September 27, 2019
Drought Causes State of Emergency for Majority of Manitoba Cattle Producers
Due to the extremely dry conditions, there is a shortage of cattle feed and in this year’s grain, hay, and straw crops many Manitoba cattle producers face severely reduced crop yields, poor to no pastures, and drying up water dugouts. Photos by Arnthor Jonasson, Reeve of RM of West Interlake and a cattle producer.
By Harry Siemens Twelve RMs in the Interlake and Parklands regions, declared a state of agricultural emergency after dry weather has left producers unable to produce enough hay to feed their cattle. The RMs include Alonsa, Armstrong, Bifrost-Riverton, Coldwell, Ethelbert, Fisher, Grahamdale, Lakeshore, McCreary, Ste. Rose, West Interlake and Woodlands. The statement from the RM’s said, “The lack of volume and frequency of precipitation in 2019 had caused considerable damage to the agriculture industry within the Interlake and Parkland regions. Due to the extremely dry conditions, grain, hay, and straw producers are facing severely reduced crop yields also adversely affecting pastures throughout the growing season. A deplet-
ed inventory of carryover feed in 2018 due to dry conditions last summer and the long, cold winter compounded this severe feed shortage.” Arnthor Jonasson, Reeve of the RM of West Interlake said the situation is so dire that waiting to solve this until after the provincial election is too late. “When you look at it... they’ve been asking, ‘Can it wait till after the election?’ And you go holy cow, another ten days, another two weeks. And then the government has to form and then it’s too late,” said Jonasson. “We sent the resolution to the Department of Ag about a month ago, received a letter outlining all the programs that are available to the producers. And these producers already know that. They know what programs are available, but they don’t seem to work for cattle producers.”
He said what the provincial government failed to mention there is an agro recovery program, and the province has to initiate and access it from the Federal government. “I look at our situation here, and ours would fit completely into that agro recovery,” said a frustrated Jonasson, who is also a cattle producer. While recognizing the election process, they are trying to get the attention of the government and want a response because of this severe emergency. “But I think that this is very time-sensitive and coming to a big crunch here. And I don’t know if we can wait until after the election,” said Jonasson. “Well, if the legislature were burning, they’d certainly call the fire department.” Why the help is critical and time-sensitive has to do
with the younger producers selling off their livelihood and in some cases their entire cowherd. “Yes. Ashern Auction Mart, the Interlake Cattleman’s Co-Op opened up two weeks ago. They sold about 320 cows on the first sale, and last week’s sale had 240 or 250 cows and a lot of bulls. Everyone’s clearing up any animal that they can. They’re moving right now,” said Jonasson. When a cattle producer sells off cattle it is like a grain farmer who finally sells his last quarter to pay off some debt, he is no longer a farmer. “That’s right. That is right. It will take years to rebuild the herd because the guys selling are the young producers in the industry, and they’re the guys we’re trying to encourage to stay. It’s very tough to Continued on Page 2...
Dry Pasture Funding Options Announced for Livestock Producers The province is advising that livestock producers who have been affected by dry conditions on pasture can apply for funding to support water access and management under Ag Action Manitoba. “We recognize that many producers are feeling the effects of our dry summer and that they may require additional assistance to secure a safe and reliable water supply for their livestock,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “Properly functioning and adequately protected ground and surface water sources are essential to ensuring the health of livestock and ground water sources.” Funding is provided through the Managing Livestock Access to Riparian Areas beneficial management practice (BMP) under Ag Action Manitoba - Assurance. Eligible projects and related costs include: - Drilling new or deepening existing wells, test hole drilling, screening, casing, well caps and related activities; - Installing water pumps and required plumbing components and related activities, such as professional and contractor fees; - Constructing new or rehabilitating existing dugouts including professional and contractor fees; - Establishing alternative watering system equipment and permanent fencing to restrict livestock access to surface water and dugouts. To be eligible, applicants must complete an environmental farm plan (EFP) that will help manage risk on their farm related to water quality and supply, soil health, air quality and biodiversity. Producers have until November 1, 2020, to submit their EFP statement of completion. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis until October 11. Priority will be given to applicants within federal tax deferral areas, as identified at agr.gc.ca under Drought Watch. Producers can contact their local Manitoba Agriculture office or call the department (toll-free) at 1-84-GROW-MB-AG (1-844-769-6224) for more information on any of these programs and services or go to gov.mb.ca/agriculture under Quick Links.
September 27, 2019
The AgriPost Drought Causes State of Emergency for Majority of Manitoba Cattle Producers keep them in the industry if they have to sell their stock off. Producers are advertising whole herds right now,” he said. Many producers are wondering what to do with the three options available. “One, you sell your herd, secondly, you buy in feed, and the feed is so high that it’s not cost-effective but cost-prohibitive right now. Or thirdly, you find some-
one to feed your cattle for you. You make a deal with the feedlot somewhere to feed your cattle. That’s what people are scrambling to do right now, but it’s a tough go,” he said. The President of the Manitoba Beef Producers Tom Teichroeb a rancher at Langruth, said this drought could well represent up to 80 per cent of the cattle in Manitoba. “This area and the Park-
Continued from Page 1...
land region. Yes, I would agree. It’s a large number. I’m not saying every producer is in that position, but a good percentage of them are because even with some spotty rains some producers have only a little feed,” said Jonasson. “But I don’t know of any producer that has a lot of feed or adequate feed. Everybody I talked to is short, and they’re talking selling 15, 20 per cent of their cow
herd if not the whole herd if nothing happens.” As one observer said, “You guys need to stand up and tell your story. And don’t be afraid because the political parties right now, they need to talk about this. They need to know whether an election or not, we have to talk about this now.” “Oh. It’s too late for that to happen. It’s got to happen now,” concluded Jonasson.
Meat Industries on Both Sides of the 49th Parallel Ask Governments for Help By Harry Siemens The battle between China and Canada continues at diplomatic levels and the Canadian Ag industry continues to feel the effects of this political dispute. Chris White, the President and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council, said the entire Canadian red meat sector is calling for government action to address China’s temporary suspension of pork and beef imports from Canada. The cost of China’s temporary suspension of Canadian pork and beef imports, imposed June 25 after Chinese Customs identified a shipment of non-Canadian pork exhibiting technical irregularities and fraudulently certified as Canadian with falsified documents. The cost to the Agricultural sector is approaching $100 million. The temporary suspension of pork comes at a time when the agricultural sectors, whether grain, pulses or beef, are suffering from lack of market access for products destined to be
sold into China. White said the longer the situation drags on, the higher the losses will be. When China eventually lifts the suspension, the more difficult it will be to regain market share lost to Canada’s competitors. “The immediate task is to assist the industry concerning compensation,” he said. “The reason the Chinese government gave to Canada for the suspension was owing to irregularities as a consequence of [CFIA], the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. It wasn’t because of anything wrong with the Canadian product, or anything Canadian companies did. They ask for compensation because it appears from an industry perspective the suspension resulted as action by the government.” White said the second thing is to assist, and the government is doing this, to help secure and identify other potential markets for Canadian products. “Thirdly if the suspension continues, are there other programs or remedies
within the government of Canada?” asked White. “For example, if there are job losses, what can government do to assist people in getting retraining or employment insurance if it’s a short term job loss,” he said. “There are other provisions the government has that they can provide some short term assistance to the industry. So the government is looking at what those options might be, and they’ll be making some recommendations to industry in terms of what they think they can do.” White said government and industry had established a working group to determine what compensation might look like and what’s needed to make intelligent recommendations. The sector is working to provide that data. Next is to look at the situation from the American side. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said the latest increase in Chinese tariffs on US pork would further limit the ability of American pork producers to take ad-
With China imposing a 72 percent tariff on US pork, compared to 12 percent charged on pork from competing nations, it is significant. Photo by Harry Siemens
vantage of the opportunities created by declining Chinese pork production. Then some Canadians may ask what a tariff on US products has to do with the Canadian meat industry. Everything according to industry analysts because Canada exports product south and the American markets’ set the Canadian price. In response to the latest increase in US tariffs on imported products from China, China has further heightened import tariffs on US products. Maria Zieba, the Director of International Affairs for the NPPC, said American pork producers are already having a difficult time exporting into China. With China imposing a 72 percent tariff on US pork, compared to 12 percent charged on pork from competing nations, it is significant. “We need to have a deal as quickly as possible with the Chinese that eliminates all of these retaliatory tariffs and addresses those issues that limit our exports,” said Zieba. “That’s what we’re asking. We understand that this is a bigger issue that affects the rest of the US economy. But paying a 72 percent tariff, in the long run, will hurt our industry and now that African Swine Fever (ASF) has devastated the China pork industry.” She said with China, the largest pork producer and consumer of pork in the world that ASF killed a large part of their industry resulting in a tremendous opportunity for US pork. Unfortunately, because of high tariffs, that opportunity is going to American competitors instead. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to end the trade dispute with China.
September 27, 2019
Manitoba Farmers Harvesting Later Crops By Elmer Heinrichs As September draws to a close, farmers are hoping for good weather to finish the balance of the soybeans, potatoes, begin the sunflower harvest and move into the grain corn. Earlier in the month with widespread rain and sporadic showers Manitoba’s harvest came to a halt, crops not yet mature grew well and farmers resumed harvesting of this year’s at least average crop in the third week of August. For a time harvest progress was limited due to the challenging conditions, drying of tough and wet grain became common and the harvest of 1.7 million acres of soybeans got underway. By mid-month, winter cereal seeding had started in most regions, with adequate soil moisture and good conditions for germination and early growth. In its weekly crop report the Central region for September 17 noted that precipitation was general and varied from 20 to 50 mm helping to replenish soil moisture, now rated as good to excessive in places. The Pilot Mound area experienced hail on the weekend causing light damage, with assessments underway.
The report also noted that harvest of wheat, oats and barley is mostly done in the Red River valley, with 15 to 25 per cent of these crops left to be harvested. Volunteer grain regrowth is evident with good germination conditions. Some fall tillage is also occurring. Swathing of canola fields is mostly done, with farmers leaving a good proportion of fields standing for straight combining when ready. Yields are ranging from 25 to 55 bushels an acre. Recent rainfall will help seed corn filling, and the silage corn harvest has started while some poorer grain fields are re-destined and harvested for silage. Dennis Lange, the provincial pulse crop specialist, said farmers will be focusing on the soybean harvest in the coming days. In talking about the crop, he said, “We’ve had some challenges through the year because of the dry weather we’ve had again, but generally the crop looks good.” “While some soybeans matured a bit sooner than we’d normally like to see,” he said. “Overall, I think we’re still in pretty good shape, and we’ll likely see an average crop of about 30 bushels an acre.” Last year soybeans
averaged out at 32 bushels per acre across the province. Lange said the edible bean harvest is sitting at about 20 to 30 per cent complete, while the field pea harvest has pretty much wrapped up. In Eastern regions, harvesting restarted as the weather shifted to warm, sunny and humid, and across the region 95 per cent of spring wheat is harvested with an average yield of 65 bushels an acre. Quality on the remaining wheat has degraded significantly due to sprouting and mildew. Protein levels remain mixed with reports ranging from 11 per cent to greater than 14.5 per cent. Oat harvest was almost complete with an average yield of over 100 bushels an acre. Quality on remaining crop has downgraded significantly due to sprouting and mildew. Barley harvest was almost done with an average of 70 bushels an acre, with breakage and head loss on balance of crop noted. In southern and central districts, the canola harvest was almost complete, with northern about half done. Yields ranged from 40 to 50 bushels an acre. The soybean harvest should begin shortly and continue through the month. Overall harvest progress is estimated at 60 per cent.
Political Leaders Need a Plan that Supports Farmers Now that the federal election cycle has officially begun, Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is urging political leaders to share their party’s plan to address the market access challenges facing Canada’s export-oriented agriculture sector. “We are just weeks away from choosing a new federal government and we have yet to hear anything concrete regarding trade from any of our major parties or political leaders,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “Whoever wins this election will be inheriting this situation and must have a strategy in place to address it in short order.” With the vast majority of Canadian grain destined for
international markets, the importance of a robust and clear strategy for trade cannot be understated. While China has dominated the headlines due to their halting of canola, soybeans, beef, and pork products, the market access problems experienced by farmers have extended beyond Canada’s second-largest trading partner. GGC members have borne the brunt of the cost associated with halted durum wheat trade with Italy, the shutdown of pulse products shipped into India, and persistent challenges with Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. The volatility of these export markets is having a clear and negative impact on hardworking farm families. Sta-
tistics Canada has reported that our nation’s farmers saw net farm income fall by 45 per cent to $3.9 billion in 2018, the second-consecutive annual drop in income and the lowest reported in eight years. Without any indication that geopolitical tensions will ease anytime soon, harvest 2019 does not offer any cause for optimism. “Canadian grain farmers need market certainty,” added Nielsen. “That means having a federal government who acts aggressively to remove trade barriers that stand in our way and ensures that those with whom we have trade agreements live up to their commitments.”
A Lot of Rain a Bit Too Late
By Les Kletke Benedikt Singer said it is a case of a lot too late when it comes to rain in southeastern Manitoba late September. “We have reports of a lot of rain throughout the region,” said Singer on the downpours received on September 20 and 21. As much as 4 inches was dumped on much of the region. He acknowledged that it might do some good to replenish soil moisture levels that had been at extremely low levels the last two falls. “This might be good going into next spring but our concern now is to take the crop off, and that is going to be a challenge through much of the region.” he said. Singer said that reports of some of the early corn silage that came off are in the range of 15-20 tonnes an acre. “That is good news for fellows who had faced feed shortages the past couple of years,” he said. “That is on the early varieties and most of the silage grown in our area is medium to late varieties and the yields show even better.” Singer said that some of the early trails of soybeans conducted by Marc Hutlet Seed yielded 39 bushels an acre. “That was very good for the trial and we are hearing that guys who harvested beans were getting from the mid 30s to the mid 40s, which considering the dry conditions we had through the summer is very good.” Along with yields he was also hearing that producers who had access to tracks for their combines were considering the move. “But with the rain of the past weekend they will definitely be making the change. Anyone who has access to tracks will be switching to them now.” His estimates for the crop are that it will be average although the challenge of getting it off is another thing. “We know that there are going to be more challenges now, and the previews rains were still a benefit to some of the crop but this is not going to do any good for the crop and just adds to difficulties at harvest.” Some producers were already expecting to deal with a patch work of leaving low spots to be combined later but this will confirm that strategy. Track vehicles may be helpful now however the tracks left in the field will be another issue to deal with.
September 27, 2019
Harvest Headline Roundup Thanks to the weather harvest progress across the province ranges anywhere from caught up to “hopefully we can get done by sometime in February”. Meanwhile the world just keeps chugging along. Here are a few stories that caught your bending author’s eye lately. Back in June President Trump did something quite positive by signing an executive order telling federal departments to cut some of the red tape around the review process for approving things like genetically modified livestock and seeds. In a world that always seems to be going in the opposite direction slowing things down or even outright banning these technological breakthroughs its welcome news. Animal rights groups around the world are getting bolder and this includes Canada, where they have now started to enter live-
stock barns either with the intention of “rescuing” animals or refusing to leave. In March a dairy barn in Waterloo Ontario was the target. April saw a large group of activists invade a hog farm in Abbotsford BC for a day. Early September a turkey farm near Fort MacLeod, Alberta had 60 people both in and around their barns. Meanwhile in Spain, also in September, 50 activists descended on a rabbit farm. In that instance, farmers retaliated with reports of physical violence, high speed chases and gun shots. Ontario is looking into the possibility of new legislation to help protect livestock farmers from such shenanigans. Harsher sentences and fines could help but so would
enforcing existing trespass laws. However one wonders how harsh the punishment would have to be for some of the more zealous activists to be dissuaded. Also out of Ontario is a typically Canadian controversy. When Premier Rob Ford attended the annual International Plowing Match in Verner there was mixed reports as to whether he was booed or got applause. In all likelihood it was probably some of both. More importantly though Premier Ford did eventually get on a vintage Ford 3000 tractor to plow some dirt. Bjorn Lomborg had an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Vegetarianism as Climate Virtue Signaling”. Lomborg is
a vegetarian himself but he ploughs through the reports and studies in his usual level headed, reasonable way, explaining that this is not the way to actually help the environment. He agrees that improving our food systems would help, but the way that needs to be done is increasing research into increasing yields and producing hardier crops. Reason Magazine agrees with Lomborg saying that “going vegetarian would reduce a person’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 2 percent.” That sounds like an awful lot of pain and inconvenience for very little gain. They also warn that, “while hectoring meat-eaters will do almost nothing to slow climate change, the demand for
dietary sacrifice and culinary hair shirts By Rolf could well alienate Penner members of the public from considering more effective ways to address future manmade warming.” In related news Tim Hor- scare people about anything ton’s is dropping its brand from coffee to GMO’s and new beyond meat burgers ingredients you can’t proand sausage patties every- nounce to even water. “Cafwhere except BC and On- feine, water, wine, aspirin, tario. Apparently the demand and so much more all have isn’t just what they thought it the ability to cause major was going to be. What hap- problems if we consume too pens in other fast food res- much. Consume just a little taurants with these new plant bit and we can feel the benbased burgers remains to be efits.” The common sense seen. message being that “it’s the Farm Babe, aka Michelle dose that makes the poison.” Miller wrote a piece on how Here’s hoping the rain “Fear, is the new sex when it stops coming down somecomes to selling something”. time between me writing this She points out how easy it is and you reading it. Cheers!
New Pathotype of Clubroot Found in Manitoba There was a time when new weeds appeared in your crop, you went to the Ag Rep at the Manitoba Agriculture office, and asked him or her to identify it and what spray to use. Yes, I know that is simplistic and sometimes farmers would take the plant to the local coffee shop or elevator agent to help identify the new weed on the block. With diseases in livestock, calf scours, mastitis in milk cows, and most recently, PED virus in pigs in Manitoba, and African Swine Fever breaking out all over the world, the word biosecurity comes up regularly. While not a livestock disease per se, biosecurity is a word that fits this new weed discovered in a canola field in south-central Manitoba. Manitoba Agriculture has identified a new strain of Clubroot in canola, Plasmodiophora brassicae, in the RM of Pembina. “Clubroot is a disease of canola and other brassica species that inhibits
the function of plant roots to take up water and nutrients from the soil. Infected plants suffer premature ripening, significantly reduced yield and early plant death under moderate to severe levels of infestation,” said the Government release. “Clubroot is a soil-borne disease and can be transferred from field to field on soil particles. Soil movement can be on footwear, vehicle tires, farm machinery, custom equipment, or via wind or water movement across a landscape. The new strain of Clubroot is identified as pathotype 3A, using the combined designation of the Canadian Clubroot Differential Set (2018) and the Williams set (1966). Pathotype 3A can overcome some first-generation sources of genetic resistance in commercial canola cultivars. Traditionally rated “resistant” or “R” canola varieties will not be effective in preventing Clubroot infection against this pathotype strain.” Long-term sustainability of canola production requires active crop rotation and rotation of sources of genetic resistance, together with good farm biosecurity to suppress Clubroot infection. Dan Orchard, the agron-
omy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, said outside of Alberta, very few fields have the novel pathotype like this one. This find is the first in Manitoba. The discovery of pathotype 3A in the RM of Pembina comes after the industry found multiple cases of Clubroot DNA and plant symptoms throughout the province of Manitoba since 2013. “This is yet another cue for the industry to continue to take this disease seriously and implement Clubroot management plans,” said Orchard. “We still have an opportunity to get ahead of this disease and limit the impact it has on canola producers and the industry.” All canola producers are encouraged to grow Clubroot resistant varieties, limit the movement of soil, extend rotations to at least a two-year break between canola crops, control canola volunteers and other brassica hosts, and diligently scout. Symptoms of the disease are most noticeable late in the season and can be visible during and after harvest on plant roots. Producers are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Clubroot symptoms and start
scouting this fall. “The development of Clubroot and discovery of a pathotype that is virulent to the source of Clubroot resistance concerns Manitoba canola farmers,” said Ron Krahn, Manitoba Canola Growers Association director and chair of the Research Committee. “Clubroot is one of the latest challenges in canola production. We know how important canola is for a profitable crop rotation, which is why we feel the research dollars that MCGA spends every year on current production challenges is money well spent.”
Dan told me that because they found it early, they can get ahead of the game. However, if the weed gets away on the farmer, it can spread to the point where growing canola on that field is no longer an option. In Alberta, that is the current status of fields so infested. As I said at the beginning, biosecurity, meaning clean the farm implements before moving from one field to the next, don’t transfer dirt around from field to field. Be careful, those boots may be made for walking but clean them before walking from one field to the next.
Dan Orchard, the agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, said outside of Alberta, very few fields have the novel pathotype like this one. This find is the first in Manitoba.
Image of Clubroot infected fields in Alberta.
Being Taken for Granted Hurts
Is it just me or do you like someone to tell you that you are appreciated, perhaps even go so far as to make some gesture to show you that you are appreciated. I am not saying to blow the budget and get me a new car or anything like that, but something small is nice once and while. Really, is it just me or would other rural Manitobans like to know they are appreciated. We have just come through another provincial election and the results are pretty
much as expected, the rural seats went to the Conservatives as they have for most of recorded history in this province. Watching election night coverage I found it strange that “the desk” would wait till 3 or 4 polls reported results before declaring a Conservative elected in a rural riding, but I suppose declaring them elected before any results are in would be viewed as presumptions. So if someone like me knows that rural Manitoba is voting Tory, I would imagine that the Tories know that as well and target their resources to the possible swing ridings. Which means, that we again get left on the out-
side as the government of the day tries to win the next election. I think that effort began the day after this election, or perhaps sooner. So here we go again, 4 years of stable government or less if the Premier feels it is a good time and he can carry the day but are we gaining anything from this. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living in rural Manitoba and appreciated not having to deal with the door knocking and countless pamphlets of a hotly contested campaign. I appreciated that resources were better spent elsewhere but how about something for rural Manitoba as a thank you. Perhaps it is just the time
of year, and that my tax bill has arrived but Mr. Premier how about throwing us a bone and doing away with School Tax on farm land. If you did it now urban voters will forget about it in the next election and would not carry a grudge and make you pay at the polls for a more even distribution system of the cost of education. So how about that, I will pay my tax bill for this year, because I know you can’t change things that quickly except for election day but let’s work to making 2020 the year of property tax revision for farmers and show us that things that go up, do come down sometimes.
Drought in the Interlake, Climate Change and the One Basin, One Governance Conference
By Dr. Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights
The drought in the Interlake needs attention, provincially and federally. The Manitoba hay crop in the Interlake is being called, “extremely, extremely diminished to incredibly poor” by farmer Tom Teichrob. We hear that a large number of producers “Are seriously considering
liquidating or reducing their herds this fall.” The province has put out a press release recommending that producers use an existing program – Ag Action Manitoba – which can help in drilling new wells, installing water pumps, constructing dugouts and establishing alternative watering system equipment. While these programs may help some farmers they do not address the critical shortage of and high cost of hay. There needs to be more done to help now. Droughts in the Interlake happened before climate change and this one may not necessarily be due to climate change. But climate change provides an added urgency to being able to respond
short term and long term to address droughts, just as we are ready to mobilize a large effort when there is a flood. This effort needs to involve long term thinking. Those who would say climate change is not a problem should have listened to Robert Sandford’s presentation at the One Basin, One Governance conference held in Winnipeg September 16 to 18. This conference was attended by many elected officials from municipalities within the Lake Winnipeg watershed and particularly in the Red River Basin. Robert Sandford, an international water expert, pointed out that permafrost thawing in the Canadian arctic is happen-
ing at a rate that only a few years ago was not predicted to occur until 2070. He also pointed out that the Greenland icecap is melting at a rate that a few years ago was not predicted to occur until 2090. Changes are happening much faster than predicted. We need to be ready to build agricultural support that will be much more resilient in the face of more frequent and more severe droughts. It is important for affected farmers. It is important for all of us. It affects our livelihoods as Manitobans. It affects our food security as Manitobans. It affects future jobs, economic activity and quality of life.
Farmland Values Show Modest Increase Average farmland values in Canada are showing only modest increases for the first half of 2019, according to a review by Farm Credit Canada. The national average for farmland values fell from a 6.6-per-cent increase in 2018 to a three-per-cent increase in the first half this year. If this increase holds steady for the remainder of this year, it will be part of a five-year trend of softening growth in average farmland values. “There might be some minor market adjustments along the way, but the days of sharp increases in farmland values have been replaced by more modest growth,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief agri-
cultural economist. FCC’s review showed lower increases from 2018 in British Columbia (2.7%), Alberta (1.6%), Saskatchewan (2.9%), Ontario (3.3%) and Quebec (2.8%), while Manitoba (6.2%) showed a slightly higher increase. Average farmland values have increased every year since 1993; however, increases were more pronounced from 2011 to 2015 in many different regions. In 2015, the average increase was 10 per cent, and since that year, Canada has seen more moderate single-digit increases in average farmland values. “Now we appear to be moving into a time of cautious
buying, where producers are focusing more on improving productivity and building resilience in their operations,” Gervais said. Most Canadian farms continue to be in a good financial position and the overall farm debt-to-asset ratio remains lower than the 15-year average, so many producers are in a position to purchase land if it’s part of their business plan. “The balance sheet is still strong, but uncertainty in markets and the fact that farmland values have climbed rapidly in the past may be giving some producers reason to pause,” Gervais said. “Others may have already expanded their operations
and are now exploring other strategic investments.” Changes in commodity prices, uncertainty around global trade and some challenging weather conditions may have also taken some of the steam out of farmland values. Producers can prepare for these unpredictable circumstances by maintaining a risk management plan while remaining focused on the big picture, according to Gervais. “Demand for Canadian agricultural products is projected to remain strong at home and abroad in 201920, so there is a long-term positive future in agriculture,” he said.
September 27, 2019
September 27, 2019
Product Trials Help this Farmer Decide By Harry Siemens
Jeff Elder with his wife Sheila and son Andy farm 1,600 acres at Wawanesa. Photos courtesy of Jeff Elder
Jeff Elder of Wawanesa tweeted recently about another Manipulator trial completed. Thanks to @ MBwheatbarley and the @ toneag14 crew. This year’s preliminary results point to an actual statistical difference. “I volunteered to have a trial on my field with a plant growth regulator applied in a replicated trial where I made the application,” said Elder. “Tone Ag, on behalf of the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, came out and flagged it all, recorded the information about how the crop was growing, plant heights and a few other things. Then they flew it with a drone to get some images to stitch together and to compare the plots. We did a full header width on each trial with a weigh wagon in the field to compare treated and untreated, to see if there was any yield response to plant growth regulator.” Elder likes to see things for himself and compare how they work or not described how he got into this trial and what he expects to
learn from it. “I think it’s just word of mouth. I talked to different people at events like Ag Days and stuff like that, and sometimes see requests on Twitter looking for people that want to have this kind of a trial. I’ve done trials with Manitoba Pulse Growers in the past as well as the Wheat and Barley Growers,” said Elder. “It’s not a whole bunch of work on my part, but I do get to see some of these practices or products on my land, and just see for myself how these things work, and what works, and what doesn’t work for me.” He too agrees that Twitter has a good Ag community that helps him and other farmers. “There’s a lot of good information hidden away on Twitter, in amongst a whole bunch of other things. But, yeah, there’s quite an Ag community that keeps me coming back to it,” Elder said. He farms with his wife and son who helps out during the summer and attends university in the winter. “My dad still comes out and helps here. We crop up to a little over 1,600 acres
here with wheat, barley, soybean, and flax rotation, although the flax is slowly getting pushed out. We’ve got a few acres of canola again this year,” he said. The Elder farm 2019 harvest is half done, the cereals in the bin while the barley went into the bin almost a month ago. It was a solid, average crop, not a bin buster, but it was a pretty decent crop. There was no dry wheat, but it’s all in the bin and also a good, solid average. “Genetics and agronomy have really, really, really made huge differences in some of these crops we grow now,” he said. “A storm in July impacted both cereal crops negatively. We had a hard inch of rain with wind, and it just absolutely flattened it. Quite a few acres never got back up.” Elder expects to take away from this trial, hoping to see if this is a practice that he wants to use in the future. “There are so many different things out there that people want to sell you on using to benefit your crop supposedly. But, what these products
need to do, at the end of the day, is benefit the bottom line. I’m hoping to learn, is this product going to pay for itself to start with and provide a benefit somehow to my operation,” he said. “I read a lot. I listen to presentations by researchers in the winter. I take those things that sound promising for my situation, and I try them on my farm, whether it’s in a proper trial with a grower association or just on my own, try a test strip in a non-scientific way. But, still, it gives me information for how it fits in with my practices. Sometimes, I see a benefit, and, probably, most times, I don’t. But, that’s where I make advancements from, I guess.” Elder does consult with mostly farmers and pays for very little professional help. “Most of it’s on my own. I can bounce ideas off of fellow farmers and agronomists I know. About what they think of certain things. But, mostly, I take all that, and I distill it down and come up with my own opinion on it.”
September 27, 2019
In Need of a Rodeo Clown? By Les Kletke Jim Ross is clear he did not have any illusions that he would ever become a rodeo clown. When asked how he ended up working at the Heartland Rodeo Finals in Grunthal on September 14 and 15, he said, “I got a call from someone who said they needed a clown for the event and they remembered seeing me at the Marchand Rodeo,” said Ross with a chuckle. “That was 17 years ago.” In between rodeos Ross has become a regular at several community events in the area. He serves as the MC at the Marchand Logging Days and the St. Labre 200 event that features teams building and racing their own go karts. While he is not manning the microphone at local events he is employed by Malnar Industries a Stein-
bach company that specializes in commercial refrigeration units. Ross said the role of a rodeo clown is much closer to the role he usually plays than one might think. “I am not a bull fighter, I am here to entertain the crowd,” he said. “So in that regard there is a lot of interaction with the announcer and chatter between us that keeps the crowd entertained between rides.” Ross said there has been a move in recent years to bring back more clowns to rodeo. There was a time when the clown was in the barrel during the bull rides and provided diversion for the bull allowing the rider to scamper or limp his way to safety. “Now with bull fighters taking that role in the arena and doing a good job of that the clown is making a comeback as a form of en-
tertainment at rodeos,” said Ross. He did spend time in the ring during the bull riding event with some of his conversation with the announcer talking about keeping a safe distance. He escaped his first day of clown work without an injury and said it was too early to decide if he would be back performing. He was clear that he had no intention of leaving his regular job to pursue a career behind the grease paint. “I was lucky I had my costume from 17 years ago and it still fit,” he said holding out the oversize jean bib overalls and laughing. It may have been his first time back in the arena as a clown in nearly two decades but for most of the people in the stands it was a regular performance with another great local rodeo enthusiast. Even though Jim Ross had not been a rodeo clown for 17 years, he stepped into the arena at the Heartland Photo by Les Kletke Finals Rodeo in Grunthal.
September 27, 2019
The Sports Medics Keeping Your Dreams Safe By Les Kletke Robert Paige is sure he will never get on a bull, but he understands why people do and he spends a lot of time behind the chutes at rodeos across Manitoba. “It is their passion,” he said. “This is what they do and they will keep doing it. My goal is to make it as safe as possible for them to keep chasing their dream.” Paige is the President of Xtreme Sports Medics, a business that began 4 years ago and that now has 52 part time employees, all of which are paramedics. “I had one person tell me they could not do it after their first event,” said Paige. “They said they could not handle the trauma and did not want to be in that position.” He does have roles for people who chose events that have the potential for less traumatic injuries. “I suggest they work events where there is less likely to be a major event, not rodeo or motocross races. We also work at events like bicycle races,” he said. Paige, originally from British Columbia, used to work
Robert Paige operates Xtreme Sports Medics out of his home in West St. Paul and appears at most rodeos around the province. Photo by Les Kletke
as a ski patrol and said that while he would never wish for an accident there is a certain adrenaline rush that drives him. “The urgency of the moment is something that drives me and when you know you are helping someone that is in a dangerous position that makes it all worthwhile,” he said. While conducting the interview with him two fathers stopped by to say, “Thanks for helping our sons with injuries today.” Rodeo events used to rely
on volunteers for their safe staffing and many times they were therapists who volunteered their time. That has changed over the last 4 years. “The events are now staffed by trained paramedics that can react to the situation and provide the care needed immediately,” said Paige recalling a time last year when he entered the bull riding arena before the bull left. “I got the call that the rider was down and not breathing. While the pickup men moved
the bull to the end of the arena I went to the rider and he had his mouth guard lodged in his throat and could not breathe. I took it out and got him back breathing.” Paige said the business growth for his company has been beyond expectation and they now attend most of the rodeos and motocross events in Manitoba. “We are a part of the scene now and while we try to stay in the background till needed, we are here and families know that,” he said with a smile.
September 27, 2019
Grain Growers Welcome New Ambassador to China The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is hoping with the appointment of a new Canadian ambassador to China some of the trade disputes can be resolved. “Canada’s grain growers would like to congratulate Mr. [Dominic] Barton on his new role,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “Given the importance and recent uncertainty of our trade relationship, it is crucial to have an experienced voice in China to stand up for our sector and help re-open the markets we count on.” Canada’s farmers rely on exports to survive and thrive as over 90 per cent of our agri-food products are shipped to international customers. GGC is hopeful that the Federal government prioritizes the needs of our export-oriented grain sector. This includes quickly moving to resolve the market access challenges that our members are increasingly facing into the Chinese marketplace. “Canadian grain farmers have suffered the impact of this trade dispute for far too long,” added Nielsen. “We rely on certainty with our customers to secure our future and are hopeful that our new ambassador will help to re-establish a fruitful relationship with our second-largest trading partner.” As author the 2017 Barton Report, prepared by an advisory council formed by Finance Minister Morneau, Barton indicated that agriculture was as a sector with the potential for substantial growth and export improvement. GGC is confident that Barton will carry forward this sentiment and recognize that agriculture is a key driver of the Canadian economy.
September 27, 2019
Gift Ideas for Gardeners and Produce Preservation
By Joan Airey As I write this, in our community most farm families are trying to get their crop in the bin and preserve their garden produce. We have all our cereal grains in the bin but have over 600 acres of canola still to harvest. Getty Stewart a speaker at this fall’s Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference has a website at gettystewart.com. This morning her Facebook article was about not wasting food, which we all do at times me included and buying only what we can use. At this time of year when I’m feeding extra people it’s hard to work leftovers into the
menu. On her website, Getty shares lots of tasty recipes for local produce. I’m often lucky enough to have my six and nine-year old grandchildren bring vegetables in from the garden. On a recent trip to the garden I asked them what vegetables they would prefer for supper. The nine-year old said carrots, the six-year old said no vegetables at all but then decided she would like corn on the cob. So we cooked both. The “Prairie Garden” would make a nice gift for any avid gardener or beginner. The 2020 Prairie Garden will be available soon featuring the theme “inspired by nature”.
It focuses on how gardeners in our region can take a cue from nature in everything from design to plant choices and ongoing care to create beautiful, resilient gardens that are less work to maintain and friendlier to all living things. As always, it aims to be a guide for gardeners of all skill levels for our short-season and the gardening zones of Canada and the US. For further information you can check out their website theprairiegarden.com. “The Gardener” for Canadian climates is published in Saskatoon. Generally you don’t see many Manitoba garden magazines on the newsstand but
there are a couple of very good ones available by subscription. There is “Manitoba Gardener” that can be followed online at localgardener.net. Their website is gardenermagazine.ca. I love reading both magazines because the information applies to our climate. This time of year we should make notes what variety of vegetables really did well in our gardens. Big Beef tomatoes are going on my 2020 garden list as they are one of the tomatoes that didn’t have any blossom end rot. There is also a large Roma tomato that did well. We enjoy the salsa made from both.
With harvest a priority out in the field and in the garden, my flowers have been lacking in care but definitely will be looking for Bubble gum petunias for my pots next year. In memory of my Grandma Bennett who loved to garden I always grow a pot of giant pansies.
After thinking our corn crop would be a disaster all of a sudden six rows of corn were ready to eat with nice sized cobs. Happy to say we’ve been enjoying it through harvest and have lots in the freezer. My daughter-in-law gave me some Bubble gum pink petunias which I plan to purchase for my pots next year. They bloomed continuously all summer with little care other than regular watering. The petunia’s came from Walker’s greenhouse listed on the Manitoba Gardener Facebook page. Throughout the summer I saw plenty of people across the province with these petunias putting on a fabulous show. The Giant Pansies I purchased at
Trestle Greenhouse put on a great show as well. I grew them in the shade on our patio in a large pot. My neighbour Phyllis gave me some Geranium slips, which I grew under lights until it was time for planting in large pots. The Geraniums plants that I planted in the shade alongside the petunias in the large pots had numerous people commenting on their large leaves and blooms. Guess it’s time to save some geranium slips or plants for next spring. This fall if you’re looking to put up some pickles to enjoy over the winter months check out my blog at joanairey1.wordpress.com for some very easy refrigerator pickle recipes.
Manitoba grown grapes great for making jelly, juice, or wine I’m told. Mine were all made into juice this year. Several of my vines were grown from cuttings a friend gave me.
The 2020 edition of The Prairie Garden, featuring the theme “Inspired by Nature,” focuses on how gardeners in our region can take a cue from nature in everything from design to plant choice to ongoing care, so as to create beautiful, resilient gardens that are less work to maintain and friendlier to all living things. Photos by Joan Airey
The Good and Bad of Chinese Tariff Rollback By Harry Siemens The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said China rolling back retaliatory tariffs on US pork is good news for US pork producers and Chinese consumers. However, the Canadian Meat Council warns that China’s tariff rollback on US pork further jeopardizes Canada’s competitive position in that market. This past year the US trade dispute with China resulted in a build-up of Chinese retaliatory tariffs on US pork which hit as high as 60 percent on September 1 on top of the existing 12 percent duty. Recently, reports indicated China is rolling back its tariffs on US Pork and US soybeans. Jim Monroe, the Senior Director of Communications with the NPPC, said the Chinese tariffs caused an estimated loss to American pork producers of eight dollars per hog sold in the US. If the Chinese media reports are accurate, it is a welcome development. “China is struggling with African Swine Fever since August of 2018 decimating its domestic herd, making serious declines to its domestic production. You’re starting to see reports of pork prices for consumers rising significantly, and pork is a staple of the Chinese diet,” said Munro. “China is an important export market for US producers, usually in the top five export markets. It’s even more critical now that they’re dealing with African Swine Fever.” He said it represents a historic opportunity to increase exports to China at a time when they need it, and when Chinese consumers need more supplies. “We’re hopeful that we can compete more effectively for that opportunity and we’ll see what happens as we move forward.” Monroe pointed out the US pork sector is highly exportdependent, selling more than 25 percent of its pork production to other countries making every export market essential. “The sector moved along in expansion mode the past couple of years with new packing capacity coming online and record production levels and most of the investment to drive this expansion came on the promise of exports,” Munro said. On the other hand, the Canadian meat industry said China’s rollback of US pork tariffs further jeopardizes Canada’s competitive position in that market. In June, China suspended Canadian pork and beef imports in response to the discovery of fraudulent export certificates that had identified the non-Canadian product as Canadian. Since then, the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has worked with China Customs to implement safeguards to ensure a more rigorous Canadian certification system. Canadian Meat Council President and CEO Chris White said the news that China is rolling back tariffs on US pork heightens the urgency of the situation. “Ever since the suspension there is an urgency because, as you can appreciate, those markets are critical to the bottom line of any number of Canadian companies,” said White. “As an export nation, when you have those opportunities, you want to maximize them. Since the Americans are not a signatory to the CPTPP that gave Canadian companies a distinct advantage. So the rollback of the tariffs certainly is to the benefit clearly of the Americans, so it further disadvantages Canadian companies.” He said the longer the suspension is in place, it will not be easy to get back into the Chinese market at levels before the suspension. It does allow the Americans to secure a higher percentage of those markets, particularly now that their tariffs have been rolled back. White said Canada is currently waiting for an official reaction from China to the changes. He is hopeful the appointment of Dominic Barton as Canada’s next ambassador to China will help kick start the discussions.
September 27, 2019
WTO Ag Trade Protection Needs to Go Further than China and Canola While Cereals Canada supports formal World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution case against China for their restrictions on Canadian canola exports, Cereals Canada is also renewing the call for the Canadian Government to bring a similar dispute resolution action against the protectionist mandatory country of origin labelling in Italy. The durum value chain has been calling for WTO action to resolve Italian mCOOL for the past two years. “Italy was once the largest market for Canadian durum, the wheat used to make pasta. Since mCOOL has been brought in Canadian farmers have lost sixty percent of this market. We urge the Government of Canada to stand up against and use all available tools to challenge the Italian regulations that effectively discriminate against Canadian products,” explained Cam Dahl, President of Cereals
Canada. Dahl further noted that, “The loss of the Italian durum market has happened after the agricultural provisions of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with Europe came into effect.” Cereals Canada is calling for a much more public and assertive response from the Government of Canada to the harm being done to Canadian farmers and exporters by the Italian regulations. “We need to do more than sign trade agreements, we need to place a priority on making sure trade agreements actually work,” said Dahl. “Failure to challenge the Italian regulations will encourage other countries with trade protectionist goals to utilize similar means to block Canadian exports. The time to challenge these non-tariff barriers is now, before further proliferation of this protectionist tool.”
September 27, 2019
September 27, 2019
CHUM Combines Canola as Foodgrains Harvests Continue
Harvesting canola for food aid on the CHUM project field near Rosenfeld.
By Elmer Heinrichs It’s been a busy harvest month this September, and through growing projects, such as the CHUM (Communities Helping Undernourished Millions) field near Rosenfeld, local farmers got together to harvest a 150-acere field of canola September 18. Four combines, two grain carts and six trucks
worked on the CHUM project harvest taking off a good crop of canola in only two hours, said Doug Dyck, who works with Chair Isaac Froese in organizing the project which has been around for more than two decades. Some 15 volunteers, including equipment operators and committee members gathered on site about noon to share a lunch courtesy
Photos by Elmer Heinrichs
Winkler Co-op from Coulee Diner and then the harvest began. It was CHUM’s only field this year. Dyck feels it’s been an above average crop yielding about 50 bushels an acre which should gross CHUM about $73,000. After the crop is sold, the net proceeds after expenses will be given to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank which
has a four to one matching arrangement with the Federal government. Gordon Janzen, Manitoba representative for the Foodgrains Bank, said that at least 13 of the more than 30 growing projects in the province have completed their harvests. Total acreage of Manitoba’s projects is around 5,000 acres.
Increasing Canola Content in Fuel Reduces Greenhouse Gas Manitoba canola producers could soon see an increase for the renewable content in diesel fuel growing from 2% to 5%. This was one of the election promises put forward by the PC Party of Manitoba. “This step would create a win-win-win scenario benefitting the environment, farmers and the economy,” said Rick White, CEO, Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). “It offers reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, new market opportunities for farmers, and investment and jobs in Canada’s processing sector.” Canola is a high-quality biofuel feedstock that is already used in Canada’s diesel fuel supply. The canola industry has been calling on policy makers across the country to take steps such as this to increase usage of renewable content in fuel. “We’re pleased to see a positive move toward boosting renewable fuel content in Manitoba,” said White. Canola currently makes up about 40% of the sustainable biofuel feedstock mix in Canada’s diesel supply. If a similar change to the one being discussed in Manitoba was introduced across Canada, 1.3 million tonnes of canola would be utilized by Canada’s domestic renewable fuel supply. At the same time, Canada would see a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. “Canola farmers across Canada grow over 20 million tonnes of canola each year and increasing domestic demand for renewable fuels is a good way to diversify markets for Canadian canola seed,” said Delaney Ross Burtnack, Executive Director, Manitoba Canola Growers Association. “This step will position Manitoba as a national leader on issues related to the environment, as well as diversifying markets for Canadian crops.” Canada’s canola industry supports increasing the inclusion rates of renewable content in diesel fuel across Canada from the current rate of 2% to 5%. Three major benefits would accrue, including a decreased environmental footprint from heavy-duty diesel vehicles with immediate greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions at a low cost; a more diversified market for canola farmers by creating new domestic demand for crops and a clear signal for industry to increase investment and create jobs in Canada’s processing sector.
September 27, 2019
September 27, 2019
Despite a Cold Spring and Dry Summer Crops Are Still Average in the Valley By Harry Siemens The entrepreneurial spirit of farmers doing business to serve their neighbours and farmers in general and expand their farm business base is alive and well. Wesmar Seeds Inc. owned by Wes Martens is an independent seed retail business specializing in soybean, corn, sunflower, and forage seeds. Located in the Altona, area and serving the southern half of the Red River Valley and beyond, Wesmar Seeds provides superior genetics and high-quality seed to farmers for over 30 years. Martens who calls himself a seed man and agriculturalist is also the owner of Wesmar Farms. He spoke recently about his business, this year’s crop, the seed business and his thoughts on the future of farming. “Those are two separate entities; Westmar Farms operates 2,000 acres of specialty crops and some cereal grains. While Wesmar Seeds is a retail seed company that sells corn, soybeans, forages, and canola seed,” he said. “It’s been a tough summer in terms of the drought, again. Very short of rain. We did receive a bit more rain than last year, which was only 3.8 inches. I think this year we’re just over six in the growing season. However, there’s nothing in the subsoil. So the crops we’ve harvested so far, like cereals and canola have been average to good. That’s what I hear in the area as well. And we’re about to start navy bean harvest, maybe even today. And soybeans will be probably happening within a week to 10 days.” “There are a few reports in on edible beans yields, and
they’re not very encouraging. But not very much has been done. So they needed the rains in August that we hardly got at all,” said Martens. “As far as soybeans go, I was looking at the growth, looking at the pod set. They do look better than last year for certain, and we’re hoping that we can get an average to slightly above-average crop. But it’ll depend a lot on seed size. So that answer is yet to come, and that’ll probably happen in a week or two.” Data from the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation indicates that soybean acres are around 1.39 million in 2019, farmers planted 1.89 million acres of beans in 2018, and nearly 2.3 million acres in 2017. Martens said soybeans and edible beans would continue to be part of his rotation going forward. “Those are crops that do very well in this area, and we’re just going to need some more rain to get back to the bigger yields that we’re used to in soybeans and edible beans.” He said that he sells seed for four different companies and Wesmar Seeds will also treat soybean seed, so that it is ready for planting. Corn and canola seed comes treated from the respective companies. He then delivers that seed to the ‘customers’ yards while the farmer picks up the soybeans directly from the seed treater. In his case, some farmers grow soybean seed for him, and the corn seed companies grow seed in the US. Corn and corn silage acres are up around 550,000 in Manitoba with 15 per cent harvested, which is corn silage. Cattle farmers are short
Research Funding Boost for Oat Cultivar Development The Federal government has announced funding of up to $1,982,915 for Prairie Oat Growers Association to improve oat varieties for the Canadian oat industry. This project aims to develop new oat cultivars suited for production in western Canada. The cultivars developed will have end-use quality identified by the industry, and will carry genetic resistance to major diseases, pests and adverse environmental and changing climatic conditions.
The project is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program, which aims to advance the growth and profitability of the sector by accelerating innovation through support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research. Canada produces about 3 million tonnes of high quality oats each year, and is the largest exporter of oats in the world. Western Canada represents nearly 90% of Canada’s oat production.
of feed and some of the grain corn did not even develop cobs because of dry weather and cold spring he said. “Corn is consistently performing well, so growers keep adding acres, and even the occasional new grower gets into the business. But corn keeps performing well and producers go with what works for them,” he said. Back in 1997, Manitoba soybean farmers had only a few suitable varieties to choose from while today’s farmers have a hundred varieties. “But when it comes down to what are the more popular and best varieties, there would still be probably, 10 or 20,” noted Martens. “And because there are several companies and each one has several varieties that are well-suited to this area. We have the different platforms now; Roundup Ready became Roundup Ready 2. We also have the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean platform where you can spray it with Dicamba.” Dicamba is a benzoic acid herbicide for application to the leaves or to the soil to control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds in grain crops and grasslands. He said more varieties come onboard regularly like Enlist which he sells, which allows farmers to spray with 2,4-D and glyphosate. “I’m optimistic about the future. I think these crops have proven to do very well in this area.
And I think anyone farming for any amount of years knows that when we have dry weather, wet weather will
follow,” said Martens. “So, the certainty is that things will not stay the same, and things will change in terms of
the weather. We’ve now had three significantly dry years. And guess what? That will change.”
Wes Martens, the owner of Westmar Farms, operates 2,000 acres of specialty crops and some cereal grains while Wesmar Seeds is a retail seed company that sells corn, soybeans, forages, and canola seed.
Wesmar Seeds sells seed for four different companies and will treat soybean seed, so it is ready for planting. Farmers will also pick up their soybeans at the seed treater.
September 27, 2019
Protecting the Soybean Confirmed Cases of Soybean Cist Nematode in Manitoba Crop from SCN in Manitoba
By Les Kletke The soybean cist nematode (SCN) has been confirmed in several fields in Manitoba, and while the pest can cause severe damage there is no need for panic. Concern yes. David Kaminski is with Manitoba Agriculture and advised that being aware of the possible dangers and taking precautions at this time could help control the disease. The SCN is a roundworm that parasitizes soybean roots. There are several types of nematodes found in Manitoba the CSN is the most damaging to soybean crops. The pest lives in the soil and can be spread from one field to another with the movement of soil. Kaminski said it is not surprising that the pest has been found considering the spread of soybeans growing northward. The pest has been a problem in the southern US and has moved north with the expanded growing region. He recommended care be taken when moving implements from one field to another, as the SCN maybe an unknown hitchhiker on tillage equipment that is used in an infected field and then moves to another. The pest reduces yield through removing plant nutrients and disrupting nutrient and water uptake of the infected plant. It can also reduce the number of root nodules on the plant and thereby reduce nitrogen fixation. The infected plants are also more susceptible to other diseases such as root rot or seedling diseases. A survey conducted by Dr. Mario Tenuta and his laboratory at the University of Manitoba from 2012 to 2019 found the insects in
the RM of Norfolk-Treherne, Rhineland, Emerson-Franklin and Montcalm. Kaminski is not surprised by the latter three municipalities having the pest. “Because that is where production of the crop began and so it is natural to begin there,” he said. Just southwest of Winnipeg and the furthest north municipality out of the four, the RM of Norfolk- Treherne is somewhat of an outlier though and more difficult to explain. “But it does show that the disease can spread and we need to be particularly diligent in the measures to control the possible spread,” he said. “It is imperative that implements be cleaned of soil when moving from one field to another but this also indicates the importance of protocol when visiting a field. It is important that the grower be made aware of anyone visiting their field and what they might have been exposed to.” Eggs can survive for several years in the absence of a soybean crop. However, SCN requires a host plant to reproduce. Kaminski recommended a combination of management options to minimize the population of SCN include rotating to non-host crops, growing SCN-resistant varieties, growing cover crops, reducing tillage and controlling host weed species. For further information see the current Seed Manitoba guide. Life cycle
By Les Kletke Dr. Mario Tenuta and his team at the University of Manitoba have found what they were looking for and it was not good news. The scientists found the soybean cist nematode (SCN). One field in each of the Municipalities of Emerson-Franklin, Montcalm, Rhineland and Norfolk-Treherne have confirmed SCN on the roots. The pest is barely visible to the naked eye and early detection is labour intensive. The plants must be dug up and the roots washed clean of soil and examined for lemon-shaped cysts. Due to the complex test it is not usually detected until pest levels are high enough to cause above ground damage to the plants. Symptoms are yellowed leaves, stand plant and yield loss. In the fields where the pest was detected yield loss was not observed. Arrival of the pest was expected as acreage of soybean crop increases northward. The pest survives in the soil and can be spread with the movement of plant material, soil or by water. All except the RM of Norfolk-Treherne are adja-
The Soybean Cist Nematode has appeared in Manitoba but detection is difficult as the pest is barely visible to the naked eye.
cent and subject to flooding of the Red River in spring time but that does not explain the occurrence of the disease in that RM. The survey conducted by Tenuta found the pest in 4 of the 18 Municipalities tested and in one field in each Municipality. The cyst population in these fields was extremely low indicating a recent establishment of the pest, but further field could be infected since the test was conducted. Manitoba Agriculture pathologist David Kaminski recommended that producers check the Manitoba Seed guide to find varieties that are resistant to the pest. He also advises caution when transporting machinery from one field to another and even when
visiting fields. Growers are also encouraged to increase crop rotation to reduce the establishment of the disease. A release from Manitoba Agriculture suggests rotating to non-host crops for 2 to 3 years which includes soybeans, edible beans and field peas. “This is the time to take the measures to prevent the spread of the disease,” said Kaminski. Once symptoms are noticed above ground a 30 % loss on yield is expected for a soybean crop. The nematode is a considerable pest in the southern US where the crop has been grown for much longer than Manitoba but with the early detection of Tenuta’s testing Manitoba growers have the chance to slow any spread of
First Manitoba Protein Summit Held The Manitoba government recently hosted the Manitoba Protein Summit, a gathering of crop and livestock industry leaders, processors, academics, government and other stakeholders brought together to gain new insight into protein opportunities. “Plant-protein demand is increasing at more than six per cent per year, with world demand expected to double by 2029, and animal-protein demand expected to double by 2050,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “Historically, Manitoba has always been strong in protein production. However, by gathering here… we are discussing additional opportunities that will make sure we can reap economic benefits through expanding livestock and plant-protein production and processing.” At the summit, the province released a first-of-its-kind sustainable protein strategy, called the Manitoba Protein Advantage. This strategy will focus future efforts and encourage leadership and industry collaboration to make Manitoba North America’s protein supplier of choice, the minister said. Earlier this year, the Manitoba government consulted with industry stakeholders to develop the new strategy. Manitoba held 77 individual meetings with more than 300 participants and received more than two dozen written submissions that helped develop the new strategy. Key priorities of the strategy include attracting new investment and jobs in plant and animal protein processing, growing the hog industry to meet current processing capabilities, seeking opportunities to grow beef and other animal-protein production to meet market opportunities, and positioning Manitoba as a leading research and development centre in North America for plant-protein extraction technology. The strategy also has a focus on innovation while continuing to produce sustainable protein, including facilitating research to reduce greenhouse gases from animal-protein production by 15 per cent per kilogram of protein produced, as well as reduced water usage, energy use, and waste in production and processing. “Since 2016, Manitoba has attracted over $1.5 billion in agri-food investments,” said Eichler. “The strategy will maintain the Manitoba government’s focus on creating an environment for investment attraction while supporting research and innovation, and reducing red tape.” As part of the strategy, the Manitoba government is making key investments to further protein innovation, said Eichler. The Food Development Centre (FDC) will be receiving $362,000 to support protein sector innovation and commercialization. This investment in equipment will accelerate the pace of protein ingredient development and further position the FDC as a leading protein innovation centre. The summit also marked the minister signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to become part of the Protein Highway, a cross-border network for plant-based protein innovation. Through the partnership, Manitoba will become part of an innovation network to increase collaboration opportunities for Manitoba researchers and companies across the Prairie Provinces and US Midwest and Great Plains regions. The MOU will establish and continue collaborative activities between the parties related to research, innovation and commercialization projects. Also announced at the Manitoba Protein Summit was the creation of the Manitoba Protein Product Challenge, a competition that will bring together protein entrepreneurs to accelerate commercialization of plant- and animal-protein products. The first challenge will take place in March 2020 on Farm and Food Awareness Day. Manitoba will also be developing a Manitoba Protein Development Consortium, which will coordinate industry, academic, and government efforts in protein industry development and alignment on strategic projects, said the minister. The Manitoba Protein Advantage is the first sector strategy under the recently announced Economic Growth Action Plan. In their report, Growing Manitoba’s Economy, co-chairs Dave Angus and Barb Gamey recommended development of targeted sector strategies as a priority to foster competitiveness, facilitate growth, identify investment opportunities and address economic barriers in the province.
September 27, 2019
Removing the Dents from Insurer’s Profits
I recently had the pleasure of driving through a hailstorm. I was in an early morning fog and it took a few minutes to realize I wasn’t being covered by gravel from the debris of Manitoba construction season, but by stones from the sky. Fortunately, I have a dent resistant vehicle which seemed to enjoy the challenge of returning the stones back to their sender and firing them up into orbit. Each year we see hail claims on roofs, windows, vehicles, farm buildings and crops. Insurance claims for hail are quite common. When insurers pay out more in claims than they col-
lect in premium, they start looking for ways to become profitable again. Due to the frequency of hail claims, one of the changes we are seeing from some farm property insurers is the addition of a dent clause to policies. A dent clause changes the coverage provided by a property policy to exclude coverage for cosmetic damage to metal buildings caused by hail, unless the metal exterior of the building (roof, walls) is punctured by the hail. In the event of unsightly dents to your buildings, bins, machinery, etc., the policy would only respond in the event that the stones cause damage that penetrates the exterior covering on these items. Some insurers are making this new exclusion mandatory, while others are allowing their customers to pay additional premium to remove this clause. Make sure you review your insurance
policy to see if the dent clause has found its way into your protection. There are good farm insurance options available in Manitoba, so be sure to speak with your broker to make sure you are getting the best value for your farm. Would you like to work with an insurance broker who understands your business? Consider making Rempel Insurance Brokers your insurance broker of choice. We work hard to make sure our clients have the resources required to make good decisions on risk. David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Office 204746-2320 Text 204-712-6618, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit rempelinsurance.com.
September 27, 2019
Sometimes the Header and Sometimes the Heeler
By Les Kletke
These two twin newborn calves sleep side by side, drink their bottles side by side, true friends they are. This was taken at Plumas at Morley Walker’s farm. Pictures courtesy of Morley Walker
Nathan Corkum did not have a good go-round at the Heartland Rodeo finals in Grunthal on September 14. In fact he and his partner got a no-time as their calf sped through the arena. He was disappointed but not overly upset; he knew there would be other rodeos, just as there has been for the past 25 years. “I started when I was 13 or14,” he said. “My grandparents had a ranch and I started roping and gradually got into the team roping.” Today he is an electrician but concentrates on that work in the winter or when the rodeo circuit is slow and there is not much to do on his farm. He raises horses at Warren and puts up hay during the summer along with his work as an electrician. Corkum comes by the roping skill honestly, building up his skill not only from his grandparents’ ranch but he also worked at PFRA pastures as a working hand. He knows firsthand that injuries are a part of the sport, and not only to the cowboys. “My good horse was hurt,” he said. “And I am training a couple of young horses but I did not think they were ready for the competition so I borrowed a horse for today.” His love of the competition shines
through when asked about his role in the arena. “Sometimes I am the header and sometimes I am the heeler,” he said. “It depends who you are roping with and what they need.” He roped with several different cowboys this year and had success with several different partners. He prefers the role of a heeler and that is what he did at the Heartland finals. During roping contests the header is on one side of the steer whose job is to rope the horns and turn the steer so its hind legs can be roped by the heeler. Corkum qualified after placing in the top 10 after the summer rodeos, Nathan Corkum’s horse was injured before the Grunbut said that is just one thal Heartland Rodeo event that took place in Sepof the routes to the fi- tember and instead he was able to borrow a mount to Photo by Les Kletke nals. “There is the Jack compete in the finals. Benny qualifier for fellows over 60,” he said. “There are competitors to carry on for many two spots awarded to them.” The years after their 39th birthday. role is named for the performer For Corkum who has been comwho was perpetually 39, but in team peting for 25 years there is always roping that would not be much of next year. “I will be back doing the a concession, the sport allows for same thing,” he said.
Report Highlights Growth Opportunities in Canada’s Agri-Food Sector
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is citing a new report put out by the RBC as proof that Canadian agriculture is key to Canada’s health and prosperity. The report, Farmer 4.0, notes the sector’s vast potential to increase its GDP contribution from $112 billion in 2016 to $131 billion by 2030. CFA’s national campaign, Producing Prosperity in Canada, outlines three key benefits that agriculture provides all of Canada economic growth, environmental stewardship and food security. The report’s findings reinforce agriculture’s potential for economic growth, with the following recommendations echoing those CFA has been making throughout the year to politicians from all parties in the lead-up to the federal election. CFA stressed that the Federal government should reduce barriers to high skilled immigration to agriculture, and consider a dedicated service channel under the Global Skills Strategy. In addition, political parties should fulfill the Federal commitment to provide high-speed Internet to the remaining 1.5 million rural and remote households within 10 years,
giving them access to online learning and cloud computing. The final point made in the report, is to recognize agriculture’s centrality to Canada’s future health and prosperity. Recognizing the urgent need for skilled labour and increased Ag-tech innovation, RBC’s report culminates with several forward-thinking recommendations to government, in terms of education, skills training and strategies to attract and expose young Canadian to agriculture, all supported by the CFA. The report mentions that Canadian agriculture is at a “critical turning point”, where the sector can either continue on its current path or embrace this new era of farming and work with government to train and attract a new generation of techsavvy, high skilled farmers that will turn Canada into an “agriculture superpower”. But CFA believes there is more than one critical turning point that agriculture is facing right now. Current trade disruptions and disputes are creating a huge amount of uncertainty and financial duress in the sector, and it will be impossible for Canadian agriculture to ever reach
the RBC’s forecasts without government support and programming that will help them weather the current challenges such as the Chinese trade actions against Canadian agriculture. “In a year of unprecedented challenges for Canadian farmers it’s exciting to see a banking institution, whose business is the Canadian economy, pro-actively recognize and promote the massive potential of Canada’s agriculture sector,” said Mary Robinson, President of CFA. Subsequent to the Federal government’s recent commitment to Canadian dairy farmers, the CFA urges support for all commodities negatively affected by trade and strained foreign relations. With less than a month until the Federal election, CFA members across Canada continue meeting with politicians to promote the vital importance of the Agri-Food sector, as the most significant economic engine in Canada, champion of food security, and innovative contributor to national environmental stewardship.
Stats Canada Survey Sees Increase for Wheat, Grain Corn and Canola Yields By Elmer Heinrichs Statistics Canada’s September release of production estimates for principal field crops shows farmers will produce more wheat, higher yields on fewer canola acres, and more grain corn for feed in 2019. It noted that dry conditions since the beginning of the crop growing season persisted in most of Manitoba and southern Alberta. Moisture conditions were better in other Prairie regions and this ultimately helped to improve yield and product ion estimates. According to estimates, national production is expected to increase in 2019 for spring wheat, corn for grain, barley, dry field peas, oats, dry beans, lentils, flaxseed and fall rye compared with 2018. At the same time, production is expected to decrease for canola, soybeans, durum wheat, winter wheat, chick peas, mustard seed, canary seed, and sunflowers. Total wheat production in Canada
will increase 0.9 per cent compared with 2018 to 32.5 million tonnes in 2019. A 1.9 per cent increase in total wheat yield to 49.4 bushels per acre in 2019 is expected to offset a 1.1 per cent decrease in harvested area. According to estimates, spring wheat production is expected to increase 7.6 per cent from 2018 to 25.8 million tonnes, despite a slight yield decrease, but with a 7 per cent increase in harvested area. Durum wheat production will be down and winter wheat will be down sharply. According to estimates, canola production is expected to decline 4.8 per cent from 2018 to 19.4 million tonnes in 2019, even though canola yield is expected to increase 3.8 per cent to 41.3 bushels per acre. Fewer acres will bring national production down 4.8 per cent in 2019. While dry weather across the Prairies was a concern earlier this summer, much needed rain, along with average to slightly below average
temperatures, increased canola yield estimates. At the national level, corn for grain production is expected to rise 1.6 per cent from 2018 to 14.1 million tonnes in 2019, with an increase in harvested area offsetting a decline in yield. Soybean yield is expected to decline 1.2 per cent to 42 bushels per acre nationally in 2019 compared with 2018. The lower yield, combined with a 9.7 per cent decline in harvested area, is expected to result in a 10.8 per cent drop resulting in an overall annual production decline to 6.5 million tonnes in 2019. While Ontario is expected to produce 3.9 million tonnes of soybeans, or 60.1 per cent of the national production, in 2019, Manitoba is second at 1.3 million tonnes, or 20.7 per cent of the total, with Quebec ranking third at 1.1 million tonnes, or 16.2 per cent.
September 27, 2019
Assure Good Mineral Status in Beef Cows During the Fall
By Peter Vitti Since April, I’ve had the privilege to criss-cross the prairies to witness the opposite effect of drought and continuous rainstorms upon hundreds of square miles of pasture. In some areas, the pastures were brown, short and probably alone were not enough feed to support cattle, while other regions were green, lush and had lots of tall grass. Going into this fall, there is a general decline in mineral content in both types of these pastures grazed by cattle. That is why, we should put the cowherd on a well-balanced mineral (and vitamin) program that maintains or builds up good mineral status in the early fall, until the first snowflakes arrive. Just because these beef cows are in the early gestation stages and their weaned calves might be gone, doesn’t mean that they should ever be deprived of such a sound mineral program. Granted, their NRC mineral and vitamin maintenance (and production) requirements are relatively low in the fall compared to other times of the year; yet this need continuously increases until the average cow calves and then they dramatically increase once again until the breeding season. Some research also suggest that gestating cows at this time of the year, actually need more minerals and vitamins for general fertility than previously thought for future follicular development and subsequent ovulations that are prepared months ahead of the next calving season. Grazing beef cows also experience a lot of stress during a typical autumn that requires a mineral/vitamin-driven immune system in order to maintain good health and fight disease. Fall stresses include cattle that are subject to outside weather changes from typical temperature swings (during the night and daylight hours) to the occasional chilling rains. As well, they still have to contend with the onslaught of biting-flies and mosquitoes until the first frost. And let’s not forget the week or so of fall weaning-stress that most of them have to deal with, when the maternal bond is broken between them and their bawling calves. More university research proved that cattle subjected to such stresses have much higher cortisol-hormone levels that naturally reduce good immune function against disease in the first place, which is further compromised by inadequate mineral status. In the past, I have heard of many producers that provide no extra mineral nutrition than a few salt-blocks on pasture; only to treat several cases of foot rot among their beef cows during the fall. I speculate that their hooves tend to be soft and pliable on either wet or dry pasture, which allows the foot rot bacterium
called Fusobacterium necrophorum to enter deep scrapes or cuts within the inter-digital space between their claws. It’s often poor copper and zinc status, which is responsible for many of these foot rot and other disease cases. For example, copper plays an essential role in specific whiteblood cells involved in mitigating a good defense against foot disease, while dietary zinc is involved in T-cell antibody production as well as supports T-cell helper functions and capacity against foot rot invaders. In addition, zinc is part of biological reactions that physically hardens the structural integrity of hooves. As a beef nutritionist, I have formulated several well-balanced cattle minerals with complimentary levels of calcium and phosphorus to pasture and are heavily fortified with bio-available trace minerals (as well as A, D and E vitamins) such as copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. Fed at 100 grams; they maintain or build adequate mineral status, so beef cows can remain fertile, and cope with the stresses of fall. Feeding such a well-formulated cattle mineral to beef cows is only part of the assurance of mineral status, which should go hand-in-hand with good mineral management. This means, cattle producers should invest in durable mineral-feeders such as those plastic mineral feeders with two or three compartments and covered by a rubber flap. After which, they should fill them with cattle mineral about every three- to four- days, assuming old hardened mineral is first removed. It is also recommended that portable mineral feeders are located where cattle frequently visit. Moving mineral stations closer to water sources generally increases mineral intake by cows, while moving them farther back from the water often decrease mineral intake. My advice is sound. As the leaves turn colour and fall off the trees, put early gestating beef cows on a good mineral feeding program, namely: 1. Feed 100 grams of a well-formulated cattle mineral to each cow, daily. 2. Pour it in a durable mineral feeder and 3. Check your mineral feeders, every few days. As a result, good mineral status of these beef cows is assured to promote continuous good fertility, and health.
Healthy beef cattle in pasture.
September 27, 2019
Alarm Bells for Three Potential Emerging Diseases in Pigs By Harry Siemens Dr. Jette Christensen, the Manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network (CWSHIN), is raising the alarm with regards to three specific swine diseases, two of which mimic the symptoms of foreign animal diseases. “Of the three there is a new kind of streptococcus called Streptococcus zooepidemicus, and we call it Strep zoo for short,” said Dr. Christensen. “It showed up in sows and gilts in Manitoba at the beginning of May. We also have two cases of clostridium and this clostridium is relatively rare. Called Clostridium septicum and is worthy of attention because it can mimic African Swine Fever or Classical Swine Fever. So the clinical signs could suggest those foreign animal diseases.” They also have the ongoing story of Seneca Valley Virus brought to their attention several times over the last few years, noteworthy because there are two cases in Ontario. “These two cases were in sow herds and not on assembly yards, so that’s why we raise the flag on this disease,” said Dr. Christenson. “It can mimic a foreign animal disease. In this specific situation, it can mimic Foot and Mouth Disease or other vesicular diseases, so diseases that cause blisters.” Dr. Christensen said it’s essential to be extra vigilant, to ensure proper transport biosecurity of cull sows and market hogs because these infections have shown up at slaughter. This information comes from the CWSHIN in its second-quarter swine disease report. “We gathered the information in July and beginning of August. It’s always a bit more challenging in summer. We get a survey from the practitioner in the region, in the Western region; Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC where they give us a clinical impression on what happened in the second quarter of 2019,” she said. “We also get laboratory data and reports from the Prairie Diagnostic Lab and the veterinary college and the veterinary diagnostic lab, so we cover the region with the labs there. And finally, we pull down some publicly available information from federally inspected abattoirs, analyzing it; hold an essential call where practitioners and swine experts in the region discuss what we find in the data.” Looking specifically at the Streptococcus infection, the clinical signs seen so far are sudden death or death on arrival at an abattoir. “In sow herds, it’s also caused infertility or abortions. It appeared in four sow barns, in culled sows and assembly yards, at one provincial packing plan, and increased losses in sows from a US abattoir. And the losses they talk about, that’s dead on arrival. So the assembly yards, the provincial packing plant and the US abattoir have reported sudden death and found Streptococcus zooepidemicus in these dead animals,” said Dr. Christensen. “With the experience from the four sow herds in our region diagnosed with this Streptococcus, that it’s af-
Dr. Jette Christensen, the Manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network, is raising the alarm with regards to three specific swine diseases, two of which mimic the symptoms of foreign animal diseases.
fected gilts and sows but not their litters. So it’s only appeared in gilts and sows, and that’s very interesting, we think.” She said if a person sees sudden death in sows or gilts, if abattoir reports show there’s an increase in mortality on arrival, or increased abortions or repeats call the veterinarian is to determine what it is. “Specifically for Strep Zoo, since diagnosed at abattoirs and assembly yards, it’s imperative to have good biosecurity around the transport of your culled animals or hogs that go to markets. So critically assess your biosecurity around the transport of these animals. That would be very important for this specific disease,” said Dr. Christensen. “Strep Zoo is a new disease, a disease that we haven’t seen before. Clostridium Septicum is a disease that we know, but it’s very, very rare. The concern is that these bacteria also cause sudden death in pigs, but the two cases discussed in this quarter is in the larger finishing pigs. It was sudden death or dramatic clinical signs. There were big patches of reddening skin over the shoulders going down on the belly, and a few of them died quite early on. That concerns us. These clinical signs concern us because they can mimic African or Classical Swine Fever.” Again she said to call the vet on this one too. They discussed the Seneca Valley Virus infection because it’s present at assembly yards in Ontario and the West, specifically in Manitoba, but there is new occurrence in the two sow barns in Ontario. “So that’s the first time we’ve seen this virus move from the assembly yards back to the sow barns. The virus is also present in the US where several Canadian pigs shipped to the US diagnosed with Seneca Valley Virus once they’re in the US, but when they got that disease, we don’t know. We assume it’s in contaminated trucks or waiting pens on the way down there. It’s never been traced back and diagnosed in Canada so far.”
AgriRisk Initiatives Program to Re-Open for Applications The AgriRisk Initiatives Program is again accepting new applications. The program, which was renewed under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, supports the development of new risk management tools for the agriculture sector. It will prioritize proposals involving new financial tools allowing agricultural producers to manage a defined business risk.
In addition, for minor and emerging agricultural sectors, support will be available for the development of risk assessments and educational tools to help producers manage risk. Eligible applicants will be able to apply for funding through the Research and Development stream of the program.
Sesame Yields Stable in Drought Conditions Research shows adding sesame to cottonsorghum crop rotations is possible in west Texas. Texas has a long history of growing cotton. It’s a resilient crop, able to withstand big swings in temperature fairly well. However, growing cotton in the same fields year after year can be a bad idea. Nutrients can get depleted. Disease can lurk in the ground during the winter season, only to attack the following year. Thus, rotating cotton with other crops could be a better system. Agronomists have been researching various alternative crops that will grow well in western Texas. This area is part of the Ogallala water aquifer, which has been hit extremely hard the past few decades by drought. Another crop, sorghum, grows well with low water availability, but the yield can be greatly affected by drought conditions. Irish Lorraine B. Pabuayon, a researcher at Texas Tech University (TTU), is on the team looking at an alternative crop for west Texas, sesame. Like cotton and sorghum, sesame is also a “low-input” crop. This means it does not need a great deal of water, something that vegetable crops, corn and wheat need regularly and in large quantities. “When introducing new crops to a waterlimited system, it is important for growers to justify the water requirements of the new crops,” said Pabuayon. “Properly determining the water requirements of the crops is important. Management decisions for wise use of limited water resources require understanding a crop’s moisture requirements.” Pabuayon and the TTU team found that even under conditions that lowered sorghum and cotton yields, sesame performed well. This could be good news for west Texas farmers. “Our results showed that sesame yields were not significantly altered under water-deficit
Sesame is a versatile crop, and can be used in foods as a seed, or as oil. It also has applications for biofuels, cosmetics and animal forage. Photo by Irish Lorraine B. Pabuayon
conditions,” said Pabuayon. “Sesame continued to have consistent yields, even when water-deficit conditions decreased sorghum’s yield by 25% and cotton’s yield by 40%.” Having another crop that has good market value and can grow well during drought could benefit west Texas farmers. According to Pabuayon, sesame seeds are commonly used for food consumption and other culinary uses. The seeds are high in fat and are a good source of protein. Sesame is a major source of cooking oil. The remaining parts of sesame, after oil extraction, are good sources of livestock feed. Sesame has uses in the biodiesel industry, and even in cosmetics. This means there are multiple markets for the tiny seeds. “Provided that the market price of sesame can support current yields, the results are favourable for low-input sesame production in west Texas,” said Pabuayon. “However, the relatively low yields of sesame, per acre, compared to cotton and sorghum suggest opportunities for additional genetic advancement. Currently, sesame varieties available for Texas are well-suited as an alternative crop for water-limited crop production systems.”
Woodmore Women’s Institute Hosts Food Preservation Workshop
Susi Teichroeb from Roseau River with the results of her pressure canned bear stew and beans.
At a preserving workshop Jenafor Siemens from Woodmore demonstrates fermenting vegetables from her garden.
A recent Woodmore Women’s Institute Food Security initiative on food preservation was hosted by Jenafor and Andy Siemens in mid August with a focus on food preservation. Susi Teichroeb demonstrated pressure canning. She prepared a bear meat stew that, when properly preserved, can sit in your food pantry until you crack the lid, homemade delicious convenience food. Jenafor Siemens demonstrated fermenting which besides cabbage, included vegetables such as radishes, beans and cucumbers. Jenafor prefers dehydrating many of her vegetables, fruits, teas and herbs for cooking, so that the healthy enzymes stay intact and no energy is needed to keep these foods safely preserved. Andy showed workshop participants a simple solar dehydrator, easily built with basic carpentry skills. He also toured the group through their tworoom cellaring system used to keep their winter produce such as onions, potatoes, carrots and apples. A butchering workshop is being planned for late fall. If you would like to be notified about upcoming food learning events, email Janet Kroeker at email@example.com or call 204-427-3524.
September 27, 2019
September 27, 2019
Manitoba Youth Beef Roundup Scholarship Winner Manitoba Youth Beef Roundup annually holds their All Breeds Youth Weekend on August Long weekend in Neepawa. Each year scholarships are awarded to support deserving Manitoba Youth in Agriculture further their education with a $1,000 scholarship. This year the scholarship winner is Bobbi Foster of Dropmore, Manitoba who began her studies at Lakeland College, Vermilion Alberta taking Animal Science/Ag Business. Foster raises purebred Polled Herefords and Angus cattle. The Hereford breed has ran five generations deep in her family and started with Primrose Herefords Bobbi Foster in 1819. She is very active in sports, community events, Co-President of Student Council, and an 11 year member of 4-H Beef Club along with other groups. Foster is an enthusiastic young lady who has participated in Round Up for 6 years stating it allows many connections to be made between members of all breeds as well as it is a weekend full of excitement and learning opportunities. She said that plans for the future are to graduate with a Diploma in Ag Business and Animal Science and then pursue a career closely related with the cattle industry in Manitoba.
Rodeo Athlete Got His Start at a Grunthal Bull Riding School By Les Kletke Jon Kolochuck had already decided he was going to pursue his dream of being a professional bull rider more seriously next summer but a win at the Heartland Finals Rodeo in Grunthal September 14 cemented the deal. The St. Francois Xavier farmer estimated that he has participated in 30 - 35 rodeos this year, concentrating on the Heartland Association but not restricting himself to it. He said the Heartland Association provides a good number of rodeos through the summer and has good stock at its events. Because his goal is to turn professional he also competes on other circuits as well. This year he attended both CCA and MRCA events and a few bull rides. When asked, which he prefers he said, “I like the bull ride events. That is my event and that is all that there is, you’re competing on bulls and everything there is about bulls.” His next step is to do well at the CCA which is a semi-pro circuit and if he is successful in obtaining his pro card then he will concentrate on Bull Riding events. He said that he is not content to sit back and wait for next summer and hopes he will do better. Kolochuck will be at the MRCA finals in Brandon in October and plans to
get in some rodeo events south of the border over the winter. He credits attending a Heartland sponsored bull riding school in Grunthal with getting him started. “I came to a school right here four years ago and I was hooked,” he said with the smile of someone who has found his passion and loves pursuing it. He still attends bull riding schools, “Every Jon Kolochuk chance he gets.” Last year that included an event in Las Vegas and he might go back this winter. “I have to get to the point that I have good consistent rides and scoring 80 plus points on a ride,” he said. An 80 point ride was enough to win the Saturday round at the Heartland Finals in Grunthal. Unfortunately for Kolochuck, it was not good enough to stand over the weekend. In his first full year on bulls, taking the leap from junior steers, Kieran McDougall of
Photo by Les Kletke
Richer came out on top winning the Bull Riding Champion buckle completing a ride in both Saturday and Sunday (75 and 64). Kolochuck also needs to stay healthy, in his short career he has suffered a broken leg and a shoulder injury and a concussion, but those are healed he said. “This was my first win this year. I had a second a month ago and hopefully the good rides continue through the winter and next spring.”
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: the Future of Phosphorus By Joanne Thiessen Martens When Hennig Brandt discovered the element phosphorus in 1669, it was a mistake. He was really looking for gold. But his mistake was a very important scientific discovery. What Brandt couldn’t have realized was the importance of phosphorus to the future of farming. Phosphorus is one of the necessary ingredients for healthy crop growth and yields. When farms were smaller and self-sufficient, farmers harvested their crops, and nutrients rarely left the farm. The family or animals consumed the food, and the farmer could spread manure from their animals onto the soil to rebuild nutrients. This was a fairly closed-loop phosphorus cycle. But, as the world’s population increased, so did food and nutrition need. More of a farmer’s harvest, and therefore nutrients, was sold off the farm. Agriculture adapted by developing many new growing methods, as well as fertilizers. Most phosphorus fertilizers use the world’s supply of phosphate rock as a main ingredient. That main modern source is a finite resource and it’s running out. Phosphate rock is also hard to mine and process. “There is an urgent need to increase phosphorus use efficiency in agroecosystems,” said Kimberley Schneider, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “There are many chemical, physical and biological processes that affect the availability of phosphorus to crops.” This is why farmers place great importance in having enough phosphorus for their crops. Crop Breeding and Cultivar Selection Different plants can use phosphorus more efficiently than others. “Phosphorus use efficiency is the ability to yield more crops per unit of phosphorus taken up by the plant,” explained Schneider. “There is potential for crop breeders to develop new varieties that use phosphorus in even more efficient ways. They can also breed crops that work with mycorrhizal fungi in the soil to help increase their phosphorus absorption. Focusing on breeding plants that work well in low phosphorus soils will take an interdisciplinary approach.”
Cropping System Design and Phosphorus use Efficiency Since some crops can increase soil phosphorus availability for future crops, growers could focus on crop rotations that take advantage of this. Cover crops and green manures can also contribute to phosphorus availability in many conditions. For example, one study found sorghum did well with phosphorus use after alfalfa or red clover, but not after sweet clover. Getting the right combinations for the right crops and fields will be important. Soil Organic Matter’s Role in Mineralizing Phosphorus Soil organic matter is known to indicate soil health. It can improve plant phosphorus availability by allowing for greater root access to phosphorus and by releasing plant available phosphorus. Currently, soil organic matter is not part of the soil fertility measurements on farms, so this is an area of future research potential. Naturally Occurring Soil Fungi to the Rescue Many soils contain one or more types of friendly fungus called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. They work with plant roots to exchange “life chores”. The fungi help free up phosphorus and other nutrients, while the plants make sugar compounds that the fungi use for growth. Of course, the fungi and roots must be able to be near one another for this exchange to happen. Researchers are looking at the promise of building up and better utilizing mycorrhizal fungi populations in soils. Recycling and Recovering Phosphorus Phosphorus is the 6th most common element on earth. Yet, it is a limiting factor in crop yields. Excess phosphorus in the wrong place streams, lakes and other water bodies - causes pollution. How did this come to be? Let’s trace the “life cycle” of a phosphorus molecule. Most phosphate rock is mined on the continents of Europe and Africa, although some deposits are available elsewhere. After it is made into fertilizer, this phosphorus is then moved to farms. From there, the phosphorus is used by a plant to make a product, perhaps a soybean. The soybean is removed
Struvite is a substance made by refining wastewater and recapturing the phosphorus. It can be used as a fertilizer, and recycles this important nutrient.
from the farm and manufactured into tofu. It is then transported to your local grocery store, where you buy it and bring it home. If you live in a city, after you enjoy your meal of fried tofu, the waste your body produces flushes down the toilet. If you live in a rural area, it goes into the septic system. Thus, the life cycle of this illustrative phosphorus molecule shows a broken cycle. The molecule originates far away from its final resting place. Because of modern day life, the phosphorus cycle that used to exist on farms is broken. The more urban society becomes, the more broken the phosphorus cycle is – unless scientists come up with answers to close the loops again. Agricultural scientists are working with wastewater managers to develop ways to put those deserving phosphorus molecules back to work on the farm. “While most currently available phosphorus recovery technologies may not seem economically viable, the environmental and social benefits are important,” said Schneider. “There are also other valuable products of phosphorus recovery, such as organic matter, other nutrients, and even water.” “Increasing phosphorus use efficiency in agroecosystems must be a priority to reduce reliance on fertilizer and to minimize the effects on the environment,” said Schneider. “There are many possibilities for the agricultural system to improve the use of phosphorus. The outcome will be an agroecosystem that still feeds the world, while protecting the natural resources that help us grow our food and live healthy lives.”
Pilot Mound Biz: Fastest Growing By Elmer Heinrichs A Manitoba business, NextGen Drainage Solutions a landimprovement company placed 77th countrywide in Canadian Business’s ranking of 500 fastest growing companies based on its five-year growth percentage. Based in the small community of Pilot Mound, Next-Gen Drainage was one of a dozen Manitoba businesses that made the cut, and company President Brett Sheffield was proud of the accomplishment. “I think it shows Manitoban companies can do well,” said Sheffield, aged 34.
Since NextGen started in 2012, it’s grown to become one of the largest agriculture tile drainage companies in the region, with 24 employees in Pilot Mound and hundreds of clients in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. “There is opportunity in small towns for companies as long as you focus on customers and quality,” he said. “For a [company from] a small town of 700 to be beating out companies from Toronto and Vancouver is pretty rare.” The company provides Manitoba and Saskatchewan with
state-of-the-art drainage and water management systems, allowing farmers to maximize yields, manage risk, reduce crop loss and instantly increase land value. Apparently, not that rare, in 2013, another Pilot Moundfounded agriculture company, Farmers Edge, ranked 18th on the list, and has since grown from 100 employees to 650. But aside from NextGen, all the other Manitoban companies to make the cut this year are situated in Winnipeg.
September 27, 2019
Test the Safety and Nutrition of Corn Silage for Dairy Cattle This year’s corn crop across the southern prairies has been once again hit by drought. I took a photograph of a southern Manitoba cornfield in mid-August and it shows one of the worst cornfields that I have ever seen. It tasseled out early with curled grey leaves, no visible cobs on its stalk and most whole plants were half parched from the ground up. Oddly enough, I found another field about five kilometers down the same road, which was also droughtstressed, but was green and had small cobs. Both cornfields are a good testament that proceeding corn silage samples be collected from one’s own drought affected acres and tested. Dairy producers should take several samples of chopped whole corn-plants during harvest. Chopped samples from before and after ensiling can be tested for moisture content using a microwave oven or commercial moisture tester. Subsequent ensiled samples should be sent away to an accredited lab, where: a nitrate test, mold and mycotoxin analysis and a complete nutrient profile is performed. Once received back, results can be reviewed to assure forage safety (nitrate, mold/mycotoxin) being fed to dairy cattle, and any compromised nutrient values (including moisture content) are adjusted in their dairy diets. As a dairy nutritionist, I believe a nitrate test is the most valuable test when feeding drought-stricken silage to dairy cows and other livestock. That’s because I have known a few dairy producers that fatally poisoned young dairy stock with nitrates, because they failed to test for it, despite field nitrate levels in drought-stricken silage might be reduced by 20 – 65% during the ensiling process or they harvest corn plants at 30 cm above ground leaves its highest nitrate concentrations behind in the field. When dairy producers receive their nitrate results, they should compare them to the following *guidelines to establish the degree of animal safety of their corn silage. They should also take into account the extenuating circumstances (re: age of cow, stage of pregnancy and health status), which determines the final amount of nitrate-contaminated corn silage that can be safely be fed.
In addition to a nitrate test, I recommend that corn silage samples be tested for mold counts and a mycotoxin screen. We might want to do a specific test for Aflatoxins (or the root fungus, Aspergillus flavis), even though it is rare in western Canadian crops; it may show up yet, since it flourishes in weather that is hot and sunny, warm at night, and dry during the corn silk and fill stages. Weather that was typical to us this summer. Consequently, when ingested by dairy cattle, aflatoxin greater than 500 ppb in corn silage (dm, basis) causes a host of serious health and metabolic problems. Such symptoms include: reduced feed dry matter intake and feed efficiency - lead to reduced milk production, increased liver and other organ damage – failure to process dietary nutrients, impaired immune function to fight decrease and reproductive failure - causing infertility and even abortions. Compared to nitrate and mold/mycotoxin field tests, testing for moisture poses no threat to the dairy cows, but in failure to send away those “before” ensiling samples, we might miss the best opportunity to store drought silage in its best possible condition. For example, the optimum corn silage fermentation occurs when whole plant moisture is between 65 – 70%. This the moisture “gold” standard for making corn silage in horizontal bags and bunker silos, with a slight drier allowance in tall tower silos. Ensiling this dry corn silage of less than 60% moisture might not allow it to be packed tight enough and exclude most air in order to be fermented and well-preserved. Just the opposite then occurs, namely undesirable organism such as blue penicillin molds thrive under such low oxygen levels and limited moisture, which creates unpalatable poor corn silage coming out of the opened bunker. In a similar fashion, drought corn silage samples should be routinely taken and tested for any compromised nutritional values, especially once the silo, bunker or bags go through the complete 21-day fermentation process. Results from these tests (re: Nel, protein, ADIN and starch levels) can be very useful in taking corrective action when implementing new drought corn silage into the reformulated dairy diet. In any case, dealing with the challenges of drought corn silage is just the norm this year across Manitoba. The key to effectively using it in dairy diets is to test it for moisture, nitrates, molds and mycotoxins and its actual nutrient value. Afterwards, we can treat it as straightforward forage, which is not really different Silage corn stressed by drought. than normal corn silage.
September 27, 2019
Manitoba agriculture news and features.