Jeff Pollard of Pollard Farms received the Ontario Mapleseed Pasture Award for his outstanding management of 900 acres of land on his beef farm
By Jackie Clark
Jeff Pollard of Pollard Farms in Stratton was the recipient of the Ontario Mapleseed Pasture Award at the Beef Farmers of Ontario annual general meeting in Toronto on Feb. 19. The award recognizes producers for their excellence in pasture management.
“When I first learned I had received the award I was surprised but very pleased to be recognized by my peers. It’s a good feeling when you are self-employed to be acknowledged for your hard work,” Pollard told Farms.com.
Pollard Farms is a 1,500-acre cow-calf, backgrounding operation. 80 acres are continuously grazed, and 820 are dedicated to rotational grazing to allow pastures to be productive without intensive chemical or mechanical management. Species present include a mix of grasses, clovers, alfalfa and other native species.
“What makes us unique is that our operation is mostly forage based,” Pollard explained. “I don’t feed grain.”
Pollard has designed his management system to boost productivity while also protecting the natural environment that surrounds his pastures.
“I was looking for a way to maximize my pastureland, to have more cows per acre, to increase my herd size without buying or looking for more land. By fencing off creeks and streams and putting in waterlines and troughs, our cattle have access to clean drinking water,” he explained.
“Fencing off the creeks allowed the ecosystem in the riparian areas to recover and grow stronger,” he added.
Pollard uses online resources, books, and connecting with peers at grazing conferences to continuously learn about pasture management. “I’m constantly looking for ways to make our farm better,” he said.
The greatest lesson Pollard has learned on his farm is the need for flexibility.
“Every piece of pasture is different and needs to be managed differently. It really is trial and error when you have constant changing variables like the weather, herd size, and pasture growth. So you learn to be flexible in your management,” he said.
The Ontario Mapleseed Pasture Award included $500 and a 25-kilogram bag of Mapleseed forage mix.
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