Tag Archives: timothy hay exporters

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.

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