FIRST & FORage MOST June 2012
Canadian Forage & Grassland Association
Association Canadienne pour les Plantes Fourragères
|CFGA Industry, Council & government representatives tour China
"Our mission this past spring has been extremely fruitful," says participant Ray Robertson of the Ontario Forage Council. "We've made excellent contacts and learned a great deal about their needs and wants."
Read more about our mission.
Consultez les chroniques
du Conseil québécois des plantes fourragères (CQPF)
sur le site Web de la CFGA
View our Quebec Forage Council
Fact Sheets on the CFGA website
Friends of CFGA
Become a CFGA Sponsor
Platinum - $10,000
Gold - $5,000
Silver - $2,500
Become a Member
Overseas Exporters $1500
U.S. Exporters $250
December 10 - 12, 2012
Radisson Plaza Mississauga Toronto Airport Hotel
Mark your calendar for next winter's conference. The Ontario Forage Council will start the conference off with an optional tour on Monday, December 10th, followed by the CFGA conference on the 11th and 12th. The committee is hard at work obtaining speakers for our theme, "Innovation in the Forage & Grassland Sector". In addition to topics of interest to our livestock producers and research and extension personnel, the Conference will include sessions on Forage Export Development and Market Readiness Training. Watch for more info in our September newsletter. Join our Mailing List now.
If you are interested in sponsoring us at this event please contact us for more information.
A Report from the Executive Director
As you look through this newsletter I am sure you will be as amazed as I am at the number of activities that the CFGA is involved in. The CFGA is truly becoming a very effective national voice for the forage and grassland industry. Some key areas where this has become evident include:
- An opportunity to provide input and "make a difference" on three national Value Chain Roundtables.
- Participation in the CCA Beef Research Workshop in Calgary in mid March afforded the opportunity to make significant input into the identification of forage and grazing research needs.
- Representation on the Forage Task Team looking at forage and grassland risk management programs.
- Providing input on the placement of forage varieties in the Registration System.
Our ability to truly be that "National Voice" has also been further supported by the addition of two new Provinces as paid up members of the CFGA. A big welcome goes out to the B.C. Forage Council and to the Soil and Crop Improvement Association of Nova Scotia. We look forward to your active involvement and input on the Board and the various CFGA Committees.
Continuing to build on the role of CFGA as a National Voice for the forage sector we are now in the planning stages for the CFGA AGM and Conference to be held on Dec 10, 11 and 12, 2012 in Toronto. This year's theme will focus on innovation in forage and grasslands. So MARK YOUR CALENDAR and watch for more details.
CFGA Provides Position Recommendation on Forage
Variety Placement in Registration System
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is in the process of reviewing the registration systems for seed varieties. The CFGA was asked to provide recommendations regarding the placement of forage varieties in a revamped registration system. In arriving at a recommendation, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) received input from a broad cross section of the forage and grassland sector in Canada. Representatives of the CFGA, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the forage export sector strongly identified the need for Canadian variety evaluation data for alfalfa and the other five predominant forage species. The CFGA proposed that the six most widely used forage crop species: alfalfa, red clover, timothy (forage type), orchard grass, meadow bromegrass and smooth bromegrass be placed in Part II, with all of the other forage crop species placed in Part III. Varieties being registered and sold in Canada should be of superior merit to existing varieties - especially for the six predominant forage species. Species placed in Part II would be required to be tested in Canada, using approved protocols, and data be of publishable quality (recommended statistical guidelines and inspection, as determined by provincial recommending committees).
In providing this recommendation the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association recognizes the need for a much more proactive and enhanced forage breeding and variety evaluation program involving all sectors of the forage and grassland industry in order that those sectors involved in the industry can remain competitive.
AgriMarketing Program to Provide Support for
Forage Market Development
Once again the CFGA will be receiving support from the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada AgriMarketing Program. This assistance will help the CFGA forage export members to enhance forage marketing capacity and increase the competitiveness of the Canadian forage export sector. This year the CFGA will be focusing on forage markets in China, Japan and the United States in addition to helping prepare forage exporters to be market ready through training programs.
Wayne Digby, CFGA Executive Director
Stay tuned with our progress and sign up to receive our
newsletters & event invitations (approximately 7 per year).
Report Assesses the Potential Impact of
Roundup Ready® Alfalfa on
Canada's Forage Industry
The Canadian Forage & Grassland Association (CFGA), through a project partnership with the Saskatchewan Forage Council, is pleased to announce the release of a national, industry-wide market impact study providing an unbiased, fact-based assessment of the potential impact of Roundup Ready® alfalfa (RRA) on Canada's forage industry. This collaborative project, with input and direction from stakeholders across the industry, will assist the forage industry nation-wide in its efforts to respond to the new and emerging issue of genetically modified crops.
The report was released June 13, 2012. To read the report go to our website.
Welcome to our Board!
Chilliwack, B.C. Forage Council
As owner of Healey Hay and StrawDust Supply Inc., Healey imports feed into Southern B.C. and supplies producers in the area. "My hay or alfalfa comes from Alberta, and we are now starting to work with Saskatchewan to try to make it possible to extend our purchasing even further. Transportation is always a large part of the landed in price," says Healey.
"We bring in our wheat straw in from Washington, being 5-7 hours closer on the freight rates, this makes it possible for our company to produce the cut straw bedding we call 'StrawDust' and not have to increase our prices."
Healey looks forward to a time when large bales may be able to move by rail. "This would mean that we could use prairie hay and straw here in the Fraser Valley, and hopefully land it in here at a price that would be better for both the prairie farmers and for the dairy farmers out here."
The B.C. Forage Council has appointed Healey to represent them on the CFGA Board. The B.C. Forage Council has over 200 members and works on a number of projects. According to Healey, they work with the University of British Columbia on projects as well as with the WFFP, the Weed Free Forage Program, set up to study, and supply forages and straw to both the back country horse people; the concern being that weeds or plants that are not part of some of the Parks or Crown Lands are traveling far into more and more remote areas. The Department of Highways must also use certified straw on roadways to stop the spread of unwanted plants. Healey says, "at this time or I should say last year's growing season, our testing and certified fields were all up north, yet a vast part of horse use is from down here in the Valley, so now we have to look at having inspectors come down here to make Certified WFFP available here. One must remember the nicest timothys or alfalfas are still WEEDS in the parks and back country!"
Soil & Crop Improvement Association of Nova Scotia
Welcome to Trevor Forbes,
appointed by the Soil & Crop
Improvement Association of Nova Scotia (SCIANS) to represent their organization on the CFGA Board. Forbes is President of SCIANS and a dairy farmer, milking 65 cows 10 minutes west of Truro, Nova Scotia. The SCIANS is a producer-based organization that supports the improvement of soils & crops through the adoption of best management practices (BMPs), ensures a competitive agri-food industry, and undertakes farm-level research to better Nova Scotia farms.
"Our board is made up mostly of dairy farmers and one non Dairy member with non farming influence and expertise from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and AgraPoint and others," says Forbes. "We try to support farm level practical research or projects that look promising to develop into such."
As a member of CFGA, Forbes feels the biggest advantage is the ability of the forage industry to speak with one voice across Canada and to Government.
Back to top
Forage Research Strategy Update
by: Doug Wray, CFGA Chair
There have been a series of exciting developments in recent
months. The Beef Value Chain Round Table research committee led by Andrea Brocklebank (CCA), with strong support from the Beef Cattle Research Council held a workshop in Calgary in March which brought industry, researchers and funders together to define research outcomes for the beef industry going forward over the next three, five and ten years. The value of having a national, focused, outcome driven research priorities to get the most bang for our buck cannot be overstated.
One of the four focus areas was Forage and Grassland Productivity. The fact that our Canadian beef industry is built on the availability of productive, quality forages was recognized. We have a small and shrinking capacity to do forage breeding and research, and our research expertise is approaching retirement in most cases. This poses an immediate challenge for our industry.
Improving forage productivity and quality is a priority outcome, with attention to extended grazing potential and adaptation to environmental stress (i.e. drought and flooding). Both plant breeding and forage and pasture management were identified as means to that end.
Benchmarking the environmental footprint of forage and grasslands will enable our industry to better quantify and promote the value we provide to society.
Implementing strategies to build research capacity, and enhance extension to industry is another important outcome.
Following the workshop, the CFGA has been engaged in multilevel discussions to further advance this agenda. We are working closely with the Beef Value Chain Round Table (BVCRT) and CCA to provide input and support to the forage file. This will be ongoing work that will provide opportunities to strengthen forage research and extension in Canada. We are also working with the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) along with the other livestock species, bison, sheep, horse, etc. to engage in this process through the CFGA and to provide broad industry support to forage and pasture research in Canada.
Forage Research in Canada
by: Reynold Bergen, Canadian Cattlemen's Assn.
After 10 years of extremely narrow or negative margins, the outlook for Canada's cow-calf sector has become brighter. Growing market access to an increasing global demand for beef means that feeders and packers are competing aggressively for the calves and fat cattle produced from Canada's smaller cow herd. Grain prices are also high, so grazers are competing with the grain sector for land. High feed grain prices encourage longer backgrounding and grazing periods prior to feedlot finishing. All of these factors point to the need for scientifically validated tools to increase forage productivity per acre.
At one time, Canada's forage research was almost solely funded by government. The beef industry focused on animal health, productivity, beef quality and food safety research, and didn't notice that retiring government forage researchers were not being replaced. This led to a drastic loss in Canada's forage production and breeding research expertise. Provincial forage councils recognized this problem, but had no check-off system to raise forage research funds.
Canada's beef industry eventually realized that more productive forages would require a greater check-off investment in forage research. Between 2001 and 2008, the Beef Cattle Research Council allocated 10 per cent of its research budget towards forage and grasslands research. Since 2009, this allocation has doubled to 20 per cent.
Last month, representatives from Canada's seedstock, cow-calf, forage, feeding, animal health and packing sectors attended a National Beef Cattle Industry Research Workshop that was sponsored by Canada's Beef Value Chain Roundtable. Leading up to this meeting, the Beef Cattle Research Council surveyed 25 federal, provincial and industry beef research funders to learn which types of research had been funded between 2007 and 2011.
As the graph below indicates, the survey showed that the lion's share of total beef research funding went into prion research (24 per cent). Beef quality, animal health, and feed grains and feed efficiency each received between 16 and 21 per cent of total beef research funding. Forage and grassland researchers received 13 per cent of total beef research funds; only food safety research received less at 7 per cent.
Sixty-seven per cent of the total forage funding over the past five years was directed toward tame forages. Tame forage breeding was focused on sainfoin and alfalfa, probably because there are almost no active tame grass breeders remaining in Canada. Nearly half of the tame forage production research was focused on weed and pest control, with less directed towards improved establishment, persistence, quality or yield. Tame forage utilization research focused on extended grazing, forage finished beef, or grazing alfalfa or sainfoin. Considerable tame forage research was also focused on environmental issues such as carbon sequestration, water use efficiency and methane production by grazing cattle.
Annual forages received 21 per cent of total forage funding. This research was largely focused on breeding and variety testing for improved quality and yield, evaluating forage quality and reducing leaf and nutrient loss in swaths, and swath grazing and animal performance.
The remaining 12 per cent of funding was directed towards native forage research. Half went towards characterizing bloat safe native clovers, and forage quality and drought resistance in rough fescues. About a third funded weed and pest control and rejuvenation of native pastures, and a small amount supported grazing trials involving native forages.
Workshop participants, having discussed how the forage research funding had been allocated over the past five years, considered the current challenges and opportunities facing their sectors. Those discussing forage and grassland issues identified a clear need for research that will:
- Develop new forage varieties with increased yield, nutritional quality and stand life (recognizing that regional environmental differences can be important);
- Take advantage of new molecular and genetic technologies that can produce faster and more targeted genetic improvements;
- Follow a "systems-based" approach considering the entire beef and forage production chain, and incorporates a meaningful producer-level economic analysis demonstrating real benefits;
- Clearly measure the environmental benefits of forage and grasslands, and demonstrate how maintaining and improving forages and grassland benefits both producers and society; and
- Improve the productivity of native range by developing breeding, grazing and rejuvenation strategies that improve forage productivity on sensitive marginal land without degrading it.
Accomplishing these goals will be difficult. Coordination and cooperation among all of Canada's beef research funders is required to generate the very large, long-term investment needed to rebuild the forage breeding and research expertise the industry has lost. Reaping the full benefits of this research will also require extension and technology transfer to demonstrate the benefits of adopting the new varieties, management practices and technologies developed through this research.
After 10 years of adopting and adapting innovative forage and cattle management practices to minimize winter feeding and overall production costs, Canada's cattle industry needs proven, cost-effective tools to improve forage and grassland productivity. I am optimistic that the industry and government funders who participated in this exercise will work together to rebuild the research capacity and support the work necessary to develop these tools.
Forage Task Team Update -
Re: Risk Management Options
The team has industry and government representation from across Canada and was formed to provide input on ways to increase producer use of forage and pasture insurance to cover production risk. Currently many provinces see a very low portion of pasture acres covered by the insurance programs available. The dollars available to mitigate drought or flood impacts could be much larger through insurance programs compared to disaster relief provided by government on an ad hoc basis.
Doug Wray and Henry Nelson represent the CFGA on the team. Current insurance programs across Canada have been analyzed and potential options have been identified. Further investigation is now under way to help determine the recommendations to be made to government.
The goal is to offer producers insurance or other risk management options that better address their needs in the event of forage and pasture shortfalls due to weather conditions.
Join the CFGA Mailing List
Join us on Facebook
Back to top
Le Conseil québécois des plantes fourragères (CQPF) a dévoilé le Plan stratégique du secteur québécois des plantes fourragères 2012-2017, lors de son assemblée générale annuelle.en février 2012
Le CQPF a entrepris cette consultation auprès d'une trentaine de partenaires afin d'élaborer une stratégie de développement du secteur. Le secteur avait besoin d'un plan stratégique pour concerter le milieu autour d'objectifs précis de développement. Nous vous présentons le résumé du plan.
Secteur québécois des plantes fourragères
Le document intÃƒÂ©gral est disponible Ãƒ l'adresse suivante: http://www.agrireseau.qc.ca/Plantes-Fourrageres/documents/Plantes%20fourrageres%20FINAL%2021%20f%C3%A9vrier.pdf
CFGA Represented on Beef Value
Chain Round Table
The Beef Value Chain Round Table (BVCRT) brings together the many different sectors of the beef value chain including Government and industry as a means of addressing issues and opportunities in the sector. The forage and grassland sector is represented by the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association on the BVCRT. Wayne Digby recently attended the BVCRT meeting in Ottawa at the end of March. "This was an excellent opportunity to provide forage and grassland input on topics such as: the National Beef Research Strategy; Beef Industry Sustainability and the CFIA Forage Variety Registration System. One of the real benefits of being at the BVCRT is the opportunity to meet and communicate with the many different sectors of the beef industry on behalf of CFGA," says Digby. Doug Wray, Chair of CFGA, is the CFGA Representative on the BVCRT and will be attending their fall meeting in Calgary. If you have items that you feel should be brought forward to this meeting please contact Doug Wray at email@example.com
CFGA Organizes China Fact Finding Mission
February 24 - March 4, 2012
The People's Republic of China is the world's most populous country, with 1.3 billion people living on 9.6 million square kilometers of land. Only slightly larger than the US, it contains almost five times as many people. About 62 % of the population lives in the countryside. However, millions of migrant workers from rural areas actually earn their living in China's towns and cities. According to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation Forum, the country's urban population is expected to grow to 750 million by 2020.
The two most important sectors of the economy have traditionally been agriculture and industry, which together employ more than 70 % of the labour force and produce more than 60 % of GDP. Agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy and as the statistics suggest, it provides more than 12 % of the total GDP in the country. More than 300 million people in China are associated with China's Agriculture - which is almost 50 percent of the total work force in China. Agricultural crops include wheat, rice, potatoes, peanuts, millet, cotton and many other things. According to statistics, China's agriculture provides the biggest output compared to other countries in the world - but only 15 percent of the total land available in China can be cultivated. This available land is divided amongst nearly 200 million households, so on average, everybody has nearly 1.6 acres of land. This shortage of cultivating land has often created trouble in its history, as the country has faced severe food shortage at various times.
The major thrust of the Fact Finding Mission organized by the CFGA was on the forage industry and focused primarily on the larger dairy operations and the equine sector. It was an action packed eight days visiting equine operations in the Beijing area, and a number of large dairy operations in the eastern region of China. We also scheduled meetings with AQSIQ (counterpart to Canada's CFIA) and the China Ministry of Agriculture. The Canadian delegation included a broad range of experience in both the Dairy and Forage Industry. The team members came from across Canada in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia and were also accompanied by a senior director from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa. Since the delegates were from across Canada and some members had not previously met, an orientation session was planned in Beijing on the first day of the mission. This was a good opportunity for each of the team members to meet and become more familiar with important information about the Canadian forage industry. It was also an opportunity to determine the appropriate protocols and guidelines that must be followed in China. As Canadian ambassadors in another country, we fully recognized the need to maintain the reputation for which Canadians are well known.
The objectives of the China Fact Finding Mission were clear and included the following three points.
- To evaluate the potential for exporting alfalfa and timothy hay to China by better understanding the demand for such forages in China.
- To promote the benefits of using Canadian forages for China's dairy industry.
- To further the Government of Canada's efforts in China, in terms of negotiating an acceptable Canada-China Timothy Hay Protocol.
The China report will soon be available to U.S. and Overseas Export CFGA members. If you are interested in a copy, please contact Wayne Digby. (204) 726-9393 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to top
Chinese to visit Canada
Incoming AQSIQ (Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) China
This visit to Canada by AQSIQ representatives was planned for June 2011, however it was postponed and plans are in place to have the Chinese representatives visit the last week of June 2012 when conditions are favourable for timothy growing. This visit will enable Canada to have a better understanding of China's import protocols. Three AQSIQ China representatives will be travelling to Canada to review timothy hay production, processing and phytosanitary certification in Canada. CFGA is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada in hosting this China group.
Tools to Obtain Optimal Alfalfa
High quality forage is essential to dairy farm profitability. The benchmark for "high producing dairy cow" quality alfalfa haylage is considered to be 20% Crude Protein (CP), 30% Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), and 40% Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF). There are several tools that can be utilized including the use of a PEAQ stick and Alfalfa clipping and sample analysis.
Read the article prepared by Joel Bagg, OMAFRA Forage Specialist to learn more about the ways you can achieve the optimum NDF of 50%.
As well, Manitoba's Green Gold Alfalfa Clipping Project is well underway for the second season. Manitoba Forage Council has reinstated this program, once run by Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives. Producers sign up or go to the website to see Field Reports for their region in Manitoba. See the Program Reports.
CFGA Priorities Determined
by AGM Attendees
Jack Kyle, OMAFRA Grazing Specialist and CFGA Director representing Research & Technology has compiled the following report based upon the priorities suggested at the CFGA Annual meeting last December.
"Coupled with this list of priorities is a list of activities each of our committees have identified and are moving forward on. These are the items that they can get traction on," says Kyle.
Forage Variety Registration Placement and the need to develop a national variety testing and recommending system.
- Work with Canadian Cattlemen's Association to increase the forage research infrastructure across Canada.
- Investigating and developing export markets for Canadian forage including markets in China, Middle Eastern countries and USA.
National Forage Assessment
- The CFGA is co-operating with AAFC on a project that will result in a National Forage Assessment document outlining the size, scale and value of the forage and grassland industry to the Canadian agricultural economy. This report involves working with Statistics Canada data and provincial forage assessment documents that have been completed over the past 3-4 years.
Most crops grown in Canada have a farm gate value as they move into the market chain, the majority of forage and grassland production is converted to meat and milk on the farm and the farm gates sales are recorded as meat and milk with no reference to the forage that produced the farm gate sales.
The final report should be available by mid summer. The CFGA appreciates the effort that AAFC has put into having this assessment completed as it will show the value of the Forage and Grassland industry in Canada.
- The CFGA will work cooperatively with affiliated partners in the forage and grassland industry to develop and promote forage research and market opportunities.
- The CFGA will be the voice for all aspects (including research, production and environment) of the Canadian forage and grassland industry
- The CFGA will communicate forage and grassland issues and opportunities to Canadians
Silage Fermentation Problems
by: Joel Bagg, Forage Specialist, OMAFRA
When we make corn silage and haylage, we are using our skills as microbiologists, just like winemakers, brewers and composters. As a biological system, silage making doesn't always work perfectly. During an anaerobic silage fermentation, microorganisms feed on sugars and other soluble carbohydrates in the forage material and produce organic acids, such as lactate and acetate. This lowers the pH and creates an environment where the resulting silage is preserved. We sometimes have less success making silage, because of management, the weather and what we have to work with.
An efficient fermentation is desirable for 2 reasons:
- to preserve nutrients to optimize livestock intake and performance, and
- to minimize forage dry matter lost in the fermentation process and spoilage at feedout. Fermentation losses can be 12 - 15% with a good fermentation, and much higher with a poor one. Spoilage losses can be significant.
We know what we have to do to make good silage - cut at the right maturity and moisture, chop at the right length, use inoculants strategically, keep it anaerobic (without oxygen) by filling the silo quickly, adequate packing, covering and sealing it well and right away, face management, etc, etc. However, sometimes things don't go well and we end up with high fermentation losses, poor nutrient quality and palatability, and silage that wants to spoil easily.
Read the report written by Joel Bagg to help you determine what can go wrong and how to avoid that the next time.
Back to top
Value of Alberta's Forage Industry -
A Multi-Level Analysis
The purpose of this report is to provide a snapshot of the Alberta forage industry, with the hopes that it will be used to increase awareness of its realvalue to the agriculture industry and its role in helping to maintain the environment. The publication of this report is the culmination of a cooperative effort by government and industry to address an identified need. In this case, the partners were Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and the Alberta Forage Industry Network, with input from various facets of the Alberta forage industry.
This report should be considered a preliminary account of the value of Alberta's forage resources. Every effort was taken to ensure accuracy using the most recent date and literature available.
According to Grant Lastiwka, Forage / Grazing / Beef Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, "we are now getting team feedback on our organization's position statements that with support of the report results, will enable our board to develop a sound and informed action plan.
Read the Executive Summary and Report on this website.
The Value of Forages in a High
Commodity Priced Environment
Ontario too has commissioned a study to evaluate the value of forages in the province for feeding, as a cash crop and in crop rotations. This report clearly indicates that forages can be competitive on an economic basis with other cash crops and that they supply many other tangible benefits as well.
Read the Report.
A summary of the 'value of forages when used in a crop rotation' is also included in this power point presentation. Here's a list of
14 Reasons Why Forages Belong in Every Crop Rotation.
#1 Residual N Credit from Various Forage Crops
#2 Yield improvement in the following crop
#3 Better Soil Stability
#4 Improved porosity improves filtration and drainage
#5 Root room: tap roots of legumes create root channels that are used by subsequent crops to reach deeper into the soil
#6 Root health: Following crops have healthier roots because there are fewer pathogens
#7 Improved Nutrient Availability Benefit
#8 Improvement of Compacted Soil
#9 Reduction of Soil Loss to Erosion
#10 Carbon sequestration
#11 Habitat for species at risk
#12 Prevention and/or reduction in herbicide resistant weeds
#13 Pollination of other crops
#14 $$ in Your Pocket
Download the 14 Reasons why forages belong in every crop rotation to read the benefits in detail.