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DiversificatioN: The key to success for Smoky Lake couple NUMBER CRUNCHING } Paying attention to costs and profitability of every crop and enterprise has been critical for Alberta’s 2012 Outstanding Young Farmer winners by alexis kienlen af staff | smoky lake


aying attention to the details while letting their eyes drift to the sky. That’s the motto of Angela and Robert Semeniuk, owners of RAS farms and winners of Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers competition for 2012. The couple, along with children Gabrielle and Tristan, crop 3,400 acres near Smoky Lake, custom seed 1,000 acres, and custom broadcast fertilizer on more than 25,000 acres. “The size of our grain farm alone wasn’t enough — the custom business gives us greater flexibility and a second line of income to carry us through,”

“Show them a solid business plan and make them believe.” Robert Semeniuk

says Robert. “If there is an opportunity, we try to take it.” When he took over the farm from his parents 15 years ago, Robert had cattle but sold them in 2006. He started hauling grain in 2000, but quit two years later as profit margins were too slim. Custom work has proved to be a good fit, allowing Angela to quit her off-farm job three years ago and work full time on RAS farms. “Buying and renting land around here is very competitive,” says Robert. “Going into custom work was a way that we could generate income and grow.” The couple owns two fertilizer trucks and does custom application for nearby farmers. They needed a loan to buy equipment and spent a considerable time crafting a business plan — which was a hit with their lender, Farm Credit Canada. “Show them a solid business plan and make them believe,” says Robert. Their plan forecast spreading fertilizer on 9,000 acres in their first year, but they ended up doing 19,000 acres by the end of the season. That prompted them to buy a second floater and a fertilizer delivery truck in 2010. The goal for the 2012 season is 35,000 acres. The

see diversify } page 6

emergency PLAN

Angela and Robert Semeniuk, owners of RAS farms and their children Gabrielle and Tristan.  Supplied photo

every farm should have one ready } PAGE 28

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Community matters


news » inside this week

inside » Late blight threat Both farmers and gardeners should be on the lookout





Forage needs more respect

Root maggots in canola


in brief Study shows red meat may curb the blues staff / Australian researchers have tied eating less than the recommended amount of red meat to increased depression and anxiety in women. Associate professor Felice Jacka and colleagues from Deakin University’s Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit have studied the relationship between the consumption of beef and lamb and the presence of depressive and anxiety disorders in more than 1000 women from the Geelong region. “We had originally thought that red meat might not be good for mental health, as studies from other countries had found red meat consumption to be associated with physical health risks, but it turns out that it actually may be quite important,” Jacka said. “When we looked at women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat in our study, we found that they were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the recommended amount.” The study, published in the April issue of the Italian-based journal Psychotherapy Psychosomatics, found that even when the overall healthiness of the women’s diets -- and other factors such as their socioeconomic status, physical activity levels, smoking, weight and age -- were taken into account, the relationship between low red meat intake and mental health remained. “Interestingly, there was no relationship between other forms of protein, such as chicken, pork, fish or plantbased proteins, and mental health,” Jacka said in a release. “Vegetarianism was not the explanation either. Only 19 women in the study were vegetarians, and the results were the same when they were excluded from the study analyses.” That said, the study doesn’t suggest it’s a good idea to eat too much red meat either. “We found that regularly eating more than the recommended amount of red meat was also related to increased depression and anxiety,” Jacka said. Given the results of this study, Jacka said she believes following the recommended weekly intake of red meat could boost mental health.



Food security is a problem, even in Alberta

phil franz-warkentin


Canola acreage amay be higher than StatsCan forecast

New biofuel option Ethiopian mustard being tested in Alberta

brenda schoepp

Daniel Bezte It covers half the land in agricultural Alberta


Tight rotations increase the threat


Rating the forecasters for last month


Summer camp for kids with a grassroots twist PARENTS WELCOME } The whole family can attend the Southern

Alberta Youth Range Days and learn about rangeland health

Plant identification and riparian health are just two components of the Southern Alberta Youth Range Days.  photo: courtesy SRD by sheri monk

af staff | pincher creek


ummer vacation means freedom, adventure, and lifelong memories for kids, and for many, that rite of passage called summer camp. Parents and kids seeking something different should check out Southern Alberta Youth Range Days — an annual summer camp with a distinctly Alberta twist. “The camp started in 2008 and it was sort of the brainchild of the southern counties — Cardston, Forty Mile, Cypress and Warner — along with some staff from SRD,” said Lynn Fitzpatrick, a rangeland agrologist with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD). “We just wanted a place where youth could interact with professionals in the resource

management sector in a fun and interactive way.” Forest ecology is a popular topic of study, but grasslands are often neglected even though their ecosystems are equally complex and often much more fragile. “There’s 4-H and that looks after the animal side of stuff, but there’s not really any place that kids can learn about rangelands or wildlife, so we wanted to provide that opportunity,” Fitzpatrick said. The three-day camp takes a holistic approach and shows the relationship between individual species and total rangeland health. “We do a little bit of plant identification and we teach them about rangeland health,” said Fitzpatrick. “Public Lands has a protocol that we use to assess rangelands so we teach them the basics of that, we do some riparian stuff as well, and we make it fun.

This year we’re doing a trail ride, we often do a float down the river, and we try to incorporate some of the local stuff. So if it’s at Writing-on-Stone, we learn about the Blackfoot culture and some species at risk.” There have been four camps so far — two at Writing-onStone and one each at the Cypress Hills and Police Outpost provincial parks. Participants do not need an agricultural background to attend. “We gear it toward youth in all backgrounds” said Fitzpatrick. “The first two years it was mostly 4-H kids who came, but we’ve been doing a bit better job of advertising and now we’re getting some city people to come too, so it’s farm, ranch, acreage, town and city. The ages are 13 to 18 and we actually encourage the whole family to come. So we’re learning at all levels— if you get the kids involved, then they can teach their parents.

“If you get the kids involved, then they can teach their parents.” Lynn Fitzpatrick SRD

This year’s camp will be held July 17—19 at Rangeview Ranch in Carsdston County. The ranch sits atop the Milk River Ridge, an ideal setting for learning about rangeland health. Participants will experience a trail ride, learn about wildlife management, and float the Milk River. The cost for the camp is $50, and there are only 20 to 25 spaces. The contact is Stephen Bevans with the County of Cardston at 403-653-4977.



Rural ministers go down to defeat by Wildrose Party

Higher growth for farm sector

RESULTS  Sixteen out of 17 Wildrose seats were located in central and southern Alberta

growing demand from China and India



o the chagrin of pollsters and media commentators, who predicted the demise of the 41-year-old rule of the Progressive Conservative (PC) government, the PCs roared back to power with a whopping 61 seats in the 87-seat provincial legislature. However, some prominent PC government ministers went down to defeat by Wildrose. Agriculture Minister Evan Berger, tourism minister and former agriculture minister Jack Hayden and Transportation Minister Ray Danyluk all lost their seats. Energy Minister Ted Morton, considered the

“We look forward to working with the new minister and establishing a strong relationship…” MATT SAWYER ALBERTA BARLEY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN

godfather of the government’s property rights legislation, also went down to defeat. Sixteen out of 17 Wildrose seats were located in central and southern Alberta, and all except two were rural-oriented ridings. Those rural seats represent the major core of agricultural production in the province and showed that a significant rural/urban split has developed as a result of the election. Almost since the beginning of the 41-year reign of the PC Party, rural Alberta has formed the solid base of the party’s political power. The PC party has now become a more urban-based political party, with Wildrose mainly a ruralbased party. Two leading provincial producer organizations expressed their concern with the split and with the defeat of Agriculture Minister Berger in his Livingstone-Macleod riding. For the third time in less than a year, Alberta will have a new agriculture minister. “We look forward to working with the new minister and establishing a strong relationship focused on growing the demand for barley and its profitability,” said Alberta Barley Commission chairman Matt Sawyer. “Alberta is going to have a very strong opposition that has support in many rural areas and is com-


Agriculture Minister Evan Berger was among the casualties of Wildrose strength in rural areas. SUPPLIED PHOTO mitted to a strong agricultural sector. I think this is also a positive for farmers.” In a news release on the election results, the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) stated that there will be much work to do on behalf of cattle and beef producers to make agricultural issues a signifi-

cant part of the new government’s agenda. The ABP noted that the PC Party won the majority of its seats in urban areas and did not elect many members in the rural areas of southern Alberta. ABP also said it was prepared to work with the premier and a new agriculture minister.

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Canada’s farm sector is in line for better-than-average growth in 2012 and beyond due to rising demand from fast-growing emerging markets like China and India, the Bank of Montreal said on April 25. The sector will expand by 2.5 to three per cent in 2012 and in subsequent years by two to three per cent, the Canadian lender said in a report. The growth figure is based on projected production and prices. Crop prices are expected to ease this year, but remain at relatively high levels, while production looks set to rebound after two years of flooding, wrote the report’s author, senior BMO economist Kenrick Jordan. Drought that has damaged South American corn and soybean crops is expected to underpin prices. Limiting the farm sector’s growth are a strong Canadian dollar and higher costs of fertilizer and fuel, the report said. The Canadian dollar recently touched its strongest level in seven months.



EDITOR Will Verboven Phone: 403-697-4703 Email:

Reporters Alexis Kienlen, Edmonton (780) 668-3121

Election creates a new political reality in rural Alberta

Sheri Monk, Pincher Creek (403) 627-9108

PRODUCTION director Shawna Gibson Email:

Little change } Business as usual likely, but Premier Redford’s promise of OHS rules for agriculture may come to pass

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CIRCULATION manager Heather Anderson Email:

By will verboven

Alberta Farmer | Editor

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oters in rural areas and small towns, particularly in central and southern Alberta, sent a message to their political leaders at the ballot box during the recent election — they wanted some respect. Whether they will get that respect from the victorious PC Party only time will tell, since the Wildrose Party won most of the rural seats from Lacombe to the U.S. border. That sweep encompassed much of the major agricultural production area of the province, such a political change of heart won’t be lost on the returning government. The PC Party will now be more concentrated in the major urban centres than ever before. The PCs had determined some time ago that their rural base was in trouble, mainly due to the property rights issue. They could not overcome landowner anxiety with that issue, and they seemed unwilling to do any major rethinking of their landuse legislation. The only consolation for their opponents was that Ted Morton, the godfather of much of the legislation, lost his own riding to a Wildrose candidate. One would like to hope that a benevolent PC government would find ways to mitigate the angst and frustration with their land-use legislation. But the PCs are now a more urban-based government and don’t need as much rural support as was once assumed. Part of their reaction may be to enforce the existing property-rights legislation on folks who they now see as their opposition, but perhaps wiser heads will prevail with the PC political braintrust.

The Wildrose Party for now is essentially a rural-based party as only two out of the 17 seats they won are considered urban. They would be wise to build on their beachhead in the countryside. Becoming the champion of agriculture and rural development would solidify their base. They will need to remember that most of their new-found supporters were longtime bedrock PC voters. Those same voters could well return to the PC flock if they feel ignored by their new Wildrose MLAs. The Wildrose Party also needs to find a way to become the champion of the energy industry’s service sector, which provides thousands of jobs in the countryside and in small towns. At press time there was no announcement on a new minister of agriculture. The last minister and his predecessor both lost their seats to Wildrose. One thing for sure, the new minister will not be from the rural south (rumour has it the new minister may be from the Peace River area). The agriculture post has been something of a revolving door in recent years. The next minister will be the third in less than a year. She/he may be the sixth or seventh in the past eight years — I have lost track. One of the hazards of elections is that sometimes really good candidates lose out. John Kolk, who is highly respected in industry circles, would have been a shooin for being the next agriculture minister, but he was defeated as the PC candidate in the Little Bow riding. Other excellent candidates such as Arno Doerksen, Darcy Davis and Danny Hozack, all former ABP chairmen, went down to defeat. It will be business as usual for the re-

elected PC government, which promised much of the same in marketing and rural development. The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency will be much relieved, and is now secure for another four years. The Wildrose Party had threatened to terminate it if elected. One issue that may now see some impetus is the extension of mandatory occupational safety and health, standards and workers compensation regulations for farm workers in the commercial agriculture industry. It was something that Premier Redford promised when she was running for the PC Party leadership last year. It wasn’t mentioned in the PC campaign, but with reduced PC representation from rural areas to oppose the idea, the premier may feel she can now impose those farm workers’ rights with her new mandate. This election like so many previous elections saw little discussion of agriculture and rural issues. Perhaps that should be expected. Most Alberta voters live in large urban centres or small cities. Those millions of voters have no economic or social connection to the agriculture industry, so governments will reflect that reality. The now more urban-based PC government might well even want to consider redistributing the present 87 ridings. They are presently skewed in favour of rural areas against the more populous urban areas. Considering the new political reality in rural Alberta, perhaps agriculture may well see it being treated with benign neglect by the PC government. In light of some of the other possible political consequences that may just be OK with the industry.

1-204-944-5568 For more information on The Alberta Farmer Express and subscriptions to other Farm Business Communications products, or visit our web site at: or email: At Farm Business Communications we have a firm commitment to protecting your privacy and security as our customer. Farm Business Communications will only collect personal information if it is required for the proper functioning of our business. As part of our commitment to enhance customer service, we may share this personal information with other strategic business partners. For more information regarding our Customer Information Privacy Policy, write to: Information Protection Officer, Farm Business Communications, 1666 Dublin Ave., Wpg., MB R3H 0H1 Occasionally we make our list of subscribers available to other reputable firms whose products and services might be of interest to you. If you would prefer not to receive such offers, please contact us at the address in the preceding paragraph, or call 1-800-665-0502. The editors and journalists who write, contribute and provide opinions to Alberta Farmer Express and Farm Business Communications attempt to provide accurate and useful opinions, information and analysis. However, the editors, journalists and Alberta Farmer Express and Farm Business Communications, cannot and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this publication and the editors as well as Alberta Farmer Express and Farm Business Communications assume no responsibility for any actions or decisions taken by any reader for this publication based on any and all information provided.

Muzzled media spells bad news for democracy Fiscal conservatism } It doesn’t seem to apply when hiring

communications staff to screen questions by sheri monk

af staff | pincher creek


his is supposed to be the era of instant communications but you wouldn’t know it when dealing with the federal government these days. Accessing even the most mundane information has become tedious and time consuming. In the past, communications staff facilitated information gathering by answering media requests with an expert or source who could best explain a topic of news relevance. The journalist would then interview the source, and that information was relayed to the public through the media. And then things changed. There were fewer interviews, and more email answers, often with useless and shallow content. Media requests were screened, and questions had to be pre-submitted. And the whole process began to take an unbelievably long time, often too

long to make deadline, leaving many stories dead in the water. Yet, in an age of fiscal conservatism, budget cuts and economic prudence, evermore taxpayer dollars are being spent on communications staff. The emperor isn’t only wearing no clothes, he’s building an elaborate closet to hide them in too. I hadn’t realized how bad it had truly become until last month when I requested an interview with a research scientist. The subject was agriculture and the questions were simple but technical, and too complicated for an email from a generic spokesperson to copy and paste from a website. When I expressed my frustration with the communications staffer I was dealing with, I learned that media requests are dealt with in a manner that Korean dictator Kim Jong-il would envy. Questions must be pre-submitted, so that the expert can pre-answer the prescreened questions. And then, both the questions and the answers are then screened, edited and eventu-

ally approved by between five and 11 people. That’s not communicating — it’s scripting and the answers given are propaganda, not information. In a democracy, it is the means that will ultimately determine the end. Some Conservatives will defend this administration’s draconian assault on freedom of the press as a necessary response to the “liberal, left-wing media.” First off, that’s simply not true — Canada’s media offerings are diverse, much like its people. And even if this administration were so afflicted by its own persecution complex, such a response to the media would be akin to shutting down Parliament to avoid criticism from the official Opposition to avoid backlash from public. In agriculture especially, it is imperative we remain open and transparent in homage of our traditions to maintain our global reputation and to protect international trade. Our government should lead by example, and we should hold our Ministry of Agri-

Yet, in an age of fiscal conservatism, budget cuts and economic prudence, evermore taxpayer dollars are being spent on communications staff. culture to at least as high a standard as we hold our friends and neighbours. We have a duty to honour the values of democracy that Canada has always cherished, and the media checks and balances the government’s power and control in the interest of the people. Any government that seeks dominion over the media doesn’t only desire control of the information — it seeks to control the people.



Food security is a problem, even in Canada’s richest province From the hip } After many Albertans pay for a place to live,

there isn’t much left for proper nutrition By brenda schoepp


hen most Canadians think of food insecurity, they likely envision a poor person a world away. And although they may be frustrated when a grocery item is sold out, the reality of food insecurity which is defined as a “lack of access to affordable, adequate food through socially acceptable means” is a little more startling. Statistically, nearly 10 per cent of Canadians are not able to obtain food when needed and this includes the high wage earners in the province of Alberta. A lack of healthy, nutritious food in the pantry is related to low income and/or a high cost of living. For all Albertans, the cost of housing has dominated the budget across income groups. Housing now accounts on an average of up to 71 per cent of costs with the price of utilities adding to the woe. In addition, rising fuel costs are crippling some Alberta families. This leaves very little for food Canadians now only spend between seven and 20 per cent of household income on food. Single parents need to find

adequate shelter and that is proving to be difficult as the cost of housing is up 40 per cent higher than it should be to allow for a balanced budget that includes nutritional planning. Twenty-five per cent of single-parent families face food insecurity in Alberta. Of working mothers, only 35 of every 100 earn over $12 an hour. This puts a huge stress on families and as a recent Alberta report identified, most are between $269 and $662 short of income each month. Families are not alone. Seniors are very pressed to eat at the level they are accustomed to. Today, a senior would need to pay a total housing cost of just $390 a month to meet the recommended allocation between food and shelter. And those on assisted living need to find housing for $325 a month in order not to be $1,000 short of the cost of living — housing is simply not available at this price. I recall sharing a taxi with a woman who worked with the homeless in a major Alberta city. She surprised me with the fact that so many families, even those with six-figure salaries, live on the streets and often out of their car.

The cost of a booming economy is often overlooked but if you stop and really choose to see, there is evidence all through Alberta. In Calgary one of the platform promises of Mayor Nenshi was to legalize basement suites to open up housing in the city. A strong indicator of the health of a community in terms of consumer spending power is evident in many towns where the only growing retail is the dollar and discount store. It is an irony that 10 per cent of Canadians and 25 per cent of single-parent families worry about food when food wastage in Canada is at 40 per cent. We throw away more than enough to ensure food security in the nation and in each province. But it is also a tragedy when housing costs dominate family budgets. An Alberta study found that food costs at 15 per cent or less of income was affordable if the cost of housing stayed near 30 per cent. With housing costs over 70 per cent, the food budget is totally crushed.

Paying for prosperity

Alberta is one of the richest economies in the world and has the highest GDP in Canada.

Real estate has increased 3.6 per cent annually, with financial services increasing 4.1 per cent and construction increasing four per cent of the total distribution of GDP since 1985. Food inflation is rampant. Albertans are paying for their wealth and the low-income persons in the province bear the brunt of this cost of wealth. The cost of housing is one of the highest in the nation. Today, the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment with utilities for a single male in Calgary is nearly 76.5 per cent of after-tax earnings based on minimum wage. The same apartment in Fort McMurray costs $500 a month more at $1,679. Rental rates in small towns differ very little as the precedent has been set by the larger centres. For a family of four in Calgary the cost of housing and utilities is 101 per cent of after-tax earnings based on minimum wage. If there are two minimum-wage earners in the home, day care for one child will cost 84.6 per cent of the second income. Add in the cost of transportation, education and other necessities and there is very little left — nothing really — for food. The average monthly

food cost in Alberta for a family of four is $774. Even for the single male with the bare costs of an apartment and a transit pass, there is just $1 left for food. Credit has become a way of life for all Canadians and Alberta again leads the way. Although most folks are starting to use their credit card less, they are finding other ways to borrow. Today, the debt-to-income ratio is at 150 per cent. Borrowing cannot buy one out of debt, but Albertans’ continue to buy food on credit. The numbers don’t lie. Canadians, but especially Albertans are being ripped off. An Albertan in the energy sector contributes $195 to the GDP per hour for every hour worked, yet men and women are hard pressed to find affordable housing. The high cost of housing and severe food inflation has brought food insecurity to the Canadian doorstep and to the kitchen tables of Alberta. 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. www.

Beef producers must engage the public on animal welfare Get involved } Development of a new code of practice means producers must participate in the process By Cam Dahl

general manager, manitoba beef producers


nimal welfare. These two words often evoke a strong response from livestock producers across the country who feel that their way of life is under siege by those who don’t understand them and don’t grasp what they do for society. One just has to look at a few headlines to understand why farmers may feel this way. Animal rights groups are focused on agriculture and they are calling on the public to support their efforts. Often our response has been to be dismissive of the concerns raised. But animal agriculture needs to take a step back from the traditional defensive responses to these issues. Activist groups like to portray our producers as heartless exploit-

ers of their animals. But that is simply not the case. All of the farmers I know care very deeply about the welfare of the livestock under their care. Producers go to extraordinary measures, sometimes at significant personal sacrifice, to protect the health of their animals. Activists do have it wrong, but that is not a reason to dismiss, out of hand, concerns from civil society. Consumers in Canada and throughout our key international markets are demanding to know more about their food. Where does that steak come from? Who produced it? How was it raised? Governments are responding to these questions. After all, the people asking are the same ones who elect politicians to office. If we, agricultural producers, don’t answer these questions the only people left to provide information are the activists. Governments are not the only

ones who are paying attention to the question “where does my food come from?” Our customers are paying attention as well. Large purchasers like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are developing contracts that specify how the meat they sell must be produced. Our customers are not developing these codes because it makes them feel good, they are taking these steps in response to consumer demand.

New code of practice

Producers should take this trend seriously. We need to tell our story to urban Canadians, who are mostly divorced from the realities of where their food comes from. Producers need to make a much greater effort to demonstrate the high standards of care under which our animals are raised. Our success at accomplishing this goal will determine if the words “animal welfare” will

be a nemesis that drags down our industry, or an opportunity to differentiate Canadian products in world markets and enhance our bottom lines. The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFAC) is in the process of revising the code of practice for beef production. NFAC includes representatives from producer groups (e.g. Canadian Cattlemen’s Association) the federal government, provincial governments and civil society through the humane society. This new code of practice will likely be open for public discussion by the end of this summer or early fall. Similarly, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has launched a review of the regulations for the transport of animals. In other words, what regulations need to be in place to ensure animals arrive at their destination healthy? These processes should be

Activists do have it wrong, but that is not a reason to dismiss, out of hand, concerns from civil society.

viewed as an opportunity for, not an impediment to, our industry. If the NFAC and the CFIA do their jobs, beef producers will have a clear way of proving to society what we already know — we care about the welfare of our animals. It is critical that our industry is open to conversations with the public on animal welfare issues. When voters don’t understand agriculture, the people they elect don’t understand agriculture issues.




DIVERSIFY  from page 1 Semeniuks find their customers by contracting through local ag retailers, who book the appointments. Angela’s business skills are critical to the farm. She is a certified management accountant and the couple keeps very detailed books and records. “We always know what’s making money,” says Robert. “Robert has always had a very good head for business,” adds

Angela, who used to work for Smoky Lake County, sometimes works as a consultant for surrounding municipalities, and does some bookkeeping for other businesses. The Semeniuks keep records of everything they do on the farm in order to track what’s working and what’s not. It’s also part of their risk-management strategy. “If anything happens to Robert,

I’ll be able to run the farm,” says Angela. “The more information I have, the more I can calculate our costs.” They use a program Robert created called Marketing Tracker, carefully monitor costs, and know their break-even prices, which allows them to be proactive when marketing grain. “This gives us the confidence to pull the trigger quickly,” says

Robert. Robert says he is a fan of adopting new technology and the couple has also hired a contract agronomist. “We believe in hiring team members who see our vision and are willing to invest themselves into our operation,” says Robert. The Semeniuks will compete in the national Outstanding Young Farmer competition in Charlottetown at the end of November.

“We always know what’s making money.” ROBERT SEMENIUK

Ritz promises “commonsense” fishery regulations EXCESSIVE  Farm groups and municipalities complain current federal protection

hinders even simple ditch and culvert maintenance BY ALLAN DAWSON STAFF


ttawa says new legislation will mean less meddling in Prairie affairs by fisheries officials. While the announcement was welcomed by municipalities and farmers fed up with red tape for simple drainage and other waterway projects, environmental groups say the proposals declare open season on all non-commercial fish habitat. The Conservative government wants to take “a more sensible and practical approach to protecting Canada’s fisheries,” said Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield. The new legislation will draw a distinction between “vital waterways that support fisheries” and “unproductive bodies of water like man-made reservoirs, drainage ditches and irrigation channels,” he said. This means Department of Fishery and Oceans oversight won’t be required if work is being done on a waterway not connected to an established “commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery,” even if fish or their habitat are at risk. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz called it “a common-sense approach,” but an aquatic habitat specialist with the David

“That excludes habitat protection for the majority of the fish and fish habitat in Canada.” JOHN WERRING

Ottawa is dropping regulations to protect fish and fish habitat in drainage ditches and other man-made waterways. Protection efforts will focus on where fish are caught for commercial, recreational or cultural purposes. PHOTO: ALLAN DAWSON Suzuki Foundation said the move will end protection for the majority of fish habitat in Canada. “It’s taking away the environmental provisions and protections that we have to preserve and protect fish and fish habitat in Canada and limiting it in scope to only those areas where people actually fish, which is the southern part of the country for the most part,” said John Werring. Many small creeks and drainage channels support fish, and fisheries officials frequently require steps be taken to protect them. For example, if a culvert is being placed in a stream where fish spawn, an alternative might be to use a curved culvert, locate it else-

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where or even build a bridge. When a drain is to be cleaned, the work could be delayed until after fish spawning is complete. New drains built to reduce erosion also come under scrutiny, as they can hurt water quality and downstream fish habitat. But Ritz said federal efforts to protect fish habitat sometimes border on the bizarre. He charged that fisheries officials attempted to shut down the Craven Country Jamboree, Saskatchewan’s biggest music event, last June by declaring a flooded stubble field used for camping as fish habitat. However, CBC reported at the time that flood waters, penned by dikes around the area, trapped a large num-

ber of fish in the field. Some wildlife advocates said thousands of walleye, northern pike and other species were in the field, and a CBC report said federal officials intervened because pumps used by event organizers could have destroyed the fish. Event organizers found another campsite and the event was held. The government claims incidents like Craven along with inconveniences to farmers and municipalities are behind the policy, but that’s a red herring, according to Werring. The real motivation is to make things easier for big industrial development such as pipelines, mining and forestry, he charged.

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U.S. farmer demand for machinery stays strong Active borrowing } Total U.S. agricultural loans reached $79.1 billion in the first quarter of 2012 Reuters


.S. farmers are buying equipment as agricultural finances strengthen, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said in its quarterly report on national farm lending. “Loans for farm machinery and equipment held at high levels with a sharp jump in the volume of intermediate-term loans,” the bank said in its survey, which included

national statistics from a Fed survey of banks from the week of Feb. 6. Total U.S. agricultural loans reached $79.1 billion in the first quarter of 2012, up from $62.8 billion for the same period a year ago. Farm machinery and equipment loans hit $6.9 billion, near the peak demand of $7.1 billion in the first quarter of 2011. Agricultural banking assets and balance sheets are closely monitored by economists and bankers at the Federal Reserve and by

Farmers are taking advantage of high prices to buy more equipment.

commercial bankers to gauge the health of the rural economy and money supply. U.S. Agriculture Department projections estimate U.S. farmers’ net assets will rise above $2.2 trillion in 2012, as grain farmers, buoyed by exports and ethanol continue to retire debt, expand land holdings and upgrade equipment including: combines, planters, on-farm storage bins and irrigation systems. The outlook adds up to good demand from suppliers such as John Deere and many others. Non-real estate loan volumes rose 26 per cent compared with last year, driven by a spike in intermediate-term, large loans for unspecified “other” purposes, the Fed said. “With low cow inventories lifting feeder cattle prices, banks also made larger short-term loans to the livestock sector,” the U.S. central bank said. Commercial loan demand

STATS     u.s. farm loans

Source: Reuters

from farmers may be understating strength of their buying, as many are buying with cash. Loans direct from the suppliers may also be trimming the need for private bank loans. Overall, strong farm income

combined with record farmland prices — up as much as 40 per cent last year despite the large number of farms for sale — kept loan demand from crop producers flat heading into the planting season, the Fed report said.

SemBioSys prepares to wind down company genetics } Unable to complete partnership with Chinese firm A Calgary biotech firm that used genetically modified safflowers as factories to develop a possible cardiovascular drug and a plant-based insulin has braced itself for the end of the road. SemBioSys Genetics on Apr. 30 said a strategic partnership deal signed in October with Chinese pharmaceutical firm Tasly has sputtered as the companies “have been unable to agree on certain fundamental issues including initial budgets.” SemBioSys said its efforts to revive the deal with Tasly have not been successful and it thus hasn’t moved any of its intellectual property into the joint venture. SemBioSys said it’s now likely that SemBioSys will not continue to operate as a going concern and it “has begun activities to orderly wind down the company’s business in the most effective manner possible.” The company announced April 4 that it would voluntarily delist its shares from the TSX effective at the close of trading May 1, at which time all of SemBioSys’s directors will resign from its board.

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You don’t have to tell Greg about the economics of farming. He raises cattle for himself and, through ATB, helps farmers raise the capital they need to keep going—and growing. He “talks the talk” with farmers because he “walks the walk” himself—and he’s got the “fertilizer” on his boots to prove it. For farmers, Greg’s wealth of hands-on agricultural knowledge yields better financial decisionmaking, resulting in the most valuable thing we can ever grow: trust.

Greg Malyk, Agri-Business Manager SAVING І BORROWING І INVESTING І KNOW-HOW ™ Trademarks of Alberta Treasury Branches.



Open-market optimists post-CWB Challenges } A Canada Grains Council panel identifies some new issues in wheat and barley marketing By Allan Dawson staff


here’s lots of optimism ahead of ending the wheat board’s monopoly Aug. 1, but there will be challenges too, according to a panel that spoke at the Canada Grain Council’s 43rd annual meeting in Winnipeg April 16. “I just say the sky is the limit now,” said Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association president Kevin Bender. “There are so many opportunities with what can be done. “I’m really optimistic.” Farmers will do more direct selling to processors, which will reduce the need for as much onfarm storage, Bender predicted. Concerns that grain company contracts are one sided is scaremongering, he said. Reputable companies want farmers’ current and future business. “One positive I see is the whole monopoly/open-market debate is essentially going to be over,” Bender said. “It’s going to take all of that energy that was devoted to arguing back and forth and fighting and putting that somewhere else so we can move this whole industry forward.” Canadian maltsters are looking forward to the predictability of an open market, said Phil de Kemp, president of the Malting Industry Association of Canada Ltd. “But I can’t overemphasize the

Alberta farmer and Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association president Kevin Bender says ending the CWB’s monopoly will end the fighting among farmers.   Photo: Allan Dawson fact that there are a lot of other challenges,” he said. Among them is cutthroat competition from Chinese maltsters who buy Canadian malting barley, malt it and then undercut Canadian maltsters in foreign markets. De Kemp said he suspects it is because Chinese maltsters don’t pay corporate taxes.

Fewer and bigger

Beer companies, which purchase malted barley, are becoming fewer and bigger. Maltsters might have to follow suit “in order to offset some of the economic power that brewers have,” de Kemp said. Canada’s grain handlers will manage grain movement more

efficiently in an open market, said Jean-Marc Ruest, Richardson International’s vice-president of corporate affairs and general counsel. But even more changes are needed, he said, including to the wheat variety registration system. Canada is known for its high-quality wheat, but there’s no reason it can’t also produce slightly lowerquality milling wheat. Now five or six new wheats are registered annually compared to 100 new canolas, he said. “I think it underlines a need to find a way to increase the number of varieties that are registered and allow the marketplace to decide whether or not they gain traction,” Ruest said. T:10.25”

“When we make these changes we have to make them responsibly because once the genie is out of the bottle it’s real hard to put it back in. “We need to make sure we’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Grain companies will have to figure out whether it pays to provide the grain quality and service some buyers are asking for, he said. The whole grain pipeline needs to improve efficiency and CP Rail wants to co-operate to make it happen, said Steve Whitney vicepresident of marketing and sales, agribusiness and market development. “I think the business will take on a more North American complexion in some ways,” he said. “We anticipate seeing more and more north-south flows for wheat and durum with U.S. acres moving more over to corn in particular and soybeans.” CP Rail has created eight “hubs” across the West where it drops empty cars, providing some elasticity in car supply when problems arise. As of March 31 CP Rail’s car unloads exceeded its five-year average by 16 per cent, Whitney said.

On time

Deliveries of empties were up 25 per cent from 2010-11 and 90 per cent of cars ordered were spotted on time. “I can assure you that’s a dra-

matic lift from the past year,” he said. Car cycle times to Vancouver and Thunder Bay have dropped to 14 and 11 days, respectively. CP Rail will have the capacity to haul more grain, even as other traffic increases, Whitney said. The railway has increased its capacity to move potash by increasing the number of cars in a train to 170, he said. Grain trains typically have 100 to 112 cars. “We are well ahead of the curve and we intend to stay well ahead of the curve,” Whitney said. SGS, the private grain-inspecting company, expects lots more business, in an open market, said Fraser Gilbert, the firm’s agricultural services business development manager. Private grain companies won’t have as much surge capacity as the wheat board so knowing the exact grade and specifications of grain before it even gets to a country elevator will assist in managing grain movement, he said. The increasing demand by customers for grain purchases to meet certain specifications, will require more testing. SGS was already inspecting 70,000 to 80,000 hopper cars annually on behalf of the wheat board, Gilbert said. Expected changes to the Canadian Grain Commission, including making inward grain inspection voluntary, will also drive more business to SGS.

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Pushing the envelope with canola Rotations } Back-to-back canola yields 18 per cent less than when grown after a one- or two-year break By Rod Nickel winnipeg/reuters


estern Canada’s farmers might be getting too much of a good thing by planting canola more often than usual to satisfy voracious demand for the oilseed, which is used to make vegetable oil and livestock meal. Canadian farmers are expected to plant a record-large area to canola for the sixth straight year, snatching acres from cereals and legumes out of their usual rotations. Planting canola too often allows disease-causing micro-organisms to build immunity to resistant crop varieties, while also cutting production yields an average 15 per cent by some estimates for the second of consecutive plantings. “Nobody can argue that there is no risk,” said Murray Hartman, oilseed specialist for the Alberta government. “(Farmers) seem to put more emphasis on short term and less emphasis on long term.” Crop specialists urge farmers to plant canola only once every four years, but many are more aggressive and some are even planting the oilseed in consecutive years. Over time, lower yields would slow steadily rising production in

the No. 1 grower of canola/rapeseed, leaving world vegetable oil market demand unsatisfied. Disease can also affect trade conditions, with China already restricting Canadian canola imports over blackleg concerns. The trend is similar to the love affair farmers have with corn in the U.S. Midwest, where planting in consecutive years has become more common leading up to this spring’s biggest corn area since 1944. In Iowa, the top corn state, 34 per cent of 2010 corn acres were planted again to corn in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters Lanworth data, as farmers chased high prices. After giving his land a two-year breather from canola, Saskatchewan farmer Tim Wiens is sowing the oilseed again this spring, cashing in on the highest prices in almost four years. “Price really pulls a lot of acres,” said Wiens, who will plant onethird of his 2,000 acres to canola in west-central Saskatchewan, where dry conditions mitigate disease risk. “The rotations are definitely tightening up.”

Crushers drive up demand

A mix of homegrown and overseas demand has driven the canolaplanting frenzy, with expansions

biofuel flight

of Canadian crush plants in recent years by Cargill, Richardson International Limited and Louis Dreyfus and others planned by Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge. Many of the same companies, along with Viterra, also export canola seed to Japan and Mexico. According to crop insurance data, farmers in the robust canola area stretching from northwest to southeast Saskatchewan chose to take only a one-year break from canola more often than other choices in 2010 and 2009. The recommended four-year rotation has not been the most popular option since 2008. “Fifty per cent are listening, but the other 50 per cent are taking chances,” said Venkata Vakulabharanam, the government oilseeds specialist in Saskatchewan. In Alberta’s Peace region, farmers in 2009 overwhelmingly chose to grow the crop consecutive years or with just a one-year break over a two- or three-year break, according to a study by oilseed specialist Hartman, based on crop insurance data. Growing canola in consecutive years in the region resulted in 18 per cent lower yields than canola grown after a one- or two-year break, according to data from 2004-09.

canola     canadian farmers

Source: Reuters

Frequent plantings of a crop variety that is engineered to resist a certain disease, like blackleg, is a recipe for building up the disease itself as surviving microorganisms become dominant, Hartman said. Farmers may ultimately fork over some of today’s profits to pay for tomorrow’s consequences, as stronger disease-causing microorganisms force seed companies to retool crop varieties and farmers to apply chemical sprays, Hartman said. Some farmers have already learned the hard way.

Growing canola too much helped spread clubroot, a rootattacking disease that infected thousands of acres over the past decade. In some areas of Alberta, local governments ordered farmers not to grow canola for between three and six years. Even with yield losses, many farmers are pushing their luck with canola fetching roughly double the price of wheat. “Canola is No. 1 and it takes a lot to even get close to that (return),” said Saskatchewan farmer Wiens.

Working together es around power lin

Today’s farm equipment is bigger than ever. That can mean big problems when working around power lines. Plan ahead. Call us at 1-800-668-2248, and we’ll work together to move your equipment safely. Porter Airlines workers fill a Bombardier Q400 turboprop April 17 for what Porter says is the first biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada. The plane flew to Ottawa with one engine powered with a 50-50 mixture of biofuel and jet fuel. The combination included 49 per cent oil derived from camelina, and one per cent from carinata.  Supplied photo



Biotech corn set for rapid Asia expansion, Syngenta says MEAT CONSUMPTION  Asia faces huge challenge to boost yields to meet demand BY DAVID FOGARTY AND NAVEEN THUKRAL SINGAPORE/REUTERS


ajor Asian buyers led by China are set to approve genetically modified corn within the next three to five years to give yields a boost as growing demand for meat drives greater consumption of the staple, the world’s top agrochemicals company said. Changing diets and greater wealth are pushing up demand for corn, a key source of animal feed, in Asia. But local yields are not enough to meet demand, triggering imports and inflation. This is accelerating the push to improve yields and food security, said Davor Pisk, chief operating officer for Baselbased Syngenta, one the world’s top seed firms. China’s corn yields are half

those of the United States, and the world’s second biggest consumer and grower of corn is becoming increasingly reliant on imports. Domestic firms are likely to introduce GM corn by 2017 or earlier. “I would personally expect that within the next four to five years we will see GM corn commercialized in China,” Pisk told Reuters in an interview in Singapore. He said the government wanted to be certain there was public confidence in GM first as well as ensuring local firms had the technology to pioneer GM crops. Other countries held strong sales potential for GM seeds and chemical products that kill weeds and pests, Hardeep Grewal, Syngenta’s head of corn marketing for the Asia-Pacific, said in a separate interview in Singapore. “My belief is that over the next three to five years, you will see

the use of GM technology fairly widespread with small-scale growers in the Asia-Pacific,” Grewal said.

China yields must increase

And China held huge promise. China over the next 15 years needed about 80 million to 100 million tonnes of additional corn production a year, he said. “In order to meet that requirement, yields in China have to go up by about two to three tonnes per hectare. It’s quite a challenge. It means yields have to go up 50 to 60 per cent.” Yields are currently about five tonnes per hectare. Vietnam, one of the world’s fastest-growing feed grain markets, was on track to give Syngenta approval for GM corn by the end of 2013, with yield increases of up to 40 per cent possible, Pisk said. After Vietnam’s expected

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approval, Pakistan, India and Indonesia were likely to be next. “Pakistan have already given the cultivation approvals. Now it has to go through the environment and food safety approvals. So they are pretty well advanced,” Grewal said. “So I would say Pakistan, and then Indonesia and India probably around the same time-frame, 2014 to 2015.” Grewal said the rapid adoption of GM corn in the Philippines over the past seven years and hybrid corn in Vietnam showed the potential of the market. “Vietnam is a really exciting story for corn. Only 10 years ago, not much corn was grown there,” he said. “In a decade, the use of hybrid corn in Vietnam has gone to 100 per cent. And farmers’ yields moved from two tonnes to five tonnes per hectare with the switch.”

In the Philippines, corn plantings totalled about 2.5 million hectares, with about half planted to hybrid corn. “Small-scale farmers are very quick to adopt our technology. So the Philippines has gone from very little GM to almost 100 per cent GM corn. We believe the same will happen in China.” Pisk said the company was ready to ramp up investment in Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation. “We would expect GM acceptance there within the next three to four years and we’re planning for that. So we’re ready to invest aggressively in the Indonesian market as opportunities come up.” Indonesia is likely to produce 8.7 million tonnes of corn in 2011/12, up from 6.8 million tonnes a year ago. It is likely to consume 10 million tonnes during the year.

CP Rail says it can’t move whole crop off the combine MAYBE NOT  Contrary to suggestions, you may have to start your auger next winter after all BY ALLAN DAWSON STAFF

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This just in — the railways won’t move Western Canada’s entire wheat crop off the combine this fall. “To use a cliché in building the church for Easter Sunday, there’s a reality that it’s a seasonal business and we’re responsive on a seasonal basis to the business,” Steve Whitney, CP Rail’s vice-president of marketing and sales, agribusiness and market development said April 16 at the Canada Grains Council’s 43rd annual meeting in Winnipeg. “We move more grain at certain times of the year than we do at other times of the year. But we have to be realistic in terms of the overall capabilities of the supply chain to respond to a peak that might be two months.” Whitney was responding to a question from Cherilyn Nagel, past president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. Nagel, who farms 10,000 acres with her husband at Moss-

bank, Sask., said she would prefer to deliver their entire crop off the combine rather than delivering throughout the crop year. “We’re kind of looking for real good service right off the combine,” Nagel said, asking if CP Rail will add more cars to accommodate it. “No,” said Whitney, sparking laughter around the room. “I hear what you’re saying,” he said “We intend to deliver real good service and we are delivering real good service.” CP Rail has 12,000 grain hopper cars, he added. “Going out and getting another hopper so I can make that one or two extra trips in one month of the year just isn’t a viable business investment. “I’m not saying I have to have a hopper car every day, every week, 12 months of the year, but I can’t build to take the entire crop when it comes off the combine. “We have to make money.” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said earlier this year when the wheat board’s sale monopoly ends, farmers can deliver all their wheat off the combine.



Canada canola sector aims for China breakthrough Blackleg } Despite concerns, China has purchased

1.5 million tonnes this year By Rod Nickel winnipeg/reuters


he Canola Council of Canada is working to convince China to scrap its trade restrictions against the oilseed, Canada’s most profitable crop, and is hoping for a breakthrough this year, the organization’s new head said May 1. Canadian government and trade officials have made frequent visits to China, and the canola council is wrapping up a joint research program to address China’s concerns about the spread of the fungal disease blackleg in its domestic growing areas. “We really hope those results will have an impact and will encourage China to open up their borders again,” said Patti Miller, president of Canada’s leading canola trade group, in an interview with Reuters on her second day on the job. China, the No. 2 canola/rapeseed grower just behind Canada, has restricted imports of Canadian canola with blackleg to a handful of crushing plants since late 2009. Those limited concessions are temporary exceptions to an outright ban, and are up for annual renewal. Oilseed traders in China said in March that they expect Chinese quarantine authorities to partly lift restrictions and allow imports of Canadian canola by crushers in major rapeseed-growing areas.

China’s appetite for North American oilseeds has grown in the wake of weather-related damage to South America’s soybeans and European rapeseed. Despite the trade restrictions, China bought 1.5 million tonnes of Canadian canola from August through February, nearly tripling the volume from a year earlier and making it Canada’s biggest export market for canola seed this year. Canada controls more than twothirds of global trade in canola, or rapeseed. China has also aggressively bought U.S. soybeans, which compete with canola in the vegetable oil market, to cover supplies not available from South America. The canola council, led by canola crushers, exporters, farmers and seed developers, will likely see production this year surpass the industry’s long-held goal of harvesting 15 million tonnes annually by 2015. A new set of goals is in the works, but Miller, who previously worked for the Canadian Agriculture Department and Cargill Inc. CARG. UL, admits canola’s rapid growth has raised some red flags. To cash in on high prices, farmers are alternating canola plantings with other crops less often than recommended, raising the risk of spreading crop disease. “How much bigger can we get? That is one of the questions we’ll have to look at,” Miller said.

“There’s a balance we have to have — the acreage, the rotations and the disease pressures. “Obviously, it’s an extremely profitable crop for farmers to grow and that’s why we’ve been expanding it the way we have.” The canola industry will be retooling in the biggest year of change for Western Canada’s farm industry since the Second World War. The wheat board gives up its marketing monopoly over wheat and barley on Aug. 1, and the world’s biggest diversified commodities trader, Glencore International, is on track to take over top Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc. by midsummer. Part of canola’s appeal to farmers has been that they can sell it on their own timetable, unlike the monopoly system for wheat. “I certainly don’t view (the marketing change) as a threat or competition, it’s just part of a portfolio of choices farmers will be making,” Miller said.

Crop report schedule for 2012 Biweekly } First report will be issued this week Agri-News

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development recently posted the 2012 crop report schedule online. Since 1940, this program, has captured and delivered timely information relating to crop production in Alberta during the current crop season. This is achieved through the use of surveys, which collect data on moisture and crop conditions, progress of seeding and harvesting, insect and disease situation, yield potential and crop quality. Again this year, data collected through the surveys, along with information from other sources will be used to compile the biweekly crop report. These reports will present provincial

and regional summaries. The crop report is used by industry and other stakeholders for various purposes, including drought monitoring and forecasting of production insurance payments. It is also used to validate some of the Alberta crop estimates generated by Statistics Canada. The delivery of the Alberta 2012 Crop Reporting Program is done in partnership with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), and members of the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen (AAAF). This year, the crop reporting series will consist of 13 bi-weekly reports, seven prepared by AFSC and six by Alberta Agriculture. The first crop report is scheduled for release on May 8, 2012.

CAREA gives back! As a member-owned rural utility company, Central Alberta REA takes pride in giving back to the communities where we live and work. Our contributions are also supported by the personal involvement of our employees and members who participate in fundraising activities to support the CAREA Cares donation program, which currently gives to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Central Alberta REA also has member-dedicated programs, including scholarships for students entering post-secondary school; and we sponsor two youth leadership camp registrations annually. In support of our business, providing cost-efficient electricity to rural Alberta, the Central Alberta REA provides scholarships for a third year power line technician attending NAIT and an office technology student attending Red Deer College. And to round out our commitments, we are a Silver sponsor of the Outstanding Young Farmers of Alberta and proud to be a corporate friend of Olds College. For more information on Central Alberta REA’s community commitments, you can visit!

“Keep up the great work of providing us with electricity. We all would be lost without it.” D. R. Johnson, CAREA Member Joe – CAREA Utility Tree Trimmer



Factors for spring termination of hay land DELAY  Spring termination of hay land will delay the

seeding date two to three weeks AGRI-NEWS


raditionally, forage stands are terminated in the fall so that a good seedbed can be established and the sod root system has some time to decompose. However, hay stands can also be terminated in the spring. Producers just need to be aware of a number of factors that can impact success. Spring termination of hay land will delay the seeding date two to three weeks. In order for herbicide applications to be effective, sufficient plant material must be present. Grasses should be at the three- to four-leaf stage and legumes need to be actively growing to allow for good herbicide coverage. Seeding will need to be delayed three to five days after the herbicide application to allow thorough translocation into the plant. A number of factors will influence the type of annual crop to be seeded. With sod seeding, the most consistent results have occurred with cereal crops such as barley or oats. The larger seed size with cereals allows seeds to be placed beneath the thatch layer into soil where good

soil to seed contact occurs. Crop competitiveness must also be considered. Seed quality, seeding rate, seeding depth, crop height and fertilizer placement are all factors that producers need to consider. Soil moisture must be managed properly. In many areas of the province, conservation of spring moisture is essential for crop establishment. Direct seeding into sod will retain available soil moisture that would be lost if multiple tillage operations were used to prepare a seedbed. Even with direct seeding it is important to recognize that available soil moisture will be reduced as the forage species grows to an appropriate stage for spraying. Moisture conditions at the time of seeding must be evaluated, as does soil fertility. It is important to remember that late-seeded crops will have a shorter growing season to produce grain. In these situations, seeding a crop that can be used for silage or green feed offers a viable end use for these fields. A factsheet answering many questions about spring termination of hay land is available on Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s website under Frequently Asked Questions.

Cargill earnings bounce back led by food sector RECOVERY  Company reports $766 million in

third-quarter profit



.S. agribusiness giant Cargill reported a rebound in earnings after its worst quarter in a decade, led by record profits in its global food ingredient businesses and stronger results in energy trading. Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world’s largest privately held corporations, reported $766 million in earnings from continuing operations for the fiscal third quarter ended Feb. 29, just ahead of $763 million a year earlier. Revenue rose five per cent to $31.9 billion. Third-quarter results represent a bounce back after Cargill’s second quarter profits fell 88 per cent to $100 million — the worst quarterly performance since 2001, as earn-

“Although it continues to be an unsettled year for the global economy, we did a better job navigating the uncertainty.” GREG PAGE CARGIL’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE

ings were hurt by investments made in equity markets and by distressed assets amid the European debt crisis. “Cargill’s earnings strengthened in the third quarter, totaling more than twice that earned in the first six months of the fiscal year,” Cargill’s chief executive Greg Page said in a statement. “Although it continues to be an unsettled year for the global economy, we did a better job navigating the uncertainty.” Despite the third-quarter rebound, profits were still below year-ago levels in four of Cargill’s five main business units. But there were “much stronger” results in the company’s energy businesses, the company said, which kept its big risk-management and financial unit slightly below the year-ago results. Cargill and rivals such as Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge were hit late last year by volatile prices, with commodity markets often gyrating on news of the European debt crisis rather than the fundamental factors like food supply and demand. But it said the recent quarter saw a marked improvement. “The grain and oilseed trading and processing businesses put their combined insight to good advantage in analyzing and managing the ongoing instability and risk in the global economic and geopolitical environment,” Cargill said in its release.


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Australia delays grain port auction TRANSPARENCY  The auction system in Western Australia has exposed problems SYDNEY/REUTERS


ustralia’s competition regulator has halted a proposal by grain handler Viterra to auction port capacity after similar auctions in other parts of the country have exposed problems allocating capacity despite a bumper harvest. Viterra, Canada’s largest grain handler, has been working on plans to introduce an auction system to allocate port terminal capacity in South Australia from May this year. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which said it would give more time to consider potential modifications to the proposal, noted that auction systems had not resolved some export issues in Western Australia. “Recent auctions in Western Australia have highlighted a number of problems with the operation of the system. Large

China hungry for U.S. corn

volumes of capacity have not been allocated through auction, despite the record-breaking crop harvested this season,” the ACCC said in a statement. Australia, the world’s fourthlargest exporter of wheat and major producer of barley, sugar and canola, deregulated its grains industry in 2008. Some growers and traders have complained that bulk grains companies such as Viterra and locally listed GrainCorp. wield too much control over the allocation of export facilities. Viterra officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The ACCC statement came a day ahead of the publication of a report by a Senate Committee on grain export networks, with several industry groups pushing for the introduction of transparent auction systems to allocate access to port terminals. Auction systems are likely to be a key element of the findings of

the Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee.

Viterra, which is the target of a $6.2-billion takeover bid from Swiss-based commodities giant

Glencore Ltd., has a monopoly on South Australia grain export facilities.

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purchases exceed USDA estimates by a million tonnes BY KARL PLUME REUTERS

Opportunistic corn buying by China after U.S. prices hit a twomonth low in April and Chinese domestic prices hovered near all-time highs, ended in the largest single-day U.S. corn export sale in more than two decades. The bulk of the purchases for the week of April 27, which could be the largest since at least 1994, were for grain to be harvested next fall, when U.S. farmers were expected to reap a record-large crop. But China’s old-crop purchases have topped U.S. government estimates, suggesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture may be poised next month to tighten its 2011-12 U.S. ending stocks estimate, already at a 16-year low. USDA on April 27 confirmed U.S. corn sales totalling 1.56 million tonnes, including 1.44 million tonnes for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2012-13 marketing year beginning September 1 and 120,000 tonnes of corn to China for delivery in the current marketing year. The unknown destinations do not need to be declared until the grain is loading, but reports of active buying by Chinese importers suggested that most or all of the corn was bound for China. China, the world’s top soybean importer, has emerged as a big buyer of corn from the United States, purchasing nearly 4.7 million tonnes so far in the 201112 season. Including sales to China but reported to unknown buyers, imports by Beijing could easily top five million tonnes this season, besting the current USDA forecast for just four million tonnes of imports this season.

Wheat is transferred from a train to the cargo ship. Australian competition regulators are eyeing whether port capacity should be allocated by auction. REUTERS/BEN NELMS

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3/30/2012 10:58:25 AM


NEWS » Markets


Hard to buy U.S. soybeans

CME to be open 22 hours?

Archer Daniels Midland Co is “very concerned” about the potential for low U.S. soy supplies due to a shift toward corn plantings, said Craig Huss, chief risk officer. Farmers are expected to increase corn plantings to a 75-year high this spring to take advantage of high prices and to plant fewer acres of soybeans than last year, according to U.S. government estimates. “We’re very concerned about it,” Huss said on a conference call with analysts in response to a question about the acreage shift. Later in the call, he added that it will be “difficult to buy beans going forward.” — Reuters

CME Group will extend trading hours for its hallmark grain contracts, two sources close to the matter said Apr. 30, as the Chicago exchange moves to defend its turf against rival ICE’s bid for nearly round-the-clock transactions. The board of the CME has agreed to extend trading hours, but has not decided on how many hours to add to its trading day or when to implement them, the sources said. Chicago traders had earlier cited widespread talk that the CME was planning to extend the trading day to 22 hours, matching the trading period unveiled several weeks ago by the Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange.

Canola acreage may be higher than StatsCan forecasts China } It remains an active buyer and there are indications

that more shipments are likely By Phil Franz-Warkentin


ld-crop canola contracts climbed to new highs on the ICE Futures Canada platform during the week ended April 27, as the tight supply situation in Western Canada provided underlying support. Commercials were also scrambling to cover their short positions rather than be forced to make deliveries on the nearby May contract before it comes off the board. The newcrop months were also up on the week, although the gains there were more subdued and resistance was holding to the upside amid expectations for a recordlarge canola crop. Statistics Canada released its first acreage projections of the year on April 24, forecasting canola area at a record 20.4 million acres. While that would be 1.5 million acres above the previous record, set in 2011, the tight supply projections mean that the area will be needed to meet the solid demand. Over the past few years, actual canola seedings have generally gone up by 500,000 to one million acres from the initial estimates in subsequent StatsCan reports. Even under that scenario, weather conditions over the growing season, and their impact on yield projections, will be important to watch from a marketing standpoint. Old-crop canola prices could conceivably keep rising to the $700-per-tonne level, but how exactly how much is left to be priced that high remains to be seen. Soybeans in Chicago saw a similar price move during the week, climbing sharply in the front months and lagging to the upside in the new-crop futures. Declining crop prospects out of South America, together with solid demand for U.S. beans from China, was behind some of the strength as the market works to ration nearby demand. While “overbought” and “in need of a profit-taking correction” would both describe the current state of the canola and soybean markets, there is a case to be made that any correction would be met with solid buying interest. In canola’s favour, China remains an active buyer and there are indications

that more shipments to the country are likely. China’s National Grains and Oils Information Centre released a report during the week predicting an increase in rapeseed oil imports to one million tonnes in 2012, from about half that in 2011. Seed imports are also forecast to rise to two million tonnes, from 1.26 million, as relaxed blackleg restrictions are allowing more Chinese crushers to bring in Canadian canola. Looking further out, the centre is predicting canola

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imports will rise to three million tonnes or more over the next few years. Canada accounts for the bulk of the canola and canola oil moving into China, but even if that demand is picked up by someone else, it would provide underlying support for the Canadian market.


Activity in the grains was a little more mixed during the week. The nearby corn contracts in Chicago climbed sharply higher, also due to strong Chinese demand and tightening supplies. Chicago wheat futures moved up in sympathy with corn, and also found some support on ideas that the early development of the U.S. crop would leave winter wheat in the country susceptible to a late frost. However, the spring wheat futures in Minneapolis moved down during the week. The Minneapolis futures are

more closely related to the Canadian wheat market, and the losses there were linked to the quick seeding pace and the expectations for a much better U.S. spring wheat crop this year. Spring wheat plantings are running well ahead of normal in the U.S., as growers in the northern-tier states benefit from good seeding conditions. Early Canadian seeding reports are also starting to trickle in, and should only gain steam over the next few weeks. Seeding weather, as always, will be a factor in the grain and oilseed markets — at least for the new-crop months. For the old crop, there may be some more fireworks in store, but it’s anybody’s guess how long the show will last. Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.



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Reversal patterns signal a downturn in cattle prices Gravity } The law also applies to prices — what goes up must come down By david drozd


arkets can and often do change direction on a moment’s notice. Cattle prices were at a record high in early March 2012, but quickly turned and dropped below the uptrending channel, thus ending the rally. An uptrending channel develops during a period of rising prices and support is determined by a line drawn across the lows of the reactions. Once a trend begins in earnest, it has a very high tendency to persist. When rallies begin to fall short of the upper channel boundary, this could prove to be an important first indication that the current trend is running out of steam.

There’s the old adage, “The trend is your friend,” so when prices break below the lower boundary (A), of the uptrending channel, this changes the trend and selling increases. As soon as sell-stops are triggered — prices plunge. After a valid penetration of the channel’s lower boundary, prices will move with an initial thrust in that direction, but then will often turn back to approach the trendline (B), which invariably provides a selling opportunity. We’ve all heard the expression, “What goes up, must come down.” This is especially true in commodity markets. It is only a matter of time before a fully entrenched bull market, like live cattle, dies under its own weight. The news is always bullish at

the top, so tops are often elusive and difficult to predict. The outlook for higher prices attracts more willing buyers, who jump in at any price and this propells prices higher. Then without any fundamental change — prices suddenly reverse back down on long liquidation.

live cattle weekly nearby     as of 04/25


I find that the best way to cut through all the positive, marketdriving “news” often associated with the top of bull markets, is to have the discipline to rely on welldefined chart patterns. Reversal patterns that appear on the daily, weekly and monthly charts are reliable tools for identifying a change in trend, especially when they emerge at the height of a bull market.

The first indication that cattle prices were about to turn down was when a two-day reversal

provided a sell signal on March 2, 2012. This reversal pattern occurred on the April 2012 futures contract, as prices were challenging the contract high ($131.50). Further verification of the impending downturn occurred when a two-week reversal materialized on the weekly nearby chart on March 9, 2012, which was followed by the development 4188-2K of a two-month reversal on the monthly nearby chart on March DECEMBER 8, 2011 30, 2012. It is not all that uncommon to see a reversal pattern at the top SYNGENTA of a rally on the daily charts, but when it is followed by reversal patCEREALS terns CRUISER on the MAXX weekly and ADmonthly HURDLE nearby charts, it adds all the more probability of an ensuing downturn. ALBERTA FARMER EXPRESS I’ve illustrated the two-week reversal in the accompanying CHRISTINE chart. On the first week, the mar• highs, and ket advances to new closes very strong at or near the 8.125" X 10" high of the day. During240% the following week, prices open unchanged to slightly ________________ higher, but fail to have followthrough strength.______________ Selling picks __ up, which stalls the advance and ________________ _ prices begin to erode. By week’s end, the market__________________ drops to around _ the preceding week’s low and closes at or near that level.

Market psychology

The two-week reversal is a snapshot of a 180-degree turn in sentiment. On the first week, the longs are comfortable and confident. The market’s performance provides encouragement and reinforces the expectation for greater profits. The second week’s activity is psychologically damaging. It is a complete turnaround from the preceding week and shakes the confidence of those who are still long the market. The longs respond to weakening prices by exiting (selling) the market. Keeping a watchful eye for reversal patterns in a bull market can provide insight and an opportunity to hedge prices before a market’s trend changes. Send your questions or comments about this article and chart to

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David Drozd is president and senior market analyst for Winnipeg-based Ag-Chieve Corporation. The opinions expressed are those of the writer and are solely intended to assist readers with a better understanding of technical analysis. Visit Ag-Chieve online at for information about grain-marketing advisory services, or call us toll free at 1-888-274-3138 for a free consultation.

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inderella has a dark side. Canola, the golden child of Prairie farmers, has become a major weed issue and reached No. 5 in the 2010 Alberta weed survey. “It’s never been in the Top 10 before, suggesting tighter acres and rotations, but also higher prevalence in relative abundance,” said Neil Harker, research scientist and weed ecologist with Agriculture Canada at Lacombe. “This is a relative abundance rank compared to other weeds.” Harker has been studying harvest losses and presented his findings at a recent Alberta Canola Industry seminar. On average, about six per cent of a canola crop is left behind after harvest, he said. “There are a lot of sources of harvest loss,” said Harker. “It can happen after combining as well as behind the combine and behind the swath, depending on what happens during swathing. It can also happen based on the type of stand that you have, the pod-filling process and how uniform that is.” One study found about 3,600 seeds are left behind on every square metre of a canola field — roughly two bushels per acre. That’s about 20 times the seeding rate, and therefore a good reason “to develop genotypes with very low secondary dormancy and reduce the volunteer issue,” said Harker.

Volunteer canola is now the No. 5 weed in Alberta. One study found the germination rate to be about three per cent. “We lost a lot to fatal germination in the fall and there were some that were eaten by beetles and other animals,” said Harker. Research is ongoing into the factors contributing to harvest losses, but they seem to be going up. “We’re certainly not improving, and we’re losing more seeds per

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metre — higher yields probably have something to do with that,” said Harker. Researchers found straight cutting resulted in higher losses than swathing, but losses for both methods were lower when harvesting was done in the morning. Combine manufacturer and type made little difference to harvest losses. Higher seeding rates and good stand densities also reduced losses.

If your rotation is canola, snow, and canola again, you’re setting yourself up for a root maggot infestation. Insects love it when you grow the same crop year after year, and root maggots and canola are no exception, University of Alberta entomologist Lloyd Dosdall told attendees at a recent Alberta Canola industry update seminar. Dosdall was part of a research team that examined how canola rotation — or the lack of it — affects crop damage, yield and seed quality. The study examined 13 different treatments done across Western Canada at five different sites from 2008 to 2011. Several sites were continuously cropped with canola, while others had a canola-wheat-canola rotation or only had canola in one of the three years. At the end of the season, researchers examined root damage to determine the severity of root maggot infestation. “The damage to canola that was grown continuously was more severe than when canola was rotated,” said Dosdall. Root maggot larvae overwinter in soil and the study found the damage they cause increased every year. “We had the highest yields in the first year of continuous canola, and then they just dropped down significantly in the following two years,” he said. Dosdall said the loss from continuous cropping ranged from a loss of $280 to $380 per hectare.

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Study finds drop in yields significant after first year



LEFT BEHIND  One study found roughly two bushels


Researchers investigate high harvest loss in canola

Continuous canola can lead to root maggot damage

Manitoba’s Agriculture Department has reported that soil samples taken from two unrelated fields in 2011 are now confirmed to contain traces of DNA from the clubroot pathogen at “extremely low levels.” These results mark the first time clubroot DNA has been identified in soil samples from Manitoba, the Ag Department said. The two samples are still considered negative for clubroot itself, but are termed as “non-symptomatic fields of concern.” No symptoms of clubroot were found on canola plants in the two fields during the 2011 season, nor on plants grown later in the same soil under regulated greenhouse conditions.





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In the hazy world of organic grain marketing, growers turn to “speed dating” to meet buyers maintain rotations } Experts say growing last year’s hot sellers inevitably leads to a glut and low prices by daniel winters staff / brandon, man.


rowing organic crops can be tough. Finding reliable buyers even tougher. A recent matchmaking event was aimed at helping the two sides of the organic supply and demand equation meet in the hopes that the industry might go forth, be fruitful, and multiply. “It’s speed dating,” said Laura Telford, an organic business development specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, which organized the event. “This is the first time we’ve done it for grain growers. It’s pretty common in the horticulture world to hook up restaurants and market gardeners.” About 40 organic growers gathered in an auditorium at the

Joe Dutcheshen  photos: daniel winters

Roger Rivest

Tom Greaves

Brandon GO Office as a handful of buyers stood up one by one to give a short summary of their needs for the coming year. After lunch, growers and buyers could meet for one-on-one talks in private rooms. Because organic crops aren’t traded on public exchanges, growers need to do some sleuthing to

determine forward prices and markets, said Telford. That makes it hard to know what to grow. Asked if they had finalized their seeding plans for this year, only three growers raised their hands. The lack of a futures market for organic grains can lead to some topsy-turvy situations, said Roger Rivest, who was at the workshop

promoting his company, Tilbury, Ont.-based Keystone Grain. For example, feed-grade organic soybeans were fetching $20 to $22 per bushel, which was higher than food grade at that time. “It was the first time I’d ever seen that in 25 years,” said Rivest. Last year’s supplies of corn, soybeans, and soft wheat have been

bought already, while oats and barley have been “gone for a long time,” he said. Corn, barley, and peas — at $12 per bushel — are likely to be the top organic crops this year, he added. But spelt is in a glut, following its typical three-year cycle of lean and fat years. “If it goes up to $550 per tonne, everybody grows it and changes their rotation, floods the market, and drives it down to $300 — then they sit on it for three years,” said Rivest. “If the farmers would just follow their rotations, they’d have a stable market.” Farmers are always calling him to inquire about what to grow, but he advises them to stick to the program. “Don’t change your rotations,” said Rivest. “One year corn will do well, next year wheat, or spelt, or something else.”

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In Ontario, a multicrop of oats, barley, and peas, which sells for $320 per tonne, has been climbing in popularity. The varieties are chosen for matching days to maturity, then harvested altogether and milled into a complete feed with a vitamin and mineral premix added for organic hogs and poultry. “The higher the percentage of peas, the more it’s worth due to the protein,” he said. “The secret is to get the three varieties to mature together.” Tom Greaves, hemp grain buyer for Winnipeg-based Manitoba Harvest, said all 10,000 acres of the company’s contracts at $1.15 per pound for this year have been filled. But with the business growing by 50 per cent a year, more acres will be needed next year. Planning a year in advance gives growers time to “look over the fence” and see how others are faring before taking the plunge themselves. “It’s growing and we still need a lot of additional producers coming on board,” he said. Quinoa is also coming on strong. Until it was featured as Oprah Winfrey’s latest “superfood,” marketing the small mustard-like seed was like “pushing a rope,” said Joe Dutcheshen of Kamsack, Sask.based Northern Quinoa. “A lot of people say it looks like that weed that grows in the ditches,” said Dutcheshen. The company, which contracts about 1,000 acres per year of the pseudo-grain crop that likes cool and dry conditions, was offering 90 cents per pound for organic. Growers must use the company’s seed at a cost of $40 per acre, half payable up front, and the other half upon delivery, with a 50-acre minimum. Oddly enough, the crop that resembles lamb’s quarters is tricky to grow because it is not weed competitive. Best results come under row cropping with ample nitrogen. Yields range from 500 to 1,500 pounds per acre, with the record coming in at 2,000 pounds after a good alfalfa plow-down. It is very frost tolerant and matures in 115 days, but heat and wind can affect yields. However, volunteers the next year are never a problem, said Dutcheshen. “This crop is hard enough to grow the first time around,” he said.



Ethiopian mustard a new biofuel option Hardy } Ethiopian mustard is immune to blackleg, but needs to be monitored for alternaria by alexis kienlen af staff | edmonton

Those yellow flowers you see when driving down Highway No. 1 this summer may not be canola, but Ethiopian mustard, a new brassica crop intended for biodiesel and bioproducts. Kevin Falk, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada, specializes in breeding Polish canola and Ethiopian mustard, and has been working with them since 1995. He told an Alberta Canola Industry seminar that the first commercial production of the crop is set for 2012. Falk said Ethiopian mustard is an extremely vigorous crop that can range from a full white petal to a full yellow petal. When he first began working with Ethiopian mustard, it flowered about two weeks later and matured two to three weeks later than Argentine canola. “I worked roughly for about five years just to get the maturity down,” he

said. “Our target was the Argentine canola plus about 10 days.” Saskatoon is the farthest north that Ethiopian mustard can be grown as the crop is mainly suited for hot, dry areas. Ethiopian mustard is immune to blackleg, but needs to be monitored for alternaria. It is heat and drought tolerant, and easy to seed in drought conditions. The larger seeds make it easier to seed deeper to reach moisture. The seeds have high oil content, with most of the germplasm now available testing around 30 to 35 per cent oil. “Our best material in the program is pushing about 50 per cent oil,” said Falk. There’s a possibility to use the meal as a biopesticide, and other byproducts can be used for fuel, lubricants and plastics. Trials of advanced material held in Saskatoon tested Ethiopian mustard, using commonly grown oriental mustards Cutlass and AC Vulcan as checks. Maturity on Cutlass and Vulcan is earlier than Argentine,

“Our best material in the program is pushing about 50 per cent oil.” Kevin Falk

which is a good benchmark for researchers. Falk says future research will involve creating hybrids to increase the yield. Ethiopian mustard can cross with Argentine canola, but with a lot of difficulty because the two plants flower about a week apart. “It’s really not a major concern,” Falk said. “However, if you did have delayed seeding, you could actually nick it at some time if they were close. I wouldn’t say it Breeder Kevin Falk’s target for maturity is Argentine canola plus about 10 was zero, but there’s a low chance T:8.125” days.  Supplied photo of it happening.”

Shell scrubs plans for Man. straw ethanol plant Iogen } Shell says

it still thinks the technology is viable by Dave Bedard


Shell Canada says it will not pursue its plans for a straw-based ethanol plant in southern Manitoba. Shell’s Calgary-based Canadian arm and Ottawabased biotech and biofuel firm Iogen Corp. said in a statement Apr. 30 that they will “refocus (the) strategy and activities” of their joint venture, Iogen Energy Corp. The refocusing, they said, would mean a smaller development program for Iogen Energy and the loss of 150 jobs. An Iogen spokeswoman said those jobs would be lost in Ottawa, where Iogen operates both its head office and a demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol facility. Shell said in the same statement that it “continues to explore multiple pathways to find a commercial solution for the production of advanced biofuels on an industrial scale.” Shell spokesman David Williams said that Shell still has the licensing rights to the Iogen technology in question and the two companies’ working relationship would continue. The companies’ decision, he said, was based strictly on an internal review of Shell’s global portfolio of advanced biofuel projects, not on any availability of federal or provincial support. “We’re proud of where we’ve got to so far (and) we think this technology is viable,” Williams said.

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High Alberta feed barley bids spur demand switching BUYING  More feedlots

looking to feed wheat cost savings



A pair of bison breaks into a gentle run down a hill in a field west of High River, Alta. They are part of a herd that is kept on a ranch and used in Western movies requiring scenes with buffalo. PHOTO: WENDY DUDLEY

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The continuing upward trend in Alberta old-crop feed barley cash bids over the past few months is seen to be making other feed grains more attractive to buyers. “We’ve seen inclusion rates of feed wheat go up, so feedlots are buying more feed wheat because it’s more cheaper than feed barley,” said Jim Beusekom, a grain merchant with Market Place Commodities at Lethbridge. Inclusion rates for dried distillers grain have also increased, he said. Corn distillers grain can displace as much as 25 per cent of the feed barley in cattle rations. As prices have increased, the amount of feed barley used has dropped, he said. Despite the decline in feed barley usage, that has not caused a big enough dent in the continuing upward price trend for Alberta feed barley, Beusekom said. The ongoing upward trend seen in Alberta feed barley spot prices is tied to the continued tightness in the cash market, he said. With grain prices moving upward, sellers are currently reluctant to move their feed barley. Cash spot bids for feed barley are trading at $255 per tonne in the Lethbridge area, he said. That compares to $240 per tonne a month ago and marks an increase of almost $40 to $45 per tonne since mid-February, Beusekom said. Currently, spot bids for feed wheat in Lethbridge are going for $245 per tonne, Beusekom said, and the price for corn distillers grain at Lethbridge is around $265 per tonne. However, despite the declining spread between feed barley and other feed grains, U.S. corn is still not competitive, currently going for $290 per tonne in Lethbridge, he said. U.S. corn prices would have to be at par with Alberta feed barley prices in order to be competitive, at around the $255- to $260- pertonne level in Lethbridge, he said. Feed barley historically reaches its peak between May and June, which means prices may still have some room to the upside, he said. However, feed barley prices should taper off after July, he said. New-crop Alberta feed barley values are considerably less, around a $40-$45 spread for early September. Eventually old- and newcrop Alberta feed barley prices will start converging as farmers begin selling their barley after spring seeding and June’s rainy season, Beusekom said, and that will move old-crop Alberta feed barley prices downward. Declining feedlot demand after July will also help move Alberta feed barley prices down, he said.



Albertans invited to online local food consultation Questionnaire } The online site includes a recording of

presentations at earlier discussion sessions Agri-News


lbertans have until May 10 to express their thoughts and comments on the local food-marketing systems and opportunities in the province. Local marketing opportunities are an important part of Alberta producers’ market portfolio. While international and domestic markets have the larger numbers, local markets have come on strong in recent years, as consumers turn their attention and their shopping dollars to buying locally grown and made products. Many farm enterprises and new agriculture entrants begin marketing their food products in local markets, due to lower costs and strong revenue returns on invest-

ment, before expanding to export markets. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development projects, such as Explore Local, regional local food initiatives, and product and market development of local food products, have helped Alberta producers better understand and expand into local markets. “Local Food discussion sessions were held in January at five locations in the province to help define the future direction of the Explore Local initiative,” says Bill Reynolds, manager of Local Food Policy and Planning with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “We are asking for further input and invite Albertans to share their thoughts on issues challenging the local food system in the province. This online questionnaire is also an opportunity to

voice ideas that will be used to formulate key approaches as we move forward in developing a strong local food economy based on food grown, raised, made and sold in Alberta.” The online questionnaire site includes a recording of the three 25-minute presentations which were presented at the five discussion sessions. Gathering Albertans’ feedback is important to build a vibrant local food economy, and this online method makes it convenient for a greater number of Albertans to access information and comment from the comfort of their home. The online questionnaire must be completed by May 10. “The presentations and the questionnaire cover topics that dealt with capturing the local food

Farmers’ markets such as this one at Lethbridge are an ideal location to promote local food. opportunity, including production management, processing facilities, distribution, access to land, farmer recruitment, financing alternatives, marketing channels, food literacy and regulations,” says Reynolds. “A local food system can optimize economic returns within a community. It shortens the value chain and shortens the distance

food must travel to reach consumers. A robust local food system can also create employment opportunities in Alberta communities.” Those interested in being involved are asked to call the AgInfo Centre at 310-FARM (3276) and the website link will be emailed giving access to the presentations and survey.

Bunge CEO mum on bid to buy Russian firm


rumours? } Exec reveals possible opportunities



chicago / reuters


Alberto Weisser, chief executive of Bunge Ltd., would not comment April 25 on an executive’s revelation that the agricultural processor is pursuing a stake in Russian grain firm United Grain Co. “We don’t talk about rumours,” Weisser said on a conference call with analysts after the company reported its first-quarter earnings. “We, all the time, are looking for opportunities to expand.” Weisser fielded a question about Russian state-owned United Grain after Jordi Costa, Bunge’s vice-president for agribusiness, sugar and bioenergy, said Bunge was bidding for a stake. United Grain is issuing additional shares to sell a stake of 50 per cent minus one share in the company, allowing the government to retain majority control. The move creates a rare opportunity for a company to gain a big footprint in one of the world’s top wheat producers. Several parties have already expressed an interest, including Bunge rival Louis Dreyfus Commodities and privately held Russian investment group Summa, sources told Reuters.

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Gardeners should be on the lookout for late blight INFECTION  The disease can be carried by wind, but

infected material from last year can be a local source AGRI-NEWS


n 2010, the introduction of the late blight pathogen into Alberta combined with wet weather in many areas resulted in an outbreak of late blight across much of southern and central Alberta. This outbreak included some commercial potato fields and market gardens and many urban residential gardens and plantings. In 2010, disease samples fell into one of either two strains — US-11 and US-23.

In 2011, due to a great deal of effort to clean up potato seed stock prior to the season, as well as increased awareness, monitoring and management practices in all industry sectors, late blight disease levels were greatly reduced. A few positive samples were detected in home gardens and commercial locations ranging from the Peace region to southern Alberta. Response was rapid, and management practices were quickly implemented. In 2011, US-23 strains were not observed and all

samples fell into either US-11 or US-24 strains. “Without knowing what the 2012 growing season is going to be like, it is recommended that ALL growers of potatoes and tomatoes (field or greenhouse, commercial or private/public) be extra vigilant to try and catch any diseased material early on, before a significant outbreak can occur,” says Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “In the early season, growers and

In the early season, growers and gardeners should watch for tomato transplants and newly emerged potato shoots with water-soaked leaf lesions. PHOTO: MAFRI gardeners should watch for tomato transplants and newly emerged potato shoots with water-soaked leaf lesions. Plants may later develop lesions, if the disease is introduced and if conditions are suitable. Water-soaked lesions can grow and spread rapidly, with lesions not contained by leaf veins. In wet conditions, a fluffy growth may develop on the underside of leaves on the margins of lesions. Potato tubers may be infected by spores produced on the foliage which are subsequently washed into the soil. Infected tubers may

have irregular, sunken lesions that are often first found around the eyes. Tomato fruit and potato tuber rot can penetrate deeply into the tissues and have a reddishbrown colour.”

Sources of infection

On the Prairies, late blight does not form an overwintering spore type. Rather, the pathogen overwinters on living tissues and the disease is carried forward from one season to another on infected seed potatoes, cull piles and volunteer potatoes. As the season progresses, the risk of late blight being introduced and then developing in crops will increase if late blight has been found/ reported in the region, as spores can travel up to 100 km on storm fronts. Wet and humid conditions and moderate temperatures are favourable for disease development. Prolonged periods of leaf wetness caused by dew, rainfall, or overhead sprinkler irrigation also favour disease development and spread. “If you find plants showing suspicious lesions, it is recommended that you dispose of infected material as quickly as possible, removing diseased parts (small scale) or killing out plants so disease cannot develop further,” says Spencer. “Bury or bag up infected plant material, as spores will continue to be produced as the tissues die, infecting adjacent living tissues. In some cases, the application of protective fungicides can be made if conditions favour disease and if disease is known to be present in the province. Home gardeners should consult local suppliers (garden centres, etc.) for available, registered products.”

“Late blight is a community disease, with the potential to affect many industries and individuals.” ROBERT SPENCER AARD

If you have suspect plants, you should consult a local horticulturalist for assistance. Commercial operations (potato growers, market gardeners, greenhouse/ garden centres) can contact 310-FARM (3276) to determine if further testing is required and to discuss management. Do not hesitate to report an incidence, as early awareness will help to prevent and contain an outbreak and can help others to protect their crop. “Late blight is a community disease, with the potential to affect many industries and individuals,” says Spencer.



Move to open market spurs debate on registration system QUALITY  Varietal control has made Prairie wheat famous, but critics say the system is too restrictive BY ALLAN DAWSON STAFF


he debate is heating up on whether a system that has made Prairie wheat synonymous with top quality is in need of an overhaul. Grain variety registration was a hot topic at the recent Canada Grains Council annual meeting, and while the current system has many defenders, others are calling for significant changes. Having a famous brand is clearly an advantage in many markets, said Terry James, vice-president of export marketing at Richardson International. During a recent sales trip to Italy, millers frequently told James they wanted to buy “Canada Manitoba wheat” — their name for Canada Western Red Spring, and a holdover from when “Manitoba Northern” was an official grade name. “Obviously it’s a very strong brand in that particular market,” James said. “My point is, of course, long-standing repeatable business is done in a very vital market based on a brand, an expectation and a name they could trust. “Varietal control has been a key part of maintaining the brand.” However, North American millers buy Canadian wheat based on its class and grade, not a specific variety, said Gordon Harrison, president of the Canadian Millers Association. Still, it’s important to maintain the integrity of the system to ensure millers get the wheat they want for very specific end uses, he said. The past president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association argued that while “wholesale changes” aren’t required, there is a need to “reduce the rigidities” in the existing system. “If I want to grow a spring milling wheat that does not meet CWRS quality standards I should be free to do so providing it meets the minimum standards for disease and insect resistance,” said Cherilyn Nagel. That would be a major change because the system is designed to ensure new wheat varieties meet the criteria for the class they are intended for, said Dave Hatcher, a research scientist with Canadian Grain Commission. New milling wheat varieties are reviewed by three expert committees — one considers agronomic factors such as lodging and maturity, another looks at disease susceptibility, and a third at milling and baking characteristics. After the reviews, the members of all three committees (each has at least 25) meet and vote by secret ballot.

“If I want to grow a spring milling wheat that does not meet CWRS quality standards I should be free to do so providing it meets the minimum standards for disease and insect resistance.”

Cherilyn Nagel of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association wants changes to the wheat variety registration system, but Richardson International’s Terry James says the system has contributed to the Canadian brand and any changes should be made with caution. PHOTOS: ALLAN DAWSON While there is an ongoing need to continually monitor and improve the system, “we really don’t want to... throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said well-known oat and barley breeder Brian Rossnagel.

But while changes have recently been implemented to make the system more flexible, a Syngenta official argued more needs to be done. “Today’s variety registration system has limited flexibility to meet

market demands, is painfully slow and should be reformed to meet today’s high pace and evermore consumer-oriented markets,” said Darcy Pawlik, Syngenta’s North American industry relations lead. “Now I’m not advocating for the

need to abolish all the different quality controls in place... I’m sure we can... speed up variety introductions while ensuring wheat growers are getting the tools that they need.” Such changes would encourage his company and others to invest in new wheats for Canada, said Pawlik, adding there also needs to be changes in regulations that make it easier for breeders to get a return on their investment. The need for changes has grown since the federal government decided to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk, he said. “The government has decided to change the game for wheat and barley production so now it’s up to us to take advantage of this,” Pawlik said. But James argued for a go-slow approach. “There is room for improvement, we can make changes but let’s not be too hasty,” he said. “Let’s walk before we run and let’s move forward on a path that’s working together.”

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U.S. farmland price boom to slow but not plateau

hoping for moisture to come this way

Cash flush } Corn

values need to remain above $5 per bushel Reuters

A horse picks away in the stubble near Millarville, Alta. While there remains a deep snowpack at higher elevations, much of southern Alberta is in need of moisture to bring along pastures.  Photo: Wendy Dudley

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The surge in U.S. farmland prices, which doubled in a decade amid an agricultural boom, should cool in the coming year as prices bump against the ability of cropland to pay for itself, said a panel of experts. A combination of low interest rates and high commodity prices sent levels skyrocketing. Nebraska cropland values soared by 38 per cent during 2010, while Iowa was up 28 per cent and Indiana up 27 per cent, say Federal Reserve regional banks. A 160-acre farm near York in eastern Nebraska sold for $12,000 an acre in February, a record for land in the state. Soaring prices have prompted fears of a price bubble that could ruin farmers’ finances in an economic downturn. So far, farmers and lenders have been cautious and land prices are justified by likely returns. “Our expectation would be slower growth in farmland values,” said Jason Henderson of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank and who monitors agricultural credit. Farmers have avoided dangerous debt loads, he said, and the question for the future is “how much stamina is there” for restraint in a competitive market. Brent Gloy, agricultural economist at Purdue University, said a string of profitable years gave farmers the money to chase land when it came on the market. Prices are reaching the level that buyers need corn prices to average $5 a bushel, a historically high level, to earn enough from the land to pay for it. “The potential to get ahead of ourselves is high,” he said. “My sense is the farmland market is, hopefully, ready to slow down,” Gloy said of the one-year outlook. “I don’t think it’s going to soften at all.” Ken Keegan, chief risk officer for Farm Credit Services of America, an agricultural lender in four Midwestern states, said volatile market prices and tight global grain supplies would be key factors in land prices. The Omaha-based lender takes a conservative approach to lending that assumes corn prices will average $4.60 a bushel over the long term and capitalization rates will average four per cent. And it limits its share to 65 per cent of a loan that would be feasible under those parameters. “If there is a bubble, it is not a debt-fuelled bubble,” said Keegan, which would limit the impact of a price deflation. “Most lenders are being very cautious,” he said. Nationwide, farmland values hit $2,350 an acre in 2011, up 6.8 per cent from 2010 and double of $1,150 an acre in 2001. Farmers had record net cash income in 2011, following a buoyant 2010 although income is forecast to fall this year, in step with crop prices. The farm sector boom that began in 2006 has allowed farmers to upgrade their equipment and erect enough grain bins to expand on-farm storage capacity by 10 per cent.


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Alberta high schools going green COW-CALF MOST POPULAR  The most popular program is the cow-calf sector,

followed closely by the equine program, launched in 1999 BY SHERI MONK


“When you look at the trend, we’re definitely growing.”


he Green Certificate Program is available in 206 high schools in Alberta to offer students in agriculture a practical, valuable head start on career training. The program has been in existence since 1975, and in 1999 it was brought into the program of studies through Alberta Education and it was brought in as part of the high school program at that time,” explained Green Certificate Program provincial co-ordinator Raelene Mercer. “It’s had quite a long history.” With an apprenticeship style of delivery, students learn hands-on skills they may use one day in their professional life. Students must be 15 years old and entering Grade 10 to enrol in the program, and they can earn 16, 33-level credits if they complete one specialization. Each specialization takes 18 months to complete. Students learn while on the job, absorbing the direction and experience from farm personnel, while under the supervision and administration of Alberta Agriculture and Alberta Education.

Nine specializations

There are three courses offered in each of the nine specializations, which include cow-calf production, dairy production, feedlot beef production, field crop production, sheep production, swine production, beekeeping and equine production.


Some schools in northern B.C. offer the same program, as does Saskatchewan Agriculture. There are currently 1,038 students enrolled in the program in Alberta, with the top three most popular specializations being cow-calf production, equine production and field crop production. “We just got equine into the mix in 2009, so since that time, equine has really driven some of our numbers up. Now equine and cow-calf are pretty close in

being our top enrolment specialities,” said Mercer. There are 383 students in the cow-calf program, and 313 in the equine program currently, followed by 184 students in field crop production. There are only nine students in the beekeeping program, but despite the small number, the program was created in response to demand. “The Alberta beekeeping industry at the time had a need to do training in bee-

keeping because that was a time when there was nothing available in Alberta. They as an industry did a needs assessment, approached Alberta Agriculture and together we moved forward on developing that curriculum,” Mercer explained. When the equine program was introduced, enrolment numbers jumped, but that growth wasn’t restricted only to the new course. “Not only did the equine numbers contribute to an increase in overall enrolment, but it brought a lot of attention to the rest of our program, so overall, all of our numbers picked up,” said Mercer, saying that the numbers over the years continue to grow as the interest in the program increases. “When you look at the trend, we’re definitely growing.” GO GREEN


More information on the Green Certificate Program can be found at

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Bugging out at Lethbridge College PEST POWER  New course, which is open to producers, examines how to identify and

scout problem insects and determine the economic threshold for spraying BY SHERI MONK



ove them or hate them, insects are an inescapable part of life on the farm. But in the battle of the bugs, knowledge is power — and that’s why Lethbridge College is offering a new course in agricultural entomology. “It is one of the courses for our students but that being said, it is open to anyone who wishes to take it,” said instructor Jeremy Hummel. “If producers have an interest in this, then they could take it. It is a full-semester course, so it would be a four-month time window that it’s happening in.” The course will also be one of the first

that Lethbridge College is offering as part of a distance learning program. “It is possible to take it at home,” said Hummel. “We’re developing it for faceto-face and online, like distance education, so that option would certainly be there. We’re slowly developing courses for online delivery and this is going to be one of the first ones.” The course, a first-year agricultural offering, will look at the broad spectrum of insects and insect management. “There’s going to be some insect anatomy and morphology, some insect identification, because that’s really important for producers and agronomists, and then we’re going to get into looking at the management side,” said Hummel. “How do we scout for different kinds

of insects? What is an economic threshold and how do we determine when we’ve reached various economic thresholds? That’s basically the population or the damage level of an insect at which we need to be using a chemical control to try and reduce that population.” The outline for the course, which starts in January, 2013, isn’t yet complete, so Hummel can still take requests. “I’m always open to suggestions, so if there’s a particular insect that isn’t on the course outline that a student would want covered, we can add a little bit of content about that insect potentially,” he said. Anyone interested in more information should contact Hummel at jeremy. or 403-320-3202, extension 5347.

CAP bringing the farm to the urban classroom

Your career IN A growing field

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED  CAP’s volunteer force is 200 strong,

but more are always welcome BY SHERI MONK


For more than 25 years, many Grade 4 students in Alberta have had the opportunity to learn where their food comes from, thanks to the Classroom Agriculture Program (CAP). The organization was created by Vickie King, a member of the Alberta Women in Support of Agriculture. In 1985, she received some initial funding from the Alberta Cattle Commission to jump-start the program. Current sponsors include the Alberta Barley Commission, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Chicken Producers, Alberta Egg Producers, Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, Eastern Irrigation District, Alberta Irrigation Project Association, Olds College and Agrium. Volunteers visit Grade 4 classrooms around the province and teach students about the importance of agriculture to their daily lives. Since its inception, more than 550,000 students have had access to the free program. “It’s all volunteers who go into the Grade 4 classrooms. Every volunteer comes from some kind of agricultural background

and gives it a little bit of their own spin. If they are a farmer, they might give it more of a farm spin, if they are a beef producer, they might have more information on raising cattle, but there is a core curriculum that we all use,” said Linda Whitworth, a volunteer and steering committee member for CAP, as well as the market development manager for the Alberta Barley Commission. The interactive lessons are fun, visual and hands on. Volunteers are supplied with educational tools including stories, props such as grain samples and beef byproducts to help the children learn in a playful way. Additionally, students receive an activity booklet and teachers are given a resource kit to help the students continue with their agricultural education after the session is over. Open to both rural and urban students, CAP has been endorsed by Alberta Agriculture and each year, the program’s content is reviewed and approved by the minister of education. “I’ve been in five classrooms this year and it’s really interesting to see the kids and to talk to them, because everyone now is so far removed from the farm, particularly in the urban centres. It’s a great program for them to learn a little bit about a whole area

Jeremy Hummel is looking forward to instructing the new entomology course. PHOTO: SHERI MONK

“I’ve been in five classrooms this year and it’s really interesting to see the kids and to talk to them, because everyone now is so far removed from the farm, particularly in the urban centres.” LINDA WHITWORTH

At Lethbridge College, the School of Agriculture & Natural Sciences offers you the opportunity for real world experience. Tromp through cultivated land while learning about modern irrigation techniques, soil science or specialty crops, such as sugar beets. When you come in from the field, you apply your skills in an up-to-date science centre to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to be a vital part of this dynamic and growing industry.


they might never know anything about,” said Whitworth. There are 200 volunteers involved in the program, but more are always welcome. Teachers interested in the presentation must register before December of each school year, and volunteers must sign up before February. Perfectly timed with calving and seeding, the presentations are delivered between March and June. For more information or to register to become a volunteer, visit www.classroomagriculture. com.


Welcome to Your Future School of Agriculture & Natural Sciences



Every family needs an emergency plan BUG-OUT BAG  Households should have a kit ready to go with them that

includes everything they need to survive for five days BY SHERI MONK



o one likes to think about losing their home or their loved ones in a tragedy like a fire, but it happens to people every year. However, the risk can be lowered with sound planning and good communication among family members, neighbours and communities. John Muir, spokesman for the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, says every household should have two separate emergency kits. “That involves creating a 72-hour kit with items that will help sustain you and your family for up to 72 hours should you need to shelter in place. Another good idea is to prepare what’s called a readyto-go kit, which are items for you and your family like water, non-

“Make sure you have mobile phone numbers for each one of your family members and how they can be reached.” JOHN MUIR ALBERTA EMA

perishable food and clothing. And you should plan for up to five days should you need to evacuate from your home during an event such as a wildfire.” Every household should also have an emergency plan, which is understood by all members of the household. “Preplan where your meeting spot will be. Make sure you have mobile phone numbers for each one of your family members and how they can be reached,” Muir said. During an emergency, local phone lines can often become tied up by frantic relatives trying to reach loved ones. Unfortunately, that can make it difficult for people in the emergency to make contact with their household members. Muir says a friend or relative from outside the community should be selected as a message relayer. Unaffected by clogged phone lines, he or she can be charged with calling each of the family members with updates or instructions.

Updates available

If a wildfire or other emergency is happening in a community, people can turn their TVs and radios on to a local station for updates and instruction. Households should have a battery-operated or crankoperated radio in the event of an electricity failure. Alberta Emergency Alerts can also be found online at www.emergencyalert., and the agency also operates a Facebook and Twitter account for delivering emergency messages.


“We know that during recent disaster events and emergency events, social media has played a large role with things like Twitter and Facebook. That allows you to get reliable information during an emergency or a disaster from local officials. You can also sign up for direct SMS and texting to your phone as well,” said Muir.

Include livestock

Livestock producers also need a plan for their animals. “You should always have an evacuation plan for your livestock if there’s ever a threat of fire, and we know that’s certainly a reality. In the past year or so, we’ve seen quite a few grass fires, particularly in the south area,” said Muir. “Move them into a plowed or heavily grazed field where there’s not a lot of fuel for the fire. You should also have water available and if you have a concrete or metal building that’s located quite a bit away from any forest vegetation, that’s another shelter option.” However, if the worst-case scenario develops, producers may want to cut fences and turn the livestock loose, as long as their release will not impede the evacuation of people and traffic. If a home is faced with imminent danger from fire, hoses should be turned on, and a sprinkler should be nailed to the roof. Combustibles should be moved away from the home, and eavestroughs should be filled with water. However, people should never risk their lives or the lives of others to protect property.


In the face of impending disaster, communities will give evacuation notices, and emergency officials such as firefighters and the RCMP will help facilitate the evacuation. “If you don’t have a way to evacu-

ate at the time, you should let local authorities know,” said Muir. “Always call 9-1-1. Someone will be able to reach you should you be in harm’s way. It’s probably not a good idea to wait a fire out.”

of progress

Proud to be recognized as

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20 - 22, 2012

Evraz Place, Regina, SK, Canada

A Production of

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CAUTION The Alberta Farmer Express, while assuming no responsibility for advertisements appearing in its columns, exercises the greatest care in an endeavor to restrict advertising to wholly reliable firms or individuals. However, please do not send money to a Manitoba Co-operator box number. Buyers are advised to request shipment C.O.D. when ordering from an unknown advertiser, thus minimizing the chance of fraud and eliminating the necessity of a refund where the goods have already been sold. At Farm Business Communications we have a firm commitment to protecting your privacy and security as our customer. Farm Business Communications will only collect personal information if it is required for the proper functioning of our business. As part of our commitment to enhance customer service, we may share this personal information with other strategic business partners. For more information regarding our Customer Information Privacy Policy, write to: Information Protection Officer, Farm Business Communications, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3H 0H1. Occasionally we make our list of subscribers available to other reputable firms whose products and services might be of interest to you. If you would prefer not to receive such offers, please contact us at the address in the preceding paragraph, or call (204)-954-1456. The editors and journalists who write, contribute and provide opinions to Alberta Farmer Express and Farm Business Communications attempt to provide accurate and useful opinions, information and analysis. However, the editors, journalists and Alberta Farmer Express and Farm Business Communications, cannot and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this publication and the editors as well as Alberta Farmer Express and Farm Business Communication assume no responsibility for any actions or decisions taken by any reader for this publication based on any and all information provided.

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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


WE BUY DAMAGED GRAIN Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, etc. Green or Heated Canola/Flax



HEATED & GREEN CANOLA • Competitive Prices • Prompt Movement • Spring Thrashed “ON FARM PICK UP”



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

CALL 1-866-388-6284


FARM MACHINERY FARM MACHINERY Grain Cleaners GRAIN CLEANING BY COLOUR sorting, mobile unit. improve your profits on cereal grains and pulses! Removing Ergot, off color and dirt, phone for rates. (403)377-2548

FARM MACHINERY Grain Dryers New GSI Grain Dryers - Propane/NG, canola screens, 1 or 3 phase, simple and accurate. Also some used dryers available. Vince Zettler, (204)998-9915

FARM MACHINERY Haying & Harvesting – Baling CASE 8330 9-FT. HAYBINE, $6,900; Tram 10 Ton farm wagon, $3,500; JD Sabre, 2354 lawn tractor, $3,000; All low hours, shedded, field ready. Older reel rake, $500; 92 GMC 2500 151,000-km 2WD, Safety inspection, $3,000. (780)963-1155, 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 – John Deere 2006 JD 9760 BULLET rotor, 950sep. hrs. loaded, exc. condition, JD 615 PU platform, done approx. 1000/ac, $185,000; JD 936D draper header, pu reel, w/upper cross auger. (403)344-2160, Aden Ab.

Combine ACCessories FARM MACHINERY Combine – Accessories JD 925 FLEX HEADER w/transport, $10,600 OBO (780)352-2818, (780)361-7947, Gwynne, AB. RECONDITIONED COMBINE HEADERS. RIGID and flex, most makes and sizes; also header transports. Ed Lorenz, (306)344-4811 or Website: Paradise Hill, SK.

FARM MACHINERY Parts & Accessories

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

AUTO & TRANSPORT AUTO & TRANSPORT Vehicles Wanted BUGGY’S, DEMOCRATS AND CUTTERS for sale, refurbished, large display, wagons, totally restored and upholstered; also saddles, harness and tack. (204)857-4932, Portage La Prairie, MB

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES NEED TO SUPPLEMENT YOUR Agricultural Operation? Work P/T with F/T income potential. No decent “jobs” in your Rural small town? Make your own! Earn 30% commission selling Silpada -Sterling Silver jewelry. Become an Independent Representative and earn some extra cash/serious money! (306)468-3189 or,

NEW WOBBLE BOXES for JD, NH, IH, MD headers. Made in Europe, factory quality. Get it direct from Western Canda’s sole distributor starting at $995. 1-800-667-4515.

Spraying EquipmEnt FARM MACHINERY Sprayers 1996 SPRA COUPE 220, high clearance, 60ft, 1220hrs, A/C., bubble/jets, raven controller, foam marker, towhitch , always shedded, nice shape. $18,000. obo. Call 780 374-2296


FARM MACHINERY Tractors – John Deere JD 7810 840 LOADER, 4500hrs, mint. condition, never been a chore tractor, (780)990-8412


USED KUBOTA Utility Tractors (780)967-3800, (780)289-1075

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various 7145 DEUTZ, 3800 HRS, shedded, duals, excellent condition, c/w Allied dozer. (780)954-3750

JD 2210, LDR, 3PTH, MFD JD 4240, c/w loader • JD 4430 c/w loader JD 4440, loader available JD 4450 c/w loader • JD 4455, FWA, 3pth, loader JD 7200, ldr, 3pth FWA • Steiger ST 270, 4WD Mustang 2044 Skidsteer, 1300hrs. JD 4250 FWA, 3pth, 280 loader JD 6410 3pth, loader available 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

Big Tractor Parts, Inc. Geared For The Future


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.

1990 MF 8450 COMBINE, HYDROSTATIC Mercedes engine, long auger, westward p/u hopper cover, $25,000; Case Int. 8500 Air Drills, 33ft, 54 points, 7in. spacing, $15,000; 70ft. Flexi-Coil Sprayer, Hyd. Pump, Auto fold, single wheels 16.5x16.1, windscreens, $3,500; Leon 3000 Rock picker, hyd. drive, $1,500; Blanchard swath roller 6ft. $200.; Loaders: Sakundiak HD6-37 12hp Kohler motor, $500., Sakundiak HD71000 c/w 13hp Honda motor $800; Co-op Press drill, 2-10, 6in. spacing, $1,000; 1975 Louisville 700-Gas 361, 58,980 miles, Steel box, wood floor, roll up tarp, 10.00R20 tires, $4,000; 1984 Versatile 4400 Hydrostatic swather, Ford motor, 20ft, pu reel, Keer Sheer, heater, a/c, radio, $3,500. All prices OBO. (403)734-2348

30FT MORRIS DISC DRILL; MF 750 SP combine; 1482 PT CIH combine; 400/gal 68ft Versatile sprayer; 18ft Versatile PT swather w/2 reels; 21ft white PT swather; 21ft MF 775 SP swather, pu and batt reel; 1975 Ford 3/4 ton for parts, good 360 motor. Reasonable Offers. (306)344-7758, Paradise Hill

FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Air Seeders

AEROWAY 15FT LOW ACRES, like new, $10,000 (780)524-2987, Valleyview, Ab.


1999 FLEXICOIL 5000, 57FT airdrill, 12in spacing, 4in rubber capped packers, dual chute, c/w flexicoil 3450 triple comp. tank, $39,000 obo (780)621-6704

650 JD DOZER, READY for bush clearing, oilfield or land clearing, reasonable rates, contact Gordon (780)878-3515, (780)910-2120

FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Tillage

SUPER CARBIDE PRODUCTS AT VW Mfg. Many products in stock! VW Mfg, Dunmore, AB, See our website: or call (403)528-3350.

Building Land Rollers since 1983


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

Cell: 403-380-0173 •



FARM MACHINERY Tractors – White

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

1986 4-270 WHITE 4WD, 4,800-hrs, PTO, runs good, needs tires, $10,000 OBO. Randy (403)533-2240.

JD 4710, 4720, 4730, 4830, 4920, 4930 SP sprayers JD 9770 & 9870 w/CM & duals CIH 3185, 3230, 4260, 3150, 4420 sprayers CIH Skidsteer 440 & 430 9580 Kubota, FWA, FEL, low hours 3545 MF w/FWA FEL Rogator 854 c/w tires. Selection of Combine Headers & Haying Equipment

“LIKE MANY BEFORE, WE’LL HAVE YOU SAYING THERE’S NO DEAL LIKE A KEN DEAL” •Phone: (403)526-9644 •Cell: (403)504-4929 •Greg Dorsett (403)952-6622 •Email: FLEXICOIL 1720 AIRTANK, (no monitor) $4,900; 2003 Case WDX 1101 swather, 25ft triple delivery, 2800hrs, header transport, $49,000 obo; 1996 Barrett 53ft triaxle liner, hog rail, $12,500 obo; JD 7721 combine, $2,900; (780)621-6704 IHC 620 PRESS DRILL, 24ft, rubber packers, marker, one owner, stored inside, no rust, $4,750; Brandt 14ft hyd. drill fill c/w spout, $475; (403)782-2545

MF 750 COMBINE, $6,500; MF 655 Swather, $1,200; Both in good running condition; 2-14ft IHC 150 Hoe press drills, good condition, $1,000; Leon Loader c/w bucket/ bale spike, $3,000; 1948 W6 IHC McCormick gas tractor, for parts or restoration, $1,500; Please call 780-281-0291 between 7-9pm or email: RETIRED FROM FARMING, MOST machinery shedded, 1998 Peterbuilt, 460 Cummins, 18spd, w/36ft tandem Doepker grain trailer $75,000; Rock picker, $1,500; PTO wind power plant; 400 barrel fuel tank. $14,000 w/fuel; (403)586-0978,Torrington, Ab. RETIREMENT SALE: LZB JD 12ft hoe drill, 7in spacing, w/fine seed & fertilizer box, stored inside, exc. cond. $3,200; JD 702 10 wheel rake $5,200; 20ft cultivator w/shovels and spikes w/3 bar harrows, cable lift, $2,200; 12ft double disc w/3 bar harrows, $3,500; Phone (403)932-5522, Cochrane, Ab. VERSATILE 2200 HOE DRILLS, 42ft. Atom jet openers, tarps, liquid fertilizer kit, $5,000 OBO; 1998 Dodge truck box, dually, $1,200; Summers 70ft multi weeder, $4,800; (780)662-2647 WIRELESS DRIVEWAY ALARMS, calving/foaling barn cameras, video surveillance, rear view cameras for RV’s, trucks, combines, seeders, sprayers and augers. Mounted on magnet. Calgary, Ab. (403)616-6610. www.


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Barb Wire & Electric High Tensile Wire Spooler Adapter available to unroll new barb wire off of wooden spool

- Hydraulic Drive (roll or unroll wire) - Mounts to tractor draw bar, skidsteer or bobcat, front end loader, post driver, 3pt. hitch or deck truck (with receiver hitch & rear hydraulics) - Spool splits in half to remove full roll - Shut off/ Flow control valve determines speed - Works great for pulling out old wire (approx. 3--5 minutes to roll up 80 rod or 1/4 mile) The Level-Wind Wire Roller rolls wire evenly across the full width of the spool automatically as the wire is pulled in Ken Lendvay (403) 550-3313 Red Deer, AB email: Web:

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Wanted WANTED: NH BALE WAGONS & retrievers, any condition. Farm Equipment Finding Service, P.O. Box 1363, Polson, MT 59860. (406)883-2118 WANTED: Small square balers and end Wheel Seed Drills, Rock Pickers, Rock Rakes, Tub grinders, also JD 1610 cultivators (403)308-1238

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

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous

FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Various

JD MODEL 750 NO till drill, 15ft, separate urea tank, $6,500, (780)764-2389, 780-632-1024

JD 9400, 9420, 9520, 8970 JD 7810 & 7210, FWA JD 9860, 9760, 9750, 9650, 9600 JD 9430, 9530, 9630 CIH 8010 w/RWD, lateral tilt, duals 900 hrs. Case STX 375, 425, 430, 450, 480, 500, 530 CIH 8010-2388, 2188 combine 9880, 9882, 9680, 9682 NH, 4WD CIH 435Q, 535Q, 450Q, pto avail. MF 8160 FWA Low hours NH TJ 450, New Triples, Big Pump STX 375 Case with Big Pump

510 INT SEED DRILL, w/grass seeder, mint condition, $2,800; 2 Int. #10 seed drills, fair condition, offers; 21ft IH deep tillage cultivator, $1,000; Fordson Major diesel tractor, w/bucket, not running, offers. 12ft Deep tillage cult. (780)919-9985

HIGH QUALITY MANDAKO ROLLERS, Summers discs, wing up rollers, 5 plex rollers, chisel plows, heavy harrows, vertical tillage implements, packer bars, rock pickers, (403)545-2580, 403-580-6889, Bow Island, Ab.

60FT 820 9IN SPACING cultivator, NH 3 kit and hitch; 36ft 8810 10in spacing cultivator, NH 3 kit & hitch; 42ft 7400 Ezee on deep tillage, 12in. spacing, (403)350-0744, Eckville, Ab.

780-905-8565 NISKU, ALBERTA

3 BUNNING MANURE SPREADERS for rent, call Lawrence 403-588-478

1997 JD 737 DRILL, 36ft, paired row, single chute, 3-1/2in. rubber press, 787 TBH 230/bu cart, primary blockage, shedded, exc. cond. (780)877-2518

1994 NEW NOBLE 9000, 28ft. seedovator, w/192 TBH tank, Good condition. $5,000 Call Rick @(403)734-3831, Cluny, Ab.

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous


HAVE GUNS WITH TRAVEL! Gopher control in north Central Alberta, Call Cameron at 780-349-0343

Highline 6600 Bail Processor, 1000 PTO, Very Clean $5500.

JD 4995 16-FT DISCBINE 2009; also Honey Bee 25-ft grain header 47-ft flex coil 800 Deep Tillage; 45-ft Willrich Cultivator; Cummings 240bp skid mount clutch&trans; JD 7410 MFWD PS 740 SL; 860 MF PV & 20-ft grain. (306)236-8023.

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

FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Air Drills

2005 Toyota 25 Forklift, 5000 lb Lift, $5800.


1998 JD AIR DRILL, 735 tool, 40ft, 787 tank, 230/bu, single chute, excellent conditon, field ready. $30,000 OBO (780)387-1743, Millet, Ab.

Tillage & Seeding

John Deere 920, 40 HP diesel, REBUILT Motor, NEW Rear Tires, 3PTH, P/S, $11,500.

JD 1995 79DELC TRACKHOE, low hrs; Komatsu WA 320-1 3yd loader, Ford 1990655 extend hoe; UH 122 trackhoe; Cat 631 scraped 24-yd; Bomag 170 PD packer Cummings motor. (306)236-8023

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

2001 Rogator 854, SS tank 3500hrs, 2 sets tires, auto steer, $75,000. 403-646-5877

2001 New Holland, MFD, 6077 Hours, $32,500.

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Kubota

2002 JD 1820, 45-FT., 10-in. spacing, double shoot, dutch paired row, 3-1/2in steel, $27,500; 2004 McHale 991B bale wrapper, $8,500; (403)665-2341, Craigmyle, AB.


FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

CIH 155 PUMA, FWA, 3pth, 220hrs, loaded, like new, offers, (403)546-2170, Swalwell area

1996 8810 BOURGAULT 40-FT. air seeder, 450 trips, single chute, packers, 10-in. space, granular kit, 3195 tank, always shedded, $32,000 OBO. Randy (403)533-2240.


FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

50’ Flexicoil #75 Packer Bar, 1/yr as new ...$25,000 2320 Flexicoil TBH airtank, 1997, clean always shedded, exc. cond ...................................................$20,000 Flexicoil 6 run seed treater ................................. $2,000 2006 51’ Flexicoil 5000 airdrill, 10”,5.5” rubber packers......................................................................................Call 33’ CIH 8500 airdrill, 7”..................................................Call 134’ Flexicoil S68XL sprayer, 2006, suspended boom, auto rake, rinse tank, single tips...........$39,500 100’ NH SF110, suspended boom sprayer, nice condition,.......................................................................$25,000 51 Flexicoil Bodies c/w GEN. SC 4” carbide spread tip openers, like new .................................................. $3,500 70’ Degelman Heavy Harrow, 9/16 tines good condition...........................................................$20,000 9435 MF Swather, 30’, 5200 header, PU reel 200hrs..............................................................$95,000 810H 25’ Hesston grain table - PU reel ........$10,000 9300 Westward MadDon swather, 1883 hrs. 21’, 960 header w/PU reel ................................................Call CIH WD1203 swather 2011, 280hrs, 36’ header, split PU reel, roto shears, header transport, top auger, floating rear axle 1/yr ...........................................$105,000 1372 MF 13’ swing arm discbine 4yrs, like new ....................................................................................Call New Sakundiak 10x1200 (39.97’) 36HP, Kohler eng. E-K mover, P/S, electric belt tightener, work lights, slim fit, 12 gal. fuel tank .................$18,000



FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous New Sakundiak 8x1200 (39.97’) , 25HP Kohler eng., E-Kay mover, battery, fuel tank............$13,000 New Sakundiak 7x1200 (39.97’) , 22HP RobinSubaru eng., battery & fuel tank ...................... $7,500 New Sakundiak 8x1400 (45.93) auger, 27HP Kohler, E-Kay mover, scissor lift, oil bath chain case, P/S, electric belt tightener, work lights ...... $18,000 New E-Kay 7”,8”,9” Bin Sweeps .............................Call 2002 7000HD Highline bale Processor, c/w twine cutter, always shedded ......................................... $7,950 New Outback S3, STS, TC E drives in stock New Outback E drive X c/w free E turns ........ CALL Used Outback 360 mapping.................................$750 Used Outback S guidance......................................$750 Used Outback S2 guidance .............................. $1,000 Used Outback E drive Case & JD Hyd. Kits......$500 Unused Outback Hyd. Kit Versatile 6 Series ........................................................................................... $1,000

Ron Sauer Machinery Ltd. (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



LIVESTOCK Cattle – Hereford

REAL ESTATE Farms & Ranches – B.C.


BULLS FOR SALE, REGISTERED Polled Here-ford’s, Registered Black Angus, Yearlings and 2/yr olds, Double N Ranch, Sundre, 403-638-2356,

BC Ranch for Sale $990,000 Cattle Horses Hay. 45 min. from Kamloops on 235+/acres, 2 water licenses, 125+/- irrigated & cultivatable acres, 500 ton feed potential. Perimeter & lots of cross fences. 1200-sq.ft. home, several outbuildings, heated shop, outdoor riding arena & round pen. For more info;, call (778)930-0115, email:



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

LIVESTOCK Cattle – Maine-Anjou MAINE ANJOU BULLS FOR sale purebred and half blood, black yearling bulls. Semen tested and guaranteed! Rocky Lane Farms, Rumsey, AB. (403)368-2114, (403)742-9835

LIVESTOCK Cattle Various


APPROX. 275 HEAD QUALITY commercial re-placement heifers. Red & Black. No implants, herd health program, palpated. Ready to breed. Will sell in smaller packages. Contact John (403)934-3012 or (403)934-7972 FULL FLECKVIEH BULLS, ONE and two year olds, born March & April, calving ease, and high maternal traits, (780)941-3843, New Sarepta, AB.

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

LIVESTOCK Sheep For Sale



PLAN TO ATTEND THE Warren and Norine Moore 6th Annual Pound Maker Ram Sale with guest con-signors. 115 yearling rams sell by auction Thurs-day, May 24th, 2012 at Fort Macleod Alberta. Suffolk, Dorset, Hampshire, Rambouillet, North Country Cheviot and Coloured. For more information call Warren (403)625-6519


PB RED & BLACK Angus yearling bulls for sale. Canadian pedigrees, semen tested. Phone (780)336-4009, Kinsella, AB. REGISTERED RED ANGUS YEARLING bulls, quiet, various birthweights 70lb and up, semen tested, $2,250. Bellshill Angus, Lougheed Ab. (780)386-2150, 780-888-1374

LIVESTOCK Cattle – Red Angus 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.

LIVESTOCK Livestock Equipment


25 Miles North of St Albert (Vimy Area) $595,000 OBO PHONE: 780-961-2535 REAL ESTATE Land For Sale RM 588 2 PARCELS in grass, these two would make great acreages, 1 parcel in summer fallow. Phone (306)204-5445, Meadow Lake, SK.


5’X10’ PORTABLE CORRAL PANELS, 6 bar. Starting at $55. Storage Containers, 20’ & 40’ 1-866-517-8335, (403)540-4164, (403)226-1722 SHAVINGS FOR BEDDING BRITEWOOD Industries manufactures high quality pine shavings & super-compresses them into 4X4 bales. Call for truck-load quotes or for a dealer in your area. sales@ Tony (250)372-1494, Ron (250)804-3305

2008 MONACO CAMELOT MOTORHOME, loaded, $210,000; (403)347-0723, Torrington, Ab.



REAL ESTATE Mobile Homes


LIVESTOCK Cattle – Charolais REGISTERED RED FACTOR/WHITE BULLS yearling and 2/yr/olds, big butted, big nutted, quiet, semen tested, guaranteed, 50% down 50% upon free delivery. Call (403)933-5448, cell(403)608-1116.

REAL ESTATE Farms & Ranches – Alberta

Price Reduced! 1998 Mfg. Home, 1216/sq ft. MB w/walkin closet, and ensuite, 2 more bdrms and guest bath. Open kitchen & LR, cedar deck, w/enclosed porch. (403)653-2166


GRASS SEED, MEADOW BROME, common #1 Alfalfa Seed, Certified Beaver and common, excellent quality, will deliver, (403)793-1705, Brooks, Ab.

AC Morgan AC Mustang


Waldern AC Juniper

SEED BARLEY AC Metcalfe Seebe Sundre & Busby Winter & Spring Triticale, Silage Peas CDC Go Wheat Polish Canola

New 30.5L-32 16 ply, $2195; 20.8-38 12 ply $866; 18.4-38 12 ply; $783; 24.5-32 14 ply, $1749; 14.9-24 12 ply, $356; 16.9-28 12 ply $498. Factory direct. More sizes available new and used. 1-800-667-4515.


Delivery Possible


Sundre, AB 403-556-2609

Pneumatic Wire Fence Stapler, Tired of driving fence staples by hand? Now there is a solution visit us online at, email;



Agriculture Tours

SEED/FEED MISCELLANEOUS Feed Grain BUYING ALL TYPES OF feed grain. Also have market for light offgrade or heated, picked up on the farm. Eisses Grain Marketing 1-888-882-7803, (403)350-8777 Lacombe.

Ukraine/Romania ~ June 2012 Scandinavia & Russia ~ Land & Cruise - July 2012 Australia & New Zealand ~ Jan/Feb 2013 Kenya/Tanzania ~ January 2013 South America ~ February 2013 Costa Rica ~ February 2013 Select Holidays 1-800-661-4326

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



CAREERS Employment Wanted

INDUSTRIAL SEWING MACHINE FOR leather and upholstery (403)749-3871, Delburne, Ab.


EARN $75,000/yr PART TIME in the livestock or equipment appraisal business. Agricultural background required. Classroom or home study courses available. 1-800-488-7570

FEDERATION TIRE: 1100X12, 2000X20, used aircraft. Toll free 1-888-452-3850

LOOKING FOR WORK on dairy or horse farm, experienced. Call Larry (306)276-2110 or (306)769-7405 evenings.

Is your ag equipment search more like a needle in a haystack search?


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news » livestock


Schmallenberg virus test

avian flus now reportable

Starting April 27, breeding livestock must test negative for the Schmallenberg virus before their embryos or semen can be exported to Canada from countries in the EU. The requirements apply to sperm from bovines, sheep, goats, bison and water buffalo, and to embryos from bovines and bison. Canada already does not allow live cattle, sheep or goats to be imported from Europe. The virus is a new strain spread by biting insects, and causes a range of symptoms in ruminants, including fever, diarrhea and reduced milk yield, as well as birth defects.

Fears that relatively harmless strains of avian influenza could mutate into something worse, or give other countries reasons to block Canadian meat, have led Canada to formally declare the diseases as reportable. The CFIA will now apply the designation to the relatively common low-pathogenicity (“low-path”) H5 and H7 strains of avian flu, which cause few or no visible signs of illness in infected birds. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) previously updated its notification requirements to make lowpath H5 and H7 avian flus notifiable diseases along with the high-path strains.

“Forage is a major part of our agriculture. We need to start putting a value on it…”

Forage crops don’t get enough respect Overlooked } Forage crops cover half the agricultural land in Alberta By Alexis Kienlen af staff | olds


orages should no longer be considered the poor sister to Alberta’s other crops, says Stephanie Kosinski, forage specialist with Alberta Agriculture in Leduc. They’re overlooked crops that are essential to a number of industries in Alberta. To highlight the importance of this crop, the Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN) and Alberta Agriculture have prepared a report called “The Value of Forages in Alberta.” Kosinski outlined the findings of the report at a recent AFIN meeting. “Forage is a major part of our agriculture. We need to start putting a value on it and have the public realize the value of it. It should be right up there with our canola and wheat, and our livestock industry,” said Kosinski. “Forages tend to be undervalued or overlooked compared to some of the other agricultural commodities. A lot of forage statistics aren’t collected or as closely monitored as some of our grain crops are.” Forage is defined in the report

as vegetation consumed by animals directly or harvested mechanically and fed to livestock. “The direct value of forages is around $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion,” said Kosinski. “That’s quite substantial and I think a lot of times people don’t realize how valuable our forage industry is.” According to the 2006 census of agriculture, forages cover 28.5 million acres in the province, half of the agricultural land in the province. Aside from their monetary

Without a functional forage industry, we can’t have a functional beef industry.” Doug Wray

value as crops, forages have a number of indirect values. The presence of forages can reduce erosion, act as a filter to trap surface sediments and maintain water quality. Forages and perennial ground cover also play a role in water storage and regulation, and play an indirect role in hunting, wildlife viewing and recreational fishing. Forages also provide a habitat for pollinators and benefit the province’s honey industry.

National forum

Doug Wray, who farms at Irricana, is president of the Canadian Forage Grasslands Association (CFGA) and represents the AFIN at the national level together with representatives from the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario Forage Councils. The CFGA was established a few years ago, at about the same time as the Alberta Forage Industry Network. “We’ve formed these forage associations at an opportune time,” said Wray. “The busi-

ness just keeps coming in the door.” The Canadian Cattleman’s Association and the Dairy Farmers of Canada have been strong supporters of CFGA and have contributed financially. The voice of forages is growing, and they are represented at several roundtables, including the beef value chain roundtable. Wray sees value in having a forage presence at these tables, so the importance of forages can reach other producers and key players. Politicians often pay more attention to these roundtables, so it’s important for the forage industry to be a participant. “With the declining cow herd and the feeders, retailers and packers are starting to wonder where their supplies are coming from, the room goes quiet when you start to talk about the forages that underpin the industry,” he said. “There’s certainly a growing recognition of forages. Without a functional forage industry, we can’t have a functional beef industry.”

Wray said he recently participated in a research roundtable with researchers, funders and members of the beef value chain. One of the key topics identified for research was forages. “I think this wouldn’t have happened even two years ago. We’re seeing a shift in emphasis,” he said. Wray said people are starting to realize the importance of forages that can survive through winter months. “If we’re going to extend the grazing season and reduce our costs, we need forages that hold their value,” he said. Getting legumes into forage stands and creating a more nutritious ration are also priorities. Many people in the industry are aware that more money and more research needs to be devoted to forage crops. “We need an impact in our forage productivity if we’re going to compete on the land base with the other crops,” said Wray.

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Fourth case of BSE discovered in the U.S. Two types } H type and L type were discovered as a result of better science and testing methods by sheri monk

af staff | pincher creek


he USDA announced on April 24 it had discovered its fourth case of BSE in a California dairy cow — the first animal to test positive in the U.S. since 2006. Trade disruptions are not expected as a result of the latest American case. Within 12 hours of the announcement, some South Korean retailers were pulling U.S. beef from their shelves, although the Korean government did not cease trade. John Clifford, chief veterinary officer in the U.S., stated that the 10-year-old dairy cow was euthanized after it was unable to stand. It was also announced that the animal in question had suffered from atypical BSE, and samples were being sent to Lethbridge and to the U.K. for further analysis.

Keeping an eye on tame pastures Agri-News

Pasture assessments help producers decide if a pasture needs to be rejuvenated and if so, how best to rejuvenate it. The Alberta Tame Pasture Scorecard is a quick and easy way of doing a pasture assessment. The Sustainable Resource Development Health Assessment forms are another good tool that provides a more detailed assessment. Pasture assessments look at key indicators to measure pasture productivity and vigor. Indicators such as plant population, plant density, plant vigor, ground cover, soil damage and severity and uniformity of use are assessed. “Pasture assessments provide producers with information needed to make decisions on grazing management, timing of grazing, cross fencing and pasture fertility,” says Grant Lastiwka, forage/grazing/ beef specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. Pastures should be assessed at least once a year, during the growing season. Pastures that are more intensively managed should be assessed more frequently. These pasture assessments allow producers to look closely at the pasture and identify specific areas where management improvements may be profitable and effective. Assessments allow targeted, specific management. Once problems are identified, a rejuvenation method can be selected to fix the problems. Assess your pasture! The Alberta Tame Pasture Scorecard is available online, is designed to be simple and straightforward to use, with or without special training.

The first U.S. BSE case came only seven months after Canada’s first indigenous BSE case in May of 2003. The first U.S. case is the only one to date in which the classic form of BSE (cBSE) was found. The other two American incidents occurred in Texas in 2004 and in Alabama in 2006, but both of those cases were atypical BSE H type. Atypical BSE is distinctly different from cBSE, and there are two different atypical strains — H type and L type. Both were discovered after cBSE as a result of better science and testing methods. All types of BSE are the result of misfolded proteins called prions that replicate by causing healthy proteins to similarly misfold. The jury is still out as to how H type and L type are spread, but symptom onset and mortality occurs much later than with cBSE — the median age for atypical BSE presentation in cattle is 12. In cBSE, it is much younger, usually appear-

ing in animals between four and six years old. Two of Canada’s 18 BSE cases were atypical. The first was a 16-year-old beef cow from Manitoba with H type, and the second was a 13-year-old beef cow from Alberta with L type BSE. The OIE, the scientific community and governments around the world treat all prions in the same manner as cBSE. Atypical prion disease is often referred to as sporadically occurring, but sporadic disease simply means the cause hasn’t been isolated or defined yet through research. Some research indicates that sporadic prion disease in both cattle and people may be the result of a genetic mutation. H type and L type atypical BSE are quite different from one another. H type does not seem to be able to jump species as readily, whereas L type appears to be more infectious than classic BSE.

Although the USDA statement asserted that atypical BSE isn’t known to be spread through feed, it hasn’t yet been proven that it can’t be. In fact, primates have successfully been infected by the L-type prion through ingestion in experimental research. Dr. Stefanie Czub, the manager of national and OIE reference laboratories for BSE, virology and pathology at the National Centre for Animal Disease and the CFIA, is currently conducting research at the Lethbridge facility on both atypical strains and cBSE. She says while the research around the world conducted on various animals and their reaction to prions is intriguing, it’s important to focus on more practical research. “It’s fascinating and a really puzzling phenomenon for us scientists, but the more important experiment is of course by feeding, by oral challenge of cattle with these different types,

“It’s fascinating and a really puzzling phenomenon for us scientists…” Dr. Stefanie Czub

and that’s what we have done in Lethbridge,” said Czub. “The cattle are now around 30 months of age and we haven’t seen anything so far.” Czub’s work will help to discover whether atypical strains can be spread via feed in the same manner as cBSE. In the event that it can be, safeguards such as feed bans and SRM removal currently in place would prevent further spread.

BECAUSE TURNING THEM OUT IS THE LAST THING ON YOUR LIST. Count on UFA for all the information and products you need for a successful branding and pasture season. Order your livestock products online from or see us in-store today.

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U.S. seeks voluntary antibiotic limits in livestock OVERUSE  FDA asks companies to stop non-medical antibiotic use to prevent development of “superbugs” BY ANNA YUKHANANOV REUTERS

U.S. regulators have urged food producers to voluntarily stop using antibiotics in livestock for non-medical uses as part of a broad effort to prevent the rise of drug-resistant “superbugs.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said antibiotics should only be used under the supervision of a veterinarian to prevent or treat illnesses in animals. It asked companies to start phasing out the use of antibiotics for non-medical purposes such as promoting growth, and said that process could take three years. The FDA had previously banned certain types of antibiotics, like cephalosporins, for non-medical uses in livestock. Some antibiotics are specifically approved for growth promotion because they have been shown to help animals better

absorb nutrients in their feed, said Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council. They also keep animals from getting sick, he said. Environmental advocacy groups have long argued that using common antibiotics like tetracyclines and penicillin in animal feed has contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans, known as “superbugs.” Some groups said the FDA should make limits on antibiotics mandatory, not voluntary. Scientists say overuse of antibiotics — whether in people or animals — can lead to bacterial resistance as resistant strains become dominant. Perhaps the most publicized antibiotic-resistant bacteria are the methicillinresistant staphylococcus bugs known as MRSA. “The new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians can care for animals while ensuring the medicines people need

remain safe and effective,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. Michael Taylor, deputy FDA commissioner for foods, said veterinary oversight should ensure antibiotics are used properly and only when necessary, limiting resistance. Food producers have not had to consult veterinarians, since common antibiotics have long been available to farmers without a prescription. A federal judge last month ordered the FDA to start proceedings to withdraw approval for the non-therapeutic use of some common antibiotics in animal feed, based on a lawsuit filed by environmental groups. Wednesday’s announcement was based on draft rules for antibiotics that the FDA issued in 2010, and was unrelated to the court ruling, the agency said. The FDA said it is still deciding whether to appeal the March ruling.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said antibiotics should only be used under the supervision of a veterinarian to prevent or treat illnesses in animals. FILE PHOTO

Reducing risk key to support for prescribed burns RANGELANDS RELEASE

To burn or not to burn. That is the ecological question facing conservationists and landowners. Ecosystems that have evolved with repeated exposure to fire may be better managed with prescribed fire than other methods. Prescribed fire, however, brings risk and liability concerns. The April issue of Rangelands explores the benefits and risks of using prescribed fire to limit the expansion of woody plants that choke natural grasslands. Researchers conducted a survey of landowners in three eco-regions of Texas regarding their attitudes and perceptions of prescribed fire use. Prescribed fire offers an effective, low-cost method of brush management. It increases available forage when woody vegetation is removed and herbaceous species recover. Landowners can see economic gain in an increased capacity for both livestock and wildlife. Ranchers also experience the inconvenience of moving livestock and the temporary loss of use of a burned area. However, landowners indicated that the biggest obstacle to use of prescribed burning was legal liability. Although many of the landowners surveyed favoured the use of fire, only 33 per cent had actually used it. Increasing landowner willingness and ability to apply prescribed fires is necessary to establish the use of periodic fire in restoring open grasslands and savannas. Prescribed burn associations (PBAs) can help overcome many impediments. Members of these associations work together to promote safe and effective use of prescribed fire. PBAs can offer fire safety training, pooled fire management equipment, and members’ labour. Perhaps most important for landowners, PBAs have obtained burn liability insurance policies. The full article is available at rala/34/2



Tetanus — a nasty disease, but easy to prevent beff 911 } Injuries, including those from castration,

can be a source of infection By roy lewis, dvm


n our practice, the incidence of tetanus has definitely been increasing in the last several years. This article will review some of the pertinent signs of tetanus and look at the prevention of this deadly disease. Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium Tetani, which is in the same family of organisms that causes blackleg. This spore-producing bacteria causes fairly sudden death, and treatment is often not successful. There are differences in susceptibility to tetanus among the different species, with horses the most sensitive and cattle more resistant. However it has been in cattle where we have seen the increase in cases. The cases are always associated with a puncture wound or cut. These wounds can be internal, such as a deep scrape to the genital tract during calving. Once susceptible animals have been exposed it takes one to three weeks for disease to occur. Clinical signs are a sawhorse stance, prolapse of the

third eyelid and lockjaw. The lockjaw caused by the contraction of the masseter muscles also causes tremendous salivation. The veterinarian will most likely have you treat with very high doses of penicillin and give large amounts of tetanus antitoxin, especially around the wound. As mentioned, recovery is very rare but has been reported in cattle. The best solution is prevention. One must be careful as very few of the blackleg vaccines contain tetanus. It is generally only in the eight-way or nine-way vaccines and you must check the label to make sure it is present. Your veterinarian can best advise as to which vaccine carries tetanus. In horses, the yearly threeor four-way vaccines will often carry tetanus. Veterinarians will often ask when castrating your horse or suturing up a cut if the tetanus vaccinations are up to date. If not the horse will be given a booster shot. Often penicillin is given for a few days or if a longacting shot is given this generally will protect your horse until immunity is established. Giving

it yearly in the four-way vaccine is the best approach in horses. Banding larger bulls with the elastrators really increases the incidence if proper vaccination is not administered. We have also seen it with simply vaccinating with a dirty needle and tail docking or shearing in sheep. A dog attack on a lamb also has caused the disease from the open wound. Some producers have got away without vaccinating. I think the reason is simple — as the combination vaccines have been developed often hemophilus is combined with the clostridials and with most companies the combination has included a seven-way NOT an eight-way with tetanus. Our clinic stresses the eight-way especially if banding calves in the feedlot or castrating. Proper disinfection at needling or castrating will also go a long ways to prevent it. With banding you cannot do this plus it does create an open wound for quite a long time. Retained placentas especially in horses have been known to cause tetanus so boostering at the time of treatment would also be a good idea.

The good news is the tetanus vaccine in combination with the other clostridials is one of the oldest and hence cheapest vaccines on the market. Boostering is imperative especially in situations such as banding or open castration. Treatment is unrewarding in clinical cases. Talk to your veterinarian as to what specific vaccination they recommend for your cattle, horses, bison, elk, camelids, or sheep and goats. They should all be current in their vaccination for tetanus. This is a disease which can also affect humans. Every time you see the doctor about a cut or abrasion they will ask you when was the last time you received a tetanus shot. People are usually boostered every 10 years or so. As with the other clostridial diseases another booster will give long immunity. Most producers will booster the cow herd again every several years. With more producers keeping cows longer because of this BSE crisis, one may want to consider boostering the herd with an eight-way vaccine containing tetanus. With proper administration of the clostridial vac-

This is a disease which can also affect humans. Every time you see the doctor about a cut or abrasion they will ask you when was the last time you received a tetanus shot. cines, 99 per cent protection is achieved. Calves when born to protected cows receive protection in the colostrum, which will last two months. This is why vaccination on them should begin after that time. I hope by keeping your herd current you will never see a case of tetanus or any other clostridial disease for that matter. They are not a pretty sight. Roy Lewis is a large-animal veterinarian practising at the Westlock Veterinary Centre. His main interests are bovine reproduction and herd health

UCVM Beef Cattle Conference Pushing the Frontiers of Beef Cattle Health June 14th – 15th, 2012 • Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre, Calgary Topics to be discussed include: Parasite Resistance to Deworming Medications Dr Lou Gasbarre, U.S. Department of Agriculture Dr Craig Dorin, Veterinary Agri-Health Services Dr John Gilleard, UCVM

Infectious Disease Transmission, Detection, and Control Dr Calvin Booker, FHMS Dr Pat Burrage, Burrage Veterinary Services Dr Jennifer Davies, UCVM Dr Mary Brown, University of Florida Dr Karin Orsel, UCVM Dr Mathieu Pruvot, UCVM Dr Claire Windeyer, UCVM Dr Steve Hendrick, WCVM

Genomics, Genetic Selection and Health

Dr David Bailey, Genome Alberta Dr Troy Drake, CCHMS Sean McGrath, McGrath Consulting Dr Ty Lawrence, West Texas A&M University Greg Appleyard, Cattleland Feedyards

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Lameness: A stealthy thief that robs performance peet on pigs } A 2007 survey estimated lameness accounts

for 15 per cent of the gilts and sows that are culled By bernie peet


ameness in sows is a stealthy thief because losses from this health problem often go unnoticed or unrecognized, says Mark Wilson of Zinpro Corporation in Eden Prairie, Minn. “Lameness is one of the major reasons for culling in gilts and sows,” Wilson said at the recent London Swine Conference. “There are several causes of lameness including arthritis, osteochondrosis, disease and claw lesions.” A 2007 survey estimated lameness accounts for 15 per cent of the gilts and sows that are culled. “This number is likely underestimated because animals that are culled for reproductive reasons and for age are also often lame,” said Wilson. “Besides concerns for welfare of the animals, culling due to lameness impacts herd

“Lameness is one of the major reasons for culling in gilts and sows.” Mark Wilson

dynamics and reduces productivity.” Often losses or removal due to lameness occur in gilts and first parity sows. “Generally, the value of herd replacement gilts is not paid for until they have had at least three litters,” said Wilson. “Each additional litter that a sow has above the third litter dramatically reduces the fixed cost of piglet production.” Improving longevity through the prevention of claw lesions will have a large economic impact, he said. Increasing the number of sows in parity three to six has a large impact on overall productivity of the herd. The most important aspect is to attend to the management issues — primarily feeding and nutrition — that help prevent claw lesions and lameness, thus improving longevity, he said. As replacement rates are reduced, herds become immunologically more stable and productivity improves, he added. Lameness not only increases the likelihood of early removal from the herd but research also shows it causes a highly significant reduction in sow productivity. “One of the obvious consequences of lameness is pain and inflammation causing a reduction of feed intake,” said Wilson. “If a younger parity sow does not eat well they generally have reduced reproductive perfor-

Feeding and management to help prevent claw lesions and lameness should begin early in the development and selection of gilts, says Dr. Mark Wilson. mance. There is a direct relationship between daily feed intake during lactation and the time taken for sows to express estrus after weaning.” Longer weaning to estrus intervals are associated with poorer farrowing rate and lower litter size in the subsequent parity. Wilson stressed the importance of achieving a high lactation feed

Join the conversation Join Alberta Beef Producers as we tackle issues, trends and tips with our new series of free webinars. A webinar is a seminar that is hosted online. We will present speakers and topics that are engaging, entertaining and informative. Each session will have 30 minutes of speaker time, with up to 30 minutes after for questions and conversation. Don’t have high speed Internet? That’s okay. You can join by phone with the phone number provided at registration. Aren’t available when the webinar is live? You can either download it from the ABP website anytime after it’s ended or call the ABP office and we will mail it to you on DVD.

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TOPIC: Returning to the farm. What makes it work. SPEAKER: Jill Harvie, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association DATE: Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

to register for any or all of the webinars, go to:

intake in young females and suggested prevention and early treatment of lameness and claw injuries will help maintain appetite and feed consumption. Many of the claw lesions and injuries found in sows are inflammatory-type wounds. Wilson said mechanisms that result in these lameness and foot injuries impacting reproduction are similar to those involved when there is a lack of nutrients. “Is it any wonder that we see more sows abort or absorb embryos, decreased litter sizes born, and a lack of return to estrus when sows are severely lame?” he asked. The presence of noncycling ovaries was the most common (nine per cent of sows) problem found in the reproductive tracts of cull sows during a 2007 survey. The incidence of this problem increased as sow body condition decreased and was also correlated with rear foot abscesses. However, Wilson noted, not all sows with claw lesions will exhibit changes in appetite and feed consumption. The injury must be inflammatory to see these responses. Many aspects of nutrition impact claw health, including energy, protein, macro minerals, trace minerals and vitamins. Feeding organic minerals in an amino acid complex has been shown to improve feet lesion scores, milk production and reproductive performance in dairy cattle. Although further research is needed in sows, some trials suggest that nutrition may play an important role in supporting the immune system and improving lameness and reproductive performance. “When the minerals zinc,

manganese and copper were provided in the diet as an amino acid complex in a controlled experiment, results showed a decrease in claw lesions of sows housed in gestation crates, compared to those fed the same mineral levels as sulphates,” Wilson said. “The results indicated that the sows fed trace minerals as amino acid complexes had significantly less lesions on the hind limbs than control sows.” Also, analysis on the prevalence of lameness indicated it was lower for the sows fed trace mineral amino acid complexes (34 per cent versus 51 per cent) compared to sows fed inorganic trace minerals. When reproductive performance was evaluated, the treated sows had more pigs born alive (11.07 versus 10.44) and litter birth weight also tended to be higher (16.99 versus 16.16 kilograms). Claw health is crucial to the overall well-being of the sow, Wilson concluded. “Claw lesions that penetrate the corium — the deep inner layer of the skin, under the horn of the hoof — increase the potential for inflammatory response and are associated with pain, lameness and decreased productivity,” he said. “Because lameness and reproductive failure are two of the most prominent reasons for early removal from the sow herd, feeding and management to help prevent claw lesions and lameness should begin early in the development and selection of gilts.” Bernie Peet is president of Pork Chain Consulting of Lacombe, Alberta, and editor of Western Hog Journal



Scrapie confirmed at same Ontario farm as missing herd Sheep-napping } “Farmers Peace Corp” admits removing sheep from suspect herd staff


ne of the sheep remaining at a quarantined southeastern Ontario farm where 31 sheep disappeared last month has been confirmed positive for scrapie. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in a release Apr. 27, confirmed the fatal nerve disease in a sheep that had recently died on the farm operated by Linda Montana Jones near Hastings, Ont., about 35 km east of Peterborough. The farm was placed under quarantine after another sheep in Alberta that originated from the Jones farm tested positive for scrapie, CFIA said. Scrapie is a federally reportable livestock ailment from the transmissible spongiform encepha-

olpathy (TSE) family of neurodegenerative diseases, such as BSE in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in people. The finding further complicates Jones’ well-publicized efforts to prevent her flock from being destroyed and tested — as CFIA officials had reportedly planned to do on April 2, the day 31 of the farm’s 41 animals were found to be missing. According to an earlier statement from Jones, an unknown party identifying itself as the “Farmers Peace Corp” left a note claiming responsibility for the sheep-napping. Ontario Provincial Police are still investigating. Karen Selick, a Belleville, Ont. lawyer for the Calgary-based Canadian Constitution Foundation, representing Jones, has previously alleged all of the condemned

animals on the quarantined farm have tested negative for scrapie in live biopsies and none of the flock showed clinical symptoms of scrapie in the 12 years Jones has raised sheep. The CFIA release said the missing sheep pose a serious risk for scrapie and could spread the disease to other sheep and goats and that any premises that receive the missing sheep will be subject to “a quarantine and further regulatory action” which could include criminal prosecution under the Health of Animals Act. A single sheep Jones sold to an Alberta farm in 2007 was later found to have scrapie, the foundation said previously, also alleging scientists can’t accurately determine when or where the Alberta case acquired the illness. “Scrapie investigations truly are

regrettable, emotionally charged scenarios that impact both the producer and the industry,” Andrew Gordanier, chairman of the Canadian Sheep Federation, said in an April 3 release. “However, sheep disappearing in the middle of the night is making an already difficult situation even worse,” said Gordanier, a producer at Shelburne, Ont. “Moving potentially diseased animals during their greatest period of infectivity risks spreading the disease to an even larger number of animals,” the chief executives of five livestock groups, including the CSF, Canadian Livestock Genetics Association, Canadian Sheep Breeders Association, Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency and Ontario Goat said in a joint letter on April 5. “What was initially a destruction

“Moving potentially diseased animals during their greatest period of infectivity risks spreading the disease to an even larger number of animals.” Livestock group’s release

order for 41 animals could quickly turn into the required destruction of hundreds of potentially infected sheep and goats.”

Managing air emissions from confined feeding operations Complaints } Plan has suggestions for reducing the potential for conflicts about odours



hree reports and the recommendations on air emissions from confined feeding operations in Alberta stemming from the reports were completed in March 2012. These reports will soon be available on Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s website. Printed copies of the report are available by contacting Atta Atia, livestock air quality specialist with Alberta Agriculture, at 780-427-4215. • Ambient Air Quality Measurement Around Confined Feeding Operations in Alberta — air quality was measured upwind and downwind of four different confined feeding operations (dairy, pork, feedlot and poultry) over a 14-month period. The upwind and downwind concentrations of ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, particulate matter, total suspended particles and volatile organic compounds are presented in the report. • Ammonia and Particulate Matter Emissions Inventory for Confined Feeding Operations in Alberta — a new, more accurate emissions inventory was developed to estimate emissions of ammonia and particulate matter from beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, swine and sheep CFOs in Alberta. The new inventory estimates ammonia and particulate emissions from CFOs in each county in the province on a monthly basis. • A Review of Beneficial Management Practices for Managing Undesirable Air Emissions from Confined Feeding Operations — this report provides a comprehensive scientific, technical, social and economic review of information on beneficial management practices (BMPs) which have the potential to mitigate emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, particulate matter, odour, volatile

organic compounds and pathogens from CFOs. It also addresses the practicality, co-benefits, limitations and implications associated with the implementation of each BMP. BMPs studied: • permeable covers for manure storage facilities • natural and artificial windbreaks • bottom loading of liquid manure storage facilities • manure and dead animal composting • dust palliatives for beef cattle feedlots and unpaved roads The air quality unit, within the Environmental Stewardship Division of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, is committed to working proactively with the livestock industry, government and non-government partners to address air quality concerns associated with livestock production in Alberta. Over the past four years the air quality unit has been involved in the development and the implementation of a series of recommendations outlined in the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) CFO Strategic Plan, entitled Managing Air Emissions from Confined Feeding Operation in Alberta. This work has been conducted in collaboration with partners from other government ministries and agencies, industry and non-government organizations. The unit also assisted the CFO industry in the province with developing an odour management plan. The Odour Management Plan is a new tool developed for Alberta livestock producers to help them assess their operation from an odour management perspective. The intent of the plan is to identify those areas that may require improvement. It also presents options to improve odour management. For a relatively small investment of time in completing an odour management plan, a livestock producer can greatly reduce the potential for odour

A new, more accurate emissions inventory was developed to estimate emissions of ammonia and particulate matter from CFOs in Alberta.   ©istock complaints and the impacts of odour conflicts. This plan is available through the publications office by phoning toll

free 1-800-292-5697 or 780-427-0391 or download a copy from the Alberta Agriculture website.


} forecasts


Cold damages European rapeseed

rains hit U.S. Plains wheat

The European Union’s 2012 rapeseed crop may fall to a six-year low of 18.21 million tonnes from 19.1 million tonnes in 2011, with harvests in several countries hit by an especially cold winter, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said May 1. EU rapeseed prices rose sharply in April as fears intensified that the exceptionally cold weather has damaged crops. “Lower-than-expected crops are now projected for Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, France and Germany,” Oil World said. “This will however be partly offset by a favourable crop in the U.K.” — Reuters

Heavy rains over the weekend of April 28-29 in key growing areas of the U.S. Plains may have damaged some of the new wheat crop, leaving growers to hope for sunshine to help the crop dry out. Flooding was noted April 30 in parts of north-central Oklahoma and southeast Kansas after more than five inches of rain. The deluge came at a time when the new wheat crop has been developing rapidly, with harvest projected weeks ahead of normal, and crop conditions reported sharply improved from last year. Some wheat experts have predicted a near-record harvest in some areas due to good growing conditions.

Warmer-than-average temperatures to continue? the winner  } Forecast that April’s weather would

jump back and forth proved to be accurate

The forecasts

by daniel bezte


n our last issue we began discussing thunderstorms and severe weather. I was planning on continuing with that theme for this issue, but I think that will have to wait as another month has come to an end, which means it is time for us to take a look back at April 2012 weather and then look ahead to see just what the weather for May might be like. L o o k i n g ba c k a t A p ri l ’ s weather, I would say it was a month that gave most Albertans a little bit of everything. The month started off fairly warm, with high temperatures making it into the mid-teens by the 3rd, but then the weather did a quick about face, and by the 5th, a number of locations had seen upwards of five to 10 cm of heavy, wet snow! This cycle continued — temperatures once again warmed into the mid- to upper teens less than a week later, and then these warm temperatures were followed by another good dump of snow. This time the amounts were a little heavier, with large areas seeing between 10 and 20 cm. Cool weather continued for the next week or so before summer decided to make an appearance. By the 22nd and 23rd, temperatures across much of southern and central Alberta soared into the 20s and even the low 30s, as records were broken at several locations. These warm temperatures were once again followed by cooler conditions, but this time, instead of snow, most areas saw some significant rains to end off the month. When it was all added up, temperatures in April came in a little above the long-term average over southern areas, while

Looking back at April’s weather, I would say it was a month that gave most Albertans a little bit of everything.

  ©thinkstock central and northern regions were right around average. For southern regions this continues a long trend of aboveaverage monthly temperatures. The Calgary region has now seen 10 months in a row with above-average temperatures. It

was June of last year when this region last experienced a colderthan-average month. Precipitation during April came in well above average in most areas of Alberta, with the exception of eastern regions. Calgary recorded around 53

mm, which is a good 30 mm above the long-term average. Farther north things were just as wet, with places like Lloydminster reporting around 60 mm of precipitation and High Level reporting around 42 mm.

This issue’s map shows the precipitation across the Prairies during the 30-day period ending on April 26. Western and north-central Alberta, along with east-central Saskatchewan, saw significant precipitation during this period with some areas seeing more than 60 mm. The Interlake region of Manitoba along with border region between Alberta and Saskatchewan saw the least amounts, with some regions seeing less than 10 mm.

This leads us to our big question, what will May’s weather be this year? Well, before we look at that, let’s look back and see who was able to come closest to predicting April’s temperatures and precipitation. It appears that my forecast was closest as I called for near- to above-average temperatures along with near-average precipitation. I even went as far as saying that April’s weather would jump back and forth between mild conditions and cool snaps, exactly what happened. Heck, even I can guess right sometimes! OK, now the million-dollar question, what kind of weather can we expect for this critical weather month of May? According to Environment Canada, southeastern areas will see above-average temperatures, with the rest of the province experiencing near-average temperatures. Southern and western regions will see below-average precipitation, while central and northeastern regions will see near-average precipitation. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is sounding like a broken record with its prediction of belowaverage temperatures and precipitation, which is something it’s been predicting for months now. Over at the Canadian Farmers Almanac it seems to be leaning towards a cool start to the month, then a mild period in the middle, followed by a cold end to the month, which will average out to a coolerthan-average month. Along with the cooler conditions it is also calling for plenty of unsettled weather, along with the chance for some heavy rain during May, which to me, translates into above-average precipitation. Finally, here at Alberta Farmer, I am calling for nearaverage temperatures over the northern half of the province, with near- to slightly belowaverage temperatures over southern regions. The coolerthan-average conditions over southern regions will also be accompanied by aboveaverage precipitation. Farther north it will be a little drier, with near-average precipitation expected.



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