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Updates and information from across the industry 
August 21, 2009 - Vol 1, Issue 11
Articles In This Issue
Southeast Greener Pastures 4-H Grazing Club
Information Available for Producers Interested in Stock-Water Systems
Research Focus: Effect of Resting Pastures During the Critial Late-Season Period
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Dear Leanne

Late summer pastureWith summer winding down, many in Saskatchewan are thinking about harvest.  These days if you want to start a debate at the coffee shop, all you have to do is mention frost!  Grain farmers are saying a little prayer, but it appears that with the late maturity of annual crops in many areas of the province, greenfeed may be a saviour for livestock producers short on hay.  The rainy conditions in August have relieved pressure on pasture in many areas of the province and the forage situation seems to be looking up since July.  This edition of the Forage and Livestock eNews contains information on the first 4-H Grazing club in the province and the successful field day they hosted recently, information on stock watering systems and a research project looking at in-season rest for perennial pastures.            
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!
Southeast Greener Pastures 4-H Grazing Club First of its Kind 
The Southeast Greener Pastures 4-H Grazing Club held their achievement day on August 18, taking this opportunity to showcase the project they have worked on this season comparing rotational and continuous grazing systems to the approximately 40 people in attendance.  The club consisted of seven members this season: James Jones, Jordan Moore, TJ Neuman, Taylor Schiestel, Megan Turton, Alex Neuman, and Mercedes Baglole.  
4-H tour2The event included background information on the project and site selection as well as discussion and touring of the end results, all presented by the youth members of this brand new 4-H club.  The tour portion of the day saw four field stations manned by the club members where each 4-Her spoke about various aspects of the project.  Topics presented on the field tour included; pasture health, the importance of litter, grazing effects on soil characteristics, plant physiology, riparian areas and plant ID.  Adult tour attendees asked many questions in the field, but the 4-H members aptly demonstrated their skill and new knowledge in handling and answering these queries. 
The club was initiated in the fall of 2008 as a way for the 4-H youth to learn more about forage and grazing management.  And that is exactly what happened!  Members learned how to conduct pasture health assessments and the importance of maintaining healthy forage stands to support animal grazing systems.  Several of the members are also involved in their local 4-H Beef Clubs and felt that this project was a natural fit. 
The learning opportunities were not limited to the youth involved in this group.  The grazing site used for this project is located on Mark and Kara Schiestel's farm near Alameda, SK, whose son Taylor was part of the club.  Mark and Kara have learned right alongside their son about the benefits of rotational grazing systems and plan to make changes to their existing management style.  They plan to maintain the paddocks created for this project and will likely look at carrying this idea to other pastures on their operation.
Lauren Hiestad, Marketing and Communications Officer for Saskatchewan 4-H was among those in attendance.  She remarked that the Southeast Greener Pastures 4-H Grazing Club is the first "grass" club in Saskatchewan and is not aware of any others in Canada.  She was impressed by the presentation of this project and the level of knowledge that members demonstrated regarding the subject area.  4-H numbers are down across Canada with less than 3800 members in Saskatchewan, so Lauren was happy to see this new project take shape.
As can be expected, the success of this new venture would not have been possible without the efforts of some key people.  Mark Neuman and Blain Hjertaas served as local leaders with technical assistance and help in setting up this demonstration site provided by Vicki East and Kylie McRae of Ducks Unlimited Canada. 
This day was an excellent example of youth's role in leading the way to a more sustainable future!

4-H Tour

Information Available for Producers Interested in Stock-Water Systems
Submitted by: Tara Mulhern Davidson, AAFC-AESB and Stacy Gulka, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority 
Having an ample supply of good quality stock water is critical and oftentimes challenging for livestock producers.  Whether developing a new watering site, or making improvements to an existing stock water source, there are several things to consider.  A booklet, titled Livestock Watering Systems in Saskatchewan: Producer Experiences, profiles forty different water projects that producers themselves are using.  This guide can help readers identify the benefits and considerations of a variety of different water systems and determine how they may fit into their own operation.   
The advantages of providing off-site water for livestock are numerous, including improved water quality, increased animal weight gains and better herd health, as well as extending or sustaining water supplies.  There are also many environmental benefits to off-site stock water, such as improving livestock distribution, reducing dependence on riparian ecosystems, and allowing producers to have more grazing flexibility with rotations and season of use.  With the availability of funding for several beneficial management practices, such as improved livestock site management and improved land management, implementing a stock water system on your livestock operation may be a good financial and environmental decision.
The publication highlights wind- and solar-powered systems, access points, spring developments, gravity-flow systems, pasture pipelines, winter water systems and much more.  The booklet was produced through Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada's Greencover Canada Program and was developed by Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. 
Copies can be obtained by phoning your local Agri-Environment Services Branch office, Ducks Unlimited office, Ministry of Agriculture office, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority office, or the Provincial Council of ADD Boards (PCAB) office.  The booklet can also be accessed on-line at:

LWS cover


Top of Page
Research Focus:
Effect of Resting Pastures During the Critical Late-Season Period
The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of resting perennial pastures during the critical period on productivity and alfalfa persistence.  This trial is being conducted at the Brandon Research Centre where meadow bromegrass only pastures, alfalfa/meadow bromegrass pastures and two seeding dates of annual forages (early and late) are being used to evaluate two systems of grazing management.  The trail began in 2006 and will continue for four years.  Oats and barley alternate as the annual forage in the trial.  Cow/calf pairs are used to graze the paddocks each year. 
Study Design
The summer grazing season is divided into three phases for this trial.  In phase one cow/calf pairs rotationally graze perennial pastures from the beginning of June to the end of July.  Pastures are clipped before and after grazing to estimate daily intake, forage yield and botanical composition.  During phase one, cow/calf pairs graze each pasture once for 10-12 days.  The perennial pastures are grazed in the same sequence each year, although a different set of pastures is grazed first over the four years of the trial.  This grazing schedule ensures that all pastures are grazed at differing period throughout the growing season and the dormant season, so that the impact from grazing will be as uniform as possible. 
In phase two, perennial pastures are divided in half at the beginning of August.  One half is rested and the other is not.  In the half that is not rested, cow/calf pairs continue to rotationally graze through their respective paddocks.  The cow/calf pairs from the rested halves are moved off perennial pastures and onto the early seeded annual forages for swath grazing.  Phase two ends when either the swath grazing, or the perennial pasture runs out.  All calves on all treatments are weaned at the end of phase two.
In phase three the cows that had been swath grazing the early seeded annual forage return to graze the rested half of their perennial pastures.  At the same time, the cows that had been grazing the non rested halves of the perennial pastures move onto the late seeded annuals to swath graze.
The end result of this trial design allows for evaluation of two types of perennial pastures (grass only and grass/alfalfa) that are provided in-season rest versus the more typical grazing season where annual swath grazing is utilized later in the fall.

Early Results
While this research is ongoing and final results will not be presented until 2010, results have been summarized for the 2006 and 2007 grazing seasons:
Estimated Animal Unit Days (AUD) of grazing per hectare at AAFC-BRC
Early results suggest that providing in-season rest for perennial pastures may have significant benefits to the number of animal grazing days provided both by the total system as well as the from the perennial pasture only.  In both years, the perennial pastures receiving in-season rest provided more total animal grazing days than the perennial pastures grazed throughout the growing season. 
Researchers also noted that due to the extremely dry conditions in the summer of 2006, there was a significant improvement in the forage yield of the early-seeded over the late seeded oats.  Early seeded oats yielded 8,660 kg/ha total forage yield while late seeded oats yielded only 3,200 kg/ha.
For more information on this project please contact Dr. Shannon Scott at the Brandon Research Centre.
Phone: (204) 578-3605 


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
 BrettYoung logo                   Pioneer logo           Northstar Seed logo        
SWA logo         Encana logo          Pickseed logo
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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