Cattle Country - September 2021

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The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, visited Manitoba in July to meet with cattle producers and see firsthand the drought conditions. One stop included the farm belonging to MBP District 10 Director Mike Duguid, whose granddaughter, Keira, is pictured alongside Minister Bibeau. (Photo credit: David Hultin/MBP)

AgriRecovery initiatives announced, details pending

Drought puts producers on edge Laura Plett, of Sawmill Creek Livestock near Stead, enjoys some with son Dustinsent between filming on Across her property for the upcoming 32 of Great Manitoba, the situationSeason is similar, although A few time weeks ago, Riding 30 cows to thesegments aucBY RON FRIESEN Tastes of Manitoba. (Photo credit: Donalee Jones)

tion market. She’s currently scrambling to source straw conditions are spotty. Some producers are marginally Despite entering a fourth straight year of drought, to blend with formulated pellets for feed to overwinter better off than others. Overall, though, continued Dianne Riding thought 2021 wouldn’t be too bad for her her remaining animals. But straw is extremely hard to dry weather has parched pastures, shrivelled crops cattle operation. But as summer wore on, the weather come by and several producers have told her straight out and forced feed-deficient producers to make difficult choices. Herd liquidations and culls are picking up and kept getting drier and drier. And conditions on her farm they can’t spare any. If that happens, Riding may have to do the humane thousands of breeding animals had already been sold by near Lake Francis in Manitoba’s Interlake region kept thing and sell her remaining cattle rather than risk not early August - unprecedented for the time of year, Tyler growing worse and worse. Fulton, Manitoba Beef Producers president, said. At the time this was written, Riding’s dugouts were having enough feed for the coming months. was detected in anintend Alberta andindusinterThat her means good news you’re for both trad- Lowe. BY RON “Even operations that don’t to cow exit the “When struggling with water, you’ve run out bone dry.FRIESEN She has five wells on her property to water The industry has asked Ottawa to ennational borders immediately slammed ers who export beef and ranchers who procows, but the animals had to walk long distances to find of grass and you don’t have anything in your hay field to try ‒ they’re still young operators ‒ some of them have It took 18forage. years, but Canada Canada’s trading partners recog-thanshut Canadian beef exports. it, industry officials say.these cows, you’vecourage soldtomore halftotheir breeding stock,” Fulton, who to feed got to do the proper thing any grazable What littlehas wasfinally left had duce mostly been cut been declared BSE-free. nize the OIE’s ruling and accept Canadian Since 50 per cent of said beef on in Canada “The difference will be the ability to farms near Birtle in western Manitoba, August is 5. and move them for their welfare,” she said. eaten by swarms of grasshoppers. The World Organization for Animal beef without restrictions, he said. exported, producers suddenly found themaccess markets that we otherwise weren’t “We’re seeing pressure for sure on the market. “But it is still very, very hard because it’s a person’s “It’s very, very ugly,” Riding said. Health (OIE)was hasable recognized Canada as a crop In a May 27 statement, federal Agriculwithmarket collapsed market prices andcent, aniable becauselife we work.” didn’t have that status,” We’ve already selves seen the slide about 20 per Riding to salvage a barley fortogreencountry with negligible risk of bovine sponture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the mals they could not sell because the market said Tyler Fulton, Manitoba Beef Producers Riding is typical of cattle producers in the Interlake, maybe 30 per cent, over the course of the last month. feed which might help get 50 or 60 of her 95 cow-calf giform encephalopathy (BSE), giving the have government willfollowing do so. not absorb them. president. of it abating right now.” this year a There’s no signcould pairs through the winter. If not, she itmay to cull her hit hard by a severe drought most preferred status under the OIE’s sys“Canada will inform those trading The result was cataclysmic forwho the inBob Lowe, Canadian Cattlemen’s AsDrought is nothing new for cattle producers are series of dry years. Feed shortages are forcing many to herd down to 30 or 35 cows. tem for evaluating BSE risk. partners of Canada’s BSE negligible risk stadustry. CCA estimates direct economic sociation (CCA) president, said some Asian Riding, who managed a 230-cow herd before BSE, downsize herds. The auction market at Ashern is having used to extreme weather. Manitoba has seen exceptionMay removes tus and usually will undertake immediate to before losses between 2003 and 2006 alone ranged countries still limit Canadian beef imports ally work dry years ‒ 1988 comes to mind. But this one has The beenannouncement doing a lot of in hard culling the last few years emergency summer sales it doesn’t have. Some the final trade barrier against Canadian support expanded global market access for between $4.9 billion and $5.5 billion. Some to cattle under 30 months of age, citing BSE and finds it very painful. producers are at or near the point of liquidating their is different because of its size, intensity and persistence, beef exports. Canada’swho high-quality cattle, beef Cattlemen’s producers leftAssociation. the industry beNow herds. they noRiding longer knows have reason saidand Bobbeef Lowe,26,000 Canadian “These cattle are my income,” she said. concerns. “They’re my three families have sold out beef Negligible risk status means importto do so. products, ” Bibeau said. tween 2006 and 2011. More thanone 2.2 is mil“We’ve been in droughts before but this so living. They’re the genetics we’ve put together for well completely. In all likelihood, they won’t be back. ing countries no longer have any grounds lion acres of pasture lands were converted “Assuming that the world is based It has been a long and difficult jourover 40 years.” “Most folks that are selling out completely right huge,” Lowe said in an interview from his combine in for restricting Canada of thisonspring to crops, a major environscience-based trade, no reason ney back for Canadian producers since that southern Alberta wherecreating his lentil field negative was yielding less Riding’s beef herdfrom was down tobecause 125 cows and now, theythere’s probably won’t come into thebeef industry BSE. mental and ecological impact. Page to have those restrictions anymore, ” said black day in May 2003 when a case of BSE than 10 bushels an acre. Page26 culling continues. Twenty of her replacement heifers are even if next year’s a better year,” said Riding.

President's President’s Column

WeatherWhat defines related good water emergencies quality?

Reliable Fast and summer furious water fall run

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Page10 12 Page


Canada achieves BSE negligible risk status


CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

Government support welcomed, updates on MBP activities Greetings all, I hope you are doing as well as you can in these challenging times. I fully understand the stress level out on the landscape, and I can assure you that MBP is working very hard to get support to our producers. We were very pleased to see the $62 million commitment by the Manitoba government towards an AgriRecovery initiative. And, just before the election was called, the federal government announced up to $500 million in funding for the AgriRecovery program to assist producers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Northwestern Ontario affected by drought and wildfires. This is also welcomed news. AgriRecovery is cost shared on a 60-40 basis by the federal and provincial governments, so significant investments are being made by governments to deal with this natural disaster. As I write this, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development is finalizing details of support related to feed assistance, feed transportation, cattle transportation and a herd rebuilding program. We hope funds can begin to flow as soon as possible to alleviate some of the pressure weighing on producers and to allow them to make decisions for their individual operations. We understand the need for urgency, and have given this message to both levels of government many times. It is

hard work and dedication that goes into raising cattle. In August, I helped to judge participants in the virtual Manitoba Youth Beef Roundup. I was so impressed by the level of talent in the competition. I commend the organizers for all they did to ensure this could still happen considering COVID-19 restrictions. I look forward to future events. MBP is finalizing details for this year’s district meetings, still mindful of the COVID-19 situation and planning challenges due to that. After much consideration by directors and staff, we are changing the meeting format moving forward. Barring pandemic-related restrictions, the plan is to have seven in-person meetings in the even-numbered districts that require director elections this fall, as well as two virtual meetings anyone can attend. We are also moving to afternoon meetings this year. This is being done to strike a balance between hosting effective meetings and being considerate of time and risk for both staff and attendees during the busy fall months. See Cattle Country, our e-newsletter, website and social media for start times and locations. Like last year, we will be accepting written resolutions for consideration for debate at the Annual General Meeting directly to our office, so watch for deadlines. All the best to you, and see you this fall. Carson


General Manager’s Column also important the programs are functional and easy to use. On the non-drought related front, lots of exciting things have been happening from a communications perspective. We recently launched a new commercial for the Field to Forks campaign put on by Bell Media. This has aired on CTV Winnipeg, as well as various radio stations in Manitoba. I want to greatly thank the Steppler family for taking part in this commercial. The Stepplers demonstrate a very positive message about the industry to the general public. Filming for the new season of Great Tastes of Manitoba (GTOM) on CTV is complete. Episodes will feature our new food expert, Tamara Sarkisian, RD. I am very excited to see the finished product. When GTOM airs, there will be features about two beef-producing families, the McRaes and Pletts. I sincerely thank both of these families for taking the time to demonstrate the

Laura and Ryan Plett will be featured during the October 23 episode of Great Tastes of Manitoba, airing at 6:30pm on CTV Winnipeg. (Photo credit: Donalee Jones/Great Tastes of Manitoba)

Tune in on December 4 to watch Brett and Chantel McRae on Great Tastes of Manitoba. (Photo credit: Donalee Jones/Great Tastes of Manitoba)

Summer advocacy brings hope on the horizon It has been busy since my last column as unfortunately the drought conditions have not eased. The extreme conditions experienced over most of the southern portions of the province have triggered an extraordinary effort by MBP staff and directors to support producers and to advocate on your behalf. In June we started having regular meetings with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MB ARD) and his staff, as well as Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) reps to address some of the challenges. We discussed crop insurance changes, water resource needs and potential attributes of an AgriRecovery program, among others. While the rollout of the programs and changes took longer than we had hoped as there are many moving parts, the meetings were productive. I feel confident that MBP has played a leading role in influencing the scope and design of some of these initiatives. I want to thank the Ministers (starting first with Blaine Pedersen and now the Hon. Ralph Eichler), as well as the staff of MB ARD, MASC and other provincial departments for the time and effort that they have put in on the drought relief measures for beef producers. It is appreciated. DISTRICT 1


R.M. of Albert, Cameron, Whitewater, Edward, Brenda, Winchester, Morton



R.M. of Riverside, Strathcona, Argyle, Lorne, Turtle Mountain, Roblin, Louise, Pembina

TYLER FULTON President’s Column

Also critical to all of these programs is involvement and support from the federal government. In mid-July, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau visited a number of cattle, grain and dairy operations in the hard hit Interlake region. We met her at MBP director Mike Duguid’s farm where she witnessed firsthand the conditions and learned of the real-life implications for beef producers. We impressed upon her the need for a timely response to the crisis and asked that consideration be given to those producers forced to sell breeding stock, as there will be a need for rebuilding the herd. I believe she left with a new sense of urgency for her government to work with the province to complete the required assessment for an AgriRecovery program. In the weeks since then, the federal and provincial governments have committed tens of millions of dollars



R.M. of Elton, North Cypress, North Norfolk, Cornwallis, Oakland, South Cypress, Victoria, South Norfolk



R.M. of Woodlands, Rockwood, St. Andrews, Rosser, St. Francis Xavier,


Bonnet, Brokenhead, St. Clements, LGD of Alexander, Pinawa

R.M. of Wallace, Woodworth, Daly, Pipestone, Sifton, Whitehead, Glenwood






R.M. of Bifrost, Gimli, Fisher, Armstrong

R.M. of Portage la Prairie, Cartier,

R.M. of Russell, Silver Creek, Rossburn, Ellice, Birtle, Shoal Lake, Strathclair, Archie, Miniota, Hamiota, Blanshard



Roland, Morris, Stanley, Rhineland, Montcalm



R.M. of Richot, Ste. Anne, Hanover, De Salaberry, La Broquerie, Franklin, Stuartburn, Piney, LGD Reynolds




toward initiatives that will roll out under AgriRecovery in the coming weeks. Again, thank you to both the provincial and federal ministers and their officials for their ongoing work on this critical issue. Keep an eye on MBP’s website, e-newsletter and social media for program details as they become available. I have spoken with countless producers who have shared their experiences and provided us with valuable feedback on what is needed. I have heard frustration from the worst hit farms and ranches as they await details of how they can access the programs. Through all of this, I know that they still have the best interests of their livestock in mind when they have been forced to make some very tough decisions. Finally, I wanted to acknowledge the support and donations that have been coming in, far and wide in relation to the feed shortages. Mainstream media coverage of the drought has helped raise awareness of the situation and I have been heartened by the many offers of support. To the landowners offering standing hay, the grain producers dropping their straw and the donors of all types of feedstuffs (both locally and from eastern Canada), we say thank you! We are stronger when we work together.

R.M. of Harrison, Clanwilliam, Rosedale, Glenella, Saskatchewan, Odanah, Minto, Langford, Lansdowne, Westbourne, LGD Park


R.M. of Siglunes, Grahamdale, Eriksdale, Coldwell, St. Laurent



R.M. of Lawrence, Ochre River, Ste. Rose, McCreary, Alonsa




R.M. of Shell River, Shellmouth,Hillsburg, Boulton, Grandview, Gilbert Plains, Ethelbert, Mossey River, Dauphin, LGD Park



Ph: 1-800-772-0458

Deb Walger

Unit 220, 530 Century Street Winnipeg, MB R3H 0Y4

PH - (204) 772-4542 FX - (204) 774-3264


POLICY ANALYST Maureen Cousins


R.M. of Minitonas, Swan River, Mountain, The Pas

David Hultin






Trinda Jocelyn

CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021


Taking a coffee to your neighbour is good for your mental health – and the neighbour’s too BY: ANGELA LOVELL Stress isn’t something any of us can avoid. It’s something we all deal with in our daily lives to some degree, but for cattle producers across Manitoba, drought is the final brick on the load of the pandemic and usual seasonal worries that come with farming. Which is why it’s especially important, as producers head into the next season, to take care of their mental as well as their physical health. And now that we are free to pop over to the neighbour’s for a coffee and a chat again, that might be one of the best ways to ensure our mental well-being. “When we are in community with each other we have each other to talk to or come over for dinner, but in these last months – we haven’t done that, the disconnection hasn’t allowed for that to happen, and now that we can do that again, don’t miss that opportunity because it’s critical to stay healthy and, in some cases maybe even to stay alive,” says psychologist, Dr. Jody Carrington. Trying to be more conscious about staying connected to people doesn’t mean making big changes or doing things a lot different. “It’s about making sure we send that extra text, or make eye contact at the end of a really long day, taking the meals out to the field instead of just sending a lunch,” says Carrington. “Just those little things because we are all biologically wired to be connected.” Having a normalized conversation about everyday things or your own farming situation is a good way to provide people with the opportunity to share their struggles and relieve some of their stress, says Adelle Stewart, Executive Director of Do More Agriculture. “Just a text or a call to say I was thinking about you because we’ve been baling over here and only getting half a bale an acre, and I wondered what about you?” she says. “It can be just general conversation to give people an opening to share their thoughts in a like-minded community.” In response to the current drought, Do More Agriculture has increased its weekly Peer to Peer online chats to weekly from bi-weekly to give producers the opportunity to chat with each other. The chats are also moderated by a mental health professional who is also a farmer. (See resources sidebar). Reaching in The trouble is, often when we are dealing with high levels of stress, we tend to do the opposite and retreat or pull away from others, which is why it’s important not to put the onus on a person needing help to reach out for it, but rather for us to reach in, says Carrington. “Many of us, even if we are at a stage where we are at our worst, part of our biggest job is what can we do for other people,” she says. “If I say to my partner, why don’t you just call Jim and check on him, or stop by with a coffee, I know that suggesting to do that – checking on other people – is much more fortuitous to be able to help them, because when you go to help other people, it fills your soul more than it does theirs.” It’s often hard for us to identify the signs in ourselves that we may need some help coping with our stress, which is why educating ourselves more about some of the signs and indicators that someone may be struggling with their mental health is important.

Stewart says that generally indicators that someone is struggling with their mental health are prolonged and progressive changes from someone’s normal behaviour, habits, maybe even appearance. “It can be very subtle things over a period of usually 10 to 14 days of this ‘new normal’ occurring from their typical behaviours,” Stewart says. “It could be something like drinking more cups of coffee than normal for example, small indications of stress, but the sooner we can have those conversations the easier it is to correct.” In the farming community there are also some signs that perhaps don’t exist in other industries and a common one is noticing that someone who has always done a good job making sure the herd is healthy, their equipment and fences are maintained, is now neglecting the herd, and what used to be a well-maintained yard is no longer being maintained. “That’s a visible outward sign that something is going on for the person,” says Cynthia Beck, a cattle producer from Milestone, Saskatchewan, who is also a Masters student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Regina and a research assistant with the Online Therapy Unit. Another evident sign is substance use. “If someone who is a social drinker is suddenly in the store every second day picking up more alcohol that may be a sign they are dealing with some significant challenges or are trying to work through something,” says Beck. The University of Regina’s Online Therapy Unit, (the country’s first), offers an online Alcohol Change Course for those using alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress. (See resources sidebar). What happens if we don’t have good mental health? On the mental health continuum there are green, yellow and red zones explains Stewart, and it’s important to try and make sure we aren’t always living in the yellow zone of stress but give ourselves some kind of reprieve so we can move to the green zone of mental wellness as well and avoid ending up in the red zone which signifies mental illness requiring treatment. “The biggest thing to understand is that coping strategies or self-care is very individualized so it’s important to find what works for you that gives you some reprieve,” says Stewart. “The goal is every day or two days to make sure that, whatever it means for you, that you are encompassing a healthy coping strategy that gives you a reprieve or helps you gain some perspective on the day or the troubles you are facing.” “Good mental wellness gives us the ability to think clearly, and regulate our emotions so we can make good business decisions that are in the best interest of our farming operation long-term,” says Beck. When people are in a state of constant stress that goes unchecked, after a while it will have serious implications long term on their mental and physical health. “When we are constantly responding to stress, our body thinks that we are in danger, so our nervous system kicks into high gear and starts responding,” Beck says. “Our body produces adrenalin and pumps all kids of hormones and neurotransmitters to try and help us survive.” As an example, too much of the hormone cortisol in the body for an extended period of time can have


adverse effects on the nervous system, heart, lungs and digestive system. Studies have linked long-term stress to increased rates of cancer and greater risk of heart attack and stroke, and lack of sleep to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Tips to maintain mental health With thanks to Cynthia Beck, University of Regina. 1. Check in with yourself. Take a moment and ask yourself how am I doing? When was the last time I went to the doctor or dentist? Am I eating properly and drinking enough water? Am I getting enough sleep? Make yourself a priority as much as the farm. 2. Step outside your own world sometimes. We are often isolated on the farm and even if we farm with others, we may only have conversations about business. Text a neighbour or call a friend. It’s important to hear perspectives outside of our own environment. In times of stress it’s natural to narrow our focus to our own problems and lose sight of the things going on around us. The problems seem to grow bigger until they become the mountain in front of our face that prevents us from finding possible solutions. 3. Fuel yourself. Make sure you are taking time to eat and to drink enough water. 4. Make time for sleep. Make sure you are getting some sleep, and to do that it is important to take time to disengage. Shut down the electronics at least an hour before bed and if you can, go for a walk, play cards with somebody, sit outside, visit a neighbour. Take at least 15 to 30 minutes to completely disengage from what is happening in your world so you can get some sleep and have a fresher perspective, so that when you wake up it’s a new day. 5. Stop the toxic comparisons. We compare ourselves to others, for example to our neighbours, or other producers and it’s rarely possible to make those comparisons in a way that is beneficial to us. No two farm situations are the same, and we make comparisons to others without knowing their full story. Taking a break, disengaging from social media, the news, TV etc. will also help you to disengage from toxic comparisons. 6. Try to recognize where your thoughts take you. When times are tough, the predominant way of thinking is negative, and that is human, but focusing on only the negative makes it incredibly difficult to switch into solution-focused coping, which is what we need to get us through stressful times. 7. Be proactive and speak with someone that you trust. There are options and avenues to receive support if you are not comfortable with talking to friends, family or others close to you. (See sidebar: resources). Be proactive in taking charge of your health, and if the first person you speak to is not helpful, try again. Finding a mental health care provider who is a good fit for you is a little like finding the right herd sire – sometimes they work for you and sometimes they don’t, but you still keep trying to find the right one.

Mental Health Resources: Canadian Mental Health Association Manitoba Farm, Rural and Northern Support Services https://

Blair & Lois McRae & Family Brandon, Manitoba 204-728-3058 | Blair: 204-729-5439 | Lois: 204-573-5192



Online Therapy Unit at the University of Regina Lots of online resources including an online Alcohol Change Course for those using alcohol.

Do More Agriculture Incredible online mental health resources including half-day “Talk, Ask, Listen” mental health workshops developed with input from the farming community that are offered to communities and groups across Canada through its Community Fund. They also have weekly Peer to Peer online chats. Dr. Jody Carrington’s Practice


CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

Province extends application deadline For water source development BMP (Province of Manitoba News Release) The Manitoba government has extended the application deadline for Ag Action Manitoba- Assurance: Beneficial Management Practice (BMP 503) to Oct. 1 from Sept. 1, Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler announced August 19. “As our dry weather continues, we are committed to ensuring that agricultural producers have options when it comes to dealing with this drought,” said Eichler. “By extending this application deadline, we will ensure that more producers will be able to apply and get assistance when they need it most.” The Ag Action Manitoba Program Assurance under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, helps agricultural producers protect ground and surface water sources that are essential to ensuring the health of livestock and ground water sources. To date, the province has received almost 100 applications for a total of

$630,000 in funding for the Managing Livestock Access For information on how to apply, visit ca/agriculture/environment/environmental-farm-plan/ to Riparian Areas BMP. assurance-bmp.html . For more information about managing dry conItems eligible for cost-shared funding include: • water source development, constructing new ditions and other resources for producers, visit https:// or rehabilitating existing wells or dugouts; • solar, wind or grid-powered alternative watering systems; • permanent fencing to restrict livestock access to surface water and dugouts; and • permanent pipeline development.

Manitoba – 2021 Livestock Tax Deferral

More details on the program are available at www. and answers to frequently asked 1. questions are at 2. an-agricultural-partnership/pubs/faq/bmp-503-faq.pdf . 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Since 1996, The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) has been awarded annually at the provincial and national level to recognize cattle producers’ leadership in conservation. Nominees and applicants are selected based on their stewardship practices, accomplishments and goals. The deadline to receive nominations at the MBP office is December 3, 2021. Please visit for the application package.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. en/agriculture-and-environment/ Alexander Alonsa Argyle Armstrong Bifrost-Riverton Boissevain-Morton Brenda-Waskada Brokenhead Cartier Cartwright-Roblin ClanwilliamErickson Coldwell Dauphin De Salaberry Deloraine-Winchester Division No. 1, Unorganized Division No. 17, Unorganized Division No. 18, Unorganized, East Part Division No. 18, Unorganized, West Part Division No. 19, Unorganized Division No. 20, Unorganized, South Part Dufferin Ellice-Archie Elton Emerson-Franklin Ethelbert Fisher Gilbert Plains Gimli Glenboro-South Cypress Glenella-Lansdowne Grahamdale Grandview Grassland Grey Hamiota Hanover Harrison Park Headingley Hillsburg-RoblinShell River Killarney - Turtle Mountain La Broquerie Lac du Bonnet Lakeshore Lorne Louise Macdonald

48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57.

McCreary Minitonas-Bowsman Minto-Odanah Montcalm Morris Mossey River Mountain (North) Mountain (South) Norfolk-Treherne North CypressLangford 58. North Norfolk 59. Oakland-Wawanesa 60. Oakview 61. Pembina 62. Piney 63. Pipestone 64. Portage la Prairie 65. Prairie Lakes 66. Prairie View 67. Reynolds 68. Rhineland 69. Riding Mountain West 70. Ritchot 71. Riverdale 72. Rockwood 73. Roland 74. Rosedale 75. Rossburn 76. Rosser 77. Russell-Binscarth 78. Sifton 79. Souris-Glenwood 80. Springfield 81. St. Andrews 82. St. Clements 83. St. François Xavier 84. St. Laurent 85. Stanley 86. Ste. Anne 87. Ste. Rose 88. Stuartburn 89. Swan Valley West 90. Taché 91. Thompson 92. Two Borders 93. Victoria 94. Wallace-Woodworth 95. West Interlake 96. West St. Paul 97. WestLake-Gladstone 98. Whitehead 99. Whitemouth 100. Winnipeg 101. Woodlands 102. Yellowhead

CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021


Rundown of recent announcements related to the drought situation Since the last edition of Cattle Country a number of initiatives have been announced to assist drought-affected producers in Manitoba. The following is a rundown of the key announcements.

appraisal of claims by 40 per cent reflects the expected reduction in quality resulting from the drought conditions. The full yield appraisal will be used to calculate future coverage, which provides producers who repurpose their crops for livestock feed an added benefit. This reduction will apply retroactively to producers who have already put their cereal crop to an alternate use this year. For more information visit: or Currently, oats, barley, triticale, fall rye, and all wheat types can be put to alternate use and used for greenfeed, silage, or grazing, however producers must contact MASC before doing so. In addition, MASC will not be deducting premiums owing from any forage claim indemnities paid to clients from now until Sept. 30. Normally, premiums would be deducted prior to claim payments being made. Other changes include: • making advance payments on forage claims, with plans to finalize forage claims as quickly as possible, and • allowing livestock grazing on low yield forage fields or after a first cut of forage without counting that grazed production against their forage claim.

AgriRecovery The federal and provincial governments have committed millions of dollars in AgriRecovery funding to help producers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Northwestern Ontario facing extraordinary costs due to drought conditions and wildfires. AgriRecovery is cost-shared on a 60-40 basis between the two levels of government. This includes a total of up to $500 million from the federal government for producers in the affected provinces. And, the Manitoba government has committed $62 million toward programs under the AgriRecovery framework. This will include funding for feed assistance, feed transportation, cattle transportation and a herd rebuilding program. At the time Cattle Country was going to print, the specific program details and application forms had not yet been circulated, so please monitor MBP’s website at for updates. MBP had advocated for AgriRecovery to help address both the immediate needs, as well as to look ahead to a time when producers will consider rebuilding their herds. It is important to note that producers do not need to Livestock Tax Deferral Provision enrolled in AgriInsurance programs in order to access The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows farmprograms that will be initiated under AgriRecovery. ers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding in prescribed drought regions to defer a AgriStability Changes portion of sale proceeds to the following year. The governments of Canada and Manitoba have agreed to increase the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for Manitoba producers. The interim benefit provides the opportunity for producers who are enrolled in AgriStability to access a portion of their benefit early, to help support losses and cover costs. With this increase, Manitoba producers can apply for an interim benefit to receive 75 per cent of their estimated final 2021 benefit, before completing their program year. Manitoba is also invoking the late participation option for producers not currently participating in AgriStability. Payments to late participants will be reduced by 20 per cent prior to applying any other deductions or penalties. The interim benefit is calculated based on the estimated margin decline or loss for the year compared to the farming operation’s reference margin. The decline must be at least 30 per cent below the reference margin to access a payment. If a producer receives an interim benefit payment, they must still file all final program year forms and meet program requirements by the assigned deadlines. Manitoba will also be waiving AgriStability structural change for eligible 2022 program participants to ensure producers maintain their level of support and are not penalized for any significantly reduced productive capacity resulting from this year’s extreme weather events. The deadline to apply for an interim payment is Loan March 31, 2022. Access AgriStability information with Advance My AAFC Account, visit the AgriStability website www. Commodities or call toll-free at 1-866-367-8506 include: for more information.

Note: The initial list of prescribed regions related to the 2021 drought was announced in late July, including 102 in Manitoba. For compete details, see pages 4 and 12 of this edition for more details. The beef industry has asked the federal government to extend eligibility under this provision to include all classes of cattle, not just breeding stock. Producers are having to sell off a range of animals in order to manage herd sizes with available resources. The ability to defer span over more than one year has also been requested to allow for more flexibility in producers’ re-stocking decisions. Many producers in drought-affected areas have already deferred 2020 sales into 2021. Farm Credit Canada Initiatives In July Farm Credit Canada (FCC) announced a customer support program for farmers and ranchers across western Canada facing financial challenges due to adverse growing conditions. FCC will work with customers to come up with individual solutions for their operations and will consider additional short term credit options, deferral of principal payments and/or other loan payment schedule amendments to reduce financial pressures on those impacted by unfavourable weather conditions. Affected customers are encouraged to contact their FCC relationship manager sooner rather than later to allow for the most flexibility in discussing options available to them. Customers can do this by contacting their local office or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 or visit

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CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

Cook once and eat twice – meal planning as the fall begins BY: TAMARA SARKISIAN, RD For those of us who love summer, the idea of September might feel like quite an adjustment as the weather shifts to cooler days and busier schedules! Some are getting ready to head back to school or back to a regular work routine which can also mean getting back into planning meals for the week. Planning meals ahead of time can help to save you time during a busy work week and can also help to reduce food waste. When thinking of planning easy weeknight meals, my first tip is to plan around different themes or start by choosing a protein for each meal. For example, you can choose a theme of “Taco Tuesdays” or choose to have beef on Tuesdays. This can make grocery shopping a lot easier and will provide you with some great variety for the week! My second tip is to cook once and eat twice (or even three times). The more food you prepare the more food you will be able to have for lunches the following day. If you worry about having too much food, you can freeze most prepared foods and save it for the following coming weeks. If you’re looking to implement “Taco Tuesday” nights into your weeknight meal plan, my Beef Taco with Black Bean & Corn Salsa recipe below is a must try! I used top sirloin steaks in this recipe as it is a quick and easy steak to sear and not to mention affordable in most grocery stores. If you can’t find top sirloin, feel free to use any other tender cut of beef like sirloin, tenderloin, or striploin. Serve your tacos with some diced avocados, chipotle mayo, salsa verde and/or sauteed onions with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. There is an endless amount of combinations when it comes to making tacos, so have fun with your toppings and don’t be afraid to try something new!

Beef Tacos with Black Bean & Corn Salsa BEEF



Serve beef with your choice of tortilla, topped with black bean & corn salsa and optional to add avocados, salsa verde, jalapeno peppers and/or sauteed onions with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

• • • •

0.5 to 1 lb top sirloin steak salt & pepper dried garlic flakes 1 tbsp canola oil

Directions: 1. Season steaks with salt, pepper, and garlic flakes. 2. Heat a cast iron pan on high heat, add canola oil and sear steaks for 2-3 min. on each side. Remove steaks from pan and rest on a cutting board for 5-10 min. 3. Thinly slice your steaks against the grain.

BLACK BEAN & CORN SALSA Ingredients: • • • • • • • • •

1 can black beans, rinse and drain water 1 red pepper, diced 2 cups corn, cooked and cooled 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped salt and pepper 1 lime, juiced 3 Tbsp avocado oil

Directions: 1. In a large bowl, combine beans, pepper, corn, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, juice of 1 lime, oil and mix. 2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Photo credit: Tamara Sarkisian

Drought puts cattle producers on the edge  Page 1  “Basically, it extends from somewhere in western Ontario all the way to the Pacific Ocean.” What are producers to do? Lowe admits he has no good answers. “We don’t know that. We don’t know what there will be for feed until after the crop comes off and the growing season’s over. At the moment, you either try to source whatever feed you can or you sell your cows. Those are really the only two options.” Lowe said producers normally cull 10 per cent of their cow herd but some are now looking as high as 40 per cent or even more. The market can absorb that many cattle but at a price, Lowe said. As of early August, cow prices across Western Canada had dropped between $200 and $300 a head during the previous six weeks. Selling cattle into a depressed market cuts both ways. Lowe says when it’s time to replace those animals, you’re buying into an inflated market at higher prices because everybody else is doing the same time. But perhaps the worst risk to the industry could happen once all culled animals are through the system. Some worry it could have a cascading effect across the beef value chain. Lowe said unless producers rebuild their herds, there may not be enough slaughter animals left to fill packers’ shackle space. Canada’s cattle herd is too small as it is and further rationalization could force some packers to close their doors and threaten the viability of the Canadian industry, he said. “If we lose a significant amount more cattle, the possibility exists we won’t need the packers that we have. If we lose one of the packers, we’ve potentially lost an industry. That’s how serious this is.” AgriRecovery, Other Measures Announced Federal and provincial governments are responding with emergency measures to help drought-stressed producers. On July 22, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau promised an initial $100 million through AgriRecovery for drought relief programs in Western Canada. Ottawa also announced the one-year livestock tax deferral provision for producers in prescribed drought regions to ease the tax burden on those forced to sell all or most of their breeding animals. Also in July, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation announced an extra $44/tonne through its Hay Disaster Benefit for every tonne below coverage to help producers access replacement feed. The catch is that producers must have AgriInsurance to qualify. “That $44 will for sure help producers who have a policy. But it doesn’t help with the shortfall that producers without coverage will have,” said Carson Callum, Manitoba Beef Producers General Manager.

Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler announced an increase in the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment to 75 per cent from 50 per cent. The deadline for late enrolment in AgriStability for 2021 was also extended. Payments to late participants will be reduced by 20 per cent prior to applying any other deductions or penalties. MASC also announced incentives for producers to put cereal crops to alternative use, such as greenfeed. On August 10, the Manitoba government promised $62 million through AgriRecovery to help support livestock producers affected by drought. The measure includes funding for feed assistance, feed and cattle transportation, and herd rebuilding. On August 15, Bibeau said the federal government would increase total AgriRecovery funding to up to $500 million, including the initial funding of $100 million announced earlier. AgriRecovery is cost-shared 60-40 between Ottawa and the provinces. Manitoba Beef Producers estimated the full cost-share could work out to approximately $155 million for Manitoba. Program specifics had yet to be announced at the time of writing. Fulton called the announcements “a good interim measure.” But producers are calling for additional measures to fill gaps in the programs. Beef producer groups say they want tax deferrals for all classes of cattle, not just breeding stock, and available for three years, not just one. Lowe said CCA wants an immediate interim cash payment of $195 per head under AgriRecovery to offset the effect of American buyers armed with U.S. subsidy dollars coming up to Canada, buying feed and shorting local markets. However, a MBP spokesperson said the AgriRecovery program money provided in Manitoba likely “won’t be a per head payment but rather receipt based.” Despite government assistance, the long-term prospects for Canada’s beef industry appear bleak unless the rains return. Cattle producers have weathered disasters before (remember BSE?). But Lowe said this time it’s different. Back in 2003 when BSE hit, foreign borders immediately slammed shut to Canadian beef, leaving the industry with cattle that could not be sold. Many producers left the business. Today, Lowe said, the global market is wide open and the world is hungry for beef. But despite a demand for their product, drought-stricken producers are once again being forced to downsize herds and even leave the industry. The situation today is the culmination of nearly 20 years of setbacks for Canada’s long-suffering beef industry. First came BSE, followed by U.S. country-of-origin labelling, volatile markets, flooding, COVID-19 and now a choking drought. “For a certain number of producers, this will be the last straw,” said Lowe.

CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

StockTalk Q&A Feature


Brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development

Juanita Kopp PhD, PAg

Livestock Specialist - Beef Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Beausejour, MB R0E 0C0 204.825.4302 Question: How much water do beef cattle need and what defines good water quality? Answer: We all know that water is essential for life. It is needed for the regulation of body temperature, growth, reproduction, lactation, metabolism, excretion of wastes, and for the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Water regulates the balance of minerals, lubricates joints, cushions the nervous system, transports sound and is needed for proper eyesight. The amount of water required depends on many factors, including: • the rate and composition of animal gain • pregnancy and lactation status • activity level • diet • feed intake • the temperature

The most common surface water quality problems are blue green algae (cyanobacteria), bacteria, viruses and parasites. Some common water quality problems for groundwater are elevated levels of sulphates, TDS (salinity), nitrates, iron and manganese. Although beef cattle are tolerant of water quality issues, more so than monogastrics, they may not suffer from an acute toxicity, but may have a reduced rate of weight gain, poorer feed conversion efficiency, lower reproductive success, lower milk yields and lower milk quality. In studies comparing water quality from dugouts to cattle drinking from a trough, calves drinking from troughs gained up to 20 per cent more weight over the summer when water quality and accessibility were improved. The average daily gain (ADG, pound per day) of cows, calves and steers was improved by drinking from trough water versus drinking directly in the dugout. When livestock is allowed to wade into their water source, there is a higher incidence of water borne pathogens.

Water Consumption Estimates for Beef Cattle Based on Air Temperature and Dry Matter Intake** Air Temperature

Litres of water required per kilogram of dry matter

25 to 35ºC

4 to 10

15 to 25ºC

3 to 5 Young and lactating animals require 10 to 50% more water

**Adapted from Effect of Environment on Nutrient Requirements of Domestic Animals, 1981, NRC.

Water quality is assessed on sensory, physiochemical and chemical properties. Source: Willms1996. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Alberta Agriculture, Stavely, AB The sensory factors are odour and taste. The physiochemical properties are pH or alkalinity (acidic or basic), Total Water should be tested to determine water quality. As mentioned above, the enDissolved Solids (TDS) and hardness. The chemical properties can be toxic com- vironmental temperature may substantially affect water intake, and this factor must pounds (heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides or hydrocarbons), excess minerals or be carefully considered and included in the overall evaluation of the potential impact compounds, such as nitrates and sodium sulphates, and biological contaminants like of water quality. bacteria, algae or viruses. The adverse effects of water contaminants on cattle are directly related to the Water constituents that affect beef cattle performance amount they consume, with the greatest impacts usually observed during hot weather Constituent Reduced Performance Unsuitable for Beef Cattle when large volumes of water are consumed.








Nitrate (ppm)

450 - 1,300


Salinity/TDS (ppm)

3,000 - 7,000


Sulphate (ppm)

500 - 3,300


Fecal coliform (No./100ml) 1,000 - 2,500





Adapted from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

A good reference to search for online is Livestock Water Quality, A Field Guide for Cattle, Horses, Poultry and Swine, by Dr. Andrew Olkowski, published in 2009 by AAFC. For information and resources related to dry conditions, visit and click on Managing Dry Conditions. The StockTalk Q&A Feature for Cattle Country is brought to you by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development. We encourage you to email your questions to our department’s forage and livestock team, who have a combined 120 years of agronomy experience. We are here to help make your cattle operation successful. Contact us today.




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CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

Fast and furious fall run With the fall cattle run fast approaching, the atmosphere in the cattle markets has changed considerably since the last issue of Cattle Country. The worries of American calves coming up to Canada and depressing the domestic market have totally disappeared. In the span of six weeks the potential demand for fall calves has completely turned around, with all indications pointing to a very strong calf market this fall. There are calls daily from the American feedlots asking about prices, and I would not be surprised if the fall market is very active with some heifer calves moving south. Despite the high cost of grain to finish the cattle in Canada and shortage of silage and backgrounding rations, the demand from Canada will be good as well. Ontario looks to have lots of feed for the fall with adequate rain and above average crops. The grain reports from the cornbelt in the USA are predicting above average crops of corn and cattle feed. This signals strong demand for Manitoba calves; our geographical position makes it ideal for shipping calves to both locations. As I write this edition, I am a little concerned about the backgrounding feedlots in Manitoba. This section of the industry is very important to the success of the fall calf prices. The majority of the backgrounding feedlots grow their own silage, and the majority of the crop reports are calling for 50% yield or less from last year’s harvest. The widespread drought conditions are making feed of any kind hard to find, and the feed out there is very high priced. The result could be that some of the backgrounding lots may not be able to feed as many cattle as last year. The high cost of feeding could mean that some of the investors that custom feed in Manitoba every year may not be as keen as they have been in the past to custom feed this fall. The backgrounding feeders in Manitoba usually step into the market and purchase feeders that eventually go to Alberta, Quebec, or Ontario after 90 to 130 days on feed. When the big feeder cattle runs hit in Alberta and Saskatchewan, these orders help keep the market steady during the peak marketing times. With most of the cow-calf producers short of both pasture and feed, we can expect the fall run to come early and be fast and furious. There could be a short break when the combines fire up to try to salvage what crops are out there, but I predict that most of the calves will be sold by mid-November in Manitoba. This will be another fall where producers sell everything and keep their feed for the cows. Yearling off the grass are coming to market 30 to 45 days sooner than expected. The heavy cattle off the grass are selling well, but still five cents less than predicted. The light yearlings under 850 pounds are strong, driven by the projected higher fed-cattle prices in the new year. Some of the industry experts are looking for $2.95 and better on the rail, so even with the high priced grain, the cattle have some potential profit. The calves that sold so far have sold higher than most expected. The general school of thought is that the spring market could be very aggressive with demand outpacing supply. With that in mind, some of the feedlots are wanting to tie up inventory, while others feel that if they have no inventory to sell when the market moves higher, they will have no chance of recovering the spring inventory losses from the past three springs. Regardless of the thought process, the demand for calves this fall will be surprisingly strong despite the feed situation. Cattle feeders have always been high stakes gamblers, and this fall will be no different. Demand for the cow-calf pairs has been better than expected, with Ontario showing strong interest. It will take a long time for Manitoba to recover from this contraction of the cow herd. This year there are very few heifers in the breeding pastures. Many of the producers who are getting out are at an age where they will probably not get back into the cow-calf production business. Producers are selling out on the low demand market and will be forced to try to buy back in on the high demand. Experts are predicting that Manitoba could lose 20% to 25% of the provincial beef cow herd this year following the footsteps of years of already declining beef cow numbers in Manitoba. I strongly believe that those cow-calf producers who can hang on throughout these difficult times will be rewarded in the near future. My heart goes out to those producers in the Interlake area that have no choice but to liquidate their herds. It is hard enough to sell your

RICK WRIGHT The Bottom Line

cows when you have control of the outcome, but it is especially hard under the current circumstances. In other industry news, there will be more competition for Manitoba cattle this fall. Jameson Gilroy Livestock (JGL) is expanding their buying operations into Manitoba. JGL is the biggest livestock broker in Canada, marketing cattle across Canada and the United States. I have retired from HOBC and have taken the job of developing a JGL livestock-marketing network in Manitoba. As well as cattle procurements, I will be hiring and training buyers, promoting the Canadian Cattle Buyers Credit Program (CCBC) for livestock financing and offering risk management programs for cattle feeders. JGL will support the auctions across the province and will also purchase ranch direct cattle. As part of JGL’s commitment to establish a strong marketing team in Manitoba, they have hired Robin Hill, the former manager of Heartland Livestock in Virden to work with Rick Wright on the Manitoba Marketing Team. Hill brings over 30 years experience in the cattle marketing industry and is a well-respected

Robin Hill (Photo credit: Rick Wright) cattle marketer. JGL will open an office in Virden in August and already has buyers on the markets. Brock and Kelly Taylor of Taylor Auctions and Exports have announced that they are re-opening the auction market in Melita. Facility renovations are under way converting the building back into an auction market. The grand opening date and sale dates were not available at press time. Until next time, Rick.

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CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021


Drought management: feed testing BY: DR. TANYA ANDERSON, DVM The Vet Corner As the summer has progressed and prospects for crop and pasture saving rains have diminished, winter feed management for cow/calf producers has become top of mind. My article in June discussed health issues common during drought and mitigation through vaccination and management. The negative impacts of poor body condition were reviewed and thoughts for selection of culls to downsize the herd provided. This month’s article will focus on feed management. Feed testing is advised every year but should definitely be done following an adverse growing season. Never rely on the published averages for feedstuffs - forage quality can vary significantly within a field and year to year. This year, many producers are considering novel feeds and should seek advice from those familiar with those feedstuffs to avoid production problems like poor gains and reduced reproduction. Developing least cost but nutritionally adequate rations improves profitability and keeps equity. If you have never feed tested before, contact MARD and access the information on the BCRC website for tips on obtaining diagnostically useful feed samples. Purchase a forage probe or arrange to borrow. If you are able to work with a nutritionist, forage testing, sourcing of least cost ingredients and ration balancing is often included in the consulting package. Review the list of labs and services offered to select those offering the testing methodology appropriate for the nutrients you are interested in. If you choose to develop your own rations on your own, learn how to properly use the CowBytes program to avoid costly errors. Irregardless of how

you formulate your rations, look at the animals. Poor performance and health issues mean that something is not right and that something is often nutritional. During drought, nutritional gaps often develop that are not usually problems. Prevent or identify potentially devastating problems due to toxicity from mycotoxins, nitrates, sulphates or other minerals or nutrients. Remember that energy is usually the first limiting nutrient but protein needs to also be considered especially when feeding lower quality forages. Plant growth disruption develops during drought and can result in high nitrate levels, particularly in the cereal crops like oats, wheat and barley but also can occur in corn, sorghum and numerous weeds. Even legume and grass hays can contain appreciable levels of nitrates. Any amount of nitrate over 0.5% is regarded as a potential source of trouble. Dilute out high nitrate feeds with lower nitrate feeds, acclimatize cattle over a week or so and ensure adequate levels of energy and Vitamin A. Ensiling forage tends to result in a 40-60% reduction in nitrate levels while the nitrate concentration in hay bales does not change appreciably over time. Although counterintuitive, mycotoxins can be an issue during a drought year. Silaging after a dry growing season means lower moisture contents which negatively impact the ensiling process. Poor fermentation means decreased preservation of forages with a risk for mold growth in the warmer spring weather. Feed test silage and ensure the pH is below 5. If not properly fermented, be sure to feed this silage earlier in the winter before feed quality deteriorates. Expect deficiency of Vitamins A and E - plan to supplement in the feed or by injection in the fall. Winter rations should provide 100% of the vitamin needs whereas mineral supplementation depends upon

the ration - with legumes needing a 1:1 Ca/P ratio and greenfeed, cereal silage and grass mixes require a 2:1 ratio. Ensure that your calcium-phosphorus rations are adequate and tailored to your ration. Sudden ration changes for cows in late gestation and post-calving are less tolerated. This imbalance compounded by energy malnutrition will result in downer cattle. A minimum of 4-6 lbs. of roughage/head/day is needed to keep the digestive system working properly. Herds can be maintained throughout the winter on a severely restricted roughage diet provided sufficient grain is available. This is usually 6 to 10 lbs. grain per day with higher levels needed for more under-conditioned animals and those receiving very poor quality roughage such as straw. Grind poor quality and overly mature roughages to improve consumption and digestibility but be aware that this may increase the risks for digestive disturbances or bloat. Remember that these diets also require a protein supplement, especially during the final two months of gestation and post-calving. Do not overlook chemical residue dangers this year while networking with grain farmers who find that selling their crops as livestock feed is the best economical option for them this year. Consult with an agronomist re: label restrictions for herbicides commonly used for cereal or forage crops as some disqualify the forage as a use for animal feed. Look at your system not as a cow system but as a forage system. Review what your feed options are and consider fitting that to the appropriate production type, whether that be heifers, bred cows, cull cows or other. Partial budget all the way out to at least 3-5 years and pick the best path that will cashflow, service debt and leave a better management system and herd in the years to come.

10 CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

Grazing with toxic plant pressure BY: DR. MARY-JANE ORR, MBFI General Manager Seeking to stretch resources in an incredibly challenging year may lead to overlooked hazards in increased exposure for livestock consuming toxic plants. Plant toxicity can be due to dangerous accumulation of nutrients, such as excess nitrates, or plant and microorganism produced toxins that are harmful when consumed. Livestock feeding on poisonous plant materials may cause illness or death immediately after ingestion in extreme cases or may take days to weeks to see symptoms from the exposure. Generally, under ideal pasture conditions and adequate mineral supply livestock poisoning is not common due to preferential grazing. When grazing options are stressed, livestock are more likely to consume unfamiliar plants. Treating poisoned livestock is difficult and it is recommended to mitigate through identifying poisonous plants in pastures and managing their persistence. Knowing and scouting pastures before turning the cows out is essential in reducing the risk in fully utilizing all accessible acres. Scouting every year is crucial with changing weather patterns resulting in favourable growing conditions for different plants. The Beef Cattle Research Council resource page gives a broad overview of toxic pasture plants. At Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives (MBFI) at the Brookdale Farm and First Street pasture we are utilizing every corner of available pastures, and in doing so have encountered a challenge in to how best to graze areas with water hemlock. Water hemlock is an extremely poisonous native biennial with clusters of white flowers, narrow leaves with toothed margins, and thickened roots. Water hemlock can be confused with cow parsnip and accurate identification is needed to assess the level of risk in a pasture. Water hemlock spreads by seed, tends to grow in low lying wet areas, and along wetland margins. The roots are the most toxic plant part, where consuming one plant’s roots can kill a cow in under two hours. Water hemlock is managed annually in the marshy area of the First Street pasture. However, the 2021 grazing season has seen an increase in abundance of water hemlock at the Brookdale farm station. To prevent livestock losses several approaches are applied. Every year before turning cows into paddocks at risk of having water hemlock, the area is walked and scouted for plant presence and abundance.

Photo credit: Mary-Jane Orr

Photo credit: Mary-Jane Orr

In cases where the plants are sporadic, they are hand pulled, collected, and safely disposed. In hand rogueing toxic plants personal protective equipment is required to prevent any human exposure. When the density of plants increases in discrete areas they are excluded with temporary fencing. Areas with thicker patches of water hemlock are also managed by spraying chemical control. At MBFI we use a backpack sprayer to access targeted areas. It is recommended to contact

your local agronomist for the best chemical option for your herbicide management plan with consideration for grazing restrictions following application. Repeated spray treatments are required to fully eradicate over successive years. MBFI welcomes any questions on how we are mitigating toxic plant exposure during grazing. Contact us at 204-761-3300 or at Completed applications and supporting documents must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. Friday, November 5, 2021. A selection committee will review the submissions. Winners will be notified by December 14, 2021. For more information please visit



CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021 11

Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation offers helpful incentives to preserve pasture lands BY WAYNE HILDEBRAND, MNRM Brian and Kristen Breemersch operate a cow-calf farming operation located southwest of Brandon. Their land is primarily pastureland that is interspersed with wetlands. They bought the land from Kristen’s parents about 20 years ago to start a family-run farm. Their land attracts a rich variety of waterfowl and wildlife, which Brian and Kristen enjoy. Several years ago, Brian visited the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) booth at Ag Days in Brandon to chat with the MHHC staff. Brian was interested in pasture and grassland management improvements and any conservation program opportunities that might work for their farm. “At the time we didn’t have a lot of program opportunities or funding for farmers looking to improve their grasslands and pastures,” said MHHC Area Conservation Specialist Kasie McLaughlin. “But we did have the Conservation Agreements (CA) Program and funding to partner with private landowners to perpetually conserve wildlife habitat. Through follow-up sharing of information, Brian and Kristen decided they wanted long term protection of their habitat areas. So, we tailor made a CA for the Breemersch farm that provided them with funding to conserve wetlands and grasslands.”

“The land we put into a Conservation Agreement is my pastureland,” said landowner Brian Breemersch. “It is only good for livestock. By my standards, it should remain as pasture and wildlife habitat. Marginal land and habitat are disappearing and being drained. There are places that will not grow crop that are good for livestock and great for wildlife. I am in favor of farming with livestock and leaving the habitat, so the Conservation Agreement program was right for me. It’s a win-win.” In 2020 MHHC developed a new program offering funding incentives to implement beneficial management practices (BMP’s) on pasture lands across Manitoba. MHHC recognized that grazed pastures provide a multitude of ecosystem and wildlife benefits, including protection of species at risk on private land. The BMP program includes a wide variety of incentives, such as funding for fencing, watering systems, mowing brush, and pasture seeding. MHHC is open to other BMP ideas from cattle producers that will help maintain pasture lands along with wildlife habitat. “I noted that Brian was interested in some pasture management improvements on his farm, so I gave him a call,” said Kasie. “We discussed the new beneficial management practices programs, eligibility criteria and incentive funding. Brian and Kristen were interested

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MHHC pa ys producers to conserve, restore or enhance wildlife habita t. For more informa tion ca ll Ka sie McLaug hlin a t (204) 724-0583 or visit

Box 274, Austin, MB R0H 0C0 President: Melissa McRae 204-573-9903 Secretary: Laurelly Beswitherick 204-637-2046

CSA AGM & YCSA ShoW sales ese fall h t s is m t Do no

in the watering and fencing incentive programs, so we were able to help them out with that on their farm.” “I want to thank Kasie for mentioning this program to us,” Brian relayed. “It is a big financial boost for us. We started this operation over 20 years ago and it takes hard work, time and a lot of money to get things rolling. The assistance with the fencing program involves a bit of labor, but I like it and it is really good. We have 35 cow-calf pairs out on one of our pastures that we have under the fencing program, so it is already paying off.” “I would recommend this MHHC program to anyone if they have grazed pastures with wildlife habitat,” said Brian. “Working with Kasie was wonderful. She understands the wildlife habitat preservation side and she also understands what cattle producer’s needs are to live and survive off that same land. This is a win-win program for MHHC (wildlife habitat) and farmers. MHHC recognizes the wildlife benefits in maintaining grazing lands, and I am 100% in favor of that and working together. It is a phenomenal program for producers to get money for the land to keep grazing it as it is and preserving it for wildlife.”

July 21-24, 2022

Portage La Prairie, MB

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Nov. 19 th Pembina Triangle Simmental Assoc. 41st Annual Sale - Cypress River, Manitoba DEC. 5 th Queens of the Heartland Production Sale - McAuley, Manitoba DEC. 7 th Keystone Konnection 42nd Annual Sale - Brandon, Manitoba DEC. 11 t h Transcon’s Season Wrap Up Sale - Neepawa, Manitoba DEC. 11 t h Shades Of The Prairies Simmental Sale - Brandon, Manitoba DEC. 12 t h Bonchuk Farms Female Production Sale - Virden, Manitoba DEC. 13 t h Mar Mac Farms New Generation Female Sale - Brandon, Manitoba DEC. 14 t h Karsin Farms & Guests Bull & Female Sale - Portage la Prairie, Manitoba DEC. 16 t h Come As U R - Rainbow River Simmental Production Sale - DVAuctions DEC. 21 s t Northern Light Simmentals & HBH Angus Production Sale - Virden, Manitoba

12 CATTLE COUNTRY  September 2021

Livestock deferral and how it works BY TERE STYKALO, CGA, CPA

Southern Manitoba Regional Ag Leader, MNP LLP. This year certainly finds a lot of producers scratching their heads and wondering what to do with the drought situation coupled with the pandemic that is facing the entire world. To say it’s been a challenging year is certainly an understatement. For livestock producers facing feed shortages the challenge will continue for the remainder of the year with some difficult decisions to be made. One of those decisions is “should we sell some cows to reduce the feed requirements”. The federal government announced the Livestock Deferral program for the 2021 year providing you are in a designated drought zone. (Most of Manitoba is in that zone). Normally, selling your herd could have some

negative tax consequences and add to the stress of the declared as income in the following year or in the year year. However, if you need to sell part of your herd then that the drought designation is lifted. This is a deferral this program may find some tax relief for you. of income and it has an expiry date, but it certainly buys you some time. 1. Only breeding stock sales are deferrable. Market If you are reducing your breeding herd in 2021 and livestock is not. deferring the revenue to the following year, you then 2. To qualify as breeding stock the animals must be have the opportunity to re-purchase breeding stock in over 12 months of age. the 2022 year to offset that deferred revenue. 3. Cattle, horses, sheep, elk, bison, and bees qualify. This tool is certainly not going to make the feed shortage go away but it will provide producers in the If you sell between 15% and 30% of your breeding short term, with some time to plan their next steps herd then you are able to defer 30% of that sale. For without having to pay out a bunch of tax. I encourage producers to speak with their Advisors example, if you have 100 breeding cows and you sell 15 of them for $30,000 then you can defer 30% or $9,000 to see if this program will benefit your farm. to the following year. If you sell 30% or more then you Tere grew up on a beef and grain farm in Rorketon are able to defer 90% of those proceeds. Using the same example if you sold 35 head for $70,000 then you could MB, is a Partner with MNP and along with his wife and defer $63,000. Remember, these deferrals need to be family, farm near Dauphin, MB.

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Keep your distance! adjustment factor to drought-stricken grain corn crops Keep your distance! ALERT SAFETY that are insured under the AgriInsurance program. Keep your distance! Keep your distance! Power lines and the surrounding air space which insulates the line can be hazardous. While it Yield appraisals conducted by MASC will be lines and the surrounding air line space insulates Power lines andPower the surrounding air space which insulates the can which be hazardous. Whilethe it is line can be ha obvious that you should not touchthe a power operating equipment too close to a power li Power lines and the surrounding air space which insulates line can line, be hazardous. While it is reduced by 40 per cent to reflect expectations of lower Power lines and the surrounding air space which insulates theyou line can not be hazardous. While it touch is equipment obvious that should touch a power line,not operating too close to a power line obvious that you should a power line, operating equipment too cl that you is should not touch a power line, operating equipment too close to a power line quality corn because of the stress that cornobvious crops have riskytoo. too. is risky obvious that you should not touch a power line, operating equipment too close to a power line Working around power lines? Look up and live! is risky too. endured due to the extreme low levels of moisture. is risky The too. is risky too. applies to grain corn crops that producers adjustment Whether youyour work on a farm, in construction, orelectricity doing choreswithout around your home or cottage – wire Thefact fact or your equipment can attract electricity without even touching the wire itse The is, is, youyou or equipment can attract even touching the itself. Theorfact is, you or your equipment canfact attract electricity without even touching the wire itself. there’s a chance you may come dangerously close to a power line. Take a second to look up and intend to put to alternate use, such as for silage grazThe is, you or your equipment can attract electricity without even touch Electricity cancan arc arc or “jump” through insulatinginsulating space between a wire and a conducting object or “jump” through between Electricity arcElectricity or “jump” insulating between wire and a space conducting object a wire and a conducting objec live! Itthrough only takes a second forspace electricity towire kill ifayou don’t! The ing. fact is, you or your equipment can attractcan electricity without even touching the itself. like a truck or ladder. The higher the voltage, the more likely it isinsulating for an arc to occur. between a wire and a Electricity can arc orthe “jump” through like The a truck or ladder. The higher thetomore is for an arc to occur. like a truck or ladder. higher voltage, more likely itvoltage, is for an arc occur. likely it space The full (priorthrough to quality adjustment) Keep yourathe distance! Electricity canyield arcappraisal or “jump” insulating space between wire and the a conducting object like athetruck or ladder. Theinsulates higher the cranes, voltage, the excavators, more likely it is for an arc t will be used to calculate future coverage, which provides Before operating farm equipment, dump trucks, bucket trucks, booms, Power it lines air space whichcranes, the line can be hazardous. While it is Before operatingBefore farm likely equipment, dump trucks, bucket trucks, booms, excavators, like aproducers truck or ladder. The higher the voltage, is and for ansurrounding arc to occur. operating farm equipment, dump trucks, bucket trucks, cranes, booms, excavators, who repurpose their crops for livestock feed the more backhoes, ladders, or other equipment with a long reach, check for power lines obvious that you should touch a power line, operating equipment too be close to a a powerand line be sure a backhoes, ladders, or other equipment with anot long reach, check for power lines and sure an added benefit. This reduction will apply retroactively Before operating farm equipment, dump trucks, bucket trucks, boom minimum distance metres from lines can always Keeping safe power distance backhoes, ladders, other equipment withbea maintained. long reach, checka for lines cranes, and be sure a is risky too. of 3 or minimum of 3 metres from lines can alwaysexcavators, be maintained. Keeping a safe distance Before operating farm equipment, dump bucket trucks, cranes, booms, to producers who have already put their grain corntrucks, cropdistance away can save your life! backhoes, ladders, or other equipment with a long reach, check for power lin minimum distance of 3equipment metres can always be maintained. fact is, you or your canfrom attract lines electricity without even touching the wire itself. Keeping a safe distance away canasave your life! The to an alternate use this MASC is insuring approxibackhoes, ladders, or year. other equipment with long reach, check can forarcpower lines and be sure Electricity or “jump” through insulating space a between a wire and a conducting object away can save your life! minimum distance of 3themetres from lines can always be maintained. Keeping mately 340,000 acres of grain corn in 2021. like a truck or ladder. The higher voltage, more likely it is for an arc to occur. minimum distance of 3 metres from lines can always be maintained. Keeping a the safe distance Remember these safety tips: To help producers in determining corn yields, Remember these safety tips: away farm canequipment, save your life! bucket trucks, cranes, booms, excavators, Before operating dump trucks, awayManitoba can save your life! Agriculture and Resource Development has • Survey your job site before work begins sure you your backhoes, ladders, or other equipment with a and long be reach, check forand power linesco-workers and be sure a know where • Method Survey your job site before work begins and be sure you and your co-workers know where prepared information on the Yield Component minimum distance 3 metres from lines the can always be maintained. a safe distance the power lines are,ofabove and below ground. ConsiderKeeping them energized and dangerous. themilk power lines are, above and below the ground. Consider them energized and dangerous. that can be used to estimate yields as early as the away can save your life! Survey yourand job site before work begins and sure you3and your co-workers know whe stage of kernel development. There is also information •• Keep yourself your equipment, vehicles, ladders andbe tools at least metres away • Keep yourself and your equipment, vehicles, ladders and tools at least 3 metres away available on grazing cattle on corn and ensiling immaRemember these safety tips: (10 feet) from overhead power lines. the power are, above andsite below the ground. Consider them energized and dangerou • lines Survey your job (10 feet) overhead lines. • Survey site before andfrom be sure youpower and your co-workers know before where work begins and be sure you and your co-wo ture grainyour corn. job For complete detailswork on thisbegins and other • Survey your jobbe site before work begins andManitoba be sure you Hydro and yourto co-workers where • IfConsider 3 metres cannot maintained, contact cover orknow temporarily the power lines are, above and below the ground. Consider themaway energiz information to theabove drought, visit: Province ofground. the power related lines are, and below them energized and dangerous. • Keep yourself and your equipment, vehicles, ladders and at least 3 metres • If the 3 metres cannot be maintained, contact Manitoba Hydro to cover or temporarily the power lines are, above and below the ground. Consider them energized and tools dangerous. disconnect a power line so work can proceed safely. For underground electrical and natural Manitoba | Agriculture - Dry Conditions and Drought disconnect a power line so work canand proceed safely. For underground electrical and natural (10 overhead power lines. • feet) Keep yourself vehicles, ladders and tools at least 3 metres away gas and lines, request aleast lineyour locate at well in advance. ( •from Keep yourself and your equipment, vehicles, ladders and tools at least 3 • Keep yourself and your equipment, vehicles, ladders tools at 3equipment, metres away (10 feet)atfrom overhead power lines. gas lines, request a line locate well in advance. Producers who want to put their grain corn crops to (10 feet) from overhead power lines. (10 feet) from overhead power lines.temporarily If 3a metres cannot be maintained, contact Hydro to cover or temporarily •• Use spotter on the ground to help you stay clear ofManitoba overhead and other hazards If 3 metres cannot maintained, contact Manitoba Hydro to cover or lines alternate use must contact an ARD and MASC Service • Use a spotter on the •ground to help youbestay clear of overhead lines and other hazards disconnect a power line so work can proceed safely. For underground electrical and natural while operating equipment. disconnect a power line so work can proceed safely. For underground electrical and natu prior tocannot taking action. while operating equipment. • IfCentre 3 metres be maintained, contact Manitoba Hydro to cover or locate temporarily • request If 3 ametres cannot be maintained, gas lines, line at well incontact advance. Manitoba Hydro to cover or te gas lines, a line locateunder at advance. • Avoid storingrequest material or equipment power lines. If this is unavoidable, well hangin warning disconnect a power line so work can proceed safely. For underground electrical and natural • Avoid storing material• orUse equipment power lines. this is unavoidable, hang warning a spotter onunder the ground toahelp youIfstay clear of overhead lines and other hazards disconnect power line so work can proceed safely. For underground el signs towhile prevent others from using hoisting equipment to move or lift it. operating equipment. signs to prevent using hoisting equipment move or lift it. at gas lines, request a line locate at well inlines, advance. • others Use afrom spotter on the ground totoahelp stay clear of overhead lines and other hazards gas request lineyou locate well in adva

Remember these safety tips:

Remember these safety tips:

Remember these safety tips:

Use a spotter on the ground to while operating equipment.

Avoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If this is unavoidable, hang warning

whileyour operating equipment. We know time is important. We know keeping deadlines isor difficult. signs to prevent others from using hoisting equipment to move lift it. But when you’re help you stay clear of overhead lines other hazards We know your time is important. We know keeping deadlines is difficult. But when you’re Use aand spotter on the ground to help stay of up. overhead lines and working around•power lines, even in your backyard, it’s better to slowyou down, thinkclear and look working around power lines, even in your backyard, it’s better to slow down, think and look up. • Avoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If this is unavoidable, hang warnin We know your time is important. We know keeping deadlines is difficult. But when you’re while operating equipment. Visit working around powerfor lines,more even ininformation. your backyard, it’s better to slow down, think and look up. signs prevent others from using hoisting equipment to move or lift it. Visit forto more information.

Avoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If this unavoidable, hang warning Visit for more information. • isAvoid storing material or equipment under power lines. If this is unavoida July/August 2021 July/August 2021 signs to prevent others from using hoisting equipment to move or lift it. 2021 signs to preventWe others using hoisting to move or lift it. Available in July/August accessible formats upon request. We know your time is important. knowfrom keeping deadlines is equipment difficult. But when you’re Available in accessible formatsformats upon upon request. Available in accessible request. working around power lines, even in your backyard, it’s better to slow down, think and look up. We know your time is important. We know keeping deadlines is difficult. But when you’re We know your time is important. We know keeping deadlines is difficult. But w working around power lines, even in your backyard, Visit it’s better to slow down, think and look up. for more information.

working around power lines, even in your backyard, it’s better to slow down, t Ju Safety. It’s in your hands. Visit for more information. Available in accessible for July/August 2021

It’s inhands. your hands. Safety.Safety. It’s in your

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Available in accessible formats upon request.