April 29, 2022
Stepping Up Avian Influenza Biosecurity
On Friday, April 22 the first report of an avian influenza (AI) break in a broiler breeder flock testing positive in southeast Manitoba. Harley Siemens of Rosenort, MB, a fourth-generation egg farmer and director of Manitoba Egg Farmers said that when the news from Ontario hit four poultry barns with AI, it became a wake-up call to many farmers in Manitoba. In this photo some healthy birds on Harley’s farm are kept in small colony groups inside a housing unit that varies from 22 to 30-some birds, depending on the enriched housing system style. The colony area includes perches and nail-shortening devices like nail files and scratch pads to keep hens’ nails from getting too long and the birds have 24/7 access to food and water. Photo by Harry Siemens
By Harry Siemens On Friday, April 22 the first report of an avian influenza (AI) break in a broiler breeder flock testing positive
in southeast Manitoba. In addition the Manitoba government reported earlier avian influenza in two samples of wild birds. In sever-
al snow geese in southwestern Manitoba near Waskada and a single sample from a bald eagle was collected in the Dauphin area. A sam-
ple from each location has tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), subtype H5N1. Continued on Page 2...
Federal Government Makes Changes to the Advance Payments Program Exceptional circumstances such as feed shortages due to drought and delays stemming from the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine have disrupted supply chains and increased input costs for Canadian farmers, including for fuel and fertilizer. In these challenging times, it is important that farmers have the support they need to ensure a successful 2022 planting season. In response, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced a change to the Advance Payments Program that will increase cash flow to producers this spring to help with these high input costs. There will be a temporary waiving of the requirement for pre-production advances to be issued in two installments, 60 per cent upfront and 40 per cent after seeding is confirmed. This change will allow producers to receive 100 per cent of their 2022 advance immediately when they apply. Under the Advance Payments Program, producers are provided with easy access to affordable credit through cash advances of up to $1 million based on the expected value of their agricultural product, of which the first $100,000 in each crop year is interest free. Access to additional cash flow at the start of the production cycle will ensure farmers can purchase important inputs such as fuel, fertilizer and seed, in order to maintain full production this growing season. Pressure on world food supplies continues to increase due to the conflict in Ukraine. Canada is prepared to help fill the gap in world production. Given the significant increase to input costs, in December 2021 Farm Credit Canada proactively offered credit limit increases of 30 per cent for crop input financing to customers that met specific preapproval criteria, ensuring they have access to the capital they need for the upcoming growing season.
April 29, 2022
Stepping Up Avian Influenza Biosecurity
Harley Siemens of Rosenort, MB, a fourth-generation egg farmer and director of Manitoba Egg Farmers said that with avian influenza close we have to be diligent in biosecurity measures to ensure the safety of our birds.
This first case detected in a Manitoba flock adds to the increasing number of detected and confirmed cases in several Canadian provinces and the US including jurisdictions immediately south of Manitoba, in North Dakota and Minnesota along the route for spring migratory birds returning to our Province. Harley Siemens of Rosenort, MB, a fourth-generation egg farmer and director of Manitoba Egg Farmers said that when the news from Ontario hit four poultry barns with AI, it became a wake-up call to many farmers in Manitoba. “It’s close; we have to be diligent in biosecurity measures and different things going into our barns to ensure the safety of our birds,” said Siemens. He said that if AI occurs in his barn it would mean gassing the entire barn and composting or burying the hens. Repopulating would depend on how fast he could acquire pullets and the size of the operation. “The maximum time I would think would be 12 months but can easily be shorter,” said Siemens. He said each positive confirmed case of AI gets reported immediately to the Cana-
Continued from Page 1...
As part of biosecurity measures the egg truck driver who picks up eggs works under a company policy of suiting up in biosecure gear and putting on new booties when collecting their eggs.
dian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). However, there are ongoing talks with CFIA on how to handle these cases. Currently, the industry and CFIA handle the cases one case at a time. “We work very closely with CFIA to ensure that everybody is safe and that the disease doesn’t spread,” said Siemens. He encouraged all poultry producers to take diligent care, even owners of backyard flocks to make sure they stay clear of any wild birds and to look around for any droppings. “Make sure you don’t step in those droppings because we want to make sure that we don’t spread this disease around and that we can move on and get back to another normal,” said Siemens. Regularly he follows the Start-Clean Stay Clean Egg
The birds are in small colony groups inside a housing unit that varies from 22 to 30-some birds, depending on the enriched housing system style. Photos by Harry Siemens
Farmers of Canada code of practice program that all poultry farmers in Canada must follow. Some of the biosecurity measures in pace are to change shoes before entering the barn, put on a cloak or coveralls, and change clothes upon entering the facilities. There is also a visitor log for tracking people’s locations before coming to their farm including for any deliveries. At the same time, fun and meaningful farm and barn tours have ceased. The egg truck driver who picks up eggs works under a company policy of suiting up in biosecure gear and putting on new booties when collecting their eggs. Siemens noted that all entrants must step into disinfectant solution before entering the barn. The poultry industry runs deep and is of great importance to Siemens who operates three barns on the home site. Two barns are layer that hold 15,000 hens and one is for pullets with 15,000 hens. They also have a barn with 20,000 hens at Niverville which is a free-run aviary style. In addition, Siemens own another barn north of Blumenort with 50,000 hens, an enriched housing system. He explained that an enriched housing system in the poultry business is the new modern system for the close encounters of hens. The birds are in small colony groups inside a housing unit that varies from 22 to 30-some birds, depending on the manufacturer’s style. The birds have nesting pads and nest boxes to lay their eggs. The colony area includes perches and nail-shortening devices like nail files and scratch pads to keep their nails from getting too long. The birds have 24/7 access to food and water. Siemens said that is now the industry standard since 2012. A farmer in Manitoba who builds a new barn must adhere to the minimum requirement as either an enriched or a free-run system. By 2036, all farmers in Canada have to be out of conventional housing making it the new industry standard. “In Manitoba, while not exact, about 25 to 30 per cent of the barns are already in that housing,” confirmed Siemens.
April 29, 2022
Avian Influenza Confirmed In Fund Announced Commercial Poultry Flock to Grow Manitoba Agriculture is advising that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a case of avian influenza in a commercial poultry flock in Manitoba. This confirmation marks the first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in a commercial flock in Manitoba. HPAI cases had previously been confirmed in many jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, including North Dakota and Minnesota, along the route for spring migratory birds returning to Manitoba. The risk of avian influenza to human health is low. There are no known cases of transmission of this strain of the virus from birds to humans in North America. This strain of avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk. Manitoba poultry and eggs are safe to eat when proper handling and cooking take place. All Manitobans who keep poultry on their properties in any amount are required to complete an application
to Manitoba Agriculture’s Premises Identification program. This will allow for rapid contact in the event HPAI is detected nearby. More information is available at: www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/food-safety/traceability/premises-identification. html. Small flock owners are highly advised to take extra precautions. Small flocks are considered at high risk for HPAI infection as they often have access to outdoor pens or free range. This means there is a high probability of contact with wild birds that may be contaminated with HPAI. Precautions for small flock owners include: - confining birds indoors during this high-risk period of wild bird migration; - avoiding shows or trading birds while the risk of HPAI is high; - contacting a veterinarian immediately if an increase in sudden death or respiratory signs is seen in a flock; and - using a quarantine period
of 21 days before integrating new birds to the flock. Manitoba’s poultry farmers are strongly urged to follow strict biosecurity protocols including precautions with farm visitors and service companies. The Manitoba government continues to work with the CFIA, which is leading the disease response, as well as the poultry industry to support producers and small flock owners and strengthen the high levels of biosecurity already implemented to reduce further spread of the disease. Co-ordination is underway with Manitoba’s poultry organizations and key sector stakeholders, and regular updates are being provided. Producers are advised to continue monitoring information provided through their sector organizations and the Office of the Chief Veterinarian. Producers and small flock owners who need help with animal health-related concerns can contact their veterinarian or the Office of the Chief Veterinarian at 204-945-7663.
Although the risk of transmission of avian influenza to humans is low, people should not touch dead birds or other wildlife with their bare hands. Protective eyewear and masks are recommended as an additional precaution. Hands should be thoroughly washed before and after with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If a dead bird has to be handled, gloves should be worn and the dead bird placed in a plastic bag. Manitobans are asked to contact the TIP Line (tollfree) at 1-800-782-0076 if they find any of the following: - clusters of six or more dead wild waterfowl (e.g., ducks, geese) or other water birds; - any number of dead raptors or avian scavengers (e.g., ravens, crows, gulls); and - groups of dead birds, such as more than 20 of any species. The public’s co-operation is appreciated to help monitor this developing situation.
Domestic Market for Chicken and Turkey Under the Market Development Program for the Turkey Farmers of Canada and Chicken Farmers of Canada, the federal government has announced $3.5 million in funding. Funding through this program will help increase domestic demand and consumption of Canadian turkey and chicken products through industry-led promotional activities that differentiate Canadian products and producers, and leverage Canada’s reputation for high quality poultry products. By supporting industry efforts to grow the domestic turkey and chicken markets, the Government of Canada is hoping to help farmers grow their businesses. Turkey Farmers of Canada will receive up to $2.5 million to expand Canadian consumer awareness of the benefits of turkey meat as a primary and alternative protein. Chicken Farmers of Canada will receive up to $1 million to promote to Canadians the excellence of Canadian chicken and the commitment of the farmers who raise them to providing safe, high quality chicken. It is hoped that funding under the Market Development Program will play a critical role in boosting the competitiveness of the poultry industry.
April 29, 2022
Dr. John Carr Relates His War Experience in Ukraine
Read the AgriPost Online www.agripost.ca
“On February 24, I woke up at 6:45 am to the hotel shaking, missiles and a bit like a fireworks display.” That is how Dr. John Carr put it to me in a Skype interview from his office in Brisbane, Australia still feeling the trauma and effects of waking up in that shaking hotel room in Ukraine. Dr. Carr, a world livestock consultant, veterinarian, and lecturer, living in Brisbane, Australia discovered quickly that looking after the pigs is always a priority but quickly turned to get out of Ukraine and home safely.
In some respects, the morning of the 24th was interesting. He had attended the Kyiv “Pig and Poultry Fair” the week before knowing things were heating up. Being employed and the chief veterinarian for PIC Ukraine with upwards of 25,000 sows and pigs to look after he attended the show and had a good time talking about pigs and visiting with many people in the industry. The world-renowned pig veterinarian contracts to look after pigs in many countries around the world and there was a break in PRRs virus in pigs in England, his home country and where his elderly parents live to this day. “I had a PRRS break in England. My next job was on Monday 21 back in Ukraine. So I gave my excuses and
Dr. John Carr wakened at 7:30 am by an air raid warning. Everybody was told to leave the hotel and no exceptions. From there he travelled to a school across the way where he served tea for the people.
Dr. John Carr in Ukraine when the Russians invaded said that along the escape route, local people from Ukraine set up stores by the side of the road giving out ham sandwiches and pork sandwiches, tea, coffee, crisps, toilet paper, and nappies. Photos by Dr. John Carr
said I’d go home, go back to England, sort out my PRRS problem; then I’d be back on Sunday. I did so Saturday there was still nothing happening, so Sunday I went back to Kyiv. We had work to do around Kyiv and then south. They put me in a very, very nice hotel in a place called Auman, as is normal when visiting farms because now I’m visiting clients, not just visiting our own farms. So I have to have a day off from a biosecurity point of view. So Wednesday the 23rd, I spent all day in the hotel writing reports, went to bed, and then on the 24th woke up at the hotel shaking because what PIC Ukraine didn’t realize was that they put me two kilometres away from a large ammunition dump, which the Russians knew about but PIC Ukraine did not.” Dr. Carr spent 15 to 20 hours on the road never reaching his destination but getting back to the hotel in
heavy traffic at 5:30 am and being wakened at 7:30 am by an air raid warning. Everybody had to leave the hotel and no exceptions. From there to a school across the way where he served tea for the people. “And then I spent the next three days trying to get trains that never turn up, and trying to get after another train, and then getting a bus, and then getting through border security because I went through Slovakia.” Several takeaways from Dr. Carr’s four days of getting from that school across from his hotel to Slovakia. 1. The service and kindness of the people who ran that bus and local people from Ukraine set up stores by the side of the road giving out ham sandwiches and pork sandwiches, tea, coffee, crisps, toilet paper, and nappies. And then we got to the other side in Slovakia and they’re exactly the same. 2. His dilemma in Ukraine
where he looks after 12,000 sows personally and the total with the company is closer to 25,000. So all the men have gone off to fight, their wives have come to the farms to help keep the pigs going because they need food. He knows of one hog farm taken over by the Russians in the east. 3. One of the most fascinating things, Dr. Carr spent four days awake. “I never really wanted to sleep, and the time just flew. And I tried to open my computer from time to time, but I couldn’t really get interested. It was fascinating for me as a scientist, you know, how adrenaline keeps you going. Eventually, you crash, but initially four days, I never particularly felt tired. And I love sleeping and I hate mornings, but you’re just on edge all the …” Harry: So what did you do then when you finally crashed? John: My mum put me to bed.
Canada Needs to Deliver a Big Grain Crop By Elmer Heinrichs The Russia-Ukraine war has created enormous uncertainty around the globe. ADAMA Canada, a member of the Syngenta Group a leading global crop protection company, is pointing to the war plus ongoing supply
chain disruptions as reasons why the world needs Canadian farmers to produce massive crops this year. ADAMA Canada general manager Cornie Thiessen said Canadian producers must plan ahead more than ever before.
“Not only are Canadian producers facing worldwide demand to help reduce food security concerns, but they are also being asked to produce a bumper crop while needing to plant their most expensive crop ever,” Thiessen said. “Compounding the
challenge is uncertain supply of key crop inputs.” Thiessen said proactive planning and adaption is the only way to ensure crop protection product access and improving odds of having a productive crop. He said farmers should
focus on doing what’s agronomically right for their operations and they shouldn’t rely on any single supplier to give them a full suite of products. The key to ensuring a productive crop is to get a weedfree start, added Thiessen.
April 29, 2022
Ukraine’s Volatile Crop Production The 2022 Balancing By Harry Siemens Ukraine’s agriculture production could be down 30 to 40 per cent this year according to one market analysis firm. “We don’t know because it’s difficult to get reliable information and to find out what’s happening on the ground,” explained Mike Lee of Green Square Agro Consulting who covers Black Sea crop forecasts, analysis, and agribusiness news from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Lee bases his figures on big assumptions about where farming may occur in Ukraine, where it’s safe to take place, and supplies of diesel, fertilizer and seeds. Unfortunately, trying to get the information from Russia at the moment is equally difficult because of restricted access to websites. “Growing conditions across the Black Sea are pretty good this year but different. It is not a big help for farmers in Ukraine, especially when they see neighbours across the border in Moldova doing well with good conditions and good moisture and a kind winter. So from a sort of pure crop perspective, things are looking quite good,” Lee said. “The problem with Ukraine is how much they can plant and how much they will harvest. On top of that, add export restrictions because the Black Sea ports are closed and will be so for some time. So it’s a bit of a mess, to say the least,” The ports have been closed since the start of the war on February 24 but luckily there is minimal structural damage to the port exporting
facilities. The Odessa and Mykolaiv sites are the two main ports that export close to 90 per cent of Ukraine’s grain exports. While some explosions occurred the bigger issue is where someone has mined the sea lanes. Any ships that wanted to go into those ports wouldn’t be allowed because their insurance wouldn’t cover them. So there’s no shipping taking place out of the Black Sea. “Talking amongst a few colleagues and people who work in Ukraine on the grain trade side of things, we think that if a cease-fire happened today, it would be two or three months before the grain trade starts to go back to the levels it was before,” said Lee adding that it is looking more tenuous every day as the war continues and there is less optimism as the inland infrastructure such as bridges and railway lines become targets. Although the ports might be relatively intact, the infrastructure to get the grain to the ports is a major part of the equation. Currently, Ukraine’s government and industry representatives are looking at trying to export grain out across the western borders overland by rail and barge to Romania. It is starting to happen but logistic issues restrict the amounts of grain that can go out through those routes. “So in a typical month, you would see four to five million tons of grain go out the Odessa ports and at the moment it’s measured in the hundreds of thousands of tons that are going out across the land borders,” said Lee. For the first week or two of the invasion and fighting, Lee
Act: Growth, Innovation and Risk Management
Talking amongst a few colleagues and people who work in Ukraine on the grain trade side of things, we think that if a cease-fire happened today, it would be two or three months before the grain trade starts to go back to the levels it was before.
Lee’s latest guestimates are for Ukraine’s agriculture production in 2022 to be down 30 to 40 per cent this year. Screenshot photos
and his colleagues were all in shock followed by frantically trying to make sense of it in terms of the global impact on agriculture. “We focused on that and tried to keep a level head to fathom out the implications, but the personal and human costs of what’s going on are unfathomable,” said Lee. “But when we sort of look at the agricultural side of things, the implications are far-reaching.” David Chalmers, a seed potato grower and business consultant specializing on Russian farming, added to the conversation. He believes Russian farmers may not be
feeling the pinch of sanctions as all supplies of seeds and ag chemicals are freely available in Russia. “There is no way to stop it as alternative routes via China or India, etc., are available,” he said of the inputs that Russian farmers require to produce their crops. “Syngenta, Agrico, HZPC, Norika, KWS, JCB, Pepsico, Lamb Weston, etc have too much invested in the markets.” He believes that in most of the cases above, the production plants within the country can easily swap ownership models to continue as most franchise agreements in retail have.
Canada’s Agri-Food Exporters Unveil Top Priorities The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) has unveiled “a refreshed set of priorities to help power Canada’s post-pandemic recovery.” They are hoping these priorities will serve as a roadmap for the Government of Canada to accelerate Canada’s economic recovery through increased market access and free-trade. “Our updated priorities represent the enormous opportunities Canada’s agri-food exporters can seize in global markets,” said Dan Darling, President of the CAFTA. “For our members, competitive access to international markets is our lifeblood. These priorities leverage the fact that we export more than half of everything we produce
and that we need to be selling our products in every corner of the globe.” CAFTA’s three priorities include opening new markets for Canadian agri-food by prioritizing trade talks with the UK, ASEAN, and Indonesia while also supporting the continued expansion of the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); upholding the rules-based trading system by increasing Canada’s leadership in international forums and at the WTO as well as ensuring trade agreements are implemented efficiently and enforced effectively; and strengthening the collaboration between industry and government to improve accountability and transpar-
ency so that opportunities are maximized, and risks are mitigated. To accompany these priorities, CAFTA has also adopted a refreshed brand and marketing material that reflect the global nature of Canada’s world-class agriculture and agri-food sector. “Over the next 30 years, the global demand for agrifood products will continue
CAFTA has also adopted a refreshed brand and marketing material.
to grow rapidly, presenting Canada with an immense global growth opportunity,” added Darling. “A modernized look for CAFTA sends the clear signal that as the world’s fifth largest agri-food exporter, our industry stands ready to work alongside the federal government to play to our strengths and put our sector at the centre of Canada’s economic recovery.”
Canadian producers are encouraged to lean into their strategic planning skills this year to meet what’s ahead. According to the FCC economic outlooks, challenges impacting the food supply chain will continue but the demand for commodities and food means there is opportunity for growth, indicating a need for farms, agribusinesses and food processors to innovate and manage risk. The latest FCC outlook for the grains, oilseeds and pulses sector suggests prices will remain strong into 2022, due in part to the low national and global supply of these commodities amplified last year by the drought in western Canada. “There is plenty of optimism for this sector looking at the year ahead; however, two of the biggest economic trends that could impact profitability are rising crop input costs and the impact of global political tensions on trade,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist. “I can’t emphasize enough the value of farm management and strategic thinking. Producers need to continue to plan for disruptions like we’ve seen in the past year.” These elevated prices mean seeded acres of soybeans and canola are projected to climb in 2022, while corn acres are likely to come down because of the high cost of fertilizer. The price of fertilizer skyrocketed last year and is anticipated to stop increasing at a fast pace, but nonetheless remain elevated. The cattle market is also signaling strong prices for 2022. The number of fed cattle in 2022 is forecast to decline and because of high feed costs, fed cattle will likely be marketed at lower weights, causing volume by weight to decline. However, given higher prices, cattle receipts should grow. The drought seriously impacted access to feed, resulting in some cattle producers downsizing their operations. “The pandemic has impacted buying decisions in the grocery aisles. Canadian beef consumption slowed in 2021, but the positive five-year trend in consumption pre-pandemic is expected to resume while export demand remains robust,” Gervais explained. Consumer appetite for dairy products grew in 2021 but not to the expected level. With the increasing costs for feed and energy, the Canadian Dairy Commission is increasing the support price for butter. While the dairy farm price is expected to experience an increase, milk output at the farm level could see only limited growth. After strong growth in hog receipts in 2021, there is limited growth potential for 2022. Hog prices are projected to decline slightly and with marginal growth in production. High feed prices will challenge profitability and may hinder production growth. Gervais offers the following tips for producers to build resilience and capitalize on opportunities to advance their operations. Strategize by keeping an eye on long-term objectives, including growth. Think about the integration of operational, marketing and financial plans. Innovation, consider the technological changes, efficiencies and sustainable practices that would provide an edge to your operation. In Risk Management develop scenarios to determine exposure to unfavourable market trends, interest rate increases, higher input prices, trade impacts or weather events. Execution is important and can be achieved by surrounding yourself with skilled resources to help you assess and adjust your financial and marketing plans as the economy and markets evolve. “While the long-term outlook for Canada’s Ag and food industry is positive, there are many factors to keep in mind as operations make their plans, including input costs, trade tensions, variable weather and changing consumer behaviour,” Gervais said. “We encourage producers to stay up-to-date on the important topics and trends that will impact them and take action accordingly.”
April 29, 2022
Labour Shortages Affect Hog Sector on Both Sides of Border
By Harry Siemens Cam Dahl, the general manager of Manitoba Pork said the pork industry is enormous to the Manitoba economy with well over 14,000 jobs contributing in the range of $2 billion to GDP every year. With continued growth and expansion, every new barn built in Manitoba, is new primary agriculture production said Dahl. He pointed out that it is not just barn jobs, it is the jobs at HyLife Foods at Neepawa, Maple Leaf Foods at Brandon, the value-added processing at the new bacon plant by Maple Leaf in Winnipeg which added 350 jobs that used to be in the US. He noted that even Topigs Norsvin Canada Inc., headquartered in The Netherlands one of the world’s largest genetics companies, is looking at Manitoba to establish some of their nucleus operations made up of 1,600 sows; farrow to weanling, 8,300 weanlings, nursery and 255 grower/finishers (710 animal units) near Plumas. Dahl reinforced with delegates at the 2022 AGM of Manitoba Pork how communication is crucial for those in the hog industry to tell the real story of hog production and the economic benefits. “I’m learning more as I get older, just how important it is to communicate effectively,” said Dahl. “We need to talk with the public on the importance of what farmers are doing for animal welfare and how we’re addressing some of the environmental concerns.”
According to Dahl over 90 per cent of the manure produced in Manitoba gets injected below the soil so that it does not runoff. This manure is organic nutrition that is valuable to grain producers and used in a way that ensures plants in the field use it. “And these are the kinds of conversations and discussions we need to have with Manitobans,” said Dahl. Currently, the hog industry has many empty positions limiting production increases with about 50 per cent of the jobs not filled. He said that 50 per cent of jobs or higher in Manitoba are short-staffed which includes staff in processing plants, truck drivers and veterinarians. Labour is most likely the biggest constraint to the ongoing growth and even the industry’s financial stability. It is a critical factor. Kevin Rasmussen, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, told the Manitoba Pork AGM delegates that Iowa imports about 2 to 2.5 million pigs out of Canada every year, most of those coming from Manitoba and mostly isoweans. “We love your pigs, the high, high-quality pigs, and they perform very well for us,” said Rasmussen. “Feed them some good Iowa corn and they’ll make great pork chops for the rest of us to consume.” He said that the labour shortage is also affecting hog production in the US. Canada used to pay higher federal
Kevin Rasmussen president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association told the Manitoba Pork AGM delegates that the last thing you want is a producer with market weight pigs not able to place them. Photos by Harry Siemens
Cam Dahl the general manager of Manitoba Pork at the recent AGM in Winnipeg said he is learning more as he gets older just how important it is to communicate effectively.
wages than the hog sector in the US but that has changed. The fact is there are just not enough bodies to go around. “We seem to go to Washington, D.C. every year and ask for legal immigration,” said Rasmussen. “We want everything to be legal. These people want to come to our country to live here. It’s a better lifestyle than where they are. They can make more money than right now, but we have to have a legal way of coming.” Rasmussen said government and industry need to figure this out and do it right to provide great jobs and a high standard of living that contributes to and makes their communities a better place to live. American hog production was down in 2021 compared to 2020 with some producers leaving because of a lack of a succession plan in place; meaning there was no one to take over and because of aging facilities. “My buildings were 30 plus years old; things are progressing and when they’re progressing, it’s natural,” said Rasmussen. “But things don’t last forever, so we’re okay with that.” Shackle space in processing plants is also a big challenge; packer contracts guarantee a place to kill the pigs. “The last thing you want is a producer with market weight pigs and there’s no place for them,” he said. “It’s a real tough situation. So we like to have guaranteed shackle space.”
Livestock Price Insurance for Calves The calf season for Livestock Price Insurance (LPI) is now open. Protect your bottom line from market price declines by purchasing calf policies.
Livestock Price Insurance offers forward price coverage for calves which you plan to market between September and February 2023.
Choose from a range of coverage options. The last day to purchase calf policies is June 9. Visit LPI.ca or call 1-844-782-5747 for program details.
Plan with Caution Even Though Hog Prices Are High
By Harry Siemens Hams Marketing Services Co-op Inc, Winnipeg, MB held four producer meetings across western Canada in March and April in Alberta, Saskatchewan and in Manitoba. Bill Alford the general manager said it was great to be back out once again with the last meeting held over two years ago. “The tone overall, though, even though you hear the word inflation everywhere you go, hog prices are up, producers had a short-grain crop, so it’s pretty tight margins nonetheless,” said Alford. “But I think everybody is pretty optimistic, much more so than two years ago, that’s for sure.” While painting a picture for producers at these meetings he said to look at what has happened over the last six months to a year in a constant chaining industry. An example is the movement of hogs from eastern Canada to Olymel’s plant in Red Deer, AB, which has stopped. Olymel’s shut down some kill space out east to balance the supply and demand a well as for labour reasons. According to Alford heading into the spring, kill plant space available in Canada is tight and labour shortages have hampered supply. “Our motivation is to put money into producer’s pockets through putting some value out there with services, risk management offering fixed forward pricing programs for hogs and other services,” he said. “As a result, it’s attracting more producers.” Alford added it is tough because, “They ain’t making any new hog producers.” He said that Hams Marketing Services Co-op Inc representing western producers offers advantage as a bigger group in negotiations, offering value and services. “The hog marketing co-op rebated 50 cents a hog last year, and that’s been 50 cents or more for five years running, so it’s successful,” said Alford. “That’s a good mea-
sure to show producers, and again, they see value beyond just getting a rebate.” Also speaking was Tyler Fulton, the director of risk management with HAMs Marketing Services. He told pork producers to focus on margins rather than the price of hogs or feed as they make their forward contracting decisions. He explained that the latest US Department of Agriculture’s quarterly hogs and pigs report indicated higher than expected reductions in hog numbers, including an approximately two percent decline in the number of pigs kept for breeding, indicating tighter supplies. “We continue to see new highs almost every day on the corn market while protein meal prices are only marginally off the highs,” said Fulton. He said for perspective, the September corn futures are trading at close to 7.25 per bushel and there is no indication of it turning around any time soon. The trend is decisively higher from a global perspective, feed stocks will likely stay high in light of the Russian war in Ukraine and the impact it has on their production. Fulton said that Ukraine exports approximately 35 percent of all the tradable global stocks making a significant difference when there is obvious concern over the forecast
production in that area, so it continues to drive higher. Hog profitability for hog producers is a challenging with greater volatility in both the hog and feed input markets. He said producers need to focus on the timing and approach their hedging decisions based on their margins, not solely based on the price of hogs or strictly the cost of feed. While we are in a volatile business climate, producers can still secure some profitability depending on the individual operation. Alford said the co-op profile has Manitoba origin hogs at a million hogs a year, about 300,000 for Saskatchewan, and 200,000 for Alberta for a total of 1.7 million, just a shade under hogs marketed through the co-op. “That [means] producers [are] staying in the industry, slowly expanding, renovating, increasing their numbers to keep up,” said Alford. “It’s growing, but very, very tempered growth.” Alford said like every other business, it is essential to watch the costs closely because there is no cheap feed anymore. “We expect everything to rise with inflation, what have you, for well into 2023” he said. “Hog farming would be no different and prices are well above normal. They’re historically at the top, but the margins are average, considering the high input costs.”
The director of risk management with HAMs Marketing Services, Tyler Fulton told producers they are seeing new highs almost every day on the corn market while protein meal prices are only marginally off the highs. Photos by Harry Siemens
Bill Alford general manager of Hams Marketing Services Co-op Inc. based in Manitoba spoke to participants at four producer meetings on increased hog prices, shortage and cost of feed and tight margins.
April 29, 2022
April 29, 2022
Bull Test Station Results Are Good Indicators for Purebred Breeders By Harry Siemens
The Manitoba Bull Test Station at Douglas, MB is one of the largest bull testing stations on the map. Owned and operated by the Manitoba Beef Cattle Performance Association Inc. (MBCPA), the test station is a non-profit organization that has operated for over 50 years. The goal of the MBCPA is to develop bulls and heifers to meet the needs of the everchanging cattle industry for both purebred and commercial cattlemen.
Cody Nolan manager of the Test Station operated by Manitoba Beef Cattle Performance Association Inc gets ready for a bull and heifer sale.
“I had a good sale last Saturday March 26 of my Shorthorn bulls and the heifer at Douglas,” said purebred cattle breeder Ian Smith at Argyle, MB. Test Station manager Cody Nolan said producers from Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan bring calendar year bull calves about eight or nine months old. The bulls are put on “Tests”, fed the same ration, weighed every 28 days to figure out their average daily gain, how many pounds per day they gain and weight per day of age. “We take their weight divided by how many days they are alive from birth to how old they are, giving them a weight per day of age. So both numbers are very useful,” said Nolan. “The average daily gain shows how well they perform on feed. More pounds per day are better. Weight per day of age shows how well they did on the cow and how they’re doing on test.” It is valuable knowledge for producers coming to buy a bull. Compared to last year’s testing of 107 bulls, the Station had 120 bulls and 28 heifers cataloged.
The most recent sale produced excellent prices consistent across the board. However, given the year’s uncertainty with the rising cost of fuel, feed and fertilizer and the drought, producers held back as they may have been leery of spending more money said Nolan. The drought saw the cowherd reduced by about 20 to 30 per cent with some going to Ontario and into the US but most going to slaughter. “Even now you’re still seeing a bunch of cows going to the auction mart because guys tried to keep them, but with the drought earlier in the year, they didn’t quite have enough,” said Nolan on the feed situation. He said that it is all purebred breeders with fewer purebred cows that bring their cattle to the Test Station. Some breeders bring one bull and others bring more because they do not have quite enough to have their sale and breeders still like the test portion to see how their animals do. The Station also put heifers on the test; trying something different with a younger bull test. He said that this is
for calves born after April 1 of the calendar year and will come in a little later than the first ones and stay later until going home for the summer then coming back about January and sell as a two-year-old in this sale. “Many producers like to buy two-year-old bulls because a two-year-old bull can cover more cows than a yearling bull,” said Nolan. In 2021 the test station lost 37 bulls that failed the semen test. All bulls must pass a breeding soundness evaluation and the big part of that is the semen test Nolan explained. He noted that most of them will go back home and the ones that fail are younger bulls but larger calves. “So, they’re going to pass in a month or two, no problem,” said Nolan. “Producers take them home and sell them from the farm. If they weren’t even close to passing, they go to the auction mart and they’ll go for slaughter.” It costs producers $1,550 to test a bull and $1,300 for a heifer. Rancher, Ian Smith sold an open heifer at the Douglas sale for $2,800 to a neighbour half a mile down
the road. One bull went to Oakpoint, MB for $3,300 and the white bull in the sale went south of Brandon, selling at $3,400. The best heifer sold for $7,000. This fall, Smith will take 4 or 5 bull calves and maybe two heifer calves. “It is a good place to compete against other breeders and cattle breeds,” said Smith. “A third party takes care of them with the same treatment. A veterinarian examines each animal before the sale. All of those things can help to sell the animal.” This is his third year selling animals at the sale. “I am the new guy there and it takes some time to get people to know you and your herd,” he said. “Maybe next year I will do better as I try and promote myself. I should have even a better string of bulls
out there next year. You have to take baby steps and think positive.”
Ian Smith, a cattle rancher at Argyle, MB said the Test Station auction held by the Manitoba Beef Cattle Performance Association is a good place to compete against other breeders and cattle breeds.
Cody Nolan manager of the Test Station operated by Manitoba Beef Cattle Performance Association Inc. said they see all purebred breeders with fewer purebred cows. Submitted photos
Manitoba’s Farmers Gear Up for May Seeding By Elmer Heinrichs Unlike last year when many farmers got an early start on seeding cereals and special crops, with continued forecasts of snow, rains and unsettled weather, it’s starting to look like seeding this year may not be general across Manitoba till about mid May. It’ll likely be another week or two before you head out to the fields with your seeder in tow. Farmers have already spent the winter period planning for the next growing season and know what they want to plant, perhaps even have a market for it, and are eager to get going. It’s going to be a tough year for grain production and world trade with the RussiaUkraine conflict and several million more refugees to feed. But farmers in Manitoba are used to uncertainty and while farming may be a lifelong passion, they also recognize it’s a business with plenty of risks. On the plus side, the winter snows and recent rains have at least temporarily brought an end to drought conditions that stunted crop growth last year and led to winter feed shortages. Farmers are indeed getting anxious to get out in the
fields after continued delays due to snow and rain. After a dry 2021 growing season, some adjustments are being made in fertilizer application rates and crop rotations for 2022. Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), likely speaks for many when he said, “The persistence of snow on the ground and the prospect of another snowstorm has some agricultural producers concerned about a shorter-than-usual window to seed their fields.” “There’s no panic, but I think everybody needs to be aware of the tight timeframe for seeding their crops” he said. “We need some heat. We’ve going to have to have some of it to get things going.” Despite the snow still on the ground across southern Manitoba, with more precipitation in the forecast, a provincial pulse specialist isn’t too concerned about the potential for late planting of grains and pulse crops. “The moisture is welcome, but it’s not the weather we would like to see at this time of the year. But we got to take what we can get,” said Dennis Lange, the Manitoba government’s industry de-
velopment pulses specialist. “At this point, I’m not too concerned about [any delay]. Usually the first of the pulse crops seeded in Manitoba is dry peas, typically underway by the middle of May,” he said. Other crops such as dry beans are planted around the Victoria Day long weekend. “Generally, farmers can get stuff in pretty quick, so I’m thinking we will probably see some seeding about a few weeks from now,” said Lange, adding that all the crops will likely go in at about the same time. In 2021, the bulk of the pulses planted by Manitoba farmers were 224,100 acres of dry peas (up 27.9 per cent from 2020) and 193,300 of dry beans (down 5.6 per cent from 2020), according to Statistics Canada. That resulted in 210,758 tonnes of peas (down 14.4 per cent) and 109,436 tonnes of beans, down 45.1 per cent) from the year before. If the late April precipitation is significant, farmers may also be forced to deal with some overland flooding. This growing season, like last year, crops will need plenty of timely rains to keep the crops growing.
Is Spring Finally Here? By Joan Airey Gorgeous day here yesterday but sounds like more snow on the way this weekend. I’m frustrated with the germination of my pepper seeds which is not good I have a feeling it’s the soil I used but not sure. I germinated my tomato seeds on paper towel in a plastic bag and the germination was great. Has anyone seen if seeds for The Kitchen Mini Red Velvet tomato plant are suitable for growing in containers? I’ve read about them in Canadian newspapers but so far have not seen where the seed is available. The plant looks like you could grow it indoors under lights or in a south facing window without taking up too much room. My Chesapeake Pepper has been producing for several weeks and not taking up too much room, I’m hoping to gradually move it out on our patio and let it produce all summer.
All plants grown outdoors in pots need at least six hours of sunshine. Some plants that work well in pots are Little Gem and Tom Thumb lettuces, Thumbelina carrots, Baby Head cabbages, Bush Baby Squash and Sugar Baby Watermelons. I think Blake and I will try the watermelons in a pot as in the garden the last few years we haven’t had too much luck. The best thing to do if you are growing veggies in pots is to plant compact or dwarf varieties of your favourite vegetables. Last summer my young granddaughter Blake wanted to grow herbs to put in her drinking water. They grew great in pots on our patio all summer. This year we are going to try Lemon Verbena as it gives a nice lemon taste to water we are told. My garden journal suggests putting tomato stakes in early so as not to damage your to-
matoes roots. Guess I’ll be more careful this year as I don’t want to set my tomatoes back as they are like candy to me, fresh from the garden. I also invested in some Kozy Coats to protect my tomatoes and peppers as every May/June I seem to be fighting to protect them from wind. The Kozy Coats cost me $4 a piece less than the price of two tomatoes in the store right now. I realize I talk about vegetables all the time but will include flowers once I start planting my pots of flowers. Blake loves picking flowers so I did invest in some gladiolus. My neighbour Phyllis grows beautiful gladiolus every summer in fact she has one of the nicest yards around. By the time I write my May article I hope we have some of our garden planted and are able to barbecue supper on the patio. Happy gardening!
April 29, 2022
April 29, 2022
April 29, 2022
Manitoba Youth Beef Round-Up Returns to Neepawa!
All ages at Round-Up work together and learn together.
By Joan Airey Manitoba Youth Beef Round Up returns to Beautiful Plains Ag Society grounds, Neepawa with show dates being July 30August 1. “For 15 years Manitoba Youth Beef Round Up has prioritized educational events and clinics, team bonding, and friendly competition. We are excited to get back into the popular competitive events that our three-day event has offered in the past, such as the Cook-Off, Team Judging and Individual Judg-
ing, Ag Challenge, Scholarships, Cattle Handling and Cattle Reproduction Clinics and the Agribition Judging Team,” said Lorna Horner one of the many hard-working volunteers that put on the event. “We are also pleased to be working on some new fresh and exciting events that we have never offered before! We offer all-breeds cattle show with classes for heifer calves, bull calves, yearling heifers, 2-year-old cow calf pairs and mature cow calf pairs as well as a market steer show. Round
Photo Credit: Melissa McRae/Prairie Pistol Designs
Up is pleased to offer a free entry to any 4-H champion female as well as a parade of champions to acknowledge these juniors for their well deserved success!” Over the years I have attended the event as a judge, as a writer and as a grandparent watching my grandchildren participate. It’s great to see the senior participants helping the juniors and everyone just working together having fun and learning. The volunteers spend many hours to put on this event a great source of education for our
future cattlepersons. “Juniors, 4-H members, commercial and purebred producers under the age of twenty-five are welcome to attend,” said Horner. “Events and competitions are friendly for all ages. Watch for our Facebook page ‘Manitoba Youth Beef Round Up’ for further announcements or how to enter. Entry deadlines are July 1.” If you’re interested in this type of event it is very reasonable for young people to attend and a great learning experience.
April 29, 2022
FCC Increases Credit Availability to Help with Higher Input Costs Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering enhanced credit line options and increased crop input loan limits to address recent input cost increases in Canada’s agriculture and food industry. “We want to ensure producers and food processors have sufficient capital to bridge any cash flow gaps during this time of multiple input cost increases,” said FCC President and CEO Michael Hoffort. “In practical terms, this could mean being able to replenish the fuel tanks before heading out to the field or having the cash flow to hire additional employees to keep the processing plant running at capacity.” “We want to ensure our customers have the working capital to buy whatever inputs they need, when they need them to keep their day-to-day operations running smoothly,” he added. FCC is offering credit limit increases to crop input financing customers who meet specific pre-approval criteria, ensuring they have access to the capital they need for the upcoming growing season. The Federal Crown corporation is also offering a twoyear credit line for qualified customers to access up to a maximum of $500,000 to provide customers with additional financial flexibility. FCC will continue to consider other options, such as debt re-structuring, to support customers in financial difficulty. “FCC is committed to the success of the Canadian agriculture and food industry,” Hoffort said. “We recognize this may be both a challenging and critical time for producers, agribusinesses and processors. By helping our customers throughout every business cycle, we help strengthen the industry and position it for long-term success.” Producers and food processors interested in setting up or increasing their credit line are encouraged to contact their local FCC office or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301.
April 29, 2022
Manitoba to Strengthen Animal Disease Preparedness The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $2.2 million to modernize the provincial Animal Health Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). “Investing in this innovative data analysis tool will help the sector quickly contain the spread of disease,” said federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “It will help farmers protect the health of their animals and ensure a consistent, highquality supply of Canadian food.” “This information technology modernization project will strengthen Animal Health’s ability to provide valuable and timely diagnostic and surveillance data to stakeholders and clients, which will help to improve decision making and to mitigate financial losses associated with animal disease outbreaks in the agriculture sector,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “It will also assist veterinarians, producers and the government of Manitoba to prevent the spread of disease and protect the health of humans, animals and the safety of the food supply.” LIMS is computer-based information technology infrastructure that manages all laboratory animal disease diagnostic information and results generated by Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS), Manitoba’s animal heath laboratory whose existing diagnostic testing technology is at the end of its life cycle. LIMS allows for the collection, analysis and reporting of test results for users and clients including producers, private and provincial veterinarians, livestock sector companies, commodity groups and government partners, as well as surveillance networks and researchers across Canada. The LIMS modernization will strengthen the provincial animal disease surveillance program and improve overall diagnostic service delivery in the agriculture sector, and enhance Manitoba’s ability to prepare for new and emerging animal diseases by increasing efficiency and capacity to diagnose. The ministers noted this initiative highlights a commitment by both governments to improve resilience and preparedness for animal disease outbreaks. “Veterinary Diagnostic Services, and the people who work there, are critical components of disease preparedness and management in Manitoba,” said Rick Préjet, chair, Manitoba Pork Council. “Enhancing the diagnostic and surveillance data management capacity of the laboratory is welcomed by Manitoba pork producers, particularly given that effective disease response is measured in hours and not days. This is a significant investment that will pay dividends for many years to come.” Testing by VDS supports industry-wide herd and flock disease diagnostics and surveillance programs for new and emerging diseases. Each year on average, VDS receives 17,000 submissions from veterinarians and the agriculture sector in Manitoba and reports more than 135,000 test results to clients and animal health surveillance networks across Canada. A vendor will be selected through a public tendering process, the ministers noted. Up to $2.2 million has been set aside for the purchase, installation and commissioning of software and equipment.
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Is Greed Driving the Beef Industry to a Legal Showdown? By Sylvain Charlebois A Quebec-based group is leading a class-action lawsuit aimed at major federally-licensed beef packers. Cargill, JBS Foods, Tyson Foods and National Beef Packing are all accused of colluding and inflating beef prices since 2015. So if you’re a consumer in Quebec who’s been buying beef since 2015, you can be part of the claim. The authorization application was filed in the Superior Court of Quebec and the group will hear from the courts later this year. This claim doesn’t appear to surprise anyone. Food prices have been skyrocketing for a while, especially beef. According to Statistics Canada, while ground beef is up only four per cent since January 2015, most beef cuts have gone up from 30 to 51 per cent. Only baby food and potatoes have seen sharper increases since 2015, so beef prices stand out. Farmers have long complained about how little they get versus how retail prices behave at the grocery store. The correlation between the price farmers receive and retail prices has always been weak for most products. But consumers are noticing, and some groups are acting on concerns that something may not be quite right. What’s perplexing about the claim is how it only aims at a handful of packers. If collusion did occur at the meat counter, many other
companies would have arguably benefited from artificially inflated prices, including smaller abattoirs and, of course, retailers. Margins are significant on meat sales in food retailing, so grocers would have also increased profits as a result of higher wholesale prices. The claim is likely inspired by what has happened in the United States in recent months. In December, the White House released a scathing report about how profits in the meat-packing sector have spectacularly increased, by over 300 per cent since the start of the pandemic. JBS USA approved a $52.5 million USD settlement in an American lawsuit in which the company was accused of conspiring to boost beef prices. They never admitted guilt in the deal, though. Cargill, National Beef Packing and Tyson Foods were also named in the case, the same companies mentioned in the Quebec claim. Of the four, only Tyson is publicly traded. When it comes to price-fixing, the United States doesn’t fool around. When Congress and the White House have concerns, they act on them. In Canada, not so much. The bread price-fixing scandal that came to light back in 2017, when Loblaw admitted having participated in an alleged industry-wide operation, opened the door to some public criticism. In 2017, Lo-
blaw CEO Galen Weston Jr. strategically threw everyone in the industry under the bus when admitting Loblaw’s involvement in a 14-year-long bread price-fixing scheme. By admitting guilt and supporting the investigation, Loblaw received immunity from the Competition Bureau. The investigation didn’t provide evidence to prosecute anyone else, even though bread prices went up dramatically while the scheme was ongoing. But a group in Ontario has just been authorized to go ahead with a class-action lawsuit against the bread industry. So the beef claim is the second lawsuit we’ve seen in Canada in just a few months. Some will say these classaction lawsuits are often launched by ambulancechasing law firms looking for easy money or cheap publicity. Perhaps, but with higher food prices and Canada’s inability to forcefully monitor retail food prices, these allegations are likely going to make a valuable point. Canada is really data poor compared to the United States. Statistics Canada doesn’t really report small details about what’s going on with all food categories, at least not as much as the U.S. Many even believe that food inflation is underestimated in Canada since Statistics Canada only relies on a few grocers to measure food inflation.
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. Submitted photo
With strong data, American institutions can and will use the stick. In Canada, we pursue companies in hopes they blink. What doesn’t help is how under-resourced the Competition Bureau is. This needs to change. At the heart of it all is how we measure greed, or at least how we should measure it. How much is too much, given the relatively small margins in the agri-food industry? When a consumer walks away from a store with a $40 steak and willfully paid for it while many other options are offered, you can argue the grocer gave choices. But with higher food prices, our inability to measure or detect greed in the system will become more obvious. And consumer trust is at stake. We need to act before skepticism in Canada grows even further.
4-H Programs Empower Youth
By Elmer Heinrichs
After plummeting participation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manitoba 4-H Council is optimistic members will return. To help spur interest in the Manitoba-begun organization, the province has committed funding of $900,000 in the Manitoba 4-H Council over three years. “Leaders invest their time in helping to shape the youth in 4-H,” said Derek Johnson Minister of Agriculture, noting that the government is a long-term supporter of 4-H. Beginning over 100 hundred years ago, in 1913 in Roland, Manitoba the, 4-H program continues to develop leadership skills, communication and self-confidence through projects and activities. In Manitoba, 4-H offers
over 90 hands-on projects focusing on topics like beef, photography and machines. The funding will help the Manitoba 4-H Council deliver programming across the province to 102 4-H clubs for more than 1,020 members. “4-H Manitoba is extremely grateful for the relationship we have with the Manitoba government,” said Shannon Carvey, executive director, Manitoba 4-H Council. “The financial support received from the department of agriculture is essential for the delivery of new and existing programming to our members.” Also in April one of the leading partners, Syngenta Canada’s renewed commitment will contribute a total of $350,000 towards the 4-
H movement in Canada, including $60,000 for provincial 4-H organizations. Since 2014, Syngenta has provided over $232,000 to provincial 4-H organizations through their support of the Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security leadership development pillar. The Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security pillar empowers youth leaders to explore everything from sustainable farming practices to agricultural career paths to food security at home and around the world. Youth also have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to important global conversations, including how to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. “From the beginning of the
pandemic, it was clear that youth need 4-H now more than ever, and we are grateful to Syngenta Canada for supporting our 4-H at Home programming,” said Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO. “Not only have the Outreach Initiatives allowed members to stay actively learning and engaged during these challenging times, but introduced the benefits of 4H programming to families across the country. As one of our longstanding partners, Syngenta Canada has made invaluable contributions to the 4-H movement in Canada, and we look forward to continuing to partner with them on meaningful and innovative youth programming within the vital Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security pillar.”
California’s Proposition 12 Raises International Concerns By Harry Siemens The US Supreme Court has agreed to take up the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) challenge to California’s Proposition 12, known as the “Farm Animal Confinement Initiative” which mandates minimum farm animal confinement standards and banning the sale of specified products into California, if standards are not met. The
John Anderson president of Minnesota Pork Producers Association recently spoke to delegates at the Manitoba Pork’s Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg on why California’s Proposition 12 raises international concerns and does not address animal husbandry skills that focus on taking care of the animal first. Photo by Harry Siemens
court could hear arguments shortly after a new term begins in October. NPPC and AFBF are petitioning the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of one state imposing regulation that reach far outside its borders. In this case, it is about imposing California’s animal housing standards into other US jurisdictions and elsewhere when the producer is selling to Californians. Proposition 12 was a ballot initiative passed in 2018, that imposes new minimum space requirements for calves raised for veal, breeding sows and laying hens, restricts certain production practices and bans the sale of products in California from any farm that fails to meet those standards. John Anderson, president of Minnesota Pork Producers Association, spoke to delegates at Manitoba Pork’s 2022 Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, that California’s Proposition 12 raises international concerns. “Proposition 12 will impact pork production practices throughout the United States and Canada,” said Anderson. Anderson said it goes right back to 2008 when Proposition 2, part of the Cruelty to
Farm Animals Act was introduced as a ballot measure mandating the prohibition of confinement for pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. Prop 12 legislation increased the square footage the animal needs and the length of time it could stand or be in confinement for breeding purposes and care. California consumes 13 percent of the pork produced in the US but has a sow herd less than one per cent of all sows in the US. “They import pretty much all their pork from other states,” said Anderson. “So we think as an organization that one state can’t dictate to another state what type of production practices they should use.” Anderson said there are also implications for consumers especially when California and other states may have a pork shortage. He commented that it is costly to retrofit barns or build new barns to comply with the new California law since there are still no written rules making it very difficult to build the barn.
“It goes against our animal husbandry-type skills that take care of the animal first, which this doesn’t address,” said Anderson. He explained that the significance of the Supreme Court hearing this case. He thinks that other states will be looking at referendums or initiatives on their ballots as well. Pork producers are hoping for a precedent-setting ruling so the industry knows what direction they should go in. With a million to two million weanlings and feeders moving from Canadian producers to Minnesota and the same amount to Iowa, their sow barns would be subject to the same regulations as American barns. If wanting to comply with Prop 12, the same rules would apply to the Canadian swine herd. The unknowns are what Proposition 12 regulations and its implementation including audits mean. For example, how will a producer know the difference between a compliant barn spending 30 percent more on building a new sow farm and getting the extra value asked Anderson as pork goes through the same system and into Californian consumers’ tables.
Funding Announced for Crown Land Forage Productivity Projects More than 40 projects will receive a total of $704,000 in targeted financial assistance through the Agricultural Crown Lands Forage Productivity Pilot Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. “Manitoba’s producers are stewards of this land and are helping to ensure it continues to thrive,” said federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “With this investment to the pilot program, the Government of Canada is helping to provide Manitoba producers with the resources they need to adopt climate-friendly practices that improve pasture productivity and further protect the environment.” In all, 42 projects have been approved for the oneyear pilot project, the min-
isters noted. These projects will receive up to $30,000 with a cost share ratio of 75 per cent government and 25 per cent applicant, and must be completed by December 2022. “The funds committed through this project will enable Manitoba agricultural Crown lands forage lease holders to increase productivity and sustainability by adopting beneficial practices that support comprehensive forage management,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “Pilot programs such as this help make much-needed improvements that have long-term benefits for producers and industry.” Forage lease holders in good standing with the agricultural Crown lands pro-
gram were eligible to apply for funding for planning, infrastructure or rejuvenation activities related to forage management techniques that would improve productivity and sustainability. Recipients were required to complete an environmental farm plan. Eligible projects include the development of grazing management plans, the targeted placement of key infrastructure components such as cross-fencing, wells or dugouts, and the rejuvenation of forage lands through measures such as seeding and brush management. “Manitoba Beef Producers thanks the federal and provincial governments for supporting this pilot project,” said Tyler Fulton, president, Manitoba Beef Producers. “Beef producers recognize
the value of beneficial management practices when it comes to managing their pastures and forage production. Investments made through this program will help producers realize greater productivity and resilience on Crown land leases, which are a key component of a sustainable beef industry in Manitoba.” The partnership is a fiveyear, $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
April 29, 2022
Additional Support to Producers with Changes in AgriRecovery Program The governments of Canada and Manitoba are making changes to the AgriRecovery Drought Assistance Program to make it easier for producers to receive funding and to enhance financial compensation. “Manitoba producers are working hard, and our government is committed to ensuring they are fully supported during this difficult time,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau. “By making these changes to the AgriRecovery program in the province, we are making it easier for them to access funding that will help them when they need it most.” Changes include eliminating the “producer share” for applicants to increase payments to each applicant. The “producer share” was set at $50 per head for cattle, bison, elk and horses or $10 per head for sheep and goats; reducing the compensation rate and the extraordinary expenses for feed receipts to 70 per cent from 75 per cent, which, when combined with eliminating the “producer share”, will increase funding to all applicants; increasing the maximum payment to $270 per head for cattle, bison, elk and horses from $2,500 per head and from $50 per head for sheep and goats to $54 per head, which will allow producers who have already received the maximum amount to receive an additional payment; and adjusting previous claims automatically, so clients do not need to reapply. “We know producers need some additional support after last year’s drought, and these changes are the best way to accomplish that while staying within the parameters of the AgriRecovery program,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “This will help producers receive additional funding in a timely way so they can get the support they need as soon as possible.” Johnson also noted that an extension has been put in place for the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program. The program, which covers feed, feed transportation and related extraordinary expenses, will now cover eligible expenses up to April 15. The application deadline has been updated to May 13. The deadline has been extended due to extreme weather conditions in January and February that have required producers to increase the amount of feed used to maintain the health and welfare of their animals. Under the drought assistance program, eligible expenditures between June 1, 2021 and April 15, 2022 include feed purchases, rentals of additional crop or pasture acres, temporary fencing for supplemental grazing, hauling water, harvesting extra acres and hauling selfproduced feed from distant locations. Eligible animals under the program include breeding animals of beef and dairy cattle, horses raised for pregnant mare urine, sheep, goats, bison and elk. Producers must support a minimum of 10 animals to qualify for assistance. “Manitoba Beef Producers has had ongoing engagement with the provincial and federal governments about the drought’s adverse effects and how to potentially modify programs to make them more responsive to cattle producers’ needs,” said Tyler Fulton, president, Manitoba Beef Producers. “These latest adjustments will help get more financial assistance to producers who have faced feed and water challenges and we thank governments for listening to the concerns and making these important changes.” For detailed program information, producers can contact an AG-MASC Service Centre or call toll-free 1-84-GROW-MB-AG, 1-844-769-6224. They can also visit manitoba.ca/agriculture/canadian-agriculturalpartnership/business-risk-management-programs.
April 29, 2022
Food Manufacturers Grow Sales Despite Challenges
“Consumers appeared to unleash strong disposable incomes and accumulated savings during the pandemic in 2021,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist in speaking to this year’s report. “This resulted in increased foodservice volumes that more than offset volume declines at grocery stores. The strong growth we’ve seen in Canada’s food sector is largely a reflection of innovation, resiliency and the ability to quickly adapt to the changing economic environment,” Photo Credit:
Buoyed by pent-up demand and higher prices, Canada’s food manufacturing industry performed well in 2021, according to the latest FCC Annual Food Report. Food manufacturing sales increased 14.8 per cent to more than $125 billion in 2021 and are projected to increase 7.4 per cent in 2022. Last year was the strongest year-over-year sales growth recorded since 1992. “Consumers appeared to unleash strong disposable incomes and accumulated savings during the pandemic in 2021,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist in speaking to this year’s report. “This resulted in increased foodservice volumes that more than offset volume declines at grocery stores.” In addition, a robust export market contributed to an estimated 36.8 per cent of sales. Overall, Canadian food manufacturing exports grew by 16.9 per cent in 2021, driven by higher prices and strong demand for healthy and high-quality foods. Export growth came from the United States, Mexico, Philippines and South Korea. Conversely, exports to China declined over 16 per cent on lower pork demand. Food imports increased in 2021, albeit growth was at a more modest pace of 3.6 per cent. Most imports came from US suppliers, but also from a diversity of other countries, led by China, Brazil and Italy. The share of domestic consumption of Canadian manufactured food also climbed by almost two per cent in 2021, after declining the two previous years. This increase was largely due to a combination of a “buy local” approach by many, as well as increased investments in marketing and operational efficiency by manufacturers. “The strong growth we’ve seen in Canada’s food sector is largely a reflection of innovation, resiliency and the ability to quickly adapt to the changing economic environment,” Gervais said. “This has enabled most food manufacturers to overcome significant challenges posed by the pandemic, such as higher input costs, amplified labour shortages and shifting consumer consumption trends.” The report notes that although gross margins improved slightly in 2021, food manufacturers continue to struggle to fully pass on higher labour and material costs. Inflation is also expected to be above the Bank of Canada’s target rate for most of 2022, which will drive interest rate increases. “Inflation is beginning to diminish the purchasing power of many households and the growth in 2022 will depend on several other factors, such as the evolution of the pandemic and how businesses adapt to interest rate increases and elevated input costs,” Gervais said. “But if the past is any indication of the future, Canada’s food processors will continue to take advantage of the many opportunities that exist amid the many challenges.” The FCC Annual Food Report features insights and analysis on grain and oilseed milling; dairy, meat, sugar, confectionery, bakery and tortilla products; seafood preparation; and fruit, vegetable and specialty foods.
KAP Pleased Education Tax Rollback Continues
By Elmer Heinrichs Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) welcomed Manitoba Budget 2022, which was announced in the Legislature on April 12. Manitoba’s key farm lobby group said it is pleased to see the provincial government address key advocacy issues that have been raised by KAP over the years. “The announcement of increasing the education property tax rebate to 37.5 per cent for 2022 and 50 per cent for 2023 is welcome news for Manitoba farmers,” said KAP president Bill Campbell. “KAP will continue to lobby for the complete removal of the education
property tax from all farm property.” KAP highlighted the capital investment of $407 million into highway infrastructure as much needed funding. He said Manitoba farmers require an efficient and effective transportation network to meet the modern demands of agriculture. This investment into roads and highways will improve and maintain this critical supply chain component. Campbell also welcomed the announcement regarding investments into childcare. “Access to affordable and accessible childcare in rural areas has been an ongoing concern for young Manitoba
farmers. KAP is encouraged by the news of investments into childcare,” said Campbell, describing it as a muchneeded service for Manitoba farm families. KAP supports the province’s $5 million investment in attracting newcomers, given the labour shortage in agriculture. The organization is hopeful that the insights gained from the Manitoba Immigration Advisory Council will lead to additional investments in labour and immigration. Created in February 2022, the Manitoba Immigration Advisory Council co-chaired by the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immi-
gration and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, the focus includes building on promotion to attract and recruit more immigrants and business investors to the province; streamlining the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, especially with regards to setting the right balance between the province’s regional labour market, economic development and community needs; and fostering Manitoba’s settlement and integration programs and services, as well as foreign credential recognition programs, to encourage labour market attachment, improve foreign credential recognition and bolster immigrant retention.
Innovation Drives Award-Winning, Women-Led Food and Ingredient Companies Two trailblazing women, whose companies operate at different points of the food supply chain, are partnering to offer new, innovative plant-based food products through a project co-invested in by Protein Industries Canada. Prairie Fava based in Glenboro, Manitoba, the leading Canadian fava bean ingredient supplier, is joining forces with Big Mountain Foods, an award-winning innovator of plant-based consumer packaged goods (CPG) foods, to create a new line of favabased food products, such as non-allergen tofu. Big Mountain Foods is headquartered in BC. This partnership will result in healthier food options for Canadians produced right here at home in a next-generation manufacturing facility purposely designed to meet and exceed sustainability requirements. “Innovation through collaboration is crucial as Canada strives to be a leading innovator in the plant-based food sector. Projects such as this one from Protein Industries Canada are becoming increasingly important to the Canadian economy and to provide Canadians with the best plant-based food products,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “As we see the demand rising, businesses and consumers alike will benefit by being provided with healthy alternatives to foods currently on the market.”
“To meet the evolving needs of Canadian and global consumers for healthier food options, it is key to support the expansion of innovative companies,” said MarieClaude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Through collaborative partnerships that support the development on Canadian plant-based products, we are creating a greater variety of food options for consumers and driving forward sustainability in Canada’s agri-food sector.” This partnership builds on two earlier Protein Industries Canada projects in which each company worked with other consortiums to build out capacity around the creation and application of new ingredients and food products. The success of those innovations led to this partnership. “At Protein Industries Canada we bring together trailblazing companies to create new opportunities for innovation,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “Through the work of companies like Prairie Fava and Big Mountain Foods, we are building capacity and creating a globally competitive ecosystem that will support Canada’s economic growth and prosperity.” Currently, most plant-based foods are made using soy, wheat and yellow or green peas, however as the market grows, there is an ever-growing demand by consumers for more and different products plant-based food products. This project will incorporate
low vicine and co-vicine (LVLCV) fava varieties into Big Mountain Foods’ line of CPG and food service products. These products will meet the request of several leading Canadian food manufacturers and food service providers. Potential products include a non-allergen tofu and other fava-based food products. “Prairie Fava is excited to partner with Big Mountain Foods to supply our high protein fava flour and splits and to support new product development through nutritional, functional and sensory data,” President and Co-Founder of Prairie Fava Hailey Jefferies said. “The results will lead to the creation of new fava CPG and food service products with higher demand being translated back to fava growers. This project will provide benefits to the entire valuechain as the activities will positively impact fava producers through to Canadian food and ingredient companies who are increasingly interested in using fava in new products.” Big Mountain Foods will produce fava-based products at the first ever allergen and soy free tofu factory in the world. This allergen-free tofu is superior in protein content to soy tofu, but has the same taste, colour, functionality, and texture as traditional tofu. “Big Mountain Foods is honored to be in partnership with Prairie Fava and Protein Industries Canada,” President of Big Mountain Foods
Jasmine Byrne said. “We believe Fava to be the next big thing in plant protein and are working towards bringing more consumer awareness to the benefits of fava including taste, nutrition, and sustainability. At Big Mountain Foods, our goal is to be the leader in alternative tofu products with the capacity to produce 15 million units a year.” The momentum of Canada’s plant-based food ecosystem directly co-relates to the strength of the supportive ecosystem and institutions such as Prairie Research Kitchen at Red River College Polytechnic in Winnipeg. Both Prairie Fava and Big Mountain Food benefited from the guidance and expertise of Prairie Research Kitchen’s blended team of food science and culinary expertise. “As more and more companies are looking to develop and integrate new ingredients into plant-based foods, the importance of applied research and culinary expertise is becoming increasingly important as part of the research ecosystem,” Director of Prairie Research Kitchen Mavis McRae said. “In the case of this project, our team played a pivotal role in developing value-added fava-based products and supporting the development of Big Mountain Foods’ tofu products. Seeing two women-led companies scale up their companies and achieve success is a great achievement for Prairie Research Kitchen.”
RBC Agriculture Poll Indicates Seeds of Hope Two thirds of Canadian agriculture producers are cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. From labour shortages and fluctuating commodities prices, to evolving environmental risks, Canadian farmers continue to operate amid highly disruptive conditions. Yet as they look to the next 12 months, two thirds (64%) of producers are feeling cautiously optimistic in their outlook, according to the RBC Agriculture Poll that surveyed agriculture owners and operators from across the country. To realize the positive year they foresee Canadian producers are aiming to proactively plant the seeds needed to ensure growth in the months ahead. When asked about priorities to pursue over the next year, those surveyed overwhelmingly agreed that owners and operators will look to cultivate a strong agricultural network to tap into for advice (85%); recruit skilled workers (81%); build up the farm’s leadership team (77%); invest in technology and data-driven decisions (77%); and focus on risk management planning (73%). “Having demonstrated their ability to weather significant and often unpredictable disruptions over the past two years, Canadian producers are now turning to the future with an outlook of cautious optimism,” said Ryan Riese, National Director of Agriculture, RBC. “From risk management
and resiliency, to leadership and technological innovation, farmers are increasingly shifting their focus and investments on proactive priorities to strengthen their operations and cultivate growth, not only for the year ahead but for the long-term future of the agriculture sector.”
The Modern Farmer is Data-Driven, Sustainability Focused and Diverse
The RBC Agriculture poll also found that the face of Canadian agriculture is rapidly changing, with farmers today increasingly focused on driving sustainability, diversity and technological adoption. When surveyed, an overwhelming majority (91%) of Canadian farmers report that they already regularly use technology and data insights to guide their decision-making, with a large number intending to further accelerate on-farm technological adoption. Over the next 12 months, about half anticipate introducing new technology to their operations to support functions like data management (55%); digital field, crop, and inventory management (51%); financial planning and cash flow management (47%); and automation (45%). In addition to an increasing focus on digital adoption, survey findings indicate an agriculture industry that is making strides to be-
come more sustainable and diverse. Of the producers polled, 96% report that they are actively working to make their operations more sustainable. The industry is also moving the needle on diverse leadership, with six in ten (61%) of those surveyed reporting female leadership on their farm. Another seven in ten (71%) said that they’re making progress around recruiting and promoting a more diverse workforce.
Considerations to Support the Growth and Transformation Journey
As many farmers plan for the next stage of growth and evolution, there are four important considerations that should always be top of mind for owners and operators. First is to make risk management part of your everyday decision-making. In today’s farming environment, risk management is an essential activity to ensure long-term economic success. Some activities may include regularly scheduled risk assessments, creating contingency cash flow projections, and staying updated on the latest industry disruptions, trends and farming solutions. Another consideration is increasing adoption of sustainable farming and digital innovations. As the industry continues to evolve, investing in new technologies
today can pay dividends to help your farm produce more efficiently and sustainably in the future. Take the time to assess your current operations, and evaluate whether digital solutions can help streamline critical functions including data management; field, crop, and inventory management; financial planning and cash flow modeling; and automation. Expanding your knowledge with education and training opportunities is essential. Farming is getting more complex, and owners and operators will need a broader understanding of business fundamentals than ever before. To take your skills and knowledge to the next level, explore courses from credible institutions and experienced instructors that focus on managing a modern farm operation. Don’t go it alone. To navigate an increasingly dynamic and interconnected sector, producers will need to rely on a wide range of employees, partners, suppliers, and non-industry collaborators. Don’t hesitate to turn to your advisor, lawyer, mentor, or other trusted members of your professional network for proactive feedback and support. They can provide their perspective on your risk management practices, sustainability transition, digital investments or other transformation plans and can advise you on ways to successfully take your farm business into the future.
Investment Targets Sustainability and Growth in Canada’s Organics Industry The Government of Canada has announced an investment of up to $103,400 for the Organic Federation of Canada to enable a new collaboration that will promote sustainability and growth for Canada’s organics industry. The organic industry is one of Canada’s fastest growing sectors and is the sixth largest in the world thanks to hardworking organic food producers and the organizations that support them. Collaboration and partnership are vital to ensuring this sector continues to grow to help meet increasing consumer demand. This project brings together the three primary national organizations that support the
organics industry: the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC), which is focused on standards maintenance and scientific research, Canadian Organic Growers (COG), which is focused on education for consumers and producers, and the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), which supports market development. The Organic Federation of Canada is using the funds to develop a coordinated governance structure across the three organizations as well as to design, develop and implement a funding model that will be able to deliver the services required to support growth of the industry. Representing the entire value
chain, this collaboration will consolidate and better coordinate efforts to strengthen the organic industry and assist producers in transitioning to organic production. “Our organizations are thrilled to receive this timely funding to determine a longterm funding mechanism for organics’ future and that will provide the much needed stability our sector needs to further organic’s essential contribution to reducing GHGs, contributing to soil health and promoting sustainable business practices for domestic and global trade,” said Nicole Boudreau, Organic Federation of Canada, on behalf of the three organizations including
Canada Organic Trade Association and Canadian Organic Growers. Organic farming methods can improve soil health, promote biodiversity and boost farm resilience in the face of climate change. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting a strong and prosperous organic industry, which is good for both the environment and the economy. Canada’s organic farming sector is valued at $8 billion. Demand for organics in Canada is increasing at a rate of 8.7% annually, and despite increases in Canadian organic production, the growth in global and Canadian markets continues to outpace supply.
April 29, 2022
Overland Flooding Still Likely By Elmer Heinrichs Overland flooding could happen in some Manitoba communities in the coming days as significant precipitation is forecast to fall on the April 22-24 weekend. Manitoba’s forecast centre is monitoring a weather system that could bring 40 to 80 mm of precipitation. It was expected to affect the central and southern Manitoba basins, which include the United States portions of the Red, Souris, Pembina and Roseau river basins. Fisaha Unduche, the executive director of hydrologic forecasting and water management with the Government of Manitoba, said this could be the second wettest April on record since 1950 and it is only being surpassed by April 1986. Some ditches and waterways are still ice covered or contain snow limiting water flows. As high amounts of rainfall occur in a short period, citizens are advised of the potential for a sudden rise of water levels in these areas. This forecast above freezing temperatures along with high precipitation will create runoff in the coming days and levels will start rising on most southern and central basins. Peak flows on the Red and Assiniboine rivers and tributaries are not expected to arrive until late April to early May.
CWB Lawsuit Now Certified By Elmer Heinrichs A class action lawsuit of farmers versus the government of Canada and G3 Canada Ltd. will continue now that a Manitoba judge has certified the legal action. The lawsuit alleges the government of Canada and G3 Canada Ltd. unlawfully used millions of farmer dollars to privatize the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Chris Martin delivered his written judgment recently in Winnipeg, clearing the way for a judge to hear the allegations on behalf of an estimated 70,000 or so western Canadian farmers who delivered grain to the wheat board’s pool accounts in 2010-11 and 2011-12. “I think it is good news for the farmers who felt they weren’t dealt with fairly when [Agriculture Minister Gerry] Ritz and [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper were privatizing the wheat board,” said Stewart Wells, a Swift Current, SK, farmer and member of the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, said in an interview recently. “The wheels of justice grind slowly but they’re still grinding.” “It’s the first major progress since the case was launched in 2012 and it’s certified so this is going to be heard in court,” said Wells. “It’s just not going to be swept under the rug somewhere. So that’s a pretty major advancement.” However, Wells does not rule out the possibility that the government and G3 will appeal Justice Martin’s decision. An out-of-court settlement is also possible. The conservative government led by Stephen Harper removed the CWB as the sole marketer of western Canadian wheat and barley destined for export or domestic human consumption on August 1, 2012.
April 29, 2022
Managing Pastures After Drought
Well-Balanced High Forage Diets for Dairy Milk Cows Takes Common Sense
By John McGregor Grazing season is just around the corner and with pastures recovering from extensive drought in 2021; there may be some consideration as to when and how cattle should be turned out on pasture this spring. How pastures were managed in 2021 and temperatures this spring will influence the rates grasses grow and pasture readiness. Under normal conditions pasture managers know to make sure forage is ready to be grazed before livestock are turned out. Livestock grazing on pasture too early cause reduced plant leaf area for photosynthesis, reducing the ability of pasture grasses to replace carbohydrates. This then leads to decreased plant vigor, thin stands and lower forage production. Monitoring the grazing readiness of your pastures before turning out livestock is vital. If done correctly, plants are more tolerant of stressors due to grazing and weather, and will maintain a higher vigor to continue forage production for the following years. Moisture availability plays a large role in managing range and pasturelands. Rains late fall 2021saw pastures green up and things looked the best they had all year. Even with this fall moisture, did pastures recover enough to handle this coming grazing season? This depends on the management decisions from the fall. If a pasture was used heavily, the tiller of coolseason grasses may have been removed. Cool-season grasses start growth from tillers that develop in the fall. If these tillers were eaten or died due to drought, then the plant will need to develop new tillers in April and May, delaying growth. If pastures had two years of heavy usage that stressed those plants, they’re going to be impacted in terms of plant development and growth. The spring of 2022 looks promising from a moisture standpoint. Record snowfall throughout the winter has the potential to recharge soil moisture levels. The amount will be dependent on how we transition into spring. Ideally we are looking to a slow warm-up that will allow moisture to seep into the soil rather than runoff. Too slow of a warming trend in late March and early April may not see enough of a melt and as we approach the typically warmer weather in late April and early May if enough snow hasn’t melted previously we may see a very quick melt of the remaining snow cover leading to more moisture running off than staying on the land. One of the downsides to a slow spring is that the longer winter is extended, the longer it will be until cattle can get on grass. Many producers have very tight forage inventories and will be looking to put cattle on grass as quickly as possible this spring. If this is the case on your operation, to help protect and promote your pastures so that you have enough forage through the grazing season, you may have to consider sacrificing a pasture or paddock, or plant some annual forage to provide relief while pastures recover from the drought conditions of 2021 and 2020. To help your pastures improve here are a few points to consider: 1. Delay turnout until grass is growing well. 2. Utilize some form of rotational grazing. 3. Build plant diversity by over-seeding or inter-seeding legumes. 4. Consider fertilization to improve productivity. Remember we are not only trying to maximize forage production, we are also trying to bring forage fields back from the stress that they have had over the past two-three grazing seasons. John McGregor is with the MFGA and is involved with Extension Support.
Dairy cows at feed bunk.
High-forage dairy diets have become very popular in the last few years. That’s because many dairy producers feared that too much grain was being fed to their high producing dairy cows, which causes digestive upsets and lameness. As a dairy nutritionist, I have reviewed many of these former high-concentrate diets and agree that many of these diets were clearly unacceptable to feed. Yet, I have also examined many new high-forage lactation diets and have found that some of them were equally unbalanced. As a result, it made me appreciate that all essential nutrients in a dairy diet, regardless of forage content, must work in unison to promote: good cow dry matter intake, exceptional feed digestibility and effective nutrient metabolism, which together underlie all good milk (and milkfat) production. When I balance dairy lactation diets, I often take a “common sense” approach to meet such dietary objectives. It has been my experi-
ence that all successful dairy TMRs for lactating dairy cows should contain: - Lots of effective forage fibre – All my lactation TMRs contains a minimum amount of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) of 27 – 28% with 75% - 80% of that coming from the forages. I also like to see a chop length of about ½” with 15 – 20% long-stem fibre of 1.5” in the entire mix. - Lots of available energy – A high producing dairy cows producing 40 kg of milk at 4.0% milkfat requires about 40 Mcal of Nel. I draw upon the rumen microbes to release this dietary energy, largely from the fermentation of forage fiber (nee carbohydrates) and grain-starch energy. - Utilize non-fibre carbohydrates - NFC portion of the diet should be limited to 35 37% of the total diet. Starch, which comprises a significant portion of NFC should be targeted at 21 - 25% of the diet, dm. Therefore, I like to utilize starch, mainly from grain corn and barley, while recognizing their different
rumen digestablities. I would assume that these rules would be relatively easy to follow, particularly when building a high-milk producing dairy diet formulated with an appreciable amount of fibrous and high-energy corn silage. But this is not always the case. Recently, I was presented a challenge at a 150-cow dairy to balance a high-milk and milkfat lactating TMR. Its main limiting factor was a corn silage analysis that contained relatively low NDF and high digestibility as well as a starch level of 32.6% and NFC of 47.1%. As a result, the Nel was 1.70 Mcal/kg. In addition, 2nd cut hay was available, but it had modest NDF and NFC levels. The producer had home-feeds of graincorn (no barley), soybean meal, high-fat canola meal, limited amounts of DDGS and by-pass palm fat. Last, a 300-gram premix, which contained essential minerals and vitamins, was fed. My accompanying lactation TMR diet (see Table 1) illustrates – 1. Corn silage was limited to about 10 kg, dm. to limit its starch/NFC intake. 2. Grain-corn was cut back to 3.6 kg to do the same. 3. Alfalfa hay raised forage-fibre levels, but its mediocre eNDF and high-soluble protein may have reduced its effectiveness. 4. Canola meal was limited to curb its vegetable oil intake, and 5. Beet pulp was added at 1.5 kg. In summary – on a dry matter basis; forage/concentrate ratio was 63.5%, eNDF = 22.5%, starch = 23.20%, NFC = 39.40%. This new dairy diet was
fed in the dairy’s free-stall barn for about three weeks, before I had a chance to do a barn-walk with the producer. It gave us a chance to review and draw some conclusions as its dietary performance. That is to say; milk production slipped (but was not significant) to 39.3 kg and a 4.24% milkfat. When cows went up to the bunk to eat; DMI was a consistent 26 kg per head, daily, and when the cows were resting in their stalls, they were actively chewing their cud (healthy rumens). We concluded that this new high-forage diet was doing an adequate job in supporting good milk production. Yet, I still had a wish-list in the back of my mind to unlock more dairy performance. This meant – add grass-hay and switch out some alfalfa to raise the dietary level of effective-fibre, switch to a bag of corn silage that contained less ensiled-starch and feed less palm fat. The funny thing is my mental notes were right in-line with the above points of common sense of all good dairy diets.
Province Invests in Support for 4-H Council The Manitoba government has signed a funding agreement with the Manitoba 4-H Council to support the organization with a $900,000 investment over three years. “Our government is a longterm supporter of 4-H and we are so pleased to announce this agreement with this very important and successful program,” said Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “More than 100 years ago, Canada’s 4-H movement began right here in Manitoba. The 4-H program has a long and successful history of providing opportunities for Manitoba’s youth to develop skills ranging from leadership and communication to agriculture and environmental sustainability.” The funding will help the
Manitoba 4-H Council deliver unique and quality programming across the province to 102 4-H clubs for more than 1,020 members, Johnson noted. “4-H Manitoba is extremely grateful for the relationship we have with the Manitoba government,” said Shannon Carvey, executive director, Manitoba 4-H Council. “The financial support received from the Department of Agriculture is essential for the delivery of new and existing programming to our members.” The minister noted the province has also supported the launch of Clover, a life-sized model cow simulator unveiled at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. The Hereford Dystocia Simulator contains a lifesized model calf that offers
several educational scenarios for calving and general animal husbandry for 4-H beef members. Manitoba Agriculture provided $5,000 for the purchase of the simulator. “Our government is pleased to be one of the contributors
to help bring this new teaching tool to life,” said Johnson. “What a great way to learn through a tool like Clover. This is really living the 4-H motto ‘Learn to Do by Doing’.” For more information on Manitoba 4-H, visit 4h.mb.ca.
Clover, the Hereford Dystocia Simulator will become a unique educational piece for the Manitoba 4-H program. Submitted photo
Manure Application Technology Has Evolved By Harry Siemens Manure application was to begin on April 10 but based on current conditions, it probably will not start for another two to three weeks. Doug Redekop, president of Precision Pumping Ltd. of La Broquerie, MB said despite a wet spring and a delay in applying the manure he’s filled with hope. “Never seen a year where people are more aware of the value of manure because the high fertilizer costs tend to do that to people,” said Redekop. “At the same time, I’m scared about the fuel costs and all the other extra costs that have come down the pipeline in the last two years.” While concerned for his livestock producer clients’ continued financial and profitability turmoil due to fluctuating incomes and production costs. “For the most part, I’m putting on a positive face, and I see some exciting things coming here in the next 12 to 24 months.” Manure applicators work hand-in-hand with agronomic experts to develop ways to maximize the value of manure that is not an environmental detriment. As nearinfrared technology becomes more acceptable it has helped show the non-farming public the actual value of manure and its application. When beginning a new site, it is vital to have the fields properly tested and results in hand to put the fertilizer
in place explained Redekop. In addition, farmers need to have adequate and adequately conditioned land to receive that manure. “We could be applying right next to the barn, or four to five miles away from the barn,” said Redekop. “So it’s quite a process with landowners receiving the manure, but other landowners’ fields we’re crossing over to get to that field for application.” The manure smell is another major factor for the non-farming population and farmer clients are particular about how they apply the manure. This caused a switch back to shovels from using coulters to inject the manure. Instead, the applicator uses a coulter to cut the trash and an opener to lift the soil profile and deposit the manure burying the manure underneath, between two and four inches of dirt. “From an application standpoint, there isn’t much we contribute to odour except when agitating the storage as we’re mixing the manure,” said Redekop. “So we’re doing our part to minimize the odour impact on the local community through those efforts.” Disease issues, especially the PED virus, means extra precautions while minimizing manure agitation and working closely with the farmer clients. This means coupling the PED sites in a block minimizing traffic of PED-infected sites as much as possible. “We wash, disinfect, and
Doug Redekop, president of Precision Pumping Ltd. of La Broquerie said that despite a wet spring and a delay in applying the manure he is filled with hope.
Manure applicators work hand-in-hand with agronomic experts to develop ways to maximize the value of manure that is not an environScreenshot / submitted photos mental detriment.
then come out after swabbing and then move out of the PED infected farm using their hot water wash,” he said. “We do not need to call anybody in. We wash right on site before we leave for the next site to try to contain it, and so we’re working hard to do our best to minimize the risks.” With fertilizer prices skyrocketing, the value of manure increases. Redekop said the value depends on the type of livestock whether dairy, hog nursery, a finish, or a dry sow barn. Each of those livestock production units has different qualities of manure.
Lack of moisture saw liquid manure go from two to 4 per cent solids up to 11 and 12 per cent solids in 2021 becoming more concentrated than ever before. High evaporative levels and crops that did not pull out very much nutrition lowered required rates or a switch to another field. While Doug and his wife Sandra have run Precision Pumping for almost 29 years, it is a co-operative owned by farmers. As a result, about 80 per cent of the manure Precision pumps are for shareholders and the balance for nonshareholders.
Manitoba’s Plan to Become Leader in Sustainable Protein Gains Momentum Manitoba’s quest to become a global leader in the development and production of sustainable protein has gained further momentum through Project Accelerating Sustainable Protein Impact and Results (ASPIRE), an industry-led, concerted and co-ordinated team effort toward advancing the Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy. “This plan represents tremendous opportunity for our province’s industry and economic future,” said Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “Our government appreciates the shared expertise that has led to this pivotal development.” The release of Project ASPIRE was a key highlight of the third annual Manitoba Protein Summit virtual conference held recently. This
major industry conference attracted more than 650 attendees from around the world, with “Sustainable Protein Food Systems” as this year’s theme. “The Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy was released in 2019 to sustainably grow Manitoba’s plant and animal protein industry through innovation and value chain collaboration,” said Johnson. “To date, Manitoba’s protein industry has attracted new investments valued at $753 million, creating 840 jobs and surpassing 50 per cent of the strategy’s $1.5-billion target in new investments through 2025.” The Manitoba Protein Consortium, an industry committee appointed by cabinet, has transitioned the strategy from a government-led initiative to an industry-led strategy
through the establishment of a strategic advisory body of 18 industry leaders to lead the implementation of Project ASPIRE. “Project ASPIRE is a comprehensive plan focused on realizing the province’s potential to produce protein that is diverse, high-quality, healthy and increasingly sustainable,” said Dickson Gould, chair of the Manitoba Consortium and president of The Progressive Group. “We are very pleased to appoint David Wiens, the chair of Dairy Farmers of Manitoba and Chris Anderson, the chief technology officer at Protein Industries Canada to cochair the strategic advisory body. Together, we want to accelerate sector leadership to make Manitoba a globally sustainable protein hub for plant, animal and alternative
protein development, as well as increase the economic opportunities for our producers and protein manufacturers.” “We have established roundtables to bring action to key pillars in the strategy, such as workforce, water and wastewater infrastructure and sustainable protein research. Other priority areas will be determined within the next few months,” said David Wiens, chair, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba and co-chair of the strategic advisory body. “Our Workforce Roundtable will ensure that we have the right skills in Manitoba to sustainably grow our protein industry,” said Ron Koslowsky, chair, Workforce Roundtable and head of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Manitoba.
April 29, 2022
Worth a Thousand Words
Have you turned to poetry to help you survive winter? If you are like most, you’ve decided to turn to the pages of Ivan Turgenev to help you survive the extended days of road closures and freezing temperatures. It was Mr. Turgenev that wrote “the drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book.” This quote has been repeated and updated to become a modern-day expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. How does this connect with insurance? Ask anyone who has had to complete the process of detailing the items lost in an insurance claim. While many insurers and brokers will tell you to keep an inventory of your contents in your dwelling, this is not done by many. After the first hour of writing down the total pairs of socks, trophies from junior high sports achievements you have sitting in a box and your beanie baby collectables, you are likely to lose steam and never complete the project. While I thoroughly enjoyed my years working on a seed farm, there was one job that I detested above any other –SHOP INVENTORY DAYS! We would spend two or three days each winter documenting each screwdriver, wrench, air tool and then also document spare tires, filters, and finally replacement parts for machines we no longer owned. While this was not an enjoyable experience each year, I now understand the importance of this event more than I did at that time. In the event of an insurance claim, whether it is to your personal contents or your shop tools and supplies, you will be required to document and provide a list of the items lost. From our experience, it is very difficult to remember everything that you’ve lost in these situations and it is quite common to remember items lost weeks and months after the original date of claim. Our recommendation is to remember the words of Mr. Turgenev, “the drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book.” I believe this could also be translated to read “over ten pages in proof of loss forms” for an insurance claim. The simplest way to help you remember the items that could be potentially lost is to take photos and video footage and then store them in a place where they are accessible in the event of a loss. While this may not save you the fun of completing the paperwork, it will make the process of remembering what you’ve lost much easier. Do yourself a favor – before you get out in the field this spring, take ten minutes and walk through your home and shop and record a video of all the items you have collected. Save this video in a place that is accessible even if you lose your phone or home computer (i.e., USB in a safety deposit box or safe or a cloud storage file.) Hopefully you will never ever need it. In the unfortunate event that you do, the picture will save you a thousand words… Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or online at rempelinsurance.com.
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April 29, 2022
Ag-Plastic Container Collection Sites Open May 2 Cleanfarms, the national stewardship organization that collects empty pesticide and fertilizer jugs to recycle them announced that more than 1,500 recycling collection sites across Canada will open their doors on Monday, May 2 to start accepting empty single use pesticide and fertilizer containers for 2022. The Cleanfarms’ recycling program keeps these plastic containers, which are a valuable resource material, out of landfill and the environment, and reinvested in the circular economy. Since the Ag-plastic container recycling program began more than 30 years ago, Canadian farmers have brought back more than 143.6 million empty containers for recycling. “We’re challenging Canadian farmers to celebrate Earth Day this year, by bringing back all their Ag-plastic jugs used in their farm operations,” said Cleanfarms Executive Director Barry Friesen, whose organization develops and operates the agricultural “blue box” for farmers, adding, “and on their behalf, we’ll see that the container plastic is put to good use again as new products.” Recycled plastic from pesticide and fertilizer jugs are made into valuable agricultural products such as flexible drainage pipe and plastic bags. Cleanfarms’ research shows that farmers want Ag waste management programs that help them operate their farms more sustainably for their families and for future generations. In addition to empty small plastic containers for pesticides and fertilizers, Cleanfarms’ programs include a nation-wide recycling program for large non-deposit plastic totes and drums for pesticides and fertilizers; recycling programs for grain bags and baler twine; a nation-wide collection and proper disposal program for unwanted pesticides; old obsolete livestock and equine medications; and a disposal program for seed and pesticide bags and fertilizer bags in Quebec. Cleanfarms also operates pilot projects in partnership with other organizations across Canada including the Dairy Farmers of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), and Alberta’s Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group. Through these pilots for plastic Ag products such as baler twine, bale wrap, silage wrap and silage tarps, Cleanfarms collects data on efficient collection, transportation and recycling practices to help transition pilots to permanent programs. “Recycling programs for Ag-plastics help give farmers peace of mind that these resource materials are managed responsibly when they are no longer needed or wanted on the farm,” Friesen said.
Recycled plastic from pesticide and fertilizer jugs are made into valuable agricultural products such as flexible drainage pipe and plastic bags. Photo Credit: Cleanfarms
AAFC Sees Uncertainty in World Grain Markets By Elmer Heinrichs In Agriculture and AgriFood Canada’s (AAFC) April preliminary outlook at the 2021-22 and 202223 crop years the economic outlook, for the world and Canadian grain markets remains highly uncertain. In a large part, says the report, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in the ongoing disruption of supplies from the region for the foreseeable future and considerable
uncertainty in regards to the extent the invasion will affect the current spring planting campaign. Adding further uncertainty into the market is the ongoing effects of COVID-19, which continue to be felt even as the world starts to recover from the pandemic, in particular its persistent effects on global supply chains. For 2022-2023, Canadian producers are expected to react to the strong prices in the market by maximizing acre-
age planted and assuming a return to trend or just below trend yields total field crop production and supply is expected to return to a more normal level. Despite the winter snow, dry conditions persist in places, particularly in the southern and central portions of the western Prairies where timely precipitation this spring and throughout the growing season will be needed to achieve trend yields. Wheat exports were revised
up slightly to 17.25 Mt, that is about 59 per cent of total supply, under expectations of increased global demand following declining supply and trade from the Black Sea region, in particular Ukraine. Crop prices are forecast to remain strong, on support from supply disruptions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tight Canadian supplies and relatively tight global grain supplies with expectations for a continuation of firm international demand.
Governments Partner with Funds for Innovative Research The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $326,688 in innovative research projects aimed at strengthening the agriculture and agri-food industries through the Ag Action Manitoba program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. “Research projects like those announced [will] allow agriculture and agri-food businesses in Manitoba to stay strong and prosperous,” said Agriculture and AgriFood Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau when making the joint announcement. “Our government’s investments will ensure the sector’s sustainable growth and competitiveness.” “Funding available from Ag Action Manitoba supports
the vital work of our research community in advancing our province’s priorities for the agriculture sector,” added Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “This support for research and innovation is the key that opens the door to new discoveries, novel approaches and technologies, ensuring Manitoba’s continued success in the national and global agriculture markets.” The Ag Action Manitoba program for research and innovation offers two streams of funding – basic and applied research and development activities, and investment related to capacity-building. Applications are received for projects in four focus
areas, including climate change adaptation, environmental sustainability, food, diet and health, and sustainable feed grains supply and utilization. The announcement includes funding for promising projects focused on grain innovation and crop production. They include: - Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Inc. – development and evaluation of a fully automated, made-inManitoba rover for the rapid collection of environmental data to improve soybean adaptation to drought conditions, purchase of specialized lab equipment for crop protein research, development of the carbon footprint of typical pulse and soybean
production in Manitoba and assessment of alternatives to reduce carbon intensity; - Ducks Unlimited – maximizing the potential of highyielding winter wheat in Manitoba; Manitoba Crop Alliance Inc. – grain dryer efficiency; - Manitoba Horticulture Productivity Enhancement Centre Inc. – improvements to the soils of Manitoba’s potato industry through decreasing wind erosion and variable rate irrigation; and - University of Manitoba – noxious Amaranthus weed (pigweed) identification using molecular markers and genome editing of functional genes in Brassicas napus to advance plant resistance to environmental conditions.
Prairie Farms Receive On-Farm Climate Action Funding
The Federal Government recognizes that farmers are key players in building a healthy environment and a more sustainable agriculture sector in Canada and have highlighted the support of over $66 million to help Manitoba and Prairie farmers adopt sustainable farming practices and clean technologies that build farmers resilience to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Federal support of up to $62 million will be available for two organizations to deliver the On-Farm Climate Action Fund in Manitoba and other Prairie provinces. Manitoba Association of Watersheds will deliver up to $40 million to provide knowledge, tools, skills and financial incentives that aim to help farmers to adopt
and deploy real, measurable and practical climate solutions across Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the area of rotational grazing, nitrogen management and cover cropping. “Manitoba Association of Watersheds is thrilled to have the opportunity to support farmers throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan as they implement and expand use of beneficial management practices that are known to have positive effects on water and soil health, and climate resiliency,” said Garry Wasylowski, Board Chair, Manitoba Association of Watersheds. “We welcome the opportunity to support our farmers by providing incentive based programs alongside training, development and mentorship opportunities to help ensure suc-
cessful, long-term adaptation of these practices.” Canola Council of Canada will deliver up to $22 million to work with farmers across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to increase canola yields while reducing nitrous oxide emissions. “Canadian canola farmers are leaders in sustainability and we’re pleased that the Government of Canada is providing support to continue their progress,” mentioned Jim Everson, president, Canola Council of Canada. “We look forward to partnering through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund to advance productivity and build climate resilience through nitrogen management for the canola value chain.” Both groups will distribute the funding through individual application intakes to help
farmers adopt and implement immediate on-farm beneficial management practices that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases. Activities supported through the Fund are expected to reduce GHG emissions by up to 2 million tonnes by 2024, while improving the health and resiliency of farmers’ soil. In addition, support of up to over $4.4 million for 10 projects approved so far across Manitoba under the Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program. This program will help farmers adapt to a changing climate and boost their long-term competitiveness, all while cutting emissions. This funding is focused on three priority areas: green energy and energy efficiency; precision agriculture; and the bioeconomy.
April 29, 2022
Don’t Let Cattle Performance Get Stuck in the Mud
By Peter Vitti A few years ago in early May, I left the safety of the highway and turned onto a muddy summer-road. There was a farm on the south side that had about 50 beef cows with little calves living in knee-deep mud. Despite, there was lots of green hay in a bale feeder, the cows looked thin, and the baby calves were gaunt. It was a good reminder that muddy living conditions can negatively affect cow-calf performance and health. That is why; we must do everything in our power to implement a plan of action to reduce its imprint on cattle. Midwest American research has demonstrated that very little mud is really needed to become a big mess for cattle. As little as 4 - 8” of mud was shown to reduce average daily gains in growing drylot cattle by 5 - 15%. As mud gets belly-deep, cattle performance has been shown to be reduced by as much as 35%. More specifically, a recent Ohio State University graduate project (2019) compared a group of late-trimester beef cows housed in pens with 10” of mud with those pre-calving beef cows housed with 10” of mud plus bedded with a thick layer of bark chips. At the end of the study on day 269 gestation, the cows in the un-bedded muddy pens weighed 38 kg less than their bark-chip counterparts. Newborn calf birth weights in both pens were unaffected
by pen-treatments. The graduate student concluded that these muddy cows mobilized one body condition of fat (BCS) in order to compensate for an increase in dietary energy requirements due to the mud. She also speculated that these calving cows were susceptible to other long-term problems as a result of body-weight loss such as a longer post-partum return to first-estrus, delayed conception and final lower pregnancy rates. This thesis did a good job in examining the negative effect of mud on beef cow nutrition/ body condition, but made no mention of any lameness. That’s because I have personally witnessed many lame cattle struggling through a foot of mud in their pens or on wet early-spring pastures. And previous university extension surveys record that about 3/4 of lameness observed in muddy conditions are due to contagious foot-rot bacteria. Pus and discharge from swollen feet contaminate muddy ground and healthy cattle will often become infected within a day if they happen to walk in the same muddy drylot or pasture. Several environmental studies have proven that footrot bacteria can live for about a year in mud. Unfortunately, footrot is not the only undesirable microbial threat that can live in mud of drylots and pastures. Mud is a good home for cattle scour-causing
Well-bedded beef cows.
organisms such as clostridial pathogenic E. coli, Clostridium perfringens, salmonella, and lastly parasitic protozoa or crytosporidia and coccidia. Coccidia protozoa that cause coccidiosis disease are particularly problematic to beef cattle raised in wet muddy pens or confined pastures. That’s because the organism is shed in the manure of infected cattle, which defecate in the mud. Since, most of these cattle often live in close proximity, most come into almost immediate contact with cocci-infested manure/mud. Nursing calves are the most vulnerable to the cocci infections from mud, because they could be suckling a mud-encrusted udder and often are not old enough to consume enough creep-ration formulated with a protective coccidiostat such as monensin sodium. After a bout of coccidiosis that nearly decimated his newborn calf crop about five years ago, a friend of mine that runs a 250 - beef cowherd operation took matters into his own hands. He im-
plements a broad-based protocol every spring as he lets his cowherd out on sprouting green pastures: 1. Scrapes down the pens from manure that builds up during the winter. 2. Puts down a bale or two of straw in the middle of the pen. 3. Treats every case of footrot immediately. 4. Watches out for scouring spring calves and treats them, immediately. 5. Utilizes his higher ground pastures during the spring and avoids wet low pastures. 6. Feeds a cattle mineral with chelated-zinc on pasture, proven to harden cattle hooves. This beef producer is the first person to admit that he can’t escape mud during spring. It’s just something that has to be dealt with every year, so freshened cows remain at their optimum body condition and health to prepare for the upcoming breeding season. As well as maintain vigor in their newborn calves, which contributes to their heavy weaning-weights in the fall.
HyLife Largest Manitoba Operation to Achieve Safety Certification HyLife has become the biggest company by total operations in Manitoba, within the manufacturing and food industry sectors, to achieve SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe status. Neal Curry, Executive Director of Made Safe, presented Grant Lazaruk, HyLife’s President and CEO with a plaque recently commemorating their certification at a ceremony in La Broquerie. The event was attended by manufacturing leaders, safety professionals and HyLife employees. Headquartered in La Broquerie, HyLife employs more than 4,500 people, 2,500 working in Manitoba. The company also has more than 160 sites, placing them among the largest Manitoba companies in the manufacturing and food industry sectors.
“This is a very exciting day, both for Made Safe and HyLife,” said Neal Curry, Made Safe Executive Director. “Safety certification at this level really is a tremendous feat and it takes a lot of work and commitment to get everyone at all levels on board. HyLife should feel proud of this accomplishment; by committing to safety they are acting as a role model and demonstrating what a true commitment to safety looks like.” “We are truly honoured to receive this historic certification,” shared Grant Lazaruk. “At HyLife, we have always been committed to safety and protecting our employees. From our feed mills to our barns and plants, we are driven to ensure all working environments live up to the highest standards. Becoming
Manitoba’s largest manufacturing and food industry company to reach the Made Safe status is an accomplishment made possible thanks to collective efforts across our entire company.” Workers Compensation Board (WCB) data shows that compared to industry averages, workplaces that implement a safety and health certification program experience 42 per cent lower injury rates and 49 per cent fewer workdays taken for time-loss injuries.
SAFE Work Manitoba partners with industry-based safety associations, like Made Safe, in Manitoba’s largest sectors to support certification programs; delivered by and for industry. “Congratulations to HyLife on this important achievement in safety leadership,” said Jamie Hall, Chief Operating Officer of SAFE Work Manitoba. “By becoming SAFE Work Certified, you demonstrate that safety and health is a critical component of a successful business.”
HyLife has achieved SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe status.
Winnipeg Offers Cash for Community Gardens By Elmer Heinrichs Community gardens have been established in many communities across Manitoba often taking advantage of open spaces with residents becoming gardeners to grow rich nutritious fruits and vegetables for their daily menu in a sustainable way. Gardens are set up and operating in Altona, Steinbach and many other communities, as well as in Winnipeg, where refugees and other newcomers especially are looking for a way to access affordable quality food for their families. Now the City of Winnipeg is offering a total of $7,000 in grants for new community garden or urban agriculture projects. The City’s food council heard on Tuesday that these grants were planned as part of the City’s decision to declare 2022 the “Year of the Garden”. The grants of up to $2,000 are available to all community groups, but minority groups are encouraged to apply. “We know that Black, Indigenous and people of colour and other equity seeking groups are over-represented in food deserts and are more likely to experience food insecurity,” said food council co-ordinator Jeanette Sivilay. “We’ve also seen lots of requests among newcomer and refugee communities for space and funds to grow food in Winnipeg,” she added. Accessible community gardens can be a way to address food insecurity and inflation costs, said University of Manitoba law student Lewis Lee, noting that many Manitobans also eagerly took on hobby gardening during the pandemic. There are eight community gardens from which Winnipeggers can rent their own plots. Community groups hoping to access the City’s new grants should keep an eye on the City’s website. The application will go live starting March 21.
Drought Recovery Main Focus for New Agriculture Minister By Elmer Heinrichs Manitoba’s new agriculture minister said his immediate priority will be to see through long-term recovery plans after 2021’s severe drought. “We’re going to work with the Beef Producers and Manitoba Forage and Grasslands associations to ensure the [drought relief] programs remain responsive,” said Derek Johnson, the new minister of agriculture and MLA for Interlake-Gimli. In November, the province rolled out a program under the Federal government AgriRecovery framework to help beef producers rebuild herds if they were forced to sell off breeding stock. “It’s very important that we stay nimble and we also have to remain responsive and understand that there’s lingering effects of the drought,” said Johnson recently. Manitoba’s chief farm organization, Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) congratulated Johnson on his appointment to cabinet. “As the MLA for InterlakeGimli and as a former municipal councillor, Minister Johnson understands the challenges facing Manitoba’s agricultural industry and we look forward to working with him,” said KAP president Bill Campbell.
April 29, 2022