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Feed skyrockets in many areas — but there are options out there

Hay is uneconomical in some areas, forcing producers to either cull or find alternative feed sources

Record-setting temperatures in mid-August have added pressure to an already desperate situation for cattle producers across Alberta. “There are some people who are going to be really short on feed and pasture,” Alberta Beef Producers executive director Rich Smith said in mid-August. “Some people are in a really tough situation. The heat last week was […] Read more


Hot weather doesn’t help when it comes to baling

Uneven yields up the risk of mouldy, heated feed, while leaf loss increases when the temperature soars

This year is going to be a challenge deciding when to bale hay, says provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “With yield differences in a field, areas with a low yield will be dry and ready to bale while areas of that field with higher yield potential may need more time to dry and […] Read more



Creep feeding can mitigate hay shortage

If calf prices stay around current levels, creep feeding could generate nearly $200 in extra revenue

The potential for a poor hay crop is high, and producers facing a shortage should consider creep feeding, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. “Stress on plants from last summer and fall, as well as this spring’s weather across most of Alberta has slowed forage growth in pastures and hayfields,” said Barry Yaremcio. “If […] Read more


Early-season estimate of hay value is worth the effort

Having a ballpark price for this year’s hay crop is useful when working out a hay share agreement

It’s not easy to put a value on hay this early in the season, but producers considering a crop share should come up with an estimate, says a provincial farm business management specialist. Hay prices usually do not settle until about the end of October when there are firmer estimates of forage production, the amount […] Read more



Have a plan to get the most out of your feed supply

Strategies include keeping alfalfa until the third trimester and monitoring the calcium/phosphorus ratio when feeding cereals

Livestock producers have several months of winter ahead of them. “It’s best to develop a strategy to get the most out of your feed supply at the start of feeding season, and it’s not too late,” said provincial beef extension specialist Andrea Hanson. By testing the various feeds and knowing the nutritional values of each, […] Read more


There may be slim pickins in the pasture

Water-stressed forages have more fibre and less protein, and that can reduce feed intake and body conditioning

A hot, dry summer hastened the maturity and dormancy of native and improved pastures in many parts of the province, reducing both quality and digestibility of forages. “Plants do not grow as tall as normal in dry conditions,” said beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “Fibre levels increase faster and overall energy content of the […] Read more



Feed testing now can save you money

Testing is especially important this year as supplies are tight and quality down in many areas of the province

Doing feed tests now, at the start of the feeding season, will allow producers to develop a strategy to ensure all categories of cattle in the herd are fed to their production goals and extra costs are avoided. “Livestock feed supplies are going to be tight in some areas of Alberta, while in other areas, […] Read more


Don’t stack the deck against yourself

The pyramid style is the worst and the mushroom method isn’t much better

When it comes to stacking bales, a little forethought can go a long way to ensuring a better product. “Storage losses from improperly stacked bales can be anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent of the dry matter yield while protein and energy losses can be anywhere from five to 10 per cent,” said beef […] Read more



cow chewing hay

Tips for dealing with greenfeed that saw snow before harvest

Heating can greatly lower the feed value, moulds will reduce digestibility, and the potential for nitrites is higher

Greenfeed that saw snow before being harvested this year presents some extra challenges when feeding. Bales containing 18 to 20 per cent moisture (or higher) have the potential to heat, and some of the sugars will be used by the microbes during the heating process, said provincial forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “This will reduce the […] Read more


Ample hay supplies increase the benefits of storing bales properly

Protecting hay that won’t be fed until the winter of 2017-18 could save you $70 a head in winter feeding costs

Protecting hay from weather damage can significantly reduce the cost of wintering cows. Adequate moisture conditions in most of the province have resulted in larger-than-normal yields resulting in bigger stacks and rows of hay bales. If the winter is normal and cow numbers remain static, there could be a large surplus of hay carried over […] Read more