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Updates and information from across the industry 
November 6, 2009 - Vol 1, Issue 15
Articles In This Issue
Determining Forage Value
Saskatchewan Livestock Tracability Initiative
Business Management Assistance for Producers
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Dear Leanne

Bale StackWeather conditions this week have allowed field work to continue.  In many areas of the province, straw has been baled, bales are being hauled, and those with crop out are managing to get some more of it into the bin.  Many producers are taking inventory and making plans for winter feeding.  As discussed in the last issue, forages should be feed tested to help you get the most out of your rations this winter.  In this edition of the Forage and Livestock eNews you will find information on determining forage value and pricing, an update on livestock traceability initiatives in the province as well as a farm business management program currently available to help producers.              
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!
Determining Forage Value 
The wide variation in quality and quantity of forages available from year to year in Saskatchewan can have a profound effect on the value of this commodity.  If you are looking at purchasing forages this year, here are some points that you may want to consider in figuring out what the forage is worth to your operation.
First, what will the forage be used for?  Type and age of livestock, species, physiological state and the time of year it will be used all come into play when determining what quality and quantity of forage you will need.  In this respect, a feed test can be very useful.  Ask the seller if a feed test is available or if one can be submitted.  The cost of feed testing can easily be recouped if you are able to feed the forage more efficiently.  
Next is the big question, "What is the hay worth?"  This will depend on a number of factors including, supply and demand in your area, forage quality, and the price and availability of other feeds.  It's a good idea to do some research on forage prices prior to making an offer.  Concise forage price information is limited in Saskatchewan as the majority of transactions take place at a farm-gate level.  However, you can search the classified ads in newspapers, look at online listings, or various Saskatchewan Forage Council publications including the Saskatchewan Hay and Pasture report and the Forage Market Price Reports.  One thing to keep in mind is that many of these sources show asking prices only and may not reflect actual prices paid for forage. 
Other ways to determine the value of forage include using the results from a feed analysis or looking at feed prices for alternative feeds.  To look at the value of a lot of forage on your operation you can compare the relative feed value of the forage to that of another feed such as barley or pellets where there is a more established price in the marketplace. 
For example if the main nutrient you are concerned about in your ration is energy, you could look at the energy value from the hay test (example hay feed test TDN = 63.87%) and compare to the energy in barley (average TDN in 48 lbs barley = 83%).  Based on this example, the relative value of the hay based on energy content would be:
(current barley price x forage TDN) barley TDN
($110/tonne x 63.87) 83 = $84.65/tonne
You could also look to alternative feeds to determine a relative value for hay in your operation.  For example, grain screening pellets or straw and barley grain may be available as an alternate feeds in your livestock rations.  Working with a nutritionist is recommended to balance a ration and compare ration costs using various feed sources. 
Another big consideration when valuing forages is transport.  When speaking with a seller, be sure to ask if the price being quoted is in their yard or yours!  Reported transportation costs in Saskatchewan range from $5.00-$6.00/loaded mile or $100-$150/hr for short hauls (as of July 15, 2009), so can add a significant cost to the forage.
In short, doing your homework before purchasing forages can help ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck!

Bales on truck

Saskatchewan Livestock Tracability Initiative
In a press release on October 27, 2009, Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud announced a $5 million Saskatchewan Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate.

"I have always maintained that any traceability programming in Saskatchewan should be voluntary and directed by the industry," Bjornerud said. "This program will help our livestock industry move forward with voluntary traceability."

The Saskatchewan Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate will provide rebates of up to 70 per cent of eligible costs for the purchase and/or lease of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) handheld and panel readers. Funding is also available for training, software, installation and facility modifications relating to the use of RFID readers.

Cattle, bison, sheep, goat, hog and cervid producers, feedlots, backgrounders, veterinary clinics, meat processors, assembly yards, privately managed community pastures, fairs and exhibitions are eligible for a 70 per cent rebate, to a maximum rebate of $50,000 per facility for all eligible items combined. Auction marts may receive a 70 per cent rebate, to a maximum rebate of $100,000 for all eligible items combined.

"Saskatchewan cattle producers appreciate Minister Bjornerud's leadership and efforts to make certain that the implementation of traceability occurs in a manner that does not place excessive costs on producers," Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association President Jack Hextall said. "This type of voluntary program provides cattle producers the opportunity to prepare for the realities facing our industry and ensures that Saskatchewan will not be left behind other jurisdictions as livestock traceability moves forward."

"We appreciate the provincial government moving forward on traceability on a voluntary basis," Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association President Calvin Knoss said. "Today's announcement will help livestock producers participate in a traceability system that is ultimately working toward increasing Canada's share of beef sales worldwide." 

Applications and further details are available on the Ministry of Agriculture's website at http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102818025598&s=256&e=001cStWHX5smovkDaK9bUBZZrjlmj_yF50vIQIz0ucckOBXy_74BX9_45ripVg4OqXIOjf28I4MBpq5iftxuAiC_NkXX2_wDoYT_jZtifUT0IQwjEa_OXqkLp-PsUqzGrYX, through the Ministry of Agriculture's 10 regional offices, or by calling toll-free 1-877-874-5365.

The rebate is retroactive to April 1, 2009. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2013.
The Saskatchewan Voluntary Livestock Traceability Rebate is part of the federal-provincial Growing Forward suite of programs.
RFID tag        Panel reader        Wand reader
Pictures (L to R): RFID tag, panel reader mounted in chute, hand-held wand reader.

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Business Management Assistance for Producers 
The Farm Business Development Initiative (FBDI) is currently being offered to producers in the province as a way to adopt progressive business management strategies.  The program is being delivered by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture through the Growing Forward plan.
The program focuses on farm business management in nine areas:
         Business Strategy
         Production Economics
         Financial Management
         Business Structure
         Risk Assessment
         Human Resources
         Succession Planning
Producers interested in taking advantage of this valuable program will go through the following process.  First you will complete the "Taking Stock" self assessment.  This assessment will help identify strengths and weaknesses that the business may want to focus on in developing a management plan.
Next producers meet with a Regional Farm Business Management Specialist to review the Taking Stock assessment and discuss available resources in each of the priority areas.  After completing a Farm Development Plan, which will outline what programs and services you want to participate in, a plan to utilize the program's financial benefits will be formed. 
Then producers will gather information, training or consulting in their priority areas. If applicable, you may apply for financial benefits.  Upon completion, producers request a reimbursement of 75 per cent of eligible costs.  To be eligible for financial reimbursement of training or consulting services, producers need to participate in at least one of the nine progressive farm business management areas.
For more information or to inquire about enrollment in the program, contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377, visit the Ministry website www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca.  Or contact your Regional Ministry office.
North Battleford   306-446-7964
Prince Albert       306-953-2363
Tisdale               306-878-8842 SK Ministry of Ag
Kindersley          306-463-5513
Outlook              306-867-5575
Watrous             306-946-3220
Yorkton              306-786-1531
Swift Current       306-778-8218
Moose Jaw         866-457-2377
Weyburn            306-848-2857

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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