Strategies for managing swede midge

Strategies for managing swede midge

A Quebec project is assessing integrated pest management options.

Strip tilling for higher yields

Strip tilling for higher yields

A research project in southwestern Ontario exploring the benefits of strip tilling

Making more money on the same amount of land – it’s a mantra for today’s farmers, and one that’s increasingly relevant as land prices and production costs continue to rise.A Sarnia refining company is helping local farmers expand their return per acre by providing a market for an otherwise low-value material: the corn stalks and wheat stubble left over after harvest.With planning for a new facility well underway, Comet Biorefining is expanding its partnership with Ontario farmers who are members of the Cellulosic Sugar Producers’ Cooperative – a partnership that started in 2014 – to turn an additional 60,000 tonnes of crop residue into 30,000 tonnes of cellulosic dextrose, or industrial processing sugar, each year.The facility will also produce 30,000 tonnes of hemicellulose and lignin or organic compounds found in plant cells that can be used in many industrial applications.“Dextrose is used in everything from food products and animal feed to a wide range of industrial processes. Generating that dextrose from crop residues means farmers are increasing the value they get from every acre,” says Comet CEO Rich Troyer.With support from BioIndustrial Innovation Canada and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, both non-profit organizations that work to promote the development and adoption of clean technologies and markets, construction of the new Sarnia refining facility is to begin this spring.Troyer says the total North American market for dextrose is about six million tonnes every year and growing.“There’s a very significant market opportunity here; we’re actually adding capacity at a much slower rate than market growth,” he says.According to Cellulosic Sugar Producers’ Cooperative general manager Brian Cofell, farmers interested in participating are asked to contribute a membership fee of $500, and an initial investment of $200 for each acre they wish to commit to harvesting crop residues for the new refinery.Yearly returns for that investment begin with a preferred dividend of $50 per acre for the first five years, then continue at $30 per acre each year after that. However, Cofell says they anticipate a return of $100 per acre by 2029, due in part to steady demand for dextrose and the capacity of the new Comet facility.The price farmers will receive for their corn stover and wheat straw is added on top of that dividend, and is locked in at $25 and $40 per dry metric tonne respectively.As of this past December the cooperative was supported by 80 farmer members, though Cofell says that number is steadily increasing.While the new facility is under construction, Coffell says the immediate goal for the cooperative is to continue expanding its member base, while planning for an initial harvest in fall 2018. The new facility will reach full production in 2019.“The cooperative will own 27.5 per cent of Comet Biorefining’s new plant. It’s an opportunity for the growers themselves to be part of creating a final product,” he says.
According to Canada's agriculture ministry, pea plantings will probably decline to a seven-year low this spring, while lentil acreage drops by 27 per cent. Sowings will decline as farmers swap land for wheat and canola.
The Canola Council of Canada has just released an educational video highlighting blackleg in canola and the management tools available for producers. Give it a watch and check out a couple of our research articles here, here and here. Sign up for our newsletters to get more information on canola research and the status of blackleg in canola.
"IDC [iron deficiency chlorosis] was much more of a concern [this year] than in previous years,” says Dennis Lange, pulse specialist with Manitoba Agriculture. Symptoms persisted for 14 to 21 days rather than 10 to 14 in typical years.
Saskatchewan's industrial hemp industry is on the cusp of major growth, according to a provincial crop specialist.Dale Risula, crop specialist with the provincial government, said there is a revived interest in hemp because of the impending legalization of marijuana. Regulations surrounding hemp production are also set for change like allowing for the sale of the leaves and flowers.Saskatchewan led the way last year for the provinces with the highest number of industrial hemp licenses and registrations at 518. Saskatchewan also boasted the most hectarage for cultivation of industrial hemp at 22,654.41. The next closest was Alberta with 18,083.01 and Manitoba with 11,716.99. | READ MOREJoin Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
As swede midge populations continue to rise in Quebec, canola growers are looking for better ways to manage the pest. Entomologist Geneviève Labrie is leading a two-year research project to help advance integrated management strategies for swede midge.
With Canadian pulse exports nearing $3.4 billion in 2017, supporting the continued growth of this sector is vital to achieving the Government of Canada's trade target of growing agriculture and food exports to $75 billion by 2025.Speaking at a meeting with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced an investment of over $575,000 to Pulse Canada for food service market research and development projects that will benefit farmers and processors.Under the Growing Forward 2, AgriMarketing Program, Pulse Canada will receive $178,500 to explore new markets for pulses and pulse ingredients in China, Eastern Asia, the United States and Canada. An additional investment of $221,680 under the same program will go towards a project that focuses on promoting pulses to the Canadian foodservice industryAn investment of $175,721 was also provided to Pulse Canada through the Growing Forward 2, AgriInnovation Program, towards pulse innovation in the Chinese market. This project will help the industry expand the use of pulses in a wide range of Chinese foods and investigate the health benefits of eating pulse snacks."Trade is vital for our agricultural industry and Canadian pulses are an integral part of Canada's export strategy. Thanks to organizations like Pulse Canada, we are a world leader in pulse exports. Government investments like these help build prosperity for our sector, which helps strengthen our economy and creates good middle class jobs for Canadians," MacAulay said.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Producers will find greener pastures and more green in their bank accounts thanks to the return of a popular forage seed program offered by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Crop Production Services (CPS).Under the program, Alberta producers receive a $100 rebate on every 50 lb. bag of Proven Seed forage varieties purchased at CPS retail locations. While the program is best suited to producers in the parkland and prairie regions, farmers located close to DUC habitat priority boundaries may also be eligible.The growing need for more pastureland is expected to make this year's program especially attractive, says Craig Bishop, lead of DUC's regional forage program. It also has the potential to cover approximately 40 to 50 per cent of a producer's seed investment.The benefits of more seeded forage acres and increased perennial cover include decreased soil erosion, retained nutrient values and better waterfowl nesting habitat. It also helps other conservation efforts like wetland restoration.Last year in Alberta, 12,905 cultivated acres were seeded to grass under the DUC/CPS forage program. A similar program offering in Saskatchewan and Manitoba brought the total number of seeded forage acres up to 20,768 acres across the Canadian prairies.For more information about the program, visit any CPS retail location or area DUC conservation specialist, or call the Forage Help Desk at 1 800 661 3334.
Soy Canada is developing a comprehensive strategic market readiness plan for the industry - the first plan of this kind to involve the entire soybean value chain, including plant breeders, growers, exporters, processors and other value-chain partners.Soy Canada has defined the destination for this strategic plan and is now seeking the industry's input as they develop the roadmap. Soy Canada wants to hear your views on the priorities and targets the organization has set for the next decade, and how the industry can work together to confront challenges and build on strengths. For more information, click here.
Fusarium fungus contamination in wheat caused more than $1 billion in economic losses in Canada in 2016, affecting almost 80 per cent of Saskatchewan and Manitoba cereal crops and leaving farmers scratching their heads about how to dispose of tonnes of worthless wheat.The potential solution discovered by University of Saskatchewan researchers for producers stuck with unsellable fusarium-infected wheat may actually put cash in the farmers' pockets and open up a new, worm-based niche market in the feed industry. For the full story, click here.
Blackleg levels on the Prairies have been going up, but research information on blackleg races and cultivar resistance, plus a new cultivar labelling system and a new diagnostic test, can help bring those disease levels back down.
A Saskatchewan researcher is encouraging farmers to try intercropping. The practice would see farmers plant chickpeas within a flax field, for example. Farmers are intercropping about 45,000 acres of cropland in the province. | READ MORE
Weed control in corn and soybeans will only get more complicated and costly.That was a key message by long-time Iowa State University weed scientist Mike Owen in his 2018 weed management update presentation at the Integrated Crop Management Conference in November. He noted the management practices used by many farmers are leading to more resistance to herbicides, and he doesn’t foresee an end to that anytime soon. For the full story, CLICK HERE. Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Gowan Canada has announced that the Avadex MicroActiv label has been expanded to include peas, in addition to existing crops barley, canary seed, canola, durum, flax and mustard.“As Group 1 and Group 2 resistant wild oats continue to plague more and more fields in the prairies according to the latest ag Canada studies, it is good for growers to include other modes of action like Group 8 Avadex. This provides another tool for pea growers," says Garth Render, general manager for Gowan Canada.With a herbicide layering program using group 3 Edge, group 8 Avadex, or Fortress, which has both groups 3 and 8, growers can expect better weed control, higher yields and will be practicing good weed resistance management.Contact your local retailer for more information.
Harvest quality of milling oats is very important, and growers sometimes utilize harvest aids such as pre-harvest glyphosate. A properly timed application can help growers control perennial weeds and improve crop harvestability, while meeting maximum residue limit (MRL) requirements. However, some buyers have placed restrictions on the use of pre-harvest glyphosate on oats they purchase.Christian Willenborg, associate professor with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, initiated a small study in 2015 to collect some initial research data and find a way to lend science to the decision-making process.“We were surprised at the announcement that some milling quality oats would not be accepted if treated with glyphosate, and frankly, this didn’t sit well with me. But there was no science on this and so we immediately established a one-season ‘look-see’ trial in 2015 at two locations near Saskatoon to compare different harvest systems and their effects on quality of milling oats,” he says. “We compared two different oat cultivars: CDC Dancer, a medium maturity cultivar, and AC Pinnacle, a later maturing cultivar. The oats were managed using typical agronomy practices, including a seeding rate of 300 seeds per square metre (seeds/m2) targeting 250 plants per square metre (plants/m2) and fertilized for a target yield of 150 bushels per acre.” The second factor was a comparison of three different harvest systems, including swathing at the optimum timing of 35 per cent moisture, direct combined (at approximately nine per cent seed moisture content alone and direct combined with a pre-harvest glyphosate application. The pre-harvest glyphosate was applied according to label requirements at 30 per cent seed moisture content using the recommended label rate. The project compared various harvest quality parameters, as well as functional quality characteristics and residue testing across the different treatments. Through funding from the Prairie Oat Growers Association and the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, the initial 2015 trial has been expanded into a fully funded, much larger three-year project that will involve several additional experiments. “We gained some very good insights in the initial trial, but these very preliminary results will be compared again in this larger expanded trial over the next three years. Until we get the final results at the end of 2018, these early one-season informational highlights have to be considered very preliminary,” Willenborg says. The 2015 preliminary results showed that, as expected, cultivar had an impact on all of the quality parameters, such as yield, plump kernels, 1,000 kernel weight and test weight. However, there was no cultivar by harvest system interaction – the effects of the harvest system were consistent regardless of which cultivar was planted. “The harvest system did have an impact on several of the quality parameters, however the preliminary results did not show any negative effects of a pre-harvest glyphosate application,” Willenborg explains. “In terms of yield, swathing resulted in a 15 to 18 per cent yield reduction compared to direct harvest, however some of that reduction may be a function of our plot harvesting equipment, and this may be different with field-scale grower systems. The direct harvested plots, with and without a pre-harvest glyphosate treatment, had virtually equal yield. Swathing produced the highest test weight, with direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate equal to the swathing treatment; direct harvest with no glyphosate had a significant lower test weight.”The swathing treatment also produced the highest percentage of thin kernels, with direct harvest and no glyphosate intermediate and the lowest percentage of thin kernels with direct harvest plus glyphosate treatment. On the other hand, the percentage of plump kernels was the same in both direct harvest treatments, but slightly lower for the swathing treatment. Overall, the pre-harvest glyphosate reduced the percentage of thin kernels in the sample, which is a benefit for growers. “For the initial and longer term project, we partnered with Dr. Nancy Ames at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to compare the functional aspects of the oat cultivars under the different treatments,” Willenborg says. “Her preliminary functional test results were similar to the seed quality results, with no major impacts on functional quality among the treatments. For the glyphosate testing, we partnered with Dr. Sheryl Tittlemier at the Canadian Grain Commission to develop a glyphosate residue test for oat. Her initial test results from the 2015 treatments showed that the direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate treatment did have very small levels of residues at four [parts per million], which is well below the MRL threshold levels in North America. We will continue to use this test for the larger project.”The expanded three-year study will include the same harvest treatments, with some additional trials assessing seeding rate and stand uniformity. Stand uniformity is related to the question of whether or not additional tillers in the stand may be a factor with potential glyphosate issues. The three harvest treatments will also be compared at a range of different moisture contents, from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 per cent at the time of swathing, or direct harvest alone and direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate. Willenborg will also be investigating alternative cultural and herbicide combinations for managing perennial weeds in oat. The full analysis and final project results will be available in 2019, including seed quality and functional analysis. “So far it doesn’t appear that glyphosate is having an adverse effect on oat seed quality or functionality, and if anything is showing a small quality benefit to having glyphosate applied prior to harvest,” Willenborg says. “The key is to follow the label directions for pre-harvest application and make sure the crop is at 30 per cent moisture or lower, which corresponds roughly to the hard dough stage of development. All of our research treatments have been completed according to the label, but once you get off label in terms of timing we don’t know what will happen with glyphosate residues. “For example, in some of our earlier work with lentil, the results were fine as long as label directions were followed, but as soon as application got off label in terms of timing and at higher moisture content, [that’s] where problems with quality and MRLs showed up. We expect that may be similar to oat, which is often harvested late in the season, when growers are between a rock and a hard place, with frost or heavy rains threatening harvest.”Although it can be a challenge to apply glyphosate at the proper timing, there can be serious consequences due to not adhering to the label timing. Always follow the label, and check with your grain buyer about the acceptance of all pre-harvest and other product use and MRLs for all crops, including oats.
The federal government has proposed tighter restrictions around the two insecticides: clothianidin and thiamethoxam.Under proposed changes, the product will be banned from some uses such as orchard trees or strawberry patches, and restrictions are on the way for other uses such as on berries and legumes. New measures will also require new labelling for seed treatments."Scientific evidence shows that with the proposed restrictions applied, the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam does not present an unacceptable risk to bees," says Margherita Conti, an official with Health Canada's pest management regulatory agency. | READ MORE
The Herbicide Resistance Summit is a bi-annual conference brought to you by Top Crop Manager (TCM) and a group of generous sponsors that aims to facilitate a more unified understanding of herbicide resistance and promote awareness that all industry members have a role to play in managing the growing threat of herbicide resistance.
AMVAC Chemical Corporation recently announced its new broad spectrum, low use rate corn herbicide, ImpactZ, has received federal registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ImpactZ herbicide will give growers a new safe and flexible solution for control of tough broadleaf and grass weeds - including glyphosate resistant species - in corn.ImpactZ herbicide is registered for use in field corn, seed corn, popcorn and sweetcorn, with no restrictions on soil type, tank mix partners or insecticides. ImpactZ herbicide contains both Impact and Atrazine for highly effective control of grass and broadleaf weeds in corn."Impact herbicide has long provided value to corn growers as an excellent tool for weed resistance management," said Jim Lappin, AMVAC crop marketing manager, corn and soybeans. "ImpactZ herbicide provides safe, effective broad spectrum control in corn."ImpactZ herbicide provides excellent control of tough grass weeds, including barnyardgrass, crabgrass and foxtails. It also controls a broad spectrum of broadleaf weeds, including waterhemp, palmer amaranth, lambsquarters and velvetleaf.Corn growers will have flexibility to apply ImpactZ herbicide from weed emergence until corn reaches 12-inches in height as a sequential, early post or total post emergence program."AMVAC recognizes the challenges that corn growers face, and we work to deliver products that offer superior performance, crop safety and flexibility," said Lappin. "ImpactZ herbicide is an excellent tool to take on key grasses and broadleaf weeds that challenge yield potential in corn"Individual state registrations for ImpactZ herbicide are pending. For more information on ImpactZ herbicide or additional AMVAC products and crop protection technologies, visit www.amvac-chemical.com.
A large, prospective cohort study conducted among agricultural workers, farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina in the United States reports that there are no associations between glyphosate use and overall cancer risk or with total lymphohematopoietic cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and multiple myeloma.The long term study updated the previous evaluation of glyphosate with cancer incidence, and is part of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a large and important project that tracks the health of agricultural workers and their families. Led by AHS principal investigator Laura Beane Freeman, the study results state that among 54,251 applicators studied, 44,932 (82.8 percent) used glyphosate. "Glyphosate was not statistically significantly associated with cancer at any site," the study said. For the full story, click here.
Two of the most commonly used insecticides around the world are imidacloprid (neonicotinoid) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate). In a new paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, they have been found to be toxic to seed-eating songbirds, even affecting their migration. University of Saskatchewan biology professor Christy Morrissey stated in a press release, “Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is not just bees that are being affected by these insecticides.” | READ MORE
The World Health Organization’s cancer agency dismissed and edited findings from a draft of its review of the weedkiller glyphosate that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer.Documents seen by Reuters show how a draft of a key section of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) assessment of glyphosate - a report that has prompted international disputes and multi-million-dollar lawsuits - underwent significant changes and deletions before the report was finalised and made public. For the full story, click here. 
A group of international scientists is meeting in the national capital to try to convince parliamentarians there is no longer any doubt that common agricultural pesticides are proving toxic to ordinary honey bees. Jean-Marc Bonmatin of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, represents a task force on pesticides within the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which in 2015 released a comprehensive review of more than 1,100 peer-reviewed research studies on neonicotinoids. READ MORE
Corn and soybean growers in Canada have a new tool in the fight against tough and resistant weeds. ZIDUA™ SC is a new Group 15 herbicide from BASF that contains the active ingredient pyroxasulfone."BASF focuses on providing Canadian growers with tools that support current and emerging resistance challenges," said Deven Esqueda, Crop Manager, Corn and Soybeans for BASF. "ZIDUA SC, backed by ten years of research, allows growers to add residual Group 15 activity to their weed management strategy and become less reliant on glyphosate."Recently registered by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, ZIDUA SC herbicide will be available for use in the 2018 season. ZIDUA SC is currently labelled for use in herbicide-tolerant soybeans and field corn.ZIDUA SC is a stand-alone solution and can also be tank-mixed with glyphosate, ERAGON®LQ, MARKSMAN® or ENGENIA™ in Eastern Canada, and HEAT® LQ, ENGENIA™ or ARMEZON® in Western Canada, to provide multiple modes of action for resistance management.Resistance has been increasing across Canada in pigweed species, including waterhemp and redroot pigweed. A study by the Canadian Journal of Plant Science states glyphosate-resistant waterhemp was first identified in Ontario in 2014. In Alberta, Group 2-resistant redroot pigweed was identied by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2010.The residual Group 15 activity in ZIDUA SC helps to inhibit early root and shoot growth in these tough to control weeds, maximizing corn and soybean yield through the critical period for weed control. ZIDUA SC also provides flushing control of barnyard grass, crabgrass, green and yellow foxtail, common waterhemp and redroot pigweed.For more information on ZIDUA SC herbicide, contact AgSolutions® Customer Care at 1-877-371-BASF (2273), or visit agsolutions.ca. Always read and follow label directions.
The U.S. environmental agency is considering banning sprayings of the agricultural herbicide dicamba after a set deadline next year, according to state officials advising the agency on its response to crop damage linked to the weed killer.Setting a cut-off date, possibly sometime in the first half of 2018, would aim to protect plants vulnerable to dicamba, after growers across the U.S. farm belt reported the chemical drifted from where it was sprayed this summer, damaging millions of acres of soybeans and other crops.A ban could hurt sales by Monsanto Co (MON.N) and DuPont which sell dicamba weed killers and soybean seeds with Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant Xtend trait. BASF (BASFn.DE) also sells a dicamba herbicide.It is not yet known how damage attributed to the herbicides, used on Xtend soybeans and cotton, will affect yields of soybeans unable to withstand dicamba because the crops have not been harvested.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discussed a deadline for next year’s sprayings on a call with state officials last month that addressed steps the agency could take to prevent a repeat of the damage, four participants on the call told Reuters.It was the latest of at least three conference calls the EPA has held with state regulators and experts since late July dedicated to dicamba-related crop damage and the first to focus on how to respond to the problem, participants said.A cut-off date for usage in spring or early summer could protect vulnerable plants by only allowing farmers to spray fields before soybeans emerge from the ground, according to weed and pesticide specialists.Monsanto spokeswoman Christi Dixon told Reuters on Aug. 23, the day of the last EPA call, that the agency had not indicated it planned to prohibit sprayings of dicamba herbicides on soybeans that had emerged. That action “would not be warranted,” she said.The EPA had no immediate comment.EPA officials on the last call made clear that it would be unacceptable to see the same extent of crop damage again next year, according to Andrew Thostenson, a pesticide specialist for North Dakota State University who participated in the call.They said “there needed to be some significant changes for the use rules if we’re going to maintain it in 2018,” he said about dicamba usage.State regulators and university specialists from Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and North Dakota are pressuring the EPA to decide soon on rules guiding usage because farmers will make planting decisions for next spring over the next several months.Tighter usage limits could discourage cash-strapped growers from buying Monsanto’s more expensive dicamba-resistant Xtend soybean seeds. Dicamba-tolerant soybeans cost about $64 a bag, compared with about $28 a bag for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans and about $50 a bag for soybeans resistant to Bayer’s Liberty herbicide.Already, a task force in Arkansas has advised the state to bar dicamba sprayings after April 15 next year, which would prevent most farmers there from using dicamba on Xtend soybeans after they emerge.Arkansas previously blocked sales of Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide, XtendiMax with VaporGrip, in the state.“If the EPA imposed a April 15 cut-off date for dicamba spraying, that would be catastrophic for Xtend - it invalidates the entire point of planting it,” said Jonas Oxgaard, analyst for investment management firm Bernstein.Monsanto has projected its Xtend crop system would return a $5 to $10 premium per acre over soybeans with glyphosate resistance alone, creating a $400-$800 million opportunity for the company once the seeds are planted on an expected 80 million acres in the United States, according to Oxgaard.By 2019, Monsanto predicts U.S. farmers will plant Xtend soybeans on 55 million acres, or more than 60 percent of the total planted this year. READ MORE 
The 28th Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission was held January 30 at the FarmTech Conference in Edmonton. Following the Annual General Meeting, the board elected Renn Breitkreuz from Onoway as the new chair, and John Guelly of Westlock as the new vice-chair.Alberta Canola is pleased to welcome two new directors to the Board: Andre Harpe of Valhalla Centre, replacing Greg Sears in region 2 Ian Chitwood of Airdrie, replacing Steve Marshman in region 8 The board of Alberta Canola would like to thank outgoing directors Greg Sears and Steve Marshman for all the hard work they have done on behalf of Alberta’s canola farmers.Greg joined the Board in 2012 and held many positions including Alberta representative to the Canola Council of Canada. Greg was chair for the last two years and the board has greatly appreciated his steady hand at the helm and his unflappable demeanor.Steve joined the Board in 2015 and represented farmers’ interests at the Clean Air Strategic Alliance. Steve brought a wealth of business experience to the board and this will be missed.Both Greg and Steve were also heavily involved in presenting farmers’ opinions to the Alberta government during Bill 6 consultations.Visit albertacanola.com/about for more information on the board of directors, the committees that guide the board, and Alberta Canola’s regions.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Farm Management Canada (FMC), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (PEIDAF) are pleased to announce the recent launch of the Growing Your Farm Profits (GYFP): Planning for Business Success Online Farm Business Self-Assessment Tool. This tool will provide producers across Ontario and Canada with the first step in the business planning process. Producers will come away with a comprehensive assessment of their farm business practices, priorities, key goals and ultimately, an Action Plan as a starting point towards the farm's business plan."Less than 25 per cent of our farmers have a written business management plan for the farm," says Heather Watson, executive director of FMC. "Creating a plan is essential for every farm - it means setting goals, figuring out the best ways to achieve them and finding the right resources and actions to get there. Most important, when you write it all down, you can invite others to share in creating the farm dream - your family, staff, lenders, business partners, and advisors, who will help realize your vision."Producers can complete the online assessment on their own, or alternatively invite other members of the farm team to complete the assessment so that they can compare results before creating their roadmap to success; their business plan. Comparing assessments can lead to positive discussions regarding the future of the farm and ensure everyone's perspective is taken into account.Once completed, the Action Plan can be submitted for validation. Producers may be eligible for cost-share opportunities to hire a consultant or participate in training and learning events to improve their business practices."Our goal with this project was to make the Growing Your Farm Profits assessment tool more accessible to producers to help increase the adoption of farm business planning practices," says Aileen MacNeil, director of the Agriculture Development Branch at OMAFRA. "Now producers have the online tool, the GYFP workshop and new GYFP eLearning Course as options to complete the assessment and action plan in the way that best suits their needs and preferences."As a result of the partnership, FMC will offer a national version of the self-assessment tool, while OMAFRA will offer a customized Ontario version and the PEIDAF will offer a customized version of the tool, called Planning for Business Success, for PEI producers."The Planning for Business Success has proven to be an invaluable tool for Prince Edward Island producers in order to achieve a more productive and profitable operation, " says Alan McIsaac, PEI Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. "Our department is committed to helping producers grow and succeed."The Growing Your Farm Profits: Planning for Business Success Online Business Self-Assessment Tool is available from the following links:English - www.FarmBusinessAssessment.comFrench - www.AnalysezVotreEntrepriseAgricole.comMore information about the Growing Your Farm Profits suite of learning tools offered by OMAFRA is available at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/gyfp/Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade today issued the following statement on the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP):"Reaching this milestone on the CPTPP is great news for Canadian farmers and food processors as it will help grow the Canadian economy, including the middle class, and deliver prosperity to rural communities across the country."It will give the Canadian agricultural industry preferential access to all CPTPP countries and will provide new market access opportunities for a wide range of Canadian products, including meat, grains, pulses, maple syrup, wines and spirits, seafood and agri-food products."The agriculture and agri-food sector is a key driver of Canada's economy, and the CPTPP will help Canada reach our government's ambitious goal of increasing agri-food exports to $75 billion annually by 2025."The Government of Canada is committed to negotiating trade deals that benefit Canadians and help grow our middle-class. This deal will expand our market access and allow Canadian farmers and food processors to seize key opportunities around the world."We look forward to discussing what this agreement means for the sector and how we can continue to work together to help grow the Canadian economy."
A new guidebook has been issued to help farmers, fishermen, aquaculture producers, and other local food and beverage producers promote and market their products online.The Social Media Toolkit: A Guide for farmers, fishermen and producers of New Brunswick was released during the annual meeting of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick.The guide was developed in co-operation with students from Renaissance College at the University of New Brunswick who identified the need for a resource which teaches producers how to effectively market their business and products on social media platforms."Our producers put their heart and soul into the food they provide to New Brunswickers and to clients further afield," said Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Andrew Harvey. "We heard from stakeholders that there was a need for more understanding of social media and the channels available to them. By gaining an audience online, our food producers can further highlight the wealth of high-quality, nutritious food available in New Brunswick, attract new customers and add even more value to our agri-food industry. We know the success of our producers helps create jobs and generate revenues that pay for services all New Brunswick residents rely upon, like health care and education."The 28-page guide is intended to be a user-friendly way for producers to learn more about how to market their food on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. It includes information such as how to gain an audience, how to use hashtags, and how to manage troublesome users."The market for local, exports and value-added foods in New Brunswick is growing," said Mike Bouma, president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick. "Improving the reach of farmers on social media doesn't just connect farmers and value-added local food and beverage producers, it also helps grow the market by showing New Brunswick consumers what is available from their community and in their province."Click here to read the Social Media Toolkit: A Guide for farmers, fishermen and producers of New Brunswick.
Canadians looking for the real story about their food can now visit five additional farms and food processing facilities in virtual reality.Using 360° cameras and virtual reality technology, the FarmFood360° website gives Canadians the chance to tour real, working farms and food processing plants, without having to put on workboots or biosecurity clothing. It’s the latest version of the highly successful Virtual Farm Tours initiative, which was first launched by Farm & Food Care in 2007.Farm & Food Care teams in both Ontario and Saskatchewan partnered with Gray Ridge Eggs, CropLife Canada, Ontario Sheep Farmers and the Canada Mink Breeders Association to publish new virtual tours of a sheep farm, an enriched housing egg farm, an egg processing facility, a western Canadian grain farm and a mink farm. Visitors can access these tours on tablets and desktop computers, as well as through mobile phones and VR (Virtual Reality) viewers. Interviews with the farmers and plant employees have also been added.“We know from experience that bringing Canadians to the farm is a highly effective way to connect people with their food and those who produce it. The same certainly goes for food processors. But unfortunately, many Canadians never have the chance to visit either a farm or a food processing facility. Utilizing this new camera technology helps us take this tried-and-true outreach method to a much wider audience,” says Kelly Daynard, executive director of Farm & Food Care Ontario. The website now gets almost a million visitors a year, enabling many more Canadians to visit farms from the comfort of their own home.These new additions – as well as three dairy farm and food processing tours published earlier in 2017 – were launched as part of an interactive exhibit at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. More tours will be filmed and added to the FarmFood360° library in 2018.“So many Canadian farmers grow grain. Touring a Saskatchewan farm that grows crops like canola and wheat showcases the technology and innovation that farmers use every day on their farms,” says Nadine Sisk, vice-president of communications and member services for CropLife Canada. She added, “The videos also highlight the care that grain farmers put into their work, and the food they produce while at the same time ensuring that they take care of the environment.”Farm & Food Care is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners proactively working together to earn public trust and confidence in food and farming. Find out more at www.FarmFood360.ca or www.FarmFoodCare.org.
The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Programs (SAWP) is a model to governments and agricultural organizations around the world, providing Ontario fruit and vegetable growers a vital source of supplementary labour.Not only does the 51-year-old program benefit farmers and Canada’s economy, but also it gives the seasonal workers well-paying employment, benefits and educational opportunities not available to them at home.Recent media coverage has highlighted numerous misperceptions and inaccurate generalizations about SAWP and Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Among them:Myth: Unemployed Canadians who want to work on fruit and vegetable farms are being denied jobs because growers are hiring temporary seasonal workers through SAWP.Reality: SAWP was created in 1966 to help farmers respond to a shortage of agricultural labour and the program continues to serve the same role today. SAWP is a Canadians-first program, which means that seasonal labour is hired from participating countries only if agricultural operators cannot find domestic workers to fill vacancies.Myth: Seasonal labour hired through SAWP are paid less than Canadian workers.Reality: Seasonal workers hired through SAWP receive an hourly wage set by Employment and Social Development Canada. The hourly rate is not less than the provincial minimum wage rate or the local prevailing rate paid to Canadians doing the same job, whichever is greatest.Myth: Seasonal workers hired through SAWP aren’t covered by the same employment rights as Canadian agricultural workers.Reality: Workers hired through SAWP fall under the same employment rights as Canadians receive, such as WSIB, certain Employment Insurance benefits, occupational health and safety and provincial health care during their term of employment.Myth: Housing for seasonal workers on agricultural operations is not subject to any guidelines.Reality: Seasonal housing — provided at the expense of the employer —must be inspected annually by local Ministry of Health officials. Water is tested to ensure it meets safety standards and the housing unit is inspected to ensure it meets provincial guidelines. Employers are required to maintain seasonal housing units in good repairAbout the Seasonal Agricultural Worker ProgramCanada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) is administered in Ontario by Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.). More information about the program can be found at farmsontario.ca
Canada and the United States share deeply integrated economies and enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. As negotiations on a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue to progress, the Government of Canada is working hard to strengthen the Canada-U.S. trade relationship and create new opportunities for producers and food processors on both sides of the border.As part of these efforts, Minister MacAulay travelled this week to Nashville, Tennessee, where he delivered a keynote address to the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) annual convention. Minister MacAulay reiterated the importance of NAFTA as an engine of growth and prosperity for Canada, the United States and Mexico.While in Nashville, Minister MacAulay participated in a roundtable with key U.S. agricultural producer and business groups to discuss opportunities for cooperation, hosted a breakfast for all State Farm Bureau Presidents, met with Zippy Duvall, President of the AFBF, with Kevin Paap, Minnesota State Farm Bureau President, and with Jai Templeton, Commissioner of Agriculture for Tennessee, to discuss bilateral trade opportunities. He also met with AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers. "The Canada-US relationship is strong, balanced and beneficial to both of our great nations. The Government of Canada is committed to continue working with the United States to strengthen our partnership for the good of our businesses, our jobs, our citizens and our economies."- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Quick Facts Canada and the United States are each other's largest trade partners for agriculture and agri-food, with bilateral agriculture trade reaching $62 billion (CAD) ($47 billion (USD)) in 2016. Canada is the top agriculture and agri-food export market for 29 states. Canada-United States trade supports millions of middle class jobs on both sides of the border. The AFBF is a non-partisan, non-sectarian national organization that represents farm and ranch families at all levels. The AFBF convention is a gathering of more than 5,000 delegates bringing together agricultural producers from all levels and sectors representatives from the local, state and national levels.
Engineers at Rice University’s Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center have found a catalyst that cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water.The research is available online in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Catalysis.“Nitrates come mainly from agricultural runoff, which affects farming communities all over the world,” said Rice chemical engineer Michael Wong, the lead scientist on the study. “Nitrates are both an environmental problem and health problem because they’re toxic. There are ion-exchange filters that can remove them from water, but these need to be flushed every few months to reuse them, and when that happens, the flushed water just returns a concentrated dose of nitrates right back into the water supply.”Wong’s lab specializes in developing nanoparticle-based catalysts, submicroscopic bits of metal that speed up chemical reactions. In 2013, his group showed that tiny gold spheres dotted with specks of palladium could break apart nitrites, the more toxic chemical cousins of nitrates.“Nitrates are molecules that have one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms,” Wong explained. “Nitrates turn into nitrites if they lose an oxygen, but nitrites are even more toxic than nitrates, so you don’t want to stop with nitrites. Moreover, nitrates are the more prevalent problem.“Ultimately, the best way to remove nitrates is a catalytic process that breaks them completely apart into nitrogen and oxygen, or in our case, nitrogen and water because we add a little hydrogen,” he said. “More than 75 percent of Earth’s atmosphere is gaseous nitrogen, so we’re really turning nitrates into air and water.”Nitrates are toxic to infants and pregnant women and may also be carcinogenic. Nitrate pollution is common in agricultural communities, especially in the U.S. Corn Belt and California’s Central Valley, where fertilizers are heavily used, and some studies have shown that nitrate pollution is on the rise due to changing land-use patterns.Both nitrates and nitrites are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets allowable limits for safe drinking water. In communities with polluted wells and lakes, that typically means pretreating drinking water with ion-exchange resins that trap and remove nitrates and nitrites without destroying them.From their previous work, Wong’s team knew that gold-palladium nanoparticles were not good catalysts for breaking apart nitrates. Co-author Kim Heck, a research scientist in Wong’s lab, said a search of published scientific literature turned up another possibility: indium and palladium.“We were able to optimize that, and we found that covering about 40 percent of a palladium sphere’s surface with indium gave us our most active catalyst,” Heck said. “It was about 50 percent more efficient than anything else we found in previously published studies. We could have stopped there, but we were really interested in understanding why it was better, and for that we had to explore the chemistry behind this reaction.”In collaboration with chemical engineering colleagues Jeffrey Miller of Purdue University and Lars Grabow of the University of Houston, the Rice team found that the indium speeds up the breakdown of nitrates while the palladium apparently keeps the indium from being permanently oxidized.“Indium likes to be oxidized,” Heck said. “From our in situ studies, we found that exposing the catalysts to solutions containing nitrate caused the indium to become oxidized. But when we added hydrogen-saturated water, the palladium prompted some of that oxygen to bond with the hydrogen and form water, and that resulted in the indium remaining in a reduced state where it’s free to break apart more nitrates.”Wong said his team will work with industrial partners and other researchers to turn the process into a commercially viable water-treatment system.“That’s where NEWT comes in,” he said. “NEWT is all about taking basic science discoveries and getting them deployed in real-world conditions. This is going to be an example within NEWT where we have the chemistry figured out, and the next step is to create a flow system to show proof of concept that the technology can be used in the field.”NEWT is a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice that was established by the National Science Foundation in 2015 to develop compact, mobile, off-grid water-treatment systems that can provide clean water to millions of people and make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective. NEWT is expected to leverage more than $40 million in federal and industrial support by 2025 and is focused on applications for humanitarian emergency response, rural water systems and wastewater treatment and reuse at remote sites, including both onshore and offshore drilling platforms for oil and gas exploration.Additional study co-authors include Sujin Guo, Huifeng Qian and Zhun Zhao, all of Rice, and Sashank Kasiraju of the University of Houston. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the China Scholarship Council.
FarmLink Marketing Solutions senior market analyst Neil Townsend says shipments are ahead of last year at this time.
Matt Dykerman hopes that creating a division of Farm & Food Care in Prince Edward Island will help teach Islanders where their food comes from, including family farms like his.“Sometimes in the business, farmers like myself can forget to share our stories with the people who are consuming the fruits of our labour,” says Dykerman, owner of Red Soil Organics in Brookfield. “I am hopeful that Farm & Food Care PEI will engage consumers in a meaningful discussion on how food is produced and the hard work that goes into making it grow.”Farm & Food Care is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners and government working together to provide credible information on food and farming. Prince Edward Island is the third Canadian province to launch the organization, and the provincial government will invest $100,000 in it over the next year. For the full story, click here.RELATED: Farm & Food Care Ontario unveils updated flagship publication
The European Commission recently published an implementing decision that will allow Canadian canola continued access to the EU biodiesel market. The decision affirms the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved when Canadian canola is used to make biodiesel according to a detailed life cycle methodology that reflects the entire canola growing process.“This decision means continued access to an important market for Canadian canola,” says Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “The Canola Council has worked hard on this over the past two years and this confirmation is very good for the entire value chain.”The European Commission’s decision details the greenhouse gas emission intensity of Canadian canola production, a requirement for access to the EU biodiesel market. As of January 2018 all EU biodiesel must demonstrate greenhouse gas emission reductions that are greater than 50 per cent compared to fossil diesel, a requirement that must also be met for canola biodiesel in the U.S.According to the values published by the EU Commission, biodiesel produced from Canadian canola will meet this requirement, resulting in emission reductions of more than 50 per cent versus fossil diesel.“This decision shows the environmental benefits of using canola for biodiesel,” says Everson. “The EU is far ahead of North America in using renewable fuels which creates a good export opportunity for us.”To arrive at its decision, the Commission considered a report on the lifecycle emissions of Canadian canola that was submitted by the Government of Canada. It outlined emissions from all stages of canola production including fertilizer, field emissions and fuel used by farm equipment. It calculated how these emissions change based on specific geographical differences such as moisture levels and soil types. Over the last two years this involved close cooperation between the CCC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.“We’re thankful for the efforts of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, including Minister Lawrence MacAulay, in helping to support today’s decision,” says Everson. “The value of canola is determined by export demand, and today’s decision allows us to keep serving the EU market.”Over the last three years, average annual exports of seed, oil and meal to the EU have totaled approximately $200 million. In 2016, 597,000 tonnes of canola seed and 37,000 tonnes of canola oil were shipped to the EU.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is pleased to see that Finance Canada has considered the feedback contributed by CFA and other farm groups with regard to the Tax Fairness proposals, and has proposed changes that have addressed a number of the key concerns identified by Canadian farm businesses.Since the government announced these proposed rules, CFA has raised continued concerns with potential consequences to intergenerational farm transfers, and is pleased to see that capital gains from qualified farm property would be excluded from Tax on Split Income. CFA is also pleased to see further clarification and definition on the contributions required for both capital and labour, and looks forward to further dialogue with government officials to ensure the diverse contributions of farm family members are adequately accounted for."This announcement provides greater clarity on Income Sprinkling and CFA looks forward to continued engagement with Finance Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure application of the rules is streamlined, clearly communicated and applied in a clear, objective fashion for all businesses," says CFA president Ron Bonnett."I believe the progress we've seen on this front, since the initial announcement in July, shows that collaboration and communication are critical for effective policy-making. We believe these changes are important for shaping Canada's tax policy to enable the continued success of family farms in Canada, including the next generation of young farmers," added Bonnett.CFA awaits draft legislation and will fully analyze the proposed changes once a bill is introduced in Parliament. CFA maintains concerns that the implementation timelines are very tight and don't give businesses much time to adapt. Farm leaders look forward to working with Finance Canada to ensure any remaining issues are adequately addressed."The Canadian government has set a huge goal of increasing agriculture exports to $75 billion by 2025. We need to ensure we get policies right to meet these ambitious growth targets. By continuing to work together, we can make Canada and Canadian food a true powerhouse in terms of feeding to world's growing population," said Bonnett.We look forward to continued dialogue with Finance Canada to clarify these issues, and ensure further proposals align with the government's ambitious growth agenda for the sector.
Two hay tool innovations from John Deere Ottumwa Works have been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018. The awards are for the BalerAssist feature on the large square balers and the Plus2 Bale Accumulator for large round balers, both introduced in late 2017. The AE50 Award highlights the year’s 50 most innovative designs in product engineering in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.The BalerAssist option on the L331 and L341 Series Large Square Balers was recognized for allowing the operator to more quickly and easily clear plugs between the baler pickup and rotor, without leaving the tractor cab. “This significantly reduces downtime and increases bale-making productivity, especially in tough crop conditions,” says Travis Roe, senior marketing representative for large square balers. “In addition, this feature makes it easier for operators to access service points inside the baler and improve overall operational control and maintenance.”Also receiving an award are the A520R and A420R Plus2 Round Bale Accumulators, which give customers the ability to carry up to two round bales behind the baler while making a third bale in the chamber. The Plus2 Accumulators are fully integrated into the design of the balers and can be used with 6-foot (1.82 m) diameter John Deere 7, 8, 9 and 0 Series Round Balers.“These accumulators allow operators to strategically place the bales where they can be removed from the field most efficiently,” says Nick Weinrich, product marketing manager for pull-type hay tools. “This dramatically reduces the damage to crop regrowth from excessive field travel, as well as fuel and labor associated with collecting individual bales scattered across the field.”ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems. The awards will be presented at the ASABE Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in February. Information on all award winners will be included in the January/February 2018 ASABE’s Resource magazine and on the ASABE website. Further information on the Society can be obtained by visiting www.asabe.org/.
If you are a part of the farming industry or run an agriculture-based business, you must already be aware of the importance of accurately ascertaining the output your day-to-day activities yield. The accuracy of the said measurement is especially important as your overall profitability is directly depending on it. It also helps you understand how much output you are able to produce with the given resources and plan for the future accordingly. In order to bring about accuracy in measurements, you must think about incorporating the right type of weighing scales into your process in order to assess your output and optimize operations.Following are the most popular farming weighing scales available:1. Grain Cart ScalesGrain cart scales are the ideal harvest weighing system for grain and crop produces. Being able to scale your grain farming is especially important as it is a very specialized form of farming and requires a lot of attention to detail due to the large quantities of produce. Therefore, grain carts are also designed in a manner that help grain farmers accurately weigh their produce while keeping in mind the intricate details that go into harvesting grain produce.2. Weighbridge Truck ScalesIf you run a larger farm or are planning to scale your operations, you can also go for weighbridge truck scales. Weighbridge truck scales are perfect for larger, high-volume applications for multiple types of crops in order to cut down on labor hours. However, these scales are not beneficial to small scale farmers as their yields are much lower.3. Yield Load ScannersThe Yield load scanner is the ideal option for farmers who are planning on automating their harvest management process to optimize their operations. These scanners feature a 3-D scanning device that converts volume data into weight using advanced software to provide accurate measurements.4. On-Board Weighing ScalesOn-board scales are a type of weighing scale that are integrated on trucks and different types of equipment. These scales offer immediate weight readings without the requirement of an external scale unit, making it the quickest way of measuring your harvest. Since these scales are directly attached to the equipment, it can measure larger quantities of output, thereby reducing labor hours required and brining about efficiency in operations. If you produce large quantities of crop or other produce, you must consider installing on-board weighing scales at your farm.As you can see, implementation of electronic weighing scales can enhance the overall harvest operation by bringing about accuracy while reducing the amount of manpower required by automating the harvest procedure. All you need to do is carefully understand your requirements and pick a scale system that is best suited to your operations.Author Bio:Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
John Deere 5R Series Tractors have received the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 Award recognizes innovative designs in product engineering as selected by a panel of international engineering experts.Introduced in 2017, 5R Series Tractors leverage existing technologies normally found in large tractors and feature four models ranging from 90- to 125-engine horsepower.“John Deere engineers designed tractor features to provide customers with unrivaled maneuverability, an easy-to-use transmission, increased visibility, loader integration and operator comfort,” said Nick Weinrich, product marketing manager for Deere.A 7.4-foot (2.25 m) wheelbase, paired with a 60-degree steering angle, provides a tight turning radius of 12.1 feet (3.68 m). “For customers working in confined areas such as barns, this is a big improvement because they can more easily maneuver the tractor while increasing their productivity,” said Weinrich.Customers can choose from two fully electronic transmission options, CommandQuad Manual and Command8. Weinrich said Deere made it easy for operators to toggle from B range through D range without stopping, thanks to a multi-range selection feature. Base equipment on 5R Tractors also includes AutoClutch, a feature leveraged from larger Deere row-crop tractors that completely eliminates the need for clutching. Operators can automatically re-engage the clutch by depressing the brake pedal.Deere engineers improved upward and forward visibility from the tractor to help make 5R Series Tractors an even better fit for loader applications. Engineers also integrated an interactive display into the tractor’s right hand cornerpost. Operators can use the display to customize a variety of tractor functions to fit their preferences.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Kinze Manufacturing, an industry leader in planter and grain cart equipment, is expanding its offerings with the addition of four high-speed disc tillage models, Mach Till 201, 261, 331 and 401.Susanne Veatch, Kinze president and chief marketing officer, said the new Mach Till high-speed disc products support farmer interest in faster tillage that enables them to stay ahead of the planter and be more productive by covering more acres in less time."Farmers will now be able to obtain three types of equipment from their Kinze dealer, all with the same standard of quality," she said.The new product line is based on a Canadian design, produced by Degelman Industries, that has been licensed to Kinze to build at its manufacturing facility in Williamsburg, Iowa. Kinze will exhibit one of its first tillage models - the Mach Till 331 - at the 2018 National Farm Machinery Show Feb. 14-17 in Louisville, Kentucky."We are constantly evaluating opportunities in the market for new products that would be a good fit for Kinze," Veatch noted. "The Mach Till product line allows us to improve our already strong brand and have instant access to the growing high-speed disc segment with an already proven product."In addition to high speed (8-12 mph) and high capacity, the versatile Mach Till lineup also offers simple setup and ease of use, maintenance-free parts and the ability to perform in various soil types, from fall primary tillage and residue management to spring secondary tillage and seedbed preparation. The product is built heavy for high speed and deep working depth, but provides great flotation for lighter seedbed preparation that minimizes soil compaction. Veatch said the tillage products will be available from Kinze dealers in the United States and Canada, as well as for export to customers in Eastern Europe and Russia. Pricing information will be released this spring, with product availability beginning in fall 2018.Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
What started as a move back to the Ontario family farm for Norm Lamothe turned into a big move forward in crop scouting technology for Canadian farmers.Lamothe left a 10-year career in the aviation industry to return to be the sixth generation on the family farm near Peterborough. At the encouragement of a neighbouring farmer, Lamothe bought his first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone in 2015. He had a small group of area farmers already signed up to have a block of acres viewed by the new technology and help share the investment risk."We quickly identified the opportunity for farmers to save money and increase their crop yields by mapping their fields to identify areas of stress," says Lamothe.Word spread and Lamothe was soon looking to expand across Ontario when a chance meeting with David MacMillan took his fledgling UAV imagery business to much higher heights. MacMillan was with a mining company called Deveron, looking to expand into the drone business.The two created Deveron UAS, a new Ontario-based company dedicated to UAV imagery in the agriculture sector across North America. With 15 pilots and their UAVs, the company is providing aerial crop scouting to farmers from Alberta to the Maritimes, and some parts of the U.S.For the first time, growers can make in-season decisions about their crop by using UAV imaging."We can scout 100 acres in 20 minutes, providing more accurate information than just walking the rows because we see the entire field," says Lamothe. "We measure plant stress using multispectral imaging and are able to see things we just can't see with the naked eye."Information from the UAV images arms on-the-ground agronomists and scouts to zero in on areas of higher plant stress to make recommendations and adjustments on fertility, pest and decision pressure, or even water usage.The technology lends itself to variable rate fertilizer application, and that's where Lamothe says customers are seeing the biggest return on investment in corn and wheat."We fly a field, take an image and a prescription is written based on the images captured," he says.The grower then applies nitrogen to fit just what's required for various areas of the field. In high value vegetable crops, the return on investment is similar for fertility, as well as detecting pest and disease infestations."The technology is proving its worth through increased yield and decreased input costs - because inputs are matched and used optimally to match the stresses in the field," says Lamothe.Deveron has recently partnered with The Climate Corp to provide growers with a new option for how and where they store on-farm data generated by UAV imagery."Efficiency is going to be a necessity on farms as they get larger and personnel is more difficult to find and retain," says Lamothe. "UAV technology has a big role to play, providing insights to make decisions that will help us grow more food on less acres."Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Vast amounts of data are being collected on Canada's farms through the advent of precision agriculture technology and the Internet of Things (IOT).Many types of tools, equipment and devices gather data on everything from crop yields to how many steps an animal takes in a day. However, much of that data is underutilized because it's collected by systems that don't or can't communicate with each other.The need for better decision-making on farms through better data use resulted in Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF), a partnership of agricultural organizations led by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) that's developing an open agri-food innovation platform to connect and share data.The goal, according to lead director Dr. Karen Hand of Precision Strategic Solutions, is getting data, wherever it exists (both data repositories in industry or government and data generated by countless sensors) so it can be used to help advance important food production issues like food safety, traceability and plant and animal disease surveillance.For example, information about the prevalence and control of insect pests like cutworms that damage soybean crops lies with many different people and organizations, including university and government researchers, crop advisors, input suppliers and farmers."There is no single spot where all of the information about a particular pest can be accessed in a robust, science-based system and used in decision-making and that's where OPAF's platform will help," Hand says.Pilot projects are underway with Ontario's grain, dairy and poultry producers to identify their needs in areas like crop protection, sustainability and food safety and how OPAF can provide data-driven solutions to benefit farmers."We sit down with farmers, advisors, associations, government and researchers to find out what data they have, where they exist and if we were able to connect them, what value or benefit that would offer participants - either specific to the commodity they are producing or on larger food-related issues such as food safety or impact on trade," she explains.And OPAF's efforts are gaining global recognition. Earlier this year, Internet of Food and Farm 2020, a large project in the European Union exploring the potential of IOT technologies of European food and farming, recognized OPAF as one of three global projects to collaborate with."This is going to be changing the face of data enablement in Canada and contributing globally," says Tyler Whale of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT). "We are creating a platform that is the base of something new, and although we are piloting this in Ontario, it will be available nationwide to those who want to use it."OPAF partners include OAFT, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Niagara College, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Farm Credit Canada, Ontario Agri-Business Association, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, and Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Alliance.This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with GF2 delivery in Ontario.
John Deere grain and cotton harvesting equipment have been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 Award highlights the year’s most innovative product-engineering designs in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.The John Deere S700 Series Combine was recognized for its significant innovations in “smart” technology, improved operator comfort and data capabilities for more efficient grain harvesting, said Matt Badding, John Deere marketing manager for harvesting equipment.“The S700 Combines integrate new technologies that optimize and automate grain harvesting, making it easier, faster and more efficient for the operator,” Badding said. “By automating more adjustment and calibration tasks, we’ve enhanced the operational intelligence of these machines while improving overall durability and productivity, based on each customer’s crop and field conditions.”The latest features include the Combine Advisor package that incorporates seven technologies to help operators set, optimize and automate the combine performance as crop conditions change; Auto Maintain and ActiveVision cameras for maximum threshing performance and grain quality; and Active Yield technology that automatically calibrates the mass flow sensor to eliminate the need for manual calibrations and ensure the best data is collected during harvest.In addition, the CP690 Cotton Picker and CS690 Cotton Stripper were recognized for innovations in precision cotton-harvesting technologies that include moisture sensing, round module weighing, Harvest Identification, Cotton Pro and John Deere Operations Center Field Analyzer.ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. From the many entries submitted each year, an expert panel of engineers selects approximately 50 products for recognition. The award-winning products are those ranked highest in innovation, significant engineering advancement and impact on the market served.
Few agricultural technologies capture people’s imaginations as much as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones. Since the first day a UAV looked down on a crop field, farmers have dreamed up a million ways that a bird’s eye view and remote access could improve agricultural operations.
John Deere has introduced its latest advanced guidance and machine data sharing technology with the addition of three new AutoTrac applications and a new In-Field Data Sharing application for its Generation 4 Displays.AutoTrac Turn Automation, AutoTrac Implement Guidance, AutoTrac Vision for Tractors, and In-Field Data Sharing applications are being sold as bundled activations for the John Deere 4600 CommandCenter and as bundled subscriptions for 4640 Universal Displays.“These new applications are machine-specific bundled activations with the 4600 CommandCenter and provide late-model John Deere machine owners with outstanding technology value,” said John Misher, precision agriculture product marketing manager with John Deere. For owners of machines equipped with a 4640 Display, the applications are offered as bundled one- or five-year subscriptions.AutoTrac Turn Automation makes end turns smooth, consistent and comfortable for operators during tillage, planting, seeding or other pre-emerge applications when using straight-track guidance modes. Mishler said the new application for tractors provides automation across the field rather than just between headlands. It allows operators to focus on machine and job performance while reducing operator fatigue.When AutoTrac Turn Automation is activated, the machine functions previously required at the end of the field, when operating drawn implements, no longer require user input. “For example, making end turns, raising and lowering the implement, PTO control, 3-point hitch functions and speed can be established in sequences from one setup page to become automated,” Mishler explained.AutoTrac Implement Guidance (passive) enables the tractor to move off the intended path or guidance line in order to achieve expected accuracy of the implement. Mishler said implement drift can diminish accuracy of the implement while the tractor is traveling on the guidance line. “AutoTrac Implement Guidance helps operators improve pass-to-pass accuracy by placing the implement consistently on the guidance line, helping to reduce the impact of implement drift,” he explained.AutoTrac Implement Guidance is ideal for first-pass tillage, planting, seeding, strip till or other applications with drawn implements when using straight- or curve-tracking modes and when operating on hillsides. Differential-correction signals can be shared between the receiver on the tractor and the implement. Mishler said the application is easy to install, calibrate and operate.AutoTrac Vision Guidance was previously released for John Deere 30-Series and newer sprayers. Now, Deere is expanding the application to include 7X30 large-frame, 8X30 and 8X30T, 7R and 8R/8RT tractors. AutoTrac Vision can be utilized in post-season crop applications to detect the crop row and provide input to the machine’s AutoTrac system to keep the tractor’s wheels or tracks between the crop rows. This level of precision can be beneficial when side-dressing fertilizer, post-emerge spraying and cultivating.“This application is supported when the tractor is working in corn, soybeans and cotton at least 6 inches tall with up to a 90 per cent canopy. This level of advanced guidance minimizes crop damage, reduces operator fatigue and maximizes tractor productivity in fields with 20- to 40-inch row spacing,” Mishler added.In-Field Data Sharing makes it easier for producers to co-ordinate multiple machines working in the same field. Operators can use the application to share coverage, application, yield and moisture maps along with straight tracks and circle tracks with up to six other machines.The application helps machines to work together more efficiently, reducing skips, overlap, fuel and input costs for producers. During planting, seeding, harvesting, spraying and nutrient application, In-Field Data Sharing helps producers maximize each pass through the field.“It’s easy to share and check maps with In-Field Data Sharing. Operators can monitor machines’ as-applied maps to see if they’re properly calibrated and performing in a similar manner, thus maximizing machine performance,” Mishler said. “In-Field Data Sharing also lets users transfer guidance lines between machines without manually moving a USB stick from one machine to another. This is a real time-saver wheral machines are working in the same field. By using the application, operators can more efficiently manage nurse trucks, tenders and grain carts while decreasing operating costs.”Each of the four new applications is compatible with the John Deere 4640 Universal Display and with Gen 4 4600 CommandCenter displays. Activations and subscriptions are immediately available for ordering. Delivery will take place beginning in February 2018.Producers should visit their local John Deere dealer for additional information about hardware requirements and tractor platform, display and differential-correction signal compatibility. 
Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is calling on the Senate of Canada to pass Bill C-49, The Transportation Modernization Act as quickly as possible. This Bill will give grain farmers and shippers important tools that will create a more accountable, fair and efficient rail transportation system. Growers are concerned that without these powers in place, there will be increasing delays and costs in getting grain to market.“International customers are always looking to Canada for our top-quality grains and oilseed products, but over the years our reputation as a reliable supplier has been put into question, in large part due to our rail logistics system,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC president. “We are anxious to have the C-49 measures in place as they will not only give us some competitive options but will allow shippers to hold the railways accountable when they fail to meet their contractual service obligations.”The grains sector in Western Canada is now into its most critical time as the value chain works together to move another very large crop. “We are already experiencing signs of deteriorating service,” continued Nielsen. “With car order fulfilments decreasing, growers are becoming increasingly concerned we will find ourselves in another devastating grain backlog like we experienced in 2013-14.”To rebalance the relationship temporary measures were put in place to address the 2013-14 grain crisis, including extended interswitching distances up to 160km. Those provisions expired in August 2017 and shippers have been left with no meaningful tools to secure accountable, fair and efficient service from the railways. Bill C-49 contains legislative amendments that will give shippers permanent tools, including access to reciprocal penalties, long haul interswitching and improved data collection and transparency.“The measures contained in C-49 have been a long time coming for the grain sector,” said Art Enns, GGC Vice-President. “We cannot afford another year without provisions in place that are critical to rebalancing commercial relationships and creating a more competitive and efficient rail environment. Grain farmers across Canada urge the Senate to do the right thing and pass Bill C-49 as quickly as possible.”
The more tools we can use, the better yields and the healthier our crops – the basis of precision agriculture. Precision ag has grown incredibly over the last few years, and many growers, technicians and equipment specialists are eager to get on board.
A need for accurate, current weather data was the reason behind the development of a new weather system that gives farmers access to real-time information.The AGGrower Daily Dashboard is powered by a network of 80 weather stations in southwestern Ontario that capture rain fall, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction data minute by minute and push it to a farmer-accessible website every 15 minutes.Project collaborators AGRIS Co-operative, Wanstead Farmers’ Co-op and Haggerty Creek realized a need among their customers for a web-based, field-specific risk management tool based on real-time weather data.“We talk about weather so much in agriculture – both the forecast and the weather that just occurred play into management decisions,” explains Dale Cowan, Senior Agronomist with AGRIS and Wanstead Cooperatives. “So we got together and decided to build this network to push real time weather data out to customers. We are trying to make extension advice real-time.”The dashboard lets farmers plot individual fields and remotely access wind and rainfall data from each station to help make decisions about spraying and nutrient management, as well as establishing crop maturity and insect or disease pressure.“There’s a lot of management advice that comes with the impacts of weather and the growth stages of the crop. We can predict when tasseling is going to occur, for example, and what management should be considered at that time for plant health and nutrition,” Cowan says.Interest in the subscription-based system has been high, with uptake varied by what farmers want to know. Rain fall and wind data have been big in 2017. Precipitation has been extremely spotty and then very intense in some regions and wind has made spraying a challenge.Dave Gillespie grows corn, soybeans and wheat in the Thamesville area. His home farm is a weather station host and he is an avid user of the dashboard. This year, it was particularly helpful in managing spraying.“Often times I need data when I’m out in the field making minute by minute management decisions and now, instead of just seeing what the predicted wind speed and direction is, I can actually login and see what conditions are being logged on the specific fields,” he explains, adding this lets him react quickly to avoid unsuitable spraying conditions.“We’ve always known there’s a difference in conditions from here to Ridgetown, but now we know exactly how much the difference can be between two spots that are only 10 to 15 km apart,” Gillespie says.The collaborators accessed Growing Forward 2 funding for both phases of the project – an investigation into feasibility and execution, as well as the actual implementation, which included establishing the weather stations and working with participating farmers to connect them to the network and get them working with the available data.“If we didn’t have the funding, we likely wouldn’t have started with this venture at all. It was a great tool for de-risking the venture by having assistance up front to help get it developed,” Cowan says.This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2­ in Ontario.
Canada has always been an agricultural powerhouse, but these days it’s not just about selling prairie wheat, P.E.I. potatoes and maple syrup to the world. Now we’re also building bio-cars from ag-based fibres, composites and foams. We’re creating naturally derived pharmaceuticals and functional foods that help fight disease. We’re cutting carbon emissions by finding valuable uses for agricultural wastes, and we’re boosting agricultural productivity in all kinds of ways.
Biofuelnet Canada (BFN) has launched a call for expressions of interest (EOI) for our proposal to the Agri-Science Cluster program of Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) later this fall.Through mutual agreement, your EOI may also be used in future BFN proposals to other funding programs, including those run by the Networks of Centres of Excellence.The purpose of this new Agri-Science cluster is to engage Canada’s agricultural operators, industry, universities, government and other R&D organizations to sustainably increase food and biomass production, in the context of a changing climate.This call for EOI is focussed on advancing the emerging technologies that will help agricultural producers across Canada sustainably meet the needs of Canada’s and the world’s growing population, and provide the biomass (crop residues, purpose-grown on marginal lands, animal residues) needed by the bioenergy and bioproducts industries.The new cluster will bring together Canada’s considerable entrepreneurial and technological strengths to: Extend agricultural production to northern latitudes, by using advanced greenhouse technologies such as biomass combined heat and power (CHP) to extend the growing season, CO2 enrichment and biologicals to accelerate growth and improve stress resistance in plants being grown locally as biomass for the greenhouse operation. Increase agricultural production and reduce input costs by developing biologicals for Canadian applications on a range of important economic crops and biomass for bioenergy. The choice of biologicals must pass all government health and environmental assessment requirements. Increase agricultural production and reduce input costs by accelerating the uptake of advanced information technologies, including novel instrumentation, remote sensing, automation, precision farming, use of “big data”, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things etc., to increase the profitability of food and biomass production for the agricultural sector. Develop evidence-based agri-economic models, tools and policies to enable the agricultural sector to benefit from the emerging carbon markets. This call is open to companies incorporated in Canada at the federal or provincial levels, R&D organizations, universities, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals. Applicants are also encouraged to include self-funded participants such as municipalities, government research labs and international partners.The Agri-Science Cluster program requires that the cluster be industry-led and that industry provide 25 per cent co-funding.The deadline for the EOI is Sept. 15, 2017. Learn more here.
US researchers have maintained that miscanthus, long speculated to be the top biofuel producer, yields more than twice as much as switchgrass in the US using an open-source bioenergy crop database gaining traction in plant science, climate change, and ecology research. "To understand yield trends and variation across the country for our major food crops, extensive databases are available — notably those provided by the USDA Statistical Service," said lead author Stephen Long, Gutgsell professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He added: "But there was nowhere to go if you wanted to know about biomass crops, particularly those that have no food value such as miscanthus, switchgrass, willow trees, etc." To fill this gap, researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology created BETYdb, an open-source repository for physiological and yield data that facilitates bioenergy research. The goal of this database is not only to store the data but to make the data widely available and usable. | READ MORE.  
According to research by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, extraction with deep eutectic solvents (DESs) offer an efficient, sustainable and easy method for dissolving proteins from agrobiomass by-products. DESs are mixtures of solids that form a liquid solution at low temperatures when mixed in suitable ratios. The method has been tested on separating protein from BSG, rapeseed press cake and wheat bran, all of which contain significant amounts of protein. These food industry by-products contain significant amounts of fibre, which decreases their suitability as feed for production animals that are not ruminants. Brewer's spent grain responded best to protein separation with DES: almost 80 per cent of the protein in BSG could be separated, while conventional extraction methods can achieve no more than 40 per cent. The separation of other substances, such as carbohydrates, can be optimised through the choice of DES. This new protein enrichment method can particularly benefit breweries and animal feed producers, but there are hopes that after further research, this method could also find applications in the food industry. | READ MORE.
As OMAFRA’s industrial crop specialist based at the Simcoe Research Station, Jim Todd works with non-food crops that have a variety of industrial uses – including energy production, or as a source of specialty oils, chemicals or medicinal compounds.  Although predominantly used as an energy source, petroleum also serves as an industrial feedstock for the manufacture of many products used in daily life. For various reasons, countries around the world are searching for renewable replacements for petroleum. One promising alternative comes from the seed oils of plants. There are hundreds of different types of plant seed oils, many of which contain fatty acids that are structurally similar to those obtained from petroleum and so could be used in the manufacture of sustainable, environmentally friendly designer oils with specific end uses. Researchers from OMAFRA and the University of Guelph are currently investigating the potential of growing two unique plants, Euphorbia lagascae from the Mediterranean and Centrapalus pauciflorus from Africa, as sources of vernolic acid, a naturally occurring epoxidized fatty acid that can directly substitute for the synthetic vernolic acid made from petroleum, soy or linseed oil.  Epoxidized fatty acids are useful as raw materials for a wide variety of industrial processes including the synthesis of chemicals and lubricants.  Vernolic acid is most commonly used as a plasticizer in the manufacture of plastic polymers such as polyvinyl chloride or PVC.  The main goal of the three-year study is to test the suitability of Euphorbia and Centrapalus for commercial cultivation under Ontario’s climatic conditions. Trials to identify suitable varieties and provide information on the agronomic requirements for successful cultivation are ongoing. Other factors being evaluated include seeding practices, fertility and water requirements, harvesting methods, and weed/pest control. Oil has been extracted and analyzed to determine the range of total oil yield and vernolic acid content. Overall, both plants have performed well, but researchers have identified a few key areas that need further research.  Field germination rates remain low, indicating a need for breeding to improve this trait and efficient harvest of Centrapalus will require the development of specialized harvest and seed cleaning equipment. 
As foreign competition and falling U.S. demand are hurting American tobacco farmers, a Virginia company is preparing the crop’s second act as a biofuel. Tyton BioEnergy Systems of Danville is testing its technique for extracting the plant’s fermentable sugars on a small scale and plans to start industrial production in 2017, Peter Majeranowski, the company’s co-founder and president, said during a recent investor webinar. Tobacco has a lot to recommend it as a biofuel source. Most industrial crops are high in either sugar or oil. Tobacco has both, and Tyton’s plant breeders have doubled or tripled the content of both in the company’s specialized lines, Majeranowski says. Tobacco is relatively low in lignin, the compound that gives plants their rigidity. “It’s kind of a soft plant and requires a less aggressive or more mild process to break it down,” Majeranowski says. Easier breakdown leads to lower processing costs, he says. | READ MORE.
The Cellulosic Sugar Producers Co-operative (CSPC) and its partners have almost finished putting all the pieces in place for a southern Ontario value chain to turn crop residues into sugars. Those pieces include a feasibility study, a technical-economic assessment and a collaboratively developed business plan. Some important steps still have to be completed, but they are aiming for processing to start in 2018.
Jan. 20, 2017 - The Vancouver Declaration resulting from the First Ministers' Meeting in March 2016 saw the beginning of a co-ordinated national approach to carbon risk mitigation. Buoyed by support from high-profile business groups (including key oil and gas sector leaders), the First Ministers' Meeting on Dec. 9, 2016 in Ottawa saw the adoption of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which included several significant announcements regarding federal investment in green infrastructure, public transit, and clean technology and innovation. Canada's industrial powerhouse, Ontario, is ahead of the pack when it comes to low-carbon electricity policy, and has been for quite some time. Ten years after the launch of the province's early procurement programs for wind, solar, hydro and other forms of renewable energy, the province enjoys a vibrant renewable energy sector with leading-edge manufacturing capabilities, a coal-free electricity system, and a project development and finance sector that is active around the globe. Across the U.S. border, things have changed somewhat recently, at least, at the federal level.  | READ MORE.
Today many biofuel refineries operate for only seven months each year, turning freshly harvested crops into ethanol and biodiesel. When supplies run out, biorefineries shut down for the other five months. However, according to recent research, dual-purpose biofuel crops could produce both ethanol and biodiesel for nine months of the year – increasing profits by as much as 30 per cent. “Currently, sugarcane and sweet sorghum produce sugar that may be converted to ethanol,” said co-lead author Stephen Long, Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois. “Our goal is to alter the plants' metabolism so that it converts this sugar in the stem to oil – raising the levels in current cultivars from 0.05 per cent oil, not enough to convert to biodiesel, to the theoretical maximum of 20 per cent oil. With 20 per cent oil, the plant's sugar stores used for ethanol production would be replaced with more valuable and energy dense oil used to produce biodiesel or jet fuel.” A paper published in Industrial Biotechnology simulated the profitability of Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum (PETROSS) with 0 per cent, 5 per cent, 10 per cent, and 20 per cent oil. They found that growing sorghum in addition to sugarcane could keep biorefineries running for an additional two months, increasing production and revenue by 20-30 per cent. | READ MORE
Dec. 9, 2016 - The federal and provincial governments have teamed up to help implement a bioeconomy strategy for Northern Ontario. The two senior levels of government are providing a total of $216,792 to help put a plan into action aimed at creating new renewable energy opportunities throughout the North. Developed in 2015 by the Biomass North Development Centre, in partnership with the Union of Ontario Indians, the strategy will look to reduce policy and regulatory barriers for the industry, develop a skills and training road map for future workers and better inform the public and potential partners about biomass applications and concepts. “This is an opportunity of partnerships and benefits for all of the North,” said Dawn Lambe, the biomass development centre's executive director. | READ MORE.
Dec. 1, 2016 - An Italian company is interested in turning biomass into a new southern Alberta industry. And the Alberta government is providing the data to show what would work. Representatives from Alberta Economic Development and Trade, along with a spokesperson for Beta Renewables from Tortona, Italy, outlined the potential to Lethbridge County Council on Monday. Earlier this year, the county was one of five Alberta jurisdictions to sign onto a formal biomass mapping project across the province. The study found 12 million tonnes of biomass available annually in the form of straw and other byproducts of the region’s grain and speciality crop production – plus 633,000 tonnes of waste from livestock production. “This is good news,” Reeve Lorne Hickey said, as council members asked for more details. For Lethbridge-area farms growing flax, one councillor pointed out, it could provide a way to get rid of flax straw – too strong to be used like other straw. | READ MORE.
The president of a new farm co-op says it's working to sign up 200 to 300 members to supply corn stalks and leaves, also known as stover, as well as wheat stalks, to a proposed new plant in Sarnia, Ont., that will turn the biomass into sugar. The Sarnia Observer reports. | READ MORE

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