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dairy cattle

Forage fed vs. corn silage in dairy cattle

Quebec researcher says that since dairy farmers are paid based on components, forage-fed cattle can outperform those fed on corn silage

Corn silage use is trending on Quebec’s large dairy farms, but Valacta’s Robert Berthiaume argues farmers who run against the herd can bulk up their bottom line with perennial forages. “If you make the best use you can of perennial forages, you can make a lot of money, at least as much or more than […] Read more

The forage value of cover crops

Western research shows cover crops can be worth their weight for grazing or even baling

Extended drought has forced many farmers across Eastern Canada to seek alternate feed sources for the coming winter. It’s even got some producers thinking about the cover crops on their farm and on neighbouring farms. The growing popularity of cover crops among grain farmers may have come at just the right time for cattle farmers […] Read more

Growing your own N

New research in Saskatchewan proves forage rotations of only two years can provide a valuable fertility boost

When Duane Thompson talks about sustainability, he makes no bones about the fact that nothing is sustainable unless it’s economical for the farmer. “Sustainability is a nice notion but you want to be improving and getting better,” he says. “I’m not really big on sustainability — I want to be sustainable-plus.” Thompson is a case […] Read more

Foraging for better soils

If you aren’t growing forages, can you really say you’re farming sustainably?

The soil has its own perspective, says soil scientist Mario Tenuta, which explains why in Western Canada, where intensive farming has “only” been going on for 100 years, our soils are actually still young. “Our soils are not mature, compared to places like Europe or Africa,” Tenuta says. Over the last 50 years of farming, […] Read more

Four growers who believe in inter-seeding into standing corn

"It’s something that we have to start doing and advertising to the consumer," Gerard Grubb, Mildmay farmer

As trends go, this one is picking up steam. Two years ago, it seemed a novelty. You were lucky to see it outside of a few test locations such as at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, although there were also isolated growers who had become believers, especially in Quebec. Today, the movement has clearly spread, not […] Read more

Cereal leaf beetle adult.

Pest Patrol: Are there any new insect pests that we should be alert for?

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

The following information was provided by Tracey Baute, field crop entomologist, OMAFRA. Cereal leaf beetles feed on wheat, oat, corn, forages and grassy weeds. Spring plantings are most attractive, particularly late plantings, though some winter wheat can be infested in the spring. Both adults and larvae cause damage by chewing long strips of tissue between […] Read more

Galega — a new forage import from Eastern Europe

Tests at the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station suggest it could be a high-yielding option for Eastern Canada

If lower commodity prices have proved anything, it’s that the search in Eastern Canada for cropping options and alternative management practices is not limited to just corn, wheat and soybeans. Canola growers in Ontario’s Near North and northwestern Quebec are testing fababeans and growers throughout the east are experimenting with cover crops and cover crop […] Read more

Stocking rates key to climate change adjustment

Low defoliation rates and leaving lots of litter are best for coping with weather variations from year to year

Fast and hard? Slow and easy? And how many animals per acre? Stocking and defoliation rates are a complex and even controversial issue, and depend a lot on the weather. Climate change could make them even more complex. To get a better idea on how producers should respond, Edward Bork and a team from the […] Read more

Making hay of environmental goods and services

Researchers wrestle with turning an abstract concept into concrete profits for producers

If you were to ask most cattle producers about the goods and services their grasslands provide, it might seem like an obvious question. Most would say that quality forage promotes the health of their cattle, provides high-quality protein and boosts their bottom line. Others might talk about how their grazing practices promote biodiversity and overall […] Read more

alfalfa seed - Glen Nicoll

Forage breeding faces funding challenges

Government has cut back, private companies are not keen on crops that don’t need to be reseeded every year, and you can’t check off sales to farmers’ own livestock

Forages are Canada’s biggest crop but you wouldn’t know it because of the few resources that go into breeding them. You’d think that, given its size, forage would be a giant in the world of plant breeding. Unfortunately, it’s more of a midget. Canada has only four major publicly funded programs for breeding tame forages, […] Read more