Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture Announces Winners for Third Annual Competition10 months ago -
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.”
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 Japan10 months ago -
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 Programs10 months ago -
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 Crops10 months ago -
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 Edge10 months ago -
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.”
- 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 Merging10 months ago -
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/.
Farm Families Honoured in Camrose11 months ago -
Alberta families who have farmed the same land for 100 years or more are being recognized with Century Farm and Ranch awards.
Recipients of the award receive a bronze plaque to commemorate this significant milestone. A total of 96 families are being recognized across the province, including 27 families who will be honoured in Camrose on July 5.
“Agriculture is at the core of who we are as Albertans.” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “It’s an integral part of the foundation of our province’s cultural heritage, our strong economy and our vibrant rural communities. It is an honour to recognize these founding families and their legacy. Our government continues to support the sustainable growth of our local food industry and the hard-working entrepreneurs in this sector.”
Gladys Mowat, of Galahad, Century Farm and Ranch Award recipient said: “My grandpa and grandma farmed for over 30 years, followed by my dad. We now have four sons and they still come up for coffee and discuss what we’re going to accomplish on the farm. Receiving the Century Farm and Ranch Award is a real gift for our family. We all work hard and work together to keep the farm in the family. We are just so proud; my mom and dad would be so honoured for this recognition of all their hard work.”
Since 1993, more than 1,750 families have received the Government of Alberta’s Century Farm and Ranch awards.
Agriculture is the province’s largest renewable industry, with exports valued at more than $10 billion annually. There are more than 40,000 farms in Alberta, totalling more than 50 million acres.
Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award recipients being recognized in Camrose:
- The Anderson Family of Erskine
- The Baird Family of Gadsby
- The Berkholtz Family of Hay Lakes
- The Bowie Family of Rosalind
- The Etty Family of Galahad
- The Giedemann Family of Heisler
- The Gilbertson Family of Brownfield
- The Hillman Family of Forestburg
- The Kroetsch Family of Heisler
- The Larson Family of Donalda
- The Martin Family of Sedgewick
- The McNabb Family of Forestburg
- The Melin Family of Czar
- The Mowat Family of Galahad
- The Nelson Family of Metiskow
- The Ness Family of Sedgewick
- The Persson Family of Millet
- The Prichard Family of Killam
- The Rix Family of Wetaskiwin
- The Roth Family (Doug) of Heisler
- The Roth Family (Randal and Barbara) of Forestburg
- The Schetzsle Family of Veteran
- The Schilling Family of Halkirk
- The Stevenson Family of Galahad
- The Toth Family of Bashaw
- The Vincett Family of Galahad
- The Wakefield Family of Coronation
Source: Government of Alberta
Statistics Canada Releases Crop Acreage Estimates11 months ago -
Ending off the month of June, Statistics Canada revised its 2018 Canadian crop acreage estimates. The grain trade generally expected and received updates reflecting an increase in canola area and a trimming of wheat acres relative to its report released in April.
Seeded acreage of the major pulse crops were dialed back slightly, the result of tariffs imposed by India continuing to weigh down the price outlook. Barley acres increased from the April estimate as about expected.
Canadian farmers reported the intention of seeding 22.7 million acres of canola in 2018, an upward revision of 1.4 million from their previous report, but still down 1.1 per cent from the record 23 million acres seeded in 2017. PFCanada was looking for a number equal to last year, but this was close.
Ultimately, the higher canola number does not change the price outlook as market attention now shifts back to summer weather and emerging global oilseed trade patterns highlighted by United States and China conflict.
Canadian farmers reported all wheat seeded area at 24.7 million acres, a 2.2 per cent revision lower from what StatsCan projected in April, but still up 10.4 per cent from last year. Durum wheat though saw an unexpected jump up to 6.19 million acres.
Spring wheat lost about one million acres from the spring report, but the yield and quality outcome from this 2018 crop carries more weight to determining supply and influencing grower returns.
A weak Canadian dollar and an eventual less aggressive export tone from Russia and the European Union should ensure ample wheat export opportunities from Canada.
The durum number comes in higher than the marketplace needs, suggesting a price outlook that continues to grind along at a sideways trend for now. It will likely take some work and time for a price uptrend to assert, but first durum has to find a bottom.
In 2018, the area sown to soybeans is down 13.2 per cent from 2017 to 6.3 million acres. That’s in line with StatsCan’s April estimate, but perhaps at the lower end of trade expectations. The four largest producing provinces in the country – Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Saskatchewan – all planted fewer acres.
Barley and oats
Total area seeded to barley rose 12.7 per cent from last year to 6.5 million acres in 2018. Strong winter and spring prices for feed barley likely attracted additional acres.
Canadian farmers reported seeding 3.1 million acres of oats, down 4.8 per cent from 2017. A weak and flat price environment drew away oat acres to other cereal choices. If yield and quality verifies for 2018, I think we can expect the same going nowhere market trend extending for at least six months or more.
Lentils and peas
Canadian farmers reported that areas seeded to lentils decreased 14.5 per cent in 2018 to 3.8 million acres. Acreage seeded to dry peas fell 12 per cent to 3.6 million acres. Both commodities were down 200,000 to 300,000 acres from the April report and coming in closer to what trade ideas were coming into the spring season.
Fundamentally, the price outlook for edible peas is poised to be the first pulse market to reinvigorate, but not until after competitively priced exportable surpluses from the Former Soviet Union states are eroded. My best guess is that lentils still have another year of grind before pricing can shift back up to higher levels.
Canadian crop acreage, according to Statistics Canada for 2018 sees some shifting back to canola and away from spring wheat and pulses.
Source: Farm Credit Canada
Olds College Embraces the Future with Launch of Smart Farm11 months ago -
Olds College has officially launched the Olds College Smart Farm, an exciting new initiative that will see the College transform their existing farm operation into a farm of the future by incorporating the latest technologies aimed at improving productivity while efficiently and sustainably using resources.
“Working with industry partners from the agriculture and technology sectors, the Olds College Smart Farm will provide a cutting edge learning environment for our students and lifelong learners by providing a hands-on venue for industry to develop, integrate and test new agriculture technology and practices,” comments Stuart Cullum, President, Olds College.
A multi-million dollar initiative, the Olds College Smart Farm will be implemented in phases. The College is collaborating with partners from the private and public sectors, and government to build and fund this initiative. The plan is to grow partnerships along with the Smart Farm in the coming months and years to enhance student learning and applied research opportunities.
Phase one focuses on crops, with 110 acres being transformed into a smart farm by:
- installing stationary soil monitors
- installing digital weather stations
- evaluating soil and crops using spectroscopy and multispectral imaging along with artificial intelligence neural nets to help determine the differences in healthy and unhealthy plants, and the causes for health deterioration
- installing wireless grain bin sensors
- installing a wireless mesh network that will provide wi-fi to the entire farm
- equipment monitoring and control for best practice precision agriculture, including the use of monitors and controls on contractor equipment to gather data
- the use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)
- installing rural narrowband connectivity to ensure high quality internet connectivity
- incorporating farm management software platforms that gather, store, and visualize production and management data
- utilizing data analytics, machine learning, and AI to turn data into information, and information into knowledge
- partnering with expert agronomists who will serve as agronomic coaches to help analyze the data
“At Olds College we believe that agriculture is a key industry to our province and country’s success,” comments Cullum. “The Olds College Smart Farm creates an open environment for collaboration and research among industry and other post-secondary institutions to work together to advance the agriculture industry. Olds College has a great opportunity with our Smart Farm to facilitate engagement that address the challenges facing agriculture, in order for our ag sector to produce more while using less.”
The College also announced today that they are working to develop new programming in agriculture technology, and have partnered with Agri-Trade to host a Smart Ag Expo next summer. The Smart Ag Expo scheduled for August 13 & 14, 2019, will be a combination of an outdoor farm show, with hands-on technology demos, and a series of conference style workshops and courses that the public can register for.
Fusarium Head Blight: Appropriate Fungicide Timing11 months ago -
Dryer weather conditions across most of the Prairies limited fusarium head blight (FHB) disease in cereal crops in 2017. However, cereals grown in shortened crop rotations will continue to be vulnerable during the current crop season due to more severe FHB incidence in many areas in 2016.
“A one year break away from a host crop is not enough time to permit this serious fungal disease to adequately decompose,” says Neil Whatley, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “Infected crop residue from 2016 continues to pose a serious threat to cereals in 2018 if favourable weather conditions occur.”
Cereal crops are most vulnerable to infection at flowering time when the disease spores, dispersed primarily by wind, infect the cereal plant. Disease severity is greater under weather conditions of high humidity and warmer temperatures, 15 to 25 C, in June and July that favour spore development.
“While complete control of FHB is unattainable, producers can suppress the disease in cereal crops by applying a fungicide,” says Whatley. “Although several fungicides are registered to suppress FHB, strobilurin (Group 11) fungicides are not recommended.”
“Observable FHB symptoms don’t appear until the late heading stage when it is too late to apply protective fungicide. Therefore, a decision to apply a fungicide must be made prior to this, at the flowering stage, to protect emerging heads,” adds Whatley.
If disease risk level is assessed as moderate to high and yield return justifies fungicide application cost, a foliar fungicide should be applied at the flowering stage to protect emerging heads. Disease risk level increases when more of the following factors exist:
- Field is located in a region where FHB is established.
- Cereal variety being grown is susceptible to FHB.
- Durum or corn is in the crop rotation or in adjacent fields.
- Cereal crops are frequently grown in the same field or in nearby fields.
- Weather conditions are damp and warm at crop flowering stage.
- Irrigation is used in the farm operation.
- Yield potential is good.
- Cereal grain prices are high.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Alberta Climate Information Service (ACIS) has developed the weather-based FHB risk forecast webpage to assist growers with making a spraying decision and for more accurate timing of a fungicide application. This forecasting tool provides local and hourly FHB risk levels using near-real-time weather data that growers can correspond with the correct heading stage for appropriate fungicide application timing. Mobile friendly www.weatherdata.ca/malso features the FHB webpage and can be added to a smart phone’s home screen.
The period of time that a cereal plant is susceptible to infection is short. Therefore, the spray window is also short, approximately seven days. Warmer weather conditions narrow the spray window while cooler conditions widen the spray window. FHB fungal spores infect the cereal plant by entering openings created where tiny flowers – referred to as anthers – form on the cereal head. Wheat flowers after the head is fully emerged from the boot while barley begins flowering as the head emerges from the boot. Tiny yellow anthers initially form in the middle of a head, ultimately developing over the full length of the head, and finally turning from yellow to white as they age and dry out before blowing away.
“Under ideal growing conditions, the length of time from when the wheat head is just emerging from the boot to the beginning of flowering is three days, so begin scouting closely when the head begins to emerge from the boot,” says Whatley. “The spray window begins when most of the heads on the main stems are fully emerged from the boot and continues through the time when yellow anthers form on the heads. As mentioned, barley begins to flower in the boot, however, wait until most of the barley heads have emerged from the boot before spraying. Ultimately, good head coverage prior to infection is critical for improving fungicide efficacy for both wheat and barley. Recent research suggests that fungicides continue to provide suitable suppression of FHB when applied 4 to 6 days after the start of flowering, or approximately 7 to 10 days following full head emergence. If considering a later application, follow the pre-harvest interval specified for each fungicide product.”
Dr. Tom Wolf’s (AgriMetrix Research & Training) fungicide spray recommendations for FHB are:
- Angle nozzles forward or use a double nozzle (forward and back).
- Greater angles are better.
- Use coarse sprays.
- Maintain low boom height.
- Fast travel speeds are fine for vertical targets (cereal heads).
- Water: recommend 15+ gallons per acre (70+ litres per acre).