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Funding for Grazing Management Beneficial Management Practices

By Alanna Jonson, PAg, Agri-Environmental Specialist, Swift Current

May 2024

A beneficial management practice, or BMP, contributes to the long-term health and sustainability of agricultural land while minimizing negative impacts and risk to the environment. By using BMPs and incorporating the basic grazing principles into grazing management plans, producers improve the health and resiliency of Saskatchewan native rangelands.

A native plant community from a local rangeland in Southwest Sask
A native plant community from a local
rangeland in Southwest Saskatchewan.
Photo: Alanna Jonson

For native rangeland, conducting range health assessments or building cross-fences are examples of BMPs that help maintain or improve the pasture’s health and productivity. Native rangelands are an important grazing resource. Their health directly impacts their forage production, resilience to disturbances such as drought or invasive weeds and their ability to provide ecosystem services such as carbon storage and wildlife habitat. Key functions of native pastures include stabilizing soil from erosion, absorbing and retaining moisture, out-competing invasive or disturbance-induced plants and producing grazable forages.

Range health assessments, one of the BMPs funded under the Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program, use plant and soil indicators to score a range’s ability to perform these important functions. Range health scores can be used by producers and agrologists to help understand if they are meeting their short and long-term grazing management goals and where they can improve. Increasing ground cover, controlling weeds, avoiding overuse or increasing yields are all goals that can be incorporated into a plan. Monitoring through health assessments and visual inspections can help adapt stocking rates and pasture rotations to the needs of the herd and amount of available forage, acting as a tool when planning grazing management.

The Resilient Agricultural Landscapes program provides funding to assist Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers to implement beneficial management practices, including those related to range health assessments and grazing management. To learn more about each BMP the program offers, connect with your local agri-environmental specialist by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

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