GFM Network News


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

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

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

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

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


New feed and forage barley lines bring high yields, strong standability

‘Fast breeding’ means producers can expect to see varieties hit the marketplace in almost half the time

New feed and forage genetics are coming down the pipe for cattle feeders. At the end of February, the Prairie Grain Development Committee approved three new feed and forage barley varieties from the Field Crop Development Centre, as well as two triticale varieties that would be suitable for feed and forage. “Over the past couple […] Read more

Crop variety reports now available

This year’s crop varietal reports are now available. The reports are designed to help producers make sound decisions when considering which silage, cereal and oilseed varieties to grow. “Varieties of cereal and oilseed crops for Alberta provide information on cereal and oilseed variety performance within Alberta and northeastern British Columbia,” said crop research technologist Alex […] Read more


Moisture content has a big impact on the value of a bale.

Don’t be fooled by moisture content when buying feed

Moisture content is all over the map this year, which makes price comparisons more difficult

Knowing the moisture content of feeds is key when comparing prices. “The summer of 2019 was extremely challenging for anyone trying to put up dry forage,” said farm business management specialist Ted Nibourg. “More often than not, hay and greenfeed were baled at moisture contents greater than normal. In an attempt to salvage forage production this […] Read more



Plants that don't get enough moisture are usually stunted and set seed early.

Don’t let those drought-stressed forages go to seed

You won’t get a lot of hay from that first cut but it gives you a chance of getting a second one

Determining the right time to cut a hay stand could mean the difference between harvesting a second cut or the stand becoming dormant, says a provincial forage and beef specialist. “A lack of sufficient moisture stresses plants, and that is certainly apparent this spring,” said Karin Lindquist. “Plants that do not get enough moisture are […] Read more

Beef web resource being preserved

Information that had been available on foragebeef.ca is gradually being added to beefresearch.ca. The Beef Cattle Research Council has been reviewing “hundreds of pages” of information that have been available on foragebeef.ca, an Alberta Agriculture website that the ministry is no longer able to maintain. The council is updating information before moving it over to […] Read more