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Foraging for an outstanding Ontario producer

Foraging for an outstanding Ontario producer

Annual competition recognizes growers with strong management practices

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

Ontario producers who grow forages in their pastures or harvest these crops for hay or ensilage may want to take the opportunity to showcase their operations.

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) encourages all forage growers – including those who are not members of the organization – to enter its Forage Masters Competition.

By participating in the province-wide contest, producers can “see how their management practices measure up to industry best practices for growing, harvesting, storing and feeding forage,” Andrew Graham, executive director of the OSCIA, told yesterday.

When the OSCIA began the competition about 30 years ago, judges visited participants’ fields, Graham said. However, in an effort to put more emphasis on education, the organization redesigned the program two years ago.

The new design includes a self-assessment which contains three modules. These sections cover such topics as fertility, stand maintenance, harvest plans, storage and silo safety.

While the assessment contains 45 questions, producers only need to fill out the ones that are relevant to their operations, Graham said.

Once participants complete the assessment, they must submit recent soil and feed analyses to the OSCIA office in Guelph.

“If you don’t have lab reports for the current crop, send one in from last year,” Graham said.

In each of the eleven OSCIA regions, the three producers with the highest scores will receive gift certificates for seed from the General Seed Company. The first-place growers in each region will also participate in a speaking contest during the organization’s annual conference in February.

Then, delegates will vote for this year’s Provincial Forage Master Champion. The winner will be announced at the event.

Producers must submit their assessments and analyses by July 15.

For more information, visit the OSCIA website


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