RealAg Radio, September 23: CCGA Cash Advance Program, Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve

Thanks for tuning in to this Friday edition of RealAg Radio!

Host Shaun Haney is joined by RealAgriculture’s Lyndsey Smith and Kelvin Heppner as they discuss the threats from Russia, along with the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve, plus the Ontario announcement and much more!

We will also have a spotlight interview with Dave Gallant, for CCGA Cash Advance Program.

Thoughts on something we talked about on the show? Connect with host Shaun Haney via email [email protected], on Twitter by using the hashtag #RealAgRadio, or give us a shout on the listener line, 1-855-776-6147.

New Canadian ambassador to China announced

After nine months of Canada not having an ambassador in China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the appointment of a career diplomat to the post in Beijing.

Jennifer May, who has worked with Global Affairs Canada (External Affairs at the time) since 1990, will be stepping into the job left vacant following Dominic Barton’s resignation in December 2021. Barton left the role to become the chairman of mining giant Rio Tinto.

May was previously Canada’s ambassador to Brazil, and has also spent time as a diplomat in Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Bonn, Hong Kong, and Vienna. She will be Canada’s first female ambassador to China.

“A dedicated public servant, Ms. May’s many years of diverse experience on international missions, and her deep understanding of Asia, will serve to manage this important bilateral relationship and advance Canadian interests in China,” noted Trudeau.

The Prime Minister’s Office says May “will lead Canada’s important work in standing up for democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law,” and that her work will “be key to advancing Canadian priorities in the Canada-China relationship, including supporting the long-standing people-to-people, economic, and business ties between our two countries.”

One of the first issues May will have to navigate is a planned visit by a Canadian parliamentary delegation to Taiwan the week of October 8, as the Chinese Communist Party does not approve of foreign politicians visiting Taiwan.

Canada’s agri-food and seafood exports to China were valued at C$9.4 billion in 2020.

Related:

The possible implications of China’s next standing committee’s goals

China lifts embargo on canola from Richardson and Viterra

Bioret Agri’s dairy waterbed helps combat pressure-point stress

Reducing stress points isn’t only important for farmers but for their livestock as well, especially for dairy cows where stress can directly impact milk production. Bioret Agri’s innovative waterbed looks to reduce those stress points in cow housing.

Adam Steward, business development manager for Bioret Agri, says their single-chamber waterbed stands out from others on the market for a few different reasons, one of which being a memory foam base.

“There’s a sheet of latex memory foam underneath and that’s a big area where we differ from other ones that are on the market. A cow steps onto a waterbed. She bottoms out. Normally, there’d be concrete underneath, we’ve got memory foam. So she’s got comfort, she’s got traction when she’s going to lie (down) and traction when she goes to get up out of the stall as well,” says Steward.

Another difference is the top layer, which features a “peach skin” finish, which Steward says is the most tissue friendly top cover available on the market. Because of this, when the cow fidgets and moves about in the stall, the risk of hock abrasion and other sores become less likely.

Heat stress can be a very real concern for dairy farmers and the Aquastar waterbed can actually provide a surface that is upwards of six degrees cooler than other options on the market.

“Because we’ve got a single water pouch on the top, the cow is going to be literally floating on that water pouch when she’s lying down. So we’re taking away your pressure points and promoting better blood flow. But also we’re able to give her a top surface that’s about six degrees cooler than any other bedding type,” says Steward.

He says the temperature difference is compared to other solutions including sand, composted bedding other traditional type mattresses. This cooler surface now allows producers to combat heat stress right in the stall, when combined with proper ventilation and curtains.

Thompson announces $2 million for “made-in-Ontario” fertilizer solutions

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson has announced up to $2 million over two years for an initiative the province is calling the “Fertilizer Accelerating Solutions & Technology Challenge.”

The province says the funding will support “made-in-Ontario solutions to increase the availability of fertilizer options, alternatives and technology, ensuring farmers have the tools they need so that Ontarians can rely on a safe and stable food supply.”

Full details and project guidelines are available at Ontario.ca and on the Bioenterprise website. Applications for eligible applicants will be accepted beginning on October 5, 2022, until November 2, 2022.

The province says the challenge is the result of consultations with farmers and the agri-food sector, and is designed to help address the ongoing supply chain challenges for fertilizer, while promoting innovation in the province’s agri-food sector. It’s a competitive opportunity for agri-businesses and organizations to focus on new solutions, such as biofertilizers, that can help reduce dependency on imported fertilizer.

“We have heard from farmers that action must be taken to increase the domestic supply of fertilizer options. Our government has listened and is introducing an initiative that will generate made-in Ontario alternatives to help farmers secure the inputs they need to succeed, and to support innovative, technology-based solutions to grow the agri-food sector,” says Thompson. “Ensuring that farmers have the tools and products they need to grow good food is vital to the sustainability of Ontario’s food security and keeping the province as a world leader in food production.”

A portion of the fertilizer used by farmers in Ontario and eastern Canada has historically been imported from Russia and Belarus. These fertilizers are subject to the Canadian government’s 35 per cent tariff that was applied following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Farm groups have been calling on the federal government to provide relief for the added cost to farmers from the tariff.

“The Ontario government’s Challenge is an important step in addressing the fertilizer challenges that grain farmers have been facing this year. The strategic investments to bring new fertilizer alternatives to market quickly will support a safe and stable food supply chain and support the success of Ontario’s grain farmers,” says Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, in the province’s news release.

Poll: Early acreage plans for 2023

With the arrival of autumn officially this week, and the first report cards rolling in on the 2022 growing season (that’s yield x price, by the way), it’s time to talk about first thoughts on winners and losers of acres for ’23.

While the big crops — wheat and canola in the west and corn and soy in the east — tend to shift in a narrow range, some smaller acreage crops can run up or drop down significantly year-over-year.

Based on StatsCan numbers, farmers put in a lot of barley, oats, and even mustard in 2022. Growing conditions were decent for many, leading to some big total tonnage. Will that influence the total acres of these crops in 2023? Let us know which crop is likely to drop acres of the crop mix (as a percentage) the most next year.

WGEA expresses concern on the railways’ ability to fulfill grain shipments

The Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) says it is gun-shy when it comes to placing their faith in the rail companies’ ability to meet the demand of grain shipments needed this fall and in to the busy winter shipping season.

The WGEA handles approximately 90 per cent, or more, of western Canada’s bulk grain exports, and Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the WGEA, says although it is early on in harvest, due to their experience in the recent past, they are skeptical on shipment capacity as the season moves forward.

Using the 2021-2022 season as an example where, due to the drought, crop production fell from 70 to 80 million tonnes to 49 million tonnes. Even with the reduced production, end-users were still not able to get grain in a timely manner. Sobkowich says that the flooding that happened in the Fraser Valley in November bears some of the responsibility for the poor performance, however those delays did create some hesitancy within the market.

“Come January, February, we were expecting to really go gangbusters and and that didn’t happen. We were only getting a fraction of our demand during that period of time in January, February, March. It really called into the question the resiliency of the railways, and their ability to recover from from disasters like that, and their ability to rebound from from from low points of shipping,” says Sobkowich.

He further explains that in February, according to the rail’s grain plan, they were set to provide 5000 rail cars per week, albeit, because of crop size, the demand from WGEA’s end was only 2,000 cars per week, in which they only received 500 to 800 rail cars per week. This, according to Sobkowich, raised further red flags as to the railways’ ability to stay in line with their own grain plan.

Although grain is exported year-round, Sobkowich says there is a sweet spot for export — now until December — as competing crops from Australia come off and are shipped in December and January. With farmers holding onto their grain a little bit longer, which was a good idea last year due to the drought and prices, Sobkowich says, may not be in the same best interest this year, this as we’ve seen a recent decline in prices.

“I think that there’s an expectation that those prices are going to go back up. But we think that the prices where they are is probably pretty close to the where they’re going to be throughout this period of time, because we didn’t have a drought. Last year, the prices were high in Canada, but they didn’t increase that way on the global stage. And it had to do with lack of supply here. So last year, every time the farmer held on to their grain longer, it was the right decision this year, it might not be the case,” says Sobkowich

He says there are numerous factors that go in to the apprehensions surrounding the railway’s capacity to meet shipping obligations. Now that the world is seemingly ‘opening back up’ other industries are requiring railcars for shipping which can eat into the available cars for grain. Further, Sobkowich says there are other unknowns on the railways’ side of operations including staffing and/or crew numbers, this as they released crew members from employment last year due to the reduced need for shipments.

RealAg Radio, September 22: Fruits of the harvest, labour, supply chain issues, and when to take corn silage

Thanks for tuning in to this Thursday edition of the Farmer Rapid Fire!

Today’s show is brought to you by Pioneer Seeds Canada. Host Shaun Haney is joined by:

  • Tyler Lester of Bloomfield, Ont.;
  • Jason Kehler of Carman, Man.;
  • Devon Walkerm of Lashburn, Sask.; and
  • Gerrit Herremam of Uxbridge, Ont.

Don’t miss our interview with Tanis Sirski, northwestern Manitoba area agronomist with Pioneer Seeds Canada, talking about verticillium and corn silage timing.

Thoughts on something we talked about on the show? Connect with host Shaun Haney via email [email protected], on Twitter by using the hashtag #RealAgRadio, or give us a shout on the listener line, 1-855-776-6147.