DROUGHT INFORMATION FOR PRODUCERS
Manitoba Beef Producers has compiled the following information which may be useful to producers facing extreme dryness/drought conditions on their farms and ranches. MBP continues to engage in discussions with the provincial and federal governments about programs to help ensure they are responsive to the various factors affecting producers. [Last updated December 6, 2021]
Programs Under AgriRecovery Framework Announced for Livestock Producers
The Manitoba and federal governments continue to support producers and have launched two programs under the AgriRecovery framework for livestock producers to help with the extraordinary costs incurred for feed and transportation. Program details and the application process were announced on August 31, 2021.
Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, livestock producers can now apply to two programs. The Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program will help producers purchase and test feed for livestock to maintain their breeding herds including transporting purchased feed from distant locations. The Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance program will offer assistance to help offset freight expenses associated with moving livestock to alternative feed supply areas.
Eligible animals under the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program are breeding animals of beef and dairy cattle, horses raised for pregnant mare urine (PMU), sheep, goats and bison. Producers must be supporting a minimum of 10 animals to qualify for assistance and the program covers feed and feed transportation expenses between June 1, 2021, and March 15, 2022. Feed must have been delivered from a supplier at least 40 kilometres away and assistance is available for hauling feed for up to a maximum one-way distance of 600 km. Eligible feed purchases are those made between June 1, 2021, and March 15, 2022. Applications will be received on an ongoing basis until April 15, 2022 (11:59 p.m. CST).
The Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance program offers help for producers with extraordinary costs to transport breeding animals of beef cattle, sheep and goats to alternate locations to feed, up to 1,000 km. This program does not cover moving animals to market or sale. Livestock transportation assistance is provided for eligible activities and expenses incurred from August 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Applications will be received on an ongoing basis until July 30, 2022 (11:59 p.m. CST).
The Herd Management Drought Assistance program will help livestock producers offset the costs associated with replacing breeding animals culled due to shortages of winter feed. Producers may be eligible to apply for assistance to:
• purchase replacement breeding females
• retain replacement females from their existing herd or flock.
The replacement is to assist in returning the applicant’s inventory of breeding females to pre-drought levels. Animals culled under the Herd Management Drought Assistance program are not eligible for assistance under the other two AgriRecovery program, i.e. Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance or Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance.
The application package for the Herd Management Drought Assistance Program will be available on Jan. 10, 2022: online at www.manitoba.ca/agriculture, in-person at ARD and MASC Service Centres, or by calling 1-844-769-6224 to receive a copy in the mail. Producers seeking more program information can go view two videos about determining payments under it and about the application process:
For more information about the three programs under AgriRecovery, contact your local Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Service Centre, call the department toll-free at 1-84-GROW-MB-AG (1-844-769-6224) or go to https://www.manitoba.ca/agriculture/canadian-agricultural-partnership/business-risk-management-programs/index.html . The website includes detailed program information, including application forms, a guidebook, lists of eligible and ineligible expenses, etc.
Applications are available at www.manitoba.ca/agriculture and must include receipts for feed purchases and transportation. Specific tools and resources for managing in dry conditions are available at www.manitoba.ca/agriculture/dry.html.
Farmers and producers have several options when it comes to listing available hay and straw, and for buying hay, straw and alternative feeds. By no means is this list exhaustive and we encourage you to share other avenues for listing and buying with Manitoba Beef Producers, so that we can share them with our members.
Manitoba Government Hay Listing Service
The Manitoba Hay Listing Service provides an inventory of hay and alternative feed for sale and pasture for rent. If you have hay, alternative feed, or pasture land for sale or rent contact an ARD and MASC Service Centre to have your listing added.
Social Media/Buy and Sell Sites
There are a number of social media and buy/sell sites that provide hay, straw and alternative feed sourcing options:
Manitoba Hay & Feed for Buy/Sell
Hay / Feed For Sale in Saskatchewan, Alberta & Manitoba
Internet Hay Exchange
Other social media avenues including Twitter also feature hay for sale across the province, however that exchange needs to occur on a user to user basis.
Hay West 2021
This is a relief program operated by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, working with farmers across Eastern and Central Canada to provide hay to drought stricken Western livestock producers. Due to high demand, Hay West 2021 cannot and does not guarantee the provision of hay. Best efforts will be made, given available supply to make hay available, for sale, to applicants. Go to: www.haywest2021.net
MFGA Hay Relief Website
Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association has a hay relief page. See https://www.mfga.net/hay-relief
Manitoba Agriculture Resources for Producers Affected by Dry Conditions
Manitoba Agriculture’s Livestock page also has several tools and resources for dry conditions. It covers topics such as: early weaning of calves during periods of drought; the economics of creep feeding beef calves on pasture; stretching feed when supplies are tight; alternative feeds for beef cattle; straw as an alternative roughage source for wintering beef cows; and feed testing, among others.
Dry Conditions and Livestock
- Harvesting Annual Crops for Greenfeed or Silage
- Forages – Considerations & Planning for Dry Conditions on Pasture (Beef & Forage bulletin)
- Annual Forages for Greenfeed, Silage & Fall Grazing (Croptalk May 5, 2021)
- Annual Crops an Excellent Way to Increase Feeding Flexibility
- Managing Nitrate Contaminated Feeds
- Rotational Grazing
- Improving Forage Establishment
- Managing Spring Grazing
- Dugout Management and Water Quality
- Pasture Watering Systems
- Providing Water on Pasture
- Annual Crops an Excellent Way to Increase Feeding Flexibility
- Spring Grazing
- Planned Grazing – Video
- Planned Grazing – (Stocktalk, March 18, 2021)
- Managing your Pastures and Rangeland during Dry Conditions
- Summer Seeding For Forages (OMAFRA)
- Beware of toxic plants in pastures (Canadian Cattlemen. The Beef Magazine Dec 5, 2018)
Putting Crops to Alternate Use (MASC)
- The current hot and dry conditions are a major challenge for grain and cattle producers in Manitoba. One option is to convert annual crops to livestock feed. The AgriInsurance program provides flexibility for producers to put their crop to alternate use during the growing season. Alternate use means a change to the use of a crop from what was originally intended when planting in the spring. For example, if a producer indicated on their Seeded Acreage Report that they were growing oats for grain but choose to cut it for greenfeed instead, this would be considered alternate use. If producers are considering putting a crop to alternate use (i.e. silage, greenfeed, grazing) for their own use or someone else’s, contact an ARD and MASC Service Centre for more information.
- Alternative Crop Use Notice (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Farm management resources are available to help in determining the value of straw or a crop harvested as silage or greenfeed. Decision making tools can also assist livestock producers in weighing their options in managing a forage shortfall.
- Cost of Production guides are available for different grain and silage crops.
- The Straw Cost Calculator can help determine the NPK dollar value of the straw as a crop fertilizer.
- The Forage Purchase Calculator provides a method of comparing the pricing for baled forages and piled silage. This calculator takes into account different moistures and adding in the cost of freight to see what feed purchase is more economical after freight is factored in.
- The Managing Low Forage Supplies Calculator estimates the forage needed for the herd based on animal category and weight, and identifies the shortfall. It identifies 8 different potential rations to fill the shortfall on a least cost basis that help decide the economics of buying greenfeed compared to hay, straw, and other alternatives.
Contracts and Leases
The resources below provide a starting point for farmers as they develop agreements for use in their businesses. The samples are intended for general information purposes only. Please seek legal advice when entering into agreements.
- Cash Lease Agreement PDF (184 KB) or MS Word (127 KB)
- Crop Share Lease Agreement PDF (251 KB) or MS Word (132 KB)
- Cow-Calf Share Lease Agreement PDF (223 KB) or MS Word (119 KB)
- Custom Cattle Feeding Agreement PDF (208 KB) or MS Word (122 KB)
- Custom Pasture Agreement PDF (200 KB) or MS Word (114 KB)
- Flexible Cash Lease Agreement PDF (193 KB) or MS Word (135 KB)
- Pasture Cash Lease Agreement PDF (179 KB) or MS Word (130 KB)
BMP 503 and Water Source Development
Cost-shared funding is provided through the Managing Livestock Access to Riparian Areas beneficial management practice (BMP 503) under the Ag Action Manitoba Program with respect to water source development. Eligible items include:
• water source development – constructing new or rehabilitating existing wells or dugouts;
• solar, wind or grid-powered alternative watering systems;
• permanent fencing to restrict livestock access to surface water and dugouts; and
• permanent pipeline development.
Any projects for water source development occurring after April 1 are eligible. Projects will need to be assessed prior to approval, and may require additional components (e.g. fencing of the dugout, alternative watering systems, etc.) in order to meet the BMP criteria.
Applications will be accepted until December 10, 2021. Applications can include retroactive expenses incurred as of April 1. Upon project completion, applicants must submit proof of a valid Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) with their claim (see www.ManitobaEFP.ca for more info).
For more information on how to apply for cost-shared funding related to BMP 503 go to:
Groundwater Conditions for a Potential Well: Livestock producers can contact the Water Branch for information and advice on their current well and what the expectations might be if constructing a new well to supply their pasture. Email your contact information and the legal land location of the planned well to Expected Groundwater Conditions. Feedback provided may include aquifer depths, potential pumping rate range, and if available the water quality in the area. A listing of Licensed Well Drilling Contractors is also available.
Private Water System Bacteriological Subsidy Program
The Province of Manitoba offers private water system owners a once-a year subsidy for bacteria (total coliform and E. coli) analysis of their drinking water through Horizon Lab. If the first sample result indicates the presence of bacteria, homeowners will receive a coupon from the lab for one resample free of charge.
Effective April 1st, 2021, the total price to homeowners for the once-a year subsidized sample is $22.31 (tax included). For information regarding sample bottle pick up, sample submission requirements, and payment options, please contact Horizon Lab directly.
Horizon Lab LTD
4055 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3K 2E8
Provincial water well fact sheets and educational videos on well testing, well disinfection, and how to reduce well water contamination are available at https://www.manitoba.ca/sd/water/drinking-water/ . If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of Drinking Water: 204-945-5762.
Beef Cattle Research Council Resources Related to Drought Management
Recurring drought is a natural part of the climate in many areas of Canada and creates a challenge when managing grazing and forage resources. Although droughts are often unpredictable, they are inevitable, meaning they are often at the back of every producer’s mind. Long-term farm and ranch management must include planning for and consideration of how drought will affect the entire system – including plants, livestock and water sources.
Eight tips for drought management:
- When managing through a drought, consider combining groups of animals to encourage grazing of less desirable plants and grazing pastures with species that are more tolerant of increased grazing pressure. It is important to monitor for toxic or poisonous plants, which are more likely to be grazed during dry years.
- Sources of water for grazing animals can quickly become limited or unavailable during drought periods. It is recommended that any pastures that could possibly run out of water be grazed first. In some cases, it may become necessary to use a portable stock water supply in order to continue grazing a forage source where water has become limited.
- Producers should consider pumping water from the source to a trough to help extend water supplies, maintain water quality and prevent cattle from getting stuck in watering sites that are drying up.
- Stock water quality can deteriorate rapidly. Even if water quantity appears adequate, poor water quality can quickly cause health and production problems and even death. Test stock water sources frequently when animals are grazing.
- Extended rest periods and increased recovery times are necessary to protect plants during dry periods.
- Consider planting annual crops, supplementing pastures with alternate feeds, or creep feeding, to help extend grazing resources. Feed testing is an important consideration during dry conditions.
- Drought management strategies should be a permanent part of every grazing plan. The benefits of rotational grazing and managing pastures to retain litter (plant residue) are especially evident during drought.
- Drought plans should identify the order of groups or classes of livestock to be de-stocked, if necessary, and at what point each group will be moved if the drought persists.
The following are some current drought management resources available for beef producers.
- Drought Management Strategies (Beef Cattle Research Council web page)
- Drought Management Strategies (Beef Cattle Research Council blog post)
- Dealing with Drought: Key Facts for Beef Producers (Beef Cattle Research Council factsheet)
- Canadian Drought Monitor (Government of Canada web page)
- Conserving Pasture Production During Dry Conditions (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs web page)
- Fall Pasture Fertility Management After A Dry Summer (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs article)
- What’s In Your Water? Water Quality and the Economics of Pump Systems (Beef Cattle Research Council webinar recording)
- Alternative Feeds (Beef Cattle Research Council web page)
- Managing Forage in a Dry Year (Canadian Cattlemen Magazine article)
- Feed Testing & Analysis for Beef Cattle (Beef Cattle Research Council web page)
- How to Manage for Drought with Grazing (Foothills Forage and Grazing Association video)
- Stretching Feed Supplies (Beef Cattle Research Council blog post)
- Is Creep Feeding an Answer to Your Pasture Woes? (Beef Cattle Research Council blog post)
Livestock Tax Deferral Provision
(Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Information) The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding in prescribed drought or flood regions to defer a portion of sale proceeds to the following year. The initial list of prescribed regions in relation to the 2021 drought has been announced, including 102 of these in Manitoba. See the complete list at:
How the provision works
To defer income, the breeding herd must have been reduced by at least 15%.
- Where the breeding herd has been reduced by at least 15%, but less than 30%, 30% of income from net sales can be deferred.
- Where the breeding herd has been reduced by 30% or more, 90% of income from net sales can be deferred.
In a year in which a region has been prescribed, income from livestock sales are deferred to the next tax year when the income may be at least partially offset by the cost of reacquiring breeding animals, thus reducing the potential tax burden. In the case of consecutive years of drought or excess moisture and flood conditions, producers may defer sales income to the first year in which the region is no longer prescribed.
For questions related to calculating and/or reporting income deferral for Prescribed Drought/Flood Regions for income tax purposes, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or consult the CRA publication T4002 Self-employed Business, Professional, Commission, Farming, and Fishing Income, Chapter 2 Income. The Livestock Tax Deferral information is detailed in Line 9470 – Livestock and animal products revenue.
Manitoba Agriculture Crop Reports
The Crop Report provides information on progress of seeding and crop establishment, crop development, any pest activity including weeds, insects and disease, harvest progress, crop yields and grades, fall field work progress, and status of winter cereal crop seeding and establishment. In addition, it provides information on haying progress and estimated yields, as well as pasture conditions. Go to:
Manitoba Drought Monitor
The Manitoba Drought Monitor highlights the various drought management efforts currently underway in Manitoba. This includes monthly Water Availability and Drought Conditions Reports that use drought indicators to classify the level of dryness and to summarize any drought impacts that are occurring.
Canadian Drought Monitor
The Canadian Drought Monitor (CDM) is Canada’s official source for the monitoring and reporting of drought in Canada. From this page you can access a variety of products and information about current drought conditions across the country. See: https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agriculture-and-the-environment/drought-watch/canadian-drought-monitor/?id=1463575104513
Agroclimate Impact Reporter Program
The Agroclimate Impact Reporter (AIR) helps to connect Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) with people in Canada’s agricultural community. AAFC relies on its network of AIR volunteers to provide information regarding agroclimate impacts across the country, such as the effects of dry conditions/droughts on production. Manitoba Beef Producers notes that cattle producer input to this network is important.
The AIR network provides valuable and reliable data that are mapped and used in the assessment and development of policies and programs including AgriRecovery and the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision, which can provide assistance to the industry during extreme weather and climate conditions and events.
The AIR survey is open during the last week of the month over the growing season (April to October) and is intended to collect weather and climate impacts on farm operations across Canada over the previous month. Survey results are made into maps and published on the Drought Watch website the first week of every month during the growing season.
Mental Health Resources
For information about the Manitoba Farm and Rural Support Services line go to: https://supportline.ca/ or call 1-866-367-3276 (line operates 24/7).
Klinic Community Health has resources available. See: https://klinic.mb.ca/
FCC also provides resources at the following site: https://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/community/wellness.html
WILDFIRE INFORMATION FOR PRODUCERS
Due to the dry conditions, parts of Manitoba have been affected by wildfires. The following is information that may be useful to producers affected by these conditions, or those preparing for the possibility of a wildfire.
Protecting livestock and crops
Source: Manitoba Wildfire Evacuation Guidelines
- Owners should have an evacuation plan for livestock threatened by fire. If animals can’t be moved to a safe area on your property, make and confirm transportation and feeding arrangements in advance. Obtain insurance coverage for all farm resources at risk from fire, including crops and livestock.
- The risk to farm animals can be reduced by preparing and maintaining fuel-reduced areas. Livestock can be moved and held there during a fire. Use a plowed or heavily grazed field with a minimum of grass or stubble. If possible, this field should be shaded and located well away from any forested areas. Water should be available.
- Concrete or metal buildings located away from forest vegetation are another livestock shelter option.
- As a last resort, if you are unable to move livestock to a safer area, cut fences and turn the animals loose, as long as there is no danger to people or traffic.
For more information about preparing for a wildfire, go to: https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/fire/Prevention/Wildfire%20Evacuation%20Brochure%202011.pdf
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development also has information about evacuating livestock. See: https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/emergency-preparedness/caring-for-livestock-during-an-evacuation.html
Emergency Planning Kit
SafeWork Manitoba has a 7-Step Safety and Health Emergency Planning Kit which contains information about how to prepare for different types of emergencies on the farm or ranch. It includes forms such as: a farm critical information sheet; family members/workers emergency contact information sheet; emergency contact sheets; and, a sample farm site map(s), among other tools for scenario planning. See: http://www.ecolog.com/daily_images/1002957109-1002962408.pdf
Manitoba’s Wildfire Service
Manitoba Conservation and Climate Wildfire Service is responsible for the prevention, detection and suppression of wildfires.
To report a Wildfire call 1-800-782-0076 (toll-free).
The Wildfire Service’s website includes valuable information such as:
- Fire & Travel Restrictions
- Daily Situation Report
- Current Fire Update Report
- Interactive Map of Current Wildfires
- Fire Danger Map
Other Useful Links
Current municipal burning restrictions
Provincial fire and travel restrictions
Government and Other Agency Contact Information
Manitoba Government Inquiry
1-866-626-4862 (toll free)
Manitoba Hydro Emergency Information
Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization – EMO
Disaster Financial Assistance – EMO
1-888-267-8298 (toll free)
FLOOD INFORMATION FOR PRODUCERS
In a flood situation, it is important for producers to keep detailed records on all additional flood-related expenses.
Producers should document changes to their operation, damage to property and other losses.
Producers are encouraged to take photos of floodwater and the impacts and to keep all receipts and records on hand. Retaining these records and photos is important.
Producers who need to transport livestock to an alternate area are encouraged to book a transport company immediately to ensure service.
Manitoba Beef Producers participated in the Animal Health Emergency Management Project which saw the development of a number of resources to help producers in various sectors prepare for a potential emergency, with a focus on an animal-disease outbreak. For more information on the producer handbook, visit: https://animalhealth.ca/ahem/resources/
Stay up to date on upcoming events, district events, and our Annual General Meeting by visiting the Events page here.
Livestock Predation Pilot Project
Predation is a significant concern for livestock producers in Manitoba, and for some, predators such as coyotes, wolves, or black bears can cause devastating financial losses. In 2020, a three-year, industry-led Livestock Predation Prevention Pilot Project was launched with the aim of reducing wildlife predation of cattle and sheep in Manitoba.
The multi disciplinary committee responsible for planning and delivery of the project, has representation from Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (MARD), Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, commodity groups including Manitoba Beef Producers and the Manitoba Sheep Association, as well as the Manitoba Trapper’s Association.
The project will help producers most affected by predation to develop individual risk management plans, while also supporting broader industry-wide efforts to test a variety of risk management approaches and share knowledge and best practices to reduce losses.
The working group has identified a group of Risk Mitigation Practices (RMPs) which will be analyzed to determine their effectiveness in reducing the potential for negative interactions between livestock and producers. A RMP is something a producer can do to lessen the likelihood of a predator attack. The RMPs being tested aim to reduce predators’ access to possible food sources to scavenge, as well as to reduce their ability to access areas with cattle and sheep present, and over all deter interactions with them.
For information contact Raymond Bittner, Livestock Predation Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-768-0010.
The RMPs include:
Codes of Practice & Assurance Programs
Follow the link below to learn about compliance-related topics like the Beef Cattle Code of Practice, Verified Beef Production Plus, producer and industry benefits, research and biosecurity.
There are various tools and risk management practices that beef producers can apply to keep livestock healthy.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), along with consultation from provincial beef organizations and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), developed a biosecurity standard which outlines the general practices and guidelines to implement biosecurity to control and reduce the risk and impacts of diseases in herds.
The beef biosecurity standard is voluntary, cost effective, and designed for on-farm application in operations of all types and sizes across Canada. The basics of the biosecurity standard are found in the producer guidebook developed by Manitoba Beef Producers.
If any producers are interested in biosecurity signage for their land, or for land they rent or lease such as Crown lands, MBP has created a template that producers can print off themselves or send to a sign company to have signs created. Please click the link below for the template and then save the PDF file.
From time to time MBP hosts free workshops of interest to beef producers. Due to the ongoing restrictions regarding in-person gatherings and group size limits brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, MBP will deliver these workshops in a virtual setting. Stay tuned to the Events page on our website for upcoming dates and topics.
Manitoba Beef Producers is pleased to make available six $500 scholarships annually for MBP members or their children attending a university, college, other post-secondary institution or pursuing trades training. Preference will be given to those students pursuing a field of study related to agriculture or to those acquiring a skilled trade or pursuing a career that would be beneficial to the rural economy.
Information on the 2022 scholarship application process will be available later this year. Please be sure to follow MBP’s social media channels for upcoming deadlines.
The scholarship eligibility criteria is as follows:
• Must be at least 17 years of age as of January 1, 2022.
• Must be an active Manitoba beef producer or the child of an active Manitoba beef producer. Note: This can include beef producers returning to school after a period of time in the workforce.
• Post-secondary program or trades training must be a minimum of one year in duration.
Items You Are Required to Submit:
• Completed application form;
• A typed 600-word (maximum) essay discussing “What the beef industry means to my family, my community and Manitoba.” Also include the reasons you enjoy being involved in agriculture.*;
• A copy of your transcript (either high school, or a recognized college, university or trade school);
• Proof of enrolment in a recognized institution (current transcript, or your acceptance letter, or a letter of intent indicating your intended institution and field of study).
• A list of community involvement (e.g. 4-H, community clubs, volunteer work, etc.); and,
• The names of two references, including their addresses and telephone numbers.
For more information, please contact Manitoba Beef Producers at 1-800-772-0458 or email email@example.com.
*The 2020 scholarship winners’ essays are available in the February 2021 issue of Cattle Country. The 2021 recipients will have their essays published in Cattle Country in February 2022.
Manitoba Beef Producers’ Report to Members features a look at the issues affecting beef producers’ operations, details on MBP committees and the work they are doing, and reports from MBP’s national organizations.
Much of Manitoba Beef Producers’ work involves providing feedback on government policies, as well as proposed legislative and regulatory changes that could affect our beef industry.
MBP provides input on a broad range of issues including: the environment, animal care, business risk management programs, land and water management, disaster financial assistance, workplace safety and health, trade, competitiveness, and many, many more.
As well, MBP develops policies and conducts advocacy work based on the resolutions coming from members at our district meetings and debated at our Annual General Meeting. View a list of resolutions passed at the most recent MBP AGM on the Resolutions page.
Stay Involved. Get Active!
MBP encourages all beef producers and stakeholders to stay involved and provide feedback on issues that are important to the beef industry.