GFM Network News


Zero in on a specific goal when intercropping so you can measure progress over time, and “learn from the failures,” says researcher Yvonne Lawley.

Intercropping can be a win win for mixed operations

The practice comes with a learning curve, but can increase grazing options while boosting soil health

There is a lot of buzz in beef and forage production systems around the concepts of sustainability and soil health, and the numerous different production practices that can support those ideas. Intercropping is one strategy that can improve efficiency and soil health. Manitoba producer Alan Mac­Kenzie considers intercropping to be two crops that are grown […] Read more

Along with high densities and long rest periods, Ryan Boyd seeds a wide array of plants “to wake the soil up and let nature do its thing.”

Let’s get intense — cattle producer amps the density in his system

Ryan Boyd will put 400 yearlings on a quarter-acre as part of a system to boost forage productivity

Ryan Boyd has travelled the world to see how producers graze their cattle, and has figured out how to make his cattle work for him. Strip grazing, high stocking densities and a diverse range of plant species are at the core of the system developed by the Manitoba farmer, who as a 2019 Nuffield Scholar […] Read more


Whether you spread out bales or group them in ‘pods,’ don’t worry about the residue left behind — it isn’t wasted.

Bale grazing is having its moment in the (winter) sun

Here are some things to bear in mind when using bales to extend the grazing season

Many producers have taken steps to extend their grazing period, and bale grazing is proving to be a popular choice. Bales can be purchased or grown on farm and placed strategically in cells or ‘bale pods.’ In some cases, cattle feed on bales directly where they are dropped from the baler, but in most situations, bales […] Read more

Beef sector aims for new 2030 targets

Organizations involved in Canada's National Beef Strategy have announced new goals for the beef sector for the next decade

The Canadian beef industry has new benchmarks to reach for in the next decade. The organizations involved in Canada’s National Beef Strategy — the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada Beef Breeds Council, Beef Cattle Research Council, Canada Beef, The National Cattle Feeders’ Association, Canadian Meat Council and Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef have announced new 2030 […] Read more


Grasslands make great carbon sinks when grazed properly, says a new University of Alberta study.

Making rotational grazing the norm would be a ‘win win,’ says study

If all of Alberta’s grasslands were rotational grazed, 1.2 million tonnes of carbon could be sequestered every year

Grazing your cattle just a little differently could be a win win for your operation and the environment, says a new study from the University of Alberta. “The idea is to evaluate alternative grazing systems to see which ones are best and which ones maximize the sequestration and storage of carbon,” said ecology professor, Mark […] Read more

Things can look great from a distance but to know if your grasslands and pastures are living up to their potential, you need to walk the land and look at species type and abundance, vegetation layers, amount of litter, and presence of invasive species.

Eyeball your way to range health

Keep an eye out for these five things to see if your rangeland is living up to its potential

The most important tools you have to assess the health of your rangeland are your own two eyes. “What a range health assessment does is provides a measure of how well rangelands are performing key functions,” said Ross Adams, range management specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks. “It would be difficult and expensive to go […] Read more


There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to grazing management, says range management specialist Ross Adams. Shown here are cattle grazing south of Pincher Creek earlier in July.

Taking a fresh look at your land, cattle and grazing system

Range management principles are ‘fairly simple’ but applying them depends on local conditions

You might think you know your land inside and out, but getting back to basics can improve pasture productivity. “It’s important to look at this basic stuff because it helps tune the eye,” said Ross Adams, range management specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks. “It’s easier to integrate livestock into the system if you understand […] Read more

Manitoba to open more Crown lands to haying, grazing

Province now taking requests for permits

Manitoba livestock producers up against dry conditions can now apply for temporary passes to get onto Crown land not normally designated for grazing or haying. The province announced Friday it will make such lands available this year for agricultural use “under certain circumstances.” Permits and land uses will be handled through the Agricultural Crown Lands […] Read more


Left to their own devices, these girls and guys will pick the best and leave the worst, and then overgraze — two things you don’t want to happen.

Pasture care in four words: Balance, distribute, rest and litter

There are many different grazing systems but they all adhere to these four management principles

At first glance, grazing a pasture may appear as simple as placing cattle in a fenced area with a water source. However, practising effective grazing management is an art and a science. Pasture conditions and types vary widely from native grassland to tame forage, with stands comprised of many diverse plants or perhaps just a […] Read more

Pasture management is a mix of art and science, but having “some hard numbers on what your pastures are capable of” is a big help, says Tara Mulhern Davidson.

Carrying capacity: You gotta know if it can hold ’em

Overgrazing can really hurt productivity, so it pays to know how many cows you can put on a pasture

Struggling with finding the right amount of cattle to graze on a pasture or not sure how many cattle a new rented pasture will hold? The Beef Cattle Research Council now has a calculator to help you with that. There are four basic principles of range management: Balancing forage supply and demand; managing for uniform […] Read more