GFM Network News

nancy howatt

Double-benefit feed auction held at Killarney

Charity feed auction garnered ‘heartwarming’ support ahead of sale

In another year, Nancy Howatt of Manitou would have been picking out a steer to donate and bring to the ring at the Killarney Auction Mart. It’s become something of an annual tradition for the producer, with the proceeds going to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. This year, however, is different. This year, there was crisis


Livestock producers scrambling for feed solutions

DROUGHT Two years of drought has 
the sector scrambling as winter approaches See story pg 6

Producers searching for feed may have to go off the beaten path again this year, as supply concerns mount. The province got little relief from its recent streak of poor forage this year. Most first cuts yielded between 40 to 60 per cent of normal, according to a recent report from the Manitoba Forage and

Straw being loaded off a field in central Manitoba. 

Feed your straw to the herd or feed the soil instead?

How much of a nutritional dent does baling straw make when that residue could have been chopped and spread?

Livestock producers have been scrambling for their neighbours’ straw, but growers may have been reluctant to let it leave the field. Attractive straw prices went head to head with the desire to chop and spread as growers weighed the balance between a secondary income and the cost of exporting those nutrients rather than working them

Crop residue burning down, but not out

Crop residue burning down, but not out

Dry weather is one reason, but officials say 
there are other factors too

Fall stubble burning in the Red River Valley used to be as common as spring seeding. But smoke wafting into Winnipeg became such a health hazard in the late 1980s and early 1990s the Manitoba government began regulating crop residue burning in 1992. Now burning permit requests from farmers in the 10 rural municipalities near

Straw shortfalls throw a wrench in feed plans

Straw shortfalls throw a wrench in feed plans

There have been widespread reports of straw shortages, with producers pointing to drought stress on cereals, as well as harvest technologies that pulverize it

Straw is in high demand and short supply in Manitoba. Producers looking to it as an alternative feed source are finding there is little to be had due to drought-shortened cereal crops, crop rotation shifts, and the proliferation of rotary combines. Ray Bittner, provincial livestock specialist in the Interlake, said there is “almost no straw

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Hay shortage could make for difficult winter

CNS Canada — Many cattle producers looking for local feed this winter might have a difficult time, according to a Saskatchewan provincial forage specialist. However, producers further north in the grey and black soil zones, and those in Alberta producing high-quality feed for export, saw near-record hay production. Terry Kowalchuk of Saskatchewan Agriculture in Regina

man holding processed manure bedding for cows

Holy crap! New bedding made from manure

Producers can save time and money by not having to bale or buy, then transport straw

Henry Holtmann reaches into a large pile of what looks like a cross between wood shavings and down feathers, then lets the soft fibres slip through his hands. “When you grab it in your hand, it’s like a brown fluff, that’s the best way to describe it; it’s not like sand and it’s not like

Leanne MacKay standing beside potatoes she has growing in straw bales. photos: Joan Airey

Garden flourishes in recycled square bales

You’ve heard of bale grazing. How about bale gardening?

Leanne and Ed MacKay have found a new use for old square bales. They’ve turned them into a garden. The couple lives and gardens near Lake Wahtopanah at Rivers, which first of all meant enclosing their garden area within a 12-foot-high fence to keep the deer from feasting on their produce. “When touring Winnipeg Conservatory

Spinning straw into… mould? Sweet

Spinning straw into… mould? Sweet

Ordinary straw can be converted into the sweetener erythritol using a genetically modified mould fungi

Straw is often considered to be worthless and is therefore burned. But researchers have found a way to make it into erythritol, a sweetener that is 70 to 80 per cent as sweet as sugar. Erythritol does not make you fat, does not cause tooth decay, has no effect on the blood sugar and, unlike