Native grasslands are a key part of the agricultural system of the prairies, with producers relying on those to keep cattle fed.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Agri-Environmental Specialist Kaitlin Burns talks about what makes a native grassland.

"Native grasslands are areas that have never been broken up by cultivation, and they are dominated by native plant species such as blue grama grass or western wheat grass. Native grasslands are important because they provide a habitat for many species of birds, mammals, and insects. So they provide those biodiversity benefits and they are also a source of forage for both livestock and wildlife." 

Producers should keep a close eye on those grasslands as there are potential issues that can crop up.

"It's important for agricultural producers to manage grazing on native grasslands to prevent overgrazing of those areas. This ensures the preservation of biodiversity, and it also ensures the long-term productivity of grazing lands."

"Producers can regularly monitor range health. They can also calculate stocking rates for livestock and they can construct fences to control livestock movements. Producers can also implement a grazing system, such as a rotational grazing system." 

Rotational grazing is a method of dividing a pasture into smaller paddocks and cycling livestock between those areas to allow some grass time to regrow from grazing.

In Saskatchewan, there's funding available for producers who want to make sure their native grasslands keep in shape.

"Through the Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program, or RELP, as we call it, there is cost-share funding available for cross fencing on native range lands for those agricultural producers interested in this program. They can visit the Government of Saskatchewan, RELP web page or they can call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre to speak with their regional agri-environmental specialist."