CFGA Quarterly Newsletter
A message from CFGA chairman Chris Martin
I hope everyone had a safe and productive summer. It has certainly been a busy one for the CFGA particularly with the planning of the CFGA Conference, which takes place Nov. 12 to 15 in Moncton, N.B.
During the course of the planning for our 10th annual conference in mid-November in Moncton, we've had the chance to reach out to many agri-businesses seeking their support. It's been a chance to renew partnerships and meet new supporters, all the while strengthening the bridges that bind us together. These relationships are a critically important part of what we do, as they set us up for a team approach to our work with you and for the betterment of the forage and grassland sector in Canada. Please take a moment to acknowledge our sponsors when you do business or when you see them in Moncton at the CFGA conference.
The CFGA is busy developing a Grassland Protocol for Canada as part of the CFGA's Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) that will underlay the foundation of a carbon offset program. You'll have the chance to hear more about this in the near future, so stay tuned.
Communications with our provincial organizations remains a top priority, focused on keeping all our members informed and the lines of communication open. We certainly appreciate hearing from all our membership. Be sure to like our Canadian Forage & Grassland Association Facebook page and follow us in Twitter. Our Twitter feed is also on the CFGA website.
Forage & Grassland Associations: Less Plane Talk, More Plains Talk Please
CFGA's carbon offset protocol development underway for Canada's great northern plains
Earlier this month, the CFGA and Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association issued a joint release to address comments made during the 2019 election campaign that focused on campaign plane usage and carbon offsets.
The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) is currently developing a Grassland Protocol for Canada - including a large segment around the northern great plains - as part of the CFGA's Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) that will underlay the foundation of a carbon offset program to keep these valuable lands intact and globally position the Prairie grasslands as carbon benefactors.
At one time, there were 141.5 million acres of Prairie grasslands across Western Canada. According to the CAR webinar only 26 million acres remain; the balance has largely been converted to annual crop production. Only one per cent of these grasslands are secured under some sort of conservation easement. Cedric MacLeod, CFGA executive director, says the development of the CFGA protocol will make a solid case for the carbon abilities of grasslands while supporting producers.
proAction's biosecurity module launched
The quality milk produced by the Canadian dairy farmers is regarded worldwide as an example of excellence in the industry. Though every step of the supply chain is essential in ensuring this quality, production begins with the farmers.
Canadian dairy farmers have long understood the importance of practices which reduce the spread of infectious diseases on the farm. The impact on animal health, milk quality and farm efficiency is clear, and with ever evolving methods of protecting the health of cattle, many farmers and veterinarians alike have adapted their work to provide the best care possible.
In September of 2019, the proAction® national quality assurance program led by Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), in conjunction with provincial dairy associations, moved a new module, biosecurity, into its required assessments. This critical step made industry standards for biosecure farm practices mandatory, measurable and transparent. This is the latest phase for the proAction initiative which built on the program previously known as Canadian Quality Milk.
The proAction program now has a 99 per cent registration rate (the remaining one per cent includes new farms, farms with late corrective actions required or those afflicted by disasters or major incidents) of Canadian dairy farmers in the rolled out requirements and accountability measures for food safety, animal care and livestock traceability.
The new biosecurity module relates to the practices of preventing, reducing or eliminating the introduction of infectious disease among cattle. These practices include identifying points of entry and spread of disease throughout the farm and implementing methods of sanitation management for cattle, equipment, vehicles and personnel.
Each step is designed to protect cattle health, improve farm efficiency and keep Canadian milk of the highest quality. Examples of these new standards range from appropriate protection such as clean boots or boot covers for guests, biosecurity signage and clear records of diseases on the farm.
In this module, a farm must conduct a Biosecurity Risk Assessment Questionnaire (RAQ) every two years with their herd veterinarian and implement clearly documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) related to biosecurity. These measures provide the data and processes required to demonstrate the level of excellence required by proAction, already attained by many farmers today.
The value of proAction was presented in the 2017-2018 progress report, which showed third-party recognition by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). The report also detailed a high level of compliance with animal care requirements in the first year of validation, proving that most Canadian dairy farmers met the proAction requirements on their first validation assessment, without needing to adjust their practices.
More recently, because of proAction, DFC received recognition by Unilever that the way milk is produced in Canada compares with their robust Sustainable Agriculture Code.
The next and final module of proAction will be the environment component, scheduled to become available for validation by farms in September of 2021.
The status of the Canadian dairy industry as world leader is now provend, and recognized, by the thorough documentation required by proAction, which provides transp
arency for customers such as processors, and demonstrates a measurable commitment to optimization and ongoing improvements by all dairy farmers. Ongoing learning and optimization is essential for proAction, and as the program moves forward, the lessons learned will provide suggestions for continued improvements, solidifying the industry's place as a world leader.
Across the country, several of our partner associations are gearing up for fall and winter events, including our own national conference in Moncton, Nov. 12-15, 2019. Here are details about the CFGA conference, and other upcoming events in the Canadian forage and grassland sector.
CFGA pre-conference tour is filling up - book now!
Space is filling up on the CFGA pre-conference tour, set for Nov. 12, 2019.
The pre-conference tour departs the conference hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Moncton, at 8 a.m. sharp. We'll travel to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Nappan Research Farm in Nova Scotia, then come back to New Brunswick. CFGA board member and New Brunswick dairy farmer Dwayne Perry will host us for a tour and barbecue lunch; followed by a stop at Wesselius Holstein Farm, one of the region's largest dairy farms.
Register here for the 10th annual CFGA conference, including the pre-conference tour.
Like much of the rest of Canada, Maritime weather can be highly variable in mid-November. Please dress in layers and be prepared for temperatures which may soar to around 5 C or dip to below freezing. Winter hats and mittens are highly recommended - just in case! Since we're so close to the ocean, those of you from western Canada will probably find the air quite humid/damp. An extra layer may help take some of that chill away.
Here are details
about the tour stops.
Forage Focus Conference 2019
The Ontario Forage Council is proud to announce its upcoming annual Forage Focus Conference 2019. The conference will be held in Stratford at the Stratford Rotary Complex on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.
Forage Focus will be live streamed to a number of remote locations in the northern and eastern parts of the province including Cochrane, Emo, Earlton and as far east as Moncton, N.B. Those interested in hosting a remote location can find details on the
, or contact Patricia at 877-892-8663.
The program begins with registration and trade show from 9 - 10 a.m. and speakers until 3 p.m. Presentations are CEU accredited. The cost of this year's conference is $50 and includes conference proceedings and a hot lunch.
The keynote speaker at Forage Focus 2019 will be Joe Lawrence. Joe serves as dairy forage systems specialist with the Cornell PRO-DAIRY team. He has been involved in the northeast dairy industry his entire life, growing up on a farm in Northern New York and working as an extension educator and private sector crop adviser prior to his current role. His work has a strong focus on a whole-farm approach to forage management.
Additional speakers will include: Christine O'Reilly and Alex Barrie from OMAFRA, and more!
Books of 10 tickets are available to treat customers, or staff. Registration deadline is Dec. 3, 2019. Registrations will be accepted at the door but may not include the hot lunch. Registration is available by phone or mail. Visa and Mastercard accepted by phone. Please make cheques payable to the Ontario Forage Council.
Tradeshow and sponsorship opportunities are still available for both days of this conference. Spaces will fill quickly, so don't hesitate. Forage Focus is an excellent opportunity to advertise your business to your target audience!
For more information on sponsorship/tradeshow opportunities,
. To register please contact:
Ontario Forage Council, Ray Robertson, manager or Patricia Ellingwood, executive assistant at (519) 986-1484 or 1-877-892-8663 or email.
Canadian Forage Seed Conference: Enhancing the Cropping System Resiliency
by Talon Gauthier and Susie Lefferson
On Feb. 25 and 26, 2020, forage seed growers, researchers, extension staff and agri-businesses will congregate for the first Canadian Forage Seed Conference since 2006! The conference will be hosted at the Fantasyland Hotel which is attached to the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alta.
The goal of this conference is to unite the industry throughout Canada and increase awareness and interest in forage seed production. With the current challenges in Canadian grain markets, we have a great opportunity to increase awareness of the benefits of incorporating forage seed crops into any cropping system. Perennial forage seed crops can offer these growers market diversity and dispersal of timing in terms of workload.
For the faithful forage seed grower, it will be an opportunity to hear about new technologies in the industry and where research is headed. As Bruce Coulman recently said, "It is an exciting time to be involved in research on forages as there is more money invested now in Canada than there ever has been!"
Conference planning has been underway for almost a year and some great speakers have been confirmed to join us in Edmonton. We are very excited to have speakers travelling from Oregon, Minnesota and hopefully beyond to bring an international perspective to the conference.
Some planned sessions include a look at the future of the turf industry, forage breeding, the future of the forage legume seed, concurrent sessions on clover and alfalfa. Sessions on technology for monitoring crop health, the economics and benefits of crop rotations, cover crops and a look at international forage seed markets are also planned.
Registration is $250 and more information will continually be posted on the conference
. Please feel free to
or 1 (877) 630-2198.
What can producers do with wet hay?
y Eugene Rodberg, Kemin Industries
In certain hay growing areas, the cold, wet spring ruined the best laid plans for harvesting an alfalfa crop. We have all learned to deal with weather when handling growing crops - and with alfalfa on the ground, we must do something. But what can producers do to help manage the alfalfa crop and still retain most of the nutritional value?
Preservatives for baled hay
There are many preservative and desiccant products on the market to help manage hay baled at higher than ideal moisture. Two products which have shown some efficacy in controlling heating and spoilage of baled hays are desiccants and acid preservatives.
Desiccants are compounds applied to the hay at cutting to increase drying rate. They work by breaking down the waxy coating on the legume or alfalfa stem and allow the plant to dry faster. Acid preservatives are applied to hay as it is baled to allow baling of wetter than normal hay without spoilage during storage. Organic acids work by impacting the growth and reproduction of mold and wild yeast thus preventing growth of these spoilage organisms. Both products are usually applied through a spray system, either on the mower (for desiccants) or on the harvesting equipment (for acid preservatives), according to Dr. Dan Undersander in
High moisture hay or baleage
One increasingly popular way to handle high moisture hay is to make baleage or round bale silage. High-moisture hay is wrapped in plastic to preserve the crop and minimize and prevent bale heating. The wet hay ferments inside the plastic wrap and becomes silage and is stable if oxygen is excluded from the bales. If the plastic is punctured or wrapping is incomplete, oxygen can infiltrate the bale. Once oxygen enters the bale, mold and yeast growth are possible.
Addition of organic acid blends can help control mold and wild yeast strains. These organic acids work in baleage in much the same way as they work in baled hay. The acid infiltrates the mold cell and eventually exhausts the energy supply, thus killing the mold or wild yeast.
Haylage or alfalfa silage is another way to handle wet forage to help preserve the nutritional value. To make alfalfa silage, the alfalfa is mowed and left in the field to wilt until it reaches 60-70 per cent moisture. Depending on weather, the alfalfa may remain in the windrow from a half a day to a full day to reach the desired moisture.
If moisture is not within the 60 to 70 per cent range, bacterial growth may not occur and fermentation is unlikely as mold and wild yeast compete against fermentation organisms. Addition of organic acid blends or bacterial inoculants will also help control wild yeast and mold growth in haylage. Bacterial inoculants multiply in the absence of oxygen and produce lactic or acetic acid, which preserves the haylage and helps with TMR heating.
Producers have many options to harvest their alfalfa crop despite the weather challenges this year. Acid preservatives and desiccants allow producers to safely bale hay at moisture up to 25 per cent. Haylage and baleage require specialized equipment but can result in excellent forage for feeding during the year. And finally, haylage is an excellent feed and allows more flexibility when dealing with wet alfalfa.
Dec. 5: Ontario Forage Council Forage Focus, Stratford, Ont.
More event listings: