Ontario Grain Farmer April/May 2024

Published by www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca APRIL/MAY 2024 ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY 4R in the field REAPING THE BENEFITS

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APRIL/MAY 2024 volume 15, number 6 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER is 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: McCorkindale Advertising & Design; Advertising Sales and Sponsorship Consultant: Joanne Tichborne 6 ON THE COVER Stormy skies ahead Treena Hein WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2024 From the CEO’s desk FEEDING THE WORLD 4 A year in review Laura Ferrier 10 Market review 2022 - 2023 Blair Andrews 12 Business side Conversations with business experts 9 GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 16 What do Canadians think about food? Mary Feldskov 14 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists 23 European trade policies Ontario Grain Farmer 18 More winter barley acres Matt McIntosh 20 Grain contracts guide Mary Feldskov 22 Ontario Agricultural Conference 2024 Ontario Grain Farmer 24 Stronger leadership Rachel Telford 26 Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 30 Farming for world hunger Rebecca Hannam 28 172024 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS CHECK HERE FOR DATES AND TIMES DECEMBER 2023 / JANUARY 2024 volume 15, number 3 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 BIODEGRADABLE POLY 15-03 OGF DecemberJanuary 2023-24_OnGrainFarmer 2023-11-09 11:04 AM Page 3 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists ON THE COVER 4R in the field Treena Hein REAPING THE BENEFITS 4From the CEO’s desk The shows go on 16GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 30Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 24Sustainable Canadian Soy program Jeanine Moyer 26New corn hybrid DON screening report Jeanine Moyer 28Three Oaks Cabin Mary Feldskov 10Winter wheat Lisa Ashton and Alexandra Dacey Alternate rotation options Ontario Grain Farmer 18Quantifying GHG emissions Lisa Ashton 22Peter Sikkema retires Lois Harris 9Business side Conversations with business experts 21 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists COVER PHOTO: LAURA SHAW, CCA, HOLMES AGRO AND BRANDON BOWMAN. Photo by Mary Feldskov.

THIS WINTER, GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO DIRECTORS, DELEGATES, AND STAFF WERE ON THE ROAD, attending some of the biggest and best winter agricultural shows Ontario has to offer. Our Grain Farmers of Ontario booth was set up at the Chatham Farm Show, the London Farm Show, the East Central Farm Show in Lindsay, and the Ottawa Valley Farm Show. These shows are an important way for us to connect with you, our farmer-members, to share information, discuss important topics, and hear from you directly about the issues that affect you and your farm. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be heading north to the Earlton Farm Show — look for our Grain Farmers of Ontario display and stop by to chat! One of the largest shows in North America is the annual Commodity Classic, this year, held in Houston, Texas. Billed as the largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience, the show is jam-packed with educational sessions, speakers, a trade show, and more. For Grain Farmers of Ontario, it is an important opportunity to connect with stakeholders and others in the industry. This year, I attended along with Grain Farmers of Ontario directors Brendan Byrne, District 1 (Essex), Scott Persall, District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk), Josh Boersen, District 9 (Perth), Jeff Harrison, Grain Farmers of Ontario chair and director of District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings), along with Paul Hoekstra, vice president, strategic development, and Marty Vermey, senior agronomist. While at the Classic, we met with several of our industry counterparts, including the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association, and representatives from the Canadian Embassy. While we are happy to compete with our US counterparts for markets, we have a lot of common interests — open trade, strong support for biofuels, and enabling regulations and public support for agriculture and farmers. Sharing and collaborating on these issues makes us all stronger. We also heard from Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he touched on important trade issues, including the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement, which is set to renew in 2026. Also attending the Commodity Classic was Kelsey Banks, a delegate from District 13 (Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa), and her partner Billy DeJong. They represented Grain Farmers of Ontario as participants in the American Soybean Association Corteva Agriscience Young Leaders Program. As affiliate members of the ASA, Grain Farmers of Ontario sponsors a participant in this program annually. The leadership skills that farmer-members like Kelsey learn through this program help strengthen the leadership capacity of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Congratulations to Kelsey and Billy for graduating from the program! And I may be biased — but the highlight of the March show season is the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic, this year held March 19 at RBC Place in London. This is an event I look forward to all year — it is an opportunity to welcome farmer-members, industry, and government representatives to celebrate the Ontario grain and oilseed industry. I want to extend my sincere thanks to Grain Farmers of Ontario staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to host such an impressive, high-calibre event with top-notch speakers, entertainment, and hospitality. Now that the busy winter farm meeting and event season is wrapping up, I, like many of you, am gearing up for #plant24. We all have our fingers crossed for a great season — whatever may come our way this year, Grain Farmers of Ontario will work on your behalf to help drive the industry forward and make you and your farm successful.• Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario 4 From the CEO’s desk The shows go on GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO DIRECTORS AND STAFF MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE ASA AT THE ANNUAL COMMODITY CLASSIC.

Bringing together www.gocereals.ca, www.gocorn.net, www.gosoy.ca and www.gobeans.ca under a new, centralized website. Powered by Ontario’s crop committees, www.GoCrops.ca will serve as a one-stop source to access Ontario field crop variety and hybrid performance information. Introducing GoCrops.ca What can be found online: • Third-party variety and hybrid performance and agronomic data for major Ontario field crops • Head-to-head comparisons by year and growing area • Variety information • Disease testing results • Historical variety and hybrid performance and agronomic data • General crop committee information Unique website features: • An enhanced overall user experience for farmers and other website users • A simplified and streamlined resource to support seed selection decisions • A modern, updated and fresh appearance • Mobile friendly features • A consistent look and feel across all crop types GoCrops.ca was developed by the Ontario Cereal Crops Committee, Ontario Corn Committee, Ontario Pulse Crop Committee, and Ontario Soybean and Canola Committee, with funding support in part from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Grain Farmers of Ontario.

6 Cover story 4R in the field REAPING THE BENEFITS Treena Hein 4R NUTRIENT STEWARDSHIP (RIGHT SOURCE, RIGHT RATE, RIGHT TIME AND RIGHT PLACE) is a well-known, well-respected and growing initiative in Ontario and across Canada. Of course, many of its recommended practices, from split nitrogen application to to side-dressing corn, have been used by Ontario grain farmers for many years, but understanding and applying this broad science-based paradigm has helped participants better hone in on fertilizer use in a more strategic and effective ‘big picture’ way. As explained by Fertilizer Canada, which promotes 4R from coast to coast, participation “provides an economic benefit to growers by ensuring the fertilizer they apply makes it into the crop instead of being lost to the environment.” Laura Shaw, certified crop advisor with 4R-certified Holmes Agro in Orangeville, notes that her conversations with growers about the program are centred around soil health and environmental benefits. “Farmers have always been stewards of the land,” she observes. “The 4R program is putting a name, procedure and measurability to the principles that have been used in Ontario agriculture for years.” Lisa Ashton, environment and sustainability lead at Grain Farmers of Ontario, explains that the 4R program includes a third-party audit of agri-retailers’ 4R training, recommendations to farmers, implementation of the 4R principles and documentation. Unique in Canada, the audit process of the certification program that occurs in Ontario, says Ashton, “builds an additional layer of rigour and credibility.” Continual evolution is another 4R hallmark, with ongoing studies ensuring the dissemination of the most up-to-date guidance. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports ongoing 4R research. GETTING STARTED Growers that work with a crop advisor at a 4R-certified retailer create tailored nutrient plans informed by soil tests. Soil testing is a critical first step that provides a multitude of benefits, explains Paul Johnston, general manager at Burlington, Ontario-based Sylvite, a 4R-certified retailer. “For growers who have been through the program, regular soil testing enables much more ongoing accuracy with matching nutrient application with yield goals, more insight into how to apply nutrients to maximize plant uptake, and so on,” he says. “All of this protects profitability.” Growers with 4R-certified acres have assurance, says Shaw, that “the full value of nutrient applications are being accounted for in crop plans.” The crop plans are realistic continued on page 8 • The 4R Nutrient Stewardship refers to the right fertilizer applied at the right rate, the right time, and the right place. • Fertilizer Canada promotes 4R awareness across Canada. In Canada, the 4R certification program is unique to Ontario. • Working with a crop advisor at a 4R-certified retailer, participating farmers will create a nutrient plan and conduct soil tests. • Participation in the program gives farmers a tailored plan specific to the conditions and variabilities on each farm, giving them tools to be economically, agronomically, and environmentally successful. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW and attainable, “tailored to the specific soil conditions/variabilities on each farm. This proactive crop planning helps assure that growers can continue to be economically, agronomically and environmentally sound.” FERTILIZER APPLICATION Among the application practices recommended on some farms through the 4R program, strip tillage provides many benefits to participants. It enables placement in a concentrated area with more effective plant uptake versus broadcast, but Johnston notes that it can also provide time management benefits for some growers. “You can do it in the fall or prior to planting in the spring, which is dependent on crop rotation,” he says. “Growers should also note it requires an investment in equipment, and it’s intended to be a long-term change.” Growers see similar benefits in using the 4R-recommended practice of placing fertilizer in a starter band at seeding. In addition, variable rate application is also promoted through 4R, says Johnston. “There are capital costs, but as growers know, applying only what is needed to various areas of the field (again, soil testing is critical) means you’re applying nutrients in the higher-yielding areas of the field that will benefit more versus areas where yield may be lower for reasons other than nutrient availability,” he says, “all else being equal.” PRODUCTS Growers who use stabilizers with their nitrogen application reap broad environmental benefits and have the opportunity to use reduced rates from the higher end of the range. Reduced nitrogen losses result in more applied nitrogen being available to the plant, and stabilizers reduce its loss in three ways,


8 Cover story continued from page 6 through leaching, denitrification and volatilization. Some products also allow plants to receive a consistent nitrogen supply throughout all stages of growth, maximizing yields. Shaw reports that in 2023, the Holmes Agro Team made an increased effort to communicate the importance of using a nitrogen stabilizer on urea that is being broadcast and not incorporated into the soil, especially when considering the 4R principles. “This opened up great conversations of the potential economic benefits that come from protecting a high-cost input such as urea from unnecessary loss via volatilization, denitrification and leaching,” she explains. “Essentially the conversations are ‘we’re going to spend cents on the dollar to protect your investment of nitrogen while also meeting 4R principles, and achieving the overall goal of economically, agronomically and environmentally-sound fertilizer recommendations.’” TIMING Growers that follow the 4R principles also see many benefits from delaying some nitrogen application with side or top dressing or Y-dropping nitrogen into corn. This generally results in less nitrogen being applied to achieve the same yield. Ensure with Y-drop application that your nozzles are positioned accurately to achieve proper fertilizer placement and prevent crop damage. In addition, optimal moisture conditions help facilitate the movement of the nitgrogen applied through this method into the root zone. Johnston adds that some growers with 4R certified acres also benefit from splitting nitrogen application in a wheat crop. In addition, “many participants have also been able to reduce the amount of phosphorus applied in the fall,” he says. “Concentration of the phosphorus in a band reduces the amount of nutrient tied up in the soil. Use of soil amendments such as humic acid can help sequester phosphorus in the soil as well.” COVER CROPS Shaw adds that including cover crops in cropping systems in Ontario has been a great success story for 4R participants. “Talking to growers, there is usually great feedback on improved soil health, improved weed control for future years and improved fertilizer use and efficiency,” she says. “Cover crops also allow for those fall fertilizer programs to have nutrients applied to an active crop versus the bare ground. As part of 4R, it is important to minimize potential loss through surface erosion and having cover crops in place significantly reduces this risk.”• LAURA SHAW, CCA

9 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER New cost-share funding BUSINESS SIDE WITH... (J.M.) ARE THERE ANY FUNDING PROGRAMS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR GRAIN FARMERS? (A.H.) OSCIA delivers several cost-share funding programs that support Ontario farmers in implementing best management and sustainability practices on their farms. We are currently administering several programs including those under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP), a five-year agreement between the federal, provincial and territorial governments (April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2028). This program replaces the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and provides Canada-Ontario funding opportunities for the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector. WHO CAN APPLY? The program is open to Ontario farmers. Eligibility for each specific program may vary, but at minimum, applicants must have a completed fourth edition Environmental Farm Plan, provide a farm business registration number or documentation supporting an exemption or most current MPAC Assessment, a valid and up-to-date premises I.D. number, complete the enrolment and application form and any other documentation required to be submitted with the application (this may include site sketches and supporting plans/assessments). If you have questions about available programs or application requirements, reach out to our client services staff. They can also help farmers save time and effort by helping them understand each program and identify the programs that will fit best for their farm. WHAT DO YOU FARMERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE? Farmers can apply for the cost-share funding programs when the project intake window is open. The timing of these intakes changes based on the number of applications and approvals for each project and the budget available. Details about current opportunities, both for SCAP and other OSCIA delivered programming, are available at https://programguides.ontarios oilcrop.org/. SPECIES AT RISK PARTNERSHIP ON AGRICULTURAL LANDS (SARPAL) SARPAL is an Environment and Climate Change Canada initiative focused on working with farmers to support the recovery of species at risk on agricultural land. SARPAL funds conservation actions currently focused on supporting 12 target species at risk. A spring 2024 intake is planned. Questions? Email sarpal@ontariosoilcrop.org. SPECIES AT RISK FARM INCENTIVE PROGRAM (SARFIP) Provides cost-share funding to agricultural landowners to undertake habitat creation, enhancement and protection best management practices (BMPs) that support species at risk. A spring 2024 intake is planned. Email sarfip@ontariosoilcrop.org. RESILIENT AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE PROGRAM Under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, as part of the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Initiative, OSCIA is delivering the Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program (RALP), a funding program to support farmers in making their agricultural lands more productive and resilient. A spring 2024 intake is planned. Email s-cap@ontariosoilcrop.org. It’s important to know that these funding programs are structured differently from previous programs, especially for the Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program, where funding payments are specific to the approved practice Ashley Honsberger, Executive Director Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association www.ontariosoilcrop.org Business side Jeanine Moyer the applicant has agreed to administer. For example, how much will a farmer change their practices to reduce tillage or enhance carbon sequestration? This new funding approach is designed to support the adoption of new practices and the commitment to maintaining these land improvement practices. The Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program also requires applicants to work with a professional agrologist or certified crop advisor to provide a tillage assessment as part of their application. This assessment will help farmers understand the appropriate tillage practices for their soil types and how a transition to new or different practices will impact their operation and land management. In an effort to encourage a longer-term shift in adopting new land use practices, successful applicants will be required to sign a land use agreement to participate in the Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program. The purpose of the agreement is to encourage farmers to focus on the long-term benefits of maintaining the practices being adopted through the program compared to simply implementing them. This approach of long term adoption is not unique to RALP. The SARPAL program has similar criteria, with a three-year Conservation Agreement being required for most projects. This is designed to support the maintenance of projects like wetland development, tree planting, or long-term support of species in at-risk habitats. For more information on any of the programs or to learn more about upcoming funding intakes, please contact OSCIA at 519-826-4214 or oscia@ontariosoilcrop.org.• APRIL/MAY 2024

10 Agronomy Winter wheat A POWERHOUSE IN SUSTAINABILITY AND PRODUCTIVITY Lisa Ashton and Alexandra Dacey ONGOING RESEARCH SHOWS THAT CROP ROTATION IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION IN GROWING SUSTAINABLE AND PROFITABLE CROPS — and winter wheat is one of the crops that growers should consider including. With a list of benefits, including improving soil health and quality, pest management, and boosting overall productivity, winter wheat is a strong choice for Ontario grain farmers to include in their rotation. Winter wheat acreage has fluctuated over the past two decades in Ontario, with a recent high of 1.1 million seeded acres in 2021, according to Statistics Canada. While there can be initial barriers and costs to growing winter wheat, the positive outcomes it can produce for the entire crop production system and the environment are observed over time. These outcomes include enhancing crop yields, soil organic matter, soil structure, nutrient availability, soil biodiversity, and mitigating plant pests and pathogens. Maintaining Ontario’s winter wheat production into the future will be critical to building resiliency in cropping systems and achieving productivity goals. SOIL HEALTH BENEFITS The practices and management systems that improve soil health are wide-ranging and regionally specific in their implementation and the outcomes they produce. Farmers in Ontario have implemented several best management practices (BMPs) to enhance the health of their soils, including diverse rotations, cover cropping, reduced tillage, and improved nutrient management. Diversifying rotations is not traditionally adopted to achieve soil health outcomes. Farmers adopt a diverse rotation to avoid depleted soil quality and manage pathogens, pests, and weeds. However, according to the Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health — The Cornell Framework, diversifying rotations is increasingly explored as a strategy for its soil health benefits. Planting winter wheat in crop rotations contributes to upholding soil health principles, including building soil organic matter, keeping soils covered, diversifying crops, and maintaining living roots. Farmers across Ontario put these principles into action, which are further expanded upon in Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy, New Horizons. Including winter wheat in a corn and soybean rotation also gives farmers a larger time window to plant a cover crop such as red clover, adding nitrogen and organic matter to the soil. This additional cover crop contributes to the soil’s overall health by reducing and preventing wind erosion, keeping the nutrient-rich topsoil in place for the following year’s crop. PRODUCTION BENEFITS Planting winter wheat can also boost productivity in the entire cropping system. Dr. Ikechukwu V. Agomoh and his collaborators found that, within their study, that soybeans grown in three-year rotations with winter wheat and corn in southwestern Ontario produced the largest soybean yields and the greatest positive impacts on soil health indicators, likely owing to the cereal crops for enhancing carbon inputs into soil. In particular, compared with continuous soybean systems, soybean yields were 48 to 52 per cent greater for the three-year rotations with wheat and corn. Adding winter wheat to a monoculture cropping system or two-crop rotation can also help mitigate disease, weed, and pest pressure. For example, frog-eye leaf spot in soybeans can be reduced; weeds can be controlled by providing canopy cover during later fall and early spring; and the life cycle of western corn rootworm can be disrupted by adding winter wheat to a rotation. BUILD SOIL ORGANIC MATTER Winter wheat can enhance soil organic matter in soils when it is added to a rotation. KEEP SOILS COVERED Winter wheat keeps soils covered over the winter and spring months and its stubble also covers soil after harvest. DIVERSIFY CROPS Diversifying rotations can contribute to above and below ground biodiversity and resilience. MAINTAIN LIVING ROOTS Winter wheat ensures there are living roots in the soil during winter and spring months.

Chesley 519-363-3192 Lucknow 519-529-7995 Walton 519-887-6365 Meaford 519-538-1660 Mount Forest 519-323-2755 Owen Sound 519-376-5880 GENTLE HANDLING. MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE. brandt.ca Brandt’s 15LP+ and 20LP S-Drive Field GrainBelts allow you to move large quantities of grain quickly and gently. Whether it’s from a truck to an air cart or from a storage system to a transport truck, Brandt conveyors handle the job with ease. And, they’re purposebuilt to protect your seed investment and maintain grain quality, all while moving up to 12,000 bu/hr. The optimized intake and transition increases grain-flow efficiency to achieve peak performance in varying conditions. The double lip intake seal keeps your crop on the belt where it belongs, increasing product retention while loading. Brandt’s EZTRAK tensioning and tracking system keeps your belt aligned and properly tensioned at all times. And, the visual tension indicator makes it easy to see when adjustment is needed. Performance Boost Maximum Versatility Easy To Operate CALL OR TEXT US TODAY! S-Drive Field GrainBelts 11 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER Farmers who want to introduce winter wheat into their rotation can sometimes face barriers to adoption, including the added costs of adapting current management systems, increased equipment demands, and short-term opportunity costs for growing winter wheat relative to higher-value crops. However, the increased profitability from diversifying a rotation, boosting yields of other row crops in that rotation, and improving the long-term health of the field and its soil can make winter wheat a profitable and sustainable choice. These benefits have been demonstrated through research led by Dr. Ken Janovicek, who found that adding wheat to a corn and soybean rotation in Elora and Ridgetown contributed to improving long-term productivity and net returns over time. OPTIMIZING PRODUCTIVITY AND SOIL HEALTH The Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) program allows farmers to develop customized approaches to optimize their winter wheat production and overcome barriers. Started in 2021, the Great Lakes YEN enables farmers across Ontario and the Great Lakes region of the United States to understand their winter wheat yield potential Planting winter wheat in crop rotations contributes to upholding soil health principles, including building soil organic matter, keeping soils covered, diversifying crops, and maintaining living roots. APRIL/MAY 2024 better and learn what factors specific to their field are limiting that potential. Programs such as the YEN are critical in demonstrating and communicating how innovation within production systems can support farmers in achieving their productivity goals and have positive soil health implications. To learn more about the Great Lakes YEN program, please visit www.greatlakesyen.com. Lisa Ashton, PhD, is the environment and sustainability lead, and Alexandra Dacey is the agronomy project coordinator at Grain Farmers of Ontario. •

12 Agronomy Alternative rotation options IMPROVING SOIL HEALTH AND SUSTAINABILITY Ontario Grain Farmer DECLINING COMMODITY PRICES OFTEN HAVE GROWERS ASKING ABOUT OTHER OPTIONS, yet there’s often more to explore with crop alternatives. Spreading workloads, diversifying operations, or lowering risk are a few reasons, while some growers look to lengthen rotations, improve soil health, or improve the sustainability of their farms. Canola, edible beans, and forages occupy that first level of alternatives for growers wanting to broaden their horizons. The good news is they provide excellent market potential, including solid “grown-in-Ontario” opportunities. CANOLA PLUSES: good pricing, increased demand for winter hybrids, spreading workloads, volumebased commodity, increasing market demand in biofuels. CAUTIONS: only one available winter hybrid, fewer weed control options, familiarity with seed sizes and seeding rates. Last November, a meeting of the Ontario Canola Growers Association provided important insights on 2023 production. According to Agricorp, insured acres in the province were the highest since 2012, with more than 25,000 acres of spring canola and a jump in winter canola acres — to 11,500 seeded last fall. In total, 2023 acres totalled roughly 44,000 acres. As Meghan Moran has been telling people, canola can be a profitable crop, provided new growers are made aware of its challenges. Of the three primary alternatives, it’s the least sensitive to quality parameters and is the likeliest fit for a conventional rotation of corn, soybeans, and wheat. “The real reason for growing canola is to diversify risk,” says Moran, canola and edible bean specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She acknowledges there have been more questions about alternatives since commodity prices began declining last year. “That can mean breaking pest cycles or mixing up herbicide timing — especially with winterplanted canola and different herbicide products that can help mitigate or delay herbicide-resistant weeds.” She doesn’t believe growers would favour starting with spring canola, especially south of Simcoe County. The rush of spring planting has less effect on winter canola — and edible beans — and both are harvested earlier. “There may be some adjustments to equipment, like operators learning how to set up their planter for smaller seeds or buying after-market canola plates,” adds Moran. “We can use a drill, but we have to ratchet that seeding rate down as much as we can.” In marketing winter canola crops, Bunge Milling in Hamilton and Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) in Windsor are the primary choices, with ADM reportedly willing to take as much non-GMO Mercedes as possible. The longterm opportunities for renewable fuels also favour canola. FINDING THE FIT FOR THE GROWER Ian Toll has been growing canola for five years, earning a second-place finish in the 2023 Canola Challenge, yielding 5,119 pounds per acre of winter canola. The Blenheim-area grower’s rotation includes winter wheat, corn, and soybeans, along with hay and rye, to feed his 50 beef cattle finishers and more than 600 ewes. His biggest challenge is harvesting winter wheat and then plowing and working the land in time for canola planting by mid-September. “But it yields great and doesn’t seem to matter how big it gets in the fall — it doesn’t bolt,” says Toll, who farms with his two sons. “The price is up and down with other crops we grow, but it does seem to have more profit at the end of the season. It requires more scouting and more maintenance, but we also double-crop soybeans to help add dollars to that field.” He purchased a planter just for canola, echoing Moran’s comments about special plates and rollers needed with an air seeder or a planter. The only other concern he expresses is the availability of only one winter canola hybrid. It isn’t a huge challenge given the low number of acres for now, but with expected increases, demand for more hybrids will rise. “It’s a fit in our area, but start out slow and increase acres over a couple of years,” advises Toll. “The root system is outstanding, and it helps break up the soil. We can see a plus in corn bushels the following year.” EDIBLE BEANS PLUSES: higher profitability (compared to soybeans), spreading workloads, equipment compatibility (with small-seeded white, black and adzukis), and good demand for overseas export markets. CAUTIONS: grown primarily under contract, quality-based market, higher cost of production (including more sprayer passes), fewer herbicide options, need for specialized equipment (with large-seed beans like cranberry and kidneys). Last October, Moran penned an article for OMAFRA’s website, touting the profitability of dry beans versus soybeans. Despite higher cost of production figures ($409 per acre for crush soybeans, $482 for IP soybeans and $679 for white, black or adzuki beans), edible bean profitability was higher.

13 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER Moran concedes smaller-seeded beans — whites, blacks and adzukis — are easier to grow in terms of equipment; a combine used with soybeans will do much the same. Cranberry and kidneys are larger-seeded and harvested with a specialized bean combine, and while it’s not to say those are impossible hurdles to overcome, advanced planning is required. “Dealers will have a certain number of acres they’re looking to grow based on demand in the export market, but the world will only APRIL/MAY 2024 None 1 Ontario Grain Farmer -- Helvetica Neue LT Std DG19620 Bayer Laudis_7.125x4.875_Ontario Grain Farmer_024.indd Bayer-024-2024 -- We hate weeds as much as you love your corn. Laudis® herbicide provides outstanding control of tough broadleaf weeds. Serious corn growers demand serious weed control. Laudis herbicide delivers on all fronts. It provides fast-acting broadleaf weed control, including tough to control glyphosateresistant weeds, such as Canada fleabane, giant ragweed and waterhemp. Laudis also offers excellent crop safety on field corn and sweet corn, with favourable rotation intervals for soybeans, potatoes, spring wheat and winter wheat. Ask your retailer about Laudis herbicide. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Bayer, Bayer Cross and Laudis® are registered trademarks of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a member of CropLife Canada. ©2024 Bayer Group. All rights reserved. T:7.125" T:4.875" Edibles aren’t necessarily a soil-building crop, but following them with winter wheat, possibly planted early with a cover crop, will put a lot back into the soil. eat so many beans in a year,” notes Moran, adding edible beans don’t tend to store well. “Generally, though, it sounds like dealers are looking for bean growers, and right now, there’s room for more producers in Ontario.” LONG HISTORY Despite arguments against edible beans as an alternative, Mike Donnelly Vanderloo believes there are plenty of positives. As a grower, he started with white beans in the early 1990s and has added cranberry beans, maintaining distinct advantages to the market – despite contracts or frequent passes in a field. “Edibles aren’t necessarily a soil-building crop, but following them with winter wheat, possibly planted early with a cover crop, will put a lot back into the soil,” says DonnellyVanderloo, who farms near Thamesford with his brother Joe. Together, they grow soybeans, corn, winter wheat — with red clover — after continued on page 14

14 Agronomy edible beans, along with processing peas and sweet corn. He has a long history working in different crops and advises those looking to enter the market to keep reasonable expectations and understand the importance of quality. Little things like mud-tagging and splits in the seed coat can significantly impact a dealer’s acceptance. At the same time, growers need to look at edible beans not as “an early soybean” but as more of a vegetable crop. “The larger the seed, the greater the chance of damage and some dealers demand a ‘soak test’ to check for cracks,” says DonnellyVanderloo. “Generally, crans and kidneys are taken off with an edible bean combine. But it’s not unusual for a good operator to be looking into the bin for splits with whites and blacks — especially as the weather warms up — they need to mind the rotor speed.” It’s also possible to get seed without a contract, he notes. However, in a solid production year, growing on spec could increase the risk of being unable to sell their harvest. If there’s one other concern for DonnellyVanderloo, it’s the increase of herbicide resistance in weeds, particularly with Group 14 products (Eragon, Blazer), which are also used for desiccation. Losing Group 14s could be catastrophic, and that’s something all growers need to keep in mind. FORAGES PLUSES: relatively high prices (compared to corn), lower cost of production, spreading workloads, species options, high demand for overseas export markets, reduced weed, disease and pest cycles, and double-cropping options. CAUTIONS: quality conscious, need for different equipment (or custom operators), and proper storage. The opportunities for forage production in Ontario are hard to ignore. Demand — be it domestic or global — is excellent, and prices are competitive with the current price of corn. Similar to edible beans, it’s a reversal on commodities, with establishing a buyer first, then the attention to detail required to meet quality specs. Some buyers may demand a forage analysis, which may be how a target market defines quality for its end-users. “It’s almost doing things backwards, where you find your market first, and then you grow the crop,” says Christine O’Reilly, forage and grazing specialist with OMAFRA. “I don’t suggest producers start growing a hay crop on spec because most don’t have a clear idea of what target markets are looking for in high-quality hay — things like forage species or the proportions in a mix. Or what is the crop maturity at harvest that a particular market likes?” The need for proper storage is another impediment for those wishing to enter the forage sector. It’s not an option to simply tarp stacked bales since dusty or mouldy hay can cause serious respiratory ailments in horses, similar to asthma in humans. “You can drive around the countryside and see bales stored outside all winter, but those are intended to be used on the farm where they’re grown,” says O’Reilly. “When we’re targeting those premium markets, we want to retain that green colour and prevent spoilage, and the only way to do that is to store bales off the ground and under cover.” Depending on the farm’s location, there’s also the opportunity for double-cropping a shorter-season soybean with timothy. Instead of planting winter wheat in the fall, a grower can seed timothy and take a cut the following spring, then terminate the forage and plant a short-season soybean variety. A CO-OP EFFORT To help solidify opportunities, the Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative ensures more reliable access to high-value buyers. Fritz Trauttmansdorff is a Jerseyville grower behind efforts to establish stable markets for forages for nearly 20 years. He has witnessed the construction of a conversion press at Marhaven Agri, near Alma, to supply markets overseas. The plant is capable of processing 35,000 tonnes per year. “It’s a worldwide market, and Canada is one of the players in that market,” says Trauttmansdorff, adding the widening of the Panama Canal allows the passage of large containerships, creating more opportunities. “We have the same shipping rates on the Atlantic as on the Pacific.” Among the countries willing to purchase forages — whether alfalfa-timothy blends or pure alfalfa or timothy — are China, Japan, the U.S., South Korea, the Middle East and Gulf states (Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates). On a global scale, the forage market is worth up to $12 billion annually. Yet there are domestic opportunities for those who can meet quality standards: in Ontario, there are more horses than dairy cows. “Right now, if you have high-grade hay, you will get $250 per tonne,” says Trauttmansdorff, adding that 200 bushel corn is roughly equivalent to five tonnes of hay. “And a lot of the people who own horses do not grow or harvest their own hay — they buy it.” • continued from page 13

15 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER APRIL/MAY 2024 The path to leadership JEFF HARRISON ELECTED AS GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO CHAIR Mary Feldskov Industry News SINCE GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO’S INCEPTION in 2010, the organization’s new chair, Jeff Harrison, has been involved as a leader in many capacities. Over the years, his leadership path has taken him from being a delegate of a fledging organization to leading the Board of Directors of Ontario’s largest commodity organization. Harrison, who graduated in 1995 with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture degree from the University of Guelph, was involved with the Ontario Soybean Growers (OSG) as a delegate in the early days of his farming career. In fact, he says, he was a strong proponent of merging the three legacy organizations (Ontario Corn Producers’ Association (OCPA), Ontario Wheat Growers, and OSG), and he took on a delegate role in the newly formed District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings). Rising through the ranks, he chaired the District for three years before being elected director in 2016. “Joe Hickson (former District 12 director) and Dale Mountjoy (OCPA president at the time of amalgamation) were two farmers from my District who inspired me,” says Harrison. “I saw how much they sacrificed to make things better for Ontario farmers.” When Hickson signalled he was ready to step down as director, Harrison, with Hickson’s encouragement, stood for election for the position. Among his many commitments on the Board, Harrison has since sat on the Finance and Audit, Research, Communications, Grain Issues, Government Relations, Market Development and BRM/Safety Nets committees. He has served on the executive committee since 2018 and as vice chair since 2021. Additionally, in 2023, Harrison was appointed vice-chair of the Grain Financial Protection Board, and is a director of the American Soybean Association — a role that gives him a unique perspective lobbying on Capitol Hill in the U.S. Harrison believes that leadership takes practice — and has taken advantage of a number of the leadership training opportunities in Ontario agriculture. He is an Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program Class 19 graduate, a past participant in the American Soybean Association Corteva AgriScience Young Leaders program, and is a graduate of the Syngenta/Ivey School of Leadership. MOVING THE INDUSTRY FORWARD As chair, Harrison is looking forward to working with the Board, delegates, farmermembers, and staff to advance the goals of the grain and oilseed industry. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve as the incoming chair of the Board of Directors for Grain Farmers of Ontario,” says Harrison. “I am dedicated to advancing our organization’s long legacy of steadfast advocacy in agriculture. My priority is to champion the diverse interests of our farmer-members, ensuring they have the support needed to thrive as successful family enterprises in Ontario.” “I am thrilled to welcome Jeff as our new chair of the board,” says Crosby Devitt, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s CEO. “With his wealth of experience, strategic insight, and passion for the grain farming industry, I am confident he will steer our organization toward new heights of success.” BACK HOME ON THE FARM Harrison has been farming in the Quinte Region since the early 90s with his wife, Janie, and their four children — Michael, Rachel, Brian, and Charlie. They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. Harrison can be found on X/Twitter at @feedn4kids.• L-R BRENDAN BYRNE, MP JOHN BARLOW, JEFF HARRISON, AND CROSBY DEVITT AT THE 2023 MARCH CLASSIC.

16 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ELECTED At the February Board of Directors meeting, Jeff Harrison, director for District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings) was elected chair; Julie Maw, director for District 3 (Lambton) and Josh Boersen, director for District 9 (Perth) were elected as vice chairs; and Steve Twynstra, director for District 4 (Middlesex) was elected as executive member. Directors returning to the Board are Brendan Byrne, District 1 (Essex), Gus Ternoey, District 2 (Kent), Scott Persall, District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk), Jeff Barlow, District 6 (Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara), Angela Zilke, District 7 (Waterloo, Oxford), Keith Black, District 8 (Huron), Steve Lake, District 10 (Grey, Bruce, Wellington), Leo Blydorp, District 11 (Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York), Lloyd Crowe, District 13 (Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa), Scott Fife, District 14 (Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry), and Chuck Amyot, District 15 (Northern Ontario). INTERNATIONAL TRADE MISSIONS In February, 2024, Brendan Byrne, Grain Farmers of Ontario director of District 1 (Essex) and CEO Crosby Devitt participated in a trade mission to Mexico, led by Minister Lisa Thompson of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. The delegation included representatives from across the grain value chain, including millers, bakeries, exporters, and farmers. The trade mission built upon relationships that have been stewarded by Cereals Canada. Scott Persall, director of District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk) and Dana Dickerson, manager of market development and sustainability, took part in a Soy Canada trade mission to Thailand and Japan in February 2024. They met with hundreds of customers in both countries alongside Soy Canada and exporters working to further develop business in the region, and received great feedback on the quality of Canadian soy and opportunities to grow Canada’s market share. ONTARIO CORN COMMITTEE — DON TRIALS The Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) has released its OCC Hybrid Performance for DON 2023 report. Hybrid susceptibility is one of the greatest factors influencing DON accumulation in corn (second only to weather), and the greatest factor that can be controlled by agronomic practices (Hooker and Schaafsma, 2005). Ontario growers can reduce DON risks through hybrid selection and management and have asked for DON hybrid testing for many years. For the full report and more visit www.gocrops.com. ONTARIO FARM RESEARCH FORUM Grain Farmers of Ontario hosted an Ontario Grain Farm Research Forum on February 20 and 21, 2024, in London, Ontario. The Forum brought together farmers, agronomists, government, industry, and research partners from across the province to engage in discussions about how to address issues facing Ontario farmers through novel research approaches. Specific topics covered included nutrient management with a focus on nitrogen, precision field management, and systems approaches to crop management. With sessions that focused on on-farm trials, collaborative project design, knowledge transfer best practices, and research case studies, attendees had the opportunity to learn from colleagues, brainstorm ways to advance research initiatives, and discuss ways to work together to build a collaborative approach to agronomic research in Ontario. Grain Farmers of Ontario extends thanks to the Forum partners: University of Guelph with funding from the Office of Research, A Q&A with Jeff Harrison, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. What are some of your priorities as you begin your term as chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario? Chairing the Grain Farmers of Ontario Board of Directors is a huge honour and privilege. My goal is to continue what I’ve done throughout my years as a delegate, District chair, and director — to do whatever I can to help make things better for Ontario farmers. I appreciate that the Board had the confidence in me to lead them through the next year and to do what I can to make the industry stronger for our farmer-members. I think it is important to point out that many of the biggest wins of the Board have often been warding off potential challenges for farmers before they get to the farm gate. Being proactive by meeting with industry stakeholders, the value chain, and the government to advocate for the best outcome for farmer-members is something that we will continue to do. Looking ahead, I want to ensure the organization is well-positioned and prepared for future federal, provincial, and municipal elections. I want Ontario agriculture issues to be front and center at all levels of government, and I want our Board and farmer-members to have the tools and knowledge to be engaged, involved, and empowered to advocate on behalf of the agriculture industry. I look forward to working with the Board, delegates, and Grain Farmers of Ontario staff to advance the grain and oilseed sector over the coming year and into the future. Do you have a question for the chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca. FROM THE CHAIR

17 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER APRIL/MAY 2024 Discover other ways to join the GrainTALK conversation: E-News, Webinars, Podcasts, Radio, Research Days, and events. Visit www. gfo.ca/GrainTALK. Ontario Agricultural College, Department of Plant Agriculture, and Ridgetown Campus; Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association; and Fertilizer Canada. GRAINS IN ACTION Grains in Action participants hit the road in February to tour end-use facilities that use Ontario-grown barley, corn, oats, soybeans, and wheat and to learn more about the Ontario grain industry and Grain Farmers of Ontario. Thirty young farmers from across the province participated in the program, touring facilities including Pride Seeds, Cargill, Sylvite, Harrow Research Centre, J.P. Wiser’s Distillery, ADM, IGPC, Ingredion, Arva Flour Mill, and Wallenstein Feed. Grains in Action is a four-day program for young farmers 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. The 2025 Grains in Action program will feature a tour of end-use facilities in eastern Ontario. For more information on the program, visit www.gfo.ca/about/ grains-in-action/. TALK TODAY MENTAL WELLNESS PROGRAM AT OHL GAMES In February, 2024, Grain Farmers of Ontario partnered with Syngenta to sponsor Talk Today, a mental wellness program developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). At 17 OHL home games, attendees from across the province heard about the connection that mental health brings to all of us — from the rink to the farm to everyone’s homes, mental health connects us, and there is strength in talking about it. The sponsorship of the program included pre-game events with farmers to discuss mental wellness programs, an in-game activation, social media campaigns, and in-game videos and call outs in Peterborough, London, Owen Sound, Windsor, Kingston, Sarnia, Oshawa, Kitchener, Ottawa, and Niagara. ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETING PRIZE WINNERS Attendees at the 2024 Grain Farmers of Ontario Annual District Meetings were entered in a prize draw for door prizes; three winners from each District Meeting were then entered into a Grand Prize Draw for a $2,500 CAA Travel Gift Card, plus one-year Premier CAA membership and two runner-up prizes of a staycation package. Congratulations to the grand prize winner, Kevin Lynch, from District 4 (Middlesex), and runner-up prize winners, Eric Mann, from District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings) and John Wiles from District 9 (Perth). FIELD OBSERVATIONS FROM THE GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO AGRONOMY TEAM With the spring planting season underway, be sure to check out the weekly field observations report from Laura Ferrier, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s agronomist, who brings you weekly updates about field conditions across the province, tips and advice relevant to the season’s conditions, and updates from agronomy partners. The field updates can be found at www. ontariograinfarmer.ca or in the weekly GrainTalk e-newsletter delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. To subscribe to the GrainTalk e-newsletter, visit www.gfo.ca/GrainTalk. MARKET COMMENTARY By Philip Shaw In the February 2024 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, all American 2023 production numbers were kept the same from January. With dry weather affecting some parts of South America, the USDA reduced Brazilian soybean production to 156 million metric tonnes (MMTs). Brazil’s corn production was reduced to 127 MMTs. Private firms and Brazil’s Conab have much lower numbers. Despite that, prices have fallen, and Brazilian cash soybeans at the ports are much cheaper than U.S. Gulf bids. In Ontario, the open winter has created unusual opportunities, with some February fieldwork being done in the deep southwest of Ontario. Cash prices have moved south with the futures prices. The Canadian dollar fluttering in the 73/74 cents U.S. level continues to add stimulus to Ontario cash grain prices. •