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Ag Day Manitoba in progress
February 27, 2013By Ken Morgan of Interstate Farm Network
Canada Bean Outlook
Agriculture Canada is projecting a big drop in Canadian edible bean area in 2013, but a Manitoba industry official contends growers in that province ought not to dismiss the crop just yet.
Technical Briefing Regarding Agriculture Sector Reports
Ottawa, Ontario, February 26, 2013 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is set to release three reports - Canada's Farm Income Forecast for 2012 and 2013, the Medium Term Outlook for Canadian Agriculture and the Farm Income, Financial Conditions and Government Assistance Data Book, 2012.
Technical briefing by departmental officials
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
11:00 a.m. (local time)
Please register in advance by contacting Media Relations. Dial-in numbers and passcode, as well as copies of the reports, will be sent by email to registered participants the morning of February 27, one hour prior to the start of the briefing.
For more information:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agricultural Innovation Draws Interest of International Zinc Industry
Wolf Trax to speak to International Zinc Association
Winnipeg, Manitoba – Feb. 26, 2013 – Attendees of an international conference for zinc miners, refiners and manufacturers will learn how an agricultural company developed an innovative technology to improve zinc uptake in farmers’ crops. The International Zinc Association is hosting Kerry Green, managing director of Wolf Trax, at the International Zinc Conference. On Feb. 27, 2013, Green’s presentation will focus on his company’s Zinc DDP® and its use worldwide.
Micronutrients, and especially zinc, are important to human nutrition and crop production in many parts of the world where soils are lacking those nutrients. Although needed in small amounts, micronutrients play vital roles in plant growth, and early-season deficiencies can lower yield potential. Zinc deficiencies are common in regions across the U.S.
Applications of older micronutrient technology were inefficient, and therefore often ineffective. Because micronutrients are needed in small amounts, their concentration in a fertilizer blend is tiny compared to macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). When spread in a field with the fertilizer blend, traditional granular micronutrients were sparsely distributed, and many plants could not access the needed nutrient.
DDP Nutrients developed by Wolf Trax feature a patented, scientifically-engineered coating technology that is formulated to coat and stick to every granule of macronutrient fertilizer in a blend. This technology results in even, blanket-like coverage of micronutrient across a field and more feeding sites for earlier, easier access by plant roots.
In addition to improving placement throughout the field, Wolf Trax also worked to optimize plant availability. The patented Dual Action™ Formulation in DDP Nutrients provides immediate availability for plant uptake, along with extended feeding over time.
The better distribution and improved nutrient availability combine to result in on-time delivery of nutrients when the crop needs them.
“I look forward to introducing our innovative zinc technology to this international audience of scientists and industrialists,” says Green. “Zinc is an important nutrient for world food production. It is exciting to be part the industry that helps to provide zinc for crop production and to explain how our technology can help to apply that zinc more efficiently and effectively.”
Maple Leaf Foods profit jumps as charges drop
Company sees food inflation impact in first half of 2013
Posted Feb. 26th, 2013
Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s biggest bakers and meat processors, reported a jump in quarterly profit on Tuesday as restructuring charges and other costs fell, and said it expects volatile earnings in the first half of 2013 as it raises prices.
The Toronto-based company, best known for its Maple Leaf and Schneiders brand meats and Dempster’s bread, has been hurt by soaring grain prices caused by a severe drought in the United States, which drove up the cost of raising hogs and its baking costs.
"The effects of food inflation driven by the North American droughts of 2012 will be felt mostly in the first half of 2013. As a result, we expect some short-term volatility in our earnings as we pass those cost increases on in the marketplace," CEO Michael McCain said in a statement.
"Beyond this, our strategic initiatives will accelerate in 2013 and contribute to continued margin growth."
The company, which is closing older meat plants and modernizing others under a multi-year plan to boost earnings, said net profit for the fourth quarter rose to $56.8 million, or 39 cents per basic share, from $9.2 million, or six cents a share, a year earlier.
Diluted earnings per share jumped to 38 cents from six cents.
Restructuring costs fell to $12.8 million, or seven cents a share, in the period ended Dec. 31, from $32.2 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.
Revenue dropped three per cent to $1.2 billion.
Octagon Capital Corp. analyst Bob Gibson said the quarterly results showed strong margins, but otherwise had few surprises.
On an adjusted basis, operating earnings rose to $91.3 million from $57.4 million last year, reflecting improvements in the its meat and bakery groups, the company said.
Adjusted earnings per share rose to 38 cents from 21 cents a year earlier.
Sales in the company’s meat products unit fell five per cent to $740.8 million, while adjusted operating earnings soared 75 per cent to $48 million.
Price increases and a more profitable sales mix helped boost earnings, along with lower costs from a reduced line of products, Maple Leaf said.
Bakery group sales fell 2.4 per cent to $390.6 million, but adjusted operating profit nearly doubled to $31.4 million. The company has cut costs by closing older bakeries and moving production to a new facility in Hamilton, Ont. – Reuters
After decades of marketing wheat through the Canadian Wheat Board's single desk, the western Canadian grain sector is still working out the best way to hedge the commodity, seven months into the new open market.
DuPont is expanding its pipeline of new products under development to include the potential for a biotech wheat, a company official said on Tuesday.
Grainworld: Oats risk becoming "special" crop
Feb 26, 2013 12:44 PM - 0 comments
By: Terryn Shiells
Oats are in danger of becoming a "special" crop in Canada because acres are expected to decrease to record lows, the president of Ag Commodity Research said here Tuesday in a presentation at the annual Wild Oats Grainworld Conference.
Randy Strychar said he expects 2.66 million acres of oats to be seeded in Canada in 2013-14, which would be a new record low. He also expects production to come in around 2.389 million tonnes in 2013-14, the second lowest on record.
Strychar said oats area is slowly being replaced with other crops, including oilseeds, because of rising global demand for biofuel and vegetable oil and better returns.
Oats area is also slowly decreasing because of declining equine feed demand, both commercial and on-farm, said Strychar, whose Vancouver-based company is now co-ordinating the Equine Feed Oat Project for the Prairie Oat Growers Association. The project is meant to try to boost demand for oats in North American horse markets.
Feed demand is dropping, Strychar said Tuesday, because the industry is looking for higher protein and more complex pelleted feeds and is also more knowledgable about animal nutrition requirements.
There's also a lack of funding for oat research to make the industry competitive in the feed market, which is hindering the crop's ability to regain its place in the feed sector.
So, how can we prevent oats from becoming a special crop, where millers contract the oats they need and that's all that Canada grows?
Higher yields could help keep oats out of that "special" crop category, but not without increased physical demand, Strychar said.
The saving grace of the oat industry could be a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, if one can be signed.
Currently, high tariffs limit Canadian oats moving into Europe, but Strychar said a free trade deal could open new doors for Canadian oats and may be the industry's "lifeline."
Another positive is that the demand for oats for food use is steady to higher, with the breakfast cereal and snack bar industries doing well.
-- Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.
Grainworld: Wheat could be the new canola
Feb 26, 2013 7:07 PM - 0 comments
By: Terryn Shiells
Canadian wheat is on its way to becoming the new canola, industry officials said during a presentation here Tuesday at the annual Wild Oats Grainworld conference.
Todd Ormann, head of the crop portfolio for cereals at Syngenta Canada, said several major agribusinesses are noticing how important wheat is and are investing more money in research and development of new seed varieties, treatments and fungicides.
In the next five to 10 years, the industry is expected to invest $2.2 billion in technology for cereals. There should be less investment in herbicides, and more investment in fungicides, seed care and seed varieties, with the latter seeing the largest growth -- the reason being that diseases and fungi are causing the most damage in wheat, and herbicides won't do anything to combat those.
The research and technology would hopefully create a type of hybrid wheat that would change the industry in Canada. Similar investments were applied to canola in the past, and the hybridization of canola changed the western Canadian economy, said Daryl Domitruk, director of agrifood innovation and adaptation with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.
Ormann said the increased funding and research could make it is possible to develop new wheat varieties that yield 20 per cent better by 2020, which would create an additional $2 billion for farmers across the country.
The only challenge is that it takes about seven to 10 years to create new seed varieties. Regardless, it is still an "exciting time" for the wheat market and the industry can expect to see changes in the market and the products that support it, Ormann said.
With the amount of investment into wheat research and development in Canada, the country should be a leader in the world and will most likely showcase what can be done with cereals in the next five to 10 years.
However, not all parts of Canada's wheat industry have the same positive outlook. There still need to be some significant changes on the logistics side of things to help the industry function at full capacity in the post-Canadian Wheat Board world, said Gary Williams, senior market manager with Scoular Canada.
Williams said railroad efficiencies need to be gained, Canada and the U.S. need to work together to streamline grades to help reduce confusion for international buyers, and elevators need to change to a system where they don't take in so many different crops, instead becoming more specialized.
-- Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.
Monsanto suspending Roundup Ready royalties in Brazil
Feb 26, 2013 6:34 PM - 0 comments
Sao Paulo | Reuters
Seed and ag chem giant Monsanto said Tuesday it will hold off collecting royalties on its Roundup Ready soybean technology in Brazil, until a patent dispute is resolved in the local courts.
Last week, Brazil's Upper Tribunal of Justice (STJ) rejected Monsanto's request to extend its patent on its RR1 technology until 2014.
Monsanto said it would appeal, which will put the case before Brazil's Supreme Court (STF).
Brazil, the world's second largest soybean producer and exporter, is one of the company's leading growth markets.
The company is involved in several legal battles over royalties payments for using its technologies.
A Paraguayan judge last Tuesday rejected a request by soy farmers to block Monsanto from collecting royalty payments for Roundup Ready seeds in the world's fourth largest soybean exporter.
On the same day, U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled that Monsanto was in a strong position against an Indiana farmer over the use of its patented soybeans, a case closely watched by the biotechnology industry. -- Reuters
PotashCorp wants to buy ICL despite obstacles
Saskatoon fertilizer giant wants to buy at least majority stake
Feb 26, 2013 6:24 PM - 0 comments
By: Rod Nickel
Fertilizer producer PotashCorp says it is determined to buy most, if not all, of ICL Israel Chemicals Ltd. and that stiff local opposition to such a takeover is based on unfounded fears.
Saskatoon-based PotashCorp, the world's largest producer by capacity of its namesake crop nutrient, aims to boost its 14 per cent stake in ICL Israel Chemicals, the world's sixth-largest potash producer, to at least 51 per cent and preferably 100 per cent.
"The opposition you're seeing now is fear of the unknown," PotashCorp CFO Wayne Brownlee said on Tuesday in remarks at the BMO Capital Markets Global Metals and Mining conference in Hollywood, Florida, distributed via webcast.
The largest shareholder in ICL is the conglomerate Israel Corp. Ltd., which owns more than 52 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters data. The Israeli government holds a golden share in ICL Israel Chemicals, giving it the authority to decide on any takeover move on the company.
A spokesman for Israel Corp said there are no talks between the companies currently because PotashCorp must first secure approval from the government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to assemble a coalition government after January's general election.
Brownlee said PotashCorp has not been talking with stakeholders in ICL recently because of the election.
Workers at Israel Chemicals have said they would hold protests in coming weeks to try to prevent a deal, which they fear will lead to layoffs.
Addressing those concerns on Tuesday, Brownlee said PotashCorp is not interested in cutting production or employment levels at ICL. He said its rationale is to become the "lowest cost provider" of potash "to anywhere in the world."
PotashCorp does not want just to increase its stake in ICL and remain a passive investor, Brownlee said.
Buying ICL, which has a market cap of nearly US$17 billion, would represent the largest foreign takeover of an Israeli company.
Focus on volume
Brownlee also said PotashCorp's focus in general for the next five years will be on building up potash sales volume.
"Right now the message is we're really seeking volume growth as opposed to seeing price growth," Brownlee said. "That's our key objective at this stage."
Canpotex, the offshore selling agency for western Canadian potash producers PotashCorp, Mosaic Co. and Agrium, has long used its bargaining clout to drive the highest price, and PotashCorp regularly idles its mines in times of high supply or lower demand.
But key importers China and India bruised the earnings of potash producers in the second half of 2012 by staying out of the market altogether.
There also may be stiff competition coming from new potash mines under construction in Western Canada by Germany's K+S AG and BHP Billiton, although BHP has not yet given final approval to its project.
To head off new competitors, analysts have mused about the possible merits of Canpotex switching to a volume emphasis.
PotashCorp spokesman Bill Johnson said Brownlee's comments do not suggest a change in strategy as the company will continue to match supply to demand. But he said the company has noted that volume growth has been flat for five or six years and wants to change that trend, with the company expanding its mines and demand rising.
Mosaic CEO Jim Prokopanko, speaking at the same conference, said demand from India has been picking up lately, and Canpotex could sell more than the 1.1 million tonnes of potash in 2013 that its latest supply contract with India calls for.
-- Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent based in Winnipeg.
Ritchie Bros. Q4 per share profit falls 16 per cent as overhead expenses rise (Ritchie-Bros)
VANCOUVER _ Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. (TSX:RBA) reports it had $22.1 million or 21 cents per share of profit in the fourth quarter, a 16 per cent decline from the year-earlier period.
The Vancouver-based company's revenue from auction services improved to $117.1 million
However, earnings from operations fell to $33.1 million from $38.8 million as overhead expenses increased. Other sources of income also fell year-to-year.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, revenue had been $113.4 million and net income was $26.8 million or 25 cents per share. The company says the profit would have been higher but for costs related to the acquisition of AssetNation.
For the full year ended Dec. 31, Ritchie Bros. reported $79.5 million of net income or $82.6 million of adjusted net income, equal to 74 cents or 77 cents per share respectively on a diluted basis.
For the previous year ended Dec. 31, 2011, the company had $76.6 million of net income and $73.6 million of adjusted net income, equal to 72 cents and 69 cents per share respectively on a diluted basis.
Revenue from auction services for all of 2012 was $437.95 million, up from $396.1 million in 2011.
INDEX: MANUFACTURING MINING BUSINESS AGRICULTURE RETAIL
Climate change, urban growth, agriculture driving water study need: report (Water-Study)
A study by some of Canada's top scientists warns that the country needs to start looking a lot more closely at how it uses its fresh water.
The Council of Canadian Academies report says climate change, shifting agricultural practices and growing urban and industrial use are all putting more pressure on the water supply.
It says better monitoring is needed as climate change makes rainfall and surface water levels harder to predict.
As well, it says governments need to start thinking about water issues when they make long-term land use plans.
It says some areas in the Prairies and southern British Columbia are already pushing the limit of water usage.
INDEX: ENVIRONMENT NATIONAL AGRICULTURE SCIENCE POLITICS
Section A - Farm Income
• In 2011 total market receipts from both crop and livestock
sources reached $46.3 billion, the highest level over the 10-
year period 2002-2011. The increase in market receipts in
2011 was due to the combination of strong crop receipts of
$25.9 billion and strong livestock receipts of $20.3 billion,
both highs over the previous 10 years.
• Net cash income in 2011 at $11.5 billion was the highest
level reported over 2002-2011, surpassing the previous
record of $9.2 billion achieved in 2010. In comparison, the
lowest net cash income level over the reference period was
$5.0 billion in 2003, the year that BSE was discovered in
the Canadian cattle herd.
• Program payments increased to $3.5 billion in 2011 from
the 10-year low of $3.1 billion a year earlier. In general
though, high income years between 2008 and 2011 due to
strong market conditions have reduced the need for
• Preliminary estimates for 2011 show that on average, the
largest farms are in Newfoundland and Labrador, which
reported average operating revenues of $592,168. The
smallest farms are in Saskatchewan, where the average
farm reported $282,567 in total operating revenues.
Nationally, the average farm reported $355,550 in operating
revenues and $292,002 in operating expenses in 2011 for
an average net operating income of $63,549. This was a
26% increase from $50,534 in net operating income
reported a year earlier.
• Net operating income by farm type shows considerable
variation. Potato farms had the highest average net
operating income in 2011 at $233,808, while grains and
oilseeds farms were at $85,810, other vegetable and melon
farms at $68,475, fruit and tree nut farms at $28,846 and
cattle farms at $12,955. Hog farms had an average net
operating income of $88,834, which represented an
increase of 17% from a year earlier.
Section B - Farm Financial Conditions
• Farmers take on debt to meet short-term financial
obligations and to make investments in their farming
operations to take advantage of emerging marketing
opportunities. In 2011, total farm debt in Canada stood at
• There were only 66 farm bankruptcies in 2011, up from 61 a
year earlier. Ontario (18 bankruptcies), Quebec (17
bankruptcies) and Saskatchewan (12 bankruptcies)
reporting the highest number. The number of farm
bankruptcies had followed a declining trend between 1996
• Farm Credit Canada approved 45,578 new loans in
2011-12. The average size of loan approved by Farm Credit
Canada has been declining in recent years, but jumped
back up to $156,150 in 2011-12.
• There were 2,311 new loans registered under the Canadian
Agricultural Loans Act (CALA, formerly Farm Improvement
and Marketing Cooperatives Loans Act) in 2011-12.
Approximately 4 out of 5 new loans went to Saskatchewan.
• Farmers in general had healthy balance sheets in 2011.
The average Canadian farm reported $2.0 million in assets
and $0.4 million in debt, for an overall net worth of $1.7
million. There was considerable variation by farm type, with
net worth of poultry farms averaging $4.3 million, potato
farms $3.1 million, dairy farms $2.8 million, grain farms $1.9
million, hog farms $1.9 million, and beef farms $1.1 million.
Farms in British Columbia had the highest level of farm
4 Data Book / 2012
assets among provinces at $2.6 million, followed by Alberta
at $2.4 million. Farms in Alberta and British Columbia also
had the highest average net worth at $2.1 million in each
• In the fall of 2012, urea cost an average of $705 per tonne
in Ontario, $626 per tonne in Manitoba and $618 per tonne
in Saskatchewan. Farmers in Ontario and Manitoba paid
more for urea than farmers in neighbouring US states while
farmers in Saskatchewan paid less than their neighbours in
Montana. Farmers in Ontario paid higher prices for diesel
and gasoline than their US neighbours. Farmers in
Manitoba and Saskatchewan faced lower diesel prices, but
paid more for gasoline than farmers in neighbouring US
• Total expenses for farming increased to $44.1 billion in
2011, up 8% after declining for two consecutive years.
Higher fertilizers, commercial feed and machinery fuel
costs were responsible for just over half of the increase
from the previous year.
Section C - Government Expenditures in Support of the
• Total government expenditures in support of the agriculture
and agri-food sector increased by 3.7% in 2011-12 to $6.69
billion. Federal expenditures increased by less than 1% to
reach $3.37 billion while the provincial expenditures
increased by 7.6% to reach $3.32 billion.
• Expectations are that federal expenditures will increase in
2012-13, reaching $3.47 billion, while provincial
expenditures will decrease to $3.29 billion. Total
expenditures are expected to increase by 1.1% to reach
• In 2011-12, federal program payments, which include
primarily payments made directly to producers, are
expected to decrease compared to the previous year,
reaching $1.36 billion. These payments are also expected
to decrease in 2012-13 to $1.28 billion. During the same 2-
year period, provincial program payments are expected to
increase in 2011-12 to reach $1.71 and then to decrease to
$1.65 billion in 2012-13.
• In 2011-12, categories with the highest expenditures are
program payments, and research and inspection. These
two categories represented 73% and 58% of federal and
provincial expenditures, respectively. However, the share of
only research and inspection expenditures represented
34% at the federal level compared to 11% at the provincial
Section D - Estimates of Support to Agriculture
• Expressed as a percentage of gross farm receipts, the
producer support estimates (PSE) for Canada decreased
from 17% in 2010 to 14% in 2011.
• From 2010 to 2011, the level of support, expressed as a
percentage of gross farm receipts, also decreased in the
EU (from 20% to 18%) while it stayed the same in the US
(8%), Australia (3%), Mexico (12%) and New Zealand (1%).
• In 2011, single commodity transfers (SCT) represented
73% of total PSE, which is high when compared to the EU
(17%) and the US (36%). The Canadian result can be
explained by the high level of support to milk through
market price support.
CANADA’S FARM INCOME FORECAST FOR 2012 AND 2013
For 2013, our preliminary forecast indicates continued strong levels of net cash income and average net operating income, with receipts and expenses rising modestly.
A promising spring harvest in South America and a normal fall crop in major producing areas in the northern hemisphere will increase crop supplies in 2013. This will lead to a moderation in grain and oilseed prices during calendar year 2013. Canadian crop receipts will continue to be strong. Much of the above-average 2012 crop will be marketed after December 31, as carry-in stocks are ample, and Canadian production conditions for 2013 are also forecast to be normal. There will also be a modest increase in livestock receipts, driven by higher cattle prices. Herd reductions by cattle and hog producers over recent years will lower the number of animals available for slaughter in both sectors. An expected decrease in feed costs, as North American feed grain production conditions return to normal, will help drive income gains for hog farms in the order of 25%.
Expenses will see a small increase in 2013, in line with the general rate of inflation, as the major drivers behind input costs are relatively stable.
As this forecast includes an assumption of normal weather conditions, and farm prices and incomes have been healthy for the last few years, program payments are expected to be down slightly.
Farm Income Forecasts for 2012-2013, the Medium Term Outlook for Canadian Agriculture and the Farm Income, Financial Conditions and Government Assistance Data Book, 2012.
Immediately following the technical briefing and release of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’ three reports:
Richard Phillips, Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada will be available for comment:
613-233-9954 or 613-875-1795