GFM Network News


There are several key indicators of pasture productivity that should be tracked, says Manitoba producer Ryan Boyd.

If you’re aiming for pasture perfection, you need a scorecard

Getting maximum production is an elusive target but good records help a lot, says producer

Reading Time: 3 minutes Is your pasture above- or below-average? And if you don’t keep accurate records over time, how do you know? The first step is knowing what your land is capable of producing so you can set a proper grazing rate, says Ryan Boyd. That was driven home for the Manitoba producer when he was awarded a […] Read more

If you plan to test the soil in your forage stand, make sure to get the correct test.

Don’t miss out by neglecting nutrient needs of forages

Nitrogen levels are usually the limiting factor but there are several issues to consider

Reading Time: 5 minutes When you think annual crops, you also think about the fertilizer needs for that crop. But the nutrient needs of the 26-million-plus acres of forages are not often thought of. “Not fertilizing forage stands is often a missed opportunity,” said Ross McKenzie, a former Alberta Agriculture soil and crop researcher. By the end of the […] Read more


A Halictus bee on an aster. This is an example of the native bees that live in Alberta and thrive on diverse plant species.

Native pollinators want to be your buddies

Some simple things can make your land more attractive to pollinators

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no denying that native pollinators are important — and there are things you can do to encourage these keystone species to come live on your land. Native pollinators are critical for forages and crops, agroforestry specialist Luke Wonneck said during a recent Foothills Forage and Grazing Association webinar. “Pollination is plant sex. Because plants […] Read more

Percentage of average precipitation in Western Canada for the 90 days ending April 5, 2021. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada map)

Manitoba forage, grassland growers burned by drought

MarketsFarm — An ongoing lack of precipitation, which is showing no signs of letting up in the coming months according to weather forecasts, is already causing problems for Manitoba’s forage and grasslands. Growers in the province have had to deal with three straight years with lower-than-normal precipitation. In 2019, multiple rural municipalities in Manitoba’s Parkland […] Read more


DUC program to convert cropland to forages

DUC program to convert cropland to forages

Reading Time: < 1 minute A new $5-million program aims to return 125,000 acres of Prairie cropland to grass and pasture over the next three years. The Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) program, with funding from McDonald’s Canada and Cargill, will offer farmers discounted seed and technical support to help establish forages on their land. Converting 125,000 acres of cropland to […] Read more

There are a number of things you need to get right when growing corn, says Sara Meidlinger, a market development specialist with Pride Seeds.  PHOTOs: Supplied

Cows love it but growing corn for silage or grazing can be tricky

Getting the crop off to a good start through seed selection and good seed placement is critical

Reading Time: 4 minutes Corn can be an attractive option for feeding cattle, but there are a lot of specifics to consider when you choose to grow it. “Corn just tastes good and cows love it. It’s more palatable than barley, and it has a better dry matter intake,” Greg Paranych, agriculture field specialist with the Grey Wooded Forage […] Read more


Forage mixes generally include species from four different categories — warm-season broadleaf plants and grasses along with cool-season broadleaf plants and grasses.

Pick the right forage for productivity and profitability

Productivity in many Alberta pastures is so low it ‘doesn’t pay a lot of bills,’ says forage specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes There’s an elephant in your pasture. “The elephant is disappointment,” said Grant Lastiwka, forage specialist with Union Forage. “When you start to look at the average, Alberta hay yields are around 1.3 tonnes per acre across the province. That’s a low number. “When we look at pasture, all we’re getting in grazing days across many […] Read more

Encouraging producers to select forages that will be the most productive on their land was the top priority for a new forage selection tool.

Selecting the right forage mix has never been easier

New forage selection tool builds on extensive research and puts it all in an easy-to-use package

Reading Time: 3 minutes Trying to decide what forage to seed in a newly broken field? The Forage U Pick selector takes the guesswork out of it. Forage U Pick is not a new tool. Twelve years ago, the Saskatchewan Forage Council developed a Dryland Forage Selection Tool. It was well used by producers in that province, provincial ministries, […] Read more


Annual forages offer benefits, says forage specialist

Annual forages offer benefits, says forage specialist

Annual pastures allow you to properly rest their perennial cousins and can be used for silage or greenfeed

Reading Time: 2 minutes Annual forages offer a couple of advantages for producers, says a provincial forage and beef specialist. “By seeding annual pastures, producers can give stressed perennial pastures a rest,” said Karin Lindquist. “If those pastures are rested early in the spring and following rain, they can produce good amounts of growth later in the summer. However, […] Read more

Don’t wait for patches to appear in hayfields or pastures, say experts. Instead, start doing plant counts and check the root system as
soon as they begin to green up.

Many pastures took a beating this winter, so scout early

Conduct plant counts as soon as pastures and hayfields start to green up, say forage experts

Reading Time: 4 minutes Cold, wet conditions through the fall and winter were the right recipe for winterkill in alfalfa pastures across the Prairies. “With climate change, the risk of forage stands being injured or killed by environmental stresses is predicted to increase,” said Bill Thomas, owner of BT Agronomy in Truro, Nova Scotia. “Just in the last month, […] Read more