Hog prices are relatively high, and feed grain prices relatively low, but there is a caveat with those relatively low feed grain prices, quality.
With the rains, frost, and length the crops are staying in the field, Brian Voth of St. Agathe, MB v-p, and senior marketing coach for Agri-Trend says during that last week in September, his clients focused on getting the crop off the field and into the bin and doing the marketing later, once they know what it is they have in that bin.
Participating on a marketing panel at Big Iron in Fargo, ND recently, Voth says the crop quality in North Dakota isn’t any better than what farmers have in Manitoba.
“Hearing reports of the same thing it seems to be just like here in western Canada, hit or miss kind of depends on whether you got rain and how much you got and what the timing was,” said Voth.
With lots of fusarium and vomitoxin in the winter wheat, the challenge increases when most of the crop has it because there is nothing to blend to get the overall fusarium down, he says.
Initially, the spring wheat looked much better, but now it too is becoming a problem with the rain this fall causing mildew, sprouting, and bleaching to set in.
Speaking of quality and winter wheat, Dr. Anita Brûlé-Babel, a winter wheat breeder with the University of Manitoba recommends the selection of fusarium resistant varieties combined with good agronomic practices to reduce the risk of fusarium head blight.
High moisture and high humidity during flowering, winter wheat crops in southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan took a huge beating this year by fusarium head blight.
Brûlé-Babel says in addition to lowering yields, fusarium produces a toxin that dramatically impacts the marketability of the grain.
“We have some varieties that have better levels of resistance and some of them that have been around a long time,” she says. “For instance CDC Buteo is rated pretty consistently in our trials as a moderately resistant so it will have quite a bit better fusarium tolerance than, for instance, something like CDC Falcon which is quite susceptible.”
The winter wheat breeder says more recently the Lethbridge Research Centre’s program introduced Emerson which rates a resistant to moderately resistant, too. In their trials with Emerson that resistance seems to be holding out quite well even under heavy inoculation pressure.
“With any of these though we have to remember that resistance is not the same as what we would often think about with, for instance, some of the rusts which are other diseases of wheat,” said Brûlé-Babel. “Even with moderately resistant or resistant we still will see some levels of fusarium under high epidemic conditions so the recommendation that I have with producers is use more of the tool box which is not just the cultivar. Watch your weather forecasts and your disease forecasting to determine whether fungicides might be a useful option for you and follow appropriate crop rotation.
Dr. Brûlé-Babel says in fungicide trials the combination of better resistance and fungicides seems to improve your outcome much more than using susceptible varieties with fungicides. •
— By Harry Siemens