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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. 

GrainTALK for March 2019


A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.

Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario

What are the strategies you use to get ready for upcoming planting seasons?

We all have to be very diligent planners. The very first thing that is incredibly important is to go into your planning with a good understanding of your cost of production. What do you need to get for your crop at the end of the season to cover the cost of producing it? I might include seeds, inputs, gas, equipment costs, contracts and labour, rent, and other operational costs per acre. This base knowledge will inform other decisions — what inputs will you require all season? With fluctuating costs throughout the year, can you plan for the whole growing season to take advantage of spring prices and avoid high summer prices?

With rising nutrient costs, I work to be very efficient and very targeted. It’s also important to understand the 4R stewardship and those best practices for application. Whether you are in a high impact area currently, or not, you should be following those practices. A low impact area could become the next high impact area at any time. We should all consider these best practices.

Make your best decisions for your farm — be cautious of disease tolerance packages from companies. I would also recommend investing in seed protection. It’s the best insurance you have from the get go as replanting means you’ve lost yield and have to make an extra run on the field, which costs more than the protection. Be aware of the chemistries used for control. Take resistance into consideration and weigh cost with quality, but when you can, go for high quality.

Do you have a question for our chair? Email


Breeding programs supported by Grain Farmers of Ontario were responsible for developing six of the eight new cereal varieties receiving full support for registration from the Ontario Cereal Crop Committee (OCCC). This includes the first soft red winter wheat variety to come out of Dr. Ali Navabi’s wheat breeding program at the University of Guelph; a soft red winter wheat from Dr. Lily Tamburic-Ilincic’s program at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus; a hard red spring wheat from Dr. Andrew Burt, AAFC Ottawa; and three covered oat varieties from Dr. Weikai Yan, AAFC Ottawa.

Producers interested in more information about OCCC can visit •


As part of its involvement with the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA), Grain Farmers of Ontario collaborated with organizations across Canada to access federal funding under the Canadian Agriculture Partnership’s AgriScience Program for a Corn Project, Oat Project, and a Soybean Cluster. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has committed $9.5 million to this research, with industry funders contributing an additional $4.9 million.

Corn Project: Developing germplasm with resistance to diseases, advanced nitrogen management strategies for farmers that will enhance productivity and environmental performance, and early-maturing cold-tolerant corn genetics.

Oat Project: Developing higher-yielding disease-resistant varieties for eastern Canada, improved nutritional performance, nitrogen management and seeding rate recommendations, and implementing new support tools in oat breeding programs.

Soybean Cluster: Developing improved identity-preserved and food-grade varieties with improved disease-resistance, improved yield, and greater cold tolerance. •


Congratulations to the winners of our January District Meeting Prize Giveaway! Winners were drawn live on Twitter on Monday, January 22.

• Ross McIntosh (District 8 – Huron) is the Grand Prize winner of a trip for two to the Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida.
• Ken Wilkes (District 14 – Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry) is the winner of a weekend for two at Deerhurst in Huntsville.
• Sylvia Bennewies (District 9 – Perth) is the winner of a weekend for two at Hockley Valley Resort near Orangeville.


Grain Farmers of Ontario supports and commends Health Canada on confirming that glyphosate is not a risk to human health, including cancer, or a risk to the environment. This glyphosate statement was made by Health Canada to address eight notices of objection and public concerns following the Health Canada final re-evaluation on glyphosate in 2017.

This decision on glyphosate came after a thorough scientific review of relevant data from the federal and provincial government, all international regulatory agencies, scientific reports, and pesticide manufacturers. •


by Philip Shaw
The “final” estimates for the 2018 U.S. crop are usually presented in the January United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, which was scheduled for January 11. However, because of the U.S. government shutdown, this was cancelled. It was subsequently announced these numbers would be released February 8. In the meantime, the markets have responded to constant U.S. China trade rumours and a slight deterioration in the Brazil soybean crop. The USDA had earlier estimated the Brazil soybean crop at 122 MMT, where now private estimates are saying 112 MMT. The Brazil safrinha corn crop is at risk as well.

In Ontario, the Canadian dollar has “risen” to .7640 U.S. as of February 4, from its early 74 cent level, which has been reflected in softer soybean and wheat basis values. •


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