Latest articles


You want pollinators to make their home on your range

There are scores of native pollinators in Alberta — and the more you have on your rangeland, the better

There is a buzz on range- and pasture lands. And we really need to pay attention to native pollinators and the benefits that they provide, says a rangeland ecologist. “Pollinators are critical to rangelands themselves, and the plants that are there,” said Cameron Carlyle, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, who is not […] Read more


Fifteen years later, conservation program is an overnight sensation

Almost no one wanted to sign up for the wildlife habitat restoration 
project when it started, but now there’s a waiting list

John Ross was the first rancher to sign on to the MULTISAR (Multiple Species At Risk) program 15 years ago, when no one else wanted to sign up to the conservation initiative. Now, there’s a waiting list of ranchers signed up to make their grazing land more suitable for wildlife and native species. “We worked […] Read more



It came from outer space — better pasture insurance, that is

Using a new generation of satellites to measure grass production promises 
to be a game changer for pasture insurance

Ask any rancher or other forage producer — insuring pasture land can be a major pain in the neck. Because of the limitations of current assessment tools, in the event of a wreck producers can be paid nothing or an amount that does not reflect actual loss. Instead, payments are made on an area-wide basis […] Read more


Three resources to read before buying land

The high cost of farmland doesn’t leave 
room for emotion — or miscalculation

Farm auction sale season has begun, and a provincial farm financial specialist says a lot of retiring farmers are choosing to sell their land by public auction. “With interest rates remaining low and the majority of Alberta farms continuing to have a strong balance sheet, the demand for farmland purchase in Alberta remains robust,” said […] Read more



Grasslands a carbon-capture colossus

Do the math: Take Alberta $15-per-tonne carbon tax and then look at how much carbon is stored in grasslands

If the Alberta government really wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province, it should start with an incentive for farmers to reduce annual cropping, says a rangeland management expert. “There’s a pretty compelling case about why there should be a direct economic incentive for producers to maintain or even increase the amount of […] Read more


Boosting the bottom line through better pasture management

It’s about more sunlight, rain, and forage types — and never overgrazing

If farming these days is all about managing inputs, then grazing comes down to managing the land itself — the sunlight, water, minerals, and biodiversity that make pasture lands grow. “We can’t control the price of oil; we can’t control the cost of steel for making farming equipment; but we can manage and control these […] Read more



Tapping into nutrients and tackling compaction with tillage radishes

The forage brassica has big-time potential for rejuvenating tired, compacted pastures — but there’s a learning curve

How effective are tillage radishes in rejuvenating poor soil and pastures? Staff at Clearwater County have been experimenting with tillage radishes to see if their theoretical benefits hold up in the real world. The fast-growing brassica can be used in forages as a cover crop and as feed for cattle; its long taproot can open […] Read more


Foothills Fescue Range Health Assessment Training offered

The Foothills Restoration Forum is holding two hands-on sessions on conducting range health assessments. The Foothills Fescue Range Health Assessment Training will be held on Sept. 15 in Stavely and the Mixedgrass and Dry Mixedgrass Range Health Assessment Training session will be held in the Cypress Hills/Manyberries area on Sept. 17. The courses will focus on the […] Read more



Intensive beef production seminar

Foothills Forage and Grazing Association is hosting an afternoon seminar on intensive beef production on pasture systems. Flavio Santos, a professor of ruminant nutrition at the University of Sao Paulo, is an expert in areas such as starch utilization by ruminants, integrating pasture management, and grain supplementation. He is also the author of 72 scientific […] Read more


soil scientist at a lecture

Scientist says plants — not soil — are the building blocks of life

Australian soil scientist Christine Jones challenges conventional thinking 
by arguing microbes and fungi are the key to soil health

Though many claim that soil is the building block of life, Christine Jones has a different approach. “It’s not the soil that is the building block of life. It’s the plants,” the internationally acclaimed soil scientist and agricultural consultant said at a sold-out appearance in Olds. The Australian also drew a large crowd in Rycroft, […] Read more