Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heads Up For An Early April Fools

Peter Johnson, the slightly opinionated OMAFRA cereal specialist was telling me yesterday about a change in CFIA regulations that go into effect on April 1.  These changes affect the class of products that we know as "amendment" products.  An example of an amendment product is Awaken ST.  Awaken ST which is marketed in Ontario by UAP, has gone through the current registration process.  They make that statement clearly in the promotion from their website.  UAP had to prove to CFIA that Awaken ST has the potential to have a positive effect on yield.  I am not promoting nor condemning Awaken ST.  I only use it as an example.

Amendment products contain trace amounts of nutrients.  Anyone with a slight understanding of chemistry can mix up trace elements and bottle them.  There are literally millions of these products.  As of April 1, the only requirement for registration in Canada will be to prove that they contain the nutrients on the label.  They no longer have to prove to CFIA that the stuff actually might work.  So get ready for lots of salesmen claiming that product XYZ will perform miracles on your farm. 
My advice is to let your neighbour be the April fool and the first to try XYZ.

On a different note, many ask for my opinion on where corn acres are going.  Here is as good an explanation as any.  Enjoy.

Happy Easter to everyone.  With the cold weather there is no excuse for not spending time with your family.  God Bless.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This Is How We Do It

US President Teddy Roosevelt is credited with coining the phrase "speak softly while carrying a big stick".  I have always liked this phrase because I believe it is important to stay quiet and humble, but be ready to use the appropriate "stick" if required.  Once in a while I get the urge to brag about something and my family quickly tells me to shut up.  They are usually right.
I do believe, however, that Pioneer deserves a huge thumbs up for its commitment to the livestock industry.  The company is unique in the seed business.
Pioneer is the only seed company that sells a complete lineup of seed products including silage corn, grain corn, alfalfa, wheat, soybeans and canola.  There are three alfalfa breeding programs in North America.  Pioneer's breeding program is one of those three.  Pioneer brand alfalfa varieties are unique to Pioneer.  Other seed companies buy alfalfa genetics from the other two breeding organizations.    
Pioneer is also the only seed company that supports the development of unique strains of bacteria that make better silage.  Everyone is familiar with the use of stacking genes in corn hybrids.  We have witnessed corn breeders develop "single stack" hybrids, which led to "double stack" hybrids and more recently to "triple and multi stack" hybrids.  Each stack adds features which bring a level of value that can be different to individual farming operations.  A Pioneer sales rep's responsibility is helping customers sort out which features bring the greatest value.

This chart shows the timeline of development, or breeding if we use the seed corn analogy, in Pioneer's innoculant products.  Like corn hybrids, inoculants have been designed to bring different features to the silage producer.  Some silage producers need the basic technology package in 1174, others need the full technology package in 11CFT.  These products have all been tested in live animals at Pioneer's Livestock Nutrition Centre.  Making sure products work in the real world of the animal's gut is another part of Pioneer's commitment to the livestock industry.
Finally, Pioneer backs up these products with service support that is unique in the seed industry.  A Canadian team of livestock specialists, led by Robert Larmer, maximize the value of Pioneer's forage package at the farm gate.  They are backed up by a dedicated team of dairy, beef and swine nutrionists.
I am extremely proud to be associated with this group.  I will now go back to walking softly.