Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association eBulletin                   Sep 17 2015

September Hay Situation and Price Update

Each month, John McGregor, MFGA Extension Support, surveys MAFRD Forage Specialists and forage industry people to provide a brief update of hay prices and the hay situation. 

Click here for the full article

Participate in the Hay Situation Survey for September
With the extreme variation in the hay situation this year, we would like to get your input as to the hay situation on your farm by answering a few questions. Findings will be reported in our upcoming MFGA eBulletins.

Feed Sampling

With the hay situation here in Manitoba and further west, cattle producers must remember that quantity and quality of hay are independent characteristics of their hay crop. Forage analysis can be a useful tool to remove some of the mystery concerning the hay that producers will feed this winter. Testing the grass hays this year for protein and energy content will help the producer design winter supplementation programs most appropriate for the forage supply that is available. This year there have been some challenges with getting the hay crop off in ideal conditions so knowing what you have available can help you manage your feed to best maximize its potential when feeding your livestock. 

Get more information on feed sampling.

Assess Alfalfa Stands this Fall

Now is the time for farmers to evaluate their alfalfa stands to make decisions for next year. Walk your alfalfa fields and count the number of plants. A productive stand should have at least three-to-five plants per square foot. Once you have determined you have an adequate stand you need to look at the number of stems/plant. Generally, each crown will have a number of stems; ideally you want more than 40 stems/sq ft if you are looking to keep the stand. After doing an above ground evaluation, take a spade and dig alfalfa plants out of the ground to look at the crown and root structure to see if it's healthy or infected with pathogens that will shorten the life of the stand. Determining the health of the crown will help to predict the longevity and yield of the stand. 

For more on this go to Alfalfa Stand Assessment.

MFGA Membership is Changing
Our membership levels and timeline are changing! We need producers, organizations and interested parties to help support MFGA programs, research, and extension activities such as Green Gold and Grazing Club by contributing annually. Watch for details later this month. 

Processed Hay and Its Nutritional Value

Processed hay commonly refers to hay made by a baler with a built-in system that cuts crop in varying lengths, some as short as 2.5 inches, during the entire formation of the bale or after the bale core has been formed. The primary advantage of such processing is to improve bale density by packing the cut crop into the bale more tightly. With a denser silage or high-moisture bale comes greater fermentation and less spoilage. Thus processing increases the nutritive value of the hay by improving its quality. Penn State University research into the effects of chop length when feeding low quality hay to late lactation or dry cows demonstrates further processing benefits: that chopping it fine enough to minimize sorting will help cows consume the amount of forage desired. Adequate physically effective fiber (forage particle size) in the ration will maintain the proper rumen environment by stimulating chewing and ruminating, increasing saliva secretion, and improving buffering capacity of the rumen.

MFGA "on the move"... 
MFGA attended/presented with the following organizations:
Manitoba Beef & Forages Industry tour in Brandon, Manitoba Beef Producers, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Manitoba Agriculture Food & Rural Development, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Aquanty, Assiniboine River Basin Initiative, The Premiers Agricultural Task Force on Climate Change,  Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiative

... and "in the news" in September
Upcoming Industry Events
Open Farm Day
Sunday, September 20
This event is being held to introduce the public to farming and the kind of activities that happen on the farm, with a total of 37 farms participating. Open Farm Day is a part of Farm and Food Awareness Week, September 20 to 26, a celebration that is seeing a variety of organizations staging local events. For example, a number of groups have come together to put on the Manitoba Beer, Food and Film Festival at the U of M's Farm and Food Discovery Centre, Friday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m. 

World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin 
September 29-Oct 3
World Dairy Expo is where the dairy industry meets. No other dairy event in the world compares. Designed for dairy producers and industry partners World Dairy Expo is a showcase for elite dairy cattle, cutting edge research and modern technologies.

Agri-Trade Show in Red Deer, Alberta 
November 11-14
Agri-Trade has been the gathering place for over 25,000 attendees in the farm community since 1984. A treat for the whole farm family,  Agri-Trade is an opportunity for the next generation in agriculture to see products first-hand with over 200,000 sq. ft. of great exhibits. The show also features the Home Happenings exhibit, a diverse collection of products for the modern farm home. The Agri-Trend Stage offers presentations and seminars all week, on a variety of subjects.

6th Annual CFGA Conference in Saskatoon, SK 
November 17-19 
The conference, held in beautiful downtown Saskatoon at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel, will explore intensive forage management systems, their impact on soil health and how forages generate ecosystem goods and services for on-farm users, exporters and the Canadian public. Visit the CFGA website for updates and further details.

Beef & Forage Days
January 11-15
An annual event hosted by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and the Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association. Details to follow.

Manitoba Ag Days in various locations across Manitoba  
January 19-21 
The Manitoba Ag Days show is an exposition of agricultural production expertise, technology, and equipment that attracts exhibitors and visitors from across Canada and North Central United States. More information here.

15th Western Canadian Holistic Management Conference in Manitou, SK - February 15-17
Every farm and ranch is unique and Holistic Management enables you to deal with the uniqueness. While the principles are universal, the process requires you to manage for your situation with Holistic Management techniques tailored to your region, your land, your operation. Registration fee of $185 per person before January 30th for this conference includes the presentations as well as two coffee breaks, two evening meals and two lunches. To view the registration package, which includes agenda, registration form and many more details, click here. To register, contact Nadia Mori, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture at 306.946.3219 or

11th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference in
Saskatoon, SK - February 16-18 
The 11th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference is February 16, 17 & 18, 2016 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The program explores themes including: status, trends, threats, and issues; protection and conservation; restoration and recovery; and connecting and motivating people to wonder, care, and act. The Call for Presentations and Posters is OPEN until October 2, 2015
This eBulletin is published by Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA).  
Articles in this publication do not imply endorsement by MFGA. 
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