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Updates and information from across the industry 
June 26, 2009 - Vol 1, Issue 9
Articles In This Issue
SFC Annual Tour and General Meeting
Alfalfa Weevil Reports in Saskatchewan
Wealthy Rancher: A User-Friendly Tool to Aid in Decision Making
Drought Reaction from Saskatchewan Government
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Dear Leanne

Cow and calf in fescueWith June almost behind us, producers are busy assessing the forage situation.  Through much of the western side of the province, there are concerns regarding hay yields, the ability of pastures to hold livestock through the summer and speculation on forage and feed prices for the fall and winter.  Some areas of the province welcomed moisture during the past few weeks lessening these concerns, but there are still many areas that remain dry. This edition of the Forage and Livestock eNews contains information on provincial government reaction to the drought conditions and programs that may assist producers in dealing with this problem.  You will also find information on the alfalfa weevil, the SFC Annual Tour and General Meeting and a user-friendly calculator that assists producers in making decisions on their ranch.          
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 Forage Council Annual Tour and General Meeting 
The Saskatchewan Forage Council (SFC) will hold their annual tour and general meeting on Thursday July 9, 2009 in Stockholm, SK.  As in past years, the SFC is partnering with a local producer organization, the Stockholm Grazing Club, to host the day. 
 Grass Plot Tour
This event will begin in Stockholm at the community hall.  Attendees with then head out on pasture and field tours of the surrounding area for the morning.  Tour stops will include grazing and pasture management on a large yearling operation, watering site developments on pasture and a tour of local forage seed production fields.  Following lunch at the Stockholm community hall, the SFC Annual General Meeting will be held. 
To close the day, an individual from the forage industry will be honored with the Forage Industry Innovation Award.  This award was developed and first awarded in 2008 by the SFC to acknowledge exemplary innovation, leadership, service and stewardship in Saskatchewan's forage industry by producers, land managers, agency staff and/or researchers. 

Registration is $20 and includes lunch.  To register, please contact the Saskatchewan Forage Council at office@saskforage.ca before July 6th, or call (306) 966-2148.
Alfalfa Weevil Reports in Saskatchewan 
There have been sporadic reports of alfalfa weevil coming in to Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA) regional offices over the past few weeks.  Alfalfa weevil has traditionally been a problem only in the southeast region of the province, but in past years has been moving north and west. 
This year, weevils have been reported as far north as Foam Lake and as far west as Assiniboia.  Lorne Klein, SMA Forage Specialist in Weyburn, has been in contact with concerned producers in the Indian Head, Grenfell and Montmartre areas.  He reports that areas where weevils were seen last year seem to have them again this year. 
Damage is inflicted by alfalfa weevil larvae feeding on the stem and then moving up the plant to feed on the leaves and buds of the alfalfa plant. Fields damaged by alfalfa weevils can take on a discoloured appearance where the crop will develop a whitish sheen, or frosted appearance, due to foliar damage, which can be clearly seen from the edge of the field.
alfalfa weevil larvae                          alfalfa weevil adult
Alfalfa Weevil Larvae                                       Alfalfa Weevil Adult
Photo Credit: J Soroka-AAFC                          Photo Credit: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture
Control measures are limited and generally include cutting the crop early or spraying with insecticide.  The decision to spray should be made based on the infestation level, stage of the crop, and the economics involved.  For information on control thresholds and a listing of recommended insecticides, refer to the June 18, 2009 issue of Crop Production News (http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102623196571&s=256&e=001DnbmrXh3scyv9QNntq3xWzJfZF10cRBzTJmSWtagZhfBiLl2QITew278Zf5BoU6YTOWkP0-7tWOO8klbto2vqWPsdryyXXPafS7xmEnL9NPckOpGD3guJPbZ_3oGLkpVlPezKNqwO2KNfS_zZS32kg==).  While chemical control of alfalfa weevil is often uneconomical in hay fields, this year it may be a viable option, as some producers are trying to give forage crops time to develop yield.
SMA Provincial Forage Specialist, Michel Tremblay indicates that cool spring conditions likely resulted in delayed development of alfalfa weevil this year.  He stated that the primary concern this year is low yields, rather than pest problems.
For more information on the alfalfa weevil and control measures, contact your regional Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Forage Specialist or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.  
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Wealthy Rancher: A User-Friendly Tool to Aid in Decision Making

At the 2009 Saskatchewan Pasture School, participants were introduced to a decision-making tool for grass managers by Arnold Mattson, a grazing manager, livestock producer, land owner, and AAFC-AESB (formerly PFRA) employee.  The interest from those in attendance was so high that we wanted to share this user-friendly calculator with the Forage and Livestock eNews readership. 
Arnold developed the Wealthy Rancher Calculator as a means to assist producers, using profit centres as the foundation, in gaining financial control of their pasture/yearling/cow-calf business.  The calculator is designed to help graziers tell their money where to go rather than trying to figure out where it went.  Questions the calculator can help you answer include: "What is pasture worth?  What is my cost/lb of gain on pasture?  What should I pay to rent or buy pasture?" 
The Wealthy Rancher Calculator is designed to divide your farm into profit centres, treat each one as a separate business, and let you know where you are making money.  The calculator employs a user friendly Microsoft excel spreadsheet where all you have to do is click on the enterprise (yearling, cow-calf or backgrounding) you wish to work on, enter your production figures in the yellow area and the calculator will give you an estimated return for each profit centre. 
Whether you are a landowner, a custom grazier, or a livestock producer allocating your own figures (expenses as well as revenues), this calculator can help you assess the financial situation of any segment of your forage and grazing business.
This is a great tool for looking at "what if" scenarios.
A copy of the calculator can be downloaded from the Saskatchewan Forage Council website on the "Industry Resources" page or by clicking on the following link:

You can also request a hard copy of the calculator on a CD from Arnold at:

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada - AESB
#945 9700 - Jasper Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4C3
Business: (780)495-4593
Facsimile: (780)495-4504
e-mail: mattsona@agr.gc.ca

Drought Reaction from Saskatchewan Government
Many producers, especially in the western region of Saskatchewan are dealing with very dry conditions which has resulted in stunted hay crops and poor pasture growth.  The Saskatchewan Government has made two major announcements in the past week to help producers who are short on hay and pasture this summer due to drought conditions. 
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environment announced that some Wildlife lands around the province would be opened up for grazing offering a temporary measure for producers dealing with drought. 
In the press release issued on June 19, it was reported that approximately 100,000 acres of Fish and Wildlife Development Fund lands will be made available. Livestock producers who are affected by drought were invited to apply beginning June 22. Grazing will be available until September 15.

Producers will be responsible for providing any required temporary fencing or water improvements. The same grazing lease fees that apply to agricultural Crown land will apply to the Fish and Wildlife Development Fund lands.
Also this week, Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. announced that they will be implementing changes to help producers dealing with drought conditions aimed at accelerating program payments and addressing potential feed shortages. 
In the press release issued by the Ministry of Agriculture on June 24, three changes were noted.  

First, Crop Insurance will be extending the seeding deadline for greenfeed crops from June 30 to July 15. Second, producers who have Crop Insurance will now be able to seed and insure any cereal greenfeed crop. Third, in areas severely affected by drought, an increased number of producers will now have their claims processed without field inspection in order to receive their payments faster.

If producers have a shortage of pasture or feed, they can also access Crop Insurance features that allow forage and annual crops to be grazed by livestock or cut for feed.
For more information on program changes, producers should contact their local Crop Insurance office.

Cows on pasture

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.
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