May 28, 2021
Seeding Early Pays Off for Manitoba Farmers
Gilbert Sabourin, who farms near St. Jean-Baptiste, completed his seeding by mid-May.
By Harry Siemens Seeding started early this year on the Pallister Farms near Portage la Prairie, MB. Jim Pallister’s farm was on the cover of the AgriPost last issue and now the story continues with an update from son William. Recently many regions received much needed moisture during the week leading up to the long weekend and in n a follow-up interview, with William on May 4, Pallister was already laying back a bit because he finished wheat and canola seeding four weeks before the rain in early April. Most of his wheat was up and canola was starting to grow with no signs of flea beetles yet. Fast forward to May 20, and they had also finished planting edible beans. With some colder temperatures occurring it did not concern the young fifth-
generation farmer. “No, not at all. Because you know, as you might’ve heard, hardening is a real thing,” said William.” We had canola that was up and survived -9 °C the weekend before.” He explained how these cold temperatures enable the plants to survive the freezing temperatures because they harden, by putting salts in the leaves which mans his early-seeded crop is in good shape. By getting his crop in early, even getting a small amount of moisture with the spring snowstorm a few weeks back was enough for his crop. There was a time when 2 °C or colder would have producers concerned about frozen canola plants. “Yeah, exactly. If you seed into a warm, moist seedbed 10, 12 degrees Celsius for canola, they won’t survive much of a frost when it comes up. But if you harden it up, make it
tough, then it can survive lots of different events. Although, flea beetles are an exception. First, you got to go and watch for those.” Gilbert Sabourin of St. Jean-Baptiste, MB told his seeding story on that same day, also waiting for rain. Despite the dry and cold temperatures, he finished putting in wheat and oats while starting on corn a few days later after that he planned to seed soybeans and canola. He too played with the snow event. “But that second day of that little snow event, it was quite windy. So some fields were delayed seeding because along tracks and ditches it was full of snow. So like 98 per cent of the field was too dry, and the other 2 per cent still had snow.” Sabourin finished seeding in the middle of May despite the snow that even helped some areas of the field with moisture.
William Pallister who Farms north of Portage la Prairie, MB said his early seeded canola survived the -9°C weekend.
In a follow-up interview, with William Pallister on May 4, he said that he was finished wheat and canola seeding four weeks before in early April. Most of his wheat and canola was coming up.
Farmers Hope to Reap Reward of Higher Crop Prices By Elmer Heinrichs A growing demand as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with supply shortages from droughts in some areas of the world, have created the chance for Canadian farmers to earn more money in a cyclical industry. Depending on the crop, agriculture prices have increased between 10 and 75 per cent from last year, said Branden Leslie, manager of policy and government relations for the United Grain Growers of Canada. On the heels of a decade of fairly flat to downward prices it is good news for Canadian farmers, he said in an interview, pointing to the threat of drought this summer in western Canada and the US Midwest. “Until it’s achieved and the grain is in the bin, the high prices don’t mean much but certainly a real opportunity I would say for future profitability for farmers.” Prices started to increase about 12 to 18 months ago, and then underwent a big jump in 2021. Canola recently hit a 13-year peak after stubbornly low prices, gaining 52 per cent year-to-date. Corn has surged 50 per cent in the past four months to reach its highest level since 2012, soybean prices are returning to levels not seen since 2013-2014 and wheat prices are the best since 2012. “All of the benchmark crop prices are back to the highest they’ve been since that very severe drought that they had in the US Midwest back in 2011-2012,” said Aaron Goertzen, senior economist for the Bank of Montreal. Economists expect commodity prices will cool off over the next year, not because the global economy will have slowed but because producers who have under invested in the last few years will have time to address supply disruptions and crank up production. Ultimately, even elevated crop prices may not mean much to farmers who cannot control their biggest threat or ally, Mother Nature. Huge parts of western Canada are still pretty dry right now. And farmers will have to have an average crop to realize the benefit of these prices.
May 28, 2021
Grain, Feed, and Oilseed Prices Continue Volatility in a Weather Market By Harry Siemens
The grain and oilseed market kept climbing to record highs with canola reaching over $1,000 a tonne and wheat over $8 dollars a bushel but then dropped steadily
for a whole week before the long weekend. With prices still high Jonathan Driedger, V.P. LeftField Commodity Research of Grunthal, MB said, “Let’s call it a bit of a speculative
sugar rush in the futures market that pushes these futures markets higher, but it feels like cash markets are maybe left behind, which can be disappointing. That’s not the case this time around. We
see good basis levels, which all of that is just a reflection of how fundamentally tight these markets are, essentially for all crops.” Each crop has its own story in many ways, and yet all of them are connected. In many cases, farmers have booked too much in the way of crop sales, too early, or at least it may seem that way. And hindsight’s always a pretty harsh report card. “It’s always that if you sell too much, or you didn’t sell enough. In many ways, you try and make the best decisions you can for your business in the context of what you know at the moment. I’ll be the first to admit that we probably weren’t bullish enough early enough in light of what we have seen.” Corn continues to be the king in the marketplace because it is the largest crop, and it’s the single most influential crop. “In corn, there is phenomenal demand outside the US with the USDA forecasting record great demand.
And so we have the US ending stocks for the current crop year looking like they’re going to be the tightest in several years,” said Driedger. Driedger said looking ahead to a year that already seems as tight as it will be in the current year, if the weather is, say normal or reasonably good, and if the yields are not there, then it is like throwing more gasoline on the fire. With corn a tight crop situation, along with strong Chinese imports in the US this has drawn down their stocks. Dryness in Brazil is adding some heightened intensity more recently. So their crop is getting smaller in the market’s eyes, and the forecast is not great. This shifts more export demand to the US. “And so it’s, as these things often are, maybe a culmination of several different factors all blowing in the bullish direction and so we have just these phenomenal prices,” explained Driedger. In western Canada, the cash corn prices are vital because
this feed grade complex is tight. Barley, wheat, and feed wheat prices are high while not changing the broader futures market picture very much. “But locally that certainly adds a little extra dynamic to it,” said Driedger. “So multiple things, but this important corn market was robust, for sure.” Driedger said the dryness in spring has made the conversation turn into a weather market already. “And the fact that the markets were so tight for this current crop year and already projecting to be tight for this next season just put all that greater emphasis on yield and weather,” he said. “So there are weather premiums priced in early. I think it will be volatile here as we advance and both to the upside, but then maybe also the downside, because the market has priced a lot of good news. And that’s something that I think farmers will have to accept here as we advance. It’s both higher and lower,” he predicted.
Corn is king in grain and feed markets because it is the biggest crop. Scott McLean on April 27 said corn is marching right along but will be starting to look for a drink shortly. Submitted photo
May 28, 2021
New Online COOL Act May Affect Canadian Pork and Beef Sector
by Harry Siemens
While some think the US’s Biden Administration is too busy to consider tackling the Country-of-Origin-Labeling debate, others, especially the Canadian pork industry will keep an eye on what transpires. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) recently applauded the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for passing with overwhelming bipartisan support a COOL Online Act. The bipartisan COOL Online Act would mandate that
country of origin is stated clearly and conspicuously in any website description of a product. The Act would protect Americans’ right to know where their products are made and help promote goods made in America. When suggested to the general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council, Cam Dahl that COOL is back on the US agenda, “COOL was never off the agenda in the United States. There are several Republican and Democrat senators and representatives, especially in some of those Northern tier States that are
When suggested to the general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council, Cam Dahl that COOL is back on the US agenda, he confirmed that there are several Republican and Democrat senators and representatives, especially in some of the northern tier States that are protectionist. Photos supplied.
protectionist.” Canada took the US to the World Trade Organization and after much time, pain and cost, Canada and Mexico prevailed in that case. “We still have that protection for M-COOL, but it’s something that we’re paying attention to.” Manitoba Pork is making sure Canadian provincial and federal governments take note so that this barrier to trade does not come back. Dahl said it caused significant harm to Canada’s pork and beef producers, but thankfully Canada and Mexico won at the WTO and the US changed the law. “That’s where it stands today, but we do have to continue to both be vigilant and to ensure that the administration knows that we will do whatever it takes to protect our rights in this case,” said Dahl. He said that it is an important point but not a majority of pork producers or processors in the US want this to happen. Instead it is a small minority, and the free flow of animals and meat across the border benefits both countries. Free trade is good for Canada, good for the US,
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Cam Dahl, general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council, said for example right now there is a shortage of pigs in the US, and to meet their demand, they need to have access to Canadian production.
and good for Canadian farmers. Dahl said, for example, right now, there is a shortage of pigs in the US, and to meet their demand, they need to have access to Canadian production. Steve Dittmer, EVP at Agribusiness Freedom Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said that it is always on the front burner for a couple of the left-leaning groups while quiet at the
Biden Administration. “Of course, one of the biggest critics of our current modern agriculture system is Senator Cory Booker out of New Jersey, which is not known for being a big agricultural state,” said Dittmer. “He is proposing to reform the entire agricultural system. “This means that some people are receptive to a request for M-COOL. Dittmer does not see that Booker has interest from mainstream
agricultural groups, although he does not know how many business groups are showing interest, which is a concern. “We’ll keep our ear to the ground. The fact the WTO declared it null and void doesn’t seem to phase them; they’ll keep coming at it. But at this point, it doesn’t seem to be on everybody’s front burner just because the Democrats are trying to do so much in the way of imposing general federal rules.”
May 28, 2021
Read the AgriPost Online www.agripost.ca
Three stories caught my eye this month: genetically modified mosquitoes, a monster-sized organic farm, and plant pandemics. All three demonstrate a common principle. Let’s have a look. Skeeters, we all hate them. They’re highly annoying pests at best, and at worst their disease-carrying ability can kill us. For years now, we’ve read about special, genetically modified mosquitoes designed to suppress their total number of pests. Although the outcome might not be as quick as we’d like, things are slowly moving forward. In the beginning of May, in the Florida Keys, the first open-air American experiment with these high-tech gnats States began, with the goal of better control of diseases like Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Previous trials have run in Brazil, Panama, the Cayman Islands and Malaysia.
The one particular kind of mosquito they’re after is called “aedes aegypti”. It only makes up roughly 4% of the mosquito population, but is responsible for most of the problems with disease. We wish them luck with this project. National Public Radio reports on a giant, 53-squaremile organic farm in South Dakota run by General Mills for a number of years. They decided to spend big bucks on big acres and show the world how organic farming should be done. Locals were skeptical about the endeavour. It looks like they were right. Back in the days when tillage was the only option for controlling weeds, South Dakota used to be particularly prone to erosion and drifting soil. Old-timers remember dust storms so bad that blinded drivers would crash cars, and soil would form into drifts like snow banks around houses and
buildings. They weren’t keen on seeing a sequel. Things were fine while the farm was transitioning to organic and all the acres were permanently covered with alfalfa for a few years. But it started to go sideways when they tried to grow conventional crops again. Drought and high winds quickly took their toll on the fields, and before they knew it they were back in the dirty 30’s. Gary Zimmer, an organic expert consulting on the problems, admits that, “It’s a deep hole. I don’t know how you get it back out organically. It’s hard to farm organically if you do it really well, and have your intensive management. But 30,000 acres, poorly managed, is a really good sign for failure.” Then there’s the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA, for short, thank heavens).
They’ve taken a By Rolf shot at Penner jumping on the pandemic bandwagon with some scary sounding pieces around “the next plant pandemic”. They do have a point, but only to a degree. We’re quite familiar with plant diseases and now spend as much time, effort and money dealing with them as we do on fertility, weeds and bugs. And over the last century, serious plant pandemics with key crops have caused some big problems. But every problem in the world is not apocalyptic. If you think about it long enough, you can imagine a scenario in which every single problem can become an end-of-the-world scenario. A YouTube video called “2Blades-The Work of Our
Lives” gives just such an over-the-top treatment to the topic of plant diseases, to the point that it’s hard to take any of it seriously. That’s probably not what they were shooting for. One nice thing to notice with all three stories is that they’re taking an idea, starting small and then trying to scale them up over time. Far too often we see crazy ideas implemented on a national or even a multi-national level with disastrous results years or sometimes even decades down the road. Working from small to big, testing all the time is the prudent way to go, for mosquitoes, organic farming and plant disease.
CGC Reduces Fees But It’s Not Enough The Canadian Grain Commission proposes reducing service fees collected for four official grain inspections and official grain weighing services on August 1. This proposal responds to the sustained growth in grain export volumes and aligns fee revenues with fixed service delivery costs. These changes would result in a combined reduction for official inspection and weighing services fees from $1.48 to $1.05 per tonne for ships, and a cost decrease of $37.88 per official inspection and weighing services for a railway car, truck, or container. The proposed reduction comes two years before the end of the current fee review cycle. “We are lowering service fees early in response to the growth in grain export vol-
umes. Reducing these fees will ensure that millions of dollars remain in the grain sector to the benefit of the entire value chain over the next three years,” said Doug Chorney chief commissioner, Canadian Grain Commission. The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions applauded the CGC news of fee reductions effectiveness. It concerns them the CGC is still overcharging Canadian farmers. That news underscores that the current funding system, based on mandatory inspection services by the CGC, is fundamentally flawed and should be a priority to change as part of the Canada Grain Act review. Like rapid seeding progress or even small amounts of rain, more money in farmer pockets is always good news. A specific saying emerges when someone receives a supposed gift that isn’t such a great one, as in, “Thanks, but no thanks,” or maybe, “Thanks for noth-
ing”. That might sum up, at least in part, the response from Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission’s (AWB) two, ahem, concessions from the Canadian Grain Commission. The grain commission, CGC, said it would reduce some of its fees as of the new crop year on August 1. The AWB team said it is still too much, thanks but no thanks. The current funding system runs on mandatory inspections, and its quote, “fundamentally flawed”. It surprised some farmers recently to learn that most of the CGC’s operating costs come from the revenues from those inspection fees tied to export vessels. The costs become part of what’s known as the basis, sort of the cost of doing business; even a seller’s fee. In other words, CGC’s passes the operational expenses on to farmers. Result: net lower farm gate prices. Alberta Barley said mandatory outward weighing and inspection is a redundant
CGC service. That’s because 70 to 80 per cent of grain contracts require a second inspection by a private or third-party company, so said Alberta Barley chair, Sarah Sawyer. Then there’s the $148 million CGC surplus. That will keep growing, triggered as it is by the large volume of grain that’s moving these days. Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) reacted positively to the changes in this province, calculating that farmers collectively could save nearly $14 million this fiscal year and over $20 million the next. “As part of the Canada Grain Act review, we identified that the landscape of international grain trade has changed and Canadian farmers need the CGC to adapt as well,” said Todd Hames, AWC chair. “It’s time for the CGC to transition away from being a service provider as their high cost of inspections
is affecting our competitiveness.” In their submission to the Canada Grain Act review, the commissions recommended the CGC shift away from being a service provider to a regulator to serve farmers better. Recommendations included eliminating mandatory outward weighing and inspection services by the CGC, increased transparency in the cost of the CGC’s regulatory services, grading reform, enhanced grading dispute resolution, amongst others. Inspection and quality control is vital in this everincreasing transparent world shrinking via telecommunications and transworld information pipelines. And yet, governments must look at agency costs to determine how vital that service is. The farmer may get the last word, but they always pick up the tab too. A public comment period on the changes will be open until June 7.
May 28, 2021
We Are Losing the Sandbox
The extra unscheduled time provided by the current pandemic has provide an opportunity to get to some tasks that I had been putting off for a while. One of those was an intense review of the items that have taken up residence in our garage. It was there that I came across a pedal tractor from my childhood. The item had survived through the years, had been stored on the family farm, and had made it to our garage. At the time I put it safely in the rafters we were already contemplating the idea that at one time
some grandchildren may grace the driveway. This is a quality toy, metal in its entirety and with a two speed transmission; at the time of hoisting it to the rafters these items were bringing about $1,500 on the internet and being restored to the original paint. I thought it would be a great item to save for a future generation. That generation has arrived and grown through the size applicable for the tractor. He did at about the time that tractor had an electric gator for patrolling the yard and ditches. The gator was a gift from a neighbour and has since been passed on to another deserving youngster. I looked around the garage and saw a few more toys that I had saved from my son’s time. He
grew up in the height of ERTL Farm Toys. The inside toys are safely stored in plastic cases but a sandbox toy, at 1/16 scale stood by itself on the shelf. Never being reached for. Toys reflect the items of the day and the most popular ones are the ones that looked like Dad’s or at least they were. I thought of the times we spent at recess in the sandbox at the Rosenfeld School, I thought of the times my son and his friend spent playing in sandboxes, and then I thought of my grandson. He does not have a sandbox. Schools no longer have sandboxes. The toys of today are at least self-driving and at best remote controlled. That means that they do reflect the things that Dad is using. Think GPS and Auto steer. That is
great, toy manufactures have done a great job of making the toys of today much more exciting and like the things that the big boys use but what about the other skills from the sandbox. I am sure that part of the reason the teacher sent us to the sandbox was to get rid of us for 15 minutes but there was a lot of interaction in that confined space. There were lessons like sharing, and respecting someone else’s space, or the structures they had build. I wonder who is teaching that now or even better where are kids learning those lessons, because sometimes the teacher wasn’t there and we had to figure it out ourselves. Oh, well it is time to get back to sorting the items that live in my garage. That is the baseball glove I got in grade 6…
Let’s Use Common Sense and Beat the Pandemic! By Joan Airey COVID-19 isn’t the first epidemic that has kept people at home. Being a senior, I remember when we were lined up at school and given a drink of a pink substance to protect us against polio. When I was researching the subject, I phoned a friend who lived-in Manitoba as a child too. I asked her if she remembered when a large mobile medical crew came in a bus to the school and we went in one door were given a pink drink to combat polio. She said yes and that one time it was a sugar cube with vaccine. After discussing the matter, memories of the event came back to me. We received the vaccine via injection. I thought it was later when we received it orally but research that I’ve done tells me we received it via injection first. In those days you traveled maybe three miles to school not the distance children travel now via bus. Schools were small maybe ten to twenty students in grades one to eight. “I don’t remember getting anything, but my brother said he remembers getting a liquid in a paper cup and he’s nineteen months younger
than me. My husband remembers a sugar cube with some pink drizzled on the top of it. I remember everyone being concerned about it, and my parents took us to my grandparents at Biggar, SK. for the summer. They lived a long way from town and any neighbours and we never went anywhere or saw anyone,” recalled Joyce Stewart. “When I look back on it, I realize my grandparents were totally self-sufficient raising their own beef, pork, poultry, milked cows and made their own butter along a huge garden. Grandma even ground her own flour. One of my uncle’s friends contracted polio and he was in a wheel chair the rest of his life. There wasn’t the human contact sixty to seventy years ago there is now.” Last week when I had my yearly check-up, in conversation with my doctor, she mentioned people have to remove their mask properly or they could get COVID virus on their hands. Another thing is more than likely to happen. To travel we will have to be vaccinated. My doctor said that she grew up in South Africa
and there to cross borders you have to be vaccinated for Yellow Fever. When I was eight my parents took us to England to visit family for three months and to get our passports, we had to have our vaccination for smallpox. A friend a few years older than me tells me everyone going to school had to have the smallpox vaccine. Remember vaccines have controlled polio, measles, hepatitis B and A, mumps, etc. for numerous years. I know I’m lucky; I live on a farm over six miles from town so I can go for a walk or work in my yard and not worry about being in contact with others. I realize many are out of work because of the pandemic and I sympathize with them and try to help people in need as much as possible. But if we all obeyed the rules for a few weeks maybe we could beat the pandemic. I’m not sure why being considerate of others for the common good is now being mocked by some who are calling it ‘living in fear’ but it needs to stop. When I wear a mask over my nose and mouth in public, when going for groceries or other necessities of
life I’m educated enough to know it is helping not the spread of COVID-19. I don’t live in fear of the virus; I just want to be part of the solution not part of the problem. If we all lived with the consideration of others in mind, the whole world would be a much better place. Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, scared, stupid or even controlled it makes me caring and responsible. When you think about your appearance, discomfort, or other people’s opinion of you do you think of a loved one having to be placed on a ventilator, alone without you or any family member allowed at their bedside because you didn’t wear a mask? What about the young nurse who can’t return to work because of suffering memory loss after surviving COVID-19? Let’s use common sense and beat the pandemic! Like everyone else I’d like to watch my grandchildren play sports which now have been cancelled because the rules were broken too many times by adults. I’d love to enjoy supper out or have friends over but in order to get this pandemic over I respect the rules.
Agriculture Minister Must Take Action on Processing Capacity Dear Editor: The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food heard 57 witnesses from Canada’s agricultural and processing value supply chain. They told us that the government must do a better job of supporting them, and in many cases, by simply getting out of the way. With regard to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) and Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW), we were told firsthand of the need for
increasing the threshold on TFW without limiting access to SAW for processors as well as producers. We heard that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is inconsistent in its application of regulations and that over-regulation impedes growth. We also heard that the government should direct the CFIA to encourage processing capacity growth by certifying local, smaller-scale abat-
toirs and processors by accepting provincial certification. Witnesses explained how the CFIA is failing Canadian producers by permitting the sale of cheaper, improperly imported products, and Canadian products blended with cheaper foreign, lower-quality products, as well as adulterated products. Canada’s Conservatives are disappointed that the Liberal government has failed to act on behalf
of beef producers to remove the BSE impediment, costing producers and limiting export market access. When will the Liberal government finally listen to these concerns raised by the agricultural sector? Lianne Rood Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Richard Lehoux Associate Shadow Minister for Rural Economic Development
Conservatives Call on Liberals to Support Farm Carbon Tax Exemption bill Dear Editor: Canada’s Conservatives are incredibly disappointed that Liberal members of the Agriculture Committee voted against a much-needed Carbon Tax exemption on propane and natural gas for farms. For many Canadian farmers, the use of propane and natural gas is more than a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s essential. On May 11, after hearing from witnesses across Canada who expressed the need for a carbon tax exemption for farmers that includes propane and natural gas, the majority of members on of Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food voted in favour of sending Bill C-206 to the House of Commons for passage. Not only have Liberal members refused to support this exemption, an amendment to include propane and natural gas for heating barns was deemed out of order, and an amendment to include aviation fuel, predominately used for aerial spraying of crops and shading greenhouses, was opposed and withdrawn. Conservatives are calling on the Liberal Agriculture Minister to finally stand up for Canadian farmers by supporting the passage of Bill C-206, a Carbon Tax exemption on propane and natural gas for farming use. Canadian farmers deserve support and certainty, and Canada’s Conservatives are committed to taking concrete action to secure the future of agriculture jobs across Canada. Lianne Rood Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food
May 28, 2021
Research Shows Benefit of Wheat in Corn-Soybean Crop Rotations
A new study shows that including wheat once every 4 years in rotations with corn and soybean can have many benefits. “Corn and soybean yields were higher when crop rotations included wheat,” said Ken Janovicek, a researcher at the University of Guelph. For the study, researchers grew winter wheat once every three or four years with corn and soybean. They found that longer-term corn-soybean rotations that contain winter wheat can be more profitable. “The greatest yield increases occurred in rotations that included winter wheat once in four years,” said Janovicek. Farmers tend to focus on corn and soybean because these crops typically have higher financial returns than wheat he said. But the study made a key financial discovery. “The increase in corn and soybean yields when these crops are grown in rotation with wheat more than offset the lower sale returns associated with
winter wheat,” said Janovicek. “Farmers would need to continue to grow wheat every 4-5 years,” continued Janovicek. “The increased corn and soybean yields associated with including wheat in rotations disappear over time if wheat is dropped from rotations.” Rotating wheat with corn and soybean crops also has other benefits. For example, soils tend to be healthier and have better structure when crop rotations include small grains or forages in addition to corn and soybean. Good soil health and structure can have far-reaching consequences. “Inferior soil structure increases soil erosion and runoff risk,” he said. “In turn, that increases the risk of surface water pollution.” “On the other hand, good soil structure and health may increase water availability for crops,” concluded Janovicek. He explained that as global climate changes, water availability may become unreli-
able. Limited water could even limit crop yields. Improving soil structure by including winter wheat in crop rotations could help address both these issues. “We will probably see even greater benefits of more complex crop rotations in the future,” said Janovicek. In fact, the researchers observed the highest increases in corn and soybean yields in the later years of the study. The crop rotation studies were carried out in two study sites in Ontario. At one of the sites near Elora, Ontario, the trial has been ongoing for more than 36 years. The researchers observed continued increase in soybean yields over time when winter wheat was included in rotations throughout the trial. However, the largest yield increase was recorded in the past 2 years. Janovicek and colleagues are exploring more ways farmers can benefit economically from wheat crops. For example, “When markets exist, straw sales can increase revenue associated
When added to a corn and soybean crop rotation, wheat can increase economic return, improve the soil, Photo by David Hooker and help prevent runoff.
with wheat,” said Janovicek. Wheat straw was baled at the Elora trial. Removing the wheat straw did not reduce subsequent corn or soybean yields. “That demonstrates that retention of straw is not
needed to obtain greater corn and soybean yields when in rotation with wheat,” said Janovicek. Ken Janovicek is a researcher at the University of Guelph. The research was
supported by Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.
Amputee’s Story Highlights Importance of Farm Safety With farming season underway, Merrill Loeppky, a War Amps Regional Representative, is reminding parents to pass on an essential and possibly life-saving lesson to their children; “to play safe”. Merrill grew up on a farm in Manitoba, and at 3 years-old, his curiosity led him to get too close to a grain auger, resulting in the loss of his right arm. “Accidents can happen in a split second,” said Merrill. “I hope my story will prevent even just one child from being injured.” The War Amps PLAYSAFE Program aims to make children more aware of the dangers in their play environment and believes that no one is better qualified to deliver the message than amputees, many of whom have lost limbs in accidents while at play, like Merrill. “It’s important that families and educators help make kids aware of the dangers on the farm,” said Merrill. “Kids should never be near grain augers, tractors, lawn mowers or other ‘mean machines.’” The public can access valuable safety resources, including PLAYSAFE: Don’t Let It Happen to You, a video featuring young amputees who share their stories about how they lost their limbs in accidents at waramps.ca/playsafe.
Merrill Loeppky lost his right arm in a grain auger accident as a child and today warns of the dangers on the farm. Submitted photo
May 28, 2021
Keep it Clean Updates Chlormequat Advisory Keep it Clean has updated its 2021 Product Advisory to inform Canadian growers of market risks associated with using chlormequat (e.g. Manipulator) on barley for malt, food and feed, moving it from Green/Acceptable to Yellow/Be Informed. Growers are encouraged to confirm contract obligations and acceptance with their grain buyer before using chlormequat on all barley. There are no market restrictions for using chlormequat (Manipulator) on oats or wheat. The 2021 Product Advisory, which is updated both annually and throughout the growing season, can be found at keepitclean.ca/product-advisory. Industry groups throughout the value chain work together on a robust analysis and review process assessing market access concerns related to maximum residue limits (MRL) and other potential market risks. Keep it Clean uses this collective process as the basis for our campaign, and we have been able to anticipate when we can provide growers with the information they need, when they need it. Keep it Clean communicates in-season updates through its website, Twitter, provincial grower group channels and media releases when changes to market access risks occur, providing growers with information in real time so they can respond as needed. Growers should talk to their grain buyer before using chlormequat (Manipulator) on barley for malt, food and feed as treated crop may not be accepted. Keep it Clean encourages growers to review the 2021 Product Advisory, and to consult with their grain buyer before making product applications for the 2021 growing season to ensure the products they plan to apply are acceptable to the customers of Canadian agriculture commodities. Keep it Clean is a joint initiative of the Canola Council of Canada, Pulse Canada, Cereals Canada, Barley Council of Canada and Prairie Oat Growers Association, providing growers and advisors with resources for growing crops that meet the requirements of our domestic and export customers.
May 28, 2021
Seeding Wraps Up, Rains Spur Growth By Elmer Heinrichs Warmer conditions toward the end of the second week of May spurred seeding of more frost-sensitive crops with large numbers of canola and soybean crops planted. Lack of rainfall had many farmers concerned for germination and timely emergence, since seedbed conditions dry quickly. Dry topsoil had drifted in some locales, filling in seed row furrows or moving off edges of fields. Field access is good and field operations continued with soils warming, stimulating emergence of earlyplanted crops that went into favourable moisture conditions. Winter wheat, fall rye and perennial rye grass fields are growing as temperatures have warmed. Rain is needed to support growth. Winter survival of these is good to fair. Field preparation ahead of seeding has been limited in an attempt to preserve topsoil moisture. Wheat, oats and
barley seeding is considered done. Earliest seeded cereals have emerged as moisture was favourable when these crops went into the ground. Early pea fields have emerged, as are some early canola fields, with some left to go in. Flax seeding is mostly done in the region, as are sunflowers. Corn planting is estimated at 95 per cent complete. Some of the later crops went into dry ground and remained dormant until rain came. Pulse specialist Dennis Lange said dry beans are going in now with seeding of soybeans wrapping up soon. Cereals have emerged and crops are growing quite well aided by showers. Seeding progress across Central region varied from about 65 per cent complete west of the escarpment to finished in the Red River Valley. Potato planting is about 95 per cent done with some early fields now emerging, irrigation was applied, and warm temperatures are stim-
ulating growth. Over in Eastern region, seeding progressed rapidly focusing on canola and soybeans. Producers are still being careful about drying out the seedbed and especially where shallow-seeded crops are going into lighter soil. Since it is still early a few are delaying putting in some crops. Excellent seeding progress is reported across the region with spring wheat seeding complete and emerging. Oats are emerging as well, and corn planting is estimated at 95 per cent complete. Canola and soybean planting was expected to wrap up in the week. Herbicide applications on winter cereals have been completed. Pre-emergent spraying is in full swing, and emerging cereals are driving the need for weed control. A significant rain in May is critical to crop success. Pastures in Manitoba are starting to see a bit of growth, although it has been slow due
to the cool temperatures and lack of moisture earlier this spring, says MAFRD’s. John McGregor. Hay and pasture soil moisture conditions in southern parts of eastern areas are rated at 50 per cent adequate. Very dry conditions continued, with only scattered thunderstorms. Cattle producers are holding back hay for anticipated feeding on pasture as they are concerned about further pasture deterioration due to inevitable over-grazing. Alfalfa seems to have overwintered well. Available water supplies are rated as adequate. Crops planted the third week of May can still achieve close to their full yield potential, although that potential will begin to decline, say crop experts with Manitoba Agriculture (MAFRD). Across the Prairies, unusually dry conditions still jeopardize crops, threaten the water supply and increase the risk of fires.
May 28, 2021
MFGA Updates Official Position on Carbon The 2021-22 MFGA Board recently updated the organization’s official position on carbon, landing on seven key MFGA areas as primary recommendations for all government and industry leadership on future carbon offset systems, projects and producer engagement. Larry Wegner, MFGA Chair, said the organization took the update to heart, engaging in several discussions and email threads to compile the updated carbon position. MFGA was one of the first agriculture groups out of the gate when they identified grasslands and healthy soil as vital components of any then-to-be-established carbon offset systems in their first Carbon Position released in 2017. “We all hear about carbon, plans for carbon systems or how to build carbon on a daily basis on our lands,” said Wegner. “It is a fast-moving multi-level discussion that seems to make the news in some way or form daily. However, it is important to also realize that forage producers and livestock and grassland managers have the greatest ability to sequester
the most amounts of carbon via the large amount of land we work on our farms.” According to Wegner, it is also important to fully understand and prioritize the fact that storing carbon in our soils is not the only valued ecological goods and services delivered from our lands that help society on many levels. He feels the effort and diligence the MFGA Board and staff put into the update serves the organization and the MFGA network well, including the positive contributions of regenerative agriculture, on-farm research, rotational grazing, cover crops and integrating livestock into farming systems. “MFGA was quick out of the gate to be carbon leaders for our producer and industry network in 2017,” said Wegner. “We have once again upped our game here with this update that ties into seven key areas that MFGA recommends as vital components and part of every carbon system and discussion going forward from a forage, livestock and grassland management perspective.”
May 28, 2021
May 28, 2021
It’s That Dry
Conditions are dry across the province but particularly on sandy soils.
By Les Kletke One does not think of horse drawn implements traveling at speeds that will cause a cloud of dust, even a small one, but that is the case this year. Even a set of horse drawn harrows were stirring up dust. “It is dry, that dry,” said Aaron who is part of the Amish community at Vita. The group of farmers moved to the area several years ago and has been adjusting to the area and working at getting their land to tillable condition. Some of the land they purchased needed to be broke and most of it comes with a more than adequate supply of stones.
He said that when conditions are this dry it does not matter what matter of propulsion is used on the implement. “It is so dry this spring that it does not matter whether you are using horses or tractors the conditions are to dry and farmers are concerned about putting seed in the ground.” It was mid May when he was working a field in preparation for seeding and concerned about the moisture of the soil. The area did receive a half inch of rain May 21 which did help somewhat but the sandy soil of the area requires a great deal more moisture to grow a crop.
Program Funds Youth Jobs in the Agriculture Sector
Photo by Les Kletke
The community has had several years of difficult conditions that have meant meager to no crops at all. “The first year we came, we were busy breaking the land and preparing it for seeding,” he said. “We have had some difficult years and it was dry last fall and we have not had much moisture this spring.” Working with horse power also has some additional challenges that the ground is worked first then seed is drilled in and another operation of harrowing to seal the seed bed. Modern seeding equipment minimizes soil disruption and seals the soil to conserve moisture a luxury he does not have.
“We have been successful with these tools in the past and we continue to use them,” said Aaron philosophically as he prepared to make another round with his harrow and preparing the seed bed. Much of the community’s efforts have gone into establishing pastures to feed their livestock and perhaps put up some hay. He is confident they will turn their efforts to more crop production once the pasture becomes established and they have a good feed base for their livestock. For now he works in the dust stirred up by his harrows.
The federal government has announced an investment of up to $21.4 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund about 2,000 jobs for youth in the agriculture sector. The YESP aims to support agri-food employers and provide young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 with job experience in agriculture that could lead to a career working in the sector. In 2020, the Government of Canada invested $9.2 million for the YESP, to fund nearly 1,000 jobs. This investment more than doubles last year’s allocation. Young people were among the hardest and fastest hit when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, experiencing more job losses than any other age demographic. Meanwhile, the agriculture sector has been facing increased difficulty accessing labour since the beginning of the pandemic. By promoting youth employment in the agriculture sector, the Government of Canada is ensuring a resilient food supply chain and keeping the sector strong. Eligible applicants include producers, agribusinesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and research facilities. Support can cover the period from April 15, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Applications for the YESP are now being accepted and forms are available at www.agr. gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/ youth-employment-and-skills-program. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-866-452-5558.
May 28, 2021
May 28, 2021
Cattleman Happy with Walmart Canada Buying Certified Beef
By Harry Siemens
Walmart Canada now sources beef from certified sustainable farms and ranches according to standards set by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), the first grocery retailer in Canada to achieve this milestone. In addition the company is sourcing 100 per cent of its beef in Canada. Established in 2014, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is a collaborative, multi-stakeholder organization focused on advancing environmental, social and economic sustainability in the Canadian beef industry. The CRSB’s Certified Sustainable Beef Framework, known as CRSB Certified, was developed to recognize sustainable practices through 3rd party certification, support sustainable commitments for retail and foodservice companies, and build consumer trust through credible, science-based claims about sustainable beef production in Canada. Tom Teichroeb a cow-calf
cattle rancher near Langruth, MB said the announcement by Walmart Canada certainly plays right into his ranch. “We are considered a certified sustainable producer because of our certification in the Verified Beef Plus Program.” The Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) is a voluntary, market-oriented, producer-managed program enabling Canada’s beef industry to anticipate and meet emerging and growing demands for beef production systems throughout the Canadian beef value chain. Teichroeb said the VBP+ program looks at the producer’s operation as to whether the farm practices are sustainable. These practices include whether there is a managed pasture grazing system, recording of cattle vaccinations and what kinds of vaccines. “Making sure that you have all your expiry dates recorded? Are you making sure that you ship animals when it’s right to do so after you’ve
vaccinated them and safe to do so, and on and on?” said Teichroeb on vaccinations and records. He said it also includes the farm practices, protecting the water’s edge, and other sustainable practices that will advance the health of the land and the animals, in his case beef. He thinks it is a fantastic choice that Walmart made. “I’m glad that they did and it just really shines a bright light on the producers who took the step to do those things that will guarantee them a good market like Walmart but also making sure that they do a sound job on their farm to make sure that they’re a sustainable operation,” said Teichroeb. When it comes to cattle prices and cattle markets, he said the marketplace is in a reasonable spot at the moment. “Last year, COVID shut down our plants for a while, creating a backlog that put pressure on the calves coming right behind them causing market volatil-
ity last year, around March, April,” he said. Through the summer as the plants gained momentum back into regular hours of operation markets improved. It will also depend on where feed prices settle and getting adequate rain to produce a decent crop said Teichroeb. If the feed grain prices stay as high as they are now it’s one thing, but if those prices return to reasonable levels, he believes that ranchers will
be better off than last year and in a reasonably good place. Teichroeb said before some of the rains came it was unbelievably dry noting that it has never been as dry since he moved to Manitoba twenty years ago. “I can’t remember driving through and cover my area with about anything that I want to travel in, whether it’s a pickup truck or a tractor and drive through just about any slew that normally you
wouldn’t even dream of driving in with a quad, an ATV.” The area where he usually does his summer calving they could not use because he depends on surface and dug out water. There was no water or very little he said. He repositioned and got right next to a well to help out. “We are not strapped for water as we go forward here, but we’re certainly hoping that we will see a good rain here to correct itself.”
Tom Teichroeb, a cow-calf cattle rancher near Langruth, MB, said the announcement by Walmart Canada to source beef from certified sustainable farms and ranches certainly plays right into his ranch since the Photo by Harry Siemens operations is a certified under the Verified Beef Plus Program.
May 28, 2021
May 28, 2021
May 28, 2021
May 28, 2021
The Manure is Important, Not How it Gets There
It does not matter how you deliver the nutrients, it is about getting them on the field.
By Les Kletke It doesn’t really matter whether it is Canada Post or UPS that makes the delivery, what matters is that the package gets there and more importantly that the contents are in good condition. That is the way that Jon feels about the nutrients he is putting on the field near his yard. Jon is part of the Amish community southwest of Vita and was spreading fertilizer on a tilled field in early May before seeding the area that he plans on developing into pasture. He does not rely on soil testing or nutrient analysis of the manure, he knows it will
be good for the soil because of generations of farming using the holistic approach. He relies on turning the manure from his animals back on to the soil. The straw that was used for bedding provides some welcome organic matter in the sandy soil near Vita. His operation is the opposite end of the spectrum from the large hog or dairy barns that store manure in a slurry and pump it to the fields. His operation is smaller but he also handles the waste in solid form and moves it from the manure pile to the horse drawn spreader with a fork. He offered me a fork to get
involved in the process of loading the spreader. While he did not, some would have made the comparison that my lifelong vocation has a similar outcome; he did not tread that route. The land the Amish community has purchased is sandy and has more than a few stones, some of the larger ones have already been put in piles. “The manure is a good way to get some nutrients into the soil and the straw is good for the texture,” he said not getting too technical with his evaluation but using the same approach as many farmers
Photo by Les Kletke
who advocate regenerative agriculture. He knows that his soil could use much more of the natural fertilizer that he was applying but stops short of wishing for more work in the form of a bigger manure pile. He has been storing the waste from his cows and horses for most of the winter. While some larger farm units with a holistic approach compost the manure, he does not have time. “I am getting this back on the field and nature will take care of it,” he said. “I do not have mountains of it to deal with so I spread it on the field and let nature take its course.”
Grain Commission Proposes Fee Reductions The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is proposing to reduce service fees collected for 4 official grain inspection and official grain weighing services on August 1, 2021. This proposal is in response to the sustained growth in grain export volumes in recent years and aims to better align fee revenues with fixed service delivery costs. “We are lowering service fees early in response to the growth in grain export volumes. Reducing these fees will ensure that millions of dollars remain in the grain sector to the benefit of the entire value chain over the next three years,” explained Doug Chorney, Chief Commissioner, CGC. These changes would result in a combined reduction for official inspection and weighing services fees from $1.48 to $1.05 per tonne for ships, and a cost decrease of $37.88 per official inspection and weighing services for a railway car, truck, or container. The proposed reduction comes two years before the end of the current fee review cycle. For fiscal year 2021-22, fees paid by grain sector stakeholders would be reduced by approximately $13.79 million, a cost decrease of 19%. Savings for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 fiscal years are expected to be approximately $20.68 million each year, a cost decrease of 29%. The proposed changes require amendment to the Canada Grain Regulations. They will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for public comment on May 22, 2021 and stakeholders have until June 7, 2021, to provide feedback.
May 28, 2021
“Twitter World” Farmers Comment on Manitoba Tax Rebates By Harry Siemens Recently the Manitoba government announced the mailing of education property tax rebate cheques to residential, farm, and commercial property owners in Manitoba. The government promised to start phasing out the education property tax in 2021, which will return nearly $250 million this year to Manitobans who own homes, farms and businesses,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding. “The education property tax phase-out represents the largest tax savings in Manitoba history and protects Manitobans’ hard-earned incomes by offering much-needed tax relief.” When asked for the reaction from the AG world on Twitter, more specifically Manitoba farmers, the responses were quite skeptical. Ron Krahn, @RonKrahn of Rivers, MB said “The devil would be in the details. Not enough information to comment other than to say we are moving in the right direction by removing education tax from the property.” Eldon Klippenstein, @ bsfarmzeldon of Altona was
not sure. “Will likely help to offset a small percentage of inflation/carbon tax costs that we’ll incur at the farm!” Korey Peters, @KoreyPeters, “I agree with what Ron said... wait and see how it plays out.” Linda Little of Hamiota, @llittle33 said the Farmland School Tax rebate would change with this education property tax rebate. “For our farm, we used to max out the Farmland School Tax Rebate (FSTR). Now we will not quite max it out. The real difference would be about $40 if all stayed the same so no impact.” Jim Green Hail Insurance, @JimGreenHail, “So this means 25 per cent rebate on all land and buildings? Then we still apply for 60 per cent on farmland through the FSTR? I like this, as now production barns will receive a rebate. Before it was just the land that it sat on that received the rebate.” Ryan Hofford, @rhofford west of Bowsman, MB wasn’t impressed. “It’s ridiculous, in my opinion. Why send out 600,000 plus envelopes with cheques in them when they could’ve just
decreased the tax bill itself? And now rebate will drop by 60 per cent and a maximum of $3,750, to compensate for the additional savings.” Robert Brunel, @rpbrunel said people think of how nice the government is returning some of the money they gave them. “You have to pay before your receive the rebate.” Hofford responded to Brunel, “I think you nailed it with the first point. Yes for the FSTR, you have to pay, but not for this. It’s supposed to show up about 30 days before your municipality taxes are due. I called the tax assistance office, and that’s what they told me.” Jim Green Hail Insurance said, the province can’t reduce the property tax set by municipalities and school divisions. But the province can rebate. “I still don’t think the $5,000 or now $3,000 cap is fair or makes any sense.” Gilbert Sabourin, @gilsab67 said, “I’ll for sure take my rebate, but I want it eliminated from property taxes, not pay it and hope to get it back scheme….” William Pallister of Portage la Prairie said, “Its great news. However, I worry that
with a rebate format, it will be easy for another government to take away, or cap at some arbitrary amount.” To provide property owners with their rebates as soon as possible, the government passed new legislation and will soon begin printing and mailing. Manitobans do not need to apply for the rebate, as the province will calculate the amount and automatically mail cheques before the municipal property tax due date. In 2021, home and farm owners will receive a 25 per cent rebate, which will increase to 50 per cent in 2022. Other property owners will see a 10 per cent rebate this year. The average rebate will be an estimated $1,140 per property over the next two years. The province will also reduce various related credits and rebates to ensure all property owners are paying 25 per cent less on residential and farm properties, regardless of whether they qualify for existing credits and rebates. The legislation also changes the Residential Tenancies Act to freeze the rent increase guideline at zero per cent in 2022 and 2023.
Canadian Farmers to Cut Back on Wheat and Oats By Elmer Heinrichs Canadian farmers plan to plant more canola but less wheat and oats for the 2021 harvest than what was expected, according to data released by Statistics Canada in its principal field crop areas report. The survey of producers conducted during March, indicated Canadian farmers intend to plant 23.26 million acres to wheat for harvest this year, an area that would be 7 per cent smaller than the 24.98 million acres seeded in 2020. The recent five-year average all-wheat planted area was 24.3 million acres. Canadian farmers planned to seed 21.53 million acres to canola this spring, up 3.6 per cent from 20.783 million acres in 2020, according to Statistics Canada. The average of pre-report trade projections was 22.6 million acres. It would be the first yearover-year increase in canola planted area since 2017 and would be the largest planted
Steve Siemens seeding a 50-acre field to soybeans west of Altona recently.
area since 22.8 million acres in 2018. The recent five-year average canola planted area was 21.7 million acres. “High global demand for oilseeds has led to an increase in canola prices, which may influence farmers’ decision to increase seeded area,” said Statistics Canada in comments accompanying the data. “Farmers in Saskatchewan, the largest canola-producing province, anticipate seeding 11.8 million acres of canola, up 4.4 per cent from the same period one year earlier.” “In Alberta, farmers expect seeded area of canola to increase 7.8 per cent to 6.3
million acres. In Manitoba, producers anticipate seeding fewer acres of canola, with expected seeded area falling 5.9 per cent to 3.2 million acres in 2021.” Area seeded to oats this year was forecast at 3.608 million acres, down 6 per cent from 3.84 million acres in 2020. The decline is forecast as global oat supplies are anticipated to increase, possibly affecting prices in Canada, Statistics Canada said The recent five-year average Canadian oat planted area was 3.3 million acres. Statistics Canada said the ongoing impacts of COVID19 on Canadian and world
Photo by Elmer Heinrichs
grain markets, among other reasons, may cause anticipated seeded areas to differ from data on actual seeded areas to be released in June. As always, weather may also contribute to changes in seeding decisions, Statistics Canada said. “During collection of the March crop survey, parts of western Canada were experiencing particularly dry conditions, with soil moisture estimated well below average levels across much of the Prairies. By comparison, soil moisture conditions in eastern Canada were considered normal because of average precipitation over the winter.
May 28, 2021
Farm Financial Fluency Training Program Financial literacy is a fundamental starting point for effective farm business management, helping producers understand the direct impact of their business decisions and the options and opportunities available going forward. Yet, research shows that basic financial literacy is a significant sore spot for the vast majority of Canada’s producers. A recent study by Farm Management Canada found that 63% of Canada’s producers report they understand and can use financial information for decision-making, while producers who have a financial plan and use their financial information to inform decision-making were found to increase their profitability by up to 525%. While lenders, accountants and financial advisors seek to work hand-in-hand with producers to manage financial risk while positioning farms for prosperity and to seize opportunity, the lack of financial literacy amongst producers is hampering these opportunities. While we know the majority of producers did not get into farming to be business managers, producers who follow beneficial business practices like financial analysis and planning are not only rewarded with increased profitability, but also family and farm team harmony, confidence in decision-making and peace of mind. “Increasing farm financial literacy is the key to unlocking important information about the farm’s risk and potential,” said Heather Watson, Executive Director of Farm Management Canada. “And we are excited to find a partner who is just as devoted to supporting farm financial literacy as we are.” In recognition of the need for greater financial literacy amongst Canada’s producers, Farm Management Canada and MNP have joined forces to offer a new Farm Financial Fluency training program for producers. Producers of all types and across all commodities will benefit from a deeper understanding of their financial situation and the different options available to remain competitive and take calculated risks for continued success. “Agriculture producers are and always have been business owners. Over time, the dollars at stake have steadily increased, raising the potential reward, but also enhancing the risk of failure. This has made the financial management side of the business become increasingly important. In order to be actively involved in the financial management of the farm, producers need a proper level of training in financial fluency,” said Stuart Person, Senior Vice President, Agriculture at MNP. Together, Farm Management Canada and MNP will host and deliver six Farm Financial Fluency training programs from October 2021 to March 2022, specifically designed to help producers understand, interpret, and use financial tools including balance sheets, financial statements, cash flow, budgets, and financial plans. Producers will learn how their financial information can be organized for quick and easy analysis and interpretation and how to use basic financial tools to calculate their financial position, options and explore what-if scenarios. Participants will be better equipped to have progressive discussions and planning sessions when working with their lenders, accountants and financial advisors. The program will be delivered virtually over the course of three 2-hour sessions coupled with an optional follow-up session with an MNP advisor for those seeking additional support. Virtual sessions will also help accommodate producers who may be sensitive signing up for financial literacy training, as participants can remain anonymous. Feel free to get in touch with the Farm Management Canada team at fmc-gac.com for more information.
May 28, 2021
Plan a Drought-Feeding Food Chain Passes Pandemic Test Strategy for Your Beef Cows By Peter Vitti
Dr. Al Mussell says the Canadian Food Chain proved it self during the Covid-19 crisis. Submitted photo
By Les Kletke Dr. Al Mussell said the current pandemic in Canada has proven that our food chain is functional and does not have a lot of fat to trim. Mussell was making his comments on a panel offered by the Canadian Agri Food Policy Institute. He is the Research Lead of Agri Food Economic System Inc. He said that the Canadian food supply chain stood the test of the outbreak of the pandemic and generally retained integrity though the early days of the pandemic when there was a great concern about food shortages and adequate delivery mechanisms. “The system remained operational but it did show that there are few redundancies,” said Mussell. He suggested some consideration should be given to strengthening the chain and having more support in place if another event were to happen. His concern is for the future but many Canadians are concerned about getting through the current situation and have come to grips with the supply of food in their stores. In his wide ranging comments about the budget and its impact on agriculture Mussell said that infrastructure is always an issue, and Canadian infrastructure is in need of an upgrade. “Rural broadband is the technology of today, and it is not at an acceptable level in many areas of the country. That remains an issue, there is a great deal of disparity across the country and that was not addressed in the budget,” said Mussell. His evaluation is that Trade Issues received lip service but little meaningful attention. “Dairy and Poultry trade issues were mentioned but there were few details made public so we do not really know what will happen in that regard,” said Mussell. “Trade will always be an issue and there will always be things to be dealt with, we just do not know what the intent of this government is, on the current issues.” He fears that major issues will grab the government’s attention and the day-to-day operation of agriculture might be left with little attention. “Climate change and carbon take over and the focus goes there without the day-to-day issues of agriculture being dealt with,” said Mussell. He did acknowledge that a massive document like a Federal Budget has little opportunity to deal with the daily issues that can be extremely important to farmers as they go about their business of producing the country’s food.
This is a photo of a driedout brown cow pasture that I recently took. And, if much of the southern prairies don’t get rain, soon many good pastures will start to look like this picture, which may be detrimental to this year’s breeding season. To lessen its impact, producers should implement a good droughtfeeding strategy. The main goal of all such good feeding plans is to build or maintain optimum body condition in the cowherd, despite all dry pasture conditions. That’s because cows and replacement heifers with a BCS = 5.0 - 6.0 should exhibit at least one strong estrus cycle before the bulls are let out on pasture and are likely to conceive within the first three weeks of the breeding season. In contrast, female herd-mates with a BCS < 4.5 often have weak or silent estrus cycles, which contribute to significant open-conception rates. Science agrees. Research trials confirms that postpartum beef cows in good BCS must consume a good level of dietary energy or 58 - 60% TDN (total digestible nutrients) and crude protein level of about 11 – 12% in their daily diet. These levels are particularly important, when cows are milking at their highest levels (re: 10 – 15 litres per day). In addition, first-calf cows may not eat or milk as well as older cows, but their dietary requirements are almost the same, since they are still growing.
As a beef nutritionist, I would expect that most spring cows on the prairies by now have calved. They are nursing a calf, but are two-to-three weeks past their peak milk production, yet still supplies most of their calves’ nutrients. So, my own drought-feeding advice is based upon meeting the above nutrient requirements - where low-quality forages, such as dried-out short pastures (or low-quality harvested forage) should be supplemented with other more nutritious feedstuffs. In this way, I concentrate upon meeting the cowherds’ first-limiting nutrients that are mostly likely deficient in these short-drought-stressed pastures, namely: the above energy and protein requirements, plus vitamin A. Case-in-point: I often recommend that low-moisture cattle lick-tubs be fed on dried-out pastures, because they can relieve a shortage of all three of these essential nutrients for brood cows and calves. That’s because, when the cow’s rumen bugs are supplied with a readily available source of carbohydrates from the molasses, it helps them digest high levels of forage fiber and thus helps meet the cows’ dietary energy requirements. Furthermore, this increased bug activity in turn increases the amount of microbial-derived protein (digested in the lower gut of cattle), which also helps cattle meet some of their total protein requirements. Additional dietary protein can also be added to low-
This is a photo of a dried-out brown cow pasture that I recently took. And, if much of the southern prairies don’t get rain, soon many good pastures will start to look like this picture, which may be detrimental to this year’s breeding season. To lessen its impact, producers should implement a good drought-feeding strategy.
moisture lick-tubs from a number of sources, such as: corn distillers’ grains, soybean or canola meal as well as cost-effective non-proteinnitrogen. As a result, a 30% (15% - NPN) low-moisture molasses lick-tub can easily compliment a droughtstressed pasture that may look green, but still contain only 6 – 8% protein. These lick-tubs can also be fortified with high levels of vitamin A (75,000 iu/hd/d), which are often depleted in stressed fields or decreased in any pasture stand as the breeding season progresses. In addition, lick-tubs often contain appreciable amounts of essential trace minerals such as copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, cobalt and selenium, which can be added in both inorganic (copper sulphate) or more bio-available organic forms. Consequently, I know of a cow-calf operator that calves out about 300 beef cows in the southern corner of Manitoba. He puts out about
two-dozen – 30% protein lick-tubs that nutritionally matches his present browned pastures, which he has done for the last three years. He said that his cattle are able to retain body condition during the breeding season and thus re-breed well. Which to him is worth spending nearly $0.70 per cow per day. Besides, like many of his neighbours that prefer to purchase a semiload of 14% grain screening pellets due to their lower cost (0.50 - $0.60 per head); this producer doesn’t have a practical way to feed them on many of his pastures. Maybe this producer would have been able to save money on his feeding costs, if he explored other feeding options. Yet for the time-being, he has a drought-feeding plan that works on his particular operation. In the end, he covers off the nutrient requirements of his cowherd during dry breeding seasons and successfully gets them re-bred with next years’ revenue.
Foodgrains Projects Take Shape By Elmer Heinrichs Thirty-six community growing projects to raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank are going ahead this year, said Gordon Janzen, representative of the Manitoba section. Most of last year’s projects are continuing, several will involve multiple fields, and some will have additional acreage. “So we’re doing well and I expect we’ll again have around 5,000 acres in Foodgrains growing project crops this year,” said Janzen. Many of growing projects are growing wheat or canola, and I expect some soybeans as well. One project has sun-
flowers and another is seeding a forage crop with oats as a cover crop. Janzen noted that seeding time always brings renewed energy for farmers and gardeners as they plant seeds with the promise of new life to come. He said that a special note of thanks goes out to the many farm-related businesses which help with donations of various inputs for the projects. “We have enjoyed an early spring, but it is very dry across Manitoba. Despite the blessing of a good snowfall that covered the province in mid-April, field moisture levels remain
low in many regions,” said Janzen. He noted that key areas being supported by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank are drought stricken regions in Ethiopia and Sudan. Conflict regions in Lebanon and Syria are also receiving support. One of the projects, seeded was the CHUM project, coordinated by Isaac Froese. CHUM volunteers have seeded a 150-acre field to wheat near Rosenfeld on April 10. He pointed out that a field near the highway at MacGregor will feature sunflowers for people to stop and take their own selfies.
“I’d also like to thank the HELP growing project at St. Pierre-Jolys and Grunthal Auction Services for running a great online auction in support of the Foodgrains Bank. The sale of cull dairy cows plus other auction items and cash donations raised over $48,000 to help feed the hungry,” said Janzen. While hunger needs persist in several parts of the world, Janzen said that member agencies of the Foodgrains Bank are currently involved with an appeal to help India, facing both a medical and an economic crisis with many people out of work and people going hungry.
Weed Control Problematic With Unpredictable Weather Patterns
By Harry Siemens With the weather playing havoc over spring planting and weed control, Tammy Jones near Homewood from her new position as a technical sales agronomist with Corteva Agriscience said many factors should be considered this year. Not only was it dry, it was the warmest spring in a while, especially with 30 °C temperatures in May. “That adds a lot of stress to the plants, both the crop and the weeds,” said Jones. And from a weed control perspective, you have less crop competition, slower growth, and the crops not helping a lot and you’re relying more on your herbicides to help out with weed control.” When dry, if a producer has applied a soil-applied herbicide that requires soil moisture for the plant to take it up, it is unlikely all of the ingredients activate with limited soil moisture. “If we get rain, then some of those soilactive herbicides will activate and control new flushes of weeds. Some weeds will continue to grow because those soil-applied herbicides haven’t activated yet,” said Jones. She said weeds would be more challenging to get herbicide into because it is growing slower. “It’s tougher and has a thicker cuticle because it’s trying to stay growing, and so it’’ conserving moisture by putting on a waxy cuticle or just toughening up,” explained Jones. “It’s also much, much smaller, so it’s a more challenging target to hit.” Then with the heat a lot of our weeds will change their
plant architecture she said. Weeds will start to fold up, and grasses will roll up their leaves. “When you hit it with a herbicide, you tend to have those droplets not stick as well as you might have in an ideal situation with a nice flat-leaf for that spray droplet to stick,” said Jones. She said that it is good for the producer to increase water volume and think about the impact of dust. There are some herbicides like glyphosate where it can inactivate by binding with soil particles. To counteract this she said to increase the water volume with lots of surfactant going on, droplet size is not too small, reducing drift and hitting the leaf. During such a dry period, some farmers change their cropping plans slightly. Others will wait and see if the weather cooperates and perhaps wait until there is rain before deciding to seed. When asked about hardto-control weeds during extended dry periods she said, “Lambsquarters has lots of waxes on its leaf surface, staying small and hard to kill. Kochia is also a problem with herbicide resistance and likes drier conditions sinking its roots in well.” “I see weeds having lots of opportunities and that crop struggling,” said Jones. “Once the rains fall and weeds are growing; to get in there really quickly while the weeds are still relatively small. Try and get them under control and make that herbicide application most effective.” With clubroot moving east and latching on to some canola fields in Manitoba, Jones
Fences Make Good Neighbours and Keeps Disease Out of Hog Farms By Harry Siemens
Lambsquarters has lots of waxes on its leaf surface, staying small and hard to kill. Kochia is also a problem with herbicide resistance and likes drier conditions sinking its roots in well.
Warm, sandy soil provides a perfect spot for “biennial” wormwood that usually acts like an annual to emerge early. This density proves that the plant can and will set a million seeds. Submitted photos
thinks clubroot is something that the industry must take seriously and be proactive. From an agronomic perspective, farmers need to use some sources of resistance effectively and rotated. “Just like I talk about herbicide rotation and multiple modes of effective action, there we need to be effective with the genetics and intel-
ligently utilize them,” said Jones. She thinks that more effort to educate on the different pathotypes of clubroot will be needed along with research and testing. “I’m not sure we have a full handle on it yet. So I’m not the expert, just starting to dabble in that area of information, for sure,” said Jones.
KAP Announces New General Manager The Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) board of directors is pleased to announce that Brenna Mahoney is the new general manager of KAP, effective June 14, 2021. Mahoney has contributed to and built national coalitions and partnerships focused on advancing grain nutrition and health, farm practices, market access, public trust and sustainability. “I am very pleased to welcome Brenna to our organization,” said KAP president Bill Campbell. “She brings with her a wealth of agricultural and communications experience that will build on the strong foundation we have at KAP.” Before joining KAP, Mahoney was the director of communications and stakeholder relations
May 28, 2021
for Cereals Canada. She was also a steering committee member for the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) and supported the development of the CRSC’s code of practice. Mahoney is a board member for the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame and Farmers Abroad Canada. She was formerly chair of the Healthy Grains Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human ecology from the University of Manitoba and a certificate in human resource management from Red River College. “I am excited to work for Manitoba’s agricultural producers,” said Mahoney. “Agriculture is a key economic driver and there are many opportunities for sustained growth through collaboration across the sector.”
Dr. John Carr, international veterinarian consultant and lecturer, said in a recent interview that Canada’s hog industry does not need more vaccines to protect against disease, but hog farms need fences. While consulting with various clients in Canada, it is difficult to convince them to build complete fences around the pig farm. “We make money in pigs. Please put a fence around your farm. We have a lot of feral pigs in this country, and it’s about flu, African Swine Fever, PED virus and the development of mycoplasmata occurs.” Having a fence is not about keeping the public out but increasing biosecurity and taking it even more seriously. “And Canada is full of big open spaces, but you’re talking to an Englishman whose home is his castle, and we build ramparts around our home.” It frightens him to walk around Canada where the farms are wide open but quickly admits other people would accuse hog farmers of hiding behind the fence. “But, to be honest, that’s an accusation I’ll live with rather than having African Swine Fever. The farms with a fence don’t break with African Swine Fever.” Dr. Carr agrees that much effort and producer checkoff dollars go into committee work and planning for a major disaster like an ASF outbreak, but spend even more on keeping the disease out of Canada and the United States. He has a farm in the Philippines, the only farm left in that area still ASF free because they built a fence nine months before the outbreaks. On the other farm, they’d only finished two-thirds of the fence and that broke. “Saying that they finished the fence, de-stocked and then restocked. Everybody else has just gone out of business. But this farm is in the middle of Lausanne in the Philippines in the middle of a massive African Swine fever outbreak. Pigs are fine behind the fence. A producer can’t fatten pigs when taking them to market. You can’t build a fence fast enough when the first case of African Swine Fever hits Canada,” reminded Carr. In a previous interview, Dr. Carr said the pig business despite COVID-19 shutdowns and the fallout, Canada should appreciate the happy times. “I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen in a year. I got no idea what’s going to happen next week. You’ve got to cover your costs. The easiest way to cover your cost is to produce more pork without breaking the law. We have stringent stocking density regulations. But I still think we’ve got to cover, and the Canadians have to cover their cost. So you’ve got to fill the farm.” So be joyous he said. Breed the sows with a smile because for some reason; there’s a big difference between breeding with a sad face; the buggers don’t get pregnant. Breed the sow with a smile, and the things will get pregnant. “People still have a role to play. But to be honest, be happy. We are fortunate to have a job that is relatively immune to the effect of this COVID virus, in political and everything else, side effects.”
Dr. John Carr, international veterinarian consultant and lecturer, said in a recent interview that Canada’s hog industry does not need more vaccines to protect against disease, but hog farms need fences. Submitted photo
May 28, 2021
Protect Your Investment with Hail Insurance Options With many areas of our province experiencing very dry conditions there is a need for rain. If the last few years have proven anything, it’s that we are able to grow decent crops without extra moisture. We have also seen that even when we receive limited amounts of moisture, there is still a risk of volatile storms causing damage to crops. What started out as fire insurance for crops morphed into hail insurance for farmers to protect their investment. While hail insurance gets its name from insuring crops against the peril of hail, it also provides protection for crop loss due to fire. What a strange combination of coverage to include in one policy! The good news for you as a producer is that there are now more options than ever for your hail insurance needs. While there are positive aspects to each option, insurance brokers work to provide options and choice to clients. We are pleased to provide just that; multiple options, flexibility, and choice for your coverage. Rempel Insurance Brokers Ltd. is pleased to continue to offer private hail insurance through our Dale’s Hail division. Dale’s Hail represents many private insurance companies specializing in crop insurance. Private insurers allow you flexibility to purchase limits of coverage with competitive rating, while giving you the option of picking and choosing the fields and crops you would like to insure. Strong commodity prices, along with rising costs of growing a crop, lead to a need for increased hail insurance limits. If you are planning on exploring hail insurance options for your crop, talk to a broker with multiple options available. For those new to the private hail insurance industry, each hail company has a limited value of insurance dollars per township available. Due to this year’s high values in crop prices, we recommend you buy your hail insurance early before your township fills up! For more information, find us online at rempelinsurance.com/dales-hail-manitoba-crop-hailinsurance. Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! Our Dale’s Hail Team has over 30 years’ experience in providing Hail Insurance to Manitoba farms. David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. David is a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors, Winnipeg Chapter. Contact office 204-746-2320, Cell 204-712-6618, email email@example.com or visit rempelinsurance.com.
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Ag Ministers Agree to Remove AgriStability’s Reference Margin Limit During a recent virtual meeting of Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture, Ministers agreed to remove the reference margin limit for AgriStability, one of the business risk management (BRM) programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The removal of the reference margin limit will be made retroactive to the 2020 program year. In addition, the deadline for producers to enroll in the 2021 program year will be extended to June 30, 2021. The meeting was convened to discuss key changes to the program, in order to better support farmers facing challenges. Removing the reference margin limit could
increase the overall amount AgriStability pays out to farmers by approximately $95 million nationally. The objectives in making this change are to help simplify the program and help farmers in need by increasing the level of support for agricultural operations with lower allowable expenses. This change is an important step towards making the program easier to understand, more bankable, more accessible, and fairer for some sectors, which might have been left out of the program under the previous rules. Costs for the removal of the reference margin limit will be shared, as outlined in the Canadian Agricultural
Partnership; 60% by the federal government and 40% by provincial and territorial governments. This change will help producers better manage risks and financial losses due to poor yields, low commodity prices or rising input costs. AgriStability provides support when producers experience a large margin decline. The business risk management suite of programs, including AgriStability, helps producers manage risks such as natural disasters, weather events, severe loss and market volatility. Farmers are always encouraged to make use of the programs. AgriStability protects Canadian producers against large
declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions. Other improvements to BRM programs were announced in 2020 as a response to COVID-19. These changes extended the AgriStability enrollment deadline for the 2020 program year and boosted interim payments in most jurisdictions from 50 to 75 per cent. The federal government, along with the participation of several provinces, also committed up to $125 million to AgriRecovery to help beef, pork, and other producers cover up to 90 per cent of extraordinary costs related to the pandemic.
Services Available for Agricultural Producers Facing Dry Conditions Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development is reminding agricultural producers affected by dry conditions of the programs and services available to crop and livestock producers. To date, low levels of precipitation and soil moisture have impacted seeding operations and slowed the growth of pastures and forage crops in parts of Manitoba. Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (ARD) provides several tools and resources for producers to manage the impact of dry conditions including: - The department will be proactively listing several parcels of Crown land located within Wildlife Management Areas and other lands, preapproved for temporary use under a casual hay permit. For information on unallocated Crown land leases and other Crown land haying and grazing opportunities visit www. gov.mb.ca/agriculture/landmanagement/crown-land/ index.html or contact the Agricultural Crown Lands Leasing Program at 204867-6550. - The Manitoba Hay Listing Service provides an inventory of hay and alternative feed for sale and pasture for rent. For more information visit web31.gov.mb.ca/HayList. - For alternative feeding strategies, visit Resources for Producers Affected by
Dry Conditions section at gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/beef/index. - The Managing Dry Conditions resource section of ARD’s website provides information on a variety of drought-related topics and resources for livestock and crop production. For more information visit gov.mb.ca/ agriculture/dry. Producers can access the Manitoba Crop Report at gov.mb.ca/agriculture/ crops/seasonal-reports/cropreport-archive/index, the Manitoba Drought Monitor at gov.mb.ca/water/drought_ condition and the Manitoba Ag Weather program at gov. mb.ca/agriculture/weather/ weather-conditions-and-reports. Manitoba also provides risk management programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership that help producers to manage production and price risk. These include: - Crop and forage insurance under the AgriInsurance program, which insures crop, hay and pasture production and establishment against potential losses. Extended seeding deadlines can assist during difficult seeding periods. Producers can learn more at masc. mb.ca/masc.nsf/crop_seeding_deadlines. - Livestock Price Insurance provides a range of coverage and policy options to help
manage price risk against market volatility. ARD and MASC Service Centre teams can tailor coverage to individual livestock operations. Producers can purchase price insurance year-round for their feeder and fed cattle. Calf price insurance is available until June 10. More information is available at lpi.ca. - Producers can use MASC’s Contract Price Option (CPO) to increase their canola and field pea dollar coverage in a potentially difficult year. CPO allows producers to blend the price from their production contract with the base AgriInsurance dollar value to reflect market prices better. More information is available at masc.mb.ca/contractpriceoption. - Forage Insurance provides a Hay Disaster Benefit, which compensates forage producers for the increased costs of hay and transportation when there is a severe province wide forage shortfall. This benefit is provided at no cost to producers with Forage Insurance. More information on forage insurance is available at masc.mb.ca/masc.nsf/program_forages. - AgriStability is an important tool that can help producers manage risks and financial losses because of poor yields, low commodity prices or rising input costs.
The program provides support when producers experience a large margin decline. The deadline to enrol in AgriStability was extended to June 30 from April 30. - If producers are not currently enrolled in AgriStability, governments encourage them to take advantage of the support offered under the program. Participants may be eligible for an interim payment as an advance on the final 2021 AgriStability benefit. The deadline to apply for an interim payment is March 31, 2022. Producers can access their AgriStability information with their My AAFC Account, visit the AgriStability website at agr. gc.ca/agristability, or call AgriStability at 1-866-3678506 (toll-free) for more information. For more information, producers can check their coverage at www.masc.mb.ca or contact an ARD and MASC Service Centre (toll-free) at 1-844-769-6224, by email at ARD@gov.mb.ca or online at masc.mb.ca/masc.nsf/locations. Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development will continue to assess the conditions and strategies as the season progress. Producers can visit the Managing Dry Conditions section of the department website for further updates at gov.mb.ca/agriculture/dry.
May 28, 2021
Farm Equipment Sales Remain Strong in 2021 By Les Klekte It is a good time to be selling farm equipment. That is the word from Jordan Clarke, Sales Director, with Ritchie Bros. Auctions. Clark who is based in southern Saskatchewan said prices of agricultural equipment have been strong across the prairies this spring. April, a month that normally features a lot of farm sales saw the company conduct 71 sales that generated over $104 million in gross sales. This spring was the first time the company did not conduct any on-site sales; instead they went entirely into virtual auctions. “We used to see unto a thousand people at a big sale,” said Clarke. “That has been dropping off and last year we might see 100 people turn up and they were not the real bidders, so this year we went entirely with on-line sales.” He credited the COVID outbreak and changing times as the factors that drove sales on line. When asked will in-person sales every come back he
Ritchie Bros Auction Services says that prices on farm equipment is up across Western Canada. Submitted photos
said, “I don’t know. There is a social aspect to it, but the prices are good with the on-line offerings and that is the way people are doing business now.” He said that online sales have opened the market up to a wider range of buyers who would not be able to attend the sale in person, but can find the time to place the bid on their phone. The one thing that has not changed is the draw for quality tractors. “We see a good demand for quality tractors
and as farms grow the tractor that might have been the big field tractor on a smaller farm now becomes the utility tractor on a bigger farm. That has been driving the market and continues to keep prices strong on those tractors,” said Clarke. While the trend to larger farms has been going on for years, short term higher commodity prices have buoyed auction prices this spring. “Most of western Canada had a good harvest last fall
Jordan Clarke said that online sales have opened the market up to a wider range of buyers who would not be able to attend the sale in person, but can find the time to place the bid on their phone.
and with strong commodity prices this spring there is more optimism,” said Clarke. “There has been some difficulty in getting new equipment and guys are looking at used,” he said. “Good equipment is selling strong.” He said the optimism has translated to the combine market as well but it is a little early for farmers to be buying combines he noted. The tractor market is up nearly 20% over last year and he expects that trend to continue. He said that there does not seem to be any one hot spot where bidders come from. “Machinery is moving every way,” said Clarke. “It is moving from Alberta to Manitoba and back the other way, and some is moving to the US but not as much as you might expect. The Canadian market is strong.”
Grain Act Must Be Relevant and Responsive Canada’s grain farmers are calling for a modernized Canada Grain Act that drives agriculture’s competitiveness, reduces regulatory red tape, and ensures high-quality grain for domestic and export markets. The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) recently provided a submission to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada regarding their review of the Canada Grain Act. It contained actionable and urgent
recommendations that are responsive to the evolving needs of the agricultural sector. “As the national voice for grain farmers, we recognize this is a unique opportunity to define the ‘gold standard’ for grain quality in Canada,” said GGC chair Andre Harpe from his farm in Valhalla Centre, AB. “A key aspect of this review is making sure that we have a Canadian Grain Commission that
works for all of us.” Having been 35 years since the last major overhaul of the Act, GGC has made it clear that a change in the way that the Canadian Grain Commission operates is long overdue. With the elimination of the single desk for wheat and barley, the growth of canola and the oil-processing sector, and the size and sophistication of today’s farms, the Canada Grain Act has not remained relevant, and time is
now for holistic change. “Our submission has made it clear that an evolved Canadian Grain Commission must rely on sustainable funding, reduce red tape, and be defined by transparency and accountability,” added Harpe. “Farmers are ready to deliver on the high-quality grain that our customers expect; we just need a regulatory system that we can count on.”
New USask Research Looks at Making Bean Crops Hardier Tepary beans are a high protein legume common to the southwest US and Mexico that may hold the key to adapting bean crops for the increasingly harsh conditions brought on by a changing climate, according to research led by University of Saskatchewan (USask) and Michigan State University. In a study just published in Nature Communications, the researchers found that as the mercury rises to 27 °C at night, a temperature devastating for current bean crops, specific genes sensitive to heat stress in the tepary bean get activated, protecting the plant. “We are interested in tepary beans because they are very stress tolerant, unlike their cousin the common bean,” said Dr. Kirstin Bett (PhD), professor of plant breeding and genetics at USask and one of the senior authors of the study. By 2050, the major regions growing common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), the most important legume protein source for human consumption may be unsuitable and the overall nutritional quality of the crop will likely be reduced. “Tepary beans are an under-appreciated protein crop that are ideal for production in marginal environments due to their inherent tolerance of temperature stresses,” said Bett. The team sequenced the genome of the tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolis A. Gray) to study how the legume adapts more effectively to fluctuating temperatures than its common bean cousin, and to combine traits of the two species into a more sustainable crop variety. Having been part of Indigenous diets in regions such as northern Mexico, the southwest United States and Africa for centuries, the tepary bean has been valued for its ability to survive in arid environments. While the tepary bean can handle heat and dry, the researchers found it is less capable of surviving the threat of disease. “Tepary beans have fewer
disease resistance genes, perhaps because they are typically grown in arid climates where disease pressure has been less than in the wetter regions where common beans have been grown,” said Bett. “My group was responsible for the wild genome assembly and the comparative mapping work that shows the genomelevel relationships between wild and cultivated tepary bean and common bean,” said Bett. “This will help us better understand how to transfer traits between the two species. We are trying to increase the stress tolerance of the common bean by crossing with tepary bean and selecting for lines that are more tolerant to cold and drought.” In the future, researchers hope to be able to leverage this genetic information to improve the vitality of bean crops that must thrive in extreme temperatures or changing environments. “We are continuing to try to develop tepary bean varieties that will grow here in Saskatchewan and in other dry areas of the world,” Bett said. The team included researchers from USask’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources, USask’s Global Institute for Food Security, Michigan State University, North Dakota State University, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) located on the USask campus, USDA Agricultural Research Service – Tropical Agriculture Research Station, Alabama-based HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. The Saskatoon contingent of the research team included USask bioinformatics specialists Chushin Koh and Larissa Ramsay, and Sateesh Kagale, a research scientist at NRC. The research was supported locally by Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, and internationally by the Michigan State University Plant Resilience Institute, the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Kirstin Bett (left) discusses beans and pulses with Crystal Chan, former Photo by Debra Marshall Photography project manager.
May 28, 2021
Good Drinking Water is Provincial Necessary on the Dairy Farm Prairie Forage Associations Launch Regional Soil Health Network Organizers of Prairie Canada’s top conferences around soil health, grazing and regenerative agriculture are joining forces to work with, promote and celebrate each provincial group’s event and organizational activities with the launch of the Prairie Region Soil Health Network. Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) has connected with its neighbouring provincial counterparts and added their signature to a Memorandum of Understanding to work collaboratively and together to make sure the interests of Prairie Canada farmers and producers are front and center via the connectivity of the Prairie Region Soil Health Network. “The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted producerfocused conferences all across North America, and we know first-hand how that impact has influenced our ability to plan, host and engage producer audiences via gatherings and conferences across Canada’s Prairies,” said Duncan Morrison, executive director, Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) whose organization has hosted three differently-formatted Regenerative Agriculture Conferences in their three years of hosting an annual event. “Our agriculture conferences are critical lifelines for each of our smaller-sized groups. We need them for the attendance gate and financial reasons, but most of all, we need them as a place and opportunity for producers to network and learn and share knowledge among each other.” According to Morrison, the new agreement broadens the collective wingspan for all three of provincial groups to amplify the producer opportunities and promote the conferences and the work each are doing in whatever format, from online to in-person events to webinars around our various projects and platforms. MFGA drew more than a combined 1,000 online viewers to four Thursday night webcasts over the month of November 2020 after the pandemic switched conference plans from in-person to virtual. MFGA’s plans this year are circling a hybrid of online and a smaller gathering in-person November 15-17, 2021 in Brandon. Exact details are still being worked out in respect to provincial health orders and forecasts. The group plans to accelerate their shared dialogues and support the regional interests of each other via collaboration, possible project alignments with regional focus and integrated communications via each group’s regular communications channels. “Prairie Canada is a very unique and vitally important agricultural region of Canada that has a rich and robust history of producer connections, organizational synergy and farmer-based networks between our three provinces,” said Morrison. “We feel that in many ways, like many groups out there, the pandemic has forced us to regroup and rethink how we can go forward as a regional-focused network that works for Prairie producers with conferences and project collaborations aimed specifically at their core interests around soil health, regenerative agriculture and grazing systems on their Prairie farms.”
It’s so dry in southern Manitoba; I promised my friends that I would not compare this year’s weather to the 1988 drought. All I can say is that on a hot and sunny June day, 33 years ago, I was driving west of the town of Elie; there were huge yellow ovals in both wheat fields on either side of me. It looked like somebody sprayed the wrong herbicide on them. In fact, I was driving to a dairy farm in the area in which their well had nearly dried up and they were having trouble trucking enough water to their milk cows and young stock. To this day, it always reminds me that dairy cows always need good drinking water. It might be drawn from a water-truck, dug-well or from town, yet dairy producers must guarantee that their dairy cattle receive large volumes of clean water for life, growth, reproduction and successful milk production. It’s no secret that a lactating dairy cow (as well as other dairy stock) drinks a lot of water, namely about 4 litres of water for every 1.0 kilo of dry matter intake of feed. For example, if she consumes about 25 kg of dry feed per day, she would drink about 100 litres of water. A comparably sized faraway dry-cow eats about 15 kg of dry feed and thus drinks about 60 litres of water, daily. I know a producer who milks about 200 dairy cows. Since his herd drinks about 20,000 litres per day, they
could literarily empty out a standard-size swimming pool (16’ x 32’ x 5’= 80,000 litres of water); once every 4 days. During periods of heat stress, I expect that their overall water consumption would increase by more than 50% and my pool would be emptied in less than three days. Looking for the thousands of litres of water for dairy cows (again - as well as nonlactating cattle and youngstock) that could fill dozens of swimming pools is relatively easy compared to finding good clean water. That’s because there are many areas on the prairies, whether in normal years or drought that high quality water is simply hard to find. For instance, here are a few criteria that I use to determine the quality of water used at a dairy farm: - Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): TDS provides an overall evaluation of water quality. Salinity (dissolved salts – i.e. carbonates, chlorides, bicarbonates and etc.) makes up a large portion of TDS. TDS of less than 1,000 mg/ml is considered acceptable for mature cattle. - Hardness: This parameter usually has no effect on water safety for dairy cattle. However, it can result in the accumulation of scales (i.e.: magnesium) and lead to clogging of pipes in the barn. Water with more than 120 mg/L as CaCO 3 is considered hard water. - Water pH: There is little
research about the adverse effects of mildly alkaline water upon cattle. It has been my experience that acidifying pH > 8.0 to 7.0 (neutral) causes cattle to drink more water. - High mineral content: High concentrations of sulphates, and trace minerals often bind essential nutrients, thereby increasing their dietary requirement. High iron water has also been implicated in causing E. coli and other bacteria populations to thrive. - Nitrates and Sulphates: Potential nitrate poisonings may exist when modest nitrate levels are found in water, while cattle consume high nitrate forage. Likewise, high sulphates in water are dangerous to cattle, because they are linked to a high incidence of polioencelphia. - Bacteria and algae contamination: Pathogenic E. coli, coliform bacteria (including fecal) and salmonella counts should be zero in drinking water. Bacteria blooms can cause an unwanted outbreak ranging from temporary diarrhea to serious health issues. Common green algae pose little threat to cattle, other than decreased consumption of feed and water. This is good information that I used in the review of an udder edema issue that troubled another 150-dairy cow operation that I visit. Notably the test results of a sample of the cows’ drinking water revealed high TDS (2170 ppm – mostly saline).
Furthermore, this water contained high sulphates (755 ppm) and was hard (165 ppm). Since changing water sources was not an option, there wasn’t a lot that I could do, other than remove all forms of dietary salt in the lactating, faraway as well as close-up dry cow diets. Such poor-quality water is not particularly uncommon in southern Manitoba. In contrast, I have come across several dairy operations that have untreated crystal-clear water that seem to help their dairy cows and other stock excel in vitality and performance. It’s a good reminder to me and other people that there really is no substitute for good quality drinking water on the dairy farm, whether in drought or when it finally rains.
I know a producer who milks about 200 dairy cows. Since his herd drinks about 20,000 litres per day, they could literarily empty out a standard-size swimming pool (16’ x 32’ x 5’= 80,000 litres of water); once every 4 days. Submitted photo
Research Shows that Rye Can Be Used in Swine Rations
Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor with the University of Saskatchewan, said when pigs receive high fibre rations that are slightly energy deficient, they will consume more feed to compensate, but that does not appear to happen when rye is part of that diet. Submitted photo
By Harry Siemens Research conducted by the University of Saskatchewan and the Prairie Swine Centre shows that while producers can include rye in the rations of growing pigs, it’s essential to maintain high energy levels in the ration. The feeding trials used a new high-yielding hybrid variety of rye developed in Germany, less susceptible to ergot. Dr. Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor with the University of Saskatchewan, said when pigs receive high fibre rations that are slightly energy deficient, they’ll consume more feed to compensate, but that does not appear to happen when rye
is part of that diet. Some pigs at about 60 kilograms went to market weight, to about 130 kilograms when they received diet formulations with high and low energy, and these were typical diets, but some just had a little bit more energy than others. The diets were either cornbased or a wheat-barleybased diet and then to each of those diets they included 40 percent rye. “We found that, with the high energy diet, the pigs did just fine with the inclusion of 40 percent rye. No difference in growth or feed intake; body weight or carcass composition, but with the low energy diet without rye, with the wheat high low
energy diet the pigs, did just fine, but ate more.” She said two or three other studies showed that pigs fed diets with up to 40 to 50 percent rye did well. But some work a couple of years ago showed that those with high rye did not do quite as well when the diets contained a little bit less energy. The critical factor for producers is the pigs will do fine with 40 to 50 percent rye in the diet, but the diets need the formulation to maintain a higher energy composition. Dr. Beaulieu said the next goal would be to determine why the pigs fed high rye and low energy rations did not increase their feed intake.
Manitoba Needs The Rain
By Joan Airey As I write this, I’m hoping the clouds I see to the west bring a nice rain to all of Manitoba. Thunder woke me at 4:30 am and I got all excited when I heard rain come down but it only lasted a minute. Blake my eight-old-granddaughter and I are experimenting with potatoes in pots and bags this year. We planted potatoes in bags last year and had good luck so decided to try the pots from T & T seeds too. Plus we have the potatoes planted in the greenhouse floor and hope they produce again this year. Our main crop of garden potatoes we planted over a week ago. All seeds are planted but bedding plants are still in greenhouse or under lights. My sister and I were comparing the price of potatoes in the store and two baking potatoes wrapped in foil cost more than a twenty-pound bag of potatoes. This year I’m going to try and keep track of what we harvest from the garden and see if it pays to garden, noting that seeds have gone up in price. I also had Smiley Worms deliver vegetable compost
before we rototilled. Recently I just finished reading a new book, “NoWaste Composting” by Michelle Batz. The book showed that small space composting has never been easier, more efficient and more eco-friendly. Composting keeps millions of tons of waste out of landfills and creates carbon-sequestering, nutrient-dense compost that can be used to help fuel plant growth and build soil health. I’ve four compost bins for several years and rotate filling them and using them on the garden. Last season my composting did not work as well as in the past because the bins dried out from lack of humidity, I guess. The book tells you how to build a simple outdoor compost bin from repurposed wooden pellets plus numerous other ways to compose without spending a lot of money. I also came across a book geared to children called, “Stanley Jr. Gardening is Awesome!” It’s full of projects, advice and insight for young gardeners by Chris Petersen. It shows kids how to grow strawberries in a 5gallon pail and create a bulb box. Blake is trying their
idea for growing a couple of herbs. Last fall on Manitoba Gardener’s Facebook page someone suggested that adding two tablespoons of peroxide to a watering can of water then pouring it down the row before planting onion sets would prevent onions dry rotting in the garden. So, I did that down my three rows of Dutch sets. Last year when I went to pull some of my big onions, they were rotten but no bugs in them. I made sure the onions were planted in a different place. If you like Honey Dill Sauce I found a recipe for one in my The Prairie Garden Herbs and Spices book. Ingredients are: 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup liquid honey, 1 Tablespoon dried dill weed or 3 Tablespoons fresh, and squeeze of lemon juice (optional). Mix the mayonnaise and honey until smooth. Add dill, lemon juice and stir well. Let rest in fridge at least an hour before serving. You can substitute Miracle Whip for the mayonnaise, but omit lemon juice and reduce honey by half. I have not made it with Miracle Whip. The Prairie Garden has
some of their books on sale at the moment and you can order them from their website prairiegarden.ca. Hope by the time this reaches your mailboxes all of Manitoba has had a nice rain. Just had a call from someone in town they have puddles from rain over night; not here.
Blake planted her bags of potatoes May 1. They are her project along with planters of strawberry plants, radishes and carrots. The potato bags we are using for the third year. I think it’s a great learning experience for children to grow things and look after animals.
Blake planted her two pots of potatoes May 1.
The Sunflower View is as Popular as Ever By Les Kletke The Altona Sunflower Selfie Plot is in the ground and should be ready for selfies by late July. Mayor Al Friesen said this is the third year for the plot that gives individuals the opportunity to have their picture taken “in a field of sunflowers’ without invading a farmers ‘field or trespassing on private property. The increased popularity
of pictures with sunflowers leads to several farmers with fields along highways having an excessive amount of visitors and in some cases causing damage to the field or potential spreading disease from one field to another. Mayor Friesen said it was Curwin Friesen who came up with the idea of having a selfie plot in Altona for the purpose of pictures. The town supplied a plot of land,
Green Valley Equipment provided the seeding equipment, Loewen Seeds provided the seed and G.J. Chemical provided the nutrients. He laughs that it has taken a bit of consideration to have the right variety for the plot. “Plants that have heads 8 feet high were not the answer so then we went to a dwarf variety but they were a bit to dwarf and the heads appeared chest high which was not the
The Town of Altona has planted its Sunflower Selfie Plot and while the Sunflower Festival is cancelled the photo ops will still be available. Submitted photo
look most people wanted. We think we have that in control for this year,” he said. The town’s flagship celebration has been cancelled for the second consecutive year because of the pandemic but visitors and locals are still encouraged to have their picture taken at the plot when it is in bloom. “We have lost some of our connection to agriculture and in particular what this crop did for the area,” said Friesen. “So this is a way to get back that connection and we have a lot of intergenerational pictures being taken. Lots of grandkids posing in the plot and we hope this year is the same.” Friesen said that things have changed over the years and while the Sunflower Festival came into being when the crop was key to the area in recent years canola has taken over an is the main crop of the oil crush facility in the town. “This gives us an opportunity to look back and the popularity of sunflowers in photos makes this an excellent opportunity to revive the crop in a small way in our town,” said Friesen.
May 28, 2021
The Surprising Power of Chicken Manure Each year, farmers raise billions of chickens. But all those birds mean a lot of something else, manure. Poultry litter is the mix of manure and bedding materials coming from the poultry industry. Farms produce millions of tons each year. Like other animal wastes, poultry litter is a natural choice as farm fertilizer. Although it’s widely used, there’s still a lot we don’t know about how and if poultry litter helps crops. In new research, scientists in Mississippi tested just that. They looked at how applying poultry litter to fields over several years would affect the soil and crops grown afterward. “Our goals were to develop sustainable management practices and guide farmers to increase row crop production while keeping nutrients in the field and improving soil health,” said Gary Feng, a soil scientist with the US Department of Agriculture. Farmers often come to Feng and his colleagues asking how to best use poultry litter. So the team has been researching the best answers. On test fields, they came up with three fertilizer treatments. In one, they would apply poultry litter. In another, they would use commercial chemical fertilizers. The control treatment received no nutrients. After five years of these treatments, they planted soybeans for three years and measured how well they grew. The scientists also tested the soil, which has a big effect on crops. Feng’s group found poultry litter has a significant impact on the soil. The soil that received poultry litter was less compacted. Soil compaction is a common problem that can reduce how well water moves through the ground. The soils with poultry litter also had the ability to hold a lot more water, and they allowed water to soak into the ground quicker. The upshot was that soil receiving poultry litter could save farmers about one watering event a season. That means money saved. “In other words, the soil could let more rainwater get into soil and hold more rainwater for rainfed crops to use when the field is dry or save irrigation costs for irrigated land,” says Feng. Another important component of soil is how much carbon it holds on to. Carbon-based organic matter usually improves soil. Although the poultry litter added a lot of carbon over the years that carbon tended to evaporate as carbon dioxide in the hot and humid region. So at the end of the experiment, the soil carbon didn’t change a lot. Because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, tracking soil carbon also gave the scientists insight into greenhouse emissions. “Our results overall provide bases for developing guidelines for greenhouse gas emission predictions and for more realistic expectations of soil carbon improvement from applying poultry litter,” said Feng. Soybeans planted in the fields grew better in the years after poultry litter was added to the soil. One year later, soybean yields were 8% higher. And three years later, yields got even better. They were 11% higher than in fields that received synthetic fertilizers. “Left over nutrients from litter in the previous consecutive application can maintain higher soybean yield for three more years after stopping litter application,” said Feng. Because a large portion of poultry production takes place in the southeast US, this research on local crops and soils is especially valuable to farmers in the region. “These results are useful for development of management practices that improve soil health and function,” said Feng. These findings could be helpful to crop farmers deciding how to fertilize their fields. And poultry farmers can get a clearer picture of the value of the litter they produce.
Scientists Gary Feng and Haile Tewolde test how fast water can infiltrate into soils that were fertilized by commercial inorganic fertilizer and manured by poultry litter. Photo courtesy of Gary Feng
May 28, 2021
NorthStar Disposing of Unwanted Genetics is Pigs in Minnesota On the Move to Domain By Harry Siemens
NorthStar Genetics is excited to move to Domain, MB. Currently located in an office complex in St. Norbert, NorthStar Genetics announced the purchase of the former Co-op site which became available when Co-op moved to a new location in Domain. “As a locally owned company, we are excited and committed to growing and investing in western Canada,” said Travis Williams, COO of NorthStar Genetics Canada. “We are set up very well to be the leader in providing our customers with top quality soybean and corn seed. As our corn seed business is rapidly expanding, owning warehouse facilities will allow us to provide our customers with an even higher level of customer service,” said Williams. Domain is a great location for NorthStar Genetics. “It is in the heart of where we started our soybean seed business. Logistically, it is strategically located between where our corn seed is grown and our western Canadian customers. And last, but not least, Domain is an agriculture community,” added Williams. “We are very happy to make our new home in the community of Domain.” Over the next several months, NorthStar Genetics will upgrade the site and buildings. The plan is to be fully moved in by the fall of 2021.
Bill C-208 to Remedy Unfair Tax Treatment in Succession Planning A Bill seeking to achieve tax fairness for small business succession has passed third Reading. Introduced by Conservative MP Larry Maguire, Bill C-208 amends the Income Tax Act to ensure small business owners receive the same tax treatment when selling their operation to a family member as when selling to a third party. “Current tax laws make it more financially advantageous for a parent to sell their farm or small business to an absolute stranger than to their own children,” said Ted Falk, MP for Provencher. “This is not fair.” MP Falk seconded Bill C-208 to ensure farms and small businesses can be transferred to the next generation without having to worry about unfair taxes. “Small business owners have often built strong relationships with their customers, employees, and communities over the long term,” said Falk. “Handing their operation over to a stranger may not be the best situation for the business owners or their communities. This bill ensures owners aren’t forced to sell to a stranger simply because they can’t afford higher tax rates.” In total, 199 MPs voted in favour of Bill C-208 while 128 voted against it. Bill C-208 is now referred to the Senate for debate.
Dave Preisler, the CEO of Minnesota Pork Producers, advised hog operations to consider all methods for the humane euthanization of pigs when faced with COVID-related processing plant closures. While the COVID-related plant closure prompted this dilemma, other situations may arise should disease outbreaks occur. In 2020, peaking in spring and summer COVID-19 related pork processing plant slowdowns or shutdowns forced hog producers to euthanize animals. Preisler told the 2021 Manitoba Pork AGM in April virtually via Zoom about several methods for depopulation and disposal used in Minnesota. Farmers put down a minimum of 350,000 pigs because of packing plant issues last spring and summer. “We know that’s the number our state reimbursed to producers, but the number is probably higher.” Preisler said the team used various methods emphasizing that any of the methods should be considered. The methods they used are the preferred methods for both depopulation and disposal. “Keep all options ‘on the table’ you never know what will happen,” he said. Preisler said the main method for depopulation in Minnesota is compressed carbon dioxide administered in used hydraulic hoist gravel trailers, which proved to be a cost-effective option. The primary disposal method was to grind a mixture of carbon, either straw, corn stalks or wood chips, with the carcasses. The next step was, composting that mixture to destroy viruses, such as PED, Seneca Valley and PRRS. While showing slides, he described in more detail about using carbon dioxide on a farm. Slides showed a
Pictures of the grinder which is used to prepare the dead pigs for composting and the windrower lay down the ground-up material into wind-rows. Photos from Minnesota Pork Producers website.
Dave Preisler, the CEO of Minnesota Pork Producers, described in more detail about using carbon dioxide on a farm. On the left-hand side, a used hydraulic hoist gravel trailer is taking the carbon dioxide under pressure in compressed cylinders into the tanks to change the pressure and temperature.
used hydraulic hoist gravel trailer taking the carbon dioxide under pressure in compressed cylinders into the tanks to change the pressure and temperature. The hoses from the tanks go into the side of the trailer. This created a false ceiling that flips up and down to take up some of the space; then, the pigs enter the trailer. “No blood, out of sight, out of mind, goes pretty fast, and quietly; our preferred method,” he said. He described how they tested the horizontal grinder in all types of weather. He said it worked well, grinding a mixture of carcasses and a carbon material using straw, cornstalks, and woodchips
from an efficacy standpoint by reaching high temperatures. To compost, those preferred materials are in the order of straw first, cornstalks second and third, woodchips he noted. Preisler described one picture as a mixture of art and science. A mix of carcasses and the carbon material goes into the grinder and the groundup material into wind-rows. “First, they lay down about a foot and a half of clean carbon material, so it doesn’t have carcasses in it, as a base on the ground, then a layer of the mixed material,” he said. “So mixed carbon and the ground carcasses capped with another 18 inches of clean material.”
“It works great in cold weather and snow and even better in warm weather,” he noted. “It’ll come up to temp in cold weather very well. The MPP also tested how to inactivate the viruses, PED, Seneca, and PERS; doing an excellent job of reaching the time and temperature on the composting side,” he said. He pointed out that part of the reason for composting is the high water table which makes the burial of many pigs challenging. He said that dealing with COVID lessons learned from other foreign animal diseases taught them many lessons, taking them down a path on how to deal with the disposal of unwanted pigs.
Canola Council Expands Its Suite of Tools The Canola Council of Canada is growing its set of tools to help calculate canola seeding rates, minimize risk and maximize profit with its suite of canola tools. The Seeding Rate and Seed Cost Calculator provides the optimum canola seeding rates and seed cost or it can be used after seeding to understand crop emergence.
The Target Plant Density Calculator will help user to learn how to set a target plant density in plants/ft2 or plants/m2 that fits for individual field conditions, abilities and appetite for risk. The new Canola Counts Survey works by entering plant densities and calculates emergence in this
survey of crowd-sourced canola plant establishment data. A Harvest Loss Calculator will calculate combine seed losses in weight, volume, or seed count, so that adjustments can be made to settings appropriately to increase profitability. The Combine Optimization Tool will optimize
combine settings to improve canola harvest. The brand new Blackleg Yield Loss Calculator shoes the potential blackleg yield loss based on severity, incidence and projected yield of your canola. To use the calculator tools or for more information, go to canolacouncil.org/calculator.
May 28, 2021
A Quiet First Quarter for Swine MFGA Confirms Disease, But Be Careful Farmer-Focused One-Year Conservation Trust Projects Approved
By Harry Siemens The Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network (CWSHIN) advises pork producers of the potential risks of spreading Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) when applying infected manure and to take appropriate precautions. In 2019 the number of cases of PED peaked in Manitoba at over 80 cases before it was under control dropping off dramatically in 2020. The CWSHIN’s just released report on Swine Health Surveillance for the first quarter shows the period from January to March of 2021 was one of the quietest on record. Manager Dr. Jette Christensen said during the quarterly conference call with veterinarians several weeks back; the participants discussed practical tips for keeping the swineherd healthy. “The PED situation in Manitoba, for instance is, knock on wood, very good with no active cases, but from April to June, we usually see new cases popping up.” Christensen said during this high-risk season, it is important to remind everybody working in the swine sector that infected manure is a possible route of transmission of PED. Take extra care and precautions when spreading this infected manure that typically comes from farm lagoons with pigs infected with PED in the last couple of years. Research by the University
of Manitoba and the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute showed the virus responsible for PED could survive in stored manure for long periods. The infectivity values of that manure will vary, with the lowest values at the top of the storage tank, increasing more towards the bottom. In the same report, the CWSHIN warned Canadian pork producers of the risks of a new Streptococcus zooepidemicus first identified in 2019. Dr. Christensen said they identified this strain in only five barns in Canada and several culled sow shipments going to the assembly yards or detected upon arrival at the slaughter plants. “This particular strain of Streptococcus zooepidemicus can cause high mortalities in sows, 10 to 20 percent mortality,” he said. Commenting that so far, it seems only one clone is present, but recently, a potential new strain surfaced in Indiana. As always for producers in Canada, it is a risk when shipping animals to the US because when those vehicles come back there is a higher a risk for introducing this new strain. For other diseases such as PRRS coming back with these vehicles means tightening biosecurity is a must. Producers must wash to avoid bringing something back with contaminated vehicles and equipment from the US he stressed.
Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network surveillance system will be monitoring and assessing trends in herd health for pig producers.
The report said the three isolates identified in Indiana are genetically distant and independent from isolates found in Ohio and Tennessee, indicating a need for further studies. The CWSHIN’s report also identified and advised producers that early cross-fostering of newborn piglets can help reduce their potential exposure to the bacteria responsible for Greasy Pig Disease. This bacterial infection affects the skin of the pig. The primary cause is Staphylococcus hyicus known to colonize the skin of pigs without causing infection. Several veterinary practices reported an uptick in Greasy Pig Disease but it was not noticeable in any data. “Maybe we should think about that teeth clipping isn’t happening anymore in about 70 percent of the sow herds.” “When the competition for teats in the early ages starts and there’s fighting over that,
there might be a few more facial lesions on the piglets, and they can, in turn, become infected with Staphylococcus and show up as greasy pigs,” he said. “If a producer is cross-fostering, do it as early as possible to limit the competition and fighting in the litters.
Manager Dr. Jette Christensen said during the quarterly conference call with veterinarians several weeks back that the PED situation in Manitoba is very good with no active cases. Photos Supplied by Dr. Christensen with the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network
Provincial Legislation Enhances Biosecurity for Livestock By Harry Siemens Cam Dahl, the general manager of Manitoba Pork said legislation designed to protect landowners from trespassers would enhance the ability of livestock producers to guard their animals against the introduction of disease. Bill 62, the Animal Diseases Amendment Act and Bill 63, the Petty Trespass Amendment and Occupiers Liability Act, introduced by the Manitoba government, will increase the protection of landowners from trespassers. Dahl said the legislation ensures that trespassers who break a farm’s biosecurity will see penalties. “It helps ensure that people can’t just come onto your farm
and breach your biosecurity zones.” He thinks it makes total sense and people will understand it now after over a year of COVID and protecting human biosecurity. The same is valid for pork, poultry, dairy, cattle and for other livestock in Manitoba where biosecurity is critically essential to preserving the health of the animals. The threat from foreign animal disease is real. African Swine Fever, for example, has resulted in several million hogs dying in China and with tight biosecurity the goal is to not let it happen here. The Manitoba hog sector contributes approximately $1.7 billion dollars to the provincial economy and over 14 thousand jobs. Hog
production is a success story that all Manitobans can celebrate and needs complete protection and this legislation will do that into the future. A headline appeared in a recent media release titled “AG-Gag Legislation Has Come to Manitoba” seemed to make light of biosecurity. It went on to state that the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) urged the Manitoba Government to strengthen animal protection laws for livestock rather than penalize those who advocate for improved welfare conditions. Further the WHS release said, “Bill 62 and Bill 63 seek to make it an illegal offence for Manitobans to document farm animals during transportation and bear
witness to all livestock in transport trucks, production facilities, and slaughterhouses.” Dahl, said that well meaning people need to recognize that number one, people raise animals for food. Secondly, codes of practices on how to handle these animals are in place to assure the humane treatment of those animals. Dahl emphasized the critical purpose of the two acts is to help protect animals by assuring biosecurity, ensuring that outside people will not breach that biosecurity and bring in disease whether it is from the next farm, something in the ditch or a foreign animal disease. “The purpose is to protect our farm families and the animals that they care for.”
The Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA) has confirmed that two MFGA-led projects and one partnership project had received 2021 approval. Via the two 2021 one-year MFGA-led farmer-focused projects, MFGA will work with on-the-ground project leaders from Ducks Unlimited Canada (Manitoba); Assiniboine West, Central Assiniboine, and Souris River Watershed Districts; and an exciting partnership with the Manitoba Organic Alliance to develop a Grazing website modelled after a successful effort stateside. This is the third year that MFGA has successfully applied for projects via the unique-to-Manitoba Conservation Trust. The 2021 announcement brings the MFGA project tally to seven projects over that time. The Conservation Trust project formula requires the project proponent to work with the partners to organize matching levels of cash and in-kind contributions at 1:2 ratios. That means that to be funded for $1, that $2 in-kind or funding match needs to be secured for project application success. The 2021 MFGA Projects and the Conservation Trust Category funding are in Wildlife and Habitat, a new approach to restoring profitability, wildlife habitat and soil health on a watershed basis that received funding of $240,000 to the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association to work closely with Ducks Unlimited Canada for one year to engage farmers with farmers to conserve wetlands and develop grasslands and forages on surrounding croplands to improve soil health, water and nutrient capture and wildlife habitat. The project which follows a successful delivery of a similar project in 2020 will deliver an incentive-based forage program that restores grasslands and protects the adjacent wetlands. Two distinct forage programs that sign long-term agreements with private landowners will be delivered that targets both grain and cattle producers. Success of the proposed project will be measured by the number of grassland acres restored and the number of wetlands protected by the programs. The second project is Soil Health, Soil Health and Cover Crops for Producers and Wildlife at $100,000 for MFGA to lead a one-year project for new producers from the Central Assiniboine, Assiniboine West and Souris River Watershed Districts to target 3,600 acres in cover and relay crops to improve the health of the soil, increase profit at the farm gate and advance continued improvement in ecological services being delivered from the farming landscape. With the project goal to increase cover and relay crops, the project will support landowners’ Regenerative Agriculture practices that benefit their farms and the soils of their operations by keeping living roots in the ground for as many days of annual sunlight as possible. Improving soil stewardship on Manitoba organic farms, as a part of a larger project, the Manitoba Organic Alliance and MFGA are excited to be partnering together on a joint project partly funded by the Conservation Trust. The partners will build and coordinate a grazing exchange website to make it easier for livestock producers to connect with grain producers. Integrating livestock onto crop and pastureland is becoming increasingly adopted by climate-friendly farmers who are building their soil health and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
May 28, 2021
Manitoba agriculture news and features.