Yousef A. Papadopoulos, Ph.D., M.B.A., P.Ag.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Nova Scotia Agricultural College
PO Box 550, 100-5 Haley Institute,
Truro, NS, Canada B2N 5E3
2012 Forage Crop Report: Yousef Papadopoulos (NS, AAFC Research Scientist), Bill Thomas (Manager of Extension and Field Crop Specialist), Jack VanRoestel (Field Crop Specialist), Peter Scott (NB Provincial Forage Specialist), Les Halliday, (PEIDA, Provincial Livestock Specialist) and Wayne Molloy (NFLD, AAFC Research Technician).
The 2012 cropping season in the Maritime region started off with a drier & earlier spring which meant Nova Scotia’s 1st cut alfalfa-grass forages needed to be harvested 7-10 days earlier, to achieve decent quality. This drier spring meant that new seeded forages, corn, soybeans could be planted earlier, with fairly stress-free conditions during early growth stages. The June-late August 2012 timeframe was much drier than normal which resulted in reducing 2nd and 3rd cut forage yields & pasture regrowth to less than 50% of normal. September to mid-October turned the other way and was extremely wet. Consequently with low 2nd and 3rd cut yields due to summer dryness, a fair amount of forage was harvested in late October-early November. There will likely be just enough forage on many farms in the Maritime region due to our summer dryness, some of this will be offset by feeding higher than normal amounts of silage corn on dairy and beef farms.
The growing season in Newfoundland and Labrador for 2012 was mixed; grass and/or legume first cut yields and quality were good across the province, second cut was very low due to drought with regions being devastated by armyworm as well. With proper management of the armyworm, cutting of drought/armyworm affected fields to stimulate regrowth, providing nutrients and much needed precipitation in September and October provided a good to fair third cut. Forage from outside the province in August when industry was in a crisis situation was difficult to source and in some situation more expensive to buy, but as industry heads into the winter months their forage needs are met after a very anxious growing season. Silage corn under photo-degradable plastic mulch and conventional was reported as being the best ever harvested with DM’s around 30 % and strong yields, in some regions corn fields were affected by armyworm but proper management controlled its spread. The dairy industry continues to clear land for self-sufficiency in forage production with this trend continuing into next year.
2012 Research Update:Research participants involved or associated in the projects listed below include - Yousef Papadopoulos, AAFC, Truro; Bill Thomas, Perennia, Truro; Jack VanRoestel, Perennia, Kentville; Peter Scott, NBDAF, Fredricton; Wayne Molloy, AAFC, St. John's; Robert Berthiaume, AAFC, Sherbrooke; Carole Lafrenière, AAFC, Kapuskasing; Gilles Bélanger, AAFC, Québec; Gaëtan Tremblay, AAFC, Québec;Julie Lajeunesse, AAFC, Normandin; John Duynisveld, AAFC, Nappan; Alan Fredeen, Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro; Hushton Block, AAFC, Brandon , Sherry Fillmore, AAFC, Kentville, Les Halliday, PEIDA; Kathleen Glover, Truro; Dave Barrett, Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro; Jonathon Wort, Perennia, Truro; Prithiviraj, Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro; P. Havard, Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro; M.O. Johnston, Dalhousie University, Halifax; A. Gunawardena, Dalhousie University, Halifax; S. Gaul, AAFC, Kentville; Amy Sangster, Perennia, Truro; Don Viands, Cornel University, Ithaca, N.Y; B. Coulman, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; David Gehl, AAFC, Indian Head; Yves Castonguay, AAFC, Quebec; Annie Claessens, AAFC, Quebec; Annick Bertrand, Annick, AAFC, Quebec.
In Newfoundland and Labrador AAFC’s forage research included evaluation of photo and bio-degradable plastic mulch for breakthrough and degradation with silage and sweet corn. AAFC grass/legume research continued with Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador evaluating forage mixtures on newly cleared land looking at what mixtures will provide an improved yield, persistence and soil improvement, this project has four industry partners in four regions of the province. AAFC in NL has partnered in a study with several groups developing and optimizing ensiled fish from aquaculture waste for use as an agriculture fertilizer, Allan Kwabiah is the lead researcher on these projects. A ‘SAGES’ funded project managed by Gary Bishop is looking into longevity and movement of e.coli from liquid dairy manure on tile drained soils, comparing surface banded and broadcast manure application, and he is also investigating the management of alfalfa/brome grass forage mixture with liquid dairy manure as the prime nutrient source. Researchers have also initiated a winter cereal research site at the ACCCRC with plans to expand this study. Provincial initiatives include forage land renovation demonstration, evaluation of plough-down crops in Labrador to improve soil organic matter, spring and winter cereal evaluation trials.
In Prince Edward Island provincial initiatives, the Growing Forward program currently funding two forage related projects: 1) evaluating creeping red fescue as a seed crop; and 2) evaluation of blight resistant corn.
The major forage concerns in the Atlantic region are: the high price of fuel and chemical fertilizers, the low number of young farmers entering farming and the labour shortage on farm. The high cost of energy is getting people interested in biomass for fuel. A tonne of grass pellets has the heat equivalency of over 450 liters of furnace oil. Test plots researching the yield potential of several C3 and C4 grasses are at several locations across the region. Performance testing includes the evaluation of new varieties of forage, mixtures and management for Bio-Fuel Production is continuing Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. These projects include: 1) assessment of Fertilizer Rate and Cutting Date on Grass Biofuel Yields, Chemical Composition and Heating Value (NS); and 2) forage species mixture (four grasses and three legumes) – evaluating biomass yield with three harvest dates (NB). Local manufactures have been developing and testing grass pellets furnaces with good success. The first locally manufactured grass pellet furnace is now available. A boiler room is being constructed in NS to serve as a pilot project and demonstrate how the experimental renewal resource can replace traditional heating sources, such as oil and electricity, which is currently used for heating in the province. The newly constructed boiler will use grass pellet produced in the province in hope this grass-burning initiative can demonstrate to industry in the region that demonstrate to Nova Scotia farmers that growing a special type of grass as a new cash crop is viable.
Agronomists and animal scientists at the Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, formerly Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), who are organized under the umbrella of Center for the advancement of Pasture activated or are assembling the results from large number of research dairy, beef, sheep, and modelling projects. Namely: 1) Performance of forage mixtures under a beef grazing management system in the Northern Latitudes. Funding for this project was provided by Beef Cluster (Beef Cluster 1; AAFC and BCRC; 2) Beneficial Fatty Acids in Lamb - The Effects of Different Feeding Systems. Funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Agri-Futures, Nova Scotia’s Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) Council; 3) Nutritionally enhanced milk products for the Atlantic Canada dairy industry. Funding for this project was provided by AIF, Industry Partners included DFNS & Acadia Seaplants Ltd; 4) Multiple breeding initiatives to overcome poor persistence of forage legume species (AAFC, Truro); 5) The role of legume and grass species/cultivars in the improvement of nitrogen transfer efficiency in forage production (AAFC and Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro); and 6) Evaluation of new breeding lines of alfalfa for adaptation to acidic soil conditions (AAFC, Truro, Lethbridge and Ithaca.
ATLANTIC FIELD CROP COMMITTEE (AFCC) Forage & Corn Cultivar Evaluation Task Group: This Committee is responsible for production and cultivar registration recommendations for selected forage crops in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. This committee accomplished its mandate in cooperation with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Atlantic Food & Horticulture Research Centre, Kentville, NS; Agriculture & Agri-food Canada Research Farm, Nappan, Nova Scotia; Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro, Nova Scotia; P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Forestry; Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; and the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The Atlantic Regional Forage Cultivar Evaluation Trials (13) are coordinated out by Perennia staff, Truro, NS. Bill Thomas is the coordinator responsible for this initiative. The Maritime Silage Corn Evaluation Trials (5 Maritime sites with 36 hybrids tested) are coordinated out by Perennia staff, Truro, NS. Jack VanRoestel is the coordinator responsible for this initiative. Site locations and agronomists managing these locations include:- Aylesford, NS, Jack VanRoestel, Agri-Point International, Kentville; Kentville, NS, Yousef Papadopoulos, AAFC, Kentville; Truro, NS, Nancy Mclean, Dalhousie faculty of Agricultural, Truro; Woodstock, NB, Mike Price, DAAF, Fredricton; Sherry Fillmore, AAFC, statistical analysis, Kentville, NS. Active regional trials established in 2011 include:- alfalfa, red clover, white clover, birdsfoot trefoil, Timothy, bromegrass, reed canarygrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, orchardgrass, meadow fescue, bluegrass and annual ryegrass.