Prairie forage yields look promising

Canadian Prairie forage crops are in the process of being cut and baled for the first time this growing season, and yield outlooks are very encouraging, forage specialists said.
     
In Saskatchewan, farmers have cut 20 per cent to 50 per cent of their forage crops, Bill Biligetu, forage management specialist for the Government of Saskatchewan, said.
    
“I think everything is looking really good so far,” he said.
    
According to the Government of Saskatchewan’s weekly crop report released July 18, livestock producers have 29 per cent of the 2013 hay crop cut and 27 per cent baled, or put into silage. Ninety-three per cent of the provinces hay crop is rated as good-to-excellent in quality.
    
However, the wet spring did affect some smaller areas around Saskatchewan, with excess moisture affecting hay cutting.
    
“There are some spots producers are reporting that have low-quality hay,” Biligetu said. “It’s a regional problem.
    
According to the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives weekly crop report released July 15, the province’s forage crop cutting is well underway as good July weather advanced crops.
    
However, like Saskatchewan, there are some isolated crops that were damaged from storms. For the most part though, yields across the province are expected to be average to above-average.
    
Cutting in Alberta is also well underway, with southern areas of the province already finished, Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist for the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, said.
    
“I would say cutting is 30 per cent to 40 per cent completed,” he said. “However, the south has basically got their first cut off completely and now they’re just waiting for their second cut.”
    
Besides a few isolated areas in the extreme northern areas of Alberta, there are expectations of high yields throughout the province.
“Other than some northern areas, most of the province has had adequate to above-average rainfall this year, so yields are going to be fantastic for 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the province,” Yaremcio said. “The bales look numerous in the fields, so I’m not worried about yields this year.”    
    

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