We’ll start this week’s column on a somber note, because this is serious — yesterday it was announced that the first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has been confirmed on a hog farm in Middlesex county in the southwest corner of Ontario. The details are still preliminary, but this deadly virus appears to have been found at a farrow to finish operation (the virus is extremely deadly for piglets and wipes out entire litters). The Ontario government’s agriculture department had been anticipating the finding, as the virus has been spreading rapidly across the U.S. since May, but we’re still waiting to hear details on additions or changes to biosafety protocols at this point.
On a less serious note, though likely contentious nonetheless, the federal government was in press conference mode and made several stops across the country to officially launch funding for several new programs. The pony oat market in the U.S. is getting attention, as is oat varietal development, with about $3 million in funding, and the Saskatchewan forage industry saw a $4.2 million boost (details here). Perhaps the most contentious however was the announcement of a 5-year project aimed at measuring and reporting on supply chain movement. The Ag Canada press release was sufficiently vague, however, I spoke with Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada, the group leading the project, to get a much better sense of the scope and scale of this $3.2 million initiative. While I’m sure the feds would love to appear as if this is a solution to this winter’s logistics problems, it’s not. As Bacon explains here, it is a much broader and longer term initiative (one that likely should have happened years ago, but I digress) that sets out to actually fill some of the gaping holes in supply change data collection, management and communication. After speaking with Bacon, I was nearly speechless (and that’s a feat, I tell you) over the immense job Pulse Canada and its partners on this have in front of them. Dear farmers, our supply chain isn’t just under served, it’s a disjointed mess. More on that later.
On to production this week, as those who grow corn, want to grow corn or just want to learn more about growing corn got quite the treat this week as Bernard Tobin, Ontario field editor, filed several corn-centric videos he filmed while at SWAC ’14 and at last week’s FarmSmart conference. Two videos were my favourite — Greg Stewart’s top 10 tips (part 1) on corn production where he summarizes points 1 through 5 of what 10 years of data shows, and a brief chat with Jason Webster of Beck’s Hybrids who discusses the very real advantage of alternating one or more hybrids per field based on management zone potential. See that here.
Let’s cap off the week on a much less serious note — Shaun Haney attended his first ever Manitoba AgDays at Brandon, and braved a 40 degree swing in temps (Calgary was +10 when he left) just to spend two days taking in the bright lights and red carpet maze that is AgDays. It was a fantastic show, with great speakers and a very full two days of TechTour filming, but we also managed to take 10 minutes to recap the show. If you’ve ever been to AgDays or a Manitoba social you’ll want to hear this. Click here to do so.
And now the RealAgriculture team is scrambling to get ready for three full days at FarmTech ’14 in Edmonton. Stop by our booth or come attend our session on Wednesday or Thursday and say hello!