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Project Name: Cicer Milkvetch Establishment Options

Completion Date:  January 15, 2014

Objectives: 

Many livestock producers are interested in improving hay or pasture stands with the addition of a legume.  The use of non-bloating legumes such as cicer milkvetch are desirable for many livestock and forage producers due to pasture management options, productive capability and nutritional quality.  Producers are interested in the most effective methods of establishing this sometimes difficult to establish legume.  The objective of this project was to demonstrate various establishment strategies for cicer milkvetch as part of a new forage stand and evaluate the relative effectiveness of these strategies.

Results/Outcomes: 

This project demonstrated the establishment of cicer milkvetch in a forage mixture (cicer milkvetch, bromegrass and alfalfa) using three (3) establishment methods at two (2) sites, including: 

1. Spray out (herbicide) existing old forage stand and drill new forage mixture into sod; 

2. Work up (tillage) existing old forage stand and drill in new forage mixture; 

3. Seed new forage mixture into stubble of previously annual cropped area (stubble). 

Establishment success was observed through plants counts and visual assessment comparing the percentage of cicer milkvetch seedlings as part of the total plant cover on each plot.  Cicer milkvetch composed a minimum of 0% and a maximum of 9% of the total botanical cover in the first year of establishment.  At one site, where two varieties of cicer milkvetch were sown, the Oxley II variety was the most successful on a plot sown in late May under the herbicide treatment.  The tilled treatment was slightly more successful than the herbicide or stubble treatments at a second site, where AC Veldt was the only variety of cicer milkvetch sown.  Shallow seeding depth, as well as competition appear to have been factors in establishment success in year one, however monitoring over multiple years will be required to gain a better understanding of the success of these three establishment options.  Cicer milkvetch seed was not scarified prior to seeding in this demonstration, which likely impacted establishment success in the first year.  Project results were communicated through producer workshops in the winter of 2013/2014 and in a web video produced (Forage Variety Comparisons: Cicer Milkvetch) highlighting this cicer milkvetch project and posted to the Saskatchewan Forage Council’s YouTube channel and the Saskatchewan Forage Council website.

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists partnered on this project to oversee the demonstration sites. The Saskatchewan Forage Council would like to thank; Northstar Seed Ltd for donating the cicer milkvetch seed for this project and Cavalier Agrow for donating the brome and alfalfa seed for the Medstead site. Co-operating producers were Ryan Sommerfeld of Medstead, SK and Blaine Thrun of Luseland, SK. 

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.


Project Name: Demonstration of Perennial Forage Crops

Completion Date: December 15, 2013

Objectives:

This project showcased over 40 perennial forage species, including both grass and legumes at four research farms in Saskatchewan in side-by-side demonstration plots in 2012 and 2013. The volume of information and the wide variety of forages available can make forage selection an overwhelming process. These demonstration sites provided an opportunity for producers to view the relative success of both legume and grass species in their own regions to assist in selection of forages for their own operations. When making management decisions on their farms, forage and livestock producers have access to a number of forage species including both old and new forage varieties. Recognizing the importance of appropriate forage species and variety selection, there are two main objectives to this project: 1) To provide a side-by-side demonstration of new and unique forage varieties in comparison to those more commonly used. 2) To demonstrate any differences in establishment, growth habit, maturity and yield of different perennial forages, including both grass and legume species, at sites throughout the province.

Results/Outcomes:

This project successfully displayed side-by-side demonstrations of 50 different perennial forage species at four locations throughout Saskatchewan. Planting these forage species at research farms and displaying both novel and more established varieties, allowed producers to view and compare species/varieties they may be considering seeding on their own operations. The field days and communications produced through this demonstration also provide a starting point for discussing both the adaptations and limitations of the forage species on display.

Project Partners: With the assistance of Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) and in partnership with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists. The Saskatchewan Forage Council would also like to thank BrettYoung™; Northstar Seed Ltd.; Pickseed®; SeCan and Viterra™, who donated the seed for this project. Co-operating sites include the following research farms: Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (Melfort); Craik Ecocentre (Craik); East Central Research Farm (Yorkton) and Conservation Learning Centre (Prince Albert).

Project Report: A copy of the final report for this project is available for download. An informational video about the bromegrass varieties used in this demonstration was developed and can be viewed on YouTube (SFC Bromegrass Video).


Project Name: Invasive Plant Species Management Strategies: Capacity Building for Saskatchewan’s Forage & Livestock Industry

Completion Date: February 28, 2013

Objectives:

Invasive plant species are present in Saskatchewan and are often found established within forage acres. These invasive plant species pose a very real and significant threat. This project provided the resources to path find and pilot solution for the forage and livestock industry to deal with this ever-growing threat of invasive plant species. A proactive approach was taken to develop the capacity and tools to respond to the issue and pilot practical measures across the wider industry. Project objectives included increasing Saskatchewan producers’ awareness of invasive plant species and also assessed existing weed-free forage certification programs and the potential for these to be adapted for Saskatchewan use. The pilot project and strategic assessment looked at the practical application of a weed-free forage certification program in the province and helped to determine if a province wide program may be warranted, desired and if so, accepted by the industry.

Results/Outcomes:

Through the education and awareness portion of this project a number of practical, updated and producer-friendly educational materials were developed and will continue to be available into the future. As well, participation in producer meetings and an active awareness campaign resulted in a heightened awareness by producers and industry about the threat of invasive plant species. Yet another success of this project was the involvement of industry groups and agencies through the focus group meetings held as part of the strategic assessment and feasibility study. Engagement and input from these groups provided yet another avenue for increased awareness. The Strategic Assessment/Feasibility Study and Weed-Free Forage Pilot Program provided important findings regarding the potential for a future certification program in Saskatchewan. Focus group stakeholder feedback found that “further development of a weed-free forage program in Saskatchewan is warranted”. The project was very successful in meeting its original objectives. Awareness of the threat of invasive plant species was increased and an in depth assessment of existing weed-free forage certification programs and opportunities for a provincial program were fully evaluated. Clearly, there is much work left to be done but this project fulfilled its role to initiate the conversation, bring industry partners together on this critical issue, and identify next steps.

Project Partners:  This project embodies the true value of partnerships and collaboration. Funding for this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Saskatchewan, this program is delivered by the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan. A project steering committee participated in the project’s activities, design and delivery and included representatives from the following organizations/agencies: Saskatchewan Forage Council, Frenchman-Wood River Weed Management Area, Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Additional support (financial and in-kind) for this project was provided by Crossing the Medicine Line Network, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, True North Specialty Products, ConocoPhillips, Dow AgroSciences and Canada North Environmental Services.

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.  A copy of the Strategic Assessment/Feasibility Study report can be viewed by clicking here, and a copy of the Facilitated Focus Group report can be viewed by clicking here.

Project Name: Options for Establishing Forages on Saline Soils

Completion Date: October 1, 2013

Objectives:

Saline areas are a significant concern for Saskatchewan producers.  Saline areas are areas of the field that contain salts in the soil at concentrations that affect the growth and production of agricultural crops in Saskatchewan.  One objective of this project is to demonstrate to producers new and existing forage varieties with the potential to germinate in saline areas and compete with saline tolerant weeds.  When perennial forages are established on saline areas, fewer weedy species are allowed to grow, effectively reducing the weed seed bank of the field.  A second objective is to measure the establishment and vigour of saline tolerant forages during the establishment year and the first hay season (second year) under varying soil salinity levels.

Results/Outcomes:

Smooth brome and the three varieties of alfalfa included in the demonstration out-performed the other grasses sown where soil was slightly saline.  Alfalfa generally could not tolerate moderate to severe salinity, but Halo alfalfa was more successful than Rugged or Rambler at one site under moderate salinity.  Creeping foxtail established more often than any other forage species in moderately to severely saline soils in this demonstration.  Tall fescue as well as tall wheatgrass, intermediate wheatgrass and slender wheatgrass were also observed in moderately saline soils at various sites.  Differing results by site and within sites indicate that seeding a forage mixture may be the best strategy to ensure some establishment in saline soils.  As demonstrated at one site, fall seeding of forages may also be an effective strategy to give plants the best start in spring when salt concentrations are lower.  As evidenced by one site assessed in both 2011 and 2013, grasses and legumes may take years to establish.  Time and patience are often required for forages to reach satisfactory production levels on saline sites.  A presentation consolidating the results from all the sites is available for viewing on the Saskatchewan Forage Council website.

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Support was provided by Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists to oversee the demonstration sites.  The Saskatchewan Forage Council gratefully acknowledges the project demonstration site cooperators: Andrew Tschetter of Star City; Neil and Julie McKenzie of Hazenmore; Dean Nikolejsin of Cedoux; Eldon and Tenille Summach of Dodsland and Tim Nerbas of Waseca.

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.

Project Name: Annual Forage Species Demonstration

Completion Date: February 15, 2013

Objectives:

This project demonstrated annual forage species for fall and winter grazing options at three sites in Saskatchewan. The demonstration included oats, barley, millet, and corn. The oats, barley and millet were swath grazed and the corn was grazed standing. The objective of this project is to help producers determine if annual forages for fall and winter grazing is a viable option for their operation, and which forage species are suitable for conditions in their area.

Results/Outcomes:

This demonstration gave producers the opportunity to view both cool season and warm season forage species on five acre plots on operations in Saskatchewan in order to evaluate the applicability of these species for their own operations.

Large yield variations in cool season annuals based on seeding dates demonstrated the economic value of planting annual crops within the recommended time frame.  Cool season annuals (oats and barley) had the lowest cost per pound of dry matter only when seeded in early June.  When seeded within the recommended time period, oats had the lowest cost per pound of dry matter production of all crops across all sites.   
 
The warm season annuals (corn and millet) were more predictable in terms of yield and produced more forage per dollar spend on average than the cool season annuals.  This advantage is largely thought to correlate with seeding dates in this demonstration. Corn produced the highest total dry matter yield at every site, but also had the highest input costs of any crop. 

It appears that any of these annual crops could provide a good alternative to purchasing or baling hay to feed in fall and winter.  The average prices to produce a pound of dry matter ranged from 1.6 cents (corn) to 2.5 cents (oats) during this project, with the added benefit of extensive grazing systems that return nutrients to the soil.  Based on the varied results, producers should carefully consider if the environmental conditions are conducive to appropriate timing for sowing annual crops for grazing.

Project Partners: This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement. Industry support was provided by Annex Agro Ltd, who donated Pioneer Hi-Bred P7213 corn for the Nokomis site.  The Saskatchewan Forage Council partnered with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists to oversee the demonstration sites. Chad Ross of Estevan, Don and Wayne Russell of Rosetown and Rick Hards of Nokomis were co-operators at the demonstration sites.
 
Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.

Project Name: Baling Alfalfa: Comparing Leaf Shatter Loss to Heat Damage

Completion Date: April 1, 2013

Objectives:

This Saskatchewan Forage Council ADOPT project was intended to demonstrate the changes in feed quality that occur when baling alfalfa at various moisture levels.  By measuring moisture content at twine wrapping and resultant feed quality after storage of hay, this demonstration provided important information to assist producers in deciding the optimal time to bale alfalfa in order to maximize preservation of both quantity and quality of feed.

When producers bale alfalfa hay, some will stop baling during the hot and dry part of the day because leaf shatter loss during twine wrapping appears excessive. They will then resume baling in the early evening and into the night as the humidity increases. A common mistake made is continuing to bale after the moisture content becomes excessive, resulting in feed quality loss in the bale from mold and carmelization.  This project will assist producers in deciding when and when not to bale throughout the day. It will help producers minimize hay loss when baling, and hay quality loss during storage.

Results/Outcomes:

This project successfully demonstrated the extent of loss, both in terms of volume and quality that can occur when baling alfalfa forage. Leaf loss for dry or very dry forage averaged 8.9 kg per bale at the demonstration sites in 2011 and 2012, and was appreciably higher as the moisture level dropped from dry (14-16%) to very dry (less than 14.5%). Leaf loss did not occur, or was negligible for hay baled at moisture levels over 16% at time of baling. Forage quality for the dry or very dry forage after bales had been stored for at least 60 days was poorer than both the intermediate and high moisture content bales at two of the three sites in terms of crude protein, TDN, fibre and digestible energy. Dry leaf loss pile samples were of higher forage quality than the core samples taken post-baling from the dry bales, indicating that the leaf loss represented the loss of an important component of the forage in terms of nutritional value. These results indicate that producers must be cognisant of moisture levels of hay when baling to avoid substantial losses of both quality and quantity of forage once conditions become too dry.

In addition to leaf loss with bales made under dry conditions, this project looked at potential nutritional losses to forage baled under high moisture conditions. Based on forage sample results for protein, TDN and energy levels, baling under high moisture conditions seemed to produce higher-quality feed than hay baled with less than 15% moisture. However, when combined with visual inspection, the presence of mold, an “off” smell and spoilage was evident in the high moisture bales. These results are a reminder that producers should be cautious about purchasing forage based only on feed test results, and always consider visual inspection of the forage. 

Project Partners: This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Support was provided by Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists to oversee the demonstration sites. The Saskatchewan Forage Council gratefully acknowledges the project demonstration site cooperators: Gordon Berry of Loverna, Byron and Michelle Clarke of Denzil, Darren Haupstein (Ell Nell Farms) of Weyburn and Harvey Johnson of Weyburn.

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download

Project Name: Silage Variety Comparison for Dairy Production in Saskatchewan

Completion Date: March 1, 2013

Objectives:
 
The objective of this project was to provide a side-by side demonstration of silage crops and varieties including those more commonly used and those considered novel. Additionally, this project intended to demonstrate differences in yield, agronomics, and forage quality of barley silage varieties, as well as to estimate differences in economic efficiency of varieties grown in three sites throughout the province. 

Results/Outcomes:

Three producer cooperators collaborated with the Saskatchewan Forage Council and SaskMilk to provide side-by-side comparisons of four varieties of barley for silage.  The demonstration sites each used four (4) barley treatments of approximately ten (10) acres each including:  AC Ranger, Falcon, Legacy and Sundre. 

Legacy was the highest-yielding barley crop at both sites, followed by Falcon and Ranger, with Sundre producing the lowest yields.  Based on yield alone, in this demonstration in 2012, Legacy appears to show a clear advantage over other varieties in terms of tons returned per acre seeded.  Both Legacy and Falcon were reported to have a higher degree of lodging than Sundre and Ranger, and Ranger was reported to have lodged the least at one site.

Lab analysis of the four feeds showed some variation in overall quality for Ranger, Legacy and Falcon, with Ranger performing slightly better for overall forage quality.  Sundre did not perform as well as the other varieties, with the lowest TDN, starch, energy and crude protein results and the highest ADF and NDF results. Sundre may not be as well suited for dairy production in Saskatchewan as the other barley varieties in terms of yield, nutritional quality and disease resistance; however, follow-up in future years with this variety on more sites would be required to make this determination definitively.

Project Partners: This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement. Industry Support was provided by the DairySmart Nutrition group at the demonstration sites field tour and in sharing information at the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference.  Support for this project was also provided by Provincial Dairy Specialist Deb Haupstein to oversee the demonstration sites and by Dr. David Christensen of the University of Saskatchewan in an advisory role.  Demonstration site co-operators were Albert Leyenhorst of Dalmeny, Phil and Ryan Enns of Osler and Jim Ross of Grenfell.
 

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.

Project Name: Hay Preservatives for High Moisture Bales

Completion Date: February 1, 2013

Objectives:

Hay made under high moisture conditions (>18%) is prone to mold, mycotoxins and decreased forage quality.  Mold and mycotoxins are anti-nutritional factors that generally reduce the quality of feed for animals.  They can cause serious health problems in livestock, including impaired growth and muscle formation, reduced fertility, decreased milk production and in some cases death.  However, harvesting hay at low moisture levels increases leaf loss, thereby reducing protein levels and overall quality of the baled forage.   Hay preservatives are products that allow hay to be baled at higher moisture due to their ability to limit the growth of molds in high-moisture forages.  There are three main types of preservative: organic acids, bacterial inoculants and anhydrous ammonia.  The objective of the project was to demonstrate to producers the use and relative effectiveness of various types of hay preservatives.

Results/Outcomes:

Excessive moisture during haying season can pose a problem for producers in Saskatchewan, particularly in central and northern areas of the province.  Using hay preservatives to bale hay at high moisture levels (over 18%) is an attractive option, but producers need to be assured that mold growth will be inhibited and hay will be safe for livestock consumption.  

Upon visual inspection of the bales, there did appear to be slightly less dust in the hay treated with preservatives at both sites as compared to the untreated high moisture hay.  Odor of the preservative treated hay was also more appealing at both sites. The feed test results from this demonstration indicate there may be an advantage to using hay preservative products in terms of maintaining feed quality in some cases.  At one site, the hay treated with Buchneri Inoculant was highest in crude protein, total digestible nutrients and had the highest overall relative feed value.  Hay treated with HaySaver resulted in higher adjusted protein levels than the untreated controls, but had significantly higher mold count numbers than all other hay at this demonstration site.  At the second site, the best hay quality resulted from the dry control bale.  Also at this site, there did appear to be an advantage to using Silo Guard® in terms of maintaining crude protein and relative feed value under high moisture conditions when compared to the control bale.  The lower mold count and reduced dust observed in the Buchneri hay appear to show an advantage over baling high moisture hay with no preservative at the second site.

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Support was provided by Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists to oversee the demonstration sites. The Saskatchewan Forage Council would like to thank Cattle Care Vet Services, who donated the Buchneri inoculant (Lallemand Animal Nutrition) for all sites. Reinhold Kulscar of Yorkton, Cynthia and Dennis Wesselingh of Dalmeny and Grant Anderson of Rosetown were cooperators at the demonstration sites.

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download
 
Project Videos:  As part of the project, two videos were created that were taken during the field days for the ADOPT Hay Preservatives demonstration and they provide information about the project and its findings.  To watch the videos click the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1tFKgU932M or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQeMQsBWBtc.  

Project Name: A Comparison of Chemical and Biological Control of Scentless Chamomile in Mixed Alfalfa/Grass Hay and Pasture Stands

Completion Date: October 15, 2012

Objectives:
 
The objective of this project was to demonstrate the relative effectiveness of various chemical and biological control strategies for scentless chamomile in perennial forage stands. Demonstration sites also served as multiplication sites for the two biological controls used in this project. Another objective was to raise awareness of invasive plant species in general and methods of control available.

Results/Outcomes:
 
Scentless chamomile is an invasive weed which is a problem in both cultivated land and perennial forage stands. There are some chemical control options available for annual crops, however most or all of these chemical options also kill alfalfa plants limiting their usefulness in forage crops. There are also two main biological control agents that control scentless chamomile, including stem gall midge (Rhopalamyia tripleurospermi) and seed head feeding weevils (Omphalapion hookeri). However, biological control options are not widely known amongst producers and the availability may be limited. This project gave producers the opportunity to learn both about control agents for scentless chamomile and about the impact of invasive weeds on perennial forage stands.

Two of the three chemical control methods used in the project were found to successfully control scentless chamomile at all three demonstration sites, however these chemicals also tended to kill the alfalfa plants in the perennial stand.  The third chemical control option was less effective at control of scentless chamomile, but also tended to cause injury to alfalfa.  In this demonstration, biological controls did not demonstrate any measureable control of scentless chamomile however longer-term evaluation is necessary to fully evaluate the effectiveness of biological controls. As biological methods do not injure alfalfa, these methods may be desirable as part of integrated approach to control of scentless chamomile in mixed grass/alfalfa stands.  Plot monitoring will continue at the demonstration sites going forward in order to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of these control methods.

Project Partners: This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement).  Industry support was provided by Dow AgroSciences, who provided both the Reclaim and Restore chemical for the three demonstration sites.  In-Kind support was also provided by Harvey Anderson of SARM to collect and ship the biological controls for the demonstration.  The Saskatchewan Forage Council partnered with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists to oversee the demonstration sites. Byron and Michelle Clarke of Denzil, Ivan Allin of Watrous and the AAFC-AESB Oakdale Community Pasture and Duane Murphy of Coleville were the co-operators for these demonstration sites.

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.

Project Name: Grazing Non-Traditional Annual Forage Mixtures

Completion Date: September 30, 2012

Objectives:

The objective of this project was to demonstrate alternative options for annual forage production and alternative land use to Saskatchewan producers including a measure of forage production, soil health and economics when utilized as a grazing source.

Results/Outcomes:

Livestock producers continue to explore alternative forage options for grazing animals. Recent work has suggested that non-traditional annual crops, including sugar beets, forage radish, pasja, turnips, kale, fenugreek, Berseem clover, buckwheat, soybean, hairy vetch, millet and sunflowers in mixtures, may not only have benefits for animal production but also for soil health.

Based on the results from this demonstration, it appears that non-traditional annual forage mixtures may be of use to Saskatchewan livestock producers. Although the non-traditional blends did not yield as high as the comparison crops, the quality of the non-traditional blend and the fact that they provided a green, actively growing crop for grazing during a period where most other plants had browned off seemed to appeal to the cattle.

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement. The Saskatchewan Forage Council also gratefully acknowledges Friendly Acres Seed Farm for provision of non-traditional seed mixtures for all three demonstration sites. In addition, the Saskatchewan Forage Council thanks the project co-operators including Fred Wernicke and Darren Young.  Technical assistance was provided by Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists.

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.


Project Name: Establishing Cicer Milkvetch using Trampling from Bale Grazing

Completion Date: October 31, 2011

Objectives:

This project demonstrated various seeding rates of cicer milkvetch and subsequent bale grazing as a method to establish this legume into existing grass stands.  Both the effectiveness of trampling from bale grazing as an incorporation method and the various seeding rates were compared at three sites across the province. 

Results/Outcomes:

The project was somewhat successful in comparing the effectiveness of bale grazing as an incorporation technique and the effect of seeding rates on cicer milkvetch establishment.  At one of the three sites, cicer establishment was considered successful however, there did not appear to be a difference between seeding rates.  At the other two sites, establishment success was limited.  There did not appear to be a difference between seeding rates.  At these two sites, competition from existing forage appeared to have played an important role in suppressing the growth of any cicer seedlings that may have initially established.  It should be noted that during both years of this project above average moisture conditions were experienced, thus results from these sites may not be typical.  Although it appears that only one of the three demonstration sites in this project was moderately successful, due to its nature of slow and uneven germination rates, it is difficult to conclude if this method of cicer milkvetch establishment was effective after only two years of monitoring.  Continued evaluation is required to determine if broadcasting and bale grazing is an effective method to establish cicer milkvetch. 

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement. Project partners included the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialists who oversaw demonstration sites and NorthStar Seeds for providing cicer seed for all three demonstration sites. Brian Ross at Estevan, Rod and Val Petrie at Tessier and Ryan Sommerfeld at Medstead were the co-operators for these demonstration sites. 

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.


Project Name: Nutrient and Yield Effect of Bale Grazing on Hay Fields

Completion Date: October 31, 2011

Objectives:

The objective of this project was to demonstrate and quantify anecdotal evidence that bale grazing can improve the nutrient profile and forage yield of hay stands by measuring forage yield before and after bale grazing as well as looking at the length of time effects may persist.  A general cost comparison between bale grazing and yard site feeding was also conducted.

Results/Outcomes:

The project was successful in comparing the effects of bale grazing on the yield and nutrient profile of the hay field.  Forage yields on the bale grazed demonstration site were approximately four times greater than those on the adjacent non-bale site in both 2010 and 2011.  Plant tissue testing conducted during the summer following bale grazing (2010) revealed that plant nutrient levels for several elements were deficient or marginal where no bale grazing had occurred.  By comparison, the plant tissue sample from the bale grazed area showed an increase in most plant nutrients with all classified as sufficient, or very nearly sufficient.  Soil nutrients were also positively affected with both nitrogen and phosphorus increasing in the year following bale grazing.  Nitrogen levels were back to pre-bale grazing levels (measured in 2009) or slightly below following two growing seasons.  This is likely due to the fact that the smooth bromegrass on this site was very effective in using the soil nitrogen to support the lush, vigorous growth noted in both years.

Forage quality on the bale grazed area was also improved when compared to the non-bale grazed area.  In particular, crude protein from forage on the bale grazed area was nearly double in 2010 and was more than double that of the non-bale grazed area in 2011.  

An economic comparison showed some of the potential advantages of bale grazing as a feeding system when compared to feeding in a yard site.  The full cost of setting up this bale grazing site was recovered in the form of additional revenue from two years of increased forage yield.  In fact, a comparison of costs and revenue also showed there was a profit of $14.42/acre following two years post-bale grazing on the area.

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture partnered on this demonstration site and Leam Craig of the Biggar area was the co-operator.  

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download


Project Name: An Ecomomic Assessment of Feed Costs within the Cow/calf Sector

Completion Date: September 30, 2011

Objectives:

The most significant costs within cow/calf production are the expenses associated with feed consumption, including both grazed forage and conserved feed. It is not only the cost of the feed itself that is significant but the type of feed delivery and grazing management employed within cow/calf production systems which have considerable economic impact on the business. These feed delivery and grazing management systems vary significantly between operations and have changed considerably over time. However, accurate and comprehensive economic analyses of these various feeding and grazing systems are not readily available to assist cow/calf managers in their decision‐making.

Historically, economic analysis of cow/calf operations has not been well defined, particularly in Canada. However, data collected throughout the last decade in Western Canada has provided cow/calf managers with a better general understanding of the economics of production systems. Nevertheless, many issues with respect to consistency and accuracy of economic information collected exist. Standardized data collection is essential to better understand the economic status of the cow/calf sector.

Results/Outcomes:

Feeding and grazing systems make up approximately 60‐70 per cent of the total production costs of cow/calf operations in Western Canada, of which two‐thirds is the cost of winter feed and bedding, while pasture accounts for the remaining one‐third of the equation. In order to capture consistent profits, cow/calf managers need to focus on reducing total costs, concentrating on feed, forage, grazing and feeding systems.

Even though feeding and grazing systems are the largest contributor to production costs, there are significant gaps when it comes to economic analysis of forage, grazing and feeding research. In addition, many cow/calf managers do not conduct economic assessments of their business, leaving them extremely vulnerable to ever‐growing losses. In order for the cow/calf sector to regain some competitive advantage, significant effort needs to be placed on the financial measures of the business, both at the individual business level and the research level.

Effective utilization of all forages in grazing and feeding systems will be required for the cow/calf sector to remain competitive and economically viable over the next decades. Initial estimates indicated that over $3.8 million in savings could be captured for each day that grazing is extended for the entire Canadian beef herd. Thorough economic analysis of existing and future feeding and grazing strategies needs to be undertaken to accurately assess the economic impacts these systems have on the entire cow/calf enterprise. It is recommended that a stronger emphasis be placed on economic analysis as it relates to cow/calf production management and specifically, feed and grazing system costs. Understanding the costs associated with all forage resources is essential for cow/calf managers’ financial success. Forages have the potential to be a cow/calf operation’s most valuable economic tool.

Project Partners: This project was prepared by the Saskatchewan Forage Council for the Western Canadian Feed Innovation Network (www.wcfin.ca). Funding for this project provided by the Western Canadian Feed Innovation Network.  Data collection and report compilation conducted by Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting.

Project Report: A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.


Project Name: Re-establishing Alfalfa into Existing Grass Stands

Completion Date: September 30, 2011

Objectives:

Many livestock producers attempt to re-establish legumes into grass pastures and hay fields, often with poor results. This project evaluated two seeding methods (broadcast vs drilled) as well as the addition of fertilizer (phosphorous or no phosphorous) to re-establish alfalfa into existing grass stands at three locations in an effort to demonstrate practical, low cost options to improve forage stands. 

Results/Outcomes:

The project was successful in comparing the effectiveness of two seeding methods and the effect of phosphate fertilizer on the establishment of alfalfa into existing grass stands.  In particular, demonstration plots showed that alfalfa can be established into existing grass stands with drilled seeding showing an advantage over broadcast seeding at two of the three sites.  The addition of phosphate fertilizer did not have a clear effect on the establishment of alfalfa seedlings at any of the three locations in either seeding method.  Suppression of the existing grass in the stand appeared to have an important effect.  All three sites utilized fall or early spring grazing on the area to be seeded as a method to suppress existing vegetation.  It should be noted that during both years of this project above average moisture conditions were experienced at all three locations, thus results from these sites may not be typical. Although total forage yield was not significantly improved by the establishment of alfalfa at these demonstration sites, forage quality was very likely improved.  To gain a better understanding of how alfalfa continues to establish into existing grass stands, plots will continue to be monitored over the next couple of years. 

Project Partners:  This project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Project partners included the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and the Western Beef Development Centre.  Industry support was provided by Viterra and Pickseed who donated alfalfa seed for the demonstration sites and Precision Ag (Carlyle) who provided fertilizer for one of the sites.  Grainlands Community Pasture at Central Butte, Western Beef Development Centre at Lanigan and Darren Ippolitto at Forget were the co-operators for these demonstration sites. 

Project Report:  A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.

Project Video:  As part of the project, a video was created that provides information about the project and its findings.  To watch the Seeding Alfalfa into Existing Grass Stands video, click here.  You can also find it at www.youtube.com by typing in "SFC ADOPT Video" in the search box. 


Project Name: Western Canadian Organic Beef and Forage Industry: Current Market Conditions and Trends for the Future

Completion Date: August 31, 2011

Objectives:

The demand for organic food products by consumers has shown a much higher growth rate than total grocery sales over the past number of years. This heightened demand has raised the question of whether there are opportunities for growth of organic livestock production, including beef, and the related forage industry in Western Canada. The current study was undertaken to look at the status of the organic forage and beef industry in Saskatchewan and Western Canada as well as to identify potential areas of opportunity and obstacles to growth in these sectors. Literature review, web‐based research and stakeholder consultation were the major sources of information for this study.

Results/Outcomes:

It was concluded that in general stakeholders were cautious regarding the growth potential for organic forage. This is mostly due to the fact that most users of organic forage produce adequate home‐grown supplies and do not purchase much product off‐farm. There is also organic forage available from organic crop producers who use forages within their rotations and often do not have livestock on their operations, so there is normally a surplus on the market. In the event that the organic dairy sector expands, there may be some limited opportunities to supply high quality organic forage as dairy operations generally purchase more hay off‐farm than do beef operations.

There is currently one processor of organic forage products in Saskatchewan and this company reports that there is opportunity for growth, in particular for organic alfalfa pellets going into the European Union and Japan. However, there are a number of limiting factors at the current time including the high Canadian dollar and problems with transporting product to port. There is also potential for growth in the organic forage seed sector if Canadian companies are able to access additional markets in the European Union and United States.

Growth potential of the organic beef sector was also found to be conservative and stakeholders are cautiously optimistic about the future of this industry. While consumers are definitely purchasing more organic products each year, moving product into markets where demand exists at a price that is reasonable both to consumers and producers is a challenging task. Consistent supply and consistent quality is currently difficult to deliver as there are a relatively small number of organic beef producers. Those who are successful at this time are either selling direct to consumers or have formed cooperatives to increase the number of animals available to supply a contract.

Project Parnters:  This project was prepared by the Saskatchewan Forage Council for the Western Canadian Feed Innovation Network (www.wcfin.ca). Funding for this project provided by the Western Canadian Feed Innovation Network.  Data collection and report compilation conducted by Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting.

Project Report: A copy of the final report for this project is available for download.


Project Name: Assessment of Brush Control Herbicides in Parkland Pastures 

Completion Date: December 31, 2010

Objectives:

This project was intended to demonstrate and compare various brush control herbicides for controlling brush encroachment on pastures in the Parkland region of the province.  

Results/Outcomes:

The project was successful in comparing the effectiveness of various herbicide products recommended for controlling brush species and other invasive weeds. In particular, demonstration plots showed that the high rate of Grazon™ can be effective at controlling woody species in pastures. Restore appeared to be less effective than Grazon at controlling brush species, but was effective on a variety of other invasive plants including wild strawberry. 2‐4‐D alone and in combination with Banvel II also resulted in reasonable control of brush and weeds. This ADOPT project provided an excellent learning opportunity for those in attendance at the field days and information generated from this project will continue to be communicated to producers through the Saskatchewan Forage Council and Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

Project Partners: The project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Project partners included the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and industry support from Dow AgroSciences who provided newly released product “Reclaim”, Witchekan First Nation who were the co‐operators on the Bapaume site, the Bapaume Pasture and Pathlow Community Pasture staff, the Conservation Learning Centre for preparing the sprayer and the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation for their assistance in sending First Nation producers to the Bapaume Field Day and sponsoring the refreshments at the field day. 

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Stockpiling Perennial Forages 

Completion Date: July 31, 2010

Objectives:

This project was intended to demonstrate different methods to stockpile and utilize perennial forages, providing producers with a practical look at potentially low-cost options to reduce winter feeding costs for beef cattle.

Results/Outcomes:

The results of this project illustrate that stockpiling perennial forages is a viable option to consider for wintering beef animals.  Producers need to consider forage type, local environmental conditions, fencing and water supply, as well as animal management expertise, before implementing a winter grazing option.

Project Partners: The project was supported by the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward bi-lateral agreement.  Project partners included Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and Western Beef Development Centre.  

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Development of Perennial Native Species Stands in the Black Soil Zone of Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Completion Date: March, 2008

Objectives:

  • Seed six, 40 acre sites (on producers’ land) across the black soil zone in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to perennial native plant blend
  • Provide field scale demonstrations using native plants (grass and forbs)

Results/Outcome:

  • Five sites were sucessfully seeded in the black soil zone across Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the summer and fall of 2007
  • These sites will be monitered over the years to determine agronomic performance relative to tame stands, stand competitiveness to weed pressure, stand longevity and their other uses such as stockpiled feed

Project Partners: Ducks Unlimited Canada, Greencover Canada, Manitoba Forage Council and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Project Reports: A summary of this project entitled Establishment of Perennial Native Grass Species in the Black Soil Zone of Saskatchewan and Manitoba was developed and made available online. Click here for an article published by Ducks Unlimited Canada describing the need for this project. A copy of the final report is also available for download.


Project Name: Utilization of New Grass Cultivars for Reclamation of Saline Sites

Completion Date: March, 2008

Objectives:

  • Provide information on origin, adaptation, relative performance and management of salt tolerant cultivars
  • Hasten the uptake of new methods of reclaiming saline soils

Results/Outcomes:

  • A colour factsheet entitled Revegetation of Saline Soils using Salt Tolerant Grasses was developed, printed and is being distributed to government departments of agriculture, NGO’s, seed companies and dealers, etc.
  • The document is also available electronically on the SFC website

Project Partners: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Interactive Tools for Forage Species Selection and Seeding Rate Claculation

Completion Date: May, 2007

Objectives:

  • Develop a forage selection tool and make it available online as well as on CD
  • Develop a seeding rate calculator

Results/Outcomes:

  • A forage selection tool was developed and is currently running on the Saskatchewan Forage Council’s website (Forage Species Selection Tool) to provide wide access for a variety of users.
  • The selection tool was also produced on CD and has been distributed by the SFC, their partners and various government agencies
  • A forage seeding rate calculator was also developed which takes into consideration soil zone, species and mixtures to automatically calculate the appropriate seeding rate when selecting a species(s) to seed.
  • The seeding rate calculator was incorporated into the CD, as well as being available online on the SFC website.

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Greencover Canada Program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Development of Identification Tools for Perennial Introduced and Native Species

Completion Date: May, 2007

Objectives:

  • Update and expand four vegetation identification field guides.

Results/Outcomes:

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Greencover Technical Assistance Canada.

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Capacity Building in Tame Forage Species Management - Alfalfa

Completion Date: Fall 2006

Objective:

  • Plan and host a workshop for agrologists and forage specialists on alfalfa and its management

Results/Outcome:

  • The SFC planned and hosted a workshop for 40 agrologists and forage specialists from public agencies and private industry
  • The workshop offered in September of 2006 provided a comprehensive update on alfalfa and its management
  • Leading experts from the United States in combination with authorities in Canada instructed the course

Project Partners: Major funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Greencover Canada Program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Pasture Renovation with Kura Clover

Completion Date: August, 2006

Objectives:

  • Evaluate the adaptation, yield and nutritive value of kura clover in mixtures with spring or fall planted perennial grasses at two locations in Saskatchewan

Results/Outcome:

  • Kura clover is a winter hardy, persistent species in the Dark Brown soil zone of Saskatchewan
  • It is slow to establish, but its rhizomatous growth will slowly fill in stands
  • It has a much lower yield potential than alfalfa in the first two years of production of a stand
  • Kura clover has a high nutritive value, being particularly low in ADF
  • Kura clover mixtures with meadow or smooth bromegrass produced the highest yields

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by the Saskatchewna Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: 2006 Saskatchewan Pasture School

Completion Date: Summer 2006

Objectives:

  • Organize the Saskatchewan Pasture School for 2006

Results/Outcome:

  • The 2006 Saskatchewan Pasture School was held in Saskatoon in June with capacity registraton of 50 participants
  • The school provided forage and livestock producers with practical and relevant hands-on training in the areas of pasture and grazing management

Project Partners: Partial funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Greencover Canada Program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Forage Seed Production and quality control focusing on weed control and harvest management

Completion Date: February, 2006

Objectives:

  • Pursue minor use registration of Puma Super™ in a number of forage grass species grown for seed production

Results/Outcome:

  • 14 studies were conducted at Scott research farm on seedling and established stands of 5 different grass species from 2003-05
  • Studies were also conducted at Melfort research station on four different grass species in 2004-05
  • Seedling crested wheatgrass exhibited good tolerance to Puma Super™ with no adverse effect on seed yield
  • Puma Super™ applied in established crested wheat grass at the IX and 2X rate resulted in acceptable (<10%) injury
  • Despite the lack of observed injury, Puma Super™ applied at the 2X rate caused a significant reduction in yield compared to Puma Super™ at the 1X rate
  • Seedling and established intermediate wheatgrass, meadow bromegrass, smooth bromegrass and tall fescue exhibited acceptable tolerance with no reduction in seed yields when Puma Super™ was applied at both 1X and 2X rates

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Reports: A copy of the final report is available for download. A summary of this progect was also developed and is available for download.


Project Name: Adaptation, yield and quality of annual forage crop culitvars in Saskatchewan

Completion Date: December 2005

Objectives:

  • Test forage yields of barley and oat varieties
  • Formulate recommendations for producers in Saskatchewan

Results/Outcome:

  • Varieties of barley (23) and oats (14) provided by seed companies and the Crop Development Centre were seeded in forage evaluation trials in 2003, 2004 and 2005 at several locations in Saskatchewan
  • For barley, the experimental line SB 97590R was consistently a high yielder in the two years in which it was entered in trials. The 2003 data supported its registration as CDC Cowboy
  • Newdale was also consistently near the top in yield in most trials and had the highest mean yield of the three varieties which were entered in all trials over the three years
  • For oats, there was more variation in ranking, so no clearly superior or inferior varieties were identified
  • Of the four varieties in all trials over the three years, Triple Crown had the highest mean yield, while Foothill had the lowest
  • A full set of data from these trials was included in the Saskatchewan Forage Crop Production Guide as appropriate

Project Report: A complete copy of the final study report is available for download.


Project Name: Hay and Forage Seed Production and Marketing in Saskatchewan

Project Activities: The activities supported by this project included

  • The expansion of the scope and circulation of the SFC newsletter (Saskatchewan Livestock and Forage Gazette)
  • Delivery and distribution of the Hay Market Report
  • Conducting annual regional seminars, conference attendance and launch of the SFC website

Results/Outcomes:

  • This project was successful in increasing producer knowledge of production and marketing while also allowing the SFC to work within the industry to meet, discuss and most importantly form partnerships to work with others to deliver extension and research needs.

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Canadain Adaptation and Development in Saskatchewan (CARDS) program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: 2004 Canadian Forage and Turf Seed Conference

Completion Date: January, 2004

Project Activites:

  • Organization and hosting the 2004 Canadian Forage and Turf Seed Conference held in Saskatoon from January 12-14th.

Results/Outcome:

  • The conference was a successful event with a wide range of presenters, industry experts, researchers, forage seed processors and seed producers attending
  • Producers were provided with up to date information on current growing conditions and production levels, market conditions and research results

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Canadain Adaptation and Development in Saskatchewan (CARDS) program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Foragebeef website development

Completion Date: 2003

Project Activites:

  • The SFC partnered with many collaborators to aid in the development of www.Foragebeef.ca as a means of creating a living library of research and extension information that is useful to Canadian Forage and Beef producers
  • This project involved extensive review of the existing information available on topics relating to forage and beef production and managment
  • From the review of information, the best and most useful was organized on the website into a user freindly format
  • The process took several years and involved over 50 Agriculture and Agri Food Canada research scientists and provincial forage and beef cattle extension specialists from all across Canada

Results/Outcome:

  • The website came online in 2003.

Project Partners: Partial funding for this project was provided by the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Report: A copy of the final report submitted to ADF is available for download.


Project Name: Development of a Forage and Amenity Seed Chek-off in Saskatchewan - Final Phase

Completion Date: 2006

Objectives:

  • Develop the framework of the Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission (SFSDC)
  • Develop and approve regulations for the SFSDC defining the forage and amenity seed check-off for Saskatchewan

Results/Outcome:

  • A framework and regulations were developed for the SFSDC
  • Regulations were officially approved and enacted by provincial Cabinet on June 28, 2005
  • Implementation of the forage seed check-off began effective July 1, 2005
  • The SFSDC has become fully operational establishing a head office in Melfort and has hired an Executive Director (Phil Curry)
  • All forage seed buyers/processors of Saskatchewan forage seed were contacted and registered with the Commission and began submission of levies in the summer of 2005

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Canadain Adaptation and Development in Saskatchewan (CARDS) program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Developemnt of a Forage and Amenity Seed Check-off in Saskatchewan - Phase 2

Completion Date: 2004

Objectives:

  • Explore the opportunity to develop a forage seed commission through industry consultation
  • The natural progression of the Feasibility Study for a Forage and Amenity Seed Check-off in Saskatchewan

Results/Outcome:

  • This portion of the project included development of the final regulations, a summary of the feasibility study, a record of producer and processor consultation and a list of documents developed for the commission
  • The final phase of the project will contiue with the start up of the commission and implementation of the check-off

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Canadain Adaptation and Development in Saskatchewan (CARDS) program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


Project Name: Feasibility Study for a Forage and Amenity Seed Check-off in Saskatchewan

Completion Date: 2003

Objectives:

  • Investigate the feasibility of a forage seed checkoff for the Saskatchewan production of forage seed, including forage grasses, forage legumes, turf and amenity species, and native plants
  • This would exclude alfalfa, which currently has a checkoff administered through the Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers Association

Results/Outcomes:

  • Three different aspects were used to gauge support of the checkoff including a producer survey, consultation with similar entities and consultation with forage seed processors
  • This study recommended that a check-off should be implemented and a commission to administer this check-off be developed

Project Partners: Funding for this project was provided by Canadain Adaptation and Development in Saskatchewan (CARDS) program

Project Report: A copy of the final report is available for download.


 
 
 
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