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Current competition for land from other crops is putting further pressure on the forage industry to increase margins or be converted into a more profitable commodity. This makes forage breeding a key piece to the long term health of the beef industry.
The forage breeding program at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre is aimed at improvement of crops such as alfalfa, sainfoin, cicer milkvetch, orchardgrass, and giant wildrye. Researchers have developed adapted perennial forage cultivars of these crops along with an annual legume ‘fenugreek’ and appropriate agronomic packages for optimizing forage and seed production. They have also collaborated with other North American researchers to explore other uses for these crops.
Join this free webinar to learn more about the success stories of some of these crops, consequent impacts, and how you can utilize them on your operation.
Wednesday March 23rd at 7pm MDT
- 6:00pm in BC
- 7:00pm in AB and SK
- 8:00pm in MB
- 9:00pm in ON and QC
- 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted with permission.
Soil is like a bank account. If the nutrient withdrawals are always larger and more frequent than the deposits, the land bank will eventually go broke.
Plants use nutrients from the soil (and carbon dioxide from the air) to grow roots, stems and leaves. Some plant nutrients get returned to the soil through decomposition, manure and urine, but a lot of them don’t. Cows use the nutrients to produce milk and rebreed, and calves turn the nutrients into weaning weight. Over time, a lot of soil nutrients leave the pasture and go through the auction ring at fall feeder sales. If nutrients aren’t returned to the pasture through fertilizer, pasture productivity will eventually drop, and more forage acres are needed to raise the same number of cattle.
Alfalfa and other legumes help restore soil nitrogen, increase forage yields and extend pasture carrying capacity. The risk of bloat when grazing pure alfalfa stands can be reduced through Continue reading