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Western

Canola &Pulse

Crops Producer

November/December 2011


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Western

Canola &Pulse Crops Producer a supplement to The Western Producer

Contents 6

6 10 13 18 CANOLA & Pulse 2011

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Oil BOOM Canada’s canola crushing capacity is on the rise. Canola oil production is up significantly and prairie producers are reaping the rewards.

MARKET OUTLOOK What’s up with canola markets? The latest supply and demand estimates shed light on the situation.

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SPOILED ROTTEN As oil content rises and bin sizes increase, proper on-farm storage of canola is becoming a more important consideration.

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Late-inning rally Mustard growers have been waiting patiently for a market rally. According to analysts, 2012 could be a break-through year.

IDEntity crisis The livestock feeding industry is using more canola meal in feed rations. Here’s what feeders should know about canola meal’s new identity.

industry under repair The prairie flax industry is still reeling after the discovery of unapproved genetic material in export shipments.

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Box 2500, 2310 Millar Avenue, Saskatoon, SK S7K 2C4 Editorial Toll Free:

1-800-667-6978 Advertising Toll Free:

1-800-667-7776 Publisher: Larry Hertz

larry.hertz@producer.com

Editors:

Joanne Paulson

joanne.paulson@producer.com

Brian Cross brian.cross@producer.com

Advertising Director: Kelly Berg

kelly.berg@producer.com

Creative Director: Robert Magnell robert.magnell@producer.com

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RESIDUE headaches Glyphosate residues can cause headaches for Canadian pulse exporters. Without maximum residue limits, key export markets are in jeopardy.

26

shattering Experience The jury is still out on pod sealants. In some situations, they may be worth the money. In other cases, the results leave much to be desired.

Western Canola & Pulse Crops Producer is published by Western Producer Media each fall.


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5 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Oil boom continues in western Canada By Bryn Levy Western Producer staff

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ropelled by strong global demand, the Canadian canola crushing industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years. And crushing companies aren’t the only ones to benefit. Canola growers are also reaping the rewards of a larger industry that has seen more companies vying for locally produced oilseeds, say industry insiders. According to data compiled by the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association (COPA), Canadian canola oil production has risen from 1.55 million tonnes in 2006, to nearly 2.5 million tonnes in 2010. The largest jump in production came between 2009 and 2010, when oil production increased by more than 600,000 tonnes. This increase coincided with the opening of two new crushing plants in Yorkton, Sask. The plants, operated by LDM Foods (Louis Dreyfus) and Richardson International, are part of a new wave of investment in the crushing industry, which has also prompted players like Bunge, Cargill, and Viterra to expand operations. Recently, Bunge announced major expansions at its Altona, Man., and Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., plants. Those expansions will add as much new capacity as the construction of the two Yorkton plants did a couple of years ago. The Altona expansion is expected to be complete by the fall of 2012 and the Ft. Saskatchewan project should be complete in 2014. Joanne Buth, president of the Canola Council of Canada, believes that strong global demand for canola oil will continue to drive the industry forward. “Clearly the companies have done

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

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Richardson International’s $170 million canola crushing plant in Yorkton, Sask., is one of many new facilities that has helped expand domestic crush capacity in the West. At the facility’s opening in 2010, Richardson president Curt Vossen suggested a strong future for Canada’s canola industry. | FILE PHOTO

their work in terms of seeing into the future, and that kind of demand is going to continue and they’re prepared to make substantial investments,” she said. Pat Van Osch, vice-president and general manager of Richardson Oilseed, agrees. “We’re seeing lots of weeks where we’re at 80 percent running capacity and to me that’s a good thing, given all the new capacity on the ground,” he said. “Obviously that’s an indication of good solid demand for the oil we’re producing predominantly, but also the meal demand has been able to keep up as well.” For farmers, growth in domestic crushing capacity has translated into better prices, more contracts and better delivery opportunities.

Jody Klassen, chairman of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, said he hasn’t necessarily seen the effects of expanded crush capacity in the area where he farms, near Mayerthorpe, Alta. However, he is pleased with the growth in domestic crush capacity. A bigger domestic crush means better farmer returns and renewed investment in rural communities, he said. It also creates new employment and breathes new life into many smaller centres. “Anytime you have an increase in capacity like that, it’s obviously going to help demand,” Klassen said. “And because it’s the kind of capacity that’s value-added, it’s a bonus for local economies as well.”


Canola crushing capacity has increased in Western Canada at a time when many canola producers have faced significant production challenges. Flooding, particularly Saskatchewan and Manitoba, has caused many acres to go unseeded in the last two years, while hot dry summers have impacted yields elsewhere. According to Statistics Canada’s latest Grains and Oilseeds Outlook, canola acreage rose from about 16.1 million acres in 2009-2010 to a projected 18.5 million acres for 2011-2012. This increase in seeded acreage helped offset yield losses caused by the weather. Yields fell from 0.85 tonnes per acre in 2009-2010 to 0.73 tonnes per acre projected for 2011-2012. Total canola production for 20112012 is projected at about 13 million tonnes. Despite weather related challenges, Buth said these numbers bode well for the future of canola production. “If you think, we had so many unseeded acres last year and this year, and we still had sizeable crops. If we get a good year across the prairies, we’re going to have pretty substantial amounts of crop,” she said. Buth also noted that good genetics have helped ease the losses caused by bad weather. Genetic improvements and the development of new varieties with better disease resistance and higher yield potential have given canola a remarkable ability to recover in adverse growing conditions. The promise of solid returns will ensure that annual production continues to rise, she added. Statistics Canada is projecting a $580 per tonne average price for 2011-2012, up from $567 per tonne the previous year. “If you look at farm cash receipts, canola exceeded wheat, including durum, last year,” Buth said. “That’s really what we need to keep driving the industry is farmers making profit, essentially. And them choosing canola as part of their rotation every year.” So far, it appears that crushers are having no trouble sourcing canola in an increasingly competitive domestic marketplace.

Klassen said the future production increases will depend hinge on yield improvements rather than increases in seeded acreage. “We continue to learn how to produce (canola) better all the time. Certainly our organization, (the Alberta Canola Producer’s Commission) and the Canola Council of Canada continue to spend money on research. As well as all the private companies, they continue to spend money on seed, and better product and herbicides,” he said. Buth was also bullish about the producer’s ability to grow bigger crops. “I think there’s tremendous potential with the varieties we have. Especially since over 90 percent of the Source: COPA | MICHELLE HOULDEN GRAPHIC acres have gone to hybrids,” she said. The Canola Council’s target of 15 million tonnes of Canadian canola Strong vertical integration of grain seed production per year is within reach, handling and crushing operations has but higher yields will be necessary to put the industry over the top, she said. helped, but principally, steady growth And although the council’s 15 million in canola production has kept crushing tonne annual production goal has yet plants humming and will be vital to the to be achieved, Buth said that the other continued growth of the industry. side of the council’s objective — to have “The vertical integration just gives us half of Canada’s canola seed crushed doa better mechanism to manage through mestically — has already been realized. (sourcing canola),” said Van Osch. Klassen said expansion of domestic “Certainly more capacity is going to crush capacity is key to the canola indusrequire more seed, and if we don’t get try’s overall success. more seed production, we’re going to be Any other issues that have accompain a tighter seed situation,” nied industry growth are relatively minor Ken Stone, Cargill’s Canadian oilseed ones. manager, said growth in production has “I’d like to see them pay oil premiums been keeping pace with the growth in to the farmer. But those are pretty small crushing capacity. issues,” he said. “Capacity has grown as acreage has “Generally, I’m happy to see them do grown. If you’re growing as the crop is, evall this expansion. It reflects well on my eryone can get what they need,” he said. farm and my bottom line.” v Klassen, however, thinks seeded acreage may be starting to reach its upper limit, simply due to the need for rotations. Having said that, there’s a lot of facBox 40 - Limerick, SK - S0H 2P0 tors in addition to rotations that Special Crop Processor Certified Seed Grower influence a seeding Strongfield Durum, Eurostar Durum, Fall Danko Rye, AC Snowbird, decision, he added. Unity Wheat VB, Lillian Wheat, Leggett Oats, CDC Treasure Yellow Peas, “As far as acres I CDC Patrick Green Peas, Canola Seed 94H04 and 93H01, think there’s some Foremosa Barley, Red Lentils room, not a whole Phone (306) 263-4944 bunch.” Your #1 Choice in Southern Saskatchewan

7 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


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09/11 - BCS11026


Avoiding a storage wreck Canola growers are urged to check binned canola early and often this winter. By John Pluck Western Producer staff

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rairie canola producers are being urged to take extra care when storing this year’s canola crop. Troy Prosofsky, an agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada, says prairie temperatures ranged from the mid 20s to the upper 30s this harvest season. He believes these temperatures should have prompted canola growers to turn on their aeration fans after harvesting the crop. If they didn’t, he added, farmers need to check their bins for hot spots. Prosofsky said it is not always possible to detect high moisture areas by taking a sample from the bin door. He advises growers to take samples from different places within the bin. He suspects that the drive to increase oil content in newer varieties has made the crop more difficult to store because higher oil content increases the potential for spoilage. However, he said there is no scientific data to back up these suspicions. Prosofsky said much of the research into canola over the past 10 years was done using varieties with 40 to 42 per cent oil content, but today’s canola varieties often have oil content as high as 48 percent. Farmers need to be more vigilant when inspecting stored canola, he added. He said installing a monitoring system is the most important thing producers can do to protect their product. Prosofsky doesn’t expect storage problems with the new high-oil varieties if they are harvested with six to seven percent moisture content and the temperature of stored seed is 15 to 16 C. Producers shouldn’t turn off the aeration fans when outside temperatures are high because hot spots will develop in the storage bin. Canola should not be harvested when moisture levels are as low as two to three percent because dry conditions increase the risk of seed damage, he added. Eight percent is the ideal moisture content for harvesting newer canola varieties, he added, while 15 C is the best harvesting

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

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Canola storage has always required special attention. However, storage challenges and storage-related losses are gaining more attention now that bins are larger and the oil content of newer canola varieties has increased. | FILE PHOTO

temperature. Prosofsky said large bins need special attention because there’s a greater chance for high moisture areas to go undetected. Even a small area of high moisture can spread through a bin and spoil the crop. Ideally, producers who know that portions of their fields have higher moisture levels would harvest those areas later and store the seed separately. Larger bins also put extra weight on seeds in the lower part of the bin. Prosofsky believes theses conditions could lead to the creation of hot spots within the bin that will eventually cause spoilage, but the connection is still not entirely clear. He said it is important that growers check stored canola weekly or bi-weekly for the first six weeks after harvesting. Canola seeds sweat during the first six weeks after harvesting in a process called respiration. This process usually continues until the seeds reach maturity. Farmers who are worried about a particular bin should remove one-third of the canola and rotate it, which will stop hot

spots from forming. Brian Chorney, who farms near East Selkirk, Man., said 20 years of farming has taught him to “respect canola because it is the most touchy crop from a storage perspective.” Chorney tries to harvest his canola as dry as possible. This year, he was able to harvest his crop without moisture issues. He stores it in aeration bins that can hold 4,000 to 14,000 bushels each. Most of the flat bottom bins have full floor aeration and hopper bins have aeration tubes. Chorney said he uses temperature cables to regularly monitor each bin because even dry canola can spoil in hot temperatures. The aeration fans are regulated to keep the temperature in the bin constant. Chorney said condensation is common at the top of bins so he checks them every week. The Canola Council of Canada recommends storing canola at lower moisture levels to prevent the growth of moulds. The maximum moisture content that canola can be marketed as dry is 10 percent under the Canada Grains Act. v


Canola meal’s new identity Changes to canola seed and the introduction of new, high-oil varieties are affecting the nutritional characteristics of canola meal. By Barbara Duckworth Western Producer staff

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anola meal has in animals. The study recombeen part of livemended testing the product stock feed supplefor the presence of glucoments for more than 30 sinolates because the meal years. quality can vary depending However, new varieties on its source. and byproducts from the Feed companies are adaptbiodiesel sector are now ing to changes in ingredients providing an ingredient but are also mindful of price with a different energy when adding canola meal to and protein profile. rations. “There is a huge amount “It is a protein source, so of canola available and what they are replacing is just like distillers grains, soybean meal or peas,” said the beef industry is lookRon Anderson of Alberta ing at opportunities of feed- Feeders are using canola meal as an ingredient in livestock rations but there can Feed and Consulting Ltd. in be significant differences between one type of meal and another. | FILE PHOTO ing it as an energy source, Red Deer, which deals mainly not just a protein source,” with hog formulations. riculture and Ruurd Zijlstra of the University said John McKinnon of the University of “The price on peas has gone up so much, of Alberta at a recent nutrition conference in Saskatchewan’s Beef Development Centre. canola meal looks more attractive and it is Edmonton. McKinnon is working with Agriculture a Canadian product. That is probably the Traditional canola meal has two to three Canada researcher Tim McAllister from biggest advantage, not having to use U.S. percent oil, but expeller-pressed canola Lethbridge to test these new byproducts in soybeans.” meal contains 12 percent residual oil. feedlot rations. Producers have become more aware of The biodiesel industry offers extruderThe project is feeding backgrounding what homegrown products are available. pressed meal at 17 percent residual oil while Many prefer to buy local, said Anderson. cattle both regular canola meal and canola canola cake from the screw pressed process pressed cake derived from the biodiesel There are also more on-farm crushers, may contain more than 20 percent oil. industry. who produce a meal with higher oil content. This makes these products competitive The Lethbridge researchers are testing the “They leave more oil in the meal, which with traditional feed fats and the cost of differences between napus and juncea vais beneficial to the poultry because canola cereal grain starch that provide animals with meal is a protein source and the oil we put rieties to assess feedlot performance. They extra calories, said the paper. expect results later this year. in the diet is an energy source,” he said. A 2011 University of Alberta study looked Napus varieties tend to have more fibre “Because they have left more energy in it, at the growth rates of weaned pigs when fed while juncea varieties are lower in fibre and they don’t have to modify the diets as much increasing levels of solvent-extracted canola and it works better and they can use more higher in protein. The Saskatchewan researchers are looking meal instead of soybean meal. of it in the diet. The same goes for swine.… The study concluded that increased levels at what happens during rumen fermenRegular canola meal is 38 percent and when of solvent-extracted canola meal with up to tation to see how the animal digests the you leave extra oil in it, the protein level 20 percent oil had no detrimental effects on canola products. actually drops to 34 or 32.” growth performance. “Canola meal is available every year and Anderson’s company sells trace minerals Researchers also tested meal from the it is priced relative to soybean meal, but to producers and helps create diet formubecause of the supply, there is the opportunapus and juncea varieties. lations that give livestock and poultry a nity now for beef producers to purchase it at The lower fibre in yellow-seeded canola balanced ration according to their growth or reduced prices,” said McKinnon. meal would permit higher inclusion levels maintenance needs. Researchers are also assessing feeding in diets compared to conventional canola “There are limitations to how much you responses in hogs and poultry when higher meal. The likely result would be a further can use,” he said. energy meal is offered instead of using it as a reduction in feed costs. “If you go with too much canola meal protein source. in certain diets in small pigs or nursing However, yellow-seeded canola meal These results were presented in a research contains higher levels of glucosinolates, sows they will back off, so you have to be paper by Eduardo Beltranena of Alberta Agcareful.”v which are known to affect thyroid function

11 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Trade winds blow in Ottawa By Barry Wilson Western Producer staff

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hen Parliament breaks for a holiday, ministers in the federal government typically hit the road to promote trade. Canada’s canola industry couldn’t be happier with that arrangement. Now, with a solid majority and no fear of losing a House of Commons vote, travel by Conservative miisters will not be restricted to parliamentary down weeks. “The fact that the government does have a pretty aggressive trade agenda is a good thing, good for the canola industry,” said Jim Everson, corporate affairs manager for the Canola Council of Canada. “With 85 percent of our product going to export markets, the more we can open up markets, the better it is for the industry.” For the crop year that ended July 31, 2011, the value of canola industry sales was $7.53 billion. More than $6 billion was in

exports of seed and oil. In October, trade minister Ed Fast was in China while agriculture minister Gerry Ritz was promoting Canadian products in Germany. Everson said the government’s increasing emphasis on trade talks with major markets is a good sign. The past three years have been dominated by agreements with smaller potential markets such as Colombia, Panama and Jordan. Now, attention has switched to major markets such as the European Union, Japan and India. “Those are all markets where we market canola seed or products now and the issue in these markets is not only tariffs,” he said. “It’s also non-tariff trade barriers and the predictability of market access.” Negotiations with the EU are the most advanced with an early 2012 deadline. Central to discussions is the potential for significantly increased canola sales into the

European biodiesel market. “They have a pretty progressive renewable energy policy there and I think if they implement the types of targets they are looking at for biofuels, they are going to create a lot more demand for oilseed feedstock and canola is an excellent oilseed for biodiesel,” said Everson. “We will always target the food market first but there is potential there and the European issue with GMO (genetically modified organisms) does not apply much in the fuel market.” Everson said the issue of blackleg that blocked canola from the Chinese market has been largely resolved and research is being funded with the Chinese to study the impact of the disease. For the canola industry, the issue in trade negotiations is not always lower tariffs. It also is setting clear rules and a process to settle disputes including in the established United States market. v

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Residue issues persist Pulse industry officials are still seeking a resolution to an outstanding trade issue related to the use of glyphosate as a desiccant. By Sean Pratt Western Producer staff

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ulse Canada is hoping that a trade restriction related to glyphosate residues on Canadian pulse exports will be resolved in the first half of 2012. In the meantime, it will continue to push for broader reforms in establishing acceptable pesticide residue limits around the world. In February, the pulse industry was notified that the European Union had begun rejecting lentil shipments containing more than 0.1 parts per million of glyphosate residue. An investigation revealed that Monsanto, makers of RoundUp herbicide, hadn’t included lentils in a list of crops submitted to European regulators 20 years ago when the EU was establishing acceptable glyphosate residue limits on different crops. As a result, the default maximum residue limit (MRL) of 0.1 parts per million was applied to lentils. At the request of Pulse Canada, Monsanto made a submission for lentils in 2011 but that submission is still wending its way through Europe’s regulatory maze. Until the submission is approved, the EU’s MRL for lentils is a fraction of the 10 parts per million limit established for peas and wheat and the 20 ppm that applies to canola and soybeans. A European Union recommendation on a new MRL for lentils was expected by Nov. 1. That recommendation would have to be approved by a number of committees before regulations would be drafted and translated into a number of different languages. “That will put us probably into the second quarter of 2012 before a new regulation is in place …,” said Gordon Bacon, chief executive officer of Pulse Canada. Until a new limit is in place, Canadian lentil exporters who want to ship product to Europe are being forced to ask growers to sign declarations saying they didn’t desiccate their crop with glyphosate. Some exporters are testing to ensure that glyphosate residues do not exceed the default MRL and are segregating lentils that

In the absence of maximum residue limits for glyphosate residues on lentils, Canadian exporters are being held to an unmanageably high standard by European importers. | FILE PHOTO

exceed default limits. European importers, meanwhile, are being charged a premium to pay for all the extra work and for the risk involved in shipping product to that market. Much of the risk associated with MRLs stems from the incredible variability in testing results between labs and even between different tests conducted within the same lab. Results can be skewed by a variety of factors including how finely a sample is ground before testing, the sample size, and whether seeds in the sample came from the mature pods on the bottom of a lentil plant or the immature pods near the top of a plant, which tend to absorb more glyphosate. Test results from a collection of labs analyzed by Pulse Canada showed massive variability and there were even false positives. “We had glyphosate-free lentils where lab results came back as high as 0.348 ppm,” said Bacon. If a European lab generated the same incorrect result as Canadian labs, a shipment of Canadian lentils could be rejected despite being free of glyphosate residues. That might explain why lentil exports to the EU were 97,591 tonnes in 2010-11, down six percent from the previous year and five percent below the previous five-year average. Europe isn’t the only market where Pulse

Canada is hoping to achieve a new MRL for glyphosate in lentils. The group has convinced the CODEX Alimentarius Commission to review its limits as well. A CODEX committee has made a recommendation for a MRL of five ppm on lentils, which falls between Canada’s MRL of four ppm and the American MRL of eight ppm. CODEX will decide whether to accept the recommendation in July 2012. The issue of MRLs goes well beyond glyphosate in lentils. A new BASF product called Heat has been registered as a desiccant on peas and lentils but it is not being marketed in Canada as a desiccant because there are no MRLs established for Heat by either the EU or CODEX. “Not only with old chemistries like glyphosate do we run into marketing problems but we are also restricted with new tools because of the lack of harmonization,” said Bacon. “This is why we have pushed very hard and have been very vocal about the need for one world, a global process.” Bacon said a world that is truly worried about food security and escalating food prices should embrace a global joint review process where similar MRLs are established simultaneously in importing and exporting countries. v

13 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Watching the markets

Canola markets look promising but could be affected by economic uncertainty. By D’Arce McMillan Farm Management Editor

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ith a record production and high prices, Western Canada’s canola crop can be called golden for more reasons than just its colour. It should generate record income to pad producers’ bank accounts this year. The risk to that assessment is the precarious condition of the world economy, struggling with huge government debts in the European Union and the United States, high unemployment and industrial sectors in the developed world that appear to be paralyzed by uncertainty. If major economies trip into recession again there could be a price collapse similar to 2008. The global economy remains fragile. On the other hand, if the economy does not tank, there is potential for oilseed prices to rise if a redeveloping La Nina causes drought in South America’s soybean growing regions. Already, the United States Department of Agriculture and other forecasters believe that global oilseed consumption will outpace production this year. If drought shaves South American production below what the USDA anticipates, prices would climb to limit demand. However, as of early November the La Nina hadn’t delivered dry weather to South America and planting was proceeding rapidly with good moisture.

Growers beat the weather

After a challenging start to the 2011-12 season, Prairie farmers seeded 18.64 million acres of canola, an increase of about six percent over 2010.

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

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Statistics Canada’s September produccant increases in seed exports to Pakistan tion estimate pegged the new crop at a and the United Arab Emirates. record 12.93 million tonnes, a 1.2 percent The latter imported 819,000 tonnes of increase over the year before. Many Canadian canola, up almost 80 percent, analysts think that forecast will increase in a three-way trade route that includes in the November report, to be released in Europe. The UAE imports the seed, early December. crushes it and exports the oil to Europe. The 2011 average yield estimate is 31.7 Direct trade with Europe is also rebushels per acre, down from 33.3 bu. the covering after years of being shut down year before due to weaker performance in because of European bans on GM seed. Manitoba and Alberta. Last year, Europe imported 282,000 Because stocks at the beginning of tonnes of seed, up from just 95,000 2011-12 were smaller than at the same tonnes the year before. Oil exports to the time last year, total supply of canola this EU climbed to about 143,000 tonnes, up year will be smaller than last year. from just 18,000 the year before. Agriculture Canada forecasts a slight Prospects for EU trade are even better decrease in exports and increase in this year. Europe had a small crop and domestic use. Combined exports and needs to increase imports to serve its domestic use should exceed production, large biofuel industry. leading to a forecast for reduced year-end Europe recently implemented rules stocks or 1.15 million tonnes. setting out environmental standards for That provides solid footing for a forecast production of biodiesel feedstock. of strong prices. Canadian producers are now being Agriculture Canada’s assessment for certified to meet those standards and that fairly robust exports is well supported. Pulse grower for over 20 years Japan and Mexico Red Lentils should continue to be –CDC Imax (new) –Kind Red (KR) new solid buyers. –CDC Maxim The trade situation Green Lentils with China appears to –CDC Invincible (new) Impower (new) have stabilized with Sopatyk Seed Farms is your –CDC –Queen Green (QG) that country buypremium seed supplier for cereals, pulses and specialty Peas and Chick Peas ing more canola oil Meadow crops. Option to pick up at –CDC –CDC Patrick (green) to make up for the seeding available. –B-90 Amit Chick Peas restrictions on seed Midge Resistant Cereals trade associated with –AC Unity China’s concerns over –AC Shaw (306) 227-7867 blackleg. Ask about other varieties spats@shaw.ca and seed options. Last year saw signifi-


Food oil drives demand

Canola outlook Canadian supply and disposition 2008-09 Seeded area (’000 acres) 16,154 Harvested area (’000 acres) 16,040 Yield (tonnes/acre) 0.79 Production (’000 tonnes) 12,643 Imports (’000 tonnes) 121 Supply (’000 tonnes) 14,225 Exports (’000 tonnes) 7,908 Domestic use (’000 tonnes) 4,657 Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) 1,661 Average price ($/tonne) 467

2009-10 16,193 15,079 0.85 12,889 128 14,676 7,163 5,250 2,263 426

2010-11 16,801 16,089 0.79 12,773 223 15,260 7,020 6,412 1,828 568

2011-12* 18,641 17,976 0.72 12,928 125 14,882 7,000 6,732 1,150 550-590

* Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 18, 2011

Source: Agriculture Canada & Statistics Canada

could lead to more canola seed or oil going to EU biodiesel industry. Recent changes should also allow a modest increase in Canadian canola exports to the U.S. biodiesel industry.

Domestic demand

The crush capacity of Canada’s domestic canola processing industry, which has grown rapidly in recent years, will be steady for the 2011 crop but will grow again for the 2012 crop. Bunge has announced major expansions at its Altona, Man., and Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., plants. It also intends to expand its other plants in the future. The Altona expansion is expected to be complete by the fall of 2012 and the Ft. Saskatchewan project should be complete in 2014.

U.S. and world soybeans

The American soybean crop is expected to fall to about 83.3 million tonnes from 90.6 million last year The smaller U.S. crop is the main reason for the smaller world soybean crop, expected to fall to 258.6 million tonnes from 264 million last year. World soybean consumption is expected to rise to about 262 million tonnes from 251 million last year. The smaller crop and the stronger demand are expected to slice year-end stocks to 63 million tonnes, down from 69.3 last year

South American oilseeds

The accuracy of the forecast for world

WP graphic

production depends on progress of South American soybean crops. Brazil’s seeded soybean area is expected to grow between 2.0 and 3.5 percent to about 61 to 61.8 million acres. However, production will depend on whether the strengthening La Nina leads to a dry growing season. Brazil’s crop supply agency Conab forecasts a return to normal yields of about 43.5 bushels per acre, down from the record 46.3 bu. produced last year. A year ago, a dry September and a developing La Nina also raised worries, but excellent moisture during the growing season led to the record yield. Applying the normal yield to the expected acreage produces a crop of 72.2 to 73.3 million tonnes, down from last year’s record 75.3 million. Private forecaster Celeres is more upbeat about yield and expects production will top 75 million again. USDA’s agricultural attaché reports that Brazilian farmers are using good profits from last year’s crop on certified seed and fertilizer, which should keep yields near last year’s level. The attaché also expects about a 75 million tonne crop. September dryness was a concern in Argentina, the world’s third largest soybean producer, but rain in the second week of October created a good set up for seeding. Rain also hit large parts of Brazil in early October so the immediate concerns about La Nina dryness have been put to rest, at least for the time being. v

Canada’s new biodiesel mandate is good news for the Canadian canola crushing industry. But stakeholders say the crushing industry is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach before placing too many expectations on biodiesel-related canola demand in Canada. Ken Stone, Canadian oilseeds manager for Cargill, the world’s largest oilseed processor, said that while canola does show promise as a feedstock for biofuel, the Canadian biodiesel industry is still in the early stages of development. “The U.S. has been at it for years. In Canada it’s pretty new,” he said. “Ourselves and everyone else will grow as the industry grows. Cargill is watching closely, and it’s still evolving.” Pat Van Osch, vice-president and general manager of Richardson Oilseed, said he expects his company’s facilities to remain devoted to food oil production. The current boom in Canada’s canola crushing industry has been fueled largely by demand from the food oil industry “For us, at Richardson Oilseeds, our target market is to be supplying into the food industry,” Van Osch said. “That’s where we want to play with both our plants, both the Lethbridge facility and the Yorkton facility. That’s always been our strategy and we still believe that’s the right place to be with the oil profile, the healthiness of the oil,” he added. “We will participate in the biodiesel industry as opportunities arise.” Joanne Buth, president of the Canola Council of Canada, said canola-based biodiesel will continue to be an area of growth, but that growth won’t come at the expense of food oil production. “If you look at demand for high-stability canola, that’s not taking away from the demand for commodity canola. That high-stability is taking demand from sunflower, from hydrogenated soy, from some of the blends and so that’s like a new market almost,” she said. “Our strength is in food, our value proposition, in terms of health benefits, is in food.” Jody Klassen, chairman of the Alberta Canola Producer’s Commission, sees the biodiesel market as a good market for off-grade canola. But he agreed that demand for canola will continue to be driven by food markets. “I think the future for canola, especially high-quality canola, is in the food market,” Klassen said. “But there’s also stuff from year to year that is off-grade, and we need the biodiesel market for that.” “The business answer is (that) … I’m growing for the market that can pay the most.” v — LEVY

15 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Chickpea acres hard to peg Chickpea acreage in the 2011-12 crop year is expected to fall below 75,000 acres according to Agriculture Canada. That compares to 205,000 acres in the 2010-11 crop year. Reduced 2011 acreage could result in sharply lower carry-in stocks, an unusually low stocks-to-use ratio and significantly higher prices. By Brian Cross Western Producer staff

Chickpeas

P

Canadian supply and disposition rairie farmers appear to have a love-hate relationship with chickpeas. 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12* For the past few years, seeded acreage has fluctuated Seeded area (’000 acres) 131 79 205 74 Harvested area (’000 acres) 126 74 190 74 significantly. Supply and disposition estimates released by AgriYield (tonnes/acre) 0.53 1.00 0.68 0.73 culture Canada last month suggest that trend will continue. Production (’000 tonnes) 67 76 128 54 Imports (’000 tonnes) 4 6 9 8 According to Agriculture Canada, total chickpea plantings Supply (’000 tonnes) 163 143 158 84 came in at around 74,000 acres in 2011. That’s about one third of Exports (’000 tonnes) 53 66 86 50 Domestic use (’000 tonnes) 48 58 50 29 the country’s 2010 acreage, which exceeded 200,000 acres. Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) 62 20 22 5 Chickpea plantings have always been prone to fluctuation Stocks to use ratio (%) 61 16 16 6 but some industry players think acreage will eventually become Average price ($/tonne) 560 540 655 740-770 more stable with the introduction of new, earlier maturing * Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 18, 2011 varieties that offer higher yield potential and improved ascochyta Source: Agriculture Canada & Statistics Canada WP graphic resistance. New kabuli varieties being developed at University of SaskatchIndia has been increasing production significantly over the past ewan’s crop development centre will reach maturity several days few years and that has put downward pressure on international earlier than the most popular varieties currently being grown, CDC prices. chickpea breeder Bunyamin Tar’an said recently. In addition, chickpea growers have limited options for controlling CDC Orion, which was released by the CDC in 2010, can reach broadleaf weeds. maturity in 110-115 days. CDC breeders have identified chickpea germplasm that offers That is a significant improvement over Frontier, the most popusome resistance to Group 2 herbicides and are continuing work on lar variety currently being grown in the province, which normally the development of Canada’s first imidazolinone tolerant chickpea requires more than 120 days. varieties. CDC Orion also offers improved ascochyta resistance and larger Market analysts say the secret to expanding and stabilizing chickseed size. pea acreage is to reduce production risks and focus on developing Frontier seed is normally eight millimeters in diameter. Orion seed varieties that produce crops of consistently high quality. ranges from 10 to 11 mm. “Farmers want varieties that mature quickly and have improved Breeder seed for Orion was distributed to Saskatchewan seed ascochyta resistance but the yield has to be there as well. Consumer growers in 2010 and foundation seed was produced this year. and processors are more concerned with seed size, colour, canning Some commercial certified seed should be available for planting quality, those types of things,” Tar’an said. in 2013. With the introduction of new improved varieties, Tar’an thinks According to Tar’an, efforts to expand and stabilize chickpea acreSaskatchewan’s chickpea acreage could eventually be expanded age in the province hinge on a variety of factors. and sustained in the 600,000 to 800,000 acre range. Economically, the price of chickpeas has not fared well relative to Traditionally, kabuli prices have been significant higher than desi other crops, most notably lentils. prices but in recent years the gap has narrowed. Many pulse growers looking to maximize profits and minimize At the same time, the agronomic performance of desi varieties has production risks have been turning to lentils, a crop that has seen improved significantly with the release of new varieties such as CDC significant expansion over the past decade. Corinne, released in 2008. Since 2000, Saskatchewan’s lentil production has increased from Relative to Myles, the most common desi variety produced in 1.25 million acres in 2003 up to 2.35 million acres in 2009, according the province, newer varieties such as CDC Corinne offer a 20 to 30 to Saskatchewan Agriculture statistics. percent yield advantage. By comparison, chickpea acreage, which peaked at 1.1 million Despite that, about 90 percent of the province’s chickpea crop is acres in 2001, has fallen dramatically. planted to kabuli varieties. Internationally, chickpea markets for the kabuli type are relatively With significantly lower carry-out stocks expected this year, Agrismall and competition among producers has been increasing. culture Canada is forecasting stronger chickpea prices. v

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

16


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17 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Flax exports floundering In 2011, Canadian flax production was expected to hit its lowest level in 19 years. Canadian flax growers — mostly in Saskatchewan — planted less than 700,000 acres this spring and 2011 production is estimated at less than 400,000 metric tonnes, down from 930,000 tonnes just two years earlier. By Shirley Byers Freelance writer

The outlook for Canadian flax exports has been shrouded in uncertainty. Industry stakeholders are hoping the worst is behind them. | FILE PHOTO

C

anadian flax production is on a downward slide thanks to poor growing conditions and a reduction in exports to Europe. A few years ago, Canadian flax growers could expect to produce about 800,000 metric tonnes in an average year. But production dropped to about 425,000 tonnes in 2010 and is expected to come in at around 379,000 tonnes in 2011, according to recent estimates from Statistics Canada. Will Hill, president of the Canadian Flax Council, said lower exports to Europe are “probably the most important part of the story.” Canadian flax exports to Europe averaged about 415,000 tonnes a year before traces of the GM flax variety Triffid were detected in Canadian flax shipments a few years ago. Since then, exports to Europe fell to about 270,000 tonnes in 2009-10, and 220,000 tonnes in 2010-11. In the 2011-12 crop year, exports will likely drop below 220,000. Poor weather has also affected production, said Hill. “We’ve had two years in a row where southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan have had very, very wet conditions,” he said. “This affected acreage.” In a normal year, flax prices would respond favourably to a significant drop

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

18

in Canadian production. But with limited demand for Canadian flax in Europe, the price response has been muted. Instead of buying Canadian flax, European buyers are filling their needs with flax grown in Eastern Europe. “Normally having this small acreage in Canada would probably have prompted a more severe price response but because we have this crop in Eastern Europe it seems to be muted by that,” Hill said. “Going into the harvest of 2011 prices were a bit lower than last year at this time.” Triffid, a genetically modified flax variety, was developed at the University of Saskatchewan and registered for commercial production in Western Canada roughly 20 years ago. When farmers expressed concerns that Triffid would be rejected in the European Union, the variety was deregistered and removed from production. At that time, Europe was Canada’s biggest flax customer, buying up nearly twothirds of Canada’s annual exports. But when traces Triffid began appearing in commercial flax shipments to Europe, Canadian sales suffered. The EU has a zero tolerance policy for Triffid contaminated flax. In an effort to restore Canadian exports, Canada and Europe have established a Triffid testing protocol.

With the protocol in place, industrial flax shipments to Europe have resumed but food shipments, which comprised about 25 percent of exports to Europe, have not. “There’s very little flax going into the food market in Europe just because there’s nervousness over retesting, “ Hill said. “Anyone can re-test at any time if they want to, and you could have the same situation again.” Meanwhile, decreased flax acres in Western Canada have encouraged growers in Eastern Europe to ramp up production. Flax produced in Eastern Europe now controls a significant share of the EU market on both the industrial and food sides. Oil World, a respected industry forecasting service based in Germany, estimated this year that countries in the fromer Soviet Union will have 340,000 to 350,000 tonnes of exportable product in 2011-12, about 110,000 tonnes more than last year. Chuck Penner, president of LeftField Commodity Research, told the Western Producer in September that growers in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are shifting production to flax because of the opportunity created by Canada’s Triffid incident and because flax is a small acreage crop that flies under the radar of FSU export bans and taxes. Mike Jubinville, president of Pro Farmer Canada, said FSU countries have become


Flax outlook Canadian supply and disposition Seeded area (’000 acres) Harvested area (’000 acres) Yield (tonnes/acre) Production (’000 tonnes) Imports (’000 tonnes) Supply (’000 tonnes) Exports (’000 tonnes) Domestic use (’000 tonnes) Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) Average price ($/tonne)

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12*

1,559 1,544 0.56 861 7 1,035 639 168 229 500

1,709 1,539 0.60 930 6 1,165 772 104 289 424

924 872 0.49 423 8 720 404 123 194 530**

694 669 0.57 379 5 577 350 117 110 500-540

* Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 14, 2010 ** Flaxseed price location changed from I/S Saskatoon to I/S Thunder Bay

Source: Agriculture Canada

WP graphic

Flax testing program expanded A program that shares the cost of testing farm-saved and pedigreed flax seed has been expanded. Since Jan. 1, 2011, approved seed testing labs have been providing a 50 percent discount on the cost of testing flax seed for genetically modified content. The Triffid testing subsidy program was originally offered on all samples of pedigreed and farm-saved seed intended for planting. On Aug. 1, the program was expanded to include all flax samples, including tests on farm production intended for commercial sale. Accredited labs will provide the 50 percent discount when samples are submitted, up to a maximum of $100 per sample. The Flax Council of Canada will reimburse the labs using money provided through the Canadian Agriculture Adaptation Program. The flax council is urging producers to test all commercial production to reduce the risk of Triffid contamination in commercial flax supplies. A protocol, negotiated between Canada and the European Union, stipulates that rail cars and in-store flax stocks be tested for Triffid at a tolerance level of 0.01 per cent. This must be done in order for flax to be shipped to the EU. Testing commercial supplies before delivery will add another level of assurance that Canadian flax shipments are GM free. “After a period of time when the market was closed, industrial shipments have resumed, probably not as robustly as before, but they were able to resume,” said Will Hill, president of the Canadian Flax Council. Measures are also being taken to ensure that the crop is clean from the bottom up, that records are kept of where the Triffid is and also to ensure that the industry has an opportunity to move stocks that have Triffid in them to markets that will allow the presence of Triffid. “We recommend that all planting seed is tested and a certificate is obtained verifying that it is Triffid-free. Again, at harvest, stock should be tested before it comes into the elevator. If stocks are free of Triffid, they go into the European pipeline and follow the protocol. If they’re not free of Triffid, they go to a market that can consume the product with no regard for the Triffid.” A list of labs approved for testing commercial, farm-saved and pedigreed seed is available on the flax council’s website at www.flaxcouncil.ca. — BYERS

the dominant players in the lucrative European market. In the past, there have been concerns about the quality of the Eastern European crop as well as logistics and contract compliance. But firm demand has provided incentive for the Eastern Europeans to increase their acreage, Hill said. “Now we’ll see as they try to execute that crop where things will happen, where it will shake up,” he said. “We certainly have seen the industry change and now, one of the things the (Canadian) industry will have to do is rebuild that market and that reputation.” Hill said the industry continues to take steps aimed at cleaning up Canada’s seed supply and commercial stocks. “The impact when you have that kind of shock to a market place is not good for any market, and particularly when it’s your largest market,” he said. “Sixty-five per cent of our exports went to Europe so it had an impact and it changed things, so as we continue to reconstitute the breeder seed and make sure that’s clean, we have our farm stewardship program where we’re testing planting seed and production and as we continue to implement under the protocol we’re seeing the levels of Triffid decrease dramatically in the country.” The Canadian flax industry is also exporting to other nations. In 2009, about 250,000 tonnes of Canadian flax went to China. Canadian flax is also being sold into Japan for industrial use and Korea also imports Canadian flax subject to that country’s testing regime. The United States is the only other market that would be considered significant, Hill said v.

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19 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Mustard showing signs of late-inning rally Canadian mustard production was expected to drop sharply in the 2011 due to lower seeded acreage. U.S. production is also expected to fall to about 10,000 tonnes, the smallest crop in nearly 15 years. With tightening stocks, producers will be watching markets closely and donning their rally caps. By Shirley Byers Freelance writer

Mustard outlook

M

ajor league ball parks are a long way removed from Canadian supply and disposition the farmyards of southern Saskatchewan. But the major league baseball strike that occurred 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12* in 1994 precipitated a marketing disaster that still resonates Seeded area (’000 acres) 479 524 479 274 Harvested area (’000 acres) 459 514 459 264 with Prairie mustard seed growers. Yield (tonnes/acre) 0.35 0.40 0.40 0.43 “You couldn’t give mustard away,” said Patrick Ackerman, Production (’000 tonnes) 161 208 187 113 Imports (’000 tonnes) 1 0 1 0 chair of Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission. Supply (’000 tonnes) 189 253 267 238 “Guys had bins of it and nobody would buy it.” Exports (’000 tonnes) 131 128 124 120 Domestic use (’000 tonnes) 14 45 19 33 The prairie mustard crop of 2011 will certainly fare better Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) 44 80 125 85 Stocks to use ratio (%) 30 46 88 55 than the crop of 1994 but just how much better will depend on Average price ($/tonne) 845 510 570 695-725 several factors. * Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 18, 2011 Saskatchewan growers didn’t harvest a bumper crop in 2011. “The average yield, I think, would be in the 700 to 750 pounds Source: Agriculture Canada & Statistics Canada WP graphic per acre range,” said Ackerman. and the rest is held by holders, people with a price in their mind That’s on the low end of average, he added. and they’re not going to sell until they get it. Acres were very, Average yields are 750 to 900 pounds per acre. very low compared to normal, so we’re going to be short.” Acres were down as well. Ackerman predicted that prices will definitely go up. What many in the industry thought would be a 350,000 to “With the acres being down the way they were this year and the 400,000 acre crop is expected to come in at around 265,000 growing conditions producing a below average-yielding crop, it acres. just sets us up for the perfect storm if you’re a grower,” he said. That’s about 215,000 acres less than last year’s 480,000-acre “There are higher prices coming. The processors don’t want to crop. pay that price yet but they’re going to have to if they want to get Cool, wet and miserable spring weather likely scuttled some some mustard.” seeding plans and sent growers scrambling for other alternatives. At Dafoe, Sask., Bob Waldbauer, a mustard buyer with LakeHowever, the awful spring morphed into an ideal summer side Global Grains, said prices are responding. in many areas, with ideal growing conditions for most crops, “We have realized some nice rallies in the market,” he said. including mustard. “Yellow mustard has moved up in that seven to eight cent “For the majority, the quality was very good this year,” said range, up to 35 cents a pound. Brown mustard went from 20 Ackerman. cents to a high of about 32 cents and then backed off to 30 cents “There might be some late mustard that maybe got some frost which isn’t a terrible price for brown mustard,” he added. but I doubt it. I think most of the mustard made it through and “It equates to a 15 dollar a bushel product. Not a bad return if was mature enough that it wasn’t affected by that little frost that you get it off in good condition.” we had. So quality is going to be just fine.” Although most of the Canadian mustard crop is sold within With this year’s crop safely in the bin, growers are now conNorth America, Western Canada has traditionally been one of centrating on markets. Although some market analysts have the world’s biggest suppliers of mustard seed. talked about large carryovers, Ackerman doesn’t think carryout More recently, however, production has been increasing will be a significant issue. in Eastern European countries so North American prices are “A lot of the carryover consists of mustard of low quality that linked to production in Eastern Europe. people couldn’t sell or didn’t want to sell in the last few years Waldbauer said there is sketchy information coming out of

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

20


Canadian mustard production was down in 2011. That bodes well for prices, which are already responding to supply concerns. | FILE PHOTO

Europe about this year’s crop. “It’s really hard to say,” Waldbauer said. “ When you look at the market signals — it appears that there is still quite a bit of Eastern European crop coming into Western Europe although prices have stabilized and are starting to come up.” “This could mean one of two things. It could mean there isn’t that much mustard (available) there, or it could mean that the mustard has been scooped by bigger buyers who are kind of manipulating the market and just releasing mustard every now and then to create a bit of an artificial shortage and get the prices up.” In any case, European prices are a lot closer to prices in Canada than they were a year ago, Waldbauer said. In general, European mustard buyers are more likely to buy Eastern European product due to its geographic proximity and because GM contamination issues are non-existent with the Eastern European crop. “They’re definitely going to go through that product before they start coming to the table and buying anything of consequence from the Canadian industry.” As of early October, there was no sign of Western Canadian contracting opportunities for the 2012 mustard seed crop. “And we probably won’t see any of that for a while yet,” said Ackerman. “It’s one of the hurdles the mustard industry has to get over.

There are already canola contracts out there for 2012 and you know mustard is sitting by the wayside watching. I’m sure more acres were lost right there. The mustard processors and buyers really need to get a little more aggressive in their pricing if they want to maintain a consistent quality supply.” Waldbauer said buyers in the mustard industry aren’t willing to take a big position on the crop until they’re sure they can move it at the other end. Economic uncertainty in Europe is also having an impact on the industry and uncertainty is trickling down to the Canadian grower. “Our buyers, need to know that the people they sell their product to have the money to pay for it.” Waldbauer said growers sitting on mustard might wnt to wait for a rally. “If you’ve got other commodities that you can sell and are happy with their pricing, my suggestion is sell those and hold onto your mustard because I really do think that mustard prices are going to improve,” he said. “Since harvest, they have gone up about six cents a pound. That kind of says we’re going in the right direction.” “Growers are bullish on everything these days and to be quite honest I’m somewhat bullish on mustard too,” said Waldbauer. “We know the price is going up. It’s just hard to put our finger on exactly when that’s going to happen. But it is going to happen.” v

Tests suggest early seeding pays How much difference do factors like seeding date and seed quality make in the performance of yellow mustard ? Agriculture Canada trials conducted from 2006 to 2008 by researchers Bob Elliott, Larry Mann and Owen Olfert at the Saskatoon Research Centre looked at those questions and reached some interesting conclusions. “Seeding date had a pronounced effect on the agronomic performance of yellow mustard,” the researchers wrote in their final report. They determined that delayed seeding results in improved shoot biomass in both conventional tilled and minimum tilled plots but early seeding produces higher yields. Early seeding took place from May 9 to May 17 while late seeding occurred from May 25 to June 6. Over three years of trials, early seeding improved yields by four percent or 1.4 bushels per acre in conventional tillage and by eight percent or 2.2 bu. per acre in minimum tillage systems.

Seedling vigour is another important consideration, the trials suggested. Compared to low vigour seeds lots, high vigour seed lots showed 12 to 18 percent better seedling emergence after 14 days, 13 to 19 percent better stand establishment after 21 days, 1.5 to 1.9 times higher shoot weights after 28 days, 1.7 to 2.1 times higher shoot biomass after 28 days and 14 to 19 percent higher seed yield. Low vigour seeds lots averaged 32.2 to 33.2 bu. per acre in conventional tillage and 25.5 to 28.3 bu. per acre in minimum till. Yields of high vigour seed lots averaged 36.7 to 38 bu. per acre in conventional cropping systems and 30.5 to 33.1 bu. per acre in minimum tillage. For more information on this research, go to the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission website at http://www.saskmustard.ca/grower/news/index.html. v — BYERS

21 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


Marketing for the birds Canadian farmers flocked away from canary seed in 2011. Seeded acreage fell to an estimated 215,000 acres this year and production was estimated at a paltry 279,000 tonnes. Mexican trade restrictions are expected to remain in place until supplies there fall to unmanageably low levels. By Darlene Polachic Freelance writer

Canary seed outlook

F

or the past decade or so, Saskatchewan has been the world’s leading producer and exporter of canary seed (Phalaris canariensis). The crop is grown mainly in west central Saskatchewan and in the Melfort, Sask., area. At one time, canary seed acreage in the province was nearly 900,000 acres. In 2009, that number dipped well below 400,000 acres. In 2011, farmers expected to harvest about 200,000 acres. Why the dramatic drop? “There are several reasons,” said Kevin Hursh, executive director of the Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan. “The main reason is that other options look far more appealing.” Given the projected return per acre for 2011, canary seed was expected to generate the lowest returns of any crop grown. In 2006, the price for canary seed ranged from 10 cents a pound to 31 cents a pound. Prices at the end of the 2011 harvest season were around 26 cents per pound. Hursh said that is far too low to entice producers. “Compared to where everything else is, canary seed should be at 30 cents-plus to be competitive,” he said. “And even when there are good price prospects, you can’t always predict the yield. Often, a stand looks like it will yield a 30 bushel crop, then it turns out to be only 15 bushels per acre. We don’t know why that is; research is looking for answers.” Conversely, in 2011, there was a 6.1 percent increase in canary seed yield, up to 944 pounds per acre from 890 lbs. in 2010. The bulk of Saskatchewan’s canary seed, nearly 41,000 tonnes in 2009-10, is exported to Mexico. The next biggest markets, in order, are Belgium, Brazil, Spain, the United States and Columbia. These are the countries where the majority of caged birds are found. Canary seed is used mainly as birdseed. Hursh said stringent import restrictions being imposed by Mexico on Canadian canary seed is affecting production. “Mexico wants complete elimination of quarantined seeds like wild buckwheat, stinkweed, and cow cockle. They’re demanding zero tolerance,” he said. “Shipments with 15 wild seeds or less per kilogram are allowed into the country, but are subjected to recleaning upon entry. Any shipment with more than 15 seeds per kilogram will be rejected.” In a report for The Canary Seed News, Carl Potts from the Canadian Special Crops Association said, “assuring zero presence of foreign matter in commercial grain shipments is not feasible nor consistently achievable regardless if it is weed seeds, soil, or the

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

22

Canadian supply and disposition 2008-09 Seeded area (’000 acres) 415 Harvested area (’000 acres) 405 Yield (tonnes/acre) 0.48 Production (’000 tonnes) 196 Imports (’000 tonnes) 0 Supply (’000 tonnes) 261 Exports (’000 tonnes) 153 Domestic use (’000 tonnes) 25 Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) 83 Stocks to use ratio (%) 47 Average price ($/tonne) 480

2009-10 316 299 0.66 196 0 279 181 17 81 47 395

2010-11 390 375 0.41 154 0 235 179 17 39 20 560

2011-12* 215 203 0.38 77 0 116 90 16 10 9 580-610

* Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 18, 2011

Source: Agriculture Canada & Statistics Canada

WP graphic

presence of other grains that are at issue.” “There are many risk-mitigating measures that industry can and does put into place to minimize the presence of weed seeds, soil, etc, from shipments. However, the complete elimination can never be achieved.” Hursh can’t understand why Mexican officials are targeting canary seed when restrictions on other crops are far more lenient. “As far as we know, even other birdseeds such as millet are not facing the same restrictions,” he said. Rather than loosening restrictions in response to on-going negotiations during the summer, Mexico has increased its requirements. As of mid-August, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced it can only issue a phytosanitary certificate for a canary seed shipment to Mexico if there are zero quarantine weed seeds per kilogram of seed. “Before August, a lot of canary seed was shipped to Mexico even though virtually all of it had to be recleaned upon arrival,” Hursh said. “That resulted to a very high cost being added to the business.” Nonetheless, there may be some light dawning on the horizon. Hursh said researcher Carol Ann Patterson did a pilot project on the nutritional benefits of canary seed and the industry is hoping to get approval to promote canary seed for human consumption. That could translate into new sales if the industry can keep buyers supplied. “Our best advantage is that canary seed is gluten free and possibly useful for human consumption,” Hursh said. Canary seed has also shown itself to be higher in protein than any other gluten-free or gluten-containing grain. Research is currently examining if canary seed might be a sesame seed replacement, and if flour made from canary seed has any special attributes. v


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THE WESTERN PRODUCER

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09/11 - BCS11033


Lentil acres return to norm Canadian lentil acreage was expected to fall to about 2.55 million acres in 2011, roughly 23 percent lower than the record 3.3 million acre crop harvested in 2010. Despite the lower acreage, Canada’s domestic supplies are projected to remain high due to burdensome stocks of low quality lentils carried forward from last year. By Sean Pratt Western Producer staff

Lentil outlook

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entil growers can thank the hog industry for mopping Canadian supply and disposition up a good portion of sample grade product from last 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12* year’s lousy crop. Seeded area (’000 acres) 1,743 2,398 3,478 2,648 “They are in just about all our rations,” said Jeff Fiss of Big Sky Harvested area (’000 acres) 1,729 2,379 3,300 2,549 Yield (tonnes/acre) 0.60 0.64 0.59 0.63 Farms. Production (’000 tonnes) 1,043 1,510 1,947 1,596 The Saskatchewan hog company began using the ingrediImports (’000 tonnes) 7 9 29 15 Supply (’000 tonnes) 1,102 1,551 2,020 2,361 ent in finisher diets a year ago after being inundated with calls Exports (’000 tonnes) 973 1,384 1,105 1,200 from growers trying to find a market for an abundance of poor Domestic use (’000 tonnes) 97 120 165 311 Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) 32 44 750 850 quality lentils deemed unsuitable for human consumption. Stocks to use ratio (%) 3 3 59 56 Fiss started at a 10 percent inclusion rate and then increased Average price ($/tonne) 750 645 440 500-530 to 20 percent once he received approval from the company’s * Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 18, 2011 nutritionist. The company first used green lentils and switched Source: Agriculture Canada & Statistics Canada WP graphic to reds after greens became hard to source. There was no drop in average daily weight gain at the 20 beginning of the 2011-12 crop year, but most of the good quality percent inclusion rate for either type of lentil. sample grade lentils had been sourced by early October. Big Sky’s real world experience closely mirrors the results of “We’re actually starting to pull them out of diets just because a feeding trial conducted by Ruurd Zijlstra, a professor in the the supply is not there anymore,” Fiss said on Oct. 5. University of Alberta’s agricultural, food and nutritional science Zijlstra said lentils are not the panacea for the ailing pork indepartment. dustry but they can provide hog producers with another option “We were actually quite surprised that we could go to 20 percent of lentil in diets that we were feeding to pigs very early after for controlling feed costs when the price is right and supplies are weaning,” he said. ample. Zijlstra said there had been little research about feeding lentils Zijlstra’s trials reduced feed costs per unit of body weight gain to hogs, so “a big unknown” has been removed from the hog by 0.64 cents per kilogram at the 22.5 percent inclusion rate. feeding industry. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to significant “Now there is one more feedstuff that people can think of to savings for a 600-sow barn producing 200 finished pigs a week. include in swine feeds,” he said. Hog producers are eager to do anything that will save them a The growth performance trials conducted during the fall and few dollars per pig on feeding costs. winter of 2010 fed pigs a diet of zero to 30 percent green lentils “I do not want to give the impression it will solve all the probbeginning one week after weaning for a total of four weeks. lems in the pig industry,” said Zijlstra. Two-thirds of what was replaced in the diet was soybean meal and the remaining one-third was wheat. “It’s not like that at all. But it’s one more thing that helps.” Zijlstra found they were able to maintain growth performance Big Sky paid producers around $5.90 per bushel for their feed up to a 22.5 percent lentil inclusion rate. Performance fell quality lentils in October, which made it an attractive ingredient beyond that level because of what he believes are the antiuntil supply dwindled and quality began to drop. nutritional factors found in lentils such as trypsin inhibitors and The vast majority of lentils produced in a normal year are No. tannins. 2 or better. Hog barns are not interested in chasing after one or He was surprised they could go as high as 22.5 percent, contwo loads of cheap product in those years. They are looking for sidering that weaned pigs are sensitive to alternative feedstuffs. consistency of supply. “If anybody has low quality lentils, there shouldn’t be any “If we have another bad year where all of a sudden there’s qualms in trying to sell it to a pig producer or to the feed indusgoing to be a lot of sample grade lentils, we would definitely be try,” said Zijlstra. Plenty of poor quality lentils were still in the system at the looking at it again,” said Fiss. v

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Are peas poised for a rebound? Agriculture Canada is estimating a sharp decline in pea production for 2011. In its latest supply estimates, the federal agriculture department projected Canadian production at roughly 2 million tonnes, down 33 percent from the three million tonnes harvested in the fall of 2010. Will pea acreage rebound in 2012 or will the recovery require more time? By Darlene Polachic Freelance writer

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Pea outlook

ield pea production isn’t likely to make a signifiCanadian supply and disposition cant comeback in Saskatchewan unless market sig 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12* nals entice more producers back into the market. Seeded area (’000 acres) 3,994 3,759 3,448 2,300 Tom Warkentin, a pulse breeder at the University Harvested area (’000 acres) 3,908 3,673 3,265 2,208 of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre in Saskatoon, Yield (tonnes/acre) 0.91 0.92 0.92 0.91 Production (’000 tonnes) 3,571 3,379 3,018 2,009 thinks that could happen in the next few years. Imports (’000 tonnes) 15 55 33 40 “Crop quality was good last year, so were grades, and beSupply (’000 tonnes) 3,841 3,880 3,951 2,584 Exports (’000 tonnes) 2,826 2,178 3,012 2,100 cause the oversupply has been cleared out, the market price Domestic use (’000 tonnes) 571 802 404 284 for peas is up, as well,” he said. Carry out stocks (’000 tonnes) 445 900 535 200 “In October of 2011, yellow and green peas were selling for Stocks to use ratio (%) 13 30 16 8 Average price ($/tonne) 250 185 250 280-310 around $9 a bushel. Given that, I think there is optimism for * Agriculture Canada forecast as of Oct. 18, 2011 field peas in 2012.” According to Warkentin, enthusiasm over field pea proSource: Agriculture Canada & Statistics Canada WP graphic duction had ebbed in recent years, due mostly to low market prices. been having the last couple of years. They generally aren’t as “Field pea production is governed by the cycle of supply and big an issue in Saskatchewan as they are in Manitoba. Aphids demand,” he said. are an even bigger problem for lentils.” “A couple of good crop years can mean an excess in supply Another prevalent production risk is ascochyta blight, a such as we saw in 2009 and 2010. That depresses the price. fungal condition that causes lesions on the leaves, stems and With yellow and green peas selling for only $5 to $6, wheat and tendrils, ultimately compromising the quality of the pea seeds. canola were looking a lot more attractive to producers going Warkentin said the 2011 field pea crop turned out to be better into the 2011 crop year.” than expected. Field peas have been grown on the Prairies for a long time, “There was an excess of moisture early in season, so the with the first fields popping up shortly after commercial farmpossibility was there for significant disease problems but that ing began. really didn’t happen,” he said. In the past 30 years or so, they have become one of the prov“We had good hot weather during July and August — crops ince’s most important crops. stood up well and were combined easily.” According to global production statistics, about 12 million The majority of Saskatchewan’s field peas are sold to Asia. metric tonnes of field peas are grown globally each year, with “Our largest customers by far are India, Bangladesh and PakiCanada the world’s largest producer. stan where our peas are used for food,” said Warkentin. About 75 percent of Canada’s production is based in Saskatch“The peas are dehulled and split and used in traditional curewan. ries and dals. According to Terry Bedard, statistician with Saskatchewan China is the next biggest importer. Agriculture’s policy branch, provincial field pea acreage in Chinese consumers prefer yellow peas, which are processed 2010 was more than 1.85 milion acres. for their starch, purified and used to make vermicelli noodles. In 2011, provincial acreage dropped to about 1.55 million “Ten years ago, China used mung beans to make the noodles, acres, about 1.5 million of which were harvested. but now they prefer yellow peas — mainly from Canada — beBedard says the average yield in 2011 was 31.7 bushels or cause they’re cheaper,” Warkentin said. about 1,900 pounds per acre. In the last five years, Canada has sold 300,000 to 500,000 Average yields are about 1,600 pounds per acre, although tonnes of field peas each year to China. yields as high as 3,500 pounds per acre have been recorded. Warkentin said peas are only used in animal feed if there are Pests and disease are always a hazard in field pea production. excess supplies. Aphids are the most common problem, said Scott Hartley, “Peas work well in hog and poultry rations because they are provincial specialist in insect management. an excellent source of protein and energy, but producers get a “Aphids thrive in humid conditions similar to what we’ve lot less when their product is sold for feed,” he said. v

25 THE WESTERN PRODUCER


A pod shattering experience Pod sealants created their fair share of excitement when they came on the market. Since then, performance has tempered enthusiasm. By Karen Briere Western Producer staff

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he promise that producers who used pod sealants could skip swathing their canola has faded for many. A few seasons of experience has proven that not everyone can apply the product, straight-cut the crop and expect good yields. Researcher Chris Holzapfel from the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation in Saskatchewan said inconsistent results tempered farmers’ enthusiasm for the products. Brett Young Seeds distributed Pod Ceal for three years until the company ended its agreement with the American manufacturer in spring 2011. United Agri Products still distributes PodStik, which is manufactured by Loveland Products in the United States. Eric Gregory, product manager at UAP, said there was a lot of excitement when the sealants first arrived but the products weren’t a magic bullet. “The big thing here in western Canada was that I think some people came out and said that you would be able to basically park your swather,” he said. “What we’ve learned since then is that there are particular conditions (where straight-cutting works). Typically, getting around swathing canola in western Canada, we’re finding, is not an option.” Holzapfel’s research on both plot and field scale sites compared yields from fields that had been swathed, straight cut, and straight cut after having a sealant applied. “One site did have significant yield benefit of more than four bushels per acre, but that’s one out of eight,” he said of those with the sealant. “It just wasn’t consistent enough.” Data from a field scale trial is still being compiled. Pod sealants arrived in western Canada in the 2008 crop year amid reports of successful use in Europe and the United Kingdom and claims of two- to four-bushel per acre benefits. The next year, the sealants’ effectiveness was tested when rainy windy harvest condi-

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Pod sealant products are still available in Western Canada but some producers wonder if the benefits justify the costs. | FILE PHOTO

tions prevailed in many prairie locations. Shattering and the resulting yield losses were disappointing. Holzapfel said snow fell on a lot of standing canola waiting to be harvested, which accounted for at least some of the losses. “How much protection do you really expect this stuff to offer?” he said. Late harvests in 2010 were another factor. Gregory said some producers expected to apply the product and leave the crop standing for weeks. When they returned to harvest it, a lot of the pods had shattered. “Where the crop was harvested in a reasonable amount of time but still had poor results, the vast majority of the poor results are because of the peduncle breakage,” he said. The peduncle is the small stem that connects the pod to the stalk. He said excessive wind and low humidity in western Canada can cause a lot of peduncle breakage. The problem then is not so much pod shatter as pod loss. Clint Jurke, agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada based in Lloydminster, said conditions have to be lined up just right for the sealants to do a proper job.

Last fall, most producers opted to swath because of uneven maturity in many crops. And he said he knew of few producers who actually used the sealant. In spring 2011, Brett Young’s agreement to distribute Pod Ceal for Miller Chemical & Fertilizer Corp. expired and the company decided to exit the sealant market. Calvin Sonntag, Co-CEO for Brett Young, said the product was not a strategic fit for the company. “Brett Young is a seed and related products company,” he said. “It’s not the kind of product that fit with our selling cycles, our portfolio, our expertise.” Product performance had nothing to do with the decision, he added. The company surveyed users in 2008 and 2009. “The overwhelming majority of them were very pleased with the results they had with the product,” Sonntag said. Holzapfel said some farmers likely saw benefits but didn’t think they were great enough considering the cost of the product. At about $10 per acre, they wanted definitive results, he said. Farmers may still use the sealants but they should carefully assess their conditions. “If you’re going to use it, make sure it’s on a uniform, dense, mature stand,” he said. “Otherwise the situation is more challenging.” Holzapfel said he would never recommend that growers straight cut their entire canola crop. And, they should always leave a check strip to compare yields and see for themselves how effective the sealant was. Meanwhile, he continues to work on assessing varieties for those who want to direct combine canola. Data from 2010 research showed Invigor 5440 resisted shattering even during late harvest and Holzapfel said varieties may be building up genetic resistance to shattering. At UAP, Gregory added that pulse growers are now using Pod-Stik because those crops traditionally are straight-cut. “The expectations are that the grower is going to be out there in a reasonable amount of time, he’s straight cutting it anyway, and so the pod sealant product only adds to the whole equation,” he said. v


Cutting to the chase Most canola producers in Western Canada swath their canola before combining, but a minority prefers to straight cut the oilseed, including Curtis McRae of Clandeboye, Man. McRae straight combines because he feels it reduces the amount of green seed and substantially increases the size of the oilseed compared to swathed canola. “It’s bowling balls, the size difference, because it (the seed) is allowed to fill,” said McRae, who straight combines more than 2,000 acres of canola with his brother, Mac. Straight combining may increase seed size, but field trials in Saskatchewan in 2009 and 2010 indicate that a seed size gain doesn’t lead to a yield gain. Scientists with the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation (IHARF) studied straight combining versus swathing for two years at Melfort, Scott, Indian Head and Swift Current. “When we looked at all eight site years combined, basically there was no (yield) difference whatsoever,” said IHARF research manager Chris Holzapfel. “There were 50 percent of the sites where there was no difference … 25 per cent swathing out-yielded straight combining and 25 percent where the opposite was true.” He said the results weren’t surprising because anecdotal evidence from farmers suggests that yields are “all over the map” when it comes to straight combining versus swathing. Nonetheless, eight years of site data did show that straight combining does increase seed size but didn’t alter the amount of green seed. “There was no consistent impact (difference) with green seed. It could go either way,” said Holzapfel, who led the IHARF study. “But when it came to seed size, we were consistently and significantly increasing seed size with straight combining.” Holzapfel found that straight combined seeds weighed 3.41 grams per 1,000 seeds on average across the sites and cultivars in the trial. Swathed seeds weighed 3.22 grams per 1,000 seeds. Thus, straight combining produced seeds six percent larger than swathing. Study results may have showed little yield difference between straight combining and swathing, but Holzapfel said most of the gain can be attributed to seed size when there is a yield increase from straight combining. Murray Hartman, Alberta Agriculture’s oilseed expert, said straight combining does offer growers an opportunity to increase seed size and canola yield. “If I increase my seed size by five percent, that (is) probably a five percent higher yield,” he said. However, growers must weigh the opportunity of yield gains each year against the risk of a disaster, he added. “When I look at the number of trial years, both in North Dakota and Western Canada, it seems like there is about one in 20 times you will have a windstorm right before you are about to (harvest),” he said. “(With) winds of 50 m.p.h., you can have a (yield) loss of 40 percent.” He said canola growers who crave larger seed size and potential yield gains need to understand their risk tolerance before they adopt straight combining. He often asks producers a simple question when he talks about straight combining canola: “Can you handle of loss of 50 percent? And they’ll say, no, not really.”. — ARNASON

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Clubroot concerns spreading Recent discoveries cause concern among growers in Saskatchewan. By Mary MacArthur Western Producer staff

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lubroot is no longer limited to central Alberta. This summer the yieldsapping canola disease was confirmed as far east as the Saskatchewan border and south to the Montana border. In October, two fields in Saskatchewan were confirmed to have disease. “It’s diffused out from central Alberta,” said Stephen Strelkov, associate professor of plant pathology with the University of Alberta. The soil-borne disease was first discovered near Edmonton, but the latest field surveys show all farmers need to watch for the disease. “There are quite a few more cases of the disease found this year,” said Strelkov. Preliminary data from 264 fields surveyed in 12 Alberta counties this year identified 56 new cases of clubroot. “In some cases it’s only a single new case, but in others it’s gone from a single case in a county to multiple cases,” said Strelkov. “It seems like it spreads to a few more counties each year. As it keeps moving outward, it is almost like a domino effect with more chances of spreading. Each year, it keeps moving out from its initial infection.” The latest discoveries bring the total number of cases confirmed in Alberta to 622, likely an low estimate because not all counties have reported their findings to Stelkov’s office. It’s clear that the clubroot infection discovered in the County of Vermilion River near the Saskatchewan border is not a new infestation. More than 80 percent of the crop inspected there was infected with clubroot. “From the level of infection found, it wasn’t a very recent infection. It’s obviously been there for a number of years,”

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Kotylak said it isn’t far from farmers’ minds. They are quick to note if surveyors are wearing booties to stop the spread of the soil borne disease between fields. “They’re definitely concerned.” In most Alberta counties, the discovery of clubroot means a ban on growing canola for at least four years in an attempt to reduce spore loads in the soil. Ward Toma, manager of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, said the discovery of clubroot directly affects farmer’s pocket book. “It hits the cash flow,” said Toma. One of the best ways to reduce disease in canola, is to stick to a four-year rotation between crops. However, the fiscal reality for many farmers is that canola is planted more often. “Those short rotations can contribute to increasing clubroot spores in a dramatic fashion,” said Toma. said Strelkov. However, to put clubroot in per“Many farmers assume it’s a disease of spective, only a small percentage of the central Alberta and haven’t been looking millions of acres of canola are infected for the disease in their canola fields.” with the disease and it appears to be Clubroot was believed to thrive in moving slowly compared to other canola acidic soil when it was first discovered. diseases, such as blackleg. Researchers now know this isn’t true, but Blackleg infested entire townships in it’s possible farmers in non-traditional the 1980s rather than quarter sections. clubroot areas haven’t kept up to date with “It’s far from devastating the Canadian the most recent research. canola production capacity,” Toma said. “If people are out of the area of concern, “It’s not large compared to the millions it is not even on their radar and (they) of acres of canola grown on the Prairies.” confuse dead plants with some other He said the commission has dedicated disease. This kind of thing becomes a a large share of its budget to clubroot reconcern.” search since the disease was discovered. Strelkov believes this spring’s extremely Part of that initial research helped wet conditions may have also contributed identify clubroot resistant genes, which to the spread of the disease. are now part of the resistant varieties Clubroot spores can travel between available to farmers. fields on dust or mud stuck to vehicles or Strelkov said new research is looking at farm equipment. how the clubroot pathogen spreads and Krista Kotylak, assistant agricultural how farmers can manage the disease. fieldman with Alberta’s Beaver County, “The ultimate goal is to manage the said the disease hasn’t been found there, disease and deal with it,” he said. but officials believe it may be only a mat“We know the disease is established ter of time. and here forever. We want to have tools Beaver County has a policy that reso farmers can adapt to it and treat it as quires 60 fields be inspected each year. another cropping issue and not a devasWhile the disease has not yet been found, tating disease”. v


Dangers that lurk beneath Field pea producers are no strangers to common crop threats such ascochyta and aphids. But other pests, including the pea leaf weevil, have caught even the most experienced producers by surprise. How well do you know the dangers that lurk in your pea fields?

ASCOCHYTA COMPLEX BLIGHT

There are three basic ascochyta fungi that contribute to this ascochyta complex blight. The fungi develop during the growing season under cool, wet or humid conditions. Lesions form on green tissue — usually the leaves, stems, and tendrils — inhibiting the production of starches and sugars that are essential for good seed fill. The end results are lower yield and reduced seed size and quality. Because the stems are weakened, the crop may also lodge, making combining more difficult. Early symptoms of ascochyta can generally be observed under the plant canopy. Lesions start as small purple or brown flecks that grow and eventually compromise the plant. If the plant does survive, the peas produced will be small.

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APHIDS

Aphids also thrive in humid conditions and periodically appear in large enough quantities to warrant spraying. While aphids are more common on lentils, significant populations were observed in Saskatchewan pea fields in 2011. Aphids generally appear on peas during the flowering stage and when the pods are young. Insects are easily detected by putting one hand into the crop canopy and shaking the canopy with the other hand. If aphids are present, the sticky, green insects will fall into the palm. “Some aphids have the capability of wintering over,” said Scott Hartley, provincial specialist in insect management with Saskatchewan Agriculture. “Generally, they are a result of a “blow-in” from the south, but with a good snow cover to provide an insulation barrier, they can survive.” The best control option for aphids is a chemical foliar spray, preferably a dimetholate insecticide that offers systemic and contact control.

PEA LEAF WEEVIL

The pea leaf weevil is a relative newcomer that has recently established residency in southwestern Saskatchewan. It has been observed in Alberta for several years and was first spotted in Saskatchewan in 2007. Since then it has been migrating gradually eastward, but is still most prevalent in pea and faba bean fields in the southwest. The pea leaf weevil overwinters as an adult beetle and emerges in the spring to feed on tender new pea leaves. Feeding causes distinct notching or scalloping on the leaves. The adult female lays eggs in enormous numbers and the resulting larvae feed on the pea’s nitrogen fixing nodules, eventually destroying the plant. Pea leaf weevils are most effectively controlled by seed treatment and foliar spray. Fields may benefit from the application of supplemental nitrogen. The pea leaf weevil should not be confused with the pea weevil, which occasionally develops in dry pea storage.

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Industry charts new course Stay tuned … Information collected during the inaugual year of Western Canada’s new Canola Performance Trials (CPT) is expected shortly. By Brian Cross Western Producer staff

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fter a one-year hiatus, prairie canola producers will once again have access to objective data that measures the performance of the newest, most promising and most widely grown canola varieties in Western Canada. Franck Groeneweg, a Saskatchewan farmer and board member of the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, said performance data from the newly designed Canola Performance Trials (CPT) should be available to farmers by late November or early December. The CPT system was introduced earlier this year to replace the old Prairie Canola Variety Trials (CPVT). Both trial systems were designed to compare the performance of canola varieties, but some industry stakeholders felt the old PCVT system did not accurately reflect the performance potential of some varieties. The new CPT system provides a more representative and complete picture of the varieties that are most likely to be used by commercial growers, said Groeneweg. Ultimately, the system will enable growers to make better choices when deciding what variety of canola seed to buy, he added. “So far, I am pleased to see that (the new system) has gone so smoothly and that’s really a credit to the people that are involved in it,” said Groeneweg, who also serves as chair of a governance committee overseeing the new trials. “We tried to come up with a system that meets everybody’s needs, including the seed companies, farmers and the provincial canola groups, and from what I can tell so far, I think we’ve accomplished that.” Designing a new trial system was not without its challenges. At least nine seed companies, including Bayer, Brett Young, Cargill, Dow, FP Genetics, Monsanto, SeCan and Viterra, submitted varieties for revamped trials.

CANOLA & Pulse 2011

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Each company wanted to ensure that the testing protocols would produce data that accurately reflected the potential of their particular varieties. Unlike the old PCVT system, all varieties tested in the new CPT system will be treated using the proper herbicides. This is important because most of the canola varieties available today use weed management technologies such as RoundUp Ready, Clearfield or Liberty. The old system used the same weed management strategies and herbicides to manage all varieties, regardless of their herbicide tolerant traits. In addition, plots in the new system will be managed using production practices that have been widely adopted by commercial canola growers. “That’s been the biggest push is to make sure that whatever is done in the (trials) … is representative of what farmers are doing in their own fields …,” Groeneweg said. Stakeholders examined the old PCVT system, identified its shortcomings and devised solutions that were amenable to all parties, he added. Participation of farmers and the provincial canola organizations ensured that interests and concerns of producers and producer groups were also addressed. The Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association are funding the new CPT program. Seed trade companies, line companies and independent retailers pay a participation fee to have their varieties included in small plot trials. The British Columbia Grain Producers Commission is conducting trials in B.C.’s Peace River region. Close to 30 varieties were entered in this year’s small plot trials. The CPT governance committee oversees all aspects of the testing program, including approval of varieties, program design, financial management, data collection, analysis and reporting.

The canola council is also involved in program delivery on behalf of the governance committee. Another key component of this year’s trial program is the addition of a fieldscale testing component that will provide more information on variety performance. Field scale tests can be conducted by seed companies or farmer co-operators. The field scale component was designed to ensure accuracy of data and is subject to audit protocols. The audit process assures farmers that the field scale tests were conducted in a scientifically sound manner, following established protocols. The CPT system started with 32 trial sites in Western Canada, but six were abandoned because of flooding and other management issues that called into question the accuracy or relevance of data. Data from the remaining 26 trial sites will be posted on the canola council website. Data available to growers will include yield, crop height, lodging and maturity. Additional details will include site specific data on weather, soil type, rotations, fertility programs, seeding dates, seeding rates and harvest dates. Disease ratings for blackleg will also be included, based on information from the Western Canada Canola and Rapeseed Recommending Committee. Because the new system is significantly different, Groeneweg warned growers not to make direct comparisons between old PCVT data and new CPT data. He said the new system took time to develop but appears to be working well after its first season. “The whole CPT 2011 process has provided an excellent opportunity for the entire industry — including the seed trade, growers and provincial seed specialists— to work together to ensure useful and timely information is available to the growers so they can make informed seeding decisions,” said Groeneweg. v


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Western Canola & Pulse Crops Producer 2011