From the CEO’s desk
Rachel Telford, Managing Editor
As we wait for the end of winter and the start
of the spring planting season, we use this month’s
edition to take a look at some of the current
research being done and how it may eventually
impact the way you select your crop varieties
and manage your fields.
In our cover story we look at the Western bean
cutworm and the different ways this pest is
entering fields each year and how understanding
its biology will enable farmers to better control
their populations and mitigate crop damage.
We’ve also included an update on Fusarium
research being done at the University of Guelph
(page 10). The goal is to develop a new
winter wheat variety with better resistance
to this disease.
Weather is always the unpredictable element
in any crop year. Research such as that being
done by Dr. Hugh Earl into the drought tolerance
of soybeans aims to take away some of the
problems associated with needing the right
weather at the right time (page 12).
We also take a look at another type of research
being done — that into the mental health of
farmers. We follow up on a study being conducted
at the University of Guelph that will eventually
lead to the development of a better support
program targeted to meet the specific challenges
of those in agriculture (page 28).
Next month, our issue will focus on crop
management as we plan for the growing
season ahead. •
Letter from the Editor
Barry Senft, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario
Comments or suggestions about the Ontario
Grain Farmer? Contact me,firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVANCEMENTS IN CROP
and new seed varieties have helped farmers
increase their yields in recent years. We
are now growing more grain on less land
than ever before. That’s a positive for our
industry given the challenges we face with
sprawling urban areas and a booming global
population. Grain Farmers of Ontario’s
investment in research that resulted in
practical on-farm applications helped
achieve these advancements. We are
continuing to invest in new research and
we are working to increase the knowledge
transfer to farmers so that they can benefit
from the results.
But we also need to see practical results
in other areas. Now more than ever, we
need to develop newmarkets and new uses
for the grain we produce. Demographics
are changing around the world, along with
this so are the demands of the consumer.
While some of these demands may be
challenging, a great many of these demands
present great opportunities for Ontario,
especially with the large focus on wanting
to support locally produced food items. In
a report done by the BDC, they found that
97% of Canadian consumers decide to buy
local to support the local economy, 87%
also believe it is better for the environment.
You may have heard me say before (a
number of times) we are fortunate to be
in a province of 13 million consumers and
have access within 800 kilometres of 135
There is not just demand domestically
though, with the increase in income levels
seen around the world, new export
opportunities continue to develop. With
Ontario’s reputation of producing high
quality, traceable products we are well
positioned to meet these new demands.
One of the ways in which Grain Farmers
of Ontario works to meet these market
demands is through the Grains Innovation
Fund. Working with companies and
organizations the program is designed to
support new markets, expand the use and
demand for Ontario grains, promote Ontario
grains as the best choice, identity preserve
varieties for novel uses, and/or increase
the value (premiums) of Ontario grains.
Since 2010, the fund has provided more
than a million dollars to more than 40
projects with these goals in mind.
The Board of Directors and the Market
Development Committee recently approved
the investment of $150,000 into five new
projects which cover corn, wheat, corn
stover, and wheat straw.
Past projects have included support for
the development of new products that
utilize Ontario soybeans, helping a local
food processor transition to more Ontario-
sourced wheat, and investigating the use
of corn stover within the bio-economy.
Like research, results from these
investments aren’t always immediate.
However, in the long-term they will pay off
and ensure we have strong, diversified
markets for Ontario grains that maximize
returns for our farmer-members.