MFGA eBulletin - August 2017
From the Desk of MFGA Executive Director
    Hello August! Like most of us in the forage and grassland world, I'm super keen to learn more about the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) signed by the federal and provincial government agricultural departments a few weeks back. I look forward to sharing MFGA's plans and intentions as those become clearer. In the meantime, as we wait for more details on CAP, let's chat some social media. We run two twitter accounts here at Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association:  @mbforages - which is our main account - and @mfgaAquantyARB which we use to support our MFGA Aquanty Project, a HydroGeoSphere model to examine the role of forages and grasslands in times of flood and drought ahead in the Assiniboine River Basin. I also run my own private twitter account (mostly Winnipeg-centric sports orientated) and have access to the Manitoba Beef and Forages Initiative research farm's account   @MBBeefandForage
   We have Facebook and Instagram engaged alongside the various above twitter accounts, however, my bit today will focus on what I believe is a true juggernaut of information from within the agricultural twitter timelines. If Facebook is thought of as a coffee shop where you can leisurely show your fave photos to your families, ag twitter is the rattatatat of sauntering up to the crowded bar at your local social hall for a cold soda and all the back and forth that often goes with that. Quick, fast, funny, and heartfelt exchanges with various takes on crops, weather, equipment, markets and trends. News is immediate, and farm family catch-up with neighbours are interspersed with old and new jokes that can make you howl and shake your head depending on subject matter. Of course there are personal agendas, sales pitches and believer-beware at every social gathering and ag twitter is no different. If you believe everything you hear or read, well, we all know how that ends up. 
   More and more, I find myself impressed by the quality of information on the timelines of the agriculture twitter accounts we work or follow. If I want to learn, there are numerous accounts that I trust implicitly. By and large, these accounts have the right information at the right time aimed at the right people and delivered by the right people. And it's not just communications companies or media outlets. These are ag producers and ag leaders saying what's on their mind, how they do things and why. For that, ag community, we are very grateful. After all, we're all in this great big social hall we call Ag Life together so we might as well enjoy the twitter together too. 
Muchos Grasses and best success on Harvest 2017,
Duncan Morrison 
MFGA Executive Director   
Manitoba signs onto 5-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership 
Agricultural Policy Framework Reached Today At Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Agriculture Ministers
The Manitoba government has signed onto the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which sets out a new five-year agricultural policy framework beginning in April 2018, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced on July 21, 2017. "Our government is pleased to enter this new agreement and we look forward to the anticipated growth and advancement of agriculture in Manitoba as a result of this continued partnership," said Eichler. "The Canadian Agricultural Partnership will strengthen Canada's position as a leader in the global economy and greatly enhance opportunities for the sector in our province."
   Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association was involved in the series of consultations held by Manitoba Agriculture leading up to the signatures in Newfoundland. 
   "MFGA enjoys tremendous relationships with both the federal and the provincial governments and will continue to seek positive partnerships with both on behalf of Manitoba's forage and grassland producers and the vast fields we farm," said Dave Koslowsky, MFGA Chair. "Our first look is we are very encouraged by the CAP and the potential for forages and grasslands to play a prominent role in the next five years and will be learning as much as we can as to how we can help that happen in the near future." Watch for more MFGA information on this front soon.  
Read the full press release.
Hay and Oats: Rock stars of Manitoba's Pollinator Conservation
Flowering habitat for pollinators bolstered as General Mills Cheerios Program works Manitoba buzz
Winnipeg, Mb (Aug 3, 2017) -- An international General Mills Cheerios program that provides free flower seed for prairie producers to bring back the pollinators has hit the hay and oat fields of Manitoba. And, project leaders say, they're looking for more growers and more fields.  "
   We want to conserve wild bees and butterflies," says Jim Eckberg, plant ecologist/agronomist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, who is leading the program with General Mills. "Primarily, we are targeting oat growers for uptake on our program. Oats are a major ingredient of Cheerios and this initiative aims to bring back pollinators to farms growing oats. We also are looking for other conservation-minded Manitoba producers who want diverse crop rotations and conservation practices on their farm and are willing to plant wildflowers and-or flowering forage mixtures. Those attributes would seem to be a good fit with many of the forage and oat producers in Manitoba and we hope to hear from those who might be interested."  Read the full media release.

General Mills Cheerios is providing free flower seed for farmers to bring back the pollinators. Do you have crops such as canola that rely on bees and other insects for pollination? You can create flowering habitat on your farm to support pollinators, improve soil health, and boost yields of flowering crops.     

Full flyer details found here.               

To participate, please contact:
Agronomists Tom Rabaey, General Mills Inc., at:; or Jim Eckberg, Xerces Society, at:, 1 651 491 8504.

MFGA In the News.... 
MFGA Aquanty tour attendees make a stop at one of several water control structures in the Assiniboine-Birdtail Watershed on June 21. The watershed was the focus of some of the first scenarios run through the MFGA Aquanty hydrological model.  Photo_ Alexis Stockford

Range & Pasture Health Assessment Tour & Field Workshop held
Mae Elsinger, AAFC and MFGA Board Member, digs in for soil sample as part of the
Manitoba Range and Pasture Health Assessment Guide workshop's tour stop at the
Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiative's Johnson Pasture near Brandon.

Mae Elsinger, Rangeland Biologist, Ag Ecology Unit - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Brandon and MFGA Board Member, led a Manitoba Range and Pasture Health Assessment Guide workshop in Brandon and toured nearby areas on July 19 and 20 to aid in the development of a Range and Pasture Health Assessment Method for Manitoba. Elsinger and co-project and AAFC colleague Kerry LaForge from Swift Current, Sk. organized and hosted the workshop with support from Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association and Growing Forward 2. When this assessment method is finalized, Manitoba landowners and land managers will have a set of indicators they can use to assess the ability of rangeland or pasture to support ecological functions and processes. These processes support a wide variety of goods and services (EG&S) such as grazing, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, carbon capture, and water retention and filtering. Stakeholders from a number of government and private organizations joined the workshop, including Manitoba Agriculture, Manitoba Sustainable Development, Nature Conservancy, Bird Studies Canada, and Association of Manitoba Community Pastures. The first draft Manitoba Range and Pasture Health Workbook is to be completed this October, along with a companion plant community description for the Aspen Parkland Ecoregion of Manitoba, and maps showing the most likely ecosites for a location.
   View the classification of Agri-Manitoba's rangeland ecoregions and ecosites on the 
MFGA website.
August Hay Situation & Price Update
Most areas of the Province are reporting excellent haying conditions, allowing for good quality hay to be put up and the completion of second cut alfalfa where first cut was taken early. For highlights of the current hay situation as well as hay prices, read on...
Important MASC dates for forage producers
Make note of these upcoming important MASC dates for Manitoba's forage producers. 
August 15 - Carryover Production: You must notify MASC prior to harvest (or August 15, whichever is earlier) if you have any Carryover Production. Failure to declare by this date may result in your carryover production being included with production from the current crop year, which could negatively impact any potential claim. 
September 30 - Harvested Production Report & Claim: Deadline to file your Harvested Production Report and to register a claim for Forage Restoration, Select Hay Insurance, Basic Hay Insurance, the Enhanced Quality Option (alfalfa), the Harvest Flood Option and Greenfeed. Claims filed under one of these programs after September 30 (but before the program's final deadline date) will be assessed a late filing fee of 25% of the indemnity owed (maximum $1,000). Claims initiated after the program's final deadline will not be accepted. 
Is It Time to Replace Your Alfalfa Stand? 
The winter of 2016-17 was hard on many of the alfalfa stands in Manitoba. Although we had adequate snow cover on most fields, rains and warm weather in January and February caused a lot of damage. As spring greened up, some producers across the province realized there was extensive damage to the alfalfa. In some cases, those fields were worked down and seeded to annual forages or grain crops. In others, the degree of damage wasn't as evident and the decision to terminate the stand wasn't as obvious. Some of the alfalfa plants that managed to survive the harsh conditions are now showing accumulated effects of that conditional stress. Add in the stress from harvest, plus any insect damage or leaf diseases, plants that were old or weak starting out this spring may simply have too much root disease to keep going. Have you taken a good look at your alfalfa stands lately? It may be time to replace them. Read on...
Bales left in the field can be costly 

In late summer, many hay bales are often left standing scattered among harvested fields across the province. While this may make the fields more scenic on a cross-country drive, there is a cost to leaving hay on the field longer than necessary. And while it's convenient to leave bales in the field after the final cut of the year, delaying removal can be harmful and cost future yields when more harvests are expected. Read on...
Producer Events
MBFI Brookdale Summer Pasture Tour -  Aug 30, 2017 at the MBFI Brookdale Site
The annual pasture tour is back and packed with information you need to manage your cattle operation! Among the topics to be discussed: * measuring animal performance, forage productivity and soil health using two different grazing practices * assessing riparian areas * demonstrating two shelterbelt designs including an Eco-Buffer * comparing different seed mixes for pollinator habitat * using different phosphorus application rates to improve alfalfa profitability and produce a higher quality protein feedstuff * measuring forage quality and growth characteristics of four high energy dense forages * dealing with the effects of extreme drought. Cost: $25 (lunch incl)
Must pre-register by Aug 28: (204) 726-6482.
Manitoba Youth Beef Roundup -  Aug 4-5, 2017 in Neepawa, MB
Held at the beautiful Plains Ag Society, any young cattle producers under the age of 25 as of January 1, 2017 and either a commercial, purebred, 4-H or new junior, you are all welcome to attend. Contact: Lois,, 204-728-3058.
Feeding Sheep: Seminar & Field Tour -  Aug 10, 2017 in Rivers, MB
Plan to attend this event, running 9:30am until 4pm, and held at the Royal Canadian Legion, 633-2nd Ave. Cost is $40 each.
This "Reducing Tillage, Recycling P and Recovering Soil Structure" theme will feature soils around Portage la Prairie and MacGregor. Highlights include P recovery at the Portage Water Pollution Control Facility, soil management practices for vegetable crops, measuring soil improvement with cover crops and strip tillage for row crops. Test your soil knowledge at 3 soil pits with a "pit crew" to win prizes. Advance registration required ($85/person; students $55 until Aug. 3) and includes lunch.
Manitoba Open Farm Day - Sept 17, 2017 on farms across Manitoba!
Mark your calendars for Open Farm Day 2017! Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies (MAAS) is pleased to announce 47 host farms/sites are participating this year, 13 of which are new, including two grass fed beef farms, Mb Beef Forages Initiative, Farmery Estate Brewery, the La Salle River Conservation District and Nature Conservancy of Canada promoting water and land management with producers, a honey farm, Roland 4-H museum, an Ag Society, another sheep farm, chicken producers, and ag tourism businesses. Returning host sites include dairy farms, sheep farms, beef farms, ag tourism businesses, ag museums, walking tour of ag businesses in Winnipeg hosted by KAP and many others. Don't miss this event!
8th Annual CFGA Conference  -  Nov 14-16, 2017 in Guelph, ON
Anyone who has a stake in the Canadian forage industry will not want to miss this year's conference to: learn about new forage practices; network with colleagues; discover new research on forage and grasslands and how to improve environmental practices. Check out who the speakers are at this year's event  - more info here.
Manitoba Sheep Association's AGM - Nov 18, 2017 in Portage la Prairie, MB
Mark your calendars and watch for further details.
Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing -  Dec 5-7, 2017 in Edmonton, AB 
Save the date for two great conferences in one! The Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing theme will be Profit Above, Wealth Below. Speakers includes soil health practitioner Gabe Brown, Richard Teague, Jim Gerrish, Dr. Allen Williams and more! Learn more. 
MBFI Extensive Winter Grazing Tour  -  Dec 7, 2017 - time and date  tentative
Want to finds ways to extend your grazing season? Come out to our extensive winter grazing tour to see different methods to extend your grazing season like, swath grazing, standing corn grazing, bale grazing, etc. Time and date are tentative. Await a flyer with more details!
Manitoba Ag Days - Jan 16-18, 2017 in Brandon, MB 
The Manitoba Ag Days show, held at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, is an exposition of agricultural production expertise, technology, and equipment that attracts exhibitors and visitors from across Canada and the United States of America.
For $50/year, Producer Support Helps MFGA Make a Difference.
To learn more, go here!




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