Virden FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2015
FARM & FIELD Agricultural Edition
Canada Post Contract No. 40069240
March 13, 2015
Buy or rent By Anne Davison Land is irreplaceable. “They’re not making any more of it,” says farmer and accountant Lance Stockbrugger. For some investors it is more valuable than gold. For farmers, be they livestock or grain producers, acquiring land is their basis for business. At Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Ag Knowledge Exchange, held in Brandon on March 3, Stockbrugger spoke regarding renting or buying farmland. Both a farmer and a Chartered Accountant for over 15 years, he also bills himself as a father of two future farmers and husband to a farm girl. Just to give context to the value of the dollar, and of land, Stockbrugger shows a land title transfer. His great-grandfather Heinrich Stockbrugger became the landowner of a quarter section in Saskatchewan in 1909, for the cost of $1,280. “It’s the original quarter where I live, east of Humboldt,” says the young farmer. “The best
land in the world - arable clay loam,” he jokes. Originally, the Saskatchewan Valley and Manitoba Land Company, under the Dominion Land Act, sold unbroken quarters of frontier land in 1872 for $10 per quarter. In just thirty years, and with some sweat equity, that land increased in value by 128 times. According to Stats Canada, and it is an observable fact, the size of farms has continually been on the increase, with the number of farm families decreasing. Statistics in 2011 showed that out of 160 million acres of agricultural land, 64 percent was owned and 36 percent or 64 million acres was rented to agricultural producers, a figure that surprised Stockbrugger. He thought rental proportions would be closer to 50/50. Between 1980 and 1990 there was a steep rise in the number of rentals likely due to high interest rates. Then the change from ownership to rental flattened between the late ‘90s to 2011. Although land
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Lance Stockbrugger and his wife Marie with their two children. Photo/Submitted
rental trend has slowed, rentals are still on the increase. Land ownership emotional issue Ownership has been very important to families. But it needs to be a sound economic decision too. In an interview, Stockbrugger advises, “I’m trying to take a bit of the emotion out, and look at it from an economic standpoint. Right now renting from a cash standpoint is cheaper than buying, on a per acre basis. But five or seven years ago, for our area the opposite was true.” He acknowledges the benefits of ownership are attractive, but at this point the cost of ownership has gone up faster than rental costs. The analyst points out that the value of what the land can produce (commodity price) is usually reflected in rental fees. For example, he explains that corn prices went down by 51 percent between September 2012
- 2014, but came back a little, later last fall. One question he puts to farmers is, “Have any of your costs declined?” The Saskatchewan farmer is estimating a re-set in the cost of diesel, based upon a projected decline of 25 cents per litre from last year to this year. That would mean a saving of four dollars per acre for his operation, based on last year’s usage. However, over all, agricultural inputs have generally increased. Other influences drive pricing In certain areas where there is strong competition for land, both rental and purchase prices are driven up. A single surface lease could be valued at $2,000. But that fee stays with the owner, so for a renter, a surface lease is a nuisance, something they have to work around, not a benefit. Keep in mind there are additional fees in
land transactions such as GST; and grain storage costs (for renters). The accountant says a rental agreement should be drawn up and he advises a three to five year agreement is most common. In the sale of land onetime fees can include title search, transfer of ownership, and realtor fees. Some investor groups find land a safe haven. Stockbrugger points out that each province has its own rules. Residency in Canada is a must for some provinces, SK being one of them. Low interest rates and higher gross commodity prices have tended to keep farmland values up, as does local farmers buying on emotion. Stockbrugger says that it is more valuable to rent land close to home; preferably adjacent to current property. In his own operation, he acknowledges he manages the land that he sees ev-
ery day more efficiently than the property that he has to make a special trip to examine. Landlord relations The relationship between landlord and tenant is one of the most important aspects of renting/leasing. In some cases, retired farmers want to feel involved and may work for the renter. Paying the rent on time keeps the relationship up to date. Renting should be a win/win situation and the landlord needs to be kept up to date on commodity prices and how things are going. Stockbrugger points out several of FCC’s financial products that can ease the cash flow situation for producers. There are options for interest only payments on loans, for up to 30 percent of a borrower’s loan portfolio. In his example, this meant the difference between a payment of $114 per acre as opposed to a payment of $170 per acre where payments on the principal are included. Are land prices going to continue to increase? What about interest rates and commodity prices? These uncertainties will influence land prices and individual decisions. “I could say that you should be buying right now, and that would be wrong for someone else,” says Stockbrugger. “Do what’s going to make the most sense for you.” Renting land near home and keeping a good relationship with the landlord are important to him. “I want to communicate with them,” he stresses. In his case, he says, “It’s more of a partnership than landlord/tenant. We’re both trying to make this work.”
March 13, 2015
Cattle and crops in the KENTON CONSUMERS CO-OP winter months Serving the community since 1929 Hardware Store • Food Store Serving the community since 1929
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By Robyn Scanlan How do long winters affect our crops and livestock? Providing there is some snow cover, the crops will make it through the winter months. If the winters are too cold, the prices of hay will go up the following year. This is due to the winter kill in the alfalfa fields. However, for farmers, a constant temperature throughout the winter would be nice. Too much fluctuation in temperature can be hard on the cattle. When it’s colder out, the cattle have to eat more to stay warm, where as when its warmer, they don’t eat as much. “If the weather could keep a constant temperature between -10° and -20° it would be manageable. Though we have this constant fluctuation, it still takes a few days to notice the change in the cattle’s feeding,” said Darren Chapman, of Chapman Farms. Chapman Farms near Virden have been going since 1961, when it was started by a father and two sons. It
continues on by brothers Darren and Parry Chapman, their cousin Rob, his nephew Justin and Rob’s brother-inlaw Jeff Elliott. They are not the only ones though, that are involved in the farm's everyday tasks. Chapman Farms is a tight knit family business. They sell locally, across the states and in the dairy, horse, and beef market with alfalfa, alfalfa/grass, and grass hay. Farmers grass the cow/calves in the summer, and sell them in the fall. As the weather gets colder, it seems that’s when the grain elevators want you to get your grain going. The weather is a concern when using commercial trucks because getting them going in winter can be problematic. Road conditions vary in the winter months as well so there are many precautions needed to be taken when transporting grain. Winter doesn’t always affect crops badly; in the end, the way winter affects crops is all dependant on how much fluctuation occurs in the winter months, as well as how long it stays below freezing level.
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Farming and disabilities By Robyn Scanlan Farming has its hazards, and accidents can happen. Many farmers however, continue farming after an accident because it is their livelyhood. It is how they make a living. There is a wide variety of injuries that can occur, but the most common ones are limb loss, burns, injuries from livestock, and chemical burns. Limb loss can happen if someone gets caught in a PTO (power take-off), a long cylinder that attaches a tractor to other farming machinery. This machine can spin at 540 to 1,000 rpm. Limb loss can also happen around any moving part of machinery such as augers and belts. Chemical burns can occur easily when filling a tank with fertilizer. Sometimes the fertilizer is high in nitrogen which causes an immediate burn. Livestock is another possible injury. At any given point an animal can be spooked and kick or charge. Broken bones are one of the most common injuries due to livestock.
A farmer can also be paralyzed due to being slammed up against something. When an injury as such occurs, there is a support group to help these farmers cope with their loss, or injury. The Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities (MFWD) is notified of these injuries through word of mouth, family members of the injured, or coworkers. Hospitals can no longer notify them because of the Privacy Act. If given permission by the injured, MFWD will speak to them and get their story. They will also inform them of the different programs they are entitled to and speak about future safety precautions. MFWD is a nonprofit organization. The board of directors meets six to eight times a year. Memberships are open to anyone who has an interest in the farming industry. Some members farmed at one time and stopped, or members may be business people who realize farming strongly affects their income. The MFWD gets
invited to many safety day camps to inform students about farm safety and safety in general. When at these day camps, the organization will bring demonstration units to help explain things. One of the key safety tips is to always remove the key from machinery that can move. It is also important to communicate with your partner. Lastly, make sure whomever you are working with has the same safety hand signals as you do. MFWD is in the process of remodeling a building in Elm Creek to turn into their office. In time, they plan to also make this a training facility for things such as first aid, farm safety, and chemical safety. MFWD is not a regulation committee; they are only an information organization. They support the injured in every aspect they can, and teach children how to be safe around and away from farming equipment. Following farming safety procedures is a must when it comes to farming.
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March 13, 2015
A first time calving heifer with her newly born offspring at Bison Spirit Ranch in Oak Lake. Photo/Submitted
By Charlotte Artyshko Trevor Gompf has been in the Bison business for 18 years. Bison was a natural choice for Gompf and his family. If you ask him, bison is the perfect farm animal. As owners of Bison Spirit Ranch at Oak Lake, Gompf and his wife Jodie run a herd of between 300 and 400 bison, a herd that started out much smaller as a business venture between families. In 1997 Gompf, along with his brother, Tim, and his parents, Garnett and Nora, bought their first animal. “Dad and Tim were in PMU and were looking to diversify,” recalls the rancher. “They had tossed the idea around about elk but thought bison would be more sustainable.” They started with 60 females and gradually Trevor bought out his brother
and parents to become the sole owner of the operation. Since taking over the herd, Gompf has been focusing on genetics and the quality of the breeding stock animal. And, if the long list of grand champion and reserve grand champion animals is any indication, breeding is a business at which he excels. A regular at bison shows and sales across Canada (where the animals are penned and judged), Gompf’s bison are often recognized as top grade specimens. “I always wanted to have animals that other people want, not just having an animal to own it. I look for the quality.” Bison Spirit Ranch won Grand Champion in Denver in 2012 and 2014 and the Premier Breeder Award for the National Show at Agribition in 2014; the bison are sold for breeding stock the following day.
One of Gomph’s 3-year-old breeding bulls. Photo/Trevor Gompf
A bison is not your typical show animal, one you walk around an arena. At a bison show, the animals go into pens for judging. “The nice thing about the bison show is that the judges don’t know whose animal is whose so there is no bias judging,” he added. On the farm, he explains that bison are easy keepers, adding that the female cow herd is out on pasture 365 days a year. They calve on their own, don’t need assistance, and bison eat substantially less than cattle. “A friend of mind did a feed experiment with 24 beef cows and 40 bison cows[comparing 1400 lbs. bison and 1400 lbs beef cows]. The beef cows ate double of what the bison cows did per day,” he said. The cow herd is on pasture grass in the summer. At the end of October the cows and calves go on to graze
standing corn for about three and a half months, then they get hay right through until they return to grass the following spring. This feeding is done in the pasture. Gompf runs a rotational grazing program on his pastures. With an average of three to four herds on 14 different pastures. While the Gompf family does consume bison meat, most of his animals go into the North American Bison Cooperative in New Rockford, North Dakota. The bison industry kills in one year what the cattle industry kills in a day. While bison prices are high, they are not influenced by the beef market; the price of the American dollar is behind the increase. A father to four sons, Gompf would like to see at least one of his children take an interest in the operation.
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March 13, 2015
Outstanding young farmers By Anne Davison Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers this year are Birtle couple, Mark and Cori Pawluk. This program gives everyone an opportunity to nominate young farmers who are worthy of the recognition. The Pawluks received their award at a banquet on February 28, at the weekend event held in Winnipeg this year. The family owns and operates Pawluk Ag Ventures Ltd., a modern grain farm and elevator facility at Birtle, MB. The farm consists of around 5,700 acres of owned and rented land, producing primarily wheat, barley, flax, and canola. Since 1999 when Mark returned home from university to farm, the business has grown steadily. In 2011 Mark’s parents Brian and Brenda officially retired, however they continue to be an invaluable resource around the farm. Their company also operates a private elevator and cleaning facility with rail access. The elevator and rail access provides added value to the farm, opening up opportunities that otherwise would not exist. In addition to handling grains produced on their own farm, Pawluk Ag Ventures Ltd. provides cleaning and transloading services for customers in the food, malt, and animal feed industries. Processing flax seed for the human and pet food markets keeps the plant busy year round. Cori and Mark are kept busy by their three year old son Landon, who enjoys the farm as much as his dad. Landon loves spending days at the farm, especially the
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Mark and Cori Pawluk from Pawluk Ag Ventures Ltd. in Birtle, are the 2015 recipients of Manitoba Outstanding Young Farmers award. Photo/Submitted
time spent in the combine with his Grandpa. In addition to helping out on the farm, Cori is also a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, working part time in acute psychiatry. When they are not busy on the farm, the Pawluk’s enjoy camping in the summertime, and travelling in the winter. Farm life can be quite hectic at times, but overall they strive to maintain a healthy balance of leisure, family and work in their lives. The national competition will be held in Edmonton, AB in November 2015.
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March 13, 2015
Farm protected by conservation agreement Dean Flemington and Tracey Tough have farmed their half section, located west of Woodnorth and southwest of Virden, since moving there in 2008. There, they operate a small cow-calf operation that doubles as a hobby farm in summer. "We run about 30 cowcalf pairs now," says Tough. "And I keep myself busy as a hobby farmer with four jersey cows, horses and some chickens. Between the
and wetlands in our area. We have moose, whitetail deer, even mulies and all kinds of ducks. Last year we even had a whitetail doe watching over two fawns that had taken up residence under the spruce trees in our yard," said Tough. "And we have two young moose, a cow and a bull that were born near here, returning every year." For Flemington and Tough, the agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) was a
farm and our five yearold daughter and two year-old son, it can be a handful." Last year, the family was approached by Ducks Unlimited Canada to preserve the unique features of their land through a Conservation Agreement. Tough says they didn't hesitate. "Dean and I enjoy seeing the wildlife ambling through the yard and pasture. We are both strong advocates of preserving the bush, grass
natural fit to safeguard their property and the interests of their family. "A Conservation Agreement is a voluntary contract between a landowner and a conservation agency," explains Mark Francis, head of conservation programs at DUC in Brandon. "It protects specific features on a parcel of land that might not otherwise be protected. And this one's a beauty." Francis says the Flemington-Tough property includes 127 acres of native grass that have never been broken and 106 acres of tame hay and pasture. There are 62 individual wetland basins that have not been drained or altered, which provide an array of ecological services to the community and the province. Those benefits include retention of water on the land to
reduce the potential of downstream flooding. Also, by holding nutrient-rich runoff, excess phosphorus, nitrogen, pesticides and pathogens are retained in wetland soils and plants, rather than being released into the watershed. "One of the most important aspects of a Conservation Agreement is that even though the habitat features are protected in perpetuity from drainage or clearing, landowners retain full use and control of their land," says Francis. "Dean and Tracey can continue to operate their farm as they always have." DUC receives major support for conservation projects in the area from a variety of sources, including industry partners like Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership (TOGP). As one of the Richardson group of companies,
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TOGP provided a significant grant to support Ducks Unlimited Canada conservation projects through the Richardson Foundation. This funding helps to leverage funds from state governments, the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Government of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Grassroots funding from DUC events, such as the annual banquet in Virden, also contributes to the success of the local program. "Our main interest in projects like Dean and Tracey's lies in the area's ability to produce significant numbers of waterfowl when habitat conditions are favourable," says Francis. "This area is extremely important to the production of northern pintails, mallards and blue-winged teal." Duck populations typically follow a boom and bust cycle. When water conditions are good, and the habitat is intact, ducks will respond and produce enough young to help carry the population through the dry bust years. "We need a balance between intensive agriculture and natural values," says Tough. "Not only will we enjoy our new partnership with DUC, but our children and future generations will enjoy the beauty of the nature around us." Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, nonprofit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.
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March 13, 2015
Farm Safety with ATVs Economical, versatile and fun, all-terrain vehicles have long been indispensable tools on Canadian farms and ranches. But as the size, power and popularity of ATVs has increased, so too has the potential for serious injuries. March 14 to 20 is National Farm Safety Week,
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If you use an ATV for work or recreation, follow these safety precautions to reduce your risk: â€˘ Train up. A few hours in a Canada Safety Council ATV course could save your life. â€˘ Suit up. Wear a helmet, eye protection, long pants, long sleeves, gloves and non-skid shoes for every ride. â€˘ Ride the right size. Always follow the manufacturerâ€™s recommendations. Adult-sized ATVs are not appropriate for children under 16. â€˘ Ride by day. Even on familiar terrain, low light and reduced visibility will increase the chances of a mishap. Park your ATV after dark and in poor weather. â€˘ Never take passengers. Most ATVs are not designed for doubling. Do not attach passenger seats to your ATV. When using ATVs for farm chores, be extra cautious when hauling or towing. â€˘ Lighten up. Check your ownerâ€™s manual for load limits and resist the temptation to over load. Use proper tie-downs to secure your load and properly distribute the weight. distribution is CERTIFIED SEED Weight extremely important. Wheat Ĺš Any load will affect Brandon, Carberry, the performance and Cadillac, Cardale, Plentiful, stability of the vehicle, Pasteur so adjust your driving accordingly. Barley Ĺš â€˘ Donâ€™t alter your ATV. Newdale, Maverick, Cowboy Adding after-market Oats Ĺš passenger seats or Common, Forage other implements will affect the weight distriFlax Ĺš bution and stability of Sorrel the machine, increasCustom Cleaning ing the likelihood of tip-over and rollover 204.662.4484 accidents. Cromer, MB
March 13, 2015
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March 13, 2015
Soybeans and phosphorus Some recent articles in farm publications have added some confusion over phosphorus applications in soybeans. The articles describe how recent research shows that soybeans can actually tolerate higher seed row placed phosphorus, with little impact on plant stand and yield. The researchers applied 20, 40, and 80 pounds of Mono-Ammonium Phosphate (MAP) fertilizer (11-52-00) next to soybean seeds and saw little impact on plant stand and yield. What these articles failed to mention was that these studies were done over only two years, on heavier clay loam soils, in years where moisture was not a limiting factor in regards to emergence. On lighter coarser textured soils and under dry, cool soil conditions these rates are quite likely to result in some significant soybean injury. There is also likely to be some significant injury to the rhizobium
(nitrogen-fixing bacteria) that is used to inoculate the soybean seed, reducing the number and health of the nodules necessary for the plant to fix its own nitrogen. So even though soybeans maybe able to handle 20 to 40 pounds per acre of MAP (11-51-00), the practice is literally, all risk with no reward, because soybeans quite simply do not respond to added phosphorous. The soybean plant relies almost exclusively on scavenging soil test Phosphorus (P) for its substantial phosphorus requirements. A 40-bushel soybean crop will remove 34 pounds of P from the soil, that needs to be replaced, and it takes roughly 20 pounds of phosphate to raise your soil test residual by one part per million. So given the fact that the practice of seed-placed phosphate in soybeans is virtually all risk and no reward producers are still well advised to front load phosphorus levels in previous cereal crops, or fall-
band requirements to maintain soil test phosphorus in the 20 ppm range.
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Working stock dogs
At Virdenâ€™s 2014 Indoor Rodeo, Star, under the direction of his master Martin Penfold of Manson, is gathering up this small herd of Clun Forrest sheep who have ditched their small riders in the mutton busting event. A red rigging strap dangles from one of the sheep. Photo/Charlotte Artyshko
By Anne Davison Ed Hunter from Lenore raises cattle and sheep with the help of his trusty Border Collies, who watch gates and help move his livestock as needed - all in a day's work.
Martin Penfold, a farmer from Manson (near McAuley) is also a shepherd and a cattleman who wouldn't be without his Border Collies. Virden Indoor Rodeo has featured the remarkable ability of these dogs, after the little
cowboys and cowgirls tumble off their sheep in the children's 'mutton busting' event. For a number of years, Ed Hunter's stock dog has herded the sheep back to their pen, at the command of her master. Last year, Penfold,
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supplied the sheep. It was his Border Collie running low, eye on the sheep, who gathered the flock into a tight herd and moved them back to their pen at the end of the arena. Ed Hunter initially owned a dairy, and wanted a dog to help bring the cows in for milking. As a farm boy growing up, his family owned a Border Collie. â€œWe had one growing up but nobody knew how to train it. It picked everything up,â€? says Hunter, reminiscing. â€œMy dad just kept buying pups hoping they would too.â€? When Hunter purchased his own dog, he was inclined to learn more about working dogs. â€œI didn't know what they could do,â€? he says, so in order to get started the right way, the dairy farmer purchased a stock dog training video. â€œThey are amazing,â€? he says of the Collies. â€œAnd the more I learned, the more amazing they were.â€? He works with the dog's natural instinct. â€œThe common thought is that their instinct is to get the prey, or livestock, and bring it to you,â€? says Hunter. â€œWe let them do their natural thing at first, teaching them to go left and right; and then we teach them to drive away.â€? It's all about learning to communicate with your dog, and the Lenore trainer advises novice dog owners that Border Collies are quick learners, eager to please, once
you tell them what you want them to do. Accidents can happen with these keen and dedicated dogs. The stockman's first Border Collie, Chuck was bringing cattle in late at night. He hit a barbed wire fence that was buried in the grass. It blinded the dog in one eye. Never-the-less, that dog was able to compete in herding trials. Today, Hunter's main dog, Justice is nearly 12 years-old. He named this female Justice, because her father, Chuck was a very good stock dog, but was not all he could have become. Justice, he hoped, would do justice to her father's memory, and she has. â€œShe is an all around good dog,â€? he says. Hunter's wife, Dianna has taken Justice to flyball competition at Crocus Obedience & Kennel Club near Brandon. This competition involves racing over jumps to a box where a tennis ball ejects when the dog hits the box. The dog catches the ball and returns over the jumps as fast as possible. Justice is Hunter's main dog, but she is now near retirement, although you'd never know it to look at the sleek, small-framed female. In her prime she has been a serious contender at large dog trial events such as the World Stock Dog Championship held at the Calgary Stampede. Out of an 80 dog competition, Justice made the finals. Raising pups Ed Hunter has raised
about five litters of pups; some of them, â€œreally good dogsâ€? he says. To raise the best puppies and to ultimately let Justice retire, he is on the lookout for just the right male. Artificial insemination is fairly new in dog breeding. Shipped fresh, the semen can remain viable for a couple of days. This allows the dog breeder to select just the right bloodline from somewhere in Canada or the US. Hunter is careful to try and match the pups he sells with the right prospective owner. He hates hearing people curse their dog for worrying their yard animals, adding that it is the responsibility of the dog's owner to see that the dog is trained to obey, and kenneled when it needs to be, just like horses are kept in fences. Training is everything as far as creating a companion and a working animal that is easy to be around. By three months of age Hunter is introducing basic obedience to the young dog. By the time the dog is a teenager, as he puts it, with just a month or so of stock training they could be able to help out with the stock. But, Hunter says it takes years, not months to make a really good dog. He thinks sometimes people are impatient and give up on their dog about the time it is ready to settle down and work. Continued on page 13
March 13, 2015
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Continued from page 12 The Lenore farmer prefers cattle dogs - a more aggressive style of herd dog. “The good ones are like martial artists. They can read the cow, step in and bite and dodge away,” he explains. “My old dog, Striker (now 17) could always read the cow so well. Ducking and dodging is an art which is hard to find.” Sheep are very sensitive. Communication between the dog and the sheep is very subtle. The handler can be overly demanding, particularly with sheep. While the handler may tell the dog to go right, sometimes the dog just needs to lean right, to move the flock. Sheep are worked more from a distance than cattle. Some dogs are not cut out to be cattle dogs. This requires more confidence. He tells the story of how Chuck, his original dog helped him catch a calf. The calf had a cast that had to have the bandage changed regularly. It was Chuck's job to put pressure on the cattle so they would herd together and the calf could be caught in the pile-up when it ran in amongst them. But after a time or two of that strategy, the calf became wily and broke away from the herd instead. Chuck also changed his strategy. “He grabbed and held the calf, for me to come and get it,” says the farmer, still marveling at how the dog knew to grab that calf. He putts it down to the fact that he spent so much time with that first dog. He says, “By reading my face, he knew what to do.”
Border Collies are ambitious workers. For this reason they are often not ideal pets. In the Hunter household, the dogs spend most of their days outside, although they sleep inside at night. “They last longer that way,” states Hunter. When there is an opportunity for the Collies to lounge in the house, he says, “They are very relaxed…but city friends that have these dogs, they're not satisfied, they don't have that inner relaxation.” Martin Penfold's Border Collie, Star, truly is one of his star players on the farm. Penfold owns a small herd of black Angus cattle and a flock of 50 Klun Forest sheep on his farm near Manson. He trains his own dogs and says, “I used to custom train dogs. I have trained hundreds of these dogs.” From his experience with dogs on both sides of the water (Penfold immigrated to Canada from the UK several decades ago), he states, “Border Collies are not born equal. They vary in their willingness to listen and in their ability, just like kids. Some are keen to work with you.” He says, breeding lines are very important. “If you've got a dog that does a lot of gripping (unfavourable herding trait), that will come through in the pups.” Penfold carefully selected the bloodline of his current dog, Star. I saw the grandfather of my dog working in Ireland in 2002,” he recounts. The dog won the British International Supreme Championship, a 125 year-old annual event. Penfold
procured his pup from that bloodline. “My Star dog is a fabulous dog,” says the experienced dog trainer. “He is up in the top two dogs I've ever worked with.” Star works with cattle and sheep. Penfold likes the way the dog respects the stock. “Yet, if the cattle aren't moving, he'll go right in and heel them,” he says. Penfold owns two dogs, but uses them one at a time. “To have them working really well together takes much more time.” He explains that each dog needs to be cued with its own specific commands. He uses a whistle as well as voice commands to direct the dog. Hand signals are not used because these dogs must keep their eye on the livestock they are herding. His advice to people considering getting a stock dog, “Go and see the parents work and see if that's the type of dog you want.” Since his early days in the UK, Penfold has used herding dogs all of his life. He says, “For me, I've been doing it for 40-odd years. I grew up with the dogs working sheep, as a hill shepherd. I can't imagine working livestock without my dogs. It's part of what I enjoy doing.” Penfold is a renowned videographer on a number of rural subjects and, as Rural Routes Videos, he has produced instructional videos about starting the Border Collie. He recently sent a training video to Uruguay and he states, “People all over the world are interested in Border Collies.”
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March 13, 2015
Dropping the hoe and doubling the yield By Laura Rance It's raining, but that doesn't stop Thomas Nkhunda from leading a group of visitors into his fields where he describes how he manages plots, demonstrating the benefits of conservation agriculture. Rain isn't unusual at this time of year. After all, it's the rainy season in Malawi. What's unusual is the fact that the rains they call the "planting rains" came later than usual, by almost a full month. And when they arrived in late December, they came in torrents, wreaking havoc on farmers farther south. Nkhunda's fields weren't deluged like those in the south, although this area has seen heavy rains. But the crops on his farm located near Nkhotakota about 20 kms into the hills from
Lake Malawi look good; the maize and groundnut fields he shows us are neatly tended and standing tall. Where the rain falls on the roads and on other fields around us, it forms puddles, little rivulets and then runs away, taking the soil with it. Where it falls on his fields, it soaks into the ground where it supports the growing plants. The 37-year-old father of three is proud of that, and rightly so. Conserving soil Conservation agriculture (CA) is first and foremost about eliminating tillage. Farmers here typically use hoes for the back-breaking task of pulling the soil in their plots up into ridged rows sometimes a foot high, into which they plant their seed. It makes for wide row spacing and lots of hoeing in between. When the rain
comes, it runs down into the gullies and escapes. In a heavy rain, the ridges collapse leaving the plants to drown. During a dry spell, the plants perched on the top of those ridges are left high and dry. Under CA, the farmers do away with the ridges. They instead make planting basins into which they put a small amount of manure and later poke their seed in with a stick. Without the ridges, they can plant their rows closer together, which increases the ground cover as well as the yield. They use mulch between the rows to help suppress weeds, hold in moisture and build organic matter. Better yields less time Nkhunda now sows 2.8 hectares of his three-hectare farm using the CA system. He's seeing multiple benefits to his household,
Thomas Nkuhanda a farmer in Malawi, is dropping the hoe and doubling the yield. Photo/Laura Rance
starting with higher yields for less labour. The maize he grew under CA yielded 7.8 tonnes per ha (124 bushels per acre) last year. The maize he still grows under conventional methods yielded 3.5 tonnes per ha, even though both systems received equal ap-
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plications of fertilizer. He used herbicide to control the weeds on his CA fields and the hoe to control weeds on the conventional fields. Nkhunda and his wife Fanesi Chidzura used to work for more than a month every year to prepare the fields for ridge farming, sometimes even keeping their children home from school and bringing in extended family to help. Then they had to hoe again to keep the weeds in check. Now his kids regularly attend school and he has more time to tend to his other businesses, which include a fruit tree nursery and a small grain-buying business. In the past, the family routinely ran short of food during the lean period December to March. The maize from the previous year's crop would run out before the new crop came in, requiring him to seek work off the farm to tide them over. His house now has a metal roof, a step up from thatch and they are working towards putting in a floor. Nkhunda summed it up in three words he hesitantly spoke in English: "fixed deposit account." "He is saving money," the interpreter says. "Before, they were not saving." Changing face Nkhunda is a textbook example of the kind of smallholder transformation organizations promoting conservation agriculture in Africa hope will soon become the norm. Since he began learning about soil-healthy farming eight years ago, he has embraced the concepts, he is reaping the benefits and he's helping to spread the word. Researchers with the International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and various non-governmental organizations believe the farming system has the potential to change the face of smallholder agriculture in Africa from one of chronic food insecurity to stability and growth. And it could save the soil as well.
Most smallholder farmers in Africa are working with soils that are severely degraded as a result of repetitive tillage and monoculture; they grow maize, which is a staple food crop, every year, often on the same patch of ground. Nkhunda and his neighbours, some of whom have converted their entire farms to CA, are among the early adopters who have been receiving technical support from CIMMYT, which became well known for its "green revolution" varieties developed by Norman Borlaug and Manitoba-born plant breeder Glenn Anderson. It has been working on adapting the no-till system widely used by commercial farmers around the world to a smallholder scale. Extension support in this area has been through a local NGO called Total Land Care. Nkhunda now tends three demonstration plots, one under conventional, one under CA and one of CA maize, undersown to the legume cowpeas. If farmers get the timing right, they will harvest a crop of cowpeas after the maize comes off. But even if they don't, the cowpeas provide a nitrogen boost to the growing maize. Nkhunda says that plot appears to be performing the best of the three. Also visiting fields in the area that day was Christian Thierfelder, the senior agronomist with CIMMYT's Harare substation. He was notably impressed with what he saw. "This is a window for many farmers to look through," he said. "It really shows the potential of the system." Potential, however, is the operative word. As we visited with farmers in different regions of this east African country, it soon became clear that as promising as the system looks, some difficult-to-overcome hurdles are hampering widespread adoption. Manitoba Co-operator editor Laura Rance visited three African countries in February and March, on secondment to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
March 13, 2015
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Valleyview Consumers Co-op Ltd. Virden and Pierson Petroleum Department
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You’re at home here.
CO-OP® ®Registered trade-mark of TMC Distributing Ltd., Saskatoon S7K 3M9
Birtle, Elkhorn, Miniota, Rossburn, Russell and Welwyn Petroleum Department
Phone (204) 842-3202
March 13, 2015
Livestock nutrition includes corn By Anne Davison Corn fields have become popular winter grazing grounds for Manitoba cattle. Several speakers at a livestock nutrition seminar spoke on different aspects of corn grazing, as well as the latest information on forage and nutritional needs of cattle. Valleyview Consumers Co-op Agro Centre sponsored the Spring Producer Day featuring commodity reps and expert panelists. The event was held in the Legion Hall where a good number of farmers from the area came to hear the latest on livestock nutrition. Pickseed Canada Inc. representative discussed the virtues, shortcomings and cost of several grass varieties. Topics such as pest management and weed control drew questions from those attending. When planting a forage crop, are you seeding into stubble, summer fallow, or ground where an established stand of alfalfa has to be replaced? Auto toxicity from the old crop will hinder the establishment of new alfalfa seedlings. Information about creeping alfalfa includes its higher tolerance of traffic which, along with a longer rotation might make it the best choice under pasture conditions. Hybrid brome grass performs well under nonirrigated conditions. Among the tall fescues, Carnival and Motebello varieties are good choices for hay making, while Fuego is best for pasturing. The advantages of early hybrid corn were discussed. With a corn row seeder every other row can be seeded with the early hybrid, alternated with a later hybrid. Using conventional seeders, a diagram shows several outside rounds sown with
Farmers from Virden and area took time on February 9 to attend the Spring Producer Day held in Virden’s Legion Hall. Photo/Anne Davison
an early variety and the later variety sown in the centre of the field. Many farmers are searching for new answers with changing weather challenges. Attending the seminar Jonathan Hodson, a livestock producer from Lenore said, “We’re trying to deal with all the weather, trying to find things we can actually sow in these flood prone areas that are becoming more persistent year after year. Alfalfa dies out, so I’m just trying to figure out some new management. Foxtail is a huge issue,” he concedes. He spoke with the Pickseed rep and later said, “I like their blends. If a person has unlimited time they could probably work out their own blends, but you know, that’s why you buy blends.” Seeding forage is expensive and the return is not realized immediately, but rather over three to five years on a good stand. “When it’s $50 per acre...you want a little bit of research behind what you’re doing; a little
bit of experience,” says the Hodson. Established alfalfa stands that become old and coarse can be sprayed out with a glyphosate product the fall before, but that land may still need tillage. Auto immunity between the previous established stand against the newly seeded alfalfa plants was of interest to Hodson. Having heard of this before, he wanted more information. Corn and Forage Grazing The next speaker focused on how energy needs must be met. Energy is the most important nutritional need, winter or summer. Cold can drive up a cow’s energy requirements as high as 30 percent. Skinny cows are harder to winter than cattle that go into the cold months in good body condition. If forage is of high quality, a 1200 lb cow can consume up to 27 pounds per day. However that same cow may only
eat 12 pounds of poor quality forage. Under this topic, the speaker cautioned managers to warm their cattle to a corn ration over a week-long period, in order to avoid grain overload. They should be confined to a limited daily grazing area. Other roughage should be provided for that first week; and don’t
turn out hungry cows on a new corn patch. To show the efficiency of corn as a grazing crop, 200 cows can be fed for 30 days on just 24 acres. Supplement tubs The Canadian sales representative for Vitalix, Hugh Saben wove an interesting tale of how this product came to market. The company founder
Greg Olsen was cooking up the molasses product for his own cattle. He liked the results and by 1990, the product was being marketed in Canada. These huge tubs of supplement are designed to be self-feeding. They are billed as ‘all natural’, designed to increase feed efficiency and overall herd health.
This spring come to Redferns for all your crop requirements. NH3 Granulated fertilizer Liquid fertilizer Burn off products Herbicides Canola Seed Lubes Crop Scouting In-Crop Herbicides and Fungicides North Star bins Sakundiak grain augers
(204) 748-1122 Pickseed Canada Inc. representative Shane Terry discusses seed blends with Lenore livestock producer Jonathan Hodson, at the Co-op Spring Producer Day on February 9.
Hwy #1 and Jct 83 S Virden, MB
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Three Manitoba nominees were in the running for the Outstanding Young Farmers Award Matt and Tanya Plett operate Plemark Holsteins, a first generation dairy farm where they are raising their three chidren Katie, Clint and Emma. The dream of farming came true in 2007 when Matt and Tanya were able to purchase the farm that Matt grew up on, which was sold out of the family when he was 12. The farm was vacant when purchased and so extensive renovations were done to the barn. On September 27, 2007 the first milking took place. The goal at start-up was very simple, keep investment in anything other than cows and quota to a minimum. Land was rented out, all feed was bought in and young stock was sent out to a custom raiser. In 2010 Plemark Holsteins was honored to receive the Manitoba Dairy Farm Excellence Award for farmyard appearance and milk quality. In 2011 the opportunity arose to purchase Tanya’s parents' vacant dairy farm eight miles from the original farm. With a newer barn, a more established yard site and 280 acres of land surrounding the farm, it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity. By 2012, both the cattle and
the family had completed the move. That same summer a brand new heifer and dry cow barn was built to replace aging corrals. In 2013 all the land was put into forage production and a crop share agreement with the neighboring hay grower kept equipment investment to a minimum. The farm has 78 kgs of quota and is currently milking 64 cows and houses another 80 head of young stock. The Pletts love the opportunity to raise their three kids on a farm, teaching them about work and responsibility. Andy and Jaclyn Platt own and operate a dairy farm in Manitoba’s Interlake near the town of Arborg Manitoba. Married 11 years, with two children, they have owned their farm since 2009. Dairy farming isn’t a job, it’s a seven days a week, 365 days a year lifestyle with challenging, time consuming, hard work. Their farm is built solely on their family’s determination, and what a reward that is. They strive to produce the best quality milk possible, and animal welfare is a high priority. Simply put, they feel that good quality feed and cow comfort are the best ways to produce the best milk, and that is their goal.
They milk approximately 120 registered Holstein cows in a double 12 parlour. Milking takes place twice daily, and takes about two hours including washing up afterwards. Daily, Andy does most of the milking himself, and Jaclyn takes care of feeding and bedding the calves. After morning milking, there’s feeding and other chores, then back to the barn for evening milking. Between morning and evening chores, Jaclyn also has a part time job as the local high school librarian. Their family is a great help. Jaclyn’s parents relief milk some evenings, allowing Andy to focus on other tasks. Right now that is renovating their old barn into a new calf facility. Andy’s dad Gordon is also at the farm every day to help with chores. At the age of 75, he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. Their children are integrated into the farm as well. Although too young to work, they know all there is to know about the farm. In the community, Jaclyn is involved on the board of her daughter’s dance group. Thomas is a soccer kid. Both children love to swim, skate, and have taken up curling. Continued on page 19
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March 13, 2015
Young farmers nominated Continued from page 18 Andy is on the Interlake Holstein Dairy Club board, and is also the president of the Arborg Agricultural Society. With a group of hard working volunteers, he helped the annual Fair and Rodeo set up new grounds, and 2014’s Fair was awarded the “Event of the Year” award by the Interlake Tourism Association. Zinn Farms is a small scale free-range Berkshire pork and meat chicken farm. Andreas Zinn operates and manages the farm full-time along with the help of his business partner and mother, Monika Zinn, and wife Jamie Zinn. The farm also raises backyard flocks of layer chickens, goats and
rabbits. All animals are raised in a low stress free-range environment. This management system allows all animals access to pasture and the small manageable herd sizes ensure each animal receives individual attention and care. Their production system not only provides humane living conditions for the animals but produces higher quality meat. To achieve a tasty and high quality product, the animals have access to grass or hay and a variety of feed sources such as on-farm milled grains. All of their feed is free of preservatives, growth hormones and antibiotics. They also include fruits and vegetables from their own garden and other
organic sources in their feed ration year round. The decision to raise Berkshire pigs, a heritage breed, was because of their fat marbling throughout the meat for even more flavor. Zinn Farms is excited to see a growing demand for local food. They are encouraging others to learn about animal husbandry and have had two interns whom aspire to produce their own meat. Zinn also sells Berkshire weanlings in the spring for other backyard producers. They market all their own products to customers in Winnipeg and across the province. The farm is conveniently located 20 km southwest of Winnipeg, allowing
Old friends, (l-r) Lowel Winters from Oak Lake, Grant Dunham from Maryfield and Dan Sawatsky of Oak Lake are socializing in the cafeteria over coffee at Heartland Livestock Services, Virden’s auction. The men, once a bronc rider and a bull rider, share a past in rodeo, while Winters provided some of the rodeo stock years ago. At 82, Winters does farm chores every day, because he “wants to”. Photo/Anne Davison
SPECIAL EVENTS FACILITY • • • • • •
for bi-weekly deliveries to their customer’s doors. Their wholesale customers consist of ten independent restaurants in Winnipeg as well as a small grocery store.
The Outstanding Young Farmers Program charter sponsors are Farm Credit Canada specializing in agricultural financial services.; Parrish and Heimbecker,
Limited a family owned business, involved in many aspects of agribusiness; and BDO who provides accounting, tax and financial planning services.
Approx. 60 Bulls On Offer! 15 Black Two Yr Old Angus Bulls 45 Black and Red Yearling Angus Bulls
1,200 seat NHL sized hockey rink Community hall Walking track Office space and meeting rooms Canteen and a fitness center Handicap friendly with elevator
Available for banquets, conventions, trade shows, concerts and more!
Tundra Oil & Gas Place
Provides a comfortable environment with climate control. For more information on this beautiful facility call 204.748.2736 900 Fifth Ave | Virden, Manitoba
Sale to be held March 28, at 2 PM at Taylor Auctions, Melita, MB
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(204) 748-2319 • firstname.lastname@example.org 510 Frontage Rd W, Virden, MB R0M 2C0
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March 13, 2015
4-H By Robyn Scanlan
4-H is an international organization for youths and volunteers that has been running since 1913, originating from Roland, Manitoba. It is a rural-based organization that is focused on developing leaders through its programs. The programs are designed to give youth opportunities for personal growth and development. Not only does this help with selfconfidence, it also helps with leadership skills and responsibility. There are many involved in the 4-H organization and all work together as a team to make it happen. Membership in 4-H is for youth and young adults between ages six and 25; adults volunteer as leaders. The organization has two different kinds of leaders: 4-H project leaders who help teach the project skills and 4-H Club head leaders to coordinate each club. Parents and other adults can also be involved in the 4-H organization. Occasionally leaders may ask
for help from the community to share their knowledge. This can help the members meet their project goals. Furthermore, families can enjoy the activities and festivities that go on in the 4-H community. 4-H clubs are involved in communities all across Manitoba, and have thousands of members and volunteers. It has a strong partnership with Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives, as well as the 4-H Council. In the Southwest area, there are a total of 28 clubs; seven beef clubs, five equine clubs, one sheep club and 15 multipurpose clubs. There are 452 members, and 178 leaders, an increase from last year. Virden area has 112 members and 22 leaders. Joanne Baker, Rural Leadership Specialist for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) said in an email interview, “There has been an increase in the number of Cloverbud members.” There are different categories that each age group fits into. Ages six to eight years are the Cloverbuds; ages nine to 11 is the junior group; ages 12 to 14 are in what is called the intermediate group; and 18 to 25 years are the seniors. There are many benefits to the 4-H orga-
4-H members show their cow-calf pairs during the Virden and District 4-H Fatstock Show and Sale held annually beginning of July. Photo/Charlotte Artyshko
nization that can be used in everyday life. 4-H teaches leadership skills. 4-H members improve these leadership skills through running meetings. They develop goal-setting skills, allowing them to pick a project and set goals using a project plan. Members improve on their responsibility skills by serving on committees, as well as by becoming executive officers of the club. Problem-solving skills are another benefit. Youth learn this by fi nishing their project work, in which they will have to overcome some obstacles that may get in the way. Many life skills develop through hands-on projects.
4-H members participate in the Sleepover Extravaganza held in Brandon, October 2014. Photo/Submitted
Communication skills are mainly public speaking presentations, through group activities and competitions. Last, but surely not least, teamwork means
that 4-Hers develop the skills to work not only on their own, but as part of a team. Project work and community services are done within their group to improve
on working as a team. 4-H is an ever-growing organization that benefits people of all ages in rural communities. “Learn to do by doing,” the 4-H motto.
TOO GREAT TO WAIT Sales Event
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The Honda Too Great To Wait Sales Event (offers) apply to eligible retail purchase agreements for a limited time, while supplies last. These offers are valid on all new (not previously registered) 2015 and select 2014 Honda ATVs (“Eligible Products”). Financing offers valid from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015 inclusive (“Offer Period”). All offers valid at participating Honda ATV dealers in Manitoba. Dealer order or trade may be necessary. Errors and omissions excepted. Visit honda.ca/toogreat for full details, eligible models. Financing offers subject to change or extension without notice.
March 13, 2015
Independently owned and operated
email@example.com | www.royallepagebrandon.ca EXCLUSIVE LISTING!
108 GOODRIDGE ROAD TLC throughout this home with atmosphere created in every room, is something you can only imagine. • 4 bedroom • Gas fireplace • 3 bathroom • Completely • Attached garage move-in ready • New custom kitchen
14 THOMPSON PLACE 256 LYONS STREET Located in newer cul-de-sac, this 3 Character home with location second plus 1 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home to none, across from Victoria Park. is ready to call your own. No back Has stunning view and large yard. door neighbours, on large pie-shaped lot.
SEVENTH AVENUE SOUTH
NEW BUILD READY FOR POSSESSION!
• Gorgeous layout • 3 baths • Custom kitchen • Heated garage • 3 plus 1 23’ x 26’ bedroom For full details call Carla. MLS #1426076
READY FOR POSSESSION
117 MCNEILL CRESCENT Comes with all the bells and whistles. Located on 1½ lots with fully fenced yard, double attached garage, 3 plus 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and main ﬂoor laundry. Finishing touches are cathedral ceilings and school bus pickup. MLS #1429205
295 EIGHTH AVE Location Location Location of this long-time-owned, immaculately looked after home, is deﬁnitely worth looking at. Newer kitchen with large island and master bedroom with walk-in closet with ensuite are just a few of the items you want to look at. MLS #1424839
525, 527, 535 & 537 FIFTH AVE. TURN KEY TOWNHOUSES 3 bedroom, 3½ bathrooms, fully ﬁnished basement with a location second to none. Close to new rec centre and schools. Come take a look, you won’t be disappointed.
138 EIGHTH AVENUE Within walking distance from downtown makes this 3 bedroom home a smart choice. Affordably priced and ready for immediate possession. MLS #1427620
1041 SEVENTH AVENUE 3 bedroom home with fully fenced yard has had lots of updates including new shingles. Ready to move into with quick possession. Includes appliances, above ground pool and gazebo excellent choice for your family. MLS #1417403
411 SEYMOUR STREET Tastefully updated home has had recent upgrades including forced air furnace, air exchanger, central air, bathrooms, ﬂooring and more. Located on a large treed lot with attached garage this 4 + 1 bedroom, 2½ bath home will have all the space you need! MLS #1323887
461 GALT STREET Charming and inviting are only a few words that can describe this home. Tastefully updated kitchen, gorgeous front porch and backyard, elegant tiling and ﬂooring. 2 bedroom plus 2 bathroom home ﬁnished throughout leaves you nothing to do but move in! MLS #1415390
245 FIFTH AVENUE Move in ready home: • Newer kitchen • Newer windows • New siding and insulation Shop • 24’ x 30’ heated and insulated • 14’ door
305 BRIDGE STREET 5 LOTS READY FOR DEVELOPMENT 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, detached single car garage with private Close to downtown on quiet residential area, existing two back yard on creek. Newer siding and shingles. bedroom home, could be MLS #1429438 rental income. 180 PARK STREET
SMALL TOWN LIVING & WINTERIZED HOMES AT THE BEACH
428 WELLINGTON STREET 4 + 1 bedroom home with fully fenced yard, only a block from downtown. Ready to move into and immediate possession. MLS #1425482
515 RAGLAN STREET Located on a quite street close to schools and downtown, this tastefully upgraded house with attached garage and fenced yard has had many upgrades inside and out. Move in ready home! MLS #1414047
OAK LAKE BEACH
457 WELLINGTON STREET Looking for a location that will give you a large private yard, home with cathedral ceilings, open living space, impressive large bedrooms and double attached in-ﬂoor heat garage? Perhaps this is a home that you need to see! MLS #1427308
OAK LAKE BEACH
210 LAKE AVE Located at Cherry Point, Oak 110 FOXFORD STREET 210 MAHARG AVE 302 RICHHILL AVE LAKE FRONT PROPERTY Island Resort, this home or Plenty of upgrades, ready to One of a kind home all on one 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, ﬁxer- …near public beach and store. cabin is ready for year round move into on a lot and a half. Is level, no basement. 2 Bedroom, upper home on 2 lots with 3 bedrooms with sunroom. living. Open concept kitchen, priced to sell. MLS #1423652 with double attached garage, detached garage. Priced to sell! MLS #1213921 granite counter tops and island newer kitchen. MLS #1423650 are just a few of the features.
BUSINESSES AND RETAIL SPACE Theatre has been upgraded with state of the art screen and digital projector. If you have hoped to own your own business the opportunity is here! Building comes with 2 apartments and ofﬁce space that is occupied for extra revenue. Call today for details! MLS #1202177
PRICE REDUCED Longtime family restaurant with living quarters for revenue generating in back. Is well established in small community. Ready for you to own.
Approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space with lots of parking, on high trafﬁc location. Call listing agent for details.
Virden Empire-Advance • See us for lower back, neck and shoulder pain. • Sports/Industrial or Agricultural injuries. • We provide physiotherapy, acupuncture, exercise prescription and manual therapy. • Treatments for balance and dizziness conditions
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SPRING SALES SCHEDULE 2015 MARCH 18 19 21 25 27
WEDNESDAY THURSDAY SATURDAY WEDNESDAY FRIDAY
01 WEDNESDAY 04 08 15 22 24 29 30
SATURDAY WEDNESDAY WEDNESDAY WEDNESDAY FRIDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY
REGULAR FEEDER SALE SHEEP SALE PLEASANT DAWN CHAROLAIS BULL SALE PRESORT FEEDER SALE BRED COW PLUS C/C SALE
9 AM 12 NOON 2 PM 10 AM 11:30 AM
REGULAR FEEDER SALE PEN OF 5 REPLACEMENT HEIFER SALE CATTLEMENS CLASSIC BULL SALE BUTCHER/FEEDER SALE PRESORT FEEDER SALE REGULAR FEEDER SALE BRED COW PLUS C/C SALE REGULAR FEEDER SALE SHEEP SALE
9 AM 1 PM 1 PM 9 AM 10 AM 9 AM 11:30 AM 9 AM 12 NOON
• BUTCHER SALES every Monday at 9 a.m. (cows, bulls, fats) * Monday Butcher Sales end April 27 • SHEEP/LAMB/GOAT AND HORSE SALE - May 21 at 12 noon • We will sell Feeders and Butcher cattle Wednesdays until fall, starting May 6
Featuring Hereford, Red & Black Angus
March 13, 2015
Agricultural equipment research grant The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) will receive $735,000 under Growing Forward 2 for new equipment to support applied research projects for the agricultural sector, Minister of State (Social Development) Candice Bergen, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced recently. "Our government is proud to support research and innovation to ensure Canada's agricultural industry remains competitive and prosperous," said Minister Bergen. "Today's investment will encourage the adoption of new processes and practices, creating new opportunities for the entire value chain to grow." Every year, PAMI conducts about 100 projects in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to address challenges in the agricultural sector, in areas such as equipment design, agronomy and nutrient management. The new funding will be used to make these projects more efficient and provide better service to agricultural clients and farmers in Manitoba and across Western Canada. "Research and innovation help Manitoba's farmers adapt to changes in the agricultural industry, discover new opportunities and make ongoing improvements to their own operations," said Minister Kostyshyn. "The work being done at PAMI today will affect Manitoba's farms for years to come and we're pleased to provide this strategic investment." Funded items include: • specialized equipment and soft-
ware needed for projects that require large amounts of data to be collected relatively slowly over a long period of time, like those involving manure processing for energy production; • Equipment to measure soil compaction, which can be used to compare the effects of tracked and wheeled farm machinery; • Hydraulic system simulation software, which would be used in machinery testing and development projects; • A skid sled that would be used in tractor evaluation projects; • A high-density baler, to help research the feasibility of biomass collection systems; and • A new tractor, which will eliminate the need to rent this equipment for many research projects and reduce overall costs. "PAMI will put this equipment to use to support innovation in agriculture in Manitoba," said David Gullacher, president and CEO of PAMI. "Manitoba's farmers have nearly $4 billion invested in tractors, seeding equipment, pesticide applicators and harvesters, and we now have new tools to study and look for improvements in these machines. We are also going to be able to explore the considerable potential for bio-products in the province." In Manitoba, the federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federalprovincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.
Annual Southwest Bull Development Centre est Sale
Sale Format: Video Sale (Bull Sale) at Oak Lake Community Hall at 1pm
Oak Lake Community Hall located at 474 North Railway Street West. Complimentary Beef on a Bun at Hall. Sale Morning: Viewing of bulls at Batho Farms located 3 3/4 miles south of Oak Lake on Lansdowne Road
Check out our sale catalogue and sale video online at: www.southwestbulldevelopmentcentre.com
Contact: Ron Batho…...…(h) 855-2404…...(c) 748-5208 Albert Rimke ….(h) 855-2534…...(c) 748-7640
RENARDS MEAT SERVICES Specializing in... Custom slaughtering, cutting, wrapping, smoking, curing, sausages, hamburger and beef jerky.
We prepare fresh meat for any occasion! OPEN Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jct. #83 and #1 Hwy Virden, MB Brian Renard Phone 748-1889
March 13, 2015
The power of healthy soil A healthy soil will ultimately be the key to mitigating what may seem to be more frequent climatic stresses. A healthy soil has amazing waterretention capabilities with every one percent increase in organic matter, resulting in as much as 25,000 gallons (about 100,000 L) of soil water being conserved. This is why recommendations of increased tillage under conditions of excess moisture are somewhat puzzling. Why would you recommend a practice which breaks down soil organic matter and reduces the ability of the soil to deal with excess moisture? Once a soil reaches its water holding capacity the excess will accumulate and pool near the soil surface making access and travel difficult, if not impossible. Reducing organic matter levels through increased tillage only reduces the water holding capacity of the soil. Under warm dry conditions tilled fields
may allow for quicker access. However, under wet, excess moisture conditions the lower water holding capacity of the soil will mean it will become saturated more rapidly when compared to a field with higher organic matter. This has certainly been evident over the last number of years of excess moisture. In addition to lowering soil organic matter, tillage also destroys the intact root systems of the previous crop reducing the ability of moisture to move lower into the soil profile. Soil pits in 2014 saw rooting depths of more than four feet still being achieved in what would be considered a relatively moist year. Maintaining these pathways along previous root systems helps break up compaction and allow for better aeration and moisture infiltration. There has, over the last number of years, been a demonstrated benefit to what has been termed vertical tillage operations. The
objective of a vertical tillage operation is to maintain organic matter and soil root structure, while still opening the soil at the surface to facilitate some residue management, surface moisture infiltration, and soil warming. Perhaps the first and likely still most popular vertical tillage implement is the knifing in of anhydrous ammonia or dry fertilizer, in the fall. The move to one-pass spring seeding systems has since lead to coulter units which could be run over the stubble in the fall with varying levels of disturbance. Some units can even vary the level of disturbance by changing the coulter angle which helps facilitate the leveling of ruts where necessary. Regardless of the implement, the ultimate objective should be to maintain o rg a n i c m a t t e r a n d soil root structure as this will be the key to maintaining a healthy soil and dealing with future climatic adversity.
Ross Taylor Auction Service Box 202 Reston Mb. Toll Free 877 617 2537 or 204 877 3834 www.rosstaylorauctions.com
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L O T S O F
We are a full-time, full service, local family owned auction company who will provide that personal touch to your sale. Book early to be included in our extensive advertising package… which includes Ag Days in Brandon, local trade shows and our full color Spring catalogue.
Our Service Includes: • Guaranteed Same Day Settlement • Pre-Sale Set-Up • Multi-Parcel Land Auctions • Mobile Of¿ce • Sound Truck • Mobile Catering Service • Free Consultations • Portable Washrooms • People Mover • Licensed Livestock Dealers • FCC Financing Available on Machinery Over $5,000 on Approved Credit
Farm Equipment Auctions for Spring 2015 Saturday April 11
Gordon & Marilyn Shaw
Monday April 20
Barry and Fran Balls
Tuesday April 21
Neil, Joan & Joe Barber
Thursday April 23
Dwight and Debbie
Worley Kipling, SK
Friday April 24
Raymond and Colleen Cop
Saturday June 6
Eric and Pat Widdup
Saturday June 6
Saturday June 20
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Virden Manager: Brent Campbell Junction No. 1 & 257 Highways • Virden, Manitoba
Call 204-748-1592 for your FREE estimate Melita Phone 204-522-8304
Deloraine Phone 204-747-2668
Elkhorn Phone 204-845-2590
March 13, 2015
Grow less maize and produce more food By Laura Rance Conservation agriculture boosts maize fields in Zimbabwe field trails Christian Thierfelder strides into a plot of maize, reaches down, and scratches through the mulch with his fingers to grab a clump of soil. Holding it up, the senior agronomist with International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) Harare (Zimbabwe) field station lets it crumble through his fingers - it is moist but not muddy, and the decaying plant material gives it a spongy texture. Then he walks across to another field being produced under conventional methods, where a hoe has been used to create rows of ridges. The soil from this field is rocky and hard. It sifts through his fingers like
the sandy silt that it is. "In the conventional system, they leave everything bare, which helps them to control the weeds," he said. "In the conservation agriculture system, we encourage them to leave the residues from the previous crop on the soil." Over time that decaying residue becomes the compost that creates the sponge-like texture. "When you look, the soil (under CA) is very loose and when you get a heavy rainfall, the water can infiltrate because there is a lot of biological activity - earthworms, beetles and ants and so on that create these biopools, like a sponge," Thierfelder said. "The rainfall hits the soil surface and infiltrates, whereas on the conventional system, it just runs off or stands there. It cannot infiltrate
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because it is mostly compacted between the ridges." Climate smart That's what makes CA "climate smart," during a dry spell, Thierfelder said. "The conventional system can only make use of the water that is in the ridge and not further down in the soil," he said. "In the CA system, there is access to deeper layers and there is a lot of water that has infiltrated before. "The maize can actually access the water much better because of an improved root system. And also, because of the residues on top, there is less evaporation of water - it just has more water available for plant growth." The decaying mulch builds the soil's organic matter and fertility, as well as its water-holding capacity. But the system also provides distinct advantages to smallholder farmers, which is why the push is on by CIMMYT and other food security, environmental and faith-based organi-
zations to support its widespread adoption. "What farmers often do in this area because of their fear of not being food secure is they plant a large area to maize," Thierfelder said. "And that's actually counterproductive because maize is a crop that you cannot sell with a lot of profit. It's just good for food. So the idea of introducing a rotation can only come in when farmers are food secure." CA techniques reduce the risk of crop failure, which means they can sow a smaller area to the staple maize. "Then there is room for new crops, cash crops, rotational crops, nutritional crops that help them a lot to improve their diet to reduce malnutrition to reduce the problem of stunting," he said. "That's a very good way to overcome all of these at once." Thierfelder said herbicides are used, particularly in the early stages. "Most of the weeding is done by women, and if you introduce a technol-
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Agronomist Christian Thierfelder, working in Zimbabwe, examines soil in a field of maize. Photo/Laura Rance
ogy like herbicides you can dramatically reduce the burden on women," he said. "What we have seen on these plots is the weeds become less and less every year because you don't turn the soil anymore and you don't bring new weed seeds on the surface. "We have seen in trials and also on farms that in about four or five seasons there are very few weeds coming up and they can pull them up," he said. Governments on side Governments are joining the campaign. The government of Malawi recently completed a task force report identifying CA techniques that are well adapted to Malawi growing conditions, said Gilbert Kapunda, project manager for the Sustainable Land Management Promotion Project, an initiative of the country's agriculture and food security department. Kapunda said CA is seen as an important component of the coun-
try's climate adaptation plan because of its ability to improve the soil and conserve moisture. Governments in the neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia are also now promoting it. "In areas where they have used CA, the technology actually conserves moisture in the soil, so when you have a dry spell you still have maize growing," Kapunda said. The Malawian government is now mounting an extension effort to drive more CA adoption in the rural areas. But getting farmers to change is hard. After all, it was only a few years ago that the government was promoting the ridge-row system most farmers still use. "The biggest challenge we are facing is actually the mindset," he said. Laura Rance visited three African countries in February and March on secondment to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
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March 13, 2015
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March 13, 2015
Avoid power line contact
Members of the Wallace District Fire Department attend to a tractor fire on a blustery winter day. Photo/WDFD
Help keep everyone safe on the farm Keep an eye out for overhead power lines when operating or transporting tall farm equipment. Most overhead power lines have no protective insulation and contact with them can be deadly or cause disabling injuries, serious burns and costly repairs to your equipment. Plan your travel route to be sure your machinery can safely pass under power lines. Remember, even hitting a bump in the road could suddenly lift tall equipment into contact with an overhead power line. Here are some guidelines to keep you and your farm workers safe during spring seeding: Visualize your route ahead of time. Cultivators, air seeders and grain
augers are at high risk for contact with overhead power lines. If you canâ€™t avoid passing under a power line, proceed cautiously and check constantly to make sure your machinery is a safe distance away from the power line. Donâ€™t allow anyone to ride on top of farm equipment or hay bales in transport. Never attempt to move a power line out of the way using lumber or a pole. Only properly trained and equipped Manitoba Hydro employees can safely lift power lines. Never transport metal elevators, ladders or irrigation pipes near power lines. Know the height of your equipment and load. If your equipment or load exceeds 4.8 metres or
15â€™ 9â€?, you will need an agricultural move permit from Manitoba Hydro. Restrictions on height, length and width have been established to protect everyone who uses the roadways. Be the Difference Farm injuries can have devastating effects, both emotionally and economically, to producers and their families. Yet most injuries are predictable and preventable when workers know what to look for and how to control farm hazards. This year, the theme of farm safety week is Be the Difference! Make Canada's farms a safe place to work and live. Be sure to take part in the Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, March 15 to 21, 2015, and Be the Difference on your farm.
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Canadian farmers had 11.9 million cattle on their farms on January 1, down 2.5% from the previous January and the lowest level since January 1993. Hog producers reported 13.2 million hogs, up 1.7% from the previous year, while the number of sheep fell 1.8% to 858,600 head as farmers reduced herds. Overall, cattle inventories declined across the board, with calves (down 2.5% or 99,400 head) showing the largest reduction over January 2014 levels. The number of beef cows on Canadian farms fell 2.0% from the previous January to 3.8 million head. The number of beef heifers held for breeding was down 1.5% year over year to 531,100 head. Canadian farmers had 1.4 million dairy cows and heifers on their farms, down 0.2% from January 2014. 82,080 farms reported cattle and calves, down 1.1% from the previous year, and 2.2% less than the same date in 2013. Total disposition of cattle increased as both slaughter and exports rose during 2014 compared with 2013. Record high prices offered incentive for farmers to move their cattle. Exports led the way with an increase of 19.3% to 1.2 million head, while slaughter increased 3.3% in 2014 to 3.2 million head. There were 7,000 hog farms in Canada, down 0.7% from a year earlier. These farms reported 1.2 million sows and gilts, up 0.5% from 2014. The sheep breeding herd decreased as the number of ewes declined 1.6% and replacement lambs fell 5.7%. The number of market lambs decreased 0.8% from 2014. Source: Stats Canada
March 13, 2015
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Virden Agricultural edition March 2015