GFM Network News


Percentage of average precipitation in Western Canada for the 90 days ending April 5, 2021. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada map)

Manitoba forage, grassland growers burned by drought

MarketsFarm — An ongoing lack of precipitation, which is showing no signs of letting up in the coming months according to weather forecasts, is already causing problems for Manitoba’s forage and grasslands. Growers in the province have had to deal with three straight years with lower-than-normal precipitation. In 2019, multiple rural municipalities in Manitoba’s Parkland […] Read more

Before settlement in the B.C. interior, fires were a normal part of keeping grass from building up in the forest understory.

Fighting forest fires with cattle

Targeted grazing keeps the risk down around British Columbia interior communities

There’s a new group of firefighters in British Columbia, but not the usual two-legged kind. They’re cattle and they’re just doing what they do naturally — grazing — but under the watchful eye of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. It’s leading a project to use a management tool called “targeted grazing” to reduce the intensity of […] Read more


The South East Research Farm’s trial on soybeans and flowery silage corn after frost.

Forage intercropping trials show promise in Western Canada

Research is underway to fully understand the best practices for incorporating forage mixtures in this cropping method

The practice of intercropping is receiving more attention on the Prairies, and research centres are exploring the possibilities for forage options. The potential benefits are promising, researchers say, but more work is needed to provide producers with accurate information on how best to apply this method. “I think it’s really interesting that there’s some combinations […] Read more

New interactive forage selection tool launched for Western Canada

New interactive forage selection tool launched for Western Canada

The Saskatchewan Forage Council is excited to announce the launch of Forage U-Pick, a new interactive forage species selection tool for Western Canada. Designed to provide users with information for forage selection, seeding rates, and weed management, Forage U-Pick is a mobile-friendly tool offering timely and efficient advice. Forages for hay and pasture are essential […] Read more


Smoke hangs over a pasture in a dry year. Maintaining perennial systems is critical to avoiding more carbon losses to the atmosphere, says Denis Angers.

Perennial forage systems offer environmental, production benefits

More research is needed to better understand the effects of specific management practices in forage production under Canadian conditions

By optimizing the amount of carbon returned to the soil, forage production can play a major role in carbon sequestration while improving soil quality. Not only does this benefit yield, it has environmental advantages. “Soils contain two to three times more carbon than the vegetation or atmosphere, and that’s why we talk about soil carbon […] Read more

Cereal crops are high in starch which allows them to ferment easily. Almost any crop can be harvested for silage, however, as long as it is harvested at 60 to 70 per cent moisture.

Silage packs a punch when harvested carefully

Protect your investment with these tips on everything from harvest timing to inoculants

For some producers, silage is a mainstay, but for others who may be new to the process, there is a learning curve. Regardless of experience, there are several variables producers must consider when ensiling a crop. Gains or losses can occur during seeding and feeding silage. However, management during harvest may be pivotal to promote […] Read more


Dr. Annick Bertrand checks on the progress of cross-pollinated alfalfa plants selected for winter hardiness.

Creating a cold-tolerant alfalfa

Canadian scientists are pioneering new methods to speed development of more productive, cold-tolerant alfalfa varieties

Rows and rows of white metal cabinets resembling refrigerators line the basement of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Centre in Quebec City. In fact, they are plant growth chambers that contain bright grow lights and potted alfalfa plants at different stages of maturity. In another area of the building there is a large […] Read more

Alfalfa bales near Arrowwood, Alta. Christine O’Reilly recommends respecting the fall rest period to ensure the alfalfa crop can regrow quickly the next spring.

Tips to assess and prevent alfalfa winterkill

Forage: News Roundup from the April 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

When it comes to assessing and preventing winterkill in alfalfa stands, timing is everything. In a recent Beef Cattle Research Council webinar on winterkill in forage stands, Christine O’Reilly encouraged producers to scout alfalfa fields early and often to get on top of any issues resulting from winterkill. O’Reilly is a forage and grazing specialist […] Read more


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada plant breeder Dr. Yousef Papadopoulos holding a sample of AAC Trueman alfalfa to show its branching root and unique rhizomatous growth habit systems.

New branch-rooted alfalfa cultivar hits the market

AAC Trueman is more resilient in extreme weather and can withstand extended periods of dryness, wetness or flooding

It’s been 30 years in the making, but a new branch-rooted alfalfa cultivar that is tolerant to both drought and excessive moisture is now available in Canada. It’s an important advancement given the increased occurrence of extreme weather events including heavy rains, flooding and drought. The licensing right for this new variety was awarded in […] Read more

Sweet clover is high in coumarin, which converts to dicoumarol – a potent vitamin K antagonist and anticoagulant– if the plant is spoiled or damaged.

Vet Advice: Avoiding sweet clover poisoning

A variety of bacteria and moulds can grow in sweet clover once baled or put up as silage

Preparing forages and getting them stored in perfect condition seldom happens. Spoilage is often linked to the production of moulds and a broad spectrum of mycotoxins in grains. Syndromes in domestic livestock following consumption of feed containing mycotoxins varies depending on the species of animal involved, the stage of the production cycle when it is […] Read more