The Manitoba Benchmark Project

This is the second year of the project. Forage yield and quality will be assessed on 72 sites. The Manitoba Benchmark Project is collecting yield data on historically grazed native pasture in Manitoba. This data is being collected for 3 different soil types or classes in each of the 4 Eco Regions in agro-Manitoba. The sites are geographically recorded to allow for the use and manipulation of any combination of other existing Graphic Informations System (GIS) data. Moisture data will be gathered on each site along with soil fertility analysis. The sites have livestock exclusions (1 metre cages) replicated 4 times on each vegetation type. All plant species are identified within the exclusion to allow for accurate final analysis and the ability to monitor shifts in species composition. The forage is clipped to simulate grazing and the yield data summarized each year.

The data being collected will form the basis for verification of Crown Lands classification along with Provincial Forage and Livestock extension activities. The ability to calculate forage production on known factors such as precipitation and soil and vegetation type allows for accurate general application on any land in Agro Manitoba.

A total of 60 (5 x 4 x 3) one metre square cages were set up in each of the 4 Ecoregions of the Province. The 5 vegetation types have 4 replicates on each of the 3 soil groups in each of the 4 Ecoregions.

The 3 soil groups are based on a combination of their ability to produce forage and the Canada Land Inventory (CLI) classification:
• Group 1 (CLI classification 1+2)
• Group 2 (CLI classification 3)
• Group 3 (CLI classification 4+5)

The 5 vegetation types are based on the type of vegetation cover and position in the landscape:
• Woodland
• Open Woodland
• Upland Grassland
• Transitional Grassland
• Lowland Grassland

The 4 regions of Manitoba are defined in the Soil Survey Report: Terestrial Ecozones, Ecoregions and Ecodistricts of the Province of Manitoba.

Project Contact(s): Bill Gardiner, MAFRI
Ph: (204) 622-2044
E-mail: or
Start Date: Spring 2004
Completion Date: Spring 2008
Funding Partners: Led by MAFRI Crown Lands Branch, PFRA, MFC and MAFRI, 4 years of funding from Greencover and one year of funding from the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program Soils and Nutrient Management.
Project Results: The project is complete – Final Report available fall 2013

Download the 2012 Update
A report on project activities and the work which is still required to complement what the consultant has provided [400-500pages]. This is a very detailed and comprehensive project.

Download the 2007 Update