Hay and forage in parts of the region suffered from this summer’s unexpected frost, sweltering humidity, and sporadic rainfall.
Nova Scotia farmers got precipitation when it was needed. But Cedric MacLeod of the New Brunswick Cattle Producers (NBCP) estimates that beef farmers in that province “are seeing somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of their normal hay crop level this year.” Emily Leeson has coverage of the hay and weather woes that have producers starting to worry, on pg. 20.
Tim Dixon was feeding his cattle in North Tryon, Prince Edward Island, in late August. Although farmers 30 miles away were recipients of rain every weekend, “There are lots who are tight on feed,” he says in Breed Notes on pg. 58.
The NBCP has a list of producers with hay to sell. Other solutions can be found throughout this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
While Sean Firth (Atlantic Market Report, pg. 18) hasn’t seen any “evidence of cows or feeders being sold early” at the Atlantic Stockyards in Truro, N.S., some cattlemen may be forced to choose between buying feed for the winter or reducing their herd numbers.
N.B. beef specialist Duncan Fraser offers advice on pg. 30 about minimizing the impacts of low forage supplies and on what cows could be culled.
And Les Halliday notes on pg. 56 that meteorologists portend “weather extremes are the new normal going forward.” The P.E.I. beef specialist says that having to feed cattle this summer will “put forage inventory under pressure, particularly if pasture growth next spring is delayed.” He offers some good takeaways on how best to go into winter in good form, forage and all, after a stressful summer.
Extending the grazing season, pasture weed control, and pasture drought management were the focus at the recent Forage Field Day at the federal research station in Nappan, N.S. Specialists Dr. Yousef Papadopolous, John Duynisveld, Bill Thomas, and Cedric MacLeod, provided beef and sheep producers with information and recommendations, which Dan Woolley relates on page 22.
SHOWS AND SALES
There will be many new bloodlines in flocks throughout the Atlantic region next year. Shepherds from all four provinces took advantage of the top-quality breeding stock from across the country on offer at the All Canada Sheep Classic Sale in Truro, N.S., in July (pg. 42).
And Maritime breeders took home a few ribbons when 227 sheep from 14 different breeds competed in the All Canada Sheep Classic Show covered on pg. 43.
More than 70 purebred animals and market lambs made their way through the show ring in Charlottetown, P.E.I., in August. Special showmanship classes were featured at the Old Home Week Sheep Show to highlight up-and-coming young handlers. Trevor MacDonald has the complete rundown on pg. 32.
And future beef breeders enhanced their knowledge about livestock management and showing techniques at the EastGen Atlantic Showcase (page 34).
As we wait for a respite from the drought and heat, there’s much to ponder and chew on in this issue of ABS that we hope will be of help going into a more balanced autumn.