Cows and their calves will have to wait
Usually on this date, the cow-calf herds are preparing to take their animals out to pasture, when it is not already done. This year, the pastures are just not ready. It doesn’t grow. And that is when the fields have not been destroyed by the frost.
At the Dubuc et Frères de Sainte-Eulalie cattle farm in Center-du-Québec, about a third of the meadows and pastures were heavily damaged by winter frost. Producer Gilbert Dubuc, who runs the business with his brothers Guy and Ghislain, says there were 10 to 12 warm spells last winter, some with rain spells.
The damage was such that they rented a seed drill for overseeding on the prairie. They used it on 75 acres (30 hectares) and 12 bags of seed. On a 12-acre (5-hectare) meadow, they sowed raygrass, an annual to have volume this year.
See the state of its fields
According to Bovi-Expert Jocelyn Jacob, who works in Center-du-Québec and Mauricie, the crop condition is very variable this year. “Some have experienced significant freezes, as with the Dubuc,” he says. For others, it is normal. ”
The normal word means that the fodder plants have survived, but Jocelyn Jacob adds that these fields have a significant delay of about ten days.
“The message to get across is to go around your pastures and do something if necessary,” he says. We are back to reseeding, but we can no longer do a vasage (semi on frozen ground) on this date. ”
When the producers release their animals, Jocelyn Jacob recommends being careful not to overgrip. Rotation between plots is therefore essential.
“It didn’t start off to be the best year,” says Jocelyn Jacob.
Center-du-Québec is not the only region affected. The Bovi-Expert Bernard Doré who works in southwestern Quebec, in the Laurentians and in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, notes the same problem.
“I went to visit a dozen Hautes-Laurentides clients and it is very cold in the morning,” he says. The grass does not stop growing. They will not release their animals until the end of May. The same goes for Lac-Saint-Jean where there is no heat and no sun. In the north of the Lake, there was even snow in some places last week.
In Montérégie, in Huntingdon, there was a lot of frost in the fields. There are producers who fear running out of fodder this year. “It’s off to a bad start,” says Bernard Doré.
Bernard Doré recommends paying attention to the bearing capacity of the pastures. “If it’s soft, there’s a risk of it breaking,” he says.