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Volume 38, Number 12 | June 4, 2012



Don’t use desiccants to hasten maturity When a pre-harvest dessication is necessary, keep in mind that it won’t speed up maturity BY ANGELA LOVELL


esiccants are designed to quickly dry down the crop, as well as any green weedy material growing in the crop that might otherwise hamper harvesting operations. “It’s a common misconception that herbicides put on prior to harvest, whether it’s a desiccant or something like glyphosate, will hasten maturity — which is not the case,” says Clark Brenzil, provincial weed specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. “In large part what you are doing is trying to address some of the harvest issues that occur when you have an indeterminate growth habit in a plant,” says Brenzil. “Typically that is going to be for a broadleaf crop, and pulse crops tend to be the most commonly desiccated.” In indeterminate plants, such as pulses, flowers are produced at the bottom and continue to be produced all the way up as the plant grows. This results in mature pods at the bottom of the plant and greener material at the top. “The idea with desiccation is to dry out that green material very quickly so that you can get in there and harvest

the mature pods down at the bottom,” says Brenzil. Crop desiccants such as Reglone are contact herbicides that interfere with photosynthesis. This causes the plants’ cells to break down and release the liquid contents, allowing plant material to dry down rapidly. Water droplets can often be seen pooling on the leaf surfaces shortly after application of desiccants.

GLYPHOSATE Although glyphosate products are not desiccants, it’s a common misconception that glyphosate applied prior to harvest will act as a desiccant. “There is often a blurring of the term,” says Brenzil. “Farmers will often say ‘we’re desiccating with glyphosate’ and that’s not the case. Glyphosate kills plants; then it’s left to Mother Nature to dry them down.” More correctly, says Brenzil, farmers use a pre-harvest application of glyphosate to control perennial weeds. “The glyphosate circulates in the plant and gets down to the roots and controls that perennial weed,” he says. “Pre-harvest is a particularly good time of year to achieve that, particularly the further north you go.”

Incorrect timing of pre-harvest herbicides can actually have a negative impact on maturity, says Brenzil. “The maturation process is more than just the dry-down of the plant. The first step in maturation is the filling of the seed and then once the seed is filled, it starts going through that drying down process,” he explains. Herbicides applied too early can interrupt the process of seed filling, resulting in yield loss. There is also a danger of herbicide residue ending up in the seed, a particular concern when using glyphosate, for which some European countries have set very low maximum residue limits in pulse and other crops. “Glyphosate is a systemic product, which means that once it enters the plant it will get into the circulation system and move through the plant to the same places that the sugars are going, which are called sinks,” says Brenzil. “The sink at the pre-harvest timing is the seed. So basically what you are doing by applying early is taking what is applied to the surface of the leaf and putting it right into the seed.” For this reason glyphosate should not be used as a pre-harvest application when growing pulse crops for seed the following


This 2010 lentil crop was desiccated with Reglone in 2010. The photo shows a complete dry-down, including the lentil stems. year, because of an increased risk of poor emergence.

DESICCANTS AND FROST Desiccants are contact herbicides which only have impact on the tissues they come into contact with. They do not move systemically through the plant. Another myth about pre-harvest treatments, whether desiccants or glyphosates, is that they can protect a crop from the damage caused by a frost, similar to swathing. “When a crop is swathed there is still some subsequent matura-

In This Issue

Publications Mail Agreement Number 40069240

tion of the seed as the swath dries, but with herbicides you are simply killing the crop prematurely,” says Brenzil. “Desiccation could be seen as the chemical equivalent to frost and performs roughly the same process except it is ice crystals that form within the cells that puncture membranes and release the cell contents to the air. It is doubtful that a crop treated with glyphosate will be dry enough when a predicted frost materializes to protect it at all. Producers are just throwing away their money


Wheat & Chaff ..................


Features ............................


Crop Advisor’s Casebook


Columns ........................... 13 Cattleman’s Corner .......... 19 Machinery & Shop ............ 39

Combine consultant says we’re setting them wrong T:10.25” SCOTT GARVEY PAGE 39




Keeping those old bins in use

FarmLife ............................ 47



Visit us online for Demonstration Strip Trial (DST) results at ItPaystoSpray or 1 888-283-6847 or contact your Bayer CropScience representative. Always read and follow label directions. Prosaro® is a registered trademark of Bayer. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada.




JUNE 4, 2012


“Elmo’s so crabby even his blood type in negative!”

This is our harvest issue. It’s hard for me to focus on harvest. We haven’t had one on our farm since 2010, and earlier this spring it seemed possible that it would be another year and a half before we needed the combine. After last year’s floods, by late April it was still pretty wet in southeast Saskatchewan, especially in fields that weren’t worked last year. My husband likes to seed early, but it was too wet. And then it rained. The first few rainy days were OK. After he got things ready to go, Brad had some paperwork to catch up on. But when the clouds set in on Day 3, worry set in. Neither of us wanted to say, “Is it last year all over again?” On Day 4, I accidentally said, “I hope this rain stops. I have 20 bucks tied up in garden seed I really want to get into the ground.” (Yes. I realize a jury of farmers would see this as fair grounds for divorce. Or homicide.)



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U.S. subscribers call 1-204-944-5568 or email: If you have story ideas, call us. You can write the article and we’d pay you, or we can write it. Phone Leeann Minogue at 306-861-2678 Fax to 204-944-5416 Email Write to Grainews, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, Man. R3H 0H1


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Some farmers claim that seeding is their favourite time of year. I see it as a short window of time with a ridiculously high level of stress. If you don’t get your crop seeded, the information in Grainews is more depressing than helpful. “Leaf disease? I just wish I could get leaf disease,” I imagine a flooded-out farmer saying, flipping through a March issue. Grain farmers don’t have it easy like weather forecasters or Grainews editors. Inaccurate forecasters can try again tomorrow at noon. If there’s a typo in Grainews, I have 17 more issues this year to try to get it right. (Thank goodness. See below.) But if it’s too wet to seed during the short seeding window, a farmer’s whole year is shot. With no crop in the ground, there’s nothing left to look forward to until next year. Everything a flooded-out farmer might want to do — cultivate, spray, move to the Sahara — costs money, money that won’t be offset by canola sales. Here at Grainews, we like to supply helpful “how-to” lists. I thought about calling an expert to ask for “10 ways to cope with a wet spring.” Then I thought again. You already know what kind of things these experts are going to tell you: phone a friend, get away from the farm, appreciate the extra time you have to spend with your family. Last year, we learned the hard way that it’s way easier to read that sort of list (or even write it) than it is to actually follow one. We are lucky. The sun came out and Brad got into the field on May 12. (See a photo on page 52 along with Richard Kamchen’s article on spring

Harvest issue seeding conditions.) We may not seed all the acres we’d like to (it’s raining right now, and the soybean seed is still in bags). But we’re in the game. Not being able to seed is just plain frustrating. And arguably, the hardest part of farming.

THREE WAYS TO MAKE WOMEN HAPPY I was far from the only woman picking up fertilizer at the Weyburn Inland Terminal this week. On the May long weekend, there were so many women around that one (male) farmer waiting in the office for his load laughed and said, “I feel like a minority here! Every farm wife is home this weekend and driving truck!” Instead of a list of ways to cope with rainy weather, I offer our male readers a list of three things NOT to do when you’re waiting to pick up fertilizer and spot a woman in line. 1. Don’t ask, “How’s your husband coming with seeding?” If she’s in the truck, she’s part of the seeding operation. Just say, “How’s seeding?” 2. Don’t hop in her truck and drive it under the spout without asking first. This happened to me a couple of years ago, when someone assumed I couldn’t manoeuvre under the fertilizer spout. While it’s always polite to ask a lady if she would like help, make sure we need it first. 3. Don’t assume she knows all the “rules.” Many women are busy with full-time jobs and kids, and only have time to do relaxing things like haul fertilizer once in a while. We might not know all the etiquette, like where you’re supposed to hang out while you’re waiting for your load, and which way the lineup works. This might seem like conflicting advice: “Don’t hop into my truck,” but “tell me where to stand.” How about this: Just treat us as competent farmers, working to get the job done.

FARM PROGRESS Last November the Trade Show News Network (TSNN) recognized the Western Canadian Farm Progress Show as Canada’s largest trade show. By TSNN’s measurements, last year’s Farm Progress show was 1,189,783 square feet. That’s amazing. (Or, as Lee Hart points out on page 26, “a lot of walking.”) Not only is the show big, it’s also long running. This is its 35th year. Over the years, lots of new technology has been unveiled at this show. This year will be no different. Versatile will introduce a brand new combine — the first new combine to be launched in Canada in more than a decade. Even if you’re not in the market for a new combine, the farm show can give you new ideas for your farm.

CORRECTION Our April 16 cover story was about micronutrients. In a paragraph about the difficulties of getting products registered, Grainews said: “Only one micronutrient product, Loveland’s Awaken ST, distributed in Canada by UAP, has received CFIA registration.” What we should have said was that UAP’s product is the only liquid micronutrient registered with the federal government. It is not the only micronutrient registered for seed application. Wolf Trax Inc.’s dry product, Protinus Seed Nutrition, was registered for use in Canada in March, 2010. Protinus is a seedapplied micronutrient fertilizer comprised of 40 per cent zinc and 10 per cent manganese for the promotion of early seedling growth. Jennifer Bailes, director of seed products and innovations for Wolf Trax Inc., says, “Protinus has been adopted by several large seed companies and farmers. For example, it was offered on proprietary canola hybrids from Viterra this past season. It’s also available to homeowners across Canada on C-I-L Golfgreen brand grass seed.” Protinus Seed Nutrition has been extensively tested on a wide variety of crops, including corn, cereals, canola, soybeans, grasses, vegetables, cotton and peanuts, across many different geographies. The product is currently sold in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Europe. Grainews regrets this error, and I apologize to freelancer Lisa Guenther, who included correct information in her original draft of this article.

AND MORE CORRECTIONS In our April 2 issue, we ran a story on sea buckthorn berries. The photo that ran with this story should have been credited to photographer Jenna-Lyn van Zyl. Then, on April 16, we ran an article profiling Linda Nielson. We led off by saying “Linda Nielson believes keeping an older line of equipment running is helping to keep her farm in the black.” We ended the story by misquoting Linda. Of course she didn’t say, “You need to go big to make money.” Linda likes working with older equipment, and her philosophy is: “You don’t need to go big to make money.” That article about Linda Nielson ran in the machinery section as part of our “Keep it going” series, where we profile farmers with the know-how and passion to run older farm equipment. If this describes you or someone you know, get in touch with me or our machinery editor, Scott Garvey (scott.garvey@ Your story (and pictures of your tractor) could be featured in Grainews. Leeann

JUNE 4, 2012 /


Wheat & Chaff Farm safety

Canola production

If it harms pests it can harm humans


eeds, insects and fungi — these pests can threaten yields and your bottom line. So when careful field monitoring uncovers a particularly unwelcome pest, most grain farmers reach for the appropriate pesticide and take aim. But eliminating the European corn borer, club root fungus or sowthistle shouldn’t come at the expense of your health and wellbeing. After all, what’s harmful to pests can also be harmful to humans. So make sure to wear protective equipment appropriate to the task. There are four ways that pesticides enter the body: absorption, inhalation, ingestion or injection. Moist areas of the body are particularly absorptive, especially the eyes, groin, armpits and ear canals. To protect the body, wear chemical-resistant coveralls with elastic cuffs and a hood. The legs of the cover-

alls should go over the top of footwear, not inside. Footwear should be impervious to chemicals. Runners or leather shoes are a no-no. They absorb chemical splashes, increasing the chemical exposure of the foot. Hands should be covered with unlined gloves resistant to the chemical being handled. They should also have long gauntlets to protect the arms from any inadvertent exposure, such as chemicals dripping up the arm. Chemicals can also be inhaled through the nose and mouth. To protect your airways, make sure your face is covered with a half-face chemical cartridge respirator and safety goggles or a splash shield. Once a pesticide has been applied, the mist, dust, powders or fumes don’t just disappear. They can linger on your body, clothes, or other objects. That’s why it is important to wash up thoroughly before using the washroom, touching



From the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association —

Wait to write off frostbitten canola


anola growers pondering their next steps after heavy frost need to wait a few days for some of the answers, the Canola Council of Canada suggests. Some canola-growing areas of southern Alberta logged temperatures as low as -8 C in early May, the council said, leaving farmers wondering whether the crop could survive, whether they need to reseed and when or if they should resume weed control. It may take a few days to accurately gauge a frost-touched crop’s survival rate, the council says. Where the risk of crop damage would be “minimal” through a light frost of 0 C to -2 C, it would take time for new leaves to start emerging from the growing point between the plant’s cotyledons. “If no growth occurs within

this time, the plant is likely dead,” the council says. “Also, if the stem is pinched off or the plant flops over, the plant will likely die. The pinchedoff or broken stem cannot provide nutrients to the growing point.” Check the whole crop the day after a frost and three to four days after a frost to assess the situation, the council recommended. If many plants have been killed, it takes a few days to determine the kill rate, which would inform a farmer’s decision on whether to reseed a field. “If one or two plants per square foot have survived and if that stand is fairly consistent throughout the field, the best choice is probably to leave it alone,” the council said. †

Seed packaging

Syngenta introduces new fungicide

yngenta Canada Inc. has added Fuse fungicide to its cereal portfolio for protection against one of the most serious cereal diseases, fusarium head blight (FHB) in spring wheat, winter wheat and durum, in time for the 2012 growing season. “Fusarium head blight continues to be a growing concern with cereal growers as it can affect quality and yield,” says Eric Phillips, asset lead, fungicides and insecticides, for Syngenta Canada Inc. “Growers know the importance of protecting the cereal crop throughout the season and particularly at its most critical time during the flag leaf growth stage. With Fuse now included as part of our cereal package, Syngenta has products which offer complete protection of cereal crops, from establishment through harvest.” Fuse is a Group 3 fungicide with the active ingredient tebuco-

food or utensils or handling anything that goes into the mouth. Even licking unwashed lips can result in the ingestion of harmful chemical into the digestive system. Lastly, watch out for sharp objects such as nails, wires or staples that may be contaminated. If one of these objects accidentally pierces the skin, you could be inadvertently injecting chemicals into your body. As you invest time in pest control, remember to plan to protect yourself and your workers. For more information on pesticide use and personal protective equipment, download the booklet called “Safe Handling & Use of Agricultural Chemicals and Biological Materials” from (search on the site for “safe handling” to find it quickly.) †

nazole. In addition to effectively managing fusarium head blight in wheat, Fuse also controls several leaf and rust diseases found in wheat, barley and oats. For optimal protection against Fusarium head blight, Fuse fungicide should be applied to the cereal crop at head emergence before the disease has a chance to take hold. Fusarium head blight is a fungal disease that can seriously damage cereal crops. Infection of the crop can result in a reduction in yield, grade and end-use quality, with additional losses occurring because of restricted crop rotations, limited variety selection, cost of control measures, as well as reduced marketing opportunities. It is important that farmers are familiar with this damaging disease and incorporate management practices to reduce FHB development in their crops. †

photo contest

GIVE US YOUR BEST SHOT John DeBona sent us this photo. He says, “This is the 2012 crop of owlettes located in our farm’s hayshed, south of Taber. The product that the owlettes are born on cannot be moved from the shed row until the babies are old enough to fly. The same pair of owls have mated and had their offspring in this shed for the last 10 years.” John, they’re adorable! Thank you for sharing this with Grainews readers. A cheque for $25 is on the way to you. Send your best shot to Please send only one or two photos at a time and include your name and address, the names of anyone in the photo, where the photo was taken and a bit about what was going on that day. A little writeup about your farm is welcome, too. Please ensure that images are of high resolution (1 MB is preferred), and if the image includes a person, we need to be able to see their face clearly. — Leeann

Soybeans by seed count


ioneer Hi-Bred plans to start selling its soybean products by seed count per unit instead of by weight, beginning this fall for planting in 2013. The DuPont-owned seed company, which until now had sold soybean seeds by the 50-pound (22.7-kilogram) unit, will move to a 140,000-seed-per-unit measure in both Canada and the U.S.

Soybean seeds can potentially vary in size, depending on genetics and growing conditions, which in turn could affect the number of seeds in a 50-pound unit, the company said. “With this change to selling by count, the number of seeds per unit will be consistent for Pioneer customers.” Pioneer’s Chatham, Ont.-based Canadian arm will still sell soybean

seed in “traditional” paper bags as well as its PROBOX units, jumbo bags and PROBulk systems. The Canadian arm’s president, Ian Grant, said the move to the seed count system comes “in direct response to our customers’ wants and needs, providing greater ease and accuracy of fieldby-field planting.” †


New chemfallow herbicide


ASF Canada has received registration to bring a new chemfallow and post-harvest herbicide to Western Canada. Distinct herbicide, tank-mixed with glyphosate, offers exceptional weed control and resistance management in post-harvest and chemfallow applications, with total follow crop flexibility. Distinct is a breakthrough in

control with a new mode of action. It is made up of a premix of Group 4 and Group 19 active ingredients, giving farmers superior control over perennial weeds that glyphosate alone can no longer control. The latest example on the prairies is glyphosate-resistant kochia. According to recent reports, it will be crucial for western Canadian farmers to manage kochia before it becomes widespread.

“In our trials, we found that Distinct provided sharper control of tough-to-control weeds including kochia, round-leaved mallow and dandelions, while maintaining maximum rotational freedom,” says Joel Johnson, brand manager for western herbicides at BASF Canada. “For a grower, that’s essential.” † BASF Canada Inc.,



JUNE 4, 2012


green growth as a harvest aid so you can get in there with the combine,” says Klewchuk. “You can get a false sense of success if you apply way too early, because the crop looks dry but you can’t see the maturity of the plant. If the seeds are not ready, applying a desiccant makes them look ready but then you start harvesting and it’s not quite going so well.” To decide when to apply a desiccant, farmers should look at the moisture content of the seed. A general rule of thumb is to desiccate when the seed has less than 30 per cent moisture. In the case of lentils and peas, if the bottom 10 to 30 per cent of the pods on the plant are brown and dry and rattle they are ready for desiccation. In peas, when the bottom pods rattle, meaning the seeds have become detached and the upper pods are turning yellow, the plant is ready for dry down. With beans, producers will often use pod colour and texture to determine timing for desiccation. Usually beans are mature when 80 to 90 per cent of the leaves have dropped off. To desiccate chickpeas, producers should wait until 80 per cent of the pods have turned brown. In general, says Klewchuk, with all pulse crops, the field should have a colour and maturity change prior to applying Reglone. “I view the crop in three tiers,” he says. “The bottom grouping of pods have changed colour with seeds detached and rattling. The middle tier has seed color change and seeds split with no juice. The grower has to determine, if he is going to wait for the top grouping of pods, when and if they will mature in time for harvest.” It’s important to achieve complete coverage of the crop to have a

DON’T USE DESICCANTS TO HASTEN MATURITY if they apply a day or two before the frost.”

WHEN TO APPLY Once the crop is ready, desiccation allows farmers to control the timing of harvest within a relatively short window. Deciding when to use desiccants will often depend upon the amount of variability in the field, says Brenzil, but farmers should time application for when they feel the majority of the crop will be ready. “You might have a situation where you had a dry spring and only 20 per cent of your seed came up and then a rain came two or three weeks later and the other 80 per cent of the seed came up,” says Brenzil. “In this case you really should be timing the desiccant for the later crop because if you desiccate earlier to try and time it for that minority of plants that were early, you will sacrifice yield and quality and there could potentially be residues in the seed that could cause the crop to be rejected altogether.” Robert Klewchuk, Syngenta’s technical lead for Western Canada suggests talking to your local agronomist for a second opinion about when your crop is ready for desiccation. Applying a desiccant too early can affect yield, harvestability and the development of immature seeds. “I always term Reglone as a ‘finisher’, so you are taking a plant that is very mature and applying the product to dry up the rest of the

more complete effect upon a greater number of the plant cells. Applying in the evening, or preferably after dark, will help to give more efficient coverage by reducing evaporation of the water volume, and giving better droplet spread on the surface when the plant surfaces are not hot from direct sunlight. “Most desiccation products are sun activated and the by products that they are producing are a result of the photosynthesis being interrupted. If you can put them on in

“Glyphosate kills plants. Then it’s left to Mother Nature to dry them down.” — Clark Brenzil

the evening when the light levels are low, it allows a certain amount of time for the droplets that have landed on the plant to get into the plant and diffuse out from the impact point before the sun comes up the next day and starts activating the product,” says Brenzil. Lots of water volume and using clean water that is free from particulates is also crucial to achieving good coverage of all the plant surfaces. Use the highest recommended water volumes for best results to ensure good penetration deep into the canopy. Farmers with large acreages to harvest should try to spray in stages and only enough at a time so that they know they will be able to fin-

ish harvest within the window of opportunity.

WHEN TO HARVEST Crops should be harvested as soon as they are ready after desiccation. The longer crops are left past the point when the desiccant has done its work, the more risk there is of pods on the bottom of the plant shattering during dry conditions. Or, crops can rot if wet weather occurs immediately afterwards or weeds can grow back from lateral buds that were not killed. The product label should carry a pre-harvest interval recommendation, but this should be viewed as a guideline as the actual time before the crop is completely ready to be harvested will vary depending on the product rate, how well it was applied and environmental conditions in the days following application. The recommended interval for a desiccant like Reglone might be four to 10 days, but Klewchuk says there are a number of factors which affect the final harvest date. “With Reglone, since it’s just applied to the outside and doesn’t enter the seeds, if your crop is dry the day after you sprayed it you can harvest it,” he says. “That’s not very likely, but the point is if your crop was almost ready to harvest and you sprayed it and you achieved good coverage and weather conditions stay dry, you could be the guy harvesting in two days. If you want to cut corners on water volumes and spray far too early or it rains for five days afterwards you could be the guy waiting 10 to 14 days or longer.” † Angela Lovell is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist living and working in Manitoba. Find her online at

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EXTENDED OUTLOOK FOR THE PRAIRIES Weather Forecast for the period of July 1 to July 28, 2012

Southern Alberta

Peace River Region July 1 - 7 Sunny overall, but with scattered thunderstorms, chance of heavy in places.

July 1 - 7 Often hot. Sunny overall, but with scattered thunderstorms, chance of heavy in places.

July 8 - 14 Mainly sunny aside from scattered heavier thunderstorms on a couple of occasions.

July 8 - 14 Mainly sunny aside from scattered heavier thunderstorms on a couple of occasions.

July 15 - 21 Passing heavy thunderstorms on hotter days, otherwise mainly sunny and seasonal conditions.

July 15 - 21 Passing heavy thunderstorms on hotter days, otherwise mainly sunny and seasonal conditions.

July 22 - 28 Mostly sunny and seasonal, but showers or thunderstorms occur on a couple of days.

July 22 - 28 Mostly sunny and seasonal, but showers or thunderstorms occur on a couple of days.

10 / 22 Grande Prairie 67.9 mms

8 / 23 Edmonton

8 / 22 Jasper

56.2 mms


7 / 22

51.2 mms


10 / 23 Calgary 69.9 mms

12 / 27 Medicine Hat cms Lethbridge 40.919mms 45.3 mms 26 cms 11 / 21

July 8 - 14 Often hot and sunny. Passing thunderstorms on a couple of occasions. July 15 - 21 Seasonal to hot. Sunshine prevails but heavy thunderstorms occur here and there.

July 15 - 21 Heavier thunderstorms occur here and there, otherwise sunny and often hot.

July 22 - 28 Mainly sunny. Seasonal with a couple of hotter, humid days and thunderstorms.

July 22 - 28 Sunshine and seasonal temperatures most days. Scattered thunderstorm activity.

12 / 24 North Battleford

87.9 mms

July 1 - 7 Mostly warm and sunny. Hotter more humid days bring heavier thunderstorms.

July 8 - 14 Sunny and occasionally hot. A couple of humid days bring heavy thunderstorms.


9 / 23 Red Deer


July 1 - 7 Seasonal to hot. Sunny aside from scattered thunderstorms, some possibly heavy.

Precipitation Forecast 94.3 mms

Forecasts should be 80% accurate, but expect variations by a day or two because of changeable speed of weather systems.


11 / 24 Prince Albert 72.1 mms

12 / 23 The Pas


70.2 mms

58.0 mms

12 / 25 Yorkton

12 / 25 Dauphin

13 / 24 12 / 26 64.2 mms 69.3 mms 12 / 27 Gimli Regina 11 / 25 Moose Jaw 58.9 mms 75.0 mms Swift 54.1 mms 14 / 26 12 / 26 Portage 13 / 26 Current 12 / 27 Brandon 76.9 mms Winnipeg 48.9 mms Weyburn 72.1 mms 72.0 mms 60.0 mms 13 / 27 Estevan Melita 11 / 27 61.1 mms

64.8 mms

Subscription prices: For Canadian farmers, $46.20 per year or $72.45 for 2 years (includes GST). Man. residents add 7% PST to above prices. U.S: $43.00 per year (U.S. Funds). Outside Canada & U.S.: $79 per year. ISSN 0229-8090. Call 1-800-665-0502 for subscriptions. Fax (204) 954-1422. Canadian Postmaster: Send address changes and undeliverable copies (covers only) to PO Box 9800, Winnipeg, Man. R3C 3K7. U.S. Postmaster: Send address changes and undeliverable copies (covers only) to 1666 Dublin Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3H 0H1. GRAINEWS is printed on recyclable paper with linseed oil-based inks. Published 18 times a year.

68.2 mms

12 / 25 Saskatoon

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Precipitation Outlook For July Much Above Normal Below Much above normal normal below normal normal

Temperatures are normals for July 15th averaged over 30 years. Precipitation (water equivalent) normals for July in mms. ©2012 WeatherTec Services Inc.

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The editors and journalists who write, contribute and provide opinions to Grainews and Farm Business Communications attempt to provide accurate and useful opinions, information and analysis. However, the editors, journalists and Grainews and Farm Business Communications, cannot and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this publication and the editors as well as Grainews and Farm Business Communications assume no responsibility for any actions or decisions taken by any reader for this publication based on any and all information provided.

JUNE 4, 2012 /


Features HARVEST

Deciding when to swath canola Agronomist Doug Moisey says if you really want to know whether or not your canola crop is ready, you’ll have to get out of your truck BY LISA GUENTHER


o gauge harvest readiness of canola crops, farmers need to get into the field and pop open seed pods, according to an agronomist. “Seed colour change is the only true measure of maturity. Pod colour, plant colour (aren’t reliable). There are varieties out there that will turn a lighter shade of green, get to almost a yellowish appearance, and the seed inside can be green,” says Doug Moisey, senior agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada. He adds that other varieties will have stems and pods that will be green even when they’ve reached 50 per cent seed colour change. Farmers can start checking for seed colour change 10 to 15 days after the crop flowers. Under normal conditions, the seed colour changes about 10 per cent every three days, so Moisey recommends checking crops regularly. Farmers can scout for late-season insects like bertha armyworms, lygus bugs and diamondback moths while checking seed colour. Moisey says farmers can start swathing as late as 60 per cent seed colour change, and warns against swathing too early. “At the end of the day, you may have to start on the early side, but when we’re talking early, it may be at 30 to 40 per cent seed colour change. But a lot of guys with a lot of acres sometimes will start at 10 or 20. And that can become a concern… Our research showed us that if we went in that earlier side, below 20 per cent seed colour change, we typically lost yield and had quality issues. What can happen, if you’ve got hot, dry conditions happening, you can typically lock in some green seed.”

a truck box and scan the crop for straw coloured shading. Though shading isn’t a reliable sign of maturity, Moisey pulls plants from different shaded areas. Sunlight can affect shading, so Moisey will look at a field from the east and west. Farmers can also set up a diagonal quad line across the field, picking out sites close to the line.

COLOUR INDICATORS Farmers should check eight to 10 plants from each location in the field, making sure they are picking plants representative of the surrounding area. Because the main stem is the first part to mature, Moisey starts with the

middle pod on the main stem. He looks for black dots or mottling on the seeds. He then looks at pods further down the main stem. If

The seed colour changes about 10 per cent every three days there’s colour from the middle of the main stem down, Moisey estimates the plant is at 40 to 50 per cent seed colour change. Banding around the middle of

the seed is a precursor to seed colour change, and is often visible in early or mid-August. Though banded seeds aren’t mature, colour change isn’t far off. After checking the main stem, Moisey pulls pods from the side branches and rolls the seeds between the thumb and finger. The seeds don’t need to be changing colour, but if they are firm, the area is likely ready to swath. If the seeds are watery or mushy, the plant isn’t ready. Thinner plant stands lead to more branching, which will affect how to gauge maturity. “And so the 60 per cent seed colour change on the main stem can be an indicator but you have to determine also where

your yield’s at. Is it on the main stem or is it on the side branches? And that’s how you form your plan of attack,” says Moisey. Moisey stresses that farmers can’t rely on seeding date or pod colour change when deciding when to swath. “The whole bottom line is, you have to get out of your truck,” Moisey says. The Canola Council has more information on harvesting, including a video on assessing seed colour change, at http:// † Lisa Guenther is a communications specialist at Livelong, Sask. Find her online at www.





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CHECKING YOUR FIELD Moisey suggests hopping on a quad and choosing 10 to 20 sites within the field, depending on the topography. Farmers should figure out where the yield is, and concentrate on those areas. “Is it the lowlands, is it the side slope, or is it the top of hills, depending on what your weather and moisture’s been like. As well, concentrate in the sample areas on what stage the majority of plants are at and what is the contribution to yield.” If topography isn’t an issue, Moisey likes to stand in the back of BY DAN PIRARO


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JUNE 4, 2012

Features HARVEST

Calculate harvest losses in dollars per hour Small losses can add up to a big expense. Learn how to calculate your harvest losses in dollars per hour BY LISA GUENTHER


arvest is hectic, and adding more items to the to-do list isn’t easy. But failing to check for leaks could add up to big harvest losses. “I talked to one fellow and he had said he was glad that he’d checked because he thought he was doing okay. He checked and he estimated there was probably somewhere around nine bushels an acre in canola that was coming out,” says Les Hill, manager of applied agricultural services at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Cutting losses to zero isn’t practical; farmers need to decide what loss levels are acceptable. Hill says while people usually think of harvest losses as percentages or bushels per acre, it’s probably easier to think of them in dollars per hour. “Five bushels an acre (of losses) at $10 a bushel, and you’re doing 15 acres an hour, you do the math on that and all of a sudden it adds up to a pretty big number,” says Hill. Hill suggests measuring losses first to see if there’s a problem. Looking at the residue on the field, or even the yield monitors, isn’t a reliable way to gauge losses. Hill recommends placing a pan

under the combine to measure losses. Though some farmers use scoop shovels, it’s hard to hold the shovel under the combine for the same amount of time during each measurement. The Canola Council of Canada outlines a simple sampling process in its enewsletter, Canola Watch. The straw chopper and chaff spreader should be disengaged first so all the straw and chaff drops into the pan. Farmers should put the pan in front of the chaff and straw discharge. Attaching a long handle to the pan makes this easier. The council also recommends holding the pan upside down until it’s in place, then flipping it over, to get a more accurate sample. Farmers then need to separate the seed from the straw and chaff. One way to do that is to pour the sample into a five-gallon pail, then blow out the chaff and straw using a hair dryer.

MEASURING LOSSES Once the seed is clean, it must be measured. The Canola Council recommends weighing it with a scale that measures in 0.1 gram increments. The Council suggests calculating the canola seed’s weight per square foot. If the collection pan’s area is one square foot, this


is already done. If the collection pan is two square feet, for example, divide the weight by two. Farmers then need to calculate the concentration factor for their combines by dividing the cut width by the discharge width. For example, if the combine cuts a 30 foot strip and discharges trash in a strip five feet wide, the concentration factor is six (30/five). From there, you can use the table to calculate your loss in pounds per acre, or just do the math: first, take the loss per square foot as collected in the pan (measured in grams), and divide it by the conversion factor. (For example, a loss of 4.2 grams per square foot divided by a conversion factor of six equals 0.7 grams per square foot of actual loss.) To see this in terms of pounds per acre, divide it by 0.010413 (in the example, 0.7 divided by 0.010413 equals almost 100 pounds per acre — a loss of two bushels of canola per acre.) Once the per acre loss is calculated, multiply it by the number of acres combined in an hour, and the price per bushel to see how much money you’re losing every hour. Hill suggests developing a routine to systematically check for holes and leaks. Canola can come out the hopper, the covers around the separator, the junction

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between the feeder house and the header and the feeder house and the combine. A fast or slow fan speed can also cause losses. Shoe loss is often a major culprit. “If something happens in the cleaning system where a portion of it quits working, a whole lot of grain can go over very easily and you just are not going to necessarily detect that. The problem is, it’s mixed in with all the chaff so it’s cushioned and it’s just not going to register,” says Hill. Other factors can play into harvest losses, too. When canola dries quickly in hot, dry weather, plant juices will dry into a sticky dust. “The chaff will stick together and stick onto things. And it doesn’t fluidize as well going through the cleaning system,” Hill explains.


Going too slow can lead to losses from underthreshing. Underthreshing signs include pulverized straw dropping through the sieves and cracked seed. The Council suggests widening the concave setting or lowering the cylinder speed. But Hill cautions against going too fast, too. He explains the separator and cleaner in combines with more horsepower are often the same as the internal components in models with fewer horses. “in all of the testing we’ve ever done, it tends to be the more you feed into it, the more you’re going to lose,” says Hill. † Lisa Guenther is a communications specialist at Livelong, Sask. Find her online at www.








JUNE 4, 2012 /


Features TILLAGE

Conservation tillage practices don’t always add up There are many benefits to zero and minimum tillage practices, but phosphorus loss can be a side effect BY MELANIE EPP


onser vation tillage, including zero and minimum tillage, reduces both soil erosion and the transportation of soil-bound nutrients to surface water. While one of the purposes of the practice is to minimize the negative impact of farming operations on the environment, recent studies have shown that even conservation tillage can have environmental trade-offs in some regions. “There’s a broad range of efforts in Manitoba to try to minimize tillage — in all of the Prairie provinces,” says University of Manitoba soil scientist Don Flaten, “But minimizing tillage means something different, depending on what area you are in.” In particular, Flaten points to southeastern Manitoba, where heavy and wet, clay soils leave farmers struggling to make zero tillage work as well as it does in drier areas with sandier soils. From an environmental standpoint, what works well in a wetter climate or on a hillier landscape is not necessarily going to improve the phosphorus situation in the Prairies. Flaten references recent stud-

ies, conducted as part of the Wa t e r s h e d E v a l u a t i o n o f Beneficial Management Practices program (WEBs). WEBs is an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) national initiative; its purpose is to evaluate the performance of best management practices (BMPs) on a small watershed scale. The program’s findings help researchers understand how management affects water and land. They also help producers farmers choose the most effective practices for their operation, given their location. “What we found in our experiments at the twin watersheds site near Miami, Manitoba, is that conservation tillage reduced the losses of sediment, or eroded soil losses. It also reduced the amount of nitrogen losses off of this watershed site,” says Flaten. “But it actually increased the loss of phosphorus.”

PHOSPHORUS LOSS Even before conservation tillage was introduced to the site, erosion wasn’t a major problem. Most of the runoff losses of phosphorus were lost in the dissolved form. What came as a surprise, though, was that after introducing conservation tillage to one

of the two watersheds, the total amount of phosphorus loss due to runoff was actually higher on the conservation tillage site than it was on the conventionally tilled site. “When we introduced conservation tillage — probably a com-

It takes only a very small amount of phosphorus to cause major problems in water quality bination of the crop residues on the surface themselves and some stratification with enrichment of phosphorus concentrations at the very surface of the soil — it increased the susceptibility of the conservation tillage watershed to more phosphorus losses,” says Flaten. Certainly, conservation tillage reduces phosphorus losses in humid environments with sloping landscapes where phosphorus loss

occurs as a result of rainfall runoff. In these environments, erosion can be an important source of phosphorus loading to surface water. Many farmers in Western Canada see the benefits of soil and water conservation practices as well — better crop yields, reduced fuel costs, as well as the overall improvement of farm efficiency — and know that they more than outweigh the small amount of phosphorus that is lost through a conservation tillage system. “It’s not a big deal as far as most farmers are concerned in the Prairies,” says Flaten. “There are so many other benefits to conservation tillage that they’re not going to be too concerned about this one problem that might be associated with it.” While the agronomic losses of phosphorus in both the conventionally tilled and the conservation tillage watershed sites are so small that most farmers wouldn’t notice, the environmental impact from those losses can be profound. It takes only a very small amount of phosphorus to cause major problems in water quality. “There are blue-green algae that fix nitrogen from the air just like a legume crop such as peas or alfalfa and all they need is a little bit of phosphorus in the water —

20 to 50 parts per billion — and they can flourish,” says Flaten. It’s for this reason that Flaten is careful to point out that a beneficial management practice that works well in one situation should not be used as a universal remedy. Instead, researchers suggest that farmers implement additional management strategies — ones that better fit their practice, but continue to further reduce the accumulation of phosphorus on or near the soil surface. “We need to move away from looking at beneficial management practices as cure-alls,” says Flaten. “There are so many other benefits to zero tillage. We don’t want to make that phosphorus issue overly important compared to the many other benefits we see from the practice.” “Even more universal,” he continues, “is the importance of keeping our eyes open for the pros and the cons, the benefits and the side effects of our beneficial management practices. Because it isn’t just conservation tillage that has these potential side effects — it’s almost everything we do in agriculture.” † Melanie Epp is a freelance writer who specializes in writing web copy for small businesses. She is based in Guelph, Ont., and can be found online at

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JUNE 4, 2012

Features STORAGE

Three steps to better grain storage Don’t roll the dice when it comes to grain storage. Lower your risk of spoilage with these three steps BY JIM BAGSHAW


osing a 1,500 bushel bin to spoilage would make any farmer seethe. But imagine losing a 10,000 bushel bin. The bigger the bin, the more important it is for farmers to ensure that the grain going into storage gets into optimal condition quickly and stays that way through the winter. “The No. 1 mistake growers make is not cooling the grain fast enough,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development at Stettler, Alta. “Or putting the grain in the bin then forgetting about it. After spending all that time and money producing a crop, improper storage is a needless risk.” Here are three tips for better grain storage.

1. KEEP IT COOL AND DRY Grain condition comes down to two factors: temperature and moisture content. The higher either of these are, the greater the risk of spoilage. Consequently, the faster the grain’s tempera-

ture and moisture level can be decreased, the better and longer it will store. “If you’re putting hot grain into a bin, it’s important to get good air circulation on it right away to get it cooled down and dry,” explains Brook. “Anything between 25 C and 32 C is considered ‘hot,’ so keep an eye on it, particularly when you are harvesting on warm days.” In terms of moisture, the higher the grain’s moisture content, the less time there is to get it dried down before spoilage occurs. Remember that grain considered “dry” in marketing terms may not be dry enough for bins; wheat at less than 14 percent moisture can still spoil if it is not cool enough. The threshold is even lower for oilseeds. Also important to note is that a grain lot’s average moisture content does not necessarily reflect actual moisture content throughout the bin. In other words, if a truckload of grain is between 10 per cent and 17 per cent moisture, grain at the higher end is at greater risk of spoilage. Again, says Brook, the key is to get that grain aerated and cooled to bring

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2. MONITOR Check bins throughout the winter to ensure the grain has not heated up and that moisPHOTO: LEEANN MINOGUE ture hasn’t formed. Both of these Setting up those new bins is just the beginning of a good storage plan. issues can be solved with aeration. “If the grain is dry, check- bags you put in the microwave There are even models that can ing it once a month should be and how they stay hot for so be retro-fitted into non-aerated, sufficient,” explains Brook. long. There’s a slow transfer of flat-bottomed bins. “Producers should be aware heat with grain, so if it’s minus On the monitoring side, OPI of the seasonal temperature and 10 in the middle of winter, that cables can be hung from the roof airflow changes that can occur in grain will probably still be cold of a bin. Sensors placed evenly bins,” he says. Generally speak- in July.” along the cables monitor tempering, if it’s cold outside, then cold ature and moisture throughout air moves down the inside walls the grain, and relay that informa3. TRY NEW TECHNOLOGY of the bin and warm air rises up tion to your computer. the middle, potentially creating a Checking grain condition used Clearly, bigger bins represent a high moisture zone at the top of to be as simple as sticking a probe bigger risk should something go the grain cone. If it’s warm out- into the grain to determine what wrong during storage — putting side, the reverse is true, and the was going on. That’s pretty much all your eggs in one basket, so moisture zone is at the bottom impossible with today’s huge, to speak. As Brook concludes: of the bin. multi-thousand-bushel bins, but “I like that Mark Twain quote: Once grain temperature is there are some new technologies ‘Put all your eggs in one basket below zero, however, it tends that can help. and watch that basket.’ That’s the to be fairly stable, even through The Rocket is an aeration sys- principle of grain storage, right the occasional winter warm spell. tem that is installed directly in there.” † “Grain is a great insulator,” says the bin and forces air right up Jim Bagshaw is the cereals product lead for TW 4 inch - 6 x 6.625 PM Page Brook. “Think of -_AGI those 12-05-04 wheat 1:34 through the1 entire grain cone. North America for Syngenta Canada Inc.

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the moisture content down and uniform throughout the bin. “If you don’t have aerated bins, you’ll have to physically turn the grain,” he says. This means auguring it out of the bin into a truck and back again. The movement releases heat and moisture and helps get the grain into a more stable condition for storage. When the grain is dry and cool enough, he says, seal the bin.



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JUNE 4, 2012 /


Features Farm management

Few choices for farm accounting software There is basically one big player in this software market By Patty Rosher


t has been decades since farmers started to put the lids on their shoeboxes and began using desktop computers to keep their books. Over the years, software developers have been busy coming up with applications for all kinds of tasks, but not so for farm accounting. Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) AgExpert Analyst software is still the only major made-in-Canada accounting package developed for farmers. Luckily it hits the mark for most farming operations. Glen Kroeker, the Director of FCC  Management  Software, explains, “AgExpert Analyst is tailor-made for farmers. So, for example, farmers do not have to set up a chart of accounts from scratch. They can choose from standard farm type accounts.” It also very conveniently prints out reports that meet AgriStability program requirements and enables farmers to manage farm-specific inventory information. It even has a payroll function, which is becoming a more common requirement for farmers with expanding operations. Kroeker says, “We’ve noted an increase in the usage of the payroll portion of the software. Now you’re seeing a shift away from paying in cash at the end of the season to having a more formal payroll.” AgExpert links with FCC’s other software offering, Field Manager PRO, which is a field management software program. “In Field Manager, farmers can bring over real information from their accounting software to improve field budgeting,” Kroeker explained.

is just too small. “To begin with, bookkeeping has to be specific to a country,” said Kroeker. “Then if you’re specializing in one industry, the market becomes even smaller.” There are about 200,000 farmers in Canada. According to Kroeker, software developers are looking for a customer base of more like two million users. Kroeker says that FCC got into the software business when it recognized that there was a gap in the market. It decided to support the AgExpert program as part of its mandate to provide management tools for farmers. “In general, farmers keeping good financial records tend to have a better financial business and their overall management practices are stronger,” said Kroeker.

Accounting 101 Although you don’t have to be an accountant to use a system like AgExpert, Ted Nibourg, business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s Ag-Info Centre, says that farmers still need to understand accounting principles. “If they don’t know accounting, farmers are going to be in a heap of trouble,” said Nibourg. “You have to know about debits and credits, and understand your chart of accounts. If you don’t, all the computer will do is allow you to do is make mistakes bigger and faster.” Derek Brewin, a professor with the Department of Agribusiness and  Agricultural  Economics, University of Manitoba, says one example of a potential danger area

is not properly accounting for a shift in the value of inventory over the year. “If I start the year with full bins and have empty bins at the end of the year, I may think I’ve had a good year, but my net worth might be lower,” Brewin explained. It is necessary to ensure that there has been proper accrual adjustments for both inputs and outputs. “If the farmer doesn’t understand that, then they end up misrepresenting the income they had over the year, and then the software is not that valuable,” said Brewin.

On the horizon Kroeker says FCC will be moving AgExpert to a multi-year database platform in November. “What that

will mean for farmers is that it will simplify the year end process and make it seamless to do a cut off and start the new fiscal year.” FCC is also working to deliver stronger management reports, including financial ratios and average selling price. This will make it helpful to improve grain marketing skills, even more important as farmers enter a new wheat marketing era. “Farmers need to know how much money the crop actually made for them,” said Kroeker. AgExpert Analyst costs $399 with a one-year service plan. Farmers can sign up for an annual service plan at $249 per year, which includes any upgrades and unlimited support. † Patty Rosher is an economist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Is that all there is? Many farmers use standard accounting packages such as QuickBooks, Quicken and Simply Accounting and adapt them to a farming situation, and there are still many farmers that use a combination of paper and spreadsheets. Kroeker does not have official numbers on market share, but based on word of mouth, guesses that the most popular alternative to the AgExpert option is a paperbased system. And, as is the way of farmers, there are also home-made solutions. Joe Warwick, former owner of Warwick Computer Consulting in Glaslyn, Saskatchewan, developed his own system when he was farming. “Many farmers invented their own database-driven programs back in the day,” explained Warwick. That kind of innovation is what was behind Farmtool for Windows available from Wil-Tech Software Ltd. in Glaslyn, Saskatchewan. According to Warwick, “Farmtool does just what you want it to do. It’s a single entry farm tool that works exceptionally well. It is exactly what most small farmers need.” There are very few alternatives like Farmtool on the market. There are a number of U.S. farm accounting packages, but they do not accommodate GST, let alone Canadian farm programs like AgriStability. The problem is that the market

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JUNE 4, 2012

Features Farm finance

Minimum Price Contract or Put Option? The potential for an oversized canola crop has many farmers considering pricing options before harvest By Neil Blue


anola prices have risen dramatically since the middle of January. Old crop canola futures rallied almost $120/tonne from their January low to the April high. November 2012 canola futures rallied from a January low of $492/ tonne to a high of $592/tonne on April 10. Strong canola exports, record domestic use to meet increasing demand for canola oil, along with the sharp rally in U.S. soybean prices all supported the canola market. How does a canola producer deal with these prices? First, for all but poor yields, these prices are very profitable. Having established that, what are the supplydemand factors? 2012 seeding prospects are for record canola acres here in Canada. That is reflected in discounted new crop futures and weaker basis levels after July. If a huge canola crop is produced in Canada this year,

prices may drop substantially into harvest-time. Some farmers were pricing “new” crop canola during the rally. However, many canola growers are reluctant to contract physical crop delivery this far ahead of harvest. There is production uncertainty on both volume and grade, with the concern of possibly having to “buy out” of a priced canola contract. Considering the potential tightening supply of U.S. soybeans by next winter, some farmers also fear missing out on higher prices later.

Minimum price contract For those farmers just concerned about locking in too low a price, a minimum price contract with a buyer can offer advantages to a flat price contract. Grain buyers may offer these contracts under different names and with company variations. A farmer could sign a contract for a certain quantity of

canola to be delivered at a later date. A price minimum would be part of the contract. If a higher price becomes available, the farmer can lock in that higher price anytime up until a certain date, typically a date late in the month prior to the relevant month of futures. The basis (cash price relative to futures price) on this minimum price contract is usually set at the time of signing. Setting the basis could be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on what basis levels do. On any given day, the price on the minimum price contract will be less than that for a deferred delivery contract, because the minimum price contract leaves farmers with a price upside.

Put options Put options offer a similar way to lock in a minimum price, although using these may require you to establish your own futures account. An option is a subset of the futures marketT:10.25” and is specific to

a certain commodity and futures month for that commodity. Purchasing a put option would give you the right, but not the obligation, to enter into a “sell” futures position at a predefined price (the strike price) anytime before that option’s expiry date, regardless of what the futures price does. Buying a put option locks in a minimum futures price for a cost (the premium). Since buying a put option is done with a commodity futures broker, the basis is not set with this contract, and there is no commitment for a physical delivery. Here is an example of a put option purchase using numbers from the ICE Canada canola market on April 10, 2012. November canola futures = $590/tonne November $580 Put option premium = $22/tonne Purchasing a November 580 Put option for $22/tonne (plus about $1/tonne commission) would give you the right to cre-

ate a sell futures position in your account at a price of $580/tonne anytime up to expiry of that option on October 26. It is this right that gives the option a value. However, you do not have to exercise the option (i.e., create the sell futures position). It is generally better to just trade out of (sell) the option as an option rather than exercise it, and you can do that any trading day after buying it. The components to an option value will be explained in a future article. The premium (value) of an option is subject to change by open market trading whenever the futures market is trading. Canola option strike prices are $5/tonne apart, so there are many strikes prices available. On days when a particular option strike price does not trade, the commodity exchange uses a computer program to estimate the daily settlement value of that option.

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Features Farm Marketing » CONTINUED FROM Previous PAGE The purchase of a 580 put option at a cost of $22/tonne (plus commission) can be interpreted as locking in a minimum futures price. If the entire premium (cost) was eventually lost (for illustrative purposes), buying that option can be considered as locking in a minimum futures price of $557/tonne (the $580 strike price minus the $22/ tonne premium minus $1/tonne commission). If the futures price falls from the April 10, 2012 level of $590/ tonne, the premium of the $580 Put option will tend to rise. Alternatively, if the futures price rises, the value of the $580 Put option will tend to fall. But, if the futures price rises, it implies that the value of physical canola is also rising (subject to basis). If the option is kept to expiry on October 26, and if then the option has intrinsic value (i.e., November futures below $580/tonne), the 580 put option would be automatically exercised, thus creating a profitable futures “sell” position (not considering the original cost of the option). That sell futures position would then have to be offset at some time before the November futures expires. Again — buying a put option alone leaves the basis portion of price open. That can be a good thing if basis levels for the expected delivery period are considered too weak, or if one does not want at the time to commit to a physical sale to a buyer. The put option is attractive to farmers who are concerned about committing to a delivery with the possibility of a crop shortfall (on quantity or quality), to farmers who have already forward contracted with physical buyers to their comfort level or to those producers who wish to retain the ability to take advantage of possible higher prices. †

Using the new CWB While not all farmers plan to use the CWB once it no longer has a monopoly, there may be some pricing benefits By Daniel Holman


he new CWB has the potential to fill a very important niche in a farmer’s wheat marketing toolbox. If used properly, the CWB will be able to effectively play the role of a farmer’s personal hedge account. Uncertain basis levels and quality discounts allow a wheat marketer to make the case that if a farmer wants to forward sell grain, selling futures is currently the best option.

In the past there have been two ways to accomplish this strategy: (1) The first way to forward sell futures is to open a futures account and manage your own position and margin calls. This strategy is limited in popularity because most farmers are not set up financially and psychologically to get into the market. However, this strategy offers the most flexibility, because it allows the opportunity to deliver the physical grain to the company with the best cash price for the grade grown, while

still protecting futures prices through the futures market. (2) The second way is to sign a hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contract with a grain company which allows you to sell futures and then lock in the basis and grade discounts at a later date. This strategy takes the hedge out of your own account and passes margin calls onto the grain company. Although this hedge will allow for basis changes, it will not allow you to change where your grain is going to be delivered. The new CWB offers a hybrid

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approach  that  combines these first two options into a “best of both worlds” option. A farmer could take a HTA contract with the CWB.This HTA contract allows delivery point flexibility, but leaves the financial complications of having a futures account to someone else. Editor’s note: Daniel Holman originally sent this piece out to clients at the North West Terminal at Unity, Saskatchewan. It is reprinted here with permission. † Daniel Holman is a farmer and a grain merchandiser with North West Terminal at Unity, Sask.

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JUNE 4, 2012




wo weeks after Jack — a Manitoba farmer with a 4,500-acre grain operation in the Killarney area — noticed his neighbour spraying the volunteer winter wheat crop adjacent to his own crop, Jack called me to investigate what he thought were signs of spray drift damage to his winter wheat plants. “I saw my neighbour spraying his crop in early flag a couple of weeks ago, and I’m sure whatever he sprayed is killing my crop,” Jack told me. That first week of July, Jack’s winter wheat plants were at the

late flag to early heading stages. The plant population appeared to be thinning out, and the plants were stunted in growth with lines of yellow to white chlorotic streaking on their leaves running parallel to the veins. The majority of the affected areas in the field occurred in random patches next to Jack’s neighbour’s field. His neighbour had let his volunteer winter wheat field go to yield due to the wet conditions the past fall and spring. I noticed that crop was also showing the same signs of damage as Jack’s crop. But the broadleaf weeds in both fields and the grass strip separating the two fields did not exhibit any symptoms of damage.

THE ANSWER IS BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND We asked Jack’s neighbour to join us in examining the two fields. He was surprised and concerned about the symptoms now present in both fields, but said it was impossible that spray drift was the cause. Records indicated that Jack’s neighbour had applied a fungicide to his crop, one that would not have had any negative effects on wheat, and the wind had been blowing in the wrong direction for the sprayer to have caused drift damage. However, I thought the wind had played a role in damaging Jack’s plants. Taking the excessive moisture of last fall and this past spring into account and the patch-like occurrence of the damage in the

area near the boundary between the two fields, I thought it most likely that we were dealing with an infection, and one that was spread by air currents. “We’ll have to wait for lab results to confirm it, but I think the volunteer crop has created a green bridge for carriers of a viral disease — which have infected both of your crops,” I told Jack and his neighbour. “You can’t see them, they’re microscopic,” I said to Jack as he started to examine the surrounding wheat plants. “And the virus they carry can cause losses of a few bushels per acre to complete crop failure.” What disease has infected Jack’s field and what is vectoring the virus? Send your diagnosis to Grainews, Box 9800, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 3K7; email leeann. or fax 204-944-5416 c/o Crop

Bill Manning Advisor’s Casebook. Best suggestions will be pooled and one winner will be drawn for a chance to win a Grainews cap and a one-year subscription to the magazine. The answer, along with the reasoning which solved the mystery, will appear in the next Crop Advisor’s Solution File. † Bill Manning is an area marketing representative for Richardson Pioneer Ltd. in Killarney, Man.




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hile neighbouring southern Saskatchewan canola fields were being swathed, one Southey-area farmer’s crop was far behind, and not nearly ready to be cut. Andrew, who farms 2,600 acres of barley, peas, wheat and canola, thought the variety could be at fault for the crop’s delayed maturity, stunting and bluish tinge. “Why is my crop so far behind my neighbour’s?” he asked me. “Could it be the variety? And why is my crop so short?” An initial examination of the plants in the field also revealed the number and size of the plants’ pods were reduced when compared with neighbours’. The root systems were also smaller than average. However, I didn’t think the variety was the problem because Andrew had used one of the best hybrids for the area with a proven track record for vigour, yield and quality. Andrew and I also eliminated any issues surrounding the seeding of the crop, such as timing, rate and depth, as well as insect feeding and herbicide injury as possible causes of the crop’s delayed development. It was the field’s history and fertility records that ultimately provided the key information to solving the puzzle of the crop’s slow maturity. Yields of 75 bushels per acre, 30 bu./ac., and 35 bu./ac. of barley, peas and wheat, respectively, were typical for this field. Last spring, Andrew had applied 80-0-0-20 side-banded with three gallons per acre of seed-placed orthophosphate fertilizer. Like many growers on the Prairies, Andrew thought he was taking care of the fertility needs of his plants, but this was not the case. Past soil test results revealed declining phosphate levels. Therefore, the cause of the stunted, short canola crop was a phosphate deficiency!

Like many farmers in the West, Andrew had underestimated how much nutrient, particularly phosphorus, was being removed by his harvested crops. Previous barley, pea and wheat crops had removed 31.5 lbs./ac., 21 lbs./ac. and 21 lbs./ ac., respectively, of phosphate from the field’s soil. Andrew had been replacing only eight lbs./ ac. with the application of the liquid orthophosphate fertilizer, which led to declining levels of plant-available phosphate. When considering phosphate nutrition, it is important to replace what is being removed from the soil in order to avoid depleting the phosphate available to subsequent crops. Knowing what each crop removes and replacing that amount is essential for healthy plant growth and development. Western Canada is fortunate to have fertile soils that can supply a lot of nutrients; however, over time yields will eventually be affected if the plants’ actual nutrient requirements are not being met. Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything for Andrew’s crop that growing season. The field yielded only 22 bu./ac. — well below the area average. However, this year, Andrew will seed-place from 35 to 40 lbs./ ac. actual of 11-52-0 to restore the depleted soil phosphate to appropriate levels. In the future that rate will be decreased slightly to a minimum of 30 lbs./ac. actual of 11-52-0. Understanding the amount of phosphate each harvested crop removes from the soil and what the different forms of phosphorus in the soil (organic, available inorganic and unavailable inorganic) actually supply to the crop, and applying this information to his phosphorus management should maximize Andrew’s yield and economic returns in the future. † Marc Mabon is a crop input manager for Richardson Pioneer Ltd. in Southey, Sask.

JUNE 4, 2012 /



Potash on the Prairies

Saskatchewan is (mostly) rich in potash. But most Prairie farmers don’t need to apply it LES HENRY


itrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K) and sulphur (S): the four major nutrients that keep us going in Western Canada. The abbreviation “K” for comes from “Kalium” — German for potassium. The first major K mine began at Stassfurt, Germany in 1861. By 1900 Germany was producing more than a million tons of potassium for agricultural purposes. The word “potash” actually comes from the original agricultural source of K fertilizer — putting burnt wood or other “ash” in a “pot” and washing the salts out with water. Early on, it was learned that the K was the valuable part of the ashes rather than the other salts. In fertilizer talk, “potash” refers to K2O, which is just a method of expressing the K content that harks back to early chemistry days when soil analysis for plant nutrients was expressed as the oxide so it would all add up to 100 per cent. There is no K20 in potash fertilizer — the compound is KCl (potassium chloride). When the federal government pushed the metric system down our throats in the 1970s, I tried mightily to get the fertilizer industry to throw out P2O5 and K2O and move to P and K. Not so easy — the fertilizer industry is international.

POTASH DEFICIENCY As early as 1871 in jolly old England they had discovered where the need for potash lay “On light sandy soils and peat soils” (from A History of Agricultural Science in Great Britain, 1620-1954, by E.J. Russell). As the years go by and we grow ever larger crops we are “mining “ our soils for K so a constant watch must be kept — but there are still many of us who can survive very well without the K we dig out of the ground When our K work at U of S was in the heydays of the 1970s, I wrote up a proposal calling for the potash industry and the Saskatchewan

government to establish a potash demonstration farm at Carrot River. They are some of the most K deficient soils in the world and we could work out all the details for using it: placement, rates, soil building, safe rates withseed andso on. Then, we could bring Chinese and other customers to see the experiments in action. But alas, Carrot River was too far from the Saskatoon airport. † J.L.(Les) Henry is a former professor and extension specialist at the University of Saskatchewan. He farms at Dundurn, Sask. He recently finished a second printing of “Henry’s Handbook of Soil and Water”, a book that mixes the basics and practical aspects of soil, fertilizer and farming. Les will cover the shipping and GST for Grainews readers. Send a cheque for $50 to Henry Perspectives, 143 Tucker Cres, Saskatoon, SK, S7H 3H7


This photo was taken at the Eugene Kozun farm, a few miles south and east of Carrot River. Both sides of this barley field are fertilized with N and P. The left also has 120 pounds per acre of K20; no K was applied to the right side. The left side yielded about 60 bu./ac., the right side yielded closer to 10 bu./ac.

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POTASH In Saskatchewan, potash is a very large-P political animal. A very important chunk of our provincial revenue comes from our potash mines. While Saskatchewan sits on one of the best K deposits in the world, most Saskatchewan and Western Canada farmers can get along quite nicely without using it. A 50 bushel wheat crop may have 80 pounds or more of K20 above the ground, but most of it is in the straw and is returned to the soil, so we haul off little. Many years ago I was giving a talk to agronomists in Alberta and I said, “In Alberta, use all the K you want on any soil you want in any amount you want — we have all that good potash under Saskatchewan and we’ll gladly sell it to you.” Having said that, there are places in Saskatchewan (and Manitoba) with some of the most K-deficient soils in the world. They are the Carrot River soils of northeast Saskatchewan and the Almassippi soils of central Manitoba. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s we did dozens and dozens of experiments all over Saskatchewan. In Carrot River we learned that farmers should either apply K or quit farming. In most other areas there might be the odd response of a bushel or three but it is no big deal. When K2O could be bought for $0.10 per pound, adding a few pounds wasn’t significant, but at $0.50 a pound for K2O, it’s a different story. I’ll spend my fertilizer dollars on N and P.

TD is committed to helping farmers build for the future. When the Martin family wanted to raise the productivity of their dairy business, they turned to Dalton Potter for guidance. Dalton is a seasoned TD Canada Trust Agriculture Specialist and a farmer himself, and with his help, the Martins were able to buy a new farm in a prime location. Our understanding of agriculture and financing, combined with a personalized approach, is how we’re helping families like the Martins get exactly what they’re looking for. For more information, visit a branch or go to

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JUNE 4, 2012


Calculate your actual leverage Leverage can provide a measure of risk on your farm. But make sure to consider the value of off-farm investments ANDREW DERUYCK

purchased Western Canadian grain farms independently and wanted to better understand their respective risk. Information from their balance sheets is shown in the table. At first glance, it appears that Fu and Chu are carrying significantly



hen we work with clients, we almost always start by preparing a detailed balance sheet where we establish a fair market value of assets owned and the liabilities owed against them. This winter we met with three brothers that immigrated to Canada many years ago, Bu, Chu, and Fu. All three started farming and met with us to more clearly understand what their farm financial numbers. We talked in great lengths about liquidity and debt service, but had the most interesting conversation about leverage. All three brothers had

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The industry doesn’t, on average, have large off-farm investments more risk in their businesses given that they are only 59 per cent equity as compared to Bu at 76 per cent. This is because Chu and Fu’s creditors have a greater proportion of funds invested in their assets than Bu, and the rest of the industry. This more leveraged position is viewed as carrying more risk, because if there is a period of operating losses on the farm, there is less room for Chu and Fu to restore liquidity








Term assets




Total assets




Current Liabilities




Term Liabilities




Total Liabilities







Leverage (Debt/Net worth)




Equity Ratio (Net Worth/ Total Assets)




Current assets

Net Worth

by terming out shorter term debt. They may not be able to term out this debt and as such, their business may not survive if cash flow is jeopardized or high interest bearing payables are used. Upon closer examination, we see that Fu has $100,000 in a Tax Free Savings Account, $100,000 in RESP’s, $100,000 in RRSP’s, and $100,000 in AgriInvest. Neither Bu nor Chu have any T:10.25” of these investments. If Fu were

to liquidate these investments in a manner that doesn’t result in significant income tax, this $400,000 could be used to reduce his debt. His resulting leverage would then be 0.43 and Equity Ratio would be 70 per cent. The moral of the story? If you have significant off-farm investment, don’t discount the value of those investments, and their ability to mitigate against leverage risk. We are often benchmarked

against the industry by ourselves and our creditors but the industry doesn’t, on average, have large off-farm investments. † Andrew DeRuyck and Mark Sloane manage two farming operations in southern Manitoba and are partners in Right Choice Management Consulting. With over 25 years of cumulative experience, they offer support in farm management, financial management, strategic planning and mediation services. They can be reached at and or 204-8257392 and 204-825-8443

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JUNE 4, 2012


Back to the farm to create a legacy Lots of landowners plan to return to the farm later in life. Funding retirement and leaving a legacy will require some planning BY ANDREW ALLENTUCK


tephen, as we’ll call him, started an 800 acre mixed beef and grain farm in central Manitoba in the late 1970s. By 2002, Stephen had had enough. He sold his beef cow herd and 320 acres of farm land and headed to Alberta to work as a welder. Stephen saved little of his wages over the years and will have only a modest union pension, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. The farm is his principal asset. After downsizing his farm, Stephen was left with 480 acres of land, debt-free. Today, it has an estimated value of $300,000.

He has leased it to neighbours for $20,000 per year, a 6.6 per cent return on equity before tax. Now that Stephen is 65, he wants to retire to the farm, taking his son, Sam, 45, and Sam’s wife Lottie, 42, into the farming operation. He also wants to establish a financial reserve to provide a legacy for his two younger children who won’t be farming. Farm Financial Planner asked Don Forbes, head of Don Forbes & Associates/Armstrong & Quaile Ltd. to work with Stephen to formulate a method to transfer the farm to Sam and Lottie, produce retirement income and arrange a legacy.

SOLUTIONS The easy part is to build Stephen’s retirement income. Using current dollars, he can expect Old Age Security of $6,481 per year, Canada Pension Plan benefits of $9,240 per year and a $15,000 union defined benefit pension. This will give him a total pension income before tax of $30,721 per year. After income tax ($2,800) Stephen will have $27,921. On top of that, he can add after-tax farm income of $13,546, bringing his total income to $41,377 per year. But there are other ways to construct his retirement income. If Stephen could get by on just

his pension income, there would be more farm income left for Sam and Lottie. He has several options to consider. First, he could sell the farm at fair market value and claim the qualified farm property capital gain tax credit of as much as $750,000. Stephen can sell the land and take a tax-free gain, while Sam and Lottie borrow to finance the repurchase of the farm. Or, Stephen can roll over the property to Sam and Lottie for a nominal cash value, but declare the transfer at market value. Stephen would still claim the qualified farm property capital gain tax credit on his increase in value over his adjusted cost base. But this

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would leave Stephen with no cash for his retirement and no legacy for his non-farming children. Stephen can also use life insurance to create a fund for the nonfarming children. Option One: Draft a long-term rental agreement. Stephen could make his son and daughter-in-law tenants. That would allow them to farm, pay rent to Stephen (providing him with retirement income), and leave the transfer of ownership of the land as a legacy for Sam and the other children. Option Two: Mortgage the farm. With a $200,000 mortgage, Stephen would have cash for his retirement. By investing conservatively in stocks and bonds, Stephen might be able to draw perhaps six per cent or $12,000 a year. Lenders would probably want to lend less than full value, so this choice would create complexity and risk and perhaps not produce sufficient income. Option Three: Keep the farm as is with Sam and Lottie farming, and buy a $200,000 term life insurance policy with premiums level to Stephen’s age 100. The cost would be $6,000 per year. Alternatively, Stephen could buy a $200,000 whole life policy with growing cash value. The premium would be $13,300 per year for 15 years. After 20 years, the policy would have a death benefit of $348,000. Forbes suggests combining the best of the alternatives. The life insurance alternative leaves the farm in Stephen’s hands. The term life policy can be paid out of farm income on the core of the farmland. The fair rent for this land is $7,000 per year, so Sam and Lottie should be able to support the term policy’s $500 monthly premium. Aside from this, Stephen will still be left with $13,000 of other farmland rental income for his retirement. If Stephen were to choose the whole life policy either he or his children would have to subsidize the $1,108 monthly premium. Once the life insurance policy is in place, Stephen can transfer the farm tax-free to Sam and Lottie without sale. If Stephen cannot get insurance at an acceptable price, he can just rent the farm to them. The rental charge can be fair market value, or less — if Stephen wants to subsidize their income. As a final step, if the rental plan is adopted, Stephen should amend his will to ensure that Sam and Lottie get the land after his death. Assuming that Stephen keeps the land and rents it to his son, Stephen’s retirement income would be $27,210 pension income plus $20,300 from farm rents, less $13,300 for life insurance — a net annual income of $34,210. “This is a plan that will take care of Stephen in retirement and the kids for the rest of their lives,” Mr. Forbes say. By doing this, Stephen can “create stability and predictability for the farm and the family’s way of life.” † Andrew Allentuck’s latest book, “When Can I Retire? Planning Your Financial Life After Work,” was published last year by Penguin Canada

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JUNE 4, 2012


Two indicators improve odds of making money Using charts to make buying and selling decisions could help you profit in the markets ANDY SIRSKI


sell a lot of covered calls to bring in cash flow, but buying good stocks on the low side can sure improve the odds of making money. I use one indicator to help me buy low and another to help me see when it might be a good idea to sell shares. Of course, to use these indicators you will need to learn a bit about setting up and reading a chart. Don’t let that scare you — if an old dog like me learned this stuff so can you.

CHARTS: STEP BY STEP Some investors have no use for charts. I would have a few hundred thousand dollars more in my stock accounts if I’d learned how to read charts earlier in life, and then learned how to believe them. There are two parts to charts: learning how to set them up and read them, then believing them. I can teach you how to set up a chart but you’ll have to decide whether you’ll believe them or not. I use one indicator to help me decide when to buy: the stock symbol compared to the S&P index. For example, I’ll take you through a chart of Tourmaline (TOU), – [6”] If youstep are by owed First, go to www.stockcharts.

com and click on “free charts.” There are lots of options on this page. Just type in the box at the top and click “go!” When the chart comes up on the screen, look for the word “indicators” near the bottom left side of the screen. You’ll see three horizontal boxes underneath “indicators”. One should read “RSI.” I would click on the box under “position”, and choose “below.” Then, on the next box down, I would click on the menu area for “MACD,” and choose “full stochastics.” Then set the “position” for this at “below.” Finally, I would go to the empty third box, and left click on the menu arrow to bring up a menu. Find “price performance” (near the top), and left it. The symbol $SPX should show up in the box next to “price performance.” Put your cursor in the box with $SPX and, with the left arrow, move your cursor to the left of $SPX (so the box reads: “$SPX). When you click “update” under all of these boxes, you’ll get the chart for TOU.TO: $SPX — a ratio of the stock symbol and the SPX index. When that ratio/chart is rising, the price of the stock is going up faster than the $SPX index. When the ratio is falling, the shares are falling faster (or rising slower) than the $SPX index. The idea is quite simple. If a good stock has gone down a lot and turns up, its price will often rise faster than an index. That’s a good time to

own the shares, although of course there’s no guarantee. When we see a rising chart, we might not want to sell calls on those shares just yet. I have to thank Brooke Thackray and Don Vialoux for introducing me to this ratio at our Technical Analyst Society meetings. There is another decision point: when to sell stocks. In this case, I use the same free chart and look at “overlays” (scroll down the page you were just on.) The default settings will usually show 50- and 200-day moving averages. Put your cursor in these boxes to change the settings to 10 and 30. Then click “update.” Now, you should see a chart of TOU with the$spx chart. On the body of the chart, you’ll see two lines. Usually the blue line is the 10-day moving average (10 dma). Many times in the life of a stock when the stock price goes below the 10 dma, the price is headed down. Of course, the tough part is believing the chart.

ADD SEASONALITY Seasonality plays a big part in successful investing. The old saying “Sell in May and go away” doesn’t always work — stocks bottomed in March, 2009 at the end of the bear market. However, most years some version of “sell in May and go away” does reduce risk. Don Vialoux put it this way at our meeting: from late October to early May, many predictable events happen. These


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include: weddings in India, farmers buy gold after harvest in India, Christmas, RRSP season, fiscal year ends, Chinese New Years in late January and annual meetings. All of these are predictable, happen annually and can raise the price of many shares. After early May, there’s still Memorial Day and July 1, but most other significant market moving events happen at random. Markets don’t particularly like random, so many shares drop after April (although the exact timing varies by a month or so).

ADD A BIG PICTURE One more indicator I’ve learned about is the symbol $spxa200r. If you type that indicator into the symbol box on (the box at the top that we used before), you’ll see a chart of how many shares are trading above their 200-day moving average. There is something almost mystical with the 200 dma. If you set the indicator on a three-year chart, and look at how the black line crosses the blue 50-day moving average you will see almost to the day when stocks bottomed and topped.

TWO STEPS To understand the market a bit better, look at charts in two steps. Step one: look at $spxa200r. If the 200 day chart is above the 500-day moving average, it’s a sign that, generally, the market is moving up. Or, if you already have a list of favorite stocks, test each one by comparing it to the $spx. When you find a stock with a rising chart, the price of that stock is rising faster than the S&P index. It might be okay to use that indicator to decide whether or not to buy a stock. But if both charts are rising, it would likely be a lot safer. With Silver Wheaton (SLW), one of my favorite silver stocks, a person could have used charts to profit from trading SLW over the past two years.

The indicators have shown quite clearly when to buy and sell. The last sell signal was around the end of February, 2012, when the stock was around $39 per share. There were two sell signals. One was that the price crossed the 10-day moving average going down. The other was that the chart of$spx peaked and started to move down. That chart has not turned up yet. We sellers of covered calls would have been wise to sell a covered call on SLW at its support price of around $26 to $28 for June. June is often the low point for silver stocks, and July is often a good time to own precious metal stocks. Selling a call at the support price would have brought in $10.50 per share, which would have protected the portfolio as shares dropped from around $38 to under $28. With generic drug maker Teva, I bought shares when the drug Lipitor came off patent. I paid $42.50 for the shares and have sold calls to pick up around $3 per share. That drops my per share cost to $39.50 so when the shares dropped the other day to under $42 I was not too concerned. I might buy a few more shares when the teva:$spx chart turns up. Some say that timing the market is impossible. Well, maybe so for them. But there is a lot of free data available and computers that make charts for us. A half decent understanding of charts, such I have outlined here, can help us understand when to be in the market, when to buy good stocks at a good price and when to sell them. And if we buy and the price suddenly turns down, we have to be smart enough to cut losses short. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words applies here. Charts give us a picture of what big money is doing with a stock. It’s not usually wise to argue with what big money is doing. † Andy Sirski is mostly retired. He gardens, plays with grand children, and manages his own portfolio. Andy publishes a newsletter called StocksTalk where he explains what he is doing with his stocks. Read it free for a month by searching for, or emailing Andy at


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JUNE 4, 2012 /


Cattleman’s Corner pasture management

Six steps for calculating pasture carrying capacity BY ANGELA LOVELL


alculating the correct carrying capacity of a pasture will help you stock to a level that maintains the health and productivity of both your land and animals. Following are six steps for calculating carrying capacity.

1. Sample Taking samples of forage in the field is the first step in calculating the capacity of the pasture. Clip samples of forage within an area 50 x 50 cm (about 20 inches square) from different areas of the pasture that have not been grazed. Dry the samples and weigh once dry. Calculate the approximate forage yield based on the weight using the formula: Dry forage grams x 35.6 = lbs./ acre. (For example, if you had 50 grams of dried forage x 35.6, that equals 1,780 lbs. of dry forage per acre). It’s best to clip in mid July and mid September to build up data from a number of years and get a picture of the average forage yield that is representative across varying conditions.

2. Utilization Rate The utilization rate determines how much forage is used or lost to grazing, trampling, insects and wildlife. This helps determine how much material needs to be left behind to maintain future production. (see table 1 and 2) Take clippings from grazed areas and compare yield to the clippings from non-grazed areas, to give an idea of the amount utilized during grazing. This shows how much plant material was left behind after grazing, and the ideal amount to allow for rapid, good-quality regrowth will vary depending on the time of year. For example, in midJuly leaving about two thirds of the plant material behind after grazing is ideal to maintain the quality and volume necessary for the herd. Utilizing pasture at a rate that exceeds the plant communities’

ability to cope will promote weeds, lower forage production and encourage less palatable and productive species to invade the pasture. Determining a suitable utilization rate can be a bit tricky but here are some general guidelines:

3. Dry Matter Intake Determining the dry matter intake means taking into account, as an animal increases in size, so does its feed requirement. Cattle will eat between 1.5 - 3.5 per cent of their body weight per day on a dry matter (DM) basis. The palatability, nutrient profile and availability of the feed will determine where along this scale your cattle will fall. For a cow with a calf, 2.5 per cent is commonly used DM intake average. Calves don’t need to be accounted for until they reach about 600 lbs. For grassers three per cent is commonly used figure. Example: 750 lbs. steer x 3.0% = 22.5 lbs. DM/day 1850 lbs. cow x 2.5% = 45 lbs. DM/day The mature large cow will eat over twice as much as the steer even though she consumes less feed as a per cent of her body weight. (see table 3)

amount of litter present is optimal, either by visually comparing the amount collected or by calculating the weight of the litter using the same formula as used for the grass yield lbs./per acre. The amount of litter left on the land can make a big difference in the performance of the pasture. Litter includes ungrazed residue from previous year’s growth, residue from bale grazing, fallen stems, leaf material and other partially decomposed material. Litter helps to conserve moisture by reducing evaporation, improving infiltration and cooling the soil surface. There are a number of Canadian websites that provide more information on calculating forage and litter values. Manitoba Agriculture has an excellent site at: http:// forages/bjb00s17.html Alberta Agriculture has a good website for calculating forage litter at:$department/deptdocs.nsf/ all/for8656

Saskatchewan Agriculture has good information at: http://www. aspx?DN=94318c24-72b0-4b0e814e-f476fec9e2c6 And of course, if you just Google the topic of calculating carrying capacity, it gives you many more website options.

6. Management Managing pastures to get the maximum benefit from them is crucial to meet the needs of the individual herd and farm. It’s not possible to have maximum lbs./ day weight gain per cow and maximum lbs./acre gain for the pasture. Producers will need to deter-

Utilization Rate

Light soil / low rainfall

30 - 50%

Riparian areas

0 - 40%

Native forages

Up to 50%

Tame forages

55 - 75%

2. Calculation of Total Usable Forage: (lbs./ac)



Forage Production



Once the amount of forage yield and utilization rate have been determined, the carrying capacity can be calculated, which can be used to determine either the total forage available and/or the livestock forage requirements. There are then two ways to use the information, either to determine the number of head a system can carry or to determine how many days a specific herd can graze in the system. (see table 4 and 5)




Weight of Cow



Number of acres

Utilization rate

3. Calculation of Livestock Forage Requirements:

To determine litter yield, rake all of the brown litter in an area 50 x 50 cm square (about 20 inches square), making sure not to include any green material. There are two ways to determine whether the

Article prepared by Angela Lovell, a freelance writer based in Manitou, Manitoba, with thanks to Manitoba Agriculture for formulas and guidelines

1. Forage Type/Soil/Climate

4. Carrying Capacity

5.  Litter

mine what they want to achieve and manage accordingly. It is important to rotate the cow herd through pastures at intervals that allow adequate rest periods to achieve rapid, high quality re-growth. Pasture management must take into account many variables, like how much bush pasture is on the land, the type of operation and goals of the individual farmer, but trying to maintain and balance the resource against the needs of the cows will produce better long term results. †

Total forage available



Dry matter intake

Forage required/cow/day

4. To determine number of head a system can carry:



Forage required/cow/day




Forage required/cow/ grazing period

Number of days grazing

(lbs./cow/grazing period)



Forage required/cow /grazing period

Total forage available


(cows) Number of cows pasture will carry

5. To determine how many days a given herd can graze in a system:



Forage required/cow/day





Number of head ÷

Total forage available

(lbs./herd/day) Forage required/herd/day

Forage required/herd/day


(days) Number of days


Dinner bell rings as cattle head to hills Cattle make up a larger per cent of wolf diets than many people realized BY MIKE LAMB


outhern Alberta ranchers will soon roundup and move 20,000-plus head of cattle on to timbered government lands in the Rocky Mountain foothills in an annual event that delivers waiting wolf packs with easy, calorie-rich meals. With calving season over and cattle drive rituals into the high country beginning in June, recently completed research suggests those cows, calves and yearlings will likely make-up a whopping 74 per cent of the “biomass” in an average wolf ‘s summer diet. That’s the result of a thesis study by University of Alberta studentbiologist  Andrea  Morehouse, supervised by professor Dr. Mark Boyce and recently published in Ecology and the Environment. By

studying hair content in wolf scat and visiting kill sites over a yearlong period, Morehouse discovered southern Alberta wolf packs switch from a winter diet of wild ungulate prey to domestic stock once its delivered.

Easy prey Its easy to see why. Herds of slow, plodding cows and calves make easy targets and long lasting meals. “It surprised me, but not the ranchers,” said Morehouse of her findings of the high percentage preference for summer beef. “There was nothing in the literature that would make you believe it was that high.” In fact, most previous studies looked only at winter feeding patterns simply because its easier to locate kills and collect droppings

on snowy ground. During the winter, when cattle are scarce or nonexistent, deer and elk are preferred followed by moose. Improvements in satellite technology have made it easier for Morehouse to monitor collared wolves and their summertime haunts. Her fridge last year held up to 400 containers of wolf feces collected in the area. A total of 161 kill sites were pinpointed from 698 GPS “clusters” that also included dens and scavenging sites. It’s a relatively simple matter to analyze hair in the collected droppings and discern domestic from wild prey. Although no one knows precisely how many wolves reside in the Morehouse study area between Waterton Lakes National Park and Chain Lakes Provincial Park, 125

» continued on page 20

photo: dustin raab

A research assistant works to measure and collar one of the southern Alberta wolves being monitored in a study.



JUNE 4, 2012

Keepers & Culls In search of the perfect steak LEE HART


recently learned a good steak doesn’t just jump onto your barbecue. I was down in Granum in southern Alberta recently for the weekend and was looking for a nice steak for an evening barbecue with friends. There are two grocery stores in nearby Fort Macleod and I am sure their meat is excellent, but I was hoping to find something right off the farm, but there is no butcher shop in Macleod. So I asked the very helpful clerk at The Source (former Radio Shack) store if she knew of any butchers. She thought for a moment and said she knew one of her customers was in the meat business. So she directed me to Clarence Den Boon of Valley Custom Meats. I called Clarence, he doesn’t do much retail business, but yes he did have some fresh New York steak. So we travelled to his farm, which is about 10 minutes south and west of Macleod on The Blue Trail. Clarence and his wife Jenny were working in the yard, but he took a break, washed up, took us into the plant, pulled a cryovac slab of beef from the cooler, and asked me how much we wanted. He sliced off four steaks, bagged them and we were on our

way. Clarence gets this particular meat from a local organic beef producer, who has high standards. He said it was very good beef. A few hours later the steaks were on the barbecue and Clarence wasn’t wrong. I am never really sure about the “organic” influence in meat quality, but it was excellent, and well worth the effort. I can’t afford to eat New York cut, organic beef every night, but it is a nice treat on occasion. The experience reminded me of my younger years — small towns may not have all the services of “the city” but in some respects they offer way more.

GREAT BEEF WEBSITE A great website for information on beef production and economics can be found at: There is all kinds of useful research and other information there for cow-calf operators, backgrounders and feeders. They have recently posted a short video from the Western Beef Development Centre on “What Makes a Low Cost Producer.” Go to the page, you’ll see a heading for “Cow Calf Information” and just below that a heading for “Marketing and Economics” and just below that a subhead for “cow-calf.” Click on the “cow-calf” heading and you’ll find the video listed there. But the whole site has a wide range of information about getting the most out of your time, money and resources. Memorize it all and you’ll be the smartest rancher in your municipality. Next time you have a quiet evening or a rainy day, check out


The perfect steak?


DINNER BELL RINGS AS CATTLE HEAD TO HILLS air kilometres due north, ranchers have a good grasp of how many cattle they turn loose and how many return home. The first major wolf population study in the region, meanwhile, is to begin this summer.

MISSING CATTLE “A lot of cattle that don’t return just end up being classed as missing,” said Morehouse. “One thing that might come out of this is a review of compensation for those missing animals.” The province now reimburses ranchers 100 per cent of the fall cattle value for confirmed wolf kills and 50 per cent for likely kills. But it offers nothing for “missing” animals; some of which may be the victims of

Three leading champions of farm animal care in Alberta were recognized earlier this year with Awards of Distinction at the annual Alberta illness or accident or the targets of rustlers and poachers. It’s believed between one and two per cent of the free-range cattle go missing each year, but documented loses are ambiguous. Last year 37 per cent of all reimbursement payments, approaching $150,000 for livestock depredation claims, were sent to this area, which comprises less than three per cent of Alberta’s landmass. All compensation monies come from hunters who purchase Alberta licenses and not general revenues. The livestock “grazing season timing coincides with wolf pup rearing season,” notes Morehouse’s thesis report. “And the nutritional demands of wolves are considerable during this period due to the need to satisfy growing pups.”

BONEYARD DINERS The report also shows scat analysis “only reveals what the

Farm Animal Care (AFAC) conference. The Award of Distinction for Industry Leadership was awarded to Dr. Gerald Ollis, who has served the livestock industry and farm animal care progress for over 40 years. His career has spanned private veterinary practice to periods as Provincial Dairy Veterinarian and then Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian — an experience that included several years working on the development of the province’s innovative Animal Health Act. The Award of Distinction for Innovation was presented to Calgary Stampede. Over the past few years the Calgary Stampede has implemented a number of new initiatives to enhance its animal welfare approaches. “The Stampede takes the care of these animals very seriously,” explains Paul Rosenberg, vice president, programming with Calgary Stampede. The Award of Distinction for Communication was presented to agriculture reporter Dana Zielke of Golden West Radio in High River, Alta. Her agriculture reports are heard on AM1140, Sun Country 99.7FM, CKVN 98.1FM Lethbridge, CHOO 99.5FM Drumheller, and the Prairie Ag Wire in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. One of her most popular contributions is a regular “Ag Flashes” segment.

NEW V-P Canadian Beef Breeds Council board of directors recently affirmed David Bolduc as Vice President for 2012-13. “I’m excited to be given the opportunity to be on the executive for the CBBC,” said David. “Our family has been involved in the purebred livestock industry in Alberta since the late 1800’s. Going forward, the purebred industry is going to be a significant portion of the beef industry. We essentially establish the end product, so we are a significant element of the industry and hope to make the rest of the industry more aware of that.” wolves ate and not necessarily what they killed.” A lot of scavenging, especially in “boneyards” takes place year-round. Boneyards are out of the way locations where ranchers haul livestock carcasses. Animals that die of natural causes used to be hauled away by rendering processors who paid for carcasses. But that practice was halted for health reasons with the discovery 10 years ago of BSE, commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. While local rural municipalities contemplate funding for an enclosed carcass composting plant, many carcasses are being dumped in open pits or scattered across the landscape to be scavenged by birds and mammals, a practice allowed by the province. The result has been increased use by both wolves and grizzly bears. In fact, private lands with boneyards, on the edge of the Alberta forest reserve, have been declared “hot zones for grizzly bear encounters” by a paper recently published in

“Earl says it’s easy for him to be a tender husband because he spends most of his time in hot water.


Write, Email or Fax Contact Cattleman’s Corner with comments, ideas or suggestions for and on stories by mail, email, phone or fax. Phone Lee Hart at 403-592-1964 Fax to 403-288-3162 Email Write to CATTLEMAN’S CORNER, PO Box 71141 Silver Springs RPO, Calgary, Alta. T3B 5K2 David, his wife Margaret and their son Matt operate Cudlobe Angus with his brother Dyce, his wife Adriana and their family. The families run 400 to 500 mother cows in southern Alberta and have an annual production sale. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Alberta where he also attended graduate school. David is also the current President of the Canadian Angus Association. David and Dyce Bolduc are the only two brothers to both serve as President of the Canadian Angus Association Board of Directors. Dyce was President in 2005.

YOUTH LEADERSHIP The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Development Program is The Animal Conservation Journal. More than 300 grizzly incidents involving humans and livestock have been recorded on these ranchlands during the past 10 years and the number is rising according to the Journal. The Morehouse findings also surprised provincial range and land managers as well. “We knew it occurred but not to that degree,” said Mike Anderson of Alberta Sustainable Resources. “The percentage is shocking; its higher than I would have imagined,” added Rob Dunn of Alberta Agriculture. In Alberta wolves can be hunted year round with no limit on the number of animals taken. Trapping is allowed from November through February. Still it appears their number remains constant, or according to local ranchers, is more likely growing. The study area remains the eastern slope of a major carnivore travel corridor between Banff and Glacier National Park in Montana.

pleased to announce its 2012 national mentorship recipients. The 16 recipients were selected following the final selection round at the CYL Spring Forum in Saskatoon, where a total of 24 finalists vied for a spot in the national youth initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The 2012 CYL mentorship recipients are: British Columbia: Cole Bailey and Erika Strand. Alberta: Amy Mayner, Brodie Haugan, Jakob Meyer, Joanne Solverson, Kerry Hyatt, Micheal Nadeau, Travis Ebens, and Tyson Lowe. Saskatchewan: Ashley Shannon, Eric Buyer, Jeffery Yorga, and Ryan Hurlburt. Ontario: Kimberly McCaw and Katie Wood.

NEED LIMITS Blaine Marr, a third generation local rancher and Western Stock Growers Association board member, says his organization doesn’t want a wolf-free zone, but does want numbers kept in check. Among other things, he’d like to see the trapping season run through the end of March. Earlier this year the association held a trapping seminar that was fully booked months in advance. “Interest is at a peak,” he says. “A wolf is the hardest animal there is to trap. They’re exceptionally smart, and even the most skillful trapper has a difficult time.” Prime pelts sell for up to $350. “We don’t want the landscape wiped free of wolves, but at the same time we don’t want packs of 10 or 12 that can kill anything that crosses their path.” † Mike Lamb is a freelance writer based at Burmis in southern Alberta


Cattleman’s Corner

Using drugs responsibly is key to beef industry future


Know the right approaches and use your veterinarian

eef producers know there are certain things you shouldn’t mess around with. As a leading veterinary educator Dr. Trisha Dowling has a strong suggestion for what should be at the top of that list: responsible drug use. “If there is one area producers should not take lightly, this is it,” says Dowling, a professor of veterinary clinical pharmacology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. “How drugs are absorbed, distributed throughout the animal’s body and ultimately eliminated by the liver or kidneys is very complex.” Today, on-farm food safety is under the microscope of the public like never before, she says. Consumers are very concerned about drug residues in food. Any problem

View animal health product labels from the Canadian compendium, or online at by scrolling down to Quick Links- Veterinary Products.

with that can quickly damage a producer’s reputation as a supplier and the reputation of Canada’s beef industry as a whole. At the same time, animal health management in beef production is increasingly sophisticated. Recognize the consequences. The Verified Beef Production (VBP) program re-enforces principles such as minimizing the use of drugs to preserve effectiveness, while still maintaining animal care, and using veterinary advice. Dowling says both of the principles are critical. “Through improved technology, all food products including beef are being examined for residues with increased vigilance. In addition, as a producer you’re not doing yourself any favours because you risk health issues and efficiency issues.” Be clear on withdrawal times. Studies on the common causes of residue violations show failure to observe sufficient withdrawal periods is by far the greatest problem, says Dowling. Producers need to record drug use by individual animal or group, along with the withdrawal time. That is the days or hours noted under the “Warning” section on the drug label or package insert. This label information is critical, but the disease state of individual animals also affects the disposition of a drug — this is where a veterinarian’s advice is important. Veterinarians have the knowledge to assess how the disease being treated may affect drug elimination, and recommend extending the

label withdrawal times to insure that drug residues are not detected. Institute responsible extra label use. It’s sometimes loosely called “off label” but the correct term is extra label. It’s important producers understand the specific definition, says Dowling. Extra label use includes administration of a drug to a species for which there is no specific approval; by a non-approved route, of a non-approved dose or frequency; or for a disease not listed on the label. “Extra label drug use in particular is very complex and not things you want to freelance with,” says Dowling. Producers should have a veterinary prescription for extra label use with an appropriate withdrawal recommendation. Veterinarians have access to a database on residue information called the global Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (gFARAD). The Canadian component is managed by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the Ontario Veterinary College. The gFARAD resource was developed in response to veterinarians’ need for information on residue depletion times following extra label drug administration, says Dowling, who is one of the Canadian directors. “The philosophy behind this databank was to have information about residue avoidance from all sources readily available at one point for interpretation and dissemination to veterinarians. It’s an excellent resource.”


Every Ralgro implant has the potential to add up

to 23 extra pounds* to a suckling calf.

The profitable weigh. *Data on file. **Rate of return may vary depending on market conditions. ® Registered trademark of Schering-Plough Animal Health Corporation, used under license by Intervet Canada Corp. Merck Animal Health, operating in Canada as Intervet Canada Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. MERCK is a trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. Copyright © 2011 Intervet International B.V., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. All rights reserved.

RALGRO Grain News QSH.indd 1

12-01-25 14:33



JUNE 4, 2012

Cattleman’s Corner RANCHERS DIARY

Taking new horses for a test drive HEATHER SMITH THOMAS


ast week I dewormed the horses and Michael put shoes on Ed and Breezy for me. Andrea and I rode April Sprout (Dani’s new horse) a few times; the mare is still green and inexperienced and needs more training. Emily’s allergies and a bad cold suddenly escalated into pneumonia and she couldn’t breathe (and her oxygen level dropped dangerously low) so she spent a few days in the hospital on IV antibiotics and oxygen. Andrea stayed with her during the nights, and Lynn took the other kids to the school bus in the mornings. Michael hauled several more dump truck loads of rocks to fix the ditch head on the upper place that was washing out with the high water, and also worked on the new ditch head by Andrea’s driveway where the creek was threatening to take it out. Then he hauled more rocks for Andrea’s new driveway and several loads of rocks to reinforce the ditch bank above our haystack yard where it flooded last year. Lynn has been cleaning some of our ditches with tractor and blade, and getting more irrigation started. For several days we had cold rainy weather; then it


Calves are processed and ready for a grazing season on range. dropped well below freezing for a few nights and slowed down the snow melt on our mountains, and the creek is no longer so terribly high. On Saturday Lynn went with Rick to deliver a load of firewood, and Andrea came down to ride with me — and noticed that two of our heifers had gotten into the field above our cows and calves. We rode Breezy and Ed to round them up, and put all the heifers in my horse pasture until we can figure out where they went through the fence. Then we rode April Sprout and Captain King (a borrowed horse we were trying, as a possible horse for the grandkids) on another training ride for Sprout. Captain King is spoiled and stubborn, however, and balked when we started up the

driveway. When Andrea urged him forward, he bucked, then reared when she wouldn’t let him buck her off — and she had to spin him round and round to keep him from going over backward. She got him under control and we continued on our ride, but decided we don’t want that horse for the kids to ride! The next day we took Dani on her first real ride on Sprout — making a loop through the low range. When we got home, Andrea took Sammy for a ride on Breezy. Yesterday was cold and rainy again. We’ve been watching Freddie at nights (our last cow to calve) because the weather has been so miserable. We wanted to be able to put her in the barn if necessary. Today it was too wet for Michael to haul more rocks,

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Spring calves are comfortable and familiar with granddaughter Dani in the pen. until the road to our rock pit dried out in the afternoon.

MAY 7 Michael hauled more rock surfacing for Andrea’s driveway, and smoothed it out with the backhoe, now it won’t get so slippery, deep and muddy when it rains. The four grandkids were trying to guess which day Freddie would calve, and Dani won; her guess was May 3rd. Freddie went into early labour before midnight, but didn’t calve until afternoon. I put her into our calving pen but then it started to rain and hail, so we put her in the barn — she had a black whiteface bull. The kids were hoping for a heifer, but 3/4 of our calves this year have been bulls! We figured out where the heifers got through the fence (the creek washed out part of the fence along the bank) so Rick helped Lynn fix it. On Friday night we went to the annual dance and gymnastics program and watched Dani and Sammy in their various dances and Charlie in the gymnastics. Yesterday Michael put new front shoes on April Sprout. She’s apparently had some bad experiences in her young life, and doesn’t like her feet handled, so Andrea and I have been picking up her feet a lot. Michael was very patient, shoeing her, keeping each foot up for only a short time, and letting her put it down when she’d start to get nervous. She has to learn to trust us; she’s been abused and is always expecting a fight. But with patience we got her front feet shod without resistance. We’ll do her hinds another day. Handling her feet in short increments works, and she’s becoming more at ease about it. Yesterday afternoon our neighbour Alfonzo rounded up his cattle from the fields below us and took them up to the Gooch place to brand the calves. His corrals are flimsy, and partway through the afternoon eight calves got out and came down through our fields, trying to get back to the lower place. We captured them in our corral and helped Alfonzo load them in a trailer to haul back to their mothers. Then he put his cattle back down below us again, but separated several more pairs, and that evening one old cow crashed through the wire gate into our field trying to go find her calf. We had to lock her in our calving pen and have Alfonzo come get her. Young Heather got home from

college in Montana, and this morning she, Michael and Carolyn left on their trip to Iowa to get Nick from college. It will take them three days to get there and three days to come back — and Lynn will do their chores while they are gone.

MAY 16 Last week we harrowed the orchard and field above the house. Lynn, Andrea and Rick spent a couple days working on the ditch on Lynn’s folks’ old place, and I picked up the kids from the bus after school. They were eager to see Freddie’s young calf and thought he was cute, being the only whiteface calf this year. Dani enjoyed helping me do chores — feeding the horses and watering the cows. She loves to walk through the cows and calves, and pick grass to feed Maggie, who gently takes it out of her hand with her big rough tongue. It froze hard again for several nights, but now the weather is hot. Last Saturday we vaccinated the cows, calves, bulls, and yearling heifers (and put the heifers back up in the swamp pasture, now that we’ve fixed the fence), and branded calves. Dani helped, by handing me syringes. While we got ready to brand the calves, she sat in the barn with them while we strung out the extension cords. The calves are so accustomed to her, they didn’t mind when she was helping gather and push the little bunches from the barn into the holding area by the calf table. Monday Michael put new hind shoes on April Sprout and she was even more trusting (and less resistant) than when he did her fronts. She’s learning that we aren’t going to hurt her when we handle her feet. Later that day Michael and Lynn started hauling hay; we bought 50 tons for next winter, to make sure we’ll have enough. It’s last year’s hay, and reasonably priced at $130 per ton. It’s a nice mix of grass/alfalfa. They finished hauling it today. While they were hauling, Andrea and I made a long ride on Sprout and Ed to check range gates and part of the 320 fence — and repaired some places the elk knocked down. This afternoon Lynn and Michael put in a weir at the headgate of the uppermost ditch on our upper place. Now we have only one weir left to install. † Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband Lynn near Salmon, Idaho. Contact her at 208-756-2841



lg a r y, A l b er

Canada Beef Inc.

Annual Forum 2012



Ca /

You’re Invited!

C. N


JUNE 4, 2012

September 20 - 21, 2012

Join Canada Beef Inc.’s Board of Directors, staff and industry partners as we review our first year of business and the market in which we are working. At the Annual Forum you will hear from our board, marketing team, partners and others on many topics including: • market development and research • opportunities at home and abroad • our plans for the coming year The Annual Forum is open to everyone. We hope you will join us as we plan for the future. Thursday and Friday, September 20 - 21, 2012 Sheraton Cavalier, Calgary Alberta Thursday, September 20, 2012 Experts from all sectors of the beef production cycle will provide insight into the business of Canadian beef during a full day of presentations and information sessions including plenty of time that evening to socialize over dinner in the hospitality suite. Friday, September 21, 2012 Friday morning is the business portion of the Forum, including a review of the company’s performance and the election of the new Board of Directors.

For more information visit




JUNE 4, 2012

Cattleman’s Corner ANIMAL HEALTH

Watch out for bull penis problems BY ROY LEWIS


any times throughout the breeding season calls come in to veterinary clinics regarding swellings along the sheath of bulls. In many instances a favourable outcome is highly attainable. Location of the swelling tells a lot about its cause. Generally if the penis has been broken the swelling is just ahead of the scrotum. Swellings lower down on the sheath are common with lacerations to either the penis or the prepuce. A broken penis is the result of a rent created in the sinus of the penis. Blood accumulates in the sinus causing the erection. A sudden bend to an erect penis such as being hit when breeding will cause such a break. Then in subsequent breeding attempts blood is pumped out through this defect. The blood is trapped in this location causing the visible swelling. The degree of swelling therefore depends on how many breeding attempts have been made before the producer can pull the bull from the breeding herd. Some bulls will be turned off sexually and may not attempt further breeding. To diagnose a cut penis your veterinarian will either sedate the bull to have a good look at its penis or use an electro ejaculator to be able to visualize it.

Cuts are the result of breeding in bush, over fences, etc. Some bulls are more prone because of their aggressive nature. Some polled bulls have more of a tendency to have their prepuce prolapsed all the time. This greatly increases the likelihood of lacerations and tears.

SEVERAL SCENARIOS Complications involve several scenarios, which can be vastly different in each case. Large cuts can result in infection and subsequent scarring which could prevent the bull from extending his penis therefore not achieving intromission. I personally have seen a case where 100 per cent of a persons herd was open because the herd bull had a scarred down penis. Another very good reason to semen evaluate and make sure the penis can be fully extended. If severe swelling has occurred the prepuce may be prolapsed. This can also occur with broken penises and the resulting, drying, swelling, and cracking of the prolapsed prepuce causes a serious complication. Hydrotherapy with medicating ointments is often prescribed. The swelling must be brought down to allow retraction of the prepuce back into the sheath. In all these cases the bulls can be immediately shipped for emergency slaughter as long as no medication has been given. However

a vast majority can be treated. Depending on age of bull and its value to your herd this option is always available.

TLC AND REST Treatment is not complicated or costly just some labour and the tincture of time with sexual rest resolve many of them. Broken penises require hydrotherapy initially and then a long sexual rest. A few months later the bull may be tested to see if erection is possible. More than 50 per cent of the cases will heal (if caught early before large swellings have occurred), but they do have a higher incidence of reoccurring than in normal bulls. Surgery was tried more often in the past but because of the large blood clot which formed, infection is a very real complication. Prognosis is no better than the conservative medical approach. The blood clot is absorbed over time and as long as adhesions are minimized with hydrotherapy infection is unlikely.

TREATING CUTS Cut penises involve careful scrutinization by your veterinarian. Flushing medication up the sheath along with hydrotherapy and systemic drugs are used in bad cases. Minor cases will be left with just sexual rest and time. If breeding is allowed the laceration


Bulls can be injured in a number of ways, which affect breeding performance, but an injured penis often heals with treatment. may be extended and also blood is very detrimental to sperm. With fresh cuts this mixing of blood and sperm can result in very poor fertility. We know many minor cuts do heal on their own from the scars we see on penises at semen evaluation. These cuts most likely occurred the previous breeding season. The seriousness of the injury will determine prognosis and estimated return to function. Some minor cuts will be healed and the bull ready to use in two to three weeks. They should be checked to make sure complete healing has occurred. Almost all

cuts can be successfully treated however keeping that bull till the next breeding season may not be a wise economic move. That choice again is made based on the value of the bull, his age and when in the breeding season the laceration occurred. When checking your bulls during the breeding season watch for full extension when breeding, blood on breeding and keep a careful watch of the sheath area for any abnormal swellings. † Roy Lewis is a practicing large animal veterinarian at the Westlock Veterinary Center, north of Edmonton, AB. His main interests are bovine reproduction and herd health


Larger cattle supplies weigh on prices JERRY KLASSEN MARKET UPDATE


attle prices fell sharply during April and remain under pressure moving into the summer period. After digesting the “pink slime” media hype earlier in spring, wholesale prices have recovered and packing margins are finally back in positive territory. Despite negative media and stagnating consumer income levels, retail ground beef prices continue to percolate higher making fresh record highs. Beef demand appears to be on solid footing but economic uncertainty due to the European financial crisis has caused North American consumer spending to slow. Restaurant spending has not been as strong as earlier anticipated.

HIGHER PRODUCTION At the same time, beef production will exceed earlier projections due to higher cattle on feed numbers and larger carcass weights. Feedlot margins are hovering deep in red ink which has set a negative tone for feeder cattle. Demand for grass cattle has been sluggish because producers are not comfortable

paying the higher prices compared to last year. U.S. second-quarter beef production is coming in larger than expected. Cattle on feed numbers have been running two to three per cent above year ago levels throughout the spring and carcass weights have been 20 pounds higher compared to 2011. The year to date U.S. slaughter pace was trailing last year by three per cent due to historically low packing margins. Packers cut back on the slaughter in an effort to raise wholesale prices and this also resulted in a backlog of market ready cattle supplies. The slaughter pace is now catching up to last year as packing margins improve. Prices have fed cattle have dropped and wholesale prices have improved. I could see this situation of lower fed prices developing earlier in March. Southern Plains fed cattle reached a high of $130/cwt in late winter but are currently in the range of $118/cwt to $120/ cwt. Looking at the Canadian situation, cattle on feed numbers in Alberta and Saskatchewan are very similar to last year. However, the steer and heifer slaughter pace is down two per cent while live cattle exports are down 8.5 per cent. Carcass weights in Alberta are approximately 50 pounds heavier than last year reflecting that feedlots

are also backing up with market ready supplies. The fed cattle market in Canada and the U.S. is functioning to encourage demand. Now that packing margins are just above breakeven, the slaughter pace can improve but they don’t want to increase beef supplies significantly so that wholesale prices start to decline. This leads us into the demand environment. Retail ground beef prices made fresh record highs in March but started to ease in April and the softer tone has continued into May. Higher end cuts have followed a similar trend as the ground beef.

RETAIL PRICES UP Despite the softer tone, we still find overall retail prices up about 10 per cent over last year. It is important to realize that U.S. personal expenditures are only up four per cent and disposable income is only up 2.8 per cent over last year. It appears retail prices have reached their peak unless we see a significant improvement in the economy. U.S. equity markets made seasonal highs in early May but have since come under pressure due to the renewal of European financial fears. U.S. second quarter GDP and consumer spending will not be as high as earlier anticipated which will result in softer beef demand. Consumer behaviour

US Quarterly Beef Production (Million pounds) Quarter




Est 2012

Est 2012































indicates after a sharp increase in spending during February and March, there is a tendency for spending to contract as people pay of credit card debt or renew the savings. The U.S. and Canada is now in a minor spending contraction period. Fed cattle prices are expected to trade sideways to lower through the summer months. Larger beef supplies and softer demand will keep prices from strengthening. However, lower beef production in the final quarter of 2012 along with an increase in consumer later in fall will result in higher prices for slaughter cattle. I feel the fall fed cattle price will likely peak during the first week of November.

NEGATIVE MARGINS Feedlots in Canada and the U.S. are enduring a period of negative feeding margins in excess of $100 per head. Canadian barley and U.S. corn stocks will be historically tight

at the end of the 2011-12 crop year. Feedgrain prices usually peak shortly after seeding in years of tight stocks and I expect a similar price pattern this summer. Feedgrains are expected to come under pressure in June and continue to trend lower into the summer period. I expect feeder cattle prices to remain under pressure into the summer months and then slowly percolate higher in the fall period making seasonal highs in December. Producers should plan to market accordingly. October feeder cattle futures are still near historical highs and it is probably prudent to take some price protection on a portion of potential marketings. We have all seen how drastically prices can change within a six month period. † Gerald Klassen analyses cattle and hog markets in Winnipeg and also maintains an interest in the family feedlot in Southern Alberta. For comments or speaking engagements, he can be reached at or 204 287 8268

JUNE 4, 2012 /


Cattleman’s Corner DAIRY CORNER

Don’t ignore cow nutrition during dry period PETER VITTI

would occur between first and second lactations.



fter 10 months on the milk line, dairy cows complete their annual cycle by being dried, put into a designated “dry cow pen,” which may be further broken down into an early dry cow pen and close-up cow group. While there is a lot of emphasis on close-up cows, healthy faraway dry cows make a significant contribution to the well-being of the whole herd. Rather than be viewed as a period of non-lactation rest, a proper nutrition and management program for faraway dry cows will also help revitalize these hardworking milk producers, and lead to another successful lactation. During the early part of this “resting” phase, three active things should happen: (1) the dried-down udder goes through a period of involution and its milk secretory cells rejuvenate; (2) the rumen rebounds by regenerating its tissue lining (papillae growth) and muscle tone; and (3) internal organs possibly damaged during lactation, such as the liver, can be repaired. Failure to complete any one of these vital goals during the faraway dry period could compromise good health status and decrease milk production in the following lactation.

Aside from the duration of a dry cow period, which should include enough faraway dry days, the nutrition of faraway dry cows is still viewed as very important. The National Research Council (NRC) requirements for energy, protein, minerals and vitamins of the faraway dry cow are approximately 80 to 85 per cent of a lactating counterpart cow milking 30 litres during later lactation. Consequently, a cow taken off the milkline should be brought into the non-lactation period with an optimum body condition score at around 3.0 to 3.5 (1 = thin, and 5 = fat) and fed a well-balanced diet based on a maintenance plane of nutrition. While it seems tempt-

ing to build back body condition on thinner dairy cows, this exercise is best handled in late lactation, rather than the dry period. Similarly, over-conditioned faraway dry cows should be fed like their optimum BCS pen-mates, which avoids putting them on a “diet” that leads to metabolic problems during early lactation. With a proper faraway feeding program, it is not particularly difficult to maintain the dry cow body condition of any animal in the dry cow pen. One should target dry matter intake at 1.8 to 2.0 per cent or about 11 to 12 kg (23 to 25 lbs.) of dry feed based on a forage level of at least 60 per cent of total ration dry matter. Most sound recommendations advise good quality long-stem grass hay is the best choice for faraway dry cow rations. It should contain enough energy and protein to meet their essen-

tial requirements as well as have enough digestible fibre to keep the cows’ rumen functioning. If crop residues such as low energy — low protein corn stalks are fed, they should be supplemented with feeds that are nutritionally complimentary; such as adding good quality corn distillers’ grains. Furthermore, some corn or cereal grain (1.0 to 1.5 kilo) might be warranted to help meet with energy requirements. Macro- and trace-minerals should also be balanced in the diet, and adequate levels of vitamins A, D and E should always be fed. As new dry cows are brought in and put on this new faraway dry cow feeding program, it is also timely to get some other non-nutritional work done such as establish a good dry cow therapy (infused in all udder quarters) in order to eliminate bacterial infections contacted

in lactation as well as prevent new infections from occurring. Dry cow time is a good period for hoof trimming, worming and giving pregnancy-safe vaccinations. Having an encompassing program that meets the special dietary and other non-nutritional needs of the faraway dry cow is just as important as any other program for dairy cows. Its dry length might be shortened for efficiency and economic reasons, but its elimination has been proven to be detrimental to the lactation side of the dairy operation. Providing proper nutrition and management attention to faraway dry cows is a well-spent investment that should pay off with healthy and productive milk cows. † Peter Vitti is an independent livestock nutritionist and consultant based in Winnipeg. To reach him call 204-254-7497 or by email at

Cut it, Ted it, Rake it, Move it.

60-DAYS COMMON A 60-day total non-lactation or dry period is still a common practice on most dairy farms and most recommended (i.e.: University of Davis) to allow spent udders to revitalize; 40 days for faraway cows and about 20 pre-lactation days for the close-up animals. In contrast, some dairy specialists advocate cows really don’t need this entire 60-day dry cow period to prepare for lactation. They point out that many high milk producing cows produce significant amounts of milk during the latter part of their lactation and it would be of greater economic benefit to allow additional days of milking rather than dry them off on a man-made schedule. A more natural faraway dry cow period might reduce the stress high producing cows tend to experience when they enter a dry cow group such as physical discomfort of being dried-off, a new high forage diet and internal changes to their own internal metabolism. It might also justify the elimination of a designated “faraway” dry cow diet and allows dry cows to adjust to a specialized pre-calving diet in a shorter time-frame. University research on a shorter dry period for dairy cows has been mixed. Their reports reveal milk producing dairy cows allowed less than 30 “dry” days produce substantial less milk during the next lactation. Some other “modified” dry period trials show no milk loss in mature cows put though a 30-day period, while younger first-lactation cows have consistent reduced milk yields. These researchers speculate this parity difference to dry period length in dairy cows might be due to further mammary development that

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JUNE 4, 2012 canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Special event Section


10 tips for leaving Farm Progress Show fat, tired and broke Farm show veteran, Grainews field editor Lee Hart, has some tips for your June trip to Regina are like fly paper, or those annoying people who stand at the door talking and won’t leave, so watch out for them.




y philosophy with farm shows is to go early, stay late, and look at every booth and display there is. That is my philosophy. The reality is I am usually tired, sore and hungry by 11 a.m., looking for someplace to sit down, and alarmed that I have only seen about one per cent of the displays. Farm shows are a lot of work, even if you’re someone like me who really isn’t planning to buy anything, unless I see a miracle mop that works without water (my wife would love that), a handheld pruning tool that can lob off an oak tree with one easy squeeze, or the most amazing sharpest, stylist pocket knife to add to my collection — you can never have too many jack knives. But walking, looking, packing around a shopping bag full of literature, pens, rain gauges and notepads, shaking your head “no thanks” while trying to be somewhat pleasant, and doing your best to avoid eye-contact with investment councilors, bankers, shoe polish peddlers and orthotic specialists does make a person weary. And you really have to watch out for those publication booths. “Do you get our publications? Would you like to subscribe? Would you like to renew? Here, take one of our most recent issues — in fact, we have six, so take one of each they only weigh 10 pounds — you can never have too much to read.” These people

All lamenting aside, I like farm shows. And the Farm Progress Show coming up in Regina June 20 to 22 is a doozy. I don’t go to every farm show in Western Canada, but I hit a few each year and Farm Progress is one of my favorites. Always lots to see, and June is nice month for everything — usually not too hot, and most years, very little chance of snow. The show is centered at EVRAZ Place/ Regina Exhibition Grounds in Regina. (EVRAZ is a global steel manufacturing and mining company — I didn’t know that.) Follow along Lewvan Drive and you can’t miss it. This year they are on par with about 550 exhibitors. That group is showing off about 1,700 different products — that’s a lot of samples, free gifts and pamphlets to lug home, so bring the truck. Bryan Adams is headlining a concert at the Brandt Centre June 21, so that would be a great show. But the real business is selling farm machinery, and every possible farm accessory or service you can imagine. The usual suspects are there — the major Canadian and North American manufacturers of tractors, seeding, harvesting and tillage equipment. The show focuses on field crops — production and crop handling and storage. Along with the majors there are also names, companies and products you may not have heard of… so you have to look around. And there is always a smattering of livestock handling equipment,

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so be sure to find those booths, if you have cattle. Much like the Calgary Stampede, where I find the same mini-donut stand is in the same location every year, I am guessing if you saw where Versatile tractors or Brandt augers were last year, they and other regular displayers will be in the same location this year. However, one area that often has something new is the FCC innovations centre and that’s where relatively new equipment ideas or farmer inventions get recognized. I see this year, among innovations, are a subtiller as well as a vacuum planter for canola developed by Todd Botterill of Newton, Man.; Bobby Volesky of Fargo, North Dakota has a wireless monitor to identify blockages in an air seeder — it sends a message to your iPad in the tractor cab; Mark Devloo of Somerset, Man. has developed a mud scraper for tires; Brad Michel of St. Gregor, Sask. has a crop catcher (shield) for the combine header; Gerald Foster of Sunnybrook, Alta. has a “box” concave system for axial flow rotary combines (I am never sure what that all means); Duane Bartok of Esterhazy, Sask. has a reverser device for the haybine to unplug the haybine from the seat of the tractor; and there are more, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises. I haven’t seen any news releases, but I suspect Balzer will be there with a 10,000 bushel grain cart, to compliment Bourgault’s 10,000 bushel air seeding tanks. Seedhawk or Seed Master will likely have 500-foot wide air seeding systems so you can seed all crops in your municipal district in three hours. And Versatile probably has a new Class 22 Russian-built combine

you can use to harvest all crops in your county in half a day… point is there is always something bigger, faster and more amazing. Last year I got a kick out of Sakundiak’s remote control Swing Max Pro auger that operated like one of those Transformer toys. I almost bought a farm, just so I could justify owning one. The show is big, by my standards anyway, and you will probably be joining 45,000 to 50,000 other Western farmers and their families out to see what is new. The Farm Progress people think it is impressive to mention they have about two million square feet of displays. But to me that just means a lot of walking. That’s about 45 acres. And when you consider you can’t go 10 feet without something to look at, plan on a couple days.

LEE’S SHOW TIPS Here are a few tips from my vast farm show experience that may help you enjoy the show to its fullest: 1. Go early — always the best parking options, it’s cooler, and some booths have a limited number of give-aways, so make sure you get yours. Parking is $5 per vehicle. (Show admission is $15 per person — kids under 12 are free.) 2. Get a Farm Progress Show program guide. The Western Producer usually includes one in a June issue, and copies are available on the grounds. It lists all the exhibitors and has maps to show you were to find them if you are looking for something in particular. 3. Ride the trolley. There are several tractor-drawn trolleys winding through the show all day. You can hop on and off at

many locations. It not only saves wear and tear on your feet, but it is a good way to familiarize yourself with where various outdoor exhibitors are located so you can plan your day better. 4. Bring your camera, or a cell phone with a camera. A picture of a display, piece of machinery, or a billboard may be easier to carry around than a grocery bag full of pamphlets. Pen and paper are handy tools for making notes. Consider bringing a backpack. It is good way to carry your loot, and still leave your hands free. 5. You know those address labels charities send you when looking for a donation? I’ve seen some people bring those sheets to trade shows and apply them to the contests/draws entry forms at different booths. Good way to use them up. Once or twice I have seen really organized people entering draws with a self-inking rubber stamp. 6. It is a family event, so everyone is welcome. If you have little kids, bring a good stroller. I don’t have little kids anymore, but one piece of advice I heard — if you have little kids avoid locations where they hand out helium filled balloons until later in the day, unless you want to be babysitting a bobbing balloon all day. 7. Dress for comfort. You can never be sure about the weather. Comfortable shoes are important because there is a lot of walking, and as I recall, not all that many places to sit down. Again, a backpack is a good idea for carrying a light jacket, ball cap, or small umbrella. If you have a spouse or friend with you, make sure they have one as well, so you’re not stuck carrying all their stuff too. I’ve been there. 8. Food. There are a number of different food venues. There is one main Tim Hortons in the Co-operator’s Centre, which is always busy, but I also believe there is a second Tim Horton’s kiosk elsewhere on the grounds, so look for that. There are several hamburger stands on the grounds where you can get burgers, sausages, beef on a bun, cold drinks and more. Each has one or two picnic tables, but there isn’t a lot of seating. (There is one burger stand near the Brandt Centre that gives you way more fries than a person can possibly eat, so go there for sure.) The concourse of the Brandt Centre also has concession stands. And there are dining areas inside different buildings, so again consult your show guide for locations. And there is always the beer garden. 9. If you have a tendency toward impulse buying, leave your wallet or cheque book at home, or bring your spouse with you. It is one of those events where “gee, it seemed like a good idea, at the time” might apply. There are some pretty good show deals available from many suppliers, but any reputable outfit will honor those prices until you’ve had time to sleep on it. 10. And, finally, do not, under any circumstances, leave Farm Progress Show without picking up a free copy of Grainews. I’ll even autograph it for you, which should add at least 10 cents to its value as a collector’s item. † Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at

JUNE 4, 2012 /


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BOX 69, ROSENORT, MB R0G 1W0 Phone: 204-746-8441 / Fax: 204-746-8746 Email: Web Page: COLLYER’S SALES & SERVICE

603 Pacific Pacific Ave, Brandon, MB R7A 0H9 SOUTHEASTERN FARM EQUIP LTD. Phone: 204-727-2491 / Fax: 204-727-2492 300 PTH 12N, STEINBACH, MB R5G 1T6 Email: kcoIIyer( Phone: 204-326-9834 / Fax: 204-326-4173 Email: Web Page:


3859 - HWY 12, LACOMBE, ALBERTA T4L 1A8 Phone: 403-782-6873 / Fax: 403-782-6650 Email: LARAMEE ENTERPRISES Web Page:

70-10th Street N.E. Portage La Prairie, MB RIN 1B4 TABER SMALL ENGINE Phone: 204-857-3483 / Fax: 204-353-2278 6108-50TH STREET, TABER, AB T1G 1J5 Email: Phone: 403-223-1027 / Fax: 403-223-1027 Email:

Phone: 306-297-2234 Fax: 307-297-2829 Email:


BOX 540, HWY 20EQUIP SOUTHLTD. SOUTHEASTERN FARM HUMBOLDT, SK S0K 2A0 300 PTH 12N, Steinbach, MB R5G 1T6 Phone: 306-682-0738 / Fax: 306-682-5458 Phone: 204-326-9834 / Fax: 204-326-4173 Web Page:

127-8TH AVE N.W. SWIFT CURRENT, SK S9H 0Z5 Phone: 306-773-2926 Fax: 306-773-6066 TYNDALL POWER /PRODUCTS LTD. Email: BOX 228, Tyndall, MB ROE 2B0 Web Page: Phone: 204-268-3006 / Fax: 204-268-1203

Web Page: 415 RAILWAY ST.

BOX 294, UNITY S0K 4L0




Phone: 306-228-3800 / Fax: 306-228-4440 KAMSACK , SASKATCHEWAN S0A 1S0 THE Email: KROEKER MACHINERY SALES LTD.LAWN MOWER HOSPITAL ROSENORT MOTORS LTD. KNR AG SALES & SERVICE Phone: 306-542-2445 / Fax: 306-542-3216 7555 - 72A Street (Argyll Road & 76th Ave) Email: 415 1ST Street, Winkler, MB R6W 4B1 BOX 69, Rosenort, MB ROG IWO Box 164, Brunkild, Manitoba ROG OEO WHITE’S AG.SALES AND SERVICE TYNDALL POWER PRODUCTS LTD. Edmonton Alberta T6B 1Z3 BOX 1030 Phone: / Fax: 204-325-5150 Phone: 204-746-8441 / Fax: 204-746-8746 Phone: 204-736-3050 / Fax: 204-736-3152 LAZAR EQUIPMENT LTD. BOX 228, TYNDALL, MB204-325-4311 R0E 2B0 Phone: 780-437-1851 / Fax: 780-435-0146 WHITEWOOD SASKATCHEWAN S0G 5C0 520 - 9TH STREET WEST Email : edwinhoeppner(ã Email: Email : Email: Phone: 204-268-3006 / Fax: 204-268-1203 Phone: 306-735-2300 / Fax: 306-735-4444 MEADOW LAKE, SK S9XWeb 1S8 Page Email: Web Page: Web Page Web Page: Email: Phone: 306-236-5222 / Fax: 306-236-5252



JUNE 4, 2012 canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Special event Section

Bins and dryers

Call to learn how MC dryers will give you HIGHEST QUALITY GRAIN and HIGHEST EFFICIENCY, which puts dollars on your bottom line. Complete setup from hopper bins for wet grain to augers and bucket elevators for automated handling.

5 ways to dry grain 1) Properly designed bins. 2) Picking the right fan can double your airflow. 3) By adding the right burner. (Call the office to get a FAST-DRY article) 4) Stir Drying. 5) MC dryers (see above). Call to discuss.


WALL GRAIN Built Right. On Time.





North AB


South AB


Meet the „GIANTS“* at Farm Progress Show

The No.1 in blue LEMKEN Rubin

Since its been introduced, the Rubin has proven to be the No.1 for Compact Discs Harrows. The combination of full surface cultivation even at shallow

depth, excellent mixing quality and high durability has convinced farmers around the world. That is the quality of LEMKEN. Or, as we call it: The No.1 in blue.

See us at the Farm Progress Show, June 20 - 22, Booth 6100

Agent for MB and SK: Please ask our dealers for details: AG West Equipment Ltd. AG West Equipment Ltd. Avonlea Farm Sales Ltd. Tri Star Farm Service Ltd. WH-Agri Machines Lowe Farm, MB, Tel. 1-204-712-7073 Portage la Prairie, MB Neepawa, MB Domain, MB Regina, SK Tel: 1-204-857-5130 Tel: 1-204-476-5378 Tel: 1-204-736-2893 Tel: 1-306-586-1603

*Giants=Gigant system carrier for LEMKEN Rubin and Heliodor

JUNE 4, 2012 /


canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Special event Section

Precise. Gentle. Precise. Gentle. Efficient.

Call now and ask about the near-singulation accuracy of our UltraPro Canola Meter, our game-changing NovaXP Smart Cart, and the huge cost-savings you’ll gain with our Auto Zone Command overlap control.

The Leader. By Design.




JUNE 4, 2012

our stainless steel liquid fertilizer tanks are built to last...

canada’S canada’S farm farm progreSS progreSS Show Show JuneJune 20 - 20 22,- 2012, 22, 2012, regina, regina, SK SK

Special Special event event Section Section

generation after generation e us at Come se#D139 th boo

factory direct many sizes available... up to 370 metric tonnes


high resale value

Cropsavers can be mounted on virtually any

high corrosion resistance to sulphur, nitrogen and phosphate

High-clearance sprayer, pull-type sprayer or farm tractor

minimal maintenance lowest long term cost

• New hydraulic jack option for faster and safer tire changes. • Quick attach for easier, quicker and safer handling. • Optional airlift available


butt-welded for superior strength


professionally engineered

Depending on tire size & machine type

Field Proven For Over 10 years Floating Parallel Lift Floating Sensitivity and Height Adjustment Slim Dividing Tip Design Stong Stainless Steel Cones with Enclosed Back Deflector Arms - Greaseless Pins Horizontal Adjustment Bolt-on Kits - Weld-on Kits


Box 101, Rosenort, MB R0G 1W0 Ph: 204.74.NOVID (746.6843) Fax: 204.746.8480 Email:

Standard Narrow

Standard Wide

Advantage Of Cropsavers • Savings of $6-$7 per acre • Cropsavers will pay for themselves after 1 section • Saves flagleaf damage when spraying Fungicides or Herbicides • Less Volunteer grain the following year in sprayer tracks • Easier Swathing, Combining and Tillage when grain is not trampled

w w w . n o v i d . c a

WE WELCOME CANADIAN BUYERS AND SELLERS Our Next Consignment Auction at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks is July 19

Bean Tip splits crop closer to the ground. Use in pulse crops, potatoes & row crops.

Short for tight (horizontal) applications

Chopped for tight (vertical) applications

Ad Deadline June 18


Complete list of upcoming auctions can be found at


Check out our youtube channel at:

2702 17th Avenue S • Grand Forks, ND 58201 • Fax 701-757-4016

Phone 701-757-4015

Experience SALFORD | 866-292-6115 | RR2, Neepawa, MB ROJ 1H0

See SALFORD’s new 525 Series Precision Seeder

at the Western Canada Farm Progress Show June 20-22


Our Seeding early order program is in full swing! To find out how much you can save on the purchase of new equipment, contact a participating SALFORD dealer today for details. Salford Farm Machinery Ltd. Anson Boak

Ontario, Canada • Osceola, Iowa • 1-866-442-1293

IO: DRKM-SFM-2012-020 For Drainage AD#SFM05_17-10.25x3 ROTARY DITCHER Headline: “Experience Salford Savings”

Grain News


he faster, easier way to cut and maintain drainage channels. The dirt is spread from 6’ - 200’ as the channel is cut. Works in virtually all conditions including standing water and overgrown ditches. Also used to build terraces and clean out drifted in soil.

72” flywheel 180-280 hp 1000 PTO

60” flywheel 150-280 hp 1000 PTO

42” flywheel 150-180 hp 1000 PTO 100-150 hp 540 PTO

ROTARY DITCHERS (1994) LTD. The new 60” dia. rotary ditcher, taking a 18” deep cut, moves over 500 cu. yds/hr. A 72” cut moves 600 cu. yds/hr. Dirt is continuously spread as channel is cut.

Box 40, Fannystelle, MB CANADA R0G 0P0

For bigger drainage channels make multiple cuts.

PH: 204-436-2469 FAX: 436-2466

30” flywheel 30-50 hp 540 PTO

Giesbrecht Machine Plum Coulee, MB Call Dave at:


JUNE 4, 2012 /


canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Special event Section



BOOTH # 80207



JUNE 4, 2012 canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Special event Section


WCFPS offers a look at what’s new

Attending farm shows can give you a first look what’s new in the ag machinery sector SCOTT GARVEY



There are several small-product retailers who set up booths at the WCFPS. Almost all of them offer special “show prices” on their wares, which means you can pick up a few bargains on those things you need for your farm workshop.



ur land rollers are the heaviest and largest in the field, and the easiest to fold and unfold with our patented FORWARDTM system that lets you unfold while moving forward. And our multisection design allows our rollers to better follow the contours of the field. Choose from 1, 3, 5 or 7-sections in widths up to 85’.

Rite Way’s ever-popular RR250ST rock picker now has an even larger bucket that lifts higher for dumping. MAXI, our new rotary harrow, is three harrows in one. Use it to lightly harrow or aggessively level your field and dig out debris. Adjust the tine angle on the go from your tractor cab as your field conditions change. MAXI and Jumbo Junior, our midrange harrows also feature the FORWARDTM

RITE WAY PRODUCTS Land rollers: 1-section, 3-section, 5-section & 7-section Jumbo Heavy Harrows Jumbo Junior Midrange Harrows MAXI Rotary Harrows Rock Pickers - 2 sizes Rock Windrowers - 2 sizes Combine Header

See you at the show! 1-800-352-8822 | 1-306-963-2180 |

s machinery editor here at Grainews, attending farm shows is an essential part of my job. Although for me — as for most machinery enthusiasts — having a job that requires you to walk through equipment displays hardly qualifies as work. And if keeping up to speed on what the machinery market has to offer is important to your farming operation, attending farm shows ought to be high on your priority list as well. Here’s why.

The technology component of modern farm equipment is now moving forward at a breakneck pace. And manufacturers often introduce new features and products at regional events like the Western Canada Farm Progress Show in Regina. For those who fall into the “professional farmer” category, that is very large-scale operators, most new products hitting the market these days offer a way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Telematics come to mind as one. Heading to a major farm show is a great way to really find out the details about products like that. Even if they were introduced elsewhere, companies usually have marketing specialists at their booths who know the all new products inside out. Dealership salesmen are generally pretty good at helping you understand their products, but it’s hard to beat talking to someone right from the manufacturer. Talking with company marketing reps is the best way to get the lowdown on any machine or technology. If high-end items like telematics and auto guidance aren’t in your future, the same benefit applies to small-scale machines or those with basic, no-frills features. Farm shows are great places to make the kind of product comparisons you need to consider for any kind of equipment purchase. You can walk from one booth to the next and really compare apples to apples, all at the same place on the same day. I don’t think there’s a better way to shop. When you’re finally ready to buy, all you need to do at a dealership is talk price. And, of course, while you’re at a show why not take a look at those things others are using. Even if you won’t be using a 600-horsepower tractor in the foreseeable future, you’ll probably have a chance to sit in the cab of one and daydream a bit. One of the things you may not associate with farm shows is the chance to find a bargain. Many of the smaller-product retailers typically offer special “show prices” on their merchandise. I picked up a great auto-darkening welding helmet at a pretty big discount during year’s show in Regina. (I needed it to match the new mig welder and plasma cutter I got a deal on during Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon.) And here’s one final — and significant — reason to consider attending the WCFPS, if you farm in Western Canada. This show focuses on dry-land farming equipment, exactly the kind you work with. There are a lot of great shows all across North America each year, but few focus specifically on the kind of machinery that is common in our part of the world the way the Regina show does. I’ve been at several events across North America and into Europe, so you can take my word for that. If you do make it to the WCFPS in Regina this month, Lee Hart and I will be at the Grainews booth for a while, so stop by and say hello. † Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at

JUNE 4, 2012 /

canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Special event Section


Experience Lightning-Fast Unloading

The Parker 1048 and 1348 models — holding 1,025 and 1,325 bushels, respectively — feature: • Unloading times of more than 8 bushels per second for model 1048 and 12 bushels per second for 1348! • Exclusive in-line auger with linear sump for fastest unloading • Engineered for less starting torque with fewer moving parts

Exclusive in-line auger features the lightning-fast unloading times of a

• Greater reach for unloading ease High-flotation single wheels, walking-tandem dual wheels or track system are available. Other options include roll-over tarp and scale package. See your local Parker dealer today or check our website at


double auger grain cart with fewer wearing parts.

P.O. Box 357 • Kalida, OH 45853 (419) 532-3121• Fax (419) 532-2468 • 1-800-322-6301



JUNE 4, 2012 canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK




Special event Section

MUD “Can’t Go Round With Dirty Wheels!” Custom Built � � Better Fuel Economy � Fits Every Size Packer Wheel � More Consistent Seed Depth

NO more Skidding packer wheels! M.DEVLOO MFG.LTD Mark Devloo Somersert, MB Phone: 888.744.2077 Cell: 204.825.7655 Email: Patent Pending AGROCORP INTERNATIONAL 7.250X2.50 000027435r1 4CFARM PROGRESS SHOW FEATURE

We are proud to announce the development of our new processing facility in Moose Jaw, SK.. Agrocorp believes strongly in the products we trade, their nutritional benefits and their role in making the world a healthier place. Long term partnerships are at the core of Agrocorp International’s mission and we pride ourselves in conducting business with honesty and integrity.

PLEASE COME VISIT US DURING THE 2012 FARM PROGRESS SHOW IN REGINA FROM JUNE 20-22 AT BOOTH 10106 Vancouver Office: 201-209 Carrall Street Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2

Moose Jaw site location: 1402 East Caribou Street Moose Jaw, SK S6H 4P8

Phone# (604)681-8675

Phone# (306)693-8887


R eal



Standard Features:

Aerodynamic for better fuel efficiency

from $ 10,605.00 Deluxe Package


Divider *Interior light *Upgrade to LED lighting *Spray on Liner on inside of trailer to first rib *Aluminum Checkerplate on front (List price $1,000.00)

Sale $ 695.00 authorized dealer for:


complete with installation from $698.00

- Duck bill coupler - Center dividing gate with outside release - Two way backdoor with sealed bearings - 2 x 10 fir plank with wearplate at back for easy maintenance - Spray on liner on front & sides up to 2nd rib - Floor plunger in back door for extra security - Roof air scoop - Spare tire & rim - Rubber torsion axles with brakes on all wheels - Totally enclosed wiring harness with sealed junction box - Deep-ribbed sides -19" spacing for all crossmembers - Manitoba government safety certificate

3 year warranty

eal Industries Ltd. Real Products, Real Quality, Real Prices! - 61 9 6

JUNE 4, 2012 Special event Section


COME SEE US AT THE SHOW Ask about the 2012 model and its many new features and schedule a free demo! /


canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK



USED Radios

JUNE 4, 2012

Motorola VHF Mobile Radios

Special event Section

250 USED 320Radios Implement Cam USED USED Radios Radios $ $

canada’S farm progreSS Show June 20 - 22, 2012, regina, SK

Starting at Quantun QM-790 Spring Price Break! $

Retriever SLT

c/w microphone, power cable, radio bracket, programmed to freq.


Motorola VHF Mobile Radios

VHF or UHF • 2 Year Warranty • 128 channel • Alphanumeric Display • 25/45 Watts of power • Mil-Spec 810 C/D/E/F Built tough • Voice Scrambling included • GPS Compatible • Mini connector (Motorola Style) c/w microphone, power cable, radioUHF bracket, programmed to freq.

Motorola Radios Colour Camera System MotorolaVHF VHF Mobile Radios Starting at Mobile 250 Retriever SLT

250 250 $ Implement Cam StartingColour at Implement Camera SystemCam Implement Cam

Retriever SLT


Starting Starting at VHF or UHF


• 2 Year Warranty • 128 channel • Alphanumeric Display • 25/45 Watts of power • Mil-Spec 810 C/D/E/F Built tough • Voice Scrambling included • GPS Compatible • Mini UHF connector (Motorola Style)

Limited Quantities

c/w microphone, powerradio cable, radioprogrammed bracket, programmed to freq. c/w microphone, power cable, bracket, to freq.

Finally Affordable Communications! $ 37345

with antenna and coax • Capable of Colour 4 cameras and System Camera Auger Sales Ends May 31-2012 comes withColour 1 cameraCamera System No If Ands or Butts mount Get your order in today! • 7” Mon., Complete systems Optional now at CompetitivelyStarting Priced! Quad Monitor • Capable 4 4cameras and available! 204-728-8878 • Wire & Wireless unitsofavailable Auger • Capable of cameras and (Shown) Auger Toll Free 1-866-289-8164 comes with 1 1camera comes with camera • Ideal for Grain Augers, Combines mount mount • Capable of 4 cameras and •Mon., 7” Mon., Complete systems • 7” Complete systems Auger Optional now and Grain Trucks, to monitor your Optional comes with 1Priced! camera Competitively Priced! now Competitively mount Quad Monitor Quad Monitor • Wire & Wireless unitssystems available available! • 7” Mon., Complete (Shown) harvesting operation • Wire & Wireless units available available! (Shown) Optional • Ideal for Grain Augers, Combines now Competitively Priced! Ideal Grain Augers, Combines Quad Monitor • Weather and• water resistant andfor Grain Trucks, to monitor your • Wire & Trucks, Wirelesstounits available available! (Shown) and Grain harvesting operationmonitor your cameras IP 67harvesting Rated! • Ideal foroperation Grain Augers, Combines • Weather and water resistant and Grain Trucks, to monitor your • 18 IR LEDS so you can see your cameras IP 67 Rated! • Weather and water resistant harvesting operation • 18 IR LEDS so you can see your cameras IP 67 Rated! air seeder tank. air seeder and tank.water resistant • Weather Great forviewing viewing Great for your your • 18 IR LEDS so you • See need areas that you can needsee to your • See areas thatcameras you to IP 67 Rated! Canola in airseeder! air seeder tank. without any inthe the airseeder! Great for viewing your • 18 IR LEDSdowntime! so you can see yourCanola without any downtime! Camera Sees in total darkness! • Trimble cables available • See areas adapter that you need to air seeder tank. Camera Seesfor total darkness! • Trimble adapter cables available Great viewing your Canola ininthe airseeder! without any downtime! Auto Camera Switch, on all 4 ch units,

325 Starting at 325

$$ Starting at $325

Motorola is the TM of Motorola USA

712 Victoria Ave. East Brandon, MB

BATTERY CHARGER The Retriever TH features an exclusive battery charging system to maintain a full charge when mounted on the semi-tractor. The battery and charging system are protected in a weather proof enclosure...another Retriever TH first!

2-POINT HITCH LIFT SYSTEM REMOVABLE DRAWBAR The Patent Pending Two-Point Another time saving Retriever TH hitch system features a lift/lower feature is the massive removable range of motion based on tractor drawbar that features a Drop Pin CAT III specifications. With Quick style hammerstrap that makes REMOVABLE DRAWBAR Attach hooks that lock into hitching to drawbar type Another time saving Retriever TH receivers in the mast, changing implements easy to do. With a is the massive from CAT III to CAT II takes only a 12,000 feature lb. drawbar capacity you'll removable matter that features a Drop Pin of seconds! With two lock tow thedrawbar largest implements. pin locations the Quick Attach style hammerstrap that makes valves. Mounted in a weather hooks extend to handle Kinze hitching to drawbar type proof enclosure with removable planter two point hitches.

BATTERY CHARGER The Retriever TH features an exclusive battery charging system to maintain a full charge when mounted on the semi-tractor. The BATTERY CHARGER battery and charging system are The Retriever TH featuresproof an protected in a weather exclusive battery charging system enclosure...another Retriever TH first! a full charge when to maintain

HYDRAULIC POWER PACK 12-volt hydraulic power pack operates the Retriever TH lift/lower functions and remote valves. Mounted in a weather HYDRAULIC POWER PACK proof enclosure with removable 12-volt hydraulic pack lid, the power pack ispower protected operates theroad Retriever TH from weather, salt, even power washing! lift/lower functions and remote

mounted on the semi-tractor. The battery and charging system are protected in a weather proof enclosure...another Retriever TH first!

lid, the power pack is protected from weather, road salt, even power washing!

HYDRAULIC POWER PACK 12-volt hydraulic power pack operates the Retriever TH lift/lower functions and remote valves. Mounted in a weather proof enclosure with removable lid, the power pack is protected from weather, road salt, even power washing!

implements easy to do. With a 12,000 lb. drawbar capacity you'll tow the largest implements.

CAT III specifications. With Quick Attach hooks that lock into receivers in the mast, changing 2 of 3 from CAT III to CAT II takes only a matter of seconds! With two lock pin locations the Quick Attach hooks extend to handle Kinze planter two point hitches.

2 of 3

OPTIONAL Elevated Quick Attach Hooks provide an extra 3" of lift height to the two-point hitch system for extremely long planters.

OPTIONAL Elevated Quick Attach Hooks provide an extra 3" of lift height to the two-point hitch system for extremely long planters.

• See areas that you need to • Trimble adapter cables available 1-60 durations without anySeconds downtime!

• Trimble adapter cables available

2 of 3 2-POINT HITCH LIFT SYSTEM The Patent Pending Two-Point hitch system features a lift/lower range of motion based on tractor CAT III specifications. With Quick Attach hooks that lock into receivers in the mast, changing from CAT III to CAT II takes only a 2-POINT HITCH LIFT SYSTEM matter of seconds! With two lock The Patent Pending Two-Point pin locations the Quick Attach hitch system features a lift/lower hooks extend to handle Kinze planter two point hitches. range of motion based on tractor

REMOVABLE DRAWBAR Another time saving Retriever TH feature is the massive removable drawbar that features a Drop Pin style hammerstrap that makes hitching to drawbar type implements easy to do. With a 12,000 lb. drawbar capacity you'll tow the largest implements.

10/05/2012 7:12 AM


204-728-8878 Toll Free 1-866-289-8164 Toll Free 1-866-289-8164 204-728-8878 712 Victoria Ave. East Brandon, MB 204-728-8878 Free 1-866-289-8164

10/05/2012 7:12 AM



10/05/2012 7:12 AM

• Destroys compaction as deep as 18” • Improves water and oxygen infiltration in soil • Minimal surface disturbance, ideal for reduced tillage practices • Heavy duty frame and shanks, pull type or 3 point mount

“We have been very satisfied using the Wolverine ditcher for the past two years. We put about 475 hours on the 2009 model and then traded to a 2010. We like the 2010 model even better with the improved way the dirt feeds in and the heavier duty wear parts. We believe the Wolverine will do the work of three scrapers.” - Alfred Moore, Christenson Farms, Drayton, North Dakota

Get the job done in half the time! There is simply no better way to make and maintain ditches, waterways and terraces.

Call 204-871-5004 or see us at Farm Progress Booth 6105-6106 Outside!

The Wolverine: • eliminates the operation of leveling dirt piles left behind by a scraper • works in heavy clay soils • reduces field compaction compared to using a scraper • creates smooth ditches that allow field equipment to pass through with ease (no ridges or barrel cuts) • can be used at virtually anytime throughout the growing season

See the Wolverine in action on our website:

TollVictoria Free 1-866-289-8164 712 Ave. East Brandon, MB 712 Victoria Ave. East Brandon, MB

SK: (306) 586-1603 • TF: 1-877-581-1603


Super heavy duty construction for years of trouble-free performance.

Camera Sees in total darkness! 204-728-8878

Box 68 - RR2, Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 2Z2 OPTIONAL Elevated Quick Attach Hooks provide an extra 3" of lift height to the two-point hitch system for extremely long planters.

Camera Sees in total darkness! Canola inEast the airseeder! 712 Victoria Ave. Brandon, MB

Manitoba Dealers:

Saskatchewan Dealers:

Keystone Agri Motive, Steinbach Phone: 204-326-9832 (Andy Wiebe) Ag West Equipment Ltd. Portage La Prairie Phone: 204-857-5130 (Russ Tufford) Altona Farm Service, Altona Phone: 204-324-5523 (Jack) K&R Ag sales and Service, Brunkkild Phone: 204-736-3050 (Robin)

Markusson New Holland, Regina Phone: 306-781-2828 (Corey or Derrick) John Bob Farm Equipment Ltd, Tisdale Phone: 306-879-4588 (Garry Skjerpen)

North Dakota Dealers Hanson’s Auto and Impliment Inc., Grafton IL Phone: 701-352-3600 (Chris or Brent)

Alberta Dealers S5 Sales Ltd., Lomond Phone: 403-485-8375 (Doug) Foster’s AgriWorld, Beaverlodge Phone: 780-354-3622 (Jason) In MB and Eastern SK Botterill Sales 204-871-5004

See Us At The Farm Progress Show June 20-22 Booth 6105-6106

In AB and Western SK Kirchner Machine 403-328-5569

JUNE 4, 2012 /



Keep wooden granaries in working order A little TLC can keep your aging bins lasting longer and save you money BY RON SETTLER


hen I drive by one of those farms with long rows of hopper bins, I wonder what some of those farmers would say if they saw our old wooden bins. Over the last 10 years my son Ben has encouraged me to gather up some of the old plywood round bins to make our grain storage a bit easier. Thank goodness for his prodding. We now have a row of about 20 round wood and steel bins. If it was left to me we’d still be storing all our grain in the quonset. Is it worth repairing them? Well, Ben bought a bin for $500 eight or 10 years ago. It’s a 2,200 bushel wooden bin with a few holes in the roof and skids that won’t skid it anywhere. Every year we say it’s time to junk it, but come harvest it gets a one hour patch up and it gets filled. When we emptied it out last winter, Ben said he lost about an ice cream pail of wheat. So let’s do the math: 8 years x 2,000 bushels (it’s not full every year) = 16,000 bushels stored. Divide that into $500 and it works out to a little more than $0.03 a bushel. Cheap storage! Of course we’re in a drier area of the West. If you get regular rainfall, you may lose more if your roof leaks. But what do you do with some of those old plywood bins that are just about at the end of their useful lives? You’ve seen them. The skids are rotten, the roof is leaky, and the walls bulge ominously when they are full. Here are a few repairs you can do to get the most out of them. Don’t be too hard on my methods. This isn’t fancy carpentry — just a way to patch things up cheap and fast so you can get a few more years out of your bins. Some bins are better than others. We have some with good skids and roofs that could give us another 10 to 20 years with proper maintenance. Others are in poor shape. Used steel bins are getting more plentiful and the prices are reasonable, so some of our old wood bins will get a match some year soon.

it’s great. However they are a bit pricey. For an old bin it’s probably not worth the expense. If a plywood panel needs replacing, use a good grade of plywood with few knots. Give it a good coat of primer and a coat of paint. Check the existing panels to see if they need to be renailed. The odd little hole can be patched with a dab of roofing tar. If it’s a bit larger, screw a patch on from the inside using wood glue between the patch and the panel. Use short screws that won’t poke up through the roof. If one of the rafters gets a bit wobbly, cut a new one to match and nail or screw it to the poor one. Use your cardboard to make a pattern of the rafter angles if


A wooden bin collection needs a little extra attention.

What do YOU need?

PATCHING MATERIALS AND TOOLS: Here’s a list of materials you’ll want to have on hand. Plywood is better than oriented strand board for this job. Use five-sixteenths or three-eights for walls and half an inch or thicker for floors. • Caulking • Light metal — old galvanized heat ducts are okay or you can use lighter stuff such as metal flashing material • Good tin snips • Wood screws, drill and driver bits • Wood glue • Roofing tar • Assorted scrap lumber • Cardboard cereal boxes and scissors (not for the patches! For patterns.)

ROOF REPAIR If you want to get really fancy, you can buy custom made galvanized roof panels for wooden bins. We have one like this and


Protect Your Payday

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JUNE 4, 2012


keep wooden granaries in working order necessary. Make sure your roof ladders are in good condition.

Patching walls and holes If you’ve been blessed by the presence of an ambitious rodent you might need some wall patches. This is best done with a thinner piece of plywood that you can bend to fit against the wall from the inside. Again, use wood glue and short screws that won’t poke through to the outside. Don’t be cheap with the glue! Buy the big container and put lots on. Holes in the middle of the floor are a nuisance. If it’s small, a piece of tin with a few small nails is okay, but it’s going to catch on your shovel and make you say bad things. The best way would be to section out a piece of the plywood

Patching the floor of a wooden bin can extend its useful life. and replace it (and also some of the planks below as needed). If the hole is at the edge, use cardboard and scissors to make a pattern of the edge of bin. Transfer this to the wood and cut a patch with a jig saw. Use

A tow rope and a ratchet strap can hold a bulging bin in a pinch.

plywood at least half an inch thick. Screw this to the floor with caulking to seal the edges. If rodents have chewed a hole in the floor, put a patch of metal over the hole before you put the plywood patch on. This will discour-

age the little guys from gnawing through in the same place.

Skid repair The best way to look after the skids is to put them on railway

Grainews will be there!

Band problems and breakage

Canada’s Farm Progress Show June 20th - 22nd, Evraz Place, Regina We are hosting a meet and greet in Arena #3, Booth #30131 Stop by and say hello to members of our editorial team… WedneSdAy 1:30 - 3:00 Scott Garvey - Machinery editor for Grainews Lee Hart - Editor of Cattlemen’s Corner and field editor for Grainews

March 1, 2011 $3.50

Passing it on is younger generation like Mike and sarah Jolly up to the job? Page 16

+PLUS + Jim mann’s plans for fna aren’t done yet

looK inside for ag eQuiPment deals!

FridAy 1:30 - 2:30 Scott Garvey - Machinery editor for Grainews

Crop insuranCe deadline is april 30 » paGe 18

Vo lu m e 8 , n u m b e r 9

See you at the show!

he recently announced shutdown of XL foods’ beef kill plant and fabrication facility in Calgary is no surprise to those in the know. “No, it’s not a shock,” said Herb Lock, owner of farm$ense Marketing in Edmonton. “the packing industry in North america is rightsizing itself. as soon as you have excess capacity, everybody is losing money. It’s not just a Calgary thing, it’s not just an alberta thing, it’s not just a Canadian thing. this is happening on both sides of the border.” that view was echoed by Charlie Gracey, a cattle industry consultant and current board member with the alberta Livestock and Meat agency. “We’ve known for quite a long time that the herd was being sold down,” said Gracey. “It’s always regrettable to see a decline in what might be seen as competition. But there isn’t enough cattle herd to service the plant.” Lock estimates the packing industry is currently about 25 to 30 per cent overbuilt across the Pacific Northwest. Most of the processing facilities were built several decades ago, in a time when herd numbers were significantly higher, he said. Given that processing is a margin business, the only way for processors to make money is to operate at near full capacity. With today’s herd numbers at a 50-year low and the three- to fiveyear outlook not indicating much improvement, Lock sees the XL closure as a “nimble” preemptive move. Competition for live cattle sales shouldn’t diminished, said Bryan Walton, CEO of the alberta Cattle feeders association. “I don’t think the closures are going to have a material effect,” said Walton, noting XL foods still operates the Lakeside plant in Brooks. Essentially, the Calgary and Brooks plants were competing for the same animals. selling the Calgary facilities, which are fairly old and sit on valuable real estate, makes good business sense, he said.

BSE boost

While BsE has been devastating to all parts of the beef industry, Lock believes it may have had a positive — albeit short-term — influence on XL’s Calgary facilities. “the plants’ lives may have been extended by a

shutdown page 6

AFAC ConFerenCe

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Flexi-Coil 5000, 51ft c/w 2320 tow behind tank, rubber packers, single shoot w/sideband. . . . . . . . .$69,000 ‘05 Ezee-on 7550, 48ft c/w 4350 tank, 10” sp., DS, atom jet openers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$75,000


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‘07 MF 1540, FWA, hydro, 40hp, 3pth c/w ldr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$24,900 ‘07 MF 1533, 33hp, hydro, 3pth, frt end ldr, 375 hrs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$23,900 ‘92 MF 3690 FWA, 170hp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$37,000 ‘99 JD 4300, 32hp, diesel, 3pth c/w Ruff Cut Mower and Finishing Mower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8,500 ‘77 International 1086, 130 hp Dual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17,900


COMING THIS SPRING MT 875C Challenger, 585hp track 36” extreme, poly mid wheels, hyd. swing draw bar, 1 of 2 MT 865C Challenger, 525hp track 36” extreme, poly mid wheels, hyd. swing draw bar, PTO, 1 of 6 MT 855 Challenger, 475hp track 36” extreme, hyd. swing drawbar, PTO, 1 of 2 MT 955C, 475hp, 4WD, powershift, PTO, diff lock, 5 hyd, remotes, dual, 800/70R38, 1 of 2 MT 945C, 440hp, 4WD, powershift, PTO, diff lock, 5 hyd, remotes, dual, 800/70R38


‘09 NH 940 36ft draper c/w pea auger + transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$62,500 ‘09 MF 7200, st. cut hdr, 35’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$29,000 ‘07 MF 8200 flex hdr, 35’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$33,000 ‘03 Honey Bee GB 36ft, pea auger, transp. fits R65/R75 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$35,000 ‘03 Honey Bee SP30 draper, 30ft, fits MF8570 or MF8780 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$35,500 ‘99 Agco 5000 36 ft draper w/trans, fits R62/72 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$29,500 ‘02 Agco 5000, 36ft draper fits Gleaner R62 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$24,500 ‘96 MacDon 960, 36ft draper fits R-65 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$24,500 Agco 600, 36ft draper fits Gleaner R62 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17,500


‘09 ‘09 ‘09 ‘09 ‘97 ‘08 ‘08 ‘08 ‘08 ‘03 ‘01 ‘98 ‘97 ‘94

Gleaner A86 c/w chopper, spreader, factory warranty . . . Gleaner A86, chopper/spreader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MF 9895 c/w PU hdr, chopper, spreader, 555 hrs . . . . . MF 9795 c/w PU hdr, chopper, spreader, 1 of 2 . . . . . . . MF 8780 c/w PU hdr, chopper, spreader . . . . . . . . . . . . CR 9070 c/w PU hdr, MAV chopper, spreader . . . . . . . . MF 9895 c/w PU hdr, 1 of 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NH CR9070 c/w 760 pu Hdr Swathmaster p.u. chopper . MF 9895, 1 of 3, PU hdr, chopper/spreader . . . . . . . . . . Gleaner R75 c/w 1800 sp p.u. Hdr. chopper, spreader . . MF 8780 XP, chopper/spreader, 1280 hrs . . . . . . . . . . . Gleaner R62 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MF 8570, PU hdr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MF 8460 c/w p.u. hdr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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‘09 NH BR7090 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$28,500 ‘06 Vermeer 605M with mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$29,000

oPerations, gloBal aQuisitions

at strangmuir farms south of strathmore, Kerri r ross (left) and Becky tees spend their days riding through pens checking on the health of the cattle.

Testing for bSe worthwhile FaIrLy LOw } Cost would be about $40 per head, but actual

financial benefits are uncertain By ron friesen


new industry study concludes a voluntary BsE testing program for cattle could help boost Canada’s beef exports to asia. But it cautions that BsE-tested beef would only be a niche market and the demand for it might be limited. testing alone may not fully restore Canada’s beef markets lost to BsE in Japan and other asian countries, says the study by the George Morris Centre in Guelph, Ontario. But it’s still worth considering, said al Mussell, the study’s lead author. “We think this has got potential. I think it needs to be explored further,” Mussell said following the study’s release March 31.

“I think it does give the impetus for people to take a serious look at it and say, ‘hey, this is something we could take advantage of.’” the study funded by PrioNet Canada, the alberta Prion Research Institute and the alberta Livestock and Meat agency weighed the costs and benefits of voluntarily testing cattle for BsE. It found the cost fairly low — just over $40 a head, or about five cents a pound carcass weight. that wouldn’t burden processors with huge added expenses and “drag down the operation of a beef plant,” Mussell said. He said Japanese importers have periodically asked for BsE-tested beef over the past five years, so the demand for it should be there. But whether the economic benefits

“We think this has got potential.” aL MussELL

of testing outweigh the cost is hard to say. a 2005 analysis by Rancher’s Beef, an alberta processor no longer in business, concluded BsE testing would increase the value of beef sold to Japan by $75.71 per head.

see Bse testing page 26

Consumers must lead Changes in animal welfare } Page 33

It looks nice if the bins are painted and they definitely last longer. Some paints and stains are better than others for plywood. We never seem to do much painting on our bins, so I don’t have expert answers on this subject. I’ve seen bins with coloured metal siding on the walls and it looks really nice. I don’t know how long it would last, but it might be an excellent long term solution for wooden bins. If you had to do some wall repairs you could just unscrew the panels if needed. There you have it. First aid for aged bins. Hopefully this will help you get a few more years of useful storage out of your bins. †


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‘09 MF 9430 c/w 30ft hdr, UII PU reel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘07 MF 9430 c/w 30ft UII PU reel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘05 MF 9220 c/w 30ft hdr, DSA, PU reel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘99 MF 220 Series II, 1658 hrs, c/w 26ft UII PU reel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘97 MF 220, 900 hrs, c/w 30ft hdr, UII PU reel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘05 MacDon Premier 2952i c/w 972, 30ft hdr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘05 MacDon Westward 9352i, c/w 972, 30ft hdr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘00 MacDon 922, 18ft, moco hdr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘00 Hesston 8110S c/w 81AH -16ft hay hdr & 810H - 25ft Draper hdr, very nice, must see. ‘11 MF 9430, c/w 30ft DSA & UII pick up reel, 82 hrs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘10 MF 9430, c/w 30 ft DSA & UII pick up reel, 85hrs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

april 25, 2011

KeepinG WatCh from above

processing now consolidated at Brooks, after Moose Jaw and Calgary plants shut down

Heart attacks strike 1,500 farms a year


See page 13 for more details.

Rodents can chew their way through wood floors and leave holes. The first priority is to keep the weeds trimmed around the bins to keep them away. Spray glyphosate or some other poison around the bins to keep them tidy. Also, keep bait out in proper bait boxes.


seven steps to successful family meetings


Branding and fencing offers on now at UFA

WhiCh Crop to seed first? » paGe 16

Dominoes falling as beef industry ‘rightsizes’

Some of our bins were made with bands that weren’t galvanized. They rust and can break. We had a full bin pop a band last year. Our lumber yard in town has a banding machine we can rent, but we didn’t have time to go to town and get it, so a tow rope and a large ratchet strap held it until spring. Make sure to use galvanized bands. We have a couple a bins that are getting a bit potbellied so we’ll put on an extra band on these this year. One of our bins was bulging at the middle of the door. We couldn’t put a band there, so Ben made iron brackets for each side of the door and attached bands to the brackets.


THurSdAy 1:30 - 3:00 Lee Hart - Editor of Cattlemen’s Corner eastern edition

ties to keep them off the ground. They will last many years like this. However if the skid is half rotten and you need a quick fix here are a couple of ideas. If the skids are shot and the floor is sagging, jack it up as best as you can and stuff some blocking underneath. It won’t last forever but it will give you a few more years. You can also put blocking on the ground under a rotted section of the floor. Jam it under tight and patch the floor from the inside. It ain’t pretty but it works.

Ross Guenther Tim Berg

Ron Settler farms with his wife Sheila and their sons Ben and Dan. They also operate a repair and salvage business at Lucky Lake, Sask. Contact him at 306-858-2681 or

JUNE 4, 2012 /



Consultant says we’re setting it wrong This expert believes most farmers are overlooking key considerations when it comes to combine adjustment and operation BY SCOTT GARVEY


f you hired a custom harvester and saw him travelling at eight miles per hour across your canola field while threshing, would you race out there and throw yourself in front of the combine to stop him? I suspect many farmers would. But if you hired Martin Reichelt that’s exactly what you’d see. And he says his combine would blow less grain out the back than any slow-moving machine. If you think that goes against everything you know about combine operation, you aren’t alone. Every farmer attending a seminar held in March near Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, felt the same way. Reichelt, who operates his own harvest consulting firm based in Germany (see his website,where are yu?, was there to pass on his knowledge of combine operation. He has been involved with combines for decades and now travels around the world teaching farmers how to adjust and operate their machines. Although most farmers have spent hundreds of hours operating or working on their combines, Reichelt believes most don’t fully understand the impact each component has on a machine’s overall performance. “That’s the main problem,” he says. And that applies to farmers all the way from Russia to Canada. Reichelt says farmers can see very significant efficiency gains and cover a lot more acres with their combines if they follow


Martin Reichelt of Germany operates a world-wide consulting service, teaching farmers how to adjust and operate combines to maximize efficiency.

Proper combine adjustment begins at the header, according to Reichelt. And he says farmers should almost always be using straight-cut headers rather than pickups, like this one.

his advice. To demonstrate just how big those gains could be, he talked about his attempt to set a world record in the amount of wheat harvested in 24 hours with one machine. “Harvesting 29.5 tonnes (1,084 bushels) per hour of wheat is normal in Germany for the big combines,” he says. “But for the world record (attempt) we did 79.3 tonnes (2,913 bu.). That’s 300 per cent more capacity.” Reichelt was on pace to blow the old record out the water, but the crew breezed through all the available fields in only seven hours.

swaths than with straight-cut headers. In other areas I’m sure we can find a way for straightcut (combining) as well.”

NO SWATHING Reichelt says the first step to good combine operation is keeping the swather out of the field.

“Everyone thinks the machine should be able to harvest everything,” he says. “But it can’t compensate for bad agriculture (problems created when grain lays in swaths). So (in a swath) we have a complete mixed situation, wet and dry, both. But the machine can only be adjusted for wet or dry, not both. With the (straight-cut) header we have much more capacity than with a swather.” And Reichelt believes expanding straight cutting to canola crops is a practical alternative for most areas of the prairies. “We made tests last year in the Fort Vermillion area with Canola. The (canola) association found 33 per cent more losses with swathing. And there were six times more green kernels in

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS Many farmers think only of concave and sieve adjustments when setting combines, but that’s a major misunderstanding, according the Reichelt. “Everyone tries to fix mistakes with the sieves,” he says “But the reason the machine has losses is not the sieve. You must look at the front of the machine first.” Reichelt says farmers need to start making adjustments at the header. “First I look at which grain I must harvest. Then, how wet is the straw. Then I look at

how heavy (the crop stand is). Then I optimize the machine.” That optimizing begins by ensuring the header is feeding crop in evenly and in the right orientation. He says his experience shows draper headers are much less capable of doing that than auger versions, which should rotate at about 290 RPM. He says draper headers often don’t feed all the crop in head first. That creates threshing problems and begins breaking up straw long before the crop gets into the rotor. Reichelt says the rotating speed of each successive mechanism should be slightly higher than the previous one all the way through the combine. The


The Bee is Back! You wanted better quality and improved performance in our headers, and we are delivering with the newly revamped Honey Bee product line. We added heavier duty drive shafts and redesigned the hydraulic system to increase knife power and reduce oil temperatures by up to 100° F. We’ve added the “Raptor” series draper, which provides longer-lasting performance, and new-style castoring gauge wheels that give the header eight inches of float. And beyond that, we also have the lowest profile cutterbar in the industry. Honey Bee headers raise the standard for smooth, efficient harvesting. Harvest performance you can count on – that’s our promise to you.

Greg & Glenn honey Owners, honey Bee




JUNE 4, 2012

Machinery & Shop Harvesting

Crop Catcher reduces combine header losses A shield designed to fit on a combine feeder house minimizes header losses, especially in canola fields By Scott Garvey


couple of years ago, Karl Koch, a grain grower at Marsden, Sask., noticed he had a problem with his combine. Kernels were being thrown over top of the feeder house by the header auger as he harvested canola. “Dad and I thought we were losing a lot canola over the front end,” he says. To get a handle on exactly how big the problem was, he decided to capture those lost kernels and measure how much crop he was losing. “Last fall we put a piece of plywood across the feeder house and weighed what we caught,” he explains. “We were losing about a quarter of a bushel per acre.” With the current high price of canola, that amounts to a lot of lost income after a day of harvesting. In an effort to eliminate the problem, Koch fabricated a shield and mounted it above the entrance to the feeder house, creating a barrier to block kernels from being thrown


consultant says we’re getting it wrong feeder chain needs to rotate about 100 RPM faster than the header auger. “We stretch the material out and make it flatter and thinner,” he explains. “If the speed of the feeder house

out of the header and keep them feeding into the combine with the rest of the crop. The idea worked. Now his farm-shop invention has the trade name Crop Catcher, and it’s being marketed commercially. “He was solving an age-old problem,” says Brad Michels of Michels Industries Ltd. “The retractable fingers from the header auger create a lot of threshing and spits the seeds out on top of the feeder house. What (Crop Catcher) does is keep everything in the header. (The problem) is mainly in canola, but it does work with any grain.” Michels Industries has recently started manufacturing and marketing Koch’s invention under licence. “We worked with him (Koch) to make a few improvements and streamline it a little bit,” says Michels. “We also made it adjustable. There have been quite a few different prototypes, but now we have it ready.” Using a shaped piece of clear Lexan, the Crop Catcher eliminates the loss problem without obstruct-

ing the operator’s view of the header. “It’s not like plexiglass and won’t yellow after a year,” says Michels. “It’s built for years of service.” Installation is a simple procedure, which only requires drilling eight holes for self-threading bolts. Crop Catcher retails for $849 and is available through most farm equipment dealers. Available in four different colours, it will nicely match the paint on most combines. “It really is a pay-for-itself item,” says Michels. The company began its marketing efforts by showing the Crop Catcher at Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon and Crop Production Week in Saskatoon this past winter. The initial response was better than expected, and the first production run sold out almost immediately. As a result, Michels has stepped up production and once again has Crop Catchers in stock and ready for immediate delivery. For more information see www. †

is too slow, it jams up and makes short straw. (On) some combines you can reduce feeder house speed. That’s a mistake. Never do it.” And the feeder chain clearance above the floor must be adjusted for the kind of crop being harvested. For wheat, he allows the first bar to have a 20 millimeter gap. At the third bar in the chain (when counted from the header)

there should be only two mm of clearance, and he says both sides of the chain need to be exactly the same. Incorrect clearance adjustments here can cause kernel s h a t t e r i n g  b e f o r e   t h r e s h i n g actually begins, which farmers often attribute to excessive rotor speed. “You find broken kernels in the edges (of the feeder house) and you’re wondering

Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at

photo credits: michels industries

Originally invented in a Saskatchewan farm workshop, the Crop Catcher is designed to prevent kernels from being thrown out of a header, a common problem when harvesting canola. how they came from the threshing area back here,” he says. But when students hear what concave setting he recommends, they get the biggest shock of the whole seminar. His recommendation: wide open! And the way you make that work is by putting the largest possible header on the machine and going fast. That keeps a full flow of material through the threshing mechanism and greatly improves the combine’s efficiency. “Can you run it (a combine) too fast?” asked one farmer. “No,” replied Reichelt. “But you can drive too slow.” He adds running out of engine horsepower, not overfeeding the threshing body, is what currently prevents most combines from exceeding their capacity when properly operated. “For me the border (limit) is the engine,” he says. And he cites an example of how he has helped an Alberta farmer cover far more acres with each combine by following his advice. “Now engine size comes (into play) for him. Before he had always enough engine and had

too much losses on the sieves or in the rotor. Now for every combine on this big farm, the border (limit) is the engine (power) after optimization.” Reichelt not only teaches seminars, like the Assiniboia event sponsored by Flexxifinger, he is also willing to go directly to farms and put his knowledge into practise for individual producers, tailoring the training to their own combines, crops and teaching their employees how to run the machine. But if a combine’s capacity can be expanded so much using Reichelt’s recommendations, why aren’t manufacturers’ reps teaching all this to farmers to promote the efficiency of their machines? Reichelt has a theory on that. “I don’t want to sell a combine to you,” he says. He points to his 300 per cent increase in combine capacity during his world record attempt. If every combine’s output was tripled, he believes manufacturers would sell a lot fewer machines. † Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at

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Reichelt holds a few patents on combine components including an improved sieve. Assiniboia-based Flexxifinger will be marketing Reichelt’s design in Canada starting this summer.

JUNE 4, 2012 /



CR combines take “Machine of the year” award New Holland’s CR line of twin-rotor combines, with new features for 2012, impressed judges at Agritechnica BY SCOTT GARVEY


011 was a notable year for New Holland. The company raked in an armful of engineering awards. Most notable, though, was winning the “Machine of the year, 2012” prize for its CR Series, twin-rotor combines at Agritechnica in November. Agritechnica, held in Hannover Germany, is the world’s largest farm machinery exhibition. There were new combines on display at the show from nearly all the brands, so competition for the Machine-of-the-year award in that category was tough. “Many manufacturers launched new products for 2012,” says Nigel Mackenzie, combine and header marketing manager for New Holland. “That was driven by the requirement to go to Tier 4 (engine emissions levels). We packaged the Tier 4 solution on our CR and CX combines with a lot of other features.” Those extra features combined with the FPT (Fiat Powertrain) Cursor engines scored enough points with the judges to garner the top show award. “The features we put into this machine really resulted from sitting down and talking to customers,” continues Mackenzie. “Understanding what they liked and didn’t like, what they wanted to change.” One of those options makes the CR combines a little lighter on their feet. For the first time in North America, NH combines are available with tracks as a factory-installed option. Their SmartTrax track system was designed specifically for combines, and it’s different than the SmartTrax systems available on the T9 four-wheel drive tractors. However, customers who own a tracked T9 tractor can remove its tracks and use them on a NH combine. The combine SmartTrax system can also be retrofitted to previous model-year machines. One of the other things that impressed the judges at Agritechnica was the IntelliView IV monitor, which is also transferrable between combines and T7, T8 and T9 tractors. “The operator can move it to wherever he feels comfortable,” says Mackenzie. “If he wants, he can take it out and put it in his tractor. It’s the same display we have in tractors; the architecture is the same.” The need for consistency when it comes to technology systems was one of the things the company heard from farmers. “Customers have told us they don’t want to relearn everything every time they get into a new machine,” he adds. NH combines have offered a selflevelling cleaning shoe since 1986, but the system gets an improvement for 2012. The entire cleaning mechanism including top and bottom sieves and cleaning fan still remain level during operation. But now the Opti-Fan system automatically changes fan speed based on the slope the combine is operating on to minimize losses. “We’re still the only ones that have a system as innovative and complete as that,” says Mackenzie. “Nobody else has been able to match us with it.” The operator can adjust the spread pattern of the Opti-Spread straw chopper from the cab and

even get a rear-mounted camera view of what’s going on behind on the IntelliView IV monitor. Up front, the Varifeed straight cut headers have an adjustable knife position; it can be moved forward or back from the operator’s seat as well. With the knife extended forward, the header is better suited to cutting tall crops or canola. “If you push the knife a long way out, you can handle tall or bushy crops,” says Mackenzie. “We’re seeing a small but distinct move toward direct cutting canola. This head is primarily designed for that. It’s unique to us. No other manufacturer offers this type of head in the marketplace.” And getting a CR combine down the road will take a little less time than it used to. They

now offer a top speed of 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour). “Combines are expected to do more and more and be able to travel faster on the road,” explains Mackenzie. “We are uniquely able to offer a higher road speed on this range of combines as well.” NH also intends to make a little more noise over its line of combines this year. “Our focus in North America over the years has been predominantly on our hay and forage and tractor products,” says Mackenzie. “Combines have taken a back seat within the brand.” That, however, has changed. “We’re raising our profile with combines. We have the products,” he adds. † Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at


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JUNE 4, 2012

Machinery & Shop HARVESTING

Drop screen aids in combine adjustment An Alberta inventor has developed an easy way to capture combine grain-loss samples BY SCOTT GARVEY


s crop prices increase, the financial value of field losses during harvesting can become pretty significant. So time spent fine tuning combine adjustments can pay dividends. But properly sampling losses during harvesting can be difficult, especially for anyone working alone. However, Roland Requier of Westlock, Alberta, has created a handy device designed to deal with just that problem. His invention uses a detachable collection screen 18 inches

long and five feet wide, which is held up, under the combine body by an electromagnet. Any time the operator wants to collect a sample, he or she simply cuts off electricity to the magnet, which then drops the screen onto the ground. As the combine moves forward, the screen catches a sample of whatever is coming out the back. Weighing the grain captured on the screen and dividing the amount by 1.5 times the header width reveals the loss per square foot in the field. That number can then be used to calculate per-acre losses. By simply

restoring electrical current to the magnet and putting the screen back in place, the system is ready for another cycle, so taking multiple samples throughout the day to monitor changing conditions is quick and easy. “I mount an electromagnet under the combine and run a wire up to the cab that plugs into the cigarette lighter and the screen sticks to the magnet,” says Requier. “When you’re combining at the right speed you unplug the magnet and the screen falls down.” The magnet and attachment bracket can remain mounted under the combine, but the catch screen is not meant to be left under the machine after sample taking is completed. Requier is a product support specialist for a Case IH dealership and trains customers how to use new combines, so he has a lot of harvesting experience under his belt. He uses his invention to help combine buyers make their initial adjustments, but he also sells his ready-to-install systems for $450. “I build brackets for all makes (of combines),” he adds.



Roland Requier’s grain loss collection system makes it possible for a single operator to sample combine losses quickly and easily.

To take a proper loss sample, Requier says operators need to ensure kernels aren’t being spread by the chopper. “If you want a really good test, you drop

your straw like you’re going to bale it,” he says. And taking several loss samples during the combine adjustment process is a good idea “You want to keep tweaking. You want to try different things (combine settings).” When he first tried his catch screen system, Requier found he was able to easily and quickly test a variety of settings and improve the combine’s overall performance. “I had a 1460

“Combines have really good grain loss monitors,” he says. “But you have to calibrate it to your loss, not your loss to the monitor. I’ve talked to guys who say they go (entirely) by their monitor.” To maximize a combine’s performance, Requier says he first keeps an eye on the engine load to determine when the combine is operating at capacity. “Case has a power monitor on newer models. On the old combines I

Manually taking loss samples also lets farmers calibrate their in-cab loss monitors Case,” he says. “I said let’s keep playing with the sieves and the fan. With the catch pan you’re dropping it at the right time (to get an accurate sample). By the end of the day I was going 20 per cent faster.” Manually taking loss samples also lets farmers calibrate their in-cab loss monitors. Over the course of several years in the industry, Requier says he has found many famers don’t know how to properly interpret the information they get from loss monitors. Some use only the in-cab monitor to make initial combine adjustments, which is a major mistake.

go by engine speed. You want to load the engine and see how much you can push it.” Once he has the combine working at full capacity, he uses the drop screen to get the settings right. That way his combine is putting through as much material as possible, but still keeping the loss rate down where it should be. Requier says he can package and ship his catch screen systems to customers. For more information, contact him at 780-991-7919 or email † Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at

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An electromagnet mounts under the combine chassis to hold the collection screen in place. When the operator disconnects the power supply to the magnet, the screen falls to the ground and collects a loss sample as the combine drives forward.

JUNE 4, 2012 /


Machinery & Shop COMBINES

Driving John Deere’s S690 combine Profi’s exclusive impression of the John Deere S690 combine. Profi says Deere is back with combine big boys BY PROFI

Editor’s note: “Profi” magazine is based in Europe and the machine referred to in this article is a European verion. Some of the features mentioned differ from those offered on a North American S690. However, the Profi article will give you a good indication of the machine’s overall ability and features. For more information on Profi magazine, visit ohn Deere is placing all its high-output harvesting eggs in one basket and moving away from hybrid rotary technology on the new trio of S Series models, which cost more than $100 million to develop. We grab the opportunity to gain an initial impression of the S690. Here in the U.K. and Ireland, John Deere’s best-selling combine range is the T Series. Not surprising, perhaps, as the (straw) walker market still accounts for a slightly larger slice of the region’s harvester sales pie. Content? Not a chance. The green U.S. giant wants more business in the top-end hybrid/rotary sector, and, while it has marketed the “C” and “S” machines for a number of years, neither have been rolling out in big numbers — well, not in our heavy-straw crops. So Deere has headed back to the drawing board and looked at which system could offer the most potential. The result is a new four-model, (five in North America) single-rotor range. Why single-rotor and not hybrid? Deere says that, having gained experience with both systems, it has concluded the singlerotor set up is able to handle a much wider range of crops, so several years ago challenged its designers to make the configuration straw friendly, too. Prototype machines have been trialled for the past three seasons including testing in the U.K.


of the Zürn PremiumFlow 635PF header. The five-speed transmission, which is claimed to transfer up to 248 hp, has been retained for driving the elevator and header. Shuffling back into the guts of the machine, we find JD’s familiar feed drum. This helps to present the crop in a uniform layer to the new Variable Stream Rotor. Though the rotor’s length and diameter haven’t changed, the front of the cone — this comprises the intake auger and threshing area — is now larger and has a longer taper. The new rotor has also been given a variable crop flow system, which allows the operator to select one of two settings



Staff from Profi magazine put an S690 John Deere combine through its paces, and they’ve profiled the European version of the combine’s updated features.

THE S660 The baby of the new range is the S660, which in many ways is very similar to the current “S” machine, although it will not be offered in the U.K. and Ireland. On this side of the Channel the range starts with the S670, which comes with a 9.0-litre motor rated at 378 hp and a 34 hp power boost for unloading. The S680 and S690 both benefit from a 13.5-litre engine; in the two machines this motor is rated at 480 hp and 551 hp respectively with a 50 hp power boost. All of these engines are Stage IIIB-compliant (IT4), courtesy of their diesel oxidation catalyst and particulate filter, and they also have twin turbos. Another common theme is the new, beefed-up elevator housing, while more powerful lift rams enable the machines to handle headers weighing up to 5.1 tonnes. This allows the combines to comfortably cope with 16- and 18-row maize (corn) headers, which weigh in at five tonnes and are becoming increasingly popular with North American operators. Our prototype S690 was carrying the 635R cutterbar — working width of 10.7 m (35ft) — and had no problems munching through the test’s short-stemmed wheat crop; full production 2012 machines will also have the option

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Machinery & Shop driving john deere’s s690 combime for the top cover guide rails in the threshing area. The Deere theory behind these changes is to actively control the crop flow through the rotor so that the time the material spends inside the rotor is sufficient for the separation area to do its stuff. Setting the guide rails in their advanced position reduces the time the crop spends in the rotor by about 20 per cent over the standard setting, which means the combine can effectively increase its output by a similar margin. Also, the less time the crop takes to pass through, the less the straw is bashed, decreasing the amount of short straw build-up on the sieves. This, together with other tweaks such as a taper at the end of the rotor and an overshot beater, means a decent swath is left behind when not chopping. That was our experience. Our prototype S690 was equipped with JD’s Premium straw chopper — standard on the S670, S680 and S690 in the U.K. and Ireland. This unit sports 100 knives working against 57 fixed blades and receives the straw via an extra guide drum. Switching from chopping to swathing is all done by pressing a button in the cab, which shifts the chop to drop door. A mechanical gearbox reduces the chopper speed in rape (canola) from 3,600 r.p.m. to 1,800 r.p.m. The Premium spreader also has electrically adjustable spreading vanes. The PowerCast spreader — standard on U.K./Irish S690s — allows the operator to alter the speed of each spreading disc independently and is able to throw

material out to the 10.7 metre maximum working width of the current header. When the combine is swathing, material leaving the sieves passes through the chopper and is spread to the full working width. A plate moves automatically to ensure no chaff is found under the swath, and it is also possible to spread the chaff when swathing.

Threshing Back to the threshing department, there have been changes here, too. On the S680 and S690, returns are no longer directed back to the separation area; instead a 40 cm diameter, 23 cm wide threshing drum is used to spread the grains across the sieves. A lever sets the clearance between the returns drum and concave anywhere from six mm for cereals to 70 mm for rape and maize. John Deere reckons that this design change — not returning grains to the separator — means operators will be able to run with the main concave wider to increase daily output. The S690 model has a 14,100-litre capacity grain tank, which opens hydraulically. The augers are driven by a new gearbox and stronger chain drive to improve the unloading rate — a claimed 135 litres/sec. With a full tank of grain onboard, a 10.7 m header up front and the 1,250-litre fuel tank brimmed, an S690 can easily weigh 30 tonnes, so the machine needs to put plenty of rubber on the floor if it is to prevent serious soil compaction. Tire choice extends to 680/85 R32 to provide a relatively tight on-road width of 3.5 m, or there are several 800 mm wide tire options. Alternatively, John Deere is now offering a track system (only in Europe) that results in an overall width of 3.49 m; for now at least it will not be possible to fit these tracks to existing wheeled combines due


Slimmer pillars improve operator visibility of the 10.7m/35ft. maximum header width. to alterations to the axles and chassis. Each track is able to put a 0.66 m wide and 1.79 m length of rubber down on the ground, and the five idler rollers have a hydropneumatic suspension system, helping to ensure as much rubber as possible is in contact with undulating soil. Due to side loadings etc., HillMaster models will only be offered with tires. Track models also have an ontarmac top speed of 30 km/hr., and, for extra sticky situations, there’s a rear-wheel-drive option priced at £14,100 ($22,760).

In the cab Deere S-series combine operators sit in the upmarket Premium cab, which is said to be 30 per cent larger than the version used on its predecessor for the past 18 years.


Tractor & machinery tests ■ Practical tips & tricks ■ Cost management ■ Used machine buyers’ guides ■ International machinery news ■ Workshop ideas & skills ■ Repairs & maintenance ■ Money saving ideas ■

As well as providing generally more space, there is plenty of leg room even for the tallest operators. The steering wheel can be set in three different positions, and the air-suspended seat has an adjustable armrest. Noise insulation seems effective, as does the climate control. In addition, there’s a full fridge with separate controls — this unit will also be fitted to 2012 T-series combines — and there are 120 litres of storage space. Contrast that figure with the 45 litres in the lesser spec. Deluxe cab, which will be on Wseries combines for next season. There is the option of a Bluetooth radio — phonebookcompatible with separate buttons on the multi-function armrest — and the CD radio has a pair of speakers and a sub-woofer for kicking out the tunes. Another substantial improvement has been made to visibility. Slim corner posts make it easier to see more of the header, while higher side windows give a pretty good view of the unloading auger. Only visibility glitch with our machine was the large 10-inch GreenStar 2630 display, which is mounted in the top right corner; on production machines, the 2630 is an alternative to the smaller seven-inch armrestmounted GreenStar 3 terminal and is needed if operating yield map-

ping/documentation. If you only want to run AutoTrac automatic steering or Deere’s HarvestSmart control system, these can be used through GreenStar 3. The multi-function armrest layout is similar to that of the 7R and 8R tractors, and the familiar and user-friendly joystick continues to tick most boxes. The right-hand cab pillar display is still in residence and shows the current header position, ground speed and crop losses. Summary: The new S-series range looks capable of placing John Deere firmly back in the big combine league. It has plenty of power, an uprated threshing system, a chopper capable of spreading to the full working width (with a bit more in reserve), a rubber track option and a spacious cab for the operator. The newcomers aren’t short on tech, either: the JDLink telemetry system will be fitted as standard to all 2012 combines. Deere also reckons to have the single-rotor job sussed when it comes to maintaining good straw quality. What remains unknown, though, is whether potential owners will be convinced by the maker’s claims that its updated rotary design is now better at coping with green straw. † Profi



Visit to receive a free sample e-magazine. Find out more about profi at

Throughput booster. The active returns system has an adjustable thresher.

JUNE 4, 2012 /


Machinery & Shop Safety

12 tips for field fire safety Combine fires are serious business. Take these 12 tips to heart — they’re from a farmer who learned the hard way By Ron Settler


hope you’ve never had the misfortune to have a fire and that you never will. But chances are that you’ve met and battled this evil thing. My sons and I have been on the local fire department for a few years. We’ve been lucky not to have had to battle any fatal fires, but we’ve eaten our share of smoke. However, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t start a fire of my own. Our Massey 750 combine has a tendency to gather dust and straw around the exhaust manifold. Most days I clean it off, sometimes several times during the day if it’s dusty. It seems worse when we’re combining lentils, because of the fine dust. Last fall when we were straight cutting some wheat I got a whiff of smoke. Not a problem. I’d just cleaned off the manifold, so it was likely just left over dust. Besides, I was going up a big hill and I couldn’t stop halfway up. When I got to the top I looked behind. What was that orange thing in the field? Flames. And they were about five feet high! I shut the combine down and opened the engine compartment. Sure enough, a spark by the exhaust manifold had found some straw at the front of the motor and started a fire. Luckily I had a water fire extinguisher on board and was able to get the combine out within a minute. I called my son Ben and he rushed over. Then I called the fire department; they were at least 20 minutes away. We called a couple of neighbours — the one that was home came over with a tractor and blade right away. We almost had the fire out with our fire extinguishers. But “almost out” is not “out.” Flames spread through the standing wheat crop and into the neighbour’s pasture. By the time the fire was finally out we were surrounded by generous neighbours with equipment and water trucks and firemen and equipment from two towns. Ben lost 30 acres of wheat and about 80 acres of the neighbour’s pasture was burnt off. Some lentil stubble (about two inches high) on the far side of the pasture stopped the fire. The combine was saved and no one was hurt. This can happen to anyone at any time. Here are a few thoughts on fire prevention and fire fighting.

Fire preparation 1. Have phone numbers on hand. If you don’t have a cell phone, make sure you know where to find the nearest phone. Have emergency numbers and numbers for neighbours on hand (including their cell phone numbers). 2. Land location. A written list of your land locations will help you tell emergency crews

how to get to your fire. Make sure you give the emergency operator details about any special hazards they might encounter such as blocked roads, vehicles on fire, injured people, buildings or other property that needs protection. 3. Have your fire extinguishers ready and charged. We carry a 20-litre water extinguisher that you charge with compressed air and a 10-pound ABC extinguisher on each combine. Luckily my water extinguisher was charged when I needed it, but although my dry ABC extinguisher showed a charge, it was not working. If it had been

serviced and checked properly it might have saved Ben’s field. 4. Keep a water tank and pump handy when you’re harvesting. We have a trailer with a 1,000 gallon tank and a pump that we use to fill the sprayer and put out fires. However, it wasn’t much use to us — it was 20 miles from the scene. We were in too much of a hurry to harvest to bother bringing it to the field. Big mistake. 5. Check your fire insurance coverage. Make sure you’re covered for the value of your machinery plus fire department charges. Loss of use on machinery is nice as well. Most

photo credit: ron settler

The aftermath of Ron Settler’s fire. fire departments charge for fire calls, and the bill can easily go over $10,000. Many policies only have coverage for only $1,000 or $3,000. In our case,

fire insurance (less the deductible) covered most of the cost of the fire department and the

» continued on page 46

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JUNE 4, 2012

Machinery & Shop » CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45

12 tips for field fire safety lost crop. But it didn’t cover our extra work, like working down ridges of soil that had been bladed up to stop the fire. Also, our insurance didn’t cover the damage to our neighbour’s fence. Since the fire was accidental, our neighbour was subject to his own insurance and deductible.

If you have a fire 6. Stay calm. Most fire fighter deaths are due to heart problems. Fires get us excited and we run around in overdrive. Remember, unless there is a life

at stake, the crops, machinery, vehicles or buildings that will be lost can be replaced. 7. Assess if you can get the fire out yourself. If you can do it safely — do so. If you have any doubt call the fire department. Now. Most rural volunteer departments take five minutes or more to get to the hall and get going. Then they have to drive to the fire with heavily loaded fire trucks. Figure 10 minutes plus one minute for every mile they have to travel to get to your fire. If you’re 15 miles from town then you’ll likely have a 20 to 25 minute wait. 8. Protect other property. Get machinery out of the path of the fire. And don’t depend on the wind to keep blowing from the same direction. It can

change in a hurry. If there are buildings in the path of the fire, make sure the occupants know about the fire and are prepared to evacuate. 9. Be careful! Fires can be deceptive as well as fatal. A grass fire moving uphill triples or quadruples its speed, especially if it’s helped by a wind. This caused the death of a firefighter from a neighbouring town. Be careful with equipment fires too. Those nice air shocks that hold your doors open can explode and sent the shaft right through you. This happened to a Montreal firefighter when a hood shock exploded. The shaft went through his fire suit, his leg and out the other side of his fire suit, cauterizing the wound on the way through. And don’t forget about the toxic

fumes plastics give off when they burn.

After the fire 10. Keep watch. Pastures and trees can smoulder for days. After the fire crew watered everything down and watched it for hours, they left our fire to us. When a breeze blew up at about four in the morning, a blackened grove of trees lit up like they were decorated with Christmas lights. Sparks were smouldering in the dead branches and the sod on the ground. 11. Check machinery for damage. We were lucky — our combine didn’t need any repairs. I thought the front engine seal

was cooked and leaking, but it was still usable. Check for obvious burning, but also for heat damaged parts such as belts and wiring where the damage may not be so obvious. 12. Don’t forget to say thank you. Make sure you thank all of the neighbours and other who help out. People who drop everything to help you — including their own harvest work — deserve a big thank you. Make sure you return the favour when your neighbours need help. † Ron Settler farms with his wife Sheila and their sons Ben and Dan. They also operate a repair and salvage business at Lucky Lake, Sask. Contact Ron at 306-858-2681 or

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JUNE 4, 2012 /



Encouraging farm fathers Here’s some ways you can bless your farming father ELAINE FROESE


f I could show you a way to increase the family harmony on your farm and help you be more profitable at the same time would you listen? Would you be courageous enough to look at your own issues, strengths and weaknesses? I bet you would if it was easy. People problems on farms are nothing new. The fact is many farm families are avoiding very basic things that could make a huge difference to decrease their stress levels and increase energy for getting things done. It’s encouraging the heart of your business, your people. Here’s a list of practical encouragement based on the work of Gary Smalley and John Trent who wrote The Gift of the Blessing. I’ve added some practical tools. Ways to bless your farming father 1. Praise and acknowledgment. As founders age they wonder what their new roles will be when their names are off the land titles, or they aren’t the main manager anymore. Forty years of farming earns respect in my books. Can you acknowledge your dad’s wisdom and praise him for his hard work? Are you thankful for the “leg up” he has given your operation? He just wants to be part of the planning conversations when you are buying that new tractor. Ask him what he thinks, and honour his opinion. All ages need affirmation. “I appreciate your input Dad and I respect your years of experience.” 2. Drain away unresolved anger. You change air and fuel filters for better performance. How about getting rid of your anger filters and work towards conflict resolution? Visit my website www.elainefroese. com for some webinar training or read my blogs. Being angry sucks energy out of your being and decreases your efficiency as a farmer. What would you regret if you found Dad dead beside the baler? Father’s Day is a great deadline for forgiveness and extending the olive branch to seek true peace in your family relationships. Smalley says that unresolved anger “closes a person’s spirit. Prolonged anger can lead to depression, ulcers or high blood BY DAN PIRARO


pressure. These are just a few of the emotional and physical problems that can accompany anger!” • Become tender hearted with your words, soften your tone. • Increase understanding by listening well and ask about the hurt. • Recognize the offence by admitting that you were wrong. • Attempt to touch, even just a squeeze on the shoulder. • Seek forgiveness from the one you have offended. 3. Give the inheritance of a good name. What is your reputation worth? Are your actions adding value to the emotional bank account of your farm family? Are you proud of your behaviour and happy with your reputation? Being known as a “cranky old coot” is not my idea of success or legacy. I often tell families that you “get the behaviour that you accept.” If you are doing something to harm the good name of your family… what is that really about? Are you going to hold the offenders accountable for their actions, or just let the nasty actions slide? Many farmers are avoiding confronting the tough issues that are destroying their family’s reputation. The neighbours are not fooled. Bad seed doesn’t produce a bountiful crop. What weeds are choking your good name? Deal with it! I agree with Smalley when he says, “Our name is something that, no matter what, we will pass down to our kids, and it can either be a blessing or a curse.” 4. Take good care of your health. I received a lengthy letter from a young farmer with high blood pressure. He’s stressed by a farming brother who expects to be given a lot of assets, without doing the accompanying work. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Your health is your wealth.” Encourage your farm father and siblings to seek medical checkups to ensure they are on a good health track. Stop avoiding the prostate tests and chest X-rays or heart tests. Your family doesn’t want you to be a martyr, they want a happy, healthy team player who lives a long, high-quality life. 5. Teach financial responsibility. Farmers have the hard-work ethic down pat. Unfortunately it can get out of whack and become workaholism, or avoidance of building relationships. Are you rich in relationship? Have you taught your adult children to work

hard, live well within their means and see money as a resource to be managed, not a god? Whatever your money values, and whatever money means to you, it is driving your business decisions. Some farm men can’t wait to share their net worth with me, but they are less comfortable sharing the names of their best friends. They usually don’t have many in their emotional support group, as they have been highly focused on provid-

doesn’t know how to talk about it. He fears the large debt load you are carrying, and how it is going to hinder your future flexibility. He fears that his role is not useful anymore, but so long as he has some power and control, you will need to listen to him. He also fears that after 40 years of hard work and building up a business, you just might sell the assets and “cash in” in five years when the business is in your name. People have con-

Many farmers are avoiding confronting the tough issues that are destroying their family’s reputation ing for their families and creating wealth. Teaching financial responsibility also means that folks earn their net worth, and aren’t just given everything or have a keen sense of entitlement. With land values adding more zeros to the balance sheet I see more greed in conversations. Have you thanked your dad and mom for their financial support? Are you demanding too much? How much net worth is enough? 6. Let go… avoid overcontrolling. At the kitchen tables of many farms, I usually have a card that says “power and control.” This issue is a delicate one for your dad as he is afraid of failure but

trol issues for many reasons. Have some courageous conversations to discover why Dad is having a hard time letting go. Assure him of your long-term commitment and dedication to the farm business, and family legacy. Smalley says we should bless our children by allowing them to take positive control of their lives as they grow older. If you are over 40, with little control of your farm business, something needs to change soon! 7. Return words of blessing to your father. Here’s a poem by Adrian Rodgers: This is for you, Dad for the father I love, For the one who has

Elaine Froese farms in southwestern Manitoba. As a thought leader and coach she empowers farmers to transform their lives and businesses. Call 1-866-848-8311 with your feedback or to book Elaine to speak at your fall event. Buy her book Do the Tough Things Right at Email your story to Elaine is a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors


YOUTH AGRICULTURAL CONFERENCE OLDS COLLEGE, OLDS, AB This year’s conference focuses on marketing beef and Saturday, features industry speakers delivering workshops on specific topics to help youth, aged 12 to 21, develop the skills in leadership andconference mentorship while addressing questions like: This year’s focuses on marketing

• features “What isindustry Genomics?” beef and speakers delivering workshops on specifi topics to help want? youth, • “What doescthe consumer aged 12 21, develop in industry? leadership • to“What’s goingthe onskills in the and mentorship while addressing questions like: • “What is Genomics?” • “What does the consumer want? • “What’s going on in the industry?

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cared all these years, but has never heard enough about how much I care. So this is for you, For the one who has helped me through, all my children fears and failures, And turned all that he could, into successes and dreams. For the man who is the wonderful example, of what more men should be. For the person whose devotion to his family, is marked by gentle strength and guidance And whose love of life, sense of direction, and down-to-earth wisdom, makes more sense to me now, than nearly any other thing I learned. If you never knew how much I respected you, I want you to know it now, Dad, and if you never knew how much I admire you, let me say that I think you are the best father that any child ever had. This is a note filled with love, and it’s all for you… Dad. Say the words. Write the note. Embrace and encourage your farming father. It’s time. †

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JUNE 4, 2012

Home Quarter Farm Life

Country musician retains ranch roots Escapes the fast pace of touring by returning to life on the farm BY CHRISTALEE FROESE


he family ranch has shaped Blake Berglund’s life, as well as the lyrics in his songs. The Kennedy, Sask. native won the Rising Star Award at the 2011 Saskatchewan Country Music Awards proving that there is an audience for down-to-earth ballads and rural-based lyrics. Blake’s country/alternative sound and ranching songs, like “Where have all my horses gone,” have made him a hit throughout the Prairies. “Being raised on a farm has kept my music real and has allowed me to create a very authentic sound and style,” says the 28-year-old touring musician who still returns home between gigs to feed cattle, make hay and ride horses. “I love getting up at 5 a.m. and getting on the tractor. With all of the hustle and bustle of life on the road, going around and around for 15 hours a day is my escape, my meditation,” says Blake. Blake’s parents, Jack and Terry Berglund, and Blake’s younger brother, Jarid, run the cow-calf operation. The senior Berglunds are second-generation farmers who are proud to have Jarid and his wife Brittany as integral parts of the operation. Jack and Terry are happy to have Blake and their two daughters involved in the ranch as

Blake Berglund (l) and his brother Jarid feed the yearlings at the Kennedy, Sask. ranch.

These cowboys still use horses, not quads, to do most of their cattle handling.

well, with daughter Jody owning land and daughter Casey, a dietitian, supporting the production of organic meat from her home in Edmonton. All of the cattle on the 26-quarter ranch (including rented land) are looking particularly good this year as a mild winter has meant the average steer is 100 pounds heavier than it was last year. The Berglunds have cultivated a market for their organic beef in Eastern Canada, finding that both demand and prices are higher in the East.

tic as I was,” says Jack, explaining that he was able to access eastern beef markets easier with the knowledge he had gleaned as owner of the Arcola Livestock Auction from 1982 to 1988. With dense soil and welltreed land bordering the Moose Mountains, the Berglund ranch is ideally suited for raising organic crops of oats, hay, barley and flax. The grain end of the operation officially went organic in 1998 with the beef being certified in 2007. As an incorporated entity, the Flying B Ranch and Company also operates oilfield services. “I’ve always taken a keen interest in nurturing the land,” says Jack. “Initially we did it for monetary reasons but I always disliked spraying, and with our type of land, we have good weed control with tillage alone.” Jarid, a CCA champion calf roper and avid horseman, says staying on the farm was a logical choice for him, both economically and in terms of the

“Organic is really big around Toronto and in Quebec. They can’t kill them fast enough,” says Jarid. Jack is proud to work alongside his family, the way he worked alongside his mom and dad. While his pioneer parents wanted him to leave the farm they founded in 1924, country living that included rodeo involvement, ownership of an auction mart and the growth of an organic grain operation was Jack’s true calling. “I guess they weren’t as optimis-

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close-knit rodeo and ranching family they have in the area. “Being where we are provides one of the best opportunities to get into mixed farming because of the landscape, and land is still relatively cheap here compared to a lot of parts of Canada,” says Jarid.

“Being raised on a farm has kept my music real and has allowed me to create a very authentic sound and style.” — Blake Berglund

Terry has been an integral part of the farm, supporting the endeavours of all of her children. Following Jarid on the rodeo circuit and Blake on his tours, she can be found rising early and going to bed late. “We don’t miss a show within a 200-km radius so there’s been a lot of 4 a.m. mornings,” says the proud mother of four. To listen to Blake Berglund’s music and see a listing of upcoming shows, visit www. † Christalee Froese writes from Montmartre, Saskatchewan



JUNE 4, 2012 /


Home Quarter Farm Life FROM THE FARM

Free for the picking What could be more local than dandelions and nettles? DEBBIE CHIKOUSKY


ith the growing interest in eating local foods our attention has turned to wild produce. A cooking show on television was what actually caught my attention. Imagine a chef tromping through the bush in search of blueberries for his compote. That was exactly what this particular chef does and I was fascinated at the items he was putting in his basket to take home and serve to paying customers. Last year was our first attempt at consuming stinging nettles. The nutritional content of this “weed” is quite impressive. A one-cup serving of raw nettles provides 54 calories, zero g of fat and no protein. One serving also has 14 g of carbohydrates and two g of fibre. Nettles serve up huge amounts of vitamin A — 1,790 IU, which account for almost three times the daily-recommended intake. The vitamin K per serving of nettles is 369 to 493 per cent of the amount you need daily. Nettles, I am told by neighbours, are great for tea etc. and as long as you pick them with gloves on you won’t get a rash. We found a large patch behind our chicken house and with gloved hands and long sleeves we picked our first food of the spring. To prepare them they need to be rinsed then sautéed in butter and garlic. They then can be a side dish or served over mashed potatoes. The part that greatly interests my children is that they were put here for us — we didn’t plant them. Our nettle adventures prompted my husband to tell us stories about how when he was a child the babas used to scour St. John’s Park in Winnipeg, searching for dandelions. Apparently, they made wine but there are many other purposes for dandelions. This year after hearing his stories we decided to delve into the world of dandelions. We have tried picking the odd leaf and adding it to salad but found them quite strong in flavour. We were tempted to give up and just leave the dandelions for the goats to enjoy but then I started reading. Researchers are finding that dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta carotene, from which vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver. They also are particularly rich in fibre, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein. So, I am now on a mission to make some palatable culinary delights for our family so we can enjoy these healthy weeds. Some warnings on wild crafting edibles: • If you’re not picking on your own property, get permission before you pick. • Make sure there have been no chemicals sprayed before picking. • It is not recommended to pick edibles from ditches because the

plants absorb toxins from the vehicle emissions. • Do your own due diligence and verify that the plants you’re picking are what they are supposed to be. For example, nettles are very similar to mint. Mint isn’t poisonous but there are many plants that are. A very good field guide is available through Manitoba Foods and Rural Initiatives. Many are also available through the library and online. • If it is not feasible to pick the wild herbs many can be grown in gardens. has a wide variety of herbs available including dandelions. These cookies require picking of just the flowers thereby stimulating the dandelion to produce larger leaves and roots for other uses.

DANDELION FLOWER COOKIES 1/2 c. oil 1/2 c. honey 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 1 c. unbleached flour (whole wheat is fine) 1 c. dry oatmeal 1/2 c. dandelion heads To prepare dandelion flowers for use in recipe: Wash them thoroughly. Measure the required quantity of intact flowers into a measuring cup. Hold flowers by the tip with the fingers of one hand and pinch the green flower base very hard with the other. Give a little twist and that should do it, releasing the yellow florets from their attachment. Shake the yel-

low flowers into a bowl. Flowers are now ready to be incorporated into recipes such as dandelion cookies and dandelion jelly. Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 F. Blend oil and honey and beat in the two eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, oatmeal and dandelion flowers. Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and eat. Dandelion Jelly 4 c. dandelion petals only (from approximately 10 c. of dandelion blossoms) 4-1/2 c. sugar 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 1 box pectin Water Large saucepan or soup pot Long spoon for stirring Canning jars Pour boiling water over petals. Steep until room temperature or overnight if possible. Strain through coffee filter to remove spent petals. Add additional water until tea measures 3 c. Combine

tea, lemon juice, box of pectin and sugar into large saucepan. Boil until jelly sheets on the back of a spoon. Pour into hot jelly jars, leaving one-quarter-inch headspace. Secure lid and ring to seal. Tips: • Keep petals in freezer to store until you have the proper amount. • If your jelly does not set up properly, open and boil again to thicken. You must use new lids to reseal. • Process in water bath canner for five minutes. • Only pick flowers from a fresh, unsprayed area. We are thoroughly enjoying learning how to use the abundant food that has been provided for us naturally. Over the summer we hope to learn about more and more of these foods and how to use them. The hardest part of this journey is finding people to learn from. † Debbie Chikousky farms at Narcisse, Manitoba. Email her at

“Every day I get to walk outside and see what we’re building.

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It’s time to tell the real story Canadian agriculture is a modern, vibrant and diverse industry, filled with forward-thinking people who love what they do. But for our industry to reach its full potential this has to be better understood by the general public and, most importantly, by our industry itself. The story of Canadian agriculture is one of success, promise, challenge and determination. And the greatest storytellers are the 2.2 million Canadians who live it every day. Be proud. Champion our industry.

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JUNE 4, 2012

Home Quarter Farm Life SINGING GARDENER

More on earthworms and pest control Plus, did you know that a hearty laugh each day is good for you? TED MESEYTON


oday’s agenda includes more about earthworm control and a request for homemade brew to hang in apple trees. Perhaps I can cap things at the end with some touches of humour. A British specialist in liver disorders says: People who are “liverish” would benefit to an extraordinary degree if they cultivated a really good, hearty laugh every morning before setting foot out of their bedroom. Laughing shakes and activates the liver.

READER FEEDBACK “I was disappointed in your answer to Terry Alm of Peace River about worms in the garden (Grainews April 16-12). You dealt with worms in the lawn, but she asked what we can do in the garden itself. We work to get the soil in good shape and then later we go to dig and it is like digging into cement with holes in it. Help! Thank you. — Heather” Ted says: No road is long with good company. Whatever we are waiting for — it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart. I’ve yet to meet anyone... gardener or otherwise, myself included, who wasn’t disappointed in something. Dozens upon dozens of people have told me about the hard lumps and mounds on their lawns, but no gardener (in my region at least) has expressed displeasure from too many earthworms in their garden. Perhaps it’s the difference in soils throughout the country.

TO THE RESCUE “Hi, just thought I’d tell you about how we got rid of too many earthworms in the garden. Our garden has always had enough well-rotted manure. Several years ago, earthworms were so thick they wrapped around the potatoes with soil like cement. We sprinkled lime on the garden and we have had no problem since. Our garden grows

beautifully now, and we still have earthworms, but not there. This was what they called hot lime. Looking up in the dictionary, it is made by pouring hot water over limestone shells… CaO. We just hand sprinkled a light, dry covering on garden, then tilled it in. Got it from a place that sells fertilizer at that time. This was done in the spring, and then the garden was planted. This was at least 10 years ago, and as we always keep the rotted manure worked in my garden, it really produces. Never had earthworms there since, but have them all other places, flower beds, trees and lawn. We live at Maidstone, Sask., east of Lloydminster about 30 kms. Happy gardening, and thanks for your articles. — Idell Robb” Ted says: Thanks Idell for your input and experience in this connection.

APPLE FLY MAGGOTS “Dear Ted; Subject: Apple tree remedy I have lost my recipe for the solution that you put in pop bottles and hang in apple trees to trap nasty insects into drinking so they do not lay their eggs in my apples. Please help. I live near New Liskeard, Ontario. Thanks. — Margaret Villneff” Ted’s Reply: Great to hear from you Margaret. This first recipe is the one I believe you’re looking for.

APPLE PEST TRAP SOLUTION One part molasses (cooking or blackstrap) Six parts hot water (to facilitate easy distribution of molasses) Add six parts white vinegar and stir or shake well. Using empty one- or two-litre plastic bottles, cut out a two-inch square hole about midway or twothirds up from the bottom on one side for insects to enter. Fill each bottle with prepared bait to just below the hole. Some beneficial insects will also go in, but the majority will be apple maggot flies and other pests. Strain out contents of each bottle every other day. You can reuse the same solution several times and then make a fresh batch. Hang about six or seven bottles of baited traps in each mature apple tree and pick about 90 per cent

or more of maggot-free apples at harvest time.

ALTERNATE FORMULA One part molasses dispersed in nine parts of hot water. Add one envelope of dry yeast granules. Once fermentation has stopped, stir in 10 ml (four teaspoons) of household ammonia and a few drops of liquid soap (not detergent) for every litre of water used. Note that ammonia has a strong odour so it’s best this be prepared outdoors. The fermentation of sweetness in molasses and yeast with the addition of ammonia as a flavouring makes it more selective in the insects that are attracted. For both baits, hang the bottles on mostly the sunny side of each apple tree, about 1.5 metres (five feet) high from the ground. Renew the baits weekly. Adult maggot flies emerge when fruits are formed, or about the size of a large marble or golf ball. About a week or 10 days later, their eggs are laid. Monitor your trees and traps regularly. Most gardeners I meet are very dedicated to finding ecologically acceptable pest control alternatives that are as gentle as possible to the environment. Let’s continue to encourage others to apply eco-friendly practices.

OTHER GOOD MEASURES ... of control for the home orchardist are the following. Some garden centres sell non-toxic pre-stickied red ball spheres. The female maggot fly emerges from her pupa and flies to the trap which she sees as the biggest and best red apple and the ideal place to lay her eggs and gets stuck. You can also cut out your own pieces of stiff yellow paper or yellow-painted cardboard rectangles at home, then cover each with a supremely sticky insect barrier called Tanglefoot. Hang four to six of either or combination of, about 1.5 metres (five feet) above ground, about three weeks after apple blossom petals fall.

REMEMBER! A COUPLE OF LAUGHS … is good for the liver. A youngster was attending his first wed-


It may not be a good hair day in the breeze, but Chris the Accordion Guy plays an Irish Celtic tune for the soon-to-awaken cecropia (Hyalophora) silk moth. It spent the winter safe from the elements as a caterpillar in its silk spun cocoon attached to an apple tree branch. Notice its location just above the accordion strap over Chris’s right shoulder. See the closeup. ding. After the service, his cousin asked him, “How many women can a man marry?” “Sixteen,” the boy responded. His cousin was amazed with such a quick answer. “How do you know that?” “Easy,” the young lad said. “All you have to do is add them up. Like the preacher said: four better, four worse, four richer, four poorer.” THE $2.99 SPECIAL Do you eat out once in a while? I, Ted, do! Here’s a great twist on the breakfast special. Those of you who are seniors will easily grasp this one. If you’re not yet a senior, hopefully you shall be one day, but some of you may have to wait until you’re 67. A couple went out for the seniors’ breakfast special that included two eggs, a choice of bacon, ham or sausages, a choice of curly fries or hash browns and toast and coffee. “Sounds good,” said the wife, “but I don’t want eggs.” The waitress replied, “Then I’ll


LOVE HEARING FROM YOU Do you have a story about a farm or home-based business? How about some household management tips? Does someone in the family have a special-diet need? Share some of your meal ideas. Send them to FarmLife, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0H1. Phone 1-800665-0502 or email susan@ Please remember we can no longer return photos or material. — Sue

Mother Nature is truly endowed with wonders and never ceases to amaze us. Apple tree blossoms pay no mind to a nearby neighbour. A massive cecropia silk moth (Canada’s largest moth) will emerge after spending winter months within the darkness of its own tomb. The chamber is as big as a large milkweed pod, or almost four inches from tip to tip and not that easily spotted.

have to charge you $3.49 because you’re ordering a la carte.” In disbelief the senior woman said: “Do you mean I’ll have to pay for not taking the eggs?” “YES,” stated the waitress. “Then I’ll take the special,” came the senior’s reply. “How do you want your eggs?” the waitress asked. “Raw and in the shell,” came the senior’s quick reply. She took home the two eggs and baked a cake. The message in this brief quip is: BE CAREFUL NOT TO MESS WITH SENIORS. They’ve had a driver’s licence longer than any whippersnapper half their age and have driven around the block many more times than once. Send this to the seniors in your life. Even seniors-to-be will appreciate it.

CANADA DAY … is less than a month away. Many years ago, I wrote a patriotic song titled: “I’m Proud To Sing O Canada.” Here are some of the lyrics: Will you let me love my country, Let me be a sign to you, May I demonstrate goodwill, And let you be Canadian too. We are citizens together, Helping one another grow, We have courage, strength and vision, To achieve and pride bestow. Refrain: And I’m proud to sing: O CANADA, For this country stirs my soul, And I’m proud to be CANADIAN, With a chance to reach my goal. † This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. To all dads, fathers, grandfathers, even great-grandfathers: Happy Father’s Day. Our day is June 17. Whatever else we chance to have, How much we gain or own, ’Tis only folks like Mom and Dad, Who make a house a home. Cannot describe their talents rare, Dad is King in his domain, A multi-tasker is that Guy, O long time may he reign. My email address is

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JUNE 4, 2012


Spring conditions across the Prairies Spring is a crucial time for crop production. This spring condition round-up will help you see where you stand BY RICHARD KAMCHEN


pring conditions can go a long way in determining the quality of grain that’s harvested. Fortunately for many Prairie farmers this year, conditions are greatly improved from previous saturated seasons.

SASKATCHEWAN Many farmers in the west-central and northwestern parts of the province welcomed the rain because, up until late spring, subsoil moisture conditions were low and needed recharging before planting operations started. The same could not be said of the southeast and east-central regions, where farmers didn’t need more precipitation. In fact, they were counting on drying weather in order to gain access to acres they couldn’t reach last year. Spring weather is crucial for crops — wet conditions can limit farmers’ opportunities to get to their fields and stall their seeding programs. If planting is delayed too long, crops are at risk of early frost damage and other challenging harvest conditions that appear going into September and October, says Saskatchewan Agriculture cropping management specialist Grant McLean. Too much rain can also inhibit pre-seeding weed control efforts, which was the case in portions of east-central and southeast Saskatchewan, which received significant amounts of precipitation in recent weeks, he notes. Previous years’ wet spring weather also halted weed control applications, and gave rise to the potential for harvested grain quality to be undermined when it went into storage. The high moisture content of immature weed seeds that remain in harvested grain can increase that grain’s stored moisture and temperatures, creating favourable conditions for insects and fungi.

The rainfall hasn’t put a damper on diamondback moths, which were spotted in Saskatchewan and across the Prairies. McLean, however, says the province’s traps reveal the numbers aren’t significant in Saskatchewan yet.

ALBERTA The same can’t be said for Alberta, where an early spring came with a very early and substantial population of diamondback moths. Early monitoring levels suggest damaging populations are possible by the end of the growing season, according an Alberta Agriculture report. “It’s relatively early and it sets us up for damage from population as the season goes along,” said the report’s author, insect management specialist Scott Meers. His report cautions that this doesn’t automatically translate into a need for spraying. Natural enemies can terminate potential outbreaks of this insect, and Meers stresses farmers be careful to treat the larvae only when the economic conditions warrant. Another potential problem for farmers in the province is ergot, according to crop specialist Harry Brook. That’s going to be a real interesting situation, especially if we have another wet spring — it’s going to set up the Prairie provinces for just an explosion of ergot. We’ve had two wet springs in a row; if we have a third one, we’ll have real problems with it,” Brook says. But he doesn’t believe excess rainfall will be a major issue this year: “It might be in certain isolated areas but, for the most part, people were happy to see the moisture.”

“Overall, most guys are reporting seeding conditions have been great,” says the province’s cereals specialist Pam de Rocquigny. “Soil moisture conditions are adequate for establishment and emergence. One comment I’ve been hearing is producers have been able to seed corner to corner on most of their fields.” An early start and good stand establishment are among the factors that would bode well for maximizing yield potential later on in the year, she adds. Farmers in much of the province have been able to clean their fields with a pre-seed burn off. Those in areas that have experienced heavier precipitation were obviously stymied, but de Rocquigny feels it’s still early enough in the year where if farmers will still be able to make pre-seed applications if they deem it necessary. Still, like any year, farmers need to be wary. Diamondback moths have been spotted in Manitoba too, although the province’s diamondback moth trap numbers seem to go up and down, which might be partially related to evening temperatures. Warmer evenings, for instance, increase moth activity, says Manitoba Agriculture’s extension entomologist John Gavloski.

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The fact some of the trapped Go to for full moths have spray rate information, or see your been in good local retailer for assistance. shape has raised the question of whether they migrated from there will definitely be potential southern states or over wintered. “There is the possibility that for it, Derksen says. Farmers may also need to keep some may have survived the winter, although confirming that this their eyes peeled for clubroot. is what happened is difficult,” says Two soil samples from 2011 came back positive for clubroot DNA, Gavloski. Disease issues are also in the although no symptoms in fields background. Significant levels of or in greenhouse tests have been ergot last year and the fact it sur- detected. Right now, the province vives a year in the soil gives the is just trying to raise awareness. “We’re not immune to this dispotential for more headaches this ease. Hopefully we can detect at year with the disease. “There’s likely a lot of ergot these low levels and put the measout in the soil right now because ures in place. Not only that, but of the high levels last year, but learn from Alberta as far as manwhether it’s going to be a prob- agement techniques go, so we’re lem depends — anything that able to control this disease.” Sanitation is the number one lengthens the flowering periods, like cloudy conditions, is when we recommendation, namely farmers see more ergot,” notes Manitoba making sure they do their best not Agriculture plant pathologist Holly to transfer soil from one field to another. ATV riders should presDerksen. Fusarium was a non-issue last sure wash their machines before year given dryness during the coming onto land, and custom flowering period, but if Manitoba applicators avoid going into fields experiences a more typical year when conditions are wet. † — especially more moisture at the Richard Kamchen is a freelance writer based early flowering stage of cereals — in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

MANITOBA Manitoba seems to have had the best seeding weather of the three provinces. Planting operations there are ahead of normal.


May 12 was the first full day of seeding for Brad Barlow, who had to wait for his southeast Saskatchewan farmland to dry up before he could get into the field.

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