New Dairy Corner Page – for Sep. 6, 2010

No, Cattleman’s Corner hasn’t forsaken the beef industry, but in broadening appeal and being more inclusive we’ve decided, starting with this September issue, to devote a page of this livestock section each month to the dairy industry in Western Canada.

Dairy farmers are livestock producers too. While their primary product is different from that of the ranching industry, their focus is on increasing productivity and improving efficiency. While there have been many developments in the beef industry over the past 30 years, I continue to be amazed at the new technology available to milk producers. Did you know they don’t ship milk in cans anymore?

Contrary to general public perception that I was born in the saddle — being the old cowboy that I am — I actually was born in a manger. No, notthatmanger, but one on a small dairy farm in Eastern Ontario. So while I have rode the ranges of B. C. cattle country a fair bit over the years, there is a special place in my heart for the dairy farmer.

And in a previous life, working for our sister publicationCountry Guide,there at one time was a very strong emphasis on the dairy industry. We even at one time had separate bi-monthly dairy magazine calledDairy Guide.

It was interesting in doing a story on the Schrijver family dairy for this issue, (see page 32) and learning some of the technology they are using, I remember 15 or 20 years ago talking to dairy farmers about the early generations of the same technology available today. It was sort of like the first computers that were so big they needed a room or a building for the processor and now that same capacity all fits in your pocket.

When I was a boy… okay, I won’t bore you with one of those stories now, but let’s just say the difference between the dairy farm I grew up on, and a modern farm today is like comparing a stage coach to a space shuttle. The only thing I did learn in my early dairy-farming career is what end of the cow the milk comes out of.

Anyway, in adding a dairy page we hope everyone learns a bit more about different sectors of the agriculture industry. Pay attention there will be a quiz at the end of the year.

Lee Hart Editor

PRIZES FOR FENCING TIPS

If you have a good idea for building fences — other than getting someone else to do it — we would like to hear from you. We are working on a fencing feature for early 2011 and we would like to get some fencing tips and ideas from producers.

It could be about permanent or portable fencing. It could be about how to hang or remove wire, novel ideas for fence posts, improved gate latches — any good ideas that makes fencing easier, simpler, faster, stronger or whatever.

We’d even be interested in “good” ideas that didn’t work. And we are offering prizes for any tips sent in. I am planning to give out $1 million for the very best tip of all time, but just in case there isn’t a real zinger, we do have some niceGrainewscaps and toques as secondary prizes.

My contact information appears on the right side of this page, under the cartoon. So call, write, or send me an email with just a quick description of the tip and I will follow up from there.

WALDRON WINS NATIONAL TESA

The Waldron Grazing Cooperative Ltd. of Stavely, AB is the recipient of the national 2010 The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA), presented by the Canadian Cattleman’s Association. The Waldron, a 54,480-acre operation with a 10,000-head grazing capacity, received the award in recognition of management practices that ensure a sustainable resource for future generations.

Located mainly in the Foothills Montane Sub Region and encompassing a large area of the Oldman River Watershed, the Waldron’s innovative stewardship practices focus on riparian management, watering systems, controlling invasive species, rangeland health and wildlife management.

Management practices like encouraging the delayed entry of livestock in the spring to strengthen the Waldron’s grasses to ensure a sustainable resource, gained the Waldron much admiration.

“Making management changes in a grazing cooperative must be recognized as an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Lynn Grant, the CCA environment committee chair. “The cooperative members are to be commended for working through the process.”

The Waldron places high value on rangeland health, such as grasses, sedges and trees for erosion control and preservation of native species. Pasture rotation and timing also play a very important role to encourage an increase in desirable grass species. Proper rotation allows for increased efficiency in grass utilization, even during times of drought.

Mike Roberts, General Manager of The Waldron, thanked the CCA and the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) for recognizing the Waldron’s efforts. He noted the Waldron is a cooperative that has had as many as 127 members. “The directors who were elected out of those members over the years had the foresight and the courage to move ahead to use all the tools available to them” to transform the land into what it is today.

The Waldron’s dedication to best management practices earlier earned them the ABP Envi ronmental Stewardship Award. The Waldron was the first cooperative to be selected as a recipient in the 18-year history of the provincial award.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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