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Young Farmer Carrying a Bale of Hay

Make hay while the sun shines. But do it safely

Summer is a busy time. Kids are home from school, ongoing farmyard and machinery maintenance is underway, and of course one of the season’s most labour-intensive tasks looms — haying. Beating the weather and getting hay down, dried, baled and hauled is a major undertaking and not without its particular set of hazards. Crush injuries, runovers, rollovers, pinch points, transportation hazards, fall hazards, stress and anxiety — you […] Read more

Species diversity is key to year-round grazing

Annual seedings provide important support to perennial pastures

Ben Stewart believes in using a diverse mix of annual, biannual and perennial forages in his summer pasture and winter feeding program to improve rates of gain on his cattle, reduce winter feeding costs and improve soil health. The fact that he also works with a company that sells forage seed might make him a […] Read more

Farming for the insects and birds

Government programs provide funds for Swiss farmers who follow new mowing rules

Schleitheim, Switzerland: All around me farmers are mowing. From June 15th onwards farmers are allowed to cut meadows and hayfields qualifying for Q2 government subsidies. The Q2 (qualitätsstufe 2) program aims to provide and protect healthy habitat for birds and insects. Non-qualifying fields are already being cut the second or even the third time. Obviously […] Read more

Sweeter forage grasses may benefit milk production

Different classes of livestock can make better use of forage mix

Spring is the time of rebirth. This year our livestock is not scheduled for babies till late spring so we have more time than usual to study, read, and plan our 2018 pasture season. While reading over garden catalogues my mind keeps turning to old ideas of turnip grazing, mangels (large beet) or potato choppers. […] Read more

Medicago sativa in bloom (Alfalfa)

Successful forage establishment

Q & A with CPS

Q: What are the top factors for successful forage establishment? A: To grow a productive forage crop, consider important factors like soil, weeds, previous crop and herbicide residues. Identify and consider the impact of soil factors like flooding, drainage, low pH (acidity), texture and salinity that may impede establishment, productivity or species/variety selection. Control winter annual, biennial […] Read more

More details on Step 3 of the two-step grazing plan

Use the grass, but then give it a chance to recover before coming back

Step 3 of the two-step grazing plan could also be titled, “How To Not Graze,” as this by far seems to be the biggest challenge facing pastures in Western Canada and perhaps around the world. In order for grazing to be successful, we first have to grow forage, and in order to do this to […] Read more

Multi-benefits of multi-species pastures

Collecting plenty of solar rays above ground benefits soil health below ground

I am a big fan of diversity in both perennial and annual grazing situations. In some ways multiple species are more difficult to manage than less-diverse plant communities. In a multi-species scenario every action and in particular its timing will favour one species over another and shift the balance of power in the pasture. The […] Read more

Simple tool improves hay moisture test

With a compacted sample and an electronic tester, a more accurate moisture reading can be made in the field

Packaging quality alfalfa hay can be a challenge. The hay industry is constantly pursuing new technologies to help the hay producer grow and package consistently high-quality forage. Machinery design has advanced in order to handle the hay as delicately as possible to minimize leaf loss. But, even with these advances, the proper moisture level is […] Read more

Cows and ducks work well together

Producer applies his rotational grazing system to conservation pastures

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Rapid City, Manitoba area cattle producer Gerald Bos are working collaboratively on a project that’s a win-win situation for both by benefitting nesting waterfowl and Bos’s beef herd. The project revolves around ‘The Smith purchase’ — a half section of land that DUC bought in 1994, which happens to be […] Read more

Keeping soil biology ticking

Pasture Management: Grazing setbacks happen, but find opportunities to get back on track

Normal weather” at 4 Clover Ranch near Rocky Mountain House, Alta. has been illusive for a couple of years at least and it has created some grazing challenges at the expense of pasture performance. Our planned grazing system, where we look at the health of the grass on an ongoing basis, has responded well over […] Read more