Tom McDonald moving cattle to a new paddock with Advanced Cell Design.

Site Background

About the Location

The McDonald Demonstration Site located in the Aspen Parkland Region of Saskatchewan approximately 175 kilometres southeast of Regina near Kennedy and close proximity to the Moose Mountain region.

The Aspen Parkland ecoregion transitions between the boreal forest in Northern Saskatchewan and the grasslands to the south in the Dakota states.

The site is comprised of mixed grassland with multiple natural water sources and Aspen groves with balsam poplar, trembling Aspen and tall shrub thickets. Standing trees offer shelter to livestock and excellent wind breaks through winter months to encourage snow accumulation for moisture retention.

Native grasses to this area include rough fescue, slender wheatgrass, and western porcupine grass, all providing excellent biomass to contribute to livestock productivity as well as soil health . The black chernozemic soils located in this region offer some of the most productive agricultural lands in the Prairies, with organic matter (OM) content ranging from six to 12 per cent OM, which correlates directly to its high carbon sequestration abilities. Climate normals of the ecoregion being 15⁰C for the average summer temperature and the average winter temperature being approximately -12.5⁰C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 400 to 500 millimetres, with most precipitation falling between May and September.

About the Farm

Tom McDonald owns this farm. 

Learning about Rotational Grazing

Tom has successfully submitted two applications, one to improve his existing advances grazing system (AGS) and one to develop a new AGS on additional land, with limited assistance. He was an attendee at one of CFGA’s first grazing plan workshops, documented his existing practices and submitted his first plan and a month or so later, his second. They did not want much in the way of a demonstration; however, they wanted to retest their farm with Ward Laboratories. They had previously did this sampling in 2008. Tom agreed to signage, documentation via progressive photos and drone footage.  

The Rotational Grazing Objective

This project aims to document the advanced grazing system and successful producer uptake. 

Funding for this project [in part] has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund.