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The AgriPost

September 29, 2017



Phosphorus is Like Money in the Bank

New Agricultural Market Opportunities with CETA Begin Exports represent about half of the value of what Canadian farmers and food processors produce. With the provisional application of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union (EU), according to the Government of Canada, Canadian exporters now enjoy unprecedented duty-free access to the world’s largest import market for agriculture and agri-food. Canadian industry estimates CETA will boost agriculture

and agri-food exports by up to $1.5 billion annually. This historic Agreement will give the sector a competitive advantage in the EU and help Canada move towards meeting its target to grow agrifood exports to at least $75 billion annually by 2025. The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) welcomes the beginning of provisional application of the historic CETA Agreement with the EU and looks forward to timely resolution of remaining barriers. “While

we urge the government to resolve the outstanding issues, we are also encouraged that Canada is forging ahead with its commitment to freer trade with the world’s second largest economy,” said Brian Innes, CAFTA President. “Eventually, CETA will mean preferential access for Canadian agri-food to an $18 trillion market that includes 500 million people.” While the results will not be immediate for some agrifood sectors, the agreement presents the potential to drive

additional exports of up to $1.5 billion per year. This includes $600 million in beef, $400 million in pork, $100 million in grains and oilseeds, $100 million in sugar containing products and a further $300 million in processed foods, fruits and vegetables. “At a time when some countries are looking inward, it’s critical that Canada continues to pursue free trade agreements like CETA,” Innes said. “Our growing export-oriented agri-food sector relies on access to markets. We encourage our government officials to keep up the hard work required to resolve remaining issues.”

Observations from Australia After 26 days covering 32,000 km, Naomi Best the winner of the Canadian Junior Limousin Association’s 2017 Award, returned from an Australian tour with endless memories, knowledge, and many new friends. There was one herd of black Simmentals and they were all embryo calves with Canadian genetics. The amount of Canadian Genetics that were in pedigrees was tremendous she added. They had an impact on the following breeds, Limousin, Black and Red Angus, and especially Charolais and Hereford. See full story page 3 ...

Photo courtesy of Naomi Best.

By Les Kletke Ray Bittner stops short of giving a rate of return on the investment but he does liken phosphate in the ground to money in the bank. He said alfalfa producers should consider the phosphate they have in the land bank as a valuable savings account. Bittner was one of the speakers at a field day held earlier this summer and spoke about an ongoing trial that is evaluating the impact of phosphate in the soil on alfalfa production. Bittner with Manitoba Agriculture is involved with a research program at Manitoba Beef and Forages Initiative Farm at Brookdale. The farm has 640 acres of pasture and wetlands to conduct field scale trials on various combinations of grazing and forage production. He said that he has seen alfalfa stands produce double and triple the amount of feed when given adequate supplies of the nutrient. “They also last long,” he said. “Phosphate is the lifeblood of alfalfa.” “Phosphate makes a more robust plant with more stems and crowns,” he said. “The thicker stems come through the winter better and get off to an earlier start.” His recommendation is for producers to pay attention to fertilizer prices, take advantage of lower prices, and build back up the phosphate in their soil. He said research findings show that phosphate applied after first cut and up to mid-summer are beneficial because it is places to take advantage of summer rains, dissolving the prills and making the nutrient readily available to the plant. For manure applications, he said that beef manure provides a more balanced nutrient content and more benefit to an alfalfa crop. Hog manure tends to be higher in nitrogen and can actually encourage the plant ‘to get lazy’. With hog manure, alfalfa instead of producing nitrogen it takes the nutrient from the soil. Bittner said the high content of phosphate in the soil translates to higher content in the feed and a higher quality feed for animals. “Build the additional phosphate into your budgets and apply it to the field when prices are low,” he said. “You can take advantage of the pricing and store the nutrient in your soil.” The study at the Kellwood research farm has another year of evaluating phosphate application rates and benefits in crop production. The plots yielded three cuts of alfalfa last year but dry conditions this year limited the plots to two cuts.




September 29, 2017

The AgriPost

Proposed Tax Changes Would Lead to New Risks for Farmers The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is calling on farmers to voice concerns about proposed tax changes that could lead to severe negative impacts for farm business planning. Finance Canada tabled the proposals in mid-July and is accepting comments via a consultation that ends on October 2. CFA asks that the government take a different approach to consultation, grounded in more proactive,

fulsome dialogue with the business community. A 75day consultation that began in the middle of the harvest season is not enough to allow a comprehensive review. “These tax proposals represent transformative changes that would bring about major uncertainty for farms that are incorporated, especially for multi-generational family farms. The government must recognize that small business owners face unique risks and

costs, especially in agriculture where farmers must plan for a wide range of factors that can affect their operations from year to year,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett. CFA is working with agricultural stakeholders and the broader business community to review the complex changes laid out by Finance Canada in ‘Tax Planning Using Private Corporations’, and it is clear that further study and technical analysis

is required. If these changes are implemented as proposed, farmers will face higher costs with fewer options to manage business risks, and the complexity of the proposals could lead to other unintended consequences. The added uncertainty could discourage business investments right at a time when farmers are making plans to position their operations toward meeting the ambitious targets outlined

in the 2017 Federal Budget, which identified agriculture as a key growth sector. Together with its members and other partners, CFA looks forward to engaging with government officials in a constructive, solutions-oriented discussion to resolve these challenges. CFA has joined with 35 other organizations to form the new Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness, which sent a joint letter sent to Fi-

nance Minister Bill Moreau, outlining shared views. Farmers are encouraged to read about the changes and contact their Member of Parliament before the planning gets underway for the fall parliamentary session. Visit cfa-fca.ca for details on how to get involved in a grassroots advocacy campaign, and be part of the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #unfairtaxchanges.


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September 29, 2017



Best Brings Home Observations from an Australian Youth Exchange By Joan Airey After 26 days covering 32,000 km, Naomi Best the winner of the Canadian Junior Limousin Association’s 2017 Award, returned from an Australian tour with endless memories, knowledge, and many new friends. “I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity to partake in the 2017 Canadian/Australian Youth Exchange. After a long weekend in Portage at the Canadian Junior Limousin Impact show I hopped on a plane and started my journey to Australia,” said Best. “My first stop was Graneta Limousins, Jon and Leny Gaffney where I spent two days touring the local area, their herd and helping Jon picture sale bulls for their upcoming annual sale.” Best’s observations did not stop as she continued her tour. “From there I travelled with Jen-Daview Limousins, David, Jenny, Brent and Corey Evans to Brisbane for the Royal Queensland ShowKKA. I was with the Evans’ for the week and it was really neat to compare their major purebred and steer show to what have in Canada. I noticed several differences in the show that I attended compared to ours,” said Best. “For instance, in the steer

show, steers were anywhere from 300 kg to 700 kg with each class having a 25 kg weight range. For example, Class 1 was 300 - 325 kg; Class 2 was 326 - 350 kg and so on. In each class the judge placed eight steers and those steers went to live auction after the show. All of the steers entered in the show went to slaughter after and were then assessed for the carcass competition. The rest of the steers in that class that didn’t place went to grid price to a major buyer. The steers at this particular show [Royal Queensland Show-EKKA] sold based on carcass weight not on live weight the way we sell them in Canada.” A unique judging difference was also noticed by Best. “Another thing that stood out in the purebred or stud cattle show as they call it was the way they judged bulls. All bulls no matter what age, calf or mature are weighed and scanned to determine their fat coverage and EMA [eye muscle area] and they also calculate Average Daily Gain,” noted Best. “When the exhibitor went out in his class he had the information on his show number. The judges based their placing a lot on their scanned information, weight and ADG.

It showed the judge and producers were looking for a bull with little fat coverage, adequate ADG and EMA and that looks in the show ring wasn’t important.” Best spent a week with the Evans’ family and found it interesting to compare their major purebred and steer show to what we have in Canada. “I was super excited when the Evans family allowed me to show and it was an honour to show the Junior Champion Limousin Bull! The Limousin breed excelled in the steer show where both champion steers on hoof and hook were Limousin influenced,” said Best. Other things Best found interesting about the show is all animals over the age of twelve months, cows, heifers, bulls and even all steers have to be shown with a hum-bug. Steers and bulls typically had nose rings and the cows and heifers were shown with a hum-bug. All but one herd of Simmentals at EKKA were traditional. There was one herd of black Simmentals and they were all embryo calves with Canadian genetics. The amount of Canadian Genetics that were in pedigrees was tremendous she added. They had an impact on the

following breeds, Limousin, Black and Red Angus, and especially Charolais and Hereford. “After attending EKKA I flew down to Wagga where I spent the next week at Birubi Limousin with Glen and Susie Trout preparing for their on property production sale. During the week I was able to take some time and tour local herds. I thought cattle in Australia were very similar to ours in terms of quality although our Canadian cattle are structurally bigger,” said Best. “They did have [cattle] that we don’t hear much of or even have in Canada. Such as Brahmam Bazadaise, Droughtmaster, Murray Grey, Romagnola, Santa Gertrudis, Senepol and many Grahman crosses, Simbrah, Bragus, Charbray and Brahford.” Best was able to spend her last week in Australia touring the Dubbo Zoo, Manly Beach, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in Sydney with the Loudon family. “Having the experience of travelling to Australia allowed me to make so many connections. The knowledge I gained and the ability to take in every aspect of different types of operations was truly amazing. I encourage

any CJLA junior member who is eligible to apply for this once in a lifetime experience. The connections you make and the overall experience is definitely worth it,” said Best.

Naomi Best is the daughter of Donald and Wendi Best of Harding, MB. She started university this month in Saskatoon and is planning to become a veterinarian.




September 29, 2017

The AgriPost

It is here...The Next Revolution It seems like only a few years ago, so let’s give it a couple for memory and say it was five, six at the most that the industry was telling us that we were on the verge of another break through with yields. I admit I was somewhat sceptical when seed and chemical salespeople (yes, they were called that) were telling us that yields would see a 30-35% increase in the next decade. It seemed a bit farfetched after all were could not make it rain more or extend the frostfree season – scientist had their hands tied in those areas. Hearing the yields of cereal crops this year it seems that those sales people were indeed underestimating the yield potential increase. I don’t know which is more surprising a salesperson underestimating the potential of their product or what has been done with the genetics of crops. Without seeming to be older than the dirt that is being farmed, I will date myself by saying that when I started as a Farm reporter a 100-bushel an acre corn yield virtually guaranteed the grower the championship crown. In fact, it also brought snickers and comments from the crowd that the yield must be from the two rows nearest the shelterbelt on the south side of the yard, where the melting snow had provided more than the usual moisture. Now 200-bushels of corn have become a reality and appears to be achievable. The surprise for this writer was 200-bushel an acre oats, which more than one grower has claimed. I remember growing oats in my last year of farming just so that I would have a crop that broke the 100-bushel barrier. I planted it around the farmyard to accommodate trucking and used the old barn as a bin. What does 200-bushel oats mean for storage space? Put simply you need lots of it. Spring wheat yields have virtually doubled in the last decade, and winter wheat is now reaching numbers that used to be a good barley crop. Barley yields this year would indicate that the price of a malted beverage could fall but for the fact, there is only about 3 cents of barley in a brown bottle or can. It was at the World Food Day that I first heard of Norman Borlaug, the father of the green revolution. (Our industry does a poor job of recognizing great contributors, but that is another matter). Talk there was about how another revolution would happen in the next few years, and it appears that it has. Are these yields going to become benchmarks? We all know that they are the exception not the norm, yet. Somehow they will become budget numbers next spring, and I would hate to be a banker on the other side of the desk and having to stare down, “I did it last year, what you mean my yield are unrealistic,” looks. But it is going to happen. Enjoy the harvest, it might be a while before another one like this happens and I mean more than 12 months.

Tax Livestock Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party are planning to implement wide, sweeping changes to the tax rules for small businesses, including farms. Simply put, taxes will be higher. An analogous way to regard the changes might be that Canada is Trudeau’s farm, and small business owners are his livestock. Prepare to be milked. We are told that this must be done in the interest of “fairness”. Whenever a politician talks about what he thinks is fair, hold on to your wallet because it’s never the same as what you think. Hardly anyone in this country thinks our taxes are fair. But that’s not because they’re too low, it’s the opposite, that they’re too high. Canada’s tax laws are a complicated quagmire of credits, incentives, deductions, gimmicks, subsidies, breaks and other measures that either favour or penalize someone depending on their circumstances. This mess creates all kinds of winners and losers. If the Liberals were really interested in fairness, they would try to lower taxes for all Canadians. Even better would be a simple flat tax right across the board. Instead, they are playing games of class warfare with the lives of farmers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, corner store owners and a whole host of other small businesses and their families. And they plan to complicate things further. Their intentions are not really about fairness at all. They want to harvest every last dime they can

from honest, hardworking people to move more funds into out-ofcontrol spending that looks like By Rolf someone turned Penner on a fire hose and walked away. There is no revenue problem in Ottawa; there is a budget problem and a spending problem. It is the job of politicians and bureaucrats to set priorities on spending because there are actual limits as to what they can do. As Margaret Thatcher once so famously said, “At some point you run out of other people’s money.” Clearly, they are not doing their jobs. In a recent opinion piece, Conrad Black found one slightly positive thing to say about these new taxes: “(T)hey should slice the NDP off at the ankles in the eyes of all those who oppose commerce in general as grubby, and those who regard wealth accumulation, the transfer of what wealth people have made to their heirs, and any planning to moderate taxes as greedy and uncivil.” Obviously one could argue that’s not necessarily a good thing, either. What is good, though, is that a lot of people across the country are angry with the Liberals and rightfully so. MPs phones are ringing, e-mails are being sent, social media is buzzing and op-eds from coast to coast are taking the government to the proverbial woodshed. Here is a sampling of headlines: “Surprise! Doctors don’t like being branded tax cheats”; “It’s not

Penner’s Points

small biz owners who are greedy – it’s the tax hungry Liberal government”; “The crushing ‘fairness’ of government tax grabs is finally sparking revolt”; “The Liberals’ tax reforms will be a national disaster”; “Small business owners betrayed by Trudeau”; “Ottawa’s tax changes could mean the death of the family farm” and “Proposed tax changes show gov’t ignorance of agriculture.” There is no shortage of outrage on this issue. Every time we turn around these days, we are faced with higher taxes and fees. The carbon tax, hydro fees, property and school taxes, E.I. increases, minimum wage increases, a possible new health care tax here in Manitoba. On and on it goes. Adding insult to injury, everyday people who are struggling to get by are being targeted for “milking” are also being characterized as fat cats, one percenters who are running tax shelters, using loopholes and not paying their fair share. The logic is whacky and circular. If you’re paying more, you must be wealthy because we only go after the wealthy. It’s also wrapped up in a notion that anyone who is comfortable didn’t actually work for it. This is a load of manure.


The AgriPost

Tribute to Retiring Gerry Ritz

Former Canadian Ag minister Gerry Ritz noted for his courageous work in giving farmers in western Canada marketing freedom retires as a Member of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. In my last official interview with my friend and as an MP, I had an opportunity to ask some questions. “Gerry, I just thoroughly congratulate you on the work you’ve done. I wish you well in your future endeavours. I know you’re going to be around but at the same time, tell me your initial feelings of finally stepping down and retiring from being a Member of Parliament?” “Well, thank you, Harry. Of course, all the work that got done I didn’t do it alone. I had great people around me, from my own to staff in other departments, the civil service, a tremendous amount of great people there. The work with my colleagues in trade and health, in the industry and so on that put the whole pack-

age together. We got to quarterback and can take some of the bows, but at the end of the day there’s a lot of players that made these things happen,” said Ritz. Next, my obvious question was, “What are the highlights?” “Well, everybody points to the marketing freedom. The changes from the old mandatory conscription that we called the Canadian Wheat Board. The logistics that went along with that, a few bumps but in the end, it is moving smoother than it ever has before. More tonnage is going out than we’ve ever seen before, a tremendous expansion in both the footprints across the prairies and at port capacity. Those are the obvious things that you see. The one thing that I’m most proud of is the actual value chain roundtables that we put together, industry by industry. Funded them that way so that the results were what industry was looking for not what government wanted to deliver,” he said. “Bringing in butchers and marketers and so on from around the world to centres of excellence to find out exactly what they wanted, not what we had so that we could

streamline into some of these Pacific Rim markets which are very important. Just bringing a business attitude to government, I think was the biggest thing. Working to get results not just process.” Next, I asked, “When you look at the system, agriculture as a whole that Federal, the Trudeau Liberals are looking at, working on a national food policy, where do you think it is going?” “Well, around in circles. We’re chasing our tail in a lot of cases. As I said, we always focused on results, not on process. The Liberals tend to work the opposite way. They will worry everything to death like a cat with a mouse as opposed to just setting a trap and getting the job done. I wish them well,” said Ritz. “People have something around a food policy for years. It’s a left-wing strategy system that there is no answer to. Canada is such a diverse country, with many variables and vagaries in Canadian agriculture and there is no easy way to do any of this, and it’s a distraction at best. I know I’ve seen the results of some of their so-called discussions and all they’re doing is alienating people and again, splitting up those value chains

as opposed to bringing everybody together to build a stronger system.” I commented, “You know, that’s one of my biggest concerns. I hope we’re going to end up somewhere instead of just in circles.” “The problem too, Harry, is the diversity between what we consume domestically, what we import to consume locally and of course what we export. You can’t have a one size fits all. You can’t even have provincial programs that are the same across the country. We built into the Growing Forward suite of applications the ability for the provinces to make changes within a particular set of parameters, so no one was more strikingly different than the province next door, but at the same time, everybody had parameters to work within, and that made the biggest change,” said Ritz. “What’s going to happen do you think, as you step down? You’re not taking a seat this fall I understand, and I guess you’re going to take a rest or where do you go?” I asked on his future plan. “Well, I’ve projects that have lined up around my yard here that need looking after. A lot of time with family. I’m

September 29, 2017 going to be able to attend my grandson’s 10th birthday this Sunday that I’ve missed probably half or more of those ten years. Just little family things that have gone neglected. Get re-acquainted with my fam-



ily, with my friends here and then start to look at what challenges I want to take on next. I’m done as a politician but not done with the agricultural sector for sure.”




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Drought Conditions Impact Manitoba Corn Crop By Les Kletke John McCulloch knows there is not much that producers can do to avoid an early frost but he has some advice for producers who do experience a frost before their corn matures. McCulloch, an agronomist with Pioneer Hybrid, was one of the speakers at a Marc Hutlet Seeds Field Day near Ste. Anne. The event was held shortly after the unseasonably cool nights in early September that had many producers wondering if their crop would mature. His advice to producers who might experience and early frost was to monitor the plant health following the frost. “Don’t be concerned about the top leaves,” he said. “You need to look further down the plant and if the shank is weak and the cobs start to drop you will want to get into the field and harvest early.” He suggested a three day interval after a frost to see the impact on the plant. For frost to be detrimental and impacting yields, much of the corn crop in Manitoba has already reached a degree of

maturity where it would provide an acceptable crop. “At this point each day without frost gets us closer to maturity and a great yield but if you do have a frost early harvesting will still result in the best quality of crop you can get after a frost event.” McCulloch said that the drought through much of Manitoba had an impact on corn plants and while it would not affect the quality of the crop it would have an effect on the yield. Most of the producers in attendance at the field day acknowledged that their yields would be down from last year when most had their best corn crop ever. He said

that June is a critical month in the advancement of a corn crop. This year in June it was cool and did not provide the heat a crop needs. “On the positive side we did not see any Goss’s Wilt in the crop which has been a problem the past couple of years,” noted McCulloch. McCulloch indicated that his company had several new varieties that would be released next year and would show significant improvements over current standards. He said that breeding programs are achieving results not only in increasing yields but also with disease resistance and dry down of the crop.

Early frost was a prime concern for producers at the Marc Hutlet field day near Ste. Anne. John McCulloch (centre) had some advice for producers monitoring their fields.

Research Focused on Bee’s Pollination Needs By Les Kletke There are corporate partners willing to help Manitoba’s farmers with the cost of increasing the pollinator population in the province, said Kim Wolfe of Manitoba Agriculture. The pollinator project is underway at the Brookdale Research Pasture operated by the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiative. Its research is focused on evaluating what bees like and what will increase the activity of the insects. She told those attending the Field Day that there are more than 230 kinds of bees that have been identified in Manitoba. “We have found that there is a variation in size of the bees and that it corresponds to the size of flowers they work. Smaller bees work smaller flowers and larger bees like Bumble bees are attracted to the larger flowers.” Wolfe explained that research work at the Brookdale farm is a pilot project in Canada that has collaborated with Syngenta. Syngenta has programs in Europe and is doing some work on golf courses in the US. Researchers are looking to work with 100 producers across the prairies and provide seed species that include a few that are

not native to North America. Another firm that has committed to a similar program intended to increase the bee population is Minneapolis based General Mills. They have tied their program to the iconic bee featured on their Cheerio’s box. General Mills has committed $4 million to the program by offering free cover crop seed, wildflower seed and shelterbelt plants to farmers who are intent on conserving wild bees and butterflies, improving soil health, and diversifying crop rotations. The seed included in the mix are also intended to enhance grazing conditions and restore weedy degraded lands to flowering habitats that support

beekeepers and honey production. At this time, there is no limit to the amount of seed available but farmers must be growing oats, have a diverse crop rotation and a conservation plan for the farm. The farmer must also commit to maintaining the plantings for at least 3 to 5 years and be willing to share their story with others who are interested in the pollination program. Wolfe said the program is ongoing at the Brookdale farm and continues to collect data on what increases bee activity. “We know that they like blue over yellow, but there is much more to be learned about the pollinators,” she concluded.

Kim Wolfe of Manitoba Agriculture says there are more than 230 kinds of bees in Manitoba and she would like to increase the population of natural pollinators.

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Dealing with Dry Corn Silage and Tumbleweeds for Dairy Cows

Recently, a dairy producer and I walked into his 200-acre cornfield in southern Manitoba and checked out the condition of his crop. Prolonged dry weather in the last few months had stressed it to the point of drying plants halfway up from the ground and any remaining green leaves were curled. I took the husk

off a short cob and its kernels were prematurely dented. The producer said that he was still a couple of weeks away from ensiling this cornfield for his dairy cows, because he was first combining wheat. As we were leaving the cornfield, we were hit by a large tumbleweed. I took a photo of my visit. It shows a lot of UV rays hitting a stressed corn crop. However, it doesn’t project that once this field is harvested and chopped for silage, my friend might be

faced with a corn-stand that has dried down past the point of optimum moisture for good quality corn silage. Ensiling this dry corn silage of less than 60% moisture might not allow chopped forage to be packed tight and exclude most air in order to be fermented and well preserved. Just the opposite may occur, namely undesirable bacteria, molds and other microorganisms thrive in such an environment with low levels of oxygen and limited moisture.

The whole ensiling process is likely to become compromised, and unpalatable poor corn silage could come out of the bunk, once it’s opened. On a similar farm visit, a few years ago, I visited another dairy producer that attempted to ensile corn silage at about 50% moisture in a concrete bunker silo and upon opening it up, he was shocked to discover a bright red line about a foot wide and outlined in blue running across the silage face. Together, we tested a couple of silage samples taken from this moldy line and confirmed the presence of penicillin-mold. In turn, the producer simply forked off the contamination, discarded it, and fed the remaining clean silage. Unexpectedly, his lactating cows milked well on this dry corn silage. Such an experience adds confusion to an already conflicting array of dairy research done on

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the subject of feeding dry corn silage to lactating dairy cows. The positive field studies demonstrate that ensiled dry corn silage contain 75 - 95% of the overall dietary energy and protein values of normal corn silage, despite lower tonnage yield due to drought. In addition, when this whole corn-plant biomass falls below 60% moisture; NDF fibre content significantly increases, but its respective digestibility by the forage-digesting bugs in the rumen of cattle, unexpectedly improves. Other dairy science is less favourable for dry corn silage. Some nutritionists point out that corn kernels become literal steel ball bearings. This circumstance leads to less grain-energy digestibility by grain-digesting bugs in the rumen and thus less dietary energy is available for good milk performance. Their general conscience is that dry corn silage (containing grain) samples should be taken and tested for total protein, ADIN (heat damaged protein), starch and lignin-bound NDF. These thoughts dovetail my own advice: Always test dry corn silage for moisture first, before making any similar adjustments to the final lactation diet. This real case-study that illustrates my point: - An early lactating dairy herd consumes 100 lbs of dairy diet (as-fed), which has an analyzed moisture content of 45%; equals 55 lbs of dry matter intake (DMI). - The producer adds new dry corn silage at a rate of 40% to the lactation diet, yet he wrongly assumes it has a moisture

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content of 50%. In reality, it contains 55% moisture. - This means the actual final dairy diet is wetter by 2%, which drops the average dmi of the herd and a potential loss of 5 lbs of milk per lactating cow results (re: 1 lb DMI = 2.5 lb milk produced, source: University of Illinois). Regardless of its actual dry matter content, dry corn silage of less than 60% moisture will likely decrease the final moisture content of the final TMR as well as decrease its physical density. Concurrently, when this type of dairy diet is put in front of lactating dairy cows, they tend to sort out fine starchenriched grain from coarser forage. If not corrected such dismantling of the ration by the dairy cows often leads to unhealthy subclinical acidosis (SARA) and low milk fat tests. To avoid such problems associated with a dry and less dense TMR; many producers routinely add water directly into the TMR mixer. They can add up to 15 lbs or 7 kg of water per lactating dairy cow without compromising the nutrition of the whole diet. So, if a dry dairy diet is fed at 38 kg (as fed) and has a moisture content of 40%; 7 kg of water will increase its moisture content to the more optimum and standard 50% level. It’s a quick and practical fix by adding water to a dry lactation diet due to the many tonnes of dry corn silage taken out of bunkers, once they are opened. It also might be necessary to check for molds as well as one or two tumbleweeds.


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Key Agricultural Sectors Highlighted in FCC Report The livestock sector takes the red ribbon as the hottest sector in Canadian agriculture based on projected cash receipts over the next 12 months, according to Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) agriculture economics team. “It seems like almost everything with four legs or feathers is in high demand in Canada and has significant growth potential in export markets around the world,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC Chief Agricultural Economist. FCC considers various factors that will influence cash receipts for agriculture commodities over the next year. These factors include prices, production, demand and export opportunities. While livestock stands out as having the greatest potential for increased cash receipts, other

Harvest of Foodgrains Projects Over Half Done By Elmer Heinrichs It’s midway through harvest season for growing projects here in Manitoba and across Canada raising funds for Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). In Manitoba, the harvest of cereal grains, which includes wheat, oats and barley, is in “Full force,” said Harold Penner, Regional Representative for the Foodgrains Bank. “It’s been a good year for crops in the province,” he said. “Manitoba did very well with the continued dry weather and excellent harvest conditions.” Manitoba has more than 35 growing projects across the province, and altogether over 5,500 acres are grown with proceeds from the crops donated to the Back for Food Aid. It seems, said Penner, that the Gardenland project near Winkler was first to harvest as one of our CFGB‘s farm this year. Project contact Richard Heide said they harvested over 5,000 bushels of Conlon barley from 50 acres on three separate fields. “These were potato fields with corners and spots that were too high in salinity,” reported Heide. “But what an awesome way to start our harvest” commented Penner. In the same week the Acres of Hope growing project at Rivers harvested 150 acres of wheat, said Penner. “They had eight combines going and were done in an hour and a half.” Many of the volunteers who helped harvest at Rivers went home to harvest their own crops that same day, said Penner. Six combines harvested the wheat crop on the CHOICE grow project near Elm Creek September 8. With a high yield of 87 bushels an acre, the result was $43,000 raised for the Foodgrains Bank. “Its dedicated people willing to help even in busy times who make it possible for the Foodgrains Bank to provide food where it’s so desperately needed,” concluded Penner.

areas of Canada’s agriculture industry are also doing well. That partly explains why the Advisory Council on Economic Growth recently identified Canada’s agriculture and food industry as one of eight sectors with significant global growth potential. “The Canadian agrifood sector has great potential, given the large natural endowment of water and arable land, distinctive record of accomplishments in research, and exceptional base of companies and entrepreneurs,” according to the advisory council. The report noted that Canadian agriculture already employs 2.1 million workers and accounts for 6.7 % of the country’s gross national product (GDP). Within the livestock sector,

hog cash receipts are forecast to climb by 12 % over the next 12 months, cattle by 8 % and poultry by 7 %. The dairy sector places a close second with cash receipts projected to grow by 11 %. Key crops in western and eastern Canada make up the third general area analyzed in the FCC snapshots. Cash receipts for wheat, canola and lentils in western Canada are projected to decrease by one per cent over the next 12 months flowing into 2018. However, the slight decrease comes after record-high cash receipts over the previous two years. Cash receipts for corn and soybeans in eastern Canada are projected to grow by a modest one per cent over the same 12-month timeframe.


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Manitoba Beef Producers Announce 2017 Bursary Recipients Each year MBP offers six $500 bursaries to members, or children of members, who are attending university, college or other post-secondary institutions. Students pursuing trades training are also eligible. Preference is given to students who are

pursuing a field of study related to agriculture or those acquiring a skilled trade that would benefit the rural economy. The students were asked to submit a 600-word essay on what the beef industry means to them, their family, community

and Manitoba at large. Students were also asked to include the reasons they enjoy being involved in agriculture. The winning essays were published in the September issue of Cattle Country. The six recipients of the MBP bursaries for 2017 are

from District 6, Naomi Best ( Harding), Bethan Amy Lewis (Kirkella), Cassidy Gordon (Sonns), Allison Sorrell (Kenton), Connor English (Rivers) and from District 8, Kaitlyn Davey (Westbourne).

Cavers Family Named Purebred Charolais Breeder of the Year By Joan Airey C2 Charolais, a third generation operation located near LaRiviere in the Pembina Valley, received Purebred Charolais Breeder of the Year Award at the annual Manitoba Charolais Meeting and Pen Show in Dauphin recently. C2 is owned and operated by Jeff and Jackie Cavers along with the help of their three sons Keegan, Fischer and Lukas. They have thirteen hundred acres of grain and one hundred and twenty purebred Charolais cows with a strong yearling bull program. “Jeff’s Dad always had cattle and used Maine Anjou bulls. From the day Jeff could walk he was always out helping with the cattle. His love for cattle grew when he was in 4-H and his career in 4-H was successful. In 2001 when he was in his early twenties he leased his first group of Charolais cattle from his Aunt and Uncle Lloyd and Lorraine Cavers who own Cavers Charolais in Neepawa,” said Jackie Cavers. “The Charolais breed is the easiest way to add value to a commercial herd as buyers want Charolais calves to feed. We were running two hundred and twenty commercial cows when he started into the purebred business. When we had the commercial herd we had various breeds bred to different breeds. Once we used more and more Charolais bulls those calves always brought more money. Especially the heifer calves. We were getting more money for the char heifer calves than the steers of other breeds,” said Jeff Cavers. “Jeff worked out west in Camrose for a year but wasn’t happy when not working with cattle. Cattle are part of who we are as challenging as this farm lifestyle can be in today’s world. The cattle end of our operation is what keeps us going. We promote our cattle at small community fairs all over southern and central Manitoba, Ag-Ex in Brandon, Agribition in Regina, Douglas Test Station, No Borders

Purebred Sale, and Hi-Way Sale in previous years. We have exported cattle to Russia three years in a row through Xport International. We market our bulls through a purebred sale, Prairie Distinction Charolais Bull in Neepawa every March,” said Jackie. Jeff has been active on the board of Douglas Test Station, Vice-President of the Manitoba Charolais Association, and involved with the Manitou Ag Society. Jackie is a 4-H leader on the committee for Manitoba Beef Round-Up. While son Keegan is a Junior 4-H leader and on CCYA National Board as representative for Manitoba MCYA. Keegan is attending his second year at Brandon University working on his science degree with an interest in agricultural economics. He has started his own Charolais herd, continually adding to it. The Cavers family strongly support many youth programs and events such as local 4-H shows, Young Ranchman’s in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, have attended the Canadian Charolais Youth Association Annual Event the past four years and Alberta Synergy. Jackie is a graduate of Olds College, Animal Health Technology program. She worked in dentistry and general medicine for fifteen years in a small animal hospital. She is an advocate for youth programs. The Cavers encouraged young people in the community with an adoption of a calf so they can experience and participate in the 4-H beef program and also encourage these young people to attend events such as Round-Up in Neepawa. “There is so much untapped potential in our young people and so many opportunities and life lessons in the cattle environment that can build solid character, confidence, and good work ethic. I believe these values are not always presented in a young person’s life now a day. Cattle can help give them this,” said Jackie.

Jeff, Jackie and family work together on the farm and make C2 a successful operation.


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Buy the Best When it Comes to Solar Powered Water Systems By Les Kletke When it comes to solar powered cattle watering systems the rule is simple, buy the best you can. That was the message for cattle producers attending a Manitoba Beef and Forages Initiative (MBHI) Field Day at the Brookdale Research Farm. Ray Bittner with Manitoba Agriculture said the concept of water systems has been something that he has been interested in since his days in University. The first recommendation for producers is to run a line from their house to the watering system. “Water is important and if your cattle are not getting water you have a problem. Failing the possibility of running a line from your house there are several other options, but the rule is simple get the best system you can afford,” he said. He also recommends being familiar with the system, you have installed and keep

spare parts on hand. “You will have situations when a pump goes on you, and you better have a spare one on hand because you can’t leave your cattle without water.” He also recommends having some knowledge of electricity and spare batteries if you are using a solar powered system. Kristelle Harper who is also with MBFI echoed his comments of being prepared for problems and having a pump on hand. She said the system in use at the Kellwood Farm has spigots on the water line and has worked well on the 640-acre research farm. She emphasised that a system that draws water from the ground regularly rather than water getting warm while sitting at ground level is a much better source for cattle. “Warm water supports algae growth and that is not what your cattle want,” said Harper. She also recommended that producers be

Ste. Anne’s Field Day Had Farmers Talking Nitrogen By Les Kletke Getting more efficient use of nutrients would benefit everyone, and Ben Signer believes that producers could get as much as a 20% increase in the efficiency of nitrogen in corn. That had producers attending the Marc Hutlet Seeds field day near Ste. Anne very interested. Many producers agreed that the uptake of nutrients was less than ideal and indicated that they increased the rate of fertilizer application considering that the plant would not be able to benefit from the entire application. The increase of fertilizer prices in the past few years and environmental concerns have many rethinking the practice. Signer said that current practices place a value of 1.2 lbs of nitrogen to produce a bushel of corn but be believes that .9 lbs of Nitrogen to grow a bushel of corn is an attainable goal. During the Ste. Anne field day he showed work that is being done in plots to examine different practices that will allow the plant to use the applied nitrogen more efficiently. “The three main methods being considered at this time are, application of nitrogen in season, mid-row banding, and Y drop application,” said Signer. “We are evaluating these systems and hope to measure the impact on yield.” Some farmers in the crowd indicated that the wet season

last fall and difficult conditions forced them to conduct their own research. One farmer who normally sold manure as a nutrient source said the wet conditions last fall meant that he had to spread the manure on fields he could access and that contributed to a higher than normal application of manure. He was hesitant to offer and estimate the amount of actual nitrogen applied but thought it would have exceeded 300 lbs an acre. “The field has looked good all summer,” he said. “While other corn has dried off because of the lack of moisture it has stayed nice and green. It is too early to tell if it will mature this fall.” While cases like that are the exceptions they do happen and he will monitor the results but he was doubtful the extra application would show an economic return. He was more interested in the work being done by Signer to find the most efficient use of nitrogen and spread the manure he views as a resource for the greatest benefit. “Overall we are seeing that the closer we can apply the nitrogen to the time the plant is going to use it the more efficient the uptake is,” said Signer. “We have to do more work to find which is most efficient and which works in a farmers system.” He said the added nutrients also push the maturity date of the crop back.

prepared with spare parts on hand to keep the system operational. “Time is money,” said Bittner. “And the more time you have to spend repairing the system the more it is costing you, so you are better off to have those parts on hand and be able to get the system up and running when things go wrong.” Bittner also recommended checking to make sure water lines do not freeze as it gets colder ensuring water is freely available to cattle all winter.

Ray Bittner advises producers to be familiar with their water system because eventually they will have to work on it.


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Dry Conditions Took Its Toll on Soybean Yields By Les Kletke Soybean production has been steadily increasing in Manitoba over the last decade and while yields have been increasing with new genetics and producers becoming familiar with the crop 2017 was a new year with new challenges. For the first time since soybeans have become a major crop in Manitoba the province was hit with dry conditions. While it was far from what would be considered a classic drought year much of the province did experience dry conditions with some recoding less than half of average precipitation. That impacted soybean yields and while many producers saw record cereal and canola yields that will not be the case with soybeans. John McCulloch is an agronomist with Pioneer Hybrids and was part of the Marc Hutlet Field Day held east of Winnipeg. He

said that it was not only dry conditions that made 2017 a different year for soybean production. “We saw much more Iron Chlorosis this year,” he said. “Much of that was due to the wet conditions last year and the movement of salts in the soil.” He recommended that producers pay special attention to their fields and take that into consideration when choosing varieties for next spring’s planting. “Soil testing can help you with that,” he said. “High carbonates or salt levels will have an impact. Some people think that pH has an impact but it does not really affect the Iron Chlorosis.” McCulloch said that the cool June also impacted potential yields and the combination of drought stress and IDC had a cumulative effect on the plant. The soybean aphid appeared in greater numbers than ever before

and disease problems that had not been a great concern in previous years took their toll on Manitoba crop in 2017. Terry Buss with Manitoba Agriculture was also on hand for the Field Day. Buss stressed that while producers may have a couple of years’ experience with soybean production there is still much to learn and the crop is relatively new in Manitoba. Buss said that the appearance of soybean aphids was a problem and growers need to learn how to check for the insect and when economic thresholds are reached to justify spraying. “We had some growers pull the trigger early and you have to keep in mind that spraying will also impact the beneficial insects in the field,” he said. “There’s a lot of variables in producing this crop and we saw great variation in conditions across the eastern side of the province.”

Soybean Producers Encouraged to Monitor Aphid Infestation By Les Kletke Terry Buss said that the soybean aphid infestation this year should be a learning experience for farmers growing the crop. “We need to learn how to monitor the insects and recognize the economic threshold,” he said. Buss with Manitoba Agriculture was one of the presenters at the Marc Hutlet Seeds Field Day held east of Winnipeg. Buss is based in Beausejour but has travelled extensively across eastern Manitoba to monitor soybean production. While the acreage of the crop has expanded dramatically growers familiarity with the crop and the pests that can affect it may not have kept pace. He said the honeymoon period might be over. “We have been growing the crop for more than a decade and now we are seeing some pests we have not seen be-

fore and we are getting different conditions than the crop has been grown in before,” said Buss. Most of the province experienced less that average rainfall this year and that will have an impact on yield. Just how much it will impact yield remains to be seen at harvest. Buss said that an early frost occurred in some of the growing region this year but he was not sure how much impact it would have. “If we do get an early frost the impact will depend on how cold it gets and for how long it stays cold,” said Buss, “If the plant is in the R-7 stage it will not have much impact, most likely 5% or less of the yield will be lost. If the plants are in the R-6 stage, the impact could be as much as 30%. When the pods are brown and rattling a frost will not impact yield.” He said that most of the yield impact from this year’s

lack of moisture would come in smaller beans and there would pods lacking fill on the higher part of the plant. He is concerned that growers learn from this year’s aphid infestation. “The economic threshold for control measures is when you find 250 insects per plant on 80% of the plants in the field,” he said. “That means monitoring several locations in the field. The populations may vary greatly from one portion of the field to another and you have to remember that control measures impact the beneficial insects as well.” He recommended that growers become familiar with the aphid and how fast that they can multiply. “They are asexual and born pregnant and they can fly up to 3 miles, so an insect population can get out of control very quickly but you don’t want to be spraying before the economic threshold.”


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Consider Early Weaning for Beef Calves this Fall

By Peter Vitti

Recently, I passed by a group of about 50 crossbred beef cows and their calves grazing dried-out pasture. The thin condition of the cows caught my attention and their calves looked gaunt and on the small side. My immediate reaction was that this cow-calf herd was a good candidate for early weaning its calves from the cows. Although more moderate dry conditions extend out to the rest of the prairies, other producers might consider a similar practice for their spring calves, where good pasture is limited. Separating spring calves from cows by the end of September, rather than typically at the end of October and into the first weeks of November is considered early weaning for us. I believe that people who consider this approach should take advantage of two major opportunities to deem it a success, namely: (1) build up the body condition of thin pregnant replacement heifers and mature cows before winter, and (2) achieve the best saleable weight on calves by creep feeding. Both points are achievable, because mature dry pregnant beef cows (early to mid-gestation) with their spring calves removed only require about 52 - 55% TDN and about 8 - 9% protein to meet body maintenance requirements and body condition of 3.5 (1 - emaciated and 5 - fat) as well as support an early term fetus. That’s a 20% decline in dietary energy and protein requirements of a beef cow nursing 4 - 5 months old calf at summer-end. Likewise, young first time calf-mothers that have an extra natural requirement for further body growth and now without a nursing calf are able to put on more desirable frame and body size ever becoming more productive cows in the herd. Consequently, feeding these early gestating cows without their

calves is relatively easy because despite a shortage of good pasture, there is a fair supply of straw and crop residue that is produced with this year’s early grain harvest. Either straw and grain chaff can be collected together or the chaff can be collected separately. Then these straw/chaff or chaffonly residues might be blown or stacked into various piles for cattle grazing throughout the field. Another available option is that chaff can be collected and dropped onto the straw swath and be made into straw/chaff bales. One should realize that the nutrient value of straw and crop residue ranges from 40 - 45% TDN, 4 - 6% protein and has a poor mineral/vitamin profile, which alone will not support these nutrient requirements of the early gestating beef cow. Therefore, extra energy, protein and a good mineral program must be provided. The magnitude of this supplementation depends on the current cowherd feeding program, cow health and current body condition. So, consider three well-balanced rations based on straw as the sole forage and supplementing with either one of barley, screening pellets or corn distillers’ grains for typical early- to mid-gestation cows and compare their feed-costs: 1. 20 lbs barley straw at $50/mt, 8 lbs barley at $3/bu., 1.5 lbs 32 %beef supplement at $490/mt and 3 oz. of commercial 2:1 mineral with salt at 11c/head/d. $ 1.38/ head/day. 2. 20 lbs barley straw at $50/mt, 10 lbs 14% cow screening pellets at $175/mt and 3 oz. of commercial 2:1 mineral with salt at 11c/head/d. $ 1.36/head/day. 3. 20 lbs barley straw at $50/mt, 8 lbs corn distillers’ grains at $200/ mt and 3 oz. of commercial mineral with salt at11c/head/d. $ 1.29/ head/day. As a result of this demonstration, it shows the costs among

these feeding options is nominal when substituting dried out pasture grazed by early to mid-gestating beef cows. Yet, when we turn our attention to their separated calves, the exercise becomes a little more difficult to develop. That’s because formerly nursing calves have comparably higher nutrient requirements, lower dry matter intakes and their digestive systems cannot digest large quantities of low-quality forage such as straw. Instead we must choose from a number of limited nutritious options for weaned calves such as putting them on dry but acceptable quality pasture or move them into dry-lot and feed them hay, especially saved for them. In both cases, a creep feeder should be moved in to provide supplemental nutrition. These creep feeders should be filled with a well-balanced creep feed; 14% protein, medium level energy (65 - 70% TDN), balanced with calcium, phosphorus, salt, fortified trace mineral pack (especially copper, zinc and selenium). Lastly, a growth promotant and coccidiostat such as monensin sodium should be added to the final creep formula. Given the quality of forage provided newly weaned calves should consume about 8 - 10 lbs of creep feed into autumn months and much higher after the date of traditional weaning. Afterwards, these calves can go onto more typical backgrounder and grower feedlot programs. In one sense, these calves weaned in September rather than in lateOctober are fed and managed in much the same way that they are raised in more conventional years when pasture conditions are good. The same idea applies to their mothers. The only real difference is more of our attention is paid to making sure the entire cowherd’s nutrient requirements are achieved in order for both cows and calves to prosper in drought and dry years.

Never Easy, Never Done After the quality debacle of marketing the 2016 wheat crop, and the lack of moisture this summer, we were looking forward to an easier year of wheat marketing. Boy, were we ever in for a surprise! Given the lack of moisture this summer, our expectations were that wheat yields were going to suffer somewhat, but that should mean a high quality, high protein type of crop. When the first wheat yields started coming in, we were surprised, but thought maybe those were a few anomalies, the early seeded fields that had good moisture to start. As more yields came in, it quickly became clear that this was not a small area. Our thoughts very quickly turned to focusing on getting samples graded to know what the plan would be on marketing, as the grade and protein of samples has a direct impact on our recommendations to clients for how and where to sell wheat. Not surprising was the fact that every sample was graded a #1, but the surprise

was how low protein levels were. Typically when we forward price wheat (and we did a lot this summer with the wheat rally), we will price off of a #2 wheat and usually 13 or 13.5% protein to build in some safeguards. With the early deliveries against these contracts, protein spreads were in a normal range of 2 – 3 cents/tenth for protein below 13%. However, as more and more wheat came in that was below average protein, those discounts started to widen out. And widen out further. And then widen some more. Today, we have the worst protein discounts we’ve seen in wheat, topping out around 8 – 9 cents/tenth. To put that in perspective, if you delivered a 12.5 % protein wheat instead of 13.5 %, you’re facing $0.80 – $1/bu discounts. Fortunately, a few buyers took longer than others to widen out their protein discounts, so we did manage to book a lot of low protein wheat on basis contracts to lock in those discounts now, but those buyers quickly realized

what was happening and followed suit with the wide discounts. However, now with everyone having the discounts that they do, we have to figure out what to do with the remainder of the wheat in the bin. Our thoughts are that once the system knows how much wheat and what qualities they are, that these discounts will become more reasonable again. But there is no guarantee on that. The worst-case scenario is that low protein wheat goes into the feed market, something that is a realistic possibility. For those that can do it, holding this wheat over until next fall is a very viable option and something we are seriously considering advising to clients. Brian Voth is the President of IntelliFARM Inc, working with farms to create customized grain marketing plans and carrying them out. For more info visit intellifarm.ca or call 204-324-3669.

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Manitoba agriculture news and features