GFM Network News


There may be slim pickins in the pasture

Water-stressed forages have more fibre and less protein, and that can reduce 
feed intake and body conditioning

A hot, dry summer hastened the maturity and dormancy of native and improved pastures in many parts of the province, reducing both quality and digestibility of forages. “Plants do not grow as tall as normal in dry conditions,” said beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “Fibre levels increase faster and overall energy content of the […] Read more

Feed testing now can pay big dividends over the winter. 

Feed testing now can save you money

Testing is especially important this year as supplies are tight and quality down in many areas of the province

Doing feed tests now, at the start of the feeding season, will allow producers to develop a strategy to ensure all categories of cattle in the herd are fed to their production goals and extra costs are avoided. “Livestock feed supplies are going to be tight in some areas of Alberta, while in other areas, […] Read more


Tips when feeding unharvested crops

Digestibility, nutrient levels, and presence of mycotoxins are factors to consider before swath grazing or baling

Using overwintered cereal crops for swath grazing this spring — or baling for use as greenfeed next fall and winter — is an option but raises some concerns. “Typically, protein and energy contents are lower in the spring compared to the fall,” said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “Digestibility of the feeds can […] Read more

Corncobs have the highest amount of energy and protein, and if they’re not being eaten, it’s likely because of mould.

Watch to see if cattle eating cobs when grazing standing corn

There’s a high incidence of mouldy corn this year and if cattle aren’t eating the cobs, they need supplemental feeding

Providing supplemental protein and grain is one option if cattle are grazing mouldy standing corn. “Some corn crops left for late-season grazing have been damaged by the fall weather,” said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “High humidity, frequent rainfall, and frosts have created ideal conditions for moulds to form. Saprophytic moulds that cause […] Read more


Save feed costs by improving body condition scores, says expert

A body condition of 3 can boost pregnancy rates by a third and add 55 pounds to calf weaning weights

If you want to save some money feeding your cows this winter, maintain a good body condition score. “Prudent use of feed resources to maintain body condition on the cows to maximize efficiency reduces your feeding costs,” said provincial forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. The amount of fat a cow is carrying will influence how it […] Read more

Good-quality hay feed could be hard to find this winter as much of it was harvested wet and not properly cured.

Make the most of cheap feed grain this winter

Producers stand to make an additional $130 a head on their calves by supplementing their hay with barley this winter

There’s good news, bad news, and even worse news for cattle producers this winter. The good news is that there’s plenty of cheap feed grains in the market right now — but producers will need those savings to offset poor-quality feed (the bad news) and part of the sharp drop in calf prices (the even […] 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

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

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


More than two-thirds of your pasture growth happens by mid-July.

Creep feeding an option if your pastures are hurting

A good creep ration could increase the value of a calf by $50 to $200 if prices stay around $2 a pound

It’s another tough year for pastures, and producers wanting to stretch limited forage supplies should consider creep feeding calves throughout the summer, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. “It’s possible that pastures will run out much earlier than normal,” said Barry Yaremcio. “In general, 70 per cent of total forage growth occurs before the […] Read more

There can be a steep price for early grazing

The choices aren’t great, but a forage expert warns that 
early grazing can cost you dearly down the line

With the early spring, some farmers, ranchers, and acreage owners are turning out livestock four to six weeks earlier than usual. “Some of the turnouts are due to a lack of feed, and for others it is necessary to get the cows out of the corrals,” said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. Under […] Read more