Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Walmart buys into beef farming

Walmart is buying a minority stake in Sustainable Beef LLC, a rancher-owned company in North Platte, Neb.

It’s part of Walmart’s plan to source Angus beef for Sustainable Beef’s new processing facility in North Platte.

The plant is expected to break ground next month and open by late 2024, creating more than 800 jobs and processing 1,500 animals per day.

“We are dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable beef to our customers, and an investment in Sustainable Beef LLC will give us more access to these products,” Tyler Lehr, Walmart U.S.’s senior vice president of merchandising for deli services, meat and seafood, said.

Walmart did not disclose the amount of its investment, which comes more than two years after the retailer opened an Angus beef plant in Thomasville, Ga.

NFU fingers nitrogen

Farm-based greenhouse gas emissions have increased by more than 30 per cent since 1990, and nitrogen fertilizer is the main reason, according to a report the National Farmers Union has prepared to present to the federal government.

Commercial nitrogen applications have almost doubled since 2006 and in Saskatchewan increased four-fold.

Darrin Qualman, NFU Director of Climate Crisis Policy and Action, said “these upward trends in emissions from agriculture and fertilizer are incompatible with Canada’s commitment to reduce economy-wide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030." 

But the NFU report has no bright ideas about what can and should be done by farmers.

“Contrary to rhetoric from some, governments are not proposing bans or forced reductions; governments are using incentives and cost-sharing programs to get farmers onside with voluntary efficiency measures and rate reductions,” the report said.

“Federal and provincial governments have allocated hundreds-of-millions of dollars to fund these voluntary cost-share programs.  And as governments help farmers use fertilizer more efficiently, farmers’ costs can go down and their margins can go up.”

 “Defending fertilizer is not the same as defending farmers.  

“Fertilizer companies prosper when they sell as much as possible.  Farmers prosper when they use only as much as necessary,” the report said.

The report took a familiar NFU swipe at the few fertilizer companies that dominate the sector and called for greater competition.

The NFU report contrasts with most other farm organizations that have expressed alarm over the federal government’s call to reduce fertilizer contributions to greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. 

Gorbachev dead at 91


Michael Gorbachev has died at age 91.

He was president of the Soviet Union, praised by the West for dismantling the Berlin Wall and enabling reunifiication of East and West Germany, for easing East-West tensions and reducing armaments, but vilified in Russia for allowing the Soviet Union to collapse.

Less is being said about his role as agriculture minister and friend of Canada.

Former agriculture minister Eugene Whelan hosted him to a tour that included Hopewell Farm at Breslau where Seagram distillery fed beef cattle distillery remains. 

Whelan and Gorbachev became good friends and Whelan predicted he would rise to the top in Russia.

Gorbachev introduced many Canadian farming practices to the Russian collective farms.

Both men were beloved by farmers with whom they developed an easy rapport.

Unfortunately, many of the reforms Gorbachev introduced in Russia have been undone by Vladimir Putin.

Putin has no friends in the West, as did Gorbachev, seems intent on trying to conquer parts of the former Soviet Union starting with Ukraine and is anything but a genial friend of farmers.

The world has lost a great man with the death of Gorbachev.

Beef industry handled pandemic well

A report on Canada’s beef industry plans said it did well in the face of challenges such as the COVID-19 outbreak, record heat waves and droughts.

The four-year effort to boost opportunities for the Canadian beef industry achieved some progress said a report from Canadian Beef Advisors which monitors the program.

The National Strategy also helped make sure that agricultural and food distribution systems kept running during the pandemic. The report said that reaching a lot of the plan’s goals for the industry occurred in part because of the “remarkable show of support by Canadians who chose beef as one of their preferred meal choices during these challenging times.”

The Canadian Beef Advisors said it plans to continue to monitor progress of the National Strategy and its 2030 goals through working groups that are charged with developing additional action plans for the industry.

NFU supports Jamaicans working on Canadian farms

The National Farmers Union has issued a statement of support for Jamaican farm workers who recently sent an open letter of complaint to their own government.

The silence from all other farm organizations is disappointing.

The letter to Jamaican Labour Minister Karl Samuda, was written by migrant farm workers from two southern Ontario farms and said they are subject to “systemic slavery” and that “it feels like we are in prison.

“We are treated like mules and punished for not working fast enough. We are exposed to dangerous pesticides without proper protection. Our bosses are verbally abusive, swearing at us. They physically intimidate us, destroy our property, and threaten to send us home,” they wrote.

The said they cannot appeal to government authorities to safely intervene because"when we call our liaison officers for help, they do not respond to us or worse, they take our bosses' side and put a red mark next to our name so we are not hired back anywhere next season. 

“This fear is what stops us and our fellow migrant farm workers from speaking up for our rights as workers and humans."

The NFU said it supports the calls for justice outlined in the Jamaican open letter, including: implementing and enforcing national housing standards, the issuing of open work permits that are not tied to a single employer, a functioning and protective anonymous system to report abusive employer, an end to blacklisting, legal worker representation in contract negotiations and, most importantly, the granting of permanent resident status to all migrants on arrival, including seasonal farmworkers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Census lightening paper burden

 Statistics Canada is eliminating a number of questions it has been asking farmers and is turning to satellites to measure crops and even solar panels.

There will be no questions about seeding intentions when the next census is done in 2026.

The agency said “we are using administrative data and machine learning algorithms. This alternative method of producing reliable data on seeding intentions will result in one less survey for farmers to complete.”

StatsCan will continue to publish data on crops, livestock and adoption of new technology.

“By replacing time consuming surveys with administrative data, satellite technology and advanced modelling techniques, we are providing the same great data that farmers and Canadians rely on,” StatsCan said.

StatsCan has used satellite imagery, weather data and crop insurance data for its Field Crop Reporting Series for six years, the basis for its crop production estimates.

Its July and September field crop reports, no longer use farmer surveys to generate the estimates.

“Starting in 2018, we have been using experimental high-resolution satellite imagery and advanced modelling techniques to automatically identify solar panels, mainly on farms, to estimate total solar output,” StatsCan said.




Berry giants testing Ontario, Quebec production

Two of the North America’s berry giants are testing production in Ontario and Quebec where the climate has improved because of global warming.

Canada is also more favourable than California where droughts are forcing water rationing.

Driscoll’s and Naturipe Farms LLC, which is owned by farmers, are running trials in Ontario and Quebec to produce strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

At Masse Nursery southeast of Montreal, temporary workers from South America pick raspberries and blackberries to be sold under the Driscoll’s brand – one of a handful of sites in Quebec and Ontario being tested for larger production.

Rising transportation costs are another reason to locate closer to Canadian markets, the companies said.

“We have probably gone to most of the obvious places in the world. Now we are moving into more challenging territories,” said Soren Bjorn, president of Driscoll’s of the Americas, which sources most of its berries from Mexico and the United States.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Thieves take four pickups on Sunday


Four Dodge Ram pickup trucks were stolen in Fergus on Sunday.

Taken  were:

·      2022 Dodge Ram 1500 Grey Sport with license plate BN88315

·      2022 Dodge Ram 1500 Silver Big Horn with license plate BL82705

·      2022 Dodge Ram 1500 Silver Sport with license plate BB83541

·      2021 Dodge Ram 1500 Black Sport with license plate AN96683

Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police said the vehicles were all locked and the keys were all accounted for. 

The force is advising people who use a proximity key to take extra steps to protect their vehicle such as parking in a garage, storing the key in a protecive pouch or as far away from the exterior of your residence as possible. 

You can visit Crime Stoppers Guelph-Wellington Project Lockdown for more information on how to prevent vehicle thefts. 


Any person with further information regarding these incidents should contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip on-line at 

Water issues will be costly

A new study predicts that climate change impacts on water – droughts, storms and floods – could globally cost $5.6 trillion US by 2050.

The report by GHD Aquanomics predicts Canadian losses from droughts, floods and storms will be about $139 billion which is about a fifth of one per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Flooding alone is expected to cost the Canadian economy more than $40 billion. 

Storms are expected to cost more than $34 billion and droughts $14 billion.

Agriculture’s costs and losses are estimated at $4 billion.

Manufacturing and distribution sectors could suffer $64 billion in costs and losses, the consumer goods and retail sectors $26 billion, banking and insurance $21 billion, energy and utilities $14 billion.

The report said “we need to reorient our relationship with water. It’s time to move away from viewing it as a commodity to be controlled, instead recognising its intrinsic value; water is part of a natural cycle, the balance of which must be restored and maintained if we are to live sustainably and prosperously.

The study focuses on seven key countries across GHD’s footprint – Australia, Canada, China, the Philippines, the UAE, the UK and the US – and three US regions – Northeastern US, Southeastern US and Southwestern U.S.

Danone organic disaster

A year after Danone pulled the plug on 89 organic milk producers in Vermont and area, most remain far from recovered.

The United States Department of Agriculture gave $20 million, but so far Danone and its owner, Nestle, have not matched that. Nestle is one of the largest food companies in the world.

Ed Maltby, spokesman for the 89 farmers, said Organic Valley has taken on 65 at five per cent below market price, 15 have folded and four have signed on with Lactalis Group. At least one has gone back to conventional milk production.

Twenty-seven are members of Northeast Dairy Task Force lobbying on behalf of the farmers. Maltby is its executive director.

Maltby said oversupply in the region, combined with spiralling producer and infrastructure costs, has made the journey less than straightforward, with some farmers having to make costly upgrades to their farm infrastructure and others yet to find new buyers for their produce.

And it’s a very tight market, he said.

 “For the past four years, organic dairy farmers have been paid an average of $31 per hundredweight with production costs averaging $35-$37. This has led to cost-cutting and lack of investment in farm infrastructure,” he said.​

Danone-owned Horizon Organic is the largest supplier of organic dairy milk in North America.

Maltby said “the effect on the farms that had their contract cancelled was traumatic and devastating, not only to them but to the regional community.

“The decision was made purely on the logistics of transporting milk from farm to the processor that could package UHT milk. Danone, despite the pledges of supporting [the] environment and the local community, did not take into account the effect on the farms.

“The most recent economic downturn coupled with drought conditions have turned a crisis into a near emergency and Danone has the resources to live up to their commitment to invest in the region. It’s time they embody their social mission and do right by the Northeast rural communities they have impacted, giving these farmers a future.”​

Grain Farmers seek minor changes

Grain Farmers of Ontario is asking the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission to allow a couple of minor changes.

One is to scrap a requirement that the Grain Industry Advisory Committee meet at least once a year.

“Over the last 10 years, GFO, the Ontario Agri Business Association, millers, oilseed processors and the seed trade have developed direct communication channels and have addressed issues in a collaborative fashion,” the Commission said in agreeing to the change.

“The Commission still encourages use of GIAC when appropriate but feels industry knows when these meetings should be taking place rather than having the frequency of meetings being a requirement within the regulation, giving them the flexibility to meet when needed.” 

Legislation also specifies that the term of negotiated soybean agreements be stated in the agreement. 

“The Commission is proposing minor wording changes to clarify that the regulations are consistent with the negotiating agency's use of a provision to automatically extend the agreement,” says a website posting.

Feds offer $45.3 for African Swine Fever planning

 Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced up to $45.3 million will be spent to enhance efforts to prevent African swine fever and prepare for a potential outbreak.


This funding is intended to support critical priorities for preparedness, such as biosecurity assessments, coordination for wild boar management, retrofit of existing abattoirs, sector analysis and research projects. 

Program details are being developed and the program will be launched as soon as possible, she said.

The Canadian Food Inspection will also get an additional boost - up to $19.8 million to support work such as further enhancing laboratory capacity, establishing zoning arrangements with additional trading partners and contributing to international efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine.

"We must continue to work as a team - federal, provincial and territorial governments together with industry, to prevent African swine fever from entering the country," Bibeau said. "Strengthening the measures already in place is essential to protecting the hog sector and the vitality of rural communities."

Rick Bergman, chairman of the Canadian Pork Council, said "this announcement is significant and purposeful for Canadian pork producers. 

We welcome the government's investment towards keeping ASF out of our country and of our farms. We have seen the negative impact of ASF in other parts of the world which demonstrates the need for this collaboration between government and our sector."

Chris White, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Meat Council, said "ASF is one of the biggest threats to the Canadian hog sector. More than 70 per cent of our pork is exported, making Canada the third-largest pork exporting country in the world.

 "Prevention is key to avoid the entry of ASF, but preparedness will allow the pork industry to reduce the impact of the disease for a quicker recovery. This funding will provide industry and government with further resources to continue the development of the ASF Canadian action plan and be prepared for a potential outbreak."




Hog production profile has changed

The profile of the United States hog industry has changed remarkably in the last 20 years, a survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals.

The changes coincide with the shift to three-site production, one for farrowing, another a nursery and a third for finishing hogs to market weight.

The survey found that in 1992, only five per cent of hogs were produced under contract. Now it’s 69 per cent.

In North Carolina, where the three-site, large-scale revolution began, it’s now 91 per cent.

From 1992 to 2015, the average number of hogs sold per farm rose from 945 head to 8,721 head.

In 1992,  97 per cent of hog operations were independent but by 2015 it was down to 47 per cent.

By 2015, 60 per cent of hog farms were feeder-to-finish producing 83 per cent of all market hogs.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Dissing the farm carbon tax

Agricultural economist John Groenewegen wrote an excellent, detailed article in Ontario Farmer recently outlining why the federal carbon tax does damage to Ontario's corn crop.

Ontario farmers are the only ones in the world who pay the carbon tax of $170 a tonne for inputs involved in corn production - mainly diesel fuel and nitrogen fertilizers.

But they compete for markets with farmers who don't face that cost.

Groenewegan said the politicians would be wiser to offer farmers subsidies to adopt practices that reduce carbon emissions.

Others have also called for similar policies, such as a subsidy to plant cover crops.

Will the politicians in Ottawa listen? No! Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has never listened when farmers have pointed out competitive disadvantages. 

Remember former U.S. president Donald Trump's $46 billion in farm subsidies in 2020, much to compensate for damage he caused by triggering a tariff war with China, then more billions to compensate for COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.

What did Bibeau offer? Some relatively piddling amount of extra money for federal-provincial risk management programs which went nowhere when the Prairies provinces objected to paying their share.

Farm policies under the Justin Trudeau Liberal government have been a disaster. Another example: multi-millions wasted on trade-related subsidies for dairy farmers whose quota values - the result of government policy - are more than $1 million per farm.

Help for corn farmers so they can contribute to reducing carbon emissions? Not with Bibeau-Trudeau.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

MichaelL Kraljevic named chair of land tribunal

Michael Kraljavic of Toronto has been appointed to a one-year term as chairman of the Ontario Land Tribunal which replaced the Ontario Municipal Board in 2017.

Its highest profile is adjudicating appeals land developers file when municipalities reject their proposals, such as encroaching on prime farm land.

The Ford Conservative government has a track record of favouring development. That has brought criticism from the public and the agriculture community, most notably proposals for Highway 413 north of Toronto that would cross farmland and attract developers to propose urban development along the route.

Kraljavic is a real estate development professional and has been chairman of the Toronto Portlands Company which is a political appointment.

Study proposes meat tax

The University of Chicago press has printed an article calling for a tax of 20 to 60 per cent on meats to improve the environment and counter climate warming.

The article says direct regulation at the farm level is the best approach, but a meat tax ranks second and is more likely to be adopted by politicians.

The writers assessed the public, behavioral and welfare economics that motivate regulatory efforts to tax meat in their study, including:

• the interaction of multiple environmental externalities

• alternative protein technologies

• the adverse effects of meat consumption on one’s own health (health internality)

• animal welfare

• distributional effects

According to the article, the main environmental externalities from livestock farming are climate change, nutrient and air pollution and biodiversity loss.

These environmental externalities equate to the following total costs suggested to be added to the current retail price of each meat:

• $2.61 to $4.16 per pound for beef (depending on the amount of culled dairy cows' meat)

• $1.68 per pound for lamb and mutton

• 88 cents per pound for pork

• 68 cents per pound for poultry

These added costs would increase the cost of meat by 20 to 60 percent, depending on the type.

Best Before dating drives food puchasing

Best before dating on foods drives consumer choices, says a new study from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University and Angus Reid Institute which conducted a survey.

Twenty-seven per cent said they would support scrapping the dating requirement, but 32 per cent said they strongly support keeping the labeling. Another 30 per cent said they want the labeling kept.

Consumers are influenced by date labelling, the report says, noting that 25 per cent of the population relies on "best before" dates as an indicator of food safety.

But that may be contributing to food waste which is greater in Canada than most countries.

Martin Gooch of the Value Chain Management Institute said stamped products with the date it was manufactured or packaged could be an effective solution to food waste.

"That enables manufacturers, retailers, businesses along the chain to manage inventory, float product through — first in, first out — using products that need to be used, selling products that need to be sold."

But that doesn't drive consumer behaviour, he said. In fact, some parts of the food industry, and other industries which use similar date labelling, consciously profit from "best before" dates, he said.

"One of the things we need to do is better communicate what 'best before' dates mean,” Gooch said.

Best Before dating results in bargains for shoppers who watch for specials, such as Loblaws’ "enjoy-tonight" labeling on products nearing Best Before expiry.

African Swine flu vaccine proves deadly

Vietnam has temporarily suspended the use of its first home-grown African swine fever vaccine after dozens of pigs inoculated with the shots died this month, state media reported on Wednesday.

The pigs were among around 600 that were vaccinated with the NAVET-ASFVAC vaccine developed by Navetco, a company owned by the agriculture ministry, reported Nhan Dan newspaper.

"We have set up a working group to travel to the province to investigate the deaths of the pigs," said an agriculture ministry official, who declined to be named as he's not authorized to speak to media.

Migrant worker program draws fire

The migrant worker program is drawing new fire from critics, including a report on CBC Radio.

The death of Garvin Yapp, 57, of Jamaica, who was injured Aug. 14 while operating farm equipment at the VanBerlo farm in Norfolk County, has been a spark for renewed criticisms.

He worked on the VanBerlo farm for 35 seasons and hosted the family to a vacation at his home in Jamaica.

Jamaican migrant farm workers in Niagara Region wrote an open letter to Jamaica's Ministry of Labour requesting more support in the face of what they call "systematic slavery," days before Yapp died.

Jamaican Labour Minister Karl Samuda said he will be visiting and touring farms in Canada employing Jamaican workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

The VanBerlo lawyer issued a statement expressing condolences for their friend’s family and said they have cooperated fully with an investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

But on the CBC, Syed Hussan , executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, said federal immigration policy is the root cause of the crisis with migrant workers.

He said the federal agriculture department is wasting millions of dollars in setting up a new bureaucracy for temporary foreign workers. Rather than starting a new program, he said the federal government ought to put its efforts towards improving existing programs.

He also criticized the new offer to create a pathway to Canadian citizenship. Only about 300 have filed applications over the two years since it was announced because it costs thousands of dollars and the process is daunting, he said.

The alliance wants imported workers to be offered permanent residence status, the first step towards Canadian citizenship.

"As it currently stands, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) is systematic slavery," the Jamaican workers wrote in their open letter.

The letter the Jamaican workers wrote was sent to the Jamaican Observer, where excerpts of it were published on Monday. The workers said they sent the letter to Samuda on Aug. 11.

"Jamaicans have been coming for generations, our fellow Caribbean and Mexican coworkers have too, and there have been no significant changes since the program started," the workers said.

Workers wrote they were scared of sharing their grievances with Samuda directly for fear of being kicked out of the SAWP. They also said that workers from Mexico and the Philippines share the same grievances.

Workers described housing conditions as so poor that rats eat their food. They live in crowded rooms with zero privacy with cameras, and lack dryers to dry their clothes after it rains, they wrote.

"It feels like we are in prison," the letter reads.

On working conditions, workers wrote they're "treated like mules" and punished for not being quick enough. They said they're exposed to dangerous pesticides without adequate protection, and their bosses are verbally abusive.

"They physically intimidate us, destroy our personal property, and threaten to send us home," the letter reads.

It looks like just another case of the Trudeau government making grandiose promises with little or no followup.




Drought gripping Europe

The worst drought in 500 years is destroying crops in much of Europe, according to a report from the European Commission.

The August report from the Global Drought Observatory said 47 per cent of the continent is experiencing "warning" conditions, meaning the soil has dried up, while 17 per cent is in "alert" status, with vegetation showing signs of stress. 

The severe drought has affected many regions of Europe since the beginning of the year and was expanding and worsening as of early August, the report said.

Water and heat stress have "substantially" reduced summer crop yields, with the most affected crops being grain corn, soybeans and sunflowers, the report said.

Whole Foods sued over no antibiotics claim

Farm Forward and three consumers have filed a class-action lawsuit in California against Whole Foods’ advertising that its beef is produced with “No antibiotics, EVER!”

They say tests found antibiotic and other pharmaceutical residues in Whole Foods’ beef.

Farm Forward says its mission is to end factory farming.

"The presence of this residue demonstrates the cattle were treated with antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals while being raised," the complaint said.

The suit contends that consumers overpaid for beef products due to the misleading promotion, including paying a 28 per cent markup over traditional retailers for beef tenderloin steak filet mignon. 

The plaintiffs seek monetary damages and an injunction to stop Whole Foods from using the "misleading" claim to sell beef.

Whole Foods has used the no-antibiotics advertising claim for a decade.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Ultra-violet light shows promise for food safety

Trials at Pennsylvania State University indicate that pulsed broad-spectrum light can greatly reduce food-poisoning bacteria that plague the food industry, hospitals, water treatment plants and pharmaceutical production facilities.

The ultra-violet spectrum is particularly effective, the results show.

The approach also destroys bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials. It's a system that differs from traditional ultra-violet treatments.

“Any improvements to prevent illness or save lives would be the best outcome of this research,” said Ali Demirci, professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Penn State and member of the research team.

“We want to reduce the number of foodborne disease fatalities to zero,” he said.

Over the past two decades, the lab has applied the technique to a range of foods, including fruits, seeds, grains, cheese, milk, apple juice and multiple poultry products. The team even simulated production conditions to test the technology on eggs, using a conveyor devised to test the process in an industrial setting, with the xenon flashlamps designed to operate at commercial scale.

The team said they hope this technology will be adopted by the food industry sooner rather than later due to its strong potential to help make food safer to consume.

Since the 1960s, the food industry has used low intensity ultra-violet (UV) light as an antimicrobial treatment, said Ed Mills, associate professor of meat science.

Meat producers used low levels of UV light in meat-aging facilities, but the technique could only be used at low intensity over a long period of time.

“This is a completely different system,” Mills said. “We are using pulsed light instead of continuous light, which takes advantage of the stored energy in a pulse, so we can deliver more power in less time.”

The team’s technique is designed to be deployed on a food conveyor, where light pulses would be applied to the product as it passes by. 

The treatment delivers a higher intensity of light, because it is pulsed, which results in a greater microbial reduction in a shorter period of time than conventional UV light treatment, Mills said.

Swine flu surprisingly high this summer

Swine influenza cases are surprisingly plentiful this summer, prompting the Swine Health Information Center in Saskatoon to advise farmers to keep a close watch heading into the fall and winter seasons when swine flu is traditionally greater.

The center only recently began tracking swine influenza cases reported by veterinarians said the Swine Center’s executive director Paul Sundberg.

The number of cases did decline in July from June.

The center has an advisory group that tracks data about Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS), Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) and influenza leading to an analysis and a perspective that’s reported in the center’s monthly newsletter.

Wheat quality looking great

Results from 350 wheat samples collected from grain elevators across Ontario indicate this year’s crop has much better than average quality.

More than 99 per cent of the samples graded No. 2 or better, test weights were strong, moisture levels good and protein and falling numbers for both soft red winter and soft winter wheat were good, according to Dana Dickerson, manager of market development for Grain Farmers of Ontario.

These results plus flour-milling trials at the University of Guelph will be used to promote the Ontario crop to export customers.

The crop was smaller than average because wet weather at fall planting time reduced acreage.

Sophie Krolikowski, cereals specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said there were few insect challenges this year.

Yields in southwestern Ontario were near to below average.

In the northern and eastern parts of the province, yields of 90 to 100 bushels an acre were common on good soils and in the 70s on light soils.

Some bulls burp more methane than others

Research in New Zealand reveals that some dairy bulls emit 15 to 20 per cent less methane.

The study involved 281 young bulls fed the same ration.

Richard Spieman, lead scientist for LIC semen company, said the results show promise, but more research is needed to determine whether genetic progress towards less methane can be achieved.

New Zealand dairy farmers are interested because the government offers financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Guelph prof critiques nitrogen plan

Manish Razaida of the University of Guelph said the federal government is rushing a plan to reduce nitrogen use without having a plan that would include financial incentives for farmers to adopt practices such as cover crops.

“I’m afraid when you rush things, without a serious plan in place… and proper funding in place, it’s going to cause some harm. That’s my fear,”  Raizada told the Western Producer magazine.

“I don’t want all of this to be on the back of farmers, (where) they have to suddenly make changes,” he said.

The government wants a 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen emissions by 2030 – from 12.75 million tonnes in 2019 to nine million.

The goal is a target,  not mandatory. .

Raizada agreed that nitrous oxide emissions are a serious issue., but said farmers need time and money.

“Nitrous oxide emissions are very damaging for the atmosphere. Even the ozone layer. We have to reduce it, as quickly as possible,” he said. “But I’m not convinced this government is serious about this.”

The 30 percent cut might be possible in 10 to 15 years, but only with a thoughtful plan and a “historic” investment of cash on the table, Raizada said.

“Serious, direct money…. Pay for it.”

For instance, if the government wants farmers to grow cover crops, the feds should pay farmers a specific rate per acre, he said.