Business/Policy
Last year (2016) marks the 22nd Census of Agriculture since Confederation. Here are some key takeaways from Statistics Canada.

Since 2011, there are fewer farms, but the farms are larger. While total farm area is down, areas dedicated to cropland rose to 93.4 million acres in 2016. The average sits at 820 acres in 2016.

Canola remains the biggest crop; accounts for more than one-fifth of cropland

One-third of Canadian agricultural production was exported in 2013.

Number of farm operators has declined, while average age continued to rise.

Despite the increase in average age, only 1 in 12 operators reported having a formal succession plan.

Proportion of operators under 35 years of age edged up for the first time since 1991.

Ag operations in Canada employed 280,315 people in 2015.

77,970 women are listed as farm operators, accounting for 28.7 per cent of the industry.

One in eight farms sold food directly to consumers.

Total value of farm machinery and equipment owned and leased by agricultural operations increased 15.4 per cent to $53.9 billion.

Ontario has the highest percentage of farms using renewable energy at 10.4 per cent

Farm profits unchanged since 2010.

You can read the full report here.
Published in Corporate News
Leaders from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) strengthened their Canada-U.S. connections and underscored the benefits of NAFTA last week during meetings with American Farm Bureau representatives in several states. The five-day tour included visits to California, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“What we've learned from these discussions is that U.S. farmers depend on NAFTA as much as Canadian farmers do. No one wants to jeopardize the agreement for fear of losing the significant benefits accrued by all parties including well established markets for agriculture and agri-food products,” says CFA President Ron Bonnett.

Bonnett said that the Wisconsin Farmers Union also supports NAFTA and were in agreement that the diafiltered milk issue was a scapegoat for the larger problem, which is the current worldwide glut of milk on the market.

"The key take-away from our U.S. meetings is that we now have a good chance to resolve some of the ongoing barriers to trade that stand apart from tariff rules. Farm groups in Canada and U.S. have long called for harmonized regulations," said Bonnett.

The CFA will continue to work with its members and government officials to seek and implement actions that will modernize North American trade, leading to greater value for all NAFTA partners.
Published in Imports/Exports
FMC Corporation and DuPont has announced the signing of a definitive agreement for FMC to acquire the portion of DuPont’s Crop Protection business it must divest to comply with the European Commission ruling related to its merger with The Dow Chemical Company. Additionally, DuPont will acquire FMC Health and Nutrition and receive $1.2 billion in cash. FMC will acquire DuPont’s global chewing pest insecticide portfolio, its global cereal broadleaf herbicides, and a substantial portion of DuPont’s global crop protection R&D capabilities. In 2017, FMC expects this acquired business will generate approximately $1.5 billion in revenue and $475 million of EBITDA.

     After closing of the acquisition, FMC Agricultural Solutions will become the fifth largest crop protection chemical company in the world by revenue, with estimated annual revenue of approximately $3.8 billion.

     The acquired portion of DuPont’s crop protection business includes an industry-leading selective insecticide portfolio consisting of Rynaxypyr, Cyazypyr and Indoxacarb. The first two products have full patent protection over their respective active ingredients.

     The acquired portfolio also includes DuPont’s global cereal broadleaf herbicides, consisting of nine active ingredients and multiple formulated products, including DuPont’s proprietary PrecisionPac technology.

     The acquisition will bring DuPont’s discovery and development organization, including its Delaware crop protection research headquarters, 14 regional development labs and related regulatory capabilities. This organization includes a pipeline of 15 synthetic active ingredients currently in development, covering insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, and an extensive library of 1.8 million synthetic compounds. The majority of DuPont’s crop protection research workforce will transfer to FMC as part of this transaction.
Published in Corporate News
Though this week’s federal budget put a spotlight on agri-food as one of Canada’s “key-growth industries,” meat packers, mushroom growers and others in the business say they need better access to foreign labour to grow. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Manitoba's forages, grasslands and cover crops and the healthy soils they grow in is a sure thing for any made in Manitoba carbon plan according to Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA). The MFGA fast-tracked the organization's carbon position and a suite of seven key recommendations out to leaders and decision-makers this week.  

MFGA's timing bodes well given last week's call by Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox for input into a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan for Manitobans to have their say on the carbon pricing plan being imposed by the federal government. The key takeaway point of the MFGA position is the MFGA's advocacy for the plants above the soil and the microbial activity below, looping forages, grasslands, cover crops and annual crops as positives on the carbon front. 

The MFGA recommends that the following needs should be addressed with regards to understanding and promoting carbon sequestration in grasslands, forages, cover crops and annual crops and the soils they grow in: 

1. As a producer-led group, MFGA should be involved in all policy and partnership discussions around carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services provided by well-managed forage and grasslands, cover crops and annual crop production. 

2. Soil carbon benchmarking and monitoring should be done across the Manitoba agricultural lands and the potential benefits of increased soil carbon on a landscape scale should be modelled. 

3. Research and testing for Manitoba producers needs to be conducted within Manitoba to quantify the amount of carbon sequestered across a variety of landscapes using forage and grasslands as well as cover crops and perennial stages in crop rotation. 

4. Reward or compensation should be provided for producers who are able to retain or restore forages and grasslands and/or manage their soils to store and sequester carbon via incentive programs such as Alternative Land Use Services. This also applies to any other ecosystem services (water retention, flood prevention, biodiversity, etc.) that forages, grasslands and soils provide to society from Manitoba's agricultural lands. 

5. The MFGA Aquanty Project Model for the Assiniboine River Basin should be used to run simulations for demonstrating the role that organic carbon stored under forages and grasslands plays in flood and drought mitigation. The MFGA Aquanty Project is on schedule for completion March 2018.

6. Rotational grazing, cover crops and zero-till farming practices for soil health should continue to be supported and promoted by government and industry. 

7. An emphasis needs to be placed, in policy and public communications, on the positive linkages of livestock production, well-managed grasslands and sustainably-managed crop lands to soil health, carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services. 
Published in Corporate News
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) has released a report that outlines the potential for expanding trade in China: a market that accounted for $5.6 billion in Canadian agri-food and agri-food exports last year. China is Canada’s second-largest two-way trading partner (after the U.S.) and is projected to be the world’s largest agri-food importer by 2021.

The report, entitled “Chasing China - Expanding Canada’s Agri-Food Exports to China,” describes the growing opportunity in the country for Canada’s agri-food exports. Currently, agri-food exports to China are already significant – China demands one third of Canada’s canola exports and represents an important market for soybeans, pulses, wheat, barley, beef and pork.

Despite the large and growing demand for Canadian agri-food products in China, the report points out that Canadian exporters continue to face serious barriers that are hampering growth. For example, tariffs and non-tariff barriers reduce the range of products that can be exported and raise uncertainty for exporting businesses.

While overcoming the barriers will be tough for many agri-food commodities and value-added food products Chinese production can’t keep up with demand and there are opportunities to improve trade.

Tariff elimination and tariff quota expansion for wheat, barley, pulses, soybean, canola as well as sugar and sugar-containing products would provide opportunity for the Canadian industry. In some cases, Canada faces a significant trade imbalance with China, particularly in value-added prepared foods and is at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries like Australia who have signed free trade agreements.

The full report can be found here.
Published in Imports/Exports
A report released this month by Purdue University predicts farmland values in Indiana this year will tumble 8.2 to 8.7 per cent, a decline that comes on top of a state wide decline of farmland values in 2015 of about five per cent.

Ontario farmland has increased in value every year since 1988 and land appraisers have predicted 2016 will continue the streak with prices rising another two to four per cent.

“Part of it is there is a lot more urban pressure in Ontario than there is in most geographies in the U.S.,” said Peter Johnson, a London-area agronomist with Real Agriculture. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
CALGARY -- India has rejected a long-standing exemption on pest treatment for peas and lentils in a blow to Canada's top export market for the crops.

Federal Agriculture Minister spokesman Guy Gallant confirmed the Indian government has not granted another six-month exemption that would have crops fumigated on arrival, rather than before export, as has been allowed for more than a decade.

The decision puts Canada's pulse exports to the country, worth $1.1-billion in 2016 and $1.5-billion in 2015, in jeopardy because the required treatment of methyl bromide doesn't work in the cold and also is being phased out because it's damaging to the ozone layer. | READ MORE
Published in Pulses
With this week’s release of the federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth's (ACEG) second wave of recommendations, it has identified the Canadian agriculture and food sector as a key economic priority.

In the report “The Pathway to Prosperity,” the Economic Council identified a number of different sectors that have the potential for significant growth and job creation in Canada, including agriculture, advanced manufacturing and life sciences. The report recommends that the government and private sector work together to conduct a detailed review of each sector, assessing its strengths, barriers to growth and policy initiatives to overcome the barriers.

The report said agri-food is one of Canada's largest economic sectors, providing 2.1 million jobs and contributing 6.7 per cent of GDP.

With an annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent during the last five years, agri-food companies have outpaced most other sectors of the economy.

To kick off the work, the Economic Council recommends the food and agriculture sector as the first to undergo the detailed sectoral analysis.

The report also recommended more growth-capital financing to small- and medium-sized companies looking for funds to expand. Historically, Canada has experienced a "market failure" for accessing risk capital for commercialization projects that drive innovation and growth.
Published in Corporate News
Co-op, one of the largest agricultural retailers in Western Canada, is partnering with farm management company Decisive Farming to provide growers with precision agriculture, crop marketing and data management services.

The move allows 125 Co-op Agro Centres to deliver new, high-value services with Decisive Farming’s technology and service platforms.

Decisive Farming’s patented flagship product, Optimize RX, uses soil analysis and GIS mapping to help farmers efficiently seed and fertilize their crops, maximizing yield and return on investment.

The company’s cloud-based software app, My Farm Manager, connects key service providers, sensors and data, helping users manage and optimize their entire farming operation.

With on-farm data provided in near real-time, growers can capitalize on opportunities to farm more efficiently, while providing upstream traceability reporting and improving environmental, social and economic sustainability. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced nearly $7.7 million in funding for 46 crop-related research projects through the province’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

“Research in agriculture is the key to maintaining a competitive edge, and that’s why the federal government, in partnership with provinces and agriculture organizations, invests in research," MacAulay said. "These millions of dollars invested into crops research in Saskatchewan over the years will help create growth and put more money in the pockets of farmers within the sector."

The 46 projects receiving funding this year include research on:

·      Improving plant breeding technology specifically to test for DON toxins that are the result of Fusarium head blight infection in wheat.

·      Optimizing loss-sensing technology on farm equipment to minimize losses at harvest.

·      Development of a pulse-based replacement for shortening that can be used in baked goods, to name a few.

The ADF announcement leverages significant funding from industry partners, on top of government funding.  A total of almost $3.7 million is being committed from partner organizations that include Western Grains Research Foundation, SaskPulse, SaskCanola, SaskFlax, Sask Wheat and Alberta Wheat Commission.

ADF funding is part of the $26.8 million the Government of Saskatchewan committed to agriculture research for 2016-17.  Funding for ADF projects is provided under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

For more information, and to see a complete list of funded projects, visit saskatchewan.ca
Published in Corporate News
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has announced a new mission for 2017: “Farms and Food Forever.” This new mission statement will build on current advocacy work and focus on growth in the farming community across rural Ontario, including the need for affordable, accessible energy – including natural gas.

Agriculture has an important role in climate change, and the OFA is advocating for the sector to mitigate impacts as they participate in the Climate Change Action Plan. Also, the OFA is preparing to work on new legislation, like the Waste Free Ontario Act, which will reduce waste and the dependence on rural landfills.

The work on regulations is ongoing. There’s a push for a more effective regulatory system for the agriculture sector. Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, Brad Duguid, has emphasized his parliamentary assistant will pursue Burden Reduction legislation (Bill 218) to modernize and update legislation.

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal, reinforces the need for effective programs and services to rural communities. Other priorities include the importance of economic growth, which will include investing in better infrastructure, affordable education and a competitive low-carbon economy.

For more information, visit ofa.on.ca.
Published in Corporate News
While North American farmers are in the process of wrapping up a fourth-straight bumper harvest, according to the BMO 2016 North American Agriculture Report, foreign exchange developments have yielded very different experiences for producers in Canada and the United States.

"In the United States, the lofty greenback, which has gained 20 per cent on a trade-weighted basis since the start of 2014, has been yet another bearish factor for crop prices and revenue," said Aaron Goertzen, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Canadian producers, in contrast, have benefitted from a drop in the loonie, which is down 17 per cent against the U.S. dollar since the start of 2014 and has provided a like-sized lift to crop prices north of the border."

Mr. Goertzen added that as a result of the weaker loonie, domestic crop prices in Canada are 18 per cent below all-time highs – compared to nearly 30 per cent in the United States – and have risen five per cent from their recent low in mid-2014. The lower loonie has been a particularly fortunate development given the country's mediocre crop yields over the past few years.

Canadian Outlook
In Canada, composite crop yields, which consist of corn, soybeans, wheat and canola, picked up modestly on last year's subpar result. However, they remained on-trend overall as a near-record crop of canola on the prairies was offset by a decrease in corn and soybean yields in Ontario.

"Canadian producers have undoubtedly been supported by the weaker loonie," said Adam Vervoort, Head of Agriculture Banking, BMO Financial Group. "This means now, with extra capital available, is an ideal time to invest in technology, which is driving the current string of bumper crops we've seen on a North American scale."

He added, "Those producers who have adopted modern agricultural practices, particularly in the corn space, have grown trend crop yields substantially. There's still room for autonomous, satellite-informed equipment to be refined and used, as the innovation trend shows no sign of slowing down."

Producers in Canada's Western regions, namely Alberta and Saskatchewan, have experienced a more difficult season impacted by weather challenges since October that have delayed their harvest timeline. However, the prairies remain on track for a near-record crop of canola.

Mr. Vervoort affirmed that producers in the West could have potentially seen stronger results weather permitting, but have managed to still sustain a decent crop turnaround. "The harvest conditions have not been ideal, but we continue to work with farmers negatively impacted by adverse weather."

While Canadian producers benefitted from a timely fall in the loonie that lifted crop prices north of the border, it also raised the cost of internationally-priced inputs like energy and fertilizer. Most producers face a wide variety of Canadian dollar-dominated expenses though, so margins have ultimately benefitted on balance.

From mid-2014 to early this year, the weaker Canadian dollar also caused food prices to inflate four per cent yearly. Consumers have been somewhat relieved as a result of the partial bounce-back of the dollar in the latter half of the year and a decrease in livestock prices.
Published in Markets
The number of students studying in agriculture or ag-related programs continues to grow, as Statistics Canada data reveals there were a total of 12,168 students enrolled in these programs in 2014, a 2.7-per-cent increase from the previous year and a 16.6-per-cent overall increase from 2009-10.
Published in Corporate News
Labour shortages in Canada’s agriculture sector have doubled over the last decade and are projected to double again to 113,800 positions before 2025, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.
Published in Business & Policy
Despite some headwinds on the trade front, Canada’s export-oriented agriculture industry is poised for growth in 2017 and the years ahead, thanks to the sector’s slow but steady gains in productivity, says J.P. Gervais, chief agricultural economist with Farm Credit Canada (FCC). | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News

FMC of Canada has announced a new expanded label for Authority 480 herbicide. The new label features more registered weeds and additional crops, according to a press release.

The weeds include eastern black nightshade, a particularly troublesome weed for identity preserved (IP) soybeans, and common waterhemp – the newest glyphosate-resistant weed in Eastern Canada. There are 13 weeds on the new expanded label, such as red root pigweed, lamb’s-quarters, wild buckwheat, eastern black nightshade, common waterhemp, yellow woodsorrel, common groundsel, cleavers (suppression), Powell pigweed and common purslane.

Authority offers a new group 14 weed control option for group 2 and glyphosate resistant weeds. 

Several new specialty horticulture crops have also been added to the Authority herbicide label, including chickpeas, field pea, flax and sunflowers. 

Published in Herbicides
As part of the regular review process, Health Canada has completed its re-evaluation of imidacloprid, and has published its draft risk assessment for public comment. The assessment proposes current use of imidacloprid is not sustainable, and the levels of this pesticide that are being found in waterways and aquatic environments are harmful to aquatic insects, such as mayflies and midges, which are important food sources for fish, birds and other animals.
Published in Insecticides
The Canadian Grain Commission has announced grading changes to Canadian fababeans, chickpeas and wheat. 

As of July 1, 2017, all grades of fababeans will have an ergot tolerance of 0.05 per cent in Eastern Canada. In Western Canada, all grades of fababeans and chickpeas will have an ergot tolerance of 0.05 per cent as of August 1, 2017. Ergot is a cereal disease that is toxic to people and animals. Ergot does not occur in these crops, but cross-contamination can occur during handling. Adding a tolerance for ergot in fababeans and chickpeas will help guarantee the safety of Canadian grain. A tolerance of 0.05 per cent is consistent with the other pulses in the Official Grain Grading Guide.


The tolerance for grasshopper and army worm damage in No. 3 Canada Western Red Spring, No. 3 Canada Western Hard White Spring and No. 3 Canada Northern Hard Red wheat will be tightened from eight per cent to six per cent, effective August 1, 2017. The tolerance for grasshopper and army worm damage was tightened after research showed that eight per cent grasshopper and army worm damage can impact end-use functionality.

These changes are based on recommendations made to the Canadian Grain Commission by the Eastern Standards Committee and the Western Standards Committee at their meetings in November. The Canadian Grain Commission also reiterated its commitment to continuing to evaluate new technologies for objectively assessing grain for factors such as deoxynivalenol (DON).
Published in Pulses
Bayer has launched ILeVO seed treatment, the first soybean seed treatment registered for Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in Canada. 

SDS is caused by Fusarium virguliforme. This fungal pathogen overwinters on crop residue and is occurring more frequently in fields across Ontario. Difficult to identify and often misdiagnosed, the disease results in average annual yield loss of about 20 per cent, but can cause losses of up to 60 per cent in a growing season, according to a press release from Bayer. To date, there have been no seed treatment solutions available for SDS in Canada. 

ILeVO has activity on the Fusarium virguliforme fungus. The company says the effectiveness of the product has been demonstrated through field trials in the U.S. and Canada over the past five years, including third-party trials with OMAFRA and the University of Guelph. 

A feature unique to ILeVO which signals a successful application is the “halo effect,” which is often visible on the edges of the cotyledons of a treated plant. 

For more information regarding ILeVO, growers are encouraged to talk to their local seed companies and retailers or visit cropscience.bayer.ca/ILeVO
Published in Seed Treatment
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