GFM Network News


A poor canola crop can be used for feed

Salvage canola crops can make good cattle feed, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. “With dry conditions in the northern and southern parts of the province, late seeding and hailstorms in others, some canola crops could be candidates for salvaging and used for cattle feed,” said Barry Yaremcio. Canola plants in full bloom to […] Read more

Crops that have high rates of applied nitrogen, such as canola, can have a high amount of soil nitrogen well into July in thin stands.

Watch for nitrate accumulation in hailed-out crops

There’s extra value in a salvage crop this year, but nitrates are a risk in crops such as canola and wheat

The issue of nitrate accumulation needs to be considered when salvaging hailed-out crops. “Nitrate accumulation occurs in a plant when it is injured and is not able to convert nitrate to protein efficiently after a hail storm,” said provincial beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “In non-legume crops, water and nutrients are pushed into the […] Read more



Producer Patrick Kunz won’t be including much hay in his ration this winter.

Feed skyrockets in many areas — but there are options out there

Hay is uneconomical in some areas, forcing producers to either cull or find alternative feed sources

Record-setting temperatures in mid-August have added pressure to an already desperate situation for cattle producers across Alberta. “There are some people who are going to be really short on feed and pasture,” Alberta Beef Producers executive director Rich Smith said in mid-August. “Some people are in a really tough situation. The heat last week was […] Read more


Crops mowed down by the great white combine can have high concentrations of nitrates and need to be tested before being used as feed.

Nitrate accumulation a danger in hailed-out crops, says specialist

The crop, its development stage, and the amount of nitrogen in the soil all need to be considered

Think about nitrate accumulation when salvaging cereal, oilseed, or hay crops damaged by hail, says a provincial beef and forage specialist. “Nitrate accumulation occurs in a plant when it is injured and is not able to convert nitrate to protein efficiently after a hailstorm,” said Barry Yaremcio. “In non-legume crops, water and nutrients are pushed […] Read more

Picking the right variety is key to making corn silage in Alberta, but silage management is also critical.

You can’t make heat, but you can pick the right variety for corn silage

Harvesting at the right time to maximize digestibility is also key

Feeding corn silage to cattle comes with some risks in Alberta — but there are ways you can manage that. “There are a lot of different factors that will affect yield and quality in corn silage,” said federal research scientist Karen Beauchemin. “You have some control over some of these factors, but not all. So […] Read more


Jared Wever, pictured with wife Megan and their three children, sees a bright future 
for corn in Alberta.

Corn slowly winning converts in Alberta

New shorter-season varieties are ‘night and day’ when 
compared to what was available a decade ago

[Updated May 29, 2017] Corn has come a long way in Alberta since Tony Schmidt started growing it in the early 2000s. “Early on, our corn would barely get a cob on it because it was such long-season corn we were trying to grow here, and now we’ve got it to where we can combine […] Read more

Tips for dealing with greenfeed that saw snow before harvest

Heating can greatly lower the feed value, moulds will reduce digestibility, and the potential for nitrites is higher

Greenfeed that saw snow before being harvested this year presents some extra challenges when feeding. Bales containing 18 to 20 per cent moisture (or higher) have the potential to heat, and some of the sugars will be used by the microbes during the heating process, said provincial forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “This will reduce the […] Read more


Western Canadian farmers are having to dodge severe thunderstorms and flooding to get into their fields this summer. Getting hay in, like in this field north of Turner Valley, is proving difficult, as pastures are either too wet, or crops have been damaged by heavy rain and hail.

If the rain won’t go away, you still have options when haying

Making haylage is a good option, but there are several things to keep in mind, says crop specialist

What do you do when the weather conspires against you and hay refuses to dry? “You start looking for alternatives,” said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “A number of alternatives is available to consider when hay will not dry down to the 16 per cent moisture level that’s considered suitable for long-term storage.” One form […] Read more

Hay buyers should compare the price of a bale versus the cost savings of the crop out in the field.

How to establish a fair price for standing hay

Buyers should pay by the ton, not the acre, and there should be 10 to 30 per cent allowance for weather risk

Determining a fair price for standing hay isn’t an exact science, says a provincial farm business management specialist. “Hay prices are difficult to establish as they are affected by a combination of factors such as spring inventory carry-over, pasture conditions, feed competitors, cutting date, quality, yield, and location,” said Dean Dyck. “As we saw in […] Read more