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The Agri Post

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Ethanol the Beast? By Les Kletke

backfiring and hurting those in the industry that rely on The move to find other uses feed grains as their inputs. for agricultural crops may be Don O’Conner told Grain

World 2013 that the demand for feed grains used for the ethanol industry could be having a huge impact on

Ten-Four Good Buddy, Corn Yields Set to Rise By Les Kletke “Ten-four” could become more than CB lingo for an affirmative answer; it might become the price range for U.S. corn and resultantly the Canadian crop as well. That was the word from Dr. Richard S. Anderson, Executive Vice-President of Informa Economics, at this year’s Grain World Conference in Winnipeg. Speakers unanimously pointed to the grain market becoming a much more continental market but more of a surprise was the price range that he predicted. Andersen, who has nearly 40 years of experience in the commodity markets with various companies and several components of the supply chain, said the uncertainty is a reality and advised producers to be prepared for it. He acknowledged that the drought of 2012 had pushed corn prices to record highs and extremely tight stocks but, with some normalcy in the weather, stocks could be rebuilt quickly and he noted that, due to other suppliers, the U.S. market no longer insisted on as large a carry over as it once required. “There is going to be a huge acreage planted to corn this spring,” he said. “If we see a normal year (weather-wise) we could see yields back around the 163 bushels an acre mark. We have had three dry years and the potential has increased with newer technologies but we have been held back by weather if a normal year the yields will increase along the long term trend line.” Anderson said that Brazil is a factor in the market but remains an unknown with yields and export potential largely unpredictable, “We could see a large crop coming out of Brazil that would have an impact, but as harvest begins that is largely dependant on the weather as well.” Anderson looked back at the pre-harvest price range of $4 - $7.50 for the 2012 crop and said the same thing could happen this year but even more extreme, “We could see a range of between $10 and $4 for this crop.” He stopped short of predicting which would be more likely and indicated that it would be possible to see both price points for the crop that is about to be planted. He was cautious on predicting what the high prices of corn would do in the long term for ethanol production. “We saw the prices this year slowed the production of ethanol,” he said. “But if we see a return to the long term average yields we will see an increase in production. It is dependent on the price of the crop.” Anderson advised producers to keep an eye on the weather across the continent and to be marketing their crop into local strengths in the market. “If you find some spot markets that are paying a premium, be prepared to take advantage of it but keep an eye on the weather for the larger market,” he said.

Stats Canada Releases Spring Planting Intentions By Elmer Heinrichs Canola acres across western Canada could be 4.7 percent larger than the record area planted in 2009 as stated by a Statistics Canada release in its March planting intentions report. Early indications are that prairie producers could plant a record area of 16.8 million acres of canola. Most of that increase is in Saskatchewan as canola acres in Manitoba could drop by 40 thousand acres. Soybean area in Manitoba is expected to rise 8.4 percent to 450,000 acres. Spring wheat acres in Manitoba could increase by 5.9 percent, according to the survey, while oat acres may increase by as much as 17 percent. The area planted to dry white beans could increase by 44 percent to 65,000 acres while coloured edible bean acres are expected to drop by 23 percent to 70,000 acres. The latest report predicts sunflower acres could increase by 6 percent while grain corn area will decrease by 11 percent. Expectations are that flax acres will be cut nearly in half. The planting intentions survey is based on questions submitted to thousands of producers during the final week of March.

feed prices and that could put the squeeze on livestock producers. Livestock producers that were just beginning to recover from a decade of difficult times mainly due to factors outside of their control. Beef producers who were faced with BSE and a weakening of the U.S. dollar relative to the Canadian are just beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Those that have survived in the industry were set to capitalize on strong prices but a run up in feed costs last summer has take a bite out of those profits. O’Conner who is President of S&T Squared Consultants says that the U.S. now uses 40 % of its corn crop for ethanol and the intent to ramp up production until 2022 has had a tremendous effect on corn prices and will continue to do so, even if the expansion is slowed or curtailed. O’Conner was clear that any industry created by government legislation could be slowed or reduced just as easily as it was created. He says that the smaller plants in Canada do not have

as a dramatic impact on removing feed grains from the market and some of the mandated legislation means that alcohol moves from province to province to meet provincial needs. A province like Ontario has less refining capacity than the amount of alcohol required meeting ethanol requirements. Even at this time, it can import the product less expensively from the U.S. He sites the major factor for the industry is crude prices and at $100, ethanol is a viable economic alternative and production will continue even when corn prices increase. The competition in the corn market will have a greater impact on the cattle feeding industry than it will in the ethanol industry. With each province writing its own legislation, it has made for an uneven playing field. The ethanol industry has developed at different rates in various provinces, with seven plants in western Canada and some of these connected to feed lots. It could be a matter of being

Don O’Connor says that ethanol production now uses 40% of the US corn crop but the industry could be reduced if political will changes. Photo by Les Kletke

careful for what you ask for, because you might get it when it comes to the ethanol industry and feed grain production.


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Funny Thing About Nature th

Here we go again, governments on both sides of the 49 parallel issuing flood reports, provincial governments fighting over the last flood payment or was it the flood before that. Nature will send that when it is ready and we will deal with what she brings regardless of man’s best attempt to predict it. It was during a drive home from the Royal Winter Fair that I stopped to watch a herd of bison for a while, and no calves in the herd. Nature doesn’t send little animals into the cold snowy weather, they will be born when the grass is greening and they can lie down without worry of frost bite. Someone was telling me about the great ear mitts that a lady at Dominion City was making and how they fit on calves that were born when the weather was so cold that wet ears often ended up on the ground separate from their owner. Mother Nature does not have to deal with that… she delivers newborns at a time when they can handle the weather that she dishes out. Believe me, I am not about to say we should all go back to doing everything natural, but I wonder if at times we have gone too far in making our improvements and trying to shape the business of food production to what fits our watches and calendars. I spent a few hours at Agriculture Comes to the City and was surprised to hear many of the public taken aback at what we actually grow in Manitoba. For most of the people who stopped by it was just a matter of, “I hadn’t thought of that before.” They simple had not thought about where their food comes from. That is possible only in a society like ours with abundant and reasonably priced food; we don’t have to worry about where it comes from and if it will be there... our shelves our always full. We are heading into a brand new production cycle… both livestock and crops. Take some time in the next few months to notice the cycle and how big an impact nature still has even when we try to mess it up. And if you have the opportunity to explain the production cycle to someone who is not in the business of farming, please do so. It would be good for them to know because they just haven’t thought about it.

Things Are as They Are Recently someone wrote an article called, The Day the Canadian Wheat Board Died, extolling the virtues of a once-mighty entity, only to crash and burn. Well almost, but I really do believe those who strongly supported the monopoly in the past really do want to see the voluntary board die to be able to say, we told you so. I posted that article to my website with this preamble. Yes and no one even bothered to shed a tear, even the diehards, while spending good money after bad. I’m sure they are enjoying this wonderful new environment of marketing their grain. In a scrum of us media types following a meeting in Winnipeg recently with Len Penner, the president of Cargill Canada, I asked him whether anything has changed and how things are going in the international marketplace following the demise of the monopoly. He looked at me and said, “Harry, it has and is going almost without a hitch. All those customers still need the wheat, and are still getting it today.” Penner said, “Heaven forbid, even grain sales and movement across western Canada have gone smoothly.” Cargill, the third-largest western Canadian grain handler after Viterra and Richardson International, has seen few glitches in the newly opened market, Penner said. “Everyone has stepped up and it’s largely been business as usual. Customers that are looking for Canadian wheat are getting Canadian wheat.” Oh, my look at this; grain movement from the prairies to ports has also been smooth, he said. Then this from Blair Rutter, Executive Director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, who refers to the Wheat Board Monitor John De Pape of Winnipeg’s assessment of the open market after the first six months. “As John notes (and as we predicted), Canadian wheat prices have risen to match prices offered at U.S. elevators,” said Rutter. Remember how many people, those in the media, especially the farm media, still tried to hang on to this monopoly before it silently came crashing down, used long line-ups at elevators just across the border to scaremonger others into believing this would be horrible. John told me before the monopoly fell this wasn’t going to happen because the grain companies on this side of the border wouldn’t let it happen. Consequently no lineups of Canadian trucks at U.S. elevators by Canadian farmers trying to grab that higher price. It was there before, but not now. The elevators bid up the price here so that it wouldn’t happen. Wow! Dodged another bullet. John De Pape said in his CWB Monitor titled 106: Six Months In, “We have now had a full six months of grain markets without the CWB Single Desk and things are looking good.” He said Wheat Board supporters often would argue that without the Single Desk holding back sales and shipments to the U.S., Canadian farmers would be hell-bent to drive down to the U.S. to sell their wheat. “They argued that this tidal wave of deliveries would create long lines of trucks with Canadian license plates at North Dakota elevators, infuriating local farmers, causing a trade challenge by the U.S. and resulting in a closed border,” said De Pape, in words much better than mine. On the other side, he said, those arguing for the removal of the single desk argued that arbitrage would lead to prices in Canada moving higher in relation to U.S. prices. “With Canadian prices moving from $1.00-$2.00 under U.S. prices to seven cents under would be enough for some to say, ‘I told you so,’ but I won’t do that. To drive home the point even further, I could show that Cargill’s bid in Morris, Manitoba is equal to $8.04/bu in U.S. dollars, about two cents better than Gavilon’s bid of $8.02 in Grand Forks, ND. I could say it to make the point stronger, but I won’t bother.” De Pape said it’s no wonder that there aren’t any complaints about Canadian grain trucks at elevators in North Dakota.

Bovine Auto Auto-- Steer While not yet a commercial reality, an exciting new technology has the potential to create a great leap forward in cattle production. In the near future, free-range cows equipped with GPS can be nudged back within virtual fences by means of stimulus devices mounted in their ears. These gadgets could revolutionize how we look after and manage cattle herds. Dean Anderson, a Penners scientist at the U.S. Department of AgriPoints culture, has been developing the concept by Rolf of virtual fencing for Penner years. In simple rolfpenner@agripost.ca terms, the system is a far more sophisticated version of what people now use for training or containing dogs on their property. Anderson is not looking at completely getting rid of fences; he still sees the need for a good outside perimeter fence. But, within that, directional virtual fencing could be used to help solve many management issues that traditional containment systems just can’t. As many cattlemen say, once a fence is up for a while it almost always seems like it is in the wrong place. Or that the cattle are in the wrong spot within the boundaries of that fence. The notion of moving livestock easily across remote landscapes in real time without a lot of labor or equipment is quite appealing. Sometimes one area is chronically overgrazed, while another area may be very lush, green with plants that have never seen a set of teeth at all. The ability to move cattle from one area to another with nothing more than a couple of mouse clicks would make life much easier for ranchers. According to Anderson, cattlemen right now use more than 68 different conventional strategies to try to affect the distribution of a herd in any given area. These include temporary fences, putting drinking water in a new location, putting in artificial shade, etc., none of which work perfectly or in real time. Anderson’s system involves a combination of sounds and electrical stimulation. The audio can be scaled up from a whisper to the sound of a 747 at full-throttle take-off. The stimuli can range from the equivalent of the kind of static shock you’d get from scooting across the floor in your socks to what it would feel like if you stopped your gaspowered lawn mower by grabbing the spark plug. The closer a cow gets to the virtual fence perimeter, the more intense the sensory cues and stimuli get. To move animals in a desired direction the cues are automatically sent to whatever side of the animal is closest to the virtual fence. That is right; the prompts can be bilaterally applied. This is what makes this system unique from other virtual-fence mechanisms. It gives one the literal ability to steer the animals over a given area. The system contains built-in “fail-safes” to ensure that an animal is not overstressed or continually irritated to the point of going nuts if it doesn’t respond properly in a reasonable amount of time. Anderson is proud of the fact that when he puts heart-rate monitors on his test cows they actually spike more when a flock of birds flies overhead than when he applies his corrective stimuli. Anderson was asked about combining his virtual fencing with unmanned aerial reconnaissance drones. He agrees that they could be a great fit, but warns, “All of these whizbang technologies are potentially great, but in the hands of someone who is basically lazy, or somebody who just does not understand plant-animal interface, they could be huge problems.” Proper management still depends on someone who knows the landscape and the difference between overstocking and under stocking. You’re still going to need a knowledgeable person with boots on the ground to make sure things are going the way you want. Getting a system like this up and running still presents challenges. One is how to power the devices effectively while they are on the animals. However, the benefits are so obvious that it should just be a matter of time before we see it up and running. Humanity has a long history of successfully replacing backbreaking, tedious, boring work with technology. For cattlemen, the virtual fence means it’s their turn.


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Government’s All Talk With the high levels of recent snow, many of us are wondering with concern whether there will be a flood again this year; indeed in the U.S. they are already projecting a major flood for Fargo. Since the flood of 2011, I have travelled tens of thousands of By Dr. Jon Gerrard kilometres around the province, meeting people and holding forums and looking for better answers for preventing future floods. I produced a report, which can be found easily by googling “Manitoba Liberal Party Final Flood Report”. One of the major issues following the flood of 2011 has been the lack of support for farmers. Farmers around Lake Manitoba remained in a serious situation in 2012 as water levels remained high and some farmers still had areas which they normally farm that were far too wet with continued large growths of cattails. For others the long term flooding of grazing lands is requiring a multi-year restoration program. On February 22, I attended a meeting in Marquette, chaired by Tom Teichroeb, with Harry Siemens as MC in which more than 200 flood affected individuals, including many farmers, were present. A chief concern was the lack of coordination between the federal and provincial governments in ensuring a program was available to help compensate farmers for continuing losses in 2012 because of the flood of 2011. Manitoba farmers deserve better than this federal-provincial infighting. At the forum and on my blog (Jon Gerrard’s blog - Feb 24th), I called for the province and federal governments to work together. I urged that a plan be in place within two weeks so that money can flow to help farmers by the end of March. Sadly, this plan is not yet in place and farmers are still waiting for the help that they should receive. In the support of farmers and in the prevention of future flooding I have made numerous recommendations for improving overall water management in our province to decrease the risks of flooding in the future. Sadly, to date, the province has been slow to act, and we continue to be at greater risk of flooding than we should be if improvements were made. In all my almost 20 years in politics, I have never before seen such a chaotically delivered effort as the 2011 Flood recovery programs. For more details, you can visit my full report with sixty-five recommendations that should be addressed for Manitobans. If you need help or would like to share your ideas. Please contact me at jon.gerrard@leg.gov.mb.ca or phone my office at 204.945.5194. Jon Gerrard is the Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

Save the Date for 2nd Annual Manitoba 4-H FFun un Fest The Manitoba 4-H Fun Fest is back for another year and it promises to be bigger and better. Fun Fest will happen at the Dufferin Agricultural Society Fairgrounds in Carman July 11 - 13, in conjunction with the annual Carman Country Fair. It will feature favourite activities like horse, beef and dairy shows, a banquet and a Supreme Showmanship competition. This year’s event will also offer a variety of multi-purpose competitions, a pool party, a Grand March, and participation in the Carman Fair parade. Registration fees are being lowered to make the event as affordable as possible. Members bringing livestock will only pay $30 per person while all other members will pay $20. Registration fees include entrance to all activities, one ticket to the banquet, one ticket to the pool party and a souvenir t-shirt. All participants of Fun Fest will also be eligible to win a trip to the Pro Show in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia September 27-29. This is also the centennial year for 4-H in Canada and some special events are planned to honour the milestone. “We’re inviting former 4-H members to bring us their old 4-H projects to showcase them and share memories,” said FunFest Chairperson Diane Kovar. “And since we’re running in conjunction with the Carman Country Fair, we have the opportunity to promote 4-H in their parade.” Registration forms are expected to be online at 4h.mb.ca by the end of March. For information, contact Diane Kovar at (204) 571-0854.

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Toews Doesn alk His TTalk alk with FFarmers armers Doesn’t’t W Walk Dear Editor: MP Vic Toews likes to say that he and the Conservative Party support our farmers. The facts say otherwise. This month, a new Conservative federal-provincial agricultural agreement goes into effect setting the course for farming in Canada for the next 5 years, marking an unprecedented attack on programs designed to help farmers manage their risk - backstops necessary to farmers in tough times. Among the shocking cuts to the business risk management (BRM) suite are cuts to AgriInvest,

which helps cover income declines and provides funds to mitigate risks and invest in the farm, slashing its funding by 33 percent. More surprisingly, they also took a huge chunk out of AgriStability, which helps cover declines in producers’ average income from previous years, hacking off as much as $411 million a year, for a total cut of more than $2 billion over the 5-year program. With these cuts, the Conservatives are leaving producers more vulnerable when bad times hit – and doing so despite clearly hearing from farmers how valuable these programs are. Instead of cutting red tape, they cut all the reasonable assistance farmers

rely on in times of need. These cuts to BRM come on the heels of shortsighted plans to eliminate the Agroforestry Development Centre in Indian Head and the PFRA’s Community Pasture program— which both provide essential public services for producers that don’t have viable private business models—as well as reckless cuts to food inspection, which leaves the door open to another XL Foods-like crisis. The next time you hear Mr. Toews boast about his support for farmers, you might want to ask him about that record! Yours sincerely, Frank Valeriote, MP Liberal Party of Canada Agriculture Critic


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Building Bricks of Good Nutrition By Les Kletke Diane Mauthe was on hand at Agriculture in the City to give consumers a look at what their food contains and how its makeup can affect the storage of foods. Mauthe, who is with Ag in the Classroom, is one of the principles that brings the 3-day event to the heart of Winnipeg offering consumers an opportunity to try a refractometre and measure the brix rating for several foods. “It (the refractometre) measures the light going through the food, which is affected by the amount of sugar in a food,” she said. “It has been used by wine makers for years but it is not something that consumers are used to.” She does not envision the day when consumers will be carrying their own refractometres with them on shopping trips but said that providing consumers with more information about their food helps them make better nutritional choices. That leads to more confidence in the safety of their food and, in some cases, choosing Manitoba produced products. A plant uses its leaves to convert the sun’s energy to plant energy through photosynthesis. It uses that energy to pull in nutrients and minerals for growth and health. A brochure provided at the booth, which was part of the display at the Forks March 15-17, set a definition of 10 BRIX as a beginning goal. “A higher BRIX will provide more nutrition, taste better and have a longer shelf life,” said Mauthe. An apple sampled at the booth by this reporter resulted in a BRIX rating of just above 11, which placed it in the good plus range. A rating of six was rated as poor and an excellent rating would be 18 or more. The chart also provided ratings for several forages like alfalfa and sorghum. Mauthe said that several of the activities included in Agriculture in the City had changed and a speaker competition between students presenting their views on agricultural issues proved popular and brought out several out-

Diane Mauthe of Ag in the Classroom demonstrates how the amount of sugar in a food solid may be measured with a refractometer. The display was part of Agriculture in the City. Photo by Les Kletke

standing orators. The competition was won by Courtney Jordan of Beausejour, who is a student at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba. In past years, the display at the Forks has also featured a piece of farm equipment, either a combine or a tractor, but that was not available this year and, due to the weather, was probably a good thing. Weather on the weekend was cold and windy keeping visitors inside the Forks market and visiting the displays of various producer groups.


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Durum Could be Sleeper By Les Kletke A Senior Durum Merchandiser with a major American grain firm says that durum markets will be worth watching for the next crop year. John Griffith is a Senior Merchandiser with CHS Inc. and told the Grain World Conference in Winnipeg that durum markets could be very strong this year. “The U.S. will not reach the USDA goal this year, and the crop will not be adequate for the global demand. The marked will have to adjust to meet the demand.” Said Griffith. He expressed that demand from Morocco and Spain will be key and the impact on the world price will be dependent on the crop in Spain, “Spain could have a good crop and a lot will depend on the weather.” Griffith said, production is down in the U.S., but up by an almost equal amount in Mexico and production in Canada has decreased. “The U.S. production has declined by about 20% and even a small decline now has a greater impact as the supply gets tighter.” He noted. “Canadian production is expected to decline by 8% and that could be a factor in the market.” He said that pasta producers had been slow to lock in a price and tend to wait for a drop in the market as harvest begins but that could backfire on them this year as production drops off and the supply is not there to meet the demand for durum flour. “The European Union is down to minimum production levels and that could make for a very tight market.” Al Lyons, President of Prairie Horizons and a former agricultural economics professor at the University of Manitoba chairing the Wheat Market outlook panel said in his opening remarks that the wheat market is in a time of evolution. Lyons is well known for his views of challenging the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and commented that the marketing system will continue to develop in the absence of the Board’s monopoly. Producers should be aware of unique situations that develop for spot markets. Durum wheat could be a commodity that will see some unique opportunities in the next crop year.

MB Canola Growers Elects Officers

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The Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) held its reorganization meeting recently and has chosen Ed Rempel from Starbuck as President. “I am excited to be MCGA’s President for the upcoming year and look forward to meeting as many members as possible,” stated Ed Rempel. Brian Chorney from East Selkirk was elected as Vice-President, Hugh Drake from Elkhorn was elected as Treasurer and Wilfred (Butch) Harder from Lowe Farm was elected as Secretary.


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The Hobby that Grew By Les Kletke Kevin Lipsett says that what began as a hobby for his parents has grown into a business for the family, a business that takes him off the road as a truck driver to spend a week in Brandon with the family’s Percherons. The family farm at Schomberg, Ontario has 40 horses, 300 head of beef cattle and 3,000 acres of land in feed production. “We grow corn, beans and alfalfa,” said Cal Jr. who manages the farm full time. “We have 37 cows that we calf out and the rest we buy feeders. We grow our own feed and sell the excess grain but everything has to pay its way.” While the cattle are commercial, the horses are purebred Percherons that the farm buys and prepares as their own or other hitches. “We try to add value to a horse when we buy it,” added Lipsett. “We also have some breeding lines that are very well respected and we work with horses from those lines to make horses that will fit in the top hitches in North America.” He says that much of the character of a horse is in the breeding and while you can train them somewhat, the high stepping showy character is born into them. While most people can tell you of the Budweiser hitch being the ultimate for Clydesdale breeders, Percherons have their own great hitches that are only slightly less recognized. “Disney uses Percherons, as well as Heinz Foods,” said Kevin. “Those are the high profile in our breed and we have sold horses into the Disney hitch.” He said that while the high profile companies

will pay top dollar for the horse they want the price does not exceed the market by great amounts. “They only have to out bid the highest local buyer so it doesn’t mean a windfall. But selling into a hitch like that is great for the profile of the farms breeding program.” He added. “The horse community is pretty small and talk gets around at shows so if someone has a really good horse, buyers

find out about it and they are at a farm to look at it or watch for it at a show.” The Glencal farm has also sold a top wheel into the Ames Construction hitch, which is one of the highest profiles for Percheron hitches in North America. Kevin says a top gelding will bring as much as $30,000 from someone who needs him in the hitch while a good mare could bring as much as $50,000 because she could give you 15 or so colts over her life.”

Kevin Lipsett takes a week of from his regular job to help his brother with the family horses at the Royal Winter Fair, he says the horses started as a hobby for his dad and have grow to a business part of the farm. Photo by Les Kletke


ItIt’s ’s About the FFuture uture By Les Kletke Kathy Brown looked at this year’s Royal Manitoba Winter Fair as event about the future. Her and husband Lyle have been a dominant force in the heavy horse show but this year have committed 7 geldings to the Midwest Horse Sale in Madison, Wisconsin in April and have plans to start a new mare hitch. “We are going to be starting a new hitch,” says Kathy, “and that takes a while so we will see how this year goes.” As the Royal Winter Fair got underway she was optimistic about the Futurity event where they would be selling 3 colts. “We usually bring two but they accepted another one so this year we will have three.” The colts return in two years and compete in Rail, Halter, and

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Obstacle events with prize money shared by breeder and owner. The event was previously held in Regina but heavy horses have been removed from the program at Agribition and the event found a home in Brandon. The Browns also sold a pair of horses into the high profile Ames Percheron hitch this past summer, another feather in the hat of the Manitoba breeder. The Brown farm has a hundred purebred Percheron mares in its equine ranch facility as well as training facilities for the horses it deems worth of bringing along in the show world. Along with the 100 mares there are 8 studs that provide recognized blood lines, a score of two-year-olds and at least 10 horses for replacing the mares past their prime. The farm breeds horses under two prefixes Ju-ly and Valley Ridge with both securing good recognition in the Percheron world. Lyle also finds time to compete in roping events on the local rodeo circuit and has been recognized by the Rodeo Cowboys Association.

At Home Anywhere By Les Kletke Weyburn, Saskatchewan does not have the same recognition in Canadian equine circles as Calgary or even Brandon but it is home for Dorsch Farms and Don and Connie Dorsch who have proven that Weyburn can train horses that can compete with any in Canada. Connie acknowledges that the location has affected their business. “We don’t have the same number of people coming to take lessons or in the immediate area but we try to do things that make up for it. When people call and ask for a horse, I try to have more than one to show them to make it worth the trip.” Don concentrates on the cropping operation through the summer with 2,200 acres of durum, canola and mustard. “We had to crop failures because of to much rain in 2010 and 2011 but last year we had an average crop with only 4 inches of rain,” he says. While neighbors are transitioning to soybean production he is staying with traditional crops. “With the horses I don’t have time to learn how to grow a new crop and I know that is what it Don and Connie Dorsch see the Royal Winter Fair as a great place to showcase their horses and training services. Connie was on hand before the Fair to provide instruction at two clinics. Photo by Les Kletke

More Than a Friend By Les Kletke Ask Tara Hofer about Connie Dorsch and she hesitates not because she has mixed emotion about the Weyburn horse trainer but rather about which term to use first. “She is a friend and a mentor,” says Hofer who has had horses for more years than she cares to admit. Hofer gives riding lessons herself to a troupe of 5 young riders in Shilo but trains with Dorsch. “I learn so much from her that makes me a better rider but it also makes me a much better teacher,” has Hofer. “Connie has been a competitive rider and does a good job of understanding what your challenges are and how to deal with them in the ring.” What has she learned? “The positive mental attitude, Connie always has a positive attitude and not all coaches do that when they are suggesting ways for you to improve,” says Hofer. Tara Hofer competes at the Royal with her horse but also spends time as a groom for her mentor and friend Connie Dorsch. Photo by Les Kletke

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would require, there are definitely more beans in the area.” The Dorschs have established themselves as top notch trainers. “We want to add value to the horses we buy,” says Connie. “Many of our horses come from Holland or the Czech Republic and we buy in then in a condition where we can train them and make them a better horse.” She says the recent increase in the Canadian dollar has made shopping in Europe a bit less attractive and the $10,000 cost of importing a horse is always a factor. “But people want good horses and that is where we find them.” Connie says the couple had each been involved with horses before but began the current operation when they married in 1976 and have continued to grow the operation and have found some time to compete as well. She is a Equine Canada senior Hunter/Jumper/Equitation judge and credits the travel to various events in helping her build her network of people and horses. “You get to know more people and their horses, this business is all about relationships and the more events you get to the bigger your network,” she says. Connie agrees with a recent study that pointed to mature women as being the faster growing group of horse owners. “It is the women who could not afford riding lessons when they were younger and now have the money to do some things they want to do,” she says. “They are great students because they are dedicated to what they want and they have an understanding of the costs. They have the dedication and responsibility and are loyal to the sport.” Dorsch Farms makes every effort to provide them with what they want. “We provide lessons, we sell horses and we train horses,” says Connie, “and it doesn’t matter which province you’re from.” The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair has long been a favorite event for the couple who have purchased a good many horses from Manitoba operations. “We bought a lot of horses from Ravine Ranch when they were a PMU operation and now we are dealing with their sons who operate Kings Crossing arena,” she says.

To further blur the lines of the pair’s relationship, Hofer works as a groom for the Dorschs during the Royal Winter Fair. “I can learn a lot from seeing the way they handle their horses and the day-to-day things that they do with their horses, so I work for them this week.” Hofer says the Keystone facility allows Brandon riders a great advantage. “We are able to have two clinics before the Fair and Connie came to teach at those,” says Hofer. “It was incredibly affordable for young riders and to have someone the caliber of Connie teaching is just a great opportunity for young riders.” The Keystone Centre also has open ride nights through the winter when riders can trailer their horses to the facility and ride indoors during the winter. “That makes it very affordable for young people to ride,” she says. “It is one of the more affordable activities for young people.”


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Spring Cattle Minerals Sprout with Lush Pastures

By Peter Vitti Spring is a special time on the prairies when it gets warmer, the sun seems to be brighter and feed companies sell specifically formulated “spring minerals” for beef cattle. It’s a timely offer because many producers are looking for a nutritious fortified mineral that can be fed to post-calving cows to get them ready for the breeding season. Although there is a general acceptance to buy and feed a spring mineral, some people wonder if such special feeding programs are necessary at this time of

year. Regardless, most people agree that buying the best post-calving mineral for fertile beef cows is really a matter of finding a high quality product that meets these cows’ immediate and near future essential need for macro- and trace-mineral as well as vitamins A, D, and E requirements. Therefore, many spring mineral purchases are first based upon the knowledge that most mineral and vitamin requirements of spring nursing cows tend to soar because they must return to active heat cycles in preparation for successful conception during a

relatively short breeding season. Scientific research backs up this awareness; post-partum cows’ calcium needs increase by nearly 100 percent, while phosphorus and trace mineral demands grow by 50-60 percent, and finally the need for fatsoluble vitamins more than doubles. Once these cows are let out on spring pastures, lush grasses might be high in energy and protein but a mouthful of most green grass will fail to achieve the above nutrient demands, particularly those for magnesium and several trace minerals such as copper, zinc, manganese, and selenium.

Consequently, producers that rush to get their cattle out on pasture in order to save money on feed costs do not provide adequate mineral nutrition and may not see their error for a while, yet it will catch up with them. As a result, many of their cows might fail to become pregnant, have compromised health and even suffer from spring-grass diseases such as grass tetany; all of which reduce revenue and profit. Many of these economic problems can be avoided if beef minerals purchased at the feed store are correctly seen as an investment into one’s economic future by preventing a “primary” mineral deficiency in cattle on pasture, because otherwise not enough of a particular macro- or series of trace minerals are consumed and utilized by the cowherd. For example, a simple copper deficiency in beef cows is caused by a very low concentration of copper found in prairie grass species. A springtime mineral deficiency could also be a “secondary mineral deficiency caused by antagonistic dietary factors that might naturally occur in cattle feeds or be dissolved in their water, which binds up essential minerals and makes them biologically unavailable to the cattle. A good example of this situation is molybdenum, which is found in many soils/forages and binds to dietary copper, forms an unabsorbed complex in the cow’s gut and is excreted. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of wellformulated mineral products available for beef producers that prevent such primary/ secondary mineral deficiencies in beef cows during springtime and beyond. Ideal formulations are based upon specific mineral and vitamin requirements of the beef cow herd, which varies with animal type, age, reproductive status, health status and even soil and environmental conditions. Ruminant nutritionists design these formulas using some basic mineral and vitamin recommendations for beef cattle as outlined by the National Research Council (NRC) and often-go onestep further by adding an “insurance factor” in the attempt of covering a broader base of feeding situations. Here is a cross-section of four sensible springtime beef cow minerals that are found in many western feed stores: 1. Standard beef cow mineral – This formula contains calcium and phosphorus in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio and ranges from 6-18 percent calcium to 6-18 percent phosphorus. These minerals may contain 0-25 percent salt. The guaranteed analysis list on the feed label usually show trace mineral levels of copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, iodine and selenium added from inorganic sources (i.e. copper

sulphate) as well as modest vitamin A, D, and E levels. These basic formulas are usually fed to a cowherd to compliment macro-minerals found in the pasture grasses and meet simply trace mineral requirements. 2. Breeder cattle mineral – This formula contains calcium and phosphorus in a 1:1 or 2:1 ration and ranges from 10-18 percent calcium to 10-18 percent phosphorus. These minerals usually have modest levels of salt (510 percent) to improve mineral consumption. Essential trace minerals are often elevated and a portion is added from chelated or organic sources (i.e. copper proteinates) as well as elevated A, D and E levels. Breeder minerals are often fed one or two months before cowherd calving and well into the breeding season. They tend to build adequate mineral status for good colostrums and milk production after calving as well as return a cow to active heat cycles and promote successful conception. 3. Hi-Magnesium mineral – This is a classic spring cattle mineral which often contains 4-12 percent magnesium to help prevent grass tetany of the high risk period during the first 2- 3 weeks of the grazing season. Its principle formula is usually based on a standard beef cow mineral but can also be formulated based upon breeder cattle mineral. 4. Specialty beef cow minerals – This type of mineral can be based on a standard, breeder or even HiMagnesium beef cow mineral with an added mineral or vitamin nutrition, specifically to tackle a particular problem in the pasture. For example, organic zinc added (4 g/head/d) to a breeder cattle mineral in an attempt to strengthen hooves of cattle grazing water-soaked pastures. Cost of the above spring cattle minerals is mostly a reflection of its feed label guaranteed analysis and therefore governed by its most expensive nutrient/ ingredients. For example, phosphates, organic trace mineral sources and added vitamins cost more than calcium carbonate, salt and inorganic trace mineral sources, which makes breeder cattle mineral ($40$45/25 kg bag) command a higher selling price than standard cow mineral ($25$30 kg bag). Based upon a feeding rate of 100 g per head per day, the cost of feeding each cow (selling prices quoted in parenthesis) in this scenario ranges from $0.10-$0.18 per head, daily. It’s much better to view such spring mineral costs as an investment in the beef cowherd as they prepare for the upcoming breeding season and become pregnant with a calf. The best choice of a good spring mineral that sprouts with lush pastures meets reproductive goals and contributes to a profitable beef cowherd.


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US Backing Out of WTO Obligations The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) believes that the proposed rule to modify the labelling provisions for muscle cut commodities under the U.S.’s Country of Origin Labelling program, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will not result in COOL complying with the U.S.’s World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. In the CCA’s view, the USDA’s proposed rule, if adopted, will in fact increase the discrimination against imported cattle by adding labelling requirements and eliminating some of the existing mitigating flexibility, thereby significantly increasing the costs of compliance. The net result is a rule that not only does not comply with the WTO Appellate Body’s findings but will also violate WTO provisions. It appears the USDA is pushing this rule through with a shortened comment period in order to implement something, regardless of how ill conceived, before the WTO May 23 deadline for compliance. This tactic not only increases the discrimination against imported livestock, but also creates additional process and delay at the WTO. The proposal described in USDA’s press release sounds very similar to the regulation initially proposed by USDA in 2002 that was never implemented because of the enormous cost to the U.S. packing and livestock production sectors. If implemented, this proposal will degrade the competitiveness of the U.S. meat industry and undoubtedly result in the elimination of thousands of American jobs. “Our Government is extremely disappointed with the proposed regulatory changes put forward by the United States with respect to Country of Origin Labelling,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a statement. “We do not believe that the proposed changes will bring the United States into compliance with its WTO obligations. Our Government will consider all options, including retaliatory measures, should the U.S. not achieve compliance by May 23 as mandated by the WTO.”

Altona Oat Plant Now “Buffalo Creek Mills” By Elmer Heinrichs A defunct bean processing plant at Altona which was purchased by two Plum Coulee men before year end, may soon be dehulling oats for the market, said Frank Reimer, who also operates Global Grains at Plum Coulee. This operation could provide a substantial opportunity for farmers, said Reimer, noting that they are looking at contracting up to 15,000 acres to supply their need for oats. Our plan is to dehull oats for oat groats and stabilize the oats so they won’t spoil for use in a variety of products, both for livestock and for human consumption, said the co-owner. It’ll be a premium market since we need oat groats grown from crop grown on land not cropped to wheat or barley, since our product needs to be gluten free. Since farmers will need to store part of the crop for some time, we will have to account for storage in our contract price. Reimer, who is just back from a trip to Mexico, said he met with two buyers who are ready to take a substantial quantity of oat groats each month. Reimer added that some farmers have already inquired and expressed an interest in growing for the plant but, of course, we will need to contract for thousands of acres here in Manitoba. Testing of equipment has begun and we should be crushing oats for the market very soon. The plant has also been given a new name. The new oat processing business just north of Altona in the failed Sunbelt bean plant building will be known as ‘Buffalo Creek Mills’. Reimer, along with area farmer Edwin Guenther, acquired the plant in December, and they expect to begin marketing processed oats to the human and bird food markets in two months or so. The 25,000 square foot warehouse and office facility was designed to function as a bean and lentil processing and packaging facility. Sunbelt Development Group, which included the Towns of Altona, Gretna and Plum Coulee, as well as the RM of Rhineland, invested in Sunbelt Prairie Products by providing $3.2 million in financing for the plant, which was to be operated by Sweden-based Amanat Nawaz Rice AB. Construction took place in 2008 and 2009, but Sunbelt Prairie Products entered receivership in November 2009, before any processing occurred. Access Credit Union (ACU) took over in March of 2011, after the Sunbelt Development Group failed to meet its mortgage obligations. Reimer and Guenther purchased it from ACU in December.

Check YYour our Sub Sub--Trade’s Insurance Let’s say for a moment that you have a business and you rent out a portion of your business building to another business. Now, you hire a sub-trade to do some work in this building and they start a fire. Tenants may be injured while escaping from the fire, the building may be damaged and your business could be shut down or relocated which leaves you with loss of income and/or added expenses. Your tenants may also have to do business elsewhere, which may leave them with loss of revenue. The contents of your building would be damaged and the building next to yours could suffer damage. If the sub-trade is adequately insured, their insurance policy may respond to all of these claims. If this sub-trade does not carry insurance and has no other resources, you may be held responsible for all of the losses. Your insurance policy may cover these losses but you would still be responsible for your deductibles and there is the risk of your renewal premium increasing at renewal. If you did not buy adequate insurance, you would have to cover the uninsured losses on your own and you could suffer poor PR with your clients. For example, lack of service or a customer is injured. All of this is irrespective of whether or not you are the negligent party. The above scenario could put you into bankruptcy. What can you do? - Only, hire contractors or sub-trades that have insurance. - Request Certificates of Insurance to confirm insurance coverage and limit. - Implement a system to track and verify these certificates. - Set minimum standards for coverage and limits carried by the certificate providers. Hiring capable people and having appropriate processes in place to obtain and verify insurance certificates is your best defence. Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! Andy Anderson is an Associate Insurance Broker specializing in General, Life and Group Benefits for Farm, Commercial/Agri-business Ph: 204-746-5589 Tf: 866 765 3351 andya@rempelinsurance.com / rempelinsurance.com / valleyfinancial.ca.


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March 29, 2013

The Agri Post

“Protein was never worth that much.”

Wheat Markets Still in Flux By Les Kletke Amid reports that western Canadian farmers plan to seed more wheat this year Doug Hilderman told Grain World that there would be more changes in marketing programs as the industry adapted to the post Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) monopoly. Hilderman is the Vice President of Western Grain Trading for NorAg Resources, an Ontario based grain-trading firm. He was part of a panel that examined the potential for wheat in the 201314 crop year. Hilderman says the grain marketing system in western Canada is still in flux after the removal of the CWB’s monopoly and that brings some uncertainty with it, it could be strong spot markets as millers vie for their requirements in the spring wheat market and it will certainly mean alliances forming to secure the product. “Everyone had their niche (pre August 1, 2012) and while it may not have been the most efficient way they always knew they would have supply,” says Hilderman. “But now grain procurement is the number one priority and there is going to be more integration from bakers to millers.” He pointed out that under the previous system millers worked with a fixed margin and would purchase wheat that they processed to flour but under present conditions where ownership of the wheat becomes a bigger issue and supply is not guaranteed it is likely there will be partnerships developing between millers and end users of the flour. Hilderman sees market trends as more important than last year’s short U.S. crop when affecting prices. He noted the increased interest in white whole-wheat flour would have an impact on wheat markets. He said that Identity Preserved Contracts will most likely increase in popularity as end users find specific markets and look for wheat that will fit best for their process. Identity Preserved (IP) programs create a unique relationship between the grower and the buyer by providing just the specific ingredient that the food processor needs. Certain end-use buyers want to purchase a specific grain, not a specific grain class, such as malt barley. For wheat types, a buyer is looking for a specific variety that has an attribute or set of attributes that the end user requires to make a finished product. Most IP’s start with certified seed and the grain is stored separately avoiding co-mingling and keeping it clean. “The wheat market is much larger than it used to be and we are going to see more types of wheat in the general class and a reduction in protein premiums,” said Hilderman. “Protein was never worth that much.” Hilderman said that with more millers bidding on the same tonne of wheat should be a benefit to western Canadian farmers but fluctuation in world prices could be of a much greater magnitude than the increased premiums from more players in the Canadian market. “Optimism is high for this year,” he added. “The crop and quality will depend on the weather.”


The Agri Post

Feed Shortage Could Drive Barley Market By Les Kletke A market analyst with Alberta Agriculture said the shortage of feed grains world-

wide could push barley prices higher for the 2013 crop. Charlie Pearson was part of a panel that provided the feed grains outlook for Wild Oats Grainworld Conference in Winnipeg. He said that a small domestic crop, along with a shortage of feed grains worldwide, has pushed the barley price up. Pearson acknowledged that the Canadian demand for feed is not what it was a few years ago but he said the supply has shrunk by more than the animals on feed and that has pushed the prices. “We have fewer cows,” he said. “We had five million head on feed in 2005 and we have

four million now. We have fewer hogs, and you are aware of that in Manitoba,” said Pearson. He said a tight market will result from the small carryover of feed grains, and that is going to be a factor until the new crop becomes available. Pearson said the top range of barley prices would come with milling wheat. “When people need feed they will find other products they can substitute and when the traditional feed grains are gone, milling wheat works fine in rations,” said Pearson. “That means that the top of the barley range will be the bottom of the milling wheat

COOL COOL:: The Fight Goes On Not long ago, tariffs were the key barriers to Canadian beef exports. Tariff barriers are still significant problems (Korea for example), but as tariff barriers fall, countries are getting more creative in building border barriers. In some ways, it makes me nostalgic for the good old days when our market access efforts primarily consisted of the cry: “Tear down that tariff wall.” It is not that simple anymore. Mandatory country-of-origin labelling (COOL) is one example of a non-tariff barrier that is costing Manitoba’s beef industry hundreds of millions of dollars. COOL became law in the U.S. in 2002. What is COOL? Simply speaking, COOL requires all meat sold in the U.S. to carry a label indicating the country from which the product originated. American politicians argue that the law is necessary to help inform U.S. consumers about where their meat comes from. But market research indicates that those consumers place very little value on the information provided by the new labels. Basically, consumers care about the information only if it does not cost them anything to get it. But while the price at U.S. meat counters may not be any different, the cost to the Canadian beef industry has been huge. It is estimated that COOL costs the Canadian beef industry about $625 million dollars every year. COOL hits Canada’s pork producers equally hard. Canada and Mexico have always objected to COOL because it unfairly discriminates against beef exported into the U.S. The law requires segregation of animals that have been imported from another country. This has significantly increased the cost of processing Canadian livestock and many U.S. plants have cut back on Canadian purchases, or cut them out altogether. Canada and Mexico have taken the U.S. to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and convincingly won both the initial case and the appeal launched by the Americans. The WTO ordered the U.S. to end its unfair discrimination by May 23. That is not going to happen. Earlier this month, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary proposed regulatory changes that he claims will address the WTO’s concerns. In fact, the proposed changes will make things worse. Additional labelling requirements will increase discrimination against Canada and Mexico. Instead of decreasing the regulatory burden, the proposals will increase the costs of compliance. In fact, it is my view that not only do these proposals fail to comply with the existing WTO ruling, but they also violate additional trade provisions. You might think that U.S. beef and pork producers are 110 percent behind their government on COOL, but they are not. You see, free trade is good for both sides of the border. The vast majority of U.S. producers and processors support removing COOL provisions because the regulations are hurting the U.S. industry. It is estimated that the new rules proposed in the U.S. will cost 9,000 American jobs. This is a case of a lose-lose situation. This fight is not over. If the U.S. proceeds down the current path, Canada will return to the WTO. Untimely, the WTO may grant Canada and Mexico the right to impose tariffs on U.S. goods to compensate us for the cost of COOL. I hope it does not come to this but given the losses to our livestock sectors, this is not something our governments will back away from. Unfortunately, in the short term the legal process will continue. It is likely that there will be six to eight months of additional legal review at the WTO (making some trade lawyers a lot more money) before a conclusion is reached. What lesson can livestock producers take from the COOL battle? The simple answer is that trade is more complicated than it used to be. COOL is just one example of non-tariff barriers to export access. Some countries do not like the supplements that are commonly used in North American meat production. Some countries do not like the extra food safety precautions in place in Canadian plants. Our approaches are science-based and an improvement of food safety, but because they have not been approved by the EU’s own internal bureaucracy, they do not accept them. I am certain that there are bureaucrats around the world who are currently trying to invent barriers based on environmental factors or their perception of animal welfare. Manitoba’s beef producers, and our province as a whole, benefit significantly from the beef trade. Over half of what we produce leaves the country. We must continue aggressively to pursue new opportunities on the international market. But we need to keep in mind that trade will be complicated. New barriers will appear, often when least expected. We need to be ready to deal with these issues as they come up. However, we also need to be proactively addressing the problem. Governments can do their part by building better dispute resolution processes, which is anticipated in the Canada-EU trade deal. Producers are also going to be asked to take steps if they want to continue to access international markets. Today some producers will say that they find these measures, like traceability, costly and of little benefit. But more and more our customers are telling us that they will only purchase our products if we can prove how our animals were raised. This is increasingly becoming the price of doing business. Cam Dahl is General Manager of the Manitoba Beef Producers.

range, when prices get close wheat will be substituted into the feed market.” He also made note of the Russian and Ukrainian exports that have been increasing and that they could be further increased if the market demand warranted. He said that eastern European production is

March 29, 2013 still unpredictable, as well as the shipping issues, but with strong demand, it could be put into place relatively quickly. Pearson suggests that with a reasonable corn crop in the U.S., barley prices could be $4 a bushel to a bit higher. “But there is another factor and we don’t know how that will play

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out, and it is the health claims.” Pearson was consistent with other presenters in saying that uncertainty is the greatest feature of the grain markets for the next year.

Canola TTop op Revenue Crop in 2012 Canola retains its spot as the top revenue-producing crop for Canadian farmers. Farm gate receipts for canola deliveries in 2012 were $8.1 billion in Canada, according to estimates in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Farm Income Forecast. That is 5.4 percent higher than the final Statistics Canada tally of $7.7 billion for canola in 2011. ‘’Canola continues to lead all crops in Canada when it comes to farm gate revenue,” says Patti Miller, President of the Canola Council of Canada. “Canola’s success in the field and on the farm ripples through the Canadian economy, supporting thousands of other jobs in research, crop inputs, grain handling, exporting and processing.” The revenue increase is based on increased acres but also strong prices, which reflect strong global demand for canola products.


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Flood Compensation Meetings End in Blame Games By Harry Siemens In late February, farmers around Lake Manitoba expressed their collective disappointment with provincial and federal politicians at a packed hall in Marquette. This week

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, in an exclusive interview, laid out the Federal position on flood compensation and mitigation. The Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee (LMFRC), organizers of that

Off to the Royal By Les Kletke An agriculture student from Beausejour turned her love of the industry into a ticket to next Novembers Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Courtney Jordan, who will graduate from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Agriculture in December and won the Student Public Speaking competition at the Agriculture Comes to the City event held at the Forks in March. Students could choose from five topics for their seven-minute speech and Jordan said the choice of ‘Reading, Writing and Agriculture should be included in the curriculum’ was an easy one for her because it spoke to her directly. “I don’t have a background in agriculture,” she said. “So that topic really fit for me.” Jordan had spent two years at University before transferring into the faculty of agriculture. “I was in science,” she said. “When I got talking to people at my summer job, they said they were in agriculture so I began to look at it. My boyfriend is from a farm so I also got to help on the farm and get some first hand experience.” She has spent two summers with Cargill as an agronomy assistant as well as with MAFRI as a Farm Production Advisor Assistant. She has committed to returning to Cargill for this summer and is hopeful it could turn into full time employment. Jordan said the chicken and egg riddle has been solved since she entered the faculty. “I didn’t know how we could be eating eggs and chickens,” she laughs. “I had no idea they were separate operations. When I drove past McDonalds and saw the Angus beef sign, I thought it was a kind of spice. Now I understand much more about production agriculture.” She rates a soil fertility course as one of the most valuable she has taken. “It was an agronomy course where we met with the producer,” said Jordan, of the course taught by Dr. Don Flaten. “We had an opportunity to see the soil samples and make recommendations to the producer. It was a very practical class.” Jordan has not been to Toronto and is looking forward to the trip as well as the competition at the Royal, which will feature other winners from across Canada. Agriculture Comes to the City is one of several events sponsored by Ag in the Classroom and provides students and consumers with an opportunity to get a first hand look at food produced in this province.

Marquette meeting, now urges the Manitoba government to follow Ritz’s advice for delivering a multi-year compensation package to landowners who continue to suffer from the flooding of Lake Manitoba in 2011. He outlined the two programs available for Manitoba to apply for compensation for producers and landowners around the lake. The first one is the Disaster Financial Assistance [DFA Act], which has an overarching umbrella under Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews. “The province has not applied under this receipt based program,” said Ritz. “You have to spend the money and then submit the

receipts to the feds to get reimbursed and the province has not submitted all the receipts.” Under the AgriRecovery program, a disaster relief framework, one of the components of the current suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs under Growing Forward, Manitoba Finance Minister Stan Struthers insists the province did apply under this program, but was denied by the Federal Government. Ritz said he talked with provincial Agricultural Minister, Ron Kostyshyn, to remind him of the issues causing concerns. “The issue is that the 2012 compensation request is a second claim for the same flood,” said Ritz. “We have an issue with paying twice on

Unhappy farmers and others packed the hall at Marquette recently to hear whether politicians would keep their promises, but instead came away unhappy and some angry.

the same flood.” However, Ritz said the Federal Government is more than happy to help out, but it has to fit within the parameters of the program. He indicated the province has sent more information recently with respect to coverage for partial RM’s and they are currently assessing the information. In regards to compensation for 2012 and 2013, the minister said if the Federal Government can make the Provincial assessment work then they would help put farmers first because they understand that farmers are under stress. Ritz said it is frustrating dealing with the ongoing flooding from a federal perspective and how it relates to compensation. “Over the past seven years the province has flooded four or five times for the same situation and the province needs to respond to this issue and implement flood mitigation measures,” he said. “Prime Minister Harper has said the Federal Government will cost share 50 percent for flood mitigation.” Ritz said the province has to get ahead of the flooding issues so that both levels of government are not constantly under the gun to pay

out repeatedly for the same flood. Manitoba needs to look seriously at flood mitigation so that this type of thing does not happen in the future. Ritz summarized how this process for the 2012 compensation may or may not happen. “I’m very concerned that the Manitoba Government disallowed crop insurance acres that they flooded,” he said. “This is very problematic for some of the producers because it didn’t allow those producers to shift to a different program. Farmers need to be reassured that the feds are doing everything they can to try to make existing programming work. At the end of the day the answer could very well be NO.” “The Lake Manitoba Rehabilitation Committee (LMFRC) is extremely disappointed by the lethargic effort put forth by the province to deal with the multi-year compensation package they promised in 2011,” said Chair Tom Teichroeb. “It is clearly evident the province has not done their homework with respect to the application to the Federal Government. Provincial Agricultural Minister, Ron Kostyshyn, has not been diligent with his efforts to find a solution and reward producers with compensation they deserve. This was clearly evident by his absence at the recent public meeting in Marquette.” The LMFRC is hopeful that both levels of government will resolve the issue with application for compensation by the province. The 300 people that attended the public meeting clearly witnessed how uncooperative the provincial and federal jurisdictions were with each other. It was pointed out that this behaviour was embarrassing and that they were elected to represent the people who attended that meeting, added Teichroeb.


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Vet Advises to Ban Sow Stalls after Six Weeks By Harry Siemens Dr. John Carr originally from Lympstone, Exeter Devon, England is an international consultant and veterinarian, tells the hog industry in Canada to follow the Europeans when moving to banning sow stalls or crates. “There is not a ban of sow stalls in Europe, but a ban on using sow stalls after the pregnancy has been confirmed as in six weeks,” said Carr. “So, from breeding to six weeks the producer can legally put the sows in a confinement stall or whatever you want to call it.” He said that when some Europeans say they’ve banned sow stalls, that isn’t quite so. “My own belief is I would not have had the sow stall ban at all,” said Carr. “Loosehousing is normally a disaster. The sows don’t like each other.” “In Britain, I had to restrict their water to get them to leave the stall,” he said. “To get the sow to enjoy the space, I had to deprive her of water and force her to find water elsewhere. I question some of the morals and ethics of that.” Carr said he has seen some horrible cases of cruelty in sow stalls but has also seen the same level of cruelty in loose-housing environments. “So loose housing is not a plus in stopping cruelty, it needs managing and cruelty is determined by people,” he added. However, that has not stopped countries Dr. John Carr, Lympstone, Exeter Devon UK, an from banning them, he said. The UK hog ininternational consultant and veterinarian, tells dustry and some of the other countries in the hog industry in Canada to follow the Europe have banned sow stalls altogether. Europeans when moving to ban sow stalls or Since 1999, it has been illegal for hog farmers crates. Leave them in the stall from weaning in the UK to keep adult sows in a confinethrough pregnancy check. ment situation where they are unable to turn around. There are strict rules regarding how many sow lengths the area the sow occupies should be, and rules on slat widths and slat boards and how much of the area the animals live in can be slatted. The British hog farmer can use a breeding crate but can only keep her there for two hours for mating, and let her settle down after mating. Then she has to move back into the group. Dr. Carr said the main European countries and their directives have followed somewhat along the

same lines. “However, their rules say the sows have to be out of confinement from five to six weeks of pregnancy,” he said. “You’re basically allowed to preg check the sow, confirm she’s in pig, and then move her out of the stall crate, confinement area or however you want to describe it. From weaning through pregnancy checking, she is allowed to be in the stall.” The international consultant said some of the Europeans say they have banned sow stalls. That strictly is not true. It then comes down to, why is this relevant, with some discussion on this matter, too. “I would encourage Canada to follow the general European trend where hog farmers can keep sows in a stall situation from breeding through to pregnancy check,” he said. “As a vet, obviously my main purpose in life is the welfare of the pigs I look after.” The problem with pigs is they often do not like one another. They are more designed for groups of about six and, with our modern farming systems; we have animals in much greater numbers. In the wild, a pig would have lots of space and tend to get away from a very big dominant sow. The small gilts can run away. In the modern farming systems, it is highly impossible to allow some of that natural behaviour to happen. “What we find in loose house systems, certainly after weaning there is a lot more aggression,” said Carr. “And with some sows coming into heat, the gilts, and particularly the first parity and second parity gilts and the smaller sows get beaten up a little bit.” The hog farmer ends up with unacceptable losses because of lameness and because these animals, particularly if housed with big sows, are ridden by the big sows and damaged. “There is a welfare problem with having animals loose-housed in a group where big sows can dominate little sows,” he said.

An Association of One By Les Kletke The Manitoba Mushroom Growers Association has a membership of one but that is not an indication that the industry is struggling in Manitoba, in fact, the lone member is doing quite well. While some other producers have left the business, Loveday Mushroom Farms produces about 6 million pounds of mushrooms annually. Heather Deibert is with Loveday and was staffing a booth at Agriculture in the City. She said, “Most of the mushrooms we produce are consumed in Manitoba. There are some that are exported or we may need [to import] some for special times of the year but Manitoba is close to selfsufficient in mushroom production.” What was the most asked question she faced at her display? “‘Do I need to wash mushrooms?’ is the most asked question,” she said. “People want to know if they still need to wash mushrooms, and the answer is not if they are in the cryovac packages. Then theirs are the only human hands that touch them.” She advises that mushrooms should not spend a long time in water if they are being washed because they tend to absorb the water. Loveday produces mushrooms at its plant on Mission and Archibald in Springfield in rooms that are full of beds 4 feet by 4 feet. Today, the 4th generation of

Heather Diebert of Loveday Mushroom Farms says Manitoba is nearly self sufficient in mushrooms producing nearly 6 million pounds a year. Photo by Les Kletke

Loveday operates the farm but it was by accident the family got involved in the production of mushrooms. Fred Loveday was a Winnipeg bricklayer who was contracted to build a mushroom farm on Marion Street. When the owners could not meet the payments, the courts awarded him ownership of the land and buildings. That was 1929 and the rest is history. By the follow-

ing year, Fred launched his mushroom growing business with son Bert. In 1947, the firm had outgrown the facility and moved to an address on Mission in the north St. Boniface industrial area. By 1953, another generation joined the company. Fred had a degree in biology and became the General Manager at 24 when Bert, his father, died suddenly. His son, Burton, joined the firm in 1986. The company expanded to Calgary in the 1960’s but competition with the oil boom made it uneconomic and the firm closed the Alberta operation in 1969, the same year it closed its Winnipeg cannery to serve the growing demand for fresh mushrooms. The Manitoba firm is the oldest continuous producer of mushrooms in the country and has over a million square feet of mushroom beds producing six million pounds.


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March 29, 2013

Avoid Disappearance of Good Early Lactation Cows from the Herd Many dairy producers have experienced this situation at one time or another. A particular cow comes into early lactation with a lot of potential for good milk production. She may have come into the barn in a little thin, but starts literally pouring out milk. Within a couple of weeks, she starts to falter in milk production and health, but after given some intravenous therapy seems to snap out of it. Months later, the producer is forced to dry her up before she completes an entire lactation cycle. There is a good chance that she is a victim of metabolic disease. It is a trap that many promising dairy cows can avoid with sound changes to their feeding programs, even before they calve and begin milking. Early lactation dairy cows are more susceptible than either modest producing and later lactation herd mates to metabolic diseases such as ketosis and related conditions from a week to months after calving, since not all energy requirements for their high milk production can be secured solely from the dairy diet. These cows are drawn into a period of severe “negative energy balance” for about six weeks after calving. In itself, the road to most ketosis affecting severely energy short dairy cows relates back to a complex chemical imbalance that occurs when dairy cows cannot get enough of a basic energy block called glucose. It is the simplest sugar in cattle metabolism, but it essentially drives all maintenance and production activities requiring energy in the dairy cow. The majority of glucose sugar for dry or lactating dairy cows is produced from dietary carbohydrates fermented and absorbed in the rumen from such sources as forage fibre, or starches found in grains. However, when these feed carbohydrates are in short supply, the dairy cow will burn her own body fats in which non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) are formed. They can be reconfigured into glucose. In less demanding times, NEFAs are commonly used to support liver functions and to provide fatty acid chains for milk-fat production. However, when the intake of carbohydrate-derived energy is so limited the cow may suffer from rapid body fat mobilization and weight loss. Too many NEFAs are produced for glucose transformation and a good portion of these NEFAs end up as poisonous ketone bodies. These circulating ketone bodies lead to a toxicity associated with both clinical and sub-clinical ketosis in early lactating dairy cows. Research shows that the natural incidence of overall ketosis in a wellmanaged dairy herd is less than 2 percent, while problematic herds exhibit about 6 percent actual clinical ketosis and upwards to 60 percent hidden or sub clinical ketosis. It is most prevalent at the start of lactation and traditionally has been observed in obese animals (BCS > 4.5), but also can be present in animals of modest body condition as well (BCS of 3.5). These cows tend to demonstrate a strong correlation between rapid loss of weight after calving and the presentation of ketosis often triggered in the post-partum period by: poor dry matter intake, inadequate dietary energy, poor food digestibility, digestive upsets (sub-clinical acidosis) or a hormonal imbalance affecting energy metabolism in the cow. Some studies on ketosis suggest that a general energy deficit/rapid fat mobilization may occur in dairy cows even prior to calving. Whether its circumstances are set before or after calving, preventing ketosis is a much better option than controlling the metabolic disease once it takes hold of early lactation cows. One should implement a proper transition diet (three weeks before cows calve and three weeks post-partum) in order to promote good dry matter intake and a body condition score of 3.0-3.5 in susceptible dairy cows. Such early lactation rations should be formulated to maintain good rumen function (re: effective forage fibre) and yet carry enough available dietary energy to support the demands of increasing milk production. The goal is to build up dry matter intake in early lactation cows to about 3.5-4.0 percent of their body weight at about 9-10 weeks after calving. Built on a DMI foundation of 11-13 kg, the transitional energy and protein levels are denser than faraway dry cow diets but do not quite match the early lactation diets. A typical close-up ration should contain about 0.70 Mcal Nel/kg, 14-15 percent protein, and be balanced for the recommended levels of macro-minerals (watch out for potassium that causes milk fever) and trace-minerals plus vitamins (particularly selenium and vitamin E). The actual ration put in front of the cows should contain no more than 2.53.5 kg/head/d of grain such as barley or corn. It might also have at least 2.5 kg-4.0 kg of long-stem grassy-type hay. Some producers may also incorporate 3-5 kg (DM basis) of the early lactation TMR diet. It also cannot be overemphasized that any feedstuffs fed to these cows should be highly palatable, digestible and free of moulds and mycotoxins. Clean water should also be always available when these cows come up to drink. Tying it together is good bunk management for all good feeding programs set up for both the close-up and early lactation dairy cows. This means that each cow should have enough bunk space and adequate time to eat. A properly mixed ration should be put in front of the cows, pushed up frequently and old feed removed. It is a matter of implementing any practice that will get dairy cows, before and after calving, to eat that extra kilo of feed to achieve her essential energy requirements. The importance of energy in all aspects of dairy nutrition, especially for early lactation cows cannot be overstated. We tend to forget that energy is the single largest requirement for high milk producing dairy cows. Failure to provide enough dietary energy often leads to metabolic disease such as ketosis in post-partum cows, and although treatable, some of the most afflicted cows seem to disappear from the herd. On the other hand, prevention with good transition diets and assurance of good energy status in the dairy herd throughout the year underlies healthy cows and their production of consistent, large volumes and profitable milk.

The Agri Post

New Partnership Debuts at Winter Fair By Les Kletke This year’s Royal Manitoba Winter Fair provides the opportunity for a couple of Saskatchewan firms to try a new partnership. It was the first time Fargo Clydes were showing under the Seed Hawk banner. While both operations are based in Langbank, Saskatchewan, they chose the Brandon Fair to unveil a partnership. Kimberly Fargo thought the partnership would be a good fit for her dad, Rob and Seed Hawk where she works as the Parts Documentation Cocoordinator. Rob says it is something he had thought about in the past but this year finally made the pitch to Pat Beaujot the principal of Seed Hawk. The Fargo’s decaled their wagon and put new signage around their stalls at the Keystone Centre. Fargo explained why a seed equipment manufacturer would sponsor a Clydesdale hitch. “We get his name out in front of 20,000 people every day,” said Rob Fargo who has shown at Brandon for years and knows the popularity of the giant horses. “Plus the traffic through the barn that promotes his name to people coming through.” Fargo has been breeding Clydesdales for over 30 years and has sold horses into some of the top hitches in North America including black Clydesdales into the Express Hitch operated by Bob Funke. He has sold horses coast to coast and raised five of six horses used in a high profile Philadelphia hitch. He says the horse market has slowed in recent years particularly from the time when a 10-mile radius of his farm had 24 PMU operations, “That was the boom time and while we were never in the business it did generate a lot of money for the horse business.” The recent food scandal with horsemeat being passed off for beef has also hurt the industry,

Kimberly Fargo has brought together work and her love of horses, while she works for Seed Hawk the Royal Winter Fair sponsorship of the family hitch was a first for both operations. Photo by Les Kletke

which he says, was already down because of a drop in horse consumption in Japan. “That market was probably off 40 cents a pound this year,” he noted. The meat industry provides an outlet for the lower quality colts, “Quality horses will always sell and the medium range has a market for the hitch that might be looking to upgrade, but we still need a market for the lower end and that has dropped off.” Fargo says the Royal is a proving ground for the relationship with Seed Hawk and the pair will revisit the agreement after the Fair. “We hope it goes well and would like to wear their colors to another 10 or so shows through August.”

CFGB Celebrates 30 Years and Issues “30 for 30” Challenge By Elmer Heinrichs The Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB) is celebrating its 30th anniversary by issuing a new challenge to farmers across Canada and Harold Penner, Manitoba Resource Coordinator for the CFGB, is hoping it will catch on locally. “We’re issuing the ’30 for 30 challenge’ and see it as another way to involve farmers in raising money to help end hunger,” said Penner. Farmers donating grain and running growing projects have been key to CFGB’s raising of resources, said the coordinator, adding that last year Manitoba farmers had 4,800 acres in crop in just over 30 projects. “Now we are asking those who have not been involved until now, to consider donating the crop from 30 acres of their farms as a one year commitment to honour the 30th anniversary of the CFGB,” added Penner. “If a farmer would like to get involved but finds 30 acres too much for his farm, he can perhaps get together with a few neighbours and share a 30-acre commitment.” “Of course we will accept any donation,” clarified Penner. “The number 30 is only a starting point to

“...go to a growing project close by and offer to add 30 acres...”

draw attention to the cause.” “Since we have growing projects all over the province, the best way for a farmer to get involved is to go to a growing project close by and offer to add 30 acres to the growing project. With the understanding that the donor will actually do all the work himself,” said Penner and adding that another way is to sign up directly. All the information is available on their website or anyone can call him at 204-347-5695 or email harold@rockyrise.ca. “The benefits and goals of this program are to find a way to involve more people in helping with the cause of ending hunger. This helps to bring in more resources, but also helps people to remember the poor and hungry and find other ways to help,” said Penner. He would love to see 30 Manitoba farms sign up for the program and add another 900 acres of production for CFGB. “I invite people to join in bringing a bit more justice for the poor in this world, where almost one in seven people does not have enough to eat,” concluded Penner.


The Agri Post

Dedicated to the RMWF

March 29, 2013

Lung Hazards in Agriculture By Joan Airey

Jessie Goods aboard Dream Weaver. The Argyle horsewoman was riding for Wanda Hicks who owns the horse and 2 others at Stonewall. Photo by Les Kleke

By Les Kletke Wanda Hicks is a nurse most days but for the last week in March she transforms into a horse owner, actually, she owns three horses all year but they consume all her attention for the week of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. Hicks is from Stonewall and is a coordinator at a personal care home there. She grew up in Charleswood where her parents had a boarding and riding stable and she operated her own stable until 1999. Early in the week, she was in the stands watching Jessie Goods on Dream Weaver the horse she had chosen to bring to Brandon. In the past, she has been a competitor herself

and is not happy to watch from the stands. “I have been in the ring myself but now I am more interested in seeing this horse achieve his potential and I have no interest in going over 4 foot jumps,” said Hicks. She says that depending on how Dream Weaver does at the Brandon event this will help determine the travel plans for the summer. “We have about 2 shows a month for May through August,” said Hicks. “But if he does well I would like to take him to Calgary and the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping event.” For Dream Weaver the trip to Brandon was almost like going home, Hicks purchased

Education FFund und Soars By Les Kletke An education fund for a little girl who lost her dad in a plane crash has grown by nearly $40,000 thanks to the generosity of the Canadian Aerial Applicators Association. Darren Spence, two of his sons and a young friend were killed in a plane crash near Waskada, Manitoba in February. Darren was a member of the Board of Directors of the CAAA and the group decided to do something to boost an education fund for his surviving daughter Kaylee. The CAAA held a fundraiser auction as part of its annual convention hosted in Calgary February 21-23. The auction was the major fundraiser for the association which is managed from an office in Edmonton. One of the items auctioned annually is a large bottle of spirits that is not opened but goes from province to province in a friendly competition between provincial organizations. This year the Board of Directors decided to donate the proceeds from the auction of the “Legacy Bottle” to an education fund that has been established for Kaylee Spence. It was the final item at this year’s auction and was sold to a Manitoba consortium for $20,150. Steve Kanski handled the bidding for the Manitoba group and was a close friend of Darren Spence. “I knew that we were not going to let the bottle go anyplace but Manitoba,” said Kanski after the auction. “But the support for the fund was overwhelming. It was an honour for me to do the bidding on behalf of the group.” After the sale, Saskatchewan and Alberta bidding groups announced that they, too, would donate the money that members had committed to the bidding. The amount was just over $9,000 from Saskatchewan and nearly $8,000 from Alberta. Jill Lane, of Managewise Inc., who handles the administration of the CAAA, said the auction was not the end. “We have members who contributed following the auction and some who said they would be donating to the fund when they returned home. We are confident the total amount will be near $40,000.” Wayne Kauenhofen of Rosenfeld, who conducted the sale, said he has not seen anything like it before. “I have done a lot of auctions but to be a part of an event that helps a little girl is just a great feeling. So many of us are parents and know the feelings the family must be going through at this time. It was great just to be able to help in some way.” The fund will be administered by Deb Spence, Darren’s sister, and is designated for post secondary education.

him from a farm south of Brandon, but he was not entirely at home in the Keystone Centre on his first foray into the ring. “He seems just a bit nervous when other horses approach him,” said Hicks while watching Goods guide him through a warm up session in the main ring. “That is entirely different than how he behaves at home in the corral, but we will see how he does in competition.” Hicks not only inherited her love of horses from her parents but also passed it onto her son Wayne who joined her later in the week when University demands lessened. Goods from Argyle, was not only riding Dream Weaver but also had her own horse in competition and was glad to have the experience of riding a quality horse and proving both herself and the horse in the competition. The three-year old horse had started in competition in June at the Brandon summer fair and was hoping to establish Dream Weaver at the Royal Winter Fair.

What is COPD? COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the current name for bronchitis and emphysema. “COPD is a chronic disease that makes it hard to move air in and out of your lungs and once you have COPD it never goes away. There are ways to manage your COPD and treat your symptoms. The Manitoba Lung Association would like to educate people on ways to avoid getting this chronic disease,” said Sheila McIntosh, Director of Health Initiatives for the Manitoba Lung Association. Recently McIntosh addressed a group of farm women and men in Rivers, Manitoba. The event was sponsored by the Rivers Women’s Institute (WI) and Redfern Farm Services. What hazards in Agriculture can cause lung disease? - Dusts from grain, straw, insect parts, rodent hairs, animal waste, pesticides, mould spores, grain preservatives, and field dust. - Mould spores from mould growth in hay and grain, fungal spores and dusts from organic materials. - Dusts and gases such as hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane produced by animals and manure pits in animal confinement buildings. - Silo gas (nitrogen dioxide) formed in silos and grain storage bins. - Chemicals from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. - Carbon monoxide from gas engines and heaters in poorly ventilated spaces. - Welding fumes and dust from sandblasting. Sheila McIntosh, Director of Health Initiatives - Toxins in cigarettes. Tobacco smokers for the Manitoba Lung Association, adface a greater risk of disability or death dressed a group of farm women and men in from agricultural lung diseases. Rivers. “We want to educate people to prevent Photo by Joan Airey lung diseases by making sure there is adequate ventilation, that grain, hay and chemicals are handled properly. Good cleaning practices, continuous circulation of fresh air where required, and using air monitoring devices. Changing from work clothing and separate washing for work clothes is important. Use dusk masks or respirators where required to keep your lungs healthy,” said McIntosh. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. More people die of COPD in Canada than accidents, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s, flu and kidney deaths. For more information on COPD check out the website at lung.ca. “Did you know, also that ninety percent of lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking, and radon exposure is linked to approximately 10 percent of lung cancers in Canada and is the second leading cause of lung cancer for smokers?” said McIntosh. The only way to know if you have a radon problem in your home is to test for it. Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive. Radon levels vary over time so use a long term detector and test for a minimum of three months. Radon testing is available through certified service professionals or do-it-yourself kits can be purchased by phone, internet or at certain retail stores. For more information on the subject check out the website at healthcanada.gc.ca/ radon. “WI groups in Newdale, Fork River, and Woodmore will be sponsoring speakers on COPD in their area in weeks to come.” said Pat Dyck, Rivers WI President.

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The Agri Post

AgriPost March 29 2013  

Manitoba agriculture news and features