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Chicago corn and wheat futures posted gains, while soybeans were down from the previous week.

On Friday, the corn market survived a lower open to finish the day on the plus side. News of the new COVID-19 variant in South Africa rocked the markets. Corn rebounded from the initial sell-off on good demand numbers as the USDA noted that more than 56 million bushels were sold for exports the previous week.

The wheat market continues to be buoyed by concerns about lower-quality supplies. Of note, Reuters reported that rain stalled Australia’s bumper harvest. However, a round of liquidation and a higher U.S. dollar kept the gains in check.

Soybeans didn’t recover as well as corn did to the news of the COVID variant. Additional pressure came from weak demand for U.S. soybeans. While the USDA reported that 57.5 million bushels were sold for export last week and shipments totalled 82.8 million, DTN's market commentary noted that total commitments for U.S. beans remain a bearish concern, down 31 per cent from last year. In Ontario, basis levels firmed, giving the local soybean prices a boost.

For corn, the December 2021 future closed at $5.87 on Nov. 26, up 16 cents from the previous week. The Dec. 2022 future was up 9 cents at $5.63.

The high Chatham-Kent (CK) harvest 2021 crop price was $7.12, up 21 cents. The New Crop (harvest 2022) price was up 9 cents at $6.58.

At the same time last year, the CK old crop price was $5.58; the new crop was $5.06.

The January 2022 soybean future was down 10 cents at $12.53. The new crop Nov. 2022 future was down 11 cents at $12.40.

On Friday, the CK high cash price was up 2 cents at $15.55. The 2022 new crop price was up 4 cents at $15.15.

Last year, the CK high old crop price was $14.94; the new crop was $13.00.

The December wheat future in Chicago was up 3 cents, closing at $8.26. The new crop July 2022 future closed at $8.34, up 5 cents from last week.

The high CK Soft Red Winter Wheat price for Harvest 2021 was up 18 cents at $9.51. The new crop was up 20 cents at $10.04.

Last year, the old crop price was $7.11; the new crop was $7.07.



From University of Guelph News

Make better cows and cool the planet.

That’s the dual goal of a University of Guelph-led, international project intended to reduce climate-warming methane emissions from dairy cattle – a key issue following the adoption of a global methane-reduction pledge at this month’s United Nations climate change conference.

That dual benefit may surprise anyone who believes that methane-belching livestock are responsible for clouds of climate-warming gases collecting in the atmosphere. Methane is about 30 times more potent as a greenhouse-warming gas than carbon dioxide, said Dr. Christine Baes, an animal biosciences professor in U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and head of the Resilient Dairy Genome Project (RDGP).

But that statistic tells only part of the story.

Clearing up misconceptions about livestock emissions is an unstated goal underpinning this dairy project, which brings together varied U of G experts with dozens of collaborators at other universities and industrial partners in Canada and worldwide.

The team is using genetics and genomics tools to breed cattle with enhanced health and fertility that process their feed more efficiently. Improve a cow’s feed efficiency, and you can reduce the animal’s methane emissions – produced mostly from burping out the gas – in the process.

Up to nearly one-third of a cow’s feed efficiency is dictated by its genes.

“If one cow produces 300 grams of methane per day versus another cow with 600 grams per day at the same level of milk production, it’s clear that we want to keep the cow that produces 300 grams and include her genes in future generations,” she said.

“Genomic selection provides an elegant way of breeding cows that are more resource-efficient. They eat less but are just as healthy, just as fertile, and they produce just as much milk, but they do it with less resources.”

In an earlier project led initially by Dr. Filippo Miglior and later by Dr. Flavio Schenkel, Director of the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock (CGIL) in the Department of Animal Biosciences, researchers at U of G and their partners already developed a genetic evaluation system for feed efficiency and the groundwork for future methane emissions evaluations.

That initiative, called the Efficient Dairy Genome Project, was funded by various governments and the dairy industry.

The resulting evaluation system was implemented by Lactanet Canada this past spring for Canada’s dairy cow breeders. The dairy sector contributes roughly $20 billion a year to the country’s GDP.

Further increasing feed efficiency and reducing methane emissions is part of the goal of the new project led by Baes and three principals from other Canadian universities.

That meshes with the pledge made by more than 100 countries at the November COP26 climate change conference to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. Emissions currently come from varied sources, including the burning of fossil fuels as well as decomposition in landfills and wetlands.

And that’s part of the benefit of focusing on livestock emissions through this project, said Baes.

When it comes to greenhouse-warming effects, not all methane is the same.

Biogenic methane is part of a natural cycle that involves livestock. As part of the cycle, plants absorb CO2 to make carbohydrates like cellulose, a key feed source for ruminants like cows.

After cattle break down cellulose, they burp methane into the atmosphere. It takes about a decade for that methane to change to CO2, which is then ready to be recycled back into plants.

Compare that with so-called fossil methane, which starts as fossil fuels dug out of the earth and ultimately exits your vehicle’s tailpipe. The resultant carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may take more than a thousand years to re-enter geological reserves.

“Fossil methane represents a new addition to the gas already in the atmosphere,” said Baes, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Livestock Genomics. “The cool thing is that although livestock emits methane, if you can reduce the methane emitted from livestock, you can technically induce net cooling as opposed to net warming.

“If we can breed more efficient cows, we can contribute to a net cooling effect.”

That benefit will be further heightened here in North America than in other livestock-producing parts of the world.

“We are considerably more efficient and thus contribute significantly less methane here,” she said. “But we can also do our part to achieve an overall reduction. Our project is one of many which can help to do so.”

Under the RDGP begun in 2020, the research team also aims to incorporate other important genetic traits, including tolerance to heat stress, disease susceptibility and calf health traits.

The project brings together Baes and Schenkel along with experts in a variety of fields across U of G, as follows: Dr. Getu Hailu, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, OAC; Dr. Angela Cánovas, Dr. Vern Osborne, Dr. Niel Karrow, Dr. Filippo Miglior (adjunct professor with CGIL, also on staff at Lactanet), and Dr. Dan Tulpan, all in the Department of Animal Biosciences, OAC; and Dr. Dave Kelton, Dairy Farmers of Ontario Dairy Cattle Research Chair in the Department of Population Medicine in U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College.

Also involved are U of G students, post-docs and research associates. Industry partners and funders include Genome Canada, the Dairy Farmers of Canada, Lactanet, Ontario Genomics, Genome Quebec, Genome Alberta, and Genome BC, as well as OMAFRA, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and a number of other provincial funding bodies outside of Ontario.

“This University of Guelph-led project is another great example of how researchers at Canada’s food university are leading the way in an absolutely critical effort to find sustainable solutions for feeding a growing world,” said Dr. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research).

“This project combines U of G expertise in animal biosciences and environment to ensure food security while mitigating climate change impacts. It’s a prime example of improving life at home and around the world.”

Other U of G researchers whose work involves livestock, environmental impacts or greenhouse gas emissions include:

Dr. Jennifer Ellis, Department of Animal Biosciences and a member of the University’s Centre for Nutrition Modelling, uses data to develop mathematical models to improve livestock performance, product quality, animal health and welfare, and the environment.

A soil ecosystems expert in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle, looks at greenhouse gas emissions – methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide – produced by agriculture. Her lab group uses sophisticated technology to measure GGEs to help governments and farm organizations to mitigate the environmental impacts of agriculture.

Working at U of G’s Ridgetown Campus, SES professor Dr. Brandon Gilroyed studies anaerobic digestion technology to reduce methane emissions from animal manure and organic wastes. Instead of allowing organic material to decompose in manure storage pits or landfills, he uses controlled conditions and combusts the methane produced in the process.

“Combustion releases CO2 to the atmosphere, but since CO2 is a less potent greenhouse gas than methane, there is a net benefit, and the process is considered carbon-neutral,” he said. Gilroyed aims to provide anaerobic digester technology for on-farm use.



From a news release

The Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN), a first of its kind, collaborative effort between Ontario and the Great Lakes Region of the U.S., has completed its pilot project year. Top producers in the Great Lakes Region have been awarded for both overall yield and achieving the highest percentage of potential yield.

These awards were determined after a multitude of field data for farmer participants and agronomists was carefully gathered, reviewed, and analyzed. The full group of farmers, agronomists, and organizers met to contemplate how to narrow the gap between potential yield and actual yield. They will be reviewing their results with the compilation of the study group’s results, measurement by measurement.

Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Michigan Wheat Program, Michigan State University, and the University of Guelph launched the Great Lakes YEN to help farmers and the industry build insights and knowledge about practices and other factors impacting yield. In its inaugural year, the Great Lakes YEN focused solely on winter wheat, working with 40 farmers to ascertain the difference in their actual and potential yields.

“Innovation has always been at the heart of the Ontario agriculture sector. Our government recognizes that partnerships propel prosperity, and together with our stakeholders, we look forward to driving more best practices and embracing new technologies,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This ground-breaking cross-border collaboration, in the grains and oilseeds sector, will showcase the power of innovative farm practices that will increase yield, resulting in an increase in the amount of food grown per acre. This initiative is vital to the future of the agri-food sector in Ontario as we continue to feed a growing population.”

The Great Lakes YEN project will promote best practices and unleash the maximum potential of crop yields.

Forty farmers from Michigan and Ontario participated in the pilot project, supported with insight from the already established ADAS YEN team from the United Kingdom, which began their program in 2012. The Great Lakes YEN was able to develop the 2021 pilot project on that platform with applicable factors to crop modelling that were ideal for Ontario and the Great Lakes conditions.

The project collaborators found that several factors were associated with high-yielding wheat. These include but are not limited to:

  • Total biomass
  • The number of heads per m2
  • Total nitrogen applied and uptake

“The Great Lakes YEN is a unique collaboration that will propel our understanding of production and benefit farmer-members across the province and across the border. Collaborations like this will help the grain industry continue to grow and thrive, and we are thrilled to be a founding member. We congratulate all pilot project participants and the winners of the yield competition,” said Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Farmers from Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio provided their field data and highlighted their agronomic practices to help identify links to achieving the highest percent of yield potential and also the highest yield. This year’s highest percentage winner achieved 73.7 per cent of potential while the average from the network was 52.5 per cent of potential.

The top yield producers for the 2021 Great Lakes YEN Pilot Project have been acknowledged. The highest yield for this pilot year of the program was a whopping 152.8 bu/ac. A full list of the award winners can be found here.

“We are so proud to be part of this cutting-edge Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network pilot program and look forward to our full launch, which is already in process this fall,” said Jody Pollok-Newsom, Executive Director, Michigan Wheat Program. “The data gathered and information that will be available and built upon in the years to come will truly make a difference for our growers and their bottom lines.”

The Great Lakes YEN Project is currently accepting applications for the 2022 project year. There are limited spaces in this program, so farmers are urged to sign up now. For more information, please visit the Great Lakes YEN website.



From Statistics Canada

Farm cash receipts for Canadian farmers totalled $58.0 billion over the first three quarters of 2021, up 11.0% (+$5.8 billion) from the same period in 2020 due to higher receipts for livestock and crops driven primarily by increases in prices and high demand. Direct payments remained unchanged, at $2.4 billion.

Every province had increases in total receipts, with Alberta (+$1.8 billion) and Saskatchewan (+$1.0 billion) accounting for half of the increase.

The majority of western farmers contended with higher-than-average temperatures, drought conditions throughout the growing season, as well as forest fires. These events have resulted in reduced crop yields and higher feed costs for all provinces. The full impact of these challenges will be more evident in future releases of Farm Cash Receipts and Net Farm Income.

Total crop receipts up as most grains and oilseeds receipts were positive

Crop receipts which are based on the strong 2020 crop production, were up 9.6% to $33.5 billion during the first three quarters of 2021. International demand and lower inventories pushed prices higher and resulted in all grains and oilseeds (except for soybeans) having positive receipts. Excluding cannabis, crop receipts would have risen 9.9%.

Canola receipts (+$1.3 billion) represented almost half of the increase in total crop receipts. Strong prices (+40.9%) more than offset lower marketings (-16.3%).

Total wheat receipts (+$1.1 billion) represented almost 40% of the increase in total crop receipts. Wheat (excluding durum) also recorded strong prices (+24.6%), while marketings fell (-7.9%). Durum wheat receipts, however, increased in both price (+31.9%) and marketings (+0.4%).

Soybeans recorded higher prices (+28.1%) but lower marketings (-42.5%), resulting in a 26.4% drop in soybean receipts.

Specialty crop receipts dropped by 3.0% to $2.5 billion from the first three quarters of 2020. Despite rising prices (+30.2%), lentil receipts dropped by 15.1% to $1.1 billion, while marketings also fell (-34.8%). The receipts were down slightly from the record high in the first three months of 2020. In addition, mustard seeds also saw a decline in receipts. The remaining specialty crops recorded minor increases in receipts.

Cannabis receipts rose 6.0% to $2.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2021, representing 7.0% of total crop receipts.

Total livestock receipts increase on the strength of slaughter hog receipts

Livestock receipts increased 14.8% to $22.1 billion during the first three quarters of 2021. Half of the increase is attributable to total hog receipts (+$1.5 billion). The remaining increase in receipts comes from slaughter cattle (+$699.1 million) and supply-managed (+$644.5 million).

Slaughter hog receipts are up by 38.3% to $4.2 billion on the strength of high prices (+37.1%). Domestic and international demand, coupled with high feed prices, have resulted in extremely high prices for hogs. International hog export receipts have doubled from the first three quarters of 2020, as animals were moved south due to labour disruptions at plants which reduced processing capacity.

Total cattle receipts were up 9.7% to $6.9 billion, mostly attributable to slaughter cattle receipts which were up by 15.1%. Slaughter cattle receipts were up due to both increases in the number of animals slaughtered and prices, which offset the decreases in international export of cattle where the number of cattle and prices fell.

Receipts for supply-managed commodities increased 7.5% to $9.3 billion dollars. This represented just over 40% of livestock receipts. All of the supply-managed commodities recorded an increase in receipts led by chickens for meat (+$299.0 million) and dairy (+$246.9 million).

Total direct payments remain unchanged

During the first three quarters of 2021, total direct payments remained unchanged from the first three quarters of 2020, at $2.4 billion. Four provinces recorded a total decline of $144.6 million, led by Quebec (-$58.1 million) and Manitoba (-$48.5 million). The remaining six provinces combined for an increase of $128.2 million, led by Alberta (+$65.5 million).

Drops in provincial stabilization payments (-$180.0 million), crop insurance (-$116.3 million) and livestock insurance (-$115.4 million) were offset by an increase in the Dairy Direct Payment Program (+$413.9 million).



From a news release

More than 220 delegates from 50 local federations and 12 commodity organizations representing the grassroots voice of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) attended the organization’s 2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM). The event was filled to the brim with action.

The theme Connecting with Ontarians was chosen to enhance the promotion of Ontario’s agri-food sector and food value chain providing attendees with the motivation and tools they need to tell their stories, bridge the gap between the urban-rural divide and make lasting relationships with consumers.

“We are thankful for another great virtual turnout for this year’s annual meeting,” said Peggy Brekveld, who was re-elected as President by the OFA board. “Now is the opportune time for the organization to enter the public trust space and for our members to learn to hone and harvest their own farm stories to increase the connection between our sector and Ontarians.”

OFA was pleased to have Premier Doug Ford on the virtual stage to address the delegates and show his continued support for Ontario’s agri-food sector. Ford identified the importance of the agriculture and food industry is to the provincial economy and how instrumental the sector will be for economic recovery post-pandemic. He thanked Ontario’s farming families for their ongoing resiliency and commitment in keeping Ontarian’s plates full of fresh, high-quality and affordable food as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

“We were fortunate to have delegates, industry stakeholders, government policymakers and media from across the province take the time to participate in our meeting and engage in important conversations,” explained Brekveld. “We appreciate the support of our membership and the pride they take in being part of our organization. Without their contributions, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals and objectives as an industry and as an organization.”

The Hon. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, also addressed Ontario’s farm family members from a remote connection. Minster Thompson voiced her appreciation for collaboration as 2021 saw great strides in key priorities such as mental health, rural broadband expansion, farmland preservation, meat processing investment, BRM program improvement and adverse weather supports.

OFA prides itself on having competitive elections with candidates from all corners of the sector. Three exceptional, well-rounded agriculture advocates vied for the vacant position of Director-at-Large. Sara Wood, a Perth County field crop and poultry farmer, was elected to the position for a three-year term.

OFA’s post-secondary bursary program is an integral part of our commitment to achieve Farms and Food Forever. This year, over 50 applications were received from across the province, all of which demonstrated commitment to personal development, community leadership and a commitment to serve in the sector. This year’s bursary recipients included Allison French, Kristen Kelderman and Sabrina Van Schyndel.

New board members Ethan Wallace, Vanessa Renaud and Paul Maurice, were welcomed into their roles in a provincial board meeting that was held immediately following the AGM. These Zone Directors will be a link between grassroots members and influence OFA’s direction as a provincial organization.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province.



Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary
By Tom Tavani, CFFO General Manager

The recent release of Food Banks Canada’s Hunger Report 2021 should be a wake-up call for everyone in this country.

Using data collected from food banks and programs right across the nation, the organization compiles and reports on the trends that are occurring in our population. The numbers are startling – especially for a first-world country like Canada.

They found that there were about 1.3 million visits to food banks, with a full one-third of the visitors being children. About half of those who use food banks are on disability insurance or other kinds of social assistance. Worst of all, there was a 20 per cent increase over their 2019 report.

There’s no doubt that urban areas were especially hard hit by unemployment and other economic impacts brought on by the pandemic. Racialized and Indigenous populations and those living on fixed incomes were disproportionately affected.

But rural Canada was not exempt. Almost a third of those people who used food banks depended on either pensions or disability payments as their main source of income.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Food Banks Canada put forward five policy recommendations for alleviating the suffering, including increasing supports for low-income adults and renters. Many food banks do more than distribute food, providing much-needed training, education and help finding employment services.

Our farming community also helps out where it can. For example, the Chicken Farmers of Ontario donated 1.4 million meals in 2021. Since 2015, the Egg Farmers of Ontario have donated 144,000 dozen eggs annually to food banks across the province.

Farmers donate surplus produce under the Daily Bread Food Bank’s Farm to Food Bank program. Residents in the GTA now have access to 25 different kinds of fruits and vegetables – either delivered fresh or turned into soups, casseroles and other meals in the organization’s kitchen.

There are many farmers, rural and city people with kind hearts who donate their time, energy, money and food at the food banks. But we need more structural changes to the way our society works.

In a province and country as rich as Ontario and Canada, we need to pull together to make sure no one gets left behind.