Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile
2.SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY
3.CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES
4.RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
5.THE PASTURE AND RANGE RESOURCE
7.RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL
Canada is the world's second largest country after Russia, covering approximately 10 000 000 km2 and extends 5 500 km between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and 4 600 km north from the USA border to the Arctic - see Figure 1 (McCartney and Horton, 1997, Canada 2011). Canadians have a wealth of natural and agricultural resources; from the spectacular mountains of the west, through the grain and grazing areas of the prairies, to the forests and rivers of the Canadian Shield and finally to the historic farmlands of eastern Canada. The variable topography, the Great Lakes, and the surrounding oceans influence climate, vegetation, and demographics. About 90% of Canada is uninhabited with 90% of Canadians living within 500 km of the USA border which is 8 890 km in length. About 60% of Canadians live in southern Ontario and Quebec. Canada contains vast expanses of wilderness to the north and has the world's longest coastline: 202 080 km. Even though Canada is the second largest country in the world it has about the same population as the state of California, USA, which is one-twentyfifth its size. According to the World Factbook the estimated population in July 2011 was 34 030 589 with a growth rate of 0.794%.
Canada contains a mixture of diverse national and cultural groups. At the time of Canada’s first census, in 1871, about half the population was British and nearly one-third was French. Since that time the proportion of Canadians of British and French ancestry has dropped to about one-fourth each, as more have arrived from other countries in Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Because immigrant groups have tended to settle in particular locales, they generally have retained their cultural identity. For example, Ukrainians largely migrated to the Prairie Provinces where the land and climate were similar to their homeland, and many Dutch settled on the flat, fertile farmlands of south western Ontario. Many Chinese, Portuguese, Greeks, and Italians have settled in specific sections of large cities, particularly Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
The Canadian legal system is based on English common law, except in Quebec, where the civil law system is based on French law (Napoleonic Code). The main difference between Canada and the USA is the form of government. The head of state for Canada is Queen Elizabeth II represented by the Governor General while the head of government or Parliament is the Prime Minister. The cabinet or federal ministry is chosen by the prime minister usually from among the elected members of his own party sitting in Parliament.
The Governor General is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term; following legislative elections. The leader of the majority party or leader of the majority coalition in the House of Commons is generally designated prime minister by the Governor General
Parliament consists of the Senate (105 seats; members appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and serve until 75 years of age) and the House of Commons (308 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a maximum of five-year terms).
Canada is a vast nation with a wide variety of geological formations, climates, and ecological systems. It has rain forest, prairie grassland, deciduous forest, tundra, and wetlands. Canada has more lakes and inland waters than any other country. It is renowned for its scenery, which attracts millions of tourists each year. On a per-capita basis, its resource endowments are the second richest in the world after Australia.
Canada's topography is dominated by the Canadian Shield, an ice-scoured area of Precambrian rocks surrounding Hudson Bay and covering half the country. This vast region, with its store of forests, waterpower, and mineral resources, is being increasingly developed. East of the Canadian Shield is the maritime area, separated from the rest of Canada by low mountain ranges, plains and river valleys, and including the island of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. South and southeast of the Shield are the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence lowlands, a fertile plain in the triangle bounded by the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Georgian Bay. West of the Shield are the farmlands and ranching areas of the great central plains, some 1 300 km wide along the US border and tapering to about 160 km at the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Toward the north of this section is a series of rich mining areas, and still farther north is the Mackenzie lowland, traversed by many lakes and rivers. The western most region of Canada, extending from western Alberta to the Pacific Ocean, includes the Rocky Mountains, a plateau region, the coastal mountain range, and an inner sea passage separating the outer island groups from the fjord-lined coast. Mt. Logan, the highest peak in Canada, in the St. Elias Range near the Alaska border, is 5 959 m high. The Arctic islands constitute a large group extending north of the Canadian mainland to within 885 km of the North Pole. They vary greatly in size and topography, with mountains, plateaus, fjords, and low coastal plains.
For a detailed description of the various soils that can be found in different regions of Canada the following websites should be visited:
A detailed map of the major soil zones of the Canadian prairie region is shown in Figure 5.
A vast transitional zone, the taiga shield, comprising some 1 300 000 km2 of mixed boreal and tundra growth, connects the northern forest and the tundra region. Generally, the trees in this subarctic zone, with its cold, dry climate, are small and of little commercial consequence.
The southern portion of the interior plains is too dry for forests and gives rise to grasslands or natural prairies [Figure 10 and Table 2] (Bailey et al. 2010). The grazing industry is located primarily in western Canada with British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba having 84% of the national beef herd. Ontario and Quebec have 73% of the national dairy herd. The majority of harvested forage, dehydrated alfalfa and forage seed crops are grown in western Canada. The forage-based livestock industry makes a significant contribution to the national economy.
There are five main Canadian prairie eco-regions. The Dry Mixed Grass prairie in southeastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan is the most southerly and driest area of western Canada and consists of needle-and-thread (Stipa comata) and blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) with sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate) and cactus. The Mixed Grass prairie eco-region surrounds the Dry Mixed Grass eco-region of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where there is slightly more precipitation. The vegetation is mainly Wheatgrass-Needle-and thread range type (Stipa-Agropyron). The Foothills Fescue Prairie eco-region occurs along the southwestern Alberta foothills where there is higher annual precipitation than in the adjacent Mixed Grass prairie eco-region. Foothills rough fescue (Festuca campestris) can be found in the Alberta foothills, while plains rough fescue (Festuca halli) grows primarily on the Black Chernozemic soils of central Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba. The comparatively good moisture and rich soils of the Foothills Fescue Prairie has made it a very productive annual crop area. At the northern limit the grasslands merge with the transitional Aspen parkland at the edge of the boreal forest to form the Aspen Parkland –Northern Fescue Prairie eco-region of central Alberta Saskatchewan and Manitoba With higher precipitation, bromegrass-bluegrass (Bromus-Poa) complexes are predominant. The Tall Grass Prairie eco-region occupies a huge region of the northern Great Plains of the United States and southeastern Manitoba where the climate is warmer and moister than in the Parkland –Fescue and Mixed Grass prairie eco-regions.Warm season grasses are dominant with needle-and-thread, prairie dropseed (Stipa-Sporobolus),Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi) and Indiangrass (Andropogon-Sorghastrum) communities.
Forage and Ruminant livestock
Forages occupy 44% of the farmed area in Canada, with 15.5 m ha. of natural land on private farms for pasture, 5.7 m ha of seeded pastures, 2.9 m ha in seeded hay and fodder crops and 5.1 m ha in alfalfa. (Statistics Canada 2009), exceeding any other individual crop kind. In addition there are vast areas of natural rangeland as shown in Table 2.The estimated feed value of forages used domestically exceeds $1 US billion. The remainder is sold as hay or dehydrated forage, some of which is exported. Canada is a significant exporter of compressed timothy and alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets, forage seed and leafcutter bees used for alfalfa seed pollination.
The beef industry
www.statcan.gc.ca/ (and browse under “agriculture” and then “sub-topics”, where summary tables give livestock data up to January 2011)
Many cattle in western Canada graze on government land managed by federal and provincial government land agencies. In some areas, cattle producers lease government lands for long-term grazing in addition to owning their own land. Governments in western Canada have facilitated community pasture grazing programs where local cattle producers communally graze a limited number of head on a common pasture for a yearly fee. The grazing season for many of these areas traditionally extends from late May to October, depending upon location. Most producers practice some form of managed rotational grazing of their lands to various degrees.
From an ecological perspective, the Grassland Biome and Interior Mountain Cordillera are the most important areas for the beef industry in western Canada. A strategic challenge facing the Canadian beef cattle industry is how to proactively interact with the increasing number of non-agricultural interests that are also using Canada’s grazing lands.
The feedlot finishing industry (see Photos 12 & 13) is mainly located in southern Alberta. Beef producers normally wean spring-born calves in the autumn at 200-250 kg. These calves are then fed through the winter on forage-based rations to approximately 400 kg at which time they go onto a high grain finishing ration, normally barley in western Canada and maize in eastern Canada. Cattle are normally slaughtered at 16-18 months and at 550 kg live weight. Some large Alberta feedlots have a capacity of up to 100 000 head on feed at any one time. In 2010 Canadian feedlots fed 3.36 million head of cattle for slaughter www.canfax.ca.
About 81% of Canadian dairy farms are located in Ontario and Quebec (see Photos 14-16), 13.2% in the Western provinces and 5.5% in the Atlantic provinces. The typical Canadian dairy farm has 72 cows and produces an average of 5,579 hectolitres of milk per year. There are 452 dairy processing plants (272 which are federally-inspected) contributing to more than 22 730 jobs across Canada. The Canadian dairy sector operates under a supply management or quota system based on planned domestic production, administered pricing, and dairy product import controls. Dairy products shipped from processing plants are valued at approximately USD$8 billion.
Canada's orderly marketing system is designed to encourage the production of sufficient volumes of industrial milk and cream to meet domestic demand for dairy products as well as certain planned exports. The Canadian Dairy Commission, in its facilitative role, helps build consensus within the industry, which characterizes the overall approach to orderly marketing in Canada's dairy industry.
Canadian dairy cattle, recognized for their disease-free status and their ability to produce high quantities of milk over several lactations, are exported around the world. In 2009, Russia was the top market for Canadian live breeding cattle. Canadian dairy bovine semen was exported to 84 different countries with the USA, the Netherlands, Japan and Spain being Canada’s largest markets.
Canadian dairy product exports reached $266.7 million. The top three products exported were dairy spreads, products consisting of natural milk constituents, and skim milk powder. The primary destination for Canadian dairy products was the USA which accounted for 48% of total dairy exports in terms of value.
Canadian dairy innovation is built on the industry's expertise in research and development. Canada's scientists are leaders in developing and transferring new dairy technologies. An example of Canadian dairy innovation is the development of a robust line of functional dairy products. Already several products have been developed, such as probiotic yogurts, ultra filtered milk, and dairy products containing Omega-3 fatty acids.
Canada's forage resources include both native range and cultivated crops. The area stretches from the vast arctic tundra of the far north to the grasslands of the southern prairies, and from the forests of British Columbia through the boreal forests of central and western Canada to the deciduous forests of eastern Canada. Only 7% or 68 million ha of Canada's entire land base is used for agriculture (McCartney and Horton, 1997).
Agriculture is one of Canada's primary industries. It is the third highest contributor to the gross domestic product after mining and oil (Statistics Canada, 2010). The agri-food industry contributes approximately 8% of Canada's annual gross domestic product. Agriculture's primary importance varies across the country and is most important economically to the province of Saskatchewan.
The beef and dairy industries are the second and third ranking primary agriculture sectors after grain. It is estimated that two-thirds of the feed protein in Canada comes from hay, grazing of forages, and fodder corn production. Hay production dates back to the 17th century. To-day hay is produced in every province. The majority of forage production is used on-farm, with off-farm sales estimated to represent approximately 10 to 15% of total production.
Canada's cold-temperate climate dictates winter feeding of livestock with preserved forages for periods as long as October to May depending on location and annual weather.
Cultivated forages have been widely adapted to various regions with significant production coming from lands not suited to annual crops. Forages are frequently grown in rotation with cereals and oilseeds. Grain crops are grown on the majority of cultivated lands but the farm value of forage conserved as hay and silage is about 40-60% the value of feed grain crops. Important cultivated forages include alfalfa (Medicago sativa), red, white and alsike clover (Trifolium pratense, T. repens and T. hybridum), bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), smooth and meadow bromegrass (Bromus inermis and B. riparius), creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra), timothy (Phleum pratense), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) and crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum and A. desertorum).
Most of the forage-based livestock industry is in western Canada and management integrates rangeland with cultivated forages. The four western provinces have 96% of the 26 million ha of Canadian rangeland used for livestock production with 36% in British Columbia, 29% in Alberta, 24% in Saskatchewan and 8% in Manitoba. The western provinces also have 82% of the nation's cultivated pasture, 64% of the nation's forage crop area, and 84% of the nation's beef cow herd.
Inuit hunters who traditionally have used the caribou as a source of food and shelter are very concerned about the long-term survival of these vast herds due to the lack of suitable grazing reserves. In addition to caribou, there are large herds of bison (Bison bison) and reindeer which are in some cases commercially managed in the arctic and boreal forest zones.
While most of the Boreal Forest is not suited for agriculture, about 50 000 km2 are cultivated in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the isolated clay belt of northern Ontario. The soils of the Boreal Forest range from Gray Luvisols on the interior plains to organic soils on the lowlands of Hudson Bay, and the Podzols of the Canadian Shield. Soil fertility is low. Livestock operations (Photos 25 & 26) are found on the southern edges of the Boreal Forest where it meets the prairie grasslands and in the clay belt of northern Ontario.
The deciduous forest biome of eastern Canada covers about 5% (450 000 km2) of Canada's land base. It can be divided into two ecozones; the mixed wood plains ecozone and the Atlantic Maritime ecozone (Figure 12).
The mixed wood plains ecozone stretches from the Great Lakes of southern Ontario and east along the St. Lawrence River of southern Quebec (Ecological Stratification Working Group, 1995). Its waterways, gentle topography, fertile soils, warm growing season, abundant rainfall and early settlement have made it Canada's most populated area, with 60% of the nation's people (Willms and Dormaar, 1993). The climate is warm in summer, cool in winter with mean temperatures ranging from 16-18 °C in summer and -10 to -20 °C in winter. Annual precipitation ranges from 720-1 000 mm.
One hundred and fifty years ago this area was heavily forested with more tree species than any other region of Canada. Less than 10% of this area remains forested today. Deciduous trees with their fall colours (Photo 30) are a major tourist attraction. Important tree species include sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Acer rubrum), beech (Fagus grandifolia), American elm (Ulmus americana), trembling aspen and birch (Betula spp.).
Forages constitute the single largest crop grown in Ontario with seeded pastures (0.4 million ha) and hay land (1 000 000 ha) accounting for 40% of the crop land in Ontario (Clarke et al., 1993). This equals the land area used for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), soybeans (Glycine max), and grain corn in Ontario. Livestock production dominates Ontario's agriculture with 36% of farm income derived from ruminant livestock and 56% of all farm cash receipts coming from all livestock products in general.
Quebec ranks first for the number of milking cows (Petit, 1993). Over 60% of Quebec's farm land (3.4 million ha) is in forage production with approximately 0.7 million ha in pasture (20% of the forage area). Principal forage species are timothy and white clover.
The Atlantic maritime ecozone (see Figure 12) (Photo 31) covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (Photo 32) and parts of southeastern Quebec. The climate is moist and temperatures are moderate ranging between 13-16 °C in summer and -10 °C to -20 °C in winter. Annual precipitation varies from 900 mm inland to over 1 500 mm near the coast: Forest vegetation is mixed stands of conifers and deciduous species of red spruce (Picea rubens), balsam fir, birch, sugar maple, and pine (Pinus spp.).
About 15% of the soils in Nova Scotia, 20% in New Brunswick and 60% in Prince Edward Island are of high agricultural value with some areas specializing in potato production (Willms and Dormaar, 1993). Approximately 80 000 ha are used as pasture with another 388 000 ha used for cultivated crops (Papadopoulos et al., 1993).
Cultivated grasses (Photo 33) such as timothy, orchardgrass, tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) and legumes such as white clover can increase pasture productivity in the region and reduce seasonal fluctuations in dry matter yield associated with native swards. Improved swards gradually revert to native species due to competition under grazing. Supplemental pasture crops including annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and mustards (Brassica spp.), extend the productive grazing season from approximately 4 to 7 months (Papadopoulos et a1.,1993).
Mountain Cordilleras - Western Canada
Western Canada is dominated by a series of mountain ranges. The effect of the Pacific Ocean combined with varying altitudes, slopes, and aspects of the cordilleras creates more diversity in climate and vegetation than is found in any other region of Canada (Meidinger and Pojar, 1991). The area provides an extensive grazing resource for wildlife and commercial cattle and horse producers.
The Pacific Cordilleran, or Coast Forest, extends from the Gulf of Alaska to northern California along the coast of the Pacific ocean (Figure 13). It covers about 3% (260 000 km2) of Canada’s land base, but due to the rugged terrain has limited use for beef production (Horton, 1994). Major species include western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), with sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) in the north and coastal areas, and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) in the south. The area receives from 1 500-3 000 mm of annual precipitation due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean (Ecological Stratification Working Group, 1995).
The Rocky Mountain Cordilleran Biome stretches from southeastern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta through central British Columbia into the Yukon (Figure 14). It covers approximately 9% (920 000 km2) of Canada's land base. The forage resources of the Rocky Mountain Cordilleran are important for guide-outfitting and ecotourism enterprises.
The Interior Cordilleran located in southcentral British Columbia covers 2% (170 000 km2) of Canada's land base. The climate of the zone ranges from sub-arid to humid at low and mid-elevations and cold at high elevations. The rain shadow created by the coastal mountains results in some of the driest areas in Canada. Other regions can receive 1 500 mm of annual precipitation (Ecological Stratification Working Group, 1995). The vegetation is floristically diverse ranging from bunchgrass associations in valley bottoms with dry to wet forest communities at mid-elevations to high elevation alpine communities. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) grows in the southern parts while Douglas fir, lodgepole pine and trembling aspen grow elsewhere. Many ranchers (see Photos 34-39) use these areas for beef cattle grazing (Wikeem et al., 1993).
Commercial forest operations have been established throughout the area along with mining. Ecotourism is of great importance as many national and provincial parks have been established for recreational use and as wildlife preserves. About 5% of the region is suitable for agriculture (Willms and Dormaar, 1993). Farming and ranching occur in the valleys and on the plateaus. Cultivated crops are often grown under irrigation with fruit orchards, berry production, and vineyards located in heavy concentrations in the southern valleys.
The Grassland Biome (see Figure 15) in Canada is a continuation of the Great Plains of central North America. This biome covers about 5% (450 000 km2) of Canada’s total land base and most of the cattle grazing in Canada takes place in this region (McCartney and Horton, 1997). It stretches from the Canada-USA border in a tear drop arc from Alberta, through Saskatchewan and into southern Manitoba. These grass plains are comparatively flat and were home to large herds of bison prior to European settlement. Native grasslands have been extensively ploughed and cultivated for grain production over the last hundred years. Today most of Canada's wheat, oilseeds, pulse crop and beef production are centered in the grassland biome.
The continental climate ranges from semi-arid in the south to sub-humid in the north. Winters are long and cold; summers are short and hot with high evaporation. Annual precipitation ranges from 250 mm in the arid southern grasslands of Alberta and Saskatchewan to 700 mm in parts of Manitoba.
The natural plant communities of the Canadian grassland biome have been described by Moss (1944), Moss and Campbell (1947), Coupland (1950), Coupland and Brayshaw (1953), Moss (1955), Coupland (1961), Blood (1966), Looman (1969), Scoggan (1978), Looman (1981), Willms and Jefferson (1993) and Bailey et al. (2010). This biome can be classified into four associations (see Figure 10): Aspen Parkland, Fescue Prairie, Tallgrass Prairie and Mixed Prairie.
The Aspen Parkland
[For prairie grassland/grazing scenes see Photos 45-52]
Hay Harvesting and Winter Feeding Systems
Annuals can be used for pasture (Photos 61 & 62), and fit well into complementary grazing system. Oat, barley, fall rye or winter triticale, sown in late May to early June will provide mid to late season grazing. Stocking rates on annual forages need to be adjusted to reduce trampling losses and prevent cereals from heading and losing quality. Rotational grazing is recommended to achieve the required grazing pressure, and allow for plant recovery following grazing. These crops should be grazed before the boot or heading stage and can be regrazed after a sufficient rest period.
Annuals can be used for greenfeed or hay production. Timing of cutting has a large impact on the subsequent feed quality. The fibre content increases and protein and energy decrease as annual cereal forages go from boot to hard dough stage. Barley protein and energy levels decline more slowly than oats, triticale, and rye. Annual forages produce the highest yields and protein when harvested in the dough stage.
Swath grazed crops in Western Canada are usually planted in late May to early June, so that they are ready for cutting in mid September before the killing frost. Stock densities are kept high with the use of electric fencing to reduce trampling losses and wastage.
All cereals, corn, peas and other field crops are commonly used as silage. Corn is the main silage crop in Eastern Canada with sufficient heat and moisture while barley is the dominant silage crop in Western Canada. Crops can be grown in mixtures for silage to enhance silage quality or to provide extra grazing through the re-growth of the mixture after the silage has been harvested.
For additional information on the use of annuals as forage go to <www.Foragebeef.ca>.
Forages for Domestic and Export Markets
Many livestock producers involved with beef, dairy, pleasure horse, sheep and goat rely upon baled hay either big round bales, small or large square bales for winter feed. Quality is of great importance to the dairy and pleasure horse industry and top prices are paid for this type of product. Weather conditions at hay harvesting time are the main determinent to producing high quality hay.
Canada is a significant exporter of forages in both long fibre and short fibre forms in addition to alfalfa pellets (see Photos 64 & 65) to the USA. Canada is in a position to export forages throughout the world forage markets and has shipped products to a variety of international forage markets. Japan and the USA are the most significant markets for Canadian forages with over 90% of exports going to these markets. Most of the Asian markets exports have dropped over the last few years while some new markets are emerging in the Middle East. Canadian exports have increased dramatically into the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, with significant potential in Saudi Arabia. China and Mexico are other countries that have increased their use of Canadian forages.
Canada is able to produce top quality forages for export markets, and its produce is in demand in many importing regions. Historically, the lack of a strong forage sector, lack of industry support, regional differences, and fluctuating markets, have had a significant impact on the forage sector in Canada. With the development of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) which represents a broad cross section of the forage and grassland industry in Canada, market barriers can now be addressed on a national basis. The current issue for many Canadian forage exporters is that there are several barriers that restrict market access in a competitive way. Transportation costs, currency rates, protocols, energy costs and market demands are some of the key barriers that Canada needs to overcome to effectively market into these regions.
Canada produces a variety of quality feed forages for a wide range of animals. Unfortunately the export markets currently only accept timothy and alfalfa. Many of the markets could benefit from some of the other forages available from Canada. Additional information on Canada’s hay and dehy industry can be found at <www.canadianfga.ca>.
Pedigree Seed Production
There has been a concerted effort by a number of dedicated people across Canada to raise the profile of the Canadian forage and grazing industry. The International Grassland Congress was held in Canada in 1997 as a means of inviting forage and grazing land scientists and producers from around the world to see first-hand the Canadian forage and grazing industry. Subsequently many provincial grazing conferences have been held across Canada promoting the results of forage and grazing research and these have been popular with producers. A web site <www.Foragebeef.ca> was developed to highlight the most appropriate forage and grazing research applicable to Canadian conditions. Several provinces have producer-oriented Forage Councils that promote various technology exchange programs of current research coming from the Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research programs and from Universities in Canada and the northern USA. A new producer/industry based national organization, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association <http://www.canadianfga.ca/>, has recently been created to represent and promote the entire forage and grazing industry across Canada.
Most Canadians live in urban areas and only 4% are involved with actual farming. In general, Canadians have an appreciation for grazing lands and wild landscapes. However, the beef cattle industry is just recovering from economic losses caused by the BSE crisis of 2003. As a result there has been little recent investment by producers into the improvement of pasture, grassland or rangeland resources. In some areas of Canada there is a limited demand for grass fed or ‘natural’ beef fed no hormones or antibiotics and some farmers are addressing this new market. However, there is great interest on the part of most cattle producers to make better use of their grazing resource and most producers use some form of planned grazing management.
Unfortunately, there has been no united voice to represent the research and extension needs of Canada’s forage and grasslands industry. In the 1970s, there were a significant number of forage related research scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and at Canadian Universities. Provincial Departments of Agriculture had active agricultural extension education programs promoting the value and management of forage production and grazing management to farmers. Over the past 30 years, there has been a steady decline in numbers of public forage scientists and extension personnel caused by reorganization, budget cutbacks, and non-replacement of retiring personnel. Public funding for grassland/rangeland and forage research has declined and the livestock industry groups have put most of their resources into beef and dairy market development. However, there are still a few dedicated research scientists and provincial forage extension specialists who are active in promoting good grassland and forage management and integrating these ideas into farming systems across Canada.
Research Branch (Federal Responsibility) funds long-term research
Agriculture and Agri Environment Services Branch Promotes environmentally sustainable grassland management
Anderson, H. G. & Bailey, A.W. 1980. Effects of annual burning on grassland in the aspen parkland of east-central Alberta. Can. J. Bot. 58:983-996.
Bailey, A. W. 1995. Future role of fire in rangeland vegetation dynamics. Pages 160-163 in N.E. West (ed.)., Rangelands in a Sustainable Biosphere. Proc. of the Fifth International Rangeland Congress. Society for Range Management, Denver, CO.
Bailey, A. W., McCartney, D. & Schellenberg, M. 2010. Management of Canadian Prairie Rangeland. On line www.Foragebeef.ca
Blood, D. A. 1966. The Festuca scabrella association in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba. Can. Field Nat. 80:24-32.
Canada. 2011. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved Feb 1 2011, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/91513/Canada
Clark, E. A., Buchanan-Smith, J.G. & Weise, G.R. 1993. Intensively managed pasture in the Great Lakes Basin: A future¬oriented review. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 73:725-747.
Coupland, R. T. 1950. Ecology of the mixed prairie in Canada. Ecol. Monogr. 20:271-315.
Coupland, R. T. 1961. A reconsideration of grassland classification in the northern great plains of North America. J. Ecol. 49:136-167.
Coupland, R. T. and T.C. Brayshaw. 1953. The fescue grassland in Saskatchewan. Ecology 34:386-405.
Ecological Stratification Working Group. 1995. A national ecological framework for Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch, Centre for Land Biological Resources Research and Environment Canada, State of the Environment Directorate, Ecozone Analysis Branch, Ottawa/Hull.
Horton, P. R.1994. Range resources in the Canadian context. Pages 16-30 in F.K. Taha, Z. Abouguendia, and P.R. Horton (eds.) and T.O. Dill (prod. ed.), Managing Canadian rangelands for sustainability and profitability. Proc. of the First Interprovincial Range Conference in Western Canada. Grazing and Pasture Technology Program, Regina, SK.
Looman, J. 1969. The fescue grasslands of western Canada. Vegetation 19:128-145.
Looman, J. 1981. The vegetation of the Canadian Prairie Provinces II. The grasslands, Part 2. Mesic grasslands and meadows. Phytocoenologia 9:1-26.
McCartney, D., & Horton, R.. 1997. Canada’s forage resources. International Grasslands Congress Winnipeg Man. Saskatoon Sask Canada On line www.Foragebeef.ca
McCartney, D. Basarab, J.A, Okine, E.K., Baron, V.S. & Depalme, A.J.. 2004. Alternative fall and winter feeding systems for spring calving beef cows. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 84: 511-522.
Meidinger, D. and J. Pojar (eds.) 1991. Ecosystems of British Columbia. British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Special Report Series 6, Victoria, BC.
Moss, E. H. 1944. The prairie and associated vegetation of southwestern Alberta. Can. J. Res. 22:11- 31.
Moss, E. H.1955. The vegetation of Alberta. Bot. Rev. 21:492-567.
Moss, E. H. & J.A. Campbell. 1947. The fescue grassland of Alberta. Can. J. Res. 25:209-227.
Papadopoulos, Y. A., Kunelius, H.T, & Fredeen, A.H. 1993. Factors influencing pasture productivity in Atlantic Canada. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 73: 699-713.
Petit, H.V. 1993. Pasture management and animal production in Quebec. A review. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 73:715-724.
Ryan, B. 1996. The Endless March. Equinox 90:27-37.
Scoggan H. J.1978. The flora of Canada. The evolution of Canada's flora. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.
Statistics Canada. 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011. Livestock statistics. Government of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.
Wikeem, B. M., McLean, A., Bawtree, A. & Quinton, D. 1993. An overview of the forage resource and beef production on Crown land in British Columbia. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 73:779-794.
Willms, W. D. & Dormaar, J.F. 1993. Geographic setting. Pages 17-34 in J. Martin, R.J. Hudson, and B.A. Young (eds.), Animal Production in Canada. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
Willms, W. D. & Jefferson, P.G. 1993. Production characteristics of the mixed prairie: Constraints and potential. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 73:765-778.
For further information on grassland management go to the following government and related web sites
Forage Beef Canada www.foragebeef.ca
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/range/factsheets.htm#Grazing%20Management%20Guide
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sag2111#land
Alberta Forage Industry Network http://www.albertaforages.ca/site/about_us
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Livestock-Feeds-Nutrition
Saskatchewan Forage Council http://www.saskforage.ca/publications/ManagingRangeland.pdf
Western Beef Development Centre http://www.wbdc.sk.ca/
Manitoba Agriculture and Food and Rural Initiatives
Manitoba Forage Council http://www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca/resources/forage-grassland-manual/
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Quebec Dept. Of Agriculture http://www.agrireseau.qc.ca/
Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick
For additional information on Canada’s Beef industry go to
www.Foragebeef.ca Summarizes forage and beef research applicable to Canada
www.farmissues.com/virtualtour/en/index.html shows pictures of Canadian farms
www.qualitystartshere.on.ca Quality assurance program
www.cattle.ca Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
www.agcanada.com Canadian Cattlemen’s magazine.
For additional information on the Canadian dairy industry go to
www.dairyfarmers.ca/ Dairy Farmers of Canada
www.dairyinfo.gc.ca/cdicofqm.htm Canadian Dairy Information Centre On Farm Food Safety
www.wcds.ualberta.ca Western Canadian Dairy Seminar
www.milk.org Dairy Farmers of Ontario
www.dairygoodness.ca Dairy nutrition
For additional information on Sheep production in Canada go to
www.sheepbreeders.ca/ Canadian Sheep Breeders Association
www.Cansheep.ca Canadian Sheep Federation
www.ontariosheep.org look for a manual “Introduction to sheep production in Ontario”
For additional information on Farms and Dairy seminars go to
Tours of Canadian Farms at http://www.farmissues.com/virtualtour/en/index.html shows pictures of Canadian farms
Western Canadian Dairy Seminars http://www.wcds.ca/proceedings-search.shtml
This profile was prepared by Duane McCartney, Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, Lacombe, Alberta (Retired).
Any enquiries about the profile and related issues should be directed to: