GFM Network News


Nitya Khanal is one of a new crop of researchers working on developing new forage varieties.

Forage research programs boosted by new hires

Peace Region scientist Nitya Khanal says there’s lots of catching up to do, 
but there are big payoffs for producers

Reading Time: 3 minutes After many years of decline, forage research is on the upswing. And that will produce a payoff for livestock producers, said forage researcher Nitya Khanal, who was hired in 2015 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research station in Beaverlodge. “As of last year, we are revising this program and we are looking forward to recovering […] Read more

The earlier you plan your winter feeding strategy, the more choices you have, says a provincial beef extension specialist.

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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


Perennial sow-thistle.

Perennial sow thistle costs farmers across Alberta

Noxious Weeds: Perennial sow thistle causes yield loss and acts as a host for pests

Reading Time: 2 minutes Often found in high densities across Alberta, perennial sow thistle seems to be a noxious weed that doesn’t quit. Not only does this pest cause significant yield loss in many crops, but it’s a host for several plant pests that attack economically important crops such as alfalfa, winter wheat and canola — just to name […] Read more

Satellite insurance forage survey

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta Beef Producers and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association are conducting a risk management and insurance survey for forage producers to provide information that may be used to design more effective insurance and risk management tools for forage producers. This includes hay, grass, alfalfa, native pasture, and improved pasture. The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/foragesatellite […] Read more


Manitoba forages fight past winterkill, pest issues

CNS Canada — The first hay cut is well underway in several parts of Manitoba as favourable weather conditions set the stage for what could be a decent forage season. “Generally speaking they’re (forages) all doing well,” said Pamela Iwanchysko, farm production extension specialist with the provincial government in Dauphin. “The rains were timely.” What […] Read more

Nitrate buildup a threat after a light frost

When this happens you need to either harvest quickly or wait for nitrate levels to subside

Reading Time: 2 minutes Nitrate accumulation can become a problem when crops experience light frosts of -1 C to -2 C for even only a few hours during the night. These conditions damage the leaves of the plants, but not the roots. Over the next three to four days, the roots continue to send nutrients up the plant, and […] Read more


High-quality forages tougher to find this year

CNS Canada — There seems to be no shortage of forages in Western Canada this year, as wet weather has allowed grasses to keep progressing at a steady rate. Finding high-quality hay could be the challenge, however, according to crop watchers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. “It’s been tough for guys to put four to five […] Read more

Provincial forage and beef specialist Karin Lindquist (left) and Kaitlin McLachlan, extension co-ordinator with Peace Country Beef and Forage Association, examine some roots during a pasture walk near 
Fourth Creek.

New non-bloating legume can power up your pastures

After years of development, a new and improved 
sainfoin variety is being field tested across the province

Reading Time: 2 minutes High-legume pastures can be profitable and productive, but many cattle producers are scared to use them because of the risk of bloat. That’s why Alberta Agriculture and Forestry along with the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta have teamed up to do sainfoin trials across the province. “Sainfoin is a non-bloating legume,” provincial beef […] Read more


Grazing cattle on legumes offers unique benefits

Reading Time: 2 minutes There is a risk of bloat from grazing high-legume pastures, but it can be done with planning and attention. “I’ve heard it said that there has been more money lost due to fear of bloat than has ever been lost due to bloat itself,” said Ian Murray, an Acme rancher and chair of the Agricultural […] Read more

Western Canadian farmers are having to dodge severe thunderstorms and flooding to get into their fields this summer. Getting hay in, like in this field north of Turner Valley, is proving difficult, as pastures are either too wet, or crops have been damaged by heavy rain and hail.

If the rain won’t go away, you still have options when haying

Making haylage is a good option, but there are several things to keep in mind, says crop specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes What do you do when the weather conspires against you and hay refuses to dry? “You start looking for alternatives,” said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “A number of alternatives is available to consider when hay will not dry down to the 16 per cent moisture level that’s considered suitable for long-term storage.” One form […] Read more