GFM Network News


Insecticide-resistant alfalfa weevils have been found in some fields in southern Alberta.

Resistant insect populations growing in southern Alberta

Insecticide-resistant alfalfa weevils are cropping up in alfalfa seed-growing regions, and beneficial bugs may be the answer

Insecticide-resistant insects have flown under the radar on the Canadian Prairies — but researchers are keeping an eye on a growing population of them in southern Alberta. “We don’t have very many insects that are resistant to insecticides here on the Prairies, so luckily, it’s not that widespread of an issue,” said Boyd Mori, researcher […] Read more

Don’t wait for patches to appear in hayfields or pastures, say experts. Instead, start doing plant counts and check the root system as
soon as they begin to green up.

Many pastures took a beating this winter, so scout early

Conduct plant counts as soon as pastures and hayfields start to green up, say forage experts

Cold, wet conditions through the fall and winter were the right recipe for winterkill in alfalfa pastures across the Prairies. “With climate change, the risk of forage stands being injured or killed by environmental stresses is predicted to increase,” said Bill Thomas, owner of BT Agronomy in Truro, Nova Scotia. “Just in the last month, […] Read more


By getting rid of trees and obstacles in fields,

Bees cannot live on canola and alfalfa alone

‘Agriculture blooms for one month a year’ and so maintaining pockets of natural food sources is critical

Cropland’s encroachment on nature threatens to starve bees and pollinators, says beekeeper Ian Steppler. “Where we find a balance within our countryside between agriculture and nature is where we find tremendous growth and prosperity,” said Steppler, a crops and cattle producer in Manitoba who has 1,500 hives and produces over 250,000 pounds of honey per […] Read more



HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready technology is gaining ground in Eastern Canada, but there are no plans to bring it west yet.

Does genetically engineered alfalfa have a place in Alberta?

There are advantages to GE alfalfa — but for most Alberta producers, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks

Genetically engineered alfalfa is gaining traction in Ontario — but don’t expect to see it in Alberta any time soon. During its June board meeting, the Alberta Forage Industry Network reaffirmed its 2016 position that Alberta should remain GE alfalfa free. That decision was an easy one, said Strathmore-area hay grower and marketer John Bland. […] Read more

Plants that don't get enough moisture are usually stunted and set seed early.

Don’t let those drought-stressed forages go to seed

You won’t get a lot of hay from that first cut but it gives you a chance of getting a second one

Determining the right time to cut a hay stand could mean the difference between harvesting a second cut or the stand becoming dormant, says a provincial forage and beef specialist. “A lack of sufficient moisture stresses plants, and that is certainly apparent this spring,” said Karin Lindquist. “Plants that do not get enough moisture are […] Read more


Timothy is considered the gold standard among grass hays because of its high palatability, easy digestibility and low-energy yet nutritious profile.

Some points to consider when shopping for horse hay

Our own senses are wonderful tools — choose hay that is as fine stemmed, green, and as leafy as possible

Hay selection is an important aspect of horse ownership. The type and quality of hay the horse eats can make a big difference in its overall nutrition, and its value in a horse’s diet is unquestionable. The extra dollars spent on sourcing good-quality hay and its proper storage is invariably cost effective on many levels […] Read more

Once animals are adjusted to a hay stand, it is best not to remove them.


Grazing hayfields is an option this fall

However, there are some factors to keep in mind and you need to introduce cows properly

Grazing hayfields this fall is an option for keeping livestock out as long as possible, says a provincial forage and beef specialist. “Most hay stands will have a significant amount of alfalfa in them,” said Karen Lindquist. “Higher-quality hay typically needs to have a legume component to provide sufficient protein and energy to meet animals’ […] Read more


Crops mowed down by the great white combine can have high concentrations of nitrates and need to be tested before being used as feed.

Nitrate accumulation a danger in hailed-out crops, says specialist

The crop, its development stage, and the amount of nitrogen in the soil all need to be considered

Think about nitrate accumulation when salvaging cereal, oilseed, or hay crops damaged by hail, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. “Nitrate accumulation occurs in a plant when it is injured and is not able to convert nitrate to protein efficiently after a hailstorm,” said Barry Yaremcio. “In non-legume crops, water and nutrients are pushed […] Read more

Estimating production and using historical price data creates a useful estimate of the value of a hay crop.

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