Manitoba Forage & Grassland eBulletin
July 30 2015

River data: super computer sought to tell future

Manitoba group wants to implement computerized modelling system to improve forecasting ability in the Assiniboine basin.

Excerpt from June 18 edition of the Western Producer 

Humans have found it difficult to predict flood and drought along the Assiniboine River, but a super computer might provide better results. That's what an array of Manitoba farm and rural environment groups are hoping.

   They have put forth a proposal to use the same sort of system employed in Alberta to monitor and analyze the South Saskatchewan River.

   "We think it would give us extra tools to predict what different weather events might do downstream... not only for flooding but drought too," said Manitoba Forage Grassland Association vice-chair Henry Nelson. "It considers a lot more data (than existing systems.) It takes into account the entire river basin. It acts as a unit. If you've got info from the entire river basin, then your predictions are much more accurate."

   The MFGA is seeking support from other farm and rural groups to implement the Aquanty computerized watershed modelling system. MFGA was approached by Agriculture Canada to become the proponent for the system, which would require Growing Forward 2 funding.

Read the full article here.

Tell us about your hay situation. Please participate in a quick MFGA survey

In May and June, MFGA published our Green Gold reports to provide Manitoba forage producers with information as to how alfalfa is progressing in their area and, particularly, when to make their first cut for optimum quality. We saw Mother Nature's influence this year as alfalfa was at the optimum stage in some areas, yet the window of cutting opportunity was fairly narrow to enable producers to harvest the forage in good condition. The other curve Mother Nature threw at us were dry conditions that slowed the crop and delayed first cut in the North and Southwest areas of the province.

   MFGA provides a Hay Update in our fall and winter eBulletins to give our members and readers an overview of the hay situation in various parts of the province, an indication of hay prices and guidelines as to where hay is available or in demand.

   Many of our members are asking us questions about the hay situation due to  the extreme variations in Manitoba this year. Please take this quick 6 question survey to help us best get a handle on our province's overall hay scene.


Advantages of Wide Swathing


It's impossible to preserve all the quality found in a standing hay crop. The impact of metabolic and weathering losses can significantly impact crop quality. The faster hay can be cured and put up, the higher the quality. One of the most recent quality haymaking developments has been the study of swath width and crop drying rates. 

The hay crop drying process has three phases: 

- The first phase of moisture loss is through open stomata (little cells that act as doors). 

- The second drying phase is moisture loss from plant surfaces. At this point, plant moisture is at or below 60% and the stomata have closed. 

- The third and most critical drying stage is the loss of tightly-held moisture, trapped in the stems and plant structures. Wide swathing exposes the maximum surface area of a hay crop to the sun to speed up these three drying phases. The quality of hay and silage crops is determined by what happens immediately after cutting.

   The mid 2000s brought a resurgence of wide swathing practices. New, advanced design DiscbineŽ disc mower-conditioner models from New Holland provide more uniform conditioning as well as the formation of fast-drying, wide swaths. They feature the widest conditioning systems available today.

Alfalfa Fall Harvest

This year across Manitoba and Saskatchewan we are looking at areas that have a shortage of forage and areas that have the opportunity to sell surplus forage. Given these two scenarios, many alfalfa growers may be looking at taking a final cut this fall to maximize the amount of forage they will have on hand. 

   The Critical Harvest Period generally starts in the 3rd week of August and runs until the end of September. This period is necessary for the alfalfa to store adequate energy in the crown and roots to survive winter and initiate growth in the spring until the new growth takes over and starts to feed the plant. However, poor hay making weather throughout the year, hay shortages and/or the opportunity to market surplus forage may have some producers rethinking this old advice.

Read the full article here.

JOIN CoCoRaHS: A Network of Volunteer Weather Observers!

CoCoRaHs stands for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network - a network of volunteer "weather observers" who measure and map precipitation data - in the form of Rain, Hail & Snow - from their own back yards each day. As a member, you will check & measure the precipitation that fell into your Rain Gauge and report your findings online at the website. Kits are $30 and training is available online.
   If enough interest is shown, MFGA will host training for our members, including a draw for a rain gauge ($30 value) among participants.

Industry Events 
Industry Articles / Resources

Looking to Purchase Feed?

Dryer-than-normal conditions in many areas of the province have producers already looking to secure livestock feed for the coming winter months. For producers looking to purchase or sell feed, there are a number of online resources available: 

MAFRD Hay Listing Service - a free and useful tool that links buyers and sellers and allows producers to advertise feed products such as baled forages, standing hay, pasture and feed grain. 

The Internet Hay Exchange

Hay/Feed For Sale in Manitoba Facebook Page

Kijiji Hay Listings

MFGA on the Move
MFGA has been"on the move" in July working with the following organizations for the benefit of our producers:
- Manitoba Beef Producers 
- Assiniboine River Basin Initiative - Keystone Agricultural Producers Commodity Groups Meeting 
- Manitoba Beef and Forages Initiatives 
- Manitoba Grazing Clubs

Attention Industry Partners:

We would love to share your important information with our readers! Please send us your organization updates, articles, events, research, etc that you would like included in our monthly eBulletin.
This eBulletin is published by Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA).  
Articles in this publication do not imply endorsement by MFGA. 
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