Drought management crucial to vegetation health

The drought conditions last year and the mild winter with less than average precipitation has left those involved...

The drought conditions last year and the mild winter with less than average precipitation has left those involved in the agricultural industry with many reasons to be concerned moving into this year’s seeding and growing season.

Leduc County, along with West Central Forage Association, offered a seminar in Thorsby on April 19 to address drought management practices that will help ease the impacts of what could possibly shape into another dry summer.

Keynote speaker Edward Bork, range ecology and management, University of Alberta, spoke to those who attended the seminar on what farmers should do at the present time to protect their land and what they should do the season prior in preparation.

Bork says more intensive grazing during droughts puts more stress on the grasses, which not only leads to defoliation but impedes root growth.

As part of an Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) study, Bork and his team concluded over-grazing damages root lengths; and so drought management should be kept to moderate-to-low stocking practices.

“Drought impacts plants, well… this is not surprising,” said Bork. “If you had a dry year last year your plants are already stressed going into this year.”

“Risk mitigation should be an ongoing process,” he added.

Results are a smaller root mass and shallower roots. If cattle are let out to the grasslands to graze before the plants and the roots are ready the growth of the plants could peak at only 30 to 40 per cent of the total potential yield.

Through the study, which included up to 114 grassland management sites across several provinces, Bork was to examine the effects of moisture deprivation. In Alberta,with a 50 per cent moisture reduction there was a 43 per cent yield loss. In Saskatchewan there was no change and Manitoba lost 20 per cent.

“So one of the questions we have now in Alberta is how representative is this (negative) 43 per cent? Is that kind of representative? Is it on the high end, is it on the low end? So we have a new study where we’re trying to get a better handle on how this varies regionally across the province and this will be a very appropriate year to start testing this,” said Bork.

 

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Bonus RCMP officer for Breton region courtesy County of Wetaskiwin

Councilors examine details of enhanced RCMP officer for far-west side of county

County residents want to stop curve removal projects

Public meeting in Division 4 hears opposition to removal of gravel road speed curves

Soup and steak in Dora’s Kitchen this week

Get out your mallet for this Swiss Steak recipe

County council moves ahead on ‘speed curves’

Safety concerns, build standards basis for removing certain curves in county

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

The Vatican ‘owes God an apology,’ activist says in letter to Pope Francis

Letter came after a report on sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

Most Read