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.

Meet your Rural Neighbours at Open Farm Days

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Now in its sixth year, Alberta Open Farm Days returns as an important ag-tourism event that helps visitors experience and understand where their food comes from. More than 110 host sites and culinary events across Alberta are ready to showcase the province’s fast-growing rural tourism sector and everything farm life has to offer.

“Open Farm Days is back for another incredible weekend of delicious food, family friendly entertainment and rural hospitality,” said Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism. “The event helps people learn more about where their food comes from and supports rural tourism operators across the province. I encourage everyone to chart a course for rural Alberta and take advantage of this great staycation opportunity.”

Participating host farms will offer educational tours, opportunities to buy locally grown and homemade products, and activities like corn mazes, hayrides and petting zoos. Admission to farms is free, but there may be costs for some activities.

“Alberta has some of the best farmers and food producers in the world,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Open Farm Days is a great opportunity for Albertans to support this industry and meet the people who put food on their tables. A strong local food industry creates jobs and connects communities.”

Culinary events will feature top Alberta chefs preparing dishes made from locally grown products. There is a range of costs to participate in these events and space is limited. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time.

Open Farm Days’ new website makes it even easier for people to book tours and culinary events, and plan their trips across the province. Visit albertafarmdays.ca for more information.

Alberta Open Farms Days, which began in 2012, is a collaborative project presented by the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, Travel Alberta and participating farms and ranches.

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

Scouting for Fusarium Head Blight Symptoms in a Developing Crop

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Premature bleaching of infected spikelet in wheat. Picture courtesy of Kelly Turkington, AAFC.

Scouting for fusarium head blight (FHB) symptoms is key to realizing whether a field is a candidate for the application of a FHB plan. Neil Whatley, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, explains its importance and what to look for when scouting.

Fusarium head blight is a fungal disease of cereal crops that affects kernel development. “While caused by one or more species, Fusarium graminearum is considered the most important FHB species due to its aggressiveness and production of a toxin called deoxynivalenol (DON),” says Whatley. “This mycotoxin is a fungal chemical that affects livestock feed, the baking and milling quality of wheat, and the malting and brewing qualities of malt barley. Canadian Grain Commission grading standards allow very little tolerance of Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in the top grades of cereals.”

Whatley says that to limit the impact of FHB, grain producers must use a combination of disease management strategies throughout the growing season. “The first step in this strategy is realizing whether the disease is present in a developing crop by searching for disease symptoms. Additionally, learning whether Fusariumgraminearum is the dominant FHB species under observation and becoming aware of its prevalence and severity contribute to this first step toward potentially reducing its negative impact.”

FHB symptoms become visible in a cereal crop during the later heading stage. While disease infection takes place a few weeks prior at the flowering stage, symptoms appear when the plant reaches the late milk to early dough stage. “For spring seeded cereals, this typically occurs during the last part of July or early August,” explains Whatley. “Once symptoms are present, it is too late to apply a fungicide, however, this information is valuable for your FHB disease management plan in subsequent growing seasons.”

The most apparent FHB disease symptom in wheat is premature bleaching of one or more infected spikelets in the cereal plant’s head, which is visibly apparent on green heads. Orange, pink or salmon coloured fungal growth may also appear at the base and edges of the glumes on these blighted head parts. Symptoms in barley are much less distinct and the brownish discolouration of FHB infected barley spikelets can easily be confused with hail damage or the extended symptoms of other barley diseases like spot blotch, i.e. kernel smudge.

“If these symptoms are observed in a field, send the suspicious looking cereal head samples to a laboratory,” notes Whatley. “Several private seed company labs offer FHB testing services and the only way to confirm whether the affected heads contain FHB infection is to have them tested by a lab. Additionally, a lab test will determine whether the Fusarium species is indeed Fusarium graminearum or one of the less damaging fusarium species.”

Infection timing determines the severity of kernel damage. Explains Whatley, “While infection occurring at early flowering can lead to complete abortion of kernels, fusarium damaged kernels generally result from infection that occurs from the early to mid-flowering stages. Later infections that occur well after flowering and up to the soft dough stage of kernel development may not show visible symptoms. However, kernels may contain the fungus, and more importantly, the mycotoxin it produces.”

For more information about scouting for FHB symptoms, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture Announces Winners for Third Annual Competition

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Deb Hart, AYSA President; Kara Oosterhuis, Senior Winner; Eric Dalke, AYSA Chair; Chancey Lane, Incoming AYSA President (Photo: Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture)

The Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture (AYSA) has announced the winners for its third annual public speaking competition for Alberta’s youth to share their passion about the agricultural industry. The competition was held July 11, 2018 during The Calgary Stampede and offered youth ages 11 to 24 an opportunity to share their views on a topic important to Albertan and Canadian agriculture.

“We’re excited to announce the winners of the third year of this exciting communications competition for Albertan youth at the Calgary Stampede,” said Eric Dalke, AYSA founder. “Congratulations to our winners and all the youth from across Alberta who demonstrated their commitment and passion for the agricultural industry.”

Deb Hart, AYSA President; Carmen White, Junior Winner; Eric Dalke, AYSA Chair (Photo: Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture)

Kara Oosterhuis from Calgary won first place in the senior competition and Carmen White from Claresholm took  first place in the junior competition. Both spoke about the topic “What is sustainability and why does it matter to Canadian agriculture?”

“The variety of speeches and talent of our speakers this year was amazing,” said Chancey Lane, incoming AYSA President. “This competition is about giving the young leaders of tomorrow a chance to share their views and develop their skills to succeed in Canadian agriculture and this year’s competitors were truly inspiring.”

 

 

The topics for the 2018 competition were:

• My view on diversity in Canadian Agriculture

• Canadian agriculture needs more people – and this is how we’re going to get them

• What is sustainability and why does it matter to Canadian agriculture?

• The next big thing in Canadian agriculture is: ____________________

• How can we educate urban populations about where our food comes from and the industry standards involved?

Both winners received prize money and airfare to compete in the national Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto in November, 2018.

 

Canada Resumes Wheat Sales to Japan

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The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, issued the following statement July 23 on the announcement by Japan’s agricultural ministry that it had lifted the temporary suspension of trade in Canadian wheat:

“The Government of Canada welcomes the decision by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture to lift the temporary suspension on imports of Canadian wheat, following its own thorough scientific testing of Canadian wheat shipments. The decision by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture and the already-announced decision by South Korea on June 26, 2018 to resume shipments reaffirms the excellent quality and consistency of Canadian wheat. This marks an end to all international trade actions arising from Canada’s announcement of an isolated discovery of unauthorized genetically modified wheat in southern Alberta on June 14, 2018.

“Based on extensive scientific testing at that time, the Government of Canada concluded that this unauthorized wheat is not present in the food or animal feed system, or anywhere other than the isolated site where it was discovered. Officials worked quickly and collaboratively with Japanese authorities to provide the necessary information to secure this positive outcome. Canada is a safe and reliable global supplier of wheat. Canadian wheat production in 2017 was 30 million tonnes across an area of 22 million acres, making it one of the largest field crops in Canada. Canadian exports of wheat globally are valued at approximately $6.6 billion annually.”

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.