Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) says preparing for fall and winter livestock feed supplies needs to be priority now.
Many key cattle and forage-based areas around the province remain dry.
"With the dryness, we are very unsure of the forage yield potential coming off our fields" said MFGA Chair Larry Wegner. "For producers that are planning to be carrying herds into fall and over winter, that feeding uncertainty makes the planning done now even more important."
MFGA says we're now heading into year three of key provincial regions in overall dry conditions.
Wegner notes the farm community has circled around out of concern for livestock producers citing the Alternative Feed Group coordinated by Manitoba Beef Producers, and rostered by representatives from Keystone Agriculture Producers, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (MARD), Manitoba Agriculture Services Corporation and MFGA.
"If perennial forages are expected to be less than ideal, the timing is now for producers to activate on greenfeed and silage options to help carry their herds," added Wegner.
MFGA also will re-activate the MFGA Hay Relief page launched last fall that pointed to conditions, prices and connections for those seeking feed.
Producers wanting to make use of this service should call MARD toll-free at 1-84-GROW-MB-AG (1-844-769-6224).
MFGA has come up with some preparatory recommendations:
1. Combine herds on pastures: one herd gives longer time for pastures to recover, allows pastures adequate time to recover and keeps livestock out of water to keep the source clean.
2. Weaning early to reduce feed requirements.
3. Reduce need for feed via herd management to determine energy needs.
4. Buying feed in advance and feed to real weights. It's important to only feed enough hay to support the true weight of the cows in the herd.
5. Feed the right amount of hay and meet the nutritional needs at different stages of life.
6. Use Supplement and look for alternative feed sources.
7. Feed test your feed and balance your rations.
8. Start to consider annual crop fields to cut as green feed and to bale straw off.
9. Start discussion with other producers to line-up corn fields to take as silage, or have producers drop the stalks so they can be baled.
10. Talk to provincial agencies and conservation groups regarding their grazing access programs and drought plans for 2020.
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