“By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Beekeepers, especially their livestock – bees, have been gaining national attention in the news lately, particularly in Ontario, stirring up a debate on whether or not neonicotinoids (neonic for short), should be blamed for reported bee deaths.
Thus it has become more important than ever to launch a discussion about bee health in Canada and engage in an exercise of listening and learning from industry stakeholders, including beekeepers (commercial and hobbyists), cash crop farmers, and representatives from the biotech industry. And for one commercial beekeeper, the time to talk about his beekeeping business is now.
Lee Townsend, a commercial beekeeper from Stony Plain, Alberta, says it is ‘important for beekeepers to become more vocal in Canadian agriculture,’ and that’s why he’s decided to participate in the weekly Twitter rotation of @FarmersOfCanada. The account provides a glimpse into a-day-in-the-life of a farmer in Canada. In the past, the account has been hosted by all types of farmers representing several sectors, including dairy, beef, poultry and cash crops, just to name a few.
When asked about what value he saw in volunteering to participate in the rotation curation, he says ‘beekeeping is a bit of an unknown in Canadian agriculture, so anytime we are given a platform to educate and initiate dialogue with other farmers and consumers is great.’ Townsend explains that hosting the account allows for two-way communication between farmers (in this case him as a beekeeper) and those who know little about bees but, are interested in learning more.”
“Releasing genetically engineered fruit flies into the wild could prove to be a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly way of pest control according to scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Oxitec Ltd.
The Mediterranean fruit fly is a serious agricultural pest which causes extensive damage to crops. It is currently controlled by a combination of insecticides, baited traps, biological control and releasing sterilised insects to produce non-viable matings, known as the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).
Researchers simulated a wild environment within greenhouses in Crete and studied the impact of releasing Oxitec flies.
Lead researcher Dr Philip Leftwich, from UEA’s school of Biological Sciences and Oxitec, said: ‘The Mediterranean Fruit Fly infests more than 300 types of cultivated and wild fruits, vegetables and nuts. It is a real pest to agriculture and causes extreme damage to crops all around the world.'”
“Sales of packaged, processed foods are declining: Three reasons why
Everybody agrees that the packaged food industry isn’t selling as much as it used to. Here are three explanations for this trend.”
- The packaging
- More sophisticated consumers
- Not enough corporate social responsibility
“MAFRD has released a map that shows positive clubroot (CR) findings by Rural Municipalities (RM) discovered through soil and/or plant tissue analysis for presence of CR DNA or symptomatic plants from sampling done between 2009-2013. It is available here.
In Manitoba, CR positive fields are defined as where DNA of the CR pathogen, Plasmodiophora brassicae, has been confirmed in soil or fields where canola plants with clubroot symptoms have been found.
Testing to date has been limited as less than 2% of the farms in Manitoba have been sampled; positive findings have been sporadic and at low concentrations throughout the province. As more fields are sampled, the map will be updated.
Cleaning of both agricultural and non-agricultural equipment is recommended, removing visible soil and plant debris off equipment using shovel, scraper, and/or compressed air. Once an RM is determined to be positive, then cleaning of equipment as previously recommended is necessary and should be followed by a water wash and a disinfectant (eg. 2% bleach).”
“Strategie Grains hiked its estimate for the European Union wheat harvest to within a whisper of a record high, but warned that rain damage meant that supplies fit for milling would fall by some 11m tonnes.
The influential analysis group hiked by 3.6m tonnes to 144.1m tonnes its forecast for the bloc’s soft wheat harvest, saying that yields are proving ‘exceptional in many EU countries this year’.
Adding in 7.2m tonnes of durum, used in making durum, the EU’s total wheat crop will hit 151.3m tonnes, up nearly 8m tonnes year on year.
On US Department of Agriculture estimates, the bloc’s record crop was reaped six years ago at 151.9m tonnes, factoring in Croatia, which actually only joined the EU last year.
However, Strategie Grains cautioned of a drop in milling wheat output despite the large harvest, thanks to the rains which, on ripe crops, encourage sprouting and reduce milling specifications.
‘Due to the heavy rainfall that disrupted the harvests, grain quality has suffered in some countries and especially in France where major problems are reported,’ the Paris-based group said.
The setbacks – reflected mainly in Hagberg falling numbers, a measure of sprouting and an important milling specification ï¿½ ‘have significantly reduced the percentage of milling wheat produced’.
Some commentators believe that only about one-third of the French crop, the EU’s biggests, boasts a Hagberg number of the 225 seconds required by many importers.”
“K+S, unveiling forecast-beating results, flagged continued stabilisation in potash markets, helped by ‘high’ demand – albeit at prices well below those in the first half of 2013.
The German potash group said that prices of the nutrient, which tumbled after the break-up of the Belarusian Potash Company cartel a year ago, had ‘continued to stabilise’ in the April-to-June quarter.
‘Especially in the regions of Europe and South America, which are important for K+S, demand remained high,’ K+S said.
And with potash supplies ‘limited to some extent… some competitors announced further price increases’.
Canadian giant PotashCorp last month said that it is attempting some increase in Brazilian prices as the country’s busy main-crop sowings period looms, and noted some success in lifting values by $10 a tonne to $360 a tonne.”
Fertilizer is no longer a ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ enterprise.
“One of the intriguing factors in the wheat markets since the end of June has not been so much the drop in prices, which is relatively easily explained, but the performance of the different wheat classes.
It might have been expected that hard red winter wheat, as traded in Kansas City, would fare well given the mounting concerns over the quality of Europe’s crop.
After all, the specifications at which the rain-damaged French crop will be available, as defined by the qualities needed for delivery against Matif futures, have been compared to those of soft red winter wheat, as traded in Chicago – meaning extra competition on this score.
Yet it is Chicago soft red winter wheat futures which have outperformed, closing the discount against Kansas City hard red winter wheat from an intraday high of $1.38 ¾ a bushel on June 30 to $0.74 ¼ a bushel on Thursday.
Kansas vs Minneapolis
Signally, Kansas City wheat has lost ground against Minneapolis hard red spring wheat, which has even higher protein levels.
The Minneapolis September contract closed above its Kansas City peer in the last session for the first time since January, reversing a discount of some $0.25 a bushel at the end of June, and $0.40 a bushel in early May.
The counterintuitive factor about this dynamic is that, with the US spring wheat harvest building, Minneapolis prices should be feeling pressure from increased supplies and the withdrawal of remaining risk premium.”
The generally wet weather will mean higher toxin loads in grain.
“Lygus bugs, pre-harvest intervals, grasshoppers and more
“Four the week
- No rush. The ideal swath timing for yield is when canola is at 60% seed colour change on the main stem. For large plants with many branches, even this may be too early for seeds in side branches to reach the firm green stage.
Patch work. Patchy canola is a pain to harvest, and there is no good answer in terms of when to swath except to say that later is probably better to give more seeds time to fill.
Lygus, part IV. We’ve been talking about lygus for weeks, but they keep hanging on. This week’s key points: They can’t penetrate firm seeds or mature pods and by now pre-harvest intervals are a management factor.
Phinal countdown. This is crunch time for pre-harvest intervals (PHI), with many products dropping off the availability chart as we get closer to canola cutting time. Take the quiz to test your PHI skills.”
Pre-Harvest Interval – PHI is the time between spraying and cutting Canola
|Product||Days – PHI|
|Lagon/Cygon 480-AG/Cygon 480 EC||21|
Always read the label before using any pesticide product. You might want to check in with your canola buyer as well.
“November canola closed unchanged on Wednesday and deferred months were down a few cents a tonne.
Volume was light with little news to trade on.
The Prairies are blanketed under warm air for the next several days. The Alberta-Montana order area could get a little rain on Friday and the moisture could move into southern Saskatchewan on the weekend.
Most areas need moisture to help fill grain.
November soybeans fell 1.2 percent on lingering pressure from a slightly bearish USDA report on Tuesday and forecast for rain in the Midwest.
December corn gained a penny a bushel on a short covering bounce. The USDA report confirmed a record crop is in the fields, but the forecast was slightly less than traders expected.
Still many believe USDA will increase its production forecast in coming reports.”