Producer organizations in Alberta connect potato growers and cattle ranchers
Recently, some of Alberta’s ag industry leaders thought of an option to assist two producer groups hard hit by the effects of COVID-19.
Many Alberta potato growers have a surplus of their crop as a result of the shutdown of restaurants and other businesses that use large quantities of potatoes. Alberta beef producers faced delays getting their cattle to processing plants because of shutdowns in late April. The situation caused a backlog of over 100,000 animals which producers unexpectedly needed to keep feeding.
So, staff at Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) talked with Terence Hochstein at the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) about “making connections between potato growers and cattle producers interested in a feed source,” Karin Schmid said to Farms.com. She is the research and production manager with ABP.
The two groups informed their members about the opportunity and “left it to the individual growers and the individual feedlot operators” to sort out, said Terence Hochstein. He is the executive director of the PGA.
Producers commonly feed potatoes to cattle in places like the Maritimes and some areas of Alberta, said Schmid.
“Some potato growers also have cattle and they’ll feed cull potatoes to their cattle in Alberta and some feedlots use potatoes because they're located close to the processing plants in southern Alberta,” said Schmid. “But probably quite a few producers had no idea that this was a thing they could explore.”
Potatoes are a good source of energy for cattle, but producers must consider a few factors before feeding potatoes to their livestock.
“You should introduce potatoes to the diet slowly. Make sure there's a consistent source of forage because (potatoes) are really high in moisture. Make sure that they're not green or spouted. If they're not processed or cut up at all, there is a small chance of choking depending on how they're fed,” said Schmid.
Producers who are interested in using potatoes as a feed source can contact Alberta Beef Producers or Hochstein.
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