Farmers tour area pastures

There’s an old joke that goes, “You can tell if someone’s a farmer or not because they are the ones who are out standing (outstanding) in their fields.”
But you could take that joke literally during the Emo Research Station’s pasture tour last Saturday.
About two dozen people were out viewing the different types of pastures across the district, with stops were made at a field near Cornell Farms in Devlin, Wally Hunsperger’s and the research station’s in Emo, and ones belonging to Amos Brielmann and Mike Neilson near Stratton.
“I think it went really well,” noted research station manager Kim Jo Calder. “There was really good interaction with the guys. The farmers were talking with the farmers.”
At each field, the farmer who worked the pasture explained how it was managed, what variety of seed was used and at what density, and how intensely grazed it was.
Calder said she wanted the emphasis of the tour to be what the farmers did in their own fields, not the test plots at the research station.
“They shared their experiences and problems,” she said. “I think sometimes hearing it from a farmer makes all the difference in the world.
“The pasture is becoming one of the most important crops in our district,” she stressed. “Guys have learned you just can’t throw a bunch of cows in the bush.”
The research station usually holds its pasture tour in June but it was pushed back to September to accommodate Jim Johnston, a forage specialist from New Liskeard.
“It was the only weekend Jim was available,” Calder said, noting he was fast becoming the forage specialist in Ontario.
But Johnston also posed just as many questions as he was being asked, and Calder said the interaction with a crop specialist like him was greatly appreciated by those on the tour.
“The local guys have had little contact with Gord Scheifele, our research co-ordinator, because he’s tied up with the hemp,” she remarked.
Calder said the pasture tour is being touted as a success by both the research station and those who attended it.
“A couple guys, while they were leaving, said it was an excellent day and we should do it more often,” she noted. “It’s a good time to get out and talk.”