News from the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association
CFGA Quarterly Newsletter
Winter 2020
Cedric MacLeod
Note from the executive director's desk desk
Cedric MacLeod
Welcome to the first edition of the CFGA newsletter for 2020. Last year was a busy one for our association as we engaged in a number of national ecological goods and services developm ent projects representing Canada's 72 million-plus acres of grassland and pas tures.
 
In June, I represented the CFGA in Calgary at a gathering of the North American Cool Farm  Alliance where the focus of the two-day event was a discussion around developing platform s for scaling ag sustainability metrics in North America. The recent work completed by the CFGA in successfully developing the first of its kind Canadian Grassland Protocol provides an opportunity for grassland managers to quantify and market carbon offsets from their managed grasslands and was definitely of interest to attendees to the Challenge Dialogue meeting.
 
In late July, the CFGA hosted the provincial forage council general managers' meetings in Brandon, Man. This included personalized tours of Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives and Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association's Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program sites i n the area. These meetings are an important annual event to build capacity in the forage sector for collaboration between provinces and sector leadership development.
 
In October, the CFGA participated in another successful trade export mission to the World Dairy Expo. Over 60 inquiries for Canadian hay and straw were made from as close to home as the mid-western U.S.A. to the far reaches of the middle east and China, all hungry for Canada's high-quality forage products.
 
We capped the year off with the 10th Annual CFGA Conference, Canadian Forage Production School, Eastern Edition, Nov. 12 to 15 in Moncton, N.B., proving once again  this is a must-attend event where the Canadian forage industry comes to meet. We were very excited to launch the CFGA Nature Fund Project at the conference, which will see the CFGA work with environmental farm plan delivery agencies across the country to develop biodiversity and habitat management modules for inclusion in provincial EFP programs and build online tools to support producer actions on biodiversity and habitat management.
 
You can read more about the CFGA conference and the Nature Fund Project in this newsletter, and we look forward to bringing you more information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,
Cedric MacLeod,
Executive Director, CFGA
CFGA 2019 conference news
Forage and Grasslands: Maritime style   
CFGA's 2019 national conference was a huge success for those who attended the event in Moncton, N.B. Nov. 12 to 15. Canadian Forage Production School, Eastern Edition brought together industry leaders and forage producers from across Canada to focus on soil carbon capture and producer prosperity .  
 
The four-day event included a tour of some of the region's leading forage production research facilities and farms; the CFGA Forage Management Systems technical workshop; educational sessions on the latest in seeding, production, harvest, storage and export opportunities; and network during an industry trade show. Check out the CFGA website for many of the presentations made during the week.  
Congratulations  Lillie Ann Morris! 

The CFGA was pleased to name Glacier FarmMedia's Lillie Ann Morris as winner of the 2019 CFGA Leadership Award at the conference in Moncton. Watch Lillie Ann's acceptance speech and read the full media release to find out more about Lillie Ann's contribution to CFGA.
CFGA Nature Fund Project 
A highlight of the conference took place on Nov. 15 with the kick-off and planning workshop of the CFGA's Nature Fund Project, a two-year project that will address the agriculture priority sector identified under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada.

This CFGA project builds on an existing tool in Alberta that was supported by the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land (SARPAL) program in previous years and has shown promise as a cost-effective means of helping producers to become more aware of practices they can undertake, or may already be doing, to help species at risk.
 
What did you think of CFGA 2019 in Moncton?
Now is your chance to share your feedback about CFGA 2019 in Moncton. If you attended the conference, please take a few moments to fill out our survey. Your input will help us plan future CFGA conferences, like the 2020 event in Kamloops, B.C., Nov. 16-20, 2020. The survey closes Feb. 14, 2020.
Thank you to our CFGA sponsors and 2019 conference supporters
CFGA Gold Sponsor
News from Kemin
Exporting acid treated hay 
by Eugene Rodberg 
Kemin Animal Nutrition & Health - North America 
 
In 2018, Canadian hay producers exported an estimated 906,000 metric tons of hay with a value of $160 million.   While the largest destination was the USA, hay is increasingly leaving Canada bound for China, Japan and the Middle East. Producers who can provide premium hay for these markets enjoy significantly higher prices for their crop.  
 
One well known tool used to improve the quality of their hay is the application of organic acids like propionic acid. Because organic acids help control the growth of mo u ld, producers may bale hay with a  moisture percentage of over 20 per cent  and reduce the concerns of mo u ld spoilage and spontaneous heating. Oftentimes, spontaneous heating is measured using heating degree days (HDD), which is like the growing degree day concept. Baling moist hay is often a compromise between a risk of bale heating and retaining more leaves.  
 
Research conducted in Wisconsin on high moisture hay   showed there was a clear application-rate effect in w hich bales treated with the 1.0 per cent  application rate (10 kg per  ton of hay) accumulated only 30 per cent  of the HDD exhibited by untreated hays. In the same experiment, hays were offered to growing lambs to assess total-tract digestibility. Hay bal ed at 24 per cent  moisture and treated with organic acids showed significantly ( <  0.01 ) better apparent digestibility for dry matter and organic matter.  
 
A common question asked, "Can we use propionic acid on exporte d hay?" The short answer is yes;  however, acid-treated hay requires different handling and management.  
 
The reason organic acids are used on hay is to prevent mo u ld  growth when hay is baled at 20 to  25  per cent  moisture. This moist hay still requires time to cure in storage. If bales are stored too tight or in a closed environment, they will require significantly more time to dry and could result in hay fires. When storing hay in a barn or outdoors, do not stack acid-treated hay more than five tiers high until the hay has gone through the curing process. After the bales have dried, more tiers can be added to the stack without fire danger.  
 
Before marketing the hay, check the bale moisture content by using a hay moisture probe. To measure moisture, use a probe that can be inserted at least 12 inches into the bale. Probe at least 20 different bales and monitor the hay daily. Depending on the moisture of the bales, dry-down could take three to six weeks before the hay is marketed.  
 
Organic acids have been successfully used for decades to help producers manage their hay crop. The application of propionic and other acids allows  producers to bale hay up to 25 per cent  moisture. Higher moisture hay retains more valuable leaves, the most nutritious part of the alfalfa plant. By making small modifications to the hay marketing calendar, producers who export hay can enjoy significant price premiums associated with high value hay.  



CFGA leads first ever Canadian Grassland Offset Protocol for producers  
Acceptance of Canada Grassland Project Protocol opens opportunities for producers around financial incentives to address climate change   
 
Things just got real for Canada's grasslands and producers.   
   
The vast, untapped international potential for grassland conservation and producer prosperity linked arms for the first-time ever in Canada with the recent announcement that the USA-based Climate Action Reserve (CAR) board of directors had adopted the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association's Canada Grassland Project Protocol (CGPP). The move will be a critical foundation for growing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction opportunities in Canada and creating new financial incentives for producers around the conservation of grasslands.   
   
"This is an exciting first step in Canada for recognizing the significant contribution Canadian producers and Canadian grasslands are making to climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration," says Cedric MacLeod, CFGA's executive director. "I'm proud of the leadership role that the CFGA has played and the opportunity to bring this protocol to Canadian producers for the first time ever.   
   
"However, this is only a first step towards helping to conserve Canadian grasslands and monetizing the carbon stored in the soils below them," he added. "This is also an opportunity to communicate with Canadians about why grassland conservation is so crucial to achieving many of the ecological and environmental conservation goals shared by many Canadians."   
   
MacLeod says the CFGA CAR protocol will be especially significant for producers and grasslands on Canada's Northern Great Plains where the continued loss of grasslands has been identified as a major societal concern and factor impacting community resiliency, attributing to biodiversity declines and susceptibility to extreme weather events. The urgency to reverse the accelerating conversion rates of these valuable grasslands is paramount. And, so too, is the producer's need to make a living off the land.  
 
CFGA Gold Sponsor
News from the Dairy Farmers of Canada
DFC launches national standard for the production of milk from grass-fed cows pilot project
In response to a growing demand for grass-fed milk products, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) has launched the  National Standard for the Production of Milk from Grass-fed Cows  pilot project. The results of the pilot will inform DFC of any areas for improvement including diet, efficacy of the biomarker testing and other program elements.  
 
Under the D FC standard, at least 75 per cent  of the total dry matter intake (DMI) of the lactating herd must consist of forage throughout the yea r. The remaining 25 per cent  of the diet is made up of grains and supplements, including corn silage, which ensures a balanced diet in terms of energy and nutrient requirements for optimal health and milk production.  
 
To ensure they meet the program requirements, farms must be certified and audited by qualified third-party certification bodies identified by DFC.  
 
The new standard is being launched as a one-year pilot project as approved by the DFC board in September 2019. During that period, farmers that elect to produce milk from grass-fed cows using the DFC national standard must adhere to the new standard. For those farmers  who  participate in the program, milk biomarkers will be tested at regular intervals by a laboratory certified by their provincial board. These tests will be completed six times per year, working out to approximately one test every two months.  
 
DFC will collect data for potential improvements during the pilot period, including diet, efficacy of the biomarker testing and other program elements. This data will be compiled into a report presented to the DFC board in 2020 where the guidelines and standard would be re-evaluated and optimized to work for producers, processors and consumers.  
 
Based on feedback from processors and in provincial associations, the new logo certifying a product contains only grass-fed dairy will not be made available until the completion of the one-year pilot project. After the official launch, processors will have the option of including this logo on products  that  meet the program's standards.  
 
The standard was established in consultation with dairy producers, provincial dairy associations, dairy processors and representatives from dairy processors' associations, ruminant nutritionist experts and university researchers. The program also follows Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidance for this type of claim.  
 
More information on the new standard is available online . If you have any questions, please email DFC at grassfedmilk@dfc-plc.ca .  
Provincial association news
Ontario Forage Council
Bill Thomas announced as keynote speaker for Profitable Pastures 2020 
The Ontario Forage Council is holding its annual conference,   Profitable Pastures 2020, at the Mount Forest Community Centre in Mount Forest, Ont., on Tuesday, March 10.  Additionally, remote locations will be added and announced on the OFC website  as they are confirmed .  
 
Keynote speaker: Bill Thomas 
This year's keynote speaker is Bill Thomas, of BT Agronomy. During his 30 years of extension service in Nova Scotia, Thomas implemented educational forage production programs at the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College, now part of Dalhousie University. His work as a lecturer at Dalhousie continues in the forage and soil management and livestock production courses. He's developed policies on nutrient management, beef development and agricultural awareness. He is a member of the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrology, Agrology Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society of Agronomy and has served on several forage and crop and research committees. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Agronomy, the society's most distinguished award.  Thomas was the recipient of the 2019 Canadian Forage and Grassland Association's Leadership Award.   
 
Other speakers 
In addition to the keynote speaker, John  Molenhuis , OMAFRA business analysis cost production specialist, will kick off the day with  How to determine your cost of production . Attendees will be treated to a panel with the firsthand knowledge from producers experienced in managing their cost of production. The  2019  Mapleseed  Sheep Pasture Award  recipients Carrie Woolley/Brett Schuyler will present an overview of their operation and Christine O'Reilly, the OMAFRA forage and grazing specialist, will round off the day with a presentation on G rass utilization .  
 
Presentations are CEU accredited.  
 
The cost of this year's conference is $50 and includes a hot lunch . Registration deadline is March 9. Registrations will be accepted at the door, but may not include the hot lunch. Registration is available by phone (519)986-1484, or 1-877-892-8663 or by email. Visa and  Mastercard  accepted by phone. Please make  cheques  payable to the Ontario Forage Council.  
Upcoming events
Feb. 4-6: Dairy Farmers of Canada's Annual Dairy Policy Conference, Ch√Ęteau Laurier, Ottawa, Ont. 
   
Feb. 19-20: Beef Farmers of Ontario AGM, including presentation of the Beef Mapleseed Pasture Award, Toronto, Ont. 
 
Feb. 20:  Colloque sur les plantes fourrag 2020, Sainte-Julie, Que.  
 
 
Feb. 25-26: Canadian Forage Seed Conference, Edmonton, Alta.  
 
March 10: Profitable Pastures with keynote speaker Bill Thomas, Mount Forest, Ont.  
 
March 10: Alberta Forage Industry Network's 2020 AGM, Leduc, Alta.  
 
April 1-2: Canadian Dairy XPO including Milk Maker Forage Competition, Stratford Ont. 

Nov. 16-20: CFGA annual conference, Kamloops, B.C.
 
Nov. 23-25:  Regenerative Ag Conference , Brandon, Man. 
 
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