Thursday, December 30, 2021

Grain Farmers seeks tax break

 Grain Farmers of Ontario has renewed its lobby for an exemption from the carbon tax on energy used to dry grain.

It was passed by Parliament before the election, had support from all parties, but didn’t gain final approval.

“It is inconceivable that the government is not providing relief to grain farmers by putting into place an exemption for the carbon tax on drying grain.  All food production should be exempt from this tax.” said Brendan Byrne, chairman of Grain Farmers of Ontario.


“Farmers do not have alternatives to dry our grain, we cannot grow food and be penalized with an ever-increasing carbon tax that will be increased year over year.” 

The federal government announced a tax credit in its fall economic statement of Dec. 14,  but Grain Farmers of Ontario said that still does not provide Ontario grain farmers with relief from carbon tax paid on fuel to dry grain. 

The Grain Farmers of Ontario news release said Ontario farmers cannot compete with U.S. farmers who don‘t have to pay the carbon tax to grow their grain.

"The proposed tax credit in no way makes up for the costs to farmers or replace the much-needed exemption." It would return less than 20 per cent of the costs incurred by corn growers, the GFO said.

“Grain Farmers of Ontario has repeatedly shared data showing the negative impacts of the cost of the carbon tax with government, along with the fact that alternatives don‘t exist,” added Byrne. “The government has created an exemption for greenhouse growers and others who don‘t have alternatives for 80 percent of use, while grain farmers in Ontario are covered for less than 20 per cent. I would ask the government to explain this discrepancy.”


Crossbreeding dairy cattle gains interest

Studies are showing that crossbreeding can improve dairy-farming profits, but still Holsteins dominate the industry.

The benefits of crossbreeding include better feed efficiency, higher fertility and longer life.

Mike Osmundson of California began in 1999 to search for a good three-way cross and settled on Holsteins, Montebeliardes from France and VikingRed from Nordic countries.

Montebeliardes are durable, low-input and fertile. They contribute to the 10 to 15 per cent less feed the crossbreeds need to produce their milk.

The VikingRed are hardy with few health issues and high fertility.

“The resulting off-spring are an interesting variety of color patterns, but uniform in size, and easily achieve the desired goals,” said Glenn Carlisle, of Carlisle Dairy + Forage Consulting, LLC, of Dover, Ohio.

He noted that 90 per cent of purebred Holsteins are descended from six sires.

The red in the crossbreds shows up in succeeding generations, they are shorter and not as tall as Holsteins.

Carlisle said their milk has more butterfat, protein and other solids.

The cross-bred cows are more profitable than their Holstein herdmates, according to the report from a 10-year study with high-performance Minnesota dairy herds. 

The study was conducted by three researchers from the University of Minnesota. The final results of the study were presented in a July 2019 conference in the Netherlands.

ProCROSS is being promoted by Creative Genetics of California.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Dr. Kelly Barratt honoured

 Dr. Kelly Barratt of Listowel has been chosen Bovine Practitioner of the Year by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

She is a partner in Heartland Veterinary Services.

“I never thought it would be me, that’s for sure. But it truly is the top honour that you can receive as a cow vet in North America,” she said in a recent interview with Farms.Com.

 “The fact that I received it on my first nomination is just so incredible,” she said.

“It’s an award for cow veterinarians who have made a difference in the lives of their patients, the clients, their producers, and for the industry itself, whether that be the dairy or beef industry; in my case, the dairy industry.” 

Merger in the rendering business

Darling Ingredients Inc., which has a large share of the Ontario market including Rothsay Concentrates, has an agreement to buy all of the shares of Valley Proteins Inc. for about $1.1 billion in cash.

Valley Proteins operates 18 major rendering and used cooking oil facilities throughout the southern, southeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States and employs 1,900 people.

"We are pleased to add Valley Proteins  . . . (because it) will supplement Darling's global supply of waste fats and greases,” the company said in a news release.

“The new supply will now provide Darling with additional low carbon feedstock to produce renewable diesel and potentially sustainable aviation fuel," said Randall Stuewe, chairman and chief executive officer of Darling Ingredients.

Fresh-made plant protein burgers launched

SavorEat of Israel has developed technology to deliver freshly-made plant-protein burgers and is poised to market them in the United States via Sodexo foodservice company.

Its technology uses a self-contained 3D printer with three cartridges containing oils and other ingredients. Customers can choose how much fat and protein they want in each burger, which takes about six minutes to cook.

"It's a mix of innovation of meat alternative and digital manufacturing where we can also cook the product," Racheli Vizman, SavorEat's chief executive, told Reuters news agency.

All of the competitors, such as Maple Leaf’s Impossible foods and Beyond Meat’s products are frozen.

Vizman said SavorEat’s burgers are made with a combination of potato and chickpea and pea protein.

"There is a growing segment of people called 'flexiterian' -- people that are actively trying to look for meat alternatives to reduce their meat consumption," Vizman said, citing about one-third of the U.S. population.

Oded Shoseyov, chairman and chief scientist of SavorEat, said the firm is also working on a plant-based version of a pork breakfast sausage for the U.S. market.



Guelph profs named to Order of Canada

Barry Smit, famous for his work on the impacts of climate change when on the faculty at the University of Guelph, has been named to the Order of Canada.

One of his publications is the book Farming in a Changing Climate: Agricultural Adaptation in Canada.

Alejandro G. Marangoni who holds the Canada Research Chair Food, Health and Aging at the University of Guelph was recognized for his contributions to organic chemistry and his groundbreaking work developing emulsion to replace saturated and trans fats in foods. 

Marangoni has published mpre than 350 research articles, 62 book chapters and 16 books over the course of his career.

 His research team is currently looking at ways to replace highly saturated fat in products such as cheese while at the same time preserving the taste. 

They are also interested in improving the health characteristics of cosmetic products, decreasing the environmental impact of the use of lubricants and grease, and improving the sustainability of food production.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Joint venture developing test-tube plant nutrition

BioHarvest Sciences has spent the past 10 years developing technology which takes cells from a plant and grows them in a tank and feeds the cells the company recipe of nutrients.

BioHarvest is a joint venture between Israel and Canada with Alan Greensberg of Toronto as an investor and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as an advisor for developing nutrition for space travellers.

The cells are grown, dried into a powder, put into capsules and sold as health supplements.

Vinia is one that copies resveratrol, the heart-healthy ingredient in red wine; one capsule has enough to equal a bottle of wine.

The company said its technique uses less space than growing plants, uses less water and the products are free of pesticides. Because the cells are all exactly the same DNA, the powders are ideal for pharmaceutical use, according to chief executive officer Ilan Sobel.

BioHarvest claimed it had become the first to produce “a significant number” of cannabis trichomes, which carry the psychoactive components CBD and THC, without growing the plant itself.

Sobel said the company’s products are unique in that they reproduce the entire full-spectrum plant cell or nutrient without modification, often of plant products that have been difficult to replicate.

BioHarvest has a market value of about $152-million and has raised about $57.3-million to date, according to the company.

From pig-pen dividers to drywall alternative

Trusscore Inc. of Palmerston began as a company making plastic-based dividers for hog barns.

Now it’s on the verge of disrupting the markets for drywall.

The founders, Steve Bosman and Joel Koops, were using German technology to make the pig-pen dividers and they eventually bought out that company to gain control.

Then when COVID-19 hit, they made thin plastic dividers for hospitals and other places that needed to keep workers safe from the virus.

And now they have set their sights on making walls for offices and hopefully for homes.

The one glitch they are concentrating on now is the shiny finish that isn’t particularly attractive in living rooms, but is just fine in basements, especially since it’s easier to control mould in moist conditions.

The driving force now is Dave Caputo, an experienced high-tech executive from Kitchener-Waterloo who is head of Communitech, an organization that helps foster startups in technology.

He was also an executive with two successful startups – chief executive officer of  Sandvine and vice-president of PixStream.

And he has a definite dislike of drywall, which explains why Trusscore Inc. is now focussed on replacing that product.

Caputo joined MSW Plastics, which became Trusscore Inc., after Sandvine was sold in 2017.


The prefabricated PVC boards they are making as competition for drywall are half an inch thick, 16 inches wide and eight to 20 inches long – standard dimensions to mount on studs.

Installation can be four times faster than drywall, the panels are recyclable and easier to clean. Those are the attributes that made the panels attractive as pen dividers for farmers trying to control the spread of viruses.

Busman and Koops were already selling panels for basements and dreaming of a bigger market when Caputo came on board.

He became chief executive officer, Bosman chief manufacturing officer and Koops is executive vice-president.

The reformed company began quickly adopting more of a startup mentality, reports the Globe and Mail, expanding its marketing as a drywall alternative while investing in research and development. 

That meant hiring specialists, sometimes doctorate-level ones specializing in nanotechnology, chemistry and mechanical design, to refine their PVC boards. 

With this expertise, the newly renamed Trusscore began to improve various qualities over time: durability, cleanability, fire resistance – and, maybe, add visual enhancements.

Trusscore now has plants in Ohio and Calgary , but a potential competitor in California.






Sunday, December 26, 2021

More plant protein foods coming

Protein Industries Canada is investing in several partnerships to bring more plant protein products to market, including ones that compete with dairy products.

YoFiit, Avena Foods Limited and Roquette Canada are involved in the $1.7-million project that has backing from the federal government.

“This project is yet another example of Canada’s growing potential in the production of plant-based products,” said Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. 

“By supporting SMEs in agricultural, Protein Industries Canada is helping new ideas and products become a reality and allowing these companies to scale-up like never before by accessing new and growing markets in Canada and around the world.”

YoFiit, a food-tech start-up that makes snacks, will lead the development of new food manufacturing techniques and novel food products.

“This project demonstrates the power of collaboration and importance of building capacity along the ecosystem. By pairing YoFiit, a young start-up, with global leaders like Avena and Roquette Canada, innovation, commercialisation and scale-up happens quicker – with the economic value and associated expertise staying in Canada,” said Bill Greuel, chief executive officer for Protein Industries Canada. 

“By increasing ingredient and food processing capacity in Canada, we are strengthening our domestic food supply chain, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, creating jobs and supporting a strong and more prosperous economy.”

Avena and Roquette Canada will build off of success seen in their prior Protein Industries Canada projects, including the creation of new plant-based protein ingredients that use Canadian crops. 

“We are thrilled to receive this investment and to work with Avena and Roquette, two key members of our industry,” said Marie Amazan, chief executive officer for YoFiit. 

“Through the project, we will have the opportunity to experiment with more Canadian-grown crops and expand our arsenal of plant-based dairy offerings as well as adjacent categories. With the food technology ecosystem we have built over the past few years, we will be in a position to pair our research and product development expertise with our partners’ ingredients knowledge to create some very exciting firsts in Canada."

Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $426 million to Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients ecosystem.




Friday, December 24, 2021

Exporting raw milk

An Australian company has patented technology that enables dairy farmers to ship raw milk directly to Asian customers who then process it.

AgriGate says its technology extends shelf life of raw milk to 23 days.

It’s shipped in special containers that are pressurized and can hold 23,000 litres of milk.


AgriGate has a contract to supply 80 million litres of milk from dairy farmers in Victoria state to an Asian country it has not named.

Currently, dairy farmers have a 36-hour window to get their milk processed before it spoils. And that short time frame has prevented farmers in Victoria from tapping into export markets overseas.

AgriGate managing director Peter Askew said the technology was game-changing for the Victorian dairy industry.

“We searched the world looking at ways to fulfil the opportunities for exports and we weren’t able to find anything that has the capability of what we’ve developed here,” he said.

Askew said the higher prices being paid in Asian countries for Australian milk would be passed directly back to Victorian farmers who had already been signed up to supply the milk.

“We’re currently negotiating other major forward contracts as well, so it is a significant volume that we are talking about,” Askew said.

But there is a hurdle to jump because in Australia raw milk is unable to be sold directly to consumers.

“We’re right in the middle of finalising negotiations with the Australian government to allow us to export it,” Askew said.

“We have received the accreditation for our first Asian country and we are in negotiations with two other Asian countries at the moment to be able to bring this milk in.”

The milk will be marketed to Asian consumers in a personal way, by telling the story of the dairy from where it is sourced.

Victoria accounts for almost 70 per cent of the $13 billion Australian dairy industry, and one-third of Victoria’s milk production comes from northern Victoria.

Jenny Wilson from Murray Dairy said the northern Victorian dairy region had struggled through a difficult decade and the new technology to keep raw milk fresher for longer would form an important part of the rebuild for the sector.

“We know the demand for good quality Australian milk is continuing to grow across the Asian markets,” Wilson said.

“It really comes on the back of the past two years. We’ve had a real change in our fortunes, we’ve had some fantastic seasonal conditions, and we’ve been getting record-high milk prices being paid, so our region is really in a recovery, rebuild phase.”



Thursday, December 23, 2021

South Korea bans Canadian beef

 South Korea has banned beef from Canada after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it confirmed a case of atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow’s disease) in an eight-year-old Alberta cow.

South Korea said the ban will remain in effect until the Canadian government provides enough information to satisfy its concerns.

South Korea is the only country so far to ban Canadian beef because of this one cow.

Russian company ups stake in Versatile tractors

Combine Factory Rostselmash of Russia has upped its stake in Buhler Industries from 80 to 97 per cent by purchasing the 16 per cent of shares owned by former Buhler chairman John Buhler.

Buhler, based in Winnipeg, makes Versatile tractors, combines, seeders and tillage equipment, Farm King implements and M8 tractors for Kubota.

Rostselmash, which bought its 80 per cent stake in 2007.

Kellogg strike ends

About 1,400 workers for Kellogg’s have approved a contract to settle a strike that began Oct. 5 and left huge gaps in cereal-aisle shelves at Canadian supermarkets.

The company’s plant at Belleville, Ont., that makes shreddies was not involved in the strike.

United States President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, who tried to win the Democrat’s nomination for presidential candidate, were among those who stood with the union after the company threatened to resume operations with replacement workers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Avian flu detected

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the presence of high pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N1, at a multi-species exhibition farm in the Avalon Peninsula on the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

This exhibition farm does not produce birds for sale.

As the infected birds were located on an exhibition farm, and no other cases resembling avian influenza have been reported in the vicinity of the farm, Canada's status as 'free from AI' remains in place in accordance with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidance.





Dairy code of practice open for comment

 A new Dairy Code of Practice has been posted for information and public comment.


It can be found at .


It is long, covers every conceivable situation and is supplemented with additional best practices which are more elaborate than the proposed mandatory requirements.


Here are the highlights:


Animal welfare means how an animal is coping physically, physiologically and psychologically with the conditions in which it lives. 

Physically includes pain and injury; physiologically includes environmental or disease stressors; and psychologically includes stressors that affect the senses, especially those that result in fear, fighting, distress or stereotypic behaviors due to either frustration or boredom. 

Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.


Calves must have a bed that provides comfort, insulation, warmth, dryness and traction. Bare concrete is not acceptable as a resting surface.

Housing must allow calves to easily stand up, lie down, turn around, adopt normal resting postures, and have visual contact with other calves.

The bedded area for group-housed calves must be large enough to allow all calves to rest comfortably at the same time.

Calves must receive at least four liters of good quality colostrum within 12 hours of birth, with the first meal occurring as soon as possible, and no more than six hours after birth.

Calves must receive a volume and quality of milk or milk replacer to maintain health, growth and vigor.

Increase milk intake during cold stress.


Housing must allow cattle to easily stand up, lie down, adopt normal resting postures, and have visual contact with other cattle.

Cattle must have a bed that provides comfort, insulation, warmth, dryness and traction. Bare concrete is not acceptable as a resting surface.

Special needs facilities must provide comfort, insulation, warmth, dryness and traction. Bare concrete is not acceptable as a resting surface.

Areas must be provided to segregate and treat sick and injured cattle.

Stocking density must not exceed 1.2 cows per stall in a free stall system.

Resting areas must provide 120ft² (11m²) per mature cow in bedded-pack pens.

Provide adequate linear feed bunk space to meet the animals’ nutritional needs.

Bare concrete platforms or hard rubber mats without bedding are unacceptable surfaces for the humane housing of cows.

Daily removal of cow patties and use of generous amounts of bedding assures cleanliness of cows kept in bedded-pack pens.

Milking equipment must be inspected by a qualified person a minimum of every twelve months.

All dairy operations must be equipped for the safe restraint and handling of animals.

Producers must take corrective action for animals at a Body Condition Score of 2 or lower.

Cows must receive a ration that is adequate for maintaining health and vigor.

Cattle must have access to palatable and clean water in quantities to meet their needs.




Producers must establish a working relationship with a practicing veterinarian (VCPR)

ame cows must be diagnosed early and either treated, culled or euthanized. 

Cattle that are sick, injured, in pain or suffering must be provided prompt medical care or be euthanized.

Cattle with untreatable conditions no responding to treatment, or not fit for transport must be promptly euthanized.

Appropriate authorities must be advised of any suspect or confirmed cases of reportable disease.

If animals are culled, drug withdrawal times must be observed.

Apparatus to lift and support recumbent animals must be used with care and according to manufacturer’s specifications. Animals must be able to breath freely and not suffer unnecessary discomfort.


Producers must remove manure from alleys and beds to keep cows clean

Energizers for electric trainers must not exceed 2500 volts.

Electric trainers must have a height adjustment.

Electric trainers must be located over the chine when the cow is standing with her hind feet near the gutter curb.

Electric cattle prods must only be used in extreme situations, such as when animal or human safety is at risk, and must never be used on the face, anus or reproductive organs of dairy cattle.

Electric prods must not be used on calves that can be moved manually.

Animal handlers must be familiar with cattle behavior and quiet handling techniques either through training, experience or mentorship.

Pain control must be used when dehorning or disbudding.

Bleeding control must be used when dehorning.

All cattle must be identified using an approved ear tag as stipulated by applicable regulations.

Castration, tail docking

Pain control must be used if branding is necessary.

Face branding is prohibited.

Pain control must be used when castrating.

Dairy cattle must not be tail docked unless medically necessary.

eat removal must be performed by trained personnel


Hoof trimming


Feet and claws must be inspected and trimmed as required to minimize lameness.


Ensure cattle that are incompatible are segregated.




The method to euthanize cattle must be quick and cause the least possible pain and distress.

Confirm death immediately and before moving or leaving the animal.




Dairy farmers compensation announced

Dairy farmers can apply for the third round of subsidies related to trade deals with Europe and Pacific nations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said.

And Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau promised she will announce compensation levels for the trade deal with the United States and Mexico by fall next year. Payments for that deal will begin to flow in 2023, she said.

The compensation for the trade deals with Europe and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will total $1.75 billion.

Farmers’ compensation for the third round will amount to $38,000 per farm with 80 cows, the government said.

Processors are in line for $292.5 million early next year from the Processor Investment Fund.


U.S. pondering Dicamba restrictions

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is likely to increase restrictions on the use of dicamba, but not this year because officials said it’s too late.

A new agency report reveals that despite increased restrictions, more than 3,500 dicamba issues were reported this year, almost all related to drifting into other crops.

The EPA said more than one million acres of non-dicamba tolerant soybeans were reported to be damaged. However, grower groups are asking for more clarity, saying EPA's data may be riddled with gaps. 

The report was detailed as part of EPA's review of dicamba use and off-target movement. The agency was assessing whether dicamba can be sprayed on dicamba-tolerant crops without causing "unreasonable risks" to other crops. 

“Right now we don’t know whether over-the-top dicamba can be used in a manner that doesn’t pose unreasonable risks to non-target crops and other plants,” said Michal Freedhoff, assistant administrator for the EPA’S Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, after the report was released. 

The review of dicamba by EPA also shows the off-target movement hit other crops, as well as trees, as the agency weighs whether further restrictions will be warranted to help prevent risks to other crops. 

While it’s too late for the EPA to act this year, it said it will work with other states to impose additional restrictions. 

Dicamba is a Bayer product registered for use in Canada.




Milk, cream, cheese, butter imports increasing

Want to know how much milk and dairy products we’re importing from the United States?

Don’t ask the Canadian marketing boards. Ask the Americans.

They are reporting that they are shipping more butter, cream, cheese and milk to Canada, citing a report from Global Agricultural Information Network.

Canadian cheese imports are increasing to 36,000 tonnes of which 20,400 are from the European Union.

Sarina Sharp, analyst with the Daily Dairy Report, said “Canada remains hungry for dairy fats, and that’s great news for the U.S. dairy industry.”

Canada, the top market for U.S. butter and milkfat, accounted for more than 30 per cent of U.S. exports of butter and milkfat in each of the past five years. Through October of this year, Sharp said 28 per cent of U.S. exports of butter and milkfat have shipped to Canada.

“Canada is also the primary market for U.S. cream, and in the first 10 months of 2021, three out of every four loads of U.S. cream sent abroad went to Canada,” she said.

Sustained strong demand has depleted Canadian butter stocks to 26,000 MT, but increased butter production in Canada next year is expected to rebuild stocks to at least 35,000 MT.


Through October, Sharp noted that Canada imported a record-breaking 43 million pounds of butter, 30 per cent more than in 2020, and Canada’s year-to-date cream imports were 56 per cent greater than the previous high, set in 2015. They were also more than four times those of 2020, the year pandemic restrictions choked off foodservice demand.

Canada’s milk production increased by 2.8 per cent to the end of September, but fell short of increased demand.

“It’s possible Canada stepped up dairy imports even more in November and December, after heavy rains and flooding devastated parts of British Columbia, where about nine per cent of Canada’s milk is produced,” Sharp said. 

“Flooding killed hundreds of dairy cows and displaced thousands. It also disrupted transportation. Some inaccessible farms were even forced to dump milk.”

There was some fluid milk shipped in from nearby states, but those statistics were not in the report.

Fresh Express salads on recall

Fresh Express Incorporated of Mississauga is recalling 23 types of Fresh Express brand salad products due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The company identified the problem and began the recall which the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is monitoring.

There have been no reports of consumers being sickened by the salads.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Sanderson Farms reports profits, then hit with demand

Sanderson Farms reported net income of $455 million on net sales of $4.8 billion in fiscal 2021, ended Oct. 31, compared with $28.3 million in net income on $3.6 billion in net sales for fiscal 2020.

And then it was hit by a request from the federal Department of Justice for more information that might reveal whether and how it participated in price-fixing.

A number of its peers have settled class-action lawsuits by paying tens of millions of dollars without admitting they did anything wrong.

Yeah, right! We did nothing wrong. Trust us!