GFM Network News



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

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



The year-end rainfall map looks much different than it did in summer, 
but drought cut yield and a wet fall lowered quality.

A crop year that doesn’t look better in the rear-view mirror

Yields could have been worse and quality is pretty good, but this is a year distinctly lacking in high points

Harvest 2015 is, finally, a wrap and the storyline is pretty much the same across most of the province — yields are poor but not as bad as feared, and quality is surprisingly good. The final crop report from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry says yield estimates are higher than first forecast earlier in the summer. […] 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

Alternative feeds can cause health issues

Too much sulphur can lead to polio and a shortage of nitrogen can reduce feed intake


Using unusual feeds such as canola, straw, and slough hay increases the need for feed testing, says a provincial forage specialist. “Knowing the quality of the forage being used this winter is going to be critical to make it through on a short feed supply,” said Barry Yaremcio. Many canola crops being cut for silage […] Read more


Custom feeding may be the wise choice this year, but you still have to calculate 
all the costs.

When it makes sense to have cattle custom fed

Freight costs, yardage, and the ‘opportunity cost’ of your labour may be the deciding factors

Trucking in hay is very expensive this year, but you still have to run the numbers to decide if it’s better to buy feed or have cattle custom fed, says a provincial farm business management specialist. The first step is to calculate the cost of putting feed into the feed bunk, said Dean Dyck. This […] Read more

Range of byproduct feeds available for sheep

Dry conditions, short supplies of forage, expensive supplements, and tight profit margins have many sheep producers looking for alternate feeds. “Canola or grain screenings, potato waste, grass seed cleanings, or beet pulp are just a few of the byproducts that can be used to feed sheep,” said Susan Hosford, a provincial sheep industry specialist. “Byproduct […] Read more


Wet weather continues to stall harvest, pastures, hay rate poor

Alberta crop conditions as of September 15, 2015

Following a brief dry spell to the middle of last week, wet weather over the weekend slowed down or completely halted harvesting operations across the province. Most of the province received rain, from less than 5 mm in northern areas of Peace and North East Regions and small areas in South Region, to over 30 […] Read more