Canada
The Canadian government recently announced an investment of over $6 million to help the Canadian pork industry harness innovation to boost production, strengthen public trust, and expand markets for Canadian pork at home and abroad.
Published in News
What are the benefits of manure over fertilizer? Jeff Schoenau, professor of soil fertility at the University of Saskatchewan and a professional agrologist, explains.
Published in Profiles
Manure Manager magazine is joining with Annex Business Media's other agriculture publications to conduct a survey to gain a better understanding of the future of Canadian farming.
Published in Profiles
The opportunity to get bedded-pack cattle manure was too good to pass up. But now as the field in front of me is a sea of white with deep drifts, one question arises, "Where is the best location to temporarily store the manure?"
Published in Storage
The Government of Canada recently released the final list of designated regions where livestock tax deferral has been authorized for 2018 due to drought conditions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
Published in News
The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (PRC) has chosen five projects from 11 proposals to develop and test technologies that intercept and remove phosphorus from agricultural runoff. Phosphorus entering the system contributes to the growth of harmful algal blooms in the Thames River and Lake Erie.
Published in News
GEA recently achieved a significant milestone in its company history by manufacturing its 10,000th liquid manure spreader tank.
Published in Companies
The flow of water through soil is a “highly dynamic process,” says Genevieve Ali, associate professor and researcher at the University of Manitoba. “It can vary from year-to-year, season-to-season, or even rainstorm-to-rainstorm.”
Published in Research
Canada's hog sector, which includes over 8,000 hog farms, is a key driver of the Canadian economy, accounting for $4.5 billion in farm receipts and $4 billion in pork exports in 2017.
Published in News
Puck Enterprises has announced an updated brand that is focused on the company's longevity, performance and their commitment to customers.
Published in Companies
Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) recently presented the Radau family and Coulee Crest Farms with the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award at the ABP Annual General Meeting.
Published in News
At a time when hog producers expected to profit from their labours, a rising supply of American pork and tariffs on U.S. pork exports saw Canadian hog prices drop as much as $55 per animal in June. The Canadian Pork Council estimates the sudden decline resulted in losses of $125 million for the Canadian hog industry between June and September.
Published in Swine
Add just enough fertilizer, and crops thrive. Add too much, and you may end up with contaminated surface and groundwater.

Excess nutrients from farms can be transported to groundwater reservoirs by water starting at the surface and flowing through soil. But the flow of water through soil is a "highly dynamic process," says Genevieve Ali, a researcher at the University of Manitoba. "It can vary from year to year, season to season, or even rainstorm to rainstorm."

It can also fluctuate depending on soil type and even if organic additions, like manure, are applied.

Ali is lead author of a new study that shows water infiltrates deeper into cracking clay (vertisolic soils) when liquid hog manure is applied.

The study also showed that even though water infiltration went deeper in the presence of manure, it did not reach depths of 39 inches (100 cm). That's how deep tile drains–designed to remove excess subsurface water–are typically installed in the study region.

"This observation challenges previous studies, which showed that cracks in clay soils can promote the travel of water and associated contaminants from the soil surface into tile drains," says Ali. "Our study suggests that not all clay-rich soils behave the same."

The researchers focused on vertisols because they are present in large regions of North America. "They are common in agricultural plains, where excess nutrients may be common due to intensive farming," Ali says.

But knowledge gaps remain about soil water flow in vertisols, especially with organic additions.

Water can flow through soil in different ways. 'Matrix flow' occurs when water moves slowly through tiny spaces between soil grains. 'Preferential flow' takes place when water travels relatively quickly through bigger channels, called macropores, such as cracks and earthworm burrows.

"Imagine a bucket of sand with plastic straws inserted throughout," says Ali. "If you dumped water on this sand bucket, the water traveling through the straws would reach the bottom first."

Similarly, preferential water flow through soil macropores can carry contaminants quickly from the surface down to groundwater reservoirs.

Macropores are often connected to one another. "They act like a network of pipes, and they can be created or exacerbated by human activities," says Ali. "Knowing when and where there is preferential flow and how to manage land in those areas is critical to preserving groundwater quality."

Clay-rich soils--such as vertisols–tend to crack, which creates macropores. "That makes these soils natural candidates to study the relative importance of matrix and preferential flow," says Ali.

This study was conducted in research plots in Manitoba, Canada. Researchers added liquid hog manure to one plot but not the other. They sprinkled water mixed with blue dye on both plots to determine how water moved through the soil.

In the plot where manure was applied, water reached up to 25 inches (64 cm) into the soil. In contrast, water reached up to 18 inches (45 cm) in the plot where manure was not applied. Both plots showed evidence of matrix and preferential water flow.

The researchers also found that the water moving through the macropores was not completely separated from the rest of the soil.

"If you think back to the analogy of the sand bucket with the straws in it, the straws have a bunch of small little holes in them," says Ali. "Water can be exchanged laterally between the macropores and the surrounding soil."

Lateral exchange has been reported frequently for smaller macropores in forested soils, says Ali. "But it is less common in agricultural soils where cracks tend to be larger."

This study focused on a single site, so Ali says that further research is needed before generalizations can be made.

Ali is also studying the role of soil cracks in spring (created by the soil freezing and thawing multiple times) versus the role of cracks in summer (created when soils become especially dry).

Read more about this research in Agricultural and Environmental Letters. The research was done under the umbrella of the Watershed Systems Research Program and funded by the Government of Manitoba, as well as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant awarded to Genevieve Ali.
Published in Research
Greenhouse gas is a significant player in climate change and Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists have developed a tool that helps mitigate agriculture's contribution.

Dr. Roland Kroebel is an AAFC ecosystem modeller in Lethbridge, Alberta. Though he insists the credit is not his, Kroebel has played a key role in developing the Holos software model from the beginning to its current 3rd version. Holos helps producers green their agriculture operations by monitoring, and adjusting farming practices to lessen greenhouse gases.

"The idea of the model is to allow producers to play around with their management strategies and to see how that could lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," Kroebel says.

Kroebel says Holos is "an exploratory tool" and that "it's meant as a gaming approach where a producer can try out different management practices that don't necessarily have to be realistic."

The goal of the model is to gain understanding of the way the system reacts to management practices and is considered more of an educational tool than a decision maker.

The Holos 3.0 came out in 2017. The updated version includes a partial economics component allowing farmers to monitor costs of different management practices.

Kroebel says that the model is still in a basic level of complexity and his team will continue working on improvements as they receive feedback from other research groups and stakeholders.

One upgrade they're looking to make is to better match the economics of the model with the greenhouse gas emissions.

"To give you an example, different ways of disposing of animal manure have different costs and emit different types and amounts of gas; but those costs don't factor into the value of an animal. So the costs don't discriminate in that way, but emissions do."

Kroebel says they're also in frequent contact with the national greenhouse gas inventory (responsible for compiling and reporting data on Canadian greenhouse gas emissions across sectors) to ensure their algorithms are aligned.

"What we're trying to do there is create transparent results so that individual producers can understand how their farm system is part of the larger national and global context."

On top of the producers who use Holos for their farms, Kroebel says that they are increasingly receiving requests from universities looking to bring the software into classrooms.

"It's a great way to demonstrate how decisions on the farm trickle through the system and have multiple effects at various stages."

Published in Other
Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc has shown individually formulated diets can reduce the nutritional needs of the swine herd and the nutrient content of the manure produced.

In an effort to reduce the overall nutrient requirements of the swine herd, scientists working in partnership with swine Innovation Porc have been developing technology designed to mix swine rations tailored to meet the specific nutritional requirements of each individual pig.

Researchers have now completed the basic concepts needed to estimate daily nutrient requirements.

Dr. Candido Pomar, a research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, explains in conventional systems all of the animals get the same feed so diets must be formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of the most demanding animals where as precision feeding allows the less demanding animals to be fed lower cost less nutrient dense diets. | READ MORE
Published in Swine
Research is underway in southern Alberta to assess how housing feedlot cattle in roller compacted concrete (RCC) floor pens compares to traditional clay floor pens.

Traditionally, feedlot pen floors in Alberta are constructed of compacted clay. Annual feedlot pen maintenance requires clay to repair damaged pen floors, which can significantly add to input costs and the environmental footprint of feedlots.

Constructing feedlot pen floors with RCC is one possible sustainable solution for stabilizing the pen floors, subsequently improving efficiencies of feedlot operations and animal performance, among other potential benefits.

This research project aims to assess the social, environmental, technological and economic performance - positive, negative or neutral - associated with housing feedlot cattle in RCC floor pens versus traditional clay floor pens. Examples of a few objectives being examined are animal welfare, water runoff, emissions, manure volume, durability and strength of pen floor, as well as average daily gain.

This project is anticipated to be completed by February 2019. For more information, contact Ike Edeogu, technology development engineer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, at 780-415-2359.
Published in Beef
A Vancouver college is looking for new ways to manage manure in British Columbia's Fraser Valley.

Working with Muddy River Technologies of Delta, B.C., researchers at Langara College are seeking a cost effective way to prevent soil degradation and water contamination by removing phosphorus, nitrogen and other byproducts from animal manure.

The Fraser Valley is home to about 500 dairies, and the high amounts of slurry cause environmental and economic problems. Farmers do not have enough land to dispose of it, and they cannot expand because of the limitations placed on them by excess manure, said Langara researcher Kelly Sveinson.

This spring the college received $90,000 from the B.C. Innovation Council Ignite Award to support the project involving Sveinson, chemist Todd Stuckless and Rob Stephenson, chief technical officer of Muddy River Technologies, which works on water and waste treatments.

The project involves removing phosphates from manure using an electrochemical process similar to that used in environmental cleanups. The second step is to use a biochar carbon filter to capture ammonia that can be released as nitrogen. Ultimately those products could go back on the land as fertilizer. | READ MORE
Published in News
The Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation (CABEF) is proud to announce the winners of their annual scholarships. Each of these exceptional students will receive $2,500 for post-secondary agricultural education.

The 2018 winners are:
  • Adriana Van Tryp, Burdett, Alta.
  • Laura Carruthers, Frenchman Butte, Sask.
  • Pete Giesbrecht, Winkler, Man.
  • Owen Ricker, Dunnville, Ont.
  • Jeremy Chevalley, Moose Creek Ont.
  • Émilie Carrier, Princeville, Que.
  • Justin Kampman, Abbotsford, B.C.
Each year, CABEF awards scholarships of $2,500 to Canadian students entering their first year at an accredited agriculture college or university. CABEF is a charity foundation that encourages students to pursue their passion for agriculture and to bring their new ideas and talent to the industry.

Scholarship winners are evaluated on a combination of leadership attributes, academic standing and their response to the essay question, "What do you consider to be the three main opportunities for the Canadian agriculture industry and which one inspires you the most?"

"We are proud to support the future of the Canadian agriculture industry by providing these scholarships," said Jenn Norrie, chair of the board for CABEF. "With the high-quality applications received from students across the country, the future of Canadian agriculture is bright."

For further information about CABEF's work, visit cabef.org.
Published in News
Puck Custom Enterprises recently upgraded its trademark LightSpeed software to the improved "LightSpeed Pro." This new version brings customers remote pump control with a higher level of efficiency and ease of use.
Published in Manure Application
Hauling manure on Alberta roads requires operators to pay close attention to highway safety, road infrastructure and the environment.
Published in Manure Application
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