FIRST & FORage MOST                                April 2011 

Promoting Canada's forage & grassland

Canadian Forage & Grassland Association    

Association Canadienne pour les Plantes Fourragères

In This Issue
The Value of Forage & Grasslands
Insight into the UAE & Saudi Arabia Hay Market
CFGA Works with CFIA and China on Alfalfa Protocol
CFGA Director to Meet with Japanese Officials
Gold Sponsor MacDon Industries Welcomes CFGA
CFGA Voices Concerns Regarding Research Funding
Fact Finding Mission to Florida


Insight into the UAE & Saudia Arabia Hay Market 

Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE
A mission to the Middle East helps exporters & others gain insight
into this growing market.

Our Gold Sponsor

 Macdon Logo 

Our Silver Sponsors


Nutritional Feed AdditivesWallenstein Logo
Ducks Unlimited Canada Logo

Become a CFGA Sponsor

 Platinum - $10,000

Gold   -  $5,000 

Silver  -  $2,500

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

Find us on Facebook

Become a Member 

Overseas Exporters $1500

U.S. Exporters $250

Patrons/Friends $250


Welcome to our first CFGA/ACPF newsletter!


A lot has happened since we incorporated our national association in December 2009. We held our first Annual General Meeting / Workshop in December 2010 and have now elected our Board of Directors. We are very pleased to be the national voice for the forage and grassland industry and are striving to strengthen our Canadian livestock production systems and domestic and export hay industries via research and technology transfer and by growing our export market to the U.S. and abroad.  


One of the primary goals of the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association (CFGA) is to foster communication with our forage and livestock producers and our exporters across this diverse forage and grassland industry. This newsletter will help us achieve this goal and communicate our message to all stakeholders. We believe that by facilitating input, encouraging discussion, and building consensus we can identify opportunities, and address the challenges before us. We hope you find the content relevant and encourage your feedback and input to make this newsletter a focal point for forage news and views.  

 Doug Wray, Chair of CFGA


Stay tuned with our progress and sign up to receive our  

newsletters & event invitations (approximately 7 per year).

 Find us on Facebook


The Value of Forage and Grasslands


Grasslands and forage crops are an integral part of the agricultural landscape. Though their economic role in agriculture is well known we are only beginning to understand the importance of grasslands and forages to the overall health of an agricultural landscape.   From an environmental point of view these lands play a regulating role in the agricultural ecosystem. Grasslands and forage lands are a storehouse and sink for carbon in the atmosphere as well as providing filtering, buffering and regulating services to surface water. They are also instrumental in providing critical habitat for wildlife including many species at risk, not to mention important wildlife that we often overlook like native pollinators and other beneficial insects. The more we study these important lands, the more we realize the benefits grasslands and forages bring to clean air, clean water and biodiversity.


Research/Extension Committee to Set Direction


Heifers on Grassland

A key priority of the CFGA/ACPF is to take a lead role in the area of forage and grassland research and technology transfer in Canada. A primary function of the Committee will be to host a discussion of forage and grassland research and technology transfer needs and activities and obtain input from industry and other stakeholders. The goal will be to facilitate the dissemination of research and technology transfer products through the CFGA and its member organizations. Please contact us with any research priorities/suggestions you have. 


Back to Top 



Insight into the UAE & Saudi Arabia Hay Market

Saudi Arabia irrigation

Last year's mission to Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has further opened up the door to trade with its countrymen. CFGA representatives met with potential buyers including royalty, toured the countryside viewing crop dairy farms and gained insight into the forage needs of those two countries.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter of oil and the region's largest importer of all goods, including agri-food products. It is also the largest exporter of dairy products in the region. The UAE has the world's largest thoroughbred herd and the majority of Arabian endurance racing horses, and is the 3rd largest meat exporter in the region.   

Agriculture is well supported in the regions, both culturally and through government programming that cost shares crop inputs, irrigation infrastructure and the importation of livestock feeds.  However, as successful as crop production has been in the region, it is based on a non-renewable resource of water. Irrigation waters have been in steep decline over the past 20 years, as a result new government policies are shifting support away from domestic (irrigated) crop and forage production to crop and forage importation incentives. 

World forage trade volumes doubled overnight when in 2006 the Abu Dhabi government tendered the world to import forages for its local Bedouin livestock herders (camels, sheep, and goats). By 2009, UAE government subsidies reached $250 million/year. These tenders are expected to reach 1.1 million tonnes by 2011, and potentially 3 million tonnes by 2030. Saudi Arabia is implementing similar strategies over the next decade - starting by eliminating wheat and forage production by 2016. 

While we are very interested in shipping to these countries; there are a few limitations for the Canadian forage sector to meet the needs of this new market - one of which is competitiveness related to pricing - primarily linked to the cost of domestic freight. The CFGA is reviewing this on behalf of its members. Download the Mission to the Middle East Overview on the CFGA website. 


Back to Top 

CFGA Works with CFIA and China on Alfalfa Protocol


Chinese flag

Representatives of the CFGA are working closely with representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and China to ensure that when a final health certification protocol for alfalfa is agreed upon between China and Canada it will meet the needs of both Canadian forage exporters and the Chinese importers. South of the border, US Exporters are very concerned as a number of containers of alfalfa have been rejected in China as a result of verticillium wilt. US Exporters are working to address this situation. In Canada, we are hoping to learn from our southern neighbours and put in place a protocol that will prevent a similar situation. Different options are being investigated. To move this process along CFIA recently held meetings with Chinese officials in China and CFGA will host representatives from China in mid-June.


Read the in-depth update on Market Access for the Export of Canadian Alfalfa Hay and Timothy Hay to China.


CFGA Director to Meet with Japanese Officials

Japanese flag

Darren Guidinger, Chair of the Forage Export & Domestic Market Committee, had scheduled a meeting with Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on April 4, 2011, however, due to the extreme circumstances in Japan at this time, the meeting has been postponed. The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the CFGA and open the lines of communication. According to Guidinger, "we have had pressure from trade partners and their governing bodies for some time now in regards to the lack of a national association and voice, therefore the response we have had to date in regards to the CFGA has been very positive." Guidinger will advise the CFGA when the meeting can be rescheduled.

Back to top 


Gold Sponsor MacDon Industries Welcomes CFGA


We at MacDon are very proud to sponsor your new organization and look forward to seeing the growth of your organization.  


MacDon Industries Ltd. is a family owned and Canadian based manufacturer of harvesting equipment specializing in the production of pull-type and self-propelled windrowers and specialty and pick-up headers for combines for world markets. Our disc, auger and draper products are commonly used to harvest a wide variety of cereal grains, oilseeds, grass seeds, rice, soybeans, hay, forage and specialty crops such as peas, lupins and lentils.  


As The Harvesting Specialists, MacDon has been building and perfecting harvesting machines for more than half a century, always with one single goal in mind - making harvesting easier and more productive for you. That's why every MacDon machine is designed and developed in direct consultation with producers and custom harvesters. Then, long before we ever release a new harvesting machine, we thoroughly field test it, seeking out the most demanding field conditions possible. It is our way of ensuring that when you buy MacDon, you're buying a product that fulfills its promise of exceptional productivity and worry-free performance - a machine you can depend on to get you through your toughest harvests. Contact us.  

CFGA Voices Concerns Regarding Research Funding
Forage Research

The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association recently wrote to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) expressing concern regarding their decision to eliminate the dedicated agricultural category in the new NSERC funding and we asked them to re-evaluate this decision. CFGA noted that "by requiring the agriculture industry to compete for funding in broad categories, agricultural research will become fragmented and the Canadian Agriculture Research community will be missing out on many opportunities to improve the opportunities and benefits that exist in agriculture. A dedicated agriculture category within NSERC (similar to forestry) would facilitate the realization of opportunities, and assist in the adaptation of the agriculture industry to new challenges."


In response NSERC officials assured CFGA that "agricultural-related research has long been an area of focus and, while it has recently been folded into larger priority areas, it will continue to be funded. Researchers in food and agriculture will continue to have access to our Strategic Project Grants and Strategic Network Grants programs."

Back to top 

Fact Finding Mission to Florida - March 2011
Horse eating hay

Six members of CFGA in Ontario and Quebec have just returned from a five day fact-finding mission to central and southern Florida which has one of the largest horse populations in the US. The purpose of the mission was to learn more about the type of hay that is currently being fed and what type of package is required. We had always recognized that Florida has been a good hay market for the horse industry for many years, and considerable amount of hay is also imported into that area from the western part of the US which is certainly much further than many areas in Canada. Considerable concern was expressed by several people in that area about losing significant forage acres in the western US to corn production.

It was an enlightening experience and certainly created a much better awareness of what is required to successfully participate in that market. A seminar is being planned to update the members on the mission and a number of resource people will also be in attendance to ensure an excellent educational session. Details will be available soon and for more immediate information feel free to contact Ray Robertson. Email;  Phone (877) 892-8663 or (519) 986-1484.