Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is making almost 2,200 acres of hay land available to Manitoba farmers who suffered through historic dry conditions and cattle feed shortages last year.
Producers have until June 29 to bid on hay opportunities in 16 municipalities in southwest Manitoba, through the DUC Hay Tender Program.
“To be honest, I’d be lost without it,” said Trevor McLeod, a farmer and cattle producer southeast of Brookdale MB. “Even if I did have enough hay acres, it’s nice to have that extra cushion where you can build up for the next year.”
McLeod has been raising cattle for 45 years on land his grandfather purchased in 1924. He has bid on DUC hay lands for over 20 years, back when he used square bales. “It’s been a while,” he laughs, quickly adding, “It’s pretty critical. I like to get at least one piece per year.”
Recognizing that grasslands need to be managed to remain productive, DUC Manitoba staff identified 2,200 acres to benefit from hay management in 2022. Parcels range from 32 acres to over 200 acres.
“We actually increased our tendered acres in 2020 and 2021, to assist almost 100 producers who were battling drought and feed issues,” explains Cam Ross, the DUC conservation specialist administering the program. “Producers can begin cutting hay after July 15 so that any nesting birds have moved out.”
Last year, McLeod secured 96 acres in the Rural Municipality of Minto-Odanah.
“I got 186 bales out of there,” he says. “For the size of operation I am now, that’s a big boost in my hay so it really helps out a lot. Especially compared to buying hay.”
Even though McLeod lives outside of DUC conservation target zones, he’s been involved with the Hay Tender Program since the 1990s and intends to bid again in 2022, noting that DUC has been a great partner to work with.
“If there are problems, they come out and correct it,” added McLeod. “There was one piece that didn’t have great access. DUC came out and dug it out and put a culvert in there and fixed it right up. Same if it’s a really wet year and you don’t have access to a piece. They’re willing to reduce the acres and help you out. DUC has been really easy to work with.”
Haying land is available in 2022 in these Manitoba municipalities:
- Harrison Park
- Killarney-Turtle Mountain
- Portage La Praire
- Prairie Lakes
- Prairie View
- Riding Mountain West
Bids close June 29. Find out more at https://ag.ducks.ca/program/hay-tenders-and-grazing/