Weather Forecast for:
Abbotsford Airport

Updated: Apr 25, 2018 at 12:16 AM

Tue
Apr 24

High: 22 ºC
 
 

Tue PM
Apr 24

 
Low: 8 ºC
 

Wed
Apr 25

High: 24 ºC
Low: 9 ºC
 

Thu
Apr 26

High: 27 ºC
Low: 9 ºC
 

Fri
Apr 27

High: 22 ºC
Low: 9 ºC
 

Sat
Apr 28

High: 12 ºC
Low: 8 ºC
Perc: 4 mm

 

Brassicas to Extend the Grazing Season

Use of Brassica Crops to Extend the Grazing Season - Cool-season perennial grass and grass-legume pastures typically become less productive as the grazing season advances from June to November. Forage brassica crops such as turnip, swede, rape, and kale can be spring-seeded to supplement the perennial cool-season pastures in August and September or summer-seeded to extend the grazing season in November and December. Brassicas are annual crops that are highly productive and digestible and can be grazed 80 to 150 days after seeding, depending on the species (see table on back page). In addition, crude protein levels are high, varying from 15 to 25 percent in the herbage and 8 to 15 percent in the roots, depending on the level of nitrogen fertilization and weather conditions.

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Farm Size and Animal Welfare - UBC Dairy Centre Report (2017)

Concerns about farm animal welfare often revolve around the issue of farm size. Critics suggest that animals on larger farms are less likely to receive individual attention, and that the shift to larger farms results in a decline in standards of care and ultimately a lower quality of life for these animals. For those that ascribe to this view the news is bad. Farm size shows every indication of continuing to grow as the number of dairy farms declines (Fig 1). In terms of animal welfare, concerns appear to fall into three broad categories: 1) that the technologies inherent to large farms are detrimental to the animals, 2) that due to dilution of worker effort over a larger number of animals, the standard of care provided to individuals animals will decline, and 3) that some practices perceived to be beneficial, like access to the outdoors, may become impractical once farms reach a certain size. In the sections that follow we review evidence relating to all three concerns.

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2017 BC AgriStability Enhancement Program may cover pest outbreaks if they caused significant damage

The BC Government has made special provisions to help producers suffering income declines in 2017. The British Columbia AgriStability Enhancement Program allows agricultural producers to enroll late and without penalty into the existing 2017 AgriStability Program with additional benefits such as:

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IAF Seeks Nominations for Innovation Award

The Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Award of Excellence for Innovation in Agriculture and Agri-Food. This award celebrates B.C.'s agriculture and agri-food leaders who have implemented specific projects or initiatives leading to economic, environmental or social benefits to British Columbia and the industry in general, or to a specific sector. The award is open to agri-food producers and processors; retail, food service, agri-food and/or private sector businesses; industry associations and organizations; input, technology and support service providers; academic institutions; regional districts and local governments. Applicants must have a head office or be registered in B.C. Innovations will be evaluated for their: Originality and uniqueness; Degree of economic, social and/or environmental benefit to British Columbia; Extent to which the project has advanced the industry or sector. Nominations close January 31, 2018. The 2018 award winner will be announced on April 12, 2018 at the IAF Project Showcase and Luncheon in Abbotsford.

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Cover Crops for Western Canada

Recently the seasons aren’t as short as they used to be, and they tend to be wetter, leaving farmers wondering what to do with all that excess moisture. That’s just one reason why cover crops might make sense, says Yvonne Lawley, a cropping systems researcher at the University of Manitoba. Cover crops are being used as green manure for organic production, as catch crops to prevent nutrient leaching, to improve soil organic matter and nutrient cycling, break up hardpan, protect soils from erosion and to increase the productivity of grazing systems. But Lawley said the soil health benefits of cover crops go beyond those traditional objectives. “If we think about the whole chain of microbes that exist in soil, they’re really being fed by the inputs and cycling of nutrients within the agro-ecosystem. If we can have plants growing for a longer period of time, capturing more sun, we can provide more input through either organic matter or exudates from roots that feed the fungi, bacteria and nematodes that then feed the higher trophic structure like earthworms.”

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BC's AgriStability Enhancement Program

Following a year impacted by wildfire, flooding and invasive species, farmers and ranchers around the province can recover some of their lost income with the Government of British Columbia’s new AgriStability Enhancement Program. The enhanced AgriStability Program was developed because of the unusual losses in 2017. Broader coverage was required in order to protect the 40-50% of B.C. farmers and ranchers not enrolled in the regular AgriStability program. Under the AgriStability Enhancement Program, B.C. farmers and ranchers can enrol in the regular program late and without penalty. AgriStability is a federal and provincial government program that protects farmers and ranchers from margin declines resulting from increased costs or decreased revenue. Payments are made if the farmer or rancher’s current-year margin falls more than 30% below the average of prior years. The AgriStability Enhancement Program is 100% funded by the B.C. government.

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2017 Corn Silage Hybrid Trial Data is Posted

The Pacific Field Corn Association's 2017 Corn Silage Hybrid trial data is posted on Farmwest.  Two locations in the Fraser Valley (early and late) and one location in the Interior report data.

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BCFC Climate Research 2017

Northern B.C.’s Bulkley-Nechako region is well-known for producing much of Western Canada’s very best quality hay. The roughly 350-square-kilometre region, from Vanderhoof in the southeast to Germansen Landing in the north to Smithers in the west, boasts summertime daylight that stretches 17 hours. The area surrounding Vanderhoof offers the very best arable agricultural land: an ancient glacial lake-bed with rock free, silty clay loam up to 600 feet deep. Historically, the region has also provided ideal growing conditions for high-protein, high-sugar forages: heavy snowfall in winter provides great spring moisture, and the reliably warm, sunny summer days were always perfect for both growing and harvesting hay. In the last 15 years, however, the weather has changed drastically. In the eastern part of the Nechako Valley, it’s now significantly wetter than ever before while in Ray’s southwestern part of the valley, it’s now incredibly dry. There have been more than a few years recently as well when the ground freezes long before the snow flies. Without an insulating layer of snow, the barren ground freezes deep and hard, so that when spring finally comes, melting snow runs off the deep frozen ground rather than percolating in. Streams are often full to bursting, while forage fields go into the growing season dry as dust. And it gets worse. Both spring and summer tend to be cooler now than historical norms, and precipitation seems to wait to fall until the worst possible time; right in the middle of haying season.

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Soil Sampling and Soil Testing

When to soil sample? Soil sampling annually-cropped fields just before spring seeding gives the most accurate measurement of soil nutrient status. But realistically, spring is often too short and rushed to allow soil sampling, analysis and developing your fertilizer plans. So, sampling in late fall after soil temperature has dropped to 5 to 7 C is often the most practical time.

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Soil Health Tech Bulletin II (2017)

BIOLOGICAL SOIL HEALTH TEST: Microbial diversity is an excellent indicator of soil health (Nielsen and Winding 2002). They report that variation in microbial population or activities precede changes that can be noticed in some cases as early signs of soil degradation or amelioration. Water and nutrient supply from soil, particularly N and P, determine the plant growth both in natural and agro-ecosystems. It is important to understand that the above ground vegetation is the ultimate source of C for the microbes in the rhizosphere that, in turn, support the macro-fauna.

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