GFM Network News


Hay shortage in Manitoba Interlake reaches tipping point

MarketsFarm — A state of agricultural emergency has been declared in 12 municipalities, mostly in Manitoba’s Interlake region, due to chronically low hay yields. Drought and grasshoppers have hindered crops to the point that hay production is about 25 to 30 per cent of average. “We’ve moved cows out of pastures because the grasshoppers ate […] Read more

When bales touch each other, losses of dry matter, protein, and energy go up.

Hay losses will be especially costly this year

Winter can be hard on both the weight and quality of hay — and push up feeding costs

Hay goes on a diet in winter, but how much weight it loses depends on how it was stored. “Over the course of a winter, bales weather and lose both weight and quality,” said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “This poses the key question of what kind of value losses occur when storing […] Read more


When bales touch each other, losses of dry matter, protein and energy go up.

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

Cattle will waste more hay if it’s weathered and there can also be 
a big drop in digestibility and nutrient levels.

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


Don’t spoil your hay — store it properly

Forage expert offers tips for reducing spoilage, and makes a pitch for having a hay shed

While hay quality varies across the province, how to store that hay for the best results doesn’t. “We’ve got a mixed bag this year,” said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “Some people cut their hay early, got caught with the rains and had it discolour before it even got into the bales. Others […] Read more

There is a long list of potential hazards when baling, transporting,
 and stacking hay.

For safety’s sake, read this list and check it twice

Haying often means rushing to beat the weather, and that ups the danger, says farm safety expert

Baling season is once again in full swing. Many producers equate baling with hot summer days and a rush to beat the weather. While getting hay baled and off the field is a top priority, doing the job safely should take precedence. “To increase the safety of baling procedures while ensuring the job gets done, […] Read more



The horse industry will buy bigger bales as a last resort, but horse owners prefer sizes that are easier to move around.

Big bales are bottom of the barrel for the horse industry

Alberta’s horse industry buys more forage than any other livestock sector, but it has exacting criteria

Forage producers could tap into a huge domestic market for their hay — if they drop their bale sizes. “The horse industry purchases more forage than any other sector in agriculture,” said Les Burwash, manager of horse programs for Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “I’m not saying we use more — we buy more. Of […] Read more


Tips for making hay during fall’s cool, damp weather

Fall is less than an ideal time for putting up forage, so the goal should be to salvage what 
can be salvaged and feed it quickly

Time is of the essence when putting up forage under less-than-ideal moisture conditions. “Cool and wet fall weather is great for pasture recovery and for easing forages into dormancy, but not so good for drying hay,” says Linda Hunt, forage specialist with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre in Stettler. “It’s not uncommon for fall conditions in […] Read more