GFM Network News

A neighbour’s ungrazed area could help you get through the dry spring.

Your neighbour’s unused grass could be a lifesaver

Reducing the fuel load on ungrazed areas could be a win-win for everyone

If you’re facing a feed shortage this spring, perhaps a neighbour could help. “Not every square foot of land in Alberta is farmed,” said provincial beef extension specialist Andrea Hanson. “Perhaps there’s a neighbour whose land borders yours and he or she doesn’t have cattle to use the grass or getting their cattle to the […] Read more

Grasshoppers want you to overgraze your pastures

The voracious pests gather on bare patches in the morning to warm up – and that allows them to start their day earlier

A dry fall and spring up the potential for grasshopper problems this year — and putting cattle on pasture too early greatly improves their habitat and increases their resulting damage. “From work by Llewellyn Manske from North Dakota, grazing before plants are ready sets back plant growth, and creates an open plant canopy with areas […] 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

Grazing makes for healthier grasslands, which means more carbon capture and plant biodiversity.

Grazing grasslands is good for the environment, study finds

A research team conducted a study on 114 sites throughout Alberta and 
found that long-term grazing can have a positive impact on grasslands

Cattle are often demonized as environmental polluters, but grazing them can have a positive impact on grasslands. “Grasslands store a lot of carbon and we should be proactively thinking about the value of that carbon, not to mention all the environmental goods and services they provide,” said Edward Bork, professor of rangeland ecology at the […] Read more

Putting cattle on pasture too early will cost you in the long run.

Don’t graze cattle too early this spring

It’s tempting to start grazing when pastures green up, but nutrient quality is poor

Pasture recovery is an important topic on the heels of last year’s dry conditions, particularly given this year’s poor snow cover in the central and southern regions of Alberta. “If we have a dry spring, producers will need to balance potential feed shortages with the need to protect their recovering pastures,” said provincial forage and […] Read more

Sunlight, water, biodiversity, and manure are the ingredients in profitable pastures, says grazing consultant Jim Gerrish.

Boosting the bottom line through better pasture management

It’s about more sunlight, rain, and forage types — and never overgrazing

If farming these days is all about managing inputs, then grazing comes down to managing the land itself — the sunlight, water, minerals, and biodiversity that make pasture lands grow. “We can’t control the price of oil; we can’t control the cost of steel for making farming equipment; but we can manage and control these […] Read more

Sask. to open protected grasslands for grazing

Crown-held native prairie and other grasslands held for wildlife conservation in Saskatchewan will be opened up to ranchers needing grazing land for cattle in dry areas. Environment Minister Herb Cox announced Tuesday the province will make about 90,000 acres of Fish and Wildlife Development Fund (FWDF) land available to cattle producers. The same grazing lease […] Read more

Carbon storage could equal cash for your grass

Alberta farmers who practise no-till cropping have been eligible to apply for carbon credits since 2002. We know that grasslands capture and store carbon, so why aren’t landowners with pasture getting paid for their contribution? That’s the focus of a University of Alberta study on the environmental benefits of things such as wildlife habitat and […] Read more

Advocating for forage crops is critical work and needs to continue

The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association works 
on a tight budget, but is in it for the long haul

Recent reports on the financial situation of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association suggest its future is grim. But while we’ll be on a tight budget in the coming year, the association is on firm financial footing and we intend on being around for a long time. In fact, the need for an organization like […] Read more

What lies beneath your feet is a marvel of nature

It’s believed native grasslands contain plants a century old, their tillers advancing 
inch by inch to create a perpetual ecosystem

The other day, the Dickinson Research Extension Center became home to an unstoppable force that is going to drill a well. In this case, an oil well. The spot selected is in the middle of a native grass pasture. Who knows the age of that native grass, but certainly the plants were there long before […] Read more