PREVENTING LAMENESS JOHN DEERE MUSEUM WHITE MOULD REVIEW GENERATIONAL GREENHOUSE Hamilton’s Vander Houts GUIDANCE SYSTEMS COLLECTING ANTIQUES Coveted Treasures SOYBEAN DISEASE Protecting Crops DECEMBER 2023 $9.50 28 24 20 16 DANIEL VANDER HOUT Loves Working with Family
ANDERSON EQUIPMENT SALES Belleville, 613.969.6246 DELTA POWER EQUIPMENT Dunvegan, 613.527.1501 Essex, 519.776.5238 Exeter, 519.235.2121 Forest, 519.786.5335 Renfrew, 613.432.4133 Seaforth, 519.527.0120 Sparta, 519.775.2601 Winchester, 613.774.2273 Waterford, 519.443.8622 EQUIPMENT ONTARIO Elmira, 519.669.1561 Lindsay, 705.324.6136 Listowel, 519.291.2151 Mildmay, 519.367.2672 Port Perry, 905.982.1500 KUCERA GROUP Alvinston, 519.898.2961 Chatham, 519.351.4300 O’NEIL’S FARM EQUIPMENT Binbrook, 905.572.6714 STRATFORD FARM EQUIPMENT Arva, 519.659.0429 New Hamburg, 519.662.1780 Stratford, 519.393.6162 Woodstock, 519.423.6264 To learn more, visit caseih.com/rightredtractor FARMALL YEAR END SALE * For commercial use only. Customer participation subject to credit qualification and approval by CNH Industrial Capital America LLC or CNH Industrial Capital Canada Ltd. See your participating Case IH dealer for details and eligibility requirements. Eligible equipment limited to dealer inventory in stock. Previous retail sales are not eligible. Down payment may be required. Offer good through December 31, 2023. Not all customers or applicants may qualify for this rate or term. CNH Industrial Capital America LLC or CNH Industrial Capital Canada Ltd. standard terms and conditions will apply. This transaction will be unconditionally interest free. Canada Example: The interest rate will be 0.00% per annum for a total contract term of 72 months. Based on retail contract date of November 1, 2023, with a suggested retail price on a new Farmall Utility 120C (ROPS) of C$129,460.00, customer provides down payment of C$25,892.00 and finances the balance of C$103,568.00 at 0.00% per annum for 72 months. There will be 72 equal monthly payments of C$1,438.44; provided that the amount of the last payment may be slightly different due to rounding. The total amount payable will be C$129,460.00, which includes finance charges of C$0.00. Taxes, freight, setup, delivery, additional options or attachments not included in suggested retail price. Offer subject to change or cancellation without notice. All rights reserved. Case IH and CNH Industrial Licensed Product are trademarks registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any trademarks referred to herein, in association with goods and/or services of companies other than CNH Industrial America LLC, are the property of those respective companies.
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4 The Business of Ontario Agriculture Better Farming | December 2023 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR HELP NEEDED WITH WILDLIFE DAMAGE OFA director Bill Groenheide recently authored an explanation of why the organization advocates for farmers whose crops are damaged by or lost to wildlife. Potential remedies could be a compensation program similar to that available to livestock farmers, and support with practical control options. The Thunder Bay-area farmer offered some specifics on how sandhill cranes are causing crop damage and losses for northern Ontario producers. “These are birds that used to migrate south in the winter but are now increasingly staying put, and as their populations are growing, their impact on agriculture is also on the rise. “In the spring, they’ll feast on newly planted seeds or nibble on freshly sprouted wheat or corn crops, and some farmers have reported losing up to 30 per cent of their planted acres to damage. “A farmer’s only choice, if they want to harvest a crop in the fall, is to replant, which is both costly and without a guarantee that wildlife won’t overtake those plants and seeds too. “In the fall, harvest-ready corn and soybeans are also an attraction.” Birds aren’t the only challenge, though, and it’s not just farmers in the north who deal with this. Crops can be vulnerable to harm from a diverse range of animals, including deer, raccoons, geese, migratory birds, and wild turkeys. And on top of damaging crops, white-tailed deer can also transmit illnesses like Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion disease that affects various cervids including deer, elk, reindeer, and moose. This poses risks to farmed deer populations and their counterparts. As Groenheide explains, farmers’ hands are tied when defending their crops from these wild animals. Provincial laws only permit specific actions, often restricted to certain periods of the year. Predatory animals can target livestock and poultry too. Fortunately, the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program exists. This initiative allows farmers to seek compensation for livestock or poultry harmed by wildlife. Paul Nolan Producers recently gathered at University of Guelph’s Dairy Research Showcase in Elora. Faculty shared results from projects related to new genetics, calf care, and reproduction problems. Emily Croft photo 1-888-248-4893 90 Woodlawn Road West Guelph, ON N1H 1B2 PUBLISHER & EDITORIAL DIRECTOR PAUL NOLAN ext 202 Paul.Nolan@Farms.com ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER & EDITORIAL DIRECTOR LESLIE STEWART ext 265 Leslie.Stewart@Farms.com AGRICULTURAL JOURNALIST EMILY CROFT CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS EDITION MOE AGOSTINO CAMPBELL CORK DALE COWAN ABHINESH GOPAL PAUL HERMANS PATRICK LYNCH RALPH WINFIELD ADVERTISING TEAM GLENN RUEGG JEFF MCKEE JENNY LONGSTREET SCOTT FARHOOD SAMANTHA RENAUD JOAN SPIEGELBERG DESIGN & PRODUCTION TEAM TANYA MYERS GREG MARLOW SHAUN CLARK ANDREA WILLIAMS www.BetterFarming.com Better Farming magazine is mailed as a member-benefit to all farmer members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. If you are not an OFA member, subscribe at: 1-888-248-4893 ext 281 Subscriptions@BetterFarming.com ISSN 1498-9344 (Printed) Canadian one-year subscriptions: $41 (11 issues; includes $4.72 HST). Two-year: $74 ($8.51 HST). U.S. subscriptions: $72 annually. International: $121. Single-copy back issues are $12. GST Registration #868959347RT0001 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to AgMedia Inc., 90 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, ON N1H 1B2. Publications Mail Registration #1156. Publications Mail Agreement #40037298. Copyright ©2023 by AgMedia Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content without written permission of the publisher is forbidden. Acceptance of advertising does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser, its products or services, nor do Better Farming, AgMedia or Farms.com endorse any advertiser claims. The publisher shall have no liability for the omission of any scheduled advertising. Follow us on Twitter @BetterFarmingON We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada. Cover: Jennelle Vander Hout photo, Case IH photo
GET CONNECTED Grow your professional and social network STAY CURRENT Be the first to know about new programs, initiatives, priorities and campaigns GIVE BACK Contribute to your own farm and rural community 1 2 3 Local Federation needs... Local federations connect with members through tours, newsletters and workshops. They work with OFA leadership and government elected officials to advocate and grow business opportunities for the agri-food sector. Your energy and contributions are most welcomed as part of these efforts. Writers Networkers Speakers Planners Thinkers Get involved today. 1.800.668.3276 | ofa.on.ca Be the voice of agriculture Get involved with your County or Regional Federation The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is actively involved in all aspects of the farming and food industry, from within your community to the provincial and national levels. Together, our efforts ensure a future where farms can thrive. What’s in it for me? Contact your local federation or Member Service Representative to learn more.
6 It’s Farming. And It’s Better. Better Farming | December 2023 Beyond the Barn FCC ANNOUNCES NEW REPLACEMENT HEIFER PROGRAM Farm Credit Canada (FCC) recently announced their new Replacement Heifer Program. Information on the new program was shared with cow-calf producers in October as a strategy to help them maintain or expand their herds. This announcement comes at a time when the Canadian cattle herd, particularly cows and replacement heifers, has seen a decline in numbers according to Canfax. Beef farmers have also seen high calf prices in 2023, increasing both the opportunity costs of retaining heifers and the purchase price for replacements. “The drought conditions this summer affected a large cattle-producing area in Western Canada and right now ranchers are making decisions about how to best manage their herds,” said Sophie Perreault, FCC’s CFO, in a recent release. The program will offer loans with a maximum two-year period of interest only, and a maximum life of seven years. The loan’s variable interest rates will be capped at prime plus 1.5 per cent, and loan processing fees will be waived. “The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association appreciates (SSGA) FCC’s response to the current needs of livestock producers,” said Garner Deobald, SSGA president. “This FCC program will help producers rebuild or maintain their herds after consecutive years of drought.” Producers will also benefit from these loans, which may allow more new farmers to enter the industry. “FCC is here to partner with customers in coming up with financial solutions that will continue to support the well-being and longevity of Canadian cattle herds,” Perreault said. “If ranchers have other needs beyond heifer financing, I invite them to contact the FCC team.” BF - Emily Croft The ag community has voiced its support for a federal bill designed to speed up regulatory approvals for important products. Liberal MP Kody Blois introduced Bill C-359 in the House of Commons in October, calling for amendments to the Feeds Act, the Seeds Act and the Pest Control Products Act to bring new products to the Canadian market faster. It would provide 90-day “provisional registration or approval of feeds, seeds and pest control products that are already approved by two or more trusted jurisdictions,” the bill says. Trusted jurisdictions could include the U.S., Australia or the European Union, Blois said while discussing the bill. But ultimately regulatory bodies like Health Canada, the CFIA and PMRA would identify those jurisdictions, he said. “The bill gives farmers timely access to the most innovative products on the world stage today,” Kyle Larkin, executive director of Grain Growers of Canada, told Better Farming. “The issue we face is sometimes products are delayed by the regulatory processes we have in Canada.” And these delays can be years long. Other industry groups joined Grain Growers of Canada in supporting Blois’s bill. The Canadian Cattle Association is “pleased to see the innovative principles of Bill C-359 as it aims to reduce regulatory burdens for farmers and ranchers and ensure our global competitiveness,” Nathan Phinney, president of the CCA, said in a statement. The Canadian Canola Council said “Bill C-359 can help bolster Canada’s competitiveness, address global food security and increase the resilience of Canada’s agricultural sector.” Bill C-359 is considered a private member’s bill – so Blois will be looking for support from other MPs. “I would encourage any member to perhaps take their name to it if they are higher up on the bid,” he said in the House of Commons on Oct. 18. “I will be calling on the government to introduce this legislation in Budget 2024.” BF - Diego Flammini AG INDUSTRY SUPPORTS BILL C-359 Tracy Miller photo
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8 Story Idea? Email Paul.Nolan@Farms.com Better Farming | December 2023 Beyond the Barn GOV. INVESTS IN ONT. FARMER MENTAL HEALTH The provincial and federal governments are investing in mental health support for Ontario producers. The Ontario and Canadian governments will contribute $8 million in support through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The Sustainable CAP is a $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture industry. This investment will allow the Farmer Wellness Initiative, the In the Know program and the Guardian Network to continue offering their services, provided through the Canadian Mental Health Association, to producers who require them. “A life in agriculture is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but it also comes with unique stressors and challenges,” said OMAFRA’s Lisa Thompson in a recent release. “This investment will ensure the right resources are in place to support Ontario’s hard-working agriculture community when and where they need it.” A portion of the investment will fund a promotional initiative named Sowing the Seeds of Wellness. The program will use funding over the next two years to educate producers about the supports that are available to address the unique challenges they experience. The funding will also be available for organizations to produce educational materials, bring in speakers, and develop other promotional activities related to mental health. Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario, said that “this investment will go a long way to raise awareness, address stigma and provide essential mental health supports for farmers in their local communities. We’re grateful for the opportunity to continue creating a hub for mental health within the province.” BF According to data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), sales of 4WD tractors increased drastically at the end of Q3 while 2WD units and combines lagged behind. “With the technology in today’s equipment, it’s no surprise to see the 4WD segment continuing to grow as farmers look to increase their yields,” AEM senior vice president Curt Blades said in a recent release. “This segment has been strong all year, as farmers are continuing to invest in productivity gains for their operations.” This trend was consistent across North America. Wrapping up Q3 in September, Canada’s 4WD sales were up more than 91 per cent over last year. The U.S. finished with 113 per cent growth. AEM’s Canada Ag Tractor and Combine Report notes that 88 4WD tractors were sold across the country this year. Last year the total was 46 over the same period. Though September was notable, sales have been strong through 2023 for 4WD tractors. Year-to-date, 653 tractors have been sold. This is a 22.5 per cent increase over 2022’s 533. While the 4WD market appears to be healthy according to AEM’s report, Canada’s overall sales are down by 14.1 per cent year-over-year. The 2WD tractors were down in Canada by 15.8 per cent in September, with 2,129 units sold versus 2022’s 2,529. Year-over-year, the sector continues to lag 15 per cent behind last year. By this time last year, 22,492 units had been sold, compared to 19,320 this year. The U.S. 2WD sales were lagging as well, with September falling by 5.7 per cent and year-over-year sales behind by 8.7 per cent. Canadian combine sales dropped 37.3 per cent in September, with 183 units sold against last year’s 292. Despite a slower month, year-over-year sales for combines remain healthy with a 16.5 per cent increase over last year. BF - Leslie Stewart Emily Croft photo STRONG 4WD TRACTOR SALES END Q3
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10 Follow us on Twitter @BetterFarmingON Better Farming | December 2023 Ontario farmers are familiar with stories of equipment, tools and vehicles being stolen from neighbouring farms, or maybe even their own farm. While it feels like criminals are getting braver than ever, the OFA has shared a few tips on securing farmyards and equipment, making farms a more challenging target. Some of these tips include posting “No Trespassing” signs, controlling entry to yards with gates and reduced entrances, keeping yards well-lit with alarm or surveillance systems, and locking vehicles, equipment and valuable items. While these strategies are helpful in discouraging trespassers and thieves, there are no guaranteed solutions. Despite the distance between neighbours in rural areas, it’s also important that the rural community continues to look out for their neighbours. In a recent survey of Better Farming readers, 24 per cent shared that farm crime was not a concern on their farm, while 76 per cent responded that they were concerned about farm crime. Ontario farmers shared their concerns for farm security and what they are doing to improve it in the responses below. Allison, Peel Region: We now have security cameras on our property and GPS in some of our vehicles. Mark, Lambton County: We’ve had people stealing gas. We installed more motion lights, lock things up and have a guard dog. Jim, Elgin County: No crime experienced yet. We lock vehicles, have additional lighting and remove keys from tractors. Jason, Grey County: Yes, theft has occurred on the farm. A camera has been installed to monitor the property. Sandra, Huron County: No thefts at this time but we are worried about it. Tom, Prince Edward County: We’ve had no real crime but some trespassing ATVs. Everything is locked when not in use or put inside the drive shed. The keys are in the house, fuel tanks are locked and the yard is lit with flood lights at night. Steve, Oxford County: We have lighted yards and two really good dogs that have a very mean bark when people come up the driveway. And they surround the car or person until we get to them. Yvonne, Huron County: No, we haven’t had problems with crime. It’s always a concern though. We used to be able to leave the keys in the truck if you left it in the field or in the yard. Not anymore. We have lots of yard lighting at night. Our shed doors are usually closed for less visibility. Ben, Huron County: We’ve had no theft on our farm, but we do take precautions whenever we go on holidays like hide some things behind larger equipment. We lock vehicles and keep keys in a secure spot in the house. Derek, Niagara Region: Yes, we’ve had trouble. Our yards are well lit at night, and we keep highly targeted and vulnerable items out of sight from passing traffic as much as possible. I also installed a buried driveway doorbell alarm that rings in the house when anything metal goes within its range. And I have a couple dogs that are really friendly, but one of them weighs in at about 130 pounds, so they still have an intimidating presence, and they definitely bark at night when something disturbs them. Linda, Prince Edward County: Yes, we’ve had a four-wheeler stolen some time ago and fuel. We don’t take the steps we probably should, but we have a couple of large family dogs that are outdoors a lot. I think this helps. Larry, Brant County: Yes, I’ve had theft on my farm – tools, vehicles and fuel. I have a security system installed and cameras as well. My dog is also a deterrent but not as good as my last dog. Bryon, Peel Region: We lost a 50-foot auger with no trace to be found. We have motion lights and a yard camera. We do not leave keys in any vehicles or machinery. The sentry yard light has been a permanent fixture for decades. We do have good neighbours and we look out for each other as best we can. Joan, Grey County: We are very fortunate. We live in a very tight knit community where neighbours watch out for neighbours. Eleanor, Leeds County: We’ve had no thefts for many years. We just keep most equipment very close to the house area or within the dog’s yard, so no one will get close or into her yard without us knowing. BF Digging Deeper RURAL CRIME STILL A CONCERN FOR MOST ‘We do have good neighbours & we look out for each other as best we can.’ By Emily Croft Emily Croft photo Is rural crime a concern on your farm? 24% NO 76% YES
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12 Like Us on Facebook: BetterFarmingON Better Farming | December 2023 Calves’ well-being, including their physical and emotional health, is always top of mind for those in the dairy industry, particularly during the weaning stage. In a recent study appearing in JDS Communications published by the American Dairy Science Association and Elsevier, researchers from the University of Florida demonstrated that socialization with other calves and humans – even for as little as five minutes – can improve overall calf well-being. Lead investigator Dr. Emily K. Miller-Cushon of the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences, explained that assessing how a calf is feeling is usually done by observing behaviours, especially abnormal behaviours, that can include “sucking or chewing on their housing pens or bedding, on their pen-mates or human handlers, all of which are common in the period after calves are fed.” These kinds of behaviours are generally considered signs of frustration and can affect calves’ health. “Calves are active and seek stimulation following milk-feeding, so providing more things to do, like brushing, may calm calves, reducing sucking behaviours after feeding and increasing rest,” says Miller-Cushon. Because studies have already shown that calves seek out human contact, the researchers set out to understand how the human-animal relationship might impact these sucking behaviours. To find an answer, the team randomly assigned 28 Holstein heifer calves to either individual or paired housing from birth to seven weeks old and standardized their contact with humans over this period to include feeding and health exams. The calves began weaning at six weeks old. Over a four-day study period during weaning, the researchers introduced additional human contact and continuously video-recorded its effects on behaviour. During this window, each calf received two days of their normal amount of human contact and two experimental days in which they received an extra five minutes of neck scratches with their familiar human handlers. Why neck scratches? “We know from previous research that calves seem to enjoy tactile contact, including brushing from humans. This kind of contact can reduce their heart rates, and calves lean into the scratches and stretch out their necks for more,” explained Miller-Cushon. “We also see that calves suck on the pen less when they have a stationary brush that they can rub against.” After analyzing the video recordings, the study team concluded that human contact does impact calf behaviour and helps to promote calm and well-being. Those five minutes spent with humans reduced the duration of calves’ sucking behaviours and increased their amount of rest after meals. This decrease in sucking behaviour was especially pronounced in the calves housed alone compared to those that had a pen-mate, indicating the importance of socialization not just with humans but also with other calves. Miller-Cushon was careful to note that the human contact in the study did not eliminate sucking behaviours entirely, however: “Our findings showed benefits of human contact, but the results also suggest that our work is not done in finding the most beneficial and natural methods of feeding and housing our dairy calves. BF This study, “Influences of human contact following milk-feeding on nonnutritive oral behavior and rest of individual and pair-housed dairy calves during weaning,” is published in JDS Communications Volume 4, Issue 1. Authors include S.B. Doyle and E.K. MillerCushon. Research HUMAN CONTACT & HAPPIER CALVES ‘Providing more things to do may calm calves.’ By JDS Communications, American Dairy Science Association Studies have shown calves seek out human contact. Lurin - stock.adobe.com
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14 Ate Today? Thank a Farmer. Better Farming | December 2023 Case IH MY24 Steiger tractors Case IH has revamped their line of Steiger tractors for 2024 with AFS Connect and improvements to fuel efficiency, power, torque, transmission and more. The MY24 Steigers are more powerful and one to two per cent more fuel efficient due to engine updates. The lineup features Fiat Powertrain 13L engines with your choice of a Tier 4 B/ Final – Stage V SST electronic variable geometry turbo charger (available in models 425, 475, and 525) or Tier 4 B/ Final – Stage V TST two-stage turbo charger (555, 595, 645). Some other engine upgrades include relocated crankcase ventilation and fuel filters for more accessible serviceability, and a shortened air path from turbo-to-engine intake to boost engine response. Great Plains VT1100 Turbo-Max The latest vertical tillage implement from Great Plains features a double basket for a smooth finish, chopper reels to work through areas with tough residue, and your choice of blades. The VT1100 Turbo-Max blades are spaced 7.5 inches apart to provide vertical cutting free from shearing. The 20-inch option is recommended for drier, hard soils while the new 22-inch Turbo blades work well with lighter-textured soils where the operator looks to work deeper. John Deere 1 Series round balers The latest balers from John Deere are designed to help keep moisture levels optimal and bale weights consistent across different field conditions. The 1 Series reads bale documentation through the John Deere Operations Centre. This information can help farmers think about nutrient management, price their bales or manage fertilizer costs. Integrated technology automates gate cycle functions, opening and closing the gate at the right time to minimize repetitive tasks and operator error. Kioti HX Series Kioti’s new HX9010C and HX1151C tractors feature four-cylinder diesel engines: the HX9010C has 90 horsepower while the HX1151C has 115, making these the most powerful tractors in Kioti’s lineup. A power-boost feature is included with both models, boosting PTO horsepower and torque by nine per cent for heavy applications or travel. The HX series is capable of heavy lifting; the models have a lift capacity of 8,000 pounds 24-inch aft of hitch. Operators can look forward to a spacious, more comfortable cabin. The deluxe air suspension seat has a swivel and heated lower cushion while the steering wheel telescopes to where they need it to go. Kubota M7-4 Series Kubota recently announced the arrival of three new M7-4 series tractors: the M7-134, M7-154 and M7-174. These new tractors have new efficiency-boosting features like Xpress Restart, which allows the driver to control the main clutch by pressing the brake pedals. The tractor can also be stopped without using the clutch pedal, and the KVT models have an active stop feature which keeps the machine still without pressing the brake pedal or putting the transmission in park. New Holland MY24 T9 Series New Holland’s T9 tractors with PLM Intelligence (PLMi) have upgraded their engines, improving fuel efficiency and horsepower. Three models in the lineup come with an electronic variable geometry turbo engine, which improves fuel economy by two per cent and increases transient response up to 35 per cent. Gross vehicle weight has been increased across all models, which improves the load carrying capacity. New improvements in the cab include a new headliner, overhead console, sound system and RAM mount rails. Farmers can easily see their data on the dual IntelliView 12 monitor, letting them access their PLMi data wherever they are. BF NEW MACHINERY ROUNDUP Keep up with the latest equipment releases. By Leslie Stewart Machinery Alley
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16 The Business of Ontario Agriculture Better Farming | December 2023 Guidance Systems Guidance systems have become commonplace on Ontario farms as precision agriculture technologies grow in popularity. Various available features and accuracy levels mean farmers can choose a guidance system that best suits their operation’s needs. “Guidance systems can be useful for everything from fertilizer application straight through to planting, tillage, and hay,” says Jordan Wallace, sales and advanced solutions technician at GPS Ontario. “A guidance system is meant to make it easier to farm, not make it harder to farm. Every farm will benefit from a guidance system regardless of how large or small. There are many different levels of guidance systems.” Kendal Quandahl, manager of the Case IH Precision Field Team, says that there are a few ways these systems help producers. “Guidance is something that can be introduced at any point in time in an operation and has benefits,” says Quandahl. “It can reduce inputs by avoiding overlaps and helps producers make better use of land. It also helps minimize operator stress and fatigue. If you are steering the tractor, controlling the implement all day long – 12, 14, maybe 16 hours a day – you get tired. And when you get tired, we all get a little less efficient.” For producers looking to take advantage of these benefits, there are a lot of choices to be made in selecting the right system for an operation. What’s available? Rapidly changing technology and an abundance of options can complicate the search for a new guidance system. Wallace explains that guidance systems can range from basic monitors to full steering systems. “At your basic entry level, you’re going to have your light bar and mapping systems where the operator is given a coloured map or set of lights to follow that guides them for manual steering,” says Wallace. “The next step up is an electric motor added to the side of the steering wheel or a replacement steering wheel, and it physically turns the steering wheel for the operator. The next level is automated steering systems, which are hydraulically plumbed into most newer tractors. This is faster responding and has smoother steering.” Case IH offers two categories of guidance systems. “The first guidance system type we offer are hydraulic guidance systems. These come with all the equipment to steer the tractor built into equipment. In many cases, it is standard equipment from the factory now,” says Quandahl. “We also have options through our CNH Industrial parts that would allow a customer to upgrade older equipment or equipment that didn’t come with it from the factory. It gives producers the option to add a display and CASE IH photo ‘IT CAN BE INTRODUCED AT ANY POINT IN TIME IN AN OPERATION & HAS BENEFITS.’ CHOOSING A GUIDANCE SYSTEM By EMILY CROFT
17 The Business of Ontario Agriculture Better Farming | December 2023 motor to the steering wheel in the cab or add upgraded equipment at a lower price point.” Ag Leader also offers two levels of systems, says Ben Vaarkamp, GPS specialist at O’Neil’s Farm Equipment in Binbrook. “SteadySteer is a motor drive system that is mounted on the steering wheel. It physically turns the steering wheel,” says Vaarkamp. “The motor is quickly removable when producers don’t need guidance, like if they are pulling wagons and they don’t want to wear out the motor. That’s the entry level for steering and it has a very good success rate. I have lots of guys running them. “Next step is full hydraulic. With that, you have vehicles that are guidance ready, and that is mostly plug and play, but older tractors might need more components to make it steer hydraulically.” After looking at system type, producers should evaluate what accuracy they need for their management practices. Accuracy When determining the accuracy needs of their farm, producers should consider which management practices they would like to implement and if they will need the system to be accurate year-over-year. “Either hydraulic or electric systems can be calibrated or tuned to be accurate from an operation standpoint,” says Quandahl. “A lot of people are looking to increase accuracy to make better use of ground and make sure they know exactly where they are.” Many upgrades to GPS accuracy are based on subscription systems and will come at an extra cost. “On the Trimble side, there’s RangePoint RTX, which has six-inch passto-pass accuracy and 15-inch year-toyear accuracy, and that runs around $630 a year,” says Wallace. “CenterPoint RTX is the next step up, with one-inch pass-to-pass accuracy and one-inch year-to-year accuracy, and that subscription is $1,300 a year.” Wallace says that improved year-toyear accuracy is key for some tasks that require precision. “Pass-to-pass accuracy would be the accuracy within 15 minutes, but the guidance world really opens up in year-to-year functionality,” explains Wallace. “A small beef farmer who is just spreading fertilizer and harvesting hay probably won’t want to pay for signal, but a strip-till guy probably wants the year-to-year accuracy because you want that fertilizer to come in where you’re banding. If you’re off fertilizer by three inches you will lose 15 to 18 per cent of yield potentially. If you’re a foot off- line you can lose 70 per cent of yield.” Vaarkamp says that another way of looking at accuracy, specifically for those with fruit and vegetable crops, is at how slow of a speed the system will remain accurate. “With SteadySteer, you can go as slow as a mile per hour. You can go from basic accuracy, all the way to RTK sub-inch accuracy at that speed,” explains Vaarkamp. “With a hydraulic system, you can go as low as a half-mile an hour and go up from there. One product we offer is DualTrac, which is a double antenna for ultra-slow operations. It goes as slow as 80 meters an hour, and that can hold sub-inch accuracy. It’s great for guys doing transplanting, because they are going so slow and want to keep that straight line.” As technology evolves, many dealerships offer guidance systems that come with additional features. Additional features One common additional feature offered with some guidance systems is end-of-row turning assistance. Ag Leader has offered this feature with both their SteadySteer and hydraulic systems since November 2023. “TurnPath looks to be a very promising feature for steering assistance,” Guidance Systems A fully automated tractor at work. Jordan Wallace photo FARMERS LOVE MAGAZINES 92% of farmers use ag magazines monthly, compared to 44% for websites, 43% for radio and 10% for farm shows. (Verified Readex Research study)
18 It’s Farming. And It’s Better. Better Farming | December 2023 Guidance Systems says Vaarkamp, noting that compatibility with an electric motor turning system is unique to Ag Leader. CaseIH offers a similar feature for their hydraulic systems, and Quandahl explains the benefits. “AccuTurn is an automated end-ofrow turning option,” says Quandahl. “We can command the tractor to turn around on its own at the end of the row, so you hit the next guidance line with more accuracy. You typically have to raise the implement, turn around, and sometimes have to square up. With AccuTurn you can hit that exactly square.” Another feature that may be of interest is a system’s ability to collect and integrate data. This can be valuable for assessing the cost of production, as well as improving precision in the fields. “Is managing your farm data important? Then you want something that stores and collects data for you, and allows you to integrate that,” says Wallace. “On my operation, when I input the data into software, I can associate a dollar value into the task. It can calculate custom work rates on the implement itself and I can also put an hourly rate to the operator by selecting who’s on the seat.” The extra features available with guidance systems can help producers improve efficiency and management in their fields. OEM versus aftermarket Guidance systems are available from many original equipment manufacturers (OEM) or available as aftermarket upgrades. There are some benefits to both sources. “Using an OEM system makes it a little bit easier for customers as they move between different machines,” says Quandahl, noting the consistent experience that OEM systems provide. “I don’t have to try to think about which function I’m using. It’s a very cohesive experience and it makes it a lot easier for producers as they move between different options.” Wallace notes that OEM systems work well for producers who have a consistent fleet of tractors, and frequently move between equipment of the same brand. It might also make for a lower cost of entry. “But that doesn’t mean that’s where you have to stop.” OEM brands of guidance systems typically work best on equipment of the same brand. When seeking out a new system, sometimes aftermarket systems can integrate more easily. “That also comes down to your three-to-five-year goal,” says Wallace. “Do you want to integrate into other tools you have on your farm and capture that data while limiting displays in the cab? If that’s the case, then you probably want to stick with Trimble or Ag Leader at that point.” How to choose How does a producer assess all these factors to choose the right guidance system for their farm? “It’s going to come down to the goals of their operation,” says Quandahl. “One of the easiest ways to start is looking at what equipment they have today. Are they in a smaller utility tractor where we could easily add an electric system to their machine? Or if it’s a bigger Case IH Magnum or Steiger, that equipment may already have Guidance systems can help producers improve efficiency and field management. LivingImages/istock/Getty Images Plus photo
19 It’s Farming. And It’s Better. Better Farming | December 2023 22_0470_Jars_BulkPacks_HalfHoriz_US_MXsp Mod: September 25, 2023 11:21 AM Print: 09/25/23 page 1 v2.5 π ORDER BY 6 PM FOR SAME DAY SHIPPING UTILITY JUGS F-STYLE JUGS PLASTIC ROUND WIDE-MOUTH JARS CYLINDER BOTTLES MILK JUGS PLASTIC JUICE BOTTLES BULK PACKS IN STOCK, READY TO SHIP 1-800-295-5510 uline.ca EMILY CROFT Emily lives on a beef farm, raising Red Angus and Simmental cattle. She holds a Master of Science in Animal Biosciences from University of Guelph, with a focus on ruminant nutrition. some parts for guidance in the machine.” Wallace says that part of determining the goals of the farm is also reviewing their immediate need and pay point. “Is it ‘I just want autosteer to be more efficient,’ or is their immediate goal to be more accurate pass-to-pass, or is it to create a data set? If the immediate need is for accuracy, find a display with good service and support to get started. “But before anything is purchased, the farmer needs to look at where they want to be in three to five years on the farm.” Wallace points out that considerations such as eyesight and ease of use can be important. “Is the producer’s eyesight going to get worse in the next three to five years? “The farming population is getting older, so a smaller monitor might not be the smarter move. The extra $800 up-front may let you operate easier and more consistently up the road,” explains Wallace. Price point is another deciding factor for producers. “Most systems are in the same relative value. Basic guidance systems with manual steering will be in the $2,500 to $5,000 range. Implementing assisted steering will be around $7,500 to $20,000, and fully integrated systems will be around $15,000 to $30,000,” says Wallace. The final factor that should play into a decision is the available support from dealers. “If you can’t get support for your system, it’s not even worth looking down that road,” says Vaarkamp. “This is where Ag Leader shines. As a producer, when you buy an Ag Leader system, you can call their tech support, so you don’t actually have to go through the dealer if you can’t get hold of them.” He also explains that talking to a dealer is a good way to make sure you get the best system for your equipment and goals. “If it’s a techy producer, they can do a lot of the research themselves, but usually it comes down to the dealer and what the producer wants to do,” says Vaarkamp. “That’s usually where the dealer will figure it out. They will do the research for the producer, visit the farm, see the operation and what they are trying to achieve. And they know the product inside and out.” No matter which system producers choose, Quandahl says that a good guidance system “will help a producer be more consistent and effective for their entire day.” BF Guidance Systems
20 Story Idea? Email Paul.Nolan@Farms.com Better Farming | December 2023 Soybean disease With harvest complete, focus shifts to seed selection for the 2024 growing season and beyond. Looking back allows us to predict future crop performance. From a soy- bean perspective, we can learn lots from the 2023 growing season to help us succeed in the future. A little detective sleuthing will help us win big – solving crop-scene cases and achieving optimum yields. Mother Nature threw lots of curveballs at us in 2023. Excessive rainfall during critical periods, a cool start to spring, and ideal conditions for disease development led to an interesting year scouting fields and determining what was happening in the soybean crop. In my region, white mould was the main disease to contend with this year. However, we are seeing more soybean “white mould mimics” showing up in our area. Driving by fields and doing a simple scout from the driver’s seat, a lot of these soybean mimics look the same. Brown, dying/dead leaves within patchy areas of a field that look off- colour compared to the rest of the field were common this year. However, some “boots in the field” inspection would reveal that it was not always white mould that was the culprit, robbing us of top-end yields. So why was the 2023 growing season worse than some others? Simply put, the environment this year overrode many factors. If you have heard of the disease triangle, you know what I am talking about. With any disease, you need three factors for that disease to occur. Let us use white mould in soybeans as an example. You need a host (soybeans – or multiple other crops), you need a pathogen (white mould sclerotinia found in the soil), and you need the environment (wet soil conditions, humid canopy during flowering) for a disease to exist. In 2023, the environment played a huge factor and overpowered many soybean fields, increasing the odds of white mould showing up. Let us look at some key soybean diseases and their mimics. White Mould As the old saying goes, you need highyield environments to have white mould. White mould is a fungal disease that occurs during flowering, favouring cool, wet conditions and tall, lush soybeans that canopy quickly. As the disease progresses, tissues rot due to sclerotinia within the plant’s vascular system, leading to rapid wilting and dying. Keep in mind, when you see the “cottony toothpaste look” of mould on the plants, the initial infection occurred three to four weeks earlier. From the road, white mould necrotic leaves can look like other diseases mentioned below. Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) SDS starts affecting soybean plants early in the growing season, but we do not see leaf symptoms until later. During the reproductive stages, the fungus produces a toxin that damages the leaves, causing interveinal chlorosis. The distinct yellow and brown necrotic areas between green midveins Paul Hermans photo TIME FOR SOME SOYBEAN DISEASE DETECTIVE WORK By PAUL HERMANS SOLVING THE CASE FOR DISEASE-FREE FIELDS & HIGHER YIELDS IN 2024
21 Story Idea? Email Paul.Nolan@Farms.com Better Farming | December 2023 Soybean disease and lateral veins, combined with a healthy stem (unlike BSR; see below), help distinguish this from white mould and other diseases like BSR. Research has shown that SDS is more problematic if Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is also present in fields. This is because SCN injures the root system, allowing the SDS pathogen to enter the root. If you find SDS in your fields, these are candidates for SCN soil sampling – to first confirm the presence of SCN and, if present, determine the severity for future crop planning of SCN varieties and other management practices. Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) SCN is starting to make its presence known in Eastern Canada. Although not technically a disease, its symptomology can be confusing when scouting. During its life cycle, eggs overwinter in cysts in the soil. Eggs hatch in the spring, and newly hatched nematodes move underground to penetrate the roots, setting up a feeding station. The females continue feeding on the roots after mating, thus causing entry points for other diseases, as well as causing stress to the soybean plant. Soybeans tend to be stunted, and leaves become chlorotic in nature, slowing canopy growth compared to other parts of the field. Because the soybean cysts are small (smaller than soybean nodules and about the size of a ballpoint pen tip), digging up the soybean plant and washing the roots off is advisable for analysis. Brown Stem Rot (BSR) BSR is caused by a fungus that survives in soybean residue and affects the soy- bean plant early in the season. Symptoms of leaves senescing usually do not show up until mid-August during the reproductive cycle of the Brown stem rot. Paul Hermans photo
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24 Like Us on Facebook: BetterFarmingON Better Farming | December 2023 Farm antiques Do you have a collector on your shopping list this holiday season? Maybe you’ve been interested in starting your own collection and would like to know more about farm antiques? Farming is a constantly evolving industry. While we rely on precision technology, our relatives and ancestors had a more hands-on approach. Items from those days bring back fond memories and curiosity for enthusiasts. Guy Heaslip of equipment dealer W.J. Heaslip in Hagersville collects many different farm antiques. His collection includes watch fobs, advertising, books, toys, equipment, and more. “There are no two collections that are the same,” he says. “Collecting is subjective. “Dad started in ’59. He likes the cast-iron and the smaller things, but I like tractors and gas engines. I like the mechanical side of things … something needs to be moving. He still likes the tractors, but it’s the difference in age in perspective.” We’ve compiled a list of coveted antiques, with some ideas about tracking them down. Vintage tractors Manufacturers are constantly updating their machines, making tractor collecting an attractive hobby for many. Why they’re coveted: Whether you’re restoring them, driving them to the local fair, or simply parking them somewhere to enjoy the aesthetics of the old-style engineering, vintage tractors celebrate the history of the machines we use every day. Some popular models include the John Deere Model D, a two-cylindered, steel-wheeled machine active between 1923-1953, and the Case IH Farmall, which debuted in 1923 and remains relevant 100 years later. Where to find: Auctions, equipment shows, or listings in magazines or online. There are a variety of clubs that come together to celebrate certain brands or types of tractors, and reaching out might help you locate what you’re looking for. Branded merchandise While a tractor may be out of your holiday budget, you could delight the enthusiast in your life with something from their favourite brand’s promotional history. FARM ANTIQUES & COLLECTABLES By LESLIE STEWART LOOKING AT TREASURES THAT COLLECTORS STILL COVET. Leslie Stewart photos