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Farmers urged to make winter feeding plans

The temperatures outside might be still mild for the mid-fall but the winter season is closing in bringing challenges for farmers feeding livestock.

Today marks one month since fall officially began and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is prodding farmers to get ahead start on their winter feeding plans.

"To start with it's good to get an inventory of what feed you have on hand," Jessica Smith, a livestock and feed extension specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, said. "Feed tests are important so you know the quality, and weighing your bales is also helpful so you know how much you need to put out there."

Due to the drought across the prairies this year, feed shortages are common and it's becoming increasingly tougher to find livestock feed.

"It's definitely more difficult than in a normal year," she said. "We're even hearing when you're wanting to order pellets, they're even back-ordered on that side of things too, so good to try to build up your inventory now if you're lacking feeds."

Smith stressed feed tests are key, especially this winter when producers don't have much margin for error in feed spoilage.

"Because then you know exactly what you're putting out, you're able to match what you're feeding to your animal's requirements so that you're not overfeeding, and you're saving on that feed stack," she said.

She reminded farmers to monitor livestock closely during the winter and if they're downgrading, closely examine what they're eating day-to-day.

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