale family calls their operation Maverick Livestock, an apt name, with a maverick being an unorthodox or independent-minded person. The pioneering spirit […] Read more

Cattle grazing a cover crop near Brandon, Man.

Manitoba researchers seek cover crop growers

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

If you grew a cover crop in Manitoba in 2019, researchers would like to hear from you. Researchers at the University of Manitoba are undertaking a three-year survey on the number of acres in cover crops, the types of farmers growing cover crops and the range of cover crop species grown in Manitoba. Those who […] Read more


Adverse weather has prompted producers to reduce herds again this year.

Nitrate toxicity poses risk to cattle

Dry and cool conditions can cause issues when using annual crops as forage and fodder

Haying and grazing season is underway and due to dry conditions more of the forage supply is consisting of small grains and cover crops. Although these crops offer flexibility in cropping systems and a great source of livestock feed, they could pose a risk of nitrate toxicity, according to Janna Block, livestock systems specialist at […] Read more

Wild oats (yellow) invade the area the sprayer missed during the establishment year. The green is the nurse crops of oat.

Seeding tips for perennial forages

Managing plant residue from the previous year is important

Traditional annuals and cocktail cover crop mixtures can make great forage for cattle on a temporary basis, but over the long haul a good stand of perennial pasture may be the best choice, according to Lorne Klein, range management extension specialist, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture at Weyburn. As a resource for producers who want to […] Read more


Cattle from Living Sky Beef graze a cover crop on Axten Farms near Minton, Sask.

Sharing cattle and cropland

A way to capture nutrients and opportunities


A few decades ago, the practice of growing both crops and cattle on the same farm was far more common than it is now. Today’s no-till, organic, and conventional crop producers, however, are paying close attention to soil health and crop inputs. The potential benefits of incorporating cattle back onto their farms are leading to […] 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


My cover crop

Grazing with Steve Kenyon

There has been lots of excitement during the last few years over cover crops. The soil conferences and seminars have been full of cover crop talks and trade shows are full of salesmen. It is the latest craze in agriculture and I agree that there are a lot of situations where the cover crop is […] Read more

Mike Schellenberg and Alan Iwaasa are evaluating the impact of polycrop mixtures on grazing capacity and soil health in the semi-arid prairie.

Seeking plants with polyculture potential

Choose your species wisely to avoid unintended results

When producers discuss the benefits of growing annual polycultures, also known as multi-species mixes or crop cocktails, the talk often revolves around soil-health and environmental improvements, often­­­times taking forage production for granted. Of course, production does occur, but yield and feed quality may be disappointing if the species chosen target soil problems rather than forage […] Read more


The Berseem variety Frosty is not inhibited by alfalfa making it a good choice to boost patchy stands.

Annual clovers to the rescue

Annual clover may be just the remedy if your pastures and hayland are looking a little under the weather this spring. Performance Seed, a newly established forage seed company at Lethbridge, Alta., is introducing two new low no-bloat annual clover varieties that show good potential as stand-alone crops or in blends for grazing, hay, silage […] Read more

Farmers assessed a few of the 13 sainfoin/alfalfa/grass plots last summer.

Sainfoin, alfalfa and grass mixtures being tested

High legume pasture project in process

A sprinkling of a new sainfoin was enough to ignite renewed interest in high legume pastures across Alberta and British Columbia last year. The case for high legume pastures was made long ago, both in research trials and in the field by experienced producers with the skill and nerve to turn up the alfalfa content […] Read more