Canadian Forage U-Pick
Canadian Forage U-Pick: Expanding the Western Canadian Forage U-Pick to include Eastern Canada
Ray Robertson – Ontario Forage Council firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Higgins – Maritime Beef Council Christian Duchesneau – Conseil Quebecoise des Plantes Fourrageres Christine O’Reilly – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Tanya Dykens – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Genevieve Regimbald – Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation
|In progress. Results expected in August, 2023||KTT.05.20|
Selecting forage species that will thrive under the growing and management conditions of a field improves the productivity of the crop. Since well-managed forage is typically the cheapest source of feed, growing productive forages can widen the profit margins of a beef operation by decreasing the amount of feed that needs to be purchased. Managing feed costs to widen profit margins improves the economic sustainability of beef operations. In addition, forage crops offer soil health and wildlife habitat benefits that contribute to environmental sustainability on farms. The existing Forage U-Pick tool helps producers select forage species that are a good fit for their individual fields, however, it is limited to Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).
The objective of this project is to expand the current Forage U-Pick tool to include Eastern Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada).
What they will do
- creating forage growing zones for Eastern Canada
- adding forage species to the database that are productive in Eastern Canada and do not currently have profiles in the tool
- revising production recommendations in species profiles to reflect the best practices suitable for growing conditions in Eastern Canada
- translating the Forage U-Pick tool into French
- survey beef producers six months after launch to determine uptake and gather feedback on the tool.
The collaborators will assemble teams of people who have technical knowledge of forage production in their geography. Team members will include researchers, extension staff, farm advisors, industry representatives, or producers.
A project manager will coordinate video-conference calls with the technical teams:
- to develop consensus on the boundaries of forage growing zones in Eastern Canada
- to review the site characteristics options that the Forage U-Pick tool uses to filter species suggestions within a growing zone
- to review the forage species profiles within the existing Forage U-Pick database and facilitate consensus on which species are productive in each growing zone.
- to create forage species profiles for species that are not currently in the Forage U-Pick database but are known to be productive in Eastern Canada.
This project will ensure that the user-friendly Forage U-Pick tool is available for forage and beef producers across Canada, providing a valuable resource when making forage management decisions. It will also increase collaboration among extension groups in Eastern Canada and will help promote BeefResearch.ca and other extension resources to producers in Eastern Canada to increase awareness of and motivation to understand and adopt best forage management practices.