Manitoba Forage & Grassland eBulletin
February 19, 2015

Manitoba Beef & Forage Platform Announced

On February 5 the federal and provincial governments announced $3.1 million in support over three years for applied research on sustainable beef and forage production at two sites near Brandon.

   The project is a partnership with Manitoba Beef Producers, MAFRD, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ducks Unlimited and the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association. "Everyone is at the table and we can discuss similar ideas, meld that into one really good idea, spend less funds getting there and have more funds to do a better job and get better results." said Jim Lintott, Chair of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association. 

   Next steps include assembling an advisory committee, surveying producers and developing the site, which will include new infrastructure on the demonstration farm to accommodate an education centre. For further detail, follow the link.

Hay Price Update

Each month, John McGregor, MFGA Extension Support, surveys MAFRD Forage Specialists and forage industry people to provide a brief update of hay prices and the hay situation. Read the full article.

Alfalfa Survival for Winter 2015

Every year forage producers have concerns about whether or not their alfalfa will survive the winter. 

   So far the winter of 2014-15 has been somewhat normal in regards to temperatures which under most conditions would leave us to believe that alfalfa stands should be holding up fairly well to date. Looking at the soil temperatures across the province from Dec to the middle of February we can see that soil temperature have on at least 3 occasions (one just recently) dropped very close to what is considered a critical level in the Steinbach and Glenboro areas.

Read the full article.

Vitamin A: An Important Water Nutrient

Vitamin A is an important nutrient for beef cattle. Producers need to pay attention to the vitamin A status of their cattle when feeding stored hay. Hay storage can impact vitamin A levels according to Andrea Bertholet, Farm Production Advisor with MAFRD. "You should assume that your hay has no vitamin A," says Andrea, who spoke at the Austin Beef and Forage meeting last week.  "It may have had it at during haying in the summer, but storage results in close to a total loss." Carotenes deteriorate during storage and amounts vary tremendously in a bale. Ultraviolet light from the sun destroys vitamin A, while heat and humidity increase the rate at which it breaks down. Read the full article.

Register now to receive 2015 Green Gold Reports (Alfalfa Scissor Clipping Project)

The first cut typically produces more forage than any other cut. Knowing the forage quality decline of an area helps develop a trend for producers to judge how the current season is shaping up and when to start the first cut on their farms. Since sampling is real-time, the effect of weather conditions on quality is accurately reflected in the results. For 2015, MFGA will again be expanding the program by inviting more forage growers to participate and submit samples from their farms. 

Producers growing alfalfa who would like to participate and those wishing to receive the timely reports should contact John McGregor at

Industry Events 

MFGA on the Move
MFGA has been 
"on the move" in February working with various organizations for the benefit of our producers:
- Attended the KAP Annual Meeting 
- Attended a Beef & Forage Platform meeting with ACC & DU 
and a Platform Committee meeting 
- Met with MASC on forage and hay insurance programs 
- Attended the Manitoba Beef Producers AGM
- Held a Green/Gold Program meeting 
- Attended Beef & Forage Day in Austin
- Participated in a Manitoba EcoSites conference call meeting  
- Attended the Benchland Beef and Forage Day in Gladstone

MASC AgriInsurance Coverage - Deadline March 31

In 2014, the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) introduced a suite of new forage options to it's AgriInsurance programming. Livestock and hay producers may select between:
Basic Hay Insurance: provides low cost coverage for production shortfalls on all acres of eligible hay types.
Select Hay Insurance: offers the maximum protection to producers who experience production shortfalls or quality losses.
MASC also offers optional coverage specific to forages: 
The Enhanced Quality Option is available to alfalfa growers that strive to grow high quality alfalfa. 
The Harvest Flood Option provides coverage on coarse hay if a producer is unable to harvest due to wet conditions at harvest time.
The Hay Disaster Benefit provides increased claim payments to producers enrolled in Select Hay Insurance or Basic Hay Insurance when there is a severe disaster.
Read more detail on MASC's Insurance Options for Forages or visit or contact your local MASC Insurance Agent.  

Capturing Carbon  - Critical to Everyone's Survival

Blain Hjertaas presentation at Western Canada Holistic Management Conference in Manitou, SK

Capturing Carbon is not the average topic of conversation for most people. Yet it's critical to all of our survival. 2015 is the International Year of Soil as declared by the UN. 99.7% of what we eat each day comes directly from the soil. Over the eons of time mankind has abused it badly in some cases causing civilizations to collapse. Agriculture has traditionally destroyed and then moved on. Unfortunately there is nowhere else to go. The production of food causes a soil loss of 4 tons of soil per person per year on an annual basis. There are 7 billion of us so that equated to 28 billion tons of soil loss annually from our agricultural areas. Clearly not sustainable. Add to this the loss from urbanization and population increase and something will have to give soon with disastrous consequences. Throw in climate change and it doesn't bode well. Read the full article.

VIDEO: Soil Carbon Cowboys

Meet Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis - heroes and innovators! These ranchers now know how to regenerate their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are turning ON their soils, enabling rainwater to sink into the earth rather than run off. And these turned Ontario soils retain that water, so the ranches are much more resilient in drought. It's an amazing story that has just begun. Watch the Video.

CFGA seeking new Executive Director

The CFGA is seeking an Executive Director who will provide overall leadership and guide the CFGA in its continued growth. Responsibilities include providing direction and input for the forage and grassland sector in areas such as, research and extension; domestic and export forage market development; forage and grassland and the environment, as well as responding to priority issues identified by member organizations, producers and users. * This is an approximate two-thirds time position with the potential to develop into a full time position. 
* Salary will be commensurate with experience; 
* Position is not location specific and it is expected that the successful candidate may work out of his/her home or office.
For more information, contact: Doug Wray, Chair CFGA, email, phone: 403-935-4642.
Deadline to apply: Friday, March 13, 2015.
View the Job Posting

Attention Industry Partners:

We would love to share your important information with our readers! Please send us your organization updates, articles, events, research, etc that you would like included in our monthly eBulletin.
The MFGA eBulletin is published by the Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA).  Articles in this publication do not imply endorsement by MFGA. 

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