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Updates and information from across the industry 
December 4, 2009 - Vol 1, Issue 17
Articles In This Issue
Saskatchewan Beef and Forage Symposium
Multi-Species Grazing
Date Set for 2010 Saskatchewan Pasture School
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Dear Leanne

Bales on truckNow that we are actually into December, it appears that winter weather may actually be inevitable.  I spoke to may producers at Agribition last week who commented that the unusually warm November weather allowed them to get more work done this fall than they have in a long time.  Hopefully that is the situation at your place as well!  In this issue of the Forage and Livestock eNews, there is information on the upcoming Beef and Forage Symposium, and article on multi-species grazing and the initial information on the 2010 Saskatchewan Pasture School.  
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!
Saskatchewan Beef and Forage Symposium 
Beef and Forage SymposiumThe 2010 Saskatchewan Beef and Forage Symposium is being held on January 20, 2010 at the Saskatoon Inn in Saskatoon. This year's Saskatchewan Beef and Forage Symposium has partnered with the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference (SBIC) and will be the lead-off event that will kick start an exciting 4 days of activities.
The theme for the week is:"Securing Beef Beyond 2020: A Collective Approach".
Keeping with tradition, the Beef and Forage Symposium is targeted to beef producers and will provide a cross-section of the latest research findings related to the beef and forage industries in Saskatchewan. Hosting the symposium is a joint venture of the University of Saskatchewan, Western Beef Development Centre, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association, the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and the Saskatchewan Forage Council.
The line-up for this year's symposium includes an exciting cross section of industry, academic and producer experts who will share their experiences and expertise with the audience.  Program highlights include: a focus on the carbon footprint of the beef industry and the impact of carbon offset pro-grams on beef producers; research on time of calving and its impact on post weaning performance and profitability; the role of forage breeding and variety selection on seeding decisions; integration of intensive grazing with feedlot finishing, and one producer's experience with retaining ownership. 
Registration forms for the Saskatchewan Beef and Forage Symposium are available from the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference Headquarters. The registration fee for the symposium is $90 plus GST and includes all sessions, one lunch, refreshment breaks and the evening reception. To obtain early registration, the completed registration form and payment must be received by January 11, 2010. Late registration is $113 plus GST.
For registration information, please contact:Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference Headquarters at (306) 249-3512 or online at http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102853237312&s=256&e=001CYpTzzW8_urGbmc0IwB48msQZcB7Hr84B9K99McifG0RcC6uZDrlDY1etWSXfc3dIkjYz8ugj5muWyLw_cJITE12a36QzjuR2XATd5DbcLRElfEs2Pfz_kEfrEDkjKRr.  Event is Managed by AgriBiz Communications Corp.Adele Buettner, Event Manager
For Program Information Contact:
Murray Feist                                                         John McKinnon
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture                      University of Saskatchewan 
T: 306.694.3492                                                    T: 306.966.4137
Email: murray.feist@gov.sk.ca                               Email: john.mckinnon@usask.ca

Multi-Species Grazing
Submitted by: Stacey Gulka, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
Multispecies grazing can be used as a tool to accomplish specific grazing management goals.  Using two species of animals to graze a pasture can diversify the type of forage utilized, the topographic location of preferred grazing areas, and can also diversify income sources on the operation.  The most commonly used species in multispecies grazing systems are cattle and sheep or goats.  These species are commonly used because of their forage preferences. Cattle prefer to graze grasses while sheep prefer forbs and goats prefer brush and shrubs.  Depending on a producer's grazing management goals, these species can be used to utilize more of a pastures' forage production and can be used to control undesirable species within the area. 

A common use for multispecies grazing systems is to control the infestation of leafy spurge within a pasture by grazing with sheep.  Cattle do not consume leafy spurge, so without intervention, a pasture grazed only by cattle can be taken over by leafy spurge.  Sheep will graze leafy spurge, which in turn can increase the carrying capacity of the pasture for cattle grazing.  Grazing leafy spurge allows for the growth of grass species, which are preferred by cattle.  

Another benefit of multispecies grazing systems is the different tolerances of species to graze different areas of the pasture. Sheep and goats will graze at higher elevations than cattle, utilizing more of the forage available.  If the system involves large variances in the topographic landscape, a multispecies system can be beneficial in utilizing some of the underused areas of the pasture.

Often brush covered or woody areas of the pasture are also underutilized. Goats may be useful in fighting encroachment of woody species into a grassland, as this is their preferred food.

Diversifying the operation's income is another benefit of these grazing systems. The production of beef plus the production of mutton or lamb can be profitable for the producer.  Other markets involving goats could also be tapped, possibly the production of goat's milk.  The point of diversifying is to create more stability in income by marketing different species or their products. 


Sheep and Cattle

The benefits of a multispecies grazing system can be very useful to a producer, but management is very important to ensure that overgrazing does not occur.  The risk of overgrazing the pasture can be greater in these systems as more of the species of forage are being consumed. Cattle tend to overgraze localized areas of pasture, grazing their preferential forage.  With the introduction of another species, overgrazing can occur throughout the pasture as more species of forage are preferred and grazed.  Management to ensure that the pasture receives adequate rest for re-growth is essential.
Predation of stock can also be an issue when introducing sheep and lambs to an operation.  Methods to control predators must be put in place on the operation to ensure that large losses of livestock do not occur.
Overall, multispecies grazing can be useful tool when managed properly on an operation.  It is an option for producers looking to diversify their operation, control infestation of leafy spurge, or to optimize the grazing potential of their pastures.   
For more information regarding multispecies grazing systems you can contact:
Dustin Ostrander
Range Management Specialist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
778 5042
Gord Schroeder
Executive Director
Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board
933 5582

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Date Set for 2010 Saskatchewan Pasture School 
We are back again for another year!  Mark your calendar and plan to attend the 2010  Saskatchewan Pasture School.  This year's school will take place June 16 and 17, 2010 in Saskatoon, SK. 
With an annual attendance limited to fifty producers, the Saskatchewan Pasture School provides a forum for grazing managers to gain practical knowledge and expand their management skills through seminars, hands-on exercises and pasture tours.  Speakers at the school include professionals, researchers and experienced producers.
Here are some comments from past participants:

"It was excellent. I'd recommend it to other producers looking to develop better management skills ......... speakers targeted the audience well and fulfilled everyone's needs."
"Excellent tours! Nice to be able to SEE & do HANDS ON & be able to ask questions. Good to hear from producers .... "

A complete agenda will be available later in 2010, but for more information or to be placed on the waiting list for registration, please contact:

Saskatchewan Forage Council
Phone (306)966-2148

Organizations involved in putting this school together include: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada AESB (formerly PFRA), Ducks Unlimited Canada, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Saskatchewan Forage Council, Western Beef Development Centre.

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: 

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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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