News from the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association
CFGA Quarterly Newsletter
Winter 2020
Cedric MacLeod
Note from the executive director's desk desk
Cedric MacLeod
Every year when November rolls around, in a bit of head-fog, I ultimately end up asking my wife, "What happened? How did things get so busy?" Her response is always the same: November and May each year tend to explode into a frenzy of activity that centre around the launch of winter meeting season in November and the flurry of planting season in May. The now (in)famous 2020 calendar year was certainly no exception.
The 2020 CFGA Annual Conference is a wrap, and by all accounts, despite a major shift from our traditional in-person meetings to an online engagement forum, attendees reported more 'pros' than 'cons' in the delivery as COVID-19 forced a major reset in delivery. Don't hesitate to visit the conference website, check out the program and visit the conference store to purchase access.

Thanks once again to Serena Black, Talon Gauthier, Julie Robinson, Allison Finnamore, Trudy Kelly Forsythe and Kaylee Sheets for moving this project down the field with style and grace, despite the major pivot necessary. Also to our conference sponsors and CFGA partners, we can't say thank you enough for continuing to believe in and support the CFGA effort to promote high performance forage production across the country.
We continue to work on our Environment and Climate Change Canada funded work to build tools and training events that will support habitat stewardship and biodiversity enhancements across Canada. Tool development has continued throughout the fall and winter, and workshops are being planning for delivery in February and March. Thanks to all the committee members, national and provincial, who gave their time and expertise in support of this project.
Rounding the corner on the CFGA Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) project, we continue to work with provincial partners to complete project questionnaires and plan and deliver project summary webinars in the provinces. A follow-up project, leveraging the successes of the AGGP project is in the works, and details will be forthcoming. Rest assured, this is not a one-and-done project, as exhibited in the recent announcement of federal carbon offset system protocols being considered for Canadian agriculture. There is more work to do, and we are looking forward to leaning into it.
Two new exciting funding packages have been awarded to the CFGA that will advance our understanding of how and why alfalfa yield and quality varies between years and over landscapes. Initial planning work with field advisers is ongoing and we look forward to bringing updates on this innovative project through the winter and into spring as we work towards #CFGA2021.
Since the conference wrap-up, it has been a head down, get to work couple of months. Tonnes of meetings, as all of us can attest to. I am happy to notice the longer days and earlier sunrises, as they signal a return to green in the trees and on the pastures.
Please stay safe, and as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

CFGA news
Multiple projects on the go
How CFGA supports Canada's forage and grassland industry
The national voice for all sectors of the forage and grassland industry, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) supports its provincial association's projects and manages a number of national projects of importance to Canada's 72 million-plus acres of grassland and pastures. Here are some of the projects the CFGA is involved with:

Nature Fund Project
The CFGA continues work on its Nature Fund Project, which provides the opportunity to put the best available conservation information into the hands of the land stewards - those working towards the preservation or enhancement of habitat for native species within Canada's agricultural landscape. The centerpiece of the project is the Habitat and Biodiversity Assessment Tool, an online tool developed in Alberta that enables agricultural producers to integrate the needs of multiple native species in the management of their land.

Under the leadership of the CFGA, the online tool is being adapted and customized for use in provinces across Canada as a source of conservation information on habitat stewardship. The project will continue to be developed for release in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia this year.

Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program
The CFGA is wrapping up its Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) in March. As well as supporting several provincial pilot projects throughout the five-year project, the CFGA helped build out the Canada Grassland Projects Protocol (CGPP) - the first carbon offset opportunity for Canadian grassland owners and the first avoided-conversion opportunity in Canada.

The critical point with this protocol is the baseline assumption, or the business-as-usual assumption, that grassland will be converted to an annual cropping system, meaning credits are generated for the avoided loss of carbon, which is stored in the grassland.

Soil Carbon Roadmap
Following the learnings of the CFGA AGGP project, and feedback from CFGA's annual technical workshops, the association is committed to continue towards a practice-based methodology for soil carbon sequestration under Canadian grassland management. Through its relationship with Viresco Solutions and Alberta Innovates, the CFGA was pleased to partner on the construction of a Soil Carbon Roadmap for the Canadian Grasslands Sector.

The intent of this project was to bring together the numerous voices around research, demonstration and knowledge transfer tables and build a long-term strategy to assign carbon sequestration rates to individual forage management practices.

"This is a long-term initiative with far-reaching goals and many hurdles yet to tackle," says CFGA executive director Cedric MacLeod. "However, the support and dedication of all those who participated in the process provided a great deal of hope that we can get this job done. We will work over the coming months to develop funding strategies to further this work."
CFGA gold sponsor
News from Kemin
Why forage preservation runs from planting to feeding
by Eugene Rodberg, Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health - North America

Forage preservation does not begin nor end at harvest. Forage preservation is a continual process which begins when the crop is planted, continues during harvest and storage, and concludes only when the forage is consumed.
These three key milestones in the life of any forage crop are where nutrient quality is impacted.
Critical forage milestones
Intervention during these milestones ensures high quality forages. Forage management starts while the crop is in the field and exposed to environmental conditions. Rain, hail and heat conspire to impact our final forage positively and negatively. Mould and wild yeast growth often begin while the crop is growing. Cool, wet, fall conditions favour the development of ear rots caused by Fusarium spp. These fungi can also produce several toxins harmful to people and livestock: vomitoxin, zearalenone, T-2 toxin, and fumonisin.
The second critical time for your forage crop is during harvest and storage, when microbiological stability can be impacted. While in storage, forages change substantially from the product initially harvested. In silage and hay, these changes are usually affected by microorganisms inevitably leading to changes in quality. Substantial efforts expended by both farmers and custom choppers can be lost within days, even hours, if the harvested material is not treated correctly.
Finally, during feed-out, the best crop can experience aerobic stability issues - significantly changing the complexion of even the best preserved crop. Microbes, which do not grow in the air-free environment of a well-packed silage pile, rapidly double and spoil silage once the silage is exposed to air. Information from Dairyland Laboratories, Inc., show silage samples contained high levels of wild yeast. Wild yeast lies dormant in well-preserved silage, but quickly grows in the presence of oxygen during facing, mixing and feed-out. It multiplies rapidly, leading to ration heating, but wild yeast growth provides a favourable environment for mould growth.
Quality control during storage
Excessive microbial growth can raise the temperature of our forages to 130 to150F, increasing dry matter loss and producing Maillard reactions, reducing dry matter and crude protein digestibility. In order to control the problems inherent in forage stabilization during the storage period, attention must be given to implementation of quality control programs based on microbiological control.
Understand first that mould and wild yeast organisms are widespread throughout animal feed. Although mould may not be visible to the naked eye, there are numerous outward signs of mould used to indicate microbiological activity is present. Therefore, a program to prevent mould and yeast growth is needed. For this, it is necessary to consider what mould inhibitor to use among the large variety of products available on the market. The principal additives used to preserve silage are:
1. Bacterial inoculants are the most commonly used silage additives. Inoculants contain bacteria selected for their ability to produce lactic acid and other organic acids from sugars found in the silage. Inoculants typically contain a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, which grow rapidly under a wide variety of conditions. Other species of bacteria are also chosen for their ability to enhance stability of silage during feed-out, such as Lactobacillus buchneri. Strains are selected and evaluated by individual manufacturers and vary greatly in their effectiveness. Choose products with independent research data to back claims of lowered pH, increased dry matter recovery, better aerobic stability, or improved animal performance.
2. Non-protein nitrogens, such as anhydrous ammonia and aqueous ammonia, are applied to corn silage. An alternative to ammonia is urea. These additives increase the crude protein content of the silage and can increase silage bunk life. Ammonia raises the pH of silage and kills many of the yeasts, moulds and bacteria that cause heating and spoilage. Ammonia improves dry matter and fibre digestibility by breaking down hemicellulose and other components in plant cell walls.
3. Enzymes reduce fibre content by breaking down components of the cell wall and begin the digestion of carbohydrates. Enzymes and products containing enzymes are usually a combination of amylases, cellulases, hemicellulases, and/or pectinases. Several inoculant manufacturers have included enzymes in their formulations; however, enzyme concentrations found in inoculant products are often much lower than in straight enzyme products.

4. Buffered organic acids are blends of propionic acid with other acids such as acetic acid. These blends are used to reduce spoilage and increase bunk life. Both propionic and acetic acids inhibit the growth of yeasts and moulds. Buffered acid blends help reduce metal corrosion and reduce potential worker safety issues. These products are added at the chopper or at ensiling, typically at rates of 0.1 to 1.0 per cent (2 to 20 pounds per ton of wet silage). In addition to being used during ensiling, blended organic acids applied during feed-out can enhance bunk life of total mixed rations, or TMR.
Forages are vitally important to dairy and beef farmers. Quality forages make a huge difference toward profitable production. Complete programs of microbiological control lead to better quality feed through the preservation of nutrients. During each step, from growing to feed-out, farmers impact feed quality. There are a wide variety of additives to help during harvest and storage to enhance forage quality. Consult a forage specialist or agronomy consultant to select the best forage additive for your operation.
(Scientific references available on request. Email us.)
The 2021 Census of Agriculture is on the horizon

In May 2021, Canadian farm operators have the opportunity to take part in a national dialogue by completing the Census of Agriculture questionnaire.
The Census of Agriculture is a source of community-level data on agriculture. By drawing on this data, decision makers will act in the interest of farm operators, farm communities and agricultural sectors across Canada.
Farm organizations are heavy users of census data and use the Census of Agriculture information to formulate policy recommendations, produce communications and outreach activities and conduct market research.
Measuring an evolving industry over time
After every census, Statistics Canada consults with farm operators, agricultural industry members and data users to assess their data needs.
In the fall of 2017, Statistics Canada conducted a national consultation, and received 132 comments and suggestions from diverse groups, including federal government departments and agencies, provincial government ministries, farm organizations, academics, farm service companies and consulting firms to help improve the 2021 Census of Agriculture. Statistics Canada is grateful to the agricultural industry for its ongoing feedback and support.
While important adjustments were made to census content based on these consultations, most of the questions in the 2021 Census are identical to those used in 2016. This continuity is important for tracking long-term trends in the industry and meeting the ongoing needs of users and stakeholders.
What's new for the 2021 Census of Agriculture?
Census online: Faster, easier and streamlined
Canadian farm operators will receive a letter in May 2021 with instructions on how to complete the census questionnaire online quickly and easily.
The online questionnaire will be efficient for farm operators in a number of ways. It will automatically add totals and will only ask the questions that apply specifically to the operator's farm. This will reduce Statistics Canada's need to call farm operators to clarify their answers.
Lastly, high-quality alternative sources of data will be used wherever possible to reduce response burden.
Getting ready
In the coming months, the Census of Agriculture Program will organize different activities and events with the farm community. This includes a media campaign that explains what's new in the upcoming census and why the census is important.
In accordance with the Statistics Act, farm operators are required to participate in the Census of Agriculture. By the same law, Statistics Canada is required to protect the information provided in Census of Agriculture questionnaires. Privacy is a fundamental component of the census. It is our duty by law.
At the beginning of May, complete your questionnaire and tell your story as part of Canada's farming community!

Le Recensement de l'agriculture de 2021 se profile à l'horizon

En mai 2021, les exploitants agricoles canadiens auront l'occasion de participer à un dialogue national en remplissant le questionnaire du Recensement de l'agriculture.
Le Recensement de l'agriculture est une source de données au niveau des collectivités sur l'agriculture. En s'appuyant sur ces données, les décideurs agiront dans l'intérêt des exploitants agricoles, des collectivités agricoles et des secteurs agricoles partout au Canada.
Les organisations agricoles sont de grands utilisateurs des données du recensement et s'appuient sur ces renseignements pour formuler des recommandations stratégiques, produire du matériel de communication, effectuer du travail de sensibilisation et mener des études de marché.
Mesurer une industrie en évolution au fil du temps
Après chaque recensement, Statistique Canada consulte les exploitants agricoles, les membres de l'industrie agricole et les utilisateurs de données pour évaluer leurs besoins en données.
À l'automne 2017, Statistique Canada a effectué une consultation nationale et a reçu 132 commentaires et suggestions provenant de divers groupes, y compris des ministères et organismes fédéraux, des ministères provinciaux, des organisations agricoles, des universitaires, des entreprises de services agricoles et des entreprises de consultation, afin d'aider à améliorer le Recensement de l'agriculture de 2021. Statistique Canada remercie l'industrie agricole de ses commentaires et de son appui continus.
Bien que d'importants ajustements aient été apportés au contenu du recensement à la suite de ces consultations, la plupart des questions du Recensement de 2021 sont identiques à celles de 2016. Cette continuité est importante pour suivre les tendances à long terme dans l'industrie et répondre aux besoins continus des utilisateurs et des intervenants.
Quoi de neuf pour le Recensement de l'agriculture de 2021?
Recensement en ligne : plus rapide, plus facile et plus simple
En mai 2021, les exploitants agricoles canadiens recevront une lettre contenant des instructions sur la façon de remplir le questionnaire de recensement en ligne rapidement et facilement.
Remplir le questionnaire en ligne sera efficace pour les exploitants agricoles, et ce, de plusieurs façons. Il additionnera automatiquement les totaux et ne présentera que les questions qui s'appliquent spécifiquement à l'exploitation agricole de l'exploitant. Cela réduira le besoin de Statistique Canada d'appeler les exploitants agricoles pour clarifier leurs réponses.
Enfin, d'autres sources de données de haute qualité seront utilisées, dans la mesure du possible, pour réduire le fardeau de réponse.
Au cours des prochains mois, le Programme du Recensement de l'agriculture organisera différentes activités et différents événements avec la collectivité agricole. Cela comprend une campagne médiatique pour expliquer les nouveautés contenues dans le prochain recensement et les raisons pour lesquelles le recensement est important.
Conformément à la Loi sur la statistique, les exploitants agricoles sont tenus de participer au Recensement de l'agriculture. En vertu de cette même loi, Statistique Canada est tenu de protéger les renseignements fournis dans les questionnaires du Recensement de l'agriculture. La protection des renseignements personnels est un élément fondamental du recensement. Il s'agit d'une obligation qui nous est imposée par la loi.
Au début du mois de mai, remplissez votre questionnaire pour nous raconter votre histoire au sein de la grande collectivité agricole du Canada!
Know an ag producer who deserves some applause? 
Nominations open for 2021 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), CFGA and Pollinator Partnership (P2) are pleased to solicit nominees for the 2021 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. This award recognizes an individual or family in the farm and ranch community in Canada who has contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation.
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.
The recipients of the 2021 award will be recognized during an award ceremony that opens the 21st Annual North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.
Go here to learn more. Send nomination forms to Savannah Autran at the Pollinator Partnership by deadline of Friday, July 16, 2021. Awardees will be notified no later than Friday, Aug. 27, 2021.
Meet Ian Steppler, the 2020 NAPPC Farmer-Rancher Canada winner
Ian Steppler is the president of Steppler Farms Ltd, a farming enterprise that manages over 3,500 acres of arable land as well as a few thousand acres of pasture near Miami, Man. Steppler Farms breeds and sells purebred Charolais cattle and operates a commercial honey bee operation of approximately 1,200 to1,500 hives.
Ian's land management philosophy focuses on protecting flowering plants and grasses in order to provide year round nectar and pollen resources. Pastures are seeded with a grass seed and pollinator mix, including white and yellow sweet clover. Grazing rotations allow the flowering plants to bloom again, extending the overall flowering period.
Ian always considers pollinators in his pest management decisions, and is passionate about not spraying ditches to the point that he works with his local municipality to mow 15 miles of ditches in his area. He is the vice-president of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association, a director of the Deerwood Watershed Authority and leads the committee to establish the Knowledge and Research Transfer Program for the beekeeping industry in Manitoba.
Ian also regularly shares his farming and beekeeping philosophy with others through his YouTube channel with 50,000 subscribers. In 2019, he spoke at 12 conferences outside the province and was the keynote speaker for the Manitoba Watershed Conservation Association's annual conference.
Oxen teamsters wanted
Dr. Drew Conroy, of the University of New Hampshire, is doing a survey on the subject of oxen in Canada and he wants to hear from Canadian forage producers currently working with oxen.

The author of Oxen: A Teamster's Guide to Raising, Training, Driving & Showing, Dr. Conroy is well known to ox teamsters around the world. To participate in the survey, go here

Teamster Jim Gronau would also like to hear from anyone currently working with oxen, or interested in doing so. You can reach him via email.
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.
Feb 11, 18, 25: BCFC webinars on Demonstrating Innovative Pasture Rejuvenation Practices in Central and Northern Interior of B.C. Project. Details here.

February & March: BCFC Forage Management Knowledge Transfer Webinar Series. Ten free webinars. Detailed schedules and information on the BCFC website.

March 10: PRFSA Production and Marketing Seminar/AGM. Registration on PRFSA website or by contacting Talon 877 630 2198 or by email.

More event listings:
Thank you to our CFGA partners
 the CFGA