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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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



Cattle graze forage stockpiled from the previous growing season at Nerbas Brothers Angus.

Using hooves instead of harrows to rejuvenate pastures

Cow-calf operation that relies solely on forages uses cattle and stockpiled feed to reseed tired pastures

Reading Time: 2 minutes As forage stands age, plant species composition shifts and production declines over time. There are many different methods of rejuvenating or renovating forage stands and strategies vary in intensity, effectiveness, and cost. Breaking old stands and reseeding forages, while effective, is among the most expensive rejuvenation methods. So more producers are opting to improve their older tame […] 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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


Spring termination of hay land brings challenges

Fall is the better time as spring termination will delay seeding and will result in moisture loss

Reading Time: 2 minutes Producers should consider a number of factors before deciding to terminate hay land in the spring in order to seed an annual crop. “Traditionally, forage stands have been terminated in the fall by using one of three approaches — tillage only, herbicide application combined with tillage, and herbicide application followed by direct seeding into sod,” said […] Read more

By getting rid of trees and obstacles in fields,

Bees cannot live on canola and alfalfa alone

‘Agriculture blooms for one month a year’ and so maintaining pockets of natural food sources is critical

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cropland’s encroachment on nature threatens to starve bees and pollinators, says beekeeper Ian Steppler. “Where we find a balance within our countryside between agriculture and nature is where we find tremendous growth and prosperity,” said Steppler, a crops and cattle producer in Manitoba who has 1,500 hives and produces over 250,000 pounds of honey per […] Read more


Soggy pastures need extra management

Supplemental feeding can cause long-lasting damage, says specialist

Reading Time: 2 minutes Waterlogged pastures can suffer considerable damage when cattle are turned out for supplemental feeding, so management is needed to minimize sod damage, says a provincial forage and beef specialist. “Pelleted or cubed feeds, as well as grain, are perhaps the easiest to manage because animals can be fed these feeds on different areas of the […] Read more

Parasites may be the problem when weight gain is poor

Even seemingly healthy cattle might do better after deworming

Reading Time: 3 minutes This season has really turned around in Western Canada in terms of moisture. This has seen the pastures shoot up, humidity run up and should lead to optimal survival of internal parasite larvae. If turnout to pasture occurred at normal times, maximum picking up of larvae has or is occurring so internal levels will be […] Read more