News from the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association
CFGA Quarterly Newsletter
Winter 2018
Greetings from CFGA Chairperson, Ray Robertson
In November 2017, CFGA members from across the country met in Guelph, Ont., for the 8th Annual CFGA Conference to network, to learn and to celebrate the important role forage and grasslands play in providing both economic and environmental benefits to Canadians from coast to coast. Forages are Canada's largest land use and CFGA continues to build cohesiveness in our sector through continued partnerships and events such as the conference. Hosted in conjunction with the Ontario Forage Council, the conference was very successful and garnered lots of positive feedback and excitement for our industry and the association for 2018. Thank you to those of you who attended and participated.
Moving forward, the CFGA will continue to promote the value of the industry to government and the public, to support export development initiatives and improve research capacity for the forage sector. A major focus will be the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) to help us quantify the full value of the ecological goods and services provided by the grasslands sector and individual landowners, and demonstrate to you the carbon sequestration potential of your range and grasslands. AGGP is good for the CFGA and for individual producers and we are excited to work with the various regions across the country to make this project a real team effort.
Plans are also underway for the 9th Annual CFGA Conference in Calgary. Be sure to save the dates - Nov. 14 to 15 - to join us.
CFGA pre-tour 2017 Guelph
CFGA's 8th annual conference huge success

T he Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA), in conjunction with the Ontario Forage Council, held its 8th annual conference in Guelph, Ont., Nov. 14 to 16. This year's theme was Next Generation Forage Cropping Systems: Profit Above, Wealth Below to recognize the important role forage and grasslands play in providing both economic and environmental benefits to Canadians from coast to coast.
The conference included a pre-conference tour, an exhibition of businesses and organizations related to forages and grasslands, a full line-up of speakers on such topics as soil carbon storage, forage exports, soil health enhancement and profitable forage systems and virtual farm tours featuring innovative producers across the country.

Save the date
The CFGA invites you to keep on learning at the 9th Annual CFGA Conference Nov. 14-15 in Calgary, Alta.

More info
For more information, check out the CFGA website and Facebook page or follow the CFGA on Twitter.
CFGA-New Holland Leadership Award winner announced
A highlight of the conference was the CFGA awards luncheon when the CFGA announced the winner of its New Holland-sponsored Leadership Award. This year's winner is Bill Thomas from Truro, N.S. Well-known as a tireless advocate, educator and leader in the Atlantic forage sector, Thomas has 30 years of extension service in Nova Scotia specializing in forage crops and livestock production, adaptive research and leadership working directly with agricultural commodity groups, farmer clients and the public.
The CFGA Leadership Award was established in 2012 to recognize and encourage leadership in the forage and grassland sector. It recognizes individuals, groups or organizations who exemplify or enhance the goals of the CFGA and whose leadership has impact of national and/or international significance.
AGGP update
The 2017 conference also brought together leading forage and grassland experts from across Canada and North America for a day and a half of technical workshops. Along with presentations related to high performance forages, stakeholders and leading researchers from universities and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada discussed best management practices and provided a science review on high performance forage and grassland management systems in Canada.
These presentations and workshops were the latest activities for the CFGA's High Performance Management Systems to Reduce Greenhouse Gases in Canada's Forage and Grasslands research and development project that falls under Canada's $27 million, five-year Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP).
Thank you to our 2017 CFGA Conference sponsors
Message from New Holland
Advantages of flail conditioning
Grasses are difficult to condition with rolls because it is almost impossible to achieve a small enough roll clearance to crush the fine stems and leaves of most grasses. The flail tine design delivers more effective conditioning of difficult-to-crimp grass crops by stripping wax from the plant's cuticle layer. It also offers a lower cost solution that works well in high moisture and silage applications.
Doing business with China
Established in 1921, Wilbur-Ellis is an international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. One of the many facets of the business is the forage export business and Wilbur-Ellis has been exporting forages in Canada since 1991.In 2014, China imported close to 884,000 metric tonnes of alfalfa. By 2016, imports had increased to more than 1.46 million metric tonnes. There are opportunities for forage producers in China.

During his presentation at the 8th Annual CFGA Conference in November, Robert Watson, general manager of Alta-Agricorp, a joint venture of the genetics company Alta Genetics in China, spoke about their experience of doing business in China.

Watson offered these five tips for pursuing opportunities in China:

1. Culture
When visiting China, be respectful. You are not expected to know all of the customs on your first visit, but make an effort. "China is a very forgiving culture," said Watson. "As long as you're doing things with respect, and you're listening to people and you ask lots of questions, they will embrace you, and they will welcome you. They are wonderful hosts."

When Chinese delegations visit Canada, be a good host. "Don't just drop them off at the hotel when the meeting is over," said Watson. "Communicate with them, find out what they're interested in and make arrangements for them to do all that kind of stuff."

2. Partner selection
Local representation is extremely important when you start looking at who to partner with. Relationships are extremely important so make sure your goals are aligned, that you move at a speed you are comfortable with and do not feel pressured, that you do your due diligence and that you look at all of the opportunities available to you.

3. Customer loyalty
Customer loyalty can be a big challenge in China. There are very large dairies in China with multiple sites that rarely source product from a single provider. "We find it can be a challenge no matter how much service you give those big customers, no matter what good a job you do with them, to get them to work exclusively with you," said Watson.

4. Negotiating
Negotiations will be tough. "Some of these big customers do tenders every year, which also gets into lower costs, and lower cost supplies," said Watson. "But then, I've also seen cases where you're asked to bid on a very large amount and in the end, you end up supplying a very small amount at the same price you would have suppled the big quantity before."

5. Access resources
The embassies can be very helpful to introduce you to potential partners and to facilitate business contacts in China. Make sure you use those resources, Watson advised.

You can view Watson's Powerpoint presentation on the CFGA website.
Pollinator of Year 2017
Ontario farmer wins Pollinator Conservation Award
Antony John of Soiled Reputation in Sebringville, Ont., near Stratford, is the 2017 recipient of the Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award.
John has built his entire farm on the principles of fostering biodiversity. The farm includes a 200-acre meadow that is home to over 200 beehives, 30-foot buffer strips seeded with legumes that flower around a 40-acre field and huge flower gardens and plantings interspersed through crops to provide pollen and nectar. These, and other aspects of the farm, support habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators which are critical elements of agriculture and local ecosystems.
The Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award recognizes an individual or family in the Canadian farm and ranch community who has contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation on either working or wild lands. It is awarded annually by the CFGA in conjunction with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and the international Pollinator Partnership (P2). Through this program, CFA, P2 and CFGA encourage stewardship and knowledge sharing that can inspire even more producers to initiate similar projects.
Saskatchewan Forage Council 
By Terry Kowalchuk, MSc., PAg.,Provincial Specialist, Forage Crops

Despite record dry conditions in southern Saskatchewan, excellent 2017 spring soil moisture reserves helped produce average hay yields with excellent quality. Unfortunately the dry conditions have persisted and most of the province needs precipitation in order to replenish water supplies and restore pastures and hay fields.  Localized feed shortages have been reported; however in many cases carryover of low quality feed from 2016 has been combined with higher quality 2017 forage to sustain herds.
Despite the drought threat, the forage and livestock sectors in Saskatchewan continue to be optimistic about the future. The  Livestock and Forage Center of Excellence  at the University of Saskatchewan is set to open this summer and stakeholders are excited about the possibilities that the centre will afford. The centre will integrate researchers from three separate departments under one structure.
Forage research continues to experience a resurgence both at the provincial and federal level with new positions at the U of S and AAFC-Swift Current. Much of the focus is on improving varieties of legumes and grasses. Improvements in forage utilization, forage agronomy, forage seed production and forage seed agronomy are also being explored.
In the meantime, the Saskatchewan Forage Council  continues to collaborate with various partners to promote the forage sector within the province through field days, tours, workshops and other extension events. Field demonstration projects are a key part of this effort and SFC will continue to demonstrate forage variety performance, forage agronomy and invasive species control this summer.
With so much going on and so many groups involved in the forage sector, communications is always a challenge. This fall, the Advisory Meeting on Forage Crops in Saskatchewan brought researchers, forage specialists and agrologists, and industry representatives together for the annual discussion about the who, what, where, why, when and how of forages in Saskatchewan.  The meeting provides an opportunity for research updates and sets the stage for development of new forage research and extension activities.  
With a little help from Mother Nature in the form of a timely three or four day soaking rain (is that asking too much??), we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead!
Upcoming events
Feb. 6-8:  Western Canada Feedlot Management School Regina, Sask.  More info.

Feb. 9:  MFGA AGM, V ictoria Inn, Brandon, Man. More info.

Feb. 9-11:  Saskatchewan Ranch Management Forum,  Moose Jaw, Sask.  More info: Agriculture Knowledge Centre, 1-866-457-2377

Feb. 20: Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiative's Vaccines and Immunology Workshop, Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives' Bookdale Research Farm. Tickets and details.

March 6: Alberta Forage Industry Network AGM, Leduc, Alta.  More info.

March 13:  Ontario Forage Council  Profitable Pastures Conference,  Mount Forest, Ont. and at remote locations. More info.

April 4-5:  Canadian Dairy XPO Stratford, Ont. More info.  

April 4-5:  Milk Maker Forage Competition  Winning Samples,  Hosted at the Canadian Dairy XPO Closed for entries, but the Ontario Forage Council encourages you to come see the winning samples.

More event listings: