January 5, 2012 - The Western Producer
Canada's best source for agricultural news and information.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2012 VOL. 90 | NO. 1 | $3.75 BAGGING IT UP | THE GRAIN BIN ALTERNATIVE P28 SERVING WESTERN CANADIAN FARM FAMILIES SINCE 1923 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM RESEARCH | PLANT BREEDING TOP 10 WEATHER EVENTS FOR 2011 � Historic flooding in the West � Fire in Slave Lake, Alta. � Flooding on Quebec's Richelieu River � Doom to boom on the farm � Tornado in Goderich, Ont. � Hurricanes and tropical storms Irene, Breeders aim to ramp up plants' ability to fight stress BY DAN YATES SASKATOON NEWSROOM Katia and Ophelia in Atlantic Canada Great summer in Eastern Canada, � bad summer on coasts Record low Arctic sea ice � � Groundhog Day blizzard in Eastern Canada � Wicked winds in southern Alberta Cutline: adipiscing elit sed headline goes dolo Os auguerilit iriustiscin ex eros ero odignibh exero dood ea PHOTO CREDIT AFTER BAR | Storm clouds were a common sight in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, making flooding the top weather event in Canada in 2011. | WEATHER | 2011 IN REVIEW FILE PHOTO Mother Nature goes wild in 2011 Rain, tornadoes, wind | Manitoba's `flood that wouldn't end' tops the weather event list BY BARB GLEN LETHBRIDGE BUREAU A recent discovery at the University of California, Riverside, could help researchers develop new droughttolerant crops. The work coming out of Sean Cutler's laboratory is still new, but it may provide the agriculture industry with a blueprint for further innovations that allow farmers worldwide to get the most out of crops growing under less-than-ideal conditions. A plant that encounters drought tries to cope with the stress by ceasing growth and reducing water loss and consumption. In short, it has a defence mechanism to help it survive the stress. Cutler's team has discovered how to heighten that response. "If we want to feed the 10 billion people that we're going to have in the near future, we need to be actively making discoveries like this that create new options down the line," said Cutler, an associate professor of plant cell biology at the university. access=subscriber section=news,none,none SEE BREEDERS, PAGE 2 � SEE MOTHER NATURE, PAGE 2 � SHOW US YOUR TANDEM TRUCK. AND YOU CAN WIN ONE. HURRY! Contest closes January 31, 2012. Enter at www.winatandemtruck.ca Trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. The Western Producer 11/12-17287-3 TM TM The Western Producer is published in Saskatoon by Western Producer Publications, which is owned by GVIC Communications Inc. Publisher, Larry Hertz Publications Mail Agreement No. 40069240; Registration No. 10676 It will come as no surprise to Manitoba and Saskatchewan farmers that last year's floods ranked as the number one weather event of 2011. In his 16th annual listing of Canada's top 10 weather events, Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said he could have compiled 10 top weather stories from this event alone. "It was like the flood that wouldn't end," he said. "It was the winter flood that became the spring flood that became the summer flood." Phillips said water levels on Manitoba's Assiniboine River reached one in 330 year levels, and the high water on Lake Manitoba was a one in 2,100 year event. A record number of acres were flooded and various levels of government spent nearly $1 billion fighting spreading waters and compensating victims. That was part of the cost that made 2011 the second most expensive year ever recorded in terms of insurance payouts and damage. The most expensive was 1998, when Eastern Canada was hit with an ice storm. Number two on the 2011 weather list, the fire that devastated Slave Lake, Alta., accounted for $700 million in payouts and another $400 in uninsured losses. "The insurance industry actually says that this is probably the largest number of private homes lost from a single event in Canadian history," Phillips said. "And what we do know is that this is the second most expensive disaster in Canadian history from an insurance point of view." Arson is indicated as the cause of the disaster, but Phillips said dry conditions and strong winds contributed to its scope. The May 15 fire was followed several weeks later by 17 consecutive days of rain. The 200 millimetres that fell were followed three weeks after that by another 100 mm. "They thought it was biblical. I mean, fires and floods and where were the locusts? That's what the thinking was." Agriculture was the primary beneficiary of the number four event on the list : the cool and wet prairie spring that transformed into a hot summer and long, warm harvest season. Phillips referred to it as "doom to boom." u|xhHEEJBy00001pzYv!:, JANUARY 5, 2012 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Box 2500, Saskatoon, SK. S7K 2C4 2 JANUARY 5, 2012 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | THE WESTERN PRODUCER NEWS WEATHER | FROM PAGE ONE Mother Nature goes wild As a nasty winter turned into a cool wet spring in 2011, farmers were concerned about crop prospects and seeding was delayed across much of the country. "It was potentially a big hit, billions of dollars on the economy of the West," he said. "Then a remarkable thing happened. Someone turned the faucet off. Summer came." The long, hot autumn allowed crops to mature and harvest to be completed without major losses. The year was also notable for the unusual summer. "This summer, depending upon where you live, was the summer of summers for middle Canada and was really disappointing for the coasts, where summer came but it seemed to be after Labour Day." Summer's heat was a result of a huge dome of air trapped over 40 U.S. states and the four central provinces. Ontario recorded many record highs and people in and near Winnipeg were ecstatic, Phillips said. "You couldn't say anything nasty about the summer in Winnipeg. Even the mosquitoes left town and went to Edmonton, and the Jets came home." The most troubling weather event on the list, from a long-term and global perspective, was the record low Arctic sea ice, said Phillips. "In 2011, we saw the sea ice extent ... diminish to its second lowest in 50 years. We saw the volume of ice to be its lowest ever, eight percent lower than it was the previous year." Number 10 on the list was high winds in Alberta in November. Though southwestern Alberta is known as one of the windiest places in Canada, speeds recorded during Grey Cup week were noteworthy. Phillips said wind reached speeds of more than 144 km/h and there was an unconfirmed report of 200 km/h in Pincher Creek. Part of downtown Calgary was shut down when the wind blew out window glass in high-rises. Damage across southern Alberta is still being tallied. INSIDE THIS WEEK REGULAR FEATURES Ag Stock Prices Classifieds Events, Mailbox Livestock Report Market Charts Opinion Open Forum On The Farm Weather 70 33 64 9 8 10 12 78 79 COLUMNS Editorial Notebook Hursh on Ag Market Watch Perspectives on Management Animal Health Cowboy Logic TEAM Living Tips Health Clinic Speaking of Life 11 11 7 71 67 68 77 75 76 Moments: The wet spring was a major newsmaker on the Prairies. For more photos from 2011, see page 61. | WILLIAM DEKAY PHOTO NEWS � APP FOR THAT: Agriculture � � � RESEARCH | FROM PAGE ONE Breeders to ramp up stress fighters The research builds on previous studies into abscisic acid, a stress hormone triggered when a plant encounters drought. In 2009, Cutler assisted in the discovery of abscisic acid receptors, which are activated by the hormone and control a plant's response to drought. "The receptor is like the conductor," said Cutler. "It controls the whole orchestra that does all these responses." With that knowledge Cutler went to work "supercharging" the plant's stress response, modifying these receptors so that they can be turned on at will and locked in their "on" state to improve stress tolerance. "If you can modify the plant so that it lasts just a few days longer under conditions of drought than other varieties, then when the water does come back -- when the rain does return -- you can improve the amount of yield that the farmer gets out at the end of the day," said Cutler. The results of his study , which was funded by the National Science Foundation and Syngenta Biotechnology, were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December. Cutler's team examined Arabidopsis, a close relative of canola and a plant beneficial to researchers because it grows quickly, but he said the research is applicable to all plants. "These hormones and the ways that plants cope with these stresses are shared by all plants," said Cutler. "So new information from corn can be relevant for wheat. New information from canola or our plant ... can be extremely informative for the crops that farmers care about." Cutler said it will be many years, if ever, before the research hits the field. The team still has to show that supercharging these responses will improve yields in crop plants. "But we've shown that we know how to do that, and other work has shown that supercharging by other tricks can improve yield," Cutler said. "And so we're moving toward that next step." Other research, including drought tolerant corn developed by Monsanto and BASF, is further along the pipeline. "The goal is not to turn corn or wheat into a cactus-like plant. It's to broaden the range of environments it can be productive in and maximize the yield when conditions aren't ideal," said Cutler. is expected to become one of the biggest users of smartphone technology. 5 RISE AND FALL: The demise of the wheat board monopoly took decades. What's next for the marketing agency? 14 ALUS PILOT: Four Saskatchewan RMs participate in an Alternative Land Use Services pilot project. 18 UNAUTHORIZED DRAINAGE: Wet weather causes a backlog in drainage complaints in Saskatchewan. 20 � TRADE TIGHTROPE: Canada's � � � new trade minister defends his anti-protectionist stance at world trade talks. 23 MORE IRRIGATION: A proposed water supply system in Saskatchewan could permit expanded irrigation. 26 THINKING LONG TERM: A new corporation is proposed to spearhead irrigation in Saskatchewan. 27 BROWN TREES: Farmers need to become detectives when determining what is causing their evergreens to brown. 63 CONTACTS Larry Hertz, Publisher Ph: 306-665-9625 email@example.com Joanne Paulson, Editor Ph: 306-665-3537 firstname.lastname@example.org Terry Fries, News Editor Ph: 306-665-3538 email@example.com Newsroom inquiries: 306-665-3544 Newsroom fax: 306-934-2401 Paul Yanko, Website Ph: 306-665-3591 firstname.lastname@example.org Barbara Duckworth, Calgary Ph: 403-291-2990 email@example.com Mary MacArthur, Camrose Ph: 780-672-8589 firstname.lastname@example.org Barb Glen, Lethbridge Ph: 403-942-2214 email@example.com Karen Briere, Regina Ph: 306-359-0841 firstname.lastname@example.org MARKETS 6 � CWB GLITCH: A pricing glitch at the CWB � could cause grain handling headaches. 6 SMALLER HERD: Record cattle prices fail to spark herd rebuilding in North America. 7 PRODUCTION 28 � GRAIN BAGS: Researchers try to back up � LIVESTOCK 65 farmers' grain bag stories with science. 28 RECYCLING BAGS: A proliferation of farm plastic prompts calls for recycling. 30 � WHEAT DDG: A study finds wheat DDGs � AGFINANCE 70 make a suitable livestock feed. TRACEABILITY: A national movement document may improve traceability. 65 67 Ed White, Winnipeg Ph: 204-943-6294 email@example.com Ron Lyseng, Winnipeg Ph: 204-654-1889 firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Arnason, Brandon Ph: 204-726-9463 email@example.com Barry Wilson, Ottawa Ph: 613-232-1447 firstname.lastname@example.org Canada Post Agreement Number 40069240 SEE INSIDE BACK COVER FOR ADVERTISING AND SUBSCRIPTION TELEPHONE NUMBERS � BIODIESEL FUNDING: A biodiesel plant in � Alberta receives federal funding. 70 DROUGHT CORN: Monsanto wins approval for its drought tolerant corn variety. 71 Clarification A photo on page 3 of the Dec. 22 issue had part of a protester's sign obscured. The sign referred to "$20 billion gone" with the loss of the Crow Benefit transportation subsidy and was not referring to the Canadian Wheat Board. FARM LIVING 74 � SCHOOL RETIREMENT: Old schools aren't � allowed to die in one rural community. 75 PEREHUDOFF EXHIBIT: New exhibit shows a different side of Saskatchewan artist. 76 New Year's Resolution #1: Improve My Farm's Profitability. Join us at the Western Canadian Crop Production Show, Prairieland Park, Saskatoon, January 9-12, booths A20-A23. We'd love to meet you! 10,000 FNA Members have added hundreds of millions to Canadian farmers' bottom lines. Call us today to find out how FNA can help you keep one resolution in 2012. FARMERS OF NORTH AMERICA 1-877-362-3276 www.fna.ca Imagine what we will do with 10,000 more... NEWS WEATHER | SASKATCHEWAN THE WESTERN PRODUCER | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | JANUARY 5, 2012 3 WEATHER | ALBERTA Above normal spring runoff predicted for Saskatchewan BY KAREN BRIERE REGINA BUREAU Weather woes Farmers across the Prairies grappled with rain, floods and hail in 2011 as they struggled to put a crop in the ground. Many simply couldn't get seeds in at all. Western Producer reporters talked to farmers and weather experts to see what happened, and what the forecast is for 2012. Dry, warm fall welcome relief for Alberta BY BARB GLEN LETHBRIDGE BUREAU A trivia game about Saskatchewan would inevitably include questions about the weather, and a good question for 2011 might be: which part of the province received the most rain? Many areas were flooded and soggy, but Stockholm and surrounding area received the most precipitation. The region received 617 millimetres of rain between April 1 and Oct. 10, according to the provincial crop report. The Bengough area was second highest at 609 mm while Ceylon received 575 mm. Arlynn Kurtz, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Fertile Belt, was worried six weeks into the growing season when one-third of that rainfall had already fallen and repair costs had already exceeded $1 million. Further south, Coalfields reeve Stan Lainton didn't turn a wheel in 2011. In early December, he said the RM was still grappling with washouts and road repair. The fact that many farmers couldn't get to their fields contributed to the estimated 6.2 million acres that weren't seeded. Another 2.2 million acres were subsequently flooded out. The dry, long fall that followed may prove to be a godsend for southeastern Saskatchewan. Doug Johnson, director of regional services for the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, said fall conditions were better than they were in 2010. "We have moist soil conditions (and) sloughs are full, but I don't think we're in the same situation as 2010," he said at a November meeting. But even with normal snow pack, runoff will be above normal next spring. How that affects farming operations remains to be seen. Farmers in southeastern Saskatchewan took advantage of the fall to seed more winter wheat and fall rye. Acreage increased 74 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Total seeded acreage in the province in 2011 was about a million acres. Yields were generally average to above-average. Quality and grade were above the 10-year average, with downgrading caused by hail, frost, ergot and wheat midge. By fall, many regions reported that excess topsoil moisture had dried up. Fifteen percent of cropland was considered to have surplus moisture in the southeast, while six percent was short. That compared to two percent excess and six percent very short in the southwest, three percent surplus and three percent very short in eastcentral, and one percent surplus and 10 percent very short in west-central. The northern regions reported no surplus moisture. The northwest reported eight percent very short and the northeast reported 24 percent short. The area that saw the least precipitation was Lake Lenore with 149 mm, followed by Maple Creek at 174 mm. Rain clouds were plentiful last spring across many parts of the prairies. | WEATHER | MANITOBA FILE PHOTO Soggy spring; unseeded acres a record BY ROBERT ARNASON BRANDON BUREAU It's a given that prairie folk love to talk about the weather. But in 2011, the never-ending talk of rain, floods and extreme heat was too much for most Manitobans to bear. "It's day after day. It's not just the farm, it's your basement ... and the sirens going off in town because they need sandbaggers again," Andy Barclay, who farms north of Souris, Man., said in June. "It just gets tiring. That's all anyone talks about day after day is the flood and the rain." Like dozens of producers in southwestern Manitoba, Barclay failed to seed a crop last spring because his fields were inundated with water. A variety of factors combined to make 2011 an extremely wet spring for farmers: a wetter than usual 2010, above average snowfall over the winter, a wet, cool spring and a massive amount of water flowing into Manitoba from Saskatchewan and North Dakota. The 2,400 unseeded acres on Barclay's farm contributed to an ignominious record: Manitoba producers were unable to seed 2.9 million acres of cropland in the spring of 2011, nearly double the old record of 1.5 million acres. The results were often poor to mediocre for producers who were able to seed a crop into the soggy conditions. Canola crops around Winnipeg were particularly dreadful. Farmers near Starbuck, Man., reported yields of three to six bushels per acre because plants were unable to develop roots in the wet spring and couldn't tap into water deeper in the soil when little to no rain fell around Winnipeg in July and August. On the positive side, the dry weather persisted into the fall, drying up most of the province's soaked and unseeded acres. Soil moisture conditions in southwestern Manitoba are likely better than they were in 2010, when many fields were saturated going into freeze up, said Elmer Kaskiw, a Manitoba Agriculture crop production adviser in Shoal Lake. As well, the dry weather gave producers an opportunity to cultivate land that was rutted or damaged during the spring's extremely soft conditions. It was also a nasty year for cattle producers around Lake Manitoba. Water diverted into the lake this spring and summer from the swollen Assiniboine River caused water levels to exceed 817 feet above sea level, nearly five feet higher than the maximum regulated level for Lake Manitoba. High water pushed the lake's shoreline outward, forcing dozens of producers around the lake to move livestock inland or relocate animals to other pastures in Western Canada. The province dug a $100 million drainage channel, which is designed to drain excess water from Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin into Lake Winnipeg. Nonetheless, Lake Manitoba water levels were still high going into winter and many cattle producers around the lake are coping with frozen ponds on feed yards, pasture and hay land. access=subscriber section=news,none,none The 2011 growing season got off to a slow start in Alberta, but a long fall broughtgoodtoexcellentyieldsandcrop quality across much of the province. Dry conditions in the Peace River region and wet, cool conditions in central and southern areas caused farmers early concern, but few acres were left unseeded in the final tally, said Alberta Agriculture crop specialist Neil Whatley. He said chemical companies likely had a good year because moisture conditions favoured the development of disease, such as sclerotinia and blackleg in canola, ergot and stripe rust in wheat and ascochyta blight in pulse crops, he said. However, crop quantity and quality prevailed if growers were able to apply fungicides in a timely fashion. Agriculture minister Evan Berger deemed it a successful crop year. "Through the first half of 2011, Alberta had the highest farm cash receipts in Canada, totalling $5.2 billion," he said in December. Premier Alison Redford put agricultural exports at $6.7 billion for 2010, adding that the industr y employs about 70,000 people. Whatley said crop disease and insect specialists are still tallying the tolls taken on crops this year. Results are expected in early January. A long, open fall proved beneficial for harvest. Worries about an early frost did not materialize. Excessive moisture early in the season caused numerous problems for farmers and rural municipalities when fields and roads were inundated with surface water that was slow to drain. Brian Brewin, reeve for the Municipal District of Taber in south-central Alberta, said more than 200 roads were flooded in the MD this spring, forcing it to put infrastructure upgrading plans on hold to fix the damage. "We spent the entire year repairing back to what we had," he said. "Our goal was to get as many roads open as we could for harvest. For the most part, we did it." Similar work was needed in most rural municipalities across the south. Brewin said farmers' efforts to drain land so that they could seed taxed municipal ditches that weren't designed for heavy water drainage. Many irrigation ditches were flooded, having been designed to carry water from reservoirs to fields rather than manage excess water drainage. "It put everybody against everybody, that was the sad part this spring," he said. "It had municipalities against municipalities, it had Alberta Transportation draining into farmers' fields, one farmer draining into another farmer's field and really putting people at odds against each other." Alberta Environment reported that a large area around Grande Prairie and a pocket around Lethbridge had much above normal precipitation between May 1 and Aug. 31 with more than 130 millimetres. A swath extending from Peace River through Drayton Valley, Red Deer, Sundre and High River also had above average precipitation in excess of 110 mm in the same period. access=subscriber section=news,none,none 4 JANUARY 5, 2012 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | THE WESTERN PRODUCER NEWS FOOD SAFETY | CFIA LEGISLATION New food safety rules to spur innovation: CFIA More flexible, consistent | Outcome-based system will help companies meet food safety goals, says the CFIA BY BARRY WILSON OTTAWA BUREAU The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is launching the most extensive regulatory review in its 14-year history, promising more modern, industry-friendly rules. It proposes switching the emphasis from setting objectives and policing compliance to emphasizing prevention and allowing industry to reach the objectives without excessive regulatory direction. The CFIA would focus on verifying compliance. As well, it will consider whether user fees should be increased to reflect current costs of services and private benefits that flow from some regulations. At the same time, agriculture minister Gerry Ritz is promising new food safety legislation. In a December report on food safety system improvements, he noted plans for "a new food safety bill to simplify and modernize our legislation." Regulatory reform will be part of that drive in 2012. In a discussion paper published in late December in anticipation of discussions during the winter, the CFIA said its goals are to create new regulations that are more flexible, protect public safety and give industry enough flexibility to innovate. "Modernized regulatory frameworks will improve consistency and reduce complexity in regulation and will enhance the ability of the CFIA and regulated parties to contribute to the safety of the food supply and the protection of the animal and plant resource bases," said the discussion paper. I think at the end of the day it will be welcomed by producers because it will be much more predictable, more outcome-based on common principles.... BRIAN EVANS CHIEF FOOD SAFETY OFFICER Meanwhile, companies would be told what the safety goal is but not be instructed on how they must get there. "Shifting to outcomes-based and transparent regulations aims to establish clear expectations regarding risk management outcomes to be achieved," said the paper. "Such regulations will provide flexibility for the regulated industry to demonstrate how it is achieving the desired outcome." Many in the agri-food industry would likely welcome proposals to simplify often conflicting or arcane rules that flow from 13 pieces of legislation and 38 sets of regulations connected to them. However, there almost certainly will be resistance from food safety advocates and possibly unions representing CFIA employees who will argue this is a formula for putting the future of the food system even more in the hands of companies. The CFIA said regulatory reform is necessary because current regulations reflect past conditions. As well, food products and globalized trade have changed and many current regulations stifle necessary innovation. Other jurisdictions, including the United States, are already in the midst of food regulatory review. Brian Evans, Canada's chief food safety officer and chief veterinarian, said change is necessary and the review is part of a government-wide demand for smarter regulations. The underlying theme of the system will remain, "thou shalt not sell unsafe food," he said. Farmers will also see a benefit. "I think at the end of the day it will be welcomed by producers because it will be much more predictable, more outcome-based on common principles and will allow industry to demonstrate how they achieve compliance without us prescriptively saying, `this is how we're going to measure compliance,' " he said. "I believe it will make producer lives more predictable as well and of course it will affect rules on inputs as well." CHRISTMAS | CELEBRATIONS TRANSPORTATION | RAILWAYS Cows take flight as fireworks light night BY BARBARA DUCKWORTH CALGARY BUREAU CPR exceeds revenue cap; CN under BY BARRY WILSON OTTAWA BUREAU One family's Christmas celebration created an unexpected ruckus for neighbours Mike and Deb Butler. A family reunion was being held Christmas Eve at the church grounds less than a kilometre from the Butler ranch near Rose Prairie, 30 kilometres north of Fort St. John, B.C., when someone decided to mark the event with fireworks. That was when all heck broke loose. "These were not normal front yard fireworks," said Deb Butler. "These came from Manitoba and they were spectacular." The spectacle spooked 130 head of calves in a nearby pen and the stampede began. The calves bolted through the fence and took off into the night. The Butlers tried to round them up with flashlights but it was pitch black and all they could see were red eyes reflecting back at them. "I have never seen hundreds of red eyes at one time," she said. Fortunately, a larger perimeter fence around the property prevented the animals from straying far. Some returned to the barnyard on their own while the rest had to be rounded up the next morning. The roundup was slow going because sunrise did not arrive until after 9 a.m. on the northern ranch. access=subscriber section=news,none,none Cattle on the Butler ranch near Rose Prairie, B.C., took exception to a neighbour's Christmas Eve fireworks. | DEB BUTLER PHOTO The next chore was rebuilding the fence rather than opening presents. "There were eight fence posts busted off right at the ground and the fence was flattened," she said. They had to pour hot water down the post holes to pull the broken posts out of the cold ground and replace them with new ones. Three hours later they had a new fence and Butler had to hurry back into the house to get a turkey in the oven for 14 guests. Profuse apologies followed when the neighbours found out what happened. However, no one was seriously hurt and all was forgiven. "We knew nobody had done this on purpose," she said. "You think you've seen everything when you have been ranching as long as we have." 'Twas the Night Before Christmas By Deb Butler `Twas the Night Before Christmas on our Rose Prairie farm The cattle were settled, and causing no harm Dad finally came in, and sat down for a treat As I took from the oven, some shortbread so sweet When off to the West there arose such a clatter We sprang to the window to see what was the matter, Then what to our wondering eyes should appear, But a fireworks display, that was so very near Bombs bursting in air, what an awesome display! They lit up the sky, lustre just like mid-day They were banging and whistling, it made the house rattle Dad's only concern was they'd frighten the cattle He rushed to the feed yard, so lively and quick But the cattle were missing, it just made him sick The fence was knocked down, from the mighty stampede Posts broke at the ground, a problem indeed To the shop he then ran, got four wheeler and truck We drove round the fields, livestock running amuck Red eyes by the hundred, were flashing at us, Not stopping for fences, Dad started to cuss We tried and we tried, in the darkness and din All efforts in vain, we could not get them in We closed all the gates, in the hopes they would keep And went back to the house, for a short night of sleep The next day was Christmas, and at the first light We rounded the herd up, a beautiful sight We locked them in pens, there was much work to do Pounded posts, stapled wire, till the fence was all new Our neighbours came over, apologized for the deed They just didn't think it would cause a stampede, But I heard Dad exclaim, as they drove out of sight Merry Christmas to all, but please....No Fireworks Tonight! The Canadian Pacific Railway exceeded its grain revenue cap for 2010-11 and must pay $1.315 million to the Western Grains Research Foundation, says the Canadian Transportation Agency. Canadian National Railway was under its CTA-calculated revenue cap. The calculations were published Dec. 22. CPR exceeded its revenue cap of $442,570,741 as calculated under a Canada Transportation Act formula based on costs, capital purchases, inflation, grain tonnage hauled and distance hauled. The railway's grain freight revenue was $443,822,775, or $1.252 million above its allowed revenue. The CPR penalty comes with $62,000 in interest. The CTA estimates CPR hauled 14.686 million tonnes last transportation year, a nine percent and 1.46 million tonne decline from the previous year. CN took in $913,447 less than its $509, 316, 957 revenue cap based on hauling 16.44 million tonnes of prairie grain. CN grain traffic increased more than four percent and 668,000 tonnes last year, according to CTA estimates. Under legislation, grain revenue excesses are sent to the WGRF, a farmer-financed and controlled organization that funds research to help the prairie grain sector. The CTA estimates that railways hauled 31.1 million tonnes of western grain last year, a 2.5 percent decrease from 2009-10. Prairie flooding and weather-related problems that reduced yields were credited as major factors contributing to the reduced grain movement last year. access=subscriber section=news,none,none NEWS THE WESTERN PRODUCER | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | JANUARY 5, 2012 5 TECHNOLOGY | SPRAYING Smartphone app helps combat aphids University of Guelph researchers have developed a smartphone application to help combat soybean aphids. Aphid Advisor is the product of a research team co-led by Rebecca Hallett, an associate professor at the Ontario university's School of Environmental Sciences. The program goes a step further than other ag-related apps because it takes field-tested research and provides producers with a platform to apply that knowledge. In other words, it will tell farmers when to spray their fields. "It's on the cutting edge. Those applications will get better and better," said Peter Gredig of AgNition, who worked with Hallett to develop the app. Aphids can take over a plant, resulting in plant stunting and lower yields. An effective and well-timed pesticide application is key to managing the population, but so too are the creature's natural predators. And that's what Hallett's research team set out to measure beginning in 2006. Producers are advised to keep aphid populations to an average of 250 per plant. Hallett's research adds another number into the mix that can assist producers. "We decided to incorporate the impact of natural enemies into the action threshold and developed what we call a dynamic action threshold, so the actual value at which you decide to spray changes," said Hallett. Aphids have many predators in the field and they each consume different amounts of aphids. The researchers used this information to create the natural enemy unit, which measures how many aphids are consumed in total on an average day. Enter the smartphone application. Users input two pieces of information: the average number of aphids per plant and the number of predators per plant. The application helps users identify the different types of predators and calculates the natural enemy unit. Hallet said combining these two pieces of information can challenge the previous practice of simply spraying at a threshold of 250 and help time pesticide application appropriately. Spraying could be delayed or even avoided if the app determines that there are enough natural enemies to keep the aphid population in check. This would save the producer pesticides and money and preserve the natural enemy population. Hallett said research shows that the new threshold can produce the same yields as the conventional one. The team's work was completed last year and the smartphone application was beta tested this year. Weather is the only complicating factor because aphid population growth depends on temperature. Aphid Advisor makes recommendations based on 30-year temperature averages for southern Ontario. Hallett hopes a new version, which is expected to be ready next year, can download temperature forecasts for a specific region. Aphid Advisor is available for download at www.aphidapp.com. "We're certainly hoping this will reach more people," said Hallett. access=subscriber section=news,none,none More farmers are using smartphones and analysts predict agricultural apps will become more available. | TECHNOLOGY | SMARTPHONES FILE PHOTOS Agriculture: there's an app for that Getting started | Weather, markets, cheap gas locations at farmers' fingertips STORIES BY DAN YATES SASKATOON NEWSROOM Peter Gredig is a 21st century farmer. Armed with a smartphone and a tablet computer, he monitors futures prices, elevator bids, weather forecasts, commodity news and information from agronomists, all while in the field. "If farmers can avoid sitting at a desktop, they will," said the southern Ontario corn, soy and wheat producer. Gredig is on the cutting edge of mobile technology, both as a user and as a partner in AgNition, which consults with companies and develops applications. He said more farmers are picking up smartphones, but getting started can be intimidating because of the thousands of applications available on Blackberry, IPhone and Android phones. He suggests beginning with the basics, using the device for e-mail and to access market and weather information. From there, users can get started with consumer-assistance applications. Need to find the cheapest gas? There's an app for that. "It's empowering for producers," said Gredig. "I don't know that there's a sector that's going to benefit more from mobile technology than agriculture." The list of agriculture-related apps Farmers with smartphones will have access to thousands of applications that can help them do business better and faster. isn't overwhelming, but it's growing. Some keep users up to date with news and commodities, such as Alltech's app for pork producers. Others help farmers in the field, acting as a reference for diseases or pests, while others assist producers with decision-making. For example, the AGRIplot application allows users to calculate areas plotted on a map, which are handy f o r m e a s u r i n g a c re a g e, w h i l e DuPont's tank mix calculator helps determine the amount of product needed to treat a specific field area. Pioneer Hi-Bred's From the Field app keeps users current on the latest information from agronomists. "It changes the way you manage the business of your farm," said Gredig. "I've yet to find a producer that if they legitimately give it a shot would ever walk away from it." He expects more decision-making applications in the future. University of Guelph associate professor Rebecca Hallett said agriculture is ready for the technology. "I think it's definitely something that people are beginning to embrace and I think there's probably a critical mass of producers with smartphones now that it makes sense to try to distribute .... information in that way rather than in some of the more traditional ways," she said. Hallett worked with Gredig and a U of G research team to develop a Blackberry application that tells producers when to spray for soybean aphids. Gredig sees potential for developers to make better use of the smartphone's GPS function to create apps that allow farmers to keep better records and share information. "All of those things are going to start to come together in apps that make it much easier for producers to make those critical decisions on the fly." AgNition's next project is ScoutDoc, an application for the IPad that allows users making field walks to chart crop and field identification details on a map as the season progresses. Gredig said producers' only concern is the cost of the device, but he argued that it is small compared to the cost of machinery. As well, he said the greatest benefit may be the simplest one. "If you want to measure payback on these devices, efficiency with your time is probably the biggest one." Gredig writes about mobile farming technology and reviews apps at themobilefarmer.com. access=subscriber section=news,none,none 6 JANUARY 5, 2012 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | THE WESTERN PRODUCER MARKETS MARKET S EDIT O R: D ' A R C E M C M ILLAN | P h : 306- 665- 3519 F: 306- 9 34-2401 | E-MAIL: DARC E.M C M ILLAN @PRODUC ER.C OM www.secan.com AC Shaw VB � NEW A Better Midge Trap `AC' is an official mark used under license from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada WHEAT | MARKETING Will farmers hold crop into new year? Attractive new crop price | Open market bids for 2012-13 top current wheat board price offerings BY SEAN PRATT SASKATOON NEWSROOM Farmers have a strong incentive to hold old crop wheat over into the new crop year, says a risk management specialist, which will create marketing and logistical headaches. John De Pape, who publishes the CWB Monitor online commentary, said Viterra was bidding $7.40 per bushel for No. 1 CWRS 13.5 wheat new crop delivery in Saskatchewan on the day following royal assent of Bill C-18. The Canadian Wheat Board's Pool Return Outlook for the same wheat is $6.63 per bu. basis Saskatchewan and its fixed price contract for that wheat was $6.19 per bu. as of Dec. 16. "The price that Viterra offered gives a large incentive to sell old crop wheat into a new crop position," said De Pape in a recent commentary. A grower could receive an additional 77 cents per bu. over selling into the 2011-12 pool and $1.21 per bu. over the fixed price contract. "Under the current circumstances, (the CWB) could lose a lot of grain into the new crop," said De Pape in an interview. If that happened, the CWB would have a tough time meeting customer needs and there could be "burdensome demand" on the grain handling system early next crop year. De Pape expects the CWB will respond with some mechanism that provides farmers with attractive prices to prevent that situation. "They would probably be wise to close the pool early and start offering GDC's (guaranteed delivery contracts) or cash contracts of some sort," he said. C WB spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry said it remains to be seen whether farmers will carry over much of their 2011 wheat crop into the 2012-13 marketing year. "There will be some farmers who Farmers might hold off wheat deliveries if new crop bids prove too attractive to ignore. | FILE PHOTO may feel that's a good option for them and will be in a position to do that and others who will not," she said. "We are proceeding as usual with marketing the 2011-12 crop in the way it has traditionally been done and we expect that farmers will continue to participate in our current year program." However, the CWB doesn't plan to offer Series B and C contracts in 201112. Those contracts usually have to be signed by Jan. 31 and May 31 respectively. "The expectation is we won't have B and C because of moving into the more competitive environment," said Fitzhenry. "We had very good sign-up for Series A and expect that (farmers) will be honouring their contract commitments." De Pape thinks the lack of Series B and C contracts indicates that the CWB anticipates it will have a struggle competing with the open market in the last half of the crop year. "I fully suspect that the new board will do something to keep business going for the latter part of the year." One option might be for the wheat board to move to an open market sooner than Aug. 1, he said. "I think they could very easily do that on barley. Maybe not so much malt barley but certainly feed barley." Fitzhenry said the board is working on the details of new programs for 2012-13 that it will announce soon. She wouldn't provide hints of what is coming, other than that the programs will be competitive with what grain companies are offering and may not resemble what the wheat board has offered in the past. "Everything will be very different." access=subscriber section=markets,none,none CROP OUTLOOK | UKRAINE Ukraine barley, canola trouble may spur Canadian exports BY SEAN PRATT SASKATOON NEWSROOM There has been plenty of talk in grain markets about how dismal growing conditions could reduce Ukraine's 2012-13 winter wheat crop. However, there has been little chatter about two other winter crops of interest to Canadian growers: rapeseed and barley. Winter grain comprises half of Ukraine's seeded area, and about a third of the crop is entering winter in weak condition because of "unusually and persistently" dry weather, according to a recent Commodity Intelligence Report prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fall precipitation was the lowest in recent history, resulting in inadequate surface moisture levels and the expectation for extensive winterkill. Ukraine's agriculture ministry said Dec. 26 that only 80 percent of fall planted crops had germinated compared to 93 percent last year at the same time. Of the crops that had sprouted, 34 percent was in poor condition and the rest was satisfactory to good. The government thinks 3.7 to 4.9 million acres of winter crops will need to be replanted in the spring, but the full extent of damage won't be known until the end of winter. "Rape is the winter crop most susceptible to winter damage, and winterkill is significantly higher for rape than for wheat and other grains," said the USDA. Growers planted an estimated 2.25 million acres of rapeseed, down 19 percent from the fall of 2010. GREG KOSTAL KOSTAL AG CONSULTING Greg Kostal, president of Kostal Ag Consulting, said Ukraine exports all the rapeseed it grows, and any disruption could be an opportunity for Canadian canola. "Europe would need to import more canola or more canola oil to make up the difference," he said. An increase in spring planting could make up for some of the lost winter rapeseed, but the spring rapeseed crop is typically much smaller, so a complete recovery is unlikely. Kostal is particularly intrigued about what will happen with Ukraine's winter barley crop, which accounted for more than 30 percent of the country's nine million tonnes of barley production in 2010-11. Ukraine has been the world's largest barley exporter in four of the last five years, accounting for an average of 4.4 million tonnes of the 17 million in annual global barley trade. "If you have any hiccup in that part of the world, it has a more pronounced impact on world price," said Kostal. "It's sure something to watch." Markets will also be monitoring how Ukrainian farmers respond in the spring. Barley has traditionally been the crop used for spring reseeding if there has been winterkill, but Ukrainian agriculture officials and private commodity analysts believe corn and soybeans could make up a large portion of the reseeded area in 2012. Kostal will also be following how the Ukrainian government responds to the potential grain shortfall. In the past, it has relied on export bans and tariffs to keep supplies at home, which could result in a decline in what Ukraine has to export. The other crop of interest to Canad i a n g ro w e r s i s w h e a t , w h i c h accounted for 81 percent of 2012-13 winter crop plantings, or an estimated 16.1 million acres. However, winter wheat is a remarkably resilient crop that can recover if spring growing conditions are favourable. As well, plenty of wheat is in storage around the world, so a supply shortage in Ukraine might not have a dramatic impact on global wheat prices. access=subscriber section=markets,none,none Milling Wheat, Durum Wheat & Barley futures and options coming January 23, 2012 to ICE Futures Canada. Agricultural Markets in Clear View For more information, please visit our website at: theice.com/grains MARKETS CATTLE | INVENTORY THE WESTERN PRODUCER | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | JANUARY 5, 2012 7 Record cattle prices fail to spark herd rebuilding Smaller herds | Cowcalf producers cautious after several bad years BY BARBARA DUCKWORTH CALGARY BUREAU Cow herd dispersals have been common at auctions across the country in the last five years. "We have seen over the last five years, a mass exit of cattle producers from the business," said Jason Danard of the Calgary Stockyards at Strathmore, Alta. An extended lack of profitability and an aging population of producers are considered key factors in the phenomenon. Prices recovered in 2011, reaching record levels for all classes. However, instead of sparking herd rebuilding, many producers decided it was an opportunity to retire early. "We were seeing calves trade at levels we had never seen before," Danard said. Market analysis firm Canfax reports that average prices for 550 pound calves climbed to $154 per hundredweight in 2011 from $121 per cwt. in 2010 and were bid up to $158 per cwt. in the first week of December. Prices for 850 lb. yearlings were $132 per cwt. in the same week. The last time they were that high was in 2000, when the loonie was less than 70 cents US and feed and other costs were more favourable. Canfax also reported bred heifers averaged around a record $1,400 each and bred cows were trading at $1,875 at the end of December. "I do think, however, over the next five to 10 years that that will be the most profitable sector of the industry," Danard said. "I think the cow-calf sector will be where it's at, but you need somebody who is willing to do the work." The market is signalling it is time to start expanding cow herds but it will take time for producers to regain confidence in the industry. | FILE PHOTO Canfax statistics show 2011 was the first profitable period for cow-calf producers in the last five years and only the third time in 10 years where the business paid. Profitability usually entices more people to raise cattle, but the national herd has shown a steady decline since 2005 with the summer inventory at 13.8 million head. The herd is in the same position it was in 10 years ago, said Andrea Brocklebank of Canfax. Some heifer retention is apparent, but record high butcher cow prices at $71 per cwt. attracted breeding females to market. "There are signals of expansion but we are not down to that point where we are going to see massive growth," she said. Cow herd populations are smaller throughout the world, said Travis Toews, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. "This is a big deal in our industry today," said Toews. "We are witnessing a major change in beef supplies and fundamentals." Expansion isn't expected, especially in the United States. Strong corn prices in the Midwest encourage people to crop their land rather than grow forage. As well, a record drought in Texas and Oklahoma has seen a mass cow herd reduction in those states. Females were slaughtered and calves went to feedlots earlier. In the last year, the Texas cow herd has plunged by about 600,000 head, or 12 percent, according to David Anderson, a livestock economist at Texas A&M University. The Texas cattle herd is larger than the entire Canadian herd, so a reduction of that historic magnitude has a substantial impact on the North American market, said Brocklebank. "When you kill your factory, it is fully expected the U.S. cattle herd will continue to reduce," she said. It could be at least three to five years before rebuilding starts, she added. Cattle and beef exports have always supported the Canadian market, but a shift has also occurred there. Canada now exports 44 percent of its entire production as meat or live animals compared to nearly 60 percent before the discovery of BSE disrupted trade in 2003. Fed cattle exports were up 19 percent in 2010 but crashed 41.5 percent in 2011. Canada used to ship as many as 800,000 head, but only 363,000 went out this year. More cattle have been kept at home for processing. Other producers were reluctant to export because of the impacts of country-of-origin labelling in the U.S. "There has been strong demand domestically for these animals to stay at home, given excess packing capacity," Brocklebank said. Cow exports were down 32 percent in 2011 to about 132,000 head. Feeder calf exports have been down every year since 2009. "We have moved from shipping over 300,000 head to the fact where we are lowest on record, below 1995 to 87,000 head this year." With a smaller herd there has been reduced slaughter. Beef production in 2011 is down 17 percent. "This was the first year we saw a real decline," she said. Canada is the second largest exporter of grain fed beef in the world, but exports declined 19 percent in volume and 10.5 percent in value. "We have seen some growth with the resumption of market access," Brocklebank said. "The big factor is, you can't export what you don't produce." Beef exports are down 19 percent to the U.S. and about 30 percent to Mexico. "This is partially due to the weak economy and the relative strength of the Canadian dollar that impacted the competitiveness of our product," she said. Exports to Hong Kong and Russia have grown, but the volumes are small. Canada has become the favourite destination for U.S. beef, with imports up 17 percent. Most of the imports were trim that was mixed with domestic product for ground meat. "We are a relatively attractive market for the U.S., especially to Eastern Canada," she said. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report in December said an annual value record was achieved for the first 10 months of 2011. As of October, U.S. beef exports were worth $4.49 billion. Mexico is the leading volume destination for U.S. beef at 470 million lb., but Canada is the top value market at $861.9 million. On the demand side, Canadians are eating less meat. Canadian beef consumption has been declining since 2003 to a new low of 20 kilograms per person. Total Canadian beef consumption of 944,380 tonnes was the lowest since 1997. Growth in poultry has leveled off and pork consumption is also falling. However, consumers are also paying a higher price for beef. North American beef prices were up seven percent, pork improved by 15 percent and poultry increased by three percent. access=subscriber section=markets,none,none OILSEEDS | PRICE TREND Dry S. America dominates market MARKET WATCH tract rising about five percent over the month. However, the contract closed the year lower than where it started in 2011. That was the first time in three years that the canola market lost ground over the 12 months. A record crop and global economic turmoil were the cause of the slight weakening of canola prices. The canola price trend and the general crop market direction early this year will be strongly influenced by South American weather. Argentine growers are still seeding and had about 80 percent of the forecasted 9.25 million corn acres in the ground at the end of December, but work had stopped because of the dry weather. The area in corn was expected to be about five percent more than last year. Argentina is the world's second largest corn exporter, third largest soybean exporter and is the top exporter of soybean oil and meal. The United States Department of Agriculture forecasts an Argentine 2011-12 corn harvest of 29 million tonnes. But with the lack of rain and hot temperatures forecasted for early January, analysts are scaling back their crop estimates. Buenos Aires-based agricultural economist Manuel Alvarado Ledesma expects a corn crop of about 23 million tonnes. Corn is at a more critical stage of development than soybeans but if the dryness persists worries about the oilseed crop will grow. La Nina is behind the dry weather in Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil. But in the central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, the top soybean grower in that country, the moisture situation is better and more rain is forecast for early this month. Indeed, the drought area in Brazil is mostly limited to the No. 3 producing state Rio Grande do Sul. Crops are planted later in that state and there is still time for January rain to save the day. access=subscriber section=markets,none,none Making Seeding Simple! IMPROVE GERMINATION DIRECT SEED INTO SOD PROVEN IN WET & DRY CONDITIONS IMPROVED PACKER PLATES � Sideband fertilizer � Reduce maintenance � Reduce costs See Us in Booth #D170 Hall D at the Crop Production Show D'ARCE MCMILLAN Soaring southern hemisphere temperatures stress corn and soybeans, which affects canola It is summer in South America and temperatures the first week of January were expected to be in the mid 30s C in Argentina. The heat is adding stress to corn and soybean crops that have suffered from little rain this growing season. The troubles down south helped canola stage a modest rally in December with the January con- Telephone: www.technotill.com 780-352-9890, Wetaskiwin, AB 8 JANUARY 5, 2012 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | THE WESTERN PRODUCER MARKETS CATTLE & SHEEP Steers 600-700 lb. (average $/cwt) Alberta $155 $150 $145 $140 n/a $135 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 GRAINS Slaughter Cattle ($/cwt) Live Dec. 16-22 114.00 105.49-125.69 n/a 100.00-106.00 116.50 105.93-120.11 n/a 100.00-105.00 Previous Dec. 9-Dec. 15 114.00-117.00 109.56-121.30 n/a 100.00-107.50 n/a 98.29-120.20 n/a 100.00-106.25 Year ago 96.58 94.98 n/a n/a 96.49 94.97 n/a n/a Rail Dec. 16-22 192.50-195.50 193.00-198.00 193.00 n/a 192.50-195.50 192.00-197.00 193.00 n/a Previous Dec. 9-Dec. 15 194.25-194.85 193.00-198.00 n/a n/a n/a 192.00-197.00 194.00 n/a Canfax Grade A Steers Alta. Ont. Sask. Man. Heifers Alta. Ont. Sask. Man. CWB Domestic Asking Prices Durum 1 AD Thunder Bay $570 $540 $510 $480 $450 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Pulse and Special Crops Source: STAT Publishing, which solicits bids from Maviga N.A., Roy Legumex, CGF Brokerage, Parrish & Heimbecker, Walker Seeds and Alliance Grain Traders. Prices paid for dressed product at plant. Saskatchewan $155 $150 $145 $140 n/a n/a $135 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Barley Sel. 6-row St. Law. $380 $370 $360 $350 $340 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 *Live f.o.b. feedlot, rail f.o.b. plant. Feeder Cattle ($/cwt) Sask. Steers 900-1000 800-900 700-800 600-700 500-600 400-500 Heifers 800-900 700-800 600-700 500-600 400-500 300-400 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Man. no sales 120-135 120-145 135-155 145-177 160-194 105-125 110-133 120-145 125-149 130-163 140-177 Alta. 116-135 121-141 130-150 137-156 148-175 165-194 114-130 118-135 125-145 135-155 140-170 150-180 B.C. no sales 115-127 127-139 134-148 145-160 155-175 114-124 115-128 122-144 130-149 137-159 145-172 Canfax Cattle Slaughter To Dec. 17 Fed. inspections only Canada U.S. To date 2011 2,795,913 32,403,334 To date 2010 3,116,670 32,532,834 % Change 11/10 -10.3 -0.4 Manitoba $155 $150 $145 $140 $135 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 n/a Barley Sel. 2-row St. Law. $390 $380 $370 $360 $350 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Chicago Futures ($US/cwt) Close Close Dec. 30 Dec. 23 Live Cattle Dec 122.90 124.30 Feb 121.45 124.33 Apr 125.45 127.85 Jun 124.58 126.30 Aug 125.90 126.58 Feeder Cattle Jan 146.35 147.63 Mar 148.80 150.45 Apr 150.18 151.30 May 151.13 152.08 Aug 152.80 153.25 Trend Year ago -1.40 -2.88 -2.40 -1.72 -0.68 -1.28 -1.65 -1.12 -0.95 -0.45 107.90 108.35 112.20 109.28 109.75 121.88 123.95 124.83 125.23 125.80 Dec. 30 Avg. Dec. 23 Laird lentils, No. 1 (�/lb) 27.00-28.00 27.54 27.54 Laird lentils, Xtra 3 (�/lb) 16.00-20.50 18.46 18.46 Richlea lentils, No. 1 (�/lb) 24.00-25.00 24.70 24.70 Eston lentils, No. 1 (�/lb) 26.00-29.75 27.39 27.39 Eston lentils, Xtra 3 (�/lb) 16.00-19.75 18.30 18.30 Sm. Red lentils, No. 2 (�/lb) 13.25-16.75 15.21 15.21 Sm. Red lentils, Xtra 3 (�/lb) 12.50-15.75 13.93 13.93 Peas, green No. 1 ($/bu) 8.50-9.00 8.68 8.68 Peas, green 10% bleach ($/bu) 8.30-8.50 8.47 8.47 Peas, med. yellow No. 1 ($/bu) 8.40-8.55 8.49 8.49 Peas, sm. yellow No. 2 ($/bu) 8.30-8.55 8.46 8.46 Maple peas ($/bu) 8.50-8.75 8.67 8.67 Feed peas ($/bu) 3.50-5.50 4.83 4.83 Mustard, yellow, No. 1 (�/lb) 35.75-37.75 36.75 36.25 Mustard, brown, No. 1 (�/lb) 30.75-32.75 31.42 31.42 Mustard, Oriental, No. 1 (�/lb) 24.75-28.75 26.75 25.25 Canaryseed (�/lb) 25.00-27.25 26.46 26.46 Desi chickpeas (�/lb) 26.10-27.50 27.22 27.22 Kabuli, 8mm, No. 1 (�/lb) 43.00-47.00 44.00 44.00 Kabuli, 7mm, No. 1 (�/lb) 32.30-34.00 33.58 33.58 B-90 ckpeas, No. 1 (�/lb) 31.50-32.00 31.63 31.63 Dec. 28 Dec. 21 Year Ago Rye Saskatoon ($/tonne) n/a 191.32 135.86 Snflwr NuSun Enderlin ND (�/lb) 28.80 28.85 22.45 Heifers 500-600 lb. (average $/cwt) Alberta $150 $145 $140 $135 n/a $130 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 St. Lawrence Asking Wheat 1 CWRS 13.5% $415 $410 $405 $400 $395 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 International Grain Prices ($US/tonne) Dec. 23-Dec. 29 U.S. Barley PNW 287.00 U.S. No. 3 Yellow Corn Gulf 276.17-280.01 U.S. Hard Red Winter Gulf 290.55 U.S. No. 3 Amber Durum Gulf 406.02 U.S. DNS (14%) PNW 372.67 No. 1 DNS (14%) ($US/bu.)Montana elevator 8.44 No. 1 DNS (13%) ($US/bu.)Montana elevator 7.44 No. 1 Durum (13%) ($US/bu.)Montana elevator 8.15 No. 1 Malt Barley ($US/bu.)Montana elevator 5.88 No. 2 Feed Barley ($US/bu.)Montana elevator 4.20 Canadian Wheat Board Average Carcass Weight Canfax Saskatchewan $145 $140 $135 $130 $125 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 n/a n/a Steers Heifers Cows Bulls Dec. 17/11 Dec. 18/10 901 863 801 787 647 666 979 975 YTD 11 856 784 671 1006 YTD 10 849 786 672 1014 Cash Prices Canola (cash - Jan.) $530 $520 $510 $500 $490 11/25 12/2 12/9 12/16 12/23 12/30 Est. Beef Wholesale ($/cwt) Montreal This wk Last wk Yr. ago 209-211 209-211 187-189 Canfax U.S. Cash cattle ($US/cwt) Slaughter cattle (35-65% choice)Steers National n/a Kansas n/a Nebraska n/a Nebraska (dressed) n/a Feeders No. 1 (700-799 lb) South Dakota Billings Dodge City Steers n/a n/a 143-144 Heifers n/a n/a n/a n/a Trend n/a n/a steady USDA Sheep ($/lb.) & Goats ($/head) Dec. 23 Previous Base rail (index 100) 3.70 3.70 Index range 71.40-103.78 88.49-106.59 Range off base 2.64-3.89 3.29-3.94 Feeder lambs 1.50-2.50 1.50-2.50 Sheep (live) 0.40-0.65 0.40-0.65 SunGold Meats Grain Futures Dec. 30 Dec. 23 Trend Wpg ICE Western Barley ($/tonne) Mar 217.00 217.00 0.00 May 224.00 222.00 +2.00 Jul 224.00 222.00 +2.00 Oct 209.00 206.00 +3.00 Wpg ICE Canola ($/tonne) Jan 525.80 521.20 +4.60 Mar 524.30 517.10 +7.20 May 527.20 518.30 +8.90 Jul 528.50 518.50 +10.00 Nov 508.30 501.10 +7.20 Chicago Wheat ($US/bu.) Mar 6.5275 6.2200 +0.3075 May 6.7125 6.3950 +0.3175 Jul 6.8625 6.5550 +0.3075 Sep 7.0175 6.7200 +0.2975 Chicago Oats ($US/bu.) Mar 3.0950 3.1125 -0.0175 May 3.1325 3.1525 -0.0200 Jul 3.1850 3.1975 -0.0125 Sep 3.2425 3.2550 -0.0125 Chicago Soybeans ($US/bu.) Jan 11.9850 11.6300 +0.3550 Mar 12.0775 11.7250 +0.3525 May 12.1750 11.8225 +0.3525 Jul 12.2700 11.9200 +0.3500 Chicago Soy Meal ($US/short ton) Jan 309.4 297.0 +12.4 Mar 313.1 300.8 +12.3 May 315.8 303.9 +11.9 Jul 319.0 307.6 +11.4 Chicago Soybean Oil (US�/lb.) Jan 52.09 50.96 +1.13 Mar 52.42 51.37 +1.05 May 52.78 51.73 +1.05 Jul 53.05 52.02 +1.03 Chicago Corn ($US/bu.) Mar 6.4650 6.1950 +0.2700 May 6.5475 6.2800 +0.2675 Jul 6.6125 6.3400 +0.2725 Sep 6.1325 5.9300 +0.2025 Minneapolis Wheat ($US/bu.) Mar 8.4950 8.4450 +0.0500 May 8.2525 8.1850 +0.0675 Jul 8.1350 8.0800 +0.0550 Sep 7.9025 7.7675 +0.1350 Kansas City Wheat ($US/bu.) Mar 7.1700 6.7500 +0.4200 May 7.2500 6.8325 +0.4175 Jul 7.3200 6.9125 +0.4075 Sep 7.4500 7.0575 +0.3925 Year ago 194.00 194.00 194.00 185.00 583.80 589.30 593.50 592.50 532.00 7.9425 8.2075 8.3200 8.4475 3.9400 3.9850 4.0150 3.5750 13.9375 14.0300 14.0900 14.1150 370.3 373.9 374.5 374.8 57.74 58.37 58.74 58.82 6.2900 6.3650 6.4000 5.9550 8.8150 8.9000 8.9025 8.8000 8.5100 8.5950 8.6525 8.7425 Manitoba $145 $140 $135 $130 n/a $125 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Canola (basis - Jan.) $5 $0 $-5 $-10 $-15 11/25 12/2 12/9 12/16 12/23 12/30 Basis Cash Futures Alta-Neb Sask-Neb Man-Neb -12.86 -9.60 -14.28 -12.14 -25.15 -23.01 Canfax Cattle / Beef Trade Sltr. cattle to U.S. (head) Feeder C&C to U.S. (head) Total beef to U.S. (tonnes) Total beef, all nations (tonnes) Sltr. cattle from U.S. (head) Feeder C&C from U.S. (head) Total beef from U.S. (tonnes) Total beef, all nations (tonnes) Exports % from 2010 572,775 (1) -29.5 74,117 (1) -61.9 212,127 (3) -21.3 284,609 (3) -18.6 Imports % from 2010 n/a (2) n/a 59,854 (2) +46.6 160,824 (4) +28.3 195,552 (4) +16.2 Canadian Beef Production million lb. Fed Non-fed Total beef YTD % change 1896.3 -9 347.4 -13 2243.7 -10 Canfax New lambs 65-80 lb 80-95 lb > 95 lb > 110 lb Feeder lambs Sheep Rams Kids Dec. 27 1.90-2.05 2.05-2.31 1.90-2.16 2.05-2.10 1.75-1.90 1.70-2.10 1.05-1.30 1.00-1.25 70-120 2.20-3.50 2.02-2.44 1.92-2.14 1.89-2.05 1.75-1.89 1.70-2.30 0.95-1.10 0.95-1.10 70-120 Feed Wheat (cash) $225 $220 $215 $210 $205 11/25 12/2 12/9 12/16 12/23 12/30 Ontario Stockyards Inc. Flax (elevator bid- S'toon) $540 $530 $520 $510 n/a n/a $500 11/25 12/2 12/9 12/16 12/23 12/30 (1) to Dec. 10/11 (2) to Oct. 31/11 (3) to Oct. 31/11 (4) to Dec. 17/11 Agriculture Canada Jan. 2 Wool lambs > 80 lb. n/a Wool lambs < 80 lb. n/a Hair lambs n/a Fed sheep n/a Sask. Sheep Dev. Bd. HOGS Due to wide reporting and collection methods, it is misleading to compare hog prices between provinces. W. Barley (cash - March) $225 Fixed contract $/ckg Maple Leaf Dec. 29 151.77-152.70 150.36-152.70 151.58-152.52 153.45-153.92 153.92-155.13 157.48-160.76 164.05-168.79 169.26-172.08 169.73-172.08 171.61-173.96 167.38-171.14 Man. Pork Dec. 30 151.60-152.53 150.20-152.53 151.00-151.93 152.87-153.33 153.33-154.49 156.82-160.09 163.36-168.53 169.00-171.80 169.47-171.80 171.34-173.67 167.13-170.87 To Dec. 17 To date 2011 To date 2010 % change 11/10 Hog Slaughter Fed. inspections only Canada U.S. 19,630,507 105,828,283 19,717,687 105,275,156 -0.4 +0.5 Agriculture Canada $220 $215 $210 Basis: -$4 Index 100 Hog Price Trends ($/ckg) Alberta $160 $155 $150 $145 n/a n/a n/a $140 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Jan 29-Feb 11 Feb 12-Feb 25 Feb 26-Mar 10 Mar 11-Mar 24 Mar 25-Apr 07 Apr 08-Apr 21 Apr 22-May 05 May 06-May 19 May 20-Jun 02 Jun 03-Jun 16 Jun 17-Jun 30 $205 11/25 12/2 12/9 12/16 12/23 12/30 Canola, western barley are basis par region. Feed wheat basis Lethbridge. Basis is best bid. Index 100 hogs $/ckg Alta. Sask. n/a 146.54 Man. Que. n/a 155.00 *incl. wt. premiums Chicago Nearby Futures ($US/100 bu.) Corn (March) $690 $660 $630 Saskatchewan $160 $155 $150 $145 $140 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Hogs / Pork Trade Sltr. hogs to/fm U.S. (head) Total pork to/fm U.S. (tonnes) Total pork, all nations (tonnes) (1) to Dec. 10/11 (2) to Oct. 31/11 Export 948,660 (1) 255,097 (2) 944,328 (2) (3) to Dec. 17/11 % from 2010 -7.1 -9.2 +3.4 Import n/a 185,060 (3) 199,160 (3) % from 2010 n/a +7.4 +12.1 Agriculture Canada $600 $570 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Soybeans (Jan.) $1240 $1200 $1160 $1120 Manitoba $165 $160 $155 $150 $145 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 n/a Chicago Hogs Lean ($US/cwt) Close Close Dec. 30 Dec. 23 84.30 85.85 87.70 88.98 94.83 95.10 95.50 96.85 Trend -1.55 -1.28 -0.27 -1.35 Year ago 79.75 83.88 91.63 93.05 Close Close Dec. 30 Dec. 23 94.83 95.65 94.35 94.53 83.85 83.93 79.65 80.30 Trend -0.82 -0.18 -0.08 -0.65 Year ago 92.45 91.55 82.15 78.63 Canadian Exports & Crush (1,000 To To tonnes) Dec. 18 Dec. 11 Wheat 435.3 268.7 Durum 21.5 85.6 Oats 17.9 19.6 Barley 11.1 34.5 Flax 7.1 4.4 Canola 72.0 197.3 Peas 34.8 60.4 Canola crush 135.1 134.6 Total to date 5294.2 1399.1 595.0 466.9 103.7 3368.5 938.9 2467.2 Last year 4482.0 1492.5 493.0 610.7 164.9 2841.8 1081.0 2372.2 $1080 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 Feb Apr May Jun Jul Aug Oct Dec Oats (March) $330 $320 $310 $300 $290 11/28 12/5 12/12 12/16 12/23 12/30 EXCHANGE RATE: DATE DEC. 30 $1 Cdn. = $0.9799 U.S. $1 U.S. = $1.0205 Cdn. MARKETS CANFAX REPORT FED CATTLE A BIT STRONGER The Canfax fed steer average for the week ending Dec. 23 was $115.29 per hundredweight, up 54 cents, and heifers were $114.62. Canfax does not publish a report for the last week of the year. Rail steers in Alberta were $192.50$195.50 per cwt. The weekly cash to futures basis widened to -$9.60. The fed offering was slightly less than 18,000 head. Sale volume was 15,432 head, down three percent from the previous week. American buyers showed little interest in green, short-fed Canadian cattle. Western Canadian fed cattle slaughter for the week ending Dec. 17 totalled 30,413 head, up one percent from the previous week. Weekly fed exports to Dec. 10 fell 40 percent to 5,793 head. Exports are down 33 percent for the year. December sales featured a lot of heavy, sorted steers. Their heifer contemporaries will come to market this month, but market-ready supply is expected to remain manageable. Packer inventories have tightened, which should pull contract cattle forward. Supply and demand should be balaccess=subscriber section=markets,none,none THE WESTERN PRODUCER | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | JANUARY 5, 2012 9 anced, despite weaker post-holiday demand in January, which should keep prices relatively steady. COW PRICES RISE With reduced non-fed volumes at commercial auctions, packers were forced to push bids higher. D1, D2 cows averaged $69.83. D3 averaged $60.50. Rail bids were $133-$138 per cwt. delivered. Butcher bulls traded steady following a price surge the previous week. Strong trim demand and a tight non-fed supply in January should support prices. FEEDER PRICES RISE Feeder volumes eased in the week leading up to Christmas. End-of-the-year buying and stronger cattle futures helped re-energize the feeder market. The Canfax average steer price rose 50 cents while heifers strengthened 29 cents. Mid-weight steers traded generally $1.50 per cwt. higher while stocker heifers rose moderately. Over the past eight weeks, the 300400 pound steer and heifer price average has fallen $10 per cwt. The few yearling packages on offer have held strong value. The 850 lb. feeder steer basis weakened and remains wider than the four-year historical average of -15.63. Auction volumes totalled 24,224, down 35 percent from the previous week. Weekly feeder exports to Dec. 10 totalled 1,645, up 66 percent from the previous week. Lift times for fed cattle narrowed, supporting feeder prices. Lower barley futures prices should help feeding margins. Feeder volumes could be sluggish in January. BEEF VALUES UP Blizzards in the southern United States reduced slaughter volumes, while the prospect of tighter beef supply supported cut-out values, which rose $2.75-$3 US in the week ending Dec. 23. Weekly Canadian cut-out values to Dec. 16 rose $1-$1.25 Cdn. Montreal wholesale prices for deliver y in the last week of the year were forecast at $209-$211 per cwt. This cattle market information is selected from the weekly report from Canfax, a division of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. More market information, analysis and statistics are available by becoming a Canfax subscriber by calling 403275-5110 or at www.canfax.ca. BRED FEMALE PRICES RALLY A large crowd of spectators and buyers filled commercial auction facilities with numerous reputation herds on offer. Volumes surged as sellers looked to capitalize on improved bred female values. Bred cow prices were steady with sales to $1,875 per head. Bred heifers averaged $1,456 per head. Bottom end heifers are being sorted off and purchased by feedlots. Bred volumes will likely ease into January. OTHER CANOLA IS YELLOW... OURS IS GOLD 6060 RR 6040 RR WP LIVESTOCK REPORT HOGS LOWER U.S. packers showed good demand for hogs with expectations for January supermarket pork features clearing out the backlog that built up over the holidays. Packers had good operating margins. A mild winter is leading to heavier than usual carcass weights. Iowa-southern Minnesota live hogs traded at $59.25 US per hundredweight Dec. 30, down from $61.50 Dec. 15. U.S. pork carcass cut-out value closed at $85.16 Dec. 30, down from $90.84 per cwt. Dec 16. The U.S. federal weekly slaughter estimate for the holiday week was 1.97 million, down from 2.16 million the previous week. U.S. slaughter was up 0.6 percent on the year. Packers had good operating margins. 6060 RR SETS THE NEW GOLD STANDARD BrettYoung's highest yielding hybrid, 6060 RR, out-yielded commercial checks by 2.6 bu/ac (106%). Providing impressive yields, 6060 RR is a leader in its class. For proven consistent performance with yields equal to the commercial checks and better standability and harvestability, turn to 6040 RR. 6060 RR and 6040 RR come complete with the unparalleled weed control offered by the Genuity Roundup Ready system. In the end, it all comes down to performance, and BrettYoung brings a new standard of excellence to the field. brettyoung.ca 800-665-5015 6060 RR 6040 RR Check 0 1 BISON MOSTLY STEADY The Canadian Bison Association said grade A bulls in the desirable weight range were $3.75-$4 per pound hot hanging weight in the week ending Dec. 16. Grade A heifers fell on the low end of the range to $3.60-$4. Animals older than 30 months and those outside the desirable weight range may be discounted. Slaughter cows and bulls averaged $2.50-$2.70. 106%1 100% 100% 30 60 Yield Check is an average of 45H28 and 7265 over 18 replicated field scale grower trials (2010). 90 120 SHEEP PRICES RISE Ontario Stockyards Inc. reported 622 sheep and lambs and 25 goats traded Dec. 27. New crop lambs traded at lower prices while all other types sold steady. Sheep were $10-$15 cwt. higher. Goats sold steady. access=subscriber section=markets,none,none "In any field, a gold medal performance is a result of preparation, hard work and unwavering support." JON MONTGOMERY 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist � Skeleton 2008 World Championship Silver Medalist BrettYoung is a trademark of BrettYoung Seeds Limited. Genuity� and Roundup Ready� are registered trademarks and used under license from Monsanto Company. 11034 10.11 10 JANUARY 5, 2012 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | THE WESTERN PRODUCER WPEDITORIAL Editor: Joanne Paulson Phone: 306-665-3537 | Fax: 306-934-2401 E-Mail: email@example.com OPINION THE WESTERN PRODUCER | WWW.PRODUCER.COM | JANUARY 5, 2012 11 & OPEN FORUM ORGANICS | COUNTERCLAIMS NEW YEAR'S | ASPIRATIONS Organic food not safer than conventional BY ROBERT WAGER AND CAMI RYAN he term organic has exploded in the last decade in our privileged and health-conscious first world state. In fact, the global organic industry is now a $50 billion a year industry. The Canadian arm of this industry, through a six-page "information feature" in the Oct. 14 issue of the Globe and Mail, leveraged that market power and made several assertions that are incorrect and misleading about modern agricultural practice. First, the assumption that organic production does not use toxic chemical pesticides or antibiotics is misleading. The organics industry endorses the use of copper and sulfur compounds in its applications. Deemed natural, both of these products are toxic to a broad range of organisms and are long-term soil and environmental contaminants. As well, they are applied at significantly higher rates than synthetic fungicides. Antibiotics, such as streptomycin and tetracycline, have been used in organic production of orchard crops such as apples for years in the United States. Antibiotic use is restricted in organic animal production in Canada but can be used when the animal's life is in jeopardy. In fact, producers are required to do so. No animals with antibiotic residues above a low maximum tolerable level are allowed to be used as food animals, so antibiotics should not be present in the flesh and products T Two academics argue the organic sector is misleading the public when it makes claims of superiority over conventional agriculture. | FILE PHOTO of treated animals. In the case where hormones are used, they essentially cannot be present at levels above those which naturally occur. Second, a mainstay of organic food propaganda is the insinuation that conventionally grown food or production methods that employ genetically modified crops are unsafe. Findings in the 2010 A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research report, which was commissioned by the European Commission, did not indicate any increased risk from growing GM crops nor any evidence of risk from consuming food containing GM ingredients. This does not mean there are no risks because no food is 100 percent safe. Earlier this year, 60 people died and more than 3,000 fell ill after eating organic bean sprouts in the European Union. It is important to note that organic production methods endorse the use of animal manure as fertilizer for food crops. This "natural" fecal matter is a huge breeding ground for nasty bacteria like salmonella, C. difficile and E.coli. This leads us to a third myth that organically grown food is the healthier option. There is no evidence to suggest that organic food is any healthier than conventionally grown food or food containing GM ingredients. Studies conducted in 2009 and 2010 did not find any consistent nutritional benefits in organic food when compared with conventionally grown food. No jurisdiction, whether it is the British Food Standards Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Food Standards-Australia New Zealand or Health Canada, permits superior health claims for organic food because there is no scientifically accepted evidence to support them. The organics industry used the Globe and Mail to launch a creative publicity campaign. It was, essentially, a paid news release meant to generate media attention, which may be readily interpreted by the average consumer as a legitimate journalistic piece. However, it was really a six-page cluster of misleading information supported by flawed research that disparaged conventional and other agricultural practices. We cannot continue to assume that organic is the more superior food choice or agricultural practice. The process of bringing food from the farm to the fork is more complex than that. Ryan is a research associate with the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources. Wager is a laboratory demonstrator at Vancouver Island University's biology department. access=subscriber section=opinion,none,none Better year on wish list for 2012 EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK JOANNE PAULSON, EDITOR H RURAL LIFE | TIME TO MOVE ON Meet the people behind the auction sales HURSH ON AG are also having auction sales this spring: Glenn Annand of Mossbank and Tim Gieger of Leader. Vince Walker, from the Melfort area, one of the founders of Walker Seeds (now Legumex Walker) is also having a sale. In his case, the machinery is being sold but the land will be farmed by the next generation. Lyle Simonson is another name that jumps off the computer screen. Lyle and Debbie farm near Swift Current and Lyle has been a driving force within the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission. All of the above are medium to large progressive operations with mostly latemodel equipment for sale. Without delving into personal specifics, these high-profile producers provide an interesting cross-section of why and how producers decide to exit the business. Age eventually catches up with us all and sometimes health issues can also arise. Many of the farm auctions that are held every year are estate sales because the person passed away while farming. Sometimes people get out of farming but maintain an associated agricultural enterprise, whether it's a seed or equipment business. In other cases, farmers haven't reached a normal retirement age, but they want to sell out while prices are good. It's a boom and bust business with more down times than good times. Although many analysts foresee a bright future, there are no guarantees. A huge part of the decision making process is whether the next generation wants to continue farming. For many operations, there is no daughter or son who wants to farm. Sometimes young professionals change their minds and after working for a number of years in a career, they realize they really would like to come back. Some producers hold off on selling in case that happens with their kids. In other cases, there's no waiting around for kids to change their intentions. Some farmers love it so much they can't imagine doing anything else. Being a farmer isn't just a career; it's who they are. They'd rather be seeding than hitting the golf course. Sometimes these sorts of producers are a detriment to the coming generation. A 30-, 40- or 50-year-old son is still just a glorified employee because Dad is still calling the shots and owns all the assets. Other producers tire of the long hours and the financial risk and are quite happy to move onto another stage in their lives. Farms can involve a lot of emotional baggage. Passed down from one generation to the next, the farm can become more than just dirt and iron. Being the one who sells the family farm can carry a lot of guilt. In some cases, an auction sale of the equipment means the land is also being sold. In other cases, the land is kept in the family because it's considered a great long-term investment. There are literally hundreds of farm auction sales across the Prairies