When it comes to forage production, a little good management goes a long way. Proper stewardship can increase producer returns and provide environmental benefits such as reduced soil erosion and improved water quality.

Without access to current best practice guidelines (the last suitable forage resource published in BC was in 1999), many growers have been unable to optimize production.

To help bridge the gap, the Pacific Field Corn Association (PFCA) has compiled the latest research on sustainable forage production sourced from 75 authors and seven countries. Cool Forages: Advanced Management of Temperate Forages has already become an internationally acclaimed resource in the few months since its release.

While some contributions provide updates to previous research, such as forage quality, nutrient, weed and grazing management, and sustainable farming approaches, the book also offers new material in the field of agri-environmental impacts, a topic of increasing importance to BC forage growers.

PFCA project coordinator, Fran Teitge, is confident the diversity of topics covered will translate into substantial cross-sectoral impacts.

Cool Forages includes general information relevant to all forage producers, as well as more targeted recommendations for beef, dairy and even organic farmers,” explains Teitge. “It also includes guidance to help producers develop better management practices that can optimize production while reducing environmental risks.”

BC agrologist and seed supplier Bill Awmack believes that successful farming depends on quality varieties paired with sound production practices. For Awmack, Cool Forages has become an indispensible resource for both himself and his clients at Quality Seeds West in Langley.

“The articles do a great job of making cutting edge research accessible to everyone,” says Awmack. “We can provide better, more customized service that tailors variety selection according to the latest science and educates farmers about production methods.”

Cool Forages has proven equally popular within the academic community, making its way into the curriculum of universities like McGill and the University of West Virginia.

So far the PFCA has received bulk orders from Texas Tech University, Oregon State University, Dalhousie University, University of Virginia, the Grassland Research Centre in New Zealand, the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, and is also expecting orders from the USDA.

“Of course,” Teitge assures, “any book requests from BC residents are filled free of charge.”

Cool Forages is available online at: http://farmwest.com/node/1303

Funding: $28,616 through the former federal-provincial Safety Nets framework. (A0642)