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Mixed reaction to provincial budget for agriculture INCOME SUPPORT  Funding for AgriStability and AgriRecovery increased to prepare for higher future payouts BY MADELEINE BAERG AF CONTRIBUTOR | CALGARY


ood, but not exciting news. That seems to be the main reaction of farm groups to the latest provincial

budget. “Overall, it didn’t hurt us. It didn’t take any major things away from agriculture, and, I think there are some good parts to it,” said Wild Rose Agricultural Producers Association president Lynn Jacobson. But he added that “There are some needs within the ag community that the government will have to address.” “Alberta’s budget as it pertains to agriculture looks to be good on

“Unfortunately, this (budget) is a band-aid approach to helping rural Alberta expand and prosper.” A snowy owl picks a perch over some corrals near Gem, Alberta.



first view,” said Western Stock Growers Association (WSGA) president Phil Rowland. “The WSGA compliments government on recognizing areas of pressure. Unfortunately, this (budget) is a band-aid approach to helping rural Alberta expand and prosper.” The 2012-13 budget allocates a total of just over $1 billion to Agriculture and Rural Development. Some elements include an increase in AgriStability and AgriRecovery; increased dollars for research including $750,000 to fund new research greenhouse facilities in Brooks; a three-year, $444-million commitment to bioenergy initiatives, and $24 million to international marketing for Alberta commodities. Individual farmers may benefit most from the government’s commitment to steady grants for irrigation rehabilitation, consistent funding for agricultural societies, and increased funding for wildlife compensation. About $430 million, or almost half of the total budget, is destined for crop, hail and livestock insurance claims. While this number is down from the $474.26 million budgeted in 2011-12, it is in line with what is forecast to have actually been spent that year.

SEE BUDGET  page 6


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INSIDE » SOW-STALL PHASEOUT McDonalds to require pork produced with group housing









How’s Twix? Twenty-five per cent smaller RESPONSIBLE EATING  At least

they waited until after Valentine’s Day

REUTERS / Mars Inc., the maker of Snickers and Twix candy bars, will stop selling chocolate products with more than 250 calories in them by the end of next year, a spokeswoman said Feb. 15. The McClean, Virginiabased company, which also makes M&Ms and Skittles candies and Juicy Fruit chewing gum, said the goal is part of an ongoing effort to improve the nutritional value of its products and to sell them in a responsible way. The new calorie limit target means fans of the 540-calorie king-size Snickers bar might want to enjoy the big bar while they can. Come 2014, it’s going to be gone, part of what Mars says is a broader push for responsible snacking. Mars has also said it will reduce sodium levels in all its products 25 per cent by 2015. Spokeswoman Marlene Machut said the plan to stop shipping any chocolate product that exceeded 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013 is part of Mars’ “broad-based commitment to health and nutrition.”






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Equipment dealer, museum founder Stan Reynolds passes AERIAL VIEW  Reynolds cruised over hedgerows in his own

aircraft to spot where old machinery had been abandoned STAFF


emorial services are expected to be held later this spring for the auto and ag equipment dealer whose collections of vintage iron were the basis for the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. Stan Reynolds of Wetaskiwin, Alta. died Feb. 9 in Edmonton at age 88, the provincial government reported Monday. Reynolds’ “lifelong interest in machines of all types led him to assemble a very valuable collection which he generously donated to the people of Alberta,” Premier Alison Redford said in a statement. “His vision, irrepressible spirit and example of public service will be sorely missed.” Julia Parrish of CTV Edmonton reported Monday that Reynolds had been in declining health in recent years, and that a formal memorial is to be held sometime this spring. Born in Wetaskiwin in 1923, Reynolds set up a used-auto dealership there shortly after his discharge from the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1945. He later expanded that dealership to include sales of new and used cars, trucks, farm machinery, industrial equipment, house trailers and airplanes. Later in the 1940s, after acquiring a 1911 Overland touring car as part of a tradein, Reynolds began collecting


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vintage autos and over time expanded his collections into tractors, steam engines and aircraft. According to the museum’s website, Reynolds would travel across Canada and the U.S. “collecting examples of the machines that had played a part in Alberta’s past.” In his own plane, and “knowing farmers stored old machinery along hedgerows or out in the back 40, Stan took his search to the air. Cruising low over western Canadian farmland he’d drop the plane down near the farmstead where he spied something interesting.”

“Everyday, gritty life”

“Without his foresight and determination, many of the artifacts integral to telling the history of Alberta and of Canada would still be decaying behind caragana hedges or have met their end at the junkyard,” the museum said. “Instead, Stan gave them new life as storytellers.” Reynolds, the museum noted, did not limit his interests to shiny, rare, new and/or neverused items, but sought “things that showed that they’d been used over and over again, that showed how they’d been used, and why they’d been used. “That’s why Stan wanted you to see a tractor with a wash basin hammered into a wheel to repair it. Stan wanted the

Wetaskiwin businessman Stan Reynolds, whose collections formed the basis of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, died Feb. 9 in Edmonton. PHOTO: HISTORY.ALBERTA.CA things that had been a part of everyday, gritty Alberta life. Stan collected the things with history.” By 1955, he had opened the private Reynolds Museum to house his collections and, in 1974, approached the province about developing a new museum based on them. He donated about 850 such artifacts to the province in 1981, as the foundation for the 1992 opening of Wetaskiwin’s pub-

licly operated Reynolds-Alberta Museum. Reynolds, the province noted, also “made other significant donations to the province’s museums, including collections of archeological material, military artifacts, and objects associated with Alberta’s settlement and development.” Reynolds was named to both the Order of Canada and Alberta Order of Excellence in 1999.



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Friends of CWB launch $17B class-action lawsuit $250,000 each } The group says that’s how much farmers need to be compensated for losing the single desk



he wheat board’s single desk must stay or western farmers should get $17 billion in compensation for its loss, says a class-action lawsuit launched Feb. 15 against the federal government by four farmers with the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB). It’s the latest salvo in the fight against the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act. It became law in December, even though a Federal Court judge ruled Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz introduced the legislation illegally. There are several other legal challenges against the law underway. The new law declares that on Aug. 1 the wheat board’s monopoly on the sale of Western Canada wheat, durum and barley destined for export or domestic human consumption ends. The suit, being heard in Federal Court, is a two-pronged approach, said FCWB counsel, Anders Bruun, who is working with Toronto law firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP on the case. The FCWB alleges the federal government “infringed and denied” farmers their constitutional rights by creating an open market without farmers’ collective

“Our government promised western Canadian farmers marketing freedom and we have delivered.” gerry ritz


approval. The wheat board ceased to be a Crown agency in 1998 when governance was turned over to a majority of farmer directors elected by farmers. Under Section 47.1 of the wheat board act the minister of agriculture is obliged to consult with the board’s directors and get farmers’ approval through a vote before changing the board’s mandate. Ritz didn’t do that. “The right to associate to achieve collective goals and to develop a majority position is protected by Section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the FCWB farmers say in their statement of claim.

Collective bargaining

The right of the majority of farmers to collectively market through a compulsory single desk is similar to the rights of workers who want to bargain collectively for better pay and working conditions, Bruun said in an interview. The FCWB is asking the courts to rule the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act has no force, returning the board to farmer control and preserving the board’s single-desk authority. If the court agrees, the FCWB wants the federal government to pay $3.75 million to offset wheat board losses since the law was proclaimed. However, if it doesn’t, the FCWB wants $17 billion in compensation for the estimated 70,000 farmers who have marketed through the board. Each farmer, on average, would get around $250,000. The compensation requested is based on estimates that the board’s monopoly provides farmers with between $630 million and $850 million in additional revenue annually. It also covers loss of the board’s assets, which the FCWB argues belongs to farmers. There are precedents for compensation, including the $1.6 bil-

lion Ottawa gave western grain farmers in 1996 after it scrapped the Crow Rate grain transportation subsidy. If the suit is approved as a class action, all farmers will automatically be part of the claim and eligible for compensation if awarded, so long as they don’t opt out, Bruun said. The four farmer plaintiffs named in the suit are Harold Bell of Fort St. John, B.C., Andrew Dennis of Brookdale, Man., Nathan Macklin of DeBolt, Alta., and Ian McCreary of Bladworth, Sask. Ritz said in a statement that it’s unfortunate a small group of farmers wants to prevent farmers from marketing their own crops. “Marketing freedom is now law and farmers are moving forward, rightfully contracting their wheat and barley for August 1, 2012,” he said. “Our government promised western Canadian farmers marketing freedom and we have delivered.” The Producer Car Shippers of Canada, the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance and National Farmers Union support the FCWB’s suit. The FCWB, along with the wheat board itself and eight of its 10 elected directors, argued successfully in Federal Court Dec. 7 that Ritz introduced the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act illegally. Ottawa is appealing. Regina lawyer Tony Merchant launched a $15.4-billion classaction lawsuit against the federal government Jan. 10 in anticipation of the board losing its single desk. On Jan. 18, eight former farmerelected wheat board directors argued before a Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench judge that Ritz’s law should be put on hold until its legality is determined. They also argued the court should scrap the law because it was introduced illegally. As of last week the judge had yet to render a decision.

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The compensation requested is based on estimates that the board’s monopoly provides farmers with between $630 million and $850 million in additional revenue annually.  photo: dave bedard

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Agriculture budget small relative to larger departments

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By will verboven

Alberta Farmer | Editor


he political tradition is that just before an impending election, governments present a highly optimistic good-news budget, deny that it is an election budget, and then promptly call an election a few weeks later. This time around the exercise has lost some of its drama since the Redford government passed legislation to establish a fixed election date — sort of. We know it will be sometime within a three-month period, budget or not. There is another Alberta pre-election political ritual that sees the premier and the cabinet travelling around the province on a “listen to the citizen” tour. That usually includes grants being given out, ribbons being cut and earnest meetings with local officials where ministers dutifully display supposed concern and interest. Such listening tours are held every year, but in non-election years the ritual is usually carried out by a few obscure ministers on quick fly-in visits. One of the realities of the Alberta government budget is that agriculture and rural development are relatively insignificant concerns. Headlines in the urban media always tout the billions being spent on health, education, welfare and infrastructure and that’s fair enough as those are important to all citizens. The Energy and Environment Department budgets are usually the next to be mentioned. Again those are big concerns to the economy. However, you would think that the second-largest economic activity in the province should deserve some attention, but alas not even a single line about the agriculture budget in the urban media. I guess that’s the reality of living in the most highly urbanized province in Canada.

Perhaps being ignored is sometimes good — at least you are not a target and can just go on doing your business with little notice. That’s probably worked well for the Agriculture Department over the years, as it hasn’t faced any massive cutbacks since the Klein years when the whole government was put on a 10 per cent chopping block. That cutback came after a huge expansion program under premiers Lougheed and Getty. In those days they were trying to not only expand agricultural production, but also to diversify into new products and further processing. Those were the good old days. But I digress.

Since this is an election year this is more of a “fantasy” budget so to speak — no bad news, no higher taxes — only good news, at least until after the election. The only thing that throws a wrench into the ag budget is when there is a weather or market disaster. That’s when the department’s budget is blown out of the water and the minister has to ask for help from the premier and the rest of cabinet. The cost of such calamities usually exceed the entire regular budget of the department. Since this is an election year this is more of a “fantasy” budget so to speak — no bad news, no higher taxes — only good news, at least until after the election. There are plenty of promises and new spending to appeal to the most voters. For agriculture, the budget tends to be more of the same with major support going to AFSC. That support would tend to be more secure

and have a higher priority since it’s for crop insurance, income support and lending programs. ALMA continues to come through the budgeting process unscathed and with multi-year funding still in place. The ag budget also contains that perennial mantra — more money “to support the opening and development of new markets for our agricultural products,” or words to that effect. It’s a statement that has been regurgitated in annual budgets for probably 40 years. At any rate the ag budget comes in at $950 million, a mere pittance compared to big-dog departments like Health, Education and Welfare. Rural areas do get additional benefits that city folks might not always get and that doesn’t come out of the agriculture budget. There’s $3.5 billion for provincial highways and $290 million for the transportation of nearly 300,000 K-12 students across Alberta. Rural residents would benefit more than farmers from those expenditures. There are also a number of health-related programs and support services designed to keep standards and access available to rural and small-town residents. Even though this Alberta government budget is an election fantasy budget, traditional procedure has it that most of the agriculture expenditures will be made in the coming year. If cutbacks and new taxes are to happen they will surely come next year in a more harsh “reality” budget. All of this is predicated on the assumption that the present PC government will be returned to office after the coming election. But even if a new government is elected, there won’t be much change. If one examines the Wildrose Party agriculture platform, it looks remarkably similar to the present PC government ag policy — which looks remarkably similar to this year’s agriculture budget. Same old, same old.

Finding ways to make group housing for sows work No choice } McDonald’s has joined a list of major buyers to refuse pork from barns with gestation stalls By Laura Rance

editor, manitoba co-operator


ack in the early 1990s, when University of Manitoba animal scientist Laurie Connor first oversaw research into hoop-housing systems for hogs, the key questions of the day were whether keeping pigs outdoors through a Prairie winter threatened their welfare and/ or compromised production efficiency. Connor told a recent seminar she was initially mortified at the thought of keeping pigs in an outdoor facility through the cold winter months. At the time, keeping sows in gestation stalls in heated barns was seen not only as more efficient, but more welfare friendly because the pregnant sows weren’t being attacked by their more dominant herdmates. True, sows weren’t allowed freedom of movement, but that

was viewed as a reasonable compromise in exchange for the vast improvements in production efficiency. At the time, hoop housing and straw-based bedding were being explored as less capital-intensive alternatives. Animal welfare was a secondary concern. The research found that although feeding costs were higher and different levels of management were needed, the system could match the productivity of conventional housing due to its lower capital costs. After that, it sat on the shelf. Now, scientists are tasked with finding ways to make various group-housing systems work economically — not as an alternative for producers seeking a lower-cost or niche-market option, but for conventional producers who could lose market access if they don’t transition out of gestation stalls. This month fast-food giant McDonald’s served suppliers

notice they are to come up with a plan for phasing out sow gestation stalls. Seven U.S. states have passed laws to end their use. Europe’s conversion is expected to be completed by 2013. Thankfully, researchers have been able to refer back to those earlier studies and build on them in this current context. Connor and many of her colleagues have over the course of their careers faced criticism from producers for acknowledging the downsides of gestation stalls. Likewise they have been accused of being an industry apologist for citing their benefits — evidence of their even-handed, sciencebased approach to the highly charged debate. It is through these ongoing research efforts that our knowledge as it relates to sow behaviour and comfort has evolved. It is now acknowledged that pigs are inherently social beings and are more content when allowed to behave as a herd. The issues

with aggression and dominance can be managed with individual feeding. The sight of a sow chewing on stall bars or excessively drinking water was once seen as a sign of agitation due to boredom; it is now believed related to hunger — a factor of a nutrient-dense feed ration that isn’t very filling. That can be mitigated by providing straw or other forms of fibre. So we know we can make group housing work for the sows. Whether it can work for farmers is based on a number of variables ranging from the cost of renovating, to their ability to adapt their herd and nutrient management. What’s interesting and laudable about this unfolding story is the absolute importance of science to increase understanding of complex issues. Back in the 1990s, scientists were asking questions the mainstream industry considered irrelevant. Thank goodness.



Creating a stronger voice for Alberta’s wheat producers All classes } Group seeks support to back a request for the

province to create an all-wheat commission by kent erickson and lynn jacobson co-chairs of the Alberta All-Wheat Commission Steering Committee


n the past 150 years, wheat has played a significant role in the settlement of the Canadian Prairies and the development of western Canadian agriculture. Canada became the “breadbasket of the world” because of the quality and quantity of wheat it supplied to countries around the globe. In more recent years, western Canadian wheat producers have struggled to compete with other crops and wheat-producing countries. Although wheat remains one of Canada’s most important cereal crops, new varieties and traits are needed to make it a sustainable and profitable crop option for Prairie producers. In Alberta, we’ve felt for some time that wheat producers need to have a stronger voice and more concerted industry focus. In 2008, the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers resolved to study the viability of an all-wheat commission in Alberta. For all of wheat’s prominence in Alberta, only two small classes (winter wheat and soft white wheat, which

account for just five per cent of the province’s entire wheat production) have been represented by a producer-run commission. After market research found considerable support for the notion of a new all-wheat commission for all nine classes of western Canadian wheat (Red Spring, Red Winter, Extra Strong, CPS Red, CPS White, Amber durum, Soft White Spring, Hard White Spring and General Purpose), a producer-led steering committee was formed.

Checkoff of $0.70/tonne

For the past year, we’ve been part of working to form the Alberta Wheat Commission. It would have one primary objective: to improve farm gate returns on wheat. It would also be committed to working collaboratively with all participants in wheat’s value chain. Our steering committee has developed a strategic plan to realize these goals. The plan currently calls for the new commission to begin operating on Aug. 1, 2012, and to generate the majority of its revenue through a checkoff (service charge) of $0.70/tonne on all classes of wheat produced in Alberta. Checkoff dollars will be deducted from producer payments at the point of sale. Of the estimated

Can we justify our soilmanagement practices? soil science } L.B. Thomson award winner

says it’s our highest research priority

Don Lobb, a farmer from Huron County, Ontario was recently awarded the L.B. Thomson award for his long-standing commitment to soil and water conservation in Canada. An early adopter of no-till farming, Lobb has been widely recognized as both an innovator and a leader in soil and water conservation locally, nationally and internationally. L.B. Thomson was one of the agronomists whose developed tillage practices to combat the drought of the 1930s, and was later a director general of the PFRA. These are excerpts from his acceptance speech.


s we look ahead, please consider this: historically, most civilizations have destroyed their soil and then moved on. Now, there is no place left to move to. Furthermore, current predictions indicate that within 20 years only six countries will be able to feed themselves. Canada is one of the six. This brings focus to food-production technology. Our interest has been dominated by iron, crop inputs and genetics. The current attention to crop culture has brought great production improvement. However, this does not matter if soil is degraded as a result of production pressure, ignorance, carelessness or greed. Our food supply is only as stable as the soil in which it is grown. More than anything else, healthy soil contributes to crop yield and to production stability and production sustainability. Healthy soil means more soil life and more organic matter. Tillage destroys

both. We also must improve soil moisture management because water is the first limiting factor for crop growth. We must close the nutrient loop because supplemental sources of nutrient are finite. We need to adopt landscape restoration as a normal practice because this substantially reduces soil management variability and has payback opportunity as good or better than cropland drainage. We need perennial food crops. Their culture would dramatically reduce soil degradation. Our highest research priority must be serious soil science. We cannot tolerate philosophy or emotion here. Responsible farmland managers will participate in this exercise and they will prosper by doing so. The leadership must come from farmers. Groups like the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) have a role here. We do have a few wonderful examples of really good soil management leaders. One of the best is the Kaiser family of Napanee. Our president, Max, can be very proud of their farm operation and we in OSCIA can be proud of him. I know from personal experience that every farmer can follow the Kaiser example. We do have the technology and the tools. This is a matter of choice. Choices now determine our legacy to the future. The future is our progeny. If our children’s grandchildren were sitting in front of us, could we each proudly justify the soil management practices that we use today?

$3.5 million that would be raised through checkoff dollars each year, a direct investment of $3 million would be made annually into research and market development and pursuing partnerships that leverage this investment into projects worth millions of dollars more. In March, our steering committee will wrap up the many meetings and consultations we’ve been having with Alberta wheat producers about the commission’s plans. To date, the response has been very supportive, with more than 80 per cent of producers saying they favour forming the commission. This support is crucial for two reasons: to gain legislative approval from the Province of Alberta to form the commission; and to demonstrate that farmers are willing to invest in their industry. With so many changes on the horizon for western Canadian wheat, we see the Alberta Wheat Commission as one way for our province’s wheat producers to be better able to respond to the opportunities and demands of domestic and international markets and users. It is also a way to ensure wheat continues to play an important role in western Canadian agriculture.

Alberta Agriculture meetings underline value of the CWB Futures } Alberta government promotes them despite costly lessons in the U.S. by Jan Slomp

Alberta Co-ordinator, National Farmers Union


lthough the Government of Alberta is putting forth a celebratory mood regarding the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) single desk, its public meetings being held in January and February across the province are taking place in an increasingly negative context for farmers who must deal with the fallout from the government’s long ideological campaign against the CWB. While officials from Alberta Agriculture have been telling farmers to consider futures contracts and other costly services advertised by the private trade, one of the largest futures trading companies in the world, MF Global, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., freezing over $2 billion of farmers’ money. At the same time Viterra, a large grainhandling company, stated it anticipated extra earnings between $40 million and $50 million a year, money that will come out of farmers’ pockets. When you consider the news that the opening of South Korea to beef sales is only anticipated to bring an extra $15 million a year, and much of that will end up in the pockets of the packing companies, the scale of the disaster caused by losing the CWB becomes very clear. The CWB earned Prairie grain farm-

ers a minimum of $500 million per year. There will be no way to replace that scale of proven economic benefit. I was very upset to hear these Alberta Ag officials tell us that the introduction of genetically modified (GM) wheat is now just around the corner. They must have missed the memo from our customers that they will not buy GM wheat. I can only assume they see the profits on GM seed sales to farmers, as more important than the fact nobody wants to eat GM wheat. Farmers won’t be able to sell it, because no one wants it. Where is their respect for our customers? How is this good news for anybody but the agro-chemical companies? Big grain and big rail companies have been trying hard for 25 years to bankrupt small grain players. This latest coup — the elimination of the CWB — could do it. Without the CWB doing sales and getting terminal space for producer cars, I don’t see how short line railways can continue to ship grain in producer cars. For decades the Alberta government has financed a campaign to undermine the CWB. The bureaucrats at these meetings are failing to come up with anything remotely beneficial for farmers. It is now becoming clearer to farmers that the “freedom” from the single desk comes with a loss of economic opportunities. Ironically these latest information meetings again illustrate the value of the CWB single desk.




BUDGET  From page 1 Jacobson is pleased with the dollars being directed to insurance. “It looks like they’re going to spend more time or money fixing up the programs. They are recognizing the variability, and we welcome that.” At $226.29 million, ag income support spending including AgriStability and AgriRecovery will see a major increase in 2012-13, up from a forecast of $123.4 million this past year. The jump does not reflect new programs, Ag Minister Evan Berger said in a Call of the Land broadcast.

“What we need is to have a business climate in Alberta that allows agriculture and other businesses to prosper, not government propping up rural Alberta.” PHIL ROWLAND WSGA

Rather, the budgeted amount “is up because it is reflecting that we had a very healthy year… in the year we just went through, without a lot of over-the-top disasters or yield factors or price breaks. But we’ve increased (the budgeted amount) to maintain our ability to match as prices are climbing. Our payments could go up due to the fact of higher liability for the price structure that we’re getting to in all our commodities.”

Rural programs

Jacobson points out that dollars allocated to ministries such as Health are vital to rural communities. “Anything that can add to people maintaining their health will help them stay on their farms longer.” Deputy Premier Doug Horner said in a a Call of the Land broadcast that the budget will provide more basic infrastructure for rural Alberta, including health care, broadband Internet, RCMP presence and an increase in the Municipal Sustainability Initiative fund. Jacobson said that while the government has talked about spending some money to help prepare producers to handle marketing chal-

lenges after the end of the wheat board monopoly, no funds were designated. “There’s a lot of uncertainty out there. If the government could address those problems, that would be money well spent. So far, the government doesn’t have any more answers than we do.” Jacobson noted that provincial and federal governments may have to assume some of the board’s former roles such as fighting trade challenges or pressing for better rail service. He also said that while the budget provides funds for new infrastructure such as research greenhouses, programs in the facilities need ongoing support. “The government needs to commit to the human resources required to operate the different programs, such as scientists, technicians and others, unless they are building the infrastructure to turn over to private industry,” Jacobson said.

Better business climate

“What we need is to have a business climate in Alberta that allows agriculture and other businesses to prosper, not government propping up rural Alberta,” said the WSGA’s Rowland. “This concept would

create opportunity to profit and remove the need for government assistance.” He cited a proposed hog-processing facility slated to be built just across the border in Shelby, Montana, is an example of what needs to happen in Alberta. The facility, which will likely process about 800,000 hogs annually and employ as many as 500 workers, is being built primarily to service the Chinese market, and Chinese importers are already lined up to purchase the pork. “The Alberta and federal governments risk wiping out the Alberta meat sector due to high regulatory cost and poor trade policy. At the same time the government is crowing about deals with China, we are losing a hog plant to the U.S.,” Rowland said. “We risk the same happening in the beef sector. Just last week, the Longview Beef Jerky Plant closed — the direct result of regulatory burden.” Rowland said, “Rural Alberta wants to contribute and not to need to be propped up by the government. To do this we need a positive business environment… We do not, however think this can be done in Edmonton alone. This is a task that needs to be built with grassroots consultation.”

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“We see FCC as our partners – they support young farmers.” Lance Stockbrugger See more stories at


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11/16/11 10:33 AM

Open interest tiny amid CWB doubts, timing BY ROD NICKEL


After nearly four weeks of trading, open interest is tiny in the new milling wheat, barley and durum futures and options contracts, even as farmers, grain companies and end-users look to manage price risk this year with the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly ending. “I don’t think it’s fair to say we were looking for a lot of liquidity at this point in time with the contracts,” said Brad Vannan, president and chief operating officer for ICE Futures Canada. “The futures are a reflection of the marketplace as a whole, and if that marketplace hasn’t had a chance to fully hatch yet, the futures will also reflect that.” Open interest in ICE’s milling wheat futures contract was 80 contracts on Feb. 8, compared with open interest of 187,475 in ICE Canada’s long-running canola contract. The durum contract had open interest of 52 contracts and the new barley contract had 120. The lack of trading activity, a pending court ruling that could derail the law ending the single desk, and widespread dryness across the Prairies just two months prior to planting are all considered factors holding back the new contracts. So far, the industry has little reason to take futures positions in the new contracts which start with October delivery, said Keith Bruch, vice-president of operations at grain handler and miller Paterson GlobalFoods. “Buyers are bearish, farmers are bullish and so there just isn’t much liquidity in the marketplace,” Bruch said. “So that’s the catch-22 — getting over that hump of confidence. You need liquidity to trade and to get that liquidity, you have to trade. “It’s too early to reach a conclusion on (the contracts).” Local speculators are especially unlikely to trade the new contracts until they can exit positions the same day, said Bill Craddock, who currently trades the ICE canola contract. Even though the ICE grain contracts are the only ones listed in Canadian dollars and with Canadian delivery points, competition is stiff. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange has tweaked its spring wheat futures contract to allow delivery of wheat from outside the U.S., and officials are travelling to Winnipeg this month to drum up business. On the positive side for ICE, the new contracts’ prices accurately reflect the market, and trading volume should pick up as farmers and grain companies sign more supply deals for 2012 crops, Vannan said.



U.S. Plains farmland values jump again LAND RUSH  Farmers bought 73 per cent of the farmland sold in 2011, up from 60 per cent in 2005 BY CHRISTINE STEBBINS CHICAGO / REUTERS


armland prices in the U.S. Plains states extended record-setting gains in the fourth quarter of 2011, rising 25 per cent from a year earlier as cash-rich farmers competed for land, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said Feb. 15. In a quarterly survey that provides an important gauge of the U.S. agricultural economy, the Fed also said credit conditions improved as farmers paid down debt at the year-end, comments that may help temper concerns of a land-price bubble. “Strong farm incomes were fuelling the robust farmland value gains,” the Fed said in the survey of 253 bankers in its district. Non-irrigated cropland values jumped almost nine per cent in the last three months of 2011 and were 25 per cent higher than yearearlier levels, matching the record pace in the third quarter. “District bankers noted an increasing number of absentee landowners were putting their farms up for sale and attributed much of the auction activity to landowners seeking top-dollar prices. Farmers were the main buyers,” the Fed report said. It said the share of non-farmers who purchased land had diminished over the past six years to about onequarter of all buyers. The corn state of Nebraska saw the biggest jump — a 37.8 per cent

year-on-year price gain for nonirrigated cropland.


Farmland values are closely monitored by economists at the Federal Reserve and by commercial banks, as a barometer of U.S. banking assets and as a benchmark for agricultural balance sheets. Farmland is basic collateral for farm loans. Skyrocketing land values have caused worries among bankers about the possibility of a ruinous farmland bubble like the one seen in the 1980s U.S. farm crisis, when overleveraged farmers lost their land as interest rates jumped. But farmers carry much less debt now, thanks to record farm income. Grain prices and production have also been strong, a rare double for farmers used to seeing prices fall as production rises. Booming farm exports and domestic ethanol have changed that traditional equation, market analysts say. The Fed’s 10th district stretches across the major wheat, corn and cattle states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, along with Wyoming and parts of New Mexico and Missouri. The area has seen a jump in corn prices in recent years with the rapid expansion of corn-based ethanol output. “Strong farm incomes were fuelling the robust farmland value gains. During the fourth quarter, crop prices remained historically high but volatile, while livestock prices were well above year-ago levels,” the report said.

“Half of survey respondents reported higher farm income in the fourth quarter compared to last year, and almost a third expected further income gains in 2012. With bullish farm income prospects, many landowners negotiated steep increases in cash rental rates for farmland,” the bank said. But farm income varied in the district, with some hurt by flooding and others by drought. The strong grain and livestock prices helped buoy Oklahoma and Kansas ranchers where drought forced them to reduce herd sizes to historical lows.

Farmer demand robust

A third of the district bankers surveyed expected the price and amount of farmland offered for sale to continue to rise in 2012, as well as farm income. One banker from eastern Nebraska said that “with current price levels, many older landowners are cashing out.” Such farm sales were met by robust farmer demand, pushing land prices higher. The Fed said farmers bought 73 per cent of the farmland sold in 2011, up from 60 per cent in 2005. “Land sales have exploded in number and price due to record farm profits. Many farmers have also prepaid for nearly all of next year’s crop inputs,” a banker in northeastern Nebraska told the Fed. Of non-farmer purchases, more bankers reported farmland being bought for investment purposes

A farmer stands in a wheat field near Lincoln, Nebraska. Non-irrigated cropland values have jumped 25 per cent in the U.S. Midwest since last year as absentee landowners cash out and farmers compete aggressively for more land. REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA such as rental income and earning capital gains. Farmland purchases for recreational use or residential/ development projects continued to fall. “Two reasons given for buying farmland are alternative investments are limited and land will always be there,” one banker in northeastern Colorado told the Fed. Cash rents for farmland jumped last year, up 18 per cent compared to a six per cent gain in 2010 as

“landowners factored in high farm income expectations when renegotiating lease terms,” the Fed said. Ranchland rent values rose but at a slower rate, about 10 per cent, versus a four per cent average annual gain in 2010. Interest rates averaged 6.3 per cent on farm operating loans in the quarter and for farm real estate loans fell below six per cent for the first time in survey history, dipping to 5.9 per cent, the Kansas City Fed said.

New programs for a new era

CWB meetings for farmers The CWB is launching an exciting new set of programs. Farmers are invited to learn all about them at upcoming GrowerLink meetings. CWB experts will be on hand to discuss the new grain-marketing landscape and share all the details of our new pools and cash options. Find out how they can increase your bottom line and manage your risk. Week 1 Lethbridge, AB – Lunch Medicine Hat, AB – Supper Swift Current, SK – Lunch Moose Jaw, SK – Lunch Weyburn, SK – Lunch Week 2 Unity, SK – Supper Saskatoon, SK – Lunch Humboldt, SK – Supper Tisdale, SK – Lunch Wynyard, SK – Supper Oak Bluff, MB – Lunch

Tuesday, March 6 Tuesday, March 6 Wednesday, March 7 Thursday, March 8 Friday, March 9 Monday, March 12 Tuesday, March 13 Tuesday, March 13 Wednesday, March 14 Wednesday, March 14 Friday, March 16

Week 3 Grande Prairie, AB – Lunch Falher, AB – Supper Ohaton, AB – Lunch Vermilion, AB – Lunch North Battleford, SK – Supper

Tuesday, March 20 Tuesday, March 20 Wednesday, March 21 Thursday, March 22 Thursday, March 22

Week 4 Neepawa, MB – Supper Russell, MB – Lunch Swan River, MB – Supper Melville, SK – Lunch Somerset, MB – Lunch

Monday, March 26 Tuesday, March 27 Tuesday, March 27 Wednesday, March 28 Friday, March 30

Farmers are asked to pre-register by calling 1-800- 275-4292. View the complete meeting schedule at .




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Farmers head to school for Agricultural Literacy Week Connection } With most Canadians now generations removed from farm life,

farmers go to classrooms and talk about how food is produced by lorraine stevenson staff


t’s often said farmers speak their own language, but schoolkids in nine provinces might soon understand it a little better thanks to Canadian Agricultural Literacy Week. Hundreds of farmers will be going back to school Feb. 26 to March 3 to talk to children and read from selected books telling stories about food and farming as part of a first-ever initiative put on by Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC). It’s a week to strengthen the relationship between schoolchildren and the people who produce food, said Johanne Ross, executive director of AITC-Manitoba, who is co-ordinating the national program. AITC develops agriculturally themed teaching resources for schools, but this initiative is different, she said. “When you think of literacy you automatically think of reading books, but in this day and age literacy can mean so many things. We want it to be beyond the books and about making that personal connection and putting a face behind agriculture.” Across the entire country as many as 400 classrooms are expected to take part. “We’ve had a wonderful response from our producers and our ag industry contacts to get in there and tell the agriculture story,” said James Perkins, interim executive director for AITC-Saskatchewan. With most families now two or more generations removed from the farm, organizers are expecting some lively classroom discussions. “Someone is bound to raise their

hand and ask a question,” said Perkins. “We’re really encouraging farmers to tell their story. They have a story to tell that goes far beyond the books.” Other provinces will take different approaches. Ontario Agri-Food Education doesn’t have the same kind of volunteer base among farmers so they’ve arranged for newly graduated teachers not yet in teaching jobs to visit classrooms, said Jan Robertson, marketing and communications manager for OAFE. They’ll be bringing books as well, but also a game called Agri-Treking Across Ontario to teach about different types of production throughout the province. Uptake by schools has exceeded their highest expectations, Ross said. “We want (students) to get curious about it, and see agriculture as something beyond the farm, and the role they can play in giving back to agriculture as consumers,” she said. Organizers said they hope the event spurs Canadian writers to create agriculturally themed books for children. Many provinces, including Manitoba, have gone with American titles because they couldn’t find Canadian ones, said Ross, noting many U.S. books focus on types of production not used north of the border. “It’s just not on writers’ radar screens,” said Ross. “We really need Canadian books about agriculture and we’re hoping maybe this week will start to build on that.” Farmers will read two specially selected books in Manitoba classrooms. Where Beef Comes From written by Saskatchewan cattle producer Sherri Grant is one of them. “It’s a wonderful story from start to finish, and it doesn’t run away

Bob Bartley with Manitoba project co-ordinator Diane Mauthe reading to schoolchildren during another recent Agriculture in the Classroom project.   photo: AITC-Manitoba Roland, Man. from the message of why we produce beef either,” said Ross. The other book is Seed Soil Sun - Earth’s Recipe for Food by American writer Cris Peterson, a book about growing different kinds of crops. Ontario’s titles include Alfalfabet A-Z, The Wonderful Words From Agriculture by B.C. author Carol Watterson and How Did That Get In My

Lunch Box? The Story of Food by American writer Chris Butterworth. Sherri Grant’s book is also on their list for Saskatchewan, said Perkins. So is another by Cris Peterson entitled Fantastic Farm Machines. They’re also reading Farm by Elisha Cooper, a U.S. author who writes about corn growing in the American Midwest.

All books read in classrooms will be donated to the schools. Canadian Agricultural Literacy Week is funded by Farm Credit Canada. February is designated I Love to Read Month across North America, promoting early childhood interest in reading and highlights the importance of literacy skills.

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Two books included in the program: Where Beef Comes From and Seed Sun Soil — Earth’s Recipe For Food.

“When you think of literacy you automatically think of reading books, but in this day and age literacy can mean so many things. We want it to be beyond the books and about making that personal connection and putting a face behind agriculture.” Johanne Ross executive director, Agriculture in the Classroom — Manitoba

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The highways in rural Ethiopia resemble sidewalks due to the high volume of pedestrian traffic.  photos: laura rance

Without January rains, one of two heifers will be sold Shrinking farms  } As farm families get larger, already-small parcels of land are divided even smaller By Laura Rance

wolayto-soddo, ethiopia

Manitoba Co-operator editor Laura Rance travelled on a media food study tour with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in Ethiopia last month


he highway southwest of Addis Ababa to WolaytoSoddo is wide and smooth, but there is no such thing in Ethi-

opia as setting the cruise control and just cruising, as one would expect to do on the wide-open Canadian Prairies. With nearly 80 million people, Ethiopia is densely populated and most of its people live as subsistence farmers in rural areas. We share this highway with other users, including a steady stream of pedestrians and livestock — cattle, goats, sheep and the poor-man’s B-train, the donkey, carrying everything from bags of grain or firewood

to containers filled with water, to furniture. As Sam Van der Ende, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s field co-ordinator, deftly manoeuvres us through the traffic, at times forced from highway speed to a complete stop for a wayward donkey or zebu (bovine) that refuses to budge, it becomes clear that safe travel here requires keen intuition for the meandering unpredictable flow — and a good horn. After all, if a pedestrian or livestock gets


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hit by a vehicle, under Ethiopian law the driver is automatically responsible. One of the members of our group, Al Friesen, of Radio Southern Manitoba, observed that whereas drivers in North America use their vehicle’s horn as a form of aggression, in Ethiopia it is used to announce, “I am here.”

Deceptively green

We are travelling a day’s drive southwest of Addis Ababa into a district that is known in food aid circles as the Green Famine Belt. While not lush, there is green growth in the fields and hillsides, forested hillsides and water running in the streams. Green isn’t a colour usually associated with famine. From the roadside, at least, it looks like a reasonably productive area. Yet many of these families are not more than a month or two away from not having enough to eat at any given time, a factor of their grinding poverty, the region’s high population density and an increasingly variable climate. It’s why for several years the Canadian Foodgrains Bank has been involved in the region through its Canadian partners, World Relief Canada and Evangelical Missionary Church, and the two locally based Kale Hewyet Church branches. Through cash-for-work and food-forwork projects, the families most at risk of running out of food are able to receive support

while working on projects that benefit the community. These projects tend to be oriented toward soil conservation through terracing erosion-prone hillsides and reforestation, as well as road maintenance. And because there is never enough aid to go around, the potential project participants are selected after a complicated exercise in community consensus. The families most in need are identified by government and community leaders, but then the finalists are chosen by a community meeting. If picked, the household must supply labour to the project in exchange for 75 kilograms per month of maize, if it is a food-for-work project, or 242 Ethiopian birrs (C$13.92) per month. Although people can have long-term tenure in Ethiopia, and land can be passed from generation to generation, they don’t own their land outright — so it cannot be bought and sold. As families grow, their land parcels shrink and their capacity to acquire more through leasing is limited. The pressure on the common grazing areas becomes more intense and the pressure unsustainable. The growing landlessness is made worse by the weird weather the region has been experiencing. Some call it climate change, but whatever you choose to call it, it’s wreaking

Continued } next page

For more information call 1-800-442-2342 visit

“I am not thinking they will stay on small land. I expect if I send them to school, I hope they will get a better job.”

follow us on Twitter: @CFIA_Animals Simon Lema farmer



CONTINUED  mate change, but whatever you choose to call it, it’s wreaking havoc with local food security. The rains on which people depend for growing food have become increasingly unpredictable. Whether those rains come too early, too late, or not at all, they are a recipe for hunger.

Waiting for rain

Bekele, a farmer we met in the hills outside of Soddo in the Wolayta district, told us Jan. 30 that he was still waiting for the January rains to come — rains that tease his sweet potato crop into producing tubers. He’s running out of time. With two wives and three children to support, Bekele said that if the sweet potato crop failed, he would sell one of the family’s two heifers to buy food to tide them over, hopefully until the next harvest. It’s this kind of survival strategy that food aid agencies hope to prevent. Livestock are assets, at once representing a family’s relative wealth and its savings account. Once it starts selling assets in order to eat, they are

predisposed to a free fall further into poverty. Many of the farmers we’ve met over the past several days farm a hectare or less of land. Even in a good year, they are barely producing enough maize, sweet potato and haricot beans to feed their families much less have leftovers to sell for cash. If the weather doesn’t co-operate, they can quickly be thrown into a food crisis. Support from either government or non-government agencies can help tide them over, but no one is fooled, least of all the project participants, into thinking it is a long-term solution. The search is on for ways to achieve higher levels of productivity, make it possible for these farmers to acquire more land, and develop alternative sources of income. Simon Lema, a 45-year-old farmer in the Damat Wodye district south of Wolayata Soddo, said his dream for his eight children is for all of them to get an education. “I am not thinking they will stay on small land,” he said. “I expect if I send them to school, I hope they will get a better job.”

Ethiopian farmer Simon Lema is working on a road maintenance project as part of a food-for-work project.

WHAT’S UP Send agriculture-related meeting and event announcements to: will. February 27: Horses 101, location TBA 6:00 pm, Cold Lake. Call: Shannon 780-8127979 February 28: Crop Production Workshop, Community Hall 9:00 am, Killam. Call: Alvin 866828-6774 February 28: What’s the Buzz, St. Lina Hall 9:00 am, St. Paul. Call: Sam 780-643-0702 March 1: What’s the Buzz, Westlock Inn 2:00 pm, Westlock. Call: Sam 780-6430702 March 1/2: Alberta Farm Fresh Local Food Course, Black Knight Inn, Red Deer. Call: Krista 800-661-2642 March 2: On Farm Finishing & Lessons from Abbattoir, 324 Magrath Drive, Lethbridge. Call: Becky 780-271-1116 March 2/3: Sheep Shearing Course, Turuk Farm, Leslieville. Call: Jacquie 403-729-3067 March 5: Who Gets the Farm, Norseman Inn, Camrose. Call: Alvin 866-828-7744 March 5: canoLAB 3D Diagnostic Training, Hole’s Greenhouse 8:30 am, St Albert. Call: ACPC 780-454-0844 March 5/8: Grain & Oilseed Marketing Course, location TBA, Leduc. Call: Rick 780-6786167 March 6/9: Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, Capri Hotel, Red Deer. Call: Joanne 780492-3236 March 8/10: 27th Peace Country Classic Agri-Show, Evergreen Park, Grande Prairie. Call: Denise 780-532-3279

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2180PPAC_AFE_FE.indd 1

1/19/12 10:36 AM

NEWS » Markets

} sharp dive



Paraguay soy crop down

No Pool B for 2011-12 feed barley

Paraguay’s soy output is expected to plunge 45 per cent from last year due to a drought that hit crops across the region, a bigger loss than previously forecast, a soy farmers’ group said Feb. 7. The estimate by the UGP association points to 2011-12 production of 4.6 million tonnes compared with a record 8.4 million tonnes last season in Paraguay, the world’s No. 4 soy exporter. “The harvested area is down maybe 35 per cent or 40 per cent,” said analyst Luis Cubilla. — Reuters

Usually due to open Feb. 1, the second of the Canadian Wheat Board’s two annual feed barley pools will not be offered for the 2011-12 crop year. The CWB said it will not offer a Pool B for 2011-12 feed barley, instead sourcing feed barley for export through its guaranteed price contracts (GPCs) for the remainder of the 2011-12 crop year. ”Domestic prices for feed barley are expected to remain higher than prices available offshore, reducing the value of an export feed barley pool for many farmers,” the board said.

Expect canola industry to seek even more acres Rapid pace } Canola exports are already more than a

million tonnes ahead of the same time last year By Phil Franz-Warkentin


CE Futures Canada canola contracts remained pointed decidedly higher during the week ended Feb. 17, showing no real signs of slowing down. Similar gains in the Chicago soy complex did provide some underlying support to the Canadian futures, but canola was also benefiting from its own bullish fundamental and technical factors. Depending on the chart analysis you want to focus on, canola is either entering overbought territory and is thus due for a correction, or it’s in the middle of a solid rally with no end in sight for the time being. How the charts play out remains to be seen, but the fundamentals for the time being definitely look constructive. Canada has exported 5.15 million tonnes of canola during the crop year to date, which compares with 3.95 million at the same point the previous year. That’s a record pace, and could very easily contribute to drawing stocks down below the magic one-million-tonne level by the time the 2012 production starts to become available. The domestic crush is also very active, with 3.6 million tonnes processed to date, or 600,000 more than at the same point in 2011.

Produced by: SeCan Product/Campaign Name: Chigwell Date Produced: February 2012

Ad Number: SEC_CHIG12_T Publication: Alberta Farmer / Express Ad Size: 5Col x 70 (10.25” x 5”)



11:52 AM

Concerns over European and Ukrainian rapeseed crops, due to adverse winter weather conditions, also look supportive for canola prices in Canada. The solid demand and resulting tight stocks situation mean the industry would like to see an increase in production in 2012 to keep the demand satisfied. After planting 18.9 million acres of canola in 2011, industry sentiment is leaning toward a 21-million-acre crop in 2012 in order to replenish stocks. If the dry weather conditions, and talk of possible drought, persist into the spring, there may be a need to secure even more canola acres in order to counter the possible decline in yields. In the current market environment, old-crop canola contracts are trading at a sizable premium over the new-crop futures. Spring really isn’t that far away, and under the current environment it looks like an increase in the deferred months is more likely than declines in the nearbys. Milling wheat, durum and barley futures saw some light activity during the week, but liquidity is still slow in building for the new contracts.

Soybean gains

In the U.S., wheat, corn, and soybeans all moved higher during the week, with the largest gains in soybeans.

The strength in soybeans, at least in theory, was partially tied to the fact that a Chinese government delegation was in the U.S. during the week signing off on some contracts. Those purchases would have happened regardless, but the headlines were enough to trigger some additional speculative buying in the futures. Renewed concerns over South American soybean production, as conditions turned hot and dry in Brazil, were also underpinning the U.S. soy market, given ideas that any problems in South America translate into increased demand for U.S. supplies. For wheat, persistent weather problems in Ukraine and Eastern Europe were getting talked up during the week. Just as with the soybean situation in South America, production concerns in one part of the world will open the door for the grain to flow from somewhere else. The demand for grain isn’t

really going anywhere, which means any lost exports from Ukraine will need to be filled from somewhere else — and the U.S. could easily fit the bill. Attention in the U.S. is also starting to turn to new-crop planting ideas, and to the fight for acres between soybeans and corn. We may still be in the middle of our lacklustre Canadian winter, but spring is just around the corner, if not already here in the southern U.S. It’s getting to be more than a little old, but economic news out of Greece continued to sway the financial markets — and, in turn, the commodity markets — during the week. Volatility can be expected to remain the order of the day in the global financial sector for the foreseeable future. Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting

For three-times-daily market reports from Resource News International, visit “ICE Futures Canada updates” at

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Scientists working to bring new modes of action to herbicide arsenal

making sure it’s closed

KOCHIA KILLER  } New Group 14 herbicide

“one of our greatest success stories” by alexis kienlen af staff | edmonton


Jasmin Tremblay closes a gate behind Tim Massey while feeding cattle and bedding pens on the Massey farm east of Namaka, Alberta.  photo: kevin link

Brief Alberta Canola Producers checkoff tax credit ACPC release

Canola growers in Alberta that do not request a refund of their checkoff from the Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC) qualify for a tax credit for the 2011 tax year.

Produced by: SeCan Product/Campaign Name: CDC Austenson Date Produced: October 2011

Ad Number: SEC-AUST11-T Publication: Alberta Farmer / Express Ad Size: 5Col x 70 (10.125” x 5”)


The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit allows canola growers to claim the tax credit for that portion of the checkoff paid that was used to fund qualifying research. The rate for Alberta canola producers in 2011 is 14.3 per cent. For example, for an individual grower who paid $100 in checkoff to the ACPC in 2011, $14.30


12:49 PM

is eligible to earn the tax credit. Individual growers have 17.5 months and Canadiancontrolled private corporations have 18 months after December 31, 2011 to file. Individual producers must file a T2038 (IND). Farm corporations must file form T2SCH31. For more information, contact the Canada Revenue Agency or your accountant.

ou wouldn’t know it given the proliferation of brands, but the golden years of herbicide development date back nearly half a century, with only one new mode of action introduced in the first decade of this century. But scientists such as Eric Johnson, a weed biologist with Agriculture Canada, are continuing the hunt for more. Johnson and his team are focusing on Group 14 herbicides, which are known as PPO inhibitors and work by disrupting cell membrane development. Heat and Authority are Group 14 herbicides. Johnson is also researching Group 15 herbicides, many of which are not commonly used in Western Canada. Frontier is an example of Group 15 that may be used on the Prairies. Researchers at the Scott research station in Saskatchewan have been working with Authority since 2000. “It took us about 10 years to get it registered, but I think this is one of our greatest success stories for the minor-use program

“It’s one of the best kochia killers that I’ve worked with.” Eric Johnson

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CDC Austenson

on the Prairies,” said Johnson, noting the product is now registered on chickpeas, flax, field peas and sunflowers. “It’s one of the best kochia killers that I’ve worked with.” Authority can also control lamb’s quarters and wild buckwheat, but is not very effective against wild mustard. ARES is a new herbicide that comes in a liquid formulation. “It’s similar to Odyssey because it has two herbicides in it, but the second one is not Pursuit. It’s called inazapyr,” said Johnson. The product is registered for Clearfield canola, Clearfield lentil and Clearfield mustard. ARES works on wild oats, wild buckwheat, cleavers, lamb’s quarters and Canada thistle. BASF will soon be releasing a chemfallow, post-harvest product called Distinct, which is a tank mix partnered with glyphosate. The product contains diflufenzopyr and dicamba. Diflufenzopyr doesn’t have a lot of herbicidal activity but blocks the movement of the dicamba herbicide in the plant, allowing it to become much more concentrated on the weed’s growing points, so it works faster and more effectively. Distinct works well on kochia. Aminocyclopyrachlor is a Group 4 Dupont product that works well on broadleaf weeds including leafy spurge, scentless chamomile, dandelions and common tansy in range and pasture lands. “It’s really quite effective and controls a number of invasive species,” said Johnson. “It’s a low-risk product and provides some pretty nice control.”

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China trip boosts food industry Next step } Trade mission to China produces a number of agreements,

but they still have to be translated into orders by alex binkley

AF contributor / ottawa


rime Minister Stephen Harper’s trade mission to China seems to have opened doors for major Canadian agri-food exporters. Now they’ll have to translate those agreements into orders. The beef, pork, pulse and canola sectors all received special attention during the visit and the Canadian Wheat Board got to remind everyone it isn’t going out of business. Among the positives were an agreement to work toward the approval of additional Canadian beef export facilities, the inclusion of beef and offal from cattle under 30 months of age along with beef tallow in future shipments, and increased opportunities for the export of live dairy cattle genetics.

President Travis Toews of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association called the mission very rewarding and said he’s confident beef products from animals over 30 months of age would be added to the export list in the near future. The president of the Canadian Meat Council was also happy. “Of particular interest to us is the initiative on agriculture that clears the way for immediate access to the lucrative Chinese beef tallow market,” said Scott Entz. In 2002, the year before the discovery of BSE in Canada, those exports topped $31 million, making China the biggest export market for Canadian tallow. In 2010, China imported more than $400 million in tallow from countries around the world. Once full market access is

achieved, it is expected Canadian beef and beef product exports to China could exceed $110 million per year. “China is an important market for Canadian farmers and by working together with Chinese producers and processors we can open new windows of opportunity in both countries,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. China agreed to certify additional Canadian plants to export beef; begin technical discussions on expanding beef access; create a joint technical working group to move forward a Canada-China Co-operation dairy farm pilot project; and discuss technical export conditions for Canadian dairy cattle. Tongwei Co. Ltd., a major Chinese feed company, will increase its purchase of Canadian canola meal by up to $240 million annually by 2015. The

company anticipates its imports of Canadian canola could rise to $900 million over the next decade. The Canola Council of Canada has been working with a number of Chinese dairy and aquaculture processing companies to demonstrate the superior quality and nutritional benefits of canola meal. As a result, Tongwei intends to increase its use of Canadian canola meal in its aquafeed and to include it in other animal feed rations. A new memorandum of understanding between Canada and China that will support research aimed at more effectively mitigating risks associated with blackleg was also signed. In 2010, $1.8 billion worth of canola was exported to China. As well, Gensus Inc., a major swine breeder, signed a $1.6-million contract with Best Genetics for 1,000 swine.

“Of particular interest to us is the initiative on agriculture that clears the way for immediate access to the lucrative Chinese beef tallow market.” scott entz canadian meat council president

EU approves Morocco agriculture trade deal By Charlie Dunmore brussels / reuters

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European Union lawmakers approved a new trade deal with Morocco Feb. 16 that will significantly extend duty-free sales of agricultural, food and fisheries products between the North African kingdom and the 27-nation bloc. The EU’s agriculture chief, Dacian Ciolos, described the deal as both economically and politically significant. “It is a balanced agreement, which opens new opportunities for our producers in Europe (and) paves the way for a real reinforcement in our relations with Morocco,” he said. But critics said the deal would threaten the livelihoods of small-scale agricultural producers in Morocco and Europe and prolong a decades-old dispute over control of the Western Sahara. “Those MEPs who endorsed this agreement today should be under no illusion; the agreement is not in the interest of the average Moroccan citizen and not in the interest of the people of Western Sahara,” French activist and Green EU lawmaker Jose Bove said in a statement. The agreement will allow 70 per cent of EU agricultural exports to enter Morocco duty free within the next decade. This includes oilseeds and cereals, with the exception of common wheat and durum wheat, for which Morocco would apply improved rates. In return, the EU will immediately lift all its current duties on 55 per cent of imports from Morocco.



Ingested wire can cause serious illness in cattle WIRE RISK  Tire

feeders pose a hidden hazard to your cattle herd NDSU RELEASE


UNCERTAIN  However a “wide range” of forecasts does not rule out redevelopment GENEVA/REUTERS / La Niña, a weather phenomenon usually linked to heavy rains and flooding in Asia-Pacific and South America and drought in Africa, seems to have reached its peak and is expected to fade between March and May, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Feb. 10. A weak to moderate La Niña pattern has cooled the tropical Pacific since around October, a considerably weaker event than in 2010-11, the United Nations agency said in a statement. “Model forecasts and expert interpretation suggest that the La Niña is near its maximum strength and hence is likely to slowly decline over the coming months,” the WMO said. “However, beyond May, there is some uncertainty over the expected state of the Pacific Ocean, with no particular preference for El Niño, La Niña or neutral conditions,” it said, referring to its opposite phenomenon which warms the Pacific.

Environment Canada’s latest graphic showing sea surface temperature differences attributed to La Niña. There was a “wide range” in the model forecasts for the period beyond May, and even the redevelopment of La Niña cannot be ruled out, it added. Conditions in the Pacific Ocean would be closely monitored throughout the rest of the year, it said.

Changes in sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are “strongly linked to major climate fluctuations around the globe,” which can last for a year or more, according to the WMO. La Niña periods are often associated with heavier rains across large parts of Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, it says. They are also generally linked to increased rainfall in southern African countries and parts of West Africa, but other factors influence climate patterns. The La Niña will likely dissipate this spring, but farmers in the southern United States and South America will have to contend with lingering dryness as they plant corn, soybeans, cotton and coffee. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in its monthly update on Thursday that computer models favor “a return to neutral conditions during the Northern Hemisphere spring, which are likely to continue into the summer.”

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nverted tires can make great containers to hold cattle feed and water, but tires also can pose health risks for the animals if the tires aren’t maintained regularly. “If the tires you are using on your operation have wire in the walls, this wire can break off and subsequently be consumed by cattle,” warns North Dakota State University Extension Service beef cattle specialist Carl Dahlen. “Cattle ingesting these pieces of wire can develop a condition known as hardware disease.” Once wire is swallowed, it goes into the digestive system and often gets trapped in the chamber of the stomach called the reticulum. The reticulum has honeycomb-shaped structures on the walls and is designed to trap foreign materials. If the wire punctures the reticulum wall, stomach contents can leak through the wall and cause a condition called peritonitis. Peritonitis can lead to poor health and also may cause systemic infections. Cattle that continually decline in health eventually may need to be culled. Metal, wire and other foreign materials in the reticulum also can lead to sudden death, Dahlen says. The diaphragm is the thin muscle that divides the abdominal cavity (which contains the stomach, intestine, liver, etc.) from the thoracic cavity (which contains the heart and lungs). The reticulum and heart are close to each other, separated only by the diaphragm. In instances when cattle experience severe abdominal contractions, such as while delivering a calf, foreign material in the reticulum can be forced through the reticulum wall and into the heart. “If this happens, the animal will die shortly thereafter,” Dahlen says. “Alternatively, the metal may pierce only the protective layers around the heart and cause inflammation and/or infection. Either way, it is not a good situation.” To avoid hardware disease, perform regular maintenance on your tire feeders. Maintenance should include: • Cutting or grinding off exposed wire, and picking up pieces and removing them from the cattle-feeding area; • Removing any wire, nails or other metal scraps from areas to which cattle have access; • Including powerful magnets in feed mixers.

WMO says La Niña seen fading between March and May



Trucking front and centre in talks on new code of practice CONFLICT  Consumer pressure to reduce length of time

cattle spend on trucks conflicts with practical realities and increased costs BY DANIEL WINTERS STAFF | PIPESTONE, MAN.

Revisions to the current livestock transportation regulations have been in the works for about a decade.

What’s the most commonly raised topic in the letters that land on federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s desk? If you guessed the Canadian Wheat Board, you’d be wrong. “Animal transport is the issue that he gets the most letters on from constituents,” said Canadian Cattlemen’s Association vice-president Martin Unrau at a recent town hall meeting here That’s because the only time the average urban consumer actually catches a glimpse of live farm animals is when they are on a truck. “It’s amazing the amount of letters that he gets from consumers

across Canada that talk about the transport of animals,” said Unrau, as part of a discussion on the CCA’s bid to renew and update the beef industry’s code of practice. The dairy industry finished its code about two years ago, but progress for the beef industry has been much slower, he said, mainly because stakeholders are demanding that the guidelines be realistically achievable by ranches and feedlots. Unrau, who once operated a trucking business and sits on the CCA committee working on the code, said revisions to the current transportation regulations have been in the works for about a decade. Discussions on the subject are generally based on the number of hours cattle spend on trucks and the number of animals per square foot.

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Restrictions on the length of time cattle can spend aboard trucks will inevitably increase cost. For example, unloading cattle once per trip adds one cent per pound to the load. Twice, and it adds two cents per pound. When Unrau hauled cattle, rest stops were based on weather. If it was hot, they’d unload twice. If it was -10, they wouldn’t unload at all. In his opinion, restrictions on trucking cattle should be based on type. Wet-nosed calves should have more frequent rest stops than feeder cattle, for example. Slapping a strict limit on loads might backfire, too, if it gives truckers an incentive to try to beat the clock by “hammering through.” “In Europe, they are talking about an eight-hour limit, which would mean unloading the animals every eight hours,” he added. To Unrau, that doesn’t make any sense, because in his experience, it takes at least four hours again for the animal “to get his legs.” On a 40-hour run, if the driver stops for a rest after 14 hours, he’ll often find the cattle are laying down to rest. But if they are run off the truck for feed and water, they fill up their bellies, which adds to their discomfort for the next two to three hours. “It doesn’t hurt them to stay on the truck,” said Unrau. “Bureaucrats don’t always understand that, but we have to make sure that the message gets through.” A CCA study of 10,000 loads between Ontario and Alberta found that 99.9 per cent of the cattle arrived with no problems such as deads, downers or sweaters, but weaned calves and old cull cows were at the highest risk. “The greatest risk, even more than weaned calves, was skinny dairy cows,” he said, adding that in his opinion, future regulations should reflect this reality.

“The greatest risk, even more than weaned calves, was skinny dairy cows.”




ADM to close North Dakota ethanol plant DISTANT  Plant near Canadian border away from the main corn-growing areas in the U.S. Midwest BY MICHAEL HIRTZER REUTERS

Archer Daniels Midland said Feb. 6 it will close its ethanol plant in Walhalla, North Dakota, marking the first such closure for the agribusiness giant that last month announced the elimination of 1,000 jobs. The plant will permanently close in April, resulting in the loss of 61 jobs. ADM will supply its customers with ethanol and animal feed products from its six other ethanol plants in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, company spokeswoman Jessie McKinney said. The North Dakota biofuel refinery is located about eight km from the Canadian border and far away from the main corn-growing areas in the U.S.

Midwest. It was the northernmost U.S. ethanol plant, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. “ADM determined that the Walhalla facility was not delivering sufficient returns because its geographic location and scale made it difficult to compete in the marketplace,” McKinney said. The plant has a 30-milliongallons-per-year capacity while ADM’s six other plants have a combined capacity of about 1.72 billion gallons, McKinney said. “This closure is to optimize our U.S. corn-processing operations. It is not related to the expiration of VEETC,” she added. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, or VEETC, was a tax incentive providing 45 cents per gallon to blenders who mixed ethanol with gasoline. The credit expired at the end of 2011.

Ethanol futures slumped to the lowest levels in a year at the Chicago Board of Trade in the wake of the credit expiration, while ethanol inventories last week increased to 20.95 million barrels, a record high, the Energy Information Administration said. About 40 per cent of the U.S. corn crop is expected to be used this year in ethanol production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ADM last week reported sharply lower earnings, with the company earning less money in almost all of its major units as it struggles with high commodity costs. Earlier in January, ADM said it was reducing its workforce by 1,000 jobs worldwide in the first broad reduction in company history.

Developing countries take the lead in biotech acreage U.S. LEADS  But trend

defies predictions biotech crops would only find a home in industrial countries


Farmers in developing nations will sow more biotech crops than those in the industrialized world for the first time this year. Globally, the area planted with biotech crops rose eight per cent last year to a record 160 million hectares, or 395 million acres, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. The U.S., by a wide margin, has the largest GMO area with 43 per cent of acreage, but the gap is closing. “Developing countries grew close to 50 per cent of global biotech crops in 2011 and for the first time are expected to exceed industrial countries’ hectarage in 2012,” ISAAA said in a report. “This is contrary to the prediction of critics who, prior to the commercialization of the technology in 1996, prematurely declared that biotech crops were only for industrial countries and would never be accepted and adopted by developing countries.” Biotech crops were planted by 16.7 million farmers in 29 countries. Brazil and Argentina are the second-biggest adopters, but in Latin America biotech crops are so far limited to soybeans, corn and cotton. Canada is fifth with 25.7 million acres of GMO canola, corn, soybeans and sugar beets.

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Three machines up to the task

HEAVY DUTY  These machines showed no difficulty harvesting four- to

six-centimetre-thick willow and hybrid poplar stems BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI



armers and foresters don’t often cross paths but over 40 witnessed a woody biomass harvesting demonstration hosted recently by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) and its local partners in Whitecourt. The participants observed and evaluated three different harvesting technologies at a short-rotation woody fibre bioremediation plantation next to the Whitecourt waste treatment plant. The event was organized by Martin Blank, CWFC wood fibre and bioremediation technician. The harvesting demonstration featured a Claas self-propelled, Jaguar 870 harvester equipped with the two-row, HS-2 willow-harvesting head; a pull-type WB-55 BioBaler manufactured by Quebec’s Anderson Group Co. and the three-point-hitch-mounted JF 192 singlerow willow harvester. “When looking at the whole supply chain for short rotation, woody biomass, this demonstration showed that we can not only grow short-rotation woody crops, but we also have the technology to recover it,” says Derek Sidders, CWFC regional coordinator for the Prairies. There were several differences among the three technologies demonstrated. The Claas harvester and JF 192 harvester both produce wood chips, while the BioBaler produces round, woody stem bales. All, however, showed no difficulty harvesting the four- to six-centimetre-thick willow and hybrid poplar stems. When it comes to selecting the most appropriate harvesting option, Sidders

Beware the pirate of the prairies


says that individuals need to consider what is the most operationally appropriate and cost-effective technology to provide the raw material for their desired end product, and consider which technology best matches the scale of the area slated for harvesting. For example, the Claas harvester is designed to work on commercial plantations only. It both cuts and chips the wood fibre, and can harvest as much as one hectare per hour. It was also the most expensive technology demonstrated, so a fairly large-scale operation would be most appropriate for this equipment. It harvests two rows at a time, and requires an accompanying wagon to travel with the harvester to receive and transport the chips. The BioBaler mulches the stems and produces a round bale similar in appearance This self-propelled Claas harvester with biomass harvesting attachment is designed for use to a hay bale, and which weighs between on plantations and produces wood chips. PHOTOS: TONY KRYZANOWSKI 300 and 400 kgs wet. It requires a 180- to 220-horsepower tractor to power and pull the implement. It can be used on commercial plantations or to harvest understory or juvenile stems in natural forests. The bales can be stored on site and will naturally dry. The bales may require further preprocessing before the raw material can be used as feedstock. The BioBaler can harvest any plantation design. The JF 192 single-row harvester on its own is the less expensive option, but it also works at a slower pace. Manufactured in Brazil for harvesting sugar cane Above: BioBaler bales resemble straw and corn, it has been adapted for harvestbales. The advantage of the BioBaler is ing and chipping willow and is currently that it will work on either plantations or in being used successfully to harvest woody natural forests. Right: This single-row JF fibre. It also requires a tractor for power 192 biomass harvester works off a tractor and transportation and must be accomPTO and was the least expensive harvesting panied by a chip wagon to receive and option presented at the demonstration. transport chips. T:10.25”

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Record world wheat stocks to offset South American drought BIG CROPS  USDA sees stocks the highest in 12 years due to larger crops in India, Kazakhstan and Morocco BY CHARLES ABBOTT WASHINGTON/REUTERS


orld wheat stocks will swell to a record this year and corn supplies will be larger than expected despite a crop-withering drought in South America, the U.S. government forecast Feb. 9. India will post a record rice crop of 102 million tonnes, up two million tonnes from a January estimate, due to beneficial monsoons and growing weather, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast, as the global grain outlook improves slightly after years of tight stocks and rising prices. Further signs of replenished global grain bins may help keep a lid on grain prices globally. Corn, for instance, has slid by more than $1 a bushel from late last year to about $6.40 a bushel. Wheat stocks will rise to 213.1 million tonnes at the end of the marketing year, up six per cent from the record set last year of 200.7 million tonnes, the largest stocks in

12 years. USDA cited larger crops in India, Kazakhstan and Morocco. Russia and its neighbours harvested bountiful crops last summer, bouncing back from drought. Corn stocks were forecast at 125.35 million tonnes, over average trade estimates of 124.9 million tonnes, and soybeans at 60.28 million tonnes, below estimates of 61.4 million tonnes. U.S. traders said this report was largely neutral for corn and soybeans, because the drought in Brazil and Argentina was not as bad as feared by the market leading up to the release of the report. “The focus is on production in South America,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. “The big, feared shocker is not there ... The drought is basically over. The bean numbers could grow.” For the second month in a row, USDA lowered its forecast of the soybean harvest in Brazil and Argentina, and cut Argentine corn for the second time since January. But the cuts were largely in line with what traders had expected as

Big exports but cattle herd expansion unclear — USDA



drought continues to ravage agriculture output. Argentina’s corn crop was forecast at 22 million tonnes, down four million tonnes from the January estimate. Soybeans were forecast at 48 million tonnes,

down 2.5 million tonnes in a month. “High temperatures and extensive dryness... resulted in irreversible damage to early corn,” said USDA. Traders had expected a lower corn figure

and a slightly higher soybean estimate for Argentina. In Brazil, the world’s largest soybean exporter, the crop will total 72 million tonnes, down two million tonnes from January’s estimate, said USDA.

Part of your well-balanced farm business.

EXCEPTION  Market share for natural or organic beef has climbed to 4.2 per cent WASHINGTON / REUTERS

Recent drought and forecasts for limited rainfall could constrain the size of the U.S. cattle herd despite high retail beef prices and forecasts for nearrecord exports, the Agriculture Department said Feb. 15. Record-high retail beef prices “are not sufficient to provide the long-term margins and profits the wholesale and cattle-feeding sectors must have in order to sustain an expansion,” USDA economists said in a monthly outlook report. Beef exports are forecast to fall slightly to 2.76 billion lbs. this year from 2.79 billion lbs. Favourable exchange rates and economic growth in Asia are expected to sustain exports. USDA’s Economic Research Service said heifer calves were expected to fall by 200,000 head

“There are signs that consumers are beginning to resist the escalating retail prices.” USDA

in 2011 and 2012, an insufficient number to offset an overall decline in beef cows. A continuation of the La Niña weather phenomenon could limit rainfall and limit the amount of forage on rangelands, said USDA in listing factors at play. “Continued negative profit margins for cattle feeders and meat packers, along with consumer resistance to higher prices, would also put an upper boundary on expansionary enthusiasm,” said the report. On the other hand, demand for feeder cattle has driven feeder prices to record highs. And the number of cattle on feed on Jan. 1 was among the highest in a decade. “There are signs that consumers are beginning to resist the escalating retail prices,” said USDA. “It is not clear how much higher beef retail prices can go with pork and poultry so much less expensive.” Retail prices for “fresh” beef rose by 31 per cent, to $4.35 a lb. in the first quarter of 2011 from 2003. O r ga n i c a n d n a t u r a l b e e f appear to be taking a larger share of fresh beef sales, said USDA. Natural and organic beef made up 4.2 per cent of sales in 2011, from 1.1 per cent in 2003, according to scanner data collected by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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McDonald’s suppliers to phase out sow stalls GROWING LIST  Smithfield Foods, Hormel, Cargill, Burger King and Wolfgang Puck have made similar moves BY JAMES B. KELLEHER REUTERS


McDonald’s to work out timeline with suppliers to discontinue stalls.

cDonald’s Corp. said Feb. 13 it will work with its U.S. pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation crates, the cramped stalls that millions of mother sows are confined to while they raise piglets. The fast-food chain said the metal crates were “not a sustainable production system for the future.” It said it would work with suppliers to hammer out a timeline for the phase-out and would talk about the planned next steps in May. “There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,” Dan Gorsky, senior vicepresident for supply chain management for McDonald’s North America, said in a statement. McDonald’s joins a growing list of food producers and retailers, including Smithfield Foods,


Hormel, Cargill, Burger King and Wolfgang Puck, that have promised to move away from pork bred from sows confined to the crates, which are typically too narrow to allow the sows to turn around. Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, predicted the announcement would have a “catalytic” impact on holdouts. “They’re clearly the biggest pork buyer in the fast-food sector and the largest restaurant chain in the world,” Pacelle said. “So this will certainly have seismic effect within the pork industry.” McDonald’s uses ham, sausage and bacon in its breakfast menu. The National Pork Board, a trade group representing the pork industry, released a statement defending the stalls as a “conventional” practice. It said that alternatives, including open pens, free-access stalls and pastures, have “welfare advantages and disadvantages that must be considered by an individual farmer.” Sows are often confined in

“There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows.” DAN GORSKY MCDONALD’S VICE-PRESIDENT

the crates from just before the birth of the piglets until they are weaned months later. Defenders of the practice said that it minimizes the number of tiny piglets crushed by the huge sows in the first days of life. Opponents said it is cruel to keep the mothers so confined for weeks at a time. The Humane Society said 70 per cent of the pork industry confines its pregnant pigs to gestation crates, which are banned in the European Union and eight U.S. states, including California, Ohio and Michigan.

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New opportunities seen for low-grade malt barley

Cuba reports food output up 8.7 per cent in 2011 CUTTING IMPORTS President Raul Castro has made increasing food production a priority since taking over for his ailing brother in 2006

MID RANGE  Malt barley that may not meet the

top-end specs, but can still be used to make beer BY PHIL FRANZ-WARKENTIN COMMODITY NEWS SERVICE CANADA


he sharp distinction between malt and feed barley is starting to get a little muddy on the Prairies, with a third class of barley expected to create more opportunities for farmers under the new open market. Traditionally, about 20 per cent of the barley grown in Western Canada in any given year would hit the malt specifications, and everything else would be relegated to the feed market. However, increasing demand for lower-quality malt barley from China and other countries, along with the looming end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk, should open the door for a new class of barley. Often referred to as “fair average quality,” this is malt barley that may not meet the topend specs, but can still be used to make beer. “It’s always been a black-andwhite scenario, where you either have malt or you have feed,” said barley broker Rod Green of Central Ag Marketing at Airdrie, Alta., noting that the concern over not meeting malt specifications has hurt barley acres. While malt barley is a profitable cropping option in Western Canada, he noted, feed barley does not pencil out as well. As a result, the possibility of premiums for lower-quality malt barley, that would have gone to feed channels in the past, will allow farmers to have more confidence when seeding. In order to be sold as “fair average quality” malt barley, the germination still needs to be 95 per cent, but other factors, such as protein levels, are not as important, said Green. He could not speculate on the potential price opportunities, but said the market for “fair average quality” barley will likely fall somewhere between feed and malt values. Different companies will have different specs, he said. “If you fall within those specs you’ll get a certain price, and if you fall into the next area you’ll get a certain price, and eventually you’ll get feed.”

Not as discriminating

Grain companies and maltsters in Western Canada are already

working toward having a “fair average quality” class of barley, as the Chinese market has been buying lower-quality malt barley from Australia for several years, said Green. The looming end of the CWB single desk at the start of the 201213 crop year on Aug. 1 is helping speed up the move toward more “fair average quality” barley, said Green. Additional players in the export market, he noted, will mean those demand niches that may have been overlooked by the CWB in the past will now be filled by the commercial trade. “Australia recognized there was a market for ‘fair average quality’ medium-range malt-quality barley five years ago,” said Warner, Alta. farmer Brian Otto, president of the Western Barley Growers Association. Malt companies in China and other areas, he said, were “not as discriminating for quality as malt plants in North America or Europe.” Canadian barley is recognized for its quality in the world market, said Otto, but the additional market for lower-quality malt barley will help create additional revenue for producers. While it may not happen overnight, he estimated that the “fair average quality” malt barley would allow the amount of the Canadian crop accepted for malting to increase by at least a million tonnes, from the current average of 2.1 million tonnes. Annual Canadian barley production (both malt and feed) has declined in recent years, with only about 7.7 million tonnes grown in 2011-12. Otto predicted that number could increase back to the 12 million-tonne level under an open market, as the lack of the CWB single desk and increased competition will allow international market signals to find their way back to the farm in a more transparent manner. Demand for special varieties from craft brewers and the declining U.S. barley area will also create need for more barley acres, he added. “More eyes are better for specialty markets,” added Errol Anderson of ProMarket Communications in Calgary, noting that the increased competition in the malt market will be beneficial for barley growers.

Some brewers may be prepared to accept lower-than-traditional barley quality. ©ISTOCK

A farmer sells bananas at a market in Sagua La Grande, around 240 km (149 miles) east of Havana. Cuban farmers can now bypass the state and start selling products directly to businesses catering to tourists. REUTERS/DESMOND BOYLAN HAVANA / REUTERS

Cuba’s non-sugar agricultural production increased 8.7 per cent in 2011, the government said this week, an indication reforms aimed at reversing a farm crisis and cutting food imports may be kicking in. Produce output was up 11.5 per cent and livestock and related products six per cent, according to the report issued by the National Statistics Office on its web page ( The upturn followed a 2.5 per cent decline in 2010. The cash-strapped country is still producing less food than in 2005 and importing 60 per cent to 70 per cent of what it consumes at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to $2 billion annually. Food prices increased 20 per cent in 2011 as limited market reforms, higher prices paid by the state for agricultural products and a slight reduction in imports countered the increase in domestic output. President Raul Castro, looking to cut imports

and supply a growing food-service sector, has made increasing food production a priority since he took over for his ailing brother in 2006. Castro has decentralized decision-making, opened more space for farmers to sell directly to consumers, leased small plots of fallow state lands to 150,000 would-be tillers and raised prices the state pays for produce, but to date has stopped short of allowing market forces to take hold. While the government still assigns farmers crops, monopolizes food distribution and the supply of critical farm inputs, the report indicated a higher percentage of produce was being sold by farmers directly to consumers. Huge state farms and co-operatives continue to sit on fallow land and despite controlling some 60 per cent of the arable land produce just 30 per cent of the food. Most Cuban farmers praise Castro’s measures and promises to allow market forces to play a bigger role in the future, but complain bureaucracy and vested interests are holding back progress.

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Five-year decline in U.S. cattle herd may be ending TIGHT SUPPLIES  Higher cattle prices fuel optimism at cattlemen’s annual meeting BY THEOPOLIS WATERS NASHVILLE/REUTERS


arrett Dwyer, a former U.S. marine and veteran of tours of duty in Iraq and Japan, is on a mission that could test his mettle as much as the warfare he has seen — to rebuild his family’s ranch in Nebraska. The 25-year-old has found it a “culture shock” to be back in the ranks of civilian life but enjoys being his own boss at the 5,200acre spread near Valentine. “I really want to return our ranch to the way it used to be and see my cows on my land,” said Dwyer. “I’d like to be the fifth generation to take over the family ranch, which means a lot for me,” he said, adding that he bought 10 heifers this year to add to the 15 he has retained. Eight years ago, when he enlisted with the military, his ranch had 350 head of cattle.

Dwyer’s purchase of the heifers this year might seem insignificant at first glance, but it and similar efforts by other ranchers are laying the foundation to reverse five straight years of a shrinking U.S. cattle herd — which is now the smallest in 60 years. One of the worst droughts in top cattle state Texas since the dust bowl in the 1930s has forced ranchers to either cull their cattle due to a lack of pasture or send them to feedyards to be fattened on corn months before they are usually ready. The decline has also been accelerated by feed cost rising to a record high last year and the scramble for farmland to capitalize on surging prices for grains like corn.

Retained heifers

The “green shoots” of a possible rebuilding of the U.S. cattle herd were reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s biannual

inventory report that showed a surprise 1.4 per cent increase in the number of heifers being retained to replace beef cows. Jeff Stolle with Nebraska Cattlemen, a state beef promotion group based in Lincoln, Nebraska, said the current economic environment is influencing ranchers’ decision to retain heifers. “The thought is, which has to be proven over time, that at some point the drought in Texas and Oklahoma will likely mitigate and there will likely be a demand for cattle to restock the grazing lands in that part of the world that were driven north,” said Stolle. For 59-year-old Bill Donald times are good and the future optimistic at the Cayuse Livestock Company ranch in southcentral Montana. Donald and his family run the 25,000-acre 5,000-head cow-calf operation that celebrated its bicentennial a couple of years ago.

“We’ve (Cayuse) been retaining heifers for the last couple of years, sold a lot of bred heifers last year for a nice profit and hopefully it will pay back by putting more cows in the system,” he said here at the gathering of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association — of which he is president. “Taking advantage of an opportunity, we could see that the cow herd was going to be rebuilt in our area. If they had not have had a drought in south-central Texas, we certainly would have seen even higher prices for those bred stock,” said Donald. In the short term keeping more heifers for breeding could hurt consumers, who are already paying record-high prices for beef, as it will reduce beef production. Analysts said any herd expansion would tighten supplies even further, but there will be more beef cattle available just over two years down the road.

“I really want to return our ranch to the way it used to be and see my cows on my land.” GARRETT DWYER

“As we jump down, we’re taking heifers and not putting them in into the feedlots or beef supply chain, we’re putting them in the cow herd supply chain which constricts the supply of feeder cattle in the feedlots even more,” said Donald. “The hope is that in the next few years we’ll have enough to fill those feedlots again,” he said.


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MOSCOW / REUTERS Russia’s government sees no need for grain export restrictions in April and has its raised grain export forecast for 2011-12 by 12.5 per cent. “Given a revised harvest figure of 93.9 million tonnes... the forecast for grain exports in the 2011-12 crop year has been raised to 27 million tonnes,” said Viktor Zubkov, the deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture. Russia has exported 19.6 million tonnes of grain since the start of this year, but the government says the country can fully meet domestic grain demand. World wheat prices have risen in the past week on speculation a duty would soon be imposed and on concerns hard frosts would damage Black Sea crops. The government promised to regulate exports via duties after lifting a ban on grain exports imposed in the wake of 2010’s catastrophic drought. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in October that exports would be no more than 25 million tonnes.

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Speakers at the Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) annual conference Mar. 21-22 in Red Deer include Charlie Arnot of the U.S.based Centre for Food Integrity, Kansas State University’s Glynn Tonsor on consumer expectations and their economic impact and Gene Gregory of United Egg Producers on opportunities through its recent partnership with the Humane Society of the United States. The conference will also highlight the EU phase-out of sow stalls and the implications for producers.

Russia raises grain export forecast

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

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous


Spraying EquipmEnt



Building Land Rollers since 1983

2002 FLEXICOIL 67, SUSPENDED boom, 90ft. air curtain, 1000/gal tank, 100/gal rinse tank, $22,000 OBO (306)921-8217, Melfort, Sk.


Tillage & Seeding


FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Tillage

Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, etc. Green or Heated Canola/Flax




Custom Fabrication 10’ - 30’ Land Rollers • 3pth Units Available

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Gauge Wheel Solutions Phone: 1-204-866-3558

• Competitive Prices • Prompt Movement • Spring Thrashed 1-877-250-5252


Heated, Green, Damaged Buying all levels of damaged canola. Best Prices. Bonded, Insured.

CALL US 1-866-388-6284

1998 CAT 426C Backhoe, 4WD, cab, extenda-hoe, auxiliary hydraulics, quick-connect for rear bucket, 1250lb counterweight, ac/ heater, 5533 hrs. $38,800. Trades welcome. Financing available. 1-800-667-4515. www.

ENGINES ASSORTED DEUTZ AND OTHER diesel engines. KMK Sales, (800)565-0500, Humboldt, SK.

FARM MACHINERY FARM MACHINERY Haying & Harvesting – Baling

ANTIQUES ANTIQUES Antiques Wanted WANTED: USED OR OLD guns, antique handguns, working or not, ammunition and related items. will pay cash. (403)816-1190


2009 2150 HESSTON SERIES, 3x3 large square baler. Always shedded, total bales, 2500, used two seasons, asking $65,000 cdn OBO; 1982 1069 NH diesel bale wagon, c/w 1028S mil-STAK 3x3 loader arm, 354 Perkins engine w/redone fuel system last season. Always shedded. paint & rubber in good condition, AC/CD stereo, very nice wagon, well maintained ready to go to work, asking $45,000 cdn obo. email or contact Steve Dryden (204)838-2352, Virden, MB. RETIRING: CASE 8480 RD baler <1,200 bales, $16,900; Case 8330 9-ft. haybine, $6,900; Tram 10 Ton farm wagon, $3,900; All low hours, shedded, field ready. Older reel rake, $500; JD AW 14-ft. Disc, $2,100; 92 GMC 2500 150,000-km 2WD Rcab safety inspection, $3,000; 09 Silverado 2500 Gas LTZ 30,000-km, 4WD Ccab Full Warranty til 2016 07, $35,900. (780)9631155, Spruce Grove AB. WANTED: Jd 7810 c/w fel & 3pth; sp or pto bale wagon; JD or IHC end wheel drills. Small square baler. (877)330-4477

Combines FARM MACHINERY Combine – Case/IH

1981 Ford Cement truck. Detroit 239, HD diesel Engine, 13spd, HD F/R, ex running condition. $25,000 OBO. 306-741-2204

BUILDING & RENOVATIONS BUILDING & RENOVATIONS Building Supplies STEEL 30x36 $21,900 $41,900

BUILDINGS: Reduced Factory Inventory Reg $15,850 Now $12,600; 36x58 - Reg Now $18,800. 48x96 reg. $48,700, now 1-800-964-8335 Source: 1MW


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2004 2388 Case IH, 2138 eng., 1683 AFX rotor, Hyd. rev, hopper topper, AFS y/m, RTC, HF, AHC, 1015 header w/RU PU, $125,000 OBO. Andy 403-485-8194 or 403-599-2232


FARM MACHINERY Combine – Accessories

JD 6420 2005, 5000/HRS, 640 loader, 24spd trans. Good Condition, Always shedded, (403)729-2913, Rocky Mountain House area.

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Kubota USED KUBOTA Utility Tractors (780)967-3800, (780)289-1075

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Wanted

DIESEL GENERATOR SET. BF8M1015C, rebuilt Deutz Diesel, 400 KW, 60 cycle, 600 Vac. New generator, automatic shut down, $29,000. Blue Ball, PA (717)351-5081


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.


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LIVESTOCK Cattle – Angus PB RED & BLACK Angus yearling bulls for sale. Canadian pedigrees, semen tested. Phone (780)336-4009, Kinsella, AB.

LIVESTOCK Cattle – Red Angus

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(403) 540-7691 **Flexi-Coil, Westward MacDon Swathers, NuVision augers, Sakundiak, Farm King, Outback GPS Systems, EK Auger Movers, Sweeps, & Crop Dividers, Degelman, Headsight Harvesting Solutions** Sales Rep for George’s Farm Centre

YAMAHA 4X4 QUAD, COMPLETE w/48-in cycle country blade, hi-low range, excellent condition, stored indoors, $3250. Phone:(403)886-4285, Innisfail, AB.

WANTED: Small square balers and end Wheel Seed Drills, Rock Pickers, Rock Rakes, Tub grinders, also JD 1610 cultivators (403)308-1238

Big Tractor Parts, Inc.

Ron Sauer Machinery Ltd.

38 REGISTERED RED ANGUS bulls, (from 6 sires) quiet, easy calving, low to moderate birth weight, good growth, EPD’s, guaranteed breeders, exc. for heifers or cows. Cleveley Cattle Company (780)689-2754, Ellscott, AB.

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

JD 2210, LDR, 3PTH, MFD JD 4430 c/w loader JD 7200, ldr, 3pth FWA, Steiger ST 270, 4WD Mustang 2044 Skidsteer, 1300hrs. 14’ Schulte rock rake Clamp on duals, 20.8x38-18.4x38 IHC 5600 DT 33’ 158 & 148 JD loaders Willmar 500 Fertilizer spreader FINANCE, TRADES WELCOME 780-696-3527, BRETON, AB

New Sakundiak 8x1400 (45.93) auger, 27HP Kohler, E-Kay mover, P/S, electric belt tightener, work lightsCNT$16,600 New E-Kay 7”,8”,9” Bin Sweeps ............................Call 2002 7000HD Highline bale Processor, c/w twine cutter, always shedded .........................................$8,500 Cattalac #360 Mixer/feed wagon, scales, always shedded, like new ..................$14,000 New demo Outback baseline X ...................$6,500 New Outback S lite guidance ..............................$900 New Outback E drive X c/w free E turns ........CALL Used Outback 360 mapping................................$750 Used Outback S2 guidance ..............................$1,000 Used Outback E drive c/w valve & hoses...$2,000

ACREAGE EQUIPMENT: CULTIVATORS, DISCS, Plows, Blades, Post pounders, Haying Equipment, Etc. (780)892-3092, Wabamun, Ab.


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

HEREFORD BULLS, YEARLINGS AND two year olds, dehorned, excellent quality, check out our catalogue of bulls for sale by private treaty at Coulee Crest Herefords, (403)227-2259 or (403)588-6160, Bowden, Ab.

Specialty LIVESTOCK Livestock Equipment 5’X10’ PORTABLE CORRAL PANELS, 6 bar. Starting at $55. Storage Containers, 20’ & 40’ 1-866-517-8335, (403)540-4164, (403)226-1722 JIFFY 220 SILAGE FEED Wagon, always shedded, excellent condition, $5,000; (403)227-4403, Innisfail SHAVINGS FOR BEDDING BRITEWOOD Industries manufactures high quality pine shavings & super-compresses them into 4X4 bales. Call for truckload quotes or for a dealer in your area. Tony (250)372-1494, Ron (250)804-3305 STEWART HAIR CLIPPER; CIRCUITEER hog blower/ dryer; Calf puller; Burdizo, tatoo set, ear labeling tools; Scrotum tape; (403)227-4403, Innisfail, Ab.

LIVESTOCK Livestock Services & Vet Supplies HERD BOOKS COW/CALF SOFTWARE for Canadian producers handles all CCIA forms 90 day trial. For details see





PIPE FOR SALE 3-1/2IN., 2-7/8in., 2-3/8in., 1in. Sucker Rods. Henderson Manufacturing Sales. (780)672-8585


1984 International 274 Offset, Diesel Tractor, 3PTH, 540 PTO, $5500

1984 International 784, 67 HP Diesel, New Clutch, 3PTH, 540 + 1000 PTOs, IHC 2250 Loader, $11,500

1997 John Deere 6300, MFD, 80 HP, Turbo Diesel, LHR, 3PTH, $19,500

2005 Massey Ferguson 5460, 1495 Hours, 95 PTO HP, 115 Eng HP, 3PTH, $23,500

RECONDITIONED COMBINE HEADERS. RIGID and flex, most makes and sizes; also header transports. Ed Lorenz, (306)344-4811 or Website: Paradise Hill, SK. 780-905-8565 NISKU, ALBERTA

Pretty, sweet, hard worker, self employed. A go getter that is tried of being alone. With Valentine’s Day coming up I would really love to get flowers and be taken out to dinner. What girl wouldn’t right? I love to hike, ski, travel and shop. I really enjoy the outdoors. I love horses & I love animals. I am a big softy when it comes to love. Seeking a kind, considerate, romantic man who maybe loves to dance is financially secure and still believes in love Matchmakers Select 1-888-916-2824 Real relationships for real people. Customized memberships, thorough screening process, guaranteed service


NEW WOBBLE BOXES for JD, NH, IH, MacDon headers. Made in Europe, factory quality. Get it direct from Western Canada’s sole distributor starting at $995. 1-800-6674515.


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

2003 MORRIS AIRDRILL, 50FT. 10in. spacing, 300/bu cart, $50,000 US. 2009 MacDon M1000 swather, 35ft triple delivery head, 150 header hours, $110,000 US; (406)217-3488

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – John Deere

Combine ACCessories

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2002 JD 1820, 45-FT., 10-in. spacing, double shoot, dutch paired row, 3-1/2in steel, $30,000; 1998 Agco Star, 8425, 425-hp, 3,400-hrs, duals, auto steer, $51,000; 2004 Hesston 1365 discbine, 15ft 3in. steel rollers, swivel hitch, 2pth or draw-bar adaptor $12,000; 2004 McHale 991B bale wrapper, $9,000; (403)665-2341, Craigmyle, AB.



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news » livestock


Feb. 29 deadline for sheep RFID tags Feb. 29 is the final date for RFID tag purchases eligible for funding under the Alberta Lamb Traceability Pilot Project, and the deadline to apply for funding is March 1. Last fall the Alberta government, through Growing Forward funding, made a $300,000 grant available to help producers offset the costs of adopting RFID technology to improve traceability and record-keeping. For details of eligible equipment and application forms, please go to

new ABVMA president The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) has announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Willans as president. Dr. Willans started volunteering with the ABVMA on the companion animal committee from 2001-04, and on the inspection practice standards committee in 2004. She was appointed as a member of the ABVMA Council representing the Calgary region in 2008. Willans is a business partner in the Landing Animal Clinic in Calgary.

“We’re essentially taking the hard copy livestock manifest and digitalizing it…”

When cattle are delivered, confirmation will be sent immediately to the shipper and the trucker.   file photo

Big technology leap will be first in North America CUTTING EDGE } Alberta’s eManifest system will be the first online,

commerce-based livestock manifest system of its type by madeleine baerg af contributor | calgary


ivestock movement tracking is taking a common sense approach by better utilizing Alberta’s livestock manifest. Livestock Identification Services (LIS), the non-profit, industry-owned company that carries out livestock identification and inspection services in Alberta, is in the final stages of developing and testing an electronic livestock manifest. If all goes as planned, livestock producers will be able to engage in commerce electronically, and track their livestock movement online as early as this summer. “We’re essentially taking the hard copy livestock manifest and digitalizing it,” said David Moss, LIS’s chief operating officer. “The paper version of the livestock manifest will always be available, but with the eManifest, producers will have options.” A livestock manifest is a required document to transport livestock within Alberta, and is commonly used in livestock sales. “In our view, movement tracking, which is a critical component of livestock traceability, should

be an outcome of a producer’s daily business of transporting and selling their livestock, not an additional requirement,” said Moss. “Better utilizing the livestock manifest is one example in how this can be accomplished.” The new system was developed in response to requests from industry, which wants to improve efficiency and maintain data integrity. “People receiving cattle will have a higher degree of confidence in the correctness and completeness of the livestock information and, specifically, who is to be paid for the livestock,” said Moss. While the preprinted Alberta Livestock Manifest Books will still be available to those who prefer them, the new system is likely to win many early converts. Users will only have to enter their basic information a single time, and the system’s address book function allows producers, truckers and receivers to easily update each other about a particular shipment’s movement. “When a producer selects them from an address book, they will automatically be sent the information about the livestock being delivered,” said Moss. “Then when the trucker picks up the animals, he can log on to the

site and that information will be sent to both the sender and the receiver. Finally, when the cattle are delivered, confirmation will be forwarded to the sender and the trucker. “So, everyone gets accurate and up-to-date information as it happens.”

Instant data update

The eManifest system could prove hugely beneficial in a disease outbreak scenario as data is updated instantly. Hard copy manifests take 24 to 48 hours to be inputted into the system and downloaded to the LIS central database. The system is set up to easily accommodate individual animal tracking, which may prove useful in the future once tag reading becomes a viable option. “If and when the industry wants to go down that path, this system is an enabler for tag tracking,” said Moss. “The eManifest has been developed to allow producers to attach a tag read file to the movement event. If you had a capable and confident reading system at shipping, you can take a reading from a hand-held or reader, move that information into a file on your laptop or smartphone, and then load that information to the eManifest that is being created for the

pending shipment. Very easily, group movement can accommodate individual animal identification.” A number of producers from all sectors of the industry have offered to help develop and test of the eManifest system. The feedback has been excellent so far, said Moss, with trial participants calling the system easy, user friendly and efficient. That said, LIS won’t roll out the new system until it is certain it is as producer friendly as possible, and relatively glitch free. “We are doing our best to make the system easy to use and stable,” said Moss. “We’re working on a very advanced version of the system based on the feedback LIS has received from the trial participants. Then we’ll want a couple more months to test it and make sure we can’t break it, and then we’ll open it to everyone. Security and guaranteed uptime is critical. To ensure this we will be contracting the services of a hosting provider that all producers will know and be comfortable with. We will also be working with Alberta Agriculture and specifically the extension offices to assist with communication and to provide help to producers in using the new system.”

“We are doing our best to make the system easy to use and stable.” david moss

While Alberta’s eManifest system will be the first online, commerce-based livestock manifest system of its type in North America, interest is already high from neighbouring provinces and some U.S. states, he said. “We need to work nationally on this,” said Moss, adding that LIS is already a member of the Cattle Movement Working Group, an interprovincial body pushing for a national livestock transportation document. “A disease doesn’t recognize borders, so it is imperative we have a comprehensive data set across the country. We really hope that other provinces will embrace (this technology), as working together builds synergy that cannot be created independently.”



Biofuel proponent says burning manure is now viable technology FIRED UP } Inventor says he’s worked

out the kinks in the incineration of manure to produce power

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More and more engineered solutions are showing up on the farm to help farmers deal with such issues as manure disposal. One new option is burning the manure to generate power. by tony kryzanowski

af contributor | grande prairie


s burning your manure better than spreading it or investing in anaerobic digestion? The technology suitable for any livestock operation now exists to combust manure in order to generate power. A company called EcoCombustion Energy Systems says it has solved two problems that have hindered previous efforts to burn manure — handling the high percentage of non-combustible material mixed in with the manure and meeting government regulations for air emissions. Adapted from the pulp and paper industry, “Elimanure” incineration technology is the brainchild of company cofounder, Paul Schneider. After the successful testing of a 600-kilowatt prototype installed on a Wisconsin dairy farm in 2005, the technology is now commercially available. The problem for large farms isn’t the fibre in the manure, but the nutrient-rich liquid, said Schneider, who was raised on a farm but worked in the pulp and paper industry. “If you stretch your imagination, what we do in the paper industry is very similar to problems that you have with manure,” says Schneider. “In the paper industry, we separate the fibre from the liquid and then we need to manage the liquid as well. My

concept is to evaporate the moisture in the manure, burn it and then create energy.”

High ash content

Finding a combustor manufacturer willing to work with the company was a challenge because of issues associated with the manure’s ash content. Burning sawdust produces about two per cent ash while manure produces about 15 per cent. “We got a grant to study how to burn the manure at high temperatures,” says Schneider. “So we designed a combustor and we have the expertise for operating the combustor to burn that high ash content. Once we learned that and were able to prove it, then the combustor manufacturers had confidence to work with us.” Farms will need to dispose of the ash, but it is considered a soil amendment and can be land applied. It is a lot less expensive to transport ash. It has a 0-8-10 chemical composition, so farmers will still be limited in how much can be applied in many areas because of its phosphorus content. Where it shines is as a seed starter soil amendment. The system initially had issues with controlling air emissions, but the installation of pollutioncontrol equipment has resolved the problem, says Schneider. The owners of the Wisconsin farm are doubling the size of their operation and are expanding the Elimanure system to support the expansion, which will also dou-

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AFE & MC Quarter Feb 12.indd 1

2/8/2012 4:57:44 PM

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Drying raw manure is the secret behind converting a portion of it into compost bedding and using the remainder as fuel to generate power.

MBT output GotSeedAd_6x6.625.indd 1 ble18086_02A electrical to about 1.2 megawatts. As the heat generated from combustion is used to evaporate moisture from the manure, the dairy can now dispose of 45 million gallons of manure annually either by incineration or recycling into bedding. Along with power generation, the system reduces greenhouse gas emissions from methane, simplifies manure handling, and

produces cow bedding material, says Schneider. Schneider says he’s not in competition with anaerobic digestion, and says the latter is a better alternative when farm operations are producing very wet manure. “We work best in systems where the manure is somewhat thicker and drier,” says Schneider, adding his system gives livestock producers a choice and can help

1/18/12spreading 11:51 AM them overcome some issues. However, he says the company must overcome skepticism about biofuel alternatives fuelled by manure “Because of some of the problems that have been experienced from anaerobic digesters, farmers are very nervous about new processes,” says Schneider. “Farmers would like to see it work first.”



Current beef market prices show signs of “impaired confidence” straight from the hip } The price of beef and the willingness

of consumers to buy are going in opposite directions By brenda schoepp


was recently in Toronto as part of Canadian Food Summit, an event put on by the Conference Board of Canada to develop a national food strategy. A conference board event is not complete without senior economist Glen Hodgson. He is as popular in the East as he is in the West and we have often hosted him at Prairie agricultural conferences. During his global outlook, Mr. Hodgson used the term “impaired confidence” in reference to the U.S. debt. In other words, there was a slim ray of hope but no sight of the end of the tunnel. For the cattle industry, we must be aware of the limitations that are imposed on us by global economics. Public debt is huge in most countries, but especially in the U.S., our major trading partner, where it is 80 per cent of GDP. Canada also has a growing public debt that translates into uneven growth in every sector. It is difficult to have a growing economy when folks simply cannot or will not buy. For many consumers, the tightening of the belt has meant cutting back on food purchases, including protein, in favour of both energy and housing or in some cases entertainment. In the U.S., the division of the food dollar in 2011 was almost equal between sugar, poultry, beef

and wine, with sugar being the largest food expenditure. It is an unusual paradox that North Americans cut food purchases at a time in history when food only accounts for seven per cent of expenditures. As for Canada, one of the wealthiest nations on earth, it would seem contradictory to scrap food for fuel, but so it is. The irony here is that Canadians waste 40 per cent of their food for a value of $27 billion per year, enough to account for the GDP of 32 of the world’s poorest countries.

Uncertainty affects beef

For all, the European recession hangs like a wrecking ball to financial markets and keeps the tension tight at the international level. Commodity markets such as beef are restless and unreliable. The fluctuations are a reflection of the lack of certainty in the future direction of the value of food commodities. The daily see-saw of events makes or breaks traders. These are the same traders who had fled from the equity markets because of instability there. In reality, the weight of financial collapse anywhere in the world has a ripple effect on all markets, including those here at home. The Canadian dollar also suffers relentless attack whenever there is uncertainty in world financial markets, and that affects our commodity markets, such as beef.

In the current market environment, beef is something of an anomaly, in terms of feeder cattle value. The packing plants are cutting the kill and show tepid interest while the feeder cattle market surges ahead. It is showing confidence that markets will support the buying price of inventory in the future. I would reference this as “impaired confidence.” It is impaired because there is absolutely no current evidence that domestic consumption will improve. The health of the fed cattle market is entirely dependent on interest outside of our domestic markets, particularly in those nations with a growing middle class and that too has some restrictions, particularly for cattle fed ractopamine. Impaired because the live cattle futures board cannot break out of the hold that it is in (and it is already overbought) and that means that the first half of the year will be under pressure to sustain itself and further appreciation will be highly dependent on global economic health.

Sellers’ market

And finally, impaired because the domestic consuming public has other interests at this time. They want to keep candy in the cupboard, fuel in the car and a roof over their heads. In short, this is a sellers’ market. It may seem harsh to look at the current cattle prices in this light. We are finally being

The health of the fed cattle market is entirely dependent on interest outside of our domestic markets.

paid decent value for feeder cattle. It is true that is unlikely that feeder cattle prices will fall based on the current supply shortage. It is also true that basing buying decisions for feeder cattle outside of the context of the current market will prove to be folly. As Steve Kay of Cattle Buyers Weekly has said: “All our wealth in the cattle business comes from the consumer.” It is that consumer who is walking away from the food counter and running from high-priced beef. We are at a point where North American consumers will seek protein largely by price and most certainly that is true in the U.S., where buying patterns have dramatically shifted toward ground beef. Fortunately in Canada, consumers still buy a variety of cuts of beef and food service has supported beef on the menu. We are however, closing in on price resistance. At some point Canadian inter-

est in domestic beef may shift and that will have a dramatic impact on beef cattle prices. At this point, losses in the fed cattle industry are expected to range from $90 - $340 per head. This is the very reason that the current feeder cattle market is impaired by its own confidence. We may not lose any value in feeder cattle but to speculate on tremendous price appreciation is not supported by the fundamentals at this time. There has to be a demand pull that far outstrips supply for that to happen. As of right now, speculating that fed cattle appreciation will erase current buying losses is truly impaired confidence. Brenda Schoepp is a market analyst and the owner and author of Beeflink, a national beef cattle market newsletter. A professional speaker and industry market and research consultant, she ranches near Rimbey, Alberta. beeflink@

Negligible human risk from new virus: OIE Schmallenberg } Virus named after German town affects cattle, sheep and goats

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reuters / The Schmallenberg virus that infected animals in five European countries and prompted Russia to ban some livestock imports from these countries poses negligible risks to humans, the world animal health body OIE said Feb. 16. The virus, named after the German town where it was first discovered in November, has infected cattle, sheep, and goats in Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, causing birth defects in offspring including deformation of the head, neck and limbs. “Based on current available information, experts concluded that the risk for human health is negligible,” the OIE, or World Organization for Animal Health, said in a statement. In terms of trade, the experts who had been asked to review existing knowledge on the virus that emerged in the second half of last year, concluded that there were also only negligible risks of disease spreading from trade in meat and milk. The assessment was not as clearcut for semen, embryos and live animals for which the experts detailed some technical

trade recommendations on the OIE website. It stressed the period during which the Schmallenberg virus circulates in the bloodstream of infected animals was short. Russia suspended livestock imports from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Britain because of the outbreak of the virus. The European Union’s food safety watchdog EFSA is also assessing the health risks posed by the virus and is due to provide the European Commission and EU governments with likely scenarios on how the virus — borne by insects such as ticks, midges and biting flies — could affect livestock and potentially human health. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it is “closely monitoring” the emergence of the virus. Canada doesn’t currently allow live cattle, sheep or goats to be imported from Europe, and “based on what is known about this virus, and what we know about similar viruses, there does not appear to be any immediate danger to Canadian livestock,” the agency said.



Keeping your horse away from the dentist horse health } Feed should allow horses to chew both

up and down and side to side By carol shwetz, dvm


imely equine dentistry is an influential tool in maintaining a horse’s dental health. However, it is not the only tool, nor is its practice any more important than several others that shape the wear of a horse’s teeth. Since a horse’s teeth are ever growing, practices that occur every day in their lives incrementally continue to shape and reshape their teeth. Diet and horsemanship are both important factors in determining dentition, and so can be used as tools to positively affect dental health. Corrections in these practices shall then indirectly reduce the need for equine dentistry. Horses spend up to 30 per cent of their day chewing, so what they eat and how they are chewing strongly affects the shape of their teeth. Horses use their incisor (frontmost) teeth to clip and nip grasses/ shrubbery and they use the teeth in the back to grind the feed into smaller particles. Since a horse’s upper arcade of teeth are set 30 per cent wider than their lower arcade, they must grind their food using a side-toside movement rather than chewing up and down as humans do. This allows them to make complete contact between their top and bottom teeth and the grinding action naturally wears down or “self-floats” the teeth. Healthy chewing movement results when horses are fed longstem forages or graze on pasture. When horses are fed grains or pelleted and processed feeds, the benefits of the healthy nipping and chewing motions are reduced as the horse begins to chew in an up-and-down fashion.

comfort from the bit, whether it comes from pain within the mouth itself or through the insensitive hands of a rider, will be to brace his tongue against the bit, raise its head, and clench his jaw as his anxiety escalates. This tension reverberates throughout the horse’s entire body causing resistance and stiffness, which is why horses avoiding discomfort in the mouth often experience back pain. As the horse attempts to evade the pain, it raises its head. This causes the back to drop and tighten, building a cycle of tension and pain so that whenever the horse is ridden or sometimes even when it just has a bit in its mouth, the ill carriage and tension returns. Horses worked under such conditions will eventually develop abnormal dentition since ill carriage of the head and tension within the jaw affect how the

teeth meet and wear against one another. Mindful dentistry can unlock patterns of resistance in the mouth and in the body, but if riding technique remains unchanged, the pattern of ill wear in the horse’s mouth will merely return. Conversely, change in the type of horsemanship to a more sensitive means will encourage healthy development of wear patterns within the dental arcade. It is of great value to recognize the importance of favourably introducing a bit to the young horse. Demands placed on young horses often exceed their readiness to accept the bit, as often at this time they are already tender due to the eruption of their adult teeth. Between the ages of two and five years old, 24 cheek teeth will erupt, with up to 16 teeth erupting simultaneously. Bit placement in a young horse’s mouth prior to its “readiness”

Good dental health is important for all species. can begin an associated painful response, and so instigate detrimental patterns of wear in a horse’s

dentition, which will result in the need for ongoing intervention by equine dentistry.

Horses are incredibly sensitive beings, and the presence of a bit in the horse’s mouth is no small thing.

As this chewing process is incomplete, raised edges appear along the outside margins of the upper set of molars and the insides of the lower set. These unground edges can become so large as to prevent the horse from freely rockering his lower jaw. This results in a selfpropagating problem as the teeth become locked between opposing sharp ridges. It is mainly these ridges that are addressed through equine dentistry.

Use of the bit

The intimate relationship of a horse’s teeth to behaviour, performance and its health need to be of serious interest to any horseman. Horses are incredibly sensitive beings, and the presence of a bit in the horse’s mouth is no small thing. Barely perceptual cues offered through the bit can not only direct a horse’s movement, but can also shape the horse’s manner of movement. The horse will search for meaning in the bit, but in order for this to happen the presence of the bit itself must in no way bother the horse. The horse’s reaction to any dis-

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} freezing


Cold damage to EU crops limited

U.K. facing drought

Europe’s recent cold spell has done little damage to winter wheat and barley crops — so far. Soft wheat production will fall 600,000 tonnes, to 132.7 million tonnes, because of the cold, analyst Strategie Grains said in its latest estimate. “Our initial analysis is that in most countries, the freezing conditions will not lead to more significant winter crop losses (on wheat and barley) than experienced in a normal year,” the French analyst said. It stressed however that the impact of the cold weather would not be fully assessed until vegetation growth resumes in the spring. — Reuters

Large parts of Britain are facing a drought this year after groundwater reached levels not seen for more than 35 years, which could spell restrictions for farmers and households. Rivers, canals and reservoirs are running low after a second dry winter in a row, with some areas receiving less than 70 per cent of normal amounts. “Unfortunately... there is a high risk that parts of the country will almost certainly be in drought next summer,” Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said on her department’s website. — Reuters

More on the permanent air flows that determine our weather part 2 } The second in a series explaining why forecasts for a cold winter were so wrong

  ©thinkstock by daniel bezte


couple of weeks ago I started an article about the North Atlantic Oscillation or NAO. We began our look at this particular weather pattern because all of the talk about the unusually warm winter so far this year seems to be tied to it. To understand just what is going on we had to learn some basics about the general atmospheric patterns of rising air around the equator and sinking air at the poles. We then looked at how these features can lead to a band of high pressure located around 20 degrees latitude and a band of low pressure around 60 degrees latitude. If we try to picture this we would see that the Earth has two distinctive circulation patterns. We have warm air rising at the equator, flowing towards the poles then sinking back down to the surface around 20 degrees latitude. This air then hits the ground and some flows back towards the equator, completing the loop, while the remainder of the air flows towards the poles along the ground. Over the poles air is sinking and flowing along the ground towards the equator. Around 60 degrees latitude it begins to rise, creating a region of low pressure. This rising air hits the top of the troposphere (the part of the atmosphere where most of the weather takes place) and at this point it can’t rise any higher. So this air can flow in two directions — either back towards the poles, thus completing that loop, or it can flow back towards

the equator where it will eventually hit the region around 20 degrees latitude where the air is sinking. This air will then also sink back to the ground.

Third loop

Now we have two loops taking place, one over the poles and one around the equator. For those of you who are really good at picturing this, you’re probably noticing that there is a third atmospheric circulation or loop between these two loops. This just happens to be our part of the world. This third loop is basically driven by the two other loops. At the surface, air is flowing towards the poles from the semi-permanent area of high pressure and at the same time air is being pulled northward along the surface by the semipermanent areas of low pressure. If the Earth didn’t revolve then it wouldn’t get much more complicated than this, but the Earth does revolve, and this causes the air to be deflected or to curve. So instead of this air moving straight northward it curves and becomes westerly, which is why most of our weather systems move from west to east. Now back to the NAO. When the regions of low and high pressure over the Atlantic are both very strong, the NAO is said to be in a positive phase. This results in stronger-than-usual westerly winds, especially over North America. Think of these two features like a pair of spinning wheels — the faster they spin the quicker they pull air between them. This faster flow of air helps to keep the really cold air up north and any cold

air that does slide southwards is quickly pulled off to the east. This is the pattern that we have seen for most of this fall and winter. In fact, during December it was at its strongest positive phase ever recorded. The opposite phase, or negative phase of the NAO, is when these regions of low and high pressure are weak. This results in a slackening of the westerly winds across North America. Now the cold air building over the poles has an easier time moving southwards and when it does there are no strong westerly winds to push this air out. This results in more cold air outbreaks, and longer-lasting ones as well.

Arctic Oscillation

Tied almost directly to this is another atmospheric circulation pattern known as the Arctic Oscillation or AO. This oscillation is a comparison of pressure differences in the upper atmosphere between the Arctic and the Atlantic. During the winter, in the upper atmosphere over the Arctic, there usually develops an area of low pressure known as the Arctic vortex. When this is strong, which means the pressure is lower than usual, and the region of high pressure over the Atlantic is higher than usual, the AO is said to be in a positive phase. Just like with the NAO, a positive phase results in stronger-thanusual westerly winds which mean fewer cold air outbreaks. The negative phase of the AO sees a weaker Arctic vortex than usual, and this results in weaker westerly winds and more and longer outbreaks of cold air.

This issue’s map shows the total precipitation across Alberta from Nov. 1 through to Feb. 12. With the exception of a few regions, most areas have seen less than 60 mm of precipitation with a large part of this seeing less than 40 mm. Things have been even drier in the eastern regions where many areas have only seen between 10 and 20 mm of precipitation. Now, you would think that if the NAO is positive then the AO would also be positive and vice versa, but this is not always the case. Next time we’ll take a look

at this and then try to tie everything together and hopefully come to some understanding of why this winter’s long-range forecasts were so wrong!


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some of which haven’t been seen for 15 years



e prepared for cutworms and grasshoppers this season, and that includes knowing which you need to spray and which you don’t. That was the message from Jennifer Otani, an Agriculture Canada entomologist based in Beaverlodge, speaking to the FarmTech conference in Edmonton. Forecasts based on surveys last year have been issued — see the accompanying map for grasshoppers, and similar forecasts for wheat midge and sawfly can also be found at app21/loadmedia. “We strongly encourage people to look at the risk associated with their area,” said Otani. “This does not mean that you will have to spray, but it gives you an idea of the risk. You’re looking for moderate, severe and very severe densities.” The Alberta Pest Surveillance Network has several people monitoring throughout the year and produces the forecasts using data from the previous year, combined with modelling reports. The 2012 forecast is showing some severe pockets of grasshoppers in Alberta. Last year’s open fall resulted in a lot of egg laying for adult grasshoppers. “What that means is that we have more eggs than normal and they’re probably at different stages,” said Otani. “This spring, the grasshoppers will likely

Get a photo so an entomologist can identify the species. FILE PHOTO emerge over a longer period, which will make monitoring a little more difficult.” “The limitation is that this is produced in January and what happens at the end of May and beginning of June can really vary depending on weather,” Otani said. There are four species of grasshoppers considered economic pests. Red-legged grasshoppers are not considered a pest species, because they don’t cause a lot of damage. “The big issue is to monitor very early and to get out there and look for the nymphs very early,” Otani said. Nymphs are much easier to control with insecticides than the adult species. “You really want to look for the younger ones before they have time to be doing a lot of feeding,” Otani said.

SEE CUTWORMS  page 34

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This map shows Alberta’s grasshopper forcast for 2012.



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DIVERSITY  More species of cutworms are present in Alberta,


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CUTWORMS  Continued from page 33 Cutworms

Producers also need to keep a sharp eye for cutworms, Otani said. The diversity of cutworms species in the province has rapidly changed and some haven’t been seen for more than 15 years. “It’s starting to be a bit of an issue and a bit of a cause for concern,” Otani said. “The real concern with this group is that the adults look very similar.” Otani said the diversity of species presents a challenge for control, as not all of the species can overwinter at the same stage and do not cause damage at the same time. Some feed above ground and some below. Red-back cutworms come above ground in the evening to feed, but pale western and glassy cutworms are subterranean. Some species have a host plant preference while other insects will eat just about anything. Control methods vary widely as a result. Cutworm eggs can remain on plant material or in soil over winter. Some small larvae, which are generally brownish grey and about 10 to 25 millimetres in length, can survive through the winter. The insects are damaging when they are in the larval stage. After the larval stage, the insects turn into pupae and then into flying moths. Cutworms caused the most damage in the early part of May up in the Peace country and even earlier in central and southern Alberta. Cutworm damage may increase in late-seeded fields with a lot of regrowth. “We’re trying to advise people to watch for regrowth and try to manage it if at all possible,” Otani said. “This presents a bit of a risk for the next season.” As with other insects, scouting is important. Otani said producers should scout in the seed row, down below the soil surface, no deeper than about 10 centimetres. “Stay near to the live plant or plant material that is showing damage,” she said. “Don’t dig where you’re already missing stuff.” Cutworms tend to be easiest to spot early in the morning, or in the evenings. “We really encourage people to look in several different places too,” Otani said. If a specimen is found, producers should keep it intact and get some good pictures to help an entomologist identify it. Unusual patterns, damaged plants, plants that have fallen over or browning off may be signs of cutworms.


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“The big issue is to monitor very early and to get out there and look for the nymphs very early.” JENNIFER OTANI AAFC

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Ergot becoming a concern in Alberta FUNGUS FACTORS  Ergot does well in rye and triticale crops and so rotation is important BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF | EDMONTON


rgot is on the rise and producers should take note, says an Agriculture Canada plant pathologist. Infection rates for the plant disease doubled in Alberta last year, rising from 15 to 16 per cent of samples tested in 2010 to about one-third in 2011, Kelly Turkington, a plant pathologist in Lacombe, told attendees at FarmTech. “This is a significant downgrading and a significant impact on producers’ pocketbooks,” said Turkington. In 2010, the Prairie average for ergot on wheat was about nine per cent, with the highest rates in Alberta. Eight per cent of samples collected in Manitoba and five per cent in Saskatchewan were contaminated by the disease. Cool and wet conditions in June and July were the main factors, with the area around Stettler and Cross-

field the most affected by ergot in 2011. The fungal disease affects cereals including triticale, rye, wheat and barley and reduces grade. The fungus produces scelerotial bodies that contain chemicals that can affect both humans and livestock. The fungus survives on or in the soil surface, germinates when there is sufficient moisture, and releases thousands of spores into the air. These spores land on the female reproductive parts of cereals and germinate. The fungus then begins to grow and enters “the honeydew phase,” during which it produces masses of spores, which sit in a sugary substance. The sugar is attractive to insects, who feed on that material and transfer the mixture to adjacent plants, spreading the disease. Rye and triticale flowers, which cross-pollinate, remain open for longer while crops such as wheat and barley, which self-pollinate, have closed flowers, and can’t be infected as easily. Crop rotation can be key in combating infestations.

“You want to avoid planting wheat after rye or triticale. Typically and traditionally the recommendation has been a one-year break between cereal crops to allow for decomposition of scelerotial bodies,” said Turkington. But Turkington recommends a two-year break between cereal crops. Ergot also affects tame and wild grasses, so mowing ditches and field margins can prevent the grass from heading and spreading the disease. Producers should make sure their seed doesn’t contain ergot and plant an inch to two or three inches below the soil surface. “At those depths, it’s simply too deep for that ergot fungus to germinate and produce fruiting structures that will reach the soil surface,” Turkington said. Most strategies that limit infection rates focus on pollen viability and sterility. “If you have a boron or copper deficiency, adding these two nutrients in the fungal fertilizer may help

to reduce the risk of ergot,” said Turkington. Other stresses put on the crop can reduce the risk of pollen sterility, increasing the risk of ergot. Late herbicide applications interfere with reproductive growth and should be avoided. Cold or warm snaps can lead to pollen viability issues as the cereal head is emerging from the boot. Increasing the seeding rate can help prevent ergot, as can delaying swathing or harvest.

“This is a significant downgrading and a significant impact on producers’ pocketbooks.” KELLY TURKINGTON

The area around Stettler and Crossfield was most affected by ergot in 2011. PHOTO: AAFC

Monsanto to appeal French ruling APPEAL  The company says it sees no “causal link” between Lasso and the farmer’s symptoms

N O IT C-60-02/12-BCS12055-E



PARIS / REUTERS / U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto said Feb. 14 it will appeal a French court ruling that found it responsible for the poisoning of a farmer who inhaled a weed killer in what is the first such case to reach court in France. A court in Lyon, southeast France, ruled Feb. 13 that Monsanto was guilty of poisoning grain grower Paul Francois, 47, who suffered from memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling the Lasso weed killer in 2004. The farmer accused the company of not providing adequate safety warnings on the product label. “Monsanto is going to appeal this verdict. We are disappointed by the court’s decision,” Yann Fichet, head of institutional relations at Monsanto France, said. “An in-depth examination of the case does not show in our view sufficient evidence of a causal link between the use of this herbicide and the symptoms reported by Mr. Francois,” he told France Info radio. Francois said his health problems were caused by inhalation of Lasso while cleaning the tank of his crop sprayer. He blames Monsanto for not specifying on the label the presence of chlorobenzene, a chemical substance later detected in the farmer’s hair and urine. Lasso was banned in France in 2007 in line with a European Union directive. The product has also become less popular with farmers elsewhere and Monsanto’s leading herbicide is now Roundup, which it markets in conjunction with its genetically modified, weed killertolerant “Roundup Ready” crops. Monsanto’s appeal in the French court case will take up to a year to be heard.



Pulse dormancy a big issue after last year’s wet conditions SLEEPY SEEDS  Last year’s heavy rains may have resulted in hard

seed that has a coat impermeable to water and slow to germinate BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF | EDMONTON


he last thing you want is sleepy seeds. Seeds are supposed to sprout when soil temperatures and moisture conditions are right, but some batches of seeds lay dormant even when Mother Nature is telling them to get growing. But there are ways to discourage dormancy, Sarah Foster, senior seed analyst with 20/20 seed labs, told attendees at FarmTech. “Take advantage when the weather gets below -15 C,” said Foster. “Start aerating your bins and that will make a huge difference on the quality of your lot. Seed needs to get into a resting stage where its respiration lot is dropped down very, very low and it can mature naturally in the bin.” Hard seed is a form of dormancy seen in peas, beans, lentils and clovers, and all of the samples that Foster has seen from southern Alberta this year are showing hard seed in their germination profile. “I’ve never seen it in Canada to the extent that we’ve seen it this season,” she said. Hard seed is impermeable to water, which means its seed coat hasn’t developed properly due to a lack of nitrogen. The heavy rains in southern Alberta may have caused nitrogen leaching which resulted in hard seed. “The levels aren’t so high that they’re affecting the grade, but it’s something that we can tell you based on your germination results,” she said. There are only three seed tests accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) — germination, purity and smut. Vigour is not an accredited test. Germination tests show what seed is capable of doing under favourable field conditions and all accredited labs use the same CFIA-approved method, said Foster. “Unfortunately, the germination test doesn’t give us the overall picture,” she said. “It is one of the blocks in the quality building profile that I’m going to talk about. It isn’t the most significant, but it is the most recognized.” By law, seed labs are required to test 200 seeds per batch for a test to be considered legitimate. If signs of dormancy are seen, the seeds are placed in a three-day pre-chill to bring their respiration rate down. The seed is then shocked to grow in a 20 C temperature. If the dormancy is too strong, the analysts use potassium nitrate or giberellic acid, both of which are commonly used in the industry. “The problem with that is that we are giving the seed an enhanced germination,” said Foster. “But we do know that this is the potential of the germination.” The process breaks the dormancy by giving the seed the chemical or enzyme that it’s lacking. The ideal germination rate for good-quality seed is 95 per cent. The minimum standard in Canada is 85 per cent. Another issue is frost damage, which occurs when seed hasn’t fully matured. The cell membranes and tissues become ruptured and permanently damaged. “When you test seed in the fall right after it’s harvested, we can only

pick up a small percentage of frost damage,” said Foster. “The only way we can give you the overall picture is to put it into a vigour test. “Germination in the presence of frost is not enough. You need to be testing at least two or three times more to make sure the germination is still viable.” Once the frost has damaged the seed, it continues to deteriorate the seed lot and germination ability is lost over time. Foster reminded her audience that glyphosate-based products cannot be used on seeds intended for seed purposes. “If the seed or the plant is sprayed when the moisture is at 20 per cent or more, severe damage occurs after spraying,” she said. The roots and shoots develop, but

the seed also develops significant abnormalities that cannot be picked out by an untrained eye. Good roots have hairs that anchor them in the soil. When there is chemical damage, these hairs do not develop properly and will compromise the plant later on.

A healthy germ test on display at FarmTech.

Sarah Foster says she has never seen “hard” seed to the extent this year in Alberta. PHOTOS: ALEXIS KIENLEN

Q: What are my options now? Q: Should I be planning already? Q: What does this mean for me? Q: Will marketing wheat be just like marketing canola? Q: Who’s going to help me through this process? Q: Is August 2012 the real end date? Q: How will I manage the transition? Q: Where can I voice my opinion? Q: Does my opinion count? Q: Who can I call if I have questions? Q: Can I survive in a competitive market? Q: How will I sell my wheat? Q: How will I sell my barley? Q: What role will the ICE Futures play? Q: What will happen with the foreign exchange? Q: How will premiums and discounts be applied to my wheat? Q: What will happen to the Canadian Grain Commission? Q: What is the new base grade? Q: Am I going to need more storage? Q: How is rail transportation going to work? Q: How can I access the US price? Q: Will the quality of my wheat continue to be controlled? Q: How will I know the quality of the wheat, durum or barley I’m delivering? Q: Who will my wheat be sold to? Q: Will the CWB still be a valid option for selling my barley and wheat? Q: How am I going to move my grain? Q: What is a good basis? Q: Am I expected to know about international trade? Q: Will everyone else know more than I do? Q: How long will this process take? Q: Are grain companies going to build more storage? Q: How will this impact price? Q: Who can I trust?



Vigour tests can be key, but there’s no standard way to conduct them MATTER OF DEGREES  The testing temperature affects the interpretation of the results of vigour tests BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF | EDMONTON

Vigour tests don’t give a complete picture of the viability of the seed, are not accredited in Canada and can vary by lab. So it’s important growers understand the type of vigour test used by their lab, says Sarah Foster, senior seed analyst at 20/20 seed labs. At least seven different vigour methods are commonly used, and each can yield different results. Cereals are usually heat tested at 5 C. Another method, which can be used on canola, stresses the seed by exposing it to high humidity and high heat for 48 hours. If the seed passes through without incident, then its vigour is ensured. Foster grows plants from seed, and checks to see the seedlings are healthy and uniform, as uniformity in seedlings is key to a well-established plant stand. “The beauty with this particular method

is that it mimics and simulates what happens in the Canadian Prairies in the spring,” she said. “The most recognized test is this particular test that stresses it by temperature.” By contrast, vigour testing done using temperatures above 5 C puts the seed back into optimum conditions. Producers getting vigour tests should ask if their labs are doing a “cold” or a “cool” test for vigour. If vigour isn’t present in the seed, producers need to realize their seed may present a risk. “You wouldn’t go in at 5 C. You would wait until the temperature went up a bit. But you wouldn’t use a test that had been done at 8 C or 9 C, because it doesn’t tell you the full picture,” Foster said. Producers must also check the health of their seed by having them tested for diseases that might be present. Producers should ask for a fungal screen when they are having their seed tested to ensure seeds are free from disease, Foster said.

Keep insects out of your bins DETECTION  Traps beat taking samples BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF | RED DEER


lean, cool and dry bins treated with the right insecticide are the key to preventing bug troubles, says Paul Fields, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada. Fields told the Agronomy Update

“The worst thing you can do is to take grain sitting there from last year and put in hot, moist grain.”

meeting here that if grain is warm and moist, a small number of insects can increase exponentially. Of about 20 insects that live in grain, one of the most common is the rusty grain beetle, which can go from egg to adult in three weeks under ideal conditions. The adults can live for almost a year and the female produces 400 eggs. The flour beetle is another common insect found in grain bins. It matures in three to eight weeks and lives for about 45-70 weeks. Fields said many of the insect species are very hard to detect, and are often only found in the dockage tester during sampling at elevator delivery. Mites and psocids, which are about the size of a period, can also live in grain. “If you see this sort of fuzz moving around on your grain, it’s probably mites or psocids and the grain is too moist,” said Fields. Producers can detect insects in their own bins by using a Berlese funnel, which uses a screen and a light bulb to find larva in the grain. Traps using cones and probes can also be used to find insects. “The insects walk around, fall down holes and then collect in the bottom and you can pull them out,” said Fields. The traps are 10 times more effective than just taking samples of the grain because the traps are continuously in operation. Another way to detect insects is to measure carbon dioxide levels. Increased carbon dioxide indicates the presence of insects.


Cold winters give Prairie farmers an advantage over their warmclimate competition. “If you can reduce the grain to -15 C and keep it there for a month, you will kill all the insects,” Fields said. Before binning, producers can apply insecticide to empty bins to reduce the possibility of residual insects or insects living in the false floors or aeration units. However malathion should not be used in bins to be used for canola, as residue could contaminate overseas shipments. Resistance problems are also being reported in Western Canada. Diatomaceous earth, which can be mixed with dry grain and kills insects on contact, is a non-toxic option for stored grain. Fumigants such as phosphine are quick and leave minimal residues, but are very toxic. Use is restricted and a licence is required. It can be used when the grain temperature is -5 C. “This is not air temperature, that’s grain temperature,” said Fields. The chemical is delivered in pellets and water is added to transform it into a gas. Fields said there has been some phosphine resistance detected in the U.S. and in Australia.


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Rusty grain beetles can go from egg to adult in three weeks under ideal conditions.



Savvy Farmer launches free version

shades of winter

lite version } Provides product

names, equivalents, labels and pestidentification guide staff


Winter birds hunker down amidst the hoarfrost following a dense fog.    Photo: Sharlene

n online service allowing Canada’s farmers to quickly look up treatment data for any treatable crop pest problem has brought a substantial chunk of its offerings out from behind the pay wall. Guelph-based The Savvy Farmer has launched a “lite” version of its software. It will allow growers and ag pest control professionals access to data including listings of all products that control any weed, insect or disease in any of over 750 Canadian-grown crops; access to those products’ labels and photos of over 1,000 pests, including weeds, insects, cropeating wildlife and crop adiseases symptoms. The new service was created in response to farmers who want quick and easy access to pest control information but do not feel they need the added features within the full Savvy Farmer paid software,” Savvy Farmer president Warren Libby said in a release. “While Savvy Farmer lite contains fewer features than the advanced version, we believe many farmers will find it an extremely convenient tool that they will refer to often.” Since the free service operates as a cloud-based application, its data can be updated every day Savvy Farmer receives information on new products and label expansions, the company said. “It’s a rare day that there isn’t new information to add to Savvy Farmer... and we work hard to be the most complete and current source of pest control information in Canada,” said Libby, the former president (1996-2001) of Syngenta Crop Protection Canada. Farmers and other users won’t have to subscribe to Savvy Farmer lite, the company said, and will need only to go online to use the software. The company will continue to offer more “in-depth” information through its subscriptionbased Savvy Farmer Advanced and Savvy Farmer Pro services. The subscriber-only services offer deeper information on treatments, as well as filters to customize treatments, and electronic record-keeping capability.




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expensive to register pesticides but the minor-use program allows Canadian growers to access these products BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF | EDMONTON


anada may be a huge country, but chemical companies do not always see it as a big player when it comes marketing some of their crop protection products. “We’re not really a big market,” Eric Johnson, weed biologist with Agriculture Canada, told attendees at FarmTech. “Canada is less than three per cent of the pesticide market globally, and of that, less than two per cent is for minor uses. There’s not a lot of incentive for companies to register these products.” That’s why the government minor-use program can accommodate the needs of Canadian growers in certain situations. The program, a federal initiative started in 2002 and managed by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, was modelled after an American program called IR4. “It was a good idea to model it after that because we have been able to work closely with IR4 and speed along registrations,” said Johnson. The program is intended to level the playing field for Canadian producers who, especially in horticulture, compete against American and European growers with access to these products. Projects covered by the program are all determined by producer groups and not by acreage. Generally, if a chemical company doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to register a herbicide or pesticide for a crop, then that chemical can be considered minor use, said Johnson. “It’s really a matter of whether companies find it profitable to register a product or not,” he said. Producer groups interested in using the program should approach their provincial minoruse co-ordinators. Representatives from across Canada meet annually in Ottawa to set priorities. Once the priorities are set, a list goes to the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency to determine type and number of tests required. Field studies are done and data submitted to a director in Ottawa who makes the submission to the agency. If the data submission is adequate, the pesticide is registered as minor use and is made available. Each year, 37 priorities are selected; 10 fungicides, 10 herbicides, 10 insecticides, five regional priorities and two organic priorities.

Time your fungicide to fight the disease SPRAY SCHEDULE  Knowing how fungicides work is critical for knowing when to apply them BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF | EDMONTON

Tank-mixed fungicides are becoming more popular, but they’re not a cure-all. “That’s a strategy that is attractive, because it represents a convenient, one-pass operation,” Kelly Turkington, an Agriculture Canada plant pathologist, told attendees at the recent FarmTech event. But producers still need to carefully consider the goal of spraying, he said. “What is the focus here?” asked Turkington. “Is it head blight? Is it leaf disease management or some combination of the two?” Experiments conducted at Scott, Lacombe and Melfort during the past two years found the best control of scald is achieved when fungicide is applied at the flag-leaf stage. Split applications of fungicide applied at flag-leaf and heading stages also proved useful. “Our best yields tended to be at half-rate or full rate of Tilt at flag-leaf emergence, or when we used the split application,” Turkington said. The best way to select a fungicide, which generally only protects existing green-leaf tissue, is to learn what it does, and how it moves within the plant, the diseases that affect the crop, disease levels and weather conditions, he said.

“Any well-established infections, whether it is scald or net blotch in barley or septoria in wheat, will not be eradicated by fungicide,” said Turkington. “It has a very difficult time eradicating well-established infections.” Diseases can then continue to cycle, because they haven’t been completely wiped out. Applying fungicides at flag-leaf emergence will help protect upper canopy leaves. “If you delay your application until the heademergence stage, the risk here is that the disease will develop and start to affect the flag leaf, other leaves and the third leaf down from the head,” said Turkington. “By the time you get that fungicide on and heading, it may be a bit on the late side.” When there is a dry May, the fungus may start to develop as the crop is coming into the flag-leaf stage, and a head-emergence application may actually provide better control than a flag-leaf application. “You need to look at the nature of these fungicides, when the disease is coming into that crop to determine the fungicide timing that you use,” he said. Fungicides do not move down the leaf or back into the base of the leaf, said Turkington. Most of the movement of the fungicide will be to the tip of the leaf. “All of the cereal leaf fungicides that we have move with water transpiration,” he said.

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Brazil reported to be planning giant soybean port BARGES  New port would relieve need to transport grain by truck on overcrowded highways RIO DE JANEIRO/REUTERS


razilian port authorities are planning a new grains port in the Amazon region, a terminal designed to become the country’s largest soybean export centre and to slash transportation costs for farmers, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported Feb. 18. The proposed 18-million-tonnea-year Port of Outeiro would be built near Belem, the largest city

It costs Brazilian farmers about $85 a tonne to transport grains to market compared with $20 a tonne in the United States and Argentina.

in Brazil’s Amazon region. It is designed to surpass the 16.8-million-tonne capacity of the Port of Santos, and the 14.8-million-tonne capacity of the Port of Paranagua, the paper said. Grains loading at Santos was disrupted for five days in February after a ship knocked a loading machine off the dock and into the water. The new Amazon port proposal is scheduled to be sent to Brazil’s water transportation regulator for approval in the coming days, Folha said. An auction to sell rights to build and operate the port’s 660-million-real ($382 million) first phase could be held as early as late 2012, the paper reported. It could begin operation in 2014, Folha said. The port would provide a new way for farmers in Brazil’s states of Mato Grosso, Goias, Para, Tocantins, Maranhao, and other parts of the nation’s Cerrado, Northeast and Amazon regions

to ship their grain to market, the paper reported. It costs Brazilian farmers about $85 a tonne to transport grains to market compared with $20 a tonne in the United States and Argentina. Despite the transportation cost disadvantage, Brazil is the world’s second-largest soybean exporter and is expected to overtake the United States this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Brazil is now harvesting a soy crop of 70 million tonnes and about 60 million tonnes of corn. The new port would allow farmers to use efficient barge trains to move their grain to port over Amazon rivers rather than smaller individual trucks running on overcrowded and poorly maintained highways. Much of Brazil’s crop must travel the distance from New York to New Orleans by two-lane road to get loaded on a ship at Santos or Paranagua.



A port in the north of the country would allow loading closer to markets in Europe and the Middle East. It would also be closer to the Panama Canal, which is being widened to handle larger ships, cutting travel times to China, Brazil’s largest soybean market. The port, though, could raise

environmental concerns by making the creation of soybean farms in the Amazon jungle more economically attractive. Efforts to improve Brazilian highways to link the Mato Grosso soybean region to the Amazon Port of Santarem have been held back for years by environmentalists.

BRIEFS Kazakhstan expects sharp decline in 2012 grain crop ASTANA/REUTERS Kazakhstan expects its grain harvest to revert to an average level of between 13 million and 15 million tonnes this year, a sharp decline from the record post-Soviet crop of 2011, Deputy Agriculture Minister Muslim Umiryayev said Feb. 21. Central Asia’s largest wheat exporter harvested 27 million tonnes of grain by clean weight last year, its largest crop since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In droughthit 2010, the harvest was only 12.2 million tonnes. “We are forecasting the 2012 harvest at an average level of 13 milion to 15 million tonnes,” Umiryayev told a news conference. He later specified this level as the average for the last 12 years. The ministry said in a statement that the total area sown to grain in Kazakhstan was expected to reach 16.3 million hectares in 2012, slightly more than the 16.2 million hectares last year. Within this total, the area sown to wheat in 2012 would decline to 13.5 million hectares from 13.8 million tonnes last year, the ministry said.


Peru reopens to live cattle Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced Feb. 21 that Canada has regained access for live cattle to Peru. Canada Beef and the CLGA estimate the market to be valued at more than $2.5 million in 2012 for the Canadian cattle sector. Canadian exporters are eligible to export to Peru all cattle born after August 1, 2007, with most of expected sales being dairy genetics. Exports of cattle to Peru can resume immediately.

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More money for ag research, Gates urges Farmers } In some countries, they are still the majority of the population By Ralph Pearce staff


The Gates foundation is funding research into disease resistance for cassava, a staple crop in Africa.   ©thinkstock

hen it comes to solving the challenges of developing countries, Bill Gates believes agriculture has a vital role to play. In his annual letter for 2012, Gates, the founder of Microsoft and now a leading philanthropist through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, called for an increase in research for seven major crops, all of which are developing countries’ staples: cassava, corn, millet, sorghum, yam, rice and legumes. Despite the seemingly significant amounts of money invested in innovation in North America, agricultural research on the seven staple crops for developing countries has declined, to the point where $3 billion is spent per B:8.125” year. T:8.125” That total includes $1.5 bilS:8.125”

lion by governments, $1.2 billion by private companies and the remaining $300 million by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Gates pointed out that the $300 million from CGIAR was specifically focused on research for developing countries; very little of the other 90 per cent made it to the countries that need it most. Gates foundation has thus invested an additional $2 billion aimed at helping impoverished farm families to boost productivity in a sustainable manner, practice better land management and to make use of drip irrigation, and at finding ways for farmers to connect with viable markets. “Right now, just over one billion people — about 15 per cent of the people in the world — live in extreme poverty,” Gates wrote. “On most days, they worry about whether their family will have enough food to eat. There

is an irony in this, since most of them live and work on farms. The problem is that their farms, which tend to be just a couple acres in size, don’t produce enough food for a family to live on.” It’s a well-accepted notion than farming in North America is carried out by less than two per cent of the population, Gates noted, but in developing countries, that number is much higher. In Uganda, 75 per cent of the population farms; in India, that number is 56 per cent and in Brazil, one of the key growth sectors in agricultural production (particularly soybeans), 21 per cent of the country’s population still farms.

Ug99 rust threat

A substantial part of the $2-billion investment from the Gates foundation is expected to go to specific initiatives — for instance, to improve resistance to Ug99, a pernicious stem rust in wheat. Although researchers and breeders are working on the same issue in North America, the problem with Ug99 is at its worst in Africa, and it is moving into the Middle East and heading for India. “Given the central role that food plays in human welfare and national stability, it is shocking, not to mention short sighted and potentially dangerous, how little money is spent on agricultural research,” Gates wrote. Another area of interest for these funds is to help cassava farmers in countries such as Tanzania. Cassava is a staple for farmers, in that country and others. But in the past few years, production has been radically challenged by mosaic disease, which curls and withers the leaves of cassava plants, and brown streak disease, affecting the plant’s roots. The crop is also important as a commodity for sale at markets, and as a potential export food product (dried to a powder, cassava is known as tapioca, which can be used as a substitute for wheat for those with celiac disease).

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Fertilizer: U.S. farmers play chicken with makers CUTBACKS  In response to reduced purchases, manufacturers cut production, hoping to drive up the price BY TOM POLANSEK REUTERS


teve Georgi is playing chicken with the world’s biggest fertilizer makers. The Indiana corn grower has postponed buying the fertilizer he needs for spring planting for only the second time in 35 years, angry that prices for key nutrients surged more than one-third in the fourth quarter. “I haven’t bought anything yet,” said Georgi, who normally makes his purchases around the beginning of the year. Prices are so high “it’s ridiculous,” he said. Fertilizer prices jumped last fall on global demand and expectations for a large increase in corn plantings in the United States. While those expectations have not changed, the price spike has triggered a buying boycott by farmers across the Midwest, pushing sales volumes of key products to their lowest levels since the financial crisis crushed demand in 2008. But farmers may lose in the faceoff unless they place their orders soon. Fertilizer distributors, many of whom were burned when demand evaporated in the 2008 price crash, no longer maintain large local stockpiles. That leaves some unable to accommodate a last-minute buying spree, meaning farmers who wait to buy may have to delay plantings or grow something besides corn. Good weather helped farmers produce a record corn yield in

2009 even after they cut back on fertilizer used to increase output. Now, with U.S. corn inventories at their lowest level since the mid-1990s, any threat that plantings or yield may fall short of high expectations could fuel new fears about supplies and stoke a price rally. “It’s getting very close” to planting time, said Harry Vroomen, vice-president of economic services for The Fertilizer Institute. “They can’t delay forever.”

Exerting market power

The buying boycott is the latest sign of a broader trend in which farmers, now flush with cash, are seizing more control over their operations and exerting more market power. Net farm income jumped 27.5 per cent last year to a record $100.9 billion, giving many farmers the flexibility to break free of traditional practices. Many have installed their own storage bins, giving them more leeway in timing the sale of their crops and exacting a higher premium from grain companies. Farmers cashed in after Chicago Board of Trade corn prices reached a record high near $8 a bushel last July as strong demand drained supplies. Prices have since fallen to about $6.50 a bushel due to pressure from the euro-zone crisis and a larger-than-expected harvest. The timing was bad, as fertilizer prices started rising last fall. Growers believe the price of fertilizer should follow corn lower, as

nearly half the fertilizer used in the United States is applied to corn. Strong margins for producers of nitrogen-based fertilizers do not make high prices easier for farmers to swallow. Costs for natural gas, used to make nitrogen fertilizer, are hovering near a 10-year low. At PotashCorp, the world’s top fertilizer producer, reduced demand knocked down nitrogen sales volumes by 15 per cent in the last quarter to 1.1 million tonnes, the lowest for that quarter since 2008. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company has slowed production of another key nutrient, potash, at mines in Canada due to anemic demand. The company said demand suffered as buyers “paused to assess market conditions.” It predicted sales will rebound this spring as long as corn prices support an expansion of plantings. Mosaic said in January it would cut potash production 20 per cent over the following four months due to an oversupply. Agrium, a smaller player in the fertilizer market, confirmed buying was muted in the fourth

quarter, even though it reported an eight per cent rise in nitrogen sales volumes. “We expect pent-up demand to continue to emerge,” Agrium said in early February. Farmers’ buying strategies have roiled corporate profits. PotashCorp is projecting one of its most profitable years ever but issued firstquarter earnings guidance of 55 to 75 cents that fell short of analysts’ expectations of 84 cents.

Last-minute rush?

Logistical problems could prevent farmers from snagging the fertilizer they want if they wait until the last minute to buy, dealers said. Hintzsche Fertilizer in Maple Park, Illinois, is among the companies that likely will not have enough on hand unless orders come in soon, general manager Jeff Eggleston said. Eggleston said he tells farmers, “I’m not buying it if you guys aren’t committing. I’m not going to get stuck with it.” Some farmers may need to delay their planting because dealers will not be able to fill a flood of late

“I’m not buying it if you guys aren’t committing. I’m not going to get stuck with it.” U.S. RETAILER

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orders, said Darrel Hora, general manager of Mettler Fertilizer in Menno, South Dakota. He said it was “not a realistic thing” to expect fertilizer dealers to keep enough fertilizer on hand to fulfil all the built-up demand from farmers. “If the people wait too long to buy, they may have to wait a little longer until they get to apply this stuff,” Hora said. The risk of a temporary, lastminute shortage is particularly high if weather is warm and dry in the spring, encouraging an early rush to plant extra corn acres. “If the season breaks early, then we could see this jump in purchases at the retail level,” said David Asbridge, president of NPK Fertilizer Advisory Service. “We could see a price spike.” Analysts predict corn plantings will reach a 68-year high of 94.2 million acres, up 2.5 per cent from 2011, according to a Reuters survey. Georgi, the Indiana farmer, is in no rush to lock in his fertilizer. He said he was confident he will be able to buy the supplies he needs and has already seen nitrogen prices in his area fall about seven per cent since the end of November. The only other time Georgi waited so long to buy his fertilizer was during the price spike of 200809. He said his patience saved him money that year and he will not finalize purchases this year for at least a few weeks in case prices continue to weaken. “There’s room for them to come down,” he said confidently.



Another year of volatility predicted for commodities Varied outlook } Continued strength seen for canola, but big stocks pressure wheat prices by alexis kienlen af staff | red deer


f the economic crisis in Europe and financial instability in the U.S. is any indication, producers can expect a bit of a roller-coaster ride, but they should be able to survive the storm, according to Brett Harris, western bureau chief of Business News Network. The situation for agriculture in Alberta is still looking pretty good, Harris told AgChoices, the annual conference held by the Alberta Agricultural Economics Association. “We’re coming off a year that was reasonably profitable for Canadian agriculture, not withstanding the flooding that hit good chunks of the Prairies and the drought that hit some parts of the West as well,” he said. “Aside from that, it was a pretty good year.” Harris predicts another year of volatility in all commodities. “It will be absolutely phenomenal this

year, and a little bit gut wrenching and that’s going to continue,” he said. Harris sees price swings continuing until the economic situation in Europe and the U.S. settles and contracting growth rates in Asia stabilize. “It’s going to be quite a roller-coaster ride, so it’s going to take a pretty strong stomach for a lot of producers to get through it.” High input prices will create additional risk for producers as fertilizer, fuel and land prices will continue to rise. “We’re not expecting to see a huge income boom, but overall we’re expecting to see a profitable year, which I think is fairly good news,” he said. Rising incomes in the emerging nations have created a stronger demand for Canadian agricultural products, which will benefit the sector in the long run, Harris said. “If the global economy does deteriorate, some of that demand could disappear a little bit, but people still need to eat.” The livestock sector has reaped

the benefits of high prices and strong demand from both emerging markets, China and Korea. “Animal exports from Canada to China were up 40 per cent, so exports are starting to come back a little bit,” he said. Harris noted that in Canada, herd liquidations have taken cattle numbers to the lowest level since 1994 and that following a drought in the southern Plains, the U.S. cattle herd is now at 91 million head, the lowest in about 60 years. “You don’t have to be an economic expert to know that when you have strong demand and very tight supply, you get good pricing.” Harris noted that hog prices are starting to rebound, and the inventory is about 16 per cent below the 10-year average. However, “Input prices were pretty high, so we’re not expecting to see a huge producer response or increase in production.” Harris predicted that hog prices may slide from about $67 per cwt

“It will be absolutely phenomenal this year, and a little bit gut wrenching and that’s going to continue.” Brett Harris

to $65 this year and maybe down to $60 in 2013.

Wheat prices weakening

Harris said canola prices dipped in December and January, putting values about 10 per cent lower than a year ago, but the USDA is still calling for a higher demand than current supply. “It’s still going to be a pretty tight market and so the forecast from BMO economics is that we should have canola prices coming

in around $580 a tonne which is still pretty reasonable,” said Harris. Strong global wheat stocks and a deteriorating global economy mean wheat prices have fallen. “We have seen prices coming off significantly for wheat and the USDA is calling for pretty significant production coming from the big players for the next little while. This is the one exception. We are going to see prices drop for wheat over the next couple of years,” Harris said.


Canada 2011 farm income hits record high Ag Can forecast  }

Grain prices seen high over the next decade

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reuters / Canadian farmers recorded record-high net income in 2011, but their earnings are likely to slip modestly in 2012, Canada’s Agriculture Department said last Monday. In 2011, strong crop and livestock prices, combined with higher government payouts for flooding in Western Canada more than offset higher operating expenses, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said in a report. Net cash income reached $11.7 billion in 2011. Prices of grains and oilseeds rose in 2011 because of low worldwide stocks, partly due to a poor 2010 harvest in eastern Europe, the government department said. 2012 will also be a strong year for farmers, as income from market sources rises faster than expenses, Agriculture Canada said. While grain prices are projected to ease, receipts should climb slightly as farmers look to plant more acres. Overall income is forecast to slip in 2012 — by four per cent to $11.2 billion — as the department does not assume catastrophic weather will trigger large government payouts. A dry winter in Western Canada suggested farmers may have little difficulty planting fields, but a lack of moisture may cause crops to struggle. Ag Canada also expects grain and oilseed prices to remain high for the next decade as a result of strong global demand, declining growth in crop yields, high energy prices and a relatively weak U.S. dollar. Prices for Canadian farmers should ease from recent peaks over the long term as farmers boost planted areas. Cattle exports should benefit from an expected revision of the U.S. mandatory meat-labelling law, starting in 2013, the Agriculture Department said. The World Trade Organization last year sided with Canada and Mexico that the U.S. law is unfair. However the United States can still appeal.



Australian-designed initiative takes root in central Alberta CO-OPERATION  Group brings together ranchers,

acreage owners and other interests such as oil and gas and forestry

Rise aBove gRassy weeds look no FuRtheR than


Clear Water Landcare co-ordinator Gary Lewis taking water samples and discussing the approach and results with locals involved in the Landcare initiative. SUPPLIED PHOTO BY MERISTEM MEDIA


he community around Rocky Mountain House believes it may have found a way to build better co-operation among the many players who deal with the broad land management challenges that face their county. They’ve started a new organization called Clear Water Landcare. It’s a grassroots effort modelled after a highly successful rural community stewardship program that began in Australia and now spans that entire nation. By any esthetic standards the country around Rocky Mountain House is spectacular and that is a major reason for the land pressure in Clearwater County. A backdrop of the Rocky Mountains bridges productive agricultural land with forest lands, a rapidly growing acreage “rural lifestyle” community with traditional ranching and farming. The extensive watersheds include world-class fisheries and heavy recreational use. Oil and gas exploration and forest industry activity is extensive. That pressure was one of the reasons that this effort got started, recalls Gary Lewis, Landcare coordinator and one of the drivers behind the establishment of the new effort. “We started out as Rocky Riparian Group with a focus on riparian areas to deal with water quality issues that some blamed on agriculture. There was a lot of skepticism and difficulty getting people to participate. That was compounded by some aggressive disagreements.” When local county leader Kim Nielsen went to Australia, he saw a rural Landcare program that had been running for 15 years or more. It was government recognized, community driven with a real grassroots focus. There are several thousand Landcare groups in that country ranging from groups of a few people who want to plant a few trees to larger units who want to get involved in bigger watershed issues. Nielsen thought the concept had merit in his area of Alberta. One thing led to another and by 2010 the Clear Water Landcare group had been established bringing together farmers and ranchers, acreage owners and other interests such as oil and gas and forestry. In 2011, Geoff McFarlane, one of the original founders of the Australian Landcare effort was invited to come to Canada and speak. This visit was well received and coincided with

Clear Water Landcare first AGM in June of 2011.

Simple messaging

The Clear Water Landcare vision is simple and direct: “A community enjoying and actively supporting sustainable water and land use practices.” The name, says Lewis, was chosen for its simplicity. “We wanted to stay away from a lot of the things that we thought had held back similar efforts. We felt that sometimes organizations complicate their mission simply by the name they choose… We also didn’t want anything that implied activism. “We liked the name Landcare because it resonates. Clear Water is very simple to explain and understand and two words separate us from the official county name. Landcare is simple to understand. We care for the land and if we care for the land we take care of a host of our concerns, including water quality and quantity issues.

EFP fits county’s tool box

Lewis also emphasizes that Landcare is intended to build on rather than replace existing tools such as the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP). In fact Lewis is an EFP technician and has been involved in running past EFP workshops. “I think that the EFP is a tremendous tool with real potential for awareness and action that fit the practice of land care. The challenge for so many of us involved in stewardship is time and resources,” says Lewis. “There is a real time challenge on the delivery side. And on the farm side, so many young people have very busy lives. A young farmer may have land to care for, 100 head of cattle and a full-time job off the farm.” There are clear signs that the Landcare effort is being watched by other counties and groups in Alberta searching for their own locally driven answers. Lewis is adamant that his group has no aspirations to be the umbrella group for the province. However, they will gladly share experiences with anyone trying to start something similar elsewhere. And out in the original watershed that started it all, where ranchers were skeptical and not so willing to get engaged? Now one of those ranchers sits on the local watershed management board. Just the kind of progress Lewis and cohorts had hoped for. More information on EFPs in Alberta at

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BULL BUYERS GUIDE FEBRUARY 2012 y d d a D r u o Y s ’ o Wh Bull Sale

9th Annual

Selling 50 Shorthorn bulls, yearlings and two year olds. The top cut from over 400 purebred Shorthorn cows. Thick, rugged BEEF BULLS that are bred to handle the harsh conditions of Western Canada. Also on offer - a select group of donor, flush and embryo lots.

For more information or a catalogue contact:

Carl Lehmann • 306-232-5212

Bell M Farms

Richard Moellenbeck • 306-287-3420 •

Muridale Shorthorn

Thursday April 5, 2012

Saskatoon Livestock Sales, Saskatoon, SK

Saskvalley Stock Farm

Scot Muri • 306-553-2244 • Catalogue online at all three websites

Sale bull videos at


NAME: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


ADDRESS: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




P.C. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PHONE NO. (___________________) ____________________________________


March 24 Rimbey, Agriplex

7:00 PM

In conjunction with

Lazy S Limousin Yearlings and two year olds. Blacks and Reds. 50 + bulls on offer. Bulls available for viewing at the ranch

Neil & Sherry, Braeden & Annie Christensen Ph: (403)783-2799 Cell: 403-704-4403

LLB Angus lot 71

born Feb 25 2011

lot 241

26th AnnuAl

Bull & FEMAlE SAlE

at the farm, Erskine AB

lot 278

born Oct 10 2010

Lee, Laura & Jackie Brown Trish & Tim henderson Box 217, erskine, alberta T0c 1G0

Spring Spectacular

MARCh 10, 2012

lot 271

born May 4 2010

born April 15 2010

Offering over 700 head of Quality Black & Red Angus Cattle

Phone: 403-742-4226 Fax: 403-742-2962

Call for a catalogue or view it online at

Canada’s largest Angus Production Sale

• 120 yearling heifers

• 300 commercial heifers

• 150 yearling bulls

• 100 two year old bulls

• 30 fall born yearling bulls

• 15 polled Angus/Simmental yearling bulls





ELK CK Iron Horse

24 Saturday March 2012 Annual Sale....

Sale starts at 1:00pm at the farm LUNCH AT NOON



Purebred & Balancer Bulls Mostly Polled • Red • Black

S: ELK CK Crazy Horse 138P D: JOB Danell Gretta 42L ET Some son’s will sell!

Ranch Raised Bulls With The Rancher In Mind! • All bulls will be Semen Tested prior to the sale

DUANE NELSON 403-626-3279 Box 1144 Glenwood, Alberta T0K 2R0

CHAROLAIS BULL SALE Friday, March 16, 2012 Innisfail Auction Market - 1:00 pm

Barry & Simone Reese Didsbury, Alberta White and Red-Factor Yearling Charolais Bulls on Offer Contact Barry: 403.335.9807 Greg: 403.507.9860

Feature Bulls: REESE ACE 61Y & REESE OX 29Y

View our catalogue online:






making black better. “Highbred vigor means more money in producer’s pockets” Allan Lively, General Manager of Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange

Plan to attend a Hereford Consignment or Production Sale in your area. For full event listings see The Canadian Hereford Digest or visit

Canadian Hereford Association • 5160 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6V1 1-888-836-7242 • Photo of Borman calves courtesy of Martha Ostendorf Mintz.






MLCC 49Y Horned Fullblood

SIR Arnold 809G x Jahari JRAU 45Y Polled Purebred

Trailblazer x Bravado




JRAU 7Y Polled Purebred

View the catalogue at

Dynamite x Preferred Beef Randy & Kathy

Box 866 Spiritwood, SK S0J 2M0 Ph: (306) 824-4717

Russell, Brenda & Liam Box 987 Spiritwood, SK S0J 2M0 Ph: (306) 824-4719

• Contact one of the Breeders Listed below. • There are Blonde bulls on test at Cattleland Feedyards; Strathmore, AB and the Manitoba Bull Test Station; Carberry, MB. Contact the Provincial Associations for more information. Arsha Blondes Art & Sharon Breitkreuz Carnwood, AB 780-542-2378

Bellevue Blondes Marcel Dufault Haywood, MB 204-379-2426

Blue Diamond Agra Dave Gerega Roblin, MB 204-937-3426

Forty Acre Blondes Don Mehler & Pat Filz Lampman, SK 306-634-2174

Little Creek Farms David & Janet Kamelchuk Athabasca, AB 780-675-1227

Spruce Vale Blondes Steve & Shirley Jackson Westerose, AB 780-586-2800

West Wind Blondes Shirley Bilton & Myrna Flesch Stavely, AB 403-549-2371

Willow Springs Stock Farm Reed & Michelle Rigney Westlock, AB 780-348-5308



c/o Canadian Livestock Records Corp.

17th AnnuAL

BULL SALE March 22, 2012 • 1:00 pM (MST) croSSroadS cenTre – oyen, aB


3R Limousin

g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g

The Rea Family

Marengo SK

red Black polled 20 yearlInGS & 20 2 year oldS

Black 2 yEAR OLds B

red 2 yEAR OLds

Free Delivery!


2417 Holly Lane Ottawa, Ontario K1V 0M7 (613) 731-7110

Talk to us about Boarding your purchase till May 1, 2012.



(306) 463-7950


(306) 463-7454 (306) 968-2923


red yEARLING E-mail:





Bull Buyers Ad_Layout 1 12/30/11 6:08 PM Page 1

Red Angus bulls have what you’re looking for... • To order CACP green tags • For bull sale listings and catalogues • For Angus-influence sale dates, show results & more

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• renowned Calving Ease • superior Fertility and Performance • unequaled Calf Vigour • Lower Inputs = GrEATEr PrOFITs

ATTENTION 4-H’ers & JuNIOrs!!


Each year, four bursaries of $500 will be available to 4-H &/or Junior members to assist in off-setting the purchase price of a Red Angus influenced project animal.

Go to or call the CAnAdiAn REd AnGus PRomotion soCiEty office for more information!

PROMOTION SOCIETY 6015 Park Place, Taber, Alberta T1G 1E9

Ph: 403.223.8009 / Fax: 403.223.5805 / Email:

The Official Trailer of the Canadian red Angus Promotion society!

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SDC Saturne 110X Polled DCD Saturne Hisman X LHD Mr Perfect

SDC Yellowknife 10Y SVY Freedom X HEJ Ripper 66P


SDC Yellow Grass 45Y Polled LT Bluegrass 4017 P X Wrangler Doubleshot 11S

View catalogue online at SDC Right Time 54Y SDC Time Out X SVY Freedom


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Untitled-1 1


1/11/2012 11:56:51 AM





West Country shorthorn Bull sale

26th AnnuAl Edition

Date: Sat. April 14, 2012


Place: Eionmor Stock Farm at the Morison Farm Time: Viewing of the Sale Offering 10:00a.m.

Eionmor Stock Farm Downsview Shorthorns

Dinner @ noon, Sale @ 1:00 p.m. On offer 30 yearling bulls, and 30 open yearling heifers

Willow Butte Cattle Co.

At the farm 26 miles west of Innisfail on Highway 54, watch for signs

Shepalta Shorthorns

Sale Management & catalogues Don Savage Auctions Phone Don at : 403-948-3520

or for more info, call Ken @ 403-728-3825 sale day: 403-877-3293 . 587-876-2544

We’ve turned Angus upside do doWn doW n

& creAted A poWerhouse of grAsslAnd genetics

• Line Bred and forage tested for 65 years, our cattle are bred to do more with less.

• 100% forage developed 2 year old red and black angus bulls for sale by private treaty

find out more Call Christoph & Erika Weder 780-765-2855

Visit or





MARCH 26, 2012 1:00 PM AT THE RANCH On offer 75 Polled Hereford, Charolais and Simmental Yearling Bulls

30 Polled Herefords Bulls


Harvie Ricochet + Harvie Hitman

CVIH 52Y Harvie Tailor Made + Harvie Ladies Man


Harvie Tailor Made + Linedrive

30 White, Tanned and Red Charolais Bulls


Winn Man Vinaza + Challenger

ELH 48Y Winn Man Vinaza + Harvie High Times


Harvie Trigger + Harvie High Times

15 Red and Black Simmentals Bulls


Kopp Crosby + HF Remington



Remington General Lee + TNT Aftershock

Wheatland Red Ace + Virgina Red Texas

Contact Harvie Ranching to get your Bull Sale Catalogue


Ian and Marlene Harvie Home (403)335-4180 Cell (403)507-3886

Cole, Jill and Tinley Harvie (403)994-1314

Scott and Kerrie Harvie (403)586-4278





1:00 pm MDT




EPDs CE -1.1 BW 4.8 WW 45.3 YW 78.9 Milk 18.9 TM 41.6

On Offer: 40 Two Year Old Purebred Bulls A good selection of Yearling Heifers All bulls DNA tested free of defects Bulls dehorned at birth

EPDs CE -2.0 BW 6.4 WW 50.6 YW 99.4 Milk 22.8 TM 48.1

EPDs CE -1.2 BW 2.8 WW 36.6 YW 64.4 Milk 22.8 TM 41.1

Is Tenderness Predictable? We think so. By using a combination of three carcass evaluation tools over the past number of years including DNA, Ultrasound, and Linear measuring, we have proven to ourselves that a wide variety of carcass traits are heritable including Tenderness. HOLLOW LONGRUN 100X

Bull Testing works – and it helps if you use the right tests. Quality matters. HOLLOW DAVID 2X

Les, Karen & Jeff Holloway Ph: (403) 882-3416 Fax: (403) 882-3417 Cell: (403) 740-0380 Located 1 mile north of Castor on Highway 36 and 5 miles east on secondary Highway 599

Visitors are always welcome!

We chose a high measuring herd sire in all three categories including a high DNA score for Tenderness. This sire’s first set of two year old bulls in 2011 had excellent results in their Ultrasound and linear measurements and the DNA Tenderness scores were amazing. 5 of his 8 sons scored 9 out of 10 on the DNA Tenderness marker and the other 3 where above all breed averages with scores of 7.

12th Annual Practical Innovators Bull Sale Saturday, April 14th 1:00 p.m. Olds College, Olds Alberta “Real” Canadian Welsh Black Beef on a Bun at Noon Sale will be broadcast live on Contact Randy Kaiser – (403) 333-6653 •





Peak Dot Ranch Ltd. Bull and Female Sale

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 At the Ranch, Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan

Selling 168 Bulls and 60 Heifers 1500

open commercial replacement heifers for sale

Many large uniform one-iron groups. Buyers of heifers receive a $5 per head credit to be used at the Peak Dot Ranch April 4, 2012 Bull Sale. (ex: 100 heifers x $5 = $500 credit) Call for details Carson... 306-266-4414 Peak Dot Pioneer 1069X

X Peak Dot Iron Mountain 1147

Peak Dot Pioneer 1066X

X Peak Dot Predominant 1086

X Peak Dot Predominant 1124

Peak Dot Iron Mountain 548Y

Peak Dot Iron Mountain 115Y

Peak Dot Iron Mountain 549Y

Peak Dot Bold 642Y

Peak Dot Iron Mountain 683Y

Peak Dot Iron Mountain 111Y

Peak Dot Iron Mountain 658Y

View Sale Book and Sale Cattle Photo Gallery at or phone Carson Moneo 306-266-4414 Clay Moneo 306-266-4411



r u o e c r i Y u o o h YYooCuuCrrhoiiccee Y oCurhhooicee


c i Y r C o u oCh ice BULLYSALE o h C 50


Friday April 20, 2012 Friday pm (CST) April1:00 20, 2012 Cowtown Livestock,

Friday 1:00 pm (CST) Maple AprilFriday 20 , 2012Creek, SK


Cattle Co.



Cowtownpm Livestock, (CST) April 20 , 2012 Maple Creek, SK Friday Cowtown Livestock, 1:00 pm (CST) Yearlings Maple Creek, SK April 20, 2012

Sure shot bull sale

2 YrCowtown Olds Livestock, Yearlings Maple Creek, SK 1:00 (CST) 2 Yr OldsCowtownpm Livestock,

Yearlings Yr Olds Maple Creek, SK 2 Yearlings 2 Yearlings Yr Olds 2 Yr Olds

Yearlings 2 Yr Olds

30/ 40

red angus black angus 2 year old 2 year old

80 Home-raised Commercial Replacement Heifers th sell April 19 , Cowtown Livestock, Maple Creek, SK

SSouth hadow outhSS hadowA ngus A ngus S outh S hadow A ngus A PHA / A QHA H orses S outh S hadow A ngus AAPHA AQHA QHA Hngus orses A ngus South S//A/hadow A SPHAouth Shadow Sire needs since 1963 Sire needs since 1963 PHA A A QHA Horses orses Sire needs since 1963 A PHAA /APHA QHA /H Sire needs since 1963 Aorses QHA Horses C atalogue R equests I&nfo CatalogueRRR equests & CCatalogue equests Info atalogue equests &&IInfo nfo Family onsignors amily ConsignorsC Family Consignors Family CFConsignors atalogue R equests & I nfo Don &&&Connie Delorme Don Connie Delorme Delorme Family CBoundary onsignors Don Boundary Angus Angus Don &Connie Connie Boundary Angus Catalogue RDelorme equests & Info Servingyour yourHerd Herd Serving Serving your Herd Sire needs since 1963 Serving your Herd Sire needs since 1963 Servingyour your Herd Serving Herd

Boundary Angus Jay En Dee Angus Jay En Dee Angus Family C onsignors Jay En Dee Angus Boundary Angus Dee Angus Jay Kay En Dee Angus DeeKay Angus Dee Angus Jay EnKay Dee Angus

Prairie Pride Angus Kay Dee Angus Prairie Pride Angus Prairie Pride Angus Boundary Angus Bear Creek Angus Kay Dee Angus Bear Creek Angus Bear Creek Angus Prairie Pride Angus Prairie PrideAngus Angus Jay En Dee Bear Creek Angus Bear Creek Angus Kay Dee Angus Prairie Pride Angus Bear Creek Angus 14-SIMMENTAL FOCUS

march 10, 2012

1:00 pm

Medicine Hat Feeding Co. Medicine Hat, Alberta

bull buyers draw for Rifle or spotting scope (306) 299-4494 (306) 299-4494 Don & Connie Delorme (306) 299-4494 (306) 299-4494 (306)Robsart, 299-4494 Brooklyn cattle co. Stryker Cattle Co. Box 28,Don S0N 2G0 &SKConnie Box S0N2G0 2G0 Delorme Duane & Betty Anne Elliott Box28, 28,Robsart, Robsart, SK S0N Will & Gladys Stryker

(306) 299-4494 Box 28,Robsart, Robsart, Box 28, SK SK S0NS0N 2G02G0

Hm: 403-377-2040 Cell: 403-362-1833

Chad & Megan Stryker Hm: 403-868-2267 Cell: 403-866-2267 Box 28, Robsart, SK S0N 2G0

Friday, 33rd March 16, 201 Annual Pheasantdale/Highway 5 33rdAnnual Annual 33rd Annual 33rd HEARTLAND LIVESTOCK, YO 33rd Annual 8TH ANNUAL BULL SALE B ull Sale Friday, March 16, 2012 1:00 PM Pheasantdale/Highway 5 B ullSale Sale ull Sale B Bull Sale


76 Bulls: 8 Long Yearlings 68 Yearlings *Red *Black *Fullblood *All Polled HEARTLAND

Friday, March 16 2012 1:00 p.m.

at the Ranch Sangudo, Alberta the Ranch Sangudo, at theRanch Ranch Sangudo, Alberta atat the Sangudo, Alberta 1:00 pm Alberta 1:00 1:00 pm pm 65 Select Bulls 1:00 pm

Heartland Livestock Yards, Yorkton, SK 78 Polled Simmental Bulls on offer:

-8 long yearling bulls- 3 Red & 5 Black -28 BlackWinner Yearling Pheasantdale 34Y bulls Pheasantdale York117Y Wheatland Bull 932W x Bring It Black -32 Red Yearling bulls Wheatland Bull 932W x MJ More Red -4 polled fullblood nner 34Y Pheasantdale York117Yyearling bulls Pheasantdale S-Force 24Y x Bring It Black Wheatland Bull 932W x MJ More Red Shear x Foxy Barnburner 30L -4 hybrid Sim x Angus yearling Forc bulls

Female offering:

*Yearling LIVESTOCK, YORKTON, SK Purebre

Saturday, Apriland7,Commercial 2012Heifers *Yearling Purebred Saturday, 7, 2012 Saturday, Saturday, April 7,2012 2012 Saturday, April7, 2012 at the Ranch April Sangudo, Alberta

8 Long Yearlings 68 Yearlings *Red *Black th *Fullblood *All Polled

Gun 8Y by Design



Cowtown Livestock, April 20 , (CST) 2012 Maple Creek, SK 1:00 pm Friday

Pheasantdale S-Force 24Y Shear Forc x Foxy Barnburner 30L

65Select Select Bulls 65 Bulls Bulls Red and Black Angus Bulls On Offer 65 Select Bulls Red and Black Angus Bulls On Red and Black Angus Bulls OnOffer Offer Red and Black Bulls On Offer 50and Summer Born Long Yearlings Red Black Angus Bulls On Offer Pheasantdale Blk Boy 190Y 50Summer Summer Long Yearlings 50 Born Long 50 Summer Born LongYearlings Yearlings 15 Yearlings 50 Summer Long Mr BlkBorn Diamond 38S x Yearlings TH Red Kahuna Yearlings 15 15Yearlings Yearlings Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd.

Pheasantdale Blk Boy 190Y Mr Blk Diamond 38S x TH Red Kahuna HF Tiger 5T

The Wildman Family 15 Yearlings Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. Pheasantdale Club 32Y

Sangudo, AB T0E 2A0 The Wildman Family The Wildman Family The Wildman Family

Cattle Co. Ltd. RC Club King xTowaw SS(780)785-3772 Gold Mine Sangudo, AB T0E 2A0 Sangudo, AB 2A0 Sangudo, ABT0E T0E 2A0

The Wildman Family (780)785-3772 (780)785-3772 (780)785-3772 Sangudo, AB T0E 2A0 (780)785-3772

Guest Consignor: Guest Consignor: Guest Consignor: Rainbow Red Angus Guest Consignor: Rainbow RedAngus Rainbow Dave & Red Rhonda Bablitz Rainbow RedAngus Angus HF Tiger 5T Dave &Rhonda Rhonda Bablitz Sale will be in Video Auction Format Dave & Bablitz Guest Consignor: Cherhill, AB Dave & Rhonda Bablitz Sale will be in Video Auction Format Cherhill, AB 6 Black/Red Carrier Sons Sell Sale Sale will be in Video Auction Format Cherhill, AB will be inbe Video Auction Format conducted by Direct Livestock Marketing Sale will in Video Auction Format Rainbow Red (780)785-2813 Cherhill, ABAngus conducted by Direct Livestock Marketing (780)785-2813 conducted Direct Livestock Marketing (780)785-2813 conducted by Direct Livestock Marketing, where online bidding willbe beavailable. available. conducted byby Direct Livestock Marketing (780)785-2813 Dave & Rhonda Bablitz, where online bidding will, where online bidding will be available., where online bidding will available. Sale will be inwhere Video Auction Format, online bidding will bebe available. Cherhill, AB Pheasantdale Topper 39Y Pheasantdale Buckshot 137Y conducted HWYT 23Y GoGo ToTo for a full listing of thesale salebulls. bulls. by Direct Livestock Marketing for a full listing of the (780)785-2813 Go ToTo forfor a full listing of of thethe bulls. Go a on full listing sale bulls. Top Gun x KWA Reality 21N Catalog and video will be available the website in Early March. Crossroad Buckshot x S. V. Fortune 7L TNT Tanker U236 xinsale Powerline, where online bidding will be available. Go To for listing of sale bulls. Catalog and video will be available the website in Early March. Go To for aa full ofthe the sale bulls. Catalog and video will bebe available onon the website Early March. Catalog and video will available on the website in in Early March. RedRed Towaw Indeed 104H Towaw Indeed 104H Catalogue and video will be available on the website Early March. Catalog and video will be available on the website in Early March. Towaw Indeed 104H Red Towaw 104H 2Red ET Sons of Indeed 104H sellsell 2 ET Sons ofIndeed Indeed 104H Red Towaw Indeed 104H Go To for a full listing of the sale bulls. 22ET Sons of Indeed 104H sell Pheasantdale Buckshot 137Y HWYT 23Y Sons ofET Indeed 104H sell Towaw have been been raising RedAngus Angus cattle Highway 5 Simmentals "At TowawCattle CattleCo. Co.Ltd. Ltd.we we raising Red cattle forfor as well as 2 ET of Rambo 502502 "At HWYT 111Y Homo Polled asET well as 2sons sons of Rambo "At Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. wewe have been raising Red Angus cattle forfor asaswell 2 2ET sons ofof Rambo 502 2 ET Sons ofas Indeed 104H sell Catalog and video will be available onmore the website in Early March. "At Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. have been raising Red Angus cattle well as ET sons Rambo 502 Also AI Sons ofU236 Also AI Tanker Sons over forty years. We aim todeliver deliver for your hard earned bull dollar; over forty years. We aim to more for your hard earned bull dollar; Crossroad Buckshot S. V. Fortune 7L TNT xover Powerline Canora, xSK Club King x Springcreek Tank Also AI Sons ofof502 "At Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. we have been raising Red Angus cattle for forty years. We aim to deliver more for your hard earned bull dollar; as well as 2 ET sons of Rambo Also AI Sons CC Expansion 5E104H and Logan forty years. We aim to deliver more for yourput hard earned bull dollar; Red Indeed CCTowaw Expansion 5E and Logan 210210 overbulls bulls thathave have as much selection pressure on them asas our that as much selection pressure put on them our CC Expansion 5E and Logan 210 Also AI Sons of bulls that have as much selection pressure put on them as our over forty years. We aim to deliver more for your hard earned bull dollar; 5 miles west of Canora CC Expansion 5E and Logan 210 Sons of Red Ter-Ron Git-R-Done 640S, 2Sons ET Sons ofTer-Ron IndeedGit-R-Done 104H sell 640S, Sons ofofRed 640S, bulls that have as much selection pressure put on them as our customers put on their own cowherd. All bulls will be semen tested, Red Ter-Ron Git-R-Done customersput puton ontheir theirown own cowherd. All bulls will be semen tested, CC 5Esons andof Logan 210 Red Shoderee Lancer 133P , Sons of Red Ter-Ron Git-R-Done 640S, customers cowherd. AllAll bulls will be semen tested, "At Towaw Cattle Co. Ltd. we have been raising Red Angus cattle Red Lancer 133P bulls that have as much selection pressure put on them astested, our for asExpansion well as 2Shoderee ET Rambo 502 on #5 highway customers put on their own cowherd. bulls will be semen delivered free inwestern western Canada, and are fully guaranteed.” Red Shoderee Lancer ,,23U, delivered free in Canada, and are fully guaranteed.” Net 133P Red Badlands NetWorth Red Shoderee Lancer 133P , Sons of Red Ter-Ron Git-R-Done 640S, delivered free inaim western Canada, and areyour fully guaranteed.” Red Badlands NetWorth 23U, Net Also AI Sons of over forty years. We to deliver more for hard earned bull dollar; customers put on their own cowherd. All bulls will be semen tested, Red Badlands NetWorth 23U, Net delivered free in western Canada, and are fully guaranteed.” Colby Wolkowski cell 306-563-7567 RedBadlands RainbowNetWorth Fully Loaded 29U Net Red 23U, HF Tiger HF Tiger 5T HF Tiger 5T 6 Black/Red Sons HFCarrier Tiger 5T5T Sell 6 Black/Red Carrier Sons Sell 6 Black/Red CarrierCarrier Sons Sell 66Black/Red Sons Sell Black/Red Carrier Sons Sell

-5 Purebred open heifers -Pens of commercial open replacement heifers

Catalogue online at Call for a catalogue or video of sale offering Pheasantdale Gun 8Y Top Gun x KS Red by Design

Pheasantdale TopperCo. 39Y Pheasantdale Cattle

TopBalcarres, Gun x KWA SKReality 21N

22 kms east of Balcarres on #10 highway, 1 km north Lee Stilborn cell 306-3357553 Lionel Stilborn cell 306-335-7708

RedExpansion Shoderee Lancer 133P , 29U Red Fully Loaded CC 5E and RedRainbow Rainbow FullyLogan Loaded210 29U Red Rainbow Fully23U, Loaded 29U Redof Badlands NetWorth Net Git-R-Done Sons Red Ter-Ron 640S, RedRed Rainbow FullyLancer Loaded133P 29U, Shoderee

Trent Wolkowski cell 306-563-7509

Red Badlands NetWorth 23U, Net Red Rainbow Fully Loaded 29U

Pheasantdale Pharao 71Y Pheasantdale Yonder 153Y Sanmar Polled Pharao x Kuntz Garth BDS Mr Blk Diamond 38S x Bodybuilder

P Cro

HWYT Club Kin

H 68

bulls that free haveinas much selection pressure putguaranteed.” on them as our delivered western Canada, and are fully customers put on their own cowherd. All bulls will be semen tested, delivered free in western Canada, and are fully guaranteed.”

Pheasantdale Real Deal 30Y Gibbys Real Deal x SU Maverick 367M

Pheasantdale Real Deal 30Y arao 71Y Pheasantdale 153Y& DVD’s contact: ForYonder catalogs x Kuntz Garth BDS Mr Blk Diamond 38S x Bodybuilder Gibbys Real Deal x SU Maverick 367M

Phea RC Club

HWYT 70Y Wheatland Bull 912W x Driftng “M” Big Sugar

HWYT 70Y Wheatland Bull 912W x Driftng “M” Big Sugar


HWYT 10Y Homo Black Club King x Black Joker





soo.indd 1


2/17/2012 12:01:17 PM




Sun Star Simmentals/Arntzen Angus Merlin & Dean Arntzen Sedgewick, AB 780.384.2350

South Holden Simmentals Jim & Garth Fleming Holden, AB 780.868.4181

Jelia Simmentals/Rolly Acres Farm Jenine Ruzicka & Ray Arntzen Sedgewick, AB 780.385.3767/780.384.2455

Rivercrest - Valleymere 9 th Annual

Spady Bull Sale 100 Black Angus Bulls 80 Commercial Heifers

Wednesday - April 11th - 2012

Free Delivery or $50 Credit

Volume Buyer Incentive

Bulls Semen Tested and Immunized for Foot Rot

Black Angus has been the foundation of the Spady program for over 70 years. Performance matters. Thick, stylish, ranch-raised bulls bred with longevity and hardiness to roam the Battle River Hills. Guaranteed to get the job done.

Sale at 1:30pm

at the Rivercrest Angus Ranch Located in the Battle River Valley near Alliance, Alberta

Contact us or Visit our Website at

Craig Spady 403-740-4978 Travis Spady 780-879-2298 Tom Spady 780-879-2180 Brian Spady 780-879-2110









Low birth weights and calving ease. Low maintenance and hands free zesty calves will want to suck and grow forward to a successful sale day experience. Salers offer Optimum potential for cross breeding. Add these exceptional maternal traits to your herd. Best Valley Salers breeds for body thickness, docility and hugh milk to achieve sound, attractive looking calves. Call early for best selection. Later delivery is available, ask us about it.


1:00 pm | March 22, 2012 | Heartland, Swift Current, SK

Our bulls like ALL the girls!

403-556-7810 site/bestvalleysalers/

Ranch Ready Customer Calves

Hybrid Vigor... the only thing free in the cattle business &


He Sells!

FOR INFOMATION CONTACT: Craig Braun Braun Ranch 306-297-2132

Donnie Gillespie Gillespie Hereford Ranch 306-627-3584

Black Angus Bulls

www.nerbasbrosangus. Shellmouth, MB CANADA 204-564-2540

Turihaua Crumble -reference sire - his sons sell / spring 2012 by private treaty







T:10.25” S:10.25”

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