Cocktail Blends Provide Fall Grazing

For many farmers in the grain and beef production regions of the U.S., the planting season ends when the last of the seed wheat or corn kernels are tucked neatly in the ground, but for a growing number of savvy farmers, it’s only the beginning. “By not planting that cover crop after harvest, you’re passing up on a great opportunity to make more money and improve your soil health,” says Ken Miller, district technician for the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District, Bismarck, ND. Miller should know. He and his colleagues have collected over five years of research data supporting the premise that cover crops more than pay for themselves monetarily and from an overall soil health perspectiv

Profit Per Cow or Per Acre?

Photo Credit: Lee Gunderson If we focus on profit per acre, there will be a tendency to seek the right-sized cow for our environment and best practices for economic efficiency and profitability. StartFragment Last month, I discussed three profit driving ratios – cows per person, acres per cow and fed vs. grazed feed. I also indicated that “revenue per acre” needed to be considered. As livestock producers we often focus on productivity per cow. But that focus, along with intensive selection for growth, hasn’t done much to improve ranch profitability over the last 40 years. In fact, it could be argued that, in constant dollars or buying power, profit per acre has even decreased. Thus, the real

Everything Shelterbelts

A shelterbelt is a barrier of trees or shrubs. The term “field shelterbelt” is used to distinguish between rows of trees or shrubs on agricultural fields from those planted in other ways: around farmyards or livestock facilities (farmstead shelterbelts), on marginal lands to change land use or in block plantings to provide woodlots or wildlife habitat. Although modern agricultural farming practices such as direct-seeding have greatly reduced the amount of wind erosion in Alberta, there continues to be some effects of wind erosion on Alberta soils each year. Eroded soils are less productive, require higher inputs for crop production and are more prone to further erosion than uneroded soils.

Hay Management Tips

- The most important single factor affecting hay quality is the stage of maturity at cutting. Young, vegetative forage is higher in protein and energy than older, flowering material. As forages mature, fiber increases while protein and digestibility decreases. - Delaying hay harvest tends to maximize forage yield but at considerably lower forage quality. Cut with a mower –conditioner that splits or bruises the stems to promote faster drying. Stubble height should be left high enough to hold the windrow off the ground and facilitate air movement through it. - To minimize leaf shatter, raking legume crops should be avoided once moisture content drops below 40%. Desiccants can be applied to le

How to Measure Moisture Content in Forage Using a Microwave

I have been getting lots of questions about measuring the moisture content of a hay crop prior to baling. The moisture content needs to be below 18% before making a round bale. But estimating moisture content can be somewhat difficult. Being off by just a few percent can be the difference between hay molding and not. A little bigger mistake can result in a barn fire. There are many types of hay moisture probes available. The accuracy of many of these can be affected by forage species, weed content, and bale density. There is a simple way to accurately measure moisture content by using a microwave. Below are the steps to accurately measure the moisture content of a crop prior to baling

Summer Seeding Oats & Oat-Pea Mixes

Summer seeding annual forages can be a useful low-cost option for producing extra feed, either as an emergency forage or a regular double-crop option. These forages include Italian ryegrass, cool-season cereals (oats, barley, triticale) and cereal-pea mixtures, as well as some warm-season sorghums, sorghum-sudangrass and millets (pearl, Japanese), but some are more successful than others. Record acreages of these emergency annual forages were seeded in the drought year of 2012, and provided farmers with a “big save” in meeting their forage needs. Yields and nutrient quality were generally good, with high volumes of palatable quality baleage and silage made. An early winter wheat harvest prov

Understanding the Intensive in Intensive Grazing

Management-intensive grazing and other intensive grazing systems have been promoted for quite a few years but what does the word intensive mean when it is used with grazing? What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘intensive grazing’? Many small pastures with lots of fencing? Moving animals to new pastures almost daily or even several times each day? Lots of animals completely grazing small areas before moving to fresh pasture? Most folks don’t fully understand what the word ‘intensive’ refers to when used with grazing. It’s not intensive fencing. It’s not intensive labor or intensive animal movement. And it’s especially not intensive defoliation. Intensive is all about management. Man

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Unit 4A, 710 Centre Street SE
High River, AB  T1V 0H3

Office: 403-995-9466

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