MFGA eBulletin - September 2017
From the Desk of MFGA Executive Director - Grass is the Word!
    When it comes to solutions and wise land use decisions, it seems everyone is eyeballing our province's and our producers' grass. And, rightfully so. 
   For those that believe grass has deserved greater sunshine all along, this is awesome. On top of that, all the attention on grass, soil and water is putting Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association (MFGA) into exciting conversations, proposals, partnerships and action plans on behalf of the Manitoba producers we represent with government leaders, policy authors, other producer groups and conservation interests. We also really appreciate the support that we receive from the groups listed below on this e-blast newsletter and consider our MFGA roster of supporters as solid evidence of the wingspan of our work and the very-appreciated commitment of our Supporters. Please do support them as they support us. MFGA is a forward-thinking agriculture producer-led group whose members and supporters have grown forage crops and safeguarded our prairie grasslands often in multi-generational farming operations on Manitoba's ag lands for decades. Our producers lean naturally toward natural solutions-they are the ones that have grass and water on their aggregate lands -- and MFGA is well-positioned in all these grass-focused dialogues and producer opportunities, especially as we barrel into the next Canadian Agriculture Partnership window that is open right now. 
   Our current showpiece is the MFGA Aquanty Project: A leading-edge HydroGeoSphere (HGS) Model primarily funded by an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) Program - Research and Development Stream and Manitoba Agriculture that is being developed by the globally-renowned Aquanty Inc software firm from Waterloo, Ontario as a flood and drought decision-support tool across the Assiniboine River Basin. The MFGA Aquanty model is right on schedule to be ready for April 2018 launch at which time user groups and land managers will be able to work through MFGA to access the model and simulate how forages and grasslands can be critical components of wise land use decisions for times of flood or drought ahead. Our MFGA Aquanty project scientists, experts, management team and steering committee have been engaged collaboratively as our project develops. The MFGA team leading this project has proven nimble and effective. Decisions are made quickly and dialogues are in-step with the developing technology and the knowledge coming available within the accelerated timeframe to pull the strongest project together. 
   With the HGS focus on how water moves across the land surface and through soil and subsurface geological materials via five HGS models that Aquanty is building as part of the project, MFGA and our project team are mapping out user groups, cost and model scenarios and access details. ISM, an IBM company out of Regina, is designing the dashboards and GIS-based public interface components of the model. The MFGA Aquanty model will be a world-class product that provides tangible world-class decision-support solutions for a world-class agricultural region. We will work within the existing fabric, leader groups and jurisdictions of the region and we do readily admit we need to make stronger inroads and connections with our basin-mates in Saskatchewan and North Dakota on our model outreach. We are working closely with our project partners and their networks to do so. 
   Here in Manitoba, our provincial government has recently put out a much-appreciated call-out for input on three recently announced public consultations around land use, water management and ecological goods and services. We urge all Manitobans-especially our MFGA types-- to take part. This consultation is in addition to the Province of Manitoba's development of a Made-In-Manitoba carbon plan and Manitoba Agriculture's focus on our livestock herds, all of which are sure to include deliberate dialogues and design around forages, grasslands and healthy soils to bring the greatest outcomes to Manitoba. In fact, our MFGA work, the MFGA Aquanty model, our strong network of government and non-government agencies, and, most importantly, the Manitoba producers and their forage crops and grasslands we champion are extremely well-positioned to help our province achieve - and ultimately celebrate- Manitoba's ambitious homegrown goals for all Manitobans. 
   Like the vast tracts of agriculture lands our MFGA producers work every day, our MFGA work and partnerships, our MFGA Aquanty Project, and your continued support will help us all have greater, grassier days ahead in our near future.  
Muchos Grasses all,
Duncan Morrison , 
MFGA Executive Director   
MFGA In the News.... 
Mb Agriculture forage and pasture specialist Jane Thornton is training a few dozen head of cattle to develop a taste for leafy spurge along the outskirts of Brandon, Man. as part of an experiment being coordinated by MBFI (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

- Cattle cowed into munching nasty weed that's taking over Manitoba pastures - Leafy spurge covers more than 400,000 hectares of pasture in Manitoba at estimated annual cost of $40M. This experiment is being coordinated by MBFI and partners. 
Producers explore the ABCs of do-it-yourself soil health tests - The MBFI has a few ways of determining potential problems that have nothing to do with a lab
Manitoba counts the cost of dry conditions on hay harvest - Hayfields and pastures have welcomed early August rains, but some regions are still in need of moisture, including central Manitoba
September Hay Situation & Price Update
As we move into September, most areas of the Province are reporting excellent haying conditions and in some areas 2nd cut alfalfa is complete with 3rd cut progressing well where possible.  Read the full Update.
Dairy Farmers of Manitoba Invests in Dairy Industry Research 
Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (DFM) have made a substantial investment in University of Manitoba's Glenlea Research Station dairy barn. Funding from DFM and the governments of Canada and Manitoba will allow expansion of the dairy facility and installation of a new automated milking system, free stalls for dairy cattle, dedicated spaces for calves, milk collection tanks, above-ground manure storage, new flooring and related laboratory equipment. DFM are a long-time supporter of MFGA and we congratulate them on this exciting news.  

Open Farm Day on September 17 Starts the Fall Right
There are 47 host farms/sites participating this year, 13 of which are new, including two grass fed beef operations - Mb Beef & Forage Initiatives and Circle H Farms on the outskirts of Brandon. Much has been printed here around how proud and enthused MFGA is to be a core partner in the MBFI, Circle H Farms is a forage-only livestock operation and the site of a 2015 tour funded by the federal government's Commission of Environmental Cooperation (CEC) as part of an agreement with the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) to implement and promote ranch-level beneficial management practices (BMPs) that improve environmental sustainability of livestock production on ranches and bring concurrent economic and biodiversity benefits. Circle H Farms is also MFGA Board Member Kristelle Harper's family farm. Both are worth a visit! Other new sites include the award-winning Nerbas Bros Angus Farms at Shellmouth, MB and many others. Details found on the Open Farm Day website  or "Like them" on their  Facebook page from now until September 17, 2017.
REMEMBER! MASC Harvested Production Report Due Sept 30
The 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 is September 30. 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. 
When to Take the Last Alfalfa Cutting
We're into September and it's time to decide when or if to take the last cutting of alfalfa. Presently, all of Manitoba is in what's commonly known as the Critical Harvest Period (CHP) - 3rd week of August to end of September - when it's not recommended to cut alfalfa. During this period, the alfalfa is in the process of storing sugars in the roots for winter survival and to ensure enough energy for a good start in the spring. Harvesting alfalfa in the last 4-6 weeks of the growing period has been associated with reduced yields and stand longevity. Typically, alfalfa requires 6 weeks or 450 Growing Degree Days (GDD) to accumulate root reserves, initiate crown buds and develop cold hardiness necessary to withstand normal winter temperatures. Read on ...
Bale Wrapping 
Bale wrapping is something many producers look at when trying to get that first cut off in the spring/early summer and Mother Nature isn't cooperating. It can also be a good option when getting hay to dry down in late September or early October. Some of the factors that increase the appeal of baleage technology are:
- high-quality harvested forage with diminished curing time in the field
- Decreased storage losses when compared to traditional hay stored outside.
- Round bale silage can greatly improve the timeliness and quality of harvest.
- Baled silage is often higher in quality than similar hay because of reduced leaf loss in legumes, shorter curing time, reduced spontaneous heating and less weather exposure in silage.  Read the full article.
MB Farm Safety Program offers Training, Tools, Tips for Producers 
Training - Through a partnership with St. John Ambulance, the Manitoba Farm Safety Program offers first aid training courses geared specifically towards farm related risks. The two-day courses will cost $145 per person (no GST) and can take place in your region. Producer groups are encouraged to register. Details here.
Tool - St. John's ambulance is selling automatic external defibrillators, which can respond to heart attacks, for $1,295. Call Keith at the Manitoba Farm Safety Program for more information: (204) 293-9646.  
Safety Tip -  Workplace Safety and Health Officers recently visited a dairy farm and left a number of improvement orders which the producer must comply with. In this case, inspectors were focused on H2S training and equipment. Three things to remember if an officer comes to your farm: 
1. WSH officers have a legal right to access your property and conduct an inspection - you are strongly advised to co-operate.
2. Any directions or improvement orders they leave you with must be responded to.
3. The Manitoba Farm Safety Program is here to help you respond with FREE services. Regardless of the orders given, please call us right away to help you through the response process. We will provide you with the advice, training or specific testing you will need to comply. We can be reached at mbfarmsafe@gmail.com, or by phone at (204) 697-1140.
Volunteers wanted to teach students about agriculture
The Amazing Agriculture Adventure is looking for volunteer agriculture ambassadors to teach students about agriculture on September 19, 20 and 21 near St. Adolphe. The event needs more than 200 volunteers from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day. Volunteers are needed for topics including enviroscapes, wheat grinding, bees, pesticides, farm business, bio-security and commodities. Volunteers don't need to be experts, because they'll get a script and training. Just bring passion and enthusiasm. More information.
Producer Events & News
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. 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 and grassland industries 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 
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 MBFI's 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 will be confirmed - watch for more info!
Manitoba Ag Days - Mark these dates! - 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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