November / December 2020
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A farmer’s perspective by Kevin Hursh
Grain Market Analysis
Up one day, down the next by Scott Shiels
Farming Your Money
Is Your Neighbour Richer Than You? by Paul Kuntz
The Most Important Developments in Spraying by Tom Wolf Win the grain game by Natalie Noble
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BRIANNA GRATTON 6
A Farmer’s Viewpoint
Embrace uncertainty By Trevor Bacque
Those Wily Weeds
When crops go wild by Tammy Jones Ag Colleges
Small but mighty by Brianna Gratton Livestock
More buck for your beef By Alexis Kienlen
Building the future by Natalie Noble Auctions
Auctioning from your easy chair by Jeff Melchior
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Trevor Bacque www.bacque40.com Bacque 40 Communications
Regular Contributors Brianna Gratton Kevin Hursh Tammy Jones
Paul Kuntz Scott Shiels Tom Wolf
Courtney Lovgren Nerissa McNaughton
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A FARMER’S PERSPECTIVE | A FARMER’S VIEWPOINT
A farmer’s perspective Grain industry thrives despite freight disadvantage
I’ve been writing regular agriculture opinion pieces for 40 years now so I’ve had lots of forecasts and observations published. I’ve also been active on the speaking engagement trail throughout the Prairies and occasionally Ontario.
Kevin Hursh, P.Ag.
Rather than bragging about my track record, I want to admit one colossal failure in past predictions. During the ‘90s, I was convinced that livestock—cattle, hogs and even sheep—would gain in importance at the expense of grain production.
Kevin Hursh is one of the country’s leading agricultural commentators. He is an agrologist, journalist and farmer. Kevin and his wife Marlene run Hursh Consulting & Communications based in Saskatoon. They also own and operate a farm near Cabri in southwest Saskatchewan growing a wide variety of crops. Kevin writes for a number of agricultural publications and serves as executive director for the Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan and the Inland Terminal Association of Canada (ITAC).
The grain we grow in Western Canada is a long way from salt water. We face a huge logistics challenge in just getting our grain to port position and the cost is nasty. This landlocked grain must compete with other global exporters not burdened with such a big rail freight expense.
I was wrong.
Grain discounted by freight should provide an advantage to the livestock feeding industry. Plus, why grow grain if it’s not economically feasible? Have hay and pasture instead. Back in the days of overhead projectors rather than PowerPoint presentations, I used to list the top 10 uses for abandoned concrete grain terminals. You could use them as rock climbing walls or perhaps grind them into aggregate for use on roads. It wasn’t that concrete inland terminals were the wrong approach; it was just that I thought too many of them had been constructed for how the future would unfold. More land was going to be converted to grassland, more grain was going to stay on the Prairies to feed livestock and more of the crops we produced would be high-value special crops that wouldn’t go through a bulk terminal.
A FARMER’S VIEWPOINT | A FARMER’SPERSPECTIVE
Grain production has continued to expand and although some concrete terminals were poorly positioned, more and more terminals continue to be constructed. Margins are actually quite narrow in the country handling system due to all the competition, but the companies involved continue to anticipate even more production in the years ahead. Crops like peas and red lentils have long expanded past container shipments and are going through terminals for bulk loading into hopper cars. While the grain economy continues to move ahead, the livestock sector has struggled. Hog producers have seen many more bad years than good ones and the industry has seen dramatic consolidation. Family-owned hog farms are rare in Western Canada with a huge percentage of production coming from facilities vertically integrated with meat packing plants. The beef sector continues to chug along and the cow-calf side of the business is still dominated by family farms. However, small herds continue to disappear. If you’re going to be in the cow business, you need a lot of them to have a viable enterprise. A 50- or even a 100-cow herd often
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Whatever the reasons, grain is where the growth has occurred. We don’t see the high freight bills directly since it comes off the price we’re paid at delivery, but somehow the industry has thrived despite the freight disadvantage. provides a meagre return relative to all the work and expense involved. And the beef sector isn’t growing. Returns are too small and the labour requirements are too great to attract new entrants. At one time you’d hear of grain farms converting to cattle. That’s now a rare transition. More often you hear about farms getting rid of their cows to concentrate on grain. Grain farms continue to get larger and many of us wonder about the future of the small- to mid-sized grain farm. However, viable grain farms with only a 1,000 or 2,000 seeded acres continue to co-exist with neighbouring farms that may be 10,000 or even 30,000 acres or more. Somehow, even with the huge grain freight disadvantage, grain farming has advanced while livestock has struggled.
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Farming profits get capitalized into land values. If there’s money to be made farming, people are anxious to buy more land and the price goes up. Land is also an investment and many farmers make more money on increasing land values than they do farming, but farming returns still underpin the market. Perhaps the secret to why our landlocked grain industry is still competitive lies in land values. Everyone thinks the price of land is high and it has certainly been on a steady trajectory higher, but what would our land prices be if you could move salt water 1,000 miles closer? Compared to other major exporters our grain freight bill is high, but perhaps a lower land cost than many of our competitors compensates for this disadvantage. Plus, we’ve come to specialize in commodities such as canola, peas and lentils where we dominate the world marketplace. Whatever the reasons, grain is where the growth has occurred. We don’t see the high freight bills directly since it comes off the price we’re paid at delivery, but somehow the industry has thrived despite the freight disadvantage.
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GRAIN MARKET ANALYSIS | UP ONE DAY, DOWN THE NEXT
Up one day, down the next Scott Shiels
Scott grew up in Killarney, Man., and has been in the grain industry for more than 25 years. He has been with Grain Millers Canada for five years, doing both conventional and organic grain procurement as well as marketing for their mills. Scott lives in Yorkton, Sask., with his wife Jenn. www.grainmillers.com
Well, another harvest has come and gone, at least for the most part. Through the latter part of the summer, and into the early part of fall, we saw analysts and consultants calling for “bumper” and record crops projected to be harvested across the Prairies, pushing markets lower as farmers started to take off their crops. There always seems to be a danger in these early projections, in that one or two weeks of adverse conditions, much like we saw this year, can dramatically affect the crop yield, and therefore totally render these reports irrelevant. This year, much of the Prairies experienced very hot and dry weather throughout the last week of July and first week of August. These hot and dry conditions took many fields that were poised to possibly be a bumper crop to much more average yields. From a marketing perspective, these early and sometimes misleading crop reports need to be taken with a grain of salt. I realize that a drop in price is never a good thing, but the panic selling that occurs on these drops only serves to perpetuate the issue and further pressure prices lower. Nobody knows the conditions that you have on your land better than you do, so it is imperative that you consider your situation when you take in the barrage of information that comes at you during the growing season. 12
In this age of technology and information sharing that we live in, being able to discern which information is based in fact, and which is based in opinion, can be a very daunting task. Weather models vary from source to source, as do crop condition and yield reports. Provincial governments across the Prairies publish weekly reports on progress and crop conditions, based on information that they gather from their extension specialists located across those provinces. We take these reports, along with independent analysts reports and try and put out the most accurate market information that we can to you, our farmer customers. Of course, even with all of the most up to date weather and market information, one can never know for sure where prices will head on any given day. What we do know is that supply and demand hold the key to cash pricing at the farm gate at the end of the day. This crop delivered average to slightly above average yields overall on the cereal crops, with excellent quality for the most part. For the oilseeds, especially canola, there was definitely more surprises on the disappointing side this year than the other way around. All of these factors should be leading us into the winter expecting higher canola prices, but flat-to-soft prices on wheat, barley, and oats. Of course, another winter of “COVID demand” could boost prices in the cereals as well, but let’s hope that we don’t have to lockdown again to find better returns on our grain in the bins. While I realize that grain has to be sold to pay the bills, I strongly feel that patience will be more valuable than ever when marketing this year’s crop. Until next time…
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FARMING YOUR MONEY | IS YOUR NEIGHBOUR RICHER THAN YOU?
Is Your Neighbour Richer Than You? When you spend a lifetime in the ag banking industry, farmers often pose this question to me: Why can’t I have the lifestyle and purchasing ability of my neighbour?
Paul Kuntz Paul Kuntz is the owner of Wheatland Financial. He offers financial consulting and debt broker services. Kuntz is also an advisor with Global Ag Risk Solutions. He can be reached through wheatlandfinancial.ca.
It is human nature to have envy. We see our neighbours operate their farms and we have a basic idea of their financial position. We know how many acres they farm or how many cows they have. We know their production. We can do the math to determine their estimated income. We compare that to ours and that is when the questions begin. Why does my neighbor have a newer combine than mine? Why is their livestock handling facility much nicer than mine? Let’s start with one answer to this question: maybe your neighbor is just a better farmer than you are. That is a harsh statement, but it may be the truth. With my consulting business and also with my advising regarding Global Ag Risk, we look at a financial parameter called gross margin. In the grain world it is your gross revenue per acre less fertilizer, chemical and seed. There are consultants and accountants that may include a few other items, but this simple calculation can tell us a lot about your farm. This calculation measures your ability to manage your production, marketing and crop expenses. What is most important about this calculation is what is does not account for: if you own your land or lease it, if you have your own equipment or get custom work, if you no employees or 10 employees, if your parents gave you the farm or if you had to buy every square inch of your operation. This calculation does not care about those things, it just measures you. We can take your numbers and compare them to farmers in your area through benchmarking. Having a good gross margin does not ensure success on your farm. You can still have many financial issues with a good gross margin. If your strategy is to purchase land at today’s prices rather that rent, you will have issues. If your strategy is to have very new equipment, you will still struggle. If you want to have a lavish lifestyle, your farm will still have trouble paying the bills. But I can say with certainty, that if you want your farm to be successful, you must have a strong gross margin.
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Often times, the farmer who is complaining why his neighbour has a newer tractor than they do, has the ability to go get the same type of tractor. The issue is they would have to take out a loan and that may make them feel uncomfortable. So, one answer to the question of your neighbour’s wealth: maybe they are. They have a better gross margin and at the end of the day they have more money. Here is another potential answer to this question. I once visited a farmer in the early 2000s to solicit his banking business. He was a relatively small farmer with about 800 acres farmed and nearing retirement. I could see that his equipment was well maintained, but a bit older. We discussed banking and I could tell that this farmer was quite risk averse. He was a very cautious operator. Eventually it came out that he had no debt.
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This was something that he was very proud of. He said to me that he was quite puzzled why so many of his neighbours had newer equipment than him. He felt all his neighbours were richer than he was. I politely explained that maybe his neighbours were OK with debt and he was not. I reasoned that he did not have a newer combine because he was unwilling to take on debt. Often times, the farmer who is complaining why his neighbour has a newer tractor than they do, has the ability to go get the same type of tractor. The issue is they would have to take out a loan and that may make them feel uncomfortable. Many farmers (this goes for all people), feel that other people treat money the way they do. If a farmer insists on paying cash for tractor, they assume that this is the same practice for their neighbour. What they may not know is that their neighbour is perfectly fine taking out a loan for a tractor. Their neighbour may feel comfortable with debt in their operation. They may even feel comfortable enough taking debt right into retirement. For most farms today, debt is a regular part of their operation. It is necessary in order to grow and expand. One unfortunate aspect of comparing your equipment with your neighbour’s equipment purchases is that it may not 15
FARMING YOUR MONEY | IS YOUR NEIGHBOUR RICHER THAN YOU?
I believe it is important to have quiet pride when it comes to your financial success. Pursue a strong gross margin and from that gross margin, spend wisely so there is a good chunk left over. This will allow your farm to prosper through all scenarios. answer the most important business question and that is: Are we profitable? The level of actual profit does not always show up publicly on a farm. In fact, the opposite can be true. I have had financially troubled clients who insist on parking their ill-advised new equipment purchase near the road so all can see it. Other farmers who are relatively affluent may hide their wealth and not flaunt it. I believe that pride is an essential value to possess if you are a business owner. You want your cows to be strong and have calves that are vigorous. You want your wheat field to be thick and bountiful. If you had a restaurant you would want it to appear clean and well kept. It is pride that drives this and all successful businesspeople possess this value. Pride can turn
into envy and that is not a good character trait. You cannot be focused on trying to prove to your neighbours that you are more successful than they are. I believe it is important to have quiet pride when it comes to your financial success. Pursue a strong gross margin and from that gross margin, spend wisely so there is a good chunk left over. This will allow your farm to prosper through all scenarios. This will allow your farm to replace machinery when it is necessary. This will allow your operation to take advantage of growth opportunities. It will increase marketing opportunities and also expense reduction opportunities. Your operation will be in a much better place, but your neighbour may not know about it. If you are a grain farmer and want access to some great benchmarking, you should get in contact with your local Global Ag Risk advisor in your area. Depending on where you are, there may be some excellent data that has been put together. In the livestock world, it is a bit more difficult, but I would suggest reaching out to your provincial agriculture departments to see what they have for cattle benchmarks. Focus on your operation and how profitable it is. You need not worry about your neighbour. If it turns out your neighbour is richer than you, congratulate them on their success. Maybe ask for tips. If it turns out that you are the rich one, provide help to those who need it. At the end of the day, there are a lot of other aspects to life that will bring us happiness that have nothing to do with money.
AFTER THREE SEASONS, CHOOSE A SEED WITH AS MUCH POTENTIAL AS YOU. DEKALB® TRUFLEX™ CANOLA WITH ROUNDUP READY® TECHNOLOGY GIVES YOU THE SPRAYING FLEXIBILITY YOU WANT WITH THE WEED CONTROL YOU NEED. You might get about 40 chances to achieve your best yield yet from the seed you choose. That’s why you need a canola with proven spray flexibility and next-level weed control. You need the proven performance of DEKALB canola. Developed with superior genetics to deliver yield and stand up against disease pressure, DEKALB canola is the choice you can depend on year after year to deliver an easier, faster and smoother harvest.
THE SEED FOR EVERY SEASON
Bayer is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Bayer products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Bayer’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. These products have been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from these products can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for these products. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® Technology contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate. Glyphosate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Bayer, Bayer Cross, DEKALB and Design®, DEKALB ®, Roundup Ready® and TruFlex™ are trademarks of Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a member of CropLife Canada. ©2020 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.
SPRAYING 101 | THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN SPRAYING
The Most Important Developments in Spraying Some years ago, a few of us weed scientists sat around a table and debated the most important agricultural developments in our lifetimes. It was a great discussion, and we arrived at a few that included direct seeding, for its soil and moisture conservation as well as improved fertilizer placement, GMO crops, for slowing Group 1 and 2 herbicide resistance and the abandonment of summerfallow in much of Western Canada. Let’s apply this exercise to spray application to see what we come up with. Tom Wolf, PhD, P.Ag. Tom Wolf grew up on a grain farm in southern Manitoba. He obtained his BSA and M.Sc. (Plant Science) at the University of Manitoba and his PhD (Agronomy) at Ohio State University. Tom was a research scientist with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada for 17 years before forming AgriMetrix, an agricultural research company that he now operates in Saskatoon. He specializes in spray drift, pesticide efficacy, and sprayer tank cleanout, and conducts research and training on these topics throughout Canada. Tom sits on the Board of the Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association, is an active member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and is a member and past president of the Canadian Weed Science Society.
What follows is my version of the most important spray technology developments in the last 50 years. 1. Low-drift nozzles: Spray drift is the biggest time management challenge and also perhaps the biggest public relations battle. These nozzles reduce drift, making more time available for safe and effective spraying. 2. Rate controllers: On the one hand, a rate controller matches sprayer output to travel speed. On the other, it has allowed spray pressures to go wherever they need, even beyond the optimum, to match travel speed, and that can lead to nozzle performance issues. 3. Pulse width modulation: The pulsing nozzle fixes the rate controller problem mentioned above. Now, travel speed and pressure are independent. Plus, a whole host of other flow management options become available such as turn compensation. 4. Optical spot spraying: Once you see these in action, you can’t go back. Why would you spray a whole field when weeds only cover 10 per cent of it? Products like WEEDit and WeedSeeker are proven green-on-brown performers after years of field success around the world. 5. GPS guidance: Some of us grew up with foam or disk markers, others learned to aim for brave family members perched on headlands. Achieving accuracy was stressful. The importance of this development is probably underestimated. 6. Sectional control: The ability to adjust the spray width in individual nozzle steps makes sense. In fact, that alone can save five per cent of an annual chemical bill compared to conventional sections measuring about 10 to 15 feet. And it’s definitely better than the left boom or right boom options from the 70’s and ‘80s. 7. Operator comfort and safety: The refuge of the cab makes longer days bearable for all equipment, but for spraying it dramatically improves safety as well. Now that we covered off what is right, it’s time we take a look from a different perspective.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN SPRAYING | SPRAYING 101 But we’re far from done. We still need work in these areas:
A few areas show promise and may suit certain niches:
1. Cleaning and waste management: I can’t imagine another industry where managing potentially hazardous leftover materials are left to the discretion and circumstances of the applicator. Let’s make it easy and fast to thoroughly clean the sprayer and safely dispose of leftovers so we can shout it from the mountaintops.
1. In-crop weed sensing: The green-on-green sensing that has been made possible by machine learning has shown encouraging early success. Continual improvements will eventually bring its reliability to within commercially acceptable standards. There is significant activity below the radar in this area, as all players recognize the enormous upside of a breakthrough.
2. Boom stability: Booms are too high, resulting in more drift and poorer nozzle performance, adding to operator stress. The sole reason is unsatisfactory levelling. It’s possible to solve this. 3. Weight: The road to productivity seems to be paved with larger, heavier machines. The side effect is fuel consumption, compaction and getting stuck. Let’s get smarter with frame design and logistics and talk acres per hour rather than tank capacity and power. 4. Cost: All farm equipment has seen cost increases that far outstrip inflation or any reasonable accounting of productivity and features. Sprayers lead the way. 5. Drift management. Sprayer design continues to ignore drift management. We need sprayers that produce less drift by design, and this requires consideration of tractor unit, wheel and boom aerodynamics.
2. Autonomy: While dispensing a pesticide adjacent to sensitive areas isn’t exactly the low-hanging fruit of autonomy, such field sprayers will have a fit in the temperate plains of North and South America, Australia and Asia. 3. Drone application: The rapid pace of advancement in remotely piloted aerial systems, along with a seemingly low barrier to entry of new companies, will put pressure on the industry to make a decision on this alternate application method. If it can be done safely, it will have a dramatic impact. Don’t ignore the small things you can do in your operation. Although we’re conditioned to look for game-changing technology, the most sustained improvements don’t come from a single innovation, but from a period of persistent evolution. Spray application is no different.
Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers Bayer is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Bayer products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Bayer's Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. Trecepta® RIB Complete® Corn has been approved for import into Australia/New Zealand, Colombia, China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, United States and all individual biotech traits approved for import into the European Union. Please check biotradestatus.com for trait approvals in other geographies. Any other Bayer commercial biotech products mentioned here have been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from these products can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for these products. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® Technology contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate. Roundup Ready® 2 Technology contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba. LibertyLink® Technology contains genes that confer tolerance to glufosinate. Glyphosate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Dicamba will kill crops that are not tolerant to dicamba. Glufosinate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glufosinate. Contact your local crop protection dealer or call the technical support line at 1-888-283-6847 for recommended Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System weed control programs. Insect control technology provided by Vip3A is utilized under license from Syngenta Crop Protection AG. FOR CORN, EACH ACCELERON® SEED APPLIED SOLUTIONS OFFERING is a combination of separate individually registered products containing the active ingredients: BASIC is a combination of fluoxastrobin, prothioconazole and metalaxyl. STANDARD is a combination of fluoxastrobin, prothioconazole, metalaxyl and clothianidin. STANDARD plus DuPont™ Lumivia® is a combination of fluoxastrobin, prothioconazole, metalaxyl and chlorantraniliprole. COMPLETE plus DuPont™ Lumivia® is a combination of metalaxyl, chlorantraniliprole, and prothioconazole and fluoxastrobin at rates that suppress additional diseases. BioRise™ Corn Offering is the on-seed application of either BioRise™ 360 ST or the separately registered seed applied products Acceleron® B-300 SAT and BioRise™ 360 ST. BioRise™ Corn Offering is included seamlessly across offerings on all class of 2019, 2020 and 2021 STANDARD, STANDARD plus DuPont™ Lumivia®, and COMPLETE plus DuPont™ Lumivia® corn hybrids. FOR SOYBEANS, EACH ACCELERON® SEED APPLIED SOLUTIONS OFFERING is a combination of registered products containing the active ingredients: BASIC is a combination of prothioconazole, penflufen and metalaxyl. STANDARD is a combination of prothioconazole, penflufen, metalaxyl and imidacloprid. STANDARD plus Fortenza® is a combination of prothioconazole, penflufen, metalaxyl and cyantraniliprole. Optimize® ST inoculant is included seamlessly with both BASIC and STANDARD offerings. Acceleron®, Bayer, Bayer Cross, BioRise™, BUTEO™, RIB Complete®, Roundup Ready 2 Technology and Design™, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup Transorb®, Roundup WeatherMAX®, Roundup Xtend®, SmartStax®, Transorb®, Trecepta®, TruFlex™, VaporGrip®, VT Double PRO® and XtendiMax® are trademarks of Bayer Group. Used under license. Lumivia® is a registered trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. JumpStart® and Optimize® are registered trademarks of Novozymes. Used under license. DuPont™ and Lumivia® are trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its Affiliates and are used under license by Bayer Group. LibertyLink® is a registered trademark of BASF. Agrisure Viptera®, Fortenza® and Helix Xtra® are registered trademarks of a Syngenta group company. LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of BASF. Used under license. Herculex® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Used under license. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. Poncho® and VOTiVO® are registered trademarks of BASF. Used under license. ©2020 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.
COVER STORY | EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY
Photo: From left to right: Chris, Henry and Jan Raupers pictured at
their Newdale, Man., farm. The Raupers came to Canada from Germany in the late â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s to take over a relativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grain farm. Since then, they created an additional business venture creating and selling water pumps and farm implements.
EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY | COVER STORY
EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY Family uproots four centuries of history, relocates to Manitoba farm By Trevor Bacque for Farming for Tomorrow Photography by KEILA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY Tell someone that the most amazing place in the world is Newdale, Man., and you may receive a funny look or two. There would be the odd proponent, of course. And, there would be no bigger boosters of the area just north of Brandon than the Raupers family. Originally from a mixed farm at Otze, near Hannover, Germany, the family immigrated to Canada after parents Henry and Christine, decided to take come to Canada along with their three boys and take over her uncle’s Newdale farm. The uncle in question, Bill Rabe, was a bit of a vagabond. He spent years farming in parts of Australia, South America and South Korea. Rabe eventually invested in Canadian farmland in the late ‘70s. For the intrepid Rabe, the Prairies proved to be a lasting love. He happily farmed the land and periodically visited the Raupers to tell tales of Canada’s spacious geography and larger-than-life tractors. The three young boys, Martin, Chris and Jan, were enamoured with their great uncle’s tales. By the time the family made their transatlantic trek, the oldest of three brothers, Jan Raupers was 15. For him, it was glee and excitement from every angle. “I always thought America was really cool, specifically the U.S.,” he says. “I figured Canada would get me a whole lot closer to the U.S. From my English classes in Germany, I had fallen in love with the idea of North America.” While Jan did not quite make it state-side, his love of the country still runs deep. Similarly, brother Chris, was positively tickled with the idea of North American farming where machinery size bordered on the absurd relative to German iron. A farmer through and through, Chris could not wait to get on the land Rabe had managed since 1979. “Canada was kind of a fantasy land,” says Chris. “My uncle would visit home and bring over toys and pictures of big farming. The bigger equipment when you are younger is magic for your eyes.” He vividly recalls the moment his life changed. His parents
visited Canada alone in 1997, making him “furious” he could not come. Upon their return home, they spoke to their sons about their time in Newdale. After the trip was recounted the conversation quickly morphed into a forthright proposal. “It can’t be,” says Chris. “It was something that you never think could happen to you. My jaw dropped on the floor. We had never gone on big holidays. I had never left Germany before moving to Canada. It was my first time out of the country.” Within 18 months of Henry and Christine’s reconnaissance mission to Canada, the entire family uprooted 400-plus years of family roots in Germany and now found themselves on Rabe’s land, except it was now their responsibility. They settled in and Henry began working the land while mother Christine, ran a company in Newdale, Land Haus Antiques, until she retired in early 2020. The youngest brother Martin trained as a mechanic and now works for AG West Equipment in Manitoba. For Chris and Jan, the two owners of the farm and its associated business venture, their careers to the agriculture took divergent pathways. Jan, always interested in computer technology, relocated to Brandon after high school to study more about the machines at Assiniboine Community College. “It was hard deciding what I wanted to do, and computers seemed to be the most natural fit at the time,” he says. Shortly after graduation, he began working for an American call centre out of Brandon. Later, he took a job in Minnedosa, Man., with a company subcontracted by the U.S. military to build cuttingedge infrared laser illuminators and high-speed cameras. The jobs, while enjoyable, required heavy amounts of sitting and eventually caused a significant back injury. In 2012, while sidelined, Jan’s father spoke with him, appealing to his son to help him with his latest project and reconsider farm life. “My dad said, ‘hey, I have these water pumps. I want to help you with your family and your life. I think you need to move a whole lot more and come in the workshop. We are going to start this water pump business.’” 21
COVER STORY | EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY
Photo: Jan Raupers, left, and Chris, with one of their custom Terra Tools in the background. Jan runs the machinery and water pump business, Cardale Tech, while Chris manages the farm.
The water pumps in question were creations of Henry, the ever-present tinkerer around the farm. The pumps he designed were custom PTO-driven shallow water pumps. With portions of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta fighting with sloughs and pop-up lakes, drainage is a constant issue. However, their pump differs from many others in that it can pump effectively in very shallow water at between 15,000 to 30,000 litres per minute. Equipped with either a 12” or 16” diameter, the Raupers’ niche pump effectively moves even the shallowest, dirtiest water. Working to create, market and sell the pumps appealed to Jan in a new way, as did the rural lifestyle. “I personally liked the idea very much … coming back to the farm,” he says. “I had spent almost 10 years away from the farm only helping out here and there. I missed being out on the farm.” As he slowly transitioned into a more physical workload, he put his college experience to good use, creating a new website for the company as well as marketing materials for the pumps and began to spread the word about the new company—Cardale Tech—to farmers in the area. Undeterred by being completely new to the business, Jan absorbed every detail of his new work. They began to also create soil-shaping tools, essentially a pull behind blade for a tractor, which was initially marketed as a “pulldozer.” “Then we learned about trademarks and lawyers,” he says with a laugh. Now branded as Terra Tools, the blades and water pumps form the majority of their business. They also build a number of custom projects for farmers that could be anything from uniquely sized scraper bars, trailers or anything in between. 22
Today, their products can be found in farmers fields across the Prairies, the U.S. and Eastern Europe. “The goal was to build a multi-tool that could do anything as far as earth moving goes. Box scraper, grade blade, feather out ditches and clean out ditches in a more efficient manner,” he says. “[The goal] really, was just to build the best dirt-moving tool that you could come up with.” Throughout the winter, Jan is planning to make small yet important modifications to the pumps and their overall business. His goal is to continue to streamline operations and ultimately produce better products. In a similar way to Jan crafting products to be better, younger brother Chris has been working hard for years to do the same with their land. Upon high school graduation in 2004, Chris immediately enrolled in Olds College’s Agricultural Management diploma program and later completed an applied science degree. Chris returned to the farm as fast as he left it. In 2007, the family’s land base was a mixed of rented and owned 4,500 acres, primarily seeded to canola and wheat. The land base did not fully support Chris, so more needed to be done. He began custom farming about 4,000 acres of land for different farmers—everything from seeding through until harvest—to provide extra income. After toiling hard for four years, Chris assumed leadership duties on the farm and made a conscious decision to simultaneously expand their acres to 6,400 and scale back their custom work, which had become an elephant in the room. “We had chased that custom farming business to a point that our own land was left to the next day because we were making sure
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COVER STORY | EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY
“Being in Western Canada, it’s essentially the Wild West for farming compared to the EU. I am free to do what I want. If I want to try to grow palm trees for palm oil tomorrow, I could. Nobody is here to tell me I can’t. So, why not live in the times and do something with that opportunity? In general, it’s a good time to be alive and just giv’er.” - Chris Raupers customers were OK,” he says. “I sort of put a stop to that and started focusing on the acres at home, still doing a bit of custom work, but generally we are just focused on our own land.” Chris continued on with his typical rotation and pushing the farm forward. However, in 2015, he had a nagging desire to make his farmland even better. The usual crop rotations were just not cutting it for him. “That’s when I stumbled upon regenerative agriculture,” he says. “That totally grabbed me and spoke to me immediately. In the past four years, I’ve changed wheat, canola and soybeans to seven different crops across the farm.” Regenerative agriculture is defined by practices that can reverse climate change, reproduce organic matter in the soil, bring back a greater soil biodiversity to sequester carbon and improve the water cycle. The latest addition of regenerative ideas at the farm is cows grazing a full season cover crop. So, traditional monocrop land is sown to a 15 species cover crop and grazed. Chris partnered with a father and son who ranch nearby. A portion of their cows graze the clay-loam field and both parties feel the agreement is beneficial from a financial as well as a soil and animal perspective. “I’m blessed to be farming in very good soil to begin with,” he says. “This is not something where you see the results immediately.” Into his fourth season with regenerative agricultural practices on all of his acres, Chris is optimistic that his soil quality is improving through the use of cover crops, grazing and 24
intercropping. Beyond that, he stopped farming soybeans altogether in 2018 as he found it too difficult to truly achieve the big yields advertised and turn a sizable profit. He is proud that since he began there has been no Fusarium or other disease outbreaks all while he has dialed back crop protection treatments on those acres. “I have not had a wreck due to a disease where everybody told me I need to be spraying a fungicide,” he explains. “I am happy to have cut out several chemistries and replaced them with nutrition. I tried to keep my plant fed and ended up with perfectly healthy grain. “I am trying to feed the crop what it’s hungry for, no different than trying to be healthy as a human or raise an animal that’s healthy. If you don’t feed it properly, how do you expect it to be healthy?” While he does not think regenerative agriculture is right for everybody, Chris believes that all of his acres will be under this regime for the foreseeable future, adding he has seen changes for the better in his soil since this process began. Above all, he is glad to be in Canada with the family where he is free to try out any agronomic system one day or stop it the next if he so chooses—a very different mindset to Europe. “Being in Western Canada, it’s essentially the Wild West for farming compared to the EU,” he says. “I am free to do what I want. If I want to try to grow palm trees for palm oil tomorrow, I could. Nobody is here to tell me I can’t. So, why not live in the times and do something with that opportunity? In general, it’s a good time to be alive and just giv’er.” Of course, none of it would be possible without that big decision made by Henry and Christine more than 20 years ago to leave their family farm, which had roots pre-dating the Enlightenment. “I am extremely grateful to be in Canada, where I am openly accepted in my community and in this country, because that’s not always a given,” he says. “I am so very grateful for my father to make the move to come to Canada.” Beyond being in Canada, having the chance to work with family has always been a positive not only for Chris, but the entire family. “Whether it’s in the actual getting dirty together on a day to day basis or just being a listening ear or having a listening ear from a family member … it’s all part and parcel of it. We are all pulling on the same string essentially. It’s very interesting sitting on the other side of the table on the manufacturing business. It has helped me open my eyes to other ideas and to the business world in general. It is just good diversification for just the farm.”
WIN THE GRAIN GAME | SEED
WIN THE GRAIN GAME By Natalie Noble Photo: AAC LeRoy VB is
expected to take CWRS yields to a whole new level. It’s strong yield potential, agronomic and disease resistance packages simplify a farmer’s life, says Alliance Seed general manager Bagshaw. “Some farmers will avoid midge-tolerant varieties, but it’s just a bonus here. They will want to look at the yield of AAC LeRoy VB.” Credit: Alliance Seed
Harvest is a wrap, but it’s no time to rest. Winning the grain game means already looking ahead to spring. As farmers begin to preview the star players for spring seeding 2021, they’ll need to ensure each one they select has the full package. Of course, their first concern is yield. Alliance Seed general manager Jim Bagshaw says maximizing yield on the farm is a two-fold approach: offence—genetics and inputs; and defence—how farmers protect it from pests, disease and other yield robbers that might knock it down. When looking at 2021 for oats, wheat or canola, these three new varieties hold great potential.
OATS: CDC Arborg – FP Genetics FP Genetics says this newly launched variety checks all the boxes. “It is a very high yielding, early maturing, white milling oat that stands extremely well,” says Colin Herman, the company’s director of sales & marketing. “We see great marketing opportunities with good groat percentage, low thins and high beta-glucan and protein levels.” Compared to other varieties available on the market, Arborg has strong straw, contributing to its excellent standability. Additional highlights are its good disease resistance and early maturity. That early maturity is a big asset today and the reason is two-fold. First, given the last couple years’ challenging weather at harvest, getting that grain in the bin early is essential to preserving its quality. Second, it plays a role in helping the product rise above ongoing consumer-driven glyphosate issues, while still maintaining its high-end yield. 25
SEED | WIN THE GRAIN GAME
As the popularity of “healthy choice” products, including breakfast cereals, is rising there’s also an increase in oat milk demand as a non-dairy alternative. Starbucks has even announced adding an “oat beverage” to its menu this fall. In addition to overcoming weather and regulatory challenges, Arborg does well anywhere, it seems. “It really has performed well from the Red River Valley in Manitoba to the Peace River Valley in Alberta,” says Herman. “We’ve had strong yield reports coming in from all three Prairie provinces.” In terms of market opportunities, this variety comes at a time when the big picture for oats and their end-use is optimistic. “There’s lots of buzz around the “healthy choice” and betaglucan,” explains Herman. “Arborg has a higher percentage of beta-glucan than what’s out there.” As the popularity of “healthy choice” products, including breakfast cereals, is rising there’s also an increase in oat milk demand as a non-dairy alternative. Starbucks has even announced adding an “oat beverage” to its menu this fall. “[Arborg] is a big deal for millers. It has strong specs and their feedback has been phenomenal,” says Herman. Arborg’s return on investment comes back to its yield, Herman says, adding that it’s been one of the top yielding varieties across Western Canada so far. While 2020 will be the first year for farmers to see the variety perform on the larger scale, FP Genetics has observed it the last few years as seed growers prepared for sales. “CDC Arborg being a strong variety for western Canada is certainly not a surprise for us,” he adds. Herman says 2020 was a strong sales year for Arbord and he expects the trend to continue into 2021. “It’s a great fit for farmers and I would say to them ‘if you’re not growing it, you need to give it a try,’” he says. Photo: CDC Arborg is a high yielding, early maturing, white milling oat that stands extremely well. “We see great marketing opportunities with good groat percentage, low thins and high beta-glucan and protein levels,” says Colin Herman, FP Genetics’ director of sales & marketing. Credit: FP Genetics
WHEAT: AAC Leroy-VB – Alliance Seed Alliance Seed expects this variety, available to farmers for the first time in spring 2021, to take yield for CWRS to a whole new level. “There’s a lot of good characteristics and traits in it, but the yield is what most growers look for,” says Bagshaw.
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SEED | WIN THE GRAIN GAME
In addition to that substantially higher yield, LeRoy has the other qualities farmers want including disease resistance, standability, maturity, and all those attributes that contribute to, and protect, the yield. “It’s a well-rounded product that is a significant jump above what’s on the market now,” says Bagshaw. Although as a varietal blend LeRoy is a midge-tolerant wheat, farmers should not discount it, as it’s an exceptionally high yielding option for nearly every region across Western Canada. “Midge-tolerant wheat varieties have been on the market for approximately 10 years now, and many of [them] have been segmented into those areas where the midge fly was a problem,” says Bagshaw. “This variety is so good in yield; people are going to grow it everywhere whether they have midge or not.” LeRoy is rated moderately resistant (MR) for Fusarium head blight (FHB) as well as stem, leaf and stripe rust. “It’s got one of the strongest disease resistant packages out there so it can withstand disease and reach up much higher to its full potential,” says Bagshaw. Categorized as a semi-dwarf, LeRoy’s mid-height gives it stronger standability and higher bushels per acre without lodging issues. It’s on the early side of mid-range maturity so other than late seeding or short seasons, it’s a good fit. “From the Red River Valley up to Swan River Valley, up to the Peace River Valley … maturity-wise, it fits 90 per cent of growing areas in all three Prairie provinces,” says Bagshaw. Alliance Seed has seen better weathering characteristics in LeRoy than many varieties during seed production. “So, in a year like 2019 with lots of rain, snow and bad weather on the crop before harvest, Leroy came through looking remarkably well compared to most,” says Bagshaw. “It holds its grade and quality characteristics well. There will be marketing opportunities with every grain buyer who buys CWRS.” In its three years of registration trials, LeRoy yields were 11 per cent higher than AAC Viewfield, 13 per cent higher than Carberry and 10 per cent more than Unity VB. “It’s not just a little bit better, it’s significantly better,” says Bagshaw. “Based on its yield advantage, the ROI will pencil out very well. If you average 40 bushels an acre of wheat in your area, an extra 10 per cent is an extra four bushels per acre. That adds up pretty quick on a large farm. “Growers looking to maximize their bottom line need to maximize the revenue they bring in. The yield potential of this variety will do it. And that strong agronomic and disease resistance package helps simplify a grower’s life.” 28
“Growers looking to maximize their bottom line need to maximize the revenue they bring in. The yield potential of this variety will do it. And that strong agronomic and disease resistance package helps simplify a grower’s life.” - Jim Bagshaw CANOLA: P501L – Pioneer Ellis Clayton, technical project manager with Corteva, says he’d put P501L head to head against any canola hybrid to showcase its excellent performance in the field. “We’ve had lots of positive comments on this hybrid over the last couple years it’s been on sale,” says Clayton. “It’s shown excellent yield potential, very competitive with all the top hybrids on the marketplace.” Early spring growth and quick ground coverage under numerous seasonal conditions have been some of the most exciting attributes of P501L for farmers. Plus, it has the excellent agronomic and disease packages they need. “It comes with Corteva’s CR1 gene, which is the original clubroot gene the industry used across Western Canada,” says Clayton. “This gives growers good protection against 2F, 3H, 5I, 6M and 8N clubroot pathotypes. It’s also R-rated with built in resistance to blackleg and Fusarium wilt.” P501L is a taller hybrid, but still demonstrates very good standability. The late-mid maturing variety should not be a concern for growers so long as it’s planted in a timely fashion in the spring, says Clayton, adding that it is positioned as a swath hybrid. “If growers want to swath, P501 is an excellent hybrid for them.” In terms of the end product, P501L has a commodity oil profile and can be sold through the regular canola market. “It’s not a specialty market product that goes into contract,” says Clayton. “There’s an excellent potential for return on this hybrid, being one of the top yielding varieties on the canola market,” says Clayton. “With this, and our many options around package sizes and seed treatment options, it’s going to be a great fit for growers.”
WIN THE GRAIN GAME | SEED
Photo: AAC LeRoy VB is expected to take CWRS yields to a whole new
level. Its strong yield potential, agronomic and disease resistance packages simplify a farmer’s life, says Alliance Seed general manager Bagshaw. “Some farmers will avoid midge-tolerant varieties, but it’s just a bonus here. They will want to look at the yield of AAC LeRoy VB.” Credit: Alliance Seed
THOSE WILY WEEDS | WHEN CROPS GO WILD
When crops go wild
Tammy Jones B.Sc., P.Ag Tammy completed her B. Sc. In Crop Protection at the University of Manitoba. She has over 15 years of experience in the crops industry in Manitoba and Alberta, with a focus on agronomy. Tammy lives near Carman, and spends time scouting for weeds and working with cattle at the family farm in Napinka, Manitoba.
“How do you spray out volunteer wheat in barley?” You don’t. And to be honest there isn’t a surefire way to hurt volunteer barley enough in wheat to prevent it from being a contaminant or a negative impact on yield. “What is the best option for volunteer canola control in conventional sunflowers?” Assert, but only if it is applied early to minimize potential for crop injury. “How late can I apply a post-seed yet pre-emerge product because I now see a flush of volunteers and the crop has not emerged yet?” Sorry, there is no magic solution. Follow the herbicide label to avoid damaging the crop. These were three very common and almost impossible questions in 2020 and my crystal ball is anticipating more tough questions in 2021. Two of our most frequently grown crops ranked high in the most recent Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada weed surveys. Overall, volunteer canola was No. 4 and volunteer wheat was No. 10. This marks a significant jump in the rankings for relative abundance of volunteer canola in western Canadian fields. In Alberta, volunteer canola was No. 6 moving up from 16th spot in 2001, in Saskatchewan No. 4, up from 16th in 2003 and in Manitoba, reaching No. 5 up from 10th in 2002. Rob Gulden at the University of Manitoba did a two-year study and found that the average yield losses of canola in Saskatchewan were 5.9 per cent of yield. So, let’s imagine a a 30 bushel/acre canola crop, resulting in 1.8 bushels/acre of loss with a standard bushel weight of 50 pounds, that’s 90 pounds of canola seed on the ground. That’s approximately 18 times the typical seeding rate for canola. It’s easy to pick on canola, because there has been a considerable amount of research on that topic, and harvest conditions can result in significant crop loss no matter which crop. High winds, disease, grasshoppers clipping heads, lodging and combine settings are just a few of the factors that impact crop losses. And every fall has different challenges. Too windy and dry in the fall of 2020 is a stark contrast to the miserable cold, wet fall of 2019, which resulted in volunteer corn being more evident in fields in 2020. This varies from area to area; when it’s too wet in one spot, someone else is struggling because it’s too dry. The seedling vigour, crop competitiveness and herbicide-tolerant traits that were so attractive as a crop, are now the arch-nemesis of future crops. The volunteers will usually get a head start on
WHEN CROPS GO WILD | THOSE WILY WEEDS any crop because as soon as there is enough warmth and moisture, those non-dormant seeds germinate. Federal research by Dr. John O’Donovan has shown that volunteer barley is more competitive than wild oats in wheat. Just 10 volunteer barley plants per square metre can reduce wheat yield by more than 12 per cent. Not only do volunteer crops reduce yield, they can harbour disease and insects, dry out seedbeds, or choke out the crop as it tries to emerge. There are several tools in your arsenal to battle the volunteer crops that will reduce the number of impossible questions you have to face.
rotation to make short-term money and then spending all those profits trying to spray out the impossible volunteer weed, makes no sense either. Make the crop rotation plan in the winter, and while there may be certain fields that are “flex” fields that could be sown to one crop or another, be firm on the crop plans for the fields that are certain to have volunteer crops as an issue. Include herbicide-tolerant traits that may allow for better weed control, alternate a broadleaf crop after a grass to allow for greater herbicide options, and choose a crop with a later seeding date to allow for spring tillage if necessary. Every little bit helps.
Farmers say the darndest things on social media. But the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when crop losses are being measured in double digit. Honestly, anything more than two or three bu/ac makes me want to cry from a financial perspective, but also from a weed management perspective. The key to minimizing the impact of the harvest loss is a solid plan based on good crop rotation, inclusion of pre-emergent herbicides and the judicious use of tillage. Don’t back yourself into a corner looking for impossible control answers by forgetting about the certainty of a volunteer crop being a significant weed the following year.
The troublesome thing about a volunteer crop is that the seeds tend to all germinate within the first year or two and can form a thick mat of crop competition. But that is also the fortunate thing about a volunteer crop, since unlike most weed seeds, there is little or no dormancy in the seed. Once again, Gulden looked at this and found that a tillage pass with a tine harrow set to a half-inch depth (low disturbance) was effective at encouraging early fall and spring emergence of volunteer canola. His studies determined that early fall soil disturbance, shortly after canola harvest, was the most effective timing to maximize volunteer canola fall germination. But if that fall window has passed, a spring tillage treatment will provide better results than ignoring the potential weed issue.
Herbicides Post-harvest herbicides are not likely the best option for a volunteer crop because winter should kill those volunteers that emerge in the fall. Spring emerging volunteer crops should be addressed with a pre-emergent herbicide, especially when there is no opportunity for tillage and there are no good in-crop options for control. The pre-emergent herbicide option ensures the emerging crop does not competing for resources, protecting yield potential and if it has some residual control, may extend the window for an in-crop herbicide application to be timed-based on other weed issues. In certain instances, pre-emergent herbicide may only control a portion of the volunteer crop, but the setback may enhance the efficacy of the in-crop application. When there is the strong potential for a significant volunteer weed population, an in-crop herbicide application may prove effective to control the volunteer but will never undo the damage of competition for light, water and nutrients during the critical weed free period.
Crop rotation Money is money and on every farm there are different crops that make the most dollars and sense (or cents). But pushing a
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ADVERTORIAL | THANKS FOR FARMING TOUR: RED DEER EDITION
Thanks for Farming Tour: Red Deer Edition The show must go on By Natalie Noble Despite a disappointing year of trade show cancellations, including Agri-Trade Equipment Expo, the Thanks for Farming Tour is rolling into Red Deer and it’s one people won’t want to miss.
events and we plan to have about 70 exhibitors. It all takes place in the Exhibition Hall at Westerner Park and we have a whole mix of companies coming with all kinds of different farm and ranch equipment.”
Joining of forces between Thunderstruck Ag Equipment, nine other companies and five sponsors, the summer tour ensured those who look forward to these events every year don’t miss out. Not only are trade shows a major revenue driver for agri-businesses, they’re a place where industry members take in the latest technology, share ideas and socialize.
Attendees have a lot to look forward to. Because FarmFair in Edmonton also cancelled, this event features an outdoor livestock portion where breeders market their genetics to commercial cattle ranchers.
The Thanks for Farming Tour shows appreciation to a special crowd: Prairie farmers. “This event is for them. We’re tailoring a safe environment where they can come and network with their neighbours, see some really innovative and unique products, and learn.” says Thunderstruck president, Jeremy Matuszewski. “It’s really all about the farmers, it’s our way of saying thanks.” The Red Deer Edition comes off the heels of nine successful Thanks for Farming Tour stops across western Canada. Each event is a scaled back version of the regular trade shows and includes exhibits, industry-relevant speaker sessions and a local focus to give back. “We’re really focused on giving back to the ag community. We cater our meals with local restaurants, bring in beer from local breweries, donate to 4-H clubs,” says Matuszewski. “We focus on holding safe events that these farmers love. They have a place to come and enjoy some conversation, local food and beer. It’s been awesome.” With the cancelation of Agri-Trade – Matuszewski’s number one annual show – the Thanks for Farming partners knew they had to do something. “We looked at each other and said, ‘let’s hold the Thanks for Farming Tour: Red Deer Edition.’” says Matuszewski. “It’s going to be bigger than our summer tour 32
Also planned each day are two education sessions and entertaining lunch sessions including a farmer roundtable moderated by none other than YouTube personality and Saskatchewan farmer Quick Dick McDick. The Tour also welcomes back lunch speaker Leslie Kelly, co-founder of Do More Ag and creator of High Heels and Canola Fields. “Leslie speaks about mental health, so we’ll be making a ticket sales donation to the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation on the second day of the show,” says Matuszewski. “They focus on mental health in the local schools. That’s another way we’re giving back.” November 11 ticket sale donations go to the 24th Wing Red Deer Cadets. The event may look different than a typical trade show due to safety precautions and social distancing, but the spirit stays the same. All attendees and exhibitors receive swag bags with hand sanitizer and Thanks for Farming caps with shields. “These shields are mounted to the brim of a baseball cap.” says Matuszewski. “Safety is paramount. We’re limiting attendance to 500 people per day and adhering to physical distancing with one-way traffic.” The Thanks for Farming Tour: Red Deer Edition runs November 11-12 at Westerner Park. Tickets, unavailable at the gate, must be purchased online through the website: thanksforfarmingtour.com.
SMALL BUT MIGHTY | AG COLLEGES
Small but mighty
Soil nutrient sensor validation shows tremendous upside Brianna Gratton
Brianna Gratton is the smart ag techgronomist at the Olds College Smart Farm. After obtaining her Certified Crop Adviser designation, Brianna worked with various companies such as Crop Production Services, Decisive Farming and Chinook Agronomics before joining the Olds College team.
The use of digital technologies to increase efficiency, reduce costs and support good environmental stewardship by farmers has rapidly become the norm in certain parts of the world. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Western Canada where the application of such technologies is limited, placing agriculture and the environment in this region at a disadvantage. At the same time, the adoption of such technologies in Western Canada may be a challenge because agronomic conditions differ from other parts of the world where in-field sensor technologies such as these are developed and tested. To guarantee the successful use and wide adoption of such technologies in Western Canada requires independent, unbiased local testing. The Soil Nutrient Sensor validation project aims to test the performance and economic implications from using commercially available, wireless, soil nutrient sensor technologies at the Olds College Smart Farm. Sustainable nutrient management strategies, which aim to reduce nutrient loss to the environment and maximize uptake by crops, can help farmers improve productivity, save money on fertilizer costs and contribute to environmental health. These strategies can be as simple as applying the appropriate fertilizers for specific crop needs, lending numerous benefits to farmers such as greater crop yields, better bottom lines and healthier soils. Soil nutrient content is a critical parameter that drives many management decisions throughout the year. Historically, measuring soil nutrient content requires sampling and lab analysis. One alternative is in-field, real-time soil nutrient sensors placed in management zones throughout the crop. Olds College
is assessing the functionality, maintenance requirements and accuracy of the sensors on commercial farmland. The parameters that this particular sensor measures includes soil moisture, salinity, and NPK at three different depths as well as aeration, respiration, air temperature, light and humidity. The probe communicates with the cloud via LoRa wireless technology and user data can be accessed on their dashboard or another platform via open API. Data and analytics are continually updated so farmers get a live look into the plantavailable nutrients in their fieldsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; soils. With comprehensive soil data and access to the technology that collects it, farmers could more easily make informed management decisions throughout the season, reducing environmental impact while improving soil health, crop yield and profitability. With this project, Olds College aimed to test the performance and ability of wireless soil sensor technologies to measure soil nutrient content instantly and accurately across a crop field in central Alberta. While doing so determines how easy, efficient, timely and reliable it is to use each wireless sensor technology compared to soil sampling, shipping samples and soil testing at a commercial laboratory before planting season begins. In addition, determining if knowledge of different soil nutrient concentrations in various parts of a crop field throughout the season results in improved fertilizer use, same or better crop yield and lower cropping costs. Not all commercially available technologies are effective and reliable in meeting farming needs. This independent evaluation of multiple commercial digital soil nutrient sensor technologies by Olds College will be valuable to Alberta farmers who want to invest in such technologies. Within the first-year, challenges revolving around delivery timing, connectivity, operations logistics and battery life have been encountered, which can be a fairly common occurrence with such technologies. This is a multi-year project and although in-crop sensors are removed at harvest to avoid damage, there will be testing done over winter as well as re-installation after planting this coming spring. 33
LIVESTOCK | MORE BUCK FOR YOUR BEEF
MORE BUCK FOR YOUR BEEF
Producers earn consumer trust, demonstrate commitment to livestock health
By Alexis Kienlen Beef sustainability has made significant advancements over the last six years with the creation of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the McDonald’s global pilot project and other programs. The common thread is they are designed to give the consumer greater peace and mind and the producer more money on their bottom line. “Sustainability has been in place on ranches and farms for generations or they wouldn’t be here,” says Cecilie Fleming, a seedstock producer from Granum, Alta., who chairs the Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program. But proving sustainability to consumers is the main challenge the beef industry has had to tackle. In recent years, the industry has been communicating more to its customers, and progressive ranchers have focused on continuous improvement. Fleming, who farms with her husband and her daughter’s family, says sustainability should be viewed in a number of ways. She is heartened by the young producers in her area who are embracing their place in the production chain. “They’re no longer just the kids. They’re the people who are taking on the next level of management,” she says. “We can make the ground as sustainable as we want, we can make the water as sustainable as we want, but if we don’t have young producers ready to succeed and go on to become the next 34
generation, it’s all for naught.” Fleming sees profitability as an important piece of sustainability. “When you’re short of cash, you start scrimping on things. Then some of the things that help you be sustainable are compromised. Farming and ranching need to stay in a profitable position,” she says. Verified Beef Production Plus has been in operation since 2003, but it’s one of just a series of parts, that have come together over the past two decades. Organizations like the Beef Cattle Research Council have provided research and sound science to help beef producers adopt more sustainable options on their ranches. In 2014, McDonald’s International came to Canada to test its pilot project. Not long after, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) was established. Fleming explained beef sustainability as an interconnected circle, involving every portion of the supply chain from cow-calf producers, to feedlot owners, to retailers and restaurant owners, and even consumers. Every part of the industry has to do their part to increase sustainability along the beef supply chain. “It’s a holistic approach, I think. Nobody in the chain is
MORE BUCK FOR YOUR BEEF | LIVESTOCK superior to the other. The restaurant doesn’t have a product if they don’t have the packing plants or the fabrication end of things. The feedlot sector doesn’t exist if you don’t have the cow-calf supply. We’re all in a circular supply chain, and I don’t think one part of the value chain is superior to the other. They’re all vital,” she says. While not all producers have joined formal programs, many are now registered for certification programs such as VBP+. This producer-driven program developed by the actual men and women who make a living through animals. Fleming says the program is an educational one, and once producers take the courses, they can go on to be audited. “If you want to go the next step past training and education to an audit, that allows the value chain to say, ‘we can make a claim. These people have been audited to a standard that meets the standard for the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. We are a partner or a vehicle for them. VBP+ has permission or the authority to be an auditing body for the CRSB,” she says. Once a producer is certified, they must have an annual check-in to make sure they adhere to the standards or they will be removed from the program. VBP+ emphasizes animal health and welfare, as well as responsible environmental
practices and land use. It’s a voluntary program producers choose to belong to. Fleming says being audited does a lot to help consumers believe farmers when they talk about the procedures and practices they use on their ranches. Being able to speak about what you do and keep current is also an important of maintaining the industry, she says. “It’s important for us as an industry to advocate for ourselves and as producers, we better know what we’re talking about. If we as producers need to educate ourselves to know more about sustainability, to know more about ecosystems and to know more about beef production and protocols, that’s our responsibility to know. We have to be professionals and be continuously learning, as well,” she says. Anne Wasko, current chair of the CRSB, says that in order to prove sustainability and an ability to trace beef back through the chain, the beef industry had to go back to square one and prove that they could do it. Before this, the industry was asking consumers to trust them, but they didn’t have any way to show or explain the practices used in beef production.
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LIVESTOCK | MORE BUCK FOR YOUR BEEF “It has to be just much more than ‘trust me,’” says Wasko, who runs a commercial cow-calf operation in Eastend, Sask., with her husband Barry. “We have to be able to show that we can back ourselves up, especially for programs that are touting specific claims, in terms of sustainability.” Wasko says more potential programs will pop up, and that certification programs aren’t unique to Canada, but are used in countries around the world. In the United States, there are a myriad of options where cattle are included in specific branded programs for retail and food services. The McDonald’s global pilot project proved beef could be sourced sustainably from ranch through feedlot to processor to retailer. The food company worked with the ranching industry to help establish the CRSB, a multi-stakeholder community which contains all parts of the value chain, dedicated to advancing sustainability in the beef industry.
Photo: Anne Wasko, chair of the Canadian Roundtable for
sustainable beef, and her horse Answer. Anne and her husband run a commercial cow/calf operation near Eastend, Sask. Credit: Courtesy of Anne Wasko
The McDonald’s pilot project led to the Cargill Beef sustainability pilot, which is now the Cargill Certified Sustainable Beef program. From a calf’s birth until it is slaughtered, the animal must be born on a farm, go through a feedlot and be slaughtered by a certified sustainable processor in order to qualify for the program. The Cargill pilot became a program in 2018. Producers enrolled in the program were earning a retroactive credit of about $20 a head on cattle who qualified that year. The credit payments occurred because Cargill’s retail and food service, requested the sustainable beef, and paid for it. The credits have changed with the program. The program helped Cargill, and its customers become advocates for the beef industry, according to Emily Murray, beef business manager with Cargill. The program also brought other retailers and end-users to be part of the process, and offers a financial credit back to the producer, if the animal is slaughtered at Cargill. The program uses the CRSB’s framework and end-users, like restaurants or retailers, can use the organization’s logo on their products, to show they are certified as sustainable beef. The sustainable label or the mark of the acceptance from the CRSB can be attractive to end-users. McDonald’s, Harvey’s and Chop Steakhouse and Bar, all offer products with the CRSB logo, which can appeal to consumers, and help the entire value chain. It’s the way that beef marketing is going, says Wasko.
Photo: Cecilie Fleming, a rancher from Granum, is the chair of VBP+. She has been heavily involved with sustainable beef initiatives. Credit: Courtesy of Cecilie Fleming
“The bottom line is that we used to be able to say that we’ve done it, but certification programs are now the norm for making marketing claims,” says Wasko. “It’s not unique to Canada. This is how marketing of food is going,” she says.
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FARM BUILDINGS | BUILDING THE FUTURE
BUILDING THE FUTURE How big is big enough? By Natalie Noble Farming on the Prairies can be a small world. But production and equipment continue to grow bigger than ever. While the natural question is how big of a storage unit does a farm need for said equipment, the answers are often found in the simple act of talking over coffee. Craig Haan, director at Eagle Builders in Blackfalds, Alta., puts planning for future growth into perspective by first looking back. “Farmers should think about the equipment they used 20 years ago and compare it to the size they use today,” he says. “Twenty years ago, we already thought ‘there’s no way we can get any bigger.’ Here we are today.” To envision the required size for a new equipment storage facility, fast forward that growth to 20 years from now. This year, the company said half its business is from farmers seeking bigger buildings. To the east, in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Man., Don Vigier, owner of Nodaco Building Solutions, says a 40-foot by 60-foot shop that was 16 feet high used to be considered large. Today, most of his customers are building a minimum of 60- to 80-feet wide by 100- to 200-feet wide. And it’s still not big enough. “Nobody’s ever said a build is big enough at the end of the day,” he says. “I suggest they look at look at all their 38
equipment, even place it all together in the yard and visualize how much space they will need.”
Can a building ever be big enough? Near Killam, Alta., Michael Kroetsch farms 45,000 acres of wheat and canola. Years ago, he built his own shop. Even at 100 feet by 400 feet., his farm outgrew the shop, so he sold it. He says the size required for equipment storage depends on the size and unique needs of any given farm. “My other building, at 100 by 400 feet, was too short for a Super B truck and trailer. There wasn’t enough room around the ends,” he says. “That’s why this one is 120-feet wide. And I went with the 700-foot length because I don’t want to build another one.” The new shop is used for equipment storage and maintenance as well as an office. Although Kroetsch’s last one was a steel build, this time he went with pre=cast concrete. “I liked the cement one better. It’s fast and low maintenance,” he says. “Although for some people, the steel is easier to do things with inside.” Eagle Builders started construction on the new shop in early November of 2017, finishing by the end of March in 2018. “They stood the walls up and covered it in within about 10 days,” recalls Kroetsch. “That was amazing. A lot people in the area were watching.”
Photo: Near Killam, Alta., Michael Kroetsch’s 120- by 700-foot shop
fits his equipment storage and maintenance needs. “My other building, at 100- by 400-feet was too short for a Super B truck and trailer. There wasn’t enough room around the ends,” he says. “That’s why this one is 120 feet”. Credit: Eagle Builders
Beyond the build itself, there are considerations best worked out ahead of time. First, location. “I have a big bin system here, so it had to be close to that,” says Kroetsch. “You also have to plan around [extras]. Your sewer can cost $50,000 to put in. I had to put a well in, so that was $20,000. The power was installed for no charge, but you do have to get the wire to the building.” He adds that services like electrical can take up to three months. Asked if there’s anything he would do differently, Kroetsch laughs and says, “There’s always stuff you’d do differently. I would’ve built it four feet higher. It’s not quite as high as I’d like it to be.” Because he’d already built a large shop, Kroetsch knew what he needed. For farmers who are thinking about what they might need, he suggests driving around looking at the many new buildings around these days. “You can pick up a lot of tips from different farms,” he says. “I went and looked a few Hutterite buildings. They’d built the same kind of buildings and you get tips from them on what you should and shouldn’t do.” Haan says Kroetsch’s incorporation of lessons from his previous build into the new one worked out well. “It is a very impressive building. Every time I go to Saskatchewan and drive by it, it’s pretty neat,” he says.
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FARM BUILDINGS | BUILDING THE FUTURE
“Go take a look at past projects [the builder] has done. Talk to their past clients and ask if the builder hit their quoted price.” - Craig Haan
Grain Bagging System
Don’t find out the hard way: unexpected costs While Kroetsch and Eagle Builders had a smooth successful build process, Haan says he’s unfortunately seen farmers have a harder time. While not necessarily intentional on the builder’s part, it can be as simple as the builder lacking the experience to support and guide the farmer through the proper planning process. In this case, surprises arise and that almost always means more money and time.
Think outside the bin
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Outside of the building’s actual construction, there are associated expenses farmers should remember. First of all, services. Whether it’s gas, electrical or plumbing, most builds require services be planned ahead. In addition to the financial expense, lining up tradespeople and inspectors can cost valuable time. “We’ll come out, sit down, have a cup of coffee and go through the plan,” says Haan. “Pre-cast forces us to think about every step before we do it. We’ve even pre-determined where the gas meter will go before we start building. We know exactly how many lineal metres of gas line we need.” Second, get real numbers. “Farmers should look to get specific and detailed quotations back. This removes much of the risk,” says Haan. “A lot of people in the ag sector come with eight by 11 sheet of paper quoting, ‘a 100-foot by 120-foot shop, $1 million dollars, wood frame, tin clad, electrical and plumbing included.’ That sounds pretty good to the farmer at first. By the time they’re done, it might be $1.5 million.” Then there’s the location. Vigier says landscaping should be considered in the planning process. “There can be great costs in getting your pad placed properly, ensuring proper water drainage, and these types of things,” he cautions. Haan agrees. When he visits a farm client, he looks for natural drainage, which direction the building should face, where it’s best suited for the yard and the concrete needs. “We set the height of the pad based on the relative ground around the area and we do full detailed site plans,” he says. He adds that using technology such as Google Earth, builders and farmers can print a site plan using the largest on-site building to scale a site plan that gives the bird’s eye view, including access and truck turning radius. 40
Equipment and bag sales. neeralta.com 1.866.497.5338
Regulatory requirements may also come into play. “Farmers can often be surprised by some of these steps, so I try to guide them ahead of time,” Vigier says. “Here in Manitoba we have the Manitoba Farm Building Codes. “Anything under 6,458 square feet can be dealt with through local jurisdiction,” he continues. “Anything larger, must go through the fire commissioner’s office with extra costs in engineered drawings and permit fees.” Future growth, inevitable on successful farms, must also be considered. “Ninety-five per cent of clients say, ‘I should have spent the money to go bigger before,’” says Vigier. “Adding on is just not cost effective.” This includes the logistics of the building as the farm adds new and larger equipment which needs to fit through the doors. Finally, it all comes back to asking questions. “Go take a look at past projects [the builder] has done. Talk to their past clients and ask if the builder hit their quoted price,” Haan says. “When farmers are planning for that bigger equipment, they can go to farmers of a similar sized operation, ask what they would do different, and have a cup of coffee. Just be farmers.”
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AUCTIONS | AUCTIONING FROM YOUR EASY CHAIR
AUCTIONING FROM YOUR EASY CHAIR
More producers are skipping the auction mart in favour of online bidding and selling By Jeff Melchior Farm auctions have traditionally been community events. The auctioneer’s unmistakable rapid-fire bark is baked into the fond memories of most anyone who grew up in a rural community. At the same time, auction day has not always been such a treat for farmers. Live auctions take place at specific times and locations that are not always the most convenient. Also, relatively high commissions, time and transportation costs are a fact of life at the auction mart—particularly for vendors. But what if you could bid on or sell farm equipment from your living room or the cab of your tractor at any time? That’s what a growing number of farmers have been doing over the past decade thanks to online auction services. These allow farmers to transact virtually anywhere in the world from their devices, often with lower commission costs. It’s an experiment which seems to be paying off for certain auctioneers. Mike Pugh, owner of Progressive Auctions & Equipment Sales, an online exclusive auction platform based in Calgary, Alta., says he’s seen substantial growth in farmer participation in the four years his company has been in business. “I don’t know if it’s doubled in size but it’s been close. It’s been going up and up and gaining a lot of steam.” McDougall Auctions, a Regina, Sask., company with offices across Canada, is an example of a live auction company which has successfully made the transition from physical to digital. “The numbers say it all,” says Jon Massey, executive assistant 42
with McDougall Auctions. “On a good sale day at a live auction, we may get no more than 100 bidders while our online auctions attract 4,000,000 per month … from over 40,000 registered bidders.”
Trust, scope and cost beat resistance The path to online came with some initial hurdles, says Massey. “We pioneered the online equipment auction platform in 2010. As we transitioned from live to online auctions, there were difficult adjustments to make. Old-school bidders were against the change and still viewed auctions as something that should be done in person with the added social environment. “Ten years later, we conduct no live auction sales. The online auction sales we conduct and variety they offer bidders has brought strong sales results and great reception within the community. We live in a technological age and our bidders have adapted along with us.” For Pugh, a big part of overcoming skepticism is to simply build trust. Progressive Auctions strives to assist buyers and sellers as much as possible between farm gates by building safeguards to help ensure there are no nasty surprises on either side of the transaction, he says. “It’s still an auction, so buyer beware, that’s still the same. However, there is a social and corporate responsibility to be honest and truthful in what we’re selling so that when [buyers] are bidding they know what they’re getting.”
AUCTIONING FROM YOUR EASY CHAIR | AUCTIONS
Lower costs are also a factor in farmers’ growing acceptance of online auctions. Progressive Auctions claims to save sellers two to seven per cent in commissions compared to competitors. This is in large part due to low overhead: for one, they don’t have auction marts to maintain. Also, sales people work commission-only from “mobile offices,” says Pugh.
An ‘easy button’ for driving scale Progressive Auctions would not be able to conduct business at its current scale if not for a bigger platform, which is why it utilizes AuctionTime. This website is the hub of Lincoln, Nebraska-based Sandhills Global’s auction services. Think of AuctionTime as eBay and Progressive Auctions as a small, home-based business selling its products through eBay. Sandhills Global specializes in the auction, retail and rental of agricultural, trucking and construction equipment. In the internet era it has built dozens of websites dedicated to those interests. That means Progressive Auctions’ listings not only appear on AuctionTime and its own website, but on several Sandhill-owned agriculture equipment retail sites such as TractorHouse and MarketBook. The result is international publicity of listings. Combining auction with retail listings is part of Sandhill’s strategy to maximize this exposure, says Mitch Helman, sales manager of AuctionTime. “Since we drive so much traffic from farmers searching our sites for retail equipment, when we put in these auction items, that marketing hits so many end-user buyers,” he says. “It really gives these auctioneers a reach that, if they had to do it on their own, would require a heck of a lot of marketing. It gives them an easy button to hit a massive audience.” For Pugh, using AuctionTime as a sales platform simply made good business sense. “It’s been a great way for a relatively small company like ours to compete with the largest auction companies in the world. Why re-invent the wheel?” he says.
Personal touch enhances tech process McDougall Auctions tries to keep the auction process as simple as possible for both buyers and sellers, says Massey. “[Your] account will allow you to bid on any item in any sale in any location. There is also a ‘buy now’ option offered on certain items.” The sales process, while mostly digital, does retain particular tactile, in-person moments. “In order to consign items to sell in our auctions, we attend the vendor’s site to view, inspect and evaluate their equipment. We then sit down with the vendor and negotiate out a sale agreement for the remarketing process.” Sales representatives with Progressive Auctions also employ a
“On a good sale day at a live auction, we may get no more than 100 bidders while our online auctions attract 4,000,000 per month … from over 40,000 registered bidders.” - Jon Massey personal touch, visiting the seller’s farm to take photos and video of the equipment being sold. “We get as much information about the machine or equipment as we can and create an online listing,” says Pugh. Although buyers are responsible for shipping from the seller’s location to their own, Progressive Auctions tries to get them as much advance shipping information as possible so they can factor those costs into their bids. “We jump on board immediately to say, ‘If you are interested in looking at transport options, we are more than happy to get quotes and multiple quotes.’ We’ve been doing this for a while and we’ve got a lot of trucking outfits and customs brokers we can connect with to try and get the most efficient, costeffective price,” says Pugh. Generally, 75 per cent of all transactions made through Progressive Auctions are completed within a week. “Ninety-nine per cent take place within two weeks. There are rare circumstances where they get drawn out a little bit longer if there are financing or some sort of payment issues,” he says. Seller default is rare but happens occasionally, according to Pugh. Most of the time the contract is sufficient to enforce compliance but the company will step in if necessary. “A couple of years ago we sold a unit and the seller said it didn’t sell for what he wanted and he didn’t want to release it. There are multiple routes we can take with that. In this case we had a conversation with the highest bidder to sort out the situation.” Will online auctions eclipse the live auction? It’s probably too early to say. There will likely always -- or at least for some time to come -- be buyers who prefer to “kick the tires” before making a bid on an expensive piece of equipment. Pugh believes the online portion is just going to keep growing, however. “The technology will likely get better. There will be new platforms but it’s just going to continue in that direction,” he says. 43
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NEWS & INNOVATIONS
FarmCash Another harvest has come and gone and if you haven’t done so already, you might be thinking about how to make next year even more profitable and easier on your cash flow planning. The FarmCash program is designed to be more than just a cash advance to cover operating costs. FarmCash is a cash flow management tool to help you improve your long-term profitability, boost the level of confidence in expected returns, and provide marketing flexibility when selling your product. By utilizing FarmCash as a cash flow management tool, you can hold on to your product until selling prices are most advantageous, increasing your net returns. With little or no cash coming in during certain times of the year, cash flow management tools are essential in maintaining the economic sustainability of your farming operation. By filling the gap between your expenses and revenues, you can increase your farm’s profitability by including FarmCash into your cash flow planning.
Apply through our convenient online application and receive your funds in as little as three to five business day upon completing your FarmCash application. Learn more at FarmCashAdvance.com or call 1-855-376-2274.
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AGStar BRS-OEM Quality Boom Recirculation Retrofit Kits Boom recirculation unlocks more quality spray time by improving efficiency in multiple operational areas. BRS is an OEM quality recirculating boom retrofit kit for John Deere R-Series sprayers and coming soon for Case Patriot and other sprayer models. The BRS System is developed by ARAG Australia and distributed in North America by AgStar Ltd. BRS eliminates all dead-end plumbing on the spray boom and allows for continuous solution flow. This can reduce potential cleanout problems by over 28 times. Continuous flow through the entire boom with return to tank promotes faster, more effective clean out and dilution of the sprayer plumbing. BRS also has a manual valve that allows product to be directed out of the system for safe disposal providing multiple clean-out options. BRS equipped spray booms can be primed without discharging any product from the nozzles, even while transporting down
the road. Boom Recirculation can eliminate wasting five to 10 acres of priming product saving time and money plus reducing potential carryover issues. The BRS system is designed for a clean OEM appearance and is easy to install and operate eliminating potential downtime. BRS has been tested against factory plumbing without any additional pressure drops. BRS systems for John Deere R-Series sprayers are available now. New kits are in late-stage development for Case Patriot and AGCO Rogator, with development beginning for other makes and models. 45
NEWS & INNOVATIONS
Basf BASF inks new university deal Money allocated to breeding BASF Agricultural Solutions has pledged $100,000 towards the advancement of a new world-class breeding facility at the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. The announcement celebrates the 25-year partnership between BASF and the CDC. This pledge is in addition to the more than $12 million BASF has already invested in the research and development of crop genetics, facility enhancements, and the commercialization of new pulse and wheat varieties for Canadian farmers over the last two decades with the CDC. “The partnership of CDC and BASF is one of the longeststanding public-private partnerships in Canadian agriculture. It has played a vital role in enabling CDC to deliver on its mandate to improve economic returns for farmers and the agriculture industry of western Canada,” said CDC director Curtis Pozniak. “BASF’s investments in CDC have enabled a range of new crop-breeding innovations, and with today’s announcement, our relationship is set to continue long into the future.”
The new $100,000 pledge will go toward the building of a new enhanced plant breeding facility at CDC. The facility will drive genetic gain by reducing cycle time and increasing early generation selection. The new pledge adds to BASF’s $125,000 investment in the Pulse Crop Field Lab in 2005 and $200,000 towards the Grain Innovation Lab in 2009. “It has been a great privilege to work in partnership with CDC to deliver some of the most innovative developments in agriculture over the last quarter century,” said Jeff Bertholet, manager of technical service for BASF Agricultural Solutions in Canada.
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