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Reading the fine print Farmers frustrated over delivery contracts » PAGE 19

Korea trade agreement welcomed A 40 per cent Korean tariff on fresh and frozen beef will be eliminated » PAGE 15 Publications Mail Agreement # 40069240

V o l u m e 1 1 , n u m b e r 6   M a r c h 1 7 , 2 0 1 4

Animal agriculture big business for animal rights activists


Undercover videos are rapidly becoming the go-to method of swaying public opinion for animal rights groups By Jennifer Blair af staff / red deer


ecurity personnel at the door at the Egg Farmers of Alberta annual general meeting in Red Deer were a stark sign of how the world has changed for the livestock sector. Four months after an undercover video scandal rocked Canada’s egg industry, security officials were keeping a wary eye out for protesters and allowing in only those who had been given the green light by Egg Farmers’ staff. It’s the new norm for Alberta’s egg industry, said board chair Ben Waldner. “Navigating the new reality is what it’s all about,” he said. “We’ve never had to do this before, but it’s the way we’re going to be doing business from now on.” Geraldine Austin, an agriculture management consultant based in B.C., applauded the group’s efforts to bar activists from the meeting. “It seems a real shame that (the egg industry) would be the target for some sort of activism,” she said in her presentation about activism trends in Canada. Producers can expect animal rights groups to increase their “attack on public confidence in animal products” and livestock handling, she said. “(Animal rights activists) have their own agenda,” she said. “And farming isn’t on their agenda.”

Egg farmers at the meeting also got a glimpse into how big the animal rights business has become. Humane Society International, based in Washington but also Canada’s biggest animal rights player, brought in $9.3 million in revenue for 2012. Its U.S. parent, the Humane Society of the United States raises more than $120 million every year. Less than one per cent of that is used for animal care, said Kay Johnson Smith, president of Animal Agriculture Alliance in the U.S. “It spends $25 million every year on lobbying and legislative campaigns — campaigns to disparage agriculture,” Johnson Smith said. “It spends $20 million just to fundraise to bring in the other $100 million. “It’s a big industry, and they have a very big budget dedicated to ending our industry and ending your livelihood.” But activism isn’t really about farmer practices or even animal welfare, said Austin. “It’s not about improving welfare practices,” she said. “Don’t expect that they’ll go away because you did what they asked you to. They keep moving that bar to make it impossible for you to do business.” Farming, transporting and processing livestock are all targets for animal rights groups. “Just about anything you would do with your animals, those are all items that are being watched and criticized.”

A great grey owl perches on an aspen branch, near Millarville, Alta. The largest of North America’s owls, it can sense movement of mice and moles beneath the snow, diving to grab its prey.  Photo: Wendy Dudley

see ANIMAL RIGHTS } page 6


Farm safety week features } PAGes 36 – 40



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news » inside this week


inside » Debunking myths around UPOV ’91 Farmers can save seed, but royalties not guaranteed





Tackling Johne’s disease

Second-generation ‘seed destructor’


‘Sicilian Space Program’ launches pastry into stratosphere Images recorded of dessert taking 25-km flight By Naomi O’Leary Reuters


icilian amateur scientists have launched a model cannolo, a cream-stuffed pastry roll symbolic of the Italian island, into the stratosphere, capturing bizarre images of the dessert flying far above Earth. The “Sicilian Space Program,” which cost a rough total of 350 euros, had symbolic importance as well as being a scientific feat, the three natives of the island town of Enna behind it told Reuters. “Sicily has always been a place of negative connotations, mafia and unemployment. We wanted to lift up Sicily in our own way,” said filmmaker Fabio Leone, 34, who recorded the project with Antonella Barbera, 38. Attached to a large heliumfilled balloon, a homemade spacecraft called the “Can nolo Transporter” equipped with two cameras and a GPS tracker, captured stunning and comical images as the cannolo soared above the clouds towards space. It rose to at least 29,768 metres according to Paolo Capasso, 37, a computer technician responsible for the careful calculations behind the launch on February 2. As a real cannolo would be unlikely to survive the voyage, the group made a model of the cherry-studded pastry with a polymer clay material hardened in an oven. Atmospheric pressure decreased as the Cannolo Transporter rose, causing the balloon to expand until it eventually burst. It then tumbled back to Earth, slowed by a small parachute. It landed in hills near the village of Bompietro, 25 km from where had been launched. It was recovered by the team who followed the GPS signal on a hunt through fields of sheep.


Good record-keeping when treating livestock


Carol Shwetz Supporting your horse’s immune system

Manure to megawatts Lethbridge Biogas plant can power 2,800 homes

brenda schoepp


Daniel Bezte U of A researcher has plan to develop immunity


Resistance fighter can attach directly to combine


A review of the big snowfalls in March and April

If you have to go nitpickin’ Ordinary conditioner works as well as anything Staff


t happens. A call from the school or daycare sets off a frenzy of shampooing, combing and various delousing efforts that has the whole family feeling creepy. Female head lice lay eggs directly onto strands of hair, and they cement them in place with a glue-like substance, making them incredibly hard to remove. In fact, the eggs are glued down so strongly that they will stay in place even after hair has been treated with pediculicides — substances used to kill lice, a release from the Entomological Society of America says. Some shampoos and conditioners that contain chemicals or special oils are marketed as nit removal products. However, new research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology shows that ordinary hair conditioner is just as effective. Scientists in Belgium gathered 605 hairs from six different children. Each hair had a single nit attached to it. Approximately 14 per cent of the eggshells contained a dead egg, whereas the rest were empty. They then tested the amount of force needed to remove the eggs. Nits on the hairs that were left completely untreated were the most difficult to remove. Eggs on hairs that had been soaked in deionized water were much easier to remove, as were the eggs on hairs that had been treated with ordinary hair conditioner and with products specifically marketed for the purpose of nit removal. “There were no significant differences in measured forces between the ordinary conditioner and the commercial nit removal product,” the authors write. “The commercial nit removal products tested in the current study do not seem to have an additional effect.” The authors hypothesize that the deionized water was effective because it acts as a lubricant, so less friction is needed to remove the nits from the hairs. The same goes for the conditioners. “Treatment with conditioner reduces the coefficient of friction of undamaged and damaged hair,” they write. “As a consequence, conditioners will facilitate nit removal.”

  photo: thinkstock




Double whammy for oat growers as railways focus on West Coast backlog Virtually all of the Prairie oat harvest goes to the U.S., but growers say shipping south isn’t even on the radar of the railways

  photo: shannon vanraes By Alexis Kienlen af staff / leduc


he clogged rail system is affecting every grain producer on the Prairies, but oats growers are feeling additional pain. Market analyst Randy Strychar has called the situation a “train wreck,” noting some companies aren’t putting out bids until February 2015. “It’s not out of line to say that we’re probably one of the worst-hit crops,” Shawna Mathieson said at the recent Alberta Oat Growers Commission meeting. “When 90 per cent of your exports are going to the U.S., that means that there aren’t a lot of oats going anywhere else.” And shipping grain south isn’t a priority, said Mathieson, who grows oats on her Saskatchewan farm and is also executive director of the Prairie Oat Growers Association. While Ottawa recently ordered CN and CP to double the volume of grain movement, the railways have said their priority is the West Coast, where a fleet of grain freighters are anchored and waiting for grain to arrive at port. “Railroads have said that they are not going to the U.S. in the short term (and) no one will say what short term is,” said Mathieson. Producers at the growers’ meeting in Leduc peppered industry officials with suggestions to move oats south of the border, and learned there are no easy answers. Trucking is tricky because certain types of Canadian trucks can’t legally haul grain to the U.S. As well, the Americans don’t have the right type of rail cars they could send north, tote bags on trucks wouldn’t be economical, and containers aren’t a solution because of logistical issues in unloading. One producer even suggested a twostage process. “Could we ship to the border and refill into a car there?” he asked. It’s no surprise oat producers are

increasingly anxious about the situation, said Mathieson. “It’s a very big issue, not only for our growers, but for our millers,” she said. “There’s going to be a trickle-down effect because if the millers can’t mill, they can’t provide it to their customers either. There needs to be a solution found and if rail can’t do it, then hopefully there’s another way.” It’s rumoured some American millers, who get most of their oats from Canadian growers, are close to running out of supplies, and that jives with what Mathieson has heard. “I’m getting calls from millers and calls from growers — growers asking how to get (oats) down there, and millers asking if I can do anything,” she said. “Many oat mills won’t even give you a bid and if they will, there’s no delivery spot in sight because they don’t know when they can take them.” She said she knows producers in Saskatchewan who had contracts for October delivery, but are still waiting for a call from their elevators. Oat prices have soared in recent weeks, but that’s been driven by tight supply and so it’s of no use to growers who can’t deliver oats, said Tracy Bush, director of sales and marketing with Canadian Oats Milling in Edmonton. “My understanding is that this problem could go into 2015,” said Bush. “Oat supplies are large and demand is limited due to rail movement. So the futures are inverted. But there will be demand going forward. That’s a positive.” But there’s also a negative — American mills may turn to Europe, where there’s a large surplus of oats and declining prices. Trucking oats to U.S. millers is normally too expensive, but this year’s grim situation is prompting a rethink. “From Saskatchewan, you could probably truck it down to Minneapolis and have money in your pocket,” said Dennis Galbraith, milling oat specialist with Viterra. “But there are logistical issues about trucking it down there… you can only

Oats is one of the crops most affected by the rail backlog, said Shawna Mathieson, executive director of Prairie Oat Growers Association.   photos: alexis kienlen

Tracy Bush, director of sales and marketing with Canadian Oats Milling, said she is at least three months behind on getting rail car spots.

run two-axle trailers and maximum 23.5 tonnes per truck. The volume you can move and the supply of configurations of those trucks is fairly limited on this side of the 49th. “There has been a lot of talk, nothing firm yet, that some of the companies are trying to get state government down there to give permission to move Canadian trucks to Minneapolis.” Canadian oat processors are running full out, and are unable to adequately supply the American marketplace with processed oats. Bush has been using intermodal shipping, also known as piggyback, to get her oats to her customers. “I’m about three months behind in getting car spots in any bulk rail car that I’m trying to get into right now,” said Bush. Her company sells oat groats, steelcut oats, large-flake oats and oat flour,

mainly purchased from Alberta growers. Oat hulls and oat chips, processing byproducts, are sold for animal feed. Canadian Oats Milling has customers in Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, and has been able to service them, she said. “I was actually selling a lot of oats to Venezuela and other places in South America, but that has dried up because Chile’s crop came off and prices dropped about $175 a tonne,” she said. “Hopefully, with the U.S. dollar remaining strong and the harvest pressure coming off in Chile, we might be competitive in those markets again. It’s just that the ocean freight just kills us, from Vancouver to get down into those areas, compared with Chile.”



EDITOR Glenn Cheater Phone: 780-919-2320 Email: twitter: @glenncheater

Reporters Alexis Kienlen, Edmonton 403-668-3121 Email:

Alberta Farmer gets its 15 minutes of fame — and it was pretty weird

Jennifer Blair, Red Deer 403-396-2643 Email:

PRODUCTION director Shawna Gibson Email:

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CIRCULATION manager Heather Anderson Email:

A story on critic of the Wheat Belly diet prompts online visits from anti-wheat proponents from around the world

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By glenn cheater Editor

It’s a weirdly wired world

How is it that a small story in a rural Alberta farm paper is suddenly being viewed by people in Panama, Sweden, Lebanon and Croatia, and inundated by commentators who believe wheat is “a pathogen.”

Here’s the story

On Jan. 28, soft-spoken dietitian Christine Lowry stood before a couple of hundred FarmTech attendees in a meeting room at Northlands and made the case that the anti-wheat craze sparked by the book Wheat Belly is not actually based on decades of rigorous scientific research. Rather, this hugely successful food fad is the brainchild of a Milwaukee-based cardiologist named William Davis. Reporter Alexis Kienlen was there and wrote a story bearing the headline “Science-based organization fights anti-wheat hysteria.” Within hours of being posted online, nearly 1,000 people had viewed the story. I know that because of a gizmo called Google Analytics, which also logs the country of the visitors. Nearly 70 per cent were from the U.S., but also from 31 other countries. And “anti-wheat hysteria?” Them’s fightin’ words. “I don’t need any empirical studies or to ‘look at the science and substantiate it.’ I’ve done my homework… today’s wheat is GARBAGE,” wrote someone (presumably a guy) calling himself Mister Shawn. “Can you say ‘conflict of interest.’ Only a very dull individual would think a shill for the ‘healthy whole grains’ institute would say anything else,” added J. Nancy Eure said she spent 60 years believing whole grains were good for her. “I read Wheat Belly on October 3, 2012, decided to give it two good weeks of my life, and I have never looked back. By eliminating wheat and most other grains I have lost weight, lost all prescription drugs, have lost shortness of breath from asthma-related symptons, (sic) and have gained so much more!” So how did word of our little story spread faster than a prairie grass fire? Simple. Wheat Belly author Davis posted a link to it on his hugely popular Facebook page. Immediately the Wheat Belly water cannon of love showered its affection on us. Who are these people anyway? But what grabbed my attention was the marketing smarts behind it all. Imagine you’ve created a fad diet and it’s caught the wave. Hundreds and then thousands of people try it and swear it’s a miracle. The wave builds. More people try it and darned if it doesn’t make them feel better, too. They’re energized and because they are, they spend less time slumped on the couch and channel surfing. They

get out for walks more often, maybe blow the dust off the old treadmill in their basement. No more “Duck Dynasty” marathons (well, fewer of them, anyway) accompanied by a big package of Oreos (they contain wheat, you know). Fewer trips to fast-food joints (burgers and pizza ditto). They feel 10 times better. And all they did was stop eating foods made with wheat flour. Amazing. Then along come the critics. Take Ms. Lowry’s employer. The Healthy Grains Institute is funded by bakers, millers and farm groups such as the Alberta Wheat Commission. It makes no secret that its mission is “to dispel myths around whole grains.” But it’s a crafty opponent. The institute restricts itself to only providing information vetted by a panel of three independent nutrition experts from the universities of Toronto, Saskatchewan, and St. Catherine (in St. Paul, Minn.). You might think it would be a wise move to keep your adoring fans away from unbiased scientists who have actually read and understand the scientific papers you claim support your theory. But Dr. Davis does the exact opposite. He brings them, or at least the Healthy Grains Institute, to their attention. That’s brilliant. Naturally, their fury rains down on Lowry and all of those who question the nutritional foundation for this wonderful diet that has given them all this energy and, incredibly, has them wearing clothes a size or two smaller. And so facts get buried in an avalanche of noise. Not fair, is it? And it just keeps coming. Wheat Belly, A&W’s so-called ‘Better Beef,’ GM-free Cheerios. The list seems to grow daily. But there are lessons for farmers here. Three of them. The first is hard: No matter how well you tell your story and, really, no matter how much evidence you offer to show that you produce food safely, humanely and responsibly, there will be more of this type of thing. Fads — from top hats made from beaver pelts to pet rocks — have always been with us, and always will. Expect wonder

diets and calls to “just stop eating this” to be among the most popular. The only difference today is that the Internet, and especially social media, amplifies the roar of the crowd and sends it around the globe at lightning speed. The second lesson is: Don’t worry about it. Stand back and what do you see? World wheat consumption going up and up. I suspect that not eating is one fad that will never catch on. And lesson three is: Don’t paint yourself into a corner like the commentators on this story did. If a friend of mine went on the Wheat Belly diet — and started being more active and eating less junk food and more fruits and veggies — I’d likely say, “Good for you,” and leave it at that. But if my friend started going on about how glyphosate or plant breeding had altered the nutritional characteristics of wheat without a single credible scientist noticing, I’d say, “Yeah, and do you know those wheat farmers are also enslaving sasquatches and elves? They’ve put them to work in secret laboratories underneath their grain bins to create even more toxic chemicals.” That’s just what friends say to friends. I also believe that if folks like Mister Shawn, J, and Nancy Eure lived in your community, you’d be friendly with them. Nancy especially. I’m glad she’s feeling better. And consider another current fad — the one of slapping the old British saying, “Stay calm and carry on,” on T-shirts and bumper stickers. It’s good advice. Keep telling your story. More and more of you are getting really good at it. And by all means, keep looking for ways to improve your food safety protocols, animal welfare practices, and environmental stewardship. And if one day, thousands of people alight on your Facebook page or blog and fling ill-informed and meanspirited comments your way, take a breath. In this new world, it happens to someone every minute of the day. twitter: @glenncheater



Meeting the consumers’ demand for sustainable beef production Producers can show they are already taking steps, as well as doing more By Fawn Jackson manager of environmental affairs, canadian cattlemen’s association


he market appears to be sending a strong signal that consumers want sustainable products, and furthermore, they want proof. McDonald’s has announced a commitment to source verified sustainable beef by 2016. A&W currently claims its beef has been raised by producers at the leading edge of sustainable production practices and Walmart continually promises to deliver more sustainable agricultural products. Although the precise definition of sustainable beef and how sustainable beef production is proven continues to be a mystery, the role of research, technology, innovation and communication holds steadfast as the foundation for making “sustainable” decisions by all members of the value chain. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has been taking great strides to ensure that Canadian cattle producers are appropriately prepared to address this growing demand. For instance, the CCA joined the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) in 2013 and is now forming a Cana-

dian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), which is set to launch later this year. T h e CC A h e l p e d l e a d t h e development of the 2013 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle, leads the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS), an economically viable traceability and information transfer system, and developed a verifiable on-farm food safety program, Verified Beef ProductionTM (VBP). The CCA is currently expanding the VBP program with the addition of animal care, environment and biosecurity modules. The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) also recognizes cattle producers who are exemplary leaders in conservation, and the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), a division of the CCA, invests in and promotes the adoption of research and innovation that contributes to sustainability.

Five key things

• Keep doing what you’re doing. Cattle producers in Canada are by and large sustainable already. For example, the use of growth promotants produces more high-quality, safe beef while using less land, water, feed, fuel and fertilizer, and producing less manure and greenhouse gas.

Saturated fats not the villain

The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) also recognizes cattle producers who are exemplary leaders in conservation, and the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC).

A study to be completed as part of the second Beef Science Cluster will help to better define the environmental footprint of the Canadian beef industry with recognition of the role of cattle production in the provision of healthy ecosystems, the ability of cattle to convert low-quality forages into high-quality protein, that pasture lands are major stores of carbon, and that grasslands preserve wetlands and provide habitat to many species at risk. • Make continual improve-

ments. We can all get behind on keeping up to date on potential improvements and it’s easy to do things the way you’ve always done. However, striving to continually improve production practices contributes to the economic, environmental and social viability of your operation and the industry as a whole. Consider spending some time learning from the resources on BeefResearch. ca like the Beef Research School video series, attend field days or conferences in your area, update your Environmental Farm Plan or get involved with an organization such as Cows and Fish. • Capture what you do. There is a large and growing gap between primary production and consumers and therefore it is important to capture what you do on your farm so industry groups can leverage that information. Utilizing programs like VBP and BIXS will put you in an ideal position to capture your sustainable production practices. The information may be valuable when marketing your products, and helps the industry record the broader story that can be shared with regulatory bodies and interested consumers.

• Become a part of the conversation about sustainability. The conversation around the definition and the systems needed to validate sustainable beef production is happening right now and you can be a part of it. Individual operations can become members of the GRSB, and the GRSB principles and criteria will be open for public comment in March of this year. • Talk to the public. Consumers want to know where their food comes from. It’s our job to make sure they get the right information. Consider taking the Masters of Beef Advocacy program (a Canadian version, Beef Advocacy Canada, is soon to be released) to advance your communication skills. You can also participate in conversations on social media, write or comment on newspaper articles, or talk to consumers directly. The future of sustainable production sourcing and verification might be a bit blurry yet, but Canadian producers have established themselves as world leaders in animal care, production efficiencies and land management, and are in an excellent position to respond to future market demands.

Reducing tillage increases salaries, or vice versa?

An excerpt from an editorial in Open Heart, a British Medical Journal publication. It contends that recommendations to substitute saturated (animal fats) with polyunsaturated fats are not based on evidence and if anything are harmful. The full text is available at • Dietary guideline recommendations suggesting the replacement of saturated fat with carbohydrates/omega-6 polyunsaturated fats do not reflect the current evidence in the literature. • A change in these recommendations is drastically needed as public health could be at risk. • The increase in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the U.S. occurred with an increase in the consumption of carbohydrate not saturated fat. • There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on health. Indeed, the literature indicates a general lack of any effect (good or bad) from a reduction in fat intake. • The public fear that saturated fat raises cholesterol is completely unfounded as the low-density lipoprotein particle size distribution is worsened when fat is replaced with carbohydrate. • A public health campaign is drastically needed to educate on the harms of a diet high in carbohydrate/sugar. • It would be naive to assume that any recommendations related to carbohydrate or fat intake would apply to processed foods, which undoubtedly should be avoided if possible.

Rick Taillieu of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission created this graph to show “how easy it is to take two unrelated things that are increasing, and by simply playing with the axis, create a magical graph that allows you to jump to conclusions.”


Off the front

ANIMAL RIGHTS } from page 1 And when producers fail to meet their animal care obligations, the result can make national headlines. That was the case in October when CTV aired footage shot on two Alberta egg farms by a group called Mercy for Animals Canada. In addition to crowded and dirty conditions, the video showed a practice called “thumping” — killing sick or injured birds by smashing their heads on concrete or some other hard surface. The bad publicity prompted Egg Farmers of Alberta to create new policies to reinforce best management practices, including a shift toward enriched egg-laying cages. Animal activists well know this type of video will boost their fundraising efforts, said Johnson Smith. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” she said. “Well, video is priceless.”

Codes of practice are another area where animal rights activists are increasingly active. In the hog sector, the recent review of their codes spanned three years, with “unprecedented” involvement from animal rights groups. “More comments were made on the code by animal welfarists than producers,” said Austin, who works with B.C.’s hog industry. Austin urged egg producers not to make the same mistake when it comes time to provide feedback on the egg industry’s codes of practice review, which began in earnest in September 2013. “Every single farmer should take the time (to comment),” she said. “Your responses should outweigh animal welfarists. You know best about your practices. “Farmers can be united together and powerful against this sort of a movement.”

NEWS Poultry research gets a federal boost Staff / The federal government is giving $4 million to the Canadian Poultry Research Council to help finance research into improved processing competitiveness, and addressing consumer concerns about poultry welfare and environmental preservation. Also included is support for work developing new vaccines, reducing the sector’s environmental impact,

and training opportunities for producers. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) researchers will collaborate with the sector in priority areas, including developing viable alternatives to the use of dietary antibiotics in chicken production. The investment builds on research funding previously received through AAFC’s Canadian Agri-Science Clusters Initiative as part of Growing Forward. Canada produced poultry products worth $3.8 billion in 2012.

March 17, 2014 •

Syngenta halts sales of new GM corn seed in Canada

Approved for cultivation, but not accepted by China and the EU

A spokesman for Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemicals company, confirmed the comReuters pany will not sell seed containing Duracade in Canada in 2014. yngenta AG said Mar. 10 it had halted comExporters and some farmers applauded the mercial sales in Canada of corn seed con- decision because they had worried the presence taining a new and controversial genetically of the unapproved trait in Canada’s grain supply modified trait because major importers had not could disrupt trade. approved the product. However, it was little comfort for U.S. farmSyngenta pulled from the Canadian market seed ers and grain handlers who still fear that China containing the Agrisure Duracade trait, which was or Europe will reject shipments of U.S. grain if available for planting for the they find traces of Duracade first time this year, according to corn. It can be difficult to a Syngenta notice that was sent segregate different varieties to seed dealers and obtained by of corn from one another “These are significant Reuters. because they are often hartrade issues at the The trait has been approved vested, transported and for cultivation in Canada and stored together. end of the day and the United States and for Grain trader Gavilon has very costly ones, so we import by some overseas buyagreed to market Duracade ers, including Japan, Mexico crops in the United States as applaud Syngenta’s and South Korea. It has not part of a deal with Syngenta. position in Canada.” been approved for import by Top merchants Archer DanChina or the European Union, iels Midland Co., Bunge Ltd. two major international marand Cargill Inc. have said Peter Entz kets. they will limit their handling JRI “While the vast majority of the of crops containing the trait Canadian corn crop is typically because it is not approved by directed to domestic markets major importers. in North America, some corn Peter Entz, assistant vicemay be destined for these markets,” Syngenta president of seed and traits at Richardson said in the notice, referring to China and the EU. International Ltd., one of Canada’s biggest “Accordingly, we want to ensure the acceptance grain handlers, said he was “elated” to hear of any trait technology grown in Canada meets Syngenta would not sell Duracade in Canada end-market destination requirements.” this spring. Richardson ships large volumes of Any seed containing Duracade that has been corn to Europe, he said. shipped to retailers in Canada “cannot be sold “These are significant trade issues at the end and arrangements for immediate returns will be of the day and very costly ones, so we applaud B:10.25” made,” the notice said. Syngenta’s position in Canada,” he said. By Tom Polansek


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7 • march 17, 2014

Viterra invests $1 million in Cigi A million dollars is a good start, but Cigi says it won’t be enough to revitalize the organization and guarantee a future home in Winnipeg By Shannon VanRaes staff


hat’s one expensive sign. In exchange for naming rights to its main classroom, Viterra has invested $1 million in the Winnipeg-based Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi). “We looked at how we’ve utilized Cigi and the value it’s brought to the company and the industry... and said, we need to support Cigi in a very meaningful way,” said Viterra’s North American president and CEO Kyle Jeworski following a press conference earlier this month. But other than the newly christened “Viterra Knowledge Centre,” Jeworski said the money came with no strings attached. “We felt that Cigi is the expert on knowing where to contribute the dollars in a very meaningful fashion, so we’ve left it in its very capable hands,” he said, adding he would like to see more companies step forward with support. “We think Cigi is unparalleled in terms of what it’s able to provide in terms of technical expertise to end-use customers and to growers, so we think it’s a very worthwhile investment,” said the Viterra CEO. The question of how to attract more such contributions will be on the agenda at the institution’s board meeting later this month. As much as Viterra’s contribution is welcome, Cigi CEO Earl Geddes noted it alone won’t allow the four-decade-old institution to fund a much-needed revitalization at an estimated cost of between $10 million and $12 million. “Right now we’ve got a million dollars from Viterra and that helps us re-equip ourselves internally in this particular structure, but this particular structure doesn’t have space for us going forward... it’s a structure that we’ve simply outgrown. We need to be in a new space,” he said. Geddes said Cigi has had to turn work away in recent months, as the demand for services outstrips current capacity. Since its inception, Cigi has brought more than 37,000 individuals representing grain, oilseed, pulse and special crops industries from 115 countries to Winnipeg’s downtown core to participate in programs and seminars. Geddes stresses that the institute would like to remain in the city, but that only one thing will securely tie Cigi’s future to Winnipeg. “It takes cash,” he said. Since losing the Canadian Wheat Board as a partner in 2012, Cigi has had to reinvent itself and its funding model. Today, Geddes said the institute receives 40 per cent of its funding from the federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 program. But those funds are only guaranteed until 2018. “We would hope given the success Cigi has had using taxpayers’ dollars in positioning Canadian field crops as the best in the world, that that commitment would be longer than 2018,” he said. “But who knows what the government is going to do with market development funding in five years, four years from now?”

Manitoba’s minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development was on hand for Viterra’s announcement, and pointed out that 40 per cent of Growing Forward 2 funding comes from the province. Another 35 per cent of Cigi’s $8-million-per-year budget comes from farmers themselves, with the remaining 25 per cent coming from industry. Geddes noted that Cigi is also working with the City of Winnipeg to help ensure its home remains in Manitoba’s largest city. “I think the board of directors’ first choice would be to stay here in Winnipeg. Winnipeg has been historically the centre of the grain industry in Canada, and still is where all of our Canadian companies have their head offices,” Geddes said. “It’s the logical place.”

Viterra CEO Kyle Jeworski (l) and Earl Geddes of the Canadian International Grains Institute unveil a sign recognizing a financial contribution by Viterra.  PHOTo: Shannon VanRaes

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Consumers would compensate farmers for supply management phase-out A new report says consumers and farmers would benefit from ending the four-decades-old system By Alex Binkley AF contributor


anada should begin phasing out dairy supply management, compensating farmers up to $4.7 billion through a special consumer levy, says the Conference Board of Canada. Ending supply management could translate into lower retail prices for dairy products and enable Canada’s dairy industry to begin exporting, most likely to growing Asian markets, says a newly released board report. It notes the current market value of dairy quota is about $23 billion, but farmers should only be paid for the book value of their quota, “which is substantially less costly and easier to justify on equity grounds.” The report doesn’t factor in the cost of ending supply management in the poultry sector at the same time, which would be necessary if Canada expected to gain increased access to foreign markets in return for lowering the high tariffs on imports of dairy and poultry products. The proposed dairy reforms are part of a national food strategy the board will unveil later this month. It released the first chapters of the dairy report late last month. It mostly repeats the vintage arguments against supply management. Without supply management, the dairy farming sector would shrink to fewer, but larger farms competing for domestic and international market share, the report said. Under supply management, dairy and poultry farmers produce enough to meet domestic market needs in return for tariff protection against cheap imports. The high tariffs are needed because most dairy imports come from the subsidized American and European dairy industry. David Wiens, a Manitoba dairy farmer and vice-president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said Canadian prices for milk, cheese and other dairy products are comparable to those in the United States, Europe and many other markets. The average Canadian dairy farmer has about 75 milking cows and about that many more dry cows and heifers. Large-scale dairy farms in the U.S. can have up to 1,000 cows.

He said supply management producers don’t get any government subsidies and don’t control the prices that consumers pay for their products. Even though the conference board has been studying the dairy industry for years, Wiens says it has never discussed the operation of supply management with Dairy Farmers of Canada. Dairy supply management has been in operation for about four decades. Canada is far more open to dairy imports than the United States or Europe, he noted. “Canada already imports, tariff free, over six per cent of the market for dairy products and more than 7.5 per cent for poultry. In contrast, the U.S. gives only 2.75 per cent access to their market. Canada imports 10 times more cheese from the EU than the EU imports from Canada.” The conference board estimates consumers could save $2.4 billion a year and farmers could gain almost $2.5 billion from exporting highquality dairy. Michael Bloom, the board’s vicepresident, industry and business strategy, says, “Dairy producers and rural communities have a lot to gain from reform under a growth scenario. More efficient producers are more likely to see an upside. But we have to change the way we do business.” In response, Wiens points out the consumer price of milk is headed towards a record high and in New Zealand the price of milk fluctuates wildly and rose almost nine per cent last year. Meanwhile in Canada, prices for milk and dairy products have followed the Consumer Price Index during the last 30 years. “On average, the weighted retail price of milk is $1.48 a litre in Canada, while in the U.S., consumers pay about $1.04 a litre, in China $2.03, in Australia $1.47, in New Zealand $1.50. Dairy and poultry farms are part of the fabric of rural Canada, he notes. “Dairy farming is first or second in economic impact in seven out of 10 provinces,” Wiens said. “Farmers reinvest in their farm operations, supporting many other local businesses both upstream and downstream, such as machinery, feed suppliers, milk transportation, nutritionists, veterinarians, as well as their employees and dairy-processing plants.”

The Conference Board of Canada says Canadian dairy farmers can’t access growing export markets and consumers are paying too much for milk under supply management.   PHOTos: thinkstock





9 • March 17, 2014

Harami signalled market low before oat futures rallied to a record high The shorts were looking at the Canadian ending supplies, but the Chicago market reflects the oat supply in the U.S. By david drozd


he nearby oat futures contract posted a new historical high of $5.33 per bushel on February 26, 2014. This exceeded the previous high of $4.58 in July 2008. Referencing the March 2014 oat futures contract in Chicago, this rally began from a contract low of $3 per bushel on October 2, 2013, the same day a harami materialized on the candlestick chart. A harami is a reversal pattern seen at market bottoms and tops. In this case, it indicated the market was about to turn back up. The market ground $.60 higher before running into an area of resistance at $3.60. The market paused briefly, before prices exploded through the upper boundary of the downtrending channel, which is illustrated as A on the accompanying chart. The shorts were caught looking the wrong way. They may have been expecting the market to turn down from resistance based on the fact Canadian oat ending stocks are

estimated by Agriculture and AgriFood Canada to be 1.40 million tonnes in 2013-14 and forecast to grow to a record 1.70 million tonnes in 2014-15. However, this futures market is located in Chicago and it’s reflecting the oat situation in the United States — not in Canada. Commercial stocks of oats in the United States are at an extremely low level. U.S. oat merchants are in dire straits, as they are nearly running on empty. As of February 21, 2014, commercial oat stocks in Chicago, Superior/ Duluth and Minneapolis are down to a mere 3.86 million bushels. This compares to 31 million bushels two years ago and 21 million bushels one year ago. The problem is rail cars are not available to haul oats to the United States. Producer cars have been providing some relief, but there is not enough volume to satisfy the demand. Lack of movement is causing oat bids to dry up on the Prairies, as line companies are not going to buy oats they cannot move. This

    CBOT oats march 2014 Chart as of February 26, 2014:

situation will not be resolved until oats move into the United States in large volumes, and indications are this may not occur any time soon.

Downtrending channel

In a downtrend, the channel’s upper boundary is the downtrend line. For a trendline to be both valid and reliable there should be at least three points of price contact, each of which coincides with the high of a market reaction. In a declining market the three points of contact correspond to the rally highs, each topping out at a progressively lower level. The lower boundary, the return line, is parallel and drawn across the lows of each progressively lower decline.

Market psychology

When a channel develops in a downtrending market, a breakout through the upper boundary not only cleans out the supply of contracts which had previously halted the advance, but it puts all shorts into a losing position. To understand where, on a chart, the anxiety level of shorts or longs increases is very useful, for it is shortly thereafter that their contracts become fuel for the fire. When an upside breakout occurs, the market will encounter increased buying from longs wishing to add to positions acquired near the bottom of the trading range as well as

from shorts who, having sold in the upper portion of the range, are seeking to cut their losses. There will come a point when the advance begins to accelerate sharply. Much of the patience of those waiting for a big break will have worn thin by this time, so more buying is gradually thrown into the market at the prevailing price level. As this occurs, the demand which had trailed the market is being absorbed. When the price finally does turn down for real, the demand will have been totally satisfied or the volume of selling simply overpowers what little buying remains. Send your questions or comments about this article and chart to David Drozd is president and senior market analyst for Winnipeg-based Ag-Chieve Corporation. The opinions expressed are those of the writer and are solely intended to assist readers with a better understanding of technical analysis. Visit Ag-Chieve online at for information about our grainmarketing advisory service and to see our latest grain market analysis. You can call us toll free at 1-888-274-3138 for a free consultation.

Most Crimean grain land will not be sown due to turmoil Conflict will prevent fuel from being supplied to the region Reuters / Kiev

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Most of the spring grain area in Crimea is unlikely to be sown this year due to a lack of fuel caused by turmoil in the region, Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister Ihor Shvaika said. “According to our preliminary forecast, the major part of the area (in Crimea) will remain unsown,” Shvaika told reporters Mar. 11. Grain output in Ukraine’s Crimea region totalled 765,000 tonnes in 2013, or 1.2 per cent of Ukraine’s overall harvest. The government had said the harvest could reach 1.2 million tonnes of grain in 2014.

Shvaika said that military conflict in Crimea, taken over by Russian armed forces, “made impossible” the supply of fuel to regions that had already started major field work. He said Ukrainian farms had already sown a total of 106,000 hectares of early grains or four per cent of the initial area. Ukraine plans to sow a total of 8.6 million hectares of spring grain this year, including 2.9 million hectares of early grains — spring wheat and spring barley. Analysts say Ukraine is likely to harvest up to 60 million tonnes of grain this year.

NEWS » Markets



Goldman Sachs raises price forecasts

Kazakh rail exports increase

Goldman Sachs raised its near-term price forecasts for corn and soybeans, citing robust export demand for both commodities and unrest in Ukraine. In a note to clients Mar. 10, Goldman said its new three-month price forecast for CBOT soybeans was $14 per bushel, up from $12.50. It lowered its six-month soy outlook to $10.50 from $11.50 but raised its 12-month forecast to $10.50, from $9.50. “We now expect that U.S. soybean inventories will near critically low levels this summer, while U.S. corn inventories remain ample,” Goldman said. For corn, the bank said it raised its three-month price outlook to $4.50 a bushel from $4.25. — Reuters

Kazakhstan’s exports of grain by rail rose to 6.21 million tonnes between July 1 and March 10 from 4.96 million in the same period of 2012-13, the Agriculture Ministry said Mar. 11. Railways account for most grain exports from Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest grain producer. The country plans to boost grain exports to at least nine million tonnes in the current marketing year from 7.1 million tonnes in the previous crop season. The ministry gave no breakdown of destinations of the exports. Kazakhstan traditionally sells grain to its post-Soviet Central Asian neighbours and to Iran and Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea.

Canola rallies as railways served notice on grain Demand may shift west over uncertainty in Ukraine By Terryn Shiells


CE Futures Canada canola contracts continued to rally higher during the week ended March 7, with all active contracts gaining about $20 per tonne. Chicago soybean and soyoil futures also posted large gains during the week, which spilled over to support canola futures as well. Speculative-based short-covering and chart-based buying, after the market broke above key resistance during the week, also contributed to the strength. Ideas that the logistics problems in Western Canada have been largely priced into the market, and things will start to improve going forward, were also supportive. Canada’s transportation and agriculture ministers announced new legislation on March 7, making both Canadian National (CN) and CP (Canadian Pacific) Railway each accountable to ship at least 500,000 tonnes (5,500 rail cars) of grain per week. The legislation was implemented “immediately,” though a grace period of four weeks to ramp up to the minimum tonnage was granted. The legislation will be in place for 90 days, and can be renewed if necessary, Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt said during a news conference in Winnipeg. If the railways fail to ship the minimum amount of grain per week, a fine of up to $100,000 per day will be applied. Many farm groups were happy about the announcement, though some farmers and members of the industry were critical, saying the grain companies would have been shipping that much grain once the weather improves anyway. Others thought the fine should be greater.

Overall, with better movement, canola prices should be able to sustain decent levels, as basis levels will likely start to improve. But farmer selling will likely come in at the high levels, and many traders believe there’s more downside to come in canola, especially if soybeans start to break lower. Soybean futures in Chicago showed no sign of breaking lower during the week, though, despite news of a cancellation from China of U.S. soybeans.

Overall, with better movement, canola prices should be able to sustain decent levels, as basis levels will likely start to improve.

Weekly export sales from the U.S. Department of Agriculture continued to be stronger than normal and tight nearby supply concerns in the U.S. helped propel prices higher. Worries about dry weather damaging Brazil’s soybean crop, and a slew of estimates calling for a smaller crop out of the country, were also behind the strength.

Wheat rallies

Concerns about political problems in Ukraine shifting demand for grains and oilseeds to North America also lifted prices

for soybeans, as well as corn and wheat, during the week. Problems in Ukraine helped corn prices gain 10 to 25 cents a bushel during the week, though strong farmer selling at the highs of the week capped the advances. Analysts say both the Chicago soybean and corn markets are starting to look “top heavy,” and could start to pull back. Both markets will move depending on what USDA says in its March 10 report. Soybean futures will likely start to move lower going forward, as a large U.S. crop is expected for 2014-15, and movement of South America’s crop is guaranteed to start to increase in the near future. Corn futures still have some upside left, as traders will start to focus on the upcoming planting of the 2014-15 U.S. corn crop. Any planting delays in the U.S., due to cold and damp weather, would be bullish for corn, bearish for soybeans. Wheat futures rallied sharply higher, seeing gains of US40 to 50 cents per bushel across all three trading platforms. Worries about political problems in the Black Sea region slowing exports, and shifting some demand to the U.S. for wheat, were the catalyst behind the rally. Strong export demand and concerns about adverse weather for winter wheat crops in parts of the U.S. Plains were also supportive. Traders will continue to monitor the weather in the U.S. Plains and grain movement out of Ukraine going forward. Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

  photo: laura rance

Global wheat, maize crops may fall in 2014-15 london / reuters Global wheat and maize crops may decline slightly in 2014-15 as yields fall to more normal levels, the International Grains Council said in its Feb. 27 report. “Output (of wheat) could decline by two per cent year on year as yields are unlikely to be as high as the exceptional levels the previous year,” the IGC said in a monthly report. The IGC projected a global wheat crop of 696 million tonnes in 2014-15, down from a forecast of 708 million in the current season and slightly below expected total wheat use next season of 698 million tonnes. “Large opening (wheat) stocks will boost total supplies in 2014-15 but consumption is expected to absorb output, leaving carryover stocks at the end of the year almost unchanged,” the IGC said. The IGC said the global maize crop in 2014-15 was seen down one per cent from this season’s record 959 million tonnes, also reflecting a return to more normal yields. “Yields are also expected to retreat from this season’s highs for the 2014-15 maize, barley and rapeseed/canola crops,” the IGC said. For the current 2013-14 season, the IGC made only minor adjustments, raising the global wheat crop overall by one million tonnes to 708 million. The IGC raised wheat crop forecasts for Australia (27 million tonnes from 26.2 million) and Brazil (5.5 million from 4.8 million) but lowered the outlook for Kazakhstan (13.9 million from 14.6 million tonnes). Global maize production in 2013-14 was maintained at a record 959 million with no significant revisions. The IGC did, however, raise its forecast for global maize consumption in 201314 by four million tonnes to 932 million. “Consumption is expected to expand eight per cent, year on year, led by a sharp rise in feed use, but world closing stocks will still likely be up 21 per cent, year on year,” the IGC said.



Pork producers can get up to $150,000 for improved biosecurity Alberta Agriculture is urging livestock producers to update their information in the premises identification program BY JENNIFER BLAIR AF STAFF


s Alberta’s hog industry braces for what increasingly seems like the inevitable arrival of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED), the province has announced an early opening to a program to boost on-farm biosecurity. “Even though we do have some connections with feed now, biosecurity is still our best tool in preventing the spread of PED,” said Dr. Julia Keenliside, veterinary epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. The province is reopening the animal health biosecurity programs that are part of Growing Forward 2. The next round of funding was set to start April 1, but has been opened earlier. And the new cap for funding has been raised to $150,000 from the previous $30,000 limit. “Because PED is here to stay in North America, we have to make long-term changes to our biosecurity,” said Keenliside. “This will allow producers to get more quickly on to the application process and start improving their biosecurity on the farm.”

“Because PED is here to stay in North America, we have to make longterm changes to our biosecurity.”

“The premises identification program is one of our most important tools in fighting PED.” But the ability of first responders to access program information “can be hampered” because of an out-of-date database. “Producers need to make sure their information is up to date because farms change and ownership changes rapidly,” said Keenliside. “Having this information will help us do the trace-backs.” The application form for onfarm biosecurity funding can be found at www.growingforward. (type “animal health biosecurity producer” in the search box). Applications can be made online or by phoning one of the numbers on page 2 of the form. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

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The first case of PED in Canada was found in Ontario on Jan. 22, and has since been discovered on more than 25 farms in four provinces. Traceability has played a critical role in finding the source of the virus in these cases — and in preventing future ones, said Keenliside. In the first reported case in Manitoba, a trailer with Alberta hogs on it had unloaded at the same place as a trailer from the infected farm several days before the disease was confirmed on the farm. “The risk of exposure was probably pretty small,” Keenliside said. “But we do know that pigs — especially finisher pigs — can be infected before they show clinical signs.” Manitoba Agriculture officials contacted their Alberta counterparts “quite quickly” to let them know of the risk. Alberta Agriculture tracked the trailer and learned it had been sanitized prior to visiting other farms. “Even though the risk was low, we did contact those farms, as well as the truck wash and the driver, to alert them to the situation.” The “key in this process” was the premises identification program, which asks that producers register their livestock operations in order to track the location of animals during a disease outbreak, said Keenliside. “We were able to use that system to track producers quickly and advise them that a trailer that had been infected had been to their farm,” she said.

PEDv causes high mortality in young pigs.

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2/12/14 6:51 AM

news » livestock



U.S. PEDv cases rise

AFAC conference Mar. 26-27

Confirmed cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) increased by 252 in the week ending March 1, bringing the total number to 4,106 in 26 states, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network. While one case can represent an individual animal or an entire herd at a single site, swine specialists estimate PEDv has killed at least four million U.S. hogs since it was discovered in May 2013.The Canadian Swine Health Board has confirmed that four provinces also have cases of the virus. The provinces are Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. — Reuters

The annual Livestock Care Conference hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) in partnership with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) will be held in Edmonton on Mar. 26 and 27. Sessions include Animal health and welfare: the next evolution; Activists are taking a multi-faceted approach: you should too; Consumers and animal welfare: what they think, what they know and why it matters; A new way of learning for a new generation of farmers and an Industry innovation showcase. For more information visit

Vaccine being developed to combat ‘insidious’ and widespread Johne’s disease University of Calgary has an ingenious plan — create a version of a bacteria that would allow cows to develop immunity By Alexis Kienlen af staff


ohne’s disease has no cure and causes production problems on three of every four Alberta dairy farms. But researchers at the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine say they’re making steady progress on a vaccine. “Since there is no cure for it, all you can do is try to prevent your herd from getting the infection,” said bacteriologist and lead investigator Jeroen De Buck. Even before a cow has what’s called “clinical infection,” its milk production can go down, along with its weight, he said. “It’s very hard to get rid of this disease once you have it on your farm because it is so insidious and stealthy,” he said. Vaccines developed in the U.S., Europe and New Zealand prolong the period before animals become clinically infected, but don’t protect against new infections. None are registered for use in Canada. De Buck’s team (which is being partially funded by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and Alberta Milk) is in the initial stages of creating a vaccine to prevent infection. But it will take a while before anything hits the market, he cautioned. “It’s a fairly long process, and this disease is particularly difficult, because it is slow progressing,” he said. Work on the vaccine began about six months ago, but research on various aspects of Johne’s disease has been underway for seven years. “Basically we want to create a vaccine that is a live strain, but attenuated, so it cannot cause the actual disease,” said De Buck. An ideal vaccine, which could be used on very young animals, would generate protective immune responses in the vaccinated cow, so the infectious strain would not be able to take hold. The first step is identifying genes essential for the organism to survive in the host and then removing them from the live strain of bacteria. That strain would be used to create a vaccine that would allow a cow to develop an immune response without the threat of infection. The team also has to follow specific

Dr. Jeroen De Buck, principal investigator with the Johne’s disease vaccine project, is part of a team of researchers at the University of Calgary who is working to create a new vaccine. guidelines so their vaccine can be used. “Current Johne’s vaccines strains interfere with the detection of tuberculosis in cows, which is a reportable disease,” said De Buck. “We need to make sure our vaccine doesn’t result in a positive test for Mycobacterium Bovis or MAP, so we’re marking our

strain so people can tell that the animal was indeed vaccinated.” Johne’ disease can affect cattle, sheep and goats and is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Avium Subspecies Paratuberculosis (MAP). MAP is taken up by young animals through oral/fecal transmission and can lead to infection in the intestine.

Animals infected can be slow to gain weight and may develop diarrhea which can persist until death. Producers can only prevent new infections by culling or segregating infected animals.



Good record-keeping when treating livestock is a must STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP  Thorough records are vital for showing that farmers are

responsible stewards who follow the rules when treating livestock BY BRENDA SCHOEPP


n spring, cattle that seemed to be doing well all winter often become ill. Warm days and cold nights bring out the chronic conditions that were lying latent in the body. These cattle may or may not respond to medication. Old damage in the lungs or intestines may dominate or there could be resistance to the antibiotic that you are using, especially if the animal has a history of being ill. Record-keeping is very important when it comes to raising cattle, and all farms should have an auditable system that allows producers to make sound choices. There are times, for example, when we need to choose not to treat because of food safety protocols and times when we choose to treat and keep the animal to protect our investment. If a farm is selling product directly to consumers in a local market, having the absolute assurance there is a treatment and care history is very important to the client. Regardless of how you sell cattle, the care and well-being of everyone on the farm is tied to the care and well-being of the cattle. Many veterinarians now have software programs to help you keep track. If your teenager is bored, ask them to write a program for you as most have enough skill to put the basics together. And even if it is the basics, that is a starting point. We have always used our own system, which includes a full description and identification of the animal. In addition, we have a model of left, right, back and front of the animal, so we can show where the treatment occurred along with the date, product used (including the lot number), dose, route of administration, and the temperature and weight of the animal at the time. For each treatment, including routine vaccination and deworming, the administrator has to sign. Once done on paper, the system was easily adapted to software, and was very valuable to us when BSE was declared. The full file also included a photo of the animal (now easily uploaded on your cellphone) along with all the history on breed, origin, transportation and location identification. Because we sold 400 to 600 bred heifers nationwide, these records were invaluable to us and to our client. Why is this so important? The food chain always was protected with protocols such as proper administration and withdrawal times of antibiotics and growth promotants as well as heat suppressants. The location of a needle may seem oversimplified, but that information can be vital on



the kill floor as a needle can cost a production line tens of thousands of dollars or a consumer severe stress or injury. The appropriate uses of an antibiotic is necessary at certain times, but residue should never end up on a plate. The body needs time to absorb and heal.

Consumer concerns

Today, we know that consumers are even more concerned about antibiotic use in foods than they are about the environment. What once was a battle over plastic versus your own grocery bag has evolved into genuine concern about eating food that may cause antibiotic resistance. Although this has

not been proven, that does not mean the consumer will not continue to care. And the problem of antibiotic resistance in people is very real. As for how folks feel when they shop, the latest American research found 88 per cent of consumers said they were aware there were issues about the use of antibiotics in food animals. They also said they believe the term antibiotic also means a growth promotant (such as an implant) and muscle enhancers (such as a beta-agonist) and 28 per cent did research at home on those products. This affected buying habits — 46 per cent said they now pay much more attention to the packaging and label-

ling of meat. In 17 per cent of the cases, the concern was so great that the consumer stopped buying and eating meat. Hype travels fast and 19 per cent of consumers keep talking about the problem to anyone who will listen — even if they do not have the right information. The majority of the information they have is sourced from the national news followed by coffee shop talk, talk shows and social media. It is certainly time to get the right information out and assure those who purchase meat that farmers are responsible stewards who follow all the rules to protect the food chain. When 17 per cent of consumers change

their minds about beef because of fear — we share a collective problem. The solution starts when each farm has an auditable process behind the product and the message to ensure both parties are protected. One way to start is with the Verified Beef Program. Information can be found at www. Brenda Schoepp is a Nuffield Scholar who travels extensively exploring agriculture and meeting the people who feed, clothe and educate our world. A motivating speaker and mentor she works with young entrepreneurs across Canada and is the founder of Women in Search of Excellence. www.

Help tell the real story of Canadian agriculture

Be an AGvocate Our industry needs more agvocates To reach its full potential, agriculture needs everyone in the industry to speak up and speak positively. Agriculture More Than Ever is an industry-driven cause to improve perceptions and create positive dialogue about Canadian ag. Together we can share the facts and stories about this vibrant and modern industry, and tell the world why we love what we do. It’s up to all of us to be agvocates and it’s easier than you think – visit and find out how you can get involved.



Supporting your horse’s immune system horse health } A horse’s own immune system is a powerful ally in any health program a quiet space to rest. Without adequate rest the horse’s mental and physical performance suffers and the immune system is weakened.

By carol shwetz, dvm


uring the spring season many decisions addressing vaccination and deworming are at the forefront of horse-keeping practices. These are specific tools in a health program and their effectiveness relies heavily on a competent immune system. Immunity does not come in a pill, powder, needle or tube. It is an invisible quality of health providing horses with defence against disease and supports the horse in its abilities to cope with environmental stressors. Vaccination does not equal immunity. Vaccines have been developed in the laboratory over the last 75 years while immunity has been developing in nature over millions of years. Horses mount an immunological response following vaccination. This response will vary depending upon the horse’s own immunity. A horse’s general health plays a large role in this response. So it is for deworming programs as well. It is becoming increasingly evident that a healthy immune system is your horse’s first line of defence against parasites.

Immune system

The immune system successfully uses combinations of antibodies, messenger pro-

Physical movement

Antioxidants are important for your horse on many levels and nature supplies plenty of antioxidants in grasses and plant substances. teins, chemical signalling and specialized cell bodies to maintain a state of well-being. Providing horses with appropriate nutrition, rest, movement and sensible stress, supports and strengthens their immune system. The immune system in turn protects the horse. The interactions between nutrition, immunity and specific environmental factors are complexly intertwined. Although our present scientific understanding of these interactions is incomplete, what we do know is that a properly balanced diet supports the immune system. When manufacturers claim their products are designed specifically to improve the horse’s immune function they are usually referring to the presence of antioxidants/antioxidant nutri-

ents. Antioxidants scavenge and convert free radicals to relatively stable compounds, stopping free radical damage and limiting oxidative stress in the body. There are several types of antioxidants, those synthesized in the body and those that are nutritional antioxidants. Vitamins A, C, D and E, beta-carotene and minerals such as selenium, copper and zinc are considered nutritional antioxidants.

Importance of antioxidants

Various plant substances also contain high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for your horse on many levels and nature supplies plenty of antioxidants in grass pastures and hay. Unnecessary supplementation targeting the immune system will not necessarily enhance the health or


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performance of the horse and could quite possibly burden the immune system. Remember internal housekeeping is also one of the many jobs of the immune system. A carrot a day could easily be considered an immune booster and demands little cleanup from the body. It is equally important to understand and manage those factors that contribute to oxidative stress in the body. These factors are generally the outcome of nutritional, physical, mental or emotional strain. Horses need to rest to restore their immune system. Although they do not seem to need as much sleep as we do, they do need at least two hours of deep sleep each day. Show and travel schedules can be very fatiguing for horses and it is important to recognize your horse’s need for

Physical movement is essential to optimal function of the immune system in the horse. Lymphatic drainage is passive and requires sufficient muscular activity to sustain its purpose. Movement is also intimately connected to optimal digestive health, absorption and assimilation of nutrients, which in turn affects the immune system. Recognizing and adjusting for those factors that stress the horse will allow the horse’s immune system to function at its finest. When this happens the horse is simply well without illness. Sugar-laden and/or carbohydrate-rich processed diets, poorly implemented training programs, and commingling strange horses name a few factors which overwhelm a horse’s immune system. A horse’s own immune system is a powerful ally in any health program. No single factor is responsible for its optimal functioning, rather a healthy immune system is the outcome and culmination of several well implemented horse-keeping practices. Carol Shwetz is a veterinarian specializing in equine practice at Westlock, Alberta.

Strong cattle prices good news for cow-calf producers but bad for consumers The beef industry stands to lose market share as strong cattle prices mean fewer steaks and roasts on the dinner table By Jennifer Blair af staff


trong cattle prices could drive down consumer demand for beef in the coming year, says a new report from a Canadian agri-food think-tank. “There is a strong relationship between beef prices at the consumer level and cattle prices,” said Kevin Grier, senior market analyst at the George Morris Centre in Guelph, Ont. “Where the cattle prices go, the beef prices follow.” Over the past two years, Canadian cow-calf producers have started to “make some decent money and they’re going to make even more in 2014,” he said. As a result, beef prices are up “fairly dramatically” and that will have an impact. “The price (of beef) is going to go higher because the cattle prices have gone up so dramatically, and when it does go up, we’ll eat less,” he said. Grier predicts chicken and pork

will steal market share from beef over the next two years and winning back consumers will be “a fight.” “The beef industry and the cattle industry is going to have its work cut out for it when it starts to expand again,” he said. But don’t expect that expansion to happen any time soon, he added. According to the latest StatsCan numbers, the Canadian cow herd was down 0.7 per cent at the start of 2014 compared to a year earlier, and Grier said he isn’t convinced recent profitability is enough to encourage producers to expand. “What is it going to take to get that herd to turn around? I don’t know.” American producers have had five profitable years, and their cow herd still hasn’t rebounded, he noted. “It will probably be another year or two of really good profits before producers decide the time has come to turn this thing around.”


Beef and pork industries welcome Korea trade agreement


A 40 per cent Korean tariff on fresh and frozen beef will be fully eliminated in 15 equal annual steps By David Ljunggren Reuters


anada and South Korea announced last Tuesday they had wrapped up talks on a long-delayed free trade deal which had stalled for years amid squabbles over exports of autos and beef. The agreement is the first Canada has concluded with a nation from Asia, a fast-growing part of the world that Ottawa is deliberately targeting. Canada’s Trade Ministry says exports to South Korea in 2012 were worth $3.7 billion while imports from South Korea hit $6.4 billion. Canadian exports though have steadily dropped since a free trade deal between the United States and South Korea came into effect in March 2012. The talks with South Korea began in 2005, but later stalled over disputes about auto exports and a delay by Seoul in scrapping its ban on Canadian beef. South Korea lifted its nine-yearold ban in 2012. Canada says the deal will boost exports by 32 per cent, equivalent to $1.7 billion a year. South Korean exports should grow by 20 per cent a year, or around $1.3 billion. South Korea will remove duties on 98.2 per cent of its

  PHOto: thinkstock tariff lines, covering virtually all Canadian exports. “Given that the average of Korea’s tariffs are currently three times higher than Canada’s (13.3 per cent versus 4.3 per cent), tariff elimination will be particularly advantageous for Canadian businesses,” the government said in a statement. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association welcomed the agreement, noting that a 40 per

cent Korean tariff on fresh and frozen beef will be fully eliminated in 15 equal annual steps and the 18 per cent tariff on offals will be fully eliminated in 11 equal annual steps. The tariff has been the main impediment to accessing the Korean market since Korea lifted its BSE prohibition on Canada in early 2012, CCA president Dave Solverson said in a statement. “For the past few years, Can-

ada’s key beef competitor, the U.S. has enjoyed an increasing tariff advantage flowing from its FTA with South Korea. Today’s announcement means Canadian beef will be able to once again compete for meaningful access in the Korean market,” Solverson said from Seoul, where he was with Prime Minister Harper for the announcement. In 2002, Korea was a $40-million market for Canadian beef

and its fourth-largest export destination. In 2013, with a growing tariff disadvantage relative to U.S. beef, Canada exported $7.8 million. Canadian Pork Council chair Jean-Guy Vincent also welcomed the agreement. “The absence of an FTA with Korea was causing substantial and growing prejudice to the Canadian pork industry due to the tariff rates since all of our key competitors in Korea have FTAs in place,” Vincent said in a statement. The CPC said that without an FTA with Korea, Canada’s $223 million of pork trade with Korea in 2011 and $129 million in 2012 would largely disappear when the FTAs Korea has signed with three other countries are fully implemented. Canada exported approximately $76 million of pork to Korea in 2013. But some automakers with Canadian operations, such as Ford Motor Co., will be less happy. The deal means Canada will remove its 6.1 per cent tariff on imports from firms such as Kia Motors Corp. and Hyundai Corp. This, some firms worry, will prompt a flood of South Korean imports. Ford notes that Canada imported around 131,000 South Korean vehicles in 2012 while exporting just 3,000. With staff files



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CropChoice$ 3.80 The newest version of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s CropChoice$ computer software, CropChoice$ 3.80, will be available for free download March 31. “This software continues to provide producers with the ability to test different cropping scenarios and measure potential profitability,” says farm business analyst Abby Verstraete. This year’s version has 40 different crops available to choose from and input into simulations to provide estimates of worst, best and most likely values for yields and prices. For further information on downloading the CropChoice$ software, contact the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Did you hear about the ‘seed destructor’ at FarmTech? With burning and cultivation off the table for many growers, the Harrington Seed Destructor an option for managing resistant weeds By Jennifer Blair af staff



Weed seed management

Producers were introduced to harvest weed seed management practices at FarmTech in late January. “When we used (harvest weed seed control) systems at harvest, on average we got a 57 per cent reduction in ryegrass emergence in the following season,” said Michael Walsh, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia. Up to 90 per cent of a weed’s seed production can be collected by a combine during harvest, said Walsh, but most combines simply separate the weed seeds from the crop and then spit them out with the chaff, spreading and reseeding the weed seeds across the field. “We’re subsequently rewarding the survivors by planting their seeds again for them,” he said. Chaff carts can collect up to 85 per cent of the weed seed that’s


presentation on a “seed destructor” — an Aussie contraption for battling resistant weeds — caught the attention of a lot of FarmTech attendees earlier this winter. But the price tag of nearly $240,000 and having to pull the hefty machine behind a combine quickly cooled their interest. However, a complete redesign of the Harrington Seed Destructor has cut its price tag in half — at no cost to its efficacy, says Three Hills agronomist Steve Larocque. “It still does the same job,” said Larocque, who headed Down Under after FarmTech and met with Ray Harrington on his farm in Western Australia. “In order to reduce your weed seed bank and keep ahead of it, you need to have at least 83 per cent control. Even with the new design, it’s destroying 98 per cent.” The original creation was a standalone machine pulled behind a combine. But even though Aussie farmers have massive problems with resistant ryegrass, they weren’t any more thrilled with the price than FarmTech attendees. Just four units have been sold since it was commercialized in 2012. The new version “fits really neatly between the sieves and the chopper,” said Larocque, who called the old design “overkill.” “You don’t necessarily have to pulverize the seed into oblivion,” he

said. “What you need to do is knock the seeds around enough so you kill the germ.” Right now, the system has been designed to run with a CASE Class IX combine, as the revamped seed destructor requires 76 horsepower to run. Adjusting it to work with other machines is something Harrington hopes to address in future designs. “(The Harrington seed destructor) was 18 years in the making, but this particular model is in its infancy,” said Larocque. “With just a few tweaks, he’ll have it up and running.” In fact, it’s so new that Harrington wouldn’t let Larocque take pictures as there are still patents pending.

Ray Harrington’s original version of his ‘seed destructor’ is now parked and the new model is still off limits for photos because some patents are pending. harvested, but logistically, “it’s quite difficult to collect off the field and move to another location (for use as feed),” he said. Moreover, reduced numbers of livestock have diminished the market for chaff as feed. Most producers in Australia burn their chaff instead — a practice that’s illegal on most Alberta farms without a permit. “Burning is very efficient at killing weed seeds,” Walsh said. “If you get that burn hot enough for long enough, you will kill pretty much all the weed seeds that are present.” But with burning — and cultivation — off the table for many Canadian producers, would the new and cheaper Harrington Seed Destructor be an option?

Probably not, says Larocque. “To go out and spend $120,000 on top of your $450,000 combine, you’d better have some serious weed issues to justify the cost.” However, Larocque expects to see the machine show up south of the border where producers are “losing entire fields” to herbicideresistant weeds in the Cotton and Corn Belt. “They’ve got some serious issues down there, and we’re not far off,” said Larocque. “We’ve got 30-some-odd per cent of Canada itself has herbicide-resistant weeds. It’s just a matter of time before it’s our turn.”


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Rampant food waste a barrier to cutting poverty, World Bank says Up to one-third of food produced is lost due to spoilage By Ros Krasny

washington / reuters


A cook throws away leftovers in the ‘Auf da Muehle’ restaurant in the western Austrian village of Soell June 2, 2013. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about a third of all the food produced for human consumption worldwide every year is wasted.   PHOTo: REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler

he world loses or wastes a staggering 25 per cent to 33 per cent of the food it produces for consumption, losses that can mean the difference between an adequate diet and malnutrition in many countries, the World Bank said in a report released Feb. 27. “The amount of food wasted and lost globally is shameful,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. “Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night, and yet millions of tonnes of food end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to market.” In regions where undernourishment is common, such as

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Africa and South Asia, the food losses translate to 400 to 500 calories per person, per day. In the developed world, the losses can be more like 750 to 1,500 per day. Cereals represent more than half of all food lost or wasted, 53 per cent by calorie content. By weight, fruits and vegetables represent the largest share of global food loss and waste, the World Bank said. Most losses take place at the consumption, production and handling and storage stages of the food chain, but regional breakdowns show noted differences. In North America, some 61 per cent of losses are in the consumption stage — for example, food purchased and left rotting in refrigerators. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, an average family of four wastes $1,600 and $1,100 per year, respectively, at the consumption stage. Large supermarkets’ purchasing policies may provide incentives to overproduction of foods, and promotional offers could encourage overbuying by consumers, leading to food waste at home, the report said. In sub-Saharan Africa, just five per cent of food losses are at the consumption stage, but vast amounts of food are wasted during production and processing. The report said that food loss and waste cause huge inefficiencies in economic, energy and natural resource use. For example, the large amount of water used to grow apples or irrigate rice or roast coffee is also wasted if the end product is lost along the way. Potential solutions to limit waste were said to include changing agricultural production techniques, making large investments in transport and storage infrastructure, and changing consumer and commercial behaviour.


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Farmers frustrated over delivery contracts that aren’t honoured Farmers not compensated and still under contract when grain companies go past 90-day extension limit on delivery contracts

A University of Manitoba study conducted last summer found only 17 per cent of survey respondents read their entire grain contract. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK BY JENNIFER BLAIR AF STAFF


he national body for canola producers says it will press major grain buyers to address grower concerns with marketing contracts. “If grain companies are hearing it from (producers) as well as the association, hopefully they can start to make a change in this area that really frustrates farmers,” said Cheryl Mayer, director of policy development for the Canadian Canola Growers Association. Her association has received an increasing number of calls from producers who are unhappy with grain-marketing contracts. The number of complaints has increased sharply as the clogged rail system has caused “the most frustration for farmers” who are finding delivery dates in their contracts mean little, she said. “(Producers are) just not able to deliver grain regardless of what their contract says,” said Mayer. “Many of them are being extended beyond even their extended delivery period.” The Canola Growers is in the process of setting up meetings with grain companies to press for reforms, particularly when it comes to delivery promises. Under those contracts, grain companies have the right to push back delivery periods by up to 90 days if they’re not able to accept delivery, she said. But farmers typically aren’t compensated for their carrying costs. “Compensation is not the norm,” she said. “Farmers are not paid any compensation or interest on this. They’re just not able to deliver their grain.” And while grain companies can cancel contracts if producers aren’t able to deliver their grain when called by their elevators, producers can’t do likewise if the situation is reversed. “What farmers find frustrat-

ing about the extended delivery period is that it’s very one sided,” said Mayer. Producers are urged to carefully read every contract — but a University of Manitoba study conducted last summer found only 17 per cent of survey respondents read their entire grain contract. “If you’re not reading (your contract) every year, you may not realize that there has been a change in the terms and conditions,” she said.

“What farmers find frustrating about the extended delivery period is that it’s very one sided.” CHERYL MAYER

Once a contract is signed, producers have little recourse to make changes after the fact. “If you have signed the contract, that confirms that you have read, understood, and agree to all the terms in that contract,” said Mayer. “The responsibility is really on the producer to fulfil their obligations.” Mayer recommends producers calculate their carrying charges for a 90-day period and speak to their grain company about their concerns. “What farmers can do is ask to have something written into their contract that would see them being paid… some kind of compensation if they’re not able to deliver in the delivery period,” she said. And should the grain company agree, get it in writing, she added. “Handshakes are risky.”

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New threat to Brazil’s breadbasket: a pesky caterpillar The tendency of farmers to plant soy repeatedly instead of rotating crops has made Brazil more vulnerable to pests Brazilian farmers are battling a voracious caterpillar that likely arrived from Asia, challenging the agricultural superpower’s widely touted mastery of tropical farming just as it is on the verge of becoming the world’s top soybean producer. By Caroline Stauffer

sao desiderio, brazil / reuters


he caterpillar, a variety known as helicoverpa armigera that thrives in dry heat, was spotted for the first time in the Americas on cotton farms in drought-prone western Bahia in early 2012, fuelling panic among farmers who had no idea what it was. The caterpillar was soon in soybean fields thousands of kilometres away thanks to the longdistance flying power of its moths, consuming everything from tomatoes to sorghum. While crop losses have thus far been limited, Brazil is now on red alert over the nation’s third major pest outbreak in 30 years. Officials have stepped up port controls, farmers are rethinking planting patterns and the hardest hit are blaming the government’s cumbersome bureaucracy for not allowing the import of pesticides that have helped control the bug in other nations.

continues on next page }

Farmer Rudelvi Bombarda checks his soybean crops for damaging caterpillars in Barreiras, Bahia state, February 6, 2014. Brazilian farmers are battling a voracious caterpillar that likely arrived from Asia, challenging the agricultural superpower’s widely touted mastery of tropical farming just as it is on the verge of becoming the world’s top soybean producer.   Photo: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino





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Most importantly, the caterpillar appears to be eating away at Brazil’s proud claim to have conquered the craft of growing reliable crops in a tropical region where pests and disease can spread more quickly than for other major growers. “When you find helicoverpa armigera you have to act immediately, while they are still small,” said Rudelvi Bombarda, who farms 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) with his brother in São Desidério, a dusty farming hub in western Bahia. Bombarda found his first helicoverpa armigera in a bean plant. He knew by the way the fattened, worm-like creature had chewed its way inside the pod, beyond the reach of chemicals, that it was not one of Brazil’s usual leaf-eating pests. “If you wait and send it to a lab it will be too late,” he said. Bahia, one of Brazil’s newest farming frontiers, lost three million tonnes of soy and cotton, nearly half of its usual grains production, between the caterpillar and the drought last year, according to the National Confederation of Agriculture. Still, Brazil produced an 81.5-million-tonne soybean crop. And it has provided a wake-up call on the risks of farming in the bug-ridden tropics, especially as more farmland is put into use. It also shows how Brazil’s emergence as a major breadbasket has made it the fastest-growing market for biotechnology firms like Monsanto, which could benefit from the outbreak by selling its new caterpillar-resistant genetically modified soy and cotton seeds.

‘It changed everything’

The government’s agricultural research agency Embrapa determined helicoverpa armigera was a new species in Brazil in February 2013, a year after farmers in Bahia had noticed it was different from other pests and seemed immune to pesticides. “No one was expecting a species like this,” said Alexandre Specht, the researcher whose microscope identified the caterpillar at a laboratory outside Brasilia. A small display case at the Embrapa Cerrados research cen-

“When you find helicoverpa armigera you have to act immediately, while they are still small.” Rudelvi Bombarda

tre compares brown helicoverpa armigera moths with the nearly identical helicoverpa zea, already known in South America. Most likely, the caterpillar arrived with cargo on a plane or ship from Asia, said Luis Rangel, director of the sanitation department at Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry. In response to the outbreak, the government has added organic material detectors in its main ports and airports, technology that Argentina and Chile already had, Rangel said. Further measures will be taken in conjunction with the national intelligence agency when the World Cup starts in June, he said. The government had hoped to beat a pest cycle that has plagued Brazil once each decade since it started large-scale commercial agriculture. First there was the silverleaf whitefly in the 1990s, followed by soy rust fungus 10 years later, and both are still problems. Brazil was also the world’s top cocoa producer until witches’ broom disease devastated the industry in the 1990s. The country’s soy area expanded by some 40 per cent in the past five years, meaning the helicoverpa armigera outbreak has had a more significant economic impact, Rangel said. The tendency of farmers to plant soy repeatedly instead of rotating crops has also made Brazil more vulnerable to pests, he said. To prevent another outbreak, the government is promoting “integrated agriculture,” which involves monitoring pests, rotating crops and seed varieties, and using biological controls and nat-

The caterpillar of the cotton bollworm moth (helicoverpa armigera) sits on the thumb of a technician in a laboratory.   Photo: REUTERS/Mick Tsikas ural enemies, with chemicals as a last resort. It is a completely new approach, according to Rangel. “The helicoverpa changed everything about phytosanitary policy in Brazil,” he said.

Rangel said bureaucratic hurdles had been worked out and Emamectin Benzoate would be available with special approval on an emergency basis.

Brazilian bureaucracy

Two weeks from harvest, Bombarda’s soybean crop looks healthy. He applied pesticides 10 times, including five coats of Belt, a product he had never used before, made by Germany’s Bayer AG. Syngenta has so far lost out on what would have been a lucrative opportunity to sell Emamectin Benzoate in Brazil. But Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, had better luck. Over the past 11 years, Monsanto developed a caterpillarresistant soybean strain specifically for South America, with an eye on Brazil’s growing pesticide reliance.

The Bahia state government announced that Emamectin Benzoate, a substance manufactured by Swiss crop chemical maker Syngenta, would be available in March 2013, shortly after Embrapa identified the new caterpillar. Yet a year later, farmers still do not have access to it. Syngenta said the company awaited decisions from federal and state governments on regulations and permits needed to import the product, which is sold all over the world, including the United States and parts of Latin America.

Syngenta’s loss, Monsanto’s gain?

“Today there is basically 12 months of continuous planting and you don’t break the pest cycle,” said Renato Carvalho, an insect control specialist at Monsanto in Sao Paulo. “Over the years pressure increases, the pests become resistant to the insecticides and increase in population.” China approved imports of the new seed, Intacta RR2 Pro, in June and it was first sold on the Brazilian market in July. The seeds accounted for some four per cent of soybean area planted this season and are so far proving resistant to helicoverpa armigera. The company is also selling Bollgard Cotton seeds, which have helped control helicoverpa armigera in Australia. Some 90 per cent of soybeans planted are genetically modified in Brazil, where international companies including Syngenta and Dow Agrosciences also sell seeds.


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Global diets get more similar in threat to food security More people are consuming more calories, protein and fat from a shorter list of food crops By Alister Doyle oslo / reuters


A participant of the “Your Weight in Gold” contest sponsored by the Dubai government in 2013 has his weight recorded in Dubai Sept. 3, 2013. The 30-day weight-loss challenge paid residents in gold for losing extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate. The contestant had to lose a minimum two kgs (4.4 pounds) to qualify for the contest.  PHOTo: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

ncreasing similarity in diets worldwide is a threat to health and food security with many people forsaking traditional crops such as cassava, sorghum or millet, an international study showed March 3. The report, which said it detailed for the first time the convergence in crops towards a universal diet in more than 150 nations since the 1960s, showed rises for foods including wheat, rice, soybeans and sunflower. Among shifts, Pacific islanders were eating fewer coconuts as a source of fat and many people in Southeast Asia were getting fewer calories from rice, it said. “More people are consuming

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more calories, protein and fat, and they rely increasingly on a shortlist of major food crops... along with meat and dairy products,” Colin Khoury, leader of the study at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, said in a statement. Such diets have been linked to risks of heart disease, cancers and diabetes, the study said. Reliance on a narrower group of food crops also raises vulnerability to pests and diseases that might gain because of climate change. Overall, diets had become 36 per cent more similar in the past 50 years, judged by factors such as shifts in consumption of more than 50 crops for calories and protein, the study said. The convergence “continues with no indication of slowing,” according to the study in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that included the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the University of British Columbia in Canada. Soybean, sunflower oil and palm oil had become part of the “standard global food supply” alongside crops such as wheat, rice, maize and potato, the study showed.

“We are seeing a rise in obesity and heart disease... from Nigeria to China.” Colin Khoury International Center for Tropical Agriculture


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Rising wealth in emerging economies meant higher consumption of products such as meat and sugary drinks that are typical of western diets. “We are seeing a rise in obesity and heart disease... from Nigeria to China,” Khoury told Reuters. Even so, many national diets had become more varied. “As the human diet has become less diverse at the global level over the last 50 years, many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, have actually widened their menu of major staple crops, while changing to more globalized diets,” a statement said. The scientists urged diversification, including of crops that are falling from fashion, such as rye, yams or cassava, to bolster food security. They also called for preservation of genetic variety in all crops. “Genetic uniformity means more vulnerability to pests and disease,” Khoury said. The Irish potato famine in the late 1840s, or southern corn leaf blight in the United States in the early 1970s, showed the risks of relying on a single crop. John Kearney, of the Dublin Institute of Technology who was not involved in the study, said trends in diets could be reversed with greater awareness of health risks. Some people in Northern Europe were adopting healthier Mediterranean diets with more fruit, vegetables and less meat, he said, even though many in Southern Europe were shifting to more meat and less olive oil.



Syngenta details rules for controversial new GMO corn seed The company won’t assume liability if the product is accidentally sent to buyers that have barred it By Tom Polansek chicago / reuters


yngenta AG will require U.S. farmers who plant a new and controversial type of genetically modified corn this spring to pledge in writing not to ship it China or the European Union, a trade association said March 7. The mandate is the latest step by the world’s largest crop chemicals company to calm concerns among global grain exporters about corn seed containing the Agrisure Duracade trait, which is

Slow U.S. winter thaw needed to avoid more wheat damage

available for planting for the first time this year. Top traders Archer Daniels Midland Co., Bunge Ltd. and Cargill Inc. have said they will limit their handling of crops containing Duracade because the trait is not approved by China or the EU, both major importers. Their stance has divided the U.S. agricultural sector, with Syngenta and some farmers insisting that growers need access to new technology to save money and improve harvests. Corn seeds containing Duracade are engineered to combat pests called rootworms.

Growers who plant Duracade crops must sign a “Syngenta Stewardship Agreement” that requires them to feed the harvest to livestock or poultry on the farm or to deliver it to a grain facility that does not export it to China or the EU, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) said in a newsletter. To prevent Duracade corn from accidentally mingling with approved varieties, Syngenta will advise farmers to harvest it separately, store it in separate bins, and surround fields of Duracade corn with “buffer” rows of another variety, the newsletter said.

“Naturally one could ask why even go to all this trouble to release it if they’re going to ask the farmers and the buyers to follow these recommendations so rigidly,” said Bob Nielsen, an agronomy professor and extension corn specialist at Purdue University. Company officials, including Syngenta Seeds president David Morgan, presented details of the Duracade agreement in a March 4 meeting with the NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association, according to the newsletter. The groups have urged Syngenta to halt sales of

Duracade and another GMO variety until they are approved by major importers. Syngenta has declined and “rejected direct requests” at the meeting to assume liability if Duracade corn is accidentally sent to buyers that have barred it, according to the NGFA. Syngenta estimated Duracade corn will be planted on approximately 250,000 to 300,000 acres in a “launch zone” that includes top growing states such as Iowa and Illinois, the newsletter said. Corn was planted on 95.4 million acres in the United States last year.

Groups sue U.S. EPA for pesticide disclosure

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The condition of the winter wheat crop has dropped

By Carey Gillam reuters

By Colin Packham canberra / reuters


gradual end to the U.S. big freeze is needed to prevent further damage to the country’s wheat crop, the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said. U.S. wheat futures have firmed in recent weeks amid concerns over potential curbs to yields as a result of cold weather across the U.S. plains. “The persistence of winter has been a problem...,” said USDA’s Joseph Glauber at a commodities conference in the Australian capital Canberra. “We have had snow cover over a lot of the regions and to a degree that has protected things, but the concern is when you have a bit of warm weather and wheat popping out of dormancy,” he said, referring to the risk that short-lived warmer weather could melt snows and could encourage growth that could be damaged by further cold snaps. The condition of the U.S. plains winter wheat crop has dropped due to frigid temperatures throughout February and dry soils, U.S. government data released on March 3. In Kansas, the largest production state for winter wheat, the crop was rated 34 per cent good to excellent, down one per cent from a month earlier. Nebraska’s winter wheat crop was rated 43 per cent good to excellent, a three per cent drop from the start of February. The ratings decline was greater in southern areas of the Winter Wheat Belt, where soils were drier and the crop was more susceptible to the cold. “We still have a lot of dryness in the southern plains, that is the other main concern,” Glauber told Reuters. Texas winter wheat was rated 15 per cent good to excellent compared with 19 per cent a week ago. 1-855-237-9653

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NEWS New meat-processing facility opens in Edmonton af staff / A subsidiary of one of China’s largest meat processors is building a $13-million processing facility in Edmonton. Siwin Foods, an offshoot of Yantai Xiwang Foods, has been working out of the Leduc Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator since 2004. It produces ready-to-eat meals and quick-cook products, notably dumplings, potstickers and

other Asian dishes. In order to keep up with growing demand, Siwin has partnered with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency to build a new processing facility. A spokesperson from ALMA said the agency contributed $260,000 to the engineering and design of the new building, and $435,000 for processing equipment. That equipment uses technology that will help Siwin boost exports to the U.S. and China. The current facility has 13 full-time and five part-time staff, and Siwin plans to hire

five to seven additional staff during their startup phase. “Siwin will hire local staff to join their team as they ramp up production and source more Alberta meat products to meet demand across Canada, and eventually enter export markets,” the ALMA spokesperson said in an email. ALMA president and CEO Gordon Cove said he supports the partnership because it creates a new “made in Alberta” product. Many other brands of dumplings and potstickers sold in Alberta are made by processors in other provinces or countries, he said.

Three environmental and public health groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency March 5, seeking to press it to move forward with rules that would require public disclosure of certain pesticide ingredients. The Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, all non-profit advocacy groups, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The groups claimed there has been an “unreasonable delay” on the EPA’s part in finalizing rules to require chemical manufacturers to disclose hazardous inert ingredients in their pesticide products. The groups said there are more than 350 inert pesticide ingredients that can be just as hazardous as active ingredients that are labelled and can comprise up to 99 per cent of a pesticide’s formulation. Of the common inert ingredients, many are classified as carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic or potentially toxic, the lawsuit said. More than 20 public health groups and a coalition of state attorneys general petitioned EPA in 2006 to take action on this issue. EPA said in 2009 that it was starting the rule-making process regarding disclosures of such ingredients. But the lawsuit claimed that since 2009 EPA has taken no further action to adopt any new rules on disclosure of inert ingredients. “EPA’s unreasonable delay continues to leave the public uninformed and unable to protect themselves from the hazardous chemicals they are being exposed to through the use of pesticide products,” the lawsuit said. EPA officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a 2009 letter to the groups, EPA said that it intended to “effect a sea change in how inert ingredient information is made available to the public.” But it also said it was not committing to any particular outcome.



Debunking myths around Canada’s UPOV ’91 legislation Farmers can still save seed, but end-use royalties aren’t guaranteed, says Plant Breeders’ Rights commissioner By Allan Dawson staff


armers won’t lose the ability to save and reuse seed under UPOV ’91 and they won’t automatically be paying end-use royalties, the commissioner of Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Office says. “I hope to debunk some of the myths that are out there...,” Anthony Parker told the Prairie Grain Development Committee’s annual meeting in Winnipeg Feb. 26. “Farmers’ privilege (to save seed) is clearly entrenched in legislation and there are no immediate changes planned.” A selling point for some for amending Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights legislation through Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, is the notion that it will allow plant breeders to collect so-called “end-use royalties” on farmers’ grain when delivered to the elevator. But Parker said while the law allows for end-point royalties, they are not automatically invoked after C-18 becomes law. “There will have to be strong support from the farmer community to do this,” he said later in an interview.

“Farmers’ privilege (to save seed) is clearly entrenched in legislation and there are no immediate changes planned.” Anthony Parker

There’s confusion about endpoint royalties because the new law allows breeders to seek compensation from harvested crops grown from illegal seed — socalled brown-bagged seed, which is seed grown without compensating the breeder. “The intent here is really about reducing infringement (of plant breeders’ rights),” Parker said. “It is not a legislated basis for end-point royalties.” The new law does not affect the ability of farmers who buy seed and pay a royalty to the breeder to save seed from their harvest to plant future crops so long as they have not signed an agreement not to save seed. However, they can’t sell or trade that seed to other farmers for planting.

Brown-bagged seed

Brown-bag seed is already illegal

under Canada’s plant breeders’ rights legislation, which conforms to UPOV ’78 (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants). The new law will extend breeders’ rights allowing breeders to seek compensation at different points in the value chain, “if, and only if” they weren’t compensated when the seed was purchased. While most farm groups support the legislation — some with provisos — the National Farmers Union (NFU) fears farmers’ traditional right to save seed is at risk. Not so, said Parker in an interview: “Again, that continued practice of farm-saved seed is completely permitted to happen with the legislative amendments.” But former NFU president Terry Boehm notes the legislation refers to farm-saved seed as a “privilege” not a “right.” And according to Boehm it’s a “hollow privilege” because the new legislation prevents farmers from stocking seed. “Stocking,” which means stockpiling seed for future sale, is different than “storing,” Parker said. “There’s nothing in the act that would preclude the act of storing seed on farm to use in subsequent years (as seed by farmers),” he said.

breaches occur, farmers are usually required to pay the royalties they owe, plus costs. Under the new law a seed cleaner caught processing brownbagged seed could be forced to compensate the breeder, Parker said. But seed cleaners can protect themselves by getting farmers to sign waivers. “There are simple solutions,” he said. “I don’t think there needs to be any concern among those treating or conditioning seed.” Protecting breeders allows them to get a return on investment, which encourages domestic and foreign breeders to provide improved varieties to Canadian farmers, he said. “There’s this notion out there that this is a zero sum proposition — if breeders gain more rights then farmers must lose rights,” Parker said. “That is not the case. It is truly a win-win situation. Stronger breeders’ rights result in more farmer benefits.”

Anthony Parker, commissioner of Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Office, says farmers are allowed to save seed under UPOV ’91, but the introduction of end-point royalties is not automatic once Bill C-18 becomes law.  Photo: allan dawson


Under current legislation farmsaved seed is “implicit,” Parker said. But because breeders’ rights are being expanded beyond seed sales, the farmer’s ability to save seed needs to be “explicit” in the new law, he said. Boehm also notes that the legislation allows the federal cabinet to limit the farmers’ privilege through regulation. “This is hardly what one would call enshrining a farmer’s right to use their own seed,” he wrote in an opinion piece. Farm-saved seed is “not an absolute right,” Parker acknowledged, but added the legislation needs flexibility because 330 different crop kinds are covered. “To say that the same thing will work in the cereal sector, as will work in the potato sector, as will work in the fruit tree sector is somewhat unreasonable,” he said. No changes to the farmers’ privilege can be made without consulting farmers, Parker added. According to the NFU, the new law would allow breeders to take draconian measures, such as freezing assets of those suspected of contravening breeders’ rights. “We have not had, to date, any draconian measures under the PBR act and it’s not expected with these few provisions bringing it up to UPOV ’91 that there will be any draconian measures in terms of enforcement of Plant Breeders’ Rights,” Parker said.


Breeders’ rights have been in place since 1991 in Canada. When

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25 • march 17, 2014

Canada’s breeders’ rights’ office established in 1991 Since then breeders’ rights have been granted for more than 4,700 varieties By Allan Dawson staff


anada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Office has granted protection to almost 4,700 different varieties covering more than 330 crop kinds, since being set up in 1992, Anthony Parker, Canada’s commissioner of Plant Breeders’ Rights told the Prairie Grain Development Committee’s annual meeting in Winnipeg Feb. 26. There have been almost 8,200 applications for breeders’ rights over the last 23 years — a large portion being submitted from outside the country, Parker said. Oilseed crops account for most of the agricultural crop applications, followed by potatoes and cereals. Of all the applications submitted by Canadians, almost half are from public institutions, he said. The office receives 300 to 400 applications for breeders’ rights a year with around 100 coming from Canada. The breeders’ rights office employs seven or eight people

and is fully funded by application fees. An application costs $1,500 and generates about $800,000 to $900,000 a year, Parker said. Four conditions have to met before breeders’ rights are granted: 1) A variety has to be new. 2) It has to be distinct from other similar varieties. 3) It has to be uniform. 4) It has to be stable and unchanging after several cycles of propagation. “Similar to most intellectual property protection, it is up to the rights holder to enforce that right in the marketplace,” Parker said. “The CFIA or Plant Breeders’ Rights Office has no role to play once grant of rights has been obtained and the variety is out in the marketplace.” Plant breeders’ rights now last 15 years for most crops and 18 for woody plants. Under the proposed new law, rights will be extended to 20 and 25 years, respectively. There are provisions in the act to extend them even further if necessary. Parker said a case can be made to extend rights on potatoes to 30 years.

Under plant breeders’ rights, plant breeders are allowed to use other breeders’ varieties without the breeder’s permission. “It ensures that genetics aren’t locked up,” Parker said. However, if a breeder commercializes a new variety developed with another breeder’s variety the breeder must be compensated. “There’s a research exemption, which is also mandatory,” he said. “No authorization is required to conduct research or experimentation on a PBR protected variety. It ensures that information is not locked up.” Hobbyists and subsistence farmers in developing countries are also exempt. There’s a provision for compulsory licensing if it’s agreed that a breeder is holding a variety off the market or charging too much for it. If another entity is granted a licence to commercialize someone’s variety that breeder must be compensated. Compulsory licensing has never been used in Canada, Parker said.

  photo: thinkstock

Beef Advocacy program launches Two courses help farmers and the public become advocates for the beef industry

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CA Beef Advocacy Canada launched its live advocacy and education program at the recent Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) annual general meeting. Canada Beef and the CCA, along with funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Association (ALMA), have brought together industry partners to develop a comprehensive program that will walk future beef advocates through the entire industry from gate to plate. “The program is designed to equip advocates with facts and resources to support the beef industry in a world where information moves more quickly than it ever has before,” said Annemarie Pedersen, director, industry communications, Canada Beef. Canada Beef and CCA began work on the program in 2013, understanding the need for a positive, knowledgeable and unified voice for the beef industry. “More people are talking about the Canadian beef industry now than in the past; they are talking about how cattle are raised and how beef is produced,” said Jolene Noble, program co-ordinator, CCA. The goal of the program is to

empower people, those who make their living by and take pride in bringing beef to the world’s table, to communicate about beef production with knowledge and confidence. Numerous industry partners collaborated on developing the material used in the course work. “This is definitely a program that shares the depth of knowledge within our industry,” said Pedersen. Two courses provide information for a large range of audiences. Course One is designed to provide basic information about the entire process from cattle on the farm, to beef in the meat case. This information is suitable not only for aspiring beef advocates, but also for the general population — anyone who wants to know more about the Canadian beef industry. Course Two will be designed specifically for those people who want to become advocates for the Canadian beef industry. There will be specific resources and information available to registered users of both courses. The Beef Advocacy program is an educational, online resource designed to provide information on the Canadian beef industry via smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. The website is www. and Twitter is @beefadvocacy.



Land rent realities for 2014 Rental rates started an upward trend in early 2008, and peaked in 2013 AGRI-NEWS


Tenants won’t be throwing around excess cash on rent this year.


he year 2014 could prove to be a tumultuous one for cropland rental rates. The fact that rental rates will likely soften should not be a surprise. Cropland rents are a function of productivity and price for the most part. Other factors that play a minor role include proximity to the tenant’s existing operation, field efficiency and local competition for available rented land. These other factors are usually fairly static from year to year, so the deciding factors going into the next crop year will be the two Ps, price and productivity. “Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s Ag-Info Centre has been fielding calls on anticipated crop rental rates for the coming year since after harvest,” says Ted Nibourg, farm business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

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“This is the typical yearly pattern; however, the difference this year is the downward pressure on rates. Rental rates started an upward trend in early 2008, and peaked in 2013. Stronger grain and oilseed prices prompted landlords to renegotiate land leasing arrangements, especially those involving cash rents. It is understandable that with increased returns, higher cash rents were justifiable. A common trend during the period 2008 to 2013 was the inclusion of a clause in rental agreements stipulating that rents would be up for negotiation after harvest every year even with three- to five-year tenures. “This was definitely an advantage to landlords giving the benefit of increasing grain and oilseed prices. The increase in rents occurred at a slower pace than the increase in crop prices, however,” says Nibourg.

Following prices?

Current crop prices are at about the same level they were in 2007, just before the run-up on prices. This would imply that rents could regress to the 2007 levels but, just as the rise in rents was slow to materialize, so too could be the lowering in rents. Direct expenses for most crops have increased anywhere from 24 to 53 per cent since 2007, averaging approximately 36 per cent. At current crop prices, yields would have to be well above average for a producer to realize a positive contribution margin. The contribution margin is what pays the rent. There is a school of thought that advocates cash rent should be onehalf of the contribution margin. This year however, above-average yields would exacerbate the already oversupply situation we are experiencing thus further delaying any price correction. “Running a cash rent scenario using crop prices at this time last year, the result was an economic cash rent of $90/acre using hard red spring wheat, canola and barley in a four-year rotation with one year of canola, one year of barley and two years of wheat,” says Nibourg. “Running that same scenario using current prices, the result was an over 40 per cent drop in rent to $53/ ac. The yields in this scenario were a respectable 61 bushels per acre for wheat, 77 bushels for barley and 38 bushels for canola.” Cash flow will likely play a part in the 2014 cropland rental situation. Grain movement has been slow making it difficult for producers to market grain. Only about 30 per cent of eligible producers are enrolled in AgriStability, and payouts will probably not be realized until 2015 at the earliest. AgriStability does however, provide a backstop that could mitigate some of the downward pressure on cash rents. Cash advances may cover direct expenses for some smaller producers but for larger producers the advances will only meet half of their needs due to the $400,000 cap on advances. Cash flow difficulties may put downward pressure on rents going forward. “At the end of the day, landlords will be considering themselves fortunate if they can maintain rents to 2013 levels,” says Nibourg. “Tenants may be willing to ride out the storm in order to maintain their land base but economically that cannot last indefinitely. One thing is certain, 2014 will be a transition year as far as land rents are concerned. But then again, that is the nature of agriculture.”



Anti-glyphosate crusader accuses herbicide of causing a host of ills Don Huber is a darling of farm critics, but once again refused to offer evidence for his claim during a Lethbridge visit By Helen McMenamin

af contributor / lethbridge


on Huber has become the darling of organic farming fans and notorious among farmers and scientists for his opposition to glyphosate and genetically engineered crops. The retired plant pathologist from Purdue University, who has a long and distinguished CV, laid out some of the science — and his personal beliefs — for stance for attendees at the recent Farming Smarter AGM. Huber offered some evidence that glyphosate may limit uptake of micronutrients, but he added a myriad of plant, human and animal health problems to the issues he attributes to the use of the herbicide. In 1975, a year after the introduction of glyphosate to the herbicide market, Huber said he noticed wheat diseases weren’t responding to management techniques that had kept them under control before. “I saw diseases like scab (fusarium) that hadn’t been a problem for 20 years, re-emerging the year after glyphosate was introduced,” he said. “There are no silver bullets. As farmers, we have to make sure that the environment favours plants, allowing the abiotic and biotic environment of the soil to suppress pathogens that take away the potential of the crop to efficiently capture the sun’s energy in sugars.”


Human health

Huber also said he believes herbicide-resistant crops are less healthy

extracted and grown a previously unknown disease organism that has no DNA or RNA and is not a prion. Huber made headlines three years ago when he sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack claiming he had evidence of a newly discovered “micro-fungal-like organism” linked to glyphosate. He has since refused to provide any studies or even any data to back up this claim. In a column in the Feb. 17 edition of Alberta Farmer, Farming Smarter general manager Ken Coles called Huber’s unsubstantiated theories “bad science,” but said he invited him to the AGM because farmers “need to understand why Huber’s mesT:8.125” Don Huber claims several plant diseases are on the rise because of sage finds such a receptive audiglyphosate use. ence.”

Meet Reed Andrew Started farming: 1974 Crop Rotation: Barley, durum, canola (and cows) Why he loves farming: It’s all I ever wanted to do Favorite sports team: His son’s team, University of Saskatchewan Huskies Best farming moment: A crop that looks small, but harvests big Worst farming moment: Crop looks big, but harvests small Most hated weeds: Scentless chamomile, kochia PrecisionPac® blends: PP-3317


Glyphosate stops a step in a metobolic pathway called shikimate used by plants and microbes to produce amino acids to build proteins, he said. It’s at this point that Huber’s views diverge from those of most plant pathologists. He says the herbicide acts by chelating micronutrients in plants and in micro-organisms in the guts of healthy animals and humans. (Chelation binds metallic ions tightly so they are not available to link with other compounds.) According to Huber, glufosinate, the active ingredient in Liberty, is so similar to glyphosate that both were included in a single patent for a mineral chelator. He described glyphosate as a powerful antibiotic, but said antibiotics used in medicine “target bad guys” and glyphosate targets beneficial micro-organisms such as lactobacillus, trichoderma, and bifidus bacteria. “Glyphosate increases bacteria that are insensitive to it and cause infections in humans and animals,” he said. Huber also claimed there are 40 new, re-emerging, or more virulent crop diseases — such as Goss’s wilt and take-all, — that are on the rise because of changes in soil biology and reduced mineral availability linked to the impact of glyphosate on soil organisms. He quoted several research papers and presented slides that contrasted side-by-side comparisons where part of a field had been sprayed with glyphosate and the other was not sprayed. However, he did not have any data from replicated plots, disease nurseries or from planned research.

than those of conventionally bred varieties and glyphosate causes disease, premature aging, and reproductive failure in humans and livestock. He listed a number of diseases — including sudden infant death syndrome, Parkinson’s, arthritis and cancer — that he claimed are linked to glyphosate use. He also claimed feeding GM corn to livestock increases yellow fat and results in premature aging. And he attributed sudden deaths and abortion storms in cattle herds to feeding of crops grown in the presence of glyphosate, which resulted in reduced levels of manganese and other micronutrients in fetal tissues. But he didn’t mention his most notorious claim — that he has


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Daysland lamb producer reveals her secret for success Lisa and Troy Greenstein were thinking about hobby farming when they left city life behind, but it’s become much more BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF / CAMROSE


ersistence is the key ingredient if you want to get your farm product into grocery stores, say Lisa and Troy Greenstein. “I’m like a dog with a bone — if I get an idea in my head, I don’t let it drop until we get there,” said Lisa. “Two and a half years ago, I said that in five years Greenstein Farms is going to be a household name and my father-in-law laughed at me. I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it in two.’ “Within a year and a half, we had our contract with SaveOn-Foods. So I’m a little bit tenacious.” The couple and their five children moved to a farm near Daysland four years ago, keeping their day jobs and doing some hobby farming on the side, raising pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and ducks. They now have a 300-ewe flock and also buy lambs from other producers. It took months of phone calls and emails before getting a contract with Save-On-Foods. “If one person says no to you, you go to the next one,” Lisa said at a recent Farm Direct market-

ing session hosted by Alberta Agriculture. “Go online, find the customer service numbers for the companies you want to talk to. Talk to different departments and get the one you’re looking for. Email, email, email.”

Details critical

But getting the contract — which arrived just as Lisa discovered she was expecting — was just the start. “The next seven months were absolute chaos for us,” she said. “Ryder was born just as we were hitting a huge learning curve.” The couple hadn’t realized selling to a chain meant having their lambs processed at a federally inspected plant. That meant convincing their competitor, SunGold Meats in Innisfail, to inspect their meat. Labelling, which must meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidelines, was another confusing prospect. “It’s up to you, the producer, to have it all correct,” said Lisa. “There’s a terrible fear that if you miss something, all of your product will be sent back to you.” Once again, she worked the phone, constantly questioning CFIA officials. “Even if it may seem like a stupid question, it could save you

thousands,” she said. “I can personally tell you what it’s like to have the bottom of your stomach fall out when you’ve OK’d your label, sent it to the printers, and you have 10,000 labels ready to be printed and you realize the designer forgot the French on it.” Fortunately, that glitch was caught in time, but her advice is “be prepared for those challenges.” Transportation was another issue. “Here’s where we found out that health codes and safety standards become a little convoluted,” she said. Even though the Greensteins’ freezers were certified by Alberta Health Services, their trailers didn’t meet SunGold’s requirements. So the couple had to hire a storage facility that would pick up their product, and hold it until SunGold could pick it up. The couple took an unusual path to connect with other producers and find lamb suppliers — they began selling sheep-handling equipment. “We’ve met so many wonderful and interesting people through our sales and we now have a huge network of producers all across Alberta,” she said. “Ideally, we’d like to see Greenstein Farms become a

co-op run by local lamb producers in Alberta, where everyone can benefit, including the consumer.” The couple still have their day jobs and even though a seventh child is on the way, they continue to build their farm business (www.greensteinfarms. com). They direct sell a host of products — beef, pork, chicken, lamb, raw dog food, lamb sausages, Great Pyrenees puppies, raw wool, and variety boxes with different cuts of meat as well as produce. Social media has been a key marketing tool. Twitter helped them get their product into restaurants and bring them closer to consumers who buy their products. “One of the most important aspects that I’ve found in sales is creating an emotion in your customer and attaching that emotion to your branding is a necessary step,” she said. This is especially important if you want a premium price. “Customers need a reason to spend that extra money,” said Lisa. “They need to feel an emotional connection not only to your product, but to you as the supplier or producer.”

Greenstein Farms supplies lamb to all the Save-On-Foods grocery stores in Alberta.

Lisa and Troy Greenstein started Greenstein Farms about four years ago, and currently supply lamb to all the Save-On-Foods grocery stores in Alberta.

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A line of donkeys, led by a molly mule, treks through an aspen bush in search of forage, west of Millarville, Alta. The harsh winter across much of the country, and especially on the Prairies, has been tough on wildlife and livestock. Deep snow with a crusted surface, along with frigid temperatures, has resulted in farmers and ranchers having to provide hay for those that cannot dig through to the grasses.   Photo: Wendy Dudley T:8.125”

Monsanto scholarships available For students entering their first year at a recognized Canadian institution


Farm kids headed off to university to study agriculture in 2014 are eligible to apply for a scholarship worth $1,500 from the Monsanto Fund. The program awards 65 entrance scholarships annually to help youth pay for post-secondary education in agriculture or an agriculture-related field of study. Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarships are available to eligible students entering their first year of post-secondary education in agriculture at a recognized Canadian educational institution. Students must be from a farm with confirmed plans to study agriculture, must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership qualities and a commitment to rural communities, they must write an essay as part of their application and they need a reference from a farmer. Deadline for applications is May 30. Recipients are announced in September. Now entering its 24th year in Canada, the scholarship program has awarded well over $1 million to thousands of deserving rural students since it was first introduced in Canada in 1991. It is Monsanto’s longestrunning corporate support program in Canada.

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Drought withers Australia’s agricultural output Beef exports have soared as producers slaughter herds due to feed shortages BY COLIN PACKHAM CANBERRA / REUTERS


Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (r) meets with Phillip and Di Ridge on their property near Bourke in western New South Wales Feb. 16. Abbott was taking part in a drought tour with Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. A drought in Australia has forced ranchers in the world’s third-biggest beef exporter to cull cows, stoking fears of a global beef shortage in coming years with the U.S. herd at its lowest in six decades. PHOTO: REUTERS/ANDREW MEARES




rought conditions across Australia’s east coast will cut production of key agricultural commodities such as wheat and beef next season and reduce exports, the government’s chief commodities forecaster said March 4. The current season could see Australia, the world’s thirdlargest wheat exporter, produce a bumper wheat crop, with increased plantings and if late-season rains materialize. However, forecasts of a return of dry El Niño weather conditions across the key farming states of Queensland and New South Wales later in 2014 mean

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the prospects for agricultural production remain uncertain. Global markets will be watching forecasts of Australia’s crop given concerns over Ukraine tensions disrupting supply from the Black Sea area, one of the world’s key grain-exporting regions. Australian wheat production is forecast to fall 8.2 per cent to 24.795 million in the 201415 season from 27.013 million tonnes this year as dry conditions curb yields, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural, Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said. ABARES said the decline in production will come despite a two per cent increase in acreage planted as yields return to historical average levels due to dry conditions. The yields assumptions are based on a break in the drought, but with forecasts for more dry conditions across Australia’s east coast, the commodity forecaster acknowledged further cuts to yields are possible. “It is very difficult to forecast at the moment, it is not just the amount of rain, but also the timing... you don’t need huge amounts of rain in the growth period, it just has to come at the right time,” said Jammie Penm, chief commodity forecaster at ABARES, referring to uncertainty over yields in 2014-15. Despite the dry conditions, this season’s Australian wheat harvest could be the country’s sixth-largest crop on record. Such a bumper crop could drag on rising U.S. wheat prices. Australia’s drought was also resulting in record cattle slaughter rates, prompting ABARES to up its forecast for 2013-14 beef exports to 1.15 million tonnes. Parts of Queensland, Australia’s largest cattle-producing state and home to half the national herd, have recorded the driest two years on record. ABARES said Australia’s national herd will fall to 27.1 million head, the lowest since the 2009-10 season, a year also impacted by drought. But the following season, 2014-15, ABARES, based on its assumption of a break in the drought, is forecasting cattle farmers will begin to rebuild stock, resulting in a fall in beef exports of nearly seven per cent. If the drought breaks, exports would fall to 1.04 million tonnes, cementing Australia’s position as the world’s third-largest beef exporter, ABARES said. However, with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology calling for a continuation of hot, dry conditions in Queensland, cattle slaughter rates could continue at near-record pace, limiting any slowing of exports. “The duration, frequency and intensity of heat waves have increased across large parts of Australia since 1950,” according to a Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO report on Tuesday. Remember that story you wanted to read again from a few months back?


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Search news. Read stories. Find insight.





Dozens of children have died of malnutrition and other causes in Pakistan’s southern region this year. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 18 children under the age of five had died in January and another 23 in February. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority confirmed the U.N. figures, saying 26 under-five children had also died in December when a severe drought hit the Tharparkar area of the southern region of Sindh. The drought has affected an estimated 900,000 people, according to the Tharparkar deputy commissioner’s office. — Reuters

Japan’s weather bureau said Mar. 10 its climate models indicate there is a higher chance the El Niño weather pattern, which is often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, will form than regular weather patterns this summer. The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast last month that there is a 50 per cent chance that an El Niño weather pattern could emerge this summer. The El Niño — a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific — can trigger drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America, hitting production of key foods such as rice, wheat and sugar. — Reuters

Some of the heaviest snowfalls can come in the spring Long-term weather records show that almost 50 cm have arrived in April BY DANIEL BEZTE


ith spring starting to make itself felt across the region the last thing most people want to hear about is snow, but what some tend to forget is that springtime across the Prairies can bring some of the biggest snowfalls of the year. So I thought I would dig back into the weather records and share with you some of the biggest spring snowstorms recorded across agricultural Alberta. Let’s first examine why we can receive such heavy snowfalls in the spring. To receive a lot of precipitation there needs to be a lot of moisture in the air. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. During spring we start to see temperatures warm, especially to our south, and this allows the amount of moisture in the atmosphere to increase.

in just the right amounts to produce big-time snows. I wish I had the time to check out the weather records for every location in agricultural Alberta, but unfortunately I don’t. So I have broken down the records by looking at the long-term weather records for the two main cities in Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton. For this study, I only looked at snowfall and did not take into account any combination of rainfall and wet snow, as this would mostly have been recorded as rainfall at any of the Environment Canada Stations. Let us begin by looking at Calgary. April snow is not unknown to residents of this part of Alberta. Looking back through

Calgary’s weather records I was actually very surprised at just how many snowfall days occurred during April. The biggest April snowstorm I was able to find occurred back in 1932, when between April 20 and 21 an amazing 49.3 cm of snow fell! Then, only one year later, an April storm hit on April 15 and lasted through to the 17th. During this storm nearly 46 cm of snow fell. Another 40-plus-cm snowstorm occurred in 1966 on April 25-27, when 45 cm fell. More recently, back in 2003, between April 26 and 28, 38.5 cm of snow fell. This storm recorded the second-largest one-day snowfall total for April when 32.2 cm fell on April 26. The largest single-day snowfall

total for April occurred during the 1932 storm, when on April 21 an absolutely amazing 45.7 cm of snow fell!

Less in the north

Farther north in the Edmonton region the number of spring snowfalls is not as great as the Calgary region, but Edmonton has still seen its fair share of large April snowstorms. The largest was in 1955, when between April 18 and 20 a whopping 47.5 cm of snow fell. Yet another big April storm hit in 1948 when 43 cm of snow fell between April 1 and 3. The third-biggest storm occurred a bit more recently, from April 6 through to the 7th of 1991, when nearly 41 cm of snow fell, with over 36 cm falling

on April 6. This is currently the second-largest one-day snowfall record for April. The largest one-day total was on April 19, 1955 when 38 cm fell. The most recent big snow event was in 2002 when 28 cm fell on April 14 and 15. So, as the stats point out, some of the largest snowstorms to hit this part of the world have occurred in April. Are we going to see a repeat this year? I really hope not, but as the weather goes, you just never know! So let’s keep our fingers crossed that April ends up bringing us perfect weather and that we enter May with nice mild temperatures and soil moisture conditions just where we want them to be.

The biggest April snowstorm I was able to find occurred back in 1932, when between April 20 and 21 an amazing 49.3 cm of snow fell!

The other ingredient we need to produce a lot of precipitation is some way to wring out all of that moisture. The way this is done is by cooling the air and forcing all the moisture to condense and fall out of the clouds. If temperatures are warm enough the precipitation will fall as rain, but if the atmosphere can mix in enough cold air then it will fall as snow. During our spring, Arctic regions are still covered in snow and ice and cold temperatures are usually still in place, so there is a good source of cold air. Warm, moist air can build to the south and occasionally everything can come together

This issue’s map shows the total amount of snow compared to the long-term average, that has fallen across the Prairies during the 30-day period ending on March 6. It has been fairly dry over a good part of Alberta and areas south and west of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in Manitoba. Central Saskatchewan and Manitoba saw near- to above-average amounts, with a few locations recording well-above-average amounts.




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Feds fund management group

Land Use 2014 conference

Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, last week announced a five-year funding of over $4 million to Farm Management Canada (FMC) to help it strengthen producers’ business skills and build farm management capacity. FMC will use the funding to enhance farm business management knowledge and skills development through various print and online channels and by working with industry and provinces/territories to identify and fill gaps in farm business development information and resources.

Land Use 2014, Western Canada’s forum on land-use research, planning and policy, is being held in Edmonton on May 7 and 8, 2014. The event will focus on three key areas of study: Urbanization and loss of agricultural land; What makes wetland policy effective; and, If it pays, it stays: paying for ecosystem services on private land. Regular registration is $450 plus GST per person, student registration is $200 plus GST per person. For more information visit

HEARTLAND CFIA finds feed failed to infect pigs Vet working with Ontario’s infected herds says agencies reporting of test results ‘confuses the facts’ By Daniel Winters co-operator staff


he Canadian Food Inspection Agency says testing has been unable to confirm a link between pig feed containing blood plasma and an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) in Eastern Canada. But an Ontario vet on the front lines of that province’s outbreak says a common source of feed is the only thing linking the 18 operations, including one in P.E.I., that have been affected. Dr. Doug MacDougald, a veterinarian with South West Ontario Veterinary Services who has worked with some of the first herds to be infected in Canada, takes issue with the way the CFIA reported the testing results, alleging that it “confuses the facts” and “absolutely smacks of government obfuscation.” CFIA spokesman Guy Gravelle said testing showed that the porcine blood plasma used as a feed ingredient contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs. But further study, which involved feeding the feed pellets containing the plasma to pigs, did not cause disease. “In line with our commitment to science, the agency will continue to analyze feed and feed ingredients, as well as epidemiological information gathered during the investigation, in order to verify that CFIA controls continue to protect Canadian livestock,” wrote Gravelle, citing a posting on the CFIA’s website dated March 3. “In addition, the CFIA will examine any new lines of inquiry related to feed that may emerge, in particular from ongoing testing in Canada and the U.S.”

Wrong message

MacDougald, speaking as a private veterinarian working with the producers impacted by PED, in his personal opinion, said the CFIA has sent a “completely wrong” message to the North American hog industry because it omits important facts related to the outbreak and has left the “clear impression” that feed is not involved in PED in Canada. “Here’s the conclusion: the epidemiology clearly links this live PED virus contaminated plasma shipment to 18 infected herds that are geographically diverse — they include a herd in P.E.I. — and have no other remotely identified linkages,” said MacDougald, who is currently chair of the Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board. The bioassay only tested a small amount of feed on a small number of pigs, he added. “The failure of the complete feed swine bioassay is moot at best, given these facts, and does not detract from

“The failure of the complete feed swine bioassay is moot at best, given these facts, and does not detract from the obvious conclusion on the spread of PED virus in Canada.” Dr. Doug MacDougald

the obvious conclusion on the spread of PED virus in Canada.” The contaminated shipment was used to make “many tonnes” of feed, and the fact that a small sample failed to infect the test group of pigs doesn’t change the reality that contaminated feed is directly linked to at least 18 cases in Ontario and P.E.I. “It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack to find live virus in the tonnes of feed,” said MacDougald.

“I can’t speculate where the gap in the quality control process was. I do know that samples were taken from each of the remaining 190 sealed bags of plasma and in pooled testing, every one was positive for PED virus,” he said.

Sampling continues

He conceded cross-contamination in some other way was possible, but he considers it unlikely. “I can’t speculate where the gap in the process was. We’re just on the ground tracking a pattern of disease and now trying to contain it,” he said. Louis Russell, CEO of American Protein Corporation, said the data clearly shows the feed was not the vector for the spread. “CFIA explained that feed, containing porcine plasma, did not infect pigs with PED virus,” said Russell, in response to an email query. “It is important that CFIA and industry continue working together to identify how this virus is spread. Until this is understood, the swine industry continues to be at risk from this disease.” The CFIA also stated that its investigation so far has included sampling and testing of feed, plasma and other feed ingredients from various Canadian and

U.S. sources associated with farms in Canada on which PED has been detected. All test results on these samples were negative for PED. The feed investigation was triggered on Feb. 9, after Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) testing found that U.S.origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers contained PED virus genetic material. As a precautionary measure, Grand Valley Fortifiers voluntarily withdrew the potentially affected feed pellets from the marketplace. Samples of both the feed pellets and the porcine blood plasma ingredient were submitted to the CFIA’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) for further testing. It was confirmed that both the blood plasma and the feed pellets contained PED virus genetic material; however, a bioassay study was required to confirm if this genetic material could cause illness in pigs. PED can spread rapidly through contact with sick animals, as well as through people’s clothing, hands, equipment, boots and other tools contaminated with the feces of infected animals.



It’s not your regular farming, but community-supported agriculture catching on Most community-supported agriculture operations grow vegetables — lots and lots of them By Jennifer Blair af staff / olds

O Dick Pearson, shown with wife Sue, says running a CSA “is probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my farming career.”

ne size does not fit all when it comes to communitysupported agriculture in Alberta, according to a recent Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development study. “We talked to 25 different people, and we got 25 different answers on how you do a (community-supported agriculture program),” said project consultant Brenda Frick of Resilient Solutions Consulting. Community-supported agriculture, or CSA, is a relatively new concept in Alberta, and one that flies

in the face of traditional agriculture production, where consumers only enter the picture post-harvest. But CSA customers pay up front and then get a weekly share in the harvest, whatever that might be. Shared risk is one of the main reasons farmers go this route, said Frick. “If you’re in a farmers’ market and you get hailed out, you have nothing to take to market,” said Frick. “This way, you’re sharing your risk with your CSA members.” There are roughly 40 CSA operations in Alberta, and most are singlefamily farms that grow, clean and package seasonal vegetables for pickup at a delivery hub.

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“Making it convenient for your customers is really important,” said Frick. “They’ll stay for the convenience, and they’ll leave if it’s not.” A CSA share typically costs about $600 for a summer’s worth of assorted fresh vegetables — and a connection to the person who grows them. “The relationship with the grower is important,” said Frick. And vice versa, says third-generation farmer Dick Pearson. “When you’re a smaller producer, you really have to look at the personal connection that you make with your customers,” said Pearson, who operates Seeds to Greens ( on his mixed farming operation just outside the city limits southeast of Calgary. Twenty years ago, Pearson and wife Sue began direct marketing from their farm, and in 2011, they tried a CSA program as a pilot project. And though they started small, running the program hasn’t been an easy undertaking for the couple.

“There should be plenty of potential out there.”

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“(Community-supported agriculture) is probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my farming career,” he said. CSAs typically offer anywhere between 40 to 60 different types of vegetables, herbs and other produce — and mean managing a variety of JOB ID: diseases, pests and input needs. 6229 -1 A It’s a daunting task for experienced growers but nevertheless, half of the DATE: JAN 20/FEBdon’t 17/ province’s CSA operators have MAR 17/ APR 14 a farming background, which Frick calls an CLIENT: “exciting” trend. CANADA “You SYNGENTA don’t have to be a farmer born and raised to be a CSA person,” PROJECT: she said.AXIAL BRAND AD 2014 That’s the case for Sarah and EdwardPUBLICATION: Preston, a young couple FARMER EXPRESS who is ALBERTA starting their CSA program this year. DESIGNER: Although neither DC were raised on a farm, farming is Sarah’s( “childhood dream,” said ) MECHANICAL ( ) PDF/X her husband. FINAL SIZE: 8.125” “I never thought thisX 10” is what I’d be doing, but I’m very happy to be UCR: 240% starting this,” said Preston, who will be growing a range of vegetables on CLIENT SERVICE a small plot at Sarah’s grandparents’ PROOFREADING cattle farm, located east of Sherwood Park. ART DIRECTION Preston said he is “pretty optimistic” PRODUCTION about the business, adding he expects there will be strong customer demand for their produce. “I feel like it’s an untapped market where we are.” And the Alberta Agriculture study suggests that Preston’s optimism isn’t unwarranted. “There may be as many as three times as many potential customers of a CSA as there are real customers,” said Frick. “There should be plenty of potential out there.”

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Cows witnessing wolf attacks suffer symptoms similar to PTSD Stress associated with reduced pregnancy rates and lower calf weights STAFF


he damage from wolf attacks on livestock goes beyond death and injury, say researchers from Oregon State University. “Wolf attacks also create bad memories in the herd and cause a stress response known to result in decreased pregnancy rates, lighter calves and a greater likelihood of getting sick. It’s much like post-traumatic stress disorder — PTSD — for cows,” OSU animal scientist Reinaldo Cooke said in a release. Cattle that have had a runin with wolves can experience stress-related illnesses and have a harder time getting pregnant, the researchers said. The release says that to measure the stress of a wolf attack and estimate its lingering effects, researchers simulated a wolf encounter with 100 cows. Half had never seen a wolf, and the other half had been part of a herd that was previously attacked on the range. Cows were gathered in a pen scented with wolf urine while pre-recorded wolf howls played over a stereo. Three trained dogs — German shepherds closely resembling wolves — walked outside the pen.

“Wolf attacks also create bad memories in the herd and cause a stress response known to result in decreased pregnancy rates, lighter calves and a greater likelihood of getting sick. It’s much like post-traumatic stress disorder — PTSD — for cows.”

Cattle previously exposed to wolves bunched up in a corner, formed a protective circle and acted agitated.

Researchers used German shepherds to simulate a wolf attack.




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Researchers found that cortisol, a stress hormone, increased by 30 per cent in cows that had previously been exposed to wolves. They bunched up in a corner, formed a protective circle and acted agitated. Their body temperatures also increased rapidly, another indicator of stress. Yet the cows previously unfamiliar with wolves were curious about the dogs and did not show signs of stress. The researchers say the stress costs ranchers. A 2010 OSU economic analysis estimated that wolves in northeastern Oregon could cost ranchers up to $261 per head of cattle, including $55 for weight loss and $67 for lower pregnancy rates, according to John Williams, an OSU extension agent in Wallowa County who conducted that study. It can be read online at: WolfCowReport.

Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product 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 this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity®, Roundup Ready® and Roundup® are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. ©2014 Monsanto Canada Inc. Proven® Seed is a registered trademark of Crop Production Services (Canada) Inc. CPS CROP PRODUCTION SERVICES and Design is a registered trademark of Crop Production Services, Inc.

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Canadian Agricultural Safety Week 2014 — Let’s Talk About It Safety is important on the farm every week and every day, but one week a year is always designated by Canadian Agricultural Safety Week to highlight some of the specific steps that can be taken to improve the health of Canadian farmers, their families and their employees. This year’s theme is “Let’s Talk About It,” focusing on the need for good communication within the farm operation. In this issue we feature some of the safety week material brought to you by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, with support from the Government of Canada through Growing Forward 2, longtime corporate sponsor Farm Credit Canada, Ag for Life, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, CHS, Imperial Oil and Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited.

For more information visit

Steps in building your farm safety team Talking about safety should be one of the first steps with a new employee

By Glen Blahey

Canadian Agricultural Safety Association


t’s no secret that a serious farm injury or fatality can be devastating emotionally and financially to a farm operation and farm family. But it’s never going to happen to you. Right? Well, according to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting statistics, an average of 104 people die in agriculture-related incidents in Canada every year. Almost half of all agricultural fatalities in Canada involve farm owners and operators. That means a little more than half happen to other people working, living or visiting the farm. So what can you do to prevent these injuries? Nothing’s for sure but if you build a culture of safety on your farm and encourage your family and farm employees to get involved, you can help reduce the risk of injury while growing your business and engaging your workforce.

The right safety foot

Make sure to start out on the right safety foot with new employees. Before they set foot on your operation, make certain they understand that health and safety is your priority. Communicate safety policies and

standard operating procedures. Before your new employees begin work, review job descriptions to ensure they have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities when it comes to work and safety. Determine what training each employee requires based on their specific job duties and ensure they receive that training. Monitor their performance and provide feedback and coaching in a positive way until you are sure they are able to do their work safely. If in spite of multiple corrective actions, an employee continues to engage in risky behaviour, don’t be afraid to let them go. Ultimately you need to protect your other workers, and yourself. If an employee doesn’t feel comfortable bringing up a safety issue, you might not know there is a problem until it is too late. Get employees involved in safety by conducting regular safety meetings. Encourage feedback by implementing clear hazard reporting procedures. Let employees know about any changes on your farm so they are not caught off guard and can prepare for

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Farmer Safety Training

Proper storage, handling and transportation of anhydrous ammonia are key to ensuring the safety of farmers and their community. The Farmer Safety Training program worksin unity with agri-retailers to ensure farmers are equipped with the knowledge required to safely handle anhydrous ammonia. Did you know that handling and transporting anhydrous ammonia requires you to have adequate training, and a transportation of dangerous goods certicate?

new situations that could pose risks or hazards on the farm.

Lead by example

Lastly, stay positive. If you care about your employees and demonstrate that by expressing concern for their well-being, they will respect you as an employer and strive to work safely. Lead by example and try to make safety fun, with lots of opportunities to get involved and ask questions. If you treat safety like a chore, they might lose interest and disengage. While every farm is different, the need for a safe work environment is universal, so cultivate an open, positive working relationship with your employees based on communication and trust and you will be well on your way to building a successful farm safety team.

Start a conversation about safety today


o you have difficulty having a productive conversation with your children about safety? Do you struggle to communicate the importance of safety with seasonal and migrant workers? Want some tips to turn your farm team into a farm safety team? You’re in luck. The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association has developed a Farm Talk Series of resources to help you start that conversation. They’re available at

Browse through the following Farm Talk Series producer tools and download the items that are relevant to your operation. • Building your farm safety team • Talking to your kids about farm safety • Orienting young, new or returning farm workers • Overcoming language and cultural barriers with seasonal migrant farm workers

Visit to get a copy of the Anhydrous Ammonia Farmer Safety Training booklet, and get started today.

  photo: thinkstock



Life changed in a heartbeat for Bonnyville rancher Ray Murphy Ray Murphy was in a hurry the day he made the fateful decision to try to replace a lost CCIA tag on a bull by himself By Amy Petherick canadian agricultural safety association


ay Murphy had a bad heart. That’s why he was so busy on that fateful day — Sept. 22, 2009. The Bonnyville cattleman’s preop appointment with his surgeon for open heart surgery was the next day and so he needed to get that week’s cattle shipment moving from Murphy Livestock his 300head purebred Angus and Charolais operation. On his way to the loading chute, he noticed a bull was missing its Canadian Cattle Identification Association tag. Normally, Murphy would have asked someone to help him run the bull into a locking head gate to replace it. But his hired help was loading hay for transport and Murphy decided the bull’s head was too big for the gate anyway. Murphy considered reaching his arm through the sides of the squeeze chute, but was concerned the animal might pin his arm in the process. Instead, he stepped up on the catwalk to tag the bull from overhead. It didn’t go as planned. The action startled the bull, and in the process, the animal hit Murphy in the head, sending him backwards off the catwalk. “When I woke up, I was on the ground and I felt like a football,” Murphy recalls. “All I could feel was my head. I didn’t know if I had arms or legs, or where they were.” His worker found him after noticing Murphy’s truck hadn’t left the loading chute area. He waited until EMS personnel arrived and had his boss in their ambulance before calling Murphy’s wife, who was at work. “The message I got from our hired man was that Ray had an accident and he was on his way to town by ambulance,” she says. “I thought Ed had said ‘accident’ to be nice… I thought he’d had a heart attack.” A doctor told Leona that the bull had done damage to her husband’s C3, C4, and, worst of all, to his C5 vertebrae, leaving him almost completely paralyzed except for one toe, which he was able to move. According to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting data, ani-

Friends and neighbours chipped in to buy Ray Murphy an electric wheelchair after the Alberta rancher damaged his spine in an altercation with a bull.   supplied photos mal-related injuries are the leading cause of non-machine-related farm fatalities in Canada. Between 1990 and 2008, there were 123 animal-related deaths in Canada. More than half involved cattle. Bulls are particularly dangerous, notes Glen Blahey, a safety and health specialist with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. “People are dwarfed by the animal’s size and strength and when you couple that with the animal’s unpredictable, instinctive behaviour, livestock handlers cannot be overly cautious enough when working around them,” he says. Murphy was transferred to a larger hospital in Edmonton for surgery, and spent three months in recovery before moving to the Glen Rose Rehabilitation Centre and fully committing himself to physiotherapy. He learned to move his limbs a little at first, and then slowly regained more and more mobility until he was finally able to roll over, maintain a sitting position, feed himself, stand and eventually walk short distances.

“I was determined to try and make the best of the rehab as I could,” says Murphy. “You could see little improvements, and it gave me encouragement to keep trying.” Murphy says he can’t grip a self-propelled wheelchair firmly enough to get himself around but manages just fine in a powered wheelchair. The Bonnyville community chipped in to get him

How are you

a wheelchair with big wheels for getting around on the farm to supervise all the family, neighbours and hired help who have operated the farm over the last four years. “My core hired man, Edmund, he certainly came to the task and carried the operation on,” says Murphy. Still, the Murphys plan to disperse their herd this year and rent out their land. “You begin to realize when you can’t do things yourself, things don’t get done quite the way you would want them or quite when they should be done,” says Murphy. Now that his wife is retired, the couple heads south for the winter, where Murphy can be more active and keep up his pool exercises. “Snow and wheelchairs don’t work together very well,” notes Leona. All in all, Ray and Leona Murphy say they consider themselves lucky. Murphy was 59 when he was injured, had paid off most of his debts, and had disability insurance — which they highly recommend to young farmers — to cover some of their loans. Murphy also recommends buying safe animal-handling equipment — as he had done with his chutes, alleys and calving pens. But, he adds, you have to always use the equipment — no matter what.

In a hurry

Being in a hurry is a key factor in many deaths and injuries on the farm, says Blahey.

“The probability of things going wrong increases exponentially,” he says. “We follow established procedures for a reason — they get the job done correctly. When we hurry and disregard established procedures in the interest of saving two minutes, we are setting ourselves up for failure.” The Murphys encourage other ranchers not to tolerate ill-tempered animals. “The animal that hurt Ray wasn’t mean, just nervous,” says Leona. “I never did like hot-headed animals,” adds her husband. “But we tolerated them to a certain degree because maybe they were worth more as a bull than as a cull animal. But now, I don’t tolerate them at all.” He also recommends having someone with you in potentially dangerous situations. “Had I had my hired man there, he might have said, ‘No, no, don’t do that — let’s get rid of that heifer in front and put him in the squeeze chute further,’ and we might have come up with a better decision. If you’re doing things where there’s high risk, have two people.” Murphy shared his story to promote the recent Canadian Agricultural Safety Week and is featured in a YouTube video posted at www.agsafetyweek. ca. The website has a number of ‘producer tools’ for making the farm a safer place to work. These include information on building a farm safety team, talking to your kids about staying safe, orienting workers, and tools for conducting farm safety meetings.


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Toolbox Talks focus on safety for specific tasks A list of discussion topics is available on the website


oolbox Talks are brief, informal talks or meetings about specific topics relevant to agriculture and how to undertake these various tasks safely and properly. These talks typically involve a two- to five-minute, interactive discussion on something safety related and can be conducted at the beginning of each day or prior to a specific farm task in order to remind workers about the importance of safe work methods or procedures. Talk leaders are offered brief instructions on how to conduct the Toolbox Talk discussion and are encouraged to print a copy for each participant so they can follow along and then have the sheet for future reference. When the Toolbox Talk has been completed, there is an area on

the sheet to be filled in with the operation’s name, location and the date along with participant signatures. The sheet can then be filed with other safety records as needed. In celebration of Canadian Agricultural Safety Week and the theme Let’s Talk About It! — which encourages farmers to engage in conversations about safety — the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association has developed 20 Toolbox Talks covering such topics as hot and cold weather safety, lifting safety, lighting and equipment marking, fall protection, and more. These Toolbox Talks were made possible thanks to exclusive corporate sponsor Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited. The talks are available for download at

Toolbox Talks 1. Operation of self-propelled equipment on public roadways 2. Lighting and marking selfpropelled equipment 3. Working in extreme cold 4. Working in extreme heat 5. Hitching — drawbar connection 6. General hitching and hauling 7. Fall protection 8. Pre-operational inspection of equipment 9. Refuelling equipment 10. Communicating health and safety concerns to management 11. Lifting safely 12. Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) 13. Ergonomics and manual handling 14. Risk assessment 15. Think S.A.F.E.

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16. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) 17. Towing large loads 18. Proper load handling 19. Handling and administration of veterinary medicines 20. Biosecurity protocols and their relationship to worker health



Hand signals go a long way for farm safety Communicating in the same language can decrease the risk of injury AGRI-NEWS


ommunication is integral to working with others in any environment. So when the noise and distractions from moving livestock, hooking up farm implements or navigating an oversized load significantly reduce a farm worker’s ability to hear another worker, communication is limited. This is where common hand signals are an ideal communication tool. “When working on a farm, the sheer distance between workers can lead to communication breakdowns,” says Raelyn Peterson, farm safety co-ordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “At other times, farm equipment or machinery can make it impossible to hear someone, even if the other person is yelling. In cases like that, hand signals can get a message across and be an effective way to communicate.”

“It would be a big safety step if all members of Alberta’s farm families, employees and farm visitors learned the standard hand signals and adopted them.” RAELYN PETERSON

A series of standard hand signals, adopted by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, are used successfully for agricultural safety. The signals help everyone communicate in the same language which can decrease the risk of injury. Peterson shares a story of a husband and wife team who nearly had an incident on their farm due to lack of communication. This prompted an agreement between the two and their family to learn and implement the set of hand signals. “Their frustration level reduced significantly because they made that commitment to learn the same language,” says Peterson. “Less frustration means a safer environment and higher productivity.” Using hand signals not only saves time and prevents incidents, it can also reduce severity of injuries and lower the risk of accidental death. To be of full benefit, it is important that the entire team of workers knows the hand signals. Farm owners and managers are encouraged to post the hand signals in a place where employees will see them every day. “It would be a big safety step if all members of Alberta’s farm families, employees and farm visitors learned the standard

hand signals and adopted them,” says Peterson. “It is important to train new employees about the safety features and practices used on the farm. That training should include making sure all workers are familiar with and can use hand signals.”

A printable chart of these and other hand signals is available at www1.agric.$department/ deptdocs.nsf/all/ aet11594

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Your work is behind you Constant twisting to watch farm equipment and long hours sitting in the tractor seat are a recipe for chronic back pain, say experts in ergonomics BY LORRAINE STEVENSON STAFF


ack pain makes every job harder, but the kind farmers experience doesn’t just result from heavy lifting or sudden movement. Their chronic back pain is another version of the “sitting disease” affecting much of the non-farming population, but with a twist — literally. Most farmers spend many hours sitting down too, but unlike others hunched at desks, farmers are also jostled and bumped about seated in their other worksite — the cab of the tractor or combine. Researchers studying the incidence of chronic back pain in farmers say riding farm equipment additionally subjects the body to long hours of vibration emitted by the machinery. Farmers often complain of numbness in their hands after long periods holding a steering wheel, but the vibration it causes it doesn’t just affect the hands, says University of Saskatchewan researcher Catherine Trask. Trask holds a Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health within the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture. “It affects the whole body,” says Trask. “Your hands may get numb. You can’t always feel the effects on your hips and back but the effects are there. It comes from all of the bumps you go over, and that constant high-frequency vibration from the engine,” she says. Constant vibration weakens the supporting structures on the spine’s disks and ligaments making the back more vulnerable. Long-haul truckers experience the same thing, but they aren’t subject to another aspect of the farm work environment that takes its toll on the back. The farmer’s work is all going on behind them, so they continuously look over their shoulder or twist around to see how it’s progressing, said Trask. “A lot of that twisting in awkward posture is definitely a risk factor for muscular

Long periods seated in the cab without breaks weakens the back and makes farmers especially susceptible to chronic back pain, say experts with the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture. PHOTO: ©THINKSTOCK skeletal disorders,” says Trask. “Even five minutes of that can make you feel sore in your neck and lower back.” Combine that with the 12 to 14-plus hours they can easily spend bumped and buzzed about in the equipment cab, with the sudden movements such as lifting or strenuous pulling and it’s no wonder that so many middle-aged farmers experience chronic back pain. Trask and other University of Saskatchewan colleagues analyzed data from the 2009-10 Canadian Community Health Survey to compare the rates of chronic back pain in farmers and non-farm workers. They found that while 80 per cent of Canadians will experience back pain at some time in their lives, on the farm, sufferers were more likely to be male, older than their urban counterparts, and with less formal education. Compounding their difficulties is limited access to treatment, which comes from living rurally, and the way back-care prevention and education is promoted. Farmers are typically less likely to get the help if educational tools about back care and treatment aren’t focused on their particular needs, said Trask. But there are interventions, and the main one is understanding causes and

focusing on prevention. When it comes to back care, treatment and prevention are much the same thing, says Trask. Living an active lifestyle is a key part of prevention. Being physically fit strengthens the entire body, including the back. But that doesn’t just mean being a regular at the curling rink. Finding ways to add regular movement to long hours spent at farm work is another way to prevent back pain. Even just regular short breaks, where you get out of the cab, stand, stretch and walk around a bit, can counter the effects being in the cab, says Trask. “Telling farmers to work fewer hours is not realistic,” she said. “But even if it’s just a one- or two-minute break where you stand up and do a little stretch and walk around it’s going to decrease the effects of that vibration.” Trask said researchers at University of Saskatchewan hope to do more research to quantify the physical effects of long periods riding farm equipment and the postural challenges of farmers. Her team’s analysis of chronic back pain in the farm population was published in The Journal of Rural Health last month.



Whether it’s dull and annoying, or screaming for attention, back pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. According to statistics Canada, about 15 per cent of agricultural-related injuries are back injuries. You can often avoid back pain and injuries by understanding what causes them and focusing on the prevention. Other tips for a healthy back: • Carrying around a healthy weight for your body’s frame minimizes stress on your back. • Get in the routine of doing specific strengthening and stretching exercises that target your back muscles. This core strengthening works both your abdominal and back muscles. Strong and flexible muscles will help keep your back in shape. • Make loads as compact and light as possible. • Only lift loads that can be handled safely. Ask for help when you need it. • When lifting and lowering, get a good grip on the object and keep it close to the body. Place your feet close to the load and lift slowly, smoothly and mostly by straightening the legs. Let your legs do the work! • While lifting, always rotate the body by moving the feet, rather than twisting or bending the trunk. Keep objects close to your body. • Repetition refers to the number of times you perform a certain movement. Repetitious tasks can lead to muscle fatigue or injury, especially if they involve stretching to the end of your range of motion or awkward body positioning. • If you spend time sitting in the same position on a tractor or combine you may experience occasional aches and pains from sitting still for extended periods of time. Your body can tolerate being in one position for about 20 minutes before you feel the need to adjust. • Find ways to avoid stress. Pressures at work or at home can increase your stress level and lead to muscle tension and tightness, which may in turn lead to back pain. Source: University of Saskatchewan Agricultural Health and Safety Network



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Family farmers to tell their stories at Quebec conference The event among several commemorating the FAO’s International Year of the Family Farm celebrations BY ALEX BINKLEY

“Hopefully the conference will produce a document on the status of family farms to send to the FAO, which is preparing an international report on family farming.”



amily farmers from across North America will be in Quebec City April 7-8 to talk about their experiences as part of the FAO’s International Year of Family Farming celebration. Helene Jolette, a conference organizer from the Quebec farm group Union des Producteurs Agricole, told the annual meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture that the event is aimed at “getting international recognition for the importance of sustainability in family farming.” It will also draw attention to the importance of securing government recognition that regardless of their size, family farms are those that are operated by the families that own them. The Quebec gathering is one of a series of regional conferences being organized around the world this year to draw attention to family farms. More than 100 groups in Canada, the United States and Mexico are expected to send delegates to the conference. Quebec City is the site of the founding meeting of the FAO after the end of the Second World War. In addition to the UPA and CFA, the Cooperative federée, the World Farmers’ Organization, the International Co-operative Alliance, the World Rural Forum and the FAO will be involved in the event.

Giving farmers a voice

Jolette said the conference is also intended to give farmers a voice in the global debate on the future of food production and to chart a future role for family farms. Charles Cartin, an Agriculture Canada official who’s helping organize the conference, said it will be an important vehicle for raising public awareness about the reality of family farms throughout North America. “Hopefully the conference will produce a document on the


shortages will become an increasingly grave issue for farmers everywhere. “We already see disputes about this in Asia.”

Uncertain future

Lester Pearson, who later became prime minister, speaking at the founding meeting of the FAO in 1945. status of family farms to send to the FAO, which is preparing an international report on family farming.” That makes it crucial for delegates to develop accurate and workable definitions of family farms, he added. “It should be something along the lines of a family farm is where members of a family are responsible for the business decisions.” Another way to look at the issue is “family farms aren’t the same as other businesses,” he says. “Farmers will sacrifice to get their farms through tough times.” Resolving what a family farm is, is also important because too often the term is used in a divisive way to suggest large farms shouldn’t qualify, he said. “The

North American dialogue has to be inclusive. We don’t want to exclude people from the category. We also need to discuss public perceptions of family farms and why these farms are important for the future.”

Becoming involved

Farmers need to become involved in the discussions about family farms “to make sure they remain at the forefront of government policies, he added. “In some regions, agriculture remains a subsistence industry while in North America, farmers have to produce to make a living.” The CFA meeting also heard from representatives from Japan, Finland, New Zealand and the United States talk about family

farm issues in their countries. While there are wide differences in farm sizes and practices, the involvement of family members in their operation was a shared quality. Mitsuo Murakami, vice-president of JA Zenchu of Japan, said family farms are struggling around the world. Trade negotiators have to respect the different agricultures of countries. “Increased trade has little benefit for most countries because their agriculture is oriented to local markets.” His organization is trying to “raise awareness of farming and rural communities. We need local agriculture to protect our cities.” He also predicted that water

Max Schulman, a Finnish grain grower and chairman of the Working Party on Cereals of COPA-COGEA, said European farmers are entering an era of great uncertainty because no one really understands how reforms to the Common Agriculture Policy will work out. Europe has many small farms that serve only local markets and “don’t compete in international bulk markets,” he pointed out. The CAP reforms are only for five years when they could be changed again. “That’s not conducive to good farm planning. We’re also expecting a lot more environmental rules in agriculture as well.” With reforms in agriculture policies underway in Europe, North America, Brazil and Asia, farmers from those regions should compare on how the changes are impacting them, he urged. “We should find out if we are all that different after all.” He said European farmers have to cope with lots of bureaucracy. “We work more with paper than we do in our fields or with our animals.”



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Lethbridge facility creates green energy by turning manure to megawatts Lethbridge Biogas plant can power 2,800 homes, with more than half of its ‘fuel’ coming from livestock manure By Tony Kryzanowski af contributor


lberta is famous for its black gold, but a newly commissioned $30-million biogas plant in Lethbridge is drawing attention for being on the cutting edge of green power. “It’s potentially the most technologically advanced, privately held biogas plant in the world today,” said Thane Hurlburt, a rancher and president of Lethbridge Biogas. “We can operate the entire plant with an iPhone.” Its three anaerobic digesters will process over 100,000 tonnes of raw material — more than half of it manure from southern Alberta dairy, hog and poultry operations. “The vast majority (of inputs) is manure from dairy because we have a wet anaerobic digestion system,” said Hurlburt. “So we want our total solid content to be about 10 per cent through our digesters.” The facility is owned jointly by PlanET Biogas of St. Catherines, Ont. and Alberta-based ECB Enviro North America Inc. The biogas fuels two generators and will produce about 2.8 megawatts of power, which is being sold on the province’s open market. The owners already plan to add a third generator and up the

Funds collected from large greenhouse gas emitters in Alberta helped pay a portion of the $30-million cost for the Lethbridge Biogas plant.  photos: supplied

The Lethbridge Biogas plant produces enough electricity to power 2,800 homes.

power capacity to 4.2 megawatts. The plant also generates about 100,000 gigajoules of thermal energy, with hot water used to heat their internal systems. The project was more than a decade in the making, said Hurlburt, and could not have proceeded without $8.2 million from Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation. The not-for-profit corporation gets its funding from a levy on large greenhouse gas emitters and has a mandate to fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Alberta adapt to climate change. The project also received $6.4 million from the Alberta Energy Department, and a $5-million loan from Alberta’s

is a plethora of input materials on the manure and agricultural side.” The area also has a large number of farm produce operations and food-processing facilities. For example, a number of area farms produce potatoes on contract for companies such as McCain Foods, Lamb Weston, and Frito Lay. There are also canola-processing plants, and even a distillery. “There is great potential for partnerships with county producers to use agricultural byproducts to generate sustainable energy,” said Reeve Lorne Hickey. Still, lining up sources of raw materials was one of the biggest challenges, and required a lot of patience among potential local suppliers, said Hurlburt.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. The facility’s 2.8 megawatts is enough power for 2,800 homes and is expected to reduce emissions by more than 224,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas equivalent by 2020.

Abundant feedstock

Southern Alberta was a natural choice for the location of the digester because of the large number of confined animalfeeding operations in the area, said Hurlburt. “The County of Lethbridge is the cattle-feeding capital of the country — I believe that 40 to 50 B:10.25” per cent of the fed cattle are fed in this county,” Hurlburt said. T:10.25” “There is no question that there S:10.25”

“We had a bit of a ‘Field of Dreams’ ideology — if you build it, they will come,” he said. “And that’s finally starting to happen. After approaching people for 13 years, they start to wonder if you are ever going to do what you say you are going to do.” Lethbridge Biogas has signed five-year agreements with its manure suppliers and does not pay for the raw material. It generally charges a tipping fee for collection of inputs from commercial suppliers. The company uses a fleet of trucks to pick up raw inputs and delivers the liquid byproduct from the digesters back to the dairy lagoons. The digestion process is continuous, with a retention time in the tanks of about 35 days. A biogas plant vacuum truck visits local suppliers (typically once a day), picks up a load of liquid manure and delivers it to a storage tank on the plant site. For farms, the trucks take back a load of processed liquid byproduct that is used as organic fertilizer. Because the system is designed for liquid manure, the company doesn’t take manure from dry feedlots because of its high solids content. Hurlburt said there is better pre-processing technology for that type of manure, also developed in Alberta, by Himark Biogas, an offshoot of Highland Feeders in Vegreville.

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Community news and events from across the province

what’s Felfie entrants getting the up word out about agriculture

Send agriculture-related meeting and event announcements to:


hey are the faces of Alberta farming — 14 of them anyway. The felfie craze has died down a bit since Alberta Farmer invited producers to send in their farmer selfies a month and a half ago. But the effort to show the world that there are real, everyday people behind every food item on their dinner table just keeps growing. “I’m active on Twitter and I look at myself as part of the new generation who is helping get the word out about agriculture and helping the public understand more about agriculture — that’s what I’m about,” said Dara Calon, who tweets at @ddcalo. Calon is the latest winner in our felfie contest. The Drumheller resident is an assistant agricultural fieldman for Starland County and helps out on her dad’s 7,000acre grain farm, near Michichi, a hamlet 30 kilometres northwest of her home. “I’m an active part of the farm — I help with harvest and seeding and I take some time off work to help when I can,” said Calon, who hopes to eventually move back to the farm and build her own home. She was picking up her dad’s new Peterbilt 389 2015 grain hauler when she decided to snap a pic while the chrome was still fresh and shiny. “I just thought, ‘Brand new Peterbilt — why not take a picture?’ Selfies are always about the camera facing you, and I thought this was something different. The fact that it was brand new was also a big thing for us. We were pretty excited about it.” A proud alumni of the Morrin and District Multi 4-H horse and photography clubs, Calon has selected the club as the recipient of her $100 prize for being our fourth felfie contest winner. The final winner will be featured in the next edition of the paper. But the task of putting a face to farming continues.

March 18: Peace Region Forage Seed Association Production and Marketing Seminar, Rycroft Ag Center, Rycroft. Contact: Calvin Yoder 780-864-3879 March 18: Crop & Cattle: Market Situation and Price Risk Management, Vilna Cultural Centre, Vilna. Contact: Ag-Info Centre 1-800-387-6030

Angie O’Connor

March 18: Water Workshop, Saddle Hills County Office, Saddle Hills and also Worsley FIre Hall, Worsley. Contact: Monika 780-523-4033 March 25: Energy … The Possibilities, Heisler Community Hall, Heisler. Contact: Inga 780-582-7308 March 25: Working Well Workshop, Cardston. Contact: Kristina Dembinski 780-718-5023 March 26: Agri-Tourism Workshop, High Prairie AgriPlex, High Prairie. Contact: Elaine Stenbraaten 780-835-7531

Dara Calon

Christina Boody

Grass-fed farms get stamp of approval Animal Welfare Approved label a boost for sales

Courtney Pearson

Duane Movald

Michael B. Wipf

Shelby and Sierra Zmurchyk

Theresa Bayko

Jay Schultz

Jill Burkhardt

Sarah Leach

Sarah Schultz

Sarah Weigum

Jessie Cumming


wo grass-fed Alberta livestock operations have recently been given a stamp of approval by an influential U.S. organization called Animal Welfare Approved. Don and Marie Ruzicka raise Angus, Galloway and Red Poll cattle on 600 acres of pasture at Ruzicka Sunrise Farm near Killam, while John and Kelsey Beasley raise North Country Cheviot sheep at Integrity Ranching near Youngstown. The two farms join TK Ranch of Hanna in having the right to put the AWA Grassfed label on their meat. The AWA food label program was launched in 2006 to tell consumers about farms that meet the organization’s environmental and welfare standards. To earn the designation, animals must be raised outdoors on pasture or range, and fed a 100 per cent grass and forage diet for their entire lives. “We believe this approach will allow the land to grow food sustainably, as well as contributing to the health of the livestock we raise and the wildlife that we steward,” said Don Ruzicka.





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*2013 YieldWorks and Demonstration Trials Always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication.

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grey day to graze

Horses paw through crusted pasture snow to forage as the late-afternoon sun casts a yellow glow across the Rockies, south of Okotoks, Alberta.   Photo: Wendy Dudley

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CCA announces new innovation and sustainability award McDonald’s Canada first recipient for online information centre CCA release


he Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has introduced a new award that recognizes innovation that supports industry competitiveness and sustainability. The Beef Industry Innovation & Sustainability Award (BIISA) recognizes industry stakeholders for their outstanding commitment to the sustainability of Canada’s beef industry through loyalty and innovation. The CCA is pleased to announce McDonald’s Canada as the first recipient of the BIISA. McDonald’s was selected for its long-standing commitment to Canadian beef in its hamburgers as well as its ‘Our Food, Your Questions,’ online platform. The platform is an excellent example of how using innovation can enhance the sustainability of Canada’s beef cattle industry, said CCA president Martin Unrau. “Using an innovative approach to address popular myths and misconceptions about products, and particularly beef production in Canada, has served to educate and inform consumers in a very open and transparent way,” Unrau said. “Producers also appreciate McDonald’s loyalty to Canadian beef. It has set an excellent benchmark for future BIISA recipients to meet or exceed.” The BIISA was presented to McDonald’s representatives at the CCA annual meeting reception in Ottawa. Rob Dick, senior director of supply chain management, and Sherry MacLauchlan, director of government relations, accepted the BIISA on behalf of McDonald’s Canada president John Betts.



Wettest winter in England, Wales in almost 250 years The region has recorded about 435 mm of rain up to Feb. 24 london / reuters


his winter has already been the wettest for almost 250 years in England and Wales, Britain’s national weather service the Met Office says. Around 435 millimetres (17 inches) of rain were recorded up to Feb. 24 in England and Wales, making it their wettest winter since 1766. “New records have been set for many parts of the U.K., with southeast and central-southern England having seen well over double the rainfall expected in a normal winter,” the Met Office said in a statement. Provisional rainfall figures from Dec. 1, 2013 to Feb. 25, 2014 also show that Britain as a whole experienced its wettest winter since records began in 1910. Over the past few months, heavy rainfall and storms in Britain, particularly in England and Wales, have resulted in the worst floods for the country in 50 years. Floods have devastated homes and businesses, disrupted transport and ruined crops. Analysts at Deloitte estimate that the bill for repairs may end up reaching one billion pounds ($1.66 billion).

WHO cuts sugar intake advice Sugar seen as contributor to risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer

Britain’s Prince Charles (2nd l) waves as he leaves on a boat run by the Bridgewater Fire Service, in Muchelney last month. The Prince of Wales visited the village, which was cut off due to recent flooding.   Photo: REUTERS/Jack Hill/The Times/Pool

Farm living inspiration, ag business insight.

london / reuters


ugar should account for less than five per cent of what people eat each day if they are to avoid health risks such as weight gain and tooth decay linked to excessively sugary diets, the World Health Organization (WHO) said March 4. The UN health agency said its recommendations were based on “the totality of evidence regarding the relationship between free sugars intake and body weight and dental caries.” Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides that are added to foods by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. “WHO recommends reduced intake of free sugars throughout the life course,” the agency said in a statement. It said the five per cent level should be a target for people to aim for — calling it a “conditional recommendation” — but also reiterated a “strong recommendation” that sugar should account for no more that 10 per cent of total energy intake. “There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars — particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages — increases overall energy intake and may reduce the intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories,” the WHO statement said. Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around six teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal body mass index (BMI).

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State-run Ukraine firm GPZKU said Mar. 11 it had shipped the first-ever parcel of Ukrainianorigin barley to the Chinese domestic market. GPZKU’s deputy CEO, Robert Brovdi, said in a statement that 52 containers with 1,500 tonnes of barley had left Ukraine on Feb. 28. Ukraine, a leading producer and exporter of wheat, maize and barley, had already obtained the right to export corn, barley and soybeans to China. GPZKU last month said it had exported around 300,000 tonnes of corn to the Chinese market under a $3-billion export deal signed in 2012. — Reuters

Brazil coffee futures extended their steep rally last Tuesday, touching a two-year high as parts of top grower Brazil’s Coffee Belt failed to receive enough rain, while robusta rose to a one-year high. The cost of arabica beans has surged by about 85 per cent since the start of the year, boosted by concerns that an unprecedented drought in Brazil, which took place as berries were developing on the trees, would cut the size of the 2014-15 crop and could curtail production in 2015-16. — Reuters

Bird flu, weak pork prices extend China’s corn glut China has more corn than Europe produces in storage hold flat, said an analyst with an official think-tank, who declined to be identified. He pointed not just to the impact of bird flu but also a sluggish processing industry, which makes products such as cornstarch, alcohol and corn syrup.



fresh outbreak of bird flu and tumbling pork prices are undermining China’s demand for animal feed, adding to a glut of corn and potentially prolonging a dispute over GMO material that has curbed U.S. imports. A crackdown by China on an unapproved strain of genetically modified corn detected in some U.S. shipments has led to the rejection of up to one million tonnes and weighed on prices. China says the shipments were rejected because of the yet unapproved GMO strain, but trade sources say the clampdown is being used to shield farmers from the supply glut and weak prices, raising concerns Chinese authorities may drag out the approval process. A new bird flu outbreak in southern Guangdong province in January forced chicken farms to scale back on restocking, following huge losses last year after the culling of millions of birds. “Broilers, ducks and egg layers, these three businesses have kept losing money in the past year. It hasn’t recovered and it is getting worse,” said Jin Weidong, chairman of Wellhope Agri-Tech Co. Ltd., one of China’s top 10 feed companies. “We’re not so optimistic about this year. It will be very difficult to grow volumes, it will be a very challenging year.” Animal feed makes up about 60 per cent of China’s corn usage, and half of that is for poultry feed, output of which fell eight per cent in 2013. Overall corn use fell to 186 million tonnes, the first decline in four years. The Agriculture Ministry has said outbreaks of bird flu have caused 20 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) of losses to poultry breeders so far this year, compared with

Burgeoning stocks

Health officials in protective suits transport sacks of poultry as part of preventive measures against the H7N9 bird flu at a poultry market in Zhuji, Zhejiang province January 6, 2014. The local government ordered all live poultry be killed at two markets in Zhuji after a 34-year-old woman was confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 virus. PHOTO: REUTERS/STRINGER 60 billion yuan of losses in the first half of last year. “The situation is definitely worse than last year. Many chicken farms are having cashflow problems. Restocking is very bad,” said Wang Xiaoyue, an analyst at Beijing Orient Agri-business Consultant Co. Ltd. At the same time, falling pork prices are pushing many small household pig breeders — also major consumers of animal feed — out of business. China’s hog stocks hit a 10-month low

in January, said the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre. Beijing has begun to stockpile local pork after prices fell to an eight-month low, but analysts say the amount being stockpiled is too small to lift prices. “Demand from pig breeding may be weakening in coming months if farmers begin a large-scale cull of breeding sows because of negative margins,” said an industry analyst. For the 2013-14 crop year, China’s corn demand may grow only moderately or

Weak domestic demand has led farmers to sell more of their corn to the government, which is expected to add more than 50 million tonnes to existing stockpiles by end-April from 2013’s record 217.7-million-tonne harvest. Along with 30 million tonnes already in storage, the government’s total stocks would be more than the combined output of the European Union, accounting for 43 per cent of annual domestic consumption. “The government is facing huge pressure to deal with these large stocks, which can take a year, or even two to three years, for the market to digest,” said the analyst with the think-tank. Chinese buyers flocked last year to fill the country’s quota for low-tariff imports of cheap U.S. corn following a bumper harvest, sparking forecasts of higher imports in 2014. But the official rejection of 887,000 tonnes of U.S. corn since November last year after the discovery of Syngenta AG’s MIR-162 strain — not yet approved in China — led to other shipments being cancelled or diverted as exporters scrambled to avoid having cargoes caught up by the row. The total volume rejected to date may have reached a million tonnes, industry sources said. Analysts expecting more cancellations have revised down forecasts for China’s imports in the current marketing year to just four million tonnes, from five million tonnes estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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China to spend 10 per cent more on farm subsidies in 2014 Subsidies account for about three per cent of Chinese farmers’ income have room for more subsidies,” he said. Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank in Beijing, said the subsidies generally achieve their main aim of generating a stable supply of crops or pork. “When the sector reaches a new level of development, the government may adjust it to focus on more efficient production, for consolidation of the supply chain, for example.”

beijing / reuters


hina will increase its 2014 budget for farming subsidies by 10 per cent from last year’s 1.6 trillion yuan ($261.09 billion), a top government official said March 6, even as critics argue that subsidies play a limited role in boosting food production. Maintaining food security is one of China’s top priorities for this year, as rapid urbanization and pollution threaten to swallow up arable farmland. Beijing aims to step up its annual grain output by providing subsidies to farmers and investing in rural infrastructure, after more than 200 million migrant workers moved to cities, slashing the rural workforce and boosting food demand. The government has increased direct subsidies paid to farmers who plant crops from 11.41 yuan ($1.86) per mu (.165 acre) in 2004 to more than 90 yuan per mu in 2012. However, many farmers have switched to more profitable cash crops such as fruit or vegetables, or simply abandoned their land to earn higher incomes in the city. “It’s very hard to check whether a household is planting grain or vegetables, and planting eight or 10 mu,” Agriculture Minister


A woman picks vegetables near a residential compound under construction in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province in January. China is expected to boost farm subsidies in 2014.  PHOTo: thinkstock Han Changfu told reporters at the annual parliament session in Beijing. “I have also heard talk that after getting the subsidies, farmers don’t plant the land and go to work in cities.”

Direct subsidies

The direct subsidies, typically paid out to villages before being directly transferred to farmers’ bank

accounts, also do little to boost yields, added experts. “The way they pay out the subsidies is really not tied to production,” said Kevin Chen, China’s program leader at the International Food Policy Research Institute. “Money spent on subsidies is less effective than that spent on research and development,” he added.

But Han indicated that China could continue to substantially increase its farming subsidies, which currently make up about three per cent of farmers’ income compared with around 40 per cent in western economies. “We have limited agricultural resources and our farmers’ incomes are low ... whether we are looking at our farmers’ conditions or WTO requirements, we still

Besides paying direct subsidies to farmers, China also has an annual stockpiling program in which the government sets a minimum purchase price of commodities, such as corn, rice and cotton, to safeguard farmers’ income. China also said it would work over the rest of the year to deepen reforms to allow the transfer of land to increase farmers’ property earnings. China’s regulations give farmers the right to use, but not directly sell or mortgage land. Land must first be acquired by a local government before being used for development. China, which produced 602 million tonnes of grain last year, has set a target to raise grain production capacity by 50 million tonnes each year.

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Asia-Pacific failing to save forests, grassland loss Each year two million hectares are degraded and rendered useless ulan bator / reuters


sia-Pacific nations are failing to halt the loss of natural forests and grasslands, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Mar. 11, robbing people of their livelihoods and worsening environmental problems like desertification and climate change. Forests and grasslands make up 58 per cent of the region’s land mass, but each year two million hectares (20,000 square kms) are degraded and rendered useless, Patrick Durst, an FAO senior forestry officer told a food conference in Ulan Bator. Across the Asia-Pacific, 400 million hectares — an area equal to the combined size of India and Myanmar — are now in bad need of restoration, he said. “We are already seeing strong negative impacts,” Durst told Reuters at the conference. In China and Mongolia, overgrazing and poor land management mean herders increasingly have to give up feeding their livestock and instead look for new jobs in fast-growing cities. Lost grassland boosts desertification and helps cause massive sandstorms that sometimes carry as far as eastern Canada. Meanwhile, illegal logging, farmland expansion and urbanization drive deforestation across the region, especially in Southeast Asia. Data from green group WWF show the greater Mekong region lost a third of its forests in the 35 years to 2009, even though deforestation rates have slowed somewhat in recent years. Bucking the trend would form a basis for much-needed economic development in the region, Durst said. “Forest and grassland restoration can provide a range of ecosystem-derived environmental, social and economic benefits,” he said. But solving the issue would require funding arrangements, stronger domestic law enforcement, strong political will and capacity building, FAO said.

Reforestation gone wrong

In search of positive news, FAO said that while loss of natural forests continues, actual forest coverage in the region has increased over the past 20 years, mostly thanks to reforestation programs in China, India and Vietnam. But experts say problems have only gotten worse in many reforested areas because biologically diverse forests have been replaced

“Forest and grassland restoration can provide a range of ecosystemderived environmental, social and economic benefits.”

with single species planted for commercial purposes, such as palm oil and rubber plantations. In China’s Yunnan province, for example, experts say reforestation policies are partly to blame for a four-year drought despite being a rain-rich region. Less than 10 per cent of Yunnan’s natural forest remains, and recently planted commercial trees lack the ability to regulate groundwater flow. Because they are more water intensive than native trees they require irrigation, consuming a large share of the region’s water resources. “Mixing trees with grass in dry areas would ensure their survival and protect biodiversity, isolate pests and limit forest fires,” said Jin Zhonghao, China’s director for WWF’s global forest and trade network.

In China and Mongolia, overgrazing and poor land management mean herders increasingly have to give up feeding their livestock and instead look for new jobs in fast-growing cities.   photo: ©thinkstock

Always read and follow label directions. FMC and Authority are trademarks and Investing in farming’s future is a service mark of FMC Corporation. ©2014 FMC Corporation. All rights reserved. F101-032481 1/14 Kochia image by Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

By Stian Reklev

Patrick Durst FAO

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Flexible contracting options available as well. For more information, please contact Carl Lynn P.Ag. of Bioriginal at:

306-229-9976 (cell) 306-975-9295 (office)


COMBINE WORLD located 20 min. E of Saskatoon, SK on Hwy. #16. 1 year warranty on all new, used, and rebuilt parts. Canada’s largest inventory of late model combines & swathers. 1-800-667-4515

LIVESTOCK/POULTRY/PETS Pets & Supplies FOR SALE: REGISTERED BORDER collie stock dogs. Contact Bill Reeder: (403) 653-7661

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:



Dynagra (a division of) Beiseker Agri Services Ltd.

When you go with steel you get the right deals!

Beiseker - 403-888-1030

Pioneer One Steel Buildings

Call toll free 1 (877) 525-2004 or see us online at

AUTO & TRANSPORT herbicides

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

Buy and Sell

anything you 562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd need through the


Vulcan - 403-485-2749 Farming is enough of a gamble, advertise in the Alberta Farmer Express classified section. It’s a sure thing. 1-800-665-1362. MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTS/SERVICES

Crop Consulting

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We also specialize in: Crop Insurance appeals; Chemical drift; Residual herbicide; Custom operator issues; Equipment malfunction; Yield comparisons, Plus Private Investigations of any nature. With our assistance the majority of our clients have received compensation previously denied. Back-Track Investigations investigates, documents your loss and assists in settling your claim. Licensed Agrologist on Staff. For more information Please call 1-866-882-4779

Baling Equipment WANTED: JD 7810 c/w FEL & 3-PTH; sp or PTO bale wagon; JD or IHC end wheel drills. Small square baler. (403)394-4401

SEED/FEED MISCELLANEOUS Grain Wanted BUYING HEATED/DAMAGED PEAS, FLAX & GRAIN “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 1-877-250-5252 BUYING SPRING THRASHED CANOLA & GRAIN “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 14-01-10 1:56 PM 1-877-250-5252




For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit: Kneehill Soil Services Ltd.

Drumheller - 403-823-4600

• Competitive Prices • Prompt Movement • Spring Thrashed “ON FARM PICK UP”



Medicine Hat - 403-528-6609

Buying Tough, Heated, Green, Canola, Freight Options, Prompt Payment Bonded and Insured We know that farming is enough of a gamble so if you want to sell it fast place your ad in the Alberta Farmer Express classifieds. It’s a Sure Thing. Call our toll-free number today. We have friendly staff ready to help. 1-800-665-1362.

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For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit: Kneehill Soil Services Ltd.

Medicine Hat Co-op

CALL 1-866-388-6284

Hit our readers where it counts… in the classifieds. Place your ad in the Alberta Farmer Express classifed section. 1-800-665-1362.

FARM MACHINERY Combine – Accessories


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DO YOU...OR YOUR BUSINESS NEED... ► ► ► ► ► ► ► Combine ACCessories


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Richardson Pioneer

Magrath - 403-758-3162

562 PPAC Classified RECONDITIONED 2014 AB.indd 19 COMBINE HEADERS. RIGID & 14-01-10 1:56 P flex, most makes & sizes; also header transports. Ed Lorenz, (306)344-4811 or Website: Paradise Hill, SK.

Website or Facebook page Logo or Branding Need help getting in shape? Brochures or Catalogues Video event or Photography Signs, Banners & Business card Or All of the above?

FARM MACHINERY Parts & Accessories

Contact April Ockerman for your designing needs!


Linden - 403-546-4050

NEW WOBBLE BOXES for JD, IH, MacDon headers. Made in Europe, factory quality. Get it direct from Western Canada’s sole distributor starting at $1,095. 1-800-667-4515. BUILDINGS STEEL STORAGE CONTAINERS, 20-FT & 40-ft 1-866-517-8335, (403)540-4164, (403)226-1722 562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd

15 Alberta Farmer Express classifieds, 1-800-665-1362.

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Prairie-Wide Display Classifieds





For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

Richardson Pioneer

Richardson Pioneer

14-01-10 1:56 PM

Fairview - 780-835-3003

Buy one province, buy two provinces or buy all three. Great rates whatever you choose

Contact Sharon

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

BUILDING & RENOVATIONS 562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd



Neerlandia Co-op Association Ltd.


Concrete Repair Wheat, Barley, Oats, 562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd 14 Peas, etc. Green or Heated Canola/Flax


For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit: Neerlandia - 780-674-2820



FARM MACHINERY Haying & Harvesting – Various 14-01-10 1:56 PM




AUTO & TRANSPORT Vehicles Wanted


Richardson Pioneer



Great profit potential based on yield, prices and low input costs. Attractive oil premiums and free seed delivery and on-farm pick-up.


Waskatenau - 780-358-2720

Watch your profits grow!

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Advertise with AFe Classifieds Place your ad today by call


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FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous


The Icynene Insulation System® JD 9400, 9420, 9520, 8970 JD 9860, 9760, 9750, 9650, 9600 JD 9430, 9530, 9630 Case STX 375, 425, 430, 450, 480, 500, 530 CIH 8010-2388, 2188 combine CIH 435Q, 535Q, 450Q, 550Q, 600Q pto avail. JD 4710, 4720, 4730, 4830, 4920, 4930 SP sprayers JD 9770 & 9870 w/CM & duals CIH 3185, 3230, 3330, 4430, 4420 sprayers

9280 12 speed with 80% rubber 4720 JD Sprayer w/ boom track autosteer, 4700 90 ft very clean 4955 JD low hrs, 3 pth, very clean S680 JD combine low hrs 936 Versatile GOOD SELECTION OF JD & CASE SP SPRAYERS AND 4WD TRACTORS

“LIKE MANY BEFORE, WE’LL HAVE YOU SAYING THERE’S NO DEAL LIKE A KEN DEAL” • Phone: (403)526-9644 • Cell: (403)504-4929 • Email:


• Sprayed foam insulation • Ideal for shops, barns or homes • Healthier, Quieter, More Energy Efficient®


For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit: Richardson Pioneer

Big Tractor Parts, RON SAUER Inc. Geared For The Future


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1-800-665-1362 FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Tillage

Winter Discounts On NEW & USED Rollers

RED OR GREEN 1. 10-25% savings on new replacement parts for your Steiger drive train. 2. We rebuild axles, transmissions and dropboxes with ONE YEAR WARRANTY. 3. 50% savings on used parts.


FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous 16-FT 9350 JD DISC press drill w/fertilizer attachment, shedded, asking $1200 OBO. Phone (403)572-3363



Call (403)545-6340 • Cell (403)580-6889


1999 CAT 460 1,400 sep. hrs, rake up $74,000; Road King ground loadstock trailer, 8 x 42.5-ft, will haul 25 cows, $10,500; 2013 Highline 651 Bale Pro, chain floor, twine cutter, big tires, $19,500. Call:(403)665-2341, Craigmyle, AB. ACREAGE EQUIPMENT: CULTIVATORS, DISCS, Plows, Blades, Post pounders, Haying Equipment, Etc. (780)892-3092, Wabamun, Ab. BOW ISLAND, ALBERTA

FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Various

SVEN GRAIN ROLLER ON transport, PTO, 24-in rolls, 13-ft discharge auger, magnets, like new, rolled 7000-Bu. Always shedded, $8000 OBO. (403)333-6410, (403)646-5641.

CARBIDE DRILL POINTS & openers for air drills. VW Manufacturing Ltd Dunmore (Medicine Hat) (403)528-3350 US: Loren Hawks Chester, Montana (406)460-3810


846 Ford Versatile Designation 6, 4WD Tractor - newer 18.4 x 38 dualled tires,12 speed manual, 4 hyds., 6036 hrs., looks & runs good .............................................. $30,000 555 JD Crawler Loader, 250 hrs. on rebuilt engine, good condition ................................................... $20,000 Degelman Dozer Frame MF 4000 Series 4WD .$1,000 B 275 IHC Diesel Tractor, 3 pth, pto, runs good ......$4,250 31’ Flexicoil B Chisel Plow Extensions to 41’ Included, 3 bar harrows, excellent condition......................... $12,500 Flexicoil 6 Run Seed Treater .............................. $2,000 134’ Flexicoil S68XL Sprayer, 2007, suspended boom, auto rate, joystick, rinse tank, triple quick jets, auto boom height, electric end nozzle & foam marker............. $39,500 100’ 65XL Flexicoil Sprayer, complete with windguards, elec. end nozzles dual tips, markers, auto rate ......... $5,500 30’ 8230 CIH PT Swather, PU reel, nice shape, . $10,000 25’ 8225 CIH PT Swather, PU reel, nice shape .... $9,500 25’ 1200 Hesston PT Swather, bat reel, good .... $5,500 30’ 4600 Prairie Star PT Swather, bat reel, good ....$5,500 30’ 1900 Premier PT Swather, bat reel, good .... $5,500 10 Wheel MATR (Italy) Trailer Type V-Hayrake, hyd. fold, as new.................................................. $5,000 14 Wheel Enorossi V-Hayrake extra contour wheels, as new .................................................. $11,500 Coming In -1500 JD Haybine and 365 CIH Softcore Round Baler ............................................. Call 8 x 33’ Sakundiak Auger, new 30 HP Koehler engine, Hawes mover & gear box clutch ............................. $8,950 8 x 1200 Sakundiak Auger, 25 HP Koehler engine, Hawes mover, clutch, nice condition, ................... CNT $9,950 7 x 1200 Sakundiak Auger, 18 HP Koehler engine, looks and runs good, ......................................... CNT $3,500 8 x 1400 Sakundiak Auger, 25 HP Robin engine, Hawes mover, clutch, spout, excellent condition, ............. CNT $9,950 8 x 1400 Sakundiak Auger, 25 HP Koehler engine, Hawes mover, clutch, reversing gear box, lights, spout, excellent condition, ........................................... CNT $9,950 8” Wheatheart Sweep, like new .............................. $650 New E-Kay 7” Bin Sweep .............**In Stock** $1,785 New E-Kay 7”, 8”, 9” Bin Sweeps .........................Call 8” Wheat Heart Transfer Auger, hydraulic drive, as new .................................................................... $1,500 New Outback MAX & STX guidance & mapping ...In Stock New Outback E-Drive, TC’s .................................In Stock New Outback E-Drive X, c/w free E turns ............In Stock New Outback S-Lite guidance ............ **In Stock** $900 New Outback VSI Swather Steering Kit...........In Stock New Outback E-Drive Hyd. kit, JD 40 series ........ $1,000 Used Outback E-Drive Hyd. kits..............................$500

**NuVision (Spray Air) & Meridian-Sakundiak Augers, Outback GPS Systems, EK Auger Movers, Belt Tighteners, Bin Sweeps & Crop Dividers, Kohler, Robin Subaru, Generac Engines, Headsight Harvesting Solutions, Greentronics Sprayer Boom Auto Height, Kello-Bilt Discs**

- Wire Roller can now be converted to roll up & unroll flat plastic water hose up to 6” diameter (11” flat) - Hydraulic Drive (roll or unroll) 14-01-10 - 1:56 PMto tractor draw bar, skidsteer Mounts front end loader, post driver, 3pt. hitch or deck truck (with receiver hitch & rear hydraulics) - Spool splits in half to remove full roll - Shut off/ Flow control valve determines speed - Works great for pulling out old wire (approx. 3--5 minutes to roll up 80 rod or 1/4 mile) - Also works great for swath grazing or rotational grazing The Level-Winder II Wire Roller rolls wire evenly across the full width of the spool automatically as the wire is pulled in Ken Lendvay (403) 550-3313 Red Deer, AB email: Web:

Degelman 10 ft. Snow Pusher Blade JD 7400 FWA, 740 Loader with 3 pth hitch JD 2950 Complete with loader JD 7200 FWA, 740 Loader with 3 pth hitch JD 4240 loader available JD 4020 c/w loader & new motor JD 2550, FWA ST 250 Steiger, tires new 20.8 x 38 2012 CAT 272D Skidsteer, 800 Hrs Clamp on Duals, 20.8x38-18.4x38 158, 148, 265, 725, 740, 280, JD loaders FINANCE, TRADES WELCOME 780-696-3527, BRETON, AB


LIVESTOCK Cattle – Red Angus



Search news. Read stories. Find insight.

LIVESTOCK Cattle – Hereford HEREFORD BULLS, YEARLINGS AND two year olds, dehorned, and polled, excellent quality, low birth weights suitable for heifers, catalogue online at Coulee Crest Herefords, Bowden, AB. (403)227-2259 or (403)588-6160.

LIVESTOCK Sheep For Sale PLAN TO ATTEND THE 8th Annual Pound Maker Ram Sale, 110 yearling rams sell by auction, Thursday May 22, 2014 at Ford Macleod Alberta. Suffolk, Dorset, Hampshire, Rambouillet, North Country Cheviot and Coloured. For details call Warren (403)625-6519 or check our website

ORGANIC ORGANIC Organic – Grains

See my display at Edmonton Farm and Ranch Show With Green Bunning Manure spreader

MARCH 27-28-29 IN HALL C -BOOTH #313

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Wanted WANTED: NH BALE WAGONS & retrievers, any condition. Farm Equipment Finding Service, P.O. Box 1363, Polson, MT 59860. (406)883-2118

Bioriginal Food & Science Corp., based in Saskatoon, is actively buying Organic Flax from the 2013 crop year. If interested, please send an 8lb sample* to the following address: Attn: Sandy Jolicoeur Bioriginal Food & Science Corp. 102 Melville Street Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7J 0R1 *Please state the Variety & Quantity for Sale

For more information, please contact Sandy at:

306-975-9251 306-975-1166

TracTors FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

41 REGISTERED RED ANGUS BULLS Quiet, Easy Calving, Low to Moderate Birth Weights, Good Growth, E.P.D’s available Guaranteed Breeders (Vet Checked & Semen Tested). Excellent Bulls for Heifers or Cows. Cleveley Cattle Company (780)689-2754.

Oyen - 403-664-2620


Advertise in the Alberta Farmer Express Classifieds, it’s a Sure Thing!

Barb Wire & Electric High Tensile Wire Spooler & Water Hose Roller


For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:



Richardson Pioneer

Stirling - 403-756-3452

Ask About our Prairie Wide Classifieds

REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE Commercial Buildings ATTENTION: YOU MAY BE looking for a new adventure! Check out or Phone:(403)782-5696.

REAL ESTATE Houses & Lots SPRING SPECIAL PROMOTION, CANADIAN built by moduline, 20x76 Temora, $99,900; 16x76 Oasis, $79,900; 16x60 Tuscan, $69,900., 1-888-699-9280, (306)496-7538

Watch your profits grow!

562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd 22

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Advertise with AFe Classifieds

Place your ad today call




REAL ESTATE Farms & Ranches – Manitoba


PEDIGREED SEED Oilseed – Canola

CAREERS Farm / Ranch


A MIDDLE-AGED COUPLE RUNNING a 200 head cowherd NE of Edmonton are looking for a young person or couple to assist w/the responsibilities of operating a successful cow-calf operation. An excellent opportunity to develop your own herd & experience a way of life. To schedule a personal interview, please phone (780)656-5665.


Round up the cash! Advertise your unwanted equipment in the Alberta Farmer Express classifieds.


For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

New 30.5L-32 16 ply, $1,995; 20.8-38 12 ply $765; 18.4-38 12 ply; $789; 24.5-32 14 ply, $1,495; 14.9-24 12 ply, $486; 16.9-28 12 ply $558, 18.4-26 10 ply, $890. Factory direct. More sizes available new and used. 1-800-667-4515.

CAREERS Professional


Richardson Pioneer

Richardson Pioneer

Dunmore - 403-527-6600 SCALES

562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd 24 SEED / FEED / GRAIN

market for light offgrade or heated, picked up on the farm. Eisses Grain Marketing 1-888-882-7803, Lacombe.

Stretch your advertising dollars! Place an ad in the classifieds. Our friendly staff is waiting for your call. 1-800-665-1362.

Where the stories go. Network





Richardson Pioneer

Lamont - 780-895-2353 CAREERS Management


For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

United Farmers of Alberta

Sturgeon Valley Fertilizer

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Camrose - 780-679-5230

Select Holidays

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:

Farm Operations Manager

Lavoy - 780-658-2408

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*Portion of tours may be Tax Deductible


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Richardson Pioneer

Richardson Pioneer


FEED GRAIN WANTED! ALSO buying; Light, tough, or offgrade grains. “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 1-877-250-5252

For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit: For custom herbicides as unique as your fields, visit:


Ireland & Scotland ~ June 2014 Hungary/Romania ~ June 2014 Mid-West USA ~ October 2014 SEED/FEED MISCELLANEOUS Australia/New Zealand ~ Jan 2015 Feed Grain Kenya/Tanzania ~ Feb 2015 BUYING ALL TYPES OF feed grain. Also have South Africa ~ Feb 2015 14-01-10 1:56 PM26 562 PPAC Classified 2014 AB.indd 14-01-10 1:56 PM




Provost - 780-753-2355


Search news. Read stories. Find insight.

Airdrie - 403-948-5913

Legal - 780-961-3088

Now Hiring: Vineyard/Farm Operations Manager Go to Link

How to find the used ag equipment you need…

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Find it fast at

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Find the latest and the greatest technology you need to get the work done.

Offering a wide selection of top programming for the dedicated farmer and rancher, including: • Crop Production and Other Technologies – Farming Smart Stage Presented by Co-Op on independent market analysis, as well as moisture and data management; see all the latest equipment on display. • Equine Events – workshops on back country adventures, breed demos and horsemanship. • Agribusiness, Environmental and Lifestyle Exhibits – learn about the latest agriculture innovations and check out the innovators competing to be named the Top Innovator of 2014. • The Business of Beef – cattle handling equipment exhibits, Summit 3 Speckle Park Sale. The year’s feature breed is Blonde d’Aquitaine.

For more information visit

March 27-29, 2014

Farming Smart Learn more about precision and site specific applications from industry experts. Presented by

Performance Horse Sale Opportunity to purchase from a top selection of horses. Preview: March 28 Sale: March 29 Presented by

Alpaca Spring Show Learn, buy, compare, discuss, compete— there’s something for everyone.

Canadian College Finals Rodeo March 27-29, 2014 On Sale Now at Presented by

Join the conversation @NorthlandsAg #NFRS14

Edmonton EXPO Centre