Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives to open doors in summer 2016

Hands-on training to begin

New and established farmers, students and members of the public who are interested in learning about livestock production in an on-farm setting will have the chance beginning summer 2016.

Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives (MBFI) will open the doors to its training facilities next summer, where producers and students will take part in valuable hands-on training done year-round to improve economic, environmental and social sustainability in the livestock sector.

"The farm gives new producers entering the market a place to learn the best management practices for their farm," said Glenn Friesen, project manager with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD). "We have producers working side-by-side with researchers to develop and field-test different production methods to advance the industry."

There are two sites, one for research and the other for demonstration and extension work. There will be two cattle herds used to study different research projects. The projects implemented will study various livestock diets, cattle handling systems, pasturing systems, soil quality and riparian zones in a year-round grazing system, and how these can affect animal and plant performance.

Training for research

One of the tools that will be used includes collecting individual animal performance data with the help of a livestock chute scale system. While in the chute, staff can show students and farmers new and innovative animal handling techniques, including triaging cattle for various health issues and new technology for providing medications.

"The training goes hand in hand with the research. As we demonstrate practices on the farm, we encourage the audiences to ask questions that will in turn inspire the next set of research projects." said Friesen.

MBFI is funded in part by the Growing Innovation program, in collaboration with Manitoba Beef Producers, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, with input and support from other industry stakeholders.

The facilities have been prepared over the past year by adding new technologies, perimeter and cross fencing, winter and summer stock watering systems and the planting of forage crops to be used for grazing and haying.

Friesen said he expects results to be rolling in year-round to provide new and innovative ways to improve production in Manitoba's livestock and forage sectors.