Category Archives: Timothy Hay

For dairy farmers and race horse owners, the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies are famous for their Hay Production. The region boasts Timothy hay of acclaim the world over.

Reducing Risk of Fire on Your Farm & Ranch

Reducing Risk of Fire on Your Farm & Ranch

Part 2 – Reducing Risk of Fire on Farm & Ranch

As we discussed in Part 1 of Farm, Ranch & Fire, an agricultural fire tends to be more costly than other industrial fires.  Not only is property and equipment affected, so too are crops and livestock – the combination is a double whammy which increases the commercial value of the loss.

Clearly all the safety precautions in the world won’t help if a wildfire has advanced to the point that evacuation of your farm or ranch is necessary, nonetheless whatever fire prevention precautions can be taken should be.  In Part 1 of this article we looked at some simple steps every farm or ranch can take with a mind to fire prevention.  Now we will take a closer look at ways to reduce the risk of fire to your farm or ranch.

Fire Prevention Measures

Forest Fire.  No one ever wants to have to use it, but it is a good idea to develop an evacuation plan (bearing in mind livestock) and incorporate drills into your staff training and education.

Noncombustible Zones.  Keep dry and flammable vegetation at least 5 feet away from barns, outbuildings and residences.  Establish a noncombustible zone around fuel, chemicals, hay and equipment. Welders/ and cutting torches should only be used in clean areas well away from flammable materials (at least 35 feet). Keep roofs and eaves troughs free of combustible debris.  Maintain appropriate fire guards around crops and pastures.

Equipment.  Replace belts, bearings and electrical components in a timely manner.  Keep engine compartments clean.  Be sure mufflers and manifolds are in proper working order.  Follow maintenance schedules for machinery.  Machinery or vehicles with special hazards should be stored separately. Fire extinguishers should be on tractors, combines and other farm and ranch vehicles.

Buildings.  Be sure to include updating buildings with fire resistant materials (and sprinklers) in your budget and short and long-term planning.  To prevent the spread of fire, construct new buildings away from preexisting ones.  Keep vegetation cut around and between buildings.  Use fire doors and smoke detectors.

Electrical.  Be sure staff and family know how to disconnect main power.  Extension cords are not designed to be permanent wiring solutions.  When you need to use them for a temporary purpose, be sure they are rated appropriately for the task.  Keep an eye out for exposed wiring or frayed insulation around wiring.  Better safe than sorry.  Bring in a licensed contractor for advice, inspections, renovations and new construction.

Heating Sources.  Use dust and moisture resistant covers on lights.  Tank heater cords and heat tapes should be protected against damage by pests or livestock.  Use heaters with tip-over protection and be sure they are not placed in high traffic areas or where combustibles and flammables are stored.  Dispose of oily rags in a timely manner.  Cure hay to the proper moisture content before bailing.

Controlled Burns.  The Government of Saskatchewan has a great little article online entitled “FireSmart: Farm and Ranch Practices”.  The article has some excellent tips about controlled burns, as well as fire prevention in general for farmers and ranchers.

Farming and ranching may feel a bit like gambling sometimes.  There are many variables at play which can affect the prosperity of an operation from year to year – don’t let careless fire prevention be one of them.  Be vigilant, establish a culture of safety on your farm or ranch.

Barr-Ag

 

Contact Barr Ag to get more information on any of our crops including Alfalfa, Timothy, Mixed Hay, Canadian Grains and Pulse crops.

References:
The Government of Saskatchewan; Wildfire Education and Prevention; FireSmart: Farm and Ranch Practices
http://www.environment.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=2116f4ac-765b-4e14-9486-4eb96e9b5e10

Farm Ranch Fire Prevention

Farm, Ranch & Fire Prevention

Part 1 – Simple Steps for Fire Prevention

In terms of forest fires, the summer of 2016 was tough for those living in northern Alberta. “The fire spread across approximately 590,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) before it was declared to be under control on July 5, 2016.” [1]

While damages to Fort McMurray itself, work camps and surrounding boreal forest were extensive, losses in terms of agriculture were not substantial as the areas affected were not primarily agricultural in purpose.  However, the fires in Southern and Central Alberta in the summer of 2017, have had an impact on both farming and ranching. Extremely dry conditions set the stage for the commencement and growth of fires in several areas across Southern and Central Alberta – both prime agricultural regions.

Farming and ranching aren’t without their dangers – even under the best of environmental conditions, but in a dry year it is important to keep vigilant.  Agricultural fires tend to be more costly than other industrial fires because not only is property and equipment affected, so too are crops and livestock – the combination increases the commercial value.

While there is not much that can be done about Mother Nature, we can at least be sure that we take measures to reduce the risk of fire on farm and ranch.

Fire Prevention Measures:

No Smoking.  One of the most preventable causes of fires is the haphazard extinguishing or “flicking” of cigarette butts. Provide safe and dedicated receptacles for butts at designated areas.  Be sure staff, seasonal workers and family are aware that using them is non-negotiable and smoking bans apply everywhere else – around combustible materials, in barns etc. Post “No Smoking” signs.

Remove.  Familiarity can minimize our ability to observe the obvious.  Be on the look-out for potential fire hazards and remove them whenever possible.  If a particular hazard can’t be removed, take necessary steps to mitigate fire risk associated with it.

farm fire prevention

Rooftop Fire Prevention Sprinklers

Education.  Teach staff, seasonal employees and family members to be safety conscious and mindful of fire risk.  Be sure everyone knows where the fire extinguishers are.  Conduct fire drills which include various scenarios.  Come up with a plan of action in the event of a fire and be sure staff and family know what to do.

Equipment. Be sure fire extinguishers, fire and smoke alarms are in proper working order.  Some operations my require the installation of warning systems or water sprinklers in barns or processing facilities.

Safety First.  Employ safe housekeeping practices.  Be intentional so that it will be a habit during busy harvest and planting season.  Put tools, supplies and equipment away properly. Maintain aisles, walkways, entrances and exits free of clutter and obstructions.  Inspect mechanized equipment on a regular basis to ensure things are in proper working order.

The Fire Department.  Maintain a good relationship with your local fire department – in the event of an incident you will be glad that you did.  Try to ensure adequate water supply is available.  Keep an updated list of hazardous materials that are stored on your property.

Fire is just one of the factors that can threaten the productivity and prosperity of a farm, but it is a threat that we have some measure of control over.  Part 2 of Farm, Ranch & Fire will look at other practices and strategies that can be employed to further fire prevention management on farm and ranch.

 

Barr-Ag

 

Contact Barr Ag to get more information on any of our crops including Alfalfa, Timothy, Mixed Hay, Canadian Grains and Pulse crops.

 

References:

[1] 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire 

Forage Trends North America 2016

Forage Trends North America 2016

Canadian alfalfa hay has continued its upward movement for the first quarter of 2016 as we continue to monitor forage trends across North America. Improved demand on a world-wide basis results from a larger demand and smaller supply globally of natural forage. This is an excellent indication of an ongoing upward movement for the year. A lot of this can be attributed to the global market which has a strong bias against GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) crops and Canadian alfalfa hay is completely natural.

Increased Production of GMO Crops

A big issue again this year is GMO crops. There are already test plots in Ontario and Quebec, alfalfa hayand there is a real fear that these will cross pollinate and ruin the natural alfalfa crop which could end up being a disaster of biblical proportion. The United States already has an issue with GMO crops, and China along with other countries, has issued a total ban on the importation of GMO crops. So far, Canada has stayed away from GMO crops, but there appears to be some bleed-over from the border which, if not corralled, will become an issue. Alberta, in particular, is already having a problem with contaminated seed.

 

Increase of Alfalfa Growth

Canada currently has about 32 million acres in forage crops, most of those in the west. Of these millions of acres, only about 25,000 are growing alfalfa seed. However, that’s changing rapidly due to the lack of seed acreage in the United States. Natural alfalfa seed acreage has risen substantially in the last few years and that trend is estimated only to continue. Until GMO crops are better researched and more is understood about their effect on humans, animals, nature, and the environment, natural seed production will only continue to grow.

Corn Silage Growth

If alfalfa is queen of the forage crops, corn silage is king. Corn silage has shown considerable growth in the last few years and it looks to be continuing. This can be attributed to higher yield and continued growth into late harvest which raises the starch content.

In conclusion, Canadian alfalfa hay looks to be fairly strong this year partially due to the GMO issue. Until further research is conducted on the effects that GMO crops have on humans, animals, and the environment, the increase of alfalfa crop production will only continue.

Barr-Ag

 

Contact Barr Ag to get more information on any of our crops including Alfalfa, Timothy, Mixed Hay, Canadian Grains and Pulse crops.

Canadian Timothy Hay

Canadian Timothy Hay

Canada’s forage industry is booming as Asian markets continue to provide strong demand for one of the most commonly-grown forage grasses in Canada, timothy hay. Timothy is perfectly suited for growing in cooler, more temperate climates like that of the Alberta province. As far as forage grasses go, timothy hay is one of the more palatable options and preferred by most livestock.

Barr-Ag grows timothy hay in the cool and clean environment of the Canadian Rockies. Timothy Hay Barr-AgThe area near the eastern slopes where Barr-Ag grows its timothy is known for producing the sweetest timothy hay anywhere on the planet. It is thought that this is the result of the outstanding growing environment created by the perfect altitude and seasonal changes for timothy hay.

Timothy is a perennial bunchgrass that is well-adapted to climates like those found in Western Canada. The fertile farmland there is paired with long daylight hours and plentiful sun; because of the exceptional environment for the growing season, Barr-Ag is able to grow and produce timothy hay of unsurpassed quality. This is very important as increased incomes and better standards of living in many areas of the Middle East and Asia are resulting in higher demands for animal-based protein and dairy. The rapidly-expanding dairy and beef industries in Asian countries rely on Canadian timothy hay due to limited land area for growing forage in their own countries. In fact, Canadian timothy hay exports are growing nearly exponentially and currently account for more than $100 million in trade on a yearly basis.

Barr-Ag produces dry-land timothy hay that is harvested once every season, and irrigated timothy that can be harvested twice every season. Nearly all hay produced by Barr-Ag comes from their farms, with the balance coming from trusted producers. Additional hay is procured only from producers who have been carefully vetted to ensure their adherence to Barr-Ag’s strict growing protocols and standards of quality control.

Barr-Ag makes shipping easy through thorough accommodation of customer needs. All shipping and customs documents are prepared for buyers to help ensure that every delivery goes smoothly. Shipments to other continents, as well as those heading into the US, are treated with the utmost care and are routed through various ports to keep shipping time to a minimum. Various shipping options are offered by Barr-Ag, including cost and freight (CNF) and freight on board (FOB); container yard (CY) shipping is also available.

Contact Barr Ag to get more information on any or our crops including Alfalfa, Timothy, Mixed Hay, Canadian Grains and Pulse crops.

Learning About Canadian Forage

Cutting canadian forage

Canadian forage has a good reputation

Canada is the premier supplier of hay, straw and other forage domestically and internationally. According to the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, Canada exports approximately 600,000 tonnes of forage annually. This Canadian growth forage is valued at about $150 million and is shipped primarily to the Asia and the United States. Recently, markets for Canadian forage have started to emerge in parts of Mexico and the Middle East.

The Canadian Prairies have developed a good reputation for producing high quality forage such as Timothy and Alfalfa hay. Clean air, long warm days, cool nights and soil rich in calcium and magnesium all contribute to ideal growing conditions.

In an article published in Country Guide, Glenn Friesen of Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development commented that these growing conditions are conducive to producing forages that increase animal performance.

High Quality Forage Dairy CowsFeeding your cattle high quality forage is essential for weight gain, producing higher levels of milk, and increasing reproduction success. In the end, all of these things add up to increasing profits for the cattle producer. For Canadian forage producers, this means keeping domestic and international customers happy.

Learning About Canadian Forage

Forages are plants used to feed livestock and can include Alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, pasture and browse plants, cereals and straw. In Canada, forages are the basis of our livestock industry. They also help conserve the rich soil as they add nitrogen to the soil and crop rotations improve the overall soil structure.

Alfalfa-HayAlfalfa hay is considered the one of the best quality forages available in the market and it is the most widely grown in Canada. Farmers from Asia and the United States purchase Canadian alfalfa for their dairy cattle and horses. It will grow under most conditions, can be adapted to many different climatic regions and does especially well in Western Canada.

The quality of the forage is dependent on the following factors:

  • Management of the soil
  • Nutrient composition
  • Seeding rates
  • Timing of cutting, raking and baling
  • Storage of the forage

Young forage is higher in protein and energy that older flowering forage, which is why cutting it at the right time is crucial to its quality.

Purchasing Canadian Forage

Barr-Ag Hay & Grain Exporters are positioned near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, a location that provides a pristine environment for growing quality hay and other forages.  Among our most sought after products are Timothy hay, alfalfa hay, mixed hay, oaten hay, sweet hay, as well as various straws and our Canadian Grain Exports.

Unlike crops grown in countries with longer growing seasons and milder climates, our harsh Canadian winters help us to raise our hay crops using more natural methods. There is little to no need for pesticides and herbicides because prolonged cold weather acts as a natural pesticide and herbicide.

Because of the shorter growing season we get 1 or 2 cuttings in a season thereby giving the land ample time to rest and rejuvenate without excessive use of fertilizers. The availability of high quality hay, forage and grain, as well as Barr-Ag’s crop production methods are two reasons our customers have sought us out and helped make us Canada’s leading exporter of hay and forage.

To purchase Canadian forage contact Barr-Ag today!

Sources: http://www.country-guide.ca/2014/03/25/putting-prairie-forages-on-americas-stage/43638/

http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/statistics-and-market-information/by-product-sector/crops/pulses-and-special-crops-canadian-industry/forage/?id=1174594338500

Timothy Hay: Processing and Export

Timothy hay grows extremely well in Western Canada’s growing conditions. The clean air, rich soil and cooperative climate all contribute to the production of some of the most palatable hay in the world. Since this Timothy hay is grown at higher altitudes, with long warm summer days and cool nights during the growing season, it matures with an increased sugar content and makes excellent forage for livestock.

Canadian Timothy hay and other forages are in demand in Japan and other countries along the Pacific Rim. It is used as forage for beef and dairy cattle, as well as in the horse industry in certain parts of Asia. It’s a nutritious source of fibre, encourages growth and is beneficial to livestock producers who do not have the land or the means to grow it locally. As a result, the export market for Canadian hay has expanded rapidly.

Canadian hay growers see hay processors and exporters like Barr-Ag as their consumer. They will sell their crops to a local exporter, where the Timothy hay is compressed and processed for shipment. The true customer is the export market. Canadian hay growers who want access to the export market should contact a hay processor to learn about market demands, specific standards for raw material and the preference of the international customer. .

Product quality is incredibly important when trying to sell your crops to a hay processor and exporter. Shipping products like Timothy hay such large distances is very expensive. In order to ensure the needs and expectations of the international customer are met, a hay processor must hold a high standard for the hay it chooses to purchase, process and export.

In regards to Timothy hay, the end-user is looking for long, course stems with long heads. The stems should be green, leafy and have a minimum of brown leaves. It should be free of mold, weeds, or other plant species and contaminants. It must have a low moisture content to ensure mold and moisture damage doesn’t occur during transport or storage.

Processing the crop into compressed bales can reduce shipping costs. Timothy hay can be compressed or even double compressed to better fit into transportation containers. They are usually transported by truck to a container yard, then picked up by rail and moved to a Canadian port. If the hay is going to Asia it will be moved to a port in Vancouver, shipments going to Europe travel to Montreal, and shipments going to the United States are transported via Chicago and/or Fort Lauderdale. From these ports they’re loaded on ocean container ships and sent to overseas markets.

 

In order to ship Timothy hay to international markets the hay exporter must obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate. This is the official document issued by the plant protection organization of the exporting country to the plant protection organization of the importing country. It makes sure the product has been inspected, free of quarantine pests, and cleared according to specific regulations of the country receiving the shipment.

Some markets do not hold as strict standards as Japan. If the baled Timothy hay does not meet Japanese requirements it can be sold to residual markets such as Korea or Taiwan. A hay processor can also market single-compressed hay in the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and Middle East as they each have different requirements and may accept a variety of Canadian hay products.

For more information on selling your Canadian grown Timothy hay, contact Barr-Ag.  If you’re interested in importing Canadian forage, click on the image and fill our the request form.

hay

Timothy Seed

Canadian Timothy Hay

Timothy seed is most produced in Western Canada, specifically Alberta and Manitoba.  Although much of the product is used throughout North America, some varieties are grown and shipped to international markets.  Timothy hay readily produces the seed and it can be harvested for seed as well as for forage.

The price of timothy seed is affected by the supply of seed producers in western Canada and the market demand.  International demand for Canadian timothy seed comes mostly from the USA and European countries.  Seed prices are also affected by the yield of timothy hay produced and sold for forage.  In years where overall hay production for forage was low due to weather conditions or other factors, the fields can still be harvested for the seed.

Timothy Seed in the Marketplace

Growers of Canadian timothy hay and seed have several options for marketing their crops.  Canadian growers can choose to sell into the cash market or grow under contract from an international buyer.  Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development mentions two options for contracting timothy seed: forward priced or production contracts.

Forward pricing is when the grower is contracted to grow and deliver a certain amount and grade of seed at a specific date.  Depending on the contract, the seller could pay the shipping and handling costs.  Then the seed company will pay a certain price depending on the quality and grade of timothy seed.

A production contract is signed between a grower and seed company when the grower agrees to produce a specific variety of seed from a certain growing area.  A specific price is set, but if the seed does not meet the quality as outlined in the contract upon delivery the price to the grower can be reduced.  Most production contracts are for certified production.  That means that a field inspection is completed and the timothy seed is registered and certified.  One benefit to Canadian growers entering into a production contract is that they are guaranteed a minimum price for their crop, offering a small amount of protection in a sometimes unpredictable marketplace.

Varieties of Timothy Seed

There are many varieties of timothy seed on the marketplace.  The most common variety grown by Canadian producers is Climax, which was developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Varieties that are more commonly exported to Europe are usually grown under production contract with seed companies.

Here is a list of available timothy seed varieties grown in Western Canada:  Alma, Basho, Bottnia II, Bounty, Champ, Climax, Comtal, Hokuo, Itasca, Rasant, Richmond, Tiiti, Tiller, and Timfor.

Important Factors for Growing Timothy Seed

Field selection is very important and must meet a number of requirements.  The field must be a certain distant from other fields growing different timothy varieties and that are free of perennial weeds.  Timothy hay is tolerant to flooding so it will actually grow well in a poorly drained field.  It’s also important to know the history of herbicides previously used on the field and if any remaining residues will affect the crop.

Timothy is a small seed and must be planted shallow into a firm seedbed at about two pounds of seed per acre.

Establishing stand, row spacing, and fertility will help growers decide on in-crop herbicides and pesticides.  Timothy hay is a very sensitive crop and herbicide selection must be done considering the weeds present, the amount of stress the crop is already under, stage of the timothy and rotation of herbicides.

Fortunately, well established timothy stands are not affected by insect pests.  Newer stands might could see grasshoppers, wireworm or cutworms most likely because these pests were already in the field when it was planted.  Keeping a close eye on moisture levels will help the new crop tolerate damage created by feeding insects.

 

Sources: 

http://www.brettyoung.ca/images/file/BY_Seed%20Prod%20Guide.pdf

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex8696?opendocument

http://seedgrowers.ca/seed-growers/regulations/

Timothy Hay Exports to Japan

Timothy hay grows extremely well under Canadian growing conditions and is in high demand for export to Japan and other parts of Asia along the Pacific Rim.  As a palatable and nutritious source of fibre for livestock, the export market for Canadian grown Timothy hay has expanded in Western Canada.  Producers like Barr-Ag are working hard to grow and export compressed Timothy hay to the international marketplace.

Timothy Hay Barr-Ag

Exporting Timothy Hay to Japan

Japan is the world’s largest importer of livestock feed, making it Canada’s largest market for baled Timothy hay and other forage products.  Japan imports over 30 million tonnes of compound forages and other feed ingredients each year.  More than three million tonnes of that total are forages and around two million tonnes for those forages are baled long-fibred feeds like Timothy hay.

Timothy hay is actually native to Japan’s Hokaido region and is largely used for dairy and beef cattle forage.  The Hokaido region is also a major dairy-producing region.  Japan imports baled Timothy hay to supplement and replace their locally grown forage for their dairy and beef cattle, as well as horses.  In fact, Japan is Canada’s main Timothy Hay export market (80% of exports).

Market Access for Timothy Hay

Canadian growers of Timothy hay usually sell or contract their hay to a processor, who then prepares it for international export.  Barr-Ag is a grower and an exporter, growing Timothy hay for export as well as buying locally grown forage from other producers and processing it for export.

The cost of transporting Timothy hay to distant markets is high.  This drives the demand for high quality forages since shipping low quality products at high freight rates is uneconomical.  High quality Timothy hay will be green with minimal brown leaves, have long, leafy stems and heads.  The product will be free of mold, weeds, soil, and other plant species.  Quality of Timothy hay is also determined by its moisture content.  Low moisture eliminates the chance of mold and damage during transport to hot, humid climates.

Buyers rely on subjective evaluations of visual appearance, colour and smell as the market does not set protein or fibre standards.  Canada has successfully negotiated a visual inspection protocol with Japan, allowing shipments of baled Timothy hay to be inspected by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspector or an inspector designated by CFIA.  After inspection, if the baled forage is free from any prohibited material, a Phytosanitary certificate is issued allowing the shipment access to Japan.

“A Phytosanitary Certificate is an official document issued by the plant protection organization of the exporting country to the plant protection organization of the importing country.  It certifies that the plants or plant products covered by the certificate have been inspected according to appropriate procedures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests and practically free from other injurious pests, and that they are considered to conform with the current phytosanitary regulations of the importing country. The Phytosanitary Certificate facilitates trade but it is not a trade document.” – Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

After the Phytosanitary certificate is issued, a Japanese inspector will also visually inspect all shipments and can refuse entry if they discover any prohibited material.

Barr-Ag Exports Timothy Hay

Grown near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is argued to be some of the most palatable hay in the world. We are fortunate to have clean air, rich soil and a pristine environment in which to grow our hay. Increased sugar content is the result of higher altitudes and our northern location, which makes for long, warm days and cool nights during the growing season.

timothy-Hay-2Dryland Timothy hay is cut once per season, while irrigated Timothy is harvested 2 times per season. The majority of Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is produced on our own farms and the rest we purchase from trusted producers who follow our growing protocols and adhere to our quality control standards.

At Barr-Ag, we do our best to accommodate the needs of our customers. We take care of all of the required customs documents to help ensure that deliveries are problem-free from our end. Shipments to Asia go via the Port of Vancouver, shipments to Europe go via the Port of Montreal and freight to the USA goes via Chicago/Fort Lauderdale. Flexible shipping options include CNF (cost and freight), FOB (freight on board) and CY (container yard).

Are you interested in importing Timothy hay from Canada?  Send in a request form for Timothy hay.

 

Sources:

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis11075

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/exports/phytosanitary-certificates/eng/1299872808479/1299872974262

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng/1297964599443/1297965645317

Timothy Hay Overview

History of Timothy Hay

Timothy hay, also referred to as Timothy-grass, is a grass native to Europe.  It is also known as meadow cat’s tail and common cat’s tail and can be found in most of Europe, excluding the Mediterranean region.

The grass was introduced to North America by settlers in the early 18th century.  It was first cataloged by a man named John Hurd, who has noticed it growing wild in New Hampshire and started feeding it to his livestock.  He called it “Hurd grass”.  In around 1720 a farmer named Timothy Hansen began cultivating it and promoting it commercially throughout the other states.  It was around that time the grass got the name “Timothy Hay” and the name has stuck to this day.

Timothy Hay for Forage

Timothy Hay is most used as feed for cattle and horses.  It is noted for its relatively low protein and high fibre content.  It also contains low moisture which makes the dried grass ideal for storage without worrying about rotting.

Mature horses especially benefit from the low protein and high-quality nutritional content of Timothy hay as it allows them to eat without gaining extra calories or weight.  These same dietary factors are beneficial for thoroughbred race horses.  Timothy hay is easy on animals’ digestive systems and its high fibre content promotes regular bowel movements.

In many cases, horse owners and cattle producers will mix Timothy hay with other forages like alfalfa and red clover, especially if they feel their animals could benefit from the extra protein and calories offered by legume forages.  Since Timothy hay has a low calcium content, it is ideal feed for domestic animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, which are may be more prone to developing bladder stones and crystallization of the urine.  Many small animal vets recommend Timothy hay to avoid these problems.

Timothy Hay for Export

Timothy hay grows extremely well under Canada’s growing conditions and is in demand in countries along the Pacific Rim, specifically in Japan.  It is used to add fibre to the diets of cattle, and as forage for horses in the Asian market. This huge export market has picked up substantially in Western Canada, with producers like Barr-Ag Hay & Grain Exporters working hard to keep up with the pace of the worlds expanding demand for Timothy hay.

According to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, export shipments from Canada’s western provinces have increased from a trial shipment of 17 tonnes in the early 1980s to over 300,000 tonnes in 2003-04.  Out of that total, 80% of it is going to Japan making them Canada’s largest customer for Timothy hay.

Barr-Ag Timothy Hay

Grown near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is argued to be some of the most palatable hay in the world. We are fortunate to have clean air, rich soil and a pristine environment in which to grow our hay. Increased sugar content is the result of higher altitudes and our northern location, which makes for long, warm days and cool nights during the growing season.

Dryland Timothy hay is cut once per season, while irrigated Timothy is harvested 2 times per season. The majority of Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is produced on our own farms and the rest we purchase from trusted producers who follow our growing protocols and adhere to our quality control standards.

Contact Barr-Ag for further information regarding grades currently available.

 

Sources:  http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_phpr3.pdf; http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis11075;  http://www.therockdepotcolorado.com/artman/publish/printer_Timothy_Hay_Good_Hay_for_Horse_Feed.html

A Japanese Dairy Farm-Timothy Hay and Alfalfa Hay Customers

Harvest season 2012 was a very busy time for everyone at Barr-Ag. Along with our farming responsibilities, we usually host clients from abroad. They come to examine Timothy Hay, Alfalfa Hay, mixed hays and other crops and set up their purchasing. We took the time this year to sit down and profile one of our Asian customers. The farm was happy to oblige us with all the data we needed, but for confidentiality reasons has asked that we do not post their name.

Japan is divided into 47 sub-national jurisdictions (like states or provinces) known as Prefectures. Our client’s dairy farm, located in the Tochigi Prefecture, is about 2 hours north of Tokyo. Tochigi Prefecture is the second largest producer of raw milk in Japan. The farm has been operational for 26 years and is home to 2000 Holstein dairy cows. For the past 7 years this dairy operation has been receiving our shipments of Timothy hay and alfalfa hay every month. “We like that Barr-Ag is a farm-based company because of the stable supply source”. “We would recommend Barr-Ag to other dairy farms because having a relationship directly with the grower is a big advantage”.

The 2011 Tsunami in their country had a devastating effect on agriculture. “Our neighbour farms have gone out of business.” “We experienced significant loss because we were unable to ship our product for a few weeks.” Because our business relationships at Barr-Ag extends over long periods of time, we get to know our clients and we care about them. We kept in close contact and adjusted our supply schedule to meet their immediate needs after the Tsunami.

There wasn’t much else we could do from a small, rural, agricultural community in Olds, Alberta, but we wanted to do what we could to help. “Barr-Ag donated a few containers a month after the disaster. We distributed them to our neighbour farms to help”. It’s what farmers seem to do everywhere; neighbours helping neighbours even if they happen to live 5000 miles away.