Farmwest Blog

Weathering the Coming Change

For more than 30 years, Jerry Keulen has farmed the fertile soils next to Boundary Bay. A second generation Delta farmer, Keulen runs Seabreeze Dairy Farm, where he grows forage grass and corn on his 60-hectare property, in addition to his dairy cows. But as he looks upon the dike that skirts his property, he says he knows change is coming. “Climate change,” he says. “The big concern is if the sea level rises, we’re in trouble. So how are we going to protect ourselves?”

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Views from the sky - exploring the use of drones in crop production

Does using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) make sense for your crop operation? UAVs, also called drones or unmanned aerial systems, are available as fixed-wing types, like little airplanes, or rotor types, like little helicopters. They are catching the attention of Prairie crop growers and specialists who want to see how well they work for crop scouting and field mapping, and how the costs compare to the benefits. In Alberta, a project is underway to evaluate the use of UAVs to generate field maps to help in making decisions on weed and disease management. Dr. Chris Neeser, a weed research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD), is leading the project. He wants to develop a set of procedures for acquiring and processing high-resolution UAV imagery and to assess the usefulness and economics of this tool. To map a field, the UAV flies over the field in parallel passes and takes photos at regular intervals. Imagery software is then used to stitch all the photos together to create a map of the whole field.

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What is T-Sum?

T-Sum' is a method to determine when to make the first application of nitrogen fertilizer in spring. The 'T-Sum' value is the accumulated mean daily temperatures (in ° C) above zero, starting on January 1 (below-zero temperatures are ignored). For example, if the mean daily temperatures for a 5-day period were 6, 3, 0, 1, and -4°C, the 'T-Sum' total is 10. The 'T-Sum' concept assumes that rate of spring growth is related to accumulated mean temperature.

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Manure Spreading Advisory #1 for 2015: South Coast Region

It is acceptable to apply manure on established grasses, fields being seeded within two weeks of application, and berry fields if: T-Sum value in your area is greater than 200*, Soil temperature is greater than 5oC, Crop is actively growing (for established crops only), and Expected precipitation and manure applications will not create nutrient runoff to surface water or leaching below the root zone, Nutrient loss risks are greatest on poorly-drained fields at this time. *Please see below for new guidance on interpreting your weather forecast. Please continue to check you have enough manure storage to hold the average expected precipitation plus any excessive precipitation. Field-stored solid agricultural wastes (except agricultural vegetation waste) MUST be COVERED from October 1 to April 1, inclusive.

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Feburary UPDATE to Manure Spreading Advisory #4 2014: South Coast Region

Date: February 2, 2015

In general, manure application on any crops is not advised.  Refer to Manure Spreading Advisory #4 of 2014 (Oct 23, 2014) and the previous Update (January 2, 2015) . We are monitoring weather, soil and crop conditions and will release the next Advisory as conditions improve.

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Update to Manure Spreading Advisory #4 2014: South Coast Region

In general, manure application on any crops is not advised. A special reminder about the movement of all poultry manure in the Fraser Valley: It is important that all those people transporting any poultry manure follow the appropriate guidelines and attain the necessary permits. Please note that these guidelines are subject to the regulations as outlined in Appendix M of the Hazard Specific Plan on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website www.inspection.gc.ca/ai. These regulations pertain to all movements of poultry manure in the Fraser Valley. For more information, including details about the protocol for applying for a manure movement permit, the Ministry of Agriculture contact is Clayton Botkin (phone 604 556-3081; Clayton.Botkin@gov.bc.ca).

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EU Reaches Provisional Agreement On GMOs

Yesterday evening (Dec. 3), European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomed a provisional political agreement on GMO cultivation in the European Union. “I am glad to announce that the European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional political agreement on the draft legislation on GMO cultivation. The proposal, will give member states the possibility to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory, without affecting the EU risk assessment,” Andriukaitis says.

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2014 Corn Silage Hybrid Data Now Posted

View data tables from the Coastal Trials in Abbotsford & Agassiz and from the Interior Trials in Enderby. In Abbotsford, hybrids were compared to the average of two standards – HL SR35 and 39V05. The average yield of the standards at Abbotsford was 19.8 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. In Agassiz, hybrids were compared to the average of two standards – HL R219 and HL SR35. The average yield of the standards at Agassiz was 19.0 tonnes of dry matter per hectare.

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Genetically Modified Food? Cast Your Vote Yes or No

Watch Monsanto’s Robert Fraley and Alison Van Eenennaam of the University of California, Davis, debate representatives from the Union for Concerned Scientists and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.

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