World’s grasslands catalogued

Ever wonder what kinds of pasture and grasslands are in Albania or Australia, New Caledonia or New Zealand?

A new website initiated by the Grassland and Pasture Crops Group of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization provides a list of basic pasture and grassland information for 100 countries around the world, including Canada.

Each site gives basic information about the country: population, topography, climate, marketing systems and soil types. Each country’s site also gives extensive details of the type of livestock produced and grass and pasture production.

Retired Agriculture Canada forage and beef specialist Duane McCartney developed the Canadian site.

McCartney said the site is designed to be a teaching site for university and high school students, trade commissions and producers.

It was during a bus tour on a grasslands congress in Brazil that McCartney met the chief agronomist for the FAO, who organized grassland projects around the world. The two remained friends and McCartney was asked to put together information on grasslands in Canada for the FAO project.

“I had lot of this stuff already done from other projects. It was a matter of pulling that stuff together and cutting and pasting. A guy starting from scratch would have had a big job,” said McCartney of Lacombe, Alta.

It took 14 people to put together information on grasslands in the United States, said McCartney.

Grant Lastiwka, forage and beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture, said the website is one more nod to noting the importance of grazing and grasslands around the world.

“It lets us clarify a little more the grasslands of the world,” said Lastiwka.

“It’s all about noting the value of forage and grassland and noting the immensity of the industry,” said Lastiwka.

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