www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca Publ ished by NEW TECHNOLOGY NOVEMBER 2022 Crop management from above DRONES ON THE FARM
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6 ON THE COVER Crop management from above Treena Hein DRONES ON THE FARM From the CEO’s desk DECISIONS, DECISIONS 4 Autonomous equipment roundup Matt McIntosh 10 There's an app for that Kelsey Banks 14 Business side Conversations with business experts 9 GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 16 Electric pickups Jeanine Moyer 18 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists 13 Ontario Agricultural Conference Ontario Grain Farmer 21 Harvest Genomics Lisa McLean 22 Funding innovation Melanie Epp 24 Alternative weed control Rebecca Hannam 26 Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 30 Weed Olympics Mary Feldskov 28 172023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS CHECK HERE FOR DATES AND TIMES NOVEMBER 2022 volume 14, number 2 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMERis published 9 times a year (December/January, February, March, April/May, June/July, August, September, October, and November) through Grain Farmers of Ontario. Distribution is to all Ontario barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmer-members. Associate Membership Subscription available upon request. Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policies of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Seek professional advice before undertaking any recommendations or suggestions presented in this magazine. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40065283. Return undeliverable items to Grain Farmers of Ontario, 679 Southgate Drive, Guelph, ON N1G 4S2. © Grain Farmers of Ontario all rights reserved. Publisher: Grain Farmers of Ontario, Phone: 1-800-265-0550, Website: www.gfo.ca; Managing Editor: Mary Feldskov; Production Co-ordinator: Kim Ratz; Advertising Sales: Joanne Tichborne
Decisions, decisions FARMERS ARE ALWAYS making decisions – each year, they set goals and expectations and plan what to plant, when to plant, where to plant, when to spray or fertilize, when to harvest, and when to sell. As circumstances, sometimes out of anyone’s control, like weather, change throughout the season, sometimes those decisions change. All those decisions culminate at harvest when the crops come off, and then it is time to sit back and reflect on the series of decisions that were made and how they impacted the final outcome — and take what was learned to help make decisions the following year. Grain Farmers of Ontario operates in a similar way. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Board of Directors and staff make a plan, set goals and objectives, and make decisions that set the course for the organization for the coming year. A reality is that our industry is always changing, and unforeseen events can make a shift in action necessary — for example, no one predicted the war in Ukraine would cause fertilizer shortages and the Canadian government would impose tariffs on previously purchased fertilizer. For Grain Farmers of Ontario, the opportunity to reflect on how we achieved our goals and objectives — and how our decisions netted results for farmer-members — occurs annually at our annual general meeting in September. This year, we were excited to meet in person in Woodstock on September 13. Our Board, delegates, farmer-members, and staff gathered to review financial statements, hear about the work that was done, and reflect upon the past year. And, the farmer-members got to make some decisions — resolutions adopted at the meeting will be taken back to the Board for discussion and action. Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario From the CEO’s desk 4 The annual meeting was held in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, and it was great to walk the show, chat with farmermembers, and visit the vendors to see what’s new and exciting. For many farmers, the opportunity to “kick some tires” or talk to sales reps is part of their decision-making process — will they buy a new piece of equipment? Try a new crop variety? Or perhaps implement some new technology on their farm? The Outdoor Farm Show is the place to go to gather information to help inform those decisions. We were pleased to see so many farmer-members drop by our booth at the Outdoor Farm Show and, later in September, at the International Plowing Match in Kemptville. It was great to see so many people face-to-face, talk to farmer-members about their concerns, hear their feedback, and connect with industry colleagues after two years of cancellations and virtual meetings and events. Taking some time away from the office to attend these annual events was a great decision! l
ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 5 www.gfo.ca/about/district-meetings/ 2023 Annual District Meetings Grain Farmers of Ontario Grain Farmers of Ontario is holding its Annual District Grain Committee Meetings in January and we want all barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers to attend! These meetings provide an opportunity for farmer-members to ask questions and receive updates. Your district will also elect delegates and alternates during the meeting. It is important to hear as many voices as possible — and that includes yours! Meetings will also have a Zoomoption. Links to all meetings will be provided at www.gfo.ca and district-specific meeting information will be sent to all farmer-members via a postcard mailer in December. ATTEND FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN 1 OF 3 PRIZES! All current Grain Farmers of Ontario farmer-members that attend their January District Meeting will receive a chance to win 1 of 3 tech prizes*: Grand Prize: Apple MacBook 1st Runner up prize: Apple iPad 2nd Runner up prize: Apple iPad * winners may substitute a comparable Windows or Android device LOCATIONS To find out where your meeting is being held, look at the chart on page 17 of this magazine. Information is subject to change. Check www.gfo.ca for updated information. Your 2023 Annual District Grain Farmers of Ontario meetings have been called. 1 of 3 tech prizes! WIN! attend your district meeting for a chance to
Cover story WE CAN’T USEthem yet for spraying crop protection products, but drones are already being actively used by many farmers in Ontario and beyond in other ways to make crop management better and easier. "I think they have great potential for seeding cover crops, in the springtime for red clover and in the fall," says Jennifer Doelman, who farms with her husband Mike Doelman in Douglas, Ontario. In late August, the Doelmans hosted a demonstration of drone seeding by DJI Agricultural Drones distributed in Canada by WONDERFULL, part of a demonstration day given by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) for about 70 attendees. Doelman is one of 33 farmer co-operators participating in the On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring (ONFARM) — a four-year applied research initiative that began in 2019 that OSCIA delivers on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. On the demo day, the benefits of drone seeding cover crops were especially clear. "It rained until an hour before the meeting began, and we certainly couldn't have taken any wheeled machine into the field," says Doelman. "This gave us a chance to seed when moisture wasn't limiting, with no compaction and no crop damage. We'll see if we were successful or not." Madeline Rodrigue, OSCIA program analyst, notes that another ONFARM co-operator, Aaron Bouwman, spread red clover using a drone last season and "seemed impressed" with the result. "We were also able to connect the drone controller to OSCIA's Mobile Soil Technology Suite's large LED screen, so in addition to seeing the drone spread the seed over the field, attendees could see how the drone controls work and what it looks like from the operator's perspective," says Rodrigue. BEYOND SEEDING Drones are also used for scouting in Ontario. "It's very difficult to determine precise density and health of crops mid-season," says Umaid Imran of Ontario-based Fiza Drones. "Once you have plant health information, you can use a drone to spray-apply foliar fertilizer for in-season micronutrient deficiencies or do targeted conventional application of crop protection products as needed." Agronomist Kaye McLagan is among those who use a drone to check crop plant health — mostly nutrient deficiency and disease monitoring in soybeans and wheat early in the season on her farm and the farms of her clients through her business Willowgrove Ag Services. She farms with her brother Kevin McLagan and husband Andrew Ehgoetz outside Mitchell, Ontario. Early in the season, the sensors on her 'Drone Deploy' drone also allow her to identify weed patches in soybeans, wheat, and corn. At that point, when crop plants are small, field areas where the vegetative index readings are high generally indicate a flush of weeds. McLagan then visits those areas to confirm the weed species and extent of growth, giving her the information she needs to make an informed decision about the right herbicide application. "Also, this year, I used my drone for corn plant stand counts," McLagan says. "I finished in less than ten minutes, and it normally takes two hours. That has been really helpful during the last two years in particular. Two years ago and even this year, we had cool and wet springs, and it's been very helpful to see what plant stands we got for the seeding rates and the plants per acre for earlier and later planting dates. It's really shown that later is better." Imran adds that at the end of the season, drones can provide insight into which fields are best harvested first. ROI AND TRAINING Drone operators must take a training course and pass operational and written tests. Among other restrictions, drones can only be operated in Canada in sight of the operator. In Doelman's view, both the time and cost involved with drones present challenges to Crop management from above DRONES ON THE FARM Treena Hein continued on page 8 • Drone technology is not new, but its onfarm use continues to grow as industry, agronomists, and farmers test and adopt new ways of integrating them into the cropping plan. • At an ONFARM demonstration event in July, drones were used to seed a cover crop on the farm of Jennifer and Mike Doelman from Douglas, Ontario. • Agronomist and farmer Kaye McLagan uses a drone to scout fields and to conduct corn plant stand counts. • Spraying crop protection using a drone is not currently legal in Canada, but is a promising future use of drone technology once approved. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 6
ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 7 NOVEMBER 2022 A DRONE SEEDING DEMONSTRATION AT AN ONFARM EVENT IN EASTERN ONTARIO. PHOTO COURTESY OF OSCIA.
8 underserviced areas, it seems like a nobrainer for someone to purchase one for their own cover crops and to be hired out for custom application by their neighbours. You just need to have a dedicated person who will make sure it's running and not sitting in the corner of the garage most of the year." McLagan says her drone (and four batteries) cost $3,500 and paid for itself within two years, and the $800 yearly subscription pays for itself many times over every year. This payback comes from direct interventions in crop management that lead to better yields but also in what she calls 'knowledge profit.' This refers to how the drone system allows farmers to build their knowledge base of many things, from variety and hybrid performance to specific field problems, best planting dates and more, giving insight for future decision making. Imran believes a revolution in drone use has already started, partially because drones will become more and more autonomous each year. Their uses in farming are sure to expand as well, which will further drive adoption. If spraying crop protection products by drone does become legal, Doelman says she sees "a great deal of opportunity" for this use in rural and remote areas. "Suddenly, you don't need to have to worry about road width, fence lines, or even accessing staff who can operate a big sprayer or the heavy trucks or tractors needed," she says. Doelman is also curious to see if drones will be of use to deter wildlife from damaging crops, including crows and other birds, bears, deer, and wild pigs. l OSCIA'S MOBILE SOIL TECHNOLOGY SUITE GAVE THE ONFARM EVENT ATTENDEES A FIRST-PERSON VIEW OF THE DRONE IN ACTION. PHOTO COURTESY OF OSCIA. continued from page 6 adoption. "I think many farmers will underestimate the learning curve to operating the drone and being able to build in the proper habits on how it's used," she says. This challenge is why Fiza Drones is developing an autonomous, high-speed drone system where the farmer only needs to choose flight objectives within the accompanying smartphone app. The drone takes care of gathering the data and providing the analysis. As with any technology, the return on investment for drones depends on many factors, from the extent and types of use, individual farm parameters, how results are used, and more. "For smaller acreage farms that have higher value crops, drone use might make a lot of sense," says Doelman. "For newer farmers that can't afford a sprayer or farmers in
9 (J.M.) WHAT DO RISING INTEREST RATES MEAN FOR FARM DEBT IN CANADA? (C.K.) Until recently, interest rates had declined since the late 1980s and early 1990s. So, most Canadian farmers in business today have been enjoying those declining interest rates for much of their careers. This new financial environment is an adjustment and calls for some conversations farmers have never had to have. Over the years, farmers have taken advantage of the declining rates, taking on more short- and long-term debt to invest in and grow their operations. While this has been great for business, it means that today, financial management is more important than ever. Unfortunately, agriculture is a price taker for everything — from interest rates to inputs and even our end products. It's also important to note that every sector across Canada is feeling the pinch of a high-cost environment – from rising interest rates to soaring input costs for crops and feed. It's not all bad news, though. Rising interest rates come with opportunities too. A renewed focus on finances and debt management means farmers may become more efficient out of necessity. WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER GRAIN FARMERS CONCERNED ABOUT MANAGING THEIR DEBT LOAD? Be prepared to have conversations with your lender. And start early — if you're concerned, book a meeting with your lender before any renewal dates or your annual review. The more time you have to plan, the more opportunities you have to take advantage of fluctuating rates, payment structures, or changes to your financial or management plan. My best advice is to make sure you have a plan that allows you to sleep at night. Keep your financials up to date and understand your farm's financial health. Know where you need to find improvements and efficiencies. Try challenging yourself and your farm advisory team to find opportunities and ways to economize. Maintain a farm business plan and strategy. No matter the financial environment, you still need a plan and a vision with goals. While some of your aspirations may need to be put on hold due to the current financial environment, keeping your risk management strategy and future plans in mind can also help identify opportunities or manage realistic timelines. Be willing to adjust your vision to weather rising interest rates and input costs. Relationships are important. Surround yourself with a trusted farm advisory team and talk to them. Consult your team to make smart business decisions so you can take advantage of any opportunities. Find the right payment strategy. Everyone has different comfort levels and tolerance when managing debt loads and repayment schedules. Work closely with your lender, and be prepared to have frank conversations about interest rate strategies. Fixed rates are beneficial for those who prefer the security of knowing what their payment is and the income needed to make those payments. If security helps you sleep at night, locking in a fixed rate might be your best option. Variable interest rates mean less certainty, especially in today's environment. Some are more comfortable with a variable option because they can leverage fluctuating market movements. A combination of fixed and variable rates can be a good solution, especially if you are managing shortand long-term debt. Again, consult your lender to discuss options to find the best fit for your farm financials. HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR THE FUTURE IN A RISING INTEREST RATE ENVIRONMENT? Agriculture is adaptive, and farmers are business savvy. The current financial environment does not restrict farmers from making future business plans. The key is to have a vision, create a risk management strategy (that includes managing rising interest rates), and identifying what success looks like for you, your farm and your family. And then be willing to adjust to those expectations. Now may not be the best time for significant financial investments in your operation, given the uncertainty of input and lending costs. But if you have a plan, it can help you identify and evaluate opportunities as they arise. Every farmer is in a position to make smart decisions today to weather the current financial environment and invest in the future of their farm businesses. l Jeanine Moyer Craig Klemmer, Principal Agricultural Economist, Farm Credit Canada www.fcc-fac.ca Farm debt management BUSINESS SIDE WITH... Business side ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 9 NOVEMBER 2022
10 AUTONOMY AND ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) are advancing in leaps and bounds, and farm machinery manufacturers of all sizes are trying to seize the opportunity. However, approaches differ, bringing different capabilities and physical characteristics to stand-alone machines and retrofit solutions. JOHN DEERE INVESTING IN AUTONOMY John Deere continues to draw attention for its evolving line of autonomous machines, including the 8R tractor series, released earlier in 2022. Graham Burton, integrated solutions manager for Premier Equipment, says the traditional cabbed tractor design of the autonomous 8R line is an attractive feature since it allows for manual and driverless operation. "Autonomy is essentially a feature. We can still drive it to the field, which is great from a liability standpoint," he says, adding the machine could prove particularly valuable to custom farm service providers and potentially those with limited labour resources. Burton believes the 8R series and other similar autonomously-capable designs have potential in the Ontario marketplace. However, continued field demonstrations will be important since the tasks which the 8R could practically complete will be implement-specific (John Deere originally released the 8R with a focus on tillage). Implement technology and tractor technology, Autonomous equipment roundup WHAT'S NEW – AND WHAT DO FARMERS THINK? Matt McIntosh JOHN DEERE 8R AUTONOMOUS TRACTOR. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN DEERE. that is, are both at play, and Burton says systems on both should complement each other to ensure the effective detection of obstacles, for example. The 8R series is far from the only autonomous, AI-focused initiative from John Deere. Indeed, the company has stated it wants to bring autonomy to the broader agriculture sector as soon as possible via tractor retrofit kits — in addition to its separate tractor lines, which are autonomous out-ofthe-box. To achieve this goal more quickly, John Deere acquired California-based agtech company Bear Flag Robotics for $250 million USD in 2021. Other major farm equipment manufacturers have also pursued autonomous designs, including New Holland's NH — a design similar to the green 8R series — and the cabless Case IH autonomous tractor, both released in 2016. Regarding the latter, mixed reviews about cabless designs contributed to a later decision to re-incorporate an operator cab. Case IH and Raven Industries recently partnered to develop an autonomous spreader. The Case IH Trident 5550 applicator was unveiled at Farm Progress Show 2022, being marketed as another answer to labour challenges and the need for higher productivity. A joint press release from the companies describes the machine as combining "proven driverless technology with an agronomically designed spreading platform for a flexible autonomous solution." From a mobile device, reads the press release, operators can "plan and complete an entire field operation based on mapped field boundaries. The Raven Autonomy perception system, through a series of advanced cameras and radar system, is constantly sensing a 360-degree environment around the machine for obstacles and motion Agronomy
ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 11 NOVEMBER 2022 continued on page 12 Some [farmers] are keen to try the latest advances, while others want to wait until the tool in question has proven itself. For Your Field, Your Farm. PERFORMANCE True maizex.com Maizex_OntGrainFarmer_Soy_3.46x8.865_9_22.indd 1 9/8/22 1:05 PM initiation while operating. With artificial intelligence, Raven's perception controller processes the continuous stream of images, which interprets and detects obstacles." RAVEN, NEXAT, AND OTHERS Raven's driverless, multi-implement compatible OMNiPOWER platform (once known as Dot) has received significant attention in recent years. The first one in Ontario arrived at Bothwell-area elevator and agservice provider Haggerty Creek Ltd. in the spring of 2020 and has since been tested, augmented, and refined through cooperation with the manufacturer. Raven incorporated improvements into a second-generation design — the OMNiPOWER 3200, released in spring 2022 — including more powerful engines and hydraulic systems for better operational speed and ground contact and a more serviceable design for in-field repairs. Raven, too, has invested in bolt-on autonomy systems in addition to stand-alone machines. The company's OMNiDRIVE harvest application allows combine operators to control and operate an autonomous grain cart tractor, removing the necessity of having a second driver. Many other companies are making inroads in the large autonomous machinery space. German ag-tech developer NEXAT is one, with its all-in-one autonomous platform designed to address compaction, labour, and various other crop production issues. The system is a gantry-style design — a wide implement area bookended by wheels or tracks — following a multi-implement capability similar to the OMNiPOWER platform. However, the NEXAT design retains an operating cab. It has drawn a lot of attention in Europe — particularly for large-scale operational trials in Ukraine. However, the company has shifted to North American trials due to the ongoing war. MIXED RECEPTION TO AUTONOMY These technologies are just a selection of higher-profile examples in a rapidly changing market. Innumerable smaller companies are also entering the fray, with designs ranging from very small and multipurpose to large and task-specific. For Ian Siertsema, technology solutions manager for Roberts Farm Equipment, advances in guidance capability appear to be an ongoing focus for a wide swath of equipment manufacturers, citing Raven
12 people using it would have a hard time going back now. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to work and see some of those new benefits. With the labour situation the way it is, I think some of this tech will be adopted more quickly." MADE-IN-ONTARIO AUTONOMY SOLUTIONS Many new systems are designed and produced outside of Ontario, particularly by smaller ag-tech developers. What's more, some of those developers do not have a deep background in agricultural production, either academically or from direct field experience, adding another layer of apprehension for some growers. In particular, Ontario's growing conditions and crop production can be vastly different from other geographies — California, for example. Ensuring new systems are effective in Ontario's growing conditions spurred the creation of an Ontario-specific agricultural autonomous working group. The collaboration involves a wide range of technology developers, researchers, extension specialists, farmers, and agribusinesses, including Haggerty Creek Ltd. The overarching goal — find what works, what doesn't, and how to improve autonomous machines by putting them to the test in Ontario fields. A demonstration event featuring some of the machines currently undergoing field trials was held in July 2022. Chuck Baresich, general manager for Haggerty Creek, reiterated to attendees the working group's purpose includes showing growers that autonomous machines can, and do, have a place in the field — provided effective operation and logistics issues are resolved. "I've always been interested in trying to improve production systems. How can we practice with and develop this technology? Believe it or not, this technology doesn't work right out of the box," says Baresich. "That's one of the reasons we're taking baby steps bringing these machines out. Not only do we need to resolve the technology, the tooling, the GPS, RTK, and cellular communications, we also have to solve the logistics piece. How do you charge them? How do you fix them? What errors happen? All these types of questions." l THE NEXAT WITH THE NEXCO SINGLETREE COMBINE HARVESTING GRAIN CORN FROM ABOVE. PHOTO COURTESY OF NEXAT GMBH © WWW.NEXAT.DE. continued from page 11 (and its parent company CNH Industrial), as a notable example. "All manufacturers are leaning more and more towards fleet management, or managing from afar. Everyone has offerings. There are new things coming all the time," he says, though he adds there are also significant and comparatively under-the-radar advances in non-guidance-related areas. Ensuring people are aware of what tools are available and how to integrate them into their operations is the challenge. Regarding the openness of farmers to autonomous tools and machines, his experience highlights a predictable range — some are keen to try the latest advances, while others want to wait until the tool in question has proven itself. "It all comes with a cost, of course, but I think I probably tend to agree there can [be apprehension]. Until they get using it, they don't necessarily see some of the benefits," says Siertsema. "It's kind of back to when auto guidance became more mainstream. Some of the
THE CORNERSTONE OF managing soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is planting SCN resistance varieties, but effective SCN management does not end when you have selected your soybean varieties. It is imperative to know not only your SCN population levels in each of your fields but what is happening to those levels over time, and it begins with SCN soil testing. The fall is a perfect time to sample harvested soybean fields or fields that will be planted in soybeans in the spring. A fall sample takes into account any significant SCN population changes that have occurred during the growing season. If it’s the first time sampling a field, the results provide you with a baseline for future comparison. If you already have a baseline, the SCN test provides critical information. If your SCN levels are decreasing, this could indicate your management program is working. If your SCN levels are rising, this is a big red flag that the problem is getting worse and could get out of hand, costing you significantly in lost yield, dollars, and sleep! One of the most important decisions a producer can make concerning this devastating pest is to take an SCN soil test. For more information, visit the SCN Coalition website at www.thescncoalition.com or the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Agronomy Guide Publication 811. NEMATODE SURVEY OMAFRA is conducting a nematode survey targeting field and horticultural crop fields. The goal is to update provincial nematode distribution maps and establish baseline data for six nematode species, including soybean cyst nematode and root lesion. Survey results will support the enhancement of current nematode Best Management Practices for field and horticultural crop farmers. Participating in the nematode survey is free, and soil samples can be collected specifically for nematode testing, such as SCN, or soil samples collected for soil fertility can be split. For more information or a submission form, please contact Albert Tenuta, email@example.com or Katie Goldenhar, OMAFRA horticultural crop pathologist, firstname.lastname@example.org. l Testing for SCN CROP SIDE WITH... Crop side ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 13 NOVEMBER 2022 FIGURE 1. SCN ABOVEGROUND FIELD SYMPTOMS. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALBERT TENUTA. FIGURE 2. SCN FEMALE CYSTS ON ROOTS. Albert Tenuta, Field Crop Plant Pathologist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs SCN CYSTS NODULES
14 GROWING A CROPcan be a challenge in many ways for both farmers and agronomists — their goals are to grow a high-yielding and good-quality crop that can recoup the cost of production but also increase the income for the farm business. One way to overcome part of this challenge is using technology that can assist in making agronomic decisions that make the most sense. For many growers, the cell phone in their pocket is an underutilized tool. There are hundreds of helpful applications (apps) that farmers can use — but how do you know where to start? OPINIONS FROM EXPERTS When asked what their favourite smartphone apps they use to assist in making agronomic decisions, here's what two Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) field team staff and a grain grower had to say. Colin Elgie, soil fertility specialist, OMAFRA • Pesticide Labels (Government of Canada) — if you are unsure about information about any pesticides, you can use this app to search for pesticide labels. • Pest Manager (OMAFRA) — if you are having difficulties identifying a pest or looking at options for controlling the pest, you can use this app to identify the pest based on a selection process. This includes the type of pest and further questions to get a potential answer. • Soil Test Manager (OMAFRA) — if you are looking at soil sample results and need some assistance, this app helps clarify the sample's information. • AgriSuite (OMAFRA) — although this is a webpage, not an app, this is a great website to use if you want to create crop plans with access to OMAFRA's tools and resources. There's an app for that AGRONOMIC EXPERTISE IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND Kelsey Banks • Camera (iPhone) — the camera feature on the newer iPhones is very handy to help with weed identification in three simple steps. Take the picture, pull up the information about the picture by clicking on the information symbol, and Siri will give you an answer. If you use this feature, it is beneficial to confirm the answer you get with another source. Laura Scott, cropping systems specialist, OMAFRA • AgPhD Fertilizer remover by crop — assists the grower and the agronomist with fertilizer recommendations. • WeatherLink — downloading this app will give you access to information about current environmental conditions based on the stations that are local to you. • Storm Radar — if you are looking for accurate information about upcoming storms and weather data, give this app a try. Agronomy
• Twitter — although this app is great for connection and networking, it is also a way to see what is going on in different areas. • Crop Protection hub (OMAFRA) — this website is a valuable tool to use if you want to get Ontario-based pesticide information and potential solutions. Although this is not an app, it is a great website to bookmark. Jason Byvelds, farmer, Holland Vale Inc. Iroquois, Ontario • UniFi Protect and UniFi Network — these apps provide a security system protecting the farm and provide wifi to the farm through an UniFi device. • Litchi — if you have a drone, this app is great for controlling it and taking photos. • PictureThis — using this app can help identify weeds by taking a photo while out scouting. • TractorHouse — this app can help a grower find equipment, parts, attachments, and auction results for their on-farm equipment. • Climate FieldView – A grower can connect virtually with their agronomist to create precision application maps both on a computer and in the app. This app can also track data from planting to harvest and throughout the season, which is useful to both growers and agronomists. Many other smartphone apps and websites may not be listed, but they can be useful to help make agronomic decisions. Talk to your agronomist or an OMAFRA extension specialist to find out what smartphone apps might work for you and your farm business. As technology continues to advance, more apps will be developed that will be helpful for making agronomic and farm business decisions. Across Canada and globally, with smartphone apps, websites and digital connections of growers and agronomic ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 15 NOVEMBER 2022 Soil Test Manager – if you are looking at soil sample results and need some assistance, this app helps clarify the sample's information. SECOND TO NONE MERIDIAN’S POWDER COAT FINISH Request a quote at meridianmfg.com/quote RUST PROTECTION: Meridian’s pre-engineered premium powder coat finish (MPS1000) has a Salt Spray Rating of more than 2,000 hours which is approximately 3-4x more than wet paint standards. DURABILITY: The superior adhesion and smooth, long-lasting finish of the polyester coating ensures that Meridian SmoothWall Hopper Bins will be incredibly durable and will stand the test of time. CURE TIMES: Powder coating is ready to use as soon as it is out of the oven, unlike liquid paints and epoxies that require lengthy cure times. PROUDLY BUILT IN CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO. www.meridianmfg.com | (855) 346-3712 | email@example.com THE PREMIUM POWDER COATED BIN © 2022 Meridian Manufacturing Inc. Registered Trademarks used under License. (0 9/2022) specialists across the world, we will be able to grow better crops and better farm businesses. l
16 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events INBOUND TRADE MISSIONS After more than two years of connecting virtually, Grain Farmers of Ontario has started participating in in-person trade missions and events. In August, 15 wheat customers from markets across Latin America visited Ontario as part of a Cereals Canada inbound trade mission. Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Market Development team, supported by joint venture partners at the SGS Grains Analytical Testing Lab, provided the group with an overview of this year's Ontario wheat crop and early quality assessments. The delegation then visited P&H's export and milling facility in Hamilton, where they learned about our Great Lakes export infrastructure and saw an ocean-bound vessel loaded with soft red winter wheat. They then visited Twenty View Farms, where they learned about Ontario's diverse crop rotation, sustainable agronomic practices and robust quality management. PROVINCIAL PREMISES REGISTRY Premises identification is the first step in establishing a traceability system that can lead to business advantages, including improved operational efficiencies and increased market access. With the Provincial Premises Registry (PPR), the government can notify you about incidents that may impact you and your operation quickly, minimizing the effect on your operation. The PPR is a record of individual parcels of land associated with agri-food activities. Agricorp operates the registry on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The integrity of the PPR depends on accurate and current premises information. Registrants are encouraged to confirm or update their premises information annually. Confirming your premises information at least every two years also keeps your premises ID active and eligible for government programs, such as Ontario’s Risk Management Program. To update your information or register a new premises, visit www.ontariopid.com or call Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999. 2023 MARCH CLASSIC Join hundreds of grain farmers, agriculture industry supporters, government representatives, and more in London, Ontario on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 for the annual March Classic. Be sure to visit www.gfo.ca/marchclassic for more details. AALP RECRUITMENT OPENS FOR CLASS 20 The Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) is now accepting applications for Class 20. During the 18-month executive program, up to 30 individuals will embark on a personal leadership journey to realize their potential while exploring the agri-food sector from the local to the international level. Each Class is created with attention to the diversity of participants so that peer-to-peer mentorship, interrelationships and a broad network are developed. Applications are due November 25, 2022. Find out more at https://www.ruralontario institute.ca/aalp/. MARKET COMMENTARY by Philip Shaw On September 12, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) surprised the grain market by cutting both corn and soybean yields. The USDA pegged U.S. corn production at 13.94 billion bushels which is a cut of 415 million bushels from the last report. This was based on a corn yield which was lower by 2.9 bushels per acre at 172.5 bushels per acre. On the soybean side of the ledger, yield was cut by 1.4 bushels per acre down to 50.5 bushels per acre, giving us a soybean production of 4.38 billion bushels. The U.S. dollar has been on fire late into September, which generally is negative for grains futures prices. However, it has had the effect of sending the Canadian dollar down to the 72-cent U.S. level helping to sustain Ontario cash grain prices. FROM THE CHAIR A Q&A with Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Did you see any intriguing new technology at the Canadian Outdoor Farm Show in September? The Outdoor Farm Show this year was outstanding, with record attendee numbers and one of our busiest years at the Grain Farmers of Ontario booth. While I saw a lot of amazing looking, and larger than ever, machinery and even attended a breakfast highlighting new technology and innovation, my favourite piece of new technology was at the Grain Farmers of Ontario booth. The prototype grinder, developed to grind corn samples to more accurately test for DON at the elevator, was showcased and our Agronomy team and partners gave demos all three days. The fine grind, consistency, and better sample that this grinder can produce are a direct result of the research projects Grain Farmers of Ontario funded and partnered on after the 2018 DON in corn crisis. Innovations, like the grinder, that help to solve problems that our farmer-members face is something I love to see! The response from farmermembers and industry alike was really positive, and we look forward to updates from the manufacturers as they enter the next stage of product development. • Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.
17 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER NOVEMBER 2022 NOTICE OF 2023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS DISTRICT DATE TIME LOCATION / DISTRICT DIRECTOR DISTRICT 1 Essex Jan 13 9 a.m. St. John’s Parish Hall County Road 46, Woodslee, ON Director: Brendan Byrne DISTRICT 2 Kent Jan 17 3 p.m. Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club 25393 St. Clair Road, Dover Centre, ON - dinner provided Director: Gus Ternoey DISTRICT 3 Lambton Jan 19 4 p.m. (registration: 3:45 p.m.) Wyoming Fair Grounds 595 Main Street, Wyoming, ON - dinner provided Director: Emery Huszka DISTRICT 4 Middlesex Jan 16 9 a.m. Coldstream Community Centre 10227 Ilderton Road, Ilderton, ON Director: Steve Twynstra DISTRICT 5 Elgin, Norfolk Jan 18 9 a.m. Malahide Community Place 12105 Whittaker Road, Springfield, ON Director: Scott Persall DISTRICT 6 Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara Jan 10 9 a.m. (registration: 8:30 a.m.) Mutual Room, Riverside Exhibition Centre (Caledonia Fairgrounds) 151 Caithness Street E, Caledonia, ON - lunch provided Director: Jeff Barlow DISTRICT 7 Waterloo, Oxford Jan 16 9 a.m. Innerkip Community Centre 695566 17th Line, Innerkip, ON Director: Kevin Armstrong DISTRICT 8 Huron Jan 12 9 a.m. Holmesville Community Centre 180 Community Centre Road, Clinton, ON Director: Keith Black DISTRICT 9 Perth Jan 20 5:30 p.m. Mitchell Golf and Country Club 81 Frances Street, Mitchell, ON - dinner provided Director: Josh Boersen DISTRICT 10 Grey, Bruce, Wellington Jan 20 9:30 a.m. Clifford Community Hall 2 William Street, Clifford, ON - lunch provided Director: Steve Lake DISTRICT 11 Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York Jan 9 10 a.m. (registration: 9:30 a.m.) St. John’s United Church 27 Yonge Street, Elmvale, ON - farmers lunch/pie provided Director: Leo Blydorp DISTRICT 12 Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings Jan 10 9:30 a.m. The Best Western Plus 930 Burnham Street, Cobourg, ON Director: Jeff Harrison DISTRICT 13 Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa Jan 11 10 a.m. (coffee: 9:30 a.m.) Elgin Lions Club 19 Pineview Drive, Elgin, ON - hot lunch/pie provided Director: Lloyd Crowe DISTRICT 14 Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry Jan 12 9 a.m. North Stormont Place 16299 Fairview Drive, Avonmore, ON - lunch provided Director: Scott Fife DISTRICT 15 Northern Ontario Jan 19 9 a.m. Earlton Arena, upstairs, Earlton, ON Director: Chuck Amyot All current Grain Farmers of Ontario farmer-members that attend their January District Meeting will receive a chance to win 1 of 3 tech prizes*: Grand Prize: Apple MacBook 1st Runner up prize: Apple iPad 2nd Runner up prize: Apple iPad * winners may substitute a comparable Windows or Android device _____ Contest of the month Enter to win the monthly online contest for 2022 at www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca. In November, enter to win a Dewalt 3600 PSI Gas pressure washer courtesy of BASF Ag Solutions (valued at $900). The contest is open to all farmer-members and is online only. 2023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS The date and time of your district meeting has been confirmed and is listed below. Please go to www.gfo.ca for additional meeting details as they become available. Information is subject to change. The Annual District Meetings are called to elect voting delegates for the coming year. Directors will be elected in odd-numbered districts to serve a two-year term. Updates on our organization and grain industry issues are also provided at these meetings. Meetings will also have a Zoom option. Links to all meetings will be provided at www.gfo.ca and district-specific meeting information will be sent to all farmer-members via a postcard mailer in December.
18 LAST YEAR, 1.6 MILLIONnew zeroemission vehicles (ZEVs) hit Canadian roadways, accounting for 5.2 per cent of all new motor vehicles registered. And between new federal government incentives and the release of new ZEV models, including lightduty pickup trucks and SUVs, our roads are about to look a lot different. With goals to see ZEVs make up at least 20 per cent of all new passenger vehicles sold in Canada by 2026 and at least 60 per cent by 2030, the Government of Canada is on the fast track to see electric vehicles fill 100 per cent of our roadways by 2035 (all new vehicles must be zero-emission by 2035). Earlier this year, the federal government also released a new buyer incentive program, with $547.5 million in funding to help businesses, like farms, switch to mediumand heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles, including minivans, light-duty pickup trucks and SUVs. In addition, the federal government aims to have these medium-and heavy-duty vehicles make up 35 per cent of total sales of zero-emission vehicles by 2030 to help reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. “When it comes to motivating ZEV buyers, government incentives are like the carrot,” explains Tim Burrows of the Electric Vehicle Society, a Canadian not-for-profit advocacy group for electric vehicles. “The ‘stick’ will be the zero-emission mandates.” And while the Government of Canada is rolling out buyer incentive programs and zero-emission mandates, only British Columbia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Electric pickups COMING TO A FARM NEAR YOU? Jeanine Moyer 2022 FORD F-150 LIGHTENING PRO. PHOTO COURTESY OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY. and Quebec are offering provincial sales rebates for ZEVs. This explains why many manufacturers are prioritizing the supply of ZEVs to those provinces offering additional incentives. Government targets and buyer incentive programs aside, what will the uptake of electric vehicles look like across rural areas, especially for farmers who prefer and depend on larger vehicles, like pickups, for day-today work? “I believe there is a 100 per cent opportunity for electric trucks on farms,” says Burrows. “The question is time and how quickly the uptake will happen.” COMING TO MARKET The recent unveiling of the Ford F-150 Lightning is attracting a lot of attention as the first electric pickup truck available in Canada. According to the manufacturer, the new electric F-150 can serve as a de facto backup generator, generating 9.6 kilowatts of power from up to 11 power outlets throughout the vehicle, and its battery has the ability to power a standard home for several days. Burrows says the F-150 Lightning is just the first major electric truck to market. Many manufacturers will be releasing pickups in the near future and offering customers new, attractive features, like power outlets that aren’t available on traditional vehicles. “Because electric vehicles don’t have a motor, they have so much more space and freedom available to offer more creative features, and I think that will help with the attraction and transition to an electric pickup,” he says. The most attractive features for many consumers switching to an electricpowered vehicle today are reduced noise, lower maintenance and fuel, and reduced operating cost. And while they may not be selling points for die-hard pickup truck drivers Sustainability
today, Burrows is confident the new electric trucks coming to market will turn some heads. Building on the Ford F-150 Lightning launch, GM is expected to release an electric version of their popular Chevrolet Silverado EV in late 2022. Additional ZEV pickups will include Toyota’s Tacoma EV and Rivian’s R1T. Lordstown Motors has announced an allelectric Endurance pickup, and Tesla’s Cybertruck is due to begin production in late 2022, with volume ramping up in 2023. BEYOND THE ROADWAY Electric vehicle technology has come a long way. Now the industry has the capability to manufacture powerful trucks with a range of new applications, and hopefully, those who are skeptical will be won over by the merits of the vehicles themselves,” says Burrows. Electric vehicles, including electric-powered pickup trucks, are marketed as longerlasting, offering reduced fuel costs and lower maintenance. And, as more trucks are being ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 19 NOVEMBER 2022 continued on page 20 The federal government aims to have these medium-and heavy-duty [electric] vehicles make up 35 per cent of total sales of zero-emission vehicles by 2030. An annual profitability study that includes variety bonuses and other programs offered by Prograin will prove it to you! Discover the benefits at myprograinbenefits.ca Prograin® DO THE MATH Producing IP soybeans pays off! The soy expert designed and manufactured, Burrows expects the average cost will eventually be the same or less than today’s gas- or dieselpowered trucks. “Some people won’t want to give up their traditional pickups, but change will happen over time,” he predicts. New applications of electric-powered vehicles are also being explored and adopted in other industries, like aircraft, long-range
20 transport trucks, mining, snowmobiles, and watercraft. Electric vehicles are already being considered for mining equipment in northern Ontario, offering an alternative to working underground with gas and diesel equipment where noise and ventilation are concerns. “There are also interesting parallels between the adoption of electric vehicles on roadways and farms. While there could be potential objection to adopting electric-powered vehicles and farm equipment, once they are proven, they could be a game-changer,” says Burrows, noting an obvious power advantage for electric motors. “The maximum torque power happens at point zero when compared to a regular motor that requires RPMs to maximize power take off. Imagine what that could mean for operating farm equipment,” he says. l 2024 SILVERADO EV RST. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHEVROLET. continued from page 19 To meet Canada's 2030 emissions reduction target and reach net zero by 2050, the federal government has set ambitious goals for the adoption of Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) over the next decade. "While emission reduction goals are being set, there's still a role for biofuels and the benefits they offer," says Michael Buttenham, environment and sustainability lead for Grain Farmers of Ontario. Biofuels such as corn-based ethanol or soybased biodiesel already offer an immediate solution to decarbonizing the transportation system while maintaining equity for consumers. The biofuels industry has seen these contributions recognized through the Province of Ontario's E15 mandate and the Government of Canada's inclusion of biofuels in the new Clean Fuel Regulations. The industry expects biofuels to remain a key pillar to the future of the low-carbon economy, even beyond 2030. Buttenham points to the continued expansion of the biofuels market within the transportation sector, such as renewable aviation and marine fuels, and the demand for industrial-based bio-products, like solvents, that will provide new value-added markets for Ontario grains and oilseeds. BIOFUELS STILL OFFER A SOLUTION
THE COVID-19pandemic has changed how we live, work, play — and learn. And in the agriculture sector, that has definitely been the case for agricultural conferences and knowledge transfer events. In 2023, the Southwest Agricultural Conference (SWAC), the Eastern Ontario Crop Conference, and Heartland and Golden Horseshoe Soil and Crop Improvement Associations (who formerly co-hosted annual conferences in Guelph and Waterloo) will once again be joining forces to host the Ontario Agricultural Conference, on January 4 and 5. In 2020 and 2021, Covid-19 pandemic restrictions brought the Ontario Agricultural Conference partners together to host a joint, entirely virtual conference. While attendees missed out on inperson networking and hearing first-hand from agricultural experts around the world, the virtual platform and the collaborative efforts of the three conference organizing teams were found to have a lot of positive impacts, according to conference chair Albert Tenuta. “The response from attendees after two years of hosting the conference online has been very supportive of keeping the virtual platform,” says Tenuta. “Having access to the recorded sessions, to watch on their own time, means they don’t miss things they might have missed at an in-person conference.” HYBRID EVENT In 2021 and 2022, the Ontario Agricultural Conference hosted more than 40 pre-recorded sessions featuring agricultural experts from all over the world. Live sessions were held over two days during the dates that the SWAC would traditionally occur. All the sessions were then available for registrants to watch, at their own pace, over the next three months. In 2023, a similar format will be followed, but with a hybrid-twist. In-person events scaled back from what attendees would have experienced pre-pandemic will be held in Ridgetown, Waterloo, and Kemptville. The Ridgetown location will host the conference's "Ag Desk" and live sessions, which will be live streamed to the to the Waterloo and Kemptville locations and registrants watching from home or from other remote locations across Canada. While Tenuta acknowledges that some people may be ready for the conferences to “return to normal,“ he says that the hybrid approach will allow for the in-person networking and social aspects that were missed while keeping some of the positive benefits of a fully-virtual conference. “We also have to be able to plan ahead,” he says. “We have to be able to respond quickly if there are changes to public health orders, and some people just aren’t ready to participate in a crowd.” TECTALK TUESDAYS One of the biggest successes of the virtual conferences was the TecTalk Tuesdays — a series of live, virtual events hosted on Zoom held weekly for several weeks following the conference. TecTalk Tuesdays allowed registrants to dive deeper into topics of sessions that interested them and gave speakers a chance to connect and engage in discussion with farmers and industry members. This popular additional benefit of conference registration will continue in 2023. REGISTRATION NOW OPEN Registration for the virtual and in-person events opened on November 1. Tenuta encourages anyone who wishes to attend the in-person sessions to register early, as capacity will be limited. Virtual attendees can register at any time. All registrants will have online access to the recorded sessions until March 31. For more information, including details on the three in-person locations, agenda, speakers, and session topics, visit the Ontario Agricultural Conference website at www.ontarioagconference.ca. l Ontario Grain Farmer Ontario Agricultural Conference PROVINCIAL CONFERENCES COLLABORATE AGAIN IN 2023 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 21 NOVEMBER 2022 Industry News