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Updated: Jan 29, 2015 at 7:02 AM

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Teaching animals to graze weeds (2014)

Grazing animals often avoid eating weeds due to novelty even though weeds are often as nutritious as many of our planted pasture and rangelands species. Animals learn what to eat and avoid by grazing with their mothers and through individual experience. Once animals establish a preferred diet of familiar foods, adequate in nutrients, and low in toxins, most animals simply avoid eating new foods. When a weed invades a pasture, it is likely a new or novel food meaning livestock grazing the pasture have never eaten the new weed. In no time, weeds take over because plants that are not grazed have a competitive advantage over grazed plants. Teaching animals to eat noxious weeds may be a solution to reducing noxious weeds

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Forage a huge, underappreciated part of agriculture

Canada's largest crop, occupying 39 per cent of the farmable land, is forage -- hay and pasture to feed livestock. However, despite its sizeable footprint and contribution to the Canadian economy, forage gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to allocating funds for research and development. It's partly because it does its best work behind the scenes. Forage lands are often referred to as "unimproved" or "undeveloped." Those terms ignore the valuable roles those lands play -- economically, by supporting livestock production as well as environmentally by reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, maintaining wildlife habitat and adding to biological diversity. But it's also because there are no easy way to raise funds for forage research. The structure of the industry is such that a checkoff won't work, because most of the production is never sold through commercial channels. It is either fed on farm or sold producer to producer. Historically, research into improved varieties has been done by the public sector, but government support for that research has been waning since the 1990s. A 2007 analysis shows publicly funded forage research had declined by $44 million annually during the previous 15 years. That lack of research into new and improved varieties has resulted in forage yields that are stagnant or declining.

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Forage Seminars 2015 in Vanderhoof January 12 and Quesnel January 13

The BC Forage Council is pleased to present Dr. Dan Undersander and Kris Wierenga, who will be sharing their knowledge of Alfalfa Management, Harvest Practices and Relative Feed Value. Dr. Dan Undersander is a researcher and extension specialist with the University of Wisconsin’s Agronomy Department. Dr. Undersander’s work involves alfalfa and grass plant health and survival, best management practices for harvesting forage, optimum management practices for intensively grazed pastures and the use of Near Infrared Reflectance in assessing forage quality. Kris Wierenga is a beef nutritionist with Hi-Pro Feeds who comes from a mixed farming background. Kris completed a Master’s degree in ruminant nutrition at the University of Alberta and works closely with cow/calf, backgrounding, and finishing feedlot producers. VANDERHOOF - Village Inn on Monday January 12, 2015 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm . QUESNEL at the Sandman Inn on Tuesday January 13, 2015 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

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BCFC Looking for Producer Participants for Forage Project in Vanderhoof area

The BCFC is looking for producers who are willing to participate in research to assess innovative farm practices for adapting to climate change and weather related production risks, and to identify new and adaptive management practices. The project will involve the development of tools to support on-farm trials, several farm-scale demonstration sites where the producers complete trials over two summers (2015 and 2016) with the project providing research development support, access to research equipment, lab analyses, and local climate data. The final outcome of this project will be a Workbook and Manual: "How to Conduct Your Own Farm-Scale Research Projects", educational opportunities for area producers through field days and a workshop and increased farm related weather information for the area.

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Demonstrating innovative forage production practices to increase climate change adaptation - Project Summary 2014

The BC Forage Council has successfully funded a forage project that will assist in the development of on-farm adaptations focused on producing high quality forage under a variety of weather conditions. Through the development of a weather station network within the production area, the evaluation of production techniques using on-farm trials, and the creation of a manual for conducting on-farm trials, this project seeks to increase the information and management options available to producers as well as provide for the long-term ability to respond to changes in growing conditions. With the establishment of several weather stations, this project will also result in weather information from currently under-represented geographies being made available to those involved in climate change adaptation.

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Movement of all poultry manure in the Fraser Valley needs Permit

It is important that all those people transporting any poultry manure follow the appropriate guidelines and attain the necessary permits. Please note that these guidelines are subject to the regulations as outlined in Appendix M of the Hazard Specific Plan on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website www.inspection.gc.ca/ai. These regulations pertain to all movements of poultry manure in the Fraser Valley. For more information, including details about the protocol for applying for a manure movement permit, the Ministry of Agriculture contact is Clayton Botkin (phone 604 556-3081; Clayton.Botkin@gov.bc.ca)

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Update to Manure Spreading Advisory #4 2014: South Coast Region

In general, manure application on any crops is not advised. A special reminder about the movement of all poultry manure in the Fraser Valley: It is important that all those people transporting any poultry manure follow the appropriate guidelines and attain the necessary permits. Please note that these guidelines are subject to the regulations as outlined in Appendix M of the Hazard Specific Plan on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website www.inspection.gc.ca/ai. These regulations pertain to all movements of poultry manure in the Fraser Valley. For more information, including details about the protocol for applying for a manure movement permit, the Ministry of Agriculture contact is Clayton Botkin (phone 604 556-3081; Clayton.Botkin@gov.bc.ca).

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Stockpiled Forage – Extending the Grazing Season (2013)

Perennial forages store carbohydrate and protein in their crowns and roots during the fall regrowth period as the plants acclimate for winter. Much of the stored nutrients may be mobilized out of the leaves and the leaves become depleted. However, the slow growth and metabolism under gradually declining fall temperatures may delay senescence and even allow some carbohydrate to accumulate in the green leaf material. Under these conditions, regrowth of tame grasses in the Parkland region remain green going into the winter and the green leaves may even survive a few degrees of frost, and if the leaves are covered in snow, they may even remain green and viable through much of the winter. Under such conditions, protein levels and digestibility remain adequate for grazing dry beef cows.

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Swath Grazing - Extending the Grazing Season (2014)

Grazing cereals that have been cut in fall and left in the swath for winter grazing is the cheapest way to winter beef cows in western Canada: this system may reduce wintering costs by about 37 to 60%1 compared to a traditional winter feeding system. This grazing system is much cheaper than feeding stored feed in a traditional winter feeding system.

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