On July 29, the Beef Cattle Research Council hosted a webinar that allowed beef producers to ask drought-related questions to a panel of nutrition and animal health experts. Producers asked for everything from recommendations for grazing canola, how to manage for antinutritional factors, tips on ammoniation and to how to manage grass into the fall. While questions were varied and diverse, a few main themes emerged.
In a drought year, testing your feed sources is more important than ever. Especially when using alternative feed sources, a feed test allows you to understand what you have in terms of energy and protein and therefore what you will need to supplement to maintain the health and body condition of cows and other classes of cattle. A feed test will also identify some of the antinutritional factors and potential toxic levels of substances such as nitrates or sulfates that are more prevalent in drought years or unconventional feeds. Feed tests can be performed on standing or swathed crops, bales or silage. A feed test can be instrumental in determining how a particular feed will fit into your overall feeding strategy. Continue reading →
Healthy and productive pastures are the foundation of a successful and sustainable beef cattle operation. When weeds and brush spread into hay fields, rangelands and pastures, desirable forage species are replaced, reducing productivity and profitability.
Pastures can be impacted by annual, biennial and perennial weeds, and each region across Canada will have different weeds that are problematic.
Weeds can be introduced through many ways including:
purchasing feed such as baled hay, greenfeed, or straw that contains weed seeds
seed distribution by wind (e.g., kochia or baby’s breath)
flooding that carries seeds onto a pasture (e.g. red bartsia)
in contaminated soil or gravel
animals returning from weed-infested pastures that bring back weed seeds in their manure.
Pastures can be impacted by annual, biennial and perennial weeds, and each region across Canada will have different weeds that are problematic. During the summer, cattle and feed are on the move, increasing the risk of bringing unwanted invasive species onto your farm. This webinar will cover tips for dealing with invasive weed control for different regions across Canada.