Environment Protection
The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan launched a new updated design for its online tool, the Webbook, which allows producers to complete an environmental farm plan online.
Published in Corporate News
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership has granted $500,000 for The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) staff and local certified crop advisors to work closely with landowners and plant cover crops within a subwatershed of Medway Creek in southwestern Ontario.
Published in Agronomy
Plant health partners in Canada, from industry associations to academia, come together to establish the Canadian Plant Health Council to collectively address evolving risks to plant and animal resources.
Published in Corporate News
According to David Lobb, best management practices for soil health might actually have a negative impact on water quality, because any extra phosphorus stored in residue on the soil surface can potentially move into waterways in runoff events.
Published in Soil
Health Canada has announced its plan to phase out most uses of the neonicotinoids clothianidin and thiamethoxam, citing that the two insecticides are being measured at levels harmful to aquatic insects.
Published in Insecticides
With the launch of the new Ontario 4R Certification program, a toolkit has been created to help agri-retailers align their businesses with the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship – a Canadian-made program that encourages growers to use the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, right time and in the right place.
Published in Corporate News
Cutworms are a complex of several pest species that affect multiple crops grown in Canada. A few species can cause economic damage in cereal and oilseed field crops. Researchers are working to find efficient monitoring tools that can determine distribution of cutworms and alert growers to impending outbreaks, while excluding bee pollinators.
Published in Insect Pests
Reducing natural habitats in order to create more acres of farmland may become a regretful practice with negative consequences – including reducing the yield potential of canola and other oilseeds, says Melanie Dubois, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) from the Brandon, Man., Research and Development Centre. Dubois recently finished her second field season of a three-year project.
Published in Canola
A seed treatment is a vital and effective product, so long as it stays on the seeds where it can do its work. When it is released into the surrounding environment, however, it can cause significant political and environmental concern.
Published in Seed Treatment
The Government of Saskatchewan recently approved a new recycling program for agricultural grain bags. The program, set to launch this month, provides a responsible option for producers to return these large, heavy bags for recycling and to prevent environmental harm from open burning or improper disposal.

The recycling program will be operated by Cleanfarms, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization, and regulated by The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations, which came into effect in July 2016.

With the assistance of funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cleanfarms will establish 20 grain bag collection sites in 2018, with more sites planned for 2019.

The Ministry of Agriculture funded a grain bag recycling pilot program from 2011 to 2017, operated by Simply Agriculture Solutions. Through the program, 4,209 metric tonnes of material was shipped to recyclers – equivalent to approximately 28,000 grain bags.

The new program will include an environmental handling fee of $0.25 per kilogram, which will be paid at the point of purchase effective November 1, 2018.
Published in Storage & Transport
More than 75 people gathered to honour fifth generation farmers, Brooks & Jen White of Borderland Agriculture of Pierson, Man., as Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018. The winners were announced at the Manitoba regional event held at the Fort Garry in Winnipeg on March 3.

Brooks and Jen White were proud to take over the family grain farm and bison ranch in 2012 located in SW Manitoba. Their farm name, Borderland Agriculture, represents the boundaries of their farmland with the southern edge resting on the US border and the western side creeping into Saskatchewan.

By implementing their vision statement of “Regenerate”, they have taken an approach towards regenerative agriculture. They focus on regenerating their soil by promoting environmental growth, through their regenerative production system. They also regenerate their business by following their business plans while continuing their education to improve their operation. Finally, they regenerate agriculture by contributing back to the agricultural community through industry groups as well as their local community wherever they can.

Brooks and Jen’s goal for the future is growth in terms of integration and profitability rather than size. They feel there is value to be found in multiple profit centres from the same acres so they are integrating their bison herd more with their crop land. This improves their soil health while at the same time growing better crops and healthier, more productive bison with their main goal being grazing bison for 365 days a year.

The Manitoba Region of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program welcomed Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Dori Gingera in attendance to honour two couples at their 2018 Regional Event. The couples recognized were:

Amy & Jamie Bell- Birtle, Man.
And winners Brooks & Jen White-Pierson, Man.

About Outstanding Young Farmers' program
Celebrating 38 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018 will be chosen at the National Event in Winnipeg, MB from November 29 – December 3, 2018.
Published in Corporate News
For Dan Breen, soil is a living, active bio-system that needs protecting. It’s like the “skin” of the earth, he believes, and much like people cover their bare skin when going outside in the winter, fields too need covering to protect them from the elements.

The third generation Middlesex County dairy farmer, who farms with his wife, daughter and son-in-law near Putnam, has been named the 2018 Soil Champion by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). The award is handed out annually to recognize leaders in sustainable soil management.

Breen had just bought the 100-acre family farm from his parents in late 1989 when he faced a major decision: replace the operation’s worn-out tillage equipment or come up with a different strategy.

A chance encounter introduced him to an emerging new cropping system—and in spring 1990, Breen made his first attempt at no-till, planting 40 acres of corn with a used two-row planter he’d modified. He’s been gradually growing his farming business ever since, today farming 300 owned and 500 rented acres.

“I treat the rented acres like the ones I own and that’s crucial. It’s all about stewardship so whether you own or rent, you have the responsibility to do the best things you can,” he says. “Nature is in balance and we mess up that balance with excessive tillage, taking out too many nutrients, or not providing biodiversity, so we need to provide a stable environment as we go about our farming practices.”

His typical rotation involves corn, soybeans, wheat, and cover crops, which he started planting 12 years ago. About 100 acres are rotated through alfalfa and manure is spread between crops when favourable soil and weather conditions allow.

“The only acreage that doesn’t have year-round living and growing crop is grain corn ground. I try to keep everything green and growing all the time and never have bare ground,” he says, following the motto, keep it covered, keep it green, keep it growing.

According to Breen, no single activity will result in healthy soil and there’s no set recipe for farmers to follow due to the variability of soil type, topography and climate. Instead, it’s important to consider what crop is being grown, what it needs, and what the nutrient levels and biological activity of the soil are.

“A true no-till system is more than just not tilling, it is biodiversity, water retention, and nutrient cycling,” he says. “When I first started no-till, it was just to eliminate tillage, now it is to build a whole nutrient system—cover crops weren’t even on the radar when I started farming.”

One of the pillars of his soil success over the years has been a willingness to try new things—as long as they support the goal of building stronger, more stable soil—and adapting to what a growing season brings.

To other farmers considering a switch to no-till, Breen recommends perseverance to keep going when success looks doubtful, strength to resist naysayers, and starting the transition gradually, such as with no-till soybeans after corn, and then no-till wheat after soybeans.

“It’s a considerable honour and it’s humbling to win this award. It’s not something I was looking to achieve—I do what I do because I love it,” he says. “As a farmer, I’ve had an opportunity to be a caretaker of this land, but I only have tenure for a blip in history. I hope I leave it in better shape than when I found it—and I hope my daughter and son-in-law will do the same thing.”
Published in Soil
The Manitoba government has launched a consultation focused on agricultural Crown lands, to ensure upcoming policy changes reflect the views of the livestock industry while improving fairness and transparency in the system, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler has announced.

A consultation document released today highlights a number of areas to provide input on including:
• possible limits on how much agricultural Crown land a person or farm entity can hold under a lease or permit,
• what additional eligibility criteria should be considered to hold a lease or permit,
• design considerations of a forage tendering process, and
• appropriate terms for the length of forage leases and renewable permits.

The public consultation document is available online at gov.mb.ca/agriculture under Surveys and Consultations. The deadline to submit comments is April 6.

The new Agricultural Crown Lands Leases and Permits Regulation was introduced in December 2017 and deals with forage leases, hay and grazing permits, and cropping leases. As of Jan. 1, agricultural Crown lands for grazing and haying will be made available through a tendering system, consistent with how these lands are accessed for other uses such as growing crops.

The minister noted the system will ensure prices paid by producers for these leases and permits will more accurately reflect their market value. He added the shift to a tendering system for all agricultural Crown lands is expected to be in place for fall 2018.
Published in Corporate News
PartnerRe Ltd. today announced an innovative deal with Farmers Edge, a global leader in decision agriculture, that will help insurers to close the insurance gap among farmers across all continents.

This exclusive, four-year agreement between Farmers Edge and PartnerRe brings together precision farming technology and agriculture insurance in a landmark deal that will fundamentally advance the $5 trillion global food and agriculture industry.

Under the terms of the agreement, PartnerRe and Farmers Edge will jointly develop new agriculture insurance products in main crop growing areas worldwide, aimed at addressing the specific needs and challenges of farmers.

For farmers, the insurance product with integrated precision-farming capabilities will improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operations, and will enable them to obtain insurance, which is customized to their individual needs and parameters. Insurers will also benefit from a more efficient loss adjustment process.

The Farmers Edge platform is a comprehensive turnkey system that includes: variable rate technology, soil sampling and analysis, field-centric weather monitoring, in-field telematics and data transfer, daily satellite imagery, data analytics, predictive modelling, access to integrated farm management platform and real boots on the ground. Leading the development and application of new technologies on the farm, Farmers Edge allows farmers to collect, store and transfer data, enabling them to make advanced management decisions and measure results.
Published in Corporate News
Bees can provide a helping hand to farmers with a new green technology to fight against major fungal diseases such as sunflower head rot and grey mould.
Published in Diseases
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
Published in Seed Treatment
Overshadowed by variable rate nitrogen (N), variable rate phosphate (P) is coming to the forefront to help farmers get the biggest bang for the fertilizer dollar, as soils on the Prairies continue to decline in P fertility.
Back for its third year, the Grassland Stewardship Program (GSP) will begin accepting applications in early January 2018.

The program supports on-farm conservation activities that benefit Bobolink and other grassland birds at risk, and is piloting the use of Conservation Agreements. GSP is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) and is funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of their Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) initiative.

The Bobolink is a ground-nesting grassland bird that can be found in hay and pasture fields across Ontario. It has been designated as a species at risk both provincially and federally due to its rapidly declining population. “Farmers’ stewardship actions are critical to the survival of Bobolink, which depends to a great extent on farmland for habitat” said Andréa Dubé-Goss, Environmental Programs Manager at OSCIA. “GSP provides funding to support farmers’ efforts to protect and restore agricultural grassland habitat.”

GSP supports four best management practices that play a key role in maintaining Bobolink and other grassland bird habitat, which includes both tame and native hayfields and pastures. Supported practices include: Control of Encroaching Trees and Shrubs through Mowing, Grassland Restoration, Incorporating Delayed Grazing into Rotational Grazing Systems, and Forage Harvest Management (Delayed Haying).

The SARPAL initiative is piloting the use of Conservation Agreements as a mechanism for supporting species at risk recovery through habitat protection on private agricultural lands. Program participants are required to sign a Conservation Agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Producers who wish to participate can apply online or on paper during two application submission periods:
  • Intake 1: January 10 – February 1, 2018
  • Intake 2: April 9 – May 1, 2018
Projects must be carried out between January 1 and December 15, 2018. The maximum funding available through GSP is $20,000 per farm business. For full program details, please visit: www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/sarpal/gsp.
Published in Corporate News
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.
Published in Herbicides
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
Published in Insecticides
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