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HARVEST EDITION Week of September 11, 2016

A supplement to The Canora Courier, Preeceville Progress and Kamsack Times

Kamsack mechanic and farmer goes into tree growing and moving business Page 2

Howland’s Honey carries on 40-year legacy selling honey products Page 7

Family-owned company exports flax products around the world Page 20

American custom combiners help with harvest at Veregin Page 27

Sunset This photograph of harvesting near Veregin at sunset was taken by Dan Grundman of Bloomfield, N.Y., who is a member of the Asfeld Custom Combining crew.

Come Experience the Full-Service Advantage! Norquay 594.2330 Kamsack 542.3555 Sturgis 548.4706 Yorkton 620.8010 Canora 562.9999

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Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Kamsack mechanic and farmer goes into the tree growing and moving business By William Koreluik Eugene Remezoff says that when he was young he had wanted to plant trees. Now, more in midlife than a youth, the Kamsack man is doing just that, and more. “This is my retirement plan,” Remezoff said recently as he discussed G e n o ’s T r e e F a r m , a business he now operates from a farm near Veregin. Last year a few incidents occurred that resulted in his being able to acquire 35 acres of trees, from seedlings to mature, that had been seeded and tended by a former tree farmer. He then decided to invest a considerable amount of money to purchase all the equipment necessary for him to deal with those trees, from seeding them to growing them, digging them up, moving and selling them, to dealing with the trees not suitable for landscape gardening. On that 35 acres were 15,000 trees that had belonged to Frank Hudy on a farm located on highway No. 5 about five miles west of Kamsack. They’re mainly spruce,

Eugene Remezoff says he enjoys working with trees because it gives him the opportunity of working outside in the fresh air. Colorado blue and Norway spruce, as well as some paper birch and a few other varieties, he said. They range in age from about five years to 25 years and beyond. “We planted another 485 Colorado blue spruce trees this year at my farm,” he said. “We got them from a Manitoba tree farm. “It’s amazing. The 500 trees came by bus in a box about this size,” he said, moving his hands to describe the box that

We salute...

he admits was only about three times the size of a breadbox. Assisted by his wife Laura, daughter Sara and Reed Wishnevetski, a family friend, he explained how, after having tilled the soil and making six-inch deep furrows, they unwrapped the trees that had come in bundles of 20. They dropped them in the furrow, one by one, a metre apart, and then packed the soil around them by hand. There’s 13 feet

between the rows, he said, adding that the plants have been watered and weeded by hand. R e m e z o ff s h o w e d a photograph of a long row of white pails and said he had acquired 16-litre empty ice cream pails that he used to cover the delicate seedlings while an herbicide was sprayed between the plants in order to control the weeds. For the first two months, not only were the plants sprayed by hand, they were also watered by hand. “ G e n e r a l l y, s p r u c e t r e e s d o n ’t l i k e t o g e t

their feet wet; they’re happier dry than wet.” The main thrust of the business is selling the trees for landscaping, and Remezoff explained how it is better to have a property’s terrain prepared before the trees are planted. He showed another photograph of how a transplanting operation was not successful because the trees had been planted before the ground had been prepared, and in the spring water had pooled around the new transplants, effectively drowning them. Continued on Page 3

This is a view of a modest 120-foot by 100-foot garden which the Remezoffs tend at their farm near Veregin.

Our farmers who are essential for the continued prosperity of the economies of Kamsack and Saskatchewan. Your commitment and contributions are much appreciated by us all!

Wishing you a safe harvest. Town of

Headwaters of the Assiniboine

We wish to take this opportunity to recognize the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy. 239 Highway Avenue East PO Box 560 Preeceville, SK S0A 3B0 Tel: (306) 547-2810 Fax: (306) 547-3116


Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 3

Tree growing and moving business Continued from Page 2 Although trees can be successfully transplanted in spring, summer or fall, the fall, when the tree is dormant, is often the best, he explained. Having acquired Hudy’s trees, Remezoff immediately began adding to his farm implements in order to handle them. A tree with a one-inch trunk measured about a foot above the ground means its root ball should be one foot diameter, he said. Therefore, a tree with a four-inch trunk needs a root ball of 48 inches in diameter. So, Remezoff ’s first acquisition was a “spade” for the truck, which was

used along with a loader he already owned. “I moved 40 trees and the engine went in my tree spade truck,” he said. “I had to re-build the loader.” Fortunately, rebuilding equipment is something that comes relatively easy to Remezoff who is a journeyman autobody mechanic. Last fall he bought a new compact wheel loader that does the majority of the work. With it he is able to wrap, spade, ship, unload and plant the trees. He also got a 36-foot flatbed trailer that he pulls behind his one-ton truck. A gravel truck and a truck to haul water he already owned.

The equipment at left wraps a tree so that its branches are pressed close to the trunk, making it easier to ship.

A spruce tree has been dug up with the spade and is about to be transplanted. Remezoff shows photographs of trees before they are wrapped with baler twine so that in shipping they take up less room, and of the equipment that quickly wraps those trees so that they become cylindrical. On a tour of the property where Hudy’s trees are growing, Remezoff goes into a shed where wire cages are stored and goes over to a tree shear, which is able to cut down, with one quick cut, trees that are in the way, or are not suitable for landscaping. Those trees, he explains are destined for a chipper, which is another piece of equipment he purchased. “My plan is to sell landscaping tree chips,” he said, adding that his equipment is a self-contained tree chipper that is able to handle tree trunks of up to

Saluting Saskatchewan Agriculture Agriculture is vital to the economy of our province. The hard work, resilience and innovation of Saskatchewan producers is helping ensure the continued growth and development of this important industry. I would like to thank Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers for their ongoing dedication. With harvest underway, I would also like to remind everyone to be safe.

12 inches in diameter. “You should see how this thing works,” he said, explaining that one merely fits the trunk into one side and the equipment pulls it in and then sprays out all the chips into either a pile

or into a truck box. “My plan is to plant at least 300 seedlings a year,” he said, mentioning that he plans to get some crystal blue spruce, which is much like the Colorado blue, but is less susceptible to disease. “I’d also like to get into fruit trees.” Remezoff, who has been working as the general manager of the Veregin Farmers’ Co-op for the past nine years, said that he does his tree business after hours and o n w e e k e n d s a n d c u rrently he is spending time moving dirt in order to fill low spots in a field where he plans to plant more seedlings. He explained that among his first customers

was a rancher in the Craven area who bought 59 14-foot spruce trees for a shelter belt. When Remezoff asked why he came to him for the trees rather than buying them from a tree dealer closer to Regina, he was told that most of the trees being sold by dealers in and around the city are trees that are acquired from tree farms in other places such as British Columbia. “He said he wanted ‘prairie trees,’” Remezoff explained. Of course a tree grown on the prairies is likely to do much better transplanted onto a prairie site than a tree that had been imported from elsewhere. Continued on Page 4

Eugene Remezoff shows the various sizes of wire cages and burlap sacks that are used to wrap a tree’s root ball.

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Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Tree growing and moving business Continued from Page 3 “Why would someone want to buy 14-foot trees for a price of over $100 each, when one could get seedlings almost for free?� he is asked. “Because they don’t want to wait for them to grow,� he said. Remezoff moved another 17 trees to Regina for landscaping a storefront and said he’s moved trees that ranged in size from three feet to 20 feet and included in that were some paper birch that measured at least 20 feet. So, who does all the work, he is asked. This is a one-person job, he said, explaining that with his equipment, he is able to do all the jobs, from seeding

to weeding, wrapping, cutting, digging, hauling and planting, by himself. Explaining that, Remezoff digressed into an account of how, after dealing with people at his day job, he enjoys being able to work by himself, outside and with no one else with which to be concerned. A graduate of the Kamsack Comprehensive Institute in 1985, he took an autobody technicians course at Saskatchewan Technical Institute, worked with Jack Popoff at Nu-Western Autobody in Kamsack and K&L Autobody, Nykolaishen Farm Equipment, KREG’s OK Tire in Kamsack, Broda Construction and then

Eugene Remezoff says he enjoys working with his 35-acre field of 15,000 spruce trees. began a 31-year career at the Veregin Co-op. Remezoff, who served a three-year term as a Kamsack town councillor in the mid1990s, lives in Kamsack with

Large ice cream containers are used to cover the delicate seedlings before the ground is sprayed with herbicide.

his wife Laura who had met in Moose Jaw in 1985. The couple was married in 1993 and they have two daughters:

Joelle, 26, who has graduated from social work at the University of Regina, and Sara, 23, who works in sales

at Maple Farm Equipment. Sara operates a hair salon in their basement. Continued on Page 5

Removed from the tractor, this is a spade that is used to dig up trees.


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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Tree growing and moving business Continued from Page 4 “I love the trees,” he said. “The job gets me outside with all the fresh air. I’m not polluting anything and I see wildlife. “Speaking of wildlife, those darned rabbits are eating my Colorado blue spruce,” he said, with a laugh. “But generally, I work where it’s green. It smells good, the trees look good and it is amazing. I put a tree somewhere, and very soon, it looks as though it’s always been there.” Remezoff said that in some cases, he is hired to go into a yard and move existing trees. “Everything is possible: selling trees, moving trees, selling wood chips.

“By next fall I want to buy a stump grinder,” he said, explaining that the equipment is exactly like it sounds: a tool to grind out unwanted tree stumps. Remezoff has many appreciative things to say about Frank Hudy. “Frank’s been extremely helpful,” he said. “He shared his knowledge about growing trees with me. He’s talked about where to get stuff, how to do things and what not to do. “For example when I told him that I bought seedlings for 94 cents each, he told me where I could have obtained the same trees for 15 cents each. Comparing his operation to Hudy’s, Remezoff said that

he has more equipment than what Hudy had. “Most of my equipment is new and I have more finishing and packaging stuff than Frank had.” He has also bought a mower so that he can keep the grass and weeds mowed between the rows of trees, and he is proud of his topsoil screener, which forms three grades of grit from a pile of dirt: coarse, medium and fine. “With my equipment I can process a tree by myself in 15 minutes. “I spend every day with trees. There’s no end to it.” Remezoff said that he works spring, summer and fall, but in the winter when not at work with trees he is able to spend time with his snowmobile. “Winter is the one time of the year that after my day job at the Co-op, I do nothing, except snowmobiling.”

Page 5

Eugene Remezoff loads a flatbed trailer with a number of trees which were shipped to Benito.

WE SALUTE OUR LOCAL AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY From the dedicated farmers out in the Àeld to their hardworking suppliers of seed, feed, equipment and more, we all beneÀt from the fruits of their labour. The men and women in agriculture not only feed our families, they also feed our economy by diligently tending to our most valued resources. Thanks for keeping a good thing growing!

Village of Arran Eugene and his brother Jason were photographed as they were feeding trees to the chipper, which spit woodchips into the box of the truck.

oducers A salute to our agricultural prov ing who dedicate their lives to pr id food for the world.

Mayor, Councillors and staff 402 - 3rd Ave. S., Box 308 Kamsack, Sask., S0A 1S0 Ph: (306) 542-2565 Fax: (306) 542-2485 SK. Toll Free: 1-800-360-4993 Website: www.cottenieandgardnerinc.com Email: tedgardner@sasktel.net Serving Kamsack and area since 1979

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Every day, we eat, drink, wear, plant, feed and enjoy what Saskatchewan farmers work hard to provide. Now it’s time to recognize and salute the valuable efforts and achievements of the province’s agriculture industry.

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Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Kamsack mechanic and farmer goes into the tree growing and moving business

This is a photograph of a group of spruce trees which had already been dug out of the ground and wrapped, ready for transport to a new location.

While the screener removes large rocks from the soil, other smaller rocks are delivered to the side of the trailer.

From the Mayor, Council and Staff of the Village of Buchanan

During the last couple weeks, Eugene Remezoff used a gravel truck to haul dirt that had been sifted onto a low spot on his farm so that next year another 300 trees can be planted.

Wishing all farmers a safe and bountiful harvest

Saskatchewan celebrates our farmers as

Your commitment and contribution have made Saskatchewan an agricultural leader.

A big THANK YOU for all your hard work and ambitious efforts in keeping Saskatchewanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy strong.

R.M. of Cote No. 271 Reeve, councillors and staff

R.M. of Invermay No. 305

Wishing all farmers a safe and bountiful harvest.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 7

Howland’s Honey carries on a 40-year legacy, sells fresh local honey products By Schayla Kirschman The Wasylenchuk family is continuing on with a family business started 40 years ago, and passing on the secrets of beekeeping to the next generation. Sasha Howland took over Howland’s Honey in 2010 from her father, Wink Howland, who moved to Yorkton in 1976. Previously, he was a farmer who, on a whim, purchased some land about one mile south of Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park. He started beekeeping as “something to do,” according to Sasha, and began with about 350 hives. Sasha, meanwhile, was working as a waitress nearby. While commenting on the job market to her father, he suggested she begin working part-time over the

summers at the bee farm. Though initially unsure, she decided to begin working at Howland’s Honey, and eventually took on a fulltime position in 2005. When Wink Howland passed away in 2010, he left behind a beekeeping operation with 1,000 honeyproducing hives and about 700 replacement hives. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and a struggle handling the business after he passed away, but with support, we came back stronger,” Sasha said. H o w l a n d ’s H o n e y i s run with seven staff April to November, including Sasha’s husband, Danny Wasylenchuk, with 10 more workers hired through the busier months of July and August. The operation

With thousands of bees in each hive and 1,000 hives producing honey, Howland’s Honey handles billions of bees each year.

handles not only extracting honey, but testing the honey quality and also breeding bees in order to populate hives with good honeyproducing workers. The operation also provides tours during the summer months for anyone interested in the honey extracting process. Sasha’s main job is to breed suitable queens that can be transferred to new hives without queens. She goes through hives, looking at the brood pattern, or the shape of the nest where the queen lays her eggs, in order to pick suitable egg candidates. Certain brood patterns create certain types of bees, and since the queen is the only one in the hive who reproduces, picking a good brood pattern will ensure an entire hive full of good bees. “Howland’s breeds specifically for gentleness, cleanliness, and honey production,” she said. Gentleness means stings are rare for the workers to deal with, cleanliness means that worker bees will clean out their cells as soon as they are born to prepare for a new egg, and honey production means that Howland’s Honey can get enough honey from them for the operation. Howland selects certain

cells out of the hive that she wants to breed to become future queens. Bees will become a either a worker bee, a drone, or a queen depending on what the larvae is fed. Howland feeds the future queens a white substance called royal jelly. When the bees are nearly ready to burrow out of their cells, Howland places them in an incubator to keep them warm, and then takes them to the hives that they will rule. Howland has to be very careful when selecting a new hive to place the queen eggs in, as hives rarely stay without a queen for long. Bees in a queenless hive may try to breed their own queen by feeding a new

Sasha Howland displayed a rack showing how hive cells overflow with honey. cell royal jelly. When born, these bees are called rogue queens, and in order to protect their new authority, they

will rip through the queen cells and sting the larvae within, killing them. Continued on Page 8

All of the honey Howland’s Honey produces is stored in steel drums until it is put in jars onsite or shipped to other locations.

FARMERS WE SALUTE YO YOU U We appreciate all you do. Thank you for your hard work and passion 365 days of the year helping to feed the world. From farm to table we hope you have a HAPPY, SAFE and BOUNTIFUL harvest this year.


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Harvest Edition

Howland’s Honey Continued from Page 7 “While drones have stingers with barbs on them that rip out and kill the bee after it stings someone, queens don’t have barbs, and so they can sting multiple times. They can do a lot of damage to the cells,” she said. If she does manage to plant the queen cell properly, however, the new queen will live for about two weeks before she mates. Bees usually pick a clear day without too much wind in order to fly out to the gathering place. A queen will fly to a pre-determined location, where up to 25 different drones will mate with her. She stores their sperm with an organ

called the spermathecal, which ensures that for the rest of her life, all of her eggs will be fertilized and genetically diverse. “This creates a prime stock of bees for our environment,” Howland said. “Some beekeepers buy their bees from New Zealand or Australia, but those don’t have the genetic traits necessary to survive Saskatchewan’s harsh climate.” Most hives consist of a single frame. Ten of these frames are placed in a box, and each box is stacked four high to make one of Howland’s hives. Certain frames are called brood frames, and this is where the queen lays her eggs. Other frames

are for honey collecting. Workers divide the frames of brood patterns from the honey collecting frames with a special screen that lets small worker bees through, but not the larger queen, ensuring that the brood is not damaged when the honey is collected. Honey plays an important roll for the bees. With the queen laying 2,000 eggs every day, the eggs need to be fed honey and pollen for nine days before the cells the eggs are in are capped with wax that the young chew through 21 days later. The hive needs honey to ensure its population survives, but at the same time, Howland says, they don’t need as much as they produce. “If we didn’t take honey from the bees, all of

These drums collect extracted honey that is heated in order to be cleaned.

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Week of September 11, 2016

the honey would freeze in the winter, which would destroy the hive.” On top of that, if a hive produces too much honey before it can be extracted and it is overflowing out of the frame, a swarm will occur. In a swarm, half the hive and an old queen will leave the hive in order to find or build a new hive, while the other half of the hive will select a new queen and continue on in the old hive. Howland’s workers have to be very careful when they work with these bees, in order to make sure the aggressive bees do not sting them as the workers guide

Each of these boxes, p l a c e d i n g ro u p s o f four, contain 10 hives each, totalling 40 hives in one group.

This incubator keeps bee larvae warm and alive while Sasha Howland transfers the eggs to hives in order to create queens. the bees to a new hive. It is for this reason, Howland says, that a smoker must be used. A smoker does not damage the bees, but merely makes sure they are relaxed and less inclined to sting workers who are trying to help them. “Some of you might

have seen Bee Movie, which was highly inaccurate. I don’t think the directors did any research at all. After we watched that movie, my kids would always get scared when I brought out the ‘evil smoker.’ We’re teaching them now that it isn’t a bad tool.” Continued on Page 9

Danny Wasylenchuk moves the steel drum after it is filled into storage.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Howland’s Honey Continued from Page 8 With how much work the bees do creating the honey, one of the questions Howland constantly has to field is “why do you charge so much for your honey if the bees do all the work?” Howland wants to clarify that although the bees do a huge amount of work, the human workers do their part as well. “During extracting season, our workers have to lift 500 hive boxes three times per day in order to get them to the extracting plant and then back into the fields when they’ve

been emptied of honey. It’s a lot of work,” she said. When honey needs to be extracted, workers first tip the hives so that the bees can fly out of the hive. The full pallets are then taken to the extracting machine. Entire boxes are loaded onto the machine, which pulls out the racks to be loaded onto the machine. As the racks move along the machine, workers scrub wax off of the racks before they are loaded into the spinner. The spinner is a cylindrical metal chamber which holds 120 of the frames

and spins them for about 20 minutes. Doing this pushes all of the honey out onto the walls of the spinner, and the honey drips down and is collected in a tube, where it is pumped through into a large metal container for storage and cleaning. In the cleaning room, which is kept at 30 degrees Celsius, the honey is heated in order to clean it of any extra impurities, and it settles naturally before it is poured out into drums. The honey is stored this way until it is needed. Two-thirds of the honey is sold to buyers for between one and two dollars a pound. This honey Continued on Page 10

Page 9

A hive was placed inside an observation chamber at Howland’s Honey for visitors to look at. Sasha Howland pointed out that the queen bee is marked by workers with a white spot on her back so she may be identified among all the worker bees pictured here.

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This honey extractor removes the honey from 120 frames every time it is run, which allows workers to extract honey from about 5,000 frames per day during extracting season.


The main part of the extractor holds 120 frames in a metal cylinder, and spins them using a motor in order to melt the honey and collect it in the cylinder.

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Harvest Edition

Howland’s Honey Continued from Page 9 is added to other honey to improve the quality. The remaining third of their honey is packaged under their label or other honey labels. In packing, it is reheated, filtered through a cloth bag, and then put in jars or tubs.

All of the products made by Howland’s Honey are made with honey coming from hives in a 30-mile radius, and all the honey is Saskatchewan-made. The hives are placed in clover, alfalfa and canola fields so long as the farmer owning the land agrees.

This spout, connected to the storage tank that heats the honey to a liquid temperature, fills a steel drum in about 30 seconds.

“We pay our rent in honey,” Howland said. During the winter, the bees seal off the hive, so they are left alone until spring, when the honey producing season begins anew. Howland’s Honey offers creamed and liquid honey that is graded as 100 per cent white, Canada Number 1. Their honey has a moisture content of

Week of September 11, 2016

17.8 per cent or less, and has been filtered to remove any particles. “A lot of people mix white honey with darker shades of honey, but our honey is pure white,” Howland said. They also provide honey mixed with buckwheat or cinnamon, which provides a different taste. “ We ’ v e m a d e i t o u r goal to ensure our honey

comes completely from S a s k a t c h e w a n . To m y knowledge, there is only one other company that has honey that only comes from Canada.” Most honey producers mix various blends of honey, but Howland’s ensures its colour, flavour, and quality comes naturally from Saskatchewan. It is never processed or pasteurized, making sure

the honey, which includes 18 amino acids, 12 minerals, five enzymes, 18 bioflavonoids, 26 aroma compounds, 17 trace elements, six vitamins, and eight lipids, remains healthy and natural. Howland is currently training her three children as the “next generation of beekeepers” to ensure Howland’s Honey continues on beyond its 40 years.

This bin in the cleaning room remains heated at 30 degrees Celsius to help the honey settle before it is poured into drums.







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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 11

Howland’s Honey sells fresh local honey products

T h i s b e e ke e p e r s u i t i s s i m i l a r to t h e o n e s beekeepers use when dealing with swarms and when roughly handling hives.

Danny Wasylenchuk tests the moisture levels of recent honey to ensure it won’t harden or crystalize when it is packaged.

Tips to avoid dangerous situations when harvesting through fall As the harvest season begins and farm accidents become distressingly more common, Cereals Canada offers tips so that farmers can ensure everyone remains safe during the busy time of year. “Fall is a special time for farmers. It has always been my favourite time of year,” said Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada in a recent release. “But fall is also filled with long hours, large equipment and lack of time as frost and rain loom ahead. “This can be a dangerous combination.” Dahl said that most farmers often

think that as long as they use common sense, they will be safe and unharmed during farm work. Agriculture, however, is a dangerous industry that involves being around large machines. “Over time, the risks become part of the routine,” he said. Sometimes, farmers will make haste to get things done quickly, and the impatience means they have to be taken to the emergency room. The most dangerous months on the farm, or the ones when the most accidents take place, are July, August and September. Dahl says that due to long

hours, exhaustion, and a lack of attention, mistakes are often made, which is why his very first piece of advice is to slow down. “Take the time to ensure that whatever you are doing is being done safely. Sometimes this will mean that a section does not get combined tonight or repairs will have to wait,” he said, “but getting home in one piece is more important.” When a farmer makes safety a priority for himself or herself, he or she should also do the same for family members and hired workers, he continued. Dahl recommends that farmers sit down and

talk about safety on the farm to remind everyone of the crucial rules of farming. Dahl also recommends that farmers do not try to speed up just to earn more money. If someone gets injured, it can have more serious economic consequences. A hired replacement may not have as much knowledge or may not work as efficiently, costing the farm more money in the long run. “I wish every farmer in Canada a productive and enjoyable fall season. But above that I hope you have a safe harvest.”

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Page 12

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Post-harvest application of herbicides ideal for weed control Fall applications of herbicides are ideal for controlling perennial, biennial, and winter annual weeds, said a release from BASF Canada. Winter annual weeds such as cleavers, stinkweed and narrow-leaved hawksbeard will germinate in the fall, often after harvest has occurred, the release said. These weeds survive the winter and are then able to begin growing in the spring, earlier than other spring-germinating weeds. If conditions are wet in the spring, it can be difficult to get into fields for a pre-seed burn off, and these winter annual weeds keep growing. By the time a pre-seed application or an in-crop application can be applied, these winter annual weeds may be too large to be controlled effectively. A fall post-harvest application is an effective way to manage these weeds when they are small and most susceptible to herbicides. Perennial weeds including dandelion and Canada thistle, and biennial weeds including biennial wormwood and stork’s bill, can be difficult to control with spring applications because of plant physiology, it said. In the spring, perennial and biennial weeds are moving stored carbohydrates up the plant stem from the root structures where the carbohydrates were stored for the winter. In the spring, this makes it difficult for

BASF Internal Research Trials from 2009-2012, demonstrating the best time of application to control dandelions and the benefit to adding DISTINCT herbicide to a glyphosate application. systemic herbicides to get down into the root systems to effectively control perennial weeds. However in the fall, perennial and biennial weeds are moving carbohydrates down into these root structures to provide food in the spring. When systemic herbicides are applied to these weeds in the fall, the herbicide can effectively get down into the roots. By getting herbicides down into the roots, this gives more effective control of these weeds, preventing them from growing the following spring. Post-harvest applications provide a solution to reduce glyphosate-resistant

reduced from what the plant can produce during a full growing season, however even a small amount of seed will provide an increase in glyphosateresistant plants emerging in the next growing seasons. Glyphosate is an important herbicide used in post-harvest applications for control of perennial, biennial, and winter annual weeds. “Multiple modes of action herbicides will bring additional weed control to your post-harvest application of glyphosate,” the release said. Multiple modes of action herbicides also help delay the development of glyphosate resistance or

weeds from adding seeds to the weed seed bank. There are two confirmed glyphosate-resistant weeds in Western Canada. Glyphosate-tolerant canola when grown in crop rot a t i o n s w i l l e m e rg e a s a weed when volunteer p l a n t s e m e rg e i n r o t a tion. Glyphosate-resistant kochia is a growing issue across Western Canada, having been confirmed in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Both these species do not overwinter, however these weeds can emerge in late summer or early fall after harvest and set seed prior to winter. The amount of seed set is drastically

Distinct herbicide for control of annual and perennial weeds in chemfallow and post-harvest applications.

manage it should it occur. DISTINCT ® herbicide provides alternative modes of action and is an excellent complement to glyphosate in the top-up market. Adding DISTINCT provides: broad-spectrum control of tough broadleaf weeds; control of glyphosate-resistant and Group 2-resistant weeds as part of a resistant weed management plan; excellent follow-crop freedom for maximum cropping flexibility, and cleaner fields in the spring to set up for success in the following year. DISTINCT herbicide is a combination of dicamba, a Group 4 synthetic auxin herbicide, and diflufenzopyr (DFFP), a Group 19 polar auxin transport inhibitor. DFFP allows the plant to focus the dicamba in the meristematic

regions, which include the roots. A fall application of DISTINCT herbicide provides improved efficacy of glyphosate in the fall. It focuses controlling perennial weeds through the over-wintering structures of the plants - the roots. DISTINCT herbicide when added to glyphosate in a post-harvest application provides activity against glyphosate-tolerant canola and glyphosate-resistant kochia. This multiple-modeof-action application helps prevent these resistant weeds from setting seed in the fall and therefore reduces the number of resistant seeds present in the soil that may emerge in following years. Topping up glyphosate with DISTINCT herbicide in the fall also allows excellent follow-crop flexibility for the next season. DISTINCT herbicide applied prior to October 15 allows for all cereal and corn crops to be seeded in the following spring. DISTINCT herbicide applied prior to October 1 allows for all herbicide tolerant canola varieties, soybeans, field peas and lentils to be seeded the following spring. A fall application of DISTINCT herbicide in combination with glyphosate allows for effective management of weeds, including glyphosateresistant weeds, and gives growers the best chance at starting with clean fields in the spring. ---Advertorial

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 13

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Page 14

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Big crops, early harvest, and cheap nitrogen By Mat Dennison, Agronomist Prairie Soil Services Ltd. For the fall of 2016, growers are seeing some surprisingly low pricing for fall applied fertilizer. With an earlier start to harvest, above average yields in the cereals so far, and large canola crops being swathed, there is the potential for a grower to take advantage of the cost saving and extended fall fertilizer season to set the foundation for next year’s crops. Where do you as a grower turn first? More often than not, a grower considers nitrogen

to be the key to a good yield, so putting more nitrogen on crops equals higher yields. Yes and no! While nitrogen is one of the main macro-nutrients that is essential to plant growth, it is not the sole focus for farmers. At this time of year, however, nitrogen is at the forefront of the mind as it is a perfect time to prepare the fields for next year and apply a nitrogen source, whether that source is deep banded urea, anhydrous ammonia or a protected form of granular N. In the lead up to this year’s fall fertilizer season, two questions I have heard a number of times is, ‘Is 100 pounds down now enough?

Should I split apply?’ For many growers, the 100 pounds of actual product seems to be the magic number, but is it enough in our ever-changing landscape and progressively large crops. Research that has been conducted found that on average, a canola crop will require around three to 3.5 pounds of nitrogen per bushel. If you take this idea and apply it to the canola council’s initiative to achieve a 52-bushel average by 2025, which equates to needing 182 pounds of available nitrogen, does your soil have 82 pounds of reserves in it? Another thing to consider

Mat Dennison, the agronomist for Prairie Soil Services Ltd., often advises farmers on the use of nitrogen on crops. is what your goal with the crop is. Now, most growers you ask will say that the

goal is to grow the most bushels, but what makes this achievable? From research conducted in Europe, it has been found that a grower should strive to achieve a Green Area Index (GAI) of 3.5. This number dictates that at the time of flowering, the canopy should have 3.5 square metres of leaf area for every one square metre of soil. This way all of the sunlight is intercepted and can be converted. Harvesting sunlight is key to achieving higher yields and better plant health. In Europe 50 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare is needed for every GAI, so 175 kilograms per hectare, or 156 pounds per acre, are needed

to reach 3.5 GAI. So 156 pounds of nitrogen need to be available to a canola crop up to the peak flowering. This opens the potential to top dress on canola around the time of buds forming, so that the nitrogen applied is available when the plant hits flowering. In Canada A & L Laboratories Inc. produces nutrient calculators to determine what a certain crop will remove from available nutrients. Keeping with the canola, we have established a 50-bushel crop requires 157 pounds of nitrogen. Fifty-seven of that is used and removed by the straw, Continued on Page 15

Canora resident takes fourth year of Agriculture Business in Sweden A Canora resident is experiencing the agriculture industry in a unique way by taking her fourth year of university in Sweden. Laura Weinbender, daughter of Leanne and Carey of Canora, will be attending the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden as part of a transfer student program. Weinbender has already completed three years of agriculture business through the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. She left for Sweden on August 24. Coming from a family of farmers, agriculture has always been a part of her life, and she said she could not imagine working in an industry other than agriculture, and since beginning her studies, she has been impressed by the opportunities before her. “I have always enjoyed the finance, marketing, and management side of things, and agribusiness so far has covered all my interests and more,” she said.

Weinbender is taking a minor in Field Crop Production in order to learn about basic soil science and plant science, which she said gives her a good basis and understanding of production. Agribusiness also covers trade, accounting, agricultural policy, economics, and statistics. “All of those parts of the degree definitely broaden your thinking to the many parts of business in the agriculture industry.” Weinbender hopes to use her degree to work in the agriculture industry, especially in a business setting. When asked why she decided to take part in the transfer student program, she said that she loves both the European agriculture industry and travel. “Both of those things complemented each other so the exchange program would be the best way to experience both,” she said. She heard of several students who participated in the exchange program, and said she was fortunate enough to find it

would work with her degree. While in Sweden, Weinbender is most looking forward to experiencing and learning about the agriculture industry firsthand. She is also very excited to be able to travel around Europe. Weinbender also has a position as a summer field representative with the Yorkton branch of Grain Millers, Inc. Her job is to visit organic crop contract holders and observe their crops for the collection of data. She generally scouts oat crops, but has collected flax, lentils, barley, and soft white wheat. “It is a job that requires agronomy knowledge, as well as social skills,” she said. “This job has really helped me grow, and I have learned a lot so far.” Weinbender lives with her family, including her parents, her sister Sarah, and her brother Dale, in Canora during the summer. She volunteers with the Good Spirit 4-H Club whenever she has an opportunity.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 15

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just nitrogen that a grower needs to consider Continued from Page 14 meaning that 100 pounds is leaving your fields and heading to the elevators in the seeds. When you consider the rotation in our area, most canola crops will be following a wheat crop. A 70-bushel wheat crop requires 147 pounds of nitrogen, 35 of which is in the straw and most often stays in the field. The other 112 pounds is removed by the grain. As mentioned before itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just nitrogen that a grower needs to consider. Some headline numbers for wheat and canola crops include 50 pounds of phosphate per 70 bushels in which 42 is removed by the grain. A total of 65 pounds is needed for 50 bushels of canola, and 45 is removed. Potassium is often forgotten, and yes, there are fields that h a v e s u ff i c i e n t l e v e l s , but 112 pounds is needed for wheat, but only 28 is taken by the grain. A total of 118 pounds is used in canola, with 23 pounds in the grain. After the 2016 harvest

when you as a grower are considering to take advantage of cheaper input prices, which do you choose and how much? How much is left in your soil? How much has left your field with the large bushels grown? One practise that is recommended is to soil test. Soil testing is a fairly simple way to work out what you have left in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bank.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; A comprehensive soil test will provide you with information on not only the nutrient status of your fields, but on organic matter content, soil acidity and any potential imbalances between nutrients in the soil. Soil testing can be done any time in the fall from harvest through to freeze up. When sampling earlier in the fall, soil temperatures are higher and some extra mineralisation of nitrogen may occur after sampling, so this would need to be factored into analysis results. Nearly all other nutrients will be unaffected by the soil temperature so no adjustments

will be required. Only then can you properly create a plan for 2017. At the start the question that was asked was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;is 100 pounds enough?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; We have found that a crop needs more than this and as a grower you are relying on the nitrogen levels left in your soil and the input that the organic matter will provide as it goes through the nitrogen cycle. By looking back at previous crops, soil test results, inputs and yields you can get an idea, but why guess when laying the foundation for the barn buster crop youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get next year?

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Harvest Edition

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 17

Considerations to make when storing grain by Lyndon Hicks, PAg, Regional Crops Specialist, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Grains may be stored for a long period of time, but maintaining quality is dependent on the condition the grain was in when harvested and the storage facility being used. Generally speaking, grains binned at lower temperatures and moisture contents can be stored for longer periods of time before they begin to deteriorate. The occurrence of insects, molds and fungi will drastically reduce grain quality. Parasites,

however, are affected by grain moisture and temperature. With harvest upon us, here are a few things to consider before storing your harvested grain. When preparing for harvest, ensure that all machinery, augers, storage facilities and aeration systems are thoroughly cleaned before adding new grain. Treating bins with diatomaceous earth or Malathion is recommended prior to adding new grain. This is not recommended for storing oilseeds or pulse crops. Reduce or remove vegetation within 10 meters of a storage site to decrease the number of rodents and insects living

adjacent to the stored grain. Mixing newly harvested grains with old infested grain (for example, grain with high moisture content or insects) could potentially contaminate all new harvested crops. During filling, consider aeration to bring stored grain temperature down to 10 degrees Celsius. Below this temperature, reproduction and movement of most insects is reduced. If planning to store grain for long periods of time, consider adding a grain protectant such as diatomaceous earth or Malathion (only on registered crops) when filling bins. After filling, inspect grain stored about

10 degrees Celsius every two to three weeks for heating and insect activity. Use a grain probe to monitor the middle section of the stored grain, not just the edge. Consider top dressing a grain protectant to control surface feeder infestations. If insects become a problem, Phostoxin can be used. It must be applied by a licensed pesticide applicator with a fumigation license when grain temperature is above five degrees Celsius. Safe storage charts for all crops can be viewed at the Grains Canada website. For more information, contact your local Regional Crops Specialist or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre.

Ministry of Agriculture hosts presentation with succession planning expert Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture has arranged for a presentation to help farmers in Saskatchewan pass their farming operations down from generation to generation. Jolene Brown of West Branch, Iowa, is being brought to Saskatchewan in part with the Royal Bank of Canada to take part in a presentation titled “The Positives of Passing I t O n a n d T h e To p 1 0 Mistakes that Break Up a Family Business.” Brown will be touring through North Battleford, Swift Current, Weyburn, and, on November 15, she will speak in Yorkton. Rachel Kraynick, the regional farm management

Jolene Brown of West Branch, Iowa, will tour her presentation, “The Positives of Passing It On and The Top 10 M i s t a ke s t h a t B re a k Up a Family Business,” in Saskatchewan, and will speak to farmers in Yorkton on November 15. specialist for the Ministry of Agriculture, is “very excited” to be working with

Brown, who is a farmer, author, and professional speaker specializing in succession planning. “Brown is on a mission to share leading-edge best practices, appreciation, laughter, and celebration to increase productivity, profitability, and piece of mind,” Kraynick said. The presentation on November 15 will take place at the St. Mary’s Cultural Centre, and will focus on multigenerational farming. “The average farm age is 62 years, and most people haven’t considered a plan for how to pass down the family business,” she said. The presentation, therefore will focus on the positives of passing the

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farm down, the mistakes made in succession planning, and the questions that must be answered before someone new joins the farm. “We want to start a conversation, so that people feel confident in succession planning,” Kraynick said. “This is made for any family farmers who don’t know where to start in planning. Don’t assume talking about it means the plan is made.” Brown agrees that just talking is not the way to make a plan for one’s business. “There is nothing better – or worse – than working with genetics, and if you want to honour your family, you have got to do the

business right,” she said. Though she does understand that planning out a succession plan can be long and frustrating (“The more I have to communicate and deal with people,” she said, “the more I like pigs”), she is here to help. Her presentation will feature her giving her advice in “plain English” so that farmers can take advantage of plans that “have helped hundreds of homes,” she said. The workshop’s topics include the top 10 assumptions that create problems f o r i n t e r- g e n e r a t i o n a l businesses, the identifiable hidden agreements that must be written down, the egos, emotions, and decisions involved in estate

transferring, tools for transitioning ownership, and the need for courtesy and celebration. Brown will also host a panel with professional advisers to discuss the issues of succession planning. Joining her will be Jason Heinmiller, an accountant with Collins Barrow in Yorkton; Shawn Patenaude of Shawn Patenaude Law in Yorkton, and a financial advisor from Yorkton’s Royal Bank of Canada branch who is yet to be named. Kraynick recommends phoning the Ministry of Agriculture in order to register with the event, which will provide “lunch and a wealth of information.”







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Page 18

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Identifying the warning signs of fall frost damage by Lyndon Hicks, PAg, Regional Crops Specialist Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Hopefully frost won’t be a problem for producers this fall, but some crops were seeded late and the risk of frost increases as the farming season moves into September. The extent of damage caused by frost depends on the temperature, length of exposure time, humidity levels, and length of time to reach freezing temperature.

Due to the many factors involved, it is very hard to give a definite temperature to which crops can tolerate frost. Even if the air temperature reaches zero degrees Celsius the crop itself can be four or five degrees cooler, because plants can lose heat faster than the surrounding air. Evaluating the damage can be difficult, but farmers should start evaluating immediately after the frost. A heavy frost can cause pod popping in canola, in which some seed can be salvaged by immediate swathing. It is

recommended that scouting be repeated two to three days after the frost, as light to moderate frost damage may take longer to be evident. A white appearance to the crop is a good early indicator of some frost damage. Heavily damaged crops will quickly show signs of frost injury, including discoloration and the darkening, water-soaked appearance of fleshy tissue and pods. Slightly damaged pods or heads may show very little symptoms but the seeds within the heads may be damaged.

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of minus three degrees Celsius, while those that are close to swathing stage (and are thus 35 per cent moisture) may escape damage. To escape most frost damage, the moisture content should be at least 20 per cent or lower. Most of the damage at later stages of development occurs as a green seed which results in downgrading. Frost can lock in green seed which is the consequence of enzymes being destroyed, and it leaves the plant unable to rid itself of chlorophyll regardless of the temperature and moisture conditions following the frost. Don’t confuse this with green seed being locked in by swathing during high temperatures (rapid dry down). The ‘degreening process’ can be restarted in this situation by increasing seed moisture content through rain or heavy dew and warm temperatures. Swathing at 48 to 72 hours prior to a heavy frost can reduce the green seed count and help escape some of the damaging effects of frost.

Once a frost has been received on canola or mustard, it is important to assess the damage and its extent. Delaying swathing can result in shattering, so it is critical to make a proper assessment of the field and swath accordingly. Assessing the field (to find damaged vs. undamaged seed) is best done at two to three days after the frost or later. If the majority of the seed is damaged, then swath the crop immediately. If not, then leave the crop to be part of the proper swathing stage. Note that if the crop has frozen and the pods begin to turn white, then the crop should be swathed as quickly as possible as the pods will start to shatter. Ultimately the decision boils down to a comparison of the risk of yield loss from shattering compared to the potential from further curing and improved grade in the remaining seed. For more information, contact your local Regional Crops Specialist or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre.

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Seed harvested from crops exposed to frost must be vigor tested prior to using the seed for next year’s crops. When evaluating cereals, remember that typically, wheat is more tolerant than barley, and barley is more tolerant than oats to fall frost. In the milk stage, temperatures below zero degrees Celsius can result in shriveled kernels. After the mid-dough stage, temperatures down to minus four degrees Celsius can result in bran frost, kernel shrinkage, and possibly a reduction in germination. This is not evident until at least seven to 10 days later. With canola and mustard, the flowers and pods freeze before the leaves. The leaves can tolerate minus 3.5 degrees Celsius to minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, while the flowers and developing pods can be affected by minus two degrees Celsius to minus three degrees Celsius. Immature seed that contains 50 to 60 per cent moisture can be severely damaged by temperatures

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is donating one million dollars through the FCC AgriSpirit Fund to 78 community groups across Canada in order to support rural capital projects. FCC uses some proceeds from offering financing, management software, information and knowledge to farmers in agriculture and food industries to donate to rural communities through the AgriSpirit Fund, said a recent release. “At FCC, we are passionate about giving back to the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said Sophie Perreault, FCC executive vicepresident and chief operating officer. “The FCC AgriSpirit Fund is another opportunity for us to partner with organizations that are doing great things in their communities.” The FCC AgriSpirit Fund awards grants that are between $5,000 and $25,000,

depending of the scale of the project, the release said. The money goes towards community improvement projects, such as hospitals and medical centres, childcare facilities, fire and rescue equipment, playgrounds, food banks, libraries, recreation centres, and community gardens. A total of 1,013 applications were received this year. “This clearly indicates how invested rural Canadians are in their communities,” the release said. The AgriSpirit fund has run for 13 years and has donated $10.5 million to over 1,000 projects. In Saskatchewan, 12 projects are receiving funding. A complete listing of the selected projects can be found at the FCC website. The next application period opens in spring 2017. Registered charities and nonprofit organizations interested in funding can visit the FCC website for eligibility requirements and to apply online.

Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 19

Should preconditioning be the norm for cattle farmers? The stress calves face in early life suggests preconditioning, a program where calves are given a longer period to adjust, may help prevent diseases and antibiotic use, said RealAgriculture in a recent release. According to the Western Canadian Cow Calf Survey completed in 2015, 72 per cent of calves in western Canada are sold at weaning, with 80 per cent of that number being sold in an

auction market. The combination of stressors calves face in that short time from weaning to auction to entering a feedlot has major health and economic implications, said Brenna Grant, manager of CanFax Research Services. “What we see is the majority of our bovine respiratory disease occurs in the first 60 days of freshlyweaned calves derived from auction markets in the

feedlot,” she said. High stress in calves also puts pressure on antibiotics, as feedlots administer more antimicrobials to help calves remain healthy. Preconditioning ensures that stressors are spread out over a longer period in order to improve health and weight gain in animals entering a feedlot, explained Grant. “We want this to be a win-win-win. Not only

AWC announces $720,625 investment in five wheat-related research projects The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) announced an investment of $720,625 in five research projects that will provide Western Canadian wheat farmers with innovative tools and solutions to improve crop performance and net profitability. AWC’s investment leverages an additional $622,625 from other funding partners, said a release from the AWC. Through these projects, farmers can look forward to new insights on management practices for hail damaged crops, advanced monitoring to better understand stripe rust in Western Canada, improved water use efficiency for better yield and drought tolerance, new, low-cost testing technology for mycotoxin detection, and new tools to improve wheat grain yield under normal and abiotic stress conditions, the release said. “Investing in research is a key priority for AWC as it ensures farmers have access to tools and technology that will improve efficiencies, as well as innovative ways

to solve some of the challenges we face during the growing season,” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chairman. “I look forward to seeing the results of these projects and extending the outcomes to farmers.” The projects are taking place at a number of field research institutions in Alberta and Ontario. Projects are being funded through the Ag Funding Consortium (AFC), a partnership of 13 organizations that create a one-window approach to agricultural research and development funding in Alberta. Other funding partners for these projects include the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRD), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (SWDC) and Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions (AI Bio). Producers can look forward to project updates for these projects through AWC and other funding partners, and are encouraged to visit albertawheat.com to learn more about other AWC-funded research investments, it said.


does society win from reduced antimicrobial use, but the feedlot should win as well…even if he’s paying a premium to the cow-calf producer, he should be able to pocket the gains from improved performance.” So how long should preconditioning of animals take for a cow/calf producer? What does this look like? The problem for Canadian producers is there’s currently no clear definition or financial incentive. In the United States, the two main criteria in preconditioning programs are that calves in the program are

weaned for a minimum of 45 days before sale, and that calves are vaccinated and boostered at least 21 days before sale. Some programs also include requirements for castration, dehorning, identification and veterinary verification, explains Grant. Feedlots that benefit from reduced morbidity should be willing to pay more for preconditioned calves, but that has not yet occurred in western Canada. “Right now, because of this ambiguity, and because of the lack of trust between our cow-calf and feedlot guys, there’s no premium being paid in Canada. All

of the economic gains for the cow-calf producer are coming from the additional weight being gained, and in that case, you’re not looking at 45 days. You’re typically looking at 60 days or longer.” Grant referred to research showing preconditioning for over 60 days has proved to be profitable and noted that the Beef Cattle Research Council has a preconditioning calculator for helping producers determine the economic costs and benefits of preparing calves for their stressful move to the feedlot.

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Page 20

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Family-owned company exports flax products around the world By Schayla Kirschman A family that has been in agriculture for over 30 years is now packaging Saskatchewan flax in order to share one of the province’s most flourishing crops with the rest of the world. Mike Popowich is the coowner of TA Foods Ltd. in Yorkton, a family-run business that he manages with his father, Terry Popowich. The company has been handling flax since 2003,

but has taken part in other endeavors since the 1980s. The Popowich family farm began as a pulse and seed-cleaning facility, eventually becoming the area’s leading cleaner. Over the course of the 1980s, the facility transformed into an oat mill with over 100 employees, know as Popowich Milling Ltd. When the mill was bought by Grainmiller’s, the Popowich family then decided to start a small-scale flax oil production plant

known as TA Foods Ltd. Since then, the company expanded, and in 2012, it added a plant to clean the flax, storage bins so more flax from farms could be sent to the company, and packaging lines. The number of employees has jumped from four to 30 employees at present, working in the 28,000 square foot warehouse. In 2016, TA Foods Ltd. bought another 60,000 square foot facility in Yorkton, and Mike Popowich is excited

TA Foods Ltd. has a 28,000 square foot facility in order to clear, store, crush, and package flax seed and oil. to begin production in that warehouse. Currently, TA Foods produces milled or ground flax

Flax oil is just one of the forms in which TA Foods sells its flax. They also sell the flax seed crushed, or whole and roasted.

seeds, whole flax seeds, and flax oil to be exported to not just other parts of Canada and the United States, but

to Ireland, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Columbia, and Japan. Continued on Page 21

The area behind TA Foods Ltd. in Yorkton is used as a storage area, where flax is packed into steel bins, as well as in railway cars for shipping.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Exporting flax products around the world Continued from Page 20 “About 50 per-cent of what we produce is retail products that are packaged under our brand, or

under one of 30 private labels,” Mike Popowich explained. The company also handles hemp and camolina

TA Foods has a packaging plant inside their warehouse, where flax can be packaged under their own brand or under one of over 30 private labels.

products, and is planning to get into roasting sesame seeds. The process of processing flax is rather simple, according to Mike Popowich. The company purchases flax from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta, usually whole and uncleaned. The flax is tested before it is bought, to ensure that it meets particular specifications. The flax is stored in bins until it is needed, at which point it is run through the cleaning plant. It is washed and then examined to determine the quality of the flax, and decide what it is best used for. “It’s just depending on the colour or shape,” he said. “Some people prefer different colours of flax, but all the flax we receive is used for something.” The flax is eventually determined to go into either crushing, whole seeding, or milling. Crushed flax seed has oil pressed out of the meal. Whole seed flax can be roasted. Milled flax is then sold as flax powder. T h e f l a x i s p a s t e u rized to purify it, and then the flax moves on to the packaging plant. The flax products are either packaged to be sold as they are to consumers, or they are put in bulk packaging so they can be sent to food


Page 21

The warehouse interior also includes more bins for storage. companies, who use the flax in baked goods and pet food. “Flax leaves the warehouse in several different forms,” he said. No matter what flax leaves the warehouse, it all meets TA Foods’ standard, according to Popowich. All of the products made by the company meet the Global Food Safety Initiative – Safe Quality Food (GFSI – SQF) standard, and are certified by the international food safety plan. The products are also automatically accepted by Costco, he said. The flax is organic certified, kosher certified,

Good Manufacturing Practice certified, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points certified, non-genetically modified organism (GMO) certified, and gluten-free. TA Foods and its dedication to “gathering the best of nature’s flax harvest that is true to our heritage,” and helping its broad spectrum of customers make healthconscious decisions, according to TA Foods’ mission statement, allowed it to become a finalist in three categories for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Achievement in Business Excellence (ABEX) awards. It was nominated

for the Innovation Award and Export Award, and won the Growth and Expansion Award. Mike Popowich attributes the company’s success to the farmers across the Prairies that he buys seed from. “We buy about 6,000 metric tonnes of flax every year,” he said. “It’s the high quality of flax we purchase from farmers that makes our products good quality.” Mike Popowich recently signed a contract for the sale of 500 tonnes of flax farmed from the Canora area. Farmers may contact him for more information on flax pricing.

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Page 22

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Beef industry challenged to do better The beef industry has been shown to be reducing its carbon footprint, but Tim McAllister, an Alberta cattle researcher, says more needs to be done. According to a recent release from Country Guide, the beef industry is under attack from environmentalists and activists, and due to that, the heads of the industry are attempting to stretch the truth. “They have an agenda that they are trying to gain information to support — they’re looking for things that have gone awry in the industry, and there have been problems,” McAllister said at the inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference. “They’re looking for those mistakes to build up as much press coverage to build up those issues as much as they can… They often exaggerate the outcomes of those events and they are very narrow in scope.” McAllister also had frank words for the crowd of several hundred ranchers and industry players. “I’d like to say all those people are absolutely 100 per cent full of crap, but the truth is, they’re not. “There is data, there is science that supports their position as well. Maybe not to the extent that they’d like to make everybody believe it does, but there is science to support their position.” He implored the cattle sector to respond. “There are things we do that upset the public,” he said. “We have to be aware of those things ourselves and those are practices that will have to stop. Those things we stop

will have positive impacts on our production systems. “The times are changing and the industry has to evolve with it. If we don’t evolve with the way the consumers are coming, with the Internet and the level of education they are achieving, this industry will suffer. I don’t know if it will go extinct, but it won’t be good for it.” The cattle sector is also being asked to speak up and confront myths about beef production, said McAllister, who is currently studying greenhouse gases, climate change, carbon sequestration, use of water by beef cattle, and the impact of cattle on biodiversity and ecosystems. Animal agriculture is often blamed for the rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and for global warming, when in fact, the real culprits are coal and energy production along with land use change, he said. “It took 50 million to 100 million years to put that carbon in the ground and create that oil and gas,” he said. “So to think that we can offset all the carbon that is being released by changing our agricultural practices and increasing our carbon sequestration is unrealistic.” While increased food production means agriculture’s carbon emissions are slowly rising, there has actually been improved efficiency in the beef industry which led to emissions per kilogram of meat produced decreasing. McAllister’s research has determined that between 1981 and 2011, Canada, the U.S. and Australia reduced the carbon footprint of beef production by 15 per cent. “This makes us among the most efficient producers of beef



in the world on a carbon footprint basis,” said McAllister. Because methane is produced in the rumen when cattle digest the fibre in forage, they are responsible for more greenhouse gasses than any other livestock. “The amount of methane released per kilogram of feed is lower for grain-based diets than for forage-based diets,” he said. “But when we talk about the intensive system of forage-based diets, we can argue that we’re using feed that has absolutely no value as human food.” Grasslands filled with forage also store millions of tonnes of carbon, and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. If projections that global consumption of meat will double by 2050 prove accurate, however, then livestock emissions will rise sharply. McAllister argued that production of methane and carbon dioxide, as well as water use in livestock agriculture, should be considered in cycles. “We’re not talking about it disappearing or being generated and staying forever. It’s always moving from one form to another. If you look at carbon dioxide as a whole on a global basis, there is three times as much carbon in the soil right now as there is in the atmosphere. That’s a significant store of carbon.” He suggests that cattle producers should be managing their pastures properly and not overgrazing, which is another practice that is good for both the environment and the bottom line. “Overgrazing will result in a reduction of carbon sequestered in the soil in the form of roots. It can also result in plants that won’t grow as well,” said McAllister. Manure application can increase the amount of carbon in the soil while delivering micro-organisms not found in chemical fertilizers, he added. “When it comes to the beef’s water footprint, it depends on how you make the calculation. Critics often claim it takes 15,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of beef, but that’s deceptive,” said McAllister. Most of the water used in beef production is just part of the evaporation included in the water cycle. “About five per cent of the water is used by the cow-calf sector, the feedlot, processing, retail, and the consumer,” he said. “The rest of it is used for feed production. The logic of attributing all the water use to beef doesn’t make a lot of sense.” The greatest improvements in footprint reduction will come from sustainable intensification, as well as from new technology to improve efficiency. “We cannot return to the way we farmed in 1950 and produce the same amount of food that we do today,” said McAllister. “Producers have a right to their own positions and their own decisions, but we need to make them aware of the impacts that the removal of these technologies will have on the industry and on the environment as a whole, so that when they make that decision, they’re making it from an informed position.”

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 23

Joint efforts between government and producers prepare grain transportation system The Government of Saskatchewan, along with grain producers and customers, are continuing discussions with transportation service providers to prepare for the large crop this harvest will bring, said a release from the Ministry of Agriculture. Despite localized issues in different areas of Saskatchewan, the overall projected yields are expected to be above average for cereal and oilseed crops in Saskatchewan, and so the government plans to make accommodations. “ We a r e e n c o u r a g e d t o s e e c r o p s across Saskatchewan doing particularly well,” said Lyle Stewart, the Agriculture Minister. “Getting products to market is critical to our success and, in 2013, we saw the challenges a large crop presented shippers, railways and ports. We don’t want to see a repeat situation this year.” Production levels are growing in the province thanks to improved varieties and agronomic practices, the release said. The need for enhanced transparency and accountability within the grain handling and transportation system has remained a priority since 2013. There have been numerous requests to the Ministry of Agriculture to find solutions, so that producers are ensured to get their products to customers safely, efficiently, reliably and at a fair cost. “In early July, we wrote the federal government and the two railways to advise of a potential large crop,” Stewart said. “We stressed the importance of ensuring the grain handling and transportation system is prepared to move this year’s crop in a timely and efficient manner.” “ We c o n t i n u e t o u r g e Tr a n s p o r t

Canada to ensure contingencies are in place should issues arise this season,” said Nancy Heppner, the Highways and Infrastructure Minister. “In the long term, we want to see changes to The Canada Transportation Act that ensure Saskatchewan businesses are able to move goods reliably and at a competitive price to our international customers, while still ensuring public safety.” “We hope all parties will step up and do what is necessary to move the crop this year,” said Stewart, who suggested that if there is a strike at the Port of Prince Rupert, the federal government should consider back-to-work legislation so that harvest continues moving at a timely pace. Transportation is one of the main priorities for members of the New West Partnership (NWP), with the New West Transportation Infrastructure Summit in 2014 focusing on strengthening collaboration between the supply chain players and building capacity for long-term growth in western Canada. The Pacific Gateway Alliance, a NWP working group that focuses on performance and market access, has been working on the management of system capacity. Part of its work involved the hosting of a grain transportation workshop in the spring. An open dialogue between producers, shippers and grain transportation service providers is necessary as harvest approaches, the release said. Saskatchewan products are becoming more often demanded by other countries, and getting goods to their destination on time maintains the province’s credibility and relationship with international customers.

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Page 24

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Test for nitrate poisoning when trying to salvage hail-damaged crops Storm damage to crops can result in problems with nitrate accumulations, especially if the crops were heavily fertilized or manured in the spring to optimize yield, said a release from Grainews. “With volatile weather comes storm damage and, for some producers, this means salvaging crops for feed,” said Andrea Hanson, beef extension specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Producers should be careful and cautious, as salvaged crops may have high levels of nitrates that are toxic to ruminants. Hanson emphasized the importance of testing salvaged feed to establish quality and nitrate levels prior to feeding. “Sometimes producers want to wait to see if the crop will recover before

salvaging it for feed. That’s when the balancing act starts. The nitrate levels in those damaged crops that were heavily fertilized or manured to optimize yield will have the highest accumulations.” It takes between four to five days after a storm for the nitrates to build to the highest levels. If the plants start to recover, then nitrate levels should return to normal about two weeks later. The true balancing act starts when the plant is unable to recover and it begins to brown and deteriorate, losing leaf material and yield. Unless a perennial hay crop is highly fertilized, it has far lower nitrate levels, Hanson said. “Alfalfa is a plant that only takes up as much nitrogen as it requires on a daily basis. The excess is stored in the nodules. Nitrate accumulation in alfalfa is extremely rare.”

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When the plant is stressed thanks to drought, hail, or frost, nitrate levels increase drastically. Even though the roots are still alive, the damage to the plant means photosynthesis is disrupted. As long as the roots are still healthy, however, they push nitrogen to the leaves, where it accumulates. “If a producer does decide to salvage the crop, it’s essential that the nitrate levels are known before any of the feed is used,” says Hanson. “Getting a feed test done is cheap compared to losing an animal.” Once a plant is cut, its nitrate level is stable so a feed test can be taken.

It’s important to ask the feed testing laboratory what type of nitrate test was carried out, as the limits are different depending on how the nitrate level is reported. “Feeds containing nitrates can be fed depending on the levels of nitrates and the other feed stuffs available,” adds Hanson. “A strategy for feeding high nitrate feed is needed well before creating a feeding plan to reduce the risk of nitrate poisoning.” For more information on assessing damaged crops, farmers are encouraged to visit the Forage Beef website.

Research is needed to see the extent of antimicrobial resistance Although he sees minor improvement in the cattle industry’s work towards mitigating the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Cody Creelman, the managing partner and DVM of Veterinary Agri-Health Services, said there’s much more work to be done to understand how far AMR goes. “There needs to be more dedicated research,” Creelman said in a release from RealAgriculture. “We’re really just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of even knowing if there is a problem.” Creelman spoke on AMR and antibiotic usage in the cow, calf and feedlot industries at the Canadian

Beef Industry Conference’s “Bov-Innovation” session, and he hoped producers would take away some key points so they may continue fighting against AMR. “From a producer perspective, we should definitely be working with industry buyers and herd health veterinarians to sit down and be proactive in terms of treatment protocols and also training on how to identify diseases.” Producers, he suggests, should have a plan in place and should know which drug to use for which disease. This plan should of course be made in consultation with a veterinarian. As for communication between the cow/calf sector

and feedlots, Creelman says he thinks there’s a lot of mistrust. Cow/calf producers tend to think the feedlot owners only care about the bottom line while feedlots suspect that cow/ calf producers have not managed their animals the way they suggest. “But if you have a real relationship - a friendship, a partnership - with various feedlots, it makes it really easy to, say, sell your calves ranch-direct,” reassured Creelman. Creelman suggests producers build relationships through networking by attending industry events and joining social media. “It is really all about actively wanting to get there.”

Building for Sale or Lease

Future Relocation is in our Plans – Business as Usual Until we Sell To set the record straight I am taking this opportunity to let our many customers know that we are simply “busting at the seams”. Our business has grown every year over the last 6 years at our present location on Norway Road in Canora; however, we are looking at location alternatives for the future of our business. Many factors were considered including the lack of qualified technicians which has led to excessive overtime by the owner to maintain the high standard of customer service the business has been built on. Our future objectives are to be located where we can best serve the majority of our customers, improve the possibility of attracting qualified technicians and improve the work/family life balance. There is no doubt that our present location has many advantages including a shop that has many leading edge attributes in its design. The 3200 sf building is a well insulated Robertson steel building with in-floor heating which makes the working conditions pleasurable and economical to operate. Three phase power provides ample power for any demand. The office/showroom side has forced air heating and air conditioning. The upstairs mezzanine provides a great space for a staff room (with bathroom and shower) and an office with a view. The building is located on a double lot with access and exposure to Highway 9 traffic. The lot is surrounded by an 8’ security fence and the building is secured by Gardon Securities. We have listed our property with Brent Haas of Remax. If you are interested please feel free to contact him at 306-641-6929.

Until we have a sale or we lease the building, it is “business as usual”. – Priority Service for Winterizing Boats is now in place with same day service as our goal. – Reduced labour rates will apply on all boat and motor repairs from December – March. Call 306-563-6663 to schedule your boat. – We work on all ages and makes of snow mobiles. This is the year for lots of snow so bring your sled in and we will make sure you are ready to go for a great winter season! We thank our customers for their continued support and referrals. We look forward to being of service to you for many more years in the future.

Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 25

U of S VIDO-InterVac develops vaccine for devastating pig virus In less than a year, University of Saskatchewan (U of S) scientists have developed and tested a prototype vaccine that could protect the North American swine industry from a virus that has killed more than eight million pigs and cost more than $400 million in lost income

since 2013. The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) hit the United States in 2013 and spread to Canada in 2014, said a release from VIDO-InterVac. It was first discovered in Europe, and has become increasingly problematic in

Acidosis can be mistaken for respiratory disease in ill cattle It is not known if cattle feel pain when they suffer from liver abscesses or acidosis, but they do show symptoms that something is wrong, said veterinarian Kelly Lechtenberg in a release. There is physical evidence of pain when an animal has contracted acidosis, but unless the abscesses are severe, the signs can be hard to see. Sometimes those symptoms are mistaken for respiratory disease, but the same treatment works for rumen upsets, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we see them clinically, we treat them for something different,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We suspect they are BRD, and usually they are associated with the acidosis thing going on.â&#x20AC;? Liver abscess rates have been increasing, which is worsening cattle welfare, he said. North American beef production relies on fermentable feed, which leads to cattle producing dangerous fatty acids in

their bodies. Rumen microbes are used to digest forage, and when animals eat a high grain diet for an extended period of time, many issues leading to illness can occur. Cattle are always producing acid, but in normal cattle, that acid is absorbed and used under normal conditions. Rumen bacteria may be killed when levels are too high. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The more fermentable the acids are, the more we increase the likelihood of acid production at a rate higher than the calf, or the protozoa in the rumen, can utilize them,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We hit some tipping points on when utilization fails to meet production, and the microbial changes that cause that to happen get out of control.â&#x20AC;? Acidosis risk increases during the summer and fall due to warm weather and humidity. Acidosis seems to most often strike blackhided cattle that are close to slaughter weight. A cow with acidosis has

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loose, watery and bubbly stools, due to fermentation occurring in the feces. Calves with the illness feel queasy and breathe rapidly to blow off excess carbon dioxide. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We may not recognize it for what it is. We think it is Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), give them a shot of antibiotic and change their diet,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is doing the right thing for the wrong reason for these calves.â&#x20AC;? Stable rumen pH is around 5.6, but once it goes below five or four from acidosis, calves will stop eating, become lethargic, grind their teeth, become dehydrated, get diarrhea and appear depressed. Liver abscesses are associated with episodes of rumen acidosis, which are usually caused by carbohydrate overload. Rumen acidosis damages the rumen wall and causes bacteria to pass through the bloodstream and into the liver, where


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they can cause abscesses to form. The duct between the rumen and the liver is about five centimetres long, so bacteria can travel between t h e s e t w o o rg a n s v e r y quickly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If all is not well in the rumen, that important trip can carry with it a large bacterial load,â&#x20AC;? he said. Ninety-five per cent of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are bacteria, with the others being protozoa. The protozoa become far less important the more grain is fed to the cattle. Abscesses occur faster in dairy cattle than in beef cattle, but some feedlots may have no problems, while others have an illness occurrence of 20 per cent, which Lechtenberg attributes to different management styles. Cattle can be given medicine such as tylosin to control the problem, but as cutting back on antibiotics becomes a trend, it may be worth investigating other solutions.

Asian countries. Occurring only in pigs, PEDV can kill up to 100 per cent of infected piglets, the release said. PEDV is a coronavirus, a virus group which includes important emerging human diseases such as SARS and MERS. Using its new containment Level 3 facility, the U of S Vaccine and Infectious Disease OrganizationInternational Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) quickly launched a vaccine development project. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our new facility, InterVac, provided us with the containment infrastructure to develop a vaccine and demonstrate it protected up to 100 per cent of the piglets,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Volker Gerdts, VIDO-InterVacâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s research director. The successful vaccine results triggered the interest of several animal health companies including Huvepharma, which has partnered with VIDO-InterVac to develop the technology for commercial production in North America. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is an exciting partnership with a world-class organization,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Boris Gavrilov, senior scientist for biologics development at Huvepharma. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our goal is to have the vaccine available for commercial use as soon as possible to help stop producer losses.â&#x20AC;? With the support of the swine industry, the vaccine is now undergoing field testing in Saskatchewan, as well as in Manitoba where it is being used to help protect piglets from a recent PEDV outbreak. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is great news for the swine industry both in Canada and globally, as PEDV continues to threaten unaffected regions and impact areas where it is already present,â&#x20AC;? said Neil Ketilson, Sask Pork general manager. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our industry would like to acknowledge Dr. Gerdts and the VIDO-InterVac team for their outstanding contribution to swine health with the development of this vaccine.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a perfect example of why InterVac was constructed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it is one of the only facilities available internationally with the capacity to conduct vaccine development and testing on this scale for emerging infectious diseases,â&#x20AC;? said Andrew Potter, VIDO-InterVac director. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It helps Canada remain prepared to quickly respond to outbreaks like this.â&#x20AC;? The PEDV vaccine development project has been supported by a variety of funders including the Government of Saskatchewan (ADF), Sask Pork, and the Canadian Swine Health Network.

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Page 26

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Canadian beef industry ‘Puts It Together…’ with strong national conference The rising momentum toward a fresh era of national connectivity, teamwork and success for Canada’s beef industry took a major step forward with the successful delivery of a sold-out, progress packed inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference held in Calgary August 9 to 11. The event drew a diverse participation of over 650 producers, industry members and supporters from across the country and all beef-producing provinces, including a strong representation of young participants representing the industry future, said a release from the conference. It featured a dynamic and broad-spanning agenda rich in ideas, knowledge, insights and inspiration for moving the industry forward, including many buzz-generating topics that propelled the conference’s “#CBIC2016” hashtag to become a top trending Twitter topic in Canada. “We couldn’t have asked for a better first time experience delivering this new national conference for Canada’s beef and cattle industry,” said Rob Smith, Canadian Angus Association Chief Executive Officer and co-chair of the conference. “The theme was ‘Putting It Together…’ and that’s exactly what happened. The response has been absolutely amazing. It bodes well for making this an annual event and that’s what we’re talking about now.” The conference met its core objectives to create a truly national meeting place to bring together all facets of the industry involved in beef production, from the grassroots level through all parts of the supply chain – including everyone from the producer with 20 cows to the feeder with 20,000, head – and to help move forward the opportunity represented by the National

Beef Strategy, the release said. “We have a lot to celebrate,” said Virgil Lowe, conference co-chair and also an associate with Dentons Canada LLP. “The momentum and strengthened connections established here will help drive ahead the National Beef Strategy and all of our interests for years to come. The event was also designed to be an enjoyable event with a strong social side that people could build in around their summer vacation plans, and that was achieved as well, Lowe said. There were a lot of great discussions and strengthening of relationships that took place informally. “Already we have received a lot of feedback that this was a very positive event and step forward for our industry,” he said. The conference exceeded expectations in registrations and sponsorship support, with over 60 major sponsors contributing, as well as in proceeds raised through the Canadian Cattlemen’s Foundation Golf Classic. Among many highlights, the conference speaker agenda featured entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den star Arlene Dickinson, along with keynote speakers on each of the National Beef Strategy’s four pillars: connectivity, productivity, beef demand and competitiveness. In addition to covering a wide range of important developments, issues and hot topics, the event also recognized several outstanding contributors to the industry. The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) was presented to Anderson Ranch Inc. of Fir Mountain, operated by Miles and Sheri Anderson. Since 1996, TESA has recognized producers who go above and beyond in exemplifying significant innovation and attention to a wide range

of environmental stewardship aspects in their farm operations. These innovations extend beneficially to areas far beyond their land, including water, wildlife and air. The Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation was presented to Dr. Tim McAllister, a longtime outstanding research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada based in Lethbridge, Alta. This award is presented by

the Beef Cattle Research Council each year to recognize a researcher or scientist whose work has contributed to advancements in the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry. The inaugural conference was a joint collaboration of four organizations – the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Canada Beef, the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

Agriculture ministers consult farmers while finding solutions to climate change Lawrence MacAulay, the federal Agriculture Minister, said farmers will be consulted during the efforts to come up with Canada’s national climate change strategy, said a release from The Western Producer. MacAulay said that while he wants to ensure farmers are given a say in how the strategy is laid out, he cannot promise special treatment of exemptions for farmers if a national carbon tax is created. “I’m not ruling out or ruling in anything,” he said. “Those are discussions that have to take place with the sectors and the governments.”

As a key priority for the Liberal government, environmental policy and the stance on climate change was discussed during a recent meeting. Ministers discussed the demand for science-based policies that will “facilitate clean growth while achieving progress on environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation.” There are now plans to renew efforts on environmental sustainability and to help advance agri-environmental priorities. The farming industry has already played a huge role in climate change strategies, MacAulay said, and will do so in the future.

“I know that farmers are very keen and pleased to be involved.” National farm groups have noted that in recent years, farmers have been lowering carbone emissions through practices such as no-till seeding. Canadian research has found that the cattle sector cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent from 1981 to 2011. Oneil Carlier, the Alberta Agriculture Minister, explained that provinces are already implementing carbon taxes that exempt fuel used in farming. Saskatchewan is opposed to a carbon tax.



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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page 27

American custom combiners help with Veregin harvest By Annette Purchase Harvest season is upon us and with it comes the rolling in of custom harvesters and their equipment, including one harvest operation, which began the season in Oklahoma and is now in the area for the next few months.

Asfeld Custom Combining of Beardsley, Minnesota arrived in the Veregin area to work at Broda Farms. The group is headed by Marthinus Koekemoer, or “Ox,” as he is fondly known. Originally of South Africa, Koekemoer has been with the company for 20 years and in 11

of those seasons he has worked at Veregin. His crew includes Dan Grundman, , Ethan Johansen, Keith Wollman and John Maccrimmon, a crew that was assembled from New York, Kansas and Quebec, in addition to Ernie Remezoff of Kamsack, Reece Chorneyko of Pelly and

The crew of Asfeld Custom Combining of Minnesota was employed to combine crops in the Veregin. They arrived at the end of August. the Veregin area for many Jake Adam of Canora. A custom harvester is years. He now lives in someone who harvests Beaumont, Alta., and says crops for an individual he is always a helping farmer or business, mem- hand every harvest. bers of the crew said. Wa t c h i n g t h e d a y ’s When farmers do not have progress, one is impressed the time or are unable to by the comradery of meminvest in such large equip- bers of the crew, who take ment, they use the servic- their jobs seriously. es of a custom harvester. Starting their season It is very cost effective in May and ending it in to use Custom Harvesters, December back at their said Rob Broda of Broda home base of Beardsley, Farms. In two weeks it is easy to understand since the crew arrived, that being away from two-thirds of the crop has one’s home and family for already been harvested. seven months of the year “If we were to do that ourselves only about a cannot be an easy life. Staying in the area durthird would have been ing the harvest helps the done,” he said, adding economy of the surroundthat hiring custom harvesters allows him the ing communities. “This job helps put time to focus on and manage the day-to-day opera- food on the table for my family,” Jake Adams said. tions of the farm. “People like Ox, his crew, Helping Broda oversee Asfeld Custom Combining crew of Minnesota arrived in late August to harvest the crop grown by Broda Mr. Broda and every other the operations for this Farms. Members of the crew, from left, are: Dan Grundman of Bloomfield, N.Y.; Rob Broda of Kamsack; Reece Chorneyko of Pelly; Dwayne Kerluke of Beaumont, Alta.; Ethan Johhansen of Dighton, Kansas; harvest season is his uncle farmer, play an integral Daniel (unidentified); Keith Wolman of Atwood, Kansas; John Macrimmon of Quebec; Jake Adams of Dwayne Kerluke, who part in putting food on our was raised and farmed in tables.” Canora; Ernie Remezoff of Kamsack, and Marthinus Koekemoer of Beardsley, Minnesota.

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Page 28

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

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A supplement to The Canora Courier, Preeceville Progress and Kamsack Times

Week of September 11, 2016


Stenen resident uses alternative methods for growing food Page B2

Preeceville family members are farmers at heart Page B10

Preeceville farm specializes in horses Page B15

Goddess figures in agriculture ritual explained at Canora museum Page B20

- Photo courtesy of Prairie Soil Services


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Page B2

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Stenen resident shares his passion for naturally grown, affordable produce and for many other products used to develop an alternative way of doing things By William Koreluik A man blessed with a faith that has contributed to a passion for naturally grown, affordable produce, and who has always sought alternative ways of getting things done, is about to embark on yet another project with an objective of bettering the lives of his family and community. Benjamin Galay of Stenen, who for the past couple years has been talking about “alternative energy

and emergency products and solutions” and of “growing food, flowers and friendships” in his Problem Solved column that is carried in The Marketplace weekly newspaper, will soon be focused on construction of a major, highly innovative project: a year-round greenhouse occupying an acre of land. But he’s been conjuring up ideas that have been providing a livelihood for his family since moving away from his home town

of Norquay nearly 20 years ago. “We want to give people what they deserve: affordable produce well grown,” Galay said recently during an interview in his home in Stenen located across the street from the well-known Rawhide’s restaurant. The son of Terry and Chris Galay, who for many years had operated Galay’s service station near the intersection of Highway No. 49 and Main Street in Norquay,

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Benjamin Galay and his son Xerxes tasted samples of arugula grown under lights to prove that its flavour is far more pronounced than a similar product from a grocery store.

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Benjamin graduated from Norquay High School in 1997 and then studied broadcasting, acting and sales at various private schools in Saskatoon and Calgary. He moved to Calgary in 2000. “It felt like a call from God,” he said of his decision to move to the city. “I went to Calgary with enough money for two nights in a hotel and with a toilet that I was delivering from Norquay.” And Calgary became his home. He took various jobs

to make ends meet while becoming a member of the Company of Rogues, an amateur theatre company. He worked in the background at a CTV outlet and auditioned for some productions planned by the Disney corporation. “I was burning the candle at both ends,” he said, smiling and obviously pleased with the memory of his hectic days in the city. While in Calgary, he met Genevieve, the woman he would marry in 2005, and

Make sure all guard ds and shields are in place. e and safety procedu ures. Instruct all workerss in proper technique Stop all moving parts before servicing the machine. d equipment should be securely blocked d before servicing.. Hydraulically raised Do not allow childrren around machinery. ntact with workers wo orking alone or in issolated places. Keep in regular con Notify workers of overhead power lines in and around the work area. Identify hazards forr employees. nd flashers on when transporting machin nery and display a slow w moving vehicle sig gn. Drive with lights an





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also had the opportunity to start a company, which was to become “a deluxe delivery company.” At a time when customers feared the condition of their purchases when delivered by most cartage companies, Galay, working with his wife and brother Zach, offered a “champagne delivery service.” The company grew aggressively and soon had 120 persons employed. Continued on Page B3

Week of September 11, 2016

Alternative methods of growing food Continued from Page B2 “All the while, I kept thinking of alternative ways of getting things done,” he said. “For example, why do trucks consume so much fuel? Are there alternatives to waste products? How can you heat a building with less money? How can you operate a truck inexpensively?

And that process has never stopped, he said, smiling, after quoting the saying: “To find an easy way to do a hard job, find the laziest man to do it. “I’ve spent the last 12 years dedicating time to find innovations that will help people, and through it all, I’ve always loved working with plants.” After the recession

Each member of the Galay family enjoyed a first harvest of cucumbers.

Harvest Edition hit Alberta in 2008, he wanted to “protect the people who had worked for us and trusted us.” It was decided to sell his shipping company to the employees. His brother moved to Vancouver to become an audio engineer and he felt a call to be a youth pastor in Norquay. Genevieve was expecting their second child when the couple moved to Norquay in 2010, and Benjamin began working with the youth at Norquay Evangelical Covenant Church. “Several factors took us back to Saskatchewan,” he said. “ We h a d a n o p p o r t u nity to buy a farm and we had always talked about greenhouses. We had always wanted to provide food for ourselves and had wanted to live off the grid, like so many city dwellers want to do but have little opportunity.” Then “by the grace of God” several opportunities opened up, and the Galays made the most of them. They discovered a 30-acre property near Stenen; a few greenhouse operations in the area were closing and they were able to acquire their assets, and they found their house in Stenen. Continued on Page B4

Page B3

Xerxes Galay, 8, demonstrated how easy it is to split firewood using this electric device that his father Benjamin handles through his business called Problem Solved.

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Page B4

Harvest Edition

Alternative methods of growing food Continued from Page B3 During the next few years they re-assembled the greenhouses where they grew cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and mini-watermelons and they developed a five-acre garden where they grew carrots, beets, peas and beans. This was an experiment, Benjamin explained. “Our question was: ‘Does anyone care for top quality produce in this region?’ The response was a resounding ‘yes.’ The people let us know that the produce we grew is far superior in quality or flavour than the produce that is purchased in grocery stores.” But in addition to selling the produce, the Galays began to sell innovative products, including devices that they could use in their greenhouses in order to operate year round.

Galay is the consultant at his business called Problem Solved. With it, he is handling several items, including a handy device for splitting wood and another for converting the trunk of a tree into split firewood. The business also handles freeze-dried products for persons interested in developing a pantry of products that would be useable for years into the future. Among products handled at the business are: emergency preparedness food and supplies; solar heat and solar power products; firewood processors and splitters; wood heat and gasification products; portable and automatic standby generators; water conservation products; survival equipment and gear; utility reduction and off-grid consultation and specialized farm equipment for acreages.

J e re m i a h G a l ay wa s p h o to g ra p h e d i n t h e greenhouse among a crop of peppers and with chocolate on his face and fingers.

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Some people are concerned with what could be done in an emergency like severe storms or cold snaps, he said, adding that products handled by Problem Solved are able to address those concerns. “We say we focus on ‘S.O.S.’ meaning self-sufficient, off grid and secure. Our products help people with their S.O.S. goals.” The biggest development, which he says will get underway immediately after the birth of their fourth child, who at the beginning of the month was due “any day,” is the Grace Gardens project. Galay and a partner are looking at two possible sites within two miles of Stenen where they could construct a year-round greenhouse of about an acre in size. Galay spoke enthusiastically about the project, mentioning new grades of polycarbonates for the greenhouse’s skin and an abundance of solar collection devices that would be used. “We will be innovating a lot,” he said, adding that in the big greenhouse, they plan to grow “a little bit of everything,” including lettuce as a staple crop. “We hope to grow lettuce of the highest quality because it does not need to be shipped a long distance to the consumer, as does lettuce in Canada in winter. When it is imported from Mexico or the southern USA, it would be of a high quality.” Galay asked his eldest son to go to the basement where a tray of arugula was being grown under lights as a test crop and insisted on a taste test which demonstrated how much more flavourful the greens were as compared


Week of September 11, 2016

Benjamin Galay made a celebratory salute when his first greenhouse was erected. to the arugula one would purchase as a baby lettuce mixture in plastic containers from a grocery store. “There is a difference between Romaine lettuce picked 10 days ago, and flown in from many miles away, to fresh grown Romaine,” he said. “Also much of the food shipped across international borders has to be irradiated. “We will be growing food as naturally as possible, using innovative techniques that assure the plants will not be under stress and we’ve selected varieties that are hardy and sweet.” Galay talked about cold growth, describing how that process is different than conventional growth in that in cold growth, plants are sustained in the right conditions, but with less energy used, it takes them longer to mature. Cold growth plants that mature slowly are more flavourful than the quickly grown plants which end up tasting more watery, he said, adding that he has contacted restaurants in the area where the proprietors have said they’d be lining up to purchase these more flavourful greens than they are currently

using. “Let’s give the people what they deserve: affordable produce that is well-grown,” he said, explaining that in his greenhouse, the plants will be grown slowly in soil, a natural substance, rather than using hydroponics. “If shipping time is reduced by seven to 10 days, the produce will be riper for

the table and therefore will contain more nutrients.” Galay speaks fondly of a crop-share program in which those area residents who are barely able to afford their food will be first in line for his produce. “People are already coming around, asking to work at the greenhouse.” Continued on Page B5

Among the products that Benjamin Galay is handling in order to help people be self-sufficient, off the grid and secure is this device which converts logs into split firewood in one easy step.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Alternative methods of growing food Continued from Page B4 While handling innovative products and planning the construction of the major greenhouse, Galay maintains an interest in his faith. “I still preach all over the place,” he said, listing Pentecostal, Baptist and Mennonite congregations which have asked him to speak. “He is a dynamic personality,” his wife said. “When it comes to the message, it’s always direct, to the heart and effective. “Many people, after hearing him preach, have said ‘it’s like you read my mind.’” “I like telling stories about how I apply what I read in the Bible,” Benjamin said. “I’m not preaching at you, I’m with you,” he said. For nearly two years now, Galay has been writing his Problem Solved column that has been carried in the Marketplace weekly newspaper. He’s also been talking with Melva Armstrong of Kamsack, the owner and publisher of the WHOLifE magazine, about contributing to that publication. The mission of Grace Garden is to grow produce where it can’t be done, he said. “We will invite everyone to come to the greenhouse to see our products working.

“People will see solar collection,” he said. Every home in a cold climate should have solar collection products. “We want everyone to be able to stay warm and we want to help them make their own food. It’s a matter of passion.” Galay said that he has other innovative products in the pre-patent stage, and was visibly excited when he began talking about a wood gasifier product which, using old First World War technology, is able to create natural gas from wood or other plant products, leaving charcoal as a byproduct. He said that product too will be used to help heat the new large greenhouse. Benjamin is not the only member of his family to have an affinity for an S.O.S. way of looking at things. Genevieve is a weight loss consultant who works out of Paul’s Drugs in Preeceville and is very interested in helping people get healthier. His mother Chris is a holistic nutritionist who works with his sister Richelle, a naturopathic doctor, in a clinic in Moose Jaw called Vibrant Naturopathic. “We grew herbs for them,” Benjamin said. At the beginning of the month, the couple had three children: Xerxes, 8; Phoenix,

Harvest Edition 6, and Jeremiah, 3. Quite likely by the time this is printed, the couple will have celebrated the birth of their fourth child. “I get fired up about thinking how I can solve a problem,” he said, listing sample problems including food being too expensive; how to help the poor, and how to make gardening an easier task. Talking about making gardening an easier task, Galay immediately starts touting the benefits of adding wood chips on top of a well-composted soil in order to eliminate weeds while developing a high quality soil. That conversation took him to another product called a life straw, and he described how the device could be used much like a straw and when sucking water from a pond or slough, it would purify it, making it totally potable. “It’s a personal water filter,” he said. “Problem solved.” Galay encourages persons with questions or wishing additional information on what he is doing and on the products he is handling to contact him on the Internet at mygracegardens@gmail. com or www.myproblemsolved247.com. He said he expects the major groundbreaking for the Grace Gardens project to happen “within the next few months” so that the first crop of produce will be ready next year.

Page B5

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Page B6

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Which frog do you need to eat to keep your farming business running? By Rachel Kraynick, BSA, P.Ag.- Regional Farm Business Management Specialist Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it was is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Your ‘frog’ is the biggest, most important task that you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. Twain also said that if you have to eat two frogs, eat the biggest, juiciest one first. In other words, if you have two important tasks to do, start with the bigger task first. And above all else, if you have to eat a live frog, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it

Frank Oystryk

for a very long time. So don’t wait, and don’t procrastinate. Just start! These words of wisdom couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to your farm business management skills. What important things are you putting off that need your attention? Here are the top four ‘frogs’ I see in terms of farm business management: The first frog is succession planning. If you are part of a multi-generational family, do you have a solid plan in place to transfer the farm to the next generation? Have you initiated the conversation with your family members as to when you want to retire? How can this transition plan occur in a financially viable way? Do you have a current will? What about contingency plans to enable continued farm management under unforeseen circumstances? Do you know

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how you will deal with the non-farming children? Do you know how to value sweat equity? Even though these conversations can be tough or emotionally charged, they need to happen sooner rather than later. Finding the right tools and resources to help you address these issues are priceless. The second frog is financial management. When it comes to money, everyone’s priorities are different. You may have good intentions to start paying down debt, to start saving for your retirement or to gain a solid understanding of your financial situation, yet you never follow through on those intentions. Having a financial management plan in place will not only mitigate financial disasters, but can help you make purchasing decisions based on your financial situation and not on your emotions or gut feelings. For example, should you purchase more land because it is part of your business strategy and your operation can afford to? Or are you doing it because “you may not get this chance again,” even though it sets you back more than you can afford? Realize that bigger may not be better, but better is better. Knowing your financial situation when making decisions will prevent you from biting off more than you can chew. The third frog is business strategy. Do you and your farming partners have a clear vision of where you’re headed? Have you set some short and long term farm and family goals? Is this plan reviewed and updated regularly to guide you in every decision the farm makes? Since each individual has a different definition of what success means to him or her, you may set goals in reference to the size of the farm, profitability levels, or even work life balance issues.

Having a solid business strategy plan helps you work smarter, not harder. It’s important not to confuse activity with accomplishment. A lack of strategy equals a lack of direction. A lack of direction equals business chaos. Business chaos causes a state of disorder due to poor management. Don’t let yourself fall into this cycle. Have a written strategy plan that is reviewed regularly. The fourth and final frog is human resources. Hiring the right people for your farm can be priceless. When you’re headlong into harvest and working long hours with little sleep, it may become apparent that you should have hired some extra help. Or perhaps your operation is getting to a size that you can’t effectively handle all the duties yourself. You need a plan to attract, engage and retain qualified staff so you’re running at your optimum. Having an understanding that labor is an investment, not an expense, is crucial. A detailed human resource plan can significantly affect a farm’s profitability and efficiency. You may be telling yourself, “I’ll get around to these tasks when I have more time, more money, or when I get through another production year.” But don’t wait any longer…eat your frog one bite at a time and stop letting anxiety, fear, or insecurity hold you back. Remember that successful, effective operators are those who address the important issues head on with a disciplined, focused approach. Real growth occurs when we dare to step out of our comfort zones. To get started planning for success, farmers are encouraged to contact the Agriculture Resource Centre of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page B7

“Supper in the field” is a trying time for the farmers and for the cooks Say the words “supper in the field” and anyone from Saskatchewan will know you are talking about harvest time on the prairies. While the harvest crew is focussed on getting off the crop, there is another crew operating behind the scenes, and its work is just as essential to a successful harvest as those toiling in the fields. Those girls, and some guys, who make sure the field labourers are properly nourished face long days as well. It’s no easy task feeding anywhere from five to 10 hungry adults, but add to that the logistics of serving meals in the field, and the job becomes extra challenging. First of all, preparing food that meets the tastes of different individuals is a balancing act (although I have to admit, farm workers are your least fussy eaters). Harvest season is not a time for experimentation. The couscous, radiatore, and black olive sauce are best left for another occasion. Instead, the basics of meat, potatoes and

recognizable veggies are much safer choices. The second challenge is transporting the food to the field and keeping it hot (or at least somewhat warm) in the process. There are different schools of thought on how best to do this. My own mother used to load up all the pots and carefully wrap everything in big towels, but she had only two or three men to feed (plus us kids, but more about that in a moment). For those feeding a significantly larger number of workers, however, dishing out the food into serving containers seems to be much more e ff i c i e n t , p a r t i c u l a r l y when meals have to be dropped off at various locations. The third issue, for those with young families, is loading up the kids as well as the food. Not only are the little ones excited to make a trek out to the harvesting site, but they also want to eat out there along with the rest of the gang. That means carting along extra food for them because

otherwise, they will be diving into Dad’s plate (and no dad can refuse his kids, no matter how hungry he might be). F i n a l l y, i t m u s t b e noted that farm spouses often handle many jobs during the harvest season. They carry on with all the household chores as well as with yard maintenance. They care for babies and toddlers (which is a fulltime job on its own) and get school-aged children ready and out the door each day. Many hold down employment outside of the home and are working hard to advance their own careers. And those who don’t work outside the home are often recruited to run for parts, haul grain or any other job that needs doing. This, I have been told, is more tiring, and sometimes more frustrating, than cooking! I always marvel at t h e e ff i c i e n c y a n d o rganization of these women and men. My mom was a prime example of this. She prepared such scrumptious meals that one hired

All things considered...

By Gail Krawetz of Invermay

hand proclaimed that the food was the main reason he came to work for my dad. She also held down other employment and kept an immaculate home. I remember helping her pack up the supper, getting it out to the field, and then hauling it all home to clean up (as there were no paper

plates or Styrofoam cups being used back then). By the time we finished cleaning up, it was well into the evening and she would be preparing the next day’s lunches. I now feel guilty that sometimes I begged off doing dishes because I was too tired, or claimed I had schoolwork to do, while she

continued to carry on. So hats off to all the women and men out there who make sure the field crew is looked after and well fed. May these fall d a y s s t a y s u n n y, m a y your cooking mishaps be few, and may your crew have a safe and successful harvest!




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Page B8

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Calf price insurance falters in Saskatchewan Insurance premiums were low in relation to rising cattle prices last year during the window to buy Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) calf contracts, taking place from February to May. When market prices fell last fall, WLPIP paid out significant amounts. It did exactly what it was designed to do and protected producers against an unexpected drop in cattle prices, said Bill Hoar, WLPIP coordinator with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation in Alberta, in a release from Canadian Cattlemen. For 2016, the premium tables looked much different, with price coverage for calves being $100 lower than last year with much higher premiums. Cow-calf producers wanting protection had to pay more for less coverage than last year. Many chose to protect the price of only part of the expected weight on their fall calves, and

not necessarily at the top price. Overall calf contract numbers were down in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and up in British Columbia and Manitoba in 2016. “May was the big push,” said Hoar. “People were waiting to see the typical May bump in (insurable) prices, but we just didn’t see it this year. The highest coverage was actually in February.” May is normally one of the busier months, as premiums get cheaper the closer one gets to the sale date for the calves. Alberta cow-calf producers took out 1,307 contracts insuring 881,000 units for $168 million in liability. Price insurance is sold in hundredweight units, not by the calf. This is down from last year, when they bought 1,649 contracts on 1.2 million units worth $300 million. “Even though the totals are lower this year, calf price insurance is a product producers are generally interested in purchasing,” Hoar said.

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Jason Dobbin, the Manitoba WLPIP coordinator, agreed with Hoar. “This spring was interesting because even though coverage was lower and premiums were higher, we had 400 new producers sign up and sold 75 more policies than last year covering about 2,300 more calves,” he says. Manitoba producers took out 326 policies insuring 141,296 units for $26 million in liability compared to 2015’s 249 policies on 121,953 units with $31.6 million liability. The fact that the Manitoba program started accepting paper applications and payments by cheque in addition to online purchases may have played a part in the increased uptake. Dobbin suspects the increased interest could be because word of the program is still spreading. The Saskatchewan numbers slipped in spring, despite producers’ efforts. “Interest was great again and producers knew it was important to have price insurance, but it took a lot more discipline for them to participate this year,” said Jodie Griffin, Saskatchewan WLPIP co-ordinator. “Last year most just bought top coverage, but this spring they really started customizing the program to be a risk management tool. They had their cost of production worked out and took time to understand the premium table better and utilized it more widely to make it effective for their operations.” Saskatchewan producers took out 1,008 calf contracts to cover 12 per cent of the marketable calf crop, or about 96,000 calves. This compares to 1,018 calf contracts last year, representing 15 per cent of the calf crop, or about 120,000 head. “The massive market correction last fall, as disruptive as it was, showed how robust and responsive the program is,” Griffin added. WLPIP paid out $4.4 million to cattle producers in Saskatchewan. British Columbia producers purchased 119 calf policies to cover 67,117 units, or about 12,200 calves, and $12.5 million in

liability. The 2015 totals were 112 policies covering 85,323 units, or about 15,215 calves, and $22.1 million liability. Calf contracts are only available in spring due to the fact that calves are sold in fall when there is enough market activity to determine settlement prices. Contracts are based on weekly auction market reports from across the Prairies and reflect the average price of a 600-pound steer. Settlement tables for the calf program were released starting September 6, and will be released every Monday until December 19. A claim on all or parts of the insured weight can be triggered at any time during the four weeks leading up to the close of the contract, or the full contract can be left to expire. Producers use this to take advantage of upturns in market prices. Feeder and fed contracts are available yearround thanks to there being enough market activity. “Feeders have been working with margins for a long time and naturally they want to lock in positive margins. It’s hard to do business when we are talking about locking in negative margins. The challenge becomes one of minimizing losses. WLPIP is still a program that can do that without locking in an upside and you know exactly what it will cost. With futures, contracts require margin money plus margin calls if prices do go up,” Hoar explains. The WLPIP will be expiring on March 31, 2018, but the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and western producer associations have suggested it become a permanent program. Individual producers will be asked to weigh in on the WLPIP in a fall survey. Hoar says the review will evaluate the cost of delivery and determine if the program effectively meets producers’ risk-management needs. For details on the program, farmers may go online or call their provincial co-ordinator.

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Harvest Edition

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Page B10

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Prairie Flavours Ranch near Preeceville is operated by farmers at heart By Liz Jacobson Megan Maier grew up on a dairy farm near Preeceville and Nathan, on a small acreage close t o Ay r, O n t . T h e y m e t planting trees in Northern Alberta and British Columbia and continued to do that together for many more years. They eventually obtained teaching degrees and after they were married, they taught for several years in schools in Ontario and other provinces. The couple lived in Kitchener, Ont. for eight years but they always desired to raise their family

Members of the Maier family, from left, are: Charis, Megan, Levi, Hudson and Isaiah. on a farm away from the city. With the high cost of farm real estate in

Turkeys are raised on the pasture at the Prairie Flavours Ranch.

Southern Ontario, they knew they were going to have to be creative and intentional if their dream was to be realized. They began to research different options that would allow them to make a living while working alongside their children on a farm. The couple and their young family had the opportunity to follow their true hearts’ passion when they moved to the Preeceville area in April 2013. Prairie Flavours Ranch grew quickly on t h e c o u p l e ’s 3 ½ q u a rters. Within five days of moving from Ontario, a shipment of 1,000 broiler chicks arrived. “Life was very hectic for the first couple months after we arrived,” said

Megan. Both Megan and Nathan are firm believers

in raising their animals on the pasture with the goal to mimic nature as closely as possible. They said they believe that pastured poultry are more nutrient dense and customers from an older generation generally say that the chickens tastes like it did when they were growing up. With access to grass, sunshine and fresh air, the birds are healthy and the meat is tender. “We get 1,000 broiler chickens four times a year as day-old chicks,” Nathan said. “They are in a brooder for the first four weeks in a stable, warm

environment and then the chickens are set out on the pasture in 10-foot by 12foot shelters. “They stay outside overnight protected by the shelter which consists of a wood frame surrounded by chicken wire and partially covered by a tarp,” he said. “The shelter is dragged across the ground to a new location each morning with the chickens walking under it. The result is that there is minimal manure build-up and there is clean grass and bugs for the chickens to eat.” Continued on Page B11

Laying chickens are fed on pasture at the Prairie Flavours Ranch.





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Week of September 11, 2016

Continued from Page B10 The chickens are also fed a daily ration of grain which is sourced from local grain farmers. The broilers are kept for an

Harvest Edition

average of 70 days in total and then they are sent to Cool Springs Ranch where they are butchered, frozen and marketed. “We are thankful we

A large vegetable garden produces numerous vegetables at the Prairie Flavours Ranch. Nathan Maier and his son Levi checked out the produce.

Page B11

Nathan Maier accompanied by his children and hired help, check the cattle. From left, were: Levi, Hudson, Maier, Charis, Isaiah and Johnny Martens. can work with Cool Springs Ranch which has a successful established customer base and butcher shop,” he said. “Our neighbor Johnny Martens has worked for us since our first year farming and has been a great help around the farm.” Other local teens are employed occasionally when the need arises. Prairie Flavours also has laying hens that provide an average of 15 dozen eggs per day. The layers are also freerange pastured and are protected by electrified page wire to keep out the predators. The entire family is involved in the collection and washing of the eggs which are sold at Cool Springs Ranch, aside from a few that are sold at the farm gate. Once the laying hens reach a year old, they are sold. Pullets


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are purchased each spring to replace them. The expansion didn’t stop at chickens, but included turkeys and ducks. The Maiers receive approximately 100 turkeys

per year that get butchered just in time for Thanksgiving. “The ducks were an experiment that we wanted to try and thought the kids would enjoy,”

Nathan said. “However, the 400 ducks proved to not be profitable because of the cost of the ducklings, the work involved and the butchering costs.” Continued on Page B12

Prairie Flavours Ranch now produces honey.

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Page B12

Continued from Page B11 Beef is another valuable asset of the family farm. The couple currently owns 21 cow-and-calf pairs of red and black Angus and Simmental. “We also custom graze 105 pairs for others,” he said. “Planned grazing is a holistic management tool that we use to improve our land and soil. “We divide our pasture land into smaller paddocks with some permanent and some temporary electric fences and the cows are moved every two-to-five days to a new pasture. “It is exciting to see the herd grazing the grass consistently and depositing the manure evenly onto the entire pasture,” he said. “We hope to see continued improvement in the quality and quanitity of our grass.” The latest addition to the family farm are honey bees. “We started out with two hives last year and have increased to 10 hives this year,” he said. “I had to learn a lot with having bees on my own and looked for advice from local beekeepers in the area and my dad who keeps bees in Ontario. “We extract the honey twice a year and are starting to sell it on the local level and through trade shows. The bees will be wintered and reestablished in the spring. My son Isaiah is a partner in the bees and we are learning new things all the time.” The Maier family has also incorporated a pet goat, which is their child’s 4-H project. They have also tried sheep the first year they started farming but only a few days after the sheep arrived at their farm their second-born son, Leif, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He was five years of age at the time. The couple made the quick decision to sell the sheep as they were just not properly set-up for them and they needed to focus on their son and getting him well. “Leif loved the farm so much and after he died in July 2014, it was and continues to be a difficult journey,” Megan said. “We have found the strength to go on because of our Christian

Harvest Edition

faith and through the inspriration of Leif’s welllived life. “Strength also comes from the joy brought to us by our other children, Isaiah, Hudson, Levi and Charis, who was born a year after Leif died.” The family’s vegetable garden plays a key role in the family’s dynamic. They have introduced many different varieties of vegetables that include garlic, potatoes and sweet corn on 1.5 acres. Continued on Page B13

Week of September 11, 2016

Charis Maier checked out the new baby chicks at the Prairie Flavours Ranch.

Levi Maier was photographed with a baby chick.




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Continued from Page B12 “The real challenge is finding a market for all of the produce,” Nathan said. “We love gardening and are looking at growing different vegetables that people might be interested in buying.” Despite the busy farm life, the entire family is involved in the Preeceville community in different areas like hockey, school, 4-H and church. Throughout the year both Megan and Nathan also work off the farm as substitute teachers in the local schools. “We really enjoy teaching, getting involved in the

Harvest Edition

schools and getting to know students and their families, and lifelong learning is important to us, “ Megan said. The Maiers are hosting a “Holistic management open-gate learning seminar” at their farm on September 28 and encourage interested people to register on-line. They will have some speakers followed by a tour of their farm operations. The future looks bright for the Maier family as they continue to learn more about how to improve their land by careful management of their farm.

A large pumpkin patch and potato field stand out at the Prairie Flavours Ranch.

Nathan and Isaiah Maier check the bees and their honey-making progress.

Megan Maier and her young daughter Charis enjoy spending some quality time together.

Levi Maier oversees a new chicken shipment at the Maier farm.


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Page B13

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Page B14

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

Prairie Flavours Ranch holds management and sustainability workshop Prairie Flavours Ranch is holding a workshop and is extending an invitation to all agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers, as well as any individuals in the general public who are interested in how food is sustainably produced in Saskatchewan, what holistic management is, and what financial incentives are available for adopting Beneficial Management P r a c t i c e s ( B M P ’s ) o n operations. The Open Gate workshop will take place on September 28 at Preeceville’s Prairie Flavours Ranch. The workshop is described as a peer-to-peer action-based learning day with short presentations and small group exercises geared for participants to share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers. Megan and Nathan Maier, the owners and operators of Prairie Flavours Ranch, said they are excited to meet the workshop attendees. The Maiers moved from Ontario three years ago, along with their five children. They decided to take on holistic management principles as they worked towards their goal to start a sustainable farming operation and produce

Prairie Flavours Ranch of Preeceville will be holding a workshop onsite. healthy food for their family and others. The Maiers produce pasture-raised, free-range chickens, eggs, turkeys, and ducks; have a small beef herd, do custom grazing and love producing organic vegetables. They believe in regenerating their land while responsibly raising sustainable meats and vegetables that build a healthy community. During the workshop, they will relay their experiences about how healthy soil has created what they believe to be quality food and helped them achieve their goals. Holistic management is a farm planning system that aims to help farmers, ranchers and land stewards better manage agricultural resources in order to reap sustainable environmental, economic, and social benefits. A guiding principle

of holistic management is the concept that nature functions as a whole. When a farmer cannot manage land resources, build

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Megan and Nathan Maier will speak at the Open Gate workshop at the Prairie Flavours Ranch about raising their beef herd. They will also talk about chickens, turkeys, and ducks.

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biodiversity or improve production, he or she cannot change or control one thing, at least not without impacting something else. The holistic management approach goes through several steps in order to be implemented on an operation. First, a producer needs to start with an inventory to define what is being managed. Second, the producer identifies how he or she wants to live and what goals are in place. The producer then aims for creating healthy soil based on four ecosystem processes (water cycle, mineral cycle, energy flow and

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agriculture. One of the presentations at this workshop will be given by Al Foster, a forage specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. He will be discussing soil health benefits though managed grazing. He hopes people attending his presentation will learn how to estimate forage, how to increase forage diversity, and how to improve the overall health of soil. Another presentation will be from Blaine Hjertas, a holistic management professional certified educator. Hjertas will also be acting as fascilitor for all the discussions/exercises. Cameron Hanson-Preece of the Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association will also present on the Canada-Saskatchewan Farm Stewardship Program regarding the cost sharing incentives available to eligible producers for agriculture-related projects such as seeding forage, livestock watering systems, exclusion fencing, and dugouts. The workshop will include lunch, multiple presentations and exercises, and a ranch tour. The Maiers encourage those who are interested to register at the website, https:// holisticmanagement.org/ ogprairieflavours/.

Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page B15

TR Performance Horses in the Preeceville area specialize in horses By Liz Jacobson Tyrel and Rhea Pole each have extensive backgrounds in the horse world. The couple moved to the Preeceville area in 2014 and they both continue to offer their expert advice to local, provincial and international clientele alike. TR Performance Horses specialize in training, showing, and selling of working cow-horses in the cutting and reining disciplines. They train horses for showing in professional rings, and offer lessons and coaching as well as provide sales of their own

The Pole family is active in the horse industry. From left, are: Rhea, Ryder, Maddy and Tyrel.

Tyrel Pole won the circuit championship in the Limited Open and Rookie Pro Division at the National Reining Horse Association Cowtown Derby in Fort Worth, Texas. This pair went on to win the $10,000 Reining Open Super Series that year against many of the sport’s biggest competitors.

pure-breed quarter horses. Tyrel is one of Canada’s top clinicians and spends the majority of his time travelling nationally, coaching riders of all disciplines. Tyrel’s extensive and diverse background in dealing with problem horses and colt training stems back to his childhood. His father is one of the best horse trainers around who won the Canadian Nationals 21 separate times in seven different events. Tyrel’s interest for horses didn’t really establish itself until his middle teens. Prior to that, he had grown up on a golf course playing

junior golf. At the age of 14 years, Tyrel took a keen interest in horses after a visit to his father’s ranch in Lethbridge. He gained valuable knowledge and experience in all aspects of reining, roping, breaking colts and physical aspects of the field. “It was a fun experience that really helped me grow and I soon made up my mind that this is my dream and my passion,” said Pole. It would be later that


summer at a horse show in Medicine Hat where Ty a n d R h e a w o u l d meet. Rhea grew up in Moose Jaw and was one of Canada’s top non-pro and youth competitors. She spent her summers showing all over Western Canada, earning many top accolades and titles, and at 15 started her trips to Texas for a few weeks each summer to ride with top trainers in the industry. The two would become inseparable even with the distance between them for the next two years. They said that many long nights were spent on the phone with each other and many long discussions were had with parents over extremel y l a rg e l o n g - d i s t a n c e phone bills. Those were the building blocks of their relationship. After high school Rhea had moved to Texas to start her career as a professional trainer. In 2001, she was part of the First Canadian Youth team and won gold in Germany. “I have been showing horses all my life,” she said. “Riding horses became my entire life.

I won numerous titles through the years. In 2011 I showed my last professional show at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity in Oklahoma City as I was six months pregnant with our daughter.” Throughout her years, Rhea amassed many titles including 2007 APHA national senior reining champion and reserve world champion. In 2006 she won Canadian Reining Breeders Classic and the National Reining Horse Association’s open championship, and in 2008, she won the Lazy E Limited open derby reserve champion. In 2012 she was reserve champion at the National Reining Horse Association’s 7-Up derby in Oklahoma City only seven weeks after giving birth to their daughter Madisyn. In his teenage years, Ty travelled to Texas and apprenticed for horse trainer Kelly Cornforth. He continued travelling the world, working as an apprentice in the Netherlands for another six months for Dave and Rieky Young. Continued on Page B16




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Page B16

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

TR Performance Horses Continued from Page B15 Upon returning to Canada, Tyrel moved to British Colombia to start his own business which was breaking colts and show horses. After a few years, he put his business on hold and travelled to Texas to rekindle his romance with Rhea. The couple had rekindled their relationship after Tyrel surprised Rhea, having travelled 37 hours straight to propose when she was participating in a major show. They were married in 2009.

Prior to the marriage, Tyrel had worked for Steve and Carol Metcalf in Pilot Point, Texas where he continued to win numerous titles in working cow-horse and We s t e r n P l e a s u r e competitions. “I have been very lucky to have apprenticed and gained valuable knowledge with experts in the field,” he said. After six months together in Texas they decided to move to Camrose, Alta. to establish their new business training,

M a d d y Po l e ’s f i r s t h o r s e s h o w w a s o n a horse called Maliboot Barbie who was World Championship Painted Horse Association (APHA) Youth World Champion. The horse was led by her parents Tyrel and Rhea Pole. coaching and showing. “ We m o v e d b a c k t o Texas two years later as my new wife no longer liked the cold winters in Canada after having lived in Texas for nearly eight years.

Tyrel Pole, riding Meradas Money, talks about winning the Limited Open competition in Oklahoma City at the NRHA Derby in June 2012.

Rhea’s father bought us a place in Oklahoma where our daughter Madisyn was born. “We continued with our business but always kept the door open to our Canadian customers. With our daughter growing up and with plans to expand the family, we decided to move back to Canada. We sold out and moved to the Weyburn area to be closer to family. In order to financially re-establish our business, I worked in the oil field, slowly building back up,” said Tyrel. “In 2014 we found this beautiful place near Preeceville. We purchased the 3,700 acres in lease with Ducks Unlimited. We currently reside on 30 acres and run our cow-horse business on the rest,” he said. In the spring of 2015 the couple purchased a large

Rhea Pole was photographed riding Hollywood’s Ice Tea in Oklahoma City at the National Reining Horse Association Derby. They were finalists in the Limited Open and at the NRBC in Katy, Texas. group of very well-bred horses including two stallions, Ima Shining Nugget and Custom Believer. “We kind of stumbled upon this group of horses by accident and when the opportunity arose to work out a purchase agreement, we jumped on it.” Tyrel said. “Both of these stallions are in our minds the best of what needs to be offered to the horse industry in Canada.”

He said that Ima Shining Nugget is a big, strong ranch-type palomino stallion with strong genetics including the legendary Shining Spark, whereas Custom Believer keeps him more in line with the show horse side of things. He is one of the only sons of his sire Custom Crome who is a hall-of-fame stallion and producer of over $3 ½ million. Continued on Page B17

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TR Performance Horses Continued from Page B16 “The sales part of our business has grown and become a very big part of it,” he said. “We have sold some colts that have gone onto become world champions. We also attend auction sales where we rescue and pick up good

horses that can be re-sold after training as good family horses. “The market in Canada is huge for good working ranch horses.” The couple also custom grazes between 500 and 600 black Angus cattle. They do not own their own

Tyrel Pole showed how to train a horse using a lariat.

Harvest Edition cattle but they focus their business on good quarter horses. “A good working quarter horse is the most versatile in the industry.” Conducting clinics are a huge part of their lives. Tyrel has travelled across Canada and throughout Europe providing clinics that showcase working with cow horses and people. He deals with problem horses and focuses on reining cow horses that work in the ranch world. The clinics teach basic horsemanship skills, by developing and tailoring the training style to suit each rider and horse. They also feature lessons on showing skills, reining and working on personal goals. What good working horse would not be complete without a good stock dog? The couple has also broken into the Border Collie and Austrian Kelpie dog industry. They currently have nine papered dogs and everything he learned about training dogs has come from his father. They even have the last living dog of his dad’s that he had built his foundation on. Rhea has even broken into her own personal business. She operates a cleaning company, The Cleaners. Continued on Page B18

Page B17

Tyrel Pole showed his calf roping skills.


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Page B18

Harvest Edition

TR Performance Horses

Tyrel Pole is a multiple ranch roping competition champion.

Continued from Page B17 “I started my company just to keep active and to earn a little money,” she said. “I now have eight employees that work out of Yorkton and Weyburn. We clean everything from commercial to residential areas.” Rhea has future plans of becoming a judge and judging shows internationally in the National Reining Horse Association. She is also a board member of the Canadian Reining Committee, where she makes recommendations to Equine Canada on national and international high-level events. The young couple and their two young children are also involved in the community in many organizations.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Rhea Pole was on the first-ever youth team Canada sent to the world reining competition and won team gold and individual gold in Krueth, Germany in 2001.

Tyrel Pole and his young son Ryder look over the booking for the many clinics and shows that are scheduled.


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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page B19

The importance of knowing your break-even price for calves this fall By Naomi Paley, BSA, PAg, Regional Livestock Specialist Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Knowing your production costs and break-even price are invaluable and perhaps the first step in making you a price maker instead of a price taker. Knowing your breakeven price will help you to set a price goal, i.e. how much you want or need to sell your calves for. Break-even prices are specialized partial budgets used to help cow and calf producers make better management decisions for the current year or for the near future. Break-even prices are easy to calculate. They relate specifically to a single farm rather than provincial averages. They are

an excellent way to compare different marketing alternatives, such as selling weaned calves versus backgrounding the calves and selling later in the fall or winter. Most importantly, breakeven prices reflect the current state of the market rather than longterm generalizations. By definition, break-even cost is the total cost of production divided by the total pounds of calf produced, whether marketed or retained. Another way to describe breakeven cost is that it is the minimum sale price needed to recover all cash costs in a given year. The total cost of production for a cow and calf operation must include all costs associated with the cow and calf enterprise. To determine break-even price, a producer must know or closely estimate three

values. The first value is the annual costs (or cash basis) of owning a cow. The value will vary from year to year and among different ranches. Use the value for your ranch and keep records of all costs to determine this value. The second value is your annual calf crop. In the following formulas, use the value as a decimal number. For example, 90 per cent equals 0.9. Calculate calf crop by dividing the number of calves sold and retained as replacements in a year by the number of females exposed for breeding. The final value is the average weaning or market weight of calves. Using these three values, multiply the calf crop by the average weaning or market weight of calves sold and retained, and

Government holds roundtable with SARM to discuss Maximum Revenue Entitlement Members of the federal and provincial government discussed key issues related to grain transportation with members of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), according to a release. On Thursday August 18, Lawrence M a c A u l a y, t h e f e d e r a l M i n i s t e r o f Agriculture; Ralph Goodale, the federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; Kate Young, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport, and Lyle Stewart, the Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture were among those who attended a roundtable in Regina. A number of agriculture industry representatives from Saskatchewan and Alberta also attended. The roundtable was focused on issues related to grain transportation and the review of the Canadian transportation system, the release said.

“We appreciate the Ministers taking the time to meet with agriculture representatives and allowing us to share our views,” said Ray Orb, president of SARM. “We were able to discuss possible measures such as halting closures of rail sidings and producer car loading facilities.” Other issues SARM discussed with officials at the roundtable included penalties, winter grain movement, the Port of Churchill, and the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE). According to the release, the MRE is the limit on the overall revenue that can be earned by the national railways for shipping regulated grain from origins within the Western Division. SARM’s membership recently passed a resolution that called for a formula review. SARM reports that the majority of participants in the roundtable shared this view. Participants also agreed that there needs to be stronger penalties on the railways for not meeting

obligations or for not providing acceptable service. “We cannot have a repeat of the 201314 railway performance so SARM stresses the importance of stiffer penalties as a way of enforcement,” Orb said. The release said that SARM is lobbying for increased grain movement during the winter months, as it reduces municipal road damage. The members requested that the railways demonstrate that inventory, crews and locomotives are prepared for winter, and that they have surge capacity. An important issue discussed is the recent announcement that the Port of Churchill is no longer accepting grain shipments. The strategic importance of this port will increase once the CanadaEuropean Trade Agreement comes into force, as it provides a cost-effective access point to international markets through the Hudson Bay, it said.

divide that number into the annual cash cost per cow to determine the break-even cost per pound of calf produced. The formula for break-even cost is annual cash cost per cow divided by calf crop multiplied by average weaning or market weight of calves sold and retained equals the break-even cost per pound of calf produced. Saskatchewan Agriculture has designed a break-even calculator tool, which can assist livestock producers in calculating their cost of production (COP) and give insight for decisions about feeding and marketing. The spreadsheet allows producers to evaluate their financial health through the evaluation of the costs outlined above. The break-even calculator links to the live Chicago Mercantile Exchange and enables livestock producers to predict future prices of cattle and the value of the Canadian dollar. Furthermore, it calculates both the yardage and feeding costs, and calculates a break-even selling price based on one’s inputs. The future price of cattle and an estimation of yardage and feeding costs enable livestock producers to set feeding targets to meet their desired markets. The break-even calculator includes a number of sample rations to calculate feed costs to meet their daily targeted average. Finally, the break-even calculator uses a step-by-step approach to calculate true yardage costs. Having a comprehensive understanding of the costs associated with feeding cattle and the ability to predict the future value of cattle will allow livestock producers to better capture opportunities in the livestock sector. The break-even calculator is available free of charge by contacting your local Regional Livestock Specialist, or can be found online on the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture website.

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Page B20

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016

The importance of goddess figures to female celebration, communication, and agriculture ritual explained at Ukrainian Heritage Museum Maureen Stefaniuk, curator of the Ukrainian Heritage Museum in Canora, is particularly fascinated by the importance of womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture in Ukraine, and has now presented an explanation of the themes and motifs in Ukrainian embroidery used to represent females. The bonds between females, specifically the bonds between mothers and daughters, were

seen as very important to Ukrainian women, but in patriarchal religion and culture, those bonds are ignored for the bonds between parents and sons. Thus, the Ukrainian women used symbols of goddesses and other images in sewing to tell stories and share the bond of women. The symbols related to bonds, to protection, to maternity, and to the many rituals surrounding

agriculture and the harvest season. Among the symbols is the birth symbol, a diamond shape with linear or curved lines at the top and bottom. It is the oldest surviving religious symbol at 8,000 years old. It connects to God through the original belief that God was a woman, and symbolizes the birth of spirituality. Continued on Page B21

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The design on the ritual cloth displayed at Canoraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ukrainian Heritage Museum is a remnant of the design meant to represent the goddess Berehynia, who would invoke the return of spring through birds.

Keep rabies vaccinations current, veterinarian says Western Canada is currently experiencing an incidence of rabies which is approximately double the average number of cases, said a release from Dr. Ellen Amundsen-Case at the Kamsack Veterinary Clinic. Rabies is common in bats, skunks, and foxes, but has recently been diagnosed in Saskatchewan in a cow, a cat, a lamb, and a goat, the release said. Rabies may occur in any mammal, including humans, but it does not occur in birds. Rabies is spread by bites or saliva of infected animals, it said. It may be transferred by eating an infected animal. Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks nerve tissue. The disease develops over a period of 10 days to several months. Affected animals may withdraw and avoid contact with people and animals. Others become

unnaturally aggressive and may attack. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pet owners are reminded that a rabid animal will attack your pet even if your pet is friendly to other animals,â&#x20AC;? it said. Death always occurs once a rabies-infected animal shows signs of disease. This applies to humans as well. If humans are infected, they can be treated in the early stages of the disease before symptoms appear. Treatment is unpleasant and costly. Pet owners are reminded that pets should be vaccinated for rabies beginning at 12 weeks of age or older. Boosters should be given a year later, and regularly thereafter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If your petâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vaccinations are not current, please contact your local veterinarian promptly,â&#x20AC;? it said. Rabies vaccination protects all members of the family, including the human ones.

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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Page B21

Goddess figures in agriculture Continued from Page B20 Next is the fertile field symbol, which consists of a female figure with a diamond on her stomach. The diamond holds four dots and one convex, and represents fertility in women and in agriculture. The tree of life symbol is commonly paired with

the symbol of the Mother Goddess, and together, they represent fertility as well. In fact, the two symbols even began to be abstractly combined, with the central branch of the tree becoming a woman with her arms outstretched, rooted in the earth, or with the goddess having

This mannequin placed at the Ukrainian Heritage Museum carries a cloth that shows a tree of life design.

Women would use embroidery, like what they do to the cloths displayed at Museum, to tell the stories of women bonding, protection, maternity, and rituals. the tree of life sprouting about fertility in the spring of fate and human fertility, out of her head. The tree s e a s o n . B e r e h y n i a w a s she was meant to repreconnects heaven, earth, a protecting figure, and sent bonds of kinship and and the underworld, and as a goddess of wealth, ancestral worship, and was put on basic ritual harvest, and fertility, she she was associated with cloths to protect people in w o u l d e i t h e r r a i s e h e r many celebrations, such a home and remind them hands to invoke rain, or as childbirth parties (rodyof the connection between lower her hands to protect ny), grain pounding rituthe crops. als, and the Holiday of the generations. The next symbol, the T h e b i r t h g o d d e s s , Sun on December 26, or ‘protectress’ symbol, is Rozhanitsa, was a sym- her birthday. Her symbols also known as ‘Berehynia b o l o f t h e g o d d e s s o f included the sun, eggs, with birds.’ In the image, childbirth. The word ‘ro- round pancakes, deer, and t h e g o d d e s s B e r e h y n i a zhanitza’ means ‘to give the vulva. (whose name comes from birth,’ and the rozhanitsi Some believed t h e w o r d s m e a n i n g ‘ t o were believed to be the R o z h a n i t s a h a d a m a l e protect’ and ‘riverbank’), original mothers of all. To counterpart known as Rod, lifts birds up to the sky to symbolize this, the birth who was a deity of crebring about spring and the goddess was pictured with ativity, fertility, and light. return of birds, as well as s p r e a d l e g s , a n d o f t e n His symbol was known spirits. Birds often repre- with her daughter inside as the thunder sign, and sented spirits who brought her skirt. As the goddess the six-petaled rose inside


the Ukrainian Heritage a circle would be carved onto homes to protect them from storms. Ritual cloths were often embroidered with the image of Rozhanitsa for an expectant mother, in order to protect the mother and child during birth. These cloths also served a purpose as something for a woman in labour to pull on. Embroidery of Rozhanitsa was also given on September 8, or the birthday of the Great Goddess, when celebrated by women. Interestingly enough, Christianity adopted this same date as the birthday of Mary. Continued on Page B22

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Page B22

Harvest Edition

Goddess figures in agriculture Continued from Page B21 Another common symbol was the image of Diva, the sun goddess. In different languages, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;divaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;divâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meant anything from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;girl,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;red,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;beautiful,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;light,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sun,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; so it seems Ukrainian women combined the ideas to come up with their goddess, a master seamstress who was able to embroider a red shroud around the sky and stitch up any wound. Her role

as a protector makes her a likely candidate for a prototype Mary, which is why Ukrainians today call Mary â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Diva Maria.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The spring goddess, Maslyna or Maslenitsa, was the goddess of the new year, celebrated on March 1. Her name came from the word â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;maslo,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; meaning butter, which is why the Russian people envisioned her as a pregnant woman with a round stomach. Maslyna was celebrated by

the Ukrainian people during Kodloka Week, where women would travel to a tavern the Monday before Lent and would then place a kodloka (piece of wood) on the table to be wrapped for the Birth of Kodloka. For the remainder of the week, women would drink in the tavern to celebrate the baptism, death, funeral, and lamentation of Kodloka. At the end of the week, women would go door to door, find a woman who had not had her son or daughter married, and tied the stick to her leg as punishment. Sometimes a

The mother-daughter symbol, displayed on this cloth, is believed to be a representation of the most important bond in Ukrainian womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture.

Week of September 11, 2016

man would have it tied to his arm to buy gifts for the young women. The ritualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s purpose was to encourage marriage and fertility. Later, Maslyna took the place of the event. During t h e d a y, a l s o k n o w n a s Cheesefare Sunday, people would eat perohy with cheese and palianytsia while praying for forgiveness for their sins. Ussinia was the solar goddess of agriculture and cattle, and a woman who often received sacrifices of eggs and noodles. She was worshipped during â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;lurii,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; an event that became the precursor to the Feast of St. George, as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;luriiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; m e a n t â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; g e o rg e , â&#x20AC;&#x2122; w h i c h meant â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;farmer.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; During the feast, animals were herded between lit bonfires and then driven out with a willow branch, while farmers prayed for the protection of the farm animals from predators. Songs sung during the feast alluded to the sacrificial offerings to Ussinia. Vesna, or Vesnianka, was a goddess of the spring sun, given that her name meant â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;spring.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Spring in Ukraine was personified by her, and the Ukrainian people celebrated her in March with the Welcoming of Spring ritual. During her festivities, offerings of ritual cloths and bread were given, and only women would gather to

U k ra i n i a n cl o t h i n g o fte n h a d m o t i f s i n i t s embroidery. This mannequinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vest displays a maternity symbol on the corner. dance, sing songs, and bake bread, making spring a representation of the mother and daughter relationship. In Ukrainian folklore, spring, or Vesna, was represented by a woman doing needlework sitting in an orchard. Vesna was also related to the Red Mountain Ritual, where she was personified by the setting sun and offered red painted eggs. Spring as a whole had

many rituals, including ones where women would climb onto rooves and sing songs to welcome spring, or when women would walk along and call to the souls of the dead through birds and insects. For this reason, birds were an important symbol, seen as mediators between people and God, representations of spring, and representations of femininity. Continued on Page B23


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Week of September 11, 2016

Harvest Edition

Goddess figures in agriculture Continued from Page B22 Zhiva, derived from the words ‘zhyty’ meaning ‘to live,’ and ‘zhyva’ meaning alive, was another spring goddess. She was depicted with an infant on her head, representing the birth of new ideas. Her mountain temples were places of worship and prayers for the new year during May, and bread and red eggs would be offered to her. Ceremonies dedicated to her were officiated by women, both young and old. In one particular Ukrainian ritual, a doll named Mara or Marena was burned so Zhiva could be born from the ashes. She was considered important to the midwives’ ‘flower ritual,’ where flower gifts would be

given by midwives to newborn children’s godparents. The number of flowers she gave represented the number of children yet to be born, and to bless the family, the stems of the flowers were dipped in holy water and red wine to flick onto the heads of the mothers and children. Russalky (the plural of russalka) were water nymphs associated with trees, crops, fertility, and moisture. They were portrayed as tall white figures, so pale because they had no blood, and they were found near water. Russalky were believed to be nude, and had long, green, wavy hair, tied into braids, wings, and deep blue eyes. They lived at the edge of the world, and

This shirt was embroidered with a colourful tree of life symbol in order to invoke protection.



came to the earth once a year to bring rain. They would also pour dew out of a horn so that grain would begin to head. Russalky were worshipped during something called the Green Holidays, where women would have a picnic, wear wreaths, and sing and dance. They held a procession to carry a poplar tree through town, known as ‘leading the poplar,’ and straw dolls representing the nymphs were dismembered in a ritual. The dolls represented strong feminism, and through this ritual, the women were given freedom to use up their power and then return to their important work as mothers. Later, Russalka was a singular nymph recognized as a queen, and was personified as a mother and naked daughter. Her ritual, the Rusaliia, honoured the dead by decorating a birch tree and offering it eggs and beer, hence her connection to the Tree of Life. Above all, the Rusaliia was a women’s festival, where the women offered the town, especially young men, protection from the Russalky. Lada, relating to the words ‘lad’ (order) and ‘ladit’ (to be on good terms with someone) was a fertility goddess, and was recognized as a generous mother who was the source of all creation. Along with her two twin daughters, Lelia the fire deity and Polel the water deity, she was worshipped in Russia by tying ribbons around a tree and then throwing the tree in the river. The way the ribbons flowed in the river were meant to tell the women about how their marriages would go. Mokosh, or ‘Mother Moist Earth,’ was an earth goddess


who’s name was derived from words meaning ‘mother of happiness,’ ‘fruitfulness,’ ‘wet,’ and ‘redemption.’ She was the goddess of moisture, fertility and abundance, as well as a protector of women’s destiny. She was portrayed as a woman with raised hands, flanked by horsemen. As a rainmaker and the matron of weaving, she was particularly important to women, who worshipped her by burying eggs and bread in the earth. Eventually, the church banned mention of Mokosh, but women still worshipped her in secret. Lialia, the sun’s sister, was a young woman adorned with a wreath of herbs and flowers. To worship her, women would pick a beautiful youth to represent her, adorn her with herbs, offer her dairy products, and dance around her. ‘Lialia’ would thank them by giving them wreathes that had candles placed in them before they

Page B23 were tossed in the water. Koliada, originating from the word ‘kolo’ or ‘wheel,’ was the female personification and goddess of the winter sun. It was believed that she rode in a sleigh, and that she was surrounded by the darkness of the maternal womb. As such, she was known as the patroness of childbearing women, and also as a granter of wealth. She was portrayed as a woman dressed in white and holding porridge that she would give to mothers. Koliada was worshipped during the winter solstice through dressing as spirits and offering blessings throughout the town. The day after solstice was known as ‘Lady Gruel,’ and families would share a feast together. The final goddess was the goddess of fate, known as Dolia. She was meant to have a connection to the Triple Goddess, or the three Fates of past, present and future. The Fates were particularly


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important to women because they were seen as seamstresses, and embroidery’s connection to fate made women feel that they were involved in the sewing together of the universe. Dolia was invoked in childbirth and wedding ceremonies, and was used to remind everyone that his or her destiny is to be one important piece of the whole collective community. On December 7, or St. Catherine’s Day, she was worshipped through a meal of borsh and kasha. The remaining pots of food were wrapped in ritual cloths and carried over a gate, so Dolia could also be invited to the supper. The many goddesses and symbolic figures Ukrainian women worshipped show just how important spirituality was to them in defining identities and relationships. For more information on these different symbols, Stefaniuk can be contacted at the Ukrainian Heritage Museum.

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Page B24

Harvest Edition

Week of September 11, 2016


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2016 Harvest Edition  

A supplement to The Canora Courier Preeceville Progress and Kamsack Times

2016 Harvest Edition  

A supplement to The Canora Courier Preeceville Progress and Kamsack Times


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