Can You Graze Through the Winter in Extreme Cold and Deep Snow?

On Pasture began sharing videos from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry back in 2017. It’s still one of the best resources we’ve found for showing how to reduce costs and labor to get livestock through the winter. Enjoy!

One of the biggest challenges farmers and ranchers face is feeding their livestock through winter. It can be costly and time consuming. But as the seventeen ranchers in this video series demonstrate, bale, swath or corn grazing on pasture is a way to make the winter more profitable while freeing up a lot of time.

Find all the videos in this series by clicking here.

Grant Lastiwka, Forage and Livestock Business Specialist for Alberta Canada Agriculture and Forestry, says the goal of “Managing Risk in Winter Grazing Systems” was to help new winter graziers learn from the experience of old hands at the practice. If you’ve got a question, it’s answered by one of the 47 short videos. You’ll find information about different feeding options like swath, bale, straw/chaff bunch, corn grazing and stockpiled forages. Ranchers talk about winter fencing, from the kinds of fencing the use to how to power and ground your fence in snowy conditions, how to water animals, and how they figure how much forage animals need. There are videos on feed quality, weather challenges, water accessibility, management practices, managing for animal type and wildlife issues.

The longest video in the series is 5 minutes, though most are in the 3 to 4 minute range. That means you can learn a lot during a coffee break. This video, “Dealing With Extreme Snow and Cold”  gives you an idea just how serious these ranchers are about winter grazing and provides a lot of great information about livestock grazing behavior in deep snow and the innovations and hacks ranchers have come up with to address challenges. It’s a great example of the kind of useful instruction you’ll get from all the videos in the series.

“As the producers that participated would attest, grazing cattle through the challenges of extremes in winter weather is a lifelong learning process, must be planned with flexibility in mind, and plans adjusted quickly to meet the changing situations that arise,” says Lastiwka. “Cattle prices change, but to turn a profit, more often than not, ranchers need to consider lower input cost grazing-based winter feeding systems.”

natglc-logo-1Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible. Click on over to see the great work they do for all of us. Thank them for supporting On Pasture by liking their facebook page.


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