AgriPost September 30 2021

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The AgriPost

September 30, 2021

Harvest Time Full of Opportunities

Aerial view of the Common Ground Growing Project harvest near Rosenfeld.

Submitted photos

According to Gordon Janzen, for some growing project groups, harvest presents an opportunity, not only to meet neighbour friends, but also to celebrate the fruits of their labours. Janzen is the Manitoba and NW Ontario Regional Representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. “During mid-summer I heard from many farmers that they were anxious about their crops because of the heat and very dry weather,” said Janzen. “In August most of the province was blessed with some general rain showers which really helped some crops to fill out.” Janzen observed that yields varied a lot across Manitoba and believes crop insurance adjusters will surely be busy as the rain came too late for some crops. “We are thankful for those growing projects that were pleasantly surprised with their harvest yields and for the generally Neighbours gather for coffee and visiting on harvest day at the Arborg & good prices this year,” he added. District Growing Project.

As Poor Harvest Looms, Farmers Ask for Compassion from Industry Partners Amid historic drought conditions this summer, Canada’s grain growers are calling on grain companies to consider the impact that farmers face and work collaboratively on solutions to mitigate further harm. “As farmers, we recognize the importance of upholding our commitments and honouring our contracts,” explained Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) chair Andre Harpe. “However, this year will be harder than most. We are hoping that our industry partners can commit to working with us on solutions to problems that are beyond our control.” As part of GGC’s advocacy efforts, the organization has met with the major grain companies to discuss the drought and ways in which the companies can support their customers through these trying times. Their proposals included immediate relief from administration fees and penalties on grain contracts. “We are staring at historically low projections for yields across a lot of the prairies,” said Harpe. “To be frank, this may not allow for a full delivery on committed contracts. Any additional fees or penalties on top of that would make a down year even more punishing, for all of us.” GGC also reminds farmers to consider their own contractual rights with grain handling companies and to request transparency about the cost of grain replacement under their contracts, which can be higher than local bid prices. “Grain companies should be transparent about how those costs were measured and ensure that farmers are not forced to pay more than is actually required to acquire the grain that could not be delivered under contract,” Harpe added. GGC has been involved in ongoing discussions with legislators, industry partners, and member organizations to ensure a profitable and sustainable future for the industry as a whole. The recognition that Canadian agriculture succeeds or fails as one entity will be a core theme of advocacy efforts going forward.

September 30, 2021

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Programs Announced for Livestock Producers Under AgriRecovery The Federal and Manitoba governments continue to support producers and have launched two programs under the AgriRecovery framework for livestock producers to help with the extraordinary costs incurred for feed and transportation explained Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler. “Manitoba producers care deeply about their livestock and these programs will help producers buy feed or to help get the feed they have purchased delivered to their animals, or get the animals to another location where feed is available,” said Eichler. “This has been a tough year and we continue to take strides to support our producers in any way we can.” Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, livestock producers can now apply to two programs. The Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program will help producers purchase and test feed for livestock to maintain their breeding herds including transporting purchased feed from distant locations. The Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance program will offer assistance to help offset freight expenses associated with moving livestock to alternative feed supply areas. Eligible animals under the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program are breeding animals of beef and dairy cattle, horses raised for pregnant mare urine (PMU), sheep, goats and bison. Producers must be supporting a minimum of 10 animals to qualify for assistance and the program covers feed and feed transportation expenses between June 1, 2021, and March

15, 2022. Feed must have been delivered from a supplier at least 40 km away and assistance is available for hauling feed for up to a maximum one-way distance of 600 km. Eligible feed purchases are those made between June 1, 2021, and March 15, 2022. The Livestock Transportation program offers help for producers with extraordinary costs to transport breeding animals of beef cattle, sheep and goats to alternate locations to feed, up to 1,000 km. This program does not cover moving animals to market or sale. Manitoba is also in the process of designing a cowherd-rebuilding program under the Canada-Manitoba AgriRecovery Drought Assistance framework to help livestock producers forced to sell breeding stock due to limited feedstock in 2021 with the goal to rebuild their herds starting in 2022. The details of this program are currently under development. “Manitoba Beef Producers appreciates the release of the AgriRecovery program details and the opening of the application process. These programs will help address some of the extraordinary costs beef producers have been incurring due to the drought conditions,” said Tyler Fulton, president, Manitoba Beef Producers. “Producers are making important management decisions for their operations heading into the next few months, and having access to these programs will certainly help with that process. Looking further ahead, we welcome continued discussions with governments about how a herd recovery program will be framed.” Earlier this month, the

Manitoba government announced an investment of $62 million under the AgriRecovery framework, designed to support livestock producers affected by this year’s drought conditions. AgriRecovery is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement, with funding shared on a 60-40 federal-provincial basis. “Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) welcomes [the] announcement of programs under the AgriRecovery framework to help livestock producers manage ongoing drought conditions,” said Jill Verwey, vice president, Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP). “These programs will help producers with immediate feed and transportation needs as they plan for the longterm recovery of their operations.” “We believe that programs designed to address feed assistance and transportation, as well as livestock transportation will be important to the success of Manitoba’s livestock sector in the years to come,” said Bill Campbell, president, KAP. “These programs will help livestock producers with immediate feed and transportation needs as they plan for the long-term recovery of their operations.” For more detailed information, producers can contact their Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Service Centre, call the department toll-free at 1-84-GROW-MB-AG (1844-769-6224) or go to Applications are available at and must include receipts for feed purchases and transportation. Specific tools and resources for managing in dry conditions are available at manitoba. ca/agriculture/dry.

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Late Maturing Crops Benefit from Recent Rainfall

By Harry Siemens

The Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) gave a recent crop update in its Bean Report at the end of August where production specialist Laura Schmidt said soybeans range from R6.5, beginning maturity, to R7, where at least one brown pod is on the main stem. Some fields are rapidly approaching R8 or full maturity. “The recent rains helped fill the pods and increased the seed size in fields not mature when the rains fell,” said Schmidt. “Once soybeans reach R7, they are considered safe from a fall frost.” Schmidt also said that farmers have finished the field pea harvest in most areas while the faba bean harvest has also started. Dennis Lange a.k.a. as Mr. Bean the pulse specialist with Manitoba Agriculture who also farms near Emerson, said the field pea harvest for the most part is complete with a few acres left in the Swan River area. He noted that yields are a little disappointing compared to previous years, with last year’s average at a record 57 bushels an acre. “Peas do like it dry, but unfortunately, it was too dry for the peas this year, bringing our average down to between 35 and 40 bushels an acre similar to 2016,” said Lange. “And there were a few bright sides where growers got over 40, but also some 15s and 20s.” Lange said drought has affected those yields and the crop is quite variable across the province. In the Winkler area there were some stressed fields due to wind, frost and extremely dry conditions. This resulted in yields of 800 to 1,200 pounds, while further north at Carman which saw more rains, farmers saw

Drone shot of a soybean inoculant trial near Carman on September 3, 2021.

higher yields, 1,500 to 1,600 pounds an acre on their pinto types. The mid-August rains did affect seed size but did not help with yields. “The beans are finishing-off maturity so that it won’t be a huge benefit to the crop per se.” This year farmers planted more acres into soybeans, about 1.3 million acres up from a million in 2020, which surprised Lange. He added that soybeans started to drop leaves mid-August in some areas. Some fields with early maturing varieties in light sandy soil did not get rain that would have finished the last growth stage of maturity. While touring some later variety fields before the rains he said that some fields looked green and that moisture helped fill those upper pods on the edge of filling. “But now I think they’ll fill,” said Lange. “Those could yield 25 to 30 bushels on average; there will be some 35s and some 40s this year. So I’ve seen some good-looking fields.” Most soybeans were at least two weeks away from harvest, depending on weather and heat he noted. Lange said the takeaway from this year’s drought is that producers should not assume the quantity or yield before harvest and maybe wait until it is in the bin. “I’m hearing this on dif-

Photo courtesy of @johnbergen4 on Twitter

September 30, 2021

Hay Moves West as Payback By Elmer Heinrichs The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) has launched a Hay West program to deliver hay to drought-stricken farmers in Saskatchewan. The chair of the Mennonite Disaster Service in Ontario, Nick Hamm, said its payback time. Hamm said nine years ago farmers in Saskatchewan sent hay to droughtstricken livestock producers in Ontario through Mennonite Disaster Service Canada. “Saskatchewan farmers helped those in Ontario and it’s time to return the favour. Through Hay West, the Mennonite Disaster Service hopes to send 50 truckloads of donated hay to Saskatchewan this fall. Ontario trucking companies are being asked to move the hay at reduced rates. The first two truckloads were already on the way to Saskatchewan. The hay will be made available to family farms in Saskatchewan at a cost of 10 cents per pound for dairy grade and seven cents per pound for beef grade. Hamm said this is what hay used to cost before the drought but it’s gone up to 20 cents a pound, which is too expensive for smaller farmers. Funds donated will also be used to offset the transportation costs. Farmers who want to receive hay can apply on the MDS Canada website or call 306-716-5909.

Hay West Seeks Applicants & Suppliers Near Morris a soybean variety trial is one of the first varieties to fully mature. Harvest of this variety would be in about 10 to 14 days. Dennis Lange the pulse specialist with Manitoba Agriculture noted that he would visit this site every two days for three weeks to collect information on the maturity to list in Seed Manitoba publication. Photo courtesy of Dennis Lange

ferent crops too, where what you think you know, you think, oh, well, that wheat yield surprised us this year,” said Lange. He said that some wheat yields with more rain will see 40 to 60 bushels and almost 70 bushels in some cases because they captured some of those rains. “The biggest take away from this is that every rainfall counted this year. Some years, you don’t notice any extra rain because it rains throughout the growing season,” said Lange. “But every half an inch rain that

a neighbour two miles down the road got would add some yield to your crop this year.” With the latest heavy rains it made starting fieldwork conditions better although weeds are coming through he said. Some growers are burning off their stubble after harvest to control those weeds. However rainfall helped to rejuvenate the soil. Lange said, projected dry bean acres in Manitoba was at 175,000 down a bit from last year and pea acres were projected at 220,000, up from last year.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has announced that the Hay West 2021 initiative is now operational and seeking applicants to both receive and supply hay. The drought in the Prairie regions has led to a deficit of hay that has left many farmers unable to feed their animals. Without assistance, this could lead to longlasting impacts on the national herd levels that will affect Canadian farmers, processors and consumers for years to come. The Hay West program will ship hay from central and eastern farmers to drought-stricken western farmers. CFA has received enough contributions from different parties to begin moving substantial amounts of hay. “The Hay West program is an amazing example of the kindness of farmers and how farmers across Canada, despite their many differences, have each other’s backs when true disaster strikes. Farmers are donating thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars worth of hay to support those struggling from the drought. It’s incredibly heartening to see the response that we have from those farmers that have been more fortunate this year,” said CFA President, Mary Robinson. CFA strongly urges those looking to receive or supply hay to sign up at

The AgriPost

September 30, 2021

Sri Lanka’s Playbook

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Sri Lanka has a dream, or at least its ruling class does: to become the world’s first country to produce only organic food. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit, it turns out. And it didn’t take particularly long, either. You could call it an overnight failure. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government dropped the hammer on April 29 of this year by banning the importation of all chemical fertilizers and crop protection products. By the end of August, they had to declare an emergency as prices went through the roof. People fearful of going hungry and/or broke from buying food began hoarding all sorts of basic items. Sugar, rice, onions went to record highs, kerosene oil and cooking oil went up a lot as well, and key export crops are predicted to fail come

October. Crops like cinnamon, pepper, rubber, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, betel leaves, cocoa and vanilla. As well as Sri Lanka’s flagship tea crop, the country’s single biggest export commodity. It normally brings in about $1.25 billion a year. Reaching for the “how to make things worse” playbook, the government decided what needed to be done next was to raid and seize food stocks. “A former army general has been appointed as ‘commissioner general of essential services,’” it announced. “The officer has been tasked to ensure sale of products at governmentnamed prices or on custom import costs. Sri Lanka is a net food importer.” Neither popular with the public, nor an effective solution. But when all you’re holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Most farmers were completely unaware that the changes were coming. A survey showed that only 20% of them knew about the plan, and it also contained a number of other pertinent findings. 90% of farmers use crop protection products and 85% predict significant yield reductions without the use of fertilizers. Crops that most need these inputs are rice, tea and rubber. Harvest is not going well, and most farmers expect things to get worse in the future. One master tea–maker, Herman Gunaratne, is very worried: “The ban has drawn the tea industry into complete disarray. The consequences for the country are unimaginable.” Part of the government’s master plan was to replace fertilizer with compost. Running the numbers on this didn’t make farmers any

Penner’s Points

more optimistic. The By Rolf country pumps out Penner about 3,500 tonnes of municipal organic waste per day. By one estimate, that volume can produce around 2-3 mil- on a regular basis now belion tonnes of compost a cause of reduced yields and year. But the rice crop alone pest-ravaged crops. would need 4 million tonnes According to the United of it, and the tea plantations Nations, Sri Lanka produces estimate they’d need another 85% of the world’s Ceylon 3 million tonnes of the stuff. cinnamon. It might be a good Never mind the investments time to stock up on your next in equipment they’d need to trip to the grocery store, if switch over to that substi- you like apple pie at Christtute. mas. It doesn’t help that part It’s good to have dreams, of Rajapaksa’s campaign in but this is more resembles 2019 included a promise to a nightmare for Sri Lankan subsidize the purchase of farmers and the general pubforeign fertilizer. That, no lic. The elder Trudeau once doubt, gave farmers whip- said, “There’s no place for lash when he turned around the state in the bedrooms of and started demonizing it, the nation.” That applies to claiming that “agricultural most other places as well, inchemicals were poisoning cluding farmers’ fields, gropeople.” Vegetable growers cery stores and the nation’s are protesting in the streets tea pots.

Social Media Works Well for Farmers

I use social media more than many people do and how do I know that? Simply because I have 28,000 followers, 6,000 on Facebook, 7,300 on Twitter, and nearly 16,000 on LinkedIn. Before you think this is just a pat on my back, well in a sense it is, but it is also reaching out to others who may not have the same results, impressions, and feelings about social media. For example, in LinkedIn, there were 17,430,000 users in Canada in June 2020, which accounted for 45.7 per cent of its entire population. People aged 25 to 34 were the largest user group (10,000,000). Here I post everything from podcasts, videos, gospel sermons and everything in between, namely farming and agriculture. And it’s good for getting my message out to those people. I use Twitter faithfully, especially when I need to gather information in a hurry on a specific farm topic by sending out requests for com-

ments on the subject matter at hand. I believe farmers and other Ag resource people use Twitter about as good as any sector of society. For the most part, we help each other honestly and honourably. Well, it does get a little tacky sometimes, but so does it in the coffee shops. I get calls from an urban radio stations when things happen on the farm and they need someone quick to respond. So I call on my Twitter farmer friends, and within hours, I have dozens of truthful, informative, and timely responses. Often from across Canada and parts of the United States. “I want to talk about the trade fight between US & Canada; how serious is it, is dairy the real sticking issue and will it become a shooting war at the border; and then want to mention your big combine event [Harvest for Kids] and do it all in three minutes.” That from now-retired farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson on July 2, 2018, for a telephone taping of the famous TV show, “This Week in Agribusiness”. Those are relatively pointed questions. I hit Twitter running and within several days I had

nearly one hundred responses from my farmer friends. When Orion introduced me and asked the first question, I prefaced my remarks by saying, Orion, “you asked me what farmers think about those issues.” I said, “I spoke to hundreds of farmers directly and asked them to answer those questions. These are their responses, not mine. I’m just the messenger and spokesperson.” Most recently, I use WhatsApp for communications, participating in farmer discussions. Sometimes it gets a little much but so informative and inspiring. Glen moderates the HB Pork group where 250 people discuss pigs, pig politics, and pig production. The majority are from Hutterite Colony pig farms and offer up some lively debates. The other WhatsApp group I participate in, Canadian Agriculture moderated by Louise Cardrunner, a grain buyer from Killarney, MB. This group is also so good and covers mostly grain and special crops farming but has farmers worldwide. Here’s the kicker. My foray into social media started back in 2008 on Twitter following quadruple bypass heart sur-

gery. For many years I found going to farm meetings difficult, so I travelled by social media. Advance to Covid-19 at the beginning of March 2020, saw all farm meetings cancelled and many going virtual. I believe many journalists found the transition more difficult, but I continued as if nothing had changed logistics-wise. Yes, I miss meeting farmers and will be at farmer BBQ days after writing this column.

However, my motto, a positive attitude to serve, encourage and inspire others motivate me to do my best. Motivation is a reason to get up in the morning. At nearly 75-years old, I still work as an independent, international agricultural and farm journalist of 51 years. I put in order my priorities, 1-God, 2-family 3-accurate journalism, 4-farmers’ advocate. I love what I do. I know the business pretty well but still, keep learning.

AgriPost writer Harry Siemens working at his computer.

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September 30, 2021

Thoughts: Planned Recovery from Drought

By Larry Wegner, MFGA Chair

Soil health expert Nicole Masters will tell you that, “A drought is no different than a flood, fire or anything that has major effects on the biology and soil life.” As many of you are aware, Nicole presented at our 2020 MFGA Regenerative Agriculture Conference which is posted on the MFGA Youtube Channel and did a great job kicking off our conference. Previously, I have heard Nicole state on other presentations that the “severity of the action has a bigger effect on recovery time than anything else.” That is how bad, how long or how intense was the effect. For those of us that ranch and run livestock herds in the Northern Great Plains this is the 2021 drought that we have endured this year. According to Nicole, the more intense and impactful the effect (drought); the longer the recovery must be to get back to status quo. As such, the big question for a lot of us is how do we plan for a recovery from a majorly, impactful drought that many of us have dealt with at varying levels over 2021 from lack of precipitation. The more I think of this, the more questions I have on this topic. I have learned to plan for and deal with droughts - on our farm near Virden MB, we have gone through dry times over the years. In the past, I just let the cows graze the new growth. Our focus was always to feed our cattle herd today and not worry about tomorrow’s grass. This focus is referred to as “chasing the green”. We all do what it takes to stay in business. Gene Goven is a well-regarded rancher and Aldo Leopold Conservation Award winner from North Dakota who says that chasing the green will cost you in grass production next year by

reducing the amount of grass produced and reduced fertility by exposing the soil and not feeding the soil life. Gene believes in feeding the soil first and the cows second. This strategic focus positions the little things we can do to add up and make a big difference. Last month I gave a short talk about drought management at our local grazing club. It was a great crowd of neighbours and friends. We all had a good visit. My main point to the group was to stress that it is now too late to plan for a drought… it’s all about surviving the drought. While researching my talk to the grazing club, I reached out to my grazer network, past conference speakers and friends who are aware of drought research, past and current. It is nice to have friends and acquaintances that I can call on in these times. I asked them all, when is a drought over? What should we be looking at in terms of soil health? How long does it take to recover from a drought? Throughout this challenging summer, I was thinking all we needed was some rain. Of course, we all need the rain. But what else is needed? Nicole makes the point that the more that the event has bared the ground will mean the longer the recovery that is required. This point really struck a note with me and had us looking at simple tests that could help us better understand how impacted our land has been from this summer’s drought. We recently dug up sod from our pastures to look at the soil aggregates. The soil aggregates should look like cottage cheese around the plant roots. An easy-to-do second test on your pasture’s soil health is a water infiltration test by placing a six-inch diameter ring into the soil and timing how long it takes for one inch of

water to soak into the ground. Then repeat, which is the real test as to how long the second inch of water takes to soak into the same ring. Healthy soil should take less than 15 minutes to seep in the second time. These two simple tests are a very good window into your pasture’s soil health. Also, as I was searching YouTube to help gather my grazing club thoughts on drought recovery I found a presentation done by the University of Utah University Agriculture Extension from March 2021. Amazingly, despite widespread drought in the western United States and Canada, this video had a low number of views to date. The presentation is well done and presented so that any rancher can understand the topic. My biggest takeaway coming from this video presentation was the rain will determine when the drought is coming to an end. The presenters referenced the severity of the drought’s impact on recovery and differences of cool season and warm season grass. They also talked about research done on drought recovery or lack of good information, and the need of research into timing of rain to forage produced. A research station in eastern Montana correlated the rainfall amounts and the timing of the rainfall event. This research now provides a production guide for forage insurance and forage production for grazing. Ranching consultants Steve Kenyon from Greener Pastures Ranching out of Alberta and Dallas Mount from Ranch Management Consultants feel that being proactive is the best way to help recover from a drought by matching your herd to the forages that are being produced. This herd-matching exercise will keep your ground covered and keep the soil cool while

feeding the soil life. Once the forage production has rebounded to levels you require and beyond, then you can start to rebuild the herd. Dallas also refers to how stress levels are higher after the drought than during as many producers now must pay for their drought management, specifically how do producers pay for feed bought that they didn’t originally plan for. Here in Manitoba, our provincial and federal governments have worked closely with agriculture groups and municipalities around funding to try and help producers through these tough times via a series of funding assistance mechanisms and best management practices (BMPs). This work has been very comprehensive with a lot of effort and dialogues to deliver it as quickly as what has been done. But as a community of producers, we still can always remember to reach out to friends and neighbours and ask, “How are you doing?” Just talking and listening and showing interest can be really important and kind. Going forward, my recent grazing club talk preparation also allowed me to update our plan to monitor our forages and soil health. When the soil and forages have shown that they can handle more grazing then we will start to restock our herd. This summer has been a challenge for pasture management. We have had green up via some sporadic rains three different times, and we don’t know how tough will that be on the root reserves. As of the start of September, we still have 100 acres we have not grazed yet. We will start on that paddock next week. We plan on early weaning of the calves to reduce fall forage requirements for the cow herd, and hopefully graze further

A Heartfelt Thanksgiving In the two decades or so that I have lived on this corner of the page I have never taken the time to use this space to address the holiday that centres around a large bird and is usually celebrated by eating too much. Not because I am not thankful but because I normally don’t think about this being the issue before Thanksgiving when I sit down to write the October column.

A lot of things have changed in the past year, and I thought about it in time, so here goes. This is a glass more than half full column, we have a lot to be thankful for, and the past 18 months have gone a long way to make me aware of that. We live in a pretty good place, when the lock down hit we had stores that would deliver just about anything we would order. They are many places in the world that don’t have those choices at best of times. We take them for granted. I thought that going to the US was something that was important, I have come to learn that I can get by just fine without

visiting another country and in fact I have no plans to do so in the immediate future. If I have to get locked down someplace I would prefer it be my home, a place that I am thankful for. Sure, I miss a few things, that have not been available for the last 18 months, but I don’t think there was anything too drastic that went missing. In fact I have been able to substitute for most of those things with equal or better replacements. It’s too bad that it takes a time like this to make us appreciate what we have and just how good things are, things that we take for granted.

So look around and appreciate what you have, most of the world does not have to worry about the things we think are a major issue. Most places would be happy to have a turkey on the table rather than face the issue of, I might be tired of turkey by the time we finish the leftovers. For many parts of the world roast turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey soup would be a pretty nice menu for the second week in October, and for us well you decide. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, appreciate and enjoy what we have.

into fall – fingers crossed on late November - on rougher forages. We are looking at planting 35 acres of winter triticale and hairy vetch for spring feed and green feed, so we will have a choice. Remember, there will be a rain that will break the drought. Honestly, though, I am not sure which rain will officially signal this drought break as this summer has shown us no clear indication

of that breaking point. The late Bud Williams, a well-known cattle handling expert from Alberta, often said that when it comes to ranching there are only three inventories to manage: grass, cattle and money. You cannot have too much money or grass but you can go broke with too many cattle. We sure can make things complicated in the way we do them.

Seeing the Devastation Up Close By Dr. Jon Gerrard Much of Manitoba has experienced serious drought conditions this year, wreaking havoc for so many of Manitoba’s Agricultural producers. This is particularly true for the Interlake, where I visited and heard from farmers in August. During my visit, it was devastating to see the fields that would usually be filled with hay or grains were desolate. Grasshoppers took the place of grass and crop - they had eaten up whatever little was left. It was very distressing to see the situation. I talked with many farmers during my tour of the Interlake and I have also talked with farmers in other regions of the province who have been under great stress. Our Liberal caucus has advocated with the federal and provincial governments for support for producers who are affected by these very difficult drought conditions. The result of our efforts and those of many farmers has been the announcement of a program under the AgriRecovery framework to help farmers with support for the transportation and cost of the feed. Also in the works is a second program through the AgriRecovery initiative, which will help farmers who have had to sell off their herds at low prices because of the drought. This announcement is expected to be made soon, as the details are still being finalized. They may even have come by the time this newspaper reaches you. There is also a need for long-term planning to provide better protection in the event of future droughts. Options to create additional water storage is one example. The Boyne Valley Water Initiative with a proposed dam near Treherne is an example of this. There are many other alternatives of varied sizes and scales. There is also a need for more farmers to have wells. To some extent, that has happened this year with farmers using the federal-provincial dollars on offer to put down wells. This also means we need to pay more attention to our groundwater and making sure it is in good condition. For example, in south-east Manitoba, the Sandilands Aquifer is an extremely important water source, and yet we still need to know what the sustainable yield from this aquifer is. This must also be done to ensure the aquifer does not get contaminated. Please visit our page on protecting the Sandilands aquifer at I would be very happy to hear from you! If you have comments or suggestions please write to me at jon.gerrard@

Farmers Allan and Arik Lindal with Dr. Jon Gerrard.

Submitted photo

September 30, 2021

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COVID Continues to Create Uncertainty in Global Pork Demand By Harry Siemens Tyler Fulton, the director of risk management with Hams Marketing Services said despite the recent exceptional global demand for pork; COVID continues to create uncertainty and market volatility. In light of recent sharp declines in pork product values, such as bellies which fell by $50 per hundred weight the last ten days of August, the pork sector appears to be coming off of its phenomenal run of high hog prices. However Fulton said producers are still seeing some exceptional live hog prices for the fall time frame. “Any way you cut it, I think meat demand performed very well transitioning back to a normal environment where a larger percentage of the supply went through the food service. I think the global demand looks phenomenal.”

Tyler Fulton, the director of risk management with Hams Marketing Services said despite the recent exceptional global demand for pork; COVID continues to create uncertainty and market volatility.

The demand for pork and the future demand for all meats are looking positive even with a negative influ-

ence from China. Fulton said they are a fraction of their former selves in the global purchasing of pork and that

the Canadian pork sector cannot rely on Chinese demand and production. “They’re a wild card yet;

one of the biggest factors that we have to deal with as such a dynamic market with so many moving parts,” said Fulton. “It’s tough to know if we can rely on the demand moving forward.” However, he said the pig industry benefitted from exceptional consumer demand, both domestically and abroad, over the last five months. During that period, Fulton said those producers with prudent risk management strategies would be the best positioned to manage the current volatility in hog markets. Not only due to falling live hog values but there is anticipated high feed costs arising from drought conditions and ongoing disruptions caused by COVID which continue to contribute to volatile hog markets. Therefore he said it is essential producers manage

properly with tighter margins coming into the winter months. “To be clear, we’re coming off of just a phenomenal run of high hog prices,” said Fulton. “So we could see some sharp declines and still be running at exceptional prices for the fall time frame. So it appears that we’re not done with the disease yet.” Despite widespread vaccinations, there are still some pretty significant effects felt throughout the supply chains he noted. He said it is a fool’s game to figure out how COVID will next affect the pork sector, but it is fair to say that producers with prudent risk management strategies are likely in the best position. Fulton said, “There are still good forward pricing opportunities and when one applies current feed costs, we probably see a better profitability potential than expected at this time of year.”

Selfie Crop Raises Funds for CFGB

A donation box by this sunflower field invites Manitobans to stop by for a selfie in return for a donation to help end global hunger. Photo by Jake Oldemkamp

Dean Toews is the coordinator of the FOCUS project in the MacGregor and Portage areas. He planted 45 acres of sunflowers next to Hwy #1 and put out a donation box to invite Manitobans to stop by for a selfie in return for a donation to help end global hunger. “It’s a nice big, bright yellow, yellow plant, and I don’t think you can help but smile when you’re in a sunflower field. So, it’s definitely a positive place to be. And that’s what people need,” he said.

Tyler Fulton said the pig industry benefitted from exceptional consumer demand, both domestically and abroad, over the last five months. Photos by Harry Siemens

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Wheat in Rotation Builds Soil Quality and Helps Retain Soil Moisture By Harry Siemens Back in July Dale Cowan, Senior Agronomist AGRIS and Wanstead Cooperatives at Chatham, ON, tweeted the value of wheat in the rotation is living roots for 11 months of the year, with no soil disturbance. As a result, wheat has 1.6 times more biomass below ground. The roots as much as the straw contributes to building soil structure, plus rotation benefits soy and corn yields. Cowan said with his experience in southwestern Ontario wheat is great for rotation even though it is a more complex rotation. For example, with a corn-soybean and winter wheat rotation, he said that winter wheat may get under seeded with red clover in the spring. “So we’ve got a chance to fix a little nitrogen, or if we don’t do that, we can grow cover crops after harvest, but it just fits into this whole idea of building resilience into our soils,” said Cowan noting that whenever wheat is part of the rotation, it tremendously benefits the following corn-soybean crops. Research for over 12 years at the local campus of Ridgetown College showed a consistent 4 per cent increase in corn, but a 12 per cent increase in soybean yields whenever wheat was in the rotation. Adding red clover gives almost another $30 worth of nitrogen or, in today’s prices, closer to $40 worth of nitrogen fixed in the soil. In a corn-soybean wheat rotation, the nitrogen needs for the following corn crop are lower by about 25 pounds. Altogether it has tremendous value said Cowan. The extra accrued value from wheat in the rotation will be upwards of $200 an acre in additional benefit in a rotation.

Agronomist Dale Cowan Senior Agronomist AGRIS and Wanstead Cooperatives said yield components of wheat equals number of heads per acre times the number of kernels per head; times weight of the kernels and by growing wheat in rotation this builds soil quality and helps to retain soil moisture.

“The push back is the constraints to growing winter wheat. The secret to a good wheat crop is to plant it early, and in Ontario, 70 per cent of the wheat goes in after soybeans,” said Cowan. He said the soybean harvest determines the planting date. Sometimes the winter wheat is not ready until the end of October. “When a farmer plants in September, yields are coming off between 80 and 129 bushels to the acre, and at the current price of wheat that rivals revenue from a corn crop.” Some years some constraints kick in he said. The winter wheat goes in later, followed by more winter kill and a good spring. In those years the yields of wheat can be much lower. “Nonetheless, I can tell myself, being an agronomist

Referencing spring wheat and winter wheat in southern Manitoba, Cowan said that there is a soil benefit anytime a farmer grows a crop to break up a corn-soybean cycle.

looking at farms every day, I can tell the farms with good rotation and those that don’t. Boy, when it’s dry or wet, the crops look better with wheat in the rotation,” said Cowan. Referencing spring wheat and winter wheat in southern Manitoba, he said that there is a soil benefit anytime a farmer grows a crop to break up a corn-soybean cycle. For example, planting winter wheat in September and harvesting the croup in July early August. In those eleven months the root mass is doing the heavy lifting on soil quality. The same benefits are in spring wheat, it is just not out there as long. The other advantage of winter wheat is no tillage in the spring which means we stay off the field, leaving it alone. In that case those roots are doing their best to build some soil structure. “Yes, to answer your question, anytime you can put cereals or forages in a rotation, that’s something different than a row crop. That certainly helps,” said Cowan. He said it also manages weed resistance. “When you can spray a much cheaper chemical, different modes of action at different times of the year in a wheat crop, you’re going to get your weeds under control a whole lot better,” noted Cowan on how a wheat crop with closed rows will smother many weeds, especially followed by a cover crop.

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

The AgriPost

Hog Prices and High Input Costs Creating Tight Margins By Harry Siemens According to a website for the professional pig community, China’s import market is continuing to suspend over half of Canada’s pork production due to COVID-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses. Over 60 per cent of Canada’s production, previously eligible for export to China is suspended as of September 17, 2021. In a recent USDA report the pandemic situations date back several months and these plants are not necessarily experiencing an active COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of the suspension there is no timeline for resuming export eligibility to China from these plants. The report also said that Canadian meat processors are voluntarily suspending exports to China if a COVID-19 case is identified at the plant. Bill Alford general manager of @hams Marketing Services in Winnipeg said the outlook for hogs is up. The industry drew down stocks to historically low levels and it will take a while to build those stocks back up. Yet the input costs including feed grain prices are well above typical five-year averages. As a result, margins for pig producers are tight despite exceptional historically high hog prices heading into the fall and the new year. “What’s leftover is what counts. We need all of the $200 average hogs to eke out a margin given the cost structure,” said Alford. “And seemingly going to be high well into 2022 or to a new crop for the feed side.”

Bill Alford general manager of h@ms Marketing Services said the outlook for hogs is up. The industry drew down stocks to historically low levels and will take a while to build those stocks back up. Photo courtesy of h@ms Marketing

While good activity in the export markets in China is always a wild card he said, “They’re one player the industry can’t necessarily count on. But for their lack of being in the market, other export markets like Mexico particularly have picked up the slack.” That means exports are on pace where they were last year, which is one of the best years ever said Alford. That is a key to profitability as exports continue to be robust while pig supplies have tightened. “We have fewer pigs, and we don’t see that changing,” he said. The year-over-year industry numbers are about 3 per cent higher but not necessarily from many new buildings but increased productivity he explained. With no PED outbreaks in Manitoba or the west for over a year production numbers are good. “That’s the positive here, year-over-year, seeing good productivity out of the hog herd in Canada.” He reported that the members of h@ms Marketing

Services, saw fairly static results, yet they are seeing producers reinvest in their barns, many at 25 plus years that are in need of significant renovations to be the more efficient. Also with the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs requiring new or renovated hog barns to include group housing for sows many hog barns are investing back into their businesses. Alford said for September 15, h@ms sold 6,600 hogs in the range of $2.13 to $2.27 per CKG while the following day around 7,100 were sold at $2.10 to $2.27 per CKG. H@ms number one sows sold in the range of 71 to 78 cents per pound live weight. He noted that cash hog prices were down and full contract prices closed higher. Their weekly export sales report showed export demand is still good, and physical deliveries for the week were 45 per cent higher than the five-year average. However, cumulative net new sales are seven and a half percent lower than last year’s record pace.

Seeds Canada Congratulates Liberal Government on its Return to Office Seeds Canada congratulated Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal party on its re-election. “The Canadian seed sector is a key driver of our country’s economic growth and a significant source for food security and climate change mitigation solutions. Continued investment, research, and a proper regulatory framework should be a key priority for the new government,” said Seeds Canada President Ellen Sparry. “It all starts

with seed, and quality seed and varieties are a vital resource for the challenges we face today. We look forward to working with the Liberal party and all decision makers to help Canada’s seed sector thrive for the benefit of all Canadians.” Sparry added that, “Farmers, seed growers, analysts, breeders, distributors, processors and all those along the seed value chain are calling on decision makers to prioritize and maximize the

potential of the seed sector as an economic driver and partner in climate change solutions.” Seeds Canada stated that they will be continuing its conversations with decision makers across all federal parties on priority items for the sector, ranging from seed regulatory modernization and plant breeding rights to climate change mitigation and technological advancements for environmental sustainability.

September 30, 2021


September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

The AgriPost

Protein Industries Canada and Partners Launch Sector Roadmap The Road to $25 Billion for Canada’s Plant-based Food, Feed and Ingredient Sector will help achieve prosperity for Canada. Protein Industries Canada, in collaboration with several partners, have launched a Sector Roadmap for Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients sector. The Roadmap outlines key actions that will help the sector reach its goals in a strategic manner, including supplying the ingredients for 10 per cent of the global plant-based food products by 2035. Initiated by Protein Industries Canada and developed with input and feedback from industry representatives from across Canada, the Sector Roadmap was developed based on the needs and capabilities of companies, organizations, academics and researchers across the country. It prioritizes a collaborative approach to advancing the sector, particularly in the areas of innovation, scale-up and prosperity. “Our sector is on the edge of an incredible opportunity, but it will take a coordinated effort to achieve it,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “We believe that by 2035, Canada can expect upwards of $25 billion a year in annual sales from plantbased food, feed and ingredients. To put that in perspective, right now we generate about $3 billion in sales, not including canola crush and wheat milling. The Sector Roadmap outlines the ideal outcomes and recommended actions necessary to help get us there, while highlighting how our sector can build on its strengths to achieve our goals and those of Canada as a whole.” The actions outlined in the Sector Roadmap will help guide the continued growth of Canada’s ecosystem, ensuring it is positioned to meet

Statistics Canada released its latest principal field crop estimates September 14 which showed that Canadian farm operators are projected to produce more corn for grain in 2021, but less wheat, canola, barley, soybeans and oats than in 2020. Production has largely been driven by ongoing drought conditions in western Canada. Nationally, canola production is expected to fall 34.4 per cent to

“Singin’ in the Grain” Virtual Concert Scheduled Since 2011 the ‘Singin’ in the Grain’ committee has organized annual fundraising concerts to support the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the concert became a virtual event in 2020. This year, the concert will again be a virtual event which you can enjoy in the comfort of your home. Michelle Sawatzky of Golden West Radio will emcee this musical event featuring three sets of talented musical guests who have offered their time and talents for you to enjoy in an hour of outstanding music. The Quonset Brothers from Winkler are back by popular demand. Quattro Grani is a quartet from Winnipeg featuring Matt Pauls, James Magnus-Johnston,

Nolan Kehler, and Mike Wiebe. The musical duo of Kim Thiessen and Darryl Neustaedter Barg round out a lineup of wonderful musical talent. All donations will go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for Mennonite Central Committee’s agricultural programs in Haiti, a country that has been devastated by numerous disasters over the years and as recent as the earthquake this past August. This development work will improve food security in Haiti in years to come. Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 16 at 8 pm. You’ll find more information, including the link to the virtual concert at

The Road to $25 Billion is a 15-year plan to help guide the continued growth of Canada’s Plant-Based Food, Feed and Ingredient ecosystem.

global demand for healthy and sustainable plant-based food options. By focusing on continued innovation, supporting the scale-up of production and ensuring Canadian organizations can prosper, the Roadmap will help meet some of society’s most pressing issues including climate change, food security and health, while also creating jobs and driving economic growth for Canada. “The opportunity for plantbased foods is set to explode, with the global market expected to be worth at least $250 billion CAD by 2035,” Greuel said. “Over the past three years, Protein Industries Canada, in collaboration with our partners, has made significant progress with more than $400 million already invested, but we are only just getting started. Countries all over the world are racing to scale-up production to become the global leader and claim their stake. Canada has to take advan-

tage of our many strengths to claim our place atop the podium, but we must act quickly and strategically.” To help guide implementation and advancement of the Roadmap, Protein Industries Canada and its partners have established an advisory committee. This committee is made up of industry leaders from across the value chain and beyond. Members of the advisory committee currently includes Martin Scanlon with the University of Manitoba and Greg Cherewyk with Pulse Canada based in Winnipeg. The Road to $25 Billion is a 15-year plan to help guide the continued growth of Canada’s Plant-Based Food, Feed and Ingredient ecosystem. Over the next year, the Roadmap will continue to be refined and rolled out, with next steps coming including the setting of benchmarks and targets, implementations of actions and more on advice from the Advisory Committee.

StatsCan Sees More Grain for Corn, Much Less Canola By Elmer Heinrichs

September 30, 2021

12.8 million tonnes this year, as drought conditions on the Prairies drove yields to their lowest level in a decade. If this happens this will be the lowest canola production since 2010. In Manitoba, yield is expected to fall 21.3 per cent to 32.6 bushels per acre with harvested area remaining about the same. Nationally, corn for grain production is projected to increase 5.9 per cent to 14.4 million tonnes in 2021, with yields anticipated to

rise 7.8 per cent to 165.4 bushels per acre. Meanwhile, harvested area is expected to fall slightly to 3.4 million acres. In Manitoba, soybean production is projected to decrease 22.2 per cent to 905,000 tonnes in 2021. Harvested area is expected to increase 13.5 per cent to 1.3 million acres. However, yields are projected to fall 31.4 per cent year over year to 25.6 bushels per acre due to dry conditions here.

Three sets of talented musical guests have offered their time and talents for you to enjoy in an hour of outstanding music. Submitted photo



September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

The AgriPost

Alberta Hog Farmers Form WHE in Response to Pricing by Packers By Harry Siemens There’s a group of hog producers in Alberta that wants to squeeze packers for even better prices. Brent Bushell, the general manager at Western Hog Exchange Inc. (WHE) in Edmonton, AB said the news is travelling. “You hear our reputation. But granted, with what we were doing when we started, some people didn’t like us and maybe even today, by many processors,” said Bushell. “And part of that is, very simply, without sounding aggressive, is we’re standing up to them. I mean, we spent ten years before going to them and asking, begging, pleading, whining, discussing for a share of value, and they wouldn’t do it.” The WHE took a different tack from a pure business perspective with the knowledge that processors needed the hogs. “We’re going to send our hogs to the highest payer,” said Bushell. “I mean its business 101 and the first reason is that we’ve created some instability with their supply.” He said people know what is happening in Alberta and Saskatchewan but not so much further east since it takes time for news to travel. “And the sole reason for doing this is because we think honestly that the best model is to have processors and producers working together, sharing in the value of the pork, and sharing in both the profits and the losses within the industry, and together working to take other export markets around the world. So that’s what we believe,” said Bushell.

Bushell is also not sure what processors believe. He said that if processors continue down the road with broken pricing formulas, as in western Canada, they will come to a crossroads and he thinks they are there right now. “They have to either work with producers and pay more in share or build all the barns and raise all the hogs themselves because producers don’t have the bank account or the intestinal fortitude to continue and lose money,” he said. “So they’re just not going to do it.” He noted that producers have five ways to squeeze processors and that is their choice because the WHE does not pick. One way is to lobby Alberta Pork for a single-desk system like Quebec and return to the way it was he said. Alberta Pork has taken that on but it would be a tough thing to achieve said Bushell. On the supply side he said there are four ways to reduce the number of hogs going in. Number one is that producers can convert their operation from a finishing operation or a farrow-to-finish operation to Isoweans and ship into the US. Number two is to temporarily close the barn, although it is not like a light switch to turn it off and turn on, but maybe there better timing such as when repairs are scheduled or simply looking at depopulation. The third way according to some producers is to build a slaughter plant and get into vertical integration. He said if processors are raising hogs, maybe producers should be slaughtering too.

A group of farmers known as Western Hog Exchange Inc. gains reputation by standing up to processers and pricing setting practices after spending ten years begging and pleading for a share of value, said Brent Bushell the general manager. Submitted photo

The fourth method is a program called production reduction that takes a normal cycle in hog production with roughly six to eight months of the year where producers do not make money, and that is based on just global supply and demand. Then, the other months depending on how the market goes, they can make money. “Producers on average make money five months of the year and losing money seven months of the year, and hoping that the money they make in five months is enough to cover the holes created in the seven months,” said Bushell. Recently about a dozen WHE producers cut back up to 25 per cent of their market hogs by the third week in October that provided fewer hogs to the processor. There were two reasons the group did this. The first was because they did not know if they would make any money at that time of year. Secondly is it was to get processors to sit down and negotiate with producers on what a fair value is.

And again, hog price stability is the processors’ Achilles’ heel he said. “Given the high feed costs, I think they’re going to hit one out of the ballpark this year,” he said. These producers only fed 75 per cent of their hogs until the middle of October and sold the other 25 per cent of the feed, if they have it, to other people, and with the high feed costs, make more money that way, rather than putting it in a pig and not making any money, explained Bushell. While only in its first year and no final numbers yet they did it because of wanting change. “The industry wasn’t healthy and isn’t healthy the way it is,” he said. “So they’re looking at different ways of getting that discussion. When we talk about aggressively pushing packers, I guess that’s as aggressive as you can get because you’re taking away the number of hogs they have. So, it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it, but those are the five options that we’ve thrown out there.”

CFA Welcomes New Liberal Minority Government The Canadian Federation of Agriculture congratulates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and welcomes the Liberal party back into office. “The Canadian Agriculture sector can be a powerful economic engine for Canada’s recovery and an impactful ally in the fight against climate change. Food production must be a key priority for the government, regardless of political ideology. CFA looks forward

to working with all parties to help the Canadian Agriculture sector thrive, and help deliver these benefits to all Canadians,” said CFA President Mary Robinson. “We also welcome all new Members of Parliament and those returning. We look forward to working with them to help raise the profile of Canadian Agriculture and generate greater awareness regarding the critical role Canadian Agriculture plays, economically, environmen-

tally and socially,” Robinson added. Robinson also noted, “We have many Canadian Agriculture issues that require swift and thoughtful political oversight, ranging from the drought relief in the west to infrastructure investments in rural Canada. We hope that this new government will ensure that our sector is a top priority.” The CFA will be looking to sit down as soon as possible with this new government

and new members of parliament to begin work on various top priorities, including mitigating and adapting to climate change; putting in place a comprehensive labour strategy for Canadian Agriculture and agri-food; ensuring that trade disruptions are rectified; improving risk management programs for Canadian farms and working towards environment policy that supports a thriving and sustainable agriculture sector.

September 30, 2021

Manitoba Harvest into Home Stretch By Elmer Heinrichs Farmers have been making significant progress in harvesting with decent weather and hope to finish the balance of the canola, bean and potatoes, and start on soybeans before moving into sunflowers and grain corn. Harvest completion across all regions has passed 65 per cent, ahead of the five-year average, led by cereals and a significant increase in harvested canola recently. An early harvest coupled with extreme drought stress has pushed harvest earlier for most crops in 2021. Wheat, oats and barley harvest is considered complete with most available cereal straw baled and removed from fields. Many harvested fields were harrowed to distribute crop residue and to stimulate volunteer grain growth. The canola harvest has progressed well and is estimated at 80-90 per cent done with yields ranging from a low of 15 to 50 bu/ac and the quality is good. However canola and flax regrowth has become a harvest issue in some fields. Ripe main stems branching below the crop canopy, is sending up new green growth that is blooming among ripe pods and boils. Some livestock producers are considering ensiling or haying canola as an alternate feed. Soybeans are drying down and harvest has begun with expectations that yields will vary widely depending on seasonal moisture received. And in the dry edible bean harvest reported yields are in the 1,000 to 1,200 lbs/ac range in dryer regions, and up to 1,600 lbs/ac in wetter areas. Dennis Lange, pulse specialist with Manitoba agriculture, said a majority of edible beans will yield in the 1,000 to 1,200 lb/ac range, with soybeans looking to come in at 25 to 30 bushels an acre. The potato harvest is progressing well with yields from fair to good. The harvest pace is expected to quicken now that stands have reached the proper maturity stage. Grain corn seed filling has slowed, corn vegetation is drying down with yield expectations overall continue to be below average. There is some interest in taking it for grain to address feed shortage. Sunflower fields are relatively short from the prolonged dry conditions. As plants matured seed filling benefitted from the improved soil moisture, and desiccation of mature fields has begun. Eastern regions report rapid progress with harvesting, fieldwork and the seeding of winter cereals. Seeding of fall rye and winter wheat into canola stubble is about 70 per cent done. Oat yields have been disappointing overall, yield reports range from 50 to 100 bu/ac with 70 bu/ac being average with light bushel weights. The overall quality is below average. The flax harvest is underway with crops affected by drought drying down first, and below average yields are expected given how poorly the crop handled drought stress. Field tillage is picking up pace with the favourable topsoil moisture. Soil sampling continues on harvested fields with elevated residual nitrogen reported in general. Manure application to fields is ongoing as harvest progresses. Perennial weed regrowth is favoured by moist topsoil conditions. Recent rains and cooler conditions have improved pasture and forage conditions significantly. Extra straw is being baled for livestock feed, and some annual grain crops are being put to alternate use as silage and feed, with some grain corn also switched to silage. Second-cut alfalfa and pastures are re-growing well so there’ll be an adequate second cut for hay later close to frost. Recent rains are providing fall grazing and are helping corn to fill but overall winter feed supplies remain short.



September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

The AgriPost

September 30, 2021

Be Aware of Cultural Differences When Hiring Foreign Workers By Harry Siemens Tina Varughese, a professional speaker and trainer and owner of tWorks in Calgary, encouraged pork sector employers who hire foreign farm workers to be aware of how cultural differences can influence communications. Since 2008, her company has been highly focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. She has also managed the immigration office for the province of Alberta, ran a relocation and settlement company with ex-pats coming from all over the world and has a good, strong understanding of cultural differences, opportunities and challenges. Varughese said factors including increased farm size and challenges sourcing labour locally have pork sector employers seeking foreign farm workers. Many of these farms are increasingly reliant on foreign workers who come from all over the world with differing values. “Employers need to recognize the communication styles will differ with people coming from different countries. For example, if it’s Ukraine, they tend to be direct; employees from the Philippines tend to be indirect in their communication style.” Recognizing what that means as an employer when offering feedback to a worker and how that feedback could shame, blame or embarrass instead of helping to engage an employee is important. The aim is to have foreign workers live at these farms and become part of the community. Many foreign workers who move to smaller rural centres tend to stay and become part

Tina Varughese, a professional speaker and trainer with tWorks in Calgary, encourages pork sector employers who hire foreign farm workers to be aware of how cultural differences can influence communications.

of the community and its economic growth, explained Varughese. In larger centres like Toronto, Calgary or Montreal, there are more migration patterns with immigrants. When they become part of that community they are more willing to stay, which will assist with the growth of those farms continued Varughese. She said pork sector employers should do their research on cultural differences. “That doesn’t necessarily mean changing the farm but allows adapting,” said Varughese. “In terms of the pork industry, I’ve spoken at several agriculture conferences, mostly because of the changing landscape of agriculture and how Ag firms source labour to increase productivity and profitability.” She said that there is a different face to who owns those pig farms from family-run farms handed down to children to what it is now. Some of the children are not keen on taking over those farms. “So to keep them going and grow, farms are starting to outsource labour to foreign

workers,” she said. “I’m hearing that sometimes it’s difficult to find local labour to work in such difficult jobs. And yet they find highly skilled foreign workers here by choice, easy to train in the industry,” said Varughese. “In addition, the industry keeps advancing technologically with many farmers using very high-tech pieces of equipment.” While local people prefer not to work with pigs, many foreigners do. Farmers can use seasonal agriculture exchange visas and find great results with top sourced foreign workers for the pork industry from Mexico, the Philippines, Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, and Ukraine she said. Looking at how it compares to the top source immigrant countries currently coming into Canada, there are potentially new Canadians already here from the Philippines that might be great workers she noted. She said that anyone interested in more information can attend the workshop,”50 shades of beige”, which is up for discussion at the Saskatchewan Pork Industry

Symposium 2021 in November in Saskatoon. “It’s essential to come from a place of curious compassion and not jaded judgment,” she said. “As today’s world gets more polarized it’s important to go from a place of understanding, curiosity and listening.” For more information Varughese also writes a monthly blog and newsletter at

Varughese said factors including increased farm size and challenges sourcing labour locally have pork sector employers seeking foreign farm workers. Many of these farms are increasingly reliant on foreign workers who come from all over the world with differing values. Photos coutesy of Tina Varughese

Farmfair Returns with Largest Cattle Show Prize Purse in Canada Farmfair International, one of Canada’s top agricultural shows is returning to the Edmonton EXPO Centre November 10 to 13, 2021, bringing with it the highest prize purse in the country, of more than $300,000. “Farmfair is back and there is more interest and excitement than ever before,”

said Leah Jones, Director, Farmfair International. From genetics and livestock, western entertainment and programming, Farmfair International has been one of Canada’s top agricultural shows for more than 45 years. The event puts on the largest beef cattle show in Alberta, hosting numerous

purebred breed shows, a bull pen show and commercial cattlemen’s day, and the Alberta Supreme which all showcase the world-class genetics that are exhibited here each year. “Farmfair provides an exceptional and vital business platform and connection for producers, commercial cattlemen and industry stake-

holders in the beef industry,” said Jones. “In addition to top quality livestock and genetics, visitors can experience and enjoy a wide variety of western excitement including stock dog trials, the Heritage Ranch Rodeo, and more.” To learn more about Farmfair International visit

Farmer’s Almanac Arrives with White-andWet Winter Forecast The 2022 Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition is now available and comes with a nationwide warning for this winter that Canadians should be prepared to “Weather the Storms.” According to the latest edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition, this winter will be punctuated by a series of storms leaving Canadians snowed in, sleeted on, slushed about, soaked, and otherwise generally soggy. “This coming winter won’t be remarkable in terms of temperature, but for our Canadian friends who just want to dry out, it will be a long season indeed,” said Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition. For 230 years, the Almanac has been helping readers to prepare for winter’s worst with its 80 percent–accurate weather forecasts. Whether snow, sleet, or rain arrives will depend on location, location, location! Snowfall will be above normal from western Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec out through northern Ontario and the northern Prairies and into Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. A series of backto-back storms from mid-December to late January could leave Atlantic Canada snowed under for several weeks. With slightly above-average temperatures throughout the season in all but the northernmost portions of the Prairies, winter storm clouds may sometimes bring rain or freezing rain across the nation’s midsection. However, this does not mean that snow is completely out of the forecast. Major snowstorms are predicted for the Prairies in late November, mid-January, and early March. This winter’s white-and-wet forecast will see colderthan-average temperatures from western Quebec into southern Ontario. While storms throughout the season are expected to bring plenty of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and flurries, snowfall itself will be below average overall. The only place in Canada that won’t have many storms to weather is British Columbia, which should expect below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures throughout the season. In addition to its much-anticipated weather forecasts, The Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition is known for being “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor.” Highlights from the 2022 Almanac include a look behind the scenes at the historic 1972 “hockey summit” between Canada and the Soviet Union. Spies, steaks, and unruly fans played a surprisingly important role. Gardening tips for growing a rainbow of dahlias or a patch of pumpkins (hint: the bumpier the skin, the sweeter the taste!), plus how to make scents of potpourri. The 2022 edition also contains recipes that make the most of the season, along with award-winning dishes and desserts that use five or fewer ingredients. Dispatches from small farmers, including how they fared during 2020 and continue to diversify for the future are also reported on. Another feature is the art and science of animal tracking, plus how to read Mother Nature’s signs to choose a fishing spot. All this awaits in the 2022 Almanac, along with stories about gargantuan hail and whether it is becoming more common; a “trivial” tour along the Trans-Canada Highway; an examination of teeth, from cradle to grave; unique tourist locations that let visitors get up close to saints, war heroes, and even Roy Rogers’s horse; 2022 home and lifestyle trends; and so much more! The 2022 Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition is available for just $7.99 wherever books and magazines are sold. Prospective readers are encouraged to buy from independent retailers whenever possible and can find a full list of stores where the book is available at Digital copies of The 2022 Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition are available at, while print copies can be found at the web stores of local retailers and



September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

Sharing a Family Tradition

By Brenda Hunter For Lacey Marshall of Rapid City, her parents’ influence, her own grit and determination, and the excitement to share a family tradition with her own daughter are ultimately the reasons why she began sewing western shirts back in 2018. It has since turned into a full-blown business with her “Wildflower Stitchin” brand of custommade shirts. “My Mom made all of our rodeo shirts when my sisters

and I were young,” recalled Marshall fondly. “I thought it would be really cool if I could do the same for my daughter.” While her mom, Kathy, was an accomplished seamstress, she never had the chance to pass down the art to Lacey. Marshall’s mom passed away on September 24, 2015, after a lengthy battle with cancer. This followed on the heels of Dad; Terry Marshall’s sudden passing in January of the same year.

Her Dad was none other than Terry Marshall, wellknown area cowboy and former NHL draft pick of the St. Louis Blues whose claim to fame at the end of his hockey career, was appearing as an extra in the movie ‘Slap Shot’ with the legendary Paul Newman. Following his retirement from hockey, Marshall took to the rodeo arena, participating regularly in rodeos across the prairies, first as a competitor and then as a pick-up man.

In their short time here on earth, her parents had equipped Marshall’s toolbox well. Having been born into an equine/rodeo family, Marshall had learned early on the toughness, perseverance, work ethic, passion and sense of community that comes with the sport of rodeo. Three years after their passing, Marshall became a mother herself. While on maternity leave in September of 2018, she decided to do a deep clean of her house in

Lacey Marshall has sold her one-of-a-kind shirts to women involved in the sport of rodeo and the equine industry in general, in all three Prairie Provinces, BC and the US.

anticipation of returning to work as a hairdresser. “I came across this bag of fabric,” Marshall lamented. “And it was fabric that my mom and I had bought (together). She was (always) going to teach me how to make my own western shirts.” Her mind was suddenly in a tailspin, her grief was real and raw, and this nostalgic discovery brought everything to the surface once again. “All my emotions were going crazy, I was having a really hard time,” she expressed. “Missing my mom and not having her see my little girl grow up.” It was in that moment that Marshall decided to teach herself how to sew western shirts, just like her mother had. “I told myself, enough with this sadness, and I turned it into something beautiful and positive!” beamed Marshall proudly. She took a leap of faith, and literally jumped in with both feet. She watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to sew, and pieced together some questionable shirts in the weeks that followed as she figured things out. However, her Mama and Daddy had instilled that ‘never quit’ attitude, and she persisted until she got it right. And when she did, she realized the satisfaction and sense of pride for a job well done that her mom had reveled in all those years ago when she had lovingly

sewed western shirts for her girls. “I made about ten shirts before I posted something on social media,” she admitted. And when she did, word began to spread, well, like wildflowers, and her on-line business was born. “In December [2018] I got my first order and oh man, I was so scared. Was it going to fit, was it going to be good enough, .was she going to like it; but so exciting!” The caring and creativity that she puts into every stitch started to pay off. “I didn’t think that this would become such an amazing opportunity,” said Marshall overwhelmingly. Since then, Marshall has sold her one-of-a-kind shirts to women involved in the sport of rodeo and the equine industry in general, in all three Prairie Provinces, BC and the US. “I try my very best to not make the same shirt twice!” said Marshall about the uniqueness of her product. “I love that each one is different in some way and I love picking out colors and prints to match someone’s (individual) personality.” September 24 represents six years since her mother’s passing. “She is the reason I believed in myself enough to start doing this!” said Marshall in a Facebook post. “My mama is an inspiration to me every day and in every shirt I make!”

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They’re Not Just for Show

Don Penner poses with a McCormick W-4 while other tractors work on tilling in the background.

By Myriam Dyck A classic tractor demo day was held on September 22nd near Steinbach. Six classic tractors were put into service tilling a field beside the highway. The pop-up event was well attended between word of mouth and people stopping from the highway because

of the sign. Spectators were offered lunch and got to enjoy the beautiful fall weather while enjoying the sights and sounds of days gone by. Don Penner of Benner Holsteins was one of the organizers. Several of the Penner brothers have restored tractors and enjoy displaying them.

“We didn’t really know when it would be,” said Don. “We looked at the weather forecast yesterday and decided it would be today because it looked like it would be nice. We called up a couple of guys, and they called a couple of guys, and somehow more tractors showed up!”

Several branches and generations of the Penner family with their classic tractors after work was completed.

Photos by Myriam Dyck

The Penner family have participated in these demo days with their classic tractors in the past, but it has been several years since one was held. The field was tilled in short order and several generations of the family took the opportunity to get a good photo with the tractors once the work was completed.

September 30, 2021

Seed Kits Link Manitoba Students to Agriculture The governments of Canada and Manitoba are providing $84,000 for Ag in the Classroom–Manitoba (AITC-M) to develop a Manitoba Seed Kit. The Manitoba Seed Kit will engage students in learning about the top cereal, oil, specialty and pulse crops grown in Manitoba. Each Manitoba Seed Kit will feature seed samples from 15 crops commonly grown in the province, as well as lesson plans for teachers linked to grades 3 to 6. Some of the crops included are barley, canola, sunflowers, wheat, soybeans and wild rice. In addition, the kits will include activities that expand the learning opportunities to other subjects such as math, social studies, health and science, and responds to the demand for hands-on learning resources that link students to agriculture in fun, curriculum-oriented ways. “This is an excellent vehicle to connect students to agriculture and show how it is ingrained into their everyday lives,” said Sue Clayton, executive director of AITC-M. “We are so grateful to receive this funding to help create these kits, which will ultimately increase agriculture literacy in more than 20,000 students each year. These students are Manitoba’s future consumers, customers and decision-makers.” The Manitoba Seed Kit will be available in English and French. It will be a foundational resource for AITC-M that will allow for other activities and learning opportunities to be added in as the program grows. The completed kits will also include a seed-related book and will be distributed by industry volunteers in Manitoba as part of AITC-M’s annual Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM) program in March 2022.



September 30, 2021

Prairie Innovation Centre Receives Substantial Donation Assiniboine’s Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture is welcoming a $500,000 donation from a Westman-born agricultural staple, Mazergroup. “Mazergroup continues to have a long history of cooperation with the college for training our people, so this funding commitment just feels right,” said Bob Mazer, president and CEO of Mazergroup. “Assiniboine is a great school with great staff and facilities, and we are proud to be partners in working toward a better future in agriculture.” The Prairie Innovation Centre will enable more unique work-integrated learning opportunities, applied research projects and industry innovation. The Centre is Assiniboine’s vision for the future of agriculture in Manitoba, and will address industry and economic needs in this important sector. “Our college has a critical role in ensuring there are people trained and ready to step into careers in the growing agriculture sector. The Prairie Innovation Centre will answer the call, arming agriculture in Manitoba with a skilled labour force,” said Mark Frison, president of Assiniboine. “Industry support and partnership is key to advancing a project like this. Mazergroup is an important part of the agriculture industry and of the Westman community. I look forward to continuing to work with them toward common goals, and I thank them for this strong show of support.” In Manitoba, it’s projected that one in five jobs in agriculture will go unfilled by 2025. For Mazergroup, the largest New Holland dealer group in North America, this is notable. The Prairie Innovation Centre is Assiniboine’s made-in-Manitoba solution. “Human resources are the most difficult piece, but also the backbone of a business like ours,” said Mazer, who is an honorary co-chair of the Prairie Innovation Centre campaign. “Most Mazergroup employees have some link to Assiniboine, and that’s a big reason why we decided to contribute to the Prairie Innovation Centre project. Dozens of our staff have made better lives for themselves and their families because of the training and education they received at Assiniboine.” Mazer, a past chair of the college’s Board of Governors and recipient of an honorary diploma has a history of supporting college students and programs. Mazergroup provides an entrance award each year to students in both the Agriculture Equipment Technician and Heavy Duty Technician programs, and has loaned agricultural equipment to these programs for hands-on learning opportunities. “Agriculture is a crucial contributor to the Manitoba economy,” said Frison. “Working with local industry is key to ensuring this sector can reach its full potential.” The Prairie Innovation Centre, which aims to expand seats in agriculture-related programming from 300 to more than 800, will be located at Assiniboine’s North Hill campus in Brandon. Assiniboine Community College has more than 3,600 students, and campuses in Brandon, Dauphin and Winnipeg. Assiniboine provides comprehensive educational opportunities throughout Manitoba. The college also partners with many communities and organizations across the province to deliver customized education and training. Assiniboine’s annual provincial economic impact is $612 million.

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The Value of Dried Distillers’ Grains in Beef Cattle Diets

By Peter Vitti

Corn dried distillers’ grains with soluble (DDGS) have drawn a lot attention among beef producers across western Canada. That’s because a lack of good quality forages caused by one of the worst droughts in years as well as high grain/protein-concentrate prices has created an easy choice for feeding such a nutritious supplement to cattle. And it doesn’t stop there. DDGS has good economic value, which is based its nutrients as compared to other feedstuffs. Much of which can help keep cost of feeding beef cattle; down in our present challenging markets. Consequently, I always remind myself that DDGS are not an unavailable or exotic feed ingredient, but is simply common grain corn in which its large starch component (65% by weight) is removed and later fermented to make ethanol. For example: one bushel of grain corn (56 lbs.) yields 2.8 US gallons of ethanol and about 18 lbs. of dried DDGS. This causes about every fermented grain corn component in DDGS to literary triple; 8 - 9% crude protein

in grain corn is now 27 -28 in dried DDGS and 0.35% phosphorus is now about 1.0%. Similar 3X increases can be found in its fat levels, which when combined with its digestible fibre fractions makes corn distillers’ grain equal to the dietary energy of grain corn or 75% TDN, dmi basis. In addition, the transformation of corn into DDGS retains the grain’s great palatability, which in the latter still contributes to good overall cattle feed consumption. Therefore, when DDGS is fed as a viable dietary energy source for cattle, it can fully or partially replace corn (or barley). It can also do the same thing, when it is used as a 28% protein ingredient, and thus replace canola meal in the same diets. As a bonus, it is favoured economically, which can significantly lower the overall feed costs. That’s because the current price of corn is about $ 420/mt and canola meal (35% CP) is about $400/mt as compared to $350/mt for a truckload of DDGS. The possible cost savings in an early-gestation brood cow diet, a backgrounder-

grower ration and a 120-day finisher diet are illustrated in Table 1 below (Note – barley was not fed due to its current high price of $460/mt and lack of general availability). The largest cost difference lies within the brood cow diet (55% TDN, 9%), because lower cost DDGS fully replaced both corn and canola meal as both an energy and protein source. The cost difference within the backgrounder and finisher diets might have been similar, but not as prominent due to a partial replacement with DDGS. That’s because I limit DDGS in all three rations to 25% (dmi, basis) and by coincidence, the brood cow diet could accept a full DDGS replacement. My DDGS feeding limits are in-line with those of many beef nutritionists - due to DDGS’s high sulfur content that may reach up to 1.5%. So, I did not exceed a maximum tolerable sulfur level of 0.4%, which has been linked to potential health problems in cattle, notably: a high incidence of polioencephalomalacia (brain disorder), decreased feed intake, poor feed efficiency, and copper deficiencies.

High quality DDGS are a very nutritious and palatable feedstuff for beef cattle.

Other excessive DDGS feeding has been associated calcium ration imbalances (re: DDGS are high in phosphorus) as well as feeding too much DDGS might contribute to reduced meat shelflife, cherry-red meat color in premium meat-cuts (ribeye) and off-flavours. Still, high quality DDGS are a very nutritious and palatable feedstuff for beef cattle. Its cost saving potential as a replacement for more expensive feed ingredients in beef diets is maximized when its nutrients, namely dietary energy and protein are fully utilized. With the volatility of our grain/oilseed prices, and the widespread availability of DDGS, producers should consider formulating DDGS into their beef rations and enjoy its economic savings.

Table 1

Keeping the Herd Genetics Intact By Les Kletke “We came through the summer better than some of our neighbours,” said Scot Morrison when asked about what the hot dry summer did to his beef herd. “We had a lot of pasture and were fortunate enough to have enough grass.” While many beef producers in the southwestern part of the province are faced with the option of selling some of their herd or have already done so Morrison is confident that he will keep his herd intact and is already thinking about next spring’s calving season. “We have to be concerned

about the condition of the cows and while we did have enough feed for them the cows are not in is as good condition as we would like to see when they come to pasture in the fall,” he said. His marketing will be about where they normally are though although he might sell a few extra calves. “We would normally keep a few more females to raise as replacement heifers but that wouldn’t happen this year just because we will end up with higher feed costs through the winter,” said Morrison. “We have a fairly young herd and they will get a year older.” He said that his long term

plan of raising his own replacements and adding to his herd will likely be put on hold for this year. “We know we are luckier than most in having enough feed, but we also know that we are going to be tight on feed and this is not the time to add extra animals to our herd for winter feeding,” he said. Auction markets in southwestern Manitoba and the interlake opened earlier than usual to accommodate producers selling some of their cattle that would come to market in the fall run which would have started 6 weeks later. “We are able to keep our

herd and the genetics in place,” said Morrison. “Some fellows were forced into selling off their breeding cows and in some cases that means years of genetic that they have put into cattle.” Morrison said it is not a matter of selling cows and buying some back in a year or two. “You want cows that will work in your system and that means cows that you know and have selected, it is not just a matter of going to the market and buying a group of cows next year,” he explained. “Their genetics might be good but they are not the animals for your system.”

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Breeding Beetle Resistant Potatoes About 65,000 acres of potatoes are grown in Manitoba. With Canadians consuming approximately 850,000 metric tons a year and a vast export market for fresh, frozen French fries and seed potatoes, it is a key facet of the vegetable economy. But farmers growing potatoes face many challenges. One tiny, yet devastating, pest is the Colorado potato beetle. It can cause immense damage to potato crops. It’s also notorious for becoming resistant to chemical insecticides. In a new study researchers describe genetic tools to develop potato varieties with improved natural resistance to the potato bug. They also developed key genetic resources called recombinant inbred lines that will aid in breeding new potato varieties. The Colorado potato beetle can devastate potato production. But some wild relatives of the domesticated potatoes have natural defenses against these beetles. These wild plants make their own beetle-killing compounds. “Some of these compounds can kill Colorado potato beetle larvae,” said Natalie Kaiser, lead author of the study. “These compounds also dramatically reduce adult beetle feeding.” However consuming large amounts of these compounds can have adverse health effects in humans. While beetles chomp on potato leaves, humans obviously do not. “So, it is desirable to create potato varieties that make these anti-beetle compounds only in their leaves,” said Kaiser, a researcher at Michigan State University. But generating this beetle-resistant variety of potato has been a challenge of many layers.

Study author Natalie Kaiser crossbreeding potatoes that have strong Colorado potato beetle resistance to potatoes with good tuber production in the greenhouse. She is using small forceps to select the male part Photo by Natalie Kaiser of the flower, the anthers.

One challenge is testing potato varieties for beetle resistance. Field trials can take months if not years. They can also be costly and resource intensive. Kaiser and colleagues developed a research shortcut. They compared the chemical profile of hundreds of individual potatoes with their resistance to the Colorado potato beetle in the field. “We found chemical signatures that could predict resistance to Colorado potato beetles,” said Kaiser. “Breeders can select resistant potatoes with a simple chemical measurement instead of having to conduct field trials.” This method could save time and money. Another obstacle in breeding beetle resistant potatoes is the sheer amount of genetic information breeders need. “There are several genes controlling the types and amounts of anti-beetle compounds that any given potato variety will produce,” said Kaiser. It is challenging to track all those genes during

breeding. Potato breeders also have to keep in mind other traits, like yields and tuber appearance. “There are approximately 40 important traits to consider when developing a new potato variety,” said Kaiser. “Assembling the right combination of genes controlling all these traits is crucial.” This process is complicated by the fact that potato varieties often have four copies of every gene. Potato is not the only crop to have multiple gene copies, which is called polyploidy. Having four copies of each gene can make potato genetics complicated, according to Kaiser. “Each of the four copies can be a different version of the gene,” she said. One way around the fourcopies problem is to use potato varieties that naturally only have two copies of each gene. Humans, like most animals have two copies of every gene, one each from male and female parents. This is called diploid. But many of diploid potato varieties are self-incompati-

ble. “This means that a plant will not set fruit and seed when a flower is pollinated with its own pollen,” said Kaiser. This reproductive barrier makes breeding very challenging. Kaiser and her team developed diploid potatoes that are self-compatible. Through this process Kaiser and her team discovered that multiple genes and the environment determine whether some potatoes can produce self-fruit and seed. The new potato varieties and genetic tools will allow researchers to “examine the genetic foundations of selffertility, and insect and disease resistance,” said Kaiser. “This way, we can create new potato varieties that were previously infeasible,” says Kaiser. Researchers at Michigan State University are extending this research in field trials this summer. “We will screen new potato varieties for individuals that have good tuber characteristics along with beetle resistance,” said Kaiser.

CFGB Fields Near Harvest Completion By Elmer Heinrichs Gordon Janzen, regional representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) said, “We had 38 active growing projects this year and all but five have now been harvested.” “Most growing projects have enjoyed better yields than they expected. A couple of projects suffered badly from the drought especially those in sandy soil locations,”

said Janzen. “Wheat was the most common growing project crop. There was huge variability with wheat yields as they ranged from around 15 to 70 bu/acre. Canola yields were less than average, and soybeans have yet to be harvested.” Looking back over the year, Janzen said, “During mid-summer I heard from many farmers that they were anxious about their crops be-

cause of the heat and the very dry weather.” “But then in August most of the province was blessed with some general rain showers which really helped some of the crops to fill out,” added Janzen. “While yields vary a lot across the province, we are thankful for each of these growing projects and pleasantly surprised with some of the harvest yields and for the

generally good prices,” concluded Janzen. For many local CFGB grow project groups, harvest day is one of celebration, excitement and community as volunteers typically gather for a noon meal before heading out to take off a crop. Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 church and church-based agencies working together to end global hunger.

September 30, 2021

Pilot Program Launched to Improve Plant-Based Proteins Farmers Edge Inc., a global leader in digital agriculture, and Merit Functional Foods (Merit) have launched a pilot program aimed at improving the production, quality, traceability, and marketing opportunities of Canadian protein crops. Merit is a Canadian producer of non-GMO pea protein and is first to market in the world with non-GMO canola protein. The new program will improve the efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness of the ingredients produced by Merit, thereby increasing returns for growers and creating a reliable food supply to meet an increasing demand. Plant-based eating is on the rise globally, and the market for plant proteins continues to grow rapidly. Over 240 foodtech companies received funding in the first quarter of this year, and a recent report indicates that the industry hit a total value of $35.6 billion in 2020, and that value is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This partnership will leverage the power of connected field sensors and big data analytics to create a high-tech solution that enhances predictive modeling, digital traceability, and connectivity within the agrifood supply chain. The pilot’s marketing element will focus on matching buyers to producers, executing contracts, and searching out or monitoring regulatory and other standards. A fully digitized, streamlined process makes it easy for producers to participate in the program and access higher-value global markets, which leads to increased farm income. As the demand for plant protein rises, so does the demand for transparency in the market and the ability to trace the origin of foods back to the farm. Traceability audits have gone from a one-page checklist to a binder of paperwork to verify crop production data. Farmers Edge provides a comprehensive digital platform that includes crop types, plant dates, applications, predicted yields, harvested yields, historical practices, and other field data. This information is automatically stored in an organized, secure, and consistent format, where traceability becomes a clearcut process. Farmers Edge growers can diversify their portfolio of market opportunities to meet the evolving needs of consumers, and food companies can more easily source top-quality ingredients with the verified records they need for labelling and marketing. “This new program designed by Farmers Edge is the perfect match for Merit’s plant protein ingredient solutions,” said Dan Kraft, VP of Operations for Merit. “We can source the highest quality, non-GMO ingredients for our customers, while rewarding growers for their modern farming practices. The transparency of this platform provides food companies and consumers with assurance that their food was produced in a way that meets regulatory standards and best aligns with their values and expanded expectations.” “This collaboration with Merit adds another layer of value to digital adoption,” said Wade Barnes, Farmers Edge CEO and Founder. “As a farmer myself, I know how much effort is required to meet increasing demands for transparency and traceability. Our unique infrastructure equips growers with tools to manage data digitally, to track applications automatically, and to generate reports more effortlessly. Consumers can easily track the food on their plate back to the farm that it came from, and that provides peace of mind.”



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September 30, 2021

Well-Balanced Dairy Replacement Heifer Feeding Programs are Necessary

It’s a Wild Ride in Commodities

By Les Kletke Hold on to your hat, the wild ride in the commodity prices is not over yet. It seems that producers have been able to take advantage of a run up in commodity prices this last year. Ed Shearer a commodity analyst in North Dakota said that producers should be in a position to price some of this year’s production if they have not already done so but the key is to be ready to sell some when the prices provide a good return. “You are not going to hit the top of the market and sell your entire crop,” he said. “You can drive yourself crazy trying to do that and worse when you realize that you could have got more for a crop that you sold.” Shearer explained that he was inundated with calls from clients who felt they had priced their crop to early when prices rose over the summer. “You cannot be looking back at what could have been,” he said. “Have a handle on what your real costs are and the amount you need to stay in business when you sell above that you will be in business in the future. You cannot be looking back at what could have been.” He suggested that time is better spent calculating what your actual cost of production is rather than thinking about, how much money you could have made. “We are going to see commodity prices continue this wild ride,” he said. “Get into a position where you know what your costs are and decide to sell some crop when those levels are met. Then you can speculate with the rest of your crop.” He said most producers do think they are market speculators and would prefer not to be called that. “Speculating is exactly what you are doing when you are holding unpriced commodities,” said Shearer. “That can be a good thing when prices go up as they did this summer. The market is going to remain volatile and you want to be in a position to take advantage of that.” Shearer said that while he fields many questions about the movement in commodity prices and when is a good time to sell, he does not offer that advice. “I recommend you know your cost of production, and that varies from farm-to-farm,” he stressed. “Know your cost of production and your comfort level in the market place; those are the biggest factors to consider when pricing your crop.”

Many dairy heifer replacements come out of the calf barn in good shape. That’s because many of them were fed milk and calf-starter diets that supported exceptional growth. Ironically, some of these heifers are not fed well after weaning and this nutrition gap makes them struggle throughout their 1st lactation. Such adverse nutrition can largely be avoided with a little strategy as to what they need really to be fed as youngstock in order to become future and profitable dairy cows. As a dairy nutritionist, I advocate three objectives that are the foundation of most well-balanced replacement heifer diets fed through the next 20 – 22 months. They are: 1. Promote and then maintain good dry matter intake of feed. 2. Achieve a post-weaning heifer growth rate of 1.8 – 2.2 lbs. 3. Body condition score of 3.0 – 3.5 (re: scale of 1 = emaciated and 5 = obese). Consequently, I worked with a 200-cow dairy manager that fed a heifer diet that was literally wet-barley silage mixed with a little protein/mineral concentrate. His newly post-weaned calves struggled with eating enough feed (< 2.5% of bw, dmi), which caused them to remain small by the time that they were bred at 14-months of age. Once this dairy producer realized his mistake, he correctly fed a new group of heifers; a diet of nearly all mixed alfalfa-grass hay, and only would switch them over to a half hay/half silage TMR, when they weighed at least 400 lbs. As a result, these new replacements reached a desired breeding

Table 1

weight of 750 – 800 lbs at the same age as the previous struggling heifers. Such good dry matter intake of well-balanced heifer replacement feed often dovetails into desired post-weaning growth rates of 1.8 - 2.0 lbs per day, and increased to 2.0 - 2.2 lbs after puberty at about 9 - 10 months of age. For those heifers that exceed these limits of gain, research demonstrates that they will often lay down more lean muscle compared to those heifers on a more growthcontrolled program. However, some of these heifers will become fat upon such rapid growth. That is why, I advocate dairy producers should monitor body condition scores (BCS) of all growing heifers at all stages of development. This means that all potential candidates for the future milk-line should not deviate too much from a BCS of 3.0 - 3.5. This is because BCS mirrors how well that we match dietary energy to their post-weaning calf growth. This is particularly important when replacement heifers are getting ready for breeding (show strong estrus cycles) with target bodyweight of the above mentioned 750 - 800 lbs and shoulder height of at least 48” - 49”. Case-in-point - a friend of mine runs 300-dairy cow operation and he achieves the above three goals by setting up three replacement TMR diets. And they do not exceed the following dietary targets, namely: energy level of 66 - 69% TDN (total digestible nutrients), 14 - 16% protein and a compliment of essential minerals and vitamins. The first two post-wean diets support nominal growth rates among the immediate

post-weaned heifers (200 - 400 lbs), and those young heifers to be bred at 13 - 15 months of age (400 - 800 lbs). In the last diet, my friend pulls back the dietary specifications by 10 - 15% to the post-bred animals (800 1350 lbs) in order to maintain a desired BCS until they are about to calve and enter the milk-line at 22 -24 months. These diets for these replacement heifers are illustrated in Table 1 below. My friend’s diets are practical and can be re-formulated, when a particular situation arises. For example, his present 800 - 1,400 lb group would not eat more than 30 lbs. of corn silage, so a couple of lbs. of mixed hay and 0.5 lb of DDGS were added to offset any dietary energy issues.

A while back, the 200 - 400 lbs calves looked a little fleshy for their age, so the producer decreased the amount of corn silage by 3 lbs and increased the mixed alfalfa hay by 1.5 lbs. He even considered adding pea straw, but did not want to challenge good dry matter feed intakes. This is a good demonstration on how well-balanced dairy replacement heifer diets should match the nutrient requirements of healthy and growing dairy heifers. These are the right kind of diets that should give them a head-start on their 1st lactation and underlie many successful lactations, yet to come.

Peter Vitti advocates that all potential candidates for the future milkline should not deviate too much from a Body Condition Score of 3.0 - 3.5 at all stages of development

Well-balanced dairy replacement heifer diets should match the nutrient requirements of healthy and growing dairy heifers. These are the right kind of diets that should give them a head-start on their 1st lactation and underlie many successful lactations, yet to come.

Submitted photos

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The Wild Card is This Year’s Corn Crop By Les Kletke As harvest of the province’s corn crop looms producers are unsure of what they can expect. “Things looked good early in the season,” said TJ Sabourin who farms with his father and uncle near St. Pierre-Jolys. “But then things dried up and the crop did not mature to its potential. We might see an average crop, we might see some well below average, and that could be in the same field.” He said the entire crop this year was close to above average and just as close to a failure. “We see that in some

fields we have an above average crop, but just two miles down the road where a field got less rain it is only about half of an average crop,” said Sabourin. The family has completed their wheat and canola harvest and he rates each crop in the same way, from well below average to a good average. “The crop is going to be the same thing, some fields that got that one extra rain will be good and it might be at the other end of the field we get half the yield,” he said. Southeast Manitoba received well over the average

number of corn heat units this summer and with adequate moisture that would have translated to an above average crop but due to the lack of moisture, it was held back at a critical stage. “There was nothing left in the ground and we did not get a rain at the time the crop was filling, so it will not be a big crop,” he noted. The upturn in commodity prices has helped get their farm through what will be a disappointing crop yield. “We were able to take advantage of some good opportunities through the summer,” he said. “Anyone who

had not priced last year’s crop got some very good returns.” He said it is still too early to estimate corn yields and because of the variation his estimation is only a guess. “When things are consistent we have a pretty good idea on yield but this year it might vary so much from one end of the field to the other, I would not even offer a guess,” said Sabourin. “We are going to start harvest and hopefully we will get a surprise, a pleasant surprise.” He estimated that corn harvest is about two weeks away from starting.

Sesame Study Looks at Genetic Diversity and Temperature Stress Sesame is one of the most versatile crops. Sesame seeds are a reservoir of healthy fats and protein. The oil extracted from sesame seeds is a premium cooking oil. It’s often acknowledged as “the queen of oils” due to its high concentration of antioxidants. According to blogger Gur-

jinder Baath, there are several reasons farmers choose to grow sesame. He said that due to its short growing season, it can be easily added to various crop rotations. Sesame also requires lower resources and offers more return and less risk than other crops.

One of the advantages he said is that farm equipment that farmers already have can be used for growing sesame. Sesame is known for its heat, drought, disease, and insect tolerance. It is also less susceptible to economic damage from wild hogs, deer, or birds. The crop has low water use during the drying phase that leads to more soil water storage for the subsequent crop in doublecropping systems. The brittle sesame residue also controls soil erosion like higher residue crops, without the need for excess residue bailing equipment. Recently researchers at Oklahoma State University, where Baath works, have

been investigating the potential impacts of different air temperatures on sesame growth, yield, and physiology. They hope to define suitable regions for sesame cultivation as well as develop adaptation strategies for offsetting the impacts of future climate change. Future research will study the factors responsible for temperature tolerance in sesame. Genetic evaluation of sesame is necessary to identify varieties capable of maintaining reproductive development under high temperatures. This will provide a broader geographic adaptation and sustain crop yields under current and future climates.

Flowering of a sesame plant under field conditions in El Reno, Oklahoma. After flowering, the plant will produce seeds in pods.

Researchers at Oklahoma State University are studying sesame to determine which varieties grow best under different conditions like heat and water stress. Shown is the growth of sesame across six temperature treatments. Photos by Gurjinder Baath

September 30, 2021

Wheat Groups Commit to University’s Research Activities The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC), alongside the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) and the Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission (SWCDC), have committed funding to a core breeding agreement with the University of Manitoba (UM). Valued at over $3.5 million over five years, this agreement will ensure the continuation of the successful Fusarium head blight (FHB) nursery program, along with the winter wheat breeding program. The primary objective for the UM’s FHB screening nursery is to continue evaluating breeding lines for their reaction to Fusarium graminearum, the most common causal agent of FHB. As one of few FHB screening nurseries in Canada, the UM program returns vital information to the network of western Canadian breeding efforts, and is the key to developing future wheat varieties with FHB resistance. While the focus for winter wheat research will be the delivery of field ready cultivars, development of new genetic tools to help improve winter wheat quality will feature heavily. The agreement, which is an increase of $1.6 million over the previous core breeding agreement, also includes the training of students as future scientists in wheat research. Known for her contributions to FHB research, UM’s long-time winter wheat breeder Dr. Anita Brûlé-Babel is set to retire this December, with Dr. Curt McCartney assuming the role. Prior to joining the UM, McCartney was a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Morden, where he focused on cereal genetics targeting resistance to FHB, leaf and stem rust, and orange wheat blossom midge. “This foundational funding of UM’s wheat breeding program ensures the continued evaluation of FHB resistance of breeding lines from across the Prairies,” said McCartney. “Dr. Brûlé-Babel’s research has been critically important for developing varieties with improved FHB resistance and has provided excellent training for graduate students. With this new agreement, I plan to build upon her successes through the development and implementation of genomics-assisted breeding techniques.” The CWRC is a collaboration between the Alberta Wheat Commission, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Manitoba Crop Alliance with a focus on funding genetic and agronomic wheat research for western Canadian farmers. The UM agreement represents the fourth and final core funding agreement with the public wheat breeding programs in Western Canada. Previously announced agreements include $22.6 million to AAFC, $9.6 million to the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, and $2 million to the University of Alberta. These core agreements provide support to key capacity in the breeding programs. In recognition of the winter wheat and FHB focus of the UM program, WGRF and SWCDC are providing $935,000 and $50,000, respectively, over the term of the agreement.



September 30, 2021

Regen Ag Conference Embraces On-Farm Mentorships The 2021 regenerative agriculture learning’s of four young farmers will be extended thanks to an exciting partnership agreement between the Young Agrarians and Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) that will see farmer apprentices in attendance at the annual MFGA 2021 Regenerative Agriculture Conference slated for November 15-17, 2021 in Brandon Mb. MFGA will cover the conference registration fee for all four at a total in-kind value of $1,350. The four apprentices spent their summer working for exceptional mentor farmers who offered advanced, hands-on farm training in regenerative agriculture. Participants included Bronwynn Green, apprenticing under Doug and Carol Turnbull at Gripfast Farm; Madison Anderson apprenticing under Ryan Boyd at South Glanton Farm; Erin Froese apprenticing under Katie and Colin McInnes at Doug’s Run Farm and Vanessa Siemens apprenticing under Michelle Schramm and Troy Stozek at Fresh Roots Farm. Young Agrarians is a network of a diverse array of farmers, ranchers, market gardeners, bee keepers, food and farm organizations and consumers that are supporting and growing the next generation of farmers in Canada,” said Dana Penrice, Prairies Program Manager for Young Agrarians. “We have been growing a vibrant network in Manitoba and in 2021; we brought our YA Apprenticeship Program to Manitoba for the first time.” According to Larry Wegner, MFGA Chair, the chance to have the group sit among other producers at the 2021 conference and help them get connected into the regenerative community and potentially pursue their next opportunity in their farming careers made total sense to MFGA. “This was an easy decision for MFGA,” said Larry Wegner, MFGA Chair. “We fully embrace and understand the peer to peer interactions and learning of our conference and others like it. The world of conferences and building your own network is vital to young producers.”

Register Now for MFGA’S Regen Ag Conference Registrations are rolling in for Manitoba Forage & Grassland’s (MFGA’s) 2021 Regenerative Agriculture Conference, Water for Generations, to be held in Brandon, November 15-17, 2021. Visit for more information. MFGA’s 4th Annual Regenerative Ag Conference will celebrate Regen Ag Farming in Manitoba, focussing on water, soil health and producer prosperity.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place Rocky soils pose challenges for crops, and new research aims to understand how their roots adapt Hidden under our feet lies an entire unseen world. The soil teems with life. Microbes, small animals and fungi all call the darkness home. And so do plants. At least the half of them that we know as roots. Roots must contend with a slew of challenges. Pests, too little water or too much and even other plant roots can all damage or slow down roots. But perhaps the largest obstacles, literally, are rocks. Plant roots are tough. But they’re not strong enough to break through rocks. So, they have adapted to go around them, though at the cost of time and energy. Rocky soils also affect factors like how much water the soil can hold. Farmers set up shop on top of many different kinds of soils, some of them very rocky. So, it’s vital to understand how rocks affect the roots of our most important crops. That’s what Shehan Morandage and his colleagues set out to study. They analyzed how the roots of wheat and corn adapted to soils with different rock contents. And because of the challenges in directly measuring roots, they also developed a model that can help them simulate these adaptations. Studying roots in the real world is always challenging. Morandage’s team used a group of trenches known as mini rhizotrons. These under-

Inside of the mini rhizotron experimental facility. The tubes (rhizotubes) are installed perpendicular to the trench wall. Roots are observed weekly during the vegetation period by inserting a camera into seven-meterlong rhizotubes. Photo courtesy of Forschungszentrum Jülich/Ralf-Uwe Limbach

ground laboratories dig beneath the surface to reach the soil underneath. A series of transparent, horizontal tubes allowed the team to send cameras into the soil to take pictures of roots as they grew. “Unlike other field root sampling methods, the mini rhizotron method allows us to obtain dynamic root growth data with minimum disturbance to root and soil,” said Morandage, currently a researcher at the University of Hohenheim in Germany. One field had a stone content of more than 60 percent, while the other had very few rocks. As expected, roots in the rocky soils could not grow as deep as those in softer soils over the course of the growing season. “The presence of stones significantly reduces the ability of roots to reach deeper into the soil,” said Morandage. Both corn

and wheat responded in the same way. Because these kinds of field experiments are not always possible, it’s helpful to develop a model of root growth in the field. Morandage’s team built upon an existing model of root growth by programming it to take into account the rockiness of the soil. “We cannot quantify how roots alter their growth patterns due to differences in soils by observing root systems in the field or analyzing root sampling data,” said Morandage. “The model helps to study the effect of each soil property separately and how these properties affect the root development.” The model also predicted that roots would stay shallower in rocky soils, matching their observations. But the model was not perfect. Using the mini rhizotron, the

scientists saw that the cracks found in the less rocky soil allowed roots to grow densely deep into the soil. But the model didn’t predict this outcome, because it made simpler assumptions about how roots would respond to those cracks. The model also simplified things by only paying attention to the roots. But roots work together with the aboveground portions of the plants. For example, more green tissue could provide more energy to roots. And the leaves and stalks also varied depending on the rockiness of the soil, which means that there might be a relationship between soil properties, shoot growth and root growth. In the future, research may shed more light on this swirling mass of roots hidden in the dark beneath our feet.

Keep Everyone on Your Farm Safe During Harvest Season Farm accidents can cause severe injuries, death, and damage to property and livestock. Most accidents are preventable. As you work in your fields this fall, always take a moment to look up and check your clearance before moving machinery and maintain at least three metres between your equipment and power lines. Follow these tips to stay safe:

- Measure the height of your equipment or load. If it exceeds 4.8 metres in height, obtain a Farm Equipment Clearance Permit from Manitoba Hydro at hydro. The permit is required before you drive or tow the equipment on provincial roadways or pass underneath power lines. The permit is free and valid until December 31. - Update your GPS with any

changes if you have new equipment or land. - Identify where power lines, utility poles and other hazards are in your fields and access points. Share safety plans with your employees, especially inexperienced workers. - Lower truck boxes, grain augers, tractor loaders, and other equipment before you drive away. - Locate bale stacks, grain

bins, barns, sheds, propane and fuel tanks at least nine metres from overhead power lines. - Click before you dig. Before disturbing the ground deeper than 15 centimetres, request a line locate at Utilities are closer to the surface of the ground than you might think. Visit for more information.

The AgriPost

September 30, 2021

New Diagnostic Extension Service Assists with Swine Treatment By Harry Siemens A new swine diagnostic extension service offered by Prairie Diagnostic Services (PDS) in partnership with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) is helping veterinarians and farmers translate diagnostic results into treatment. Prairie Diagnostic Services is a full-service animal health diagnostic laboratory that provides diagnostic services for all animal species and primarily serves clinical veterinarians, animal owners, and researchers. Dr. Yanyun Huang, an Anatomic Pathologist and CEO with PDS, said its new service analyzes the diagnostic results and assists in formulating treatment. Dr. Huang said they partnered with Drs. John Harding and Matheus Costa both are professors in WCVM so they will answer client phone calls and emails when people have consultation needs on a diagnostic plan. “If veterinarians are facing a case that they’re not quite sure what to submit as diagnostic samples and what tests to request, Dr. Harding and Dr. Costa can help them,” said Huang. As an example he said, suppose a veterinarian submitted several cases to PDS at different times with reports generated by other diagnostic professionals. The veterinarian needed some help to

Dr. Yanyun Huang, an Anatomic Pathologist and CEO with Prairie Diagnostic Services, said its new swine diagnostic extension service analyzes the diagnostic results and assists in formulating treatment. Submitted photo

put all the reports, data and results together and needed some expert second opion regarding the clinical actions. In that case, they can also contact the PDS services. Finally he explained, suppose the veterinarians have the diagnostic results and need a second pair of eyes or a second opinion on how that can translate into their clinical actions. In that case, they can contact Dr. John Harding and Matheus Costa. Dr. Huang said this new service links animal health to the diagnostic laboratory further and more fully translates the diagnostic information into action for veterinarians and farmers.

The new service offers bacteriology, virology, molecular biology, ausecology, parasitology, anatomic pathology, and clinical pathology. “With this wide range of services, it’s quite difficult to list all the types of equipment we use, but we continue to keep up with the newest and best type of equipment to do our job,” said Huang. “And within our team, we have around 70 employees, including over ten diagnostic veterinary professionals.” Dr. Huang said there was room to improve in helping veterinarians interpret the diagnostic data prompting

the creation of this swine diagnostic extension service. The new service will benefit the pork sector by helping veterinarians get clinically relevant expert opinions, a value-added service on the diagnostic results. This service will be free to their potential clients and link animal health to the diagnostic laboratory. In addition, it will fully translate the diagnostic information into actions for veterinarians and farmers. “I firmly believe a correct diagnosis is three-fourths of the remedy, and the extension service will help in the one-fourth that is remaining,” said Huang.

Finding Inspiration and Happiness in Gardening

By Joan Airey A garden returns fifty times the investment you put into it. The return is not just in food, it is in joy, peace and a real connection with creation.

HI CACTI by Sabina Palermo

It is also a retreat from stress. Grow a garden and enjoy a peaceful time in it. HI CACTI a new book on growing houseplants came across my desk this month, it contains lots of information on growing twenty easy to love houseplants and saying goodbye to life’s stresses as you learn to care for your house plants. The book written by Sabina Palermo the founder of Hi Cacti, a botanical boutique in Brighton, UK offers unique insight into how plants enrich our physical, mental and spiritual well being. Palermo also holds popular workshops on pot painting, wreath making and plant care as well as

running a flourishing independent shop and online business, She regularly travels to her hometown of Austin, Texas and takes road trips around the southwest for products, plants and brand inspiration, and has been featured in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, The Times, The Guardian and others. Inspiration not only comes from books, anyone can find inspiration from visiting with friends or newcomers by listening and asking questions. This afternoon I visited a good friend and neighbour who happens to be a great gardener and she shared jalapeno peppers from her gar-

den so that I could make more salsa. She also introduced me to a Window Fly Trap made by Aeroxon that I had never seen before. I’m hoping it works for me as I hate bugs and every time I bring fruit and vegetables in I seem to bring in fruit flies. Most of us are starting to clean up our gardens and but away our potatoes, carrots, etc. for winter use. After my garden and plant pots are cleaned up I plan to start lettuce, spinach, etc. for salads indoors. Last year I grew green and yellow beans under lights which were very tasty so I’ll try them again this winter.

Potential $48 Billion Loss in Farm Income If Fertilizer Reductions are Required of Growers with No Proper Plan Cutting fertilizer use to reduce on-farm emissions could cost growers nearly $48 billion over the next eight years, says a newly released report by Meyers Norris Penny (MNP). The report, commissioned by Fertilizer Canada, predicts the devastating loss in farm income if Canada adopted the European Union (EU) proposed absolute emissions reduction target and its aims to achieve it through a 20% reduction of fertilizer use compared to 2020 levels. To avoid this, any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada must be done through sustainable agricultural intensification; an approach that allows for significant reductions in agricultural emissions without risking Canada’s contribution to global supply of food or economic growth within the sector. Under Canada’s A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, the Government of Canada is envisioning a 30% absolute emissions reduction target for on-farm fertilizer use by the year 2030. When the Federal government announced a 30% emission reduction target for on-farm fertilizer use it did so without consulting - the provinces, the agricultural sector, or any key stakeholders - on the feasibility of such a target,” said Karen Proud, President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. “This study shows that we need to work together to find practical and pragmatic solutions for emissions reductions, without causing economic devastation to our agricultural sector.” Canada’s fertilizer industry has a significant role to play in mitigating climate change – that is why industry has been proactively working to reduce onfarm emissions for over a decade by implementing 4R Nutrient Stewardship. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a science-based approach to nutrient management that involves applying the Right Source (of fertilizer) at the Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place. By utilizing 4R best management practices, farmers can optimize plant nutrient uptake, and increase yields, while achieving verifiable reductions in emissions. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is part of an overall farm management plan that can be complemented with other agronomic and conservation practices, such as no-till farming and the use of cover crops, that also play a valuable role in supporting on-farm emissions reductions. “No one is more impacted by climate change than farmers,” said Proud. “The 4R approach has been developed over the last decade and a half in partnership with leading scientists, farm organizations and provincial governments to reduce agriculture’s environmental impact without compromising farmers’ competitiveness.” Fertilizer Canada is calling upon the Federal government to recognize 4R Nutrient Stewardship as the standard in nutrient management and a key component to achieving on-farm emissions reductions from fertilizer. “We do not have to choose between the environment and the economy,” said Proud. “By choosing 4R Nutrient Stewardship, as the foundation to a holistic approach to on-farm emissions reductions, the agricultural sector and the government can work together to meet our environmental goals, while at the same time supporting our farmers.”



September 30, 2021

The Role of an Insurance Broker While on the golf course this past weekend it was suggested by a friend that insurance brokers only have time to golf and send invoices to their clients. While this may be true for some brokers, my golf game is evidence that I spend a lot more time working for my clients than I do working on perfecting my swing. The role of the insurance broker is something that is often misunderstood. In a nutshell, the job of a broker is to help clients navigate the process of managing risk and transferring some of it to insurance companies. Here is a list of simple steps that your insurance broker should be accomplishing on your behalf. Does your broker: 1. Invest time to learn about you and the industry you work in? 2. Keep up to speed on changes in your industry as well as how the insurance industry is reacting to these changes? 3. Provide strategy on handling future risk rather than just assuming that your risk today is the same as it was last year? 4. Represent you in the best possible light to insurance companies and coach you in ways to improve your image and reputation to insurers? 5. Negotiate insurance and claims solutions on your behalf? 6. Educate you on your options to transfer risk to insurers? 7. Make risk / insurance decisions easy to understand? 8. Measure and monitor the results that you and your broker have agreed upon? If you are looking for a golf coach, keep searching. When choosing your insurance broker, make sure that you are working with someone who will educate you, not just try to sell you insurance. At Rempel Insurance Brokers Ltd, we work hard to make sure our clients know their coverage and their options. Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! David Schmidt is an Account Executive and Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Contact office 204-746-2320, Text 204-712-6618, email davids@rempelinsurance. com or online at

The AgriPost

Celebrating the News of Good Harvests in Zimbabwe, Malawi

In Zimbabwe for example, farmers like Siapani are expected to harvest three times more maize, the country’s staple food, than the past year.

By Amanda Thorsteinsson The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is asking to join in sharing some good news! At many of their project sites in southern Africa, a combination of favourable weather conditions and good farming practices mean many farmers are have had a fantastic growing season. Velina Siapani of Zingozo village, Zimbabwe, is a lead farmer on a project of their member Mennonite Central Committee Canada which is implemented locally by partner Kulima Mbobumi Training Centre (KMTC). “This was a bountiful season for me as compared to the 2019-2020 agriculture season,” Siapani explained. “I managed to get 47 buckets of millet from the 2kg pearl millet seeds which I received from KMTC. As if this were not enough, I also managed to produce three buckets of groundnuts and eight buckets of cowpeas.” And what did Siapani do with her produce? “I managed to trade 6 buckets of cowpeas for 12 buckets of millet. I also sold 20 cups of cowpeas at USD $1 each,” she said. For some context, that’s triple what Siapani managed to produce last year. “I used this money to pay for my child’s school fees who is at A ‘Level’,” she said. And that’s not all. “I intend

to trade my buckets of millet for goats in order to add to my existing herd,” she added. For Lilian Zheke, a Foodgrains Bank conservation agriculture technical advisor based in southern Africa, strong harvests are welcome and exciting news. “The outlook in terms of harvest is good for most project sites and indications from partners are that most farmers will have much better yields than the last season,” she said. In Zimbabwe for example, farmers like Siapani are expected to harvest three times more maize, the country’s staple food, than the past year. Zheke works with the local partners in supporting farmers in southern Africa and designing projects that are as effective as possible. “A significant number of project participants will have enough cereal to take them throughout the greater part of the year,” she added. It’s no small feat considering farm families aren’t just up against weather challenges, but COVID-19 restrictions, rapid inflation, and other barriers. Over the last few years, the Foodgrains Bank has shared a lot with supporters about how successive years of drought in countries like Malawi and Zimbabwe

have resulted in poor harvests. Because many families rely on farming for a living, often on very small plots of land, even one poor growing season can be devastating. Elizabeth Ngwenya is also taking part in the same project as Siapani, although in a different village. “Given the excessive rains during the 2020/2019 season we thought the harvests were going to be bad,” she said, noting her family’s relief at being able to produce a strong crop. “I will not sell my produce, especially the cowpeas, which I have set aside for consumption as a source of protein for my family,” she said. Zheke is careful to note that not all participants in the projects with which she works have had the same strong results. “We also have some isolated areas like Balaka, Malawi, which experienced dry spells that affected maize production for about 60 percent of project participants, but despite the dry spells, farmers practicing conservation agriculture did better than farmers who did not practise it at all,” she explained. “In Zimbabwe, there were isolated areas where waterlogging and leaching could reduce potential harvests, especially since fertilizer and inputs were a major challenge for

farmers coming out of last year’s dry spell and the economic fallout from the global pandemic.” Farmers in developing countries don’t have access to the same type of emergency supports that Canadians have. A poor harvest means more than less food on the dinner table. It also means children may not be able to attend school, families don’t have the energy or strength to work at off-farm employment, and emergency medical care might not be possible. Sometimes families might have to sell off an animal like a goat or cow that’s been providing a small but steady income in order to get the cash needed to help them get by. It’s good they have something in case of emergency, but it also means that once the immediate crisis is over, they’re without their secondary source of income. The good news of strong harvests, and even the news that conservation agriculture is helping to soften the blow of poor weather and other issues, is welcome. A safe and abundant food supply is something we can all be thankful for, in southern African, and here in Canada. Amanda Thorsteinsson is the Senior communications officer for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

The AgriPost

September 30, 2021


California’s Prop-12 to Set a Precedent By Harry Siemens Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, VA, said the most significant piece of legislation that concerns their members is California’s Proposition 12. “Now, Prop 12 is supposed to go into effect on January 1, but here it is mid-September and the final rules have not come out of how producers can actually comply with the regulations,” said Thompson-Weeman. It has resulted in a huge stress point, particularly for the pork industry she said because Prop 12 puts restrictions into place on housing

methods and gestation stalls in the pork industry along with other farms such as in poultry where it also regulates cages for laying hens. “So it’s a major pain point for our pork community here in the US,” she said. Groups have either pushed back on Prop 12 for its working regulations or have asked for a delay in implementation because the rules are still unavailable. Some have ended up challenging it through the court system. In addition, some lawmakers have introduced legislation at the federal and state levels pointing out issues for interstate commerce. According to these challengers,

Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, VA, said the most significant piece of legislation that concerns their members is California’s Proposition 12. Submitted photo

California’s Prop 12 is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022 but it is mid-September and the final rules have not come out on how producers can actually comply with the new regulations. Prop 12 puts restrictions into place on housing methods and gestation stalls in the pork industry along with other farms such as in poultry where it also regulates cages for laying hens. Prop 12 forces producers in other states to change their farming methods because of voters in California. File Photo Harry Siemens

Prop 12 forces producers in other states to change their farming methods because of voters in California. Thompson-Weeman, said, California consumes 15 per cent of US pork, but they produce less than 1 per cent which results in an outside influence on pork production in the rest of the country. “That is the exact intention of the activist groups that pushed for Prop 12 to be on the ballot and put in place,” she said. “So Prop 12 is the biggest legislative headache for our members at the moment.” Thompson-Weeman said

some legislative past sessions have a few state-level ballot initiatives of concern in Colorado and Oregon with similar restrictions on animal agriculture. The Colorado initiative was defeated, not because of its merits, but because the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that it had too many issues on one ballot initiative she said. “So I guarantee you, you will see that coming back,” commented Thompson-Weeman. Currently the Oregon initiative is continuing with the signature-gathering phase. Because Prop 12 stands to

come into effect on January 1, 2022 it affects hog producers anywhere and everywhere if their pork goes to California. The same holds for similar legislation passed by a ballot initiative in Massachusetts several years ago. “They’re unique and different from previous ballot initiative campaigns on production methods, in that they do not only apply to production in that state, but to products sold in that state,” she further noted. That is where this is becoming an interstate commerce issue where California or Massachusetts voters are not

only voting on an issue that impacts producers in their state, they are affecting nationwide animal agriculture. “We’re not seeing Iowa or North Carolina passing these types of laws on pork production because that’s where pork production is,” said Thompson-Weeman. “And their voters and lawmakers probably have more awareness of how the industry operates.” She explained that this is creating a headache for producers and retailers on how to figure out which products are going where and enough to meet the requirement.

Wild Beans May Have New Uses Beans were first domesticated around 8,000 years ago in Central and South America. During this time, humans shifted their focus to breeding bigger beans that are tastier and easier to harvest said Miranda Haus, a researcher with Michigan State University. One problem that has been

hard for breeders to overcome is reducing yield loss due to fungal root pathogens. One of these is Fusarium Root Rot and Fusarium Wilt. In some instances, Fusarium root rot can cause a farmer to lose their entire crop. Every crop we eat was once growing in the wild, undisturbed. These versions

Miranda Haus at Michigan State University specializes in root system architecture, plant development, and root diseases. Submitted photo

of crops are called Crop Wild Relatives. Over the last 10,000 years humans domesticated food crops to make them easier to grow, harvest and even more nutritious. During domestication, humans only took select individuals from the entire population and began to grow and cultivate plants from this subset of seeds. By selecting the besttasting or highest-yielding beans, farmers inadvertently reduced the genetic diversity. Haus explained that this does not just apply to beans it applies to all crop species. As an example, let’s think about aliens to coming to Earth and abducting the population of a small town to populate a new planet. Any small town in the world cannot represent the genetic diversity of our entire planet, commented Haus. “So, you can see the new planet would suffer from reduced genetic diversity. That’s what has happened with crop diversity during domestication,” said Haus. Wild beans have retained more genetic diversity and

A prepared bean dish.

may exhibit resistance to Fusarium root rot, a feature not present in cultivated beans. Haus and her team are bringing attention to the importance of these ancient relatives of today’s crops to try and highlight the importance of ancient beans in breeding new types of bean crops. The USDA maintains genebanks throughout the US that contain collections of seeds from all over the world. These collections are freely

Photo by Miranda Haus

available to anyone, and the USDA works closely with researchers to create catalogs of traits for the seeds within their collections. Haus’ team evaluated the USDA wild bean collection to see if they could find wild beans that might be resistant to Fusarium Wilt. They infected seedlings with two pathogens which cause Fusarium Wilt and Fusarium Root Rot. They rated the wild beans, specifically

looking for those that did not show symptoms of either disease. From the entire collection of 248 wild bean lines, they found twenty-one lines with resistance to Fusarium Root Rot and sixteen lines with resistant to Fusarium Wilt. They are attempting to crossbreed some of the resistant wild beans with cultivated beans, to see if the new beans will also be resistant to Fusarium.


September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

Protection Zone Expected to Safeguard US Mainland from ASF By Harry Siemens Dr. Jack Shere, the chief veterinary officer for the US, is confident mitigation strategies in place in the Caribbean are sufficient to keep African Swine Fever (ASF) from moving from that region to the US mainland. “African Swine Fever: Where it Exists and What’s at Stake” is the first in a series of five African Swine Fever Action Week seminars recently held by the USDA. The Dominican Republic was confirmed infected but Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands remain free and results from testing in Haiti are expected by early next week. Dr. Shere said the Dominican Republic had Classical Swine Fever for many years and mitigation strategies have prevented it from getting into either Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands. A protection zone is something new that the World Organisation for Animal Health the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) has added to their chapters coming out

in May. It allows a country to choose an area they think is high risk and put certain mitigation factors in place to protect that zone from infection. “That’s what we’re doing with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, so we’re heightening our mitigations there to keep the disease out. But, should the disease occur there, we want to protect the US mainland,” said Shere. “So that protection zone outlines and says the US has mitigations and protections in place that prevent this disease from moving from Puerto Rico, should it occur, to the US mainland.” More specifically the OIE provides for the establishment of a protection zone within an area free of disease as a temporary measure in response to an increased risk from a neighbouring country or zone of different animal health status. The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has concluded that this is a prudent course of action in response to ASF

detection in the Dominican Republic. Once the OIE recognizes the protection zone(s), APHIS will confirm that individual countries recognize and accept the zone(s). Their recognition will ensure the continued flow of US pork and live swine exports. When the protection zone is in place APHIS will have processes in place in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to restrict the movement of live swine and products out of the protection zone. In addition they will conduct appropriate surveillance within the protection zone to detect introductions of the disease quickly, conduct a public education campaign relating to biosecurity on farms and other establishments, prohibitions on movement of live swine and products outside the region, contacting authorities to report clinical cases, and similar actions. APHIS works with Dominican Republic officials to assist in their response to

Dr. Jack Shere the chief veterinary officer for the United States is confident mitigation strategies in place in the Caribbean are sufficient to keep African Swine Fever from moving from that region to the US mainland. Submitted photo

the ASF detection, including technical advice and assistance on surveillance, quarantine, depopulation, and disposal methods. They are also providing continued testing support, including bolstering in-country testing

capacity; and providing additional personal protective equipment for responders. Although officials have not confirmed ASF in Haiti, APHIS is offering similar country support. APHIS said it is confident

that its many existing preventive measures and mitigations, along with the additional measures underway, will protect the US livestock industry from ASF and ensure the continued export of pork.

Prairie Shore Botanicals Native Prairie and Woodland Plant Nursery By Laura Reeves I’m excited to announce that Prairie Shore Botanicals has expanded to include a native prairie and woodland plant nursery. When I landed the position of field technician for the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve back in 1994, I was ecstatic! The Preserve was only a few years old at the time, so my primary task was to inventory and make an official collection of all of the plant species that occurred within its boundaries. Laden with numerous field guides and botanical texts, binoculars and notebook, I wandered through pristine fields of blue-eyed grass, yellow stargrass and hoary puccoon, instantly falling in love. In my challenge to distinguish one species from another I was awed by the subtle, and not so subtle, differences between each one. Over the years, I continued to discover new plants and add to the list that now includes 476 species. In subsequent years, my job description expanded to include monitoring the effects of various weather cycles and management activities on both native and non-native species. In the last 20 - 30 years, native prairie plants have be-

come increasingly in demand as ecologists seek to restore endangered grasslands and backyard gardeners strive to add something new and bold to their flower beds. Native prairie plants can be tricky to propagate and slow to grow and suppliers have responded by developing cultivars that are not only easier to mass produce, but have bolder colours, larger flowers and longer bloom times, among other modified traits. Since historic Lake Agassiz dried up 9,000 years ago, local plants have been coevolving with the surrounding insects, animals and fungi. As a result, various interrelationships and dependencies have formed within and between life forms. Take the western prairie fringed orchid, for example, which has flowers that only 5 species of moth are capable of pollinating. Perhaps not surprisingly then, researchers have found that when native species and their modern cultivars are grown side by side, in the majority of cases, pollinating insects (bees, butterflies, beetles and others) prefer the native species over the cultivar - sometimes overwhelmingly. It turns out that larger flowers and more nu-

merous petals often come at the expense of nectar or pollen production, and changes in flower colour may make a flower less attractive to the insect(s) it depends on for pollination. With this weighing heavily on my mind, along with the realization that prairie restorations often omit the less common, but equally important, species found in pristine prairies, I decided to bring my love, knowledge and observations of local prairie and woodland plants together to provide an alternate source of native-to-Manitoba plants. My goal is to grow species that are less common and, as yet, not currently available at our other native plant nurseries in Manitoba, such as plants with a hemiparasitic nature. So far, 30 species, adapted to a variety of habitat types from dry prairie to wetland, are available with more on the way as the nursery continues to expand. Anyone with an interest in backyard wildflower, pollinator and rain gardens, or prairie restoration, can find detailed descriptions of the plants in my online catalogue at I’m happy to say that I’ve developed a soil mix that is peat-free. I’m also striv-

ing to reduce plastic waste, so many of my plants are in unconventional pots. It’s taken some time and lots of patience, but I’m excited that the plants are healthy and

ready to be planted in their new forever homes! To place an order, please email info@ or call 204425-3520. The Producer Spotlight is

brought to you by the Stuartburn Emerson-Franklin Local Food Initiative. Reach them at initiativelocalfood@ or find them on Facebook.

Laura Reeves gathering seeds to propagate native prairie and woodland plants.

Submitted photo

The AgriPost

September 30, 2021


African Small-Scale Farmers Send a Message to World Leaders Small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are impacted disproportionately by climate change, poverty and under nutrition, yet a report released shows many remain optimistic about the future of farming. Of the thousands of farmers taking part in the four-country survey, twothirds believe their children can succeed in farming, though many cautioned that food systems will need to change in order to make living incomes possible. On Air Dialogues: Listening to Rural People, released by Farm Radio International (FRI), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Vision Canada, and the Canadian Food Security Policy Group (FSPG), includes data gathered over three weeks in June 2021 by six radio stations in four African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda). Thanks to interactive radio shows and innovative mobile phone polling, farmers were able to directly voice their concerns and share their proposed solutions when it comes to global food systems. In response, 3,494 participants left 11,854 answers and

2,648 audio messages. The release was timed to bring the voices of rural small-scale farmers in subSaharan Africa to the UN Food System Summit held on 23 September, an event that included global leaders, scientists, academics, policy advisors and UN officials but few of the world’s poorest food producers. “There’s growing global recognition that solutions can only be sustainable and relevant if they reflect people’s local realities and experiences. But leaders often struggle with how to access the opinions of people, especially in remote areas. Radio, combined with new technologies, is a powerful tool that is too often overlooked,” said Hélène Papper, IFAD spokesperson. “With direct input from so many rural farmers, we now have greater insight into their challenges, and how we can support their strong desire to stay in their communities and build a future for their families in agriculture. These are the voices that global leaders gathering for this week’s Food Systems Summit need to hear, and act upon.” “Small-scale farmers working on plots less than

two hectares produce over 30 percent of global food and yet there are significant barriers to their participation in global discussions and decision-making processes,” said Kevin Perkins, FRI spokesperson. “This report helps change that. Our goal was to create a platform for rural people, especially women and youth, to share their concerns and solutions for a healthier, more sustainable, productive, and equitable food system.” Oscar, a small-scale farmer from Tanzania was among those who took part in the survey. His comment points to one of the many inequities that exist across food systems. “Our crops are bought at a very low price,” he said. “The businessmen and middlemen buy our crops at their prices and not at farmers’ prices.” Respondents like Oscar called for better access to loans and credit, inputs, better markets, and more information, as well as better training on farming techniques and business management. Women farmers, in particular, emphasized the need for access to loans, credit, and financial support as vital for their success.

African small-scale farmers use radio and mobile phones to send a message of optimism and caution to world leaders attending Food Systems Summit.

“This is particularly critical for women smallholder farmers, who produce more than half of all the food that is grown yet continue to face discrimination resulting in limited decision-making power, access to and control over productive resources that limit their participation in local food systems,” said Angeline Munzara, World Vision International spokesperson. “Listening to their voices and solutions to transform the food system is

essential to ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all.” Additional findings heard from many respondents noting specific concerns about the effects of chemical pesticides and fertilizers on the safety of food, and emphasized the benefits of agro-ecological approaches and basing food production around local farming systems. More than 90% of respondents felt there was some-

thing they could do in their community to cope with climate change. Less than 1 in 12 said the only way to cope with climate change would be to move away from their homes. Compared to men, women were more concerned about household nutritional intake, were more likely to consider loans and credit as key to farming success, and relied more strongly on informal networks such as friends and neighbours for information.

Microbial Fermentation to Improve the Nutritional Value of Soybean Meal

By Harry Siemens The application of microbial fermentation could improve the nutritional value of soybean meal, better use and improve intestine health. Researchers with the University of Guelph, in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc are evaluating the use of characterized novel microbial fermentation to improve

Dr. Julang Li, a Professor in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, explained how soybean meal is an excellent protein source due to its high protein content and amino Submitted photos acid profile.

the nutrient value of soybean meal and degrade its undesirable characteristics. Dr. Julang Li, a Professor in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, explained how soybean meal is an excellent protein source due to its high protein content and amino acid profile. It has a high nutrient value. However, it also contains anti-nutritional factors and allergens. That’s why young pigs don’t do well with it because of underdeveloped digestive systems. The goal is to use fermentation to break down these allergens and undesirable factors to improve soybean meal nutritional value. During fermentation, the microbes can secrete some of the enzymes that can break down protein and fibres. That could help to influence the nutrient composition of

the feedstuff. Microbial fermentation is a cost-effective means to potentially approach the issue associated with the use of soybean meal. “For example, fermentation can degrade the large antigenic protein into small proteins removing the allergens but are also easier for the pig to digest and absorb, and also increase the crude protein percentage as well as improve the amino acid profile,” explained Li. She states that soybean

meal is an excellent protein source due to its high protein content and excellent immunoassay profile. “It is much more cost-effective than any of the animal proteins and without the risk of any more pathogen transmission of using animal protein,” added Li. To assess whether this approach is successful, Li analyzes fermentation to verify that the large allergen protein has degraded and examines whether the fermentation has improved crude protein per-

centage and the immunoassay profile. Next, once confirmed, it is followed by an animal study to explore the benefit of fermented soybean meal. Moving forward, they have plans to automate the fermentation system further to make it more efficient and cost-effective. Also, she plans to perform additional animal trials to examine the potential beneficial effect of fermented soybean meal on animal growth performance and intestine health. “We are about halfway, so

I think it will be another two years for the experimental stage,” she believes. “And we might need to perform an additional larger animal trial to validate the findings further.” She is hopeful the pig industry would use this fermentation approach to obtain a better nutrient value of feed components. Fermentation of soybean meal is effective in other countries, such as the U.S. and some companies in Asia, and they are making a good profit.

The process is much more cost-effective than any of the animal proteins. without the risk of any more pathogen transmission of using animal protein.


September 30, 2021

The AgriPost

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