Clearwater County

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County Services Livestock & Landcare

Livestock & Landcare

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You are in mostly Cattle Country

According to the 2011 agricultural census for Clearwater County 483 of the 1,096 farms were cattle operations and the majority of those beef cattle (469).  Total cattle numbers exceeded 80,000 head. 

With more than 715,000 acres listed as farmland.  Crops or summer fallow total almost 189,000 acres.  Tame or native pasture accounted for over 438,000 acres.  Acres considered wooded or wetland totaling almost 63,000.  Farmyards, other facilities and niche interests account for the remaining acres.

Farmers need quality land and water to make a living.  Landcare advocates for farm planning that leads to healthy soil, abundant and clean water, robust pastures, quality crops and reliable strategies.

Just enough livestock

Adding a few head of cattle, a couple more horses, a bigger flock of sheep or more litters of pigs is enticing.  Whatever the livestock type it’s important to make sure the land can support the numbers.

Overgrazing is short-term gain with long term consequences. Weeds thrive where the ground is bare.  Weeds are opportunistic, taking advantage of bare  ground and lack of competition.  Shallow plant roots due to overgrazing lack resilience to drought and erosion. 

While treed areas buffer wind, allowing livestock exclusive access to wooded vegetation not only damages mature trees, it inhibits establishment of younger trees.  Soil compaction, nutrient overload and livestock rub are a deadly three-some.

For more information see:           

What about horse owners?

While many farmers and acreage owners appreciate horses, a different approach is needed when managing pastures.  Although an acreage may be rated for limited livestock use, not every parcel can support the maximum – each pasture is unique.   According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture for Alberta for Clearwater County, over 500 farms reported having horses totaling of more than 5,000 head.  This does not include horse numbers – not available – owned by acreage dwellers.
 Manure Management

What about other types of livestock?

Farmers and acreage-owners have an environmental responsibility no matter what type of livestock they manage. 
Need to know more about livestock water requirements? Click here
Need to know the intricacies of setting up a working or hobby farmstead? Click here
Want to hone in on beneficial management do’s for livestock production? Click here 
 BMP Manual
See also:

Winter Feeding Strategies include:

There are hundreds of resources available through Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Click here
 Agriculture Information Catalogue