MPs Defend the Benefits of Supply ManagementBy Elmer Heinrichs
Members of Parliament (MP’s) are rallying to bolster Canada’s supply management system of protecting dairy and poultry prices amid trade deals and emphasizing that the supply-management system could be a good option for lowerincome countries to do the same which in turn lessens reliance on imports.
A House of Commons trade committee was set to undertake its final, detailed review meeting to talk about a Bloc Que-
becois bill that would make it harder for new trade negotiators to chip away at the system that controls quotas and prices.
Since 1972, the federal and provincial governments have regulated the supply and cost of dairy, eggs, and poultry by placing steep tariffs on imports, preventing surpluses and shortages that cause significant price fluctuations and decrease interprovincial trade disputes.
But the rules have been tweaked several
Flood Outlook Worsens for Red River CorridorBy Elmer Heinrichs
Floodwaters will rise a little higher than first anticipated along the Red River this spring, but experts say we’re unlikely to see a repeat of last year’s water levels.
There is a major risk of flooding on the Red River and a low to moderate risk of flooding in most other Manitoba basins, the province’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre said in its latest March flood forecast.
Precipitation in the northern United States is to blame for the revised outlook, the province said in a release.
As the melt continues, river flows and levels are expected to increase in the next few days and ice on Manitoba’s lakes, rivers and creeks will weaken. Ice conditions can change rapidly without warning and Manitobans are reminded to keep off ice as the temperature continues to rise.
The flood protection level of community dikes and individual flood protection works in the Red River basin are higher than predicted flood levels and are expected to protect communities and properties in the region.
The risk of spring flooding is generally low throughout the Whiteshell lakes area and along the Souris, Roseau, and Rat Rivers.
Water levels throughout southern Manitoba are expected to remain below community and individual flood protection levels.
The centre report that, “While most tributaries have already peaked or are near their peak within these impacted areas, flows and levels will continue to rise in major rivers, including the Red and Assiniboine rivers,” says a flood update from the province.
times over the past decade as Canada negotiated trade deals and agriculture groups have not been happy.
Last fall, the UN special commentator on the right to food told a committee the supply management system could be shared with poorer countries to help them stabilize food prices.
The Liberals have said they support the proposed Bloc bill to strengthen the supply management system.
Run-off from this latest weather system will start on the weekend as temperatures begin to rise.
Meanwhile, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk said Friday the province continues to repair infrastructure damaged by last spring’s flood, which cost the province an estimated $193.5 million.
Over $9 million worth of work has been completed and another $45 million worth of work has been tendered, Piwniuk said. Repair work is expected to continue through 2025.
Cargill to Stop Elevating Exports of Russian GrainBy Harry Siemens
Mike Lee of Green Square
Agro Consulting and Black
Sea Crop Forecasts gives independent analysis and agribusiness news from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Kazakhstan and Belarus. He reports that Cargill has told Russia’s Agriculture Ministry that it will stop exporting Russian grain from the start of the following marketing year July 1, 2023.
Lee based in England said Cargill later clarified they would stop elevating Russian grain for export in July 2023 but intend to continue shipping grain from Russia to destination markets.
Rumours had circulated that leading grain multinationals were asked to leave Russia.
Back in December, Russian fertilizer producer Uralchem said they would be interested in buying the Russian assets of Cargill and Vitterra if they decide to leave Russia.
At the time, spokespersons for Cargill and Viterra’s Russian operations said their companies did not plan to leave the country.
Lee said the head of Russia’s Union of Grain Exporters, Eduard Zernin, said on his Telegram channel that he believed Cargill had decided to revise its portfolio of Russian assets and eliminate po-
tentially problematic ones, the grain business which had become excessively politicized and risky.
“Whether Cargill’s decision is the start of an exodus or just one company’s decision to adjust its business model waits,” said Lee.
As of March 24, Ukraine farmers had sown 168Kha of spring barley, 76Kha of spring wheat, 35Kha for peas, and 114Khea of oats.
Black Sea Crop Forecasts said the Ministry of Agrarian Policy forecasts farmers would sow 1.0Mha of spring barley this year, which would be slightly ahead of last year. Early indications show the planting pace could be on target to finish around the million hectares.
“We will continue to monitor progress,” said Lee.
The Ministry is forecasting 4.8MMT of barley from 1.5Mha (0.5Mha winter barley, 1.0Mha spring barley) at a yield of 3.04MT/HA.
“Our current Ukraine forecast is 5.0MMT,” said Lee.
The Black Sea grain initiative deal appears to be holding, albeit with some confusion about how long it will run. Ukraine said it’s extended for 120 days, and Russia said 60 days, with both sides playing the “grain for Africa” card.
“Ukraine keeps telling the
world how much grain is going to impoverished countries ever since Russia started complaining about Ukraine,” he said. “The West, in general, wasn’t fulfilling its part of the deal by sending grain to Africa.”
Meanwhile, Russia reported Putin had a telephone conversation with Turkish president Erdogan, during which they said Erdogan positively assessed Russia’s agreement to extend for 60 days the Istanbul agreement.
“The detail might be lost in translation, but the inference was Erdogan had agreed or at least acknowledged the deal was 60 days without Erdogan saying the deal was for 60 days,” said Lee. “Expect the waters to get much muddier as the days count off.”
Another media outlet reported that Russia’s increased control of its wheat exports threatens to obscure prices and curb efficiency in the global grains market, according to Cargill Inc.’s head trader.
Russia’s grip on its wheat is tightening after three of the biggest global traders, Cargill, Viterra and Louis Dreyfus Co. said they would stop buying grain for export, leaving Russian grain supplies largely in the hands of domestic and government-funded companies noted Lee.
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Pleased with Federal Budget
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) welcomed a number of announcements in the 2023 Federal Budget, with investments made in transportation logistics, animal health emergency preparedness, and an increase in interestfree limit under the Advance Payments Program to help producers’ rising costs.
“The investments announced in the 2023 Federal Budget respond to a number of critical issues facing Canadian agriculture, such as emergency preparedness, climate change and supply chain logistics. We are pleased to see some long-term solutions put forward for emerging issues, such as establishing a Foot-and-Mouth disease Vaccine Bank and a Transportation Supply Chain Office. At the same time, shortterm relief has been provided
through investments in the Advance Payments Program and the piloting of extended interswitching limits in the Prairie Provinces. Our hope is certainly that these temporary measures will translate into long-term solutions for what are long-term challenges,” said Keith Currie, CFA President.
The Budget also provides clarity on how the $34.1 million generated from the tariff on Russian fertilizer imports will be reinvested into primary agriculture, through new funding to the On-Farm Climate Action Fund to support nitrogen management.
“While there will be some producers across Canada that would have liked to see those funds reinvested in a fashion that more directly responds to the financial challenges, we are certainly pleased to see some much needed clar-
ity and reinvestment of these funds back into the hands of Canadian producers,” Currie added.
In addition Budget 2023 also sets out a path for further engagement on a number of critical topics for Canadian producers, including right to repair, natural disaster protection, biofuels and intergenerational transfers.
CFA will be working closely with the Government of Canada to follow-up on these commitments and ensure their implementation is effective and benefits producers across Canada. CFA has also partnered with the government in the development of the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy and looks to this process to identify areas of critical investment to support resilience and sustainability in agriculture in future budgets.
Are You Walking the Talk When Questioning How Farmers Produce Your Food?
The Director of the Center for Food Integrity said recently more than ever consumers are curious about how and where their food comes from and who it gets there.
My question before I get to her comments is how important it is to you where and who produces your food. For almost 52 years, I have re-
ported, visited, discussed, and sometimes argued on behalf of farmers who put everything out and in the ground so you and I can have healthy, cost-effective food to eat daily. Yet, now we have governments and so-called food activists trying to tell farmers how to farm, what to grow and how to produce it. Despite many farmers, and in fact, most have done so over the years that makes others pale by comparison.
Farmers are first and foremost the best and most costeffective environmentalists on this planet. But, oh yes, we have those who travel the world telling others how not to farm but do it my way or the planet will collapse.
This federal government is collecting at least $8 billion a year in carbon taxes hoping against hope they can save the planet. But, unfortunately, they are so brilliant that they may even help other countries to do the same.
Ok, I digressed and yet maybe I didn’t.
“Trends and developments in consumer perceptions of modern pork production and implications for farmers,” was the topic of the keynote address at Manitoba Pork’s 2023 AGM.
Amy te Plate-Church, the director of the US-based Center for Food Integrity, told hog producer-farmers if you like, consumers are more curious today than ever about where we produce our
food and the factors they consider when making purchasing decisions that are changing.
Historically, the big three factors are price, quality, health, and nutrition, which remains true today. But today, other factors are weighing into the consumers’ choices.
That includes convenience but it also includes the social considerations around food production.
“I trust that the animals that produced this food were well cared for. Are the farmers using environmentally friendly practices? Is this a good social and economic contribution,” said Amy te Plate-Church. “People today have so many sources of in-
formation so we, as the food industry and farmers, need to be aware of where consumers are and more and more of that is online so social media, online influencers, websites, having our message in all of those places so consumers can find answers to the questions that they have when they have those answers.”
She said consumers depend highly on what they see on the packaging or in the store as they make that decision.
As far as trusted sources of information, farmers are highly trusted.
The public respects them for their hard work, so it’s important to share what they’re doing and why
they’re doing what they do on the farm.
Te Plate-Church said north or south of the border, farmers are the salt of the earth and are working hard to produce food responsibly and ensure we have food for consumers worldwide.
Yes, I totally agree. My quest is and always will be what are those consumers that demand all these things from farmers doing personally to help save the planet and the environment? We have so many people, especially the higher-ups, who demand and speak a line but never seem to care about walking the talk or talking the walk. I know firsthand that most farmers do. And don’t you forget it!
Bill C-234 Exempting Carbon Tax for Farmers Moves to SenateBy Harry Siemens
Bill C-234 will extend an exemption related to carbon pricing for on-farm propane and natural gas uses. According to the Canola Growers of Alberta having this exemption is a relief for grain drying operations.
To support farmers in their efforts, Bill C-234 seeks to
amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act to extend the exemption for qualifying farming fuel to marketable natural gas and propane. In addition, the current carbon price rebate, introduced last year through Bill C-8, needs to fully account for the individual breadth of carbon surcharges applied to farms.
Farmers pay a carbon price on essential farming activities such as irrigation, grain drying, feed preparation, barns heating or cooling, and other agricultural growing structures.
Bill C-234 would provide an exemption, limited to on-farm fuel use for these necessary farm practices, allowing farmers to invest their money in the efficien-
The bill passed third reading with a 176-146 vote, as agriculture committee chair Kody Blois and two other Liberal MPs from Prince Edward Island voted in favour with the Conservative, New Democrat, Bloc Quebecois,
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University said the bill went through the first reading at Senate and
“It’s a Private member’s bill...no timeline, Senate can take forever, but it seems to have support by good leadership right now…,” said Charlebois. That’s as of the middle of April 2023.
Gunter Jochum, president of the Wheat Growers Association said it primarily covers fuel for grain drying, which is natural gas and propane used for drying grain and the fuel like propane or natural gas for heating barns. It may not cover the electricity used in those operations.
“A bigger factor for farmers is that somebody takes grain off tough every year. Many farms don’t have dryers, so they rely on the elevator to dry their grain,” said Jochum, “The elevators with dryers will charge the farmer drying costs.”
He said it’s a line item on the check farmers get for that grain, highlighting their drying costs. But, the fuel that the elevators use to dry farmers’ grain is not exempt under that bill. The exemption is only for the fuel used on the farm.
“It’s good because it’s a step in the right direction,” said Jochum. “We got an exemption for some things we do on the farm. But, ideally, we want to see the carbon tax completely scrapped
from food production. It’s a terrible tax to have on primary food production.”
The CFIB did a study that showed the carbon tax collects over $8 billion a year, and small businesses including most farms are receiving less than one per cent of the carbon tax back. In turn, that means that those small businesses will have to raise the costs of the goods they sell.
“And so who ends up paying? It’s the everyday Canadian like you and I and everybody else’” said Jochum. “And it is not revenue neutral. It is a complete drain on all Canadians.”
New Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership Launched
The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) is officially in effect. The federal, provincial and territorial governments collaborated in the renewal of this important five-year policy framework to ensure that there is no gap between the end of the former agreement and this new one, benefiting farmers and processors across all of Canada.
This agreement has set $1 billion in federal programs and activities, and $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs and activities funded by federal, provincial and territorial governments, up 25 percent from the 2018-2023 agreement.
The renewed federally funded programs to support sector
growth under Sustainable CAP were launched on March 6, 2023. Details and applications are available online for AgriAssurance, AgriCompetitiveness, AgriDiversity, AgriInnovate, AgriMarketing and AgriScience.
In addition to these programs, the Sustainable CAP includes $2.5 billion in costshared programming that will be delivered by provincial and territorial governments. Bilateral agreements between the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments are in the process of being finalized.
Sustainable CAP includes, among other things, a new $250 million Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program to support ecological goods
New Five-Year Agreement Reached on Agricultural Partnership
and services offered by the agricultural sector.
Canadian producers also have access to an enhanced suite of business risk management programs to help them manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their capacity to manage, including an increase of the reference margins from 70% to 80% in AgriStability.
The Sustainable CAP will help position Canada for continued success as a global leader in sustainable agriculture, economically, environmentally and socially. It will also enable the sector to be an innovative, productive and internationally competitive so that it can continue to feed Canada and a growing global population.
Canada Gains Full Access to Japanese Beef Market
For the first time in two decades, Japan is reopening its doors to Canadian processed beef.
This accomplishment ushers in a new era for Canada and its second-largest market for beef and beef products. It expands market access for Canadian exporters while also benefiting Japanese consumers who will have greater access to Canada’s high-quality beef products.
“This is another big step in our trade relationship with Japan, a trusted partner in the Indo-Pacific,” said MarieClaude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The development also removes the last restrictions on Canadian beef that Japan put in place in 2003, after the discovery of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Alberta.
Under the new Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Government committed to seizing economic opportunities for Canada by strengthening its regional partnerships, including with Japan. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, with the support of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, has worked tire-
lessly over the past few years to assert the highest production standards and quality assurance of Canadian beef in order to reopen full access in key markets, like Japan. Japan is an important market for Canada and the world.
In 2022, the Japanese market for Canadian beef and beef products had an estimated value of $518 million, largely due to Canada’s preferential access under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“Cattle producers are grateful for the removal of trade barriers for processed beef in Japan, our second-largest export market for beef. Our industry will continue to support global food security by providing some of the most sustainable and highest quality beef in the world,” said Nathan Phinney, President of the Canadian Cattle Association. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Canada to further remove remaining trade barriers and expanding our trade capacity in the Indo-Pacific region.”
“The Canadian Meat Council is very pleased to see this
expansion of our beef access to Japan. Our members view this as a critical market for their products, including processed beef and beef patties,” added Christopher White, President and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council. “This agreement will allow our industry to further build on the recent successes they have enjoyed in Japan since the CPTPP was ratified.”
This expanded market access opportunity follows another loosening of restrictions in 2019, when Japan approved imports of Canadian beef from cattle older than 30 months.
Japan is Canada’s thirdlargest market for agriculture and food.
Under CPTPP, Japan’s 38.5% tariff on beef imports (including primary processed products like ground beef patties) will decreased to 23.35% on April 1, 2023, and will go down to 9% by 2033. Tariffs on further processed beef products will be reduced even more and in some cases – eliminated altogether. This change provides Canadian exporters with a clear tariff advantage over our key competitors.
The Federal and Provincial Government have announced $221 million for strategic agricultural initiatives in Manitoba under the new the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) with an agreement reached in early April.
The Sustainable CAP is a five-year, $3.5-billion investment by the federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agriproducts sectors. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60% federally and 40 % provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
The Manitoba government has launched a suite of programs under the Sustainable CAP framework that will help the sector reach its full potential by expanding business opportunities, investing in sustainable practices, and strengthening resiliency of the entire food chain. These programs were developed through significant consultation with industry partners, who highlighted a number of priority areas, including research, innovation and market development, emergency preparedness and technology advancement.
For example, the new Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program has been developed based on feedback from the industry, and supports ecological goods and services by funding on-farm projects that remove carbon (or carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible applicants include community pastures, agricultural Crown land forage lease-holders, First Nations and Métis communities and farmers outside of watershed district boundaries.
Canadian producers also have access to an enhanced suite of business risk management programs to help them manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their capacity to manage.
The Sustainable CAP comes into effect April 1, and replaces the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
Manitoba’s Hog Industry Sees Steady GrowthBy Elmer Heinrichs
Manitoba hog producers face global trade uncertainties, disease prevention issues, increasing environmental concerns and sky-high input costs all of which are affecting producers’ margins but the Manitoba hog industry is seeing growth.
At the Manitoba Pork annual meeting recently, producers got updates on a lengthy list of regulatory issues that they need to attend to.
New sustainability regulations and protocols including the new Canadian Pork Excellence program may layer on additional administrative work for producers, however much of the industry agrees it is a good investment towards protecting the market that now represents about $1.7 billion to the provincial economy.
Even though, as Manitoba Pork chair, Rick Prejet said, “It’s not particularly profitable right now,” the number of animals produced annually in the province is up to about eight million, an increase of about 33 per cent over the last eight-to-10 years.
Cam Dahl, general manager of Manitoba Pork said the industry is paying much more attention to bio-security and health and sustainability issues than was the case 15 years ago.
“That awareness to really keep sites secure and keeping your pigs healthy has really grown over time,” Dahl said. “But Manitoba producers are doing a good job.”
The additional precautions and investment means that the cost of new hog barns; there have been about 40 built in the last five years, can get up to about $15 million now.
“It’s gotten a lot more complicated since ‘Old McDonald’,” Dahl said.
Disease outbreaks are not critical these days but the local industry is at the tail end of PED (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea) outbreak that started in 2021. Disease mitigation has been fairly successful.
While many countries in Asia and Africa have been dealing with African Swine Fever (ASF), measures have been in place including ramped up security at Canadian ports by the federal government, to ensure the disease stays out of the country.
“If ASF comes into Canada our borders will close completely,” said Prejet. “It would be a disaster. But we have taken good prevention measures in Canada.”
ASF’s presence is in many markets. ASF has also hit important international con-
Royal Winter Fair Visitors Enjoy Top Level Show Jumping
sumer markets like Vietnam and Philippines and part of Europe which has added another level of uncertainty to the international markets.
The Japanese market remains stable, being the major destination for much of the production from the HyLife plant in Neepawa, yet the Chinese market is a major concern.
“We don’t really know what is going on in China where there are disease issues,” Dahl said in reference to the hog and pork markets. Like many other commodities China is both the world’s largest producer of hogs and is also the largest consumer market.
“So what happens in China is really important,” he said.
The war in Ukraine has also disrupted the feed market. Ukraine has been one of the world’s largest exporters of corn.
Feed corn prices are close $9 per bushel, compared to about $5 before the pandemic and soybean meal at more than $600 a tonne compared to $470 before the pandemic.
“About 60-to-70 per cent of the cost of raising hogs is feed,” Prejet said. “Those inflationary costs put us in one of those phases of the cycle where it means there is not that much money to be made right now.”
Forecasts Increased Wheat and OilseedsBy Elmer Heinrichs
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) the 2023-2024, total field crop production is projected to decline slightly based on an expectation of a return-to-average yield, as area is expected to remain relatively unchanged.
However total wheat production is forecast at 32.8 Mt, up 4 per cent due to an increase in seeded area. Production is projected at 28.9 Mt, 2 per cent more than the previous year and 10 per cent more than the last five-year average.
The planted area to soybeans is projected to increase by 7 per cent to 2.28 Mha while harvested area rises to 2.27 Mha. Trend yields of 3.0 t/ha are predicted, assuming normal temperatures and moisture conditions. Soybean production is forecast at 6.77 Mt, up from last year. To achieve average yields, normal weather and growing conditions over the spring and summer are assumed.
Currently, abnormally cold spring temperatures and continued dryness across Alberta and Saskatchewan are the most significant climate-related agricultural risks to realizing average yields, according to the national agroclimate risk report.
Carry-out stocks are expected to increase marginally as normal production levels combined with larger carry-in stocks (beginning-year inventories) will lead to a small rise in total supply, while exports are expected to continue to be relatively robust and domestic use is expected to remain at average levels.
In general, prices are projected to decrease but still remain relatively strong as expectations for an increase in global supplies exert downward pressure on prices, while support is expected to come from continued strong world demand.
Birds of Prey Help FarmersBy Joan Airey
Prey birds are key partners for Manitoba farmers, adding security against infestations of crop eating and spoiling critters.
For example, a family of Red-tailed hawks can eat ten ground squirrels (gophers) a day over the summer thus eliminating them from eating a farmers crop or hay field.
The American Kestrel Falcon better known as the sparrow hawk’s main diet is mice.
Many visitors watched in awe as James Cowan, Director of the Canadian Raptor Conservancy, put on the Birds of Prey show at the Royal Manitoba Fair in Brandon recently. All the birds used in demonstrations have been raised in captivity.
“The Raptor Conservancy has approximately a hundred and sixty birds on site at their breeding facility,” explained James Cowan adding that “they have released eighty Peregrine Falcons in the wild” over the years.
“Our motto is ‘Protect What We Know’ and the goal is to teach people about birds of prey, their role in nature as well as how important they are to the environment,” he noted.
The Conservancy makes appearances at a thousand events a year with various crews showing off the birds. They hope to teach how everyone can help birds and other animals in their own backyard.
A simple idea on how to help on the Prairies, is building nest boxes for either the Screech Owl or the American Kestrel. These two species are both comfortable regularly settling-in in manmade nesting boxes.
If you’d like to learn more about the Canadian Raptor Conservancy, check them out on Facebook or visit canadianraptorconservancy. com.
The Western Canadian Sheep Industry Needs a Good YearBy Harry Siemens
Simon Atkinson of Brandon, MB is the new Manitoba Sheep Association chair. Simon and his father Tony are buying agents for all classes of sheep and goats five miles northwest of Brandon. The company goes under Atkinson Livestock or Tony Atkinson Livestock.
In the industry-wide newsletter SheepSense - March 2023 Simon said there are many questions and concerns from producers, government members and the public over the bankruptcy of Canada Sheep and Lamb/ North American Lamb Co. and the negative impact on the sheep industry.
This company was mainly an integrated processor putting Canadian lamb into Canadian grocery stores however only purchased a small quantity from Canadian producers. Some producers had contracts, but most of the lambs were produced by the company with a portion imported from the United States.
While North American Lamb Company (NALCO) a joint venture between a New
portion of the blame for the soft market, in the long term the Innisfail, Alberta plant’s return to processing mostly lamb produced by western Canadian farmers should be a good thing, he said.
Préval Ag from Quebec are the new owners of the Innisfail processing plant with a capacity of 80,000 to 85,000 lambs, now called Westfine Meats Inc., a Canadian farming family business. Préval Ag already has significant lamb processing in Canada and the US along with veal, poultry, beef and vegetables. The company is a well-established player in the North American protein industry and can stabilize the Innisfail processing plant and the Canadian market and industry.
Canadian producers supply only about 40 per cent of the Canadian lamb demand and consumption; the rest comes from other countries.
Simon said that number is relatively stable and the new plant owners in Innisfail while adding long-term stability will not affect it directly. However, a solid processor footing in western
pand their flock.
“If we have a reliable plant offering some contracting so you can make a business model going forward rather than just having to sell on the day would also be good,” said Atkinson.
It adds more stability to the market if the new company can assure sheep producers the plant will keep processing and increase capacity.
“And whether we market them into the plant or they market them directly, it should be a good opportunity for our industry,” he said.
Simon and his father Tony plug into the industry by helping the vast majority of the smaller flocks in Manitoba that can never put the numbers together to ship direct.
“That’s where we as dealers come in to make these packages up because a semiload needs 400-plus lambs,” said Atkinson. “So many producers need help putting that kind of number together. That’s where we come in as a dealer to source them from all over, namely Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan.”
Simon is cautiously optimistic about the sheep business in Canada. However, 2022 was a challenging year for producers with that bankruptcy, the market downturn, and the high cost of inputs combined with the damage from inflation over the last few years, resulting in some producers leaving the industry.
“But we’re moving into a new marketing year for the lambs, and hopefully with this new player in Alberta, it should be a better year for everybody,” said Atkinson. “If we don’t have a better year this year, we’ll lose many more producers out of the market because last year wasn’t sustainable for many producers.”
Western Grain Growers Call for Contingency Plan During Strike ActionBy Harry Siemens
Picket lines went up nationwide as more than 155,000 Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members began to strike on April 19.
The union members on strike comprise approximately a third of the federal public service, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada employees and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). AAFC research centres and the CGC head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba are among the more than 250 sites where the union says it is picketing.
Agriculture and AgriFood Canada said the strike would disrupt the delivery of federal programs and services, including AgriInvest, AgriStability, the Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program, Youth Employment and Skills Program, and programs under the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, says Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Sixty-five per cent of Canadian Grain Commission employees, including staff that looks after outward inspection on grain shipments, are on strike.
The Wheat Growers Association (WGA) said in a news release that the federal strike would devastate the grain industry and demanded a contingency plan and offer.
The WGA called upon the Government of Canada to ensure the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) employees within the PSAC union return to work immediately. As noted in a letter to Minister Bibeau, the Wheat Growers requested the Government of Canada prepare a contingency plan for the strike.
A strike causing a slowing or stoppage of grain movement from Canadian ports will have a massive impact on the entire grain industry, especially farmers said WGA president Gunter Jochum.
“Farmers need to con-
tinue to deliver last year’s crop before spring seeding to run their businesses and purchase inputs for the 2023 crop,” he said. “A stoppage would be devastating to the industry and ultimately to consumers.”
The release said any disruption in the supply chain would also cause a backlog of vessels currently en route to Canadian ports, adding additional penalties dragged out long after a strike settlement.
The Wheat Growers told Minister Bibeau long before the strike that the government needs to grant immediate exemptions for thirdparty service providers to ensure inspections continue and the loading of vessels and released to the customer. Based on customer demands, approximately 70 per cent of Canadian grain is inspected by CGC and third parties, calling into question the double inspection costs alone of over $60 million annually to farmers.
“With efficiencies para-
mount in any business, is it time for CGC services to move to a regulatory oversight model like the United States?” questioned Jochum.
While the Wheat Growers recognize that would require a legislative change, until then the association expects the government to ensure that CGC staff not in the PSAC union be available to pick up, bag and tag samples provided by a third party for CGC grading, thereby ensuring to minimize vessel loading and movement impacts because of the strike.
Franco Terrazzano, the federal communication director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said “Canadians don’t feel sorry for privileged federal bureaucrats,” on Twitter. According to Terrazzano, more than 90 per cent of them got pay raises during the pandemic.
“They never worried about losing their jobs,” said Terrazzano. “Now they want billions more.
Wheat Growers Association president Gunter Jochum said that while government public servants are on strike the farmers are worried this will cause a backlog of grain shipments which will prohibit farmers from delivering the last of their grain in storage. They are calling on the federal government to have a contingency plan during the strike to keep grain moving.
Enough is enough.”
In a text message, Jochum noted if any disruptions had occurred, “We’re worried this will cause a backlog of grain shipments which will
prohibit farmers from delivering the last of their grain in storage. It will also affect BRM or business risk deliveries and possibly research from AAFC.”
Efficient Grain Drying Technologies Across Manitoba Receive Financial BoostBy Dan Guetre
The Federal Government has announced their support for 45 new projects related to adopting more efficient grain drying technology by farmers across Canada.
With this investment of up to more than $22.2 million through the Agricultural Clean Technology Program – Adoption Stream, the Program has now supported 99 grain dryer projects across the country, representing a total of more than $37.1 million.
With $50 million set aside for the purchase and installation of more efficient grain dryers and $10 million set aside for fuel switching initiatives, this program is already helping hundreds of farmers to adopt clean technologies that will power their farms with cleaner energy.
Wiebe Chicken Farm in La Riviere is receiving $128,400 towards the installation of an electric boiler. True North Foods in Carman is receiving almost $1.4M to install a rapid organic converter and rendering system. A+ Producers Inc. in Morris was awarded $621,289 to help them install a new grain dryer. Other Funded Projects in Manitoba include: Baker Farms, Beausejour - Install new grain dryer $305,779
Blue Diamond Agra Ltd, Roblin - Install new grain dryer
Boekhorst Grain Ltd., Brunkild - Install new grain dryer $371,340
Brightstone Colony, Lac Du
Bonnet - Install biomass boiler for barn heating $497,997
Dyck Farms, Plum Cou-
lee - Install new grain dryer
eAcres Inc., Sperling - Install new grain dryer, biomass boiler, heat exchanger and other clean technologies
Entreprises Louis Balcaen Inc., La Broquerie - Purchase precision agriculture technology $88,335
Fontaine Farms Ltd., Letellier - Install new grain dryer
Foxtail Farm Ltd., Mor-
ris - Install biomass boiler
Haskett Growers, Winkler
- Install new grain dryer and grain blower $145,000
Hylife Ltd., La Broquerie
- Develop mobile manure separator $266,992
Hyline Pumping, La Broquerie - Purchase precision agriculture technology $25,115
Interlake Colony Farms, Teulon - Install new grain dryer
JDD Farms Ltd, Gilbert Plains - Install new grain dryer $193,143
Lowry Agri Enterprises Ltd., Neepawa - Purchase precision agriculture technology
Marble Ridge Colony Farms
Ltd., Carroll - Install biomass equipment $350,988
Northern Breeze Colony, Portage la Prairie - Install biomass boiler $322,371
O Foods Ltd., Winnipeg - Install bioeconomy solution and fuel switching $2,000,000 Oakland Colony Farms Ltd., Carroll - Install new grain dryer and fuel switching
Red River Seeds Ltd., Morris
- Install new grain dryer and fuel switching $234,881
Rolling Acres Colony, Eden
- Install biomass furnace
Schiewe Farms, Morris
- Install new grain dryer
Seymour Farms, Manitou
- Install new grain dryer
Swansfleet Equipment, Bruxelles - Install new grain dryer
Tobacco Creek Farms, Morris - Install biomass boiler and bio-roter dehydrator $241,965
Tri-Leaf Colony Farms, Baldur - Install new grain dryer
W.F. Farms Ltd., Portage la Prairie - Install new grain dryer and biomass boiler
Province Funds Green Projects During Lead-Up to Earth DayBy Elmer Heinrichs
The Manitoba government is awarding $75,800 in grants from the Conservation and Climate Fund to support three projects that are helping protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Environment and Climate Minister Kevin Klein in the lead-up to Earth Day.
“We are proud to support these three green projects that work to mitigate carbon emissions from refrigerants, support climate resiliency in Winnipeg’s inner city and foster stronger connections with nature and local food production,” said Klein. “These initiatives will help play a role in protecting our environment while advancing our government’s priority to transition Manitoba to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.”
Funding support for the three projects includes pro-
viding $43,300 to Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Association Inc. for delivery of new natural refrigerant training to new and experienced technicians; contributing $25,000 to Manitoba Eco-Network for the next phase of the Building Community Climate Resiliency Project with inner city neighbourhoods in Winnipeg; and investing $7,500 in the Boyne Regional Library in Carman for nature discovery backpacks and a seed library program for families to engage with local natural habitats.
“The funding will help fill a gap by providing much-needed training for Manitoba’s refrigerant technicians to gain the expertise and hands-on knowledge to safely and properly handle equipment for emerging and green refrigerants,” said Mark Miller, executive director, Manitoba Ozone Pro-
tection Industry Association Inc. “This training initiative will reduce the use of potent greenhouse refrigerant gases in automobile air conditioning, fridges and freezers, water coolers, dehumidifiers, window air conditioners and other equipment.”
The Manitoba government launched the conservation and climate fund to support projects implemented by non-profit organizations, educational institutions, municipalities and northern communities to address climate change and protect the environment.
Last year, the Manitoba government increased the fund to $1.5 million to support even more green projects and initiatives, noted Klein. The Manitoba government is now also accepting applications for the 2023 intake of the fund. The deadline for applications is May 23.
Prevent Frothy Bloat in Beef Cows on Early Spring Pasture
rumen fluid. Natural gas release is slow, because gases are trapped inside small emulsified bubbles. This gaseous froth often interferes with the rumen nerve-receptors that open up the oesophagus for gas expulsion.
Cattle are often susceptible to frothy bloat when grazing lush alfalfa pastures compared to other types of sprouting legumes and grasses. This is due to alfalfa’s: (1) low fibre content that allow greater consumption in a short period of time, (2) a rumen digestion rate that is up to ten times greater than most grasses; produces lots of carbon dioxide and methane, and (3) a high level of soluble-protein that increases the thickness of rumen fluid, which can easily trap fermentative gas bubbles and prevents natural gas-expulsion.
The potential for frothy bloat in cattle grazing alfalfa pastures is greatest when alfalfa is in its lush vegetative to early stages of growth. As the grazing season progress, alfalfa like other pasture plants matures as it enters its bloom stage; fibre levels in its stems increase substantially and soluble protein levels in its leaves decrease. This natural maturation of alfalfa plants lessens overall bloat risk.
There are a couple of ways to treat the frothy bloat cases that pop up in the beef cowherd grazing lush pasture. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lists Poloxalene (Bloat-guard) to be fed at 1.0 g per 45.36 kg of bodyweight for moderate bloat cases and 2.0 g per 45.36 kg per 45.36 kg bodyweight for severe ones.
However, I talked to a couple of beef producers that graze pasture in the spring and they believe that prevention of frothy bloat is its best medicine in the first place:
ThereBy Peter Vitti
As a beef nutritionist, I haven’t heard about many fatal cow bloat cases over the last ten years. Of the few cases that I am aware of, it seems that it takes only a few things to come together to make bloat deadly. I am also aware, from talking to experienced beef producers that most potential for annual bloat problems are quickly defused, if common sense prevails. And some preventative steps are taken in the early spring, before letting cows out onto lush-green pasture. Most of these measures are simple and yet effective against bloat in cattle. That’s because, the development of bloat lends itself to simple ruminant biology. Normally, the rumen-microbes ferment a mouthful of pasture-forage into essential nutrients, which are utilized by the cow to perform its vital functions, nurse a calf and get ready for re-breeding.
As part of this process, end-gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are produced, which subtly distend the rumen, yet trigger ruminal nerves, which cause gas-expulsion during “cud-chewing”. Unfortunately, bloat develops when the same rumen for one reason or another cannot release this gas, which may accumulate to deadly asphyxiation.
Consequently, there are two types of bloats that can be fatal to beef cows on pasture. The first type is “free-gas” bloat which is straight accumulation of trapped gas in the rumen. It occurs in about 10% of all pasture bloat cases and is thought to be predominant among chronic bloaters. The other type of bloat is known as “frothy bloat”, which encompasses majority of bloat problems on pasture.
Frothy bloat occurs when the rate of forage consumption and digestion is so rapid that fermentation gases mix with the
- The first producer operates a 300 cow-calf operation. He and his wife put out barley straw bales on the first few acres of alfalfa-grass pastures that the cattle are initially released. Their idea is to let their cows fill up on straw. They keep putting out bales for the first couple weeks of the pasture season. It also seems having access to salt blocks and loose mineral on the same pasture reduces the incidence of bloat.
- The second producer operates a 150 cow-calf operation. He calves his cows on grass pastures and practices rotationalgrazing. His cows graze mostly grass-stands for the first few weeks of spring, because there isn’t much alfalfa fields to be grazed. Most of his cattle move onto predominantly alfalfafields in the mid-summer and by then pastures have matured.
These are two great testimonials that effectively control bloat in beef cows grazing early spring pastures. Yet their experiences are of timeless value. While its’ risk cannot be totally eliminated, frothy bloat can be substantially reduced with a sound preventative action plan, before the first cow steps foot onto lush-green fields.
are two types of bloats that can be fatal to beef cows on pasture. The first type is “free-gas” bloat which is straight accumulation of trapped gas in the rumen. It occurs in about 10% of all pasture bloat cases and is thought to be predominant among chronic bloaters. The other type of bloat is known as “frothy bloat”, which encompasses majority of bloat problems on pasture. Frothy bloat occurs when the rate of forage consumption and digestion is so rapid that fermentation gases mix with the rumen fluid.Submitted photo
Growing Winter Wheat and Promoting Better Duck HabitatBy Harry Siemens
Duck populations are declining across the Prairie Pothole Region due to habitat loss. Because pintails choose cropland and stubble to raise their young, Ducks Unlimited became interested in how farming and wildlife can live better together.
To encourage the use of winter wheat, Cereals Canada in Winnipeg, MB, Ducks Unlimited, and prairie winter wheat producer groups have created the habitat-friendly winter wheat Ecolabel program.
According to Cereals Canada, their Ecolabel program helps consumers identify food and drink items using up to 30 per cent western Canadian winter wheat.
“This way, consumers can positively impact the environment by supporting wildlife habitats and local farmers,” explained Leif Carlson, the director of market intelligence and trade policy with Cereals Canada.
In addition a century-old flour mill and iconic Canadian food brand are partnering with the Ecolabel program to help provide sustainable food options that support wildlife.
Carlson said the Habitat Friendly Winter Wheat Eco-
label program resulted from research by Ducks Unlimited Canada. The research showed that ducks and wild birds nested in winter wheat stubble were 24 times more successful than those nested in spring cereal stubble.
“That’s because of the nature of winter wheat and how farmers plant it in the fall and no-tilling in the spring and a good product to promote,” said Carlson.
He said the winter wheat overwinters into the spring and there is no need to work the stubble in the spring which is a critical period for duck nesting.
“The fact that the ground isn’t disturbed is thought to be why some ducks are more successful,” said Carlson.
The Ecolabel goes on packages of product that contains at least 30 per cent flour made from winter wheat. So now customers if they buy those products support duck habitats in western Canada.
Three partner companies use Ecolabel in Canada. Most recently Coyote Pancakes out of southern Alberta use the Ecolabel mills flour and make pancake and waffle mixes.
“We’ve got Beam Suntory distilling Northern Keep
Vodka, which uses winter wheat also in Alberta and Les Moulins de Soulanges in Quebec who mill winter wheat flour for their customers,” said Carlson.
He said the Ecolabel has room to grow and it’s exciting to see the potential to bring on new food manufacturers who want to use winter wheat flour. The Duck Unlimited, science backed studies show that winter wheat provides additional nesting habitat for wildlife especially waterfowl and songbirds on the Canadian Prairies.
“Any growers of Canadian western red winter wheat, we’d love to hear from them and make sure they know about the program by contacting Cereals Canada,” said Carlson.
Doug Martin who farms near Selkirk, MB, was chair of the Winter Cereals before joining the Manitoba Crop Alliance when Winter Cereal started the project with Cereals Canada and Ducks Unlimited.
“It’s about this whole sustainability and the benefits in growing winter wheat as well as ecological benefits, especially for ducks,” said Martin. “This program rewards farmers with increased winter wheat
usage and a higher price.”
It is a new project identifying farmers growing winter wheat and using it in a rotation finding some benefits and knowing they’re growing it because it’s sustainable.
“It’s good for the environment, but having it on a label takes it to the next level,” said Martin.
Jake Wipf, production manager of Coyote Pancake Mix, said participating in this Ecolabel program makes sense since it represents a purpose-
ful way to preserve various water birds in the wetlands and lakes around Magrath, Alberta.
“Rockport Flour Mills cares deeply about the environment and our operations’ impact on it,” said Wipf. “We are pleased to share that our audit met the Habitat-Friendly Winter Wheat certification requirements. All three Coyote Pancake and Waffle Mixes are made with flour containing at least 30 per cent habitat-friendly winter wheat.”
Closure of Olymel’s Pork Processing Plant Impacts Overall ProductionBy Harry Siemens
On April 18, the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) said Olymel’s announcement of the closure of its ValléeJonction, QC plant is tough news for the industry.
“The reasons the company stated, ‘the pandemic, an ongoing labour shortage, inflationary pressures and challenges with accessing foreign markets’ have impacted the entire industry,” said Rene Roy, chair of the council. “We know food security is an ongoing question for governments across Canada and starts with producers able to compete and have buyers for their products.”
The CPC said the council will work with governments and partners to find long-term solutions. However, this closure will impact Quebec, Atlantic Canada and other parts of the country and requires a national solution.
The pork industry is a $7billion industry in Canada, with almost $5 billion in exports.
The shutdown affects almost 1,000 Olymel employees laid off in a rural region of Canada and the producers who need to find a new home to sell their products.
While a significant impact for eastern Canada, Cam Dahl, general manager for Manitoba Pork said the closure would have a small impact on Manitoba hog farmers or processors.
“We have seen a small increase in the number of pigs coming in from eastern Canada for processing. This pig movement will continue,” said Dahl. “However, it will not significantly impact
Manitoba farmers’ ability to access processing.”
He said the announcement demonstrates the processors’ and farmers’ tight/negative margins. In addition, African Swine Fever (ASF) in the EU, Asia, and especially China creates significant global market uncertainty.
High input prices, while feed has come down from record high prices, feed costs are still beyond any experience. Also, the war in Ukraine, a major feed supplier, especially in the EU creates additional general economic uncertainty with inflation and rising interest rates.
“The closure demonstrates the impact of chronic labour shortages,” said Dahl. “We must continue to work to ensure that our farmers and processors have access to the skilled labour needed to run farms and plants, including foreign labour.”
He re-emphasized that Manitoba must work to ensure the province is an attractive place to invest in the pork sector, including investments to refurbish existing barns and build new barns to keep the critical mass of production needed to keep the local processing plants working.
Bill Alford, general manager of Hams Marketing Services of Winnipeg MB, said little detail on the negotiations with Les Eleveurs du porc Quebec and Olymel is available.
However, the surplus of hogs from out east will dry up reducing numbers available for western packers to purchase. This is good news regarding getting Canadian
hog production back in balance with demand he noted.
“Western Canadian packers cannot supplement slaughter schedules with hogs from the East,” said Alford. “This should translate into a more competitive environment for western Canadian hog producers. It is difficult to say by how much, however.”
The approximated 1 million hogs per annum will no longer be available in the North American hog market because of the situation in Quebec. Therefore, reducing the hog supply will ultimately lower the amount of pork available for domestic and export consumption.
“There are other factors at play in determining the hog price and profitability but less supply will help with price recovery across the industry,” he said.
Part of the negotiations is to reduce hog production in Quebec to inevitably match up with plant capacity, given all the plant closures. Back in 2009-2010, there was a federal program to buy out hog producers, given the overall poor state of the Canadian hog industry.
“I understand Quebec is preparing a similar buyout for producers. [An] X amount of money will go to the buyout, and interested producers will submit bids to cease production,” said Alford Producers who successfully bid would then be obligated to cease production out of the respective facility(s) for at least five years or face a penalty-repayment. There would likely be successive bidding rounds until the allocated monies are gone.
Cam Dahl, general manager for Manitoba Pork said that the province has seen a small increase in the number of pigs coming in from eastern Canada for processing due to the announced Olymel closure. However, it has not significantly impacted Manitoba farmers’ ability to access processing.
Delicious Meals with What’s on HandBy Joan Airey
Not everyone has as much time to spend planning their menu days ahead as I do using what they have on hand.
We are still eating potatoes grown in our garden last summer.
They need to be used up so I have been trying some new recipes and with an abundance of carrots on hand I’ve been incorporating them into our diet.
1.5 lbs. Creamer potatoes (I use Norland potatoes out of my cold room)
4 large carrots sliced
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish if you have some on hand.
Roast Potatoes and Carrots
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the potatoes into small chunks and place in bowl or baking dish with sliced carrots. In a small bowl whisk together butter, garlic, parsley, salt, thyme and pepper. Spoon over potatoes and carrots in bowl. Stir vegetables to coat, and then spread in an even layer on a parchment lined baking dish.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes until desired tenderness is reached. This will depend how big your vegetables are cut.
I melted the butter mixed, added the seasoning and mixed it with the vegetables in the Pyrex bake pan.
Ham and Potato Soup
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 large carrots peeled and sliced
1 medium onion diced
2 ribs celery chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups of chicken broth
2 lbs. peeled and chopped potatoes
2 cups of ham chopped
1 ham bone optional (I didn’t use)
¼ cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
In a large pot heat oil over medium high heat, add carrots, onion and celery, sauté until onions are softened about 45 minutes. Add salt, garlic, parsley, thyme and pepper and cook one minute. Add chicken broth, ham and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender.
To thicken the milk:
Place melted butter in a measuring cup making sure the cup is big enough as mixture will bubble up. Whisk in flour, and milk using a spatula to get the flour from the sides of the cup as necessary.
Microwave in 45-60 second intervals whisking well each time, until milk has thickened considerably. Stand at the microwave and keep an eye on the mixture as it will bubble up.
When the potatoes are cooked stir in the thickened milk and cheddar cheese.
I halved this recipe because I was only serving two people and it did us two meals. I don’t freeze soups that contain milk or cream.
New Research Lends an Ear to How Drought Impacts Corn Yields
Corn is a classic North American crop. First cultivated in North America thousands of years ago, it now blankets farmland from coast to coast. The grain is used for everything from tortilla chips to cow feed, to biofuel.
But like most crops, corn is facing a new risk – climate change. Climate change isn’t just making the world warmer. It’s also changing when and how much rain falls. This leaves more corn farmers at risk of facing drought during part of the growing season.
Unfortunately, not all droughts are created equal. If it strikes at the wrong time, an entire field can be lost.
“A severe drought during the corn reproductive stage can cause a complete crop failure. Thus, understanding corn responses to drought and managing accordingly is critical for successful corn production,” said Ranadheer Vennam, graduate student in the Plant and Soil Sciences department at Mississippi State University.
Vennam studies how corn responds to drought. In his latest research, Vennam and his lab group looked at how sensitive corn flowering is to drought and the impacts it has for farmers.
Corn flowering is rather complex. Each individual ovule sends out a very long silk, which must capture pollen from the tassels above the plant in order to produce a kernel. This requires careful coordination.
“Successful reproduction in corn is all about timing,” said Dr. Raju Bheemanahalli (Vennam’s supervisor). “It takes less than two weeks for corn to pollinate, which is extremely sensitive to stressors, including drought.”
To determine the impact drought has on this process, Vennam’s team exposed corn plants to various levels of drought during flowering. They ran their trial at the R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, Mississippi State University. During the two-week flowering period, the researchers reduced the amount of water each plant received. In the most extreme test, the plants received just 20% of the amount of water they needed.
To track how drought affects the plants, the researchers measured how much the silks grew every day. They also measured the final yield and key quality traits of the kernels, like the amount of starch and protein they had.
Vennam’s study also tracked key aspects of plant growth, like the leaf chlorophyll content.
When exposed to severe drought, the ears of corn produced much less silk biomass than healthy ears did. The number of silks was also about one-third lower. Without enough healthy silks, corn ears can’t grow many kernels. Vennam saw that yield decreased by 90% in the severe drought treatment. This drop in yield came from a severe reduction in both the number of kernels and how much each kernel weighed.
As a comparison, the researchers also tested a month-long drought stress after flowering was over. Even though this drought lasted more than twice as long at this stage, yield wasn’t affected that much.
“This illustrates the sensitivity of a reproductive stage
to drought stress and its timing of it and how stress affects corn production,” said Bheemanahalli.
With the information gained from this study, the researchers are now trying to make
corn more resilient to drought stress. The next step is finding genetics of corn that are naturally able to handle drought better during flowering. If they can succeed in finding these hardier plants, breeders
can work to cross these traits into the varieties of corn that farmers want to grow. The result could be better varieties/ hybrids that can adapt to our changing climate.
When exposed to severe drought, ears of corn produce much less silk biomass than healthy ears of corn. The silks must emerge from the corn ear at just the right time. Drought affects this critical timing, which can negatively impact the yield.
A corn cob that was shucked early to show the silks early in the flowering. Corn flowers are unique, with each kernel producing one long silk that must be pollinated.
High Tech Water Planning Tools to Benefit Pembina
Valley Farmers and Communities
Pembina Valley Watershed District (PVWD), Swan Lake First Nation, and Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association are partnering in an exciting $35,000 project supported by the RBC Foundation through RBC Tech for Nature. The project partners will work closely with Aquanty, a Canadian software company, on the development of a landscape simulation HydroGeoSphere (HGS) model that will help guide land management decisions and on-farm planning by farmers, watershed districts and communities around water resources.
“Supporting new ideas, technologies and partnerships to solve pressing environmental challenges is how we bring RBC Tech for Nature to life” said Mark Beckles, vice-president, social impact & innovation, RBC. “That’s why we’re excited to support Pembina Valley Watershed District, Aquanty Inc. and the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association and their work through the development of a Farm/Environment Hydrologic Forecasting Tool for the Swan Lake Sub-Watershed. This multifaceted forecasting tool for land managers will help them deal with the challenges of managing their lands, waters, and productivity.”
“MFGA is very proud to be part of the team that brings this incredible water technology to the Pembina Valley Watershed District and Swan Lake First Nation,” added Lawrence Knockaert, MFGA chair. “We look forward to promoting the project and helping all stakeholders get up to speed on the forecasting tool in the near future.”
“The Pembina Valley Watershed district is excited by the possibilities of this new tool,” noted Ryan Sheffield, PVWD manager. “We hope that producers can find value in the ability to make better predictions of hydrological conditions.”
The soon-to-be-completed HGS model will simulate real time water flows over, under and through the landscape, using climate and weather information to provide 7- and 32-day forecasting for soil moisture, groundwater levels and surface water levels and flow. The tool will be housed on MFGA.net, and will be the second model forecasting tool for the watershed district after the recently-announced AAFC-funded forecasting tool for the PVWD. The partners will organize and provide community stakeholders and local farmers with webinar introductions to the forecasting model around the ability and progress on the forecasting tool.
Promote Good Rumen Development in Dairy Calves
Whenever I visit a dairy barn, I take a tour of the calf barn and post-weaning pens. When the milkfed calves are healthy and frisky, I am confident that they are on a good feeding and management program. Then, I move onto where the post-weaned/unbred replacement heifers are being housed. If they are also doing well, I am also assured that good feed is being put in front of them and they are well-treated. Such observations demonstrate that good calves are being raised. Yet, it is also an indication that good internal rumen development is in the works, which turns these calves into profitable milk-cows.
Unlike a mature cow with a fully functioning rumen that can digest a variety of forages and feeds; the newborn calf is limited to digesting milk-based meals. That’s because, its rumen is small (25% of her total gut capacity), sterile and non-functional at birth. Yet in about 12 weeks time, the same calf adopts the necessary microbes from its feed and surrounding environment to enlarge rumen capacity as well as transforms it into a digestive-working organ like an adult.
Consequently, the diet fed to the growing calf during this time, matters. Feeding accelerated amounts of milk or milk replacer promotes good growth, but it contributes little to
its rumen development. It’s the accompanied calf starter, which is usually introduced at two-week old of age that starts rumen maturation. Namely, the initial digestion of calf starter starch, which produces important propionic and butyric volatile fatty acids.
Propionic acid is absorbed across the rumen wall and is transported to the liver and metabolized to help meet the calf’s body energy requirements. In turn, butyric acid is taken up by the ruminal wall cells, but is metabolized only there. As a result, papillae start to grow from the inner rumen wall. These fingerlike projections allow for greater surface area, which dovetails into greater nutrient absorption used for vital functions and growth as the calf becomes older.
The accompanied Penn State University photo illustrates that inner wall of the reticulum (honey-comb part) and rumen from euthanized six-week-old calves, which were fed milk and calf starter. They resemble a deep-piled carpet - lined with many papillae. Its’ rich dark color is due to large blood vessels and capillaries (better for nutrient absorption). Furthermore, their research demonstrates that these calves fed grain/calf starter until about 12 weeks of age had the greatest papillae development and rumen enlargement. Plus, there is an unseen proliferation of forage, grain-digesting bacteria
plus protozoa filling the liquid pool in the rumen; so ultimately a variety of diets can be fed.
Such natural rumen development due to calf starter/grain can be easily promoted. That is why, I recommend that less than 0.5 kilo of texturized 21% protein calf starter be fed to milk-fed calves at about twoweeks of age.
This amount should be built up to about 1.0 – 1.2 kilos by the time they are weaned at 6 – 8 weeks of age. After calves are weaned, they should be transitioned onto 18% texturized or pelleted calf grower diet to be fed up to 2.5 kilos per day. As a result, calves should maintain a good growth rate of about 800 – 900 grams per head per day. Finally, I would wait until they are about 10 – 12 weeks of age, before any significant quantity of forage is fed.
Free-choice water should be also be provided next to a bucket of calf starter, despite calves being milk-fed, since the natural water requirement of pre-weaned calves is higher than what water in milk or milk replacer solution provide. Extra water not only contributes to good rumen development, but it helps maintain rumen pH by dilution of built-up rumen acids from the digestion of calf starter. As well as water forces small particles of starch (and sugar) into the abomasum, which are completely digested. Plus, wa-
ter availability and quality are going to be even more important, once these calves are weaned, because it’s going to be their only source to meet essential water requirements.
Regardless, good science has proven that high-quality calf starter/grower diets fed to milk-fed and post-weaned calves plays an integral role in their good rumen development. On the farm, we actually cannot see good rumen development happening, but we can definitely see these calves achieve good growth rates (as well as optimum body condition) and later-on as they turn into 1st lactation milking cows.
Feeding accelerated amounts of milk or milk replacer promotes good growth in the first weeks, but it contributes little to its rumen development. It’s the accompanied calf starter, which is usually introduced at two-week old of age that starts rumen maturation. Namely, the initial digestion of calf starter starch, which produces important propionic and butyric volatile fatty acids.
Canadian Pork Producers Disappointed with UK’s Misleading Positioning on Trade Issues
The Canadian Pork Council is disappointed with the United Kingdom’s (UK) misleading positioning on trade issues.
The Government of Canada’s acceptance of UK restrictions on access to products in the TransPacific Partnership Agreements, “Is a further indication our negotiators tie one hand behind their backs as they pursue rules-based trade,” the group shared.
“Rules-based free trade requires both sides agree to follow the rules, and in
this case, the United Kingdom is not, and has no intention of doing so,” CPC chair Rene Roy said in a release. “We need to have a more realistic view of our trading partners and stop expecting other countries to have our best interests at heart.”
The UK needed this deal more than Canada did, Roy explained.
“Yet, we gave more than we needed to allow them access to a global market,” he said. “We would be happy to work with the Gov-
ernment of Canada to help our negotiators get better at developing non-tariff trade barriers as we need to retaliate against unfair partners.”
Even worse, Roy pointed out that the UK has made deliberate misleading statements about Canadian pork.
“We do not use added growth hormones in Canadian pork,” Roy clarified.
“Our food inspection and safety system is second to none, and in fact, is superior to the United Kingdom’s,” said Roy. “The Government
of Canada must defend its system more aggressively to keep falsehoods from being repeated by our trading partners.”
Roy emphasized that this trade agreement does not improve trade in the agriculture sector between Canada and the UK. He urges government leaders to do more work before it’s ratified.
“There’s still time – it has not passed Parliamentary approval, so we can figure this out before we’ve signed a bad deal,” he said in a release.
Keep it Out of the Ditch Adequate
Moisture Levels for SeedingBy Elmer Heinrichs
Timi Ojo echoed that soil moisture levels appear to be adequate across most of Manitoba heading into spring seeding.
“I wouldn’t expect that we would have an issue with soil moisture this year,” said
Ojo, an agriculture meteorology specialist for Manitoba Agriculture. “In most places, soils were sitting at about 80 to 100 per cent of their available water holding capacity (AWC) from the fall.”
In a typical spring, even
if there hadn’t been a lateseason storm and even if the ground hadn’t remained frozen longer than normal, the situation would still look pretty similar in terms of soil moisture, especially with AWC numbers where they currently.
Aquanty Forecasting Tools Kept Open for High-Water Spring Thaw
Farmers and land managers across the entire Assiniboine River Basin throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as Manitoba’s Pembina/Plum watersheds of the Red River Basin will have free and full access to Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association’s (MFGA) Aquanty Forecasting Tool during the 2023 spring thaw and run-off.
“We’ve really been focused on the delivery and implementation of the MFGA Aquanty Forecasting Tools in the Assiniboine River Basin and the Pembina Valley Watershed, and we believe they are ready to roll from a farmer or land manager perspective of understanding water resources on your land or coming down stream,” said Lawrence Knockaert, MFGA chair and dairy farmer from Bruxelles. “We have completed focus groups, accepted all feedback and we do have more work to do on
what our go-forward looks like from a marketing and subscription point of view. But we also know that offering our forecasting tool to farmers at this time of the year is exactly what MFGA is all about. We are farmerled and are looking out for the best interests of our farmers and neighbours. It makes no sense to us to have the tool functional and it not being used by farmers during this time of year.”
Both of the MFGA Aquanty Forecasting Tools were funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The Pembina Valley Watershed District (PVWD) is a key partner on the Pembina/Plum Forecasting Tool. Both forecasting tools are housed on a portal at MFGA.net that can be accessed via mfga.net/aquantyproject.
To help bridge the technology, there is a learning cen-
tre on that page that will include a “Quick Start Guide” for visitors to the portal. A future training webinar is tentatively planned for the forecasting tool on April 27, 2023 that will be communicated soon across MFGA and PVWD channels.
Amanda Taylor at Aquanty, a Waterloo, Ontario based software company that has led the design of the tool says the forecasting tool will give producers both near-term (7-day) and longer term (32-day) forecasts for soil moisture, ground water and surface water conditions on or near the land that they manage.
Taylor said this tool should help them address the risks associated with water resources management under increasingly variable climate and weather conditions.
“The tool will help provide advance warning of both flood and drought conditions,” said Taylor. “In
addition to the forecasting abilities, the tool will also allow producers to view recent satellite imagery of their land so that they can monitor all areas of their land in nearreal time without requiring on-site visits.”
According to Knockaert, MFGA will develop and utilize a user subscription approach in the future to look after maintenance and upkeep costs of running the forecasting tool. There will be no charges to any users until MFGA and Aquanty develop and implement that eventual system.
The intention will be to design a system that farmers are provided access through watershed districts, agriculture groups or other affiliations while professionals that may be working on or monitoring water and land usage via conservation organizations and rural municipalities will be able to subscribe to the tool for their own use.
Pork Council Applauds Vaccine Bank, Biofuels Announced in Federal Budget
The recent federal budget’s establishment of a vaccine bank for foot-and-mouth disease, and its support for the growth of the biofuels industry, are excellent steps for Canada’s pork industry, said Canadian Pork Council chair Rene Roy.
“The vaccine bank, and the transportation supply chain office, are proof that governments can partner with producer groups to solve issues,” said Roy. “We know these are steps on a path to ever-depending partnerships
with the agriculture sector.”
The Budget also outlines an increase in interest relief for agriculture producers under the Advance Payments Program from $250,000 to $350,000 for 2023 program year.
“The by-products of the biofuels industry may be important feedstocks for our sector, so we look forward to working with government and the sector in meeting the growing demand for lower emissions fuels,” said Roy.
“We also applaud the gov-
ernment’s ongoing commitment to ensuring preferred free trade access to the whole G7, and two-thirds of global consumers through the new NAFTA, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership,” he said.
Roy said the budget shows there remains work to be done to help Canada’s agriculture sector, but he said the government is listening.
If there is anything that this never-ending winter has taught me, it is to never judge the people that leave their winter tires on for all twelve months here on the prairies. Not only are those winter tires great at keeping your vehicle out of the ditch while driving through snow, they also provide valuable traction at the boat launch when your minivan or 4x2 pickup truck is having a hard time extracting your boat from the lake!
Once spring does arrive, the window for seeding and spraying is going to be smaller than in previous years. After the seed is in the ground and crop maintenance is underway, summer project season will be here before you know it. Before you hit the ground running with your summer projects, remember an important part of these projects – insurance!
Along with summer projects comes the risk of summer storms. We have seen new buildings blow over during frame-up, bins damaged by wind and hail while only partially completed and excessive rain and water damage projects that are almost complete. We have also seen a rise in rural theft; along with some situations where the thieves return repeatedly without concern of getting caught. I share this to remind you to talk to an insurance broker, to make sure you are insured against these exposures, before you start your project.
A unique detail about the insurance industry is that it is very difficult to place coverage on a partially constructed building. This is not new, but insurers have been even more reluctant this past year to provide coverage for a building that has already been started.
The rationale behind this is, insurers do not want to provide coverage on a project where something may have already gone wrong. They also want to make sure they are collecting the proper amount of premium for the risk they are taking on. While it is challenging, it is not impossible to get coverage after start-up, however it leaves your broker with little leverage and room to negotiate on your behalf.
The best way to avoid this challenge, and the best way to get the best value for your insurance purchase, is to engage your broker prior to the start of the project. While the risk during the concrete and base construction phase of the project does not seem worth insuring too many owners, the coverage rating should reflect that the exposure for that time is limited. Seeking out coverage prior to the start of construction allows your broker time to gather the details, approach multiple markets and obtain the best coverage available for you and your summer project.
At some point soon, summer will arrive, and summer projects will be in full force. Whether you are planning to build a dream shop, a she-shed, or a new home, engage your broker well in advance to get the best insurance value for your project.
Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business!
“This is a journey, not a destination,” said Roy. “Investing in the agriculture sector is in the strategic national interest of every country, and we know this government understands the incredible success story of Canadian food security is not to be taken lightly.
“On behalf of pork producers, we will continue to tell our story and advocate for the government’s ongoing improvements to regulations and investments in the sector.”
David Schmidt is an Account Executive and Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Contact office 204-746-2320, text 204712-6618, email email@example.com or visit rempelinsurance.com.
Survey Indicates Canadian Producers Increasingly Confident in Use of Digital Data
Canadian agriculture producers are becoming more comfortable with the adoption of digital data tools and farm management software, bolstering their trust in the technology according to a RealAgristudies survey.
The survey shows how farmers are adopting digital tools and managing data, including how those practices have evolved since AgExpert conducted a survey on the same topic in 2018. In the RealAgristudies survey, 66 per cent of respondents said they feel the companies that handle their data are doing a good or excellent job. That’s a 31 per cent increase from the survey conducted by AgExpert four years ago that asked the same question.
“There was tremendous uptake by respondents to this survey which signals that digital farm management is top of mind for producers,” said Justin Funk, Agri Studies Inc. managing partner. “We learned that farmers are not just using data but are making it a priority to do more with it in the future as they make important farm management decisions.”
Over 90 per cent of respondents said they use some form of data to manage production on the farm and 60 per cent say they are moderate or extensive users of farm data. Survey respondents cited the ability to make better decisions and to help manage costs as the top benefits of using digital data.
“While cutting costs is important, farmers may be beginning to see more holistic benefits as well,” said Funk. “They are also seeing increased efficiency, better organization and increased profitability, which all contribute to a well-run operation.”
Compared to the 2018 AgExpert survey, the 2022 RealAgristudies survey indicated that many farmers feel more comfortable sharing their data; however, some feel less comfortable.
“Companies that ranked as the most trustworthy by customers are also certified as Ag Data Transparent,” explained Funk. “That is a group that subscribes to a set of core principles around the collection, use, storing and sharing of farm data. It speaks to the role the digital data industry has in earning the trust of farmers by being transparent and working with customers to help them understand how their information is used.”
The RealAgristudies survey suggests those who are the biggest users of farm digital data platforms and technology are also the most confident in its safety.
“With today’s rising costs, producers are wisely looking at how to be more efficient. Using any digital data tool can help producers benefit from time, labour and cost efficiencies.” said Krista Kilback, manager, FCC AgExpert. “Once you identify where you want to find an efficiency, you can find a tool to match. For example, one customer wants to keep track of grain in the bin; that is the best efficiency on their farm and there is technology for that. Another farmer found AgExpert accounting software brought him the accurate financial information he needed in real time instead of having to sift through books and not have information when he needed it.”
The benefits are well documented. When farmers see profitability by the acre, they can fully understand their cost of production, develop specialized seeding plans, and run scenarios to know how to make the most advantageous decisions. The shareability of records also means quicker, more precise communication with farm partners.
The survey suggests Canadian producers are on a trajectory towards increased use and trust of digital farm management, positioning the industry for continued stability and growth in the future as individual operations adopt the agricultural management practices that are right for them.
The survey was conducted in November 2022 using the RealAgristudies Insights Panel, along with AgExpert subscribers. The survey is accurate +/- four per cent with 95 per cent confidence. RealAgristudies is a partnership between the AgMedia company, RealAgriculture and Agri Studies.
What’s Old is New Again: Happy Gardening Everyone!By Brenda Hunter
There is a “new” old practice that is making a comeback in gardening circles. While container planting and raised beds are now quite common along with conventional ‘in-the-ground’ gardens, companion planting is garnering attention for its naturalistic qualities.
Companion gardening is quite simply the practice of planting certain plants in close proximity of other “companion” plants so that they can benefit from one another.
My Mom practiced this method to some extent and passed it on to me some 25 years ago. While I certainly don’t consider myself to be an environmentalist (nor did my mother), it is a practice that just makes sense. It is the way nature intended for it to be – working harmoniously with the most simplistic principles and with the greatest of ease. The seeds have to be planted anyways, so why not plant them in a way that is the most beneficial and pleasing for everyone involved?
There are many reasons for practicing companion gardening, but some of the main ones are to repel or attract insects and animals to promote pollination or ward off threat, plant cooperative species to provide shade, nutrients to the soil, or to save space, and also ultimately to increase crop productivity. The results are good for the environment and for the pocketbook.
Plants are smart. Given the choice, they choose the neighbour that is
friendly, helpful and that they like, instead of the one that is annoying or uncooperative. Some even produce chemicals to either ward off insects or attract them. Yet, other plants produce valuable nutrients that added to the soil and can provide a natural fertilizer.
If we understand how they behave in a natural state of being, we can use this to our advantage in an artificial setting (i.e. our gardens) to perhaps limit pesticide and fertilizer use.
Flowers and herbs can be used alongside your vegetables for both eye appeal and for their specific companion characteristics of either repelling or attracting.
For example, marigolds are companions to many plants including tomatoes and potatoes. They are easy to grow, add eye appeal, and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden, while helping to control harmful nematodes in the soil. They are also a very aromatic flower so have the ability to repel pests like flea beetles from your vegetable garden. An added bonus is that the petals are also edible! Use some to add a little burst of color and interesting flavour to a salad!
Love gladiolus? Well so do I, but perhaps don’t plant them next to your asparagus patch! Glads, as well as onions and garlic are antagonists for asparagus, even though the early spring shoots do like most other vegetables and herbs.
Planting the annual herb, borage, is thought to be useful in multiple ways. Firstly, planted next to squash or pumpkin, it is said to repel the squash bug. Secondly, planted near tomatoes and strawberries, it attracts honeybees while adding potassium, calcium and other nutrients to the soil.
A border of highly aromatic herbs and plants can deter insects as well as animals such as raccoons, mice, deer and rabbits from bothering a garden.
Planting lots of flowering plants and herbs are great for attracting not only bees and butterflies, but also predatory insects that help to drive away or feed on harmful insects.
Plants like parsley, alyssum, dill, yarrow, zinnia, coriander and cilantro can help to attract beneficial insects.
Another well-known companion planting is known as “Three Sisters” and is said to have originated with Native Americans. By planting corn, pole beans and squash together, this trifecta of companion gardening serves many purposes. The corn acts as a trellis for the pole beans and shade for the squash below. The pole beans provide nitrogen for the other two while the squash shades the roots of the corn and pole beans covers the ground to control weeds and preserve moisture.
Below is a list of common garden vegetables, their companions and antagonists, as taken from the Brandon University Hortline webpage.
Survey Looks at Number of Farmers Nearing Retirement and Skills GapBy Harry Siemens
When a new study recently conducted in partnership with the University of Guelph suggested that 40% of farm operators will retire by 2033 leaving Canada without enough farmers, some farmers on Twitter responded.
The report, put together by the Royal Bank of Canada, Boston Consulting Group Centre for Canada’s Future and the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, said the country would be short 24,000 general farm, nursery and greenhouse operators.
It found these gaps loom at a time when Canada’s agricultural workforce needs to evolve to include skills like data analytics and climate-smart practices that enable us to grow more food with fewer emissions.
Gunter Jochum, who farms west of Winnipeg near Eli said there would be fewer farmer workers but not a shortage of farmers. Instead, there will be a need for more skilled farm employees and more automation.
But Jochum said there are very few farms in his area and on just like his farm they don’t have a younger generation waiting in the wings or ready to be involved.
Several farmers from different areas of Canada jumped in quickly to agree with Jochum, also president of the Wheat Growers Association.
“I’d agree with Gunter. In our area, very few farms don’t have a younger generation waiting in the wings or already involved,” said
Ron Krahn at Rivers. “So just focussing on the number of farmers set to retire is misleading.”
John from Brinston, Ontario who operates mainly a dairy farm with just enough corn and beans to make it even more interesting posted that it is a good thing that they are asking. “To answer the question, the answer would be yes. Not so many farmers but maybe managers. Even with robotics; labour is still a concern.”
H. Delichte of Delichte, farms a 126-year-old, 6th-generation Dairy/Grain Farm in south central Manitoba near Alphonse, wrote that ownership of farm resources, such as land, quotas, etc., will continue to become concentrated into fewer hands. In addition, automation will alter the nature of on-farm employment. “The need for agronomists, technicians, and service providers will increase to keep automation working 24-7-365.”
Colin James Bettles chief executive of Grain Producers Australia said, “While the world needs to eat we’ll always have farmers; the job is essential to human survival and political stability.”
Some governments are more acutely aware of food security and act faster to fill job shortages. However, there are also shortages of doctors, teachers, and police to name a few.
Brian Kennedy of Calgary said stats indicate that there are two kinds of farmers in Canada; old and older. “But, from what I see in Alberta’s grains sector, there will
Sustainable Canadian Soy Program Set to Drive Market Opportunities
be another generation to carry on. The National Post story includes all ‘farms’; small low-profit farms don’t compel people to take them over.”
Tyler Burns, one of many pairs of hands involved in the Windy Poplars Farm operation at Wynyard, Saskatchewan was understaffed for 2022. “We needed to get more interest in our job postings. A few opportunities showed to us in late 2022, and now we’re going into the 2023 crop year with many more employees. This will allow for more cross-training in the operation. Famine to feast.”
According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture conducted by Statistics Canada, the average age of farmers in western Canada was 56.6 years. However, this figure has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, and there is a growing concern about the aging population of farmers and the need to attract younger people to the profession.
Researchers say Canada needs 30,000 new immigrants to either start their farms or take over existing ones to avoid a looming labour crisis in the agriculture industry. Some worry, however, current programs need to be set up to attract or support that workforce.
While the number of farmers may be slipping, the more significant challenge is getting farm employees to the farms, not only those looking for a job, but trained and focused on learning and operating expanding technologically and sophisticated farm equipment.
A new national program, Sustainable Canadian Soy, was announced recently by Soy Canada. Sustainable Canadian Soy is a voluntary program for Canadian soybean growers, grain handlers and exporters designed to meet the needs of soybean customers, ensure continued access to premium markets and drive new market opportunities.
“Customers have been asking for a verifiable sustainable program,” said Brian Innes, Executive Director, Soy Canada. “Sustainable Canadian Soy is a market-driven solution that will enable our industry to compete for market share and enhance the sustainability of Canadian farms and the entire soybean value chain.”
Sustainable Canadian Soy utilizes the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA), a globally recognized whole farm sustainability benchmarking and assessment program that focuses on meeting customer needs and values. The FSA aligns with Sustainable Canadian Soy priorities, including land use efficiency, climate-smart farming, soil health, water stewardship, biodiversity and habitat.
Grower participation in the program is voluntary and includes completing an on-farm sustainability questionnaire about economic viability, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.
“At this time, interest in the program is coming from users of food grade and Identity Preserved (IP) soybeans,” said Innes.
The new Sustainable Canadian Soy program was developed by Soy Canada with extensive farmer and industry consultation and is funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriAssurance Program. The Sustainable Canadian Soy Program will be available for the 2023 growing season.
“When it comes to market growth and innovative gains in quality and production, soybeans are a Canadian success story,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This investment will enhance Canada’s reputation as the best source of sustainably produced soybeans in the world and create new market access opportunities.”
The program will be managed by participating grain exporters and handlers serving customers asking for sustainability verification. Innes notes the Sustainable Canadian Soy program was welcomed by international customers in discussions with the exporters and handlers during a recent Indo-Pacific mission.
“Canadian soybean growers are already following sustainable practices, and many participate in value-added programs that meet the needs of customers and offer premiums,” said Innes. “Sustainable Canadian Soy is one more way we can provide our customers value, keeping access to markets that add value to Canadian soybeans.”
Soy Canada is a national value-chain organization for the soybean sector, including seed companies, Canada’s 30,000 growers, exporters and processors. Created in 2014, Soy Canada leads the sector’s efforts on market access and market development, provides industry leadership on issues affecting the growth and profitability of the soybean sector and coordinates research efforts across the value chain and across the country.
Testing Clover as Grass AlternativeBy Elmer Heinrichs
Clover will soon be planted on some Winnipeg city land as officials test its promise as an alternative to grass.
A new report headed to council’s public works committee notes the City is working on a pilot project with Gusta Sod Farms to test the use of clover in sod. This year, the city will also select some boulevards (at so far undetermined locations) to plant clover seeds.
The city is also conducting a pilot project on naturalizing part of Fermor Avenue with indigenous plants, which could help guide future projects.
A cost benefit report on that work is expected in November.
Are You In Shape To Garden?By Joan Airey
I have a library of “The Prairie Garden” newsletter which I refer to regularly because it is written by Manitoba Gardeners and a message on gardening fundamentals made me think, am I in shape? Since we have a spoilt dog that has to be walked everyday I do get out for a walk in the winter but I sure don’t get the same exercise I get in the gardening season. This message struck a chord.
Gardening Safely Fundamentals
- Garden Safely: Don’t wait, get in shape! Practice deep breathing and gentle stretching everyday. Exercise, even 30 minutes of walking daily will strengthen you for enjoying the gardening season ahead.
- Remember to use good body mechanics.
- Gardening injuries: Falls! Statistics show that slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of gardening injuries…Be careful of that garden hose!
- Garden ladders and lawn mowers lead in garden equipment as cause of accidents. Avoid injury. Use, carry and store tools and flower pots safely.
Jessica Sowards has a new book published ‘The First Time Gardener Growing Vegetables” which is full of information on starting plants, how to care for them in the garden and harvesting a great crop of veggies. The book also contains homemade recipes for combating garden problems such as powdery mildew, early blight and fungal infections.
Homemade Baking Soda Remedy
1 gallon water
3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or neem oil
A few drops dish soap to help emulsify
Mix together and spray on tops and bottoms of leaves. Apply in the evening so oil doesn’t scald foliage in the day. Reapply daily.
The book includes a homemade pest spray too which I plan to try.
Hope if you were in the area with the power outage the last few days you were able to keep your plants and selves warm. Luckily for me my plants were still under lights in my laundry room and not in my greenhouse during our 24-hour power outage.
I see that stores have onion sets out and many other garden ing needs. I purchased some extra multipliers this week and started them in pots so I would have some early green onions. I’m hoping by May 1st I can plant potatoes in my greenhouse.
Mosquito Dunks are a little expensive but if you put them in the water that you use to water your plants with they sure help keep the gnats out of your plant pots. I picked some up at our local hardware and the owner asked if they worked, so I shared with him why I was buying them in April.
Let’s hope by the time I write my May column our gardens are planted and we are eating asparagus and maybe rhubarb.
I’m reading a booklet published in 1977 by the Brandon Sun writ ten by Gus. It stat ed that he thought that in the spring more people will plant a garden than ever before. So his tory is repeating its self 46 years later. The varieties he recommended are ones that can still be found today: Straight Eight cu cumbers, Detroit Dark Red beets, Buttercrunch let tuce, Homesteader peas, etc. Person ally, I prefer Green Arrow peas.
CNH Industrial Announces Exit from Russia
With headquarters in the Netherlands, CNH Industrial, an Italian-American company and owner of the New Holland and Case IH brands, has announced it has left Russia after it sold its business holdings there for $60M.
This follows the Company’s announcement in March 2022 that it was suspending supplies to the Russian market and added it would donate $500,000 to support Ukrainians and establish a global fund for employees to donate to. The company committed to match all contributions.
“CNH Industrial strongly condemns any and all acts of unprovoked violence and aggression, which have led to the current lamentable situation in Ukraine,” Scott Wine, CEO of CNH Industrial, said in a statement last year.
Notably, up until the final sale, CNH continued payment of approximately 200 employee salaries in Russia.
CNH Industrial operated a corporate office in the Moscow region through which it managed the import and distribution of its products in Russia, regional business activities and commercial financing. Its industrial footprint included manufacturing sites for agricultural equipment and implements and construction equipment, and a parts depot.
“We wish to acknowledge our former employees for their years of dedicated service,” added the company in a written statement.
The announcement did not disclose who the purchaser of the Russian business assets was.
In February, the Intrefax Group reported that CNH’s leasing and fac-
toring subsidiaries in Russia, CNH Industrial Financial Services Russia LLC and CNH Industrial Capital Russia LLC, were acquired by Russian banker, Igor Kim’s Expocap LLC.
For the fiscal year ending 2021, the last full year of operations, the Russian operations generated revenue of approximately $380 million.
As of March 2023, thousands of companies have withdrawn from Russia with hundreds more restricting and/or scaling down their business activity in the country.
Currently CNH Global is controlled and majority owned by a multinational private equity firm Exor based in The Netherlands, which in turn is controlled by the Agnelli family with just over 26% of economic rights and 42.9% of voting rights as of April 2023.
The Importance of Knowing Consumers and their Food ConsumptionBy Harry Siemens
Dr. Ellen Goddard, a past cooperative chair in agricultural marketing and business at the University of Alberta said there is no one simple answer to what producers need to know about food and consumers.
At the Manitoba Swine Seminar in February Dr. Goddard pointed out that, “You have to keep your eye on evolving movements and remember that consumers are not one group.”
Consumers in Canada in different age groups respond very differently to each issue. Consumers in other countries, in different cultures respond very differently to the same
the things that necessarily receive the most extensive press, like plantbased substitutes, because that’s different from where the most significant challenges are.
When asked where those challenges come from, such as concerns about how producers raise animals.
Dr. Goddard said that producers and the entire industry must communicate, “Why we do things. I refer to another talk focused on managing your animals in a low-stress environment; that is such a positive message for the public.”
Goddard re-tweets farmers who show and tweet how healthy and happy their cattle and other animals are.
She said, those messages resonate with the public, especially if they come from farmers. Farmers need to know when a sudden a concern such as animal welfare is growing in importance and why it is growing in importance.
For example, suppose the Chinese consuming public becomes concerned about animal welfare, even though China will be proportionally more self-sufficient in pork once they’ve stopped the spread of African Swine Fever. In that case, that will apply to all pork not raised in China.
“It will apply to all pork in the grocery store, and Canada is pretty dependent on that market, so we need to keep monitoring,” said Dr. Goddard.
Her current research includes consumer and behavioural research with farmers, outfitters, veterinarians and firms in the food supply chains. She also believes the consumption of pork and meat will be around for a while.
“Largely because we’re still protein deficit, pork is a better converter into protein than some other animals,” she said. “Beef will never disappear anytime soon, but chicken meat will grow in importance as part of the meat component.”
Goddard said the consumer’s pretty fascinating. She stressed, “Please refrain from assuming that because articles in the newspaper are talking about the economics of the meat industry, they necessarily capture all the variety in consumer attitudes.”
“But consumers ultimately are who we produce for, so we can’t forget them or assume somebody else is dealing with them either because, as farmers, we probably have a bigger stake than even processors and retailers do in making sure that our product appears as healthy, nutritious, cost-efficient, and tasty,” said Dr. Goddard.
The Economic Impact of Cereal Grains on the Canadian Economy
On behalf of Cereals Canada, LMC International undertook a study to assess the impact of domestically grown common wheat, durum wheat, barley, and oats on the Canadian economy. The study shows Canadian-grown cereals had an estimated total impact of $68.8 billion, including more than 370,000 Canadian jobs, and $27 billion in wages.
Food Processing and farming are the major drivers of economic impact, with smaller effects generated by the transportation and handling of crops and their products in facilities and ports across Canada.
You can download the full report with details on each crop from https://cerealscanada.ca/economic-impact/.
Together, these four cereals account for a large part of Canadian agriculture, and several are the foundations for important food industries such as baking and brewing. Known for its consistency and quality, Canadian wheat is enjoyed here at home and exported to over 80 countries around the globe.By Elmer Heinrichs
Altona’s Community Garden Keeps Growing
Interest in the Altona Community Garden continues to gain strength, and more plots will be available for rent this year as a result.
Due to high demand, the community garden will be adding 32 more plots this year. Committee spokesperson Jack Heppner explained 12 additional plots are being created on the west side and town council recently approved another 20 on a piece of land to the east of the current garden.
“Last year we had 110 plots that we rented, and it just seemed like this year, people kept coming and so, we just needed more room,” said Heppner. He feels there are a few reasons for this spike in interest.
“Quite a few of the people who are doing half-plots are asking for a full plot now, or the ones that had one plot are asking for two,” said Heppner. “Perhaps another reason is the price of groceries. Some of these people are on fixed incomes.”
Heppner added, the gardens are also quite popular with new residents to town.
“For example, we now have between 20 and 25 Ukrainian families that came this past year, so I have a number of them signed up for garden plots,” he said. “And also from other places...different places in Africa. There’s always new people coming.”
For Heppner, it is this diversity and sense of community that he enjoys so much about the community gardens. That sense of community will hopefully be further fostered by the completion of the garden pavilion this summer.
Complete with washrooms, the plan is to use the space as a gathering spot and as a venue to host events like gardening workshops and potluck meals.
AgWest Farm Equipment Business SoldBy Elmer Heinrichs
Toromont Industries has entered into an agreement to sell its AgWest farm equipment business and dealerships in Manitoba to Netherlands-based company, Mechan International, part of Zweegers Equipment Group.
AgWest has its head office in Elie, Manitoba, along with dealerships in Brandon, Neepawa, and Morden. There are also parts depots in Russell, Steinbach, and Swan River.
Taking effect on May 1 the Manitoba dealerships will continue operating under the AgWest name, with the current locations, leadership team, and employees. Sale terms were not disclosed.