Royal grains

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL WINTER FAIR

grains in your life
Several great new additions to the Grains in Your Life exhibit caught the attention of this year’s visitors to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Among them were a model supply chain, a custom biocar and a mock fuel pump.

PHOTO: GRAINS IN YOUR LIFE EXHIBIT AT THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL WINTER FAIR

The model supply chain was set up with video footage of processing plants and samples of elements extracted and made from grain crops. This introduced the concept of bioproducts to Fair visitors. People were also able to explore and interact with other bioproducts, such as carpet and countertops made with corn, as they moved through the kitchen and living room vignettes in the rest of the exhibit. Many visitors expressed an interest in knowing where they could buy the corn, soy and wheat products on display.

The biocar was made with numerous grain elements, such as soy foam filled seats, which were marked with a specially painted grain symbol that could only be seen under black light. It was a great opportunity for children to learn while exploring.

A mock fuel pump with ethanol and biodiesel facts and stats was also an addition to the garage space this year. Grain Farmers of Ontario is requesting the implementation of a minimum two percent biodiesel requirement for diesel fuel sold in Ontario to be sourced from provincially produced feedstocks. Staff members answered several inquiries relating to ethanol and biodiesel, which allowed them to highlight the organization’s efforts surrounding this mandate and the benefits it would provide to the province’s soybean producers.

This was the third and final year for the Grains in Your Life exhibit at the Royal. It will be permanently installed at Riverdale Farm in Toronto this summer.

4-H field competition
Young grain farmers were showcased at the Royal with the 4-H Field Crop Competition. Awards were presented in 14 classes including wheat, corn, soybeans, and sheaf.

“In field crops we have a good bunch of kids who are willing to learn,” says Kim Turnbull, one of the leaders of the Haldimand 4-H Field Crops Club. “Preparing for the Royal is hard work. We teach the kids that it takes time to prepare grain samples properly and once they achieve some success they want to go back and do it again because they know their effort will be rewarded.”

Young farmers from Haldimand 4-H won in several categories; the group swept the competition for the Sheaf, Wheat class. Turnbull says it was nice to see them have success after all of the work they put in. “I’m very upfront with them that a good sheaf will take 10 to 15 hours to do. But they see the benefit of taking the time with it.”

The Hamilton-Wentworth 4-H Field and Crop Club was another successful group at the Fair. “It was a challenge with the weather against us this summer. Some farms were luckier than others in our region. But as leaders we were proud to take their entries to the Royal,” says Murray Cranston from the Hamilton-Wentworth Club.

“The hard work and dedication of our field crop club showed in our success,” Cranston adds. “And they’re already talking about next year.”

Cranston says he’s happy to see the interest his young farmers are showing in the industry and in competing at the Royal. “Myself and the other two leaders believe in supporting the junior grains program so that it continues to be showcased at the Royal.”

Turnbull agrees with the need to promote the achievements of young farmers. “They’re never too young to learn more about agriculture.”

seed of the year
Grains were also highlighted during the Seed of the Year awards ceremony held at the Royal. Ex Rico 23 – a navy bean variety originally from Colombia – was the winner of the honour. But three other finalists were also recognized including Dividend VL Orchard Grass, DH410SCN (food grade soybean), and OAC Bayfield.

PHOTO: SEED OF THE YEAR

OAC Bayfield was nominated by Grain Farmers of Ontario. Released to the public in 1993, the high-yielding soybean has slightly higher protein content than average, stands up well in the field, and is easy to grow. Its good genetics made it the ideal parent for several new varieties, including OAC Kent (which was named Seed of the Year in 2008).

The Seed of the Year competition encourages public breeders to highlight their research accomplishments in developing a new field crop, forage, fruit, vegetable or herb variety. Any publicly developed Canadian variety is eligible to compete. The competition was designed by the University of Guelph and SeCan with support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. It also receives sponsorship from several industry organizations. •

About Rachel Telford 84 Articles
Communications Coordinator, Publications, Grain Farmers of Ontario; Managing Editor, Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine