GFM Network News


Sommerfeld has modified an 855 New Holland round baler to lift hay swaths and speed drying.

Tips for baling in high-moisture situations

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

In the last issue, we outlined Ryan Sommerfeld’s methods for deciding when to cut hay to minimize rain damage. Sommerfeld is a cattle producer based near Medstead, Sask. Now we turn to Sommerfeld’s methods for cutting, raking and baling. Sommerfeld prefers cutting with a 13.5-foot discbine, which allows him to cut at about six miles […] Read more

This winter caught many cattle producers by surprise, with the deep freeze and snow depleting feed supplies quicker than anticipated.

Dealing with uncertain times

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Cattle producers across Western Canada grow weary of the relentless 2018-19 winter. For those of us living on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, it started with a record snowfall in October followed by record cold temperatures that extended across the central and northern Prairies. From mid-December to the end of February the cold broke […] 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

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


Making good hay

If you follow the principles of making hay, you can also grow good pasture

If you follow the principles of making hay, you can also grow good pasture

My wife and I recently attended the Alberta Organic Conference in Fort Saskatchewan. It was a fantastic event and she made a great comment to me on the way home. We attend a lot of events like this and we are constantly reminded about the principles of regenerative agriculture. It’s “the normal” in our circle. […] Read more

If you’re feeding alfalfa hay, you may actually have to restrict intake to prevent your cows from becoming over-conditioned.

‘As fed’ or ‘dry matter’ — does it matter?

Nutrition with John McKinnon

When I visit with beef producers about their feeding program, I often sense confusion when I talk feed dry matter (DM) values or express intakes on a DM basis. Most producers, when they think of their feeding program, think “as fed” and have difficulty converting to DM. Getting this conversion correct, however, is critical to […] Read more


Consider more than cost during a winter feed shortage

Producers need to ruminate on logistics, pasture conditions and animal welfare, too

After a hot, dry summer in the Cypress Hills, Rick Toney knew some budgeting was in order to ensure his cows would be properly fed this winter. Toney, who ranches near Gull Lake, Sask., and serves as the chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, runs around 500 cows in addition to a small backgrounding lot. […] Read more

Bale grazing. ‘What a waste of feed!’ NO

Grazing with Steve Kenyon

I still receive this comment quite often when I speak about bale grazing. Our industry is hung up on being efficient. We don’t want to waste anything. I know we have all been trained to target 97 per cent efficiency in everything we do. But I would rather be effective. Most of our efficiencies come from looking at […] Read more