www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca Published by NEW TECHNOLOGY NOVEMBER 2023 Farming smarter EXPANSION OF THE PAN-CANADIAN SMART FARM NETWORK
We are ALL IN on you. Understanding that Canadian growers need timely solutions, we focus on new formulation technologies designed to address their greatest cropping concerns today. To see how ADAMA’s newest innovations can benefit your farm, visit: Turn the page for more product innovation from ADAMA nnovation gile Allinonyou.ca ADAMA.COM/Canada Always read and follow label directions. ADAMA® is a registered trademark of ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd. Learn more about fungicide innovation at AllInOnFungicides.ca/Maxentis ADAMA’s commitment to formulation mastery has led to a breakthrough for Canadian farmers. MAXENTIS® is a unique combination of active ingredients and ASORBITAL® 2 formulation technology that offers multi-modes of action for maximum effectiveness against white mould in soybeans. If you thought your disease control couldn’t get better, innovation has proven that it’s possible! Innovation has made everything better. Including fungicide. UPGRADE TOMAXENTIS® ADAMA.COM/Canada ADAMA® and MAXENTIS® are registered trademarks of ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd. At ADAMA, we strive to continually improve existing products, (SQUADRON®, BUMPER® 432 EC) and to develop new products and technologies, (ABSORBITAL® Formulation Technology, SORATEL™, MAXENTIS®) based on the needs of Canadian growers. And with access to over 270 active ingredients, ADAMA is poised to provide the innovative solutions that soybean growers need today. All In on soybeans Scan to learn more about innovative soybean solutions. Always read and follow label directions. ™ARROW ALL IN, BUMPER, DAVAI, SORATEL, MAXENTIS and SOMBRERO are registered trademarks of ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd. PYTHON is a trademark of ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd. © 2023 ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd. ADAMA.COM/Canada
NOVEMBER 2023 volume 15, 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 and Sponsorship Consultant: Joanne Tichborne 6 ON THE COVER Farming smarter Matt McIntosh EXPANSION OF THE PAN-CANADIAN SMART FARM NETWORK From the CEO’s desk FARMING FOR THE FUTURE 4 As seen at the show Mary Feldskov 10 New hybrid corn traits available Ontario Grain Farmer 14 Business side Conversations with business experts 9 GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 18 Keeping your data safe Treena Hein 16 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists 20 Celebrating soybean breeding Rebecca Hannam 22 European machinery technology Melanie Epp 24 The electric farm Mary Feldskov 26 Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 34 2024 Nuffield Scholarships Ontario Grain Farmer 28 Bill C-234 Debra Conlon 30 Rural food insecurity Mary Feldskov 32 192024 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS Check here for dates and times for your meeting. BIODEGRADABLE POLY
Investing in research and knowledge transfer is a strategic objective of Grain Farmers of Ontario, and we are seeing the results pay out in dividends. For example, our investment in plant breeding programs has resulted in the continued development of new and improved plant varieties — read more about the University of Guelph’s soybean breeding program on page 22. And most recently, the University of Guelph’s wheat program, where we support the Grain Farmers of Ontario Professorship in Wheat Breeding and Genetics, has released its first commercially available wheat varieties. While the rapid pace of technological advancements can sometimes feel overwhelmingly fast, there are some challenges in agriculture that technology hasn’t quite advanced far enough to solve. As government policy and public demand to move away from reliance on fossil fuels increases, we often find ourselves without viable alternatives. This is most definitely the case when it comes to using natural gas and propane for on-farm use, particularly when it comes to drying grain. We are pleased that Bill C-234, which seeks to carve out an exemption to the carbon tax on fuels used for drying grain, has passed in the House of Commons and is now being debated in the Senate. While there are some advancements in alternative grain drying methods (Grain Farmers of Ontario is supporting research projects that support their development), at this point, there are no new technologies that provide a viable alternative to propane or natural gas. We will continue to advocate on behalf of farmer-members to get this exemption through to the finish line. As we wrap up harvest and move into the winter months, I want to encourage farmer-members to take note of the important dates on the winter farm meeting calendar. Grain Farmers of Ontario January District meetings are scheduled (see page 19), and March Classic is planned for Tuesday, March 19. Not to mention, there are many conferences, meetings, farm shows, and events between now and next spring. I look forward to connecting with many of you over the busy winter meeting season. l 4 LIKE MANY OF you, I attended Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) in September and took some time to wander around the show and check out the latest in farm machinery, tools, and gadgets. The sheer amount of innovation and technological advances can be overwhelming at times, but it is amazing to see how far the industry has come and the potential for the future. Innovation is a driving force behind what we do here at Grain Farmers of Ontario. In fact, it is one of the core values in our 2021 Strategic Plan. We’re now at the halfway point of that fiveyear plan, and at this year’s Annual General Meeting, held on September 12 in conjunction with COFS, we highlighted what we have accomplished so far. I encourage everyone to read our 2022 - 2023 annual report (found at www.gfo.ca/about) to learn more about the work we have done to build a stronger grain and oilseed industry in Ontario. With thanks to delegates, directors, farmer-members, and staff, it is amazing what we are able to accomplish to help drive the industry forward. This issue of Ontario Grain Farmer focuses on technology — and the farmers who are adopting, adapting, and innovating to continue to increase yields, reduce their environmental footprint, and help feed a growing world population. While the basic premise of growing crops sounds simple — you plant a seed, hope for sunshine and rain, and then harvest a few months later — the reality is that our ability to grow abundant, safe, healthy, and sustainable crops depends on technology. From innovation in seed and plant breeding to futuristic, autonomous, selfpropelled farm equipment, the agriculture industry is constantly evolving to meet the demands and challenges of farming today and in the future. From the CEO’s desk Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario Farming for the future
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Cover story 6 DISCOVERY FARM WOODSTOCKis now part of a nationwide agricultural technology research network designed to test, troubleshoot, and develop practical farming technologies. Established and led by Olds College in Alberta, the Smart Farm Network is now comprised of eight locations across four provinces. The multi-region collaboration has multiple directives — to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of Canadian agriculture — with regard to both emerging opportunities and challenges facing Canadian farmers. The addition of the 330-acre Discovery Farm in Woodstock, Ontario will support agricultural technology research in a number of ways. As described by a Discovery Farm press release published on August 2, 2023, the Smart Farm network can now leverage specific expertise in corn and soybeans, different soil types, and other production realities and characteristics unique to Ontario and Eastern Canada. Both crop and livestock research comprise elements of the Discovery Farm contribution. Established in 2021, a wide range of research initiatives are already underway through the Smart Farm Network. Several projects at the head campus in Olds, Alberta, were showcased this past summer when journalists and communications professionals descended on the college campus for the 2023 International Federation of Agriculture Journalists (IFAJ) congress. TROUBLESHOOTING AUTONOMY In-field autonomy has been identified as a priority Smart Farm research area. In 2019, Olds College acquired a Raven OMNiPOWER platform (previously called DOT) to further the economic, environmental, and logistical benefits of autonomous agricultural equipment for broad-acre crop production. Yevgen Mykhaylichenko, professor and technology integration specialist at Olds College is the machine’s primary operator. He and his colleagues have trialed the platform using its seeder, spreader, and sprayer attachments. About 17,000 acres have been covered as of July, 2023, with researchers examining a variety of data points — how efficient and effective is it compared to non-autonomous equipment? What logistical kinks need to be remedied? — and delivering their findings to Raven for further improvements. Mykhaylichenko, a Ukrainian with an extensive history working with agricultural equipment around the globe, first came to Olds College on the recommendation of a colleague. One of his first tasks at the college was to develop agricultural technology courses covering subjects such as GIS (geography information systems) and telematics (information technology dealing with longdistance transmission of information). Speaking to IFAJ congress delegates in late June, Mykhaylichenko highlighted the possibilities of operating autonomous machines from anywhere in the world — including active war zones. Mykhaylichenko currently splits his time between the Olds College Smart Farm and the front line of the war in Ukraine. There, he delivers and trains Ukraine’s armed forces in the use of drones. In between, he operates OMNiPOWER. “I open my laptop from Ukraine at the front line, connect to Starlink, ask the students to start the engine and warm up the hydraulic system. I plan and operate the robot from Ukraine while they are working in Alberta,” he says. “I am proud of my students and team in Olds College. They support and motivate me every time when I fly to Ukraine.” MEASURING NITROGEN EMISSIONS Olds College Smart Farm researchers are also collecting hard data on soil and fertilizer emissions in a field crop setting. Using a series of small, domed chambers set up in the field, information about how much greenhouse gas (nitrous oxide, specifically) is being emitted from different amounts of applied fertilizer is being measured. Three different fertilizer treatments are being tested — a standard agronomistprescribed rate, a rate with an additional 30 per cent, and one with 30 per cent less than the prescribed rate. Farming smarter EXPANSION OF THE PAN-CANADIAN SMART FARM NETWORK Matt McIntosh continued on page 8 • Established by Olds College in Alberta, the Smart Farm Network now has eight locations in four provinces. • The Discovery Farm site in Woodstock, Ontario, (home to Canada's Outdoor Farm Show) joined the Smart Farm Network in 2023. • A wide range of research initiatives are underway, including researching and evaluating autonomous equipment like the Raven OMNiPOWER platform. • At the Olds site, research includes collecting data on soil and fertilizer emissions in a field crop setting. • Research conducted by the Smart Farms can benefit many aspects of society. Water quality research could be applied to municipal storm ponds or water treatment processes. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 7 NOVEMBER 2023 AGRICULTURAL JOURNALISTS FROM MORE THAN 30 COUNTRIES VISITED THE OLDS COLLEGE SMART FARM IN JULY, 2023. PHOTO COURTESY OF MATT MCINTOSH.
The project is part of a wider effort to determine how fertilizer use correlates with fertilizer emissions and yield. Finding the right rate for high yields and lower emissions — rate being one of the nutrient management Four Rs — is the tricky one. Millions of data points from the domed chambers are gathered every day. IMPROVING WATER QUALITY Another project seeks to help farmers — and, potentially, municipalities and other groups — clean up waterways and water bodies through the use of floating islands of wetland plants. Buffer strips and other wetland plant vegetation along the water’s edge absorb and filter nutrients and other contaminants. 8 The idea, says Daniel Karren, an ecohydrologist and one of the researchers involved in the project, is to expand the amount of edge vegetation to a point where contaminated water can be re-used. Currently, they are gathering data from a pond with five per cent floating island coverage (each island is approximately 32 square feet). The islands themselves are self-perpetuating, meaning little maintenance isrequired. They are also inexpensive — something Karren believes makes their adoption by farmers more likely. Although the campus demonstration site focuses on livestock farmers and the need to reduce the costs associated with trucking drinking water to feedlots — a particularly expensive task in light of the drought conditions experienced across the Canadian West — Karren says floating islands of grasses and other plants could beemployed anywhere water quality needs to be improved, such as in storm ponds or water treatment processes. He adds it might be possible to target different contaminants with different plant species. These are just a few examples of Smart Farm research and extension initiative. More about the Olds College Smart Farm, Woodstock Discovery Farm, and other Smart Farm locations and initiatives is available at www.oldscollege.ca/Smartfarm-research. l YEVGEN MYKHAYLINCHENKO, PROFESSOR AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION SPECIALIST AT OLDS COLLEGE, OPERATES THE RAVEN OMNIPOWER SYSTEM. PHOTO COURTESY OF OLDS COLLEGE. continued from page 6
9 (J.M.) WHAT ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS AND SOFTWARE ARE AVAILABLE FOR FARM BUSINESSES? (A.G.) The majority of farm businesses have transitioned to a desktop or cloud version of an accounting and financial management system. QuickBooks, Sage 50, and Farm Credit Canada’s AgExpert are among the most popular programs being used today. The most popular system is QuickBooks (desktop and online versions), with approximately 80 per cent of our clients using this program. QuickBooks is widely popular with many types of businesses, not just farming. It is easy to use, can be easily integrated into your own accountant’s system, and offers extensive support. Sage 50 offers a range of accountancy and payroll products for small and medium businesses and provides a solid software option. The AgExpert program is also a great specialty program, offering farmers a few more ag-specific options like inventory. WHAT FEATURES SHOULD FARMERS LOOK FOR WHEN CONSIDERING ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE? Internet connectivity should be the first consideration for farm software programs. If a farm’s connection isn’t reliable, be sure to opt for a desktop version of a program versus an online or cloud system. If you are upgrading or making a program change, talk to your accountant about their experience with programs. Ask them what programs they are most familiar with, if there are pain points you should know about, what experiences other farm clients have had, and if you can ask them questions about the program as you work through it. Automation is something else to consider. Anything that can automate a manual task like payroll, organizing receipts or make it easier to share information with your bookkeeper or accountant is helpful. For example, some programs allow you to take a photo of a receipt and automatically file it under a specific expense category. Many of today’s systems also allow you to automate payroll, and while that is a significant perk and time saver, automation still requires regular checks and balances. I always advise clients to review their books every month for accuracy, especially if they are adopting new accounting software or have automated payroll. It is easier to fix problems as they occur rather than at year end when small errors can add up. Support is important, especially for someone adopting a new system. Before investing in a new program, find out what kind of support is available from the program itself and your accountant. Your accountant should be able to provide some level of technical assistance, answer questions, and help with the transition. Support is also essential when it comes to learning how to use a new system, so before you invest, find out if training is available, and ultimately, ask yourself if this is a system you can get comfortable using. A seamless implementation into your farm business is essential. When evaluating a new system, be sure it will do what you want it to and fit your farm business needs. And, when it comes to evaluating the cost, do not forget about your time and the investment required to learn how to use a new program. If you are not using the program as efficiently as possible, make sure to invest in the proper training or ask questions through your program support or from your accountant. CAN YOU OFFER ANY TIPS FOR WORKING EFFECTIVELY WITH YOUR FARM ACCOUNTANT? Remember, your accountant is a member of your farm business team. Whenever you are considering making a change in your business, from investing in new accounting software to deciding whether to lease or buy a piece of equipment, please reach out to them. They are there to help you manage your farm business and can often provide advice that can help you when making a key decision and the resulting impact on your year-end finances. I always advise clients to be proactive rather than reactive, and open communication is key to making that happen. Work with your accountant as part of your farm management team, ask questions and make the time to check in more than once a year to review your business and plan ahead. Investing in or upgrading a farm accounting software system is a great conversation starter with your accountant that could lead to new business planning strategies! l Jeanine Moyer Aaron Greene, CPA, Manager RLB Chartered Professional Accountants www.rlb.ca Farm financial software BUSINESS SIDE WITH... Business side ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 9 NOVEMBER 2023
10 CANADA’S OUTDOOR FARM SHOW (COFS) has been showcasing the latest in agriculture technology for 30 years — and the 2023 show was no exception. With three full days of equipment demonstrations, crop plot displays, special events, and more than 650 exhibitors, there was something for everyone at this year’s show held September 12 - 14 at the Discovery Farm, Woodstock. AGRICULTURE CHAMPIONS HONOURED On opening day, the show’s director and one of the founders of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, Doug Wagner, was honoured with the unveiling of ‘Doug Wagner Way.’ Running along the front of the show — the social hub near the Ducks Unlimited Pond, the Alltech Deck, and the Adama Lounge, the location of many of the show’s festivities — the street sign that bears his name will be a lasting legacy for Wagner, who was also inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2023, recognizing his lifetime commitments to Ontario agriculture and COFS. Also honoured at the 2023 COFS was former Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) executive director Andrew Graham, recipient of the L.B. Thompson Award administered by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). The L.B. Thomson Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a significant regional contribution to soil health and conservation and was established in 1987 in honour of Leonard Baden Thomson. Thomson was one of a group of agrologists who played a key role in developing soil conservation practices that minimized the effects of severe wind erosion that plagued the Prairies in the 1930s. As seen at the show CANADA’S OUTDOOR FARM SHOW MARKS 30 YEARS Mary Feldskov THE DIESEL-POWERED DANISH-MADE ROBOTTI ON DISPLAY AT THE 2023 CANADA’S OUTDOOR FARM SHOW. Graham, whose career in agriculture stewardship has spanned 43 years, worked for OSCIA for 33 years, eight years as executive director until his retirement earlier in 2023. “Andrew Graham embodies the spirit of the L.B. Thompson Award through his lifelong work promoting soil health and conservation in Canada,” says Ian Boyd, chair of the SCCC. “His contributions to building practical approaches to improving soil health reached thousands of farmers in Ontario and across Canada, enabling them to take action to maintain and improve the health of their soils.” 2023 INNOVATION PROGRAM At an awards ceremony on September 11, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show presented its annual Innovation Program awards. Supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Innovation Program gives agricultural businesses the opportunity to show off ideas and products that are new to the market in five categories: Agronomics, Business Solutions, Environmental Sustainability, Equipment, and Livestock. The 2023 winners include: • A&L Canada Laboratories Inc.: AL-Bio7 in the category of Agronomics • Agrilog: Agrilog Platform in the category of Business Solutions • Clean Works: Clean Flow in the category of Environmental Sustainability • Ag Leader Technology: TurnPath in the category of Equipment • VETSon: VETSon Veterinary Virtual Healthcare for Farm Animals in the category of Livestock Winners of the 2023 Innovation Program exhibited at COFS in the OMAFRA Innovations Tent alongside other innovative agricultural companies. For Agrilog, a Quebec-based business specializing in grain storage management and automation solutions, Industry News
continued on page 12 exhibiting at COFS and winning the Business Solutions category in the Innovation Program was an opportunity to get their products and services out in front of potential new customers. “We are hoping to find our first customer in Ontario to pilot our Agrilog platform,” says Mathieu Phaneuf, founder and president of Agrilog. WHAT’S NEW? Seeing the latest in agriculture innovation up close and in action is a highlight of COFS and gives farmers a chance to talk to experts and learn more about ways to integrate new technology on their farms. In addition to the newest tractors, combines, planters, manure spreaders and more that farmers come to see, COFS also offered attendees the opportunity to see cuttingedge technology in action. Haggerty AgRobotics founder and president Chuck Baresich says he’s always been the guy to have the newest and coolest technological toys, and this year, he brought nine of them to COFS. As an early adopter of autonomous equipment, Haggerty AgRobotics is bringing Ontario farming into the 21st Century, trialing North American and European-designed and built autonomous equipment on farms across Ontario. This year, Haggerty AgRobotics rented 18 robots to farmers, up from three just two years ago. Next year, they hope to have 30 robots on farms across the province. During daily demonstrations, Baresich gave a running commentary about the robots, from the teeny tiny Naio Oz to the Zamboni-sized Nex La Chevre, to eager groups of farmers and attendees who watched on as the autonomous equipment worked away in a demonstration plot across from the main show site. While the robots on display may have resembled something out of a science fiction movie, Baresich says to think of them just like any other piece of equipment you’d use on the farm – each designed to do a specific task. ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 11 NOVEMBER 2023 “Most of our robots are simply autonomous tractors. If you think of them as a tractor first… then you can run any kind of implement just like on a lawn mower or a tractor.” It’s a fact — you’re an expert. Whether it’s knowledge passed down through generations or just pure hard work, your instincts help you day after day. So does your data. When you collect, reflect and project with software for field and finance, you upgrade what you know. And you know that smart decisions are driven by data. For a fact. It’s not a hunch when it’s backed by facts. Get the facts at AgExpert.ca/farmwithfacts 7167_AGEX_2023_FactsPrint_OntarioGrainFarmer_4-687x6-062_v2.indd 1 2023-09-11 11:09 AM
“Most of our robots are simply autonomous tractors. If you think of them as a tractor first… then you can run any kind of implement just like on a lawn mower or a tractor,” he says. While many of the robots on display were more suited to smaller market garden-sized farms and horticultural crops, Baresich says several models they have trialed show promise for larger-scale grain farms. He points to the Danish-made Robotti as an example. Differing from the other robots, which are electric-powered, the Robotti is diesel-powered, designed to run autonomously for 60 hours on a tank of fuel. It has a regular three-point hitch and can accommodate regular hydraulic attachments, which means it has a little less of a learning curve than some of the other robots in the Haggery AgRobotics fleet. “What's interesting about the Robotti is that it is not a big of a transition. So, some who have looked at it say, ‘it’s got a diesel engine, it has regular hydraulics, a regular threepoint hitch… maybe not as much to learn,’” says Baresich. The farmer who used the Robotti in the 2023 season used it to plant corn and sugar beets and will try a strip-till attachment in the fall. Ultimately, Haggerty AgRobotic's goal is to continue growing its fleet of robots and work with farmers, users, and manufacturers to 12 address the challenges and limitations they come across as they are trialed in various Ontario conditions, soil types, and weather. “What we’re trying to show for farmers is [the robots] working in real-world conditions, not just test plots. It’s a lot of trial and error,” says Baresich. Find out more at www.haggertagrobotics.com UP IN THE AIR While drones for agricultural use are not necessarily new, new and expanded applications for on-farm use make them more appealing for the average farmer, says Felix Weber, president and agriculture specialist at Ag Business and Crop Inc. in Palmerston, Ontario. Weber hosted daily drone flying demonstrations for COFS attendees, drawing large crowds interested in learning more about how the technology can be used on their farm. A self-described early adopter of technology, he’s been flying drones since 2011. As a mapping tool, he says drones did not really take off in agriculture, and beyond a fun toy that could take some cool photos, many farmers did not see a return on investment. But as technology evolves — and the ability to use drones for more uses such as in-crop seeding and fertilizer application — he sees more and more farmers' interest being piqued by drones. Potential changes to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) rules, which would allow pesticides to be sprayed via drone, could open up the market even more. (Currently, PMRA has authorized only a small number of biological larvicides for drone application.) Weber encourages farmers interested in using a drone to do their homework and get the necessary training and licenses. “Buy a small, cheap drone to get used to flying,” he advises. “You can’t buy a drone today and start tomorrow; there is a learning curve.” Find out more at www.agbusiness.ca. LOOKING BACK While most exhibitors at COFS were looking ahead to the future, seven-year-old Caleb Dickie, son of James and Janine Dickie of Whitechurch, Ontario, was eager to learn more about the Farmall Cub tractor on display at the Case IH booth. Caleb’s Grandpa, Walter Dickie, explained that he grew up using the 1949 model on his home farm in Whitechurch. His brother, William Dickie, still has that same tractor. 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of Farmall tractors, launched in 1923 as the “one for all” farm implement. “In 1923, we set out to design a tractor that could replace horses, and today, our Farmall still serves as the workhorse on farms across the globe,” says Scott Harris, Case IH global brand president, in a news release. “Generation after generation, Farmall has been a symbol of modern farming.” To mark the 100th anniversary, Case IH has launched two new Farmall models, the Farmall 90N and 120N. Caleb Dickie, who says he wants to be a ‘farmer and a wrestler’ when he grows up, enjoyed learning more about the past but was also excited, in addition to getting a day off school to visit the show, to see new and modern equipment like skid steers and tractors on display and to kick a few tires along the way. l WALTER DICKIE REMINISCES ABOUT USING A 1949 FARMALL CUB TRACTOR, EXPLAINING HOW IT WORKS TO HIS GRANDSON, CALEB. continued from page 11
Featuring fun, interactive, and curriculum-linked information about grains and oilseeds, the Grains on the Go trailer is full of great resources for students and educators. Farmer-members can help spread the word! Share this information with your local teachers and schools. Grains on the Go is travelling to schools across Ontario Scan for more information: Grain Farmers of Ontario’s new education program is available to visit schools in your district in the 2023-2024 school year.
14 THEY ARE COMMONLY referred to as “the newest tools in the toolbox,” and although it is a slightly overused turn of phrase, it accurately reflects the mindset of growers, agronomists, and crop advisors. With the continued evolution of resistance to herbicide and insecticide modes of action, the battle against pests such as corn rootworm or weed biotypes like waterhemp is more pressing. Two new tools are SmartStax PRO corn hybrids from Bayer CropScience and Vorceed Enlist hybrids from Corteva Agriscience, and both rely on RNAi technology to combat corn rootworm. It is a new means of controlling corn rootworm, which Marty Vermey notes is of increasing importance. Corn-on-corn production has become an important component for dairy and livestock producers, and resistance to certain Cry proteins indicates a growing need for a new trait technology package that addresses the issue. “This (RNAi technology) helps us with resistance management and having different traits available,” says Vermey, senior agronomist with the Grain Farmers of Ontario. “If farmers can rotate these technologies, that’s great.” However, he adds, continued diligence is needed in the battle against corn rootworm resistance. Right now, with that particular pest, the best option is rotation, specifically, if growers could rotate into soybeans. But there are many reasons why farmers rely on corn-on-corn, whether they’re in livestock or on a limited land base. “It’s nice to have that technology available when it is possible,” says Vermey. FROM BAYER The use of RNAi technology is the centrepiece of SmartStax PRO, interfering with corn rootworm’s production of a specific protein necessary for its life cycle, New hybrid corn traits available ADDRESSING ROOTWORM AND OTHER GROWER CONCERNS Ontario Grain Farmer meaning growers will have a third mode of action against rootworm. “SmartStax PRO builds on the proven SmartStax trait package by adding a novel RNAi technology to defend against corn rootworm, specifically,” says David Kikkert, Bayer Canada’s corn and soybean portfolio lead. “The RNAi technology is an industry first in corn and is unique in that it brings a new mode of action against corn rootworm that growers haven’t had before.” Yet, with the introduction of any new technology comes the understanding that they are not a singular solution. As with any innovation, farmers, retailers and agronomists must be mindful of how and when they are used and avoid becoming too reliant on one trait package. “We need to continue to follow best management practices and plan accordingly,” says Kikkert. “RNAi technology adds to an already strong biotech defence, which must be managed with cultural methods like crop rotation (soybeans or other non-host crops), other crop methods (insecticides) if available, and scouting and management.” This traited hybrid package will be available for the 2024 planting season. FROM CORTEVA Vorceed Enlist hybrids also employ RNAi technology alongside the Enlist weed control system with glyphosate, glufosinate, 2,4-D choline and FOP (aryloxyphenoxypropionate) chemistry tolerances for weed species. Combined with the RNAi technology for corn rootworm, it offers six modes of action — three above-ground and three below-ground, and also uses a molecular stack, similar to Qrome. “Now you have three modes of action working against rootworm, including RNAi technology,” says Chad Garrod, Corteva’s portfolio marketing manager for Eastern Canada. “What Industry News
that does is control that adult population for Northern and Western corn rootworm. It reduces the emergence of the beetle by about 99 per cent for both of those rootworm species.” Just as important, the Vorceed Enlist technology also addresses growers’ concerns about waterhemp, with biotypes that are now resistant to seven different modes of action in the U.S. “That is the biggest weed we’re facing as a growing challenge in Ontario,” says Garrod, noting that Canada fleabane has spread across much of Eastern Canada. “But waterhemp is the next target, and what is exciting for us is that we have more traits and more options available today versus the U.S. when they started fighting this weed several years ago.” In terms of availability, the supply of Vorceed Enlist will be limited for spring planting in 2024 in both Pioneer and Brevant brands. By 2025, a broader set of genetic backgrounds and maturities will be more widely available. A SHORT NOTE Short-stature corn hybrids have caught the attention of many in Ontario, and although they will not be available for a few years, the concept is intriguing. Bayer introduced its Preceon hybrids to the U.S. market in 2023, with 300 farmers planting roughly 30,000 acres. It is not a new concept — most of the seed-and-trait companies have been working on short-stature corn for at least a decade. It reduces the space between the nodes below the ear of the plant, making it stronger and reducing lodging. Vermey believes short-stature corn development is in response to the results of breeders chasing higher yields, where their selections for top yield resulted in taller hybrids. Taller plants have a greater competitive advantage over shorter hybrids when they are tested in small plot trials beside each other. Short stature brings the opportunity in a field situation where growers with ideal growing environments have production issues with tall plants (like higher ear placement, lodging and green-snap) or wish to reduce their corn residue. But they are not for everybody; in some conditions of stress or poorer growing environments, ears are closer to the ground and some will be reluctant in harvesting those ears. It will be a system and not something that will work in a variety trial. “Even when we talk about the height of corn plants, a lot of people used to say, ‘If you have a tall plant, you’re going to have more tonnage’,” says Vermey. “But that’s not always the case. Your grain has a lot of weight but sometimes with a taller plant, you won’t have as much grain. There are a lot of other factors like genetics and environment.” l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 15 NOVEMBER 2023 As with any innovation, farmers, retailers, and agronomists must be mindful of how and when they are used and avoid becoming too reliant on one trait package. LEARN MORE Academy
16 A SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO farm recently made news after a ‘ransomware’ cyberattack. While in this case, the hackers demanded a public admission of alleged pig mistreatment, cyberattacks are usually about money. Ransomware attacks, where infiltrators gain access to your data and prevent your access until a sum is paid, are the most common type of cyberattack today. Farms are not immune. “Any business making money, whether in farming or not, is a target,” explains Dr. Ali Dehghantanha, Canada research chair in cybersecurity and threat intelligence at the University of Guelph’s Cyber Science Lab. “Regardless of your farm size, type, or location, if you are vulnerable, you will be attacked. The good news is that there are many helpful resources for farmers now available so that you can educate yourself and take action.” One farm cyber-vulnerability, notes Dehghantanha, lies within the sensor networks now in widespread use — networks that Keeping your data safe CYBERSECURITY FOR YOUR FARM BUSINESS Treena Hein can be accessed remotely by attackers. Dr. Lenore Newman, director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at BC’s University of the Fraser Valley, agrees. “Cyber-terrorists will target any farm with significant automated systems, even tractors and other ‘firmware’ in sectors such as grain. Farm equipment is extremely valuable and thus vulnerable to hacks.” Dehghantanha advises ensuring all your farm’s IT services have two-step verification, updating all your systems promptly when Industry News
requested (these updates often address a newly discovered security vulnerability), and regularly changing your passwords. At the same time, he urges awareness that IT vendors can only provide, and are only legally liable, for limited cybersecurity. “Attackers are using the gap between what your vendor provides and what you do or do not provide,” he says. “Ask vendors about the cybersecurity measures they are taking to protect your data and install recommended malware programs. There’s also a vulnerability issue in that everyone on the farm should know to call your IT provider immediately if something out of the ordinary has happened. Waiting to call is a big mistake.” Email is another vulnerability, notes Brenda Miller-Sanford, manager of administration at Grain Farmers of Ontario — and attackers are becoming more advanced with its misuse. “Despite users having spam filters in place, attackers continue to find ways to get their emails through,” she reports. “They’re also getting more creative with their emails, making them look more authentic and targeted to the individual. Another tactic is brute force attacks on user accounts where consistent attempts are made to try and get the user ID and password. This highlightsthe need for longer and more complex passwords.” To address cybersecurity concerns, Grain Farmers of Ontario has put multiple layers of data security, including 24/7 monitoring for suspicious activity and multi-factor authentication. A security risk assessment was also completed recently under the National Institute of Standards and Technology ‘Cyber Security Framework,’ which generated a long-term roadmap to address potential vulnerabilities and strengthen overall security protocols to reduce threat risk. “In July, we launched an employee security awareness training program,” adds Miller-Sanford, “with the goal of helping staff identify phishing, social engineering, and malware threats.” According to Dr. Janos Botschner, a research associate at the Saskatchewan-based Community Safety Knowledge Alliance, a great deal of cyber-vulnerability lies in the human beings operating any business. The vast majority of attacks succeed through manipulating staff members who click on a link in a ‘phishing’ email,’ for example, or fail to notice a threat. PROJECT ONGOING Botschner and his colleagues continue to work on the ‘Cyber Security Capacity in Canadian Agriculture’ project, expanding its reach, building more awareness about risks, and practical steps that address those risks. “We’ve also been engaging and collaborating with key agri-food stakeholders and other technical experts in our network to further this work,” he says. “For example, during this time, some of our colleagues at the Cyber Science Lab have identified and responded to a growing number of incidents targeting producers. Their findings are informing the work we do with producer organizations and commodity groups.” Cybersecurity is a real issue that represents a threat to Canadian farmers, rural communities and domestic food security, says Botschner, but there are concrete things people can do toimprove preparedness across the food system. “Dialogue and collaboration will be essential,” he asserts. “It’s also important to bear in mind that good cybersecurity practices can benefit farm businesses in a variety of ways. We’ve been encouraged to see a growing level of interest from government, major commodity associations and producers themselves, about this.”l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 17 NOVEMBER 2023 “Cyber-terrorists will target any farm with significant automated systems, even tractors and other ‘firmware’ in sectors such as grain. Farm equipment is extremely valuable and thus vulnerable to hacks.” • Put an official cybersecurity policy with standard operating procedures in place. • Do not use public Wi-Fi for any personal or farmbusiness without protecting yourself (for example by using a virtual private network – VPN – which encrypts data in transit). • Work with a reliable IT firm to create adequate ‘firewalls’ and to separate networks for your farm business and home/family use. • In the case of a ransomware attack, remember there is no guarantee that if you pay the ransom, you will get your data back. Paying may encourage repeat attacks. Instead, be proactive and create a recovery plan. • Create a recovery plan using data backed-up in a secure off-site location. Start with critical business data and systems. “Take some time to sit down with your team and think through what you would do, and who would do what,” says Botschner. “Then, document this in more than one place, that you can get to if you need to. Also keep track of who has access to your most critical systems, and how they can access them. Update these authorizations, as needed — for example, if a worker leaves your employment.” • Preserve all evidence. Report cybercrimes to law enforcement (this includes local police and the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre) and others who may be affected by the breach such as your suppliers or customers. • Learn from the incident. Work until you understand exactly what happened, then take steps to increase prevention. • Recognize that cybersecurity is an ongoing activity, similar to other required ongoing CYBERSECURITY TIPS
18 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events GRAINS IN ACTION Registration is now open for the 2024 Grains in Action program, February 5 - 8, 2024. Grains in Action is a four-day bus tour program for young farmers (aged 19 – 35) to gain knowledge about the end uses of the grains they grow. Participants also learn about the role of Grain Farmers of Ontario within the grain industry and how they can become active members within the organization. It is an opportunity for new experiences, building relationships, and professional growth. Full details are available at www.gfo.ca/about/grains-in-action. 2024 MARCH CLASSIC Save the date! Join hundreds of grain farmers, agriculture industry supporters, government representatives, and more in London, Ontario on Tuesday, March 19, at the annual March Classic. Be sure to visit www.gfo.ca/marchclassic for more details. 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. FROM THE CHAIR A Q&A with Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. What is Grain Farmers of Ontario doing to ensure farmers have access to the technology they need most in the coming years? Recently, we have heard conversations about plant innovation and breeding technology as well as inputs and our access to them. We have consistently worked with the government — especially the Pest Management Regulatory Agency — to applaud their efforts to make decisions based on science and data and to ensure they have the resources needed to keep making science-backed decisions. We have seen glyphosate undergo further review in the European Union, and the science industry is supporting glyphosate, but the governmental bodies still waver based on public outcry versus the actual science. We want to make sure Canada continues to value science in these discussions as highly as it has in the past. This year, we will meet with provincial and federal politicians again to ensure we are answering their questions and providing them with accurate information regarding plant protection and supporting plant innovation in Canada.• Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca. CLEAN50 EMERGING LEADER Lisa Ashton, Grain Farmers of Ontario's sustainability and environment lead, has been named a Clean50 Emerging Leader. The Clean50 award recognizes leaders from across Canada who have done the most to advance climate action and develop climate solutions. Clean50 acknowledges the recent accomplishments of 50 Senior Leaders, 20 Emerging Leaders, and revealed five Lifetime Achievement Awards, selected from over 1000 nominations collected nationwide over in 2023. Find out more at www.clean50.com. MARKET COMMENTARY by Philip Shaw On September 12, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated U.S. corn yield to be at 173.8 bushels per acre, pushing domestic production to 15.13 billion bushels. Part of this production had to do with an increase in corn planted and harvested acres by 800,000 to 87.1 million acres. The corn ending stocks position was increased by 19 million bushels to 2.221 billion bushels. USDA estimated soybean yield to drop down to 50.1 bushels per acre, with production coming in at 4.15 billion bushels. In Ontario, harvest is in full swing, albeit with some rainfall challenges, which are a normal part of the annual narrative. Wheat drills are chasing the combines across the fields as of Thanksgiving weekend. The Canadian dollar hovering in the 72 - 73 cent level continues to add stimulus to Ontario cash grain prices.
19 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER NOVEMBER 2023 NOTICE OF 2024 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS DISTRICT DATE TIME LOCATION / DISTRICT DIRECTOR DISTRICT 1 Essex Jan 18 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 15 4 p.m. (registration: 3:45 p.m.) Wyoming Fair Grounds 595 Main Street, Wyoming, ON - dinner provided Director: Julie Maw DISTRICT 4 Middlesex Jan 18 9 a.m. Ilderton Community Centre 13168 Ilderton Road, Ilderton, ON Director: Steve Twynstra DISTRICT 5 Elgin, Norfolk Jan 9 9 a.m. Malahide Community Place 12105 Whittaker Road, Springfield, ON Director: Scott Persall DISTRICT 6 Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara Jan 15 9a.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 19 9a.m. Innerkip Community Centre 695566 17th Line, Innerkip, ON Director: Angela Zilke DISTRICT 8 Huron Jan 16 9 a.m. Holmesville Community Centre 180 Community Centre Road, Clinton, ON Director: Keith Black DISTRICT 9 Perth Jan 17 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 19 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 10 10 a.m. (registration: 9:30 a.m.) Faith Community Presbyterian Church 206 Murphy Road, Baxter, ON - farmers lunch/pie provided Director: Leo Blydorp DISTRICT 12 Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings Jan 11 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 10 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 9 9a.m. North Stormont Place 16299 Fairview Drive, Avonmore, ON - lunch provided Director: Scott Fife DISTRICT 15 Northern Ontario Jan 11 9a.m. TBD Director: Chuck Amyot The Annual District Meetings are called to elect voting delegates for the coming year. Directors will be elected in even-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. All current Grain Farmers of Ontario farmer-members that attend their January District Meeting will receive a chance to win 1 of 3 prizes: Grand Prize: $2,500 CAA travel gift card and 1-year CAA premier membership. Two Runner up prizes: Staycation package (includes Grain Farmers of Ontario branded two-seat lawn chair, 1 Yeti 45 hard sided cooler, 2 Yeti 473ml Ramblers, and a 1-year CAA premier membership). 2024 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. NOTE: Venue location has changed NOTE: Venue location has changed