Page 1

THE PREMIER EDITION OF

MODERN AGRICULTURE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2013

COMMODITIES BERRIES

POULTRY

DAIRY

VEGGIES

FEATURED ARTICLES Potato Virus Y by Susan Smith A Farmer’s Story by Kate Petrusa Neck to Neck: Evolution in Cow Collars by. Kaitlyn Gisler The Canadian Fruit Wine Revolution by Lenore Newman


Welcome to MODERN AGRICULTURE MAGAZINE

A message from UFV President Mark Evered

Dear Readers,

I am delighted to see this new publication. It is a wonderful way for the many creative and talented people who are, literally, growing the agricultural industries, businesses, and economy of our province, to share their knowledge and ideas, not just with each other, but with all of us who depend on their talent and commitment. Congratulations to the visionary students and young farmers who have put this publication together, and thanks to the authors whose contributions will educate us and guide us through the many challenges and opportunities of modern agriculture. With very best wishes,

Mark Evered, Ph.D. President & Vice-Chancellor University of the Fraser Valley Home of the BC Centre of Excellence in Agriculture


FEATURED ARTICLES

CONTENTS SUMMER/2013 06

THE MAYOR’S LETTER

07

THE CHANGING FACE OF CANADIAN FARMING

DAIRY

VEGGIES

EVOLUTION IN COW COLLARS Decades ago the only thing to adorn a cow’s neck was the quintessential cowbell to keep...

10

POTATO VIRUS Y

13

THE MODERN GREENHOUSE

14

LED LIGHTING

17

VERTICAL FARMING

The Potato Association of America (PAA) was formed in 1913 by a handful of dedicated...

Greenhouse agriculture has enjoyed a rapidly increasing market share in North America...

Using artificial lighting in horticulture to increase productivity and yields is not necessarily a new...

RINGING IN THE FIELDWORK SEASON Dairy farms in Europe and the United Kingdom are once again ahead of the curve and have...

LENDING 101 Thinking of growing your farm business? Approaching a financial institution for a loan...

COVER CROP RESEARCH Crop Specialist Jerry DeJong from RitchieSmith Feeds has been actively involved in...

28 30 31 32

BERRIES

Verticle farming can be described as Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) or in other...

POULTRY

CANADIAN FRUIT WINE REVOLUTION A successful country wine has the potential to be a powerful branding tool for a farm...

20

A FARMER’S STORY

22

TUNNEL VENTILATION

RESEARCH IN BC: CRANBERRY TIPWORM

Tunnel ventilation is a system which draws air, chilled with evaoprative cooling pads or...

As more discoveries are made concerning the biology of this challenging pest, growers will be...

24

SAFE, HEALTHY CHICKEN

Derek Janzen of Bordercreek Farms is a second-generation farmer from Aldergrove...

If you ask any type of farmer what they love about farming, you will usually get a number of...

BREAKING DOWN WIND EROSION We classify wind erosion as the detachment, transportation, and redeposition of soil...

THE YIELD OF A FIELD The YCA determination of yield can be applied with modifications to any crop...

36 38 40 42


The PUBLISHER’S

LETTER Dear readers, Thank you for joining us as we celebrate the release of the premier edition of Modern Agriculture. We are a quarterly publication which will bring forward fresh content on technology, research, and news related to our industry. We have partnered with many exemplary organizations and individuals in the agriculture sector and are aiming to become the premier source for up-todate information with anything and everything related to agriculture. We feel we can offer a different direction on the type of content we provide as this publication will be by farmers, for farmers. The purpose behind focusing on four different segments of agriculture is to offer diversification of content and materials as well as letting farmers from different specialties gain insight on what is going on in various sectors of agriculture. The four segments are: Small Fruit & Berries, Poultry, Dairy, and Veggies & Greenhouses. We, as a group, felt the need to step in and help farmers get the information in the industry that sometimes is not readily available. Therefore, partnering up with industry leading individuals and organizations will help us get the most accurate information in the most timely manner to the end consumer, which is you, the farmer. The information should help you be involved in the agriculture community while at the same time helping you understand what is going on in your sector of the industry, and a peek into other sectors as well. We are young passionate farmers who want to encourage change in the industry with modern techniques and ideas that will benefit the farmers and the industry as a whole. Thank you for taking the time to read our publication. We hope you enjoy the content in our inaugural issue, as well as all the content that is yet to come. Sincerely,

MODERN AGRICULTURE MAGAZINE

MODERN AGRICULTURE MAGAZINE

PUBLISHER MBMS Media

EDITOR & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Reuben Mann

PARTNERS Harwind Bassi Amir Maan Gurtaj Sandhu Anmol Mahil

MAILING PO Box 13003 Highstreet PO V2T 0C4 Abbotsford, BC, Canada

ADVERTISING advertising@modernagriculture.ca

LETTERS editor@modernagriculture.ca

CONTRIBUTORS Bruce Banman, Tom Baumann Bradley Breedveld, Nelson Din, Miranda Elsby Stephen Eng, Mark Evered Kerry Froese. Eric Gerbrandt Kaitlyn Gisler, Dieter Griesing, Dale Krahn Maximilian Loessel Reuben Mann. Jim Narraway, Lenore Newman Kate Petrusa, Ajay Randhawa, Jason Smith, Susan Smith, Case Timmerman, Mike Welty

Modern Agriculture Magazine is published quarterly by MBMS Media. No part of this publication may be used without written permission from the publisher. Š2013. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Modern Agriculture receives unsolicited materials (including letters to the editor, press releases, promotional items and images) from time to time. Modern Agriculture, and its affiliates and assignees, may use, reproduce, publish, republish, distribute, store, and archive such unsolicited submissions in whole or part in any form or medium whatsoever, without compensation of any sort. This statement does not apply to materials and/or pitches submitted by freelance writers, photographers, or illustrators in accordance with known industry practices.


06

THE MAYOR’S LETTER | MODERN AGRICULTURE

A LETTER FROM ABBOTSFORD’S MAYOR:

BRUCE BANMAN


MODERN AGRICULTURE | CHANGING

FACE OF FARMING

07

THE CHANGING FACE OF CANADIAN FARMING

RETIREMENT AND SUCCESSION TO THE NEXT GENERATION by: Jim Narraway

T

he face of the Canadian agriculture industry is about to

PASSING THE FARM DOWN (SUCCESSION)

change – again, but it’s likely not going to be the change you would expect. While competition, consumer pref-

In many cases with family owned farms there are chil-

erences and technology are all commonly discussed issues, the

dren who can potentially take over the operation when the

most critical change that is happening right now and over the next

parents wish to retire. This type of wealth transfer to the

10 years is that a majority of Canadian farm owners are retiring.

next generation also requires careful planning and should be started as soon as one or all of the children have con-

Not surprisingly, for many of these baby-boomers the hard

firmed that they want to continue the family operation.

earned equity locked up in their farming operation will be needed to fund their retirement years. To access these funds,

Succession planning can be extremely complicated and include

many farmers face one of two choices: sell their farm op-

numerous legal considerations. That’s why it’s important that the

eration, or, pass the farm to the next generation (succession).

farm family consults financial and legal advisors to obtain advice on

Both are complex issues with pros and cons on each side, but

how to set up the orderly transfer of farm assets. A good succes-

regardless of the route chosen, retiring farmers will need to

sion plan will provide a clear road-map for what needs to be done

maximize their equity while at the same time minimize taxes.

so that the children can take over the farm with minimal tax consequences and provide the parents with a comfortable retirement.

SELLING THE FARM FAIR VS. EQUAL Typically, individuals who have been farming for years will have developed a significant equity position and can ex-

Another reality for today’s farmers is that some children

pect equally significant proceeds from the sale of their op-

may want to continue the farm operation while others do

eration. However, it should be expected that such sales

not. In this case it’s important to remember that a fair dis-

will also come with a high tax bill due to capital gains.

tribution of assets does not necessarily mean an equal distribution of assets. If some children are actively involved in

This is why it becomes absolutely essential to consult tax pro-

the operation and others are not, dividing ownership equal-

fessionals or accountants prior to the sale of any assets.

ly could disrupt the operation and lead to family conflict.

With the proper professional advice from an experienced accountant, the retiring farmer may still have to pay the tax-

One solution is to transfer ownership to those who are active in

man but can keep the tax bill to the lowest amount possible.

the operation and leave non-farm assets to the other children. These assets might include your home, a cottage, Registered

Following the sale, the retiring farmer should also seek the advice of

Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) or other investments with

qualified financial advisors who can help invest the after-tax funds

the main objective to be equitably fair to all surviving children.

so that there will be income throughout their retirement years. SEEK ADVICE On the other side, for some farmers have re-invested their Neque porro quisquam est, quiwho dolorem ipsum quia equity is a veryconsectetur, real possibility that a sale velit, may not generate dolor there sit amet, adipisci sed quia enough funds for a eius secure, comfortable retirement. such cases, non numquam modi tempora inciduntIn ut labore individuals retain a portion of the farm shares and set upUt an et doloremay magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. agreement which systematically allows the newexercitationem owners to redeem enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum the shares over time, providing income over number ofex years. ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisiaut aliquid ea

qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, Regardless of the between selling the or tempassadipisci velit, sedchoice quia non numquam eiusfarm modi ing theincidunt torch toutfamily, can help outpora laboreprofessional et doloreadvice magnam aliquam line plansvoluptatem. that will Ut maximize providequis a quaerat enim adprofitability, minima veniam, smooth transition and ensure that retirement years are nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit labojust as nisi “fruitful”, if notexmore, than those on the farm. riosam, ut aliquid ea commodi consequatur?

commodi consequatur? Neque porro quisquam est, Jim Narraway is a commercial account manager for Envision Financial with over 30 years experience working in the agriculture and finance industry.


MODERN VEGGIES


MODERN AGRICULTURE |

INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS

09

CANADIAN VEGGIES Industry Highlights

VEGETABLE SALES Total vegeatable sales rose 5.4% to $847 million dollars.

CARROT TOPS The largest contributor to vegetable sales in Canada were carrots, with $92.5 million in sales.

BIG PLAYERS Farmers in BC, Ontario, and Quebec account for more than 88% of vegetable and fruit sales in Canada.

GREENHOUSE JOBS There are about 480 greenhouse vegetable and floriculture operations in BC, employing rougly 5,420 workers.

LEADING THE WAY BC’s greenhouse vegetable growers are recognized as world leaders in utilizing advanced tech.

EXPORTED VEGGIES One of BC’s top exports is vegetable products, estimated at $232 million.

MAJOR MARKETS The US, Japan, China, Columbia, and the Netherlands were BC’s top markets in 2012.

GREENHOUSE SALES Total greenhouse sales reached $2.5 billion in 2012.


10

POTATO VIRUS Y | MODERN AGRICULTURE

POTATO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

(97TH ANNUAL MEETING IN QUEBEC CITY) RESEARCHERS ON THE SPREAD OF POTATO VIRUS Y AND CRITICAL MANAGEMENT FACTORS by: Susan L. Smith

T

healthy plant leaf tissue. Historically, the spread of PVY and its impact on potato production has been effectively managed through the use of certified seed.

New research developments in Potato Virus Y (PVY) was a key topic discussed at the most recent 97th annual meeting of the PAA in Quebec City. PVY is a pathogen, vectored by aphids, that has become a significant disease of concern for potato producers in North America. PVY can reduce potato yields significantly, and even a low incidence of PVY can cause rejection of seed lots for certification. It is transmitted by at least 50 different aphid species, and can infect approximately 120 plant species in at least 5 different taxonomic families. Insecticides are not particularly effective in preventing its spread because no insecticide kills aphids quickly enough to prevent their interplant movement and probing of

North American researchers including Dr. Mathuresh Singh (Ag-Quest) and Dr. Philip Nolte (University of Idaho) reported at the PAA meeting in Quebec City, and agree that the industry in North America has seen an increase in downgrading of seed to lower classes due to PVY infection. The reasons for the spread of PVY are being looked at by a number of researchers in Canada and the US. It is felt that most growers with PVY problems might be planting PVYinfected seed; and additionally, that aphid control is not occurring at the correct time to protect crops from infection. Potato scientists are also seeing new strains of PVY developing that are showing milder visual symptoms that are posing challenges to seed potato certification programs that are involved in inspections for visual symptoms. In addition to visual inspection, diagnostic tools such as ELISA testing are being recommended for better detection of new PVY strains. In surveys of vegetation surrounding

he Potato Association of America (PAA) was formed in 1913 by a handful of dedicated individuals from the United States and has grown to become the official professional society for those involved in potato research, extension, production and utilization. The major objective of the association is to collect and disseminate the best available technical and practical information relating to all aspects of potato production, biology and utilization.


MODERN AGRICULTURE |

potato fields in Maine, PVY has been found in several common weed species including dandelion. It is suspected that weeds such as dandelions may provide an overwintering reservoir for PVY. Current local surveying suggests that the ordinary strain of PVY is the only one found right now in British Columbia. The BC Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (BCPVGA) is a partner in a national PVY project underway through the Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC) Potato Research Cluster Fund (funded by a new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Growing Forward II program). The multi-year potato research initiative includes examining management practices and the spread of PVY. In partnership, BC potato consultant - ES Cropconsult Ltd., is planning to conduct local mineral oil field trials to help determine effective integration of this into aphid management in BC potatoes.

For more information on this please contact Susan Smith at the BC Ministry of Agriculture (Susan.L.Smith@gov.bc.ca ).

POTATO VIRUS Y

11


WWW.MODERNAGRICULTURE.CA


MODERNGREENHOUSE 24

THE MODERN GREENHOUSE | MODERN AGRICULTURE

G

reenhouse agriculture has enjoyed rapidly increasing market shares in North America. In some areas around Canada, greenhouse production has more than doubled over the last decade. This is in part due to advances in cultivation technologies which have been essential in helping producers realize the high potential of greenhouse growing. Crops which were once designated to a particular season are being grown year round. Abbotsford group Randhawa Farms has successfully combined efficient lighting and novel growing procedures to embrace year round production of cucumbers. Every input in their 4 acre year-round cucumber operation is strictly analyzed. Switching their substrate to a finer coco, managing overall greenhouse hygiene, growing strategy, and properly implementing labour, accounted for an increase of 280-300 cucumbers per metre squared. They’re also one of the only greenhouses in BC with lights. That, coupled with their divergence from the traditional umbrella system of growing cucumbers, highlights their commitment to modern agricultural practices. Their switch to the high-wire system of growing under lights has made them one of the pioneers in the greenhouse cucumber industry. So what’s the difference between the two systems and is one better than the other? In the umbrella system, young plants are trained to grow upward to an overhead wire hung at about a height of 2 meters. Once the plants reach the wire, each shoot is topped and two main laterals are trained to grow along the wire horizontally for about a half meter, where the new laterals grow to form a sort of “umbrella” canopy. The downside of the umbrella system is that it prevents light penetration into the lower canopy and they miss out on the light saturation that the leaves near the top receive. This can result in large fluctuations of fruit production with poor fruit quality and poor fruit color. The umbrella system also does not allow for year-

round production of cucumbers, something integral to the Randhawa Farms operation. With the high-wire training system, the plant is trained straight up on a vertical wire with a clip. Only the main shoot is allowed to grow and all the laterals are removed. As the plant grows and nears the overhead support wire, the leaves on the bottom are removed and the plant is lowered. The result is a more uniform leaf distribution with better light penetration into the canopy. This allows for more stable fruit production, increased yields, and better fruit quality. Supplemented with lighting, this system is one of the best which allows for year round production of cucumbers. That being said, this method is also more labour intensive and requires strict discipline to reap any financial benefits. Management at Randhawa Farms, experienced with both the umbrella and the high-wire system, chose to implement the high-wire system because of better fruit quality and higher yields. Ajay Randhawa, one of the three heirs to the company, believes that the onus is on the growers to research newer, potentially better practices in agriculture, and to ultimately choose the system which fits better for their operation. Randhawa Farms started when Kan Randhawa moved from Canada to India. Hard work, determination, extreme care, and an open minded entrepreneurial spirit led the progression of Randhawa Farms from a small operation to becoming a 48 acre pioneer in the field. Now Randhawa Farms employs over 100 employees, some who - just like Mr. Randhawa did 30 some years ago - are starting their journey in Canada. Mr. Randhawa is ecstatic that he can provide these new Canadians with an opportunity to learn, grow, and enhance the field of agriculture, while allowing them a suitable environment to assimilate into Canadian culture while earning a living. by: Reuben S. Mann


14

LED LIGHTING | MODERN AGRICULTURE

MODERN AGRICULTURE | LED LIGHTING

11

LED LIGHTING WHY SHOULD WE USE ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING WHEN THE SUN IS FREE?

U

sing artificial lighting in horticulture to increase productivity and yields is not necessarily a new idea. Artificial light can be used to supplement daylight, expand the day length or replace daylight entirely for ultimate climate control in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). In the past it has been common to use TL (Fluorescent), HPS (High-Pressure-Sodium), HID (HighIntensity-Discharge) lamps. What all of these have in common is that they are highly vulnerable, have a short life cycle and are inefficient, meaning they have a high heat production and bad energy conversion rate. New developments in LED (Light-Emitting-Diode) technology due to research for horticultural applications in recent years have made LEDs more efficient and affordable than ever before. They have already been tested for use in floriculture, vegetable and fruit production, multilayer cultivation in closed climate cells, for germination and propagation. High success rates were shown in all applications. The sun provides us with a wide range of electromagnetic waves. The plants can only use a fraction of the spectral range for photosynthesis and plant development. The spectral range of solar radiation from 400 to 700 nanometers (nm) that plants are able to use in the process of photosynthesis is called “Photosynthetically Active Radiation” (PAR). It is similar to light, which is visible to the human eye, but has totally different peaks. Research has shown that Chlorophyll as photon receivers A and B have their absorption maxima at 400-500nm (blue) and 600-700nm (red) light,

AN INTRODUCTION OF LED LIGHTING APPLICATIONS IN HORTICULTURE

by: Maximilian Loessel which results in a higher photosynthetic efficiency under blue and red light! The rate of photosynthesis increases with greater amounts of light, which are measured in micromoles per square meter per second (μmol/m²/sec). However, at very high gradients the rate levels out and doesn’t increase any further. Every plant has their own sensitivity for intensity of light and color. Finding the perfect combination of light and climate is the key. The problem with HPS lamps is that they don’t provide enough red and blue and they operate at a very high temperature, which can harm plants. Fluorescent lamps are more efficient than HPS, but since a lot of the energy is used to produce green and yellow spectra of light, most of the energy is wasted! LEDs offer a tailored emission spectrum and can be customized to specific plant species and needs. They can be used for multilayer cultivation, interlighting and ceiling lighting. They offer a longer lifetime, no wasted light spectra and less heat production. This results in at least 40% energy savings when compared to the most efficient HPS light sources. In addition to that it leads to: 1. Increased growth rates, high and stable yields 2. Improved quality, nutrient content and flavor 3. Shortening of the total growth cycle 4. Better plant uniformity and space utility 5. Higher germination rate and multiplication factor For more specific details and questions please refer to www.agrilution.com.


WWW.MODERNAGRICULTURE.CA


MODERN AGRICULTURE | VERTICAL

FARMING

17

VERTICAL FARMING THE HIGH-TECH URBAN FARMING SOLUTION

ILLUSTRATION BY JON ELLIS

V

ertical Farming can be described as Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) or in other words Building Integrated Agriculture (BIA) using artificial lighting in multi-leveled systems - basically high tech greenhouses stacked on top of each other. One of the many advantages of cultivating food in multi-leveled systems within or around cities is the reduced transport need and therefore the reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Another important advantage is that no additional arable land is needed, which is already scarce and depleted. By providing locally grown food to local communities, vertical farms offer a fresher, cleaner, highly nutritious product grown at the doorstep of the consumer. Instead of having a long food chain from farm, to harvest, to processing, to transport, to retail etc., vertical farms offers a two-step chain. They will eventually grow the food where it will be sold. Eliminating most of the food waste. The only losses would be at the consumer level. Vertical farming has the potential to become an important instrument in the fight against malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies. It can supply highly nutritious fresh food with vertical farms to crisis areas and regions affected by natural disasters such as droughts, floods or hurricanes. The technology can be used to make farmers in developing countries inde-

pendent of climatic restrictions, pests and diseases all while building up SMEs in a field of modern futureoriented agriculture. Apart from the benefits of vertical farming mentioned above there are many more. I have listed some to get a better overview: - Increased production per square meter - Increased growth rates - Increased nutritional value - Decreased water use due to recycling water system - Decreased land use (no arable land needed) - Decreased fertilizer use elimination of pesticides due to controlled environment - Elimination of agricultural runoff - Elimination of seasonal, regional, and climatic restriction All of the above and more can be achieved by growing food in vertical farms. If you are interested and would like more information on vertical farming, please visit www.agrilution.com.

by: Maximilian Loessel


MODERN POULTRY


CANADIAN HIGHLIGHTS | CANADIAN

POULTRY

19

CANADIAN POULTRY Industry Highlights

BIG BUSINESS BC generates $351 million in farm cash receipts.

BC INVOLVED BC involves 325 chicken broiler farmers.

BC JOBS The BC Poultry industry provides 6,643 jobs.

BC GDP BC contributes $795 million to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

AVERAGE FARM INCOME The average BC farmer earns $50,000 of farm related income per year.

BIGGER BUSINESS Canada generates $2.3 billion in farm cash receipts.

CANADIAN JOBS The Canadian Poultry industry provides 55,943 jobs.

CANADIAN GDP The Canadian Poultry industry contributes $6.5 billion to the GDP.


20

A FARMER’S STORY | MODERN AGRICULTURE

A FARMER’S STORY

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELECTRA DESIGN Derek Janzen of Bordercreek Farms is a second-generation

lease agreement with his father on commercial laying hens.

poultry farmer from Aldergrove who loves his work. He has been farming for 15 years, raising 21,000 commercial laying

To manage 110,000 broilers every two months, 21,000 layer

hens and close to 700,000 broilers each year. He appreciates

chickens year-round, and to accommodate frequent off-

living on the farm and walking through his barns each day. On

farm travel, Derek has made sure he can monitor everything

his everyday rounds, he thoroughly enjoys the chickens. “I could

on his computer in both the broilers and layer barns. This

walk through the barns all day. It never bores me. I wouldn’t

includes water and feed levels, temperature in the barns,

trade it, that’s for sure.” As a family man with two children ages

egg cooler temperature, humidity sensors, and lighting in the

8 and 10, Derek believes the farm provides a great place for his

barn. His software automatically sends him an email update

children to grow up. He describes how his children are learning

straight to his iPhone every four hours about consumptions

about the chickens and about the responsibilities of the farm.

and temperatures. He can even remotely control the climate from his handheld device. “This is a phenomenal tool because

When Derek was growing up, just two kilometers away from

of the amount of information that comes in on a daily basis,”

his current farm, his parents provided a similar lifestyle to that

says Derek.

of his kids today (without the tablets and smartphones). He was raised on a farm with 20,000 commercial laying hens and

Derek’s computer system controls the climate. For the broiler

learned the ropes at an early age. During high school he worked

birds, he sets up a curve on the computer for each 35-day

for the Pollon Group at their hatchery in Abbotsford. After high

cycle, starting with their first day. This curve begins with a high

school, he continued with the Pollon Group to their processing

temperature and drops down as the birds need less and less

plants in Vancouver. Derek spent over nine years working at

heat. To help the temperature drop, the computer opens the

the plants, moving from delivery truck driver up to sales and

vents in the barn and speeds up the fans for more air velocity

marketing. Despite his success, Derek jumped at the chance

through the barn. If the temperature is hot outside the barns,

to buy his own 28-acre farm and began managing his father’s

the computer activates misting systems for additional cooling.

operation. Since then, Derek has built up a 110,000 broiler bird quota, purchased two live-bird trucks, and also entered into a

Derek believes that an ideal climate and a high-protein diet for


MODERN AGRICULTURE | A

FARMER’S STORY

21

When asked about the future of farming, Derek recognizes that agriculture in Canada is doing well, but that there is room for improvement. He is proud that, for the most part, Canada can feed its populations. He appreciates the efforts of food activists advocating for food sovereignty and that of local food systems because he believes the average consumer is quite disconnected from where their food comes from and how it is produced. Derek has met a lot of people who are really surprised when they learn just how much food is produced in BC. For example, he notes that all the eggs that BC needs are produced in BC. “We really need to get average people back into food and farming. People are so separated from their food. And it’s not just animal production, but crops too. They can see the food in the supermarket, but they don’t know how it is coming out of the ground, or the process that it takes to get there.” In addition to managing his farming operation and being a husband and father, Derek is also active in the broader farming DEREK JANZEN

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELECTRA DESIGN

the broiler birds helps to maximize their growth. In just 35 to 38 days, Derek’s broiler chickens go from just 0.1 pounds to 4.5 pounds. His barns also track broiler growth with scales inside the barns. These scales are simply suspended metal plates at ground level and track about 1500 weighings per day. It provides average weights, individual weights, and uniformity so that he can identify trends in growth. Despite his reliance on the computer, Derek will tell you that there is no substitute for walking through the barns twice a day.

community. He is a member of the BC Chicken Marketing Board, the BC representative for Chicken Farmers of Canada, and is the President of Outstanding Young Farmers of Canada. Derek Janzen loves being a farmer, and it shows. He’s managing hundreds of thousands of birds, is raising a family, and giving back to the farming community at the same time. He is using his iPhone to help him farm, and is working with the latest technology to maintain his success. He truly cares about feeding our local populations, educating consumers about where their food comes from, and the future of farming.

“The computer is great to look at, as well as the numbers, but there is no substitute for actually going into the barn. When you walk in, your nose can detect if the ammonia levels are right. Temperature on a screen isn’t going to tell you that. The computer can do a lot, but I need to be in the barn making adjustments. There’s no substitute for that.” In the layer barn, it takes two hours for a machine to pick all 19,000 eggs every day. The machine sends them to the egg packing station, monitored in person, and then gets loaded into the cooler. Derek’s team looks over the eggs for cracks and sends the majority to the grading station off-farm for washing and packing. Derek knows there are challenges to poultry farming, which, for him, is part of its appeal. He recognizes the challenges but sees overcoming these challenges as an opportunity for reward when they are met. Derek is passionate about consistently paying close attention to barn conditions and enjoys trying out and investing in new things, such as computers. He believes these two approaches have brought Bordercreek Farms into territory only occupied by a few chicken farmers in British Columbia.

by: Kate Petrusa


22

TUNNEL VENTILATION | MODERN AGRICULTURE

TUNNEL VENTILATION SHOULD POULTRY FARMERS MAKE THE SWITCH? by: Reuben S. Mann

T

unnel ventilation is a system which draws air, chilled with evaporative cooling pads or misting nozzles, from one end of the barn to the opposite end. It is gaining popularity all over Canada as an efficient method for reducing heat related stress in poultry houses. In the current cross-flow system, the exhaust fans are placed opposite the vents. The vents run lengthwise along the barns as do the fans. Cross ventilation is still used in tunnel ventilation barns for minimum ventilation situations. The tunnel operation is only turned on later in the flock when temperatures rise above the optimal growing temperature. Tunnel ventilation provides an air velocity of approximately two to four times faster than that produced by conventional poultry housing systems. In a tunnel-ventilated poultry house, air velocity at bird level remains relatively constant from the inlet end to the fan end of the house. This movement results in increased cooling for the birds throughout the house. A lower feed conversion, reduced mortality rates, a more controlled and comfortable environment for the birds, and better working conditions for farmers are all notable improvements over the current cross-ventilation system. The ability to maintain productivity or good feed conversion rates, even in the hottest months, are things poultry farmers would love to have. According to Dale Krahn, a poultry farmer in the Fraser Valley, “the biggest challenge [to poultry farmers] in the summer months is heat.� Virtually any poultry farmer can tell you that drenching mist, sweltering heat, and agitated birds are all unpleasant by-products of poultry farming in the summer months. Besides improved working conditions for the animals and staff, the prize behind tunnel ventilation rests in the improved feed conversion, or the amount of feed that turns into meat. There is a small range of temperature where birds produce optimal weights with the food they eat. Too low and they eat to maintain core body heat rather than to increase body mass. Too high of a temperature and the birds reduce their feed intake to maintain a cooler core body mass. They become lethargic and, given longer term heat stress, they succumb to heat prostration. As you can see, maintaining the optimal temperature for the birds is imperative, and tunnel ventilation is one technology which greatly aid poultry farmers in their end goal. According to a study done by the USDA Poultry Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University for seven-week-old broiler chickens, the birds grown with tunnel ventilation at two meters per second which provided a wind chill of 3.7 degrees Celsius were a half kilogram heavier at seven weeks of age than the birds grown in an air velocity of 0.5 meters per second. The ability for tunnel ventilation to improve feed conversion is big news for poultry farmers worldwide. Fortunately for farmers with established poultry houses, one doesn’t need to build a whole new barn. It is possible to retrofit the tunnel ventilation system to an existing poultry house at an approximate cost of $50,000.

Tunnel ventilation is a system which draws in air, chilled with evaporative cooling pads, from one end of the barn to the exact opposite. This allows for faster air velocity, and a stronger cooling affect. Retrofitting a tunnel ventilation system to your existing poultry house can cost you a hefty $50,000.


WWW.MODERNAGRICULTURE.CA


24

SAFE, HEALTHY CHICKEN | MODERN AGRICULTURE

SAFE, HEALTHY

CHICKEN

If you ask any type of farmer what they love about farming,

farmers, for farmers, and respects all Canadian regulatory

you will usually get a number of typical responses. Two of the

requirements. The program involves audited on-farm practices

most common being “I love working with animals,” and “I love the

and has been recognized by Federal, Provincial, and Territorial

country lifestyle.” What you will never hear is “I love paperwork,”

governments led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

or “I love having to record all my daily activities.” In the world of

(CFIA). The program combines good production practices

national and global food systems, most farmers aren’t selling

as well as internationally recognized Hazard Analysis Critical

just to the family down the road anymore. They’re selling their

Control Point (HACCP) principles into chicken production.

product to larger processors or packing houses and from there the product may change hands a number of times before

The On Farm Food Safety Assurance Program (OFFSAP) starts

ending up on store shelves.

with the end of the previous flock. Records are kept in regards to how and when the litter was removed and where it went, as well

The phenomenon of people not knowing who grew their food

as all the barn cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Further

isn’t necessarily a new thing, but with more people growing

records are made with every flock placement, documenting

up in the city and fewer having any connections to agriculture,

anything that happens in the barn. A flock sheet is prepared

people are starting to ask a lot of questions about where their

for every flock shipment. The flock sheet is a form used by

food comes from, how it was grown, who grew it, and why.

farmers to record specific information about such things as

Traceability programs which prove that farmers are top-notch

feed, whether any medications or vaccines were used, the feed

producers and grow clean food in an ethical manner have

withdrawal time, and the number of birds placed and expected

become the standard for all food production in Canada.

to ship. A preliminary copy is sent to the processor 3 to 4 days ahead of the flock and the complete information is required on

Food safety, being one of the top concerns for consumers,

the flock sheet with the shipment itself.

is something that all farmers take seriously. In broiler chicken production, it’s been more than a 15 year process in proving

The flock sheet is the farmer’s statement to the processor,

that fact. Chicken Farmers of Canada’s on-farm food safety

further processor, wholesaler, grocer, and consumer that the

program was first introduced in 1998. It was developed by

birds have been produced in accordance with the strictest


MODERN AGRICULTURE | SAFE,

HEALTHY CHICKEN

25

government and industry guidelines and regulations. Any

To prove this, Chicken Farmers of Canada has begun

farmers in violation of these guidelines face stiff penalties,

implementing an auditable animal care program designed to

and in more extreme cases, could be stripped of their quota,

demonstrate and maintain the high level and standards of

preventing them from selling chicken.

the Canadian chicken industry’s on-farm animal care. Support for this program has come from: the Canadian Federation of

Chicken Farmers of Canada’s OFFSAP was the first commodity

Humane Societies, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association,

program in Canada to receive Phase I technical recognition in

the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, the Further

2002 and the second commodity program to receive Phase

Poultry Processors Association of Canada and the Canadian

2 technical recognition of its management system in 2006.

Federation of Independent Grocers.

At their March 2013 AGM, CFC was awarded with full federal, provincial, and territorial government recognition for this

The way that CFC ensures compliance with these standards

program. CFC is the first commodity organization in Canada to

is by mandating that farmers own their flocks before they are

achieve this level of government recognition for the effective

sent to processors. That means each farmer has an economic

and consistent implementation of its OFFSAP that promotes

interest, as well as moral and ethical, in the proper care and

the production of safe food at farm level.

handling of the birds. Being a supply managed commodity also creates a higher level of accountability from every Canadian

Another concern consumers have with animal production is

chicken producer. Every farm undergoes an annual audit.

the issue of Animal Welfare. Many people have the image of

These third-party audits are conducted by professionals

a farm with a big red hip-roof barn with one cow, one horse,

trained in HACCP principles as well as on-farm food safety and

a rooster, a hen, and some sheep. With movies like Food Inc.

auditing techniques. After successfully completing their first

and others like it, consumers are being told that farmers have

audit, farmers receive an OFFSAP certificate. To maintain their

become big greedy corporations that will sacrifice anything just

certification, farmers must adhere to the annual audit schedule

to make another dollar. The truth is that raising healthy birds

and continue to carry out the program.

in a humane way is as important to Canadian chicken farmers as it is to those who purchase chicken for their family. CFC

So the next time you drive by a farm with barns that may not

works closely with all of its partners to ensure that stringent

be red and might not be hip-roofed, remember that Canadian

regulations related to the care and handling of their birds are

chicken farmers are known for the highest quality and standards

met and followed. After all, it is in the best interest of all industry

in the world.

members to see that all of the birds are raised the best way possible.

by: Kerry Froese


MODERN DAIRY 32


MODERN AGRICULTURE | CANADIAN

DAIRY

27

CANADIAN DAIRY Industry Highlights

# OF DAIRY FARMS In canada, there are currently 12,259 dairy farms, according to the Government of Canada’s 2012 census.

CATTLE POPULATION Those 12,259 dairy farms house an astounding 1.4 million animals.

MILK PRODUCTION If we took every single liter of milk produced last year, we would have 7.95 billion liters of milk. Go ahead, have a swim.

ORGANIC MILK 94 million liters of organic milk produced in 2012. Definitely won’t be too long before we pass 100 million liters each year.

IMPORTED DAIRY 146,954,184 kilograms of dairy products were imported into Canada in 2012.

EXPORTED MILK $237.5 million worth of milk was exported from Canada.

MAJOR MARKETS Our major trade partners include the US, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico.

LARGEST PROCESSORS Saputo, Agropur, and Parmalat are the largest processors in Canada.


28

NECK TO NECK | MODERN AGRICULTURE

NECK TO NECK: AN EVOLUTION IN COW COLLARS

D

ecades ago the only thing to adorn a cow’s neck was the quintessential cowbell to keep predators away and the herdsman knowledgeable of the animal’s whereabouts. As the majority of modern day dairy cattle are born and raised in barns the cowbell has lost its functionality and, although the collar remains, it has been replaced by technology. Collars today, equipped with tags, are much quieter than the bells of years gone by but disclose much more beyond cattle whereabouts. SCR Engineers Ltd., established in 1976 in Netanya Israel, has been a forerunner in agricultural technology. They hone and own the tagline “precise dairy farming” and remain the largest manufacturer of electronic milk measuring systems and electronic collar tags. Their fist-sized transponders use infrared technology to transmit up-to-date and accurate information to transceivers located around the dairy farm at high activity areas such

as milking parlours, feed bunks and water troughs. The data is then retained and made accessible through management software for the dairy farmer to view at his or her own convenience. SCR’s two tag models, H Tags and HR Tags, are equipped with cow identification ability but also heat detection (H Tags) and rumination monitoring (HR Tags). The ability to detect when a dairy cow is in heat, known as estrus, is present in both SCR’s H and HR Tags with use of an acceleration sensor, microprocessor and memory. The acceleration sensor monitors both the movement of the dairy cow and her intensity, advancing beyond the basic measurement of steps taken. Walking, running, laying and head movements are all analyzed and compiled into an activity index that can be observed by the dairy farmer. These activity levels and the intensity at which they occur are divided into two hours blocks over a twenty four hour monitor-

ing period and are displayed in graph form. When an irregularity in the dairy cow’s routine is observed, she is highlighted on the management system allowing the farmer to take necessary action. If she shows signs of estrus, breeding within eight hours is the usual protocol. If a cow has no sign of heat for a period of thirty to sixty days (which are considered low activity levels), she is also highlighted, allowing for a health management decision. H Tags have eclipsed the more rudimentary and time consuming methods for heat detection on dairy farms such as visual observation and tail chalking. With the use of H Tags, 95% of heats are detected resulting in a decrease of hormone usage, semen costs, and herd culling. Comparatively, milk production and pregnancy rates can increase due to reduced calving intervals. HR Tags combine both heat detection and rumination monitoring. Rumination involves cows chewing their bolus a second


MODERN AGRICULTURE | NECK

time in order to break down the forage so rumen microbes can work on the nutrients within the silage’s tough outer walls. HR Tags have a microphone installed into the tag which measures time between feed boluses, also referred to as the cow’s rumination time (RT). Dairy cattle typically spend 35-40% of their day chewing their cud. The microphone, situated against the cow’s neck, picks up on the animal’s chewing rhythm. Equipped with an on-board Central Processing Unit, the tag analyzes the vocal signals and transmits the data to the herd computer, where it is displayed in either a graph or report form. Naturally, a noted decrease in RT can assist in recognizing animal health concerns early on, allowing the farmer to better handle the situation before it becomes too critical. When the RT dips, it means that the cow is experiencing a loss of appetite and, therefore, may be experiencing stress in the forms of an abrupt change of climate, barn routine, or is becoming ill. Subclinical ketosis, acidosis, and mastitis are all conditions that have been identified with a decrease in RT’s. Saving both time and money using heat detection and rumination monitors on your dairy farm is an investment. The installation of these revolutionary herd management solutions requires no physical construction but the result will modernize your operation. Surely that must ring a few bells! by: Kaitlyn Gisler

TO NECK

29


30

MACHINERY RINGS | MODERN AGRICULTURE

RINGING IN THE FIELDWORK SEASON

MARGINS FOR FARMERS ARE FOREVER GETTING TIGHTER

family members as ring workers, the next generation

SO HOW CAN FARMERS TODAY MAKE ENDS MEET?

gains invaluable experience across a wide range of farms.

Dairy farms in Europe and the United Kingdom are once again ahead of the curve and have been so for some time, forty years to be exact, when the first machinery ring was introduced in Bavaria. Machinery rings are defined by Dr. Sharon Flanigan of the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen Scotland as “…a form of agricultural cooperative that has been established in Scotland as a means for farmers and other members to reduce their costs through access to a range of services, including resource sharing, contracting, labour services, training and commodities purchasing.” Farmers in Scotland support this statement with nine functioning rings in total. The largest, Ringlink, situated in North Eastern Scotland, boasts 2,600 members. After initial success in Bavaria, machinery rings were eventually launched in Austria, Germany, and twenty years later in Sweden, Scotland, Japan and Brazil, according to the Association of European Machinery Rings (EMR). A study, headed by Dr. Sharon Flanigan and Kirsty Holstead, funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program and referred to as “Farm Path” has identified the main clients of machinery rings: small farms, organic operations and new farms. Smaller operations require ring assistance due to equipment and labour limitations and difficulty in justifying the use of expensive technology and machinery. Organic farms have a great demand for seasonal labour. New farmers, especially the next generation, have limited cash flow and may have fewer industry relationships. The key benefits of machinery rings are responsiveness and efficiency. Databases allow for a rapid match-up of a supplier to a demander. If a farm can supply either labour or machinery (or both), they are generating a second, and welcomed income. Furthermore, if a farm can spare

Also, complimentary courses can be taken in agriculture, horticulture, management and administration. The structure of a typical machinery ring functions as a cooperative and usually has around several hundred members. There is a central office which is run by staff to assist in coordination and billing. When a farmer requires a service they contact the central office and are matched with the nearest provider. When the job is completed, billing and payment is done through the central office, collecting an additional levy for their efforts. All machinery ring services are provided at a competitive commercial cost and not on a “being neighbourly” basis which would make it difficult to have a structured system in place. Machinery rings are a business and are operated as such. For a functioning financial model of a successful machinery ring, RAMSAK (Ring of Agricultural Machinery in Sussex And Kent), in England is a fair example. All RAMSAK members are required to have a £50 ($80 CAN) share in the company which must be renewed annually. There is a membership fee ranging from £50 ($80 CAN) to £130 ($200 CAN) depending on what the member requires or can offer. The cost of a service is negotiated between the supplier and demander but RAMSAK offers guidance in order to reach a fair price. When the service is done the supplier completes a work schedule ticket and submits it to head office. RAMSAK is then responsible for sending an invoice to the demander with a prior agreement to collect payment within fourteen days and the supplier being paid by twenty eight days upon completion of the job. Machinery rings do come at a price depending on their services and membership size but, the payoff is great, if not greater.

by: Kaitlyn Gisler


MODERN AGRICULTURE | LENDING

101

31

LENDING 101

A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN APPROACHING A LENDER courtesy of Farm Credit Canada

Thinking of growing your farm business? Approaching a financial in- late with a payment your score will decrease and create a long term stitution for a loan can be intimidating, but a little preparation will reduction of your score. Curious about your score? You can obtain a certainly make the experience go more smoothly. copy of your credit report by contacting www.equifax.ca. Entering into a financing arrangement is often a complex deal, where both the lender and borrower take on additional risk. When you receive a loan, the lender fulfills its end of the deal the moment the loan is advanced. You fulfill your end of the deal with every payment you make. Your lender is relying upon you to keep up that end of the bargain—in some cases far into the future.

That’s a lot to consider, and it’s important to make sure you have the tools in place to succeed – not just with your loan application, but as a viable and successful business. One thing lenders typically look for is your path to repayment. If they can see that, they will gain confidence in your business. Key tools to have on hand when approaching a lender include:

So what do lenders look for when they evaluate potential loans? One method lenders use to evaluate potential loans is the five C’s of • Your production records and credit history (both personal and business). As credit: Character, Capacity, Commitment, Conditions and Collateral. mentioned earlier, past performance is often a strong indicator of success, and lenders will want to look closely at these. Let’s look at each of them in more detail:

• Your financial records (including balance sheet(s), inventories, income stateCharacter is a criteria used to assess both the experience and capacities of ments or tax returns). You need to be aware of what you own and what you the business’ management personnel. Lenders may consider things like planowe. The importance of keeping an up to date, detailed balance sheet has ning skills and experience, financial skills, credit history and integrity. never been more important. The ability to keep track of working capital and leverage is important in deciding how to finance your business. Capacity (or repayment ability) addresses the past financial performance of the enterprise, which is often a prime indicator of its future viability and the • Your farm plan or business and marketing plan. A plan helps you to take a likelihood of loans being repaid. Considerations include past and projected fistrategic approach to answering fundamental questions about your business. nancial performance and outside (off-farm) income. What products are you going to produce? How are you going to market your products? Where do you want your operation to be in a year? In three years? Commitment of the owners of the enterprise is crucial to its success. Lenders Beyond that? What risks may affect your operation and how will you prepare often consider both financial and non-financial commitment to the business. for them? What’s your cash flow situation and how will you manage it? Conditions refers to any number of factors that may influence the future viability of the enterprise and the risk involved in making the loan. Lenders may evaluate legislation that could affect the industry, market conditions, current and potential economic impact, potential environmental impact and other factors.

Planning for both the day-to-day management as well as the longer term is crucial for the success of an operation in any economic climate. The business plan is your map. It keeps us going in an intentional direction. Having it doesn’t mean we can’t take a different turn when an opportunity or challenge arises… but a good plan can keep Collateral provides the secondary source of repayment. To ensure adequate you moving forward. coverage for the loan, lenders may look at available security and its value, and any commitments the business already has to other lenders.

Another “c” – credit checks – is also commonplace in the financial industry. Lenders use them to assess past repayment history and most lenders use the Equifax Credit Report. Each Equifax report contains a Beacon Score that provides a quick picture of the customer’s credit worthiness. Information obtained during a credit check speaks to the character of the borrower. The importance of keeping a clean credit record can’t be overstated. Every late credit card, car payment, or cell phone bill payment will negatively impact your Beacon Score and reduce your ability to obtain future credit. Even if you are one month

Surround yourself with experienced advisors or mentors who can help you stay on track through the inevitable bumps in the road. When you encounter difficulties, talk to them (and your lender) about your solutions. Remember that it’s in your lender’s best interest that your farm business succeeds. Take advantage of that by seeking knowledge and advice that will help you succeed. There are few industries that offer the kinds of opportunities – from a business and lifestyle perspective – that agriculture offers. While there are aspects to farming that are common to many other businesses, the returns can be truly unique and rewarding.


COVER CROP RESEARCH | MODERN AGRICULTURE

32

RITCHIE-SMITH FEEDS INC. LEADING THE WAY IN COVER CROP RESEARCH

farms moving away from the lower quality fall rye to the new wheat and rye grass blends which are now becoming such a vital part of the valley’s dairy industry. These new varieties have such high milk potential that they are now kept in separate bunkers and blended into the high group rations on most farms. Not only do they provide great crop yield, they also play a vital role in fighting soil erosion over the wet winter months and reduce pollution of ground water by nitrates from manure and make more efficient use of fall applied manure. This upcoming fall Ritchie-Smith will be working closely with the plant breeders from both Alberta and Oregon in selecting new genetic material that will be suitable for the trial plots. These varieties will be compared side by side with proven winners from past years. By introducing and trying new varieties it allows Ritchie-Smith to maintain a high standard in selecting the winter wheats and rye grasses best suited for our unique Fraser Valley climate.

C

rop Specialist Jerry DeJong from Ritchie-Smith Feeds has been actively involved in selecting the very best wheat and rye grasses for the valley fall cover crop program. 20 years ago, he recognized the value of fall cover crops as important forage for the dairy industry. At that time the varieties being planted were very poorly suited for the valley’s wet and cold winters and would show extreme signs of stripe rust and poor growth. Some of the older cover crop varieties were disced up and not even harvested for forage. It became very frustrating to see people plant fall rye because no suitable winter wheat varieties were available. With some careful planning and trial plot research over the past 15 years, Jerry has worked to create some of the top cover crop blends of wheat and Italian rye grass. They have become a vital part of the dairy industry crop program for the Fraser Valley. These new varieties have been selected for their fast germination, aggressive fall growth, winter hardiness, rust resistance, and are extremely high yielding with excellent feed quality. This past year Ritchie-Smith, with the help of their new NIR Lab, have taken the trial crop program to the next level by analyzing every variety in the trial plot. The new NIR machine can now evaluate these varieties using 14 criteria from crude protein ADF, NDF, all the way to predicting milk yield per acre. This has become an invaluable tool in the next step of research selection of the new up and coming varieties of wheat and rye grass. It is very rewarding to see the progression of dairy

. . . quality you can rely on locally owned and operated ritchie-smith produces nutritionally superior feeds designed to maximize your profits

33777 Enterprise Avenue, Abbotsford, BC Phone: 604-859-7128 or 1-800-242-8011


MODERN BERRIES


MODERN AGRICULTURE | CANADIAN

BERRIES

35

CANADIAN BERRIES Industry Highlights

BERRY VALLEY About 95% of BC’s berry production occurs in the Fraser Valley.

BC RASPBERRIES Over 80% of Canada’s raspberries are grown in BC.

BC BLUEBERRIES Over 55 million kilograms of blueberries are grown here, with production steadily rising.

BC STRAWBERRIES Producers have been growing fresh and processed strawberries on 600 acres in the Fraser Valley for over 30 years.

GROSS SALES: BLUEBERRIES According to a recent survey, BC generated almost $83 million.

GROSS SALES: STRAWBERRIES Strawberries recorded the lowest gross sales at 6 million dollars.

GROSS SALES: RASPBERRIES The BC raspberry crop is valued at $31.5 million.

GROSS SALES: CRANBERRIES BC’s Cranberry industry produced nearly $42 million.


36

CANADIAN FRUIT WINES | MODERN AGRICULTURE

THE FRUIT WINE

A SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY WINE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE A POWERFUL BRANDING TOOL FOR A FARM.

F

ruit wines are becoming an increasingly popular value-added product in Canada. When properly made, fruit wines are summer in a bottle, capturing the aroma and flavour of fruits at the peak of the season and blending them into complex flavour profiles that pair well with any meal. The rising interest in fruit wines, which are also known as country wines, mirrors the rising interest in culinary tourism and cuisine in general. Canada’s developing cuisine highlights wild products, seasonal flavours, and fresh local products; these qualities can be captured in a good fruit wine. For the producer, an excellent fruit wine can provide a yearround revenue stream and can help use up excess fruit at the height of the summer season. Tasting rooms are excellent elements for inclusion on a culinary trail, and help draw customers onto the farm, where they will often buy other products as well. Making a good fruit wine is a fairly complex undertaking that takes practice. Grapes are the most common fruit for wine making for a reason; they have a balance of sugar, tannin, water, and food for yeasts needed to produce a stable and pleasant wine. Country wines require that one or more of these properties be adjusted. Sugar levels often need to be supplemented in order for alcohol levels to be acceptable. Honey can be used for this step, creating what is called a melomel. In some cases fruit carries too much sugar; water can be added to adjust the product. Some fruit wines can be so acidic as to be undrinkable. Many of Canada’s fruits and berries create very acidic wine, and the new winemaker must be careful to add water before fermentation to control the acidity. This can, unfortunately, diminish the final flavour. Adding a back-sweetener such as honey or sugar after the fermentation can help with this effect. Maple is an interesting back-sweetener for a Canadian country wine, adding a distinctive and very Canadian flavour. A lack of natural yeast can also be a problem for country wines, and this can be controlled by adding yeast nutrients. Aside from these specific issues, a great fruit wine requires excellent quality fruit at the peak of ripeness. The fruit must be very

HIGH QUALITY FRUIT, APPR A STRONG MARKETING STR LAUNCHING YOUR LINE OF F


MODERN AGRICULTURE | CANADIAN

FRUIT WINES

37

CANADIAN REVOLUTION

clean, and any mold, pits, stems, or leaves will taint the flavour of the final product. A general rule is that fruit for winemaking should be of the same quality as fruit for the table, and similar care should be used in handling the fruit. A successful country wine has the potential to be a powerful branding tool for a farm, but many producers muddy their brand by trying to be all things to all people. As a general rule, stick to fruits from the region, and ideally to fruits associated with the farm itself. This helps build both the regional brand and associates the farm with particular products. Be sure to label clearly, and try to stick to a small product line with a few dry wines, a few sweet wines, and perhaps a dessert wine or two. Sweet dessert wines are a hallmark of Canadian cuisine, and can be popular sellers. As a general rule, the complex flavour of true wines won’t mix with country wines, so don’t mix grape wines into a country wine tasting. The conflicting flavour can detract from both products. A successful line of fruit wines takes hard work and thought, but can add nicely to a farm’s bottom line while building a successful culinary brand. by: Lenore Newman, PhD

Professional marketing and branding can separate your wines from the competition.

ROPRIATE BRANDING, AND RATEGY ARE ESSENTIAL IN FRUIT WINES WITH SUCCESS.


38

BREAKING DOWN WIND EROSION | MODERN AGRICULTURE

BREAKING DOWN

WIND EROSION

W

e classify wind erosion as the detachment, transportation, and redeposition of soil particles by wind. One of the biggest issues posed to agriculture by wind erosion is the loss of topsoil and nutrients – naturally reducing the soil’s ability to produce crops. If you do a Google search on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, you’ll see massive clouds of topsoil encroaching upon old western style buildings in a sepia tone. The vivid images of the dust storms are powerful, but lack in comparison to the damage done to fields with completely ruined crops and harvests. Despite the intense imagery, wind erosion is in fact a viable threat to today’s agriculture industry. Although we’ve gone to great lengths in improving our soils through better farming machinery, crop varieties, fertilizers, herbicides, and other inputs, we still need to take further action against soil erosion. Legislators in Canada have even recognized the importance of preventing wind erosion through The Soil Conservation Act, which empowers each municipal soil conservation officer to work with landholders, cooperatively or legally, in an effort to curb soil erosion. During the 1980s, wind erosion damaged more than an estimated 900,000 hectares (two million acres) of agricultural soils in Western Canada. Soil productivity is affected by wind erosion in various ways. Areas of erosion and deposition within a field increase the variation in soil characteristics, requiring more costly and less efficient soil management practices. Wind removes the smaller clay particles and organic matter from soil while coarser materials are left behind – which is highly detrimental to the productivity of the land. Erosion aside, heavy winds during harvesting season also pose a detrimental affect to yields, as berries or other commodities grown outdoors can blow off crop before it’s been harvested. Effective preventative measures against wind erosion include planting crops, covering the land with manure or straw, and bordering your fields with large trees whose branches help to break the wind.

by Reuben S. Mann

Wind typically rolls over itself, and short, shrubby trees whose branches are not spread apart do not do much to stop the wind – it just rolls right over it. In order to reduce the effect of wind, you need wide trees with branches that can ‘cut’ the wind. Some good examples of these types of trees would be Ash, Oak, Beech, and Maple trees. One example of a tree which wouldn’t be useful is the Poplar, whose branches are too close together to affect the motion of the wind. Our government recognizes this issue and grants are available to farmers, to encourage planting trees as a windbreak. Forms, information, and contact information is available online at the Government of Canada’s website: www.canada.gc.ca


40

RESEARCH IN BC | MODERN AGRICULTURE

Pupal stage of cranberry tipworm, close to adult emergence. PHOTOS COURTESY OF AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA (AAFC)

RESEARCH IN BC: THE CRANBERRY TIPWORM

AS MORE DISCOVERIES ARE MADE CONCERNING THE BIOLOGY OF THIS CHALLENGING PEST, GROWERS WILL BE ARMED WITH A GREATER RANGE OF TOOLS FOR MANAGEMENT DECISION MAKING.

C

ranberry tipworm (scientific name Dasineura oxycoccana) is a well-established pest in Wisconsin, the cranberry capital of the U.S., and a relatively recent threat to BC cranberry growers. When this pest first showed up on BC cranberry farms in 1998, little was known about effective management. This small midge has the ability to reduce cranberry yields by as much as 50% in a growing season, making it an important economic pest to any management-conscious grower. The adult cranberry tipworm has a body length of approximately 1 millimetre. The insect’s relatively small size makes it an especially difficult pest to identify and manage in the field. Depending on seasonal temperatures, the tipworm adult will usually emerge from overwintered pupal stages in the debris litter of fields in early spring, and lay its tiny eggs in the tips of cranberry upright shoots. The life cycle of this insect includes the egg, three larval instar stages, a pupal stage, and finally adult emergence. Again depending on seasonal temperatures and day length, the pest usually takes several weeks to develop from egg to adult. As the tipworm larvae develop from small whitish first and second instars to orange third instars and eventually pupae, they use their rasping mouthparts to feed on the tender meristem tissue of the cranberry bud. The pupa

will then form a silken cocoon on the inside of the damaged cranberry leaf, and eventually emerge as an adult tipworm to perpetuate the cycle. The majority of the damage caused by a tipworm infestation is done during the second and third larval stages, when the immature stages are aggressively feeding on the bud of the upright shoot. As the meristem tissue is damaged, it slowly browns and eventually dies. Lateral vegetative shoots are then prompted to grow, reducing the number of flowering shoots in the field. This extra lateral shoot growth is especially damaging if done nearing the end of the growing season, as the plant has no time to regenerate flowering shoots that would bear the fruit for next year’s harvest. Current monitoring for this pest is limited, including upright shoot collection in the field and subsequent observation using a dissecting microscope. It is recommended that at least 50 shoots are taken from each field in question, and then checked with a microscope for egg, larval, or pupal stages. However, while this is an effective means of detection, it is time consuming and laboratory equipment is not always available to growers. Cupped


MODERN AGRICULTURE | THE CRANBERRY

Adult female cranberry tipworm

leaves in the field are indicative of an established population, but at this point the feeding damage is already advanced enough to prompt vegetative growth. Another active monitoring tool is sweep netting for the adult midge, the presence of which would indicate probable infested shoots. More effective and accessible monitoring methods are currently being explored in order to offer growers the greatest advantage when dealing with this pest. Recent research efforts to increase tipworm management tools have included field testing of the pest’s sex pheromones. This research hoped to investigate the feasibility of using the sex pheromone as a lure in field traps as a means of early detection. Traps baited with pheromone proved to be highly attractive to the adult male tipworm, which were tested throughout fields in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. While these traps could help growers make informed management decisions early in the season, laboratory synthesis of the pheromone is very costly, making it an unrealistic tool for commercial production. More cost effective options are being explored as alternatives, including research that explores the most suitable trap type, considering vari-

TIPWORM

41

Cupped feeding damage on cranberry shoot tip ables like colour, position in field, and sticky surfaces. Natural predators have also been discovered in fields with established tipworm populations, including two small parasitoids that lay eggs in the developing larval stages of the tipworm, killing them before they have a chance to emerge from the cranberry shoot. As more discoveries are made concerning the biology of this challenging pest, growers will be armed with a greater range of tools for management decision making. Improved trapping methods, coupled with careful field scouting throughout the season can help growers make informed decisions concerning possible pesticide applications, as well as nutrient management to inhibit excessive vegetative growth. Applying a layer of sand directly onto cranberry vines has also been shown to help suppress emergence of tipworm that have dropped to the ground for development. Additionally, the recently approved registration of Movento 240SC Insecticide (spirotetramat) for post-bloom tipworm control has given growers one extra management tool. Further research is underway in the hopes of discovering inventive means of controlling this difficult pest. by: Miranda Elsby Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Assistant


42

YIELD OF A FIELD | MODERN AGRICULTURE

YIELD OF A FIELD

THE YCA DETERMINATION OF YIELD CAN BE APPLIED WITH MODIFICATIONS TO ANY CROP

I

t is at times crucial to know what the expected crop yield for

Note: The closer to, or in harvest, the more accurate the

the year is going to be as you need to get your resources

estimations will be, as less environmental problems will

prepared for harvest (such as crates, buckets, machines,

come to bear till harvest. One still needs experience to tell

pickers, and the like). Packers and processors also like to

whether plants that are sampled are representative of the

be prepared for the onslaught of harvested fruit by having

field.

staff and supplies ready and having their freezing capacity all determined. For the entire industry it is a measure of

After following the steps on the next page, you’ll be able

area yields, which combined with international production

to properly conduct your own Yield Component Analysis!

and consumption, can influence the product price. While

It is quite straight forward. I find blueberry estimates the

some can make crop yield assessments by looking at the

hardest to do, while strawberry, raspberry and cranberry

plant at bloom or prior to harvest, we prefer using the

are far easier. However, once you get the hang of it, you

Yield Component Analysis (YCA) procedure. The YCA

can predict with accuracy the yield estimates right after

procedure provides better accuracy and has been used

bloom! Keep in mind that this is yield potential, as if the

in adjusting or underwriting for insurance purposes for

weather turns for the worst and everything rots... we’re all

over 15 years for berry crops and grapes. It has been used

out of luck!

in the grain industry for decades and has provided legal clarity in determination of any issues such as arbitrations, mediations, and court cases. We have developed data collection sheets and procedures for collecting sample counts as well as surrounding field condition data including diseases, weeds, insect management practices and soil conditions. The procedures have been accepted by some and viewed critically, although still used, by others. The procedures are widely published, have already won the day in arbitrations, and further acceptance for the procedures were obtained in several court depositions in Washington State and British Columbia, so precedence does not exist. I want to walk you through the basic procedure for the sample crop blueberry, since of all berries this is the one with the most acreage. Please do not be put off by the math, I use simple multiplication and division only, so that should be no problem. Four samples per variety, field, age of planting, date of sampling and even stand. For highly variable fields, more samples must be taken.


MODERN AGRICULTURE | YCA

PROCEDURES

43

YCA PROCEDURES: ONCE A SAMPLE SITE HAS BEEN SELECTED RANDOMLY, FOLLOW THESE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Determine how many different areas are in the field that need sampling

2. Determine the number of plants per acre by measuring the distance between rows and the distance between bushes. Then look in the table provided to get the number of plants required per acre (borrowed from the BCMA Berry Production Guide available online at www.productionguide.agrifoodsbc.ca/ guides/14) 3. Now sample the following four times and derive one average number

Table 1. Plant requirements at different spacings Distance between plants (ft)

Distance between rows (ft)

Numberof plants required/ acre

2

9

2469

4. Select 4 representative canes for the 2 bushes and count all flower/fruit laterals on the canes and divide by 4. Multiply this number by number of canes per field (last number)

3

9

1646

4

9

1235

2

10

2222

5. Multiply this number by the mean number of flowers/fruit per lateral (count 10 laterals across the 2 bushes and divide by 10)

3

10

1481

4

10

1111

6. Multiply this number by the fruit weight for a single fruit collecting 50 fruits per sample, divide by 50

2

11

2020

3

11

1347

4

11

1010

4. Multiply by the number of canes that are bearing per 2 bushes, divided by 2

7. Multiply by fraction of good fruit e.g. if you lose 10% you multiply by 0.9 (1 is no loss, zero is all lost) 8. Divide the resulting number by 453.6 to get lbs per acre. Multiply by acres in the field and that is your yield potential per field! by: Tom Baumann and Eric Gerbrandt Pacific Berry Resource Center University of the Fraser Valley


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