August 26, 2022
Manitoba’s Crop Maturity Delayed by Rains and High Humidity Animal Welfare and Tracking Lands Improvement Funds
Photo by Harry Siemens
The deep green and golden crops of 2022.
By Harry Siemens A Twitter survey of farmers on August 5 and 6 on crop prospects across Western Canada yielded varied answers. Korey Peters near Steinbach, MB will probably start combing the wheat at the end of August. “Things are looking pretty good in my area,” said Peters. “Canola is patchy but most other crops look solid. We need the weather to cooperate. Corn and sunflow-
ers will need a frost free few weeks in September if possible to finish.” Jack Froese at Winkler, MB said the harvest would start several weeks later than usual. Crops look good but a lot of canola is still blooming. “Soybeans look good but need another rain to fill the pods and finish,” said Froese. “I noticed some of our corn is putting on two cobs per plant, which is not good.”
Brendan Uruski at Zbaraz, a locality within the RM of Fisher in the Interlake Region of central Manitoba said peas were still flowering, canola was in full bloom and wheat was finally headed out but a few weeks away from the start of harvest. “There are lots of drown-out spots but what’s there looks pretty darn good,” said Zbaraz. Eldon Klippenstein east of Altona in the Red River Val-
ley targeted August 22 as a start date on spring wheat. However, some good rains may have delayed that starting time. “Crops in general look good out our way,” said Klippenstein. Gunter Jochem of St. Francois Xavier, MB said the harvest would likely start in the first week of September. “At the moment the crop looks very good,” said Jochem. Continued on Page 2...
With funding under the AgriAssurance Program an announcement of up to nearly $3 million in funding will go to three national organizations to enhance animal welfare and tracking in the country. The goal of the funds is to help the organizations draw on new research to update industry standards for the care and handling of animals, and evaluate technology to more efficiently trace farm animals in the production system in the event of a disease outbreak. Animal Health Canada will receive the bulk of the funding, up to $2.9 million, to update national codes of practice for the livestock sector, including the code for the safe and humane transportation of livestock. It has also developed and introduced a code of practice for the aquaculture sector covering farmed salmon, trout and arctic char. The Canadian Code of Practice is a national guideline developed by the National Farm Animal Council for the care and handling of farm animals. It includes requirements and recommendations on water and nutrition, environment management, housing and handling and transportation. The code is based on input from farmers, processors, researchers, government, veterinarians, food service and retail representatives and animal welfare organizations. Additionally, the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency will receive up to $52,140 to evaluate the use of ultra high frequency (UHF) scanners to read cattle identification tags as part of Canada’s commitment to the international community to quickly trace the movement of animals in the event of a disease outbreak. Tag readings are recorded in a database that makes it possible for government and industry to rapidly contain the scope of a potential outbreak, protecting animal and human health. Lastly, the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council will receive up to $35,750 to update its animal welfare program for hatcheries to meet the requirements of the National Farm Animal Care Council’s Code of Practice for the care and handling of hatching eggs, breeders, chickens and turkeys.
August 26, 2022
CN and CP Both Expect Bigger Grain Movement By Elmer Heinrichs
Western Canadian grain shipments by rail are expected to rebound after a year plagued by drought, flooding, wildfires and supplychain snarls, according to Canada’s two largest railways, Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP). CN, Canada’s largest railway expects to move 24.5 million to 27 million metric tons of bulk and processed grain in the next crop year, which starts August 1, according to Canadian National’s latest annual grain plan report. The rebound comes as CN ends this crop year with 18.2 million tons of grains transported, well short of its 2020-21 record. Shipments were hurt by a dramatic decrease in grain volumes in the past year due to last summer’s drought, said CN, which moves about a third of grain shipments in Canada. Wildfires and floods in the western Canadian province of British Columbia also caused havoc and disruptions, halting trains, while extreme winter weather, supply-chain
disruptions and workforce impacts from COVID-19 also took a toll. CP President and CEO Keith Creel said that, “On a positive note, working closely with our customers, CP successfully responded to surging demand for the transportation of corn and grain products from the United States into the Canadian Prairies to supply cattle feed this past winter. “We delivered more than 35,400 carloads, which required the creation of an entirely new supply chain, demonstrating CP’s ability to be nimble and respond quickly to changing market conditions,” said Creel. Looking ahead, Creel said that Statistics Canada “is forecasting a more typical Canadian grain crop this year. “We are hopeful that there will be more grain to move,” Creel said. “CP is once again in a strong position to meet the transportation needs of our grain customers and the broader Canadian economy during the upcoming 2022-2023 crop year.”
Manitoba’s Crop Maturity Delayed by Rains and High Humidity
Continued from Page 1
“However, insect pressure is building.” Günter on August 19 received about 50 to 75mm of rain this past week. “No lodging but we need weeks of dry weather before we think about combining wheat,” he said. Also on August 18 and 19 Jim Pallister of Portage la Prairie, MB was desiccating canola and wheat. He said harvest would start the following week meaning the last week of August. Jack Froese of Winkler was not yet harvesting but he might start swathing the last week in August, he commented. Michael Harms indicated swathing some perennial ryegrass and harvesting later in August. “Will be a while before oats and canola (still blooming). Crops are looking good, about 50 per cent done haying when we are usually done by now, second cut alfalfa is looking decent,” said Harms. He noted that his good crops are ryegrass and oats however canola, it’s a guess. “We have the moisture for more bushels
[50 plus] as long as the last of the flowers produce pods and fill out good,” said Harms. “Oats harvest will probably be 3 weeks away unless we get hot and dry.” Jim Olson at Eddy, MB said still early [August 5] to judge accurately but some crops have come on strong of late. Corn and canola as well as beans seem to be good. “Cereals generally might be okay,” said Olson. “Just a drive by assessment at this point. Some will need a long fall to get there.” Jason Voogt of Carman, MB, the owner of Field 2 Field Agronomy, said on August 15, farmers harvested some fall rye in southcentral from Morden-Winkler to Carman and Elm Creek to east of Fannystelle. He said that, “60 to 80-bushel yields in the sand; but also some 90 to 100 bu yields around Morden and some over 100 bu east of Elm Creek. Some ergot but very minimal.” While parts of Manitoba got dumped with heavy rains, some hail and strong winds, this was not the case at Rosetown, SK. Jim Wickett said, “It’s so dry, the grasshoppers are confused about what’s for lunch.”
Don Schellenberg of southern Manitoba said the crops look as good as he’s seen them in 46 years of Photos by Harry Siemens flying over his crops.
August 26, 2022
Cereals Canada Celebrates a Legacy of Quality and Dependability for 50 years By Harry Siemens The forerunner to Cereal Canada, the Canadian International Grains Institute or CIGI started at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg, MB back in 1972. In 2020 CIGI and Cereals Canada merged into one organization combining the technical support piece of CIGI and the market access trade policy into one organization. Chief executive officer Dean Dias said this new organization represents all cereals, wheat, barley and oats a major highlight in the last 50 years. “Since the birth of this organization, we have analyzed the grain from 50 harvests,” said Dias. “More than 51,000 people from over 55 countries have attended one or more of our courses, webinars, training programs, and in-country seminars held in Winnipeg and worldwide.” Dias said one important fact is that Canada depends on the relationships built over the last 50 years. “We need to keep our relationships and trust with our customers from
around the world by partnering with our value chain, our governments, listening to our customers and aligning our value chain to the customers’ demands,” he said. Cereals Canada must look at how to keep up with changes and provide technical support not only for traditional products but non-traditional products. “Can we create that facility for the next 50 years and be nimble and flexible to provide support to customers that are not just traditional but also value-added products?” posed Dias. The Canadian farmer and the global customer are integral to the value chain he said. Cereals Canada needs to support the value chain with the federal government putting in place regulations and policies that are competitive in the marketplace for tomorrow. “Then work with the science-based trade to ensure that trade is predictable when trading with different countries,” said Dias. “Can our government have a re-
lationship with governments worldwide to ensure that the trade flows properly?” Most of the crop grows in the centre of the country and needs to move to the ports. He said that right now, Canada needs to do better while the world talks about food security for many nations. “We can grow more and pull in all the innovation and science to produce more, but can we deliver it to the ports to make sure that it gets to customers on time?” said Dias. Customer support is vital for those buying Canadian cereals because it’s not always about developing a market but maintaining existing markets which takes much effort. However, the only way to support food security concerns worldwide is to grow and deliver more to the customers. “And if we can grow more, we need support from the government, the value chain to make sure that we can grow enough with less land,” he said. “The resources are getting short and shrinking, but we need to grow more.”
On July 19, 2022, on the 50th anniversary of Cereals Canada, two ceremonial loaves of Canadian grown, in-house milled and baked bread were cut by CEO Dean Dias and Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Cereals Canada supplied photo
It takes the Canadian agricultural community, the entire value chain members, and the Canadian government to work hand in hand to produce enough good quality crops or consistently deliver
the grain to the customers. Dias said that Cereals Canada needs to be around for another 50 years and continue to make a difference. “All Canadians should be proud of work done in the
past and continue to make sure that the best quality Canadian crops make the best bread in the world and make the best pasta in the world; and something that we should be all proud of,” he said.
August 26, 2022
Come Together and Fix It
When a potentially devastating situation occurred at the Canada United States border recently involving Canadian pigs, Manitoba Pork, the Manitoba government and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) got together to resolve the issue. My participation in a WhatsApp group that includes hog producers and hog industry representation got me up close to this situation. That is why I want to shed light on it from my perspective. In a letter to producers on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, P. Quintaine & Son Ltd. Livestock Order Buyers of Brandon, and New Bothwell said during a normal shipment of
sows to packers in the US, the loads were refused entry by the US. A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector refused loads based on an observation of possible foreign animal disease (FAD). Hog buyer Quintin Pearce of Brandon, MB said, “As per our policy and CFIA policy, the sows were returned to our station so the CFIA could inspect the suspect animals. After viewing the results the CFIA cleared P. Quintaine & Son Ltd. of all possible FAD issues. Unfortunately, the questionable animals were positive for Seneca Valley Virus, which can present like FAD. However, Seneca does not spread to other animals or affect human health in the food chain. This is where the international situation became sticky and concerning to Quintaine, Manitoba Pork
and of course the governments and producers. Although cleared of any FAD suspects, USDA blocked the company from exporting animals to the US. Manitoba Pork, the CFIA and the Manitoba government’s chief veterinarian office sprung into action. Fast forward to this comment from Cam Dahl, manager of Manitoba Pork Council after asking him to respond. With some great negotiations, Manitoba Pork Council GM Cam Dahl said the USDA has helped clear up the pig border situation. While P. Quintaine & Son Ltd. was almost good to ship it took some time to clear up the problem so they could start taking pigs. But Cam Dahl said chatting with P. Quintaine & Son Ltd. It will take some time (say a week) for them to clear out the backlog and clean and disinfect.” Then on August 15 came this announcement from Quintin Pearce.
“We are on the path to getting back to business. We are doing a completely clean and disinfecting of our Brandon and New Bothwell facilities. Work is long and difficult as we must meet high standards. Although test results were completely negative for any foreign animal disease, the USDA requires us to prove that we are doing our part to reduce viral loads of any contagious pathogen that may exist here. We hope to complete the CFIA inspection process tomorrow or the next day. If USDA grants us export status at that point, we will open the doors for buying station delivery. We would not be at this point without the help of the Manitoba Pork Council, Manitoba CVO office, CFIA and provincial inspection plus our harvest partners. We have a good team that works well together for a common goal when required.” Shortly after that last one, came this announcement. “Quintaine’s of Brandon
would be open to receive sows as of noon August 17. New Bothwell is still pending but we expect shortly pending CFIA inspection. Thank you for everyone’s patience!” With some great negotiations, Manitoba Pork GM Cam Dahl just told me the USDA has helped clear up the pig border situation. As a result, Quintaine’s is now good to ship. But Cam said keeping the border open for pigs and pork travelling back and forth is vital. Reiterating what Dr. John Carr said and what Bill Alford of Hams Marketing re-emphasized, “If the producer and marketer see anything they should not ship.” Period! It is good to see two levels of government in one country and industry working with the government of a neighbouring country to resolve a touchy and potentially costly issue. Thank you to all!!
Manitoba Harvest Near Average Crop By Elmer Heinrichs Harvest has started for winter wheat and fall rye across the province, with a good portion of these crops already combined, with average yields reported for both crops. Crop condition overall looks good to very good in most parts of the province, pea harvest has begun in the northwest, and widespread harvest is expected to begin for spring cereal in a few weeks with some early barley coming off in the past few days. Fall rye harvest is underway and yields are reported between 45 to 90 bushels an acre, averaging about 75 to 85 bu/acre. Straw volumes are high and swathing is common. Many farmers have commented that they intend to seed more fall rye
this autumn if conditions remain favourable. Many winter wheat fields are harvested, yield reports are between 60 to 75 bu/acre. Harvest will continue as humidity drops and weather conditions allow. Quality has been variable. Spring wheat is beginning to turn colour and kernel development is reaching the hard dough stage in most locations. The spring wheat crop is rated mostly good to excellent; with pre-harvest application common this year as crop maturity is uneven due to delayed seeding and emergence. In its weekly crop report, Manitoba agriculture says strong winds have delayed herbicide applications on all crops. Crop staging is advancing with spraying ongoing for flea beetles, cut-
worms, and grasshoppers. Warm seasonal temperatures have been dominant in much of Central region, with thunderstorms arriving Monday evening in the northern part of the region in a band along PTH No. 2 and north to MacGregor and Portage la Prairie. Hailstones damaged some crops in the Rathwell area. Crops appear in very good condition throughout the region, and producers are anxiously awaiting harvest and hoping to miss damaging weather systems. Many farmers are expecting to use a pre-harvest aid or swath more frequently this year since crops are more uneven. Thunderstorms also swept over most of Eastern region recently with up to 100 mm of rainfall after seven days
of hot dry weather. Strong winds and intense downpours occurred in some areas leaving many lodged crops. Standing water and backed-up ditches are evident in some areas. Canola crops are variable across Manitoba with many in excellent condition and others in poor condition with thin stands. Crop staging ranges from full bloom to near-swath stage. Large areas of late-seeded canola further north will require a month of good growing conditions to mature. Soybeans are coming along well and many fields received some good rains which should help to fill the uppermost pods. Some pea fields toward the west have been desiccated and harvested. Irrigation is still ongoing
on potato fields; sub-soils are drier below four inches depth where rainfall was less frequent. Potato crops are doing well overall, and are about a week behind normal. Dairy farms have completed second-cut hay, while beef cattle producers are just starting or continuing a second cut as weather allows. Manitoba agriculture says strong winds with recent thunderstorms were the primary driver of lodging events in spring wheat, oats, winter cereals, as well as some canola and corn crops. But some good timely rain came with that Monday storm and more came later in the week which will help with yield in most later-season crops, particularly soybeans and corn.
Group Gathers to Focus on Canadian Seed Issues
Hundreds of stakeholders gathered to take in Seeds Canada’s annual meeting held in Winnipeg.
By Dan Guetre With a year under its belt, Seeds Canada will focus on further unifying Canada’s seed industry and help reform a regulatory model that they believe has held back Canada’s economy, weakened its supply chain and limited the kinds of crops farmers can grow. “We’ve made considerable progress in our first year,” said Seeds Canada President and General Manager of C&M Seeds Ellen Sparry. She spoke those comments after the organization’s recent annual meeting held in Winnipeg. “Strengthening Canada’s supply chain is critical for our economy, our ability to feed ourselves and our ability to feed the world.” Amid a mandate from its member and client bases, Seeds Canada is committing to continue working on the formulation of the Independent Standard Setting Body (ISSB), a new entity aimed at simplifying and modernizing the regulatory environment surrounding seed production, variety registration and more.
“Crop varieties and innovations are being kept from Canadian farmers under the current seed industry’s regulatory framework,” said Seeds Canada Executive Director Barry Senft. “One major multinational seed company has pulled out its cereal breeding activity out of Canada because of the challenges they faced getting their crop varieties to farmers.” The four-day conference entitled Rooted for Growth brought together hundreds of seed growers, seed companies, industry professionals and government representatives together under one roof. Seeds Canada was formed in 2021 as an amalgamation of the Canadian Plant Technology Association, the Commercial Seed Analysts of Canada, the Canadian Seed Institute and the Canadian Seed Trade Association. “Seed is the first link in the value chain,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada Marie-Claude Bibeau during her pre-recorded welcome message.
In the video address, Bibeau also mentioned the billions of dollars the seed industry contributes to the economy and the vast number of Canadians it employs. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Manager Holly Mayer also spoke at the conference, affirming the federal government’s desire to work together with the seed industry to tackle issues like variety development. “Everything evolves,’ said Mayer, adding that investments should reflect the current role of the federal government. “AAFC’s role is evolving. The variety development model needs to evolve with it.” The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the agency overseeing the Seed Regulatory Modernization process, addressed attendees, vowing to work together as it continues to consult stakeholders before it posts any changes to a framework they admit hasn’t undergone a significant overhaul in decades.
Seeds Canada’s Executive Director Barry Senft giving his opening remarks at the Rooted for Growth conference.
August 26, 2022
MB Ag Minister on Federal Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Reduction Targets Dear Editor, I am pleased to have joined federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture in Saskatoon for an annual meeting that has brought agreement on several important issues including a new five-year Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership with a 25 per cent increase in its cost-shared portion. We also agreed on improvements to business risk management programs, such as an increase in the AgriStability compensation rate to 80 per cent from 70 per cent, for better economic sustainability. Another aspect of the new agreement is a targeted three-to five-megaton reduction in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. However, though a reduction in GHG emissions would be a positive step and is a priority for the Manitoba government, a new federal requirement for a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 through the agricultural sector’s use of nutrients is based on broad assumptions that do not account for improvements already made by Manitoba farmers. A report by MNP for Fertilizer Canada states that a 30 per cent reduction in such emissions would require a 20 per cent reduction in the use of nutrients, which would equate to lower crop yields for Manitoba producers and hurt value-added businesses. A reduction in nutrients would also make increasingly expensive groceries even more costly and pose a risk to Manitoba jobs in agriculture and food processing. Reducing emissions is the right path to take, though I strongly believe a more targeted approach that considers the state of change already adopted by Manitoba producers and the cost-benefit of specific changes to reduce GHGs is crucial. Manitoba producers have been proactive in reducing the unnecessary use of nutrients and continue to make changes as beneficial management practices have evolved. Partnerships between producers, governments and the nutrient industry are an important tool to support change. For example, in Manitoba, the 4R approach to nutrient use has long been promoted and practised: - Right source for the soil type, conditions and crop; - Right rate to achieve production goals, based on soil nutrients available and what the crop needs; - Right place where the nutrient is applied relative to the crop type; and - Right time for nutrient loss risks, how a crop uses nutrients, crop uptake and logistics. Manitoba was the first Prairie province to complete the 4R memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Fertilizer Canada, and our province has worked with Keystone Agricultural Producers and Fertilizer Canada to promote 4R principles and practices since 2013 through a series of threeyear MOUs. I have asked the federal government for support for the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol and the partners are currently finalizing a fourth MOU. The effect of reduced nutrient use to achieve Canada’s blanket 30 per cent reduction in emissions would reduce Manitoba’s competitiveness in producing and processing protein. As well, this federal reduction policy would not have equal effects on farmers based on size, existing practices and the extent to which beneficial management practices, such as sub-surface placement, have been adopted. Smaller producers would be unfairly hurt because the cost of equipment to enhance nutrient efficiency and reduce GHGs cannot be spread across a larger land base. Application on farms should be based on the science of soil testing and analysis to ensure farmers are not over-using nutrients. An over-application is not cost-effective or practical to farmers. Practices to reduce emissions must be effective, economical, adaptable and well thought-out because vulnerable populations would be disproportionately affected by higher food costs if production volume is reduced by this policy on nutrient reduction. The agriculture industry in Manitoba produces quality, affordable food that also benefits food security in other countries. Manitoba exported more than $7.7 billion in commodities and processed food to its global neighbours in 2021. Manitoba farmers cannot feed the world without the use of nutrients, which help crops grow. The responsibility for reducing GHGs through food production is a cost that cannot be borne by farmers alone. Producers have to continue to be involved in discussions on ways to achieve reduction targets and flexibility on approaches is key, given the diversity of production systems and Canada’s land base. Affordability, societal benefits, sound science and the full effect on production and profitability in differing environmental conditions must be considered. I will continue to push for these factors to be thoroughly accounted for in GHG emissions-reduction decisions affecting our agricultural producers. Our government stands up for Manitoba farmers, who are great stewards of the land in their use of sustainable agricultural practices and who work every day to produce food while protecting the environment. Derek Johnson Manitoba Minister of Agriculture
August 26, 2022
Feed Grain Prices Determine Hog Market Profits This Winter By Harry Siemens Tyler Fulton, director of risk management with HAMS Marketing Services, said profitability in the swine sector through this winter and into early spring will depend mainly on feed grain prices. He said Summer-fall is when the cash hog supply tightens
due to seasonal trends and lower growth performance in the hot weather, especially in the US Midwest, pushing cash hog prices to some of the highest levels in years. “We’ve got Canadian cash hog prices averaging between $260 and $280 per hundred kilograms, which is phenomenal,” said Ful-
Although the unique economy and inflationary situation has its effects, the pork sector is in a good position because it is not the most expensive or least meat protein, commented Tyler Fulton, director of risk management with HAMS Marketing Service.
ton. “Profits are a bit more nuanced. Much will come down to the cost of feed grains.” Fulton said commodity prices have also gone through the roof making it more challenging to turn a profit in the last six months. However, even with those elevated feed grain prices, it is squarely in the profitable territory as to how things pan out for the rest of this growing season. Fulton is seeing a drop in cash prices coming soon. “Right now, the forward contract prices suggest we start to drop off by the end of August and likely lose easily $50 per CKG over the next month and a half or so,” he said. He said during November and December, the industry expects to deal with the heaviest supply of hogs, causing prices to drop well under $200 per CKG but that is historically still an excellent price for that time of year. “The profitability will depend on whether or not we get a break in some of those feed grain costs,” said Fulton.
Therefore he advises pork producers to lock in hog prices for the early winter to early spring months for about 25 percent of their production. The forwards probably benefited from the cash strength. “It makes sense to take some risk off the table and price; possibly 25 percent of your production at current prices just because things could start moving lower in a hurry,” said Fulton. He sees domestic demand for pork continuing to be strong since pork is in a good position as not the most expensive or least meat protein. “So it tends to not see quite the same swings as chicken and beef,” said Fulton. “Current evidence suggests it’s running fairly strong with strong belly and loin prices in the US.” According to Fulton exports conditions are mixed because of decreased imports into China due a partial recovery from African Swine Fever, however, Japan and Mexico are solid markets with positive contributions to value and volume exports he noted.
Wheat two weeks from harvest in Manitoba. Tyler Fulton director of risk management with HAMS Marketing Services sees profitability in the swine sector through this winter and into early spring although it will be dependent on feed grain prices. He said even with elevated feed grain Submitted photos prices pork is squarely in the profitable territory.
Promoting the Industry at Bacon Night with the Winnipeg Goldeyes
Russ Penner (centre) threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Winnipeg Goldeyes’ Bacon Night on behalf of Manitoba’ pork producers. Submitted photo
By Harry Siemens Manitoba Pork proudly sponsored Bacon Night with the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team on August 26 in front of a great crowd at Shaw Park in Winnipeg, MB. As part of the festivities, Manitoba Pork staff grilled and served delicious Pork on a Bun, with proceeds going to the Goldeyes Field of Dreams Foundation. The first 1,000 fans received bacon aprons, and the bacon uniforms the team wore for the game will be auctioned off throughout the season in support of Agape Table. This organization helps to feed the most vulnerable Manitobans. Each inning included bacon giveaways, including a bacon prize for a year while Goldeyes players took part in a bacon cooking challenge.
Russ Penner of Winkler, MB, a sales representative in the pig genetics sector and a minor baseball player, threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Bacon Night on behalf of Manitoba’s pork producers. Penner works on the Manitoba Pork Council public relations committee wherever possible. “We celebrated bacon night and at this year’s great event I got to throw the first pitch; exciting and a lot of fun,” said Penner adding that Manitoba Pork promotes pigs and pork in whatever way that makes sense. “We lobby governments to keep the restrictions down so we can expand our footprint and keep serving people and making delicious pork.” Penner has worked with Topigs Norsvin in sales busi-
ness development for almost five years. He said it involved working with many different hog producers, independent colonies and the big integrators in sales and service. ““Making sure that they’re successful in producing the best product and production they can get on a personal one-on-one,” he said. He thinks their company’s one-on-one approach makes it somewhat unique, helping set the producer up for success. Penner still plays minor ball at the provincial level and describes that first pitch on Bacon Night with the Goldeyes. “I told the catcher the ball would come in a little hotter than usual, so I threw it harder than usual and ended up skipping in the dirt. So it wasn’t the best, but it was still a lot of fun,” he said.
Hail Damages Crops and Gardens in Manitoba By Elmer Heinrichs Warm and humid conditions across southern Manitoba, coupled with the slow eastward trek of a surface low pressure system, led to multiple severe thunderstorm warnings and reports of large hail, heavy rain and strong winds on the evening of August 8. In addition to that, several tornado warnings were issued, including for the R.M.’s of Dufferin and Grey. Additional storms damaged more property and crops later in the week. A number of communi-
ties across southern Manitoba were walloped with hail Wednesday evening, after Environment and Climate Change Canada said a low pressure system tracking across the province triggered severe thunderstorms. In Rathwell, teacup-sized hail was reported. An Environment Canada spokesperson said some hail reported in that area was around 8 cm in diameter and 75 mm of rain was recorded during the storm. Environment Canada said communities where golf ball-sized hail was reported
include Treherne, Somerset, Inwood and Newton. Toonie-sized hail fell in Manitou and near Poplar Point, while loonie-sized hail fell in La Riviere. In a recent crop report, Manitoba agriculture said strong winds with recent thunderstorms were the primary driver of lodging events in spring wheat, oats, winter cereals, as well as some canola and corn crops. Farmers expect most crops to recover, but dense, lodged crop canopy can encourage rapid disease infection and associated yield losses.
August 26, 2022
August 26, 2022
Seed Plans Begin at Harvest for a Proper Standing Crop By Harry Siemens A family-run business that started 12 years ago in southern Manitoba hosted an on-farm event called Down 2 Earth that included Horsch and Claas world machinery manufacturers along with agronomists of Antara Agronomy Services of St. Jean Baptiste, MB. Jen Kehler in charge of marketing at GenAg in Winkler, MB said that they are a family-owned group. “We do a little bit of everything,” said Kehler on how they became involved. The Down 2 Earth event took place on site at Oak Ridge Holdings Farm near Roseisle, MB operated by Marvin Dyck in order to showcase how the equipment works in a field with local soil types so that customers could see firsthand. “We hope people go home with lots of questions and lots of answers,” said Kehler of the event held in July that brought in agronomists who focused on canola, soybean, and corn. “We do meet with our manufacturers, and we learn about the iron, but we also want to learn about what happens in the soil,” said Kehler. Together with the farmer clients, the event is combined with expertise in agronomy and world-class Claas and Horsch machinery. “We’re excited about everything we can show,” said Kehler. “But like I said, it pairs well with agronomy and we want to show it alongside
Jennifer and Brunel Sabourin who operate Antara Agronomy Services said seeding preparations start at the harvest time for next spring because there are not too many opportunities to work the ground in the spring when it’s too wet and because our season is short. Photo supplied by Antara Agronomy Services
each other. Hosting our own farm show is kind of a new idea, so I’m thankful for the response and turnout.” Jen’s father-in-law, Glen Kehler said, “To say I’m amazed would be an understatement. Huge growth; much larger than we ever anticipated.” When Glen first started the business with his son Justin and daughter Melissa they felt the initial infrastructure would always be sufficient. And now after operating for 12 years their business has flourished. Notwithstanding, partnering with the likes of Horsch, Claas and Sputnik, all three are at the top of innovation and reliability. “They have the features that will make farmers more money for less input… a good equation to have,” said Kehler. Marvin Dyck, his family, and the entire team under
Glen Kehler with GenAg was amazed at the turn out for the Down 2 Photo by Harry Siemens Earth event held in July.
At the Down 2 Earth event Jen Kehler with marketing for GenAg said she hopes people go home with lots of questions and lots of answers. Photo supplied by Antara Agronomy Services
Oak Ridge Holdings, farm about 6,000 acres growing corn, sunflowers, edible beans, canola, millet, tall fescue, rye, as well as some custom farming. “I wouldn’t be anything without my team of employees and sons that work together,” said Dyck about having the Down 2 Earth event on their farm. Dyck said that they have been using Horsch equipment since 2016 and by buying a few new pieces it provide good connection with Horsch where they were able to visit their farms in Germany, the Czech Republic and Illinois. Brunel and Jennifer Sabourin operate Antara Agronomy Services and ran the agronomy sessions centered on planter technology and planter agronomy. The demonstration trials focused on planter speed, seeding depth, down force pressure, row firmers, and row cleaners. “[It was on] how all these different components to a planter and settings can affect your crop stand establishment,” said Brunel. “Having the agronomy side of it along with the iron so farmers could see live equipment demos in the field, how different tillage tools and planting equipment compare”
This year Antara incorporated tillage strips perpendicular to the plot trials to compare the different effects tillage tools have on emergence. They use Croptimistic Technology, a western Canadian company in precision agriculture and building zone management mapping out the fields and sites. Brunel said the take-home message for farmers was the importance of getting proper stand establishment that applies to all crops. The more even the stand, the better it is when it is time to apply fungicides and herbicides, and harvest which ultimately gives higher yields. “It’s paying attention to these little details because getting a poor start you’re not going to catch up or makeup later in the season,” said Brunel. “With our short growing seasons, it’s vital to get that crop off to the best start possible.” He said the seeding preparation starts at the harvest the year before with residue management and preparing the seed bed for the following year. “We don’t get too many opportunities to work the ground in the spring and get it ready because it’s too wet and our seasons are too short,” said Brunel.
August 26, 2022
What Goes Up Must Come Down
It has been a fascinating, exciting, and frustrating time over the past nearly two years now when talking about grain markets. From the big run up that started in the fall of 2020, to the blow off peak in June 2022, we’ve seen grain prices essentially double in this short timeframe. While this has been exciting for farmers, with the profitability of the 2020 crop exceeding nearly everyone’s expectations, the high prices were also needed to survive the 2021 drought conditions most Prairie farmers experienced. 2022 has brought an entirely different challenge to it, however, with soaring fertilizer prices to grow the crop, drought lingering in some parts of western SK and eastern AB, while flooding and an incredibly late start to seeding prevailed in central to eastern MB. All of these factors were out of the control of farmer’s hands, and that led to a lot of frustration with trying to market the crop. One thing that needs to be pointed out is that although this market move took us to price levels never seen before in some commodities, and back to historical highs in others, this move was not unprecedented as many like to argue. Commodities have always traded in cyclical patterns, knowing and realizing that took some of the stress and frustration out of the equation. Also contrary to some claims, these high grain prices were never going to be the new norm, just like they never were in past times that saw price spikes. It is always easier said than done but removing as much emotion as possible from the decision to sell, and basing strategy on budgets and numbers saved many farms (and marketing advisors) sanity in the last two years. The problem is that whether we like it or not, we are human and therefore subject to emotions, which will always have a pull on our decision-making process. The trick is controlling or minimizing that influence as much as possible. Many farmers are looking at current values of commodities and thinking, “This sucks, I’m not selling anything until prices go back to ___/bu.” But I would advise not getting sucked into that line of thinking. The extremely high prices of the last two years did their job, namely, to ration demand, and encourage production. We are going to have a substantially larger crop than last year, so the prices it took to ration last year’s pitiful crop will not be required to do the same job this year. As the headline says, what goes up must come down, and that is exactly what we are seeing. Unfortunately, I see more downside ahead of us yet before we find a floor. Fortunately, I do suspect the new floor will be higher than where we were 2 - 5 years ago, however that also likely means inputs will also be higher than the past, which means margins inevitably go back to the norm. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Brian Voth is the president of IntelliFARM Inc, working with farms to create customized grain marketing plans and carrying them out. For more information visit intellifarm.ca or call 204-324-3669.
August 26, 2022
Manitoba Youth Beef Round-Up 2022
The cattle industry is in good hands after watching the participants at Roundup go through their educational and cattle show recently. Fifty-one enthusiastic Manitoba and Saskatchewan Junior Cattle Producers attended the 15th Annual Manitoba Youth Beef Roundup in Neepawa. Excitement in the cattle industry brought out a quality group of interested cattle producers and 53 head of cattle. This year 27 new members attended Roundup for the first time. Photo by Prairie Pistol Designs
Round-Up a Great Learning Experience By Joan Airey Often people ask me what happens at events like Round-Up so I approached Madisyn Roberson to share with me exactly what happens at such an event so that those not familiar with it can see what a learning experience it is. Preparing for Round-Up started last spring/summer for Robertson working with her Charolais heifer JMB Rose 102J, as she showed her at Sandhills Jackpot Show, MB Ag-Ex and Agribition as well as at the 4-H Yearling Heifer project. “This past May, after she was safe in calf, we brought her back home and I started regular hair washing and practicing showmanship with her,” said Robertson. “I also took a Black Angus heifer, Mar Mac Bridget 105J that I purchased from Blair and Lois McRae. We did not get her home until early May and so I had to put in a lot of work getting her halter broke and in show condition. I probably put in about 10 – 15 hours a week until school was out and then 15 - 20 hours a week until show time.” “During this time I would wash, groom and practice setting each heifer up. I trained them to stand for long periods of time so that on show day they wouldn’t tire. As well, we set up a stall in our barn, complete with
bedding and a fan. I tie my animals in for at least two weeks prior to show time and feed and water just as I would a show,” explained Robertson. “I find this helps them adjust when we get to a show or fair. I took both heifers to 4-H Achievement, Carberry Fair and Harding Fair. I attended the Canadian Junior Angus Showdown in Brandon with Bridget. From Showdown we stopped overnight at home and picked up Rose then went to Neepawa for Round-up with both yearling heifers.” She also entered all of the optional activities like scrapbook, photography, graphic design and art. Robertson feels it is extremely important to enter everything possible in order to obtain aggregate points. Although there are some competitions that are not her favourite, she likes to challenge herself to try new things and work on her weaknesses. She started working on her projects around Easter time. She likes to have her projects complete and ready before she gets busy with 4-H preparation, school exams, softball and busy times on the farm. She was the winner in Intermediate Graphic Design and 2nd in intermediate photography. “This year I was a team leader. My team consisted of myself (age 16), Laura Christensen (Lamp-
man, SK - age 15), Kate Hinsburg (Rapid City, MB - age 12), William Keen (Manitou, M - age 10) and Chett Franken (Glenewen, SK - age 7),” said Robertson. “Our team placed second in the cook-off challenge and second in the team grooming competition. We were 7th in the ag challenge that was held on the first night.” Considering that the team had not spent a lot of time getting to know each other they placed very well in the competition.
“This was our first real chance to get to know each other and we had ten challenges to complete in this timed event (knot tying, carrying pails of water around an obstacle, loading a trailer, assembling a chute, medication administration, finding a bolt in a pail of feed, forage identification, dressing in winter clothing and undressing) and we had a lot of fun,” said Robertson. “For the cook-off we went with a Yellowstone theme and served a marinated
steak cooked medium rare, roasted baby potatoes with fresh garden thyme, roasted corn with herbed butter and dessert of apple pie with caramel sauce and whipped cream.” “As I said, I took both JMB Rose 102J and Mar Mac Bridget 105J. I stalled with my friends Carson Baker, Kate Hinsburg and Kendra Hinsburg. We were awarded the Herdsman Award for keeping our stall the neatest and most organized over the three days,” said Robertson.
Madisyn Roberson was also Intermediate Grand Aggregate buckle winner, alongside her Charolais friends Paisley Baron for Pee-wee and Blake Airey for Junior. Photo by Prairie Pistol Designs
“I used JMB Rose 102J for showmanship and we were awarded Overall Intermediate Champions. We have worked hard together over the last year and I have her trained to ground tie and walk into place. I have been very successful using her for showmanship and varying other shows.” Robertson is generous lending her expertise when she can. “My good friends Chase and Blake Airey also used Rose in showmanship. Chase was Overall Reserve Junior Champion show person and Blake received Honourable Mention in Junior Showmanship,” said Robertson. “In the open show I was in the show ring with Bridget and Chase showed Rose for me as they had to be in the ring at the same time. Bridget placed 4th in her split. Rose was Overall Reserve Champion Charolais Female. I then had to show Rose in the 4-H Female Champion Drive as she was the Supreme Champion Female at the Neepawa & Area 4-H Beef Club show. Roundup promotes youth bringing their 4-H Champions and gives a free entry to those that do.” “I am very passionate about the cattle business and junior shows and I welcome anyone with questions to contact me,” said Robertson. Continued on Page 11...
August 26, 2022
Round-Up a Great Learning Experience
Continued from Page 10...
Robertson’s Diary of Each Day: Day 1-Saturday This was move-in day. Cattle had to be tied in the barns by 1 pm. “Carson Baker, Kendra Hinsburg, Kate Hinsburg, Dylan Frey, Joran Frey, Katelyn Rutten, Emma Harms and I had all come right from Showdown in Brandon so we were quite tired. We got to Town around 10 am. I washed both heifers, with help from Chase and Blake, and got organized for the afternoon. We had a Welcome Assembly at 1 pm and then Senior’s and Intermediates went to an AI demonstration, put on by Jake Rawluk and Blair McRae. We were able to use actual reproductive organs from cows in this handson demonstration. I found it very interesting as it was neat to see the actual parts of the reproductive system up close and in person. One of the cows had just given birth so the uterus was still very thick and large, compared to another one from a heifer. We then moved over to a stock dog demonstration with Barry Beamish. Barry had his dogs demonstrate how to move cattle using different commands. Barry talked about his dogs and how he works with the dogs, trains the dogs and how long it takes before they are ready to use in competition. It was a hot day and we were done early so, after tending to the cattle, we all congregated to a slip and slide and water games. We then did evening chores and tie outs. This consists of feeding and watering our cattle (at summer shows we stop and water usually every hour) and then tied out. I chose to rinse both heifers with cool water as it was a hot day and I wanted to cool them down. Again, Chase and Blake assisted me with this. We then headed down to the Rifle Range building for supper with everyone. After supper, Taylor Carlson (a senior member) had planned out the Ag challenge. This required several parent volunteers for each station. This was a timed event and each of our 10 herdsman groups had to set out to each station. We placed 7th and enjoyed many laughs. After the ag- challenge we enjoyed free time, with most of the groups sticking together visiting. Day 2 – Sunday We started the day off at 7 am in the wash rack. I said
6:45 am start time and was late. I was subject to quite a few jabs by Chase and Blake. We washed and did morning chores and then headed down to the Rifle Range for a pancake breakfast. Levi Rimke and Kodie Doetzel, our judges for the weekend, put on an extremely informative judging demonstration. We had to judge cattle, sheep and goats. The senior and intermediate members also discussed how to judge hogs. The Roundup committee felt it was important to focus on judging this year as Manitoba seems to be lagging behind in this area. We then did our individual cattle judging as well as sheep or goats. We got to pick, I chose sheep. After lunch we gathered in our herdsman groups and prepared for the team grooming competition. Each member of my group decided upon their task. We are judged on our communication, team work and the overall appearance of the animal. We used Kate Hinsburg’s heifer as she had quite a bit of hair to work with. I had already clipped her out at Showdown so I knew what her hair was like. Laura and I fit the legs, Kate assisted the little ones in keeping the heifer content in the chute and did the tail head. William and Chett combed the heifer, sprayed her with shock, blew her off and brushing her feet off. We were Reserve Champions in this competition and I was very proud of our group. We then stayed in our herdsman groups to prepare for the cook-off challenge. Our steaks had been marinating in a special mixture all afternoon. I grilled our steaks and William assisted in warming the potatoes and corn. Laura, Kate and Chett set the table with a Yellowstone table cloth, plates and cutlery. We all plated the meal together and served it to our guests. We were honoured to prepare our meal for our Member of Parliament, Dan Mazier and Town of Neepawa Councillor Murray Parrott. They enjoyed it so much they asked for bags to take their leftovers home! After we were done serving and cleaned-up we enjoyed a steak supper ourselves, prepared by Bert McDonald, Judy Hart, Blair McRae and Tom Baron. We then headed off for a game of ball and socializing with friends. Day 3 – Monday We started again at 7 am. (I was on time today) in the
Madisyn and JMB Rose won Intermediate Showmanship Champion and Reserve Champion Charolais Female, in the ring with judge Levi Rimke. Photo by Prairie Pistol Designs
wash rack with Chase and Blake assisting. We washed, dried and fed, then went down for breakfast. We started preparing for showmanship, which started at 10 am. This took a while as numerous people were sharing animals and there were two show rings. I showed Rose first, followed by Chase and then Blake. All 3 of us made it out of our splits and Blake had to borrow another animal as her and Chase was competition against each other in the Junior final. As I said earlier, Chase was Reserve Junior Champion and Blake received honourable mention in their ring, judged by Kodie Doetzel. I was Intermediate Showmanship Champion in my ring, judged by Levi Rimke. I also assisted Paisley Baron with her heifer calf in the pee-wee class. After a group photo and a quick lunch, we returned to prepare for the show at 1 pm. This went very quickly. There were many parental and committee volunteers show marshalling. I was to be in both show rings at the same time with both heifers and so Chase showed Rose and I showed Bridget. Chase was Reserve Bred Heifer with Rose and Bridget was 4th in her split. I then took Bridget back to the barn and waited with Rose for the Champion Charolais class. In the meantime, I assisted Paisley show her animals again while Chase and Blake tended to Rose. We then went back in for the Champion Charolais Class and Rose was selected Reserve Champion Charo-
lais Female by judge Levi Rimke. After the show was over we did night chores, started packing up and prepared for the awards ceremony. I won Team Judging (with partner Sigga Vigfusson); second in intermediate photography and first in intermediate graphic design. I was extremely honoured to be awarded the Young Handlers Award which is decided upon by show mentor and chairs and judged throughout the final day during the conformation classes on their showing ability and the individual that shows team work, sportsmanship and developed showmanship skills. I was also Intermediate Grand Aggregate buckle winner, alongside my Charolais friends Paisley Baron for Pee-wee and Blake Airey for Junior. We then finished off with an auction, with proceeds going towards the scholarship fund. Blair McRae was our auctioneer and Melissa McRae and Jake Rawluk took bids. This auction raised a tremendous amount of money for the fund. Items auctioned were the leftover breakfast sausage, hamburgers, steaks, flower arrangements and fellow junior’s Zane Finlay from Rapid City donation of his leftover hay bales. After the auction J & S Meats, Souris, prepared a delicious beef on a bun supper with homemade French fries and for dessert we enjoyed sundaes donated by Dairy Queen. After some last-minute visiting and assisting those who travelled from afar with their final packing, dismantled
our stall, and loaded up. As always, there were lengthy goodbyes, exchanges of social media contacts so we could keep in touch, tears and hugs. We made it home around 7:30 pm and unloaded the heifers into the pasture to enjoy grass. After seven long days of shows, I was happy to get a hot shower and get some much- needed rest.” Like all purebred junior shows, parental involvement with the animals is prohibited. This means juniors have to work together to help each other. Unlike purebred junior shows, Roundup embodies a different demographic of junior with many 4-H members and commercial juniors attending. It also focuses more on education and hands on opportunities and a split between team and individual competition. Whether you have been to a show before or not, by the time you leave you are part of an incredible village. I have met so many new friends and learned to work with new people. This year, especially, the judges Levi and Kodie were able to spend a tremendous amount of hands-on time with the juniors, answering questions and providing constructive feedback. They were extremely approachable and fun to learn from. Roundup also provides lots of free time for members to tend to their cattle, stalls and assist each other with show day clipping as well as plenty of opportunity for socializing. I don’t know of anyone who was in bed before 10 pm any night! After missing two years of an in-person Round-
up it was great to get back together with everyone. The organizing committee is made up of incredible people, chaired by Blair and Lois McRae and Jake Rawluk and Laura Horner, all of whom I really appreciate their time and efforts. I also enjoy looking back on the photos that Prairie Pistol Designs (Melissa McRae & Laura Horner) capture of the event. There are so many businesses and people that sponsor these events allowing the committee to keep entry fees affordable for all. I am so thankful for our cattle family. I have been listening to quite a few Ryan Rash podcasts lately and one of his recent quotes really holds true for many reasons: “Family isn’t always blood but you get to pick and choose people to also become your family and you will meet a lot of those in the livestock industry. And it takes a village and it takes a team to be a success in anything, but in the end the Junior exhibitor is the one that is ultimately responsible because when it all comes down to it; the bottom line; it is just that kid and the animal out there. It takes a team to get out there but you have to go out there and be in the spotlight and you have to secure that success for yourself and I think that is something that is vitally important in this world right now because there are so many different avenues that do not preach or promote individual success and we still do and we still want that for these kids and we still think that is important. ~ Ryan Rash
August 26, 2022
Business Group Lobbies to Keep Fertilizer Emission Reduction Voluntary
The federal government must ensure it does not mandate Canadian agri-businesses to reduce the use of their nitrogen fertilizer in the future, said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Nearly three-quarters (72%) of farmers said the yield of their crops and overall food production will be reduced if the federal government required them to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer, according to a recent CFIB survey. The federal government is currently conducting consultations on its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizer by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. CFIB is urging the government not to mandate a reduction in the use of nitrogen fertilizer. “Right now, the emissions reduction target is voluntary, and it should stay that way,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “Requiring Canadian agribusinesses to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer would
add another hurdle and have negative impacts on the industry that is already hard hit by skyrocketing input costs and supply chain delays.” CFIB’s latest Business Barometer data shows the agriculture sector has the lowest short-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months) outlook of any industry across Canada. Almost two-thirds (60%) of businesses said a mandatory reduction would decrease the profitability of their agri-business, and 42% said it would be challenging as they have already reduced their nitrogen fertilizer use. Seventy-seven per cent of the 475 responses from farm members disagree with the current target reduction goal of 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. Instead, the majority (90%) of farmers would rather see the government focus on other agricultural policies such as improving production and food security. Nearly all (95%) of farmers who participated in the survey, say that government must consider the differenc-
The results of just one of the survey questions of the CFIB polling to agri-businesses.
es in agronomics, soil/crop types, and moisture conditions across the country before implementing policies like the nitrogen fertilizer emissions target. CFIB’s recent research also shows Canadian farmers have already adopted or plan to adopt best practices to manage or reduce
nitrogen emissions. Some of these practices include conservation tillage (53%), annual soil testing for nitrogen (50%), and rotating in nitrogen-fixing crops (50%). “Nitrogen fertilizer is an essential crop nutrient and an important input for Canadian farmers. Forcing them to reduce their use of fertiliz-
er would result in decreased yield of their crop, less profitability and competitiveness. Given the current global challenges to food supply, now is not the time to add policies that threaten to reduce yields even further,” said Taylor Brown, a policy analyst at CFIB. “The federal government should
give farmers more autonomy and provide support if they want to voluntarily improve their nitrogen management and adopt better practices.” CFIB is urging the Federal Government to keep its target voluntary and have sent a letter to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with their concerns.
August 26, 2022
There is Something Special about Multigenerational Family Farms By Brenda Hunter While a family can have many generations carry on the traditions and livelihood that is Canadian agriculture, there’s something even more special when the same piece of land is still in the family, several generations later. This is not terribly uncommon; but it is unique, to have both sides of a family continue to live and farm the same land that was homesteaded by their ancestors, five generations earlier. Up until four years ago when she moved to Brandon,
memories from the farm as she knew it as a youngster, and appreciates the changes in agriculture that make it what it is today. She is able to bridge the gap between the two generations of life on the farm before her, as well as the two to three generations after her. “No one loves the farm more than Roma,” commented her daughter-in-law, Mary Ann Stevenson, who lives with her husband, Richard, on the farm adjacent to the original homesteaded Stevenson quarter.
the like. Once a farmer, or a farmer’s wife as the case may be, always a farmer. She has provided over 25 descendants the opportunity to know farm life. “She may not have been the one doing the threshing, but there are 25 - 30 cousins that consider the farm their home,” said Mary Ann of their extended family’s consideration of the family farm, Grandma Roma’s if you will. “Roma’s interest and groundedness there has always made them feel like it
At 97 years young with incredible remembrance, Roma Stevenson is able to recall with clarity, memories from the farm as she knew it as a youngster, and appreciates the changes in agriculture that make it what it is today. Photos by Brenda Hunter
Roma Stevenson lived on the family farm south of Kenton. Both her family of origin, the Toltons, as well as that of her late husband, Hudge Stevenson, continue to farm the same quarters of land that were homesteaded by their respective grandparents, Annie and Henry Tolton, and Frederick and Betsy Stevenson. Roma is fortunate in that she is quite literally the centre link in the chain; binding family history to present day life. She is the connection to the past, knowing well both her own grandparents, as well as her late husband’s mother, and is a segue to the future. At 97 years young with incredible remembrance, she is able to recall with clarity,
Roma with hemp.
Roma with Hudge and oldest daughter Pat.
While her stories are not unlike others of the day, they are important to tell, share and record, for otherwise they are lost to those who knew and experienced them. They are important pieces of our history which is the foundation for the evolution of Canadian agriculture. Roma really is the heart of the farm, whether it be the fifth generation Tolton homestead, or the fourth/fifth generation Stevenson one. She still has a keen interest of the goings-on on the farm; what’s planted and where, is conscious of growing conditions and the weather, is curious about crop progress, advancements in seed genetics and technology, harvest and
is still their farm.” “I was just so lucky to be able to stay on the farm my whole life,” said Roma thankfully. “To be there with my sons and their wonderful wives. We just had our own little community there. And I was able to have my Winnipeg grandchildren out often and I really wanted them to be out and not just think there was only the city. I just thought it was my duty to show my grandchildren that there was someplace beyond the perimeter.” It is families like the Stevensons and the Toltons and folks like Roma that are so diligent in keeping those who have moved off the farm to seek careers and make lives
elsewhere, the urban dwellers that are one or two or more generations removed from the farm, connected to it and knowing where their food comes from and how it is grown. “Roma has kept the farm in the family and her family involved in the farm,” said Mary Ann.
Mission accomplished Roma. Richard shared that as recently as a few weeks ago, Roma was out for the afternoon and they went on a little crop checking expedition, just the two of them, to monitor the crops and their progress. They were across the ravine to the south of the home yard
site, looking back on it when Roma said quietly, but with profound pride, “That’s my farm.” Yes, it is, Roma. Yes. It. Is. With both the Tolton and the Stevenson family farms in capable hands, it will be interesting to see how many more generations continue to call them, ‘home’.
August 26, 2022
August 26, 2022
Most Manitoba Gardens Are Bountiful This Year
The Vegetable Gardening Book by Joe Lamp’l. He’s also host of public television’s Growing a Greener World and the Joe Gardener Show Photos by Joan Airey Podcast.
Today’s bounty from my garden… dill pickles, a new one for me is the refrigerator dill pickles. Homemade bread for tomato sandwiches which is my favourite.
By Joan Airey Gardens in our area are producing a great harvest of most vegetables this year. My tomatoes are producing but don’t seem to have as many tomatoes per plant as we used to. A gardening friend was looking for a product called tomato set and was told at all garden stores they went
to, that the product had been ordered but their order was never filled. ‘The Vegetable Gardening Book’ by Joe Lamp’l and host of public television’s Growing a Greener World and The Joe Gardener Show Podcast arrived in the mail today and of course I had to read it at lunch time. Many of you will have seen Joe
on Facebook if you follow the gardening sites. The book includes everything from the fav 40 for filling your vegetable garden to how to improve your soil. He stresses the importance of marking what your plants are in the greenhouse especially. Wish he’d tell my husband’s golden retriever that as she is al-
ways stealing my markers from the garden. The book contains ideas for designing and laying out your garden for the greatest yields in the smallest amount of space. That was my problem. I got planting this spring and ran out of room and had no onions planted so I had to find a spot for them. It contains a handy reference
chart with an easy-to-follow crop rotation plan. A fellow gardener recommended Fortex Pole beans. She said they were very tender and that their growing season is longer. Checking seed catalogues I found them in Vesey. I had read before, that when my beans were ready to pick them before they are fully mature they will produce for a longer period of time. That appears to be true as I’ve been continually picking green and yellow beans. Tomorrow is going to be, make zucchini muffin
day. My husband decided to water the garden when we hadn’t had rain for a couple of weeks then we got an inch of rain. I think zucchini should be picked before they get gigantic so tomorrow everything comes off the plants that aren’t stir fry size. We live in a great community where everyone shares their extra produce and I hope people don’t hide when I come looking for homes for my zucchini I can’t find a use for. My three freezers only hold so much produce.
August 26, 2022
US Court Order Offers Reprieve from Pork Shortages and Higher Prices By Harry Siemens A US court ordered a delay in the enforcement of Massachusetts Question 3 aiming to secure consumers’ access to pork until the Supreme Court reviews a constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 12. In mid-August, a US federal court judge for the District of Massachusetts signed a court order delaying the enforcement of a state law banning the sale of pork in that state from animals not housed according to the state’s prescriptive sow housing standards. Enforcement of Question 3, a Massachusetts ballot initiative similar to California’s Proposition 12, was to take effect on August 15. Michael Formica, the assistant VP and general counsel with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), said delays in enforcement of Question 3 and Proposition 12 offer consumers a reprieve from shortages of pork and higher prices. At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court reviews Proposition 12. It was argued that consumers in states with these laws will face significantly higher prices for food but even consumers outside of those states will face higher prices for food because these laws are destructive to the entire supply chain. Formica said the proposed legislation requires significant adjustments. “We’re in a supply chain crisis for the last year and folks saw runaway inflation in gas and food prices. Gas prices have dropped a little but food prices have not,” said Formica. “If anything, they continue to rise without the supply chain and marketplace disruption caused by a law like Proposition 12.” Formica said the Supreme Court would hear the NPPC and American Farm Bureau Federation challenge to Proposition 12 on October 11. While under no deadline, he expects a ruling before June of next year and possibly as early as January or February. Two years before the California vote, Massachusetts voters voted on Question 3 similar to Prop 12 banning the sale of uncooked pork within Massachusetts if not raised under the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) new standards. But it does not include the minimum square footage requirement that Prop 12 does. Formica said that this is part of the overall HSUS strategy, where every time they pass one of these ballot initiatives, tweaks to the legislation are made that in turn makes compliance progressively more difficult. Those farmers who made investments to comply with Question 3 in one state, only a few would find themselves unable to comply with Proposition 12 in California. Massachusetts spent the first part of this year developing rules for its implementation. Then, about a month before August 15, they provided a guidance document to help with how to comply. This guidance document was the trigger raising concerns. When asked about the consequences in a trade setting should both Question 3 and Prop 12 stand Formica said the case before the US Supreme Court is solid. “We’re optimistic about our chances and hopefully won’t be in that situation,” said Formica.” But if we’re unsuccessful at the Supreme Court, it will cause significant disruption to the pork industry.” He added that people will see disruptions in the retail markets and costly conversions. “And so the big get bigger and the small get smaller, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” noted Formica. “The niche markets will be the largest pork producers and very small producers will soon have to compete with much larger entities.”
First-Time Foray into Cover Crop Helps Cover Wet Weather When it comes to explaining how the addition of cover crops has impacted his family farm, Bray Rookes is full of positives as to how his farm has benefited. But the 20-year-old Western Manitoba farmer in the Assiniboine West Watershed District (AWWD) really gets excited when detailing how his family’s cover crop mixes handled the deluge of 2022 rain after a year of drought in 2021. “When it rained heavily, our cover crop was the only field you could drive on with the massive increase of water infiltration rates. We grew 80 acres of hairy vetch, tillage radish and winter triticale on a poorly managed, degraded soil,” said Rookes of his family’s first-ever participation in Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA)’s Soil Health Project, led by three Manitoba Watershed Districts, including AWWD, Central Assiniboine and Souris River and supported by the Conservation Trust, a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan Initiative delivered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. “With the help of adequate rain the crop came back in the spring and grew to a massive 36 inches tall and as of June 10 this year, weighed in at 15 tons/acre wet weight and averaged five tons dry weight across the field, with no synthetic fertilizer, and no in-crop spray
passes at all! Amazing!” Rookes farms near Manson, MB with his parents Mike and Leanne Rookes. Rookes said this was his family’s first major jump into the cover cropping world and they couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results. “With a wet spring on our hands, we were like a lot of farmers and we were so late getting into the field which resulted in idle soil resting for a long time with plenty of heat units beaming down and not being used in photosynthetic activity,” said Rookes. “It actually hurts us now to see our fields idle and not capturing the power of a cover crop. And believe me, we have experienced every benefit of the cover crops and I just don’t have the time to talk about them all!” According to Ryan Canart, AWWD general manager, programs like the MFGA Conservation Trust Project and the Prairie Watershed Climate Project funded by the On Farm Climate Action Fund of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and led by Manitoba Association of Watersheds in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are empowering watershed districts and Ag groups like MFGA to engage more often and more meaningfully with farmers and producers on the soil health front. “Programs like this cover crop program that the Rookes are enrolled in really help
Bray Rookes who farms near Manson, MB says jumping into the cover crop world was amazing. Submitted photo
build healthy soils, which is one of the main things we can do to help buffer farm lands against volatile weather patterns, such as the crush of rain in our Watershed District in 2022 and the impacts of drought on those same lands in 2021,” said Canart. “Healthy soils really help on that extreme weather front, as Bray will happily tell you,” Rookes nods to the leadership and collaboration of the AWWD and said projects such as those offered via groups such as MFGA through excellent funding partners such as the Conservation Trust allow young
farmers the opportunity to improve their soil to be more profitable and resilient on their farms. “Every citizen can be proud to see the progress our local agriculture has been making at massive goals such as climate change, watershed function, soil and human health,” said Rookes. “This is an opportunity to speak on the successes of the watershed and agriculture. I would like to get this story out to the people that support farmers and the watershed. They deserve to hear the progress they have helped accomplish.”
Second Cohort of the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council Announced Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, has unveiled the names of the members who will form the second cohort of the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council (CAYC). The inaugural meeting of this new group of 25 young people will be held later this summer. The members of this cohort will serve 18month terms. The Canadian Agricultural Youth Council was created in July 2020 with a group of 25 young people representing a diverse mix of people from the agriculture and agri-food sub-sectors, as well as from each province and the North. The application process includes a series of questions about each applicant’s experience in the agriculture and
agri-food sector, a short essay on a major problem facing youth in the sector, and a proposed way to solve it. “Young people’s perspectives on issues such as sustainable agriculture, innovation, intergenerational transfers, mental health and work-life balance allow us
to shape the sector’s future in their image,” said MarieClaude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The renewed Council will see 15 new faces joining the ten returning members serving a second term. Together, this second cohort of the Youth Council represents
Canadian Agricultural Youth Council (CAYC).
subsectors from across the agriculture and agri-food value chain. The Council’s main task is to ensure that the perspectives of youth in agriculture are well understood, and to help inform on policy, programs, planning and decision-making.
A Chickpea Shortage is Looming Since the start of the pandemic, we have heard about shortages countless times. Most sections of the grocery store have been hit by tightening supplies for one reason or another. But the latest headlines we are seeing are about chickpeas. Many analysts are expecting chickpea inventories to drop significantly in months to come. For westerners, chickpeas are primarily associated with hummus, an increasingly popular source of fibre for curious consumers wanting to experiment with new ingredients and dishes. But a looming chickpea shortage is likely on the way. According to Reuters, chickpea crop yields are expected to drop as much as 20 per cent this year due to inclement weather in many parts of the world. India is the largest producer of chickpeas globally, followed by Turkey and Russia. Canada is number nine in the world, and most of our production is for export markets. Canada’s seeded areas for chickpeas dropped this year, from 185,500 acres last year to 177,800 this year. Prices for other commodities were more interesting for farmers. The same happened in the US. Russia and Ukraine are usually top exporters of chickpeas, but not
this year. While Ukraine is short at least 50,000 tons of chickpeas, which would normally end up in the European market, Russia is impacted by trade sanctions resulting from its invasion of Ukraine. Chickpeas are a cheap and efficient source of plant protein. Not everyone eats them, but consumers do love them. In North America, chickpea prices have already increased 12 per cent from last year, according to NielsenIQ. Chickpeas are generally used in hummus and can be popped and eaten like popcorn or ground into flour for use in many vegetable protein-based products. It is also commonly used in soups, stews, and chilis. Chickpeas are nutritional powerhouses for consumers who don’t necessarily opt for animal proteins regularly or can’t afford them. They are naturally low in sodium and sugar and are cholesterol free. For people living with celiac disease and who need gluten-free products, chickpeas are a staple. Last week though, the world received somewhat good news. Ukraine and Russia finally signed a deal in Turkey committing to let tons of vital grain supplies ship out from long-blockaded southern ports in Ukraine. Some of the grains stuck at
ports are wheat, barley, and, of course, chickpeas. However the port of Odesa was bombed just 24 hours after the deal was announced. Russia’s track record in easing commodity pressures is not reassuring. There is still hope, but it’s a bit of a waitand-see scenario. Even if successfully executed, a food security crisis won’t be averted in parts of the world, including North-East Africa and the Middle East, but it will lessen the blow in many regions. For the West, commodity prices have been dropping steadily since May. Wheat prices have fallen from a record $13.38 on May 17 to under $8 a bushel. Corn, canola, sunflower oil, rice, and soybeans are all much cheaper than just a few weeks ago. The Ukraine-Russia grain deal is helping, but prices would still be lower regardless. Procuring ingredients for food manufacturers is getting less expensive by the day, which helps our food inflation situation. In other words, looming deficits are baked into commodity prices already, and buyers have bought what they need for the fall, albeit at a premium. But they at least have some ingredients for their customers. The commodity supercycle appears to be over, thank
goodness. Market conditions are much more predictable, which helps companies plan and anticipate demand. This will likely benefit us all as consumers. As our agricultural production in North America and Europe concludes in the coming weeks, we should expect to see more reports of grain shortages. So, we need to brace ourselves. Previous reports have already targeted mustard and sunflower seeds. Chickpeas are just the latest one. North America won’t be short of anything as it can buy itself out of a food security pickle. But other poorer regions won’t have as much luck. We are starting to see signs of civil unrest in many regions of the world. While our food inflation situation is calming down here at home, the worst is yet to come for many other parts of the globe.
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.
Bioproducts Sector Receives Capital to Explore Expansion Sarnia, Ontario based Bioindustrial Innovation Canada has secured funding of $1.8 million from the federal government’s AgriAssurance Program to further develop quality standards to accelerate growth of the bioeconomy in the agriculture sector. Bioindustrial Innovation Canada is a not-for-profit organization that supports the commercialization of clean, green and sustainable technologies. The bioeconomy, which is part of the green economy, is based on the production and sale of products other than foodstuffs made from agricultural, aquatic and forestry resources, or even municipal waste. This can include crops grown as alternatives to petroleum-based products, such as corn for ethanol, or using waste like stems and leaves to produce bioproducts such as packaging.
“The bioeconomy will allow us to maximize the use of our agricultural resources, including leftover by-products,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “By adding value to products once considered to be waste, and ensuring the quality of these bioproducts through strict quality standards, we will help strengthen Canada’s position as a leader in sustainable agriculture while creating new revenue sources for our agricultural producers.” According to Bioindustrial Innovation Canada it will work with Biomass Quality Network Canada to develop research-based standards for measuring and assessing the quality of bioproducts made from agricultural sources. The goal is to help producers better understand the quality standards needed to market raw materials to processors, and in turn, equip processors
with more information and educational tools to assure their customers that bioproducts can replace traditional materials in terms of quality and performance. Biomass Quality Network Canada works with all levels of the supply chain, from farmers to manufacturers, to develop and implement quality standards to support the advancement of the bioproducts industry. It coordinates its work with national and international standards organizations. “A vibrant, maturing Canadian bioproducts industry has incredible potential to be a world leader when supports are in place from a reliable, robust, consistent supply of biomass and, through the support of AAFC, the BQNC is being established to make this a reality,” explained A.J. (Sandy) Marshall, Executive Director at Bioindustrial Innovation Canada. “Accel-
erating the adoption of Canadian agricultural biomass through the development of standards, methods and guidelines has been the focus of BQNC, alongside the provision of value-added services, and management and monitoring of a certification system.” To strengthen the bioproducts industry in Canada, the project will also help scientists continue to explore plant genetics and environmental factors that could lead to the development of new crop varieties to supply bioproducts production. According to the stakeholders, a strong bioeconomy can help by replacing non-renewable sources of fuel, energy, chemicals and industrial materials with greener alternatives, while finding new uses for waste. Currently, the bioproducts sector generates about $4.3 billion in sales each year.
August 26, 2022
“Squeal on Pigs” Program Launched By Elmer Heinrichs Elusive and destructive wild pigs are wreaking havoc on parts of the Canadian Prairies, including Manitoba and a campaign is seeking your help tracking the invasive species. Manitoba Pork has partnered with the federal and provincial governments to launch the Squeal on Pigs campaign. The campaign calls on Manitobans to report sightings and movements of wild pigs on the landscape online or by phone. “We’re seeing the damage that can happen from these wild pigs,” said Wayne Lees, coordinator of the Manitoba Invasive Swine Eradication Project and a former chief veterinary officer for the province. “They’ve been described as an ecological time bomb and they really are.” “Part of the reason for launching the campaign is to raise awareness in Manitoba about the wild pig issue and try to gain more information about where these wild pigs are located,” he said. The eradication project was announced in early 2022 and includes the Squeal on Pigs campaign under its umbrella. “Wild pigs are vectors for dozens of diseases, including those that would have a devastating impact on domestic pigs,” said Rick Préjet, chair of the Manitoba Pork Council. “We cannot allow wild pigs to gain a further foothold in our province and put not only our provincial hog sector at risk, but our provincial economy at risk, as well” Spruce Woods Provincial Park is considered the province’s main hot zone, with 96 per cent of all reports stemming from the region. There is an active eradication program in that hot zone, according to Lees. “If we’re going to mount an eradication campaign, we’re going to have to have up-to-date information in terms of where people are seeing these pigs now,” Lees said. Eradication, however, is easier said than done. In 2019, the pork council launched a volunteer-based control program in western Manitoba, but found that the labour and resources needed outstripped what could be brought to bear at that time. Similar programs were supported in following years. Experts have widely noted the difficulties of wild pig control, with the animals notoriously elusive, hard to trap, quick to adapt and quick to reproduce. Hunting has also been met by skepticism from experts, who warn that hunting may only scatter groups of pigs and ultimately spread the problem. “We’re looking to use the lessons that we learn from this project to expand the control and eradication efforts through the rest of the province,” Lees said.
August 26, 2022
Ministers of Agriculture Reach Agreement on Sustainability and Funding Support The federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture reached an agreement in principle for the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership at their Annual Meeting in Saskatoon recently. This new five-year agreement will inject $500 million in new funds, representing a 25% increase in the costshared portion of the partnership. To enhance economic sustainability, Ministers agreed to improve Business Risk Management (BRM) programs, including raising the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80%. Under the cost-shared envelope, they agreed in principle to the $250 mil-
lion Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program to support ecological goods and services provided by the agriculture sector. The new agreement includes stronger targets such as a 3-5 MT reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, increasing sector competitiveness, revenue and exports, and increased participation of Indigenous Peoples, women and youth. There will also be a focus on measuring the results of framework investments. The agreement, which will require appropriate authorities by each jurisdiction, will mark an ambitious path forward to advance the five priorities agreed to in the Guelph Statement.
Over the course of the agreement, Ministers agreed to implement new measures to the suite of BRM programs, which will make them more timely, equitable and easy to understand as well as to better protect producers against climate risk. Ministers will continue to collaborate with producers to ensure they have a suite of programs they can rely on when they face extraordinary situations. In addition to the new agreement and BRM improvements, Ministers advanced discussions on other priority areas including the country’s unique opportunity to feed Canadians and the world through global leadership. Ministers discussed
market access, food supply chain, and trade issues, and how to help maximize Canada’s contribution to global food supply. Ministers also discussed the importance of reducing barriers to interprovincial trade and welcome four pilot projects focussed on domestic trade in border regions and Ready to Grow plants. They also discussed the importance of ensuring that efforts to reduce emissions from fertilizer or other agricultural sources do not impede Canada’s ability to contribute to domestic and global food security, now or into the future. Ministers agreed to continue to work together and with the sector’s value chain to build on
producer’s efforts to reduce fertilizer-related emissions while maintaining competitiveness and Canada’s reputation as a top producer of quality crops. Talks advanced the concern around African Swine Fever prevention and preparedness, including lessons learned from the recent Avian Influenza outbreak response. They discussed labour and ongoing work towards a federal National Agricultural Labour Strategy and regulatory priorities. Ministers discussed progress made on a Code of Conduct for grocery retailers and suppliers, which included a presentation by the industry steering committee on concrete elements of a
code. They encouraged industry to present a complete code by November 2022. Discussion took place on the importance of the health of bee populations, domestic and native, to Canada’s economy and the environment. They agreed to work together to make sciencebased decisions about the safe import of honeybees. Ministers also noted the ongoing collaboration between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and cattle sectors to perform a risk analysis to potential changes to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) control measures to maintain its negligible status within the World Organization for Animal Health.
Pregnant Beef Cows Need Good Autumn Nutrition By Peter Vitti As a beef nutritionist, I’ve talked to many beef producers over the years. Although, many people have improved beef cow nutrition after their cows are confirmed pregnant; there still are the diehards that don’t believe these cows need much nutrition. That’s too bad, because sound research has proven that poor nutrition during the early-mid gestation months can have a profound negative effect on newborn calf survival and long-term performance. That’s why; I advocate that a well-balanced nutritional feeding program is warranted, while bred cows are still on pasture in the late-summer and until the first-snow. It simply rewards us with good calf performance in the foreseeable future. First and foremost - dietary energy and protein (plus minerals and vitamins) in a good autumn beef cow feeding program are required in the growth and vascularisation (nutrient blood flow) of the cow’s placenta during the early days of gestation, which keeps her small fetus alive. The pre-natal calf’s or-
gans are also formed simultaneously with such aggressive placental development. Consequently, University of Wyoming (2010) proved such low-level nutrition in pastures grazed by mid-gestation cows were responsible for a significant decrease in organ and muscle-fibre development in their fetuses, which led to actual lower bodyweights when these steers were finally weaned, many months later. Other trials also showed similar dire consequences in replacement heifers, when their dams were restricted to 70% of adequate nutrition during day 45 to day 185 of gestation. Unlike the steer trial, birth- and weaning-weights were similar to experimental controls, but heifers born to those nutrient-restricted cows had smaller ovaries and tissue luteal weights, in which both are responsible for good post-pubertal reproduction. Most of these studies demonstrate that many of these problems should not occur if the body condition of early/ mid gestation cows is maintained. For example, a properly fed
A properly fed cow during autumn and going into winter with an optimum body condition score of 5 - 6 (1-– emaciated to 9 - obese) has a great chance of maintaining health and a trouble-free pregnancy. Submitted photo
cow during autumn and going into winter with an optimum body condition score of 5 - 6 (1-– emaciated to 9 - obese) has a great chance of maintaining health and a troublefree pregnancy. This compares to a thinner cow with a BCS < 4.0, which most likely has a difficult time surviving winter; often ending in a difficult calving season and finally producing poor calves. Fortunately, early to midgestation mature cows make the best candidates to either maintain optimum BCS or build it up. Their nutrient requirements are comparably
low to other times of the year; because they are carrying a small fetus (as mentioned above), produce continuously less milk toward weaning time, and cold weather is non-existent. Therefore, these cows in order to support their own vital functions and an early-term fetus; require 52 – 55% TDN (dietary energy), 9 – 10% crude protein, 0.40% calcium, 0.25% phosphorus, 0.20% magnesium and salt, essential trace minerals and vitamins. During the autumn, most of these dietary requirements are often supported by decent
pastures or even dried-out fields/stubble-grazing complemented with some form of supplementation. For example, I make it a point to choose the type of molasses lick-tub to compliment the quality of the pasture that the cattle are grazing. Protein blocks of 20 - 30% should be placed on acres of dried-out pasture by which its grass protein is probably no more than 5 - 6%. At the other end of the spectrum, I would place 6% protein blocks on lush pastures, which might be a mixture of high-protein legumes (alfalfa or clover) or even medium-protein native grass. Regardless of pasture quantity and quality, most fall pastures are usually deficient in one or more mineral and vitamins. They might contain antagonist elements that bind existing nutrients in this feeding program or upon ingestion by beef cows. For example, a test of many western pastures contains grasses with a high molybdenum content, which has been proven to contribute to many copper deficiencies in cattle. That is why, I recommend
producers feed high-quality cattle mineral that not only contain high levels of complimentary calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium to lush or dried out pastures, but also contain optimum trace minerals such as copper in their more “bio-available” forms (better known as “chelates”) as well as high levels of vitamins A, D and E. One example is when I met a beef producer that puts 200 confirmed-pregnant cows (after weaning calves) on pastures with lots of green fall-regrowth. He feeds a high-copper and zinc mineral in order to strengthen their hooves (helps prevent foot rot), when introduced to such wet and lush grass. His story is a good testament to setting up an adequate beef cow feeding program in the fall. This producer knows that any dietary nutrient deficiency or shortage in his early/mid-gestation cowherd can jeopardize their future as well as their calves’, once they are born. He sees no point in restricting their autumn nutrition to save a few dollars now, to rob himself later-on.
August 26, 2022
Interseeding Might Be the Boost Cover Crops Need Cover crops are an effective tool to keep nutrients on farmland during the winter season and are usually performed after the cash crop is removed from the field. But how effective is the cover crop when certain harvests take place later in the season than others? Researchers are looking at ways to implement “interseeding” to solve the seasonal harvest delay and give the cover crop the time it needs to maximize its full benefits. A research team has studied an alternative method using interseeding. This technique sows cover crop seeds in between rows of growing cash crops. That way, the cover crops can start growing, ready to take off when they get more sun after harvest. In an experiment at a Pennsylvania research site, the team compared the effects of interseeding versus post-harvest planting of cover crops with corn. Some of the corn was harvested for grain, while other plots were harvested for silage. “We found that the interseeded ryegrass cover crops had potential to retain as much nitrogen as a post-harvest seeded cereal rye cover crop,” said Sarah Isbell who is working on cover crop and organic farm research as part of her doctoral degree at
Pennsylvania State University. “The interseeded cover crops did especially well under certain conditions. For example, when there was excess nitrogen in the soil, they flourished. And they also did well when they had lots of unshaded time to grow. Silage corn is harvested earlier than grain corn, giving cover crops more time in the autumn sun to grow. The interseeded system worked best with silage harvests.” “Importantly, we found no effect of cover crop treatments on corn yield,” added Isbell. Her team also studied how cover crops changed the soil microbes. Soil contains many kinds of live microbes. A diverse soil ecosystem can benefit crops in many ways. “We found that, in the spring, the interseeded treatments with a high nitrogen application level had higher microbial biomass than other treatments,” Isbell said. “Yet, they didn’t see as big of an effect on cover crops as they expected. It may take several years of cover crop treatments to change the microbial ecosystem.” Isbell hopes farmers see the benefits of interseeding. Under the right conditions, this technique could provide the best bang for the buck without hurting crop yields.
An interseeded annual ryegrass cover crop established under a corn canopy in August. Interseeding allows cover crops to establish before harvest without hurting crop yields. Recent research shows that interseeding cover crops before harvest can be beneficial.
An interseeded annual ryegrass cover crop at the time of corn silage harvest in October. Since silage corn is harvested earlier than grain corn, the interseeded cover crop has more time to grow in full sun. As it grows, it takes up excess nitrogen from the soil and can benefit soil health.
This tool, the InterSeeder™ can sow cover crops in between rows in a standing crop like corn. Cover crops are grown to provide benefits to the soil and the environment. They can absorb excess fertilizer, keeping it out of waterways.
“Incorporating cover crops into cropping systems in innovative ways, such as interseeding, provides a great opportunity to implement productive farming systems and decrease nutrient pollution,”
said Isbell. “It is important to understand the tradeoffs of different cover cropping strategies, and to use this knowledge to get the most benefit out of cover cropping on each individual farm.”
Photos by Sarah Isbell
Research Sets Out to Improve Soil Health in Potato Cropping Systems Minimizing soil disturbance is one of the key tenets promoted to build soil health in agricultural systems. Many farmers across North America have adopted reduced and no-till systems to build soil carbon, a central component to healthy soils. Canadian growers harvested a record potato crop in 2021, as production rose 18.2% year over year to 123.1 million hundredweight, on account of increases in both seeded area and yield. Manitoba produced almost 20% of the national crop. In the 2020-21 season, Canadian potato producers’ export value was $2.1 billion, an increase of 7.2%. An issue with growing potatoes is that they are a tuber crop, growing belowground. Thus, planting and harvesting them disturbs the soil more than a crop like wheat or barley, which are harvested aboveground. Growers
and researchers are working on strategies to promote soil health in this typically high disturbance system. Soil scientist Deirdre Griffin-LaHue, along with a team has recently set up a longterm rotational experiment to explore some of these strategies in potato-based systems. The strategies represent the typical rotations and soils of the area. The trial is designed with methods that use changing levels of soil disturbance (i.e., tillage); organic matter inputs; internal (cover crops and residues); and external (compost). This allows the team to study multiple soil health principles and how they interact with one another. One practice many growers are experimenting with is using cover crops. Cover crops are grown between cash crops to provide agro ecosystem benefits related to 3 of the 4 main soil health principles:
cover the soil, increase diversity, and maximize continuous living roots, which help feed microorganisms in the soil. Farmers involved are using two methods. One is winter cover crops, planted in fall and terminated in spring. The other is multi-year cover crops that are mowed and continuously provide organic carbon inputs to the soil. The team is also studying potato-growing systems that reduce soil disturbance. They are looking at whether it’s both feasible and beneficial to rotate in wheat or barley
planted with no-till seeders. Minimizing soil disturbance between potato crops could improve soil health and future potato yields. Ultimately, growers need to take a systems approach to improving soil health with potatoes and with any crop. It is not just about one crop. It’s about how the whole cropping system is managed over time. By finding those intervention points to introduce a soil-building practice, growers can steadily improve soil health even with underground crops.
A three-year cover crop of a grass-clover mixture will be mowed periodically with no other disturbance. In this particular region, farmers in Washington state typically grow potatoes every 3 to 5 years. Photo by Deirdre Griffin LaHue
CN’s Annual Grain Plan Highlights Demand Shift to a “Just in Case” Supply Chain CN has published its 2022-2023 Grain Plan, which describes CN’s preparations for moving a western Canadian grain crop that is expected to rebound from last year’s drought impacted levels. “The strength of our agriculture sector is critical to Canada’s economy and to feeding the world,” said Tracy Robinson, chief executive officer, CN. “Our team at CN is confident that the adjustments we have made to our operations and planning heading into this fall, combined with the investments made with an eye to future economic growth, will enable us to deliver strong results in 2022–23 for Western Canadian agriculture.” The Plan sets out the specific steps that CN is taking to ensure it can meet the forecast demand from the grain sector in the new crop year. For example, the Plan provides details on workforce recruitment, adding 57 new high horsepower locomotives and new rolling stock, all to support the delivery of grain and other commodities. Faced with growing demands from all sectors, the Plan also calls for greater balance across all rail corridors to reach the upper end of the maximum sustainable supply chain capacity range. That requires making better use of the eastern Canadian network, including Thunder Bay when the St. Lawrence Seaway System is open to navigation, and direct rail shipments to St. Lawrence River ports when the Seaway closes for winter. CN continues to add new high-capacity grain hopper cars to its fleet as part of ongoing capacity expansion. In 2022, CN is adding 500 new covered hopper cars, and will bring on an additional 500 in early 2023. Through the remainder of 2023 and 2024, the Company will take delivery of another 750 covered hoppers. The new cars can carry up to 15 percent more grain than less efficient legacy cars. CN will be increasing its active operating crew base in Western Canada and plans to hire over 500 new additional employees. In 2021 CN was faced with exceptional circumstances from washouts, extreme cold, and pandemic measures. Drought reduced 2021 grain production in Western Canada by over 28 MMT. Overall, CN moved 18.2 MMT of bulk and processed grain products via carload during the 2021–22 crop year, representing a decline of 36% compared to the three‑year average. Noticeable supply-chain problems has led to a demand shift from “just in time” to “just in case” supply chain planning, placing added pressures on the transportation system. At this point, based on current demand forecasts and economic and market information available, CN reports that total demand for rail capacity between Edmonton and the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert will exceed network capacity during some weeks in the fall of 2022 and in early 2023. CN projections are in part based on AAFC production forecast of the six major grains, peas, and lentils to be 72.1 MMT and exports at 42.3 MMT of grain and processed grain products via carload. CN over the course of the 2022–23 crop year is projecting 24.5 to 27.0 MMT will need to be transported. CN’s annual Grain Plan is prepared through an extensive consultation process and input from key stakeholders. The plan reviews CN’s performance during the last crop year, assesses CN’s ability to move anticipated levels of grain during the upcoming crop year. It also explains specific steps CN is taking to ensure it has the capacity to move grain safely and efficiently on behalf of farmers, customers and supply chain partners, and to respond to the known and unknown challenges that North American winters bring.
August 26, 2022
Dew Plays Important Role in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions One of the prettiest sights first thing in the morning is finding dew droplets on surrounding greenery. During cool nights, water from the air precipitates on plant leaves. Dew
Dew droplet on top of the small corn Photo by Udayakumar Sekaran plant.
is not only aesthetic but is considered an important source of moisture and water for plant life. According to Udayakumar Sekaran, with the agriculture science department at Clemson University in South Carolina, dew is a major water source as dew forms more frequently than rain events in arid and semi-arid regions which are under dry conditions for half of the year. Dew helps plants to accelerate their metabolism and increase plant biomass. Dew also plays an essential role in regulating the inner water of plants and helps them activate photosynthesis rapidly.
To help conserve moisture, plants in drier regions close their stomatal openings in the middle of the day. However, in these regions, early mornings are the maximum plant growth period because dew drops surround the leaves of the plants and trigger photosynthetic activity. “In some context, dew also plays an indirect role in plant health by improving soil moisture condition. Dewdrops on the soil surface decrease soil evaporation loss and mitigate soil water tension,” said Sekaran. Dew ultimately helps species survive drought conditions by reducing water stress and transpiration.
Manitoba’s Bountiful Produce Makes for Delicious Meals By Joan Airey Today my neighbour and I decided we would visit a local colony to see what we could find that wasn’t ready in our own gardens. We came home with broccoli, cabbage, corn and homemade sticky buns. Word of mouth can help find some local delicious baking and produce. Since there appears to be an abundance of green and yellow beans this year this bean casserole is delicious and a great to make to have variety in your menus. Green Bean Bundles 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed 8 bacon strips, partially cooked 1 tbsp finely chopped onion 3 tbsp butter 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tbsp sugar ¼ tsp salt Cook beans until crisp – tender, wrap about 15 beans in each bacon strip. Secure with a toothpick. Place on a foil covered baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 - 15 minutes or until bacon is done. In a skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add vinegar, sugar and salt, heat through. Remove bundles to a serving bowl, pour sauce over and serve immediately. Serves 8 people. We enjoy this bean casserole year-round but especially when I can go and pick two of the beans required for the recipe from the garden. Crazy Quilt Bean Salad 1-14 oz tin green beans 1-14 oz tin yellow beans 1-14 oz tin kidney beans 1-140z. tin lima beans 1 cup celery chopped (optional) ½ cup onion chopped ¼ cup green pepper chopped Drain the lima, yellow and green beans. Drain and rinse the kidney beans well. Place all salad ingredients in large bowl. Dressing ¼ cup vinegar ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper 1 tsp dry mustard 1 tsp thyme ½ cup canola oil Garlic salt to taste ¾ cup sugar Mix all dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Refrigerate until ready to use. This salad keeps well and tastes better if made ahead of time. Apple cider vinegar can be substituted for regular vinegar which is what I use. I also cut the canola oil down to ¼ cup and use ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. You can also cut the sugar back to ½ cup if you wish. If you use garden fresh green and yellow beans you will have to precook them.
Crazy Quilt Bean Salad is tasty and colourful.
Photo by Joan Airey
Take a Practical Approach to Dairy Heifer Replacement Feeding Programs Once weaned dairy calves are released from the calf barn and put into replacement heifer pens, there are different ways of feeding them. Some post-weaned heifers are not well-fed and such poor nutrition is almost guaranteed to make them struggle throughout their first-lactation. Other replacement heifers are fed too well. As a result, they become fat, which is proven to have negative consequences upon life-time health and production. Somewhere in the middle of this chaos is well-balanced heifer nutrition. With a little homework, we can feed them properly, so they can become profitable dairy cows. As a dairy nutritionist, I would love to visit a dairy farm and have immediate proof that any of their dairy heifers are eating with vigour (2.5% of their bw, dmi), a well-balanced post-weaning diet. This proof would show in black-and-white; it’s making them ideally grow at about 1.8 – 2.2 lbs per day until they are bred at 13 – 15 months of age. Unfortunately, most people don’t keep these kinds of records. Most of the time, I usually catch producers at the busiest time of the day and they tell me to go look at the replacement heifers and see what I think. I recently went out to a pen of young unbred heifers and took into account their health status and body condition as the photo shows. I also looked at what kind of feed was in their feed bunk. Subsequently, I judged that these heifers were in excellent health and most of them had a body condition score of around 3.0 - 3.5 (re: 1 = emaciated, 5 = obese). It was my understanding that grass hay was just put down as their second feeding, which fol-
lowed a morning TMR of ensiled and dried forage, some grain and a mineral-vitamin premix. I thought one or two of these heifers might be border-line over-conditioned, which university research demonstrates that such dairy heifers will still lay down a lot of frame and lean tissue compared to those heifers on a more growth-controlled program. But, many of them often become fat as they achieve exceptional growth; laying down fat in their developing udders and thus ruining their chances to become good milkers. Unfortunately, once a heifer becomes over-conditioned, there is really no way to reverse it. Therefore, I recommend – first establish and then provide diets formulated with matching nutrient requirements of unbred replacement heifers that support above-mentioned growth rates and optimum body condition scores, namely: an energy level of 66 – 68% TDN (total digestible nutrients), 14 – 16% protein and a compliment of essential minerals and vitamins. Then once they are bred, relax both energy and protein intakes by
10 – 15%, depending on their current BCS status. Consequently, dairy producers provide such well-balanced nutrition in one of three practical diets: 1. Simple hay and grain rations – One producer that runs about a 150-cow dairy, segregates his heifers in three pens; unbred 2 - 5 months, unbred 5 - 15 months and then bred heifers. He feeds an alfalfa-grass mix, free-choice in the bunk and an 18% heifer grower pellet medicated with rumensin in self-feeders. The bred heifers have their forage mixed 75:25 with straw. 2. Straightforward TMR diets – Another producer that runs a 200- cow dairy segregates his bred animals from his 6 - 15 month unbred heifers. He makes up a bred-group TMR diet consisting of corn silage, alfalfa hay, straw, no grain and a min-vit premix. He dilutes this diet down with about 25% 2nd cut alfalfa hay plus 1.0 kg of grain corn for his 6 - 15 month unbred heifers. His 2 – 6-month-old heifers are housed at the other end of his farm and they are fed high-quality timothy hay and 2.0 kg of a 16% texturized
heifer grain diet. 3. Low-cost diets – South Dakota University (SDSU) mixed low-quality-high fibre corn stalks supplemented with wet distillers’ grains to match the energy and protein requirements of growing dairy heifers. The results showed that although heifer gains were somewhat lower than traditional heifer diets, their cost of gain was cut nearly in half. By feeding any one of these practical diets, dairy producer should be able to match their young replacement heifers’ nutrient requirements for good growth and development. Most of the time, we don’t need a weigh scale or records to judge if young replacement heifers are growing well. All we need to do is walk the feed bunk and assess their current body conditions, which tells us if they are on the right dietary track - up until they become good 1st lactation milk cows.
These heifers were in excellent health and most of them had a body condition score of around 3.0 - 3.5 (re: 1 = emaciated, 5 = obese).
Manitoba Grants Support Agricultural Societies By Elmer Heinrichs As Manitoba’s agriculture organizations continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, education and infrastructure grants designated for fairs, celebrations and events are making it possible for families and communities to gather and enjoy the best
of Manitoba’s summer celebration season, said Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. The Manitoba government is providing $226,000 in funding to 56 agricultural societies to be used for education programs. An additional $95,000 will be split between 45 agricul-
tural societies as part of the $1.4-million investment into infrastructure projects. Johnson, said with this money agricultural societies can host events such as agricultural fairs and educational programming as well as improve community infrastructure to support community events.
Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies president, Pamela Hansen, said the support is appreciated. “These grants can help with educational activities and community events as well as special projects that may have been put on hold due to the pandemic,” Hanson said.
August 26, 2022
Canola 4R Advantage Offers Incentives to Increase Value and Efficiency of Nitrogen Use The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has unveiled a new program offering financial support to help growers initiate or advance 4R Nutrient Stewardship on canola acres. The program, named Canola 4R Advantage, will reimburse growers for up to 85 per cent of eligible costs, up to $12,000 per farm per year. Funding for Canola 4R Advantage has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF). “Canadian canola growers are leaders in sustainability, and we’re excited to launch this program to keep building on this excellent track record,” said Jim Everson, CCC president. “Expanding the use of 4R Nutrient Stewardship is an important opportunity to improve fertilizer efficiency, which is good for both farm productivity and the environment.” The CCC has chosen to focus its program on precise, efficient and sustainable nitrogen management using 4R principles. “4R practices help growers ensure they apply the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, right time and right place for optimal results,” said Charles Fossay, canola grower near Starbuck, Manitoba and director of Manitoba Canola Growers and CCC. “This maximizes the crop’s access to nutrients while minimizing any losses as nitrous oxide emissions.” Canola 4R Advantage will provide incentives for canola growers to use best management practices (BMPs) in four areas: soil testing, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, preferred application and field zone mapping. To be eligible for these incentives, a grower must have a 4R Nutrient Stewardship plan that has been verified by a Certified Crop Adviser or Professional Agrologist who has earned the 4R designation from Fertilizer Canada. Canola 4R Advantage began accepting applications on August 17 through a digital platform linked to the CCC website. Growers and agronomists can review program details and eligibility criteria at canolacouncil.org/4R-advantage. Up to $17.4 million in funding is currently approved for the two-year Canola 4R Advantage project. The CCC is also partnering with Fertilizer Canada to provide training, information resources and knowledge transfer activities to growers and agronomists.
August 26, 2022
MacGregor Farmer Encourages Picture Hunters By Elmer Heinrichs For the second year in a row a spot along the TransCanada Highway is a sea of sunflowers, a place where Manitobans can go to take selfies, all for a good cause. Manitoba farmer Dean Toews is continuing his tradition of helping people take the ultimate sunflowerthemed selfies while also raising money to stamp out hunger and defuse a thorny problem some producers face from picture-hunting trespassers. Toews, who farms just outside of MacGregor, MB, has again planted a large field of sunflowers in hopes of attracting Instagrammers to come, snap a photo and make a voluntary donation to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
Toews is the chair of Feed Other Countries Undo Starvation, or FOCUS. His family`s farm, two others in the area and five Hutterite colonies volunteer to grow food for the organization in benefit of the Foodgrains bank. Local suppliers also help with donations of fertilizer and chemicals. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank works to help developing countries meet emergency food needs and devise longterm solutions to hunger. Last year`s effort raised $2,000 in cash donations and made another $20,000 on the sale of the sunflower crop, Toews said. The federal government matched that amount at a ratio of 4:1, meaning more than $100,000 was raised overall.
Dean Toews, who farms just outside of MacGregor, MB, has again planted a large field of sunflowers in hopes of attracting Instagrammers to come, snap a photo and make a voluntary donation to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Submitted photos
A sea of sunflowers where Manitobans can go to take selfies, all for a good cause.
Toews noted that when visitors drop by the field, they want to see the sunflowers, but it’s essentially still trespassing unless they have permission. “And so we thought what
if we gave people permission to come and enjoy themselves in the field?” said Toews. “And there’s another side benefit. It’s connecting people to farming.” “As time goes on people
are more separated from agriculture, and so this allows more interaction,” he said. “It is raising money, but on the farmers’ hat side, it’s just a pleasure to have people enjoy what we do.”
To enjoy the view of the fields, drive 1.6 km east of the MacGregor Co-op Gas Bar, located on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway.
August 26, 2022
Foodgrains Bank Grow Projects Respond to Famine By Harry Siemens In Fiscal year 2021 the Canadian Foodgrains Bank received over $18 million in donations. Manitobans donated over $6 million, with almost half of that coming through community growing projects. Those funds came from small and large donations, in both rural and urban areas. Farmers provided a large portion of this support, often from the sale of crops donated. Some farmers even donate the proceeds of a whole truckload of grain at the elevator.
Gordon Janzen, the Manitoba and north-west Ontario regional representative shared with farmers at his booth the story of this great work at the recent “Thanks for Farming” tour in Winkler, MB. Despite high input costs and COVID-19 the response and support remain strong he said. In the region there are about 35 projects, with about 5,000 acres planted this year. While down a little, these are very strong growing projects that include wheat, canola and soybeans said Janzen. “I’m just so thankful for
Gordon Janzen shared the Foodgrains Bank story at his booth.
this community, which keeps those projects going, providing resources for our members through the Foodgrains Bank to respond to global hunger,” he said. At one point the Foodgrains Bank shipped Canadian grains to the destinations that needed it most. Today the organization monetizes by putting into dollars what comes in from the growing projects and members use it abroad. “We don’t ship Canadian grain, we purchase the food, which is appropriate for the people to receive and appropriate for their diets and not dumping on their markets, unnecessarily,” said Janzen. “Our work is both emergency relief and encouraging smallscale farmers with badly needed help. A two-pronged approach.” About an extra 50 million people are currently facing emergency levels of hunger and even famine worldwide, said Janzen. Word has it that
nearly 3 billion people in the world have less than 2,000 calories of food daily at the earlier price of $150 a tonne for wheat. Janzen demonstrated at his booth a minimum daily ration which is what the Foodgrains Bank tries to provide to people in emergency settings. “We’re not able to always provide that much because of the limited budgets and so many people needing emergency aid,” he said. An emergency food ration is a fixed amount of food given to a person or a household in situations or when sufficient food is not accessible. Rations are often distributed by aid groups or government agencies in refugee or internally displaced persons camps or to communities that are facing severe food shortages. Janzen gave a sincere thank you to farmers and people involved in farming for helping the Foodgrains Bank to respond to hunger.
Ryan and Cody Dueck offered their time on a Saturday afternoon to help the Scratching River Growing Project sell birdseed at the Morris Craft Sale. Photos by Harry Siemens
The Foodgrains Bank was started by farmers who had the idea and vision but today it involves many other people who are non-farmers. “But a big thanks to farmers and people in farm businesses who are helping our growing projects to continue,” said Janzen. “We would also love to hear from people who are interested in starting new growing projects or community projects.” In an earlier newsletter to
supporters of the Foodgrains Bank, Janzen said the war in Ukraine is leading to a drop in food production, higher food prices and an increased risk of famine around the world. High-income countries should take three steps to help prevent hunger from spreading. First, avoid sanctions on food and fertilizer. Second, increase food assistance in step with higher food prices. Third, prioritize famine prevention.
Research Looks at Grower-Finisher Pig’s Play By Harry Siemens Research by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine indicates there is a way to stimulate grower-finisher pigs to engage in play. The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in partnership with the Prairie Swine Centre with funding provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and 14 industry partners, has completed the second in a series of studies exploring the beneficial effects of play in growing pigs. Karolina Steinerova, a Ph.D. student with the WCVM said the researchers developed this second experiment to determine if it is possible to promote play among pigs from 10 weeks of age until slaughter at 22 weeks. The experiment about the promotion of play in growing pigs asked several questions. Firstly to determine if it is
Karolina Steinerova, a Ph.D. student with the WCVM.
possible to promote play in older pigs and sustain it over the growing life. Secondly, to identify if play reduces stress and promotes a positive emotional state. The tests involved the pigs in three different treatments. First, pigs received regular play opportunities and play stimulated through enrichment items in their home pen or when given access to a larger playpen area. They rotated the enrichment weekly and, at specific times, sprayed with various essential oils to support novelty, promoting play. “We recorded the behaviour of the animals exposed to the play. While the analysis is ongoing, we can say that play in growing pigs did occur and appears sustainable but we are yet to complete the statistical analysis,” said Steinerova. Steinerova said researchers are also evaluating the effects of play on the physiological response to stress and the emotional state of pigs. “We will use the findings to determine if play is an indicator of positive welfare and to develop tools to enhance the quality of life of the animals.” The quality of life for intensively farmed animals is increasingly important for producers and consumers. It is also a growing topic within the scientific community performing animal welfare research.
Karolina Steinerova a Ph.D. student at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine said research is being conducted to determine if play is an indicator of positive welfare and to develop tools to enhance the quality of life of the animals. This research project is also crucial because reSubmitted photos searchers will design and evaluate the tool for use in commercial systems.
“All together, forms an influential package driving numerous changes in the swine welfare research,” said Steinerova. She said in the past improving the welfare of the animal focused on improving the living conditions by eliminating negative experiences, such as pain. However, the research community has recently shifted its attention to promoting positive experiences. “And play behaviour is a good candidate to fulfill a role of a positive experience for pigs as playing animals
appear to be excited and having fun,” she said. “We look at all types of play, that is locomotive play such as scampering, head tossing, jumping or excited running. Then there is social play, also known as rough and tumble when two pigs are play-fighting together, which may help to develop social skills.” Also, object play is manipulating, shaking or excitedly carrying an object. Steinerova said assuming the benefits of play with a positive aspect on the mental state; researchers will pursue
a study looking at the role of play in influencing immunocompetency. The last study will explore the promotion of play on a commercial farm. “There we want to test practicability and the effect on the elevation of common welfare challenges in real conditions,” she said. “The data collection will continue until late 2023.” This project brings a new approach by which the quality of life and performance of intensively farmed pigs could resonate with consumers. “By exploring the relation-
ship between play behaviour, the pigs’ emotions and productivity, the project aims to deliver a powerful tool to benefit outcomes for production characteristics, such as more effective immune and stress response,” said Steinerova. This project is also crucial because researchers will design and evaluate the tool for use in commercial systems. Thus, the project’s findings will support the sustainability of the Canadian swine industry and pig welfare and benefit consumers of Canadian pork products.
August 26, 2022