In this edition - June 16, 2017
Delayed seeding in parts of Alberta is raising fall frost gambling stakes, but there are steps farmers can take and tools they can use to mitigate their risks.
“Some growers are moving to earlier maturing crops like barley,” says provincial crop specialist Neil Whatley. “If it does experience a quality loss, it could still be good for livestock feed. We could look at barley and oats as possible greenfeed and forages, or use them for swath grazing if needed.”
Seeding progress in the province was furthest behind in the Peace River region, where plantings were only 71 per cent completed as of June 6, versus the 99.8 per cent five-year average. The northeast and northwest regions were about nine percent behind average.
Speeding up crop development
Producers seeding in June face a greater chance of frost damage, but planting now also means faster maturity.
“There’s more rapid accumulation of heat units when crops are seeded this late, so the crops can make up five to eight days.”
So a 95-day maturity crop like barley could take 87 to 90 days to mature thanks to the longer, warmer days, he says.
Shallow seeding into warm, moist soils will allow for faster germination.
Soil compaction is important as well, and good seed-to-soil contact will enable seeds to better absorb water and germinate sooner.
Also speeding up plant progress are fertilizer applications.
“Phosphorous is very helpful for what we call a faster ‘pop-up’ effect, helping the crop get going,” Whatley says.
Frost is a major factor to keep in mind when determining if it's too late to seed, and Alberta Agriculture offers a couple tools to assist farmers.
“If you’re wondering about late seeding and what is the chance you’re going to get frost in the fall for your area, you can go right to our viewer, click on a few weather stations, and you can develop these beautiful graphs showing you how the probability changes daily in the fall. And then you can help determine what your risk might be,” says Ralph Wright, head of agrometeorology with Alberta Ag.
The country’s first national food policy is now being developed.
Consultations are underway, including an online survey, with a national food policy summit scheduled for June 22 and 23 in Ottawa. Consultations will wrap up in the fall, followed by a summary report of the comments and ultimately, the policy itself.
Creating a long-term vision
The federal government describes a food policy as a way to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food. The policy will set a long-term vision for the country’s health, environmental, social and economic goals related to food, it says. It will also identify action that can be taken in the short term.
As well, the federal government says it wants to draw from a variety of experiences and perspectives with Canadians and organizations active on food issues. To that end, it is seeking input from interested Canadians, including groups and individuals interested in access to food, healthy and safe food, and the relationship between agriculture, the environment and the economy.
Farmers and ranchers across the country are encouraged to take part in the online portion of the consultations, through the designed to help inform the policy. The survey focuses on four distinct areas:
- increasing access to affordable food
- improving health and food safety
- growing more high quality food
- conserving soil, water, and air
“Every part of the food value chain needs to be accounted for in a national policy – beginning with farmers and ranchers who produce the food across Canada,” says Bruce Buttar, director of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “A unified food policy dedicated to food security, accessibility and sustainability is long overdue.”
Canadian crop receipts are projected to remain relatively unchanged in 2017, mostly driven by strong production and solid foreign demand.
Drought conditions can compromise water quality in ponds and dugouts, causing elevated levels of salts, minerals and bacteria.
Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of Saskatchewan-based AGT Food and Ingredients Inc., was named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 at an awards ceremony held in Monaco. He was picked from among the 59 country winners from 49 countries vying for the title.
Operation Pollinator is asking producers to set aside two acres for pollinator-attracting plants this summer.