The Agronomists, Ep 72: Christine O’Reilly and Andre Bonneau on forage management

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

It’s time to talk about one of host Lyndsey Smith’s favourite topics on The Agronomists. What is it, you ask?

If you guessed forages, you would be correct!

Today’s show, featuring Christine O’Reilly, grazing and forage specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and Andre Bonneau, range management specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, dives into all things forage management.

Tonights episode of The Agronomists is brought to you by ADAMA Canada, the Pest & Predators podcast, and the Mind Your Farm Business podcast.


  • Keep dodging the rain to get that crop in
  • 2:1 pasture to hay in Saskatchewan right now
  • Rain makes everyone a good rancher!
  • Alfalfa being behind the grass maturity-wise is normal
  • Even though Lyndsey doesn’t like timothy, it has its place, and its market. Very important for non-ruminants
  • Does hay still fight for the management dollar? It seems to really depend. There’s a lot more interest
  • We don’t always see the same level of crop management in our ruminant factors

CLIP 1: Beef Research School: Managing pasture fertility w/ bale grazing, pasture rotation, and more

  • Quite a bit more baling grazing in Saskatchewan every year
  • They bale graze in Ontario, too!
  • With bale grazing, you are sometimes getting some added nutrient matter
  • A forage crop has incredible nutrient demands
  • So much potassium is coming off
  • We have to be careful about spreading weeds through bales moving around

CLIP 2: 4 ways to extend the grazing season in Ontario

  • The adoption of cover crops have changed this as well
  • The ratio of pasture costs to hay still rings true — check out the video above for more
  • You have to remember yardage and harvest costs when factoring this in as well
  • Very often we have a hard time with a nitrogen credit for a cover crop, especially if it’s a legume
  • Frames of reference are big when we are considering total N needed for corn grazing. Yield potential, CHU, all of the above
  • Most people who start off with corn grazing, continue. It can be expensive, so ask around first
  • Swath grazing seems to be lower when the price of oats and barley is up
  • Graze later in the year to tackle weed seeds
  • If you are worried about compaction with livestock, livestock compaction will not impact your field like equipment compaction
  • Pastures are never boring!

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