February 28, 2020
Many Manitoba Cattle Producers Still Struggling
Tom Teichroeb’s cattle on his ranch at Langruth, MB. Teichroeb, the outgoing president of Manitoba Beef Producers, says that in the fall, many producers scrambled, not understanding where their businesses were going, or were even able to carry on and make it into 2020. Some did liquidate, and there’s still some that are liquidating right now. “It was, bar none, the toughest year since BSE; in 2019 and couple that with the year in 2018, my perspective is virtually as tough for some producers as BSE,” said Teichroeb. File photo.
By Harry Siemens Over 200 producers, industry stakeholders, sponsors, trade show participants, speakers, and special guests
met in Brandon recently for the Manitoba Beef Producers 41st AGM and President’s Banquet. The highlight for Langruth,
rancher Tom Teichroeb and the outgoing president of MBP is the Manitoba government launching a threeyear applied research project
to identify and test ways to reduce economic loss from wildlife predation of cattle and sheep herds. Continued on Page 2...
Research Project Launched to Reduce Wildlife Predation on Livestock The Manitoba government is launching a threeyear applied research project to identify and test ways to reduce economic loss from wildlife predation of cattle and sheep herds. “Wildlife predation of commercial livestock is a significant problem for Manitoba producers, with more than 2,000 commercial animals lost each year,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “This results in significant economic losses to producers, as well as higher costs to Manitobans through their share of compensation under the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program funded by the federal and provincial governments.” The Manitoba government will provide a grant up to $300,000 over three years for the Livestock Predation Prevention Project, which will be developed and led by the Livestock Predation Protection Working Group. Members of the group include Manitoba Beef Producers, Manitoba Sheep Association, Manitoba Goat Association, Manitoba Trappers Association, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, and Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. “Manitoba Beef Producers has long advocated for strategies to reduce the risk of negative wildlife-livestock interaction and conflict, and we are pleased to see this important project moving forward,” said Dianne Riding, president, Manitoba Beef Producers. “Predation-related challenges pose a significant concern for Manitoba’s livestock producers, who pride themselves on providing quality animal care and husbandry. This project will help improve the understanding of the risks, and work toward developing effective prevention and mitigation methods to reduce future losses.” Continued on Page 3...
February 28, 2020
Many Manitoba Cattle Producers Still Struggling Blaine Pederson, Manitoba’s Agriculture and Resource Development Minister, said in an announcement at the AGM in Brandon that,
“Wildlife predation of commercial livestock is a significant problem for Manitoba producers, with more than 2,000 commercial animals
lost each year.” Teichroeb agreed with Pederson how this results in significant economic losses to producers and higher costs to Manitobans through their share of compensation under the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program funded by the federal and provincial governments. The Manitoba government will provide a grant up to $300,000 over three years for the Livestock Predation Prevention Project, which the Livestock Predation Protection Working Group will develop and lead. Members of the group include Manitoba Beef Producers, Manitoba Sheep Association, Manitoba Goat Association, Manitoba Trappers Association, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. While reflecting on his work with cattle producers at both the provincial and federal levels, the predation pilot program announcement after working on it for ten years is good to see. After many resolutions and
Continued from Page 1...
Manitoba Beef Producers 2020-2021 Board of Directors: - (From left to right) Back row: Matthew Atkinson (District 8); Kevin Duddridge (District 4); Gord Adams (District 1); Mark Good (District 12); Steven Manns (District 5); Carson Callum, General Manager Middle row: Jim Buchanan (District 14); Robert Mettner (District 11); Mark Paziuk (District 13); Melissa Atchison (District 6) Seated: Nancy Howatt (Secretary, District 2); Tyler Fulton (1st Vice President, District 7); Dianne Riding (President, District 9); Mike Duguid (2nd Vice President, District 10); Peter Penner (Treasurer, District 3)
debates to understand if the industry’s going to grow into the North, the only opportunity in many ways to improve is to have a program to deter predation from wolves. Keeping the MPP credible as an organization coming through some very trying times and working with the management team and directors is a great takeaway for Teichroeb who now gets time to grow his ranch and focus more on his family. However, it did have its twists and turns for many of the cattle producers, especially the young members of the industry he said. Teichroeb said the stretch, especially in late fall of last year once it started raining making it difficult; to harvest the reduced quantity of crops reminded him of the BSE crisis back in 2003. He said that people were extremely emotional, tied to the drought, and all the challenges that came with combined with the provincial government changing the regulations to the Crown Lands all took its toll. “Combined with probably the second driest season recorded ever in Manitoba in 2019, tied to that the very significant changes to those Crown Land regulations times were so very difficult for producers,” he said. In the fall, many producers scrambled, not understanding
where their businesses were going, or even able to carry on and make it into 2020. Some did liquidate, and there’s still some that are liquidating right now. “It was, bar none, the toughest year since BSE; in 2019 and couple that with the year in 2018, my perspective is virtually as tough for some producers as BSE,” said Teichroeb. “For the fact these troubling times forced some producers to exit the industry, which they had not planned on doing.” He said it’s a combination of a whole bunch of terrible years starting with BSE, in 2003 and then the Interlake went through a stretch up in that Shoal Lake area where they had intense flooding.
Manitoba government settled with some producers who had to exit the industry, unable to cope with the adverse conditions. Teichroeb is looking forward to decompressing, focus on his family more and maybe growing the ranch a 350 cow-calf pair operation. The family started backgrounding their calves last year and will continue. He is looking to grow it to 400, 450 cow-calf pairs. The background of calves is unique this year by doing it at the neighbours’ and marketing the calves in March, as they join two other producers to market the calves privately, except he is now feeding his calves and will continue.
Gord Adams (MBP Director for District 1) presents Tom Teichroeb the outgoing President of Manitoba Beef Producers with an engraved belt buckle in recognition of his service to the Board of Directors.
New Pilot Risk Management Tool for Pork Producers
The Manitoba Pork Council will receive an investment of $482,158 from the federal government towards a 2-year project that aims to create an effective, affordable, and selfsustainable risk management program that responds to periods of financial instability in the Manitoba hog industry. This could also include mea-
sures to assist producers with costs associated with cleaning and disinfection from the devastation caused by potential outbreaks of diseases, such as porcine epidemic diarrhea. It follows on the success of provincial poultry sectors in Canada that have established a reciprocal insurance system to guard against the impacts
of Avian Influenza and other diseases. While still at the early stages of development, if successful, the risk management strategy could expand to incorporate pork sectors in other provinces, with the understanding that the bigger the pool of participants, the more affordable it would be to individual producers.
Livestock Producers Receive Tax Relief for 2019 The Government of Canada has released the final list of designated regions where livestock tax deferral has been authorized for 2019 due to extreme weather conditions. The livestock tax deferral provision allows livestock producers in prescribed drought, flood or excess moisture regions to defer a portion of their 2019 sale proceeds of breeding livestock until 2020 to help replenish the herd. The cost of replacing the animals in 2020 will offset the deferred income, thereby reducing the tax burden associated with the original sale. On July 22, 2019, the Government announced the initial list of prescribed regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec for livestock tax deferral purposes. Ongoing analysis of drought conditions and excess moisture has indicated the need to expand the list of designated regions for 2019, with new regions identified for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. The criteria for identifying re-
February 28, 2020
Research Project Launched to Reduce Wildlife Predation on Continued from Page 1... Livestock The projectâ€™s key activities will be conducting on-farm predation risk assessments and planning in consultation with producers, testing on-farm predation prevention and removal practices, and sharing information with producers about management practices and research project results. Pedersen noted the research project will target the highest-known predation areas and emerging problem areas. Currently, the highest incidence of predation is in the northern Interlake and Parkland regions. The governments of Canada and Manitoba currently provide compensation to affected producers through the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program, up to a maximum of $3,000 per animal. This program has paid producers an average of more than $1.8 million annually in compensation in recent years.
Eligibility for the tax deferral is limited to those producers located inside the designated prescribed areas.
gions for livestock tax deferral is forage shortfalls of 50 percent or more caused by drought or excess moisture. Eligible regions are identified based on
weather, climate, and production data, in consultation with industry and provinces. Eligibility for the tax deferral is limited to those producers
located inside the designated prescribed areas. Producers in those regions can request the tax deferral when filing their 2019 income tax returns.
The research project will target the highest-known predation areas and emerging problem areas. Currently, the highest incidence of predation is in the northern Interlake and Parkland regions.
February 28, 2020
Grain Growers Urge Federal Government to Seek Resolution to Rail Delays On behalf of Canadian grain, oilseed and pulse producers, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are imploring the federal government to seek a resolution to the rail delays. “These delays caused by the blockades will have immediate, unintended consequences for farmers across the country,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “As farmers, we work hard to grow the best crops for our markets around the world. By cutting us off from our customers our industry, economy, and, ultimately, our reputation as a reliable shipper is at risk.” GGC represents farmers from coast-to-coast who generate billions in economic activity for our worldclass grain. In fact, the majority of what GGC members produce is destined for international markets and ports around the globe. “We are an industry that relies on export markets in order to survive and thrive. Without access to these markets via rail, we risk compounding further losses on top of what has already been a harvest from hell,” added Nielsen. These delays, on top of the existing supply chain challenges from a previous CN strike and a cold spell across the prairies have contributed to an already difficult winter. A timely resolution is needed in order to get grain back on the trains. Any delay may result in losing out on critical markets that purchase our grains and oilseeds through our eastern, western and southern corridors.
In rural coffee shops, an argument sure to end in chairs flying through the air might centre around the best type of screw driver and screw head. Hex, torx, flathead, cap, selftapping, tri-wing’s, etc. The list goes on and on. But really, is there anything better than a good old fashioned “Robertson”? The technology has a long history. Way back when, nobody really knows for sure exactly when, the very first screws were made of wood, and used for things like olive oil presses, crushing grapes for wine and, of course, torture machines. Some historians argue that large screws were first used as water pumps in ancient Syria during the first millennium B.C., in pretty much the same way we use grain augers today. It wasn’t until about the 15th century that we started figuring out how to use screws as fasteners, most likely to tie up heavy medieval armour, the type knights wore for jousting. Shortly after that, they became an important component in early firearms. As parts wore out fairly quickly and needed to be replaced often, screws
offered a much quicker and more reliable way to do so. In the mid 1700s, various inventors started to come up with screw-cutting lathes. This finally allowed screws to be mass-produced in standardized formats and used for more and more applications. Fun fact: the threading around a screw forms a helix, not a spiral, as most people think. A helix is a three-dimensional curve that twists around a cylinder at a constant inclined angle. Flat-head slotted screws were the only option for the longest time. Fast forward to the early 19th century, when a Canadian inventor and travelling salesman named P.L. Robertson finally had enough of all the frustration and injuries caused by slotted screws and screwdrivers. He got the first-ever patent on a squaretipped recessed screw, with the inverted pyramid shape we know today. The pyramid shape actually gave the screw head greater strength, which made it much less likely to deform when heavy torque was applied. It had a myriad of other advantages as well. It allowed for
Penner’s Points By Rolf Penner
one-handed use, was self centering, and remained usable even if it had been painted over. Best of all, it could be cold-rolled, meaning nothing had to be heated up to make the design work, a boon for mass production manufacturing. Furniture and boat builders particularly loved this new design. In 1913, Fischer auto body, a small Ontario company building wooden parts for the Ford Model T, switched to Robertson screws. They used roughly 700 screws per car body. Robertson made moves to go international with his product, but the First World War and the Russian revolution put an end to all that because factories switched from making things like screws to producing weapons. Post-war conditions didn’t help, either. Robertson switched gears and decided to try and break into the American market. Henry Ford was very interested based in data from the Fischer manufacturing plant.
The savings were $2.60 on a car that cost $390 to produce. But Ford asked for an exclusive contract and a say in production, so the deal fell through. Robertson was not about to give up control. That’s why to this day Robertson screws and screwdrivers are almost unheard of outside Canada. This gave a guy with the last name of Phillips a great opportunity to get in on the action in 1934, with his now classic star design. In 1936, he made a monster deal with GM and within a few years all American-made automobiles and a whole bunch of other manufacturers were using Phillips head screws. When World War Two hit, Phillips became the standard for military manufacturing in the U.S. as well. People claim Phillips is better because it’s used more and in more places. But is it? Well the story’s not over yet. Thanks to expired patents and freer, fairer trade, Robertson is now way more readily available than it used to be. And its popularity is growing. If it wasn’t for some quirks of history Robertson might have already become the worldwide standard. But as it stands it looks like another Canadian got “screwed”.
Celebrating Agriculture Early indications are that Canada’s Agriculture Day observance on February 11, 2020, was a great success. It featured agricultural activities in communities across Canada and discussions on social media intended to connect those who produce food with those who consume it. My good friend and mentor, Orion Samuelson, together with Max Armstrong, are two of the guys that influenced me probably the most when it came to farm broadcasting. Orion once told me, “If you eat, you are involved in agriculture. Don’t forget that.” Yes, we have all the clichés about how milk comes from the grocery store, but at the same time, agriculture is so important. I’m not going to spew a whole bunch of statistics and those kinds of things. You can get them elsewhere, but one statistic at least is that 1.5 percent of Canadians and Americans, perhaps a little bit more in the US, produce our food. That is 1.5 percent of the population provides food to the world. Yes, there are countries
where that number goes higher because many of them exist off the land. You take China, many people, and that’s why they had such a massive problem with the African Swine Fever because they had so many homes, even cities and towns where they raised pigs, and those pigs would go in and out of the house. And I’m not here to disparage or talk bad about that, that’s just the way it is. So agriculture is produced by only a handful compared to the rest of us people. Number two, I for 49 years and counting, have been an advocate of farmers around the world. I’ve had the privilege of visiting and interviewing farmers in England, Germany, Switzerland and Holland, to name a few. Also, across this great country, but not east of Ontario. Hopefully, one day. Across the US, I interviewed many farmers. In Mexico, even in Hawaii. Yes. And then, of course, 2015 in South America, more specifically, in the Chaco. My good friend Elmer Kehler and his wife, Nettie, who
hosted us for a weekend so graciously, picked us up from Asuncion to arrive at the Chaco, in a Menno Colony. Yes, farming is so important. Let’s never, never forget it. When we look at what happened in 2019, I remember the comments by Gilbert Sabourin of St. Jean, at St. Jean Farm Days in January who told me about two springs 2018, 2019 planting into the dust. Then along comes the rain of August, September. Then we have the snow, Thanksgiving weekend. Yet we have so many attacks on agriculture in general. We’ve seen so much, and we have people attacking farmers and coming on their farm and protesting, and making things difficult for those who produce the food. We need to also take our hats off to farmers because they are the best environmentalists this world has ever known. Why? Because they live off the land. Yes, we have our Prime Minister wanting to tax the daylights out of agriculture, and he probably will. He wants to carbon tax us and yet he
knows nothing about the environment and what it means to live off the land compared to what our farmers know. So we have the attacks on agriculture, and its right to the point that out whenever we can. And then, of course, we have the attacks on animal agriculture, and yes, some are promoting the protein plantbased, non-meat burgers. And hats off to those who properly do that, in selling more products that farmers’ grow, making it more available to other people. But telling us that you’re making burgers, the meatless burger is a misnomer. So that’s an attack I feel on animal agriculture. Some would love to stop every hog farm, every cattle farm, and every dairy in this country. Even in Hollywood, in the latest show of awards, the Oscars, talking about how sad it is when a cow gives birth to a calf so that we can have our milk. I’ll never forget how someone once told me about the sacrifice between the chicken and the pig and the cow too. You know the cow says,
“Yes, I’m giving all this milk so people can drink it and be healthy.” The chicken says, “Yes, I’m laying the eggs so that everybody can have eggs for breakfast who want it.” And then along comes Mr. Pig. He says, “Oh, you guys, I give the ultimate sacrifice when they put the bacon on the plate.” Yes, agriculture is so vital. It’s so important. The attacks, whether it’s the carbon tax, whether it’s protesting on a Turkey farm in Alberta, whether it’s complaining about or that. So many of the complaints, probably most of them, at least in North America, come from people with full mouths and full stomachs. Why? Because of the 1.5 percent of the farmers that put that food on their table. So, on the one hand, they would like to kill the right side with the left hand because the right-hand feeds them, but they don’t like the way some of those farmers do it. Well. I just wanted to tell you how important farmers are.
Animal Rights? Let’s set the rules from the beginning. I do not believe that animals should be tortured for the entertainment of human beings. I do believe that meat is good for you. I do believe there is a difference between people and animals, and though at times it is hard to defend, my opinion is that people have a higher level of intelligence. I understand that service animals are important to people and they serve a purpose, I have trouble believing everyone needs their pet with them all the time, and just because they have a vest they should be allowed in restaurants. During a visit to Mexico I was a bit surprised to hear that bull fighting had been outlawed in the state we were visiting, though our hotel was known by its location across
from the Bull Ring. The structure which must have been a showpiece in the 1950s is now showing its age and a bit worse for wear. It no longer hosts bull fights but is home to Mexican culture nights and shows of horsemanship and contests that are deemed animal friendly. I could accept that change and was a bit surprised but acknowledged the world is changing and respect for animals has increased. Then I went to the weekly market and found a booth that I think was selling pets because the cages had bunnies, guinea pigs and baby chicks. Chicks that I would guess were a day or two old, but the shocking part was the colour. The chicks were every colour of the rainbow, and neon. The only part of them that was not dyed brilliant blue or red, or green was their beaks and their eyes. There was a language bar-
rier between the proprietor of the mobile pet store and myself, and I acknowledge the problem was mine. I do not speak Spanish and he is not required to speak English so I understand. I wondered about the animal’s rights issue on this one, and I don’t know how the colour was applied – whether it was spray painted or dipped but that does not matter. The chicks were painted bright colours and I don’t think that is good for little animals. It is not the issue that they were not natural or pastel colours but that they were painted and that was obvious. I am sure that Mexico has not made great strides in poultry genetics and now has fluorescent chicks emerging from the shell. A country that seems to have made some strides, still has some issues. I spoke with a cab driver and he told me cock fights had been banned
CFA Raises Concern over Impact of Rail Blockades Dear Editor, The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is extremely concerned on the impacts of the ongoing rail blockades on Canadian farmers, their animals and Canadians who rely on the railway system for access to food and groceries. These new interruptions come at the tail-end of what has been an incredibly difficult twelve months for Canadian farmers across the country. Canadian farmers have been impacted harshly by destructive weather, unfounded product bans such as Canola and the previous rail strike during peak harvest times. These new blockades are once again hampering the ability for farmers to get their products to port, especially those in western Canada. As farmers do not get paid until their products reach the market, this can have huge financial consequences for Canadian farmers, and creates cash-flow issues as they prepare for the coming year. As this is the second significant interruption in rail service in the past few months, these issues are compounding on each other to create an extremely challenging coming year for farmers across the country. If rail service continues to be blockaded this will result in propane shortages in eastern Canada. Without access to propane shipments, there is a very real risk of animal welfare issues as many farmers use propane to heat their barns in the winter months. An interruption in rail service amplifies the stress that farmers and rural communities are under, creating a huge amount of uncertainty in their day-to-day lives. While the CFA respects the rights of Canadians to protest, we feel those protests should not endanger the health and livelihoods of other Canadians, especially when they have no part in the issues being protested. We hope that this situation can be resolved quickly so that the impacts on Canadians and Canadian farmers are not too severe. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture urges the Federal Government to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, as the impacts and resulting consequences worsen with every day that passes. Mary Robinson CFA President
Think About It Dear Editor, I just want to tell you how much I enjoy the AgriPost. The articles and the opinions are down to earth and relevant to what we do. I may not always agree, but others’ opinions make me think. It is the one paper I read pretty much cover to cover. Just wanted you to know I appreciate receiving it. Mary Livingstone
as well. Strange there are a lot of yards with one rooster tethered to a tree and they go away on Saturdays. Perhaps they just take their pets with them on weekend excursions. I doubt it but maybe. Then I went to the parade which kicked of Festival in the town and saw the dancing horses that will be featured in the festival event now held in the bull ring. I am not an equine expert but those horses are no more natural dancers than I and they needed about the same amount of spurring to get them to move when the music played, note I did not say in time to the music. Animal rights issues are different in every country, farmers and ranchers in our country work with some strict regulations and that is fine, but some parts of the world have a long way to go, even after banning bull fights.
February 28, 2020
Fertilizer Canada calls on PM to Lift Blockades Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must act decisively to prevent a complete shutdown of Canada’s rail system at a critical time for the fertilizer industry and our farmer customers who need our products in time for spring seeding said Fertilizer Canada who represents manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers. “Fertilizer Canada supports the right to peaceful protest, but key railway blockades are crippling the movement of essential goods and will do irreparable harm to the economy and Canada’s agriculture industry unless they are ended,” said Garth Whyte, President and CEO at Fertilizer Canada. Farmers are trying to make up for terrible harvest weather in 2019 that also prevented fall application of ammonia fertilizer in many parts of the country. “We were already facing a challenge to help farmers catch up and get the fertilizer they need in time for seeding in April and May. They can’t afford this kind of chaos,” said Whyte. “We urge the federal government and the provinces to resolve the dispute with Indigenous people or enforce the law of the land.” “We are only now recovering from the impacts from the CN Rail strike that happened just a few months ago. There couldn’t be a worse time to pile on with another railway disruption,” said Whyte. “Shipments are at risk everyday these disruptions continue and as world-class exporter of fertilizer, repeated disruptions to the supply chain will have a compounded effect on both Canada’s global competitiveness and overall economic prosperity. Prime Minister Trudeau must provide any required support to get our trains running again.”
February 28, 2020
Not Your Grandparent’s Bins - Managing Grain and Storage for Today By Harry Siemens Grain bins keep changing by getting bigger to increasing storage capacity and financial risk exponentially. On top of that, growing farms are racing to harvest what they can within an increasingly irregular harvest window inevitably end up with batches of tough grain that requires particular attention. Understanding basic grain storage management principles and incorporating new technologies to monitor those bins will help producers make informed decisions to reduce the risk of spoilage, said Charley Sprenger, a Project Leader at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute. Speaking to farmers at the recent CropConnect conference in Winnipeg, Sprenger focused on two areas, how the size of bins keep growing and what strategies the farmer needs for managing risk. The more the farmer stores in a bin, the higher the potential revenue loss if something goes wrong. The other aspect covered the changing climate that is challenging farmers during fall harvest. Now farmers must look to other options to extend their drying season but with lower capital input. What is needed are supplemental heating of natural air drying systems.
She said with big bins, it is crucial to understand the basic principles and some of the limitations in fan sizing and utilities required to run certain fans. It is important to have enough fan capacity to get the airflow needed to achieve, whether trying to aerate the bin or dry the grain. Sprenger said when it comes to fan size to make sure there is enough fan capacity to achieve the airflow. When drying grain, she recommended one CFM per bushel of airflow rate, so that the bigger the bin, the harder it is to push air through a deeper grain volume. The farmer needs to make sure there is enough fan capacity; if not, it might mean adding another fan, but only if it helps. In the 1960s early ‘70s a 1,350-bushel bin might have been considered an average size. Today producers look at 20,000 to 50,000-bushel bins that need more management. The 2019 harvest was horrific for many farmers, a lot of tough grain coming off the field, and much more to come that will need watching and drying. “Not everybody has access to a heated air dryer, whether it is a batch or continuous system,” said Sprenger. “Or you don’t have access to an economical fuel source, so
propane’s a lot more expensive than natural gas and the natural gas availability isn’t huge around here. Those are all capital investments. By adding heat to your bin aeration system, you can turn your bin into a dryer and get some heating and turn a bad drying day into a good drying day.” She said, for example, a rule of thumb; if the producer can add 10 degrees of heat to the air going into the bin it cuts the humidity in half, which increases the air’s ability to dry that grain. A common question asked by farmers in a grain drying discussion on Twitter, how much drying can a producer do with just a fan once the temperatures start to drop. That’s the issue said Sprenger. Later in the season the threshold is when temperatures drops to 10 degrees making the rate of drying lower affecting efficiency and how economical it is to dry is lower. “So if you can add heat to your bin and get it up over closer to 20 degrees, you increase the ability to dry longer in your day,” she said. But she stressed that monitoring and understanding the conditions inside the bin with moisture or temperature cables and other systems is needed. If the producer understands what’s going on in the bin that is a way to manage risk. If hotspots show up, running a fan may help to keep it from spoiling. When it comes to safety, Sprenger advised farmers to do enough research, provide resources, tools, and methods to make informed decisions and avoid any lifethreatening circumstances. Understanding basic grain storage management principles and incorporating new technologies to monitor the inside of grain bins will help producers make informed decisions to reduce the risk of spoilage, said Charley Sprenger, a Project Leader at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute while speaking to farmers at the recent CropConnect conference in Winnipeg.
CropConnect 2020 sold out once again.
Photos by Harry Siemens
February 28, 2020
Last Year’s Drought and Rain Vary Seed Quality for 2020 By Harry Siemens SGS BioVision is a seed testing laboratory in western Canada with three different sites; the corporate laboratory in Sherwood Park, Alberta, two satellite locations, one in Grande Prairie and the other one in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Business Development Manager Holly Gelech said the company laboratory does different types of diagnostics for crops, seed quality, germination, vigour, and disease testing of grains in western Canada. With the poor harvest in 2019, Gelech said the seed quality is different every year; however what is consistent is some outstanding seed quality in regions able to get their combines out early. That was parts of southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well. There are other areas, though, with piles of snow at the wrong time. In those areas, the seed quality is poor with some sprouted seed samples and very high moisture. “So we have almost two crops out there, outstanding quality harvested before the snow and rain events, then on the other side, the poor quality seed harvested after,” she said.
In some more specialized crop peas, for instance, seeing the excellent quality and the germinations are above our five-year average. Pea germination is fantastic this year said Gelech. But the disease level in peas is a little higher with Ascochyta; typical infection levels are 2 percent on average. This year it’s closer to 4 percent. For barley, anything harvested very early, germinations are fantastic in the upper 90s, which is a good sign. But barley, anytime you get moisture on it, it loves to sprout in the field. Therefore anything left out in the rain and the snow has a lower germination value. Gelech said wheat seed quality is all over the map since it is often harvested after barley and peas. There is some good quality out there, but also germinations are at the lower end of the scale, which would be in the 60s and 70 percent. The Fusarium levels are higher because of the excess moisture, especially in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, during the critical flowering period of wheat, which is the beginning of July. Testing seed germination with cheesecloth, paper towels and adding moisture while
sitting on a window sill may still work for some but not in the lab. Today the company employs standard procedures outlined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). “The purpose is that we want all seed testing laboratories in Canada to get the same result. Whether you submit a sample to us here at SGS BioVision or to another laboratory, that you’re going to get the same results,” said Gelech. “We’re here to support the Canadian seed industry. To sell seed in Canada and fix a blue tag to it, meaning certified seed. Seed companies and seed growers are under required federal legislation to test their seeds at seed laboratories.” From there, it has to meet the minimum benchmarks set out by the Canada Seeds Act and the grade tables. Therefore testing seed is more advanced compared to the cheesecloth era. There is no sprout test; instead they evaluate each of the different kernels at the end of the test. The CFIA performs a very extensive training program with most analysts taking up to three years before writing their germination and purity examination. Today she said the germination tests categorize the seeds
Because of last year’s drought then rain there are almost two crops out there. One with outstanding quality harvested before the snow and rain events, then the other which is poor quality seed harvested after, said SGS BioVision Business Development Manager Holly Gelech.
as dead seeds, abnormal seedlings, or normal seedlings extending the testing and evaluating the seedlings growing in precision. They look for the difference between normal and abnormal seedlings, which would be on account of frost damage. Gelech said a typical symptom of that, would be twisting of the shoot, tearing of coleoptile and the first true leaves, abnormal roots, which is most likely sprayed with glyphosate in fields. “We have various tools at our desk that give us the knowledge to say, okay, this seed sprouted. But you know what? It has abnormal characteristics and therefore, may not produce a viable plant in the field once it’s growing in the spring,” she said. “So yes, absolutely, we’re more advanced, and all seed laboratories use the same standards and procedures that CFIA
gives to us.” Gelech said a seed testing lab does not give out any recommendations because those recommendations lie within the federal legislation. Anyone that is selling pedigree seed, whether it’s a bagged product such as canola or grass seed, or products such as beans, soybeans and cereal grains and other pulses such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, are all managed by the seed com-
pany. To do this, they have a specific benchmark that needs to be attained to tag that product as certified seed. “If a grower is interested in purchasing wheat, the minimum benchmark for certified number one seed is 85 percent. That would be the middle of the benchmark that seed companies would then allow for certified number one seed that they would sell through their retail network,” she said.
To sell seed in Canada and fix a blue tag to it, meaning certified seed. Seed companies and seed growers are under required federal legislation to test their seeds at seed laboratories.
February 28, 2020
Avoid Entrapment Incidents with Proper Grain Storage By the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association As farmers, you understand the importance of proper storage of your crops. High temperatures and humidity level can drastically impact grain quality. But how is this a safety concern? This past year, we experienced a very wet harvest season and crops were put into storage in wet conditions. Once spring weather arrives, the grain will thaw and can start to go ‘out of condition’ as humidity and temperature reach certain levels and grain begins to bind together. Out of condition grain is one of the leading causes for producers to enter a bin. Across Canada, there’s an average of six fatalities every year from grain entrapment or engulfment. Entrapment and engulfment often result from out of condition grain that has bridged over and has a void under the surface. When the producer enters the bin to assess the situation, the bridged grain gives way, entrapping or engulfing them. Another situation is from grain that has scaled up in the side walls of the bin, restricting the flow of contents. Producers often enter the bin to remove the buildup. The buildup can slump down and entrap or engulf them.
Keeping grain in good condition will help the grain to flow without issues when unloading, reduce risks to workers, maintain grain quality and better ensure that you get the best price for your grain.
Here are a few ways to prevent ‘out of condition’ grain storage issues, ultimately protecting your crops – and yourself: 1. The first, and most obvious way, is to dry the grain before loading it into bins. Many producers have been running grain dryers almost constantly since harvest time this year. However, this can be a costly and time-consuming option and not everyone owns a grain dryer. 2. Another way would be to load the wet grain in the bin and use your aeration systems to maintain temperature and humidity at ideal levels. It’s a delicate balance as under or overuse of the aeration system can make the grain less desirable for sale. This method calls for an understanding of the characteristics of the product being stored and a close monitoring of temperature and humidity levels. Organizations like the Prairie Agricultural Machinery
Institute and the Canadian Grain Commission have developed charts and resources that help farmers determine the ideal conditions for different grain varieties. In terms of industry innovations, there are tools worth exploring: imaging technology that reads the moisture content throughout the bin, regardless of size or volume; and air bag systems that uses liners that inflate and deflate, pushing the grain through for removal without ever having to enter the bin. Take the time to research and find the right tech for your farm. Keeping grain in good condition will help the grain to flow without issues when unloading, reduce risks to workers, maintain grain quality and better ensure that you get the best price for your grain.
CN Rail Safety Initiative Focuses on Grain Truck Drivers By Erin Kelly ‘It’ll never happen to me.’ It’s a phrase that far too many of us have thought far too often when it comes to railway incidents. It’s that mindset the CN Police Service is looking to change with a new safety program focusing on a specific group that frequently encounter railway crossings: grain truck drivers. After analyzing data and realizing that a significant number of incidents occurring at crossings involved professional truck drivers, CN police started looking for ways outside of enforcement to change that trend. “You can stop vehicles, you can ticket drivers, but it is more important to change attitudes and behaviours about crossings,” says Sergeant Paul Leaden, operations supervisor for the CN Police Service’s Prairie Division, which includes Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northwestern Ontario. CN police, recognizing that one of the best ways to help change those attitudes would be to meet drivers in their own environment, decided to take a hands-on approach and began going out to grain elevators in the Prairie Division to speak with them directly. “[CN police officers] are targeting the drivers while they are actually in the line loading up at the elevators,” Sgt. Leaden explains of the Grain Initiative endeavour. “We have always been doing educational outreach, but we really shifted the focus to the grain industry and have been able to spread the safety
message to these drivers in a very positive way.” Much of the safety messaging relayed to drivers is about the capabilities of trains – such as train stopping time (it takes roughly 1,850 metres for the average train to stop) and the warning signals to watch for at crossings. The information serves to heighten overall awareness about trains, as well as help drivers anticipate rail movements when they are approaching tracks. In addition to visiting grain elevators, CN police have also been going to weigh scale locations and collaborating with driver training schools in order to spread the safety messaging widely. “Our goal is to have zero incidents, and so we are trying to be as proactive as we can. We want to prevent incidents from ever happening rather than responding to them and dealing with them after the fact,” says Sgt. Leaden. As Sgt. Leaden points out, an essential part of reaching and maintaining that goal is community engagement. While professional truck drivers are the target audience for this particular program, the initiative undoubtedly helps build greater rail safety awareness throughout communities
where train tracks and grain facilities are commonplace. “The community engagement is a number one priority for us because our tracks run through communities across the country,” he explains. “With our outreach, we try to encompass as many different components of the community as we can to provide safety education.” Though it’s too early for detailed data on the results of the Grain Initiative, which launched in September 2018, there are some indications that it’s contributing to positive changes. In fact, it’s been a full year since a railway incident occurred involving any professional driver across CN’s Prairie Division. But according to Sgt. Leaden, that good news doesn’t mean CN police officers will be slowing down with this initiative anytime soon. “We are really excited about that, but we’re not going to take our foot off the gas. If anything, we’re going to be pushing this program more because we truly believe that we are making strides,” he explains. “Because when it comes to numbers, just one incident is too many. At the end of the day, we all want to go home safely.”
After analyzing data and realizing that a significant number of incidents occurring at crossings involved professional truck drivers, CN police started looking for ways outside of enforcement to change that trend.
Protecting Against Falls By Robert Gobeil Falls are a serious contributor to farm fatalities – in fact, falls from heights are one of the top 10 causes of fatalities in agriculture according to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting. Falls that are not fatal can often result in serious injury - even a minor fall resulting in a minor injury could lead to lost time and lost productivity. Ladders, scaffolding, barn lofts, grain bins, roofs, bales, and farm machinery are examples of places that falls tend to occur. Although there are slight differences in provincial legislation, it’s safe to say that working at any height greater than 8 feet (or 2.44 metres) could cause serious injury. Using appropriate fall protection for the task is good practice. (Remember, depending on the surface you’re working over, you might want to use a form of fall protection at a much lower height. An example of this would be over a manure pit.) It is important to train for working at heights, know the different types of fall protection, and select the one that will work best for the task. Each system has advantages and disadvantages depending on the task being performed. Fall protection includes any of the following: • Guardrails – These are constructed along elevated walkways and work surfaces to prevent someone from falling to the surface below. Guardrails should be constructed so that they can take at least 200 pounds (or 90.72 kg) of force in any direction. • Fall Arrest Systems – These systems consist of an anchor point, lifeline, shock-absorbing lanyard, rope grab (or similar) and harness. This system will catch a person if they fall. • Fall Restraint Systems – These systems consist of
an anchor point, lifeline, lanyard, and harness. This system is commonly called a “dogleash” because the lifeline is only long enough for the person to get within 1 metre (or 3.28 feet) from the edge of the work surface. This system will not allow the person to fall. • Safety Netting – These are meant to catch a person if they fall. These are not practical for farming operations. When selecting the type of fall protection, ask: • What task will I be doing? • How often will I be doing this work? Ongoing work may be best suited for a guardrail system. It allows for the most mobility between the guardrails but work outside of the guardrails would require a different form of fall protection. • How much mobility do I need to do the work? • Do I need to get to the edge of the work surface? All fall protection components must be CSA-approved. The different types of components are as follows: • Anchor point – This is the connection between the work surface and the lifeline. The work surface and the anchor point must be able to withstand a force of 5000 pounds (or 2270 kg). • Lifeline – This is the connection to the anchor point.
They come in various forms such as nylon rope, aircraft cable, or retractable units. • Lanyard – This is connected to a lifeline. It may be shockabsorbing or fixed length. Shock-absorbing lanyards are used in fall arrest systems. They deploy and absorb much of the forces if a fall occurs. Fixed length lanyards are most often used as part of a fall restraint system. • Rope grab – This is attached between the lifeline and lanyard in a fall arrest system. It is a mechanism that allows travel upwards but locks in place if a fall occurs. • Harness – This is connected to the lanyard and worn by the person working at heights. For most general applications, this is usually a 5-point nylon harness with a D-ring at the back. They come in different sizes and need to be adjusted properly when used. Some things to remember when adjusting the harness are that the D-ring should be positioned between the shoulder blades, the front chest strap should make a line between the nipples, the leg straps should be tightened so that they are quite snug (no more than 2 fingers to pass between the strap and leg), and remove all objects from your pockets. These could puncture your body or cut off blood supply
if a fall occurs. Fall protection components must be inspected before every use to ensure that they are in good condition. DO NOT use defective components – this could have serious consequences. Some examples of defects are: • Cuts • Frayed stitching • Welding splatter or burns • Broken buckles • Oil, dirt, and chemical stains • Missing components • Stretched or fractured Dring • Damaged or compromised anchor point All of this information may seem complicated, time-consuming, and potentially costly but it only takes one fall from heights to affect the future. A combination of internal policy, procedures, supervision, training, and knowledge can make for a safe and successful operation. This safety advice article is a part of Canadian Agricultural Safety Week. Canadian Agricultural Safety Week (CASW) is an annual campaign held the third week of March of each year. In 2020, Safe & Strong Farms: Grow an AgSafe Canada, takes place March 15 to 21. CASW is presented by Farm Credit Canada. For more information visit agsafetyweek.ca.
Fall protection keeps you safe when working around grain bins, high barns or tall equipment. Photo courtesy of www.manitobafarmsafety.ca
February 28, 2020
Anhydrous Ammonia: Handle with Care! By the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association While fertilizers share a common purpose, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ instruction manual. Learning about the unique properties and precautions for each fertilizer used on your operation, could save time, money, and prevent serious injury. Anhydrous ammonia, or NH3, is one of the most commonly used fertilizers. It’s low-cost, highly effective and contains one of the most concentrated forms of nitrogen with levels at 82%. However, it can also be highly hazardous. Anhydrous means without water, and anhydrous ammonia can rapidly cause dehydration and severe burns if it combines with water in the body. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, irritation to the eyes, nose or throat, burns or blisters. Exposure to high concentrations can lead to death. One deep breath of the gas can be fatal or cause severe damage to the throat and lungs. Needless to say, the handling and storage of NH3 requires special care. One of the first ‘safety stops’ farmers would have to consider is the storage of the fertilizer. If it’s being stored on your property, the proper handling practices and treatment in the case of an incident should be detailed in your Emergency Response Plan. The local fire department should also be made aware of where the fertilizer is being stored. When handling the fertilizer, we recommend that you not work alone. It’s also important that anyone handling or applying NH3 wear proper Personal Protective Equipment. This includes a face shield AND safety eyewear, gloves, and appropriate respiratory protection where appropriate. Weather is an ever-present factor in farming, and the application of fertilizer is no exception. It’s important to pay special attention to the direction of the wind. If there’s an uncontrolled release of NH3, quickly move upwind to avoid exposure and shut down all ignition sources if safe to do so. In the event of an exposure, follow the first aid measures indicated on the Safety Data Sheet. Special precautions should also be taken to prevent NH3 runoff from contaminating the surrounding environment. If you’re the farm owner or employer, it’s your responsibility to provide training, develop procedures, and review the Safety Data Sheet with your employees. Associations such as the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers and Fertilizer Canada are helpful sources of information, and they also provide training courses. Equipping yourself and your workers with the appropriate tools and knowledge could prevent a host of unwanted consequences when handling Anhydrous ammonia. We invite you to explore the resources available and encourage you to incorporate the handling and treatment of anhydrous ammonia into your Emergency Response Plan. For more information on Anhydrous Ammonia, visit fertilizercanada.ca.
February 28, 2020
Pulse Crops Roundup By Harry Siemens Dennis Lange, who serves as the pulse crops specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, predicts soybean acres could drop even further in 2020 from a high of 2.3 million in 2017, to under a million, maybe 900 thousand. Edible bean acres at 155,000 seeded acres in 2019 could also drop to about 135,000 to 140,000, based on the slightly less attendance at several edible bean meetings, one in Altona and the other one in Portage la Prairie. “If prices maintain themselves and increase a little bit, we might see that number rise a little, but I’m thinking in that 135, 140 range,” said Lange. In 2019, Manitoba farmers planted about 1.3 million acres, and interest so far is not as keen as previous years because yields have dropped the last couple of years due to hot, dry conditions in summer and the struggles growers had last fall. Yield estimates are around 28 bushels per acre for a provin-
cial average compared to the five-year average of 35 bushels an acre. Early projections and the talk in the industry, he believes that somewhere around a million, maybe a little bit under a million acres, perhaps 900,000 which depends on what prices do from now until planting. Lange said, for the most part, farmers remain positive, despite the rough soybean harvest of last year. Growers were happy just to get it into the bin eventually. He said that at one point Manitoba grew 2.3 million acres when prices were steady. There was lots of interest in soybeans that produced reasonable yields, especially coming out of 2016 with a provincial average of 42 bushels an acre. Looking back, 2016, the summer was wet and warm, and things worked out well. In 2017 acres increased, but the yields dropped off because of the heat and dry in July and August. The same conditions
occurred in ‘18 and ‘19. “Things go up and down, so we’ll see what happens in the end. Growers will make some final decisions in the next couple of months of what’s going into the ground,” said Lange. He said acres, crop rotations, keep shifting ever so slightly. With Roquette coming to Manitoba, field peas acres will resurge a little. In 2019 growers planted about 110,000 acres. Going into 2020, acres could increase to 130,000 to 150,000 acres of peas. He noted that while shifts in acres happen during difficult times combined with stable prices, rotations typically stay the way they are rather than making significant changes. “I think we need to pay attention to our rotations for various reasons. But for long term sustainability, keeping those rotations in check to make sure that we’re not going too close with certain crops so that we don’t run into any
Dennis Lange, who serves as the pulse crops specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, predicts soybean acres could drop even further in 2020 from a high of 2.3 million in 2017, to under a million, maybe 900,000.
potential pest problems and weed resistance issues,” said Lange. The Roquette pea processing plant at Portage la Prairie has some unique quality parameters. Soybeans are a food allergen in dry beans too and processing companies state that there can be no soybean contamination. As a pea processor, Roquette has the same parameters and needs to ensure no risk of contamination in their product. They have put quality parameters in place and growers are aware of the supply conditions going forward. For peas, it is not as hard to do because the volunteer issues are not quite the same. After all, the peas come off
in August, and soybeans in late September and October and are not as mature to cause a problem. Lange said it is imperative the farmer does a good, thorough combine clean-out because soybeans would be the last crop harvested by the farmer last fall and peas the first thing the next summer. He said farmers are planting peas, not just anywhere, any soil, or climatic conditions. Farmers learned in 2016 and other wet years in those heavy clay soils in the Red River Valley. With over 600 mm of rain during summer peas do not do well. Peas do much better in the large acre municipalities in the Swan River and Roblin areas. Swan River represent-
ed over 8,000 acres of peas in 2018 at an average of 64 bushels an acre. The Roblin area saw between four to 5,000 acres. Their average in 2018 was 70 bushels an acre, strong numbers. In the southwest corner, there was anywhere from two to 4,000 acres per municipality. Yields ranged from 33 to 46 bushels an acre, and this was from the 2018 numbers. Although 2018 was reasonably dry, peas did very well. Typically, in the northwest and western areas of the province peas have the highest yield potential. But yet, north of Winnipeg, up into the Woodlands, in 2018 they were 49 bushels an acre. They grew roughly just over 2000 acres.
February 28, 2020
Farmers Making Tough Decisions for Spring Seeding By Elmer Heinrichs As we prepare to turn the calendar to March, emerging from the deepest parts of winter, we expect longer days and milder air to bring warming trends as farmers are prepare for spring. With high levels of moisture saturating soils throughout the Red River Valley and parts of the Assiniboine River basin going into winter, there is a high likelihood the region will experience flooding come spring. How much and how damaging it will be will depends on the amount of precipitation we received over winter and how quickly it melts. While Manitoba farmers are no strangers to overland flooding, speakers at the winter round of farm meetings have been warning farmers to be on the lookout for some troublesome pests hitching a ride into fields on that water. Farmers are using the winter
period to plan farming operations for 2020. Before even one seed is put in the ground, farmers will have to finish last fall’s harvest of crops. Then they will have to consider the condition of each field. Each will have to dry out enough to work it with the heavy farm equipment. Ruts will have to be worked out before tractors and other seeding equipment can be used. Crop debris from last fall must be dealt with as well. All of that could take a while before seeding could begin. Even more so if there is overland flooding in the spring. This is the time of year when farmers are making the crucial decisions about which crops to plant this year. Factor in the uncertainty about spring flooding and the decision-making process is almost impossible. Except that farms have to make some kind of decision because seeds need to be bought,
and fertilizer, weed and insect control products need to be ordered. It is never easy for a farmer who has to make these important decisions. This year however, that final decision may not be made until the very last minute. While some farmers will start by taking off over-wintered crops, most will have to do some tillage to level out the ruts for a seed bed. “I expect that many growers will apply some of their fertilizer at that time, either through the tillage operation or incorporate broadcast fertilizer with that tillage operation,” said John Heard, Manitoba soil fertility specialist. Heard said such soil fertility management practices include the use of fertilizers, organic inputs, crop rotation with legumes and the use of improved germplasm, combined with the knowledge on how to adapt
these practices to local conditions. Farmers will obviously be weighing their options carefully taking into account their land, their rotations, the condition of fields, seed availability and local and world market opportunities. YIELD Manitoba reports there were lots of surprises during the 2019 growing season, including just how well many Manitoba crops yielded, on average, despite challenges from April to November. Of the 13 insured Manitoba crops under the microscope for the annual publication, nine yielded above the 10-year average, including the province’s biggest-acreage crops canola and red spring wheat with an impressive 44 and 62 bushels an acre province-wide. And field peas, which saw a 32 per cent jump in plantings in 2019, yielded a record 55 bushels an acre.
Improving Yield in Partnership with Our Natural Neighbours Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is finding ways to show that non-crop areas such as trees, fence lines, ditches and other field boundaries may actually provide an economic net benefit in the crops they neighbour by increasing their yields. A team led by researcher Dr. Fardausi (Shathi) Akhter, is studying the ecological benefits these non-crop areas provide to the Prairies in multiple disciplines including agroecology, entomology (insects), ornithology (birds), soil microbiology, agroforestry, economics, geomatics and agrometeorology (weather and climate). “What is unique about this project is the scale of it; we’re measuring multiple ecological services simultaneously,” explained Akhter. “This research will provide a missing piece in our capacity to determine
where and how to best incorporate these habitats into agricultural systems.” The study is looking specifically at these areas in how they benefit crops. One part of the hypothesis involves insects. Field boundaries attract pollinators from afar, and they also provide pollinators and the natural enemies of crop pests ranging from wild bees to carabid beetles to birds somewhere to live and eat. Other benefits of field boundaries include modifying the microclimate in the adjacent areas, sequestering atmospheric carbon, improving air and water quality, increasing biodiversity in the agricultural landscape and providing a home for migratory birds. While the benefits are clear, this comprehensive project is also looking at potential negative outcomes. For example,
Collection cups are placed at measured distances from the field boundaries, and collected weekly to determine the number and type of beneficial insects in each.
Road allowances with native trees and plants are a natural field boundary.
do weeds from field boundary areas encroach into the crops? Do these areas remove necessary nutrients from the soil? Initial data suggests that they do not; however, upon completion of the project, the team will be able to conclusively report on their findings through a thorough economic and environmental analysis. Canola Council of Canada agronomy specialist Gregory Sekulic notes that Canada’s growing areas are stable and about 15 percent of land continues to experience habitat loss. He feels ecological services should be valued. “The idea that these areas are a problem is a cultural percep-
tion,” he said. “Farmers drive around oil lease sites all the time and are happy to because they get money for it; we need to quantify the value of these ‘non-market inputs’ such as field boundaries and potholes so that farmers can see the dollar value they provide too. Akhter and her team are compiling three years of data collected from canola fields near Indian Head to link the ecological services provided by field boundary habitats with crop yield. Dr. Akhter is hoping to extend the project into other crops in the future, where she can collect multiple years of continuous data from the same site in a canola-wheat-pea rotation.
Dr. Akhter (right) and biologist Laura Poppy discuss some of the many beneficial insects collected in their study.
February 28, 2020
February 28, 2020
Minister Bibeau Meets with Agricultural Leaders
Minister Bibeau was in the US recently to meet with agricultural leaders.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, was in Washington, D.C. recently to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to collaborating with the US and other partners within the Western Hemisphere Agricultural Group, also known as Ag5. Ag5 consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States was formed in May 2019 on the margins of the G20 in Japan with a mandate to promote transparent and predictable trade rules.
Together, this alliance representing almost a quarter of global exports is working to develop solutions to regulatory challenges. Facilitating trade through science-based rules will help farmers feed a growing world population, while driving industry growth and providing solutions to climate change. Bibeau met with US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Victor Villalobos, and Argentina’s Minis-
ter of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Luis Basterra, as well as other key leaders in agriculture, including the President of American Farm Bureau Federation, Zippy Duvall. Bibeau emphasized the need for predictable rules and science-based trade, that sustainability is defined by social, environmental and economic factors, and that innovation has an essential role in feeding a growing world population. Bibeau also underscored that the new NAFTA is a key priority for
Bibeau met with US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Victor Villalobos, and Argentina’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Luis Basterra, as well as other key leaders in agriculture, including the President of American Farm Bureau Federation, Zippy Duvall.
Canada and that the Government is committed to working with Parliamentarians and Canadian stakeholders to implement the Agreement as quickly as possible. At the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s 96th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, Bibeau participated in a panel discussion with Secretary Perdue, Secretary Villalobos, and Minister Basterra. They discussed the importance of collaboration, innovation, food security, and supporting science and risk-based regulatory environments. During the panel, Bibeau also stressed the importance of proactive collaboration with trading partners as part of North America’s preparedness strategy to help mitigate the risks of African swine fever should it be detected in the region. Bibeau also hosted a dialogue with key US stakeholders from the Washington Agricultural Roundtable, Women in International Trade, and the US Food and Ag Dialogue to discuss the importance of the CanadaU.S. trading relationship.
February 28, 2020
February 28, 2020
Private Members Bill Introduced to Protect Biosecurity on Farms
John Barlow, MP for Foothills and Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, introduced Bill C-205, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act. This Bill will make it an offence under the Health of Animals Act to enter, without lawful authority or excuse, a place in which animals are kept if doing so could result in the exposure of the animals to a disease or toxic substance. “Protecting the biosecurity of animals and workers must be the priority when it comes to farms and food processing centres,” said Barlow. “In today’s global marketplace it is critical we protect the integrity of Canada’s supply chain and ensure our food remains safe to eat, prevent disease outbreaks, and ensure farmers and businesses do not lose significant income.” The Act currently provides
for the control of diseases and toxic substances that may affect animals or may be transmitted by animals to persons. However, the obligations and prohibitions apply in respect of the owner of the animals. Currently, there is nothing which addresses trespassers. This legislation aims to change that situation. “Recently, more and more individuals have been trespassing on farms and food processing centres”, said Barlow. “This has the potential to cause massive biosecurity issues for animals and the individuals who work with them.” This Bill will not, in any way limit an individual’s right to peacefully protest on public property. However, it will increase the penalties for groups and organizations that encourage individuals to threaten the biosecurity of animals and workers.
Barlow added, “Protecting Canada’s food supply is critical, viruses like Asian Swine Fever pose a very real threat to Canadian agriculture. These biosecurity threats can decimate livestock herds and devastate our industry and economy. Strengthening biosecurity measures for trespassers is something farmers, ranchers, food processors, farm groups and commodity organizations all support. I am confident the Liberal government will do the same.” Many national farm organizations support the passing of Bill C-205 as well. “The CFA supports in principle, and encourages, MP John Barlow’s private members bill to support Canadian farmers, who have been negatively impacted by activism. We believe that the introduction of this bill is an important and necessary step in the right direction,” said
Mary Robinson, President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture. “CMC applauds the introduction of the amendments to the Health of Animals Act that will protect our food supply from exposure to disease by trespassers on private properties. We have been vocal in our call for action against trespassers and activists while continuing to affirm our commitment to high standards of animal care and illegal trespassing endangers animals, foods safety, foods supply and our own workers,” expressed the Canadian Meat Council. “Animal health and wellbeing is a priority for pork producers. Intrusions on a pork farm cause a breach in the biosecurity protocols in place to protect the health of the animals and puts their care in jeopardy. Supportive measures such as Bill C-205
to deter trespassing, acts of breaking and entering, acts of vandalism and intimidation are very well received by pork producers,” said Rick Bergman, Chair of Canadian Pork Council “Canada’s 2,877 chicken farmers take pride in raising safe food for Canadians. CFC’s “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” on Farm Food Safety Program enforces strict biosecurity measures on every farm across the country to limit the spread of disease. This proposed legislation will further strengthen the Health of Animals Act to ensure trespassers are prosecuted for their actions, while preventing the potential spread of disease,” said Benoît Fontaine, Chair, Chicken Farmers of Canada. “Egg Farmers of Canada supports MP John Barlow’s bill to amend the Health of Animals Act. Canada’s more
Prepare Good Mineral Status in Beef Cows for Upcoming Calving Season By Peter Vitti An entire nine months of a beef cow’s pregnancy can be broken up into three stages; early, mid- and last trimester of gestation. During these first two stages, her unborn calf doesn’t require a lot of nutrients, so it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the cow. However, this all changes in the last 90 days of gestation, when 75% of fetal growth occurs. The body condition of the cow and her mineral status – both dictate how well her calf will perform at birth and in its life-time. Therefore, it is important to get the late gestation cow, ready for calving and it’s our job to especially build her up to adequate mineral status. Consequently, beef producers have often asked me to develop late-trimester cow diets that favourably adjust the body condition of their pre-calving beef cow in just a few weeks. If they are too thin, I can increase the cowherd’s dietary plane of energy and protein nutrition with a few pounds of energy-enriched grain and/ or protein supplement, fed alongside their daily forage. It could also mean, that I recommend they switch their cows onto better quality hay and other forage. Yet, when they ask me to help them build their herds to good calving mineral sta-
tus, I find such requests are sometimes difficult to accomplish. That’s because when a late-gestating beef cow is marginally or severally deficient in mineral status, it takes several months of feeding a well-fortified cattle mineral to build up and satisfy her respective NRC beef cow requirements (2001). At the same time, we need to raise the mineral status of cow’s fetus, since it is totally reliant upon their cow’s intake of essential minerals; digested and absorbed in the cow’s small intestine, transported in her blood and finally filtered through the placenta to her growing unborn calf. For example, it is estimated that the late-gestation fetus (and placental tissues) takes slight precedence over the cows’ own mineral needs and can utilize up to 30% of the pre-calving cow’s daily requirement for essential trace minerals. Once born, the newborn calf is dependent upon the Ig-enriched colostrum, which in itself, is rich in trace minerals and vitamins, previously fed to the pregnant cow. Concurrently, whatever essential minerals and (vitamins) are leftover to the pre-calving cow is then metabolized and used in the maintenance of her vital functions as well as support
immune function. Some reproductive specialists also speculate that good cow fertility is linked, again to such good mineral intake and metabolism, which should be established well in-advance of her first active estrus after calving. University studies show that active follicle/eggs development in the cow begins about 100 days, before they are fully mature and released. All the while, this happens when she is pregnant with her current calf. Four trace elements in particular; copper, zinc, manganese and selenium, form the cornerstones of most trace mineral programs for these late-gestation beef cows and newborn calves, which has been the subject of many university and government studies. Researchers have consistently found hay, green-feed and other beef roughages grown across the Canadian prairies are: (1) often low or marginally deficient in these four trace minerals and (2) in many cases, contain different antagonistic elements that bind the same essential trace minerals which makes them biologically unavailable to beef cows. Over the years, I have formulated several pre-calving cattle minerals that not only contain high levels of these essential trace minerals, but
I add them to mineral formulas in highly bioavailable chelated/organic forms - along with forage complementary levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Vitamins A, D and especially high levels of vitamin E are added, too. Once my well-balanced cattle mineral (with these macro-, trace minerals and vitamins) is provided to the cowherd and are consumed at 3 - 4 oz per head, daily, it is my intention that they reach the cows’ digestive tract, where they are: (i) quickly absorbed, (ii) efficiently metabolized and (iii) highly retained in the body to build good mineral status. As a result by providing such a good cattle mineral feeding program, it builds good mineral status in late-gestation cows (and her fetus), which ultimately means at calving time: - More unassisted calvings with strong newborn calves. - Less metabolic problems in fresh cows, such as less retained placentas, and post uterine infections. - Good colostrum production and good transference of Igantibodies in newborn calves. - Good immune function in mature cows and replacement heifers. - Timely uterine involution, uterine repair and decrease number of days to active estrus.
Beef cows eating mineral.
than 1,100 egg farmers follow comprehensive and rigorous food safety standards, which include strict biosecurity measures. The proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Act offer an avenue to further strengthen our overall food system by enhancing the measures in place to protect the health of farm animals across our country,” said Roger Pelissero, Chair of Egg Farmers of Canada. “The Turkey Farmers of Canada supports the private members’ bill put forward by Alberta MP John Barlow, to amend the Health of Animals Act. We feel this amendment has positive implications for protecting the health and welfare of animals on farm, and is supportive of Canadian farmers who work hard to care for the animals in their barns,” said Darren Ference, Chair of Turkey Farmers of Canada.
February 28, 2020
Micro-Supplements Can Make a Difference for Piglet Growth On Canadian pig farms, breeding sows are more fertile than ever before with most sows giving birth to more piglets per litter. However, producers are finding that the weight difference between piglets in the same litter is greater and smaller piglets are not strong enough to survive. One of the questions being asked is, “Do larger litters cause avoidable nutrient deficiencies in piglets?” Jacques Matte, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research and Development has been investigating this question. He led a team in the Canadian Swine Research and Development Cluster that tested whether adding supplements to piglet and sow feed could reduce health and growth problems in piglets. The research focused on copper along with vitamins A and D because they are very important to piglet and sow health. These micronutrients support the immune system, the digestive system including beneficial bacteria within the microbiota and the antioxidant functions of their metabolism. However, these micro-nutrients may be deficient for pigs raised indoors. For Piglets the trials concluded that the best way to increase copper and vitamins A and D in piglets during lactation is through oral supplementation and exposure to certain types of artificial radiation. “Repeated UVB radiation during lactation appears to be the only treatment that allows a gradual and continuous increase of vitamin D in piglets’ blood, which doubles in comparison to that of control piglets who are weaned at 21 days old,” explained Matte.
Manitoba Pork Receives Federal Support for Swine Insurance Project
By Harry Siemens
A piglet about to receive its micro-supplements.
This improvement in the amount of copper and vitamins A and D in piglets ends with weaning and cessation of supplementation. During and after weaning, bovine colostrum is the best supplement to give to light-weight piglets to improve their growth and quality of their microbiota. For Sows to create more longterm effects on piglet health and growth, Jacques Matte and his team explored an alternative way to provide supplements to piglets by feeding the supplements to sows in late gestation and during lactation. Supplementing copper and vitamins A and D increased the weight of the newborn piglets and reduced the weight difference between piglets in the same litter. At weaning, the composition of their microbiota improved. With weight gain and enhanced immunity due to more beneficial bacteria in the microbiota, the piglets’ disease resistance and growth potential were enhanced.
Jacques Matte, Ph.D., director of the research project on micro-supplements for piglets.
Research is ongoing to determine the optimal amounts of micronutrients to feed sows and piglets. Since some of these supplementing practices have been tested on a commercial scale and can be easily applied, they will soon be able to be adopted in pig production.
Researchers Look at Hemp for Horses Some researchers are asking can CBD oil reduce stress and help manage obsessive compulsive behaviors in horses. Hay may be for horses, but now more than ever so is hemp. Using CBD to treat horses with arthritis or anxiety has become pretty mainstream, however not much research has been conducted on whether it really works Researchers at Tarleton State University’s Equine Center are looking into that right now in a unique study
February 28, 2020
that has the attention of horse owners around the world. “I have just been overwhelmed by the level of interest in this study,” said Dr. Kimberly Guay, who is overseeing the research. “By now, horse owners have all heard the hype about the potential benefits of CBD oil. Here at Tarleton, we are working to give them the reliable data that’s just not there yet.” Guay’s study seeks to quantify how CBD affects inflammation,
Dr. Kimberly Guay, Animal Science & Veterinary Technology researcher from Tarleton State University.
stress and stereotypical negative behaviors in horses. Guay and her student researchers from Tarleton’s equine science classes give horses in the trial different kinds of CBD, such as oil or pellets. Then they measure the physiological effects of the non-psychoactive substance on the horses’ heart rate and cortisol levels. They also observe the horses after dosing them with CBD to note its effect on any common obsessive compulsive behaviors common to horses that spend time in a stall or trailer, such as cribbing, which is when a horse bites on a fence or gate. “We are also tracking how long CBD stays in the horse’s system,” Guay said. “Many people who compete with their horses are interested in using CBD products to reduce stress and inflammation, but many event organizers are still working through their CBD restrictions for horses in competition.” Horse owners eagerly await the results, which Guay said she expects to publish sometime in 2021.
Manitoba Pork welcomed Federal Agriculture Minister MarieClaude Bibeau’s recent announcement of a $482,000 plus grant to create a private-sector livestock insurance program that will help producers recover economically from a disease outbreak on their farms. An insurance consulting company that Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) is working with will develop a model to determine the risk impacts of diseases. The model will establish the premiums and coverage, adjusted to what the market will pay, with the intent of applying the insurance to the entire Canadian hog sector. Manitoba Pork’s General Manager Andrew Dickson said the private sector is to come up with a model to provide an idea of insured coverage’s. This could include cleaning, disinfecting the barn, money to cover animal losses, some cash flow, figure out the premium and what insurance vehicle to use to deliver the policy. Dickson said it would take a lot of actuarial work to provide the project detail required to create an insurance policy underwritten by say, for example, Lloyd’s of London, and the reinsurance market if need be, to cover it. This new proposed hog industry program is the same as the current program the poultry industry implemented some years ago for egg layers and broilers developed for each province, but run by a national insurance vehicle. They have two insurance vehicles to deliver insurance products for covering diseases like avian influenza. “We intend to copy that model, create an insurance model, to use Manitoba as the case sample and then expand the program to the other provinces,” Dickson said. “We’ll make changes as we develop it for Ontario, Quebec, or Alberta conditions, depending on coverage and premiums that would work in those provinces.” The Council will use the developmental money to recruit an insurance company that develops such products and work closely with them to develop an insurance risk model by providing the needed data. Still to be determined is how much of the losses would be covered and what premium cost is acceptable to producers. The challenge is that there is nothing in Canada for the hog sector and very few, if any, worldwide. The program is breaking new ground. “If we successfully develop this program, I’m sure others will replicate it in other parts of the world,” said Dickson.” When Manitoba Pork applied for this funding, they focused on the common diseases like PEDV, PRRS, that are strictly production diseases that farmers experience on their farms today. With the threat of African Swine Fever the new program would include farms infected with this disease. The insurance would help with recovery in cleaning, disinfecting, disposing of feed or digging a burial pit. Dickson said there is no way that current insurance products will provide crisis funding when the market value crashes affecting profitability while having livestock on hand of little or no market value and facing the tragedy of disposing of hogs humanely. “Maybe at some point, we could make the insurance vehicle available to the government to use the producers signed up on the policy as a vehicle to include some public funds to help those affected by a market collapse,” he said. “But not at this point.” Manitoba Pork’s General Manager, Andrew Dickson speaking at the annual Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg on the grant received from the Federal government to design a new insurance program for the hog industry that would help cover costs such as cleaning, disinfecting, animal losses and provide some cash flow for hog farmer’s faced with a disease outbreak.
More than 550 producers and industry people attended this year’s Manitoba Photos by Harry Siemens Swine Seminar.
February 28, 2020
Research Needed for Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
By Harry Siemens Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, the Scientific Director with Dalhousie University, suggested recently, there needs to be more research into the nutritional and sustainability aspects of plant-based alternatives to meat. For decades, pork, beef, and chicken have dominated the protein markets, but now plant-based alternatives are focusing on sustainability, animal welfare, and health benefits to alter those dynamics. Speaking on the topic “Fake Meat Madness and Pork’s Resilience” in Saskatoon as part of the Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium last year, Dr. Charlebois said it is difficult for consumers to be sure of what these plantbased alternatives offer. “When you look at metrics and the science behind all of these products, there are distorting messages coming from different groups, including companies trying to promote their products as Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, the Scientific Director with much as possible,” Dalhousie University, suggested that there needs to he said. “I think be more research into the nutritional and sustainit’s problematic for ability aspects of plant-based alternatives to meat. that plant-based industry because they’re infatuated with the concept of replicating what beef does, what pork does, and so on.” Dr. Charlebois said that is a danger zone for them because, at some point, people will realize it’s not the same thing, and if the desire is there to eat pork or beef, then do so. There needs to be more research on nutrition and sustainability to make sure they know what they are dealing with so that consumers can make sound and informed decisions. He said for the pork sector, there is an opportunity to engage in a public that is in transition and pork has the advantage of being affordable. As the competition among the various proteins heats up pork will retain the advantage of being natural, unprocessed and affordable. “But the younger generations are driving the agenda a little bit when it comes to motives, the planet, animal welfare, and things like that,” said Dr. Charlebois. “The boomers are mostly interested in the health aspect of things, so they’ll shop around for different sources of protein just because they think it’s healthier.” And he emphasizes again, pork has a bright future just because it is natural and unprocessed and a lot of Canadians are still looking for that kind of product. The consumer of tomorrow will be eating out a lot more often. He suggested that the industry position pork in a way to serve a consumer that is on the go, eating alone, eating four or five times a day, and even snacking. Dr. Charlebois said processors are adjusting, and producers will have to change, too. The market is in transition right now, looking at different alternatives. Moving beyond this trifecta of meat, all of a sudden there are new players. There is this phenomenon called the groceraunt in retail, merging the grocery business with restaurants. As the grocery business looks at serving a consumer on the go these changes include food halls, and other places such as 50,000 square feet facility serving people a meal prepared on-site. The pork industry should be taking this piece of the action, and farmers’ markets are becoming more popular along with evolving e-commerce. The average Canadian family spent $462 more on food in 2018 than the year before, and for 2020, they are forecasting that the average Canadian family will spend $480 more. So, for the pork industry, how much of that $480 will go back to the pork industry? That is the question. Dr. Charlebois said the consumer is becoming more empowered. Social media is a big one. Right now consumers who may have felt alone making individual decisions, all of a sudden they realize, more people are feeling like them. Now individuals are becoming groups. Remarkably, groups will endorse a particular product and may reject another but these changes happen very quickly now.
Manitoba’s CVO Prepares for ASF The CVO said from a logistical standpoint in the case where there is no market for pigs that there are options for euthanasia and disposal and that this is much of the preparedness plan. The effects of the disease go far beyond agriculture since it impacts the overall economy. “In our response planning, we’re certainly engaging all of the government to raise awareness about this and involve other departments,” he said. “Then certainly leveraging industry.” Manitoba Pork Council is an excellent partner and, in this case, it is necessary to approach such a massive endeavour in a united way. With Zaari’s extensive experience, he outlined his thoughts on ASF vaccines. First, it is not a new disease as it has been around since the 1920s and vaccine researchers today will say they have been studying the disease for years. The challenge has been that this virus is complicated making it difficult to create a vaccine. Dr. Zaari said to get to an effective vaccine will take years. “If we find an effective vaccine, to get to a safety margin, it’s approved and commercialization is a huge leap there,” he said. “You got to ask yourself, will we use the vaccine.” He said because of the nature of an effective live vaccine if a country does not have ASF it may not want to use it to keep markets and trade open. If the vaccine interferes with Canada’s trading, then as a country still free of the disease the industry may not want to use it. “There are many nuances to vaccines, and the vaccines are critical, but we can’t just rely on this magic of vaccine coming to us and solving all our worries.” Dr. Zaari told the Manitoba Swine Seminar participants when asked how likely it is that ASF will show up in Canada’s pig population and how would the CVO deal with the risks he said that they approach every disease like it is coming. “I certainly can’t quantify that, but from the Canadian perspective, I really
can’t put a number on it, but I personally, as the CVO, prepare like its coming.” Blaine Pederson Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development said the province’s top priority in developing plans for responding to ASF is preparing to address the financial impact of the infection. Pederson said Manitoba is working closely with the Federal government, referring to a federal-provincial-territorial meeting in mid-December. The Federal government is doing a good job of trying to keep it out with border security while working with the provinces on mitigation. “If it does happen, how do we segregate it, how do we handle that?” said the Minister. “We’re working on the financial impact because, if the industry was to shut down, it’s a half a billion-dollar hit to the Manitoba economy.” Pedersen said the sector is set up with a very short turn around. For example it works with a three-day feed supply. While not prepared to go into the finer details of the mitigation plan, it will need to consider such factors as what happens with the barns, with animal welfare and with the welfare of the people working in the sector.
A nearly sold-out lunch venue for participants at the Manitoba Swine Seminar 2020.
Photos by Harry Siemens
Dr. Scott Zaari, Manitoba’s CVO, outlined a scary, but detailed, complex, and novel preparedness plan should African Swine Fever land on a hog farm in Manitoba at the recent Manitoba Swine Seminar.
By Harry Siemens In October 2019, Manitoba named Dr. Scott Zaari, as its Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), responsible for leading work on issues related to animal health and welfare. Originally from southern Alberta, Zaari began his veterinary career as a mixed animal veterinarian, providing veterinary services for cattle producers. After leaving Alberta, Zaari worked internationally as a veterinarian, including positions with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in southeast Asia for three years supporting large-scale disease control programs related to foot and mouth disease and rabies. At the recent Manitoba Swine Seminar Dr. Zaari outlined a scary, but detailed, complex, and novel preparedness plan should, “Heaven forbid”, African Swine Fever land on a hog farm in Manitoba. He stressed two critical areas in this plan, the need to control the diseased animal, which is a lead response by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in partnership with Manitoba. “It’s not only about managing diseased animal control. It’s about the healthy herd and what happens to that when we don’t have a market for those animals,” Zaari said. “We can’t be naive to think that as a government, we can plan for all caveats in managing a standing herd of 1.4 million pigs in Manitoba alone.”
Blaine Pederson Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development said their priority is working on the financial impact because, if the industry was to shut down, it is a half a billion-dollar hit to the Province’s economy.
KAP Launches Rural Connectivity Survey Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) has launched a rural connectivity survey aimed at better understanding the issues facing both cellular coverage and broadband access across the province. “Our members are some of the most poorly served by telecommunications in Canada because they live and run their businesses in rural areas with limited population density,” KAP director Sam Connery-Nichol said. “Manitobans in rural areas are missing out on key information, including emergency
alerts, and are often unable to call for help on their farms due to a lack of cell coverage.” KAP has been advocating for years for improved broadband service in rural areas. KAP members from across the province have put forward a number of policy resolutions, urging both the provincial government and the federal government to invest in quality coverage for all areas of the province. Agriculture is a primary economic driver provincially and nationally. However, a lack of ac-
cess to reliable, affordable broadband internet prevents farmers from being able to take advantage of educational opportunities and technological advances that would make their operations more efficient and ultimately more successful. KAP is encouraging both farmers and non-farmers alike from across the province to share their experiences. The deadline to complete the survey is March 31 and it can be found online at surveymonkey.com/r/KAPConnect.
2020 Vision for the Next 150 Years
By Joan Airey Theme of this year’s Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference is “2020 Vision for the Next 150 Years”. With a second planning meeting for the conference held in Portage la Prairie recently, the committee is excited with the addition of the Prairie Fire House a grown and made in Manitoba menu for the evening meal on Sunday. The Prairie Fire House prides itself on buying locally grown vegetables and meats. And what better way to get acquainted during the evening than with a Trivia game based on Agriculture. This year’s headquarters for the conference will be at the Victoria Inn. Doris Doelger from Beausejour, a committee member, said that she
is looking for one hundred and fifty fabulous recipes from one hundred and fifty women in Agricultural. “For the Farm Women’s Conference Cookbook we are looking for 150 women in agriculture to share a picture of themselves or their family along with what makes them a woman in agriculture and if they have been to the conference.” “If they have attended a conference, then for how many years,” asks Doelger. In addition, “They will be asked if they were part of the planning committee and what their favourite go to recipe is.” To participate in the cookbook and survey participants are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the conference will be posted on their website as it becomes available at manitobafarmwomensconference.ca.
Doris Doelger a Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference committee member who volunteers her time and a Simmental breeder in the Beausejour area.
All About Seeds is a Gardener’s Favourite Activity in February The Roseau River, Woodmore Women’s Institute’s Food Safety Initiative event was the place where 30 or so folks gathered on February 7 to talk about, exchange and to buy those magical little bullets called seeds. Folks in the region brought their favourite seeds to share. This is our version of Seedy Saturday, we called it Seedy Friday. Our special guest speaker was Rachelle Ternier, all the way from Cochin, Saskatchewan. She lives on the family farm beside a small lake, the home also of the family business, Prairie Garden Seeds. Rachelle and her father Jim have been encouraging home gardening and seed saving since 1986.
February 28, 2020
Province Undertaking Forage Insurance Review
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development is launching a review to better understand the purchasing decisions of Manitoba producers when it comes to forage insurance products available through Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC). “Manitoba forage producers have had back-to-back challenging production years,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “We also know that a relatively small proportion of forage acres are insured compared to annual crops. To bridge that gap, we need to better understand their risks, challenges and how the current program does or does not meet their needs.” MASC offers various insurance and lending products to agricultural producers in Manitoba including forage insurance. More than 1,200 producers currently have forage insurance, representing more than 272,000 acres. This represents about 18 per cent of the more than 1.5 million eligible acres in Manitoba. For comparison, about 90 per cent of annual crop acreage is insured through MASC. Mike Lesiuk, a former provincial director of agricultural policy, will lead the review. It will ask forage producers for their perceptions about insurance products, how they currently manage risks and how the program can evolve to support growth in Manitoba’s livestock sector. The review will also include an environmental scan of other programs available in Canada and related research. Recommendations will be provided to MASC and the minister later this spring. The forage insurance review will engage producers, producer groups and other stakeholders.
Public Consultations Set for Forage Insurance Review A how to guide for saving seeds. Favourite seeds brought by participants to a Woodmore Women’s Institute’s Food Safety Initiative event in February.
The seed business is a labour of love as they grow out a huge collection of open-pollinated seeds. These are seeds that can be saved and that will remain true when grown again which Jim has been collecting for 34 years. Rachelle brought a whack of seeds to our event and quite a number of sales were made as quite a few of us bought our 2020 seeds for the garden. We fortunately got first pick before she headed to the much busier Seedy Saturday in Winnipeg, and the seed event in Brandon on Sunday. Gardeners, mark your calendar for April 30, 6:30 pm when we invite you to join us again at the Roseau River Park Hall to hear our guest Mick Mansfield from Winnipeg. He will talk about all things related to owning a back yard greenhouse. We will also have a plant exchange. If you so choose we invite you to bring house plants, extra seedlings and perennials.
Janet Kroeker a Woodmore Women’s Institute’s Food Safety Initiative member and one of the organizers of the event.
Speaker and seed grower Rachelle Ternier.
Consultations with forage and livestock producers and organizations to review and shape Manitoba’s forage insurance programming are now available online until the March 9 submission deadline. “Manitoba forage producers have had back-to-back challenging production years and only a small proportion of forage acres are insured when compared to annual crops,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “To bridge that gap, we need to better understand the risks, challenges and effectiveness of the current program to help ensure it meets their needs over the longer term.” Producers have the opportunity to provide their thoughts on the current program and suggest changes that will support growth of Manitoba’s livestock sector through an online survey. Contributions will help inform government on how the current forage insurance platform is being used, its limitations and what changes need to be considered. The review will include a number of in-person engagement sessions in March to build on the dialogue. The consultant for the review will work with producers and associations to identify priorities to be considered when developing or redesigning the forage insurance platform. To take part in the online survey, visit the Forage Insurance Review at engagemb.ca/forage-insurance-review or visit one of the public kiosks available at the following Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development locations and contact the office to schedule an appointment: - Vita at 108 Main St. N, 204-425-5050; - Carberry at junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and PTH 5, north on PTH 5, 204-834-8815; - Virden at 247 Wellington St. W, 204-748-4770; - Swan River at 120 Sixth Ave. N, 204-734-3417; - Roblin at 117 Second Ave. NW, 204-937-6460; and - The Pas at 234 Third St. & Ross Avenue, 204-627-8255.
February 28, 2020
Three Disruptors to Watch in 2020, Say FCC Economists Climate change, protectionism and automation, three forces Bloomberg identifies as major disruptors to the global economic outlook also appear among the most significant trends to watch in the Canadian agri-food supply chain for 2020, according to Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) economics team. These trends have the potential to not only disrupt the global economy, but they could also have a significant impact in shaping Canada’s agriculture and food industry outlook, said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief agricultural economist. “We call them disruptors for the simple fact that these trends could significantly change the way Canadian farm operations, agribusinesses and food processors do business at home and around the world,” Gervais said. “The test is how they will adapt to take advantage of the opportunities or mitigate the challenges that come with each of these trends.” Gervais said the disruptors come with the potential to promote or inhibit growth in Canada’s agriculture and food industry. Changing weather patterns will impact production and demand. According to Canada’s 2019 Climate Change Report, Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Increases in both annual and seasonal mean temperatures may extend growing seasons with additional hotter days. However, the potential for warmer weather also increases potential for more rain during seeding and harvest, which makes controlling disease and pests more challenging. It also brings a higher likelihood of extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts. “As we’ve witnessed in recent years, weather disruptions can lead to production losses across major agriculture producing regions, and this has serious and rippling repercussions for Canadian agriculture and food sectors,” Gervais said. Unstable growing conditions worldwide also raise the importance of food security. Individual nations may increase their efforts to stockpile, leading to more intense price competition for available crops. This could benefit Canada’s agriculture exports, according to Gervais. Another disruptor is trade agreements, protection against protectionism. Protectionism contributes to market volatility, which has an overall detrimental impact on the world economy. This would appear to be especially true for Canada, which was the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture commodities in 2018 behind the United States, Brazil, the Netherlands and China. However, Canada has done extremely well in establishing strong trade relations in a number of key markets, thanks to a long-held focus on getting trade agreements in place, according to Gervais. And while more market access issues could arise in 2020, it’s just as possible that market disruptions could create new opportunities for Canadian producers and exporters. “Our trade agreements help buffer Canada from some of the negative impact that growing protectionism is having on the world economy,” he said. “When tariffs are imposed or borders close for any number of reasons, having a broader range of export markets allows Canadian exports to be re-allocated, rather than simply reduced.” Bottom line, protectionism in an evolving and uncertain international trade environment should not have a significant impact on Canada’s long-term export growth potential. The main reason, according to Gervais, is that food demand has grown both domestically and globally and is expected to continue in 2020. The animal protein sectors could even see growth accelerate based on the evolution of African Swine Fever in China and the rest of the world. Lastly, is automation and innovation that will fuel future success. Despite global economic turmoil, the outlook for Canadian agriculture and food in 2020 remains positive due to ongoing investments in technology and innovation. These investments enable Canada to produce a wide range of commodities and processed foods, which help the country maintain its competitive position in the world export market, according to Gervais. Advances made possible due to automation in both agriculture production and food processing reduce costs. In processing, automation helps solve the long-term challenge of labour shortages, especially for skilled manufacturing labour. In agriculture, Canadian producers are adopting various technologies that help reduce costs and increase efficiencies, while managing highly variable growing conditions. With interest rates expected to remain low, the environment for continued investments in innovation and technology looks positive, Gervais said. “Canadian farm operations have been a bit more cautious about making new investments, given the recent decline in net income,” he said. “But they also know that market conditions will eventually improve and that innovation is a long-term investment that eventually pays off.”
Flooding Quite Likely this Spring By Elmer Heinrichs By traditional standards it’s been an unusual winter. Through January we’ve had less snow and warmer temperatures than we normally expect to get. Despite this, we already know that spring won’t be clear sailing for those who farm in the Red River Valley. North Dakota had a lot of rain last fall and early winter. There was so much rain that some remains frozen on top of the soil. And then they had a lot of snows, much more than we did. The combination of fall rains which froze in and on the soil, plus heavy snowfall during the early winter already guarantees that there will be extensive spring flooding. This could mean farmers will consider three possible scenarios; early seeding if possible; an alternate strategy if seeding is delayed, and plans for a worst case outlook in case extensive flooding pushes farmers to consider shorter
season crops, such as oats or barley. There’s still a few more weeks of winter to get through, but officials are keeping their eyes on the sky and the ground in preparation for possible spring flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) in the United States said there is a high risk of major flooding this spring along the Red River Basin at Fargo/Moorhead, Grand Forks and Pembina. It said moderate to major flooding is expected along the Red River’s tributaries. In its latest flood outlook released Thursday, it noted while there have been no major storms since mid-January; this past fall was the wettest on record. The NWS is also predicting a wetter and cooler than normal end to winter and start to spring. The NWS said a lot of factors determine how severe the flooding could be, and it will likely depend on the spring thaw cycle and whether there are
heavy spring rains. Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre echoed similar sentiments, saying weather conditions from now through April will largely determine the occurrence, extent and severity of spring runoff. Soils are saturated and river levels are higher than normal, but the extent and severity of this year’s spring runoff will still depend largely on weather conditions from this point forward. Precipitation since November 1 is tracking below normal to well-below normal in most parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but it’s been more than 200 per cent of normal accumulation in the US portions of the Red River and Souris River basins, the report said. One positive factor is that frost depth through most Manitoba watersheds is normal to below normal. Moist and frozen soils greatly reduce infiltration of melt water, increasing spring runoff.
Soil Science Professor Receives Canola Award of Excellence
Don Flaten - Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba.
Manitoba Canola Growers Association has recognized Don Flaten, Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba with the 2020 Canola Award of Excellence for his years of research, teaching and extension during the CropConnect Banquet in Winnipeg.
“I’m grateful to receive the Canola Award of Excellence. The Award indicates that I might have helped the canola industry and that’s the purpose of my job,” said Dr. Flaten. “My goal is to help others whether its students or members of the industry through teaching, research or extension. If this help has been recognized as a positive thing, than I’m delighted.” Throughout his 32 year career at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Flaten has taught soil fertility courses educating a large number of both Diploma and Degree agriculture graduates. His soil fertility and crop nutrition management research has spanned across a number of crops including canola, working collaboratively with others. “Don is a brilliant, talented and
enthusiastic researcher and educator,” said Dr. Cynthia Grant, recipient of the 2019 Canola Award of Excellence. “I have always admired not just his scientific contributions, but also his dedication in supporting his students and colleagues. Don is one of the kindest and most unselfish people I have ever met. It has been a privilege and a pleasure working with him through the years.” In addition to research and teaching, another important aspect of Dr. Flaten’s job is the extension work he is involved in. This includes events like the Manitoba Agronomist Conference, speaking at events like Manitoba Ag Days or Soil Fertility meetings, or delivering an annual soil fertility refresher course to former students.
GGC Calls for Immediate Relief from ‘Harvest from Hell’ On behalf of 65,000 Canadian grain, oilseed and pulse producers, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are calling for immediate action to support Canadian farmers who have just been through the harvest from hell. In the short term, GGC farmer members should be directly reimbursed from the federal government for the millions of extra dollars in carbon tax they have paid to dry their grain. “The 2019 harvest season has put undue burdens on farmers’ livelihoods and every part of the country has been hit hard,” said GGC chair Jeff Nielsen. “Beyond just the crop left in the field, farmers have faced major grain drying expenses, courtesy of the federal carbon tax, to en-
sure at least some crops make it to market.” GGC is working with member groups to compile data to provide to Minister Bibeau to allow her department to find the best way forward. According to the GGC, the government needs to be looking at all available options to offer relief to farm families who are facing mounting costs. This is only a short-term solution, however. Grain drying is an annual requirement for many Canadian farmers. That is why the longterm solution is to fully exempt all fuels used on farming operations. With a changing climate, there could be future years where significant grain drying is required for farmers to get their grain to market. The
simplest solution for both farmers and the government is to completely exempt all fuels used in farming operations. This will avoid the need for any relief measures after events like last year’s harvest. Farmers require a legislative and regulatory environment that recognizes our positive contribution towards the climate solution to ensure a sustainable future for this vital industry. “These costs are adding up and we cannot continue to pay the price for inaction,” added Nielsen. “A complete exemption for all fuels used on the farm is what farmers ultimately require to avoid these crises in the future and provide farmers with the resources to continue doing what we do best.”
Increasing Manitoba’s Renewable Fuel Standard Good for Us All It’s been a difficult year for farmers, but Manitoba’s 7,500 canola growers are encouraged by Premier Pallister’s commitment to this year expand Manitoba’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from the current 2% renewable content in diesel to 5%. This progressive policy change is a win-win-win for Manitoba’s environment, for our economy and for our farmers. It is an effective way to reduce emissions from transportation fuel and will have positive impacts on air quality and the environment. Canola renewable fuels produce up to 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel (on a lifecycle basis), are certified sustainable, and can immediately reduce the carbon footprint of all diesel vehicles in Manitoba, including heavy duty trucks like those that transport goods down our highways and carry canola to processing facilities as well as farm equipment. Given the current unpredictability in global trade, this change is also an opportunity to diversify markets for farmers with increased demand right here at home. Our organization, along with the Canola Council of Canada and the Canadian Canola Growers Association, are committed to diversifying markets wherever possible, and working with governments to expand the domestic use of canola as a renewable fuel is an important part of that strategy to support canola farmers. In recent days, you may have heard claims that renewable fuels like biodiesel are not suited to Manitoba’s climate and operating conditions. Fortunately, we can draw upon years and millions upon millions of kilometers of biodiesel experience to confirm that when properly managed, high quality biodiesel blends are successful in cold climates like Manitoba’s. We need only look to
the experience from other jurisdictions that have increased renewable fuel mandates, such as our neighbour Minnesota. The state has successfully implemented a 5% mandate in winter months, going up to 20% each year from mid-April through September. Canola is especially well suited as a feedstock for cold weather biodiesel operability because of its low saturated fat content. During the coldest months, fuel additives can be used to ensure functionality, just as they are for petroleum diesel. Flexibilities available to wholesale, cardlock, and retail fuel providers enable the slightly higher biodiesel blends to be supplied into the market with little to no changes required to existing infrastructure. Fuel price impacts are also minimal, costing less than an additional ¾ of a cent per litre to increase the renewable content from 2 to 5%. When that biofuel is made with canola, this value stays in the rural economy. Currently in the marketplace there are two types of diesel-based biofuels, biodiesel and renewable diesel. Both products can be used to fulfill Manitoba’s increased renewable fuel standard. While Manitoba has not yet achieved global-scale biodiesel or renewable diesel production, policies like the increased Manitoba RFS and a well-designed federal Clean Fuel Standard are critical to expanding capacity. This policy sends a strong market signal for more domestic canola processing and investment in renewable fuel production here in Manitoba. This is exactly what we are working toward. Continuing Manitoba’s clean fuel leadership is a step in that right direction for our environment, our economy and our farmers. Submitted by the Manitoba Canola Growers
Farmers of Manitoba - Collecting Stories The Manitoba Agricultural Museum is excited to announce the Farmers of Manitoba - Collecting Stories project, supported by Manitoba 150. Farming holds a special place in Manitoba’s identity and heritage and the Manitoba Agricultural Museum is committed to tell the stories of our province’s agricultural heritage. Who better than a farmer to tell these stories? As Manitoba celebrates 150 years as a province, the Manitoba Agricultural Museum invites Manitobans to showcase a Manitoba farmer by sending a farmer’s portrait and their story. They can feature themselves, a farmer they know or even one of their ancestors or the future generation of farmers. The photos and stories will be added to the museum’s collection and preserved to tell the story of agriculture in Manitoba. The museum will use these materials for the Farmers of Manitoba exhibit, with a tentative opening date on May 16, 2020. The Museum is launching its Call for Contributions to begin gathering these stories of the past, present and future of farming in our province
until April 15, 2020. The project is inherently collaborative and relies on a wide participation of Manitobans to represent the diversity of farmers. “We hope that Manitobans across the province will enjoy the Farmers of Manitoba - Collecting Stories Project, funded by Manitoba 150,” said Monique LaCoste and Stuart Murray, co-chairs of the Manitoba 150 Host Committee. “We had such a fantastic response to Celebrate 150 and events like this one from the Manitoba Agricultural Museum speak to the spirit of celebration, camaraderie, and community engagement that Manitoba 150 is promoting for 2020.” The Manitoba Agricultural Museum is grateful for this funding that supports its activities. “It is an exciting opportunity for the museum to further our mandate to collect, preserve, interpret and demonstrate Manitoba’s agricultural heritage,” said Anaïs Biernat, Executive Director – Curator. To receive an easy to fill out “story” form, email farmers@mbagmuseum. ca or call 204-637-2354.
February 28, 2020
Reduce Variability of Dry Matter Intake in Lactating Dairy Cows Optimizing dry matter intake (DMI) of a well-balanced diet in lactating dairy cows should be one of the mission-statements of every dairy producer. It is the key to providing enough essential nutrients that supports good milk production (and its components), in feed that cows can reasonable consume each and every day. Unfortunately, daily DMI among a lactation cowherd is not always consistent as much as we would like it to be. Therefore, it is important to set up a straightforward strategy when feed dairy cows to reduce its occurrence. Consequently, whenever, I visit a dairy farm with DMI variation problems in the lactating dairy cows, I usually have a checklist of questions concerning lactating cow DMI in my head. Most of which fall into two categories, either; animal or feed related (re: sometimes, environment plays a role in affecting DMI, such in cases of hot weather and heatstress). Otherwise, I stick to a loose script and I look at the animal or cow-related DMI factors, first. These include: the number of cows that go up to the feed bunk to eat, number of mature and first-calf heifers, a general sense of body condition scores in the milking cowherd, number of cows chewing their cud, manure consistency, any present lame-cows and cow-comfort. I also include a look for cow eating abnormal behaviors such as individuals trying to sort their bunk ration or any sign of subclinical acidosis amongst the same cows. To answer the second or feedrelated DMI factors - on any given barn tour, I always grab a handful of lactation TMR and see if it is well-mixed, its squeezable moisture content, if it contains lots of effective forage-fibre and if it smells good. I also watch for any visible mold in my handful
of dairy feed. Then, I look along the feed-bunk and see if this feed is consistent and how it is pushed up for easy access. I also look at the placement and cleanliness of the watertroughs in the same lactation barn. Once again, I had a recent chance to put my checklist into practice at a 200-milking cow dairy. The owner told me that DMI of his herd, varied periodically (+/- 2 kg per average cow, dm, daily) during the last few months. Subsequently, it took me about 30 minutes to conduct a barn-walk of the lactation free-stall barn, which was a couple hours after milking that afternoon. The producer walked with me and we discussed my initial observations of the dairy cows and along the way, I took my TMR sample that was unloaded on a concrete floor, along a row of head-gates. According to the producer, milk yield bounced along with the variations in DMI, but milkfat did not change at all. During my barn-walk, I found that nothing stuck out-of-place, especially with overall body condition and eating behaviour of the cows. About 1/3 of this dairy herd were eating at the bunk and enjoying a TMR meal that consisted of: moist re-constituted chopped alfalfa hay, a grain millmix and added palm fat. Some cows were trying to sort their dairy diet, but most of them were eating it in a steam-shovel manner. Otherwise, the remainder of the herd were lying in their stalls, and chewing their cud in a relaxed manner. There were
Dairy cows eating TMR.
no apparent lame cows and only one or two cows were found to be under conditioned. We did not visit the dry cow pens. In this case study, the only thing that I found that might contribute to the dry matter variations, was that my hand-held TMR sample consisted of either very short leaves/grain concentrate or hard alfalfa stems of 1 – 2” inches long. If we were to do a Penn State Particle Separator test on it – I suspect the top screen would contain 20 – 25%, 50 – 60% in the bottom screen and a deficiency of particles in the middle. One might conclude that these cows might be lacking important middle-screen fibre (recommended at 30 - 50 %), needed to optimize efficiency forage digestion by the ruminal bugs and thus might explain this herd’s DMI variations. To remedy this particular situation, I advised this producer that he should check the condition of his mixer (knifes) and mixing time (3 - 4 minutes) when making up his next daily TMR lactation diet. In this case, it was the best practical solution that offered quick corrective action to reduce variability of dry matter intake and thus promote consistent optimum DMI of his well-balanced diet by the milking cows.
February 28, 2020
Insuring Custom Application It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks we will have melting snow, ditches running with water, and longer days. We can finally start thinking about summer – the time of the year where our frozen ground warms up long enough to produce some wonderful crops! The time of year where hockey sticks are traded for baseball bats and your favourite machines in the shed get to come out and play in the dirt! As the fun is right around the corner, let me explain two important elements of a good insurance policy that every custom applicator should have. Some of the most important aspects of your insurance coverage are spray drift and misapplication coverage. The spray drift coverage is fairly self-explanatory, providing coverage for losses caused by drifting chemical resulting in damage to neighbouring crops, yards, parks, etc. We often see that the largest number of claims coming from neighbouring yards to fields where tree damage is caused by drift. To defend yourself in the event of alleged claims against you in these situations, clear and precise documentation of the time, wind speed and direction, and product applied is crucial. Misapplication coverage is just as important. Applying the wrong product to a field can be catastrophic for a crop. Applying the right product with the wrong conditions, volumes, or timing can also be damaging. Applying the right product perfectly to a field can also result in claims against you when you finish the job, fold up the booms and start driving home only to realize you perfectly applied product to the wrong field. Misapplication is crucial to properly protect your custom application operations. One word of advice, if you are a custom applicator – make sure your policy does not limit your coverage for spray drift and misapplication losses. We have seen policies in the past providing $5 Million limits of liability, but a restricted sub-limit of coverage to $25,000 or $100,000 for spray drift of misapplication losses. Perhaps you are a kind farmer, wanting to assist some neighbours with your sprayer or floater? Make sure you have proper insurance coverage prior to the start of your season. There has been a strong shift in farm liability insurance to exclude all custom spraying operations done by a farmer. This means that not only will your liability coverage not cover spray drift issues that may arise, but there is also a chance that any physical damage incurred by your machine while spraying on someone else’s land may also be denied coverage from your farm insurance policy. Make sure you are working with an insurance broker who specializes in custom application insurance. At Rempel Insurance, we have an exclusive insurance program for licensed custom applicators across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and have the coverage and rating to allow you to be properly protected. Feel free to reach out to myself or Colin Harbinson to review your situation. David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Contact office 204746-2320, Text 204-712-6618, email davids@rempelinsurance. com, rempelinsurance.com.
Red Tape Reduction Would Make Farmers More Competitive and Innovative A recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey reveals 95 per cent of farmers agree reducing red tape for small businesses like theirs would help Canada become more competitive and innovative. “We know farmers must compete on the world stage so cutting through unnecessary red tape is just one low-cost way governments can help make farm businesses more nimble and competitive,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vicepresident for Western Canada and Agri-business. “We are not talking about deregulation and removing those important rules that are in place to protect Canada’s food supply, we are talking about reducing unnecessary red tape that farmers face every day.” Red tape can include confusing forms, poor government customer service and excessive or outdated regulations. When farmers were asked which Federal government agencies had the most room to reduce red tape by streamlining rules, simplifying language and shortening forms without negatively affecting health, safety and envi-
ronmental outcomes, the top five were Canada Revenue Agency (60 per cent), Statistics Canada (58 per cent), Environment Canada and Climate Change Canada (56 per cent), Service Canada (Temporary Foreign Worker processing, Records of Employment) (53 per cent) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (44 per cent). Recently the CFIB awarded a Paperweight “Award” to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for fining a meat processor $42,000 because his customers had purchased his product in BC and then sent it to Alberta. A tribunal exonerated the producer after a grueling four-year legal battle which cost him $130,000. “On the one hand I am happy to be exonerated of this wrongful charge; on the other, I am very angry that a government agency can do this and have little or no apparent consequence,” said Ken Falk, owner of Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, British Columbia. “This is a real-life example of how interactions with government agencies can weigh down an agribusiness owner and drown them in red tape taking up time, money and
resources that could be better spent growing and expanding their business or contributing to their community,” explained Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for Agri-business. CFIB survey results also reveal the benefits of reducing the burden of red tape on agri-business owners are numerous. Respondents said that a red tape reduction would allow them to spend more time running their business (85% agree), it would reduce their stress (80% agree), allow them to spend more time with family and friends (61% agree), give them time to explore innovating and/or expanding their business (58% agree) and allow them to spend more time on projects that contribute to the community (48% agree). “We recognize some governments have made more progress than others in reducing red tape for farmers,” concluded Braun-Pollon. “However, we also know farmers are facing significant competitive challenges, that’s why CFIB is urging governments to continue to reduce the burden of red tape on Canada’s agriculture sector.”
Ag Partnership Announces the Young Farmers Conference
Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), together with the Canadian Young Farmers Forum (CYFF) and presenting sponsor Farm Credit Canada, recently announced the year’s Manitoba Young Farmers Conference taking place March 5 in Winnipeg at the Victoria Inn Hotel. This event is part of KAP’s focus toward supporting young farmers to ensure the sustainability of the agricultural sector. The main topic for the event will focus on strategies to improve onfarm efficiencies with expertise from speakers Brooks White, Evan Shout and Mitch Rezansoff. All three speakers will demonstrate how analyzing data, identifying waste and using regenerative production practices can lower costs and improve profitability. “Young farmers need accessible tools and strategies to remain competitive, profitable, and sustainable
in an evolving global marketplace,” KAP program manager Thea Green said. “We know that creating efficiencies on the farm is a top priority for our young farmers, and practical learning opportunities like this event will put Manitoba young farmers at a distinct advantage over their peers.” Through this conference KAP aims to address what has been heard through multiple focus group consultations with young farmers, and the young farmer policy committee. The 2020 conference is in partnership with CYFF who strives to provide learning and networking opportunities to young farmers aged 18-40, both nationally and provincially. “The Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum is pleased to be bringing this unique young farmer-focused event to Winnipeg in collaboration with the Manitoba Young Farmers program,” said Guenette Bautz,
CYFF General Manager. “At CYFF our mission is to energize, educate and empower young producers and we are working to help deliver that through this conference.” The event will conclude with a panel of experienced Manitoba farmers sharing their wisdom and strategies for success with conference attendees, an efficient form of transferring knowledge from one generation to the next. The cost to attend is $50 which includes lunch and two coffee breaks. Visit kap.ca/young-farmers-conference for the full agenda and to register. KAP’s Manitoba Young Farmer program re-launched this year with the goal of providing young farmers in the province with practical learning opportunities, coupled with a KAP policy committee dedicated solely to the issues producers aged 18-40 are facing.
Pilot Program to Development Insurance for Grain Exports The Canada Grains Council (CGC) will receive over $430,000 from the federal government to develop a pilot insurance product for grain exporters to address the risks they face of having their shipments rejected at the border of the importing country. The Government of Canada wants to insure that grain farmers are protected against the unpredictability of the international market and the risks of regulatory trade barriers, particularly around the input residues on seeds.
With a target of growing agri-food exports to $75 Billion by 2025, this project builds upon the government’s strong stance for international rulesbased trade. The CGC will also receive $789,558 to develop a Code of Practice for farm production of Canadian grains. The new codes are voluntary and led by farmers. They will help farmers encode the best practices to follow to be considered sustainable, for both market and public trust pur-
poses. The codes will cover a range of topics, including fertilizer management, pesticide use, soil management, farm workers and protection of wildlife habitat, as well as food safety and work safety. The codes will confirm the confidence shared by consumers around the world that Canadian grains are made to the highest standards of quality. Altogether, the CGC will receive up to $1.2 million in support of these two projects.
Manitoba Gardening on Facebook is Wealth of Information
By Joan Airey If you are looking for a planting guide for Manitoba, Trevor Cline recommended mandysgreenhouse.com/planting-guidefor-manitoba. I printed up a copy to compare with my old guide and plan to use it this spring. Cline also has Baby Boomer tomatoes growing under lights in his home that should be ripening soon. With the mention of ripening tomatoes, my mouth starts to water. So while my husband was looking at snow blowers in Canadian Tire I visited the seed department and picked up some cherry type tomato seeds to start for early tomatoes indoors. At the moment I’m trying to plan my garden and not get too carried away buying seeds. I plan to try a couple of tomatoes new to me, ‘Cour di Bire’ an Italian heirloom tomato available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com). Linda Iwaszewski had my mouth watering last summer when she posted photographs of this tomato and Carbon tomato available from Heritage Harvest Seeds right here in Manitoba. Besides these tomatoes I plan to grow Big Beef my old standby from T &T Seeds and a large Roma tomato to make lots of salsa and tomato sauce. T &T seeds sent out an e-mail this morning recommending Evans Extra Early tomato developed by Dr. Leaun Evans, Covington Sweet Potato slips and a sunflower Strawberry Blonde. I saw the neatest way to store seed packs the other day; you put them in a small photo album. I think this is a great idea as it keeps them dry in the greenhouse and you can read both sides of the package while it stays clean. Having a corn lover in my family I’m always interested in hearing about corn that really produces a great crop. My cousin purchased the Super Sweet collection (Raquel/Kate/Rainer) from Vesey Seeds and was extremely pleased with the varieties. Corentine cucumbers also produced a great crop for making dills. They also grew the Bastan Organic and I used it for stuffing. Seedy Sunday in Brandon will be February 9 at East End Community Centre on Park Street and Victoria Avenue held from 11 am until 4 pm. I attended last year and picked up some interesting seeds and gardening tips. There are seed displays from which you can purchase seeds and some people are just sharing seeds to get people interested in gardening. Also Westman Gardeners’ meeting is February 6 at Central Community Centre, 529 4th St. Brandon. The topic is “Gardening in other Cultures” with John Huang. John is from China and will explain about different methods they use and different foods grown. Have you ever wondered why there were deep trenches filled with water at Hummingbird Garden, or the tall bamboo poles tied together? Come to the meeting and John will explain these mysteries to us, as well as other details about gardening in China.” Judy Olmstead commented, “Every morning I watch for a friend’s post on Facebook as they always are a laugh to brighten your day. This morning the following was her post. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. Philosophy is wondering if a Bloody Mary counts as a smoothie.”
“I grew this from seeds I harvested from a plant that I grew outside last summer. It’s under lights on a shelf in my living room at 18 hours on / 6 hours off. I feed it Schultz 10-15-10 every two weeks and water as needed. The Lights are Phillips Daylight CFL bulbs 6500K spectrum on fixtures I made from Home Depot parts,” said Trevor Photo by Trevor Cline Cline a Manitoba gardener.
February 28, 2020
Manitoba Gardeners Are Resilient Year Round
By Joan Airey If you are looking for a planting guide for Manitoba, Trevor Cline recommended mandysgreenhouse. com/planting-guide-for-manitoba. I printed up a copy to compare with my old guide and plan to use it this spring. Cline also has Baby Boomer tomatoes growing under lights in his home, which he has been harvesting the past few weeks and strawberry plants that presently have 30 strawberries. “The tomatoes were grown from seeds I harvested from a plant I grew outside last summer. It’s under lights on a shelf in my living room, which are on eighteen hours and six hours off. I feed them Schultz 1015-10 every two weeks and water as needed. Lights are Phillips Daylight CFL bulbs 6500K spectrum I made with fixtures I purchased at Home Depot,” explained Cline. “I should specify that I use Promix for the seed start trays and nursery plants. When I plant outside or for full mature growth like my indoor tomato plants, I use Ron Paul garden centre four part soil. It’s very nutritious and high quality.” “I’ll be selling fresh live herbs, basil, sage, savory, perennial flower starts, annual flower starts, mini bell pepper plants, bell pepper plants, Tiny Tim tomatoes, Beefsteak, Manitoba Tomato plants, pansies, daisies, calendula, marigolds, that I raise as a hobby,” said Cline. “I’ll be making some LED and fluorescent indoor grow kits for kitchen gardens and indoor growing like I use. Some places I will have them available are on March 14 at 300 Veteran’s lane, Beausejour from 10 am -6 pm, on. April 4
at 917 Park Ave, Beausejour from 10 am – 4 pm, April 18 at 645 Park Ave, Beausejour from 10 am – 3 pm and May 9 at 69 Pierson Drive in Tyndall from 10 am -3 pm,” said Cline. At the moment I’m trying to plan my garden and not get too carried away buying seeds. I plan to try a couple of tomatoes new to me ‘Cour di Bire’ an Italian heirloom tomato available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com). Linda Iwaszewski had my mouth watering last summer when she posted photographs of this tomato and Carbon tomato available from Heritage Harvest Seeds right here in Manitoba. Besides these tomatoes I plan to grow Big Beef my old standby from T &T Seeds and a large Roma tomato to make lots of salsa and tomato sauce. Since I started this column I ordered my largest seed order but I should have triple checked it before I placed it. I forgot to order two kinds of seeds and I can only get from that company. I’ll still order them but it will cost me more postage and I won’t get a discount for early ordering. Next year I will print out my order before I submit it and double check it. I saw the neatest way to store seed packs the other day. What you do is put them in a small photo album. I think this is a great idea as it keeps them dry in the greenhouse and you can read both sides of the package while it stays clean. I purchased an album at the Dollar store for a dollar fifty plus taxes and it holds forty-eight packages of seeds. I cut the packages in half putting the front and back of the package so I could read them. I may buy another one to file my seeds in alphabetical order so I can find them quickly when
planting. Niki Jabbour has a very interesting blog “Savvy Gardening”, which is easy to find it you google it. I’d love to attend this but at the moment can’t plan that far ahead. The Manitoba Master Gardener Association is presenting Niki Jabbour, renowned Canadian gardener, bestselling author, blogger on “Savvy Gardening”, radio host and soughtafter keynote speaker. Jabbour will present on growing your own edibles, extending the growing season and growing unique vegetables on Saturday, April 4 from 1 - 3:30 pm at the St. Boniface Cultural Centre, 340 Provencher Boulevard in Winnipeg. It is organized by Manitoba Master Gardener Association and their contact information is email email@example.com or visit their website
A $1.50 photo album is a great way to store seed package so they stay dry in the greenhouse or easy to find to look up information.
February 28, 2020
Manitoba agriculture news and features.