October 25, 27 and November 10: Omemee, Neustadt, and Chatham
These field days gave crop and livestock farmers the opportunity to see cover crops put to use as pasture for beef cattle. Cover crops have important environmental and economic value, and these workshops included farmers and speakers who shared their knowledge on the tools and resources available to help integrate livestock into cover cropping systems as an additional business opportunity on farms. The events were a joint effort between Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Across three field days there were 81 attendees. 55% of attendees were under age 45.
Discussions were informal, but topics presented this year were as follows:
- “Farm overview and my cover crop grazing journey” by the host farmer (Adam Bent and Adam & Marie Shea in Omemee; Ken Schaus in Neustadt; and Mike Buis in Chatham)
- “Cover Crops: Selection, Seeding, and Growth” by Anne Verhallen, OMAFRA Soil Management Specialist
- “Temporary Fencing and Water Systems” by Christine O’Reilly, OMAFRA Forage and Grazing Specialist
Key learnings from this event were how grazing cover crops can reduce costs by extending the grazing season into the fall. Practical tips on making this type of system work were shared. Conversations highlighted areas where more information is needed (example: agreements between farmers).
The organizing committee:
- James Byrne, OMAFRA Beef Cattle Specialist
- Andrew Barrie, OMAFRA Environmental Specialist
- Bethany Storey, BFO Communications Coordinator
- Dan Ferguson, BFO Manager of Producer Relations
- Laura Ferrier, GFO Agronomist
- Mike Buttenham, GFO Market Development Coordinator, Sustainability & Environment
Sponsorship for lunch and refreshments from Beef Farmers of Ontario.
Christine O’Reilly, OMAFRA Forage and Grazing Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org