Oat is a competitive crop that is suited to central and northern Alberta growing conditions, but oat agronomic research has been lacking in Alberta in recent years.
The fifteen minute online survey is now live at www.producerwellness.ca.
Canadian Western Red Winter (CWRW) wheat and Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat have traditionally been prized by international customers for their protein content, gluten strength and bright white flour colour.
For all that is known about agricultural pests and their behaviours, vast areas of research are just beginning to scratch the surface of their mysterious lives.
As one of the oldest crops grown in North America, corn found a growing niche in Ontario from the time farmers in that province began tilling the soil.
Honey Bee AirFLEX...
North American Manure Expo comes to Canada...
For the first time ever, the North American Manure Expo is being hosted within a Canadian province. The annual show is being held August 20 and 21, 2013, at the University of Guelph’s Arkell Research Station, located near Guelph, Ontario. So, what's a Manure Expo and why should you attend? This video will provide all the dirt.
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitatio...
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitation
The population explosion...
With the world's population increasing exponentially and farmland staying the same, BASF took to the streets to ask consumers if this trend is sustainable.
If you’re old enough to remember TCA (registered 1947), Dalapon (1955), Carbyne (1960), Endaven (1972), Treflan (1965), Hoe-Grass (1976), and Mataven (1977), you’ll remember those barn-storming days of Elanco Plant Sciences promoting a new era of weed control with a new herbicide called Treflan in a new crop called rapeseed. You may also remember the marketing battle between Monsanto’s Avadex BW pre-emergent weed control benefits vs. Hoechst Canada’s post-emergent Hoe-Grass saving the soil for future generations. While these products and companies ushered in the era of selective weed control, many are now historical footnotes. But driven by the rise of herbicide resistant weeds, some products are having a renaissance of sorts. In particular, Avadex BW (1962), and Edge (1987) are receiving renewed interest. “Growers are looking for creative ways to get different herbicide groups into their herbicide rotations,” says Brian Wintonyk, agronomy leader with Dow AgroSciences in Calgary, Alta. Dow AgroSciences was originally known as DowElanco and began in 1989 as a joint venture between the agricultural products business of the Dow Chemical Company and the Elanco Plant Sciences business of Eli Lilly and Company. The company was renamed in 1997 when Dow acquired 100 per cent ownership of the business. Wintonyk, who has been around long enough to see the rise, fall and resurrection of Edge (ethalfluralin, Group 3), says the herbicide recently completed a re-evaluation by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) at Health Canada and maintains registration status. Edge provides a good alternate mode-of-action to Group 2 resistant biotypes of cleavers, chickweed, cow cockle, kochia, lamb’s quarters, redroot pigweed and smartweed. The original market for Edge was as a replacement for Treflan in canola, providing improved weed control in a granular formulation that was more fitting with the move to reduced tillage. The era of herbicide tolerant canola displaced Edge, but it hung around for use in conventional canola production, and other pulse and oilseed crops. Now with Group 2 resistance weeds common on the Prairies, Edge is making a comeback in pulses such as lentil, chickpea and field pea, as well as a base application in herbicide-tolerant canola to simplify spray timing, reduce or eliminate early season weed competition, and to provide season-long control of flushing weeds. “The original use pattern for Edge was as a soil-incorporated herbicide in conventional tillage systems that required two fall or spring incorporations to a depth of three to four inches,” Wintonyk says. “Edge has a good fit in no-till seeding, and we’ve been working to provide sound recommendations for its use in no-till.” Wintonyk says getting good performance from Edge in no-till relies on an understanding of how the active ingredient works. Edge controls weeds as they germinate – the weeds must germinate in the Edge-incorporated layer. If they germinate below the layer, they will not be controlled. However, he explains that in no-till fields, the weed seeds become concentrated in the shallow surface layer and only a shallow incorporation of Edge is required. “A light harrow operation in the top layer provides enough incorporation to have Edge in the same soil layer as the weeds. If you do more tillage, there will be weeds below one-quarter inch deep, and they won’t be controlled,” Wintonyk explains. “Edge can be effective if you have been direct seeding the last two years with less than 30 per cent soil disturbance during seeding.” In the spring, Edge is activated by warming soil temperatures. Wintonyk says it doesn’t activate early enough to control early germinating weeds before seeding, and that a pre-seed burndown should be conducted. He also cautions growers should be aware there are different rates for fall and spring application. While the weed spectrum is wide, covering both grasses and annual weeds, Wintonyk cautions Edge provides suppression of wild oats. In cleavers, it provides control in no-till, but suppression in conventional tillage. Avadex makes a comebackBack in the 1960s and early 1970s, Avadex (triallate, Group 8) was one of the go-to products for wild oat control in wheat and barley. Avadex is incorporated into a shallow surface layer and wild oats are controlled as the growing point of the weed grows into the treated layer. Avadex is registered in two formulations: a liquid emulsifiable concentrate as Avadex BW, and Avadex MinTill, a 10 per cent MicroActiv granular formulation. “With surface application of Avadex MicroActiv on the label, farmers are getting it back into the herbicide rotations for wild oat control,” says Mike Grenier, research and development manager with Gowan Canada in Winnipeg, Man. Gowan now has the marketing rights to Avadex in Canada. Grenier says zero-till stubble is the perfect target for Avadex MicroActiv granules because weed seeds are near the soil surface. The granules provide 50 per cent better coverage than the old 10G original granules, and help to provide good granule-to-soil contact. He says if stubble is matted, it should be harrowed prior to application to spread out the straw. A fall application of Avadex MicroActiv should be made to standing stubble or chem-fallow fields. The field can be harrowed in the fall, or incorporation can be left until spring if the soil is cool (less than 4 C) and within three weeks of freeze-up. Spring harrow incorporation is recommended prior to seeding, and if weeds are emerged, then a pre-seed glyphosate burndown is also recommended. For liquid application of Avadex BW, the soil must have less than 30 per cent trash on the soil surface with incorporation no deeper than five centimetres and completed within 24 hours. Grenier says Avadex fits with an integrated approach to herbicide resistance management that uses multiple modes of action. He says a pre-emergent herbicide followed up with a post-emergent application of a different Group can help delay herbicide resistance. While Group 8 resistant wild oats have been confirmed in Western Canada, the distribution and frequency is nowhere near the occurrence of Group 1 and 2 resistance. Gowan is looking at research trials to better understand how Avadex and Fortress might fit into weed control strategies. Grenier says research at North Dakota State University in 2006 found that Avadex followed by a post-emergent herbicide provided the best wild oat control and improved yield as compared to post emergent program alone. Gowan is looking at Canadian trials to better understand this strategy. Another trial is looking at a MicroActiv formulation for Fortress that would allow easier use in min-till situations. Research in Manitoba in 2014 found that Fortress in front of Liberty Link canola provided better wild oat control. Fortress was also providing suppression of kochia, holding back the weed until a post-emergent herbicide could provide control. “Herbicide resistance is driving the use of older products because Group 1 resistance is common and Group 2 resistance is ramping up quickly,” Grenier says. “We need to continue to research to improve weed management practices to deal with herbicide resistance.”
A virtual cornucopia of wild edibles and non-timber products is ready to be harvested in the woodlands and boreal forests of Western Canada. While native bush may be something you want to protect forever as a heritage site, or clear off entirely for pasture or grain production, it also may be a source of commercial opportunities. If you have 160 acres of bush, think about it, says Mike James, past president of the Woodlot Association of Manitoba (WAM), and educator and owner of the Boreal Woods Nature Centre near the southeast shore of Lake Winnipeg. WAM, founded in 1991, promotes rural woodlots, shelterbelts, treed lots and river bottom forest adjacent to agricultural lands. James says the opportunities for new foodstuffs to be found within woodlands is endless: haskap (honeysuckle), sour cherry, sea buckthorn, buffaloberry, chokecherry, wild blueberries, fiddleheads and fireweed. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) also identifies these plants and berries as providing possible commercial opportunities: anise hyssop, aronia, basswood blossoms, bearberry, blackberry, blueberry leaves, chaga mushrooms, clover, cranberries, dandelions, goji berry, hawthorns, hazelnuts, hultiachoche, mint, nannyberry, pin cherry, rose hips, sarsaparilla root, saskatoons, senega snakeroot, spikenard, stinging nettle, wild grapes, wild licorice, wild plum, wild raspberry, wintergreen and yarrow. A joint investigation into the potential for gathering or harvesting wild foods and woodland products was launched in 2014 by James and a retired colleague, Ken Fosty, former forestry technician with the Manitoba Forestry Association (MFA). Funding came from MAFRD. At consultation meetings in early 2015, the two hoped to identify ideas for creating a sustainable woodland food industry. A report on that survey is currently being prepared. “Ken and I held six consultation meetings to see if people might be interested in growing or gathering wild foods, as an industry. We had meetings at The Pas, Dauphin, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk and Lac du Bonnet,” James says. A winter storm reduced attendance at two meetings, but not enthusiasm. “There were only 56 people who came, but everybody was very supportive and most were enthusiastic,” he adds. “Up north, I think a lot of people are interested in supplementing their income with a cottage industry. In the south, I think interest is on the increase, especially among Hutterite colonies. “The interest is there, it just needs somebody to organize and kick start it. It’s got to be done in an orderly way.” Studies underwayJames says support is available from institutions for people who want to explore commercial options for non-timber products from Prairie woodlands. For instance, in addition to WAM and the MFA, the Manitoba Food Development Centre at Portage la Prairie is equipped to work with products at all stages, from good ideas to recipes, nutrition labels and early market development. “The Food Development Centre has taken a number of these people to help them with their products, to a point where they can be sold with proper labels. They’re very supportive of this,” James says. Several woodland-related programs are underway in Saskatoon, at the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) horticulture department and at the POS Bio-Sciences research facility. “The main forest products we work with right now are haskap, sour cherry and apples,” says Ellen Sawchuk, horticulture research lab technician. “For haskap, we do the breeding work and release varieties. We’ve released six varieties to date and have another two coming in 2016 and 2017. The goal is to get haskap to become a commercially viable crop through Canada and the United States.” The U of S has taken the haskap from obscurity in the bush as wild honeysuckle with small, blue, so-so berries to a gourmet’s delight, an early-bearing, dependable, high-producing sweet shrub. Haskap berries are the first fruit to ripen, in late June. Western Canada now has more than 25 growers ranging between five and 60 acres of haskap. Most still process the berries at their own farms, into jams or syrups. They can also be eaten fresh off the bush. Larger growers will hit the market with commercial-grade products in 2016. For large-scale haskap harvest, the U of S has imported a black currant harvester from Poland. “We use the same machine to harvest our saskatoons and our sour cherries, and our currants,” Sawchuk says. “It works quite well. We can harvest two to three acres of haskap in a half-day. We need three people, and it goes faster if we have one or two more to run the fruit into the cooler.” POS Bio-SciencesNatural products from woodlands (and Prairies) are a major interest at POS Bio-Sciences, says Rick Green, vice-president of technology. POS has expertise in extraction, fractionation, modification and purification of “bio-based” materials. Chokecherry, buffaloberry and sea buckthorn chemistry was the subject of a joint study between POS and Nicholas Low at the U of S. Previous work has investigated commercial potential for saskatoon and other woodland products. “Since the study was released, we’ve had some calls. There is interest in starting a breeding program for buffaloberry, and I can tell you some sea buckthorn is being grown in orchards here,” Green says. Nutritionally, though mostly unknown or obscure to the public, all three berries have good potential for nutraceuticals or functional foods. Buffaloberry has about four times the level of vitamin C found in orange juice, and a good antioxidant profile. Chokecherry has a high level of antioxidant and polyphenol compounds. “All of these fruits have been used to some extent in your fruit commodities like jams and jellies and sauce recipes. But there’s increasing interest in extracting the value-added components. The next stage might be some clinical trials to show what the benefits are,” Green says. The Birch Sap OpportunityTapping white birch for sap and syrup is a newly proven opportunity. Glenda and Rory Hart bought two pieces of land, about 240 acres, as a future retirement site near Grand Beach at the southeast end of Lake Winnipeg, moving there in 2001. They loved the native birch forest. Today, they’re tapping it. For 2016, they anticipate tapping about 2000 birch. Using tubing and vacuum assist technology, they suck the sap into vats where it is eventually reduced to about one per cent of the original volume. If the season is very good, they may get 300 gallons of refined birch syrup after a three-week harvest. Then the work begins. “Processing happens right away, on-site. After we finish making the syrup, we have to filter it and bottle it. We also market our own syrup. We bottle, we label, we do promotion, we drum up business in stores, we do farmers markets and shows,” Glenda says. “From the forest all the way to selling it to the person for the table, we do it all. We have not been to Europe to promote it yet, but we have been to the U.S. We are hoping to build on a toehold there, in cities like Chicago and Denver,” she adds. The couple launched Canadian Birch Company in 2012. They estimate Canada has up to 10 birch syrup producers, with most tapping fewer than 500 trees. They have created a unique version or niche product with the rare Amber Gold by making critical changes to the production process. They also have begun marketing a birch sauce. Building public awareness takes big investment in time and money. “Promotion is tough,” Glenda says. “Rory searched out the right bottle for our product. We had a wonderful graphic artist come up with designs for the bottles and labels. We invested in excellent photography and excellent graphics for our website. They all work together.” From an online survey of 10,000 consumers, evaluating innovative products in 33 categories, Canadian Birch Company Amber Birch Syrup won Product of the Year 2015 for innovative packaging in March 2015. “It means people would buy our product on the virtue of being attracted by the packaging,” Glenda says.
September 22, 2015 - A new vegetable oil-based multi-purpose lubricant for sale in Canada is about to become a bit more local. Already manufactured in Toronto, Smart Earth Corporation’s Ecolube product will soon be made from Ontario-grown soybeans as well. Introduced by parent company Linneaus Plant Sciences Inc. as an innovative green substitute for popular petroleum-based spray lubricants Ecolube’s plant-based ingredients make it an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional products. To date, it has been manufactured using high oleic vegetable oils from the United States and western Canada, but Guelph-based Soy 20/20 has secured a supply of high oleic soybean oil processed from Ontario grown soybeans for its clients. Upcoming production runs of lubricant-type products will be made from locally grown oils. “We’re excited at what the future potential of the bioproducts might mean for the Canadian soybean industry,” says Jeff Schmalz, CEO of Soy 20/20, an organization dedicated to expanding markets for Canadian soybeans. For farmers, this brings the potential of premiums for growing the high oleic soybeans needed for these kinds of innovative products. Ecolube is the first in what is expected to become a whole category of vegetable-oil based products that Smart Earth plans to bring to the marketplace. The company currently has a grease and a bar and chain oil in development to add to its offering. Ecolube is currently available in more than 40 TSC stores in Ontario and Manitoba, as well as from 19 independent retailers, and through six major distributors. “The big win so far has been TSC Stores where Smart Earth Ecolube is on the shelf beside the other traditional products as well as in off-shelf displays,” says Schmalz. “It’s part of Soy 20/20’s mandate to work with emerging bioproducts companies to help shepherd new products through commercialization and into the market place.” There are plenty of market opportunities beyond retail. For example, Ontario is the third largest food processing jurisdiction in North America, so Smart Earth is pursuing food-grade accreditation for its products which will open up food and beverage processing facilities as potential new markets. “The long-term goal is for all Smart Earth products to be made from Ontario or Canadian-grown oils, so Ecolube is the start of an exciting new frontier for the Canadian soybean industry and the bioproducts market,” says Schmalz. "We greatly appreciate all the help Soy 20/20 has provided in building our Smart Earth eco-friendly brand of lubricants,” adds Jack Grushcow, President of Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc. “We believe that by using locally produced soybean oil, producers will see the advantage of switching to more environmentally friendly lubricants that deliver performance while at the same time benefitting the production side of their business." Funding for Soy 20/20 is provided under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and by Grain Farmers of Ontario.