GFM Network News


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

Hay is likely to be expensive in many areas this year due to weather.

Penciling out economics of winter cattle feeding

Feeding: News Roundup from the September 30, 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Drought took its toll on many hay fields, while others were so wet that producers struggled to get a dry bale. For many beef producers on both ends of the spectrum, the result is high-cost feed. Ted Nibourg, a farm business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Food, outlined some of the economic factors producers […] Read more


A livestock extension specialist with Alberta Agriculture says it’s important that cattle consume the feed in front of them, especially when considering body condition score over winter.

Beef and forage issues series aims to boost innovation

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

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has published a series of six articles covering a pilot project that brought together farmers, ranchers, scientists and experts to improve technology and innovation adoption. For the pilot, participants toured east-central Alberta farms and discussed several topics. One topic was smooth versus rough awns. Many cattle feeders have voiced concerns about […] Read more

McKinnon: It’s silage season again

McKinnon: It’s silage season again

For many readers, as this article comes to press, silage season is either just starting or about to start. Putting up high-quality silage is both an art and a science. With this article I will review some of the key aspects of silage fermentation management that relate to putting up high-quality silage. Before we focus […] Read more


Pea straw has higher protein levels than oat, barley or triticale straw.

What to consider when choosing alternate cattle feed sources

Anything from pea straw to cull potatoes can help producers plug the feed gap

With a hay shortage looming across much of the Prairies, many cattle producers will need to look further afield for feed. There are numerous options for alternate feeds, such as salvaging hail-damaged or stressed crops. Nitrate toxicity is a concern if the crop was highly fertilized with nitrogen, but Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist […] Read more

Many regions in Western Canada and Quebec are eligible for livestock tax deferrals due to dry conditions this year.

Feed Watch: July 22, 2019

While rain has generally improved conditions in Western Canada, a hay shortage looms in many regions. On Monday morning, the federal government released its initial list of regions eligible for livestock tax deferrals. The tax deferral allows livestock producers in designated areas to defer some of their 2019 sales to 2020, in order to restock […] Read more