Drop off your Obsolete Pesticide and Livestock Medication

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A reminder to farmers that Cleanfarms’ obsolete pesticide and livestock medication collection program will be available in southern Alberta this fall, from October 22 to 26, 2018.

Farmers can drop off unwanted and/or obsolete agricultural pesticides and equine/livestock medications at a designated collection site at no charge. The products are then transported to a high temperature incineration facility where they are disposed safely.

Find a location and collection details.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Apply Today to be a Future Influencer

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The Canadian Seed Trade Association is once again sponsoring Future Influencers to attend and be featured at the GrowCanada conference. Bright, confident, enthusiastic and articulate – these are the characteristics of the students selected as CSTA Future Influencers. An annual contest, this opportunity connects students with industry leaders for a one of a kind learning opportunity.

Do you know a confident, enthusiastic and articulate student in Grade 11 or 12, or student who is studying at an agricultural college or university, who would make a great Future Influencer? Applications are being accepted until Oct. 19, 2018. Full details are available at https://seedinnovation.ca/future-influencers/.

Participate in the 2018 Wheat Surveys

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Insect technologists with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and applied research associations are about to do their biggest surveys of the year, and they are looking for wheat producers to volunteer the use of their harvested fields.

Technicians need 340 wheat fields to survey for wheat midge. For this survey, technicians will take about one litre of soil from a harvested wheat field. They will take the sample back to Brooks where they will look at the viability of the midge and see if there are any parasitoids present. This data will be incorporated into the wheat midge forecast map that comes out at the beginning of December. Participating producers will receive a report of the midge numbers in their field at no charge.

The wheat stem sawfly survey is targeting dryer areas in the southern part of the province. Technicians are looking for 125 dryland fields from Highway 12 south and east of Highway 2. The sawfly survey is conducted by counting the wheat stems in four one metre spots along the headland. Technicians will also count the number of cut stems. A percentage of stems cut is the data that will be presented in the wheat stem sawfly map that will also come out the beginning of December.

Contact [email protected] to participate in these surveys and to find out about the criteria for the fields. Find more information about the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

StatsCan Numbers Don’t Ease Harvest Pressure

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Grain markets are all in the red as the complex continues to have a losing first week of September.

Wheat prices continue to be the worst-performer of the group as the bullish dynamic in Europe, the Black Sea, and Australia has seemingly been priced in, relative to a decent-sized crop coming off in Canada.

In Canada, the focus is again on quality… not quantity. On Thursday, StatsCan said that total wheat stocks for the period ending July 31 came in at 6.2 million metric tonnes (MMT). That was a 10% decrease from the same time in 2017 and 11% below the 5-year average.

We saw on-farm stocks increase by 15% year-over-year to 2.66 MMT (still 11% below the 5-year average of 5 MMT). In Alberta specifically, total wheat stocks are up 85% year-over year to 1.26 MMT. That’s also 44% more than the 5-year average of 872,000 MT held by Alberta farmers by the end of July.


This increase in total wheat on-farm inventories offset the 23% decline from last July in commercial stocks, which were estimated to be sitting at 3.5 MMT.

Worth noting is the strong increase in on-farm durum stocks in Alberta sitting at 260,000 MT. This is double July 2017’s on-farm inventories in Alberta and 5.5X more than the 5-year average of 46,000 MT.

Switching gears to production, on August 31st, StatsCan estimated total wheat production of 29 MMT in Canada, which would be down 6% year-over-year but 7% below the 5-year average. This includes spring wheat production in Canada of 21.6 MMT, down about 3% from the 5-year average and last year’s harvest.

For durum, the production number has been reduced to 5 MMT, thanks to yield falling to a significant low level of 30.6 bushels per acre.

However, early reports are that there is very high protein wheat (both spring and durum wheat) to be found across the country. Thus, more acres were planted this year into wheat,  yields and production are down. Yet, it looks like quality is going to be pretty good. From a global, macro perspective, this would likely offset any quality concerns coming out the Black Sea or Australia.

The bigger question being asked is how many acres will get harvested. Right now, Statistics Canada is saying that 98.4% of all Canadian spring wheat acres will get harvested. This is above the 5-year average of 97.4%. For durum, StatsCan is saying that harvested acreage will match the 5-year average of 97.9% of seeded acres getting combined. There is certainly a lot of doubts to these numbers, given some of the weather seen from August (dryness) through now (getting colder and wetter?).

Looking bigger, right now, there seems to be a lot of positioning for next week’s September WASDE from the USDA. There is some optimism for wheat prices to rebound on increased US export, but the truth is they’re tracking almost 1/3 behind last year’s pace (which wasn’t very good in its own right). Conversely, Canadian wheat exports (excluding durum) are tracking about 2% ahead of last year.

Simply put, the market seems to have priced in the somewhat bullish production estimates from StatsCan, but they’ve also accounted for a relatively neutral-to-bearish stocks report. Apart from the WASDE report on Wednesday, September 12th, we’ll also be watching for numbers in StatsCan’s satellite-based production estimates out a week later on Wednesday, September 19th.

Source: Alberta Wheat Commission

Leaders Wanted to Represent Alberta’s Canola Growers

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The Alberta Canola Producers Commission is seeking four canola growers to serve as directors on the board of directors for a 3-year term. This year, directors are needed in regions 3, 6, 9, and 12.

Alberta Canola divides Alberta into 12 regions, with each region electing a producer director to represent the canola growers within that region. Visit albertacanola.com/regions for a map and information on the regions.

The Board of Directors meets quarterly and is guided in decision making by five committees comprised of board members and staff.

The committees are:

  • Research
  • Governance and Finance
  • Grower Relations and Extension
  • Government and Industry Affairs
  • Public Engagement & Promotion

For full descriptions and committee roles please visit: albertacanola.com/committees

Can I become an Alberta Canola Director?

Do you grow canola in Alberta? Then yes!

Any producer who has paid a service charge on canola sold since August 1, 2016 can stand for election as a Director. An eligible producer can be an individual, corporation, partnership, or organization and must produce canola within the defined region in order to be nominated. A producer does not have to reside within the region.

What do I actually have to do as a Director?

  • Represent the canola farmers in your region on the Board, making informed decisions on issues based in research, finance, policy, extension, and market development.
  • Travel to 4 board meetings per year. You will also have the opportunity to attend a diversity of valuable meetings, courses, conferences, and events.

For complete details on becoming a director and to download nomination forms visit albertacanola.com/elections

Nominations for the position of Director must be filed in writing at the Alberta Canola office on or before 4:00 pm on October 31, 2018.

CSAAC and CSI are Looking to Merge

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This proposed marriage of two seed sector associations shows just why the Seed Synergy model of trust and collaboration is so effective.

The Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC) and the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) are looking to join forces in an effort to not only reap the benefits of a formal partnership, but to show that the spirit of the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project really is the future of the seed sector.

As part of the merger formally proposed to each group’s respective board this past May, CSAAC would become a committee within the CSI structure. The move, if it comes to fruition, will mean a number of benefits for both groups, says CSI executive director Roy van Wyk.

“Historically, CSAAC has had a limited budget to deliver its mandate, which has always been a challenge for them. We’d always say, tongue in cheek, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice for us to join forces?’ But it was always just a thought, nothing concrete,” van Wyk says.

“It took Seed Synergy and the close working relationships required to undertake that project that pushed that conversation past the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ stage and into the formal stage.”

CSI and CSAAC have always had a close working relationship in terms of quality control and quality assurance, and a merger of the two groups is a natural fit, says CSAAC executive director Krista Erickson.

“Our members overwhelmingly support the idea to explore this merger,” she says.

Krista Erickson
CSAAC Executive Director

Erickson notes that CSI and CSAAC have collaborated for years, including a recent project that saw CSI provide a virtual server on its computer network for CSAAC to keep its records on. Because seed analysts are a crucial piece to helping CSI carry out its own mandate, members of each organization have attended their respective annual meetings and other functions for a number of years.

Building Trust

A crucial benefit of the proposed merger, according to van Wyk and Erickson, is the building of trust between the two groups, showing how well the Seed Synergy model can work for the industry in general.

“We’ve worked closely with CSAAC over the years. It started with us working closely on delivering grader training with them in 2013. That was a direct outcome of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency no longer delivering grader training themselves and looking to industry to do it. We went to CSAAC right away for help,” van Wyk says.

“There are a number of analysts who are also auditors for CSI, and that’s another key example of how, in time, we’ve built the trust needed to help make people comfortable with change.”

For Erickson, the merging of the two groups is not simply business, but also personal.

“My mom was a CSAAC member and highly involved in it, so CSAAC has been part of my life as long as I can remember. Some older analysts who were friends of my mom are also now friends of mine. This proposed merger is a great thing. We’ll keep the CSAAC tradition alive while ensuring we‘re proactive in moving effectively into the future,” she says.

CSI

Roy van Wyk
Executive Director
Canadian Seed Institute

For van Wyk, having those close personal relationships between members is crucial to any good merger, and the merging of CSAAC and CSI can serve as proof that the “big” merger proposed by the Seed Synergy project is the right move.

“It’s one thing for the organizations to be comfortable with each other, but you have to understand each other’s needs and have sensitivity towards that. That’s something we’ve done very successfully.”

At a Glance: The Proposed Merger of CSAAC/CSI

Why Merge the Two?

  • Share same client base — CSI’s clients are a subset of accredited lab clients
  • Amalgamation would help CSI and CSAAC more effectively leverage financial and human resources
  • Would represent a positive first step towards amalgamation of the five seed associations
  • Could be structured to preserve CSAAC’s mandate and corporate objectives
  • CSI and CSAAC would be in a stronger position to expand and grow lab program services

What would a Merged CSAAC/CSI Look Like?

  • CSAAC would become established as a committee of the CSI board.

Clubroot Gets Worse Everywhere

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Severe clubroot pulled from infested soil. (Photo courtesy S.E. Strelkov, UofA)

Clubroot is found everywhere brassica crops are grown. And clubroot is getting worse. These were the underlying messages from the International Clubroot Workshop, which brought together 200 clubroot researchers, extension staff and growers from around the world to Edmonton this week.

Nicole Fox, Masters student at U of A, presents at the International Clubroot Workshop in Edmonton.

Presenters at the workshop described the clubroot situation in China, Japan, Korea, all across Europe, Colombia, the U.S. and Canada. It infects brassica crops, including canola, oilseed rapeseed, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, turnips, rutabaga and broccoli. The workshop attracted attendees from Canada, France, China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, India and Colombia.

Tight rotation of host crops is driving the rise in clubroot severity, and researchers around the world are working on various solutions. When six experts in a closing panel were asked to name the one key management step for farmers in Western Canada, four said “longer rotations”, one said to scout earlier in the season and one said to keep clubroot away from the farm for as long as possible.

These are important messages for canola farmers in Western Canada.

This time of year, scout fields for patches and consider hand roguing small patches to get the spore-producing galls out of the field. Burn the galls. CCC agronomy staff are hearing reports this week of clubroot expanding into more areas of the Prairies, so farmers everywhere should be looking.

Source: Canola Watch

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

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/.