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THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013 VOL. 91 | NO. 2 | $4.25 LETHBRIDGE LANDMARK | P26 SERVING WESTERN CANADIAN FARM FAMILIES SINCE 1923 | WWW.PRODUCER.COM HITCHING A RIDE FOR THE NORTHERN LIGHTS TOUR PRODUCTION | PULSES Pulse growers see promise in soybeans Crop may see increased interest this year BY SEAN PRATT SASKATOON NEWSROOM A top priority for Saskatchewan Pulse Growers this year is to explore the potential of soybean production in the province. “It is one area that we’re very interested in and see a lot of potential for growth,” said executive director Carl Potts. The crop provides growers with solid economic returns, consistent international market demand and an attractive alternative to add to the rotation to break some of the disease and weed pressure that is reducing yields in traditional crops. Statistics Canada doesn’t track soybean acres in Saskatchewan, but Kevin Elmy, co-owner of Friendly Acres Seed Farm in Saltcoats, Sask., estimates the province’s farmers planted 75,000 to 100,000 acres last year. A team of horses pulls a wagon of stargazers through a tunnel of light as they take in the northern spirit light show at Evergreen Park near Grande Prairie, Alta. The seasonal festival, put on by the Peace Draft Horse Club and local sponsors, runs through the Christmas season. | RANDY VANDERVEEN PHOTO Fusarium takes toll on seed SASKATOON NEWSROOM Fusarium graminearum took a huge bite out of pedigreed seed supplies in 2012, particularly in Saskatchewan where some seed growers harvested unusually small crops that were heavily infected with the disease. Fusarium cut grain yields by as much as 50 percent in some parts of the province, and the proportion of fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in certified wheat and barley crops was unusually high, leading to additional cleanout losses of 30 percent or more. The disease’s prevalence is raising concerns about whether it is being spread via pedigreed seed that contains traces of fusarium graminearum, even after the seed has been cleaned and conditioned. Graminearum is the most aggressive and IN THIS ISSUE The Saskatchewan Seed Growers Association 2013 Guide than 50 percent of harvested kernels. Joe Rennick, a certified seed grower from Milestone, Sask., south of Regina, said certified seed crops on his farm produced variable yields, depending on when they were seeded. In some instances, wheat crops that looked like they would produce 50 or 60 bushels per acre yielded in the mid 20s. “In the crops that were affected, it really hit the yield hard,” said Rennick. He said certified wheat crops that were hardest hit produced yields of 22 to 28 bu. per acre, a disappointing outcome considering the density of the stands. Clean-out losses on that material could cut production by another 20 to 30 percent, pushing the total marketable yield of conditioned certified seed as low 15 to 20 bu. per acre. The prevalence of fusarium in certified seed crops is prompting discussions about whether the pedigreed seed industry should establish fusarium thresholds on certified seed supplies. SEE FUSARIUM, PAGE 2 » The Western Producer is published in Saskatoon by Western Producer Publications, which is owned by GVIC Communications Corp. Publisher: Shaun Jessome Publications Mail Agreement No. 40069240; Registration No. 10676 JANUARY 10, 2013 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Box 2500, Saskatoon, SK. S7K 2C4 Yields cut by nearly half | Concerns rise over spread of disease through cleaned pedigreed seed costly of the fusarium species. The yield losses caused by fusarium will almost certainly result in regional shortages of certified wheat and barley seed, said Bruce Carriere, manager of Discovery Seed Labs. “There’s going to be a seed shortage, big time,” Carriere said. “There are some growers that have nothing to sell.” Fusarium losses in Saskatchewan varied from region to region and were largely influenced by local weather conditions. Seeding date was also an important factor in determining overall infection rates. Some crops planted in early to midMay were heavily infected while others planted later experienced minor losses. Overall, there were numerous hotspots where infections rates reached record levels and where fusarium graminearum was evident on more » u|xhHEEJBy00001pzYv+:# DISEASE | FUSARIUM BY BRIAN CROSS SEE SOYBEANS, PAGE 3


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