Annan Area Beef Farmer Wins 2009 Ontario Pasture Award

    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - The sponsors of the Ontario Pasture Award - the
Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA), MAPLESEED and the Ontario Forage
Council (OFC) - are pleased to announce that Ken and Rosemary Mitchell of
Mitchell Farms (at RR No.1 Annan, in Grey County), are the winners of the 2009
Ontario Pasture Award. The award was presented today at the OCA Annual General
Meeting. For their environmental and pasture improvements and management, the
Mitchell's will receive a cash award of $750 and a bag of forage seed.
    Ken and Rosemary farm 700 acres in Grey County, about 10 miles Northeast
of Owen Sound, near Annan. Their operation consists of 7 farms - 6 of which
have some pasture land. They have about 120 cow/calf pairs and also breed an
additional 40 - 50 of the heifers for sale or herd replacements. The steer
calves are sold as stockers or finished depending on market conditions. The
Mitchells also custom feed an additional 50 steers. 300 acres of cash crops
are grown annually with the other 400 acres devoted to hay and pasture. Three
of the farms are less than 1000 feet from Georgian Bay and have some of the
highest heat units in Grey County. Some of the fields on these farms have a
very productive silt/clay loam and are prone to erosion, making frequent hay
crops, permanent pasture and grass ways a must. Ken has participated in the
Environmental Farm Plan Program and has fenced the livestock out of the water
ways, providing fresh water for the livestock either at suitable controlled
access points, or portable water troughs in further out fields.
    Almost all fencing is single strand electric and all fields are
rotationally grazed. The permanent pastures are fields close to the barns,
water sources or wet/stony fields. Some of the fields have not been broken in
over 50 years and have evolved to a clover, bluegrass, orchard grass, trefoil
mixture. Ken frost seeds 2lb/acre trefoil seed every 2 or 3 years and remote
pastures get phosphorus/potassium fertilizer every 4 or 5 years, while closer
fields get manure periodically.
    "I believe the intensive rotational pasture system, combined with clean
water that is closely accessible at all times, has contributed greatly to
improved herd health, improved weight gains and sustains more animals per
acre", Ken comments.
    Gerrit Van Kuelan, Sales Manager with MAPLESEED, thinks Ken's application
is an excellent example of the benefits of an intensive rotational pasture
system Ray Robertson, Manager of the Ontario Forage Council, says "The
Mitchells are very worthy recipients of the 2009 Ontario Pasture Award,
because they have been practicing good stewardship methods that can be a great
example for other farmers wanting to maximize their pasture yields per acre".

       The deadline for applications for the 2010 Ontario Pasture Award
                             is November 27/09.

    For details, call the Ontario Forage Council at 1-877-892-8663 or visit
               either the Ontario Forage Council's Web site at or the Ontario Cattlemen's Association
                    Web site at .

For further information:

For further information: Ken Mitchell, Mitchell Farms: (519) 372-6506;
Ray Robertson, Ontario Forage Council: 1-877-892-8663; Gerrit Van Kuelen,
MAPLESEED: 1-800-461-7645

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