Monthly Archives: September 2014

Terrain-Following Ability an Advantage with Case 500 Drill

The ability to follow the contours of a field sets the Case 500 drill apart from its competitors, but while it cuts the soil well, this unit could do a better job closing the soil.

That’s according to Phil Needham of Needham Ag Technologies, who assesses the pros and cons of the Case 500T drill as part of the video below (click here to view an earlier video where Needham discusses down pressure and lack of a firming wheel on this same drill.)

“The biggest advantage to the Case 500 is the amount of terrain-following ability as a result of the parallel linkage,” he explains.

The Case drill features an 18 inch disc blade set at at a 7 degree angle to create a seed slot wide enough to place seed into.

Related: How Does Disc Wheel Diameter Impact Seeding?

When compared with John Deere’s closest model, Needham says they’ve found the Case 500 does a better job cutting the soil.

“We found the Case definitely cuts better. It hairpins less because of the vertical orientation of the blade. It cuts better in harder soils and heavy residue,” he says. “But with the benefit of better cutting, it tends to disturb more soil.”

Needham says there’s also room for improvement in the Case 500?s ability to close the seed slot.

“We saw that even though the seeder was making a clearly defined seed slot and placing seeds fairly well, the closing wheel tended to be dropping loose soil in,” he says, noting seed slot closure will depend on soil moisture conditions.

“In a nutshell, it’s a good seeder, with good cutting and a lot of terrain-following ability, but it needs a seed firmer and in certain conditions, a better closing system,” says Needham.

If you can’t view the video player, click here.

Or listen to Needham’s take on the Case 500:

The post Terrain-Following Ability an Advantage with Case 500 Drill appeared first on Real Agriculture.

Tax Credit Aimed at Farmers Who Donate Food Rolls Out in Ontario

Originally announced last fall as part of the Local Food Act, Ontario’s agriculture minister Jeff Leal was on location today to formally roll out a tax credit for farmers who donate food to food banks.

The “Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers” gives farmers a tax credit valued at 25% of the fair market value of the agricultural products they donate to community food programs, including food banks and student nutrition programs, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The ministry says this is the first of its kind tax credit in Canada.

Farmers can claim donations dating back to January 1, 2014.

Eligible products include: fruits and vegetables, dairy and eggs, grains and meat, nuts, mushrooms and more.


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Corn School: The “Push Test” — Will Corn Stay Standing Until Harvest?

With corn harvest around the corner, the “push test” can help growers assess plant health and whether lodging will be a problem.

As part of this episode of the Corn School, Dieter Schwartz, market develop agronomist for Western Canada with Pride Seeds, discusses the importance of plant health right through the dry-down process.

Stalk integrity is critical to getting the maximum number of bushels through the combine and into the bin, as Schwartz demonstrates the “push test” — checking whether a corn plant returns to an upright position after bending it to a 45 degree angle.

“It helps us determine how the crop will stand at harvest,” he explains. “The grower might have to be on his toes to get in at the right time to harvest the crop because of concerns about standability.”

As he explains, poor stalk strength can be attributed to a number of factors, but corn borer is a likely cause.

Related: Scouting Tips for Corn Borer (Yes, Even in Resistant Varieties)

Schwarz also discusses how early frost and disease (including Goss’s Wilt) are contributing to earlier maturity. Watch for a follow-up video in the next few days delving further into the impact of early frost and Goss’s.

Click here if you can’t see the video.



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An Easier Way to Calculate the Cost of Replacement Heifers

It’s fall again. That means three things: preg-checking, weaning and deciding on replacement heifers.

Deciding on replacement heifer numbers should be a process that’s repeated yearly. The overarching goal of an operation should have a bearing on your decision (that is, are you hoping for herd expansion in the long run? Or are you maintaining, or even decreasing herd size?).

In order to help with determining the costs of keeping replacements, Kathy Larson, beef economist with the Western Beef Development Centre, has created a Replacement Heifer Calculator. Inspired by farmers looking for something a little simpler, the calculator enables you to input numbers without having to go through the whole cost of production analysis.Screen Shot of the Replacement Heifer Calculator, available online.

The calculator is available through the WBDC website (there’s a link on the right side of the page, which automatically downloads the calculator as an Excel document) or you can  download it here.

While on the topic of replacements, the WBDC recently published a fact sheet looking at the impact of development systems on overwintering heifers. Can you have the same success through extensive grazing systems, as your intensive grazing counterparts?

To gain insight on the calculator and the study, I spoke to Kathy Larson. That interview, included above, can also be found here.

The post An Easier Way to Calculate the Cost of Replacement Heifers appeared first on Real Agriculture.

Never has agriculture mattered more to Canada and to the world, and never has it…

Never has agriculture mattered more to Canada and to the world, and never has it been more important to speak up for agriculture. Sign up as an agvocate today:

An agvocate is an individual or group that actively promotes agriculture in respectful and meaningful ways. Adding your name to our agvocate list is a great way to get started and join a community of like-minded people. You’ll receive an email from us every month, with agvocate tips to help you spe…

Canada-EU Trade Agreement Text Finalized, Made Public

Today, at the Canada-EU Summit in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, signed a formal declaration marking the end of negotiations for the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The final text of the deal — more than 1,600 pages long — was also made public for the first time on Friday. Its completion means it can now be sent to the governments involved for approval.

CETA’s implementation will see almost 94% of EU agricultural tariff lines duty free, and includes provisions to address non-tariff barriers into the EU, including animal and plant health and food safety. For Canada’s beef sector, the changes mean new duty-free access valued at nearly $600M annually.

“The CCA would like to see the same unanimous endorsement from all the provinces and territories that the agreement-in-principle received last fall,” CCA president David Solverson said in a press release. “The CCA urges the Federal and Provincial governments to move quickly to implement the agreement as soon as possible.”

To Canada’s canola industry, the agreement has potential in the elimination of oil tariffs and provisions to reduce biotechnology-related non-tariff barriers, but the Canola Council of Canada isn’t holding its breath.

 “We appreciate the Government of Canada’s sustained commitment to securing this agreement,” said CCC President Patti Miller in a release. “However, we are cautious because the value of the agreement to Canada’s canola sector will depend on the EU living up to its commitment to ensure timely approvals of biotechnology products.”

The agreement, released in both of Canada’s official languages, is the result of years of collaboration, beginning in June of 2007 at the EU-Canada Summit in Berlin, when leaders agreed to examine the costs and benefits of a closer economic partnership. Between 2011 and 2013, Canada’s agricultural exports to the EU averaged $2.5B annually, led by wheat, soybeans and other oilseeds and canola oil.

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The Markets This Week — Harvest Ruts, Hedge Funds and Higher Yields

Grain prices are in that seasonal rut thanks to #harvest14 selling pressure and favourable planting conditions as South America starts its seeding season.

On the speculation side, hedge funds are starting to increase their optimism that grain and oilseed prices will begin to rise. That being said, in the last four decades, an ounce of gold has never been worth so much corn! As such, it’s suggested when this sort of relative value drops to historical levels, a correction is due. Further, another significant correlation is that the feeder cattle-to-corn ratio is at a record high (should we all get back into owning livestock?) Despite the USDA already forecasting record global consumption levels of 970.7 million tonnes, there’s obvious hope out there that corn worth $3.30 per bushel will spur even more demand. End all, be all? I wouldn’t expect corn to go down much further, but given record supplies available, it’s hard to see a significant correction, at least in the six-to-nine month term.

The market consensus seems to be that wheat will be the first market to bottom, followed by soybeans and then finally corn. Pulse prices have improved dramatically, especially if you have a higher quality available. Premium spreads aren’t just widening in the pulses though – it’s the same dynamic in the cereals market as we get a better understanding of exactly what is coming off the field.

For example, in North Dakota, 15 per cent protein wheat is earning three dollars per bushel more than 13 per cent protein wheat. That being said, with feed supplies clearly becoming plentiful as more damaged/sub-par cereals come off, if you’re looking to make some bin space, it may be worthwhile to sell some of that lower protein stuff that you’re taking off right now (there are plenty of pricing opportunities on the Marketplace – give us a call). In the oilseed market, canola prices have declined with the soybean drop but you might see some basis levels improve towards the end of 2014 but that will likely depend on rail service (and the temperatures, according to the railroads) again.

Interestingly, CN Railroad is crying foul over the penalties that the Canadian government is imposing if the railways don’t move the required 536,250 metric tonnes of grain (or 5,000 railcars) each week (which CN failed to do a few weeks ago). CN could be fined up to $100,000 CDN for not meeting the mandate but say that it’s not their fault as harvest has been delayed, and there’s simply not that much grain for them to move. There may be an argument for decreasing the volumes below 500,000, but you also have to remember that the revenues that major North American railroad earned hauling crude oil went from $25.8 Million in 2008 to $2.15 billion in 2013. Given the chance, it’s clear rail companies would move more oil than grain (shareholders > customers), which is why the government will have to continue to play a role in making sure the grain gets moved, whether here in Western Canada or across the border in northern U.S. states’ Baaken-stronghold!

UkrAgroConsult is reporting that Ukrainian producers will harvest 57.4 million tonnes of grain this year, 4.3 per cent below the Ukraine Ag Ministry’s official forecast of 60 million tonnes (which was actually just reduced by three million tonnes). The revision lower is mostly due to lower production in eastern Europe where fighting between pro-Russian separatists & Ukrainian government troops have decimated fields (another reason to be thankful you farm in North America?). Specifically, the corn crop was downgraded by 1.1 million tonnes to 25.9 million tonnes as 25 per cent of acres in the Donetsk region and 30 per cent of acres in the Luhansk region are unsuitable for harvesting (remember, this is the breadbasket of Europe we’re talking about!) Further, corn yields are, on average, 13 per cent lower than last year. Thus, it doesn’t look like a country that was the #3 exporter of corn in 2013/14 is going to fare as well in 2014/15.

Finally, the buzz is building for higher US soybean yields as the first few fields to come off in the Midwest are looking real good. While even 50 bu/ac national average is being thrown around, it’s that time of year where it’s a lot “I heard this” and “I heard that” so there’s quite a bit of noise. Reality is that the soybean market (and the canola market somewhat too) will swing back & forth a bit until Oct. 10th’s W.A.S.D.E. report when we’ll see some real numbers. The same theory is applicable here in Canada as quality and quantity varies region to region. Ultimately, while the buzz continues to build about a bottom being found, the reality is that it’s going to be sticky bottom as things are likely to trade sideways for a while versus actually making a significant bounce higher (at least in the major crops).

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Can you sing, dance, juggle, or tell jokes? Do you or your pet have a talent tha…

Can you sing, dance, juggle, or tell jokes? Do you or your pet have a talent that you’d like to showcase to the public? Submit a video of your talent to to win stage time on the Pump Roadhouse Stage at Agribition, November 24-26, 2014. Deadline to submit video is Oct 31.

Crazy FROG Dance on Talent show. Must SEE.mp4(14)

A great article explaining why farming is the business of the environment:

A great article explaining why farming is the business of the environment:

Farming is the Business of the Environment, and Here’s Why
Farmers generally consider themselves to be stewards of the earth. Many farm practices are aimed at protecting the environment while at the same time allowing the farm to be profitable.

Canada’s Largest Greenhouse Research Facility to be Built at Vineland

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, near Niagara, Ontario, will soon feature the largest greenhouse facility of its kind in Canada, thanks to a $10 million investment by the provincial government.

Vineland is well known for its work in fruit and vegetable research and development, and recently commercialized Pixie grapes, a one-of-kind, ornamental dwarf grapevine, and the sundown pear, an attractive, late-season, fresh-market pear with good storage capability.

The newly-announced 3,700-square-metre facility will focus on developing innovative technologies that will help get more food to market faster. Areas of research include:

  • Research to create crops that are more resilient to Ontario conditions and more profitable to grow;
  • Enhanced horticultural production systems, including natural and automated pest-management systems for greenhouse operations;
  • Consumer insights to support new products, including different varieties of vegetables, apples and wine.

“The Ontario government is proud to support the new greenhouse facility at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Investments in research and innovation are critical to growing our horticultural sector and will create jobs in the agri-food industry across Ontario,” says Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.


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