This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the September 2021 issue ofCanadian Cattlemenmagazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Today’s research won’t help you weather this year’s drought, but the practical information and advice you’ll read elsewhere in this issue (and at www.beefresearch.ca) will. Those pasture management, early weaning, creep-feeding, feed and water testing, alternative feeds and ration balancing tips all originate from past research done by scientists and refined by producers. But producer-funded research underway today will help us cope with future droughts.
Crops, pastures and haylands throughout Western and Central Canada are parched. In a lot of places, the only green and thriving forage plants are forage legumes like alfalfa, vetches, trefoil, sweet clover and sainfoin. Legumes have specialized roots that allow them to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it into plant protein. This improves soil fertility and forage and animal productivity. Their root systems can also extend very deep into the soil and allow them to access subsoil moisture that shallow-rooted plants can’t reach during times of drought. Canada’s forage researchers are working hard today to develop tomorrow’s forage varieties and management practices that will improve productivity, nutritional quality and resilience under challenging environmental conditions. Continue reading →
We’ll soon see cattle out in fields cleaning up swaths or feeding on bales. If you’re planning to feed your cattle this way into the winter months, here are a few recommendations to consider from a recent BCRC webinar.
Extended grazing methods, including swath, stockpiled and bale grazing, have considerable economic benefits over traditional winter feeding systems, such as reduced labour, equipment, feed and manure handling costs.
The related webinar, held last fall, featured Vern Baron, PhD, a Research Scientist for Agriculture Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Lacombe, Alberta, and John Duynisveld, a Research Biologist for AAFC in Nappan, Nova Scotia.
They discussed both swath and bale grazing and offered tips for producers across the country, including: Continue reading →
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the August 2017 issue ofCanadian Cattlemenmagazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Well-managed swath grazing has well-known economic benefits for producers. But research results from a study funded by the Beef Science Cluster showed that it can have environmental benefits as well. Dr. Vern Baron and coworkers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lacombe Research Station recently published Swath grazing triticale and corn compared to barley and a traditional winter feeding method in central Alberta (Canadian Journal of Plant Science 94:1125-1137) and Effect of winter feeding systems on farm greenhouse gas emissions (Agricultural Systems 148:28-37).
What they did: A five-year winter feeding study was conducted in central Alberta (2008-09 through 2012-13). Angus x Hereford and Red Angus x Charolais cows were fed barley silage, barley grain, barley straw and hay in confinement, or swath-grazed on triticale or corn for 120 days. Confined cows were Continue reading →
On the fence about incorporating swath or bale grazing on your operation? Join us to learn more about this practice and why it may be a good option for you. Although advice will primarily be intended for producers in Eastern Canada, there will be tips and tricks that Western Canadians can incorporate as well, followed by an opportunity for everyone to ask questions.
Wednesday, November 23, at 7:00 pm EST
4:00pm in BC
5:00pm in AB
6:00pm in SK and MB
7:00pm in ON and QC
8:00pm in NS, NB and PEI
Producers that attend this webinar will be entered to win a copy of Cool Forages: Advanced management of temperate forages ($60 value).
Interested but aren’t available that evening? Register anyway! This webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording and additional learning resources. By attending the live event, you’ll have the opportunity to interact and ask questions too.
By improving agronomic and grazing management practices, researchers and producers have increased the yields of crops seeded for swath grazing. This has reduced overwintering feed costs for the cow herd. Aspects of swath grazing that could be improved are the overall nutritive value of the swathed-grazed crop and weathering during fall, winter and spring, which reduces carrying capacity.
Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is working to further improve pasture carrying capacity and reduce overwintering costs by evaluating new annual forage varieties and developing management strategies with improved forage quality that can be maintained throughout the swath grazing season.
The practice of extending grazing into the winter months is quickly gaining popularity. Extended grazing methods, including swath, stockpiled and bale grazing, have considerable economic benefits over traditional winter feeding systems. Well managed systems reduce or eliminate labour, feed and manure handling costs during the winter. New research continually informs management practices that deliver optimum results. For example, Continue reading →