GFM Network News


Research showed that more complex forage mixtures are likely better able to cope with weather variations than monocultures.

Exceptional forages for marginal lands

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Tame forages often outperform native species in head-to-head comparisons under optimal growing conditions. This may not be the case on marginal land, with its tougher environments, poorer soil, rougher topography, harsher climates and precipitation extremes. Beef production is expected to rely more and more on marginal land, at least while returns from cash crops exceed […] 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


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

Cattle grazing at Glanton Farms.

Local producer groups take reins of guest instructor opportunity at Assiniboine Community College

Associations: News Roundup from the March 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Students studying forage and pasture management at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Man., are getting a little more mud on their boots and some real-life experiences rolled into their course curriculum this winter session. Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) and Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives (MBFI) have designed a guest-instructor schedule from the excellent […] Read more


When cows bale graze, are they letting good quality forages fall by the wayside?

Bale grazing trial looks at feed waste

Grazing: News Roundup from the December 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Bale grazing is a common winter feeding practice but how much forage are those cows leaving behind? Alberta Agriculture and Food recently shared results from one trial that examined that question. The Lakeland Agricultural Research Association (LARA) measured waste from bale grazing over four winters, from 2008 through 2011. The study was done using the […] Read more

Lupine.

Beware of toxic plants in pastures

There are many toxic plants in Western Canada cattle producers need to steer clear of

Different regions have different problem plants, and to make it even more confusing these same plants are only toxic if eaten in certain amounts or in certain stages of growth, while others are toxic at all times. Rachel Turnquist, a forage extension specialist in Saskatchewan, says there are many toxic plants in Western Canada. You […] Read more