June 28, 2019
Dry Weather Hurting Cattle Industry in Manitoba
With just an inch of moisture as of June it is a recipe for a really, really big disaster said Tom Teichroeb a rancher at Langruth, and President of the Photo courtesy of Tom Teichroeb Manitoba Beef Producers
By Harry Siemens On June 20, the Ste Rose Auction Mart held a special cattle auction for those producers facing feed, hay, and pastureland shortages because of the current drought. The Auction Mart reported a total headcount of 285 animals on their Twitter account. Ninety-eight cows, nine bulls, eight cow and calf pairs, 97 feeder heifers, and 52 feeder steers. Tom Teichroeb, a cattle rancher at Langruth, and President of the Manitoba Beef Producers, said the feed, pasture, and hay situation for next winter is critical and could devastate producers who do not use a pasture management system. Teichroeb told Agricultural
Minister, Ralph Eichler that when speaking to Dr. Kim Ominski with the University of Manitoba, about the animals’ poor health due to last year’s feed shortage how it has caused reproductive issues that producers are now dealing with. “Many cows came to the pastures very thin and not being in good enough shape to cycle properly and then being open in the fall,” he said. “And so we saw a raft of cows that ended up going to the hamburger plant, and that’s what we’re seeing again now. Producers are coming in, and they’re taking out a huge portion of their herd.” Teichroeb took nine animals to the auction market that he normally would not
ship until late August. He said that there is a strong possibility more will ship if the drought continues in his area. He said that they are hearing similar reports from parts of Saskatchewan and in western Manitoba in the Virden area. Even in areas where rain does fall, one Director near Virden said they had close to two inches of rain in that last rain fall, “But they also were at a point where nothing was growing so the two inches of rain fell and so the pastures were short,” said Teichroeb. “I look at our operation here and our hay looks tough. We’ll have a little bit to take off, but our hay does look tough because it didn’t get the rain, and my goodness,
we did put a lot of energy into it. We spent the money, like we do every fall, we put the fertilizer on it, and you look at a time like this, and you wonder, you could’ve probably gone with half the product and still utilized as much feed as you do now, but you just don’t know those things when you do that.” The same holds for his corn custom planted on May 16 and 17. He is only now seeing the rows slowly growing even by June 20, and corn is an extremely durable plant. “If we’d have been fortunate enough to get a half an inch, even this weekend or hopefully very shortly, then the corn would certainly take off, and they tap in so darn deep but need moisture to start that tap.” Continued on page 2...
Federal Government’s New Regulations Enhance Advance Payments Program The Government of Canada has implemented the new regulations necessary to strengthen the Advance Payments Program. The changes provide farmers with more cash flow, providing flexibility to manage their farm operations, adjust their marketing plans and explore new market opportunities. The amendments made to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Regulations increase loan limits from $400,000 to $1 million for all producers on a permanent basis, and increase the interest-free portion of loans on canola advances from $100,000 to $500,000 in the 2019 program year under the APP. Producers of all other commodities can continue to receive up to $100,000 interest-free. With the regulations now in place, government officials are working with the 36 program administrators to revise contracts, operating procedures and to ensure system changes are properly implemented, and are working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Producers apply for the new amounts now and new advances above $400,000 are already being issued. Producers are encouraged to contact their APP administrator regarding application details and processing timelines. In the meantime, the Government continues to provide producers access to the current advance limit of $400,000, which effective immediately, is interest-free for all canola advances. These changes will help farmers manage their cash flow, giving them more flexibility during a time of market uncertainty.
June 28, 2019
Government of Canada Grows Export Meat Markets The Federal government has announced a funding strategy that uses up to $1,072,335 for the Canadian Meat Council (CMC) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriMarketing program. This funding will help Canada’s strong and prosperous meat industry accommodate growing demands here and around the world. In collaboration with the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and the Canada Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), the program funds will help the Canadian Meat Council undertake such activities as inspection visits by international officials to ensure that Canadian facilities meet food safety requirements. It will help build relationships with foreign industry partners, and also provide timely information and expertise for global trade missions. Increasing markets will benefit Canadian producers and processors and provide an avenue to maximize the value of pork and beef products. “The Canadian Pork Council would like to thank the Federal government and Agriculture and AgriFood Canada for the AgriMarketing funding that will allow us to further build relationships encouraging trade, diversifying markets and removing barriers” said Rick Bergmann, Canadian Pork Council Chair. International trade and access to key markets are of utmost importance to Canadian pork producers as 70% of production is exported.
The AgriPost Dry Weather Hurting Cattle Industry Teichroeb emphasized how severe the situation is for him and other producers like him. “In our situation here, we just took the last hundred cows out to pasture here literally just a couple, three days ago. We fed them locally, and we had a little bit of feed left over having planned early last fall. We brought extra feed in knowing that if this was going to be the case indeed that we could let our pastures regenerate a little bit from last year,” he said. “A few people have said oh, well you’re not that dry here. But we have had as little or less moisture than many areas. It’s just the way that we manage our pasture, and that is a key difference.” Those producers who did not plan for another drought and left their cattle out on their pastures, those pastures will not regenerate this year. “You can have an inch of moisture right now and with those cows still on top of that ground and not having a chance to rest and respond to that rain, it’s just is a recipe for a really, really big disaster. And these guys who are still not believers in a managed grazing system, this is the year where you’re going to weed those guys out because they can’t survive like this,” said Teichroeb.
Continued from page 1...
Cattle rancher Tom Teichroeb of Langruth said that without pasture management many cattle ranchers in his area will not survive the continued drought.
Herding the cattle during last fall’s drought.
Photos courtesy of Tom Teichroeb
June 28, 2019
Inaugural Ag Tech Challenge Meets Enthusiasm By Les Kletke
Jason McFarlen says the Ag Tech challenge exceed expectations in its first appearance at Farm Progress Show. Photo by Les Kletke
It can best be described as a pre-Dragon’s Den - Shark Tank competition but it may also have long term impacts for solving the challenges of agriculture or even bring about a different approach to problem solving. Jordon McFarlen coordinates a competition sponsored by a Saskatchewan credit union that brought together teams for two days of intense activity that concludes with a pitch similar to what most people are familiar with from the Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank television
series. McFarlen said the competition had 24 teams that were assembled to address problems in agriculture and at the end of two intensive days they had 3 minutes to present their solution to a panel which would award the winner $3,000. “We asked the industry to provide us with the challenges,” he said. “We had several very good suggestions, though not all fit into this format.” The competition had a pool of resource people with a range of expertise from writing software to engineering
to marketing. “This is the first year of the competition and we thought Farm Progress Show was the perfect venue to unveil the competition. The show has established itself as a place where agriculture innovation is unveiled and this was a good fit.” Not only did the competition address existing problems it also brought together individuals from various disciplines that did not know each other and might not have met if not for the competition. He was overwhelmed by
the enthusiasm shown by participants. “We had some teams that worked well into the night of the first day,” he said. “We had some that valued a good night’s sleep and a clear head start the next morning, but in the end we had to send a few teams home to get some rest.” McFarlen hopes that Ag Tech Challenge will continue. “It is too early to tell, but we were certainly impressed with the response to this year’s competition,” he said. “We had teams working on traceability issues and staffing connections as well
as just about everything in between.” He is hopeful the competition will continue but he was also concerned that it continues as a way to solve the challenges of modern agriculture. The move away from specific research and development departments working on products that could be profitable in the market place sometimes hand cuffs development he pointed out. “We found the discussion between various team members and the approach to problem solving an innovative concept itself,” said McFarlen.
Virtual Reality to Train Tractor Drivers
White Rabbit was a popular stop at Farm Progress show and transported visitors to construction sites… Photo by Les Kletke virtually.
By Les Kletke The company’s name is White Rabbit VR and it is all about taking a trip without having to physically leave. Lyle Hewitt is the firm’s Director of Marketing and is looking to break into agriculture. Hewitt was at Farm Progress Show in Saskatchewan offering visitors an opportunity to try virtual reality. Participants could don a set of virtual reality glasses and visit a construction site where they were asked to spot the safety hazards. They were also given a hand held clicker to point at the problem and a list of three remedies to choose from to solve the problem. “We think the technology provides a real opportunity for training,” said Hewitt. “Farm equipment is expensive machinery and farmers are faced with labour shortages. This gives them the opportunity to train new operators without having them on that expensive equipment.” Hewitt was armed with statistics about the retention of information from various
teaching types and “Not surprisingly class room instruction shows up very poorly, but with virtual reality the learning process is similar to having had the experience and that is when the most information is retained,” said Hewitt. “It is time for the technology to leave being used as a movie trailer. It has long been used for flight simulators and we feel it could be used in safety training and even operation of farm equipment.” The technology has been used to provide consumers with a virtual trip to farms. One video being used by Manitoba Beef producers gives participants the opportunity to walk through a beef herd and visit other areas of the farm, all without the possibility of getting their shoes dirty. Hewitt was familiar with the video. “We did not produce that particular video but we know it has gotten good reviews from groups across the prairies and is
one option that provides information about farming practices, but we think the technology has real potential to provide training options in the industry.” While the technology currently seems expensive for individual farm production, he said that costs have come down as the technology finds further uses. Hewitt wants to work with partners in the Ag industry not only to tell their story to consumers but to provide almost hands on training before an individual is intrusted with large equipment. “We think that training videos are the next step to our industry being involved with agriculture,” said Hewitt.
June 28, 2019
Extreme Weather? You hear a lot of talk about “extreme weather.” It’s a new catchphrase, popular with journalists and politicians alike who are desperate for us to believe we’re experiencing a “climate emergency” that needs to be dealt with. But is the weather really more “extreme” than it used to be? No it’s not, at least not when we look at the available evidence. Prime Minister Trudeau recently lectured the country on how his carbon tax will help protect Canadians from extreme weather. His basic argument is that the weather has become so extreme – due to carbon dumping, of course – that it’s costing us more and more all the time to deal with things like floods, tornadoes and forest fires, etc. An article in the Financial Post, written by Ross McKit-
rick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph, reminds us that Trudeau’s argument doesn’t hold up under even the most basic scrutiny. When you factor in a couple of basic things like rising populations and increased property values and wealth, the claim evaporates like an early morning fog once the sun shines its light on it. McKitrick points to the work of a University of Colorado scientist, Roger Pielke, Jr. who spent a major part of his academic life doing cutting-edge research on climate change and extreme weather. Not only did Pielke study these phenomena himself, he organized academic panels of the world’s top researchers to survey the evidence and argue it out. One of the most famous of
these was the “Hohenkammer Workshop” in 2006. It had 32 participants from 16 countries, who produced 24 background white papers. Not only did they come to a consensus on the question, they were unanimous. They came to three main conclusions: “1. Analyses of long-term records of disaster losses indicate that societal change and economic development are the principal factors responsible for the documented increasing losses to date. 2. Because of issues related to data quality, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, length of time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss record, it is still not possible to determine the portion of the increase in damages that might be attributed to climate change due
Penner’s Points By Rolf
to GHG (greenhouse gas Penner emissions). 3. In the near future the quantitative link of trends in storm and flood losses to climate climate change?” The answer changes related to GHG is clear: “No.” That’s what emissions is unlikely to be the science and the analysis answered unequivocally.” says, and it is a robust conLast year Pielke gave a sensus. lecture at the University of Needless to say, Pielke is Minnesota about his long not very popular in some career journey, its ups and circles. He has faced an enddowns and reviewed the lat- less barrage of harassment est papers and evidence on and abuse for accurately dethis topic. It can be found on- livering what should be good line and is a fascinating read. news. It’s a lot harder to maGrab a cup of coffee and nipulate the public into forkcheck it out if you can. ing over their hard-earned Dr. Pielke went over hur- money if you don’t have the ricanes, tornadoes, floods, climate change bogeyman to drought, temperatures and scare them with. extreme precipitation in a As Ross McKitrick condetailed fashion. In case af- cludes in the Post, “Someter case, the conclusion was thing has gotten scary and always the same. “Have di- extreme, but it isn’t the sasters become more costly weather.” He’s right, in more because of human-caused ways than one.
Why Traceability in the Food Chain is Important The day I went to tour the Hemp Oil Canada plant at Ste. Agathe, I washed with hemp soap in the morning and ate hemp hearts for breakfast as I do quite often. And it wasn’t for the sake of being able to tell my hosts I used their product this morning, but the fact I use it most mornings. Aside from gaining some more knowledge of the hemp industry, I found intriguing the traceability system the company uses. For years the various farm sectors keep revisiting the whole aspect of traceability whether its pork and beef on a barbecue, whatever product the farmer grows. Advances in technology, the size of the electronic tools, and record keeping or traceability play a vital part in tracing that product right back to the farm where grown, raised or produced. “We refer to it as our seedto-shelf system. So as part of our farm operations, we’re
responsible for growing and developing the pedigreed seed that we sell to the farmer. Now we enter into contractual arrangements where the farmer then sells his production back to us. We can trace product the farmer produces to the consumer’s shelf,” said Clarence Swaluk, Director of Farm Operations. “So if you take a bag of hemp hearts, turn the bag over, there is a lot number beside the expiry date or the packaged date. And from that, we can tell you when it was produced in our facility, which of our team members were on the floor to package that product, which bin it arrived at in our facility, which seed cleaning plant it went through to get prepared to food grade, and which farm contributed that product. And then by way of our contract, our growers’ show us the GPS coordinates of all the fields used to grow for us tracing the product right back to the exact field grown on. So that’s our seedto-shelf, it goes right from the farm through our entire system. We have oversight on every step of the production along the way, at our facilities, manufacturing, and
out to the consumer.” Clarence summed it up. “So we can tell you exactly where that product came from, we know the growers that work with us, and how it moves through the entire system.” While visiting with Clarence and other employees onsite, many memories returned of 1998-99, maybe the year 2000 when the initial excitement, but poor handling caused farmers to sour on growing hemp. From burning combines and balers in the field to a total market collapse and an overhyped industry. Things have changed dramatically to what is happening today from the tall plants grown for fibre that didn’t have a market to growing hemp mostly for food including hemp seed, oil, protein and even hemp flour. “Well, if you’re talking about seeing some of those varieties back in 1998, the industry imported them from Russia, Ukraine, and some of the other Eastern Bloc countries. Those regions of the world where they produce hemp, it’s primarily for fibre, and those varieties get very, very tall,” he said.
“Oh yeah, they’re tough to harvest, and getting a combine through those early varieties was a nightmare. I still have farmers that come to me at the trade shows and say, I remember growing it in 1998 or ‘99, and never again. Since then, our seed breeding programs have focused on bringing that variety down in size and having it much shorter. We distribute one primary variety from Finland called Finola, that doesn’t get more than five, five and a half feet tall. It’s not a very good fibre source, but we’re after the grain for our food production, and it makes it much easier for harvesting. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular across the prairies.” My last question to Clarence, not to sound facetious had to do with why is it essential to have this total traceability. “Some consumers have a keen interest in where their food comes from. Consumers, in general, are more and more removed from the farm and daily farm production; often generations removed from the farm. However, they are still very interested in how the food industry protects their
food, where it’s produced, and where it comes from, and we see that as a trend in the food industry,” said Swaluk. “We’re able to tell our story, a remarkable story that I get involved with in visiting with our customers. Although I’m not responsible for food sales, I’m called into some of the meetings of our larger grocery buyers, to tell that story. And our grocery buyers are very interested in where the food comes from, the full traceability, and the fact that we have responsibility and accountability in every step along the way. It is a remarkable story for us as an organization because it shows that we can manage the entire account, the process, and every step of quality along the way, all the way to the consumer’s pantry.” And tummy. As I noted, I’ve watched this whole traceability discussion, the development of various Ag sector systems, the earlier frustrations when people had the right ideas, but not the technology, and only increased costs. Today we have the ideas, the technology and costs have come way down, far, outweighed by the benefits.
Rains Boosts Central and Eastern Crop Prospects By Elmer Heinrichs Slightly warmer daytime temperatures in June encouraged crop growth across Manitoba and a break from the dry spell with showers and light rains rejuvenating young crops over the Father’s Day week end. Manitoba agriculture reports that much of agroManitoba got less than 60 per cent of average moisture between May 1 and June 9, although much of the east and Red River Valley were creeping closer to 80 per cent or above thanks to rain June 8. Seeding is essentially complete with some fields being reseeded. Crops are progressing slowly with daytime highs below 35 °C and overnight single digit lows stressing crop growth. Wheat, oats and barley have good establishment and are growing well with some fields at flag leaf. Cereals are tillering and are mostly advanced in the Red River valley. Corn has emerged growing at a moderate pace. Warmer temper-
atures would help stimulate growth of this crop. Altona Farm Production Advisor Dennis Lange said that, “Crops overall are coming along nicely but we could use more timely rains. Soybean stands are good but the crop is slower, both soybeans and corn like heat. Spraying is essentially complete and farmers are dealing with pests as required.” Potatoes have emerged after delays due to cold soils at planting. Some field irrigation has started to maintain soil moisture and to support growth. Strong winds hit soybeans and dry beans on sandy soil recently damaging and even burying some crops. Most wind-damaged fields were left to recover but a few soybean fields were reseeded. Winter cereals were reported spotty and stunted stands thanks to cool temperatures and lack of rainfall, while canola took a triple hit of poor emergence, frost damage in late May and early June. Manitoba sunflower grow-
ers are optimistic at this point in the season. Scoular Canada’s Ben Friesen said the dry conditions did not affect sunflowers as much as it did other crops. Eastern regions did not receive very much of the rain that fell on central and western regions and crop growth has been limited due to lack of heat. Frost damaged some canola crops and in some cases oats has replaced canola as the reseed crop. Development across most crops is uneven. The rate of growth has been slow with lack of consistent warm temps and soil moisture is adequate for overall annual crop development. Fall rye has headed out, other crops are advancing, and cutworms in soybeans and cereals remain a concern with spraying ongoing. This year more cutworms have been noted raising some concern. The rainfall is likely more important for livestock producers coping with meagre growth on pasture and hay
fields this spring. “Forages [are] in need of critical regrowth moisture,” said a recent Manitoba Agriculture crop report. “Grasses are starting to head out because of moisture stress. All the forages require significant rainfall to maintain growth rate.” Eastern areas report that livestock is being rotated through pastures as the past few rains helped improve growth. Haying season is just starting with a few alfalfa fields being cut and baled. Forages have been stressed due to lack of rainfall, hay production is expected to be well below average, and the heavier rains will help pastures, but comes too late for first cut crops. Manitoba fruit crop specialist Anthony Mintenko said strawberries and raspberries are two weeks behind in plant stages, which will delay harvesting for both, likely about the second week of July for strawberries and mid-to-late July for raspberries.
Where Does Innovation Come From?
A month or two ago I used this space to talk about new products and how this come to be, I have oft said I never thought about needing a new flavour of mustard but low and behold the next time I am at the grocery store they have one with either a new flavour or seed or colour. Did you every notice they have not done that to ketsup, the most they have done is put the bottle upside down so it tips in the fridge. We are inundated with new products as consumers, remember when all cell phones did was make calls? And now they do everything but cook your supper, though they can give you an inventory of what is in your fridge and what you can make with it. The industry of agriculture
has lagged behind in the innovations area for many decades. Lack of innovation was blamed on the economics of the industry and the return did not justify the research and development costs. Many times, we were the recipients of spill over from a product that had been developed for another usage. That is not a bad thing, NASA gave the world Tang and it is also closely associated with Velcro which the Swiss invented. Electric fencing has been the benefactor of home security systems that then saw applications in pastures. Many times, innovation came from farmers themselves, and long hours in the tractor seat provided a lot of thinking time, time spent thinking about how to do things better, that means easier and cheaper. Long cold winters made for time in the shop when those ideas became reality, and that was fine for an industry that was leaving horse drawn im-
plements behind. There was a time when out Federal government employed a staff of research to develop new crop varieties, but that has long gone by the wayside because of budget cuts. Our industry is in need of innovations as much as it ever was but we seem to have a void of places where the marriage of ideas and customers can happen. That is why a new feature at the Farm Progress Show seemed like a great idea, it was a competition run over a couple of days that brought together a team from various areas of the industry and had them work on developing a new product and making a pitch on commercializing it. Not quite a Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank but definitely related. The initial competition may not bring about a change that rivals the invention of the diesel engine but it provides a forum that brought together the people with the problem and the people that are in the business of solving problems
and that can only be a good thing. This is about more than making a new flavour of mustard but then again it might serve the mustard industry.
June 28, 2019
Investing to Attract Youth in Agriculture A new Federal government funding initiative of up to $3.75 million is aiming to bring youth into the agriculture industry. The Youth Employment and Skills Program will provide funding to employers across the agriculture sector to hire Canadian youth, ages 15 to 30. The initiative is part of a commitment through Budget 2019 for a modernized Youth Employment and Skills Strategy aimed at providing better supports for Canada’s youth. As part of this Strategy, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Program aims to create opportunities for Canadian youth, particularly youth facing barriers to entering or staying in the workforce, to explore employment in the agriculture and agri-food sector and to better prepare themselves for the labour market. The new program will provide 50 per cent of funds, up to $14,000, towards costs associated with hiring youth. For not-for-profit organizations, and applicants who hire Indigenous youth or youth facing barriers, the program will provide 80 per cent of total eligible costs, up to $14,000. Through the Youth Employment and Skills Program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada hopes to create over 200 positions across Canada within the agriculture sector. Applications are now being accepted at gr.gc.ca/eng/ programs-and-services on a continuous basis until funding has been fully committed. All projects must be completed by March 31, 2020.
June 28, 2019
Building Costs are Manageable Now When Building a Hog Barn
By Harry Siemens In Manitoba and across the country hog producers built very few barns from about 2008 to 2017. According to Manitoba Pork, a series of challenges curtailed barn construction during that time, including COOL, a high Canadian dollar, high feed prices, low hog prices, and a less-than-supportive provincial government. By 2016, however, many of these roadblocks were removed. Near the beginning of 2017, Manitoba producers began looking at building or expanding operations. Dennis Hodgkinson, the President of DGH Engineering said increased standardization has helped swine producers take greater control of swine barn construction costs. A range of factors, including higher material costs and stricter building codes have increased the cost of swine barn construction. Hodgkinson said building costs continue to ascend as time goes by, but costs are
more manageable and standardization helps the industry know where to spend its money. “We started on that bent 20 years ago, and it’s become even more so with some of the integrators, producers, and buyers taking leadership on developing more structured systems,” he said. “They’ve defined what they want in a lot of contract production, and certainly this has steered the industry into a new direction. I believe it’s all productive and useful helping us get better control of costs and put some predictability into the outcome.” He would not say the Manitoba hog industry is in a boom, but there is undoubtedly vigorous activity and he thinks people are looking to fill out slaughter capacity. “We see some replacement of some dated facilities. As you well know, 30 to 40 years ago, we were on a solid expansion phase, but lots of those facilities are coming
Despite the increases to material costs there is vigorous activity in replacing outdated facilities and upgrades driven by new technology.
to the end of their life,” said Hodgkinson. “We see lots of upgrades driven by new technology, lots of retrofits of environmental control systems, feeding systems, things of that nature as well.” Hodgkinson said there is room for growth and there is ongoing interest in expanding organic food production. In organic farming, he said farmers are looking for organic fertilizer and livestock production is an excellent way to create that source. The DGH Engineering
Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019. It a small multidisciplinary firm that grew out of agricultural roots. He said while the company continues to do work with primary producers and with farmers building livestock barns they are still active in the pork sector. “The industry has developed a lot of diverse infrastructures, and others are providing these kinds of services, but we’re still active. We work quite a lot through design-build contractors
and provide the engineering support to them and direct to producers. The industry continues to be relatively strong and forward-looking, and we’re just appreciative of having a part in it,” said Hodgkinson. He said there are many good sources of information for building farm buildings. In the pork industry, for example, Manitoba Pork has created some tools and resources that are available through their website for determining building costs that
are useful. “I also know that a lot of the contractors, specialty contractors, equipment suppliers maintain databases and are often willing to share those with producers,” said Hodgkinson. “And then obviously services like ours, engineering companies are also able to contribute and help people find their way through some of the early stages of budgeting and doing some planning for construction and getting a handle on construction costs.”
June 28, 2019
Strong Wind Shears Cause Damage
On Friday, June 7th a early eveing storm with strong wind shears came through Manitoba. In the Portage la Prairie area it knocked 23 train cars off the tracks. North of Winnipeg it took out a hay barn and damaged other buildings at St Andrews Stables (over $80,000 in damage) but the horses were fortunately unharmed. The back half of the Schwabe Pumpkins barn was knocked down a bit farther north. The wind then proceded to take out a large grain bin, knock over a trailer and a shed and bend all five nitrogen tanks at Long Lake Farms near Petersfield (above) which is estimated at over 2 million dollars in damages. Winds were reported in the 100-120kmh range with the highest recorded in Gimli at 133kmh. Photo by Myriam Dyck
Climate Action Incentive Fund Has Potential to Return Carbon Price Dollars Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) greeted with interest the recent announcement by Environment and Climate Change (ECCC) Minister Catherine McKenna of the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF). While the CAIF offers some relief for farmers in the four provinces under the federal backstop, GGC continues to call for the exemption of all stationary and liquid fuels used on farms. Farm businesses have a large number of fixed costs that are subject to the price on carbon. While farmers appreciate the exemption provided for marked fuels, it is only one piece of the increasingly expensive pie. “As natural price takers, grain farmers are unable to pass along added costs which are the result of the federal price on carbon,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC Chair. “Just this week, Statistics Canada reported significant decreases in farm incomes over the past year and we simply cannot afford to absorb any more costs.” The Fund is intended to return revenue collected through the carbon price from small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) with $1.5 billion over five years going back to the sector in an effort to help them take climate action and lower their energy costs while remaining competitive. This will be accomplished through rebates and incentive programs via two program streams. Of particular interest to grain farmers is the SME Project Stream that is intended to provide funding to support producers in their efforts to increase the energy efficiency of farm equipment. The need to dry grain has become increasingly common as Canada experiences weather variations and unpredictable harvests. While farmers are typically on the leading edge of sustainable technologies, grain drying is one area where financial support could help offset the heavy price tag required to move to the next generation. More information is needed to assess precisely where farmers in the four affected provinces could most benefit from the program. The second, SME Rebate Stream, does not currently include any typical farm equipment in the list of specified equipment. GGC encourages ECCC to look at opportunities to expand the list to include the equipment and technology that offer farmers and the environment the greatest benefit. It is unclear exactly how much of the monies will be returned to the grain farming community as, according to the government’s announcement, SME’s make up 98 per cent of Canadian businesses. It can be expected that demand for these program dollars will be very high and no specific agriculture stream has been announced. We would welcome the opportunity to sit on the announced Advisory Committee to ensure a strong agriculture voice. “GGC appreciates the Minister’s recognition of the significant costs that farmers incur when we invest in energy efficient alternatives,” continued Nielsen. “We look forward to continuing our work with her staff and officials at ECCC to mitigate the impact of the carbon price on Canada’s agriculture sector.
June 28, 2019
RFID Technology and Trailer Research Look Promising By Harry Siemens Dr. Bernardo Predicala, who manages the Engineering Research Program at Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, presented two projects at a recent Prairie Swine Centre (PSC) producer meeting. While in Niverville, in his first presentation, Dr. Predicala showed the PSC’s work on using infrared technology, infrared cameras and RFID tags in drinkers. “The RFID we put in pigs so that we’re able to identify each pig when it actually went to the drinker and then we quantify how much each pig is drinking. The whole idea is to determine whether changes in the feeding and drinking pattern of consumption can tell us whether the pigs are getting sick,” said Dr. Predicala. “Studies have shown that up to 12 or 24 to 48 hours before the actual onset of disease, the pigs’ drinking behaviour changes. That’s what we want to quantify to take away some of the manual evaluation that we’re doing in our daily barn walkthroughs. When, we’re looking at pigs which are sick or not, by using echo technology to help us capture those signals more accurately and consistently. Because if you do it manually, it depends on whether this person is welltrained to spot those behavioural changes in the pigs that are getting sick or not.” Predicala said the other tool is the infrared camera. “We put the cameras in the barn to capture their temperature. Studies show if pigs subjected or exposed to pathogens for example, get sick and they get a fever, but you can’t see that with the eye, right,” he said. “Unless you touch them and then say this pig is getting sick. An infrared camera can tell us the temperature of the pig, and if the camera is there the whole day, then we have the whole day to capture those changes in the animals, as opposed to a barn walkthrough, which would be for only four or five minutes. That’s the whole idea here to automate some of the things that we’re
New Equipment Bought to Meet Ethiopia’s Drive for Self Sufficiency By Les Kletke
A new prototype filtered air trailer engineered to remove contaminants is being studied at the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan said Bernardo Predicala, who manages the Engineering Research Program. Photos by Harry Siemens
doing daily and using this technology.” When asked how they’re coming along with the use of this technology, Dr. Predicala said this study is in the post development stage. They have pilot testing on those two technologies and now the PSC is testing in actual barns. “We had to find what else needs doing so producers will use them in the hog barns because they did it in their research facilities. So it worked well, that’s why we’re testing it now at this second stage, but we still found some needed improvement,” he said. “Like for example, the cameras that we use, some of them didn’t last long because of the different conditions in the barn. The RFID tags because you need the reader antenna for that, at times they will be detecting two pigs at a time, so it doesn’t work because we have to identify individual pigs and assign how much each pig is consuming. There are still a few things to be sorted out.” Dr. Predicala’s second presentation focused on the testing of a prototype airfiltered pig transport trailer. “By maintaining a controlled environment for pigs during transport, we have an opportunity to reduce contamination while maintaining pig comfort,” he said. “Firstly, you want to protect the pigs against potential airborne infection when transporting. And you want to address existing issues, or issues with
Crowd at Prairie Swine Centre (PSC) producer meeting.
existing trailers, like welfare issues, the wide variability in thermal conditions, in existing trailers.” He said they are looking at removing as many ramps as possible and installing a filtration system to avoid contamination to protect against airborne infections in the enclosed space. “But research shows this only works for certain conditions. It’s feasible if we are protecting high-value animals like genetic breeding stock, which cost thousands of dollars, as opposed to a normal market pig,” said Predicala. “But also, some operations like multi-site operations, where they routinely transport pigs from one barn to another, and their barn is already protected by investing in filtered barns. The goal is to protect those pigs similarly while they’re outside of their barn. Otherwise, they waste all their investment filtering the air if the pigs coming into their barns get infected during transport.” He said that if they can realize revenue for the pigs transported from the air-filtered barn, then the producer can recoup the investment in this new type of trailer within two years. “Our systems filter the air that goes inside the trailer. We’re making sure that whatever air that goes into the trailer is clean air by taking out whatever contaminants that’s in the outside air,” said Dr. Predicala.
June 28, 2019
Bejai Naiker came to Canada with a shopping list, a list that would impress most Canadian farmers and it is a list he was confident would be able to fulfill with a trip to the Farm Progress Show in Regina. It was his first trip and after 3 days at the show, he was out of business cards but armed with a handful of industry cards from Canadian manufactures. “We are looking for all kinds of equipment,” said Naiker who splits his time between Indian and Ethiopia. He was looking to buy equipment for farms and co-operatives
in Ethiopia. “Our agriculture is at development stage so we are looking for all kinds of technology and in particular technology that reduces the labour component,” he said. “Things like combines, your harvesters are very impressive.” When asked how does the large-scale equipment used in western Canada fit on the farms of Ethiopia he said that, “Our farms vary from one to five thousand hectares but many of the small farms are bound together in co-operatives and can then afford and utilize larger equipment.” On a visit to the media room at Farm Progress Show he was inundated with questions about drought and a
Bejai Naiker came to Canada with a shopping list. He is looking for combines and grain handling equipment for farms in Ethiopia. Photo by Les Kletke
lack of food production in the country. “You have to remember that the drought everyone thinks of was 30 years ago and our agriculture was in a very early stage,” he said. “Our industry has developed and we are now self sufficient in food production.” He cites some cultural challenges as well. “It has been a part of the culture to only produce enough for the family itself,” he said. “The idea of producing more food than you needed and selling some is a new idea to many people in the country.” He said that co-operatives have been very successful in providing production information to farmers and now as the industry advances the cooperatives are filling in the role of large equipment owners. “We have been getting much of our equipment from China but are now looking westward and would like to have more North American equipment because it fits with the crops we grow,” said Naiker. “We have wheat, mustard and corn on are farms just like here but one of our major crops is Teff which is a type of grass. It is becoming known in this country because it is gluten free but it has been a major crop for us for years.” Naiker was confident his trip would be worthwhile and he would be importing machines and technology from Canada.
June 28, 2019
CAFTA Lists Its Election Priorities By Elmer Heinrichs The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) has released its list of priorities heading into the 2019 Federal election. President Brian Innes said that uncertainty in global trade rules is a priority. “Despite record agri-food exports in 2018, growth and prosperity are threatened by unprecedented uncertainty and protectionism,” said Innes. “The global trading system is at risk and whoever forms government this fall must work to uphold trade rules and seek new opportunities through trade agreements. We’re launching our platform to inform candidates what agri-food exporters require from trade agreements.” Some of CAFTA’s key recommendations urge all candidates to endorse preserving and enhancing access in key export markets, ratifying and bringing CUSMA into force as quickly as possible, as well as monitoring and proactively promoting proper implementation of the CPTPP and CETA to ensure commitments are kept and potential realized. They also urge the next government to create new export opportunities, to bring additional counties into the CPTPP such as South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia and to foster positive, long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with China. CAFTA also supports efforts to reform and modernize the World Trade Organization so that it remains an effective organization at the forefront of the global trading system, prioritizing Canada’s trade objectives, and setting clear priorities by focusing on trade negotiations that hold the greatest promise for Canadian businesses.
Innovative Weed Clipper Reduces Cost of Chemical Weed Controls
By Les Kletke There was a time when the only tools farmers had to control weeds was mechanical then the trend was into chemical controls now the pendulum has swung to true zero tillage and only the use of chemical control for weeds. Joseph Bourgault thinks that has gone too far. Apart from being the President of Bourgault Tillage at St. Brieux in north central Saskatchewan, he has some health concerns about the practices of chemical weed control. He faced
some serious health issues in his past and credits a change in diet to saving his life. His company has developed a tool designed for organic farming and conventional operations that want to reduce the use and the cost of chemical weed control and reduce the risk of crop rejection due to chemical residue. The BTT Weed Clipper enables any farmer to drive into their seeded crops at virtually any stage of growth and development between 4” and 45” above ground level, and be able to quickly and efficiently clip and mulch any weeds growing above the crops.
But Bourgault’s story is about much more than the Weed Clipper. He said his concern is about food production for the next generation and his grandchildren. Bourgault said that an alternative lies somewhere between the two extremes, he does not advocate a complete ban on all modern farm methods but does say that there has to be more emphasis placed on healthy food production. “I am an example of what can be done with proper diet,” he said. “I faced a lot of health challenges but now am back to working and feeling much better.”
His concern is there is much more information about the harmful effects of herbicides that is not being shared. “These companies say they have scientific studies but none of them are peer reviewed, they have no credibility and can say what ever the company wants them to say,” said Bourgault. “There is real data that shows we are killing ourselves with our food.” While his Weed Clipper works to control weeds in crop by cutting off the tops he advocates it is just one tool that could be used on a proper crop production regime along with crop rotation and organic controls.
Joseph Bourgault is concerned about herbicide residue in crop and has developed the Weed Clipper as an alternative. Photos by Les Kletke
The Weed Clipper is driven by the tractor pto and controls weeds above the crop.
Economist Calls on Canada to Step up Pulse Talks with India
Canada needs to engage with India, said Chandra Shekhar, (an economist and senior editor to the Hindu Business Line in Mumbai), now that pulse inventories in India are substantially lower than a year ago and because there is a new AG Minister.
By Harry Siemens In a recent interview, Chandra Shekhar, an economist and senior editor to the Hindu Business Line in Mumbai, India appealed to Canada and the Canadian pulse industry to get back to engaging the Government of India regarding pulse sales and exports to that country. “What is important, is that Canada needs to engage with India. Canada has kept off India for the last maybe one and a half years with no promotional activity happening,” said Shekhar from his daughter’s home in the US. “It is important for Canada and the Canadian AG Ministry, to remain engaged with the government of India, particularly in the new dispensation. There’s a new Agricultural Minister in India.”
Chandra said the recent Indian elections removed the previous AG minister. “I’d be happy to work with Canada’s AG Ministry, to lobby with the government of India to review these stringent import policies. Unless Canada lobbies India, India’s not going to give anyone a market on a platter. You need to earn this market,” he said. “That’s important. But I don’t find any lobbying activity at all. And I’m willing to help with my strong relationship with Canada to help.” Chandra is in the US holding meetings with the World Bank, Under Secretary Ted McKinney of the US Department of Agriculture where he is a resource person, plus the International Food Policy Research Institute and one or two other institutions. “Canada used to be the largest supplier of pulses to India. In 2016-17, and 18, India harvested huge crops, there’s a big rebound in India’s production, to about 23 million tonnes to 24 million tonnes,” he said. “Besides, we also imported about 6 million tonnes in 2016, 2017. And therefore, there was a huge inventory burden in India, which led to a price collapse in the local market. And farmers were troubled with the low prices of pulses.” Chandra said it had taken two years for the inventory burden to lighten substantially. Pulse inventory is significantly less than what it was even until a year ago. As a result, pulse prices have started to move up. For example, pi-
geon pea prices are now well above the minimum support price and chickpea prices are ruling above the minimum support price he explained. Shekhar said chickpea and pigeon pea together, account for about 70 per cent of the total pulse crop in India. Because their prices are going up, it also lifts the prices of other pulses. “The pulses prices, I call that bottoming out. Pulse prices in India have bottomed out. Prices are moving northwards, which is a bizarre situation. Rising prices have brought relief to growers because growers are happy because prices are rising,” said Shekhar. “The government of India is happy, because of rising prices they don’t have to put additional efforts to purchase or procure from the market. Therefore, the government need not intervene in the market. And consumers are not upset with rising prices, because they can still afford the current rates of pulses available in the market. Therefore, in pulses, we are in some comfort zone, because of the inventory and rising prices.” He expects over the next four months, getting into the southwest monsoon season, planting for the next crop is going to start very soon, and the next harvest will be in September and October. “I expect some weather challenges between June and September. There is a full cast of below normal rainfall between June and September. There is also the risk of a mild El Nino which typically
brings dry weather conditions and therefore, there is a risk of weather over the next four months,” he said. “That can potentially negatively affect the production of the Kharif crop; we will harvest in September, October. The government of India has fixed a target of 10.5 million tonnes of Kharif pulses production. My senses, the actual production may well fall, anything between 10 and 15 per cent below the target of 10.5 million tonnes.” Chandra said that in September or October, there will be a review of the import policy by the government of India. “And I expect that the government of India in September, October when the domestic crop conditions crystallize, will review the input policy and there is a possibility of a partial rollback in the import restrictions. The possibility of a reduction in customs duty on chickpea, at 60 per on imported chickpeas may be rolled back slightly. There’s a 33 per cent customs duty on lentil import; that could drop. The quantitative restrictions on pigeon pea imports will also get reviewed and possibly the quantities expanded. At the moment there are only 200,000 tons. Maybe it’ll become 500,000 tons. There’ll be a review sometime in September, October, in my opinion.”
Viterra’s Grain Selling Tool Offers Flexibility By Les Kletke The program does stop short of guaranteeing you that the market will reach your target price for a commodity but it does ensure that if it does you will be able to sell the amount of commodity you wish at that price level. “It is a management tool that allows farmers to work at marketing their crop at their own time and to set target prices,” said Ray Baloun of Viterra. “They don’t need to call anyone or worry about being in contact with their elevator. They can put in the price levels they want in place and if the market hits them their commodity will be
sold.” The product is called myViterra and producers can register and open an account on line. They can then create alerts for their grain deliveries, marketing programs and changes in the futures market. Delta Holby is with Viterra’s Client Services IT department and was involved in developing the program. “The original program has been around for more that a decade,” she said. “But this year we have included more options and made it available on any device. Baloun is based in Minnedosa and said that the program
also allows producers to check spot prices at various points. “Producers don’t have to phone a bunch of different elevatos like in the past, they can now check if there is a premium for a commodity at any point and if they want to schedule their delivery to take advantage of that.” “It means the producer can work on his marketing program when ever he wants and does not have to wait to call the elevator,” he said. “They don’t have to deal with me if they don’t want to but I am still available if they choose to.” He said that with more gain moving off farm in b-trains
and commercial trucks, farmers want more flexibility in scheduling deliveries. “They can also have the program send an alert when they have a delivery coming up and that can help with the scheduling,” he said. The program covers most aspects of grain marketing but does not provide a guarantee of hitting the highs in the market or that prices will be high enough to cover production costs. “We are trying to make it easier to sell their grain when they want to but we cannot control the market,” said Baloun.
June 28, 2019
Maintain Feed Intake in Dairy Cows During the Hot Summer Manitoba has some of the most beautiful hot weather in the summer. Yet, these are stressful times for milk cows, which not only makes them uncomfortable, but often depresses their feed intake. As a result, depressed milk performance is often just around the corner. Fortunately, we can alleviate some of this heat-stress by implementing some feed strategies in the lactation barn. The first step in dealing with heat-stress in dairy cows is to recognize it in a cowherd. So, whenever I go into a dairy barn and see cows taking more than 80 breaths per minute, I am confident that these animals have some degree of heat-stress. Sometimes it’s a cow visibly in distress with excessive panting and salivation and nervously standing in her stall. Other times, it is a cow lying down and staring off into space, yet noticeably not chewing her cud. It can even be a cow that should be up at the feed bunk, but is licking condensation off a wet pipe. Unfortunately, there are many negative consequences of heatstress upon feed intake in dairy cows that cannot be seen. For example the last cow that is not up to the feed bunk might be putting herself into a “negative energy balance”, since she is not meeting her dietary energy requirements of early lactation. Some research suggests that the problem is compounded, due to not being able to draw energy from body fat, because heatstressed cows have elevated blood insulin levels that suppress fat mobilization. These energy-deficient cows are also likely to have problems, particularly with digesting protein from their diet. That’s because dairy cows need to consume large amounts of dietary energy to drive efficient fermentation of feed ruminal degradable protein. Without optimum feed/energy intake, dietary protein is still broken down, but not completely metabolized. As a result, large ammonia pools are formed that are excreted in the urine, rather than made into microbial protein, which supplies about 50% of the cow’s protein requirements. Some of this ammonia also ends up in the cow’s uterus and contributes more early embryonic deaths during the summer. This is where some feed strategies during the summer help maintain feed intake in dairy cows and relieves some of these seen and unseen problems. Consider the following heat-stress feed and management plan: 1. Provide more cool drinking water - Anytime dairy cows feel summer heat, they drink about 50 - 100% more water compared to cooler days. Enough waterers should be provided, so lots of clean water is available to cows at all times. Some information concerning heat and cows, dictates that at least one or two waterers (depends on the number of milking cows) be within easy reach as the cows exit the milking parlor. 2. Provide more digestible forages - Maintain a total milk cow diet consisting of 28% NDF with 75% of this NDF coming from forage sources and forages chopped to provide 15 – 20% of dietary particles being over 1.5” long. Avoid feeding lower quality forage, because its indigestible fibre components contribute to the cows’ heat-stress by significantly increasing the heat generated by its rumen fermentation (“Heat of Fermentation”). 3. Feed commercial yeast - A few years ago, I start adding a commercial yeast product to a dairy diet of a 100-cow operation in Manitoba, in which the dairy cows had suffered from summer heat-stress. When the yeast was added, rather than dropping a precipitous 0.6% in milk fat, when hot weather strikes, these yeast-fed cows maintained a constant feed intake, milk and milk fat yield. As a dairy nutritionist, I also recommend that the whole dairy TMR be well-balanced whether the dairy cows feed intake is depressed by heat-stress or they are going up to the bunk and eating with vigor. This means the forage to concentrate ratio should be between 40:60 and 60:40 guidelines. Rather than feeding unsaturated vegetable oil, increase dietary energy density with a reliable bypass palm fat that does not exceed 450 g per head, daily. Also, consider sodium bicarbonate fed at up to 0.15 kg per head per day. All of the above points and recommendation are good summer time feeding ideas. By implementing them on the dairy farm, producers can successfully help their dairy cows maintain feed intake as well as help them digest the feed put in front of them. As a result, milk performance and profit are upheld.
June 28, 2019
Renewed Excitement Grows in the Food and Medicinal Hemp Industry
One of the Hemp varieties (right) that farmers grow today is much easier to harvest (above) because it is much shorter due to a plant breeding program, said Clarence Swaluk, Director of Farm Operation for Fresh Hemp Foods Ltd. Photos by Harry Siemens
By Harry Siemens The hemp seed industry, relatively small in acreage at about 30,000, continues to expand worldwide in consumer food products selling in 16,000 retail outlets in North America. At a recent tour of the Hemp Oil Canada processing plant in Ste. Agathe, Clarence Swaluk, Director of Farm Operation for Fresh Hemp Foods Ltd doing business as Manitoba Harvest, Hemp Oil Canada and Just Hemp Foods. Swaluk described the operations. “We’re talking about Fresh Hemp Foods, the overall umbrella company, but within Fresh Hemp Foods we have two operating companies, one is Hemp Oil Canada, the building you’re in today, and the other one is Manitoba Harvest,” he said. He explained that the first significant hemp acre explosion happened in 1998 only to fizzle out because of an oversupply and limited market opportunities. Swaluk said historically, that the two companies began at the same
time, in 1998, when Canada first legalized hemp. Mike Fata started Manitoba Harvest in Winnipeg and Shaun Crew started Hemp Oil Canada in Ste. Agathe. Both companies operated independently. Hemp Oil Canada focused on the bulk food ingredients selling to other companies that would incorporate hemp food ingredients in their formulation. Manitoba Harvest focused on the consumer, putting a branded name on hemp hearts, oil, and protein powders. While doing very similar processes in de-hulling hemp seed, crushing for oil, and creating proteins, they had different customer groups. In 2015, Compass Diversified Holdings Group (CDH), a venture equity company purchased Manitoba Harvest. Later in that same year CDH bought Hemp Oil Canada merging the two operations. “We still operate with different consumer bases, Hemp Oil Canada bulk food ingredients, but we also do Manitoba Harvest consumer packaged goods,” said Swaluk.
In February of 2019, Tilray Inc., one of the larger cannabis companies in Canada, bought Fresh Hemp Foods that included the entire organization. Tilray operates in the medical and the recreational cannabis business and see the industrial hemp or the food cannabis as something that they can fit very well into their operations. “One of the things that interested Tilray with our thousands of acres that we have across the prairies, our contracted farmers is that industrial hemp is designed to be very low in THC. It doesn’t give that high that you would typically or normally associate with the cannabis plant,” he said. Swaluk said there are other cannabinoids in the industrial hemp; one is a cannabinoid called CBD. “There’s a lot of promise with that compound in promoting health benefits,
so whether it’s reduced inflammation or reduced anxiety, it doesn’t give you the high. And Tilray Inc. is quite interested in what we might be able to extract from the hemp plant, but they’re also interested in the consumer reach that we have as a company,” he said. “We’re in 16,000 different retail outlets across North America, and reaching that consumer is very important to Tilray. And Manitoba Harvest is branding CBD products for distribution throughout North America.” This year the company is working with farmers to grow about 30,000 acres for its collective production primarily in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, east of Quebec, and working in some of the northern states this year. Continued on page 22...
June 28, 2019
June 28, 2019
KAP Calls for Consultation with Farmers on GROW Program Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), the voice of farmers in Manitoba, is calling for enhanced stakeholder consultation on new ecological goods and services funding announced by the Provincial government recently, said KAP President B ill Campbell in a news release. “Almost two decades ago, our organization called for ecological goods and services programming to be prioritized in Manitoba, and two provincial governments of different political stripes have reinforced the benefits of this,” said Campbell. “It is critical that the provincial government undertake through stakeholder consultation with farmers and producers as soon as possible.” Earlier, the provincial government announced a $52-million endowment fund for the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) program, based on the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program. Even with KAP’s long record with ALUS programming, Manitoba Sustainable Development did not consult with KAP on the new GROW program. Through the fund, the province would help producers with small water-retention projects, natural habitat restoration and enhancement including wetlands, riparian area management, soil health improvements and shelterbelt and eco-buffer establishment. Given the upcoming provincial election, many projects that could have been undertaken to benefit producers and the environment will be unnecessarily delayed until the 2020 crop year at the earliest, said KAP in its news release. Supporting the work producers do to mitigate climate change needs to be supported by the provincial government as part of a green strategy,” Campbell added. “As with any new government program, we really need to see the details before we know whether or not this is something that will ultimately benefit producers.”
The AgriPost Renewed Excitement Grows in the Food and Medicinal Hemp Industry Continued from page 21...
“Now, what we’ve done since then is our seed breeding programs have focused on bringing that variety down and having it much shorter. We distribute one variety from Finland called Finola, and that’s the primary variety that we distribute. That one doesn’t get more than five, five and a half feet tall,” said Swaluk. “It’s designed to be a grain type of variety.” “The far reach is to find more certified organic production. We have a challenge keeping up with the demand from consumers for certified organic products, so we need to go farther afield to find enough acres to satisfy what we need,” he said. Because of the October 2018 cannabis legislation passed in Canada it has allowed farmers to collect the leaf and the bud material from the hemp plant in an attempt to reach that CBD market. “That’s new for us this year, and I see a lot more excitement for hemp in general, geared towards CBD and the extraction market. It’s brand new,” he said. “I see some parallels to 1998. There’s tremendous excitement, and I sure hope that we don’t overdo it on that side of the market and flood the market. We’re finding our balance on the hemp grain or the hemp seed side of it, and I think we, as a company, have learned to do that reasonably well, but we do need to find that supply and demand balance for CBD.” Because Hemp is a cannabis plant it requires Health Canada’s oversight and growers must have a Health Canada licence to grow their hemp.
Clarence Swaluk, Director of Farm Operation for Fresh Hemp Foods Ltd said there is tremendous excitement for the Hemp industry in North America and globally. Photo by Harry Siemens
June 28, 2019
Manitoba’s Hemp Industry Lags Behind Other Provinces By Les Kletke Andrea Eriksson said that commercial hemp is on the verge of a break through that could make it one of the major crops in western Canada. She told producers attending her presentation at Farm Progress Show in Regina that it could be a $10.6 billion industry by 2025. Her information shows that Manitoba is lagging behind the other prairie provinces in production of commercial hemp. There are 202 producers registered to produce the crop in Manitoba but here are over 300 producers in Alberta. She said that at one time Nova Scotia was a key producer of the crop. “The crop was grown centuries ago in Nova Scotia,” she said. “It
was legislated that farmers had to grow hemp for the production of rope that was vital to the sailing industry.” She said the irony of it being required production to now requiring registration is not overlooked. “Now producers have to register to grow the crop because of its relationship to cannabis but industrial hemp is devoid of the active ingredient that is sought after for recreational use,” said Eriksson who works at an Edmonton University further developing the crop. Much of the work with the crop is done in northern Alberta. “There is a lot of potential for the crop in so many areas,” she said. “This is a crop that was produced in 2,700 BC and is having a
CFA Calls for Reforms to Business Risk Management Programs Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is calling for immediate reforms to Canada’s Business Risk Management Program suite in response to ongoing trade disruptions. Canadian farmers have seen significant trade uncertainty negatively affect their incomes in 2019, following a difficult 2018 season where realized net farm income declined a staggering 45.1%. Ongoing trade challenges further threaten farm incomes and are often out of the farmer’s control. These disruptions are having real impacts right now on their livelihoods, and will only cause further damage the longer they persist. Erratic weather patterns are compounding these issues during the 2019 planting season. Whether it is excess moisture in many parts of the East or drought-like conditions in the West, farmers are seeking support to see them through these difficult times. CFA supports the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to ensuring farmers can access international markets, and continues to call for a united effort from all parliamentarians, officials and industry stakeholders towards these goals. However, immediate reforms to Canada’s Business Risk Management program suite are needed to ensure they are responsive to the changing environment farmers face, particularly reforms to the AgriStability program. Continued dialogue with the Government of Canada and the Minister of Agriculture on this front is key said CFA and is pleased to see that officials are exploring potential solutions, such as programming for canola producers under AgriRecovery. However, global agricultural markets are posing challenges for many Canadian farmers, beyond just those producing canola. US support programs are destabilizing global markets, as they see billions of dollars sent their way to make up for lost market access. The ongoing trade war between the US and China is creating difficult conditions for soybean producers in Canada who are seeing prices drop steadily for their product. Meanwhile, non-tariff barriers continue to limit export opportunities for Canadian pulses and wheat. Farmers across Canada are facing very difficult times that threaten not only their profitability, but the viability of their farms as well. The CFA is calling for immediate reforms to Canada’s BRM suite. These reforms include restoring AgriStability margin coverage to 85% and removing AgriStability’s reference margin limit, to ensure Canada’s BRM suite provides the credible support producers need in these trying times. CFA continues to work with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada as partners in identifying further reforms, but it’s critical that farmers have the support they need and implemented as quickly as possible. Any delays leave producers facing even more uncertainty, stress, and financial difficulties during a period where they are already trying to manage risks that are, by and large, beyond their control.
resurgence that started after WWII.” She said the attitude of consumers to natural products will help with marketing the crop. “Farmers need to understand the end use of the crop so they can adjust their production practices accordingly,” she said. “If they are aware of the industry and what the crop is being used for, they can make adjustments to have the best possible product.” Eriksson said that while the crop has been cultivated for nearly 5.000 years there
is still a lot to be learned about production and how it reacts to modern technology. “There is a lot of work going on with seeding rates, crop management and harvest management to learn what works best in producing a crop that is suited to the industry and manageable by farmers.” Work on the crop in Manitoba is centred in the Dauphin area and Jeff Kraynyk, Leader, Industry Development has been assigned by the province to build on the crop’s potential.
Andrea Eriksson says there are more than 10,000 uses for industrial hemp. She says Manitoba rates 3rd among Prairie Provinces in producPhoto by Les Kletke tion of the crop.
June 28, 2019
The RADARSAT Constellation Mission
Sustainable Biocontrol Agents: A Standing Army at the Ready
The RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) is Canada’s new generation of Earth observation satellites. The three identical satellites, launched on June 12, will work together to provide wall-to-wall coverage over Canada’s terrestrial land mass. Each RADARSAT satellite has a radar that can accurately detect crop characteristics over thousands of square metres, regardless of weather condition. The new satellites will allow farmers to view up-to-date information on crops, moisture, identify soil and crop characteristics and condition; monitor shoot growth; assess soil moisture; better forecast precipitation and insect pest infestations; when to spread fertilizer to better effect; help to determine when irrigation is needed or when is the best time to seed and provide estimates on total farm output.
A standing army at the ready, that’s what, is now possible for Canadian growers to help them protect their crops thanks to recent work done by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist Roselyne Labbé. Dr. Labbé and her team at the Harrow Research and Development Centre have developed a more sustainable method to keep crops safe from pests. Typically, producers invest a significant amount of their crop production costs towards purchasing and applying biological control agents to fight pests. Once they do their jobs; however, control agents tend to disappear from crops because their food (the pest) source is gone. Labbé’s method for improving crop establishment involves using supplemental foods to help sustain the beneficial insects that eat the pests. Moreover, it improves how long beneficial agents remain on the crop and allows for a more preventative, rather than reactionary, approach to biocontrol.
“You wouldn’t get a pet and not feed it, so why would we do that for our biocontrol agents? You have to support your organisms in some way until the natural introduction of pests occurs. In addition, growers can now provide resources for beneficial organisms that won’t cause additional problems for the crop,” explained Labbé. The team worked with two specific biocontrol agents. Orius insidiosus and Dicyphus hesperus, both insects eat harmful crop pests and are native to North America. Overall, the findings confirmed that Orius was effective at combating thrips invasions while Dicyphus worked well at suppressing whitefly; in addition both of these predators were also known to eat other pests. These two biocontrol agents were tested because of Orius’ capacity to establish on a range of crops (including pepper, cucumber and ornamental crops) and Dicyphus’ ability to suppress pests on tomatoes, which is a particularly tricky crop for getting establishment of
certain biological control agents, including Orius. “Tomatoes are toxic or physiologically difficult for many of the good bugs to establish on, so we need better ways to support the agents that will work well. By establishing populations of generalist predators, such as Dicyphus early on, a grower can better prolong greenhouse crop protection,” said Labbé. Ephestia eggs and Artemia cysts were the food sources that Dicyphus gravitated towards during testing. Artemia cysts are important because they improve Dicyphus establishment and are an inexpensive food source. On the other hand, Ephestia eggs are costly despite being very nutritious. In Orius’ case, Ephestia eggs and pollen were the preferred food sources.
“Obviously, these types of foods have different values to the survival and establishment of different predator species,” said Labbé. “It was really important for us to be able to distinguish the relative values of these food types for predators frequently used in Canada, so that growers here could select the best foods with which to add value to their existing crop protection practices.” Despite some additional details to be worked out, Labbé says growers can begin to use this new tool right away. It is best to apply more nutritionally valuable foods, such as Ephestia eggs, to the crop when the predators are initially released. Then, less expensive foods such as pollen or Artemia can be used.
Dicyphus hesperus predator in immature nymphal stage. Photos provided by Agriculture
Adult Orius insidiosus predator.
and Agri-Food Canada
Manitoba Berries Ready for Picking By Elmer Heinrichs Manitoba is fortunate to have an incredible variety of fruit growers and it’s enough to make one’s mouth water. We have apples, cherries, choke¬cherries, crab apples, currants, gooseberries, grapes, has¬kaps or honeyberries, melons, pears, plums, raspberries, saskatoons, strawberries and many more. Manitoba fruit crop specialist Anthony Mintenko said, “Recent rain across most of Manitoba was welcomed by all the fruit crops. Normal temperatures are needed to
move fruit crops along. While a little later this year, overall fruit crops yields are anticipated to be near provincial averages.” The Prairie Fruit Growers Association (PFGA), which represents the growers, is optimistic about the coming season, and Angie Cormier, who operates Cormier’s Berry Patch at LaSalle with husband Darren, said the strawberry, raspberry and saskatoon berry crops look promising. Cormier said the picking of haskap berries (Honeyberry) will start in the last week of
June with the strawberries, Manitoba’s oldest U-pick crop, ready for picking and eating about July 1. Two other favourites, the saskatoon and raspberry, will also be ready in early July. The Cormiers are into their 13th season in strawberries and are the current executive directors of Prairie Fruit Growers, a non-profit organization representing Manitoba fruit growers. The help consumers navigate to many U-pick operations within the province, PFGA has a website with a map to locate a farm
closest to them. Also consumers wishing to find berries can access the Berry Hot Line, and find the addresses of various growers, talk to growers directly to check on berry availability, readiness for picking, and hours of business. While fruit is often available on a U-Pick “pick your own” basis, some growers prefer to pre-pick for customers at slightly higher cost. Produce is also available at many farmers’ markets now opening throughout the province.
AAFC’s June Outlook Predicts Increased Wheat Acres and Less Canola By Elmer Heinrichs Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in its June outlook report for the 2019-20 crop year, says it expects total area seeded to field crops to be slightly lower than 2018-19. The area seeded to grains has increased, but will be more than offset by the decrease in area seeded to oilseeds. AAFC said that while seeding was finished in western Canada, some corn and soybeans were left to be seeded in eastern Canada. With the growing season just beginning, AAFC is forecast-
ing a two per cent increase in total production while supply remains fairly flat due to a decrease in imports. For 2019-20 the area seeded to wheat is expected to increase by 11 per cent from 2018-19 according to Statistics Canada. While winter wheat area seeded was down, there was less damage during the winter resulting in a two per cent increase in winter wheat acres that remained in spring. The seeded area to corn in Canada is forecast to increase by five per cent from last
year. Production is expected to rise by five per cent to 14.6 metric tonnes (Mt). Imports are expected to decrease significantly due to higher domestic production of corn and barley. While farmers decreased canola acreage to about 8.6 million hectares compared to 9.2 hectares last year, the export forecast was raised from the May report to 9.0 Mt on support from the current export pace, a seasonal market rally in early June 2019 and expectations of a sharp rise in prevent plantings across
key US growing regions following excessive rainfall and widespread flooding. For soybeans, the planted area is down 11 per cent to 2.29 Mha on low prices and dry growing conditions across the west. Production is expected to fall to 6.5 Mt due to drop in area and lower yields. World grain prices will continue to be pressured by an abundant supply of grains, the impact on grain prices in Canada will continue to be partly mitigated by the low value of the Canadian dollar.
Don’t Let Fusarium Upset Your Season Cereals Canada is encouraging growers to take a proactive approach to managing fusarium head blight (FHB) in their wheat, barley and oat crops. By taking steps to manage the disease throughout the growing season, producers can limit the presence of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in their harvested grain and protect its marketability. Commonly known as vomitoxin, DON can be produced when the fungal disease FHB infects cereal crops. Its presence can limit grain’s end uses and marketing potential, as most importing countries have strict limits on DON levels. “Domestic processors and
export customers are increasingly testing shipments for mycotoxins,” said Brenna Mahoney, Director of Communications and stakeholder relations with Cereals Canada. “Shipments that exceed acceptable levels of DON could be rejected, which is a tremendous cost to the industry and may impact Canada’s reputation as a producer of high-quality cereal grains.” To preserve crop marketing opportunities and keep Canada’s markets open for all, Cereals Canada recommends growers take steps in FHB management by choosing seed that has the variety with the highest FHB resistance, applying a fungicide
when there is an elevated risk of FHB, planning crop rotations to allow ample time for crop residue to decompose, planting clean seed with consideration for seed treatment in high-risk areas to improve the crop stand and use a combination of disease management best practices to control fusarium. “It is important to put together a plan to manage the disease and remain vigilant; employing as many FHB management best practices as possible,” stressed Mahoney. When disease infection is severe, FHB can be identified by premature bleaching and salmon-coloured fungal growth on the heads of crops
it has infected. In addition to knowing what to look for and actively scouting for the disease, producers are encouraged to make use of the materials available through their province’s agricultural departments, including risk maps. “By keeping fusarium damaged grain and mycotoxins to a minimum, growers are protecting their investment and protecting market access for all,” said Mahoney. “When we all work together to protect Canada’s reputation as a trusted supplier, it helps our entire industry thrive.” For more information on fusarium management, visit keepingitclean.ca/cereals/fusarium.
Foodgrains Bank Crops Welcomed Recent Rain By Elmer Heinrichs Spring planting season is an exciting time for farmers across Canada, but it can also be a time of uncertainty. “Weather is always unpredictable, and markets are hard to forecast,” said Manitoba regional representative
of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Gordon Janzen. “This year is particularly uncertain now that China has stopped buying canola from Canada.” In spite of these challenges, many rural communities have come together to
plant a crop and donate the proceeds to support people experiencing hunger in developing countries. Some are even planting a crop for the first time. Some growing projects like the ChipinGlenlea project in southeast Manitoba began seeding
this spring despite dry conditions. With showers and rain over the Father’s Day weekend, many crops finally got a break from the dry spell, and coming into the third week of June, they are growing very well.
June 28, 2019
Polycultures a Cocktail Mix for the Semi-Arid Prairies
Producers rely on grazing native, tame perennial pastures or stockpiled forages to typically feed their cattle. Annual diverse forage mixtures give producers an opportunity to provide high quality feed while also gaining additional benefits for the soil and ecosystem. Polycultures could even be integrated into a crop rotation or used as green manure, working it into the soil to improve soil productivity, giving farmers another alternative for soil and nutrient management. Begun in 2013 by Dr. Mike Schellenberg from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in collaboration with Dr. Eric Lamb, University of Saskatchewan at the request of producer groups, the Swift Current Research and Development Centre has been studying polycultures to determine their agronomic and environmental impacts. Dr. Jillian Bainard, a forage ecophysiologist, someone who studies the interaction between forage plants and their environment, joined the project early on and has since initiated additional projects about forage polycultures. Polyculture cover cropping, also known as multispecies or cocktail mixture planting is the intentional co-planting of several species of plants in the same field or plot. New research is underway to find the best mixtures to plant as forage to improve crop yield, soil organic matter, moisture retention, weed control, and even improve nutrients which is potentially a great benefit to farmers. The mixtures tested include various combinations of annual forage crops, such as cool and warm season grasses (traditional forage monocultures), legumes (which fix nitrogen) and brassica root crops such as radish and turnips (which are known to penetrate hard, compacted soils and can also suppress weeds). Now that they have collected a few years of data, they have been able to provide more than just anecdotal evidence that polycultures can provide considerable benefits over monocultures in forage production. “As a researcher, I’m interested in polycultures because of the potential they hold for improved forage while also creating a more sustainable agriculture. There’s a lot more to learn, but we’re seeing some positive results so far,” explained Bainard. Research in Swift Current has confirmed that over some monocultures, certain polycultures can increase biomass (plant material that is used as feed) production by over 20% and reduce weeds over 50%. In addition, they have found that using mixtures can improve forage nutrition. These benefits will, however, depend on the species selected in the mixture and care should be taken to determine if certain crop species will grow in different regions. Ongoing research is trying to better understand soil nutrition and how to manage fertilizer use. Ideally, a good polyculture will provide a way to reduce reliance on inputs, like fertilizers, while increasing productivity. Bainard is especially interested in the weed suppressing properties of annual polyculture crops. By growing forage crops that out-compete weeds both above-ground (through competition for light and resources) and below-ground (through the production of chemicals that deter other plants), their field trials were able to significantly reduce weed abundance while maintaining forage crop productivity. The use of these cropping combinations to control weeds will reduce reliance on pesticide inputs and act as a way to combat herbicide resistance, benefitting producers economically and increasing environmental sustainability.
June 28, 2019
Brown Sugar Produce Believes The Benefit in Quality not Quantity of Keeping
Costumers line up early to pick up produce from Brown Sugar Produce at Lake of the Lake in Brandon
By Joan Airey Stephanie Dillion started Brown Sugar Produce nineteen years ago and has always believed quality was very important in the produce and products she sold her customers. She is wellknown for her Ukrainian Beet Leaf buns along with numerous fabulous pickles. Five years ago her daughter Teri and husband Jon Jenkins returned to Manitoba to join the team and now along with seasonal employee Janelle Vachon grows delicious produce for their enthusiastic customers. “We’re a small family business located just outside Brandon. We run an eighty member Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) “The Veggie Lovers’ Club” a weekly vegetable subscription and do seasonal markets outside of Lady of the Lake in Brandon,” said Teri Jenkins. “We have people asking all the time where else they can find our produce
but the only place we sell to the public is at our markets once a week in front of Lady of the Lake. We are passionate about what we do and how the farm operates and expanding to meet growing demand isn’t in our plans,” said Jenkins. “We do all the work on the farm ourselves because we love it; the vegetables are grown and harvested with care in the way that comes from being small. People tell us our veggies taste like what their Grandma used to grow. Our goal is to continue providing high quality vegetables that taste great as long into the future as possible and limiting what we do so we don’t burn out is an important part of that.” Streamlining the operation to one market per week and introducing a CSA program has made the farm a more sustainable endeavor for the family. Marketing is mostly done in the winter. The Veggie Lovers’ Club spaces are filled in February so that
when the busy growing season is underway, the farm team just needs to focus on growing and harvesting. Teri and Jon now have a two year old daughter and the more organized routine provides them with a necessary balance of work and family time. They operate a winter
(March/April) shoots and Microgreens CSA program, and the main summer/fall program runs for twentyfour weeks where customers receive a variety of vegetable depending on the season. At a recent Friday market they had asparagus, beet greens, green onions, garlic chives, heirloom spinach and red orach mix, salad mix radishes, microgreens and pea shoots. If you visit their website brownsugarproduce.com you will find information on storing vegetables and preparation ideas plus some interesting recipes for salad dressings, soups, salads as well as a list of what they are planning to bring to the Lady of the Lake market each week.
Teri Jenkins and her mother Stephanie Dillion greet customers at their Photos by Joan Airey produce trailer.
Tree Shelter Belts By Les Kletke Ron Gare is well aware of the increase in the size of farm machinery and the challenges that existing shelter belts provide to current filed operations but he is working on a project that might just change farmers’ minds about removing them. The former Manitoban now works at Indian Head with Ag Canada. “Most people are familiar with the tree nursery and the millions of trees that went out from there to farms across the prairies,” he said. “But there is also an Ag Canada research facility that has done a lot of work with soil erosion.” The Indian Head tree nursery was the victim of budget cuts several years ago but he feels that the value of some of those trees is being overlooked. “We are in the third year of a study that is looking at the impact of shelter belts both planted and natural,” he said. “We are considering their impact at three distances into the field and how they impact crop production.” Gare said the study is evaluating the impact of the shelterbelts from 10 to 100 metres into the field. He said that one obvious factor that has to be accounted for between the two types of shelter belts is the traffic. “Planted belts tend to be in a straight line and that is the place that gets the most traffic, “he said. “We are attracted to straight lines and usually the area next to the shelter belt has more soil compaction because of the increased traffic.” That is a factor that seldom shows up in natural tree belts. There is another difference in planted and natural shelter belts. “The planted belts are almost always north and south because of the predominant east/west wind on the prairies. The natural belts tend to follow a much more random pattern,” said Gare. The research is primarily focused on insects. “Most people think of the pollinators that live in shelter belts but we are also looking at ground beetles which are predators for many of the harmful insects,” he said. “We are also looking at the other benefits like snow retention and the extra moisture that can be provided in the field.” For the moisture retention study he relies on modern technology. “We use pictures captured by drones that show the vegetation at various distances from the shelter belt,” he explained. “In some areas that farmer has the benefit of a yield monitor to measure actual yields, but with the photos we can get information about the plant population at various distances.” The photos are taken at various times during the growing season but always followed up with one more flight at the time of colour change of the crop. “Then we follow up with hand held monitors.”
Milling Wheat and Meeting People is What This Miller Likes to Do By Harry Siemens
Al Hamm is the long time miller at the windmill at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Manitoba. “I have finished 17 years of being the miller. Although the first four years I was an apprentice. But, then, the miller that taught me how to run the windmill, he passed away, and then I became the miller,” said Hamm in a recent visit to the windmill. The windmill represents the ingenuity and skill of the Mennonite pioneers who built these amazing structures in many of their principal villages in southern Manitoba. The first windmill in Steinbach was built in 1877 by Abram Friesen, just three years after his arrival in the province. The current windmill on site is fully operational and was established in 2001 by local trade’s people and Dutch millwrights. “I like being the miller for several reasons. First of all, we’re producing a product that a lot of local people prefer over the bought flour,” he said. “The other thing is I get to meet a lot of people from
all over the world. I enjoy that because we get to talk about each other’s faith. We get to talk about each other’s background and history and ancestry and so on.” Hamm said it is fascinating for him to relate the Mennonite history, to non-Mennonite and Mennonite people alike. He volunteers his time at the windmill after retiring in 2001. That particular October, the windmill burnt down, and as he listened to the dedication of the new windmill, he wondered who is going to run the windmill. “I was asked, ‘Why don’t you?’ Why don’t you run the windmill?’” I told them, “I’d think about it, and I knew that my grandfather had been a miller by trade in West Prussia, so, I said, Okay, I will do that, and so, I’ve come here ever since,” said Hamm. “My day depends on whether we have tour groups, whether we have school kids tour the mill. If that is the case, then I probably get here around ten, eleven o’clock in the morning and spend my time here. Even if no tour groups are coming through,
The windmill represents the ingenuity and skill of the Mennonite pioneers who built these amazing structures in many of their principal villages in southern Manitoba. The first windmill in Steinbach was built in 1877 by Abram Friesen, just three years after his arrival in the province. The current Steinbach windmill established in 2001 is fully operational.
Al Hamm of Steinbach explained that he has been a miller for 17 years during a recent visit to the windmill at the Mennonite Heritage Village. Photos by Harry Siemens
I prefer to stop in because if there’s a demand for flour, if we run out of flour, and the wind is right, then, of course, I can run the windmill.” While Hamm runs the windmill and mills the flour, a maintenance team looks after it so that it keeps going. “That’s an excellent point because the windmill needs maintenance just like a car does. The windmill has moving parts made of wood including the cogs and the gears, and they need maintenance, they can dry out, become loose, they need grease. We do that with melted beeswax, and we need to do it every so often,” he said. “Aside from the maintenance team, I have an interpretive team that also helps me discussing and interpreting the windmill to other people, especially school children in May and June.” When asked to explain the actual work in milling flour, he said that, “Right now, I would go to the top of the windmill, into the cap and release certain security features
so that when people pull on the chains on the deck, they can’t do any damage. I would do that first of all,” he said. “Then, I would make sure that the bag is attached to the chute over here, make sure there is wheat in the hopper, release the brake, and close the shutters on the sails. If the wind is right, we will do the grinding. When I say the wind has to be right, I mean the wind has to be about 35, 40 kilometres per hour to give me enough power to do that.” Hamm said this year has been quite amazing with enough wind to mill the wheat. “However, we went into the fall season with enough inventory that there was no pressure on doing the milling right away this year.” As he prepared to get back to what he loves doing, he reemphasized how he loves to meet people in the windmill. “I love to talk about the windmill. I love to talk about our ancestry, and, yeah, that’s probably the highlight of my being here.”
Grain Growers of Canada Call for Rapid Ratification of CUSMA Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is urging both Houses of Parliament to pass legislation and quickly ratify the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) to begin realizing the benefits of this historic agreement. “Our farmer members across Canada need certainty to invest and grow,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “This is why Government must pass this legislation
before summer break to ensure our North American market access is preserved. The success of Canadian agriculture is not a partisan issue and we urge all parties to work together to see the legislation through.” If the bill to ratify CUSMA, called Bill C-100, is passed this week, it will represent a meaningful upgrade to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for Ca-
nadian agriculture by keeping our trade with the United States and Mexico tariff free. The CUSMA will also remove legal barriers that prevent grain grown in the US from being treated equally here – a longstanding request from grain farmers on both sides of the border. “We need tariff-free access for our export commodities as soon as possible,” contin-
ued Mr. Nielsen. “Canadian farmers rely on stable markets to succeed and ratifying the CUSMA will allow us to capitalize on further opportunities for growth with our closest trading partners.” GGC will continue, in conjunction with our partners within the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA), to advocate for the timely passage of Bill C-100.
June 28, 2019
Place the Right Molasses Lick-Tub on Pasture for Your Beef Cattle By Peter Vitti Recently, a friend of mine who operates a 400-head cow-calf operation drove through a quarter- section of one of his pastures. He told me that he made a few stops and pulled up some grass and several roots were brittle. Hundreds of kilometres away, another beef producer told me that his pastures had lush grass after a couple of days of thundershowers. Still, another friend told me that his brood cows would not graze about 20 acres of good grass on a ridge, because they had to cross a small swamp to get at it. Molasses cattle lick-tubs could easily be implemented into each one of these feeding situations. That’s because they are a one-package feed, which provides supplemental protein, minerals and vitamins as well as can be used as a pasture management tool. Since, there are many types of commercial cattle lick tubs available for sale, I suggest that beef producers talk to their feed store and determine, which molasses lick-tub would fit successfully in their operations. Consequently, years ago, I had the opportunity to take a tour of a facility that manufactured low-moisture molasses lick-tubs. It started - with steaming molasses and then vacuuming off its natural moisture (25% by weight). The taffy-like substance is then mixed with vegetable oil, and later combined with dry ingredients (protein, mineral and vitamins). By now, it had the consistency of tar, which was poured into plastic tubs and allowed to cool. The end-product is hydroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air), which allows only the surface to become tacky, while the rest of the block remains rock hard. It’s this tackiness that goes down about 1/2 inch into the surface of the block, which only allows licking cattle to consume about 1/2 – 3/4 lb per head, daily. In this fashion, a 10-day supply of low-moisture molasses licktubs (90 – 114 kg or 200 – 250 lb) should be put out at one time on pasture, placing at least one tub for every 25 - 30 animals. Location of the blocks can vary; near waterers and in loafing areas or evenly distributed on open pasture to encourage even grazing by cattle. As a beef nutritionist, I make it a point to choose the type of molasses lick-tub to compliment the quality of the pasture that the cattle are grazing. For example, a 20 - 30% protein block should be placed on acres of driedout pasture by which its grass protein is probably no more than 5 - 6% protein. At the other end of the spectrum, I would place 6% protein blocks on lush pastures, which might be a mixture of high-protein legumes (alfalfa or clover) or even medium-protein native grass. In other special situations, I might utilize molasses lick-tubs to help move cattle onto good quality pasture in order to graze. For example, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine (mentioned above) had about twenty acres of good pasture that his cows hesitated to move onto, because they had to cross a small strip of swamp with open-water or a foot of mud. Therefore, my friend placed about 4 molasses lick-tubs along a fence-line on the higher parts of this pasture. Within a day, most of his cattle could be seen grazing the good grass. Whether, people buy cattle blocks to compliment the nutrition of their pastures or are just trying to move their cattle on to its different areas, they should always be aware of the cost of feeding molasses lick-tubs. Case-in-point: a multi-mineral/vitamin block @ $275/91 kg block and fed at 0.25 kg per day, costs $ 0.76 per head might be compared to feeding a loose breeder cattle mineral @ $45/25 kg and fed at 0.100 kg per day; cost - $ 0.18 per head. In a similar way, check the comparable cost of cattle blocks that come in different sizes, namely: a 91 kg (200 lb) @ $175 ($1.92/kg) versus a 114 kg (250 lbs) @ $185 ($1.63/kg); the former is a more costly choice. Despite such different costs of placing molasses licktubs on pasture, nobody should abandon any molasses lick-tub feeding option without considering how it might fit into their operation. In this manner, people can take advantage of its nutrition and/or management properties. Besides, the right molasses lick-tub is a convenient and practical way to feed cattle!
June 28, 2019
Environmental Benefits from Land Donation
A cairn was built in honour of the late Mr. Neil McEachran. Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation was able to restore 15 acres of wetland in the Treherne area on the quarter section of land he donated in 2015. Every acre of wetland in this area has a positive effect on wildlife as well as on downstream water quality.
The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) is pleased to honour the late Neil McEachran of Treherne for his generous donation to the corporation. In 2016, the late Neil McEachran graciously gifted a quarter section of land to the MHHC, an organization with a primary mandate to conserve, restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. “We are grateful for the landowners that protect and enhance our natural landscape. Their legacy ensures future generations benefit from their thoughtfulness and forward-thinking; this is certainly the case with Mr. McEachran,” said Tim Sopuck, MHHC Chief Executive Officer. The McEachran land donation has allowed MHHC to complete a restoration project on the property. The wet-
land restoration program is designed to plug a ditch with dirt, hold back water and restore wetlands that have been previously drained. Wetlands are one of the most productive natural ecosystems that exist. A functioning wetland sequesters carbon, purifies water, prevents erosion and helps to slow down water flows. Surface water from the McEachran property flows into the Boyne River, ultimately making its way to Stephenfield Lake, where water quality is a consideration. “With this project, we restored two wetlands that are quite significant in this landscape. Every acre of restored wetlands has a positive effect on wildlife by providing a home for native plants and animals, as well as improving the water quality for Stephenfield Lake,” said Curtis Hullick, MHHC Field Man-
ager. The wetlands provide a stopping ground for ducks and other waterfowl to use before larger bodies of water open up in the spring. As well, elk, deer and a whole host of other wildlife in the area are able to take advantage of the resource that is now available to them. MHHC has also installed fencing and a water system on the property to establish a rotational grazing system. A local beef producer rents the land for pasture and rotates their cows through the property. MHHC’s policy is to use agriculture practices to manage for wildlife habitat benefits, wherever possible. For landowners who are interested in restoring wetlands on their property, the wetland restoration program offers compensation for participating in the program through MHHC.
Manitoba Rural Women’s Day to Cover Courage and Determination By Joan Airey This year, Manitoba Rural Women’s Day hosted by Manitoba Women’s Institute will be held on October 19 at Oak Bluff Recreation Club and Saturday November 2 in Brandon at the Sokol Hall. “This year our topic is ‘Women showing courage, determination, and boldness’,” said Deb Melosky representative for the Provincial Board of Directors, Manitoba Women’s Institute.
“We will be hearing stories from women on what they had to overcome to get to where they are today. What did these women cope with and what can we learn from it. We are hearing from women with a varied background and experience.” During the conference there will be a variety of displays from organizations that relate to the topics such as Canadian Muslim Women’s
Institute, Teen Challenge and Nellie McClung Foundation. “This is a great opportunity for all women to learn and laugh and make new connections,” said Melosky. “Speaker categories include Indigenous, Immigrant, addiction, severe illness and running an Ag Business.” For more information visit Manitoba Women’s Institute on Facebook or their website at mbwi.ca.
Spraying in Full Swing in Western Manitoba
Giving his crop a boost, Rob Baker is out spraying a wheat field west of Rivers.
Photo by Joan Airey
Agricultural Game Changer Steam Cleans Your Fields By Les Kletke Kevin Hursh acknowledges that the X-Steam-inater does get a few strange looks and questions about its capacity but this changes when farmers compare the cost of water to herbicide. Hursh, a Saskatchewan farmer and long-time farm journalist, has joined his friend Ron Gleim in developing and marketing the machine that is intended to kill weeds with a blast of steam. “We have a prototype that we are testing in fields at this time,” said Hursh and farmers are asking about the capacity. “They immediately want something that will treat 600 acres a day but when they consider the budget with no herbicide costs they immediately become willing to treat a smaller acreage on a per hour basis.” The machine on display at Farm Progress Show in Saskatchewan had a 200-gallon water tank and was driven by the tractor’s PTO. “There is a fair requirement for the generator,” said Hursh. “So there
is an option to have a diesel motor mounted on the unit and that would provide the power for the generator.” Hursh said that with the push back from consumers about pesticide residues in food the time has come for producers to be more aware. “It might be time for us to think about how we use chemicals, and how much,” he said. The X-Steam-inator was developed by Ron Gleim an organic farmer at Chaplin, Saskatchewan. This year prototypes are being constructed and tested. Next year further testing is scheduled while the unit is being commercialized. Gleim is hopeful a commercial partnership can be formed to market the unit. The X-Steam-inator sprayer uses electricity to generate high temperature steam on demand to kill weeds and terminate plant growth. With this technology, weed growth can be controlled prior to spring seeding. The sprayer can be configured to provide weed control between crop rows and chemical free crop
desiccation prior to harvest. Testing this year will concentrate on steam temperature, speed and plant density. “We are considering the possibility of mounting the unit to the front of an air seeder so then the question is, “How much steam and at what temperature will it control weeds and serve as pre-plant burn off?” The steam process will not only reduce the amount of pesticide use but also attacks herbicide resistant weeds. “A little bit of water goes a long way as steam,” said Hursh. “So there is the aspect of less water being needed in the field but it also eliminates any soil residue that could impact subsequent crops.” He is confident that the machine will not only be attractive to organic producers but conventional farmers as well. “The unit can be used prior to seeding and the sprayer configures to provide weed control between crop rows,” he said, noting that there is the also the possibly of preharvest dedication.
Scott Sander is the head of research and development for X-Steam-inator and has a prototype ready for field trials. Photo by Les Kletke
June 28, 2019
June 28, 2019
You Could Call Gardening 2019 “The Year of Obstacles”
Lettuce grown from live root lettuce purchased in grocery store growing in greenhouse. I’m experimenting to see where I get the best crop from replanting live root lettuce.
Lettuce growing outdoors from live root lettuce purchased in grocery store Photos by Joan Airey
By Joan Airey This year in our area farmers had to reseed canola because of frost and flea beetles. Local gardens have suffered the same problem plus drought, cutworms and poor germination of small seeds. Did anyone buy Canadian grown lettuce this winter from Inspired Greens? My gardening guru friend Brenda told me she bought their live lettuce cut off the head and replanted the root and within weeks had a second head of lettuce. Since it was a Canadian company which doesn’t use pesticides and my supply of under lights was getting low because of using the space to grow my bedding plants I decided to try it. The second growth of lettuce was worth the time invested. I forgot to take a photograph of the first three heads I regrew but I took a photograph of the ones I have growing now in time for it to appear in this edition. I will definitely be looking for their product in stores next winter when I need lettuce. My garden lettuce did not germinate very well this year but in a couple of weeks we will have our own lettuce. Until then we are enjoying lettuce from Brown Sugar Produce. As the parent of a beef producer I want people to buy Canadian beef so I try to buy local Canadian Produce when possible. Has anyone tried the potato growing bags? I’m experimenting with two this year. They were planted May 1 and now they have flower buds. I have heard of good results and not so good. If I can get potatoes to produce in the bags I will try them under lights next winter but this year they are in the greenhouse. I purchased some two year old Kent strawberry plants
growing in pots from Walkers greenhouse and transplanted them into my garden. Now, I see there are strawberries on the plants. Not sure if I’ll get to taste them as there is a 6-year old blond around here at times and she seems to outsmart me. Last year her favourite trick was to eat raspberries then tease grandpa that she ate his dessert. To be honest I plant them for the grandchildren to pick when they want to as I think it is a good learning experience for them. Our six year old granddaughter made a fairy garden in a large planter at our place that she checks on regularly. Her talents in laying out the garden are far better than mine. Our nine year old grandson planted a broad bean in a clear plastic glass at school and last week asked me to repot it in a bigger pot while he visited his other grandparents. Well I did but the next morning it was very wilted. I was a little concerned but with a little more water by the time he came home from school it was fine. I hope all schools are teaching children about growing things. Some advice for vegetable gardening. I read recently that we should plant vegetables where they get the most sun although lettuce and greens can tolerate light shade. Also take a soil test, determine its acidity and available nutrients and then follow recommendations based on the results. Personally I believe in composting all kitchen produce scraps. I know the first time I put kitchen compost on my garden, the corn cobs where I placed the compost were twice the size of the ones without compost. I hope by now everyone has received some much needed rain. We welcomed one and half inches on the weekend.
Potatoes growing in potato bags in greenhouse
Finland Takes Action to Enhance Protein Self-Sufficiency
Finland is in an excellent position to enhance its protein self-sufficiency while building a sustainable, carbon-neutral food chain. A new report by VTT and VYR, the Finnish Cereal Committee presents an action plan for using grains, grass, fisheries, insects and cellular agriculture more efficiently as sources of protein in the production of both food and feed. Raising the share of domestic production at EU and national level in Finland is important for food security, for example, due to the unstable market conditions attributable to climate change. “The EU has prioritised the replacement of forage
soybean with protein sources produced in Europe. Many operators have in fact already started to replace forage soybean with domestic sources of protein,” said the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners’ (MTK) Secretary for Cereal and VYR’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Max Schulman. “A many-fold increase is expected in the use of forage based on domestic protein sources in the near future. However, this requires targeted breeding efforts for high quality cultivars, as well as allocating significantly larger areas for the cultivation of protein crops and increasing their yield.” The consumption of plant-
based protein products in food in Finland has increased since protein self-sufficiency was previously studied in 2015. The growth is expected to continue, with consumers searching for alternatives to proteins from animal sources. However, successful growth requires cooperation and development throughout the supply chain, including improvement in the cultivars, contract farming and ingredient industry. “In addition to substantial research efforts, building a network and business models for operators are critical to enable the efficient utilisation of grass, insects and cellular agriculture in protein production,” points out VTT’s Research Team Leader Emilia Nordlund.
The fisheries industry could also play a key role in enhancing Finland’s protein self-sufficiency, but not without implementing significant measures related to maintaining the viability of fishing as a livelihood in both inland and coastal fishing communities. To put the measures into practice, VYR has set up a working group on protein, chaired by Emilia Nordlund. The working group on protein mainly focuses on cereals, legumes, oilseeds and grass, and its aim is to raise Finland’s status as a model country for protein self-sufficiency and sustainable food production and as an exemplary operator in the EU. Operators from all sections of the supply chain are invited to the working group.
New Set of Forecasted Extreme Weather Indices Ready for Producers Extreme weather conditions and events are frequent during the agricultural growing season. Developing new tools that help identify the risks to Canadian agricultural production is increasingly important. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have created a new suite of Extreme Weather Indices to help producers prepare for extreme weather conditions that are now available online. “The incidence and frequency of extreme weather is expected to increase and with it the risks to agricultural production. Forecast products such as these help provide insights into the future risks and this is highly desired by
decision makers,” said Patrick Cherneski, Manager National Agroclimate Information Service, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. These indices, or short-term weekly forecasts for up to a month in advance, predict extreme weather factors such as temperature, heat, wind and precipitation. Within each of the categories there are numerous easy-to-read maps that will allow farmers to see weather predictions across the country that are tailored to an agriculture context. For example, within the wind category, farmers will be able to see “Probability of Drying Day Occurrence” maps which will be particularly important during the planting and harvesting season. While during the growing season, farmers may be
interested in the “Maximum Wind Speed” and “Number of Strong Wind Days” look ahead to help predict the spread of pests and when to spray. “AAFC has been developing and providing timely weather and climate information that is relevant to the Canadian agriculture sector for more than 20 years. We are pleased to now offer tools that will help farmers look into the future,” said Cherneski. Work on this project began in 2006 when the AAFC and ECCC signed an agreement to collaborate more closely together by sharing climate data. Through working with high performance computers, complex models and large datasets, the collaboration has resulted in these agriculture-specific extreme weather indices. “This work is a good example
of the positive results that can come from collaboration among scientists from different departments with common interests,” said Dr. Aston Chipanshi, Analytical Services Manager, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “It was hard work as we faced some unique challenges including identifying appropriate agricultural thresholds for extreme weather, validating the results and extensive testing to ensure accuracy for the modeled results. Going forward, we will continue to work together to improve these products by adding more indices for agriculture while increasing the ability and skill to forecast further into the future.” Check Drought Watch at agr. gc.ca/drought frequently, as information becomes available and relevant throughout the season and new maps are uploaded on a regular basis.
CFA Pleased with New National Food Policy Strategy The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) was pleased to be a part of the launch of the new Food Policy for Canada, and is excited to hear of the development of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council, something the CFA has recommended for nearly a decade. The Food Policy for Canada will provide a platform that will enable a wholeof-government approach to Canadian Agri-Food policy. CFA has been advocating the development of the initiative, when CFA presented its National Food Strategy. This strategy was developed with participants from the whole food system value chain-
who all echoed the need for a long-term strategic vision for food in Canada. “Food is affected from a variety of factors that are rarely in the spotlight. International and domestic regulatory processes, immigration policies, transportation, climate change, education, consumer habits and cutting edge technology all have direct effects not only on the ways that we produce food in Canada, but also the price of food and the types of food that we have available to eat. A National Food Policy can organize this puzzle and help fit the pieces together,” said Mary Robinson, CFA President. “The CFA wants to be a part
of developing the governance process and implementation procedures for the Food Policy for Canada.” As such, the CFA Food Policy Advisory Council will bring together a litany of stakeholders and government departments to establish a common vision for Canada’s food system. As the system is influenced by so many different elements, a cross-cutting approach is crucial to understanding the complexities involved in the journey food takes from the farm to the consumer’s plate. Apart from the advisory council, CFA was also pleased with several other details released recently, including a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian
promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food, introducing a Challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service. Lastly, the addition of new funding to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud will protect Canadians and global markets. CFA will continue to collaborate with the Federal government on this initiative and is pleased with the progress that has been made so far. As more details become available, the CFA will seek a seat on the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council.
June 28, 2019
Range and Pasture Health Assessment Workbook Ready for Action The synergies, dialogues and activities between producers, land managers, governments and conservation interests around healthy and productive Manitoba grasslands seem stronger than ever in Manitoba. As the many voices circle around retaining existing grasslands and developing healthy pastures, the key next step is figuring out how to do this well. This is where Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA)’s Manitoba Range and Pasture Health Assessment Workbook and supporting rangeland ecosite and plant community information can really help inform pasture and grassland planning. “Lately we are hearing more and more from government, non-profit organizations, and the public about ecological value provided by healthy grasslands and pastures. Carbon. Flood reduction. Habitat. Protein. And that means there is increasing potential for our Range and Pasture Health Assessment method to play a role,” said Mae Elsinger, a MFGA board member and a Rangeland Biologist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), who co-led the project along with AAFC colleague Kerry LaForge, a Range and Forage specialist. Manitoba’s accelerating interest in grasslands and pastures is being driven by many factors. At the grassroots level by producers keen on improving their bottom line and operational sustainability through a focus on regenerative agriculture and soil health. At the provincial government level in dialogues around Manitoba Agriculture’s Protein Strategy consultations using industry’s constant tabs on consumer confidence; nationally as a carbon capture mechanism via projects such as the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association’s Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program and through stronger funding opportunities such as the Province of Manitoba’s Conservation Trust. Range and pasture health and all the incredible benefits rangelands and pastures provide for society are front and centre in Manitoba. According to LaForge, Manitoba’s Range and Pasture Health Assessment method is a sciencebased procedure, modeled on the original workbook developed by Alberta Environment and Parks, with modifications for Manitoba conditions. An assessment is based on five sets of indicators that produce a health score. “The health score gives an idea of how much improvement in range and pasture health and function may be possible with modifications to land management practices. It has significant implications for a site’s ability to provide ecological services, such as forage production, biodiversity, habitat, nutrient cycling, water holding capacity, and resiliency to climate change.” The MFGA workbook was developed specifically for range and pasture assessment needed for recommending maintenance or change of grazing management practices on grasslands and pastures. Modifications were made in consultation with stakeholders, and documented by Rachel Whidden. Supporting ecoregion, ecosite, and plant community guides were developed by Jeff Thorpe, and Lysandra Pyle, also with stakeholder input. The workbook is posted on the MFGA website at https://www.mfga.net/range-pasture-workbook.
June 28, 2019