More and more Cattle Producers are extending their feeding options by utilizing winter feeding sites.

Ministry of Agriculture Regional Forage Specialist Lorne Klein says there are numerous methods for producers to choose from depending on how their operation is set up:

"One of the more common ones is bale grazing. But, there's swath grazing, annual crops, corn grazing, stockpiling grass, or crop residues where you're supplement feeding at the same time," he said.

Klein says the advantage of using those methods is it eliminates manure hauling and generally involves less handling of the feed.

He notes when using these methods it’s important to make sure the animals are getting the proper nutrition, have access to water or snow and shelter.

Klein also says selecting the right site is important because as the snow melts you want the water infiltrating into the soil profile to utilize the nutrients from the manure and urine that is left behind:

"It depends on the soil texture, whether or not the soil profile is dry or not, and how much litter you have on the soil surface.

Those things all factor into how well the water from the snow melt infiltrates into the soil.

But at the same time, you want to avoid sites where you have a gravel or sandy soil texture, and also a high water table," he said.

A lack of snowfall this year has allowed some producers to utilize their pastures longer.

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