The Agri Post
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
The Agri Post
Sunflower Evolution By Les Kletke Charles Darwin said that it is not the strongest that survive but those most able to change. Darwin was speaking about species that adapted to changing climatic conditions and the predators around them but his words can be applied to sunflowers as well. The crop that was first domesticated in Russia and brought to the Canadian prairies by immigrants continues to evolve and is on the verge of another change that could see it come to greater prominence in the food oil industry. Fred Parnow the Territory Manager for Canada at Nuseed America and based out of Breckenridge, Minnesota and Vega Texas, is no stranger to evolution as one seed company becomes another and changes names. Parnow told a meeting of potential growers in Lettelier that a new oil profile in sunflowers would make it more attractive in a health consciences market. “The oil profile is changing to high oleic oil that has a higher health value and is used in products like Kettle Chips,” said Parnow, who was a part of Seeds 2000 when they introduced the nusun seeds that changed the oil profile and became the industry standard. Parnow is well aware that the sunflower crop will have to fight for acres as corn, soybean acres continue to expand in both Manitoba, and North Dakota but he said the current price for contracts is attractive to growers and has been steady for the last three years. “We have seen some real variations in the price of corn and beans,” he said. “Sunflowers have remained steady and given growers a good return. Several of our growers say it is the highest returning crop on their farm.” Ben Friesen of Walker Legumex told growers that the preference of buyers in the confectionary market continues to change but overall a large seed is preferred. “Some may want a longer seed or striped but the preference is for a larger seed.” He said that prices for some oilseed sunflowers hit extreme highs this year as the demand for birdseed continued, but he was not leaving any false hopes that the price would translate to an entire crop. “We saw some very good prices for a few loads this summer as bird food processors needed seed to include in their
Mike Marion, of Legumex Walker, and Fred Parnow of Nuseed America examine variety samples of confectionary sunflowers. The crop has shown the best return of any on several farms in the past two years. Photo by Les Kletke
mix, and since it is only a portion of the final product they were willing to pay some extreme prices to fulfill their commitments,” said Friesen. “That will not always be the case as we have a larger supply.” He echoed Parnow’s comments that the return to growers has stayed stable over the past three years, and experienced growers were seeing a good return.
Better Tools for Sunflowers By Les Kletke Sunflower growers have more tools to combat weeds and other challenges to the crop than they did even a few years ago. “It’s not that the crop can be used to clean up a field but you no longer have to choose a clean field for sunflowers and have it become a weed problem,” said Alan Calder of Blinkbonnie Farms at Letellier. The company sponsored a farmers meeting in Letellier and invited growers to hear an update on the potential for the crop in early December. Calder said that recent advancements in weed control now mean that with proper management, having the crop in the rotation will not contribute to weed problems as it once did. Calder credits the advances in weed control with giving growers a larger upside on yields. “You’re not guaranteed a 2,000 lb (an acre) yield but it is more likely than it was a few years ago when that would have been considered an exceptional yield. Now fellows are getting yields up 3,000 lbs,” he said. Fred Parnow of Nuseed America said that growers reported yields over the 3,000 lb. mark last year, but agrees with Calder that it is not a given. The crop is one of the few special crops that has not been genetically modified and therefore does not have a glyphosate tolerant variety. The Clearfied system is available for sunflower growers but that is not a GMO system, it was developed for naturally occurring plants. Calder said that fungicides have also helped control the disease problems that contributed to the decrease in sunflower acres in the last decade. One problem that cannot be controlled by fungicides is Downy Mildew. “That is something that has to be bred into the variety,” said Parnow. “So it is important to choose a variety that has Downy Mildew Resistance when making your seed selection.” He said there as many as seven or eight seed treatments available and each do a good job controlling specific problems and a grower should consider the problems that present major challenges in his field. “We have also seen the crop planted earlier and earlier and that has changed the stage of the crop when the disease pressure hits,” he said. “But we still like to see the crop go in around the 24th of May when the ground has warmed up and the crop can emerge quickly and get off to a good start.” Calder said that he has seen an increase in acres with growers who have stayed with the crop and are familiar with the challenges. “We haven’t seen a lot of new growers, but the fellows familiar with the crop have had good returns the last couple of years.”
December 27, 2013
The Best Returns By Les Kletke Sunflowers have shown the best return on the farm for the past couple of years but Nathan Friesen plans to keep the acreage at about 10 percent of his farm acreage. When asked why he limits the best returning crop to 10 percent Friesen replied with chuckle, “How much do you want to combine in November?” He went on to explain his other considerations. The crop does take a lot of moisture from the land and resulting crops are normally a bit less the following year. He cites the example of sunflowers in 2011 and with dry conditions, the next year corn yields were about 50 bushels an acre lower on the sunflower field. “We don’t often take into account the effect a deep rooted crop will have on the following crop but some years you have to,” he said. “They also don’t allow the same degree of weed control that other crops do,” he said. “It has improved in the last few years, but you can’t use them to clean up a field.” He has completed his budget for 2014 production and said the return looks good again but he expects the crop to cost about $230 of out of pocket costs to produce. Friesen, who farms with his father at Halbstadt, has also penciled in drying costs for the 2014 crop. “We are building a drier this year and we thought we
might as well make it a fit for sunflowers as well,” he said. “That might help on the desiccation costs but even if we still desiccate, the last few points of moisture are awfully slow.” The drier would allow him to harvest the sunflower at around 15 percent moisture and dry down to 10 percent. “The first 10 percent comes down quickly after desiccation, but when you are waiting to start harvesting it seems that last 5 percent is the most difficult,” he said, acknowledging the days are cooler with less light and the nerves might be a bit edgy. The Friesens grow confectionary seeds and try to maintain a limited plant population that will give them the biggest heads and individual seeds. “That is where the premium is and with today’s planting equipment we can get within 5 percent of our desired plant population,” he said. They cultivate the crop for weed control and to reduce any competition from uncontrolled weeds. This year the cultivation also helped dry out the soil when the plants were in wet conditions, which are not favoured by sunflowers. In 2013, he contracted the confectionary seeds for 32 cents a pound and was able to get the same price for his overage while oilseeds contracted at 27 cents, paid only 20 cents for the overage.
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
Canadian Crop Biggest in History By Elmer Heinrichs Statistics Canada has made it official. It is easily the biggest crop in Canadian history. Now the question becomes how to move that grain to market. Farmers smashed records in wheat, canola, corn and soybeans, Statistics Canada reported recently in its annual December crop survey. For example, farmers broke the 22-year record in wheat by a staggering five million tonnes – 37.5 million tonnes versus the previous record of 32.1 million set in 1991. It is almost like knocking a second off the world record in the 100-metre sprint. With canola, producers harvested 18 million tonnes. The previous record was 14.6 million tonnes. Manitoba followed the trend. Producers harvested
record soybean and corn crops, two crops nearly invisible in Manitoba a decade ago according to Statistics Canada’s annual survey. They also posted record yields in two of the Prairie’s oldest crops, spring wheat and barley. Canola also enjoyed record average yields. While everyone knew a gargantuan crop was coming, the figures are significantly higher than Statistics Canada’s previous estimates. Its report released Wednesday was 4.5 million tonnes higher for wheat and two million tonnes more for canola. Its previous estimate was from a survey last August before farmers completed harvesting. The breadth of those revisions caught even grain traders by surprise. “Everyone in the trade was expecting big numbers. These numbers are even bigger than the trade was expecting,” said Mike Jubinville, President of Pro Farmer Canada, a grain-market analysis firm in Winnipeg. That is fantastic news. Now the problem becomes what to do with that entire crop. Grain companies are already telling farmers they are making canola and hard red spring wheat their priorities and will not be buying lesser-grown varieties such as soft white wheat
because they cannot move it. “You’re hearing the frustration starting to really boil in farm country about our inability to move this crop, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Jubinville. “We have to take a step back and realize how big this crop is. We don’t have the ability to move 75 to 80 million tonnes of grain in one year.” Country elevators are already plugged, and farmers and elevators have to store grain outdoors. “It’s just a thin garden hose that carries grain out to the west coast. This crop exceeds that,” said Jubinville. “With 100 per cent efficiency, we can’t move it. We’re going to be carrying grain into next year (the next crop year starts Aug. 1, 2014) because we just can’t physically move it.” The big crop and congestion problems are also causing prices to drop. However, many farmers were able to forward-price at more profitable levels in August for at least a portion of their crop. Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), Manitoba’s general farm organization, has already asked the federal government to provide more oversight to get grain moving as fast as possible. KAP blames the country’s two national railways for not
allocating enough rail cars. Jubinville said there are other capacity problems, as well, when a crop is this big. Port terminals are one example. “[Grain terminals] are booked solid until March. In other words, any grain sold today won’t be able to move until spring of next year,” said Jubinville. New plant breeding varieties, plus optimum growing conditions, explain the surge in soybeans and corn in Manitoba. In Manitoba, farmers produced 1.1 million tonnes of soybeans, up from 770,200 in 2012, which was the previous record. Yields were up 6.2 per cent to 37.6 bushels per acre. Farmers harvested 1.2 million tonnes of corn, thanks to seeding 375,000 acres, up almost 30 per cent from 2012. “I talked to a corn producer in the Dugald area and he said he got fantastic grain corn crops now two years in a row,” said Doug Chorney, KAP president. “This is going to make it more popular to grow. A lot of producers are very excited.” Spring wheat reached 4.4 million tonnes thanks to a record average yield of 56.2 bushels to the acre. Barley production rose for the second straight year to 705,400 tonnes, thanks to record yields of 77.1 bushels per acre (versus 56.2 bushels per acre in 2012). “I’ve heard of spring wheat yields of 80 bushels an acre. I had hail damage and still got 71 bushels an acre,” said Chorney. “Every growing season you hope everything clicks and it results in a fantastic yield. This is one of those years.”
The New Measure of Money The world has a new form of currency called “Bitcoin.” It’s a stateless, digital alternative to the traditional fiat currencies issued by countries that we use in our day-to-day transactions. We still don’t know whether or not it will catch on. However, the more governments around the world fiddle with their money supply, by means Penners of quantitative easing, the greater Points the demand will be for Bitcoin, or by Rolf something like it. Penner Unlike email@example.com tional government-backed money that can be continuously printed until it has no value left, Bitcoins have an upper limit built into them. Only 21 million can ever be “mined,” thus solving the problem of deliberate currency debasement. As one writer observed about what European and American financial systems are doing to their own currencies, “You know we’re in trouble when Bitcoin starts to make sense.” Like fiat money, Bitcoin has no value except what we agree on through social consensus. The value is somewhat arbitrary. However, it does differ from fiat money in two very important ways: it is voluntary and, more importantly, the quantity is limited, which makes the Bitcoin more like a gold-based currency. The fact that Bitcoins are limited is what gives them the value needed to make them tradable. Remember, outside of jewellery, gold really doesn’t have a lot of practical value either. The reason it’s been so popular as a store of value has more to do with its scarcity than what we can actually do with it. As blogger Aaron Clarey points out, “The key economic lesson to take from this is what drives the value of a currency, is not so much its intrinsic value as much as it is the amount of value society puts on it as a tool for exchange.” Bitcoins are “mined” through a complicated mathematical process. If one has the computing power to generate the mathematical codes that keep the systems ledger going, they are rewarded with new Bitcoins in their name. Like gold, then, no one can bring more into the system without putting their own time, money and effort into it. So, the value of Bitcoins is linked, in part, to the expense of the computer power that’s needed to create them. They are also infinitely divisible, so even though there will only ever be 21 million of them, as their overall value rises people will be able to use smaller and smaller units to make transactions. One can think of Bitcoins as being a kind of mixture of fiat money combined with the actual limitations of real gold. It’s trying to be the best of both worlds. Historically, as currencies run into trouble and lose their value, people tend to convert money into gold in the hope of securing their savings. Bitcoin offers an alternative that pretty much does the same thing. What has a lot of people nervous is that the rising popularity of Bitcoin is really a measure of the collapse of money. That’s actually a good thing. The endless expansion of our current money supply has had all sorts of negative repercussions throughout the economy, including our own personal savings. If governments all of a sudden see real competition in currency, they may at some point issue their own forms of cyber currency that for once cannot be debased. The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank recently published a paper that talks about the possibility of doing exactly that. Writer Robert Tracinski sums it up nicely: “If Bitcoin helps us realize the value of a non-debase able currency, perhaps it can eventually help us to go all the way to monetary sobriety and return to a currency based on something other than arbitrary social consensus.” It will be interesting to see where this ends up. Stay tuned.
The Agri Post
Another Year and the World Keeps Turning Sometimes it is good to step back and see what is really important, and the end of the year is a great time to do that. Everyone is planning what they will do in 2014 and how the world will change, and sometimes we really need to consider how important we are. It is the old story about the employee who goes in to ask his boss for a raise and the boss recommends that the young fellow stick his hand in a pail of water and pull it out quickly. “See the hole you left?” asked the boss. “That is how much impact you will have when you leave.” The lesson is a harsh one but the story does make a great point. For all the things, that we think really matter can come or go and the world goes on. Did the world really change without a monopoly Canadian Wheat Board? Not too much. The railways are still not moving enough grain to suit farmers and things continue in very much the same way. It was not as dire a choice as either side said it would be. I don’t for a minute want to leave the impression that people should not continue to fight for the things they believe in or continue with their efforts to improve our industry but sometimes we get caught up in the importance of our cause. It is a matter of starting to believe our own press releases. The end of a calendar year is a great time to sit down and evaluate what worked and what didn’t, to make choices that will help our business and hopefully our community in the New Year, but more important is to realize the role we play and where we fit in the bigger scheme of things. The new year will come and in an amazingly short time it will be time to pen another year end column, but it is up to us to make sure that we have accomplished something that made a difference in the lives around us. We might not make a decision that impacts international policy or changes an industry but we do make choices that change lives, the lives around us, and that deserves careful consideration at this time of year, and all year. The best of the seasons to everyone, and may 2014 be a bin buster of a year.
Is the U.S. too Big to Fail? Dr. David M. Kohl, professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, said the United States is not too big to fail considering the extreme left and the extreme right in Washington D.C. have created a dysfunctional government. I had asked Dr. Kohl, who is one of the top farm industry speakers in the world and lives only four hours from Washington D.C., exactly that question at the end of his presentation. This after taking into consideration his comments, observations and question marks about rising inflation, interest rates and land prices. Hold that thought because when I go to hear a speaker of this high billing (and I’ve heard him before) who is not afraid to speak out and say what he thinks, I often try to legitimize in my own mind his comments by posting a good question at the end. First, let me introduce him to you and say thanks to the RBC Royal Bank who brought Kohl to Manitoba’s communities as part of the RBC Agricultural Speaking Series, an interactive presentation for farmers and agribusiness owners. Kohl certainly energizes people in his audiences
with his keen insight into the agricultural industry acquired through extensive travel, research, and exposure during his career. With over eight million miles traveled in his professional career in conducting over 6,000 workshops and seminars for a variety of agricultural audiences, he has earned the right to say what he thinks, and he did. Kohl’s personal involvement with agriculture and interaction with key industry players provide a unique perspective into the future trends of the agricultural industry and economy. His first point is that 80 percent of economics is about emotion and behaviour. He outlined five points in this category placing greed, greed and greed as number one. He used the example of one farmer buying land for $21,000 an acre in Iowa, and had there been another 1,000 acres, he’d have bought that too. His thinking, “They don’t make anymore land.” The second emotion cited by Kohl was anxiety and that is a good one. “This is a good emotion because it brings the most objectivity to your decisions,” he said. “People ask me, when will
interest rates start rising, land prices start dropping and will the commodity prices keep dropping?” Kohl cautioned farmers that while farmers have made a lot of money, much of it is on paper because land values have gone up. When land prices drop, that is when people will find out who really has net worth in their operations. That’s why he stresses farmers need to know what their net worth really is, not just fly by the seat of their pants and hope the net worth is there or the land price bubble never bursts. The third emotion is complacency. Land prices have farmers and the ag industry on a brand new plateau. With these emotions, it creates extremes, and while some can cash in on those extremes, many others can certainly lose big time, too. Our grandmas and grandpas could make their decisions based more on long-term scenarios because they didn’t have to deal with the extremes that those emotions create. Complacency in the era of extremes can be deadly for those who never realize what is actually happening until a certain bubble breaks and then they wonder what hit
December 27, 2013
Unfair Levy of Education TTax ax Dear Editor: The NDP made a commitment to Manitoba farmers in 2011 to eliminate the education tax from their farmlands, and then it broke that promise. Farm families continue to pay more into the education system than other Manitoba families, since they need to own or lease land to do business. That’s not a fair way to fund education. Instead of living up to its commitment to eliminate the tax, the NDP capped the education tax rebate on farmland at $5,000. Non-Manitobans who own land here now receive no education tax rebate at all. This puts all farm families at a disadvantage. This results in higher costs to do business for all farm families in Manitoba. Either families will pay more in taxes than they were promised or the rent on land they lease will rise to make up for higher education taxes. While municipal officials often bear the brunt of any discussion on property tax bills, we hope you will remember where the real problem lies. The NDP government lied to you, and put the burden of collecting taxes it promised to eliminate on the backs of your municipal government. By breaking its promise, the NDP will reduce the amount rebated back to farmers by $6.2 million. That’s a tax increase of $6.2 million on farm families across Manitoba. Combine this with PST increases on many essentials, such as home insurance, and other government fees such as auto insurance, and the impacts of broken NDP government promises only increase in magnitude. This means farm families will have millions less to spend in the local economy. Farm families make significant contributions to rural communities, but that contribution will be drastically reduced by this NDP government. Ian Wishart MLA for Portage la Prairie
them. The fourth emotion has to do with optimism, and here Kohl refers to a brand new crop of younger farmers coming into the industry with more women involved in management decisions with a new burst of energy. “Hold the phone,” said Kohl. Taking these first four emotions and throwing the evolving technology into the mix creates the fifth emotion, a very fragile condition, or state. Dr. Kohl had far more things to say about the impact of the emerging nations in the world, the public debt and aging population, entitlements and only 1 to 2 percent annual growth of the developed rich nations. Here is my question for Dr. Kohl. $17 trillion dollars in debt, question marks on inflation and interest rates, and a dearth of leadership in the United States on both sides of the political aisle, current president included, is the United States too big to fail?
“No,” said Kohl. “Absolutely not!” He said it won’t take long and the U.S., instead of being a leader for so long and thinking the world revolves around it, will find itself as just another player on the stage of the world economy. Right now, there is a whole mindset of Americans that is very destructive to the United States of America. He said the recurring debt and deficits and putting that on credit cards as the U.S. is doing right now can’t sustain itself. The fix under the current leadership? Tax the rich, eliminate farm payments and tax offshore profits. Wherever there is a little extra to spare, tax it, or eliminate it so the 50 percent on the government dole today can remain there. Dr. Kohl, in my opinion, had a very good speech. When he answered my straightforward question without evading it, his stock climbed big-time on my balance sheet.
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
Unconventional Approach to Production Increase By Les Kletke
The YYear ear That W as Was and the YYear ear to Come I want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone involved in Manitoba’s beef sector. It truly is a privilege for me to work with some of the most dedicated women and men that I have ever met. I hope that you take time to share the season with family and friends. This is always the time of year for reflection, looking back at the year that was-and pondering the potential for the year ahead. The beef industry has come through ten difficult years since the BSE crisis hit in 2003. BSE was followed by floods; ongoing impacts of bovine tuberculosis, U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labelling (COOL), droughts, and severe feed shortages were among other hurdles that beef producers have had a hard time crossing. Sadly, the difficulties of the past ten years have meant that many producers have left this industry for good. Their departure is not just a loss for our industry but a loss for rural Manitoba communities and the Manitoba economy as a whole. Fortunately, the year ahead does not look like the hard times we have passed through. Looking ahead, I see real reasons for optimism. In fact, if a young producer asked me today what they should do with their cow herd, my response would be, “Double it.” Why the optimism? I can give you three good reasons, and no, “senseless” is not one of them. The most obvious reason is price. The North American cattle herd has the lowest number of head since the 1950s. Less quantity supplies mean higher prices for the suppliers-beef producers. Prices, especially for cow-calf producers, should remain strong for a few years to come as the herd across North America is rebuilt. The second reason for optimism is market access. Since the onslaught of BSE, beef associations and governments have worked together to open markets that were closed to us. These efforts have paid off and a significant slice of the world is once again open to Canadian beef. For example, this past year Japan eased its post BSE restrictions, a move that could double the value of our exports to that market. We have already seen Canadian exports to Japan increase. There is more to come on the market access front. In October, Canada signed an agreement in principle with the European Union that will give us beef access worth an estimated $600 million. Filling this potential will require 500,000 head of cattle per year, equivalent to the number of calves Manitoba produces every year. Topping off the good news on the market access front, Canada has also recently been invited to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations that involve 12 nations in the Pacific region. Together, TPP member countries represent 51 per cent of Canada’s agri-food exports. The third reason I have optimism is government programming. I have to admit, I am cynical enough to be surprised at saying this, but it is true. In the fall, the provincial and federal governments unveiled a new suite of forage insurance programs. MBP has been advocating and working towards reforms to forage insurance for a number of years. The new programs include increased flexibility in the level of coverage, individual coverage rather than a regional approach, differentiated coverage for different forages and mixes, and a disaster component. Right behind the new forage insurance programming is price insurance. I am anticipating an early 2014 announcement of livestock price insurance that will give beef producers an opportunity to offset their price risk in a meaningful and effective way. Again, this is a program that MBP has been fighting to get for a long time. Beef producers require strong, bankable risk mitigation tools and the forage and price insurance programming will be exactly that, allowing producers to offset both input and output risks. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that the combination of these two packages will be game changers for our industry. Agriculture will never be smooth sailing all of the time. Producers are going to have to adjust to new traceability measures. Consumer pressure and government regulations on environmental and animal care issues are going to affect your operation. In the coming year, mandatory COOL will likely continue to be a major barrier to our industry’s growth and profitability. But, today I think the silver lining is bigger than the black cloud. I look towards 2014 with a smile on my face. I hope every beef producer does as well. And I really hope that a year from now we can look back and say that we were right.
Gary Martens’ presentation to the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors was not what they expected from a university Professor. The concepts would not be expected from anyone representing an institution of higher learning or looking to the future. Martens recommended looking at the past to gain the tools for the future. Martens, who owns a small farm in southeastern Manitoba, said that he has been working on converting it to an operation that requires less work and fewer inputs. He used the example of a farm in the U.S. that was developed around a synergy between cropping systems, animals and its trees. “The goal is to work less and only harvest,” said Martens. “The system should maintain itself and we look after the harvest.” Martens used several examples of systems that have taken strides to move in that direction including Jim Lintott, a well-known forage producer who raises grass fed beef. Lintott uses forages as a part of his crop rotation but also utilizes the forages for his beef production. Martens did not say that all agricultural production in western Canada could shift to the model but that it was viable for some operations that choose to go the holistic route. He challenged the audience with another experiment he is conducting on his farm. Martens maintains that seed costs have been one of the fastest rising inputs on farms in western Canada, and he is not sure that the yield increases of recent years can be entirely attributed to improved genetics. He said that yields of crops like wheat have increased
Gary Martens a Professor at the University of Manitoba is conducting trials on his farm with the help of nature to sort out the wheat varieties. Photo by Les Kletke
roughly 120 percent in the last 100 years and only about 1/ 3 of that can be attributed to genetics, the remaining 2/3 is due to increased agronomy. So the increase in seed prices is not justified in additional harvest. Martens has undertaken a trial on his farm where he is planting 55 varieties of wheat and plans to grow the resultant crop out for 10 years. He does not predict what the yield increase might be but is relying on nature to sort out the varieties that do not fit his geographical location and through a survival of the fittest approach, develop the wheat that is best for his area. He certainly raised a few eyebrows with his approach while outlining the experiment but for anyone who took a Gary Martens crop science course they would not be surprised at his questioning the status quo.
CWB Expands its Terminal and Rail Services By Harry Siemens Late last month the CWB announced it was buying all of the issued and outstanding shares of Mission Terminal, Les Élévateurs des Trois-Rivières and Services Maritimes Laviolette from Upper Lakes Group Inc. Mission Terminal owns an elevator at Alexander and has stakes in several shortline railways, including Boundary Trail Rail Company and Lake Line Railway in Manitoba. According to the CWB, this deal gives it the advantages of an eastern port and positions CWB as the largest east coast shipper of producer cars from western Canada. These acquisitions provide the starting point for a network of strategic grain-handling assets for CWB-marketed grain and they are another critical step in CWB’s strategy to transition towards an operating model independent of the government. “The agri-business landscape is evolving quickly, and the purchase of these companies is a first step in building and securing CWB a strong position in the grain marketing supply chain,” said CWB President and CEO, Ian White. “The flexible, efficient handling and transportation operations of Mission Terminal will let CWB source grain directly from farmers and move it right on to the ships docked at the East Coast.” There is some concern with where the money to buy these facilities is coming from. Dayna Spiring, Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel for the CWB, said the funds to purchase the physical assets are coming from retained earnings, as well as some commercial borrowing, however it is not clear if those are retained earnings from before or after CWB was stripped of its single desk authority in August 2012. The relationship between Mission Terminal and the old Canadian Wheat Board started years ago. Mission Terminal Inc.’s head office is in Winnipeg, just a stone’s throw from the CWB offices. The company markets wheat, durum, barley, canola, rye, flax, peas and oats, and industrial products for customers around the globe. It operates handling facilities both in western Canada and at Thunder Bay. Mission Terminal Thunder Bay, at the mouth of the Mission River, has a licensed storage capacity of 136,500 MT and handles ap-
proximately 1.5 MMT annually. Les Élévateurs des Trois-Rivières (ETR) is located in Trois-Rivières, Quebec and is a receiving, storage and loading facility with a storage capacity of 110,000 tonnes of grain, 78,000 tonnes of alumina and 20,000 tonnes of coke. It can receive grain by ocean ship, laker, rail or truck and is one of the few facilities able to unload vessels of up to Panamax size. Services Maritimes Laviolette (SML) is also located in Trois-Rivières, Quebec and offers stevedoring and related services. “CWB has strong long-term relationships and has worked closely with each of the companies we are acquiring. We have always respected their solid reputation among prairie farmers and we will continue to value all of the companies doing business with them in the country and at port,” said White. “We share very similar corporate cultures, both placing a high value on the contribution that farmers bring to our respective companies. We welcome all the employees to the CWB team and look forward to their participation in building a great Canadian-focused grain company.” To make these purchases the CWB board further explained that it had retained some of the money from farmers’ grain sales in a contingency fund. The CWB said that fund was one of multiple sources of CWB’s ‘retained earnings.’
Barley Industry to Promote Health Benefits The newly incorporated producer led Barley Council of Canada has received $314,800 in federal funding to promote the health benefits of barley. Most barley grown in and exported from Canada is for malting. As a result of the recent movement to a free market structure for barley, and the formal recognition of related health benefits such as the lowering of blood cholesterol, there is great potential for the industry to expand into the food sector. The monies will be used to promote the health benefits and functional advantages of barley in the areas of bakery, snack food, and cereal sectors to existing domestic and international food companies.
The Agri Post
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
The Agri Post
Call Now not Later When Making Changes Very often, we receive phone calls from people after they have started making changes to their property or after they have owned something new for a number of months. For example: renovation project is well under way, purchase of a new yard tractor, addition of attached garage, built a storage building, purchase of a new laptop computer or will call to buy insurance on their new home under construction after the walls are already up. People do not call to add the new item right away for numerous reasons: nothing will happen, busy, wanted to wait until they are done making changes so they only have to call us once, wanted to wait in order to save money (never admitted to), no point in insuring until there is something of greater value to lose (“pain threshold” is different for each individual) or their bank did not ask about it until now. Examples of things going wrong: wind blows down the walls of the new building, computer stolen, new tractor catches fire, property stolen or not yet installed. Common questions at point of claim: Do I have a grace period to add this? Is it covered somehow? My previous tractor is covered on the policy; can this new one automatically be covered? What can we learn from this? Make the phone call before the purchase or right at the point of change. We can discuss the options and once you have all the facts. You can then make the best decision for your situation. Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! Andy Anderson is an Associate Insurance Broker specializing in General, Life and Group Benefits for Farm, Commercial/Agri-business. He can be reached at 204-746-5589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education Tax Levy Penalizes Farm Families
December 27, 2013
Manitoba farm families were promised a significant tax break in the last election. The NDP promised to remove education taxes from their farmland. This did not happen. “Failure to live up to this promise penalizes farm families who were counting on tax relief,” said Ralph Eichler, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Critic. “The promise was to eliminate this tax. Failing to keep that promise is unacceptable.” This broken promise has far-reaching effects on the agriculture sector said Eichler. Landowners who are not from Manitoba are no longer eligible for any education tax relief. This will increase their cost of doing business and will result in higher rents charged to producers who lease land for production. By capping the education rebate rather than eliminating the tax, farm families will have fewer dollars in their pockets. This combined with record tax increases such as the PST hike will directly affect local economies.
December 27, 2013
Workshop for Building Health, Hope, and Resiliency in the Ag Community
The Agri Post
On Wednesday, January 22, a workshop sponsored by the Prairie Mountain Health, Manitoba Women’s Institute, and Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services will be held for health care providers, clergy, agricultural professionals, farm financial advisors, and anyone interested in the physical, mental and emotional well-being of farmers and rural people. The Guest Speaker is Dr. Michael Rosmann, who is a clinical psychologist, farmer, professor, internationally renowned speaker and author. Start time is 1 pm and runs to 4:30 pm at the Riverbank Discovery Centre in Brandon located at 545 Conservation Drive, south of the Corral Centre. The cost of the workshop is $50 and payable by cash or cheque at the door. Pre-registration is required. For more information contact 204-571-4182, email@example.com or visit the website ruralsupport.ca.
Canadian Ag to Benefit from WTO Agreement The World Trade Organization’s Ninth Ministerial Conference recently concluded in Bali, Indonesia with member countries agreeing on a new trade facilitation agreement (TFA) that will benefit Canadian farmers and agricultural exporters. This TFA represents the WTO’s first multilateral trade agreement to be concluded since the establishment of the WTO in 1995. Canadian Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz who participated in the WTO conference with Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, is welcoming the benefits and opportunities that the TFA delivers for Canada. “This agreement builds on our government’s continued advocacy for a fair and more efficient system of international trade based on predictable rules and sound science,” said Ritz. “This agreement will help Canadian farmers and agricultural exporters maximize opportunities in international markets where we have achieved unprecedented access this year.” In addition to the TFA, agreement was reached on specific agriculture issues. Ministers re-affirmed the call for the elimination of export subsidies and reduction in maximum repayment periods for export credits. Continued reforms in this area will help level the playing field on world markets for Canada’s agricultural exporters benefiting all Canadian agricultural exports, including beef and pork. The agreement also carries new and stronger disciplines for the administration of tariff quotas that will create new opportunities for Canadian agricultural exporters. Outcomes in agriculture also address the need for improvements for food security, a matter for which Canada supports an approach that is sustainable and which minimizes trade distortions. Canada also believes that unfettered trade in agricultural products is one of a number of tools available to increase food security. More broadly, the momentum generated from this positive outcome in Bali is expected to re-invigorate negotiations on meaningful agriculture reform across all three pillars of the Agreement on Agriculture in domestic support, market access and export competition.
The Agri Post
When Land Price Goes up Tiling Makes Sense By Les Kletke Tile drainage has made a significant increase in its presence in the past year in Manitoba, and while some farmers are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach and others are saying, ‘let’s try some’, Ron McFarlane said it is not a new concept and it has proven itself in many parts of the world. McFarlane, the Sales Manager with Ideal Pipe, was on hand for an open house at the company’s Carman facility in December. He is based in the firm’s head office in southern Ontario. The company has manufactured tile drainpipe at its London plant since 1980 and now produces drain tile and culverts at its facility in Carman. “We have made drains as small as three inches and as large as 15 inches which is used as the mains,” said McFarlane. “Typically the drain that is used for agricultural land is four inches and leads into a 15 inch.” He said southern Manitoba has lagged behind Ontario in the installation of drain tile because land prices have been lower. “As land prices increase and it becomes more difficult to purchase land, farmers look to improve their land and that is what the tile drainage does,” he said. He stops short of putting a hard economic value on what tile drainage can do to the productive capacity of the land but said that it
December 27, 2013
Tile Drainage Makes Your Land Better By Les Kletke
Drain tile produced at Ideal Pipe in Carman is wrapped with a fibre sock to prevent the tile from filling with fine soil particles. Photo by Les Kletke
works in several ways. “It makes the field more consistent so the farmer can treat it all the same instead of working around trouble spots, and that will be a major factor in Manitoba,” he said. “It also allows them to get on the land earlier and we all know that farmers want to get on the land in spring. So there are several factors that it impacts.” He said that tiling took off in Ontario in the 1980’s with increased grain prices and in 1983, there were 176,000 acres tiled. “That dropped off to a low of 80,000 when interest rates rose and grain prices dropped but it
has come back up and now much of the land is already done so the demand is not as great.” He said that while the proof of drainage has been there for a long time the addition of a fibre sock around the pipe has made it more viable in clay soils. “The pipes used to silt full in the very fine soils,” he said. “Now with the fibre sock that doesn’t happen and the pipes continue to work for a longer period of time. The science isn’t new but there have been improvements that will make it more viable for the prairies.”
Jim Pallister views tile drainage as an alternative to purchasing more land. He installed the first tile drains on his Portage area farm eight years ago and this past fall put in another 1,500 acres of tile drainage. The drains are not in the typical pattern of running the length of a field at a specific distance but rather deal with problem areas in the field. “We look at it as improving the field,” he said, “It makes the field more uniform and avoids the problems of low spots that don’t allow you to seed or require coming back to seed later. This makes the entire field a uniform area that can be treated the same way.” He said, typically the area drained is about 100 acres on a half section. The tile drainage allows him to grow crops like edible beans on land that would not otherwise be suitable for the crop, “Beans don’t like water and this way we can increase our land that is suitable for dry bean production. He said that the tile drainage served its purpose before but really proved itself in 2011 when his farm received heavy rains and the 800 acres that was tile drained did not suffer significant damage. “We look at it as improving the land and making our medium (quality) land better,” he said. “It would be the equivalent of changing class c and d soils to a and b.” He added that the jump in land prices the past two years have made the installation of tile drainage a better economic decision. “The price of installation has not changed much in eight years, yet the price of land has increased dramatically,” he said. “With interest rates at historic lows we wanted to take advantage of that and, while we could not increase our land base much more, we chose to improve the land we have.” He said that with the higher income of the past two years, farmers are also looking to reduce their tax bill and instead of buying machinery that depreciates, he chose to upgrade his land with an investment that is entirely tax deductible in the year that it is done. “So it made sense for a number of reasons,” he said. “We were able to do 1,500 acres this year and will probably do more next year.” The larger area of drained land on his farm will also allow him to do a better evaluation of the impact. “We know that it will help with salinity problems,” he said. “We have had some areas where we were growing alfalfa to decrease the water table and the salinity. This should address those problems. The challenge he has faced is the installation of lift stations, which add to the cost of a tile drainage system. “We don’t have the deep drains that areas like Ontario do,” he said. “So we have to include a well and a lift station instead of just draining the tile into a canal or creek and that adds to the cost, but it looks like a good return on improving the land.”
Carman Plant Makes Pipe By Les Kletke For Mike Unger the company name says it all, “We Make Pipe.” Unger is with Ideal Pipe and at the firm’s open house in December was on hand to answer questions about the pipe that is going into Manitoba fields in large amounts. The Carman plant is a division of Ideal Pipe based in southern Ontario and has seen a dramatic increase in demand for its drain tile in recent years. “We have two lines in the Carman plant,” said Unger. “We are not as busy in the winter as we are the rest of the year.” The firm concentrates on the manufacture of larger pipe used for culverts during the wintertime. “We can’t store the product outside because it would break down with the sunlight,” he said. “And the volume of space it would take to store. So, we manufacture more of the drain tile through the spring and summer.” The Carman plant manufactures pipe from three to 12 inches and relies on the Ontario operation for smaller or larger diameters. The raw product arrives in Carman as high-density polyethylene (HDP), goes through one of two lines, a blow mould or a vacuum line, and is formed into pipe. The pellets are melted at 400 °F and extruded into pipe. The company also regrinds and reuses pipe that has been reclaimed, it also regrinds any of the product that is less than perfect from the start of the machines, “Nothing is wasted, it is all reground and reused.” The pipe used for drain tile is covered in a fibre sock to prevent the pipe from filing with fine soil particles. “The sock used in southern Ontario is different; the one we use is finer because the soil particles of the clay soils in Manitoba are much smaller,” said Unger. “Most of the time when a pipe fills up it is because of damage to the pipe.” He said for agricultural use the pipes are normally buried at a depth of three feet. As the name says, the company is in the business of making pipe and leaves the installation to other companies.
Ron Janke (second from left) and Gord Unger, of Ideal Pipe, speak with one of the farmers that visited the Carman plant during an open house in December. Photo by Les Kletke
“We have three contractors we work with that also retail our pipe,” said Unger. “We do have some contact with farmers but in most cases they need a survey done, which is usually handled by the installation company. We do sell small amounts of pipe directly to end users but in most cases they need other services as well.”
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
The Agri Post
Author Keeps Promise to Farm Boy By Joan Airey Seventeen years ago, Karen Emilson was working at the Interlake Spectator when two brothers, Dennis and David Pischke, approached her to write a feature article about them. The first time Emilson interviewed the twins it started at six in the evening and was not over until two in the morning. “The Pischke brothers were adult survivors of child abuse, men who’d kept the heart breaking details of their young lives a secret for nearly 40 years. After the story hit the media and Peter Warren was interviewing the Pischke brothers and me, the book idea was conceived. After the book ‘Where Children Run’ was launched November 29, 1996, the calls started coming from other people abused as children,” said Emilson. “Five days later we were guests once again on CJOB action line. The book took off and within weeks, it was a Canadian Best seller. It has been reprinted eight times.” “We were invited to speak at the Foster Families Network at Dauphin’s Adult Survivors of Abuse. A few years after that, David and I were sitting on a plane on our way to Lloydminster. We’d been invited to be the guest speakers at a conference for child abuse survivors. I remember very little about the conference itself. We at-
tended many speaking engagements in those following years but I do remember something David said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t let the book die.” “Looking back, it was almost like a prophecy, that maybe David knew he wouldn’t be around much longer. I told him not to worry… I’d keep the book alive. At the time, it seemed like an easy promise to make. After his death in 2004 though, it became difficult to keep. David died unexpectedly in his sleep, the result of a massive heart attack. Half the reason ‘Where Children Run’ became such a success was gone. The other half, his twin Dennis, was devastated. We floundered for a few years after that. Sales by then dwindled but we still got a few requests. It didn’t make good financial sense to go back to the printer so the book unceremoniously went out of print,” said Emilson. David, Dennis, and Karen made themselves accessible to the public reaching out to abused survivors and abused children who contacted them. On one occasion, David talked a teenager girl, who was abused, out of committing suicide. “I didn’t tell anyone about the promise I’d made to David but it was there, nagging at me. Technology has changed so much since that plane ride that finally I’ve been able to keep that
Karen Emilson, former rural journalist, kept her promise and published a book for two brothers on surviving abuse.
promise. Now anyone, anywhere in the world can read Dennis and David’s story by simply buying the Kindle version and downloading it onto their eReader smart phone or computer. The epilogue has been updated, the photographs [are there] and it’s in bigger print for easy reading,” said Emilson. “It’s the book many baby boomers read with tears running down their cheeks. I’m hoping it will help more
abused children.” Karen Emilson was editor of Cattle Country for several years and is now working on a fiction novel. Her blog website is at karenemilson.blogspot.ca.
December 27, 2013
Smart PPig ig Handling Video Series Released
Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) has released a new series of videos, Smart Pig Handling that is expected to become a vital part of employee training in the hog industry. The information in this series will help to lessen stress on both workers and livestock, prevent workplace injuries, improve workplace satisfaction, reduce in-transit losses, improve meat quality, and ensure animal wellbeing. “The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association is pleased that Manitoba Pork has taken the lead in providing resources for hog farmers and their workers through the FCC Ag Safety Fund,” says Marcel Hacault, the Executive Director of CASA and a former hog producer. “Understanding animal behaviour and identifying proven handling methods reduces stress on both workers and hogs, promoting safe practices in agriculture, which is a great use of FCC Ag Safety Fund dollars.” The six-chapter series emphasizes low-stress handling techniques; up until now, there has been nothing like these videos that was so readily accessible to producers in Canada. MPC hopes to have Smart Pig Handling in all barns for the benefit of consistent, standardized training across Canada. The videos are available on MPC’s YouTube channel (MBPorkfan) and on its website; contact MPC or the pork organization in your province to request an extended version of the training videos, which are customizable to any farm type. “This training video will help equip stock people, both new and practicing, with tools to handle pigs in a manner that minimizes stress for pigs and people,” says Dr. Laurie Connor, Department Head of Animal Sciences at the University of Manitoba. “Smart Pig Handling focuses on understanding basic pig behaviour relevant to handling and using that knowledge effectively to create handling scenarios that are calm, safe and get the job done easily. This translates into good welfare and good business.” The development of these videos was supported by Alberta Pork, Sask Pork, Ontario Pork and FPPQ. It was also supported by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and the Government of Alberta. The project’s main support came from the FCC Ag Safety Fund, administered by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association with funding from Farm Credit Canada.
December 27, 2013
Canadian Grain Commission Cuts Costs
The Agri Post
Naturally Good Ice Cream
By Les Kletke
By Les Kletke
The Assistant Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission had a clear message for the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors when he spoke to the annual gathering in Niverville, about reductions. Jim Smolik said the Commission has been mandated to cut costs from $80 to $60 million and one of the cuts would be in staff, from 670 to 400. “Agriculture has become much more sophisticated,” said Smolik. “And the role of the Grain Commission has changed.” He said that cost recovery will become an even greater emphasis in the future and cost recovery will increase from 50 to 90 percent of the cost of operation. Smolik said Assistant Chief Commissioner Jim Smolik, the grain inof the Canadian Grain Commission, said dustry is willfuture changes and cost cutting measures ing to pay for would not affect services to grain the services industry. Photo by Les Kletke the commission provides if they are practical and useful to the industry. “We have done away with something like the requirement of double weighing and that only makes sense,” he said. The structure of the Grain Commission will change as well, from the current three commissioners to a President/ CEO office, “To reflect the current structure of most organizations and a move to modernize.” “There is a mandate to include producers and the industry,” he said. “It is not a loss of protection for producers.” There will also be an option for non-binding arbitration as an alternative to settling disputes. Smolik said that changes in the grain produced and the products in demand in the market place are also driving changes in the regulatory system. “The lower protein white wheats used in noodle production are relatively new for Canadian producers but they are in demand in the market and we have to have the regulations in place for those kinds of wheat.”
Lisa Dyck’s approach to making ice cream is pretty simple. Make it with natural products, keep it to the flavours people love and sell it for a reasonable price. The challenge is keeping up with the demand for the products at Cornell Dairy. The farm, between Anola and Beasejour, milks about 130 purebred Holsteins and Dyck transforms some of the milk into Cornell Creme, which is marketed at several Winnipeg stores. Dyck was one of the speakers at the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors conference in Niverville and told the audience about the challenges she faced in getting into the ice-cream business, as well as the success she has found for the product that has some rather untraditional flavours as well as the standard chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. She did not have to convince the audience of the value of using quality inputs to produce a top quality product; she had done that by having the ice cream served for dessert after lunch. Currently Dyck hauls the milk into the University of Manitoba Dairy on the Fort Garry Campus where the ice cream is made. She laughs saying that she has reverted back to much the same system that her father-in-law used when he began in the dairy business in 1929 after emigrating from Russia. She takes in about 400 litres a week to the dairy, which translates to roughly twice as much ice cream.
step to adding an employee and increasing production. “At this point we are happy with the reaction and are staying hands on so that we can control the quality of the final product.”
Manitoba Canola Growers Association Elect New Directors
Lisa Dyck, of Cornell Creme, said it is not easy to find the right flavour to add to an ice cream but she has found some unusual ones that make her product very popular. Photo by Les Kletke
Dyck outlined the process she went through in determining the flavours for her premium ice cream after the traditional big three had been met. “You need the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry but then we considered some others like blueberry lavender and tried a few of those,” she said. It is not a matter of just adding flavouring to a vat of ice cream and coming up with a winner. She said it took considerable time to fine
the right malted product for her beer-flavoured ice cream. “You have to find the right flavour that will work with the sweetness of the icecream,” she said. “We finally found one that worked for our Malty Pale Ale.” She is still on the hunt for a flavour that will work for a red wine ice cream. While the product has met with success, she said the consideration is to stay with what they can handle currently or take the next
The results of the 2013 Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) Election of Directors were announced recently by Ian Craven, Returning Officer with MNP LLP (MNP). Five candidates were running for four positions. The successful candidates are as follows: Larry Bohdanovich Grandview Brian Chorney East Selkirk Charles Fossay Starbuck Ed Rempel Starbuck There were 8921 ballots mailed out and 998 valid envelopes returned. The vote was conducted using a mail-in preferential voting system that allowed producers to rank the candidates in order of preference. Candidates were required to win more than 50% of the active votes in any particular count to win one of the four available positions. Every two years members are asked to elect four Directors from across the province to represent canola growers on the board for a four-year term.
The Agri Post
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
Stover’s Foray into Tractors Many of the current advertisements in farm papers contain the names of actual farmers on the prairies who use the product being advertised along with a line or two about why they are satisfied with the product. This is an age-old method of advertising products on the prairies as it provides reassurance to prospective buyers. In a 1909 advertisement the Canadian Stover Gasoline Engine Company’s 30 Horsepower tractor advertised a Stover tractor hard at work pulling a Big Dutchman plow on the farm of Ivan Decock of Deleau. The outfit was given a real work out. Prairie grass sod was tough plowing never mind being re-enforced with willow and poplar scrub roots. The Stover Company started off in the 1870s manufacturing windmills and progressed on to other sorts of other products including barbwire, bicycles, stoves and other items. By 1895, Stover experimented with gasoline engines and produced some stationary models. Stover engines were offered in a number of sizes from ½ horsepower to 40 horsepower. Towards the end of Stover production, the model line even included stationary diesel engines. Stover engines seem to have been reasonably well built with forged crankshafts introduced early in production. Early Stover engines featured a one-piece cast iron crankcase and cylinder. Stover engines over 14 horsepower featured air start. Very little is known about the Stover foray into gas tractor manufacture. There is some suggestion that Stover mounted their large stationary engine designs on Morton power trucks to produce a tractor. Morton power trucks were a chassis equipped with a simple transmission, drive train and steering gear to which someone could add an engine of their choosing to make a tractor. Morton power trucks appear to have been used by a number of very early tractor manufacturers including IHC. The Stover Manufacturing and Engine Company was based in Freeport, Illinois and the Canadian Stover Gasoline Engine Company was a subsidiary set up to do business for Stover in Canada and was headquartered in Brandon. While Brandon seems to have been a strange choice by today’s standards, at the time Brandon had good rail connections with the CPR, the Canadian Northern Pacific and the Brandon, Saskatchewan and Hudson Bay Railway all having rail lines into the city. The Brandon, Saskatchewan and Hudson Bay was a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway and offered a connection to this major US railway. With these rail connections, Brandon could service a large chunk of the eastern Prairies easily.
The Decock Family turned out to get into the photograph of the Stover tractor at work. Photographs in 1909 were still relatively uncommon and a photographer’s presence would create enthusiasm to get into the image.
Canada to Partner and Help Farmers in Vietnam
In Hanoi, Vietnam, Minster Ritz with (from left to right) Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam David Devine, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, and Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.
During a trade mission to Vietnam, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and his counterpart, Vietnamese Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat, announced that the Government of Canada is investing more than $7.6 million toward a new development project through the International Finance Corporation. The project’s aim is to help improve the livelihoods of Vietnamese farmers with increased financing and knowledge of new agricultural practices. “This project will deepen Canada’s already strong diplomatic and trade relationship with Vietnam, and demonstrates the close partnership that has been
cultivated between both countries over the past 40 years,” said Ritz. “Our Government is proud to assist Vietnam’s continued economic growth in order to strengthen two-way trade between our two countries.” “I thank the Government of Canada for continued and valuable support to Vietnam in general and the agricultural sector in particular,” said Phat. “I believe that the new incoming project will certainly be beneficial to the farmers as well as contributing to the implementation of the agriculture re-structuring program of Vietnam.” This project aims to help improve the profitability of thousands of farmers across Vietnam by providing technical assistance and training related to banks and agribusiness. This assistance will increase access to financing as well as improve agricultural practices. It will also help maintain the value of harvested crops during handling and storage. The program will span five years and target farmers of export-oriented commodities, such as cashews and coffee, both of which were top Canadian imports from Vietnam in 2012. “Through this investment, our Government is helping Vietnamese farmers improve their livelihoods,” said Christian Paradis, Canada’s Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie. “Canada is supporting initiatives that contribute to sustainable economic growth in Vietnam, assisting farmers throughout the production cycle from their access to credit, through technical
training and best practices, to access to markets, and commercialization of their products.” The announcement comes as Canada and Vietnam celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations. Canada’s relations with Vietnam are expanding, particularly through rapidly increasing trade and investment and a prominent development cooperation program. Canada’s exports of agri-food and seafood to Vietnam reached $146 million in 2012, with Canada’s main exports being seafood, soybeans, non-durum wheat, and canola meal. Top agri-food exports to Canada from Vietnam in 2012 included cashews, coffee, nuts, and seeds.
Strengthening Food Safety Standards Canada’s agricultural industry will benefit from an enhanced food safety audit system that will increase consistency throughout the sector. Up to $173,000 will go to the Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition (CSCFSC) to develop standard auditor competencies and qualifications that are consistent with private and international standards. The funds will help the Coalition bring all stakeholders to the table to shape a consistent made-inCanada approach to food safety audit and certification across all sectors, and to develop an action plan to get there. The goal is to develop one set of standards for our domestic and international markets. Members of the CSCFSC represent every major segment of the agriculture and agri-food value chain.
The Agri Post
Time to Plan for Next Year’s Dairy Cow Forage Most experienced producers have a good idea on how many forage acres should be planted in the spring in order to feed their dairy cattle for the upcoming year. However, 2013 might go down in Manitoba dairy history as one of those odd years that many dairy producers couldn’t put up enough dry hay during the summer and yet some people have more corn silage than they know what to do with. Despite these shortages or bounties, a good dairy forage plan for 2014 (year in which dairy forages are grown and harvested) should be implemented on each dairy farm in order to assure that dairy cows receive the best quantity of high quality forages at all times. One of the best dairy forage plans outlines the annual tonnage of each major type of common forages fed to the dairy herd, encompassing the milking herd, dry cows, replacement heifers and young stock. Annual inventories of commonly fed forages include corn and barley silage, alfalfa and grass haylage, forage baleage, and 1st and 2nd cut alfalfa hay. Such a developed forage plan might also segregate harvested and purchased forages. Consequently, the foundation of most successful forage plans is often based upon historical and current information that can be collected from about a halfdozen sources of a respective dairy farm. Such sources are: (1) total annual tonnes of each type of forage consumed by the dairy herd, (2) average daily herd feed consumption, (3) any significant forage supply adjustments, when forage demand was usually high or low, (4) actions taken when a particular forage was unavailable (i.e.: no 2nd cut hay), (5) purchased forage amounts and (5) year-to-year forage carryover. From these past boundaries, we calculate and predict with reasonable accuracy the quantity of each type of forage (mentioned above) needed for the upcoming year. This means, we count the current number of dairy cows on the milk line, in the dry cow pens and all of the replacement/young stock animals. Next, we multiply these animal numbers by their daily forage consumption. Use the general assumption that milk cows and mature dry cows consume the same amount of forage fed on a daily basis, while replacement/young stock consume about 30 percent of a mature cow’s silage/haylage allotment (based upon their specified diets) and 50 percent of a mature cow’s hay intake (based on their specified diet or limited rumen fill). Last, we multiply this “herd calculated daily forage consumption” by the “number of days” that they are fed any particular forage to yield the desired annual forage consumption. For example, let’s calculate on an annual basis how much total corn silage is needed for a typical 200-cow milking cow dairy, which includes 40 dry cows and 100 replacement heifers and young stock. We adjust this number to account for 20 percent harvest and storage losses and another 15 percent adjustment for allowance of feed wastage and handling. An illustration of a series of calculations is as follows: - (200 cows x 25 kg silage) + (40 dry
December 27, 2013
First Food Grains Bank Cattle Auction a Huge Success By Elmer Heinrichs
cows x 25 kg) + (100 replacements x 25 kg x 30%) x 365 days = 6.750 tonnes of corn silage consumed on a daily basis. - 6.750 tonnes x 365 days = 2,463.50 tonnes corn silage consumed an annual basis. - [(2,463.50/80%)] / 85% = 3,623 tonnes are needed to be grown, harvested and ensiled on an annual basis. This final tally of 3,623 tonnes of corn silage is the extent for many dairy producers’ good forage plan. In many situations, this simple known forage quantity might be adequate to assure that enough forage (in this case, corn silage) is put up for the dairy herd. However, as an option a record book or software program could predict, then record actual forage tonnages as well as keep a precise running inventory for any given forage during the year in which forages are fed out. Specific records that might also be tracked are: 1. Quality forage inventory - this data promotes the allocation of the better quality forages to the lactating dairy cows in order to support high milk production. In the 2013 case of limited alfalfa hay quantities the dairy producer might allocate 2nd cut alfalfa hay to be added to the diet of only early lactation dairy cows in order to help maximize peak milk production. 2. Daily dry matter intake of the dairy herd - A large number of fresh cows coming into any one period of the year will significantly affect feed forage inventories, particularly high quality forage inventories (#1). Furthermore, many producers also make up a total allotment of TMR for their herd, which often matches the changing milk persistency of their herd throughout the year and thus affects forage inventories. 3. Routine moisture tests on all ensiled feeds and the total mixed ration - A variation as little as 3 percent moisture in ensiled forages can significantly affect their feeding rate. Such information dovetails into diet formulation, where addition and subtraction of added water is managed. 4. Leftover feed - Dairy producers should employ good bunk management techniques and never allow bunks to go empty, so 3 - 4 percent feed refusal is normal. Refused feed is often fed to the replacement heifers and young stock. Its impact on total forage inventories is often nominal. 5. Wasted feed - Cows may waste 10 - 15 percent of their ration. It is important to know how much feed is wasted and take appropriate steps to minimize it. Feed that is discarded due to mould and other problems might be dually recorded. Having this written or electronic information at our fingertips is an extension on how many tonnes of each type of forage that we predict to feed to the entire dairy herd during any given year. Even from a few simple calculations, we can predict with a comfortable degree of accuracy how much of any forage that we will need for the dairy herd in an upcoming year, even before the new crop is seeded.
With 17 donated cattle and $16,380 raised, the first-ever cattle auction in Manitoba for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank was a great success. “It was a great experience,” said Harold Penner, Manitoba Coordinator for the Foodgrains Bank, of the December 10 auction at the Grunthal Auction Mart. “We are grateful to the donors, the buyers and to the owners and staff of the Auction Mart for volunteering their time and services to make this possible.” Penner also expressed gratitude to the cattle auction organizer, Charles Wiens, and the rest of the auction committee. “Without volunteers, things like this wouldn’t be possible,” he said. “It just seems that whenever someone has an idea for a way to raise funds for the Foodgrains Bank, people turn out to help make it happen.”
Feds Pleased by Court Ruling in Class Action Lawsuit The Government of Canada responded positively to the Federal Court’s November 29th ruling which struck down nearly all of the
Harold Penner received a cheque for $16,380 from Harold Unrau of Grunthal Auction Mart.
Funds raised at the auction will be used for the Foodgrains Bank’s food assistance projects in the developing world; a second auction is being considered for next year.
claims made by four prairie grain farmers and awarded court costs to the Crown and the CWB. The case was launched in February 2012 and sought approximately $17 billion for damages that were allegedly caused by the elimination of the CWB’s single desk and the alleged loss of farmer equity in the CWB’s assets.
Last August, the Government and the CWB filed a motion requesting the claim be struck and the class action dismissed. In its ruling on this case, the court struck down six of the plaintiffs’ seven claims, directing the plaintiffs to serve and file a revised statement of claim related to producer payments for the 2011-12 pool period only.
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
Pork Producers Need Trade Deal to Expand South Korean Markets By Harry Siemens The Canadian Pork Council wants the federal government to step up efforts to secure a free trade agreement with South Korea. So far, at least since about 2008, free trade negotiations between Canada and the Republic of Korea have been stalled. However, Canada’s major competitors in the pork industry, most notably the U. S. and Europe, have negotiated free trade agreements where duties on their pork are 25 percent on chilled product and 22.5 percent
on frozen. The Republic of Korea has agreed to phase these duties out over ten years. Canadian Pork Council Executive Director, Martin Rice, said that Canada was one of the first countries to export pork to South Korea and in the past South Korea was the Canadian pork industry’s third or fourth most important market. Rice said it partly depends on South Korea’s own domestic production and self-sufficiency level but sometimes there have been important opportunities for Canadian pork ex-
ports to that country. “We were seeing significant success in expanding our exports of higher value pork items into that country, particularly chilled pork,” he said. “Those opportunities have diminished and even disappeared in recent years because we have no deal. We want Canada to achieve an agreement with Korea with terms as close as possible to those of the United States.” Rice says that the government needs to implement it at the earliest opportunity to lessen the gap between the terms of our exports into the Republic of Korea compared to the U.S. and Europe with hopes that Canada will have the same access in less than a decade from now. “If Canada and South Korea can work out a free trade agreement, accepted by both parliaments and in place by 2015, Canada would be three years behind the U.S. and Europe in terms of tariff reductions on pork, so timing is also important,” he added.
Trace Mineral Nutrition Essentials for Pre-calving in Beef Cows By Peter Vitti The last trimester is a very critical time for the average beef cow and her unborn calf. Her unborn calf gains about three-quarters of its birth weight, dramatically increasing all her primary nutrient requirements. While feeding better quality forages, together with a few more pounds of grain and protein supplement tend to cover off extra energy and protein needs, the smallest trace mineral demand contained in the cow’s diet often gets overlooked, yet it is just as important. Assurance of good trace mineral status in precalving cows has a positive effect upon the upcoming calving season, getting newborn calves off to a good start and allowing these mothers to be successfully rebred and settled back in the herd with next year’s calf crop. While both the beef cow and her fetus need a good pre-calving trace mineral feeding program, science seems to dictate that the fetus takes a slight priority over the dam’s similar trace mineral needs. Research has demonstrated that trace mineral deficient beef cows have been shown actual depletion in their own limited trace mineral reserves before their calves become mineral deficient and thus adversely affected. It is estimated that the late-gestation fetus (and placental tissues) utilize up to 30 percent of the pre-calving cow’s daily requirements for essential trace minerals. Unfortunately, fetal calves from trace mineral deficient cows will eventually become marginal, severely trace mineral deficient and will be affected. For example, a classic case of a selenium deficiency in the brood cowherd illustrates this point. Selenium is one of the essential trace minerals that easily crosses the placenta, and therefore good dietary selenium supplementation to the pre-calving cow diet increases the selenium body reserves in cows and transfers it to their fetal calves. In contrast, failure to obtain and maintain adequate selenium status in pregnant beef cows leads to a greater incidence of typical white muscle disease, greater susceptibility to infectious disease and poor growth, once these calves are newborns. Even before new calves hit the ground, the poor trace mineral status of pre-calving cows also has a significant negative impact upon the brood cows themselves; namely, their ability to get re-bred. Although it is not fully understood, the essential trace mineral status of late-gestation cows impacts their normal reproductive hormone production as well as follicular development on the cow’s ovaries. Subsequently, it is estimated that eggs begin maturing about 100 days before they are produced and are released. Therefore, some beef reproductive specialists speculate that good cow fertility is impacted by the amount and different types of nutrients/trace minerals needed largely during the beef cows’ respective pre-calving period. It’s good evidence that trace minerals are needed just before calving. Assuring all such essential trace mineral requirements for late-gestation cows are met really becomes a simple matter of feeding a well-balanced commercial mineral containing supplemental copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, cobalt, and selenium. Consequently, the following nutrition and management suggestions are also helpful in making sure that late gestation beef cows receive enough of these trace minerals when a commercial cattle mineral is poured into their feeders: - Target cowherd mineral consumption - Target a daily consumption of 50 - 100 grams. If the cowherd is not eating enough or too much, add 1/3 portion salt to the mineral mixture. On occasion, calculate the average mineral intake of the herd and make the necessary adjustment for adequate and consistent mineral consumption. - Know the dietary sources in your mineral - This is particularly important when purchasing cattle minerals. Knowing the copper final concentration of your cows’ diet without knowing the source of supplemental copper is of little value. For example, copper comes in many forms such as copper oxide, copper sulphate, and chelated (organic) copper forms, which have relative biological availabilities of 5%, 100%, and 125 - 150%. - Feed a “Beef Breeder Mineral” all winter long - Some producers feed a more fortified commercial mineral (with more biologically available organic copper, zinc, manganese and selenium) all winter long. They say that the cost-difference between a basic gestation and a pre-calving “beef breeder mineral” calculates to a $3.00 - $4.00 per head premium over the first half of the winter, yet it is worth the assurance of good trace mineral status for the entire late-gestating herd until the calving. - Fill your mineral feeders on a regular basis - Mineral feeders should be filled every 2 - 3 days and hardened old mineral should be removed. It’s also important to remove snow and debris that prevents good mineral consumption. - Know how to calculate your daily mineral and seasonal costs - This point should not be confused with whether one spends too little or too much money on their feeding beef cow mineral feeding program! A beef cow breeder mineral costing $40 per 25-kg fed at 75 grams per day costs approximately 12 cents per head per day. Feeding for a 90-day pre-calving period costs about $11 per beef cow. - Avoid feeding too much trace minerals - The old adage of “one spoonful of medicine is good, two spoonfuls of medicine is better”, simply does not work when building or maintaining adequate trace mineral status in late-gestation beef cows. For example a suspected copper deficiency in a cowherd. The symptoms of marginal copper deficiency in cattle is very similar to those of a marginal copper toxicity. Consult with your beef specialist or veterinarian for trace mineral nutrition advice. Setting up a good pre-calving trace mineral feeding program is often a matter of finetuning the current mineral program that was started a few winter months ago. It can be as simple as switching from a standard to more fortified beef breeder mineral in order to meet the higher trace mineral (and vitamin) requirements of the late-gestation beef cow. Its triumph is part of a greater overall winter feeding program that leads to the success of new healthy calves and continued reproductive performance of the profitable beef herd.
The Agri Post
December 27, 2013
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2014
THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post
The Agri Post
December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013
The Agri Post