In this edition - August 11, 2017
As harvest kicks off, getting the crop off the field is important, but paying attention to how and where it's stored is equally as important.
Agronomy Specialist Angela Brackenreed with the Canola Council of Canada says producers put a lot of work into getting the crop into the bin and it's horrible to lose quality after it's in there.
She says there is plenty to think about with bins even before the combine starts.
“Ensure they are clean, free of insects, other grains and mold,” Brackenreed says.
She says getting both the moisture content and temperature down becomes the focus as canola is taken off the field.
“It’s really critical for that safe storage of canola that we condition it down to eight per cent and ideally down to 15C or lower.”
Kevin Serfas, who farms in the Lethbridge, Alta. area, took barley off earlier than usual this year.
Think outside the bin
While he keeps a close eye on the grain that's stored to ensure the moisture and temperature are low, he also came up with a different solution to help him get the crop off and manage what is going into his bins at the same time.
“When we started harvesting, the grain was 35 to 36C in temperature, so we weren’t overly excited about putting it into aeration bins to cool it off because I need those bins later in the harvest,” Serfas said. “So with that stuff, we were making sure we were doing straight sale off the combine.”
He says that works fairly well for a certain percentage of the crops, adding the key is about planning ahead on how much will be sold right off the field and what is going into storage.
“It costs money to put it in a bin," Serfas says. "It costs money to take it out of the bin. It costs money to truck it both ways and storage is expensive to build.”
Brackenreed says it's important for monitoring to keep accurate records of what went into each bin and its condition on storage.
“We can quickly forget the condition of grain that went into which bin and forget which bin is what," Brackenreed says. "So if you have a good record of that you know ‘Bin D’ really needs extra attention and more monitoring than ‘Bin A’.”
More winter cereals could get planted in untraditional areas that were too wet to seed this spring - but extreme dryness elsewhere could stymie an overall bump in winter crop acreage.
Many growers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who were unable to seed this spring are considering planting winter cereals, say Alberta Agriculture cereal extension specialist Clair Langlois and Western Winter Wheat Initiative agronomist Paul Thoroughgood.
Alberta producers were hardest hit by wet spring conditions. Up to 900,000 acres went unseeded thanks to saturated fields in the Peace, west-central and east-central regions of the province, and parts of south-central Alberta, says Langlois.
Waterlogged soils also impeded seeding operations in parts of northeastern and northwestern Saskatchewan.
First- time growers
For those who couldn’t get a crop in, winter wheat represents something they always wanted to try but never could get seeded on time in previous years, Langlois says.
“The majority of people, if they plant into some of their unseeded acreage, it will be their first time, or it would be a significant time since their last experience growing winter wheat,” Thoroughgood says.
Also appealing to farmers are the crop’s extra yields and simply getting their land into production, Langlois says.
“Many of these unseeded fields affected are often their wetter fields, and with so much ground moisture on them – even now – it is attractive to get them planted while at their driest,” he adds.
No overall acreage increase
But winter cereal acreage in other Prairie regions might actually be down this season.
Dryness in southern parts of the Prairies is significantly advancing harvest operations, but historically, producers have been reluctant to seed winter crops when it’s very dry, Thoroughgood says.
Farmers, however, are better off seeding into dry soils than delaying in hopes of rainfall, he explains.
Thouroughgood says if farmers wait for rain, by the time it dries up again to go seed, the opportunity for germination is lost.
“I’ve grown 18 winter wheat crops now and over half of them I’ve seeded into dry, hard ground,” Thoroughgood says. “Only once in those 18 years have I not had emergence in the fall because it didn’t rain until the middle of October.”
Farm equipment expenses as a proportion of total farm expenses has trended flat over the past 10 years despite the large increase in farm equipment prices.
Cash feed barley pricing eased from its summer highs, but the market remains well supported as feed supplies in the coming year are expected to tighten up.
Hear Tyler Russell explain what you need to know about storing grains. There’s a lot to consider, including which crops might increase in value, which crops you’ll want to move sooner, and how to take advantage of storage premiums.
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers has decided to keep its levy at a reduced level for at least one more year. The mandatory levy on pulses and soybeans was dropped to .67 per cent of gross sales from one percent on Aug. 1, 2016, in response to complaints from ratepayers.
Ontario will be joining most of the rest of Canada in moving to modular loading of chickens. But the change, mandated by Chicken Farmers of Ontario by 2024, will mean renovations to barns, some major, and investment by processors and transporters.
The story of The Little Potato Co. is somewhat like that. Angela Santiago, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, and her father and co-founder, Jacob van der Schaaf, were told more than once that no one would want the small potatoes they were hoping to market, but that didn’t stop them from pursuing their dream.
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