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Empire-Advance serving virden & area since 1885

Farm & Field Agricultural Edition Friday, March 13, 2020


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Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

A young woman pursues livestock venture By Anne Davison EDITOR

Laura Tolton is pursuing her dream to raise cattle, and has started as a smallscale commercial farmer. She’s from Carberry, and has relatives in Virden, and Kenton as well. Tolton runs a 40-head Angus x Simmental cow-calf operation along with a few purebred Angus. “I grew up with cows,” says Tolton. She was raised on a horticultural farm where her

parents raised fruit/vegetable crops, (now in their 20th year operating greenhouses, selling plants to the Town of Carberry and area). But it was her father’s small herd of cows that captured her imagination. “I stayed with the cattle side, with my first grouppurchase of some bred heifers in 2017 and hope to one day be able to farm cattle solely.” Tolton’s interest in livestock was nurtured by her 12-years of 4-H work and membership in the Junior

Angus association. As a youth, she showed cattle at several shows per year. Tolton currently works full-time at Ag World Support Systems in Carberry, a service focusing on agricultural commodity inspections, sampling and analysis. And, her education was just another stepping stone along the way. “I studied animal health technology after my graduation in 2014. But after a year working in a clinic, I decided to work close to home to purse my cattle farm dream.”

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Relationships drive success of Nielsen Seeds By Christopher L. Istace Content research

After arriving in Westman for a work exchange in 2005, Soren Nielsen was impressed with the people he came in contact with and Manitoba’s wide-open landscape. Born and raised in Denmark, Nielsen has an extensive agricultural background that includes a Green Diploma from his birth country. He grew up on a grain farm and came to Canada to further advance his knowledge of the industry. Three years later, he moved to Manitoba permanently where he found work on area grain farms alongside meeting and marrying his wife and business partner, Rebecca. Today, the couple owns Nielsen Seeds Ltd.; an authentic family business according to the company website. There, you are welcomed by a large photograph of the Nielsens holding their two kids in front of a line of bins. Even the dog makes an appearance, running towards its masters in the background. “I initially started out wanting to farm in Western Canada, but realized that

without significant startup money behind us, we wouldn’t be able to do that,” Nielsen says. The couple encountered an opportunity in the seed distribution business and leapt in six years ago selling soybeans and corn. “Initially, there was an opportunity to get a parttime sales job,” says Nielsen. “But the owner was moving away from the business and ready to get out. It was kind of a nice transition for us to make when he was ready to get out of it.” Nielsen added cover crops, forages and native seeds to his portfolio in 2015, then began running third-party research trials on his product in 2016. The company expanded its operational infrastructure in 2017, and further boosted its line of products a year later to include canola, wheat, peas, oats and barley. The suppliers Nielsen works with include Syngenta, Pride Seeds, Thunder Seed, Prograin, Horizon Seeds, Northstar Seed and Canterra Seeds. Quality product is important, but Nielsen leans heavily on the relationships he has built since moving here a dozen years ago. The company’s ability to reach

The Nielsens – including Soren, Rebecca and their children – have established a growing seed distribution company based near Hargrave, Man. Soren moved to Canada from Denmark in 2008, three years after completing an agricultural work exchange. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

out to the community comes from the couple’s focus on face-to-face service, which includes delivery and in-field, follow-up visits. However, education is also a key component of the business’s success. Nielsen’s knowledge and experience – combined with the information gathered from his trials – are shared through webinars and online videos.

This still falls under their client-first approach, emphasizing that every consultation prioritizes what’s best for harvest results and the long-term health of the land. “It’s hard to predict one year to the next what’s going to happen. Markets, weather – there are many things that impact a crop, but at the end of the day,

any (seeding) decision made is an emotional decision,” Nielsen said. “Sometimes, it’s a shortsighted approach to make the most money, and sometimes it’s a long-term approach. We’re helping with crop rotations and foraging projects to maintain land viability, but it can be a tough sell when producers make more money with

other crops.” Regardless, Nielsen keeps a close eye on the growth of his product in the field with his follow-ups. After all, the relationshipfirst approach has been working thus far. Last year, the company expanded again to a larger facility west of Hargrave. The company’s website can be found at nielsenseeds.com.

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Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

Dynamic duo from south of the border brings message of hope, radical change to Canadian producers Taking zero-till one step further By Larry Powel

“You’re tilling too much!” That was Ray Archuleta’s blunt message to about 50 people at a meeting a few weeks ago in the small, agricultural community of Shoal Lake, Manitoba. The brilliant, affable Archuleta operates a small ranch in Missouri. His partner. Gabe Brown, whose “down home” personality has apparently earned him the moniker, “Farmer Brown,” runs a big, mixed operation in North Dakota. Both men are on the same mission - convince as many farmers as they can to move away from conventional production. That’s how countless producers in Canada, the U.S. and developed countries around the world, have, for decades, practised this predominant style of agriculture. They rely on heavy and expensive “inputs” of fertilizers, pesticides, machinery and “mono-crops,” all designed to produce the highest yields possible. Archuleta, a soil and water scientist, worked for the U.S. government for many years. He (https://www.blogger.com/null) says too much tillage makes the land more vulnerable, not only

to the kind of erosion that blows farmers’ soils away in massive dust storms, but to devastating floods and droughts, as well. He adds, neglect of soil biology has gone on for so long, it has resulted in farm soils becoming “the most destroyed eco-system there is!” In a demonstration for his audience, Archuleta had volunteers drop different samples of the same type of soil into clear, plastic tubes. Some of those samples were from fields that had been tilled and treated with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Others had not been tilled, but planted with cover crops that kept them constantly green and fed with valuable nutrients. When water was added, the first soil group rapidly disintegrated. The second kept their shapes for a prolonged period and absorbed the water into their pores, instead. This was indicative of healthy soil that would hold moisture and nutrients for the plants growing in it. Regenerative Agriculture Archuleta says, after working for the government for a long time, promoting the kind of system he now campaigns against,

Gabe Brown in his field, with several cover crops growing at once.

Ray Archuleta conducts a socalled “slake test.”

he saw the light and quit, in order to start ranching and spreading the word of a new and better way called “regenerative agriculture.” He sees too many conventional farmers going broke and doesn’t like it. He calls them “The poorest millionaires I know,” due to the tremendous debt they carry for expensive infrastructure. In his words, “The money goes to the tool-makers,” meaning the machinery and farm input manufacturers. He believes producers like himself, who emulate nature (a process called “bio-mimicry”), are the ones who are now making the money. His partner, Gabe Brown, says cover crops hold the secret to

healthy soil and crops. On his five-thousand-acre farm near Bismarck, Brown keeps his fields diversified with a constant cover of green during the growing season; before, after and during development of the main crop. An example is intercropping planting several grain crops in the same field, then harvesting and separating or using the mix for feed. Brown says, too many inputs (pesticides and artificial fertilizers), even on “zero-till” fields, can, over time, turn soil into virtual “bricks.” These can result in “ponding,” rather than absorption in heavy rains. He wonders whether the disastrous flooding which ravaged vast

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parts of the U.S. Midwest this past summer, might have been as bad had the soils in states like Iowa not been turned into “crap” by misguided farming practises over many years. Brown isn’t impressed with the high yields many conventional farmers get, either. His advice, “Stop giving awards for yields, instead of profit.” He suggests yields really don’t matter much if your profits are eaten up with high input and machinery costs. Brown notes, for every harmful pest farmers face, there are 1700 beneficial ones. This obviously means, it probably makes more sense to nurture the beneficial ones, than kill the bad one. So, he grows lots of flowering plants which attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. He even has a beekeeper operating on his property, to produce honey which he buys and sells at a profit. He also raises beef cattle which are carefully herded through fields to avoid overgrazing. Hogs and chickens range outdoors. The event which brought the two men to Canada, was sponsored by Agriculture Canada and the Living Labs Project.


March 13, 2020

Virden Empire-Advance

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MB Ag Museum seeks your farm stories Celebrate 150 project requests submissions to showcase Manitoba individuals through their personal stories History is best told by those who live it. That’s why the Manitoba Agricultural Museum is seeking the public’s help in marking the province’s 150th year of existence. The Austin, Man. facility, with funding from the provincial Manitoba 150 Host Committee, is hosting “Farmers of Manitoba – Collecting Stories” a project collecting stories and photos that put a spotlight on Manitoba farmers from the province’s inception to today. Collaborators can feature themselves, someone they know, an ancestor or a member of the industry’s next generation. The content will be added to the museum’s collection, and will be featured in its Farmers of Manitoba Exhibit scheduled to open in May. Contributions are being collected until April 15. The museum is hoping for extensive participation among Manitobans considering the cooperative nature of the project. They hope to collect a wide range of diverse submissions to catch a wide range of the province’s agricultural history. “It is an exciting oppor-

The Manitoba Agriculture Museum, with funding from Manitoba 150, will celebrate the province’s 150th anniversary by collecting stories from contributors about the farmers they believe deserve attention. Submissions are being collected until April 15.

tunity for the museum to further our mandate to collect, preserve, interpret and demonstrate Manitoba’s agricultural heritage,” curator and executive director at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum Anais Biernat said, while introducing the initiative on Feb. 20.

The Manitoba 150 Host Committee is hoping residents participate in and enjoy the exhibit ensuring as many participate in the provincial celebration as possible. “We had such a fantastic response to Celebrate 150 and events like this one

from the Manitoba Agricultural Museum speaks to the spirit of celebration, camaraderie and community engagement that Manitoba 150 is promoting for 2020,” said Monique LaCoste, co-chair with Stuart Murray of the host committee.

Located in Austin, Man., the Manitoba Agricultural Museum is a major preservationist and interpreter of the province’s agricultural heritage. The facility’s 25-building Homesteader’s Village boasts one of the country’s largest collections of vintage farm equipment

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Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

Heartland Auction facilitates cash flow to producers By Anne Davison EDITOR

Virden’s livestock auction circulates millions of dollars per week within the farm economy. In fact, on a sale day like Wednesday, March 4, where 2,500 feeder cattle were sold to feedlots around North America, the auction would issue cheques amounting to well over $3 million. That seems like a lot of money, but Heartland Livestock Manager Robin Hill points out that cattle prices are just slightly up this year. Heavy weight feeders are five to 10 cents higher but butcher cattle are holding steady. “The producers are not getting rich at these prices, definitely not. They’re making money but they’re not making lots,” said Hill. He should know. Like many staff at cattle auctions, Hill is also a cattle producer, on a small scale. Today’s price of a weaned calf on the hoof will seem high to those who were in the industry in the 1990s. In 1996, records

show the average price of a good feeder steer weighing 375 kg (826 lb.) $167 per kg, grossing the farmer $626.25. There was a big price adjustment over the years and in October 2018 the same kind of steer could have fetched about $1,600. But today, based upon the market report for March 4, 2020, that steer would bring a little less, at $1,300 to $1,400. While the top price is down over the two years, the cost of production and cost of living keeps rising. On Wednesday, most of the dozen or so buyers getting auctioneer ward Cutler’s attention are order buyers, representatives of feedlots throughout North America. “There’s cattle going every which way, every day of the week,” says Hill. “The buyers you saw here, some of the guys are going east, west or south.” The impact of this Virden-based business goes beyond the cattlemen. Heartland Livestock employs 15 – 20 part-time help. They include office

At the sale on Wednesday, March 4, young cattle in the pre-sort feeder sale come through the ring in a group. Sharing similar body type, condition and sometimes matching colour they are sold as a package.

PHOTO/ANNE DAVISON

clerks, yard and feed staff, livestock consultants and auctioneers. The cafeteria is in service when the sales ring is busy.

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employed throughout the year. A number of truckers move the cattle. On a 2,500-head pre-sort sale

day such as Wednesday was, about 33 cattle haulers move the feeder cattle out. Continued on page 7.

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March 13, 2020

Virden Empire-Advance

Continued Heartland Auction from page 6. By dinner time Thursday, the yards were cleared, ready for incoming cattle for the bred cow sale, Friday. The majority of the c att l e s ol d t h rou g h Heartland come from within an hour’s drive of Virden. “There are guys who have to drive farther,” says Hill. “There’s not a whole bunch of us [auctions] around.” This time of year, producers are selling cattle that were calves in the spring / summer of 2019, weaned and fed through the winter. “They background their calves into the new year and sell their calves as yearlings. As producers we always hope for better things … next time. Hill, often consulted by farmers about market conditions and whether it’s a good time to sell their cattle. “It all depends on the situation of the day,” says Hill. “Last fall there were days I was telling guys to sell them. There were days that, maybe it didn’t look quite as good and

you wonder, maybe you can make a little money by growing them. With a little feed, a little work. “You can be half-right today and half-wrong tomorrow, honestly, the way the markets can play.” Market update: Hill expressed concern over the toll taken on cattle prices and the futures market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, due to coronavirus effects. From Reuter news service on Feb. 25: LIVESTO C K - C ME c att l e extend losses as coronavirus rattles investors “(A futures drop of) $7 in four trading sessions is overdone, but if the stock market continues to liquidate, it’s going to take cattle with them,” said market analyst from Chicago, Jeff French. Hill acknowledged that the coronavirus is having a downward effect on prices. “The uncertainty is making our buyers and feedlot operators very cautious.” (Research from www. gov.mb.ca/agriculture/ markets-and-statistics)

7

Canola Council calls for end to Chinese blockade As China enters its second year of blocking the import of Canadian canola, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has called on the Canadian federal government to resolve the issue and move forward on other initiatives in support of the agriculture industry’s canola sector. “The canola sector is being targeted by China over a dispute with Canada. Farmers and the industry they’re part of cannot continue to shoulder the impact of something entirely out of their control,” CCC president Jim Everson said in a press release on Feb. 27. Among the CCC’s requests are for the federal Liberal Party government continue to focus on re-opening Chinese markets, diversifying abroad with improved access to Asian markets and diversifying domestically with increased use of biofuels in Canada. The latter, said the CCC, would grow the country’s economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Trade disruptions sunk canola seed exports to China by about 70 per cent in 2019. An estimated $1 billion in revenues was lost. Before then, China represented about 40 per cent of Canadian canola seed, oil and meal exports. “Industry and governments are working closely to return to unimpeded trade with China. Government needs to maintain an unrelenting focus on this goal,” Everson said, adding that the federal government has not taken real action on efforts at home. “Despite dozens of meetings with government, only token actions have been taken. More needs to be done to support diversification.” The CCC is also suggesting an expansion of Canadian canola markets in Asia, which they believe requires more government resources to accomplish. They must also coordinate these initiatives with industry and provincial governments to support market access.

“Industry is taking steps to diversify. Government plays an important supportive role and needs to step up to support predictable trade,” Everson said. Canada can do more to develop the biofuel industry, he added. “Governments around the world are using biofuels to lower greenhouse gas emissions. No progress has been made by the federal government to increase biofuel content in diesel, which would support the canola sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. Knowing that bumping renewable fuel content in diesel to five per cent would cut emissions by 3.5 million tonnes annually, the CCC advocates for the federal Clean Fuel Standard. Doing so would mark the country’s move towards required use of renewable fuel content in Canada’s diesel supply and markets would adjust. “The federal government must act now. We’re ready to work with all parties to find solutions,” he said. The Canola Council of Canada represents canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. – With notes from the Canola Council of Canada.

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Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

Heartland Livestock looks forward to Auctioneer Championship Heartland Livestock at Virden is going to swell as 40 of the best livestock auctioneers in the country take their turn with gavel in hand, to sell livestock May 9. The auction will be spit and polished in preparation for the auctioneers’ competition. Fom the West to the Maritimes they will arrive at Heartland. With all the flair they can muster, their tongue twisting, rhythmic chants will sell cattle as they compete for the LMAC Auctioneering Championship title. He ar t l and manager Robin Hill says, “We’re very proud to host this auctioneering competition.” He says it’s unusual for a town the size of Virden to hold this national event. It’s part of the Livestock Markets Association of Canada’s annual convention being held in Brandon, May 7 – 10. Hill said they’re hoping some 250 people within Canada’s livestock marketing industry will register for the event.

Auctioneer Ward Cutler sells cattle at Heartland, Livestock, Virden. Recording secretary Donna Swanston runs the weigh scale and ring sign. Cutler has been named a champion in his field several times over. PHOTO/ANNE DAVISON

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March 13, 2020

Virden Empire-Advance

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markets cannot be understated,” the report read. “Consider these statistics: China consumes 27 per cent of all global meat, with 62 per cent of China’s meat consumption being pork. Historically, China only imported three per cent of its pork requirements, given its large production capacity. The pace of the rebuild is essential when anticipat-

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age,” the FCC report said. Unfavourable weather also impacted the cost of feed last year, but corn and feed barley prices are expected to fall in 2020. Overall, the FCC forecasts feed costs to remain constant for producers. The country’s hog industry is projected to rise an average 3.4 per cent from 2019. However, a boost in the American hog sector is leading to concerns for the U.S. slaughter capacity. This is counter-balanced by strong demand due to a decline in China’s ASFdevastated pork supply. Trends to watch Farm Credit Canada also suggested producers keep an eye on several issues heading into the 2020 season. • Food preferences are shifting, but domestic demand for red meat remains strong. • China’s ability to rebuild its hog industry following a 20 per cent decline there due to the African Swine Fever (ASF). This means a substantial increase to hog imports to meet demand. “China’s overall impact on global agriculture

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activity in the packing industry was brisk. “Canadian packer utilization rates continued to be strong,” the FCC forecast said. “We estimate that the ratio of beef slaughtered (in federally inspected facilities) relative to capacity increased in the second half of 2019: 94.8 per cent, up from 90.5 per cent during the first six months, and well above the five-year average of 86.5 per cent.” Several factors were involved in the situation. High beef demand ran alongside strong processing margins, while processing plants in Eastern Canada were closed and a major American plant did not operate for several months. There were also higher imports to Canada of U.S. live cattle, and poor weather conditions in Canada caused an increase in culling rates. “We expect the Canadian processing sector to continue operating at high capacity as the Jan. 1, 2020, cattle-on-feed in Canada was estimated to be 10.7 per cent higher compared to Jan. 1, 2019, and 20.4 per cent higher than the five-year aver-

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Farm Credit Canada (FCC) expects continued high export demand for red meat, resulting in a boost in profitability for the beef and pork industries in 2020. “2020 Outlook: Canada’s Red Meat Sector” was published on FCC’s Ag Economics website on Feb. 19. The report suggested a decline in the supply of global meat protein due to African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Chinese market; international trade issues dealing with the agri-food industry; a growth in U.S. beef and pork production; and the global impact the Coronavirus outbreak may have on the world market. Wh i l e prof it a bi l it y trends upwards at the moment, forecasters expect only slight increases through the year. Cow-calf operations will benefit from strong demand for feeder cattle, and feedlot operators should also see improvements to their bottom-line from 2019. According to FCC’s preliminary estimates, beef production in Canada grew 2.8 per cent last year with greater numbers of cattle being fed and slaughtered. Meanwhile,

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Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

GROW to pay farmers for ecological initiatives By Christopher L. Istace Content research

Agricultural landowners in Manitoba have a new opportunity to develop eco-friendly projects for the management of the province’s watershed system while earning compensation on the land they are constructed on. The Manitoba govern-

ment passed legislation last year to modernize the province’s natural resource conservation policy. The Watershed District Act replaced an old conservation model with another that emphasizes water safety and watershed management. The previous 18 conservation management areas have been folded into 14 that follow regional

watersheds; opens nonmunicipal entities to help with watershed management plan implementation; clarifies district board policies and procedures; and streamlines each district’s ability to operate. The Virden area sits in the Assiniboine West Watershed District (AWWD), which incorporates the Upper Assiniboine, Lake

of the Prairies and Little Saskatchewan watersheds. This includes smaller waterways like the Arrow-Oak, Birdtail, Qu’Appelle and Shell Rivers. Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) was established to run alongside the government’s new conservation management system. The program focuses on watershed health

These cattle feed rings were nicely lined up at Scotsmun Steel on Virden’s frontage road. Several businesses PHOTO/ANNE DAVISON in and around Virden manufacture cattle equipment such as bale feeders.

management, resiliency to climate change and improved water quality by allowing producers to apply for compensation to cover the ecological goods and services they provide through completed eco-projects on their land. The program is being managed at the local level with GROW committees in each watershed district. AWWD manager Ryan Canart says the principle of the program is to pay producers for taking on initiatives that improve the region’s water conservation and safety efforts. “Producers can be paid to protect wetlands, improve water retention, or take water conservation measures – anything that will help with wetland retention or conservation,” Canart told the Empire-Advance. “We don’t want to compete with quality, profitable land. This is a chance for producers to take marginal land out of contention and be compensated for the ecological benefits it can provide.” Canart said the program is still in its development stages. He suspects administrative preparations will be aligned and ready by mid-May. Among the initiatives landowners can

approach GROW with are sowing grass along buffer zones; constructing water retention infrastructure such as dams; converting low quality crop land to perennial crops; and more. Canart says the AWWD’s GROW committee is being put together this month. The group – half of which must be farmers – will design a payment schedule, determine applicable lands and develop application procedures before it’s available later this spring. “That’s one of our priorities. We want people living and working on the landscape to determine the policies and procedures,” he said. “It’s great to have a new program offering a broader range of projects and a good idea to recognize the ecological benefits produced by landowners.” The change to Manitoba’s watershed authority system is being funded in part by a provincial government investment of $50 million, which has been placed in a trust that produces interest for long-term revenue. The GROW program will be administered to the watershed districts by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

le

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SouthWest Bull Development Centre

Sa

th

Annual

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Proudly Serving SW Manitoba & SE Saskatchewan

Complimentary Beef on a Bun @ 12pm Video Sale starting @ 1pm

The Seed To Your Success At Nielsen Seeds, we take our responsibility to you the grower, very seriously. We want to provide you with not only the best possible seed, but more importantly the varieties of seed we know will do well in our region and on your farm

@ Batho Farms Ltd.

3 3/4 miles south of Oak Lake, MB on Lansdowne Road

Featuring:

Herefords, Red and Black Angus

View the sale catalogue online @ www.buyagro.com Watch the videos @ www.southwestbulldevelopmentcentre.com

Check out our free webinars on todays leading topics! @ nielsenseeds.com Stop in for a visit anytime to view the bulls! Albert: 204-748-7640 | Ron: 204-748-5208

Soren Nielsen @ 204-851-0225 | www.nielsenseeds.com


March 13, 2020

Virden Empire-Advance

11

Global supplies may impact 2020 farm-gate profits High global supplies will continue to put pressure on the profitability of grain, oilseed and pulse crop producers this year, says a Farm Credit Canada (FCC) 2020 outlook industry projection published online on Jan. 21. Among the top issues that may further impact the Canadian farm-gate are trade tensions; the fallout from the African Swine Fever on the livestock and meat markets; challenged growing conditions at a time with a glut of global supply; and lowered American demand for ethanol. “While low prices likely result in tight margins for 2020, several factors can shift this outlook,” the FCC report stated.

“A faster-than-expected rebuild of the Chinese hog herd could grow the demand for oilseeds. The U.S. and China agreed to phase one deal which, upon implementation, could yield a significant jump in grain and oilseed purchases, raising North American prices.” The FCC also noted that ethanol demand may increase should the U.S. decide to offset declines in recent years. In the grain sector, projected 10 per cent lower American wheat prices will result in an estimated $241 per tonne price-point for Canadian spring wheat in 2020. “This puts margins slightly above break-even levels,

assuming average yield,” the report said, adding that weaker supplies of durum could boost durum prices this year. Oilseeds, meanwhile, are expected to produce breakeven or slightly positive margins with canola prices projected to average $465 per tonne. This follows an 8.3 per cent drop in Canadian canola production. A combined reduction of seeded acres and lower yields saw Canadian soybean production fall 19 per cent in 2019. A wealth of U.S. supply could help prop soybean prices this year, however. The FCC projects an average price of $440 per tonne. Finally, in the pulse crop category, there was an

Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of flaxseed, canola, pulses, durum wheat, peas, lentils, and mustard seeds

photo/metrocreativeconnection

increase last year in Canadian pea production with yields falling alongside the industry’s five-year average. Yellow pea producers are challenged by export restrictions to India, while green peas are expected to produce positive margins in 2020. Like so many other agricultural sectors, the outbreak of African Swine Fever in the Chinese hog industry will continue to

impact exports of other produce to that market. While profitability for lentils is pressured, margins are expected to improve in 2020 due to a decline in ending stocks, the FCC said. “Canadian lentil exports to India in 2019 increased 300 per cent, as the production of pigeon peas in India and neighbouring countries declined,” said the forecast. “Indian trade

restrictions reduced the global production of pigeon peas and this yields a favourable outlook for the Canadian lentil sector.” – With notes from Farm Credit Canada Ag Economics.

Ducks Unlimited Canada is currently calling and visiting rural homes in search of new partners for our landowner incentive programs.

Conservation Agreements Wetland Restoration Forage and Hay Last year, our average payment for a conservation agreement was $79,000.

Call 204-729-3505 or email du_brandon@ducks.ca to learn more and confirm program eligibility.


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Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

A century of change in agriculture

Shrouded in the light of February dawn, amid hoarfrost and ice crystals, the elevator at Lenore is a landmark. Information from the Manitoba Historical Society puts the original wooden elevator at Oakner, circa 1912. Owner Les Ellis understands this elevator was built in 1928. Its capacity was about 28,000 bushels of wheat and, owned by the Scottish Co-operative Society Limited, it supplied Canadian wheat to four mills in Scotland. The Scottish firm established a network of country grain elevators throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Seeding, on May 18, 2019, north of Virden.

Just a few miles north of Kenton at Oakner, this Cargill grain terminal, constructed in 1979, holding 650,000 bu., stands in stark contrast to the original elevators across the prairies.

A pen of feeder cattle in the ring at Heartland Livestock, Virden.

PHOTOS/ANNE DAVISON

We were looking for 10,000 bushel corrugated hopper bins - the smooth wall bins were preferable for our farm and more affordable. We noticed right away the quality of Concept Industries bins was far superior to anything on the market. The design and welds were much better than our other smooth wall hopper bins. The bin design is very well thought out with attention to detail such as the large hole on top that makes setting up the auger super easy. The adjustable crank being standard was an added bonus. Jeff Calder TWITTER@jcalder1983

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March 13, 2020

Virden Empire-Advance

13

SAFE Work Manitoba and Manitoba Farm Safety Program drawing contest encourages young Manitobans to learn about farm safety SAFE Work Manitoba and the Manitoba Farm Safety Program (FSP) are holding their annual drawing contest for young Manitobans ages six to 12. This contest asks them to draw and submit a picture that shows how to find a safer way when faced with one of four common

hazards on the farm: • livestock • grain • farm equipment • chemicals. “SAFE Work Manitoba recognizes the important contributions of agriculture in our province’s economy, culture and overall success. Part of that success

includes ensuring our next generation of farmers understand common hazards on the farm and what to do if these are encountered,” said Jamie Hall, SAFE Work Manitoba Chief Operating Officer. “The Farm Safety Drawing contest is one way to educate and help keep

children safe, while also ensuring their participation on the farm is a safe and rewarding experience.” “Children often have a fresh perspective when it comes to spotting hazards that experienced farmers accept as part of their regular working environment. As a result, their amazing artwork helps to increase awareness about the risks inherent to farming for both children and adults,” said Thea Green, Manitoba Farm Safety Program’s program manager. “FSP is, as always, proud to partner with SAFE Work Manitoba on this project and we look forward to seeing what the 2021 calendar has in store.” The contest runs until April 17, 2020. All eligible entries will be entered into a draw to win an iPad, and drawings will also be chosen for the 2021 Farm Safety calendar. The Farm Safety drawing contest includes

resources for anyone willing to help raise awareness of safety on the farm such as teachers, 4-H leaders and commodity group members. Contact SAFE Work Manitoba to order: • a poster to promote the contest • copies of the entry form • a self-addressed envelope to collect entries and submit them to SAFE Work Manitoba • a package of Farm Safety pencil crayons (limit one per organization) to give as a prize to youth who participate in the contest. Contest materials are provided free of charge. To

order, call 1-855-957-SAFE (7233) or email contest@ safeworkmanitoba.ca. For more information about the Farm Safety drawing contest or to download entry forms and other materials, visit safemanitoba. com/safe-farms-drawingcontest. SAFE Work Manitoba a division of the WCB is dedicated to the prevention of workplace injury and illness. Working with our partners in the safety community, we provide prevention education, safety programming, consulting and strategic direction to create a genuine culture of safety for all Manitobans.

For Immediate R 204-748-2809 • Fax 204-748-3478

Virden,MB 1-888-784-9882 • hls.virden@hls.ca

SAFE APRIL & MAY SCHEDULE

Work contest enc

MONDAY, APRIL 1 ... Regular Feeder Sale 9:00 am

MONDAY, APRIL 27 ... Butcher Sale 9:00 am

FRIDAY, APRIL 3 ... Bred Cow & Pair Sale 11:30 am

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 ... Regular Feeder Sale 9:00 am

MONDAY, APRIL 6 ... Butcher Sale 9:00 am

FRIDAY, MAY 1 ... Bred Cow & Pair Sale 11:30 am

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8 ... Presort Feeder Sale 10:00 am THURSDAY, APRIL 9 ... Sheep/Goat Sale 12:00 noon FRIDAY, APRIL 10 ... Good Friday - Closed MONDAY, APRIL 13 ... No Sale WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15 ... Regular Feeder Sale 9:00 am and Pen of 5 Heifers 1:00 pm

SAFE Work Manito WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 ... No Sale drawing contest fo FRIDAY, MAY 8 ... Canadian Auctioneer Competition Sale submit aButcher picture th MONDAY, MAY 11 ... No Sale THURSDAY, MAY 21 ... Horse/Sheep Sale 12:00 hazards on thenoonfar MONDAY, MAY 4 ... Butcher Sale 9:00 am

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 livestock  grain For any marketing information or questions regarding our feeder finance program or online auction contact: Robin Hill, Manager (204-851-5465), Rick Gabrielle (204-851-0613), Ken Day (204-748-7713),  farm equipm Drillon Beaton (204-851-7495), Kolton Mcintosh (204-280-0359)  chemicals. MONDAY, APRIL 20 ... Butcher Sale 9:00 am

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 ... Regular Feeder Sale 9:00 am

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14

Virden Empire-Advance

March 13, 2020

The shapes of agriculture dominate rural Manitoba landscape By Anne Davison EDITOR

Bins located at Kenton sit ready to meet the needs of the upcoming 2020 crop year. Raised off the ground to accommodate a hopper-bottom, these 10,000 bushel units are a popular size. Each year Valleyview hires a crew of four who construct the bins, says Barry Angyal, a bins and equipment sales rep with Valleyview. The co-op’s service includes bin moving (for the pre-made bins like these) or onsite construction. Grain bins once thought large at 1,500 bu. are being replaced with steel bins as large around as 27 feet, holding 10 times more grain, about 15,000 bu. Commercial hopper bins may be as large as 42 feet around with a storage capacity of 100,000 bu.

Canada is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of malting barley (used to brew beer)

Valleyview Co-op grain bins, perched at the corner of Hwy 21 and Road 259 gleam in the setting winter sun.

PHOTO/ANNE DAVISON

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March 13, 2020

Virden Empire-Advance

15

Soil moisture content high despite low winter precip. One year after dry conditions in southern Manitoba presented challenges during the agricultural seeding season, this year’s soil moisture levels are very high despite well below normal snowfall this winter. Manitoba Infrastructure’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre released its February Flood Outlook Report on Feb. 27. The report noted that potential flooding is still dependent on the weather southwest Manitoba experiences through to May, but flows and precipitation rates along the Assiniboine, Souris and Qu’Appelle River systems are at low risk of flooding. C oncerns are being raised, however, further east, where the Red River is at high risk of major flooding and the Roseau and Pembina Rivers are at moderate to high risk. “Our focus is currently on the Red River, where we are expecting a significant inflow of water from the northern United States, but with favourable weather conditions in Manitoba,

we would expect high water levels similar to last spring,” Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said in a press release the same day the report was released. “The Assiniboine River basin and other rivers are expected to remain mostly in bank, with possible over-bank high water covering agricultural land.” The 2019 growing season began with extremely dry conditions in southwest Manitoba. Low precipitation through May and part of June caused germination issues and forced some producers to re-seed. Near normal to above normal levels of rain fell during the summer and early autumn, but it arrived at times that did not benefit crop growth, with wet conditions causing more harm to crops and field operations. Wet weather in September then hampered harvest efforts. As producers waited for their fields to dry, a Thanksgiving storm dropped three to four feet of snow, ending further operations for another two weeks.

However, the early snowstorm did restore surface and subsoil moisture content to extremely high levels in some areas of Westman. At freeze up, the land was at normal to record high soil moisture content throughout south Manitoba. Precipitation in the region from November to February was low in most areas and at record lows in others throughout southwest Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan. The snowpack is well below normal along the Assiniboine and Souris River watersheds. C a n a d a’s N a t i o n a l Weather Service and Environment Canada predict near normal temperatures and precipitation through to May. Normal to below normal frost depths are reported throughout the province, which will help with run-off. Shallower frost depths allow surface water to absorb into the soil quicker and decreases overland flooding.

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16

Virden Empire-Advance

CO-OP

March 13, 2020

You can depend on Valleyview Co-op to provide your animals with nutritionally complete, balanced feed and top-quality care products, all specially formulated to help animals of any age stay healthy and thrive.

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Farm & Field 2020  

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Annual Agricultural Edition

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