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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

GFO Newsletter for February 2014


New Legislation to Increase Plant Breeders’ Rights
A new Act has been introduced to improve Plant Breeders’ Rights in Canada. Bill C-18, the Canadian Agricultural Growth Act, has been presented and given first reading in the House of Commons. The bill contains amendments to eight different pieces of legislation, including updates to Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Act which will modernize the Act and harmonize it with the 1991 convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV ’91).


The new act will give both public and private sector plant breeders the ability and confidence to continue to develop new seed varieties needed to improve yields and keep Canada competitive on the world market. The act will encourage new product development and research. UPOV ’91 also contains a clause which will allow farmers to save their own seed for their own farm operation when the variety is not covered by contract law.

The legislation was introduced by Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz in December. According to Minister Ritz, the new bill will “deliver new tools and better services to help Canada’s farmers grow their businesses and is designed to make it easier for industry to meet government requirements while also reducing administrative costs and improving program delivery efficiencies.”

Canadian Soybean Council receives funding
Grain Farmers of Ontario, on behalf of the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association (MPGA) and Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec (FPCCQ), under the Canadian Soybean Council (CSC) brand are continuing the development of new markets for Canadian soybeans, thanks to support from the Federal Government.

The Agri-Marketing Program, an initiative of Growing Forward 2, has granted $104,192 to the CSC for activities related to building and expanding international markets for Canadian soybeans. The funding will be used towards developing outgoing programs specific to the European Union, Japan and Korea, as well as several publication materials to further enhance Canada’s brand as a supplier of high value, traceable, safe and quality assured soybeans.

In 2012, Canada exported over 3.3 million metric tonnes of soybeans to 50 different countries. Canadian soybean exports were also the 4th largest agri-food export from Canada valued at over two billion dollars.

Grain Farmers of Ontario on behalf of MPGA and FPCCQ would like to thank the Federal Government for supporting the Canadian soybean industry through the Agri-Marketing program. The program has allowed Canada to remain a strong competitor in soybean export markets. It is through important initiatives like this project, that Canada has been able to increase market access for our high-value Canadian soybeans. The regions of the European Union, Japan and Asia are key to the growth of our value-added soybean industry here in Canada.

Market Commentary by Philip Shaw
The January 10 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report had a bullish surprise for corn –  pegging US production at 13.925 billion bushels after trimming the national average yield to 158.8 bushels per acre. The USDA also increased feed and residual corn use by 100 million bushels and ethanol by 50 million bushels. Corn ending stocks came in at 1.631 billion bushels.

The USDA actually increased soybean production to 3.289 billion bushels on increased acreage of 75.87 million acres. They adjusted the US national average yield to 43.3 bushels per acre. It pegged soybean stocks at December 1 at 2.148 billion bushels, while ending stocks remained at 150 million bushels. The USDA also stated that 41.89 million acres of winter wheat was planted in the US, down three percent from 2013.

Pollinator Protection
Grain Farmers of Ontario is dedicated to a sustainable future for both bees and crops. We recognize the importance of bees to the overall viability of agriculture and the food chain. That’s why Grain Farmers of Ontario is actively working to enhance bee protection, while also working to ensure the viability of corn, soybean, and wheat farming in Ontario.

The reported decline of the bee population is a complex issue. Numerous risk factors to bee health have been identified, including varroa mites, poor nutrition/lack of forage, drought, winter-kill, diseases, and pesticides.

We recognize the importance of bees and we will continue to work with all stakeholders and the government to determine a path forward based on scientific evidence. Our goal is to find solutions that best protect both the bee populations and grain farming in Ontario.  To follow our work and updates on this important issue, visit:

Grain Farmers of Ontario Encouraged by PMRA Consultation
Grain Farmers of Ontario responded to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA’s) call for public input on its Notice of Intent regarding bees and neonicotinoid pesticides. A standardized letter was available for members to submit in response to the consultation. The letter requested policymakers to stay on course with a science-based regulatory process that will benefit all involved and highlighted the importance of treated seed to grain farmers across the province. 

Ontario Bee Health Working Group
Grain Farmers of Ontario is a member of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group which has brought together a range of experts to provide recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk to honey bees from exposure to neonicotinoids. You can read more about the work being done by this group online at: This website includes meeting and forum summaries, a list of members involved in the working group, and resources available through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Responsible Use of Insecticide Treated Seed
Guidelines from Health Canada, Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs.
When using a seed flow lubricant for planting corn or soybean seed treated with the insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, or imidacloprid (e.g. Poncho, Cruiser, Gaucho, Stress Shield, etc.), only the Fluency Agent by Bayer CropScience is permitted in order to minimize the potential for abrasion/production of insecticidal seed dust. Talc and graphite are not permitted to be used as a seed flow lubricant for corn or soybean seed treated with these insecticides. Carefully follow the use directions provided with the Fluency Agent by Bayer CropScience.

Best Management Practices
Insect pollinators are vital to agricultural production and the environment. Many farmers, including those who grow corn and soybeans, use insecticide treated seed to protect their crop from insect pests. Some insecticides, such as neonicotinoids, are toxic to pollinators. Planting of treated seed can result in the emission of dust-containing insecticide into the air, placing pollinators at significant risk of exposure to toxic insecticides. Factors that significantly impact the risk of exposure include the use of treated seed, type of planting equipment, planting conditions, flowering resources and bee yard locations.
The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) are provided to reduce the risk to bees and other insect pollinators from exposure to dust from treated seed. The BMPs provide a toolbox of options that should be used in combination wherever possible.

•    Read and adhere to the pesticide label and seed tag directions
•    Practice Integrated Pest Management when choosing seed treatments
•    Develop and maintain shared communication with beekeepers to help protect honeybees
•    Recognize pollinator habitat and take special care to reduce dust exposure
•    Avoid generating dust when handling and loading treated seed
•    Managing planting equipment to decrease dust drift
•    Ensure proper clean-up and disposal
•    Report suspected pollinator pesticide poisonings

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