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V o l u m e 1 0 , n u m b e r 1 J a n u a r y 7 , 2 0 1 3
Dairy farmers relax — the Tories like you Staunch supporters }
Professor says Ottawa’s actions in trade negotiations speak louder than critics’ trash talk
Politicians learn about supply management — in the barn First hand } This year’s annual meeting with rural caucus
wasn’t held in a hotel meeting room
by shannon vanraes staff
ritics of supply management insist the federal Conservatives are just pretending to be friends of dairy and poultry farmers, but Bruce Muirhead says that’s not so. “I actually think the Conservatives are really staunch supporters of supply management and I don’t think there is any artifice on their part,” the University of Waterloo professor told a recent audience of dairy producers in Winnipeg. It doesn’t appear that Canada’s supply-managed commodities are on the table in free-trade talks with Europe and that’s likely because Ottawa made concessions in other areas. And that, said the expert in Canadian foreign trade policy, is what friends do for friends. He also said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz appears to be working hard to keep New Zealand at bay during Pacific trade talks. That’s a tougher slog as that country is a “dairy imperialist” and is home to Fonterra Dairy Co-op, which is responsible for about 30 per cent of the world’s exported dairy products, said Muirhead. But don’t expect the federal Tories to shield dairy farmers from domestic attacks. In recent years, national pundits like Andrew Coyne, the rightleaning Sun News Network, and organizations such as the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association have stepped up attacks on supply management, said Muirhead. It’s hard to know why these
see DAIRY FARMERS } page 6
MLAs, producers and industry members participated in the supply management tour around the Ponoka/Lacombe region. (l to r) Ron Casey, MLA for Banff/Cochrane, Marty Notenbomer, a hatching egg producer, Mike Southwood, general manager of Alberta Milk and Erna Ference, producer/ chair of Alberta Chicken. Photo: Alexis Kienlen
by alexis kienlen af staff / lacombe
lberta’s supply management groups have an annual meeting with the rural caucus, but this year they didn’t just put them in a room for another boring PowerPoint presentation. The groups (Alberta Chicken, Alberta Milk, Alberta Hatching Egg Producers, the Egg Farmers of Alberta, and Alberta Turkey took the politicians out to farms to see things first hand.
In early December, about 30 people including industry representatives, five MLAs, assorted executive assistants, producers and media travelled by bus to a dairy operation and a poultry operation in the Lacombe/Ponoka region. Participants on the tour came from all over the province with a number travelling from as far away as Lethbridge. Karlee Conway, communications co-ordinator with Alberta Milk, said the tour was designed to help promote the value of supply management.
“I think supply management is a confusing thing for lots of people. The purpose of the tour is to allow people to get on the farm and see the farmer and the value on the farm for this marketing system,” she said. The tour allowed the five supply-managed organizations, who refer to themselves as “the SM5,” to showcase the value of supply management and clear up misperceptions about the marketing system. “Supply management is just one aspect. Dairy and poultry
contribute to the rural economy. Supply management is our marketing tool but we need to demonstrate the importance of agriculture,” said Mike Southwood, general manager of Alberta Milk. Throughout the day, producers, industry, politicians and media had a chance to take in informal presentations, network, learn about traceability, biosecurity and standard operating procedures.
see IN THE BARN } page 6
call for review after revenue cap exceeded } PAGE 3
news » inside this week
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Starting stock dogs off right Early training makes all the difference
Less cussing, more profit
One plus one equals…
BERNIE PEET Danes launch ambitious pork export plan
phil franz-warkentin Seven market movers for 2013
Lower racto limits sought Request follows Russian import requirement
Meal pasta, anyone?
Roy Lewis Calm cattle add to the feedlot’s bottom line
Growing peas and canola together boost total
Redwater prevention — severity varies by region
Cheatgrass cited as culprit in increased range fire activity Invasive } Cheatgrass now dominates more than 40,000 square kilometres Penn State release
cientists in the Netherlands say they’ve found that insect protein may be a more sustainable alternative to milk, chicken, pork and beef. Beetle larvae (called mealworms) farms produce more edible protein than traditional farms for chicken, pork, beef or milk, for the same amount of land used, Dennis Oonincx and colleagues from the University of Wageningen say in the journal PLOS ONE. The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters — land use, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy. Previous work by the same team showed that mealworms also produce less greenhouse gases than other animals grown for meat. In this new study, the researchers elaborate on the sustainability of insect proteins as a food by showing that growing mealworms for animal protein requires less land and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than chicken, pork, beef or milk. “Since the population of our planet keeps growing, and the amount of land on this earth is limited, a more efficient, and more sustainable system of food production is needed,” Oonincx said. “Now, for the first time it has been shown that mealworms, and possibly other edible insects, can aid in achieving such a system.”
nvasive grass species may be one reason fires are bigger and more frequent in certain regions of the western United States, according to a team of researchers. They used satellite imagery to identify cheatgrass, a plant species accidentally introduced by settlers in the West during the 1800s, in a disproportionately high number of fires in the Great Basin, a 600,000-square-kilometre arid area that includes large sections of Nevada, as well as parts of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, California and Oregon. “Over the past decade, cheatgrass fuelled the majority of the largest fires, influencing 39 of the largest 50 fires,” said Jennifer Balch, assistant professor, Penn State’s Department of Geography and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. “That’s much higher than what it should be when you consider how much of the Great Basin that cheatgrass covers.”
The average size of the fires in cheatgrass grasslands, which dominate only about six per cent of the Great Basin, was significantly larger than the average fire in most regions dominated by other vegetation, including pinyon-juniper areas, montane shrubland and agricultural land. In addition to targeting the influence of cheatgass on major fires, the researchers also found that the plant may play a role in increasing the frequency of fires, said Balch. “From 2000 to 2009, cheatgrass burned twice as much as any other vegetation,” said Balch. One of the consequences of more widespread cheatgrass fires is that landscapes dominated by the grass have a shorter fire-return interval — the time between fires in a region — of 78 years, compared to other species like sagebrush, which has a 196year fire-return interval. “What’s happening is that cheatgrass is creating a novel grass-fire cycle that makes
future fires more likely,” said Balch, who started this work at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. “Fire promotes cheatgrass and cheatgrass promotes fires.”
Balch said the cheatgrass-influenced fires create a difficult management challenge. The fires can threaten agricultural lands and, since more people are building homes in the West, residential areas as well as habitat for threatened native wildlife, such as the greater sage grouse. While cheatgrass-driven fires have been recognized for decades, remote-sensing technology has allowed the researchers to take a regional approach to assessing the problem. They compared burned area detected by NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectoradiometer between 2000 to 2009 to regional land cover maps that included cover of cheatgrass. “Historically, the way remote sensing worked, you could only tell the difference
between broad land cover classes such as trees versus wetlands, for instance,” said Bethany Bradley, assistant professor of environmental conservation, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “It is very difficult to capture those details at the species level.” However, by noticing what conditions favor the growth of certain species, the researchers were able to use the satellite imagery to better pinpoint the growth of different species. For instance, cheatgrass grows during wet periods while many other species do not, Bradley said. “What you end up seeing is that most years when it is dry, the cheatgrass doesn’t grow much,” said Bradley. “But when there are wet seasons that occur due to the El Niño cycle, cheatgrass cover is very dense and continuous.” Bradley added that this is a concern because cheatgrass now dominates more than 40,000 square kilometres, an area that is more than 100 times the size of Salt Lake City, Utah.
A study says that from 2000 to 2009, cheatgrass burned twice as much as any other vegetation. PHOTo: thinkstock
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Railways revenues rekindle calls for a costing review Backfire } There are concerns that a review would point out that railways make more on other commodities
A study by Travacon Research in 2010 said farmers were paying $100 million a year, or $6.97 a tonne, too much for grain shipping.
By Allan Dawson staff
anada’s two major railways once again tipped over the statutory cap revenues for shipping grain during the 201112 crop year — costing farmers an extra two cents per tonne. “It underscores again the need for a costing review to parallel the (rail) service review,” Bladworth, Sask., farmer and agricultural economist Ian McCreary said in an interview. For the first time last crop year, Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific railways (CPR) were allowed to collectively earn more than $1 billion shipping western grain — $542.5 million for CN and $494 million for CP. However, CN and CP exceeded the cap by $240,185 and $400,132, respectively. The overage of just 0.1 per cent cost farmers, on average, an extra two cents a tonne. Under the Canadian Transportation Act the railways must remit excess revenues, plus a five per cent penalty to the Western Grains Research Foundation, which benefits farmers through research. CN and CP have until Jan. 30 to pay the foundation $212,194 and $420,138, respectively. The revenue cap, established in 2000, is a form of “economic
regulation” that gives the railways flexibility in setting rates while protecting farmers from overcharging. The cap is adjusted for volume so there’s no limit on how much grain the railways can move. It’s also adjusted for inflation reflecting increases in expenses such as fuel. In 2011-12 the railways moved 33.1 million tonnes of western grain, up 6.2 per cent from the previous crop year, the CTA said in a release. The average length of haul was 952 miles, down 13 miles, or 1.3 per cent.
“You’ve seen the rate structure go up by almost 18 per cent (when adjusted for hauling distance) in that decade for the two railways and farmers have received none of the efficiency savings.” Ian McCreary
The move to fewer, but fasterloading, high-throughput elevators and hauling more cars per train, has made the railways more efficient, McCreary said. Still, the average cost of grain shipping in 2011-12 was $31.36 a tonne, versus $25.85 in 2000-01. “You’ve seen the rate structure go up by almost 18 per cent (when adjusted for hauling distance) in that decade for the two railways and farmers have received none of the efficiency savings,” McCreary said.
Two years ago a study conducted by Travacon Research for the Canadian Wheat Board and a number of farm groups concluded farmers were paying $100 million a year, or $6.97 a tonne, too much for grain shipping. If the government won’t review rail costs, it needs to create competition between the railways, McCreary said. One way is to allow competing railways to operate on the tracks owned by CN and CP. Last month the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and National Farmers Union renewed their calls to review railway costs after the government unveiled its railway service legislation. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association also sup-
ports a review, said the association’s policy manager Blair Rutter. “We want to ensure farmers are paying freight rates that would be in line with what we would see in a competitive market,” he said. Former minister of state for transport Rob Merrifield has warned a costing review could result in higher rail freight costs for farmers, said Doug Chorney, president of Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers. The railways already make more money shipping other commodities than grain. “We better make sure we know what we’re asking for in a very defined way before we see government open this door for us,” he said. “We all know in the commercial world businesses will do the business that’s most profitable first.” Western grain earns CN the least of all the commodities it hauls, confirmed CN spokeswoman Emily Hamer. “Any regulatory reduction in our freight rates could jeopardize our ability for continued investment... in the supply chain for Western Canada,” she said in an interview. “Freight rates for grain transport (in Canada) are among the most competitive in the world.” If that’s the case the railways shouldn’t fear a review, Rutter
said. He doubts the results will backfire on farmers given the improvements in rail efficiency.
The wheat growers are also worried that projections Saskatchewan potash exports will hit 30 million tonnes in six years, up fourfold from today’s eight million, could cut into railway capacity for grain. That’s equivalent to moving another western grain crop. With increased grain processing in the West and more access to American railways, rail transportation might become more competitive over time eliminating the need for a revenue cap. But in the meantime, it needs to be reviewed periodically to be sure farmers aren’t overpaying, Rutter said. The Grain Growers of Canada is focused on service. “Our position right from the start has been no costing review until such time as we get the service review done,” said executive director Richard Phillips. “We expect our time and energy will be used up in a ‘battle royale’ through Parliament with the railways trying to get people to move amendments in their favour.” CPR spokesman Ed Greenberg said he couldn’t comment on a costing review. Much of CPR’s grain earnings are reinvested to improve grain service, he said.
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
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Alberta Farmer | Editor
t’s that time of year when one lets the mind wander and wish about what “might be” for the coming year. It’s a renewal of sorts, putting behind the trials and tribulations of the past year, or at least hoping to forget them for a while. Those of us in the opinion business like that approach, especially for past comments that turned out to be nothing more than mindless rantings. Although most of us in this business tend to be more baffled that our suggestions have not been enthusiastically embraced for the sake of the betterment of civilization. Two big events affected agriculture in Alberta in 2012. One was the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) monopoly and the arrival of the free market, and second the XL Foods E. coli fiasco. There were other events of course, but both of these shook the foundations of animal and grain production in this province. Neither has completely played out, but both have caused serious soul searching about the economic future of each sector. One can’t help but wonder about 2013: what if JBS can’t make the Brooks plant viable and they walk away, and what if wheat markets crash and U.S. border mischief starts up again with no CWB to back up growers. If either of those events were to occur the economics would be quite severe for both sectors. The XL fiasco caused me to ponder what could be done to not only instil more confidence in the food-safety process but to take a big leap forward. The first is easy — start a formal investigation of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It should be from top to bottom and not just on the XL debacle. The CFIA is virtually a failed agency in many aspects, and its role in the XL fiasco proved its ineptitude. It’s time to start over, there has to be a better way for such an agency to operate credibly with genuine accountability and trust. Such a step would take real courage and insight.
A big leap forward for food safety in 2013 would be the implementation of mandatory irradiation for all meat products in this country. It is guaranteed that such a step would significantly reduce foodborne pathogens and reduce sickness and death. There is absolutely no rational or scientific reason why this practice should not be implemented immediately. The U.S. armed forces require that most of its meat purchases be irradiated. There is a message in that. It’s mind boggling that regulatory bureaucrats, government politicians and self-righteous lobby groups can delay and oppose such a life-saving food safety measure. The issue bears a remarkable resemblance to the history of mandatory milk pasteurization of years ago. Few today question the wisdom of that decision.
The government and industry need to get on with mandatory OHS and WCB for farm workers in Alberta.
One hopes that in 2013 the creation of the Alberta Wheat Commission will continue with the formation of a national grains agency that will represent growers across Canada. There is real urgency to this situation. Responsibilities for research, checkoffs, trade policy, transportation, trade actions etc. have, because of the demise of the CWB, now been splintered off to other groups or not at all. This is important if for only one reason — American trade mischief. It’s sure to happen again and we need a robust national grain organization to fight that inevitable battle. We also need a national voice to
establish policy on GM wheat and barley, which is my next wish for 2013. Genetic engineering can do for wheat and barley what it did for canola and a host of other crops. I understand the marketing reality of GM grains, but the barriers are breaking down, the EU already permits the importation of GM corn and soybeans. Perhaps we need to start modestly with GM oats to show the potential. It would put Canada into the GM research forefront. Besides under present conditions Alberta will never be a corn or soybean production powerhouse, but we could become an even larger producer of wheat and barley with advances in GM wheat and barley. Let’s accept that traditional plant-breeding practices for wheat and barley are a waste of time compared to advances made with GM canola and other crops. All it takes is some guts by our political masters. On the political front for 2013 one hopes that long-simmering issues are resolved and the industry can get on with stability and production. The government and industry need to get on with mandatory OHS and WCB for farm workers in Alberta, the last province to lack any farm worker rights. Better yet, those rights need to be extended to farm and ranch owners, operators and family members. It can be done on a phased-in timetable. In 2013 let there be some honesty about the future of supply management. What needs to be established is the real cost and benefit to both producers and consumers of the marketing scheme. Add into that the trade cost or benefit, the cost of a quota buyout, the impact on rural Alberta, the list goes on. Perhaps an arm’s-length, in-depth study sponsored by ALMA is in order. The Alberta government needs to give more than just lip service to its less-than-enthusiastic support of supply management. Perhaps honest facts will shame them into more robust support. Wishful thinking for 2013 could go on and on of course. In the end all I can wish for is a prosperous new year for all.
The Dutch offer Canadians some opportunities
recent bit of news noted that the Netherlands is planning to phase out mink farming in that country by buying out existing growers. This is after they bought out fox and chinchilla growers a few years ago. Apparently the Netherlands was once one of the largest producers of farmed furs, not surprising being they invented intensive agriculture. Ostensibly this buyout is being done on altruistic grounds — that being fur farming has been deemed to be inhumane, a waste of resources and an unneeded luxury. On the one hand this move seems to be a capitulation to the anti-fur movement, but on the other hand its going to be a boon to fur growers and harvesters elsewhere including Canada.
There must be more to this story considering the Dutch history of making money on almost anything with little concern as to any moral consequences (I am of Dutch ancestry so I can say that). One might sympathize with the Dutch if their concern was a better use of their very scarce land resources, but that country produces billions of dollars’ worth of flowers which outside of their esthetics could also be considered a waste of resources and an unneeded luxury in a starving world. But the real point is that we need to encourage such restrictive practices when they prove to be of an unintended benefit to our own production. The Dutch and Danes are massive producers of pork and poultry and are fear-
some competitors in the export trade of those products. But over the years they have been shooting themselves in the foot with dubious restrictions on production practices and onerous environmental regulations. That route will price them out of the export market, and that’s good for our producers. The Dutch hog herd peaked at 15 million a number of years ago and is now under nine million and dropping. Former growers claim overregulation is a big part of the decline. A similar situation has occurred with beef production in the EU, regulations have made it impossible to raise beef economically without massive subsidization. They managed to stave off North
American beef imports for years with bogus hormone restrictions, but demand is already overwhelming supply. Unless they reduce their production and environmental restrictions, more beef will have to be imported and that’s good for our production. We need to learn from the EU experience and be wiser about how we implement our own regulations. But if the Dutch are any example with their altruistic moves in phasing out fur farming, we should encourage them and the EU in general to make more such altruistic decisions about agriculture, especially in regards to meat and grain production. I am sure we can help them out should any shortages develop — for a fair price of course.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Genetically modified wheat — its status and implications Segregation } Some countries will simply not accept it, so genetically modified wheat would have to be kept separate By William W. Wilson
heat is one of the world’s largest-acreage food crops, but it has not been a recipient of the new genetically modified (GM) technologies that have benefited corn, soybeans, canola and cotton. Compared with these crops, wheat has been losing its competitiveness for a number of reasons. The areas planted to wheat in the U.S. have declined by 30 to 40 per cent since the mid-1980s. Similar pressures exist in Canada which during the same period, canola acreage has increased, so it now exceeds wheat acres. There also have been important geographical shifts in the composition of crops planted in these countries. Generally, the smaller wheat acreage has been matched with a gradual shift to more northern and western dry areas. Since 1996, a number of GM traits have been introduced in competing crops. For corn, Roundup Ready (RR), bacillus thuringiensis (BT) and several other traits have been developed and widely adopted. Some of these are now stacked in multiples of three or four traits in a single vari-
ety. Looking forward, a large number of traits are under development and expected to be commercialized in the next 10 or more years. For corn, there are at least 21 new GM traits under development that are a mix of producer-, consumerand processor-wanted traits. Some of these traits are developed individually and some through joint initiatives. A comparable number and composition of traits is under development for soybeans.
New interest in wheat
Following a number of years in which wheat acres declined in North America and mostly shifted to corn, soybeans, canola and cotton, a number of events unfolded that helped spawn the recent interest in GM wheat. One was an international trilateral agreement among grower groups supporting the development of GM wheat. The other was the sharp escalation of crop prices during 2008. This precipitated concerns by end-users about the longer-term supplies and competitiveness of wheat. In 2009, Monsanto was the first to announce its intent to expand into GM wheat. This was followed within months by announcements to do the same by BASF, Bayer Crops Sciences, Limagrain and
Dow AgroSciences. Each of these companies is following work that already had been initiated in Australia by the Victoria Agrobiosciences Center and CSIRO. Indeed, much of the initial and early work was done in Australia, where the initial focus was on drought. This is in addition to the almost simultaneous development of initiatives on GM wheat in China. These firms and organizations have been pursuing varying strategies, including acquiring germplasm and creating public-private partnerships. In addition, to varying degrees, each has made claims about the traits it intends to develop using genetic modification.
Alliances, acquisitions and partnerships
Each of the major firms has sought varying forms of alliances, acquisitions or partnerships to achieve technology improvement goals. The GM traits that are most commonly being developed are yield, drought tolerance and nitrogen use efficiency. The criteria for selecting these traits are not exactly clear. Most likely, these choices are a result of experiences with other crops, evidence related to current plant stressors, anticipated changing
geography of production and concerns of future water availability and cost. Against this acceleration of research in wheat-breeding technology, there are a number of important issues.
One is consumer acceptance. Generally, consumers in North America are less averse to GM content than other countries. In part, this is due to greater confidence in the underlying regulatory mechanisms. In some other countries, notably the European Union and Japan, there is a greater aversion to GM content as reflected partly in their regulatory regimes. Looking forward, one would expect a more highly differentiated market for wheat products for those that are non-averse to GM content, averse to GM content and those seeking organic produce. Ultimately, this means that the commercialization of GM wheat will require fairly elaborate segregation systems. While achievable, segregation will need to be initiated by buyers through contractual requirements. If so, the markets can be effective at
segregation and at reasonable costs, although the costs will vary across market segments and participants. Another major issue confronting wheat is that most of the germplasm is or has been under the control of the public sector. Therefore, as biotechnology companies seek to expand and pursue “seeds and traits” strategies, they will need to develop varying forms of public-private partnerships. The values of these traits provide encouragement for further development. However, the values in wheat traits are not as great as in other crops, which means that any variety of wheat likely would need a combination of stacked traits to be commercially acceptable. William W. Wilson is university distinguished professor at North Dakota State University’s agribusiness and applied economics department.
Feeding the world — apply what we already know Smallholders } Given the means, small farmers can feed their families and their communities By Kanayo F. Nwanze
he drought-prone South Gansu province of China suffers from limited water and severe soil erosion. It is not a hospitable environment for food production. Yet, despite these harsh conditions, farmers are producing and selling more food. They are feeding themselves and their families. And their incomes are steadily rising. In degraded areas of Burkina Faso, smallholders are using simple water-harvesting methods such as planting pits and permeable rock dams to restore land. They are growing crops on land that was once unproductive. With the world population expected to reach 7.7 billion by 2022, there will be no shortage of demand for food. Our challenge is to make sure small and medium-size farms get the support they need to help meet that demand. There are some 500 million smallholder farms around the world, supporting more than two billion people. Today, too
many developing-country small farmers are poor — cut off from the markets, the services and the financing that would allow them to benefit from rising prices and demand. How do we ensure the developing world’s smallholders have the resources they need to manage risk, cope with price volatility and help meet the world’s future demand for food? There is no simple solution. They need the policies and political will to create an environment in which they are less vulnerable. They need investments in everything from roads to get produce more efficiently to market, to skills training to deal better with risk. They need creative partnerships between the public and private sector. They need greater transparency in markets to mitigate the impact of volatility, and greater access to the agricultural research that would let them adapt more effectively to the impact of climate change. Experience repeatedly shows that when smallholders are given the means and the incen-
tives to increase production, they can feed themselves and their communities, lead their nation’s agricultural and economic growth, and contribute to food security. Indeed, small farms are often more productive per hectare than large farms, when agroecological conditions and access to technology are comparable. There is no secret formula that will eliminate poverty and guarantee food security overnight. But we know that smallscale producers — including family farmers, pastoralists and artisanal fishers — hold the key to reducing poverty and hunger. If they are connected to markets and have access to financial services and agricultural technologies. If they are farming in ways that respect and respond to the natural environment. And if they have committed support from central and local governments. In other words, we need to take what we already know
A smallholder farmer sells cassava at a market in Gabon. In Africa, small farms are often more productive per hectare than large farms. PHOTo: IFAD works and apply our knowledge, tailoring our efforts to the conditions of a specific region, or even a specific village — responding to the wishes of local people themselves — so that in 10 years’ time we will have created lasting change, and a world where people are less hungry
and have more opportunities than they do today. Kanayo F. Nwanze is president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). This paper appeared as part of a series of blogs in an online discussion on the Future of Agriculture, hosted by Oxfam. To read more, go to: http://blogs.oxfam. org/en/blogs.
Off the front
in the barn } from page 1
DAIRY FARMERS } from page 1
The group visited Bles-Wold, a yogurt and dairy operation owned by Alberta Milk chairman Hennie Bos and his wife Tinie Eilers, and a broiler operation owned by David Hyink, vice-chairman of Alberta Chicken. Biosecurity standards were respected and strictly enforced for the entire event. Hyink, a secondgeneration chicken farmer who raises 70,000 broiler birds at a time, decided to open his barn up for the tour, a first in his 15 years of chicken farming. Hyink made the decision because he wanted to give people a chance to see his operation in a controlled way. “A lot of times politicians are involved with us in policies and making decisions for the industries and talking about supply management. If they get a little more perspective about what’s going on and who we are as leaders in food security and animal care, they’ll view our industry through eyes that are a little more informed,” he said. “It’s just really different to see the changes in farming and how mechanized it is now is particularly surprising,” said Ron Casey, MLA for Banff/Cochrane and chairman of the rural caucus. He said he was also impressed by the biosecurity and animalcare standards. “I think it’s been great and it’s something that you wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to do, ever. I wish we had 50 MLAs on the bus, to be honest.” Casey said the tour will help with future discussions. “When issues do come up with some of the marketing boards and with some of the producers, at least we will have a visual that we can go back to,” he said. “It gives you a base to start from.” Carlie Pochynok, executive assistant for Jacquie Fenske, MLA of Fort Saskatchewan/Vegreville, grew up in Edmonton and had never been on a farm before the supply management tour. “I’m totally blown away by how amazing our farmers are and all of the work they do to produce fresh, locally grown product. They do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and we don’t get to see the hard work that they do. You only ever hear bad news about things that go on on farms. The farms that we visited today are indicative of multiple farms in Alberta.”
attacks have managed to hold the public’s interest, but it may be partly due to peoples’ misperception that supply management is a system of government-enforced regulations, he said. “It’s not government at all, but I think the fact that people perceive it to be a regulatory system is enough for them to think of it as bad,” he said. “Today, people see regulation as bad.” That didn’t happen overnight though. Muirhead said it began with a political shift in the 1980s when neo-liberal ideology gained ground, successfully painting government as part of the problem and the private sector as the solution. What surprising is that such a tiny area of national production, like dairy, has garnered so much attention, he said. That surprises Dairy Farmers of
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january 7, 2013 • Albertafarmexpress.ca
Canada president Wally Smith as well. “Our focus groups and our research is showing that farmers are still a very highly esteemed group of people,” he said. “They’re seen to be hard working and honest.” It’s hard to pinpoint why a respected group of people would be targeted for a very successful model of production, he said. However, there have been some positive developments around the public image of supply management in recent years. Muirhead said the 2008 financial collapse has landed some punches on deregulation, making regulatory bodies seem more palatable. “The possibility that supply management will now last — after the events of 2008 — seems to me much greater than it might have been five or 10 years ago,” he said.
“I actually think the Conservatives are really staunch supporters of supply management and I don’t think there is any artifice on their part.” Bruce Muirhead
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Dutch to ban mink farming FOLLOW EXAMPLE
Humane Society International is calling on Canada to do the same REUTERS / STAFF MONTREAL
umane Society International-Canada is calling on the Canadian government to phase out fur farming following a decision by the Netherlands to end the practice by 2024. “Right now, the Canadian codes of practice for minks and foxes are being reviewed, and it is clear that fur farming is causing immense suffering to animals,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSICanada. “The Dutch Senate has recognized that it is morally wrong to confine animals in small, wire cages to be killed for their fur. HSICanada is calling on the Canadian government to follow the example of the Netherlands and prohibit outright the farming of animals for their fur.” The Dutch Senate on Dec. 18 passed a ban on mink farming in the Netherlands, the world’s thirdlargest producer of the animal fur, in a ruling that will phase out the industry by 2024. The bill, tabled by both the Labour Party and the Socialist Party, was passed by a majority of lawmakers in a vote of 46 to 29, according to a statement on the Senate website. The Dutch outlawed the breeding of foxes and chinchillas for their fur in 2008. The mink ban was passed by the lower house of Parliament earlier this year. “This significant decision will prevent the suffering of millions of fur-bearing animals in the future,” Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International’s EU director, said in a statement. “It is truly inspiring that the majority of the Dutch Senate has not allowed economics to prevail over ethics, recognizing that it is unacceptable and cruel to keep animals in small, wire cages to be killed for their fur.” The Netherlands accounted for roughly nine per cent of the global mink market in 2011, Kopenhagen Fur Auctions said, trailing leaders Denmark and China, which jointly make up slightly more than half. Around 200 Dutch mink companies produced 4.9 million furs in 2011, compared to 15 million in Denmark and 13.5 million in China, Kopenhagen Fur Auctions said. Dutch mink breeders will be compensated by the government for investments made in their businesses. The global fur trade was worth about $14 billion in 2010, up from $8.2 billion in 2000, according to the International Fur Trade Federation. Humane Society International says that in the last decade, the Dutch mink-farming industry has expanded exponentially with production growing from three million to an estimated six million mink pelts per year. In Canada, an estimated 2.6 million minks and foxes are confined annually on fur farms. Fur farming has also been banned across the United Kingdom on ethical grounds since 2003, and Austria and Croatia have introduced similar prohibitions.
Record-high U.S. beef and cattle prices seen in 2013 INCREASES More production in Argentina and
Brazil will offset declines in the U.S. and Europe REUTERS
maller U.S. beef and cattle supplies in 2013 should push prices for both commodities to record highs then, with slaughter-ready cattle likely to trade at $140 to $145 per cwt next spring, Rabobank said in its December quarterly beef report. A drought and record-high feed grain prices caused U.S. cattle producers to shrink herds in 2012, resulting in less beef as well as record-high beef and cattle prices. “To date, consumer demand for beef has held remarkably well. It will be critical to see if consumers stay committed to beef with additional record prices expected in 2013,” the report said. U.S. slaughter-ready cattle traded a record $130 per cwt in March of this year. First-quarter U.S. beef production next year was forecast at 5.84 billion lbs., down seven per cent from a year earlier and second-quarter production was estimated at 6.15 billion lbs., down five per cent, it said. In addition to fewer cattle, Rabobank said high feed costs will have producers selling cattle at lighter weights, which will produce less beef per animal.
Global beef supply
Global beef production in 2013 should be similar to 2012, with increases in Argentina, Australia and Brazil offsetting declines in the United States and Europe. Australia’s beef production is seen up two per cent next year, Argentina’s up four per cent, and Brazil’s up three per cent. “On the demand side of the equation, the broader picture points to another year of relatively weak consumption on the back of a still sluggish economy, as world GDP is expected
Beef companies in North America and Europe may have a difficult time passing on the higher cattle costs to consumers. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK to grow only slightly in 2013,” Rabobank analyst Guilherme Melo said in a statement. Beef companies in North America and Europe may have a difficult time passing on the higher cattle costs to consumers, the report said, while South American beef exports may be tested by political and economic changes in their Middle East and North Africa markets.
Global beef producers may benefit from less poultry as high feed costs should curb that production. “To the extent that this increases poultry prices, it may also benefit the beef industry as the gap between beef and chicken prices narrow and possibly shifts demand towards beef,” Rabobank said.
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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February 25 & 26, 2013 The Fairmont Winnipeg
Grainworld, the annual Canadian ag outlook conference, is returning to Winnipeg • Base you spring planting decisions on good information on the markets for the crops we grow on the prairies. • Outlooks for each of our various crops are given by traders in that commodity. • The right planting mix will benefit you as well as the entire industry.
For the agenda, and to register online: www.wildoatsgrainworld.com or call 1-204-942-1459
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Eating the whole egg better for heart health REVERSAL New research suggests that consuming whole eggs may improve blood lipids STAFF
he American Egg Board is promoting new research that suggests eating the whole egg is better for heart health than only egg whites. While consumers concerned about their cholesterol have been advised to limit their consumption of eggs to just the whites, a study involving middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome (a combination of several symptoms including large waistline, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar) shows that may not be advisable, a release says. Individuals with any combination of three of those factors is considered at higher risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The results of the study published in the publication Metabolism sug-
gests that including whole eggs as part of a weight loss diet may have positive effects on lipoprotein profiles for such individuals. Research subjects consumed either three whole eggs or an equivalent amount of egg substitute daily as part of a carbohydrate-restricted weight loss diet. “Although participants eating the whole eggs were consuming twice as much cholesterol as they had at the beginning of the study, the researchers observed no effects on total blood cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels after 12 weeks on the diet. All participants, including those consuming whole eggs, had improved lipid profiles with decreases in plasma triglycerides and increases in HDL cholesterol.” “Eating egg yolks was actually associated with enhanced health benefits in these high-risk individuals,” said Dr. Maria Luz
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Fernandez, lead study author and professor at the University of Connecticut. “Subjects consuming whole eggs had greater increases in HDL cholesterol and more significant reductions in the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio than those who ate the cholesterol-free egg substitute.” The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service has reported that eggs now have 14 per cent less cholesterol (down from 215 mg to 185 mg) and 64 per cent more vitamin D than previously thought. The release also points out eggs are sources of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. “Many of these nutrients reside in the yolk, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that may prevent macular degeneration and consequent age-related blindness.”
WHAT’S UP Send agriculture-related meeting and event announcements to: will. firstname.lastname@example.org January 11: Stable Owners Seminar, Sheraton Hotel 12:30 pm, Red Deer. Call: Heather 403-420-5949 January 11/13: Horse Breeders & Owners Conference, Sheraton Hotel, Red Deer. Call: Robyn 403-420-5949 January 14: Manure Management Update, Lethbridge Lodge, Lethbridge. Call: Trevor 780-980-7587 January 15/16: Agronomy Update 2013, Lethbridge Lodge, Lethbridge. Call: Doon 403-381-5830 January 15/17: The Banff Pork Seminar 2013, Banff Centre, Banff. Call: BPS 780-492-3671 January 16: Explore Local Foods, Explore Local Markets, Summerdale Hall, Barrhead. Call: BCP 780-674-3331 January 29/31: Farmtech 2013, Location TBA, Edmonton. Call: Rick 780-678-6167
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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS • Susie Oberdahlhoff Kids, Crops, Cows and Sows - Life Happens • Troy Stozek and Jo-Lene Gardiner - The Harvest Moon Society • Gary Martens - The Movement of Holistic Management to Young People • Pierrette Desrosiers - LIFE BALANCE
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Super-nutritious quinoa has potential on northern Prairies Likes it cool } Saskatchewan processor may expand search for growers into Alberta By Shannon VanRaes staff
“It’s a very nutritious grain... you could pretty much live on just quinoa.”
nce a largely obscure Andean seed, quinoa has made inroads into Canadian pantries, but is having difficulty taking root on Canadian farms. “Right now we don’t really turn down any interested growers, the challenge is still getting enough interested growers,” said Michael Dutcheshen, general manager of Saskatoon-based Northern Quinoa Corporation, a processor and distributor of organic and non-organic quinoa. In 2011 the company contracted three Manitoba farms as quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) suppliers, two organic and one conventional, but hot weather hampered the crop. Kroeker Farms in Winkler near the U.S. border planted 70 acres. “It was a bust,” said assistant farm manager Marvin Dyck. “We had a really good stand, an excellent stand, but what happened was a record number of days in our area over 30°.” The result was heat sterilization of the plants and a failure to produce seeds. “I think that it’s a good opportunity, but I believe for our area it’s too susceptible to heat stress,” Dyck said. The bulk of Northern Quinoa’s supply comes from operations in Saskatchewan, and while there has been some discussion about expanding into Alberta, that move hasn’t happened yet. The company supplies its growers with a variety of seed specially suited to the Canadian Prairies, but says most of its growers are north of Highway 16. Dutcheshen said the crop needs cooler conditions, but it also needs to be given some priority.
A quinoa plant is pictured near Salinas in Bolivia. This pseudo-grain is actually a relative of pigweed, spinach and beets. Some believe it could be successfully grown on the northern Canadian Prairies. photo: REUTERS/David Mercado “If you treat it as something that you might just try out for a year on a bit of land that’s poor, that isn’t your best... it’s not going to work very well,” he said.
Having been grown in the high plateaus of South America for 3,000 years, where it had little competition, this relative of lamb’s quarters
Trait Stewardship Responsibilities
CFGA gets funds for forage promotion
Notice to Farmers
The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) is getting $51,000 from the federal government to pursue marketing and communications activities that increase the competitiveness of the Canadian forage industry. The CFGA will develop promotion and information packages for international buyers, prepare market development display materials, and participate in international trade shows. “With opportunities for Canadian forage products expanding worldwide, there is an increasing need for the CFGA to work on the development of these markets,” said CFGA executive director Wayne Digby. “With the support of the AgriMarketing Program, we are able to zero in on priority markets and really make a difference.”
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.
or pigweed, beets and spinach doesn’t handle weeds well, said Dutcheshen. “It needs to be on clean land and have lots of nitrogen,” he stressed. Average yield is around 1,000 pounds per acre, although Dutcheshen said some growers have achieved yields as high as 2,000 pounds per acre. Northern Quinoa pays 60 cents and 90 cents per pound for conventional and organic quinoa respectively.
But with the familiar crops of canola and wheat doing well, selling the idea of quinoa to growers isn’t always easy. Gary Martens teaches at the University of Manitoba’s department of plant sciences and believes more farmers would dedicate acres to quinoa if the crop had a more established value chain. “(Farmers) are more interested in production than they are interested in marketing,” he said. “It would be nice if some giant company would put this into their breakfast cereal.” But the tiny ancient grain has a lot going for it, so much so that the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization has named 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. Martens notes it’s also the organization’s go-to food for famine relief. “Quinoa has every animo acid we need in the right proportions,” he said. “It’s a very nutritious grain... you could pretty much live on just quinoa.” Some preparation is required to get the grain to market. “We have a washing procedure for the quinoa,” said Dutcheshen, explaining the seed has a bitter coating to protect it against birds and animals looking for a tasty meal.
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NEWS » Markets
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Low pro in Australia wheat
Britain a net wheat importer
Wheat harvested recently across Australia’s east contains less protein than average, traders and analysts said, tightening supplies of high-quality grain from the world’s No. 2 exporter. Asia’s top buyers, who rely on Australia for the bulk of their milling wheat supplies, may be forced to import larger volumes of highprotein spring wheat from the United States and Canada. Lower-than-expected protein levels were found in wheat harvested in Queensland and northern and central New South Wales, the two states where the country’s premier wheat is grown. — Reuters
Britain remained on track to be a net wheat importer for the first time in more than a decade this season as exports slowed in October and fell well short of imports, customs data showed last month. U.K. wheat exports in October totalled 90,355 tonnes, down from the prior month’s 224,023 tonnes, while imports fell only marginally to 220,874 tonnes from 232,352 tonnes. Britain had a poor wheat crop this summer with yields slumping to a 23-year low and quality hurt by high disease levels following the wettest June since records began more than a century ago.
Seven market movers to watch in 2013 CWB } The single desk’s end is just one of many factors in play for the new year By Phil Franz-Warkentin
he start of a new year is a time of reflection and also a time of looking forward. As history has a habit of repeating itself, what were the big factors that moved the grains and oilseeds in 2012? And what might we expect this new calendar year?
As far as Western Canada was concerned, the big story in 2012 was the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s long-standing single desk for marketing wheat, durum and barley. That story is still playing itself out, but the fact the changes happened in a year where wheat prices were quite high surely helped the transition. Wheat acreage increases are being talked up for 2013, as it turned out to be a good cash crop in 2012.
The looming global economic collapse, and/or looming turnaround to improvement, provided constant fodder for speculative money flows during the year. Whether or not the U.S. falls off its “fiscal cliff” in 2013, the sputtering global financial system will remain a feature in the grains and oilseeds as well.
The key takeaway is this: If investors are confident in the economy and throwing more money into riskier assets, agricultural commodities also benefit. However, a side influence on Canada under such a scenario is a stronger Canadian dollar, which makes Canadian exports a little less attractive.
It was too wet in some areas, too dry in others, and a big wind at harvest caused problems as well, cutting into Canadian production overall. In the U.S., drought conditions remain a concern heading into 2013. Europe and the Black Sea region have dryness issues of their own, while the weather is a bit of a mixed bag in South America as soybeans and corn are currently in the midst of their growing season.
Brazil and Argentina are forecast to grow record-large soybean and corn crops this year, and the possibility of that large production is overhanging the markets. However, North American supplies are tight, which means that production will be needed to meet demand, and any problems that develop over the growing season should provide a boost to the North American markets.
China played The Grinch and cancelled nearly a million tonnes of U.S. soybean purchases the week before Christmas. That news added to the end of the yearlong liquidation already weighing on prices and was bearish for canola as well. The country is always a wild card, and what it buys, or doesn’t buy, will be closely monitored once again in 2013.
Canola, soybeans, wheat and corn were all trending down in the week before Christmas. However, prices on all four commodities also closed out 2012 on a much higher footing than 2011. Weekly charts would point to more downside potential in the grains and oilseeds, but chart analysts can also make an argument that values are consolidating before turning for another leg higher. The charts are easier to make sense of in hindsight, although as far as canola is concerned nearby prices may fall to the $540- to $550-per-tonne level before finding major support.
Supply and demand
Regardless of what the charts may say, or what’s happening in South America and China, the greater concern on the local level remains the cash price. Canola supplies are forecast to be very tight at the start of the 2013-14 crop
year, and attractive bids in the country are reflecting those concerns over tightening supplies. Canola cash prices were all but divorced from the futures heading into the new year. The question now: Will the futures rise to reflect the bullish fundamentals? Or will demand from the crushers and line companies finally be rationed, causing cash prices to come back in line with the futures? Supplies of most other major crops grown in Western Canada are also forecast to be tighter at the end of the current crop year in July 2013 compared to where they were in 2012.
The fight for acres
With supplies on the tight side for most of the main cropping options in Western Canada, the annual battle over what will go in the ground this spring could get interesting. After pushing rotations for a few years, the anecdotal reports suggest that canola will lose out to other, cheaper to grow, alternatives in 2013. How 2013 plays out remains to be seen, but all of the preceding factors will definitely play their part in the ebb and flow of the markets. Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.
Governments must tackle sharp commodity price swings Volatility } The size of fluctuations in commodity prices has more than tripled since 2005 compared to the period from 1980 By Stephen Eisenhammer London / Reuters
overnments must co-operate to tackle increasingly sharp swings in prices of commodities such as food, metals and oil that threaten stability within and between countries, the Chatham House think tank said. “Trade is becoming a frontline for conflicts over resources — at a time when the global economy is more dependent than ever on trade in resources,” the London-based thinktank said in a report last month. “Higher prices and higher volatility have increased the stakes within and between countries,” the report, “Resources Futures” said. It recommended the formation of a group of the top 30 resource producers and consumers to work
together to iron out sharp price changes and reduce protectionism. “We believe that confronting hard price volatility up front is a major insurance policy for the global economy,” Bernice Lee, the lead author of the report, said. As only eight countries produce the majority of the world’s com-
modities and demand keeps rising, prices are very prone to fluctuations and this, rather than outright scarcity, is set to be the major difficulty, the think-tank said. The size of fluctuations in commodity prices has more than tripled since 2005 compared to the period from 1980, the report showed, based
“If you look at what the initial reasons were for people hitting the streets in North Africa during the Arab Spring a lot of it started off with people being angry about the price of bread.” Rob Bailey report author
on International Monetary Fund data. When this affects basic household goods there can be major consequences.
Threat to some governments
“If you look at what the initial reasons were for people hitting the streets in North Africa during the Arab Spring a lot of it started off with people being angry about the price of bread,” Rob Bailey, another of the report’s authors, told a briefing in London. “It’s almost an existential threat to some governments in some parts of the world, this issue of price volatility.” Unlike previous waves of volatility, the current period of fluctuating commodity prices is not driven by a fundamental crisis such as a world war or great depression, Bailey said.
“We don’t have that kind of obvious crucial factor this time. It appears to be an actual structural change in the way the global economy has organized itself, which has led to this and that’s why we think it’s likely to last into the medium term,” he said. The report also listed water scarcity, climate change and energy constraints as among problems for output of resources. For example, mining projects in Chile and Mongolia have recently been delayed due to energy and water shortages, potentially affecting world prices, Lee said. Nationalization of commodity companies, the confiscation of foreign-owned assets, and windfall profit taxes are also more likely in an era of fluctuating prices, the report said.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Rains also slowed harvest of the 2012 wheat crop BY HUGH BRONSTEIN BUENOS AIRES / REUTERS
Christmas rainstorms in Argentina further delayed soy and corn planting, keeping markets guessing about whether the grains powerhouse can produce enough this season to help bring high-flying global food prices down to earth. The South American country is the world’s No. 2 corn exporter after the United States and its No. 1 soyoil and soymeal supplier. But sowing in the central Pampas farm belt lags last season’s tempo by about 20 percentage points, Tomas Parenti, an agronomist with the Rosario grains exchange said Dec. 27. Up to 100 millimetres (3.9 inches) of rain fell late on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, forcing some growers once again to park their seeding machines lest they sink in the mud. Any more harsh rains at this point — following an unusual August-October wet spell that turned prime Argentine farmland into unplantable mush — will add to the problem, Parenti said. “There is excessive moisture in low-lying areas throughout the central farm belt,” Parenti said, referring to an area including parts of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Cordoba provinces. Argentina’s main grains port of Rosario, situated along the Parana River and offering access to the shipping lanes of the South Atlantic, has received almost twice its normal rainfall this year. The corn- and soy-growing town of General Villegas in northwest Buenos Aires received 50 to 100 mm of rain on Dec. 24 and 25, said Dante Romano, farm expert at the Liberty Foundation, a pro-business think tank in Rosario. “This aggravated the flooding and it will take a few days for planting to get back on track,” he said. “Several days of sun are on the way. But whatever heavy rain falls at this point could suspend seeding again. A lot of fields that would normally be seeded by this point in the season have not been touched yet,” Romano said Dec. 27. The rains have also slowed 2012-13 wheat harvesting, while Romano and other analysts start to adjust their 2012-13 soy and corn crop expectations to factor in waterlogged conditions.
Pope calls for more ethical markets PEACE MESSAGE Pontiff says food insecurity is a growing threat in some parts of the world BY PHILIP PULLELLA VATICAN CITY / REUTERS
ope Benedict has called for a new economic model and ethical regulations for markets, saying the global financial crisis was proof that capitalism does not protect the weakest members of society. In his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, which was marked on Jan. 1, Benedict also warned that food insecurity was a threat to peace in some parts of the world. The annual message, which traditionally centres on how to promote peace and how to reduce threats to peace, is sent to heads of state, government and institutions such as the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. In it the Pope said economic models that seek maximum profit and consumption and encourage competition at all costs had failed to look after the
basic needs of many and could sow social unrest. “It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” he said. The Pope said people, groups and institutions were needed to foster human creativity, to draw lessons from the crisis and to create a new economic model. The message had echoes of his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), in which he called for a world political authority to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies. “The creation of ethical structures for currency, financial and commercial markets is also fundamental and indispensable,” the Pope said. “These must be stabilized and better co-ordinated and controlled so as not to prove harmful to the very poor.”
Pope Benedict XVI says food insecurity is a growing threat. PHOTO: REUTERS/GIAMPIERO SPOSITO
He said food insecurity was becoming an ever-increasing threat to peace and social stability, calling the food crisis even greater than the financial crisis. Ensuring people have access to sufficient nutrition should be central to the international political agenda because of i n t e rrelated crises, sudden shifts in prices of basic food-
stuffs, and unethical practices, he said. There had been insufficient control of food security by governments and the international community and he called for more help for poor rural farmers. In a report in October, the United Nations food agencies said one out of every eight people in the world is chronically undernourished.
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Rains ruin Christmas for waterweary Argentine soy farmers
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
CANOLA AND PULSES FEATURED ON INDIAN TV Indian celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani of New Delhi Television (NDTV) will air 10 weekly English-language episodes about using Canadian food, using some of the country’s most scenic locations as a backdrop. Products featured include canola oil, pulses, barley, potatoes, fish and seafood, wild rice, hemp, honey, cheese, wine, icewine, and beer. “I have used canola oil and pulses from Canada in the past and quite love them. The quality and the taste are amazing,” said Chef Vicky. “The shows will be posted to the NDTV Good Times website (goodtimes.ndtv.com) and YouTube. PHOTO: NDTV
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CDC Bethune flax named Seed of the Year West RECOGNITION Award
notes the contribution of varieties from public breeding programs SEED OF THE YEAR RELEASE
Seed of the Year West has announced that CDC Bethune flax has been selected as the 2012-13 winner. CDC Bethune’s consistently high seed yield and reliable agronomic package made it the flax variety of choice throughout the past decade. The name was chosen to continue the theme of the naming University of Saskatchewan Crop Development Centre (CDC) flax varieties after significant Canadian First World War locations. Bethune is a town in northern France where Canadian troops were often sent for rest when they were pulled out of the front lines. “CDC Bethune can be found in the pedigree of many new flax lines currently in development,” said Dr. Helen Booker, flax breeder at the Crop Development Centre, and nominator of CDC Bethune. “No other flax variety has come close to this level of return to farmers. CDC Bethune has proven itself to be a highly valued and sustained variety for farmers.” Seed of the Year is designed to provide recognition to publicly developed varieties that have made a significant contribution to the economy, agriculture, and the Canadian public in general. Although the name Seed of the Year indicates the contribution in a particular year, the program is much broader reaching and considers total lifetime achievement and contribution. It is important to recognize the value of our public plant-breeding programs, as well as encourage the entry of new plant breeders to the industry. Part of the western award is a $4,000 scholarship, awarded to a student enrolled in a western Canadian university and currently completing a master’s degree or PhD in plant breeding or genetics. As the breeder responsible for CDC Bethune, Dr. Gord Rowland has been asked to review and select the scholarship award winner.
OPEN-MARKET INFORMATION SESSIONS
Intercropping produces more than the sum of the parts DOUBLING UP Growing peas and canola in the same field can boost yields by up to 60 per cent BY DANIEL WINTERS STAFF
ntercropping is showing promise as a way to squeeze two paycheques from the same field. “Why would you want to intercrop? Well, you get more grain per acre,” said Scott Chalmers, a diversification technician with the Westman Agricultural Diversification Organization (WADO) in Manitoba. The goal is to achieve 80 per cent yield for both crops seeded together in the same field — but added together, that means you get up to 60 per cent more production than if you divided the field in two and seeded each crop separately. Like any kind of farming, it requires Mother Nature’s co-operation. For example, in 2011 intercropped peas and canola hit that extra 60 per cent mark. But this year (2012), it was in the 12 to 15 per cent range — largely because poor weather and diseases such as aster yellows hit canola hard. “Peas had a fantastic year and were very competitive, which hurt the canola even more,” Chalmers said at a recent crop production meeting. “But we know that when we grow peas in this region quite often we have a terrible yield and the canola can make up for that.” One way to explain the benefits of intercrops is to look at the yield in terms of “land equivalency ratio.” Basically, this means calculating back from the check strips to determine how much land it would take to get the same amount of grain if the crops were grown separately. Compared to $200-per-acre
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Alberta government-sponsored open wheat and barley market information sessions will be held in January and February. Topics include risk management, grain quality and protein, research and new market opportunities and, producer perspectives. Dates and locations: Jan. 22, Lethbridge; Jan. 23, Bow Island; Jan. 24, Strathmore; Feb. 5, Spirit River; Feb. 7, Westlock; Feb. 13, Viking and Feb. 14, Lacombe. All meetings run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pre-register at least three days prior by calling 1-800-387-6030.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
returns with monoculture canola seeded with a 90-pound nitrogen input, the net returns from the peas and canola intercrop returned over $400 per acre. However, high prices meant straight peas would have paid more than $500 per acre (based on WADO’s average yields of 60 bushels per acre).
But Chalmers said one of the benefits of intercropping is that it comes with a built-in insurance policy that hedges against failure of one crop or the other. Farmers keen to try intercropping should seed a check strip nearby as a comparison to determine if the twofor-one crop actually yielded better results, he said. Plot trials showed seeding peas and canola mixed together in the same row yielded better results than other intercrop seeding variations, which included alternating paired rows of each crop or even triple rows. “We’re starting to see a trend that mixed rows are the best even though we’re fertilizing the rows for the canola,” said Chalmers. The yield bump could be explained by root leakage of excess nitrogen produced by the peas that is sucked up by the canola. He added that research at the University of Manitoba and European Union has shown that live, growing peas can “leak” nitrogen into the root zone and provide a benefit to nearby nonnitrogen-fixing plants. Downsides from intercropping include problems getting crop insurance, the extra headache of having to separate the two crops at harvest
Scott Chalmers, a WADO diversification specialist, presents results from this summer’s intercrop plots near Melita, Man. PHOTO: DANIEL WINTERS time, and the need to desiccate the crop pre-harvest to ensure consistent maturity. Intercropping peas and canola may also tempt farmers to tighten rotations, and that can speed up proliferation of diseases such as sclerotinia, he added. Also, the sheer volume of biomass generated with a pea-canola intercrop can be nerve-racking at harvest. “You’ll hear your combine kind of groan, but that’s just money in the bank,” said Chalmers. A different kind of intercropping has been developed by Iowa farmer Clay Mitchell, who has tried to capitalize on the notion that grain growers are actually harvesting sunlight via grain. Mitchell planted narrow strips of
corn in a north-south orientation interspersed by soybeans in the same field. The theory was that outside rows of a cornfield tend to yield much higher than the inside, more shaded areas because they get additional sunlight in the early morning and evening. Mitchell tested the theory by planting 12 rows and hand picking each. The outside four rows yielded 366 bushels to the acre compared to 275 bushels per acre for the eight inside rows. “It kind of gives him an edge effect in boosting his corn yields,” said Chalmers, adding Mitchell uses a controlled traffic GPS guidance system to alternate the areas seeded to corn and soybeans within each field.
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Barley exports strong so far FEED DEMAND A shortage of feed barley in Ukraine has caused many customers to look elsewhere BY PHIL FRANZ-WARKENTIN COMMODITY NEWS SERVICE CANADA
anadian barley exports are looking strong, as the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk appears to have brought more players to the table. As of Dec. 2, Canada had exported 651,700 tonnes of barley during the crop year to date, which was up by more than 200,000 tonnes from the level seen at the same point the previous year, according to Canadian Grain Commission data. Highlighting the international demand, Richardson International, Canada’s second-largest grain company, on Dec. 14 announced a 42,500-tonne shipment of feed barley to Japan. That sale followed previously reported business to Saudi Arabia and was cited by the company as a sign of the developing relationships
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with overseas customers under the new open market. “With tight global feed grain stocks presenting opportunities for growers, we can now make the most of those opportunities by being able to ship our customers’ grain directly to the marketplace in Japan,” said Terry James, Richardson’s vice-president of export marketing in a news release. Prior to Aug. 1, 2012 and the end of the CWB’s single desk any export business went through the CWB. “It doesn’t surprise me that our offshore sales of feed barley are up,” said Brian Otto, past president of the Western Barley Growers Association. He said the shortage of feed barley in Ukraine has caused many customers to look elsewhere. International prices were now arbitraging back to Western Canada very nicely, which didn’t happen in the past, said Otto. The transparent pricing made it easier for farmers to make sales decisions, he added. Solid demand for feed barley was helping keep malt prices underpinned as well, said Otto, noting maltsters have upped their prices in some cases in order to compete with the feed side.
“With tight global feed grain stocks presenting opportunities for growers, we can now make the most of those opportunities…” TERRY JAMES JRI
Looking ahead to the spring of 2013, barley will need to compete with every other crop in Western Canada, but Otto said an increase in acres was likely. Malt companies were already putting out attractive signals to bring in production, he said, while strength in the cattle sector should keep feed demand solid as well. Barley is also a good rotational crop and produces good net returns given its cheaper costs of production, he added.
BRIEF Dale Johnston new chair of FCC Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced the appointment of Ponoka County farmer Dale Johnston as the chair of Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) board of directors. Johnston has served on the board since 2011. He served as a member of Parliament from 1993 to 2006, and previously was a councillor and the reeve for the County of Ponoka and chairman of the County of Ponoka’s Board of Education from 1989 to 1992.
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
“Peak farmland” is here, crop area seen diminishing Offset } A combination of higher yields and declining growth
in meat demand will reduce need for more land by alister doyle oslo / reuters
he amount of land needed to grow crops worldwide is at a peak, and a geographical area more than twice the size of France will be able to return to its natural state by 2060 as a result of rising yields and slower population growth, a group of experts said Dec. 17. Their report, conflicting with United Nations studies that say more cropland will be needed in coming decades to avert hunger and price spikes as the world population rises above seven billion, said humanity had reached what it called “peak farmland.” More crops for use as biofuels and increased meat consumption in emerging economies such as China and India, demanding more cropland to feed livestock, would not offset a fall from the peak driven by improved yields, it calculated. If the report is accurate, the land freed up from crop farming would be some 10 per cent of what is currently in use — equivalent to 2.5 times the size of France, Europe’s biggest country bar Russia, or more than all the arable land now utilized in China. “We believe that humanity has reached peak farmland, and that a large, net global restoration of land to nature is ready to begin,” said Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University in New York. “Happily, the cause is not exhaustion of arable land, as many had feared, but rather moderation of population and tastes and ingenuity of farmers,” he wrote in a speech about the study he led in the journal Population and Development Review.
The report projected that almost 370 million acres could be restored to natural conditions such as forest by 2060. PHOTo: thinkstock The report projected that almost 370 million acres could be restored to natural conditions such as forest by 2060. That is also equivalent to 1.5 times the area of Egypt or 10 times the size of Iowa. It said the global arable land and permanent crop areas rose from 3.38 billion acres in 1961 to 3.78 billion acres in 2009. It projected a fall to 3.41 billion acres in 2060.
Yield boost needed
Gary Blumenthal, head of Washingtonbased agricultural consultancy World Perspectives, said the report’s conclusions were not surprising as technology already exists to dramatically boost crop production. But achieving “peak farmland” would depend on the technology being made available globally, he added. “If we could just get yields in the rest of the world at levels that they are in the
U.S. or Europe, we would have substantially more food,” Blumenthal said. “Just using existing farmland more efficiently, would substantially increase supplies. Yields are rising.” A June 2012 report by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), however, said that an extra net 173 million acres of land worldwide would have to be cultivated in 2050, compared with now. “Land and water resources are now much more stressed than in the past and are becoming scarcer,” it said, referring to factors such as soil degradation and salinization. Ausubel’s study admits to making many assumptions — rising crop yields, slowing population growth, a relatively slow rise in the use of crops to produce biofuels, moderate rises in meat consumption — that could all skew the outcome if not accurate. It also does not factor in any disrup-
tions from significant climate change that UN studies say could affect farm output with rising temperatures, less predictable rainfall, more floods or droughts, desertification and heat waves. Still, it points out that both China and India have already spared vast tracts of land in recent decades. In India, for instance, wheat farmers would now be using an extra 160 million acres — an area the size of France — if yields had stagnated at 1961 levels. China had similarly spared 296 million acres by the same benchmark. The authors said the idea of “peak farmland” was borrowed from the phrase “peak oil,” the possibility that world use of petroleum is at its maximum. The study also projected that world corn yields would rise at an annual rate of 1.7 per cent until 2060, against a 1.8 per cent annual gain from 1983 to 2011. By 2060, that would raise world corn yields to roughly the current U.S. average, it said. Biofuels, the study said, were a wild card in calculations. The study concluded that non-food crop production — for instance, not just sugar or corn used as fuel, but also the likes of cotton and tobacco — was likely to exceed growth in food supply until 2060. Changing diet was also a big uncertainty as the world population headed toward about 10 billion and simultaneously grappled with problems of obesity and malnourishment. But there were some encouraging signs, the report found. Meat consumption in China was rising only moderately, far below rates of economic growth. “Fortunately for the sparing of cropland,” it said of world trends, “meat consumption is rising only half as fast as affluence.”
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Another report says Canada’s food sector stuck in the doldrums IN A RUT Most Canadian firms in the food industry don’t put a priority on innovation or
developing new products BY ALEX BINKLEY
AF CONTRIBUTOR / OTTAWA
anadian food companies are falling behind competitors in other countries because they are failing to innovate, says a new report from the Conference Board of Canada. “When it comes to innovation, the Canadian food industry is content to compete for a bronze medal,” says Daniel Munro, a researcher with the board’s Centre for Food in Canada. “Canada’s food processors are not increasing — in fact, they are barely maintaining — global market share in the face of competition from established and new players.” The report comes on the heels of another recent gloomy assessment of the food-processing sector by the Canadian AgriFood Policy Institute. It warned that despite being an agriculture powerhouse, Canada is losing ground as a supplier of food products to the rest of the world and noted that the country imported $6.3 billion more
in food products and beverages than it exported in 2011. Back in 2004, the deficit in food products was $1 billion. The conference board survey found a reason for that — most Canadian firms in the food industry said they aren’t making it a priority to develop new products or find better ways of producing them. The food industry, one of the largest employers in Canada, invests less in research than other manufacturing sectors, said Munro. At the same time, governments have reduced agriculture research and development spending during the last two decades. “This combination of low investment in research and a low priority placed on innovation is contributing to Canada’s shrinking global presence,” Munro added. “Between 2000 and 2010, Canada’s share of global food and drink exports dropped from 4.2 per cent to 3.2 per cent before recovering in 2011, when the share rose to 3.9 per cent.” Food & Consumer Products of Canada, which represents some large food companies,
said the report “highlights the fact that there are some serious challenges facing our industry” but insisted food manufacturers are “working hard to bring new, innovative product options to store shelves, though they continue to face challenges.” Part of the problem is an outof-date regulatory system, said spokesman Adam Grachnik. This hampers attempts to find new markets for Canadian food products, and government also needs to provide “better support mechanisms for companies looking to develop new markets,” he said. “We do believe that Canada has the opportunity to be a world leader in the manufacturing of food, beverage and consumer products because we have some of the best agriculture land in the world, fresh water, an educated workforce and a stable economy,” said Grachnik. “What we need now is a continued and strong push by the federal government to build on the inroads that have begun.” The head of the Food Processors of Canada said better supB:10.25” port programs are needed, but
said the regulatory issue is more of a political matter. “The whole notion that Canada has a regulatory problem arises from American businesses that want to photocopy American regulations and work from those,” said Christopher Kyte. Munro identified a number of ways to increase sales of Canadian foods abroad, including focusing on niche, emerging and fast-growing markets; improving co-operation between producers, processors and retailers to reduce wastage and improve food quality and safety;
and boosting overseas market access through better trade agreements.
By 2050, there will be 9,000,000,000 hungry people and less farmland than there’s ever been. On August 19–25, 2013, the world’s youth will gather at the global 4-H Youth Ag-Summit to advance solutions to this growing crisis of agricultural sustainability.
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Farmers ante up for proposed producer-owned nitrogen fertilizer plant STRONG INTEREST Project head says plant’s production may be spoken for before it opens BY DANIEL WINTERS STAFF
s of late December Farmers of North America had raised more than $5 million in the past six weeks for a proposed farmer-owned nitrogen fertilizer plant in Western Canada. The sale of more than 5,000 “risk capital units” (worth $1,000 each) shows there is “overwhelming” support for the project, said Bob Friesen, spokesman for the FNA’s Fertilizer Limited Partnership. “In all my years of farm advocacy, I have never seen farmers embrace an issue as enthusiastically as this one,” said Friesen, former president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Humus — dead plants, but dead critters too
The electron micrograph shows bacteria (Hyphomicrobium sp.; Yellow) growing up partly on solid surfaces, floors and sediment grains. During growth, the cells die and deformed or fragmenting cell envelopes remain. Small-scale fragments of these shells (red) then set the microparticulate matrix in soils and sediments. PHOTO: BURKHARD SCHMIDT-BRÜCKEN, INSTITUTE OF
“They realize that input costs are a bigger impediment to profitability than market prices.” His group has put on 60 public town hall meetings in Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec, and has also set up the www.ProjectN. ca website. Farmers who fork over seed capital aimed at funding the project’s early planning stages are being offered a guarantee on 60 per cent of their investment up until the end of December, and those who “step up to the plate” will see their money converted into shares under preferential terms once the plan’s equity drive begins at some future point, said Friesen. “If something were to happen and the project didn’t go ahead, 60 per cent will be
returned to farmers in the form of FNA membership extension or money on account to use for other FNA programs,” Friesen said. Farmers who buy seed capital units also commit to future purchases of the plant’s production. With participation so high, Friesen said it may soon come to a point where all the production volume has been spoken for. Under the FLP proposal, farmer investors will be able to buy nitrogen fertilizer at wholesale prices, and also receive a yearend return in the form of investment dividends. “The reasons farmers have given for this staunch support are that they’re looking for a more permanent solution in
reducing fertilizer costs,” said Friesen. Once a third-party investor with expertise in nitrogen fertilizer production is brought on board, a site will be chosen ahead of plant construction that may begin by late 2016. Friesen said the site will have to be strategically located near a supply of natural gas, water, and rail lines. Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett and Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Norm Hall are both publicly supporting the project. “The chance for farmers to participate as an owner in the manufacturing of one of their primary input costs makes a lot of sense,” said Bonnett.
FNA spokesman Bob Friesen and other representatives have put on 60 public town hall meetings in Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec PHOTO: DANIEL WINTERS
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Most of us have always assumed that the organic material in soil comes from decomposing plant material. Not necessarily, says a group of German and Swedish researchers writing in the journal Biogeochemistry. In laboratory experiments confirmed by working on new soil that began to form on bare ground after retreat of a glacier in Switzerland, the researchers determined about 40 per cent of soil organic material came from decomposed bodies of bacteria and fungi. “The predominant share of the plant debris in fertile soil is thus rapidly processed by micro-organisms, e.g. bacteria, leading to more bacteria and, in turn, also to more cell fragments. This then results in more organic material in the soil,” says a release from the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. The scientists also found that the carbon in the cell walls of the dead organisms resist further degradation in the soil. “When the fragments of the bacterial cell walls dry out, they may lose their rubber-like properties and can harden like glass. If the soil subsequently becomes moist again, however, under certain circumstances they cannot be rewetted — an important prerequisite for their degradation by other bacteria.”
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Two Australian Shepherds mirror one another during snow play on their ranch near Millarville, Alta.
BRIEFS Olds College launches centennial history book A history prepared to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Olds College is now available. The 424page memoir walks readers through an impressive collection of the college’s history, founded on the solid and lasting base of admirable values that binds the community, and inspires its students, staff, faculty and alumni. The book can be purchased online at www. oldscollege.ca/onlinestore or at the college bookstore. Proceeds from the sales of the book will go towards the Centennial Entrepreneurial Legacy Fund. The surplus generated from the 2013 Centennial events, a goal of $2 million, will be used to fund entrepreneurial activities at Olds College for a projected 10 years following Centennial.
Sprouting, moisture tolerances changed The Canadian Grain Commission has increased the sprouting tolerances for Canada Western Amber durum. The tolerance for No. 1 CWAD as of Aug. 1, 2013 increases from .1 per cent to .2 per cent and for No. 2, from .2 per cent to .4 per cent. The moisture specifications for food barley will be lowered Aug. 1. from 14.8 per cent in both the covered and hulless barley. The new specifications are 13.5 per cent for covered food barley and 14 per cent for hulless.
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ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
ICE Canada plows ahead with grain contracts MINIMAL As of mid-December, there were only 83 positions in total in the wheat, durum and barley futures BY ROD NICKEL WINNIPEG/REUTERS
CE Futures Canada plans to continue offering its seldomtraded Canadian grain futures contracts, confident that a set of unusual, but temporary, market conditions prevented them from taking off this year. ICE Canada launched milling wheat , durum and barley contracts in January to capitalize on the Canadian government’s removal of Western Canada’s grain-marketing monopoly. But instead of seeing price volatility that would spur the trade to aggressively manage their risk,
wheat prices have been high and relatively steady, with fluid grain movement from farms through the commercial handling system — all in a year in which western farmers gained the ability to sell their grain to any buyer. “From a farmer’s eyes, what more do you want?” said Brad Vannan, president and chief operating officer of ICE Futures Canada, an arm of the Atlantabased IntercontinentalExchange Inc., in an interview with Reuters. “For people to see value in those tools, they have to perceive risk. “There are a lot of unusual things that are happening right now, none of which really dem-
ICE Canada CEO Brad Vannan says it would be premature to delist the contracts, which need another crop cycle to prove themselves. onstrate the value of the futures contracts that were built.” In Western Canada, high prices of wheat for livestock feed put a high floor price into the wheat market, while an abundance of high-protein wheat kept the ceiling low, Vannan said. Feedback from the commercial
grain trade is that the contracts are well structured, and delisting them would be premature, Vannan said. They need at least another full crop cycle, and maybe several, to prove themselves, he said. “All we need to do is attract more volume. The volumes aren’t great, which is disappointing, but at the
same time we’ve seen some small but significant milestones.” The new contracts have rolled through delivery months, with traders making deliveries and inter-month spread trades. Open interest on Dec. 13, however, was a paltry 83 positions in the three contracts combined, compared with about 155,000 in ICE Canada’s signature canola contract . CWB, the grain-marketing company formerly known as the wheat board, has not used the ICE wheat contracts yet, as it waits for liquidity to build, said Chris Palmer, a trader at CWB.
“There are a lot of unusual things that are happening right now, none of which really demonstrate the value of the futures contracts that were built.”
Why do crops keep coming back for more? Because they can.
BRAD VANNAN ICE
“It’s pretty hard to get new contracts going. The pie is only so big. It might be an issue of people going with what they know. The wheat market is pretty well represented with high-quality (grades) in Minneapolis and medium in Kansas and lower in Chicago. “They need to find a niche somewhere to drive volume.” Western Canada’s grain industry has historically used Minneapolis Grain Exchange’s hard red spring wheat contract to manage risk associated with spring wheat and durum production, but the ICE contracts offer the advantages of Canadian currency and delivery points. Last month, Milan’s Borsa Italiana launched Europe’s first durum futures market to cater to demand from the continent’s Italian-led pasta makers. ICE is hopeful of convincing end-users of wheat, durum and barley, particularly importers of the Canadian crops, to use the contracts, Vannan said. Earlier this year, IntercontinentalExchange Inc. launched grain contracts in the United States to compete with benchmarks traded on the Chicago Board of Trade. Those contracts have also struggled to attract liquidity. “It takes awhile for a market to take on its own personality,” Vannan said. “And I don’t think the Canadian market has done that yet because such unique conditions occurred this year.”
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
You can teach a young dog the trick of proper herding First step } Stock dog expert says getting a young border collie started right can mean the difference between heaven or hell by daniel winters Staff
order collie pups don’t come with an instruction booklet. That’s too bad, because how they are introduced to livestock handling early in life makes all the difference in the world, said Martin Penfold, a cattle rancher, shepherd, and videographer from Moosomin, Sask. Take the example of the farmer who was convinced that his twoyear-old border collie was “nuts” because even as a pup, it constantly harassed the cattle in corrals. One day the farmer decided to teach the dog a lesson it would never forget. “Now it won’t go in the corral at all,” the farmer told Penfold, adding that he may have been “a bit nasty.” “The fellow didn’t know what he was doing, and had already ruined the poor little dog,” said Penfold, who has worked with border collies for 40 years. The key to training stock dogs is to understand the breed’s natural tendencies and use them to get each pup off to a good start, Penfold said in a presentation at the recent Manitoba Ranchers’ Forum in Brandon.
Control their movement
The most common mistake made by inexperienced and uninformed
border collie owners is to allow the dog to roam freely about the yard like any other breed. Inevitably, this results in the development of annoying habits and misery for both the owner and their livestock. To prevent this, it’s necessary to keep the often manic, blackand-white dervishes in a run at all times, and only release them for exercise, training, or when there is work to do. Penfold, who has produced a series of DVDs on training border collies, said he starts his dogs off on a lead and teaches them the basic commands such as “lie down” — a fundamentally important lesson akin to teaching a horse to “whoa.” He does this by simply stepping on the lead, which forces the dog to lay on the ground. When it does this by voice alone, the lesson is complete. A teachable moment is never far away, added Penfold, owner of Rural Route Video, a video production company. When taking border collies out for exercise, he said he’s always on the lookout for good opportunities. When crossing a road, for example, he teaches them to lie down and wait, and cross only when he determines it is safe to do so. The next step requires an understanding of the border collie’s natural instinct to circle a herd or flock in order to gather the animals
Investing $300 to $400 on a top-notch, well-bred and well-started animal is worth every penny, says a stock dog expert. PHOTo: thinkstock together and drive them towards its owner. An owner should never interfere with that tendency, he said. Instead, they should use it as a training tool.
Penfold takes a dog out for its first livestock working session in an open area with a dozen dry cows or ewes. As the dog circles the animals, he introduces commands such as “away to me” and “come by,” which indicate whether he wants them to move clockwise or counterclockwise. The trainer’s job is to be patient as the dog learns on its own how to move the livestock, and provide “balance.” That means walking a
few steps in different directions to provide the dog with a natural target to move the herd towards. The verbal command, “there,” is used to indicate to the dog that it has reached a desired pivot point for “swinging in to the herd” to move it in a specific direction. “They get to understand it by continually doing it,” said Penfold. “It just gets filed away into the computer and eventually they get to understand what it means. In three 10-minute sessions, you’ve got a working dog.” “Gathering” towards the owner comes naturally to a dog, but “driving” — moving the flock or herd away from the owner — is much more difficult to master because
it is the opposite of its instinctive behaviour. Penfold said only 10 per cent of border collies have what it takes to be an excellent stock dog. There is a lot of variation in the breed, and the ability to listen and handle livestock is “100 per cent genetic,” he said. For people who are serious about using dogs, investing $300 to $400 on a top-notch, well-bred and well-started animal is worth every penny, he added. But owners still need to know how to handle the animal, he added. Penfold recalled how in the 1960s, legendary Scottish stock dog handler Tommy Wilson had amazed crowds of Londoners in Hyde Park with a demonstration of his skills. An earnest Daily Telegraph reporter asked him what was the hardest thing about working with dogs. “Aye, that would be selling a border collie to an Englishman, because the dog will always be smarter than the man,” the Scot replied. What the highland shepherd really meant, said Penfold, was that inexperienced, uninformed owners’ attempts to force a dog to conform to their vision of working livestock instead of capitalizing on the dog’s own instincts, is the true root of all training errors.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
That’s a wrap: Glencore now running Viterra New head } Viterra
COO Malecha to head Glencore’s North American ag ops
Garbage bug may help lower the cost of biofuel Microbe } Breaks down tougher material in straw and stover STAFF
A University of Illinois researcher out for a long-distance run may have found a solution to making cheaper biofuel. The conventional process for making ethanol today is the ageold one of distillation, which needs high-quality cellulose found in grains such as corn and wheat to work effectively. The microbes that produce ethanol do not work well on hemicellulose, the tougher material found in straw, stover and wood. They convert only the glucose in the cellulose, thus using less than half of the available plant material. “Here at (U of I) and other places in the biofuel world, people are trying to engineer microbes that can use both,” University of Illinois microbiologist Isaac Cann said in a release.
Cann and Rod Mackie, also a U of I microbiologist, have been doing research on an organism that they think could be used to solve this problem. Mackie, a long-distance runner, found the microbe in the garbage dump of a canning plant while running in Hoopeston, Ill., in 1993. He noticed that the ground was literally bubbling with microbial activity and took samples. He and his son Kevin, who was in high school at the time, isolated microbes from the samples. Among these was a bacterium that was later named Caldanaerobius polysaccharolyticus, which contains all of the proteins and enzymes needed to break down xylan, which is the most common hemicellulose. The researchers say the gene structure of the bacterium makes it amenable for transferring to another microbe that can degrade both cellulose and hemicellulose.
Potential source of wood- and straw-eating bacteria? PHOTo: Thinkstock
Viterra COO Fran Malecha is moving from Calgary to Regina. Staff
iterra’s chief operating officer will be Glencore International’s new point man in the North American grain market, as the company officially takes charge of Canada’s biggest grain handler. Glencore on Dec. 17 announced it has formally completed its $6.1-billion deal to buy the Regina-based grain firm. The takeover also “materially expands Glencore’s existing operations in Australia” and “reinforces Glencore’s position as one of the world’s leading commodity suppliers,” the company said in a release. In charge of Glencore’s North American operations will be Fran Malecha, who until now was Viterra’s chief operating officer, having come to the company in 2000 as its vice-president of grain merchandising and transportation. Malecha’s title with Glencore will be director, agricultural products, North America. While he has until now lived in Calgary, Glencore said he will be based in Regina, now the headquarters for Glencore’s North American agricultural products business. Malecha, who was raised on a mixed farm in Minnesota and has a degree in accounting, worked in the grain division of food-processing firm General Mills before coming to Viterra. On the other side of the equator, David Mattiske will be Glencore’s country manager, agricultural products, Australia and New Zealand, with responsibility for all agricultural operations in the two countries. Glencore said it expects “all integration projects” such as its deals to sell certain Canadian Viterra assets to Calgary’s Agrium and Winnipeg’s Richardson International, will be completed by the end of next year. Until the two deals are sealed, Glencore “will continue to support these assets.”
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Briefs Alberta Wheat Commission final call for nominations
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
India raises wheat export limit Support } Government raises price to reflect higher production costs By C.K. Nayak and Mayank Bhardwaj New Delhi / Reuters
Agri-News In preparation for its first annual general meeting Jan. 28, the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) is now seeking nominations for a wheat producer to serve as director-at-large to represent the interests and perspectives of wheat growers across the province. To be eligible, producers must grow wheat in one of the five AWC regions and be an AWC member. Call for nomination information and the official nomination form are available on the AWC website or by calling Elizabeth Tokariuk, office administrator at 403-345-6550. Completed nomination forms must be signed by at least three eligible producers and be accompanied by the written consent of the eligible producer who is being nominated. Nominations must be filed in writing on or before Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at the AWC office: Alberta Wheat Commission Rural Route 8-36-11 Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 4P4 Fax 403380-3889. The initial term of office for the directorat-large is three years. The election will take place at the AWC Annual General Meeting in Edmonton on Jan. 28.
ndia raised its 2013 wheat export limit by 500,000 tonnes from a year ago on hopes for a bumper harvest and said it would pay its farmers 5.1 per cent more for purchases of the grain, contrary to expectations, due to higher input costs. India, the world’s second-biggest wheat producer, has been exporting the grain since last year from government warehouses that are overflowing after successive bumper harvests, partly encouraged by generous support prices. India has allowed 2.5 million tonnes of wheat exports for 2013 to cut bulging stocks, the finance minister said last month, compared with two million tonnes in 2012. Wheat stocks were at a whopping 37.6 million tonnes on Dec. 1, more than three times a target of 11 million tonnes. “We have huge stocks. We have three times the buffer stock requirement and therefore we approved the export of additional 25 lakh (2.5 million) tonnes of wheat,” P. Chidambaram said.
India, which grows only one wheat crop in a year, produced a record 94 million tonnes of the grain in 2012. photo: ©thinkstock India, also one of the biggest consumers of wheat with a population of 1.2 billion, raised the price of wheat payable to farmers in 2013 to 1,350 rupees ($24.56) per 100 kg, up from 1,285 rupees this year. The purchase price, which is equivalent to $245.6 per tonne, is lower than the cur-
rent export price of between $310-$323 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis. “Indian wheat supplies will remain attractive at least for next three to four months,” said a Mumbai-based trader. India sets a price to buy grains from local farmers to protect them from distressed sales, help maintain stocks for emergencies and run various welfare programmes. The higher price will also protect farmers’ profits at a time when costs of inputs, such as fertilizer and diesel, are rising. The move to lift prices comes as a surprise as in November the government had said it would keep support prices unchanged given that it was grappling with bulging stocks and wanted to cut its high food subsidy bill. The government made record wheat purchases early this year and has been exporting since August through tenders by staterun trading companies to cut stocks. In the latest round of overseas wheat sales by state-run companies, MMTC Ltd received the highest bid at $322.5 per tonne from a global trading firm. India, which grows only one wheat crop in a year, produced a record 94 million tonnes of the grain in 2012. Farmers plant wheat from October and harvests begin in March.
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Feds fund studies on health benefits of pulses Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced funding of $617,023 through the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for seven projects to research the health and nutrition benefits of pulses. In a release, Pulse Canada said research conducted under this program will advance knowledge of the role pulses can play in preventing diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and will assist the Canadian pulse industry in its efforts toward securing health claims. Three provincial grower associations including the Alberta Pulse Growers, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, and Manitoba Pulse Growers Association also made substantial investments to support the partnership with AAFC. In addition to AIP funding, Pulse Canada and the Canadian Special Crops Association will receive up to $195,000 through the AgriMarketing program to introduce, grow and maintain the presence of Canadian pulses in existing international markets and increase the volume of exports.
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Albertafarmexpress.ca • January 7, 2013
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, advises ag lawyer Liability } When fires, cattle or herbicides jump fences, the property owner is usually responsible for whatever
escapes his or her property
by daniel winters staff
Posting someone ahead of the herd to warn of cattle on the road is one obvious precaution. PHOTo: Thinkstock
n the opinion of the courts, cattle belong on pasture, not on the road. So how does a rancher protect himself from legal liability when moving a herd from one part of his property to another via public roads? The key is having a program to minimize exposure to legal liability in case a speeding driver plows into your herd, says John Stewart, a Winnipeg-based agricultural lawyer. First, have a frank talk with your insurance agent to make them aware that you regularly engage in such a practice, and second, plan for the worst and hope for the best, he said.
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“Beyond that, it’s a case of trying to do a good job and making sure nothing happens. There’s very little else you can do,” Stewart said in a presentation on farm legal liability issues at the recent Ranchers Forum hosted by the Manitoba Forage Council in Brandon, Man. Obvious precautions should include posting someone ahead of the herd either on horseback, in a vehicle, or on foot to warn drivers that a herd is following behind. There’s no regulation that requires it, but having a pilot vehicle with flashing lights up front would provide a very strong defence in such cases. “Then if somebody does something stupid and drives into them, even though you are standing there waving your arms at them to slow down, your defence could be that it wasn’t the cattle that caused it, it was the guy who was driving when it was unsafe to do so,” said Stewart. In the world of legal eagles, there’s liability, and then there’s “strict” liability. The former is open to argument, but the latter describes cases where there’s “no defence.” An example of this is when a farmer starts a fire on his land and it escapes and destroys the neighbour’s property. “Does the neighbour care whether I lit the fire (or) my children, my employee or somebody we don’t know lit the fire?” said Stewart. Essentially, the owner of the land is strictly liable for whatever escapes his or her property, whether it was fire, a herbicide application, or a herd of cattle trampling a neighbour’s crops. “You can’t go back and say it wasn’t your fault because you didn’t do it,” he said. “As the owner of the asset, you are personally responsible.” Things get murky, however, when a disaster unleashes a chain reaction of adverse events that cross multiple property lines. For example, if an accidental fire spreads from one farm to the neighbour’s, and then from there on to another, is the first property owner liable for all three? “The great part about that question is that’s how we make a living,” said Stewart, prompting much laughter. If a fire broke out in a parking garage and jumped from car to car, the courts might be asked to pass judgment on whether the car owner was to blame, or the architect, who designed a structure that allowed cars to be parked so close together. Preserving evidence is key in such cases because each witness called to testify is likely to have a different version of events. For injured parties, it’s important to have a regularly updated descriptive inventory of all assets on the farm that includes estimated values and condition. When making a claim, be sure to keep receipts and records of all expenses incurred as a result, and ensure it is all compiled in a credible fashion so that the insurance company can use it as leverage for the ultimate goal of “getting a cheque” out of somebody for you. “Take pictures, take lots of pictures, take a video if you have to, but make sure you have some way to preserve all the evidence,” said Stewart.
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Little progress at Canada’s first TPP conference
NOWHERE TO HIDE
Competing agendas }
The points that will require risk-taking by political leaders were clarified by alex binkley
af contributor / ottawa
As the fog lifts on a cool morning near Brooks, Alberta a flock of pheasants find refuge in a tree. PHOTO: KEVIN LINK
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Canada’s first official participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks won’t be remembered for its accomplishments, say two observers. The latest round of talks in New Zealand, the 15th since 2009, laid bare the divisions among the 11 participating countries, said Canadian trade watchers Peter Clark and Gordon Campbell. “The best you could say is that the Auckland talks may have helped to clarify the points that will require risk-taking by the political leaders, if any substantial results are ever to be achieved,” Campbell wrote in an online publication. Key issues, “including pharmaceutical patents, state-owned enterprises, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, have been hoisted until the next round, which is three months off,” added Clark. While participants said the talks will, in the words of an official with the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, set “a precedent for all future trade deals in the AsiaPacific region,” Clark and Campbell were less optimistic. “Few of those involved believe that the latest target date for completion — October 2013 — has much hope of being realized, not for a deal of any significance,” wrote Campbell. “Plainly, the TPP could well end up suffering the same deadlocked fate as the Doha round, and largely for the same reasons. The slate of issues being driven by U.S. business lobbies are simply unacceptable in their current form to far too many participants, who are not being offered enough in return to justify the political cost.” The duo notes there are a number of competing agendas. For example, Malaysia wants to protect state-owned enterprises and financial services; Australia and New Zealand want market access to the U.S. for sugar, dairy and beef — something Mexico opposes; and there is “a deep rift over rules on apparel.” Washington’s unwillingness to include state subsidies is also a major stumbling block, they said. “The only way to reach an early conclusion will be to water down ambition to a much lower common denominator — or allow exclusions and differential treatment which will make the deal look much more like Swiss cheese than solid Canadian cheddar,” said Clark. Campbell noted Canada has kept its supply management system out of the negotiations, which means there’s little likelihood of additional dairy product shipments to North America. And considering the sanitary rules that both New Zealand and Australia use to protect their meat industries, there’s no pressure on Canada to make concessions on supply management, he added.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Pinpoint climate studies flag trouble for Mexican farmers Land suitable for coffee growing in parts of Central America is expected to shrivel by up to 80 per cent by 2050, a study says. PHOTo: thinkstock By David Alire Garcia Mexico City/Reuters
growing body of scientific evidence ranks Mexico and its southern neighbours near the top of the list of countries most vulnerable to global warming, and advances in microforecasting foresee a grim future in alarming detail. According to two new studies, a deadly combination of warmer weather and less rainfall in the years ahead will devastate yields of traditional crops like corn and beans, as well as the region’s market-critical coffee harvest. The ultra-local projections with shorter time horizons — as soon as the 2020s — include colourcoded maps that for the first time provide virtually farm-specific climate change predictions, an innovation scientists hope will convince local stakeholders to plan accordingly. That could mean switching to new seeds, shifting to hardier crops, or even abandoning longestablished family farms. The new research dissects the
region that gave birth to modern corn and today produces a fifth of the world’s high-end Arabica coffee beans, offering predictions at a level of detail of just one square kilometre, a leap in precision. “There’s a lot of potential here,” said Jerry Meehl, a climate change scientist who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize won by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore. “What you want at the end of the day is information people can use.” According to Meehl, head of climate and global dynamics at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, the latest downscaled studies for agriculture in Mexico and Central America are among the highest-resolution climate change projections anywhere in the world. The same countries are among the most threatened by climate change. Mexico stands to lose between a quarter and a third of its agricultural production by 2080, according to a study by William Cline of the Washington, D.C.-
Adaptation } Scientists say work needs to start on new
varieties and technologies
based Center for Global Development. That is more than any country besides India. “Now we have to focus on mitigation strategies that can make the impact we feel less painful,” said Francisco Mayorga just before he left office as Mexico’s agriculture minister on Dec. 1.
“In the past, there were changes in the weather. But not as big, not as drastic.” Reymundo Ruiz farmer
“The fundamental problem is that water needs will go up as the heat rises, but unfortunately these countries will be getting less water,” said Cline. As a result, land suitable for coffee growing in parts of Central America is expected to shrivel by up to 80 per cent by 2050, one of the microforecasts published this year said. To head off the slow-motion catastrophe, the region’s governments are investing millions of dollars in the development of better seeds and better-trained farmers, among other things. Mexico alone has spent $49 million since 2011, and has pledged another $138 million over the next decade. But as land begins to yield less, the region is bracing for tougher times.
Central America will see agricultural output shrink between 12 and 24 per cent, according to Cline, a loss cushioned by the region’s average rainfall of some six millimetres per day, compared with Mexico’s two millimetres per day.
“It was like a horror movie,” said corn farmer Reymundo Ruiz, speaking of a recent worm infestation that was followed by unexpected freezes and a prolonged drought. “In the past, there were changes in the weather,” said Ruiz, who tends a 20-acre farm in the central
Mexican state of Tlaxcala. “But not as big, not as drastic.” In the spring, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) published a study that forecasts the impact of climate change on coffee production for onesquare-kilometre grids in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. The micro-forecast stems from global models that reduce weather predictions to grids as small as 100 square kilometres, using supercomputers crunching mountains of oceanic and atmospheric data. The models are then statistically downscaled, incorporating local data to yield the 1one-square-kilometre projections. The CIAT study found that by 2050, rising average annual temperatures between 2 C to 2.5 C will cause local coffee farming to dip sharply. The countries surveyed will see on average between five to 10 per cent less rainfall each year. Warmer weather could cut coffee output in El Salvador by up to 81 per cent, by nearly 60 per cent in Nicaragua, and nearly half in Guatemala and Mexico, the CIAT report said.
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ractopamine and asked FDA to study the long-term effect of human consumption and the impacts on animals associated with ractopamine. “FDA’s approval for ractopamine relied primarily on safety studies conducted by the drugmaker, Elanco,” the groups said in a statement. “A review of available evidence collected from FDA and the European Food Safety Authority calls FDA’s approvals into question.” The groups said that ractopamine is fed to an estimated 60 to 80 per cent of U.S. pigs, and has resulted in more reports of sickened or dead pigs than any other livestock drug on the market. Ractopamine effects may include toxicity and other exposure risks, such as behavioral changes and cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, reproductive, and endocrine problems, the groups said. About 160 countries ban or restrict ractopamine, including all the nations of the European Union, China, Taiwan, and Russia, the groups said. FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said the agency had extensively evaluated ractopamine before approval and “continues to monitor the safety and effectiveness of animal drugs like ractopamine” after they receive FDA approval. “Twenty-six other countries have also approved ractopamine,” Burgess said. All of these countries... have concluded that food derived from animals treated with ractopamine is safe for humans to eat.”
BY CAREY GILLAM REUTERS
Ractopamine, marketed commercially as Paylean for swine and Optaflexx for cattle, is fed to animals to accelerate growth and make their meat leaner, but countries such as China have banned its use amid concerns the additive may be harmful to the animals and that traces of the drug could persist in meat products. In their petition to the FDA, the Center for Food Safety and the Animal Legal Defense Fund called for an immediate reduction in the allowable levels of
“A review of available evidence collected from FDA and the European Food Safety Authority calls FDA’s approvals into question.”
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
FARM MACHINERY Grain Handling
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FARM CHEMICAL SEED COMPLAINTS
Tired of shovelling out your bins, unhealthy dust and awkward augers? Walinga manufactures a complete line of grain vacs to suit your every need. With no filters to plug and less damage done to your product than an auger, you’re sure to find the right system to suit you. Call now for a free demonstration or trade in your old vac towards a new WALINGA AGRI-VACS Fergus, ON: (519) 787-8227 Carman, MB: (204) 745-2951 Davidson, SK: (306) 567-3031
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
ENGINES ASSORTED DEUTZ AND OTHER diesel engines. KMK Sales, (800)565-0500, Humboldt, SK.
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.
FARM MACHINERY Haying & Harvesting – Baling WANTED: JD 7810 c/w fel & 3pth; sp or pto bale wagon; JD or IHC end wheel drills. Small square baler. (877)330-4477
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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
FARM MACHINERY Tillage & Seeding – Tillage
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“ON FARM PICK UP”
Heated, Green, Damaged Buying all levels of damaged canola. Excellent Market Prices. Bonded, Insured.
CALL 1-866-388-6284 www.milliganbiotech.com
ACREAGE EQUIPMENT: CULTIVATORS, DISCS, Plows, Blades, Post pounders, Haying Equipment, Etc. (780)892-3092, Wabamun, Ab. We know that farming is enough of a gamble so if you want to sell it fast place your ad in the Alberta Farmer Express classifieds. It’s a Sure Thing. Call our toll-free number today. We have friendly staff ready to help. 1-888-413-3325.
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
FARM MACHINERY Combine – Accessories 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.
FARM MACHINERY Parts & Accessories BURNT 6195 WHITE, 920 Jiffy shredder, front fire damage, 135 Ezee on loader, w/grapple fork, fire damage (403)845-0414 Hit our readers where it counts… in the classifieds. Place your ad in the Alberta Farmer Express classifed section. 1-888-413-3325.
INC. ANTIQUES ANTIQUES Antique Equipment 1953 FARGO 3TON, ALMOST complete, open to offers. 1947 Chev Mapleleaf, 2Ton, nearly complete, located in Maple Creek, Sask. (403)722-2409, 403-845-0414
NEW WOBBLE BOXES for Macdon JD, NH, IH, headers. Made in Europe, factory quality. Get it direct from Western Canada’s sole distributor starting at $995. 1-800-667-4515. www.combineworld.com
AUCTION SALES Auctions Various
AUCTION SALES Auctions Various
AUCTION SERVICE LTD.
Gauge Wheel Solutions
ridgelandmanufacturing.ca Phone: 1-204-866-3558 FARM MACHINERY Tractors – John Deere JD 2007 7520 C/W 741 loader, bucket & grapple, smooth bucket, pallet fork, 3hyd outlets, elect. joystick, 60% tire tread, 4790/hrs, good shape, $87,000 (403)337-2162, Carstairs Farming is enough of a gamble, advertise in the Alberta Farmer Express classified section. It’s a sure thing. 1-888-413-3325.
FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various JD 3140, 3pth loader JD 4050 fwa, 3pth loader JD 4020, loader available JD 4440, loader available JD 4450, loader available JD 4560 FWA, 280 loader JD 6410 3pth, FWA, loader available JD 7810, FWA, 740 loader • JD 746 loader, new Cat Skidsteer 256C, 1000hrs 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
Big Tractor Parts, Inc. Geared For The Future
General Auction Services since 1960
STEIGER TRACTOR SPECIALIST
FARM, RANCH, REAL ESTATE & COMMERCIAL
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Phone: 403-464-0202 BUILDINGS
FARM MACHINERY Machinery Miscellaneous
LOW HRS; KOMATSU WA 320-1 3yd loader; (306)236-8023, Goodsoil, SK.
• Competitive Prices • Prompt Movement • Spring Thrashed
- Hydraulic Drive (roll or unroll wire) - Mounts to tractor draw bar, skidsteer or bobcat, front end loader, post driver, 3pt. hitch or deck truck (with receiver hitch & rear hydraulics) - Spool splits in half to remove full roll - Shut off/ Flow control valve determines speed - Works great for pulling out old wire (approx. 3--5 minutes to roll up 80 rod or 1/4 mile) The Level-Wind Wire Roller rolls wire evenly across the full width of the spool automatically as the wire is pulled in Ken Lendvay (403) 550-3313 Red Deer, AB email: email@example.com Web: www.levelwind.com
41-35FT FLEXICOIL 700 CHISEL plow, W/harrows, 43ft-47ft. Leon chisel plow w/harrows; 40ft crowfoot packer bar; IHC 12 bottom plow; JD336 Square baler; Case IH 8380 Haybine. (780)623-1008.
Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, etc. Green or Heated Canola/Flax
HEATED & GREEN CANOLA
Adapter available to unroll new barb wire off of wooden spool
Many Other 4WD’s Available!
“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: firstname.lastname@example.org
WE BUY DAMAGED GRAIN
Barb Wire & Electric High Tensile Wire Spooler
GOOD SELECTION OF CASE QUAD TRACKS 500-550 & 600’’S
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.
Round up the cash! Advertise your unwanted equipment in the Alberta Farmer Express classifieds.
MACHINERY LTD. Flexicoil 6 run seed treater ................................ $2,000 2006 51’ Flexicoil 5000 airdrill, 10”, 5.5” rubber packers ............................................. Call 2005 45’ Flexicoil 5000 Airdrill 10”, 4” rubber packers ................................................ Call 2006, 39’ Flexicoil 5000 airdrill 10”, 5.5 rubber packers, double chute, used 1 year, like new ............................... Call 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 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 diesel swather, 1700hrs, c/w 25’ table & U-2 PU reel, new drive tires, outback auto steer, always shedded, exc. cond. ............................................ $19,600 2360 JD swather, gas, c/w 18’ table & PU reel .... $7,500 30’ 8230 CIH PT swather, PU reel, nice shape,.. $10,000 25ft Hesston 1200 PT swather, pu reel, nice shape................................................ $7,500 21’ 4600 Prairie Star PT swather, UII pu reel, nice shape .............................................................$5000 16’ NH 2300 hay header & conditioner from NH 2450 swather, nice cond. ......................... $5,000 1372 MF 13’ swing arm discbine 4yrs, like new$20,000 MATR 10 wheel V-Hayrake, hyd. fold, as new .... $5,250 New Hawes fuel tank & Hyd. motor w/ring drives for P auger mover .................................... Call 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 7x1200 (39.97’) , 22HP Robin-Subaru eng.,w/Winter Kit, battery & fuel tank .......................$7,500 New E-Kay 7”, 8”, 9” Bin Sweeps .........................Call 8x1600(52.5’) Sakundiak auger c/w newer 30hp Koehler engine, gear box clutch, Hawes mover, spout, nice shape........................... $10,000 Flexicoil 10”x 50’ Grain auger ......................... $2,500 2002 7000HD Highline bale Processor, c/w twine cutter, always shedded exc. cond ........... $7,000 18.4”x30” tractor grip tires on rims .......................... Call 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 **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
FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various
Double LL Industries 780.905.8565 Nisku, Alberta
John Deere 2550
1986 Case-Ih 585,
1974 John Deere 2130
1979 John Deere 2130
Pioneer One Steel Buildings
Call toll free 1 (877) 525-2004 or see us online at www.pioneeronesteel.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
The Icynene Insulation System® • Sprayed foam insulation • Ideal for shops, barns or homes • Healthier, Quieter, More Energy Efficient®
FARM MACHINERY Irrigation Equipment 27 PAIRS OF 7IN hook and latch mainline, $150/per pair OBO; 40 doses Alltrace cattle bolus’s, (estimated worth $1200.) open to offers. (403)725-0002, Hayes, AB.
Specialty LIVESTOCK Livestock Equipment 5’X10’ PORTABLE CORRAL PANELS, 6 bar. New improved design. Storage Containers, 20’ & 40’ 1-866-517-8335, (403)540-4164, (403)226-1722 HAYBUSTER 1000 TUB GRINDER; Sundance tub grinder; Oswald 400 feed wagon; Morand Calving chute, Calf tipping squeeze, steel frame calf shelters, 3/bale feeder. (780)623-1008
PEDIGREED SEED PEDIGREED SEED Specialty – Various
Bioriginal Food & Science Corp., based in Saskatoon, are looking to contract Borage acres for the upcoming 2013 growing season.
Great proﬁt potential based on high yields, high prices and low input costs. Attractive oil premiums and free on-farm pick-up. Flexible contracting options available as well. For more information, please contact Shane at:
306-229-9976 (cell) 306-975-9271 (ofﬁce) email@example.com
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.
$28,418 When you go with steel you get the right deals!
WANTED: NH BALE WAGONS & retrievers, any condition. Farm Equipment Finding Service, P.O. Box 1363, Polson, MT 59860. (406)883-2118
(403) 540-7691 firstname.lastname@example.org
FARM MACHINERY Tractors – Various
40’ X 60’ X 16’ RIGID FRAME STEEL BUILDING
FARM MACHINERY Machinery Wanted
65 HP Diesel, 3PTH
Orchard Special, 52 Pto Hp, 60 Eng HP, 3PTH
70 HP Turbo Diesel, 3PTH
8,800 13,500 www.doublellindustries.com $
66 HP Diesel, 3PTH
FEED GRAIN WANTED! ALSO buying; Light, tough, or offgrade grains. “On Farm Pickup” Westcan Feed & Grain 1-877-250-5252
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.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
FEDERATION TIRE: 1100X12, 2000X20, used aircraft. Toll free 1-888-452-3850
CAREERS Oil Field
CAREERS Oil Field
CAREERS Employment Wanted
CAREERS Employment Wanted
Agricultural Collateral Inspection and Appraisals Ag background required. Training course available. visit www.amagappraisers.com or Call 800-488-7570 We know that farming is enough of a gamble so if you want to sell it fast place your ad in the Alberta Farmer Express classifieds. It’s a Sure Thing. Call our toll-free number today. We have friendly staff ready to help. 1-888-413-3325.
FARMING IS ENOUGH OF 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
Rural & Cultural Tours
Pacific Coastal Cruise ~ May 2013 Ukraine/Romania ~ May 2013 Austria/Switzerland ~ June 2013 Ireland ~ June 2013 Western Canada ~ June 2013 Alaska Land/Cruise ~ August 2013 Available Soon:
Advertise in the Alberta Farmer Express Classifieds, it’s a Sure Thing!
MORE SELECTION MORE OFTEN MORE OVER DEALS... 43,000 PIECES OF AG EQUIPMENT!
Find it fast at
Australia/New Zealand & South America 2014 *Tours may be tax Deductible
Select Holidays 1-800-661-4326 www.selectholidays.com
Watch your profits grow!
Advertise with AFe Classifieds Place your ad today by calling Maureen at
1-888-413-3325 You’ll be surprised what you can find in the Alberta Farmer Express Classifieds Call Maureen at 1-888-413-3325 Book your ad for 3 weeks & get 2 weeks free
news » livestock
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Competition Bureau clears takeovers Canada’s Competition Bureau has approved mergers of two troubled Prairie hog producers. The bureau said Dec. 17 it would let Toronto food firm Maple Leaf Foods buy hog producer Puratone Corp. for $42 million as well as allow Quebec meat packer Olymel to buy Big Sky Farms, Canada’s second-largest hog producer, out of receivership for $65.25 million. “In both investigations, the bureau concluded that the mergers were unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition,” it said in a statement.
Canada to test for racto Canadian pork shippers will comply with Russia’s new zero-tolerance requirement for the feed additive ractopamine in meat shipments, Canada Pork International said Dec. 19. Industry officials have said the ban is not science based, however, “Since the Russians are requiring those tests, it’s up to the companies to have the product tested and the results must be provided to CFIA so they can attach it to the certificates,” said CPI’s Jacques Pomerleau. “We need to comply with the Russian requirement. Russia is a very big market for Canada.”
Less cussing, more profit with calm cattle, says feedlot manager More profit } An extensive study found “calm” cattle add more to a feedlot’s bottom line
than their “wild” counterparts
Researchers are evaluating whether excitability traits can be bred out of cattle for improved safety and better meat quality. PHOTo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking by daniel winters staff / brandon, man..
verybody knows wild cattle are hard to handle, tough on handling facilities, and an all-around pain in the fanny. But who knew that they’re also a drain on a feedlot’s profits? “Easily excitable animals are hazardous not only to your safety, but also to workers and staff,” said Darrell Busby, manager of the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity Co-op in Lewis, Iowa at the recent Ranchers’ Forum organized by the Manitoba Forage Council. Older ranchers are especially vulnerable because they can’t react as fast as they think they can and end up “taking risks that they shouldn’t,” said Busby, who recently lost a close friend who was trampled by a bull. It’s estimated that disposition in cattle is 40 per cent inheritable, and the rest is due to man-
agement. Busby recommends a two-track program — handle cattle better and get rid of the bad actors in the cow herd. To gain a better understanding of the role that disposition plays in the feedlot, Busby and his colleagues ranked feeders entering and exiting the handling chute at their co-op, which handles as many as 10,000 head per year at its multiple locations. A cow which entered the chute slowly and calmly, and then jogged for 20 to 30 feet before slowing to a walk earned a ranking of one. “A two comes in a little quicker, swings his tail and throws his head a little bit,” said Busby. “A three comes in much quicker, kicks, and tries to climb the chute a little. When you release him, he sprints back to his friends.” A four hits the chute hard, bucks, thrashes around, and upon release may slip and fall even on a good, dry surface. He may bang into the fence and jump over other cattle to
get to the back of the pen where he stands, ears up, alert and watching. “With a five, you usually hear some bad words behind him as he comes in,” said Busby. “He comes in, he bucks, throws, and may bellow.” A six on the scale is “a killer.” It does all of the bad things and more, but when released he swings back around looking for people to hurt. From 2002 to 2004, they evaluated 13,530 six-weight cattle from 12 states and found that 72 per cent rated one or two. Another 23 per cent were deemed “restless” with a score of three or four, and six per cent were “aggressive.” Then they tied that to average daily gains and found docile is good for the pocketbook. Those animals gained an average of 3.17 pounds compared to 3.11 for the restless group and 2.91 pounds for aggressive cows. Mortality rates for the nastier set were higher, too, at 1.91 per cent compared to 1.09 per cent for the docile cattle.
Darrell Busby, manager of Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity Co-op in Lewis, Iowa, shared his experience in running a feedlot since 1982. PHOTo: Daniel Winters As for meat quality, the docile calves scored highest, with 72.4 per cent grading Choice compared to 58.1 per cent for the aggressive calves. Overall, based on 2004 prices, the docile animals returned $62 more per animal than their aggressive counterparts when considering meat quality and
grade, gains, death loss and treatment costs. Although the majority of their members’ cattle are from the Angus breed, the co-op’s data on 11,500 head found that Herefords scored best at an average of 1.297, followed by Simmentals at 1.589, and Angus at 1.618.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Public input being sought for new code of practice for equine sector Update } Code aims to provide practical guidelines for all aspects of horse, mule and donkey care from foaling to euthanasia by daniel winters staff
he stable doors have been thrown open for public comment on the draft code of practice for the care and handling of equines. Work on the document has been underway since early 2011, said Jack de Wit, a director on Equine Canada’s board and chair of the code development committee. “The next step is opening the draft code to input from the public,” de Wit said in a press release. “With the public’s help, we will have a code that is good for owners and the animals in their care.” “It is important that this code reflects the best practices available for the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules,” added Bettina Bobsien, a veterinarian and horse owner who represented the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the 18-person committee. Members include horse owners, caregivers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians and representatives from government and the National Farm Animal Care Council.
“With the public’s help we will have a code that is good for owners and the animals in their care.” Jack de Wit
The draft code covers horse, mule and donkey care from foaling to euthanasia, and includes everything from shelter, watering and feeding guidelines up to and including end-of-life decisions. Diagrams in the document provide visual aids for important considerations such as body condition scoring, as well as bullet placement for proper, pain-free euthanasia. The draft code can be viewed and submissions made at nfacc. ca/codes-of-practice/equine until Feb. 14, 2013. The goal is to issue the final code in June, 2013. The same site also has a report from a committee of equine scientists summarizing research on priority welfare topics for equines, which was used in drafting the code. (The process used to develop the code can be found at nfacc.ca/codesof-practice.) The equine code is one of eight codes of practice currently under revision as part of a multi-year effort by the National Farm Animal Care Council to set countrywide animal-care standards that are scientifically informed, practical and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care. The codes cover housing, feed and water, handling, euthanasia, transport and other important management practices.
Bovines have their own code, but horses, mules and donkeys are all included under the new guidelines. PHOTo: Wendy Dudley
JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Deepening the not-so-mighty Mississippi
A backhoe removes chunks of limestone from the navigation channel on the Mississippi River near Thebes, Illinois on December 17, 2012. Rain and snow late last month eased fears that barge navigation on the Mississippi would be halted altogether, but work continued to deepen the channel at Thebes. Declining water levels have forced barge tows of grain and other commodities to lighten loads or risk groundings. photo: REUTERS
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The Canadian Forage & Grassland Association (CFGA) has selected Duane McCartney as the recipient of the first-ever CFGA Leadership Award. McCartney worked in the agriculture industry for over 35 years, and as an employee of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Melfort Research Station in Saskatchewan he was instrumental in developing the first “Pasture to Plate” forage beef research system in Canada. McCartney is most recognized for his work on extended grazing winter feeding and management systems. The CFGA says that they have reduced the cost of wintering a beef cow by almost 50 per cent, representing anywhere from $70to $165-million in savings to cowcalf producers in Alberta alone. As a result of McCartney’s work and leadership, extended grazing systems have now become a common practice in use by most cow-calf producers in Canada. He extended his research findings at provincial livestock conferences, producer meetings all across Canada, international conferences, and in the farm press. The “300+ Days Grazing” phrase he coined is now used in publications throughout North America.
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Reuters The number of cattle in U.S. feedlots for fattening fell six per cent in November to the smallest in 10 years for the month, a government report said Dec. 21. The U.S. Department of Agriculture put supply of cattle in feedlots on Dec. 1 at 11.328 million head, or 94 per cent of the year-ago total. The six per cent fall from a year earlier resulted in the smallest onfeed number for the month since December 2002’s 10.946. USDA showed the number of cattle arriving at feedlots last month also down six per cent from November 2011 to 1.923 million head, falling for a sixth straight month. And, USDA said the number of cattle sold to packers, or marketings, in November was d own 1.0 per cent from a year earlier, to 1.761 million head versus expectations of a 0.2 per cent increase.
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Brazil threatens WTO action over BSE Atypical } Single case of one animal which never entered the food chain By Gus Trompiz Paris / Reuters
he world’s top beef exporter, Brazil, will give countries that curbed imports of its beef after a case of BSE until March to drop the measures, or it will file a complaint at the World Trade Organization, farm ministry officials said Dec. 22. Five countries have implemented full or partial bans on Brazilian beef imports since confirmation last month of a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a cow that died in 2010. Atypical BSE cases can occur spontaneously in elderly cattle and the 13-year-old animal in the Brazilian case never developed full-blown BSE, testing instead positive for a protein that is the causal agent of mad cow disease. Brazil had previously launched
a diplomatic offensive to fend off restrictions over the death of the cow in the southern state of Parana which was confirmed only this month by Brazilian authorities. But now Brazil has promised to take retaliatory action against countries rejecting its beef, saying there are no grounds for such action. “March is the deadline,” said Enio Marques Pereira, Secretary for Animal and Plant Health at Brazil’s farm ministry, after a meeting at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) headquarters. Officials stressed Brazil has kept its status as a country presenting negligible BSE risk under an OIE classification, and that OIE norms consider safe for consumption products like red meat and gelatin, even when BSE has been declared in a country. The Brazilian cow in question never entered the food chain.
“We’re rather reassured by the fact that Brazil reported this case.” Bernard Vallat OIE
Atypical BSE cases can occur spontaneously in elderly cattle. Countries restricting Brazilian beef include Egypt and Saudi Arabia which rank among Brazil’s top 10 beef buyers, but Marques said the economic impact so far was “very low,” noting Egypt was only banning meat from the region where the BSE case occurred. Saudi Arabia has suspended Brazilian beef outright.
The other countries which have imposed temporary bans are South Africa, Japan and China. The OIE welcomed the fact that Brazil had managed to detect the atypical case in a national herd of more than 200 million, though logistical problems at a laboratory delayed the analysis of the
animal’s tissue since its death in 2010. “We’re rather reassured by the fact that Brazil reported this case,” Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE, said. He stressed that an end to the use of cattle feed containing matter from ruminant animals had succeeded in nearly eradicating BSE after tens of thousands of cases in the 1980s and 1990s, mostly in Britain.
U.S. tightens livestock movement regs Traceability }
Proposals attacked by farmers and ranchers as burdensome Reuters
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Dec. 20 final rules meant to improve the ability to trace livestock across state lines when there are disease outbreaks. The regulations, which were laid out as proposals in August 2011, had their genesis in the handful of cases of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in the United States dating back to 2003. Under the final rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved across state lines would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. “The United States now has a flexible, effective animal disease traceability system for livestock moving interstate, without undue burdens for ranchers and U.S. livestock businesses,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. Animal disease traceability, or knowing where diseased and atrisk animals are located and where they have been, is seen by USDA as part of a safety net to ensure a rapid response to outbreaks of animal disease. The proposals have been attacked by farmers and ranchers as burdensome and too expensive. A coalition of more than a dozen organizations wrote to federal authorities this year, arguing that the rules would cost the U.S. cattle industry more than $1 billion a year. USDA received more than 1,600 comments on its proposals between Aug. 11 and Dec. 9, and said that the feedback resulted in several changes in its original proposals.
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Optimistic Danes hatch ambitious expansion plan PEET ON PIGS Danish pork sector is betting expansion will lead to a more modern, efficient and environmentally friendly hog industry
Danish producers and processors have announced a plan to produce two million more pigs per year. PHOTO: COURTESY OF DANISH AGRICULTURE AND FOOD COUNCIL
BY BERNIE PEET
n the face of it, there is not much to cheer about for European pig producers. Pork production is due to fall by two to five per cent in 2013 in the EU-27 countries, and many producers are closing their doors because of high feed costs and a requirement to eliminate sows stalls by Jan. 1, 2013. But despite a two per cent drop in production between 2011 and 2012, the Danish industry is optimistic about the future and is planning to create 500,000 more pig-finishing places. The goal is to ship another two million market hogs to farmer-owned processing plants, pigs that are currently exported as 30-kilogram feeder pigs to Germany. The ambitious plan was announced in October at the industry’s annual congress at Herning in Jutland. The event provides producers with technical and management information, but it’s also where industry leaders discuss strategy. In typical Danish co-operative tradition, the agreement is backed by all sectors of the pork industry, including the biggest food
industry trade union. Dubbed the Herning Declaration, its objective is to fill underutilized slaughter capacity and increase the level of exports to make it more competitive, especially in Asian markets. Due to strict welfare and environmental regulations, production of finishers has been falling in recent years and there has been a lack of interest to invest in new housing or to carry out renovation of old buildings. The new initiative will encourage producers to replace older, less efficient buildings with modern, high-tech, more environmentally friendly barns. Breeding farms exporting feeder pigs to Germany will be urged to build finisher barns and keep their production at home. The main challenge is a shortage of capital, as Danish banks have become increasingly unwilling to provide finance over the last five years to the struggling pork sector. Industry leaders have been calling for the government to introduce some sort of loan guarantee to facilitate borrowing, or a grant aid scheme. Producer-owned processor Danish Crown announced it will be providing financial support to
producers to help them increase the number of pigs they supply to their plants. The company will pay a rate of 0.15 euro per kilogram ($0.19) for five years on top of the normal price paid for market hogs, up to a maximum allowance of 8,000 finishers per producer. Expansion of the pork industry in a country which already has three times as many pigs as people, and which has some of the strictest environmental legislation in the world, will be a challenge. But as the Danes point out, the industry has made enormous strides in reducing the environmental impact of both production and processing. Evidence suggests it is half that recorded in 1985, when initial regulations were put in place to control nitrate pollution and emissions, so there is scope for expansion within the country’s “green” framework. “Modern genotypes are far more efficient — we can produce more meat with less of an environmental impact these days,” says Nicolaj Nørgaard, director of the Danish Pig Research Centre. “The advances in technology, building design, improved emission controls and our
increases to productivity have also made us more environmentally efficient.” The Herning Declaration will encourage environmentally sound, responsible production practice and reward those striving for efficiency, he said. The increased output will be aimed firmly at international markets rather than EU countries, according to Karsten Flemin, a market analyst with the Danish Agriculture & Food Council. Although pigmeat production in developing nations continues to rise significantly each year, the Danes believe there is huge potential for exports and will be for some time to come. “Pigmeat imports are increasing in key regions and places like China and Japan are seeing steady growth,” says Flemin. “Food safety is a major issue for these consumers and our pigmeat fulfils their requirements. There are significant opportunities for our products out there.” Another valuable outlet for Denmark is Russia. That country is aiming for self-sufficiency, but Flemin says disease problems, lack of investment, and increasing pressures on resources will curb expansion and create
opportunities for his country’s producers. Even so, other pigproducing nations, such as the U.S. and Brazil, could threaten this trade. The single-mindedness of the Danish industry in executing change is remarkable. While their plan is ambitious, especially the two-year time frame, I don’t doubt their ability to carry it out. Higher throughput in the plants, coupled with exports to the most lucrative markets, will improve processor profits, which in turn will increase the bonus that producers get paid. Danish Crown’s latest accounts, published in November, show that it made $299-million profit on a turnover of $9.7 billion. It announced producer bonuses of about $0.15 per kilo for market hogs and $0.14/kg for cull sows. Through their co-operative structure, and more importantly their co-operative philosophy, they will ensure that their new initiative is successful and that it delivers benefits to the industry as a whole, not just one sector. Bernie Peet is president of Pork Chain Consulting of Lacombe, Alberta, and editor of Western Hog Journal
ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA • JANUARY 7, 2013
Redwater — severity can vary by area BEEF 911 In areas where it is prevalent routine vaccinations at six-month
intervals may even be necessary for prevention BY ROY LEWIS, DVM
n talking with other veterinarians it is amazing to me how variable the prevalence of a specific disease can be between geographic areas. We always think of the huge difference between warm climates and colder, more temperate climates. Sometimes these differences can be as close as a one-hour drive in the same province. This becomes critical when cattle are transported over large distances such as moving to summer pastures. Producers should have a good working relationship with the veterinarians in both regions as certain large differences may exist with regards to animal health. I will use the big difference in the clostridial diseases, more specifically bacillary hemoglobinuria (redwater), as a way to illustrate this point. Redwater will most often cause a sudden death due to toxins produced by the bacteria and occurs primarily in the summer and autumn pasture seasons. It has been reported commonly in cattle and also is prevalent in gamefarmed animals such as bison and elk in the endemic areas. It is less common in sheep. Its spread is commonly by water systems through flooding or drainage.
Movement of contaminated hay has been incriminated and carrier animals such as coyotes may spread it from predating on carcasses killed by the disease. It is best to burn or bury the carcasses deep if redwater is suspected. Have your veterinarian perform an autopsy on sudden deaths or check an animal clinically if the urine is red. There are several diseases causing red urine which we must differentiate as each problem carries a different treatment regime. Clostridium hemolyticum is often the last fraction in the blackleg vaccines, which is added into a seven-way vaccine to make it an eight-way vaccine. In areas where it is prevalent routine vaccinations at six-month intervals may even be necessary for prevention. The toxin causes red blood cells to burst, which is why you get hemoglobin contained in the red blood cells showing up as a red-coloured urine, hence the name redwater. In some cases, if caught early, treatment in the form of large doses of penicillin may prove successful. Most often the only sign is sudden death and an autopsy will hopefully confirm what you are dealing with. Certain areas in Alberta, especially in west-central Alberta, can have a high incidence and on
infected farms death losses can vary from five to 20 per cent if susceptible cattle are not protected. These areas have large tracts where cattle are pastured from other areas. These cattle may not be protected if coming from areas where redwater is not a problem. We, in our area for instance (Westlock), have only seen very sporadic cases in the last several years although the incidence is increasing somewhat.
Our standard recommendation is to use a nine-way vaccine (covexin-plus) because we do see tetanus as well, especially with banding calves. Tetanus incidence will increase with the use of banders for castration or the use of dirty needles for vaccinating. Our protocol is to typically have all cattle vaccinated two times for feedlot animals and three times for replacement heifers by the time they are bred. This will give a very long immunity for most clostridial diseases. This, however, is not the case for redwater. In areas where redwater is prevalent, cattle, bison and elk must be vaccinated at least yearly, and if a real problem with specific herds twice yearly. Ideally the shot should be given two to three weeks before the maxi-
mum exposure occurs. Otherwise deaths will most definitely be experienced. This is a huge difference in protocols and if one is moving cattle great distances a very important fact to know. Some cattle are then vaccinated with seven-way vaccine and have absolutely zero protection against redwater. In other areas of the province we see every six-month vaccination with a vaccine protective against redwater necessary to maintain protection. If one reads the labels of these vaccines carefully, it is clearly stated, if a problem with redwater exists at least annual vaccination is recommended. It also states, if a problem exists, up to twice-yearly vaccination may be necessary. The good news is most producers can work this into their management schemes and process when other things are administered. If vaccines for the reproductive diseases are given in the spring, a multivalent clostridial vaccine containing hemolyticum can be administered at the same time. This is very cheap insurance as the clostridial vaccines are the cheapest vaccines on the market.
Another issue, which predisposes cattle to redwater, is liver flukes.
If liver flukes have been a problem in your area, as they currently are in specific regions of Manitoba, make sure their clostridium hemolyticum (redwater) vaccines are up to date. The liver flukes live in and damage the liver making the likelihood of contracting the disease that much greater. This is again an example of specific areas having a condition, which increases the likelihood of another disease increasing. There are numerous other examples where local geography, climate or soil type can lead to an increase in certain disease conditions, nutritional deficiencies, parasitic infestations or poisonous plants. It is absolutely imperative when moving cattle to new areas you are not familiar with to find out from the local practitioners or the producers what the common diseases or problems are. On many occasions you may be surprised at the vast differences which exist between geographic regions. Who better to ask than local people with this local knowledge? Roy Lewis is a large-animal veterinarian practising at the Westlock Veterinary Centre. His main interests are bovine reproduction and herd health.
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JANUARY 7, 2013 • ALBERTAFARMEXPRESS.CA
Analyst cuts Ukraine rapeseed forecast UkrAgroConsult agriculture consultancy on Sept. 21 revised down its forecast for Ukraine’s 2010 rapeseed harvest to 1.45 million tonnes from the previous outlook of 1.50 million. UkrAgroConsult said severe frosts in January-February and a record drought in July had destroyed about 46 per cent of the winter rapeseed crops sown to the 2010 harvest. The country harvested a total of 1.85 million tonnes of rapeseed in 2009. — Reuters
Planting delay in Brazil The later start of Brazil’s soybean planting in the centre-west could lead to lower yields than last season which saw near-perfect rains, but this was already expected by analysts who held to their forecasts for the 2010-11 output to be unchanged. The influence of La Niña is pushing the start of the rainy season in the country’s main soy-producing region in the centre-west back into October this year, and not in September as usual. “We don’t see a change in planted area because of the late rains,” said Andre Pessoa, director at Agroconsult analysts. — Reuters
A review of global weather stories of 2012 – Part I Early summer } Record-shattering temperatures in
March were one of the biggest stories of the year by daniel bezte
sually around this time Environment Canada comes out with its top weather stories in Canada for the past year. While I will do an article on this topic once it is released, I thought for now that I would take a look back at 2012 and summarize some of the major weather stories around the world. Instead of trying to figure out which weather story is No. 1, No. 2, etc., I figured I would simply summarize key global weather events month by month. So let’s begin by looking way back to last January. While it brought unusually warm weather to much of central and eastern North America, most of Europe and Russia experienced well-below-average
temperatures. In fact, the cold temperatures in Europe during January 2012 were estimated to have killed over 58 people due to exposure. These cold temperatures were not only confined to Europe and Russia, but they literally spilled over into Alaska, bringing what turned out to be one of the coldest Januarys on record for this region. According to the Fairbanks weather office, several locations in Alaska set all-time records for the coldest January on record including Nome, Galena, and Bettles. Kotzebue recorded its second-coldest January ever, while Fairbanks recorded its fifth-coldest January on record in 2012. Moving on to February, the top global weather story was a little difficult to determine. The cold weather continued across Europe and Alaska with 200
This map shows the dramatic departure from normal (°F) as a result of record cold in Alaska in January.
people estimated to have died across Europe from the cold. Over most of North America the big story was the lack of snow cover and warm temperatures. I think the major weather story for the month was the Category 3 tropical storm Giovanna that hit Madagascar on February 13, bringing five to 10 inches of rain along with wind speeds of 125130 m.p.h. Fortunately, while it still created a large amount of damage, the eye of this storm missed the more heavily populated areas resulting in only 10 reported deaths.
Summer in March
Who can forget last March? The biggest weather story worldwide last March was the “summer in March” heat wave that brought record-shattering temperatures to much of central and eastern North America for several weeks. After an extremely mild winter, temperatures ended up getting downright silly during the middle of the month as
an unusual blocking pattern developed over North America. High temperatures in southern Manitoba and parts of central Manitoba climbed into the upper teens by the middle of the month, with several locations recording temperatures in the low- to mid-20s on March 17 and 18, shattering the previous record highs. Even the lows were amazingly warm, with overnight lows on the 19th actually being higher in some locations than the previously recorded daytime highs! These unusual conditions were also occurring over Eastern Canada and the northeastern U.S. The summer-in-March temperatures in these regions resulted in fruit crops coming into early bloom, only to be later damaged by the killing frosts that followed later in the month. Billions of dollars’ worth of fruit crops were lost. That said, it was still an amazing month weather-wise for our part of the world. We’ll end up this article with a look at last April’s
weather. Like February, April didn’t really have any major or dramatic weather events anywhere around the world. Record-warm temperatures continued over North America, but this time they were confined mostly to the western U.S. and southwestern Canada. During April, at least 36 U.S. cities set or tied all-time record-high temperatures for the month. I think the biggest story was actually not really a weather event, but rather, the talk about the possibility of severe drought developing over much of central and eastern North America during the upcoming months due to the warm spring weather and lack of snow cover and early-season rains. Well, I’m nearly out of room, so I’ll continue this article in the upcoming issue(s) in January, but in the next issue we’ll do our usual look back at the previous month and then look ahead to see what the rest of the winter and early spring might have in store for us.