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Research Suggests Healthy Gut Bacteria Guts Can Be Transferred From Pig to Pig

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 17, 2017

A scientist with the University of Alberta says research suggests microorganisms in the guts of pigs that help ward off disease can be transferred to other pigs to improve their health.
Swine Innovation Porc has identified the microbiome as a top research priority in improving the health of pigs while reducing the pork industry's reliance on antibiotics.
"The Intestinal Microbiome to Enhance Infection Resistance in Pigs" was among the topics discussed last week as part of the Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr. Ben Willing, the Canada Research Chair in Microbiology of Nutrigenomics with the University of Alberta, says the estimated of 500 to 1,000 bacterial species found within each animal serve many roles including digesting compounds the pig can not digest and they regulate the immune system and the infiltration of immune cell populations to make that animal healthy.

Clip-Dr. Ben Willing-University of Alberta:
- Microbiomes can vary quite a bit between animal to animal and each animal will have it's own distinct population but you'll certainly see that animals that are living in a similar environment and are living together will have much more similar microbiomes than animals that are living in different environments.
We certainly see evidence that microbiomes can be transferred, particularly in the case when we see animals that are mixed.
If you take animals that have lived apart and then you put them into that same environment you'll see that their microbiomes will start to look closer to each other, so obviously there's a transfer from one animal to another.
We're not really sure but, certainly if you take a group of animals that are more resistant based on their microbiome and introduce them to animals that are susceptible, that if you're transferring  the microbiomes they're going to make the susceptible animals more resistant.
We've seen some very clear work by doing that in mouse models but less has been done in pigs.

Dr. Willing anticipates further advances in the coming years, being able to associate specific organisms with specific functions and being able to identify which dietary components can drive a beneficial microbiome.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




World Wildlife Fund Encourages Sharing of Agricultural Techniques and Technologies

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 16, 2017

The Director of Sustainable Food with the World Wildlife Fund is encouraging farmers in North America and Europe to share with those in the rest of the world their methods for improving agricultural sustainability.
"Feeding the Planet-Animal Protein Challenges" was discussed last week as part of the 2017 Banff Pork Seminar.
Sandra Vijn, the Director of Sustainable Food with the World Wildlife Fund, notes by 2050 we'll have over nine billion people, with a growing middle class, so we'll need to produce more food on the current amount of land with less resources.

Clip-Sandra Vijn-World Wildlife Fund:
People will have more money to spend, in particular in developing countries and people are more interested in having more of a western diet style, so more meat and more animal protein consumption, and that will mean that more food needs to be produced for these people and we don't have a lot of land left to produce more food.
So we really need to look at how can we produce more food on the current amount of land with less resources because agriculture already uses 70 percent of water globally, we use 40 percent of all the land and we also emit a lot of greenhouse gas emissions and use a lot of energy.
Animal production in North America and in Europe has become very efficient and productive.
When you look at the last four to five decades more animal proteins have been produced on less land using less water with more output, less greenhouse gas emissions so there is a strong trend and continuous improvement with that regard.
But the rest of the developing world needs your help in understanding how they can become more efficient and more productive and learn from how you've done it.

Vijn encourages farmers to work with all stakeholders, including environmental groups, consumer groups and policy makers to make them aware of what's happening on the farm and why certain decisions are made so people can better understand how farming works.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Minimizing Aggression Requires Holistic Approach

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 16, 2017

The Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork says minimizing aggression in group housing requires a holistic approach.
Canada's revised Pig Code of Practice mandates the conversion of sow housing to some form of group housing or loose housing by 2024.
Mark Fynn, the Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork, told those attending the Banff Pork Seminar last week a combination of factors will influence the risk of aggression in these systems.

Clip-Mark Fynn-Manitoba Pork:
Minimizing aggression, you really have to take a holistic approach to it.
A lot of it involves good pen layout, making sure there's space between features within the pen so that animals can escape if they don't want to be involved in the aggressive encounters, having the right flooring in place so if there are any aggressive encounters no injuries result because of that.
Then having good mixing practices and having a good group setup so that we don't encourage the sows to be aggressive to one another longer than they have to to set up that initial hierarchy.
We do talk about aggression a fair amount when we deal with these pens but we're really for the most part only dealing with aggression for social hierarchy in the first one to three days that pigs are mixed together and it's not the whole pen that are fighting.
There'll be select sows that are fighting for those positions.
We do talk about it a lot and I think we do build up a little bit of fear in producer's eyes but a lot of times, when producers go and see barns, they there's less aggression than we initially thought.
That's when the barns are following best management practices.
You need to make sure that you're mixing the right animals together at the right time and that you're not expecting them to reset up their social hierarchy over and over again in the same gestation.
If we put them in there at the wrong time with the wrong animals there's a lot of potential to have an impact on welfare and then impact production because of it.

For more information on the move to group sow housing visit groupsowhousing.com.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




New U.S. Packing Capacity Expected to Improve Producer Profitability

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 13, 2017

The Vice-President Pork Analysis with EMI Analytics is confident new U.S. processing capacity will result in improved profitability for North American pork producers by mid-2017.
Strong profitability in the U.S. pork processing industry has resulted in decisions to the construct a number of new pork processing plants.
Dr. Steve Meyer, the Vice-President Pork Analysis with EMI Analytics, told those on hand yesterday for the 2017 Banff Pork Seminar this massive expansion will probably result in enough competition for pigs in the second half of this year to squeeze packer margins and move some of that meat value that's been going to the packers back to producers.

Clip-Dr. Steve Meyer-EMI Analytics:
It's a big move.
We were up against processing capacity in the United States this fall.
We ran above the rated capacity for, I think, seven or eight weeks during the fourth quarter.
We knew that was coming.
We've had higher gross margins for packers over the last two or three years and that will get you an expansion and these plants are coming on.
If the U.S. industry is going to grow and the Canadian industry is going to grow we needed more packing capacity and we have two big plants that will open this summer.
Another one will start construction this year, be open in sometime late 2018 or early 2019 so certainly a big expansion.
We've never had an expansion like this in my lifetime.
For years and years we were rationalizing capacity in the United States and we've been pretty steady recently but hog numbers continue to grow.
World consumption continues to grow and the standard of living in many parts of the world and, if we're going to take part in that, we've got to have more capacity.

Dr. Meyer notes these new plants are all, to one degree or another, owned by producers and because of that the producers can make decisions to bring hogs to those plants as the plants are built.
He says you don't have to build the plant then chase hogs and, in fact, the two plants opening this summer are expected to be comfortably full by this fall.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Weak Canadian Dollar Factors in Canadian Hog Producers' Margins

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 13, 2017

The Chief Agricultural Economist with Farm Credit Canada says the weak Canadian dollar and continuing strong exports markets helped Canadian pork producers outperform their U.S. counterparts in 2016.
Farm Credit Canada expects the low Canadian dollar to be the primary driver for profitability for Canadian agriculture in 2017.
J.P. Gervais, Farm Credit Canada's Chief Agricultural Economist, says while 2016 was a little disappointing for Canadian hog producers the situation was better in Canada than in the U.S.

Clip-J.P. Gervais-Farm Credit Canada:
Some of the downturn that we've seen in the market over the course of the last six months of 2016 were entirely driven by the situation in the United States.
The hog price in the U.S. fell because of capacity constraints in the U.S. and that had a direct impact on the price that producers got on this side of the border.
But, at the end of the day, if you look at margins which were negative for hog producers in Canada over the last six months of 2016 but if you compare these margins to what margins were in the United States we've had better margins.
Again that's partly the result of a Canadian dollar that has been favorable for our producers in Canada compared to the U.S.
Strong demand in foreign markets as well has really helped sustain us going through that period of low prices and very tight margins.
The last six months of 2016 were really rough to get through but I would say that things could have been worse in some sense if we didn't have the Canadian dollar work in our favor.

Gervais expects that trend to continue in 2017 with the Canadian dollar forecast to average 75 cents U.S.
He expects we'll see a bit of weakness in the exchange rate or the value of the Canadian dollar early on in the year driven by the spread between interest rates in the United States and Canada.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Banff Pork Seminar Audio Special for January 13, 2017

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Banff Pork Seminar Audio Special for January 13, 2017

-Dr. Chris Byra, the Manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network, discusses "Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness: Is the Swine Industry Ready?"
Feature Runs: 7:34
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/byra-170112.mp3

-Dr. Scott Dee, the Director of Research with Pipestone Applied Research, a part of Pipestone Veterinary Services, discusses "Evaluating the Risk of Transboundary Disease Spread through Contaminated Feed Ingredients."
Feature Runs: 6:59
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/dee-170112.mp3

-Dr. Ben Willing, the Canada Research Chair in  Microbiology of Nutrigenomics with the University of Alberta, discusses "Intestinal Microbiome to Enhance Infection Resistance in Pigs."
Feature Runs 7:03
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/willing-170112.mp3

-Dr. Luigi Faucitano, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, discusses "Swine Transportation: Science-based Solutions to Current Issues."
Feature Runs: 7:40
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/faucitano-170111.mp3

-Geraldine Auston, the President of the Ag & Food Exchange, discusses "Animal Welfare, Animal Rights: What’s the Difference?"
Feature Runs: 10:36
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/auston-170111.mp3


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Advances in North American Livestock Production Must be Adopted World Wide

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 12, 2017

An Air Quality Specialist with the University of California Davis, says North American advances in the environmental sustainability of livestock production must be shared with the rest of the world if animal agriculture is to survive.
"Sustainable Intensification: How to Satisfy the Rising Demand for Animal Protein without Depleting Natural Resources" was discussed yesterday as part of the 2017 Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a Professor and Air Quality Specialist with the Department of Animal Science at the University of California Davis, says agriculture has to become as efficient as possible, globally, with respect to how we produce animal protein.

Clip-Dr. Frank Mitloehner-University of California Davis:
Currently many countries are not efficient and very resource hungry in the livestock arena.
That has to change and it can change by other countries following the example that North American countries have exercised.
Let me give you one example, not from the pork but from the dairy sector.
The average milk cow in California produces 25 thousand pounds of milk per year.
The average cow in Mexico produces 5 times less.
The average cow in India produces 20 times less.
If you produce 5 or 20 times less milk, then that means you have to have much larger animal herds and the larger herds correspond to more manure, more belching, more land use, more water use and so on.
The bottom line is, if you can increase efficiency, then you decrease emissions.
An example is the car industry.
We know that, if you have a more fuel efficient car, then that has a lower environmental footprint.

Dr. Mitloehner says we, in the North American livestock industry, have to be willing to share our technologies and our knowledge with countries like China and India because, if we don't, their livestock industries will gobble up so many resources that it will affect us here in North America.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




New Federal Funding to Enhance Existing Research Projects

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 12, 2017

The Chair of Swine Innovation Porc says added federal funding for pork industry research will bolster several projects currently in progress.
Earlier this week Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced an additional 1.8 million dollars has been allocated to the pork research cluster to continue research aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian pork industry.
The additional funding brings the total Government of Canada investment in research under the existing five year agreement, which runs from 2013 to 2018, to 14.8 million dollars.
Stewart Cressman, the Chair of Swine Innovation Porc, says the additional funding will be used to continue work underway at the University of Manitoba looking at improved flooring options for sows, work underway at the University of Saskatchewan aimed at improving methods for processing barley to improve its digestibility with piglets and genomic research underway at the University of Alberta.

Clip-Stewart Cressman-Swine Innovation Porc:
This is Growing Forward 2 money that was still available and it was offered to all of the various clusters.
We in Swine Innovation, the pork cluster, looked at our programs and thought there was an opportunity for some of these existing research projects who, if additional funds were made available, they could provide additional results from the work that is currently being done.
That was the nature of our approach in terms of approaching researchers who are currently doing projects with us.

Cressman says the top priority is ensuring the pork industry remains viable in a competitive market place.
He says the intent is to translate the research into results that can be implemented by producers and processors to make the industry more efficient.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Banff Pork Seminar Audio Special for January 12, 2017

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Banff Pork Seminar Audio Special for January 12, 2017

-Sandra Vijn, the Director of Sustainable Food with the World Wildlife Fund, discusses "Feeding the Planet-Animal Protein Challenges."
Feature Runs: 8:35
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/vijn-170111.mp3

-Dr. Eduardo Beltranena, a Feed Research Scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, disuses "Research Comparing the Performance of Grower and Finisher Pigs Fed Low Energy Diets and High Energy Diets."
Feature Runs: 8:47
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/beltranena-170110.mp3

-Dr. Martin Nyachoti, a Professor in the Animal Science Department of the University of Manitoba, discusses "Research Looking at the Inclusion of Canola Meal in the Diets of Lactating Sows."
Feature Runs 5:06
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/nyachoti-170110.mp3

-Mark Fynn, the Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork, discusses, "Avoiding Land Mines Converting to Loose Sow Housing."
Feature Runs: 7:03
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/fynn-170111.mp3

-Dr. Tom Parsons, the Director of the Swine Teaching and Research Center with University of Pennsylvania, discusses, "Of Pigs and People: Training for the Transition from Stalls to Pens."
Feature Runs: 7:13
http://audio.farmscape.com/2017/1/parsons-170111.mp3


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Dow AgroSciences Unveils New Class of Canola

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 11, 2017

Dow AgroSciences has unveiled a new class of canola which produces a higher quality canola meal.
Yesterday, as part of a session held in conjunction with the 2017 Banff Pork Seminar, Dow AgroSciences announced it has developed a new class of canola that produces a nutritionally superior canola meal.
David Dzisiak, the  Commercial Leader Grains and Oils North America with Dow AgroSciences, says the new canola meal contains higher protein and phosphorus levels and lower levels of fibre while retaining the same oil content.

Clip-David Dzisiak-Dow AgroSciences:
Traditionally canola has been know for its oil quality and the big emphasis has been on perfecting that and making that a really valuable product for consumers.
There is very little effort put into canola meal improvement beyond lowering the glucosinolate levels back in the 1970s.
So putting in better, high quality protein, reducing the antinutritional factors gives us a product that can go into markets that traditional canola never really fit into.
Historically canola meals fit best into the dairy market.
Its got good bypass protein that really helps dairy cows improve milk production but it's been used at a very low level in monogastric rations.
So, with the improvements that we've made around higher quality protein, lower fibre content, it can now fit into a monogastric ration at a much higher inclusion rate than it ever could before.
What it really is targeted to replace is soybean meal.
For soybean meal, most of it is imported from the U.S.
It's become more expensive because of the Canadian dollar so we can offer producers a product that lets them maintain their animal production but at a lower cost of production.

Dzisiak says the impact on profitability will depend on the exact ration being used but generally canola meal would tend to be 10 to 15 percent cheaper than soybean meal on a protein equivalent basis, enough of a saving that it could make a substantial improvement in the cost of producing an animal.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




License to Farm Documentary Helps Build Public Trust in Agriculture

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 11, 2017

The Executive Director of Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan says the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission's "License to Farm Documentary" has been a tremendous tool for helping build the public's trust in agriculture.
Last month Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan named the inaugural winners of its "Food & Farming Champion Award."
The award was created to recognizes individuals and organizations in Saskatchewan who work to advocate for and inspire public trust in agriculture.
Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan Executive Director Clinton Monchuk says the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission was named as one of two winners due mainly to its License to Farm documentary.

Clip-Clinton Monchuk-Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan:
The Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission is the commission in the province of Saskatchewan that collects the levies for all the canola sales in the province from farmers.
What they do with that money is try to develop the canola industry in different methods, whether it be through assistance with marketing or plant breeding and what have you here in the province to grow and expand the industry.
Specific to the Food and Farming Champion Award, they used some of those funds to advance this documentary to get out into the public eye of what canola production really is and what farmers are using with the new technology and how consumers can be confident in knowing their food is safe.

Monchuk says this documentary has been an excellent method of addressing some of the misconceptions around the use of genetically modified crops, other crops and livestock.
He notes the documentary was viewed over 80,000 times in 163 different countries and made more than two million social media impressions.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Changes to Express Entry Program Expected to Hurt Meat Processors

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 10, 2017

The Canadian meat Council says changes made by the federal government to the Express Entry Program will make it harder for Canada's meat processors to retain skilled butchers and meat cutters.
Express Entry is used to manage applications of immigrants working in Canada for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.
Late last year the federal government reduced the number of points available to qualify for permanent residence for workers who have job offers in hand from 600 points to 50 points.
Ron Davidson, the Director of International Trade, Government and Media Relations with Canadian Meat Council, says the change will make it difficult for companies that had used the program to access workers specialized in doing high level cuts that go directly to retail.

Clip-Ron Davidson-Canadian Meat Council:
This was a drastic decision which essentially eliminated retail butchers from being eligible under the express entry program.
We have a number of plants which were using the access to retail butchers and meat cutters to fill the available empty positions that we are unable to fill with Canadians.
By suffocating the industry, which these types of decisions essentially do, it makes it very difficult for Canada to maintain a rural meat packing industry in this country, which has impacts not only on farmers and producers, it has impacts on the workers in the plants.
They're working overtime, they're working under stress and there are empty positions in positions which should be doing the value added work which, down the line, has an impact on rural communities and frankly the survival of rural Canada so these are significant decisions,

Davidson says everyone benefits when we have more of these jobs filled.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Banff Pork Seminar Takes on Global Importance

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 10, 2017

The chair of the Banff Pork Seminar Organizing Committee says the Banff Pork Seminar has evolved into a meeting of global significance..
The theme of the 2017 Banff Pork Seminar, which kicks off today at the Banff Springs Hotel and runs through Thursday, is "Innovative and Sustainable Solutions for an Evolving Industry.
Mark Chambers, the Chair of the Banff Pork Seminar Organizing Committee, says, over the years, the Banff Pork Seminar has grown in importance.

Clip-Mark Chambers-Banff Pork Seminar:
The Banff Pork Seminar, it's in its 46th year this year in 2017.
It started at the Banff Springs Hotel and then it outgrew the Banff Springs Hotel and it moved to the Banff Centre.
It was held there for many years and now it's the second year back at the Banff Springs Hotel where they had expanded their conference centre.
It's been around for 46 years and it's been a very successful seminar growing over the years.
We get attendance globally.
The majority of the attendees would be from Canada and the U.S. but it will get people from South America and from Europe as well and sometimes some people from Australia.
I was just reflecting the other day and I was putting some notes together.
Actually the first seminar I attended was in 1997 and registrations back then were somewhere in the region of about 250 to 300 and our seminar now gets up to 600 plus registrants at the conference each year.

Chambers says the response of attendees to the change in venue was that they really liked it.
He says some great speakers have been lined up and it's going to be a great event.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Manitoba Pork to Focus on Public Education in 2017

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 9, 2017

The Chair of Manitoba Pork says ensuring consumers are aware of the issues surrounding the production of the food they eat will be a high priority for Manitoba's pork industry in 2017.
Public relations and public education has become an increasingly important aspect of food production, heightened by the proliferation of social media.
George Matheson, the Chair of Manitoba Pork, says it's hopped the public is aware of the efforts of pork producers but it's tough to determine the public's level of knowledge about agricultural issues.

Clip-George Matheson-Manitoba Pork:
We've made great improvements in the industry since I've been a producer in the last 30 years in regards to animal care and food safety, environmental stewardship or work place health and safety.
On the horizon there will be greenhouse gas reduction and carbon taxes that the governments might impose.
We want to make sure that the general public knows about these things that we're doing to continue the trust that they have in us.
We will continue to press forward with educating them on the realities of our industry and the improvements we have made and our focus.
It's important.
Food is a necessity to human life and we are in the business of making food and it's important that they trust the products we produce and it's important they trust the process in which they come to be and that includes manure management and animal care and ultimately, when the animals are processed, food safety.

Matheson says public relations remains a top priority and is probably an area Manitoba Pork spends more on than anything else in its budget.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Expanded Saskatchewan Pork Production Key Focus in 2017

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 9, 2017

The Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board says the excess capacity currently available in western Canadian pork processing plants offers an excellent opportunity for new people to enter the industry and become significant players.
An imitative launched in November by the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is aimed to renewing the province's pork production infrastructure to better utilize unused western Canadian processing capacity.
Florian Possberg, the Chair of Sask Pork, says western Canada, particularly Saskatchewan with its wide open spaces and abundance of feed grains, has a real competitive edge in terms of hog production.

Clip-Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
In western Canada we really have quite a bit of excess processing capacity at a number of our plants.
There really seems to be renewed interest for additional hogs to be finished in western Canada to supply extra hog numbers to these plants.
We think there's some momentum to get that done.
Although our industry has not been in expansion mode here in western Canada for so many years that we've really lost the infrastructure to expand and grow our industry so 2017 will be really interesting for us.
We're challenging our producers to look at growing capacity here for production again and we'll see where it goes.
We're optimistic.
We're still helping to feed the world and western Canada is a great place to do that.

Possberg says consolidation has resulted in a lot fewer producers than we've had in the past and producers are more specialized.
He says there's room for everybody, big and small, and there's opportunity for other producers to enter the industry and become larger players.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Red Meat Sector Applauds Changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 6, 2017

The Canadian Meat Council is applauding changes announced last month to Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
In a report tabled in September, the House of Commons Committee on Human Resources made 21 recommendations for improving Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Last month, the federal government eliminated a provision which required temporary foreign workers to leave Canada for four years after working in Canada for four years and is expected to respond to the remaining recommendations by the end of January.
Ron Davidson, the Director for International Trade, Government and Media Relations with Canadian Meat Council, says, unless we are able to properly staff our meat processing plants farmers will not have a place to have their animals processed and the plants will be unable to remain competitive.

Clip-Ron Davidson-Canadian Meat Council:
The change to the four year rule that was announced late last year is a welcome change.
Although our companies endeavor to transition temporary foreign workers into permanent residents before four years, this isn't possible in all cases because workers may not have completed sufficient language training or there may not be sufficient slots available in the permanent residents program.
We are also very positive about the recommendation that the program should do a much better job than it does now of recognizing sectors and locations where there is a chronic ongoing shortage of Canadian workers.
Currently the programs are very all encompassing and the reality is that all encompassing does not serve the Canadian rural communities well and are particularly punished when we are unable to get workers to leave urban locations and move to rural locations to do this kind of work.

Davidson notes, the government continues to review all of its programs and the hope is that the changes required to keep our plants functioning and competitive will be approved.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Packers and Producers Avoid Backing Up Hogs During Holidays

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 6, 2017

The Director of Risk Management with h@ms Marketing Services credits the efforts of U.S. pork processors and producers for maintaining a smooth flow of hogs moving to slaughter during the holiday season.
The fourth quarter of 2016 saw surprisingly large numbers of live hog moving to slaughter in the U.S.
Tyler Fulton, the Director of Risk Management with h@ms Marketing Services, says fourth quarter slaughter hog numbers were much higher than had been expected.

Clip-Tyler Fulton-h@ms Marketing Services:
I think expectations by pretty much anybody in the industry were that we'd see probably two to three percent more market hogs come to market.
What actually happened was something closer to about four and a half percent if not as high as six percent higher in some weeks over the course of the last three months.
Packers added shifts on Saturdays and even Sundays to keep the animals from backing up.
I would say that the producers probably did as much or more to maintain their currency.
Sometimes there's a tendency to want to hold back and wait for higher prices but producers were pretty intentional in making sure that they continued to market hogs on their planned schedules.
Even though there was significantly more than what we saw last year the industry was able to make it through and put up some weekly hog slaughters in the U.S. that exceeded 2.52 million hogs.
That was by far the largest that we've seen.

Fulton credits a counter seasonal rally in live hog prices that very few people expected to that currency.
He notes, over the last month, we've see prices come back quite substantially in spite of the fact that we've maintained slaughter levels at four to five percent larger than year ago levels.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Canadian Exchange Rate Expected to be Main Driver of Agricultural Profitability in 2017

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 5, 2017

The Chief Agricultural Economist with Farm Credit Canada expects the low Canadian dollar to be the primary driver for profitability for Canadian agriculture in 2017.
Farm Credit Canada has released the first of a series of Agricultural Outlook Reports for 2017.
J.P. Gervais, Farm Credit Canada's Chief Agricultural Economist, says the Canadian dollar has been a major driver for profitability in the last couple of years and could have the biggest influence on the overall success of Canada's agriculture industry in 2017.

Clip-J.P. Gervais-Farm Credit Canada:
Our forecast for the Canadian dollar with respect to the U.S. dollar is for, on average, to be 75 cents.
We expect maybe that we'll see a bit of weakness in the exchange rate or the value of the Canadian dollar early on in the year driven by the spread between interest rates in the U.S. and Canada.
Interest rates in the U.S. are definitely going up where as interest rates in Canada, slightly going up but not expected to increase as much as in the United States.
Oil prices, while a lot of people expect oil prices to be a little stronger this year than last year, I'm a bit suspicious of the forecasted oil prices are going to climb significantly.
All in all we do expect an exchange rate for the Canadian dollar with respect to the U.S. dollar that stays roughly where it is, on an average being 75 cents.
Maybe a little bit weaker to start off the year and then maybe a little bit stringer throughout the end of the year.
This is definitely one of the drivers that has the most impact on farm cash receipts.
A lot of the commodities that we sell are either directly priced in U.S. dollars or the Canadian price is based off the U.S. dollar.
Not only that, the strong demand for Canadian commodities is supported by the Canadian dollar, which has been lower than the average of the last five years.

Gervais says the demand for Canadian animal protein has been really strong and, at a time when supplies are growing, we need that strength in demand and one of the drivers behind this is the Canadian dollar.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




2017 Banff Pork Seminar Kicks off Tuesday

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 5, 2017

The chair of the Banff Pork Seminar Organizing Committee says significant changes within Canada's pork industry have forced stakeholders to be innovative to remain sustainable long term.
The 2017 Banff Pork Seminar kicks off Tuesday at the Banff Springs Hotel.
The theme for this year's event is "Innovative and Sustainable Solutions for an Evolving Industry.
Mark Chambers, the Chair of the Banff Pork Seminar Organizing Committee, says there's been significant changes in the industry over the last 20 to 30 years especially the last 10 years and people have had to become very innovative to be sustainable long term.

Clip-Mark Chambers-Banff Pork Seminar:
The idea of the seminar is bring people from all facets of the industry together from producers to feed companies, genetics companies, pharmaceutical companies to all share an understanding of what's going on in research, how can we apply that research out in the field and how can we work together as one industry working towards a shared goal.
I think, based on what's happened over the last several years, with introductions of new foreign animal diseases and the havoc it played in 2014 when PED hit North America.
Obviously there's been a lot of resilient producers out there and a lot of innovative people to be able to sustain production and stay in the industry and in business with all the changes that have occurred and the challenges that we're continually faced with, and not just on the health side but also on a lot of the changes that are coming forward now with the new code of practice that has come out, converting to loose housing for sows and being able to adapt to that.
I know Europe has been that way for many years, probably in smaller systems and now North America is going to adapt that way with much larger systems.
It's going to be very challenging for everyone but we've got very resilient producers out there and very innovative producers so I'm sure we will get the job done and we'll get some good results out of that.

For more on the Banff Pork Seminar visit BanffPork.Ca.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Counter Seasonal Late Fourth Quarter Rally Cause for Optimism

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 4, 2017

The Director of Risk Management with h@ms Marketing Services says a counter seasonal rally in live hog prices late in the fourth quarter of 2016 suggests the market may have turned a corner.
The fourth quarter of 2016 saw surprisingly large live hog numbers.
Tyler Fulton, the Director of Risk Management with h@ms Marketing Services says most analysts were expecting two to three percent more market hogs coming to market than year ago levels but we saw closer to four and a half percent, reaching as high as six percent higher in some weeks and prices bottomed out just after the U.S. thanksgiving before rallying over the last month in spite of continuing high slaughter numbers.

Clip-Tyler Fulton-h@ms Marketing Services:
The cash market over the course of last several weeks has increased by more than 20 dollars per CKG in Canadian dollars and that is quite counter seasonal given that we typically see pressure as we approach and move through the Christmas time frame so it's remarkable really.
It's hard to put your finger on exactly what the rationale was there, especially because recent evidence suggests that maybe exports haven't been performing quite as well as what they were earlier in the time frame.
So we may have turned a corner.
More recently prices are down a little bit and maybe there is a concern that, unless we see some improvements to export markets, we might see a bit of a downturn in mid-January or so.

Fulton says, as far as demand goes, there is reason for optimism but he advises producers to keep an eye on export demand.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Four-R Framework Recommended When Considering Fertilizer Application on Tile Drained Lands

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 4, 2017

The Executive Director of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative, is encouraging farmers to keep in mind the Four-R Framework when considering fertilizer application on tile drained lands.
"Manure Application on Tile Drained Lands" was among the topics discussed as part of Prairie Livestock Expo last month in Winnipeg.
John Carney, the Executive Director of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative, says with tile drainage the first consideration is where is the water going to go, soil type will affect whether tile drainage is right for you, and the topography of the land and crop rotations are also considerations.

Clip-John Carney-Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative:
I think the Four-R Framework of right source, right rate, right time and right place come into play, not only with normal fertilizer manure but also with manure application on tile drained lands.
I think one thing that deserves special consideration when applying manure on tile drained lands is the issue of preferential flow.
What that is where there's earthworm burrows or roots that cause channels from the surface down towards the tile drainage.
If there's either water or liquid manure that gets into those macro-pours it can become a shortcut or a rapid conduit from the surface down to the tile drainage and nobody wants liquid manure going into tiles so preferential drainage would be particular thing to be aware of with manure application and so liquid manure shouldn't be applied when the tiles are running or when there's a precipitation event expected that will result in the tiles running.
The other thing that a producer can do is to till the soil at or just before the time of manure application to break up those macro-pours.

Carney says we want to keep the nutrients on the filed where they're going to help our crops and keep our environment clean so we don't want nutrients wasted or going where they shouldn't.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Lower Costs Make Genomic Selection of Breeding Stock Economically Viable

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 3, 2017

A Senior Geneticist with Fast Genetics says the cost of genetic evaluation has fallen to a level that makes the technology practical for every selection candidate.
Genomics is the study of the genome of an organism and, in the case of pork production, it's the genome of the pig.
The use of genomics to identify the presence of desirable traits in breeding stock within the pork industry has become increasingly popular.
Murray Duggan, a Senior Geneticist with Fast Genetics, says when selecting breeding stock we're all about production efficiency, the ability to raise a large litter of pigs, large weaning weights, rapid growth rates, good feed conversion and ultimately good carcass and meat quality.

Clip-Murray Duggan-Fast Genetics:
The first human genome was published in 2003 and cost $3.8 billion dollars, something like $1.27 per individual base pair if you figured that on 3 billion base pairs.
Now we're down to being able to get 50,000 usable SNIPS on an animal for something less than $20.
With pigs, they have a high productive rate and they have a short generation interval so one sow and one boar can generate a lot of new pigs in a year.
At the kind of prices, historical prices for sequencing or genotyping, that was not practical because of the number of animals that were involved.
With a cheap economical good quality genomic evaluation, now it's practical to do every selection candidate and then we can make our decisions on which ones we want to keep for further testing, which ones we can eliminate immediately as being not quite good enough.

Duggan anticipates genomics will provide more accurate pedigrees and better evaluations earlier in life.
He says we'll also be able to trace a pork chop back to its herd of origin so it can be used for DNA based traceability, we can use it to find genetic defects and we can use it to find carcass traits that, in the past, could only be identified after the animal had been killed.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork




Canada Makes Progress Toward Eradicating PED

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Farmscape for January 3, 2017

The Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council reports the Canadian pork industry is doing a fantastic job in its effort to rid the country of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea.
The Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network's mid-December Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Update indicates the Manitoba operations that were infected in May and September are making excellent progress in moving toward eradicating the virus.
Dr. Egan Brockhoff, the Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council reports, as we move into the new year, Canada is doing a fantastic job keeping this virus down and working really hard to push it out of the country.

Clip- Dr. Egan Brockhoff-Canadian Pork Council:
The three herds that were positive in May, the finisher sites are presumptive negative.
The animals are testing negative and we've got negative and naive animals back in those sites.
The sow herd that was positive in the fall has stopped shedding the virus and the pig environment, where the little guys are all running around, is testing negative and so they're able to farrow pigs into that negative environment and animal health is continuing to improve.
We've had more cases again this year but we continue to see a positive downtrend in the number of affected sites across Canada.
B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan remain negative for the virus.
Manitoba is doing a great job getting the positive sites negative.
Ontario has done a really good job moving their positive sites to negative and less than 4 percent of the primary sites positive in Ontario remain positive.
Quebec is testing negative.
The positive herd in the Maritimes all tests negative now and those pigs have resumed normal market behavior.

Dr. Brockhoff acknowledges it's always more complicated to remove virus from a farrow to finish site versus the finish barns where it's fairly easy to eradicate the virus in the populations of more mature animals.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork