Crop pro­duc­ers hop­ing for re­peat of 2015

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

BY AN­GELA BROWN

News Staff For Glen­garry Soil and Crop Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (SCIA) pres­i­dent Mark Fraser, the year ahead for lo­cal crop pro­duc­ers will fea­ture change and, he hopes, a re­peat of 2015’s yields.

At the lo­cal SCIA an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Alexan­dria re­cently, the Maxville pro­ducer was op­ti­mistic crop pro­duc­ers would have a “good grow­ing year ahead.” He re­lates, last year’s pro­duc­tion cy­cle had “some of the best grow­ing con­di­tions any­one has ever seen.”

Mr. Fraser grows corn, soy­beans and wheat at Fraser­loch Farms which he op­er­ates with his wife, Jade, and par­ents Jack and Linda Fraser.

He said some of the chal­lenges for pro­duc­ers go­ing into 2016 will be low com­mod­ity prices. How­ever, he added “one sav­ing grace” is the low Cana­dian dol­lar has helped do­mes­tic sales.

How­ever, farm­ers pur­chas­ing farm equip­ment from the U.S. are fac­ing higher prices.

Stor­age

Mr. Fraser said there ap­pears to be a lot of corn, wheat and soy­beans still avail­able in stor- age from last year’s har­vest. “Ap­par­ently it’s more than in other years.”

He added the sup­ply “all changes” if the U.S. or South Amer­ica ex­pe­ri­ences any type of se­vere weather that may dam­age crops or cause pro­duc­tion de­lays. As a re­sult, any type of food short­age im­pacts the mar­ket for crop sales, he said, adding: “It all de­pends on the weather.”

Mr. Fraser said for the past few years Glen­garry farm­ers have been ham­pered by a killing frost dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son. Last year frost caused dam­ages late May and in Septem­ber, 2014. “As long as we don’t get any­thing too ex­treme, we’ll be OK,” he said. “For two years in a row we have been close to los­ing a lot of crop.”

In his re­port, out­go­ing Glen­garry SCIA pres­i­dent Don­ald MacLachlan said de­spite an early frost in 2015, last year was “a year to re­mem­ber” for Glen­garry pro­duc­ers who en­joyed “record-break­ing yields” in corn, soy­beans and wheat.

Farm­ers were also able to com­plete some endof-the-year jobs on the farm “right up to Christ­mas Eve” when tem­per­a­tures reached 19 de­grees.

“I re­call one dairy farmer stat­ing that this year was the first time ever that they har­vested five cuts of al­falfa hay on their farm,” said Mr. MacLachlan, adding this is “an­other tes­ta­ment to how for­tu­nate we are here in Glen­garry County.”

Pes­ti­cide con­tro­versy

Pro­vin­cial re­stric­tions on us­ing neon­i­coti­noidtreated seed for corn and soy­beans con­tin­ues to con­cern lo­cal farm­ers.

“On­tario is the only place in North Amer­ica with th­ese reg­u­la­tions,” Mr. Fraser said. ”It’s get­ting ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion.” He added the prov­ince’s time­lines for farm­ers to cut back on us­ing seeds treated with this in­sec­ti­cide “is chang­ing all the time.”

“It could add a lot of pa­per­work, a lot of cost, or just re­duce yields,” Mr. Fraser added. “It will af­fect the bot­tom line. It’s hap­pen­ing so fast, there are too many unknowns. That is the big­gest prob­lem. If it wasn’t hap­pen­ing in the span of a year or a year-and-a-half it might be dif­fer­ent. It’s come so quickly, it’s al­most scary.”

The re­cent an­nual gen­eral meet­ing was a good op­por­tu­nity for area pro­duc­ers to learn about changes in the in­dus­try and share ideas.

While about 30 at­tended, “We would al­ways like to see more,” added Mr. Fraser.

DREAM FIELDS: con­di­tions.Area pro­duc­ers en­joyed bumper crops last year, thanks to per­fect grow­ing

BUZZ CEN­TRE OF DE­BATE: The fate of bees is the crux of a de­bate over chem­i­cal pes­ti­cide re­stric­tions.

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