GFM Network News


In the foothills south of Calgary, July 14, 2019.

Feed Watch: July 15, 2019

As the summer wears on, the precipitation situation varies greatly across the Prairies. Rain has been plentiful in some areas, but other regions are looking at hay yields well below average. Parts of Manitoba are also losing hope for a decent second cut. Alberta The next Alberta crop report won’t be released until July 19. […] Read more

Brian Cunningham’s bison on pasture near Pigeon Lake, Alta.

Feed Watch: June 24, 2019

A look at growing conditions for forage and feed across the Prairies and Ontario

Some areas in Western Canada welcomed rain recently. But overall, the Prairies are facing a 200-millimetre moisture deficit, Environment Canada estimates. To turn around the growing season, timing of rain is at least as important as volume, Marlo Glass reports in MarketsFarm. Drought-stricken areas will need a rainy day every week or 10 days throughout […] Read more


Canadian farmers are expected to increase barley acreage this year as U.S. farmers plant more corn acres.

Klassen: Barley outlook

Market Talk with Jerry Klassen

The feed grains complex has been volatile over the past month as the market moves through a transition phase. During the second week of May, southern Alberta feedlots were buying feed barley in the range of $255/mt to $265/mt delivered while central Alberta operations were making purchases from $240/mt to $250/mt delivered. For September delivery, […] Read more

Brad Welter speaks to radio reporter Jack Dawes and Kevin Hursh during a Sask Farm Writer Association media tour on June 8.

Feed Watch: June 17, 2019

A look at growing conditions in the Prairies and Ontario

This spring, many agricultural regions across Canada have faced a Goldilocks scenario with rain — most have received either too much or too little, with very few getting it just right. For many beef producers and feedlot operators, that will mean finding alternative feed supplies. Brad Welter, president of Pound-Maker Ag Ventures, is all too […] Read more


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is conducting new research to find the best forage mixtures to plant to improve a variety of factors for producers.

Polycultures: A cocktail forage mix for semiarid prairies

Producers rely on grazing native, tame perennial pastures or stockpiled forages to typically feed their cattle. Annual diverse forage mixtures give producers an opportunity to provide high quality feed while also gaining additional benefits for the soil and ecosystem. Polycultures could even be integrated into a crop rotation or used as green manure (working it […] Read more

Upcoming sainfoin varieties have improved persistence and yield when grown and grazed in mixed stands with alfalfa.

Persistence pays when it comes to forage breeding

Research on the Record with Reynold Bergen

Forage legumes provide high yields, protein and good animal performance while improving soil fertility by fixing nitrogen from the air. Alfalfa is the highest yielding and most widely used legume but can cause bloat. Legumes like cicer milkvetch, sainfoin and birdsfoot trefoil do not cause bloat. As little as 25 per cent sainfoin in a […] Read more


Electric fencing can be an effective way to give pastures or cells a break between grazing.

Management key when evaluating forage production

What should you consider when evaluating the performance of grazing systems and forage production? According to Sean McGrath, management is the factor least often measured in the forage industry, but doing so can keep you accountable for your management decisions and positively impact performance. McGrath, who ranches with his family at Vermilion, Alta., discussed this […] Read more

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