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Updates and information from across the industry 
October 9, 2009 - Vol 1, Issue 13
Articles In This Issue
ADOPT Projects Focus on Practical Solutions for Producers
SCA District Elections Approaching
Research Focus: Inclusion of Shrubs in Native Pasture Mixes
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Dear Leanne

Straw BalesWith the frosty evening temperatures and skiff of snow covering most of the province today, it seems that we are finally paying for the beautiful September weather.  Fall work has been temporarily suspended in some areas while producers wait for fields to dry.  Maybe the weather will allow you to catch up on some indoor work and reading!  In this edition of the Forage and Livestock eNews you will find information on some new demonstration projects, the upcoming Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association district elections as well as a research project looking at including shrubs in native pasture mixes.            
 
As always, feel free to share this publication with anyone you think may be interested, or encourage them to join our mailing list. 
 
Please contact us if you have comments or questions about our e-newsletter.  Also, let us know if you have ideas for upcoming issues.  We welcome your input!
ADOPT Projects Focus on Practical Solutions for Producers 
 
 
The Saskatchewan Forage Council is pleased to be cooperating with producers and stakeholder groups around the province on a number of Agriculture Demonstration of Practices and Technology (ADOPT) projects.  The ADOPT program was announced by the provincial government this summer as part of the Growing Forward Initiative.  The ADOPT program provides funding to help producer groups evaluate and demonstrate agricultural practices and technologies at the local level. Producers can attend these demonstrations and assess the merit of adapting these practices and technologies in their farming operation.
 
The SFC along with partner organizations is currently working on four projects including:
         Establishment of Alfalfa in Existing Grass Stands
         Effect of Bale Grazing on Subsequent Pasture/Hay Yields
         Establishing Cicer Milkvetch in Existing Grass Stands
         Using Stockpiled Perennial Forages
 
The alfalfa demonstration will look at the success of either drilling or broadcasting alfalfa seed onto existing grass stands with or without phosphorus fertilizer.  Seeding will take place during the fall of 2009 and establishment success evaluated during the summer of 2010 and 2011.  This demonstration will be carried out at three sites in the province to incorporate differences in soils and climatic conditions.  

 
Bale GrazingThe bale grazing demonstration will take place near Biggar, SK and will look at the effect of bale grazing on subsequent forage yields at that site.  Bales will be set out in the fall of 2009 on perennial forage, bale grazing will take place during the winter of 2009/2010 and forage yields will be determined on the site and an adjacent non-bale grazed site during the summer of 2010 and 2011.

The cicer milkvetch demonstration will consist of broadcasting seed into an existing grass stand in the fall of 2009 and bale grazing on the site as a method of incorporation.  Establishment success will be evaluated during the summer of 2010 and 2011.  This demonstration will be carried out at three sites across the province. 
 
The stockpiled perennial forage demonstration will look at the economic implications of grazing either stockpiled standing or stockpiled swathed perennial forages.  These two options will also be compared to traditional confinement winter feeding.  Perennial forage will be grazed during the fall/winter of 2009/2010 and economic comparisons made in the spring of 2010.  This demonstration will also be carried out at three sites across the province.
 
Sites will be incorporated into local field days and producer focused meetings wherever possible as these projects progress.  Please stay tuned for more information on these projects and for details on upcoming field days.
 
The Saskatchewan Forage Council gratefully acknowledges funding provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture as well as the cooperation of producers who will be hosting these sites.  Technical assistance for these projects is being provided by staff from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, the Western Beef Development Centre and Ducks Unlimited Canada.

 
 
Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association District Elections Approaching
 
 
After many months of hard work, commitment and leadership from a large number of individuals within our industry, the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association (SCA) was officially established under the authority of the The Agri-Food Act, 2004 on January 29, 2009. As a development commission, the SCA is structured to provide for the effective development and promotion of the industry by investing levies collected through the sale of beef cattle in the province.
 
The SCA has been established with eleven regional districts across the province (see map insert). In the development of the SCA, an interim Board of Directors have brought significant vision, leadership and direction to this process. These individuals represent the districts across the province as well as including industry leaders from within the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) and the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association (SCFA).

SCA Districts Map

 
The SCA is currently preparing for their first district elections which will take place around the province between October 20 and November 6, 2009 (see list for specific dates and locations below).  These district meetings will also provide the opportunity for cattle producers to be updated on the work of the SCA and a forum for producers to provide input and feedback to the future direction of the SCA.  All meetings are scheduled to begin at 7:00PM.
 
SCA Election Dates and Locations 

District elections will allow for one director to be elected in each of these eleven districts. Through this democratic process every 'registered producer' (any Saskatchewan cattle producer who has paid levies within the last two years and has not received a refund) is entitled to one vote and is eligible to hold office as a director of the Association. Registered producers must be in attendance at their district meeting to complete the ballot.
 
In addition, two directors will be appointed as nominated from the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) and the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association (SCFA). The sixteen-member Board also includes the immediate past chairperson of the SCA.
 
Nominations for the inaugural elections to be held this fall closed on September 15, with the SCA receiving 26 nominations in total.  Candidate profiles and details on the election process were directly mailed to all registered cattle producers at the end of September. This information is also available at www.saskbeef.com.  Elections will be taking place in all but three of the districts.
 
Where to from here?
The SCA truly is a venue for all Saskatchewan beef producers to have a voice. The inaugural SCA Annual General Meeting will be held in Saskatoon on January 22, 2010 in conjunction with the first annual Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference. Every Saskatchewan producer is encouraged to attend and lend their voice to the future of their industry. More details on the Annual Meeting will be available in the coming months.
 
If you have any questions regarding the upcoming SCA elections or any other SCA issue, please contact:
 
Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association
PO Box 483
Outlook, SK S0L 2N0

Top of Page
 
 
Research Focus:
Inclusion of Shrubs in Native Pasture Mixes 
 
 
Dr. Mike Schellenberg recently began a study that will look at the benefits of including shrubs in native pasture mixes.  The objective of this research is to evaluate the production and nutritive value of mixes that consist of grass only, grass and legumes, or grass, legumes and shrubs at the SPARC.  Field trials were established in 2008 and will be evaluated over the next 6 years.
 
Four native shrubs are being included in this study: winterfat (Eurotia lanata), saltbush (Atriplex gardneri), lead plant (Amorpha canescens) and bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata). 
 
Winterfat
Saltbush
Lead plant
Antelope Bitterbrush
 
Top left - Winterfat, Top right - saltbush, Bottom left - lead plant, Bottom right - antelope bitterbrush (photos courtesy of Dr. Mike Schellenberg, SPARC)
 
Winterfat and saltbush are important native shrubs in Saskatchewan due to their palatability and nutritive value.  Winterfat is salt and drought tolerant and highly palatable  and nutritious. This species provides excellent forage for livestock and wildlife and retains enough  protein and minerals to meet the nutritional requirements of livestock feeding on winter range. Saltbush has similar nutritional qualities as winterfat, thus is also suitable as winter forage for livestock and is fairly palatable to cattle. Although saltbush is generally found on badlands and eroded soils throughout the Canadian Prairies, the most productive Gardner's saltbush are found on south-facing slopes in sandy soils with cobblestones in association with blue grama grass. 
 
Preliminary results suggest that there are advantages to including shrubs in a grassland community.  Shrubs appear to increase the amount of spring moisture due to the snow catching ability of these plants.   Nutritive value of shrubs species is also being evaluated to assess their grazing potential.  Results from the first year show that shrubs hold their nutritive value into fall and winter much better than grasses or legumes.
 
Dr. Schellenberg remarks "there may also be benefits to including shrubs in pastures as climate change models predict a dryer more arid climate in western Canada into the future".  Many native shrubs are adapted to dryer soil conditions than grass or legume species.  Shrubs could help preserve the grazing capacity of pastures in this case.
 
For more information on this project, please contact:
Dr. Mike Schellenberg -AAFC Research Scientist
Semi-arid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC)
Phone (306) 778-7247
schellenberg@agr.gc.ca


 
 

Leanne Thompson - Editor
Forage and Livestock eNews
 
 
Forage and Livestock eNews is published by the Saskatchewan Forage Council (SFC).  Opinions
and information are provided by the authors and publication does not imply endorsement by the SFC.
The Saskatchewan Forage Council recognizes the support of our Annual Sponsors: 

     Ducks Unlimited Logo               Friendly Acres logo             DOW AgroSciences logo

Proven Seed/Viterra logoProven Seed/Viterra logo     SeCan logo    Sask Crop Insurance logo
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Financial support for this project has been provided by:
the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan through the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food
Saskatchewan (ACAAFS) program.  Funding for the ACAAFS program is provided by Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada

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