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NO-TILL, NOT NEVER TILL Plowing gets another look » PAGE 34

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OCTOBER 8, 2012

FALL CONTRAST

Canada Beef celebrates first birthday BOTTOM LINE  President Rob Meijer says

the priority is on generating the greatest return, not market share BY SHERI MONK AF STAFF

S

o far, so good. That seemed to be the mood as 150 industry players recently gathered to mark Canada Beef Inc.’s first birthday. “We learned a lot on the fly,” said president Rob Meijer. “I think structurally our business plan and vision is sound. It probably holds stronger today than a year ago when we designed it.” The organization is a melding of the Canadian Beef Export Federation, the Beef Information Centre, and the National Check-

“I am confident that if they continue to give us the chance, we’ll continue to deliver upon their expectations.” Three bison stand out in front of larch in fall colours at Gary Marik’s farm north of RImbey. PHOTO: RICHARD ERLENDSON

ROB MEIJER

off Agency. Its mandate is to boost sales of Canadian beef at home and abroad, without becoming involved in beef politics or policy. Meijer has spent much of the past year trumpeting the need to sell more beef at higher prices. “I think the greatest opportunities now for the Canadian industry and for beef products abroad, or even domestically for that matter, is our ability to finally extract from where the highest value proposition value lies,” he said. And premiums trump market share, he said. “Let’s not worry about the country as a market, let’s look at it as a segment within the market and really try to own and create greater value,” said Meijer. Greater efficiency and accountability are two other priorities for Canada Beef as checkoffs, brand inspection, RFID tags, and other industry fees have been sources of discontent. Meijer said he’s always received positive feedback and support. The organization is funded by the $1 mandatory national checkoff and matching support from government and programs such as the Canadian

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news » inside this week

inside » A rancher’s friend Rattlers prefer to save venom for gophers

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

livestock

crops 

Human toll of euthanasia

No till, not never till

columNists

35

Ionophores can be lethal for horses

23

phil franz-warkentin

10

Funds flee long positions in canola

Leave them for rattlers Dogs can contract tapeworm from gophers

Carol Shwetz

Daniel Bezte

39

Putting down animals a stressful task

14

Occasional shallow plowing can be helpful

25

A remarkable heat wave in September

47

Alberta family sets world record with corn maze that’s also a QR code FUNCTIONAL FOOD? } You’ll need to get into a helicopter to check it out, but scan the Kraay’s

corn maze and you’ll be linked to their website by alexis kienlen af staff / lacombe

W

hen the Kraay family says, “Check out our website,” they mean

business. The Lacombe farmers have just earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records by constructing a corn maze that doubles as a QR code for their farm’s website. QR — short for quick response codes are used on a host of products, and work much like a UPC barcode, but can be scanned with a smartphone with a QR-reading app. The matrix-like, two-dimensional codes typically consist of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a (usually white) background. Making one of corn and dirt is a little trickier. “At first, we found that the dirt wasn’t black enough so we had to go in and till and make sure that no corn stalks were hanging over,” said Rachel Kraay. “The QR codes are very stark and it had to be very precise.” Kraay and husband Reuben had suggested Reuben’s parents, Ed and Linda Kraay, try corn mazes when they were transitioning out of hog farming. In 2005, the couple joined Ed and Linda in the business. The farm property is just 25 acres and, the 15 acres for the maze is rented. Since the field is

At 309,570 square feet — roughly seven acres — the Kraay maze easily beats the previous record of one acre.  Supplied photo rectangular and QR codes need to be square, they couldn’t use all of it. But at 309,570 square feet — roughly seven acres — it easily beats the previous record of one acre. To ensure it would actually link to www.kraayfamilyfarm.com, the couple went up a helicopter numerous times and other helicopter pilot friends tested it by their sticking their phones out the window while flying overhead. In order to qualify for the Guin9/29/12

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more profitable than selling the corn, said Kraay. “This corn doesn’t go for a whole lot,” she said. “It’s only 15 acres so you don’t make a whole lot. We basically trade with our neighbour and he buys it for his cows, or he silages all our hay on the other side. It’s a nice neighbourly relationship.” The corn variety was chosen for height and strong stalks. It produces a small cob that is unpalatable to humans, although that doesn’t stop people from tasting it. The corn is mixed with other feed when fed to the cows. Rachel estimates about 20,000 people come to the farm each season — with this summer’s good weather and all the media coverage boosting attendance this year. Admission is $12 for adults, and $10 for kids over age three. The farm is visited by families and school children and used for birthday parties and corporate events. Since opening in 2000, the Kraays have added a variety of attractions including peddle carts, a barn slide, mini-golf, jumping pillow, a barrel train, a tire mountain, corn bins, an automated chicken show, and live animals. The Kraays also host events such as family movie nights, and other family friendly activities and offer a season pass to the farm. “We want people to come back every year and see something different,” she said.

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ness World Record, the Kraay family needed to take pictures of the QR code, video document the scanning of it from the air, and have video documentation of a surveying company checking the site. “It was a long process, but in the end, it was definitely worth it,” said Kraay. The family received a certificate saying they had won the world record. They aren’t included in the most recent printing of the book of world records, but there

is a possibility they could be included in future editions and they now have the right to use the Guinness trademarks on their promotional material. “They have so many records that they don’t promise anything,” said Kraay. “They put it online but they don’t promise it will be in the book.” The world record has generated a ton of press from national and international media, including CTV, CBC, ABC and CNN. Many bloggers have also written about the story. “Farmers think it’s interesting to do something different in the field and people in the tech world think it’s kind of cool, too,” she said. “It’s been really fun.” The Kraays plan their corn maze each year by starting with a picture. The maze has to be complicated, look nice from the air, and present a challenge to visitors. The family works with a designer who helps create the concept using a computer model that is turned into a grid. “Making a maze yourself is not that easy and we want it to be fairly difficult,” said Kraay. The entire field is planted in May, the design marked by paint or flags, and then it is ‘cut out’ using a mixture of herbicides and rototilling, depending on conditions that year. The farm opens to the public at the end of July and stays open until the end of October. Making the corn maze is a lot

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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

GF2 framework receives mixed reviews from Alberta groups FEDERAL CUTS  Though some is going to research, more is leaving agriculture for debt recuction BY MADELEINE BAERG AF CONTRIBUTOR / CALGARY

T

he new Growing Forward 2 framework, announced Sept. 14, is being met with widely differing opinions from Alberta agricultural producer groups. “It’s a big hit for agriculture. We knew there would be some trimming, but we didn’t expect this large a cut,” said Lynn Jacobson, president of Wild Rose Agricultural Producers. “There are certainly some negatives in there, but it generally goes in our focused direction,” counters Fred Hays, policy analyst for Alberta Beef Producers. “We want to have government support in certain areas, but we don’t want government in there affecting market signals and giving handouts. That’s why we’re supportive of the strategic initiatives, especially the research and development that in the long run helps the industry.” Growing Forward 2 will take up where the original Growing Forward ends on March 31, 2013. The policy framework is a joint federal and provincial agreement that provides the basis for the cost sharing of a number of important agricultural programs and funding structures over the next five years. Compared to the original program, Growing Forward 2 commits $435 million less to business risk management (BRM) tools, including the AgriStability, AgriInsurance, and AgriInvest programs. Of that cost savings, approximately $133 million will be directed towards agricultural strategic priorities including innovation, competitiveness and market development, leaving the federal government with about $302 million in total savings. In the new program AgriStability will kick in at 70 per cent of historical reference margins compared with 85 per cent now. “Given the options, we supported the final AgriStability cut compared with the one offered at 50 per cent. It’ll save about $202 million by our calculations. As an industry, agriculture is in a corner but we did expect to have cuts somewhere,” Hays said. “For beef producers, it’s not one that hurts a lot, because AgriStability hasn’t worked well for us anyway. We would, however, like to see some livestock-focused production insurance.”

Irrigators hit hard

However Jacobson said the cut is going to have a large effect on crop producers, especially for those that irrigate. “We’re now looking at the program and wondering is it worth it,” he said. Under the revised AgriInvest program, government will match one-third fewer investment dollars (on per cent of allowable net sales, down from 1.5 per cent). The maximum government contribution will drop from $22,500 to $15,000. “Bringing AgriInvest down to one per cent makes it not a very useful program. The return you can get is probably less than what you’ll end up paying the accountant,” Jacobson said.

“Bringing AgriInvest down to one per cent makes it not a very useful program. The return you can get is probably less than what you’ll end up paying the accountant.” LYNN JACOBSON WRAP

After several years of negative margins, hog producers don’t have much to collect from AgriStability. However, says Hays, the new AgriInvest program addressed this area in part, particularly given that the government considered scrapping it outright. Even Growing Forward 2’s enhanced commitment to strategic initiatives is controversial. Hays sees these dollars as vital, because investment in research has proven to generate huge returns overall. However, Jacobson said the investment is too little, and directed incorrectly. “If they were really serious, they would have taken the whole amount that they saved (by decreasing the BRM programs) and invested it all into innovation. Instead, $300 million-plus is going to debt reduction. And, the $100 million plus going to innovation, well, so far a lot of those innovation programs haven’t benefited producers.”

Little help for pork

The new program provides little help to the faltering pork industry, which has been slammed by decreasing consumer demand and low market prices, compounded by high feed costs. “The pork industry is in crisis. It’s the number one industry that needs help right now, “ said Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork. “The innovation and market development programs will help us in the long run, for those who can stay in business that long, but nothing in this program is going to help us for the problems we’re facing today.” Fitzgerald says the existing BRM tools helped in Growing Forward’s initial years, but do not work for the pork industry now. AgriStability bases payments on five-year historical averages, which is a problem for an industry that has had a string of bad years. Likewise, AgriInvest is of little to no use for an industry that needs to borrow rather than invest. AgriRecovery supports farmers facing disaster, but not the kinds of disaster that the pork industry is being repeatedly hammered by. “There is lots of help for someone who’s negatively affected by a disaster here in Canada, like a

drought. But, there doesn’t seem to be any help for those who get hit by secondary effects, like high feed prices from the U.S. drought. Even if you’re the best farmer on the planet, we have no control over the international market, and there’s no relief from it. Somehow we need to create a program that can help pork producers when everything hits them,” Fitzgerald said. Some of the producer groups feel frustrated by what they consider a limited consultation process. Jacobson calls the consulta-

tion process “Too little, too late. It was at the ninth hour, after all the decisions had already been made.” Added Hays, “We certainly felt rushed.” However, Fitzgerald says that Alberta Pork producers were given good opportunity for input, even if the final framework offers little in the way of immediate support. All in all, Hays says the Growing Forward 2 framework does have some good points. “It’s not ideal, but it does address some of our important concerns.” Jacobson worries about agri-

culture’s future under the new framework. “You’re not going to see the effects of this right away because prices are on the high side, and yields, while not spectacular, are not bad. The people who will really see the effects of these changes will be those who are hailed out or flooded out or have some other disaster next year.” Fitzgerald said he and his industry hope to hang on long enough to enjoy some of the benefits he sees Growing Forward 2 offering in the future.

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OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

EDITOR Will Verboven Phone: 403-697-4703 Email: will.verboven@fbcpublishing.com

Reporters Alexis Kienlen, Edmonton (780) 668-3121 akienlen@fbcpublishing.com

History may repeat itself in the meat marketing business

Sheri Monk, Pincher Creek (403) 627-9108 sheri.monk@fbcpublishing.com

PRODUCTION director Shawna Gibson Email: shawna@fbcpublishing.com

Director of Sales & Circulation

Lamb co-op } The new lamb marketing scheme has

Lynda Tityk Email: lynda.tityk@fbcpublishing.com

good intentions but, so have others in the past

CIRCULATION manager Heather Anderson Email: heather@fbcpublishing.com

national ADVERTISING SALES James Shaw Phone: 416-231-1812 Fax: 416-233-4858 Email: jamesshaw@rogers.com

classified ADVERTISING SALES Maureen Heon Phone: 1-888-413-3325 Fax: 403-341-0615 Email: maureen@fbcpublishing.com

ADVERTISING Co-ordinator Arlene Bomback Phone: 204-944-5765 Fax: 204-944-5562 Email: ads@fbcpublishing.com

PUBLISHER Bob Willcox Email: bob.willcox@fbcpublishing.com

Associate PUBLISHER/editorial director John Morriss Email: john.morriss@fbcpublishing.com

Printed by Gazette Press, St. Albert, AB The Alberta Farmer Express is published 26 times a year by Farm Business Communications. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage for our publishing activities. Publications mail agreement number 40069240 Canadian Postmaster: Send address changes and undeliverable addresses (covers only) to Circulation Dept., P.O. Box 9800, Winnipeg, MB R3C 3K7

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By will verboven

Alberta Farmer | Editor

I

n the agriculture industry, particularly the livestock sector, there is a disconcerting tendency to repeat history. One of those repetitions involves schemes to market meat directly to retailers and consumers. It seems cattle, hog and sheep producers are either fascinated or frustrated by the way the meat they raise is marketed and sold. That’s the only way to explain the never-ending attempts by producers to get involved with marketing their own products. The latest such endeavour is the creation of the Canadian Lamb Producers Cooperative (CLPC), a producer-owned and controlled marketing scheme designed to return more money to the producer. That’s always the noble goal. It comes from the enduring conspiracy theory where many producers believe that meat packers make all the money and producers get screwed with low prices. In the same vein they believe that if they could just control the processing and marketing themselves, they could reap all the vast profits that meat marketers are making from the producers’ livestock. Its all so simple, and that wishful notion gets revived generation after generation. The cattle industry has a long history of producers getting involved in such schemes. Most fail sooner or later. The defunct Ranchers Beef plant would be the latest example. Not surprisingly, attempts continue to try and resuscitate that venture. Canada Gold Beef and Heritage Beef are two other marketing programs that are still alive, but they are facing challenges and hurdles. It should be noted that these programs involve physically marketing the actual product. They are different from programs like Certified Angus beef and others which are quality branding programs involving just the grading of the product. The CLPC program was hatched by the Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board, which claims to have tested the concept.

From that modest local effort the plan now is to launch it into becoming a national marketing scheme. The promoters say they do not want to own any physical facilities, but only to market the lamb after it has been custom killed and processed by established packers. Good luck to them, but it seems they just might have forgotten a bit of history about the fate of a previous sheep producer-led marketing attempt.

“That goal comes from the enduring conspiracy theory where many producers believe that meat packers make all the money and producers get screwed with low prices.” The most famous producer lamb marketing scheme in Canada was the ill-fated Lamb Processors Co-op (I had one of the original shares). It was created in the 1970s and involved the building of a lamb-packing plant in Innisfail. Like the CLPC concept it too sold shares to producers and promised to share the profits of the lamb-marketing business. Within two years it was bankrupt and was taken over by the Alberta government, which operated it for about 15 years before selling it to a private operator. Since then it has been sold several times. It still processes lambs, but to stay in business it also processes other species in an expanded facility.

Powerful enemies

To be fair, the old Lamb Processors Co-op faced a lot of hurdles and even conspiracies that contributed to its quick demise. It was initially managed by folks who had no meat packing or marketing experience and the board was made up of naive lamb producers. That was a sure-fire recipe for disaster in

the cut-throat meat-packing business. The co-op was also subject to a real conspiracy by mainstream packers to see it fail, for fear its success might set a precedence for hog producers. That ended when the government took over the plant, and the agriculture minister of the day laid down the law to the packers to back off with their unholy actions to destroy the plant. However, what was learned was that the meat marketing business was ruthless. Even as a government-backed entity, the former co-op then known as Lambco, had great difficulty competing with the iconic New Zealand Lamb Company of Canada (NZLC), which dominates the Canadian lamb market to this day. Curiously the NZLC has some similarities to the CLPC concept. It too owns no packing plants, but just markets imported lamb and value-added products for their owners. But it has a huge advantage — long-established fearsome competitors with deep pockets backed by giant meat packers from New Zealand. I know Canadian lamb has a premium advantage, but predatory discounting and shelf-stocking incentives by imported lamb eats up that advantage quickly. I wish the new lamb co-op well, but I expect the plan to go national will soon be needing millions of dollars to finance the buying of lambs, custom killing, processing, storing and distributing product to and from various parts of the country. The CLPC may not own a plant, but all those logistics and marketing has to be paid for — usually up front. Add into that staffing and administration costs and the plan will soon face the downfall of every meat-marketing scheme, not enough capitalization to cover establishment and inventory costs and ferocious competition and downturns in the market. That financing wall could either bankrupt the CLPC, or absorb all those extra profits they planned to make by doing the marketing themselves. I hope I am wrong, but it would seem another generation of lamb producers may have to learn the hard way about the painful realities of meat marketing.

or email: subscription@fbcpublishing.com 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.

Leaked report seems to contain the wrong answer by will verboven

A

report on the direction of farm safety in Alberta submitted to the minister of agriculture more than six months ago has leaked to the media. By all accounts from the usual suspects, the report contains the wrong answer. It recommends more education and a farm safety certification process, it steers clear of what should have been recommended — including farm workers and farm operators under mandatory OHS and WCB standards. But that should have been expected being the report was created by the Alberta Farm Safety Advisory Council, a group composed mostly of industry stakeholders and government appointees. It was unlikely that most those folks would go counter to the status quo. The quandary for the ruling PC government is that

Premier Redford promised in her leadership campaign that she would bring farm workers under mandatory OHS standards. The question now is will she do the right thing and keep her promise and ignore the advisory committee’s advice. Clearly the issue is causing the government some political consternation as they did not officially release the report after it was submitted some months ago. Neither the agriculture nor the human resources ministers are making any comments on this simmering issue. The opposition Wildrose Party has stated that it is supporting the report in maintaining the status quo for Alberta to remain the only province in Canada not to include farm workers and operators under OHS and WCB standards. Which causes one to ponder what advice southern Alberta’s newly appointed political overseer, Evan Berger, will be giving the PC government on this matter.


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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Hog industry needs to root out its own fix Integration } Canadian producers need to follow the Danish model of harmonizing the supply chain By Sylvain Charlebois

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any factors, most of them foreseeable and manageable, have triggered bankruptcies in the hog industry over the years. These factors include fuel costs, currency fluctuations and access to some markets closing. Big Sky Farms, now in receivership, filed for bankruptcy protection and restructured its business just a few years ago after a similar run-up in feed costs. Manitobabased Puratone Corporation is filing for bankruptcy protection. The most recent bankruptcies are evidence the industry is still incapable of systemic adaptation. Canada is one of the most costcompetitive pork producers in the world. Most swine producers in Canada are astute cost managers. Nonetheless, current business models in the industry

don’t allow producers to hedge against higher feed costs. So when input costs increase, margins across key business units get much tighter. Most of what we export is fresh or frozen, but value creation and economic growth lies in processing. Despite the relatively higher costs, Danish hog producers are efficient pork exporters. Denmark has harmonized the supply chain from breeding and genetics to production, slaughter, processing and export. That gives the Danish hog industry an unparalleled competitive advantage. Such co-ordination from farm to market enables the industry to tailor products to specific market segments. So we buy pork from Denmark, but Denmark rarely buys from us. After its last brush with bankruptcy, Big Sky, which is run by producers, remodelled itself to focus on managing supply, not on

distribution or marketing that is sensitive to demand. Meanwhile, through close vertical and horizontal co-ordination, the Danish industry is able to decrease transaction costs, turn up efficiency and enhance the quality of its products. In other words, the industry’s structure is based

To save the hog industry, governments should leave it alone and let it figure out how to better manage systemic risks. Or else, it will continue its journey toward a slow and certain demise.

on market demand, not on the primary producers’ needs. Increased competitiveness must be based on enhanced economies of scale, and also on more strategic flexibility, proximity to market and increased global focus. The Canadian hog industry exported more than $3 billion worth of products last year. Some could be produced elsewhere. Production points could get close to aimed markets and logistical capacity could easily be enhanced. The Canadian hog industry committed only to building costmanagement efficacies in recent decades, making it vulnerable to unexpected changes in input costs. Recently bankrupted companies will expect something from governments, and why not? Public coffers have helped the industry on several occasions in the past. Billions of dollars later, most

governments have changed their views on how they want to support the hog industry, not necessarily by choice but by fiscal obligations. Governments are out of money. The Canadian hog industry will have to work itself through this difficult predicament. Higher feed costs will likely trim herd sizes over the coming months. As usual, the industry will naturally recalibrate itself based on market conditions and prices will go up again. It is a shame that all this will happen without a long-term strategy in place. To save the hog industry, governments should leave it alone and let it figure out how to better manage systemic risks. Or else, it will continue its journey toward a slow and certain demise. Sylvain Charlebois is associate dean of the college of management and economics at the University of Guelph.

New strategy, collaboration needed for Canada’s beef sector Backfilling } Canadians are helping the U.S. expand its higher-value beef exports By David McInnes

C

anada’s beef sector is at a tipping point. Although the sector generates $6 billion in farm gate sales and represents 15 per cent of the country’s total agricultural production, we are at risk of becoming a net importer of beef with the United States. Our beef and cattle trade with the U.S. is vital but our trade balance is worsening. In 2002, Canada’s balance of trade with the U.S. was $1.4 billion. By 2011, it was just $42 million. Eightyfive per cent of Canada’s beef and cattle exports go to the U.S. After processing south of the border, higher-value beef is then exported back to Canada. In 2011, our exports of beef to the U.S. averaged $3.74/kg whereas average beef imports from U.S. were $6.55/kg. Moreover, the Americans are using Canadian supply — known as “backfilling” — to expand their own beef exports. Canada is aggressively opening up new export markets but the U.S. is recording triple-digit beef export growth in part because of Canada’s supply. Why does this matter? It is about how we will create economic opportunities in the future. There is a growing recognition here that we can’t optimize the domestic, American and other foreign markets at the rate we are shipping cattle and beef to the U.S. This is made

more challenging given that Canada’s national herd size has declined some 20 per cent since 2005. While the data can fluctuate, beef is also facing declining consumption in Canada — 10 per cent over the past decade. The trend affects many countries, although (importantly) Asia is consuming more beef. Consumers are choosing other proteins. Responding to changing consumer preferences is pressing. Consumers want to know more about the food they eat. Price is important. But consumers are making protein choices on the basis of perceived healthfulness, environmental considerations and animal handling practices.

Commodity or value add?

Canada’s beef sector has a choice. Remain primarily a commodity beef player or strive to be more of a value-added supplier driven by consumer demand. A new strategy, centred around collabouration, is needed. From producers to retailers, each beef supply chain needs to better utilize and share infor-

mation on beef performance, grade and yield, market characteristics and consumer preferences. Other players are integral to support this pursuit, such as in the feed sector, information technologies, veterinarians and nutritionists. This also involves demonstrating “trust.” Consumer expectations are rising. People want to know more about the origin of the beef they eat, what the cattle were fed and whether antibiotics were used, among other concerns. Canada’s reputation for safety, care and quality is saleable and we need to fully exploit these aspects. There is a lot of activity here and abroad to embrace these ideas. The question is whether we are being systematic enough about it so we can beat out our competitors and achieve premium prices for the effort. Agri-food players in other countries are showing the way. The Australians have reorganized their meat and livestock sector to better respond to consumer and market opportunities across their supply chains. The U.S. dairy

People want to know more about the origin of the beef they eat, what the cattle were fed and whether antibiotics were used, among other concerns.

industry has launched a major effort to lower carbon emissions and improve productivity by working better together on sustainability objectives. One of the largest integrated beef operations in the UK (Blade Farming) maximizes carcass values, reduces production costs and delivers consistent beef products to its major retail customers, McDonald’s and Tesco. The Canadian beef sector has also been taking steps to better position itself in this changing marketplace. For instance, the Canadian Angus Program and the Ontario Corn-Fed Beef Program are expanding their reach by relying on cattle identification practices and protocols to promote quality attributes with packers and retailers who, in turn, can assure consumers of the source and quality of their respective beef products. These examples show that targeting opportunities requires collaboration and a clear focus on strategy. Beef supply chain leaders and their partners need to come together to assess what they can achieve together. A robust dialogue on the objectives is needed. The sector’s future prosperity depends on it. David McInnes is the president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI). For a copy of CAPI’s new report, Canada’s Beef Food System, visit www.capi-icpa.ca


6

OFF THE FRONT

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

CANADA BEEF  from page 1

Higher U.S. wheat plantings likely — and needed STAGE SET  Production problems haven’t left markets short yet but that could change if Australian growers continue to suffer from a lack of rainfall BY GAVIN MAGUIRE CHICAGO / REUTERS

S Canada Beef International’s new board of directors. Back row (l-r): Terry Prescott; Gib Drury; Chuck MacLean; Jack Hextall; Jennifer MacDonald; Trevor Atchison; John MacDonald; Dwight Greer. Front row: Mike Kennedy; Grant Huffman; Paul Sharpe; Arthur Batista; Scott Ellerton; John Schooten; Brian Read. SUPPLIED PHOTO Beef and Cattle Market Development Fund and will soon begin developing its next business plan for a second year of operation.

Demonstrating value

“We will consult with industry,” said Meijer. “We’re going to have some formal and informal industry advisory settings where we really sit down and try to figure out, based on our vision and our strategy, what some of the next tactical and priority steps are going to be.” A cattle shortage and a growing global population hungry for beef is creating optimism, but industry organizations are closely monitoring Canada Beef’s performance, he said. “They’re continuing to watch an organization like us and asking, ‘Are the dollars that we’re commit-

ting through the national checkoff being appropriately utilized? Are they creating value?’ Our responsibility as Canada Beef will be to show that value and transparently back it up,” said Meijer. “I am confident that if they continue to give us the chance, we’ll continue to deliver upon their expectations.” Alberta’s Chuck Maclean is the group’s incoming chair with Paul Sharpe of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association as vice-chair. The regional directors are Grant Huffman (B.C.), Jack Hextall (Saskatchewan), Trevor Atchinson (Manitoba), Gib Drury (Quebec), and Jennifer MacDonald (Atlantic region) with John MacDonald and Terry Prescott serving as directorsat-large. Arthur Batista, Robert Bielak , Mike Kennedy and Brian

“I think structurally our business plan and vision is sound. It probably holds stronger today than a year ago when we designed it.” ROB MEIJER

Read will sit on the CMC committee, Scott Ellerton will represent the food service and retail sector, and Dwight Greer will represent the importer and exporter segment.

Yield potential

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tubbornly high prices have served to keep U.S. wheat out of contention on the export market in recent months, but a broad jump in winter wheat acreage coupled with growing overseas demand could change that picture. It’s no surprise that farmers in top hard red wheat states such as Kansas are upping their acres this year, but growers across the eastern Corn Belt seem to be getting in on the act, too. Thanks to crop production issues overseas, those additional supplies could prove to be a boon and not a hindrance.

Sluggish pace

It’s easy to see why the pace of U.S. wheat export sales has been sluggish over the past few months. Good-quality U.S. wheat has consistently traded at a $25- to $40-tonne premium over similar grade French wheat, and at an even larger premium over Russian and Ukrainian supplies. Even U.S. soft red wheat has traded at a premium to French wheat, and these price differentials don’t even factor in higher freight costs. Given that U.S. wheat inventories can hardly be considered tight at more than 18 million tons (more than 50 per cent of total projected U.S. consumption for the coming year), the reason for the high prices is not immediately obvious. Livestock feeders are seeking an alternative to corn, but both soft and hard red wheat futures have held a premium to corn futures since mid-May — with those premiums recently widening to more than $1.40 per bushel for soft wheat and $1.65 for hard. So price-sensitive feedlot managers are unlikely to be the only wheat buyers out there. Further, domestic feed demand is unlikely to account for the firm basis levels being seen at U.S. Gulf export terminals, which determine the ultimate price tag on U.S. wheat shipments overseas. U.S. Gulf basis for hard red wheat recently scaled the highest levels on record of close to $1.20 per bushel, even as the overall sales pace of that grade of wheat has been slow. But other reasons, aside from fundamental demand, may be responsible.

Sit and wait

At the farm level, the short corn and soybean crops currently being retrieved from parched U.S. fields have left room in onfarm storage bins for additional crops that in most years would have been cleared out by now. In addition, there is a less precipitous drop-off in forward wheat values than there is in the corn market, meaning that farmers have a strong incentive to offload corn immediately and sit on their wheat inventory. Storing wheat is also a popular option at the processor and strategic trader level, with both eyeing production problems in top exporting regions such as the Black Sea. This is expected to cause a sizable disruption to exports and set the stage for an uptick in U.S export interest, even at a premium price. Wheat processors and longterm traders are aware it could take several more months before any shortage of grain from the Black Sea region translates into firmer U.S. prices, as overall inventories of wheat in top importing areas remains fairly high. But over time, and especially if Australian growers continue to suffer from a lack of rainfall, a sense of supply shortness is likely to merge among wheat importers which could easily trigger a drive for imports from farther afield, such as the U.S.

Strategic opportunists?

Farmers currently wrapping up their 2012 corn and soybean harvests and beginning their 201213 winter wheat plantings are unlikely to be as focused on the upside potential for the wheat market as other market trackers. Certainly, many growers are planting wheat because they always do, and an early harvest and friendly fall weather are encouraging them to seed a few additional acres this year. But other growers are no doubt making a strategic bet that wheat prices will undergo a stretch of sustained price strength going into 2013. Only time will tell exactly how many additional winter wheat acres U.S. farmers will sow this year as planting is still under way. But early signs point to a much larger acreage. For end users of the crop, such a climb in output will prove to be a welcome development, even if they don’t currently like the look of U.S. export prices.

End users are hoping for a big U.S. winter wheat harvest next year.


7

Albertafarmexpress.ca • October 8, 2012

Ritz rejects aid for hog producers Contract protection } Ontario pig producers are faring better

than those in the West, says FCC’s Lyndon Carlson By Allan Dawson and Shannon VanRaes staff

F

ederal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz is monitoring the financial problems facing hog producers, but he’s not prepared to offer the ad hoc assistance some are seeking for the industry. “Well, I’m not a big proponent of ad hoc programs,” Ritz told reporters Sept. 22 after speaking at the Canadian Farm Writers Federation’s (CFWF) annual meeting in Winnipeg. “It masks market signals. It doesn’t allow the industry to adapt.” Skyrocketing feed prices in the wake of drought in the United States, Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) and the high Canadian dollar forced two of Canada’s biggest hog producers — Saskatchewan-headquartered Big Sky Farms and Manitoba-based Puratone Corp. — to seek creditor protection last this month. Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers added its voice to the call for additional support, calling for $150 million to tide Manitoba producers over until market conditions improve.

“They’ve got some fairly secure delivery contracts that have actually seen some of those hog barns growing in the last couple of years when some of the Prairie farmers haven’t been growing,” he said. Hog-producing Hutterite colonies are also fairing better because they are generally well diversified, he said. “They’ve got lots of enterprises so they can balance things out when times are tough.” In an interview later Carlson said Ontario hog producers are typically smaller and have less debt than those in the West. “When you’re as big as some of the very biggest players you’re burning through some real big dollars every month,” Carlson said. “It’s hard to sustain.” Hog production in Manitoba and Saskatchewan expanded 10 years ago, but much of it was done with borrowed money, he said.

“If they just had a little more sustained period of profitability they’ve would’ve been able to get their balance sheet in much better shape, but they just couldn’t get that break,” Carlson said. “I would not point a finger at the management because I know some of these guys. These guys are very competent.” Of FCC’s $24 billion in loans, about a billion has been loaned to the hog sector, Carlson said. FCC will “stand by our customers as best we are able,” he said. That’s something Ritz said he’d like other lenders to do. “I would like to see… a more fulsome agenda from the lending institutions — banks and credit unions — that once they get into the farm sector they stay in,” he said. “You know this in-and-out on an annual basis doesn’t help anyone. Farming is a very dollar intensive business and they need some long-term stability there.”

Gerry Ritz rejects ad hoc resistance for hog producers.  photo: allan dawson

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“Manitoba’s pork industry needs help — and it needs help now,” said KAP president Doug Chorney. “Two months is too long to wait. For some farmers, two weeks might even be too late.” But he stressed that hog producers aren’t looking for a handout; they’re asking for the federal and provincial governments to provide interim financing to producers. “Commercial lenders are starting to lose confidence in the market,” said Chorney. “And producers are in a vulnerable position because they have nowhere to get credit ... the symbolic failings of two big companies has really put a lot of fear in other potential providers

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Ritz said part of the solution is for hog-producing companies to become even more integrated. “We look with pride at what HyLife has been able to do under the same circumstances,” he said of the Manitoba-based company, which owns its own pork-packing plant at Neepawa, Man. “There’s a lot of good positive things to emulate from the HyLife structure.” In a statement HyLife, Canada’s largest hog processor, said it’s optimistic about the future of the hog business. Hog producers in Ontario are doing better than those out West, Lyndon Carlson, Farm Credit Canada’s senior vice-president of marketing, told the CFWF meeting.

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8

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Now everything is a cash crop, including wheat WIDE VARIATION  In the early days of an open market, wheat prices are all over the map BY PHIL FRANZ-WARKENTIN COMMODITY NEWS SERVICE CANADA

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Wheat is a more complex crop to market that canola or most other crops

anola has been the go to post-harvest pricing option in Western Canada in recent years, but the newly opened wheat market may lead to some additional off-the-combine cash flow opportunities. “We look at the whole farm a lot differently now,” said Derek Squair, president of Agri-Trend Marketing Inc. in Winnipeg. Typically peas and canola would be the primary crops sold for cash flow, “but now we can use wheat for cash flow needs as well. “For cash flow needs, we have a strategy around variable costs and cash flow, versus where we think the market will go in the long term,” said Squair. He said the open wheat market created more signals for farmers to capitalize on in both the short term and the long term. However, just because wheat is now easier to sell, it doesn’t neces-

sarily mean that now is the time to sell it. Wheat is a lot more complex than the other non-board grains, with additional grading factors and other channels where the grain moves. “With wheat, there are still way more variables than there are with canola,” said Reid Fenton, of BLB Grain Group in Alberta. As a result, for the most part, “we’re recommending that guys get their wheat in the bin and check their specs to know what they have before they sell it… and then try to match sales.” Fenton said bin space was not an issue this year, which should allow producers to store their wheat until needed. Wildly divergent basis levels from company to company and from day to day also create some additional uncertainty in selling wheat compared to canola.

Wide protein values

The protein spread has also essentially disappeared, with no real common pricing from one com-

“Just because someone grades something better, they might be paying less money than a different company.” REID FENTON BLB GRAIN GROUP

pany to the next. As an example, Fenton said a 1 CWRS 13.5 per cent at one company might be worth more than a 1 CWRS 15.5 per cent at another company. “Guys really need to do their homework to make sure they know what they have and what they’re getting on the other end from the contract,” said Fenton. “Just because someone grades something better, they might be paying less money than a different company.” With a number of variables still up in the air, Fenton said the wildly swinging basis levels would settle themselves out post-harvest. Squair said U.S. wheat growers can currently see about 80 cents per bushel better basis opportunities than farmers on the Canadian side of the border, but with the grain now conceivably competing into the same markets, there should be room for Canadian basis to narrow in. Actual marketing decisions will change on a case-by-case basis, but overall Squair thinks wheat has more room to go higher than canola. As a result, he recommended selling those commodities with a narrower basis, such as canola, over wheat in the current environment. Some companies are already offering contracting options for wheat out to 2013, which means producers have forward-pricing options that were currently unavailable. Fenton said some growers were already able to lock in some wheat at C$8.50 per bushel for next year. “Right, wrong, or otherwise — if they’re making money on that — it’s a good price.”

Canola may wait

With wheat now trading in a more similar fashion to the other crops, canola exporters may run into some challenges getting timely deliveries, according to some market participants. Now that growers can sell their wheat and other board grains into the cash pipeline, canola exporters may run into some challenges getting timely deliveries. The key thing will be keeping the pipeline fluid, for both canola and wheat. “You don’t want to run the pipeline dry, because every month you lose shipping is a month you don’t get back,” said Lach Coburn, shipping manager with Cargill Ltd. in Vancouver. He said there were still many unknowns as to how farmers will want to market their grains and oilseeds, but was confident the overall market would sort itself out in the next few weeks. Adrian Man, a trader for JRI in Winnipeg, said the demand for wheat hasn’t really changed, although there are now more sellers in the mix. “When you’re first starting, everyone has to make some adjustments,” he said, but noted that product is still moving and most companies are already experienced in handling the different types of wheat.


9

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Ritz defends farm support cuts INFLATIONARY  Minister says AgriStability was boosting the price of land and inputs BY ALLAN DAWSON STAFF

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griculture Minister Gerry Ritz has defended his government’s move to cut direct farm supports, as farm leaders and even one of his provincial counterparts complained they were blindsided. Ritz told reporters at the Canadian Farm Writers Federation conference in Winnipeg that the existing design of programs like AgriStability may be in fact destabilizing the sector. “It was starting to create a situation where we’re seeing the price of land go up and the price of inputs go up and farmers weren’t really as concerned about that as they probably should be,” Ritz said. “We’re also seeing a lack of attention to any type of new insurance program — no one is going to pay a premium when they get 100 per cent coverage for a very modest administration fee. So you almost have to disincent that in order to incent the other side.” Ritz said farmers have been complaining for years that AgriStability was unpredictable and unbankable. “What we’ve done is moved money from the top end of AgriStability — the potential to spend it, it’s book money not spent money — into innovation and deficit reduction,” he said. “Farmers are taxpayers too, they want to make sure we’ve got our fiscal house in order.” Saskatchewan agriculture minister Lyle Stewart said he “reluctantly” signed the new five-year Growing

Forward 2 agreement cutting farm income support programs, after being “blindsided,” during the negotiation process. “We were blindsided and we’re not very happy about it,” Stewart said in an interview from his combine near Pense, Sask. Saskatchewan opposed cutting matching government contributions to AgriInvest to one per cent of producers’ allowable net sales from 1.5, as well has reducing the annual cap on the amount governments can contribute to $15,000 from $22,500. “During consultations producers told us they for sure didn’t want us to touch that (AgriInvest) or AgriInsurance unless it was to enhance them,” Stewart said. If it were up to Saskatchewan there wouldn’t be cuts to AgriStability either, he said.

Cut in half?

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) estimates AgriStability funding over the last five years

would have been cut in half if the new agreement had been in place. How much less farmers will get in future is hard to predict because payouts are demand-driven. The new AgriStability payout trigger requires a 30 per cent drop in program year margins instead of 15. And payouts will be based on a farmer’s reference margin or allowable expenses, whichever is lower. When Canada’s agriculture ministers met in Toronto in July, according to Stewart, British Columbia proposed cuts to all three federal-provincial business risk management programs — AgriStability, AgriInsurance and AgriInvest. “I spoke forcefully against that,” he said. “We went away from there and I thought the thing was dead.” But two or three weeks later during a telephone conference among deputy ministers it was announced all provinces and territories were onside with program cuts except Saskatchewan, Stewart said.

“We didn’t know any offline discussions were happening between provinces,” he said. “I guess they wanted to see if they could get a deal before they heard my negative viewpoint on it and eventually they did.” Asked if he thought it odd given federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz is a Saskatchewan MP a fellow Conservative, Stewart replied: “Well, I thought so to say the least. But I don’t know who the drivers were behind this thing. I haven’t been able to get any information on which provincial ministers were driving this and what involvement that the federal minister had.”

No back-room deals

Ritz’s office referred queries to a transcript of a CBC Saskatchewan interview with Ritz. “At the end of the day, there were no back-room deals,” Ritz told CBC. “Certainly if Minister Stewart has a concern that he was somehow left out, he should talk to his

provincial colleagues, because he was at every meeting I was at.” CFA says in general, AgriStability Tier 2, which was cut entirely, represented approximately 30 per cent of total payments over the past five years. Reducing Tier 3 coverage, which accounted for about 60 per cent of total payments, from the 80 per cent compensation rate to 70 per cent would have reduced payments by five to 10 per cent. The new cap on reference margins would have cut payments another 10 per cent. The NFU is concerned the new agreement pushes private sector insurance programs. “We think that this is clearly an indication that the feds are withdrawing from the agriculture file and that they are destroying the institutions that protected farmers as well as programs, whether it is BRM’s, PFRA pastures or tree nurseries, the CWB, CGC (Canadian Grain Commission,” National Farmers Union president Terry Boehm said in an email.

WHAT’S UP Send agriculture-related meeting and event announcements to: will. verboven@fbcpublishing.com October 11: Energy on the Farm, Legion Hall 10:00 am, Grimshaw. Call: Morgan 780-835-6799 October 11: Working Well Workshop, Location TBA, Ryley. Call: OrrLanger 780-422-1791 October 11/13: Rural Connections Conference 2012, Olds College, Olds. Call: ARDN 780-449-1006 October 12/14: Alberta Goat Breeders Convention, Ag Event Centre, Ponoka. Call: Merna 403227-2596 October 13: Making More Money from Sheep. Location TBA, Westlock. Call: OC 800-661-6537 October 13: Shepherding 101: Getting Started, Olds College, Olds. Call: OC 800-661-6537 October 16: Fundamentals of RFI, Matrix Hotel 8:30 am, Edmonton. Call: S.Markus 403-742-7570 October 16/17: Livestock Gentec Conference, Matrix Hotel, Edmonton. Call: LG 780-248-1740 October 17: Athabasca Watershed Council Meeting, Hinton Centre 5:30 pm, Hinton. Call: Melinda 403843-2960 October 17: Working Well Workshop, location TBA, Grande Prairie County. Call: Orr-Langer 780-4221791 October 20: PCBFA Multi-Species Madness. Hockey Arena 1:00 pm, Valleyview. Call: Morgan 780-8356799 October 20: Making More Lambs: Sheep Reproduction, Olds College, Olds. Call: OC 800-661-6537

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NEWS » Markets

}CHS moves north

10

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

U.S. farm co-op buys DynAgra

Iran makes massive wheat buy

CHS Inc., the largest U.S. farm co-operative, plans to acquire farm retail supplier DynAgra Corp, continuing its steady move into the newly opened Western Canada grain market.Minnesota-based CHS says it will operate its new division under the name CHS DynAgra. DynAgra has four Alberta sales offices, and sells fertilizer, chemicals and seed. CHS opened a small grain marketing office in Winnipeg last year and began buying durum wheat to take advantage of the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly.

Iran’s state grains agency discreetly snapped up around one million tonnes of milling wheat, largely from Europe, in a two-week span last month. The country, previously a wheat exporter, has been hampered by Western sanctions over its nuclear program. But the wheat purchase demonstrates an ability to import food despite financial sanctions that make it difficult for importers to obtain letters of credit or transfer funds through banks.“They are buying bigger volumes than what was expected, they have big needs,” said one trader. “They have been taking almost anything that is available.” — Reuters

Funds trample market fundamentals in fleeing canola Longs } Speculators had lifted open interest in canola to an all-time record high By Phil Franz-Warkentin

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he ICE Futures Canada canola market continued to fall apart during the week ended Sept. 28, as speculative long liquidation took precedence over any fundamental support that might still be there. The most active November contract fell below the psychological $600 per tonne level during the week, and settled below that key chart point for the first time since June. Over the summer, speculative fund traders put on very large long positions in most of the North American grain and oilseed futures markets. Those bets that prices would rise saw open interest in canola hit an all-time record high on Sept. 13 of 247,470 contracts. The fund liquidation since that point took 30,000 contracts out of the market, or about 12 per cent of the total open interest. Trade participants say the funds are still holding more canola contracts that they could still be looking to sell — but whether they will sell or return to the buy side remains to be seen. The situation in the underlying fundamentals hasn’t changed that much for canola over the past two weeks, as concerns over tightening supplies remain supportive overall. Statistics Canada releases its updated production estimates on Oct. 4, and market participants will be watching the canola number closely to see just how much smaller it is. Back in August, StatsCan pegged the canola crop at a record 15.4 million tonnes. However, the prospects have deteriorated considerably since that point, and the question now is whether or not the survey will account for the disappointing yields being anecdotally reported. The most pessimistic estimates have placed the crop below 14 million tonnes. While that would have been a very large crop only a few years ago, the industry has changed — and the expanded crush and export sectors may need to ration some of their demand if the crop isn’t there. Wheat, durum and barley contracts at ICE Futures Canada didn’t really see any actual trade during the week, although there were enough bids and offers in wheat to cause prices to bounce around a little as the exchange adjusted prices

after the daily close. Wheat prices in the Winnipeg market fell in sympathy with the U.S. futures during the week.

U.S. stocks tight

South of the border, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its much-anticipated quarterly stocks report on Sept. 28. Participants holding onto large long positions were heavy sellers in the leadup to the report as they didn’t want to be stuck with their necks out if the report contained any bearish surprises. Soybean supplies were a little on the high end of trade guesses, but corn and wheat stocks were both tight. The resulting rally in the grains helped pull soybeans and canola up as well, to end the week with a bit of a recovery. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission provides a weekly breakdown of who holds what position in the country’s futures markets. That commitment of traders report shows that managed-money (fund) traders have liquidated a large amount of long positions over the past few weeks. That fund buying in all of the North American agricultural commodities was driven in part by drought concerns in the U.S., as weather issues and the resulting expectation for tightening supplies pulled prices higher. However, better-thanexpected yield results in some cases, as the soybean and corn harvests come in at a fast pace, have caused speculators to take some of that money off the table. The early indications pointing to large South American soybean and corn crops were also bearish for prices. But the biggest factor behind the sell-off was the renewed sense of uncertainty in global financial markets. When traders with no skin in the agricultural game get nervous, they show less interest in so-called “risky assets” such as grains and oilseeds. When that happens, they then turn to supposed “safe havens” such as gold, bonds and the U.S. dollar. The Canadian dollar is also considered a risky asset on occasion, and the fact it lost about two thirds of a cent relative to its U.S. counterpart during the week was somewhat supportive for canola. Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

For three-times-daily market reports from Commodity News Service, visit “ICE Futures Canada updates” at www.albertafarmexpress.ca.


11

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

CWB single-desk backers file for Supreme Court hearing CLASS ACTION  Favourable decision would bolster

$17-billion damage claim REUTERS

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Man awarded $7.2 million in “popcorn lung” lawsuit VERDICT  The verdict is

BY ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ DENVER / REUTERS

A U.S. federal court jury has awarded a Colorado man $7.2 million in damages for developing a chronic condition known as ‘popcorn lung’ from a chemical used in flavoring microwave popcorn. Jurors agreed with the claims by Wayne Watson, 59, that the popcorn manufacturer and the supermarket chain that sold it were negligent by failing to warn on labels that the butter flavouring, diacetyl, was dangerous. The condition is a form of obstructive lung disease that makes it difficult for air to flow out of the lungs and is irreversible, according to WebMd. Watson, of suburban Denver, was the first consumer of microwave popcorn diagnosed with the disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, his attorney Kenneth McClain said. Watson was diagnosed in 2007 at a Denver respiratory health center, after years of inhaling the smell of artificial butter on the popcorn he said he ate daily. The verdict was the latest in a line of cases in the past 15 years, starting with workers in popcorn plants where diacetyl was an ingredient, that has linked the chemical to health problems. The defendants’ attorney argued Watson’s health problems were from his years of using dangerous chemicals as a carpet cleaner. Similar cases are pending in federal court in Iowa and in state court in New York, Watson’s attorney said. McClain said he has represented microwave popcorn and flavouring workers across the U.S. who began suing in 2004 and have been awarded large damages. The jury took a day to reach its verdict after a nine-day trial.

D3152

the latest in a string of cases

D3153

upporters of Western Canada’s now-defunct grain marketing monopoly hope to take their fight against the Canadian government to the country’s highest court. Eight farmers, who were once on the Canadian Wheat Board’s board of directors, said they filed papers on Oct. 26 to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to hear their appeal of a lower court decision. A decision on whether to hear the case may take about six months. “We believe that this case raises issues that are important to all Canadians and is worthy of careful consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada”, said Allen

Oberg, an Alberta farmer and former chairman of the CWB. Anders Bruun, the Winnipeg lawyer for a separate farmers’ group called Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, said it too would file leave to appeal to the top court on identical grounds as the eight farmers. The Conservative government passed a law last December to usher in an open wheat and barley market in Western Canada starting Aug. 1. Farmers can now sell those crops to any buyer they choose, not just to the former Wheat Board. Backers of the board’s monopoly say it had broad farmer support and was able to garner price premiums for farmers. Opponents say they can market their crops better themselves. The case is unlikely to restore the monopoly, but the CWB supporters hope

to establish that federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz acted illegally in failing to call a farmer vote before scrapping the monopoly, Bruun said. A Federal Court judge found in December that Ritz had failed to follow the former law’s requirement for a farmer vote, but that ruling was reversed on appeal in June. A favourable decision at the Supreme Court could bolster the backers’ separate class action suit against Ottawa that seeks to collect $17 billion in damages, Bruun said. Another group is pursuing a similar class action for farmers. The former wheat board, once one of the world’s biggest wheat marketers, is now a small, government-run company called CWB, and markets farmers’ crops on a voluntary basis.

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12

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Analysis: The EU grain cupboard is nearly bare DOMESTIC NEEDS  If European buyers look to secure supplies, others could shift to the U.S. and Canada BY GAVIN MAGUIRE REUTERS

C

rop production problems across South and North America in 2012 have understandably hogged a majority of grain trader attention this year, with the remainder of market focus residing on the consumption pace out of China and other top purchasers. But a quiet depletion in EU-area grain stocks has been occurring over the past several months that is worthy of attention. Over the past year, EU inventories of barley, corn, rye and wheat are down by 30 per cent or more, while stocks of rice and other mixed grains have also shown doubledigit percentage reductions. It’s important not to overlook Europe, which is the world’s topconsuming region of barley, oats, rye and wheat and which faces critically tight inventories of all grain staples as we look toward 2013.

One of the main factors that led to this lowering in EU crop stockpiles has been some area production problems in 2011-12. Corn, sorghum and wheat output from the region has shown year-overyear reductions to eat into fresh supplies of those grains, even as overall consumption rates have remained fairly steady. But stockpiles have also been reduced by sharply lower crop imports. Frozen credit markets and growing economic uncertainty have resulted in barley, corn and rye imports being cut by roughly 50 per cent versus 2011 levels, while wheat imports declined by nearly 25 per cent. The net result is a fairly bare grain cupboard in Europe, and a notable tightening in the area’s stocks-to-use ratios. Lacklustre commercial activity coupled with political and social upheaval in the area have so far kept this low level of crop inventories off consumer radars.

Import demand

But attention will likely return to crop reserves once European wheat exports tick higher later this year and into 2013 as the shortfall of fresh supplies from Russia and Ukraine sparks a rise in wheat import demand in areas such as the Middle East and North Africa. Together, those import more wheat than all of Asia. Prospects for increased EU wheat exports have improved steadily in recent months after dry weather damaged crops across the Black Sea area this summer and limited rains impeded crop development in Australia, the No. 2 shipper of the grain after the United States.

Prospects for increased EU wheat exports have improved steadily in recent months after dry weather damaged crops across the Black Sea But while the EU has been an established wheat exporter for decades, it is being called upon to increase export tonnage just as its share of global wheat inventories is at an all-time low. This projected rise in EU wheat shipments just as the bloc’s stocks decline to critically tight levels could spark a response by European wheat consumers, who up till now have likely been preoccupied with following the dramatic macrolevel political and economic events in the region. Should those buyers attempt to secure their own supply requirements in competition with overseas purchasers, a surge in EU wheat prices could occur. Such an event would likely steer buying interest to the United States, which continues to boast ample wheat inventories. But with U.S. wheat trading at a premium to European values, and freight costs to the Middle East substantially higher from the United States than from Europe, panicky wheat buyers on Europe’s doorstep may move to scoop up European wheat supplies as quickly as possible even if EU prices start to edge above U.S. values. Gavin Maguire is a Reuters market analyst


13

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Classic topping action in soybean meal PSYCHOLOGY  Technical analysis discounts

the news but looks at how traders react BY DAVID DROZD

terns on the weekly and monthly charts.

SOYBEAN MEAL

CHART

T

echnical analysis is the study of market movement. Its strength and popularity comes from the assumption that future price direction can be predicted by studying a market’s past activity. Technical analysis is concerned exclusively with the market and certain statistics the market generates — prices, volume and open interest. In technical analysis, no consideration is given to daily news developments, supply and demand factors, government reports or policies. These areas are the concern of fundamental analysis, which attempts to identify all factors impacting the supply and demand relationship, weighing each to determine what effect a change in any one factor has on price. Over the longer term, major changes in supply and demand and in government policies do determine the direction of futures prices. However, over the short and intermediate term, technicians will argue that this is a difficult task requiring almost perfect knowledge, which renders fundamental price forecasting (at least in the short term) an exercise in futility. Market participants often get caught looking up at the top because the fundamental news is always the most bullish at the top. This is when traders hear of the lowest yields, the phenomenal demand and the tightest ending stocks. The fact is high prices bring out the bullish news in a bull market.

Two-week reversal

Prices quickly sold off and by week’s end a two-week reversal materialized. This pattern is illustrated in the accompanying soybean meal chart. I now anticipate that at the end of September, a

two-month reversal will develop on the monthly nearby chart. This is a classic example of topping action, when a reversal pattern first appears on a daily chart and is followed by reversal pat-

On the first week, the market advances to a new high for the rally and settles near the high of the week. On the second week, prices open unchanged to slightly higher but cannot make additional upside progress. The advance stalls, as selling increases and prices begin to erode. By week’s end, the market drops to around the preceding week’s low. The two-week reversal reflects a sudden change in sentiment. On the first week the longs are comfortable and confident, as the ensuing rally provides the expectation for greater profits. However, the second week’s activity is a complete turnaround from the preceding week, which shakes the confidence of all those who are still long the market. The

immediate outlook for prices is put in question. Longs respond to weakening prices by exiting (selling) the market. By understanding the psychology of the market, and by watching for reversal patterns, technical analysis can prove to be a useful tool for livestock producers, when it comes to hedging their meal requirements. Send your questions or comments about this article and chart to info@ag-chieve.ca. David Drozd is president and senior market analyst for Winnipegbased 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 www.ag-chieve.ca for information about grain marketing advisory services, or call us toll free at 1-888274-3138 for a free consultation.

Multiply your operation.

Cut through the news

Technical analysis is committed to the theory that the market itself simply and efficiently discounts all fundamental factors each and every day. I have found that charting and technical analysis has the ability to cut through the news, and this is why disciplined traders focus on the charts for catching market turns. Each day’s prices and the pattern configurations which develop over time are the direct result of human decisions to buy and sell. Studying the price movement and patterns is an indirect examination of human nature in the marketplace. A primary objective in using charts is to recognize these patterns when they begin to take shape. Reversal patterns develop at the end of an existing trend and, upon completion, indicate the trend has turned. When a reversal pattern occurs at a new historical high, it takes on a greater degree of prominence. On Monday September 4, 2012, prices on the daily nearby soybean meal chart (September 2012 futures contract) developed a reversal pattern (sell signal) called a key reversal from a new historical high of $554.40 per ton.

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news » livestock

14

cattle can go to Libya Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast have announced that Canadian breeding cattle now have market access to Libya. A government release said the market is estimated by industry to be worth up to $3 million. This is the first time that Canadian breeding cattle have had access to this market since the BSE outbreak in 2003. Canadian exports of agriculture and food products to Libya in 2010 were worth more than $31 million, the release said.

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Bogus horse treatment resurfaces Yet another counterfeit version of an Ontario pharma firm’s equine anemia treatment has reportedly been found in circulation for sale online. Bioniche Life Sciences said unknown parties have produced counterfeits of the company’s intravenous (IV) iron-sucrose product, Hippiron 1000. The genuine product is used to treat iron deficiency in horses. The fake was discovered being sold via an Internet website, Bioniche said. Concerned users should check their label against the accurate one alongside.

“Somebody has to do it and I have great respect for the people from the province who undertake these mass euthanizations…”

The human toll of animal euthanasia Unpleasant work } Humane euthanasia methods

are just as important for those who do the deed By Shannon VanRaes staff

I

f you’re going to raise livestock, you inevitably must deal with deadstock — and sometimes you have to put it out of its misery. While euthanasia is an accepted reality of animal production, its human toll is often ignored, industry observers say. “I think in the last few years we have realized the importance of euthanasia in terms of animal welfare, and for the perception and the viability of our industry,” said Tina Widowski, a University of Guelph researcher who specializes in farm animal welfare. “We’ve also realized the importance of it from the perspective of the stockperson.” Despite the fact animals will get sick or injured — be it a household pet, a farm animal or a lab animal — openly discussing euthanasia is taboo for some people. But the issue was brought to the forefront recently when provincial officials responding to a complaint regarding a Manitoba hog farm euthanized 1,300 young pigs with rifles. “Somebody has to do it and I have great respect for the people from the province who undertake these mass euthanizations with farm animals. It’s not easy to do,” said Winnipeg Humane Society CEO Bill McDonald. There are emotional risks that come with repeat or intense exposure to animal euthanizations, including the development of compassion fatigue, he said. Also known as secondary traumatic stress disorder, the condition is often linked to professions like nursing and policing, and is associated with a gradual

“You probably have a certain philosophy or outlook on the issue that helps you have a good relationship with your animals… on the other hand, understand that at the end of the day these animals are going to serve as food for all of us.” Ed Johnson psychologist

This 2001 photo from the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the Netherlands shows how tensions can be overwhelming when mass euthanization of animals is required. Dutch riot police were called in after angry farmers hung culled pigs in trees and dumped them in a ditch in protest. The government officials did not collect all the carcasses of pigs culled in a bid to quash the outbreak.  Reuters erosion of a person’s ability to be compassionate over time. It may prompt feelings of hopelessness, stress, pervasive negativity and anxiety as well. Organizations like the Winnipeg Humane Society offer staff resources to cope with compassion fatigue, and veterinarians may have access to professional training, but stockpersons confronted with the need to put down animals may not have the same emotional tools available to them. “We always try to schedule euthanasia at the end of the day, so that we don’t have to dwell on what we’ve done for the rest of the day, and we can go home to our families and happy events, and manage that,” said Richard Hodges, director of animal care and veterinary services at the University of Manitoba.

Moot point

Some dismiss issues around euthanasia, arguing farm animals are designed for dinner plates and how or when they are killed is a moot point. But others contend the context in which livestock is killed plays a role in a person’s ability to rationalize and deal with the situation. “The kind of psychological frame or interpretation we put on events does play a really important role in terms of how we feel about it, and how we’re able to cope with it,” said Ed Johnson, a psychology professor at University of Manitoba.

Killing a sick animal to end its suffering, or slaughtering an animal for food, may impact a person differently than killing a healthy animal because resources are scarce, or putting down a shelter animal no one wants. Mass culls can be the most traumatic for participants. In 2001, an outbreak of footand-mouth disease in the Netherlands required the killing of 27,000 dairy cows. Of the 661 farmers affected, about half were found to be suffering from severe post-traumatic distress following the cull. For those left with feelings of distress after such events, Johnson said it’s important to seek help, even by talking to people you trust. “Many people find a lot of relief in doing that,” he said. But if distress persists after a few months, it might be time to talk to your employer about adjusting responsibilities, or even seeking out counselling, said Johnson. However, the dichotomy between caring for and slaughtering animals is something farmers have always had to reconcile. “My intuition is that in order to feel happy and content in your work as a farmer... you probably have a certain philosophy or outlook on the issue that helps you have a good relationship with your animals on the one hand, and on the other hand, understand that at the end of the day these animals are going to serve as food for all of us,” said Johnson.

Researchers seek better tools Shooting } Maybe not

ideal, but the best option in some situations staff

E

uthanasia remains an important tool in animal industry to maintain herd health, stop the spread of disease or prevent financial loss, said Tina Widowski, a University of Guelph researcher who specializes in farm animal welfare. The Ontario-based researcher and her students recently evaluated a device called the Zephyr, designed to kill piglets using an air-powered, nonpenetrating captive bolt. “What’s nice about the Zephyr is that is doesn’t penetrate the head... just a divot and bruising, so you can see the skull has been crushed, but it’s not as if there is any brain matter showing,” she said. “I know this is gory, but this is a very gory subject.” And as effective as the device is in rendering the pig insensible and causing brain death, the effects of the device are also easier for the stockperson using it, she said. “(Euthanasia) is hard on a stockperson, it’s hard on a researcher, it’s hard on everyone,” said Widowski. “But things can be done to make it easier.” Public perceptions are also important. Widowski notes a single, properly directed blow from something like a metal pipe can result in an immediate and humane death for some species if other options aren’t available. But this carries the risk of generating negative perceptions. “The esthetics are poor, and if the animal goes into convulsions and it ends up on YouTube... well, people don’t understand,” she said, adding convulsions occur when an animal is unconscious and unable to feel pain.

Methods

In animal shelters an overdose of barbiturates — preceded by a sedative — is a common and effective way to humanely put an animal down, said Winnipeg Humane Society executive director Bill McDonald. But, he added, in remote locations or on farm operations that’s not often feasible. McDonald said veterinarians aren’t always nearby, and may not offer methods of euthanasia suitable for livestock populations. Although some in animal welfare circles might give him flack for it, McDonald believes shooting an animal is an acceptable and humane method of euthanasia. “There are times and locations where that is the only option,” he said, pointing to “dog shoot” days held in some northern communities as an example. But that doesn’t mean taking potshots from the back of a pickup, he said. “It’s up close, it’s personal and it’s one shot,” he said.


15

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Be strict when dealing with breeding problems Treatment } A hormone can be used to initiate or

enhance estrus in problem sows

By bernie peet

T

here is always a tendency to be lenient with sows, and especially gilts, that exhibit some type of breeding problem, usually failure to show estrus. This is particularly true when profitability is low and the cost of culling an animal prematurely weighs on the mind. But hanging on to sub-fertile sows and gilts adds to the tally of nonproductive days (NPDs), reducing overall herd productivity. Strict protocols for dealing with such animals are essential if NPDs are to be minimized. One of the most effective tools available to producers when dealing with sows and gilts that fail to show estrus is the hormone treatment PG600 (Merck Animal Health), which may be used to initiate or enhance estrus in problem sows. PG600 stimulates the ovary to produce and release follicles. It is most effective when the injection is timed to induce heat and ovulation (which should occur approximately five days after injection ) at the same time as a naturally occurring heat is expected to occur. PG600 cannot induce estrus in a sow which has ovulated within 14 days because the sow’s own hormones override the effect of PG600. In situations where it is impossible to know the current stage of the estrus cycle, two injections of PG600 will be necessary, 12 days apart, to ensure that at least one of the injections is given at a time which will result in estrus.

It should be noted that PG600 will not induce abortion in pregnant sows and so is entirely safe to use in situations where there is uncertainty about the status of a sow or gilt.

injection of PG 600. Gilts which fail to come into estrus by day 61 after first boar exposure should be re-injected with PG600. Those still remaining anestrus by day 68 should be selected for culling.

When gilts fail to show heat

Delayed post-weaning estrus

One of the largest contributor to NPDs arises from gilts that fail to show estrus during the process of boar stimulation. The level of anestrus exhibited by gilts will be very dependent on the intensity of boar exposure and the quality of heat-checking routines. All too often, substandard procedures are the cause of apparent failure to show heat. Therefore, if the rate of anestrus gilts is more than two per cent, management procedures should be reviewed and improvements made. Assuming that facilities and procedures are adequate, the protocol for dealing with gilts should focus on good boar exposure, with the use of hormone treatment as a last resort. Gilts should be heat checked each day from the start of heat stimulation. Those failing to show estrus 28 days later should be remixed with other anestrus gilts, and moved into a new pen which will help to trigger estrus. Releasing them from their pen and allowing them to run up and down the alleyway, preferably gaining contact with other gilts and boars, for one hour a day during the first three days will also help to stimulate the onset of estrus. Daily heat checking should continue until day 49 when they should be given an

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In a well-managed herd, 95 per cent of sows should show estrus by seven days after weaning, although this figure will be less for first litter sows. Those sows which fail to come into estrus by day seven may be slightly subfertile and suffer from reduced productivity (litter size and farrowing rate) if re-served in the period 8-14 days inclusive post weaning. If this is a problem in first litter weaned sows, the root causes, such as inadequate lactation feed intake or too low a body weight at farrowing, should be investigated and rectified. Where the problem with young females is persistent, routine injection with PG600 at weaning has been shown to significantly enhance the percentage of sows showing heat by day seven and also subsequent farrowing rate and litter size. Sows that fail to show heat after seven days may be mixed into pens with other anestrus sows in an attempt to stimulate them to come into estrus. They should be checked daily for estrus and those failing to show estrus by day 21 post weaning may be injected with PG600, aligning the induced estrus with the naturally occurring one at day 26. A large proportion of these sows will come

Good gilt stimulation routines will minimize the number of nonproductive days resulting from anestrus. into estrus on day 25-26. Sows which fail to come into estrus by day 33 should be re-injected with PG600. Those still remaining anestrus by day 40 post weaning should be culled.

Reduced fertility with returns

After breeding, a proportion of sows will return to estrus, about two-thirds of these 18-24 days later (regular returns) with the rest (irregular returns) occurring any time after 24 days. By definition, the problem with returns is not one of failure to show estrus, but the likelihood of lost days due to lower fertility. In a herd with an 85 per cent farrowing rate, the rate for first returns is likely to be about 70 per cent and for second returns 50 per cent or less. Therefore, where possible, second returns should be routinely culled unless they have to be re-

served in order to meet breeding targets. Pregnancy testing will identify sows that are not in pig, but where estrus has not been observed. Here again, a strict routine will ensure that sows do not accumulate unnecessary NPDs. Sows identified as non-pregnant during the first scan at 28-35 days should be returned to the breeding area and checked daily for estrus. Those not showing estrus by day 37 post service may be injected with PG600 to coincide the artificial and naturallyoccurring estrus at day 42. Sows which fail to come into estrus by day 49 should be re-injected with PG600. Those still remaining anestrus by day 56 should be culled. Bernie Peet is president of Pork Chain Consulting of Lacombe, Alberta, and editor of Western Hog Journal


16

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Cattle feeders take most advantage of AFSC price insurance program UPTAKE  Protection can prove useful even when cash prices are strong BY MADELEINE BAERG AF CONTRIBUTOR / CALGARY

“I think there is a real opportunity for this to become a widespread product across the western provinces.”

F

eeders have been ready participants of Alberta Financial Services Corporation’s (AFSC) livestock price insurance program, with more than twothirds of the 500 to 600 eligible feedlots signed up so far. Uptake has been slower on the calf program that started a year and a half ago and the hog program launched a year ago, says Merle Jacobson, AFSC’s vicepresident of risk management. “We saw a significant increase in the number of producers purchasing price insurance on their calves and feeder cattle over the last six months. Uptake on the calf side is still low, but our numbers are what we expected and hoped for in the first full year,” Jacobson said in an interview. “We’re trying to educate producers on the importance and value of this kind of protection. Understanding is growing, and with increasing understanding, a lot more producers are interested in buying in.” AFSC arrives at a coverage level by analyzing the futures market and the U.S./Canadian exchange rate to calculate the estimated future market value. While some producers might wonder why price insurance is necessary in a good market, Jacobson says it suits all price scenarios. Because price insurance does not lock a producer into a contract, those who purchase insurance win regardless of how the market moves. They are insulated from any decline, but can still benefit from price increases.

MERLE JACOBSON AFSC

AFSC’s program does not prevent producers from cashing in on price increases. “Cattle prices are high right now. But, the question is, what are they going to be doing six months from now? When that time comes and producers market their animals and the price they get is less, that’s what they’re covered for,” Jacobson said. “If market prices are rock bottom, buying price insurance allows a producer to cover off with certainty a level of their costs. But, if market prices are high, they’re able to cover off with certainty a level of their profitability.,” This year may be an example of a year that price insurance proves especially beneficial for producers. As calves start to go to market into the fall, it will

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become increasingly clear how the drought in the U.S. and the resulting high price of feed will impact the market. “While the fall marketing of calves hasn’t happened yet, there’s some speculation that the high prices predicted in the spring won’t hold through in the fall because of the high price of feed,” says Jacobson. “If the market price drops, producers who have price insurance will be protected.”

Other options for hogs

On the pork side, producer uptake on price insurance remains very low. “Our hog program has had very little interest, which is based

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on a combination of a suffering industry, and the fact that they have other products available through direct contracting with the plant, (as well as) some products that the Western Hog Exchange put together,” Jacobson said. “We’re very patient. When you move into these types of products, it takes a long time for producers to evaluate and get on board.” Jacobson said price insurance allows livestock producers to plan for the future in a way they’ve never been able to before. “Having certainty allows a producer to leverage cash flow. I truly believe it’ll change how producers operate over time. It has the potential

to really affect how the entire industry operates.” To date, Alberta is the only province that offers livestock price insurance. However, Jacobson sees value in bringing neighbouring provinces under Alberta’s umbrella. “I think there is a real opportunity for this to become a widespread product across the western provinces. The more producers buy in, the more we can spread the risk and the less the administrative costs will be.” Jacobson also sees potential for protecting feeders price increases. “We see opportunities for the whole value chain. Again, the more diverse you are, the more pooling of the risk, which means the lower the premium you can end up charging,” he said.” However, Jacobson says AFSC’s priority right now is to make sure the existing tools are providing the coverage producers want. “We’re working really closely with all the beef groups here in Alberta to make sure our assumptions and methodologies are in fact what the marketplace wants.”

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17

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

U.S. dairy, poultry farmers demand Canada open markets as part of trade talks FAIR  American farm leaders say they thought NAFTA would end tariffs and

say any new trade deal should give them a “free fair trade shot at the border.” BY DOUG PALMER

WASHINGTON / REUTERS

W

ashington must fix mistakes it made in the North American Free Trade Agreement by insisting in new trade talks that Canada allow unrestricted access to its poultry and dairy markets, say American farm groups. “All we’re asking is that we have an open and free fair trade shot at the border,” Bill Roenigk of the National Chicken Council said at a hearing into the proposed TransPacific Partnership pact. The federal Conservatives have long pledged to defend supply management, but the government has also said all goods are subject to negotiation, both in talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Ontario man contracts H1N1 variant FOOD SAFETY  Medical

officer says no concern for transmission from meat OTTAWA/REUTERS

An Ontario man has been infected with an H1N1 variant influenza virus after having had close contact with pigs. “I would like to reassure Ontarians that this variant influenza virus rarely spreads from animals to humans,” said Arlene King, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health. “Subsequent human-to-human transmission is also rare. I would also like to stress that this is not a food-safety issue — the consumption of properly cooked pork continues to be safe. Proper cooking of meats, including pork, kills all bacteria and viruses.” H1N1 is a swine flu virus responsible for 2009 pandemic that spread around the world in six weeks. It rocked the global pork trade when about a dozen countries temporarily restricted Canadian pork imports after the virus spread to a pig farm in Alberta. “The identification of this case is the result of the strength of our current surveillance system here,” King said. “It is not an unexpected occurrence, and there have been a number of human infections with variant influenza viruses in the United States over the past year.” Officials are still investigating where the man, who had contact with swine in Canada and the U.S, contracted the virus. The case is unlikely to cause the same backlash against Canada by pork importers that it did in 2009, said Martin Rice, executive director of the Canadian Pork Council. “H1N1 sends off alarm bells in certain people’s minds simply because of their recollection, but by no means is this looked at as something that will evolve into a big health undertaking that would have implications for trade,” he said.

among 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and in free-trade discussions with the European Union. Roenigk said U.S. producers thought NAFTA, which went into force in January 1994, would eliminate tariffs on U.S. poultry exports to Canada and were shocked when Ottawa, as well as a NAFTA dispute-settlement panel, took the opposite view. Now that the U.S. has a second chance to address Canada’s poultry tariffs, his industry’s “view on this is the old Irish proverb: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” aid Roenigk. “The U.S. poultry industry strongly opposes Canada’s participation in the TPP unless Canada expressly commits to removing all border restrictions on

poultry imports from the United States,” he said. The U.S. must seize this opportunity to “finally negotiate an opening of the Canadian dairy market to all U.S. dairy products without restriction,” added Jaime Castaneda, senior vice-president at the National Milk Producers Federation. Both Castaneda and Roenigk said Canada could become a big market for the U.S. producers if tariffs were removed. Canada and Mexico are the latest countries to join the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have already been negotiating the deal for 30 months. A final deal is not expected until mid- to late-2013.

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18

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Hold the antibiotics, pass the mustard ALTERNATIVE  Antibiotic use in livestock production is increasingly

coming under fire as a cause of antimicrobial resistance BY SHANNON VANRAES STAFF

P

lant-based peptides could offer alternatives to antibiotics currently used in livestock production, if research at Prairie Plant Systems pans out. The Saskatoon-based company is examining the possible applications of peptides possessing antibacterial properties. “It’s pretty preliminary research, but the idea behind it is to see if it’s possible to have feed amendments that could prevent or minimize or decrease the amount of antibiotics used in feed,” said Larry Holbrook, a senior research officer with the company. The research began with a different goal in mind — to see if genetically modifying plants to include antimicrobial peptides would increase their disease resistance.

BRIEFS Agrium moves to purchase Viterra stores REUTERS Agrium Inc. expects to complete its purchase of the bulk of Viterra Inc.’s Canadian and Australian farm supply stores by the end of 2012 or early 2013, Agrium chief executive Mike Wilson said Sept. 18. Agrium, the biggest U.S. farm retail supplier, is paying $575 million for the stores, which sell seed, chemicals and fertilizer to farmers. Agrium will buy the stores from Swiss-based Glencore International Plc, which is expected to complete its takeover of Viterra this month. Privately held Canadian grain handler Richardson International Ltd. is buying some of Viterra’s grainhandling elevators and crop-processing sites once Glencore’s takeover is complete. The Glencore-Viterra deal has received all approvals from regulatory authorities except China’s Ministry of Commerce, which is reviewing the transaction. Glencore’s sell-off of some Viterra parts to Agrium and Richardson still requires approval of Canada’s Competition Bureau.

No field trials were done at that time, but company researchers wondered if the concept could be taken a step farther to determine if animals who ate plant seeds containing the peptides would also experience greater disease resistance and improved health, Holbrook said. “The stage we’re at now is designing the vectors to transfer this to plants to test the seed, to see if it has the activity we’re looking for,” he said. In August, the company received a grant of more than $100,000 from the federal government’s Agricultural Innovation Program to explore and test their theory. In preliminary trials using feed potatoes containing antimicrobial peptides, animals did show an improvement in immunity and health, Holbrook said. Researchers are now looking at a member of the brassica family, Ethiopian mustard, to see if it could

G e t

be a good source of the peptide through genetic modification. Antibiotic use in livestock production is increasingly coming under fire as a cause of antimicrobial resistance, but despite his company’s efforts to find alternatives, Holbrook calls that accusation “extremely debatable.” “There are examples of families raising hogs where someone in the family gets antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and then the question is, did it come from the animals, or did the humans pass it to the animals,” he said. “But the antibiotic-resistant bacteria is still out there and can be found in certain stock animals.” He also noted many producers aren’t using antibiotics to treat diseases, but to promote growth. “They think they give them better growth rates and so it’s almost out of habit that they are using antibiotics without veterinary oversight, so they could be contributing to this overall problem

t h e

Antibiotic use in livestock production is increasingly coming under fire. of antibacterial resistance,” said Holbrook. In the long term, new products may also lower production costs for farmers, but Holbrook said it’s too early to tell what the economic benefits of an antibiotic alternative might be.

“This is the first step in finding alternatives to the use of antibiotics in animal feed,” said Brent Zettl, CEO of Prairie Plant Systems. “The long-term goal of our research can have benefits for farmers and consumers alike.”

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www.genuitycanola.ca *Monsanto Field Scale trials conducted in 2010 and 2011. always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. details of these requirements can be found in the trait Stewardship Responsibilities notice to Farmers printed in this publication. © 2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.


19

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Inhumane treatment documented again UNACCEPTABLE  Neither Canadian nor U.S. organizations or authorities condone movement of downer animals BY REYNOLD BERGEN AND RYDER LEE

CANADIAN CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION

C

alifornia processor Central Valley Meat Co. is the subject of a recent Internet animal cruelty video released by antimeat organization “Compassion over Killing.” The video captured instances of inhumane handling practices that are not condoned by the beef and cattle industry or the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suspended operations at the company pending an investigation. The plant reopened after federal officials approved corrective plans to improve the treatment of animals. As a result of the video, major customers, including McDonald’s Corp., cancelled or suspended contracts with the company. These types of undercover vid-

eos, typically taken by activists with a cellphone, draw attention to animal welfare. Their underlying motivation in exposing such acts is not to improve animal agriculture but to end it by falsely portraying inhumane practices as the industry norm. There is no questioning their effectiveness with consumers; the video made international news. It is important to note that after reviewing the video, renowned animal-welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin indicated that of the many animals filmed, one animal was improperly stunned. That context does not make the inhumane handling incidents excusable — incidents that would no doubt sadden many producers. The CCA fully supports the statement by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which called the actions depicted in the videos disgraceful and not representative of the cattle community. The video shows cattle being

prodded when they have trouble rising or walking. It has long been illegal in Canada to haul infirm animals unless to a veterinarian for treatment. The CCA and industry as a whole support this law. Additionally, the CCA has long supported the Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) Certification Program. The CCA views this training course for livestock transporters as proactive towards ensuring the safe transport of animals.

Remain vigilant

This latest activist video serves as an excellent reminder for producers to remain vigilant at all times about animal welfare. No doubt packers will be watching this video and working to ensure that they continue to do all that they can to prevent similar occurrences at their facilities. But the packer is not solely responsible for this situation; generally speaking most of these problems originated at the farm.

A screen shot from a video taken at the Central Valley Meat Co. and posted in the Compassion Over Killing website www.cok.net Producers and truckers have an important ethical and legal responsibility not to load cattle that are not fit for the trip to the auction mart or the plant. Producers, cattle buyers and transporters can help avoid this type of situation by being conscientious about

does your yield measure up? 101% of 5440

106% of L150*

only shipping cattle that can travel without suffering. It only takes seconds for a smartphone to record video and post it to the Internet. Take some extra time to think about the animals you are planning to truck before you load them.

Reminders

Some cows should not be shipped to auction marts under any circumstances. Do not load or transport: • Lame, downers, broken legs, or those that cannot rise, stand and walk under their own power. • Excessively thin cows (body condition score of 1) due to hardware disease, lumpjaw, malnutrition, old age, disease or any other cause should not be transported. Cows with a body condition score of 2/5 can be transported short distances if they are segregated. • Cancer eye: Do not transport animals with an obvious growth on the eyeball or eyelid. Advanced cases of cancer eye (i.e. the animal is blind or the eye has been obscured) are not fit for human consumption and will be condemned at the packing plant. • Prolapse: do not ship animals with an obviously displaced vagina or rectum. • Lactating cows: cows that are milking heavily or have mastitis should not be hauled, except for short distances, direct to slaughter. • Pregnant: Do not transport heavily pregnant cows or those expected to calve within a few weeks. • Diseased animals: if a reportable disease such as rabies, BSE, tuberculosis, etc. is suspected, it must be reported to the CFIA immediately. These animals must not be transported. Do not transport these animals until the animal has been treated and/or recovered. If the animal is not expected to recover, euthanize it on the farm.

Alternatives

see For yourselF

*2011 YieldWorks and Demonstration Trials Always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication.

There are three main alternatives. The best option is to make cow culling decisions while these animals are still fit for transport. Animals that are not fit for transport may be euthanized and disposed of on farm instead. There are also companies in some areas across Canada that will pick up carcasses for a fee. Finally, cows that are free of drug, vaccine and other residues, do not have a fever above 39 C (104.5 F), have a body condition score of 2/5 or higher, and are able to walk under their own power may be salvageable through emergency slaughter. Animals that do not meet all of these criteria will be condemned. For more advice on whether or not an animal is fit to load, consult your veterinarian, auction mart or a reputable trucker.


20

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Farm Credit Canada again offers $100,000 for ag safety projects APPLICATIONS  Accepted online from Sept. 13, 2012 through to Oct. 25, 2012 STAFF

T

he Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) is partnering with Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to make farm communities safer through the FCC Ag Safety Fund. CASA will be accepting applications for the third consecutive year from charitable and nonprofit organizations that need support to deliver various farm safety training programs in their communities or across Canada. Approximately $100,000 will be distributed among successful applicants. Applications to the FCC Ag Safety Fund will be accepted online from Sept. 13, 2012 through to Oct. 25, 2012. “There are many training tools

out there that can help make farming safer,” says Marcel Hacault, executive director of CASA. “The goal of this fund is to make sure that we’re putting those tools in the hands of the people who need it. Communities or groups that apply for funding have an opportunity to make their communities a safer place to live, work and play — on and off the farm. So, we encourage them to look at the risks that exist in their communities and propose solutions through education and training.” Past FCC Ag Safety Fund recipients have provided or are continuing to provide training on topics such as safe livestock handling; road safety; safe ATV use; wellness through sleep pattern education; snake, bear and tick safety; and farm safety planning through the Canada FarmSafe Plan.

ADVANTAGE  Unlike

pork producers who rely on grain, cattle producers have other options BY TERRYN SHIELLS

COMMODITY NEWS SERVICE CANADA

Safe livestock handling is among the safety courses that have been held through the FCC Ag Safety Fund.

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Cattle producers are coping with high feed costs that are hammering Canadian hog farmers and recently forced two of the largest Prairie hog producers to file for bankruptcy. Profit margins are being squeezed somewhat by lower prices, but the situation is nowhere near as severe, said Cam Dahl, operations manager of Manitoba Beef Producers. “It’s hard to say why different industries react differently,” Dahl said. “But I don’t see the same kind of volatility coming in the beef industry as in the pork industry.” More lower-cost feed options is part of the answer, said Martin Unrau, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “Cattle producers can feed straw and blend in a bit of dry distillers grain and a bit of barley, and sometimes they have access to lesser-quality hay that’s ground and mixed in with other feeds,” Unrau noted. Hog producers, on the other hand, “live or die” with feed grain prices, he said. Some smaller producers may be forced to liquidate their herds because of high feed costs but the problem — for now — is very isolated, Unrau said. “The cattle industry’s cycle is a little longer so it takes a little longer to feel the pain and re-establish itself when it does run into difficulties,” said Unrau, who ranches near MacGregor, Man.. However, water access is becoming a concern in some areas, said Unrau, who has had to find alternate water sources and deepen three of his dugouts that were drying up. “I know cattle producers will face difficulties this winter with water situations,” he said. “It’s not an emergency situation, but if we don’t get any snow or rain before winter then it will be.” Some cattle producers in Canada could also find themselves running short of hay, as so much is heading south because of the U.S. drought, Unrau said. “I think anybody who is a bit short of hay needs to get on it now before all the supplies are gone,” he said.


21

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Planes of the future could fly on horse bedding NEW START  The ProBio3 project is part of an effort to create biofuels without using food crops BY JEAN DÉCOTTE

TOULOUSE, FRANCE / REUTERS

P

assenger jets could be chomping on straw or flying on fuel extracted from sawdust in coming years as the search widens for cleaner alternatives to kerosene, French scientists say. The “ProBio3” project, started in early July and co-financed by the French government, aims to use traditional horse-bedding materials to develop a new kind of biofuel that can be used in a 50/50 blend alongside kerosene. “Tomorrow, planes will fly using agricultural and forest waste,” said project coordinator Carole Molina-Jouve of Toulouse’s National Institute of Applied Sciences (Insa). “We already know how to set up a basic production line but we must move towards an industrial line,. We need to translate what is done in laboratories to the real environment while improving its profitability and efficiency.” The move to use straw-based materials or wood shavings as a source of fuel is the latest in a series of biofuel ventures aimed at cutting fuel bills and pollution. So far, most attempts have been based on crop-based products, raising concerns over food shortages following recent droughts.

“Tomorrow, planes will fly using agricultural and forest waste,”

yeasts, full of synthesized lipids,” she explains as she stands metres away from a small reactor where sugars and yeasts are combined for the fermentation process. As part of the ProBio3 project, partner Tereos Syral, a specialist in producing starch from cereals, will attempt to replicate the process on an industrial scale using a reactor with 100 times the capacity of the one in the lab. Molina-Jouve dismissed any concern that biofuel production would divert food crops at a time when commodity prices have been soaring. “The project will focus on nonfood biomass,” she said. The European Union is drafting legislation to limit the use of crop-based biofuels in a major shift in the region’s muchcriticized biofuel policy, which includes a target of producing two million tonnes of biofuels for aviation by 2020.

Passenger jets could one day be fuelled by horse bedding.

Reduce sclerotinia losses in canola with Pioneer Protector

Non-resistant 55% infection

CAROLE MOLINA-JOUVE

But European planemaker Airbus, one of the program’s backers, believes woodchips and agricultural waste could be alternative fuel sources of the future. With a budget of 24.6 million euros ($32.1 million) over eight years, ProBio3 aims to set up a profitable production chain for hydro-processed oils, a type of biofuel which has been certified by international standards organization ASTM as useable for aviation in combination with kerosene. Fuel made from wood and straw may seem at odds with the extreme conditions inside a modern jet engine, where temperatures can reach 1,600 C. But scientists say they already know the basics of the process. Industrial or farm waste is broken down into sugars through enzymes, then mixed with microorganisms such as yeast, and transformed into lipids through the chemical process of fermentation. The fats obtained in the process are then treated with hydrogen to make a type of hydrocarbon with similar properties to fossil fuels.

No competition

At Insa’s biological systems and processes engineering lab in Toulouse, France, where Airbus is based, Molina-Jouve removes a test tube holding a yellowish paste from a refrigerator. “Those are large and fatty

REUTERS/RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI

Resistant

13% infection

Sclerotinia disease infection on canola stems in a non-resistant hybrid (left) versus sclerotinia resistant hybrid Pioneer ® brand 45S52 (right). 2012; Nanton, Alberta

Sclerotinia can be a costly disease for canola growers. Lost revenues exceeded an estimated $600 million in 2010, in a year when conditions were favourable for development of the disease. While the numbers are not all tallied yet, for many areas of the Prairies incidence of sclerotinia in 2012 was higher than we have seen in quite a few years.

Management approach

1. Crop rotation 2. Final plant population of 6–10 plants per square foot 3. Sclerotinia resistant hybrids 4. Foliar fungicide

“In 2012 sclerotinia incidence was worse than 2010 and far worse than 2011. Southeast Saskatchewan experienced much higher incidence than the south-central parts of the province. Seeding date also had a huge effect on levels of incidence.” Dave Vanthuyne, DuPont Pioneer agronomist for central and southern Saskatchewan

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“As far as incidence and severity, 2012 has been the worst I have seen for sclerotinia since 2007. I saw ranges of incidence from less than 5% to as high as 60% in fields. Some of the fields were sprayed and still had levels in the 30% range.” Doug Moisey, DuPont Pioneer agronomist for central and northern Alberta

Sclerotinia resistant hybrids

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www.pioneer.com *Field results show that Pioneer Protector ® Sclerotinia resistance can reduce the incidence of sclerotinia in a canola crop by over 50%. Individual results may vary. Depending on environmental and agronomic conditions, growers planting Pioneer Protector Sclerotinia resistant hybrids may still require a fungicide application to manage sclerotinia in their crop. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark used under license from Monsanto Company. The DuPont Oval Logo is a registered trademark of DuPont. ®, TM, SM Trademarks and service marks licensed to Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited. © 2012, PHL PR383_TechTorial_AFE_FE

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12-10-02 12:06 PM


22

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

CELEBRATING THE RETURN OF THE CATTLE The annual Kravji Bal or “Cow Ball” was held Sept. 15 and 16 at Bohinj, Slovenia. The event celebrates the return of the cattle to the valley after spending summer on high pastures in the mountainous country in the north part of the former Yugoslavia. Locals and tourists flock to see the spectacle of decorated cows parading around the area’s famous waterfall, joined by herdsmen, dairy maids and cheesemakers. There’s also traditional Slovenian folk music and dancing, plus sling shooting, log-sawing and horseshoe casting. PHOTOS: SARAH MORRISS

No sign of livestock sector crisis — EU farm chief FEED PRICES  As in North America, European feeders are stung by price increases

“I’m really excited about what the future is in agriculture as a whole.

BRUSSELS / REUTERS

T

I think more than ever it’s got to be run with a business plan and a sharp pencil.” – Doug Seland, Alberta

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he European Union’s top farm official has dismissed talk of a crisis in the bloc’s livestock sector, despite warnings from some EU countries that high feed prices could force farmers out of business. Global grain prices remain high after they hit record peaks in July, driven by the worst drought in the U.S. Midwest for 50 years. Farm ministers from Italy, Greece, Portugal and Hungary warned European officials Sept. 24 that high prices could lead to a shortage of animal feed, forcing farmers to reduce the size of their herds or sell them. Greece said the threat was particularly acute for intensive pig and poultry farmers, and urged the European Commission to provide emergency support. But EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, who oversees the bloc’s farm policies, said European producers were able to cope with the rise in feed prices. “The meat and dairy sectors as a whole are not in crisis in the European Union,” he said. With this year’s EU grain harvest forecast at about 280 million tonnes — two per cent below the five year average — Ciolos said there was no physical shortage of cereals. The EU has also suspended its import duties on feed wheat. Duties for corn and barley imports are also currently at zero.


23

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Monensin can be lethal to horses Treatment } Absorption can be blocked once discovered,

but long-term effects can continue

By carol shwetz, dvm

M

onensin, also known under its trade name, Rumensin, is extremely toxic to horses. It is one of the most common accidental poisonings in horses, and yet often goes unrecognized. Farm animals such as horses, cows, chickens, and pigs can and commonly do share similar feeds. However it is extremely important that horse owners are aware that feeds intended for promoting growth in cattle, chickens, and swine may contain ingredients fatal to horses. Many modern livestock feedstuffs contain ionophores, feed additives used to enhance feed efficiency, promote growth, and control coccidiosis in cattle, swine and poultry. Monensin is the most familiar ionophore. Others include lasalocid (Bovatec), an anti-bloat agent; salinomycin, narasin, maduramicin, laidlomycin and semduramicin. The concentrated product is rarely found on the farm. It is more commonly available as a premix or in pelleted feeds. Ionophores can also be found in molasses-based mineral blocks for ruminants. Horses are much more sensitive to ionophore toxicity than other species, yet the exact reason is not well understood. Any exposure to monensin is cause for concern, as horses are nearly 20 times more sensitive than cattle and 200 times more susceptible than poultry on a mg per kg body weight basis. A common case of this poisoning is seen in horses used to work feedlots, who have been poisoned by consuming cattle feed containing monensin. Ionophores disrupt the normal flux of ions, particularly sodium and potassium, across the cell membrane. This leads to failure of the mitochondria, which is the part of the cell responsible for energy production. Therefore, the highly energetic tissues of the body such as the heart and skeletal muscles are primarily affected with intoxication. Ingestion of sublethal doses results in structural damage to the heart as damaged heart muscles are replaced by fibrous tissue during the healing process. More severe intoxication ultimately leads to death of the heart muscles.

Symptoms

Clinical symptoms following ingestion of monensin are dose dependent and individual horse dependent. Affected horses may just look like a severe colic with their heart rate consistently double or triple normal rhythm and breathing laboured. Symptoms are progressive and include reluctance to eat, abdominal pain, sweating, excessive urination, and an unsteadiness of foot. Following the initial episode of illness, horses have a guarded prognosis, often exhibiting signs of congestive heart failure. Sudden deaths are common weeks to months following exposure. Symptoms of monensin intoxication are often non-specific, making it difficult for veterinarians and horse owners to confirm the problem. Once exposure has been dis-

covered, veterinarians will initiate symptomatic and supportive care. Products such as activated charcoal or clays may be used to block further absorption, however there is no antidote for the monensin poisoning that already occurred. Some horses might die regardless of treatment, others might recover over days, weeks or months. Of those that survive, some develop irreparable heart damage and so never fully recover. Knowing the devastating effects ionophores can have on your horse makes it obvious that prevention is of key importance. Accidental ingestion of ill-fated feeds must be avoided. Carol Shwetz is a veterinarian specializing in equine practice at Westlock, Alberta.

Horses working in feedlots are particularly prone to eating feed with ionophore supplements.

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24

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Cargill Specialty Canola Program

Pod for pod, Cargill Specialty Canola will make you more money. Choose Cargill Specialty Canola for premier, high-yielding hybrids — from VICTORY® and InVigor® Health — that generate unparalleled profits. And enjoy the convenience of a simple program that saves you time and hassle. Want the proof? Go to cargillspecialtycanola.com.

® The Cargill logo, VICTORY and VICTORY HYBRID CANOLA logo are registered trademarks of Cargill Incorporated, used under license. InVigor® is a registered trademark of the Bayer Group. Genuity®, Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Roundup Ready®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license. Always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication. ©2012 Cargill, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

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25

CGC WANTS MORE GRAIN SAMPLES Farmers have until Oct. 15 to sign up for this year’s Harvest Sample Program, which provides free unofficial grade and quality information from the Canadian Grain Commission. “Producers who send us their grain samples are helping us assess the quality of this year’s harvest. We share this important data with customers to show them that Canadian grain is their best choice for consistent quality,” said chief commissioner Elwin Hermanson. “The more samples received, the more accurately we are able to evaluate the quality of the 2012 harvest.” For details visit www.grainscanada.gc.ca

All purchases are subject to the terms of labelling and purchase documents. The DuPont Oval Logo is a registered trademark of DuPont. ®, TM, SM Trademarks and service marks licensed to Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited. © 2012 PHL.

 GRADING

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

No till doesn’t mean never-till, says adviser I

t’s still possible to catch a glimpse of a moldboard plow now and then on the Prairies. Usually, they can be seen rusting away peacefully in the bushes near an abandoned farmyard, or taking one last ride on the back of a scrap metal truck. That’s where the older plows belong, said Pat Lynch, an independent certified crop adviser based in Ontario. “Many of the older plows should be melted down into swords. They’d do less damage,” Lynch said in an interview. If that’s the case, why did he agree to moderate a demonstration of proper plowing techniques with modern, updated equipment at the recent Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario? The demonstration was so controversial that at one point, Lynch says an extension agent from Ontario’s ministry of agriculture half-jokingly threatened to chain himself to the plow in protest. But Lynch went ahead anyway for two reasons. First, many eastern farmers still use moldboard plows routinely, and he wanted to show them how to plow shallow, and secondly, to point out specific cases in which it might be a good idea. Older tractor plows typically use a 16-inch share measured across its width. In most cases, that means they only work well at about an eight-inch depth. “We don’t have eight inches of topsoil that we can plow,” he said, adding

On most farms, the moldboard plow has been parked to rust away in peace. But Pat Lynch, an Ontario-based independent certified crop adviser, says occasional, shallow plowing could help farmers do a better job of recycling leftover nutrients from stubborn corn stubble. PHOTO: DANIEL WINTERS that optimum depth to avoid bringing up subsoil is about four inches. To measure the depth of the furrow, he advises placing one foot on the bottom and the other on the top, and checking the distance between the soles with a tape measure. Hitting that sweet spot even with modern plows is tricky, he said, adding that most farmers would find that a disc or other vertical tillage tool would work better. Tillage has become anathema to many with the advent of no-till. But Lynch believes that no-till doesn’t mean “never till.” That may sound heretical, but he argues that responsible farming methods should be based on rotation of crops, chemicals, and even — gasp — tillage methods. “I’m talking corn stalks and possibly alfalfa,” he said.

“I’m not sure about using moldboard plows on cereal ground in Western Canada. Vertical tillage tools do a pretty good job of incorporating residue into the top four to five inches. ” Plowing and other tillage methods are all about managing the three kinds of organic matter in soil. These include the bulk proportion — “the 100-year-old stuff” which is well mixed in with the soil, and the 1-10 per cent fraction called the “raw” organic matter that is made up of this year’s and last year’s crop.

Mix it up

The third component, called “active” organic matter, could be up to 30 per cent of the total matter. It is especially valuable because it is made up of residues anywhere from three to 10 years old in the process of

The

STAFF

breaking down into plant-available nutrients. “If you’re in continuous no till, that fraction just stays on the top of the ground,” said Lynch. “It should be mixed into the top six inches.” Using a moldboard plow or other tillage tool once every seven years or so, could be just the ticket for incorporating all of the valuable nutrients into the top six inches. Also, he argues that plowing on that schedule wouldn’t destabilize the soil aggregates and leave it vulnerable to erosion. Ideally, a field would be shallow plowed in fall, with one pass of secondary tillage in spring before planting to avoid “beating up” the soil. Many farmers think that good plowing should leave no residue showing, just like in the plowing matches. But in Lynch’s opinion, having some trash poking out of the ground helps to reduce the risk of erosion. With the growth in corn acres across the western Prairies, he expects that more farmers will take tentative steps towards using tillage again. “With lower commodity prices, we went to no till knowing that we were giving up a bit of yield but making more money,” he said. “Now, with higher commodity prices, that extra yield that we get with tillage makes it worthwhile.” Lynch was a firm proponent of no till as far back as the 1970s, and still believes that on many land types there is no other way of preserving the soil. “But now, on some of that flat level ground, we can do some tillage,” said Lynch.

TM

BY DANIEL WINTERS

proving ground.

HERESY?  Shallow plowing once every seven years could help rather than hurt soil quality

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OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Irrigation pivots get a workout BEETS  At the end of the September growers

were still waiting for it be cool enough to pile

Peace region canola also failed to live up to early expectations, but yields were average overall.

BY HELEN MCMENAMIN

PHOTO: REBECCA DIKA

Another dry year in the Peace A EARLY  A harvest that often drags on in the region was

pretty much done by the end of September BY REBECCA DIKA

AF CONTRIBUTOR/GRANDE PRAIRIE

T

he Peace region failed again this year to live up to its reputation for too much moisture, but you won’t hear too many complaints. As in many other area of the Prairies, canola failed to live up to its early promise when the combines arrived. Dryness, heat, bugs and disease all contributed to canola’s less-than-stellar performance, said Alberta Agriculture market specialist David Wong, but yields are still around 30 bushels per acre, or about average. “The last time we had any real amounts of precipitation were May and June when some of the lower spots got drowned out,” Wong said. “They never came back.” High, dry temperatures throughout July and August didn’t help much, and lygus bug and sclerotinia along with aster yellows diseases rounded out the hits. Producers near Falher and Girouxville suffered losses when a storm went through near the beginning of September. “One farmer there said the hail took out up to half of his canola,” Wong said. But most Peace producers are content, he said.

Harvest was more than 95 per cent complete at the end of September, about two weeks ahead of schedule. “It’s just been a beautiful harvest,” said Wong. “At this time last year, we had barely started.”

Missed the wind

Extreme wind conditions that plagued Alberta and shelled out swathed crops had little affect in the northwestern portion of the province, since producers had already combined. “Some of our guys were wrapped up by the middle of September,” Wong said at the end of last month. “Others are being a bit choosy, waiting for the green to turn in a few hundred acres yet.” Wheat yields are coming in about average, between 45-55 bushels/acre. Top grades were off by the third weekend of September. “Grades for this region are quite good compared to what’s normal,” said Wong. Peace pea yields are all over the map, he said. “On average, we’re looking between 40-45 bushels per acre.” Wong attributes their good performance to the fact they are seeded early so the May and June rains were of particular benefit.

Barley and oat acres were down significantly in the northwest this season, Wong said. “One crop that did quite well was winter wheat,” he noted. Yields came in between 50-75 bushels/acre. “Lots of guys have started using it in their rotation since it spreads out the workload and machinery costs,” Wong said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t around 100,000 acres of it up here.” Grass seed acres have been falling in northwest Alberta, and continue to do so. “Lots of what’s been seeded needs moisture to get the seed set for next year and it’s not getting rain,” said Wong. “We’re looking at a below-average crop for grass seed.” Hay came off in good shape, he said, but with cattle numbers still down, lots of pastures and hayland got turned into cropland. Now that the grain is in the bins, Peace producers are using the time for some post-harvest field activities. Perennial weed control, soil fertility evaluation and fertilizer application are the usual list, but “I’m not sure how much fertilizer is going down yet as the ground is very hard,” Wong said. “We’re very dry. We need lots of moisture to replenish the soil.”

Cash advances for more than 20 grain, oilseed and pulse crops.

AF CONTRIBUTOR/LETHBRIDGE

s with most others in the province, many southern Alberta farmers had the first harvest they can remember with no weather interruption, or even pressure to finish harvest before a rain shower. Some have run short of storage space, while others saw good early prospects dim after heat and dryness in July and August. Winter wheat was the star of 2012 — the wet spring that delayed seeding of spring crops was perfectly timed for winter wheat. Some growers report yields over 100 bushels under irrigation and dryland yields seem to have averaged between 50 and 60 bushels. More is expected next year — some seed growers sold out early. Peas also took advantage of early moisture and the very earliest-seeded peas were the best crops in dry areas where there hasn’t been even a shower since June 23. Winter peas and winter lentils in trials at Lethbridge were spectacular. Specialized irrigation crops all seem to have done well — irrigators are set up for hot dry weather and they took full advantage of ideal conditions. Bean growers have had an excellent year with average yields estimated at about 100 pounds more than the longterm average of 2,300 pounds. “We thought we’d get even higher yields,” said Larry Doherty, a field rep for Viterra, based in Bow Island. “Maybe we held off the water a little too much. But, we had very little white mould (sclerotinia), so maybe we got it right.” Mostly, the quality is excellent, but many crops are too dry — splits are higher then normal. Sugar beet growers can’t start harvest until it’s cool enough to

Monarchs — one butterfly species that farmers didn’t mind seeing plenty of this year. pile the beets safely, and during the last week of September only one day didn’t have afternoon temperatures over 25 C.

Insects

Wheat midge damaged some spring wheat in southern Alberta this season, and Alberta Agriculture pest specialist Scott Meers advises all farmers in south-central Alberta to scout their wheat for midge from heading until flowering. “Once you have wheat midge in a field, you need to scout it and neighbouring fields for it every year,” he sid. “Low areas and wet spots act as a reservoir for wheat midge, but also for the natural enemies that keep it in check.” Meers’s surveys indicates pea leaf weevil and cabbage seedpod weevil both stayed pretty much in their traditional area south of Highway 1 this year. A major flight of diamondback moths arrived in Alberta early, but for some reason the population didn’t grow significantly. “Something took them out,” says Meers. “We’re not sure what. It has a parasitic wasp that attacks it or a disease may have limited it. We don’t understand the dynamics of those balances. “The other thing we don’t understand is the outbreak of monarch butterflies we had this year.”

Apply for a post-harvest advance today:

1 2 3 Call for Nominations: Directors for Regions 3, 6, 9, 12 Who may become a director of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC)?

The Benefits · Up to $400,000 advance with $100,000 interest-free and $300,000 at prime rate. · Up to 18-month repayment period.

Anyone who has paid the ACPC a service charge on canola sold since August 1, 2010 is an eligible producer and can stand for election as a Director. An eligible producer can be an individual, corporation, partnership or organization. Eligible producers must produce canola within the defined region in order to be nominated, but do not have to reside within the region. For detailed descriptions about the ACPC regions where elections are being held visit www.canola.ab.ca or call the ACPC office at 1-800-551-6652.

Nominations for the position of Director must be filed in writing at the ACPC office #170, 14315-118 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5L 4S6 or by fax 780-451-6933 on or before October 31, 2012. For more information contact Ward Toma, ACPC General Manager at 1-800-551-6652


27

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Cargill plans major canola crusher at Camrose

What hit canola yields?

EXPANSION  Plant will be the first new crusher in Alberta in more than three decades

BAD RAP  Sclerotinia may be a bigger culprit that aster yellows

STAFF Cargill brass were at Camrose last Monday to launch work on an 850,000-tonne-per-year crush plant just south of the community, about 80 km southeast of Edmonton. “The facility will have the capacity to process both conventional and specialty canola seed, which will enable us to significantly increase our contracting programs in the area,” Ken Stone, Cargill’s commercial manager for Canadian canola processing, said in a release. A spokesperson for Cargill, which already runs the largest canola crushing plant in Canada at Clavet, Sask., said the company expects to source canola within a 300-km radius of the new facility. Cargill’s fellow processing giants Bunge and ADM operate crush plants respectively at Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., about 100 km north, and at Lloydminster, Alta., about 225 km east. “Canola continues to be a very competitive crop for the Canadian grower and Camrose is an excellent

location for value-added canola processing,” Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill’s North American grain and oilseed business, said in the company’s release. In 2012-13, he said, canola acres in Canada were over 21 million, indicating the canola industry “will continue to grow, driven by competitive access to a large North American livestock industry for canola protein meal and continued strong demand for canola oil.” Cargill’s other facilities at Camrose include the animal nutrition plant it built there in 1982, a Cargill AgHorizons grain elevator on the north side of town and an office for the company’s specialty canola program. The Alberta Canola Producers Commission noted in a separate release that the planned Camrose plant would be the first new crusher to be built in the province in over three decades. Cargill also announced last month it will add a canola oil refinery operation at its crusher at Clavet, Sask.

Cargill recently announced it will add a refining facility to its canola crushing plant at Clavet, Sask.

BY HELEN MCMENAMIN AF CONTRIBUTOR

A

ster yellows is taking the blame for the yield drop in canola this year, but Alberta Agriculture plant pathologist Mike Harding thinks there were other factors. The cool wet spring delayed seeding, so many crops were blooming when temperatures were over 30 C, Harding said. “Aster yellows cut yields in some crops,” he said. “But in my opinion, sclerotinia caused most of the yield losses in canola this year.” He doesn’t believe any of the fields he saw had enough damage to drop yields by more than about five per cent. “Aster yellows is very easy to scout, he said. “I did see some crops that would likely have benefited from controlling the leafhoppers that carry the disease.” “We had more leafhoppers than usual and a higher percentage than usual were infected with aster yellows,” said Alberta Agriculture pest specialist Scott Meers. However, he doesn’t advise rushing to control leafhoppers. They don’t show up in significant numbers most years. They’re only a problem when a high percentage carries aster yellows but testing for the pathogen requires a DNA test. Harding thinks heat was a culprit in the disappointing yields of many canola fields, but suspects the main problem was sclerotinia. Everything lined up for sclerotinia damage,” he says. “We didn’t

Sclerotinia infection — it’s not the rain, it’s the humidity. have a lot of rain, but we had quite a spell of unusually high humidity that made for wetness in the canopy — perfect for sclerotinia. “I saw sclerotinia in just about every field I scouted this year. We had a long period when humidity wasn’t below 50 per cent at any time. It seemed dry, but under the canopy it’s different,” Harding said. “Sclerotinia flew under the radar this year,” he says, “You need to check the crop, not just the weather. Any time you can walk through the crop at 10 or 11

in the morning and your pant legs are getting wet, conditions under the canopy are ideal for sclerotinia.” Harding says tolerant varieties help, but tight rotations increase risk considerably. He advises switching into cereals for a few years if sclerotinia becomes a persistent problem. “Economics are crucial in farming,” he says. “But, if you ignore the biology, especially the biology of pathogens, it can take a big bite out of the economics of your farm.”

Fall ch eck

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OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

In Brazil, a land of rivers, crops take the road Long drive } Farmers have to truck their soybeans 2,100 kilometres to port by asher levine sao paulo / reuters

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razil’s Mato Grosso state has all the conditions to be a soy farmers’ paradise: plentiful rains, fertile and affordable land and a potentially navigable river, the Teles-Pires, that winds its way north to the Amazon and out to sea. Yet farmers cannot use the Teles-Pires and instead have to load their crops onto trucks for a two-day, 2,100-kilometre journey by road to overcrowded southern ports, where they often wait weeks before loading. Brazil has historically failed to make use of its extensive river network, one reason why its transport costs are up to four times higher than in the U.S. or neighbouring Argentina. That could change in coming years as officials, under pressure from the growing farm lobby

in soy frontiers such as Mato Grosso, are vowing to take the tough steps necessary for river travel to become more widespread. Brazil’s numerous transport bottlenecks are in the spotlight after President Dilma Rousseff recently announced a $65-billion plan that targets improvements to about 16,000 kilometres of highways and railroads. River transport would not be addressed right away, but technicians are looking carefully at the logistical hurdles. That usually means hydroelectric dams — and the case of the Teles-Pires is emblematic. While the river is not currently navigable, a series of hydroelectric dams planned along its course could raise water levels high enough to allow barges to pass through. The problem is Brazil’s government failed to include the requirement for navigation locks in the bidding

process. Farmers are enraged, saying electric companies are monopolizing the use of a public resource at their expense. It’s estimated a working waterway on the Teles-Pires could cut freight costs by as much as 55 per cent. It costs an average of $85 per tonne to ship crops out of Brazil but just $23 in the U.S. and $20 in Argentina. “We are throwing away three billion reais ($1.5 billion) (in shipping expenses) every year and it’s just going to get worse,” said Leonildo Bares, a soy farmer and president of a local agricultural union. Brazil’s energy policy, however, may be standing in the way. Rousseff’s priority is lowering energy prices — currently the world’s third highest — by offering tax breaks to electric companies to increase supply. As many as 48 new hydroelectric plants are planned for 2020, but most will not include navigation locks.

Workers harvest soybeans at a farm in Tangara da Serra, Mato Grosso state in western Brazil.  REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

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Australian wheat production could fall sharply DRY } Conditions

cut forcasts

sydney reuters Australia’s wheat output may fall below 20 million tonnes during the 2012/13 season due to a dry spell across Western Australia. Chicago Board Of Trade new-crop wheat futures have jumped 35 per cent since mid-June following dry weather in the Black Sea region and the worst drought in 60 years in the U.S. Russia, the fourth-largest wheat exporter, last month admitted it may limit grain exports if domestic prices continue to climb. Western Australia produces at least a third of Australia’s total wheat crop, making it the biggest producing state. Analysts estimated its wheat output to range between 5.5 million tonnes and 6.9 million tonnes this year, much lower than last year’s record crop of 11.73 million tonnes. “If Western Australian wheat falls to 5.5 million tonnes, we are looking at Australian wheat production at less than 20 million tonnes,” said grains analyst Andrew Woodhouse. “At this point in the season, further rains throughout September would protect the current yield estimates but not likely increase them,” added analyst David Capper. Australia cut its total wheat production forecast by seven per cent to 22.5 million tonnes last month and warned of further drops.

BayerCropScience.ca/InVigor or 1 888-283-6847 or contact your Bayer CropScience representative. Always read and follow label directions. InVigor® is a registered trademark of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada.

O-66-10/12-BCS12259-E


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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Lower canola harvest sets off battle for supplies Expansion } Larger domestic crush capacity expected to attract more supplies By Rod Nickel Reuters

A

Fewer cars of canola seed are expected to move to port this year.

disappointing Canadian canola crop is setting up a tug-of-war between domestic crushers and exporters over supplies, with global vegetable oil markets already stretched tight by a drought-damaged U.S. soybean crop. Canadian farmers were expected to shatter the record for canola production and harvest 15.4 million tonnes of the oilseed in 2012-13, according to Statistics Canada’s estimate in August (the Sept. estimate was to be released after press time last week). But a midsummer heat wave, disease and a recent windstorm that flung around entire rows of swathed canola have chopped industry yield and harvest estimates dramatically. The crop may still be bigger than last year’s record 14.5 million

tonnes, but crushers and exporters expected more, after both groups set records in 2011-12. “I think exports are going to suffer,” said Don Roberts, analyst at CanolaInsight.com. Canada is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of canola and its shipments make up some two-thirds of the global trade. Selling canola’s processed products — oil to make vegetable oil or biodiesel and meal to feed livestock — is more lucrative than canola seed itself, and some crushers such as Cargill and Viterra are also seed exporters. Crushers will be keen to sell canola oil to U.S. biodiesel makers because the competition, soybean oil, is in tight supply after the U.S. drought, Roberts said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this month boosted its mandate for biofuel production in 2013 to 1.28 billion gallons, up from this year’s one billion gallons.

China seed shipments lower

Roberts sees Canadian canola seed shipments dropping off to China, last year’s top export market, and the United Arab Emirates. China may import more canola oil instead, he said. Japan and Mexico, usually among Canada’s top three export markets, are steady canola buyers. Canadian crushers have expanded rapidly in the past several years to keep pace with rising canola production. Canada crushed about seven million tonnes of canola in 2011-12. Lach Coburn, West Coast manager for Cargill, sees a strong fall canola export season getting underway, and expects domestic crushing also to remain brisk. The market has longstanding commitments to service in addition to new business currently on the books, he said. Although ICE canola futures prices are relatively high, despite dropping to a four-month low last

“…we will not be able to meet the demand from all markets as we move deeper into the crop year.” don roberts canolainsight.com analyst

month, overall demand isn’t likely to drop this early in the crop year, Coburn said. “What is produced and comes to market will find a home. However with the expected reduction in production versus expectations earlier this summer, we will not be able to meet the demand from all markets as we move deeper into the crop year.”

“Some cutbacks”

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Hamburg-based analysts Oil World said Canadian canola exports are likely to fall to 7.85 million tonnes from 8.7 million tonnes the previous year, even as global buyers like China were regarding Canadian canola as an alternative to tight global soybean supplies. “We were already looking at a demand-bull market in canola even with a record crop and now it looks like there will have to be some cutbacks,” said Anne Frick, senior oilseed analyst at Jefferies Bache in New York. “It could come out of (Canadian) exports.” Oilseed market conditions have largely been set by drought hitting soybean production first in South America, then in the U.S. Midwest. Australian canola production also looks lower than the previous year, while India’s rapeseed crop might be helped by recent monsoon rains, Frick said.

Trait Stewardship Responsibilities

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T:10”

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B:10”

Just like their neighbours, InVigor® growers are good stewards of the land who love nature and working with their hands. They like being their own bosses and setting their own schedules just as much as the next grower.

S:10”

You can see it in her eyes.

Notice to Farmers

Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of BiotechnologyDerived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. Used under license.


30

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

U.S. dairy farmers in limbo ofter Congressional standoff Farm bill } With no agreement on a new one,

there are no more income loss payments chicago / reuters

E

xpiration of U.S. farm law on Oct. 1, shutting off dairy supports and putting 2013 crop subsidies in limbo, was expected to cause pain for some farmers and frustration for many, but programs like food stamps and crop insurance will roll on, analysts said. U.S. farm bills expire after five years, and the 2008 bill expired at the end of September without a new one being approved. U.S. government funding is assured through March 2013 for many programs based on a July deal to extend budget authority reached by feuding Republicans and Democrats ahead of the November elections. Analysts said that the expiration will not affect food stamps and nutrition programs — about 75 per cent of the USDA budget — and crop insurance, the biggest “safety net” tapped by farmers in this drought year. But dairy farmers will be hit financially. “Immediate impact will be felt by dairy farmers because the supplemental payment many of them have been receiving, the Milk Income Loss Contract Program, expires on Sept. 30,” said John Blanchfield, senior vice-president for agricultural and rural banking at the American Bankers Association. “Since milk cheque payments run 30 days behind the delivery of milk, dairy farmers will notice the suspension of these payments with the November milk cheques,” he said. Dairy farmers and livestock producers have been hit hardest this year by drought. Crop losses have been covered to a great extent by insurance, supported by USDA programs. But soaring feed prices have squeezed livestock producers, prompting herd liquidations and financial failures. “Congress has got to do something in November,” said Jackie Klippenstein, vice-president of industry and legislative affairs for Dairy Farmers of America. “The farm bill provided a measure of hope. The fact that Congress went home without addressing it has really deflated a lot of folks out there who are struggling.” “There’s been so much equity lost,” said Ray Souza, a California dairy farmer. “Many dairy farmers have had to borrow against their equity to stay afloat.”

After the Nov. 6 election, Congress will return to work on the farm bill. The House of Representatives was splintered over how deeply to cut food stamps and farm programs. The Senate passed its version in June but both chambers must reach agreement before it can become law. “The best angle I’ve heard is that if Obama wins, a farm bill completed during the lame duck is more likely; if Romney wins, they’ll extend and save changes for 2013,” Gary Blumenthal, head of Washingtonbased agricultural consultancy World Perspectives, told the Reuters Global Ag Forum last month.

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There will be no November milk cheque for dairies such as this one in the U.S.  ©thinkstock

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“Many dairy farmers have had to borrow against their equity to stay afloat.”

Ray Souza California dairy farmer

BayerCropScience.ca/Liberty or 1 888-283-6847 or contact your Bayer CropScience representative. Always read and follow label directions. InVigor® and Liberty® are registered trademarks of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada.

O-67-10/12-BCS12261-E


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31

Albertafarmexpress.ca • october 8, 2012

FCC launches ninth annual Drive Away Hunger program

BriefS Controversial French study prompts calls for review of GM corn policy

Alberta tour } Collections will take place in nine communities during the week of Oct. 15 staff

F

arm Credit Canada (FCC) launched its ninth annual Drive Away Hunger program, with a goal to collect one million pounds of food and $500,000 for food banks across the country. FCC’s Drive Away Hunger program involves driving a tractor and trailer through various communities to collect food and cash donations for food banks across the country. One hundred per cent of donaations go to Canadian food banks, and anyone can visit www.fccdriveawayhunger. ca to make a cash donation. The FCC Drive Away Hunger Alberta tour will take place during the week of Oct. 15 in Camrose, Lloydminster, Mannville, Morrin, Paradise Valley, Stettler, Vegreville and Vermilion. FCC is also

FCC CEO Greg Stewart launched this year’s program with a $50,000 donation to Bill Hall, member of the council at Food Banks Canada.   Supplied photo

collecting food and cash donations in every field office across Canada from Sept. 24 to Oct. 19. FCC launched the program with a $50,000 donation to Food Banks Canada. Half of this

amount will be dedicated to the Rural Support Program, which provides additional support and resources to food banks based in rural communities. “Hunger is a real and press-

ing issue facing nearly a million Canadians, and all of us involved in Drive Away Hunger are coming together to address this need and help feed less fortunate people,” said FCC president and CEO Greg Stewart in launching this year’s program. Platinum partner, BDO has raised over 600,000 lbs of food since 2008, Cargill Limited, Parrish and Heimbecker Limited (New Life Mills) and Windset Farms are also national partners and collecting donations. FCC Drive Away Hunger began in 2004 when an employee in Ontario organized a local tractor tour. He collected food donations from his local community as a way to give back and help food banks serve people in need. Since then, more than 7.8 million pounds of food have been collected.

vienna / reuters Austria’s minister for agriculture and the environment is calling on the European Commission to review its approval process for genetically modified food after a controversial French study linked GM corn to higher health risks in rats. The study — repudiated by many scientists — found rats fed on Monsanto’s GM corn or exposed to Roundup saw a higher incidence of tumours and organ damage and died earlier than those on a standard diet. “One thing is clear: Given this study the European Commission has to rethink its verification practices and the approval process must get an in-depth review,” said Austrian ag minister Niki Berlakovich. Austria has banned all the genetically modified plants allowed by the EU, Berlakovich noted, adding: “We want to decide for ourselves in the future as well and keep the ban on plantings to protect out environment and our consumers.”

Canola council gets consultation cash

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Unsung hero.

Staff The federal government has given the Canola Council of Canada $43,000 to consult with key research partners to create a targeted plan for improving the crop. “Research is fundamental to our industry and to the profitability of our growers, but we need to make sure we get it right,” said Canola Council of Canada president Patti Miller in a release. “This funding will allow us to lead a collaborative effort to identify our research priorities and ensure that we are getting the best value from our future research investments.” Canola generates approximately $5.6 billion in farm cash receipts each year. On average, Canadian-grown canola contributes $15.4 billion to the Canadian economy, including more than 228,000 Canadian jobs and $8.2 billion in wages annually. The funds are coming out of the Agricultural Innovation Program.


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OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Profiting from good stewardship HONOURS  Variable-rate fertilizing and composting has made this Swedish farm

more profitable while earning it environmental honours

BY ALEXIS KIENLEN

AF STAFF / SANGA SABY, SWEDEN

F

Hakan and Teri Lee Eriksson are the 2010 Baltic Sea Farmers of the year. They gave a presentation about their farm practices to over 150 journalists at the IFAJ 2012 Congress in Sanga Saby, just outside Stockholm. PHOTO: ALEXIS KIENLEN

arming sustainably can be good for the bank account, according to a Swedish couple who have been honoured for their environmental stewardship. “One of my goals in life is to implement changes as long as they are profitable,” Hakan Eriksson recently told a group of visiting international journalists. “Making a profit is not always about short-term economic gains, neither is profit always monetary.” Hakan, a third-generation farmer, and wife Teri Lee (who was born in the U.S. Midwest but emigrated to Sweden 30 years ago) farm near the Baltic Sea and were were recognized for their dedication to reducing nitrogen and phosphorus losses on their farm. “We are well aware of the impact our farming practices have on the aquatic environment,” said Teri Lee.

The couple grows grains, canola, oilseeds, flax, field peas and hay on 600 acres (all but 100 rented) at Wiggleby Farm, located near Lake Malaren, the primary water source for the Stockholm area. They have four employees, but Teri Lee has off-farm employment. Better management of manure and fertilizer has been a focus for 20 years, and the Erikssons document everything done on the farm in a database. “As it turns out, making better use of our resources has led to better efficiency as well,” said Teri Lee. “Incorporating pro-environmental efforts has become one of the major building blocks of the farm.” The farm uses a central-heating furnace which burns logs, wood stumps and straw; uses nitrogen sensor equipment to limit the use of fertilizer; and has a large scale compost facility to recycle waste. The couple uses a Yara N sensor tractor (also known as a Green Seeker) for

Behind every great yield is a series of great choices.

TERI LEE ERIKSSON

variable-rate farming, and Hakan said that has significantly reduce nutrient leaching without affecting yields. The compost facility, which uses horse manure and waste from neighbouring greenhouses, will eventually supply 50 per cent of the phosphorus and 10 per cent of the nitrogen they require for their crops. “Analysis showed that one tonne of this compost contained two kilos of nitrogen and 1.4 kilos of phosphorus,” Teri Lee said. The compost also provides organic matter for their clay soils. “We have turned waste into a profitable business opportunity, provide a service for our community and reduce the leakage of nutrients,” she said. The couple also work with other farmers to share knowledge about sustainable practices and new environmental technologies and said they believe knowledge should be shared internationally. “What works in Germany may work in Poland,” said Teri Lee. “Knowledge and understanding, along with profitability, are keys to creating a change in attitude about the environment.” The couple were named 2010 Baltic Sea Farmers of the Year. The award was created by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and Swedbank in 2009. Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia and Sweden are the participating countries.

Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through StewardshipSM (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of BiotechnologyDerived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through StewardshipSM is a service mark of Excellence Through Stewardship. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® agricultural herbicides. Roundup® agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Acceleron® seed treatment technology for corn is a combination of four separate individually-registered products, which together contain the active ingredients metalaxyl, trifloxystrobin, ipconazole, and clothianidin. Acceleron®, Acceleron and Design®, DEKALB®, DEKALB and Design®, Genuity®, Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Roundup®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup Ready 2 Technology and Design®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, RIB Complete and Design™, RIB Complete™, SmartStax®, SmartStax and Design®, VT Double PRO™, VT Triple PRO™ and YieldGard VT Triple® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of Bayer. Used under license. Herculex® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Used under license. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. (3701-MON-E-12)

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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

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*2011 YieldWorks and Demonstration Trials Always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication.


34

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Massive beef recall seen unlikely to fluster buyers Consumption } No indication of slowdown the weekend after the recall By Rod Nickel

“CFIA inspectors are looking at the animals in the barn, CFIA inspectors are looking at the carcasses on the evisceration floor, the dressing floor.”

Reuters

T

he recall of Canadian beef because of E. coli contamination at the XL plant at Brooks is unlikely to slow that country’s beef consumption or its exports, analysts say, largely because the public has become familiar with E. coli. On Sept. 28, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) temporarily shut down the plant where products containing the potentially deadly bacteria were made. The CFIA also has recalled millions of pounds of beef products, including ground beef and steak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which stopped importing beef from the plant in mid-September, is recalling beef in more than 30 states. Meat buyers from importing countries are unlikely to be rattled by a risk they are well aware of, said Kevin Grier, senior market analyst at the George Morris Centre, a Guelph, Ont.-based agriculture think-tank. Canada is the world’s sixth-largest exporter of beef and veal. “The system is working in the sense that the last line of defence is recall,” Grier said. “Everybody in the business knows that this can happen, and it’s happened in the United States. “I don’t see it having long-term implications because knowledgeable people realize this is something that can plague the industry.” E. coli, which can cause sickness or even death, is widely present in meat-processing plants, but regulators require packers to control the bacteria within certain levels. E. coli can be killed by thoroughly cooking meat.

Richard Arsenault CFIA

There is little concern that the XL recall will have a long-term effect on retail beef consumption.  ©thinkstock The Brooks plant is one of Canada’s largest, with capacity to slaughter an estimated 4,500 head of cattle per day.

Grocery chains affected

Grier said anecdotal reports he has heard from Canadian retailers indicated steady beef sales during the weekend following the closure, despite the recall. In 2003, after mad cow disease was discovered in an Alberta beef herd, Canadian beef consumption increased, he said. The recall affects a who’s who of North American grocery outlets, including WalMart Stores, Safeway and Costco. Nine people have become ill because of E. coli, all in Alberta, including four who ate steak sold at an Edmonton Costco. Four of the cases have been confirmed to be linked with XL Foods. The recall affects

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products made at XL on five dates: Aug. 24, 27, 28 and 29 and Sept. 5. The recall has not raised concern among members of the Meat Import Council of America, who include meat heavyweights Cargill and Tyson Foods, said executive director Laurie Bryant. But Bruce Cran, president of the notfor-profit Consumers’ Association of Canada, said Canadians are more likely now to ask where their beef was produced. The fact that it took two weeks for the first recall of XL Foods beef in September since CFIA learned of the E. coli contamination, alarms consumers, Cran said. “I think a lot of damage has been done, probably because of the system that’s in place.” Opposition legislators have alleged that sweeping budget cuts by the Canadian

government this year to reduce the deficit contributed to the spread of contaminated products. CFIA has said that 46 agency staff work full-time at the Brooks plant, an increase over three years ago. Some critics have suggested that those staff do not directly inspect cattle and meat, but that’s not the case, said Dr. Richard Arsenault, director of CFIA’s meat programs division. “CFIA inspectors are looking at the animals in the barn, CFIA inspectors are looking at the carcasses on the evisceration floor, the dressing floor,” he said in an interview. “And there are additional checks above and beyond what we do that are done by company employees, and we stand behind them with a clipboard monitoring how well they’re doing it,” he said. Jim Robb, director of the Coloradobased Livestock Marketing Information Center, said there’s little evidence that U.S. consumers are worried about Canadian beef because they generally trust the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which halted imports from the plant.

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


35

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Though their venom isn’t as bad as some other rattlesnakes, it is still a medical emergency. Area hospitals stock anti-venom which can mitigate most of the potential damage from a bite. Administered by I.V., serious bites can require dozens of vials of antivenom. The prairie rattlesnake is known for its impressive S-shaped defense posture.  photos: sheri monk

Much-maligned rattlesnake can be a rancher’s friend ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY } Rattlesnake bite only as a last resort. Their venom is made to secure prey,

not hurt people, and some producers say they’d prefer to have snakes on their land than gophers af staff / pincher creek

F

eared by many and misunderstood by most, the rattlesnake has long been persecuted in every nook and cranny of its range from South to North America. In Canada, there are three species. The prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis), one of the most successful of the 32 species in the Americas, finds the most northern point of its range in Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan. All species tend to struggle near the limits of their range, because they encounter conditions they aren’t adapted to deal with, and despite the overall success of the prairie rattlesnake, the population is in decline in Alberta. A second species, the northern Pacific rattlesnake, (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) lives in B.C., and there is a third dwarf species in southern Ontario. Alberta’s rattlesnake population is found near the river hills and valleys south of the Red Deer River and east of Lethbridge, in the short grass and mixed grass prairie. They share their habitat with cacti, black widow spiders, and in some places, Canada’s only species of scorpion. The ecosystem often features Ord’s kangaroo rats, pronghorn and sage grouse. Their range is likely limited by habitat containing suitable overwintering sites, called hibernacula. These den sites provide shelter during winter, and rattlesnakes usually return to their hibernaculum by late September and emerge to bask on warm days in the late fall and early spring. By late April,

To try and cut down on the road carnage, Alberta erects signs every spring for snake season warning motorists to try and avoid the rattlers crossing the road. Unfortunately, they sometimes linger on the pavement for its warmth. Unlike other snakes, rattlers are fairly slow moving. or early May, the snakes will disperse from their hibernaculum and spread out to their feeding ground in the neighbouring prairie. Rattlesnakes cannot be killed or collected, and their hibernacula are protected year-round. Other Alberta snakes such as the western hognose and bull snake are afforded the same protection. The status of the rattlesnake is currently under review, and may be listed as endangered in the near future. “We’ve managed the prairie rattlesnake in the species at risk program for over a decade,” said Joel Nicholson, senior species at risk biologist for Alberta Fish and Wildlife. “The same old issues are there with habitat loss, development in habitat that causes road mortality, and increased urban expansion in certain places,” said Nicholson. “We don’t have any indications that the population is stable or increasing.”

Gopher eaters

The rattlers thrive in native prairie, so sometimes there are encounters between ranchers and snakes. However, most producers are content to share the land with the reptiles. “They say they’d rather have the snakes than the gophers,” Nicholson said. Rattlesnakes like to stay close to to their hibernacula, so won’t just use any spot to overwinter. If their den site is tampered with or destroyed, it can wipe out an entire local population. But this tendency also means the population can be high in some areas and for producers, that means excellent rodent control. Different sizes of snakes can get into holes of various sizes, so rats, mice and gophers are all fair game for a rattlesnake. The prairie rattlesnake can reach five feet in length. They take a number of years to mature sexually, and take a long time to reach their full size. Nicholson said although they aren’t entirely sure,

the largest individuals may be 20 years old. “They are a natural part of our landscape here, and they’re part of the little bit of wild that’s still in the West,” said Nicholson. Rattlesnakes give live birth (they don’t hatch out of eggs) to baby snakes in the early fall at special sites called rookeries near the main dens. Females may only give birth once every two or three years, and the survival rate of the young can be very low. One bad year of many road-killed rattlers can take years to recover from. Fall is a bad time of year, as many rattlers are killed on the roads trying to migrate back to their den sites. Alberta posts signs to alert motorists to avoid the snakes on roads with a high kill rate.

Bites rare

Most ranchers in rattlesnake country wear boots out in the field, and den sites are given a wide berth. Livestock bites are relatively rare. Rattlesnakes aren’t keen on being stepped on, so they’ll almost

always escape to safety down a hole in the ground rather than try and face off against an animal many times their size. There is an average of between nine and 13 reported bites every year in Alberta, but they are rarely life threatening with prompt medical attention. The venom attacks local tissue rather than breathing and circulation. Antivenom is kept at hospitals in rattlesnake country, and in most cases can prevent severe tissue damage. Rattlesnakes prefer to be left alone, and if confronted, will only stand their ground if they have no easy exit. They are reluctant to waste their venom, since its main purpose is to capture prey, so even when provoked often inflict a “dry” bite. Most bites are accidental from catching a rattler unawares and stepping on it, or from handling the snake to remove or kill it. If you meet a rattler, it’s best to back away and let it retreat without causing anyone undue stress.

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Iconic Alberta scenery like this is sometimes home to rattlesnakes. River hills often provide suitable den habitat, and it’s thought the snakes may have used the waterways to extend into their northern range.

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

by sheri Monk


36

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Raising trout leads Red Deer producers into water-quality business WARNING SIGNS  Surface algae, excessive weed growth, odour and cloudy water generally

indicate something is wrong — and it’s often poor nutrient management BY ALEXIS KIENLEN AF STAFF / RED DEER

W

hen Max Menard took an aquaculture course from Alberta Agriculture 13 years ago, the plan was to raise trout. But increasingly, Menard’s business is about water quality. “Having trout is a good barometer for how healthy the water is,” said Menard. “If the trout aren’t living in there and aren’t surviving, there are definitely improvements that can be made.” Menard and his father Dan own Smoky Trout Farm outside Red Deer and raise about 120,000 pounds of rainbow trout each year for farmers, ranchers and acreage owners; fish and game associations; golf courses; and the Alberta Conservation Association. The Menards also sell weed-eating grass carp. The fish are grown indoors. Trout eggs are hatched in late September and mid-November, so everything is ready to sell by mid or late June. “It gets too hot to stock trout indoors in July and August — the temperature differential between the ponds and our facility is too high,” said Menard. Their foray into water-quality consulting began about five years ago when customers approached them about problems they were having with water quality. “We started selling aeration systems and now it has blossomed into all kinds of things like bird deterrents and feeders for feeding fish,” said Menard. Many people don’t know the signs of poor water quality, and only contact the Menards when dead fish appear in their dugout. Surface algae, excessive weed growth, odour, and cloudy water generally indicate something is wrong — and it’s often poor nutrient management. “It’s usually caused by nitrogen or phosphorus run-off from livestock or fertilized crop land,” said Menard. “In those situations, the oxygen levels are not sufficient to break down those nutrients.” Low oxygen levels favour anaerobic bacteria, which produce hydrogen sulphide gas that creates taste and odour issues, weeds, and algae, including toxic species. Duck weed can coat an entire pond and cut off oxygen transfer on the surface, which can be an issue as 90 per cent of oxygen transfer in a pond occurs on the surface. Oxygen levels also fall as temperature rises, which results in ‘summer kill.’ Aerat-

“Having trout is a good barometer for how healthy the water is. If the trout aren’t living in there and aren’t surviving, there are definitely improvements that can be made.” MAX MENARD

ing ponds helps circulate oxygen and maintain water quality. Not all ponds need to be aerated, but the Menards recommend adding aeration systems when dugouts are constructed. Dead grass and plant material, as well as soil, release nutrients that can turn into sludge — some older dugouts can have as much as two feet of it on the bottom. “We have products where the bacteria will actually consume that muck, because it’s a source of organic carbon,” said Menard. Smoky Trout Farm (www.smokytroutfarm.com) also sells beneficial bacteria, which Menard calls “a chemical-free way of managing nutrients.” “What it does is it shifts the nutrients from the plant kingdom into

Above: Max Menard and his father Dan own Smoky Trout Farm near Red Deer. Right: a new display pond owned by Max Menard and his father Dan at Smoky Trout Farm. the animal kingdom,” he said. “Instead of algae and weeds eating the nitrogen, it’s the bacteria, which are then consumed by other microorganisms and aquatic insects and then the fish are at the top of the food chain.”

Q: What are my options now? Q: How can this new open market for wheat benefit me? Q: Where do I find information about pricing? Q: How will premiums and discounts be applied to my wheat? Q: How do I upgrade my wheat marketing skills and knowledge? Q: Who can I call if I have questions? Q: Who will do the best job of marketing my wheat? Q: Who can I go to for advice? Q: Who can I trust? Q: Is there a lot of high protein wheat in the world? Q: How do I figure out what the CWB is offering? Q: Is the pool a safe place? Q: How do I know what quality of wheat I have? Q: How do I maintain the quality of my wheat in storage? Q: Are there times when the market will want my grain? Q: How will the sale of Viterra impact the market? Q: How is rail transportation going to work? Q: What should I plan for next year?


37

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Handling a range of species in the Peace Country UPS AND DOWNS  Ged Willis has seen them first hand on both sides of the business BY REBECCA DIKA

AF CONTRIBUTOR / BEAVERLODGE

G

Ged Willis started in bison, but his mart now has weekly cattle sales.

PHOTO: REBECCA DIKA

ed Willis’s expectations may have been a little high when he first got into the bison auction business in the mid-1990s. Back then, bison were worth big money — anywhere between $30,000 and $80,000, and Willis saw one sell for $100,000. “When you’re working on straight commission, that appealed to me,” he says. Prices aren’t quite so lofty these days, but bison remain part of the business for Willowview Auctions, which Willis and his wife Barb operate near here. Willis established Willowview Auctions in 1997. He has worked in the oilpatch, but Willis says he’s always considered himself a farm boy with a penchant for cattle. He attended auctioneering schools in Lacombe and in Billings, Montana, and figured

he’d had enough under his belt to commit to the industry in a big way. “At that time, people had to haul elk and buffalo to Drayton Valley to sell,” says Willis. The auction barns just weren’t set up with the type of heavy-duty equipment needed to handle big exotic livestock. He saw a need for a service, and decided to fill it. He started in the bison business himself with 10 bred heifers and a bull in 1996 and eventually built up the herd to 400 in an attempt, as he says wryly, “to bring the average down. That didn’t work out so well.” Today, he runs about 20 bison cows and a bull along with 30 elk cows and a bull. When the bottom fell out of the bison industry thanks to BSE, Willis figured it was time to get bigger or shut down. Willowview Auctions has expanded facilities and built more corrals, and the auction barn has a capacity of 510 head. The main barn is 14,000 square feet and includes the sales ring, a concession and also features a licensed lounge, a facility not usually seen in auction markets. There’s more than 100,000 square feet of corralling plus holding pens that all sit on concrete. Some 500 calves can be kept under cover here in the winter.

“When you’re working on straight commission, that appealed to me.” GED WILLIS

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An average of 500 cattle will go through here on regular sale days, but sometimes that number is as high as 1,500. Stock comes from a radius of 350 kilometres, from as far north as Manning, northwest to Fort St. John and east to Valleyview. Weekly cattle sales, monthly horse sales and bison sales every second Saturday throughout the winter make up the bulk of activity. To keep the auction market competitive, Willowview has been installing innovative facilities such as a new drivethrough stock-unloading system. The brainchild of Ged Willis, this system of corrals allows a patron to drive directly into the off-loading area, unload and drive straight out again. The drive-through will mitigate traffic bottlenecks on sale days, and improve safety for both livestock and employees. Willowview has two livestock transport trucks and also buys animals for packing plants and feedlots. Salesmen are located in Spirit River, Hines Creek and Fairview. Fourteen employees work on sale days, and six of them have been with Willowview for at least 10 years. Willis says providing good service is important to retain business, and it doesn’t hurt that given his history, he’s able to see both sides of the buying-and-selling picture. “Once people deal with us, they come back. I’m pretty easy to deal with.”


38

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Controversial French GM study finds tumours in rats SKEPTICAL  Another researcher says the

rats are naturally prone to tumours

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Researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen said a study found that rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed to Roundup suffered tumours and multiple organ damage. REUTERS/YVES HERMAN

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controversial new French study has found rats fed on Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weed killer suffered tumours and multiple organ damage. The University of Caen found rats fed on a diet containing NK603, a Roundup-tolerant corn variety, or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the U.S. died earlier than those on a standard diet. The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumours, as well as severe liver and kidney dam-

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“If the effects are as big as purported, and if the work really is relevant to humans, why aren’t the North Americans dropping like flies?” MARK TESTER

age. The study was published in a peer-reviewed journal, but other experts were highly skeptical. Tom Sanders, head of the nutritional sciences research division at King’s College London, noted that researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and his team had not provided any data on how much the rats were given to eat, or what their growth rates were. “This strain of rat is very prone to mammary tumours, particularly when food intake is not restricted,” he said. “The statistical methods are unconventional and probabilities are not adjusted for multiple comparisons. There is no clearly defined data analysis plan and it would appear the authors have gone on a statistical fishing trip.” Australian expert Mark Tester said the findings raise the question of why no previous studies have flagged up similar concerns. “If the effects are as big as purported, and if the work really is relevant to humans, why aren’t the North Americans dropping like flies?” he asked. “GM has been in the food chain for over a decade over there.” But GM critics argue there is limited information about longterm effects as GM crops have only been around for 15 years.


39

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Pet owners and sheep producers warned about tapeworm threat UNSEEN THREAT  Tapeworm eggs pass easily through many species and can lead to

medical issues for humans and costly losses for livestock producers

H

ere’s one more reason to hate coyotes. The predators frequently carry tapeworms in their gut that can infect dogs and possibly humans. Tapeworms passed on by canine species can also result in sheep measles, a costly disease for sheep and goat producers. One type of tapeworm found in coyotes, Echinococcus multilocularis, is receiving new attention thanks to the research of Alessandro Massolo, a University of Calgary wildlife ecologist with the faculty of veterinary medicine. The expert in canid parasites has been studying the prevalence of this species of tapeworm among Alberta’s urban coyote population, but his research has implications for rural residents. When the tapeworms reproduce, a part of their body (called a proglottid) detaches and is excreted in the feces. Rodents eating scat can then become hosts, are weakened by fastgrowing tapeworm larvae, and become easy prey for other coyotes, foxes, or worryingly, dogs. That puts humans at risk as the cycle continues and pet owners can inadvertently come into contact with little egg capsules when cleaning up after their dogs, or through petting them. Humans are not proper hosts for this type of tapeworm but can develop cysts on internal organs. The cysts will become a medically significant problem, and after years of incubation, the victim will often present like a liver cancer patient. Surgery will be undertaken to remove the cysts, and two years of chemotherapy follows to ensure the parasite is killed off. If the cysts are inoperable, chemotherapy alone can still be used.

“This parasite doesn’t have a gut because they don’t need it. They live in a gut.

Sheep tapeworm

Another type of tapeworm can cause problems for sheep producers. Once again, the danger comes from sheep grazing where feces containing tapeworm eggs are present. The eggs penetrate the intestines of sheep and goats, then travel through the bloodstream into muscle tissue. Cysts

PARASITE EXPERT

are then formed in the muscle tissue of the livestock, which can cause severe scarring once the animal’s immune system attacks the invading cysts, leaving marks

unique ta s lodging. This t w u o e h it n w a s gen rate ld Sets aximum nitro e. Get the yie denc nola takes m y with confi it il rt fe VT 500 G ca e iz axim G. farmers to m with VT 500 r te s trait allows fa it th a g for and sw il or you’re lookin erra ag reta it V r u o y it is formation, v For more in

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It’s an expensive proposition, and very hard on the patient. Left untreated, the condition can become fatal. Although there has never been a case in Alberta, there has been one incidence in Manitoba and cases are more common in China and other countries. A recent study found 23 of 91 urban coyotes necropsied had the E. multiocularis tapeworm and Massolo said both urban and rural pet owners need to take precautions. “Don’t let your dog eat rodents,” said Massolo, adding rural dogs should be dewormed at least twice annually.

reminiscent of the spotting rash of measles. The cysts contain juvenile tapeworms, and are passed to coyotes or dogs feeding on deadstock.

Although humans cannot be infected by this tapeworm, it ruins the meat and with severe infestations, results in the entire carcass being discarded. Controlling this tapeworm in infested livestock is difficult and it is recommended producer deworm dogs every two or three months if they’ve been exposed to an infected herd. Dogs should never be fed undercooked or raw sheep or goat meat — and proper and quick disposal of carcasses is essential to halting an outbreak. Reports of “measled” meat by the Alberta Lamb Producers have increased in recent years. If widespread infection is found in an area, the only option may be to limit grazing in the infectious zone.

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ALESSANDRO MASSOLO

This species of tapeworm prefers foxes as its final host, but will use the family dog in a pinch. PHOTO: MANIGANDAN LEJEUNE VIRAPIN

SISTANCE

AF STAFF

Owners must ask for tapeworm-specific deworming medication as common and over-thecounter roundworm medication will not work, he said. Additionally, dog owners should always wash their hands after being in contact with feces and after grooming or washing their canine companions.

LODGING RE

BY SHERI MONK

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Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Roundup Ready®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. ©2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.

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30/08/12 2:16 PM


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OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

NEWS

THERE’S A CAT UP IN MY TREE…

Bin full of reasons contest is back

Pincher Creek resident Pat Neumann heard there was cougar in town Sept. 24, but was surprised to see wildlife officers and the RCMP in his backyard getting ready to get the cat out of his tree. The young inexperienced male, who weighed about 75 pounds, was safely tranquilized and relocated. PHOTO: NIGEL WHITTINGTON

Winter wheat growers can once again enter a contest to win a 4,100-bu. hoppermounted galvanized grain bin. The Bin Full of Reasons contest sponsored by Ducks Unlimited Canada, Bayer CropScience and the Meridian Manufacturing Group will see one hopper bin awarded in each of the three Prairie provinces. By participating, growers also gain access to expert agronomic support to help them maximize their odds of successful winter wheat crops. The contest starts this fall and runs until spring 2013. Throughout that time, growers will share the management decisions they’re making to ensure they grow a successful winter wheat crop. The program is designed to promote the benefits of growing winter wheat among Prairie farmers. For more information on how to enter or to learn more about the benefits of winter wheat, visit growwinterwheat.ca.

Aflatoxin corn allowed in U.S. livestock feed

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CHICAGO / REUTERS The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow grain handlers in Iowa and Illinois to blend corn containing aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic substance, with other grain to make animal feed. Aflatoxin is the byproduct of a corn mold that tends to spread in drought years. Following the worst drought in the Corn Belt in half a century, the grain sector has been on high alert for the substance which can cause liver disease and is considered carcinogenic. Human exposure to high amounts of aflatoxin is rare. But aflatoxin contamination prompted a series of U.S. pet food and livestock food recalls last December. The FDA generally forbids grain handlers from mixing corn containing aflatoxin with “clean” grain, but it has relaxed this policy during years of widespread aflatoxin problems upon the request of state officials. Following FDA approval, grain handlers who want to blend corn contaminated with aflatoxin must agree to comply with several provisions, including labeling the blended grain. Under FDA guidelines, certain types of animal feed can contain an aflatoxin concentration of up to 300 parts per billion (ppb). Human foods must contain less than 20 ppb, while the threshold for milk is even lower at 0.5 ppb. Last month, Iowa began requiring the state’s dairy processors to test all milk received in the state for aflatoxin.


41

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

New CWB has role in open market TARGET  CWB looks to handle 30 per cent of the wheat and durum sales this year BY ALLAN DAWSON STAFF/WINNIPEG

W

estern farmers have long been divided over the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly, but farmers on both sides of the debate can agree the new CWB’s role is to add competition to the marketplace, says CWB vice-president for grain procurement Gord Flaten. The CWB provides farmers with the option to pool wheat, durum and barley sales, which is an inexpensive way to reduce price risk. The CWB’s pools also allow farmers to shop around to find the lowest basis among grain companies at delivery time instead of being locked in with one. Although legal battles continue over the federal government’s ending of the wheat board’s single desk, Flaten told the Canadian Farm Writer’s Federation annual meeting Sept. 23 he has moved on.

New website for info on Prairie checkoffs FAQS  Alberta

Barley Commission administers checkoff for other organizations ABC RELEASE

The Alberta Barley Commission (ABC) recently launched a new website to help western Canadian grain farmers and buyers better understand the new collection system for the wheat and barley checkoff. The website, www.wheatbarleycheckoff.com, provides information about the checkoff, the remittance process, reporting procedures and answers frequently asked questions. In accordance with the federal “Regulations Respecting Research, Market Development and Technical Assistance (Wheat and Barley),” the ABC has been collecting the checkoff since August 1, 2012. The new website is intended to be another tool to assist farmers and grain buyers in understanding the program. “We know that farmers and buyers don’t have time to go hunting for information — especially at harvest time,” says ABC Chairman Matt Sawyer. “The website will make it as easy as possible for all stakeholders to get the information they need to understand the checkoff.” The ABC is collecting the voluntary checkoff on behalf of three recipient groups: the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF); the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi); and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC). The checkoff funds will enable these three organizations to continue to deliver new varieties, market development and technical support to the industry. Western Canadian farmers and grain buyers are encouraged to utilize the website www.wheatbarleycheckoff.com or phone the ABC’s toll-free number at 1-800265-9111.

“I think my opinion on the value of the single desk is pretty well informed, but I’m actually not in that debate anymore,” he said. The federal government has given the CWB, which is currently a government agency, tools to help it operate in an open market as it prepares to be privatized, including guaranteeing borrowings and initial payments plus providing a much-needed pool of almost $200 million in startup capital, Flaten said. The latter has been controversial because that money and other wheat board assets were paid for by farmers. While farmers had controlled the CWB since 1998 it was a creation of government and therefore the government owns the assets, Flaten said.

Higher prices

The CWB has also succeeded in signing handling agreements with all the grain handlers, making for convenient and competitive

deliveries for farmers who opt to sell through the CWB. This year’s big and early harvest will help the CWB, but high grain prices could mean less interest in pooling, he said. While the rest of the organization has been downsized, along with many of the former services it provided, the CWB has retained 12 of its 14-member sales team. Paying retention bonuses to key CWB staff has helped, Flaten said in an interview. The CWB confident it will keep many of its previous grain customers, but not all, he said. How is the CWB doing so far? It doesn’t know yet, Flaten said a week before the early harvest pool signup deadline. Farmers have been signing up and many others have indicated they will market some of their crops through the pools, he said. CWB president and CEO Ian White says handling 30 to 40 per cent of the wheat and durum is

“I think my opinion on the value of the single desk is pretty well informed, but I’m actually not in that debate anymore.”

GORD FLATEN

reasonable target for the CWB. “If we get more than or less than that I can still see us functioning,” Flaten said, adding there’s no fixed number that would cause the CWB to close its doors. The CWB is now allowed to market other crops and has started with canola.

“Short term I’d say the significance is not huge but long term it might be very significant,” Flaten said. The CWB can also buy and sell crops grown outside Canada, but for now is focused on Western Canadian wheat, durum and barley, he said.

Hard work Has its own rewards. enjoy tHem all year round. Get your interior finishing packages at UFA. Turn your cold storage structure into a comfortable working environment and keep your operation going strong all year round. Visit your local UFA Ranch & Supply store today.

© 2012 UFA Co-operative Ltd. All rights reserved.

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42

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

Ontario cop, ex-cop charged in alleged cheese-smuggling ring SUPPLY MANAGEMENT  Gets blame for higher cost of cheese for manufacturers in Canada underway since January, the police service said.

STAFF

A

Niagara-area police officer and an ex-cop are among three charged in what’s alleged to be a “large-scale smuggling scheme” to bring illicit cheese into Ontario from the U.S. The Niagara Regional Police Service confirmed last month that charges under the Customs Act and others have been formally laid against Scott Heron, an NRPS constable suspended from duty since June 26; Casey Langelaan, another NRPS member who was suspended June 26 and is no longer with the service; and Bernie Pollino, a Fort Erie Resident. The alleged smuggling network in question involved “the purchasing of cases of cheese and other food items and transporting these cases into Canada, without declar-

“Two-tiered”

Ontario pizza shop owners were reportedly offered cheese at $150 vs. the Canadian price of $240. ©THINKSTOCK ing the items or paying duty,” the NRPS said in a release. “Once the products arrived in the country, they were sorted and prepared for distribution to a variety of restaurants in southern Ontario” at a “significant financial gain,” police said. Over $200,000 worth of cheese

and other products were purchased and distributed for an estimated profit of over $165,000, the NRPS said. NRPS investigators were involved in the case along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Canada Border Services Agency. The investigation has been

NRPS officers have reportedly been interviewing pizzeria operators in the region in recent weeks, asking where they get their cheese. One Port Colborne pizzeria owner told CBC he’d been approached two years ago by a Fort Erie man offering cases of U.S. cheese for $150 each, compared to $240 for such product in Canada. The restaurateur said he rejected the offer as illegal and the cheese as inferior. Another Niagara Falls pizzeria owner told the CBC that higher prices for Canadian cheese and restrictions on U.S. imports under Canada’s supply management system for dairy products have led to an illicit trade in U.S. cheese. The Niagara Falls restaurateur

said his shop is approached on a “monthly basis” by someone wanting to bring U.S. cheese over the border. The same proprietor told the Toronto Star he is a Nexus cardholder and would not want to jeopardize his ability to visit family in the U.S. over smuggled cheese. The price of pizza cheeses in Canada has been a long-standing complaint of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. The CRFA claims supply management in Canada’s dairy industry creates a “two-tiered pricing system” for pizza cheeses. The CRFA has said food processing companies in Canada have had access to “significantly cheaperpriced” mozzarella for use in frozen pizzas under the special category 5A class since 1989, relative to what pizzeria operators must pay for the same product.

BRIEFS

CONGRATS! To Olds College for 100 years of quality eduation. MacDon Industries Ltd. would like to send sincere congratulations to the faculty, students, and alumni of Olds College.

2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of Olds College Join all of us at Alberta Farmer Express as we extend our most sincere congratulations to Olds College on 100 years of excellence in education.

For more information on how you can show your support in this space contact: Tiffiny Taylor tiffiny.taylor@fbcpublishing.com

Soy rust extends northern reach WASHINGTON / REUTERS The yield-cutting soybean rust fungus was confirmed in a field of double-crop soybeans in south-central Kentucky, the farthest north the disease was detected this year. “This find is interesting, but it is too late in the season to cause concern,” said a team of scientists at the University of Kentucky. “This find is three weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Isaac blew through the state.” Rust was found on three of 100 leaves collected in the field in Muhlenberg County. Soybean rust was confirmed in nearly 200 U.S. counties this year, most heavily in Mississippi and Alabama.

Former directors appeal to the Supreme Court STAFF The eight former farmer-elected directors of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) are asking the Supreme Court of Canada to rule on whether the federal government needed to hold a producer vote before changing the board’s mandate. “We believe that this case raises issues that are important to all Canadians and is worthy of careful consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada”, said Allen Oberg, farmer and former chair of the CWB in a release. A federal court judge agreed with the former director’s arguments late last year, but his ruling was later overturned by an appeal court. The Supreme Court can agree to hear the case or it can refuse.


43

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

New Clearfield varieties launched BASF is launching several new varieties for its Clearfield production system for 2013. Joining Clearfield canola’s existing highperformance lineup are Nexera Canola Hybrid 2012 CL, Nexera Canola Hybrid 2016 CL, Brett Young 5525 CL, BrettYoung 5535 CL, Pioneer 46H75 and Viterra VR 9560 CL. As with all Clearfield canola varieties, these new varieties are non-genetically modified because they are bred through traditional methods. “These new higher yielding varieties, coupled with the launch of Ares herbicide, have advanced Clearfield canola growers’ ability to maximize the potential of every acre,” says Harley House, brand manager for Clearfield Crops, BASF Canada in a release. In addition to improving yields, BASF says the varieties off improved harvestability and reduced lodging. Ares offers control of broadleaf and grassy weeds, including lambs quarters, wild buckwheat and cleavers.

Glencore buys stake in Russian grain export terminal MORE GROWTH  Glencore is already one of the largest exporters in the region LONDON/REUTERS

G

lencore has bought a 50 per cent stake in a Russian grain export terminal, alongside Ukrainian agricultural producer Kernel. The terminal in the port of Taman, one of the largest deepwater grain export terminals on the Black Sea coast, is close to southern Russia’s main grainproducing region, providing a platform for Kernel’s Russian export business and extending Glencore’s reach. Glencore, the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, is already one of the largest exporters of grains from Europe and the former Soviet Union. Kernel said the terminal, with an installed capacity of three million tonnes a year and sold by EFKO Group, had an enterprise value of US$265 million. EFKO, a Russian food producer, was reported prior to the deal to have estimated the value of the assets at $200 million to $300 million. Wheat output from the Black Sea-region producing countries — Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which normally supply a quarter of world wheat export

volumes -— is expected to drop this year because of drought. In particular Russia, historically the world’s No. 3 global wheat exporter by volume, is expected to decrease its 2012/13 grain harvest by a quarter to 70 million tonnes.

But Russia, with the world’s fourth-largest expanse of arable land and huge potential for modernization in the agriculture sector, is trying to position itself in the longer term to increase grain exports by half and grab a bigger share of growing world food demand.

President Vladimir Putin wants to see annual Russian grain exports rise to 35-40 million tonnes by 2020, up from last year’s 27 million tonnes. To achieve those targets, it will need billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure.

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OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

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Belarus Case/IH Caterpillar Ford John Deere Kubota Massey Ferguson New Holland Steiger Universal Versatile White Zetor Tractors 2WD Tractors 4WD Tractors Various Farm Machinery Miscellaneous Farm Machinery Wanted Fencing Firewood Fish Farm Forestry/Logging Fork Lifts/Pallets Fur Farming Generators GPS Health Care Heat & Air Conditioning Hides/Furs/Leathers Hobby & Handicrafts Household Items lANDSCAPING Greenhouses Lawn & Garden lIVESTOCK Cattle Cattle Auctions Angus Black Angus Red Angus Aryshire Belgian Blue Blonde d'Aquitaine Brahman Brangus Braunvieh BueLingo Charolais Dairy Dexter Excellerator Galloway Gelbvieh Guernsey Hereford Highland Holstein Jersey Limousin Lowline Luing Maine-Anjou Miniature Murray Grey Piedmontese Pinzgauer Red Poll Salers Santa Gertrudis Shaver Beefblend Shorthorn Simmental

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45

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

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

BOW VALLEY TRADING LTD.

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

BUSINESS SERVICES BUSINESS SERVICES Crop Consulting

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

CONTRACTING

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CONTRACTING Custom Harvest

BUYING:

HEATED & GREEN CANOLA

CUSTOM COMBINING, 2388 CASE IHC, 20ft cutter, contact Pete Wierenga @(403)782-2596 or Cell: 403-877-2020

• Competitive Prices • Prompt Movement • Spring Thrashed

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FARM MACHINERY

INC.

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FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Tillage

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FARM MACHINERY Combine – Accessories

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RECONDITIONED COMBINE HEADERS. RIGID and flex, most makes and sizes; also header transports. Ed Lorenz, (306)344-4811 or Website: www.straightcutheaders.com Paradise Hill, SK.

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TracTors

2000 CIH 8825 SWATHER, 1130 eng. hrs. 21ft U2 PU reel, double swath, dual knife, stored inside. $35,000 OBO (780)986-0678, 780-906-4240

USED KUBOTA Utility Tractors (780)967-3800, (780)289-1075 www.goodusedtractors.com

DON’T SPEND $80,000! 722 Cereal Implements (Massey Ferguson twin), 30ft swather, Isuzu diesel engine. Tractor unit shedded. 707/hrs, $29,500.(403)6662111 evenings.

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various CASE IH 1990, 7110, 2WD, 18 spd, 4 rev. 1000/540 PTO, 130hp,; 1984 Hesston, 1580 DT, fwa, 140hp, 1000/540 pto, c/w 125 ezee on high lift loader; 1983 Ford 3/4T F250, 4x4, c/w suburban bale handler. (403)577-2296, 403-575-0987, Consort, Ab.

MACDON 972 30FT SWATHER header, 2002, split pu reel, triple delivery, excellent condition(403)886-4285

UPCOMING UNRESERVED PUBLIC AUCTION WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012 @ 9AM 445 SOFTLEY ROAD, WINNIPEG, MB R2J 0R7

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

Spraying EquipmEnt FARM MACHINERY Sprayers SPRAY-COUP 51FT MODEL 116, shedded, VW engine, wide flotation tires, 1547/hrs, 15in nozzle spacing = better chemical coverage. shedded, $7,250; (403)666-2111 Evenings.

Tillage & Seeding FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Air Drills 2011 AMITY 40-FT SINGLE disc drill w/430-bu variable rate cart, only 3500-acres. Call Dave (204)534-7531, $180,000.

CRUSHERS, EXCAVATORS, WHEEL LOADERS, LOADER BACKHOES, SCREENING EQUIPMENT, ROCK TRUCKS, ASHPHALT/ CONCRETE EQUIPMENT, DUMP/ FLATDECK TRUCKS, INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT, BUSES AND MORE!!! ACCEPTING CONSIGNMENTS NOW FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF INVENTORY VISIT CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LVG REPRESENTATIVE WWW.PROXIBID.COM/LVG DEAN KIRK CELL: (289) 808-4489 TOLL FREE: (800) 340-7606 DEAN.KIRK@LVGAUCTIONS.COM

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

NEW TRACTOR PARTS and engine rebuild kits, specializing in hard to find parts for older tractors, tractor seats, service and owners manuals, decals and much more, our 38th year! 1 800-481-1353, www.diamondfarmtractorparts.com

JD 2210, LDR, 3PTH, MFD JD 4050 fwa, 3pth loader JD 4250 c/w loader JD 4320 loader avail. JD 4440, loader available JD 4450 c/w loader JD 6410 3pth, FWA, loader available JD 746 loader, new Mustang 2044 Skidsteer, 1300hrs. Kello 10ft model 210 disc Clamp on duals, 20.8x38-18.4x38 158 & 148, 265, 740, 280, JD loaders FINANCE, TRADES WELCOME 780-696-3527, BRETON, AB

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

Double LL Industries

STEIGER TRACTOR SPECIALIST

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.

1-800-982-1769 www.bigtractorparts.com

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous 1990 VERSATILE SWATHER, 4700, 22ft. reel and Honeybee knife 2043 hrs; 1978 combine w/1946 org. hrs, very nice Twister Hopper bottom bin w/aeration, (780)668-3104

w/U2 PU JD 7700 condition; 2300/bu,

2002 JD 1820, 45-FT., 10-in. spacing, double shoot, dutch paired row, 3-1/2in steel, $24,000; 1996 Rogator 854, 800/gal, 80ft. 4x4, 2 sets tires, 3790/hrs, GFS boom, Raven auto-rake, Raven cruiser, GPS, spd. hydro. 195hp Cummins, $61,000; 1999 CAT 460 1300 sep. hrs, rake up $100,000. (403)665-2341, Craigmyle, AB. ACREAGE EQUIPMENT: CULTIVATORS, DISCS, Plows, Blades, Post pounders, Haying Equipment, Etc. (780)892-3092, Wabamun, Ab. CASE IH 8230 HEAVY duty pull type swather. 1000 RPM. Great shape, always shedded; Bale trailer; Flail 3-PTH finishing mower. Call Ed (403)575-1423. IHC 16FT CULTIVATOR W/HARROWS, $200; Rod weeder, 36ft, $200; JD side delivery manure spreader, $100; MH 6ft one way disc, $150; Co-Op 18ft, sp swather, $500; Co-Op 15ft pt swather, $150; Spot treatment sprayer, 2 tanks, plumbing for changing tanks and widths, $400; Bale stooker $100; (780)384-2366, Sedgewick, Ab. LOW HRS; KOMATSU WA 320-1 3yd loader; 122 trackhoe; (306)236-8023

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.FAAsecurity.com

Tri-Axle 350 Bunning Manure Spreader For Sale: Wide Spread, Triple Axle, Rear Steering, Slurry Door, 2000 Bushels, Spring Suspension, 600/55R 22.5 Alliance Tires, 1000 PT0. (403)505-4610.

FARMING IS ENOUGH OF A GAMBLE...

780.905.8565 Nisku, Alberta

2009 John Deere 5101E

1980 International 584

2005 Toyota 25 Forklift,

2001 Kubota M9580

Combines

FWA, 101 Eng HP, 84 Pto HP, 520 Hrs, 3PTH, Made In USA, JD 563 S/L Loader

52 HP Diesel, 3247 Hours, 3PTH, 540 PTO

5000 lb Lift

FWA Tractor, 95 HP Diesel,4767 Hours, 3PTH

AUTO & TRANSPORT Semi Trucks & Trailers

FARM MACHINERY Combine – Case/IH

2006 International 9400i 6x4 CAT C15, 475HP, 12000/40000, 18 Speed Eaton Fuller O/D, Air Brakes, 72" Hi-Rise Sleeper Cab, new 11R22.5 Tires. 1.2 KMs. Well kept. Contact Barb or Tom (204)745-6747 ext 117. brankin@mymts.net

2002 CASE IH 2388, AFX rotor, 30ft cutter, Excellent condition, $130,000. Phone (403)877-2020, Lacombe, AB.

2007 International 9400i 6x4 Cat C15, 475 HP, 12000/40000, 18 Speed Eaton Fuller O/D, Air Brakes, 72" Hi Rise Sleeper Cab. 999000 KMS. Contact Barb or Tom (204)745-6747 ext 117. brankin@mymts.net

45,000

$

$ 7,800 5,800 www.doublellindustries.com $

28,500

$

FARM MACHINERY Combine – Various 1992 CIH 1660, EXTRA clean, 1800 hrs, pu header, $23,500; NH TR95, 2200 hrs, excellent condition, $6,450, both field ready, (403)392-8081, Red Deer, AB

BUILDINGS INSULATED STEEL FARM / COMMERCIAL / OIL BUILDINGS. Steel SIP technology. Quick assembly, well-insulated, low maintenance, strong, attractive, engineered, comfortable! Call Jerrod (204)230-5240 or email: info@betterbuildingsystems.ca

Stretch your ADVERTISING DOLLAR!

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

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 CIH 435Q, 535Q, 450Q, 550Q, 600Q pto avail. NH TJ 450, New Triples, Big Pump 8100 Wilmar Sprayer

JD 4710, 4720, 4730, 4830, 4920, 4930 SP sprayers JD 9770 & 9870 w/CM & duals CIH 3185, 3230, 3330, 4430, 4420 sprayers 9580 Kubota, FWA, FEL, low hours 3545 MF w/FWA FEL

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

GOOD SELECTION OF JD & CASE HEADERS: 635F, 636D AND MANY MORE CASE & JD

“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: kendeal@shaw.ca

UH

RETIRED FROM FARMING, MOST machinery shedded, 1998 Peterbuilt, 460 Cummins, 18spd, w/36ft tandem Doepker grain trailer $75,000; Rock picker, $1,000; (403)586-0978, Torrington, Ab.

WWW.LVGAUCTIONS.COM

AUTO & TRANSPORT

1-888-413-3325

• JD • CIH • ROGATOR • WILMAR • SPRA COUP

Increase your productivity, ease your Operator’s fatigue level!

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Kubota

AUCTION SALES Auctions Various

FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various

SPRAYERS!

FARM MACHINERY Haying & Harvesting – Swathers

AUCTION SALES

AUCTION SALES Auctions Various

FARM MACHINERY Sprayers

1-888-413-3325


46

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous Used Flexicoil Aircarts, 4350, 3850,3450, 2340, 2320,1720 & 1330..........................................................................Call Flexicoil 6 run seed treater .......................................$2,000 2006 51’ Flexicoil 5000 airdrill, 10”, 5.5” rubber packers...........................................................................Call 2006, 39’ Flexicoil 5000 airdrill 10”, 5.5 rubber packers, double chute, used 1 year, like new................................Call 32’ NEW 820 Flexicoil chisel plow 4/bar mounted harrows, spikes, list $58,000, special CNT...........$38,000 134’ Flexicoil S68XL sprayer, 2007, suspended boom, auto rate, joystick, rinse tank, triple quick jets, auto boom height, electric end nozzle & foam marker ..........$39,500 130’ Flexicoil 67XL PT sparyer, 2006, trail boom, auto rate, rinse tank, hyd. pump, combo jets, nice shape................................................$26,500 51 Flexicoil Bodies c/w GEN. 4” carbide spread tip openers, single chute, like new ..................................$3,500 30’ 8230 CIH PT swather, PU reel, nice shape, ....$10,000 2940 Premier MacDon c/w 25’ 972 header w/PU reel .............................................................................$65,000 4800 Prairie Star MacDon diesel swather, c/w 25’ 960 header w/PU reel.............................................................$30,000 8110 Hesston diesel swather, c/w 25’ header & PU reel, nice shape ...........................................................................$32,500 2360 JD swather, gas, c/w 18’ table & PU reel ......................................................................................$7,500 25ft Hesston 1200 PT swather, pu reel, nice shape ..............................................................................$7,500 21ft 8210 CIH PT swather, pu reel, nice shape .................................................................................$5000 1372 MF 13’ swing arm discbine 4yrs, like new ................................................................................. $20,000 MATR 10 wheel V-Hayrake, hyd. fold, as new .......................................................................................$5,250 8x1600 (52.5’) Sakundiak auger c/w newer 30hp Koehler engine, gear box clutch, Hawes mover, spout, nice shape.......................................................................Call New Hawes fuel tank & Hyd. motor w/ring drives for SP auger mover ..................................................................Call

FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous New Sakundiak 10x1200 (39.97’) 36HP Kohler eng., E-Kay mover, Power steering, electric belt tightener, work lights, slimfit, 12 gal. fuel tank........................................................................................$18,000 New Sakundiak 10x1400 (45.93’) 40hp Kohler engine, E-Kay HD mover & Power steering, electric belt tightener, slim fit, 12/gal fuel tank, remote throttle ....................................................$20,600 Flexicoil 10”x 50’ Grain auger.......................................$2,500 New Sakundiak 7x1200 (39.97’) , 22HP Robin-Subaru eng., battery & fuel tank...............................................................$7,500 New E-Kay 7”, 8”, 9” Bin Sweeps ..................................................Call 2002 7000HD Highline bale Processor, c/w twine cutter, always shedded exc. cond..........................................................$7,000 New Outback Max GPS Guidance Monitor Available......................................................................................Call New Outback S3, STS, E drive, TC’s in stock New Outback E drive X c/w free E turns ...................................Call New Outback S-Lite.........................................................................$900 Used Outback 360 mapping........................................................$750 Used Outback S guidance.............................................................$750 Used Outback S2 guidance......................................................$1,000 Used Outback E drive Hyd. Kits. (JD,Case, Cat & NH) ......$500

Ron Sauer Machinery Ltd.

SEWING MACHINES

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

ronsauer@shaw.ca

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

Senior Crop Input Manager

New 30.5L-32 16 ply, $2,195; 20.8-38 12 ply, $866; 18.4-38 12 ply, $783; 24.5-32 14 ply, $1,749; 14.9-24 12 ply, $356; 16.9-28 12 ply, $558. Factory direct. More sizes available new and used. 1-800-667-4515 www.combineworld.com

TRAVEL

Australia-New Zealand – Jan/Feb 2013 Kenya-Tanzania – January 2013 South America – February 2013 Hawaii – February 2013 India – Feb/Mar 2013 Ukraine-Romania – May/June 2013 Switzerland-Austria – June/July 2013

SEED/FEED MISCELLANEOUS Hay & Straw

Visit us at the Red Deer Agri-Trade November 7 – 10, 2012

WANTED: INTERNATIONAL 5000 SWATHER, needed hydrostatic pump. (403)638-2232

500 ROUND BALES MIXED Alfalfa hay, $120/per ton, (403)638-2232, Cremona area

Select Holidays 1-800-661-4326 www.SelectHolidays.com

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

HEAT & AIR CONDITIONING

SEED/FEED MISCELLANEOUS Hay & Straw ROUND AND SQUARE HAY bales, excellent quality alfalfa timothy brome mix, shedded, good for horses & Cattle (780)967-2593, Calahoo, Ab. SMALL SQUARE BALES HORSE hay, Crossfield, Ab. 50/lb bales $3.00/per bale, green, no rain (587)329-1796, (403)613-4570

The Icynene Insulation System®

CAREERS

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

CAREERS Employment Wanted

*Tours may be tax Deductible

WATER TREATMENT WANTED: HESSTON 60A STACKER any condition, preferably central Alberta area, also wanted a 60B stacker. (403)845-0414. (403)722-2409

FARMING IS ENOUGH OF A GAMBLE...

1-800-587-4711

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

LIVESTOCK LIVESTOCK Cattle – Hereford MINIATURE HEREFORD COW/CALF PAIRS for sale phone (780)363-2459 for details, No Sunday Calls please.

Specialty LIVESTOCK Specialty – Goats Boer cross doelings, March born, available now. (204)737-2207 julisebr@sdnet.ca

LIVESTOCK Livestock Equipment 2 PORTABLE CREEP FEEDERS, Lewis cattle oiler; BP 25/bale processor, w/bunk conveyor and recutter, New 4-5x7ft, 6-7x8ft treated fence posts; High tensile smooth wire (780)623-1008 5’X10’ PORTABLE CORRAL PANELS, 6 bar. Starting at $55. Storage Containers, 20’ & 40’ 1-866-517-8335, (403)540-4164, (403)226-1722 HAYBUSTER 1000 TUB GRINDER; bp 25/bale processor, w/bunk conveyor and recutter; Sundance tub grinder; Owald 400 feed wagon; New 4-5x7ft, 6-7x8ft treated fence posts; High tensile smooth wire (780)623-1008

REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE Land For Sale

Providence Grain Solutions requires a highly motivated, reliable, dependable, detail oriented individual to join our team. Managing three separate crop input centres, as the Senior Crop Input Manager you will be responsible for marketing seed, fertilizer and crop protection products to new and existing customers in trading areas; provide agronomic advice; manage product inventories; ensure proper handling and storage of crop input products; and manage the financial and the facility aspects for the crop input business by identifying grain merchandise and crop input opportunities to maximize profitability while maintaining strong customer relationships. The ideal candidate will have a Degree/Diploma in Agriculture/Business and/ or a minimum of 5-10 years of crop input experience in an agricultural related role. A Certified Crop Advisor designation is considered an asset. Candidates will have excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills along with a working knowledge of Microsoft applications. Required: • Strong leadership and organizational skills • Strong communication and listening skills • Ability to influence decision-making • Excellent interpersonal skills • Ability to work effectively within a team • Proven problem-solving and decision-making skills • Customer service including creating value for the customer. • Marketing and merchandising knowledge • Crop inputs (fertilizer, e.g.) and general agronomic knowledge Providence Grain Solutions provides an excellent compensation package consisting of a competitive salary, benefits, bonus and training and career development opportunities. Please forward all resumes to: Providence Grain Solutions #168 11870 - 88 Avenue Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta T8L 0K1 Fax: 780-997-0217 • email: sozirney@providencegrain.ca • www.providencegrain.ca We thank all applicants for your interest however only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

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

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

CAREERS Sales / Marketing www.penta.ca

Providence Grain Solutions is a successful, dynamic, and innovative locally owned grain and crop input company.

TIRES

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

CAREERS Sales / Marketing

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

AGRICULTURE TOURS

(403) 540-7691

CAREERS Sales / Marketing

1-888-413-3325 CAREERS Sales / Marketing

Ag Sales & Marketing Home-Based

If You Know Ag... If you grew up with it, work in it, or studied it in school, then you are an excellent candidate for our home-based sales team. You’ll call farmers and retailers here in Canada to talk about our client’s ag products and programs. It’s the best of all worlds: You get to use your ag expertise, and we’ll train you to have productive phone conversations. You get to work from home, and we’ll provide opportunities to share and learn from other associates.

Looking for great deals on used ag equipment? OVER

43,000

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Stretch your ADVERTISING DOLLAR!

1-888-413-3325

LAND FOR SALE AT ELKTON Alberta, 20/ac, zoned agriculture, 1 hour NW of Calgary. $285,000 OBO (403)638-2232

2 BR, 2 BA Beautiful South facing home w/ inground pool/1 BD guest cabin/2.46 ac on the South Thompson River. Fully renovated w/gourmet kitchen/ new hdwd/ tile floors/new pool components/roof 6 yrs old/ heat pump 5 yrs old. Water license/2 wells-1 new horizontal well. Irrigation to the whole property w/small part planted in wine grapes. 3 RV spots w/power/water, 35x22heated/wired workshop, 3 car garage. Access to boating/ fishing/golf 5 min away/endless recreation! Stay home, enjoy this beautiful property!

$850,000 (250)819-2557 janbombardier@royallepage.ca

Watch your profits grow! Advertise with AFe Classifieds

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

Place your ad today by calling Maureen at

1-888-413-3325


47

} conditions

ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • OCTOBER 8, 2012

Ukraine winter sowing improved

Frost worries in Argentina

Ukraine said last Monday it had sown 4.7 million hectares for the 2013 winter grain harvest as of Sept. 28, about seven per cent more than the same date in 2011 and 57 per cent of the originally forecast area. “Sowing conditions are much better this year and recent rains give us ground to expect that this year’s winter sowing will be completed successfully,” said Anatoly Prokopenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s state weather forecasting centre. He said some of area sown for winter grains had already sprouted and crops were in good and satisfactory condition. — Reuters

Frosts struck Argentine wheat fields in the last week of September, unsettling growers who already expect a meagre harvest due to a 20 per cent decline in plantings. Analysts said it would take several days to judge the impact. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange played down the threat. “The week started with cool temperatures, but winds from the north quickly returned, causing a temperature increase to higher-than-normal levels,” it said in a weekly report. — Reuters

September — not warmer, but really warmer than average indian summer  } All the ingredients were present, except one — frost by daniel bezte

W

ell, that was one heck of a September across pretty much all of Alberta — if you like it warm and dry that is. Looking back at my last article, it seems as if I jumped the gun when I talked about “Indian summer.” Looking across Alberta, it would appear that most regions have experienced nearly all of the conditions for Indian Summer until time of writing last week, but there was one important criterion missing — frost. On several nights during the middle of September frost warnings were issued across large portions of Alberta, but when I actually checked, I found that few sites had actually recorded below-zero temperatures . Without experiencing a frost it is pretty hard to say that the beautiful weather is a true Indian summer. Sometimes I think we need to forget about the frost and stick to the textbook definitions and simply say that the last couple of weeks of September were pretty darned amazing. So, just how nice was September 2012? According to Environment Canada (which is still having trouble with data from several of its stations), September was anywhere from 2 to 4 C above the long-term average, which is a considerable amount to be above average. With monthly temperatures so far above average it implies there were no really cold or even cool periods during the month. Most days saw daytime highs in the low to mid-20s with several days seeing highs in the

With drought conditions prevailing over much of central North America I don’t see many signs of any significant precipitation over the next month.

upper 20s with even the odd 30 C temperature recorded. Overnight lows followed the same warm trend, with most nights finding the temperature between 5 and 10 C. The coldest temperatures occurred around the Sept. 12, when overnight lows fell to around 1 or 2 C in several locations. Precipitation during the month was fairly low in most areas as high pressure dominated. Most regions saw below-average to well-belowaverage precipitation during the month. The only regions that saw near-average amounts were in the far north, thanks to some heavy rains during the second week of September. Over southern regions rainfall was pretty much non-existent, with a large area seeing less than 5 mm. Further north amounts increased, but even in the heaviest areas amounts were still only in the 50 mm range.

The rest of October

So now the big question is, will Alberta continue to see warmer and drier than average conditions or will the weather tide turn and bring cold wet weather for October? According to the good folks over at Environment Canada, it looks like pretty much all of agricultural Alberta will see a continuation of above-average temperatures, with only the far northeastern regions expected to experience nearaverage temperatures in October. Precipitation during October, according to Environment Canada, will be average across all but the far southern regions, where less-than-average amounts are expected. Over at the Old Farmer’s Almanac they are calling for both average temperatures and precipitation amounts in October. The always ambiguous Canadian Farmers Almanac seems to be calling for colder than average temperatures as they mention stormy weather and heavy rain several times. They also call for cold conditions to move on at least two occasions. Finally, here at Alberta Farmer I am finding it a tough call for the western Prairies. The current weather models

This issue’s map shows the total precipitation across agricultural Alberta during the 30-day period ending Sept. 23. With the exception of the far northern areas, most places saw less than 20mm of rain, with a large area seeing less than 5mm.

are showing strong ridging to dominate over the west coast of North America with a large upper trough over central to eastern North America. If the western ridge is strong enough or it is placed far enough east then most regions will see

above-average temperatures. If the ridge is weaker than anticipated or is further west then southern regions will have the best chance of above-average temperatures. Precipitation is always the toughest part of the long-range

forecast but with drought conditions prevailing over much of central North America I don’t see many signs of any significant precipitation over the next month, so I expect the dry conditions to continue through most of October.


48

OCTOBER 8, 2012 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA

C S

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Vibrant roots form stronger defences. Crops thrive with Cruiser Maxx® Vibrance™. When the Vigor Trigger ® effect meets Rooting Power ™, you get enhanced crop establishment from stronger, faster-growing plants, above and below the ground. It also protects your wheat and barley crops against a broad range of insects and diseases and delivers best-in-class Rhizoctonia control.

Visit SyngentaFarm.ca or contact our Customer Resource Centre at 1-87-SYNGENTA (1-877-964-3682). Always read and follow label directions. Cruiser Maxx® VibranceTM Cereals, Rooting PowerTM, Vigor Trigger ®, the Alliance Frame, the Purpose Icon and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. © 2012 Syngenta Canada Inc.

4977-2CC SYNGENTA VIBRANCE_Wheat Fortress.indd 1

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