GFM Network News


The rangeland and pasture health assessment tool aims to help land users and producers determine potential plant community composition, forage production, stocking rates and the impacts of management practices on ecological functions.

Creating a better process for assessing pasture

Stakeholders from across the industry are currently working together to develop 
a Manitoba-focused rangeland and pasture health assessment

Following in the footsteps of our Prairie neighbours, Manitoba is working towards developing a customized rangeland and pasture health assessment. “The project is born out of similar initiatives that started in the United States, Alberta and then Saskatchewan. They have developed these tools for assessing rangeland health, looking at various indicators like bare soil, litter

Beef cattle market continues to see volatility

Coming off two years of solid prices, cattle producers are adjusting to the realities to today’s market

There’s just one way to describe the beef market over the past five years — volatile. Benjamin Hamm, farm management specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, says that’s the only thing that comes to mind when he looks at the market. “In 2015 we had some crazy highs, up to $3.75 and even a few spikes to


Researchers have found that light impacts hormone levels in cows and can have a positive impact on milk yield.  photo: supplied


Creating a natural rhythm

Lighting experts suggest the correct light intensity and duration can have 
positive effects on the health, fertility, welfare and productivity of dairy cattle

The lighting in your barn may be having more of an effect than you realize. “The livestock’s biological clock is regulated by light striking the pituitary gland in the middle of the brain. A lack of light depresses metabolism and causes increased melatonin output. We see this effect in the shorter days of winter,” said

The beef industry has anted up in a big way to fund forage research through the Beef Cattle Research Centre.

Canadian forage research on the rise

The Beef Cattle Research Council has increased forage research funding from $40,000 to $6 million since its inception

The forage industry has begun to see a promised increase in research funding from the beef industry. According to Reynold Bergen, science director with the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), more of Canadian cattle producers’ checkoff dollars are being put towards research and the piece of the pie that had been allocated towards forages has

A multi-species cover crop can mimic how soil was initially created, with a collection of root exudates from each individual species.

Cover cropping improves land and bank balance

Ontario farmer Blake Vince has harnessed the power of cover crops on his operation

Despite not having cattle on his operation, Blake Vince says he is still a livestock farmer. “Where my livestock are is below my feet and sadly we forget that. The soil is alive, it is a collection of living organisms,” Vince, a Canadian Nuffield Scholar and fifth-generation Ontario farmer, said during a presentation at the


Blake Vince, fifth-generation Ontario farmer, offers up a homegrown suggestion on how to test the microbial activity in your soil.

What does your underwear say about your soils?

The underwear test can be a visual indicator of the activity 
that is taking place in your soil

A lot, providing you bury it in a field, according to Ontario farmer Blake Vince, a cover crop and soil health advocate and Nuffield Scholar. Doing so will help you understand what’s happening beneath your feet, he says. “We understand things we can see,” Vince said at the recent Canadian Forage and Grasslands conference in

Brett McRae heads the Young Cattlemen's Council.

Young cattle producers wanted

Young producers will be the heart of any future herd expansion and should be involved in setting policy

Manitoba Beef Producers is hoping to see a few more young faces at its upcoming annual general meeting. That meeting is slated for Feb. 2 and 3 in Brandon at the Victoria Inn, and will see the organization discussing a host of issues that affect the industry’s bottom line and setting policy that will chart the

Can mouldy feed still be used? And what are the repercussions?

Managing the risks of mouldy feed

According to Manitoba Agriculture, determining if mouldy feed is still acceptable 
is a complex situation that requires a case-by-case analysis and usually feed tests

After a wet summer Manitoba cattle producers are faced with the reality of keeping animals healthy on less-than-ideal feed sources. It’s possible, but Juanita Kopp, a provincial livestock specialist, says producers do need to be aware of the risks and take steps to manage them. “This is one of the topics I get a lot


Increase to national beef checkoff to come in 2017

The exact date of 
the change is still up 
in the air

Canadian beef producers should expect to see an increase to the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off sometime in 2017, but the exact date is yet to be determined. “I suspect producers will see this take effect in 2017. But, it is hard for me to nail down an exact time that producers will start to see

Research at the University of Alberta looks to identify how land use and grazing impact soil carbon levels.

Study shows grassland environmental contributions

The University of Alberta in partnership with Alberta Environment and Parks has undertaken 
a number of studies looking at the impacts of land use and grazing on soil carbon levels

Grasslands punch above their weight when it comes to carbon sequestration. That’s the conclusion of a researcher who started his career on an Alberta-wide study of how land use affects that province’s carbon pool. Daniel Hewins, now an assistant professor at Rhode Island College in Providence, R.I., says grasslands can and do store an enormous