Manitoba opens up Crown lands for livestock producers facing feed shortage

Livestock producers in Manitoba facing a feed shortage due to dry conditions will be allowed to cut hay and graze animals on Crown land not normally designated for agricultural use.

“Pastures and forage crops in parts of Manitoba have been greatly affected by low levels of rain and dry soils this summer,” noted Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler in a news release on Friday. “By providing producers with additional options, such as access to Crown land, we are easing the burden on farmers who are seeing low yields on forage crops.”

Access to these Crown properties will be administered through the Agricultural Crown Lands Leasing Program.

The province says animals will have to be removed when the naturally existing forage is exhausted or by Oct. 31, 2018. Baled hay must be removed by Nov. 15, 2018.

“With many beef producers facing poor pasture conditions and a shortage of feed, having the ability to graze and hay these Crown lands is both necessary and welcomed,” said Tom Teichroeb, interim president of Manitoba Beef Producers. “Cattle grazing inside these wildlife management areas can deliver important conservation benefits as well as be an important strategy during times of feed shortages.”

The province also offers a hay listing service, and extension services on pasture and feed management.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local Manitoba Agriculture office or call the department toll-free at 1-84-GROW-MB-AG (1-844-769-6224).

Related: 10 tips to stretch forage supplies

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