News from the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association
CFGA Quarterly Newsletter
Autumn 2018
Greetings from CFGA Chairperson, Ray Robertson
As we near the end of the 2018 growing season and begin preparing our fields for winter, I encourage everyone to make time to attend the 9th Annual CFGA Conference in Calgary Nov. 14 to 15.  As our national forage association's conference, it is the must-attend event for anyone involved in forage production.
Here are my top four reasons why you need to register today:
  1. To learn: This year's CFGA Conference theme is Foundation Forage: Built from the Ground Up and includes an amazing line-up of speakers who will talk, teach and share their expertise on a wide range of topics that will set the stage for producers to plan, seed, feed, graze, harvest and evaluate their valuable forage and grassland.
  2. To network: The CFGA Conference brings together forage producers as well as leading forage and grassland experts from across Canada and North America to discuss key issues facing the industry.
  3. To celebrate: The Canadian forage sector is the largest land-use type in agriculture and covers 72 million acres coast to coast to coast. The forage sector generates an annual value of $5.09-billion, is the back bone of the ruminant livestock sector and serves an increasingly important role in feeding livestock around the world.
  4. To connect and share: It is an excellent opportunity to meet other producers and share the positive actions that work on their farms, build sustainable operations and contribute to healthy and environmentally friendly communities.
Don't miss this opportunity to learn about new forage practices, network with colleagues and discover new research on forage and grasslands and how to improve environmental practices. 
You can learn more about this year's conference in this newsletter as well as by visiting the conference website.

Update: CFGA's 9th Annual Conference
The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA), in conjunction with the Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN), is pleased to host its 9th annual conference in Calgary, Alta., Nov. 14 to 15, 2018.
Registration is open for this exciting annual event which will highlight how the Canadian forage and grassland sector is a critical foundation for sustainable growth and development throughout the Canadian agricultural industry.
This year's theme is Foundation Forage: Built from the Ground Up, recognizing the importance of a complete forage cropping system, from soil health through to export opportunities. This newsletter includes details about the pre-conference tour as well as some of the exciting speakers. Additional details, and a complete program, can be found on the CFGA conference website .
Conference spotlight
Get  into the field on the pre-conference tour
The CFGA pre-conference bus tour on Tuesday, Nov. 13, is the perfect opportunity for hands-on learning to see how industry leaders in Alberta are making the most of their forage and grasslands, and how they've faced growing - and harvest - conditions this year. Stops include:
Namaka Farms - a 24,000-head family-owned feedlot located near Strathmore. Namaka Farms also operates grain farms in both Alberta and near Outlook, Sask., and runs cow-calf operations. Owned by Bryan Theisen, Namaka Farms was recently selected to be mentored as part of the 2018-2019 Beef Researcher Mentorship program. The program pairs researchers with beef industry leaders in order for researchers to better understand the impacts, practicalities and economics of adopting research results.
Arrowwood Hutterite Colony - is located near Blackie, approximately 100 kilometres southeast of Calgary. They operate AW Quality Meat Processing, and produce grain, run a cow-calf operation and feedlot, raise hogs and operate a provincially inspected slaughter plant. AW Quality Meat Processing describes itself as a small, family-run butcher shop featuring hormone-free, chemical-free, quality meats and free-range chickens, triple A Angus beef and pork.
Waldron Grazing Co-op - is the largest deeded block of land on the eastern slopes of Alberta. South of the picturesque community of Longview between the Whaleback and the Porcupine Hills, the Waldron Grazing Co-op continues to enjoy an interesting, evolving history. One of the largest co-operative land purchase deals in Alberta's history, the co-op was established in 1962 when 116 southern Alberta ranchers signed over $1 million for 44,000 acres of foothills grazing land. The premise behind the original deal, still valid today, saw ranchers purchase shares in the co-op which gave them the right to bring their cattle to the Waldron Ranch area to graze. Waldron Ranch land is comprised primarily of native grass, which holds food value through the winter. Less than one per cent of Alberta's land remains as native grassland.
Registration for the day-long tour is $100 and includes lunch. Click here for a complete schedule and to register for this unique and exciting tour of Alberta's grasslands.
Conference speaker spotlight
Conference presenter, Karen Haugen-Kozyra, to speak on making carbon work for grassland producers 
by Trudy Kelly-Forsythe
Karen Haugen-Kozyra , president of the environmental consulting firm Viresco Solutions Inc. in Alberta, is one of the speakers scheduled to speak at the CFGA's 9th annual conference in Calgary, Alta. Nov. 14 to 15. During her presentation, the Current State of Protocol Development in Canada, Haugen-Kozyra will help producers understand the opportunity of avoided grassland conversion.
"Quantifying the carbon stored in Canada's grassland systems is within the realm of the National Emissions Inventory," says Haugen-Kozyra, explaining an Avoided Conversion of Grassland protocol was being adapted into the Ontario-Quebec Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade system and is 80 per cent developed for a pan-Canadian protocol, based on the Climate Action Reserve's protocol. "We have the science."
The CFGA and Viresco Solutions have picked up the charge and are continuing to develop this protocol for use across Canada with funding from the Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Program and Viresco.
"With proper investment offered by a carbon price signal, it's estimated that nearly 16 Mt CO2e could be retained in the soil, and thereby avoiding release, by 2030 across Canada," says Haugen-Kozyra. "The opportunity we are speaking of - avoided grassland conversion - acknowledges the carbon stored to date."
However, to qualify, a ranch needs to meet the following eligibility criteria:
  1. Are the lands on the ranch classified as CLI 1 to 4 (Land Suitability Rating of 1-5)
  2. Are the lands under financial pressure to convert (based on a real estate appraisal of the land being used for pasture versus the land being used for cropping)
"If these two criteria are met, then the ranch is eligible to participate," she says, stressing this may not work for everyone depending on the type of lands being managed. "Then, in order to provide assurance to the buyers of carbon that the land will remain in grassland or pasture, some kind of agreement will need to be in place."
She also stresses that this will take time. "We are testing the market for the appetite to voluntarily participate in the demand side (i.e. buyers of carbon) but it may be the buyers would prefer to have the protocol approved by the Government of Alberta for the regulated marketplace."
Other conference presenters
- Dr. Henry Janzen, soil biochemist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Dr. Janzen focuses his research on the cycles of carbon and nitrogen in agricultural ecosystems, with emphasis on conferring resilience, maintaining productivity and reducing nutrient losses to adjacent environments. Much of his research considers influences of land management on gradual changes in soil organic matter, as measured in long-term experiments established decades ago.
- Dr. Earl Creech, associate professor and extension agronomist, Utah State University, is an expert in critical agronomic issues facing farmers and ranchers in Utah and throughout the western U.S.. He'll bring this knowledge to the CFGA conference and present ideas and lessons-learned applicable to Canadian producers.
- Dr. Cameron Carlyle, assistant professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, is focused on ecosystem goods and services in rangelands, including the effects of agricultural land-use and cattle grazing on carbon storage and sequestration, forage production and biodiversity.
- Paul Pryce, political and economic adviser to the Consul General of Japan, Calgary. In his role as political and economic adviser to the Consul General of Japan, Mr. Pryce drives Japanese trade and investment activity throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. At the 9th Annual CFGA Conference in Calgary, he'll discuss forage trade opportunities with Japan.
- Kimberly Cornish, director, Food Water Wellness Foundation/Rootstock. Ms.
Cornish leads the Food Water Wellness Foundation to advance agricultural practices that are environmentally regenerative. She'll discuss the focus of her work, which is to find a cost-effective way to measure and monitor soil carbon sequestration.
Click  here   to view biographies of all speakers at this year's CFGA conference. 
Provincial organization update
Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Assoc.
Measure your forage production practices
by Andrew Graham, OSCIA executive director
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) invites forage growers who are seeking information on how to refine production practices, optimize profits and safeguard the environment to take a serious look at the Forage Masters Self-Assessment.
"Improving soil health is a major focus of this organization and there is no better way to build soil organic carbon than a well-managed perennial crop," says Mack Emiry, dairy farmer and past president of OSCIA.
OSCIA led the development of the self-assessment a couple of years ago and hired popular farm journalist Ray Ford, a forage producer himself, to author it. Technical scrutiny was generously provided by government extension and industry experts to ensure accuracy.
"We took a page from the highly successful Environmental Farm Plan when deciding on a format for the document," says Don Oliver, OSCIA director and a member of the project team. "The Forage Master Self-Assessment allows growers to choose the statement for each question that best reflects current management and offers best practices to encourage where they should be headed to boost productivity and forage quality."
Choices range from Best, to Good, to Needs Improvement. There are 45 questions in all covering the agronomics of growing, harvesting, storage, feeding and ensiling. Participants only answer questions that apply to their operation. All types of forage growers stand to benefit.
Harold Zettler, a beef feedlot and sheep producer in the Georgian Central Region, described the self-assessment as "a superior full-picture product." He called the approach "an excellent resource for the farm, allowing users to measure against a standard."
Doug Johnston, a Perth County dairy producer with winning production formulas for superior growing, harvest and storage of forages says, "It is a tool that challenges us and helps the next generation understand why we follow certain practices."
The self-assessment can be downloaded from the OSCIA website.
Get ahead of the crowd with a forage production strategy
by Trudy Kelly Forsythe
New Brunswick has dealt with drought in some areas of the province for the last five years. That's a challenge for cattle producers since dry conditions often lead to feed shortages. To help mitigate the challenges, it's important to have a forage production strategy following a drought year, or years.
"We have seen that the most proactive farmers are the ones that will get through this crisis in a better position because they are in front of the crowd," says Robert Berthiaume, the forages and dairy production expert with Valacta in Quebec.
This means being the first to locate and buy hay if necessary and having an accurate assessment of the feeding quality of their forage inventory so they can make informed decisions as to what type of emergency feed to buy.
It also means starting an action plan during the dry spell. For example, says Berthiaume, they will seed winter cereals, such as wheat, triticale or rye, in the fall. This will provide a much needed supply of high quality forages early in the following spring.
"In summary, a plan based on an accurate assessment of the situation is essential," he says.
Top three tips
Berthiaume offers the following top three tips to cattle producers for developing a forage production strategy following a drought year:  
  1. Based on herd size and structure, determine your forage requirements in terms of quantity and quality.
  2. Assess your inventory and take samples to determine quality. Check you crop rotation and make necessary changes.
  3. Allocate forages to match animal requirements; if it does not match, be proactive. Either buy forages or by products or whatever is suitable for your situation.
More info
Berthiaume says while there is a lot of information online by simply searching "drought," the best information will come from an accurate forage inventory.
"This will require weighing some bales, for example, and taking samples," says Berthiaume. "Do this early to be ahead of the crowd!"
This article first appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of the New Brunswick Cattle Producers newsletter. Reprinted with permission.
Mapleseed Pasture Award deadline Nov. 30
The Beef Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Sheep Farmers, Mapleseed and the Ontario Forage Council are accepting nominations for a deserving producer for the Mapleseed Pasture Award.
The Mapleseed Pasture Award is an excellent opportunity to recognize individual producers who are doing an outstanding job of pasture management. It is also a way to encourage producers to implement pasture management strategies that maximize production per acre.
For each category, Mapleseed contributes a cash award of $500 to the winner and $250 to cover their accommodation to attend the Beef Farmers of Ontario/Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency AGM. The winner of each category will also be invited to share a presentation about their operation at their respective commodity AGM.
In addition to these prizes and recognition, each winner will receive a 25 kilogram bag of their choice of a Mapleseed Forage Mix.
The deadline to submit applications for the beef pasture award is Nov. 30, 2018. More info, and registration forms, on the OFC website  
Milk Maker Forage Competition deadline Jan. 25
The Ontario Forage Council partners with the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Dairy XPO to hold the Milk Maker Forage Competition each year. The competition is open to dairy farmers across Canada and includes classes in hay, haylage, baleage and corn silage. Producers must submit forage samples to a lab for visual analysis to compete.
There are six $500 first place prizes and prizes of $300 and $200 for second and third place winners.
Call 1-877-892-8663, or e-mail, for questions. The entry form and rules and regulations are available on the OFC website.
The 2019 submission deadline is Jan. 25, 2019.
Upcoming events
Nov. 14: MFGA's  Intercropping Workshop;  Brandon, Man.
Nov 26, 2018: MFGA AGM; held in conjunction with the Regenerative Agriculture Conference; Brandon, Man. 
Nov 27, 28: MFGA's Regenerative Agriculture Conference; Brandon, Man.
Dec. 5: Saskatchewan Forage Council ADOPT Field Day; Clavet, SK 
Dec. 6:  Forage Focus 2018; Stratford, Ont. 
Jan 14 to 18, 2019: Beef & Forage Week; in communities across Manitoba 
Jan 22 to 24, 2019: Manitoba Ag Days; Brandon, Man. 
Feb. 5 to 6, 2019: Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) Annual Conference; Kingston, Ont. 
Feb. 19 to 21, 2019: Prairie Conservation & Endangered Species Conference; Winnipeg, Man. 
Feb. 24 to March 16, 2019:  Agriculture Tour: New Zealand
March 5 to 19, 2019: Agriculture Tour: Argentina
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