GFM Network News

A project aims to create alfalfa management tools after creating a database tying management to crop performance.

National effort underway to level the playing field for alfalfa

Data-driven project aims to boost the bottom line of producers — and reverse slide in forage acres

Glacier FarmMedia – A new initiative designed to improve alfalfa producers’ access to precision management tools could boost the crop’s popularity and increase production, industry officials say. Data collection has started for two new alfalfa artificial intelligence (AI) decision management tools across Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. The project aims to create the database

In general, research indicates that soybean forage should not make up more than 50 per cent of the total diet.

Drought-stressed soybeans offer forage options

Don’t wait too long to make the decision as feed quality is declining daily

Although many areas across the region have received much-needed moisture recently, the ongoing drought and lack of forage options for beef producers is still a concern. “One potential forage source is drought-stressed soybeans that can be grazed or harvested for hay or silage,” says Janna Block, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension livestock systems specialist at

“It’s a significant increase from a year-to-year standpoint.” – David Koroscil, MASC.

MASC reports slight forage insurance uptick

This was the first year programs included changes from a forage insurance review

Slightly more producers bought into forage insurance this year, although it’s unclear how much that increase was brought on by changes new to the program this year, and how much was due to expectations of a poor season. “It’s probably a combination of both,” Manitoba Beef Producers general manager Carson Callum said, “and we don’t

A field tour participant examines the wider corn rows and multi-species intercrop that will provide extended grazing for MBFI’s herd later this year.

Tweaking the recipe for higher-quality, lower-labour corn grazing

Intercropping could reduce grain overload and need for supplemental hay

An intercropped corn-grazing trial at the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiative (MBFI) is hoping to improve on an already cost-effective way to winter cattle. Organizers say there’s still some work to do, but the demonstration research farm north of Brandon added yet another year of data to their ongoing study mixing corn grazing with a mixed-species forage intercrop. Researchers

“Price and quality of alternative forages will play a key role in determining whether they can be used in a given production situation.” – Zac Carlson, NDSU.

Going non-traditional on forage

Tips and considerations for putting up atypical sources of livestock feed

Many producers are seeking alternative, possibly non-traditional, sources of forage such as cattails, flax, kochia, millet varieties and soybeans in light of continued drought. “With limited forage on the market and high prices, it may be a better option to evaluate local hay options,” North Dakota State University Extension beef cattle specialist Zac Carlson said.

This field of alfalfa in Manitoba’s Interlake on June 12 got a boost with recent precipitation, but many forage crops are stunted due to cool temps and very dry soils this season.

Cream of alfalfa crop to come up short

Dairy producers anticipate alfalfa shortfall as high quality first cut approaches

Growers targeting high quality alfalfa are typically rolling by mid-June, but this year’s dairy quality hay might involve a lot of driving for little yield. David Wiens, chair of the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, said he expects stand quality to be high, but that yield will likely to fall shy of normal. Alfalfa crops, “look

Pasture records can be critical to making informed choices in a year with drought conditions.

Pasture records key tool in drought decision-making

Hard management decisions only get harder if the farmer only has a ballpark figure on pasture supplies

Knowing exactly what you can expect out of a pasture can put producers on better footing when making hard management choices during drought, producers and grazing experts say. If the season continues as it has been so far, despite May rains across the Prairies, there will be hard decisions in plenty. Most land in Manitoba

“Rest and recovery is very important and that can increase forage production significantly.” – Shawn Cabak.

Rescuing future forage

One livestock expert has some tips on jump-starting new stands and squeezing production out of Manitoba’s currently stressed forage lands

No one can change the weather but producers may still be able to limit the hit to hayfields, if not for this year, then at least in the future. Manitoba’s livestock and forage producers seem poised for yet another year where dry weather takes centre stage. Shawn Cabak, livestock and forage specialist with the province,

Silage is one way to make the most of annual forage crops during a dry year.

Making the case for annual forages

With another dry year looming, producers may want to do whatever they can to set their annual forages up for success

A season staring at drought conditions is no year to leave feed on the table, and producers may want a more deliberate plan to make the most of their annuals. After three years of short pastures, producers will be used to the province urging them to consider annuals for feed. Greenfeed has been an often-repeated

Converting marginal cropland to grass has 
found new backers for Ducks Unlimited.

DUC forage program brings in the green

A DUC program trying to pitch a return from crop to forage is getting financial help from Cargill and McDonald’s Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has gained some big corporate names backing its Forage Program. In late March, Cargill and McDonald’s Canada, along with DUC, announced $5 million to transition a target 125,000 acres of less productive farmland from annual crops to forage or pasture by 2025. The companies have said they will provide $1.25 million