Grain Growers of Canada Welcomes New Vice President and Members

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Scientists have developed a sensitive new tool for identifying the fungus that causes “wheat blast,” an emerging disease of the important grain crop. Photo: ARS

Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is pleased to announce that four new members have joined the organization, bringing total membership to 16 national, regional and provincial grower groups. The announcement was made at the organization’s semi-annual Board meeting on Aug. 1, 2018 in Guelph, ON.

New members include:

  • Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO)
  • Producteurs de grains du Québec (PGQ)
  • Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SaskPulse)
  • Manitoba Oat Growers Association (MOGA)

“An expanded GGC means a stronger voice for grain farmers in Ottawa,” said GGC President, Jeff Nielsen. “Grain farmers are driving economic growth across Canada and by working together we can help deliver the conditions that Canada’s hard-working middle class grain farmers need to continue that growth.”

At the same meeting, the GGC Board elected Markus Haerle, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, as the organization’s new Vice President. Mr. Haerle is replacing Art Enns of the Prairie Oat Growers Association who stepped down from the position at the meeting.

“I am delighted to take on this role and help lead GGC into the future,” said Mr. Haerle. “The need for meaningful market access, reliable risk management programs and regulations that encourage growth is shared by farmers across Canada and we can help meet those needs with a united voice in Ottawa.”

At a time when grain farmers are increasingly challenged by trade volatility, policy priorities for GGC include expanded international trade including the quick ratification of CPTPP, the successful implementation of the Transportation Modernization Act, and a comprehensive review of business risk management programming that delivers programs that work for farmers.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Keep it Clean and Pre-Harvest Intervals

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A reminder from the Alberta Pulse Growers about pre-harvest intervals and the Keep it Clean campaign. Nevin Rosaasen, policy and program specialist with Alberta Pulse, explains the initiative.“Keep it Clean is an information campaign for producers who are using crop protection products, so we can maintain market access to the different countries where our crops are ultimately exported,” says Rosaasen.

With harvest season right around the corner, Rosaasen says that producers will be looking at their options for either pre-harvest weed control or a desiccation product.

“Producers need to be aware of market risks that can exist due to maximum residue limits. They ultimately have to observe the label, and they need to make sure the timing of their application is indeed correct with the label’s application guidelines. Producers also need to ensure they adhere to the pre-harvest interval which is the time from applying a product until it is either swathed or combined.”

More than 85 per cent of Canada’s pulse production is exported around the world. Market Considerations for Use of Pulse Crop Protection Products found on keepingitclean.ca under pulse crops is published quarterly to inform pulse producers of the latest information concerning crop protection products and market access.


Rosaasen adds that a spray to swath calculator for pulse crops is being developed, similar to what now exists for canola crops. “For all the different products including late season fungicides, you can enter the product in on your smart phone. You can look at what the pre-harvest interval is, whether you are swathing to put the crop into windrows for additional dry down or straight cut harvesting for pulse crops, cereals, and canola.”

Keep it Clean is a cross Canada working group, involving Canola Council of Canada, Pulse Canada, Cereals Canada, Prairie Oat Growers Association, and Barley Council of Canada.

For more information about pre-harvest intervals in Alberta pulse crops, contact Nevin Rosaasen.

Companies Invited to Canada Food Expo Japan and Korea 2018

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Alberta food and beverage producers are invited to participate in the Canada Food Expo, taking place in Japan and Korea from October 1 to 9, 2018.

The mission will include visits to Osaka and Tokyo, Japan as well as Seoul, South Korea to provide food and beverage companies with an opportunity to advance their export interests in these markets. An optional health ingredients-focused program will take place in Sapporo, Japan prior to the tabletop program.

What is the Canada Food Expo tabletop event?

Canada Food Expo is a traveling trade show event held in Osaka, Tokyo and Seoul. This initiative is designed to provide a cost-effective opportunity for export-ready, small and medium-sized food and beverage producers to showcase their products to Japanese and Korean businesses.

Japanese and Korean food and beverage buyers, importers, wholesalers and distributors will be invited to view and sample Canadian products and meet with exhibitors. In addition to the one-day tabletop event in each of the three cities, Japan and Korea-specific exporter training and market tours will be arranged.

This mission will provide opportunity to showcase your products, meet face-to-face with potential buyers, test the response to your products, and learn more about export opportunities in the Japan and South Korea markets.

Why attend the Canada Food Expo?

Japan and South Korea are important overseas markets for Canadian agriculture, food and beverages. Japan has the world’s third-largest economy, a large population and is heavily reliant on agriculture and agri-food imports, making it a high priority market for Canada. Japan is Canada’s third-largest export market for agri-food and seafood products, worth about $4.2 billion in 2017. Likewise, South Korea imports over 70 per cent of its food consumption requirements, relying on imports to satisfy consumer demand for greater food variety, lower prices, and convenience food products. Canada exported $652.3 million in agri-food and seafood products to South Korea in 2017.

The Supermarket Trade Show, coordinated by the New Supermarket Association of Japan (NSAJ), is a key opportunity for exporters targeting the Japanese retail, wholesale, ready meal and foodservice industry. This is an important tradeshow for companies whose products are already present in Japan, and who are looking to expand their reach in the market. The Embassy of Canada to Tokyo is a sub-member of the NSAJ, and can facilitate advance access to apply for the show for Canadian companies wishing to purchase their own booth space. There may also be opportunities to showcase Alberta products already present in the Japanese market via an information booth, without company travel to Japan.

Learn more about the Canada Food Expo and find the downloadable application form under Events. Deadline to apply is August 3, 2018. For more information, contact Katie Meredith, trade and relations officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry at 780-427-6057.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Grain Grading and Variety Designation Changes come into Effect on August 1

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The Canadian Grain Commission would like to remind grain producers and industry of changes to the Official Grain Grading Guide and variety designation lists coming into effect on August 1, 2018.

Beginning in the 2018-19 crop year, individual official standard samples will be used to assess frost, heat stress and mildew damage in western Canadian wheat. An updated version of the Official Grain Grading Guide will be available on the Canadian Grain Commission’s website on August 1, 2018.

New variety designation lists will also come into effect on August 1, 2018. Following a 3 year transition period, 25 varieties of Canada Western Red Spring and 4 varieties of Canada Prairie Spring Red wheat that do not meet the revised quality parameters for their current classes will be reassigned to the Canada Northern Hard Red class. These changes will help maintain Canada’s reputation as a consistent supplier of high quality milling wheat and ensure Canadian producers are able to realize the benefits of growing premium classes.

Quick facts

  • Under the Canada Grain Act, the Canadian Grain Commission is responsible for establishing and maintaining Canada’s grain grading system.
  • As the federal agency responsible for ensuring grain quality, the Canadian Grain Commission’s role is to ensure that varieties assigned to wheat classes reflect the end-use functionality needs of buyers of Canadian grain.

Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Tracking Survey Results

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The 2018 Environmentally Sustainability Agriculture Tracking Survey Final Report is now available. This survey measures Alberta producers’ awareness of, and their adoption of environmentally sustainable agriculture (ESA) practices with eight agri-environmental risk areas.

In January 2018, 500 farmers and ranchers across Alberta answered a telephone survey about the use of ESA practices on their operations, their awareness and use of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) decision making support tools and resources. For the first time, the survey also asked their perspective and attitudes towards sustainability and industry-led sustainability initiatives.

Every two years AF sponsors a farm-level survey to track changes in adoption of ESA practices in the province. The survey results provide valuable information about its progress in Alberta and helps AF efforts to improve these programs and activities to encourage producers to adopt ESA practices.

Find more information on AF’s Environmental Stewardship webpage.

Source: The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry 

Event: Netherlands as Gateway to the European Union

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Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) is organizing an educational session that will provide an overview of opportunities for Alberta value-added agri-food exporters interested in the European Union, with a special focus on the Netherlands market. This session will take place Thursday, August 9, 2018 from 10 a.m. to noon, at the J.G. O’Donoghue Building, 7000 – 113 Street in Edmonton.

Netherlands is the seventh largest economy in the EU and a major transportation and distribution center for Europe. It is estimated that half of all goods that are exported to the EU enter through the ports of Rotterdam – the largest port in Europe, Amsterdam, and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

The Netherlands imported CAD $38 million agri-food products from Alberta in 2017, including prepared animal foods ($10.7 million), bovine semen ($10.5 million), wheat ($7.7 million) and beef ($6.2 million).

“While the EU is an important market for commodity exports, it is one of the few markets in the world where Canada can grow exports of value-added products” – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

This interactive session will provide an overview of:

    • Netherlands as gateway to the EU.
    • The supermarket landscape and distribution channels in the Netherlands.
    • Specific products and price competition.
    • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and European Union refresher.
    • Alberta trade mission to Netherlands from October 15-19, 2018.

Henk ten Wolde, owner of DWCC Dutch Western Canada Connection is the presenter.

Space is limited and RSVP is required for this free session. A dial in option will be available for those companies not able to attend in person.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Dusan Rnjak, trade development officer with AF, at 780-913-8583.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Alberta to Launch Products to Markets and Value Added Products to Markets Programs

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Two programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) will be launched this week from the Product, Market Growth and Diversification theme.

Products to Markets

Growing Alberta’s agricultural industries is the goal of this program. It supports the development of new products and/or processes, commercialization of products in new markets, and expansion into local, domestic and international markets. This program is first come, first served, subject to the eligibility criteria. It has a grant maximum of $50,000 per applicant per fiscal year.

This program is open to bio-industrial processors, food processors, industry organizations, new entrants, and producers who are adding value past the primary agricultural production or involved in international market development activities.

Learn more about Products to Markets.

Value Added Products to Markets

The purpose of this program is to support the growth of Alberta’s value-added food processors and bio-industrial processors. It supports projects that enable businesses to grow through increased sales related to the development of new products, adoption of state-of-the-art processes, and commercialization of products in new markets. It also supports expansion into local, domestic, and international markets.

This program is open to bio-Industrial processors and food processors only. It is for grant support between $50,000 and $500,000. This program is merit based, meaning the applications will be assessed based on the program assessment criteria listed in the program’s terms and conditions. Applications will be accepted by scheduled intake periods posted on the website.

Learn more about Value Added Products to Markets.

In Alberta, this partnership represents a federal – provincial investment of $406 million in strategic programs and initiatives for the agricultural sector. Products to Markets and Value Added Products to Markets are two of the 15 programs that will be offered in Alberta through the Partnership funding.

Find more information about the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in Alberta at cap.alberta.ca. Email [email protected] for inquiries concerning Product to Markets and Value Added Product to Markets.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Nitrate Accumulation in Hailed Out Crops

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Hail storms travelling across the province this time of year are definitely not unusual. Subsequent damage to annual and perennial crops can be minimal or complete destruction depending on their severity. Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, explains what to consider when salvaging damaged cereal, oilseed, or hay crops after a hail event to avoid problems with nitrate accumulation.

“Nitrate accumulation occurs in a plant when it is injured and is not able to convert nitrate to protein efficiently after a hail storm,” explains Yaremcio. “In non-legume crops, water and nutrients are pushed into the plant from the root system as quickly after the storm as was provided prior to the hail event. Nitrate accumulates in the top leaves and concentrations peak roughly four days after the injury. If the plants recover and new growth is observed, nitrate levels can return to normal 12 to 14 days after the injury.”

Soil fertility – in particular the nitrogen content in the soil – and stage of crop development are critical factors as to whether there will be a nitrate problem in the plants. “Crops such as canola and wheat have high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer applied. If the crop is thin and not overly productive, there could be significant amounts on soil nitrogen remaining in the soil into July. A crop that is thick with high yield potential would use up the available nitrogen much earlier in the growing season. With less nitrogen left in the soil, there is less available to be transported into the plant,” says Yaremcio.

Yaremcio adds that hay crops tend to have lower fertility than annual crops. “The risk of a hay stand having high nitrate concerns is much lower. Alfalfa and legume crops have nodules in the root system that regulates nitrate transport into the plants. The nodules only allow as much nitrogen into the plant as is needed, therefore it is extremely rare to have nitrate accumulation in legume forages. Nodules on the roots of legume crops only allow as much nitrogen up into the plant as is required. There is no risk of nitrate accumulation in alfalfa or clovers.”

Forage test labs can test for nitrates. Says Yaremcio, “If the sample is taken the fourth day after the storm, the results will indicate the “worst case” situation. Talk to the lab and request a rush analysis, then the results could be available one to two days after the sample is received.”

Yaremcio explains that ensiling the crop will not reduce nitrate levels if the product is put up properly. “Adequate amounts of packing, sealing with plastic as soon as possible, and allowing the silage to ferment for three to four weeks produces a stable product. Silage that is poorly made can reduce nitrate levels, but the quality of the silage is greatly diminished. To get a representative sample when the silage is being made, take one handful of silage out of each load as the trucks bring it in. Put the handful into a plastic pail with a lid. At the end of the day, mix up the sample and collect a half bread bag full, squeeze out the air and freeze the sample. Send the sample in for analysis on a Monday or Tuesday so it gets to the lab without being in transport over the weekend.”

Find more information about nitrate poisoning and feeding nitrate feeds to livestock. “Nitrate in a forage or silage can be managed so that there are no problems or difficulties encountered during the feeding program,” adds Yaremcio. “Talk to your feed sales person or company nutritionist, nutritional consultant, or contact the Ag-Info Centre talk to a livestock specialist.”

Source: Agriculture and Forestry

Canadian Government Announces $6.3 Million to Keep Canadian Crop Farmers On the Cutting Edge

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Canada’s productive agricultural lands are an important asset for our hardworking farmers, a strategic resource essential for maintaining global food security and the sector’s continued profitability. Over the last 35 years, Canada’s average crop area per farm has doubled, accounting for over 90 million acres in 2016, or nearly 60 percent of total farm area. Research plays a critical role in sustaining and managing Canadian crop production.

On July 12, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, announced an investment of up to $6.3 million in funding to the Western Grains Research Foundation for a five-year Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program. With an added industry contribution of up to$2.7 million, up to $9.0 million will be directed to agronomy research into multi-crop, integrated crop production that will help keep farmers on the leading edge.

Agronomy, or the science and practice of crop production and farmland management, brings together knowledge of how plants, soils, insects, microorganisms and climate interact with each other in a given area. Research completed under this science cluster will focus on resiliency to climate change, improving the sustainability of crops in multi-crop, whole-farm cropping systems, and knowledge and technology transfer. This is the first AgriScience Cluster focussed solely on agronomy research.

Today’s announcement is part of Minister MacAulay’s ‘Growing Canadian Agriculture’ tour, where he will meet with farmers, processors and industry leaders, as well as participate in rural agricultural events across the country, to hear ideas on how to capture new growth opportunities for the sector.

“Research and innovation are vital to growing and sustaining Canadian crop production,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “Demand for our grains and other field crops continues to grow around the world and the Government of Canadais working hard to help farmers meet that demand, today and for years to come, through strategic investments in science and cutting edge research.”

Quick Facts

  • Canadian field crops accounted for 158.7 million acres in 2016, with 2017 crop receipts totalled $34.1 billion.
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billioninvestment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Partnership builds on Growing Forward 2, the previous five-year agreement that ended on March 31, 2018.
  • The Partnership includes programs and activities to enhance the competitiveness of the sector through research, science and innovation. Through the AgriScience Program, a five-year, up to $338 million initiative, the government is supporting leading edge discovery and applied science, and innovation driven by industry research priorities.

Seed Synergy Project Could Culminate in 5 Groups Merging

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The Canadian seed industry could possibly see five of its six associations merge into one as the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project ramps up.

At a Seed Synergy update session and workshop hosted jointly on July 11 by the Canadian Seed Trade Association and Canadian Seed Growers’ Association in Montreal, conversation focused heavily on the need for the industry to speak with a single voice. The boards of the five dedicated seed associations – Canadian Seed Trade Association, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, Canadian Seed Institute, Commercial Seed Analysts’ Association of Canada and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency – have given preliminary direction to explore a possible merger of those organizations, in addition to a formal alignment with CropLife Canada modelled on the existing CropLife Canada-CSTA Memorandum of Understanding.

The intent is to create a streamlined model for information management, advocacy, service provision and provide greater value for the industry’s collective members, and – most importantly – to amplify the impact of the various complementary functions within the Synergy organizations.

No official board decision has been made, and many questions remain unresolved, it was noted. A Seed Synergy white paper is expected to be released this coming fall which will lay out an ultimate vision for a revamped Canadian seed system.

Also discussed were four key mandated areas that the project is focusing on to improve and streamline the Canadian seed system:

  • Client/Member Experience
  • Enabling Plant Breeding Innovation
  • Stimulating Innovation and Value Creation
  • Next-Generation Traceability/Seed Certification Framework

For further documentation visit https://www.seedsynergy.net/whatsnew/.