Production
Join us March 13, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern for an interactive webinar for updates on a special crop sequencing study in Saskatchewan.
Published in Webinars
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.
Published in Consumer Issues
Imagine being able to harvest an extra eight to 10 bushels per acre of soybeans without spending another dime. According to Kris Ehler, a seed agronomist with Ehler Bros. Seed, a family-owned business based near Thomasboro, Illinois, all you have to do is plant soybeans early.

Ehler Bros. Seed has been doing early planting soybean trials since 2009. Although the Feb. 22 planting date the company experimented with this past season may sound a little extreme, Ehler advocates planting full-season soybeans (normally groups 3.5 to 4.2, with 4.7 soybeans tossed in this year) no later than the end of April. For the full story, click here

RELATED: Dating decisions - How critical is soil temperature for soybean planting date decisions?
Published in Soybeans
A pilot project connecting Prince Edward Islanders in need of jobs with work on farms has had an added bonus.

The Harvest and Prosper Project ended in December, but some of the participants have been offered full-time employment this winter, helping fill a void on P.E.I. farms.

The Harvest and Prosper project helped newcomers, people on social assistance or disability support, to find short-term work in the agriculture industry without affecting any benefits they were receiving. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
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.
Published in Imports/Exports
The tariffs India imposed on imports of pulse crops last fall are expected to affect how much land Canadian farmers seed this year.

The Asian country is charging a 50 per cent duty on pea imports and 30 per cent on chickpeas and lentils.

Dan Mazier of Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers points out that India is the biggest importer of Canada’s pulse crops, so the tariffs are bound to have an impact.

Simon Ellis, co-owner of Ellis Seeds in Wawanesa, Man., says sales for seeds have already noticeably dropped and he expects fewer hectares to be planted in the spring. For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in Pulses
Canada’s agriculture industry should still be able to meet a Liberal target that calls on the sector to grow its exports to $75 billion by 2025 — despite ongoing uncertainty about this country’s key trading markets, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay says.

The $75 billion export target was included in the Liberals’ 2017 federal budget, which flagged the agriculture sector as one of a handful the government felt could spur future economic growth. Currently, Canadian agriculture exports hover around $55 billion. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
Canola Performance Trial (CPT) results for 2017 are loaded into the online searchable database at canolaperformancetrials.ca. Canola growers can use this valuable online tool to finalize seed decisions for 2018.

CPTs compare leading canola varieties in small-plot and field-scale trials. With the tool, growers can filter results to province, season zone and herbicide-tolerance system. They can also search all varieties or do head-to-head comparisons of two or three varieties. With each search, days to maturity, height, lodging and yield results are provided in easy-to-compare graph format.

“What growers get from this site are independent, third-party data on new and familiar canola varieties – essential information in making variety choices,” says John Guelly, chair of the CPT Governance Committee.

The online tool also provides the option to compare varieties for a number of years. The CPT program has been running since 2011, and all data collected over the past seven years is available. For a compilation of 2011-16 data, the ‘Canola Variety Selection Guide: Featuring CPT Summary Data’ booklet is posted in the Trials Summaries section at canolaperformancetrials.ca.

CPT trials for 2017 also included field-scale comparisons of clubroot-resistant varieties and pod-shatter tolerant varieties in straight-combining trials. These results are available in the 2017 CPT data booklet, and will be added to the online database soon.

“I encourage growers to take some time over the winter to explore the site and read the summary booklets to make full use of all the work involved in generating this data,” says Guelly.

Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association funded the 2017 CPT program, along with contributions from the British Columbia Grain Producers Association. The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) delivers the program on their behalf.
Published in Canola
Canadian National Railway Co. will buy 200 locomotives in the next three years from General Electric Co., to support expected growth and drive efficiencies.

CN, Canada biggest railway operator, is extending a major hiring spree into 2018 as it scrambles to keep pace with demand and fill vacancies, aiming to add at least 2,000 more workers to the 3,500 it hired in 2017.

Montreal-based CN has been doing brisk business in Western Canada, hauling bumper crops and intermodal containers to port, and has seen soaring volume of sand shipped for use in fracking shale rock to produce oil and gas. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
A look at some of the new soybean varieties available to growers for the 2018 planting season.
Published in Soybeans
A look at some of the new corn varieties available to growers for the 2018 planting season. 
Published in Corn
When researchers at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) heard that some producers were looking toward the practice of straight cutting shatter-resistant canola varieties, they set out to find the true post-harvest comparison of straight cut or swath.
Published in Canola
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.
Published in Precision Ag
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.
Published in Imports/Exports
Canadian weather is less predictable than a two-year-old and just as destructive. Nobody appreciates that more than winter wheat growers in Western Canada in 2017. While they typically rely on good moisture conditions in late April, May and early June, they instead faced the first drought in many years over much of the Prairies. Fortunately, those growers and their winter wheat crops were up to the challenge.

“We didn’t necessarily have ideal conditions for winter wheat this year,” says Paul Thoroughgood, regional agrologist or the Prairie region for Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Western Winter Wheat Initiative. “That said, everyone I spoke to harvested average to above average crops and also saw less disease pressure due to low humidity.”

Given the conditions, the winter wheat results for Western Canada, according to Stats Canada – 535,000 acres seeded in fall 2016 (2017 crop) – represented something that farmers don’t often experience: a pleasant surprise. For the full story, click here.

RELATED: Winter wheat and cover crops for improved soil health
Published in Cereals
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.
Richardson International Limited is adding another crop inputs location to its growing network of retail crop inputs centres across the Prairies. The company recently announced the acquisition of Bestland Air Ltd., an independent crop inputs retailer located near Starbuck, Man. The transaction closed on Dec. 8, 2017.

“This business is an excellent addition to our Richardson Pioneer network as it will be an extension of our full-service Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centre in Starbuck,” says Tom Hamilton, vice-president, Agribusiness Operations. “It will provide us with additional capacity and enhance our ability to continue providing local producers with leading seed, fertilizer and crop inputs technologies.”

Richardson is focused on building its crop inputs network across Western Canada through both acquisitions and new builds. The company acquired 10 retail crop inputs locations from CHS Canada in October and purchased two independent, full-service retail crop inputs centres in Vermilion and Forestburg, Alta., last summer.

Richardson is also expanding its network by building new crop inputs facilities in strategic locations across the Prairies. Two new crop inputs centres opened in Elrose, Sask., last summer and in Pasqua, Sask., in November. A third new crops inputs facility is currently under construction in Wakaw, Sask., and will be open for business in 2018.
Published in Corporate News
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.”
Published in Storage & Transport
The highest recorded corn yield is 532 bushels per acre set by David Hula at Charles City, Virginia in 2015 in an annual contest conducted by the National Corn Growers Association in the United States. By comparison, the highest yield in 2016 in Manitoba Corn Growers Association’s annual yield contest was 274 bushels per acre (bu/ac) set by the Baker Colony at MacGregor, Man. Both impressive yields indeed, given growing conditions at those locations. But how can new corn growers reach those yields?
Published in Corn
Flea beetles (Phyllotreta spp.) in canola and cutworms continued to be at economical levels in many areas of Manitoba in 2017. Aphids were at high levels and resulted in insecticide applications in small grain cereals, field peas and soybeans.

Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) were controlled in many canola fields. Bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) got to economic levels in some canola fields in Western Manitoba. Alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) was at high levels in many alfalfa fields. Thistle caterpillars (Vanessa cardui) caused concern in some soybean and sunflower fields.

'Summary of Insects on Crops in Manitoba in 2017' is a report based on observations from John Gavloski, Ph.D., entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture, as well as his summer students, observations and reports from agronomists, farmers, farm production extension specialists, and extension co-ordinators. To read the full report, click here
Published in Insect Pests
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