News from the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association
CFGA Quarterly Newsletter
Summer 2020
Cedric MacLeod
Note from the executive director's desk desk
Cedric MacLeod
Recent months have been busy with project management and development. This work involves supporting the provinces and working with delivery partners on the various projects taking place across the country, including continued work on the CFGA AGGP Project, which is in its fourth and final year.

We also continue to advance the Nature Fund Project, pulling together contractors and steering committees to drive the development of biodiversity and habitat management modules for inclusion in the Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia Environmental Farm Plan programs. An important component of this project involves delivering train-the-trainer events in participating provinces to raise awareness of the tool being developed and its applicability on Canadian farms. Delivery of those sessions will likely take place during Winter 2021, and remains to be seen whether they will be delivered in person or virtually.
The CFGA is making a major pivot on conference delivery by taking our 2020 conference online. We are currently finalizing our speaker lineup and will deliver an informative conference filled with the educational sessions and panel discussions that our conference goers have become accustomed to. I want to offer a special note of thanks to Julie Robinson, Talon Gauthier and Serena Black and their respective organizations in beautiful British Columbia for helping to drive this project forward.
The CFGA has recently joined Farmers for Climate Solutions, a national alliance of farmer organizations and supporters who believe that agriculture can play a positive and important role in mitigating climate change. We are currently supporting their August media launch.

I am pleased to be representing the CFGA on the Pan Canadian Framework for Species at Risk initiative. This work brings together various Canadian agriculture industry stakeholders with representatives from Agriculture Agri-Food Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada to develop a sector-based approach to conservation action on Canada's agricultural lands. This is a challenging but rewarding task to set direction for the future. My personal goal is to make my budding conservationist son Kalen of six years proud of the work we are doing when he is my age.
I was pleased to have been invited to participate in the 2020 Central Grasslands Roadmap Summit. Originally scheduled for mid-July in Denver, Colorado the event was taken online and delivered over the course of several weeks. The objective of this initiative was to align various stakeholders from conservation and agriculture communities throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico to build a roadmap for conserving grassland acres and the extensive ecological goods and services that they provide. Also a very exciting project and again rewarding to represent Canada's forage and grassland managers in this project. There is certainly a positive crossover to the work being done here in Canada through the Pan Canadian Framework for Species at Risk initiative.
On top of these projects, we have been busy working with our valued partners to develop new project concepts and funding proposals to support them. Project concepts in play include work to further advance our understanding of soil carbon sequestration on grasslands, better understanding the factors contributing to winterkill in alfalfa and a number of production agronomy-based projects to advance the Canadian forage and grassland sector as a whole.
All told, a very busy and productive spring, despite the Covid-19 curveball we have been thrown. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

Stay safe,

CFGA news
Producers gain access to province-specific, on-line habitat and biodiversity tools
CFGA takes lead on national Nature Fund project
by Trudy Kelly Forsythe
The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) is once again taking the lead on a national project that will benefit Canada's grasslands and forage producers.
With financial support from Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of the Canada Nature Fund, the CFGA is working with national and provincial stakeholder committees, governments, Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) delivery agents and agricultural associations to develop province-specific, on-line habitat and biodiversity management tools.

CFGA executive director Cedric MacLeod says, once developed, the tool will help producers identify habitats worth a closer look for conservation to support enhanced biodiversity on their operations. The tool also provides some guidance on beneficial management practices (BMPs) relevant to the habitats they may be stewarding. The province-specific tool will be delivered as an online module, likely tied to provincial EFP-planning programs.
This CFGA project builds on a recent three-year species-at-risk initiative in Alberta that was supported with funding from the Government of Canada's Species at Risk on Agricultural Land (SARPAL) program. CFGA projects are now underway in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia with contractors collecting and processing data to customize the tool for each province and developing online interfaces that fit with the conventions of the online EFP processes in each jurisdiction.
"The CFGA was selected as the funding recipient because of its national forage and grassland stewardship and extension mandate, its past and on-going involvement in assessment of Canadian grasslands as carbon sinks, and its prior role in researching biodiversity management BMPs through the SARPAL program," says MacLeod.
The CFGA recognizes that engaging producers in grassland conservation will help Canada meet international and domestic conservation obligations related to protecting species at risk and climate change action.
"Demonstrating what producers are doing to protect grasslands can contribute to proof of sustainable sourcing for Canadian agri-food products and can help producers establish a record of due diligence relative to obligations related to biodiversity management under federal and provincial legislation," says MacLeod. "This project seeks to draw these threads together in an approach that positions agricultural landholders to take a leadership role in conservation with support from the conservation community."
The four-year, $1.2-million project will be delivered in a number of phases, in as many provincial jurisdictions as technically feasible and will potentially be applicable to all Canadian agricultural lands.
It is a timely project for the CFGA given the Government of Canada's commitment to protect 25 per cent of Canada's land by 2025.
"That is a tall order, but grasslands can play a vital role in helping Canada hit that target and forage producers are poised to be major contributors in protecting 25 by '25," says MacLeod. "Big things are happening and this project will give producers the tool they need to focus on biodiversity. No one is going to require this, but it is a role agriculture can play."
CFGA gold sponsor
News from Kemin
Forage supplies: strategies to reduce loss
by Eugene Rodberg, Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health - North America
Ever since humans began feeding cattle in northern climates, stored forages have been required. These feedstuffs, whether dry hay, haylage or other forages, are stockpiled and stored to be fed through the following year.
Now is a great time to review your forage inventory and determine the best way to manage your supply. Doing so is critical to meeting the needs of your cattle without running out of forage before next year.

Reducing loss
Livestock producers are never happy wasting feed. Therefore, with today's high feed prices, reducing dry matter loss from stored feeds is more important than ever.
One of the easiest ways to reduce forage loss is to correctly size your silage storage facility. It is recommended producers remove at least six inches of silage daily when weather is cool and 12 inches daily under hot, humid conditions. Exceptionally wide faces on bunkers or piles make this nearly impossible with small herds. The goal is to have silos sized for a clean removal of the complete face every day. If you have a silo that is not sized correctly, consult with a forage specialist for advice.
Silage density
Silage experts continually remind producers to pack their silage. Increasing silage density helps preserve dry matter and feed quality. Packing silage excludes oxygen and helps stop plant respiration. It also directs conditions toward anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). Oxygen-free fermentation limits the variety of microbes that can survive.
Increasing silage density will also place more tons of dry matter into your silo, improve fermentation, maintain high feed quality and allow more feed storage. Goals for silage density are 40 to 50 lbs/ft3 on an as-fed basis or 14 to 18-plus lbs/ft3 on a dry matter basis. Wet or dry forages will result in spoilage and dry matter losses. Treating forage going into the silo with organic acids or microbial inoculants can also help to reduce nutrient losses.
Adding inoculants to forage can also help silage quality and reduce dry matter loss. Inoculants typically contain lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which help fermentation. An inoculant may be a single type of LAB or several strains combined. By using an inoculant that provides at least 100,000 colony forming units (cfu) per gram, you drive a desirable fermentation. Even if you do everything right, you will see additional benefits by adding inoculants. Research shows that using an inoculant reduces dry matter loss by three to five per cent.
Acid treatments
Treating silage, as well as green chop forage, with acid can aid fermentation but can also restrict the growth of undesirable microbes. Blends of organic acid are most effective when conditions are such that inoculants may not perform at their best. Extremely wet or extremely dry forage may not support desirable fermentation when inoculants are used. Organic acids will preserve the feed and restrict undesirable microbial growth.
Products that combine propionic, acetic, benzoic or sorbic acids can help preserve the feed by lowering counts of less desirable microbes. They can also control yeast growth, thus preventing odours in poorly fermented feeds. Using buffered acids that are commercially available is the safest choice for people and equipment.
Homegrown forages can provide high quality protein and energy for your cattle at a relatively low cost. Getting the most out of what you grow is more important than ever. Growing quality forages is expensive. Maintain that high plane of nutrition by ensiling properly and feeding out properly.
For more information about Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health research in cattle and other species, email Kemin at or visit the Kemin website.
Provincial association news
New Brunswick Soil and Crop Improvement Association
NBSCIA summer research and demonstration sneak peek

by Zoshia Fraser, NBSCIA agro-environmental club agrologist
2020 has been quite the year so far.

We have had a lot of changes at NBSCIA this year starting with appointing a new president, Andrew Lovell of River View Orchards. We are pleased to have Andrew move up from vice-president and wish outgoing president, John Best, luck with his new dairy operation. We've also added Ray Carmicheal as a new permanent general manager. Ray has been with NBSCIA since its creation and we are excited to have him with us in his new role as general manager.

This is the first year our forage plots will be done in Sussex. Thanks to the Jopp family for hosting the research site. Our forage research got off to a late start but we managed to plant a corn row spacing trial that aims to demonstrate the differences between 15, 20 and 30-inch row spacing. We also planted alfalfa companion crop plots. These plots will not only demonstrate the performance of the companion crop but we will also monitor these plots in the years to come to see the effects on alfalfa establishment. Going forward, these alfalfa plots will be maintained and used for future fertility and management demonstrations. We hope to invite you all to our plots before the end of the year.
In an effort to evaluate alfalfa fertility management in New Brunswick, a province-wide tissue test survey is being conducted this season. We hope to identify any nutrient deficiencies and make appropriate shifts in our fertility programs to meet these deficiencies. We will sample before both the first and third cut. We will keep an extra close eye on sulfur and boron levels both in the crop and soil. Both nutrients are commonly insufficient in alfalfa. With the decreases in acid rains, sulfur no longer falls free from the sky. We hope to evaluate if current sulfur fertility programs have adequately maintained soil and crop sulfur.
Finally, NBSCIA is also leading a large collaborative project on the Tantramar Community Pasture. This project originated in 2018 from a national Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) project organized by the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association (CFGA). This project aims to demonstrate the carbon being sequestered by actively managed grasslands and the risk to those carbon stores should these grasslands be converted to annual cropping systems. We will be testing the prototype "avoided conversion of grasslands protocol" which someday could lead to assigning carbon credits to actively managed grasslands to be sold in the carbon market.
This project has also allowed the pasture to install cross fencing to better utilize their grasslands. These cross fences are being funded partly through the AGGP and also with the assistance of the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheriesthrough the Canadian Agriculture Partnership. We hope to use these cross fences to demonstrate the benefits of rotational grazing not only on carbon sequestration but also on pasture yield, quality and species mix. These upgrades could position the Tantramar Community Pasture to become a hub site for other research and demonstrations in the years to come. We are excited to get people out to check out the progress on the site. Watch your email for events coming soon both at the pasture and virtually.
CFGA gold sponsor
News from the Dairy Farmers of Canada
DairyTrace now set for fall implementation following CFIA approval

Lactanet Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) have announced that DairyTrace, the much-anticipated national dairy cattle traceability program, will become a reality in the fall of 2020, providing a single, common framework for dairy farmers to track animal identity and movements. The announcement follows a separate, related communication from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recognizing Lactanet Canada as the national administrator responsible for dairy bovine animals under Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations.

"Providing protection and peace of mind to consumers is vital, and when it is fully implemented, DairyTrace will provide a high-quality, national dairy cattle traceability system that takes our industry's efforts to the next level," says Gert Schrijver, dairy producer and chairman of Lactanet's DairyTrace Advisory Committee. "The launch of DairyTrace will be a pivotal milestone for dairy producers as it will provide the data management infrastructure needed to provide, for the first time, a true, pan-Canadian picture of the movements of dairycattle."
DairyTrace takes advantage of existing structures, systems and solutions within the Canadian dairy cattle sector, which has the significant benefits of efficiency, cost effectiveness and timely implementation towards the targeted timeline as defined with proAction®. Under federal regulations and/or proAction® requirements, everyone who owns or has the possession, care or control of dairy cattle must report animal identity, movement, location and custodianship information.
Lactanet and DFC have worked collaboratively since 2016 towards the comm
on vision of a national dairy cattle traceability program. By harmonizing data under a common, national framework, DairyTrace will promote information about sharing and potentially  add value to research and genetics initiatives, all while aligning with the traceability module of DFC's proAction® program.

DairyTrace will be managed by Lactanet's board of directors, with input and collaboration from DFC. DairyTrace takes advantage of existing structures, systems and solutions within the Canadian dairy cattle sector, including partnerships with Agri-Traçabilité Québec (ATQ) and Holstein Canada, which provides benefits in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness and timely implementation:
  • ATQ has expertly led the livestock traceability program in Québec for over 18 years. ATQ will be hosting, supporting and transferring data to the DairyTrace system and will continue to provide its well-established services to Québec producers via SimpliTRACE 
  • Outside Québec, dairy producers will continue to purchase dairy bovine tags via the National Livestock Identification for Dairy (NLID) program, which will now be dovetailed alongside DairyTrace customer services. Both will be offered from Holstein Canada. 
Lactanet and DFC acknowledge and express appreciation to CFIA, as well as for the financial support provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through its Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program.
For more information, visit the DFC website.
Upcoming 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.
Thank you to our CFGA partners
 the CFGA