GFM Network News


Dairy sector shuts down most visits from off-farm providers

In agriculture, dairy farms are among those most called-on by outside services

New additions to Gerrit Herrema’s dairy barn have made it easier for his family to abide by recent directions to avoid contact with milk truck drivers to reduce COVID-19’s spread. “We have boot washes and other biosecurity measures in the barn. We need to take these measures in order to minimize the damage,” said Herrema, […] Read more

Cattle, like these ones in Willow Valley, need more feed during cold weather. Winter feed costs can account for three-quarters of the annual feed bill.

Feed testing is a luxury you can’t afford to miss out on this winter

The first step is to get representative samples — and that can be trickier than it sounds

Just like you can’t always tell if your cattle are healthy by looking at them, you can’t see the quality of your feed at first glance. Luckily, feed testing can help you manage both. “The nutrition program is almost always the culprit when things just aren’t quite right,” said Karin Schmid, research and production manager […] Read more


This graphic shows how to properly select samples for feed testing 
for bales. But once the results come back, you still have to put them to good use.

You’ve got your feed results — now what?

Two new feed testing tools can identify potential issues and compare the value of different feeds

Two new online tools for measuring feed quality are now available. The tools (developed by the Alberta Beef, Forage and Grazing Centre) can help flag potential nutritional problems, and identify the comparative economic value of different feeds based on their quality. Feed testing can prevent ‘sneaky production problems ‘ (such as poor gains or reduced […] Read more

Know what you have for livestock feed and use it strategically

You’ll need higher-quality feed later on, and the last thing you want to do is overfeed

When planning your feeding program, keep the good stuff for later. “Using higher-quality feed early in the season could mean it is not available later in the season when the cows really need it,” said livestock extension specialist Andrea Hanson. “It could get costly for the operation, either by increasing feed costs or reducing cow […] 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

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

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


Can you really afford not to feed test?

You’re rolling the dice if you’re not testing feed, and it’s not 
hard to rack up a five-figure loss if you guess wrong

I often hear farmers and ranchers say feed testing is expensive and I know lots of you guys don’t feed test. But feed testing and using that information to balance livestock rations is a whole lot cheaper than over- or underfeeding them. Let’s say you’re feeding your critters some pretty good-looking hay. You’re making sure […] Read more

Palatability is one of several factors to consider when buying pea straw.


Pea straw is a feed solution but it presents challenges

How much do you pay for it? And how do you use it in your ration?

A shortage of feed has prompted many producers to bale pea straw. “In travelling around Alberta, it seems that a lot of field pea straw has been baled,” said Mark Olson, unit head of pulse crops with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Stony Plain. “However, many producers selling or purchasing field pea straw for feed […] Read more