GFM Network News


A Halictus bee on an aster. This is an example of the native bees that live in Alberta and thrive on diverse plant species.

Native pollinators want to be your buddies

Some simple things can make your land more attractive to pollinators

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no denying that native pollinators are important — and there are things you can do to encourage these keystone species to come live on your land. Native pollinators are critical for forages and crops, agroforestry specialist Luke Wonneck said during a recent Foothills Forage and Grazing Association webinar. “Pollination is plant sex. Because plants […] Read more

Percentage of average precipitation in Western Canada for the 90 days ending April 5, 2021. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada map)

Manitoba forage, grassland growers burned by drought

MarketsFarm — An ongoing lack of precipitation, which is showing no signs of letting up in the coming months according to weather forecasts, is already causing problems for Manitoba’s forage and grasslands. Growers in the province have had to deal with three straight years with lower-than-normal precipitation. In 2019, multiple rural municipalities in Manitoba’s Parkland […] Read more


DUC program to convert cropland to forages

DUC program to convert cropland to forages

Reading Time: < 1 minute A new $5-million program aims to return 125,000 acres of Prairie cropland to grass and pasture over the next three years. The Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) program, with funding from McDonald’s Canada and Cargill, will offer farmers discounted seed and technical support to help establish forages on their land. Converting 125,000 acres of cropland to […] Read more

There are a number of things you need to get right when growing corn, says Sara Meidlinger, a market development specialist with Pride Seeds.  PHOTOs: Supplied

Cows love it but growing corn for silage or grazing can be tricky

Getting the crop off to a good start through seed selection and good seed placement is critical

Reading Time: 4 minutes Corn can be an attractive option for feeding cattle, but there are a lot of specifics to consider when you choose to grow it. “Corn just tastes good and cows love it. It’s more palatable than barley, and it has a better dry matter intake,” Greg Paranych, agriculture field specialist with the Grey Wooded Forage […] Read more


Zero in on a specific goal when intercropping so you can measure progress over time, and “learn from the failures,” says researcher Yvonne Lawley.

Intercropping can be a win win for mixed operations

The practice comes with a learning curve, but can increase grazing options while boosting soil health

Reading Time: 3 minutes There is a lot of buzz in beef and forage production systems around the concepts of sustainability and soil health, and the numerous different production practices that can support those ideas. Intercropping is one strategy that can improve efficiency and soil health. Manitoba producer Alan Mac­Kenzie considers intercropping to be two crops that are grown […] Read more

Whether you spread out bales or group them in ‘pods,’ don’t worry about the residue left behind — it isn’t wasted.

Bale grazing is having its moment in the (winter) sun

Here are some things to bear in mind when using bales to extend the grazing season

Reading Time: 2 minutes Many producers have taken steps to extend their grazing period, and bale grazing is proving to be a popular choice. Bales can be purchased or grown on farm and placed strategically in cells or ‘bale pods.’ In some cases, cattle feed on bales directly where they are dropped from the baler, but in most situations, bales […] Read more


Alberta hay situation much improved

Alberta hay situation much improved

Reading Time: < 1 minute After hitting a record high in June 2019, hay prices in Alberta have come down and there should be ample supplies in most of the province, the Beef Cattle Research Council said in a recent blog. However, prices in the north may stay strong because of limited supply and increasing demand. “Northern producers may wish […] Read more

Things can look great from a distance but to know if your grasslands and pastures are living up to their potential, you need to walk the land and look at species type and abundance, vegetation layers, amount of litter, and presence of invasive species.

Eyeball your way to range health

Keep an eye out for these five things to see if your rangeland is living up to its potential

Reading Time: 4 minutes The most important tools you have to assess the health of your rangeland are your own two eyes. “What a range health assessment does is provides a measure of how well rangelands are performing key functions,” said Ross Adams, range management specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks. “It would be difficult and expensive to go […] Read more


(Dave Bedard photo)

Manitoba to open more Crown lands to haying, grazing

Province now taking requests for permits

Manitoba livestock producers up against dry conditions can now apply for temporary passes to get onto Crown land not normally designated for grazing or haying. The province announced Friday it will make such lands available this year for agricultural use “under certain circumstances.” Permits and land uses will be handled through the Agricultural Crown Lands […] Read more

Forage mixes generally include species from four different categories — warm-season broadleaf plants and grasses along with cool-season broadleaf plants and grasses.

Pick the right forage for productivity and profitability

Productivity in many Alberta pastures is so low it ‘doesn’t pay a lot of bills,’ says forage specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes There’s an elephant in your pasture. “The elephant is disappointment,” said Grant Lastiwka, forage specialist with Union Forage. “When you start to look at the average, Alberta hay yields are around 1.3 tonnes per acre across the province. That’s a low number. “When we look at pasture, all we’re getting in grazing days across many […] Read more