June 26, 2020
Potato Acres Drop Due to COVID-19 But The Crop Looks Good
Ashley Robinson, the editor of Spud Smart magazine, said the potato farmers used the Thai SpudnikEquip for the direct seeding Chad Berry’s farm, who is a potato and grain farmer and president of Keynote Potato Producers. This is Berry’s second year experimenting with direct seeding on a potato field. Last year he had seeded part of a field into rye stubble, however due to the inclement weather he couldn’t harvest the field. His experiment with direct seeding is drawing interest from growers across North America.
By Harry Siemens Vikram Bisht, a Plant Pathologist with Manitoba Agriculture, said that in general, the potato crops look very, very good with a very nice stand. “However, we had a very cool and wet start,” said Vikram. “Wet soils from the subsoil moisture, and so, in fact, we will have challenges
of soft rot or some blackleg disease. Otherwise, the crop stand in most fields looks very beautiful.” With the challenging year of 2019, estimates showed farmers left more than 12,000 acres of potatoes underground, more than double the amount left in the ground at the end of the 2018 season. Bisht said that the total acres
planted in 2020 would be slightly less than last year’s 70,000 acres. He had hoped for over 70,000, but then the COVID-19 problem has cut acres. The processors called for more acres, but many growers had finished their planting already. So growers, normally planting processing potatoes, could not find any land cultivated or treated for
potato production. The current estimate number is close to 67,000 to 68,500 acres. “There was a renewed call in some growing pick up, but we could not overtake last year’s numbers, which they could have if processors had decided earlier that the growers could go for more acres,” said Bisht. “The implication of this would be that many of
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Key Recommendations Outlined in Forage Insurance Review After extensive engagement with producers, the Manitoba government released details of a review on forage insurance programs offered by the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC). “Regardless of the type of crop, producers are faced with tough decisions on what products make the most sense to help manage risk,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “It is important to get feedback so that we have a clear picture of what products they need to support their success in the agricultural industry. We’re pleased with the input we received from the many invested stakeholders and look forward to making improvements to the program where possible.” The review was initiated to get a better understanding of the purchasing decisions of Manitoba producers in terms of forage insurance products available to them. Several key recommendations were made and immediate action items will be undertaken by MASC prior to the next insurance year. Some of which include exploring new methodologies to assign coverages to new insured; determining if the effect that disaster years have on future coverage can be minimized; establishing insured values that better reflect the price of hay in claim years; identifying areas where the administrative burden for insured can be minimized; reviewing the index-based insurance approach used in other jurisdictions which relies on weather or satellite-based technology, and working more closely with industry to inform producers and increase awareness of the MASC Forage Insurance programs. The review was conducted using a number of different methods, including the EngageMB portal, focus groups and interviews with producers, MASC insurance agents, agricultural specialists, industry associations, financial advisors, as well as other insurance providers. More than 1,200 producers currently have forage insurance through MASC, insuring more than 272,000 acres. This represents about 18 per cent of the more than 1.5 million eligible acres of forage in Manitoba. The Forage Insurance program is part of AgriInsurance, a joint program of the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. For more information, and to view a copy of the review, visit gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/proactive/2020_2021/forage-insurance-review-May-2020.
June 26, 2020
Potato Acres Drop Due to COVID-19 But The Crop Looks Good
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the seed growers were left with unsold seed. And that is usually not well-insured or well-covered because the seed value is so high that the processing insurance does not cover.” Some potato farmers looked at going no-till and planting straight into last year’s canola stubble. With strong winds during the change of weather, some of the growers tried to figure out a way to keep the stubble on and then plant straight. So those growers did a deep rooting in the field probably, two feet or more to have better infiltration of the moisture. At the field day held June 17 at Under the Hill Farms hosted by Simplot, farmers discussed zero-till potato farming And then in this particular demo, the field was canola crop last year, and it went very well. Bisht compiled a report published in manitobapotatoes.ca, which will have a few photographs of the wind erosion of the hills, how these farmers planted straight into canola stubble, and how the stand will look like. They will monitor the field through the season. Comparing the zero-till fields to the regular fields, there isn’t a lot of difference. While a few growers planted some directly into stubble, it’s an education or awareness campaign that both Simplot and the growers wanted to have. They organized the field day for their process growers to visit and discuss. The most important thing is that even if there is no difference between the no-till or minimum-till versus conventional tillage and the yields are same, the growers would have saved two or three gallons of fuel with the same
productivity. “But we are going to monitor the tuber quality, the production and how deep the soil band breaks, and many other yield parameters. So that is what we will be studying this year,” he said. While insects and cutworms are quite prevalent this year in other crops, the potatoes have more than typical cutworm damage, and the growers had to spray insecticide in the fields, which is somewhat unusual for this area. Maybe due the chilly start and then suddenly becoming very warm, the caterpillars are getting quite active. The Colorado potato beetles are also active right now. “We don’t have any flea beetles or potato beetles yet, and not many reports of wireworm, unlike PEI, we don’t have a severe problem in our province,” said Bisht. “We will monitor the European corn borer with new trials underway to monitor for late blight spores, early blight spores, and then we have a late blight forecasting that goes to the growers weekly.” Earlier, Keystone Potato Producers Association (KPPA) manager Dan Sawatzky said as well that the acres are down a little bit from last year. COVID19 has disrupted our markets by around 2,000 acres below last year. One of the processors is up a little bit in volume and acreage, and the other one is down. Sawatzky said at least one processor laid off some employees due to COVID19. Some growers are storing potatoes from last year, which can lead to a more significant potential for deterioration.
Vikram Bisht, a Plant Pathologist with Manitoba Agriculture, said in general, the potato crops look very, very good, with a very nice stand. “However, we had a very cool and wet start. Wet soils from the subsoil moisture, and so, in fact, we will have challenges of soft rot or some blackleg disease. Otherwise, the crop stand in most fields looks very beautiful.”
Manitoba Beef Producers Welcomes Release of Manitoba Forage Insurance Review Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) welcomes the release by the Manitoba government of a report that examined how producers manage risk with respect to their forage needs, including their decision making processes around the use of forage insurance products available through Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC). MBP thanks Manitoba Ag-
riculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen for initiating this important review led by Mike Lesiuk. MBP had been advocating for this analysis for some time. MBP also thanks the beef producers and other interested groups and individuals who provided feedback as part of the review. “Beef producers have often raised concerns about
gaps or challenges with the current forage insurance offerings that limit their responsiveness and which discourage them from taking out policies,” said MBP President Dianne Riding. “This review was a valuable opportunity for MBP as well as our members to provide feedback on what is or isn’t working with the existing insurance offerings, as well as what would be valuable in terms of program changes.” There are a number of rec-
ommendations arising from the report and MBP will work with officials from both MASC and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, and other stakeholders to help ensure that the suite of insurance offerings are as responsive as possible to producers’ needs. As well, MBP believes it will be important that insurance programs continue to be evergreen, evolving as new production methods and forage and crop offerings emerge.
June 26, 2020
Western Provinces’ Crops Look Good Despite Damaging Weather Events By Harry Siemens With millions of acres of crops harvested in 2020 of the 2019 crop even with cold, wet and windy conditions this spring, the 2020 crop is still off to a good start. Although there are pockets in the southeastern region where results of heavy rains and severe floods caused damage. The week of June 15 saw several major localized weather events, including some strong winds at Swan Lake at 120 km an hour and an inch of rain. Mr. Timmerman who farms in the area said on Twitter that despite the storm coming from the side he’s waiting for the crop to get back up. Pictures coming out of Lowe Farm show that the hailstorm on Saturday did some significant crop damage, and only time will tell whether some reseeding of cover crops will occur or what crop insurance will say. In a quick survey of farmers on Twitter June 20 and 21, Jeff Elder at Wawanesa
said, “Considering where we started this growing season, things look 90 per cent decent around here. Ugly seed bed issues and insect pressure account for the other 10 per cent. Late seeding and cool, windy weather slowing crop development. Topsoil is dry, but the subsoil is full, so hoping roots get down there to access it.” Korey Peters at Randolph, said crops are looking good in his area. “Had more rain last night, we are starting to get pretty saturated and could use some beautiful warm weather for a week or two. South of Steinbach received hail last night [June 21 as well], and a bit further south had a massive amount of rain in the last two weeks and flooded heavily.” Ken Foster, in the Interlake of Manitoba, said, “It is very dry in our area with less than an inch of rain since seeding began and some uneven germination in the canola. We did some reseeding of canola and fall rye from frost damage. Potential for a good
Ken Foster finished seeding today [June 1], and started reseeding 500 acres of canola the same day; got to love the farm life.
Sheila Elder in western Manitoba was scouting for bugs on June 20 and found these in barley.
crop providing we get some rain and early seeded wheat and oats look good.” Jim Pallister at Portage la Prairie said crops look good and healthy. Dryish usually is a good thing. Clint Taylor of Inch Creek Farms at Keatley, SK said overall things look good. “We have several seeded spots that drowned out. Plenty of moisture at the moment. We need some warmer temperatures day and night to keep things progressing well.” Then Jim Wickett at Rosetown, SK said crops in his area are about as close to perfect as anyone could ask for but need a bit of warm sunny weather. Owen Orsak at Benito, MB is getting desperate for some rain. But crops are just holding on while Josh Umscheid custom sprayer and farmer in Southern Alberta said, “It is time to start dancing outside! Load up some Prestige [herbicide] and head out to the field!” Ens Quality Seed of Rhineland, MB tweeted it is a little on the dry side, but crops are looking okay, with a wide range of bugs in the dry beans. “Scout your fields for seed corn maggot cutworm, and wireworm.” Rudy Reimer at Warren said it looks like the best hay crop in two years. “No real big rains here but timely moisture.”
Tim Wiens @quantumagrology near Weyburn, SK said, “Great start on early seeded crops but the last seeded having sporadic germination because rainfall is spotty, but living off the moisture from last fall. We need rain in the next 7-10 days.” Chris is a Farmer of AllamFarms near Edmonton, AB is quite discouraged. And
when asked why he said, “Crop, weather, prices, it’s pretty depressing. Ten inches of rain in the last two weeks, I was told today. I have lost track of what day it is. Finally got a good couple days of spraying in.” Brian Kennedy of Calgary, AB, who works with Alberta Cereals, said farmers delayed weed control in some areas due to mud and unusually
windy conditions in other areas. Farmers are catching up now in a hurry. Bevan Kelbert, Minitonas, MB said so far, “They’ve only one inch of moisture over four different weather systems since seeding started. Field moisture is still pretty good, but the crop is later after starting earlier than last year. The cold spring did not help.”
Jeff Elder tweeted “Still too easy to find abnormal wet spots and mud here at the end of May.”
June 26, 2020
The Combine’s Refinement
A cool blast from the past can be found at ironsolutions. com. They just did a piece called, “A Brief History of the Combine”. Farmers have always had a love/hate relationship when it comes to harvesting equipment, but the -good ‘ol days - are in a class all to themselves. Let’s have a look. For some reason the first “combine” was actually more of a swather. Invented in 1826 Scotland by Reverend Patrick Bell and called a “reaper”. Pushed by horses it had a mechanical drive, 12 vane reel and triangular reciprocating blades. It was the first time someone came up with a working machine to speed up harvest. Reverend Bell also hoped to cut down the amount of swearing involved but to his great disappointment it only increased. A “combine” gets its name for combining three distinct processes, reaping, threshing and winnowing all into one
package. The first working model was invented by Hiram Moore and John Hascall in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, followed quickly by Cyrus McCormick both of whom got patents in 1836 for their machines. Though fairly basic these early machines had all the key elements we still see today, reciprocating sickles, reels, canvas aprons, threshing cylinder as well as screens and a fan to clean the grain. Early combines were pulled by animals. Mules, horses or oxen were popular. Sometimes up to 20 or 30 beasts pulled the machines. A ground drive wheel powered all of the moving parts and a crew of 20-30 men was required who would all say bad words. Towards the end of the 1880s George Stockton Berry of California worked out a
way of getting a steam engine to provide power. Men would fork straw from behind the separator into the firebox to heat the water in the boiler. Adding fire to the whole operation also increased the level of profanity. Over in Australia John Ridley came up with the world’s first stripper header that would just take the heads off of wheat stalks. Another Aussie, Hugh Victor McKay tinkered with the idea and in 1885 came out with the first commercial version called the Sunshine Header Harvester. A few years later in California (1911) Holt Manufacturing Company thought they had a breakthrough on the cursing problem. The first self-propelled units hit the market reducing combine crews down to four or five people per unit. Unfortunately less people did not equal
less swearing. 1915 saw International harvester release a line of tractor pulled combines. Case and John Deere put theirs out in the 1920s. In 1922 MasseyHarris sent one of their pull type combines to Swift Current, Saskatchewan for testing. International Harvester and Case also made inroads into Saskatchewan at this time. Farmers in western Canada finally got to see first-hand what all the cussing was about in the States and decided to follow suit. In 1925 there were 17 combines across the three western provinces, by 1927 there were 791, by 1928 there were 4,448 and by 1930 there were over 9,500. Competition for market share was heating up, in 1925 Holt and Best got together to form Caterpillar and quickly became the main player in the
game. Then in 1936 they sold their whole com- By Rolf bine line to Deere and Penner Company to concentrate on crawler tractors. By 1937, Thomas Carroll working for Massey Harris in Ontario perfected combine.” In May 1944 this “Harthe first commercially viable vest Brigade” was swearself-propelled combine. Fun fact, during WWII ing at flax in Texas, and “Massey-Harris convinced then moved north to cuss at the War Production Board wheat and barley crops in the (WPB) that if it were per- Pacific Northwest. Cursing mitted to build 500 extra continued in northern Texas machines over its allotment, and Oklahoma and by July they could harvest at least they had laid profanities all 15 million bushels of grain over Kansas, Colorado and from more than 1 million Nebraska. In August you acres while releasing some could hear expletives all over 1,000 tractors for other work the Dakotas and by Septemand saving 500,000 gallons ber Canadian wheat fields of fuel. Basically, the 500 were under verbal assault as machines would only be the North American harvest sold to farmers who signed a drew to a close. A lot of things have changed document guaranteeing that they would harvest at least since then, but the swearing 2,000 acres with their new remains the same.
Time to Plant a Tree
KAP Response to Release of Manitoba Forage Insurance Review
selling trees that had stock from 4 different varieties grafted to it. They also happened to be varieties that I was familiar with and met with the approval of my tasting. All except one that could have supplied the local starch plant with raw product, but I digress. The idea of 4 different kinds of apples on one tree was very intriguing, but again the wild life issue came into play and I decided not to. Things changed this year as I acquired a truck and was at that same retailer which happened to have the same type of trees available. I was there with my truck, they had trees, so it was clearly a sign from the universe to buy a couple of trees and plant them. I got the first part done and got the trees home. Now I am faced with the issue of finding a place in our yard that I can plant them. It has to have some
Dear Editor: We commend Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development and Manitoba Agricultural Service Corporation (MASC) for undertaking a review of Manitoba Forage Insurance and for releasing the full contents of the review publicly. The contents of this review will help government better understand risk management behaviour and insurance purchasing decisions of Manitoba forage producers. Manitoba forage producers continue to face challenges including inadequate coverage levels, payment timing not reflective of the cash flow requirements, limited options relating to crop quality, and others. Participation in the forage insurance program continues to decline. The recommendations outlined in the review are a huge step forward to addressing these challenges. We are looking forward to working with MASC and providing input on: - examining new ways to assign coverages to producers. - reducing red tape so that more producers can participate. - adopting an approach that relies on weather or satellite-based technology. - enhance future programming to include options that reflect modern dairy operations’ forage crop choices. - creating forage insurance payments timeline that are effective for operational cash flow management. We also look forward to provincial government developing a livestock forage insurance team to help improve the effectiveness of forage insurance program and support the growth of Manitoba’s livestock sector. Bill Campbell President Keystone Agricultural Producers
There is an old adage that says the best time to plant a tree was yesterday, and the next best time is today. My editor would beg to differ and say today is the best time to finish writing copy and then plant the tree tomorrow, but you get the idea. There is another adage about trees that says something to the effect of an old man planting a tree from which he will never experience shade… well he is an old man and I can’t remember the rest of it. I wanted an apple tree in our yard but since the neighbour told me they attract bears, I thought it best to leave the apple trees at the Garden Centre. Then last year I happened to find a retailer
sun light, and be accessible to the garden hose. It has to be a place that I can fence or else I just bought some very expensive snacks for the neighborhood deer. So the issues continue. If only I had planted that tree when I first wanted to, I would now be wondering what to do with the extra apples instead of how I will find a place to plant a tree. So many times we put things off for a year or two or more and then finally do what we had wanted to years ago. The adage holds for so many things, not just planting a tree, yesterday was the best time and today is the next best. The progress our industry has seen and the benefits we have now did not come from those who waited a few years to get it done. This is the time, and while we can find all kinds of excuses the challenges of this year are going to bring about some real progress. Now where is my spade?
June 26, 2020
Mayor Harder Defines Winkler as a Welcoming City I sat down with Mayor Martin Harder of Winkler, MB, recently to talk about how the City of Winkler deals with immigrants from 88 countries, policing, the impact of agriculture, and the fallout from COVID-19. What prompted my meeting with Harder was a discussion on Facebook on how people treat each other with an emphasis on Black Lives Matter. My thoughts went to Winkler, where I live, and my last recollection; we have people from 45 different countries living here. So I checked with Martin, who calmly said that number is 88 countries represented by people living in Winkler and surrounding area. “We welcome immigrants coming to Winkler. And every single immigrant application that we receive, and people that I interview and whatever, there’s an underlying issue that they always talk about. ‘We’re coming here because of the lifestyle.’ And whether you say Bible Belt or you mean welcoming community, yes, our com-
munity is welcoming based on the principles that we find in the Bible. So from that perspective, there should be openness to immigration for everybody, regardless of race, colour, or creed. So you welcome people, and you extend a hand of openness to them, and the people who are immigrating here appreciate it. And I can say that the city of Winkler has demonstrated exceptional acceptability for people who have come here from all walks of life,” he said. “When I look at the success that we have with immigration, I also have to look at our police department’s record. And I look at, in 2019, our police files were down by 400, not four, 400 in the middle of a growing community. And you get a police file that is down; it tells me one thing. It tells me that we are addressing the reason for the crime, not simply addressing the crime. So that, to me, is always important, and I believe that it is showing evidence of the same.” When we switched to the impact of agriculture, Harder said here’s what agriculture does. The minute we have a crop failure, the business community senses the downturn. There’s a direct financial impact. But the other thing, you talk about manu-
The Bethel Heritage Water Fountain at the centre of the Bethel Heritage Park.
facturing as an example, the manufacturing industries that are here, many started and continue to build products for agriculture. And so, therefore, it’s tied into both sides. On the one hand, we are a community that serves agriculture because of the products they build, the services, whether it’s recreation, a grocery store, whether the Tim Horton’s and the 20 other restaurants we have in town. We serve the community, but yet the reciprocal injection of cash into our community, you look at the car dealers. Whatever the case may be, the minute that you have a downturn in agriculture, you see an immediate drop in spending. Likewise, in immigration, people bring in money and using their talents to build their businesses and become managers, and directors of financial institutions, and dentistry, and whatever. You can’t make a house these days without immigrants building at least half of the house. Harder said immigration and agriculture are significant, he thinks the key for Winkler is that we are an accepting community treating others with respect. We use the talents no matter where they come from and turn it into an opportunity rather than looking at it from a negative perspective. Responding to COVID-19 and the economic fallout, many people use the time off as an opportunity to build for the future. Some restaurants remodeled and outdoor construction continues
as much as possible. And it just exudes the energy that is within this community. In a lot of places, people wait or postpone projects hunkering down, dealing only with COVID-19. The difference between our merchants and our business owners in Winkler, and perhaps many other places, is the fact that these guys take advantage of looking at the bright side and saying, “What can we do better? What can we do differently to meet the needs that are there?” He said agriculture is the same way. If you have one crop that isn’t successful or the price isn’t right, what do you do? You switch to another crop. Very simple. My principle, when I was in the grain business, I did the same thing. If there was a market for barley or there was a problem with barley, what did I do? I switched to the corn so that I sold corn and wheat or whatever the case would be. So you have to do that. In life, one must prepare to look beyond the problem and look into the future and see what can be rather than what isn’t. “I honestly want to say that I am so proud of our people in Winkler, people who have invested heavily in businesses in the city of Winkler, people and immigrants who have employed other people to fill jobs. It’s a remarkable community. Yes, it is a faithbased community, and we are not ashamed of it. We are providing an opportunity for people to come here and live in peace, and become employed, and offer services to others. That’s who we are.”
It is about providing an opportunity for people to come here and live in peace, and become employed and offer services to others, said Martin Harder, Mayor of the city of Winkler.
June 26, 2020
The Little Grey Fergie
By Les Kletke Peter Martens wanted a 1950 Ferguson tractor for quite a while and when he finally found one he bought it. He found that his “new” tractor was in good shape and required little restoration. He said the tractor actually provides therapy after work as a long haul trucker. Martens lives out of Steinbach and uses the tractor around the yard but has another holding further south that he uses sometimes just to drive his Ferguson. When he was younger Martens’ remembers fondly how his Dad taught him how to drive a tractor just like the one he has restored. “I was 7 years old and could drive my Dad’s Ferguson to school,” he said with a smile. “I was so proud of myself and that tractor.” He said the current version he owns is very close to the same tractor and has provided the same thrill for much of his family. “The grandchildren have learned to drive on it as well.” Thousands of these tractors were produced in England
and later in the US. It was marketed as a replacement for the draft horse. The company even set up a training school in England for farmers purchasing their first tractor. Martens did not have that luxury in Mexico and instead learned to drive on his father’s farm. The tractor was used for planting, cultivation of corn and beans which were the primary crops on the farm. It’s versatility for farm work included a 3 point hitch system that was revolutionary and became the standard for most of the industry. This was the tractor that triggered the famous Handshake agreement with Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford as Ferguson was looking to ramp up production numbers and expand the export market. At one time the Little Grey Ferguson as it was soon known was even featured on New Zealand currency. Martens listed the features he likes about the tractor, “Short, go anywhere, easy turning.” These are the same features which were promoted in advertising material of the 1950s.
Peter Martens and his 1950 Ferguson tractor at the Mennonite Heritage Village. The features he likes about the tractor, “Short, go anywhere, easy turning.” These are the same features which were promoted in advertising material of the 1950s. Photo by Les Kletke
He said he did use it on a snow blower for a while but the reverse gear was a bit too high speed for working with
a blower and soon found another method of moving snow. “The tractor was in good
shape when I got it and I have not had to do anything to it,” he said. “I did damage the hydraulic by overloading it on
a frozen blade, but we fixed that easily enough and the tractor has been as good as I remember it from Mexico.”
Dr. John Carr Presents on COVID-19 and Pigs By Harry Siemens and Dr. John Carr William Alford, the general manager for H@MS Marketing, said in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, H@MS passed on some information to industry partners prepared by Dr. John Carr regarding Coronavirus and Pigs. “It is business as usual at H@MS as we all do our part to limit the spread of the virus,” said Alford. Processors are continuing to operate without disruption taking additional measures to ensure the safety of their staff and suppliers. He encouraged all to work together in the coming weeks and months as this virus runs its natural course. “Be vigilant and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and your families through these extraordinary times.” Dr. John Carr, a world livestock consultant, veterinarian, and lecturer, said pigs could not get COVID19 and will not give humans COVID-19. To date, there is no evidence of any animal transmission with this new coronavirus, COVID-19, a human virus and a human problem. The evidence is pointing to a person in Wuhan becoming the first case in November 2019. Carr referred to a report of the virus found in a dog in Hong Kong. Although the virus was found it did not replicate, and the virus died out in the dog without producing any clinical signs. There are no cases of pigs getting COVID-19 in China. He said coronaviruses are a vast family of similar viruses. They are so-called because at the electron microscopic level, they look like the corona of the sun. The corona forms from a variety of spikes that stick through the oily envelope. This virus family is thousands of years old and lives in many species of mammals, birds and reptiles. Humans have contacted many known Coronaviruses and of the many human coronaviruses known about before 2019,
Harry Siemens reporting for the AgriPost speaks with Dr. John Carr on Skype at 1 am Manitoba time and late afternoon in Australia.
15 per cent are responsible for the common cold cases. “But we also know of several types, which are very serious. These are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). They are a difficult family to control, and vaccination generally produces inadequate protection. Their genetics, based on RNA, means they can easily change and makes them very difficult to control as new forms will continuously emerge. The animal (and our) population will have little or no immunity to the ‘new’ form. This is what happened at the end of 2019. A new form of this virus appeared and is now going worldwide,” said Dr. Carr. “Our pigs can get their Coronaviruses which have a range of clinical problems – Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED), which affects the piglets’ intestines less than ten days of age with fatal consequences. Porcine Respiratory Coronavirus (PRC) affects pigs breathing, causing a mild cough and sneeze similar to our seasonal colds, which can be dramatic, but the pigs all recover. But these viruses do not infect people.” Dr. Carr said the change in PED to a more virulent form occurred following the interaction of the pig coronavirus with a Bat coronavirus. A similar history to what has
happened in man with COVID-19. These Coronaviruses do have a weakness – they have a layer of fat on the outside of the virus, and if removed, the virus cannot function. For this reason washing your hands carefully with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, ideally with a nailbrush, is a great idea. “Washing your hands to remove viruses can be difficult as illustrated using a UV soap, which we use on our students to teach them good hand biosecurity.” The majority of the flu and colds appear to be more severe for the very young and old. COVID-19 is different because it affects older people. “In pigs with PED, we have something similar, but the other way round where pigs less than ten days of age get very sick but older than
this, the clinical signs are relatively mild,” said Dr. Carr. “One of the facts might be that at birth, we received natural immunity to pathogens. The body takes 14 days or so to create antibodies, but these only protect us when we are infected a second time – not the first. As we get older, the innate (natural) defence mechanisms of the body become weaker, and we rely on our memory (antibodies) to protect the body.” With this virus, nobody has any memory because it is new. Once the first wave passes, this virus is likely to become part of the seasonal cold virus. “But this first passage is a painful lesson; we are all human, and in this together.”
Dr. John Carr, a world livestock consultant, veterinarian, and lecturer, said pigs could not get COVID-19 and will not give humans COVID-19.
Exporting Cattle to the US Gets a Bit Easier Work began back in 2019 with an electronic export certificate pilot program using My CFIA to export live bovine to the US in Emerson. Now that the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) came to an agreement, as of June
1, 2020, the US is accepting electronically signed health certificates issued via a My CFIA portal for the import of live cattle and bison at all US Points of Entry. Regular certifica-
tion will continue to be accepted by the USDA. To learn more about My CFIA and how to enroll, please visit inspection.gc.ca/mycfia.
June 26, 2020
Is Science Back in Style? There have been some unexpected impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these is the new celebrity status of our Chief Medical Health Officers. A lot of people who just a few short months ago never even knew every province had a Chief Medical Health Officer are now hanging on to every word. Does this mean science and respected authority based on knowledge education and experience is coming back in style? I hope this is the case but there are worrying signs society’s newfound trust in science may not outlast COVID-19. First to the good news. A recent survey (by Proof Strategies) found that Canadians trust in doctors and scientists has increased by over 10% since the pandemic hit. This is true in most of the world, for example results in Europe show that public trust in science and researchers has soared during the pandemic. This does not mean that the internet snake-oil salesmen have gone away. Even the President of the United States has mused about disinfectant injections to the lungs or ultraviolet light through the skin to destroy the virus. But outside of the most diehard conspiracy theorists trust in science seems to be on the ascendancy and faith in quackery is on the decline. At first blush this is good news for those of us involved in, and who want to advance, agriculture and agri-food. Could we be seeing a turn to trust in nutrition advice actually based on scientific evidence rather than the latest fad? Some anecdotes indicate that this might be the case. For example, the anti-gluten fad, which was beginning to fade away before COVID-19, seems to have vanished. People have fallen in love with bread again, as is evidenced by the bump in flour demand across Canada. How does society’s trust in science and research impact our food and those who supply it? For many people, the pandemic has brought home the tremendous strength and value of our food chain. Despite some disruptions and inconveniences, Canadians have not been at risk that the shelves will be empty when they visit the grocery store. What might not be as readily appreciated is that the strength and resilience of Canadian agriculture and our food supply chain is a result of science and research. Our appreciation for the strength of our supply chain and food production should not be a momentary thing that disappears after the pandemic is resolved. This should be a moment of sober reflection over how important food security is and that can only be accomplished through supporting the science behind efficient production. Sadly, I am not sure the return to a trust in institutions, research and scientists is a trend that is going to last longer than social distancing. Most people recognize that the decisions they are making today will have an immediate impact on their own health and the well-being of their loved ones (exceptions noted for those who crowd downtown Toronto parks). This immediacy of impact will fade when we come out of the pandemic and the latest quick cure for everything pops up on the internet. Food commentary before the pandemic included much nostalgia for the agriculture of past generations. We want full grocery shelves, cheap food, but agriculture practices that look like they have come out of Charlotte’s Web. This rosy retrospection has been interrupted somewhat by the immediacy of the pandemic, but I fear it will be back as our focus on dealing with COVID-19 becomes a memory. Now is the time for both governments and industry to step up and emphasize that the security and resiliency of the food supply chain, experienced by Canadians during the pandemic, is not an accident. Canadians have been food secure through the pandemic because of modern agriculture that includes pesticides, chemical fertilizers, precision agriculture and science-based regulations. Further, Canada needs to use this time of resurgence in the understanding of the value of science and research to push for a greater scientific foundation of the world’s trading system. After all it is not just Canadian consumers that depend on the resiliency of a science-based food supply chain, but consumers in every country to which we export Canadian farmers’ production.
June 26, 2020
June 26, 2020
Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference Insuring Committee Planning Virtual Sessions Your Grain
By Joan Airey
It is with a heavy heart that the Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference Committee decided to announce the cancellation of the 34th conference which was scheduled for November 15 and 16 in Brandon due to the uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. After much consideration the committee believes that they would not be able to deliver the social networking speakers and workshops that their audience would expect. “We are disappointed we are not hosting a conference this year but with all the uncertainty we thought we should hold off. We look forward to planning a great conference for everyone in 2021! Thanks for the support in the past and we look forward to seeing everyone next year,” said Jody Jury, Committee Chairperson.
This year the committee is looking to provide Virtual Sessions for their audience to stay connected during these challenging times. They are looking at hosting online Coffee Breaks and Webinar sessions all while in the com-
fort of your home. Doris Doelger chairperson for the 150 cookbook said the Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference is still putting together a cookbook of recipes collected from women in agriculture, friends, family and
coworkers. Each woman is being asked to submit a short bio, a recipe and a small photo of themselves and/or their family. You can send your bio, recipe, and photograph to Doris via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of several of the hard working Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference Committee taken in 2019.
Scientists Look Towards Vaccine to Prevent Strep Zoo in Pigs By Harry Siemens Last November, advice went out to Canadian pork producers to step up their focus on transport biosecurity for cull sows and market hogs in the face of animals infected with Strep zoo showing up at slaughter. Streptococcus zooepidemicus, or Strep zoo, is a potential emerging disease threat in North America. Although the bacteria are naturally present in the microbiome of the pig, there are links to cases of sudden death in pigs in Manitoba and the US Midwest. Dr. Matheus Costa, with the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said the main economic implication is with animal movement and trade, especially in the case of cull sows. Fast forward to today. Scientists report progress in understanding a rare bacterial infection that results in the sudden death of pigs. Over the past 14 months, swine, health officials and scientists have tracked the movement of a novel bacterial infection in swine, Streptococcus zooepidemicus.
Researchers identified the infection, which results in sudden death in Canada in March 2019 and since found in several US states. Dr. Costa said Strep zoo is a normal part of the microbiome of several species and typically does not cause disease. Streptococcus zooepidemicus is present in healthy pigs, so that becomes a bit of a challenge when differentiating who could be carrying a potentially dangerous Strep zoo versus the other pigs that are carrying the normal ones that don’t do anything to pigs. “We’re trying to explore that right now to prevent and control the disease,” he said. “The other thing learned there seems to be a very specific Streptococcus zooepidemicus called ST-194 that causes disease in pigs.” That is what researchers are currently working on, looking at what makes this Streptococcus zooepidemicus type problematic for pigs in comparison to the other ones around for years. It looks like this disease flares up once pigs are exposed to some intense stress event, such as a long
haul or even co-mingling of many different animals from many other sources. “If you can minimize stress at any point, that is always welcome, and it seems to help prevent flare-ups of disease associated with Strep zoo.” Dr. Costa said this infection is rare, and scientists are just scratching the surface, trying to deal with this bug. However, discoveries related to one of the bacterial species responsible for swine dysentery disease could lead to the creation of vaccines to prevent the infection. There is a link between a re-emergence of swine dysentery disease from 20092010 to the emergence of novel bacteria, Brachyspira hampsonii. Scientists are investigating the mechanisms the pathogen uses to cause infection to find a way to develop vaccines to prevent swine dysentery. Dr. Costa said they understand how the bacteria prevent the pig from developing a robust immune response following infection. “It looks like the bacteria shuts down particular triggers that would allow the
pig to build an immune response,” he said. “When it shuts down these triggers, it essentially shuts down inflammation that would develop a response that would be sustainable for the whole lifetime of this pig.” Instead of being able to defend itself against a novel infection, weeks down the road, the bacteria shuts down this response; therefore, the pig cannot become immune. It appears the bacteria seem to play a bit with the microbiome and use the other bacteria that are already present in the gut to help it cause more lesions. “Brachyspira comes in, shuts down the defence response, and when it does that, it allows the gut microhome to help Brachyspira to cause more lesions,” said Dr. Costa. He said these discoveries shed light on why previous efforts to develop a vaccine for swine dysentery may have failed. “Now that we understand how the bacteria shut down the specific triggers of immunity, we may be able to reverse that by exposing the pig to the right parts of the bacteria to induce long-lasting immunity.”
With harvest right around the corner, this is a great time to start thinking about your grain storage and drying systems to make sure they are ready for the excitement ahead! Part of the job of an insurance broker is to understand the different nuances and specialties of the various insurance companies that we represent. I often hear questions about whether there are any differences between insurers, or if they all use the same basic wordings and actuarial rating to provide insurance coverage. While there are definite similarities between companies, there are also differences that can make a large impact on how, or if, you are compensated when a claim occurs. Insuring grain dryers is an area where we see a lot of difference in coverage offerings through farm insurers. This is also a growing area of concern for most farms, as the need for a grain dryer seems to be more prominent now than ever before, and certain crops are very difficult to grow in our geography without the support of a drying system to finish the crop. Grain dryers also have been known to be more prone to a fire loss than other farm property. A brief overview of the coverage offered by farm insurers begins with the most basic actual cash valuation on your dryer. This coverage will provide the depreciated value of your dryer should a loss occur. The quick math is; if you have 5-year-old dryer system that originally cost $100,000 to build, in the event of a loss, the insurer would account for annual depreciation to determine the settlement, leaving you with a cash payout that falls short of the cost of building a new dryer system. Some insurers will provide limited waiver of depreciation for the first 3-5 years of the dryer. This removes the depreciation calculation for the first 3-5 years from the original date of manufacturing. In the above scenario with the $100,000 dryer system, the loss paid out would be the $100,000, less the policy deductible. This comes much closer to putting this farm in a place to rebuild their dryer system. The final option that we see from insurers is replacement cost coverage on the dryer system. This is the best option, although some insurers are hesitant to provide this coverage, as the fire risk with an older dryer system is potentially higher, and with the cost of grain dryers increasing over the past decade, the payouts for these systems are also increasing. With the option of replacement cost coverage, it is important to review the limit of insurance versus the current cost of a new dryer on an annual basis to make sure your limit is sufficient to replace your system. Two other considerations when insuring your grain dryer – make sure you notify your broker of any custom drying exposure. Insurance companies deem this a higher risk. The best way to limit the additional premium charged for this exposure is to give your broker all of the details so they can properly explain the risk to your insurer. Also, consider purchasing extra expense coverage which will help to offset your additional expenses should you suffer an insured loss to your dryer and have to find an alternate solution for your drying. Is insurance simple? Do you have questions? Work with someone who will explain the differences and options to you to make the best decisions for your farm. Rempel Insurance Brokers Ltd. is open for business and is glad to assist you with your insurance needs. David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Call or text 204-746-2320, email davids@ rempelinsurance.com or visit rempelinsurance.com.
June 26, 2020
June 26, 2020
Attend to Beef Bulls MFGA Registers Natural Hat Trick During Post-Breeding in Conservation Summer Heat Season Trust Projects By Peter Vitti
Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association (MFGA) received fantastic news from Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen and the Province of Manitoba’s Conservation Trust with the official notice that three MFGA-led projects have received approval. “We are ecstatic with this news becoming official and we want to thank the Province of Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister and Manitoba Agriculture Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen for giving the opportunity for groups like MFGA to deliver on agriculture-conservation-based projects that are designed to benefit wildlife and producers via the environmental and economic aspects of each Conservation Trust project,” said Larry Wegner, MFGA Chair. “The Manitoba Conservation Trust is truly a made-in-Manitoba gem and we salute the work of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, the Conservation Trust team and the Winnipeg Foundation for their important roles in the ongoing development and success of this excellent program.” According to Wegner, the great news from the Manitoba Conservation Trust is a valuable reinforcement that MFGA’s collaborative producer-based approach is working and gaining traction with partners. “The ultimate goal for MFGA is producer profitability resulting from healthy agricultural lands being managed with wise land-use practices that vastly improve soil, water and air quality,” said Wegner. “When combined with our increasing supporter and producer networks, our growing leadership profile on Regenerative Agriculture and the projects we have successfully delivered on our resume, MFGA’s constant focus on the win-win-win for our organization goals and the interests of producers and project partners really is a winning formula for all. The Conservation Trust funding is a really nice feather in our cap and we relish the oppor-
tunity to successfully deliver all three of these excellent projects.” The MFGA-Led Conservation Trust Projects for 2020 include the Conservation Trust Category in Soil Health and Cover Crops with Strength from the Soil: Building on the Biological foundation for Producers and Wildlife. MFGA will lead a one-year project to work with interested producers from the Central Assiniboine, Assiniboine West and Souris River Watershed Districts to target 2000 acres over the one year project to improve the ecological health of the soil, increase profit at the farm gate and advance continued improvement in ecological services being delivered from the farming landscape. The Conservation Trust, will provide $90,000 for the project with the remaining approximately $180,000 of the project funding made up in-kind and by matching funding by the project partners. Besides helping producers, the project represents many potential conservation benefits via ecological goods and services outcomes including increased soil health, enhanced carbon sequestration and increased biodiversity among others. With a key focus on cover crops, the project will support landowners’ Regenerative Agriculture practices that benefit their farms and the soils of their operations by keeping living roots in the ground for as many days of annual sunlight as possible. In the category of Wildlife and Habitat: A new approach to restoring profitability, wildlife habitat and soil health on a watershed basis was approved. MFGA will work closely with Ducks Unlimited Canada to deliver an incentivebased forage program that restores grasslands and protects the adjacent wetlands. Two distinct forage programs that sign long-term agreements with private landowners will be delivered that targets both grain and cattle producers. Success of the proposed project will be measured by the number of
grassland acres restored and the number of wetlands protected by the programs. The goal is to restore 2,600 acres of grasslands and protect 400 acres of wetlands within two watersheds that overlap DUC’s high wetland density target areas. The $340,000 project will benefit from $113,000 Conservation Trust funding while DUC will contribute the bulk of the in-kind and matching funds through monies for producer incentives. MFGA, Assiniboine West and Souris River Watershed Districts and Redfern Farm Services will provide the balance. Another project in the category of Wildlife and Habitat that was approved is: Expansion of natural riparian zones for wildlife and watersheds. This two-year MFGA project backdrops onto the lands owned by Borderland Agriculture near Pierson, MB to provide grassland habitat to wildlife while at the same time providing flood mitigation to the Souris River. The project will act as a natural buffer between annual crop land and natural riparian zones. Both wildlife and agriculture will benefit from increased grass production while the carbon capture from the grasslands will work towards carbon draw down. Approximately 160 acres will be seeded to permanent perennial forage for wildlife, livestock, and pollinators. Perennial cover in these areas will mitigate the risks to the environment and the overall watershed by acting as a catchment for the runoff from this crop land. Water runs through this area at times of heavy runoff, but during dryer years there may not be adequate water for the wildlife, and some water retention efforts will be made to store surface water for longer periods of the year. The two-year project will benefit from approximately $28,000 in Conservation Trust funding with nearly $57,000 in matching funds provided from partners Borderland Agriculture, DUC, Souris River Watershed District and MFGA.
By mid-summer, most producers pull their bulls from the spring cowherd, mainly to maintain a desirable 60-day breeding season and to avoid any temporary sterility caused by heat-stress. As a beef nutritionist, I advocate that bulls during the post-breeding season be treated with lots of attention, namely that they should be put on a good plane of nutrition for the rest of the summer until late fall. After which they should be properly overwintered. As a result, they maintain or obtain good body condition and health, leading to good fertility, necessary for next year’s breeding season. Post-breeding bulls should be segregated into different feeding groups; growing yearlings, 2-year olds and mature bulls, because each group has special nutritional needs. For example, yearling bulls are still growing (need to achieve 75% of their mature bodyweight) and may also need to recover a couple hundred pounds of lost body condition. Therefore, they require a post-breeding diet, which supplies 60 – 65% TDN dietary energy and 14% protein, so they can gain 1.0 - 1.5 lbs per day until the next breeding season. This compares to mature bulls, which might recover some bodyweight, but often need to maintain body condition, thus requiring a lower 55 - 60% TDN and 11 % protein diet. Such nutrient requirements necessary to recover/maintain optimum body condition score (BCS) is really the underlying objective of most successful postbreeding bull feed and management programs.
Beef bulls are the most sexually active and fertile (highest sperm count and viability) when they have a body condition score of 5.5 to 6.0 (re: on a scale of 1= emaciated to 9 = obese) at the start of the breeding season. In contrast, skinny bulls with a BCS lower than 5.0 often have lower libido and sperm production. Putting both young and mature bulls on good quality mixed legume-grass pastures is the best practical post-breeding feed choice until wintertime. Ideally, it would be tame, well-fertilized fields with timely rains. However, it’s most likely native prairie pasture that takes spotty thunderstorms. And, if one isn’t prepared to supplement a great deal of hay or purchased protein-feeds on this loose pasture, bulls must graze comparably more acres. Case-in-point: A friend of mine that runs about 300 black-angus cows, with about 15 breeding bulls. He grazes both his young and mature bulls on the same 200 acres of pasture that was once an alfalfa field but hasn’t been broken up for years and thus has been largely been replaced by wild grass species. He supplements a few 20% low-moisture molasses cattle lick tubs, placed near an available waterer as well as provides loose cattle mineral in 3-compartment mineral feeders, which are mounted on old truck tires. His commercial “Breeder” mineral is fed at 70 – 100 g (3 – 4 oz) per head, daily. It contains good levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium that compliments his native pastures for bulls. Furthermore, it contains highly bio-available chelates of copper and zinc; both known to be essential for superior bull fertility. Selenium is also provided at 3 mg/hd/d as well as recommended levels of vitamins A, D, and high vitamin E (1000
Breeding bull in pasture
iu/hd/d). Salt blocks are put out to round out the nutrition of these pastures. In addition to good pasture nutrition, my friend is aware that a good source of water is very important for grazing beef bulls, especially during times of summertime heatstress. That is why, he makes sure that his pasture waterers are in good working order and can easily supply 40 – 50 litres of water per head per day in comfortable weather and replenish 100 litres-plus of water per bull during hot weather conditions. Aside from providing plenty of water, my friend alleviate other stresses in his bulls such as controlling growing fly populations that parallel hot summer weather. Three main methods of fly control used: 1. Ear insecticide tags, 2. Back rubbers and 3. Pouron insecticide for 30 – 60 day control. As a side note – my friend has successfully for years; used essential garlic oil added to his breeder cattle mineral to control face- and bulldog horse flies. With such good feed and management attention provided until winter, beef producers help their breeding bulls recover from this year’s successful breeding season, yet at the same time help prepare time for another one that takes place nearly a year, from now. By then, they assure that their bulls are returned to the cowherd in good fertility in order to contribute to another profitable calf crop.
June 26, 2020
June 26, 2020
New Safer Insecticide Targets Cutworms and Other Larvae Pests
Jon Bagley, the founder of Westman Aerial Spraying Ltd. near Brandon, Manitoba, recently tweeted about spraying near Rivers for Ron Krahn using environmentally and bee-friendly Coragen to solve a cutworm problem in sunflowers.
Jon Bagley, pilot and founder of Westman Aerial Spraying Ltd takes to the air.
By Harry Siemens Jon Bagley, the founder of Westman Aerial Spraying Ltd. near Brandon, Manitoba, recently tweeted about spraying near Rivers, MB, for Ron Krahn using environmentally and bee-friendly Coragen to solve a cutworm problem in sunflowers. Bagley said Coragen (Chlorantraniliprole) also known as Rynaxypyr is a relatively newer product that now can be used to control cutworms. The insecticide is described by the manu-
soil moisture was fine and the top was getting dry. “We’ve been spraying cutworms anywhere from Killarney to Rivers, east to Carberry and around our strip in sunflowers, oats, corn, and potatoes,” said Bagley. “Cutworms attack all kinds of insects that attack all kinds of different crops when they’re young. And they can do a fair bit of damage because the plants haven’t established properly yet. The only other one that we’ve sprayed so far are flea beetles.” He said with warm weather, a lot of that will disappear just because of the insecticides built into the seed treatment on canola. Bagley will start spraying potatoes with fungicide every week, and around July 1, when canola starts to flower, and the wheat is heading out, he’ll spray those crops with fungicide. Then around the middle of August, he sprays the
facturer, DuPont as having minimal impact on bees and other pollinators although it should not be used when pollinators are foraging to avoid unnecessary exposure. It specifically targets the Lepidopteran order of insect (butterflies and moths) pests primarily as a larvicide. The targeted chewing pests include silverleaf whitefly nymphs (suppression), leafminer larvae, Colorado potato beetles, grasshoppers, armyworms and cutworms. Coragen is toxic to aquatic
Heritage Co-op bought the aerial business this April. Heritage Co-op continues to operate it as Westman Aerial Spraying.
organisms and buffer zones need to be observed. The chemical may result in contamination of groundwater particularly in areas where soil is permeable (e.g. sandy soil) and/or where the depth of the water table is shallow. It has some residual effects of up to 14-21 days so that he can spray for cutworms in the evening when they are coming out to feed. “We can do it in the morning or later on in the morning, and then when the cutworms come out in the evening to feed, they ingest some of the product and die after that,” he said. “It’s a new technology, so we’re pretty happy to be able to put it on and protect a lot of the other beneficial insects that are out there.” Bagley sold his fertilizer and chemical business in 2015 to Heritage Co-op, which left it intact. This April, they closed on the rest of the company, when Heritage Co-op bought the
aerial business. Heritage Coop continues to operate it as Westman Aerial Spraying. “This is the first aerial spraying business that any co-op retail has bought in Canada,” he said. “It’s a new venture for a co-op system, and I am happy because it kept the site together with the way we originally built it with one operator here and one company running the site,” he said. “I’m managing it for them for the next year or so, and we’ll see how it goes from there.” During the middle of June, Bagley said typically; he does not fly much further than a 30 or 40-mile radius from their home strip, which is east of Brandon. After that it gets to a longer flight. He said it is not as practical to do those long flights all the time. He said up at Rivers, they had a good shot of rain over the weekend, so it looked wet, but before that, the sub-
straight cut shatter-resistant canola that the farmer can combine all at the same time. The spray helps dry down the weeds and the canola. Bagley is aware that as a spray plane pilot registered with the Manitoba Aerial Applicators Association that he needs to do it right and that people must also perceive that aerial sprayers are doing it right. “We’re always proactive in our community. We have several people that don’t particularly like the airplanes around the yards and so on. We just finished our training session with the pilots reviewing all the places we must be aware of and the sensitive areas so that everybody has it fresh in their minds,” said Bagley. “If we get any new calls, then we add them to our list and make sure in the area that we’re aware of them. And we treat them just like we would our neighbours.”
June 26, 2020
Wind an Obstacle for Gardeners
By Joan Airey Manitoba seems to be having the year of the wind. For gardeners it has been trying to keep bedding plants whether flowers or vegetables safe. One gardener suggested putting mineral bags over tomato cages to protect tomato and pepper plants while another gardener living on the farm suggested chicken feed bags and dog or cat food bags would work. My sister tried a type of plastic bag around her tomato cages but her tomato plants still have wind damage. Another gardening friend’s husband cut the bottom out of five gallon pails to put around her tomato plants. The 2020 The Prairie Garden is available to purchase on-line and at numerous greenhouses and garden centres. Tiffany Grenkow has an excellent article in the most recent issue on ‘The Secrets to Three Seasons of Easy Greens’. I tried a new variety of spinach this year called Seaside that was purchased from Veseys Seeds. So far it has produced a great supply of spinach for salads. Last year Tiffany introduced me to Ruby Red Orach which I grew in the greenhouse and some volunteer plants this year have provided us with a few feeds. One pail of Norland potatoes in my cold room were sprouting badly by April 26. While on the way out to the compost bin with them I decided maybe I’d plant them in my greenhouse. They have been flowering for a week so I think we are going to check on Father’s Day to see if they are big enough to eat. I use my greenhouse for
early salad greens and to grow my bedding plants once it doesn’t require heat. Most years I grow tomatoes, peppers and herbs in the ground in the greenhouse this year also managed to find room for cucumbers, cantaloupe and onions in it. Overnight the wind snapped a flowering plum off in our yard and damaged our mountain ash more. It took over twenty years to grow these trees and a wind storm can destroy them in minutes. I’ve just read an article by Shauna Dobbie on slow gardening. She suggests spreading out your gardening chores instead of overloading yourself trying to complete all garden chores in one day. Personally I like to work in the garden early in the morning or during the evening as I can’t tolerate too much heat. She quoted senior garden editor Steve
Bender for Southern Living magazine, “Maybe you can’t change the whole world but by slightly modifying the way you garden, you can change your own back yard. That’s a start.” For those wondering when is the best time to plant certain plants one of the easiest on-line resources to help figure out the last frost dates, I just learnt is the National Gardening Association Planting Calendar at garden.org/apps/ calendar. Last summer our son built a patio on the north side of our house and during this pandemic it’s been used constantly. Granddaughter Blake helped plant several planters of veggies and flowers which we put around the patio this spring. The vegetables there will more than likely produce sooner as they are protected from the elements even more than our garden. Enjoy your gardens.
The latest copy of The Prairie Garden western Canada’s only gardening annual.
Potatoes growing in a greenhouse ready for use by late June.
Photos by Joan Airey
Warmth and Rains Boost Manitoba’s Crop Prospects
By Elmer Heinrichs Warm, dry and windy conditions continued through most of the second week of June allowing farmers in central regions and west of the escarpment to finish seeding their remaining fields. A rain system early in the week brought 15 mm rain to the Altona-Emerson area with higher totals in eastern regions. Given the recent warm and windy conditions, the soil surface is turning dry again and more rainfall would benefit topsoil moisture. It’s been a tough, gritty year for farmers, first assessing unharvested crops, seeding started late in early May and limped along until this week when the province announced seeding was 96 per cent complete. For much of this seeding season, farmers have been
planting into cold soil, which slows germination. Newly emerging crops have been hit by frost and sheared off by winds that caused significant soil drifting in some areas. There is also some seeding for green feed. Recently strong winds have also played havoc with emerging crops and delayed herbicide application. Farmers are into re-seeding after spotty emergence on fields seeded into wet soils, from too much moisture in some places. Dennis Lange, Manitoba pulse specialist, said we’re looking at about a million acres of soybeans, along with up to 160,000 acres of dry beans and plenty of canola. Farmers are spraying canola for flea beetles, and early cereals are looking good. Recent rains have improved the soil moisture in most po-
tato areas. Though slow to emerge due to cold soils, the April planted fields have all emerged and later fields are progressing well. While rainfall in eastern regions was spotty, heavy thunderstorms northeast of Beausejour flooded some fields temporarily. In the municipalities of Piney, Emerson-Franklin and Stuartburn farmers and municipal officials were dealing with serious flood and crop issues. Crops already seeded in the worst affected areas have drowned out, with pastures and hay lands still flooded. Damage assessments across the whole area affected are ongoing. That means no first cut of hay, which is a huge setback for affected cattle producers, already dipping into hay reserves to carry their herds. For areas not affected by
flooding, the warm temperatures over the weekend and continuing promoted crop development. Soil moisture conditions on cropland, pastures and hay land in central and northern districts was rated mostly adequate, but as surplus or excessive in southern districts. Crop development on earlier planted canola fields are now starting to outpace flea beetle damage and spraying to control beetles is become less frequent. But cutworms continue to be found in many fields of cereals and sunflowers, and spraying continues. Across both Central and Eastern, water supplies are plentiful for cattle on pasture and hay crops are growing rapidly with pastures sufficient for grazing. Forages would benefit from a rain to maintain growth, and dairy hay is being cut.
FCC Survey Shows More Needs to Be Done in Farm Safety A significant portion of Canadian farmers have had an incident resulting in an injury or close call on their operation, but these accidents don’t necessarily change behaviour, according to a recent survey by Farm Credit Canada (FCC). “It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes an incident or close call to motivate producers to put in place farm safety measures,” said Marcel Hacault, executive director of the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association (CASA), a non-profit organization formed in 1993 to respond to health and safety issues in agriculture. “It’s even more unfortunate if they don’t take action to prevent incidents from happening again,” he said. The survey, conducted from February 10-21, found that seven in 10 producers (72 per cent) have had an incident resulting in an injury or close call on their operation at some point in their lifetime, and a quarter (24 per cent) of producers report having had one within the last year.
It also showed that producers who have had a safety incident on the farm are no more likely to access safety information or develop a safety plan than those who haven’t had an incident. However, a growing number of producers recognize their work is not done safely all of the time. “Awareness is usually the first step toward taking preventative action,” Hacault said. “It’s not only obvious dangers that pose risk. There are often hidden hazards that can harm you, an employee or a family member.” The survey showed only one in 10 producers (14 per cent) surveyed indicated they have a written safety plan for their operation and 70 per cent of those with plans felt it is effective in preventing injuries. Hacault said a safety plan serves as an inventory of the various hazards that exist on the farm and sets out practices and procedures to prevent close calls or injuries from happening. It only takes one moment of distrac-
tion, fatigue or complacency to change a person’s life forever. Seeding and harvest are among the most dangerous times of year, since many producers are working long hours and are racing against the clock to get the job done. “Producers have to remember that the most valuable asset on any farm are the people who do the work,” Hacault said. “By taking care of ourselves and those around us, we are contributing to our long-term success in both business and life.” Producers can access safety information or training from a variety of organizations, including industry associations, provincial agriculture safety associations, agriculture suppliers, government and non-profit agencies, such as CASA, Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. FCC is a long-time supporter of CASA and its safety awareness initiatives, including Canadian Agricultural Safety Week. It is also a proud supporter of other farm safety programs, such as the Back to Ag Program that supports the
cost of adaptive technology for farmers that have experienced a traumatic injury. A total of 1,239 FCC Vision panelists involved in agriculture production from across Canada participated in the study. With a 78 per cent response rate, the margin of error for this survey is +/- three per cent at a standard 95 per cent confidence level. FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $38 billion. FCC’s strength is its dedicated employees to the future of Canadian agriculture and food. The organization provides flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and food industries. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, FCC provides an appropriate return to its shareholder and reinvests profits back into the industries and communities served. Visit fcc.ca or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on Twitter @FCCagriculture.
June 26, 2020
COVID-19 Precautions Expected to Reduce Fall Flu Pressure By Harry Siemens Dr. Susan Detmer, a veterinary pathologist with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 might also reduce the risk of flu this coming fall. The Western College of Veterinary Medicine completed a summary of seasonal influenza over the past two years. These precautionary measures reducing traffic and people movements are also limiting the movement of influenza. The COVID-19 has presented them with an exciting scenario. With fewer people moving between the provinces in Canada, they see less disease and less transmission. “Pigs keep moving, and we see virus move with movements of pigs, but it is a positive thing,” she said. “We expect to see fewer influenzas in people so long as they’re doing their social distancing, not interacting with large groups, and not travelling on planes. All of that is going to benefit the pigs, hopefully, this fall. We’ll see what happens, but it is something that some of us are keeping an eye on.” Dr. Detmer said with the general lockdowns at this time of year in the southern hemisphere in for example Australia and South America those areas still see flu transmitting because it’s their wintertime. “What comes back to us next fall, we’ll see if that is any different. If there’s less virus transmitted in Australia because they’re trying to stop the Coronavirus from transmitting as well, then we could have a better fall flu season because people are not interacting at the levels that they normally would,” she added. Dr. Detmer acknowledged, with pigs, the viruses’ on-farm is going to stay unless the industry implements a disease eradication plan. There is a possibility that self-distancing starts to reduce other devastating diseases positively. The Manager of Swine Health Programs with Manitoba Pork said the lessons learned from Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea have resulted in much more effective on-farm biosecurity protocols. As reported the first two cases for 2020 of PED virus recently confirmed in Manitoba is a dramatic contrast to 2019 when 82 farms were infected. Jenelle Hamblin said it does not hurt to reiterate the importance of on-farm biosecurity. “What, who, when is going on and off your farm? What are your entry protocols not only for people but for supplies,” said Hamblin. “As well, we’ve talked about the risk of manure and some of the efforts that producers can take thinking about manure agitation. Can you do subsurface agitation; prevent aerosolization as best you can. Direct injection of manure is a nice option with the same benefits.” Hamblin said producers focused heavily on dust control during and following 2019. With dry conditions, there is some strong correlation that that virus is moving in the air and putting dust control in the farmyard and on the road leading up to the driveway or lane certainly is something that can help to keep that dust down and hopefully prevent that virus from moving she reiterated. Another issue is that of transport C and D. “We are doing an excellent job of mitigating that risk but always being aware and asking those questions, ensuring that a transport trailer that’s pulling up to your barn is cleaned and disinfected effectively, really any of those touch points that are coming into your farm,” she added. Hamblin said substantial evaluation and implementing a lot of changes on-farm is also helping. “This virus has taught us a lot of lessons, and it continues to teach us things.”
June 26, 2020
Latest Manitoba PED Cases Unrelated to Last Year’s Outbreak By Harry Siemens Dr. Glen Duizer, an Animal Health Surveillance Veterinarian with the Office of Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Officer, said the first two outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) in 2020 appear to fall within typical seasonal patterns and do not appear linked to any of last year’s cases. In early June, reports of the first two cases of PED for 2020 came in, but neither have links to any of the 82 cases identified last year. Dr. Duizer said while they expected new outbreaks, the excellent news is that those two cases took a long time to develop. “Normally we have seasonal cases starting in late April, early May, but these happened mid-June,” he said. “It’s good news in that the normal risk factors that we see in spring, such as weather, manure application, fieldwork, lots of traffic on and around swine operations did not lead to a sudden rise as in previous years.” Hopefully, that indicates the hard work in the past on biocontainment and biosecurity in high-risk areas, are successful. There are three farms affected by last year’s outbreak. Those farms are well on the way toward elimination. Dr. Duizer said the investigation into what caused these two farms to have a break out is ongoing and, as the producers and their veterinarians work through the follow-up, more information will be available. He said for the record, last year’s rather large outbreak of PED, 82 in total are now down to three. At this stage, they know what the broad categories are in the PED cases, but do not have the specifics for these operations yet. He said that it is a good question to ask what the main risks for infection are that producers need to be aware of and to keep this question in mind moving forward to reduce the risks of PED. On-farm biosecurity remains the focus with producers to protect their herds overall against many different diseases. “When we look at those areas of the province experiencing PED repeatedly over the last several years, there’s certainly lots of risk factors that contribute to that. We know that we can have contaminated manure for an extended period,” said Dr. Duizer. “When it comes to manure application from lagoons, that’s a risk factor. And just the movement of equipment, the agitation of lagoons, especially if those lagoons tested positive previously with contained manure from pigs that tested positive for PED.” The risk is still present even though the barns and the herd itself test negative because manure remains positive. As the manure is agitated during application, there is a risk that it can spill back into the barn. Farms that have previously been infected need to be aware of that. Dr. Duizer said there is a higher volume of traffic in the springtime around many operations with crops going in and manure application. This creates more opportunity for PED and other diseases to spread. “We must be cognizant of that and old standbys, such as transport and staffing and movement of people from one farm to another that all the necessary precautions that can go in place to prevent that transmission of the disease are also important,” he said. “And especially important in those areas, again, that saw the disease over multiple years.”
Demand for Pork is Harder to Assess Going Forward By Harry Siemens Price, demand, location, supply, and COVID-19 keep analysts, producers, and suppliers on their toes and sometimes off, too. Tyler Fulton, the Director of Risk Management with Hams Marketing Services, said shifting pork demand, due to COVID-19, makes it extremely difficult to assess the role of demand in influencing the value of live slaughter hogs. Reductions in the US hog processing capacity due to COVID-19 combined with dramatically reduced foodservice demand for pork due to the closure of restaurants resulted in a crash in the market for live hogs. Fulton said the role of demand would play in revi-
talizing the market is more complex and will be difficult to assess even when the data improves in two months. “When you factor in the restaurant business cut in half, in terms of the volume of sales through that channel,” he said. “But you also can adjust for an uptick in strong export demand and all of that within the context of strong at domestic home consumption; it’s tough to get a handle on what the demand curve looks like.” Fulton said the main focus is on removing the barriers in moving that product. For example, it is ensuring that the grocery channel is going at high speed and high capacity. It’s going to be significantly higher capacity than what it is typically merely
because more people are eating at home and the same on the export side. With such a significant reduction in the production side, how the demand responds to that is a whole other level. He said it’s challenging in real-time to understand what is having the most significant impact on the live hog price, the demand related aspects or the production side. Dr. Steve Meyer, an economist with Kerns and Associates, expects the economic pressure to fluctuate and get worse before it gets better. This is a demand disruption piled on top of ample supply satiation with a roadblock thrown in. Meyer, the first thing that happened was the shelter in place safety precautions
Dr. Steve Meyer, an economist with Kerns and Associates, expects the economic pressure to fluctuate and get worse before it gets better. He said this is a demand disruption piled on top of ample supply satiation with a roadblock thrown in. File photo
taken all over the United States and Canada, reducing foodservice demand dramatically. Retail demand is outstanding because people buy more products through grocery stores, but it is not easy to shift between those two. “The best example is bacon, our darling for the last few years because of its use as food service,” he said. “Those lines that produce foodservice bacon, that product coming out of those lines, looks very different from the product that goes into our grocery stores. You don’t just flip the switch and go from food service to retail.” Both the foodservice and retail supply is hurting because of a lack of stock in the US. “If you walk into an empty meat case, there’s no way to generate sales out of that rascal,” said Meyer. The producer hurts by these lower prices early which continue to fluctuate and the fact that hogs did not move to market. There may very well be either market hogs or the weaned pigs following them into a barn that will get destroyed. That represents a colossal loss, and, because of the loss of foodservice demand, packers have struggled and in many cased closed plants completely. Dr. Meyer said, “Once we get to the backside of cases, there’s going to be a huge demand for pork, but it’s a question of can you get there?” Some producers with strong balance sheets will come through this okay he said, but others who are weak will probably go out of business.
Cautious Spring Optimism about Crop Emergence By Les Kletke John Pauls is cautiously optimistic about the rapidly growing crop that has gotten off to a very good start. “This is just about as good as things can look at this time,” he said. “The beans are up and growing, I am very pleased with the emergence.” He said that the cool weather earlier in spring did take a toll on his corn but not enough for concern. “The corn can out of the ground just a bit more patchy than we would like,” he said. “We find it critical that corn come out of the ground as evenly
as possible and that the stand is uniform. When there are gaps in the row, there is less in the hopper.” Pauls farms near Winkler and said that while spring seeding was a bit later than usual it did not cause any changes in seeding plans. “We were able to carry though with our planting intentions and that is good not only for this year but it also plays into our long term rotation because we pay a lot of attention to the herbicide rotation to avoid any herbicide resistance.” He said that corn and soy-
beans are the biggest part of his rotation and while both crops offer herbicide tolerant varieties he choose to use glyphosate as a tool on his soybeans and looks to other methods on his corn. “It would be easy to use the same product on both crops but with our rotation that is just asking for trouble and I don’t want to lose it as a tool,” he said. “So we are more careful.” Pauls said that both corn and beans have taken well to the heat of mid June. “We may have gotten them in the ground two weeks later
but having adequate moisture and the heat has really helped. They are caught up to where they should be at this time of year.” He is optimistic about the crop at this time but said he is not going out to buy more bins yet. “The yield potential is at its best when I am planting and it can only go down through the season, we have a bit of slow emergence and that will cost us something, but I also know there are a lot of things that can happen between now and harvest, and most of them decrease yield.”
Hog Producers Faced with Big Price Discrepancies Across Canada By Harry Siemens Packers are working hard to get processing plants operational and are making great efforts to increase capacity with enhanced employee safety measures to protect workers from Coronavirus. Hog commentator Jim Long said with US pork cutouts recently closing $1.10 a pound, the gross packer margin for packers is reaching over $100 per head. This price is a huge incentive to harvest as many hogs as possible. “From what we know, the current gross packer margins are at record levels. For plants not at capacity, it is a lost opportunity in these highly profitable times,” said Long. “There must be big pressure to get fully operational.” However, there is a price discrepancy for live hogs that packers pay from region to region and province to province.
Arian de Bekker of Winkler, MB of Farmers Farmacy and a director and board member at Independent Hog Farmers Co-operation Inc. said the industry needs to observe what is happening today, not only locally but the whole Canadian situation. He compared a week’s prices in Manitoba at $153 for 100 kilos; Sofina in Ontario at $160, Conestoga in Ontario a cooperative owned by members is around $192. In Quebec producers get $240 per 100 kilos. When asked how this price variation is possible he said, “Much has to do with which and where the market is, where do those hogs go,” explained de Bekker. “What is the meat buyer paying the packer?” Next, in the equation is the pricing structure that the packer works with and thirdly is the packer’s intention to allow the producer a portion of what the packer gets. “What is the ratio between
the packer’s margin and the producer margin?” asked de Bekker. He said that is where the unity across provinces in Canada breaks down because packers have different pricing structures. When the breakeven point for a finished hog sits around $160 for 100 kilos, Manitoba producers are losing money while in Quebec, they are making money. When asked what the price is to the consumer, de Bekker asked in return, “Who is the consumer?” Years back, Canada exported 70 per cent of all pork produced in Canada to the US. Today 30 per cent or less of pork produced in Canada goes to the US he noted, stressing who is the consumer? Canadians consume a small portion of the total production. That means the consumer is mainly in Asia, including Japan and China. De Bekker said the challenge lies in the pricing for-
Arian de Bekker of Winkler, MB of Farmers Farmacy and a director and board member at Independent Hog Farmers Co-operation Inc said the industry needs to observe what is happening globally as an exporter to different markets, rather than locally. Photo by Harry Siemens
mulas used by the packers and processors which have a component that looks at the CME, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures. The Canadian industry has a pricing formula based on a competitor, the US, and what happens there drives the Chicago market. This US formula, in turn, makes the basis of Canada’s pricing formula for many packers. That is a bizarre situation he said. Following a year-long study on a made-in-Canada hog pricing formula by the Canadian Pork Council, they concluded from an economic perspective, Canada probably is not ready yet to take the next step. “I’m a big proponent of a made-in-Canada hog pricing system. Let’s take a severe look at this, because only then can we look at a more uniform price setting for pork producers in Canada across the country,” he said. Canada is a vast country geographically; that means where producers raise the pork is going to affect where they supply. In Manitoba, there are opportunities as farrow-to-finish or finisher pigs; the producer can supply to some of the larger integrators. But if not happy with supply or pricing for example, Hylife or Maple Leaf Agri-Farms, have the option of hauling hogs from a further afield such as what Olymel in Red Deer, AB does. “I’m saying that to illustrate that the cost of freight becomes a significant driver into where you’re able to supply,” said de Bekker. “If on the extreme west side of our province, he may consider, but if east of the Red River, well, it’s a no-no. You can’t do it.”
Manitoba Agricultural Museum is Open The Manitoba Agricultural Museum has re-opened although with reduced hours, new safety measures and new opportunities to rediscover the museum. At this time, only the outdoors spaces will be accessible for walk-ins, while the buildings of the Homesteaders’ Village and the museum indoor exhibits will be accessible by reservation only. The museum in Austin, Manitoba is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm. Individuals from vulnerable groups are invited to
contact the museum to set up times outside of these hours to visit the museum safely. Our visitors, volunteers and staff’s health and safety are our priority. To ensure all remain safe, new protocols will be in place, such as asking staff, visitors and staff members to self-screen, requiring physical distance between individual, increasing handsanitation and cleaning practices and restricting access to indoors areas at the museum. The museum team is excited to welcome visitors back on the grounds and to offer new
opportunities to go out and enjoy the outdoors in a cultural and historical setting. As a museum, we strongly believe in the power of cultural organizations to support our communities. We are convinced that, in these difficult times, learning about our heritage, reflecting on our past, and sharing fun educational moments with our loved ones is more important than ever. We also believe that the Manitoba Agricultural Museum is a great place to experience history while enjoying the outdoors. For that reason,
we are committed to continue providing access to our collections widely, through online experiences, and by welcoming our guests in a new capacity. “We are working on selfguided heritage trails, online opportunities to continue to reach populations that might not be able to visit us, and new small-group programming opportunities to offer to our guests when it is safe to do so! We cannot wait to welcome our visitors again!” said Anaïs Biernat, Executive Director-Curator.
June 26, 2020
Farmers’ Markets Open with Social Distancing Guidelines this Summer By Elmer Heinrichs Farmers’ markets are popular destinations for consumers looking to find locally grown and homemade foods. Producers grow, pick, make and sell a variety of quality local fruit, vegetables, fresh baked goods, home preserves and unique crafts. Farmers’ markets bring together a number of producers in one location to sell their goods directly to consumers. Here’s where the homemaker may go for the first fresh strawberries, raspberries or Saskatoon’s which are now in season. They are a place where consumers can interact with food producers and processors to ask questions about the products they have for sale. If you’re craving some fresh jam, bread and other local goodies, you may be in luck. Enjoy farm fresh produce and delicious home baked goods produced by market gardeners, fruit and vegetable growers and local bakers. The Farmer’s markets are open now and will run through the summer and into early fall. The Altona farmer’s market, for example, is open Saturday morning downtown under the canopy from 10 am to noon with a variety of fresh produce, including baked goods, and honey. Manitoba’s premiere farm market may well be the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market, open for the summer in June. It attracts Winnipeg residents and visitors from near and far. From Winkler to Killarney, and from Beausejour to Steinbach, and in many other communities, similar markets and roadside stands are open for the summer throughout Manitoba. While visiting a local Farmers’ Market some COVID-19 restrictions still apply with safe distancing protocols in place. Published guidelines include detailed physical distancing protocols. Market operators must provide adequate space to ensure physical distancing of two metres (six feet) between customers and vendors. This means that there will be limited numbers of customers within a space (inside or outside a building) to practice safe physical distancing and manage line-ups at entryways and booths. Entry and exit points will be minimized to control the number of customers within the market space, as well as the directional flow of customers. In addition, for more crowded venues, it is suggested to use a one direction flow for the public to follow. This can be achieved by using signs, tape, pylons etc. to direct customers, and still allow for the two metre (six feet) distancing requirements. Seating areas for customers to dine or congregate should be removed. Food vendors should not attend the market if ill with COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms. Importantly Market vendors need to provide customers with facilities for hand washing and/or access to hand sanitizers and vendors cannot supply food samples. Markets can no longer provide food buffets, selfservice of food or items, such as napkins, cutlery and straws at this time. Customers who use re-usable bags must bring clean bags and bag their own purchases. Otherwise, market vendors should provide plastic bags. Ideally, products should be pre-packaged prior to arriving at the market. Permitted food operators, such as pushcarts, mobile food trucks and temporary food booths can provide only take-away meals. Vendors are also encouraged to offer payment methods that promote minimum contact, when possible. At this time, all live entertainment, face painting, and other gathering activities are cancelled.
June 26, 2020
High Quality Alfalfa Does Its Job in the Dairy Barn
Recovery Numbers for Ag-Waste on the Rise Cleanfarms has released its 2019 Annual Report showing that Canadian farmers are strengthening their commitment to land, water and air stewardship by returning ag-plastic waste such as empty pesticide and fertilizer containers and grain bags for recycling. In its largest Canada-wide program for pesticide and fertilizer jugs 23 litres and under, farmers returned nearly 5.5 million containers in 2019, bringing the total number collected since the program began 30 years ago to 131.5 million jugs. Placed end-to-end, those containers would stretch from St. John’s, NL to Victoria, BC and back three times. Plastic containers are recycled into new products such as farm drainage tile. Another program that is increasingly important collects empty non-deposit bulk drums and totes ranging in size from 23 to 1,000 litres. These large containers are becoming a more popular choice for delivering pesticides and fertilizer to farms. In 2019, nearly 55,400 empty containers were recovered, representing an increase of 25% by volume over 2018 recovery. A pilot program in Manitoba to collect used grain bags, bale and silage wrap, and twine recovered 51 tonnes for recycling, up from 34 tonnes in 2018. At the core of Cleanfarms’ commitment to help farmers manage agriculture packaging and products responsibly is its unwanted pesticide and livestock/ equine medications collection program. Operated in partnership with the Canadian Animal Health Institute, the program provides an essential, no-cost service to farmers allowing them to take old, obsolete materials to Cleanfarms drop-off locations. These materials are transported by a licensed waste hauler to specialized facilities where they are disposed of safely. The program rotates to all regions of Canada every three years. In 2019, farmers in the British Columbia and Alberta Peace Region, Northern Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland returned more than 214,600 kg of unwanted pesticides and 5,840 kg of obsolete farm animal medications for safe disposal. “While plastic products like grain bags and containers like jugs and totes are essential tools on Canadian farms, they become ag-waste when farmers are done with them. Cleanfarms’ industry-funded programs give farmers options to manage this non-organic waste, helping them steward their land for present and future generations,” said Cleanfarms General Manager Barry Friesen, adding, “Our goal is to keep expanding our programs to offer farmers convenient and effective environmentally sustainable options to manage ag-waste on their farms.”
High quality alfalfa plays an important role in good dairy nutrition that makes cows produce lots of milk. Behind every harvest or purchase, most people should have a good idea on what cut of high-quality alfalfa works on their dairy barn. Recently, I conducted my own survey of a few prairie dairy producers as to what kind of alfalfa that they prefer to use in their lactation dairy diets. The first person that I talked to, milks about 350 dairy cows. He purchases 2nd or 3rd cut alfalfa hay with RFV of 180, encompassing 21% crude protein and 35 - 40% NDF. He said it best compliments his corn silage (with added grass hay) predominating his dairy diets that target 38 kg milk and 4.2% bf. Another dairy producer, who milks 150 dairy cows, takes a different approach by using his own 1st cut alfalfa haylage with a 30-hr NDF digestibility of 50 - 52%, which tends to be of fine-stem and heavy-leaf content. He feeds this alfalfa with barley silage. Still, a third dairy producer (100 dairy cows) told me that he avoids 1st cut alfalfa all-together, because in his area, this cut has thick stems with less leaf content than better quality 2nd cut alfalfa hay that he ultimately purchases. The common thread among these producers and others in my personal survey is they are looking for a good source of dietary energy, protein and rumen-effective fibre to support the high milk production of dairy cows. As a dairy nutritionist, I used to think of alfalfa as only a high-protein forage, which when compared to available dairy forages such as low-protein corn silage is not a bad way of thinking. On a pure alfalfa strand, its crude protein normally ranges from 20 - 25% (dm, basis) as well as has a soluble protein fraction (loosely defined as available protein that is soluble in rumen fluid) of upward toward 45 – 55% of CP. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to remind me that good quality alfalfa forage also contains a lot of dietary energy. For example, the net energy of lactation is estimated for alfalfa hay with a relative feed value (RFV) is about of 150 has a net energy of lactation value around 1.30 Mcal/kg compared to 1.45 Mcal/kg estimated energy for typical corn silage. Some of this dietary energy comes from alfalfa’s relatively high non-structural carbohydrate content (NSC), which is between 25 - 30% of its dry matter weight; consisting namely of highly digestible pectin (12 - 13%), starch (2 - 3%) and nominal sugar. The remainder is locked away in its structural fibre (35 - 40%), which is released during microbial fermentation in the cow’s rumen and contributes to alfalfa’s total energy value. Therefore, when dairy cows are fed a balanced dairy diet with high-quality alfalfa; there is a limited, but enhanced forage digestibility. This activity leads to greater dry matter intake of feed and thus greater essential energy (and protein intake) that result in greater estimated milk production.
Consider some of the main nutritional benefits of high-quality alfalfa, when I formulate it in the following Total Mixed Rations (TMRs) provided to high milk production cows: 1. Alfalfa haylage diet with corn/barley silage w barley grain. - Alfalfa protein compliments low protein corn or barley silage. - High calcium of alfalfa compliments low-calcium corn or barley silage. - Alfalfa haylage contributes to rumen effective fibre. - Alfalfa soluble protein drives microbial digestion activity. 2. Alfalfa haylage/alfalfa hay diet with barley or corn grain. - Alfalfa meets much of the rumen microbial protein requirements, which nicely compliments added distillers’ grain’s bypass protein. - Low-starch values, yet high-energy alfalfa compliment highstarch of barley or corn. - Increase forage: grain ratios: meet fiber requirements. 3. Mixed alfalfa-grass haylage/mixed hay diet with grain. - Alfalfa helps meet protein requirements. - 2nd or 3rd cut alfalfa increases the rate of feed passage, slowed by grass forages; increases dry matter intakes. - Soluble protein of alfalfa compliments low-soluble protein of grass and grains. As illustrated, alfalfa is an integral part of many Canadian dairy diets, which donates a lot of essential nutrients to promote good milk production in lactating dairy cows. Such nutrition in any given year may change due to a host of factors, but it’s our job to know what kind of alfalfa forage quality that we are dealing with, so alfalfa can do its job in the dairy barn.
High quality alfalfa plays an important role in good dairy nutrition that makes cows produce lots of milk.
Frost Takes Its Toll By Les Kletke A frost in the first days of June is going to have a dramatic impact on this year’s alfalfa crop. Damage was most noticeable in the inter lake region and crops there have taken a serious hit with some being entirely written off. Some fields in southeastern Manitoba were also affected but not as seriously. John McGregor who manages the province’s Green Gold Program said that while the temperatures were not as low as normally thought required to do damage, the length of time that the temperature stayed be-
low zero was the critical point and had an effect on several fields. The damage was not widespread and varied within fields with some fields loosing patches of crops and other areas escaping damage. In the Interlake area damage was more general. “We had two fields that were pretty much knocked right back,” said Henry Penner. “We don’t know what will happen and we are still hoping to get average yields off of our other fields. The yield on the fields that got frost will be close to zero.” He is confident that he will have enough produc-
tion for his cow herd but he normally sells a significant amount of high quality hay. “There is the loss of income this year, but it also jeopardizes the relationship I have built with my customers,” said Penner. “I have to tell them that I will not have hay to sell and if they start looking to other suppliers it is difficult to get them back next year.” While it is not the first time he has been impacted by a frost it has been a few years since he has seen this kind of damage. “It has been more than 10 years since we have had something like this,” he said. “This is pretty
general it is not just the low spots in the field. It is entire fields.” He said that in this case he is acting as his own insurance company. “It is not something you count on or try to find a hay field far from home but this year it worked out all right in that some fields escaped the damage and they will be our salvation this year.” He already has plans to plant more alfalfa than usual this year. “We are always renewing a certain amount of our fields but this we are looking to do more than usual and get a stand established,” said Penner.
Alternative Road to be Paved for When Highway 75 Floods By Elmer Heinrichs The Manitoba government is moving forward with creating an alternate flood route to Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 75 for times when the major thoroughfare is affected by high water events. The project is estimated to cost $16 million to pave a portion of Provincial Road 246 to serve as the alternative roadway to bypass flooding on highway 75.a Premier Brian Pallister said
the plan is to convert Provincial Road (PR) 246 from PTH 23 near Morris up to PR 205 near Aubigny from gravel to asphalt. The project is part of government’s $33 million additional investment in damage prevention and climate resiliency projects. “The continued flow of commercial traffic along the north-south corridor is critical to Manitoba’s economy,
and by making careful, financially responsible decisions we can ensure these goods continue to make their way to market,” said Pallister. Since 1996, Highway 75 has been closed about once every four years for an average of 24 days. The upgrade is designed to create a floodproof route from the US border at Emerson to CentrePort Canada just north of
Winnipeg. Pallister said the roadwork on PR 246 will occur along a stretch from PTH 23 near Morris to PR 205 near Aubigny. The project had been identified as the most costefficient option under the province’s overall floodproofing plan to ensure continued flow of commercial traffic along the north-south Canada-US corridor during a flood.
Independent Hog Farmers Co-op a Great Resource for Hog Producers By Harry Siemens Ten years ago, Arian de Bekker helped develop an agricultural co-operative, Independent Hog Farmers Coop Inc. specifically for independent pig farmers. Its aim to combine the volume of production to access opportunities in purchasing goods and farm insurance and provide technical and management education. De Bekker said the co-op formed officially in 2011, but existed for several years before that, where hog farmers got together and to compare notes. “To open the books and look at how they run their operations, the costs, and performance levels,” he said. “Within the co-op, we
work on farm insurance provided at an attractive rate to all these farms.” The co-op first formed with 22 members, and today 43 members are representing about 65,000 sows. The members are independent producers in Manitoba. He knows of several other independent producers that are not members. So there are still independent producers out there. Independent Hog Farmers Co-op Inc. provides aside from insurance, benchmarking that takes place, while restricted somewhat by COVID-19, workshops, including management, fire management workshops, and practical workshops, such as
First Aid courses. “We work closely with the Manitoba Pork Council. The co-op and membership is an interesting option for independent producers because large integrators do a lot of that work within their company with all the farms that operate within the integration,” said de Bekker. “But where do independents go? And so together, you can be a lot stronger.” He said the co-op does not market on behalf of producers but has lots of conversation within the group about other things that affect operations that producers can do for themselves. There are quite a variety of producers, and they have not found a consensus on what
to do from a marketing perspective. At one point, they worked on feed ingredient purchasing to assist with market analysis and research. The program ran for a couple of years to support members. “What you find with independent producers is that it’s sometimes difficult to find consensus as I said before. So if there are groups like Hams Marketing, we leave it up to them,” he said. “Some of them are weanling producers, and they wouldn’t be working with Hams Marketing, but they will have their weanling brokers that they’re working with and so we’re not stepping into that, either.”
Canada, Mexico and US Ag Ministers Discuss COVID and CUSMA Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau spoke with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos and US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at the end of May as part of their continued collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They discussed the importance of sustaining uninterrupted food and agriculture trade to ensure food security and safeguard the citizens in our three countries. The leaders also emphasized their commitment to a smooth and effective transition to the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement
(CUSMA) which enters into force July 1, and acknowledged that open trade and maintaining our integrated supply chain are instrumental in recovering from COVID19 and facilitating economic growth. “My videoconference with my North American counterparts… provided an opportu-
nity to discuss the importance of our mutual agriculture and food trade, which last year totaled $38.9 billion,” said Bibeau. “Trilateral cooperation and stable, strong trade is more important than ever to support our farm families and agri-food businesses, and to keep our economy resilient.”
June 26, 2020
FMC Explores Mental Health and Farm Business Management Connections
Over the past year, Farm Management Canada (FMC) has been working with Wilton Consulting Group on ground-breaking research that seeks to explore the connection between Mental Health and Farm Business Management. The findings from this research reveal a positive correlation between mental health and farm business management and inform recommendations to support farm business management activities that positively influence farmer mental health as well as mental health supports that positively influence farm business management activities. Stress is the personal, emotional response to external factors, or stressors. When stressed, farmers reported several changes in behaviour to try and cope with stress. Most farmers reported undesirable coping mechanisms that may contribute to poor mental health including working more hours and losing sleep, attending social or family gatherings less, and feeling less in control of their emotions. However, some farmers reported more frequent management behaviours like focusing more on financial numbers and assessing or planning for alternative outcomes when stressed. Employing business management practices can help farmers get through tough times such as market crashes or crop failures. Among farmers who use written business plans, 88% claim that it has contributed to peace of mind. Outcomes of the project reaffirm findings of other recent research and add new insights into the ways that farm business management can be supported in ways that contribute to farmer mental health. There is an opportunity to enhance education around the benefits of business planning with a focus on mitigating risk. Further, building support teams to help provide advice can alleviate some of the burdens of decision-making. When difficulties arise, it helps to know that a team of peers, family members and/or advisors has thought through different challenges and weighed in on a course of action. Further education and re-positioning the concept of the farm business plan and farm business team can help farmers see business management and planning as both a way to prepare for uncertain times and a source of guidance when facing difficult circumstances. The report concludes with four themes that capture how Farm Management Canada and the agricultural industry at large can better support farmer mental health in Canada: 1. Continue raising awareness around stresses and the impact of mental health for farmers. 2. Support mental health literacy for farmers and those supporting farmers. 3. Deliver business management advice, tools and training that focuses on risk management and preparedness as a means of facing uncertainty. 4. Advocate for farmer-specific mental health support services. Twenty-four distinct recommendations are explained further within the Full Report. These research findings are critical for informing government policy, resource allocation, and business management and mental health service providers in supporting healthy farmers and healthy farm businesses for a prosperous and sustainable agricultural sector. To read the full report, visit fmc-gac.com/healthymindshealthyfarms.
June 26, 2020
Federal Government Launches Second Call for Food Security Proposals While hosting a video conference with media, MarieClaude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the launch of the second call for proposals under the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF). This second call for proposals, valued at $43.4 million, will begin accepting applications. The Fund aims to strengthen food support organizations and to help improve access to safe and nutritious food for Canadians at risk. “Our Government is committed to helping to improve food security for those who need it most. Through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, we are making meaningful improvements across Canada in support of access to food,” said Bibeau. “I am pleased to launch the second call for proposals of the program, which opens the door to a cluster of organizations who are ready to enhance their regional food systems, and will help recipients continue their great work.” This second call for proposals under the program will support small and large community-led projects at facilities such as urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks, and greenhouses. Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until funding has been allocated. Projects valued at up to $250,000 will be accepted. This second call for proposals could also support a cluster of organizations who are ready to enhance their regional food systems. The Local Food Infrastructure Fund, a $50 million, fiveyear program under the Food Policy for Canada, is aimed at community-based, not-for-profit organizations. The program’s goal is to reduce food insecurity by establishing and/ or strengthening local food networks in the medium to longer term. Under the first call for proposals of the program, 362 projects received funding of up to $25,000 for a total $6.6 million. This funding supports projects such as the purchase of new refrigerated trucks, kitchen equipment, community gardens, equipment needed to prepare, store and distribute food, and the installation of solar panels and irrigation systems, among others. In April, the Government also launched a separate, $100million emergency fund under the program to support national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity and who have been impacted by COVID-19. To date, this emergency funding has supported 1,765 individual projects in communities across Canada that are providing healthy food to Canadians in need. The Federal government has also committed to a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories and an additional $25 million to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so families can afford much-needed nutritious food and personal hygiene products.
Dramatic Improvement in Swine Disease Status Throughout Western Canada
Dr. John Carr an international livestock consultant and senior lecturer with James Cook University in Queensland, Australia said now is the time to get rid of PED.
By Harry Siemens Dr. Jette Christensen with Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network said the first quarter of 2020 saw a dramatic improvement in the swine disease status in western Canada. Dr. Christensen said the first quarter was extremely quiet. “I’ve seen all diseases, all syndromes returning to the baseline across the clinical impression surveys, across all the laboratory data that we collect in ad-
dition to the clinical impression,” she said. “Everything seems to stabilize at normal, so everything was returning to the baseline where we want to be and on average for the last number of years.” The other excellent news is on the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED), which is a different coronavirus caused by porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) that consists of Type I and Type II. In Alberta, where they had four cases in 2019, the industry has tackled those four and returned to presumptive negative. Dr. Christensen said in Manitoba, where they had 82 cases last year, they are well on their way to cleaning up the situation. Out of the 82 cases 75 have returned to presumptive negative. There remain three in positive status and the remaining four are transitional. Dr. Christensen said the report was in April, and since then, other farms have moved through the cleaning procedure. However, she acknowledged, the risk of PED remains a threat in high traffic areas, through transport, especially from other regions and from the spread of contaminated manure. In an interview on April 29, Dr. John Carr, international livestock consultant and now a senior lecturer with James Cook University in Queensland, Australia said, “What’s the positive thing to COVID-19? You could argue bugger all, but from a Manitoba point of view, a limited number of people moving around - this is the time to get rid of PED.” Dr. Carr said he would argue that the chief veterinarian and pig farmers of Manitoba get rid of PED now because there is less traffic moving from place to place. Movements and activities are all much more tightly controlled. “There is no silver lining to COVID-19, but we can at least think about, we’ve got a major constraint on trucking, certainly movement of people and everything else. We’ll, know where the PED outbreaks are, and stop them,” he said.
Community Gardens Popular in Winnipeg By Elmer Heinrichs Advocates say a growing push for community gardens in Winnipeg could help ensure access to fresh food in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A city committee is set to consider creating new space for community gardens. “It’s a sign of the times … with COVID, everyone is more interested in food production than ever,” said Councillor Brian Mayes (St. Vital), chairman of the property committee and Winnipeg Food Council. “The intention is good to try to do some experimenting, try and see if we can use some vacant property in any ward for community gardening.” Jeanette Sivilay, Winnipeg Food Council’s coordinator, said there was already a demand for community gardens before the pandemic put food security in the spotlight. “Whatever we can do to be more self-sufficient when it comes to food is really going to help with food security.” Sivilay said the food council has counted at least 60 community gardens in Winnipeg managed by various groups, while the city rents out plots at another 11 garden allotment sites. “You’re having better access to fresh, healthy food if you’re growing food at a community garden site; there’s a lot of potential to enhance green space and they’re a really great community building initiative,” she said.
Going in the Right Direction for Forage Coverage By Les Kletke The Executive Director of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association gives the provinces new proposals for forage coverage under crop insurance a passing grade. Duncan Morrison said the association is pleased with the new plan which should increase coverage of forage crops. “We were involved in the process and had some input,” said Morrison. “But there are always things we would like to see done differently.” He acknowledged there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. “We have producers from across the province and in different types of production,” he said. “They
have different requirements for an insurance program just as they have different operations.” The province released the proposal on June 15 and it was generally well received by farm groups. The was concern that while other parts of the crop insurance program had been revised and updated to reflect current conditions forage crops had lagged behind and the lower levels of coverage meant that many producers did not bother with the coverage and those that did were not receiving adequate compensation in times of need. Morrison said that while operations vary from one area of the province to
weather is a prime concern to every producer. “I am glad to see that weather is being addressed in the new proposals,” he said. “We have seen much more extreme weather in recent years and the impact it has on forage producers is dramatic.” While the provinces overall production may not vary dramatically from year to year, individual producers who experience a weather incident may be entirely wiped out for the year. “Weather incidents may impact a local area and if a producer needs to buy feed he may be faced with higher transportation costs because of a lack of feed in his area,” said Morrison. MFGA Chair Larry Weg-
ner also put his stamp of approval on the recommendations. “We are pleased that the Province of Manitoba and MASC undertook this review and the provision of recommendations based on the report,” said Wegner. “MFGA looks forward to working with MASC and other agricultural groups working toward the report’s recommendations for the benefit of Manitoba producers.” It is hoped that the changes will be in place for the next crop year. Several of the provinces alfalfa producers are already off to a rocky start after an unseasonable late spring frost damage much of the crop in the inter lake.
Moving Closer to Building Canada’s Next Generation Seed System Five national seed industry associations took the next step towards becoming one new national association. The five organizations, the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA); the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC); the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA); the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI); and the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), have
now shared the detailed ratification package with their respective memberships for their votes. The new organization will be called Seeds Canada and it will bring together these organizations for greater efficiency and a common purpose; a stronger, united voice for Canada’s seed sector. Over the past year, the seed sector partners have been
working closely together to prepare the information needed for members to make this important decision. The ratification package includes details about the amalgamation, bylaws, finances, and governance structure. Now, the priority turns to member engagement and ensuring that members have all the information they need before they vote. The partners have launched an up-
dated seedsynergy.net and a series of webinars, member meetings and communications will take place in the coming weeks and months. Please visit each association website for details on upcoming vote dates. Voting will take place over the summer. Members now have the opportunity to get informed, cast their ballots and help create the future of Canada’s seed sector.
Projects Seeded Thousands of Acres for Foodgrains Bank By Elmer Heinrichs It looks like most, if not all of the 39 grow projects seeding fields for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) are off to a good start, said Gordon Janzen, CFGB’s regional representative for Manitoba. “This has been a challenging spring for many farmers, too. Cold and wet field conditions delayed seeding in many parts of the province. So, there are farmers who also may feel like they’ve hit the
wall,” suggested Janzen. “Amidst these challenges I find it so encouraging that Manitoba growing projects are seeding more than 5,000 acres of crops this year. Crops that represent hope for families who need food around the world,” he added. Seeding has gone fairly well for most of the growing projects, although it was slow in getting started, he said. “Our records show that we have just over 5,000 acres this year
in Manitoba and northwest Ontario.” Janzen said these projects run by farmer groups around the province and two others “Grow Hope” run by church agencies (MCC and the Anglican Church) are growing wheat, canola and soybeans with two growing oats and peas. “We have two new projects, including the Will Do GP near Somerset, plus one near Rosenort which is resuming production,” said Janzen.
Thanks to an enthusiastic group of volunteers, the Scratching River growing project near Rosenort has started up again. Chris Bergen fertilized and seeded 60 acres of wheat on land contributed by Nick and Jacqueline Dueck. Tiring of the Coronavirus pandemic, Janzen said, “My spirit was revived when I thought of farm supporters and growing project groups planting fields to support food programs through the Foodbank.”
June 26, 2020
Stay Ahead of Fusarium Keep it Clean is encouraging cereal growers to stay ahead of fusarium head blight (FHB) by taking a proactive approach to managing the disease this growing season. “It is important for all wheat, barley and oat growers to put together a proactive plan to manage the disease and remain vigilant, employing as many FHB management best practices as possible,” said Brenna Mahoney, director of communications and stakeholder relations with Cereals Canada. “By taking steps to manage the disease, producers can limit the presence of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in their harvested grain and protect its marketability.” Commonly known as vomitoxin, DON can be produced when the fungal disease FHB infects cereal crops. Its presence can limit grain’s end uses and marketing potential, as most importing countries have strict limits on DON levels. Shipments that exceed acceptable levels of DON could be rejected, at tremendous cost to the industry, and may impact Canada’s reputation as a producer of high-quality cereal grains. FHB can be identified by premature bleaching and salmon-coloured fungal growth on the heads of crops it has infected, with symptoms showing up approximately three weeks after infection. To help keep marketing options open for their harvested grain and maximize return on investment, Keep it Clean recommends growers use the following practices to manage FHB: - Grow the most FHB-resistant varieties available in areas at risk for FHB. - Plant clean seed and consider a seed treatment in high-risk areas. - Scout for stage, not symptoms, and apply fungicide when there is an elevated risk of FHB. - If FHB is identified, send samples of harvested grain for testing to detect the presence of mycotoxins, such as DON. - Rotate away from cereals on FHB-infected fields for 1-2 years. - Use a combination of best management practices to control fusarium. As part of their FHB management plan, growers are also encouraged to make use of the materials available through provincial commodity groups and agricultural departments, including risk maps, to inform their decisions and help to limit the spread and severity of outbreaks. “By keeping fusarium damaged grain and mycotoxins to a minimum, growers are protecting their investment and protecting market access for all,” said Mahoney. “When we all work together to protect Canada’s reputation as a trusted supplier, it helps our entire industry thrive.” For more information on fusarium management, visit keepingitclean.ca/cereals/fusarium.
Videos and resources are available on keepingitclean.ca Canadian cereal growers – fusarium head blight (FHB) and the presence of the mycotoxin DON can hurt the quality and marketability of your wheat, barley and oat crops. This summer, follow the Keep it Clean fusarium management practices to stay ahead of FHB and limit the spread and severity of outbreaks.
June 26, 2020
Among the Farmers On the Big Plains The Manitoba Agricultural Museum obtained digital copies of the Nor-West Farmer and Miller for the year 1886. The Nor-West Farmer in the mid 1880s ran a monthly series called “Among the Farmers” in which its reporters for the paper visited various agricultural ventures and communities in Manitoba to report on their progress. A reporter only named as “K” visited the Carberry area in April, 1886 and toured various farmers for three days. A lengthy report on this trip appeared in the May, 1886 Nor-West Farmer. Due to the space constraints faced, this release does not feature the entire report, but rather excerpts from it.
On the Big Plains
Accepting the kind invitation of the secy.-treasurer of the Brandon No 2 E.D. Agricultural Society, Mr. H.W. White, I visited Carberry during April and drove for three days over the far-famed “Big Plains”. These plains are about 40 miles by 70 miles in size and are over the greater part of their extent exactly what their name indicates, a “plain”. The general surface of the country is level, with sufficient low land for pasturage for mixed husbandry. The soil ranges from light and sandy to heavy loam with clay subsoil. Parts of the plain are admirably suited for large stock farms, but as a general thing the hay lands are pretty well divided up. The first settlers reached here in the spring of 1877, just nine years ago. They are for a great part Scotch or of Scottish descent, from the well known counties of Huron and Bruce. Some Irish, Germans and Canadians are settled here and doing well. Leaving Carberry early in the morning, our course lay north-eastward over roads (trails in this neighborhood are almost completely unknown) smooth, hard and dry, and between farms as neatly fenced as any portion of the older provinces. The universal fence here is the barb wire, and to my mind it has a bright and cheerful appearance in contrast to the “stump,” or “snake” varieties of Ontario. The only lands not fenced are those held by speculators. Here let me remark, for the benefit of those who think of immigrating, or those who are in search of land, that these lands, like thousands of acres more in the Province, can now be had at low prices, and it seems to me more profitable to buy cheap in a well settled district, with schools, churches and neighbors at hand, than to go farther away for free homesteads. Remember, all things equal, every mile one goes from the markets the less the products of the farm will realize. The Big Plains have been notoriously free from all kinds of noxious weeds. The mustard, thistle, buckwheat, cockle, and wild oats, are as rare as a short winded politician on the election trail, but not half as much appreciated. As I stated in a preceding paragraph, the first settlers on the Plains have been in just nine years. They have harvested eight successive crops, and they assured me that until last year they never had a dollar ’s worth of damage by frost or by anything else, save a little by too wet a harvest in 1884. This speaks for itself, comment is unnecessary. It was a cheering sight so early as April 14th to see wheat in some places beginning to show above the ground and to find on every farm the country over, seeding in full swing, and in some instances about completed. The general average is from a week to ten days earlier than last year. I have seen many of the best portions of Manitoba and Assiniboia, and I do not think the Big Plains, to use a homely phase, need “take back water from any of them.” Certainly so great an extent of first-class farming land, with so little waste, would be hard to find in any place under the sun. The first place to which my attention was drawn was the farm of J. Polworth, not many miles out of Carberry. This man, who has Gaelic blood in his veins, came to his present location in 1879, poor as a “church mouse.” In seven years, by dint of hard work, good management and economy he has bought nearly all of his half section under cultivation, built a house and barns and gathered about him as choice a little collection of livestock as one would wish to see. He has some excellent young grade Shorthorns and good horse flesh. As we drove by he was busy seeding, and doing it by hand. His colossal frame and powerful arms were moving with the regularity of clockwork. A ravine intersects this farm, and on the banks of it are located the buildings, while in the bottom is ample pasture for the stock. The next place visited was the model farm owned by J. Stinson, who is, I think, an Irishman. Anyway, be that as it may be, he came here five years ago from the county of Huron, Ontario. He has in all, 800 acres, 480 of it being under cultivation. He divides up
his farm into 40 acre fields with a roadway around. He has 160 acres in timothy, which did not yield very heavily last year. He summer fallows about 100 acres each year, and divides another 100 acres between oats and barley, the balance being wheat. Although sticking to Red Fyfe wheat as a crop, he is experimenting with a little White Fyfe and Lost Nation. He has done well in Manitoba, and is satisfied, so much so that he intends investing largely in livestock. Two very fine general purpose stallions, the property of the proprietor, were at work on the harrows at the time I visited the farm. Mr Stinson believes in making them earn their living by the sweat of their brow. When seeding is over he will travel them through the district. Leaving here we drove in a westerly direction through the McLaren estate. The chief of the clan, Malcolm McLaren, and his sons John, Dougald, James, Archie and Duncan, have between them two sections of land. By their broad accent one is not long in doubt as to the place of their nativity. They came to this country from near Galt in 1879 and have between them 450 acres under cultivation. The old gentleman is an enthusiastic gardener and devotes his time to it. He has a fine plantation of maples, which he grew from seeds planted three years ago, on ground cultivated previously as a garden. The three year ’s growth have been marvelous and shows in what a short space of time anyone can have a substantial wind break. Gooseberries, currants and raspberries, Mr. McLaren says do better here than in any part of Canada. While cultivating such a vast number of acres and giving so much time to gardening and tree planting, the family do not overlook livestock. They have enough horses for their farm work and two good two year old colts from grade Clydesdale mares by a thoroughbred Percheron stallion, “General Garfield,” besides cattle, pigs and poultry. This is one of the solid families of the Plains. Continuing our course westward, the next place reached was the homestead of the late president of the Agricultural Society, one of the well-to-do and respected pioneers of the Plains, George Hope, who came in eight years ago. Thirty years ago he left the land of heather and was in Ontario until coming here. He was the first to erect a building on the Big Plains and I had the pleasure of seeing the pioneer log house, a building 16x20, now being used as a store house. Surrounding his house plot is a healthy plantation of maples which for their age would be hard to beat. Five years ago the seeds were planted on cultivated ground and the result has been highly satisfactory. He also has healthy spruce trees which last year made a growth of about 20 inches, as well as small fruits in abundance. Mrs. Hope, whose hospitality we enjoyed at our mid-day meal, has a wonderfully fine collection of flowering plants, consisting of geraniums, lilies, wall flowers, etc. One fine Lilly was in bloom, as well as several geraniums, and the wall flowers were giving evidence of a prolific crop of blossoms. It is pleasant so far out on the prairie and in a country where so many people’s aim seems to be in accordance with the old man’s advice to his son, “make money honestly, if you can, but make it,” to find so much attention given to the cultivation of these things which, while they are elevating in their tendency, are certainly more ornamental than useful. Mr. Hope’s half section makes as fine a farm as the Province contains, and better farmers are now out of print. He and his wife are bright, cheerful folks, thankful for the past and trusting for good fortune in the future. Hope by name and hopeful by nature. Of his half section he has 250 under cultivation. His plan is to crop 100 acres with wheat each year, summer fallow 100 acres and seed the balance with oats and barley. Last year his 30 acres of timothy yielded 80 tons, or nearly three tons to the acre. He objects to manuring on the grounds that the straw becomes too rank. His oats last year took first prize at the Carberry and Brandon shows.
June 26, 2020
Carberry grain elevators in 1904, 18 years after the 1886 “Among the Farmers” report on the Carberry area demonstrates the growth in crop cultivation in the area. To the east of the Carberry Elevator Company, Number 2 elevator is what appears to be a “flat warehouse”. Flat warehouses were grain handling facilities however the handling was largely carried out by hand. Grain was unloaded by hand from grain wagons and placed into small bins in the flat warehouse. When a railcar arrived for loading the grain was shoveled into small carts which were wheeled out to the railcar beside the warehouse and then the grain was shoveled into the car. A warehouse could also handle the grain in bags. When loading the railcar the bags were dumped into the car. A very tall stack is visible on the Wm. Hope Number One elevator which maybe an indication the elevator was “worked” by steam. Early grain elevators had power supplied by horse sweeps and later by steam engines. However by 1904, gas engine technology had progressed to the point where gas engines were suitable to power elevators. These engines were less of a fire hazard than steam engines. Photo courtesy of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum
In livestock he has a pedigreed Shorthorn bull, twenty head of cattle, a number of young calves and enough horses to keep up the work on so large a farm, besides pigs and poultry in numbers. His purebred Langshan fowls are an improvement on the nondescript varieties which are usually found throughout the country. Like most of the settlers hereabouts he bought very little into the country but his will to succeed and is to-day in a position of absolute independence. His son Robert has an adjoining half section and is also well-to-do. Leaving here we drove north to the adjoining farm, the property of John Barron, who is the son-in-law to the last mentioned gentleman, and is probably the hardest worker on the entire Plains. He just revels in work and is at it night and day. He has 260 acres in crop this year and is summer fallowing another 200 acres. His cattle number 22 head, a few of them being pedigreed Shorthorns, one of them beating the famous Binscarth stock last year. His horseflesh is above average, one trapping mare in foal to the famous “Black Duke,” was particularly noticeable. Some Berkshire pigs which were toddling about the barn yard fairly rolling in fat, we were assured had rustled for themselves all winter and had not been fed once during the entire season. Timothy on this farm yielded two tons to the acre last year. At the corner of Mr. Barron’s farm is the site of what was to have been Fairview station had the railway from Melbourne not died (for the present at least). Continuing our course northward, we come in sight of the Riding Mountains, which lie about 40 miles distant, and are extremely pretty. The next place where a stop was made was at the farm of Michael Collins, who has, as his name evidences, Hibernian blood in his veins. He is secretary-treasurer of the municipality, and has one of the best farms on the Plains, but unfortunately for us he was absent when we called. Alex McIntosh was next in order in our course north. Mr. McIntosh, it is needless to say, is a Scotchman, or is of Scottish descent and has been on his farm for seven years. He is one of the solid men of the Plains, and the vice-president of the Agricultural Society. He cultivates 200 acres of land and allows 50 acres to lie fallow every year. Like nearly every farmer on the Plains he has a timothy meadow which yielded very well the last season. His cattle, horses, poultry, pigs and young stock are both numerous and of good grade. He has a perfect marvel of a collie dog which does everything but speak and Mr. McIntosh has a shrewd suspicion that he could do that but won’t for fear of being sent to day-school. All over the Plains I found farmers pickling their seed wheat to prevent smut. Many of them said they were doing it for the first time, but thought it was necessary, as the seed they were using was
frosted, and they thought more liable to smut. Again resuming our course northward, we come to the farm of Geo. Armstrong, who has been farming here for eight years. He was the assessor of the municipality and was formerly employed on the railway, as were a number of those settled hereabouts. He has a quarter section of remarkably fine land and has 112 acres under crop. When we called he was busy seeding and said that he waist this respect thirteen days earlier than any other season since he came on his farm. He finds timothy of great benefit as the cattle can graze on it for two months after the prairie grass becomes useless. He has a nice little plantation of maples, as well as small fruits in great variety. Three years ago he planted some apple trees and finds they do remarkably well. The growth each year is substantial, and as he cuts away the suckers the season’s growth hardens in the winter. Gooseberries, currants and other small fruits do as well here as anywhere in the universe. Seven years ago wild strawberries grew in such rank abundance on these Plains that in teaming over them, one would fancy the wheels had been running in pools of blood. Close settlement, cultivation and prairies fires have to a great extent killed out the vines. Before sowing his maple tree seeds the soil was well cultivated as a vegetable garden and the result has been marvelous. Mustard, thistle, buckwheat, cockle and wild oats do not exist in any quantities hereabouts. Summer fallowing rids the farmer of buckwheat. The Armstrong account concludes the report. The acreages under cultivation by farmers in this report are, by today’s standards, very small however in 1880s these were substantial. In the account of one farming family the reporter makes mention of a vast acreage under cultivation, the father and his five sons having 450 acres under cultivation. These acreages are a result of the largely manual methods of farming at the time. Other than the use of horses and oxen for traction, almost every other farming activity was largely manual. Seeding a crop in the Carberry area at the time of the report was carried out by hand broadcasting with a shallow plowing then burying the seeds to the proper depth. Even livestock operations required large amounts of manual labor to cut gather and stack hay. Little wonder then that farm machinery advances were eagerly welcomed. The Manitoba Agricultural Museum is open year round. For more information visit mbagmuseum.ca. As Manitoba celebrates 150 years as a province, tell your story of Manitoba agriculture! The Manitoba Agricultural Museum needs you to contribute your farming story by showcasing yourself, one of your ancestors or someone you know and telling your/their story! More information on this project can be found at mbagmuseum.ca/farmersofmanitoba.
June 26, 2020
Manitoba agriculture news and features.