cattle theft Bold thieves nab 59 heifers » PAGE 8
Windhorse Retreat offers emotional and spiritual renewal » PAGE 3
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Trade deal reopens door to Korea
NEW WATER RESCUE GEAR ARRIVES
Punishingly high tariffs are partly to blame for a steep drop in beef exports to Korea By Alexis Kienlen af staff
proposed free trade deal with Korea is good news for Canadian cattle producers, says the president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “We were unable to compete at all these last two years because the U.S. has achieved their free trade achievement and has a tariff advantage over us,” said Dave Solverson. “It’s not going to be huge tonnage but it might be some of the cuts that add value to our carcass. Korea is the best market in the world for short ribs. I think it’s still a market that’s worth working on.” Korea was once one of the top buyers of Canadian beef. In 2002, it bought $40 million worth — which made it our fourth-largest customer — but by last year, beef exports had fallen to less than one-fifth of that. Tariffs were a big part of that story, but the proposed Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement would see the 40 per cent tariff on fresh and frozen
see KOREA } page 6
The rural MD of Foothills in southern Alberta received a water rescue-equipped truck and boat, as a gift from Spruce Meadows and various sponsors. Until now, the municipal district which suffered severe damage during last year’s floods, was without a water rescue boat. The horse complex near Calgary decided to help out by saluting First Responders and handing over the keys to the truck and boat to the MD’s Deputy Fire Chief Gregg Schaalje and Deputy Reeve Larry Spilak. Photo: Wendy Dudley
The sky’s the limit for recent grads entering the agriculture workforce Crop technology and agribusiness students are seeing multiple job offers once they leave school — but there’s no shortage of work on the livestock side, either By Jennifer Blair af staff
here’s never been a better time for ag school grads. “This job with DuPont Pioneer, I actually had basically guaranteed before Christmastime,” said Travis Elford, a recent University of Lethbridge graduate who grew up on a grain and sheep farm near Foremost. Before he accepted his job as a field supervisor, Elford received five other offers from seed companies.
“It was extremely easy (to find a job). I had more offers to say no to than I looked for.” Elford’s story isn’t unique. There are currently more jobs in agriculture than there are graduates to fill them, said Josie Van Lent, dean of agriculture at Lakeland College. “I’ve been in the ag industry professionally for well over 30 years, and I cannot think of a time when the job opportunities were this strong,” she said. “If there’s a student who doesn’t have a job in ag, it’s because they’re being choosy.
There are job opportunities for the majority of our students.” The highest demand is for crop technology and agribusiness grads, but there’s no shortage of jobs on the livestock side. Maaike Van Kuilenburg said most of her friends in crop technology programs had snagged jobs long before she did, but she still had her job as a dairy consultant and sales rep with Cargill lined up in early January. “In the animal industry, it was a lot slower,” said the recent graduate of the University of
Alberta, who grew up on a dairy farm near Red Deer. “Other companies started asking me to apply for them in January and February, but I already confirmed myself with Cargill.” Crop service centres, retailers, and the banking sector are all scrambling to fill jobs, but the strong pull of corporate jobs for recent graduates and competition from other sectors is making it more difficult for producers to find workers.
see GRADS } page 6
Canadian farm groups back biotech } PAGE 18
NEWS » INSIDE THIS WEEK
INSIDE » DIFFERENT WORLD Young women seizing opportunities in ag
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
PREDATOR OR PEST?
COLUMNISTS LAURA RANCE ADDING ANIMAL WELFARE TO BREEDING EQUATION
BRENDA SCHOEPP CHINA IS IN TROUBLE, BUT STILL OFFERS OPPORTUNITY
PAINTED PONIES Colourful fundraiser helping flood victims
Sheep producers tally coyote impact
Stripe rust has wheat growers on high alert
REALLY, THE YEAR OF PULSE IS WORTH CELEBRATING
Company expects big things from microwaving biomass Radient Technologies uses patented microwave technology to extract high-value components from flax, rosemary, and other crops BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF / EDMONTON
he Alberta advantage isn’t just about oil. For Radient Technologies, it means better access to funding, nearby sources of agricultural biomass, and joining a developed sector of bio-based companies. Founded in Toronto in 2001, the now Edmonton-based company has developed a new, faster way to extract high-value natural compounds from plant biomasses. Using a microwave-assisted process, it can extract valuable material from flax, rosemary, berries, algae and other types of biomass. For example, it can process flax that has already had the oil extracted. “We’ll take that from an almost waste stream, extract further actives from that and then put that spent biomass back for use either as a fuel or an animal feed,” said founder Steven Splinter, who is also the company’s chief technology officer. “We’re working with local groups, and will even potentially look at growing specific biomasses for specific actives. We understand that we will have to have a commitment to Alberta agriculture for sure, and we’re prepared to do that.” The exact list of products isn’t made public for commercial reasons, but the company can process up to five tonnes of biomass a day in its new 20,000-squarefoot manufacturing facility. The extracts it produces can be used as nutraceuticals and food additives in natural health products, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetic ingredients. Its customers range from big multinationals
Radient Technologies uses microwaves to remove extracts from raw materials. This picture shows the extract removed from raw flax. PHOTOS: ALEXIS KIENLEN to smaller companies developing new and innovative products, said Splinter. “We’re really a business-to-business group, so we’re not selling locally and will not brand and sell our own products,” said Splinter. While extraction has been done for centuries, using microwaves reduces processing time and costs while also producing purer compounds, higher yields, and different extract profiles.
Research scientist Harmadeep Kaur demonstrates part of microwave extraction at Radient Technologies. “It’s also environmentally friendly because you extract quickly, use less solvent and less energy and you’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Splinter. The company made its way to Edmonton in 2009 and recently began trading on the TSX Venture Exchange after raising $14 million from investors. Companies like Radient are good for Canada, Mike Raymont, CEO of venture capital firm AVAC, said at the official opening of the plant earlier this month.
“Canada has actually run a deficit in processed foods, not in the whole agricultural area, but in upgraded food, in value added, where the money really is,” said Raymont. “The situation is getting worse. In the last seven years, the deficit in processed foods in Canada has gone from a billion dollars to $6.7 billion. We have to reverse this trend, and we can’t be left to export just raw materials.” email@example.com
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
‘City girl’ turns love of horses into farm-based business Running a farm-based business has come with a ‘huge learning curve’ for city girl Sandy Bell, who operates Windhorse Retreat near Rimbey By Jennifer Blair af staff / rimbey
en years ago, city girl Sandy Bell took a four-day trail ride into the mountains that changed her life. “It was not a beginner ride, and I found at the end of it, I had never been so sore, I had never been so tired and dirty, but I had never been so happy,” said Bell, who now operates Windhorse Retreat, an equine-assisted training facility near Rimbey. Bell decided then and there she needed to learn how to ride a horse. After a year of lessons, she bought a Percheron-cross named Alaska who showed her the healing power of horses. “I realized if I had a bad day, I’d go out and spend time with Alaska, and she always made it better.” Since then, Bell has turned her own experience into a growing farm-based business — one that combines her love of horses with her interest in helping people. “I wanted to get back to doing something where I felt like I was making a difference for people,” said Bell, who is a certified equine-assisted personal development coach. “I can’t imagine my life now with o u t h o r s e s . T h e y h a v e improved it immeasurably — emotionally and physically and even spiritually.” Today, Bell has six horses — including four donated to her program — that she uses in workshops that incorporate natural horsemanship and personal development, such as goal setting, leadership, and self-reflection. “We found that, when people are with horses and they’re learning things like how to communicate your status in the herd to the horse, that can highlight some personal things for them. They have these aha moments.” Most training sessions involve working with the horses on the ground rather than on horseback, making her training accessible for
Sandy Bell offers equine-assisted personal and professional development workshops on her farm near Rimbey. Photo: Courtesy Sandy Bell people who have never ridden a horse before. “What seems to be a simple thing — just hanging out with horses — can actually lead to some deeper conversations and reflection,” she said. Horses facilitate that because they’re “experts at non-verbal communication.” “As people, our non-verbal communication is 70 to 80 per cent of how we communicate, but we don’t pay a lot of attention to that,” said Bell. “But working with
horses, we can get a glimpse into that whole other way that we communicate with each other. “When we work with people, the feedback we get from them may not be as direct, as open and honest, and as immediate as the feedback we get from a horse.”
Word of mouth
Since moving to her farm and training facility six months ago, Bell has hosted two to three workshops a month, with eight to 10 people at each. Her new location,
with its lush fields and forests, seems to be the ideal retreat for urbanites looking to get back to nature. “People get really busy, and they get disconnected from nature. Being able to take some time in nature and spend some time with horses is special for them.” Every workshop has sold out, but the farm’s distance from major centres is a challenge. “We are competing with this sense of busyness that people have in their lives,” she said. “To
make the time to do this is sometimes a struggle.” Word of mouth and Facebook are her main marketing tools, but community support has also been key. “People are so helpful. They don’t mind answering dumb questions from a greenhorn,” she said. “I’m a city girl, and this is a real steep learning curve for me, but I’m enjoying the adventure.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Level-of-service complaints may drag on The Canadian Transportation Agency handles each complaint separately and its decisions can be appealed By Alex Binkley AF contributor
ith three level-of-service complaints against the railways already filed and more expected, it could take the Canadian Transportation Agency until the fall to render decisions. Those decisions can be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal or the cabinet so the ultimate resolution of complaints about inadequate grain transportation last winter could stretch into the next one.
“We handle each complaint separately and render a decision in each one,” said CTA spokeswoman Chantal Laflamme. Once all the pleadings are received, the agency aims to render a decision in 90 days although a complex case could take 120 days, she said. “There are a lot of exchanges during the process and either party can ask for an extension.” The three complaints were filed under existing legislation. Parliament has just approved C-30 The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, which will give the CTA a bigger role in handling disputes
between grain shippers and the carriers. The first complaint filed to the CTA was from Ashland Inc. and Ashland Canada Corp. against CN. The companies applied for an order requiring CN and Kelowna Pacific Railway, a short line which has since declared bankruptcy, “to fulfil their respective level-of-service obligations.” The second one was filed by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, also against CN, and the third by the Canadian Canola Growers Association against both CN and CP. Its complaint involves the service
since the start of the current crop year last Aug. 1. In many ways, this case will be a replay of the raucous debate between the carriers and grain industry that finally prodded the federal government into passing C-30. The grain industry blames the railways for having insufficient locomotives and hopper cars to move the crop that was 50 per cent greater than average. “The breakdown of the western Canadian rail transportation this year is completely unacceptable for grain producers. Ultimately it is farmers who are bearing the
cost of this supply chain failure,” said Canola Growers president Brett Halstead. As a result of the transportation chaos, farmers face “unprecedented carry-out stocks that will negatively impact the markets for several years to come; a sustained wide basis; and a potential shrinking or loss of international markets due to perceived vulnerability and ineffectiveness of the Canadian supply chain.” The carriers say a big crop, late harvest and long brutal winter forced them to change their operations and that all shippers suffered.
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
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Imbalances can result when a single-minded focus on production efficiency drives the genetic selection of animals and plants
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here once was rooster on our farm who was so nasty and unpredictable, he wound up in the stewing pot after a violent confrontation with Uncle Jerry — a cherished bit of family folklore for decades. That rooster was big, beautiful and fearless. He ruled the roost with ferocious authority until his untimely demise, after which everyone breathed a little easier when moving about the yard. But he came by his aggression honestly. It was in his genes, traits which may have contributed as much to his survival in the wild as they did to his downfall in domesticity. How genetics are selected and the traits that emerge in commercial production are among the issues dealt with in newly released research reports prepared for the National Farm Animal Care Council committees updating the codes for the care and handling of poultry raised for meat and egg production in Canada. These reports address some of the welfare issues created as a result of commercial breeding choices. One of the topics dealt with in the scientific review is aggressive, sometimes murderous, mating behaviour exhibited by male broiler breeders. Apparently, due to a combination of genetics and how they are raised, male broiler breeders have a harder time attracting the girls than their counterparts in the wild. In layperson’s terms, it’s because they skip the dating and go straight to mating. “Males appear to be motivated to copulate, but are not communicating this with the females, either through their inability
or lack of motivation to perform courtship behaviour. Certain courtship behaviours such as waltzing, tidbitting and high-step advances appear at low frequencies or not at all in commercial broiler breeders.” The females aren’t just playing hard to get, they’re running for their lives. While not conclusive, one theory is that raising males and females together can help stimulate some of the courtship behaviours that get both parties in the mood. Scientists have also looked at the aggressiveness inherent in different strains of breeding stock, as well as the fact that these birds have been bred for meat yield. Their breast bones are now so big it’s difficult for them to mate, which is understandably frustrating. Another issue related to meat yield genetics and aggression is the fact that these birds tend to be hungry — all the time. The breeders have become highly efficient at making birds grow, but nothing has changed about their appetites. So their feed intake is restricted to prevent them from collapsing under their own weight. Feeding them every day instead of every second day was shown to reduce the amount of overall aggression such as pecking, but had no effect on the bad breeding behaviour. It’s unclear how these reports will support the work of NFACC as committees update the codes for care and handling for poultry raised for egg and meat production in Canada. That process is still to be completed. But these scientific reviews offer a glimpse into the imbalances that can result from our genetic selection of animals and plants according to a single-minded focus on production efficiency.
Examples abound of some of the welfare trade-offs, of which society increasingly takes a dim view. A federal scientist speaking to the recent Livestock Genomics in Alberta conference said breeding for traits that improve livestock health and performance have fallen by the wayside. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein pointed out that although production levels of meat and milk have more than doubled in North America since the 1960s, there have been unintended consequences. For example, high-producing dairy cows are more prone to mastitis, lower fertility levels and higher rates of lameness. Laying hens bred to pour all their resources into egg production suffer from foot problems and brittle bones due to calcium deficiencies. Researchers’ ability to select for specific traits is improving all the time and Schwartzkopf-Genswein suggests the advent of molecular breeding provides an opportunity to achieve better welfare outcomes. The same goes for how livestock is managed. The pressure continues to grow an industry to provide so-called “enrichment” or housing and management practices that allow animals to exhibit natural behaviours. Beef cattle producers are among the few who still make their own genetic selections to build herds that respond to their individual environment and management. They know all too well that genetics that produce big calves are only an asset if their cows can deliver them without a vet’s assistance. Instead of a trade-off between traits that enhance productivity and animal welfare, the goal should be balance. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Animal welfare concerns not going away Consumer concerns about animal welfare are clearly retaining traction and need to be addressed By Sylvain Charlebois
nimal welfare and other ethical issues in agriculture are an ongoing concern for consumers, and in light of a recent incident on a dairy farm in B.C., they will likely be so for the long term. A viral video exposing what seems to be the abuse of cows by several employees of Canada’s largest dairy farm is one of many that have surfaced in recent years, and is not sitting well with anyone. Staged or not, these incidences are affecting both ends of the food continuum — both consumers and restaurant owners are now asking difficult questions to food retailers, and many of them are struggling to provide satisfactory answers. For years, many in the food industry believed that the issue of animal welfare was a short-lived issue, connected primarily to an urban-driven anxiety juxtaposed with the principles of pet ownership. It was assumed that consumers’ desire for convenience and affordability would trump this concern. Consumers continue to express this desire, but the issue is clearly retaining traction in ongoing conversations about agriculture. For years, the industrialization of agriculture has successfully produced a large supply of meat, eggs and dairy products for urban centres, but some argue that this
supply comes at significant costs to ethical treatment of animals on farms. Chicken, hogs, cattle, foie gras, and now, the dairy industry have been, at one point or another, the centre of controversy over the last five years in Canada. Many animal rights advocates are using this momentum to promote the fact that agriculture, as we know it, may have lost its moral bearings. Feeling the pressure, some jurisdictions adopted improved legislation in order to safeguard the health of animals on farms. However, the proper resources to support these laws were not forthcoming. The industry, on the other hand, is not waiting. For example, agribusiness giant Cargill will shift to group housing by the end of 2015, moving away from gestation crates that animal welfare groups have opposed. And more companies are starting to fund university research to better understand the societal and financial implications of tracing and tracking manifests displaying farm practices on food products. Some Canadian universities have even launched programs focusing on animal welfare. The agricultural industry is also beginning to use a very powerful tool: Transparency. An increasing number of facilities are now installing closed-circuit cameras to monitor employees and animals around the clock, which is exactly what the B.C.-based dairy producer promised to do hours after the video surfaced. A commitment to transpar-
ency goes a long way in the age of instant information, especially when the intent is to reduce concerns about the practices of an industry that is remotely located from 98 per cent of the population. With the price of animal protein currently reaching record levels in food stores, videos revealing irresponsible behaviour with livestock provides another reason for consumers to stop purchasing steak and chicken. Indeed, some consumers are opting to stop eating meat entirely in protest, resulting in the opening of Canada’s first meatless butcher shop in Toronto. But make no mistake — farmers are true stewards of the land, and displays of such cruel behaviour towards any farm animal is rare. While the root causes of these incidences are far more complicated than what is being suggested in media analysis, they are clearly unacceptable, and the industry will need to get its act together, quickly. With trade deals looming between Korea and Europe, countries where the rights of farm animals are perceived differently, industry pundits need to demonstrate to the Canadian public that current farming practices are still worthy of their trust, and the trust of potential trading partners. Sylvain Charlebois is a professor of food distribution and policy and associate dean of College of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
China has deep problems, but offers opportunity for our food sector straight from the hip } The Asian titan is deeply in debt and its
economy under stress, but it needs high-quality and safe food By brenda schoepp
hina has always been regarded in the West as a superpower. But despite its recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and the perceived recent growth, China is estimated to be $23.3 trillion in debt — which is up $15 trillion in the past five years. The world’s largest user of steel (46 per cent) and copper (47 per cent), it now needs something miraculous to rebuild its falling bridges. The 1.3 billion persons in China were at the cusp of a true economic revolution both in terms of a creation of a middle class and for the explosion of the upper crust’s ability to spend on consumer goods. But the economic plan to stimulate the economy was based on credit creation or in simple terms — lending. And just as we saw in the U.S., those types of economic packages tend to implode, leaving thousands out of work and billions owed. Perhaps the most telling sign
of the economic upset in China is the fact its citizens are spending less on food and beverages. This is a very troubling fact for the Chinese government because when basic food and beverage consumption declines, so does all other domestic spending. And while China’s foundations are crumbling like week-old cake, the West is gaining in momentum. In Canada, the food sector is responsible for 2.3 million jobs, or more than nine per cent of GDP and 13 per cent of all employment. It is reported one-fifth of China’s farmland is so toxic because of chemical pollution, it cannot be used for food production. Cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the top contaminants and are affecting water quality as well as destroying soil. More than one-half of the rice grown last year was reported as contaminated with cadmium, but was diverted to food processors to make noodles. The depth and breadth of toxicity is so great that China may never recover its ability to feed the population.
So why is it that many exporters and government still focus so heavily on China as the answer to our economic woes? The staggering population would be a major driver when it has the capability to buy consumer or processing goods. But the backing off of domestic spending, even as wages increase is puzzling and not without just concern. With China’s high debt-to-GDP ratio and defaults a daily ritual (including bonds) it is only a matter of time before we smell the scorched dragon’s breath. In total, the combination of household, government and corporate debt is more than 200 per cent of GDP — a 150 per cent increase from 2008. Even though Chinese immigrants will not find the level of job when they move abroad, they are willing to leave for a slower and less restricted life. They leave with their cash after selling property, and countries such as Canada welcome the investment. It may be just opportunity knocking, but the reality is they are concerned
about their future should they stay on Chinese ground. The yuan (Chinese currency) is widely used in financial transactions but is nowhere near conversion. To be a global trading currency, the yuan must not only settle deals but be convertible and then grow into a reserve. Many economists are skeptical that this will happen considering the protectionism in the past. And the past is concerning as China has a reputation as a bully on the international stage. Despite the government’s recent efforts to calm those waters, human rights violations continue to take centre stage and the ability to get things manufactured in China is now getting more costly. With growth projected to be near seven per cent in the near future, China is now desperate for our business and not us for theirs. This presents an opportunity for Canada, the land of resources. In Canada, the food-manufacturing business is the leading sector in terms of employment and GDP —
greater than auto manufacturing. We can gain traction in this area using more of our production and let the world come to us. Rather than standing with our mouths gaping looking at China as a potential for our primary product, perhaps we need to take off our red shades and see it as a potential for our goods. It will be tough on the dragon either way. To get out of this mess they will have to clamp down and desperate measures to attract investment will hurt a lot of innocent people. The dragon has not been slain, nor should it be, as we need sound economies and a strong middle class worldwide. We will, however, feel the heat of the dragon’s breath as it rears up to clear the economic mess that makes its nest. Brenda Schoepp is a farmer from Alberta who works as an international mentor and motivational speaker. She can be contacted through her website www.brendaschoepp.com. All rights reserved. Brenda Schoepp 2014
Why you should care about the UN’s International Year of the Pulse Take a look at what it did for quinoa, and you’ll realize this event will benefit your pocketbook, soil, and maybe your health By Allison Ammeter Sylvan Lake
ome of you read this article title and decided to read one sentence before moving on. Some of you have already moved on. Like many of you, I haven’t had a lot of respect for many of the things the UN thinks, endorses, or gets involved in. So why am I, a self-proclaimed redneck Alberta grain farmer, excited about the International Year of the Pulse? So many reasons! First, full disclosure — I serve on the board of the Alberta Pulse Growers, so I am obviously a pulse promoter. Second, we grow pulses — in our area, that means yellow or green peas and faba beans — and we appreciate they are our only crops that make the soil better after having grown them due to nitrogen fixation. Third, I like to know what’s in my food, and I know how good pulses are for our diet, not to mention our taste buds. So in my mind, anything that promotes pulse consumption, and therefore pulse production, is something I’ll get behind. But it goes deeper than that. Before you say, “Nobody pays any attention to the UN Year ofs,” consider 2013 — the International Year of Quinoa. How many of you had tasted quinoa before 2013? How many of you had
While en route to the World Pulses Convention in Cape Town in early May, Allison Ammeter passed under this bridge in Buckinghamshire, England and took it as a sign that big things were afoot in the world of pulses. photo: submitted purchased it? Had it in a restaurant side dish? Not many, I would venture. And yet, today, it is a common item in the “small grains” section of grocery stores, and trendy in our restaurants. If a UN designation can do that for a grain that was hardly heard of 10 years ago, imagine what UN promotion can do for a food item that has been eaten around the world for millennia. Now, to a key question: Why should you try eating more peas, beans, or lentils?
First of all, variety is important in all healthy diets. Secondly, pulses are very high in fibre, in protein, and are very nutrient dense. They contain complex carbohydrates, which keep blood sugars very normal (good for a diabetic diet). They are gluten free, which is important for celiacs. And when eaten regularly, they can reduce bad cholesterol. So why don’t Canadians, who grow so many pulses and account for 35 per cent of the world’s pulse trade, eat more of them? The main reason is we think they give us gas.
Most dietitians will tell you that your body needs to eat something regularly in order to adapt to it and not have sideeffects. This is a basic food rule, whether it is meat, milk, a fruit, a vegetable, or the pulses which you are avoiding. In other words, if you eat beans more regularly, you’ll actually stop having gas issues. Give them a chance. Now back to the original question. Why would I, as a farmer, be excited about the International Year of the Pulse? In my market-oriented mind, if the UN promotes pulses worldwide and consumers around the world decide to eat more pulses, there will be more demand for them. Large companies such as PepsiCo and Unilever will put even more whole pulses, pulse purée, and fractionated pulses in their prepared foods. More restaurants will prepare meals and side dishes with pulses. Farmers worldwide will be asked to produce more pulses and should see higher prices. That will also generate demand for better varieties, better disease control, better herbicides, etc. That’s all good for farmers, right? So yes, I’m excited about the International Year of the Pulse. I’ll be promoting it wherever I find a venue, as will many others in pulse-producing countries around the world. How about you? Grow more pulses, eat more pulses!
Off the front
June 23, 2014 • Albertafarmexpress.ca
GRADS } from page 1 “Farmers are facing intense cha l l e n g e s i n f i n d i n g f a r m labour,” said Debra Hauer, program manager at Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council. “Many of the recent grads are people who work in support services to industry, like input companies and sales and service.” Traditionally, farmers have relied on their children to work on the farm, but with more young people turning to off-farm work after school, they have to widen their search. “Farmers now have to go farther afield, away from family and community, in order to find people to work on their farms,” said Hauer. About half of Lakeland College grads return to the family farm, but that isn’t an option for many students today. Van Kuilenburg started school with the idea of one day taking over the family dairy, but the high cost of quota and land is a huge barrier. “It’s difficult coming straight out of university with the debt and having no equity underneath you,” she said. Employers are also having to change their expectations, said Van Lent. “We do get quite a few requests for farm businesses looking for students in March, April, and May, and frankly by that time, many of them are already hired,” she said. The demand is also a reflection of the educational system meeting the needs of industry, she added. “We’re starting to see more requests for students with specific skill sets in primary agriculture,” she said.
“I’ve been in the ag industry professionally for well over 30 years, and I cannot think of a time when the job opportunities were this strong.” Josie Van Lent
Students get hands-on experience in the Animal Sciences Technology program at Lakeland College. photo: lakeland college “As an employer, you want it all. You want the smartest kid with the best attitude and a lot of practical experience. We’ve been encouraged by industry to continue with our programs, and our students have great job opportunities. That’s telling me the hands-on piece is valued.” Practical experience is important, but completing a degree “will give you jobs you want,” said Elford. He got a job after earning an agriculture science diploma from Lethbridge College, but found his advancement opportunities were limited, he said. “I actually took some time off between my diploma and my degree, and I went back due to knowing that was my highest level I could achieve without going back to get my degree,” said Elford. Having both a diploma and a degree is an advantage, he added. “With the hands-on experience that a college provides — whether it’s in Lethbridge or Olds or Vermilion — you definitely have the upper hand on a strict four-year university program.”
Jose Puente agrees. “It’s important to know the books, but it’s also important to have the technical skills,” said Puente, who just earned a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Alberta. Puente came to Canada in 2007 through a partnership between his university in Mexico and Olds College, where he spent his last semester in the college’s meatprocessing course. “When I came to the University of Alberta, I was also hired as the meat-processing technician at the university,” said Puente, who grew up on a cattle farm. “I had the hands-on experience from Olds College’s meatprocessing course. When I went to the university, I was the only one who knew how to break down carcasses into cuts.” Puente also worked for two years as a supervisor at Dairy Queen after he left Olds College — work experience that helped him land a job as a foreman trainee in JBS’s Approach Program. “This program is for people who have previous experience as
We’re still here .
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a supervisor,” he said. “Besides the technical skills that I got from Olds College and the U of A, the experience I had as a supervisor has helped me to be ahead of my competition.” Being in JBS’s leadership program has shown Puente the opportunities that exist in Alberta’s agriculture industry. “Right now, my managers and other managers I have met from other plants are about to retire. Those are opportunities that are going to come up,” he said. “The sky’s the limit.” Elford also sees opportunities to move “up a company’s ladder” and take on a management role, but he also sees the option to start his own consulting business. “I think in the industry in general, there’s so many companies to choose from to work for, but there’s also the ability to start up your own thing,” he said. “The opportunities are absolutely endless. They’re definitely there for those who want to take them.”
Job postings in ag are soaring In the past four years, AgCareers.com has seen almost a 50 per cent increase in the number of Canadian agriculture jobs posted to the popular job site. Here are the industries that are hiring. 1) General agriculture 2) Agronomy 3) Crop protection/ chemicals 4) Finance/banking 5) Seed 6) Crops/grain 7) Equipment/machinery 8) Feed 9) Commodities 10) Retail Information courtesy of AgCareers.com’s 2013 Agribusiness Job Report.
KOREA } from page 1 Canadian beef eliminated in 15 equal annual steps. As well, an 18 per cent tariff on offal will be eliminated in 11 equal annual steps. But the U.S. has a head start on that score, as its free trade deal with Korea was implemented in 2012. Australia also finalized a free trade agreement with Korea in 2013, and will be implementing it as soon as possible. But there’s significant interest in buying Canadian beef, said Solverson. “When I was in Korea with the prime minister this spring, I talked to some of the people who were interested in importing,” he said. “It wasn’t only the free trade agreement that kept us out; we were out of the market because of BSE until two years ago. We had to sort of rebuild from there.” But even though the U.S. and Australia have captured the lion’s share of Korean imports, there’s been an upside for Canada, he said. “Sometimes when there’s strong North American demand, we’ve been flooded with offshore beef, like beef from Australia, New Zea-
land and South America. That’s not happening this time because of the demand in Asia. Australia is exporting a lot of beef to China, while it historically would have sent more to the U.S. and Canada. Even if it isn’t us exporting, we’re benefiting because our competitors are exporting to them and not us.” Still, it’s important to go after market share in countries such as Korea, especially as the sharp rise in beef prices might affect domestic demand, he added. “High prices are often the cure for high prices,” he said. “I think it’s important to have a lot of outlets all over the world, and a lot of places where beef can go.” And while Canadian prices are high by historical yardsticks, our beef is cheap by Korean standards. Locally produced beef sells for about 60 per cent more than imported beef, said Solverson. “I’m guessing that that will change. In Canada, about 11 per cent of our income goes to food. In Korea, it’s about 24 per cent. They’ll be looking for alternatives to high-priced protein.” email@example.com
Albertafarmexpress.ca • June 23, 2014
British Columbia dairy farm confronts abuse allegations The owners say they were unaware and are co-operating fully with an investigation By Alex Binkley af contributor
llegations of animal abuse against eight employees of a B.C. dairy farm are under investigation by the provincial Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after videos showing scenes of alleged mistreatment were released by a Toronto-based vegan organization opposed to livestock production. Jeff Kooyman, co-owner of the Chilliwack Cattle Company, said it is co-operating with the BC-SPCA in the criminal investigation. “We were not given a chance to view the footage until it aired on television,” he said. “Now that it has aired, we are taking immediate action to terminate all employees involved as well as take several steps to ensure that this type of abuse never happens again.”
Funding available for rural fire departments and emergency services
ural rescue organizations from across Canada are invited to apply for the Funding Initiative for Rural Emergencies (F.I.R.E.). DuPont Pioneer launched the program last year and gave out more than $100,000 to 32 rural fire departments and emergency services for rescue equipment and training. Among the equipment purchased last year was grain bin rescue equipment, oxygen tank refill stations, ventilation fans, and jaws of life rescue tools. “We have heard from many of the departments that received funding last year, and they are more confident that they have better tools in place to respond to agriculture-related and rural emergencies,” said Ian Grant, business director for DuPont Pioneer. Rural rescue organizations interested in applying for the program may contact their Pioneer sales representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
That includes longer training periods for new employees and animal welfare training for all current employees, he said. As well, closed circuit cameras will be installed to monitor the 35,000 cattle on the family-owned operation. The farm was opened for media tours. “We deeply apologize for what happened,” Kooyman said. “We cannot stress further how much the actions of these young men have shocked our family. This does not reflect at all on the care or respect our family has for animals and we will do everything necessary to make sure this never happens again.” The treatment of the animals was condemned by Wally Smith, a B.C. dairy farmer and president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, which has been one of the leaders in developing care codes for the humane treatment of farm animals. “I hate to see animals mistreated,”
Clinic — regularly visit the farm and monitor animal health. “We have had a working relationship with the Kooyman’s for over 20 years and can speak to their integrity and care for their animals,” their statement said. Taylor said the video footage is shocking and damaging to the industry’s reputation. “Having witnessed the footage, we are deeply shaken. Organizationally, we will be taking proactive steps to further our already strong animal care practices.” Kooyman said his family will continue to work with BC-SPCA and regulatory authorities during the investigation. “In addition, we will be taking any and all steps necessary to assure that no such incident takes place on our family farm in the future. As a farming family we are committed to providing the best care for our animals and have zero tolerance for animal abuse.”
PROTECT YOUR CROP. UNLEASH YIELDS.
Treat fungicide as an investment, not a cost. Today’s depressed (and depressing!) grain prices have many producers feeling squeezed for operating capital. But experts say reducing inputs on the upcoming crop in order to minimize expenditures could cost producers more in the long run. “Producers need to maintain a balanced approach, because the production of a successful crop requires all inputs in balance. You need to set out with an intention of what kind of yield is realistic and what kind of inputs are necessary to achieve that yield. If you have to cut back anywhere, you have to recalibrate to a lower yield goal and calculate corresponding inputs to achieve that revised goal,” says Sheri Strydhorst, an agronomy research scientist, with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD). “Imagine if it’s a year where crops are susceptible to disease and someone loses 25 per cent of their yield because they choose not to apply a fungicide. That fungicide might cost $25/acre in input and application costs. But if wheat is $4 a bushel and the yield drops by 20 bushels per acre because of disease, they’ll lose $80 per acre to save $25 per acre. It’s a very dangerous thing to make a pest
management decision based solely on minimizing input costs rather than growing conditions.” In 2013, Strydhorst conducted the first of a four year small-plot research trial that compared various agronomic management systems. Jason Wood, a production crops economist with ARD, then took this production data and analyzed the cost of production
the highest yield, at a cost of $2.51/bu. “It is complicated to get your head around, but the extra cost of fungicide application is divided across more bushels, resulting in a lower overall production cost per bushel. The cost of production economics are so dependent on yield,” explains Strydhorst.
“The extra cost of fungicide application is divided across more bushels, resulting in a lower overall production cost per bushel.”
It’s important to note that the per bushel costs from these trials are a result of a single year of data in a single location in a year with heavy disease pressure. Strydhorst cannot confirm that the findings represent a long term trend. That said, the benefit of slightly higher inputs resulting in significantly more yield is obvious, she says.
of various agronomic practices. At the Barrhead location – where growing conditions were favourable and high yields were achieved – the cost of production (including cost of inputs, land and labour) of a standard CPS wheat crop grown with basic agronomic management and no fungicide application was $2.66/bu. When sprayed at flag leaf with Headline® at full rate, the cost of production dropped to $2.51/bu. A single application of Prosaro® at head emergence dropped production cost further to $2.43/bu. Two applications of fungicide resulted in
The window to apply an effective fungicide is very small, particularly for farmers who opt to spray only a single application. Some diseases, especially stripe rust, move incredibly quickly and need to be attacked as soon as they first infect a field. Therefore, scout often, have a spray plan in place and supplies available, and be prepared to act quickly. It is always harder to scramble to apply an unplanned but necessary application than to cancel a planned application if weather conditions or crop growth are not conducive to disease.
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Smith said. “I was very upset, disgusted and devastated upon hearing the news. This treatment of animals is intolerable, and not how most people care for their animals. Animal abuse is never, never OK — animals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Smith said authorities acted quickly to ensure any mistreatment doesn’t reoccur. The Mercy for Animals undercover video shows farm workers viciously kicking, punching, beating, and hitting cows in the face and body with chains, canes, metal pipes, and rakes. They also depict animals suffering from inadequate veterinary care and sick and injured cows being lifted by chains around their necks. Dave Taylor, chairman of the B.C. Dairy Association, said in a statement that two vets — Dr. David Dykshorn and Dr. Rich Vanderwal of the Abbotsford Veterinary
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Fusarium Head Blight, Rusts (Leaf, Stem & Stripe), Tan Spot
Black Leg, Black Spot
Fusarium Head Blight, Septoria, Tan Spot, Leaf Rust, Stem Rust
Powdery Mildew, Mycosphaerella Blight
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Fusarium Head Blight, Leaf Rust, Tan Spot, Net Blotch
Sclerotinia, Black Spot
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Leaf Rust, Tan Spot, Stripe Rust, Septoria
Powdery Mildew, Mycosphaerella Blight, White Mould
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Leaf Rust, Tan Spot, Stripe Rust
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Leaf Rust, Tan Spot, Powdery Mildew
Sclerotinia Rot (white mould), Mycosphaerella Blight
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Fusarium Head Blight, Rusts (Leaf, Stem & Stripe)
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Rusts (Leaf, Stem & Stripe), Net Blotch, Septoria
Wheat, Barley, Oats
Rusts (Leaf, Stem & Stripe), Net Blotch, Septoria
Powdery Mildew, Mycosphaerella Blight
Note: this chart is not a complete listing of all crops and diseases controlled. For a complete list of all crop types and diseases controlled, consult the product label or talk with your local UFA Crop Sales Staff member. Always read and follow label directions.
1-800-665-1362 © 2014 UFA Co-operative Ltd. All rights reserved. All other products are registered trademarks of their respective companies. 05/14-37758 AFE
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Cattle theft a reminder of the need to brand cattle and keep a close watch Recent theft of 59 mixed breed heifers highlights the need to brand and tag cattle, says RCMP livestock investigator By Alexis Kienlen af staff
f you like it and want to keep it, then you better put a brand on it. That’s the advice from RCMP livestock investigator Cpl. Dave Heaslip following the theft of 59 mixed breed heifers from the Provost area earlier this month. “As a police officer investigating, you need to think that this is a commodity that’s worth something,” said Heaslip. “One of the criteria for proving without reasonable doubt in a court of law, is that you need to be able to identify your property. Before you put them out, make sure you can identify your property.” Branding and Canadian Cattle Identification Agency tags are both good insurance, and also help police officers do their job. Under the Health of Animals Acts, producers cannot legally move animals from a farm site to a pasture location without tags. Heaslip has investigated some cases where upwards of 20 head of cattle without branding or tags have gone missing. That slows the investigation and lowers the chance the thieves will be caught.
“Stay in contact with your neighbours. Babysit each other’s stuff and have a look. Let your neighbours know when you’re putting your cattle in.”
ued at around $80,000, and their owner is offering a reward of $25,000 for their return. Heaslip encourages producers to keep an eye on their cattle numbers and check their cattle daily when they’re out on pasture. Another way to avoid theft is to maintain good relationships with neighbours and groups like Rural Crime Watch. “Stay in contact with your neighbours,” he said. “Babysit each other’s stuff and have a look. Let your neighbours know when you’re putting your cattle in.” It also helps to take pictures of any cattle with unusual-looking marks or birthmarks.
Heaslip said cattle are reported missing from pastures every once in a while, but it certainly isn’t an epidemic. Anyone who has information about the 59 missing cattle, is asked to call their local RCMP detachment, police force, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-2228477 (TIPS). Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2,000 if information leads to an arrest and calls can be made anonymously. (The organization does not subscribe to call display, call trace, or tape any phone calls.) All the cattle are tagged and bear the HOBBS brand. email@example.com
Anyone who sees cattle bearing this brand should call the RCMP or Crime Stoppers. photo: supplied
Cpl. Dave Heaslip
“It’s very cumbersome. By the time you get all this information gathered and the co-operation from the people, the cattle are down the road,” said Heaslip. “With this case that we’ve got going right now, this guy is a good farmer, a good rancher and a good cattle guy. He had all his brands on there and they had tags in their ears and stuff.” The theft of the 59 cattle was detected after a monthly head count. When the landowner noticed his cattle were missing, he searched the area on the ground and in an aircraft. RCMP also conducted a thorough search of the property for evidence, alerted the media, and contacted inspection markets and auctions across Western Canada and the U.S. It’s suspected the thieves knew the daily routine on the farm and used a trailer capable of holding 60 heifers to steal them in one go. “Since cattle prices are so high, it makes cattle more valuable with regards to taking a chance and thefts,” said Heaslip. The 59 stolen cattle are val-
BayerCropScience.ca/Prosaro or 1 888-283-6847 or contact your Bayer CropScience representative. Always read and follow label directions. Prosaro® is a registered trademark of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada.
Albertafarmexpress.ca • june 23, 2014
Lightning ‘danger map’ warns of risk in your area Environment Canada release
uring the summer in Canada, lightning strikes on average every three seconds. Besides causing power outages and forest fires, lightning strikes can also seriously injure or kill. The Canadian Lightning Danger Map displays high-risk lightning areas in red. These maps are updated at an interval of 10 minutes and are based on recent lightning observations. The Canadian Lightning Danger Map can be found on weather.gc.ca and is accessible on mobile devices. If the map indicates red areas over your location or if you hear thunder, then you are at risk of being struck by lightning. You should go to a safe location, either a building with plumbing and wiring or an all-metal vehicle and stay there for 30 minutes following the last rumble of thunder.
Why stay inside so long? Research in North America shows that one-third of lightning injuries and fatalities occur in the early stages of a storm, one-third at the peak of a storm and one-third once the peak of the storm has passed by. Environment Canada issues Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings when severe weather such as large hail, strong winds, heavy downpours, or even tornadoes are possible. When planning outdoor activities this summer, it is important to listen to weather forecasts, and to keep an eye on the sky as weather conditions can change quickly. Please contact your regional Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at 1-866-6725463 if you have questions or need more information. Lightning in Canada website: http://www. ec.gc.ca/foudre-lightning Canadian Lightning Danger Maps: http:// weather.gc.ca/lightning/index_e.html.
Annual honeybee winterkill survey underway Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development release
lberta Agriculture is once again conducting its annual honeybee winterkill and management survey. “The honeybee winterkill and management survey is an important component in developing Alberta Apiculture surveillance system and best management practices,” says Medhat Nasr, provincial apiculturist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “Results are also used to justify any emergency registration of new potential miticides or medications as needed.” Nasr says it is impossible to justify the registration of any products to control honeybee pests without providing field data collected through this type of survey. “As such, replying to the 2014 survey is essential for the continuation of our program services and to keep healthy bees.” The survey is being sent to all registered Alberta beekeepers. Completed surveys by commercial beekeepers who own 400 hives or more may be faxed or mailed to: Bee Survey - Provincial Building 4705-49 Avenue Stettler, Alberta T0C 2L0 Fax: 403-742-7527 For the rest of beekeepers, fax or mail the survey to the Provincial Apiculturist office: Alberta Provincial Apiculturist Crop Diversification Centre North 17507 Fort Road NW Edmonton, Alberta T5Y 6H3 Fax: 780-422-6096 The deadline for submissions is June 29, 2014. For more information, email Medhat Nasr at medhat.nasr@ gov.ab.ca.
For unparalleled yield and quality in your wheat and barley crops, choose Prosaro® fungicide. It delivers premium disease protection against fusarium head blight (FHB), reduces DON levels and controls leaf diseases. Two leading actives – tebuconazole for fast activity and prothioconazole for future defence – bring curative and preventative properties to your crop. Prosaro is truly the complete package for protecting both cereal crops and your peace of mind. For more information, visit BayerCropScience.ca/Prosaro
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Talent trumps gender in today’s agriculture Josie Van Lent says young women see the opportunities in agriculture and are reaching out to seize them
Young women in agriculture today are confident and eager to grab the opportunities the industry offers, says Josie Van Lent, pictured here with student Sheena Merrild. Photo: Courtesy Lakeland College
By Jennifer Blair af staff
osie Van Lent was “purposely naive” when she began her agriculture career more than 30 years ago. “There were times when the fact that I was female was probably less appreciated, but I was too stupid to see that,” Lakeland College’s dean of agriculture says with a laugh. “Definitely people would react to the fact that I was a woman in the job, but I never took that personally. “You have to sort out what is a legitimate discrimination and what is really simply a reaction to something different.” While those times were few and far between, there has been a sea change in attitudes since then, and Van Lent says she sees it every day at her college. Women make up half of its 7,500-student enrolment at its two campuses in Vermilion and Lloydminster. Those entering its agricultural programs expect to be judged on their abilities — and expect to excel. “The young women coming into agriculture today have more confidence,” she says. “A lot of them are quite skilled and come in as equals to our male students. There isn’t anything they can’t do. “If they’re from farms, the expectation is that they will learn and do what the guys are doing on farms. I don’t think that was the case even 15 years ago.”
Male students also have a different attitude and their understanding of equality is “refreshing,” she says. “Our male students expect our female students to do the same things they’re doing, and our female students don’t see why they shouldn’t be.” Even though she grew up on a farm and obtained her degree in agriculture at the University of Alberta, Van Lent never really thought her future lay in that direction. The plan was to get a law degree. However, when her undergrad days ended, she decided that “law school wasn’t going to come until I made some money.” But what was to be a short stint with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development ended up lasting 15 years. “I feel like I absolutely hit my sweet spot,” she says. “I can honestly say that there’s been very, very few days that I have not wanted to get up and go to work in my career. And I feel really privileged about that.” Van Lent first worked as a district agriculturalist and then as a livestock specialist. “I really loved being on farms and involved at the grassroots level, whether it was with livestock or crops.” A startup crop services company near Vermilion approached Van Lent about helping to build their agronomy program — an opportunity that gave her experience in “the business side of things.” “We were small and lean and mean,” she says. “We slept in the office sometimes to make sure that fertilizer trucks
got out to farms at 2 in the morning when the season was really pressured — whatever it took.” She then worked for UFA, managing its crop inputs division in northeastern Alberta for two years before Lakeland College approached her seven years ago. “They typically don’t hire from industry,” she says. “They took a bit of a gamble on me.” At the time, the college wanted to create stronger ties between its agriculture programs and the industry, and with Van Lent at the helm, the college did just that, completing a comprehensive review of its programs “to make sure they were aligned with what industry needed.” “In some cases, some things stayed the same, and in other cases, we needed to make some changes.” She also found that the culture had changed since her university days. Today, female students seek out leadership roles within their classes and coursework — and that’s a significant shift. “When I was in university, I think some of us would hold back a little bit. If there was a lab where we would be handling an animal, we might not be the first to step up to the plate. Here, they’re quite confident.” Van Lent points to two factors driving this change. First, young women are beginning to see opportunities in agriculture and taking advantage of them. Second, talent counts.
“No matter who you are — male or female — if you are interested in something and passionate about it, you should have that opportunity.” Josie Van Lent
“It’s less of a gender thing than it is about who’s the best person to do the job,” says Van Lent. “The people I’ve worked with in the ag industry — whether it’s producers or colleagues or peers — have high expectations, but those expectations are there whether you’re male or female. “No matter who you are — male or female — if you are interested in something and passionate about it, you should have that opportunity.” Van Lent hopes her students take advantage of those opportunities — “that they get up in the morning and most days really want to go to work. For me, it’s kind of neat that I get to influence that somewhat.” Part of a series of articles showcasing women in agriculture in Alberta. firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
U.S. officials concede they may never know the source of a deadly pig virus Officials fear even more serious diseases could also surface using a similar pathway BY TOM POLANSEK CHICAGO / REUTERS
nvestigators may never determine how a highly contagious virus that has killed an estimated 10 per cent of U.S. pigs entered the country. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) has wiped out an estimated seven million pigs and infected farms in 30 states since the first case was found in Ohio in April 2013. A second strain of the virus and a separate disease called swine delta coronavirus also have been discovered. “That pathway that it came in on, and the same pathway that delta corona came in, is very concerning to us,” said USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford.
Missouri firm recalls over 4,000 pounds of beef over BSE concerns USDA review finds risk material not removed from older cattle REUTERS / A Missouri slaughterhouse recalled 4,012 pounds of fresh beef over concerns that nervous tissue that could contain the mad cow disease pathogen may not have been properly removed from the meat before shipment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said June 12. The recalled bone-in ribeye roasts and quartered carcasses from Jackson, Missouri-based Fruitland American Meat were delivered to restaurants in New York City and Kansas City, Missouri, as well as a Whole Foods distribution centre in Connecticut that services the region, the USDA said. The agency said no adverse events had been reported. Officials at the agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service discovered the problem during a review of the company’s slaughter logs. Reviewers found the firm may not have removed dorsal root ganglia tissue from cattle aged 30 months and older, in violation of federal regulations. That tissue is considered a risk material as it can contain the pathogen responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more broadly known as mad cow disease. The disease is transmissible to humans and can be fatal. The agency rated the health risk of the recall as low.
“We’re doing all that we can to try to identify that. We may not identify it, though.” While PEDv is not a threat to humans or food, its success in getting past inspectors at U.S. borders and other safeguards has alarmed government officials, private veterinarians, hog producers and meat processors. They fear more serious diseases could enter by similar means. Clifford said that trying to figure out how PEDv entered the country is difficult because there are so many potential pathways. He added that USDA’s ability to track how the virus entered and spread was hampered because veterinarians were not required to report cases. The USDA has said international regulatory standards do not require reporting of PEDv.
Following the initial outbreak, the hog industry also preferred to have private veterinarians handle cases rather than calling in the USDA, Clifford said. “Frankly we don’t have goodquality data all the time,” he said. “Back in May, there were no rules about who would do what,” said Paul Sundberg, vice-president of science and technology for the National Pork Board. Because the virus was not a disease that required USDA reporting, “the obvious thing was for the producers to continue to work with their veterinarians,” he said. Some producers and veterinarians have criticized USDA for waiting until April 2014 to announce it would require U.S. veterinarians to report new cases. The agency has not laid out guidelines for
compliance or started collecting data yet. PEDv can be transmitted from pig to pig by contact with pig manure and from farm to farm on trucks. Scientists believe it is also likely spreading through animal
feed or feed ingredients, such as plasma from pigs’ blood. Clifford said USDA believes any PEDv particles in plasma are inactivated during processing, but feed could potentially be contaminated after it was processed.
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JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
WORKER SHORTAGE SLOWS PACKERS
DROUGHT FORCES SLAUGHTER
The Canadian Meat Council last week issued a statement saying packers are short hundreds of workers, forcing plants to run well below full capacity. It said plants are operating at 77 per cent of capacity on average, resulting in more Canadian cattle and hogs being shipped to the U.S. for slaughter. It said not enough Canadians want to work in packing plants, and processors have instead relied on the temporary foreign worker program, but it has become more difficult to gain government approval for those workers. “We’ve got plants trying to keep their doors open,” a spokesman said.
Australia has raised its forecast for beef exports in the 2014-15 marketing year by nearly eight per cent as dry conditions across the east coast mean farmers are slaughtering livestock at a near-record pace. Shipments are expected to total 1.12 million tonnes this season, the second highest on record amid rising demand from China. With no pasture and expensive feed grains as a result of prolonged drought, farmers have been culling animals at record levels, driving cattle prices down to a more than three-year low in January at A$2.78-1/2 a kg. — Reuters
Lamb producers tallying the cost of coyote predation Coyotes are classed as pests, and so producers receive no compensation for lost livestock BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF
t’s always a nightmare when a sheep producer goes out into the yard and sees that an animal has been ripped apart by predators. “Some years are worse than others,” said Bill Gibson, a sheep producer near Bashaw. “We did lose 25 lambs one year in a short period of time, and that was very hard to deal with.” It’s also a significant financial hit. Last year, a market lamb was worth about $175, said Gibson, who raises about 200 ewes a year. “Multiply that by about 25, and that would have been our losses that year. That’s fairly substantial, because you put your effort and all that expense into getting that lamb to that size and then you lose it.” That’s a major reason why Alberta Lamb Producers is conducting a survey to track coyote predation, coyote control, and livestock losses. “There is some feedback coming from producers that there are some areas of the province where there are quite a few issues with predators,” said Ronald den Broeder, chair of Alberta Lamb Producers. “Generally, coyotes are the biggest issue.” “There isn’t any way to track,” adds Gibson, the association’s Zone 4 rep. “There’s the survey that we’re trying to get producers to complete, and that will hopefully give us some better information. Right now, there isn’t a lot of information available as far as numbers of producers affected.” Wolves, bears, and cougars are also an issue, but the Wildlife Division of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development offers compensation when those predators kill livestock. But coyotes are classified as pests, rather than predators, and that means no compensation. If the survey finds a large number of producers are having issues with coyote predation, the group will go to the province to ask they be reclassified as predators, said den Broeder. “It depends on how many people are going to come back to us,” he said. “If we have a decent amount of numbers that say that people have issues, at least we will
“There is some feedback coming from producers that there are some areas of the province where there are quite a few issues with predators.” PHOTO: BRIAN MCMILLAN
A couple years ago, Bill Gibson, who farms near Bashaw, lost about 25 sheep to coyote predation. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Gerty Sorensen and husband Albert are sheep producers from Bezanson who have had issues with coyote control. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
have a record of something that we can go to government with.” The anecdotal evidence is that coyote predation is a serious problem — but seems to vary by area and by year. “About four years ago, we had a big wreck with coyotes, and the last two years — knock on wood — it’s pretty good,” said den Broeder, who farms near Barrhead. “We were losing one or two sheep a day.” Another problem with the current situation is that coyote control is regulated by the counties, rather than Fish and Wildlife and the Alberta government. That means regulations and assistance vary.
Den Broeder was able to get some help from Fish and Wildlife, who put up cameras to help him track the coyotes. “But in other counties, they just say there’s nothing they can do, and that’s where it stops.” Gibson was able to use the services of the county agricultural fieldman. “We did everything we could and it took several months to resolve it,” he said. Thwarting coyotes requires constant vigilance, good fencing and guardian dogs, said Gibson. “Since then, we haven’t had as many problems, but we still see coyotes and we have predation problems from time to time.”
Alberta Lamb Producers recommends a combination of good fencing; guard donkeys, dogs or llamas; and in some cases, hunting. “My personal experience is that if you just rely on one thing, you might get away with it, but generally it’s not going to be sufficient,” said den Broeder. “You have to tackle it with more than one thing.” Gerty Sorensen, who raises sheep near Bezanson with her husband Albert, has seen lambs with their hind legs ripped off and throats ripped open. “We should be compensated, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “You can build what you think is
RONALD DEN BROEDER
the best fence going (and) the coyotes will find a means of getting under it.” Spring is the worst time because that’s when pups are being taught to hunt, she said. Coyotes are so smart that they can monitor a farmer’s habits, and figure out the best time to kill. “We’ve been dealing with coyotes ever since we brought the sheep on the property,” she said. Her two llamas and three dogs reduce, but don’t eliminate, predation. “I don’t care how many dogs you have. Unless you lock the sheep up at night and lock the dogs in with them, they’re still going to get them. A bunch of coyotes will lure the dogs off one way, and another group will come in and kill (the sheep).” Sorensen estimates that if she didn’t have her dogs, she would lose at least 50 per cent of her sheep. “I live right by the creek and the river. I’m in prime coyote country.” Alberta Lamb Producers voluntary survey should be completed by June 30. It can be found at www.ablamb.ca. firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
U of A home to new meat program Program will teach students necessary skills to fill looming labour shortage BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF
ost people love a good burger or pork chop, but they don’t think about the science or research involved with meat. Fortunately, there’s a group of people who do. And starting this fall, students who want to become experts in “the science of meat” will be able to enrol for a graduate degree in the subject at the University of Alberta. The new meat science graduate program is the first of its kind in Canada — but there’s already a huge demand for experts in this area. “Most of the time, students are hired very quickly, as soon as they graduate,” said Heather Bruce, associate professor of carcass and meat science at the university and director of the Canadian Meat Education and Training Network (MEaTnet). “I’ve had two — one was hired before he graduated and the other was hired three days after she graduated. That’s the kind of demand that’s out there.” And the opportunities don’t stop there. “The meat industry has been mentioning and foreshadowing that it’s going to have a lot of retirements in the next little while, particularly in the middle management and supervisory area,” said Bruce, who has experience in both industry and academia. These retirees have built up an enormous amount of experience over the course of 15 or 20 years, which is typical of how long it takes to gain expertise in the industry. By working with industry partners and providing increased training, the new graduate program will help bring people into middle management and supervisory roles after only five or six years of experience. “We want to produce graduates who are professional and ready to be employees who can hit the ground running,” said Bruce. “That’s why this program is a very intensive program and we hope to take the best and the most hard working.” The new program capitalizes on academic knowledge from the universities as well as Olds College expertise in teaching hands-on meat handling, cutting, and animal slaughter. The master’s program is a two-year initiation into research and investigation while the PhD builds on a master’s and is more self-directed, with a supervisor acting as an adviser. “Essentially, they get a dry run at research with the ability to make mistakes in a safe place,” said Bruce. Students can choose to specialize in meat safety and microbiology, meat and muscle biochemistry, the economics of meat, or the science of meat processing. The University of Alberta is home to the MEaTnet, a new virtual network linking it, Olds College, and universities of Sas-
katchewan, Guelph, and Laval. The group was formed by meat scientists who wanted to collaborate on research. “We wanted to put together as complete a package as possible,” said Bruce. “With electronic communication now being so good and so easy, we’re really looking forward to putting this together and becoming a flagship for other organizations that are looking to deliver more information virtually, rather than just simply on the ground.” Students will be able to access the program virtually through any of the participating universities, she added. “We’ll probably share the
course so it’s offered through each university, using each university’s electronic platform. Every university gets credit for it and every student gets credit for it at the university they’re attending.” The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada provided $1.65 million in funding to create the program. The funding will also allow MEaTnet to build a platform for undergraduate students, as well as online courses for industry personnel who want to upgrade their qualifications without leaving the workplace. email@example.com
Heather Bruce, associate professor of meat science and carcass at the University of Alberta is the director of the Canadian Meat Education and Training Network and head of Canada’s first meat science graduate program. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Beef 2014: International Livestock Conference This year’s conference will focus on the opportunities of marketing the whole carcass. With the trends that are taking shape today, there are many opportunities for the future. Hear an update on the local and global economies and the market opportunities that exist for the entire carcass both here in Canada and around the world.
Register at www.ilccalgary.com
ILC Beef 2014: Wednesday July 09, 2014
Deerfoot Inn & Casino, 1000, 11500-35 Street SE, Calgary, Alberta
Cattle photo courtesy of Canada Beef Inc.
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Ways to reduce the risk of bloat when pasturing on alfalfa BEFF 911 Producers can take steps to reduce the risk through
management and preventive products BY ROY LEWIS, DVM
asturing alfalfa can improve gains, but bloat is always a worry. Thankfully, advancements in technology, along with pasture management, can make this a viable option. Adhering to several principles can go a long ways to preventing unnecessary deaths when turning cattle out into leguminous pastures. Cattle should initially be turned out in the heat of the day. This helps two things: the crop is dry with no dew (moisture greatly increases the possibility of bloat) and cattle do not graze as vigorously in the heat of the day. Ensure they are full of dry feed before being turned out. The higher (coarser) the crop and more mature (in bloom), the lower the possibility of bloat. Coarser crops increase the production of saliva for digestion and saliva is a natural anti-foaming agent. This is why you’ll hear the old-timers talking about tying a stick crossways in the mouth of a bloating animal. This resulted in tremendous chewing, saliva production and hence bloat reduction. The old-timers had a lot of common sense. Once cattle are exposed to the alfalfa, leave them on it. Reintroduction can result in problems similar to what occurs after a storm in which grazing patterns have been
If pasturing alfalfa or other bloat-causing forages, be sure to talk to your veterinarian. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK changed. Uniform and regular intake is the key to minimizing bloat. By all means be vigilant about observation — especially when they are first turned out. Strip grazing will prevent cattle from selectively grazing rich stands, but one must also watch the regrowth, as it is much more likely to result in bloat. There are several alternative medical preventions available for bloat on pasture. Rumensin (monensin), an ionophore, prevents bloat by altering fermentation and
decreases the production of methane gas and carbon dioxide. If possible, this can be added daily in a grain ration while on pasture. It has the added benefit of improving feed efficiency and weight gain. The only negative is the daily feeding and ensuring you get uniform consumption. Generally the feed mills can mix in the required amount of rumensin (250 mg/head) in approximately 0.5 kg of grain per animal per day. One pharmaceutical company has circumvented this inconvenience by inventing
the slow-release monensin capsule (called Rumensin CRC). This comes as a large bolus with wings, which is inserted, into the rumen. It lets out a set amount of rumensin daily over a 120-day period. It is licensed for animals up to 770 pounds, but we have used it in much larger heifers with good success. In trials, it showed an 80 per cent reduction in bloat incidence where the potential was very high. This is a more costly product, but you also get the weight gain and feed efficiency advantage seen in the other forms of rumensin. There is some individual variation with the dissolving of the bolus and some cattle will dissolve the entire amount by 90 days. Generally, the risk for bloat is much reduced by this time. On pastures with moderateto low-bloat potential lasoacid (Bovatec), also and ionophore, can be scripted in at 10 per cent to a salt mineral mix. At this dosage, mature cows need to consume two ounces (or 55 grams) per head per day. We have found this product very effective, easy to administer and not too costly. It requires a yearly prescription from your veterinarian and the local feed mill can easily mix it in to a prepared mineral. Make sure it is mixed into a mineral your cattle are accustomed to, so consumption remains consistent. With all these preventions make sure they are on the
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products at least one week before turnout into the forage. The last product which has been re-released over a year ago now is “Alfasure.” It comes as a suspension totally miscible in water. It should be purchased with a metering device that administers it into a water line as it is pumped into your water tank, which should be the only water source available to the cattle. With most cattle at pasture watering through tanks on wind or solar systems this could have huge applications. Also uniform consumption would be assured. This product was shown to be literally 100 per cent effective against bloat, which is fantastic in high-risk areas. All these preventive systems should allow most producers the ability to graze alfalfa crops when too short to harvest or to take advantage of regrowth in the fall. With very strong electric fencing systems and portable watering systems, all land can potentially be grazed. Newer varieties of alfalfa that are more bloat resistant are also being developed. If pasturing alfalfa or other bloat-causing forages, be sure to talk to your veterinarian and implement one of these preventive strategies to reduce your risk. Roy Lewis is a Westlock, Albertabased veterinarian specializing in large-animal practice. He is also a part-time technical services vet for Merck Animal Health.
Beef sustainability benchmark study to be ready by fall
nitial results of a project to benchmark the sustainability of the Canadian beef industry will be presented this fall at its annual general meeting, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has announced. The group, set up last fall, now has a website (www.crsb.ca) and is encouraging those in the beef value chain — from producers and processors to retailers and non-governmental organizations — to become members. “It’s important for industry stakeholders to come together to combine their expertise to ensure the industry remains economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible for future generations,” said Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, a Calgary-area rancher and roundtable chair. Thomas Lynch-Staunton of Livestock Gentec chairs the sustainability assessment working group and Jeff FitzpatrickStilwell of McDonald’s Canada chairs the communication working group. McDonald’s has chosen Canada to pilot its plan to start selling verified sustainable beef in 2016.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
What’s good for the piglet is good for the piglet processor A Manitoba inventor’s passion for health and safety has changed the way piglets are handled By Shannon VanRaes staff
hen Helmut Janz sees a problem, the selfprofessed tinkerer likes to solve it. So when the Maple Leaf hog barn manager in southern Manitoba noted he and his employees were suffering from sore wrists and carpal tunnel syndrome after the process of castrating, tail notching, ear tattooing and oral drenching piglets, he decided there had to be a better way — one that took the pressure off employees’ hands, wrists and arms. “I’ve had carpal tunnel in both my hands and I had two employees come to me — both on the same day — who were getting booked into surgery for carpal tunnel as well,” said Janz. “And one of the main causes of carpal tunnel in the barn is from processing pigs. You have to squeeze these piglets hard enough so that you don’t drop them... and they can get pretty big.” So two winters ago, Janz headed into his garage to see what he could come up with. The result was a prototype of what he calls the “piglet processing arm.” “It is a cradle with a cushion on it for the pigs to sit in,” he said. “They’re pretty comfortable in it, actually. If you hold them in your hands they’re kind of being tossed back and forth and upside down and everything. With this they’re in a nice stable position.”
Piglet nestled in processing arm. Helmut Janz (l) Aherne Award winner and Dr. Michael Dyck, chair of the F.X. Aherne prize committee. Photos: Submitted The piglet is held in place with a Velcro strap and universal joints like those used on power takeoffs allow the arm to move. The device is then attached to the processing cart and can be adjusted for the height of the employee. The first processing arm was a hit, said Janz, adding it only needed a few tweaks to fine tune it. Now the device is mandatory in all Maple Leaf barns and is used on approximately 1.5 million piglets each year. “We kind of played around with it in the barn here for two
or three months, then we tried it in another barn, then all of a sudden it started to catch on,” he said. “It takes a week or two for people to get used to it, but once they’re used to it, they won’t go back.” Steve Davies, Janz’s boss and manager of multiplication at the barn, encouraged his inventive efforts, giving him some cash to get the project going. But he said most employees don’t spend their off time inventing new equipment for their barns. “It’s very unusual,” he said.
Neil Booth, Maple Leaf’s director of manufacturing agreed. “It’s not something that we’d usually expect, but Helmut is a guy with a very inquiring, curious mind and he has quite a deep passion for health and safety, as well as the well-being of the people who work with him,” he said. “We’ve been very pleased with what he’s done.” The new processing arm has also improved efficiency when it comes to castrating, tail notching, ear tattooing and oral drenching. “The same processing crew can process more litters now without needing to rotate positions and do something else for a break on those wrists, because it’s so much easier on them,” Booth said.
Janz’s work earned him the Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production at the Banff Pork Seminar earlier this year, but he said the real reward is seeing how it affects his fellow employees. “If people can go home in the same condition that they came in, that’s what I want. I suffered from carpal tunnel, it wakes you up at night, so if people don’t have to go through that, for me, that’s a huge success,” he said. Janz added that Maple Leaf hasn’t patented the device, and he would like to see barn workers everywhere use it to reduce injuries. email@example.com
Pig virus disrupts U.S. trade more than expected Eleven countries have limited imports of live hogs and one has banned pork imports des moines, iowa / reuters
The impact of a deadly pig virus on U.S. trade is mounting, with 11 countries limiting imports of live hogs and one banning pork imports. El Salvador, Guatemala and South Africa have banned imports of live U.S. hogs following the discovery of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDv) in the United States last year, said John Clifford, the USDA’s chief veterinary officer. China, Japan, the European Union and Russia have restricted hog imports, while four other countries have imposed unofficial limitations, he said.
Uzbekistan has banned imports of U.S. pork, while Costa Rica has banned imports of pork casings. “This is beginning to have a much greater impact than what any of us initially thought that it would,” said Clifford. PEDv has wiped out an estimated 10 per cent of the U.S. pig population in the past year. The USDA has tried to calm concerns among trading partners about the virus, which the agency says does not threaten humans or food safety. The United States last year exported about $6 billion worth of pork and $30.5 million worth of live hogs.
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Please join us on a 16 day agricultural tour to Australia’s national beef exposition. Beef Australia is one of the world’s great beef cattle events and is held just once every three years in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.
Departing Canada April 30th to May 16th 2015 5 nights Rockhampton - 5 nights Cairns - 4 nights Sydney For more tour information please visit Beef Australia webpage:
Space is limited please register your interest by contacting: Lawrence Rowley Phone: 403-270-7044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.leadertours.ca
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Aussie farmers worry about El Niño
drought punishes exporters
Australian farmers are holding back new-crop wheat sales on fears an El Niño will slash yields. Growers have been hurt in the past by selling forward, but then not being able to deliver. Production slumped to 9.74 million tonnes in 2006-07 from 25 million tonnes a year earlier. “If you commit and forward sell and you can’t meet that physical delivery, you can’t just unwind it. It happened in 2008 and it can get very, very ugly,” said Dan Cooper, a grain farmer. The chance of an El Niño developing this year remains at least 70 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said recently. — Reuters
Drought in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state has cut off barge traffic on a key waterway used to transport soybeans as the government prioritizes hydro electricity generation amid falling river levels. The Tiete-Parana waterway has been drying up since February as a result of one of the hottest and driest summers on record. Part of the waterway was completely closed to barge traffic on May 30. Exporting firms, including Cargill, said they have had to hire trucks to transport their goods the full distance to Brazil’s main soy-exporting port of Santos. — Reuters
What it takes to make a truly memorable thunderstorm Mother Nature has a few ways to take a severe thunderstorm and make it worse
photo: thinkstock by daniel bezte
or severe thunderstorms to form, it takes heat, humidity, lift, and some way to vent the air at the top of the storm. Let’s take a look at what takes a severe thunderstorm and turns it into a thunderstorm to truly remember. So, we have a hot, humid air mass in place, the air a few thousand feet up is very cold, providing for good lift, and we have a strong jet stream overhead providing the venting at the top of the storm. Everything is in place for a severe thunderstorm, but what can Mother Nature add to the mix to make things even worse? The first and probably most important “extra” ingredient that can be added to the mix is to have the wind change direction with altitude. Remember that the atmosphere is three dimensional; that is, air can flow horizontally, but this horizontal direction can change as you move upwards. Why would this have an impact on our storm? To put it in a nutshell, this change of direction can cause the developing storm to rotate. Picture what would happen if you take a rising parcel of air and push on it from the south when it is at the surface. Then as it rises up a couple of thousand feet the wind switches direction and now blows from the east. Then a few thousand feet farther up it is blowing from the northwest. What would hap-
pen to our rising parcel of air? It would get twisted — it would start to rotate. Remember that if we can get air to rotate counterclockwise we have an area of low pressure. Air flows inward in a counterclockwise rotation and then is forced to move upwards. One thing we get if we can get our severe storm rotating is a smallscale area of low pressure that helps the air to rise even more than it would without the rotation. The second thing a rotating thunderstorm can do is to nicely separate the area of updrafts and downdrafts. This is important, since the downdrafts, even with a severe thunderstorm, will eventually cut the updraft off from its source of warm, moist air. In a rotating thunderstorm, the source of warm, moist air is maintained, giving these storms a long life and a lot of moisture to produce heavy rains. Another aspect to the storm that a rotating column of air can provide is tornadoes. While we still do not understand how tornadoes are formed, we do know that rotating thunderstorms can produce tornadoes. It is believed that rotating columns of air can get squeezed into a narrower shape, as this happens, the wind speeds increase eventually producing the tornado. Like most things in nature, thunderstorms rarely behave like a textbook example of a thunderstorm. Even when all the ingredients are there, no storms may form, or sometimes some key ingredient is missing
yet we get a really severe storm, this is what makes weather so interesting. Now, not every thunderstorm that develops becomes severe, in fact, much of our summer rainfall comes from gardenvariety thunderstorms, or what is called an air mass thunderstorm. These storms, as the name indicates, develop in the middle of a typical warm summer air mass. Because they are in the middle of an air mass, a number of the key ingredients for severe storms are missing. Usually in the middle of an air mass, temperature will not decrease that rapidly with height. The wind will usually remain constant with height, and there will probably not be a jet stream overhead. Nonetheless, we can still have enough heat and humidity for air to rise and thunderstorms will form. Since these storms don’t rotate or have any way to vent the rising air from the top of the storm, they rarely last long. The accumulating air at the top of the storm will eventually fall back down as a downdraft; this will wipe out the updraft, essentially killing the storm. The whole process from the start of the storm to the downdraft killing it can be anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. While these storms are short lived they can give brief periods of heavy rain and the odd good gust of wind, especially when the downdraft fist hits the ground. These storms often provide us with just the right
This map shows the total precipitation during the 30-day period ending June 10. It was a very wet period over central Alberta where widespread areas recorded 60 to more than 100 mm.
amount of precipitation just when we needed it during the summer. So, now I hope you
know just a little bit more about the nature of severe thunderstorms.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
Cereals Canada unveils website
Central Alberta winter wheat fields hit hard by stripe rust Stripe rust is showing up in winter wheat fields in central and southern Alberta, and threatens adjacent spring wheat fields By Jennifer Blair af staff
Stripe rust became a problem in southern Alberta more than seven years ago, when the disease began to mutate and overcome the resistance in some varieties of winter wheat. “There was a major shift in pathogenicity at the time, and all of a sudden, we had a whole bunch of winter wheat that was highly susceptible to this new race of stripe rust,” said Gaudet. The disease has “a tremendous capacity to evolve,” a result of its ability to build up “rapidly and dramatically.” “We’re quite concerned about it,” he said. “In addition to our winter wheat being susceptible, many of our spring wheat varieties are susceptible as well. Producers have to
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be very careful now which varieties they choose.” In North America, plant breeders have been selecting a more generalized form of resistance that the pathogens are less able to adapt to, but that comes with some limitations. “These types of resistances aren’t as effective and are more prone to environmental modulations,” Gaudet said. “If it’s cool and wet for an extended period of time, the resistance may not be as effective.” Even so, varieties that contain more than one form of resistance will be “a lot more durable in the field over time” when compared with resistance that is race specific. Because of that, producers should only seed resistant varieties, he said. “There is the option to select your control measure before you actually go into the field,” said Gaudet. “On the spring wheat side, there are varieties that have good resistance. On the winter wheat side, there are varieties that only suffer minor damage from stripe rust.” For producers who have already seeded susceptible varieties, “step No. 2 is to get out and monitor your fields to check for the presence of stripe rust.” “We’re advising producers not to panic right now or consider any control measures in their winter wheat,” said Gaudet, adding researchers with both the provincial and federal governments are monitoring the disease situation “very closely.” email@example.com
evere stripe rust infections in central Alberta have put wheat growers on high alert, says a federal research scientist. “Because wheat is such an important crop, stripe rust is one of those diseases that could have a major, major impact on cereal crop production,” said Denis Gaudet of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “To me, it represents one of the most serious pathogens and potential threats to crop production anywhere in the world.” In early June, researchers found “heavy infections of stripe rust” in winter wheat fields near Olds, a result of overwintering of the disease in the crop. “The conditions there are pretty good for the winter survival,” said Gaudet. “They generally get a nice blanket of snow that’s continuous. That helps preserve the leaf tissue and the fungus in those leaf tissues throughout the winter.” The disease was also found in “a few plants” near the Lethbridge research centre in mid-June, but overwintering doesn’t seem to be the culprit there. “We’re convinced that it came in on a spore shower from the Pacific northwestern United States (in late May),” he said. Most years, the spores arrive too late to cause damage. “We caution farmers to be very careful when they consider applying fungicides. They need to really
look at the crop stage that they’re at and whether or not they’re seeing a lot of stripe rust.” Normally, stripe rust presents as long pustule stripes on leaves that, as they erupt, cause the leaves to shrivel. The disease causes the most problems in the upper leaves — the flag leaf and flag minus one — because those leaves are “most closely associated with yield and quality in wheat.” “If there’s very little rust on them going into flowering, we don’t necessarily recommend spraying,” Gaudet said. “But if… by the time it is flowering, we’re starting to see rust on the lower leaves and moving up, we want to make sure we protect those upper leaves through the flowering and maturation process.”
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Cereals Canada has launched its website at www.cerealscanada.ca. The website contains the organization’s vision and mission, reviews of policies and news releases, commentaries, and bios of its board members. Cereals Canada, launched last fall, is a multi-commodity organization, and includes growers, grain-handling companies, and seed companies. Three of the four producer reps on the 12-person board are from Alberta: Greg Porozni (chair), Kevin Bender, and Kent Erickson. All are also Alberta Wheat Commission directors.
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Five Canadian grain groups back introduction of GM wheat Cereals Canada says the main goal is to ‘encourage investment and innovation in wheat’ BY ALLAN DAWSON STAFF
en years after Monsanto put the brakes on releasing genetically modified wheat, 16 organizations in Canada, the U.S., and Australia are backing GM wheat. “The goal (of the statement) is to help encourage investment and innovation in wheat,” said Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, one of five Canadian organizations that signed the statement. “That includes biotechnology, but that isn’t the only tool. We have seen the results of investment in innovation in other crops. We do need to see that in wheat.” The seven-point statement was also signed by the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, Grain Growers of Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, and the Canadian National Millers Association. The groups say wheat innovation is needed to help feed the world and that GM crops are safe. “More than 15 years of commercial production and peer-reviewed scientific research show this technology is safe for the environment and consumption,” the state-
The goal (of the statement) is to help encourage investment and innovation in wheat. CAM DAHL
ment says. “Over one trillion meals have been consumed without a single reported incident, and studies have found that biotechnology and products derived from biotechnology have not caused any legitimate food safety concerns.” The statement also demonstrates the wheat industry is aware of market concerns. It calls for countries to adopt a policy for dealing with low-level presence of GM crops in non-GM crops, synchronize the release of GM wheat traits with approval in importing countries, and have a system to segregate GM wheat so customers can still buy non-GM wheat. In the early 2000s, 82 per cent of Canadian Wheat Board customers said they wouldn’t buy GM wheat. But when dealing with market resistance to GM wheat, industry and government have distinct roles, Dahl said. “The responsibility of government is that of a strong, science-based regulatory system,” he said. “But when it comes to those marketing questions those are what the industry does really need to address.” Cereals Canada’s support for GM wheat is consistent with the policy of its memberassociations, which includes the Grain Growers, miller’s association and life science companies, Dahl said. The policy was adopted by Cereals Canada’s board of directors, which includes farmers as well as officials with companies researching GM wheat. However, the backing of GM wheat may be academic for the moment. In May, Monsanto Canada announced it was deferring its work on Roundup Ready wheat “until such time that other wheat biotechnology traits are introduced.” The company said it would focus on improving new and existing traits in corn, cotton, and oilseeds. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mustard genes could be key to new blackleg-resistant canola
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More than one gene is needed to create blackleg resistance in canola, says a researcher at the University of Alberta
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BY JENNIFER BLAIR AF STAFF
thiopian mustard could hold the key to blackleg resistance in Canadian canola crops, says a University of Alberta researcher. “Almost all varieties (of canola) are susceptible to blackleg,” said Habibur Rahman. “But now, the pathogen has shifted, and it’s become a new pathogen that’s more resilient and more aggressive. “The resistance cannot protect the plant. We have resistance breakdown.” Across Western Canada, blackleg in canola is on the rise, hitting canola yields and creating trade barriers for Canadian canola destined for Asia. Rahman and his team are working on identifying new resistant genes from brassica carinata — commonly grown as an oilseed in Ethiopia — to introduce into brassica napus, better known as canola. “Carinata shows strong resistance to all the new pathotypes,” he said. “If there’s single gene resistance, it’s relatively easy
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to introduce. If it is more than one gene resistance, it’s more difficult. “We’re at the stage of determining how many genes there are, while at the same time trying to introduce the genes from brassica carinata.” So far, his research has shown at least three resistant genes of a brassica carinata chromosome that could make it easier for researchers to introduce into canola. “We’re studying further whether a single gene is enough to give resistance to this more severe pathotype or if it needs more than one gene.” But his preliminary findings suggest that one gene is not enough to create resistance to the more virulent strains of blackleg that can devastate canola fields. “It seems that more than one gene is required for resistance. In the meantime, we have introduced one gene from the brassica carinata, and we have also mapped another gene in another chromosome. “We have a ways to go.” email@example.com
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
Funding available for commercial manure applicators
MOTHER NATURE’S PERFECT LANDING PAD
Maximum grant raised to $70,000 on a 50/50 cost share ALBERTA AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT RELEASE
A swallowtail butterfly graces a balsamroot flower that appears throughout May and June along the Montane and southern Alberta foothills. The flowers cover the slopes near Waterton Lake, Alta.
rowing Forward 2 has opened its Confined Feeding Operation (CFO) Stewardship Program to commercial manure applicators in Alberta. Commercial manure applicators — or custom applicators, manure haulers or corral cleaners, as they are sometimes called — are now eligible for $70,000 on a 50/50 cost share for equipment and other items related to safe manure application. “In the past this program only offered grant funding to livestock producers (such as dairy and hog operations) to help them purchase manure injection equipment,” says Jennifer Neden, co-ordinator of the Confined Feeding Operation Stewardship program with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “In addition to being opened to commercial manure applicators, the list of eligible items under the program has increased and the maximum grant has gone up from $20,000 to $70,000. Items are still cost shared 50/50.” The change was made to include custom manure applicators because they apply the majority of liquid manure in the province, she said. “The change now allows them to access funds to help them purchase equipment that injects manure below the soil surface, which helps to manage odour and prevent loss of nitrogen and other gases to the atmosphere,” says Neden. “And because they transport so much manure, the program is there to assist them in purchasing proper road signs to notify the public, auto shutoff features to help prevent spills, and software to help map and record where manure is applied.” The changes apply to any livestock producer applying for grant assistance under this project and are retroactive back to April 1, 2013. To be eligible for funding, commercial manure applicators must attend a one-day workshop to be hosted in Olds in July. For more information, go to www.growingforward.alberta. ca or call Jennifer Neden at 403329-1212 ext. 225.
PHOTO: WENDY DUDLEY
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Your UFA Petroleum Agent or Farm & Ranch Supply Store has the details. Promotion runs June 1 – July 31, 2014.
© 2014 UFA Co-operative Limited. To enter and be eligible to win, a person must be a legal resident of Canada (excluding the province of Quebec) who has reached the age of majority at the time of entry into the province or territory in which he/she resides AND be a member of UFA Co-operative Ltd. (“UFA”). The building specifications are 42' x 60' x 16' engineered laminated post insulated shop. Contest applies to packaged goods only (includes tubes, jugs, pails and drums). No purchase necessary. Visit UFA.com for complete contest details. All other products are registered trademarks of their respective companies. 05/14-38153
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JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Cigi to probe effects of inputs on wheat quality With $5 million in funding in hand, Cigi hopes to address issues around Canadian wheat quality, while also expanding its research on pulse crops By Shannon VanRaes staff
Cigi staff evaluate wheat flour for use in oriental noodles. The institute is hiring more staff and is looking for more space in downtown Winnipeg. PHOTo: CIGI
he Canadian International Grains Institute, better known as Cigi, is moving into research in a big way in an attempt to better serve its clients. “Since 2010, Cigi has been moving in a new strategic direction,” said CEO Earl Geddes. “And this whole move to a sustainable, independent, technical institute has been core to our transition away from the previous marketing structure, to make sure we can provide the kinds of services that industry requires today and will require in the future.” Since about 2010, the institute has also been fielding complaints about the quality, in particular the strength of Canadian wheat. Much of the planned research will work to address and prevent those issues.
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“We know that weather has an impact, and we’ve gone through a cycle of some pretty wet weather later in the season, and we know if you get rain later in the growing season, that can have an impact,” said Rex Newkirk who will lead Cigi’s technical team in the applied commercial research. “But there are concerns that maybe it’s more than weather, so we’re looking at what else has changed.” That will include a detailed look at the effects of fungicide on wheat, as well as those of glyphosate. “Our hypothesis is that it is having an effect, but we don’t know if it’s positive, negative or neutral,” Newkirk said. The research — made possible by $5 million in funding over five years through the federal government’s AgriInnovation Program — will also look at the interactions between wheat varieties and the regions in which they are grown. “This allows us to look forward and ask what do we have to do to be proactive. What are the detailed things that need to be known to make sure we keep those customers happy?” he said. That also means sussing out greater specificity as to what uses various wheat varieties are best suited to. “What does this mean to a baker in Guyana, versus a baker in England, versus a baker in Japan?” Newkirk asked, adding that they will be working closely with the Canadian Grain Commission. But while the commission looks at varieties pre-commercialization, Newkirk said Cigi will be looking at the properties and uses after commercialization.
More focus on pulses
Geddes noted that recent changes to how wheat is sold and marketed, mean that regional variations may become more pronounced. “Nobody has 100 per cent of the grain to blend to make up the cargoes that smooth out any regional issues, so the research we’re doing is to help both those exporters understand better what exactly is happening, region by region, variety by variety and to be able to provide direction to farmers.” A portion of Cigi’s research will also focus on pulse crops, with the institute working closely with Pulse Canada as initiatives move forward. “We need to understand the milling properties of peas and lentils and beans as we mill them in roller mills and hammer mills and stone mills and tin mills,” said Geddes. “And that’s led us into a very extensive set of conversations with customers, and with the commission... to start to create cereal and pulse food products and ingredients.” As part of the new focus on research, new staff has and will be hired, swelling the seams of the organization’s current location. Currently Cigi is looking at moving into a larger space by 2017. “We’re doing the work with our engineering company, so the design work, the load work for a new facility — and we’ve got a couple of new buildings in downtown Winnipeg that we’re interested in renting space in,” said Geddes, adding once a cost estimate is established, fundraising for the move will begin.
©2014 Farm Business Communications/Glacier FarmMedia
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
It’s true: A little dirt never hurt Children exposed to dirt, dander and germs tend to have fewer allergies and asthma STAFF
he old adage “you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die” is often used to comfort horrified mothers who catch their first-born playing in situations that are — ahem — less than clean. But researchers now say children who are exposed to dirt, dander and germs — specifically in their first year of life — tend to have fewer allergies and asthma later. In fact, infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens, and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appeared less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to results of a study conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other institutions. Previous research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates, a phenomenon attributed to their regular exposure to micro-organisms present in farm soil. Other studies, however, have found increased asthma risk among inner-city dwellers exposed to high levels of roach and mouse allergens and pollutants. The new study confirms that children who live in such homes do have higher overall allergy and asthma rates, but adds a surprising twist: Those who encounter such substances before their first birthdays seem to benefit rather than suffer from them. Importantly, the protec-
Cockroaches, pet dander as immunity boosters? tive effects of both allergen and bacterial exposure were not seen if a child’s first encounter with these substances occurred after age one, the research found. A report on the study, published on June 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, reveals that early exposure to bacteria and certain allergens may have a protective effect by shaping children’s immune responses — a finding that researchers say may help inform preventive strategies for allergies and wheezing, both precursors to asthma.
Powerful farm lobby groups want Canada and Japan to accept more U.S. dairy imports
.S. dairy farmers and milk processors have threatened to oppose a Pacific trade deal if Japan and Canada do not agree to accept substantially more dairy imports. In a recent letter to the U.S. Trade Representative and Department of Agriculture, members of the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council said Japan and Canada are dragging their feet and U.S. negotiators must insist on “meaningful” dairy market access. The threat by U.S. agricultural lobbyists to oppose the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal marked an escalation in the dispute. It could undermine support in Congress for the trade deal, which is still being negotiated.
Commonwealth Agriculture Conference coming to Edmonton ALBERTA AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT RELEASE
U.S. dairy farmers threaten to block Pacific trade deal WASHINGTON / REUTERS
Japan insists it will not abolish all tariffs on wheat, rice, dairy, sugar, wheat, beef and pork. The warning from dairy groups comes after wheat, rice and pork farmers called for Japan to be cut out of the TPP talks if it insisted on keeping tariffs on sensitive products, and cattle farmers demanded the trade deal eliminate all tariffs on beef. The farm lobby wields considerable power in Congress, and their opposition could weaken support for the TPP further, especially with midterm elections due in November. The dairy groups said they might also withdraw their backing for fast-track authority allowing the White House to pass trade deals quickly through Congress, which would be another blow.
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“Our study shows that the timing of initial exposure may be critical,” says study author Robert Wood, MD, chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way.” Asthma is one of the most common pediatric illnesses. By the time they turn three, up
to half of all children develop wheezing, which in many cases evolves into full-blown asthma. But scientists now say strict avoidance of allergens to avoid asthma risk has proven unsuccessful. “If confirmed by other studies, these findings might even have us think of returning to the patterns of exposure of the 1940s, when families were larger, food was less processed and sterilized, and children spent a lot of their time outdoors,” said coresearcher UCSF pulmonologist Dr. Homer Boushey.
Northlands has successfully secured the bid to host the 28th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference. The 28th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference will mark the event’s second visit to Alberta and will take place at the Edmonton EXPO Centre from November 3-5, 2018, preceding Farmfair International. The conference will focus on the success of Alberta and Canada’s agriculture industries while providing a forum for discussing mutual successes and challenges in agriculture around the world. Since 1963, the Commonwealth Agriculture Conference has been held biennially in Commonwealth nations across the world and is designed to give delegates a taste of the agriculture industry in that region of the host country. Developed by the Royal Agriculture Society of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Agriculture Conference 2018 will mark the conference’s fourth trip to Canada.
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Community news and events from across the province
Floyd Visser, executive director of the SHARP Foundation (which cares for people living with HIV or AIDS), accepts $10,000 for the first-place decorated horse. The Horse Jump to Give A Leg Up project is helping non-profit organizations that serve those affected by last summer’s floods in southern Alberta. The horse was nicknamed Penny, as it is covered in donated coppers.
Painted ponies give leg up to those helping flood victims
Helping hands adorn the rump of this horse, symbolic of all the help given to those who suffered loss during the floods.
text & photos by Wendy Dudley
herd of painted ponies is leaving hoofprints on the hearts of communities devastated by last year’s floods that ravaged towns and farms, leaving many homeless across southern Alberta. The Spruce Meadows horse complex near Calgary gave 20 non-profit organizations each a fibreglass horse to decorate. They are on display at the facility throughout the summer. Groups include the Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society of Calgary, Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Diamond Valley and District and Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta Foothills Chapter. “It was really fun to see the horses take life. I hope this brings luck and energy into these organizations,” said Spruce Meadow CEO Linda Southern-Heathcott. “Each one is unique. This is a way to bring all the (flood-affected) communities together.” From striped stockings and angel wings to ribcage landscapes of
flooded farmland, the equines were painted with spirit and a vibrant pallette. Each of the 20 organizations, selected from 58 applicants, receives $1,000. The public is also invited to bid on each horse, with proceeds going to the organizations. Bids can be made through to September by going to www.sprucemeadows.com http://www.sprucemeadows.com/ . Also, cash prizes were awarded to those judged to be the most innovative equines. A first-place cheque for $10,000 went to the SHARP Foundation (which provides care both medically and spiritually for people living with HIV or AIDS). Literacy for Life Foundation received $7,000 for second place and Special Olympics Calgary and the Bowness Community Association tied for third, each winning $3,000. A special Pegasus volunteerism award of $10,000 went to the Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society. “So many organizations are suffering from donor and volunteer fatigue,” said Southern-Heathcott. “We chose those that were struggling and needed a leg up.”
This painting appeared on a horse representing the Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society of Calgary. The organization won $10,000, as the winged Pegasus horse was deemed to represent volunteerism at its best.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
No stopping Wainwright man’s passion for John Deere tractors By Jennifer Blair af staff / wainwright
I This horse, representing Special Olympics Calgary, tied for third place in the contest for most innovative.
Members of the public are invited to bid on each of the decorated fibreglass horses. Proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization represented by each painted horse.
Various animals decorate the side of this horse painted by the Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue Foundation which took in many animals displaced by the floods.
This painted pony, representing the CanLearn Society for Persons with Learning Difficulties, overlooks the arena at Spruce Meadows which organized the fundraiser for nonprofit organizations.
The slogan Hell or High Water appears on the rump of one of the painted fibreglass horses.
n 1952, 18-year-old Gordon Gilchrist arrived in Alberta from Ontario with a shopping bag in one hand and a gramophone suitcase in the other. Back home, his family farmed with horses. But when he came to Alberta, the Ontario teen found work with a farmer north of Edgerton who introduced him to John Deere tractors. “He had a big Model R,” said Gilchrist. “Well, I could hardly wait for the opportunity bell to ring. Some people call it an alarm clock, but I call it the opportunity bell.” Other tractors were good, but “John Deeres were the ones I kind of liked,” he said. Today, he has 85 meticulously restored ones on his farm near Wainwright — at least one of every model since the Model D was released in 1924. “After we got established, I started buying them up,” he said. He spent “1,000 bucks” for his first one — a Model AR — when he started his collection 30 years ago, and he still marvels at how transformative those early tractors were. “We had a 100-acre farm, so we walked behind the walking plow,” he said. “You could plow two acres a day if you had a good team of horses, and you were out there at seven in the morning until six at night.”
Gordon Gilchrist shows off the oldest tractor in his antique John Deere collection — a 1924 Model D. Photos: Jennifer Blair
In 1924, a 23-horsepower Model D retailed for around $1,500 and could plow an acre in under an hour. Today’s models can till an acre every five minutes. And while tractors now cost 200 times more, the price to restore an old one is “unbelievable,” said Gilchrist. “There’s a sale west of Edmonton where there was a 730 gas standard — very rare. It was seized up, it wasn’t good, the tires were fair, and do you know what it sold for? $17,000.” There’s a reason why tractor collectors have a fondness for green and yellow, he said. “John Deeres are very, very strong,” he said. “They’ve been going for years, and they’re very dependable. You couldn’t wear those old tractors out.” firstname.lastname@example.org
The cheek on this horse has been painted with a building destroyed by the floods that damaged much of southern Alberta.
Gordon Gilchrist’s antique John Deere collection packs two Quonsets on his farm near Wainwright.
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The mane of this horse flows as water through the streets of downtown Calgary, depicting the floods of last summer that destroyed homes and businesses.
June 24: Farming Smarter Field School, Farming Smarter field site, Lethbridge (also June 25 and 26). Contact: Jamie 403-381-5118 2014 Pulse/canola/wheat/barley crop walks & research plot tours. Highway 18 and Range Road 25, Barrhead. Preregistration requested. (Also June 25 in Bon Accord and Morinville; June 26 in Thorhild and Vegreville; July 3 in Killam; and July 4 in Westlock.) Contact: Kelly or Cindy 780-674-8268
June 24: Range Health Assessment Training - 2nd Course, Elkwater. Contact Donna Watt 403-563-8925 June 25: Solstice Crop Tour, NPARA Research Farm: 4 mi. south and 1/2 mi. west of Manning. Contact: Nora 780836-3354 July 7: Pasture School with Jim Gerrish, Warrensville Hall. Contact: Nora 780-836-3354 July 8: Disease and Insect Crop Tour, Manning. Contact: Nora 780-836-3354 July 8: Erosion Control, Drainage & Watershed Restoration Workshop, NPARA Research Farm, Manning. Contact: Nora 780-836-3354 July 9: LARA Summer Field School, Bonnyville. Contact: Alyssa Krone 780826-7260 July 10-12: Balancing the TradeOff between Productivity and Environmental Health, University of Lethbridge. Contact: Sheri Strydhorst 780-674-8248
JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
U.S. crops look tops
More Black Sea competition
U.S. grain futures were under more pressure last week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported some of the best corn and soy conditions on record. The U.S. corn crop was rated 76 per cent good to excellent as of June 15, the best mid-June rating since a 77 per cent reading in 1994. Soybean ratings weakened by one percentage point, dropping below analysts’ expectations, to 73 per cent good to excellent. That was still the best mid-June rating for soybeans on record. However, rain has raised some concern of damage to the quality of wheat being harvested in the southern United States. — Reuters
Black Sea neighbours Romania and Bulgaria are gearing up to harvest good wheat crops this year which could keep exports strong in 2014-15 although heavy rain has taken its toll on yields in the lower Danube River plains. Toepfer International said in May that Romania would harvest 8.26 million tonnes this year (7.4 million last year) and Bulgaria’s crop will rise to 5.17 million (4.6 million last year). Romania has emerged as a major cereal exporter to Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer. — Reuters
Concerns over unseeded acres hang on canola futures ICE’s durum and barley contracts saw actual trading By Terryn Shiells
CE Futures Canada canola contracts fell to four-month lows before rebounding and finishing with only small changes during the week ended June 13. Large Canadian canola supplies continue to overhang the market, and will likely mean weaker cash prices throughout the growing season. Farmers are going to have to sell some of their old crop eventually to make room for newcrop supplies, which will curb any rallies seen ahead of harvest time. Farmers in Western Canada had a good chunk of the 2014-15 canola crop seeded by mid-June, with growing conditions reported as being generally favourable as well. Some worries remain about unseeded acres in pockets of eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba, which should keep some caution in the market. Various crop reports showed the most troubled areas were in southeastern and east-central Saskatchewan, which still had 10 to 11 per cent of acres left to seed. In Manitoba, some areas in the southwest were reported only 10 to 20 per cent finished seeding as of June 9. Alberta was nearly finished seeding, with no reports of any significant crop problems. There were some concerns about cold temperatures slowing crop growth, but it’s still a bit too early to be worried about that yet. Some analysts believe about four to six per cent of the intended 19.8 million acres of canola won’t get seeded due to wetness this spring. That number’s above normal, but not far off from losses seen in the past few years. Statistics Canada will release its latest acreage report on June 27, which could give a better idea of what did get seeded this spring, but the actual acreage will still likely be different from the report as the survey was conducted in early June.
Durum, barley trade
ICE Futures Canada grain contracts were temporarily brought back to life during the week, with five contracts trading in both October 2014 durum and barley. It was just a small amount of trade, but the Winnipeg-based exchange still believes it’s a step in the right direction. We’ll have to keep watching markets throughout the summer to see if they can sustain the interest from the industry. One argument against the Canadian milling wheat contract is that the industry already has plenty of hedging options through the Kansas City, Chicago and Minneapolis futures, which all moved sharply lower during the week.
photo: canola council of canada Improving conditions for development of U.S. and Canadian spring wheat crops, and reports that most intended acres made it into the ground, were bearish for prices. Ideas that the global supply situation for wheat is burdensome and a U.S. Department of Agriculture report that showed 2013-14 U.S. ending stocks at higher-than-expected levels also contributed to the weakness. According to USDA, 593 million bushels of wheat will be carried out of 2013-14 into the next crop year, an increase of five million bushels from the previous estimate due to lower food usage.
Chart-based selling, as futures continue to break below key technical levels, was also a source of downward pressure. Going forward, markets will continue to monitor global wheat-growing conditions, as well as the progress of the U.S. winter wheat harvest. There are some concerns about rain slowing harvest activities and causing some quality problems for U.S. winter wheat crops.
Corn, soy slip
Corn futures in Chicago were also down sharply on the week, as USDA’s May 11 monthly report showed 2014-15 U.S. corn production is still expected to be a record-
For three-times-daily market reports from Resource News International, visit “ICE Futures Canada updates” at www.albertafarmexpress.ca.
large 13.94 billion bushels, despite earlier worries about seeding delays this spring. Good weather helped farmers plant a good chunk of corn and is getting crops off to a good start. Nearby soybean futures moved sharply lower, while new-crop values were slightly higher. Ideas that old-crop values need to come down significantly, due to large looming supplies, took those contracts sharply lower. USDA pegged the 2014-15 U.S. soybean crop at 3.64 billion bushels, but some members of the trade believe it will be even larger as more acres than expected were planted in the U.S. Both corn and soybean futures are becoming weather markets, and if conditions remain as favourable as they have been so far, they will have a hard time going anywhere but down. Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
A sow and her two cubs raid the juniper bushes on a slope in Waterton Lakes National Park, in southern Alberta. PHOTO: WENDY DUDLEY
EU agrees plan to cap use of foodbased biofuels New-generation biofuels say they need more incentives
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LUXEMBOURG / REUTERS
U energy ministers have agreed to limit production of biofuels made from food crops, responding to criticism they stoke inflation and do more environmental harm than good. The ministers’ endorsement of a compromise deal overcomes a stalemate hit late last year, when European Union governments failed to agree on a proposed five per cent cap on the use of biofuels based on crops such as maize or rapeseed. The new agreement would set a seven per cent limit on foodbased biofuels in transport fuel. It still needs the approval of the newly elected European Parliament, expected to begin considering it later this year. “We think this proposal is much better than nothing,” said European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. “We need to support research and development in advanced biofuels so we can move forward from generation one into generation two and generation three,” he added, referring to more sophisticated biofuels that do not compete with growing crops for food. Those trying to develop advanced biofuels say they are not being given sufficient incentive. The deal was positive in that it reduced uncertainty, but Europe was in danger of being left behind, said Manuel Sanchez Ortega, CEO of Spanish renewable and engineering firm Abengoa SA. “In the United States there has been a revolution (in secondgeneration ethanol),” he said. “To us it seems that Europe is acting timidly.”
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JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JUNE 23, 2014
Tillage & Seeding
ANTIQUES Antique Equipment
FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Tillage
1939 JD “BR” TRACTOR to restore; 1955 IHC R100 PU, started to restore. Offers. Phone (780)682-2279
MORRIS B3-48 RODWEEDER, $650; Morris 519-ft csisel plow, single wing $950; CCIL circulra harrow, 3 ring 27-ft $350, 1 ring, 10-ft $200 Phone:(403)782-2545.
AUGUST 9 &10, 2014 the Eighth Annual IHCC Ch 38 show will be held on the grounds of the Western Development Museum in North Battleford Sask. We will be joining WDM to celebrate their annual “Those were the days” & join them on the occasion of their 65th birthday. email@example.com All IH machinery, trucks, tractors, household, stationary engines, power units, cub cadets & anything else marketed by IH are welcome. Membership annual meeting w/banquet & guest speaker. More information available from show chairman Gary Algot. (780)741-2115. www.ihc38.com
TracTors FARM MACHINERY Tractors – John Deere
AUTO & TRANSPORT AUTO & TRANSPORT Trucks 03’ CHEV 1500 PICKUP, 5.3L V8, AT, air, cruise, tilt. Nice topper, excellent tires, etc. $4500. Phone (403)886-4285. RARE 1980 JD 1840 Mint Condition, always stored inside, Excellent Rubber, Well maintained, serviced regularly, 7,260-hrs, Open Station, MFWD, Hi/Low Tran, 148 Loader, 96-in. Bucket, 65-HP, 2 hyd, 3-pt, 540 PTO. Serious inquires only, coming from a family farm. Firm $21,000 this tractor has been well taken care of. (780)942-2980
BUSINESS SERVICES BUSINESS SERVICES Crop Consulting
FARM CHEMICAL SEED COMPLAINTS 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
FARM MACHINERY HAYING & HARVESTING 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
FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various WANTED TO BUY: STEIGER PTA tractor, any year or condition, please call (403)550-4004 with details.
Degelman 10 ft. Snow Pusher Blade JD 2950 complete with ldr. with 3 pth hitch JD 4440 ldr. available JD 4240 complete with ldr. JD 4020 c/w ldr. & new motor JD 2550, FWA JD 3155 FWA, ldr. with 3 pth hitch JD 7700, 740 ldr. JD 7210 FWA, 3 with pth hitch ST 250 Steiger, tires new 20.8 x 38 Clamp on Duals, 20.8x38-18.4x38 158, 148, 265, 725, 740, 280, JD ldr.
MACHINERY LTD. (403) 540-7691 firstname.lastname@example.org
846 Ford Versatile Designation 6, 4WD Tractor 1990, newer 18.4 x 38 dualled tires,12 speed manual, 4 hyds., 6036 hrs., looks & runs good .............................. $27,500 555 JD Crawler Loader, 250 hrs. on rebuilt engine, good condition ................................................... $17,500 8070 AC Tractor, FWA, wheel base extended, with duals........................................................... $22,500 275 MF Tractor, diesel, multi power, 3 pth, new 18.4 x 30, front weights, loader available, looks and runs great .. $12,500 B 275 IHC Diesel Tractor, 3 pth, pto, runs good ......$3,500 51’ Degelman Landroller, only done 3,000 acres, as new.... .......................................................... $40,000 Degelman Dozer Frame MF 4000 Series 4WD .$1,000 31’ Flexicoil B Chisel Plow,3 bar harrows, extensions to 41’ incl., excellent condition ............. $12,500 Flexicoil 6 Run Seed Treater .............................. $1,000 134’ 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 single tips, auto rate, excellent condition .............................................. $12,500 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 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 8 x 1000 Sakundiak Auger, new 30 HP Koehler engine, Hawes mover, gear box clutch, spout ....... CNT $9,000 8 x 1200 Sakundiak Auger, 25 HP Koehler engine, Hawes mover, clutch, runs good ................................... $8,500 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 $10,000 New E-Kay 7” Bin Sweep .............**In Stock** $1,785 New E-Kay 7”, 8”, 9” Bin Sweeps available.........Call 8” Wheat Heart Transfer Auger, hydraulic drive.. $1,500 New Outback S3, guidance & mapping ....................$3,000 18.4 x 30, tractor tire & tube .....................................$350 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**
FINANCE, TRADES WELCOME 780-696-3527, BRETON, AB
Geared For The Future
STEIGER TRACTOR SPECIALIST
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 www.combineworld.com
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.
SEED/FEED/GRAIN Grain Wanted
LIVESTOCK Cattle – Black Angus
BUYING HEATED/DAMAGED PEAS, FLAX & GRAIN “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 1-877-250-5252
YEARLING BLACK ANGUS BULLS, $2500 each, free delivery within 100-miles. Phone (403)578-3312
BUYING SPRING THRASHED CANOLA & GRAIN “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 1-877-250-5252
LIVESTOCK Cattle – Red Angus 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.
BOW VALLEY TRADING LTD.
WE BUY DAMAGED GRAIN Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, etc. Green or Heated Canola/Flax
LIVESTOCK Cattle – Charolais PUREBRED CHAROLAIS HERD for sale. Selling small herd due to retirement. 20 plus cows w/calves & 7 bred heifers. Excellent young herd sire available as well. Good young healthy herd. Would be a good start up for any operation or if you would like to add a few nice quiet cows to your existing herd. Contact Rob & Alma Ross at White Heather Charolais. (403)946-5936 email@example.com
LIVESTOCK Cattle – Limousin
CANOLA WANTED Buying Tough, Heated, Green, Canola, Freight Options, Prompt Payment Bonded and Insured
WILLOWCREST LIMOUSIN. REASONABLY PRICED guaranteed yearling & 2-yr old Limousin bulls for sale. Quiet, polled, semen checked, delivery available, 27-yrs in the business. Call Harvey (780)623-2468.
LIVESTOCK Cattle Various Cow calf pairs. I have 19 cow calf pairs. I am asking $2500 a pair or take all 19 pairs for $2400 each (204)250-4796 firstname.lastname@example.org
Farming is enough of a gamble, advertise in the Alberta Farmer Express classified section. It’s a sure thing. 1-800-665-1362.
ORGANIC Organic – Grains
Bioriginal Food & Science Corp., based in Saskatoon, is actively buying Organic Flax from the 2013 crop year.
New 30.5L-32 16 ply, $1,995; 20.8-38 12 ply $795; 24.5-32 14 ply, $1,495; 14.9-24 12 ply, $486; 16.9-28 12 ply $558; 23.1-30 12 ply, $1,495; 18.4-26 10 ply, $890; 11R22.5 16 ply, $299. Factory direct. More sizes available new and used. 1-800-667-4515. www.combineworld.com
TRAILERS Trailers Miscellaneous
*Please state the Variety & Quantity for Sale
For more information, please contact Sandy at:
Barb Wire & Electric High Tensile Wire Spooler & Water Hose Roller
306-975-9251 306-975-1166 email@example.com
TANDEM GERRY’S BOOSTER, $7,900 OBO; 16 wheel Whillock jeep, $8,900; Bottom dump Super Bgrain trailer, $19,500; TA belly dump, $15,900; (403)704-3509.
REAL ESTATE Land For Rent
Mid-west USA/Branson ~ October 2014 Dubai to Cape Town Cruise ~ Nov 2014 Panama Canal Cruise ~ Dec 2014 Australia/New Zealand ~ Jan 2015 South America ~ Jan 2015 Costa Rica ~ Feb 2015 India ~ Feb 2015 Kenya/Tanzania ~ Feb 2015 South Africa/Zambia ~ Feb 2015
WANTED: ACCESS TO LAND in Central AB for gopher hunting purposes, willing to travel. Phone (780)542-0323.
REAL ESTATE/RENTALS Land For Sale
FARM MACHINERY Combine – Accessories
RECONDITIONED COMBINE HEADERS. RIGID & flex, most makes & sizes; also header transports. Ed Lorenz, (306)344-4811 or Website: www.straightcutheaders.com Paradise Hill, SK.
FARM MACHINERY Parts & Accessories
FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous 1999 CAT 460 1,400 sep. hrs, rake up $67,000; Road King ground loadstock trailer, 8 x 42.5-ft, will haul 25 cows, $7,000; 2013 Highline 651 Bale Pro, chain floor, twine cutter, big tires, $14,000.Call:(403)665-2341, Craigmyle, AB. ACREAGE EQUIPMENT: CULTIVATORS, DISCS, Plows, Blades, Post pounders, Haying Equipment, Etc. (780)892-3092, Wabamun, Ab. INTL 4000 SWATHER 19.5-FT. & 14-ft. draper headers, cab, A/C, $5,500; 1989 150 Ford good topper & tires, parts only. Phone (403)722-2409 or (403)845-0414.
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. www.combineworld.com
Stretch your ADVERTISING DOLLAR!
Spraying EquipmEnt FARM MACHINERY Sprayers
WANTED: ACCESS TO LAND in Central AB for gopher hunting purposes, willing to travel. Phone (780)542-0323.
- 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) - Mounts to tractor draw bar, skidsteer 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.levelwind.com FARM MACHINERY Machinery Wanted
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
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
Big Tractor Parts, Inc.
COMBINES Combines - Various
FARM MACHINERY Sprayers
FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous
4955 JD low hrs, 3 pth, very clean S680 JD Combine low hrs 2011 4730 JD Sprayer, 100 ft. 4050 JD, fwa loader with complete front end NH T8050 with fwa 4920 Macdon, 21 ft. D.S.A. 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: email@example.com
WANTED: NH BALE WAGONS & retrievers, any condition. Farm Equipment Finding Service, P.O. Box 1363, Polson, MT 59860. (406)883-2118
HEAT & AIR CONDITIONING
The Icynene Insulation System® • Sprayed foam insulation • Ideal for shops, barns or homes • Healthier, Quieter, More Energy Efficient®
*Portion of tours may be Tax Deductible
COMMON SEED Cereal For sale: Triticale for seed or feed, has been in the bin for a while & needs to go. Approximately 1,000-bu. Would need to be cleaned if you want it for seed. $5.50 Call: (780)524-5099. firstname.lastname@example.org
www.selectholidays.com COMMUNITY CALENDAR COMMUNITY CALENDAR Alberta
SEED / FEED / GRAIN SEED/FEED MISCELLANEOUS Feed Grain
To all Oxy Blast / Puroxi (OB) Customers Alberta
BUYING ALL TYPES OF feed grain. Also have market for light offgrade or heated, picked up on the farm. Eisses Grain Marketing 1-888-882-7803, Lacombe. FEED GRAIN WANTED! ALSO buying; Light, tough, or offgrade grains. “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 1-877-250-5252
SEED/FEED/GRAIN Grain Wanted
HEATED & GREEN CANOLA • Competitive Prices • Prompt Movement • Spring Thrashed “ON FARM PICK UP”
IMPORTANT CUSTOMER SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Effective June 1, 2014, CDN Clearwater Ltd. (Dave Clifton) and The Clear Solutions Water Company (Rob Leverick) will no longer be representing the Puroxi (OB) / Oxy Blast line of products & services. Please contact us directly to ensure ongoing regular shipments and service, by email: email@example.com or toll-free 1-866-466-8252. (604)826-8368 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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JUNE 23, 2014 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Bon Voyage, Sclerotinia!
For countless ages, sclerotinia “The Pirate of the Prairies” has ravaged the countryside, butchering canola yields and plundering grower profits. But now, thanks to Proline® fungicide, sclerotinia is in over its head. A single application of Proline can reduce sclerotinia infection rates by up to 80%. Say goodbye to sclerotinia and enter for a chance to WIN* 1 of 3 - $5,000 travel vouchers. For more information visit BayerCropScience.ca/EndOfPirates
BayerCropScience.ca/Proline or 1 888-283-6847 or contact your Bayer CropScience representative. Always read and follow label directions. Proline® is a registered trademark of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada. *Contest will be subject to eligibility requirements. See online for contest details, contest ends June 27, 2014.
Published on Jun 18, 2014