Recommendations for Producers
Although 1 year of data is not enough to develop concrete recommendations for producers in the Vanderhoof area, if the climate patterns recored in 2016 continue there will need to be changes to cropping systms in order to remain competitive. Some operational options and future research considerations for producer are listed below:
- To preserve protein values and avoid hay spoilage during July rain events, producers may need to invest in silage equipment.
- In general winter injury and summer drought are factors that may be a ecting alfalfa growth.
- Producers could try alfalfa varieties that are frost and drought hardy; as well, they should also be looking towards other forage species that may be better suited to the new weather conditions, or have wider climatic tolerances.
- Producers could consider planting a mix of alfalfa varieties to ensure a more diverse plant community. In general diverse communities are more resilient than simplified communities.
- Producers with irrigation capacity could use soil moisture monitoring equipment to target irrigation with plant demands. Producers could experiment with management techniques that increase soil organic matter, which in turn benefits soil moisture availability.
- Producers could experiment with modifying the critical harvest period in the fall. In order to ensure adequate carbohydrate accumulation the final harvest date is typically 4-6 weeks before the first killing frost. Producers may need to expand the critical harvest period in order to reduce winter injury and promote vigorous spring regrowth.
- If reduced snow is the new climatic norm, producers could experiment with leaving more than the recommended 15 cm fall stubble. Higher stubble heights might translate into better snow catchment for soil insulation.
- Implementation of more climate change adaptation research is desperately needed, not just in Vanderhoof, but Nationally and Internationally. The effects of climate change are unlikely be mitigated; therefore, producers need to research alternative practices in order to succeed under changing climatic conditions.
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