Monthly Archives: January 2014

Would you like to become the 250th #AgMoreThanEver partner? Get involved with th…

Would you like to become the 250th #AgMoreThanEver partner? Get involved with the cause and commit to speaking up and speaking positively. We welcome farms, associations, businesses, media, trade shows and more. It’s easy and there’s no cost. Email us at or visit

Agriculture More Than Ever » Partners
Creating a positive perception of Canadian agriculture is a big job that can’t be done by a few people. Ag More Than Ever is an industry-driven cause that needs all of us to work together – from corporations and associations to farms and individuals. Our partners come from many different backgrounds…

FarmTech Wrap Up: Relentless Optimism, Choose Your Own Adventure Sessions & the Rick’s Surprising Use of Technology

In case you missed it, RealAgriculture’s content creation team was at FarmTech 2014 this week. (If the site has seemed a little quiet of late, that’s why. All the fun was happening on Twitter, so you should join us there.)

Click here to see all of our FarmTech ’14 coverage!

As is our custom, we sat down at the tail end of the conference to go over a few of the highlights and our favourite aspects of the conference. Joined by show organizer and possible secret agent Rick Taillieu, Shaun Haney, Debra Murphy and Lyndsey Smith stole the keynote speaker’s spotlight to recap the show, share their thoughts on Cmdr. Chris Hadfield’s banquet talk about his “little trip” to space plus we learn a very surprising thing about how Rick and Shaun communicate. (Hint: It’s not through Rick’s super spy-like ear piece).

Check out some of our images from FarmTech at our Facebook page.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

Harrington Seed Destructor Canada-Bound for 2014

We have ways to kill weeds mechanically, but that typically means tillage, which has its own consequences. But what about a way to destroy weeds mechanically, long before the seeds even hit the ground? The Harrington Seed Destructor does exactly that.

“The Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD) is based on a mill that processes the chaff material during harvest,” explains Michael Walsh, associate professor at the University of Western Australia. “In processing that chaff material, it destroys those weed seeds before spreading that material back onto the field.”

The initial HSD prototype was developed by Australian farmer, Ray Harrington, who was driven by the increasing reliance on herbicides. Harrington has since worked in conjunction with the Grains Research and Development Corporation to improve the model, which included the development of its own engine, hydraulics, wireless sensor capabilities and a sleeker design.

Click here for all our coverage of FarmTech 2014

Requiring an incredible 200 horsepower, the HSD allows for effective removal of weed seeds from trash. In Walsh’s 2014 Farmtech presentation, he reported a 95% decrease in annual ryegrass, 92% in wild radish and 99% destruction of wild oat seeds in one study. The HSD means growers can return organic matter to the soil without feeling the need to resort to controlled burns.

Canada will be receiving its first HSD as early as April of this year. It will be used for research done by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

In this video, Walsh talks about the changes in the HSD, some of its features and benefits, how it’s being used in Australia now, and the cost required to purchase and run the machine.

If you cannot view the embedded video, click here.

What Might 2014 Have in Store for Cattle Producers ?

With an expected Stats Can report maintain the status quo in the cow herd numbers next month, the current state of tight cattle inventory isn’t going away any time soon. Low cattle stocks, a sinking loonie and cheaper feed all spell opportunity for Canada’s beef industry, but it’s not all green grass and juicy steaks.

RealAgriculture sat down with Anne Wasko, of Getway Livestock, after her presentation at the recent Tiffin conference at Lethbridge, Alta. In this interview, Wasko discusses the very real and exciting notion of profitability for most of the cattle and beef industry through 2014, but not without tempering at least some of that optimism with a run down of the challenges we’re facing now and in the foreseeable future.

Catch up on the Beef Market Update here

From record prices, to ratifying CETA, to battling mCOOL, Wasko walks us through the challenges and opportunities  ahead for the year, and relates it back to her Tiffin counterpart Jim Wiesemeyer’s presentation on the U.S. economic recovery as well.



Soybean School: Go Big or Go Home — Does Intesifying Inputs Pay?

If you’re decided on rates and types of inputs, which do you skip or scale back on if margins become tight? Fungicide? Seed? Fertilizer? Should you cut back at all? The concept of intensively managing corn is widely accepted and researched, but not so with soybeans, so Dr. Dave Hooker and colleagues set out to look at the various ROI of different inputs to see if management intensive soybean production is the way to go.

In this Soybean School, Dr. Dave Hooker, with University of Guelph Ridgetown, discusses what an chunk of “intensification” money will net you in yield and, if you’re not impressed by that number (you won’t be) where to go from there.

Learn More: See more soybean production information with Dr. Dave Hooker here

As he says in the video below, there most certainly are management factors that pay off in bushels, but there are varying responses depending on where you spend your money. Hooker explains how plant population variation and fungicide response dovetails into a decent return on investment, but where nitrogen applications fall completely flat (which is likely not a surprise).

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here.

Tech Tour: Strategies to Reduce Downtime in Spray Operations

If there’s one thing farmers are focused on during the spray season, it’s efficiency. A spray operation must accomplish its goal of getting the right product on, but time is of the utmost importance, especially during the hectic early season or when, say, conditions for disease progression are ideal.

Learn more: What’s an inversion? Tom Wolf explains that here.

In this episode of the Dow AgroSciences’ TechTour, Shaun Haney is joined by special guests Len Juras, research scientist with Dow, and Tom Wolf, spray application specialist with Agrimetrics. The topic for this episode? Reducing downtime during the ideal spray window, including how to judge if the weather is actually cooperating (it’s more difficult than it seems), ideas for new technologies going forward, plus a brief discussion on a new product in the works that seeks to help broaden the effective application window.

Click here to enter to win the TechTour contest!

If you cannot see the embedded player, click here.

The first day of Pacific Agriculture Show was a success! Thanks to everyone who…

The first day of Pacific Agriculture Show was a success! Thanks to everyone who stopped by. If we snapped your photo, find and tag yourself. Enjoy!

Pacific Agriculture Show – Day 1
The first day of @[242852599223084:274:Pacific Agriculture Show] was a success! Thanks to everyone who stopped by. If we snapped your photo, find and tag yourself. Enjoy!

PEDv crisis underlines need for rural vets

When new farm animal diseases rear their heads, one of the first questions asked is how they were discovered.  Overwhelmingly, the sleuth turns out to be a rural veterinarian, summoned by the farm’s concerned owner or operator.

Although our society is becoming much more urbanized, rural veterinarians play a critical role. In Ontario, the Ontario Veterinary College and its supporters train and educate large animal veterinarians, and encourage students to consider rural practice. Young people need this encouragement and the farm sector must get behind them.

In Ontario, rural veterinary practices have been on high alert over the past two weeks, following the discovery of the first cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) in Middlesex County, then later in Chatham-Kent and Norfolk.

Fortunately, PED doesn’t affect humans. It is not what’s called a zoonotic disease, the kind that can be passed from animals to humans.

Still, diseases such as this send alarm bells ringing.

In this province, veterinarians are legally bound to report findings that represent a serious risk to animal health to the provincial authorities, according to the 2009 Ontario Animal Health Act.

PED certainly qualifies. The virus, which is unusually contagious and infectious, started in the US and has killed more than one million pigs there. It’s particularly lethal to piglets 2-5 days old. In just a matter of days, it can wipe out all of a barn’s young animals. Amy Cronin, chair of Ontario Pork, says the industry could face $45 million in losses this year if PED gets out of hand.

Once a veterinarian spots trouble and notifies the province, officials are dispatched to take samples of the affected animals, for analysis at the provincial animal health lab in Guelph.

The lab is administered by the University of Guelph, through a unique agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs. This coordinated effort offers up an unparalleled breadth of expertise in research, analysis and education, getting to the heart of the matter swiftly and professionally.

Rural veterinarians work with others in the system to help accurately define the problem. About one-third of Ontario’s veterinarians work in mixed or large animal practices.  More than 400 are employed by industry and government.

Veterinarians need top-notch training to help make swift and effective diagnoses. In livestock barns or any type of confined housing where animals are in close quarters, epidemic-type situations can take hold rapidly. Veterinarians, working in conjunction with farmers, can spot problems.

One way the Ontario Veterinary College helps budding veterinarians recognize trouble on the farm is through field placements. For example, the college’s Bovine Education Trust offers veterinary students real-life skills and experience through clinical practice placements and extra-curricular activities, such as attending conferences and specialized training programs.

The trust received a shot in the arm in December with a $450,000 gift from the estate of Ontario dairy farmer Bruce Reynolds, who wanted to encourage young veterinarians to take up rural practice.

More than an aside to this PED situation is the fact that 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming. The year is hardly 30 days old, and yet already family farms in Ontario are being hit between the eyes. Make no mistake about it – this is a local farm, local food matter. They could well be in for a rough ride.

Rural veterinarians are among the many individuals in the support chain that keep family farms going, through good times and bad. In the pork production business, which is overwhelmingly a family-run sector, these are very challenging days.