Pearce: Webinar to answer questions on feeding livestock in drought

During this excessively dry growing season, an increasing number of Ontario producers are asking questions about the viability of their forages, including their corn silage crops. The topic has been addressed on an ongoing basis in the U.S. and through various farm publications and e-newsletters.

To address those and other concerns, DuPont Pioneer is sponsoring a webinar, Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The webinar will be hosted by Robert Larmer, livestock information manager for DuPont Pioneer (a.k.a. Pioneer Hi-Bred).

In the past week, Larmer said, he has fielded a number of questions regarding drought-stressed forages and would like to share some management strategies that can be used in the coming weeks.

"The biggest thing that we want to work on with the hay growers is to make sure that they’re going to make the right management decisions, so that they’re not sacrificing their crops for future years," explains Larmer.

"We understand that we have a shortage of feed out there, this year, but we want to make sure that they’re making the right decisions so that they’re not taking a little bit of feed this year and losing a whole bunch in the next few as we move forward."

At the same time, Larmer points to the importance of making the right decisions, on corn crops, particularly with dairy producers who might be growing corn silage as well as a hay crop.

The variability of the drought-like conditions also provides a stark contrast. Across much of the Ottawa Valley and eastern Ontario, there is considerable drought stress, with some corn silage at or near the point of being chopped.

Into central Ontario, parts just northeast of Toronto are doing relatively well, while an hour north, in the Kawarthas region, the crops are badly affected by the lack of precipitation. The same can be said for the Niagara region.

"But go a little bit further west, down towards London and past, to Glencoe, in the Middlesex, Lambton, Chatham-Kent area, things look pretty good," he says.

Veterinarians and nutritionists have also been invited to take part in the Wednesday evening webinar, and Larmer notes that for any issues that aren’t covered, participants can go to the Pioneer website for additional resources. He can also be contacted by email for more information. Farmers can register for the webinar in advance online.

— Ralph Pearce is a field editor for Country Guide at St. Marys, Ont.

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