Soybean Processing Comes to Saskatchewan

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

A new state-of-the-art facility for processing soybeans could provide the Saskatchewan agricultural sector with its latest value-added innovation.

Biosynergeuticals Inc., or BioSyn for short, recently held an open house at its production site in Wynyard to unveil a ground-breaking pilot project.

The BioSyn technology is capable of extracting enzymes from soybeans, which have shown promising health benefits in the treatment of a diverse range of ailments, from diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure to acne, hives and allergic reactions.

The enzymes are removed using an innovative process that Lorne Nystrom, one of the founding members of BioSyn, calls "cutting edge, one-of-a-kind technology."

Nystrom said, "No one else in the world has this technology. We have it here in Wynyard, and we hope to take it world-wide."

The company's machinery can process batches of soybeans in 30 to 40 seconds, producing a liquid extract that removes five per cent of the soybean by weight and leaves the remainder intact for other uses, such as the production of cattle feed or tofu.

Nystrom said BioSyn will operate the Wynyard facility as a pilot project demonstration plant using a single machine for now, while the company proceeds with global product marketing and investigates additional financing opportunities.

According to Nystrom, there is a great deal of interest in the product in Asia, where aggressive promotion is currently taking place. The American and European markets are also being targeted for growth.

BioSyn is presently awaiting approval from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to sell the extract as a food in this country. In time, it is hoped the product can also be marketed in Canada as a health food, although that process can be quite lengthy.

The Wynyard processing facility is located in a former water bottling plant that sat unused for more than10 years until it was converted by BioSyn for its present use. The soybeans currently processed at the site are all grown by a local producer.

While the company's proponents feel the sky's the limit when it comes to their innovation, Nystrom said they are taking a gradual, step-by-step approach to prospective expansion.

"Our first step is to firm up markets and incorporate additional investment from folks who are expressing a great deal of interest in our technology," he said.

"We have the ability to handle some commercial processing using the single machine we currently have set up. We'll expand from there as need be," he added, noting the 45,000-square-foot Wynyard plant has room for 90 machines in addition to office space.

"Our goal is to take Wynyard, and Saskatchewan, world-wide," said Nystrom.

For further information, contact:
Lorne Nystrom, Chair, BioSyn Inc.
(306) 775-2326

Cheery Cherry Festival Coming in Bruno

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The third annual Cherry Festival in Bruno, August 11 to 13, will combine all things cherry with literary, educational and social pursuits. Marilyn Jonas, chair of the Carlton Trail Agricultural Society (which helps organize the festival) says there are a lot of new features this year.

"The festival starts out with a warm-up night on Friday, August 11, with the Literary Cherry Book Club," says Jonas. "We have a book club in town and they wanted to know what they could contribute, so they have organized a supper and an author discussion."

The supper costs $20 to attend and is followed by a discussion of the book What I'm Trying to Say is Goodbye, by Lois Simmie. Simmie will be there for the open discussion, which happens in conjunction with the Cherry Cheesecake Café. The café serves home-baked New-York-style cheesecake, with, of course, cherry topping. Performances of cowboy poetry throughout the festival round out the literary component.

The festival gets into full swing on Saturday, August 12, with educational seminars running from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. This year's seminars focus on fruit production and horticulture, as well as cooking and wine-making demonstrations. Local demonstrators will cook up a menu using cherries and other Saskatchewan-made products.

"This is 'real food' you would make in your own kitchen," says Jonas. "The cooks use a home-grown approach, so people can actually make these dishes themselves."

A wine-maker from Saskatoon will also be on hand to demonstrate wine-making with fruit. All these delicious dishes need fruit to get started, so there are also regular tours of the demonstration orchard, with "how to" sessions on grafting, planting and mulching.

A mini cherry trade show will also be open for both days of the festival, featuring fruit growers, educational and industry displays, and local businesses and artists. Also available is a cherry products booth, selling frozen cherries, cherry topping, and the more exotic cherry salsa and cherry vinaigrette.

Entertainment for all ages runs throughout the festival, including a children's carnival, a corn maze and wagon rides for the younger set. Older cherry enthusiasts can enjoy bingo, a licensed area, and dozens of cherry dishes to try.

Jones says one of the "can't miss" events is the ever-popular Cherry Pit Spit Challenge, in which contestants go through several run-off rounds for the honours of the farthest "pit spit."

"Those winners will take the big challenge on Sunday afternoon. It's made up of a final four, as well as celebrity spitters." Jonas is keeping the identities of the celebrity spitters a secret for the moment.

A complete schedule of events and more information about the festival is on the Internet at A festival pass is $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family, and covers all events and activities, except for food and beverage purchases and the bingo tent.

For more information, contact:
Marilyn Jonas
Chair, Carlton Trail Agricultural Society
(306) 369-2824

Saskatoon Berry Harvest Improves Over Last Year

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Saskatoon lovers will be licking their lips this year, as commercial growers in the province enjoyed a better-than-average harvest, according to Ken Adams of Valleytop Berry Farm near Langenburg.

Adams and his wife Kathy harvested 9,000 pounds of commercial berries this summer, on top of those gathered by patrons of their U-pick operation.

That was a noticeable improvement over last year, when cold, wet weather and an early frost left most growers in Saskatchewan with smaller crops, some of which were hit by disease.

Due to the hot, dry conditions this July, the saskatoon harvest also came and went very quickly across the province.

Ordinarily, Adams harvests his crops in two passes - one when about 60 to 70 per cent of the crop is ripe, and another when the remaining berries reach maturity.

This year, the berries on his farm ripened rapidly and had to be gathered in a single pass by the harvester, which made for a very busy season.

Adams noted that berry operations are like most other types of farming. "There are lots of overhead and input costs, and you've got to work hard at it to make a go of things," he said. And, like grain producers, he has found the price his commercial saskatoon crop fetches remains stubbornly low. As a result, Adams is studying the potential offered by export markets.

"If I've got an opportunity to improve my returns by expanding my market, that's something I have to look at very closely," he said.

In the meantime, saskatoon fans in Saskatchewan can look forward to enjoying their favourite pies, jams and jellies again this year.

Readers looking for saskatoon berry recipes should check out the website of the Saskatchewan Fruit Growers Association. Here they will find instructions on how to prepare a wide range of traditional berry favourites, as well as some unique, mouth-watering delicacies.

The website is located at

For more information, contact:
Ken Adams, Valleytop Berry Farm
(306) 743-2792

Discuss Anthrax Concerns with a Veterinarian

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The number of dead cattle attributed to anthrax reached 273 on 59 premises in Saskatchewan as of July 25, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The vast majority of the cases have occurred in the northeast region of the province, where a total of 14 rural municipalities have thus far been affected. Most are located in areas that experienced heavy rainfall, flooding and excessive moisture this spring.

However, the spores that cause anthrax can potentially be buried anywhere across the prairies, according to Dr. Sandra Stephens with the Saskatoon branch of the CFIA.

"We've recently had a new case spring up in Chaplin, in the southwest part of the province, and a small outbreak in southern Manitoba," she said. "So we're still seeing a few new cases."

Stephens noted that cattle producers generally remain concerned about the disease. She is reminding farmers to speak with their veterinarians if they are particularly worried about the risk to their animals.

"Many producers are wondering whether they should vaccinate their cattle against anthrax," she said. "I would urge them to talk to their veterinarian. These professionals can provide them with the best possible advice on the matter."

Anthrax is spread by spores that can remain in the soil for long periods of time, then rise to the surface when there is excessive moisture or drought. Cattle can also be at risk when standing water dries up, revealing grazing areas that normally wouldn't be exposed. Excavation work done on some farms may likewise cause spores to emerge.

While Saskatchewan producers appear most concerned about cattle, Stephens noted that anthrax can occur in all mammals, particularly grazing animals. As a result, horses, swine, bison, sheep and goats are also susceptible, as are wild cervids such as whitetail deer.

Animals that are determined to have died from the disease are either burned or buried to prevent further contamination; however, it is impossible to know whether anthrax might arise or recur in a given area, and under what conditions. That's why producers are particularly well-served seeking professional input from their veterinarian, Stephens suggested.

"The good news is that there is an effective vaccine against anthrax, and it's not very expensive," she said, noting that the cost of the vaccine generally ranges from $2 to $2.50 per animal.

For media inquiries, contact:
Robin Locke, Communications Officer, CFIA
(403) 292-6733

For more information about anthrax, contact:

Junior Equestrians to Compete in Melville

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Equine enthusiasts from across the province will come together in Melville on August 19 and 20 for the Youth Equestrian Summer Games.

The event features two days of competition, and also includes the Saskatchewan Light Horse Show.

"We'll be taking registrations right up until the day of the games," said Sandy Assman, one of the games'
co-ordinators. "Of course, we would prefer if people registered early."

Youth members from 4-H, Pony Club Quarter Horse, High School Rodeo, Paint, Arabian, Appaloosa, POA Dressage and Hunter/Jumper clubs are all eligible to take part in the event.

Last year's games and show drew nearly 100 youth competitors from all around Saskatchewan, and this year's event could be even larger, Assman said. Competitors are organized by age groups (11 and under, 12-14 and 15-17).

The games are a product of the youth programs offered through the Saskatchewan Horse Federation, the provincial association dedicated to promoting the breeding and raising of better quality horses, as well as organizing equestrian activities, shows and competitions in the province.

Assman said there are many parts of the event that everyone will enjoy, but the best event for a casual observer is the costume class.

"There will be about 25 kids (with their horses) in what are starting to become very elaborate costumes," she noted. "The costume class is choreographed to music, and the kids all dress and choreograph their own rides."

One of Assman's goals when she organized the first summer games in Yorkton five years ago was to make equine competition a fun, friendly time, and to mix the youth into different categories so they could get to know people from outside their class and riding style.

"I wanted to emphasize that we are all human beings riding equines. It doesn't matter what the saddle is," she said.

Youth are randomly split into one of four teams when they arrive, and team members are encouraged to cheer one another on across the many classes of competition and age ranges, regardless of style or skill. A special medal is given to the team with the most points at the conclusion of the games.

Saskatchewan Horse Federation shows and competitions are about teaching and raising the performance standards of the industry, a message Assman said is best taught while riders are young.

The federation also offers classes year-round that emphasize horse care and learning riding styles like English and Western.

Assman said there are features of the event that are appealing to serious riders and equine experts, as well as the general public.

The competitions are free of charge to attend, and will all take place in two rings at the Melville Agricultural Park on the east side of the city.

The games wrap up on Sunday, August 20, with an awards and medal ceremony.

For more information, contact:

Sandy Assman
4-H, Youth Equestrian Summer Games Co-ordinator
Phone: (306) 697-3195

Expansion Confirmed for Clavet Canola Plant

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The Saskatchewan canola industry got a big boost last week with the announcement that Cargill Ltd. is expanding its canola processing plant in Clavet by 25 per cent.

Construction on the project will begin this fall, and is expected to conclude by the spring of 2007. When completed, it will expand the plant's processing capacity to 3,000 metric tonnes per day from its current 2,400-tonne volume.

"We firmly believe that Canada, in particular Saskatchewan, is one of the areas of the world best-suited to an expanding production of vegetable oil in the form of softseeds," said Wayne Teddy, president of Cargill's Grains and Oilseeds Supply Chain business unit for North America.

The investment, he added, will "help better position Cargill and its canola producers as a go-to source in serving the growing global demand for fuel and food applications derived from canola."

The Clavet plant crushes canola for use in margarine, salad oil and other food ingredients. Lower quality grades processed at the facility may be used in biodiesel fuel production.

Located east of Saskatoon, the plant opened in the mid-1990s, and currently employs 50 people. Already one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world, the expansion will build on a success story that has delivered value-added processing to the province's agricultural sector for the past decade.

A major presence on the international grains and oilseed market, Cargill Ltd. operates in 61 countries with 142,000 employees. Its selection of Saskatchewan as a place to expand is a vote of confidence in the province's canola industry and its agricultural producers.

"It is our commitment to expand Cargill's Canadian footprint into those areas that will deliver the greatest value to our farm and end-use customers," noted Cargill Ltd. President Len Penner. Expanding the Clavet facility, he added, will "ensure domestic consumers have access to a reliable, consistent, high quality ingredient for fuel and food."

For more information contact:
Robert Meijer, Director of Public Affairs, Cargill Ltd.
Phone: (204) 947-6370

Whet Your Appetite for the First Annual "Taste of the Southwest"

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Get ready for the mouth-watering taste sensations of the southwest! We're not referring to tortillas and tacos: we're talking about Saskatchewan's southwest.

A number of partners have come together to create the first annual "Taste of the Southwest" gala that will take place at the Swift Current Exhibition Grounds on August 12. The event is a part of the Fun Fest Weekend in Swift Current.

"We have a lot of unique products that are produced or grown in this region. This is great way to showcase them," said Shawn Hermanson, an Agri-Business Development Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food.

More than 14 producers, processors, caterers and restaurants from throughout the region have already signed up, offering a wide variety of tantalizing products, ranging from New York Meat Sticks (the missing link between beef jerky and a hamburger) from Classic Meats of Fox Valley, to cinnamon buns from the House of Heart Café in Cabri.

"We still have space available if there are other producers who want to take part," said Hermanson.

Once your tummy is full of fine southwest fare, you can enjoy the entertainment, or wash it all down in the beer gardens.

The event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Stockade Building at the Swift Current Exhibition Grounds.

The Taste of the Southwest is hosted by a committee consisting of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, Regional Economic and Co-operative Development, the Southwest REDA, Southwest Community Futures, the Cypress Hills REDA, the Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association, and local producers.

For more information or to register a food booth, please contact Keleah Herron, Community Economic Development Officer, Southwest REDA, at or (306) 778-4243.

For more information, contact:
Shawn Hermanson
Agri-Business Development Specialist
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 778-8216

Extended Agenda for Tenth Annual Western Canada Feedlot

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The tenth annual Western Canada Feedlot Management School (WCFMS) will feature more than a dozen in-depth sessions running over four days, July 31 to August 3 at the University of Saskatchewan.

The school is designed for those in the cattle feeding business, considering expansion, or just getting started.

"The school provides a great learning environment because you have people coming from all sides of the business. It's very hands on. You get both classroom type presentations and the opportunity to get out into the feedlot to apply some of that learning in the real world," said Sandy Russell, a beef economist with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food.

"It's a highly sought after school. Every year we have had full attendance, and it looks like we will be full again this year," said Russell.

Session topics include: Evaluating Feeding Alternatives to Maximize Profit, What Cattle Buyers Look for in Feeder and Slaughter Cattle, and Growth Promotion and Implants - How to Maximize Your Gains.

The WCFMS is a direct response to the need in the cattle industry for knowledgeable feedlot operators who can adapt to changes in production and marketing practices. Experts from industry and the fields of research and development will deliver sessions on topics that are at the forefront of the feeding industry.

The WCFMS is organized by the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association, the University of Saskatchewan Department of Animal and Poultry Science, and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food.

For more information, contact:
Jamie Blacklock,
General Manager
Saskatchewan Cattle Feeders Association
Phone: (306) 933-5570

Sandy Russell
Beef Economist
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 382-2333

Scholarship Recipient "An Inspiration"

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

"She's an inspiration."

That's how the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Association of Agriculture Societies and Exhibitions (SAASE) describes the first recipient of the Clark Lewis Memorial Scholarship.

SAASE Executive Director Glen Duck says Andrea Hemsley from Sylvania (southeast of Melfort) was a stand-out among a strong field of contenders.

"We had a very difficult decision in selecting the first recipient of this scholarship. Agriculture societies across the province selected only the best from their regions, so the by the time we had to choose from the final 13 applicants, we were working from a list of outstanding young leaders," said Duck.

Hemsley, who is pursuing an education degree at the University of Regina, is blind.

"Andrea is heavily involved in her community and with the Golburn Agriculture Society. She has been an inspiration to her classmates and her community for how she has faced her disability," said Duck.

The Clark Lewis Memorial Scholarship was created earlier this year to recognize the agricultural leader who passed away in March of 2005. The successful applicant receives $1,500.

Clark Lewis had a long history with SAASE. He was an active board member of the predecessor of SAASE, the Saskatchewan Agricultural Societies Association (SASA), was a member of the Minister's Review Committee in 1986, and served on the steering committee responsible for the amalgamation of the SASA and the Saskatchewan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. Through numerous re-elections to the board by his peers, and until his retirement in 1995, Clark served on all committees and offices of SAASE.

The legacy of his leadership style of patient perseverance and dedicated service remains with agricultural societies and exhibitions throughout Saskatchewan. It was felt by the SAASE Board of Directors that the immense contributions and dedication of Clark Lewis to the organization could best be honoured through a scholarship bearing his name.

To fund the award on an ongoing basis, SAASE is soliciting contributions from agricultural societies to form a pool of money from which the interest will be utilized annually. In addition to these donations, SAASE will be using 50/50 lottery revenue, as well as money from a silent auction at its convention, to support the scholarship on a yearly basis.

For more information, contact:
Glen Duck, SAASE Executive Director
Phone: (306) 565-2121

SIAST Meeting Demand for Meat Processing Tradespeople

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) is offering training courses for a variety of trades needed by the province's expanding meat processing sector.

The closure of the U.S. border to Canadian cattle during the recent BSE crisis was a stark demonstration of Canada's need to enhance its domestic slaughter capacity. With the most stringent border restrictions now lifted, the livestock sector is once again on the rebound, but the need to slaughter and process more of our own livestock remains.

The continued growth in domestic livestock processing is creating a big demand for tradespeople possessing a variety of skills needed in the industry. Unfortunately, there are not enough qualified people to meet that demand.

This has generated increased opportunity - particularly for meat cutters, slaughterers and processors - in several jurisdictions, particularly Saskatchewan. SIAST responded by creating courses to meet the specific needs of the processing industry.

To learn the meat cutter trade through apprenticeship, for example, individuals enrol in a course that has them working 85 per cent of the time (1,800 hours) with a certified journeyperson, earning while they learn. This is followed by 15 per cent (eight weeks) spent studying the technical aspects of the trade at the SIAST Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon. The process is repeated for three years to achieve journeyperson status. SIAST is constantly accepting applications for these courses. The classroom portion begins in August and the practicum begins in January.

"The BSE crisis taught us to put more emphasis on handling our own animals rather than shipping them elsewhere," said Jim Moldenhauer, Chair of the Meat Cutter Trade Board. "Industry expansion opens up great opportunities for Saskatchewan people to build careers in the skilled trades, such as meat cutting, that support this growth."

For more information on the requirements or enrolment process for these courses, contact the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission at 1-877-363-0536 or visit their website at (click on "designated trades").

For more information, contact:

Jim Moldenhauer, Chair
Meat Cutter Trade Board
Phone: 306-955-2537

Study on Disease Management For Mexican Bound Seed Potatoes

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

It is partly about the customer always being right. A research project at the University of Saskatchewan, funded by the Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food's (SAF) Agriculture Development Fund, is looking to ensure Saskatchewan-grown seed potatoes are always welcome in countries like Mexico.

"Saskatchewan has a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the best seed potatoes anywhere," says Doug Waterer of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, who, along with Jill Thompson, is conducting the project. "The growers have been very successful in terms of expanding their markets, so Saskatchewan is supplying seed potatoes basically right across Canada. We have been very successful in moving product into the United States as well, and Saskatchewan is recognized as having excellent seed potatoes by American growers. But we are looking at other horizons. Mexico has a large potato industry.

"They are very interested in high-quality seed, but they have extremely stringent disease standards. And you can appreciate that, if you are sending a load of seed all the way down to Mexico, you want to avoid even the slightest possibility that it will not be accepted by the buyer down there."

Therefore, Waterer's team is working in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Seed Potato Growers Association to make absolutely sure they are using the best possible techniques to meet the extremely stringent disease standards of Mexico.

"We are using an integrated approach, combining factors such as land selection, crop management, the use of appropriate pesticides and, in some cases, the development of new pesticides. We look at handling practices, grading practices and shipping procedures. In some cases, we are looking to test and support the registration of new pesticides. That is what makes it an integrated project.

"We are working with the seed growers, but also in conjunction with the grade standards folks at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Canada, and their counterparts in Mexico."

As Waterer puts it: "there is no sense in us doing something if our Mexican friends don't agree with us. 'The customer is always right' is all it boils down to."

The University of Saskatchewan scientist is also pleased with the level of collaboration his team enjoys from the Saskatchewan Seed Potato Growers Association.

"We will be working very actively with the growers because they are really the experts as to what the customers want," he concludes.

One of the very significant advantages that Saskatchewan has in seed production is that the seed farms are very isolated, which hinders the spread of disease.

"Our relatively short, cool and dry growing season, and our long, rigorous winters tend to reduce disease pressures."

For more information, contact:

Doug Waterer
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-5860
ADF file #20050710

Site Selection is Crucial to an Intensive Livestock Operation's Profitability

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Site selection is a key component to keep in mind when assessing profitability for an intensive livestock operation (ILO) project, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) Agri-Business Development Intern Tanner Bradley.

"Groups considering ILOs are usually tempted first to go out and buy the land, and then they start the planning phase, but what SAF is trying to emphasize with them is the importance and impact that site selection will have on the profitability of that feedlot. By ensuring that you do the proper planning beforehand, we will help ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises as you get to the construction phase and then the operations phase."

The site chosen will have a direct impact on both initial capital costs and variable costs once the ILO becomes operational, says Bradley.

"The feeding industry is a low-margin business; therefore, minimizing all costs is important for an ILO to remain viable. Careful planning needs to take place before the land is purchased or construction begins."

First of all, the selected site must meet requirements for the ILO permitting process. Mitigating the risk of ground water contamination is a major component of the ILO approval process. Certain soil types increase the contamination risk. Less desirable soil conditions will result in increased site engineering and construction costs. There may also be limitations on the potential capacity of the ILO which could affect possible expansion plans. Topographic maps will provide good preliminary site information, and can be accessed free-of-charge through the Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food Agriculture Operations Branch.

Water access in another issue to consider, Bradley points out.

"There must be sufficient water to meet the requirements of the ILO. Piping in water from another location is another added cost that could be avoided. The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority should be contacted to get initial information on the site."

In addition, site selection will also have a direct impact on the variable costs-the reoccurring costs-of an operation. For example, locating the site near a primary highway rather than a secondary highway will reduce transportation costs. Being located on a primary highway means larger loads can be sent and received.

"The result is a lower per unit cost for transportation. Each rural municipality (RM) has different rules on the weight restrictions on their roads; therefore the RM should be consulted.

"Another factor that will affect an ILO is the manure removal costs. Having a land base on which to spread the manure within close proximity to the ILO is important to minimize manure removal costs. It is also important to be able apply the manure on the land which is the greatest benefit to the shareholders."

Careful planning prior to "putting the shovel in the ground" will increase the profitability potential of an ILO, Bradley points out. The examples discussed here are just some of the factors that must be considered prior to selecting an appropriate site for an ILO development. There are many organizations that should be consulted.

"Initial contact with your local SAF livestock development specialist can help streamline the process during the initial planning phase. Most initial information can be provided to the proponent for little or no cost, and the information is readily available. By working closely with your livestock development specialist, this information can be gathered and analysed in a few weeks."

The resulting analysis can help to ensure lower per-unit costs once the ILO is operational, and will minimize unwanted surprises during the construction phase.

For more information, contact:

Tanner Bradley
Agri-Business Development Intern
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
(306) 953-2772

Saskatchewan Forest Centre Field Days Coming Up

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

If you have been considering producing trees on your farm, the Saskatchewan Forest Centre has scheduled three field days during the month of July that you might find useful to attend.

These events will include discussions on the establishment and management of tree plantations on farms, vegetation and weed management, pruning hybrid poplar, hybrid poplar clonal trials and silvopasture (tree farming) management, explains Larry White, an Agro-forestry Specialist with the Centre.

"On the morning of July 13, we are touring Vern Anderson's hybrid poplar planting at Rose Valley to look at his three-year-old hybrid poplars. In the afternoon, we will be going to Zosel's Tree Farm at Pleasantdale to look at the hybrid poplar clonal trial. As well, we are going to Bill Sullivan's silvopasture project at Pleasantdale. The last stop in the afternoon will be at Bruce LeBarre's at Pleasantdale to look at a hybrid poplar and larch planting that he did three years ago."

White says anybody considering silvopasture would find it well be worth their while to come out for the day.

A second field day, on July 20, will go to Craik's Eco-Centre, where there is a forest 20/20 demonstration plantation that was planted in 2004, and, in the afternoon, to Neil Kettilson's site at Blackstrap Lake.

There are interesting hybrid poplar plantings worthy of a visit there, according to White: "We want to see how it is done; talk about weed control and other issues; different clones, planting and maintenance of hybrid poplar sites."

The third field day, on July 25, will take participants to Meadow Lake.

"We will be taking a look again at hybrid poplar clones; at some fertility work that is being done there and at weed control. The Meadow Lake planting is approaching nine years old now, so they are getting some reasonably mature trees. This is a chance to see some older plantings of hybrid poplars."

White believes these field days are a good opportunity for people to get out and meet some of the specialists in the industry.

"There will be representatives of the University of Saskatchewan and the PFRA Shelterbelt Centre at Indian Head, as well as the farmers who have participated in the projects. It is an opportunity to talk to a few people in the know and to see what some of these plantings look like, as well as to gauge the viability of the silvopasture option. There is always the question: 'can I make money doing this?'"

White reports that there has been lots of interest from landowners in the last couple of years in returning some of their cleared land back to some permanent cover, either grass or trees.

"People often say to us: 'They are closing down pulp mills and you guys are promoting growing trees.' But there are other opportunities in wood products, whether it is engineered wood products or the opportunities here for using tree biomass for energy production in the future. There are a lot more uses for tree biomass than just pulp."

For more information, contact:

Larry White
Agroforestry Specialist
Saskatchewan Forest Centre
(306) 765-2860

Milk Fever Prevention in Beef Cows to Be Explored

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Scientists at the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences of the University of Saskatchewan will be able to take a nutritional look at the prevention of milk fever in beef cows, thanks to funding from Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food's (SAF) Agriculture Development Fund.

John McKinnon of the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences at the University will direct the project.

"This project is based on a Saskatchewan Beef Development Fund project that we carried out in 2002 and 2003. In the North Battleford area during the 2002 calving season, there was a wide incidence of tetany-like symptoms, such as nervousness and muscle twitching, among cattle. They would stagger, and become paralyzed and even comatose. Some were dying.

"We were trying to decide whether we were dealing with milk fever or with another condition called tetany. These are both disruptions in the electrolyte balance in the animal. A lot of the herds experiencing these symptoms had been fed on cereal silage and barley or oat greenfeed.

McKinnon and his team worked with SAF Livestock Development Specialist Bryan Doig and Dr. Tom Schmidt of Lakeland Veterinary Services to conduct a survey of what was fed to the animals. After examining the symptoms and analyzing blood samples, they concluded they were dealing with milk fever.

"We concluded that the problem was caused by the high potassium content in the greenfeed that had been fed to these cows, which led to an imbalance of electrolytes," says McKinnon. The problem has now been identified in cattle herds across Western Canada.

McKinnon explains that scientists look at the Dietary Cation Anion Balance (DCAB) ratio to evaluate blood electrolytes. This compares the ratio of cations to anions in the diet, and, in particular, the ratio of sodium and potassium to chloride and sulphate. Pregnant dairy cows with a DCAB ratio very close to zero or slightly negative will have few problems with milk fever; the beef cattle MacKinnon studied had DCAB ratios of nearly 450.

"We believe that it was the potassium content in the greenfeed that caused this high DCAB ratio, which eventually led to milk fever. There is very little research on beef cattle, so the intent of our current research is to try to define the actual DCAB ratio that is needed to minimize milk fever in beef cows approaching calving."

For more information, contact:

John McKinnon
Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-4137
ADF file #20050724

2006 Saskatchewan Horse Federation Directory Being Compiled

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

If you are part of the Saskatchewan horse industry and you want to let the world know about it, there is no better way than to ensure your operation or business is listed in the 2006 edition of the Saskatchewan Horse Federation (SHF) Directory.

“We started the directory to develop and promote the horse industry, and spread the good word far beyond as a vehicle for the industry,” Saskatchewan Horse Federation executive director Mae Smith said. “It has come to the point where a lot of the members are finding a lot of value in it.”

The previous edition of the directory was circulated through international trade fairs and equine shows in Germany, France and Spain. The directory has also been distributed in Australia and the United States, and at Agribition and Farm Progress Show in Regina.

Smith believes the growing popularity of the directory is due to the growing importance of the horse sector in Saskatchewan’s economy.

“We know that there are in the neighbourhood of 100,000 horses in Saskatchewan, and we are the third largest horse producing province in Canada” Smith said. “I think the horse industry is very viable in Saskatchewan because it has so many spin-off benefits to it. There is a huge recreation component with the competition and sport part of it. It’s an enormous economic vehicle when you look at it in that manner.

“The directory is a resource that is very valuable in marketing. Breeders, and businesses associated with the horse sector – for example, those dealing with insurance, vehicles, trucks and trailers – are included in the directory. Many of our exhibition associations advertise in there.”

The SHF has more than 6,000 members in 140 clubs and affiliate member associations. Members, and other agencies like the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, are contacted to collect their information for the directory. The SHF also publishes a bi-monthly magazine called Show Trail in which people are invited to participate.

The SHF is increasing the number of copies of the directory published this year. It will be distributed to all SHF members, and will also be available at tack stores, feed suppliers, and Canadian Western Agribition. The directory, provided as a service to SHF members and the horse industry, is free to anybody interested.

“One of the things we want to do with this publication is circulate it to our membership,” Smith said. “A recent horse industry study indicated that between 75 and 80 per cent of all the horses in Saskatchewan are bought and sold within the province. So for the producer, there is a very strong market right here in their own backyard. It is important to reach out to them.”

Anyone interested in participating in the directory has until the end of August to submit content to the SHF.

For more information, contact:

Mae Smith
Executive Director
Saskatchewan Horse Federation
(306) 780-9244

Updated Pasture Development Costs Resource Available Online

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Producers considering converting cropland to pasture might find it beneficial to consult the updated Pasture Development Costs resource available on Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food’s website.

“The pasture development cost document is a good way to get information on the cost of establishing pasture and the annual operating costs for pastures,” Forage Development Specialist Wally Vanin, who compiled the publication, said. “This information can then be used to evaluate the profitability of converting cropland to pasture.

“The publication looks at the costs for the brown, dark brown and black soil zones. It is based on a moderate stocking rate. Annual costs are calculated, but will depend on your stocking rate.”

The publication provides a format for calculating the cost of developing a new pasture. The costs of establishing a pasture with crested wheatgrass/alfalfa or meadow bromegrass/alfalfa blends are shown on a soil zone basis. Machine costs are similar for each soil zone, and are calculated based on the cost of developing 160 acres of new pasture.

Machinery costs are based on figures in the 2004 Farm Machinery Custom and Rental Rate Guide, also available on the department’s website. As costs and machine size can vary significantly, actual costs should be used when available.

Costs are broken down into variable (fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, lubrication and repairs) and other (machine depreciation, investment) costs. Investment costs include the construction of two miles of four-strand barbed wire fence and a 3,000 cubic-yard dugout.

“When considering any water source, be sure to contact your nearest PFRA office before construction, for more information on water quality and quantity. Ensure that any buried infrastructure is located before any excavation is started.”

Forage is to be seeded into standing crop stubble in the spring. A one litre per acre glyphosate pre-seed burn-off treatment is used for weed control. Straw and chaff must be properly spread in the fall of the year prior to seeding the forage.

Seeding rates vary based on soil zones, specific areas and conditions.

Vanin found that annual per acre operating costs were similar in all three soil zones.

“However, based on moderate stocking rates, the cost per animal unit month is lower as you go north.”

The pasture development document was originally produced in 1999 and includes a worksheet where producers can enter their own data to calculate costs.

“With this publication, the establishment costs were amortized over the first seven years of the pasture. The producer actually has a choice of amortizing those costs, or simply absorbing those establishment costs out of his or her current operation. Most often, producers pay those costs right off the bat.

“The publication uses full costs for all items. The costs tend to be high, and producers may find lower cost fencing materials to reduce their costs. For the sake of the publication, we used full costs on all items. Therefore, costs are fairly high, but producers could probably do it for less.”

The publication is available on the website at Click on Crops, Forage/Pasture, Forage Management/Production, then click on the document name.

More detailed information on grazing capacity, agronomics, seed varieties, lease arrangements, fencing and machinery costs can be obtained from Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food’s Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377, or from Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food’s website.

For more information, contact:

Wally Vanin
Livestock Development Specialist
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
(306) 933-8268

Agri-ARM Program Field Days Coming Up Across the Province

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The Agriculture Applied Research Management (Agri-ARM) program, a network of applied research sites focussed on increasing per acre income and provincial gross domestic product from crops, will once again host a series of summer field days.

“Each Agri-ARM site has a tour to view projects that are of interest to producers and industry,” Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food Crop Business Section Manager Dr. Larry Gutek said. “Projects are related to production, technology transfer, new varieties and development and processing opportunities for new crops. Quite a range of demonstrations are offered to interested producers.”

There are eight Agri-ARM sites located across the province. Each site has the necessary infrastructure to carry out quality research and demonstration, including a manager responsible for technical issues and an affiliated regional crop development specialist to support technology transfer.

“During the tours, you actually view research projects, and talk with research scientists and industry representatives,” Gutek said. “It is a highly interactive experience.”

Projects may include applied research, in which replicated experiments are used to validate or evaluate data, or demonstrations of new crops, technology and practices. The Agri-ARM program results in knowledge, information products/events, and research and technology transfer services.

“These are all facilities that are engaged in research on a regular basis, although some have more capacity than others in doing replicated experiments, while others are more focused on demonstrations of new crops, technology and practices. There is a broad range of events, and we have good sponsorship from industry as well as from federal research centres at Scott, Melfort, Indian Head and Swift Current.”

Agri-ARM has now completed five field seasons of quality applied research and demonstrations to address emerging crop opportunities. The program is designed to assist Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) in meeting goals focused on developing a thriving, environmentally sustainable and diversified agricultural industry through working with strong, resourceful agricultural people.

In addition to applied research and demonstration, a business incubation component has also been introduced. Project specific funding will be allocated to sites that are fostering new opportunities in agriculture business development.

Dates and contact phone numbers for 2006 Agri-ARM field days follow:

-July 7 - Canola Day at Seager Wheeler Farm in Rosthern - (306) 232-5959
- July 12 - Western Applied Research Corporation at Scott Research Farm - (306) 446-7475
- July 13 - Wheatland Conservation Area at Swift Current - -(306) 778-8285
- July 18 - Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation at Indian Head - (306) 695-4244
- July 20 - South East Research Farm at Redvers - (306) 452-3161
- July 21 - East Central Research Foundation in Canora - (306) 563-5551
- August 1 - Conservation Learning Centre in Prince Albert - (306) 953-2796
- July 19 - Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation in Melfort - (306) 878-8807

For more information, contact:

Larry Gutek
Manager, Crop Business Section
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
(306) 933-5568

U of S Crop Diagnostic Tour to Provide In-depth Look at Field Issues

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

If you want to get a snapshot of agricultural field conditions and issues around Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Diagnostic Tour on July 5 may be just what you need.

The Crop Diagnostic Tour is a unique learning experience in field scouting and problem assessment, providing a hands-on approach to crop management practices and issues and offering a networking opportunity for agronomists and producers.

“In the past, we’ve done the entire crop diagnostic school on university land. This is no longer an option due to human and financial resource challenges,” University of Saskatchewan agriculture, food and horticulture program co-ordinator Kari Nicolas said. “This year, it is in a tour format instead. We are planning on touring plots in and around Saskatoon – probably no more than an hour outside the city – to look at some production issues.”

While the event is intended for agrologists, producers are also welcome to attend.

“There will be a number of agricultural companies represented on the tour. We target anyone doing crop-related advising for a living – anybody working with retail outlets; chemical companies; the provincial government; crop insurance people; Federated Co-op. This tour is for anyone whose work requires them to have some skills in the crop diagnostic area.”

Nicolas says independent consultant Dave Rhyhor is the field scout who has been hired to go out around the city and look at different fields, and work with university researchers to see what projects they have slated for the summer.

“He will also talk to producers in the area to see if they have anything interesting we can look at,” Nicolas said. “We look for crops with disease; herbicide issues; fertility issues; seeding stage issues, anything and everything that we can pretty much see in and around the area.”

The crop diagnostic tour is how most of the companies do their in-house training, Nicolas said, and is why the event is different from typical crop tours.

“It is not just driving by and looking at fields. People will get off the bus and we will have resource experts talking to them in the field. Whatever it is they are looking at, we will have them doing some hands-on work.”

The registration cost of $200 includes materials; transportation; refreshments and lunch. The fee also covers the cost of bringing out the resource people and field scout, plus a workbook for tour participants.

Participants should plan on a full day of activity. For more information, or to register for the tour, call (306) 966-5592 as soon as possible. For tour details, visit

More details will be posted on the website as they become available.

For more information, contact:

Kari Nicolas, Program Co-ordinator
Agriculture, Food and Horticulture Programs
Extension Division
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-5592

Regina Pig Genetics Company Lands Major Deal in China

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Hypor may not be a household name in Saskatchewan, but perhaps it should be.

The international pig breeding company recently signed joint venture agreements with two of China's largest agri-business companies. The agreements with Sichuan South Hope Company Ltd. (New Hope) and Shandong Liuhe Group Co., Ltd. (Liuhe) are for the production and distribution of breeding pigs in China.

“Our Chinese partners have access to the market, and we have the pigs and the technology,” Hypor Chief Marketing Officer Marc Broadbent said. “Together, you could say we have a winning team.”

The investment involves 600 pigs in each joint venture, worth about $2 million, and will produce six million slaughter pigs per year. There is also investment in the farms, equipment and land.

Hypor will supply the pigs from the three barns it operates in Saskatchewan.

“For Hypor as a whole, Saskatchewan is a very important part of the business. The barns located in Saskatchewan are very healthy, as are the animals, due to low populations of people and pigs. This is an ideal place for breeding, raising and distributing pigs all over the world.”

For Broadbent, the agreement is a reward after a major investment of time and effort. Lately, he has travelled to China monthly.

“To come up with a deal like this takes a lot. New Hope was a company that I was doing business with when I was working for a previous employer. So it took two jobs, in a way, to achieve this,” Broadbent said.

“It also took several generations. My father worked in agriculture in China before me. You can appreciate the importance of adaptation to the culture, and the importance of understanding the local culture through living and working overseas for a number of years. The Chinese are tough negotiators and dealing with them in business can be very demanding. But perseverance pays off.”

One of the greatest assets Hypor has is the way in which being Canadian opens a lot of doors, Broadbent said.

“China has a strong affinity for Canada as a brand itself. It is not just Hypor that sold these pigs. It is also Canada that sold these pigs. It is a result of the strong relationship between Canada and China,” he said.

Saskatchewan will benefit over the long run from the initial delivery of pigs, Broadbent said. Some of Hypor’s employees will go over to China to deliver technical service and follow-up, and the breeding program will be supported from Saskatchewan over the long term.

In hindsight, Broadbent is also appreciative of the vision companies like Genex had when they started breeding pigs in the province.

“Genex had a lot of foresight putting their business here because of the low populations of pigs and people. There will always be a strong pig breeding business in Saskatchewan,” he said. “When we put that seed stock into another country, the idea is to create another Saskatchewan, in a way, where those pigs can then support their local area.”

For more information, contact:

Marc Broadbent
Chief Marketing Officer
(306) 721-2528
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