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Dairy farmer named Ontario Forage Master

Nov. 24, 2015, Ontario – Chris Brown was named Ontario Forage Master for 2015 at a recognition event hosted by the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Nov. 11. Chris and his wife Brianne operate Beslea Farms Limited near Yarker in Lennox & Addington County. He credits high quality forage as the foundation for their 100-head dairy herd (25 Jersey and 75 Holsteins).

The Ontario Forage Master competition is an annual event sponsored by Pickseed Canada Inc., SGS/Agri-Food Laboratories, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). There were close to 200 entries this year representing 22 different counties and districts, with 14 4-H participants. Local winners are declared based on judging of field management and forage quality and storage. From there, local winners have the opportunity to move to the public speaking portion of the competition, staged at the provincial level. Participants present how forages are selected, grown, harvested, stored and utilized for top production on their farms. Judging is done by a panel of experts.

“All of our five finalists in this year’s Ontario Forage Masters competition were dairy producers that had no difficulty expressing their views on the value of forages in their cropping and feeding programs,” says Alan Kruszel, OSCIA president. “That made the judges decision difficult, but Chris Brown’s presentation had just a little extra polish that made him this year’s winner. Chris is an excellent speaker and provided a clear and organized presentation detailing techniques in forage production that are easily applicable and transferable. He demonstrated that the real value of forages is realized by farming practices that focus on producing quality forage with proper management.”

“We aim for top quality forage without sacrificing yield or plant health,” declares Chris. “Quality never lets you down. In today’s dairy industry it is more important than ever to produce top quality forages. As margins tighten and input costs continue to rise, top quality forages can help to reduce feed costs and increase animal health, helping your bottom line.”

Chris now qualifies to compete in the 2016 American Forage and Grassland Council’s Forage Spokesperson Competition to be held January 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.