Grow more forage

Get financial incentives to convert your cultivated land to hay or pasture.

DUC’s forage program is a popular way to solve your lack of quality feed. Receive $125/acre to convert cultivated land to hay or pasture. Prizes awarded to the top five establishments.

Am I eligible?

Connect with DUC about program eligibility:

Alex Griffiths

DUC’s forage program – video tips

More tips for forage success

  1. Seed early – get the forage in the ground before the end of May to take advantage of cool, moist growing conditions. Summer heat and fewer rain events can cause soil crusting and bake emerging seedlings. Seeding later than June 25 is not recommended unless sufficient rains are expected.
  2. Apply Phosphate (P) – fertilizer at seeding improves seedling vigor and
    establishment. Applying 30 lbs/acre can increase seedling size 4X compared to fields without P application. Blend P with forage seed and plant the mix without bridging issues using any air seeder through the fertilizer roller.
  3. Say ‘no’ to companion crops – forage can be negatively impacted by companion crops. If a companion crop is used, seed at 1/3 to 1/4 of normal to reduce competition with the forage. With no cover crop, weeds are likely but easily managed through haying or mowing.
  4. Limit competition – cut the field early in the establishment year to prevent weeds from setting seed and to reduce competition. To improve winter survivability, don’t cut the forage crop shorter than 4”-6”.
  5. DO NOT take a second cut – in the year of establishment, a second cut can deplete root reserves critical for winter survival and stress an establishing crop. This thins out the plant stand and may reduce longevity. Leave some ground cover to help trap snow, preserve plant root reserves and improve winter survival.
  6. Remove the crop as silage – in the establishment year, leaving swaths too long can hinder seedling growth and potentially kill all the plants underneath, leaving permanent blank (or thin) strips throughout your field. Remove chopped or round bale silage in the establishment year if possible.
  7. Seed is important – seed multiple species to ensure at least one type of plant will grow in all areas. For saline, choose species suited to those conditions. Seed certification helps ensure good germination and minimal weeds.
  8. Seed shallow – the maximum depth at which forages should be seeded is ¾”, especially in heavier soils. Anything deeper will reduce plant counts. Canola depth on the seed drill is ideal.
  9. Use an air seeder/seed drill whenever possible – seed-to-soil contact is critical for crop success. Broadcast seeding is quick and convenient but exposes seed to hotter conditions at the soil’s surface, especially in dry conditions. You run the risk of the crop failing to establish.
  10. Do not graze – in the year of establishment. Though the stand may look thick and lush, the root systems on these new plants are still developing and may not be anchoring the plant into to the soil very well. Grazing animals can pull out the entire plant, causing stand thinning and decreased longevity.
  11. Seed heavy – it is cheap insurance and allows for losses from excess heat/moisture, winterkill and other issues. Normal seed rate is 10 lbs per acre; we recommend 12 lbs per acre. When dormant seeding or broadcast seeding, increase your rate by 30 percent.
  12. Seed coating – some companies coat their forage seed to help it flow through air seeders. This coating can add significant weight to the seed. A 110 kg (50 lb) bag is coating and seed, so adjust your seeding rate to accommodate (i.e., seed heavy if using coated seed).
  13. Insure your crop – buy Forage Establishment Insurance (FEI). Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) offers FEI and the application deadline is March 31 of the seeding year.