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Volume 40, Number 15 | SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Whether you’ve got enough storage space this year after last year’s
bumper crop or you need temporary solutions, try these four tips
e were probably all
expecting a tough harvest, despite hoping
for the luxury of good
weather and an open fall. Rain, frost
and even snow in early September likely
mean there will be an even greater need
to ensure grain storage management
strategies are well in hand.
“Just because you are done combining does not mean you are done
managing the crop,” says Joy Agnew,
an agricultural engineer and project
manager of agricultural research
services at the Prairie Agricultural
Machinery Institute in Humboldt,
Saskatchewan. “Grain requires regular monitoring while it is in storage
to ensure it does not go out of condition — that is going to be the challenge from here on out.”
Considering the value of the inputs
and the hours and months of time and
effort put into producing the crop, this
is good advice. But surprisingly, it is
advice that is often not heeded as carefully as it should be.
Publications Mail Agreement Number 40069240
Grain going into storage should ideally
be binned clean and dry. It’s debatable if
that will be entirely possible this fall, and
if not there should also be the means to
either dry the grain or to aerate the bin
throughout the storage period and a plan
in place to monitor the grain in the bin on
a regular basis.
“Temperature cables are very popular
and cost effective to monitor the temperature of the grain throughout the
bin,” says Agnew. “The cables are put in
place before the bin is filled and a reader hooked up on the outside provides a
temperature profile of the grain in bin
at any time.” This technology, like any
other, is constantly advancing. Now
there are wireless systems that will send
email or text notifications when the
temperature rises beyond pre-set limits.
For farmers harvesting damp or wet
grain, there will be added work to
ensure the grain does not degrade or
spoil in storage. “Ideally grain should
go into storage dry,” says Agnew. “If
that is not possible, natural air drying with the right capacity fans, even
under conditions of high humidity
and low temperatures will draw off a
lot of moisture. Any airflow through
damp grain is beneficial.” Getting the
grain cooled off is important to prevent any further degradation in quality. Turning grain in the fall or winter
can have beneficial outcomes when it
comes to mixing and cooling. Avoid
turning grain in the spring when temperatures are on the rise.
0.1 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of airflow
per bushel. A 5,000 bushel bin would
require about 500 cfm from fans to cool
the grain.
Natural air drying requires at least 10
times that amount of air to dry grain in
storage — one cfm per bushel of grain
or 5,000 cfm for a 5,000 bushel bin.
Aeration fans could never achieve those
air flow rates. Moisture removal would
be minimal and grain would spoil.
“The next biggest misconception out
there is the difference between aeration
and natural air drying,” says Agnew.
“Drying and cooling are very different
and it’s critical farmers know this as
there is a lot at stake if they don’t.”
Aeration is cooling only and is a valuable part of grain storage management.
Natural air drying, on the other hand,
will actually remove moisture from the
grain but requires much higher airflows
than aeration fans can typically provide.
High capacity fans are required to dry
grain in the bin. Aeration requires about
Because of winter logistics problems
and the 2013 bumper harvest, many
farmers may need temporary storage for
their 2014 production. “Grain storage
bags are quite popular with farmers in
recent years,” says Agnew. “Bags offer
a convenient storage option, however,
they also require diligent management
to ensure the grain is maintained in
good condition over the storage period.”
Bags are prone to damage by wildlife
so weekly monitoring is recommended
In This Issue
Wheat & Chaff ..................
Features ............................
Crop Advisor’s Casebook
Columns ........................... 16
Machinery & Shop ............ 26
Protect your
crop sale
John Deere’s 9R tractors
get new features
Cattleman’s Corner .......... 35
FarmLife ............................ 41
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Wheat & Chaff
’m sure our farm is not the
only one where harvest got
off to a pretty slow start
this year. Here in southeastern Saskatchewan we were spared
that early-September snow, and
we didn’t actually get our swather
stuck in a field (well, not so we
needed a tractor), but things have
not been running smoothly, to
say the least. Between weather
delays and machinery breakdowns, at the end of one rough
day my husband did the math
and said, “At this pace, we’ll be
done in only 420 days!”
“Elmo said it couldn’t be fixed. So I fixed it.”
Write, Email or Fax
But after a painful start,
things picked up near the end of
September. The weather improved.
The combine finally learned its
lesson and started to behave.
Then the trees turned that gorgeous blazing yellow that we don’t
always get, making the place look
like something from a movie. For
now, we’ve taken Ritchie Brothers
off our speed dial, and we think
it’s going to be possible to finish this year’s harvest sometime
before we seed next year’s crop.
But there’s no doubt that, even
when the combine header isn’t
breaking down, life on the farm is
just a little more stressful this year
than it’s been other years. Falling
grain prices are leaving us with very
little room to make mistakes. There’s
not going to be a lot of room for
expensive new solutions that might
not work, or high-input crops that
might not grow here. Once harvest
is over and the combine is put back
in the shed, this could become the
Winter of the Cursed Spreadsheet,
as farmers across the Prairies recalculate their bottom lines, trying to
squeeze some profits out of these
commodity prices.
Spreadsheets, transportation delays, fusarium, snow in
September. Sometimes it seems
like a plot to keep us from enjoying this life at all. But then, last
night my uncle from Ontario came
in late from trucking grain in the
field. “Wow,” he said. “I’ve never
seen so many stars as you have out
there. You don’t see anything like
that down East.” Wow, indeed.
Bring on those spreadsheets. We
can take it.
You might
win this
contest if…
here’s still time to enter. The writers of the “You might be from the
Prairies if…” cartoons that we’ve
been running on Page 2 have
written a second book. Win one of the five
copies in this picture by sending us your
funniest “You might be from the Prairies”
line. No need to draw a cartoon, just send
in one sentence that makes us laugh about
our Prairies lives. †
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST) 1-800-665-0502
U.S. subscribers call 1-204-944-5568
or email: [email protected]
If you have story ideas, call us. You can write
the article and we’d pay you, or we can write it.
Phone Leeann Minogue at 306-861-2678
Fax to 204-944-5416
You might be from
the Prairies if this is
the view from your
front step.
Email [email protected]
Write to Grainews, 1666 Dublin Ave.,
Winnipeg, Man. R3H 0H1
Ask for hearts
When you renew your subscription to
Grainews, be sure to ask for six Please
Be Careful, We Love You hearts. Then
stick them onto equipment that you,
your loved ones and your employees
operate. That important message could
save an arm, a leg or a life.
Like us on Facebook!
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Find, read and comment on blog
posts easily and with a thumbs up!
Find us on Twitter:
Leeann Minogue is @grainmuse
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Lee Hart is @hartattacks
Scott Garvey is @machineryeditor
Fendt’s 700 Series tractors
n the last issue of Grainews, we took a look
at several of AGCO’s new tractors, including
the 800 and 900 Series Fendts. However, a
sentence in that article incorrectly stated
those were the only two model lines of the Fendt
brand available here, in Canada. Of course, the
145 to 240 horsepower 700 Series tractors have
been on the ground here for some time.
This year, those 700 Series tractors also get
updates just like the larger models. All six 700
Series tractors are now available with the Profi and
ProfiPlus option packages that include heavier front
axles. The heavier axle is an ideal feature to mate
with the new Fendt high-tech CargoProfi front-end
loader that offers some cutting edge features, such
as the ability to provide a weight readout of the
bucket load.
A new four-speed 1000E PTO option is available that allows the tractor to run PTO implements
at lower engine speeds. LED lighting packages are
now available and inside the cab the 700 Series
get the new 10.4B Varioterminal with uses a new
mount to get it in just the right position for any
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Wheat & Chaff
Photo contest
Farm safety
Move harvest equipment safely
This beautiful photo came from Dorothy Anna Stahl. Dorothy
says, “I went for a evening walk and discovered this robin’s nest. A
few days later I went back and found the eggs hatched with four baby
robins.” She took the photo near MacGregor, Manitoba.
Dorothy, thanks for sharing this! We’ll send you a cheque for $25.
Send your best shot to [email protected] Please
send only one or two photos at a time and include your name and
address, the names of anyone in the photo, where the photo was
taken and a bit about what was going on that day. A little writeup about your farm is welcome, too. Please ensure that images are
of high resolution (1 MB is preferred), and if the image includes a
person, we need to be able to see their face clearly.
very harvest, collisions between farm
equipment and passenger vehicles result
in expensive repairs, injuries and sadly
even deaths. However, by taking time
to discuss how to safety transport agricultural
equipment, farmers and equipment operators
can minimize the risk of a collision.
Glen Blahey is a Health and Safety Specialist
with CASA. “There are three common types of
collisions involving farm equipment and a typical road vehicle: Rear-end, passing and left-turn
A typical tractor travels less than 40 kilometres per hour. Farm machinery is long and wide.
Motorists can underestimate the length, width
and speed of farm machinery, often with disastrous results. Rear-end collisions occur when
motorists come up on farm equipment too
quickly. Passing collisions often occur because
motorists attempt to pass without having a clear
view of oncoming traffic. Left-turn collisions
happen because motorists often think the equipment operator is pulling over to allow the vehicle
to pass but the operator is actually making a wide
left turn.
What can farmers do to prevent collisions?
The first step is having a conversation with all
equipment operators and truck drivers about
how to safely and efficiently move farm machinery on public roadways.
In March, the Canadian Agricultural Safety
Association (CASA) and the Canadian Federation
of Agriculture launched “Let’s Talk About It!”
a Canadian Agricultural Safety Week campaign
focused on encouraging farmers to talk about
farm safety. As a part of the campaign, CASA
developed the Toolbox Talks, a series of brief,
informal talks that help farmers discuss with
their workers and their families about safely conducting farm tasks.
Some quick and easy tips to remain safe:
Be Visible. If motorists know slow moving
farm machinery is on the road, and how that
machinery is likely to move, the chance for a
collision is reduced. A Slow Moving Vehicle
(SMV) emblem is a triangular, bright-orange
sign with a red border. It must be placed at
the centre or to the left of centre of all slow
moving farm vehicles and equipment. Make
sure the SMV emblem is clean and visible.
Lighting is also important. Tractors and other
self-propelled equipment must have at least
two headlamps visible from the front, two red
tail lamps visible from the rear and two flashing amber warning lamps visible from both
the front and the rear of the machine. Proper
turning signals should be available and used
at all times. Some provinces have other lighting requirements, check with your provincial
department of transportation.
Be Cautious. When operating farm machinery
on a public road, drive as far to the right as possible to give motorists room to pass, but stay on
the road. Travelling on the shoulder presents its
own hazards — it may be soft or have obscured
hazards like culvert openings or depressions.
Equipment operators should never allow extra
riders on farm machinery. If something goes
wrong, the extra rider is the most likely person
to die. And always remember to buckle up your
seat belt.
Be Alert. Only properly trained and licensed
drivers should ever operate farm machinery.
While it goes without saying that no one should
ever operate farm machinery under the influence
of drugs or alcohol, it’s also true that anyone who
is overly tired should also avoid driving.
Farm workers following these guidelines minimize the chance of a collision. CASA wishes all
farmers a safe, healthy and productive harvest
For more information on Toolbox Talks, visit Do you have any
questions about safety? Contact CASA at [email protected] †
Canadian Agricultural Safety Association —
You might be from the Prairies if...
By Carson Demmans and Jason Sylvestre
Your parents still remember when power was installed.
Weather Lore
Slow moving vechicle — SMV — on the road. Notice the triangular sign on the back left.
Agronomy tips… from the field
I’ve looked at clouds Post-harvest weed control timing
louds will tell you which way the wind is
blowing way, way up there. Sometimes, the
wind blows in different directions at different levels of the atmosphere. When you see
clouds moving in a direction opposite to that of the
wind on the ground you may think your eyes are playing tricks on you, but what you are seeing is wind shear.
And what you will be getting could be colder weather.
When clouds move against the wind,
It’s called a wind shear;
Could be that cold weather,
Soon will be here. †
Shirley Byers’ book “Never Sell Your Hen on a Rainy Day” explores over
100 weather rhymes and sayings. It is available from McNally Robinson at:
iming is critical to get the
most from your post-harvest herbicide application.
And that typically requires
a bit of patience.
There’s always a temptation to
spray perennial and winter annual weeds soon after harvest. But
herbicides work best on actively
growing weeds. Right after harvest, weeds are recovering with few
leaves to absorb the herbicide. Give
them time and they’ll have fresh
leaves and new stem growth, ideal
for treatment with glyphosate or a
glyphosate tank-mix.
Weather also plays an important
role in the effectiveness of your
post-harvest treatment. Rain, for
instance, can spur weed growth,
making the weeds more susceptible
to a post-harvest treatment.
Frost, on the other hand, can
be a positive or a negative. A hard
frost can kill the above-ground portion of the plant. You need at least
60 per cent healthy leaves for a
glyphosate treatment to be worth-
while. But a mild frost triggers perennial weeds to prepare for winter
and shuttle nutrients to their roots,
taking glyphosate along for the ride
and giving you maximum weedkilling potential.
Last, adjust your sprayer for optimal coverage and distribute threshed
straw so the herbicide reaches the
weeds. If you can’t hit the weeds,
the application is pointless! †
This agronomy tip is brought to you by Rob
Klewchuk, technical lead, Western Canada for
Syngenta Canada Inc.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Cover Stories
Grain storage
1 6 6 6 D u b l i n Av e n u e ,
W i n n i p e g , MB R 3 H 0 H 1
w w w. g r a i n e w s . c a
Lynda Tityk
Associate Publisher/
Editorial director John Morriss
Edi tor
Leeann Minogue
fiel d Ed ito r
Lisa Guenther
Cattleman’s Corner Editor
Lee Hart
Farm life Edito r
Sue Armstrong
Machinery EDITOR
Scott Garvey
Pro duction Di recto r
Shawna Gibson
Des igne r
Steven Cote
Dir ector Lynda Tityk
See the Canadian Grain Commission’s website for safe storage guidelines by crop:
Circul at ion manag er » CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
safer grain storage
just to check on the integrity of
the bags. Additionally, fencing and
signage is a good idea to prevent
snowmobile accidents — white
bags are very hard to see in the
snow. The single biggest concern
with bags is their integrity. They
have much greater surface area that
can be damaged that any other
sort of storage available. Another
drawback of bags is that there is no
potential for air flow.
“Bags are only a temporary storage solution,” says Agnew. “The
grain should not be stored longer
than six to eight months, and it
should be unloaded before the
weather starts to warm up in the
spring.” On the other hand, grain
will cool down much faster in a
bag than in a bin, depending on
the prevailing air temperature.
“Take the time to prepare the site
sufficiently for bag storage,” says
Agnew. “You will have to access the
area over the winter to check the
bags and test the grain, and come
spring, you will need to be able to
access the bags to unload the grain.
Grain should be stored in bags no
more than six to eight months.”
Additionally, it is advisable to orient the bags in a north-south direction so solar heating from the sun
is equal, or roughly so, on either
side of the bags. If not aligned this
way, only one side of the bag heats
in the sun. That may lead to moisture accumulation in the grain on
the cooler side, which could cause
When probing grain in bag storage, it’s important to probe the bags
at the three o’clock or nine o’clock
position, never at noon. The tension
on the plastic is greatest at the noon
position and there is greater risk of
the bag tearing and the stored grain
becoming compromised.
“It goes without saying, but I’ll
say it anyway, that you should
never put wet grain in bags,” advises
Agnew. “Dry and cool the grain
first. Ideally it should be one to two
per cent drier than ‘dry’. You have
to always remember there are no
options for stored grain management once in the bag.”
For a lot of farmers, bag storage
will not be a viable option this
year, given restrictions to the state
of the grain going into the bags
and the lack of means to aerate or
dry the grain in place.
4. Learn the tricks of
ring or pile storage
Ring storage is another option to
consider. Besides piling, ring storage is among the cheapest options
for temporary storage. “Ring storage has a place in certain years,”
says Agnew. “2014 is likely to
produce a lot of wet or damp grain
unless we get a prolonged period
of favourable conditions. Provided
some simple steps are taken when
constructing the ring, it can be a
successful strategy.” Finding a suitable location is important. Avoid
low spots or areas where moisture
could accumulate or run through
and cause damage. Put ground
sheets in place, and while it adds
more cost, a cover sheet is recommended. “The natural cone shape
that will form sheds water well,”
says Agnew. “A crust will form on
the surface and little other damage
from precipitation should occur.”
One of the important considerations with ring stores or piles
is once unloading starts, it needs
to be fully completed. The cone
shape is lost once the grain is disturbed and is more susceptible to
A lot of time, worry and cash
has gone into this years’ crop.
Make sure it stays safe until it
leaves the farm. †
Andrea Hilderman has her master’s degree
in weed science and is a member of the
Manitoba Institute of Agrologists. She writes
from Winnipeg, Man.
Tip of the issue
Make a crop well-grown a crop well-marketed
Growing the crop is only half the battle. Follow these three marketing tips for higher profits
By Blaine Calkins
anadian growers have
benefitted from powerful innovations in
recent years. From the
introduction of new varieties to
crop protection tools and better
soil preservation practices, growers have a stronger chance of
maximizing yield at harvest. But
the job doesn’t end there. For
growers to see the full benefits of
a crop well-grown, they need to
keep the momentum going and
make it a crop well-marketed too.
With the disappearance of the
Canadian Wheat Board, many
growers have also seen the loss
of valuable market information
that was once more readily available. It has never been more
important for Canadian grow-
ers to have the tools in place to
maximize profitability on yields.
There are some excellent subscription services available to
Canadian growers, providing personalized insights regardless of
seed or equipment brand, or the
size of your operation. If you’re
not ready for the full suite yet,
here are some key factors to
track that will help you make
more informed decisions when it
comes time to market.
1. Know your weather
Familiarize yourself with
weather news and patterns at
the local, regional and global levels. Understand that
a drought affecting soybean
crops in Brazil can impact
the price of canola crops in
Canada. Watching weather all
season long provides a strong
indicator of what direction
prices will take.
2. Watch live local
grain bids
Keep careful watch on local
grain bids. Many farmers have
found success with internet
tools or apps that help them
manage sales decisions. Some
tools even provide email alerts
to growers if an area grain bid
reaches a farmer’s targeted
3. Track competitive
Monitoring futures values
on complimentary competi-
tive crops (such as canola, soybeans and soymeal) will give
you a better context of what’s
happening in the big picture.
Market commentaries can provide insights to help growers
take stock of dynamics, trends,
probabilities and commercial
Whether you’re a beginner
looking for opportunities to
add a few cents to your bushel
price, or you’re an advanced
user looking for up-to-theminute updates on hedges,
futures and market analysis,
consider speaking with an
expert. There are tools and
support for every grower —
find one that will help increase
your profitability. †
Blaine Calkins is DuPont Pioneer’s Western
Canadian sales manager.
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Heather Anderson
Glacier farmmedia
Bob Willcox
H e ad O f f i c e
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Your next issue!
You can expect your next issue in your
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The editors and journalists who write,
contribute and provide opinions to Grainews
and Farm Business Communications attempt
to provide accurate and useful opinions,
information and analysis. However, the editors,
journalists and Grainews and Farm Business
Communications, cannot and do not guarantee
the accuracy of the information contained in this
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The Cargill logo, ®VICTORY and ®VICTORY Hybrid Canola logo are registered trademarks of Cargill Incorporated, used under license.
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Always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Details of these requirements can be found in the
Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication.
©2014 Cargill, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Crop Advisor’s casebook
Puzzling patterns in pea field
By Mike Wassill
ack in late spring, Allan
was alarmed to see some
strange patterns showing up in his crop of field
peas at his 2,000-acre mixed grain
farm near Aylsham, Sask. Irregular
sections of pale green peas were
appearing in the field, in contrast
to the lush green growth of the rest
of the crop.
The pea field had been seeded the
second week of May. Allan called
me in mid-June, just before staging
of early bloom. The peas in the lush
green sections were all starting to
show early blooms, while those in
the pale green areas were not.
Allan told me he initially
thought the problem could be a
result of higher-than-usual spring
rainfall. “It seems like the field
is going backwards. Could it be
caused by moisture?” he asked.
“If so, why not the whole field
instead of only certain areas? It’s
starting to show up on some of
the higher spots in the field as
well, where the moisture isn’t as
When I drove out to Allan’s farm
and had my first look at the pea
crop, the first thing I noticed was
that the field had a great stand and
there were lots of plants. However,
the difference in crop colour and
development was stark. Pea plants
in the pale green areas were small
and struggling compared to the
larger, healthier-looking plants in
the lush green areas.
Upon closer inspection, there
didn’t appear to be any aphid
damage, a problem that can sometimes affect peas at an early bloom
stage. When I asked about the fertility package for the field, Allan
informed me he typically uses little
fertilizer on his peas and that only
20 pounds of 11-52 product per acre
had been placed with seed row.
The only chemical applied to
the field up to this point was a
common herbicide package called
Odyssey DLX, which had been utilized before the sixth node stage.
Allan told me the field’s prior crop
had been Roundup Ready canola,
and that the only chemical sprayed
in the previous year was glyphosate.
Pea plants in the pale green areas were small and struggling compared to the larger, healthier-looking plants in the lush green areas.
As I was leaving the field, I made
sure to collect some plant samples
from both the pale green and lush
green areas so that I could compare
the roots and plant structure of the
peas. A close look at these samples
provided some telling clues as to the
source of the problem.
If you think you know what’s
ailing Allan’s pea crop, send your
diagnosis to Grainews, Box 9800,
Winnipeg, Man., R3C 3K7; email
[email protected]
com or fax 204-944-95416 c/o Crop
Advisor’s Casebook. The best suggestions will be pooled and one
winner will be drawn for a chance
to win a Grainews cap and a oneyear subscription to the magazine.
The answer, along with reasoning
that solved the mystery, will appear
in the next Crop Advisor’s Solution
File. †
Mike Wassill is an area marketing representative
with Richardson Pioneer Ltd. at Crooked River,
he Casebook winner for this issue is
Glenn Sawyer, Wood
Ridge Farms Ltd.
Glenn added a tip for farmers
cleaning out their spayers. “It
doesn’t hurt to blow air out of
the booms and rinse the nozzles separately.”
Glenn farms northeast of
Calgary, near Acme, Alta.
Thanks for reading and
entering, Glenn! We’ll renew
your Grainews subscription
for a year and send you a
Grainews cap. †
Mike Wassill is an area marketing representative with Richardson
Pioneer Ltd. at Crooked River, Sask.
Leeann Minogue
Crop advisor’s solution
Herbicide residue ails canola crop
By Jason Sauchuk
ack in June I got a call from Bill,
who farms 8,000 acres of barley,
wheat and canola in Waskatenau,
Alta. He had sprayed his canola
with a herbicide before leaving home for
a weekend of fishing, but Bill was alarmed
by what he saw in some of his fields
when he came back: patches with damaged, stunted plants that looked delayed
compared to the rest of the canola crop.
Bill asked me to come out to have a look.
When I arrived at the farm, I could see
obvious signs of damage within the canola field: purpling, chlorosis and cupped
leaves. Bill told me he had sprayed a week
previously, when the crop was in the oneto two-leaf stage.
Bill thought a new fertilizer mix he’d
tried in the spring could be to blame.
However, that was ruled out since Bill
had used the exact nutrient blend that
was called for in previous soil testing.
The canola seed had been planted correctly, and there didn’t appear to be
anything wrong with Bill’s pesticide program. There had also been good weather
recently and soil moisture was just right,
so that couldn’t be the culprit either.
As we walked around the field a little
more, I noticed something — there was
a distinct pattern to the damage that corresponded with the width of Bill’s sprayer.
We talked about that, and Bill mentioned
something that helped clue me in to the
source of the problem.
Bill had bought a brand-new sprayer
over the winter, and had only sprayed
three different chemicals with it. When
I asked him what he sprayed, he told me
he did a pre-seed burnoff with glyphosate
and a Group 2 tank mix before moving to
in-crop canola herbicide. I asked Bill how
he had cleaned the equipment before the
last spray. “I did a rinse with ammonium
water and flushed the booms, and then
did one water rinse,” he said.
This was the source of the problem: Bill
should have done a triple rinse on the
sprayer before the final herbicide application to get all the residue out of the tank.
Bill explained that he’d been in a rush to
go fishing so he hadn’t bothered. I sent
a sample of the affected canola away for
testing and my diagnosis was confirmed
— the crop had been damaged by Group
2 residue left in his tank from the pre-seed
burnoff tank mix.
I advised Bill to change his method of
cleaning the sprayer tank, making sure to
triple rinse and to remove filters and clean
them thoroughly between applications to
ensure there was no leftover residue. I also
suggested he try a different tank cleaner, or
pay specific attention to what tank cleaning product and procedure is required for
the herbicide he is using.
In the end, Bill was happy that we had
gotten to the root of the problem, but
was disappointed with the minimal yields
in his affected canola fields. There was
simply no recovering from the Group 2
residue damage.
Every producer should have a cleaning checklist on sprayer equipment when
switching to different chemicals. Triplerinsing the tanks, using proper tank cleaning procedures, and removing end-boom
caps to flush out booms will ensure all residue is removed from previous herbicides
and avoid any crop injury potential. †
Jason Sauchuk is a sales agronomist with Richardson
Pioneer Ltd. near Sprucefield, Alta.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Grain marketing
Wheat gluten strength concerns buyers
International buyers still concerned after Canadian wheat showed poor gluten strength in 2012
By Julienne Isaacs
n 2012, international buyers of Canadian wheat
registered complaints
about the crop’s poor gluten strength, according to Dave
Hatcher, a research scientist with
the Canadian Grain Commission.
2013 presented less of a problem,
but even into 2014, buyers are
still concerned about the overall
crop quality.
Several factors impact gluten
strength. Weather, variety and
growing conditions all interact to
have a significant impact. Wheat
varieties with excellent intrinsic
quality can also be negatively
impacted by very high levels of
physical damage resulting from
midge or fusarium infection, which
can drop them to lower grades.
Most importantly, each variety of wheat has a unique genetic makeup, with different gluten protein compositions, says
Bin Xiao Fu, a bread and durum
wheat research scientist with the
grain research laboratory of the
Canadian Grain Commission.
Different wheat classes with different gluten protein compositions are developed for different
C W R S , C a n a d a ’s p r e m i e r
class of wheat, is comprised
of a blend of wheat varieties
that have varying gluten protein compositions. “A few years
ago some lines were registered
into CWRS that passed the tests
of the registration trials. They
barely cleared the bar for gluten strength, but they had no
additional room below the bar,”
says Hatcher. In 2012, the combination of poor environmental
conditions and varieties at the
lower end of gluten strength
resulted in a lower quality CWRS
product overall.
“When the environment has
been poor, depending on how
much water and heat it gets, and
any grading factor that comes
into play, the product can drop
below the acceptable gluten
strength level expected by the
buyer,” says Hatcher.
Gluten strength is a key quality
trait considered in quality evaluations for variety registration in
the CWRS wheat class. “Gluten
strength of varieties eligible
for registration must be within
a range defined by the Prairie
Recommending Committee for
the Wheat, Rye and Triticale
Quality Evaluation Team,” says
Fu. “Although the range is relatively narrow for CWRS, variation in gluten strength does exist
among registered varieties.”
Historically, says Hatcher,
CWRS has been valued by international customers for its high
gluten strength — its balance of
elasticity and extensibility, which
offers bread dough both malleability during processing and the
strength to hold up throughout
fermentation and baking.
“Most countries normally don’t
make a product with 100 per cent
CWRS,” says Hatcher. “One of
the reasons they buy it is because
they know it has an intrinsic,
high-quality gluten strength — so
they can add 10 to 15 per cent of
a lower quality grain as a filler.”
Gluten strength is critical for
wheat product processing because
every product, from bread to
noodles, starts with dough. The
physical properties of the dough
directly impact processing.
As every baker and processor
knows, consistency is key in the
baking process. CWRS has until
recently been known for its consistency. The lower dough strength
of the 2012 crop came as a nasty
surprise to Canada’s international
Tests re-introduced
“With respect to quality standards, in February this year we
brought the extensograph test
back into registration trials because
it is the best indicator of gluten
strength available,” says Hatcher.
The test was dropped in 1999
because it requires at least two
hours to process a single sample,
and it requires a large flour sample
“At the time the extensograph
test was dropped,” says Hatcher,
“the farinograph was the only
test remaining for measuring
gluten strength, but we’ve subsequently found that it doesn’t
discern between varieties’ gluten
strength enough,” he says.
Hatcher sees gluten strength
as, ultimately, a critical issue
for growers. Maintaining gluten
strength in CWRS is key to maintaining consistency, and consistency will guarantee the product stays in demand over time.
Stringent quality testing requirements will ensure a more consistent product.
“In my opinion, it will allow
the grower’s wheat variety a
much better chance of being marketed in the international community,” he says. “A couple of years
back many of our markets were
unhappy with the CWRS and cut
back on the amount they were
ordering. If we can demonstrate
that we’ve cleared that hurdle
there will be renewed interest in
ordering CWRS.”
The re-introduction of the
extensograph test will help differentiate wheat varieties in terms
of gluten strength, says Fu. “The
new varieties in registration trials
will be sufficiently evaluated with
the combination of the farinograph and the extensograph, to
ensure they meet the needs of the
customers for gluten strength.”
The CGC is collaborating with
other labs to improve bake methods to better discern differences in
baking performance among wheat
varieties. The CGC’s bread wheat
research team has developed a
modified extensograph method
which is faster and requires less
flour. It has been approved by the
Wheat Quality Evaluation Team
of the PGDC to be officially used
in wheat variety registration trials.
As for this year’s crop, Hatcher
believes Canada’s CWRS is in
good shape. “We are very optimistic, based upon last year’s shift
in variety composition, that we’ll
have improvement this year,” he
says. †
Julienne Isaacs is a Winnipeg-based freelance
writer and editor. Contact her at julienne.
[email protected]
Growers keep going on about
its flushing weed control
to everyone. And anyone.
It’s no wonder growers keep talking about Ares™ herbicide for Clearfield® canola.
Only Ares takes out the toughest flushing weeds and keeps them out. Including wild
buckwheat, lamb’s quarters, cleavers—even volunteer canola from other systems.
With its different mode of action, Ares also makes rotating canola herbicides easy.
It’s so impressive, you’ll want to tell anyone who’s willing to listen. And perhaps a
few who aren’t so willing. For the latest buzz visit
or contact AgSolutions® Customer Care at 1-877-371-BASF (2273).
Always read and follow label directions.
AgSolutions is a registered trade-mark of BASF Corporation; Clearfield and the unique Clearfield symbol are registered trade-marks, and ARES is a trade-mark of
BASF Agrochemical Products B.V.; all used with permission by BASF Canada Inc. © 2014 BASF Canada.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
for barley
in 2014
Logistic troubles and a declining
domestic feed market spell trouble
for barley growers
hat a difference
a year can make!
Big yields in many
of the key grainand oilseed-producing countries
have pressured prices for several
months. Total world grain and
oilseed production is up about
eight per cent while barley production will actually be down
10 million tonnes to 135 MT.
However, two big U.S. corn crops
in a row and increased supplies of
feed wheat have steadily eroded
feed values with December corn
futures hovering around $3.50
per bushel.
Australia has generally received
enough rain in the major barley
growing areas to establish an average crop. Barley is a winter crop
and they do need finishing rains
soon to avoid yield loss when the
temperatures rise significantly in
the spring (October/November).
The states of Queensland and
New South Wales are still suffering from a prolonged drought
although beneficial rains have
stabilized the situation over the
past two months. This should
keep domestic feed values relatively firm in eastern Australia
and may limit their feed exports.
The Australian barley crop is
projected at 7.5 MT versus 9.5
MT last year. Australian new crop
No. 1 grade malting barley is currently quoted at US$290/tonne
FOB. This is about $4.85/bu. in
Canadian dollars at the farm gate
in western Saskatchewan.
Australia is the largest supplier of malting barley to China,
the world’s biggest importer. If
they harvest a good quality crop,
Aussie malting offers can go lower.
Their faq (fair average quality)
quotes are near US$250 FOB and
feed quotes are near $US240 FOB
($50/tonne less than No. 1 malting) and a significant premium
to our domestic feed. However,
Canada’s ability to maximize offshore sales of feed and malting
will continue to be limited by rail
and Vancouver terminal capacity
constraints, and better margins
handling wheat.
The seeded barley area in
Argentina is down significantly
due to better returns from wheat.
Barley production is forecast at
3.5 MT versus 4.7 MT last year.
Rains also reduced area and have
caused some quality concerns (in
Uruguay as well). It is expected
that barley exports from the surplus countries of Argentina and
Uruguay to non-South American
destinations will be minimal.
Colombia and Brazil are the two
main importers. Indicated values are US$295/tonne FOB for
malting and US$210/tonne FOB
for feed.
Take control
of your
The Wild Oats Grain
Market Advisory provides:
• news and statistics that
affect prairie markets
• analysis making sense of
the market action
• specific strategies for
marketing wheat, durum,
oats, malt and feed barley,
canola, flax, lentils, peas,
mustard and canary
• detailed farmgate prices
for each of Alberta,
Saskatchewan and
• futures and options quotes
Wild Oats, every Tuesday, keeps you
on top of the markets without drowning
you in market noise. It’s one page
of news, one page of analysis and
marketing strategies and two pages of
The cost is $295 a year. Delivery is by
internet, fax or mail. Subscribers can
call for personal marketing advice at
any time.
Subscribe even if you have another
marketing service, and it’s good.
You can’t have too many opinions on
the market.
Terry Young, who farms at Lacombe,
Alberta: “Wild Oats works for me.”
To subscribe call 1-800-567-5671 or
on-line at
Everyone involved in Canada’s barley industry needs to be concerned about logistical trends.
The EU crop and Black Sea
(Russia/Ukraine) crop will more
than make up for lower production
in Australia and Argentina. The EU
barley crop exceeded yield expectations and production will reach 58
MT. The quality of the winter sixrow crop (from France primarily)
was excellent with quotes currently
near US$230/tonne FOB. The tworow crop was more of a mixed bag.
It is currently quoted near US$270/
tonne FOB.
With plentiful supplies, the EU
has been very active selling new
crop barley. Total EU barley export
licenses for 2014-15 have reached
1.6 MT versus 2.3 MT one year ago.
This attests to the overall bearishness of world feed markets as buyers have access to huge corn supplies and increased feed quality
wheat. Of perhaps even greater significance is the large Black Sea crop
(Russia at 19.6 MT plus Ukraine at
8.4 MT which is a combined 5.0
MT more than 2013). This will definitely weigh on feed barley values
which, for the remainder of the
crop year, are unlikely to exceed
US$200/tonne FOB ($2.50-2.75/bu.
in western Saskatchewan). In fact,
feed barley bids may well go lower
as cattle feeding economics favour
the U.S. and corn dried distiller’s
grains with solubles (DDGs) will
further pressure North American
feed markets since exports to China
may be non-existent.
Lethbridge cash feed trades
have eroded steadily from $185/
tonne last fall and a high of $218
in May to $165/tonne currently.
The large crop last year had difficulty getting to export due the
rail logistical issues and the bigger
margins that handling companies
could make on wheat and canola.
For a period last winter, offshore
feed values were at a premium to
domestic values but the logistical
problems prevented additional
barley exports.
The Canadian carryout this
year is 1.9 MT versus 1.2 MT
last year. The FOB Vancouver
equivalent of our domestic bids
is only US$200/tonne. Current
country bids for malting barley
are over $5/bu. due to short covering and quality concerns due
to our recent rains.
At the time of writing, about
25 per cent of the barley has been
harvested. Recent rains and frost
are causing considerable concerns
Malting barley
is generally
about quality. Rains in the U.S.
have also downgraded much of
their crop. So North American
demand for malting barley may
be strong with traded values well
above world values and at a premium of $2.75/bushel or more
over feed.
2013 was an exceptional year,
in terms of both yields and quality. The protein was below average
but otherwise, quality (plump,
colour, germination, etc.) was
excellent and the selection rate
for malting was well above average.
Meredith was overproduced in
2013, which resulted in supply
well exceeding demand. That was
unfortunate as Meredith is a good
variety. There has been increasing
demand for Meredith in China
but time will tell as to how much
this demand will grow.
The preference in offshore markets is still for Metcalfe first and
Copeland second. Newdale has
established a limited domestic
demand but shows limited offshore potential.
Other newer varieties such
as Bentley, Kindersley, Merit
57 and Major have had some
domestic acceptance with Bentley
and Kindersley showing the
most promise. As Metcalfe and
Copeland are replaced with new
improved varieties, there may not
be any one dominant variety.
The industry will need to work to
promote the best new varieties to
gain acceptance by our customers, rather than companies just
promoting the varieties they have
a vested interest in. As always,
with newer varieties, it is highly
recommended that growers sign
a production contract prior to
Canada’s barley industry needs
to be very concerned about current trends. Logistical constraints
have been a factor in limiting barley exports. Also, grain terminals
generally do not like handling
malting barley as it slows the
With the resulting negative
impact on movement and the
declining domestic feed demand,
feed barley is not an attractive
cropping option. Malting barley is generally competitive with
other crops but farmers carry the
quality risk. Therefore, the future
points to Canadian barley seeded
area continuing to decline. This
will result in a shrinking supply
base for our maltsters to select
from, which increases their risk.
Canada appears to be heading in the same direction as the
U.S., which exports only small
amounts of barley and where the
maltsters have to contract most of
their requirements with farmers
prior to seeding. However, a large
percentage of U.S. malting barley
is produced under irrigation and
usually with much lower harvest
weather risk. Canadian maltsters
could incur a greater supply risk
than their U.S. counterparts. †
Bob Cuthbert is CWB’s directory of barley
trading and sales. He’s been marketing barley
for 25 years.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Marketing advice you can trust
Before you hire a marketing consultant, read these four tips on choosing the right one for your farm
henever a business is as filled
with uncertainty
as grain farming
there will always be lots of advice
out there about how to minimize risk and maximize rewards.
Government agencies, universities
and magazines like Grainews all
offer advice to help make your life
that little bit easier. They all share
a common disadvantage though:
their advice, while free or low
cost, is general. You have to decide
what tips apply to you and how
to make best use of them for your
specific situation.
For those who feel they want
more specialized help there are
many grain marketing consultants
out there. Their advantage over
free advice is that they will help
you craft personalized strategies
by looking at both the market
and your farm’s particular needs
and opportunities. Their advice is
not cheap, though. Worse, they
may not have the right incentives
to look after your best interests.
Charlie Pearson, a grain marketing
specialist with the Government of
Alberta’s Department of Agriculture
and Rural Development, has some
tips for picking a good consultant
his teeth. Either way, they don’t
deserve your business.
okay,” Pearson says, “but I would
look for something else. If they are
providing agricultural advice, they
should be members of the relevant
professional agricultural association. In Alberta, [that would be] the
Alberta Institute of Agrologists.”
tribute to developing a risk management strategy for the farm?”
Most importantly of all, and
recalling the previous point, ask
how (and whether!) they study
their own performance year-toyear and learn from their mistakes
and successes.
ment. Especially don’t let the fact
that you’re paying for advice make
you lazy about improving your
own knowledge. A consultant is
just that: someone you consult
and ask for advice. You need to
know enough to judge whether
that advice makes sense for you.
“Accept no consultant will be
perfect,” Pearson says, “and that
their real role is to help the farmer
make decisions by providing a
disciplined process and solid information. Ultimately, the authority
and responsibility for marketing
decisions should remain with the
farmer with the consultant providing information to help with a
better decision.” †
Pearson recommends being very
thorough when investigating your
potential consultant’s knowledge
base: “Do they have a good han4. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
dle on world crop fundamentals?
Find out how they construct
Supply and demand tables? Who their marketing plans, and what
While a consultant can offer you
Western Canada’s most impor- assumptions they make about a lot of advantages from specialized
tant customers and competitors the way grain markets function. knowledge and years of marketare? Important crop reports dates Pearson recommends three good ing experience, they can also cost
and sources? Will they share their questions to cover the basics: “Do you a lot of money and may leave
major sources of information, these consultants have an under- you feeling dissatisfied. If you’re
such as USDA data, private news- standing of the farmer’s business going to work with a consultant,
letters, etc.?”
and marketing plans? Have they remember to never surrender your
He also recommends making contributed to doing the back- own judgment — don’t let the
Michael Flood ( is a
1 ground
1 the consult8/13/2014
sure they have
professional crework
forAMthese plans? In a fact that you’ve paid
business writer and columnist. You can reach
dentials. “School of hard knocks is world of uncertainty, do they con- ant money undermine your judg- him at [email protected]
Their advice
is not cheap
Doctors have always had a great
public relations and marketing
advantage: they can bury their
mistakes. Marketing consultants
try to do the same, never presenting evidence of their failures
when advertising their services.
“Have them describe successes and
failures and how they dealt with
them,” Pearson says. They’ll be
resistant to doing it, but insist
upon it. If you find out they’ve
got only a handful of champions
and a cemetery full of ruined businesses and failed farms, hang up
the phone right away.
Also hang up if they won’t
tell you about their failures at
all, or insist they’ve always been
right. Someone who has never
been wrong in grain marketing
has either only been in the game
for one season, or is lying through
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/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Farm management
A new “normal” in the U.S. Midwest
Farmers at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, heard a gloomy message in the Rababank tent
By Leeann Minogue
armers in the Rabo
the U.S. Farm Progress
Show in Boone, Iowa, in
late August looked uncomfortable when Curt Hudnutt, Rabo
AgriFinance’s chief credit officer,
delivered the heart of his message: “We expect that corn and
soybean farmers will lose money
in 2015 and 2016.”
It was a hard message to take
in. Hudnutt said, “We were able
to make $400 and $500 an acre in
net profits over the last few years,
with $7 corn and $14 beans. Even
though that cost structure was
increasing, we were able to make
Hudnutt said good times
drove complacency. Now that
things look a little less bright,
“a new normal is ‘how do we
manage our loss?’ We’re used to
what the normal became: those
high prices.”
With lower grain prices in the
forecast, farmers are going to have
to manage their cost structures.
One of Hudnutt’s suggestions
for action is to take a look at production costs — not only across
your whole operation, but also
for each individual parcel of land.
With that information in mind,
look at rental agreements. With
each piece of land, he said, ask
yourself “Should I keep it or let it
go?” For many farmers, he said,
the decision to let land go and
farm fewer acres requires a mindset shift.
Another suggestion to lower
costs is to look at new machinery
purchases. With lower commodity
prices, “Maybe rolling every year
or every two years or every three
years isn’t appropriate for me.”
Locking in input costs is
another possibility. While Iowa
Rabo AgriFinance is the
U.S. ag finance division of
Rabobank, N.A. The company entered the U.S. ag
finance market in 2002
when it bought Valley
Independent Bank.
Rabobank, N.A. part of the
Rabobank Group, a Dutch
bank. Rabobank’s global website says, “It is our ambition
to be the global leading food
and agri bank.” It has a direct
lending presence in Australia,
Asia, Europe and the U.S.
Rabobank N.A. is very
familiar with the Canadian
market — it’s chief exective is John Ryan, CEO and
president of Farm Credit
Canada from 1997 to 2007
— but the bank doesn’t lend
directly to Canadian farmers.
Rabobank is involved in the
Canadian corporate banking
sector, and some Canadian
farmers use Rabobank products though the Ag Partner
Financing input program it
operates with Richardson
Pioneer. †
farmers often lock in lease rates
or costs for seed corn, Hudnutt
said, “they’re not as active in
fertilizer.” He also things farmers
might be able to take advantage
of more opportunities to lock in
chemical prices.
Land prices
After years of rising equity, partly due to increases in land prices,
Hudnutt said, “balance sheets are
going to get worse. “
He was careful to say that
Rabobank is not calling Midwest
land prices a bubble. “We’re not
looking at a 30, 40, 50 per cent
decrease in values. We think we’ll
see a correction.”
However, any correction will
hurt a farm’s balance sheets
if the statements have been
Curt Hudnutt told Iowa farmers he expects to see corn and soybean farmers lose money in 2015 and 2016.
Farming is not just putting seed in the
ground. Everything before and after,
from new technology to timing, is crucial
to a successful crop. And my Syngenta
Reps give me the advice I need every
step of the way.
Clayton Gellner, 3rd generation farmer
and Syngenta seed grower near Southey, SK
Visit or contact our Customer Resource
Centre at 1-87-SYNGENTA (1-877-964-3682).
Always read and follow label directions.
The Syngenta logo is a registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company. © 2014 Syngenta.
Leeann Minogue is the editor of Grainews.
6306-1F_SYT_ROI_ad_CG_GrainNews.indd All Pages
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
adjusted each year to reflect rising market prices for land.
Over the last 10 years, Hudnutt
said, “several million acres of marginal land came into soybean and
corn production.” This happened
because farmers were able to make
money doing it. Now some of that
land will be taken back out of production. Not so much in the Corn
Belt, he said, but in the western
states and the South.
Hudnett suggested that farmers
take a good look at their own marginal land. “It may not be a bad
time to get rid of it,” he said. “Cash
is going to be very important over
the near term.”
This year and in the years to
come, Hudnutt said, farmers may
need to focus on limiting losses,
rather than locking in profits.
“That’s, I think, a hard pill for some
of us to swallow.”
From a lending point of view,
Hudnutt is clear that Rabo
AgriFinance is sticking with the
U.S. market through this downturn. In fact, he sees some upside.
“I think it’s a lot easier in bad times
to identify a good producer than it
is in the good times. Good times
mask a lot of producers that were
marginal or average. But tough
times, that’s where the cream rises
to the top.”
and soybeans. Nicholson expects
some of that to change. “That land
will either go fallow, or we’ll see
them go back and produce wheat.”
Generally, Nicholson, said, “We’ll
see different types of crops produced that they haven’t produced
in a number of years.”
Stephen Nicholson is part of Rabo
AgriFinance’s food and agribusiness research and advisory group,
a corporate team of more than 80
analysts in 14 countries. Nicholson
expects tough times ahead in the
Midwest. “We’re going to see the
marginal producers probably struggle,” he told farmers.
“There’s going to be some change
in ownership of land and farms
in the U.S. with this downturn in
grains and oilseeds.”
Nicholson expects lower commodity prices to result in more
diversification. “Here in Iowa, it’s
been grain and oilseeds,” he said.
In the Dakotas and Kansas,
farmers have expanded into corn
Right now
it looks
a little grim
“Right now it looks a little grim,”
said Nicholson. Some farmers may
be having a hard time seeing a light
at the end of the tunnel. However,
he said, “We still have droughts. We
still have demand-led rallies. And I
think that those aren’t going away.”
There have been big changes
in world markets. “Over the past
20 years, the United States has
become the supplier of the world,”
Nicholson said. “In the last five
years we’ve seen that change dramatically. Our share of the world
grain trade is much smaller than it
used to be.”
In the past, U.S. supply problems
would be felt around the world.
Now, world supply of agricultural
commodities is more diversified.
Nicholson mentioned logistics
as a major issue in world agricultural exports. Brazilian farmers
face tremendous challenges with
the road network: “mud, potholes,
narrow, two-lanes, speed bumps in
the oddest places.”
“The good news for American
farmers is they [Brazilian farmers]
can’t get their production from
where it is to where it needs to go.
The bad news is that they can produce a lot of grain really fast.”
And it’s not just the roads the
cause logistic problems in Brazil,
Nicholson said. “It’s truck, roads,
rail, ports — the whole thing.”
As Canadian farmers know, Brazil
isn’t the only country with logistics
issue. Nicholson referred to the low
prices corn growers in the Dakotas
are seeing due to rail transportation problems. He also said some
U. S. processors are having trouble
getting the raw commodities they
need, “and they’re paying astronomical prices to get it there.”
Water is another challenge on
Nicholson’s radar. Water quantity
and quality. “In Iowa we don’t
have a problem with water, but
we have an issue with water quality.” Some Midwest farmers have
trouble with nitrogen leaching. “I
think that is a huge issue everywhere,” Nicholson said.
Despite changing markets and
logistic challenges, Nicholson
has seen a lot of recent worldwide investment in the agriculture industry (including Glencore’s
purchase of Viterra). He doesn’t
see that slowing anytime soon, as
countries and corporations scramble to develop or maintain access
to food supplies.
“We think there’s going to be lots
of investment in agriculture.” †
Leeann Minogue is the editor of Grainews.
U.S. Land
In July, 2014 Rabobank
released a paper titled “Land
Values 2014: At The Tipping
Point.” The bank’s analysis
focuses on the U.S., mainly
the corn belt. Here are some
• “We maintain the view
that as of 2013-14 land
values, on average, have
responded to fundamental
drivers and are therefore not
the result of an asset bubble. However, with the prospects for increasing interest
rates and falling commodity prices an adjustment is
needed beginning in 2014-15
to avoid the future development of an asset bubble.”
• Between 2005 and 2013,
land values increased by 218
per cent in North Dakota, 224
per cent in South Dakota, and
242 per cent in Nebraska.
• In the Midwest: “Over
the long term, the additional
net cost to land renters will
drive economic margins below
breakeven and force rental
payments lower. Land prices
should continue to decline to
the point where costs become
sustainable relative to returns
over the long term.”
JOB ID: 6306 1D
• “Significant
commodity price
in 2014-15
FEB 4, 2014
are likely to drive decreases
in Midwest
and Plains rental
values PROJECT:
as margins
– CG
• “Over the past 12 months,
land values
have plateaued
some areas
buyers show caution.”
• “While
we believe an
to 10
per cent
X 10"
would be healthy in bringing
UCR: 240%
land values
back in line with
gross revenue
and additional
decreases will be needed as
rates increase…”
• “Cultivating
lower yieldART DIRECTION
ing, marginal land was viable
high grain prices seen
in recent years, yet those producers are expected to face the
greatest challenge.” †
Leeann Minogue
14-02-05 12:33 PM
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Add soil sampling to fall “to do” list
Testing soil in the fall will give you time over the winter to plan for your spring nutrient needs
s if there wasn’t already
enough on the fall “to do
NOW” list, experts advise
adding soil sampling to
the fall work load, if it’s not already
part of the farm management plan.
“The reality of the situation is if
you don’t know what you have to
start with, you won’t know how
much or what to fertilize with,”
says Ray Dowbenko, senior specialist, agronomic services at Agrium.
“You will, in fact, be flying blind.”
John Heard, crop nutrition specialist with Manitoba Agriculture,
Food and Rural Development,
Dowbenko. “The– real
value of soil testing is not just to
determine how much fertilizer to
2014says Heard. “It’s an imporbuy,”
tant audit tool to track the nutrients in your soil and the effectiveness of your fertility program.”
Soil testing is an important tool
used to gauge soil fertility and
plan a suitable fertilizer regime to
maximize the yield potential of
the crop. But the results are only
as good as the sample.
“The reality of soil testing is
that most farmers are not doing it
themselves,” explains Heard. “Most
now are using the services of independent agronomists or a fertilizer
company or supplier. These professionals are properly equipped with
truck-mounted samplers, and as a
result, if a grower has consistency
in his service provider for both
sampling and testing, he will reap
the benefit of long-term tracking of
his fertility program.”
“Fall is a good time to soil
test,” says Dowbenko. “In spring,
most growers deal with some
serious time crunches and if test
results are delayed, or fertilizer
supply is interrupted, there is little time to get a comprehensive
fertility plan in place.” Heard
agrees. “Farmers have to differentiate between the best time to
soil test and the most practical
time to soil test,” he says. “Just
before the crop is about to use
the nutrients in the soil might
be the best time to test, but it’s
certainly not practical. Fall testing in cool soils gives the grower
time to formulate a comprehensive fertility program, as well
Grain producers
A reminder from the Canadian Grain Commission
The variety registration for the following Canada Western Amber
Durum wheat varieties will be cancelled by the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency as follows:
 Sceptre on October 24, 2014
 Plenty on August 1, 2015
Both Plenty and Sceptre will be eligible for all grades of amber
durum wheat until August 1, 2015.
The variety registration for the following Canada Western
flaxseed varieties will be cancelled by the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency as follows:
 CDC Valour on August 1, 2015
 CDC Arras on August 1, 2017
 Flanders on August 1, 2017
 Somme on August 1, 2017
As of these dates the flaxseed varieties listed above will be
removed from the Canadian Grain Commission’s variety
designation list.
1-800-853-6705 or 204-983-2770
TTY : 1-866-317-4289
Twitter: @grain_canada
as take advantage of both fall
buying and application opportunities.”
Soil samples are best taken when
soil temperature has dropped to 10
C or lower. “Right after combining, and before any fall tillage
operations, is a good time to take
soil samples,” says Dowbenko.
“The soil has usually cooled sufficiently that any changes due to
bacterial activity and mineralization are at a minimum.”
Farmers can work with local
agronomists or fertilizer dealers to
draw up a sampling plan to ensure
soil samples are taken in sufficient
volume in enough areas of the
field to produce a representative
view of the field’s fertility status.
It’s very important that the person
most familiar with the topography has input into the sampling
plan. “The key is to know where
to avoid sampling,” says Heard.
“For example, a saline area might
reveal very high levels nutrients
like sulphur simply because crops
won’t grow there very well, if at
all. A sample like this can easily
taint an otherwise good soil testing program.” Heard advises to
leave out problems areas or sample
them separately.
The laboratory will conduct a
soil test based on your instructions.
Generally, a typical soil test package will include tests for nitratenitrogen, available phosphorus
and potassium and extractable
sulphur, as well as pH and salinity.
Additionally, a micronutrient scan
can be requested to determine
levels of elements such as copper,
zinc or boron, amongst others.
“Farmers should stick with a lab
once they find one they are happy
with,” says Heard. “Different labs
can conduct tests using different
methods which would make long
term monitoring more difficult.
It’s the apples to apples analogy.”
“Understanding and interpret-
ing soil test recommendations
is very important to designing
the fertilizer management plan
for your farm,” says Dowbenko.
“Think of the recommendations
as a guideline — a starting point
with which to engage your advisor or local dealer in a discussion on your fertilizer plan for
the upcoming season. The laboratory does not know how you farm,
the moisture levels you typically
experience or what your growing
season is like.”
Most farmers
are not doing
it themselves
Heard recommends using a
“rotational fertilization strategy.”
“Farmers have been achieving
very high yields, and we know
some of our crops in particular
are greedy phosphorus users, especially canola and soybeans,” says
Heard. “We are exporting more
phosphorus generally than we are
applying, so it’s important farmers
take into consideration both the
soil test values and the yields they
are achieving now.” Many farmers
have been scaling up their fertilizer programs, but modern seeding equipment does not always
allow the full recommended or
desired rate of phosphorus to be
applied with the seed for seed
safety reasons. “A rotational fertilization strategy comes into play
in a situation like this,” explains
Heard. “Some nutrients can be
applied in excess of the needs
of the current crop, for instance
wheat, but remain available for a
canola, soybean or flax crop in a
following year.” †
Andrea Hilderman has her master’s degree
in weed science and is a member of the
Manitoba Institute of Agrologists. She writes
from Winnipeg, Man.
Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers
Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products
are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in
compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products
in Commodity Crops. Commercialized products have been approved for import into key export
markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can
only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals
have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing
biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk
to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product.
Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship.
genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural
herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to
glyphosate. Acceleron® seed treatment technology for canola contains the active ingredients
difenoconazole, metalaxyl (M and S isomers), fludioxonil, and thiamethoxam. Acceleron® seed
treatment technology for soybeans (fungicides only) is a combination of three separate individually
registered products, which together contain the active ingredients fluxapyroxad, pyraclostrobin
and metalaxyl. Acceleron® seed treatment technology for soybeans (fungicides and insecticide) is
a combination of four separate individually registered products, which together contain the active
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Insertion Order # LCA00901
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Weather Forecast for the period of October 5 to November 1, 2014
Southern Alberta
Peace River Region
October 5 - 11
Variable weather and
temperatures as disturbances
move through. Scattered rain
with a chance of snow.
October 12 - 18
Cooler outbreaks and blustery
winds will bring some rain and
21.7 mms
October 5 - 11
Fair with seasonal temperatures,
but cooler outbreaks on 2 or 3
days will bring some rain and a
chance of snow in the north.
October 5 - 11
Cooler air brings some rain into
the south. Expect wet snow in
the north on 2 or 3 days. Blustery.
On fair days highs will peak in
the teens.
October 12 - 18
Cooler outbreaks and blustery
winds will bring occasional rain.
October 12 - 18
Fair, dry weather alternates with
wet, cool days. Blustery at times.
Cooler in the north with some
rain and snow.
October 12 - 18
Warm and dry days will
interchange with wet and cooler
air. Windy at times. Snow likely
in northern areas.
October 19 - 25
Fair and dry days will mix with
wet and cooler days. Expect
frosty nights, windy conditions
and some snow in the north.
October 19 - 25
Fair skies will alternate with
some rain and brisk winds. Mild
temperatures alternate with
cooler, frosty days. Intermittent
snow in the north.
October 26 - November 1
Temperatures fluctuate from mild
to cool. Occasional windy
conditions. Skies will be fair, but
expect scattered showers on 2
or 3 days.
October 26 - November 1
Temperatures fluctuate from mild
to cool. Occasional windy
conditions. Fair, but scattered
rain mixed with snow will occur
on 2 or 3 days.
October 26 - November 1
Seasonal to mild under windy
conditions. Fair in the south with
scattered rain. Cooler in the
north with wet snow.
October 26 - November 1
Temperatures will trend to the
mild side. Fair with scattered rain
on 2 or 3 days. Cool with wet
snow in the north. Windy at times.
Precipitation Forecast
0 / 14
17.3 mms
1 / 13
30.9 mms
1 / 13
30.3 mms
2 / 14
North Battleford
0 / 16
Red Deer
20.2 mms
2 / 15
Forecasts should be 80%
accurate, but expect
variations by a day or two
because of changeable
speed of weather systems.
October 5 - 11
Variable weather and
temperatures as disturbances
move through. Expect periods
of scattered rainfall.
October 19 - 25
Expect changeable weather as
mild and cool air collide. Blustery
at times. Skies will be generally
fair, but expect some showers on
a couple of days.
October 19 - 25
Expect changeable weather as
mild and cool air collide. Blustery
at times. Fair, but expect some
rain mixed with snow on a
couple of days.
2 / 13
Grande Prairie
15.5 mms
3 / 17
Medicine Hat
Lethbridge 15.5
15.9 mms
26 cms
3 / 17
0 / 13
Prince Albert
13.6 mms
2 / 15
16.9 mms
21.6 mms
3 / 11
The Pas
33.2 mms
2 / 14
2 / 15
31.2 mms
2 / 14
1 / 15
24.5 mms
3 / 16
2 / 15 Moose Jaw 20.3 mms
39.8 mms
Swift 18.3 mms
2 / 16
1 / 15
Portage 3 / 15
1 / 15
Brandon 32.7 mm Winnipeg
17.5 mms
22.2 mms
29.5 mms
19.7 mms 2 / 15
Estevan Melita 1 / 16
21.3 mms
28.2 mms
Precipitation Outlook
For October
Much Above Normal Below Much
above normal
normal below
Temperatures are normals
for October 1st averaged
over 30 years.
(water equivalent)
normals for Oct. in mms.
©2014 WeatherTec Services
Grow informed.
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/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
ICE barley futures contracts
ICE Futures Canada’s president is confident barley buyers and sellers will benefit from new contracts
omething that has been
around for over 100 years
can hardly be called new,
however, the ICE Futures
Canada barley contract might be
seen that way. Since the first barley contact was established on
what was originally the Winnipeg
Grain Exchange, it has seen several
changes to reflect prevailing market
conditions, domestic legislation and
global issues. Several iterations later,
through world wars, continental
barley markets and, most recently,
the removal of the Canadian Wheat
Board’s (CWB) monopoly powers
over barley marketing, the barley
futures contract still survives, but in
a new and improved version.
“The current barley futures contract is based on our very successful canola contract,” says Brad
Vannan, president and chief operating officer of ICE Futures Canada.
“The canola contract functions
very well and has grown rapidly
over the last six years and to base
the changes needed on a successful
contract just made sense because
both crops utilize the same storage
and transportation infrastructure.”
The new barley futures contract
was created to meet the potential
markets needs within the prevail-
ing conditions in Western Canada.
“Among the biggest changes in
this new contract is a move away
from a pricing point in southern
Alberta to a supply point in central
Saskatchewan, which expands the
contracts’ potential utility across
a broader demand base, including
export markets,” explains Vannan.
“But that change, and others, will
not necessarily make the contract
successful. The market requires a
depth of product and breadth of
participation to function, not just
a contract. We — ICE and other
invested parties — are working
to engage different stakeholders
with specific needs to participate
at the same time to create an
active and transparent marketplace over time.”
According to Aaron Anderson,
assistant vice-president of merchandising at Richardson International
and a member of the team that
developed the contract, the new
contract is a good hedging mechanism for both feeders and growers
alike. “This is not a new contract per
se,” explains Anderson. “It’s been in
existence now for over two years in
this new form. However, it is going
to take time for users to migrate
back to using futures from what has
been, essentially, a cash market.”
Anderson expects that the barley
contract, a clone of the canola contract, will find a user base as both
buyers and sellers look to gain price
security in the feed barley market.
“Risk management is the key to
successful trading,” he says. “And
for players like Richardson and others, as well as the sellers of barley, a
functioning, active barley hedging
mechanism like this barley future
contract is needed.”
that may not be executed upon for
months. Price exposure over time
is extremely risky especially in a
competitive global market where
prices are volatile. The added advantage is that with purchase and sales
agreements firmly in place well
in advance of contract execution,
transportation and other logistics
considerations can be planned well
in advance which should result in
more efficient use of potentially
scarce resources. Sometimes in nonhedgeable markets, by the time
buyers and sellers can agree on a
price, all the logistics resources have
already been spoken for and the
contract can’t be executed.”
Although the CWB monopoly
has been gone now for two full
crop years, going into the third,
the underlying environment still in
flux. “Additionally, the grain trade
is still consolidating ownership in
Western Canada,” says Vannan.
“Add to that the fact the livestock
trade is shrinking and barley acres
are declining and you can see the
challenges the new barley futures
contract faces.”
Farmers should expect slow,
steady growth in the barley futures
contract. “This is the first chapter
of a long book,” says Vannan.
“The futures market is arguably
the most efficient market structure
It’s like
leading a horse
to water
There are other ways to manage
risk, but none are as efficient as the
futures markets. “Risk adds cost,”
says Vannan. “Farmers would experience this cost of risk in lower priced
bids. Competitive markets like corn,
soybeans, cotton and canola have
evolved to be the most profitable
crops to grow partly because using
a futures market reduces the cost
of risk. It’s efficient and it allows
merchants to hedge and therefore
safely enter into forward contracts
Blue Means Performance
there is. It’s brilliant in the way it
responds to and disseminates the
flow of information, transfers risk
and enables price discovery.”
Current lower prices may create
more offshore demand for barley,
which could lead to a broadening
and deepening of demand. That
will, in turn, create more competition and a need for price discovery
and risk management.
“Futures markets do not create
cash markets,” explains Vannan.
“It’s the other way around, and our
cash market, internationally, is very
young. Only two years old. Add to
that all the focus on the wheat
market and logistics, and you can
see that feed barley has been a little
passed over to this point. And it
may continue that way for some
time. When those participants who
realize their risk and have a desire
to mitigate that risk efficiently in
a futures market step up and start
to use the contract, then there will
be a market. We’ve designed an
efficient contract with input from
all the stakeholders. In some ways,
many ways, it’s like leading a horse
to water. Now, it’s up to that horse
to decide if it’s thirsty or not.” †
Andrea Hilderman has her master’s degree
in weed science and is a member of the
Manitoba Institute of Agrologists. She writes
from Winnipeg, Man.
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SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Grain marketing
Protect your crop sale
You’ve kept your crop safe from insects and disease.
Now keep it safe from the risk of not payment default
By Neil Blue
here is plenty of risk to
producing a crop, particularly one of high yield
and quality. However,
production risk is only one of the
risks of grain farming. There are
also legal, personal, storage and
marketing risks.
In marketing your crop, you may
follow all the steps — know your
costs per unit of production, anticipate your cash flow needs, follow
the markets, know your pricing
and delivery alternatives, set target prices for various time periods
using your breakeven price as reference, enter into sales commitments
as opportunities arise and follow
through with deliveries. Then, after
meeting those delivery commitments, what is the risk of not being
paid? Over the years, several grain
buyers have become insolvent, and
many producers who delivered to
those buyers were not paid in full.
The law
The Canada Grain Act is administered by the Canada Grain
Commission. This Act requires
individuals and companies who
buy and sell grain or operate a
grain elevator to be licensed, and
empowers the CGC to exempt
companies from licensing under
certain circumstances. As a condition of licensing, grain dealers must
post financial security to cover any
liabilities to producers. Licensees
must file a monthly statement of
their operating account with the
Commission to enable confirmation that adequate bonding is in
place. If a licensee goes bankrupt,
producers who have not been paid
can make claims against this security. Although there is no guarantee that the security will cover 100
per cent of producers’ losses, the
losses are likely to be much less
than if the buyer in default was
not licensed.
Generally, anyone who deals in
or handles grain grown in Western
Canada must be licensed by the
Canadian Grain Commission.
There are four classes of licences.
• A “grain dealer” is a person
who for reward, on their own
behalf or on behalf of another
person, deals in or handles western grain.
• A “primary elevator” is an
elevator principally used for
receiving grain directly from producers for either or both storage
and forwarding.
• A “process elevator” is an elevator principally used for receiving and storing grain for direct
manufacture or processing into
other products.
• A “terminal elevator” is an
elevator whose principal uses are
receiving grain from another elevator and cleaning, storing and
treating grain before it is moved
When a producer sells grain
to a CGC-licensed individual or
company and receives a cash purchase ticket or cheque (including deferred payments), they are
covered for the lesser of either 30
days from the date it is issued, or
for 90 days after the grain delivery
date. A producer must seek payment for their grain and attempt
to cash cheques within those 90
days following delivery to be eligible to make a compensation
claim. A producer who receives a
post-dated cheque is covered for
30 days maximum, regardless of
the date of the cheque. Holding
a deferred payment longer than
30 days nullifies CGC protection.
Farmers experiencing any delay
in being paid for a crop sale
should contact the CGC immediately. When a licensed company
refuses to pay a producer for grain
or delays payment, or the financial institution denies payment
on their cash purchase ticket or
cheque, the producer has 30 days
to notify the CGC in writing.
Unlicensed buyers
There are three categories of
grain buyers don’t have to be
1. Those that have been
granted a licensing exemption by
the CGC.
2. Those whose business is
outside the jurisdiction of the
Canada Grain Act. Examples are
“end users” such as cattle feedlots
and hog production farms.
3. Those that are in violation
of the Canada Grain Act.
Again, not all buyers require
a license. Animal feeding operations do not need a CGC license
because they consume the grain in
their business. Feedmills and seed
cleaning plants are also exempt
if they do not buy and sell grain
on their own behalf. Cash grain
brokers who just act as matching
agents and do not take physical
or legal possession of grain do
not have to be licensed. There are
also some buyers known as resellers that, although they take legal
possession of the grain and are
responsible for paying the seller,
are not licensed because they do
not operate grain handling facilities and do not use Canada Grain
Act grade names for the products
they deal with.
Farmers who deal with unlicensed individuals or companies
do so at their own risk. If producers choose to deliver their grain
to an individual or company
that does not have a Canadian
Grain Commission license, none
of the protections of the Canada
Grain Act apply. Should an unlicensed buyer fail to pay in full,
the farmer is not eligible for
compensation except through
the legal process, usually as an
unsecured creditor. In negotiating
a sale and before signing a contract, it is good business to check
the Canadian Grain Commission
website (
or phone the CGC at 1-800-8536705 to check whether or not that
buyer is licensed.
After spending the time, effort
and money to grow a saleable product, it is important to
choose your buyers carefully.
Price should not be the only
criteria on which to base a sale
decision. Reputation and financial stability are also important.
Particularly if not licensed, references should be checked to
determine that buyer’s payment
record. When selling grain, be
sure to retain representative
samples of the product delivered
and obtain valid grain receipts
and purchase tickets. A scale
ticket is not enough. Also, consider metering out your sales,
ensuring that payment has
indeed cleared before shipping
more. Business caution can go
far in preventing marketing difficulties. †
Neil Blue writes from Vermillion, Alta. Contact
him at 780-853-6929.
BKT Tires (Canada) Inc.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Taking notes makes it easier
For someone that hasn’t been farming long, there are lots of things to remember. Notes can help
play the fool sometimes,
to illustrate the simpler yet
important points of farming
that an expert may no longer
consider. And I’m guessing some
of you, the ones who didn’t grow
up with smartphones and GPS,
need constant reminders of the
potential efficiencies clipped to
your belts.
It was supposed to be too cold.
The soil an inch or two down wasn’t
much above freezing. But we did it.
On May 16, we planted soybeans
after checking the soil temperature.
It was the morning after a cold
night. But the sun was out and we
weren’t about to let such an ideal
day slip away from us, especially
over just a few degrees.
I recorded the date, variety, drill
settings and tractor speed. And
took a picture. The whole process
took seconds, and felt good.
May 16 — seeded Syngenta soybeans at drill setting 17. Fourth
range, second gear.
It was at first a relatively unfamiliar dilemma. Conditions were
otherwise perfect. There was good
moisture below the surface, the
days were warm, and it was getting into May. We seeded wet
patches on June 13 last year, and
they survived, but that was way
too late, and too risky. It was time
to go. And, besides, the soil temperature thresholds people were
tossing around seemed too varied
to keep us from the field on good,
sunny planting days.
Here’s some hard science I’ve
learned from my father: plants will
find a way to live.
And they did. On May 29, six
days after they were planted in soil
that was arguably too cold, a solid
covering of soybean plants could
be seen above the surface.
I recorded the date, field, and
took a couple of pictures. Again,
it felt great.
This note-taking phase started
with the drill fill. I had no idea
how we got that thing on our
tandem last year. And I was starting to get tired of asking what
range and speed we cultivate,
seed, and spray at. It’s embarrassing. I should know all this
stuff by now. No more asking.
Well, once more. I had to call up
a year-old YouTube video of me
seeding to remember which tractor we used to pull our drill. Few
Spraying is not the most fun for me. It means pulling something that’s 90-feet from end to end, the widest
implement on the farm, at over six miles per hour.
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know about that one, so please
keep it quiet. I’d hate for it to
get out.
The drill fill is easy, but getting it on the truck requires a few
precarious steps. And instead of
puzzling it out every year, I’m at
ease knowing that next year I’ll
just have to pull the process up
on my phone. Yes, I’m not using a
pad of paper. It’s a shameless plug
for smartphones, but farming is all
about efficiencies, isn’t it?
There are too many finicky
procedures on the farm not to
keep notes. Too often I’ve stood
over a machine or implement
trying to recall the fuzzy details
of how we dealt with it the year
before. And year-over-year data
on something that fluctuates as
much as farming seems like a
good idea, at least until my ag
instincts develop.
Then it was time to spray. This,
full disclosure, is not the most fun
for me. It’s the combination of
pulling something that’s 90-feet
from end to end, which is the
widest implement on the farm,
and doing so at over six miles
per hour.
I made my first pass on the
sprayer with one boom wheel
tracking in the middle of our
driveway, killing the grass between
it and the field. I turned, abruptly,
and was soon leaving a swath of
beans unsprayed. Then, nervous,
because I was doing all this on the
field in front of my parents’ house,
I clipped a hydro pole.
After that incident wrapped up
and I was back on the field, the
day got a little better. And my notes
include such pearls of wisdom:
June 5 – Sprayed soybeans. Second
range, full hydrostat, 2100 r.p.m.s.
p.s.i. 42. Slow down at ends, turn
slowly and make sure no wedges are
left unsprayed. Don’t turn sharp with
sprayer. If near an obstacle, turn off
booms, stop, and back up.
The chemicals intimidate me.
They smell potent. They are
potent. And I can’t help but feel
the line between helping the crop
and destroying it is thin. What
if I’m killing the beans? What if
I’m killing my neighbour’s crop?
Round Ready soybeans won’t burn
too easily, I’m told. And the little
bit of Reflex we added to stress
the young beans into a stronger,
higher-yielding plant won’t kill
them, either.
But my notes are exhaustive.
More so than the excerpt above.
When we spray a second time,
shortly before the rows close up,
I’ll be that much more independent. And that’s the goal: to be a
comfortable, intuitive, and independent farmer.
I’m getting there. And taking
quick notes is helping. I recommend it. Next spring, when we’re
puzzling over seed-rate settings
and depth, these notes will be
worth it.
It may seem easy, but if there
are others like me, who fret about
things they can’t fully explain or
remember at any given time, the
peace of mind that accompanies
having a record of dates, procedures, and settings more than
justifies the few seconds it takes.
June 14 was the last time I
recorded notes on our beans, and
the photos I snapped while doing
so captured what looks like a great
crop. †
Toban Dyck is a freelance writer and a new
farmer on an old farm. Follow him on Twitter
@tobandyck or email [email protected]
photos: toban dyck
Left: By June 14, it looked like a great crop. Right: On May 29, six
days after they were planted in soil that was arguably too cold, a solid
covering of soybean plants could be seen above the surface.
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/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Fusarium: again… or “still”
Farmers need better data to make good decisions around spraying for fusarium
othing sharpens focus
on a production
problem like a little skin in the game.
My crop rotation on my tiny
Blackstrap farm has been wheat,
peas, wheat, canola since 1998.
It is too much wheat, and for a
very scary reason: fusarium head
blight (FHB).
FHB was a Manitoba problem,
so no big worry for us. Until
2010. That’s when we saw the
first sign of the ugly, blank heads
and parts of heads with some
pink blemishes. It caused not
only a yield loss but if there’s
too much DON in wheat (DON
is short for deoxynivalenol, and
also known as vomitoxin), too
bad — auger it into the bush. A
very scary prospect.
In 2012 I grew Goodeve wheat
— midge tolerant but poor
for FHB and no fungicide was
used. FHB was bad in 2012.
Fortunately we squeezed out No.
2 wheat at 15.5 per cent protein
and the day it was delivered,
the elevator price was $8.30 per
bushel so straight to the bank.
Oh, for the good old days of
eight bucks a bushel.
In 2013 I grew peas (mine
were 55 bushels per acre, but
some neighbours had 70). Local
wheat crops in 2013 had nary a
FHB wheat head in sight. Almost
all wheat was bumper yield with
little or no FHB disease, sprayed
or not.
We need
better weather
2014 has proven to be a bad
year for FHB. I grew Waskada
wheat (rated good for FHB). I
seeded May 14 — gobs of fertilizer, high seeding rate, good
herbicide and a bumper in the
making. Easy decision for an old
man with cash — shut up and
spray. On July 14 the wheat was
at precisely the correct stage and
sprayed with high end chemical (Prosaro). And still there
was some FHB. My problem was
thinking the spray was a control
for FHB, when it is really meant
to reduce severity. I was disappointed to still see some FHB.
Some of the blank heads were
aster yellows and a few had the
stem chewed off by a bug of
some sort. So not all blanks were
FHB and overall a good crop is
nearing harvest.
But many with much more
skin in the game and facing
declining wheat prices struggled
to decide to take on another
$20 to $25 per acre cost when
it might not be needed. Talk
around our fields was “cooler this
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year than 2012 so we should be
okay.” Or some have made the
decision to suck it up and spray
every acre, every year. Some
decided to spray half a field and
leave half — a good strategy in
the face of uncertainty. Andy
Sirski (former Grainews editor)
does that with stocks. If the
price goes down you are happy
you sold half; if the price goes
up you are happy you kept half.
It is well known that FHB
is weather dependent. Hot and
humid weather “gooses” it up
to be a big problem. BUT, how
hot and how humid and for how
long? The critical time is well
known — the flowering period.
My point is that we need better information and support to
aid in the fungicide spraying
Manitoba Agriculture produces a FHB risk map on a
daily basis through July and I
checked the website often. But,
what good is that to central
Saskatchewan Agriculture
information states: “The disease
is most likely to thrive when
temperatures range from 25 to 30
C and moisture is continuous for
48 hours or more.” “Moisture” is
taken to mean rainfall. But, on
my farm we had 2.6 inches of
rain in July 2013 (no FHB) but
only 2.1 inches in 2012 (lots of
FHB). In 2014 we had 2.5 inches
and lots of FHB. So forget rainfall
as a criteria for FHB.
Randy Kutcher, disease specialist in the plant sciences
department at the University
of Saskatchewan, provided me
with a recent and excellent literature review on FHB by Marcia
McMullen and others. Marcia
is recently retired from North
Dakota State University. FHB
has been a big problem in several U.S. states for many years.
This review is a grand piece of
work and answered many of
my questions. For keeners, the
citation is: “A Unified Effort to
Fight an Enemy of Wheat and
Barley: Fusarium Head Blight,”
by Marcia McMullen, Gary
Bergstrom, Erick De Wolf, Ruth
Dill-Macky, Don Hershman,
Greg Shaner, and Dave Van
Sanford. Plant Disease, Dec 2012,
Volume 96, Number 12.
About weather and FHB risk
they said the best model used
“the duration of hours that relative humidity was greater than
90 per cent when temperatures
were between 15 and 30 C for
the 10 days after anthesis.”
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Armed with that criteria, I used
the hour by hour records for
Saskatoon. The results are shown
in the table. I looked at all of July
and took August up to August 20.
Some wheat was seeded well into
June and flowering could have
been well into August. There
was an opinion that later seeded
wheat was not affected as much
— not so this year.
Based on that criteria, the data
in the table does show clearly
that 2013 was not a FHB year
but 2012 was bad. But, with the
2012 experience in mind, many
sprayed in 2013 anyway. The
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
FHB Hours
(Relative Humidity above
90 per cent, temperature
between 15 and 30 C).
Data form Saskatoon Airport,
Environment Canada.
My crop was spread
with Prosaro on July 14.
The ugly witch, fusarium head blight, complete with pink colour.
Enough to strike fear in the heart of any farmer. (Note: Not in my crop
thank goodness.)
only serious FHB day in 2013
was July 6. That day was an allday rain with 1.6 inches and a
temperature around 16 C.
As for 2014, my spray date of
July 14 did provide protection
for a few bad days. And, some
of the bad cases I have seen in
later-seeded wheat fit with the
many FHB hours in early and
The data in the table is based
on strict adherence to the rule —
that is, relative humidity greater
than 90 per cent and temperature between 15 and 30 C. On
some days, hours with 89 per
cent relative humidity or a temperature of 14.9 C would likely
count. It makes sense to me that
some sort of sliding scale would
provide better criteria. Maybe
the Manitoba model already
does that.
To get better information
we need better weather data.
Alberta and Manitoba have a
large number of automatically
recording weather stations with
feeds to be used by models.
Saskatchewan is left only with
the inadequate Environment
Canada stations — too few in
number and with ever decreasing resources to keep them
Saskatchewan Agriculture
does have a very good network
of farmers who report rainfall
weekly. That’s good enough for
soil moisture mapping but of little use for FHB.
So, as research organizations
think about funding for future
FHB work the weather piece and
information analysis and access
should be front and centre. †
J.L.(Les) Henry is a former professor and
extension specialist at the University of
Saskatchewan. He farms at Dundurn, Sask.
He recently finished a second printing
of “Henry’s Handbook of Soil and Water,”
a book that mixes the basics and practical
aspects of soil, fertilizer and farming. Les will
cover the shipping and GST for “Grainews”
readers. Simply send a cheque for $50 to Henry
Perspectives, 143 Tucker Cres, Saskatoon, SK,
S7H 3H7, and he will dispatch a signed book.
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/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Guarding wealth
The high cost of buying into booms
With financial prices rising, prudent investors need to be cautious in the marketplace
By Andrew Allentuck
t is a paradox of off-farm
investing that, as the U.S.
economy strengthens and
the Canadian economy gains
speed, albeit sluggishly, buying
stocks and bonds is getting to be
harder, not easier.
The reasons are, of course, that
many other investors have already
made their bets, bought the stocks
they expect to rise, put money on
bonds they expect to be rewarding,
taken option positions and set cash
reserves for what may be new entry
points. That explanation would
seem to say that the game is over.
But that would be false.
There are new realities in financial markets and they are what
every investor on the farm or off
has to keep in mind.
Could it be that bond investors
are acting prudently in view of the
future and not just buying bonds
with their stock market gains? Read
the newspapers and you’ll see abundant geopolitical risks, any number
of which could plunge the world.
The Middle East offers crises in
Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and
the moving target of the bloodthirsty Islamic State. Africa has the
Ebola crisis. Moreover, the market is
ready for a correction, for it has risen
with few backsteps since the recovery which began in March, 2009.
That is a five-year run. Stock market
convulsions happen every three to
six years. There were crises in 1987
when the New York Stock Exchange
dropped about 23 per cent; 1998
when bond manager Long-Term
Capital Management went bust and
the Thai currency collapsed; 2000
when the dot com boom implod-
ed; 2001 when tragedy struck New
York; and 2008 when an overvalued
market collapsed after investment
bank Lehman Brothers imploded.
That series of disasters did not end
the crisis. Just wait — there are more
to come.
What to do
What’s an investor to do? The
endless cycles of greed and fear
Market realities
Stocks are increasingly priced for
good news. The major stock indices are now over their bull market
average levels. Thus the American
S&P 500 Composite index, which
began to hit all time records at the
end of August, is priced at 19 times
the average annual earnings of its
constituent companies. That is a
little over the 16 multiple historical
average, but that alone does not
predict a fall. After all, as the economist David Rosenberg, a sage of
both Wall and Bay streets and chief
market guru of Gluskin+Sheff, an
eminent Bay Street wealth manager,
has said, it is not an average that
brings markets down. It takes an
event to do that. So far, the events
— chaos in the Middle East, for
example — have not budged the
market very much.
We’ll come to what could break
the up cycle of stock market prices a
little later, but first we have to mention what the bond market is doing.
It, too, is providing terrific returns
even in the face of the expectation
that someday soon, interest rates
will rise. The Fed and the Bank of
Canada are easing off bond buying, thus allowing bond prices to
fall and bond yields, which move
opposite to interest rates, to rise.
Ordinarily, the prospect for falling
prices would flush money out of the
bond market. But these days, it is the
opposite. The reason: bonds are not
being priced on the usual variables
of expected inflation or demand
for money. Rather, bonds are being
bought as commodities on a simple
supply and demand basis.
Stocks and bonds are the two
major asset classes. Investing doctrine says that when one asset class
rises, one should take some money
off the table and rebalance. Thus
with major stock averages such
as the TSX and the Dow Jones
Industrial Average about double
their value at the lows of March,
2009, many investors are taking
some profits and buying bonds.
That pushes up bond prices and
pushes down bond yields, which
move opposite to prices. What is
most remarkable is that investors
have put a great deal of money
into long-dated government bonds.
Canadian bonds with terms 10
years and over are up 8.7 per cent in
the first six months of 2014, which
is a remarkable gain in an ongoing
recovery in which they should be
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are in the greed phase now. The
prospect that Tim Horton’s will
take over Burger King in a spectacular restructuring driven by tax
savings, financed by Warren Buffet
and managed by the Brazilian
company which owns Burger King
has rocketed up Tim’s share price
and created a feel good atmosphere on Bay Street.
But can it last? That depends
on timing, patience, and your
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Kelly’s Tips and Hints
view of the market. As I write this
column, Tim’s is priced at more
than 29 times last years’ earnings.
Revenue growth is a modest 4.3
per cent, though the company’s
return on equity is a spectacular
53 per cent. A conservative investor would say that paying 29
times last year’s earnings is rich
for a 1.4 per cent dividend and
sluggish top line sales growth. But
the Tim’s-Burger King merger is
about synergies and perhaps tax
savings. It’s about future growth,
not present payouts.
We need to talk about the fundamental market forces: Stocks with
low ratios of share price to earnings
below 10 or so are held down by the
momentum or prejudice that they
are slugs doomed to remain market
outcasts. Stocks with p/e’s over 20
or 30 or more are trading on the
momentum view that what goes
up, goes up. Neither view is right,
for regression to the mean, boosting
market laggards and hauling down
high flyers is a far more powerful
force than low prices for the slugs
staying low and high prices for winners going even higher.
The time to buy a hot stock is,
of course, before it got hot. When
it is hot, caution is essential. You
can buy that caution in an equally
weighted exchange traded fund
— BMO has several such as the
BMO Equal Weight Industrial Index
ETF, symbol ZIN on the TSX, in
which each stock is three to four
per cent of the index. That gives
some advantage to bottom feeders and keeps the winners’ curse
of overpricing from tainting the
index. Equal weight indices tend to
outperform market weight indices
most of the time. You may give up
some dividend returns characteristic
of the biggest companies, but you
get more growth in return. Most
of all, you tend to get a lower p/e
than if you buy the market-weighted winners index. BMO has equal
weighted indices for banks, oils,
utilities and real estate investment
trusts. Other ETF providers such
as iShares have a variant on equal
weight indices. They use capped
indices that hold the weight of winners down to a specific level, thus
avoiding the Nortel effect which, at
one time had the now bankrupt telecom manufacturer responsible for
a third of the total value of the TSX.
A prudent investor is seldom an
enthusiast. Courageous perhaps,
but not a fool rushing to throw
money at a train that is already past.
Sadness, it is said, is the mother of
memory. Overpaying for overpriced
stocks is a memory, and a sadness,
you don’t need.
Andrew Allentuck’s latest book,
When Can I Retire? Planning Your
Financial Life After Work, was
published in 2011 by Penguin
Canada. †
Andrew Allentuck’s latest book, “When Can I
Retire? Planning Your Financial Life After Work,”
was published in 2011 by Penguin Canada.
Kelly Airey
bank reconciliation
is a comparison of
what you entered
into your AgExpert
database to your actual bank
statement. Making this comparison will help you identify
missed deposits or withdrawals, ensure you have entered
proper amounts and dates,
and catch transactions entered
twice by mistake. Completing
a bank reconciliation will verify the accuracy of your database. I recommend doing a
bank reconciliation at the end
of every month. Here is how:
1 . C l i c k o n “ Tr a n s actions” menu, then “Bank
2. Beside “Account”: Select
the account to reconcile from
the drop down list.
3. Under “Bank Statement
Date”: enter the end date
you would like to reconcile
to. For example: If you are
doing monthly reconciliations, and reconciling your
January bank statement,
enter January 31, 2014.
4. Under “Bank Statement
Balance:” enter the ending
balance from your bank statement.
5. “Reconciliation List:” All
the outstanding cheques and
deposits on or before the specified date will be displayed.
Now, start comparing the
outstanding transactions in
your reconciliation list to the
transactions on your bank
statement. If a transaction
displayed on the list appears
on your bank statement, mark
the transaction as “cleared,”
by clicking on the empty box
on the left side of the screen.
This will put a check mark
in the box and highlight the
transaction in blue.
Once you’ve marked all
appropriate transactions as
cleared in the reconciliation
list, the “Difference” amount
on the bottom right side if the
screen should be zero.
Transactions that have
not yet cleared the bank will
remain unchecked.
You can sort the reconciliation list by clicking on the
column headers. For example,
I recommend clicking on the
“Amount” column header. It
makes it quicker to search for
the amount in the list.
If you come across an entry
that was entered incorrectly,
you can quickly do a “Full
Edit” on that transaction by
clicking the audit number.
If you have missed entering a transaction you can
simply click on the “Enter
Transaction” button on the
bottom left of the screen and
it will take you straight to the
Transaction Entry Screen.
Once the “Difference”
amount is zero, click
“Record.” A report will be
generated that can be printed, or accessed anytime
under Transactions > Reports
> Bank Rec History. †
Kelly Airey is a farmer and ag consultant
in western Manitoba. If you’re purchasing
AgExpert, she can help you receive $25
off. Contact her at [email protected] or (204) 365-0136.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Reporter’s notebook
Wild weather and loose wheels
For an ag reporter driving on Prairie roads to get to the story, sometimes a
little bit of on-the-spot help from strangers is more than welcome
By Lisa Guenther
was on my way to Ravenscrag,
Saskatchewan, on the last
day of May this year when
my wheel flew off.
I’d just driven through the
Elrose Hills, rolling knolls dotted
with oil tanks, and was watching
the sky, wondering if it was going
to rain. Then I realized that wobble in my Chevy Tracker was not
its usual questionable handling.
I lifted my foot from the gas and
was just about to tap the brakes
when it happened.
The Tracker’s rear driver’s side
dropped suddenly. A rooster tail of
sparks streamed up from the highway. I watched in amazement as
my wheel passed me, cut through
the oncoming lane (which was
luckily traffic-free at that moment),
and rolled into the ditch.
I felt oddly calm, even detached,
as I geared down and slowly eased
the Tracker to the side of the
highway. And then annoyed as I
retrieved my wheel from the ditch.
My Tracker, in the end, was
towed to the small town of Kyle,
which is about 70 km north of
Swift Current. The tow truck driver
regretted not being able to give me
a ride to the Cypress Hills, which I
thought was very generous considering he didn’t know me. He did
help me buy a bus ticket.
In the end, though, I didn’t use
that ticket. Instead, a local family
put me up for the night and lent
me a car the next day. They didn’t
know me at all before bumping into
me in Kyle. They insisted I take the
car and refused payment (the wife
told me she would be insulted if I
tried to pay). And after spending
some time with them, it became
clear they had both gone through
more than their share of trials, and
not everyone they’d known had
shown them the same kindness.
Ultimately it wasn’t just about
them lending me a car for 10 days.
They were saying that although
they didn’t know me, they trusted
me and wanted to help me. And
that’s pretty amazing.
Weather, weather,
Whether you’re on the livestock
or crop side of agriculture, you’re
acutely aware of the weather. So
it’s no surprise this awareness
threaded its way through my travels this summer.
When I arrived in the Ravenscrag
area, in the eastern Cypress Hills,
the hills were dry. Jim Saville, the
proprietor of the bed and breakfast,
I called home for a few days, was
watching the sky closely, hoping for
rain to revive pastures and hayland.
It was dry in the Maple Creek
area, too, which is west of
Ravenscrag. Environment Canada
data showed only 40 mm of precipitation for April and May — far
below the 30-year average of 72
mm. And June’s rainfall was also
well below average.
The Cypress Hills see its share
of wild weather, too. While I was
there I witnessed a severe, localized
hailstorm that stripped leaves from
the trees and pummeled the pasture. And I was part of a farm media
tour that visited Eric Lawrence,
Rancher Eric Lawrence standing
in front of some of the debris
created by the 2010 flood that
swept through his ranchland and
neighbouring Maple Creek.
who ranches just south of Maple
Creek. Gap Creek runs through the
Lawrence ranch and during the
2010 flood it turned into a destructive torrent. The water washed
away some of Eric’s cultivated land
and turned the creek bottom fencing into a complete rat’s nest.
I’ve never had to clean up
barbed wire after a flood, but it’s
clearly a very difficult task and a
livestock hazard. I can’t imagine
the mess many flooded Prairie
producers must be dealing with
again this year.
Severe weather puts people at risk,
too. Every year lightning kills about
10 people in Canada and injures
another 100 to 150, Environment
Canada’s website states. Plough
winds are fairly common on the
Prairies. Few people are killed by
tornadoes in Western Canada, but
Saskatchewan storm chaser Greg
Johnson said we have plenty of
tornados. They just tend to hit more
crops and trees than people.
Environment Canada doesn’t
communicate severe weather to
the public very well, Johnson
told me during an interview at
Canada’s Farm Progress Show in
Regina this June.
“Environment Canada has a
philosophy of what we call the
pull method, where they encourage people to pull the information away from Environment
Canada,” he said.
In the United States, by contrast, the National Weather Service
pushes warnings to people in areas
about to be hammered, he said.
Sirens blare, TV and radio are legislated to broadcast warnings and
the weather service even texts and
tweets people at risk.
“We’ve been in tornado situations where people literally have
time to go to the school, pick their
Gap Creek winds through the Lawrence ranch, south of Maple Creek, Sask.
kids up, bring them back, get them
in the storm shelter,” said Johnson
of the U.S. system.
It’s easy to dismiss funding for
better severe weather warnings in
Western Canada by pointing out
the relatively low death toll so
far. But with all the outdoor festivals jammed into summer, a better
warning system is needed. A plough
wind killed one person and injured
dozens of others at Alberta’s Big
Country Jamboree five years ago.
Environment Canada had issued
a severe wind warning just as the
winds hit the festival. Maybe festival organizers and attendees could
have averted that tragedy if they’d
had more warning.
And while some media broadcast warnings and watches, not
everyone is glued to their TVs or
radios these days. I always have
the radio on, but because I don’t
have good reception in my house,
I stream it online. So if the power
goes out, I’m in the dark. I imagine farmers in the field would
appreciate warnings sent directly
to their cell phones, too.
The good news is that
to improve its weather warn-
ing system. Ken Macdonald,
Environment Canada’s director of
national programs, told CBC he
hopes to see a mobile alert system
in Canada within a couple years.
And the government is considering making it mandatory for
media to broadcast weather alerts,
as it’s voluntary right now, he said.
Never a boring day
If you get a chance to talk to
Johnson, or see him speak, you’ll
notice that his love of storm chasing stands out.
“I see a tornado on the ground,
I’m excited. It’s a euphoric feeling,”
he told me. And most tornadoes
are tragedy-free, touching down in
fields well away from people.
“But every once in a while you
get that tornado that rips through
a town like Vilonia (Arkansas)…
And in those situations obviously
the emotions instantly change,”
Johnson said.
Johnson and his team were
the first people to arrive after a
tornado shredded Vilonia and
ultimately killed 16 people last
April. The town was shrouded in
darkness when they arrived, and
photos: lisa guenther
as their truck’s headlights carved
through the night, survivors gathered around their truck.
Johnson, driver Ricky Forbes,
and videographer Chris Chittick
started to administer first aid.
Emergency personnel were still in
Mayfield, a neighbouring community levelled by the same twister a
half hour earlier.
Once others arrived to tend the
wounded, Johnson, Chittick and
Forbes began digging through the
wreckage to find survivors. They
found a family with an infant
who’d been trapped for hours.
They found a woman with a possible spinal injury, so one team
member stabilized her neck for
hours until more help arrived.
Obviously what they did that
day was very important. They
helped people in crisis. They probably saved lives. But what they did
was more important than the sum
of their actions.
By helping people, they were
saying, “Even though we don’t
know you, we care about you.
Your life is important.” †
Lisa Guenther is field editor for Grainews
based at Livelong, Sask. Contact her at Lisa.
[email protected]
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Changing times, yet again
With risks of global change and bad
harvest weather, farmers can take action
ver the past month
a number of things
have happened that
are going to impact
world grain prices.
Reports from the Ukrainian
Ministry of Agriculture are saying
that due to conflicts they expect
that at least 15 per cent of the
crops in Eastern regions will be
lost because they have not been
tended to properly. Shipments
out of the major ports are continuing as normal, but there are
concerns that any further escalation in the conflict could target
these ports and cause some real
Harvest in parts of the EU and
the U.S. have begun and volumes
look to be up from early estimates. This has buyers waiting
to see how low prices will go as
there looks to be plenty of volume available.
Rains in some regions of the
EU, particularly France, and in
parts of the U.S. and across the
Prairies are is impacting harvest
yield and quality. This is forcing
some buyers who need high quality grains (wheat) to look elsewhere and or forcing them to buy
up good quality old crop stocks
or new crop stocks sooner than
they had expected to cover their
needs. This panic will help support prices for a while but there
is still a lot of wheat harvesting
to be done over the next four to
five months.
Logistics problems continue to
persist in the northern U.S. states
where most facilities are full of
newly harvested grain and waiting
for rail cars to ship to port.
Will this problem rear its ugly
head on the Prairies as we head
into our harvest? Most likely,
yes. We will no doubt experience the typical yearly harvest
congestion scenario where grain
comes in faster than it can be
shipped. The question is how
many cars will be available and
which elevators will get them.
If we see the railways follow
their strategy from last winter
of shipping from the closest
points to port, then the Calgary
Edmonton corridor elevators
will be well served going to
Vancouver and the facilities in
eastern Manitoba will have good
shipping to the Lakehead, but
everyone in between might be
sitting full and waiting for cars.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
crop tours have concluded that
the current U.S. bean and corn
crops are going to be record-breaking crops.
rity and bringing us very close to
freezing temperatures. Frost was
reported in northeast Alberta and
northwest Saskatchewan in the
later parts of August which will no
doubt impact crop quantity and
We need warm weather for
another month. This would allow
us the opportunity to export our
milling wheat into those markets
that the French cannot serve this
year because of their poor quality
crop, and hopefully help to elevate
prices here.
Exporting feed grains from
Canada is not very lucrative
because of the freight and the
location of the majority of the
buyers. French feed wheat will
already have a head start on selling into those markets because
their harvest is two or three
months before ours. They are
also closer to the end users, so
they can sell cheaper due to
lower freight costs.
We will most likely end up marketing the majority of our feed
grains into our local feed markets.
The volume of feed grains we produce will dictate where price will
go, especially if exporting is not a
realistic option.
Another major concern is the
massive record corn crop being
harvested in the U.S. The U.S.
regularly exports a huge volume of corn into the world feed
markets but if those markets
some or all your wheat is feed and
prices collapse over harvest.
Use crop and revenue insurance products like those offered
by Global Ag Risk Solutions (see
This way you can protect yourself
against both production and revenue shortfalls to a minimum dollar
value per acre. If you lose quantity
and quality and prices collapse, that
insurance payment could mean the
difference between making a profit
or facing a huge loss.
No one knows what will happen, but if you prepare and
protect yourself as best you can
with the right kinds of insurance and a good marketing plan
you can greatly reduce your
overall risk and exposure in
the market place, become more
profitable and sleep better at
night. †
Brian Wittal has 30 years of grain industry
experience, and currently offers market
planning and marketing advice to farmers
through his company Pro Com Marketing Ltd.
on the
Earn up to $10/MT on your grain when you book
your canola with Parrish & Heimbecker.
If we look at the current situation across the Prairies we find
ourselves in a rather precarious
Crops in general are late compared to last year and the five-year
average. Cool weather and rains
have not helped, delaying matu-
are being flooded by cheaper
EU feed wheat then you will
no doubt see corn values start
to drop accordingly. They will
continue to drop until they
either buy back some of their
export markets or they are cheap
enough to sell into Canada
(against our lower dollar) into
our feed market. If that happens,
you know what will happen to
our feed grain values.
So how do you try to best protect yourself from these kinds of
possible scenarios?
Do you realistically expect to get
your entire wheat crop off without
any frost problems?
If your answer is yes, do nothing
and get it in the bin ASAP.
If your answer is no, maybe you
should consider selling some feed
wheat for immediate movement
at harvest at current levels before
prices slide any further if a frost
event should occur.
Hedge or use options on the
Chicago wheat futures to protect
yourself from the worst case that
Learn more at
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Use indicators to understand stocks
Some key technical indicators can be useful for investors getting into or out of the stock market
here might be many
ways to succeed or fail
in the stock market. One
way to succeed is not to
lose or give back a lot of money
when the market turns down.
Today I want to discuss a couple of indicators that help me
buy and sell stocks. Then I want
to discuss why it’s important to
understand our stocks.
In my technical analyst group,
we study indicators. I think
everybody who comes to those
meetings believes technical signals can help us decide when to
buy and sell good stocks. Outside
that circle, some believe them
and some don’t. But an indicator
that deserves some attention is
the indicator $SPXA50R. You can
enter that on the free version of
Stockcharts, and in a few seconds
you can tell how many stocks
are above their 50-day moving
When the chart $SPXA50R is
above 80, 80 per cent of the stocks
on the S&P index are above their
50-day moving average (dma).
That usually means there are very
few stocks to push the market up
much higher. Sooner than later
the market usually starts to drop.
Many stocks often drop in concert with that index. The more
volatile stocks or weaker ones
drop faster. Sometimes the really
good strong stocks go sideways
when that indicator is falling.
When the $SPXA50R stops falling and turns up, the good stocks
that did not drop or went sideways usually to go up first. The
weak stocks that are built like
the proverbial straw house usually drop big time first and start
going up last.
This year the $SPXA50R peaked
around the middle of June, at
about 83. It stayed there until
early July; then the indicator
dropped through the 10 dma and
kept dropping until it dropped to
around 23 around August 7.
Generally a reading under 30
means the market is over old
and should be getting ready for a
bottom and a turnaround. While
most of us cannot pick the exact
bottoms the $SPXA50R indicator crossed the 10 dma going
up at about 35 on August 11
and crossed the 20 dma going
up around August 14. Buying a
decent stock anywhere around
there would have made an investor some money.
The Dow Jones Index ($INDU)
held its strength until July 25 then
dropped from 17100 to 16448 by
August 9, a drop of 3.8 per cent.
The $spxa50r dropped to 23 by
August 7, a drop of 72 per cent.
Disney (DIS): Recall that I wrote
how Disney usually earns more
than the overall S&P average.
Coming up to the time when
the $SPXA50R was peaking at 83
in late June DIS was trading at
$86. It dropped to $82 (4.6 per
cent). As the $spxa50r continued
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to drop DIS went back to $86 —
the drop in the overall market
did not hurt DIS. After August 7
the market took off; so did DIS
and it was trading at $90 as the
$spxa50r was at 73.
According to historic statistics, the market often drops after
options expire in September,
which happens on the third
Friday of the month and took
place on September 20 this year.
As I wrap up this column on
September 15, the market doesn’t
seem to know if it should go up or
down. After a good run up, that
often can be a sign of a top and
after a big drop it can be a sign of
a bottom in the market.
Several sectors have already
been beaten up. The price of oil
dropped to about $92 from $105
or so. The price of gold dropped
to $1230 or so which is getting
pretty close to its lows of $1180.
You can run similar tests on
your favourite stocks. Now I want
to discuss how and why we should
understand our stocks so we can
manage them accordingly. Most
buy and hold investors don’t
worry about such things.
Gilead Sciences (GILD): GILD
actually went up while the
$spxa50r dropped this summer.
This company now has a very
good drug that fights hepatitis
and one that helps patients deal
with HIV.
In early September GILD
announced it was going to make
a deal with a generic drug maker
and sell the hepatitis drug for a
lot less in underdeveloped countries than in developed countries.
On September 15 it closed the
deal with a couple of suppliers.
The risk is that drug insurance
companies will somehow push
GILD into selling its generic drug
all over the world. Apparently it
is the one drug that really treats
hepatitis well.
GILD seems to react to this
type of news and went up as the
market dropped in early August
but dropped on the generic drug
news. It can move up or down
$5 to $10 in a day. This is much
more volatile than say Bristol
Myers Squibb (BMY) or Pfizer
(PFE). But the premiums from
selling covered calls are good so
GILD offers an opportunity for
anyone who can stand the volatility. †
Andy is mostly retired. Besides gardening,
playing with granddaughters and traveling
a bit Andy manages his family’s portfolio.
He also published an electronic newsletter
called StocksTalk. Read it free for a month by
sending an email to Andy at [email protected]
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
in your field
All successful businesses outsource
some parts of the work. No one
farmer can do everything alone
ou are a farmer. You participate in the annual
rush of the production
cycle. Seeding, fertilizing, applying herbicide, fungicide, desiccating. You move on
to swathing, combing, hauling
grain to your bins then to the
elevator. You’ve operated a tractor pulling a seeder that covers
60 to 100 feet with every pass.
You’ve mastered the technology of a high-clearance sprayer.
You’ve been running a swather
and combine every year since
you were 14 and you could drive
a three-ton truck, back it into an
auger and dump a load of grain
since you were 12.
Now in your 40s or 50s, you
have multiple tractors, seeders, possibly sprayers, swathers,
combines and tandem or semitrucks and probably a grain
cart. You can’t possibly operate
all of this equipment at one
time, so what do you do? You
hire someone. You select an
operator whose experience on
that piece of equipment makes
him an expert. Someone you
know will service the machine
and operate it at the edge of its
capacity but not damage it by
pushing it too hard. You hope
your hired expert will not hit
a tree with the sprayer boom
at 14 miles per hour or put
a rock through the combine
while texting.
If you expect to seek the
help of experts to assist with
your, why do you expect to
be an expert agrologist or
expert agronomist or an expert
accountant or an expert grain
marketer when all of the above
is happening all at once, all
the time? Not just seeding, not
just spraying or harvest but 12
months of the year, or as the
kids say 24/7.
All of us that grew up around
the farm learned to be selfreliant. We could fix almost
anything with hay wire or glue
something back together with
the old Forney stick welder. We
could change oil and service all
of our equipment to get field
ready, but, when there was serious repair work like rebuilding
an engine or some heavy duty
welding required we took it to
an expert.
The business of agriculture
has changed. It’s a business
with millions of dollars at stake
with every decision. A poor fertilizer blend can cost a hundred
thousand dollars. Applying the
wrong herbicide at the right
time or missing a target price
can cost the same amount. Not
converting your bookkeeping
to accrual accounting could
have the worst effect of all,
with hundreds of thousands
of dollars needlessly sent to
Every successful business you
can think of has experts tasked
with managing and making recommendations to improve the
business segment under their
Accountants account for
where money is earned and
spent. They recommend where
savings can be achieved, or
where income can be increased
and taxes saved. They likely
have industry experience and
can tell management where they
stand in relation to similar business (benchmarking).
Businesses producing products
for sale hire individuals to maximize production, so they are
profitably producing as much
as possible. These experts tell
management not just what the
materials used to produce the
products cost, but can also calculate the cost of producing each
unit and analyze profit margins
and ratios for management.
You want to
be outstanding
in your field
Most successful businesses have a marketing department. Marketers are aware of
production costs so they can
price production at a profit,
selling incrementally to cover
projected cash flow needs and
selling consistently over time,
not trying to hit the “home
run” with one enormous sale
at unrealistic prices. Marketing
people assess the need for the
production to satisfy customers and advise managers of the
best opportunities to sell, and
when to ramp up production
to cover increased sales and
increase profitability.
F i n a l l y, b u s i n e s s e s m a y
employ an analyst to determine
where the company should be
placing its resources to best
advantage and where the cracks
need to filled to prevent leaking
capital from restricting business
activities. An analyst may suggest and plan for the day when
the business is sold or passed on
to another generation.
Good business managers hire
people whom they believe will
be competent in their respective
jobs, and learn to trust them
over time as the business grows
into the established goals. They
expect to receive accurate and
timely reports on which to base
decisions; they act on the recommendations of the professionals they employ. Good business
managers assess the strengths
and weaknesses of the people
they depend on. If hired experts
don’t contribute positively to the
organization they are replaced
with others with higher skills
and abilities. While many of you
may be married to your bookkeeper, your production advisor
or your marketing partner our
business manager is not.
As a farmer, you want to be
outstanding in your field. Not,
out, standing in your field wondering what went wrong. †
Kim Althouse is a market coach with AgriTrend at Tisdale, Saskatchewan. He is also
the president of
Lead by
Scout Fields
for Weed Escapes
Now is a great time to inspect your fields for weed
escapes and take necessary action. Spot spraying,
tillage, or mowing can all be used where you find
decreases in weed control performance to help you
Start Clean and Stay Clean next season.
Follow us @weedmgmt
Download the WEED ID APP
Go to iTunes today or visit
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Monsanto and Vine Design® and Roundup Ready® are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2014 Monsanto Canada Inc.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Machinery & Shop
John Deere
9R tractors get new features
Active Command Steering and HydraCushion Suspension
among new options for Deere’s articulated tractors
By Scott Garvey
n August John Deere revealed
its full 2015 model lineup to
dealers and the media at a
convention in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. And in true Deere fashion, the official introduction show
was a spectacle to behold. The company had a lot to show off. There
was a long parade of new machines
to see, but what was certain to stir
the hearts of dealers from Western
Canada was the new 9R line of
four-wheel drive tractors, which was
given more than a few updates.
To start with, the number of
wheeled 9R tractors grows from
five to six with the addition of
a 620 rated-horsepower flagship
model. All the rest get an extra 10
ponies under the hood as well.
“This is the largest expansion of
our top-line, four-wheel drive and
track-tractor series in company history,” says Jerry Griffith, division
marketing manager, John Deere
Waterloo Works. “370 to 620 horsepower gives us a nice wide variety of
power choices for our customers.”
Each tractor in the 9R line will
now be equipped with one of
three different engines, depending on its horsepower rating. That
engine group includes, a little surprisingly, a Cummins.
A Cummins engine
“Our smaller 370 horsepower
model uses our 9-litre engine,
which is a similar engine to what
we have in our 8R tractors,”
says Griffith. “That’s the same
as we’ve done in the past. As
we move up to the next three
models, we’re using a John Deere
Power Systems PSX 13.5-litre
engine. Our top two models are
going to have a Cummins QSX
15-litre engine.”
“We’ve worked very hard with
Cummins to provide a seamless situation for our customers,”
he adds. “Our dealers will have
the capability of stocking all
the service parts and be trained
and certified to work on these
engines. The customer doesn’t
have to go anywhere other than
his John Deere dealer for service
and warranty.”
“At this point in our portfolio
with JD Power Systems engines,
we don’t have high enough
capacity to meet our 9620 rated
horsepower. You may see some
other products that have similar
power levels but the load factors on a tractor relative to those
products are different. For some
products it works to put a JDPS
engine in it, for others it doesn’t.”
Deere claims all three engines
will help producers reduce operating costs even while flexing
a little more muscle, delivering
a three to five per cent reduction in total fluid consumption
(DEF and diesel fuel) compared
to the previous Interim Tier 4
versions. But while the two-track
RT models will share in that
fuel efficiency, there won’t be a
belted 620 horsepower model.
Instead, the RTs will top out at
570 horsepower.
“We didn’t go to 620 horsepower on our two-track mod-
photos: scott garvey
John Deere’s line of wheeled 9R tractors grows by one to a total of six for
2015, and all models get a variety of updates and an all-new options list.
els for several reasons,” explains
Griffith. “One of which was just
priority. We’ve focused a lot of
energy on our wheeled model
improvements this go around.”
Powershift transmission
Behind all three engines Deere
is offering a new version of its e18,
18-speed powershift transmission
for 2015.
“A big new feature on this
transmission, in addition to being
beefed up to handle additional
horsepower, is its three modes of
operation,” continues Griffith.
“We’re very much concentrated
on the full auto mode. That’s
where we want customers to run
this unit most of the time.
“With the full auto mode, the
tractor will automatically shift up
and throttle back and never leave
efficiency manager,” he adds. “It’s
always trying to help you save on
fluid consumption.”
“In full auto mode now when
you use the shift lever you are
no longer shifting the actual gears
in the transmission. What you are
doing is changing the commanded
set speed. If I want to go from five
m.p.h. to seven m.p.h., just use the
gear selector, as we used to call it,
now it’s a set speed command. It
will just go to the next commanded
set speed. You can still scroll up like
we used to do with our IT4 product,
but a better way to do it is with the
shift lever.”
With the wide range in horsepower now covered by the 9R line,
those engines and transmissions
get dropped onto one of two different chassis sizes.
“Our bottom three models are
on one chassis and our top three
models are on another,” says
Griffith. “There is a slightly larger
chassis on our bigger models with
a little larger fuel tank, 400 gallons
on the top three models, 310 gal-
lons of fuel tank capacity on the
bottom models.”
HydraCushion Suspension
One of the key things Deere
product reps wanted to talk about
in August was the introduction of
the HydraCushion Suspension system on the three largest, wheeled
9Rs, which is a completely new
front-axle suspension system. But
unlike typical front-axle suspensions, HydraCushion is designed
only to eliminate power hop and
loping at high speeds.
“It uses hydraulics in the cylinders to separate the axle from the
tractor,” says Griffith. “There are
nitrogen-filled accumulators, very
similar to how we operate our suspension systems on our 8 and 7
Series tractors to take care of shock
loading. It eliminates the possibility of getting into that rhythm that
leads to power hop.”
The system will also allow operators to improve traction by lowering tire pressure and reducing
ballast loads.
“You can minimize the air pressure in those tires to get maximum
tractive effort,” he continues.
“Lower air pressure and lower ballast help improve field conditions
and limit compaction.”
“When we have customers
come into our focus groups and
show them what we’re working
on, this is one thing that always
gets attention. I think our wheeled
tractor customers are really going
to love this feature.”
The flagship 9620R will have
HydraCushion included in the base
equipment price. It’s also included
in the base price of the smaller
9570R and 9520R. But on these
two tractors it will be a deduct
option, still allowing customers to
order one without HydraCushion
if they really want to.
“But we are going to strongly
Leveling and
Dampening Valve
Rear Pivot Casting
Front Mount
The HydraCushion suspension option isolates the front axle and prevents
power hop during hard pulls and loping at road speeds.
Hydraulic capacity grows on the 9R tractors. Flow rate increases to a
maximum of 115 GPM and up to eight rear SCVs are available.
9620: A new flagship model pushes up the rated horsepower output at
the top of the 9R line to 620.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Machinery & Shop
John Deere
Prototype 9RX four track
By Scott Garvey
p until now, John Deere’s prototype,
four-track, articulated tractor designated the 9RX (at least for the time
being) has had a lot in common with
the infamous Big Foot. A lot of people believe it
exists. A few even swear they’ve seen one. And
the Internet is full of grainy pictures showing
what might be it somewhere off in the distance.
But at Deere’s dealer convention in August,
the company finally brought the elusive 9RX
out into the open, giving dealers and the media
an official look at one, albeit a fleeting glimpse.
A 620 horsepower version boldly rolled out
of the darkness and onto centre stage at the
convention hall as several hundred admirers
looked on amid rock music and an impressive
light show.
“There is an exciting new 9 Series tractor in
development,” said the event’s master of ceremonies during the official launch show, just before
the tractor rolled out. “We know your customers
encourage customers to consider
leaving it on the tractor,” says
Griffith. “The price on that option
is about $9,000.”
Hydraulic capacity
Hydraulic capacity gets a boost
in the new 9Rs as well, with maximum flow rates jumping up to 115
gallons per minute and up to eight
available rear SCVs.
“If you have lower (hydraulic)
requirements, you can lower your
engine r.p.m. and still have the
capacity you need,” notes Griffith.
“You save diesel fuel by running at
those lower r.p.m.s.”
To make the day more comfortable for operators, 9Rs get a
new CommandView III cab with
a seat that swivels 40°, which
makes looking out the back window a lot easier on the neck.
The CommandArm also gets an
update, making it more ergonomic. Attached to the front of
the CommandArm is a new 4600
CommandCenter display terminal.
“A lot of work has gone into
getting customer input, making
sure the (4600) screen and programming is very easy to set up for
what you’re going to do with your
operation,” says Griffith. “It’s very
easy to reconfigure.”
And the steer-by-wire concept
that was introduced on the 7 and 8
Series tractors a couple of years ago
now moves up to the 9Rs. Optional
Active Command Steering makes
these articulated tractors more stable at road speeds and much easier
to turn in the field.
“That steering system allows
you to have much more comfortable operation,” says Griffith.
“Travelling down the road at 26
m.p.h. in an articulated tractor can
sometimes be an uneasy feeling.
Now with the ACS system, it does
a much better job of holding that
line, giving a nice smooth operation at higher speeds. In the field
its a much smoother operation of
the steering system.”
The redesigned 9Rs will begin
production in November, with
the first models ready for delivery
around the beginning of December.
For a video look at the new 9R
tractors, including a virtual ridealong on a Grainews test drive, go
online to and click on
the e-QuipTV listings under the
Videos tab. †
have been asking for it. And we thought it was
important to give you a sneak peek at the prototype. Once the 9RX is released, John Deere will be
the only manufacturer to offer all configurations
available in the four-wheel drive tractor market,
wheeled, two track and four track.”
But other than that brief comment, no one at
Deere was giving away any details about the 9RX.
During a media briefing the next day, a journalist asked John Lagemann, senior vice president,
sales and marketing, ag and turf division, when
the tractor would be ready to head to dealers’
lots. Lagemann replied only, “Sometime in the
So, betting on the actual release date might
make for an excellent alternative to usual hockey
pool this winter.
For a video look at the reveal of the 9RX tractor
during Deere’s product launch show, go online to and click on the e-QuipTV tab under
the videos link. †
Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. Contact him at
[email protected]
photo: scott garvey
The prototype 9RX four-track, articulated tractor made a very brief
appearance during during the formal product presentation at Deere’s
dealer convention in August.
Beyond forward thinking.
Introducing the new 8000 Series
Self-Propelled Forage Harvesters
The new John Deere 8000 Series Self-Propelled Forage
Harvesters deliver reliability, excellent cutting performance
and more proftability to your bottom line.
With fve all-new models, ranging from 375- to 617-hp, the 8000
Series features a new cab with improved visibility and easy access to
controls. A redesigned crop fow, with a larger feedroll opening and
improved power transfer delivers greater effciency during chopping.
And, the 8000 Series takes serviceability to a new level with an
integrated KP crane, easy header hookup and ground level fuel fll.
With three models to chose from, new John Deere hay pickups
are available in widths from 8 ft. 4 in. (2.54 m) to 13 ft. 7 in. (4.14 m)
An adjustable roller baffe keeps crop feeding smoothly.
To learn more about how a new 8000 Series SPFH can work for you,
visit your local John Deere dealer today. Nothing Runs Like a Deere.™
Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews.
Contact him at [email protected]
60685_JD_Ag_Ad_SPFH_Hay_CAN.indd 1
9/17/14 3:04 PM
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Machinery & Shop
New machinery
Claas turns heads with Xerion’s turning cab
Farmers at the Farm Progress Show in Iowa gathered to watch Claas
show off the spinning cab on its Xerion tractor
By Leeann Minogue
hile many Canadians have only
recently seen Claas’
Xerion tractor for
the first time, Drew Fletcher,
Claas’ product manager, tractors,
says it’s not a new machine. Claas
has been manufacturing Xerion
tractors at its headquarters at
Harsewinkel, Germany for quite
a while. “We’ve had it about 10
years in a full-line manufacturing
In the past, Claas has sold a
few smaller horsepower units in
Western Canada. Fletcher said,
“That was the old version. The
small little version. That’s just
not enough horse power for you
guys up in Western Canada.”
The Xerion changes that. It’s
available in three power levels:
the 5000 with 530 hp, the 4500
with 435 hp and the 4000 with
435 hp.
“This is the first one in the 500
horsepower mark,” Fletcher said.
“It’s Tier 4 compliant. We’ve had
it in tests in North America for
about three years.”
The Xerion has a CVT, a continuously variable transmission.
“It’s the only one with it in
this horsepower class,” Fletcher
said. “All the rest of them are
powershift or partial powershift.”
Claas’ brochure says this feature
allows precise speed control and
maximizes fuel efficiency
On the 4500 and 4000 models,
31 m.p.h. travel speed is standard, to save time during transport. This is optional in the 5000.
Fully turning cab
What makes the Xerion stand
out is its fully-turning cab.
“It’s the same cab that we share
with the Jags and the Lexions,”
he said, referring to Claas’ Jaguar
forage harvesters line and line of
combines. “But the thing about
this cab is it lifts up and spins
around and sits back down,”
Fletcher said. His demonstration
of this feature drew crowds at the
Iowa Farm Progress Show.
One use Fletcher suggested for
this feature: “Guys up in Western
Canada that also contract snow
removal out in the oil patch, can
put an 18- or 20-foot snowblower
on that thing.”
If you have a front-mounted
blade, he said, “you can take that
blade, put it on the three-point
hitch (standard on the Xerion),
photos: leeann minogue
Drew Fletcher, Claas product manager, tractors, said that in Europe, ladders are more vertical. “Here in North
America we like easy access and we’re in and out quite a bit,” he said.
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SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Machinery & Shop
Top left: The cab of the Xerion turns right around for better rearward visibility. The operation takes about 30 seconds. Bottom left: Changing
to duals for the North American market meant adding another pinion to the axle. Reft: Turning the Claas Xerion cab at the Iowa Farm
Progress Show caught farmers’ attention.
spin your cab around, and that
puts you right over the edge of
the blade so your visibility is
“The hydraulic reversing fan
is standard,” Fletcher said. This
provides reverse blow out of the
radiator. For air seeder operations, Fletcher said, “at the
push of a button, it blows all
the chaff back off so you don’t
have to stop each hour and
blow it out.
“It also has on-board air with
an air hose that comes around
so you can air up tires and blow
stuff up.”
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annual revenue and we’re thanking
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Visit for details.
“We’ve done a lot of things to
change the European standard
for North America, including
putting duals on it, because
in Europe, that’s a no-no,”
Fletcher said.
“You’ll notice that those
axles have got five pinions.”
In Europe, they have four. “We
had to go to a much larger
diameter so that we can take the
extra torque loads and strain of
putting duals on. We also had
to put a dual steering cylinder
up front.”
The Xerion, Fletcher said, “is not
a bend-in-the-middle tractor. It’s a
rigid frame with four-wheel steer.”
There were also other changes
for the North American market. Due to width restrictions in
Europe, “their ladder was basically straight up and down.”
Changes were needed to make
sure the Xerion could handle double shoot air seeders.
European hydraulic systems
didn’t have enough flow for
western Canadian needs. For
North America, “I had them
redesign the hydraulic system and piggyback two pumps
together.” The North American
Xerion can be ordered with three
separate hydraulic systems. All
totalled, the combined flow rate
is about 138 gallons per minute,
more than the 117 in European
And further detailed changes were necessary. “Lighting
changes, safety systems, all
that legislative-type stuff too,”
Fletcher said. †
Leeann Minogue is the editor of Grainews. 1-866-427-2638
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SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Machinery & Shop
Reinventing the wheel
How engineers developed
the rubber-belted tractor
In the late 1970s Caterpillar was looking for a way to
break into the ag tractor market. It had two options
Part One
By Scott Garvey
his year even a casual stroll
through a farm machinery
show will reveal the obvious trend toward increased
use of rubber-belted track systems.
And manufacturers have recently
introduced even more options for
those who want the benefits that
technology offers.
In less than three decades belts
have gone from the fringe to the
mainstream, so we at Grainews
decided it was time to take a look
back at how the technology was
created. In 2007 I had a chance
to talk to the two engineers who
collaborated and developed the
first belted tractor and hear from
them how the process evolved.
In the mid 1970s Caterpillar
had been selling farmers a relatively small number of steel
tracked SA (Special Application)
crawlers suited for field work,
particularly in some regions of
California. But the SA crawlers
were gradually losing market
share to the increasing number
of high-horsepower, four-wheel
drive tractors pouring into the
segment from all the major
manufacturers. With weakened
demand for equipment in the
construction sector, executives
at Cat decided to develop their
own four-wheel drive tractor to
break into that lucrative market, which offered the potential
to boost the company’s flagging
sales numbers. In-house development soon began at Cat to create
the wheeled ag tractor executives
“In 1978 I was sitting having lunch with three of my colleagues at Caterpillar’s Peoria
Proving Grounds in Illinois, and
we were lamenting how Cat was
pursuing a ‘me too’ (wheeled
tractor) design while our name
and reputation were in building
the best crawlers in the world,”
says Dave Janzen a now-retired
Cat engineer and a key force in
the eventual development of the
belted Challenger tractor. Janzen
had been working on making
the steel-tracked SA crawlers more
attractive to farmers. He believed
it was essential to increase their
notoriously slow working speeds.
To do that, he would need to stuff
more power under the hoods. An
initial experiment with a modified D5SA fitted with a 225 horsepower engine proved it could be
done. On seeing the results of
Janzen’s work, management at
Cat approved further development aimed at creating a highhorsepower crawler with a forward weight bias, which made it
better suited for drawbar pulling.
The project begins
In 1979 the project began in
ernest. “Our calculations showed
that if we fitted a six-cylinder Cat
3306 engine of 240 horsepower
into a smaller, lighter D4, that
would give us the 100 pounds
per horsepower that we sought
to match the wheeled tractors,”
The first belted ag tractor to hit the market was Caterpillar’s Challenger 65.
says Janzen. Eventually, to evaluate Janzen’s R&D progress and
make a decision on the future
of the ag crawler project, managers at Cat wanted to see for
themselves what the D4 on steroids was really capable of. So
another field demonstration was
The company’s executive vice
president and his staff came out
to see the D4 be pitted in a
head-to-head competition with
a much larger, 350 horsepower,
four-wheel drive tractor. Both
machines were hitched to identical nine-bottom ploughs. As
they set off side-by-side down the
length of a half-mile field, the
executives followed along watching while they sat on a row of
hay bales on a wagon pulled by a
Famall M tractor.
Even with a pretty significant
110 horsepower advantage, the
bigger wheeled tractor couldn’t
outrun its smaller, tracked rival.
The executives were suitably
impressed, and they decided to
continue funding the ag crawler
development. Janzen had proven
that the crawler no longer needed
to be slow, and moving the chassis
forward in relation to the tracks
improved its ability to pull. But
there were still problems to overcome.
The experimental tractor still
used the standard clutch and
brake or “jerk” steering common
to crawlers of the day, which
meant power only flowed to one
track during turns. And there was
still the mobility restriction due to
the steel tracks. Most rural roads
around the Proving Ground in
Illinois were paved, so the D4
couldn’t travel on them. Wheeled
tractors still offered farmers a big
advantage when it came to moving from field to field.
But there were potential solutions to those drawbacks, and they
were within Cat’s grasp. In the
1960s Cat created its own rubber
products division to manufacture
steel reinforced hydraulic hose,
which had a design created by one
of its own engineers. The hose was
for use in the manufacture of construction machines. One of the
other products that division eventually created was the beadless
tire for large off-road machines,
which had a removable tire tread.
It allowed equipment owners to
just replace the tread rather than
a whole tire. Even though Cat
sold its rubber products division to
Goodyear a few years later, it still
retained the capability to continue making some rubber products,
including the removable tread for
the beadless tire.
At the same time Janzen was
working on the ag crawler project,
company executives had also
decided to have another engineer, Ron Satzler, look at potential uses for the removable tire
tread, which was about the same
size as a steel track.
However, there was still Cat’s
own articulated ag tractor project,
which was much further advanced
than Janzen’s ag crawler concept
that was still running on steel
tracks. Given the very difficult
financial position Cat found itself
in at the time, only one ag tractor
project was likely to get funding
through to completion.
We’ll continue the story in the
next issue of Grainews. †
Visit your New Holland Dealer by November 30
to take advantage of great offers on tractors
and equipment during Value Bonanza.
Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews.
Contact him at [email protected]
This cardboard
model shows
the initial design
objective for the
Caterpillar wheeled
tractor project
early on in the
development phase.
©2014 CNH Industrial America LLC. All rights reserved.
New Holland is a trademark registered in the United
States and many other countries, owned by or licensed
to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or affiliates.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
20 O
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The Farmer’s Product Guide helps farmers make
informed decisions on everything that’s essential
to their farm. From equipment and accessories
to buildings, technology, tillage and trucks – the
Farmer’s Product Guide covers it all.
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reach your target audience! Call to find out about
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Ph: (204) 981-3730 Email: [email protected]
and at all major farm shows.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Machinery & Shop
Introducing the T8 “halftrack”
NH now offers rear tracks on its modified T8s as an option straight from the factory
ne of the biggest
trends in ag equipment in recent years
has been the rise in
interest in tracked equipment.
All the major brands have introduced high-horsepower tractors
equipped with tracks over the
past years, but now New Holland
has pulled the wraps off an all
new T8 “halftrack.” Combining
rear tracks with larger diametre
front wheels on a rigid-frame
tractor, the halftrack concept
offers farmers an alternative to
the two-track Challengers and
Deeres and four-track Case IH
Steigers and NH T9s.
“We know that twin-track
machines have a been a staple on many farms for years
now,” said Nathan Graham, an
NH product training specialist, as he stood in front of
a T8 halftrack at the company’s test track in New Holland,
Pennsylvania in July. “But the
twin tracks have some inherent
flaws. They leave a lot of berming on the ends. They act like a
skid steer. What we’ve done is
taken the comfort and the balance of a conventional tractor
and added tracks to it.”
With its unique “halftrack” design, NH’s three T8 SmartTrax models
give producers another tracked tractor option in the 311 to 379
horsepower range.
a 55°
turning angle
SmartTrax models give producers
another belted tractor option in
the 311 to 379 horsepower range
with either a CVT or powershift
“The rubber tracks are matched
to large diametre front wheels to
deliver excellent maneuverability
and overcome some of the issues
that may arise with twin-tracked
vehicles,” said Dan Valen cash
crop marketing segment leader.
“A key feature of the SmartTrax
is the ability to turn tightly and
cleanly at the headlands.”
In fact, the T8 SmartTrax maintains a 55° turning angle.
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to box scraper, simply straighten the blade and lower the fold-down box ends. Within minutes you’re
ready to smooth and level any area.
Narrow track modules are
available with belt widths of 16,
18 and 24 inches. Wide track
versions get 24- or 30-inch belts.
The track modules, which are
manufactured in-house by CNH
in Racine, Wisconsin, aren’t just
bolted on as an afterthought to
an existing T8. The drivelines in
the SmartTrax models are unique,
designed to maintain proper
working and travel speeds. While
the engine and transmissions
remain the same, SmartTrax versions get a final drive drop-box
arrangement designed to deliver
the proper gear ratios to the track
modules. That means the track
modules aren’t interchangeable
with rear wheels.
Overall tractor track widths
can be set from 76 to 152 inches,
making the SmartTrax concept
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/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Machinery & Shop
New e-QuipTV online video
Grainews’ video crew saw
Väderstad’s high-speed
Tempo planter perform
at Canada’s Outdoor Farm
Show in Woodstock, Ont.
arly in 2014, Swedish implement manufacturer
Väderstad announced it had taken over full ownership of Saskatchewan-based air seeder manufacturer Seed Hawk. According to Väderstad
CEO Christina Stark, one of the primary reasons behind
that decision was to accommodate the increased investment required to expand the Seed Hawk plant. That
expansion was necessary, because the company intends
to begin building its Tempo high-speed corn planter
there for distribution into the North American market.
In September the Grainews video team was at Canada’s
Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario, to film the
Tempo in the field for another e-QuipTV instalment. To find
out about the Tempo’s newest features and get a look at it
working, go online to and watch the video. Just
click on the e-QuipTV heading under the Videos link. †
Scott Garvey
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Five different belt widths are
available, from 16 to 30 inches. The
track modules are manufactured
by CNH in Racine, Wisconsin.
suitable for both row crop and
broad acre farms.
“We can put duals or singles on the front and it can be
ballasted fully,” adds Graham.
“One of the other things I like
to let people know is if you’ve
been in a wheeled tractor and
you get into this tractor, you
notice there’s no sideward sway.
It’s very glued, if you will, to the
ground. If you have an implement engaged in the ground, it
turns just like a wheeled unit.”
A SmartTrax T8 stands a little
taller than a comparable wheeled
version. So you’ll find a modified step arrangement designed
to maintain easy access to the
cab. The shape of the fuel tanks
had to be changed as well to
accomodate the track modules,
but they still maintain the same
673 litre capacity, along with 99
litres of DEF.
“We’re very, very pleased with
it,” says Graham. “It performs
very well in the field. We have
all the benefits of tracks in a
conventional tractor without the
For a video look at Grainews’
test drive of the T8 SmartTrax, go
online to and click
on the e-QuipTV postings under
the videos link. †
Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews.
Contact him at [email protected]
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Cattleman’s Corner
Lifelong cowboy
still in the saddle
rom his earliest childhood,
Bill Wilm had a yearning
to become a cowboy. He
didn’t buy into to his mother’s counsel — “Cowboys are a thing
of the past. They’re just in the movies now.”
Wilm was determined to pursue his goal, and at age 15 left
the family farm near Birch Hills,
Saskatchewan and found work on a
ranch. It was the beginning of a lifelong career that he has never regretted. “It’s been a way of life — it was
never a job,” he says of his 45 years
in the saddle.
After working as a ranch hand
for a time, Wilm was hired by the
Alberta government to work on
a 55,000-acre community pasture
(also known as a grazing lease),
near Buffalo, north of Medicine Hat,
Alta. The following year he was
transferred to a pasture near Oyen,
Alta. where he, along with the manager, were responsible for the care
and safety of about 2,500 head of
“We fixed fences, treated cows for
any illnesses, made sure they had
salt, and moved them to another
field when the grass ran out,” says
Wilm. “In the fall we rounded them
up again, sorted, and sent them
home for the winter.”
In 1969 Wilm was hired by
the Saskatchewan government to
manage the 14,000-acre Calder
Community Pasture, east of
Yorkton, along the Manitoba border. Here he had the opportunity to
pursue one of his passions in life. He
enrolled in flying lessons and purchased a Super Cub airplane, which
was ideal for short takeoffs and
landing in rough fields. “I flew that
plane for many years, mostly working at the pasture but I also used it
to go fishing in the winter,” he says.
In 1981 Wilm met Rhonda, a
young lady from Manitoba, who
shared his love of horses and flying. The couple moved to the St.
Brieux area where Bill managed the
Pathlow Community Pasture.
It was a busy time for the Wilms.
Besides raising three children and
managing the community pasture,
they also raised show horses as a
business venture.
“When we bought our first Paint
stallion in1988 there was a strong
demand for good young breeding
stock,” says Wilm. “We used horses
for our job on the ranch but always
raised a horse that not only had a
good mind and was willing to do
a day’s work on the ranch, but we
also promoted our breeding stock at
horse shows.”
The young stock was shown in
conformation classes and some were
shown under saddle. Success in the
show ring, combined with a quality
horse, gave the Wilms the profile to
sell our horses to distant markets,
including Florida, Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin, Oklahoma, plus overseas to Wales and France.
Some of their proudest achievements as breeders have been to
see the new horse owners — most
recently in today’s specialized
industry — earning multiple APHA
(American Paint Horse Association)
and PtHA (Pinto Horse Association)
World Championships.
Bill and Rhonda Wilm combine their skills to produce not just well-built, but beautifully handcrafted Western tack.
“Today the horse industry on
the whole has taken a different
avenue,” says Wilm. “It’s rebounding now with the emphasis on a
well-trained riding horse. “
“We wound our breeding program down about five years ago,”
says Rhonda. “Our last offspring
was sold to Texas in the fall of 2012,
with the intention to be shown and
stand at stud. It is a nice compliment to have our efforts as a breeder
to be carried on by someone else.
Still, it was a sad day to see the last
colt drive out of the yard.”
After retiring from the breeding
business, Wilm’s cowboy lifestyle
took on a new dimension when he
An example of one of Bill Wilm’s hand-tooled saddles with silver accents.
Market good, but sell
feeders sooner than later
estern Canadian
feeder cattle prices
continue to make
fresh highs as feedlot operators step forward with
unprecedented buying power. After
favourable margins over the past
year, feedlot inventories are at seasonal lows and there appears to be
an urgency to fill pens.
The major fall run is delayed
this year due to the excessive rains,
which enhanced pasture conditions
and forage production for cow-calf
producers. Auction market receipts
are below year-ago levels through
September but will eventually
increase later in the fall.
In the short term, stronger
demand is meeting below normal seasonal supplies enhancing
the feeder cattle prices. Feed barley
prices continue to grind lower and
current weather pattern has ensured
abundant feed grain supplies for the
first half of the crop year.
Looking forward, the current
price of feeder cattle is reaching lev-
els whereby feeding margins in the
deferred positions are quite snug.
Therefore, it may be hard to justify
a significant increase in the feeder
market later in the winter period.
Statistics Canada estimated the
2013 calf crop at 4.516 million head,
marginally higher than the 2012
crop of 4.462. This fall, I’m expecting an increase in heifer retention
and the lower cow slaughter will
likely result in another marginal
increase in 2014 and 2015. While
this looks positive longer term, the
near-term fundamentals will result
in lower available supplies due to
the heifer retention. I’m expecting
a marginal increase in the Canadian
calf crop for 2014 and 2015.
Cattle on-feed inventories in
Alberta and Saskatchewan have
been running eight to 10 per cent
above year-ago levels so far in 2014.
It is important to realize that feeder
cattle and calf exports to the U.S.
are up 39 per cent for the week ending Aug. 23. The increase in feedlot
inventories and exports exceeds the
increase in the calf crop which may
suggest there are more feeder cattle
supplies available.
Given current price of 800- to
850-pound steers, break-even prices
for feedlots during the later winter
will be in the $158/cwt to $162/cwt
range. We will need to see the fed
cattle market move higher to justify
an increase in feeder cattle prices
from Jan through March. In the
past, cattle feeders usually bid up
the price of feeders so that there is
no feeding margin and the market
may be nearing that level in the
short term. Feeder cattle prices usually start to weaken after one or two
rounds of negative feedlot margins.
U.S. beef production will be
down sharply in 2014 compared
to 2013. This trend will continue
during the first quarter of 2015,
however, a year-over-year increase
is expected during the second quarter of 2015 and there is potential for larger production in the
third quarter as well. Beef supplies
have been contracting but this may
be coming to an end during the
next year. Buying calves this fall at
historical highs when the supply
situation is loosening for the beef
complex may be riskier compared
to past years.
Canadian year-to-date beef production for the week ending Aug.
30 was up two per cent compared
to 2013 with additional supplies
basically moving to the U.S. The
main point is that the beef supplies are not declining from current projections, but rather have
Est 2014
Est 2015
Source: USDA
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
potential to increase. April 2015
live cattle futures are trading at a
minor discount to the December
contract, which is very odd for this
time of year.
I’ve received many inquiries from
cow-calf producers regarding the
marketing strategy for calves and
yearlings this fall. In my opinion
you want to sell feeder cattle sooner,
rather than later in winter. Despite
the abundant feed grains and forage, feeding calves over the winter
to 850 or 900 pounds may not
bode well if we see the fed market deteriorate. The calf market has
been incorporating a risk premium
due the uncertainty in production
longer term. Take advantage of this
premium by selling sooner and put
the cash in your pocket. †
Gerald Klassen analyzes cattle and hog markets
in Winnipeg and also maintains an interest in the
family feedlot in Southern Alberta. For comments
or speaking engagements, he can be reached
at [email protected] or call 204 899 8268.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Cattleman’s Corner
Brassica may be a crop for all reasons
everal Alberta beef producers are paying attention this summer and
winter to determine how
a popular New Zealand crop,
known as forage brassica, fits in
with a range of grazing options
here in Western Canada.
This is all a spinoff from a
10-acre trial last winter, using the
forage brassica (also known as rape
or kale) that was swathed and
used for winter grazing by Graeme
Finn of Crossfield, just north of
Calgary. The forage brassica is
actually a cross between turnip
and kale. Although it varies with
field conditions, it produces big
broad leaves and grows from one
to two feet in height.
Finn has been winter swathing
grazing, usually dry cows, for many
years, on a combination of oats and
barley swaths. Last year, under the
auspices of the Foothill Forage and
Grazing Association, he tried about
10 acres of the forage brassica. After
a positive experience with that, this
year he seeded about 150 acres in
a blend with oats and barley. He’ll
start grazing that in late October or
early November.
“It made an excellent forage for
swath grazing last year,” says Finn.
“The 10-acre plot was part of a larger
130 acres of oats and barley swaths,
and the cows just camped on that
10 acres like it was ice cream. They
cleaned it up before moving into
the oats and barley swaths.”
The forage brassica has up to 19
per cent protein compared to oats
and barley, which have about nine
to 10 per cent protein in the swath.
Finn, who farms along with his
father-in-law Don Evans, will run
about 210 head of dry cows on the
150 acres of swaths. It should last
the herd right through until May.
“We’re hoping by including the
forage brassica in the winter grazing that cows will do a better job
of cleaning up the swaths,” says
Finn. “Other years there is quite a
bit of trash left behind and we’ve
had to heavy harrow the field
in the spring. We’re hoping by
including this very palatable forage in the swath they’ll do a better
job of cleanup.”
At another farm, north of Calgary,
Wynn Chisholm of WA Ranches is
redeveloping some old timothy hay
fields. As those were renewed last
summer, cow-calf pairs grazed about
150 acres of annual pasture made
up of the similar forage brassica,
oats and barley blend.
That seeding was divided into
50-acre blocks, with the herd making at least two passes through
each paddock. In central Alberta,
one producer has included the forage brassica in an annual pasture
blend for sheep, and there are also
Graeme Finn bites into a kernel of
oats to test the readiness of this
forage brassica, oats and barley
crop for swathing.
Doug Wray, kneeling in a field of forage brassica, oats and barley, hopes
the crop blend will improve rates of gain on calves this winter.
some trials using forage brassica
near Lethbridge.
And east of Calgary, near Irricana
rancher Doug Wray has seeded an
80-acre trial of the forage brassica
(kale) barley and oats to be used for
swath grazing this winter.
He’s hoping the higher-protein
brassica will improve the weight
gain on backgrounded calves.
“Even if it is only one-quarter
pound more per day that is about
30 to 40 pounds more over the
winter,” says Wray.
Wray has been winter swath grazing cattle for about 20 years. He
runs a 300 head cow-calf herd, and
weans calves in mid-November. He
backgrounds those calves over winter with plans to sell them the following September.
After weaning, the calves will
move into stockpiled forage on the
farm and eventually — depending on the year — move into
the swathed annual crop in late
December or early January. “Usually
we grow a blend of oats and barley
for the swath grazing,” says Wray.
“We have tried winter triticale in
the past. It had quality, but didn’t
produce the tonnage we had hoped.
This year the forage brassica looks
good, but we’ll see how it does.”
Wray seeded 80 acres of the forage brassica, barley and oats blend.
He seeded the brassica at a rate of
two pounds per acre along with 3/4
of a bushel of barley and one bushel
of oats. The cereals were seeded
with a drill, while the brassica was
applied with a Valmar broadcast
seeder and then harrowed. The mixture was seeding June 15 and was to
be swathed by early September.
Most years, with average snow
cover, the calves have no trouble
finding the feed, says Wray. He
is prepared to supplement with
hay if adverse weather makes for
particularly tough winter grazing
conditions. Last year with heavy
snow that eventually crusted he
did devise a disc-style tool that he
could pull over the swaths to move
snow and give cattle access to the
feed. “We will feed hay if we need
to, but ideally the plan is to put
calves on the swaths in January,
limit feed so we are moving an
electric wire every day, and hopefully the swaths will carry them
through until spring.” †
Proactive weaning
programs save money
any calves are “truck weaned”
as a low-cost and low-management weaning option, but it
is a wasteful practice. It often
costs the seller and/or the buyer a lot of
money. Fortunately, better weaning alternatives are available compared to such abrupt
removal of calves from their mothers, and
transporting them bawling to another yard.
These better weaning methods are proactive and thus effective in reducing weaning
stress in sold calves as well as in everybody’s
From the start, it’s no secret the immunity/health status of truck-weaned calves’ is
likely to be compromised as contrasted to
calves put through programs weeks ahead of
weaning. Research has proven many calves
never fully recover from truck weaning and
tend to suffer from future poor performance, higher incidence of chronic and longterm health problems and higher rates of
feedlot death loss.
Observed from a straightforward economic standpoint, truck-weaned cattle also
have higher shrinkage by the time they get
to their new feedlot home. This simple fact
makes them worth significantly less compared to calves that are completely weaned
before being trucked.
For example, about six to seven per cent
shrink is natural in transporting cattle, but
when calves experience a great degree of stress
such as during truck weaning, tissue shrink is
often pushed to 12 to 15 per cent total body
weight loss. As a result, in today’s market, a
600-lb. truck-weaned calf which loses an extra
six per cent of its body weight or 36 lbs. at
$2.65 (subject to change) is worth about $96
less than a more relaxed pen mate.
Much of this stress from truck weaning in
young calves is due to the unnatural breaking of the instinctive maternal bond between
mother and calf. Field trials such as one
performed at the University of Saskatchewan
demonstrated when each cow-calf pairs of
a herd were split in half and each group of
cows were given the other group’s calves following weaning; both cows and calves kept
searching for their own partner.
This trial also reported in particular, that
lonely calves become quickly despondent and
find little comfort with other familiar segregate cows of the same group. Before separation, many of these calves were spending little
or no time actually nursing on their dams (re:
at six months of age, calves receive from zero
to 15 per cent of their nutrient requirements
from mother’s milk), but after separation, it
seemed to prove that the dam still provides
comfort to her calf.
Consequently, slowly breaking this
maternal bond between mother and calf
during weaning is employed in the following and practical ways of weaning calves
that not only reduces stress, but get calves
familiar to a new environment and new
diets. Examples are highlighted:
• Complete separation — Put cow-calf
pairs in the same pen for a few days to a
week. Once the calves get used to the feed
bunks and waterers, move the cows out. The
advantage of this method is that the calves are
no longer in a strange place and even without
their mothers present are starting to nibble at
their new grower diets.
• Fenceline weaning — Separate cows and
calves by a fence, which prevents them from
touching one another, but allows visual contact to reduce stress on both sides of the fence.
Calves can remain on familiar ground or
pasture, while cows are the ones being moved
out. The University of California showed
fenceline calves gained as much as 30 per
cent more weight compared to traditionally
weaned calves.
• Two-step weaning — A method developed by the University of Saskatchewan that
outfits each nursing calf with a nose “antinursing” device about seven to 10 days,
before these calves are separated from their
cows. Field trials showed that two-step calves
vocalized 85 per cent less, walked 80 per cent
less and spent 25 per cent more time eating
compared to traditionally weaned calves.
• Early weaning — This is a method that
can employ each one of the above methods
in one fashion or another, where calves are
weaned at four to five months of age (and as
early as six weeks of age). Its biggest advantage
allows a cattle operation to save on limited
feed resources or to improve body condition
of thin productive cows.
After one of these weaning options are chosen, it’s just as important to formulate a wellbalanced and palatable diet that will be fed
for the next few weeks to post-weaned calves.
Their good nutrition can come in the form
of good-quality grass hay, fed free choice and
often complemented with a hand-fed 14 per
cent beef cube or pellet made from medium
energy/low-starch ingredients. Ensiled feeds
such as corn or barley silage should be avoided
due to their intake-compromising water as
well as rich energy content. Some producers
have successfully foregone all dry lot feeding
until later in the season, and utilized cereal
stubble fields supplemented with pasture
molasses or corn distiller grains beef blocks
to help feed weaned calves in the short term.
This plastic nose guard called Quiet Wean is
used to keep calves from nursing cows in a
two-stage weaning program.
In addition to a good weaning and feeding plan, it’s a good idea to set up a short
pre-weaning program as well. It should
start with a veterinarian-sponsored vaccination program about three weeks before
the calves are actually weaned. At about
the same time, soon-to-be weaned calves
are also dewormed, dehorned and male
calves are castrated. They might even be
exposed to a creep ration to help them get
used to eating out of a bunk or self-feeder.
Good post-weaning management also
includes cleaning and then bedding with
straw pens that will house newly weaned
calves. Waterers should also be checked
frequently, and repairs made, if necessary.
Attending to these details when weaning calves helps, but the overall success of
fall weaning beef calves will depend upon
how successful producers are in reducing
stress that occurs when a calf is taken away
from its mother. It may never be completely
eliminated, but using the above proactive
weaning programs that encompass; sound
weaning methods, health protocols as well
as pre- and post-weaning calf nutrition goes
a long way in minimizing it in order to
sell healthy, good growing and profitable
calves. †
Peter Vitti is an independent livestock nutritionist and
consultant based in Winnipeg. To reach him call 204-2547497 or by email at [email protected]
A master plan for cull cows
This dairy producer’s plan has merit for all cattle operations
For many years shipping cull cows was an
easy decision for Caronport, Sask. dairy producer
Blaine McLeod. He loaded them up and hauled
them a few miles down the road to the local
slaughter plant in Moose Jaw. An easy trip for him
and the animals.
Then things changed. That plant closed and cull
cows had to travel a lot farther so their health was
more important. His operation grew, with sons
Michael and Mark joining, which meant more
cull animals to handle. As well, major news stories
of mistreatment of cull cows put the entire cattle
industry under real scrutiny for cow management.
That led the McLeod family to set up a new cull
cow master plan. It provides economic value. And
it meets farm and industry expectations that cull
animals are well treated and reach the end of their
life with appropriate dignity.
Farm philosophy
The new plan started with a philosophy: Every
animal would be evaluated as an individual. Herd
turnover rate on the 300 milking cows is about
25 per cent. Animals are culled for production
reasons such as milking levels, failure to rebreed or
age. Some are culled for health reasons.
All cull animals are assessed to ensure they are
healthy enough to be sold. Can they travel? Refused
at the destination or the carcass condemned? If
there are problems, they don’t leave the farm.
Some cows are shipped directly from the milking line as they near end of lactation. Some will
be pulled off the milk line and put in the “fat pen”
which holds animals destined for the beef market.
Some cows are sold to beef producers as nurse
cows, a busy market recently.
Animals that are lame or have feet and leg problems are given time to recover.
Heavy milking cows are milked down. “We’ll
foster a couple of bull calves on a cow until she
drops in milk production,” says Michael. “Cows
that develop chronic mastitis problems that can’t
be solved economically, will also be culled and may
have calves fostered onto them.”
Most cattle move to a local livestock buyer who
assembles liner loads. The goal is to have animals
move into premium markets where possible.
Don’t ship problems
Even with the best management, some animals will
not be fit to leave the farm.
“Farmers pretty well know if an animal is healthy
enough to ship or not,” says Blaine. “There will be
some surprises, but the day of just sending a cow
to the packing plant and seeing what happens is
“Euthanasia on farm still needs to happen and
we need to do it properly.”
Protecting the industry
A key part of this master plan is cattle industry
“I hope we do a good job as an industry of dealing with society on these management issues,” says
Blaine. “But at the end of the day I hope what we
have coming back from that effort is practical,
affordable and sustainable for the industry as well.”
Thinking ahead about how cattle fare in reaching a destination is important to both dairy and beef production.
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Copyright © 2011 Intervet International B.V., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. All rights reserved.
REV-XS Grain News QSHere.indd 1
13-06-13 16:26
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
The Dairy Corner
Do not feed mouldy
corn to dairy cattle
peter vitti
ast year’s weather was not
particularly kind to growing corn on the eastern
Prairies. A late spring
planting, cold weather in July, and
topped off by a cloudy fall created
millions of bushels of corn that was
not initially dry enough for storage.
Some of this wet corn was dried
down and augered into a bin, much
of it was also put up as high-moisture corn, and even a small portion
was left out in the field until harvested earlier this year. Regardless
of how this corn was eventually
handled; mould (and mycotoxins)
seem to hit this previous corn crop
particularly hard. Without taking
the necessary actions and precautions when it does occur, feeding
mouldy corn to dairy cattle can be
very dangerous.
Mould growth in corn can
develop in a grain bin when
grain moisture levels are above
14 per cent, the storage temperature is above freezing and the
corn is exposed to air (oxygen).
High-moisture grain corn also
can be at risk for mould growth,
if the moisture content of storage
is incorrect (recommended at 25
to 28 per cent moisture for oxygen-limiting tower and 30 to 35
per cent moisture for ag-bags and
bunks) or pH of the corn mass
is not quickly stabilized to an
acidic 4.5 by proper respiration
(oxygen removal) and fermentation processes.
Of the many moulds that can
grow and proliferate in harvested
corn due to improper storage conditions; three major moulds pose
the greatest dairy cow threat with
associated deadly mycotoxins
are: Aspergillus fluavus that produce aflatoxins, Fusarium moulds
that produce vomitoxin and zearalenone, and Penicillium fungi
that produce related penicillium
Most Canadian climates do
not to favour the growth of
New footbath
for dairy cattle
Laboratorie M2 based in
Quebec has introduced what
it describes as a new safe, low
cost and easy-to-use agriculture disinfectant footbath that
has been proven to be more or
as effective as traditional treatments to prevent and control
lameness diseases such as digital dermatitis (DD) in dairy
herds. Made from the plantbased ingredient thymol,
Thymox is biodegradable in
14 days. The company says the
product is safer for humans,
animals and the environment
compared to copper sulfate
and formalin-based products.
It is the first agricultural disinfectant to receive the UL
EcoLogo certification.
Aspergillus fluavus and therefore
Aflatoxins are of little threat
to our dairy cattle. Fusariumderived mycotoxins are more of
a danger to our livestock than
aflatoxins, because they grow
in cooler conditions found in
Western Canada.
Initially, it was thought fusarium-derived vomitoxin was toxic to
dairy cattle, yet various field trials
fed up to 66 ppm (parts per million) vomitoxin in dairy diets and
most dairy cattle failed to exhibit
any visible signs of reproductive or
health problems. Most of these trials did show that once vomitoxin
reached over three to five ppm in
different tested grains; there was a
detrimental effect upon respective
grain bushel weight and resulted
in lower-energy feed for lactating
dairy cows.
In contrast, zearalenone,
another fusarium mycotoxin has
estrogen-like properties, which
will cause infertility in dairy cattle. As little as 300 ppb (parts
per billion) in the total dairy
diet (dmi, basis) from z-contaminated corn has been implicated
in disrupting heat cycles, reducing conception rates, causing
visible symptoms such as swollen vulvas, and prolapsed vaginas, and spontaneous abortions.
Furthermore, zearalenone can
cause liver damage and has been
shown to suppress the immune
system in dairy cattle.
An honourable mention should
be given to other fusarium mycotoxins such as T2 and fumonium
that can cause reproductive and
health problems in cattle but
are seldom found in Canadian
feedstuffs. Similarly, penicillium
mycotoxins have also been linked
to reproductive and health problems in dairy cattle.
Unfortunately, without “the
smoking gun” of large known
amounts of mouldy corn consumed by ailing dairy cattle and
causing direct negative effects, it
is very difficult to many dairy pro-
ducers to know that they might
have a mouldy corn problem in the
first place, for two major reasons.
First, mouldy corn kernels are
often not uniformly distributed
in a bin of corn, but are located
in isolated pockets or along the
bin walls. Even if a significant
shot of mouldy corn goes into
the total mixed ration (TMR)
for dairy cows, most people may
simply not notice as it gets hammered or rolled and then mixed
along with the “good corn” in
the TMR and become invisible
Secondly, symptoms of mould
and mycotoxins poisoning in cattle is likely non-specific and often
the result of a negative progression
of health, reproductive and performance problems caused by the
contamination. Even a post-mortem examination of a dead cow
may yield inconclusive results,
which could mistakenly be attributed to another cause such as malnutrition or disease.
If one suspects a mouldy corn
problem on the farm such as:
mouldy corn is seen coming out of
bin or cows are off their feed/lack
of cud-chewing/loose manure/
substantial breeding problems
after feeding suspect corn, it is a
good idea to send a representative
corn sample from the bin for laboratory mould testing.
Mould count tests are inexpensive, but their usefulness as
sound information is limited,
since most moulds are not poisonous and it says little about
the presence of any mycotoxins
in grain corn. A more reliable
test called a mould-screen test
is very useful in identifying and
eliminating what mould species
and their mycotoxins that might
be present.
If test samples of corn come back
positive for mould and mycotoxin
such as vomitoxin, one option is
to feed the contaminated corn to
dairy cows, but adjust the nutrient density of the dairy diet, given
the bushel weight of the corn. If
the corn samples come back with
zearalenone, which is detrimental
photo: peter vitti
This picture of the standing corn crop in Saskatchewan is unrelated to the
accompanying column and hopefully none of it ends up mouldy in feed
this fall. This is just a photo of Cattleman’s Corner columnist Peter Vitti
holding a stalk of Pioneer P7443R corn that stands about 11 feet tall. Vitti
says there were about 500 acres of the variety in a very uniform, excellent
looking stand near Unity, Saskatchewan this summer. It was to be cut
for dairy silage. Vitti says the crop was grown on sandy loam soil, it had
timely rains and good heat units. Most of the crop had two cobs per stalk.
to dairy cattle reproduction; the
best solution is not to feed this
mouldy corn at all. Although the
dangerous dietary threshold is 250
to 300 ppb for dairy cattle; lower
concentrations might be equally
avoided, because of its potential
toxicity to specific groups of cattle,
particularly young and pregnant
Mixing mouldy corn (re: zearalenone) with “clean” feed is not
a good idea, because this does
not eliminate the problem and
reduces the quality and safety of
the available good feed. In situa-
tions of vomitoxin, commercial
mould binders might offer a suitable solution, when there are no
other viable dairy feeds are available.
Mould and mycotoxins found
in last year’s corn and mixed into
a dairy diet might be very harmful
to the health and performance of
all dairy cattle. It is important to
identify if any dangerous moulds
and mycotoxins are present and
keep them out of feed bunk. †
Peter Vitti is an independent livestock nutritionist
and consultant based in Winnipeg. To reach him
call 204-254-7497 or by email at [email protected]
It’d better be for
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Everyday you help drive the economy—
furthering the influence of the world’s #1
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is the place to see, be seen and make
your business better—your one-stop
destination for agriculture.
Definitely worth the trip.
NOVEMBER 4 - 9, 2014
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Cattleman’s Corner
The many aspects
of risk management
in a risky business
ost of us in agriculture are aware of
the risks involved.
Any biological system that makes long-term plans
around both Mother Nature and
human nature is bound to have
challenges. Managing through
these challenges can create some
exciting times and opportunity.
Having grass is one of the best
defences against risk in the cattle
business. There are a couple of philosophical differences present in the
industry. One is that any ungrazed
grass is a “waste” and the flip side
is that ungrazed grass represents a
positive balance that can be drawn
on if needed. I confess I am firmly in the latter camp. Extra grass
helps to buffer against drought and
provides marketing flexibility by
carrying cattle extra days if the
market decides to do an about face.
Available grass can allow you to
hit different weight and marketing
end points at a low cost.
Cost control walks a fine line
and is probably best expressed in
importance on a per sale unit basis.
Production is important and there
are a lot of herds that obtain great
levels of production, such as high
weaning weights. In some cases
these herds may have a higher cost
per calf than another herd, but a
lower cost per weaned or saleable
pound. Keeping the cost per saleable pound down allows us to sell
at lower prices and still generate
a profit. It helps to remove the
need to always target the highest
market or reach prices above what
the market is providing. This is an
area that deserves special attention
in the current situation since it is
easy to let costs slide up when the
markets are strong.
As always weather is always a
risk and often there is little we
can do about it. Short of having
facilities, there are choices we
can make about calving seasons
and feeding methods/systems,
but there are also several options
available in terms of crop and
moisture insurance products.
A good herd health program
can provide huge risk management benefits. Covering one of
your largest assets (cow herd) and
cash crops (calves) with a preventative herd health program
is usually money well invested.
Vaccination for prevention of
breeding and calf hood diseases
is relatively low cost and highly
Calf, feeder and fed price insurance has been available in Alberta
for a while and it has recently
been rolled out across the Prairies
as an option. This product is
worth looking into as it provides some floor pricing on calves
at various stages of production,
while still allowing for upside
price discovery. Additionally,
there are no margin calls or need
to maintain a hedging account
with a broker. For more information about the program you can
visit The
caveat as always here is that you
have to know your costs in order
to plan to market at a profit.
One of the biggest risks to
industry right now may be the
level of debt financing and the
potential risk from rising interest rates. It is possible to insulate
yourself from a lot of this risk
through a couple of strategies,
including locking in an interest rate. The real risk of rising
interest rates lies in the potential
impact on cash flow, as interest
can eat up cash in a hurry. Some
other options worth considering may be some of the loans
with the option to make interestonly payments. Also depending
on your debt/equity position it
may be worthwhile considering
a rapid debt repayment schedule
if you think interest rates are set
to rise.
This is perhaps the least
discussed and is one of the
most effective and lowest-cost
risk management tool available. Effective communication includes accessing current
news and market reports (like
Grainews and other farm media),
but it also requires a proactive
approach such as communicating plans and financial position
with your lender and accountant or discussing your marketing
plans with buyers or the local
auction market. In a lot of cases,
just informing folks that you
are alive and kicking and trying
your best will create opportunity
and encourage others to want to
help you succeed.
Perhaps the most overlooked
form of risk on a ranch is the
risk manager — that is the people (or person) involved in running things. Our businesses are
often structured so that it is
“easier to just do it myself”
and difficult to train others, or
Be part of the third annual Canfax Cattle Market Forum.
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producers and industry stakeholders.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
– Registration, Evening Guest Speaker and Reception
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 – Full-day Plenary Session
Location: Deerfoot Inn and Casino, 1000, 11500 – 35 Street SE, Calgary, AB
For more information and to register online for the Forum
visit or call 403-686-8407.
taught himself to design and build
saddles, spurs, bits and bridles. Over
the years he had, of necessity, fixed
his own tack, including saddles. So,
when in the early 1980s he ordered
a saddle that he didn’t receive, he
decided to build one himself. Word
soon spread in the community and
orders started to come in, including
some that wanted silver accessories.
Not well pleased with the silver
products he ordered, Wilm talked
with a silversmith friend, hoping to
learn the skill.
“I spent three days with this
man,” he says. “He showed me the
tools I’d need to get started, the
basics of engraving and told me to
go home and practice. I think I am
still practising. Rhonda does a lot
of the designing — she’s got a very
good eye for it.”
Once Wilm was comfortable
working with silver, he started
adding finely handcrafted silver
designs to his custom-made saddles, spurs and belt buckles.
The need for a comfortable bit
for one of his own horses prompted
him to again start building his own.
He’s meticulous about making the
welds neat and a creating a smooth,
balanced mouthpiece. “I use only
true sweet iron — horses know
the difference and prefer the taste,”
says Wilm. “The horse is our best
advertiser. Because of their response
to the bits, word has spread from
some farms and ranches are set
up for hard work 24/7. Having
only one person that can operate things creates a dangerous
single point of failure, just as
having no slack in the work
schedule can create tremendous
challenges if something like a
personal health issue arises.
Additionally, singular viewpoints on a rapidly changing
industry can create situations
that are difficult to manage
through. Personal health insurance, cross training or establishing low-labour systems can be
useful strategies to reduce some
of these risks. An example of
this at our place is having my
son along when we move fences
for bale grazing. In this way, if
I were unable to complete the
task for some reason, I have a
well-trained and able replacement who can feed cows in a
low-labour situation. Investing
in education for yourself and
others involved in your operation is also a good strategy to
help broaden our exposure to
other ideas and management
There are a lot of ways to manage risk in a risky business and it is
likely that skill in managing risk is
becoming one of the key differentiators between successful and not
so successful operations. This article obviously cannot cover all of
the ideas and strategies for managing all types of risks in all types of
situations, but hopefully it gives
a few ideas that may be useful. I
would encourage any folks with
their own thoughts to feel free to
contact me. †
Sean McGrath is a rancher and consultant
from Vermilion, Alta. He can be reached
at [email protected] or (780)8539673. For additional information visit www.
client to client.” The handmade bits
have become the largest part of the
Wilm’s beautiful handcrafted
saddles, buckles and bits sell by
word of mouth to clients across
Canada. A selection of his ornately
carved silver spurs and bits were
displayed as part of art exhibit at the
Harbourfront Gallery in Toronto,
Ontario in 2010. His buckles and
spurs have also been used as awards
at the Saskatchewan Equine Expo in
Saskatoon and many Saskatchewan
reining horse futurities.
Wilm thrives on the challenge
and the creativity involved in the
process, whether it’s carving intricate designs in silver or stamping
a detailed pattern into leather. A
perfectionist by nature, he is often
critical of his own work. “I look at
everything I make and pick holes
in it,” he says. But demand for and
comments from his clients speak
for themselves. His highly skilled
handcrafted work involves a steady
hand, attention to detail and plenty
of patience, all characteristics he
learned riding the range.
It’s Wilm’s intimate connection
to his horse companions, combined with an entrepreneurial
spirit and a love for an independent lifestyle that has contributed
to his long, successful career.
Rhonda’s support and assistance
is invaluable, too, Wilm says. “We
do everything together.”
For more information on Wilm’s
Saddlery, visit www.wilmsaddlery.
com or call 306-275-4702. †
Edna Manning is a Saskatchewan-based
freelance writer.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Home Quarter Farm Life
Lessons from the quiet chair
The ritual of spending time here every morning continues to help me
hear the geese flying overhead on their way back
to the wildlife sanctuary,
just four miles west of our
yard. I see birds perched on
a stray self-planted sunflower
near the bird feeder. I ponder
the words on my lap in my
journal as I sit in silence in my
morning ritual of the “quiet
chair” tucked in the northwest
corner of my kitchen.
It was a quiet morning before
eight, that I noticed the ad for
a book Just One More Day, by
Beverlee Buller Keck. This wonderful book is a 40-day journey of meditations for those
who struggle with anxiety and
Know anyone in your circle who battles with negative
thoughts, worry, and a deep sense
of hopelessness? I bet you do.
I lost most of l984 to psych
wards in Winnipeg and later
at Eden in Winkler, where I
experienced a very gracious,
patient staff, and concern for
my complete healing journey
as I struggled with a severe case
of postpartum depression.
Women typically are the
chief emotional officers (CEOs)
of their families, wanting to
nurture, encourage, and bal-
ance the family’s emotional
bank account harmoniously.
Many farm women I coach are
concerned that their husbands
are depressed, and highly frustrated that their spouses will
not get help.
The ritual of spending time
every morning in my quiet
chair continues to help me
find a place to reflect, read
Scripture, pray, and ponder the
people’s names who pop into
my head, along with the grocery list and other distractions
that are duly noted on Post-it
notes before going back to the
main thing I’m thinking about.
I keep a prayer journal, and
am surprised that sometimes 10
days have passed since the last
entry. Was I in the chair? Yes,
but the phone may have rung, I
might have been called to jockey someone to a field, or I may
have been on the road. I don’t
beat myself up for not making
entries. I pay attention to what
the entries are telling me about
the journey of life. The real
learning is reading entries from
the previous year, same season. Did I learn to trust more?
Am I seeing answers to healing
prayers for friends and family?
What has my friend’s death
taught me to value?
Some of you don’t find solace
or comfort in reading the Word
of God, yet you are searching
for some answers to having a
peace of mind. Perhaps your
reading pile is different than
mine, but our common yearning is to find wisdom in handling the bumps of life. You
might use a meditation class
and play music to create calm
in the home.
I lost most
of l984 to psych
wards in Winnipeg
and later at Eden
in Winkler
The quiet chair routine
brings people to mind whom
you may need to connect with.
Keck’s book has many examples
of how we, as women who care,
can be bearers of the “covered
dish” to bring meals to those
folks who are depressed and
need practical help and encouragement. Who needs to taste
your homemade casserole and
relish in the visit that follows?
After this tough season of
crop losses, families will feel
the ripple effects of financial
strain causing “circumstantial” depression. When bad
things happen to good people,
they sometimes cannot take
the chronic stress and strain.
Perhaps you’ll book an appointment to get confirmation from
a doctor that depression is a
real threat to your well-being,
or you may take a leap of faith
to see a counsellor for some
issues that have surfaced. Do
you think you need some professional counselling to help
you find relief from your anxious thinking?
I’ve been in group therapy,
and reflected on tough questions in private counselling.
Some women just need a
good cup of tea with a confidante to feel like “they’ve been
heard” and their emotional
well is renewed and refreshed.
After you’ve spent time in your
quiet chair, pick up the phone
and invite a friend for a chat,
either long distance, on Skype,
or across your kitchen table.
News came again this week
that another woman is dealing with cancer. We talk openly about supporting her, yet
sometimes the women who
have a family member struggling with the bleak days of
depression don’t think they
can share “their secret.”
It’s time to stop hiding
behind the stigma of depression. Please do not call it a
“nervous breakdown.” Call it
depression. It may be one of
seven types, but it is an illness
that needs to be listened to,
and journeyed with. Who in
your circle of influence needs
you to go for long walks? Who
needs a letter or email from you
in their mailbox?
Give yourself the gift of time
in your quiet chair. Have a
journal, pen, Bible, devotional
book, Post-it notes, and cards
handy. Words are powerful
when they soothe the soul and
bring hope. I kept the stack of
l984 cards for over 20 years,
and I can still recall the faces of
the faithful women who sent
words of life and encouragement.
I suspect that we are going
to hear many stories of woe on
the Prairies this winter. Will
you hunt out opportunities to
be intentional about listening
to the tales of possible depression around you at the hall, the
store, or your kitchen?
I choose to speak life into
those who feel that all hope
is gone. Depression is a treatable illness with various ways
to find healing. Every family
knows somebody who is dealing with sadness and anxiety.
Please don’t ignore the pleas
for help. Offer a non-judgmental ear or a practical help like a
home-cooked meal.
Are you ready to draw
strength from your time reflecting? Find the women around
you who need to know there
is hope for them and their
Live intentionally. Embrace the
lessons of the quiet chair. †
Elaine Froese is thankful to be healthy. Visit Order a copy of
Just One More Day, from Kindred Productions
at 1-800-545-7322 or online at www. For depression help
go to
Stress can affect
nutrition and health
Canada’s Annual
Ag Outlook Conference
tress can have many
effects that might
include an increased
heart rate, dizziness,
stomach ache, headache, stiff
neck, shoulder pain, irritability
and many other symptoms. A
little stress though, can be positive. The stress of a deadline, for
example, can propel you to get
your job done.
On the negative side, stress
can affect your ability to concentrate, leave you feeling
sad, reduce your energy level
and cause sleep issues, as well
as many other symptoms.
Prolonged stress can cause
ongoing pain and a weakened
immune system, which can
lead to frequent colds and
infections. Long-term stress
can increase your blood pressure and affect your heart
Some people might turn to
drinking alcohol or smoking
to cope with stress, but neither of those options provides
long-lasting relief.
Stress can affect your eating patterns, so we need to be
aware of managing and balancing our nutrition. Some people
February 23 & 24, 2015
The Fairmont Winnipeg
Farming has become a competitive business once again, as it usually is. One way to do the
best you can on your farm is to grow the crops that the market will want.
Stress can have many effects
including physical pain.
eat more than usual and others will lose their appetite in
response to ongoing stress.
Getting some physical
activity is one of the best
ways to overcome stress. All
of us need to try to accumulate about 30 minutes of moderate activity on five or more
days of the week. †
Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, R.D., L.R.D.,
is a North Dakota State University
Extension Service food and nutrition
specialist and professor in the department
of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.
Wild Oats Grainworld, Canada’s Annual Ag Outlook Conference, will be held in Winnipeg
on Feb 23 and 24, 2015. Traders of the crops we grow in western Canada will give their
outlooks for crops that they trade.
Grainworld is a rewarding experience. You’ll mix with the Canadian grain trade, other
farmers who understand marketing and businesses that serve our industry. You’ll hear
from marketing experts who make their living trading grain plus specialists from around
the world with their own insights into how markets are working.
Do yourself a favour. Mark your calendar for two days in February at the Fairmont at the
corner of Portage and Main.
Early-bird registration is $400 and includes all sessions and meals. Register at or 1-800-567-5671.
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Home Quarter Farm Life
Life’s secrets, according to you…
People of the world, tell me this — what’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you?
e all have it, don’t
we? That little
voice in our head
that never shuts
up… the one that in that grating nail-on-a-chalkboard manner
informs us that we should have
known better. “What’s the matter with you!” it shrieks, “Didn’t
you know?” Well no, thank you
very much, I guess I didn’t know.
I wish someone would have told
me that. That would have been
considered useful information 20
years ago; not so much now.
Now, it just makes me feel sad,
and a little bit angry.
What’s the one thing you wish
someone would have told you?
When I asked you this question,
your responses came pouring in. I
could relate to almost every one of
them, but especially to the reader
who wrote: They did tell me. I
just didn’t listen. Amen to that.
As a teenager, constructive guidance of any nature would bore me
to tears. But that’s exactly when I
should have been sopping it up
like a sponge. Think of everything
we waste in our youth. Back then,
if anyone started a sentence with
the following pretext, my brain
would instantly shut down: “I
don’t want to tell you what to
do, but if I were you… blah, blah,
blah.” Oh, how I wish I would
have listened more closely to that
blah, blah, blah part.
Here forthwith are your responses to what you wish someone
would have told you. Part One
Relax… in five years, this moment
and these people won’t matter.
Everything will be all right.
Love yourself first.
It’s OK to be alone.
They did tell me. I just didn’t
believe them.
If you are not happy, neither are
the people around you. Make a
change and quit being stubborn.
Don’t be so shy to show a little
cleavage. Because now I can’t.
That I was beautiful and smart.
Happiness takes hard work!
Don’t bother dating until you’re at
least 25… before then it’s just the
hormones talking.
I don’t know… they haven’t
told me yet.
My mom told me but I didn’t
listen. Don’t be in a rush to
shave your legs!
Save money when you are
younger to be able to do some
of the things you want when
you are a little older.
It will be hard, but it will also be
To always, ALWAYS trust
your instincts.
It is OK to cry.
Relax and enjoy life more, don’t
worry so much about all the
little things and most importantly,
be confident in myself and
my abilities.
You think you are tired when your
kids are young… wait until they
are adults and go out at night.
All night.
You would be really good at “x.”
Why don’t you make a career
out of it?
Do not spend all your time
working. Enjoy life.
To always be thankful for your
You don’t deserve this.
Husbands and siblings are
SUPPOSED to drive you crazy.
Not to shave my legs if
I didn’t need to!
That eating right not only changes
the way your body can look, but
also changes the way you feel.
whom you want to experience
life with, and understanding that
as years go by, you will change.
The change is not necessarily a
bad thing though — it’s about
understanding how to change
together and by doing so, you will
experience an even greater bond.
It gets much harder
the older you get.
I was told many things, but one I
wish I learned earlier is to actually
actively listen.
Don’t take yourself so seriously.
No one else does.
Go into the sales profession as
early as possible.
Life is a journey and every year
you will learn and build a new
you, especially in your 20s. But no
matter how bad it seems, it will
always be worth it in the end, and
everything always, always, always
works out. And if it doesn’t work
out, it’s not over with yet!
I wish that grown-ups would stop
saying, “Be nice; you have to play
with everyone.” Because really,
not even grown-ups like everyone.
Better advice would have been,
“Don’t be mean; just ignore the
nasty ones.”
I am good enough as I am.
Wear sunscreen! I know that now,
but I didn’t when I was 14.
The sooner you can admit you are
wrong and accept it, the sooner
you can grow.
Marriage is not about that “one”
day… it’s about finding someone
who accepts, respects and loves you
for who you are; it’s about seeing
that other person as a partner with
No, you don’t look good with a
home perm. †
Janita Van de Velde grew up on a farm near
Mariapolis, Man. She holds a bachelor of
science degree in agricultural economics
from the University of Manitoba, and has
worked for a financial institution since
graduating. She lives in Regina, Sask., with
her husband Roddy and their children Jack,
Isla and James. Her first novel, Postcards
Never Written, was the recipient of the
Saskatchewan Reader’s Choice Award and
also listed by CBC as one of the top funny
books in 2009. She donates a portion of
proceeds from the sale of her book to World
Vision to help those less fortunate. For more
information, or to order her book, visit her
website at
One-of-a-kind cape
Using heart feathers, this turn-of-thecentury piece took 12 years to complete
A Smart Investment
for Managing Farm Risk
AgriInvest helps you manage income declines on your farm and
supports investments that help mitigate risks. To benefit from
AgriInvest for the 2013 program year, you must:
• submit your 2013 AgriInvest form by September 30, 2014*
• open an AgriInvest account at a participating financial institution
and make your deposit by the deadline date shown on your
Deposit Notice.
*Note: Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2014, but will incur
a 5% per month reduction in the maximum matchable deposit.
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To sign up for My AAFC Account, go to
ne of the more unusual exhibits at the
Wilson Museum in
Dundurn, Saskatchewan, is the heart feather cape.
The full-length garment was made
from the heart feathers (whitish
feathers with a black dot) of the
prairie chicken, also known as the
sharp-tailed grouse.
The hand-sewn cape is the
only one of its kind in the world.
Approximately 4,000 birds were
used in the production of the
cape, which took 12 years to
complete (estimated to be from
around the turn of the century).
All the work was done by Mrs.
Dan Kohles, who resided in the
Dundurn-Beaver Creek area south
of Saskatoon.
The chair of the Wilson
Museum, Harry Friesen, says Mrs.
Kohles “dressed the birds and animals shot by people who came to
the area to hunt. It’s my guess
that in making the cape, she was
making use of the feathers.”
The cape was donated to the
museum by Mrs. Kohles’ daughter, Vi Leroi.
The Wilson Museum was
founded in 1967 by Bob and
Maxine Wilson, local area residents, and today, Harry Friesen
and his wife Anne operate it. For
more information, contact Harry
Friesen at 306-492-4747. †
Edna Manning writes from Saskatoon, Sask.
11503_AAFC_GN_ENG.indd 1
2014-09-08 10:14 AM
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 /
Home Quarter Farm Life
Way ahead
of the times
hey were “all natural”
before “all natural” was
cool. Kevin and Melanie
Boldt have been giving
conscientious meat consumers
locally and naturally raised meat
options for almost two decades. The
Osler, Saskatchewan farmers have
made a conscious commitment to
ethically raise pasture-grazed and
vegetarian-fed animals in a stressfree environment that does not
include the use of growth-promoting medications or hormones.
“When we started 16 years ago
we were local before local was a
buzzword and now more attention to food and where it comes
from is creating opportunities for
restaurants and chefs and for us,”
said Melanie.
Their beef, pork, poultry, lamb,
specialty meats and eggs are
prized by Saskatoon chefs, including Nathan Guggenheimer of the
highly acclaimed Ayden Kitchen
and Bar.
Guggenheimer knows that
without an outstanding base
product, dishes at his restaurant
would not be in a class that set
them apart.
“You can taste the difference
when you have an all-natural meat
versus something that has been
mass produced. I think it has more
of a game flavour from the grass.”
The Boldt farm is located on
the site settled by Kevin’s greatgrandparents in 1901. Kevin is
the fourth generation in his family to farm the land and raise
animals here. In 1998, Kevin and
Melanie established Pine View
Farms to diversify their existing
grain and cattle operation.
In order to get their ethically
raised products to a wider audience, they opened Souleio Foods,
a market bistro, in downtown
Saskatoon in 2009. With the farming couple and their two sons
immersing themselves in two of
the most time-consuming careers,
they eventually knew something
had to give.
That’s when “Top Chef” winner Dale MacKay of Saskatoon
connected with the Boldts and
decided to turn Souleio into one
of Canada’s top restaurants while
sourcing meat from Pine View
“What I want people to know is
that food isn’t just fuel to get you
through the next things in your
day. There are lots of pleasures
in this world and food is one of
them,” said Melanie.
“Food is so essential to our culture and in our rat race of life, we
forget what it can give to you and
the beauty it brings.”
The food at the Ayden Kitchen
and Bar highlights the Boldts’
philosophy. The sausage platter,
made with Pine View Farm’s pork,
is a testament to the culinary
value of using locally raised, allnatural meat that comes from
farmers who Guggenheimer
now considers friends. Adorned
with hand-made mustards, slaws
and crackers, the ordinary-looking sausage is transformed into
a smoky explosion of textured
goodness in flavours of Thai,
Mexican and Polish.
The Boldts are thrilled to have
their pork and poultry on the
Ayden Kitchen and Bar menu
and they are ecstatic to supply a
restaurant that shares their food
and farm philosophy.
“Kevin and I are really firm
believers in preserving the art of
farming and the art of creating
good food and those two things
are somewhat dying arts and we
really need to preserve that and
pass it on,” said Melanie.
Pine View Farms meats and
products, including deli sausages,
are available online, at their
on-farm store and at various
stores in Saskatoon, Regina and
Moose Jaw. For a full listing of
stores and products, visit www. †
Christalee Froese writes from Montmartre, Sask.
Chef Nathan Guggenheimer and Melanie in the Pine View Farms store meat cooler, selecting a cut of pork.
Ag for Life and its founders believe in Alberta agriculture. That’s why
we support rural and farm safety, and educational programs that
build a genuine understanding and appreciation for this vital industry.
Join us. Share your voice. Make a difference.
Visit for more details.
38178_11 AFL_Generic_8.125x10_Grainews.indd 1
2014-05-08 2:30 PM
/ SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
Home Quarter Farm Life
How did your garden grow?
Share your successes and challenges
Plus, Ted talks about cruciferous veggies, knee pain, and plums
y the end of September
we’re well into shorter days
and weather has become
autumn-like. Nature has
begun casting some spectacular colours this month, with skiffs of snow
early on in the Calgary area.
How’d your garden do this year?
Perhaps you became a champion
tomato grower. This was an unusual gardening year for many so
let’s hear all about your awardwinning secrets and challenges
faced. It’s always beneficial to
learn how other gardeners fared.
In a vast country such as our
Canada, harvesting is well underway in some regions, delayed elsewhere and completed for others.
Here where I am, my eyes have
spotted fields of cabbages. Their
distinct odour along with other
cruciferous vegetables has also
caught my nostrils.
Got knee pain? Learn how cabbage leaves may help control such
discomfort. Are any Grainews readers waiting for me to write something about plums? Well today’s
the day!
Before referring to a letter let me
tip my hat and say welcome to all
established readers and those joining in for the first time. Thanks
for tagging along with me. Until
revealed, one never knows what
might be found along the path of
things green and growing. My trail
of words on the Grainews Singing
Gardener page is underway. I may
be too old to cut the mustard (hah
— just kidding) but young enough
at heart to appreciate the adventures of life.
… writes in part: “I enjoy your
column and when I get Grainews
I always start reading at the back
first. What can I do to control root
maggots in my cabbage? I have
tried Sevin and ashes. Nothing
seems to work.”
Ted’s reply: Cruciferous vegetables, also known as cole crops
and brassicas include broccoli,
brussels sprouts, cauliflower,
kohlrabi and of course cabbage.
There was a kid who didn’t like
broccoli and tried to hide a piece
of it from Mom and Dad by dropping it in a glass of milk. Well
— long story — short. Wouldn’t
you know said youngster soon
learned that you can’t drink a
piece of broccoli and eating it is
an acquired taste.
Root maggots in larval stage are
in soil and hatch from eggs laid
around the base of plant stems by
tiny maggot flies. Early plantings
Grenville hybrid plum is a cross between Japanese Burbank its pollen
parent (Prunus salicina) and native Canadian plum (Prunus nigra). It was
selected over 80 years ago and later introduced by the Horticulture Division
at Ottawa’s Experimental Station in 1941. Like a June bride, Grenville is
ornamental in appearance and what a sight to behold when in full bloom.
Sweetly scented flowers come early, even before leaves appear. The tree
is low in stature, very vigorous and hardy in Zone 3. Yields are generous
even to the point of being extra prolific. However, its only drawback is a
tendency to biennial bearing. The inset shows Grenville plums close up.
are especially vulnerable. Here are
some suggestions.
Buy floating row cover at a
garden centre and drape it over
outdoor cabbage transplants.
This will provide a good measure of benefit, but make sure
sides of material are well secured
at ground level to prevent maggot flies from entering. They’re
also attracted to carrots, onions,
radishes and turnips. Save used
coffee grounds over fall and winter. Keep in mind coffee grounds
can increase soil acidity in the
immediate area when too much
is applied. In such case make
a balanced blend by combining
dry coffee grounds with horticulture dolomite lime, or some powdered bone meal or unleached
dry wood ashes (those that have
always been kept dry and never
previously been subjected to rain
or other moisture) 50/50 to help
amend and retain normal pH balance. Stir some of this mixture
into planting holes before setting out cabbage and other transplants. Also, sprinkle some on soil
surface around plant stems.
Other alternate tips include
the following: Mix one cup white
vinegar with four litres of water.
Drench each prepared planting
hole with a cupful of said vinegar-water solution, followed by
a sprinkling of bone meal. Allow
this pre-treatment to soak in for
a few hours first before setting
out plants. Also, moisten prepared
furrows and shallow rows with
vinegar-water brew and thinly sow
onion and radish seeds.
Yet another option is to mix
together one cup white flour or
part whole wheat flour with one
teaspoon of black pepper. Stir in a
spoonful into each planting hole.
Also, try sprinkling some dry flour/
pepper combo onto cole crop foliage. This may help to deter white
cabbage butterfly.
Diatomaceous earth available
at garden centres or animal feed
supply outlets is something else
to consider. Sprinkle a light coat-
ing in planting holes and on soil
surface around plant stems. (Avoid
breathing DE dust.) It has sharp
edges that act like a razor on
digestive tract of root maggots,
slugs, soft-bodied soil grubs and
flea beetles.
Boil some potatoes or potato
peels. Save the water and sprinkle it
along the planting row and around
plant stems to destroy maggot flies,
cutworms and other pests including their eggs. Remember, these
suggestions and ideas are nonchemical approaches. What works
well for a gardener in one area
may not work as well in a different
region. As I’ve stated previously:
Learn to be your own at-home garden scientist.
Sevin, mentioned earlier by
Johanna is a broad-spectrum chemical insecticide that’s sold at garden centres as a liquid concentrate,
in powdered and granular forms.
Follow label directions precisely and
spray during latter part of the day
on landscape plants and tree foliage.
Do not apply on blossoms or when
pollinating insects are present.
Sauerkraut, sauerkraut juice,
coleslaw and sweet cabbage juice
can help reverse pain and provide other health benefits when
taken internally. However, there’s
also an outside approach for dealing with pain and you may discover it works at bringing relief
from arthritic or gouty discomfort.
Apply steamed cabbage leaves to
sore knees.
Consider this! First off it’s
important to remove the core at
the bottom, especially if it’s a latewinter cabbage variety. Place the
entire cabbage head in a deep pot
of boiling water with lid on for a
few minutes, until leaves become
quite limp and begin to separate.
Or, place a few washed, separated cabbage leaves in boiling
water, then gently simmer with
the lid slightly ajar until leaves
become limp. When ready, careful-
Here’s what Albert Moman, 86, told the Singing Gardener after sampling
Grenville plums. “I like them right off the tree. The skin is a bit tough but
as far as the juice is concerned, it’s very tasty.”
ly remove limp leaves from the hot
water without burning yourself, or
have someone do it for you.
Massage a wee bit of almond oil,
coconut oil, olive oil or hemp seed
oil onto the painful knees area and
then apply several steamed, warm
cabbage leaves. Cover with a piece
of plastic wrap then place a dry
bath towel on top to retain heat
as long as possible. Once leaves
are cooled, continue repeating the
process with newly steamed cabbage leaves until relief is obtained.
If pain is due to excessive exertion
or an injury, try using cooled cabbage leaves instead of hot ones. Ice
cubes or some other form of cold
pack can also be applied on top.
… and yes, I, Ted, have had such
a plum tree for years. It’s low in
stature at about three metres (10
feet) so makes for easy picking (see
photos elsewhere on this page).
Should you plan to buy Grenville,
it must be pollinated by a different selection of the same species
growing nearby. Native Canadian
plum (Prunus nigra) is the best
tree to use as a pollinator for
hybrid plum trees. Both need to
be in blossom at the same time
in order to set fruit. Otherwise
Grenville fruit production can be
sporadic and will not necessarily
bear every year. Plums are known
as a drupe fruit — meaning — having a fleshy, fibrous interior that
encloses a kernel, nut or stone.
Also, I, Ted, decided to try something different this year. Instead of
stewing tomatoes on the stovetop
burner, I roasted tomatoes in the
oven and added some Grenville
plums — but nothing else — no
seasoning, no onions, no garlic,
nothing (the roaster lid was on).
Such stewed tomatoes and plums
combo are now frozen; later to be
used in a variety of recipes calling
for tomatoes. At that time seasonings, herbs and other extras can be
added for a decidedly unique, new
tomato taste adventure.
An old Chinese proverb says:
If you want to be happy for an
hour, roast a pig. If you want
to be happy for a year, marry.
If you want to be happy for a
lifetime, plant a garden. Or, do
like some folks in Regina and
become a fan of the ukulele. This
tiny instrument resonates with a
great big sound when members
of Regina’s Ukulele Club gather
together on “uke day” to play
in unison. For them it’s a time
for fun, combined with kindred
camaraderie and sharing ukulele
techniques. All this is brought
about as a result of that little
instrument called the ukulele.
Members of Queen City Ukulele
Club are known to be the happiest people in Regina. This eager
bunch gathers together monthly
simply out of love to pluck away
on ukulele strings. Their next
jam session is on October 7
at Sawchyn Guitars in Regina.
Interested or want to know
more? Phone Peter or Kendra at
(306) 522-6348. †
This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and
Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. After
a late night of merrymaking, folks didn’t always
reach for the ASA bottle of tablets to help ease
their discomfort. Germany along with several
other European nations often relied on the
power of pickles to ease ravages of too much
booze. Choice ingredients for a German-style
hangover breakfast consisted of sour brined
fish filets wrapped around gherkins and onions.
Other countries including Poland found that
many of their inhabitants chose to drink dill
pickle juice instead. Are there any readers with
a hangover recipe that works regardless of its
cause? Please submit by letter or email it to:
[email protected]
Address the
Elephant in the Field.
Take charge of your resistance concerns by making
Liberty® herbicide a regular part of your canola rotation.
As the only Group 10 in canola, Liberty combines
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To learn more visit:
Always read and follow label directions. Liberty® is a registered trademark of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada.
S:15.5” or 1 888-283-6847 or contact your Bayer CropScience representative.
As a farmer, you have a lot of decisions to make. The DEKALB® brand team is here to empower you with
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this publication ©2014 Monsanto Canada, Inc.

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