Spring 2021
Cedric MacLeod
From the executive director's desk
Cedric MacLeod
The final quarter of our fiscal year was a busy one as we wrapped up a number of projects and launched new ones for the coming year.
We completed Phase 1 of our Nature Fund Project 2021 with a bang in February and March, hosting virtual workshops in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, bringing together representatives of the agricultural and conservation sectors to learn about the project and the Habitat and Biodiversity Assessment Tool. We also discussed opportunities and challenges for the two stakeholder communities to work together in sustaining and growing habitat to support biodiversity on agricultural lands.
The workshops provided a unique opportunity to bring together these two important stakeholder groups who are each committed to stewarding the land to have productive conversations that focus on solutions and share knowledge. We are now waiting on funding confirmation to launch the next phase of the project, which will see us provide additional learning opportunities to the development of province-specific tools in several additional provinces.
On March 30, we held a virtual wrap-up session to report on the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) project. This included a number of presentations from our provincial partners and their pilot project reports, the Forage BMP Manual, and what’s next with respect to assessing soil carbon storage under Canada’s forage and grasslands. If you missed the wrap-up, you can catch all the recordings on the CFGA YouTube channel.
The AGGP project was largely about providing a foundation for discussion on how the grassland sector can deliver carbon offsets to market and to drive the high-performance forage management concept. As well as bringing us the Canadian Grasslands Protocol and supporting the launch of the national Soil Carbon Roadmap concept, the AGGP Project led to the soil carbon offset pilot project now underway with Shell Canada and numerous other partners across the country.
We had an extremely successful launch of the soil carbon offset pilot project on March 16 during PCAP’s Prairie’s Got the Goods Week. Thanks so much to the PCAP team for allowing us to borrow from this platform for the announcement. This three-year pilot will test and refine the Canada Grassland Protocol carbon offset methodology, assess its feasibility for deployment and better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with an avoided conversion of grasslands program. The ultimate goal of the project is to support landowners and ranchers to generate carbon offsets for carbon stored in conserved grasslands in Canada.
Although it’s early days, the initiative could play an important role in protecting grasslands in Canada by compensating landowners for responsible stewardship of the land.
Other highlights in recent months include:
  • news of funding for projects that will advance the understanding of how and why alfalfa yield and quality varies between years and over landscapes
  • meetings with numerous stakeholder groups across Canada to discuss opportunities for soil carbon
  • presenting on carbon markets for forage and grassland managers. 
And most recently, I was excited to join CFGA Chair Chris Martin, BCFC GM Serena Black and PRFSA GM Talon Gauthier at a virtual table with the Honourable Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on April 22 when she and members of her team shared details of the budget investments that related to agriculture, including the Agricultural Climate Solutions Program, the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund and the Agricultural Clean Technology Program. You can read more about this funding in this newsletter.

Along with closing out, managing current and launching new programs, the CFGA has initiated a review of its strategic plan with its partners. We look forward to combing through the results of this assessment and working with our national team to drive innovation and development in the Canadian forage sector.

Thanks to Serge, Annie and the rest of the CQPF team who are helping us to pull together the 2021 CFGA Conference, Forage Landscape Synergies, which will once again be delivered virtually. We will be offering presentations in both English and French and are very much looking forward to taking a long look into the progressive Quebec forage and grassland sector. 

As always, if you have ideas, comments, questions or concerns about anything you’d like to see us working on, please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss.

I’m very much looking forward to the day when we get face-to-face again, without Zoom. Until then, be safe as you head back out to field work.

- Cedric MacLeod
CFGA news
CFGA publishes forage BMP manual
The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association has published an electronic version of Forage Best Management Practices for Enhancing Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration. Including a comprehensive explanation of carbon trading, this manual is a practical, straightforward document outlining BMPs farmers and ranchers can implement to enhance and maximize soil carbon sequestration.

There are five management principles discussed in the book:
  1. improved forage genetics
  2. improved grazing management
  3. forage harvest management
  4. forage stand management
  5. advanced cropping systems

In addition, there are 10 BMPs falling within those management principles:
  1. locally adapted genetically advanced cultivars
  2. purpose-built mixtures
  3. intensified grazing systems
  4. extended grazing season systems
  5. adaptive management systems
  6. harvest management to maximize productivity
  7. nutrient management
  8. systems-based approaches
  9. diversified crop rotation
  10. integration of annual and perennial cropping systems

Each BMP is presented in an easy-to-print format and includes details on how to move forward with on-farm implementation and other details to consider.

The manual was funded by the Government of Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership and was a deliverable of the CFGA’s recently completed four-year Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) project. It was written by Mackenzie Rathgeber and edited by Bill Thomas, with contributions by Grant Lastiwka, Linda Hunt, Sheilah Nolan, John Duynisveld, Alan Fredeen and Serena Black.
Recordings of all of the presentations made at the CFGA-AGGP wrap-up session on March 30, including one on the BMP Manual, can be found on the CFGA YouTube channel.
Government funds to help Canadian farmers reduce ag emissions
The CFGA celebrated the federal budget released on April 19. The budget included the announcement of unprecedented funds to help Canadian farmers adopt climate-friendly practices, including:
  • $200 million in new funding over two years to support farmers to reduce emissions by improving nitrogen management, increasing adoption of cover cropping, and normalizing rotational grazing
  • $60 million over the next two years to protect existing trees and wetlands on farms through a reverse auction program
  • $10 million over the next two years to power farms with clean energy. The investments are expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated on farms.
Pilot project aims to demonstrate grasslands’ carbon-storing power 
The CFGA is leading a new pilot project expected to help conserve native grasslands, one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada, which remain under pressure from development.
Supported by a diverse group of partners who are contributing significant knowledge and in-kind resources, the Retaining Canada's Grasslands Using Carbon Offset Markets is a two-year pilot that will allow landowners and ranchers to generate carbon offsets for carbon stored in conserved grasslands in Canada. Building on the Climate Action Reserve’s Avoided Conversion of Grasslands protocol for Canada, the pilot project will help identify eligibility requirements, value propositions and land conservation agreement models for landowners. Lower cost, remote sensing tools will be tested to streamline monitoring and verification requirements.
More details are here and watch the announcement on YouTube.
Provincial news
Quebec Forage Council
In November, a mobile-friendly web application, Le NUTRI-Fourrager, that predicts the nutritional value of forages before harvest won the Digital Decision Aid section of the Excellence in Extension Awards for 2020 from the American Society of Agronomy. This application was developed by Quebec researchers and validated on commercial farms for spring growth across the province. The webinars, presented in French and English, as well as the video on the use of the tool are available on Agri-Réseau as well as on YouTube.
In May, Québec hay trade forum will start a new project to establish the production cost of commercial hay. This project will be in collaboration with a centre of expertise in agricultural production costs and will be finance by the “Financière Agricole du Québec.”

In September, the CQPF will be presenting its 26th Forage Day. This virtual event will consist of three webinars in three days. The topics addressed will be hay marketing, sustainable agriculture and better forage for better milk. For more information follow us on Facebook and on our web site www.cqpf.ca
OFC and partners launch new collaborative website
The Ontario Forage Council, Ontario Hay Listings, Ontario Biomass Producers Co-op and Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative have collaborated to create the Ontario Forage Network. ONForageNetwork.ca is the online hub for forage, pasture and biomass crop production.

The has information on seeding, growing, harvesting, storing and marketing these crops. You can browse products available from the co-operatives and learn about their end-use markets, see upcoming events and news, post an ad, become a member and more.

The Ontario Hay Listings is also getting a makeover. Until now, only hay, straw and biomass ads have been permitted. Categories now include everything from manure exchange to the labour to shovel it. This area of the site is still in development, so if you have something to advertise that isn’t included, please let us know.

A second phase of this project is underway to add a permanent home for the goforages.ca domain. This area will be dedicated to forage research, technical and agronomy information from a variety of sources.
Alberta Forage Industry Network
Congratulations are going out to AFIN’s 2021 Leadership Award Winner is Christine Fulkerth.
AFINS’s past chair, Christine is known for her leadership and influence on the forage industry locally, provincially and nationally. A Professional Agrologist, Christine has been a plant science instructor at Olds College since 2001. Prior to her teaching appointment at Olds College, Christine worked on a number of research projects with Alberta Research Council, Forestry Canada, Canola Council of Canada, West Central Forage Association and Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre. She is well connected in the agricultural field and is a member of a number of professional agricultural related associations and societies. She grew up on a mixed farm in Alberta.
AFIN reports that Christine epitomizes the essence of the AFIN Leadership Award as an industry leader at a multitude of levels. She joined AFIN soon after its establishment in 2010 and has served on the AFIN board ever since. She effectively chaired the AFIN board for four years and continues on the board as past chair and serves as AFIN’s representative on the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association’s board.
Congratulations Christine!

AFIN webinar recording available
On April 28, in partnership with CFGA, AFIN held a discussion on the Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Project and a panelist discussion with producers. Presentations were made by Jonathon Alcock from Viresco, Denise Chang-Ye from Shell Canada and Kim Good from Legacy Land Trust Society. Panel discussion participants included Tom Lynch-Staunton and Mark Zoratti.
The recording of the session is now available to AFIN members. Not a member? Learn more about joining.
CFGA Gold Sponsor
News from Kemin

Baleage and organic acid application
by Eugene Rodberg, Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health – North America
Due to highly variable and unpredictable weather events, producers are seeking ways to take control of their crop inputs. Many producers are choosing to make baled silage or baleage for their home-grown forages. Producers who initially chose to make baleage to manage weather are now finding they get more milk per acre due to less dry matter loss.
What is baleage?
Baleage is a method of preserving grasses or legumes by first wilting the crop, allowing the crop to dry to 40 to 60 per cent moisture (40 to 60 per cent dry matter). Once dried to the correct moisture, the crop is then made into round bales or large square bales and wrapped with multiple layers of plastic. Once wrapped, the crop is allowed to ferment like silage before feeding to cattle and other ruminants. Anaerobic bacteria consume some of the sugars in the forage and convert those sugars to lactic acid. Lactic acid will help prevent the growth of detrimental microorganisms such as moulds, wild yeasts and other spoilage organisms.
Not every operation is a candidate to make baleage work. For many operations, the volume of hay produced on-farm does not pay for the additional cost of equipment. The four pieces of additional equipment (at minimum) required to successfully implement a baleage program are:
  1.  A baler designed or equipped to handle high moisture forage
  2. A tractor with enough horsepower to carry bales safely
  3. A bale spear to move the bales to the wrapper
  4. A wrapper with plenty of plastic to adequately cover the bales.
Most round balers today are robust enough to bale high-moisture bales. However, some companies sell scrapers for the belts and rollers to prevent build-up of wet material. These balers also have heavy-duty bearings to help handle the increased weight of moisture bales. Wrappers are the biggest expense for most producers who choose to make baleage. Wrappers can range from $8,000 to $30,000 or more and come with a wide variety of accessories to relieve labour and reduce the need for other equipment. Many producers choose to work with customer operators who specialize in wrapping bales.
What are the benefits of baleage?
As mentioned above, baleage is often used to help producers save a crop when weather and humidity do not allow full dry-down to less than 15 per cent moisture. Another benefit is retention of dry matter. Less handling and shorter drying times reduce leaf shatter. Dry matter loss from forage baled at 12 to 14 per cent moisture levels range from 30 to 35 per cent. By mowing, conditioning and baling the crop at 40 percent moisture, losses are reduced to 15 to 20 per cent.
Along with less dry matter loss, producers who use baleage systems can harvest more nutrients per acre. Hersom, et al. (2007) found that round bale silage made from Bermudagrass, resulted in two more cuttings of forage harvested, nearly 55 tons more dry matter and forage, that was greater in crude protein and energy. These data are summarized in Table 1.
Do blended organic acids help with baleage quality?
Another management tool to help preserve the quality of baleage is the application of organic acids. In 2009, the U.S. Midwest Forage Association funded an evaluation of the application of an organic acid blend to high moisture wrapped bales of grass hay. With the grass hay destined for horse feed, researchers were primarily focused on the control of mould growth.
In this report, researchers reported that wrapped hay maintained forage quality and reduced mould counts at a higher moisture (20 to 25 and 30 to 35 per cent moisture), compared to unwrapped hay.
Treating bales with the organic acid blend at 10 pounds per ton did not statistically reduce mould counts (Table 2). However, there was a trend towards lower mould counts in treated bales. The researchers speculated the application rate of the organic acid blend should be increased in order to achieve desired results.
Table 2. Mould population of hay baled at 20 to 25 per cent moisture with and without wrapping and the application of an organic acid blend.
Producers continue to seek new ways to reduce the weather risk associated with harvesting high-quality forages. Baleage is one technology, demonstrated to provide more harvest flexibility which also helps retain more nutrients per acre of crop. As with all new technologies, producers are continually finding new ways to improve the process of making baleage.
(Scientific references available on request. Email us.)
Forage news
125,000-acre initiative aims to conserve Canadian prairies through collaboration with ranchers
Beef farmers and ranchers play an important role in providing quality food, but few people know they also play an essential role in protecting Canada’s land, water and wildlife. With the urgency of unprecedented environmental challenges, like climate change, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has teamed up with McDonald’s Canada and Cargill to support rancher-led work through a $5-million CAD Forage Program. The program will work to return 125,000 acres (50,585 hectares) of cropland to grass and pasture by 2025.

In response to growing climate concerns, returning less productive annual cropland to perennial grass helps remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Collectively, the impact of this program is comparable to removing 75,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – the same as the emissions from driving 299 million kilometres in an average passenger vehicle. Perennial grass cover also provides habitat for prairie wildlife.

You can read the complete story here.
Grasslands history e-book available
The History of the International Grassland Congress – 1927 to 2020 traces the origin and development of the International Grassland Congress from a meeting in 1927 in Leipzig, Germany, of 16 scientists from middle, and northern, European countries, to a Congress attended by around 1,000 delegates from about 80 countries. The congress has been held at roughly four-year intervals over the last 93 years. Congress venues include Europe (11 occasions), North America (three), South America (three), Asia (three) and Australasia (three).
The organizers of the various congresses sought to improve communication among grassland scientists in different countries to encouraging collaboration among scientists, contribute to adoption of improved technologies by the agricultural industry and mentoring young scientists. The driving force of the congress throughout has been the need to increase food security and to satisfy the requirements of an ever-growing population for milk and meat. In recent decades, strong focus has also been given to both positive and negative effects of grassland on the environment. Although priorities may change and techniques have advanced, many basic principles, methods and objectives emerging from the early research in grassland agriculture remain relevant today.
This new history book on the history of the International Grasslands Congress can be found here. Note, there is some very interesting information on grassland management recommendations and research needs from the 1930s and 40s presented in the opening addresses in Appendix C starting on page 191.
Accepting Nominations: Pollinator Award
Nominate a Canadian producer for the 2021 Pollinator Conservation Award

Do you know a farmer or rancher, an individual or family in the farm and ranch community in Canada who has contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation?
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), CFGA and Pollinator Partnership (P2) are accepting nominations for the 2021 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award until July 16, 2021.
With pollinators providing one of three bites of food that we eat and nearly $2 billion to the Canadian agricultural economy, care and concern for their survival is essential to our own survival.
Pollinator Conservation Award winners support pollinators on their lands, engage in research and experimentation to increase our understanding of pollinator management techniques, work with community and government groups and serve as advocates for these little, but hard-working, species that maintain our agricultural and natural landscapes.
Previous award winners include Ian Steppler of Steppler Farms Limited, Robin Hunt and Johan Bos of Big Rock Ranch; and The Farmlands Trust Society in British Columbia. Through recognition and appreciation of these individuals and organizations, we hope to encourage their conservation stewardship and catalyze future actions on behalf of pollinators.
The recipients of the 2021 award will be recognized during an award ceremony that opens the 21st Annual North American Pollinator Protection Campaign Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.
Send nomination forms to Savannah Autran at the Pollinator Partnership by deadline of Friday, July 16, 2021. Winners will be notified no later than Friday, Aug. 27, 2021.
More details on the Pollinator Partnership website.
Calendar of Events

At the time this newsletter was distributed, all event times and locations were accurate, but please check event websites for the most current information. Some events may have been postponed or cancelled.
May 11: Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan Native Prairie Speaker Series Webinar Conservation of Sage-grouse Critical Habitat and Implications for Prairie Songbirds. More information.
June 7: via Zoom: Interpreting Soil Benchmark Tests presented by Peace County Beef & Forage Association. More information
Nov. 15-17: Regenerative Ag Conference, Brandon, Man. 2021 MFGA Regenerative Ag Conference — Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association
Dec. 14-16: CFGA 12th Annual Conference co-hosted by CQPF, virtual. More information www.canadianfga.ca
More event listings: